Sunday, 26 October 2014
Sunday, 31 August 2014
The Kremlin has played an astute hand in the Ukrainian crisis, lying to the international community and the Russian people about its innocence in the conflict while simultaneously ratcheting its aggression. In Crimea, the Russian government and media initially denied that the Russian military was involved in securing the peninsula for Russian control and a sham plebiscite. It wasn’t until April that Putin admitted that Russian troops were responsible for disarming the Ukrainian military in Crimea and facilitating its illegal annexation. The Kremlin progressively increases its involvement in Ukraine, forces the international community to accept the new status quo by hinting at de-escalation, before intensifying its aggression even more. This strategy was successful as long as the Russians dying in Ukraine were primarily volunteers and social outcasts—members of fascist organizations, hired mercenaries, and ex-convicts. When these fighters died in Ukraine there was little outrage; they had volunteered to fight. However, this same approach will not work when Russian servicemen, rather than ideologically-motivated volunteers, fight and die in Ukraine.
Evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine is now irrefutable. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government revealed that it had captured Russian servicemen on Ukrainian territory.
The soldiers admitted that that had been ordered, some of them unknowingly, onto Ukrainian territory. Rapid militant advances in the Donbas at the moment are known to be done with the assistance of Russian military troops and heavy weaponry. Even Alexander Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, admits that several thousand Russian soldiers operate in eastern Ukraine, who he dubiously claimed are volunteers and on temporary leave from the military. Despite continued denials emanating from the Kremlin, the Russian government will find it increasingly difficult to cover up the death and capture of its own soldiers, even to Russian society itself.
Russian civil society organizations are increasingly expressing concern that its soldiers are being secretly deployed to Ukraine without the notification of family members. The families of those Russian soldiers captured in Ukraine publicly pleaded to President Putin and the Russian government to secure their release from Ukraine. The Committee for Soldiers’ Mothers, a Russian NGO, has stated that approximately 15,000 Russian soldiers are currently serving on Ukrainian territory.
NATO, on the other hand, has stated that there “at least” 1,000 Russian military soldiers in Ukraine.
Furthermore, Russian reporters have said that they were attacked when following a story about the surreptitious burials of Russian paratroopers killed in Ukraine. According to journalists from newspapers Pskovskaya Guberniya and Telegraf, when reporters arrived in Pskov, to the site of alleged burials, armed thugs threatened them with death, eventually attacking their cars and erasing photographs of the site. All the while, the Kremlin denies that the soldiers buried in Pskov are related to the conflict in Ukraine.
Unlike the extremist Kremlin-supported Russian volunteers who have been fighting in the Donbass, the Kremlin will not be able to deny responsibility and sweep the deaths of Russian soldiers under the rug. These soldiers, many of them conscripts, have families that will ask questions about the disappearances, injuries, and deaths of their loved ones. Additionally, civil society organizations that support the welfare and interests of Russian soldiers, such as Committee for Soldiers’ Mothers, remain among the most independent NGOs in the country.
Clamoring voices are already revealing the Kremlin’s web of lies and prevarications, debunking the narrative that the Russian government is neither assisting the militants nor sending Russian troops into Ukraine. As Russia’s involvement deepens, which is overwhelmingly evident over the past several days, the Kremlin lies will likely fall apart not only in front of the international community, which has long recognized Russian prevarications, but in front of the Russian people as well. Only so many Russian soldiers can end up captured, injured, or killed before friends and relatives start asking questions and demanding answers. Soon, Putin will either need to come clean about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, or face increasing scrutiny and distrust from his own people.
Kyiv, August 31, 2014. Yesterday nine Russian paratroopers were exchanged for 63 soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine at the checkpoint in Kharkiv region, reported Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesperson of Information and Analytical Center of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Andriy Lysenko said that in the last 24 hours four Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 34 got wounded. According to NSDC representative, the Ukrainian military engaged the terrorists and the Russian military 33 times in the vicinity of the following settlements: Stanytsia Luhanska, Heorhiivka, Krasnaya Polyana, Andriivka, Lutugino, Kruglyk, Uspenka, Berezove, Vergunsky Rozyizd, Fedorivka, Zempliane, Maryinka, Adrianopil, Makarovo, Fashchiivka as well as near “Luhansk” airport. The spokesperson for the National Security and Defense Council said that the ATO forces destroyed two tanks, an “Urahan” [‘Hurricane’] installation, six Grad systems and more than 100 terrorist militants.
Colonel Lysenko said that the shelling of ATO positions continues from the territory of Russia. Thus the position of Ukrainian military near the village Horodyshche was fired upon with anti-tank guided missiles. In addition, the Ukrainian-Russian borderline in Luhansk region, and the bridge over the Kamyshnaya river near the village of Nizhnebaranovka (Bilovodsky district), as well as the positions of the ATO forces in the village of Makarovo (Stanychno-Luhansk region) suffered from the shelling which originated from the territory of the Russian Federation. The NSDC representative emphasized that yesterday Ukraine recorded four Russian drones close to the village of Rosa Luxemburg (Donetsk region) and near the village of Yuhanovka (Luhansk region).
Lysenko cited numerous facts of destruction of Donbas infrastructure by the terrorists. He particularly pointed toward the evidence of shelling of Lutugin scientific and industrial roller mill, and the downing of the bridge over the Kalmius river near the village of Granite, Telmanovsky district. On a separate note, Lysenko reported that the Ukrainian forces found and disabled 163 units of ammunition and explosives.
Commenting on the situation in Mariupol, which is under the threat of a Russian invasion, the NSDC spokesperson said that the city was preparing for the defense, noting that yesterday more than a thousand residents of Mariupol stepped out creating a human chain at the checkpoint on the road coming from Novoazovsk, which is now occupied by the Russian army. In Novoazovsk, according to Andriy Lysenko, the Russians have been recorded to disseminate leaflets on “How to deal with the peacekeeping force of the Russian troops,” where the local population was suggested not to resist the Russian invaders and take the collaborationist position. The leaflet also assures that “no one will be shot down just for no reason.”
Colonel Lysenko noted that the National Guard of Ukraine received several Mi-8 MTV1 helicopters which have been redesigned and modernized to be able to evacuate the wounded and provide first aid. According to the NSDC representative, the helicopters have successfully passed the flight test and have no analogues in the world.
Notably, on August 30 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a series of meetings with European leaders, including the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. Reportedly, the European community condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. In addition the European Union calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops and equipment from Ukraine and fully supports President Poroshenko’s peace plan.
Within the last 24 hours ATO forces inflicted powerful damage on the enemy. Ukrainian servicemen eliminated the enemy’s convoy of 30 vehicles on the move towards Luhansk – Alchevsk. Two more vehicles of Russian mercenaries moving towards Zugres – Khartsyzsk were also eliminated. In total Ukrainian armed forces eliminated with fire 2 tanks, 3 APCs, 1 Uragan and 6 Grad multiple rocket launcher systems as well as 35 militants. The information was presented by Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman of the Information-AnalyticalCenter of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine at a briefing in the UkraineCrisisMediaCenter. “Direct military aggression of the Russian Federation continues in the East of Ukraine. Russians keep sending military machinery and mercenaries to Donbas. The situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions is getting more complicated due to activities of the Russian Armed Forces. Following yesterday’s combat with terrorists and Russian troops near Komsomolske village Ukrainian forces got on defensive positions and set their strongholds,” added Col. Andriy Lysenko.
Ukrainian army started offensive in Luhansk region. Over forty terrorists were eliminated. Planned operational work was conducted in several settlements in Slovyano-Serbsky district, Krymske and Sokolnyky villages. “Active combat is on at the Luhansk direction. Regular units of Ukrainian Armed Forces got an order to retreat from Khryashuvate and Novosvitlivka of Krasnodonsky region, they took defense positions near Luhansk. In Luhansk region positions of ATO forces near Horodyshe and Makarove of Stanychno-Lyhansky district came under fire from the territory of the Russian Federation,” informed NSDC spokesman.
Ukrainian servicemen keep bolstering fortifications in Mariupol. In Mariupol district of the Donetsk region border guards jointly with volunteer battalions have organized round-the-clock patrolling to discover subversive and reconnaissance Russian groups. All main entries to Mariupol have been reinforced by dog support units and border guard specialists. Special units to repel tanks attack were additionally established.
On 29 August Ukraine’s Security Service detained Russian citizen, Serhiy (Gennadiyovych) Chernysh, date of birth 1965, who took part in terroristic activities in Ukraine. Citizen of the Russian Federation together with other mercenaries illegally crossed Ukraine’s state border at a Russian border crossing point. “Together with the militants Chernysh previously experienced in “hot spots” took over a role of instructor, coordinated groups activities, ensured terrorists’ retreat under attacks of ATO forces a number of times. Russian mercenary was detained when he was on special mission to find the pilot who managed to escape from an aircraft downed by the terrorists. Detained is in custody, investigation is underway,” explained Col. Lysenko.
Enterprises making part of state-owned “Ukroboronprom” group will work in 3-shifts mode. Production effectiveness is thus expected to be increased by 40 percent.
Servicemen of the Russian Federation are holding propaganda activities to get support for pro-Russian oriented terroristic organizations. Propaganda promoters also offer financial reward in exchange for information on dislocation places of Ukrainian armed forces units, Ukrainian special forces servicemen and members of their families.
In Makiivka militants installed “Grad” multiple rocket launchers and shell Donetsk and Yasynuvata.
US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urge to immediately start supplying weapons to Ukraine and introduce more powerful economic sanctions against Russia as a result of its military invasion on Ukraine’s territory.
Minister for Foreign Affairs of France Laurent Fabius claimed to be in possession of undeniable proofs of military invasion to Ukraine by the Russian Federation and stressed on the possibility to step up sanctions provided that Moscow refuses peaceful settlement of the conflict.
German government’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that numerous violations of the Russian-Ukrainian border testify on military intervention of the Russian Federation to Ukraine. In this regard official Berlin requests from Kremlin explanation of the above situation.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte outlined the need for the EU member states to introduce additional sanctions against Russia in response to conflict escalation in Eastern Ukraine.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic considers invasion of the Armed forces of the Russian Federation to Ukraine being a threat to peace and stability in Europe and urges Kremlin to pull back its armed forces from Ukrainian territory.
An assassination attempt was made on Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the appointed "prime minister" of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), ITAR-TASS reported.
The attempt was made during the day on August 30, a source in the DNR told ITAR-TASS. Shots were fired at the car in which he was traveling, Interfax reported.
His driver was injured, but Zakharchenko escaped unharmed.
The attack came after Zakharchenko replied to President Vladimir Putin's call on the "Novorossiya militia" to open up a humanitarian corridor to allow Ukrainian soldiers encircled by Russian-backed separatists to escape. Zakharchenko said he would approve the corridor if first Ukrainian battalions gave up their heavy weapons and vehicles. The Ukrainian soldiers began leaving the area of fighting near Ilovaisk yesterday morning, amid reports that they were fired upon nonetheless by separatists.
Zakharchenko was installed August 8, after the resignation of Aleksandr Boroday, and as a man with some military training, said he would make the unification of the separatist command and victory on the battlefield a priority.
Speculation about the nature of the assailants ranges from rival separatists to Ukrainian forces to Russian intelligence but there is no information available at all on the attackers.
There were reports on August 28 that Valery Bolotov, the former "governor" of the "Lugansk People's Republic" was assassinated, after disappearing soon after resigning from his position, citing the need to recover from wounds. The reports have not been confirmed.
Another DNR leader who suffered repeated assassination attempts was Denis Pushilin, former chairman of the Supreme Council. In a June 7 attack, his aide Maksim Petrukhin was killed; on 12 June, his car was blown up while he was away in Moscow, and two people were killed. He left his post on July 18.