среда, 17 сентября 2014 г.

The days of so-called "truce"

Kiev's junta didn't stop to kill the сivilians during all the period of truce.

WARNING! Some people could find this footage disturbing!

Donetsk.3 days ago. Putilkovsky market. The victims of massive shelling. Kuibyshevsky and Kirovsky districts.

Donetsk. 2 days ago.Video camera captured the moment of shelling.

понедельник, 8 сентября 2014 г.

Ukraine: Truce Reached, What Next?

The armistice reached by contact group on September 5 in Minsk was the first peace initiative reached in Ukraine to be accepted by all parties. It’s a very positive move but there is a slim chance the ceasefire would endure. 
* * *
The agreement envisioned prisoners’ exchange and open routes for humanitarian aid, the parties ordered ceasefire to be breached soon after. As Donetsk and Lugansk self-defence forces reported, the chasteners continued to shoot. The ceasefire was breached in Gorlovka, Makeevka and street fighting took place in Dzerzhinsk. As of midnight, Sept. 6, the Ukrainian government forces opened fire at Makeevka with dense smoke seen coming from mine N88. According to witnesses’ reports, artillery fire was heard in the Petropavlovsk district of Donetsk. The ability of Poroshenko to control «private armies» is questioned. Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of Neo-Nazi Pravy Sector, said he would carry the order out adding that the preparations for combat were underway and he planned «to free Donbass from occupying forces». He added there was no doubt the enemy will be defeated. Journalist E. Belozerskaya made no bones about it saying that Poroshenko has not given the national radicals any legal status making them free to act like gangs and do what they want. 
The militarist rhetoric spurs mistrust on the part of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Prime Minister Alexander Zaharchenko, the Prime Minister of the Donetsk Republic, said Novorossia would agree to cease fire in case the Ukraine’s military does the same. The ceasefire is related to other agreements, for instance, prisoners exchange and the status of self-proclaimed entities. Igor Plotnystkiy, the leader of the Lugansk People’s Republic, says the accord is concluded only to stop bloodshed, it does not mean the Republic refuses to change its policy aimed at sovereignty outside the state of Ukraine. 
In his turn Poroshenko says the Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are not issues on the agenda. It’s not clear how to narrow the differences between two opposite stances. Yulia Timoshenko still enjoys significant influence. She rejected the «Putin’s plan» as a way to convert Ukraine into Transdniestria. The contact group plan does not include a Ukraine’s representative at large to complicate things. 
* * *
The implementation of Minsk peace accords will influence the outcome of autumn parliamentary election. The people of Ukraine are subject to militaristic propaganda and calls for bloodshed are heard here and there. Anti-European rhetoric is also getting stronger along with the calls for making short work of «Kremlin’s agents» and «traitors». On September 5 protesters in Kiev demanded to stop the transit of Russian gas to Europe. They said if they don’t carry out their obligations, why should we? Let them give us three nuclear bombs or comply with agreements. No matter how ridiculous it may sound, the meaning is clear. This kind of sentiments greatly complicates things for the Poroshenko’s ‘peace party» hoping for sweeping victory in October. 
The failure of «anti-terrorist operation» will be used to the advantage of those who put the blame on the supreme commander. Poroshenko has already started attempts to re-direct the discontent by punishing scapegoats. Deputy Defence Minister Bogdan Butsa was dismissed being accused of failure to provide logistics for the fighting forces. There will be other officials to be fired. The end of war may not benefit the presidential supporters. The economy is in doldrums accompanied by rising foreign debt and depletion of gold reserves, weak national currency and reduced industrial production, hiked public utilities costs, questioned preparedness for heating season and living standards going down. The war is blamed for all these woes. If peace prevails there will be nothing to be used as a cause for economic collapse. It will dash all the hopes for winning the election. 
The President’s team is not united. Making comments on the Minsk accords Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said peace should be achieved not according to the Russian President’s plan but rather on the basis of the Plan offered by the President of Ukraine and supported by the US and the EU. He means the so-called 15 point Poroshenko’s plan which actually is nothing else but an ultimatum demanding the surrender of Donbass. It is aimed at emasculation of the Minsk accords and continuation of combat actions. In her turn Yulia Timoshenko initiated a referendum on NATO membership. Another opponent of President and Verkhovna Rada MP Oleg Lyashko said that the armistice will make the enemy stronger and lead to increased Russian presence while «patriots» are doomed to slavery and dishonor.
With rising voices calling for war Poroshenko appears to be unable to stop combat actions without being threatened by coup. With troops withdrawn from Donbass thousands of armed and angry people will move to Kiev to be joined by advocates of using force for solving the problem of Novorossia. 
* * *
The international situation is not right for long-term peaceful settlement. The Wales September 4-5 NATO summit actually declared war on Russia. In the declaration the Alliance states «We condemn in the strongest terms Russia's escalating and illegal military intervention in Ukraine and demand that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from inside Ukraine and along the Ukrainian border. This violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is a serious breach of international law and a major challenge to Euro-Atlantic security. We do not and will not recognize Russia's illegal and illegitimate 'annexation' of Crimea. We demand that Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; end its illegitimate occupation of Crimea; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; withdraw its troops; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border. Russia must use its influence with the separatists to de-escalate the situation and take concrete steps to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution which respects Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognized borders». NATO has pledged some 15 million euros to Ukraine with several of the bloc’s member states pledging separate bilateral support and military cooperation involving medical supplies, as well as lethal and nonlethal military equipment.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced a "comprehensive and tailored package of measures," including the donation of 15 million euros «through NATO» at a joint news conference with the Ukrainian President on September 4, the first day of the NATO summit in Wales. He said that this would be in addition to other measures such as advising Ukraine on defense reforms and further bilateral aid. «This is about improvement of logistics, the improvement of command and control, the improvement of communications, and cyber defense,» Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said. Poroshenko claimed that some of the NATO member states said during bilateral consultations they are ready to supply Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal arms, including «high precision weapons,» as well as with medical equipment. No official confirmation of the agreement on provision of such weapons has been made by NATO or any of its states. 
The summit said NATO is committed to growing military presence and formation of a new rapid response force to include the military of Great Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands. The mission is to counter the «aggression» on the part of Russia. The European participants endorsed the militarization in the vicinity of Russian borders only after Washington emphasized the need to meet the «Russian threat». It’s especially important for the White House to demonstrate that the fears have justification. For this purpose it needs the war to go on. At the close of a two-day NATO summit on September 5, President Obama expressed doubts that new ceasefire in Ukraine would hold and promised a new round of sanctions to keep pressure on Russia to respect its neighbor's borders. "We are hopeful, but based on past experience also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and that Russia will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Obama said. "It has to be tested." This kind of rhetoric against the backdrop of Washington’s threats to toughen the sanctions against Russia and talks about putting Ukraine under the NATO’s umbrella lead to the continuation of conflict. 
The demands to hold talks were voiced in the West only after another failure of anti-terrorist threat. The European Union and the United States agreed to indirectly recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as equal partners at the talks. Ukraine is promised a military and financial aid package. Kiev may use the chance for regrouping the forces before launching another offensive.

Source: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/09/08/ukraine-truce-reached-what-next.html

вторник, 2 сентября 2014 г.

Top ten ways you can tell if Russia invades Ukraine

written by Dmitry Orlov
Last Thursday the Ukrainian government, echoed by NATO spokesmen, declared that the Russian military is now operating within Ukraine's borders. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't; what do you know? They said the same thing before, most recently on August 13, and then on August 17, each time with either no evidence or fake evidence. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

You be the judge. I put together this helpful list of top ten telltale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday's announcement is yet another confabulation. (Credit to Roman Kretsul).

Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon.

1. Ukrainian artillery fell silent almost immediately. They are no longer shelling residential districts of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is because their locations had been pinpointed prior to the operation, and by Thursday afternoon they were completely wiped out using air attacks, artillery and ground-based rocket fire, as the first order of business. Local residents are overjoyed that their horrible ordeal is finally at an end.

2. The look of military activity on the ground in Donetsk and Lugansk has changed dramatically. Whereas before it involved small groups of resistance fighters, the Russians operate in battalions of 400 men and dozens of armored vehicles, followed by convoys of support vehicles (tanker trucks, communications, field kitchens, field hospitals and so on). The flow of vehicles in and out is non-stop, plainly visible on air reconnaissance and satellite photos. Add to that the relentless radio chatter, all in Russian, which anyone who wants to can intercept, and the operation becomes impossible to hide. 

3. The Ukrainian military has promptly vanished. Soldiers and officers alike have taken off their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and are doing their best to blend in with the locals. Nobody thought the odds of the Ukrainian army against the Russians were any good. Ukraine's only military victory against Russia was at the battle of Konotop in 1659, but at the time Ukraine was allied with the mighty Khanate of Crimea, and, you may have noticed, Crimea is not on Ukraine's side this time around.

4. There are Russian checkpoints everywhere. Local civilians are allowed through, but anyone associated with a government, foreign or domestic, is detained for questioning. A filtration system has been set up to return demobilized Ukrainian army draftees to their native regions, while the volunteers and the officers are shunted to pretrial detention centers, to determine whether they had ordered war crimes to be committed.

5. Most of Ukraine's border crossings are by now under Russian control. Some have been reinforced with air defense and artillery systems and tank battalions, to dissuade NATO forces from attempting to stage an invasion. Civilians and humanitarian goods are allowed through. Businessmen are allowed through once they fill out the required forms (which are in Russian).

6. Russia has imposed a no-fly zone over all of Ukraine. All civilian flights have been cancelled. There is quite a crowd of US State Department staffers, CIA and Mossad agents, and Western NGO people stuck at Borispol airport in Kiev. Some are nervously calling everyone they know on their satellite phones. Western politicians are demanding that they be evacuated immediately, but Russian authorities want to hold onto them until their possible complicity in war crimes has been determined.

7. The usual Ukrainian talking heads, such as president Poroshenko, PM Yatsenyuk and others, are no longer available to be interviewed by Western media. Nobody quite knows where they are. There are rumors that they have already fled the country. Crowds have stormed their abandoned residences, and were amazed to discover that they were all outfitted with solid gold toilets. Nor are the Ukrainian oligarchs anywhere to be found, except for the warlord Igor Kolomoisky, who was found in his residence, abandoned by his henchmen, dead from a heart attack. (Contributed by the Saker.)

8. Some of the over 800,000 Ukrainian refugees are starting to stream back in from Russia. They were living in tent cities, many of them in the nearby Rostov region, but with the winter coming they are eager to get back home, now that the shelling is over. Along with them, construction crews, cement trucks and flatbeds stacked with pipe, cable and rebar are streaming in, to repair the damage from the shelling.

9. There is all sorts of intense diplomatic and military activity around the world, especially in Europe and the US. Military forces are on highest alert, diplomats are jetting around and holding conferences. President Obama just held a press conference to announce that “We don't have a strategy on Ukraine yet.” His military advisers tell him that his usual strategy of “bomb a little and see what happens” is not likely to be helpful in this instance.

10. Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine's National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled “Shock and Awe” in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.

Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.

Reprrinted with author's permission.

пятница, 22 августа 2014 г.

Ghost Town: Thousands flee Donetsk as Ukrainian army closes in

Russian humanitarian convoy heads to Lugansk

A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine enters border crossing point Donetsk for customs control, in Russia's Rostov Region, August 20, 2014. (Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)
Moscow has accused Kiev of deliberately holding up the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine, according to a new statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The ministry says Russia has ordered the convoy to proceed, without waiting for further permission.
The first set of trucks carrying humanitarian aid has left the Isvarino check-point and has started moving along the territory of Ukraine towards Lugansk, a RIA Novosti correspondent on the ground reports.
The Russian customs officers have started to get the second set of trucks, consisting of 34 vehicles, ready to cross the border, according to local customs officials.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is not escorting the convoy.
That’s because of the problems with security,” Galina Balzamova of the ICRC told RT. “Lugansk was shelled all night long. We believe we did not get sufficient guarantees of safety from all the parties to the conflict to start escorting the convoy.”
The head of the Russian Red Cross, Raisa Lukutsova, has said the organization supported the decision to get the humanitarian convoy moving.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the “excuses” for delaying the aid from entering Ukraine have been “exhausted”.
A convoy of 280 Kamaz trucks carrying food, medicines and other essentials for Lugansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine left the Moscow region on August 12.
It has been stuck at the border with Ukraine for more than a week.
“Our convoy with humanitarian aid is starting to move in the direction of Lugansk,” the Foreign Ministry's statement reads. “We are of course ready for it to be accompanied by Red Cross representatives and for their participation in the aid’s distribution.”
“There’s a feeling that the current Ukrainian authorities have been consciously putting the humanitarian aid delivery on hold to arrive at a situation where there’ll be just no one left to get it,” the Ministry’s statement reads.

вторник, 12 августа 2014 г.

Humanitarian catastrophe: Lugansk, E. Ukraine, left with no water, power

The eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk has declared a state of humanitarian catastrophe over a lack of medical supplies, electricity, lighting, mobile and internet communication. Some 250,000 civilians are unable to leave, the statement also says.
“As of August 5, Lugansk remains disconnected from electricity. The situation remains critical on the city’s territory. Lugansk is has no energy, is in a state of humanitarian catastrophe. Since Sunday, part of the population in the region’s center have been without light or water, as well as mobile and internet communication,” the statement on the city council website read.
Due to high temperatures and the damage to most community services’ cars, rubbish collection“completely stopped,” which is why the city is basically “on the brink of an ecological catastrophe,” the administration said.
“Today 250,000 civilian Lugansk residents - mainly retirees and families with children who don’t have the money to leave the city and who have nowhere to go - have been the hostages to the situation: the people are forced to live in the conditions of armed clashes, with the lacking communications, the remaining nutrition disappearing from the counter of shops and supermarkets which are still working,” according to the statement.

An especially burning issue has become the lack of medical supplies.
“People can’t purchase the essential medical supplies, only a handful of drugstores are operating,” the statement added.
Donbass Community Fund representative Roman Korotenko told Novorossiya press center that Lugansk has descended into “the Stone Age.”
“We are practically in the Stone Age – we have no light, no water, and all this comes amid unstoppable shelling by the Ukrainian army. Electricity is on only for few hours as the power lines are constantly under fire from the military.”
“Many people have left the town – I had almost no one left, only my sister. If you had gone out to your balcony in the evening, there would be a feeling that the city had died out,” a former resident of Lugansk, Olga, who recently moved to more peaceful Kharkov, told RIA Novosti.
Transport communication is no good in the embattled city these days, Olga said.
“The buses go to Kharkov, Starobelsk. <…> In the city, the buses are infrequent, they used to come every five minutes, now it’s half an hour. The drivers won’t keep to the route – it’s dangerous. Also, there is no petrol, and if there is, it’s very expensive. No trolleybuses or tramways are left.”
The shops work several hours a day, and Olga said the prices have increased, there are almost no cigarettes on sale, but it’s still possible to buy food.
In the evenings, people try not to go out. Attacks and clashes are an every-day occurrence.
Another resident Olga, who spoke to RT, said that the situation has recently changed: for the worse.
“The fighting used to be away from residential areas. But now the locals, the children are suffering, they’re scared,” she told RT’s Maria Finoshina.
Many of the residents who stayed in the city are forced to shelter in the basements. There is a shelter in almost every household: it looks like an apartment, but underground.
The locals say they “don’t know what to do anymore” and that “there was no hope left.”
Even the youngest ones share the adults’ fears, as 13-year-old Artyom said.
“I was really scared when the glass started flying. I’m still scared.”
While RT’s Marina Finoshina was speaking with the locals, the electricity went dead.
“Sometimes the wires get ruptured. When it’s in neutral zone, some workers go there to fix the connection. They carry a white flag, but they just get fired on,” local resident Irina explained.

The Ukrainian army has approached the outskirts of Donetsk and Lugansk, preparing to storm these cities, the speaker for the Council of National Security and Defense, Andrey Lysenko, declared, as quoted by Ria Novosti.
“The main forces of the anti-terrorist operation, including the territorial battalions have approached those areas. It doesn’t mean that the storming has already started, but preparation to free the cities is on,” he said.
The attack won’t be announced, only the seizing of the cities, Lysenko added.

'Chemical threat': Disaster looms as Kiev shells fall near Donetsk plant

Ukraine is at risk of an environmental disaster as Kiev’s army continues to bomb the Donestk region, nearly hitting its largest chemical plant that stores lethal agents, the plant’s spokesperson warned. The minimum impact zone would be at least 300 km.
For the past three weeks, the Ukrainian army has been intensely shelling Gorlovka, located in Ukraine’s Donetsk region — home to the nation’s largest chemical plant, Stirol.
“Due to the irresponsible actions of the Ukrainian army, citizens of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are exposed to a deadly threat from an ecological disaster on a daily basis, the size of which cannot be predicted,” Pavel Brykov, a spokesman for the plant, said in a YouTube message on Sunday.

According to Brykov, an accident at the plant could cause a toxic leak of nitrochlorobenzene – a lethal substance which, if it enters the human body, affects the liver, heart, and bone marrow, causing death.
The minimum impact of the accident would be at least 300 kilometers, Brykov said, adding that the risks of the accident are being silenced in the Ukrainian media.
Stirol is part of the OSTCHEM holding company that belongs to Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash.

Earlier, Firtash claimed there is no risk of a catastrophe since there are no lethal agents stored at the plant. He added that back in May, when the shelling of the region began to intensify, the plant stopped the synthesis and processing of the colorless gas ammonia and evacuated all of its workers.

In their offensive against the eastern Ukrainian militia, Kiev troops have been using multiple-rocket launchers, such as Grad and Uragan – highly indiscriminate weapons designed for destroying enemy forces in the field. If fired at a city, their lack of precision would likely lead to multiple civilian casualties, increasing the risk of a chemical catastrophe.

Just on Thursday, a unique wooden Orthodox church burned to the ground after being hit by an artillery shell in Gorlovka.

The ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine has already led to more than 1,300 people – both civilians and military troops – being killed in the conflict, and over 4,000 others being wounded. At the same time, around 118,000 people have been internally displaced and 740,000 others have fled to Russia.
The Stirol plant was involved in an accident that killed six people and injured 26 others a year ago, when a colorless gas ammonia was released into the air during repair work. The incident was one of the biggest in the country’s recent history.
Ukraine is also the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident in history. The catastrophic nuclear disaster happened on April 26, 1986 at reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which was then one of the USSR republics. The plant is located near the city of Pripyat, some 100 km north of the capital Kiev.
As a result of the explosion and fire, a huge radioactive cloud was spread into the atmosphere, covering thousands of miles of Soviet and European territories. Approximately 100,000 square kilometers of land were significantly contaminated.
Thirty-one out of the 237 people diagnosed with acute radiation sickness died within the first three months of the accident. Overall, up to 985,000 people have died as a result of the incident, mainly from cancer due caused by the radiation, according to Global Research.