#Minsk talks at impasse as separatists demand concessions while Russian army strikes #RussiainvadedUkraine

by Ian BatesonKatya Gorchinskaya.
Defense Minister Valeriy Heletei warns that Ukraine needs to change its strategy in response to Russia's open military aggression. © ATO press centerDefense Minister Valeriy Heletei warns that Ukraine needs to change its strategy in response to Russia’s open military aggression. © ATO press center.

The Sept. 1 trilateral talks in Minsk have so far failed to yield results. Officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – a party participating in negotiations and only international player – said the situation is currently all but impossible to resolve.

“We can truly imagine some very dark scenarios now,” OSCE Chairman Didier Burkhalter told a Swiss TV station, adding “the risks of escalation are very, very numerous.”

Ukraine, representatives of the self-proclaimed republics in the country’s east and the OSCE have agreed to meet again on Sept. 5 for the next round of talks. They are set to discuss a potential ceasefire and a prisoner exchange, according to Andrei Purgin, deputy premier of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

But that is about the only agreement this diplomatic effort achieved.

Prior to the meeting of the Contact Group, Russian-supported separatists demanded extensive concessions in exchange for keeping the territory they control nominally within the Ukrainian state.

Separatists announced terms under which they would stay within Ukraine, but with extensive autonomy, Interfax reported.

The representatives of the separatist republics demanded special autonomous status for their republics, for the Russian language and special economic status that would allow them to join the Russian led Customs Union.

Separatists leaders have also demanded amnesty for their fighters, special status for their military units, and the right to appoint judges and prosecutors. Ukraine would be responsible for rebuilding, but have little say in how things would be run.

The terms are highly unappealing to the Ukrainians government, but come at a time when Ukraine is hard pressed to find a diplomatic solution as Ukrainian forces lose ground following pro-Russian forces entering the previously peaceful southern Donetsk Region from Russia and push towards the port city of Mariupol.

“This is an initial stage. It can hardly end with something drastically big,” said Purgin.

In the contact group Ukraine is represented by former president Leonid Kuchma, Russia by its ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, and the OSCE by its chairperson-in-office on Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini. The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic has its chairman of the Supreme Council Valery Karyakin in Minsk to participate in consultations.

The Minsk talks come as Ukraine accuses Russia of a full-scale invasion. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valeriy Heletei said that Russia has lost the so-called “hybrid war” with Ukraine, and has opted for a full-scale invasion. He said Ukraine needs to change its military strategy in response to Russia’s move.

“The operation to liberate the east of Ukraine from terrorists is over. We need to urgently build defense from Russia, which is trying to not only strengthen its position on the territories that had been previously occupied by the terrorists, but advance onto new territories,” Heletei wrote on his Facebook page.

Another government official, who spoke to the Kyiv Post on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Russia has brought between 10,000 to 20,000 troops into Ukraine in the past week.

“The forces that were stationed across the border, they’re now attacking,” he said.  According to him it took Ukraine time to realize exactly how many troops Russia had brought in because Ukraine has no satellite intelligence capabilities.

President Petro Poroshenko spent much of the day in meetings about the situation, including with Defense Minister Heletei. His statements about the need for new tactics was issued in conjunction with the National Expert Council on Defense, an advisory body made up of military experts.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia's war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.

Their statement explained how the government’s strategy has to change in response to new challenges, warning that in the short term the situation is bound to get worse. The council said Ukraine needs to create a brand new system of national governance suitable for war time, which would include the Cabinet of Ministers functioning 24/7.

The council said military command has to be concentrated in the hands of army professionals, rather than shared with the State Security Service, as is now the case.

The country should also brace itself for full-scale Russian aggression, and prepare to defend itself, according to the council. That includes the use of military aviation and bombing of military and civil objects across the whole country, not just the east.

“Special attention needs to be paid to prepare for military action, including fighting intelligence and subversive groups of the enemy,” the council said. It also recommended moving back snap parliamentary election.

The council concludes the only way to stop Vladimir Putin’s aggression would be to “strike the aggressor so as to cause high human casualties within his armed forces.”

Kyiv Post.

‘If I Want, I Will Take Kiev in Two Weeks’, Putin Warns EU’s Barroso #Russia #Putin #Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin has issued a threat to outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted, 1 Italian media reports have said. 

According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Russian leader made the belligerent statement in a phone call with the outgoing EU leader, who is set to be replaced by Luxembourg’s former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

Despite the escalating tensions between all parties involved, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told negotiators in the Belarusian capital of Minsk that an “immediate ceasefire” is Russia’s priority.

However, both Ukraine and European Union member states accuse Russia of supporting the rebels fighting Kiev’s forces with military supplies and personnel in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of “direct and open aggression” in the eastern rebel-held cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukrainian forces have now withdrawn from Luhansk airport in the restive eastern region after firefights with pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine’s security council confirmed that the troops had withdrawn “in an organised manner”.

The reported exchange between Putin and Barroso comes as fears grow in Kazakhstan over Moscow’s rhetoric towards the country, following Putin’s claim that “Kazakhs never had any statehood” and the country was simply “created”.

In response, Nazarbayev warned that Kazakhstan may leave the Russian-led Customs Union, an economic coalition which includes Belarus, if it feels that its independence is threatened in any way by Moscow.

“Kazakhstan will not be part of organisations that pose a threat to our independence,” he told the Kazakh television station Khabar.

The massing of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and reports of Russian incursions into Ukraine have put a spotlight on Moscow’s intentions in the post-Soviet states bordering the member nations of the Nato military alliance.

UN agencies estimate that more than 2,600 people have been killed in the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military since April.

Yahoo News UK.

  1. What Putin is really saying is ‘he can do whatever he damn well pleases because the west are too cowardly to stand up to him’ 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation #Russia #RussiainvadedUkraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian FederationComment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the conclusions of the European Council regarding Ukraine.

1 September 2014

The analysis of a new series of “conclusions” adopted by the European Council on 30 August has shown yet again that EU member-states are still persistently and unconditionally backing the Kiev authorities.

The hysteria whipped up in the run-up to European Council’s meeting around the mythical “Russian aggression in Ukraine” has yielded fruit. Building on absolutely groundless allegations regarding the presence of Russian military forces on the Ukrainian territory and unreasonably laying the blame on Moscow for the developments on the ground, Brussels refuses to acknowledge the true causes behind the dramatic developments in southeastern Ukraine instead of promoting an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and comprehensive national dialogue between the conflicting parties.

At the same time, it is striking that the assessment of the humanitarian situation in this Ukrainian region, where the actions of the Kiev authorities resulted in a full-fledged humanitarian disaster, the number of civilian casualties is growing and the number of refugees arriving in Russia is approaching one million, is practically absent from the European Council’s conclusions.

It is regrettable that the European Council, in spite of the interests of its member-states, takes its lead from the countries seeking to implement geopolitical schemes aimed at making confrontation with Russia increasingly acute. Russia still hopes that the EU will be able to gain an independent perspective on the situation free from 20th century stereotypes and engage in constructive efforts to facilitate a settlement of Ukraine’s internal conflict.

If new anti-Russian sanctions are adopted, Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory measures in order to protect its legitimate interests.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Official site.

Ukraine: Energy hackers share energy-saving ideas at TeslaCamp #Solar #GreenTechnologies #RenewableEnergy

 Anastasia VlasovaIryna Matviyishyn.Volunteers of Greencubator register guests at the outdoor TeslaCamp near Kyiv on Aug. 30, 2014. © Anastasia VlasovaVolunteers of Greencubator register guests at the outdoor TeslaCamp near Kyiv on Aug. 30, 2014. © Anastasia Vlasova.

On Aug. 29-30 Ukrainian energy hackers came up with new ideas of improving energy efficiency in Ukraine.  The outdoor, solar-powered hackathon, a collaborative  event attended by software developers and other specialists, called TeslaCamp, took place in Oseshchyna village, in Kyiv Oblast. It was organized by the Greencubator community, a group that promotes energy saving projects, ideas and efforts.

Progressive specialists and young innovators from the energy sector shared their diverse vision of saving and reproducing energy, simultaneously introducing new inventions that could be used in everyday life.

KhackerSpace inventors from Kharkiv fix their new device, a three-dimensional printer aggregated at $500-600.</em> © Anastasia Vlasova.KhackerSpace inventors from Kharkiv fix their new device, a three-dimensional printer aggregated at $500-600. © Anastasia Vlasova.

Roman Zinchenko, 37, a co-founder of Greencubator, is sure that any transformation is possible with human potential: “The energy corps is a very important task for our organization (Greencubator), and now we consider the aspect of energy leadership as well. In these terms our entire state policy is an idea of exposure. In order to cope with all the jumble of problems Ukraine’s got, we need new perspective leaders who can offer fresh and effective ideas.”

Besides talks about the cross-section of information technology and energy sectors, TeslaCamp attracted green innovators like Dmytro Briukov, 25.  A member of HackerSpace (Kharkiv), he demonstrated a modern self-constructed 3-D printer. “This device works due to the MDM (Mobile device management) technology but is original in the process of printing as it augments the form layer by layer instead of clipping it,” Briukov comments.

Solar panels in the technical zone of TeslaCamp, a solar-powered hackathon. © Anastasia VlasovaSolar panels in the technical zone of TeslaCamp, a solar-powered hackathon. © Anastasia Vlasova

It took him a half year to implement his idea into reality and he believes his technology is less costly and faster than other 3-D samples. Although it needs more time to become practically popular, it could be very beneficial in medicine, defense and the space industry.

Greencubator invited not only start-ups but people whose conceptions of energy efficiency have received recognition. Olesya Arhypchuk, 28, from Radekhiv (Lviv Oblast) promotes her father’s development that helps to save gas with burning off natural resources and, moreover, in such way to produce coal. “In fact, my father, Anatoliy Arhypchuk, an entrepreneur, made out the way how to profitably heat hospitals, schools, et cetera with biogas getting bio-raw staff which further can be sold. The system can be easily connected to city boilers and is definitely lucrative,” the woman says.

During the Hackathon, an event when software developers and other specialists collaborate, developers introduced a new 3-D printer.</em> © Anastasia VlasovaDuring the Hackathon, an event when software developers and other specialists collaborate, developers introduced a new 3-D printer. © Anastasia Vlasova

Another practical device being already ordered is a satellite with an interceptor that diverts mobile phone signals and distributes Wi-Fi in distant areas like mountains. Diana Dobronogova, a deputy head of IMC in commercial issues, says their development can work autonomously and has no analogues working in any conditions: “The advantage of our device is offline work which is possible even underwater, without recharging for a week,” Dobronogova says.

The inventions of the Greencubator participants may influence Ukraine’s energy system in the future. “This year is crucial for the energy system too. We have to deal with our dated methods and shift to sustainable energy solutions,” Zinchenko states.

A volunteer of Greencubator, a group that promotes energy efficiency and members of KhackerSpace examine an energy saving development.A volunteer of Greencubator, a group that promotes energy efficiency and members of KhackerSpace examine an energy saving development. © Anastasia Vlasova

(Kyiv Post staff writer Iryna Matviyishyn can be reached at ira.matviishyn@gmail.com).

Kyiv Post.

Azov Battalion fighters pledge to defend Mariupol to the end #Ukraine #Russia #RussiainvadedUkraine

 Oksana Grytsenko.“Fighting with a Kalashnikov in this war is like (fighting) with a fly swatter,“Fighting with a Kalashnikov in this war is like (fighting) with a fly swatter,” said “the Trojan,” a deputy commander of the Azov Battalion. © Kostyantyn Chernichkin

URZUF, Ukraine -Since Russian tanks appeared in Novoazovsk on Aug. 27, residents of Mariupol, a major port city in the southern Donetsk Oblast, have been bracing for an assault.

Activists have been digging trenches while workers from the local metallurgical plant have been welding anti-tank obstacles.  Meanwhile, fighters in the local volunteer Azov Battalion have been preparing for battle.

“We have the strength, skill and fighting spirit to resist Russia,” said Oleg Odnorozhenko, 39, the battalion’s deputy commander whose nom-de-guerre, “the doctor,” comes from his doctoral degree in history.

The battalion is primarily made up of far-right activists from eastern Ukraine, who have kept order in the city of 500,000 since pushing out Russian-backed separatists on June 18.

The battalion’s headquarters is located at the summer residence of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s elder son in Urzuf, a town near Mariupol.

The walls of the mansion have been painted with a traditional floral motif, and armed Ukrainian cossacks have been painted on the gates with a Ukrainian nationalist symbol between them.

On Aug. 31, the Kyiv Post was escorted in an armored vehicle to their training facility that also functions as a hospital.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia's war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.

Fighters were walking the grounds that had previously been an evergreen park on the Azov seashore before being repurposed as a military base.

There is a large brightly lit room with the black-and-yellow Azov battalion flag on the wall the Kyiv Post met with Vadim, 34, the battalion’s deputy commander who goes by the nom-de-guerre “the Trojan” and does not identify himself for security reasons. He said several lines of fortifications were currently being constructed around Mariupol.

Vadim, however, says they are desperate for the heavy arms they have been demanding from the government for months.

“Fighting with a Kalashnikov in this war is like (fighting) with a fly swatter. Accuracy, speed and caliber decide everything,” he said. “This is a war of artillery and tanks,” he added.

The Azov battalion includes some 400 fighters,and they say they pay more attention to military training than other pro-Ukrainian paramilitary groups. Here they receive 1-2 months of training rather than several weeks.

Many of the fighters are also members of the far-right Patriots of Ukraine and Ukrainian Social-Nationalist Assembly, and say they learned how to use guns at training sessions held in forests years ago.

“We realized the danger posed by Russia and understood that sooner or later we would have to fight,” Odnorozhenko said.

They first emerged as a small partisan pro-Ukrainian force in Donbas known as the “little black men” back in April, taking control of small towns and villages in the southern Donetsk Oblast.

They saw fierce fighting in Marianka and Ilovaisk and say dozens of their members were killed. For strategic reasons, however, they decline to name the exact number of fighters they have lost or the scope of their armaments.

“the Trojan,” a deputy commander of the Azov Battalion. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

They are happy, however, to share evidence they say proves they have been fighting regular Russian troops in recent days.

Vadim says they captured an armored vehicle from the Russian army as well as two Russian soldiers last week.

Though they say they are facing Russian soldiers, Azov fighters say they are against the Kremlin, not the Russian people.

“We are not enemies with Russians, these are all lies,” Vadim said, adding that it will be a bitter victory for whoever wins the war.

Russian troops managed to advance to the south over the weekend, taking the town of Komsomotske according to the Agence France-Presse.

Azov’s commander Andriy Biletsky said their next target will be Volnovakha, another town to the north of Mariupol, in an interview with the Inter television channel on Aug. 31.

“They (the Russians) will attack not from Novoazovsk but from the north, where the situation is more complicated. They want to split (Ukrainian) groups by attacking Volnovakha,” he said.

Now members of the Azov Battalion brace to fight back an assault on Mariupol, saying that the loss of this large and strategically important metallurgical city located on the coast of Azov Sea could lead to the loss of the entire Donbas.

Vadim, born in Kharkiv, who worked as a business crisis manager in Kyiv, said the loss of Mariupol would be the same as “the loss of motherland” for him and he is ready to fight to the end for this city.

“Many people love their motherland, but few are willing to die for it,” he said.

Kyiv Post.

Publishing The Facts, Not Fiction.


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