Tag Archives: eastern Ukraine

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Ukrainian forces have now withdrawn from Luhansk airport in the restive eastern region after firefights with pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine’s security council confirmed that the troops had withdrawn “in an organised manner”.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

NATO Summit Wales 2014 #NATOSummitUK #NATO


10 Downing Street, LondonOn 4 to 5 September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit. President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande are expected to attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries.

The summit comes as NATO draws down from its longest ever mission in Afghanistan and against a backdrop of instability in Ukraine. It is an opportunity to ensure that NATO continues to be at the forefront of building stability in an unpredictable world.

This will be the first NATO Summit since Chicago in 2012, and the first NATO summit in the United Kingdom since Margaret Thatcher welcomed NATO leaders to London in 1990.

During working sessions at the Celtic Manor and more informal events in Cardiff, world leaders will look to address issues which threaten NATO countries’ national security, from fragile states to piracy, from terrorism to cyber attacks.

As a strong player in NATO over the last 65 years, the UK continues to provide forces for NATO operations around the world today. Beyond Afghanistan, there are British service personnel serving in the Baltic Air Police mission and on counter-piracy operations.

Bringing the summit to Wales is an opportunity to shine the global spotlight on this corner of the United Kingdom, highlighting its strong commercial sector – from manufacturing to innovation, life sciences to cyber, and its academic excellence. And showcasing the tremendous potential in Wales for investment and business, tourism and study.

Announcing that Wales would host the NATO Summit 2014, the Prime Minister said:

It’s a great moment for Wales to advertise its modern and economically brilliant face to the world. We are going to have up to 60 world leaders coming to Wales for this vitally important NATO conference, so I think it’s a very good moment for Wales to put its best foot forward.

We had the G8 in Northern Ireland, we had the Olympics in London, we’ve got the Commonwealth Games in Scotland – it is Wales’ turn for one of these big events, a great showcase for Wales and a great opportunity and I’m really pleased that we are going to be doing that.


Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street – GOV.UK.

EU to slap new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine #WarinEurope #Putin #NATO


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an European People's Party summit ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an European People’s Party summit ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation EU’s leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the “military aggression and terror” facing his country.

“Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told reporters in English. “There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole peace and stability of Europe.”

Comrades and Crimea's self-defense fighters carry the coffin of former paratrooper Alexander Gusev, 46, covered by Russian paratroopers flag, who was killed during clashes with Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine, during his funeral in Simferopol, Crimea, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo)Comrades and Crimea’s self-defense fighters carry the coffin of former paratrooper Alexander Gusev, 46, covered by Russian paratroopers flag, who was killed during clashes with Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine, during his funeral in Simferopol, Crimea, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo)

French President Francois Hollande and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said upon their arrival for the summit in Brussels the leaders will make a political decision and then ask the EU’s executive arm to finalize the fine print of new sanctions.

Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite added Russia’s meddling in Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with the EU, amounts to a direct confrontation that requires stronger sanctions.

“Russia is practically in the war against Europe,” she said in English.

NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned that Europe can’t be complacent about Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron, prior to a bilateral meeting, ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, Pool)Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron, prior to a bilateral meeting, ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, Pool)

“Countries in Europe shouldn’t have to think long before realizing just how unacceptable that is,” he said. “We know that from our history. So consequences must follow.”

Conceding ground in the face of a reinvigorated rebel offensive, Ukraine said Saturday that it was abandoning a city where its forces have been surrounded by rebels for days. Government forces were also pulling back from another it had claimed to have taken control of two weeks earlier.

The statements by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, indicate that Ukrainian forces face increasingly strong resistance from Russian-backed separatist rebels just weeks after racking up significant gains and forcing rebels out of much of the territory they had held.

Poroshenko, meanwhile, said Ukraine would welcome an EU decision to help with military equipment and further intelligence-sharing.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko address the media after a meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. At a summit on Saturday EU leaders will discuss who will get the job as the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next 5 years and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko address the media after a meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. At a summit on Saturday EU leaders will discuss who will get the job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next 5 years and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

The office of the Donetsk mayor reported in a statement that at least two people died in an artillery attack on one of Donetsk’s neighborhoods. Shelling was reported elsewhere in the city, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said “sanctions are not an end in themselves,” but a means to dissuade Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine.

“We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return,” Barroso warned. “If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return can come.”

He provided no specifics about which sanctions the heads of state and government might adopt to inflict more economic pain to nudge Russia toward a political solution.

The U.S. and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies and the country’s financial industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.

Grybauskaite said the EU should impose a full arms embargo, including the canceling of already agreed contracts. France has so far staunchly opposed that proposal because it has a $1.6 billion contract to build Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia.

French President Francois Hollande talks with journalists as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. At a summit on Saturday EU leaders will discuss who will get the job as the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next 5 years and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)French President Francois Hollande talks with journalists as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. At a summit on Saturday EU leaders will discuss who will get the job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next 5 years and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

New EU sanctions have to be agreed unanimously — a requirement that has in the past blocked or softened decisions since some nations fear the economic fallout. Russia is the EU’s No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

Barroso said that the EU — a bloc encompassing 500 million people and stretching from Lisbon to the border with Ukraine — stands ready to grant Kiev further financial assistance if needed. The bloc will also organize a donors’ conference to help rebuild the country’s east at the end of the year, he added.

Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, about 20 kilometers (15 miles) east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk for days.

“We are surrendering this city,” Ukraine’s Lysenko told reporters. “Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup.”

Lysenko said that regular units of the military had been ordered to retreat from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Ukraine had claimed control of Novosvitlivka earlier in August.

Separately, Ukrainian forces said one of their Su-25 fighter jets was shot down Friday over eastern Ukraine by a missile from a Russian missile launcher. The pilot ejected and was uninjured, the military said in a brief statement.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite speaks with journalists as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite speaks with journalists as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. EU leaders, in a one day summit, are set to decide who will get the prestigious job as the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief for the next five years. They will also discuss the current situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(Jim Heintz reported from Kiev. Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed reporting).

(Follow Juergen Baetz on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jbaetz).


Associated Press.

Russian tanks flatten east Ukrainian town, Ukraine military says #RussiainvadedUkraine


ReutersA woman cooks over a campfire due to natural gas cuts in her building on Aug. 3 in the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna, Luhansk Oblast, freed by Ukrainian forces from Russian-backed militants. © AFP

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s military said on Saturday its forces had pulled out of areas to the east of the border-area city of Luhansk under pressure from Russian-backed rebels and that Russian tanks had been used to “destroy virtually every house” in one small town.

“Direct military aggression against eastern Ukraine is continuing,” Kyiv’s defense and security council said in a separate Twitter post.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Reuters.

John F. Hall Jr.: What next? #RussiainvadedUkraine #Putin #Russia #Ukraine


John F. Hall Jr.Ukrainian servicemen rest near their military equipment inside a military camp in the Donetsk region, on August 29, 2014.Ukrainian servicemen rest near their military equipment inside a military camp in the Donetsk region, on August 29, 2014. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia on August 29 to halt its “illegal” military actions in Ukraine, accusing it of a “dangerous” attempt to destabilise its western neighbour. The conflict raging in eastern Ukraine has killed nearly 2,600 people, the United Nations said on August 29, voicing concern about atrocities committed by armed groups and the increasing involvement of foreign fighters. AFP PHOTO / OLEKSANDR RATUSHNIAK © AFP

Russia has invaded Ukraine. Again. This time, it’s clear to everyone. The creative and patently absurd denials which we all have heard from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Russia’s United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, regarding Russia’s support for the separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas, Russia’s complicity in the wholesale massacre of innocent civilians in the downing of MH-17, and now Russia’s undeniable invasion of Ukraine proper, all reside in the dustbin of credible international discourse. They are liars. They lie with impunity. The intrinsic deception of Russia’s leadership is both pathological and inalienable to them. They know no other way. But we believe that others know a different way.

We remain hopeful that other nations and their leaders still know how to lead with integrity. At least, we hope so. They just seem unwilling to lead now, when it matters most. Russia is not solely to blame for the awful, deepening crisis in Ukraine, of course. So are the United States, the European Union, Japan, NATO, and Ukraine, itself. Their collective response to Putin’s aggression has been too timid, too measured, and — obviously — too badly ineffective.

Today, only because of our collective ineptitudes, Putin’s army, his mercenaries, and his stooges in Ukraine advance, persist, and wreak havoc against any just and peaceful conclusion to his original, ill-considered gambit in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin threatened the security of Europe long ago, when he invaded Georgia six years ago, and then again when he stole Ukraine’s Crimea earlier this year, but the West sat on its hands in both instances and waited weeks before deciding upon even the most rudimentary, incremental, and limited sanctions, which have proven unsurprisingly ineffective. Putin has only solidified his Crimean and Georgian land-grabs during his reign.

What, after all, was the West’s response to Putin’s most recent conduct of a Duma session in Ukraine’s Crimea on Aug. 14? It was nothing. Not a peep.

Despite the increasingly-muted bleatings of the United States and others, the West has clearly now ceded Crimea and Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions to Russia, regardless of Georgia’s and Ukraine’s legal borders and their sovereignty. Just as there were no meaningful penalties imposed upon Russia for the annexation of Crimea, the July 17 downing of Malaysian flight MH 17, and the August invasion of Russian “humanitarian” convoys in Ukraine — which we all knew to be a diversionary tactic and a joke, there appears to be no true penalty in the offing for Russia’s most recent, boldfaced invasion of Ukraine . . . except for the penalty of death and deprivation suffered by those innocents in the path of Putin’s war-machine.

Putin’s troops have now opened a third front in Ukraine, with all of the trauma that reality implies.

For avoidance of doubt, it means that innocent Ukrainians and over-taxed Ukrainian soldiers are now fighting — face-to-face — a pure Russian enemy with advanced Russian weaponry to the rear, while concomitantly fighting Russian-sponsored terrorists with advanced Russian weaponry at the front.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Europe, Japan, Australia, and the United States — who always congratulate themselves as the guardians of peace and justice on the planet — do nothing. Not a damned thing. Putin’s second invasion of Ukraine is now being met with nothing more than condemnation and regret. What it should be met with is concerted action. Now.

Here is what the world’s pretenders to peace and justice need to do — and do now, if they hope to avoid the global conflict that is soon coming at Putin’s hand:

  1. Call-out lies as lies. Name wrong as wrong. Do not yield to the sophisticated Russian propaganda machinery that equates Russia’s invasion of its peaceful, non-threatening neighbors with the West’s proportional responses to the brutal acts of leaders and warlords in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan, which have serially threatened and exterminated their own populace, their neighbors, and innocents. Ukraine has never threatened either its own people or its neighbors. Russia, in contrast, invaded a peaceful neighbor that presented no threat to itself nor to anyone else. There’s a difference. Russia’s propagandistic comparisons would be laughable, except for the fact that so many more Ukrainian innocents are now dying at Putin’s hand. Call a lie a lie.
  2. Implement truly-meaningful, painful sanctions against Russia that also hurt the Allies’ own industries and financial institutions. The “painless” targeted sanctions by the United States, the EU, and Japan haven’t worked. Recognize that discomfiting fact, and move-on. Lead your nations in enduring truly-meaningful sanctions that DO work, including in the arms and financial sectors. Show true leadership, even when it hurts at home. That’s why you are leaders.
  3. Reduce Russia’s economy and its ability to wage war against its peaceful neighbors to ruin. Freeze Russia’s assets globally. Put Russia on the same international financial footing as North Korea. See how Putin and his oligarchs can deal with that, for once. This will be especially hard for the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and others, but it’s far better than what the future portends if Putin is successful in his current expansionist effort. If we believe that if we all just give Putin what he wants in Ukraine, he’ll be satiated, then we’re both mistaken and unaware of history. Tyrants are never satisfied. Tyrants must be disarmed and exposed. Do it.
  4. Russia’s out of the G-20. The Group of 20 is a collective of peaceful industrialized nations. Russia cannot now be counted among them. This is a no-brainier.
  5. Provide sufficient arms and training to the Ukrainian forces fighting an overwhelming Russian regular military. Do it now. This crucial aid was needed yesterday, but tomorrow will do. The Ukrainian army needs the very best equipment and training that the Free World can provide to it. That’s a lot to ask, but it’s overdue.
  6. Provide the vital financial support and guarantees to Ukraine that it needs, so that it can pay its bills while it gets its house in-order and fights an uneven war on two fronts. That’s also a lot to ask, but $5 billion in financial aid is cheaper than millions of lives sacrificed on the altar of freedom for a second time in a single generation.
  7. Publicize Putin’s corruption and the corruption of his oligarchs. As stated previously, tyrants must be exposed. Let the world know, through all media, of the rape of Russia’s economy by its leaders. Vladimir Putin’s fundamental need for holding-on to power is premised upon the uncomfortable truth that he and his cronies have amassed millions on the backs of Russia’s people, its industries, and its enterprises. It’s time that this fact was known, worldwide.

If Western leaders won’t do these things, and do them now, then they will face a much greater challenge in the future, one which will require the lives of tens of millions of their citizens to defeat. There is a choice now to be made among the leaders of the West and those who profess to champion democracy and freedom in the world:

Either suck it up now, name truths as truths and lies as lies, provide Ukraine with the arms that it requires to defend itself, and suffer the impacts of truly-meaningful sanctions that will undoubtedly reach home and require your strong leadership to weather, or . . . fight a devastating war with Russia that will claim at least 20 million of your constituents’ lives once Putin’s appetite for conquest to sustain his position reaches Europe and Asia proper, wrecking your economies and the lives of your constituents beyond your worst imagining, with the added risk of global catastrophe. Our leaders have the ability to shut-down this insanity — this still-stoppable grave injustice — now.

The choice is now with our leaders. What will they do? What will WE do?

(John F. Hall, Jr., is an international lawyer in Washington, D.C.).


Kyiv Post.