Tag Archives: Europe

Russia Steps Up Help for Rebels in Ukraine War


Experts exhumed four unidentified bodies from a mass grave in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on Friday. Credit Marion Thibaut/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesExperts exhumed four unidentified bodies from a mass grave in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on Friday. Marion Thibaut/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

KIEV, Ukraine — Rather than backing down after last week’s downing of a civilian passenger jet, Russia appears to be intervening more aggressively in the war in eastern Ukraine in what American and Ukrainian officials call a dangerous escalation that will almost certainly force more robust retaliation from the United States and Europe.

Russia has increased its direct involvement in fighting between the Ukrainian military and separatist insurgents, moving more of its own troops to the border and preparing to arm the rebels with ever more potent weapons, including high-powered Tornado rocket launchers, American and Ukrainian officials said on Friday.

The officials, citing satellite images and other military intelligence, said that Russia had positioned heavy weapons, including tanks and other combat vehicles, at several points along the border where there has been intense fighting. On Thursday, Russia unleashed artillery attacks on eastern Ukraine from Russian territory, officials in Washington and Kiev said. While Russia flatly denied accelerating its intervention on Friday, American and Ukrainian officials said Moscow appeared anxious to stem gains by government forces that have succeeded in retaking some rebel-held territory.

The reported Russian moves raised the prospect of a new and more perilous chapter opening in a conflict that has already inflamed the region and, with the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with 298 aboard, stunned the world. American officials blamed a Russian-provided surface-to-air missile for the explosion and hoped the shock of the episode would prompt the Kremlin to rethink its approach, but they are increasingly convinced it has not.

Obama administration officials said Russia’s rising involvement had stiffened the resolve of European leaders who have been reluctant to confront Moscow for fear of damaging their own economies. But there was no appetite for a direct military response, and it remained unclear whether the West could or would take action that may change the calculus of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as Moscow seems to devote more firepower to the fight.

American and Ukrainian officials said Russia has moved beyond simply helping separatists and is now engaging directly in the war. Multiple Ukrainian military planes have been brought down in recent days by missiles fired from Russian territory, and now artillery batteries are firing from across the border into Ukraine, the officials said.

“We have detected that firing and that does represent an escalation in this conflict,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary. “It only underscores the concerns that the United States and the international community has about Russian behavior and the need for the Putin regime to change their strategy.”

American officials said Russia has moved 15,000 troops near the border. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters that Russia had made “imminent” plans to deliver heavier rockets to the separatists. Instead of Mr. Putin de-escalating the conflict after the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, “he’s actually taken a decision to escalate,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a security forum in Aspen, Colo.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine to express solidarity and pledge to coordinate with allies “about imposing further costs on Russia for its deeply destabilizing and irresponsible actions in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.

While the United States has been hesitant to make its intelligence public, Ukrainian officials have provided a daily, running list of Russian incursions, including flights into Russian air space by fighter jets and unmanned surveillance drones, as well as mortar and rocket attacks.

“We have facts of shelling of Ukrainian positions from the territory of Russian Federation,” Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said at a briefing in Kiev on Friday. “We have facts on the violation of air border between Ukraine and Russia.”

The New York Times.

The #farm that comes as #flatpack #furniture


The Farmbox is 9.3m longThe Farmbox is 9.3m long

“Having your own eggs and knowing where the food comes from is really important, especially in cities,” says Bob Segers, project designer at Studio Segers in Belgium. So he has produced the Daily Needs farmbox, a modular kit that neatly incorporates a chicken coop and vegetable planter into a linear design slim enough to fit the narrowest of plots.

The pine box is composed of interchangeable compartments, so a farmer can purchase three vegetable boxes to latch together, or a string of coops, for instance. Next year, Studio Segers will be selling flat-pack versions across Europe. Future iterations will include a composting bin, a greenhouse, a rainwater collection point and a rabbit hutch. Hen-rearing instructions not included.

The farm that comes as flatpack furniture

Wired UK

Poroshenko: ‘Russian society is full of aggression today’


Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech to the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, 2014.Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech to the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, 2014. © AFP

Note: Here is the full text of the speech given by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko at the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, as published on the president’s official website.

Madam President!

Dear Secretary General!

Dear members of the Assembly!

Dear participants!

Thank you for the invitation to speak to the Assembly.

I am grateful for the opportunity to convey to this respected forum the voice of the Ukrainian people from different parts of Ukraine – eastern and western, northern and southern, free and occupied.

Only a month has passed since the completion of the presidential campaign in the course of which I have travelled all over Ukraine.

I saw it as a peace-loving, hospitable to everyone and European state – not only by location, but also by vocation.

Ukraine has always been a hospitable home for all who came in peace.

Unfortunately, today this home is in danger.

There is a force that came to Ukraine not in peace.

Words like “annexation”, “separatism”, “mercenaries” emerged in our everyday vocabulary again.

What can we do to stop violence and prevent its transformation into a full-scale war?

Unfortunately, today, this issue concerns not only Ukraine. It concerns the whole of Europe.

Dear members of the assembly!

It all started last November when the previous government deprived Ukrainians of their dream refusing the European integration, not asking Ukrainians and not giving anything except corruption and disregard for human dignity. Ukraine got up and the Revolution of Dignity began. The people gained victory. This victory was gained with blood and numerous victims.  Continue reading

Putin renounces right to send troops to Ukraine, Kremlin says


Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Moscow's upper parliament to revoke a resolution sanctioning the use of military force in Ukraine, the Kremlin has announced.Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Moscow’s upper parliament to revoke a resolution sanctioning the use of military force in Ukraine, the Kremlin has announced. © Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin asked Russia’s upper house on June 24 to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine in defence of Russian-speakers there, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The step seemed certain to be welcomed by the West as a sign that Moscow was ready to help engineer a settlement in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east, where a pro-Russian uprising against Kyiv began in April.

Putin’s spokesman said the Kremlin leader’s move was aimed at assisting fledgling peace talks, which began on Monday, to end the conflict.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called it a “first practical step” following Putin’s statement of support last weekend for Poroshenko’s peace plan for eastern Ukraine.

Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, said Russia now expected Kiev to respond with measures of its own, without specifying what these should be.In the March 1 resolution, the Federation Council had granted Putin the right to “use the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine until the social and political situation in that country normalises”.

That resolution, together with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, helped push East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War and led the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on Moscow.

Reuters

Editors Note:  This is just a bluff, Putin’s word means nothing! How many times in the past few months has Putin said one thing but done another… We shall see!

Blast hits gas pipeline in central Ukraine, police say


The pipeline is an area that is far from the violence that has rocked east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have risen up against central rule.The pipeline is an area that is far from the violence that has rocked east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have risen up against central rule. © Courtesy

An explosion hit a gas transit pipeline in the central Ukrainian region of Poltava on June 17, police said, but a source at Russian gas producer Gazprom said the blast in central Ukraine has not disrupted the gas flow to Europe.


The video shows the explosion has occurred on the Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline in the Lokhvytsia district of the Poltava region of Ukraine.

“At 14.20 (1120 GMT) we received information about an explosion on the pipeline in a field between two small villages,” a police spokeswoman in the central Ukrainian region of Poltava said by telephone.

“Action to put out the fire is coming to an end,” she said, adding that there were no casualties.

Police said the affected pipeline was the Urengoy–Pomary–Uzhgorod, a major supply route for gas being transported through Ukraine to the European Union.

“We cannot say anything at the moment, because it is an area of ​​responsibility of Ukrtransgaz (Ukraine’s state gas transport monopoly),” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.

But a Gazprom source said: “Exports have not been cut. There is a parallel pipeline.”

Ukrtransgaz did not immediately comment.

The pipeline is an area that is far from the violence that has rocked east Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have risen up against central rule. Russia has cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies in a pricing dispute but Kiev has said it will keep gas flowing to the rest of Europe.


Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk in Moscow, Editing by Timothy Heritage

Reuters