Tag Archives: Kremlin

Khodorkovsky calls on Russians to protest Kremlin war against Ukraine #‎RussiainvadedUkraine

 Olena Goncharova.Mikhail Khodorkovsky says Russians should protest against Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine. © AFPMikhail Khodorkovsky says Russians should protest against Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. © AFP

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian billionaire who spent a decade in prison for opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin, is calling on Russian citizens to take to the streets of their cities in protest against the Kremlin’s six-month-old war against Ukraine.

The statement appeared on Khodorkovsky’s personal website on Aug. 28, the same day that NATO released a couple of satellite images that show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside Ukraine.

“We’re fighting with Ukraine – in real. We’re sending military forces and vehicles there. Ukrainians fight good, but started backing down. The forces are not equal,” reads the post.

During the six months of Russia’s war against Ukraine, starting with the Crimean invasion, the nation has lost 722 servicemen and more than 2,000 civilians, according to official count.Kyiv Post+ provides special coverage of Russia's war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.Kyiv Post+ provides special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.

Khodorkovsky also pointed that the Russian government lies about the situation. In the meantime, Russian diplomats keep denying Russian involvement in events that unfold in Ukrainian eastern oblasts, despite the international evidence.

Russian representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin said on Aug. 28 that “no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”

“We do not deliver it there. The allegations that there are columns with armored vehicles, that was voiced last week does not make any sense,” Kelin was quoted as saying.

Khodorkovsky brushed off such statements.

“Our government was lying about Afghanistan in the ‘80s and about Chechnya in the ‘90s. While today they lie about Ukraine as we bury our former colleagues, friends and relatives, who are now fighting on both sides and killing each other, not because they want to, but because of an aging power that always needs blood,” Khodorkovsky wrote.

Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky says that he is certain that Russians “can stop what is happening.” The solution as he sees it comes with the protest. “I don’t want to keep silence anymore,” he wrote.

Later that day, Solidarity movement activist Dmitriy Monakhov went to Moscow’s central Manezh Square and called for a criminal investigation against Putin.

“I am Russian. Not cattle. Not a killer. And I am not an occupier. I am ashamed that Putin is my president. At 9 p.m., I will go to Manezh against the war,” Monakhov tweeted. His tweet was shared nearly 3,000 times.

The police officers detained the activist even though single-person rallies are not banned in Russia.

(Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Goncharova can be reached at goncharova@kyivpost.com).

Kyiv Post.

Ukraine Today: Wives of Russian soldiers protest the policy of disinformation ‪#‎RussiainvadedUkraine

Relatives of Russian soldiers are protesting against the Russian authorities for the information blackout which has stopped them from finding out if they are still alive.

The protest is the latest piece of a growing body of evidence which reveals just how hard the Kremlin has worked to mask its undeclared war on Ukraine.




Ukraine Today.

Kremlin Invasion Exposed: Russian human rights advocate criticizes Putin for illegal incursion #RussiainvadedUkraine

Russia has invaded Ukraine. That is the message from Ella Polyakova, a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisory council on human rights.

Polyakova has broken ranks with the Russia’s increasingly untenable policy of denying it has invaded Ukraine and suggested it was not ethical of the Kremlin to continue hiding the truth.

Ukraine Today.

Putin’s Cherished Deniability Is Shattered #Russia #Ukraine

By Leonid Bershidsky.Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a press conference after a summit in Minsk early on Aug. 27, 2014. © AFPIT WASN’T ME. © AFP.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ability to deny Russia’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine has always been of utmost importance. The Kremlin has stressed that it is not a party to the fighting, and that all it wants from Ukraine is peace and a few trade concessions. Deniability, however, is fast eroding. Despite increasingly surreal disavowals from Moscow, it is now apparent just how invested Putin is in the conflict’s outcome. That investment terrifies Europe and the U.S., which have no desire to match it.

During talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last night, Putin reiterated his tired message that Russia “cannot talk substantively about a ceasefire, about any agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk — this is none of our business, it’s the business of Ukraine itself.” The assertion rang more hollow than usual, however, amid published photographs of Russian troops captured in Ukraine and furtive hometown burials for Russian paratroopers killed there.

One such burial, of two soldiers, took place in the village of Vybuty near Pskov in northwestern Russia, where an airborne division is based. Efforts to conceal the deaths produced a fiasco. Though the wife of one paratrooper had reported his death on the Vkontakte social network, when a reporter, Ilya Vasyunin of the Russian Planet website, called the wife’s phone number, a woman who answered stated that the paratrooper was alive and well. Two reporters, from Russian Planet and TV Dozhd, who visited the cemetery where the two fresh graves had been seen were immediately attacked by men in black tracksuits. Local journalists, however, succeeded in photographing the graves. According to the independent TV Dozhd, the soldiers’ names and wreaths have been removed from the graves.

There are other reports of paratrooper funerals, which are hard to conceal. Soldiers have grieving families who do not necessarily share the authorities’ desire for deception. In any case, Ukrainian troops have captured some Russian paratroopers. For the first time since the conflict began in March, they were able to record interviews with them.

What the paratroopers said is immaterial given the circumstances under which they were questioned. What matters is that Moscow has admitted that they are Russian servicemen. The Russian defense ministry said the soldiers had been “patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border and probably crossed it inadvertently in an unmarked area. As far as we know, they did not resist when they were captured by the Ukrainian military.”

That explanation was also cited by Putin, who pointed out, truthfully, that Ukrainian soldiers had also crossed into Russian territory and been sent back. The response might have sufficed to extend the deniability game if not for the soldiers’ deaths, and the efforts of other soldiers’ relatives to track down their loved ones supposedly taking part in military exercises near the Ukrainian border. The mother of one paratrooper, Lyubov Maksimova, gave a press conference Tuesday in which she apologized to Ukraine in the event her son had caused any harm.

In other words, if Russian paratroopers previously had blundered into Ukraine because border markings weren’t visible, they’ve made a habit of the mistake. In the process, some are getting killed. The captured Russian paratroopers, meanwhile, had ridden in unmarked vehicles without Russian insignia — a wholly unnecessary subterfuge had they simply been patrolling their own border.

The involvement of Russian airborne troops in the conflict appears to be a recent phenomenon. Ukrainian servicemen had never captured regular Russian soldiers before, and reporters in the conflict zone had only seen nationalist volunteers and some Chechen fighters helping out the Ukrainian separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The flow of Russian weapons into the area was documented, and the participation of instructors from Russian intelligence strongly suspected, but that was the extent of it until this week.

Now, with the rebels being hammered by the Ukrainian army, such support is presumably no longer enough. Unwilling to surrender the fight, Putin is surrendering his cherished deniability instead.

European and U.S. leaders are nevertheless careful not to call this a Russian-Ukrainian war. Nor has the first credible evidence of Russian troops engaged in eastern Ukraine led to calls for further economic sanctions. To call Putin’s increasingly obvious bluff would necessitate supporting the Ukrainian side, possibly with military aid. No one is prepared to do that.

Even Poroshenko is talking only of “stopping the supply of equipment and armaments to the fighters,” lest he saddle his supporters with uncomfortable truths. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, unofficially charged with pacifying Ukraine, is probably right in counting on Poroshenko and Putin to work out some kind of deal. Further escalation could spell disaster for both men. Eventually, they will have to figure out how to stop.

(To contact the writer of this article: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net).

(To contact the editor responsible for this article: Francis Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net).

Bloomberg View.

Dmitry Tymchuk’s military blog: Russia loses its last remaining shred of decency #DmitryTymchuk

Dmitry Tymchuk's military blog
Brothers and sisters!

Here’s the Summary for August 26, 2014

The bad news:

[1]. Russia has lost its last remaining shred of decency. The lying, conniving and treachery of the Kremlin leadership goes beyond any limits imaginable. The undeclared war against Ukraine is becoming more and more obvious, even to the most naive of outsider observers.

Yesterday, units of the Russian army were fighting their way into the Donbas by breaking through into Ukrainian territory in two directions at once. The Ukrainian army punched them in the teeth. Russian paratroopers were taken prisoner. The Russian Ministry of Defense declared that the Russian soldiers ended up on the Ukrainian territory “by accident.”

It gets worse. Russian MI-24 helicopters fired unguided missiles at Ukrainian border guards stationed on Ukrainian territory. Four of our border guards were killed, three more wounded.

To say that Moscow’s cynicism is astounding–is to say nothing. For months on end, Russians have been “accidentally” killing Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil and “accidentally” supplying arms to terrorists; they also “accidentally” downed a Malaysian Boeing [MH-17] (while trying to “accidentally” shoot down a Ukrainian AN-26). I think it would only be logical if during Putin’s next visit to any civilized country, he would be accidentally arrested, accidentally tried and accidentally hanged (true, most civilized countries eschew the death penalty … but accidents happen).

In reality, Putin did not invent any “hybrid war” (African countries fought in this war format for half of the 20th century). His accomplishment is that he invented a “war for cowards.” Its essence lies in the fact that, before Putin, even the most cunning and treacherous dictator would somehow be responsible for the aggression he started. Putin is the first to come up with a way to use overwhelming lies and disingenuity to drown the neighboring country in blood, while bearing no responsibility for the slaughter. There is neither intelligence nor strategic brilliance here–only ingrained villainy.

[2]. Moscow is going to push another “humanitarian convoy” into Ukraine.

With his little eyes gleaming like a seasoned kleptomaniac, Sergey Lavrov, head of the Russian MFA and a professional propagandist declared, “Yesterday, we sent an official note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, informing [them] of our intention to prepare the next convoy of humanitarian aid.”

So, these bastards no longer bother to get permission to bring cargo into a foreign country. They simply “inform” of it. Then again, after the first “humanitarian aid” illegally entered into the Donbas, it would have been hard to expect otherwise.

[3]. Ukrainian media spread some sad news–at the current “Customs Union–Ukraine–European Union” meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Putin dedicated “less than 3% of his speech” to the armed conflict in Ukraine.

I’m a bit confused–what is so strange about that? Do you often see a maniac and a murderer flaunting his deeds in public? Like any criminal, VVP [Putin] will savor the details of his self-made Donbas massacre later, in a close circle of henchmen, with his sidekick [Sergey] Shoygu pouring prison chifir, the slag [Dmitry] Kiselyov huddling by the marble Kremlin toilet, and the merry jokester [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky beating on a guitar and singing The Folsom Prison Blues.

In public, Putin cannot afford such luxury.

The good news:

[1]. The situation in the ATO area, unfortunately, gives no cause to launch celebratory fireworks, but neither is there reason to panic and shout ‘all is lost.’

According to our information, adequate measures are being used in the Ilovaisk area–we cannot give out the details (and hope it isn’t a false start). Troubling messages arrive from the south, but we found no confirmation to the reports of some wide-scale “advance” of Russian troops on Novoazovsk (our data shows that clashes are happening in this area, but those involve enemy forces that broke through earlier that have not been destroyed yet–we are currently confirming this information).

At the same time, the ATO forces are carrying out raids, and simultaneously regrouping in several areas of the operation. We hope to see these actions followed by more optimistic reports.

[2]. President Poroshenko, in the meeting with the heads of the Eurasian troika and EU representatives in Minsk, suggested that all parties in the conflict in Ukraine exit from it “while saving face.”

How the current negotiations in Minsk will end, and what result they will give today, if any–that we don’t know. At least, for now. But it is clear that Putin has two options–to leave the situation now, with his hands bloody to the elbows, or to drown in that blood entirely. Hopefully, he understands that in the history of the world, such blood baths have ended well for no one.

[3]. Today, at an urgent meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, it was decided that–security forces will buyout all military equipment produced by Ukroboronprom [Ukrainian Defense Industry] State Enterprise and immediately ship it off to the combat action area. Repair of military equipment from now on will be carried out without delays, and armaments promptly issued from the MOD warehouses on requisition of the ATO forces.

I think that if such a decision had taken place two months ago, the ATO would have gone much better thus far. However, military officials still have a chance to sabotage this useful initiative even now. Let’s hope that will not be the case.