Tag Archives: Kyiv Post

Russia has many ways to wreak havoc in Ukraine

by Nataliya Trach.
Serviceman of the 30th mechanized brigade of the 8th Army Corps at the front in Luhansk Oblast on July 8. © Oleksandr Klymenko/Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine)Serviceman of the 30th mechanized brigade of the 8th Army Corps at the front in Luhansk Oblast on July 8. © Oleksandr Klymenko/Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine)

While Russian-backed proxies openly wage war in eastern Ukraine, there are many other fields where Russia implicitly persists to destabilize the situation in order to preserve its influence over Ukraine.

Experts say Kremlin agents are embedded in Ukraine’s security services, the police, army, and parliament. An ongoing Russian trade and information war against Ukraine, as well as the constant threat of terrorist attacks, might contribute to more turmoil in the country.

Apart from that, professional incompetence on the part of certain officials in government and law enforcement bodies stand in the way of marshaling effective resistance to Russia’s aggression, according to analysts.

More destabilization from Russia expected

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to maintain Russia’s grasp over the entire post-Soviet territory. And Moscow sees Ukraine’s recent democratic breakthrough following the EuroMaidan Revolution and possible integration with the European Union as a threat to Putin’s hold on power, analysts believe. “All Russian international integration projects like the Russian World or Slavic Unity have no meaning without Ukraine,” says Oleksiy Melnyk, security analyst at the Kyiv-based Razumkov center think tank. “I am afraid that Putin will raise his bets again to keep Ukraine under his control. We can expect even Russia’s direct invasion into Ukraine.”

Mykola Malomuzh, a retired army general and former foreign intelligence chief in 2005-2010, says that according to his information, Russia-backed terrorists plan to shell Russian territory from Ukraine so that Putin could have an excuse to send so-called “peacekeeping troops” into Ukraine. Malomuzh warns that there is a high probability that Russia’s war against Ukraine could spark World War III.

Russian spies, supporters in Ukraine

After former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s hasty retreat at the end of February to Russia, the heads of law enforcement agencies were dismissed, yet the middle management of the Ukrainian Security Service, known by its SBU acronym, and law enforcement structures still hold their positions. Some of them are still working for Russia, Malomuzh believes.

He believes dozens of Russian agents in the SBU work in Kyiv and a few operate in the regions. “A scant 0.001 percent of Russian agents among the 45,000 on the SBU staff are enough to betray the state’s interests,” adds the former foreign intelligence chief.

The large number of police officers in Donbas that quickly started cooperating with the separatists make the whole security situation even worse. “Donetsk and Luhansk police are sabotaging commands from the center,” former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Viktoriya Siumar said on April 29.

Military expert Dmytro Tymchuk, who heads the Kyiv-based Center for Military and Political Studies, considers local police units to be a weak link in combating Russian-backed guerillas, estimating that 70 percent of the Donetsk police support the rebels. “A Ukrainian police officer gets $300 a month while a Russian police employee receives $1,200. That’s why the traitors (among Ukrainian police) want to become part of Russia,” Tymchuk wrote on his facebook page on April 14.

Lawmakers from Ukraine’s Communist Party, Party of Regions and the For Peace and Stability factions which many say represent the pro-Kremlin lobby in Ukraine’s parliament are not expected to challenge Russian aggression. “Those lawmakers might block the tribune, block the adoption of European integration laws and they will obviously prevent any law that is disadvantageous to the Kremlin (from being adopted),” political analyst Oleksiy Haran says adding that pro-Russian lawmakers spread Moscow’s propaganda in mass media, which promotes separatism. Continue reading

At least 363 soldiers killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine

by Iryna Yeroshko, Maryna Lysytsia.
Here are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © CourtesyHere are some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in war since July 17. For a more complete set of photographs, go to the Kyiv Post print edition of Aug. 1. © Courtesy

In its push to purge Russian-backed insurgents from eastern Ukraine, government forces this month freed several cities. Among them are the Donetsk Oblast cities of Dzerzhynsk, Rubizhne, Soledar, Debaltseve, Shakhtarsk and Torez, as well as Luhansk Oblast’s Lutugino, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk and Popasna.

But the nation paid a high price in liberating the cities, with more than 120 soldiers killed in battle since July 17. In total, 363 government troops have been killed and 1,434 wounded since the onslaught of the violence in April. The following is the list of soldiers killed in battle from July 17-28.

July 17

Ivan Yavkushyn, 31, from Yevpatoria, killed during shelling at a checkpoint in Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Dmytro Hryhorenko, 22, from Fastiv, Kyiv Oblast, died from injuries received during battle on July 12.

Andriy Kostyrko, 24, from Bryukhovychi village, Lviv Oblast, was killed when Kremlin-backed insurgents shelled his group’s position in Luhansk.

July 18

Ruslan Chubatenko, 23, from Bereznyaky in Cherkasy Oblast, killed after rebels fired Grad rockets near Savur-Mohyla in Donetsk Oblast.

Oleh Barskyi, 38, was killed during shelling near Marynivka, Donetsk Oblast. He leaves a wife and a son.

Viktor Boiko, 40, from Cherkasy, was killed by sniper fire. He leaves a 12-year-old daughter.

Ihor Chernyak, a volunteer of the Donbass Battalion, was killed during battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Konstyantun Blozva was killed in battle near Popasna village, Luhansk Oblast.

Sergiy Bohonko, 22, from Yerky village, Cherkasy Oblast. The Donbas Battalion volunteer died from injuries in Artemivsk, Donetsk Oblast. Continue reading

Ambassador Taylor: Russia is ‘the single greatest threat to peace in Europe’

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William G. Taylor believes America should arm Ukraine with weapons to defend itself from the Russian-backed invasion. © CourtesyFormer U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William G. Taylor believes America should arm Ukraine with weapons to defend itself from the Russian-backed invasion. © Courtesy

Note: The following is testimony by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor speaking at a joint subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives on July 29.

Testimony before a Joint Subcommittee Hearing

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade

U.S. House of Representatives

William B. Taylor

United States Institute of Peace

July 29, 2014

Chairman Rohrabacher, Chairman Poe, members of the subcommittees, thank you for the opportunity to present my views on the shooting down of Malaysian Flight 17 and the escalating crisis in Ukraine.  I commend you for this timely and important hearing.

The views I express today are solely my own and do not represent those of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not take policy positions.

The Situation Today

In my view, Russia is today the single greatest threat to peace in Europe.  If the West does not confront this threat—that is, if we appease the Russians now—we will have to confront an even larger threat tomorrow, closer to home.

Members of this committee and your colleagues are fully aware of the situation in Ukraine.  Russian support for the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk– weapons, leadership, financing, organization, personnel, fighters — is the only thing keeping the Ukrainian government from establishing security in southeastern Ukraine.  Security is needed to find the remaining victims of the missile strike on the Malaysian airliner and to complete the investigation.  Russian support allows the separatists to continue to impede those efforts.

In my view we must confront the Russian war against Ukraine.  This aggression started with the quiet invasion of Crimea last spring.  A sham, at-the-end-of-a-rifle referendum was followed by an illegal annexation.  The international community should not allow that annexation to stand.  Until that situation is resolved to the satisfaction of Ukraine, the Russian government should pay serious penalties to Ukraine for the temporary loss of income and illegally confiscated assets that would have come to Ukraine from Crimea.

The international community did not confront the Kremlin over Crimea.  As a consequence, the Russians continued their aggression in Donetsk and Luhansk.  The leaders of the separatist movement have become almost exclusively Russian, and Russian equipment flows across the border unimpeded.  This equipment—including sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons—shot down the Malaysian airliner killing 298 people.  No matter what individual separatist pushed the button to fire the weapon—let’s be clear, Mr. Chairman– the tragedy is Russian responsibility.


What should be done.

First, human decency requires the return of the victims to their families.  Further, experts need access to the crash site to complete the investigation.  If the separatists continue to impede these efforts, the international community– led by the Dutch, Australians and Malaysians; supported by other nations with victims on MH17, including the United States; and with the approval of the Ukrainians—should provide an armed, international security force to protect the investigators and allow them to find the victims and complete their investigation.  That investigation should lead to criminal prosecutions of those found responsible.

Second, the international community, led by the United States, should provide Ukraine with the means to eliminate the separatist forces in their country.  This means weapons, military advice, intelligence, and financial support to pay and equip their soldiers.

Third, the international community should follow the individual travel bans and asset freezes with harsh economic sanctions on entire sectors of the Russian economy to deter the Kremlin from continued support to the separatists, to force them to close their border to weapons, fighters and military support, and to pressure them to return Crimea to Ukraine.

Fourth, the international community, led by the United States, should provide financial support to Ukraine as it simultaneously confronts Russian aggression and undertakes serious economic and political reform.  The International Monetary Fund loans may have to be increased.  Bilateral support will have to be expanded.  Advice on economic reform—energy pricing and anti-corruption in particular—will be needed.

Fifth, the international community should respect Ukraine’s right to decide with whom to associate politically and economically.  Western political and security institutions—specifically, the European Union and NATO—should be open to membership applications from Ukraine.

Mr. Chairman, it is a tragedy that it took the shooting down of a civilian airliner over Ukraine to force the international community to confront Russian aggression.  If we don’t confront it now, it’s appeasement, and Russia will not stop at Donetsk.

Thank you.  I am happy to answer your questions.

Kyiv Post.

Editors Note: Am I the only one who thinks that this is a really bad idea? I know that the Russians are supplying the rebels but for the United States to do the same for the Ukrainians could only escalate things further and who knows what would happen next!!!

Instagram user boasts possession of mascara from #MH17 crash site

Personal effects of passengers found at the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. © Anastasia VlasovaPersonal effects of passengers found at the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. © Anastasia Vlasova

On July 24, an Instagram user nicknamed “zolotosya” posted a typical girlish picture – a hand with painted in bright pink holding a tube of mascara.

“Mascara from Amsterdam. From the field, to be precise. You know what I mean…” she wrote explaining the photo with a #boeing777 hashtag. She said a looter at the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash site had gifted the eye-enhancing cosmetic to her.

Instagram user boasts possession of mascara from MH17 crash site

The post was deleted after other Ukrainian users poured scornful comments beneath the girl’s post. Screenshots can be found that show the post and comments. The Kyiv Post didn’t see the original post.

The alleged mascara owner posted the showboat picture from the eastern Ukrainian city of Torez, located close to where the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flight was shot down by Kremlin-backed guerrillas on July 17, killing all 298 people on board, including more than 80 children.

It is only one of the many reports of looting taking place at the plane’s crash scene.

On July 24 the Daily Mail reported that the wife of one of the MH17 victims had to cancel her dead husband’s credit cards, because they appeared to be used after the crash.

The article also said that some of the victims’ mobile phones were being answered by strangers. The same reports were published by The Mirror. It also mentions that locals have been stealing metal parts from the crash site to sell them for scrap.

The Kyiv Post’s reporters did see people looking like locals who were wandering among the debris and looking through some of the passengers’ belongings soon after the crash, but didn’t personally see them take anything.

At least one case of looting turned out to be false. Some media and bloggers shared a photo of one of the terrorists holding a small golden band in his hand, and assumed it was a ring he had taken from one of the victims. However, the image is actually a snapshot from a video report by Vice News, which shows terrorists looking through the debris. The item the man is seen checking out is something that he found among the pieces of postal boxes, evidently from the plane’s cargo department.

The girl with the mascara said on Instagram that the trophy was given to her by “a looter she knows.” She also wrote that she was a separatist and that she is “sick of everything Ukrainian due to the recent events.”

Kyiv Post.

In Kyiv, mourning continues a week after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17

Kyiv Post Editor’s Note: Kyiv photographer and video journalist Zoya Shu shot this video, with English subtitles, outside the Netherlands Embassy in Kyiv, where hundreds have come to pay their respects daily to the 298 people killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17. Most of the victims were Dutch residents flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

People in Kyiv mourn the victims of the MH17 flight

Shu writes: 

“At once after the #MH17 tragedy people in Kyiv, Ukraine, started bringing flowers, toys and candles to the embassies of the Netherlands, Malaysia, United Kingdom and others, to express their condolences as they mourned the victims of the flight.

They keep coming evan now. People stand there in silence, pray, cry. And only kids violate the silence by asking about it, with the childlike directness. It was rather hard to make this video, it’s just plain sadness…Ukraine, always such a peaceful and calm place, has been in turmoil for months, there have already been so many victims of this artificially fomented conflict.

I can not comprehend why people do all that evil to other people. It does not look like it will stop any time soon, but that’s one of my biggest wishes right now.”

Kyiv Post.