Tag Archives: Kyiv

‘Spider-man’ from #Kyiv confesses to putting up #Ukrainian #flag in #Moscow


By Olga Rudenko.Ukrainian extreme adventurist Grygoriy takes a selfie as he apears to stand on a top of a building in Moscow, purportedly on Aug. 20, when a Ukrainian flag was placed on top, triggering a scandal amid Russia's war against Ukraine. © www.facebook.com/mustang.wanted.25Ukrainian extreme adventurist Grygoriy takes a selfie as he appears to stand on a top of a building in Moscow, purportedly on Aug. 20, when a Ukrainian flag was placed on top, triggering a scandal amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. © www.facebook.com/mustang.wanted.25

Ukrainian extreme adventurer and risk-taker Grygoriy, who goes under pseudonym Mustang Wanted, is claiming that he put the Ukrainian flag on top of a building in Moscow on Aug. 20. He also gave a yellow star on top of the building a coat of blue paint as a finishing touch of Ukrainian colors.

Grygoriy, 26, says it was “a sincere patriotic feeling” that made him do it.

Read Grygoriy’s profile by Kyiv Post from June 2013.

In a statement he put on his Facebook page, Grygoriy, who never shares his last name, says he decided to come clean for the sake of the four Russians who were detained on suspicion of putting up the flag.

“I have to make this confession in attempt to free the innocent citizens of Russia who have all the chances to become victims of Russian justice, widely known for its impartiality,” reads the post on Mustang Wanted page on Facebook.

At 7 a.m. on Aug. 20, a Ukrainian flag was spotted on a top of the apartment building known as Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, a trademark Stalinist skyscraper. Half of a yellow Soviet star under the flag was painted blue to resemble the colors of the flag.

The flag was removed three hours later, and the star was repainted the same day. Later in the day, four young Russians, two men and two women were detained as suspects. The judge qualified the case as hooliganism, punished by up to seven years of prison.

The suspects were seen making parachute jumps from the building that morning, but claimed it was a coincidence and said they never saw who put up the flag.

In his confession post, Grygoriy writes he spent most of the night painting the star and installing the flag, and was done by 6 a.m.

“I never saw the detained Russians there and I must say I don’t even know them,” he writes.

Grygoriy is known for his passion for climbing high buildings. He is often photographed hanging from 100-meter high buildings on one hand and making other stunts.

After confessing, he wrote that he agrees to put himself in the hands of Russian justice in exchange of Nadezhda Savchenko’s liberation. Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot, was taken captive by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east in June and has been kept in prison in Russian city of Voronezh ever since.

(Kyiv Post editor Olga Rudenko can be reached at rudenko@kyivpost.com).


Kyiv Post.

#Ukraine: #Trapped in #Luhansk


A Ukrainian soldier gestures as he talks with children on Aug. 18 in the small eastern city of Popasna in Lugansk Oblast, a city recently freed by Ukrainian army forces from Russian-backed militants. © AFPA Ukrainian soldier gestures as he talks with children on Aug. 18 in the small eastern city of Popasna in Lugansk Oblast, a city recently freed by Ukrainian army forces from Russian-backed militants. © AFP

For an estimated 200,000 desperate people who are still living in Luhansk, it’s a tough choice: to continue living amid war or attempt to flee through a designated “safe” corridor that is downright dangerous.

In both cases, the risks are huge.

At least 17 people were killed when shells struck their convoy – burning some alive inside – on Aug. 18 when they tried to escape from Novosvetlovka, some 20 kilometers from Luhansk. Several eyewitnesses interviewed by Ukraine’s Army TV said that Russian-backed insurgents were behind the attack on fleeing refugees, whose truck flew white flags. The rebels, however, accused Ukrainian troops of killing the civilians.

The following day, only 100 people had the courage to use the humanitarian corridor to leave Luhansk, which is five to seven times fewer than usual, says Iryna Veryhina, executive governor of Luhansk Oblast.

“Maybe they were afraid of events in Novosvetlovka, or maybe people just hope that Luhansk will be freed in the coming days,” she told the Kyiv Post by phone.Kyiv Post+ logoKyiv Post+ is a special project covering Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.

Residents of Luhansk have anticipated the arrival of Ukrainian troops since early April, when the separatists first seized control of government offices. But few imagined the current scenario of violence and stalemate that played out.

As violence increased and the Ukrainian army moved to encircle the city, its population shrank by half, with scores dying from shelling from both sides. Up to 1,500 people were killed in Luhansk Oblast as of Aug. 7, Veryhina said. The United Nations estimated losses in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts at more than 2,000 people since the conflict started.

“Many who have the means have already fled, but others, especially the frail and the elderly, are left in an increasingly desperate situation,” Human Rights Watch said in its dispatch on Aug 15.

Those who left have little or no money to buy anything, as banks have shuttered and salaries and pensions halted. As a result of weeks of shelling, power, telecommunications and running water have been cut. Moreover, many shops are closed and food and water are in short supply.

The shops that are still open are selling off the last of their stock and there are no new shipments of food, fuel and medications, the city council says. Residents hope convoys of humanitarian aid from Kyiv and Moscow will arrive soon to relieve their suffering.

Residents spend hours each day queuing for what’s left, mostly bread produced by a local bakery with a power generator to keep its machines working, according to a Luhansk city council report. The city hospitals are still open and tend to the wounded as best they can.

Veryhina, the governor, said some people refuse to leave relatives to their fate. “There are also some, who don’t want to leave the city out of principle, or don’t want to leave their houses fearing looting,” she said. Verygina herself stays in Svatovo, a city north of Luhansk Oblast that has always been under government control.

Verygina says that as of two weeks ago there had been at least Hr 2 billion worth of damage inflicted. She did not have more recent estimates but said “new buildings are being destroyed every day.”

With fierce fighting ongoing in every district of the regional capital, it’s next to impossible to enter the city. Andrea Cellino, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission team leader, told the Kyiv Post that her observers saw massive damage on the roads leading to the city.

“Train service is disrupted, major links are not functioning,” she says.

A 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.A 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.

Luhansk refugees are trying to share news from the city through social networks.

“They (rebel fighters) don’t allow us to make calls; they shoot up the places where there is any network left. Our phones are being charged in the fire station. It’s possible to make a call from old phones, but the new smart phones don’t connect,” Slavik Morgunov, a Luhansk resident who fled recently, wrote on Vkontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, on Aug. 20. His post was based on a conversation with a friend still in the city.

“The water is delivered when there is no shooting. They started to shoot less. They are running a lot with guns around the districts,” he added.

Even local media are forced to report stories about their own city based on information from social networks, publishing whatever news and photos they can find, alongside contacts of taxi drivers and volunteers who are able to transport people from the city.

People also share reports about the Ukrainian army reaching the outskirts of Luhansk, as well as news about Russian tanks and armored vehicles entering the city from the east.

“There is no (Ukrainian) army in the city center,” wrote Valentina Mikhailova, another Vkontakte user, adding a sad smile. “There are many terrorists in the city administration building instead, because they have their main headquarters there.”

(Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at grytsenko@kyivpost.com).


Kyiv Post+.

German Chancellor Angela #Merkel to visit #Ukraine on Saturday


German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Kiev on Saturday and meet with top officials, making her first visit to Ukraine since the crisis there erupted.

Merkel is making the visit at Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s invitation and also will meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Tuesday. He said their talks will focus on Ukraine’s relationship with Russia and ways to help Ukraine as it battles a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

Germany has played a leading role in diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine. Merkel has spoken frequently with Poroshenko and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted a meeting about the crisis with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and France. There was little sign of progress at those talks. Germany aims to reconvene them, but it’s not yet clear whether and when that might happen.

However, the Kremlin announced Tuesday that Putin would meet with Poroshenko on Aug. 26 in Belarus, their first meeting since early June.

Steinmeier told ZDF television he believes “the conflict in eastern Ukraine is still solvable.”

“My impression, even after the difficult talks we had, is that there is a change in the position of both partners in the conflict,” he said. “I have the impression that both are searching at the moment for possibilities to find a way to a cease-fire.”


Associated Press.

127 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17 identified


International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS.International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. — PHOTO: REUTERS.

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims of downed flight MH17, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, the Dutch national broadcaster said.

“Of the 20, some 15 were Dutch. The nationalities of the rest of the victims were not released,” NOS said on its website.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down and Moscow blaming Kiev.

The search for bodies was called off a week ago because of rising clashes between Kiev and the pro-Moscow rebels but the Dutch government hopes to return should the situation improve.

The Straits Times.

#Russian #military vehicles enter #Ukraine as aid convoy stops short of border


Column of 23 armoured personnel carriers and support vehicles cross border after dark, while 280 trucks come to halt separately

 on the Russia-Ukraine border.Armoured personnel carriers in Russia move towards the Ukraine border. Photograph: Shaun WalkerArmoured personnel carriers in Russia move towards the Ukraine border. Photograph: Shaun Walker

The white trucks of humanitarian aid rumbled through Russia in a convoy stretching for miles, moving slowly southwards on the M4 highway, amid a landscape of fertile fields and Ladas stopped at the roadside – their boots overflowing with watermelons for sale.

But, while the trucks came to a halt well short of Ukraine’s border, a different Russian convoy did cross into Ukrainian territory late on Thursday evening.

The Guardian saw a column of 23 armoured personnel carriers, supported by fuel trucks and other logistics vehicles with official Russian military plates, travelling towards the border near the Russian town of Donetsk – about 200km away from Donetsk, Ukraine.

After pausing by the side of the road until nightfall, the convoy crossed into Ukrainian territory, using a rough dirt track and clearly crossing through a gap in a barbed wire fence that demarcates the border. Armed men were visible in the gloom by the border fence as the column moved into Ukraine. Kiev has lost control of its side of the border in this area.

The trucks are unlikely to represent a full-scale official Russian invasion, and it was unclear how far they planned to travel inside Ukrainian territory and how long they would stay. But it was incontrovertible evidence of what Ukraine has long claimed – that Russian troops are active inside its borders.

It was also ironic given the attention to the huge convoy of humanitarian aid that moved slowly southwards on the M4 highway on Thursday. As the convoy moved closer to the stretch of border controlled by pro-Russian rebels it was hard to escape the feeling that Moscow’s aid convoy had the potential to turn into a slow-motion disaster, perhaps even prompting a moment that could push Ukraine and Russia out of the messy conflict fought by proxies into full-blown, open engagement.

According to Moscow, the convoy is a goodwill gesture, packed with much-needed aid for the residents of eastern Ukraine. In Kiev’s view, the convoy is at best a cynical ploy; at worst, a kind of Trojan centipede, winding its way into the country at a border point no longer controlled by Ukrainian forces, the nature of its cargo taken only on trust.

The humanitarian convoy stalled for 24 hours in the city of Voronezh during Wednesday, but set out at dawn on Thursday.

At one point, with President Vladimir Putin more than two hours late to address a gathering of top Russian officials in newly annexed Crimea, and the first lorries in the convoy taking the turnoff from the main M4 highway towards rebel-controlled Luhansk in Ukraine, there were whispers that perhaps Putin’s announcement was being delayed to announce that the trucks would enter Ukraine whether or not the country’s authorities gave the green light, a move Kiev has said would be seen as an invasion.

The aid convoy on the road in Russia. Photograph: Itar-Tass/CorbisThe aid convoy on the road in Russia. Photograph: Itar-Tass/Corbis.

In the end, the convoy ground to a halt shortly after the turnoff, still about 20 miles from the border and, over a period of two hours, the vehicles parked in neat lines, throwing up clouds of dust.

Russia’s foreign ministry has said there are 262 vehicles in the convoy, including 200 carrying aid. Some of the drivers put the number at 270. Already, the start of a field camp had been erected on the site, with a dozen large tents and a shower area where the men could wash off the grime and sweat of the long journey.

The trucks could be stacked with weapons, some said. Others claimed they could be carrying advance supplies for a later Russian invasion using the ground troops that have hovered in border areas. There was also a suggestion that the circus around the mysterious convoy could distract attention from other Russian moves, a fear apparently justified given the military column that crossed the border on Thursday night.

The hundreds of men driving the trucks in the convoy were all dressed in identical khaki T-shirts, shorts and caps, and there was certainly something military about their bearing.

For some observers, the large convoy moving with obvious top-level coordination and accompanied by numerous vehicles with official Russian military plates brought back memories of the “little green men” involved in the annexation of Crimea back in March. Wearing green uniforms without insignia, those men claimed to be local volunteers, although they were clearly highly trained Russian special operatives. Despite denying their presence all through the annexation, Putin later admitted that Russian military units had been involved.

But, with their easy manner, lack of discipline and in some cases physiques that hinted more at beer halls than special forces training grounds, the “little brown men” of the aid convoy are clearly not the highly trained elite troops used in the annexation of Crimea.

In general, the men did not want to speak about who they were or how they had come to be involved in the convoy. One said he was a volunteer from a non-governmental organisation, but clammed up when asked for the name of the organisation.

“I’m being paid to do a job here, not to stand around talking to journalists,” he said when pressed, and then looked sheepish when reminded he had just claimed to be an unpaid volunteer.

Others said they were military veterans but claimed not to be serving currently. It is possible the convoy was assembled using the semi-official method Russia has used to find volunteers to fight for rebel separatists in eastern Ukraine – phone calls from military veterans’ organisations offering work.

Those at the site were dismissive of fears in Ukraine that the convoy may be carrying secret military cargo. Two of the men in brown, who would not give their names but said they were “in charge of the cargo”, offered to open any of the trucks picked at random and show what was inside. Men scrambled to untie the cords securing the tarpaulin on two of the trucks chosen by the Guardian and other journalists at the site.

Inside one were white sacks filled with buckwheat, while the other contained stacked cardboard boxes. Three men pulled the tape from one of the boxes to reveal newly packed sleeping bags. As the tarpaulin was pulled away, the original military green of the trucks was revealed; their exteriors apparently only recently painted white.

Nobody would say how long they planned to be there: a few hours or several days. Neither was it clear whether a decision had been taken in Moscow to move only with approval from the International Committee of the Red Cross, or whether a decision would be made to move ahead regardless, if diplomatic wrangling takes too long.

A lone car with diplomatic plates and Red Cross insignia arrived at the location of the convoy on Thursday afternoon. Two men inside confirmed they were Red Cross officials based in Moscow but refused to give any further information about whether they had travelled with the convoy, what plans there were for inspection, or whether more representatives were on the way. On Thursday evening, the organisation tweeted that “initial contact” with the convoy had been made, and there were “many practical details to be clarified”.

The trucks do indeed appear to contain humanitarian aid, and there is undoubtedly a grim situation in major towns in eastern Ukraine, as thousands don’t have water and electricity, and are sheltering in basements to avoid shelling. Nevertheless, Kiev’s concern about the convoy, with its thinly disguised military undertones, is understandable. Two military helicopters accompanied the convoy south, and flew just a few dozen metres from the ground as it came to a halt. The head and tail of the convoy included a number of vehicles with official Russian military plates.

Separately, there were several military transporters loaded with artillery and tanks visible on the main M4 road during the day. Locals say the sightings have been ever more frequent in recent months, with Ukraine accusing Moscow of shelling its territory from inside Russia, and transporting heavy weaponry across the border, including perhaps the BUK missile system which is believed to have been used to shoot down a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet last month.

The armoured column seen by the Guardian appeared to be further evidence of Russia’s incursions, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

The Guardian.


Editors Note: The Russians have actually did what everyone thought they would do! They’ve crossed the border which can only be an official declaration of war on Ukraine.

And what will the west do? NOTHING except add more sanctions!

No military aid, no show of force! The world is slowly slipping into chaos, war in the middle east and now war in europe!!!