Tag Archives: Luhansk

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Ukrainian forces have now withdrawn from Luhansk airport in the restive eastern region after firefights with pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine’s security council confirmed that the troops had withdrawn “in an organised manner”.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

Full transcript: Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Perm. Rep. to the #UN, at Security Council Session on #Ukraine


U.S. Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power.U.S. Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power.

Below is the full transcript of remarks made by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Session on Ukraine, August 28, 2014.

Mr. President, representatives on this Council, this is our 24th session to try to rein in Russia’s aggressive acts in Ukraine. Every single one of those sessions has sent a straight-forward, unified message: Russia, stop this conflict. Russia is not listening.

We said it when Russia flagrantly violated international law in occupying Crimea. We said it after the shocking downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17, which took the lives of innocent men, women, children, and infants from 11 countries. And we say it today, as Russia’s soldiers, tanks, air defense, and artillery support and fight alongside separatists as they open a new front in a crisis manufactured in and fueled by Russia.

But Russia is not listening.

Instead of listening, instead of heeding the demands of the international community and the rules of the international order, at every step, Russia has come before this Council to say everything except the truth. It has manipulated. It has obfuscated. It has outright lied. So we have learned to measure Russia by its actions and not by its words.

In the last 48 hours, Russia’s actions have spoken volumes.

On August 26 – just this Tuesday – after meeting with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, President Putin spoke of the need to quote “end bloodshed as soon as possible.” End quote. Yet the same day, satellite imagery show(s) Russian combat units – combat units – southeast of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine. That same day in Luhansk, Ukraine detained regular Russian Army personnel from the 9th brigade.

In response, Russia claimed the soldiers had wandered into Ukrainian territory “by mistake.” This, supposedly, in a time of conflict along one of the most carefully watched borders in the world.

The day after those talks, Russia fired Grad rockets from inside Russia at Ukrainian positions in Novoazovsk, and then attacked with two columns of Russian armored vehicles and tanks. Russian armored vehicles and Uragan multiple rocket launchers are positioned on the outskirts of that town as we speak.

Russia’s force along the border is the largest it has been since it began redeploying forces there in late May, and includes significant numbers of combat aircraft and helicopters. Russian unmanned aircraft routinely cross into Ukrainian airspace.

Other Russian deployments into Ukrainian territory include advanced artillery and air defense systems not found in the Ukrainian inventory. These artillery systems have shelled Ukrainian positions outside Luhansk City in conjunction with the recent separatist counteroffensive.

One of the separatist leaders that Russia has armed and backed said openly that three or four thousand Russian soldiers have joined their cause. He was quick to clarify that these soldiers were on vacation. But a Russian soldier who chooses to fight in Ukraine on his summer break is still a Russian soldier. And the armored Russian military vehicle he drives there is not his personal car.

Meanwhile, in Russia, family members of Russian soldiers are holding funerals for their loved ones who have been killed in the fighting in Ukraine. They’re demanding answers for how they were killed. Journalists who try to cover these funerals are harassed and threatened by armed men. Yet, still, according to the Russian government, the soldiers were never there. They were never in Crimea either, until Russia announced that those soldiers who were never there had annexed Crimea.

The last 48 hours fit into a well-established pattern for Russia. Each step has paved the way for the one that followed. And yet in spite of all of these outrageous actions, Ukraine has repeatedly sought a political solution to this crisis. It has repeatedly sought a path to de-escalation. Despite this pattern, President Poroshenko showed up in Minsk to meet with President Putin. In contrast, President Putin was still unwilling to acknowledge the most basic facts we all know: that Russia has armed, equipped, and now joined illegal separatists fighting in Ukraine. Serious negotiations are needed, urgently needed. But Russia has to stop lying and has to stop fueling this conflict.

The mask is coming off. In these acts – these recent acts – we see Russia’s actions for what they are: a deliberate effort to support, and now fight alongside, illegal separatists in another sovereign country.

Now, Russia has claimed that Ukraine is not interested in a ceasefire, but let’s be clear: we have every interest in a ceasefire, as do the Ukrainians, as long as it is a real one. But Russian separatists not only have no interest in observing a ceasefire, but they cynically use the time to rearm and wait for additional soldiers and supplies to flow across the border from Russia.

In the face of these deeply alarming actions, the most important question for us now is not what we should say to Russia. The most important question is what we should do to make Russia listen.

The United States has, throughout this crisis, and in close coordination with our European partners, the EU and the G7, exerted targeted, effective pressure so that this message is heard, so that Russia begins to de-escalate, rather than escalate, so that the reasonable peace plan put forward by President Poroshenko is adopted and implemented. And in the face of Russia’s continued aggression and blatant disregard for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, we will continue to work closely with our G7 and European partners to ratchet up the consequences on Russia.

Now, I understand that there are real costs felt by citizens of countries when their governments take these actions. It has costs for businesses that trade with Russia and sell to Russian markets, from small-scale farmers to big factories. Those costs are considerable, and nobody should take them lightly.

But let’s be clear: if unchecked, the damage that Russia’s blatant disregard for the international order poses is much, much greater. These rules and principles that have taken generations to build, with unparalleled investment – countless lives have been lost to establish and defend these principles. And every single one of us has a stake in defending them. A threat to the order – the international order – is a threat to all of our peace and security.

These are the rules that Russia is flouting when it illegally seizes territory and arms, equips, and fights alongside illegal groups in neighboring countries.

Ukraine is one of roughly a dozen countries that share a border with Russia. Let me close with a couple questions: How can we tell those countries that border Russia that their peace and sovereignty is guaranteed if we do not make our message heard on Ukraine? Why should they believe it will be different if tomorrow, President Putin decides to start supporting armed separatists and allowing soldiers “on vacation” to fight in their countries? And, just as important, what message are we sending to other countries with similarly alarming ambitions around the world, when we let Russia violate these rules without sufficient consequences? In the face of this threat, the cost of inaction is unacceptable.

Thank you.


The Washington Post.

#ElectionCommission Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk to vote in parliamentary elections


By Oleg Naumenko.Head of Ukraine's Central Election Commission Mykhaylo Okhendovsky. © AFPHead of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission Mykhaylo Okhendovsky. © AFP

Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, head of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, says it’s important to provide an opportunity to vote for Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea, as well as in war-torn Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, during the Oct. 26 parliamentary election. These troubled regions are home to 20 percent of Ukraine’s 45 million people.

“These elections are the first of its kind in our history,” Okhendovsky said during an Aug. 26 news briefing. “Previous early elections happened in 2007 under a proportional system, whereas currently we have a mixed system whereby 225 lawmakers will be elected according to the party lists and another 213 MPs – from their constituencies. Once the president signs a decree that officially dissolves the parliament, there will be 60 days for the election campaign.”

Ukraine used to have 225 deputies from the constituencies, but since Crimea and Sevastopol had as many as 12, the figure has been changed. However, this year’s elections will not happen there due to the peculiar status of the region outlined in the law “on the temporarily occupied territories” that came into effect on May 14.

“Residents of Crimea will be able to vote in a different region of Ukraine, just as 117,000 of the Crimeans did during the presidential elections in May,” Okhendovsky explained.

He promised to put all the election commission’s efforts in organizing the elections in Donbas. “But we also need to ensure safety of the voters and all the members of local commissions and observers,” Okhendovsky added.

Although parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are controlled by the Russia-backed insurgents, andmore than 2,000 people have been killed since mid-April in the war, the results of elections will be legitimate as long as at least one polling station will work in every constituency.

Price of elections

This year’s state budget has not allocated money for the election, which is why Hr 986 million will come from a reserve fund.

“However, David Zhvania, a non-affiliated MP, proposed a bill that can save up to Hr 140 million by cutting on expenditures on media, agitation and other electoral documentation. If the parliament passes this bill, we can significantly reduce the costs of elections,” emphasized Okhendovsky.

When being asked whether the separatists and rebel may participate in the elections as candidates, Okhendovsky said: “We do not give any comments on personalized issues. But if Ukrainian courts criminally prosecute such individuals, they will not take part in the elections according to the Ukrainian legislation.”

(Kyiv Post staff writer Oleg Naumenko can be reached at legasy@me.com).


Kyiv Post.

Trucks from aid convoy to #Ukraine start crossing back into #Russia


BY DMITRY MADORSKYTrucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, drive in the direction of the Ukrainian border near the town of Donetsk, in Russia's Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUKTrucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, drive in the direction of the Ukrainian border near the town of Donetsk, in Russia’s Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

(Reuters) – Trucks from a Russian aid convoy started crossing back into Russia on Saturday after unleashing a storm of anger in Western capitals a day earlier by driving into Ukraine without the permission of the government in Kiev.

The return of the trucks may help ease the tension to some extent in time for talks in Ukraine’s capital on Saturday between visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian leaders over how to end the crisis in the ex-Soviet republic.

Western leaders had joined Kiev in calling the Russian convoy — about 220 white-painted trucks loaded with tinned food and bottle water — an illegal incursion onto Ukraine’s soil, and demanded that they be withdrawn as soon as possible.

A Reuters journalist at the Donetsk-Izvaryne border crossing, where the convoy rolled into Ukraine on Friday, said over 100 trucks had passed back into Russia and more could be seen in the distance arriving at the crossing.

Russian state television had earlier broadcast footage of some of the trucks being unloaded at a distribution depot in the city of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. The Russian foreign ministry said the aid reached its intended destination.

A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine is parked at a camp near Donetsk, Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUKA Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine is parked at a camp near Donetsk, Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

The city is held by separatist rebels who are encircled by Ukrainian government forces, and has been cut off from power and water supplies for weeks. International aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis.

NATO said it had reports that Russian troops had been firing artillery at Kiev’s forces inside Ukraine – fuelling Western allegations that the Kremlin is behind the conflict in an effort undermine the Western-leaning leadership in Kiev.

“Since mid-August we have multiple reports of the direct involvement of Russian forces, including airborne, air defence and special operations forces in Eastern Ukraine,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.

“Russian artillery support – both cross border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces,” she said.

Russia denies giving any material help to the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, a mainly Russian-speaking region. It accuses Kiev, with the backing of the West, of waging a war against innocent civilians.

The conflict in Ukraine has dragged Russian-Western relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War and sparked a round of trade sanctions that are hurting already-fragile economies in European and Russia.

The German leader landed in Kiev and was scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk.

Diplomats say she will show support for Kiev, but also urge Poroshenko to be open to peace proposals when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks next week.

HOMES DESTROYED

In the rebels biggest stronghold, the city of Donetsk, there was unusually intense shelling on Saturday. That may be part of a drive by government forces to achieve a breakthrough in time for Ukrainian Independence Day, which falls on Sunday.

The crisis over Ukraine started when mass protests in Kiev ousted a president who was close to Moscow, and instead installed leaders viewed with suspicion by the Kremlin.

Soon after that, Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and a separatist rebellion broke out in eastern Ukraine. In the past weeks, the momentum has shifted towards Ukraine’s forces, who have been pushing back the rebels.

The separatist are now encircled in their two strongholds, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Reuters reporters in the city of Donetsk said that most of the shelling was taking place in the outskirts, but explosions were also audible in the centre of the city.

In Donetsk’s Leninsky district, a man who gave his name as Grigory, said he was in the toilet on Saturday morning when he heard the whistling sound of incoming artillery. “Then it hit. I came out and half the building was gone.”

The roof of the building had collapsed into a heap of debris. Grigory said his 27-year-old daughter was taken to hospital with injuries to her head. He picked up a picture of a baby from the rubble. “This is my grandson,” he said.

In another residential area, about 5 km north of the city centre, a shop and several houses had been hit. Residents said two men, civilians, were killed.

Praskoviya Grigoreva, 84, pointed to two puddles of blood on the pavement near a bus stop that was destroyed in the same attack. “He’s dead. Death took him on this spot,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Tom Grove in Donetsk, Ukraine, Adrian Croft in Brussels, Richard Balmforth and Natalia Zinets in Kiev and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Ralph Boulton).


Reuters.

#Kremlin-backed #militants #murder #Lithuanian honorary consul


Mykola Zelenets - Murdered

Mykola Zelenets, Honorary Lithuanian Consul in Luhansk has been murdered after being abducted by militants. The information came from Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Twitter who expressed deep sorrow that Mykola Zelenets had been “kidnapped and brutally killed by terrorists there”.  The information has been confirmed by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

Informator.lg.ua reports that  Mykola Zelenets was a Ukrainian businessman from Luhansk who specialized in producing fire-fighting equipment.  He represented Lithuanian in the Luhansk oblast.

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.