Tag Archives: Police

Australia sends 100 more police for #MH17 mission, as rhetoric softens

Tony Abbott and AFP commissioner Tony Negus in Canberra on Friday. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAPTony Abbott and AFP commissioner Tony Negus in Canberra on Friday. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia is sending 100 more federal police officers to Europe in the hope they will be able to join a Dutch-led mission to secure the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Tony Abbott said some of the police could be armed and backed up by defence personnel, as he rejected suggestions the fall of the Ukrainian government could affect the completion of a deal with Ukraine to enter the site.

The Australian prime minister also emphasised that the mission’s aim was merely to bring back the remains of loved ones, not to engage in “the politics of eastern Europe” – an apparent signal that he would refrain from further forthright criticism of Russia or pro-Russian rebels as efforts continue to seek acceptance for an international mission to enter the site.

The 298 people who died in the apparent shooting-down of the plane in eastern Ukraine last week included 38 Australian citizens or permanent residents. On Friday evening the Australian government revised that number up from 37 after information came to light about a New Zealand citizen who was a long-term resident in Victoria.

The pre-deployment of 100 Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers is in addition to the 90 officers who have already been sent to Europe to take part in the international police mission.

The AFP commissioner, Tony Negus, said 50 officers had been sent to London while 40 were in Ukraine and the Netherlands. It would be one of the largest overseas police delegations since the 2002 Bali bombings, Negus said.

In an update to the media on Friday, Abbott said Ukraine had formally delegated leadership of the investigation to the Netherlands, and Australia was close to finalising an agreement with Ukraine to allow the deployment of federal police to the site.

Abbott said the deal was unaffected by the resignation of Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, after the collapse of the governing coalition. He said Australia’s agreement would be with the president, Petro Poroshenko, and would require the approval of the Ukrainian parliament “but nothing that’s happened overnight is expected to hinder that”.

The Netherlands will provide about 40 unarmed police to the MH17 crash site, media reports indicate.

But Abbott raised the prospect of some of the AFP officers being armed and backed up by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“Many of the AFP deployed won’t be armed, some of them could be armed, and yes there will be some ADF as part of this deployment,” Abbott said.

Abbott said a “very modest” ADF team was in Ukraine, led by a colonel who was a liaison officer, several planning personnel and a personal protection team for the envoy and former defence chief Angus Houston.

Negus said the safety of officers was paramount and it had been “well documented this is a difficult part of the world at the moment”.

“We will be deploying in there in an unarmed capacity,” Negus said.

“There may be some members that can be armed, but if this mission goes ahead, it will be led by the Dutch. We’ll be working hand in glove with the Dutch to make sure that this mission is done as safely as possible.”

Abbott said the mission was still “very much in the planning stages” and humanitarian in nature. He said the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had been “full of sympathy, as you’d expect from another human being, for what’s happened to 37 families in Australia and he certainly has been publicly and privately supportive of securing the site”.

Abbott said the discovery of more wreckage and remains in a heavily wooded area showed it was more important than ever to properly secure the crash site.

“Others can engage in the politics of eastern Europe. All we want to do is claim our dead and bring them home,” he said.

Asked whether this was a sign he was stepping away from strong criticism of Russia to increase the chances of a team being allowed to enter the crash site, Abbott said: “What I’ve tried to do over the last week since this atrocity took place has been to respond appropriately to the events of the particular time. What we are focused on now, what we are solely and wholly focused on now, is Operation Bring Them Home. That’s what we’re focused on.”

The acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor supported the deployment of AFP officers and potential ADF back-up.

“This is a very dangerous area of Ukraine, there are heavily armed rebels on the site,” she said. “They have been haphazard about allowing access to the site, it’s plain that not all of the rebel groups are cohesive, that there are different units operating that don’t follow a clear command structure.

“So, making sure that Angus Houston, that our police, federal police … any consular officials who are on the site are safe – if that takes Australian defence personnel, then of course we support that.”

In a phone conversation with Abbott on Friday, the US president, Barack Obama, praised Australia’s leadership and indicated the US would co-ordinate closely with Australia, a White House spokesman said.

Abbott later told reporters it was an international mission “not a US operation”, but Obama had voiced his “full support for what Australia and other countries have in mind”.

Abbott said the personnel leaving Australia would include Dr Simon Walsh, a trauma expert who led the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.

via Australia sends 100 more police for MH17 mission, as rhetoric softens | World news | theguardian.com.

A #Guide to #Ukraine’s #Fighting #Forces

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko visits the headquarters of Ukrainian’s anti-terrorist operation near Izium in Kharkiv Oblast and finalizes a plan with Ukraine’s army on July 8 for a military offensive against Kremlin-backed insurgents.Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko visits the headquarters of Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation near Izium in Kharkiv Oblast and finalizes a plan with Ukraine’s army on July 8 for a military offensive against Kremlin-backed insurgents. More than 200 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the fighting since mid-April, but Ukraine’s fighting forces are showing gains. They have liberated the Donetsk Oblast cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk and have promised to free Donetsk and Luhansk soon. © Anastasia Vlasova

With the West wimping out on tough sanctions against Russia or significant military aid to Kyiv, Ukraine is pretty much going it alone in defending the nation against the Kremlin-backed war that began with the Feb. 27 military invasion of Crimea.

More than 30,000 troops are engaged in what increasingly looks like a fight to the finish in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Forces have been marshaled from the army, police and border guard.

Also, some 2,000 of them are volunteers who provided muscle during the EuroMaidan Revolution that succeeded on Feb. 22 in ousting President Viktor Yanukovych, who is hiding from mass murder charges in Russia.

Andriy Parubiy, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, says their presence is crucial for bolstering the nation’s broken army and raising its combat spirit. “People came forward asking for weapons and saying we will fight,” Parubiy recalls. “We had to find a mechanism to channel this. The fact that we managed to direct this huge energy of Maidan towards protection of the motherland, this helped a lot.”

The nation has 22 volunteer battalions, but only eight to 10 of them are taking part in the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine at any given time. They are all part of the official law enforcement structure and take orders. Their names, however, are informal, a reference to their revolutionary history.

Fighters of the Donbas Battalion train at an Interior Ministry base in Novi Petrivtsi near Kyiv on June 5.Fighters of the Donbas Battalion train at an Interior Ministry base in Novi Petrivtsi near Kyiv on June 5. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

“These are the guys who stood on Maidan,” says Parubiy, who was in charge of self-defense troops during the revolution. After taking on his new role, he continued to coordinate the self-defense units and oversaw their training and incorporation into the formal structure of Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies.

Parubiy describes them as “high level professionals” and says that “none of the battalions act on oligarch orders, or act on their own.”  Continue reading

Ukraine: Maidan no longer a safe place for journalists?

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

On July 2 a Channel 5 film crew came under attack on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, with a cameraman injured.  The film crew explain that they were taking footage in order to ascertain whether the barricades at present on Horodetsky St are safe.  The aggressive behaviour was explained as being because the people on Maidan did not want their faces shown, and because they didn’t trust the work of the press.  Four young men in camouflage gear demanded that the footage be wiped, and when the cameraman refused, used force against him. Channel 5 also reported that an STB film crew had been threated.

The police report states that at around 13.00 on Tuesday the film crew arrived on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.  While working they were approached by the men in camouflage and told to stop filming and to delete the footage already filmed. When the cameraman refused, he was punched in the stomach by one of the men.  The four then fled, the police say.

Telekritika reports that this is not the first aggression against journalists trying to film on Maidan and near European Square since the EuroMaidan protests ended.

On June 20 members of the ‘self-defence’ unit whose headquarters is in Ukraine House were rough in throwing out an ICTV film crew and removed the footage they had filmed. The Shevchenkivsk District Prosecutor and police have launched an investigation over suspected obstruction of journalists carrying out their work.

On May 31 journalists were driven away from Maidan when they came to cover the work on removing the barricades. One man tried to block the camera of a streamer, while others were verbally aggressive.

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

#Ireland: #PSNI probe into reports #Derry man in #Syria

Eamon Bradley on horseback in the Middle East.Eamon Bradley on horseback in the Middle East.

The PSNI1 have confirmed they are making inquiries in response to reports that Derry man Eamon Bradley has turned up in Syria.

Searches are understood to have been conducted at the home of the 25-year-old on Thursday evening.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that specialist officers were deployed to an address in the Creggan estate, but it is unclear if any material was removed from the scene.

A PSNI spokesman would only confirm on Friday: “Police are making enquiries into reports of a Northern Ireland man in Syria.”

Eamon Bradley’s family were this week said to be growing increasingly concerned about his well-being since he disappeared several months ago.

It is understood the former St Joseph’s Boys School pupil had told his relatives he was going for a two week holiday to Turkey, but has not returned.

Reports suggest he has developed a strong interest in the Islamic faith over recent times.

Since he left, photographs have surfaced reportedly showing Eamon on horseback having grown a beard and wearing combat-type clothing and a headdress.

Another appears to shows him kneeling in a shelter with AK-47 assault style rifles bundled in front of him.

Eamon Bradley kneeling in a shelter with AK-47 assault style rifles bundled in front of him.
A woman at the address in Creggan declined to speak to the Journal when contacted on Thursday.

Derry Journal

  1. Police Service of Northern Ireland 

Crimean Summer Tourism Disaster

A woman advertising tours and trips for visitors in Yalta this month finds small crowds and few customers. A woman advertising tours and trips for visitors in Yalta this month finds small crowds and few customers. Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea has prompted many Ukrainians and international tourists to boycott vacations on the peninsula. The peninsula’s two million residents, who depend heavily on tourist spending, are heading for a bleak summer season. Less than half of last year’s six million tourists are expected this year. © Courtesy

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea – By this time, Simferopol railway station should be bustling with tourists hauling summer holiday luggage. Yet, it is remarkably empty.

The mini-bus to the seaside resort of Yalta was half empty, and the few people on it were all locals. The winding road that climbs over the Angarsky pass to the coast was largely free of traffic. Billboards along the route showed forlorn, tatty advertisements for Ukrainian firms that don’t exist anymore in Crimea, or  airlines that no longer fly here. About every fourth billboard was a poster urging people to vote in a referendum to join Russia that took place nearly three months ago.

On arriving in Yalta, the cafe of a smart hotel in a prime location near the seaside was closed.

“There you go: your first indication of how the tourist business is going this year,” said Ihor Brudny, the tour firm owner who had arranged a meeting here, with a resigned shrug.

Early June is usually a busy and hopeful time for Crimeans.

Half of the peninsula’s two million people make their living from tourism. And now they should be gearing up for floods of visitors – 6 million last year – who flock to the beaches and mountains from June to August, bringing their Ukrainian hryvnias, Russian rubles and, increasingly, dollars and euros.

This year, the Russian takeover of Crimea after a sham referendum in March that most the world didn’t recognize, has turned this world upside-down.

People walk near the seafront of Crimea’s famous resort city of Yalta on June 4.People walk near the seafront of Crimea’s famous resort city of Yalta on June 4. Continue reading