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Is #Russia Invading #Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin's Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) helps put a blanket on Peng Liyuan (2nd R), wife of China’s President Xi Jinping (2nd L), as Xi talks to U.S. President Barack Obama (L) during a lights and fireworks show to celebrate Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting, at National Aquatics Center, or Water Cube, in Beijing, November 10, 2014.

Brett Logiurato, Business Insider UK.

With the world distracted by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “flirtatious” moves on China’s first lady, Russia has been slowly but surely escalating the crisis in Ukraine and stretching the limits of a proverbial ceasefire — to the point where the crisis could, in the words of one pro-Kremlin political analyst, “explode“.

The US and others have charged Russia over the past few days with violating certain elements of a ceasefire agreement reached in September.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told US Vice President Joe Biden on Monday that Russia had transferred additional heavy weapons to pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern region, while there has been increased shelling of Ukrainian government positions over the past few days.

Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday that Russia has “doubled” the supplies of weaponry to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern region and has amassed a “big number” of troops close to the border.

“I think UN should be informed ASAP that Russia is planning full-scaled invasion into Ukraine,” he said. “Latest facts prove it and leave no doubts.”

Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe said another large, unmarked convoy moved into eastern Ukraine. The convoy, the OSCE said, was made up of 43 green military trucks, including five with the artillery pieces known as howitzers and five with multiple rocket-launch systems.

Fighting in the country’s eastern regions has intensified in recent days. Reuters reports heavy shelling near the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Tuesday, while pro-Ukrainian news reports also indicated Ukrainian forces came under fire near Zamozhne, which is close to the strategic city of Mariupol. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council says there was also heavy activity near Donetsk, Debaltseve, Luhansk, and Berezove.

The situation in eastern Ukraine as of Nov. 11.The situation in eastern Ukraine as of Nov. 11.

The escalation takes place amid the backdrop of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing, where Putin is meeting with other top world leaders, including President Barack Obama. The two leaders met three times informally over the past day, and the White House said they spoke about Ukraine, along with the crisis in Syria and the Iran nuclear negotiations.

Relations between the two countries has deteriorated as the ceasefire has frayed, amid further accusations from the US that Russia is supplying the pro-Russian separatists with arms and the country’s backing of separatist-fueled “elections” that the US called a “sham.”

U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a plenary session during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing, November 11, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a plenary session during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing, November 11, 2014.

Biden, in a phone conversation with Poroshenko on Monday, said the US was prepared to escalate “costs” on Russia if it continues to escalate the situation. The White House also warned Russia on Monday of the consequences of further escalation.

“We are very concerned by intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine, as well as numerous reports, including from the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), that Russian backed and supplied separatists are moving large convoys of heavy weapons and tanks to the front lines of the conflict,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council.

“We continue to call on all sides to strictly adhere to the cease-fire. Any attempt by separatist forces to seize additional territory in eastern Ukraine would be a blatant violation of the Minsk agreements.”

Business Insider UK.

#Putin orders troop pullback from Ukrainian border #UnitedForUkraine

Two pro-Russian separatist soldiers carry the remains of an Uragan missile in front of a burning house, after it was fired on a north western district in Donetsk on Oct. 5, 2014.Two pro-Russian separatist soldiers carry the remains of an Uragan missile in front of a burning house, after it was fired on a north western district in Donetsk on Oct. 5, 2014. © AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

Julia Kukoba reporting,

Russia says it will withdraw 17,600 troops from its border with Ukraine in the Rostov region, where they had been temporarily based “for military exercises,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov late on Oct. 11.

Putin had a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after a session with the permanent members of Defense Council of Russian Federation. “As a result of the report, Putin instructed to proceed with the return of troops to their standing stations,” Peskov said.

Putin claimed that the planned removal of Russian troops was due to completion a one-year training at a southern region that borders east Ukraine, where Russian-backed insurgents have been battling government troops since April. Russia has been accused of actually supplying both troops in weapons to support the insurgents in Eastern Ukraine – the claims it has denied.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to meet with Russian counterpart in Asia-Europe summit in Milan on Oct. 16-17. Presumable topics are a peace plan for eastern Ukraine and an ongoing natural gas.

Russian opposition politician Borys Nemtsov already called Putin’s decision “the end of Novorossiya project,” referring to the idea of creating a pro-Russian state in southeastern Ukraine.

“(Putin) wanted Novorossiya from Donetsk to Odessa, and, instead, got lesser parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. He wanted a surface pathway to Crimea through Mariupol. He insteads got Russian people building trenches in Mariupol not to let in the invader,” Nemstsov says. “He wanted it done like in Crimea – without a single shot – and he got 4,000 casualties on both sides.”

It remains to be seen, however, just how willing Russia will be on living up to its commitments. Announcement about withdrawing Russian troops from Ukrainian border hit the news in March and May, but it both cases it wasn’t supported by factual evidence.

Both Pentagon and NATO offered their own evidence showing that several thousand combat troops and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles remained in eastern Ukraine to support the pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian army.

(Kyiv Post staff writer Julia Kukoba can be reached at juliakukoba@gmail.com).

Kyiv Post.

#Ukraine: #Kiev Stores Ordered to Stamp Russian Products With Special Markings

Sausage and meat products, produced in Russia, are on display during the World Food Moscow 2014.Sausage and meat products, produced in Russia, are on display during the World Food Moscow 2014. Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Kiev’s municipal council has ordered stores in the capital to label Russian-imported goods with additional markings to warn consumers they could be supporting the “aggressor” by buying the products, media reports said.

According to the ruling approved by the city’s legislature, Russian made-goods will also have to be displayed on separate shelves to Ukrainian goods, the UNIAN news agency reported Thursday.

The purpose of the move, which comes after similar steps were taken by local administrations in Lviv, Ivano Frankivsk and Cherkasy, is “so that people don’t support the aggressor,” Kiev lawmaker Ruslan Andriyko was quoted as saying by RBC-Ukraine.

“Every kopek paid for a product that was manufactured in Russia is also a kopek that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin uses for weapons, which will be aimed against our boys, against us, against our state in eastern Ukraine,” UNIAN quoted Andriyko as saying.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of aiding separatists in the east of Ukraine, where fighting has raged for several months between pro-Russian rebels and the pro-Western government’s forces, though Moscow has denied the charges.

The Moscow Times.

Russian proxies discuss framing Ukrainian military over death of Red Cross delegate in Donetsk | #Russia #Ukraine #Donetsk

Debris litter the ground outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Russian-held eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, following a rocket attack, on Oct. 2, 2014.Debris litter the ground outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Russian-held eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, following a rocket attack, on Oct. 2, 2014. © AFP

First the Malaysian airliner in which 298 perished, including nearly 100 children, now the Red Cross delegate that was killed from shelling in Russian-held Donetsk on Oct. 2, Ukrainian authorities say they have recordings implicating Kremlin-backed proxies in the tragedy.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry published a recording on YouTube between two high-level Kremlin proxies discussing the death of 38-year-old Swiss national Laurent DuPasquier with Russian journalist Yevgeni Poddubny of RTR television.

The leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, specifically tells the Russian state-owned channel correspondent of plans to place the death’s blame on the Ukrainian military. He apparently tells Poddubny that they plan to show a rocket shell that contains phosphorus to journalists to further the alleged fabrication.

Both sides accuse each other of the shelling that led to the death of the Red Cross worker.

He sarcastically tells Poddubny of a condolence letter the terrorist-labeled group planned to write with passages that the Ukrainian military is “bad, (and) poor shots.”

“We’ll show the Red Cross fragments of [an internationally banned] phosphorus bomb that supposedly ripped through their (Red Cross) colleague,” Zakharchenko tells the journalist.

To further elaborate the fabrication, Poddubny apparently asks the Russian proxy to bring an artillery specialist to the bombing site in order to provide expert opinion regarding the direction from which the shell allegedly came.

“(The expert) would provide proof that the shelling comes (from Ukraine-held) Avdiyivka. Is there such a person, an artillery man of any kind with experience?” asked Poddubny.

Zakharchenko then replies in the affirmative.

Ukraine Interior Ministry video implicating Russian proxies in covering up their guilt in death of Red Cross worker in Donetsk (in Russian).

Kyiv Post.

#Poroshenko: ‘Today Ukraine is bleeding for its independence and territorial integrity’

by Kyiv Post.
Editor’s Note: The following is the transcript of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s speech to the Canadian parliament in Ottawa on Sept. 17. Scroll down for the video
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks to supporters of Ukraine during a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during his first official visit to Canada, September 17, 2014.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks to supporters of Ukraine during a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa during his first official visit to Canada, September 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO/GEOFF ROBINS © AFP

Mr. Prime Minister,

Speaker Kinsella,

Speaker Scheer,

Honorable Members of the Senate and House of Commons,

Honorable Members of the Diplomatic Community,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is a deeply felt honor to address this distinguished legislative body.

I must thank you, Prime Minister, for inviting me to come to Canada, Speaker Kinsella and Speaker Scheer – for giving me such outstanding opportunity to address the Canadian Parliament. I see this as a tribute to my country and the Ukrainian people, and an expression of the unique, distinctive partnership that our nations enjoy.

Let me also just once use the third “official language” of Canada – Ukrainian:

Дякую вам за цю честь, дорогі друзі!

To be frank with you – I feel very much at home with you here today in a country that is very close to Ukraine. Not distantly but through our hearts and common ideas.

Indeed, Canada has become home to so many Ukrainians. The descendants of those early Ukrainian settlers who came here more than a century ago. In 1892, a century before Canada was the first to recognize Ukraine’s independence, the first Ukrainian emigrants Ivan Pylypiv and Vasyl Yelynyak arrived. They launched further numerous Ukrainian emigration to the Pacific Coast settling across the woods and prairies of Canada. The Ukrainian community has easily integrated into the Canadian society. They built railways and towns, schools and churches, heroically fought against the Nazi during the World War Second, contributed to the Canadian economy and culture. Later, the sons and daughters of farmers became prominent members of Canadian society – businessmen, scientists, artists, athletes and politicians. One of them, Ramon Hnatyshyn, became the Governor General of Canada.

The list is long and impressive – Premiers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba Roy Romanow and Gary Filmon, senators Raynell Andreychuk and David Tkachuk, artist William Kurylyk, hockey superstars Terry Sawchuk and Wayne Gretzky, and woman-astronaut Doctor Roberta Bondar.

We highly praise great Ukrainian-Canadian sculptor Leo Mol who crafted one of the best Taras Shevchenko monuments in the world, in Washington DC.

If I continue with the list, we will run out of time for this session.

Today the Ukrainian Canadian community is over a million people. It is strong, it is consolidated, it preserves the language of their Homeland, faith and traditions. Ukraine has always felt proud of Ukrainian Canadians and is grateful for their lasting support.

On behalf of the people of Ukraine, I would like to express gratitude to you, brothers and sisters, for your lasting support!

However, it is not only history that bonds us, but also the shared values that make Canada and Ukraine integral parts of a global family of democracies.

Today Ukraine pays a very high price for defending what we believe in – democracy and freedom to choose our own future. For more than two decades we proudly stated that Ukraine gained its independence without shedding a single drop of blood.

Today Ukraine is bleeding for its independence and territorial integrity.

Governor General of Canada Ramon Hnatyshyn in his speech at the Ukrainian Parliament in 1992 stated: “We must not forget people’s suffering which we are witnessing”. That day he spoke of brave Ukrainian and Canadian soldiers who kept the peace across the world in conflict and unrest zones. These words remain so true, as never before.

Today thousands of brave Ukrainian men and women are sacrificing their lives for the right to live the way they chose to, on their land, under the blue and golden colors of the Ukrainian flag, colors which are so dear to many Canadian Ukrainians. In these dark days we feel your support.

It is time we see our friends in our need. And there is no other way to put it – Canada is a friend indeed.

As Commander-in-Chief, as a Ukrainian and a father of a soldier, I thank Canada for each life that is being saved today in the Ukrainian Donbas by a bulletproof vest or a helmet you gave us.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s speech to the Canadian parliament on Sept. 17 in Ottawa.

Once again I thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your Government, to the Opposition, to Canadian parliamentarians and senators, all Canadians and fellow Ukrainians for standing tall and making your voice heard. For helping financially, with technical assistance and non-lethal military aid, for supporting us at the international fora such the UN or NATO or G-7.

I would like to use this great opportunity to thank all Canadian Parliamentarians for their continuous support of Ukraine. I would like to especially thank for the emergency debates in this House of Commons during critical periods of the Maidan Revolution of Human Dignity. We heard your voice and it was important for us. It is also due to your support that we have won. Thank you for that.

I would like to express gratefulness for the work of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee on Ukraine, for the election observation mission which helped ensure that the will of the Ukrainian people was respected. 500 observers were the biggest mission during our elections. It confirmed that the elections were transparent and fair. You helped us establish a new Government in Ukraine. Thank you. We are expecting your mission on Oct. 26 at parliamentary elections in Ukraine for we want to show that they will also be fair and transparent.

Thank you for many visits by Parliamentarians and Ministers, and for your visit to inauguration, Mr. Prime Minister. Canada was one of the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence. You also promptly recognized the results of the presidential elections and it was important for us. You are always with us at the most critical junctures.

Also I would like to thank Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird for his support of Ukraine during Maidan.

I have a long list of sincere gratitude. I really feel your support. I am confident that we will have peace, we will stop the war with the assistance of the whole world. We will do everything for the world to be united. Canada helps us, it shows that it is with Ukraine. Thank you!

Without this support provided by the Government of Canada, by all parliamentarians and by the Ukrainian Canadian community under the leadership of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, it would be much harder for Ukraine to face the challenges of today.

No other leader or nation, no one, I mean it, with the possible exception of Poland was so straightforward and earnest when sending the signal across to Russians and the rest of the world that fighting a nation which is trying to chart its own path is just conceptually wrong. That arming rebels with advanced antiaircraft systems, providing them with operators, intelligence and flight data is wrong. Those who were equipped, trained and financed by Russia executed a terrorist attack shooting down a civilian MH17 flight killing 298 innocent lives of nationals of Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia and others. One Canadian was killed as well.

I think that war in the east of Ukraine is war against terrorism. It is our common war. I am confident of that.

With your support, with the support of global community we will win this struggle. And we will fulfill the dreams of many Ukrainians in our homeland and across the world – Ukraine will be a strong, independent European nation.

Yesterday was one of the most important days in the history of Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada ratified the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. When I was in the Parliament yesterday, it was the last “goodbye” from Ukraine to the Soviet Union.

It was the last Rubicon that we had to cross. We will never return to our awful past. I am confident that our values, our freedom, our democracy, our European future and prospects of participation in various international organizations can be achieved. For Ukrainians passed one of the most difficult tests. We paid the highest price for the desire to be a European country. That’s why we will defend our independence and freedom. We want to become a fully-fledged member of the EU.

This happened simultaneously with the ratification at the European and broadcasted in the two parliaments.

Implementation of the agreement will not only harmonize Ukraine’s trade and customs rules with the EU standards, it will help my country draw closer to democratic norms and market-oriented economy.

At the NATO Wales Summit I’ve declared my country’s desire to move closer with NATO and become the closest non-NATO ally. I hope you will support this.

all Allies strongly condemn Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, illegal annexation of Crimea and stand ready to support territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within the internationally recognized borders.

I am thankful to Canada; your country was one of the soundest supporters of Ukraine at that summit and committed to provide $1 million to the NATO Trust Fund. It will help Ukraine build up its Command, Control, Communications, and Computers capabilities.

Dear friends, let’s look beyond the crisis and war. Let’s think how we enhance the Special Partnership between Ukraine and Canada.

I am convinced that we need to pay more attention to the bilateral cooperation in such spheres as energy, trade, investments, information and air-space technologies.

In cooperation with Canada we hope to accomplish an ambitious project of consolidating Ukraine’s informational space. By launching the telecommunication satellite built by Canadian company MDA we will be finally able to provide all our regions with reliable and trustworthy information as well as to export telecommunication services.

There should be more projects like this.

I hope that both negotiating teams translated our firm signal, Prime Minister’s and mine, and next time we see each other, we will have Ukraine-Canada Free Trade Agreement ready to sign.

Having said that I can’t help but mentioning one particular program that played significant role in enhancing our people-to-people contacts – I talk about Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP).

During the years of independence CUPP has hosted over a thousand of students from Ukraine, who were able to work as interns right here at the Canadian Parliament. This program has given birth to some sparkling stars in the Ukrainian social and political universe. Some of the CUPP graduates take high positions in our government; some of them are leaders of the Ukrainian civil society and business community.

I thank the Canadian Parliament and the Ukrainian Diaspora for helping us breed a new generation of Ukrainian leaders.

Mr. Prime Minister,

I remember you mentioning that Canada is probably the most Ukrainian nation outside Ukraine itself. This is true. Let me reciprocate. There are great European nations, which stood at the source of foundation of modern Canada. Canada has friends all over the Globe, and the closest one next to it. However, I doubt that you will find another nation, which could tell, so sincerely, what I am about to tell you. Ukraine is probably the most Canadian nation after Canada itself.

I had this feeling today at the meeting with a lot of Canadians. Thank you for that.

Let me refer to Winston’s Churchill’s words who truly loved your country and visited it seven times from 1900 to 1954. We recall him as brave leader who confronted the Nazi aggression with courage. In summer 1929 he wrote from Canada to his wife: “Darling, I am greatly attracted to this country…I am profoundly touched and I intend to devote my strength to interpreting Canada to our people.”

These words resemble my feelings today. I won’t write these words to my wife since she is here with me today. I will simply tell her this. And again, please let me quote Churchill once again: “I love coming to Canada. God bless your country.”

Thank you! Merci! Дякую! And Glory to Ukraine!

Kyiv Post.


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