Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ukrainian Parliament recognizes Russia as aggressor state

January 27, 2015 (KyivPost) Eleven months after Russia started a war against Ukraine, beginning with the seizure of Crimea, the nation’s parliament finally decided to call a spade a spade. The Jan.27 session of the Verkhovna Rada recognized Russia as an aggressor state and the Kremlin-backed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as terrorist organizations. Ukraine wants other nations to follow suit. With 271 votes out of a 421-seat body, parliament decided to send this statement to the United Nations, European Parliament, Parliamentary Assemby of the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, GUAM (an economic union of  Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) and other countries' parliaments, asking the world to recognize Russian aggression against Ukraine, and its occupation and annexation of parts of Ukrainian territory. “Ukraine remains an object of aggression on behalf of Russia, which it conducts through support and supply of major terrorist attacks,” the statement reads. “In less than two weeks, over 50 peaceful citizens of Ukraine were killed in Volnovakha, Donetsk and Mariupol over the shelling and actions by terrorists supported by Russia.
Parliament also called on for international recognition of separatists’ republics as terrorist organization and asked for military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia. “Cynicism of Kremlin aggression, which includes support of terrorists at the state level, makes killing of innocent peaceful citizens a daily event,” the statement said. Parliament’s speaker Volodymyr Groysman said he will sign the address shortly.
Russia and separatists later slammed the decision of Verkhovna Rada. “This is of course mindless and irresponsible statement, which probably aims to block the search of compromise,” said Grigory Karasin, deputy head of Russian Foreign Ministry. “If it’s true, than it’s impossible to talk about any Minsk agreements,” said Vladislav Deinego, representative of government of self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic. Ukrainian lawmakers said that the new decision allows for additional ways of internationals pressure on Russia.   
The full article is available at

Saturday, January 24, 2015

US Trainers To Deploy To Ukraine

January 22, 2015 (http://www.defensenews.com)
American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday. The number of troops heading to the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L'viv — which is about 40 miles from the Polish border — is still being determined, however. The American training effort comes as part of a US State Department initiative "to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law" Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News.

After meeting with commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushnyakov and acting commander of the National Guard Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Kryvyenko during his visit, Hodges said he was "impressed by the readiness of both military and civil leadership to change and reform." The training was requested by the Ukrainian government "as they work to reform their police forces and establish their newly formed National Guard," Hillman added. Funding for the initiative is coming from the congressionally-authorized Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), which was requested by the Obama administration in the fiscal 2015 budget to help train and equip the armed forces of allies around the globe.
The training mission has been the subject of plenty of discussion among US policy makers for months, and the United States has already earmarked $19 million to help build the Ukrainian National Guard. "We're very open to the idea that this becomes a first step in further training for the Ukrainian military," Derek Chollet, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told Defense News just before he left the Pentagon on Jan. 17.
He was quick to add that he doesn't anticipate that this training mission "will require significant US presence." The mission comes at a time of increasing concern among Eastern European countries that Russian aggression in the region will increase, and as fighting around the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk between government forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels rages on.
Speaking at the Davos conference on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of sending 9,000 troops into the eastern part of his country to back the rebels, a contention that NATO officials have backed up, but without providing their own estimates for the number of Russian forces in country. Chollet said Russian military incursions into the Crimea and eastern Ukraine have refocused American attention on the region after a decade of fighting two wars in the Middle East. "A year ago we were worried about the future of the trans-Atlantic relationship, how would it be relevant to people," he said. "And of course, the events of the last year with Russia and Ukraine has focused people again on threats to European security and the unfinished business, really, still coming out of the end of the Cold War."
One of the biggest challenges for US policy makers is trying to discern "where could this lead and how does this make us think anew about European security issues and force posture issues or defense spending issues?" he added.
In addition to US trainers, Washington is beginning to provide heavier military equipment to the government in Kiev. On Monday, the United States delivered the first prototype of an armored "Kozak" vehicle for use with the Ukrainian border guard, according to the US Embassy there.
A posting on a US government contracting site put the cost of the vehicle at $189,000.
The vehicle is built on a chassis manufactured by Italian company Iveco and features a V-shaped armored hull to help protect against mines and roadside bombs. The embassy said that to date, "the United States has delivered dozens of armored pickup trucks and vans to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service. The Kozak is larger and offers a higher level of protection."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Financial Times: Balkans may become next playground for Vladimir Putin

January 15, 2015 The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organizations, has expressed recently its great concern regarding spreading of Russian aggression towards the Balkans. In the article titled as “Balkans may become next playground for Vladimir Putin” FT quoted a statement taken by the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel taken during the G20 summit in Brisbane Australia. One of the most respected European politicians expressed the assumption regarding the further march of events in Ukraine. The Kremlin could withdraw its troops from eastern Ukraine and try to re-establish its relations with the West. Another option is to increase the pressure on the West and to destroy its unity of action.


.....The Ukraine crisis is stoking fears in western capitals that Moscow is now seeking to impose its will in other countries in Eastern Europe, including the Balkans. Angela Merkel gave voice to such concerns during a trip to Australia for this month’s G20 summit, saying she did not want to return to the days when Moscow could dictate decisions in other eastern European capitals. “It’s not just about Ukraine, it’s about Georgia. If this goes any further, will we have wonder about Serbia, about the western Balkans?” the chancellor said. And she made clear Germany would respond, saying: “This is in no way in line with our values.”....


Read the whole article at

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another bloody atack on Ukrainain checkpoint

January 13  2015  At approximately 2:30 pm, Russian terrorists attacked the checkpoint of ATO forces close to the town of Volnovakha with artillery and hit a scheduled bus transporting civilians. Missile launch was conducted from the center of the town Dokuchayevsk, using a multiple missile launcher system "Grad". As a result, 12 civilians were killed on the spot and 17 injured. Ukraine says some 8,500 Russian regular troops are helping the rebels.
Ukraine will begin a phased army conscription drive on 20 January, with an initial intake of 50,000. More than 100,000 at the age from 20 till 60 will be drafted into the Ukrainian army this year, under the plan. More than 4,700 people have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded since the rebels took control of a big swathe of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine last April. Many more civilians have been displaced by the fighting. Russia denies sending regular troops and heavy weapons there, but admits that Russian "volunteers" are helping the rebels. 

Ukrainian forces face heavily armed and well-trained rebels in the east