Sunday, August 31, 2014

NATO plans to dispatch 10,000 troops to eastern Ukraine

Sunday Aug 31, 2014 (Press TV) NATO is reportedly planning to send an expeditionary force composed of 10,000 troops from seven different member states to Ukraine amid rising tensions with Russia over the conflict in Eastern European country. The creation of the force will be led by Britain and involve contributions from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Netherlands, media outlets reported on Saturday.
Canada is also interested in joining the plan, but it is not known what its final decision will be.
Although no formal announcement has been made yet, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to declare the force formation at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4. This comes as a response to Russia’s alleged involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. NATO has accused Russia of deploying more than 1,000 troops to Ukraine to bolster pro-Moscow forces in the eastern part of the country. Russia, however, insists that it does not have troops operating inside Ukraine and has dismissed NATO’s claims.
The West and Russia have been at loggerheads over the political situation in Ukraine since pro-Western forces toppled Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians in mid April. The unrest in eastern Ukraine has so far claimed the lives of more than 2,200 people. Nearly 300,000 people have been also forced to flee their homes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ukraine conflict: Army parade to mark independence

August 23 (BBC News Ukraine) Sunday's celebrations mark the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine's independence after the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine is to mark its independence day with a military parade in Kiev as fighting continues in the east. The parade will feature hundreds of marching servicemen and military hardware. Critics say that it is inappropriate when Ukraine is at war. Pro-Russian rebels in the eastern city of Donetsk - the scene of the heaviest fighting - say they will hold their own parade featuring imprisoned soldiers. Four months of fighting in the east has left more than 2,000 people dead. More than 330,000 people have fled their homes.

Sunday's celebrations mark the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine's independence after the Soviet Union collapsed

A prayer will be said and wreaths laid for those who have died for an independent Ukraine, including those killed during protests against Mr Yanukovych in Kiev last winter. Supporters say the parade should boost army morale but critics have questioned any show of strength as a waste of money and inappropriate when people are dying in the east. In Donetsk, rebels put on display two destroyed armoured personnel carriers, and there are plans to parade prisoners of war through the streets.
 The military parades were rehearsed on Saturday

Sunday's celebrations come a day after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel visited Kiev and met President Petro Poroshenko. During crisis talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, she also called for "effective border controls" while reiterating her support for Ukraine's pro-Western leaders. The "territorial integrity and wellbeing of Ukraine" was essential, Mrs Merkel said. She cautioned that Russia - already subjected to punishing EU and US sanctions over its alleged interference in Ukraine - could face further punitive measures. "We cannot rule out thinking about further sanctions if things do not progress," Mrs Merkel told reporters. Mrs Merkel - who on Saturday announced a 500m-euro (£400m) loan to Ukraine from Germany - is the most influential. 
 Sunday's celebrations come a day after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel visited Kiev and met President Petro Poroshenko

Russia has been accused by Nato of amassing troops and tanks near its border with Ukraine

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stalin Tower in Moscow Painted In Ukrainian Blue And Yellow

August 20 2014 (Moscow) In the latest act of solidarity with Ukraine in Russia, a group of people have apparently scaled the heights of one of Moscow’s iconic Stalin-era skyscrapers, hoisted a Ukrainian flag over it, and painted the Soviet star at its peak yellow and blue. The incident took place under cover of darkness in the early morning hours of August 20 at a massive 32-floor elite apartment building on the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment in downtown Moscow in the vicinity of both the Kremlin and the Federal Security Service headquarters.  It is not yet clear who was behind the stunt, although police have reportedly arrested four young Russians with climbing gear, all of them believed to be residents of Moscow and the surrounding region. To hoist the flag and paint the star, the climbers presumably would have had to scale the 176-meter building -- or find another way to reach its peak. An unidentified Moscow police official told the Interfax news agency that the group used "an internal staircase" to reach the top floor of the building and then used "special equipment" to reach its spire.  A video posted by various Russian media purports to show one of the pranksters parachuting down from the height of the Stalin-era building after daybreak.
Read full article at

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parliamentary Secretary Bezan Arrives in Ukraine to Deliver Non-lethal Security Assistance

August 8, 2014 James Bezan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence of Canada, arrives in Ukraine on board a CC-130J Hercules—the first of a series of flights delivering non-lethal military equipment that Ukraine will be able to use to secure and protect its eastern border against Russian aggression, as announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on August 7, 2014.
 “It is a great pleasure to be back in Ukraine as a part of Canada’s swift, targeted and unequivocal response to Russian expansionism and militarism in Ukraine,” said Bezan. “Canada will not stand by in the face of this threat, which is why I am pleased today to highlight further action that Canada is taking in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their security forces in harm’s way.
 “This equipment—which includes helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, first aid kits, tents and sleeping bags—will provide physical and medical protection to those on the front lines against the insurgency.
 “The logistical equipment provided will allow Ukrainian security and border authorities to better detect and track the movement of illicit goods and people. It is what Ukraine has asked us for, and we are delivering.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Army 'heading for victory' - defence minister

August 4, 2014 (BBC News Europe)  Ukraine's defence minister Valeriy Heletey has said his forces are gaining ground significantly against rebels in the country's east. He told the BBC there would be victory "very soon". He blamed the rebels for the difficulties faced by international experts in getting access to the MH17 crash site. His remarks came as civilians in the east prepare for a siege as government forces close in on the rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Residents are stockpiling food and supplies and are sleeping in basements, with reports suggesting Luhansk is virtually surrounded and without power.
Gas shortages are causing problems in both government- and rebel-held areas
Many of those who have left their homes in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are seeking shelter in places further from the fighting
In the Donetsk region, where pro-Russian rebels hold sway, Saturday saw parades and celebrations to mark Paratroopers' Day
At least nine civilians were reported killed in Donetsk and Luhansk on Saturday. The region has been unstable since April, when rebels in the east declared independence from Kiev. More than 1,500 people are believed to have been killed since fighting began.
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July has heightened tensions and failed to stem the fighting. Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March, has been accused of arming the rebels and has been targeted by US and EU sanctions. Russia denies the accusations. 'Russia is retaliating'  Col-Gen Heletey said he understood that it would not be easy to capture the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, especially as Russia was "doing everything it can to provoke us". But he said his forces were winning. "The separatists' territory is now two-and-a-half times smaller than it was four weeks ago," he said. "More than 65 towns and villages have been liberated by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk region. Our forces are in an offensive phase, but I want the world to know, that Russia is retaliating." The defence minister said he was 100% sure of victory and that Ukraine had no choice but to carry on fighting. "Ukraine is like a burning house. The Ukrainian army is going inside the burning house, to put the fire out," he said. "If we don't put it out, it will be in Kiev, in Kharkiv, everywhere. We are asking every Ukrainian: take a bucket of water and help us to put the fire out." Col-Gen Heletey said that there would be no fighting on the MH17 crash site, currently controlled by the rebels, until all the evidence and remains had been collected. "In practical terms, we are not far away from the crash site, but we have backed off from the area... so the international mission can be carried out properly," he said.