Saturday, February 28, 2015

Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead

27 February 2015 (BBC News Europe) A leading Russian opposition politician, former deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker shot Mr Nemtsov four times in central Moscow, a source in the law enforcement bodies told Russia's Interfax news agency. He was reportedly shot near the Kremlin while walking with a woman. He died just before a march in Moscow against the war in Ukraine which he was actively promoting.
Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy prime minister under the late President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s. He had earned a reputation as an economic reformer while governor of one of Russia's biggest cities, Nizhny Novgorod. Falling out of favour with Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin, Mr Nemtsov became an outspoken opposition politician. Mr Putin has been widely accused of fomenting the bloody rebellion in east Ukraine - an accusation he denies.
According to Russian-language news website Meduza, "several people" got out of a car and shot him. He was shot in the back with a pistol from a white car which fled the scene, Interfax's source said. One of the politician's colleagues in his RPR-Parnassus party, Ilya Yashin, confirmed Mr Nemtsov's death. "Unfortunately I can see the corpse of Boris Nemtsov in front of me now," he was quoted as saying by Russia's news website. "At the Bolshoy Zamoskvoretsky Bridge. I see the body and lots of police around it."
In his last tweet, Mr Nemtsov sent out an appeal for Russia's divided opposition to unite at an anti-war march he was planning for Sunday. "If you support stopping Russia's war with Ukraine, if you support stopping Putin's aggression, come to the Spring March in Maryino on 1 March," he wrote.

Russian opposition politician and former deputy PM Boris Nemtsov shot dead on Moscow street

27 February 2015.  I got this terrible news just a few minutes ago. This man had a unique strength to tell the truth about present day Russia and its policy toward Ukraine even when he was on the air in the center of Moscow (see picture). Undoubtedly he was a worthy opponent of an incumbent President of Russia. On my understanding this cynical assassination could be a sign of growing "Putin's intelligence agency dictatorship". Do not be surprised if in a few days Swedish television will broadcast the funeral ceremony for Boris Nemtsov in the presence of President of Russia. The show must go on...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I sincere wish they were parading somewhere in the Eastern Ukraine....

February 24, 2015 (The Washington post) U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War. The armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in Eastern Europe. The soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment were taking part in a military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day. Narva is a vulnerable border city separated by a river from Russia. It has often been cited as a potential target for the Kremlin if it wanted to escalate its conflict with the West onto NATO territory.

Russia has long complained bitterly about NATO expansion, saying that the Cold War defense alliance was a major security threat as it drew closer to Russia’s borders. The anger grew especially passionate after the Baltic states joined in 2004, and Russian President Vladimir Putin cited fears that Ukraine would join NATO when he annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March last year.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Deadly bomb blast hits rally in Kharkiv

February22, 2015 (BBC News Europe) A bomb has killed at least two people, including a police officer, and injured 10 others at a rally in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv located about 150 km. east from Poltava. The march was one of several being held to mark a year since the Kiev uprising that led to the fall of pro-Russia leader Viktor Yanukovych. Kharkiv lies outside the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, where a ceasefire appears finally to be taking hold.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

President and distinguished foreign guests took part in the March of Dignity in Kyiv

February 22, 2015 The March of Dignity attended by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and distinguished foreign guests who came to Ukraine in order to participate in the events on the occasion of the anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity was held in Kyiv. Together with President Petro Poroshenko, Chairman of Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Groysman and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the March was headed by President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, Poland - Bronislaw Komorowski, Germany - Joachim Gauck, Moldova - Nicolae Timofti, Georgia - Giorgi Margvelashvili, Slovakia - Andrej Kiska, as well as President of the European Council Donald Tusk. 

Thousands of Ukrainians, clergy, representatives of Polish, Georgian, German and French communities also participated in the event. Members of the column were holding a large yellow-blue flag. People came with flags of Ukraine, EU, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania. From time to time people shouted "Glory to Ukraine - glory to heroes!", "Ukraine is Europe!", "Ukraine, freedom, dignity, victory!". People were singing the Anthem of Ukraine. Also, the record of the Anthem of Europe, "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven, sounded. The procession ended up with the Prayer for peace on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. The President and the distinguished foreign guests have laid icon-lamps under the Independence Stele.

President Petro Poroshenko and the heads of foreign states and governments who take part in the events on the occasion of the anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity have visited the exhibition "Presence. Proofs of Russian troops' aggression on the territory of Ukraine" opened on Mykhailivska Square in Kyiv.

The Head of State has commented on a few "exhibits", particularly MLRS "Grad" used by militants to shell peaceful cities and villages, remnants of the missile system "Smerch" used for the shelling of Kramatorsk, which ended up with 17 people killed and over 60 people wounded. Petro Poroshenko showed grenade launchers, which are not produced in Ukraine, captured by Ukrainian militaries, armored vehicles, Russian tanks, remnants of civilians' cars destroyed near Mariupol.

The President has also demonstrated Russian drones. The Head of State has drawn attention of the attendees to the fact that the OSCE SMM representatives, which observe the compliance with the ceasefire regime in Donbas, do not have an opportunity to use drones, because militants and Russian servicemen hinder it in every possible way. However, the Ukrainian servicemen have recorded the activity of about 120 enemy drones, as stated by Petro Poroshenko.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Russian media admits that regular Russian troops took the vital eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve

February 20, 2015 ( President of Russia Vladimir Putin arrogantly scoffed at the defeat of the Ukrainian military in Debaltseve, gloating at their “shame” of losing the battle “to yesterday’s coal miners and tractor drivers.” In reality, Ukraine is fighting against Russian military that is hiding behind the fraying veil of local “separatists.” Much like Russia’s “little green men” in Crimea, Ukraine is crawling with regular Russian troops and armaments. Russia is using its most sophisticated weaponry in eastern Ukraine, including the truck-mounted SA-22 surface-to-air missile system (Pantsir-S1)

Ukraine does not possess these types of weapon systems, which immediately dispels ludicrous claims of separatists about “capturing” weaponry from the Ukrainian armed forces.
The full text of article is available at

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Debaltseve falls

February 18, 2015 (UNIAN) Ukrainians woke up on Wednesday to another military defeat at the hands of the Russian-backed militants of the Donbas, as columns of Ukrainian troops pulled out of the strategic town of Debaltseve.

“Debaltseve is no longer ours,” one soldier told UK newspaper the Guardian’s Alec Luhn as tanks, APCs, ambulances and soldiers on foot came into Artemivsk, the next town along the road to the north-west, after escaping near encirclement in Debaltseve. “We can’t stay: the city’s been captured,” another soldier told Luhn, the journalist reported on Twitter.

From early morning on Wednesday photos and reports from the area started to appear on social media, showing the Ukrainian forces apparently in full retreat from Debaltseve. However, other reports spoke of thousands of Ukrainian troops still being trapped in the town. Meanwhile, sources from the militant side spoke of “hundreds” of Ukrainian troops being taken prisoner. Video from Russian media appears to show much of the town now under militant control. Semen Semenchenko, the commander of a pro-government volunteer battalion, said on Facebook that Ukrainian troops were leaving Debaltseve "according to plan and in an organized way," Radio Liberty reported.

Semenchenko also said - confirming reports from other sources in the area - that the Ukrainian troops were being fired on by the Russian-backed militants as they left. The Ukrainian defense ministry said on Wednesday that combat operations were still going on in the town. However, on Tuesday it had become clear that many of the Ukrainian troops in Debaltseve were in a dire situation, with soldiers from several units calling journalists to plead for help, saying they needed reinforcements, artillery cover, or a safe corridor out of the town. Some blamed the Ukrainian General Staff for failing to give them the proper support.
“There is almost no food left. Morale is weakening due to [the command’s] attitude - no reinforcements, no OSCE representatives,” the second-in-command of Ukraine’s 40th Battalion Yuriy Sinkovsky told Ukrainian newspaper on Tuesday.

“Attacks and firefights are under way. The guys on the ground are not going to retreat and give up. But the enemy forces are much stronger. We’re getting exhausted.”
Anastasia Bereza, a journalist working for the Ukrainian political weekly magazine Novoe Vremya, reported from near the besieged town on Tuesday that Ukrainian military units were still able to enter and leave Debaltseve, but with great difficulty and with losses."Today the situation is much worse than yesterday,” Bereza said.“Firing from both sides has increased. In addition, there is very heavy shelling, more powerful than Grad multiple launch rocket systems. According to the soldiers who are directly in the area of Debaltseve, it would be possible to change the situation only by using the serious forces of the mechanized brigades." But as Wednesday dawned, it appeared no brigades of tanks were rushing into Debatlseve to rescue Ukrainian troops, but that only exhausted soldiers, many wounded, were coming out of the town, still under fire.
Read more on UNIAN:

Horrific Images Capture The Sheer Brutality Of War In Ukraine

February 17, 2015 Photographer Max Avdeev embeds with the rebel fighters known as the First Slavyansk Brigade in Logvinove, Ukraine, to capture the horrific sights of conflict for BuzzFeed News.
Warning: Several of the images in this gallery are not for faint-hearted!
To see all pictures taken by Max Avdeev click at

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ukraine at war with Russia

February 14, 2015 19:18 With less than 5 hours remaining until the Minsk ceasefire sets into effect, fighting in Eastern Ukraine shows no sign of abating. Pro-Russian separatists have continued their offensive near Debaltseve and Mariupol, but have suffered heavy losses of up to 100 dead and 180 wounded according to Ukrainian intelligence. These numbers could not be independently verified.

Russian armored vehicles continue to enter Ukraine, despite the scheduled ceasefire with a column of Russian APCs crossing into Ukraine at the Novoazovsk border crossing. In total, over fifty Russian tanks and other armored vehicles have crossed into Ukraine since the signing of the Minsk Accords on Thursday. The US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt posted a series of updates on the crisis through the Twitter in which he shows satellite image of what the US believes are Russian military artillery systems near Debaltseve. He also noted that thanks to Russian help, the separatists now have a larger army than some NATO and EU members.

Photo provided by US Embassy in Ukraine. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

EU warns Russia over Ukraine agreement

February 13, 2015 (BBC News Europe) Russia will face fresh sanctions from the EU if a deal to end the Ukraine war is not fully implemented, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned. She said EU leaders had asked officials to prepare further sanctions in case an agreed ceasefire was not respected. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France sealed a deal on Thursday after marathon talks in Belarus. The ceasefire is due to begin in eastern Ukraine at midnight on Saturday but both sides remain sceptical. Pro-Russian rebels have signed the agreement, which also includes weapon withdrawals and prisoner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled. Clashes between government forces and the rebels continued on Thursday and one Russian-backed commander said his forces would not stop fighting.
Thousands of people have died in almost a year of fighting in the region. In another development, the World Bank said on Thursday it was ready to provide up to $2bn billion (£1.3bn) in financial assistance to Ukraine this year as part of an international package of support.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ukraine crisis: Europe leaders in Ukraine peace bid

February 5, 2015 (BBC News Ukraine) French President Francois Hollande says he is heading to Ukraine with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to present a new peace initiative. He said they will put forward the new plan before meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday. US Secretary of State John Kerry also landed in Kiev for talks on Thursday.
The diplomatic push to end the conflict, which has killed more than 5,000 people since last April, comes amid intensified fighting. "Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily," Mr Hollande said at a news conference on Thursday. He said the new peace proposal was based on the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine, which could be "acceptable to all". A spokesman for the Kremlin confirmed that President Putin would meet with the two European leaders on Friday to discuss "the fastest possible end to the civil war in south eastern Ukraine".

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

U.S. shifts stance on military aid to Ukraine

February 4, 2015 (CNN News)
The United States is now considering sending lethal aid to help the Ukrainian government fend off attacks from pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of Ukraine. This assistance would come in the form of so-called "defensive lethal aid," which could include anti-tank, anti-air and anti-mortar systems. The New York Times first reported the possible change in policy, saying NATO commander Gen. Phil Breedlove is in support of the new lethal assistance, and that Secretary of State John Kerry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey and National Security Adviser Susan Rice are all open to considering the idea.
A U.S. official now tells CNN that military leadership supports defensive lethal aid being part of the discussion, but the administration is still trying to assess what reaction it could elicit from the Russian government, which the U.S. maintains is backing rebels in eastern Ukraine.
In an interview last week with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, President Barack Obama alluded to concern in the international community that President Vladimir Putin is further isolating Russia, and bypassing opportunities to de-escalate the conflict.
"What is absolutely true is that if you have a leader who continually drives past the off ramps that we've provided, given the size of the Russian military, given the fact that Ukraine is not a NATO country and so as a consequence there are clear limits in terms of what we would do militarily, you know, Mr. Putin has not been stopped so far," Obama said.
The U.S. official who spoke with CNN said the arms option came back to the forefront following Russian advances and weapons shipments into Ukraine in recent weeks. But the U.S. military leadership feels any arms shipments to Ukraine must be part of a broader package of options. Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said on Monday that sending lethal aid to Ukraine isn't a solution to the escalating situation there.
"We don't think the answer to the crisis in Ukraine is simply to inject more weapons and get into that type of tit-for-tat with Russia," Rhodes said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "We think the answer is to apply pressure, try to get them to the table with the separatists so we can see a peaceful de-escalation," Rhodes continued, adding that Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would likely discuss Ukraine when they meet at the White House next week.
The full article is available at: