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Thread: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

  1. #26
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    What I meant was how would Malaysia Airlines reimburse the victims' families without going out of business aside from insurance claims.
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  2. #27
    Phonetics do wonders. Forum Moderator Eltrotraw's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    The poor management of the crash site is such telling here, because looters have gotten their hands on the wreckage and have been scavenging stuff for things to run off with.

    I'm not surprised that there are people out there to do that, but this is much more pressing since tampering with the crash site will definitely hamper attempts at trying to identify the cause of the crash. As I recall, investigators weren't at all finished with it, were they not?

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  3. #28
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Here is another example how scrappy and arbitrary the organisation is:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28384930

    So OSCE workers have been hampered at the whim of some militiamen. There isn't an impression that these separatists do much to move the investigation forward.

  4. #29
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Albeit unwilling to draw any final conclusions, John Kerry has made very strong claims about the pro-Russian rebels having perpetrated the attack on flight MH17:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...an-separatists

    The secretary of state, John Kerry, said on Sunday that all the evidence surrounding the downed Malaysian passenger plane pointed a clear finger at Ukrainian separatists.

    Kerry appeared on all five major Sunday talkshows to lay out the administration's case against the separatists and to call on Russia to act and stop them from blocking an investigation into the firing of a surface-to-air missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 on Thursday, claiming 298 lives.

    The secretary of state also took aim at Russia for its support of the separatists, days after the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said President Barack Obama should “stop lecturing Russia”.

    “Russia has armed the separatists,” Kerry told ABC's This Week. “Russia has supported the separatists. Russia has trained the separatists. Russia continues to refuse to call publicly for the separatists to engage in behaviour that would lend itself to a resolution of this issue.

    “And the fact is that only a few weeks ago, a convoy of 150 vehicles of artillery, armoured personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers, tanks, crossed over from Russia into this area and these items were all turned over to the separatists.”
    If you read the article, you'll note that the evidence Kerry lays out is cogent. The Ukrainian army did not have AA weapons in the area and the trajectory points to the separatists.

  5. #30
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    For most of the week, Australian and Dutch forensic experts were unable to reach the area because of on-going fighting. The Ukrainian government has declared a cease-fire for today. The forensic team have arrived at the crash site now and will soon be joined by Malaysian experts. A separate team of Russian experts will also go to the location of the MA jet.

    There could be as many as 80 dead bodies still lying in the area around the plane. The crash was two weeks ago. To lie dead in some field for two weeks in summer is not a particularly respectful treatment.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28581722

    International forensic scientists have reached the site of the flight MH17 crash in east Ukraine after the government halted military operations.

    Australian and Dutch police experts arrived in a convoy of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors.

    Fighting between government and rebel forces had prevented them getting there for nearly a week.

    Australia believes that around 80 bodies remain at the crash site.

    Explosions were reportedly heard near the site after their arrival.

    A journalist for AFP news agency heard several "powerful" blasts and saw a plume of smoke less than 10km (six miles) from the crash site.

    Russian aviation experts are also in Ukraine, hoping to visit the site.
    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop thinks the Russians may have been obstructing access:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-jul...731-3cuoz.html

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is concerned that Russia could be actively undermining the process to access the crash site of Malaysian airliner MH17, after the Dutch-led investigation team again failed to reach the area of the wreckage.

    Her comments come amid claims Ukrainian rebels have been laying land mines on roads through to the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

    Ms Bishop, who is in Kiev, said on Thursday that the Ukrainian government had been offering strong support for a humanitarian corridor and ceasefire.
    Oh and there have been new sanctions for Russia.

  6. #31
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    More than 300 Ukrainian troops have crossed into Russia during heavy fighting with pro-Russian separatists.

    A Ukrainian security spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said the 311 soldiers and border guards "had to cross into Russian territory" at the Gukovo checkpoint in eastern Ukraine.

    Ukraine is trying to get them back now through diplomatic channels, he said.

    Earlier a Russian security official said 438 Ukrainian troops had been given refuge in Russia as "defectors".

    The border area is very tense amid Ukrainian allegations that Russian forces have been helping the separatists with rocket barrages.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28637569

    This is an odd development, with predictable spin from at least one side. The MH17 crash site is still on rebel-held territory, but it is one of the most narrow strips of land in the rebels' possession.

  7. #32
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Russia has retaliated with sanctions on agricultural produce:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned or curbed agricultural imports from countries imposing sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

    In a decree (Russian text), he ordered the measures, which also apply to food imports, to be introduced for one year.

    Meanwhile, renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine has forced the suspension of a search for the remains of the victims of crashed flight MH17.

    The attack on the jet has heightened tensions between Russia and the West.

    ...

    Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted an official from the country's agricultural and veterinary watchdog as saying that the new sanctions would apply to all agricultural products imported from the US.

    "Fruits and vegetables from the European Union will also be under full ban," the official, Alexey Alekseenko, is quoted as saying.

    Russia buys fruit and vegetables from the EU worth an annual 2bn euros (£1.6bn; $2.7bn), and food and agricultural products from the US worth about 1bn euros.

    Last week Russia banned most agricultural imports from Poland on grounds of public health in what was seen as a thinly veiled retaliation for Poland's advocacy of tough action over Ukraine.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28680656

    Russia will seek to import food from other countries.

  8. #33
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    So, how are the sanctions received in Russia? Well, this was too good not to share:

    Russian state media's welcome for the Kremlin's retaliatory curbs on Western food imports is not shared by many Russian users of social media.

    The main TV stations - which are controlled by or are strongly supportive of the Kremlin - argue that the ban is good news for domestic producers.

    As for consumers, they should not worry that prices will rise, they said.

    According to state-controlled Channel One, Russian food producers "heaved a sigh of relief" upon hearing the news.

    Another good thing about the ban is that Russian food is much better, which, Channel One's correspondent said, "is something everyone knows".

    "We are not losing anything, we are only gaining," one farmer said on Channel One.

    These sentiments were echoed on another state TV channel, Rossiya 1. Most products imported from the West can be replaced easily, it argued.

    Russians have no reason to worry about empty shelves in supermarkets, and food prices will definitely not go up, according to the channel.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28689363

    Yes, predictably, state media are ecstatic about the ban. But the first prize has to go to this one:

    Nationalist commentator Yegor Kholmogorov is also belligerent. "The sanctions will hurt so much that they can easily force Western countries to come to their senses and stop subordinating trade to their political anger," he argues in pro-Kremlin Izvestia daily.
    There are some saner commentaries on the action, but the general mood seems difficult to dowse nonetheless:

    But commentary in influential daily Kommersant is much less upbeat. "We are really becoming very much like the Soviet Union, where one had to run around food shops to buy Russian cheese only," writer Viktor Yerofeyev tells the paper.

    "Sanctions are OK, but they must not discriminate against people. People should have a normal life, politics must not kill the quality of life."

    ...

    "Putin has joined Western leaders and imposed sanctions against us as well," says one popular tweet by user Roman Romanik, which was retweeted more than over 1,400 times.
    Yes, Russian producers will be able to get better prices for their products but Russian consumers can expect significantly higher prices in return, especially for goods that were mostly imported before the ban.

    The comments here are overwhelmingly optimistic, however (to the point of being... ehm... let's say unrealistic at best):

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28685765

    More worrying is that Russia has again increased its troops at the borders. An invasion of Eastern Ukraine would be extremely rash, but not beyond an authoritarian wingnut like Putin.

  9. #34
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Villerar, Russia is also boycotting Canadian pork.
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  10. #35
    cake Forum Veteran Chiffon's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kirbinator View Post
    Villerar, Russia is also boycotting Canadian pork.
    How is this relevant in any way, shape or form?

  11. #36
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiffon View Post
    How is this relevant in any way, shape or form?
    Russia retaliates by banning food from Western countries, since they impose sanctions on Russia.

    See here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/russ...nada-1.2728885

    Read here as well: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/are-...bite-1.2729192
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  12. #37
    Putting a cap in your benefits Forum Moderator Superninfreak's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Vill already mentioned Russia's sanctions.

    It's just weird that you home in on the fact that they're banning imports of a specific kind of Canadian food.

    Canada isn't the only country in the West.
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  13. #38
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Superninfreak View Post
    Vill already mentioned Russia's sanctions.

    It's just weird that you home in on the fact that they're banning imports of a specific kind of Canadian food.

    Canada isn't the only country in the West.
    Thanks for the clarifications. Yes, I know that Canada is obviously not the only country in the West, but I had a memory lapse at the time.
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  14. #39
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Investigators in Russia have announced the arrest of five Ukrainian army officers for alleged war crimes as fighting rages in eastern Ukraine.

    The officers from Ukraine's 72nd Mechanised Brigade are apparently among hundreds of soldiers who crossed into Russia to flee from pro-Russian rebels.

    It is unclear on what grounds Russia can prosecute the officers, who reportedly deny the charges.

    Meanwhile, government forces in eastern Ukraine lost 15 soldiers within a day.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28707018

    Russia accusing other others of war crimes is a serious case of hypocrisy, but if there is any evidence it should be investigated, however not by Russia. Russian prison camps are notorious for their flagrant human rights violations.

  15. #40
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    The government forces are getting closer to Donetsk. If they take it, the separatists will be deprived of their most important western base:

    Reports suggest Ukrainian government forces are poised to surround pro-Russian separatist rebels in Donetsk region as fierce fighting continues.

    The rebels' commander is quoted as saying his forces have been cut off after Krasnyi Luch, a strategic town to the east, was captured by the army.

    However, a rebel in Donetsk insisted there were still corridors to the east.

    More than 1,500 people are believed to have died in the conflict between the government and pro-Russian rebels.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28724487

    The scary question is: what will happen then? It is impossible to predict how the Russian government will respond and they might invade Eastern Ukraine to prevent the rebels from being humbled.

  16. #41
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    The Red Cross and Russia will deliver humanitarian aid to Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine, the US and the EU have agreed to such a mission after entertaining some doubts:

    Ukraine and Russia say they have agreed to a Red Cross-led humanitarian aid mission to the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Luhansk.

    In a statement, the Red Cross said it was ready to begin aid delivery but needed more details about the aid from Russia before it could begin.

    Ukraine and Western governments had previously objected to Russian aid.

    Earlier, the EU Commission chief warned against unilateral Russian military action "under any pretext".

    Thousands of people are without access to water, electricity and medical aid in eastern Ukraine, the Red Cross said.

    At least 1,500 people have died since Ukraine's new government sent in troops to put down an insurrection by pro-Russia separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in mid-April.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28743478

  17. #42
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    The European Commission has announced emergency EU funding of 125m euros (£100m; $170m) for fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russia's ban on most imported Western food.

    The funding is compensation for fresh produce which will not be sold. Instead it will be distributed free to schools, hospitals and other institutions.

    Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, grapes and pears are included in the scheme.

    Russia has banned many food imports, angry at EU-US sanctions over Ukraine.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28834170

    It is still a pittance in comparison to the value of food exports, but there are perfectly good reasons not to increase spendings on agriculture drastically, so this seems like a good solution.

    I know that there is no link now in the topic for the controversy around the aid convoy or the unsuccessful talks about a cease-fire and better border controls, but I suppose those things are rapidly becoming old news now.

  18. #43
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    All right, here are a couple of links I hadn't posted yet. Most are a little dated but still interesting to read.

    In this opinion piece, Nina Krushcheva, a professor of international affairs, suggests that Putin may well be on the way out.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/co...ing-of-kal-007

    NEW YORK – When incompetence in the Kremlin turns murderous, its incumbents can begin to tremble. As news of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine trickled into Russia, people with a long memory recalled the Soviet Union’s attack, 31 years ago this September, on Korean Air Lines Flight 007, and its political consequences.

    Back then, the Kremlin first lied to the world by saying that it had nothing to do with the missing KAL plane. Later it claimed that the South Korean jet was on an American spy mission. But, within the Soviet leadership, the incident was a tipping point. It ended the career of Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, Chief of the General Staff and a hardliner of the hardest sort, whose inconsistent and unconvincing efforts to justify the downing of the plane proved deeply embarrassing to the Kremlin.
    Personally, I don't think the parallels are that indicative, but who knows?



    This is an interesting interview (in German) with opposition politician Ilya Ponomarev, the only Duma deputy who voted against annexing Crimea.



    Russia's involvement in the conflict appears to have become ever more blatant, directly supporting the rebel invasion of the southern strip of Donetsk Oblast with its own military. These are Ukrainian claims, but are supported by 'incidents' of Russian soldiers found on Ukrainian territory.



    And last but not least, these are the findings of the BBC programme Panorama:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29109398

    Russians were operating a BUK missile launcher seen in the area where the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet MH17 was shot down, eyewitnesses have told Panorama.

    Distinctive shrapnel damage to the plane points to a fragmentation weapon - such as a BUK - downing the plane.

    The Kremlin had previously suggested that the missile was from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

    Pro-Russian rebels have denied any possession of a BUK.

    However, photographs and videos cast doubt on the claim by the Kremlin and pro-Russian rebels - that they did not have a BUK missile launcher on their territory.

    Three eyewitnesses, all civilians, separately told Panorama that they saw a missile-launcher in rebel-held territory a few hours before the Boeing jet was hit.
    The important finding is that there was a BUK missile launcher operated by Russian soldiers in the area and that there is a (disputed) footage of the BUK launcher moving away the morning following the crash (starting around 2:07 in the video), but now with only two rather than three missiles. If that is reliable, it is of course compelling evidence that this missile launcher was responsible for attacking MH17 and also shifts more of the blame to Russia rather than the separatists.

  19. #44
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    It has not been mentioned yet, but there has been a ceasefire (sometimes) into force since September 10th.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29250455

    All politics is a quest to select the lesser of two evils. Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, however, is perhaps faced with some of the worst options of any world leader in recent memory.

    Most of the time, he seems to be confronted with a choice between watching his country being destroyed right now, or later, through a drawn-out process.

    But there are very rare glimmers of hope, when it appears Ukraine may indeed scrape by and continue to exist as a viable, unified state.

    These glimmers have probably shone most brightly recently. Two weeks ago, Kiev declared a ceasefire and set out a general peace plan with pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

    The truce is very tenuous: heavy fighting still rages around Donetsk, and combatants and civilians continue to die.


    One of the volunteer forces on the Ukrainian side, Azov, has a rot to the core. It is an anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi outfit:

    "I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia," said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. "But Putin's not even a Russian. Putin's a Jew."

    Dmitry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a member of the Azov battalion, a volunteer grouping that has been doing much of the frontline fighting in Ukraine's war with pro-Russia separatists. The Azov, one of many volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Ukrainian army in the east of the country, has developed a reputation for fearlessness in battle.

    But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine's most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.

    Dmitry claimed not to be a Nazi, but waxed lyrical about Adolf Hitler as a military leader, and believes the Holocaust never happened. Not everyone in the Azov battalion thinks like Dmitry, but after speaking with dozens of its fighters and embedding on several missions during the past week in and around the strategic port city of Mariupol, the Guardian found many of them to have disturbing political views, and almost all to be intent on "bringing the fight to Kiev" when the war in the east is over.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...aine-neo-nazis

    So, yes, that Dmitry is a Nazi. Whether Azov is Ukraine's greatest weapon I don't know, but Ukraine has one of the largest armies in Europe, so it would be strange if they are.

    Some of the Germanic symbolism probably has to do with mythological appropriation of the (very historical) Kievan Rus'.



    That there was Russian military intervention is pretty much a fact now:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...oscow-ilovaysk

    Bloodied, dirty and stinking, the Ukrainian soldiers who passed through the town of Komsomolske on Saturday morning made for a sorry sight. But they were the lucky ones, who had managed to escape alive from an assault they say involved regular units of the Russian army.

    Having fled from encirclement in the town of Ilovaysk, their column of 70 armoured vehicles and hundreds of soldiers was ambushed and shelled, according to one soldier. "Our vehicles were colliding with one another and our tracks were running over our own fighters," said Taras Samchuk, 28, whose 51st brigade was one of the units surrounded.

    Many died, some were captured, and about 100 soldiers survived, often "with legs broken or smashed, with shrapnel in our hands, legs, bodies, with smashed teeth and broken noses", he said.

    Two weeks ago, Ukraine looked as if it was winning its battle against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, but the tide has turned in recent days, with the encirclement at Ilovaysk a key moment. Samchuk, like many Ukrainian fighters, said there is only one reason for this. Instead of fighting a ragtag group of rebels, the Ukrainians have suddenly found themselves fighting the regular Russian army.

  20. #45
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    All right, here's something of a roundup.

    There have been elections in the government-controlled parts of Ukraine:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...e-to-the-west/

    The 2014 snap elections to the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) that took place on Oct. 26, 2014 will likely go down in history as a watershed election in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history. For the first time, instead of a closely divided legislature with pro-Russian and pro-European parties nearly equally matched, the October 2014 election produced a parliament where pro-European parties will hold a dominant majority. With 97.83 percent of the votes counted, six parties cleared the 5 percent threshold: People’s Front (22.17 percent), Petro Poroshenko’s Block (21.82 percent), Samopomich (11.01 percent), Opposition Block (9.35 percent), Radical Party of Oleh Liashko (7.44 percent), and Batkivshchyna (5.68 percent). Of the six, only the Opposition Block, composed primarily of member of the rump Party of Regions of the former president Victor Yanukovych, can be termed as pro-Russian. Two other pro-Russian parties that had a chance to enter the parliament – the Communist Party of Ukraine and Strong Ukraine headed by Serhiy Tyhypko, a former banker and one-time deputy chairman of the Party of Regions – did not clear the threshold securing, 3.09 percent and 3.86 percent, respectively.
    More:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29740032
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29755967
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraini...election,_2014

    Important causes of the rise of pro-European parties are the obvious dislike of Putin/Russia and the loss of some very pro-Russian areas:

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/09/...is-in-ukraine/

    Spoiler: Maps of voting in Ukrainian districts 


    I might as well throw in this bit about Darth Vader's failed campaign:

    http://www.newsweek.com/darth-vader-...a-putin-279629

    As Ukraine continues to struggle with Russian influence in its political affairs, Darth Vader, leader of the Galactic Empire has thrown his hat in the ring of the country's complex powerplay.

    Ukraine’s so-called Internet Party has put forward the Star Wars villain as its prime ministerial candidate in Sunday’s nationwide parliamentary elections alongside 16 other registered candidates including Chewbacca, Princess Amidala and Yoda.
    About the March campaign:
    http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/198371.html

    Today elections are held in the separatist areas:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukraine...tcry-1.2821058

    Rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine prepared Saturday to elect legislators and executives in a vote that has been roundly condemned by the international community but backed by Russia.

    Work at some polling stations in the largest separatist-controlled city of Donetsk was disrupted by a sudden intensification of hostilities. Artillery and small weapons fire could be heard in northern districts of the city near the airport, which has been the focus of heavy fighting for weeks.

    Separatist authorities argue that Sunday's votes in the Donetsk Peoples Republic and Luhansk Peoples Republic will lend legitimacy to their aspirations for self-determination.
    Ukrainian forces have used cluster bombs. These are notorious for often killing or maiming civilians.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/20/u...ster-munitions

    Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29702522
    Last edited by Villerar; November 2nd, 2014 at 01:03 PM.

  21. #46
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    During government shelling of Donetsk, two children have been killed and four wounded by a projectile that came close to a school.

    Two teenagers died and four were wounded when an artillery shell hit a school playing field as they played football in eastern Ukraine.

    The attack in Donetsk came as both sides in the Ukrainian conflict accused each other of tearing up a peace deal.

    A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 5 September, although hundreds of people have been killed since then.

    Fighting erupted in April after pro-Russian separatists seized control in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
    If you look at the map at the bottom of the article, you'll see that the area controlled by the rebels after the conquest of southern Donetsk is roughly of the same size as when the military action started.



    The Jerusalem Post discussed the presence of neo-Nazis on both the government side (e.g. Azov) and the separatists' side, back in early September.

    http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Allege...vil-war-374981

    Reports detailing the links between fighters on both sides of the Ukrainian civil war and neo-Nazi groups have again raised the specter of anti-Semitism in a country with a bloody history for the Jewish people.

    That both rebel fighters and members of a Ukrainian volunteer battalion raised to quell the Moscow-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine have deep ties to such groups have not proved unduly worrying to the Jews living in the war zone, however.
    It was noted that both sides distance themselves from anti-Semitic rhetoric:

    There are neo-Nazis fighting on both sides of the conflict, but “from the beginning of all these fights both sides are distancing themselves from anti-Semitic rhetoric,” Gorin said.

    Despite a series of anti-Semitic incidents during and following the Maidan protests in Kiev last winter, there has been little sign of anti-Semitic violence over the past several months. While Jews have died in the conflict, they were not targeted due to their religion, according to many local leaders.

    Communal leaders in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol have all indicated that while they live in fear due to shelling, firefights and all of the attendant horrors of war, they have not felt threatened specifically due to their religious identity.

  22. #47
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    I should update this topic more:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29975341

    Shelling has resumed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, just hours after an intense artillery bombardment throughout the night.

    An eyewitness said the overnight shelling was the worst in more than a month, lasting almost eight hours.

    It appeared to be coming from both rebel and government positions.

    The fighting comes a day after monitors saw large numbers of military vehicles in rebel areas. Ukraine says it thinks the rebels get equipment from Russia.

    Moscow denies this, although in the past it has said that Russian soldiers on leave were fighting among the rebels.

  23. #48
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    At the Brandenburg Gate for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev warned of a new Cold War with regards to the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine if it does not get resolved soon enough.
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  24. #49
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    Thanks, that is very interesting. I believe Gorbachev's warnings to be rather self-interested, as he is an ardent supporter of the annexation of Crimea like so many Russians. Presumably he hopes for a resolution of the Donbas crisis on unfavourable terms for Ukraine, so that the Crimean annexation will be accepted as a fait compli.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...th-anniversary

    Speaking at a symposium near the Brandenburg Gate yesterday morning, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world was “on the brink of a new cold war” and strongly criticised the west for having sown the seeds of the current crisis by mishandling the fallout from the collapse of the iron curtain.

    “Instead of building new mechanisms and institutions of European security and pursuing a major demilitarisation of European politics … the west, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the cold war,” said the man behind the Soviet Union’s glasnost and perestroika reforms.

    “Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world.”
    He clearly believes in the "kick 'em when they're down" narrative of post-communist geopolitics in Europe. NATO allegedly took advantage of Russia's economic weakness during the 90s to expand aggressively and humiliate Russia (the actual expansion was less intentional and more naïve). This then justifies Russian hatred of the West and revanchist dreams of a rebirth of Russian imperialism. Yes, that is an unsettling, very widespread sentiment in Russian society.

    Of course, the correct answer is that Russia has no business annexing one part of Ukraine, suppressing minorities there, and sending troops and weaponry to rebels in another part of Ukraine. Russia has no business trying to unduly influence other countries' participation in NATO (which I don't really like myself) and adoption of democracy and rule of law in some approximate form (which has definitely seen a flawed implementation, that and the relative lack of Western response must be subject to criticism). Russia has no business re-establishing its imperialist ideals.

    Nonetheless, a way must be found to defuse Russian feelings of historical injustice that avoids warfare. But the big question is whether Putin should be allowed to claim any victory when some sort of compromise occurs, whether a settlement should happen under his watch.

    In all this, the position of the far left and the hard left has been very disappointing. Sanctions, if they are sustained (and it is no certain matter whether they will remain in force), are probably the safest measure to pressure Russia into observing international law. The sins of Russian foreign policy are very similar to the sins of neoconservatism and fully deserve the odium of the left.

  25. #50
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Rising Tensions with Ukraine and Russia

    On Friday, Russian state television's Channel One released what was supposed to be ground-breaking evidence for the theory that Ukraine shot MH17 down:

    http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/11...eoId=347507590

    Instead, something else was rapidly shot down by journalists from the citizen website Bellingcat:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-pho...15-11nl7w.html

    A new attempt by Russian state television to shift the blame for the MH17 tragedy has been exposed as a shoddy Photoshop fake by a group of citizen journalists who said the "evidence" had obvious flaws.

    A report on Friday by Channel One Russia claimed to have unearthed a "sensational" satellite photo of the last seconds of flight MH17 over Ukraine. The photo appears to show a fighter jet over eastern Ukraine, firing a missile towards a commercial aircraft.

    The publication came as President Vladmir Putin faced a cold reception from world leaders at global summit G20 in Brisbane. Before displaying the photo, news anchor Mikhail Leontyev mentioned Prime Minister Tony Abbot's threats to "shirtfront" Mr Putin.
    The post on Bellingcat provides some cogent evidence that the image is a forgery, indeed:

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2014...eing-attacked/

    On Friday November 14th, Russian state television ran a story of supposed foreign satellite images showing the last moments of flight MH17, with a fighter jet appearing to fire at the plane. Suspicions arose immediately on Twitter, and inconsistencies were pointed out, quickly leading to the conclusion the image is a crude fabrication.
    The White House has condemned this latest episode:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-tv-photo-fake

    The US state department has dismissed as “preposterous” Russian TV reports that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, while the images used to back up the claim have been described as crude fakes.

    Russian state television released what it said was a satellite photograph showing that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down MH17. The White House said Moscow was trying to “obfuscate the truth and ignore ultimate responsibility for the tragic downing of MH17”. It renewed a call to Moscow and Russia-backed separatists to grant unfettered access for international investigators to the crash site.


    The question after this hardly edifying scam is: what fabricated evidence will Russia put forward next time?

    My money is on actual video footage featuring the Vic Viper.

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