Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cease-Fire In Ukraine Collapses - Kiev, Russia sends Convoys

Russian officials announced on Wednesday plans to send a seventh convoy across the border into Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas region, amid widespread accusations that the Kremlin is sending arms to separatist forces instead of aid to civilians.
The announcement follows reports from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) that 43 unmarked green military trucks were spotted heading toward the rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Tuesday.
“Five of the trucks were each towing 120mm howitzer artillery pieces. Another five were each towing partly-covered multi-launch rocket systems,” read a statement released by the OSCE.
Moscow has repeatedly denied giving military assistance to rebels and says its convoys are humanitarian.
Fighting between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists has intensified since rebels held elections in the enclaves of Donetsk and Luhansk in early November. Experts say the two-month old cease-fire is now dead.
“The cease-fire is in name only at this point,” Breedlove told reporters on Tuesday, according to CNN. “The violence continues to increase day by day.”
The NATO commander’s candid admission followed acknowledgement from the White House earlier in the day that sanctions targeting Moscow, which continue to wreak havoc on the Russian economy, have failed to alter “Russia’s calculus” over Ukraine. “That’s why we continue to impose them,” Ben Rhodes, a White House Deputy National Security Adviser, told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.
The U.N. estimates that at least 4,000 people have been killed since the pro-Russian rebellion first erupted in southeastern Ukraine seven months ago.

Kiev is not fully committed to the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russian deputy UN ambassador Aleksandr Pankin said during Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting. He added that the Ukrainian military is amassing forces along the front line.

“Throughout the ceasefire period a concentration of Ukrainian troops was observed almost along the entire front line,” Pankin said.

The withdrawal of heavy weapons and tech gear from the front line has not begun, he added.

Kiev said on Wednesday that it is sending more troops into eastern Ukraine out of fear that militias might start a new military offensive.

Meanwhile, the US called for greater international pressure on Russia to adhere to the Ukrainian ceasefire during the UNSC meeting.
"What we need to do is keep ratcheting up the pressure on Russia until it abides by Minsk and chooses the path of de-escalation," US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said.
The UN Security Council gathered for an emergency session on Wednesday to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine, where the conflict between Kiev and anti-government forces is still unfolding, despite previous Minsk ceasefire agreements. The UNSC has also discussed the elections which took place in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on November 2, which Moscow recognized as legitimate.

In a show of military muscle amid tensions with the West, Russia will send long-range strategic bombers on regular patrol missions across the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a top official said Wednesday.

The announcement by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu came as NATO's chief accused Russia of sending fresh troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine.

"Over the last few days, we have seen multiple reports of large convoys moving into Eastern Ukraine," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "We assess that this significant military buildup includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defence systems and troops. His statement called the situation a "severe threat to the cease-fire."

Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean. He said, "In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico."

No comments: