Russia's Northern Fleet marines will undergo special training in 2015 for military activities in the Arctic, Northern Fleet spokesperson Vadim Serga said Thursday.In December 2014, Russia unveiled a revised military doctrine prioritizing the protection of national interests in the Arctic. The region, which is believed to have vast reserves of oil and gas, has been the focus of attention for four other nations bordering the area: the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark.
Eastern Ukraine is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe, as residents struggle to get food and medicine, rights group Amnesty International told Reuters. The UN refugee watchdog added that the elderly in the region could be severely hit by Kiev’s policies.
People in the southeastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions are struggling financially and are barely scraping by, according to the deputy director of Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, Denis Krivosheev.
“While it may be too early to call this a humanitarian catastrophe, it’s clearly progressing in that direction,” Krivosheev said, adding that pensioners are the most vulnerable part of the population.
According to UN figures, around 5.2 million people in Ukraine are living in conflict zones. Of that number, 1.4 million are in very vulnerable conditions and require assistance as they struggle with the cold winter, money problems, and lack of services.
Moreover, Krivosheev stressed that aid sent to southeastern Ukraine from Russia and other countries – such as food and medicine – is often stifled by pro-Kiev private armies that are preventing it from reaching those in need, with the goal of starving the population there.
“Attempting to create unbearable conditions of life is a whole new ballgame...using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime,” Krivosheev said.
He described the private armies as “renegade gangs” which need to be handled.
Some of the latest data from Ukraine points to a massive movement of people, with over one million forced to leave their homes.
Figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) show that 610,000 people have been uprooted in Ukraine and 594,000 have been forced to leave the country as refugees.
I was intrigued by this quote, and it seemed worth exploring, so I went to the NYT story to quote it. But guess what?
Here’s what it says now:
Nothing about telling her to convert to Islam. Nothing about telling her to read the Quran. Nothing about telling her to cover her face.
Billionaire investor George Soros has called for the European Union to provide Ukraine with $50bn (£33bn) of economic aid and warned that sanctions against Russia may fail to rein in Vladimir Putin.
"Sanctions hurt not only the country on which they are imposed but also the countries that impose them," said Mr Soros in an essay in the New York Review of Books. "By contrast, all the consequences of helping Ukraine would be positive."
According to the financier, the EU's Balance of Payments Assistance facility and the European Financial Stability Mechanism have unused funds of $47.5bn and $15.8bn respectively. These could be used to support Ukraine by modifying their respective regulations by a qualified majority upon a proposal by the European Commission, he said.