These headlines tell two very different versions of this story:
Hot on the heels of Ukraine's claims of 'invasion' and retraction of said claim, NATO is once again stepping in with strong claims about Russian 'incursions':
- *NATO OFFICER: ESTIMATED 20,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS NEAR UKRAINE (not 17 or 45?)
- *NATO OFFICER: OVER 1,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS OPERATING IN UKRAINE
- *NATO OFFICER: 2ND FRONT RISKS CUTTING UKRAINE ARMY SUPPLY LINES
- *NATO OFFICER: NEW 2ND FRONT 'EXTREMELY WORRYING' FOR UKRAINE
While NATO statements in the past have caused dramatic weakness in stocks (or been entirely shurgged off), it appears this time markets are taking their concerns more seriously as the officer states Ukraine's forces are in a "dire situation."
As Bloomberg reports,
NATO estimates there are currently 20,000 Russian troops in the border region to Ukraine, says a North Atlantic Treaty Organization military officer speaking to reporters today on condition of anonymity at supreme headquarters in Mons, Belgium.
Well over 1,000 Russian troops now operating inside Ukraine: officer
Russian troops in Ukraine operating advanced equipment, serving as advisers for separatists: officer
As a result of Ukraine becoming more effective militarily starting in July, there has been a real upsurge in Russian activities of late. Cross border support, firing of rockets and artillery shells across border, supply of more weapons: officer
Russia has effectively created second front in the south, this is an extremely effective way to take pressure off separatists: officer
Puts Ukraine forces in “dire situation” since from south Russian forces can move up to link with Donetsk forces or can even move west toward Crimea: officer
Opening of second front in south is “extremely worrying”for Ukraine’s position; there’s a risk that Ukraine military’s supply lies will be cut: officer
Officer declines to call Russian moves in Ukraine an “invasion,” instead repeatedly uses the term “incursion”
- *NATO OFFICER: RUSSIA SEEKS TO TAKE PRESSURE OFF REBEL FORCES
- *NATO OFFICER: RUSSIAN TROOPS IN UKRAINE MANNING ADVANCED ARMS
Russia is more openly backing the Ukrainian rebels, now with small Russian military formations moving into Ukraine’s territory, senior NATO diplomat says.
Russia has provided artillery and rocket support for rebels, from positions both in Russia and inside Ukraine, diplomat says
SA-22 surface-to-air missiles are now being deployed, more sophisticated than the SA-11 missiles that downed the Malaysian airliner, diplomat says
Russian support has become more overt in the wake of Kiev government’s successes against the rebels near Luhansk and Donetsk, diplomat says
*NATO OFFICER: RUSSIAN TROOPS IN UKRAINE SERVING AS ADVISERS (just like the humanitarian Americans in Iraq?)
It appears the 'talk' is a little more real this morning asUkraine's security council is considering calling a State of Emergency (which seems ironic given the constant threats they have been noting for months)
And then there's this...
“Russian invasion” should be considered by UN Security Council, Latvian Foreign Minister
Russian invasion in Ukraine must be considered by the UN Security Council as act of aggression, UN must react accordingly, this is war
The OSCE was told there was no Russian presence spotted across the Ukraine border, refuting Thursday's claims that a full-scale invasion was underway. Both the Ukrainian monitoring team head and Russia's representative have given a firm 'no.'
The chorus of allegations about Russia's military invasion of Ukraine had President Poroshenko calling for an emergency meeting of the country’s security and defense council, while Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on Thursday called for a Russian asset freeze.
No actual evidence has been given either by either foreign governments or the media, apart from claims that photographs exist that someone had "seen."
"I have made a decision to cancel my working visit to the Republic of Turkey due to sharp aggravation of the situation in Donetsk region, particularly in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo, as Russian troops were brought into Ukraine," Petro Poroshenko said in a statement on his website.
The Russian representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin, meanwhile, has given a firm response to the allegations, saying that “we have said that no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”
“Accusations relating to convoys of armored personnel carriers have been heard during the past week and the week before that,” he said. “All of them were proven false back then, and are being proven false again now.”
Poroshenko, in the meantime, is going to call for a meeting of the UN Security Council. "The world must provide assessment of sharp aggravation of the situation in Ukraine," he added.
The Ukrainian president added that on Thursday there will be a meeting of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to elaborate the plan for further action.
"The President must stay in Kyiv today," he said.
Given the confusion arising out of the recent capture of Russian paratroopers and the subsequent videos with interviews released by the Ukrainian security services, tensions were easily stoked over Thursday's supposed invasion. Now, the government is going to the US, EU and the G7 to ask for a freeze on Russian assets until their troops withdraw.
Meanwhile, the OSCE has announced that it’s calling an emergency meeting in Vienna – for the second time in August.
When the head of its Ukraine mission, Paul Picard, was asked if the monitoring team saw any evidence of Russia crossing the border with troops and tanks, the answer was “no.” He told journalists of round-the-clock surveillance by a team of 16 people. The team said “we are hearing shooting, but it’s difficult to tell just how far.”
This didn’t stop the Ukrainian government from alleging that the border town of Novoazovsk in the south-east has fallen under Russian control – a mix of troops and members of the eastern-Ukrainian uprising.
Ukraine's own representative to the OSCE, Ihor Prokopchuk also said that "what we registered was a direct invasion of the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine... an act of aggression."
For his part, Russian envoy Kelin said “We only know that the mayor of Novoazovsk said that after 10 rounds of artillery were heard, the Ukrainian soldiers retreated from the city, and the self-defense forces entered,” .
He added that "the Ukrainian ambassador has offered no claims to counter this information."
The Western media has been exploding with allegations, with everyone from the CNN to the New York Times going about the task in a very similar manner: quoting Ukrainian politicians' views on Russia, as well as US figures, the ambassador to Ukraine and the State Department. One similarity could be spotted: they all centered on passionate statements - no evidence - and were followed by a big background into things that took place over the past week.
Whenever there was any mention of someone actually seeing Russian tanks, it seemed a mobile phone was never on hand to take a photograph.