Rough Diplomacy

Orange Revolution: This Means War

February 2014

27-28 February: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in the Crimean capital, Simferopol. Unidentified gunmen in combat uniforms appear outside Crimea’s main airports.

Fear and unease in Novo-Ozyorne

1 March 2014: Russia’s parliament approves President Vladimir Putin’s request to use force in Ukraine to protect Russian interests.

Unidentified gunmen near Sevastopol's airport, Crimea, 28 FebruaryImage copyrightAFP
Image captionUnidentified gunmen near Sevastopol’s airport in Crimea on 28 February

16 March 2014: Crimea’s secession referendum on joining Russia is backed by 97% of voters, organisers say, but vote condemned by West as a sham.

17 March 2014: The EU and US impose travel bans and asset freezes on several officials from Russia and Ukraine over the Crimea   referendum.

Canada’s new, right-wing and pro-globalization minister of foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, is one of 13 pro-Ukraine coup extremists who are banned by the Russian government from travel to Russia as of March 2014.

18 March 2014: President Putin signs a bill to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation.

This graphic from The Post’s graphics team puts it in perspective.

Ukrainian government soldiers walk past a burning field after shelling of their base by pro-Russian rebel artillery near Illovaisk, Donetsk region, on August 14, 2014. Ukrainian forces stepped up efforts to dislodge the separatists from their last strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk and there was more heavy shelling overnight.

15 April 2014: Ukraine’s acting President, Olexander Turchynov, announces the start of an “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Russian separatists. It quickly stalls.

Pro-Russian activists rally at a barricade outside the regional state administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, 11 April 2014Image copyrightAFP Pro-Russia activists barricaded the regional state administration in the eastern city of Donetsk

Riot police officers and a woman take cover behind shields during clashes between anti-government protesters with police in Kiev

 

 

17 April 2014: Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU say they have agreed at talks in Geneva on steps to “de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Three people are killed when Ukrainian security forces fend off a raid on a base in Mariupol – the first violent deaths in the east.Ukraine crisis: fresh clashes in Mariupol and mourning for 21 killed as referendum looms

A boy places flowers in front of the fire gutted police station building in Mariupol Photo: REUTERS/MARKO DJURICA
22 April 2014: Ukraine’s acting president orders the relaunch of military operations against pro-Russian militants in the east.
Politician Vladimir Rybak disappeared after being filmed trying to gain access to a building seized by pro-Russian activists, as Daniel Sandford reports from Donetsk
              
               
                                 Report on dead body

It was really hard to identify him. If he would stay in the water for a few more days, it would be almost impossible to identify the body and we would be forced to make the DNA test. But the body popped up earlier and is recognizable. It is very likely that he was killed on April 19. People who murdered him wanted to cover any traces. They are well trained – these are not some scums or robbers. What they did with an unarmed man is on their conscious only,” added Herman Prystupa, the head of criminal police in Horlivka who worked with Volodymyr Rybak.

ukraineinvestigation.com

It is important to remind that on April 17, 2014 at around 6:00 PM one of the local citizens turned to the police station and reported that a deputy of the Horlivka City Council Volodymyr Rybak was kidnapped by unknown people. According to the person who reported the crime, he was walking with Volodymyr Rybak on the Peremohy prospect when a car stopped near them and two men in masks pulled Rybak in the car and left. Until this moment Rubak’s phone is not active. Beforehand, Volodymyr Rybak tried to enter the building of the so called “People’s Republic of Donec’k” and take down their flag but the pro-Russian self-defense forces did not allow him to do that.

2 May 2014: After months of low-level clashes in Ukraine, the crisis broke into widespread lethal violence Friday, with dozens of fatalities in the country’s deadliest day since the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych in February.Clashes in the Black Sea city of Odessa, leave 42 people dead, most of them pro-Russian activists. Most die when they are trapped in a burning building.

Howard Amos, who spent this afternoon and evening in Odessa on the scene of clashes between pro-Kiev and pro-Moscow protesters, has filed a report on what he saw.

He says some pro-Kiev protesters tried to help people inside the burning trade union building escape, in a chaotic scene with gunfire and rocks coming from above:

Guys hanging from the window sill on 3rd floor, apparently to escape smoke inside

Some people fell from the burning building as they hung on to windowsills in an attempt to avoid the fire that had taken hold inside. Pro-Ukrainian protesters made desperate efforts to reach people with ropes and improvised scaffolding.

“At first we broke through the side, and then we came through the main entrance,” said one pro-Ukrainian fighter, 20, who said he was a member of the extreme nationalist group Right Sector.

“They had guns and they were shooting … Some people jumped from the roof, they died obviously,” he said.

Riot police arrived on the scene as hand-to-hand fighting was already underway inside, but did not enter the building and stood formed up in ranks outside.

Bloody and dazed pro-Russian protesters were eventually escorted out of the building, and were immediately surrounded by angry mobs. Many were handed over to police, and loaded on to police vans.

“The aim is to completely clear Odessa [of pro-Russians],” said Dmitry Rogovsky, another activist from Right Sector whose hand had been injured during the fighting. “They are all paid Russian separatists.”

The seizure of the trade union building was the violent culmination of a day of street battles in this Black Sea resort city.

Titushki – Originally named after Vadym Titushko, a martial arts fighter and part-time bodyguard who had been accused of beating a female journalist at a rally for the ruling Party of the Regions. The term is now widespread in the Ukrainian media for hired muscle at political rallies.

A pro-Russia attack on a Ukrainian military position on the outskirts of Slavyansk has left two servicemen dead, Reuters quotes the defense ministry as saying:

“Heavy fighting is continuing. The deaths of two Ukrainian soldiers have been confirmed at the current time,” the ministry said in a statement, accusing the separatists of using civilians as human shields. It said the two were members of the airborne brigade.

The killings set the stage for the departure of former president Viktor Yanukovych, the installation of the new government, the Russian incursion in Crimea and Ukraine’s current crisis..

      

 

As pro-Russia groups started seizing government buildings across east Ukraine, there has been sporadic violence against locals and with the Ukrainian military, but the death toll has not risen into double digits since clashes began in early April.

How did the clashes in Odessa begin?

Here’s Howard Amos’ account:

The clashes reportedly began after protesters gathering in support of a unified Ukraine were attacked by pro-Russian activists armed with clubs and air pistols.

But the confrontation quickly escalated into a series of skirmishes as the two sides played a deadly cat and mouse game in the centre of the city.

Police largely stood aside as the two sides hurled Molotov cocktails, cobblestones and bricks at each other. Girls as young as fourteen were smashing cobblestones to break them up into missiles of a manageable size.

View image on Twitter

Combatants on both sides were armed with body armour, helmets and shields and carried baseball bats, chains, metal bars and air pistols.

 

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A protester throws a petrol bomb at the trade union building in Odessa. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

In an appearance at the White House with German chancellor Angela Merkel, US president Barack Obama warned that “Russia’s actions in Ukraine pose a direct challenge to the goal… [of] a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”

Merkel and Obama warned of “sectoral sanctions” on Russia to come if the planned 25 May Ukrainian elections were disrupted. “This is not necessarily what we want, but we are ready and prepared to go to such a step,” Merkel said.

              Image result for President of the United States

 

Merkel and Obama decried the continued detention of seven OSCE observers by pro-Russia forces in Slavyansk. “It is disgraceful and it is inexcusable,” Obama said. “Russia needs to work to secure their immediate release.”

A transcript of the Obama-Merkel news conference has been released. Here’s what the president said about the pro-Russia militias operating in east Ukraine:

And as Ukrainian forces move to restore order in eastern Ukraine, it is obvious to the world that these Russian-backed groups are not peaceful protestors. They are heavily armed militants who are receiving significant support from Russia. The Ukrainian government has the right and responsibility to uphold law and order within its territory, and Russia needs to use its influence over these paramilitary groups so they disarm and stop provoking violence. […]

Here is Obama on the broader implications of Russia’s actions:

These are challenging times. Russia’s actions in Ukraine pose a direct challenge to the goal that brought Europe and the United States together for decades — and that is a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. Just as our predecessors stood united in pursuit of that vision, so will we.

In an emergency UN security council meeting, the US ambassador accused Russia of “looking for a pretext to invade” Ukraine. Her Russian counterpart accused Kiev of “criminal misadventures.”

Russia’s actions in Ukraine “shatter that myth” of permanent peace in Europe “and usher in bracing new realities,” US defense secretary Chuck Hagel said, calling on NATO to increase its military preparedness.

         
An injured pro-Russian activist looks on during clashes with supporters of the Kiev government in the streets of Odessa May 2, 2014.

Both sides in the Odessa clashes were armed with bats, stones, homemade explosives and more, Howard Amos reported from the scene. He said the pro-Russia side fired live ammunition and threw stones from the roof of the trade union building.

The Ukrainian government reported that at least four military members died, including two when separatists downed two military helicopters, in at least one case reportedly with a surface-to-air missile.

Children in Dontesk

11 May 2014: Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declare independence after unrecognised referendums

25 May 2014: Ukraine elects Petro Poroshenko as president in an election not held in much of the east.

 

Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko and US President Barack Obama in Warsaw, 4 June 2014.Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionMr Obama described Mr Poroshenko in early June as a “wise selection” for leader of Ukraine

14 June 2014: Pro-Russia separatists shoot down a military plane in the east, killing 49 people.

Russia cut off Ukraine’s gas

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs initial segment of pipeline to China (1 Sept 2014)Image copyrightREUTERS

Russia moved on 16 June to turn off the taps, after complaining that Ukraine had failed to pay off its debts, estimated at $5.3bn (£3.3bn; 4.2bn euros) by Russian state-run giant Gazprom. Gazprom had sought a repayment of $1.95bn.

It was not the first time: it cut supplies because of price disputes in 2006 and in the winter of 2008-09. Those earlier disputes led to gas shortages elsewhere in Eastern Europe, meaning hardship for many ordinary citizens in mid-winter.

Ukraine, until the current crisis, relied on Russia for half its gas supplies. Some EU member states such as Slovakia take all their gas from Russia. In total, Russia supplies 23% of the EU’s gas.

Russia’s supply lines run through Ukraine to several EU countries and as much as 70% of its gas to the EU is carried through those pipes. So while Russia has in recent years tried to bypass Ukraine, in particular with the Nord Stream and South Stream projects, the two countries are, for now, inextricably linked.

Europe's pipeline network

25 June 2014: Russia’s parliament cancels a parliamentary resolution authorising the use of Russian forces in Ukraine

27 June 2014: The EU signs a landmark association agreement with Ukraine.

5 July 2014: Rebels abandon their command centre at Sloviansk in the face of a government offensive.

The Ukrainian army in Sloviansk (8 July 2014)Image copyrightAFPImage captionThe Ukrainian army’s capture of Sloviansk was seen as the “start of a turning point” by President Poroshenko

17 July 2014: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam is shot down near the village of Grabove in rebel-held territory, with the loss of 298 lives.

30 July 2014: The EU and US announce new sanctions against Russia.

Rebel at crash site near Grabove (17 July 2014)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe downing of MH17 caused outrage in the countries affected by the disaster, particularly the Netherlands
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A Ukrainian tank moves along a road near Eastern Ukrainian village of Novoselivka Persha on July 31, 2014

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Ukrainian servicemen, who are members of an artillery section, take cover after firing a cannon during a military operation against pro-Russian separatists near Pervomaisk, Luhansk region, on August 2, 2014.

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A Ukrainian soldier sits atop a self-propelled gun as an army column of military vehicles prepares to roll to a frontline near Illovaisk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on August 14, 2014.

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Bloody footprints on the pavement after shelling in Donetsk, on August 14, 2014. Heavy shelling smashed into the center of Donetsk, once a bustling city of one million. Fierce clashes between government forces and rebel fighters killed 74 civilians over the previous three days in Donetsk, local authorities said.

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Pro-Russian rebels talk in a field near the village of Khryaschevatoye, eastern Ukraine, on August 22, 2014.

22 August 2014: A huge Russian convoy delivers humanitarian aid to the government-besieged city of Luhansk without Ukrainian permission.

Freight cars loaded with self-propelled howitzers sit in a railway station in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia’s Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, on August 23, 2014. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last week that the alliance had observed an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.

26 August 2014: Ukraine releases videos of captured Russian paratroopers. They are later exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers

A group of Russian servicemen, detained by Ukrainian authorities, attend a news conference in Kiev on August 27, 2014. Ukraine said its forces had captured a group of Russian paratroopers who had crossed into Ukrainian territory on a “special mission” – but Moscow said they had ended up there by mistake.

Those are passports and military IDs of Russian soldiers who ‘lost their way’ into Ukraine.

 

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Volunteers take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine before being sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 26, 2014.

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Bystanders watch a fire consuming a school in downtown after being hit by shelling.

27-28 August 2014: Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko says there are 3-4,000 Russian civilians in rebel ranks as the separatists open up a front on the Sea of Azov and capture Novoazovsk.

1 September: Ukraine says 700 of its men have been taken prisoner as pro-Russian rebels advance in the east.

Armed pro-Russian separatists (R) escort a column of Ukrainian prisoners of war as they walk across central Donetsk August 24, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

5 September 2014: Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels sign a truce in Minsk.
9 September 2014: Dutch experts find that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by “objects” that “pierced the plane at high velocity” in July.
24 September 2014: NATO reports a “significant” withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine.
12 October 2014 : President Putin orders thousands of troops stationed near the Ukrainian border to return to their bases.
21 October 2014 : Human Rights Watch says it has strong evidence Ukraine attacked populated areas of Donetsk with cluster bombs, banned by many other states.
26 October 2014 : Pro-Western parties win Ukraine’s parliamentary elections.
31 October 2014: Russia agrees to resume gas supplies to Ukraine over the winter in a deal brokered by the EU and a fragile ceasefire has been agreed by both sides.

MH17 Dutch memorial day: Air disaster that touched a nation

The Dutch investigation team had been unable to access the area, “I had a perception that I could just walk around and find her. In your dreams you see her lying there in the field.”

Robby Oehlers at the crash siteRobby Oehlers visited the crash site in the belief he could find his cousin’s remains
Robby Oehlers at the crash siteWhat he found shocked him: bodies still concertinaed in their seats For many of the 298 families, tiny fragments such as these are all they have to mourn.

“You don’t know if you’ll get anything else,” says Robby. “So then there’s the question, do we bury this tiny piece or should we wait for more?”.

Bryce and DaisyRobby felt it was his duty to search for his cousin Daisy and her boyfriend Bryce

He is one of many relatives confused and frustrated by the Dutch government’s failure to repatriate all the passengers.“They could have talked to Ukraine and talked to the rebels to ask them to stop shooting, but they didn’t.”

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298 victims from 10 countries

  • Netherlands: 196
  • Malaysia: 42
  • Australia: 27
  • Indonesia: 11
  • UK: 10
  • Belgium: 4
  • Germany: 3
  • Philippines: 3
  • Canada: 1
  • New Zealand: 1
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For the Dutch government, it has been a point of principle not to speak to the separatists. Direct negotiations would have made the government vulnerable and open to blackmail, it was felt.

And using force was ruled out by PM Mark Rutte from the outset because of the risk of escalating the conflict.

2-3 November 2014: Separatists in eastern Ukraine elect new leaders in polls backed by Russia and denounced by the West. President Poroshenko accuses the rebels of jeopardizing “the entire peace process” and says Ukrainian forces should prepare defenses against separatist attack.

12 November 2014: NATO commander Gen Philip Breedlove says Russian military equipment and Russian combat troops have been seen entering Ukraine in columns over several days.

The US published lists of individuals and companies hit by travel bans and asset freezes on 19 March, 20 March, 28 April, 16 July and 12 September. The EU’s lists were issued on 17 March, 23 March, 29 April, 12 May, 25 July, 30 July, 12 September and 18 December.

Sanctions graphic

The US and EU have imposed an array of sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses in response to the annexation of Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The EU and US have also targeted certain key sectors of the Russian economy which are closely connected to the ruling elite.

Russian state banks are now excluded from raising long-term loans, exports of dual-use equipment for military use in Russia are banned and future EU-Russia arms deals are banned. There is now an EU-US ban on exports of some oil industry technology and services, though gas remains unaffected.

22nd January 2015
Ukrainian troops are overrun by the rebels at the long-fought-over Donetsk airport
23rd January 2015
After repeated failed attempts at reviving the peace process, Alexander Zakharchenko, the separatists’ leader,says his forces are going on the offensive
The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France agree a deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine at talks in Minsk, Belarus

Ceasefire

2015 February – Germany and France broker new ceasefire deal at talks in Belarus, resulting in a fragile lull in fighting after Russian-backed separatists drive Ukrainian troops out of the transport hub of Debaltseve.

12th February 2015
Wikimedia Commons
IMF head Christine Lagarde

IMF Reveals $40 Billion Bailout Package For Ukraine

June 2015 – Ukraine suspends gas purchases from Russia after talks on the price to be paid for the next three months break down.

Debaltseve Remains Sticking Point Ahead of Ceasefire

In keeping with the ceasefire agreement signed earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko gave his troops the order to stop firing along the line of contact ahead of the midnight deadline. Appearing before television cameras wearing the uniform of the supreme commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, President Poroshenko acknowledged the difficult situation in the key rail hub of Debaltseve, where pro-Russian rebels were continuing to fire on entrenched government forces.

Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko confirmed that his fighters had been ordered to halt military activities everywhere save for in and around Debaltseve, arguing that the ceasefire agreement laid out by the Minsk II delegates did not specifically refer to the town “by name.”

Ukrainian Forces Withdraw from Debaltseve

After several days of intense combat with rebel forces, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared that his troops were in the process of making a “planned and organized” withdrawal from the strategic rail town of Debaltseve.

 Facebook blocked Donetsk leader : “We will win information battle too!” – Zakharchenko | Donbass International News Agency

One Year After Maidan, Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending More Weapons

The United States and the European Union accused Russia of “undermining international diplomacy and multilateral institutions, the foundations of our modern global order” and promised to impose further costs on Russia if the aggression does not stop.

Breedlove: Ukraine Crisis “Getting Worse Every Day”

In testimony to Congress, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Philip Breedlove stated that the situation in Ukraine is “getting worse every day” and that Russia will “proceed until their objectives are accomplished.” Breedlove, who has said that the provision of lethal assistance to Ukraine should not be ruled out, further stated that he has passed his recommendations up the chain of command that they are currently under consideration.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shot back today at Western governments that continue to threaten Russia with further sanctions, stating that “behind these calls are hidden the lack of desire of these actors […] to achieve what was laid out in the Minsk agreements.”

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Normandy format talks between Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France took place today in Paris.

Paris Talks Yield Little Progress

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated today, in testimony to Congress that Russian officials have repeatedly lied to him regarding their actions in eastern Ukraine. “Russia is engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the very height of the Cold War,” the Secretary said, later noting that “they have been persisting in their misrepresentations – lies […] there to my face, to the face of others on many different occasions.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron stated today that British military personnel are heading to Ukraine to train and advise Ukrainian military forces over the next month.

Ukraine Has First Day Without Casualty in Weeks

The Ukrainian military announced today that the past 24 hours were its first without casualties in weeks, including during a period in which the Minsk II ceasefire was supposed to be in effect. The news, as well of reports indicating that pro-Russian forces have begun pulling back some heavy weaponry (disputed by the Ukrainian military), have stoked hopes that the ceasefire may finally be taking effect.

In other news, the Ukrainian Central Bank put into place a severe three-day ban on foreign currency trading, only to reverse course less than a day later. These policies have contributed to the flight of foreign investment and a steep decline for the hyrvnia in recent days, which is also tied to legislative issues related to Ukraine’s IMF program.

Munich Security Conference
Philip Breedlove speaks at the Munich Security Conference.
Wikimedia Commons
Boris Nemtsov Assassinated in Moscow

Boris Nemtsov, an outspoken liberal politician and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was assassinated today in Moscow while walking mere feet from the walls of the Kremlin.

Little is known about the circumstances of his death or who, exactly, is responsible. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, stated that President Putin would personally oversee the investigation into the killing, which he said “bears all the hallmarks of a contract murder and is of an exclusively provocative character.”  Press reports state that Mr. Netmsov, who was walking with a woman, was shot from a passing car. Security camera footage that purports to show the murder has been released on the internet, though its veracity has yet to be confirmed.

Mr. Nemtsov was a former Deputy Prime Minister in the government of Boris Yeltsin, Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, and Member of the Russian State Duma. Reports indicate that he was preparing to release a report documenting the involvement of Russian military forces in Ukraine.

2nd March 2015

A protest march turned memorial for slain Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov . Over 50,000 people walk past the site of Mr. Nemtsov’s assassination, expressing solidarity with his principles and outrage at his death. Many held signs featuring Mr. Nemtsov and the brief but powerful phrase, “Я не боюсь [I am not afraid].”

On the same day as the march, Russia’s Investigative Committee released a statement outlining two main theories about the murder: “the murder was either an attempt to destabilize the political situation in Russia or was conducted by Islamic extremists in revenge for Nemtsov’s stance over the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris.”

According to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States does not have any intelligence that would shed light on Nemtsov’s murder. Asked about it during an appearance on ABC, Kerry stated bluntly, “No, we have none, and we wouldn’t comment anyway,” before calling for a “thorough, transparent, real investigation” into who ordered the shooting.

3 March 2015: 

Russia/Ukraine Stopgap Gas deal

EU has a special interest in maintaining Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine, as it consumes 40% of Russian natural gas, half of which is transited via Ukraine. As part of the deal, Ukraine’s Naftogaz will ensure undisrupted transit to European Union.

The sides, however, agreed to held separate negotiations on this particular issue due to the “highly complex [nature of the question] in legal, technical and political terms,” and noted that it would have no bearing on the supply of natural gas to the EU. Kyiv is planning to increase prices of the gas on domestic consumers by “around threefold” to raise funds to avoid government default and meet the IMF demands to seal $17.5 billion.

4-5 March 2015

Merkel threatens harsher sanctions is ceasefire folds and US law makers plead for Obama to send Lethal Aid in an open letter.  In related news, the Rada today voted in favor of increasing the size of the Ukrainian armed forced by 33 percent.

9March 2015

Putin reveals secret plans to annex Crimea

11 March 2015

US commits to sending more non-leathal aid to Ukraine

Minsk II

Ukraine receives first IMF Tranche talks, Debt Restructuring

Putin hasn’t been seen but emerges after 3 days

Chinese Premier outlines position on Crimea annexation

Russia makes it clear Crimea is non-negotiable

Government fires Russian ogliarch Kolominsky as regional governer

Gerorge Soros states his desire is to invest $1 billion in Ukraine

Kremlin veiws US National Security policy as Anti-Russian

According to Ilya Yashin, friends and allies of the late Boris Nemtsov plan to publish a report that presents evidence of active Russian military troops actively fighting in Ukraine. Yashin wrote on his facebook page that the preparation of the report is “approaching the finish line” and that it will be published in April.

The source material for the reports is supposedly the testimony of family members of troops who have died while fighting in Ukraine. The Russian government maintains that any Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine has done so on a “volunteer” basis, though it is widely believed that Russian forces are active inside Ukraine.

 
 April 2015:
Crimean Tartar Television ATR Network Silenced
Another ceasefire as intial gas talks take way,Ceasefire broken
Porochenko gives approval to Federalization Referendum
Creditor’s misunderstand Ukraine’s Financial Distress
 “They’re misunderstanding, first of all, the depth of the economic-financial distress that the country is in today,” Jaresko said, stating that the choice facing the creditors is to either agree to a restructuring or face serious risks in an economically and politically unstable Ukraine.
G7 Foreign Ministers Discuss Ukraine Crisis
Putin states sale of Israeli weapons to Ukraine counterproductive
Reports show increased Russian troop movement on border, Putin states “no regrets” on Crimea annexation
 EU focus on more sanctions

NeoCon weasel Geoffrey Pyatt

Violence Flairs in new Minsk talks
US ambassador Pyatt calls Ukraine a manufactured war
NATO, EU talks to counter “hybrid warfare”

Lt. General Hodges: Russia is using hybrid warfare to create ambiguity

Ukraine bans Soviet symbols
Secretary of State negotiates release of Americans held by Russia.
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soldiers detain a man suspected of spying

According to a report from Bloomberg, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was personally involved in negotiations over the release of two Americans held by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Kerry reportedly called his Russian counterpart, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and asked for Lavrov to use Moscow’s influence over the pro-Russian forces to expedite their release.

According to Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, one of the workers was a U.S. spy and the other had been recruited to work for the CIA. The International Rescue Committee has denied these allegations, stating that all aid workers in Ukraine are just that, not U.S. spies.

Eu lends Ukaraine $2 billion.

May 2015:

Medvedev: Russia to Adopt “Tough Position” on Ukraine Debt

 

The rebels sport the Novorossiya flag – symbol of their unrecognised breakaway regions

Polling Data: Many in Southeast Ukraine See “Novorossiya” as Myth

According to the leadership of the so-called People’s Republic of Luhansk, the commander of the Prizrak (Ghost) Battalion, Alexei Mozgovoi, has been killed. The Prizrak Battalion is a pro-Russian separatist fighting force in eastern Ukraine and Mozgovoi was considered a high-ranking member of the separatist military force. A pro-Ukraine militia group known as “Shadows” has taken responsibility for the bombing that killed Mozgovoi.

Historically Novorossiya was a large swathe of southern and eastern Ukraine which became part of imperial Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken about it since Russia’s annexation of Crimea last March, helping to stir nationalist feelings about the region.

Report: Russian Military Deploying Mobile Crematoriums in Ukraine

According to a report from Bloomberg based on interviews with U.S. lawmakers who traveled to Ukraine in recent months, the Russian military is using mobile crematoriums to dispose of the bodies of Russian servicemen as part of a broader effort to hide the evidence of Moscow’s military involvement in eastern Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks  at CSIS: “Russia has changed” and its implications for NATO policy moving forward. Stoltenberg made clear that he views Russia’s actions in Ukraine not as an isolated incident, but rather as part of a “disturbing pattern of Russian behavior that goes well beyond Ukraine [and] undermines key principles of European security,” foremost among them respect for borders, the independence and sovereignty of states, and transparency in military activities. Stoltenberg further noted that NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia nor does it seek Russia’s isolation; rather, he put forward a vision of a constructive relationship, only to note that such a relationship may be hard to develop as “Russia has changed. And we must adapt.”

Ukrainian Defense Minister Sees Risk of Renewed Fighting

According to Ukrainian defense minister Stepan Poltorak, Russia moved forces into eastern Ukraine in recent days, dramatically increasing the risk of renewed fighting.

Steinmeier Criticizes Russia Over Travel Ban

June  2015: Reports rule Russia Faked Images of the MH17 Crash

Poroshenko Warns of Russian Invasion

Putin Assures West That Russia Is “No Threat,” Interested Only In Guaranteeing Own Security

Ukrainian Military Blames Patrol Boat Explosion on Rebel Bomb
Pope Francis Urges Putin for “a Sincere and Great Effort” for Peace in Ukraine
 Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk – De facto leader of Ukraine’s largest opposition party, Batkivshchyna or Fatherland,
Says Ukraine May Halt Debt Payments to Fight War
EU Agrees to Extend Sanctions Against Russia
Russia Considers Further Countersanctions
Lithuania says it’s ready to arm Ukraine
Normandy Talks
Canada Announces Additional Russia Sanctions
Footage Purports to Show Russian Base in Ukraine
July 3, 2015
Right Sector Marches in Kyiv, Calls for War
Putin Calls U.S.-Russia Relations “Most Important” to International Stability
July 9, 2015
Gen. Dunford: Russia Greatest Threat to U.S. Security

General Joseph Dunford speaks at an event honoring the Marine Corps.

July 11, 2015Report: Russian Soldiers Desert Posts in Fear of Ukraine Deployment

July 14,2015 Ukrainian Police Stations Booby-Trapped as Standoff with Right Sector Continues

July 20, 2015Rapid Trident Exercises Underway Amidst Russian Displeasure

Troops from Ukraine, the United States and sixteen other countries began the annual Rapid Trident exercises in the western Ukrainian city of Yavoriv today. The exercises, which involve joint maneuvers with 2,000 troops from many Ukraine and many NATO countries, as well as others such as Moldova, are intended to demonstrate Ukrainian and western resolve in the face of a recalcitrant and potentially expansionist Russian threat. The commander of the Ukrainian contingent, Oleksandr Syvak, stated that “these joint maneuvers … display a broad support for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty.”

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Contact Group Talks Lead to DMZ in Luhansk

Ukraine Makes Bond Interest Payment

US Slaps New Sanctions on Former Yanukovych Officials, Putin Allies

Some Powers Ceded to Regions as IMF Approves Next Installment of Bailout

August 4, 2015

IMF Transfers the Second Tranche of the Ukrainian Loan, Emphasizes the Urgency of Peace

Security Service of Ukraine Intercepts Illegal Sale of Uranium

Rebel Leader Claims Reinforcement by 1,200 Troops

Prime Minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, has posted a video in which he proclaimed that the rebel troops under his command had just been reinforced by 1,200 troops trained in Russia.

 In Crimea, Putin Warns of Threat from External Forces

US to Send F-22s to Europe in Show of Solidarity

Wikimedia Commons
Two F-22 Raptor fighter jets flying in formation.
August 27, 2015
Ukraine, Creditors (But Not Russia) Reach Debt Agreement

Estonia Plans Fence on Russian Border

September 1, 2015

Ceasefire Largely Holds in Eastern Ukraine

Radical Party Leaves Ukraine’s Coalition Government

NATO Opens Command Post in Lithuania Amidst Russia Fears

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite visit the new NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) HQ in Lithuania

September 7, 2015
U.S. and Ukrainian Militaries Conduct Simultaneous Land and Naval Drills
September 8, 2015
Ukraine Fighting at Lowest Level Since Conflict Began

September 22, 2015:

Wikimedia Commons
Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who has been in Russian prison on charges of murder since last year.

 Savchenko Trial Begins in RussiaThe trial of Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian military officer who has been held in Russian prison on charges of murder for more than a year, began today in Moscow. Savchenko, who denies the charges against her, stated that “I am a soldier, not a murderer” at the outset of the trial, which many analysts expect to more closely resemble the show-trials of the Soviet period than a legitimate judicial proceeding. Savchenko’s lawyers contend that she was capture by pro-Russian forces and brought to Russia illegally.

The Russian prosecutors allege that Savchenko was a “joint perpetrator” in the deaths of two Russian journalists, a charge that Savchenko vehemently denies. Savchenko, who has stated that she is prepared to be sentenced to up to 25 years in the politically-motivated trial, is not a parliamentarian in Ukraine’s Rada, elected in absentia following her detention in 2014.

Azov Battalion Storms Kharkiv Town Hall, Clashes with Police

At least 200 alleged members of the nationalist Azov battalion, wearing camouflage and balaclavas, stormed Kharkiv’s main administration building on Wednesday. Clashing with local police, the group called on members to get rid of “accomplices to occupiers” (Kernes) and demanded Dobkin to “go and live in Moscow.”

Obama and Putin Meet for Frank Discussion at UN

Presidential Press and Information Office / Kremlin.ru
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama meet following the United Nations General Assembly

 October 7, 2015Poroshenko Lauds “Real Truce” As 4 Soldiers Are Wounded

October 9, 2015

Russia Discusses Possibility of Savchenko Transfer

Alexander Konovalov, Russia’s Minister of Justice, stated today that Russia is open to discussions about the transfer of Nadezhda Savchenko to Ukraine following the conclusion of her case in Russian court. Konovalov’s statement represents a major reversal of the Russian position on Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot considered by many to be a political prisoner indicted on trumped-up charges of murder.

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Ukrainian army pilot Nadezhda Savchenko appears in Moscow court | World | Thanh Nien Daily

Russia Refuses Debt Settlement, Ukraine Threatens Legal Action

Russia refused to sign on to a debt restructuring agreement agreed to by Ukraine and its other bondholders, setting up a dispute that Ukraine says will end in court. “We are willing to go to legal war with Russia,” said Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk after decrying Russia’s lack of support for the restructuring package.

October 23, 2015

Ukraine, Russia Airspace Bans to Affect 1 Million Passengers

Russia and Ukraine will each close their national airspace to the other on Sunday, ending direct flights between the two countries. According to Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, this profound shift will affect approximately 1 million passengers and cost the airlines of both countries approximately a combined 8 billion rubles.

October 29, 2015

Ukraine, Separatists Swap Prisoners

The Ukrainian servicement released as part of a prisoner exchange

November 1, 2015Kolomoisky Ally Hennadiy Korban Arrested

Ukrainian authorities today arrested Hennadiy Korban, a close associate of influential Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, as part of an anti-corruption investigation. Korban is accused of participating in an organized crime group and, in particular, of embezzling the equivalent of $1.7 million in funds meant to help support the Ukrainian armed forces, though Korban’s legal team has asserted strongly that the charges are politically motivated.

Hennadiy Korban, a businessman, politician, and close ally of Ihor Kolomoisky,

Carter: Russia a Threat to World Order

Reports Indicate Increased Fighting Despite Ceasefire

In a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter used harsh language to describe what he called the dangerous actions of Russia around the world.

November 12, 2015

Ukraine Passes Anti-Discrimination Law with EU Visa Implications

November 16, 2015

Putin Floats Ukraine Debt Deal

Speaking at a press conference at the G-20 summit in Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward a plan that could theoretically bring an end to uncertainty about Ukraine’s repayment of a $3 billion Eurobond owed to Russia. Putin proposed an arrangement whereby Ukraine would pay back $1 billion in each of 2016, 2017, and 2018 with no payments in 2015. Russia has refused to join a debt restructuring agreement agreed to between Ukraine and its other creditors, arguing that Russia should be paid back in full.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with the other G-20 participants.

November 22, 2015

Twin Ukraine Power Cable Blasts Leave Crimeans in the Dark

Twin Explosions near four Ukrainian power lines supplying Crimea have left most of the peninsula in the dark. Ukraine supplies about 70% of the electricity used in Crimea. The Ukrainian government has vowed that it will bring the bombers to justice, with Kherson Oblast Governor Andriy Putilov saying, “People guilty of provocation using explosives will be punished.” The government has begun an investigation into those responsible for the blasts, which also cut power for some municipalities in Ukraine which border Crimea, but no suspects have yet been named.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers a statement to lawmakers inside Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in Kyiv, Dec. 8, 2015.

Biden to Rada: “This Is Your Moment”

Vice President Joe Biden told Ukrainian lawmakers today that “this is your moment … this is your responsibility” in a speech to the Rada. “Each of you has an obligation to seize the opportunity that the sacrifices made in the Maidan … to answer the call of history and finally build a united, democratic Ukrainian nation that can stand the test of time,” he said during a speech that both pressed Ukraine on the issue of reform but also reiterated U.S. and Western support for the country.

Yatsenyuk Targeted as Rada Erupts Into Violence

The Ukrainian parliament erupted today as a member of the Petro Poroshenko bloc political party attempted to carry Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk out of the parliamentary chamber.

Avakov hurling a glass of water at Saakashvili’s head.

 December 15, 2015

Avakov, Saakashvili Erupt During Government Meeting

Ukraine’s fractious politics erupted again today when Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Odessa governor Mikhail Saakashvili held a shouting match during a government meeting. The incident, caught on video, appeared to revolve around allegations of corruption against Avakov and other members of the government hurled by Saakashvili; the altercation ended with Avakov hurling a glass of water at Saakashvili’s head. A spokesperson for President Petro Poroshenko called the altercation a “disgrace to the country.”

 

December 15, 2015

Putin, Kerry Meet to Discuss Ukraine, Syria

2016 October – EU negotiators reach an agreement to grant visa-free travel to Ukrainian citizens; the deal must still be approved by the member states and the European Parliament.

2017 January-February – Ukraine accuses Russian-backed rebels of shelling town of Avdiyivka, while rebels accuse Ukraine of shelling their stronghold of Donetsk.

Since the begining of conflict in Ukraine  there have been over 10 attempted Cease Fires – all have failed.

 

 

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