Ukraine Crisis | Updates & Discussions

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SIMFEROPOL, Crimea — Eight months into the Russian annexation of the Black Sea resort region of Crimea, traces of Ukraine’s 60-year rule here are rapidly being wiped away. Now Ukrainians themselves worry that they are next.

The Ukrainian language has vanished from school curriculums, Russia’s two-headed eagle has been bolted onto government buildings, and Russian laws are slowly taking hold. And as the peninsula Russifies, Ukrainians and other minority groups are finding that an area once renowned for its easygoing cosmopolitanism is now stifling. Some are fleeing their native home.

Many complain that they have been written off both by the world and by Ukraine itself, which is focused on the bloody conflict in its southeast. The turmoil is a harsh consequence of the first major land grab in Europe since World War II — and it comes despite Kremlin assurances that life would be better in Crimea for Russians and Ukrainians alike.


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has quickly become a haven for Ukrainian speakers in Crimea, who can gather on Sunday mornings to gossip and to send up prayers in sanctuaries whose authorities sit in Kiev, not Moscow. But Archbishop Kliment, the leader of the church here, fears for his future.

“I get up worried, and I go to bed worried,” he said, speaking in the converted school building in Simferopol that houses the church headquarters on this peninsula of 2.4 million. “They are closing down Ukrainian schools, Ukrainian newspapers. It’s all closed, and the Ukrainian church is the only thing left.” One poll taken when Crimea was still part of Ukraine found that about 12 percent of Crimean residents, or 280,000 people, identified as Ukrainian Orthodox.

“illegitimate.”

Many ethnic Russians were excited to join a richer nation that promised them a higher standard of living. In a March referendum, 97.6 percent were said to have voted to join Russia. Critics questioned the validity of the results, and opponents largely boycotted the voting. Now they say that an entire constellation of life is swiftly fading away.

Some say they have no future in Crimea. Darya Karpenko emptied her Simferopol apartment and sold her Nissan this month, setting out last week with her 2-year-old daughter to join her husband in the Polish city of Krakow. Even though she is ethnically Russian, she said there is no future for her family in the city where she was born.


“I feel almost like I’m jumping on the last train car that’s leaving,” Karpenko said, shortly before she left for Poland. “We never planned our lives to leave. We bought a very nice apartment. We renovated it. We filled it with expensive furniture. We lost everything here. My husband works in IT. There were 50 small companies in the city, and they’re all closed now.”

Before the Russian annexation, Karpenko ran a popular blog and was a business consultant in Ukraine. Since the takeover, she said, she posts cautiously on her Facebook page, worrying constantly about Russian security services.

experience as eastern Ukraine — although that conflict was sparked by pro-Russian separatists seizing local government buildings, not by the central government in Kiev.

“We felt we had been in internal immigration. I am a Russian person,” said Alexander Burtsev, the director of a children’s art school in Sevastopol, the port city that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. “Our lives have become better,” he said. “Financially better and morally better. Especially morally.”

Local authorities have promised him a new building for his art school, whose students learn painting and sculpture on rickety Soviet-era wooden stools.

Those who complain about the transition period, Burtsev said, are simply being impatient. “Times aren’t easy, because we’re switching from Ukraine to Russian legislation,” he said. “But it’s a temporary problem.”

Authorities say they will smooth out the bumps that have accompanied the peninsula’s switch to Russian rule. They say that there is room for minorities to live in Crimea so long as they live within Russian laws.

“Ukraine has been an angry stepmother for Crimea,” Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, the top Russian official in Crimea, said in written replies to questions. “To make Crimea self-sufficient is our strategic aim. We plan to reach this goal in five years,” and Moscow has pledged $15.5 billion to that end, he said.

As for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, he said that no other churches recognize it. Its future appears to rest on whether it is allowed to register in Russia, an unclear prospect.

Archbishop Kliment says he will fight as long as he can. “Until the last Ukrainian leaves Crimea,” he said, “we need to be here with them.”

Eight months after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a complicated transition - The Washington Post


To much Vodak makes you act inappropriately.:D
 
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Some think that the referendum in Crimea was illegal because there were no dabates and so on. Actually , there were enough dabates since the Crimea was handed-over to Ukraine by Khruschev in 1954 ! It was done without asking the population opinion at all !But more important is that there was no time for debates in 2014 ! Remember peaceful demonstations for federalization at eastern Ukraine in March and April 2014 ? Remember Odessa's peaceful pro-federalization activists that asked for DEBATES , but were burnt alive May the 2nd ??? Ukranian neonazis are thugs that do not allow debates !
 

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Having a couple of friends and relatives in both the European countries near Russia and some areas in America. I can speak out for a fact that news in both countries are highly different from each other. While news everywhere in the world states that Russia is attacking Ukraine, news from the countries around and in Russia are stating that some other country is attacking it and Ukraine is asking for aide from Russia.

Normal people will never know what's really happening between these countries, but it sure is looking like someone wants to start another Cold War. In the end the truth will be what the more powerful tells us it is.
 

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Legend

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United States military advisers to start training National Guard of Ukraine's troops in spring

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, head of the United States Army Europe, announced on Wednesday, January 21, that a contingent of US soldiers will be dispatched to Ukraine in the spring to undertake the training of four companies of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). The exact number of American soldiers who will be stationed at the Yavoriv Training Area outside the western city of Lvov has yet to be determined.


Soldiers of the newly founded Ukrainian National Guard during exercises near Kiev, March 2014

This announcement, which follows the positioning of US and NATO forces in Poland and the Baltic states and escalating threats of a military confrontation with Russia, came as the Kiev government steps up its war against pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region.

Lt. Gen. Hodges made his announcement on his first visit to Kiev where he met with the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushnyakov and the acting commander of the NGU Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Kryvyenko. Hodges told reporters after the meeting he was “impressed by the readiness of both military and civil leadership to change and reform.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told the training mission was part of a State Department effort “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law.” The Obama administration has so far committed $19 million from the Global Security Contingency Fund to help build up and train the NGU.
Disbanded in 2000, the National Guard was reestablished in March of last year in the aftermath of the US and EU-supported and fascist-backed coup that ousted democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych. The new National Guard is being developed as a light infantry, rapid response force aimed at assisting the suppression of the anti-Kiev, Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region.

In addition to the deployment of advisers, the US has also been supplying Ukraine with heavy military equipment necessary to fight the separatists. On Monday, the US Embassy in Kiev announced the delivery of an armored Kozak mine-resistant personnel carrier to the State Border Guard Service (SBGS).

The US also recently delivered 35 smaller armored trucks as well as personal protective gear for use by the SBGS along the eastern border with Russia and against separatist held areas. SBGS spokesman Andriy Demchenko told the Southeast European Times the armored vehicles will "depart to the eastern border area for patrolling between checkpoints. Armored vehicles are not required for peaceful areas, we need it [in the east] to increase the efficiency of border monitoring and to protect the State Border Guard Service staff."
 

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Are things in Ukraine, really as bad as these articles make them sound? I have this... stigma of articles and world wide news, always being so overtly emphasized as if trying to strike fear in the hearts of the readers. I honestly wish there were some people in that area who could actually enlighten me on the situation.
 

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Pro-Russian rebels attack key port; Ukraine says at least 30 dead| Reuters

Poroshenko responded angrily to the fighting in Mariupol, a city the rebels tried to capture last autumn before a fragile ceasefire was agreed in eastern Ukraine. Kiev fears the rebels want to build a land bridge from Russia to Crimea.

"We are for peace, but we accept the challenge of the enemy. We will protect our motherland," Poroshenko said in a statement.
Things are getting worse. This time the separatists intend to fight for more territory.
Big rebel offensive feared in Ukraine as NATO warns of Russian arms - The Globe and Mail

NATO says it has indications that a major rebel offensive is coming, due to heavy weapons moving in from Russia as they have prior to previous rebel pushes. Meanwhile, the UN human rights agency says the overall death toll in the conflict has risen above 5,000 as fighting escalates.

Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko said rebel fighters will continue to fight for more territory, and are advancing in five directions to push back Ukrainian government forces to the limits of the eastern Donetsk region. “Attempts to talk about a ceasefire will no longer be undertaken by our side,” Zakharchenko said.

“If Poroshenko comes here, we will talk. We are advancing now – [so], what talks?” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Zakharchenko as saying.

A Ukrainian military spokesman dismissed the remarks as “just another declaration – let them talk.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed “criminal orders” by Ukrainian leaders on Friday for a surge in fighting in east Ukraine, and Russian-backed separatists struck a bellicose tone in ruling out seeking more peace talks.

“The Kiev authorities have given an official order to start large-scale military operations practically throughout the whole line of contact. The result is tens of killed and wounded, not only among the military on both sides but …among civilians,” Putin told senior state officials in televised comments.

Putin also chided Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for not responding to his proposal to withdraw heavy weapons from the demarcation line between government forces and the separatists as a step towards implementing a ceasefire.

Poroshenko said this week Russia had 9,000 troops inside Ukraine and called on Moscow to withdraw them, blaming it for an armed aggression. Moscow denies sending forces and weapons to east Ukraine, despite what the West says is irrefutable proof.

Poroshenko said his troops were holding the line against the separatists after withdrawing this week from the main terminal at the airport in Donetsk, the biggest city in the east, suffering a symbolic and morale-sapping setback.

Any rebel advances would further undermine a tentative peace deal forged this week in Berlin at a meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Those negotiations concluded with an agreement to uphold a demarcation line defined in September after talks in the Belarussian capital, Minsk.

The plan calls for Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists to pull back their heavy arms 15 kilometres on either side of the line, though there was no agreement on a withdrawal of troops.
 

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Xinhuanet.com said:
KIEV, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- At least 19 people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine over the past day, underscoring the escalation of tension in the almost ten-month conflict, reports showed Thursday.

"The situation remains tense. In the past 24 hours, the armed groups carried out 103 attacks on Ukrainian positions," the press service of the government's military operation said.

Intense fighting was still taking place in the main rebel- controlled Donetsk city and near Debaltsevo town, which lies on the highway, linking Donetsk with another insurgent stronghold of Lugansk.

According to Donetsk municipal council, shelling in the city overnight killed three civilians and wounded ten others.

In Debaltsevo, a child and two women were killed, after pro- independence insurgents launched an assault on Ukrainian military in the outskirts of the city using heavy artillery, a regional department of the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

It said that another victim was a woman, who died when a mortar shell hit a flat where she lived in Avdeevka town.

As a result of the fighting across the restive region, five Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 29 wounded in the past 24 hours, a government military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

Eduard Basurin, the senior insurgent commander, said that seven soldiers from the rebel forces died and 41 injured in the previous day's fighting.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine, which started in April 2014, made an increasingly violent shift earlier this month, when rebels launched an offensive against government troops after scheduled peace talks in Astana were cancelled.

Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, who were due to take part in the negotiations, delayed their meeting in the Kazakhstan capital, pointing to the lack of progress in implementation of the previous peace deal signed in September 2014 in Minsk, Belarus.

Insurgents have been long seeking direct talks with the Ukrainian government over the crisis, but Kiev has repeatedly rejected the calls.
 

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Pro-Ukraine leader of Crimea Tartar group arrested in Simferopol for organizing riots.

 

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Multiple deaths after shelling of humanitarian aid center, bus stop in Donetsk


RT said:
At least 12 civilians have been killed in a rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a local news agency reported, citing Donetsk People's Republic's (DPR) authorities.

Two civilians were killed at a trolleybus stop, and five others died while waiting in a line for humanitarian aid. Five more people died in the Azotnoye district of the city.


The DPR Defense Ministry claims the attack was carried out from nearby residential area which is according to them "a neutral zone located to the north of Donetsk Airport." The spokesman says "the Ukrainian forces approach, attack and then step back to their positions."
News article from RT
 

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Ukraine releases an interview with a captures Russian soldier


 

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Ukraine crisis will not be solved by military means, says Angela Merkel | World news | The Guardian

Finally a voice of reason, Merkel has said that:

Angela Merkel has said the crisis in Ukraine will not be solved by military means, and that the peace agreement struck last September needs to be implemented.

“I cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily,” Merkel said. “I have to put it that bluntly.”
Sending military equipment to Ukraine would be nothing more than adding fuel to fire. Meanwhile NATO chief says that military intervention still remains an option.