Ukraine Crisis | Updates & Discussions

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Reuters / Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces shake hands at their positions in the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
Members of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps prepare ammunition at the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces drive armoured vehicles and trucks as cows gather on the roadside near the village of Vidrodzhennya outside Artemivsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces rest near their positions in the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
 

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Reuters / Sunday, June 07, 2015
A boy sits on a swing near his building, which was damaged during fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists, as an armored personnel carrier of the Ukrainian armed forces is seen nearby in Avdeyevka near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
A member of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps fires a weapon from his position during clashes with pro-Russian separatists at the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
Members of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps watch television as they rest at the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
Members of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps rest in the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko
 

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Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
A member of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps smokes a cigarette as he rests at the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015.REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Monday, June 08, 2015
Members of the Right Sector's Ukrainian Volunteer Corps guard their position at the Butovka coal mine near Donetsk, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Sunday, June 07, 2015
Ukrainian servicemen rest at their positions located in the village of Shirokino near Mariupol, Ukraine, June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Maksim Levin
 

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Reuters / Sunday, June 07, 2015
A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at positions located in the village of Shirokino near Mariupol, Ukraine, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Maksim Levin


Reuters / Saturday, June 06, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces prepare a weapon at their position located near the town of Horlivka, north of Donetsk, Ukraine, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko


Reuters / Friday, June 05, 2015
A tattered Ukrainian national flag flutters in the wind at a position held by the Ukrainian armed forces near the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
 

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Reuters / Friday, June 05, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on an armoured personnel carrier as they patrol the area in the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


Reuters / Friday, June 05, 2015
A Ukrainian serviceman holds a mortar round together with a rose at his position in the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
 

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Friday, June 26. UKRAINE — The Latvian armed forces delegation led by Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube, Commander of Latvian National Armed Forces, visited Ukraine.

The guests viewed combat firearms training of a mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The units’ maneuvers were close to combat conditions.

“It was not an imitation of actions, we inspected the readiness of the brigade for combat operations,” Col. Gen. Viktor Muzhenko stressed and added: “During combat operations in the east of Ukraine, we gained the valuable experience and we’re ready to share it with colleagues.”

“My visit is a demonstration of Latvian support for the Ukrainian people in your fighting against the Russian aggression,” Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube stressed. “The experience gained by the Ukrainian army during the combat operations in the east of Ukraine is unrivalled and will be used in the Latvian Armed Forces,” he underlined.

The Latvian delegation also toured SE Kyiv Armour Tank Plant and visited the Training Scientific Centre of the International Peacekeeping of the National Defence University of Ukraine.

In the National Defence University of Ukraine the delegations discussed the state and the prospects of development of military cooperation between the Armed Forces of both countries, defined priorities and forms of cooperation, as well as exchanged experience in reforms and development of the Armed Forces.







 

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Ukrainian servicemen are pictured in position near the frontline with Russian-separatists in Krymske village in Luhansk Oblast on June 25. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg warned the same day there was still a risk of heavy fighting in Ukraine and urged Russia to halt its support the combined forces. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII STEPANOV
© AFP


Russia masses 54,000 troops in Donbas and on Ukraine border – ATO Headquarters - read on - uatoday.tv
14:49 Jun. 26, 2015
Ukraine's military spokesman says Russia continues to concentrate troops on border with Ukraine and in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions

UNIAN: Russia has massed roughly 54,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, according to the deputy head of anti-terrorist operation, Colonel Sergiy Galushko, the ATO press office reported on its page on Facebook on Friday.

"Currently, Russia continues to deploy a group of troops in close vicinity to border and in the occupied territory of Ukraine, consisting of 45 battalion tactical groups, 17 company tactical groups, with a total number of servicemen exceeding 54,000 people, with all weapons and equipment" the statement reads.

In addition, 15 battalion tactical groups and six company tactical groups are operating within the territory of Ukraine, according to Galushko.
 

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Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels


Members of a Chechen battalion fighting against Russian-backed rebels in Lysychansk, Ukraine, in February. Credit Olya Engalycheva/Associated Press


MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Wearing camouflage, with a bushy salt-and-pepper beard flowing over his chest and a bowie knife sheathed prominently in his belt, the man cut a fearsome figure in the nearly empty restaurant. Waiters hovered apprehensively near the kitchen, and try as he might, the man who calls himself “Muslim,” a former Chechen warlord, could not wave them over for more tea.

Even for Ukrainians hardened by more than a year of war here against Russian-backed separatists, the appearance of Islamic combatants, mostly Chechens, in towns near the front lines comes as something of a surprise — and for many of the Ukrainians, a welcome one.

“We like to fight the Russians,” said the Chechen, who refused to give his real name. “We always fight the Russians.”

He commands one of three volunteer Islamic battalions out of about 30 volunteer units in total fighting now in eastern Ukraine. The Islamic battalions are deployed to the hottest zones, which is why the Chechen was here.

Fighting is intensifying around Mariupol, a strategic seaport and industrial hub that the separatists have long coveted. Monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe say they have seen steady nighttime shipments of Russian military equipment on a rail line north of here. Recently, the Ukrainian authorities released photos — which they said were taken by a drone flying north of the city — that showed a massing of heavy weapons, including tanks and howitzers, on the rebel side.


Isa Musayev and his Islamic fighters in eastern Ukraine in January. Mr. Musayev, an émigré from Chechnya who had been living in Denmark, helped found the Chechen battalions last fall. Credit Tomasz Glowacki

In Ukraine, the Dzhokhar Dudayev and Sheikh Mansur units are mostly Chechen, but they include Muslims from other former Soviet areas, such as Uzbeks and Balkars. The third unit, Crimea, is predominantly Crimean Tatar. There is no indication of any United States involvement with the groups.

Along the front about seven miles to the east, the battalions career about in civilian cars, AK-47 rifles poking from the windows, while the regular army holds back in a secondary line of defensive trenches.

The Chechens, by all accounts, are valuable soldiers. Ukrainian commanders lionize their skills as scouts and snipers, saying they slip into no-man’s land to patrol and skirmish.

The Chechens are also renowned for their deft ambushes and raids. In the Chechen wars, insurgents had a policy of killing officers and contract soldiers who were taken prisoner, but conscripted soldiers were spared.

In Ukraine, the Chechens’ calls of “Allahu akbar,” or God is great, are said to strike fear in the hearts of the Russians.

In the interview, the Chechen commander said his men liked to fight with little protective gear. “This is the way we look at it,” he said. “We believe in God, so we don’t need armored vests.”

In the interview at the restaurant, a steakhouse and favorite haunt of Right Sector, the Chechen said he was about 45, had fought against Russia in both Chechen wars and had seen a good deal of violence. When he talks about combat, his eyes grow dark and inscrutable.

For the Ukrainians, the decision to quietly open the front to figures like the Chechen — who are making their way here from Europe and Central Asia — has brought some battle-hardened men to their side. The Chechen had been living in France, and he founded the Chechen battalions last fall along with Isa Musayev, an émigré from Chechnya who had been living in Denmark.

Mr. Musayev, the Chechen said, had received approval from senior members of the Ukrainian government, but “there were no documents, nothing was written,” he said, adding that Mr. Musayev was killed in fighting in February.

Though religious, the Chechen groups in eastern Ukraine are believed to adhere to a more nationalist strain of the Chechen separatist movement, according to Ekaterina Sikorianskaia, an expert on Chechnya with the International Crisis Group.

Not everyone is convinced. The French authorities, on edge over Islamic extremism in immigrant communities, detained two members of the Sheikh Mansur battalion this year on accusations of belonging to the extremist group Islamic State, the Chechen said. He denied that the two were members of the group.

“All of Europe is shaking with fear of the Russians,” he said. “It’s beneficial for Europe that we fight here as volunteers. But not everybody understands.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/08/world/europe/islamic-battalions-stocked-with-chechens-aid-ukraine-in-war-with-rebels.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0
 

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Russian Muslims Traveling To Fight Against Russia's Ukraine Invasion | The Daily Caller

For more than a year, Chechens, Muslims from southwestern Russia, have been fighting on both sides of Ukraine’s struggle against Russian occupation.

The undeniably frank reason one anti-Russia militiaman recently gave The New York Times? “We always fight the Russians.”

The Chechens have had a long and tense relationship with Russia’s central government, alternatively fighting for independence and courting special favor from the rulers in Moscow. When Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014, it once again gave Chechens a reason to push back against Russian overreach.

Chechnya is more than 600 miles away from Ukraine. So for Chechens to be traveling there at all, and hoping to settle their grudges, is surprising.

As early as May 2014, Chechen fighters were appearing on both sides of the fight in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has denied any pro-Russian involvement by his own Chechen forces. But fighters on the ground claimed that they were, in fact, acting on Kadyrov’s orders.

On the other side a battalion of volunteers, many of them veterans of Chechen-Russian conflicts taking back to the 1990s, are trying to keep Ukraine free of the Russian-backed rebels that control significant parts of the country. Besides the annexation of the Crimea to Russia, the rebels have also self-declared the “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine, where everything from mailboxes to money are starting to resemble Russia.

According to Time Magazine, one of the first Chechen commanders in Ukraine was a rogue general, Isa Munaev, whose grudge with Russia dates back to Putin’s forceful crackdown on pro-independence fighters in 2000. Exiled in Denmark since 2006, Munaev saw Putin’s incursion into Ukraine as a perfect opportunity for revenge.

Just weeks after the conflict began, as Time puts it, “Munaev arrived in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, with his suitcase of Chechen flags and patches.” He died in battle in February.

Besides the Chechens, the Ukrainian side has been forced to accept uncomfortable allegiances with anti-Russia militias that open embrace neo-Nazi imagery. Like the Muslim volunteers, these groups (which bear such names as “Right Sector” and “the Azov Group”) operate independently of the Ukrainian military or its American advisors.

But the more colorful warriors don’t bother the Chechens. The fighter who told The New York Times that “we like to fight the Russians” shrugged his shoulders when asked about the fascists. They get along just fine, he said, “because, like him, they love their homeland and hate the Russians.”
 

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Completion of Ukrainian defences makes separatist raids, rather than sustained attacks, more likely in Donbass
Alex Kokcharov - IHS Jane's Intelligence Review
22 July 2015
EVENT
On 21 July 2015, Ukrainian minister for regional development Hennadii Zubko said that Ukraine had completed building defensive positions along the 600-km line of contact in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The permanent positions include three defensive lines along the line of contact, running from the Sea of Azov east of Mariupol, north towards the west and north of Donetsk, further north to Horlivka and then turning east towards Luhansk along the Siverskyi Donets river. The fortifications include 12,000 pre-fabricated ferro-concrete pillboxes and 300 prepared artillery positions. The strongest defences have been built in the vicinity of Mariupol, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in Donetsk region, which the Ukrainians see as the prime targets of separatist militants.
Completion of Ukrainian defences makes separatist raids, rather than sustained attacks, more likely in Donbass - IHS Jane's 360
 

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Ukraine crisis: Why a lack of parts has hamstrung Russia's military - BBC News

Russia's defence firms have been hit not only by Western sanctions but also by a breakdown in business ties with Ukraine.

For decades under Soviet rule, Russia's strategic industries had close links with partners in Ukraine, all centrally controlled from Moscow.

But relations soured last year, with Ukraine's pivot to the West, Russia's annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

The EU and US banned military exports to Russia, saying Moscow was supplying the insurgents with sophisticated heavy weapons and regular troops. Moscow denied the allegations.
Equipment blocked

Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told parliament that Ukrainian components were used in the production of 186 types of Russian military equipment.

That is a serious problem, he admitted, and Moscow could resolve it only by 2018.

Back in June 2014, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered a halt to military co-operation with Russia - and that has shut down several projects.

Ukraine hosts the design bureau of Antonov military transport planes. The economic freeze has blocked plans to deliver a new heavy transport plane, the An-70. And this month, Russia stopped producing another transport plane - the An-140.

In February, Russia closed another programme - Rokot space rockets, which had been putting military satellites into orbit.

The Russian navy has suffered too. It was awaiting three Project 22350 frigates (Admiral Gorshkov-class), but they did not arrive because Ukraine did not deliver the turbines for them.
Air transport problems

Communist-era production cycles involved defence plants in several Soviet republics, but they became independent states when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Since then, Russia has become dependent on Western electronic components - especially computers, vital for all modern armies.

In a high-profile setback for the Russian navy, France cancelled delivery of two Mistral helicopter carriers. France finally agreed on a compensation deal for Russia this week, after long negotiations.

Since 1991, Russia's armed forces have continued to rely on Antonov transport planes - the An-26 (for lighter loads), An-12 (medium loads) and An-124 (very heavy loads). For the heaviest cargoes, Russia also has the Ilyushin-76.

All Antonov planes have Ukrainian components. Experts say suspension of the An-70 programme will not affect the Russian army much, but the lack of components for An-140 production will be a problem.

The Russian air force and navy had already received up to 10 new Antonovs before deliveries stopped.

There is an urgent need to replace ageing An-26 planes - production was discontinued in the mid-1980s.

Russia could revive plans to build a light cargo plane, the Ilyushin-112, but that means finding reliable Russian replacements for Ukrainian components.

"Whatever option it decides to go with, Russia's efforts to revamp its fixed-wing transport capabilities are being affected by the crisis with Ukraine in ways that go beyond the An-140," wrote analyst Gareth Jennings in Jane's Defence Weekly.

Ukraine has also been a key supplier of engine components.

In May, the Ukrainian company Motor-Sich stopped deliveries of helicopter engines for combat helicopters, but continued taking orders for civilian helicopters.

Mr Rogozin said Russia would strive to integrate engine production for the navy and air force, to reduce costs and move away from reliance on Ukrainian and Western equipment.

But a previous Russian attempt to reduce the military's reliance on Ukrainian equipment was only partly successful, Russian military expert Alexander Golts told the BBC.

"We can't take Mr Rogozin's statements at face value. We can believe them only when we see the first Russian gas turbines [for the military]," he said.
 

ke gordon

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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.”
Well I think it is no secret that Putin wants to put together the old Soviet regime. No doubt so he can rule over all. He is a thinly veiled dictator, "apparently President for life." Who knows where his dreams of domination will lead? He is a bit like Hitler without the firey rhetoric.
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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