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Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering On The Brink Of War

Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering On The Brink Of War

The US State Department is urging Ukraine toward confrontation with Russia.


Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

Ukraine has increased its military presence in the Azov Sea region. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council met on Sept. 7 and agreed to take a variety of steps to boost the country’s combat capabilities in the area, including the creation of a missile-equipped naval infantry group to counter potential amphibious attacks and naval shore bombardments. Ukraine’s Gurza-M-class armored artillery boats have been brought in to boost the naval component of the forces deployed in the region.

Russia and Ukraine enjoy free use of the Sea of Azov under the 2003 “Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the sea of Azov and the strait of Kerch.” The document is in place but it does not specify any precise border. The parties agree that the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch are the internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia.
Talks have dragged on for a long time but have failed to produce a solution. Ukraine does not want to recognize Russia’s rights, which are based on the fact that Crimea has joined the Russian Federation. Moreover, Ukrainian authorities insist on their right to detain any ship traveling to or from Crimea without Kiev’s permission
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Ukraine is calling for the imposition of international sanctions against Russian Black Sea ports, due to what it calls the “blockade” of the Sea of Azov. It has already imposed punitive measures unilaterally. Tensions have heightened since March, when ships were detained and searched.  On March 24, Ukrainian border guards stopped the Russian-flagged, Crimean-registered Nord fishing vessel in the Sea of Azov. The ship was hijacked. The crew members reported being interrogated and abused by Ukrainian authorities who held them accountable under domestic laws, not recognizing the crew as Russian citizens. The detained sailors were finally set free to return to Crimea without passports. Ukraine violated a number of international agreements and this marked the beginning of a campaign of provocative actions that has been waged ever since. Last month, the Russian Mekhanik Pogodin tanker was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. Russia compared the move to the activities of Somali pirates.

The US is taking sides in order to ratchet up the tensions.  The State Department has taken a deliberately provocative stance, urging Ukraine toward confrontation. Without bothering to study the details, it simply puts the blame on Russia as usual for anything that goes wrong. Washington is goading Ukraine into seeking a military solution, including such unrealistic but dangerous ideas as using the warships of NATO’s standing force to protect its shipping lanes, mining the Azov Sea, or  using fast-moving attack vessels to encircle a large Russian naval asset from all directions like a wolf pack. This tactic was invented by German Admiral Karl Dönitz during WWII, when “wolf packs” of U-boats were used to attack capital ships.  The very fact that such ideas have been generated and are floating around shows how unwise it is to abet Ukraine by throwing unconditional support behind it.
Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council, a leading US expert on Russia, believes that the US administration “should send anti-ship missiles available from or through the US-AGM-84 Harpoon Block II, AGM-158C LRASM A, and the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile” as well as “a viable launch platform and a targeting system, particularly a radar.” The author thinks this should be done right now, without delay. His article was published on Sept. 7 by the Atlantic Council, the prestigious think tank that advises the State Department and enjoys great influence among those who shape US foreign policy.  In another article, Mr. Blanc calls for supplying Ukraine with platforms — older ships that have been decommissioned or are about to retire.  Last month, Mykola Bielieskov, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of World Policy, called for fast-track shipments to Ukraine of the Harpoon Block II ER+ anti-ship missile, enabling it to attack Russian vessels. The idea of providing Ukraine with Island-class coast guard ships is under consideration by the US government. On Sept. 1, Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, stated that the US administration “is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces.”

The powers that be have failed to keep their promises and improve the lives of ordinary people in Ukraine. The presidential election will be held in March 2019. A threatening Russian bogeyman is needed to explain away the failures. The country’s economy and finances are in the doldrums and corruption is staggering.   None of the problems have been solved and the West is getting tired of Ukraine. The fairy tale about Moscow’s “aggressive foreign policy” comes in handy right when the Ukrainian rulers need a scapegoat.

Nobody needs an armed conflict in the Azov Sea region. A number of countries are interested in protecting the right of free passage, enabling vessels to arrive at their destination ports  without risk or delay. The region does not have to be a flashpoint. Russia and Ukraine could sit down at a round table to discuss controversial issues, as the 2003 agreement stipulates the parties should do in order to settle their disputes, should they have any, but that’s not what the State Department is calling for. The only option the US administration is considering is that of providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia and then egging Kiev on to escalate the tensions. And those are already dangerously running high. A spark can ignite a big fire at any time if the problem is not addressed in a positive way without saber rattling. It’s a pity the US is playing such a destructive role. The time is right for Russian and Ukrainian experts and officials to set their differences aside and start talking to find a peaceful solution to this urgent problem.

Source: http://theduran.com/azov-sea-flashpoint-russia-ukraine-teetering-on-the-brink-of-war/
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Russia presents audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in MH17 tragedy

The Russian Defense Ministry has presented an audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in the MH17 disaster in 2014, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media

 

MOSCOW, September 17. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has ascertained that the videos showing the movement of a Buk missile system from Russia to Ukraine, presented by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, were fabricated, ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

According to him, Russian experts thoroughly scrutinized those videos and came to the conclusion that they had been fabricated.

Read also Dutch journalists discover large pieces of wreckage at MH17 crash site

The Russian Defense Ministry has held a press conference devoted to the MH17 crash, presenting a detailed analysis of those videos and proof of their fabrication

The Defense Ministry also presented an audio recording proving Ukraine’s complicity in the MH17 disaster in 2014, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry, told the media.

General Konashenkov said the audio recording of a conversation between Ukrainian military servicemen was made back in 2016 in the Odessa Region during the Rubezh-2016 exercise and published in the Ukrainian mass media.

"If so, we’ll … [a synonym of the verb ‘shoot down’ - TASS] another Malaysian Boeing," one of the Ukrainian military servicemen said in the conversation.

How the projectile was identified as Ukrainian

The missile, which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, was made in the town of Dolgoprudny outside Moscow in 1986, delivered to a military unit deployed to Ukraine and was never brought back to Russia, Chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Department Lieutenant General Nikolai Parshin told reporters.

According to him, the missile fragments presented by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the MH17 crash carried the numbers of the missile’s nozzle and engine. "Once we had the nozzle and engine numbers, we were able to find out the missile’s number," he specified.

"There are documents in the archives of the Dolgoprudny Research Institute, which made it possible to find out the missile’s tail number. It came out that the missile was assembled on December 24, 1986, and delivered by rail to the military unit number 20/152, officially named the 223rd Air Defense Missile Brigade. It was deployed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’s Ternopol Region, which was part of the Subcarpathian Military District," he added.

According to the general, the military unit was never withdrawn to Russia

MH17 crash

The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash is comprised of representatives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

On May 24, the team provided an update on the criminal investigation, claiming "the Buk-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade... a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad.

Nevertheless, on May 25, Australia and the Netherlands issued a statement saying that they "hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17." The two countries called on Russia to hold talks in order to find an appropriate solution and warned that the case could be submitted to an international court or organization.


Source:http://tass.com/world/1021855
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Murder of Donbass leader committed with help of Western intelligence services - DPR acting head

Murder of Donbass leader committed with help of Western intelligence services - DPR acting head

Murder of Donbass leader committed with help of Western intelligence services - DPR acting head
The assassination of Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, was committed with the help of western intelligence services, the republic’s acting head said. 
 
One person has been detained as part of an investigation into the murder of Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the acting head of the DPR Denis Pushilin said on Saturday.

Pushilin stated that the detained person is “an agent of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU)”, adding that SBU was involved in Zakharchenko's assassination. DPR investigators analyzed the remains of the explosive device that killed Zakharchenko and identified technology that hadn’t previously been used by SBU, he said.

 
“This gives us an understanding that the terrorist attack was committed with the assistance of Western intelligence services,” he added.

Earlier in September, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Ukrainian intelligence services of being behind the explosion that killed Zakharchenko.

Moscow condemned the murder of the 42-year old, saying that the incident may jeopardize the peace process in the east of the country. “Given the current situation, it’s impossible to talk about the nearest meetings in the Normandy format like many of our European partners would have wanted,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. “It is a serious situation that must be analyzed. We are doing it right now.”

Zakharchenko was killed by an explosion in a cafe in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in late August. He had headed the DPR since November 2014, when a crisis broke out in Ukraine following a coup d’etat that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

READ MORE: 'The city is orphaned': 120,000 mourners bid farewell to murdered Donbass leader in Donetsk (PHOTOS)

Hours after Zakharchenko’s killing, the SBU released a statement, rejecting all allegations of its involvement in the incident. According to the service’s spokeswoman, the blast was probably caused by infighting in the Donetsk Republic.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438513-donbass-leader-assasination-donetsk/
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