Russia meets Ukraine amid standoff!


Russia meets Ukraine amid standoff!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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After all there were together fighting the enemy of socialism during the cold war and have some basic understating about their problems and the can find solutions. Russia and Ukraine were part of Russia for centuries and separated as the mighty Soviet state crumpled and dissolved into 15 independent republics.

 

Splitting the Soviet Union had been one of the major agenda of US led NATO>and they did succeed in making the Soviet system crimple.

 

 

Conflict

 

 

The post-Crimea military tension in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. The United Nations Human Rights Committee concluded that separatists and Ukrainian forces have both committed an array of abuses. According to the findings the rebels have engaged in murder, torture and abductions that were “disproportionately targeting civilians”. They receive a steady supply of sophisticated weapons and ammunition from Russia. Violations by the Ukrainian military and Interior Ministry special battalions include “arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture. Most of the fighting, which has cost at least 2,000 lives, has been concentrated in Ukraine’s industrialized Donbass region and the key rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, which separatists have declared as independent states.

 

The fighting in eastern Ukraine began in mid-April, a month after Russia annexed Crimea. It has killed over 2,000 people and forced over 340,000 to flee, according to the U.N. Russian Defense Ministry as saying the soldiers were patrolling the border and probably crossed the border inadvertently. Russia reportedly has tens of thousands of troops positioned in areas near the Ukrainian border, leading to persistent concerns that Moscow could be preparing an invasion.

 

Putin has so far ignored requests from the rebels to be annexed by Russia — unlike in March, when he annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. But Associated Press journalists on the border have seen the rebels with a wide range of unmarked military equipment — including tanks, Buk missile launchers and armored personnel carriers — and have run into many Russians among the rebel fighters. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting. Novoazovsk lies on the Azov Sea on the road that runs from Russia to the major Ukrainian port of Mariupol and west to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia.

 

Now after the war conflict in east Ukraine, when the leaders of Russian Ukraine met an impression was  created that  they want to sort out differences. Even as tensions have ramped up after Russia for the first time admitted that its troops had crossed onto Ukrainian soil after Kiev released footage purporting to show 10 Russian soldiers captured on its territory, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine (Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko) shook hands ahead of key talks in Minsk on 26 August, though with little hope for a breakthrough to end the raging conflict pitting Kiev against pro-Moscow separatist rebels..

The soldiers from a Russian paratrooper division were captured around Amvrosiivka, a town near the Russian border. Towering columns of smoke rose Tuesday from outside a city in Ukraine’s far southeast after what residents said was a heavy artillery barrage. Ukraine accused separatists and their Russian backers of trying to expand the conflict. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting.

 

Ukraine’s forces accused Russian troops of trying to open a “new front” after an armoured convoy crossed onto government-held territory Monday in the south of Donetsk region. Ukrainian officials said artillery was fired from the Russian side of the border. A Ukrainian soldier who declined to give his name suggested that the shelling could have come from rebels aiming to take out a Ukrainian rocket launcher. In Kiev, Col. Andriy Lysenko blamed the shelling on “Russian mercenaries.” Novoazovsk lies on the Azov Sea on the road that runs from Russia to the major Ukrainian port of Mariupol. That same road goes west to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in March.

 

Ukraine also accused Russian army helicopters of launching a ferocious missile attack on a Ukrainian border position further to the north, killing four border guards and bringing the death toll to 12 soldiers in the past 24 hours. Local authorities in the main rebel bastion of Donetsk said three civilians were killed in shelling overnight as the army pummels insurgent fighters.

The rebels previously announced the launch of a counter-offensive after losing swathes of territory to a push by government forces. Officials from the EU and Russian-led Customs Union were set to discuss the crisis and trade issues after Ukraine’s new pro-Western leaders signed a landmark deal with the European Union in June that riled Russia.

Russia unilaterally sent about 230 lorries carrying what it claimed was 1,800 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the rebel-held city of Lugansk on Friday after accusing Kiev of intentionally delaying the mission. Kiev condemned the move as a “direct invasion”. Some 400,000 people have fled their homes since April in fighting that has left residents in some besieged rebel-held cities without water or power for weeks.

Ukraine said a small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles crossed into Ukraine north of Novoazovsk, raising the possibility that pro-Russia separatists were aiming to take control of a strip of land that would link up Russia with Crimea. “Russia is trying from its side to open a new front. The new columns of Russian tanks and armor crossing into Ukraine indicates a Russian-directed counteroffensive may be underway,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said there were enough forces and equipment in Mariupol to defend the city of more than 450,000. An AP reporter saw excavators digging deep trenches on the eastern edge of the city.

Ukrainian media aired footage purporting to show captured Russian soldiers confessing to crossing into Ukraine in armoured convoys.  Kiev has long accused Moscow of stoking the separatist insurgency raging in its east — charges the Kremlin has repeatedly denied — but this is the first time it has claimed to have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil.”Officially, they are at exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality, they are participating in military aggression against Ukraine”, Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey said  A Russian defence ministry source on Tuesday said the captured soldiers had crossed into Ukraine accidentally. The soldiers had been “taking part in patrolling a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border. They crossed it most likely by accident, on an unequipped, unmarked section”.

 

 

Meeting

 

 

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine met face-to-face on 26th August for the first time since June to talk about the fighting that has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east. From their opening remarks, it appeared unlikely that Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko would find common ground. Meanwhile, a Moscow military source claimed they had crossed into Ukraine “by accident”. Pressure soared after Kiev’s security service said that paratroopers from Russia’s 98th airborne division had been captured by Ukrainian forces about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

The two leaders sat on opposite sides of a large round table and were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union. Contrary to some expectations, they did not meet one-on-one ahead of the talks. They did stage a handshake for the cameras.

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine who arrived to attend a conference in the Belarusian capital about the development of the Eurasian Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, representatives of the European Commission and the Russian Federation, met face-to-face for the first time since June on the fighting that has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east. They were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The meeting came as Ukraine said its forces had captured 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and the shelling spread to a new front in the far southeast. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting and arming the rebels, which Russia denies daily. “The fate of peace and the fate of Europe are being decided in Minsk today,” Poroshenko said as the talks began.

The leaders spent two hours discussing bilateral concerns after a regional economic summit in Minsk, Belarus, in which Putin said there is no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine. It was their first formal meeting since a chilly encounter in June during D-Day commemorations in Normandy, France.  Poroshenko said in a statement afterward that a “road map” for a possible cease-fire in eastern Ukraine would be prepared as soon as possible. He and Putin agreed to begin consultations about border guards.

The meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk came as Ukraine said it had captured 10 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine and shelling spread to a new front in the country’s southeast. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of supporting and arming the pro-Russian rebels fighting government troops, which Russia always denies. “The fate of peace and the fate of Europe are being decided in Minsk today,” Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate magnate, said as the talks began, his manner unusually restrained. Poroshenko told the gathering in Minsk that “the fate of the world and Europe” is being decided there. 10 soldiers from a Russian paratrooper division were captured Monday in the area of Amvrosiivka, near the Russian border in the Donetsk region. Russian Defense Ministry said that the servicemen were patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border area and probably crossed the border by accident. Ukraine rejected any claims of an accident.

Putin devoted most of his opening remarks to trade, arguing that Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the 28-nation EU would lead to huge losses for Russia, which would then be forced to protect its economy. Russia had been counting on Ukraine joining a rival economic union it is forming with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine is set to ratify the EU association agreement in September. On the fighting, Putin said he was certain the conflict “could not be solved by further escalation of the military scenario without taking into account the vital interests of the southeast of the country and without a peaceful dialogue of its representatives.”

 

Poroshenko said the purpose of his visit was to start searching for a political compromise and promised that the interests of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine would be taken into account. Ukraine wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine, while Putin wants to retain some sort of leverage over the mostly Russian-speaking region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union.

 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged both sides to “discard political ambitions and not to seek political dividend.”

 

No compromise

The refusal by Kiev’s former president Viktor Yanukovych to ink the EU deal last year in favour of Moscow’s economic bloc sparked the protests that eventually led to his ouster and sparked a chain of events that saw Russia annex Ukraine’s Crimea region and sparked the pro-Moscow insurgency.

 

On the ground there appeared no end in sight to the four months of conflict that has already claimed some 2,200 lives and has plunged relations between Russia and the West to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

 

Ukraine wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine, while Putin wants to retain some sort of leverage over the mostly Russian-speaking region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union.

 

Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin met in Belarus with top EU officials and the leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus in a bid to defuse the conflict some fear could trigger all-out war between Kiev and its former Soviet master Moscow. Poroshenko told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that “peace is the priority” ahead of the group meeting.

Putin called their discussions “positive” and said Russia would do everything it could to help achieve peace between Kiev and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. He said a cease-fire was never discussed with Poroshenko. Putin devoted most of his opening remarks to trade, arguing that Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the EU would lead to huge losses for Russia, which would then be forced to protect its economy.

 

Putin has so far ignored requests from the rebels to be annexed by Russia — unlike in March, when he annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. But the rebels are seen with a wide range of unmarked military equipment — including tanks, Buk missile launchers and armored personnel carriers — and have run into many Russians among the rebel fighters.

 

 

Russia had been counting on Ukraine joining a rival economic union that it is forming with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine is set to ratify the EU association agreement in September. On the fighting, Putin said he was certain the conflict could not be solved by further escalation of the military scenario without taking into account the vital interests of the southeast of the country and without a peaceful dialogue of its representatives.

 

Ukraine said a small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles crossed into Ukraine north of Novoazovsk, raising the possibility that pro-Russia separatists were aiming to take control of a strip of land that would link up Russia with Crimea. Ukraine accused the separatists and Russia of trying to expand the conflict. Towering columns of smoke rose from outside a city in Ukraine’s far southeast after what residents said was a heavy artillery barrage.

 

Poroshenko would be unlikely to agree to Russia’s frequent call for federalization — devolving wide powers to the regions from the central government — but could agree to allow them to have some expanded powers. He also has spoken against holding a referendum on Ukraine’s joining NATO; Russia’s desire to keep Ukraine out of the military alliance is seen as one of Moscow’s key concerns.

 

Moscow also said it seeks a negotiated settlement and not a military victory. Poroshenko would be unlikely to agree to Russia’s frequent call for Ukraine to federalize — devolving wide powers to the regions from the central government in Kiev — but could agree to give the regions some expanded powers. Poroshenko also has spoken against holding a referendum on Ukraine’s joining NATO.

 

Meanwhile, Washington claims Russian-directed counteroffensive may be underway and Russia is trying from its side to open a new front. Russia reportedly has tens of thousands of troops positioned in areas near the Ukrainian border, leading to persistent concerns that Moscow could be preparing an invasion. Ukrainian officials said artillery in the region was fired from the Russian side of the border. Later in the day, reporters saw Ukrainian troops and equipment moving on the road west of Novoazovsk, and heard the rumbling of what sounded like artillery fire in the distance.

As Ukraine’s political transition continues, Poroshenko announced long-awaited early parliamentary elections for October 26. The Kremlin also ratcheted up the pressure by announcing plans to send another aid convoy into eastern Ukraine “this week”.

 

 

Of course, there wasn’t any peace talk between Putin and Poroshenko and hence real peace in Ukraine is far away. .

 

 

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