The war in Eastern Ukraine is to Europe a greater threat than the conflict in Syria – The Daily Signal

The war in Eastern Ukraine is to Europe a greater threat than the conflict in Syria – The Daily Signal

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The truce in the Donbass, despite the Minsk agreement.

The shaky truce in Eastern Ukraine has reached a “critical point,” says a senior Ukrainian official.

Comments official only underline the fact that geopolitical events (war in Syria to the rise of nationalist parties across Europe) has questioned the international commitment regarding the extension of sanctions against Russia.

This writes Nolan Peterson in the article “Tipping point” for ceasefire in Ukraine: US and EU dispute with Russia over Syria,” published on the website of the newspaper The Daily Signal.

“Alternatives to the current truce there,” the official said during the meeting behind closed doors with a small group of foreign journalists on Wednesday in Kiev. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic problems.

“The conflict in Donbas could be resolved very easily,” the official said, referring to the victim from fighting South-East region of Ukraine on the border with Russia. “It depends on Russia … but we should not be so naive as to assume that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will relinquish control over the Donbass. He wants to show that Ukraine is a failed state.”

See also: Imaginary truce. Despite the silence regime the militants continue cynically to bombard military

The intensity of the conflict in Ukraine is changing in accordance with the agreement on a cease-fire under the name of “Minsk 2” agreement signed in February 2015 leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, as well as representatives of the two breakaway separatist territories in Eastern Ukraine.

Russia was a participant in the development and implementation of the agreement on cease-fire, despite the fact that the Kremlin still insists that Russian troops are not involved in the fighting on the territory of Ukraine.

Ukrainian diplomats and lawmakers are increasingly concerned that the European and American allies give priority to cooperation with Russia in Syria and resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

Kiev is concerned about the future of US policy towards Ukraine and NATO after the presidential election and the rise of nationalist parties across Europe – which are often funded by Moscow and Pro-Russian views differ.

“We are concerned that within the EU there is no unity,” said the Ukrainian official about the European Union, adding that the partners should demonstrate “patience and perseverance” to contain Russia.

Vice-President of the United States said that Europe is ready to withdraw from Russia sanctions

TSN. 16:45
September 22, 17:21

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To do this, just need a reason, says Joe Biden. With such a warning to the Ukraine to new York made us official. Joe Biden is straightforward, said Ukraine is actively conducting reforms, or Europe unleashes Moscow hand and cancels the sanctions.

“The American side is trying to make a deal with Russia before [President Barack] Obama leaves office,” said Ukrainian official. “And next year you may receive a completely new Europe. The preservation of the policy of sanctions is a very important issue for us. The sanctions bring results. The aggressor has to pay for flagrant violation of international law”.

Ukraine’s prospects are not too good, based on the latest steps by the Obama administration, starting with the “reset” of relations with Russia in 2009, says one expert.

“In regard to PRO, Ukraine will be sold to Russia as well as his time in Poland and the Czech Republic, before the “reboot” and just as the Gulf countries were sold before the [nuclear] deal with Iran,” told The Daily Signal’s Luke Coffey, the Director of the center for foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation. “Past experience teaches us nothing,” said Coffey.


Next year will be the election of the President of France and Chancellor of Germany. Both countries are gaining strength extreme right-wing parties with Pro-Russian inclinations.

Kiev is concerned that the mixed messages from EU countries contributed to the fact that the Kremlin has refused to negotiate on Ukraine.

In 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined EU leaders to impose sanctions against Russia after the annexation of Crimea. The German leader remains a staunch advocate of maintaining economic pressure on the Kremlin.

However, in June the foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for the phasing out of EU sanctions.

France is also not United in its policy towards Russia.

See also: Germany is called upon to consider new sanctions against Russia

28 July 11 a delegation of French MPs and senators visited the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in March 2014. Deputies arrived to participate in the celebration of the Day of Russian Navy in Sevastopol.

Marcel van Herpen, Director, Cicero Foundation, a Dutch think tank, said that Russia uses the Ukrainian truce as a “diplomatic tool to further their own revisionist goals.”

“If she later finds it useless, Moscow will leave the negotiating table,” said van Herpen edition of the Daily Signal. “Moscow holds all the cards, and Kiev can only try to convince the Western powers in the unfair implementation of the agreement with Moscow”.

The EU has extended and expanded sanctions due to the ongoing efforts of Russia to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.

USA, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and Australia are among the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia after its military action in Ukraine.

Russia was the third largest trading partner of the EU, trade was 8.4% of the total [trade] before the sanctions came into force in 2014. EU trading partner No. 1 for Russia.

Heavy blow for the French was the abolition of the sale of two “Mistral” Russia in 2014, which led to loss of revenue worth over 1 billion euros. France, in the end, sold the ships to Egypt.

Overall, in 2015, due to the Russian sanctions, the EU was faced with a drop in gross domestic product of 0.4% (about 50 billion euros), according to the European Commission. Analysts expect a long term drop in GDP by 0.8%, if the sanctions remain in force.

The agricultural sector in Europe, was greatly affected because of the sanctions. According to estimates of the European Parliament, the European agricultural sector will lose about $ 6.7 billion and 130,000 jobs.

In General, the EU could lose about 1 million jobs in the short term, as well as about 2.2 million jobs if the sanctions will remain in force for another few years.

Right-wing parties, including the Moscow-funded French national front, are gaining popularity, the leaders of the EU are under increasing pressure, populists urged them to improve relations with Moscow.

The EU called for further financial sanctions against Russia over the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine and Syria

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The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and European Council President Donald Tusk said at a forum in Germany. According to officials, Russia has actively supported right-wing nationalists throughout Europe. And ready to continue to use force in Ukraine.

The growing threat

Some countries-EU members intend to maintain a tough stance against Moscow. Their resolve was bolstered by the results of a recent international investigation, which came to the conclusion that the rocket of a class “earth-air”, which shot down the Airbus Malaysian airlines over Eastern Ukraine in 2014, was of Russian origin, and it was ruled by the Russian military crew.

“Despite the fact that the social Democrats Hungary, Greece, Italy, and Germany insist on the lifting of sanctions, there are also tendencies to counter,” said van Herpen.

“One of them is a recent report by the JIT [joint investigation group] under the leadership of the Netherlands on the Downing of MH17,” he said, referring to the Malaysian plane. “This has strengthened the position of the group, which wants to keep sanctions. Not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Nordic and Baltic countries”.

See also: Video of the full report of the investigators about the crash of flight MH17 translated from Dutch

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Merkel is considering new EU sanctions against Russia due to the bombardment of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The US said that Russia may have committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilian targets in Aleppo, including the hospital.

EU leaders are in a difficult situation. They desperately need to end the war in Syria to prevent another influx of refugees to Europe. However, the disposal of the leaders of the EU have only a limited set of tools to put pressure on Moscow over Syria. Expanding it does not allow populists who demand the lifting of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

See also: the public Prosecutor’s office has accused Russia of lying about the MH17 disaster

Limited political means to punish Moscow forced EU leaders to think about the conflict in Ukraine or Syria – is the biggest existential threat to European peace and stability.

In the long term, said van Herpen, Ukraine is a greater threat.

“Syria is a local civil war, which, of course, has consequences for the entire region (refugees, terrorism), but it is a conflict of an entirely different sort,” said van Herpen.

“Although the conflict will continue to fester, it will remain local. Therefore, Ukraine is the biggest threat for Europe… because the Kremlin is trying to destroy the European Union and to drive a wedge between Europe and the USA”, – he added.

Who is responsible for the bloody catastrophe of the Malaysian Boeing

4 Oct, 09:33

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Malaysian Boeing MH17 was shot down from the Russian Beech. The world called for an international Commission of inquiry under the chairmanship of the Netherlands. The downed by militants Boeing 777 Malaysian airlines has become an insurmountable circumstance for all European countries to recognize the Kremlin’s aggression, but the Kremlin until his guilt does not recognize. Exclusive in the program “Groshi”: as Russia sweeps the traces of terrible crimes, and interviews with relatives of the victims.

Red lines

There are several “red lines”, from which Ukraine will not retreat for the sake of implementation of the Minsk 2, say officials in Kiev.

Among these red lines – Ukrainian control over its border in the Donbas, the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Ukrainian sovereign territory, and security of elections in the separatist territories.

Kiev also requires the return of all Ukrainian prisoners of war being held in the separatist territory, as well as political prisoners who were taken to Russia.

According to the estimates of Ukrainian officials and red cross staff, from 250 to 280 Ukrainian soldiers are held in prison in the separatist territories. Ukraine has identified 11 of its citizens held in Russia as political prisoners.

Kiev is concerned about his exclusion from some of the EU States with Russia, for example, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in September in China, as well as the fact that he was forced to abandon some of his principles.

Read also: the Kremlin’s claim that persuaded the United States’s non-compliance with Ukraine Minsk agreements

Sanctions related to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, separated from the sanctions related to the ongoing conflict in the Donbass. Theoretically, the EU could reduce the pressure on Moscow over the Crimea at the same time maintaining the sanctions associated with the war in the Donbass.

However, according to some experts, the collapse of the negotiations, the U.S. and Russia on Syria recaptured the American officials wish to enter into any major transaction with Moscow.

“Recently Russia has broken the truce, and it destroyed the last shred of trust that has so far been the US,” said van Herpen. “New negotiations between the [Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey] Lavrov and [US Secretary of state John] Kerry seem meaningless”.

Nobody demands from Kiev “today or tomorrow” to make unprofitable concessions to Russia to ensure peace in the Donbass, said the Ukrainian official. However, the international unity against the continuation of sanctions, it seems, disappears.

“We are concerned about the silence of the EU about human rights violations in the Crimea”, – said the official.

“Sanctions related to Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, will continue until Russia will not return the Peninsula to Ukraine”, – said on 7 September Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe.

“We join the European Union and remind you that sanctions against Russia over aggression in the East of Ukraine will continue until Russia complied with its obligations under the Minsk agreements,” added Baer.

The organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a multinational body tasked to monitor the ceasefire in Ukraine.

The French President said that the conflict in the Donbass can be frozen

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Francois Hollande noted that this can happen if Minsk will not perform. He stated at the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Noting that he considers a priority issue for local elections, not the return of Kyiv control over the Ukrainian-Russian border.

The promise of East

The terms of the agreement on cease-fire Minsk 2 are divided into two main categories.

The first Kyiv to implement a series of political reforms, including a constitutional amendment to decentralize the Central government. Ukraine also needs to promise Amnesty to militants and to return the breakaway territories through elections.

The second category of agreement is designed to reduce the intensity of the conflict.

Some key points include the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the territory of Ukraine, return to Ukraine control of border with Russia in the Donbass, and unhindered access of OSCE observers to all areas of conflict.

See also: the War in the Donbass and Minsk: the danger of “security zones”

The rules also require that both sides took heavy weapons a specified distance from the line of contact.

Kiev acknowledges that it is still working on the political component of the Minsk agreement. However, Ukrainian officials claim that they are conscientiously trying to implement the necessary changes.

Ukrainian government officials to oppose my efforts to implement the necessary political reforms that Russia continues to provide military support to the separatists.

Russia’s Hand

American and Ukrainian officials say that with the help of espionage and special operations Russia provoked the outbreak in early 2014 a conflict.

The secret campaign of Russia was based on the years of propaganda in the Eastern part of Ukraine, which cleverly used the memories of the invasion of the Nazis during the Second world war and the excitement of a possible conspiracy of the CIA, which was an integral part of Soviet propaganda during the cold war.

When protesters in Kiev ousted Pro-Russian former President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, the Russian media were quick to write that this revolution is a coup funded by the CIA, who brought a neo-Nazi government.

See also: the US state Department is not going to recognize the results of elections in the annexed Crimea

Russian media also provided Pro-Russian separatists in the East of Ukraine, as mostly people of the working class, armed with equipment seized from the Ukrainian army. However, the active use of heavy artillery, armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, blocking signals and rockets of a class “earth-air” suggests that the Russian military is clearly involved in the conflict.

According to NATO and Ukraine, the joint Russian-separatist forces in the Donbas currently have approximately 700 tanks – that is, a large number than the armed forces of Germany.

Numerous independent news reports and studies have proven that Russian troops fought on the Donbass and that Russia supplies, training, and command of the separatist forces.

Read also: Putin claims that Russia had not annexed Crimea

“Despite the fact that the joint Russian-separatist forces trying to cheat the SMM [Special monitoring mission of the OSCE], and to hide the flow of fighters and weapons from Russia to Ukraine, observers continue to document clear evidence of a direct role of Russia in maintaining the conflict,” said Baer on 8 September at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

Violations of the ceasefire

Twenty months after the cease-fire (February 2015) came into effect, shelling and attacks with small arms occur daily along the front lines in Eastern Ukraine. And every day there are reports about casualties among soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict.

Killed about 10 000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians and an unknown number of Pro-Russian separatists and soldiers of the regular Russian troops.

As of Sunday, in the battle in 2016 174 killed Ukrainian servicemen.

See also: In the night of September 15 in the Donbass will begin a ceasefire, Skinnier

According to the Ukrainian military, on Saturday the joint Russian-separatist forces have violated ceasefire 38 times over the last 24 hours, including used mortars 120-mm and 82-mm grenade launchers, machine guns and small arms. Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. One Ukrainian soldier was killed at the weekend, stepping on a mine.

OSCE observers have recorded more than 12,000 “violations of the ceasefire” this year.

The ceasefire violations typically include attacks forbidden on the front line weapons, including large caliber mortars and artillery, tanks and missiles. Attack with small arms is also considered a violation.

Observers can identify violations of the ceasefire regime by direct observation or hearing the sounds of explosions or small arms fire. Each shot is a separate violation. Sometimes one violation of the cease-fire consists of dozens of separate attacks.

For example, on 4 August, the OSCE has registered one violation after observers heard explosions 100 uncertain about 4-6 kilometers from the Central railway station in Donetsk.

On Saturday, Ukrainian and separatist forces held a symbolic withdrawal of troops in two places along the front line.

Speaking in Kiev a few days earlier, Ukrainian officials had minimized the importance of the plan, which created a 2-kilometer zone of differentiation between the Ukrainian and the Russian-separatist forces.

The official said that the withdrawal of troops “pilot project” and said it was only “0.05 per cent” of what is required to achieve a lasting peace.

Critics say that the 2-kilometer buffer useless. The range of the mortars used in the conflict, approximately 7 and 25 km. And other weapons used in the conflict, for example, “Grad”, “Uragan”, “Smerch”, covers a much greater distance.

The war also resulted in a humanitarian disaster, about 1.7 million people were forced to leave their homes, they are now still refugees in Ukraine, or “internally displaced persons” in the language of the UN.

See also: “Shot the truce.” During the day, the militants fired 47 times at Ukrainian military

Approaching the third winter in this war, the civilian population trapped in the conflict zone, is in a critical position.

In the Donbas people living in rural areas, often grown foods. Therefore, with the approach of winter, the gardens are empty, regular deliveries of products to stores cancelled due to conflict and food shortage is becoming a serious problem.

On the Eastern front militants are actively firing, as in the hottest days of the war

TSN. 19:30
Yesterday, 20:12

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Hot night, it was all front line. The second day the fighting almost continuously. Our crew tried to break into the positions of the Ukrainian army, to his own eyes to see what was happening. However, in vain. The latest news is that managed by phone from the fighters.

“Pilot project”

There are a variety of views on the strategic goals of Putin. Is he trying to restore the Soviet Union, for example, or protesting against the Western expansion of NATO.

Some argue that Putin considers himself a historical figure, which is destined to reunite the people of Kievan Rus. Other more cynical estimate of the President of Russia, claiming that its military action – just domestic propaganda, which helps him to retain power.

Whatever Putin’s ultimate aim, his vision turned into a tangled web of hostilities in Ukraine and Syria.

“Russia connects all of these events – Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, as we never did,” said Coffey of the Heritage. “Russia knows that can create his political capital in one place, for example, in Syria, to use it in another, for example, in Ukraine.”

See also: Putin’s storm Troopers: a Fourth Reich

According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow intends to support “controlled escalation” in the Donbass in the framework of a broader strategy to destabilize Ukraine and return the country to Moscow’s orbit.

“Success in the economy and the fight against corruption will help us to deter Russia”, – said the official. “We need to successfully carry out domestic reforms. We must rely on ourselves.”

From van Herpen Cicero Foundation says that Ukraine needs to show patience.

“Refusal of Minsk is not Kiev,” said van Herpen. “Therefore, the only solution to Kiev – to wait out the conflict to cooperate with the Western powers, to strengthen its defence and hope that changes will happen in Russia”.