PROTEST AT RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN KIEV AGAINST AGGRESSION TOWARDS UKRAINE
Over 200 people are picketing at the Russian embassy in Kiev against Russian policy and aggression towards Ukraine. From Interfax-Ukraine:
According to an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent, about 200 people gathered near the main entrance of the diplomatic mission, blocked by various improvised means, in particular, old doors, and tires.
Ukraine hits back after rebels down plane
Kiev launches air strikes against rebels after military transport plane is shot down near Luhansk, killing 49 people.
Last updated: 14 Jun 2014 18:17
|The Ukrainian military has launched air strikes against separatist strongholds in the country's eastern region following the shooting down of a transport plane that killed 49 people.|
The military targeted on Saturday rebel checkpoints in Luhansk and a military base that had been taken over by pro-Russian separatists, in retaliation for the downing of the plane, Al Jazeera's Kim Vinnell, reporting near Luhansk, said.
"It's a very dangerous development here," our correspondent said. "Separatists in Luhansk are very much in control of the city, and they say that they are going to meet this attack with everything that they have got."
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko summoned his security chiefs for consultations and promised an "adequate" response after the transport plane was shot down.
"All those involved in cynical acts of terrorism of this magnitude must be punished," he said, declaring Sunday a day of mourning for the nine crew and 40 paratroopers aboard the Ilyushin-76 aircraft.
Overnight, rebel fighters, using anti-aircraft weapons and a heavy-calibre machine gun brought down the plane as it was coming in to land, a defence spokesman said.
Charred debris was scattered for hundreds of metres over the sloping wheat field where the plane came down near Novohannivka, a village 20km southeast of Luhansk.
The tail section jutted up from the ground, with parts of the engines, fuselage and other parts lying around it.
A platoon of rebel forces clad in camouflage fatigues scoured through the ruins for ammunition that had been intended for the government forces in east Ukraine.
Rebel fighters said they fired on the plane after it violated a "no-fly zone" imposed against government aircraft.
The toll is the highest suffered by government forces in a single incident since the conflict in Ukraine began, and is likely to fuel tension between Russia and Kiev's main ally, the United States, which accuses Moscow of arming the rebels.
In Kiev, the deadly plane attack has set off a protest outside the Russian embassy, with demonstrators turning upside down vehicles reportedly owned by embassy staff.
Meanwhile, NATO released on Saturday satellite pictures that it said raised suspicions about Russia's role in moving military equipment into eastern Ukraine.
NATO said that the images showed Russian tanks arrived at a staging area close to the Ukraine border days before similar tanks appeared this week in areas of eastern Ukraine under separatist control.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arseny Avakov said the tanks had rolled across the border from Russia. Rebels claimed they were from a Ukrainian military stockpile.
Evidence that Russia is sending in heavy armour and weapons could encourage the US and the EU to impose new sanctions on Moscow, so far limited largely to visa bans and asset freezes on some individuals, banks and companies.
Ukraine: These Tanks ... And The State Department Lies Again
The Ukrainian coup government claims that Russian tanks crossed the border and are in use by federalists in east Ukraine. First claims talked about three Russian T-72 tanks but later claims changed the type of the tank to T64s. The tanks can be seen driving here (vid) and here (vid).
The U.S. State Department is now endorsing that claim:
The State Department said Friday that Russia had sent tanks and other heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine, supporting accusations Thursday by the Ukrainian government.A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. The Ukrainian Army reported Friday that it had destroyed two of the tanks and several other vehicles in the convoy.
“This is unacceptable,” said Marie Harf, the deputy State Department spokeswoman. “A failure by Russia to de-escalate this situation will lead to additional costs.”
The T-64 is an obsolescent tank no longer in active use by Russian forces, but still stored in southwest Russia.
“Russia will claim these tanks were taken from Ukrainian forces, but no Ukrainian tank units have been operating in that area,” the State Department said Friday. “We are confident that these tanks came from Russia.”
There are several lies in this State Department claims. Ukrainian tank units are operating in the area against federalists. Here are several photos (scroll down) from Associated Press showing them - also pic 7 here. The tanks re T-64 BV, the upgraded subtype used in the Ukrainian army.
T-64BV – Features "Kontakt-1" reactive armour and "Tucha" 81-mm smoke grenade launchers on the left of the turret.
All Soviet era T-64 tanks were exclusively build and later upgraded in Kharkov, Ukraine. The Ukrainian state dealer Ukrspecexport still selling such upgraded tanks. Distinct features of the T-64 BV subtype are marked in picture 17 of this gallery at armyrecognition.com. Two smoke grenade launchers at the left side of the turret - none on the right -, the boxes at the rear of the turret and the infrared searchlight to the left of the gun are special features which can also be seen on page 4-14.1 of the OPFOR Worldwide Equipment Guide (pdf) of the U.S. TRADOC DCSINT Threat Support Directorate.
Russia had some 4,000 T-64s. It did not upgrade them but scrapped those it had.
Ukraine: Those Tanks ...
Rebels drive 3 tanks from Russia into Ukraine, Kiev says headlines the Washington Post:
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the tanks and several armored personnel carriers entered eastern Ukraine through a checkpoint manned by rebels in the Luhansk region. He said government troops attacked the convoy when it reached the neighboring Donetsk region, destroying part of it. The claim could not be independently verified.
Why bother to verify this "news" when one can just easily write "The claim could not be independently verified". Is that supposed to be journalism?
The New York Times is a bit more careful. Tanks, of Unknown Origin, Roll Into Ukraine:
The Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov, told reporters in Kiev, the capital, that the armored column included three tanks, as well as armored personnel carriers and armored cars, and had traversed the border at a separatist-controlled crossing.A video posted online appeared to show a tank, spewing exhaust, clanking down a street in Snizhne, a town about midway between Donetsk, a provincial capital controlled by separatists, and the Russian frontier. Reuters reported that two of its journalists saw the tanks in Snizhne but could not establish where they had come from; separatists on the scene said the tanks had been taken from a Ukrainian military warehouse.
The pictures I have seen seem to show a variant of the T-64 tanks that are modified and sold by the Ukrainian weapon industry and are used in the Ukrainian military. As far as I know Russia does no longer have such tanks in service. How difficult would it be for real journalists to verify that?
Other news from Ukraine:
The Ukrainian coup-government claims to have taken Mariupol, a city so far held by federalists. Taking is one part. Can they hold?
The coup government rejected a Gazprom offer to buy Russian gas for $385 per 1,000 cubic meter. That is about the same price that Ukraine's neighbors pay. But the coup government, likely advised by Washington, rejected that offer. It still did not pay the debt it owns to Gazprom and the flow of gas will accordingly reduced soon. There will be no immediate crisis as some reserves are kept in storage but the issue is destined to further escalate.
The "western" media start to report bits of the humanitarian crisis the Ukrainian government is creating with fight against its own people or "terrorists" as it claims. The honeymoon most "western" media have had with the coup government in Ukraine seem to end. Bits of the truth come into play. Unless of course the media that "reports" is the Washington Post.
Kiev launches air strikes against rebels in Luhansk after 49 people die in downing of plane landing at city's airport.
Last updated: 14 Jun 2014 07:07
Ukraine's Defence ministry said the Ilyushin-76 was carrying soldiers and supplies [Flickr/Ronnie Macdonald]
|Pro-Russian separatists have shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane 10km from the eastern city of Luhansk, killing 49 people on board, a defence spokesman has said.|
Ukrainian officials offered condolences on Saturday to the families of the killed soldiers.
A ministry statement said "terrorists" had "cynically" fired a large-calibre machine gun hitting a Ukrainian air force Ilyushin-76 as it was about to land at Luhansk airport, the AFP news agency reported.
Al Jazeera's Kim Vinnell, reporting from Donetsk, said the Ukrainian military had launched air strikes on separatist positions inside Luhansk in retaliation for the downing of the plane.
Close to the Russian border, Luhansk is the main city of one of two eastern regions hit by violence and which has declared its independence from Kiev.
The airport is the only area of Luhansk still under Ukrainian government control, Vinnell said.
On Friday morning, Ukrainian troops, including special forces, launched an operation to expel pro-Moscow fighters in the port city of Mariupol, leaving five rebels and two soldiers dead.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called the raid a success, and witnesses said that at least four separatists had been arrested, the AP news agency reported.
Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of supplying separatists with weapons, supplies and fighters.
Also on Friday, the US confirmed earlier reports that a convoy of armoured vehicles, including three Russian T-64 tanks, had moved in to Ukraine from Russia and were now in rebel hands.
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington had information that Russia had accumulated tanks of a type no longer used by its own forces in southwest Russia, and some had recently left the area.
Harf said the alleged transfer of arms from Russia to rebels in Ukraine was "unacceptable".
An "anti-terrorist" clampdown by Ukrainian armed forces has left at least 270 people dead in eastern Ukraine over the past two months.