Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ukraine Updates - June 18 - 19 , 2014 -- Reports: Ukraine to order unilateral truce President Poroshenko's move is part of broader plan to end crisis in separatist east, according to Russian media......... UN: 356 killed, incl 257 civilians, in E. Ukraine military campaign , Over 100 civilians killed, 200 injured in Kiev military op – Russia’s investigators ............ Russia to resume gas talks only after Ukraine repays debt — Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak states.....


Evening wrap....


Ukraine Peace D.O.A: Russian Border Guard 'Severely Injured' As Kremlin Calls Plan An "Ultimatum"

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Petro Poroshenko's 14-point peace-plan is not going well (before it's even unleashed). First, Russia blasted back that they were "surprised" by comments on their support and that "this does not represent reality," and is more an ultimatum than a peace-plan:
  • *RUSSIA SAYS UKRAINE CEASE-FIRE ISN'T OFFER OF PEACE: IFX
  • *RUSSIA SAYS UKRAINE CEASE-FIRE LACKS KEY TALKS OFFER: IFX
  • *POROSHENKO GIVING ULTIMATUM TO REBELS TO DISARM: IFX
Then things escalated further as Interfax reports, the 'severe injury' of a Russian border guard and ITAR-TASS reports "Moscow awaits explanations from the authorities in Kiev for the shelling of the Russian territory, which took place on the background of President Petro Proroshenko’s claims about a ceasefire."

Poroshenko explained: "This is done for terrorists to be able to lay down arms, and those who fail to do so will be eliminated."
He said during the ceasefire, “combat operations will only be carried out for retaliation.”
But Russia is not amused...
Moscow is surprised at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s comment on the phone conversation of the heads of the Russian and Ukrainian foreign policy departments, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

We were surprised to familiarize ourselves with the comment on this conversation made by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry that says that the ministers support the Ukrainian president’s plan “with emphasis on effective control of the Ukrainian border. This does not correspond to reality,” the ministry said.
Moscow awaits explanations from the authorities in Kiev for the shelling of the Russian territory, which took place on the background of President Petro Proroshenko’s claims about a ceasefire, a spokesman for the Kremlin said Friday.

Customs officer severely wounded in incident at Novoshakhtinsk today, Russian Foreign Ministry says on website.

Russia condemns “aggressive act,” demands investigation
Who could have known that a peace plan that offered nothing to Russia would not work?
Russia demands an apology... (via reuters)
Russia said a ceasefire announced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday was not a peace offer but an ultimatum to pro-Russian separatists, Russian news agencies cited the Kremlin press service as saying.

"This is not an invitation to peace and negotiations but an ultimatum to militias in the southeast of Ukraine to lay down their arms," the Kremlin was quoted as saying in a statement.

It also said a Russian checkpoint on the border with Ukraine had come under fire and demanded "an explanation and an apology" from Kiev.
So to summarize:
1) Russia does not agree with Peace plan terms
2) Russia sees it as an ultimatum (threat)
3) The cease-fire has allegedly already been broken



Ukraine President Unveils 10Km "No Man's Land" Buffer With Russia; Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire

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UPDATE: Not going well... UKRAINE REBELS SAY WON'T DISARM UNTIL KIEV WITHDRAWS TROOPS:AFP
Petro Poroshenko earlier called Russia's Vladmimir Putin to explain his 14-point plan (to be unveiled to the public later today) to curb the pro-Russia insurgency in the east. As AFP reports:
  • UKRAINE PRESIDENT SAYSUNILATERAL CEASEFIRE TO BEGIN TODAY TO JUNE 27
  • Ukraine peace plan to call for 10-km buffer zone on Russia border
As Reuters notes, it was not clear if the whole of the proposed demilitarized no-man's land would be on Ukraine's side of the border or part of it on the Russian side. It was also not clear what the status of people living in border areas would be. Putin's initial response is to demand the "immediate end to military operations" against pro-Russian separatists.

President Petro Poroshenko will call for the creation of a 10-km (6.25-mile) buffer zone on the border with Russia under a 14-point plan to bring peace to east Ukraine, according to an unofficial copy published by media on Friday.

Ukraine says fighters from Russia and supplies of guns and other military equipment have been coming into the country to support pro-Russian separatists, and tightening control of the 1,900-km (1,190-mile) border is Ukraine's main security headache.

Details of the proposal to create a 10-km buffer zone, contained in a photographed copy of the 14-point plan and carried in Ukrainian media, were not spelled out.

It was not clear if the whole of the proposed demilitarized no-man's land would be on Ukraine's side of the border or part of it on the Russian side. It was also not clear what the status of people living in border areas would be.

Acting Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval told parliament on Friday that government forces were now back in control of the border and there was now no possibility of military equipment being ferried in to the rebels from Russia.
Ukraine's new President Petro Poroshenko on Friday released a 14-point peace plan to curb a pro-Russian insurgency in the east, calling for immediate disarmament and promising to decentralise power through constitutional reform.

The plan also drops criminal charges against rebels who committed no "serious crimes" and provides "a guaranteed corridor for Russian and Ukrainian mercenaries to leave" the conflict zone, Kiev's private Inter TV station reported on its website.

Earlier Poroshenko called Russia's Vladimir Putin to discuss the plan to end the bloodshed, the second late night phone conversation between the leaders this week, the Kremlin said.

"Poroshenko informed the Russian head of state regarding the main points of his plan to regulate the situation in south-east Ukraine," the Kremlin said in a statement overnight Thursday.

Putin gave "a series of comments" on the plan stressing an "immediate end to the military operation" that was launched by Kiev against pro-Russian separatist militia in Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Let's hope the cease-fire lasts more than minutes... or is this simply another way to ensnare Russia and force US/EU hands to enforce the sanctions they have been threatening. It seems the argument over where the "no man's land" starts and ends will be a non-starter.

Itar Tass....

Ukraine may lose $100 bln in 2015-2018 if it severs cooperation with Russia, Customs Union

 June 21, 3:39 UTC+4
Experts however say the most adverse effects of such shock scenario would be felt for about two first years - in 2015 and 2016
MOSCOW, June 21, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine may lose about $100 billion within a period from 2015 to 2018 if it severs cooperation ties with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan after reorienting towards the European Union, the Committee of Civil Initiatives said in a report entitled “The Dead-end of the Struggle of Integration Drives in Europe.”
According to experts, the most vulnerable to losses might be Ukrainian exports to Russia and other Customs Union countries, with an estimated loss of $14.3-15.3 billion. dollars a year. Apart from that, this shock scenario would include deterioration in trade and economic relations between Ukraine and the Customs Union countries and a slump in cash proceeds from labour migration, where losses are estimated at seven to eight billion U.S. dollars a year.
Moreover, Ukraine will run a risk of having to buy Russian gas at higher prices [an annual loss of 2.2-3.7 billion U.S. dollars], a risk of being short of Russian investments to a sum of about $2 billion a year, a risk of Russians’ refraining from trips to Ukraine ($1.5-1.6 billion), and a risk of scaling down of cooperation between Russian and Ukrainian freight operators (an estimated loss of $0.4 billion)
Experts however say the most adverse effects of such shock scenario would be felt for about two first years - in 2015 and 2016, with subsequent normalization of relations in 2017 and 2018.


Militants of Lugansk won't lay down arms while Ukraine won't take away army from LNR

 June 21, 0:04 UTC+4
Before Poroshenko declared the unilateral termination of operations in the southeast of the country till June 27
© ЕРА/VALENTINA SVISTUNOVA
LUGANSK, June 20, /ITAR-TASS/. The self-defence forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic have refused to lay down arms in response to today’s statement of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on unilateral ceasefire in southeast Ukraine until June 27, Agence France Presse Valery Bolotov, the head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, as saying.
“Our people will not lay down arms until Ukraine does not pull out all troops from our territory,” Bolotov said.
During his visit to Svyatogorsk, located 15 kilometers to the north of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region earlier on Friday, Poroshenko ordered all Ukrainian army units fighting in the country’s southeast and the border guards to cease fire until June 27.
Poroshenko said that the ceasefire was designed to enable the Kiev authorities’ foes to lay down arms. He warned that those who would refuse to do that would be destroyed, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry wrote on its website.
The Ukrainian president also said military hostilities during the ceasefire could be possible only if the Ukrainian troops had to return fire.


Luhansk People’s Republic controls three checkpoints on the border with Russia

 June 20, 21:02 UTC+4
The self-defence forces destroyed several armored vehicles, including tanks
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuev
LUGANSK, June 20./ITAR-TASS/. The self-defence forces of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic are controlling the checkpoints of Izvarino, Dolzhanskoye and Krasnyi Partizan on the Ukrainian-Russian border, Valery Bolotov, the head of the Luhansk People’s Republic, told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
“The area in the outskirts of the Metallist village, the Sverdlovsk district and the Izvarino district were the center of military hostilities on Friday. We have retained our control over the border checkpoints of Izvarino, Dolzhanskoye and Krasnyi Partizan. These are the checkpoints which we controlled yesterday,” Bolotov stressed.
The self-defence forces destroyed several armored vehicles, including tanks, in the battles near Izvarino.
“Our losses are minimal,” Bolotov said.
Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian leadership reported that Ukrainian troopers had restored control over the country’s eastern border with Russia. However, Ukraine’s Security Council and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have refuted that information.


Russia indicts Ukraine’s Kolomoisky, Avakov for using prohibited means of warfare

 June 21, 2:23 UTC+4
They pass accused on the case of application of the forbidden methods of war. Are on this case recognized as victims of nearly 1,5 thousand people
Arsen Avakov appointed by the Verkhovna Rada by the Interior Minister of Ukraine

Arsen Avakov appointed by the Verkhovna Rada by the Interior Minister of Ukraine

MOSCOW, June 21, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has issued a resolution to indict the governor of Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk Region, Igor Kolomoisky and parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov on charges of using prohibited means and methods of warfare, IC spokesman Vladimir Markin has told Itar-Tass.
“In the near future the investigators will put Avakov and Kolomoisky on the international wanted list and request a court warrant for their arrest,” he said.
Within the framework of the same criminal case measures are being taken to identity the commanders and rank-and-file of the Ukrainian Armed forces, the National Guard of Ukraine and Right Sector militants who have participated in the military operation against civilians in the southeast of Ukraine,” Markin said.

Ukraine's Naftogaz says Gazprom wants to end gas compensation contract June 23

 June 19, 21:25 UTC+4
The decision to terminate the contract “has no economic substantiation and increases the risk that Gazprom fails to perform its contractual obligations to European customers,” Naftogaz says
Naftogaz Board chairman Andrey Kobolev

Naftogaz Board chairman Andrey Kobolev

© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV
KIEV, June 19./ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy said on Thursday Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom wants to terminate the contract that obliges the Ukrainian partner to compensate for daily fluctuations of gas consumption in Europe.
At the moment, Gazprom pays Ukraine if Kiev is forced to provide Europe with increased supplies of gas from its underground storage sites.
Naftogaz said the agreement would be terminated on June 23.
“According to the agreement, in the event that Europe’s demand for gas supplies substantially exceeded the request made to Gazprom Export the day before, Ukrtransgaz compensated to the extent technically feasible for necessary volumes by own resources, after which the Russian side paid for the services,” Naftogaz said.
“It takes nearly 36 hours to transit physical volumes of gas through Ukraine’s territory. In the absence of such a treaty, the Ukrainian operator will be responsible for compensating for significant fluctuations in daily consumption volumes,” it said.
The decision to terminate the contract “has no economic substantiation and increases the risk that Gazprom fails to perform its contractual obligations to European customers”, it said. “Hindering the creation of sufficient gas reserves in Ukraine’s underground storages poses similar risks to Gazprom’s reliability in Europe.”
Naftogaz Board chairman Andrey Kobolev regards Gazprom’s intention to sever the contract as another attempt to lobby the South Stream underwater gas pipeline project from Russia to Bulgaria.
He said the Ukrainian side was ready to do its utmost “so that the Gazprom Export’s decision will not affect reliability of gas supplies to the European Union”.

Leap of faith - just who's leaping , the landing spot and what comes next up for grabs ?





Morning news.....















































Rebels Report ‘Heavy Losses’ as Ukraine Attacks Key Eastern Town

Ukraine Drops Leaflets Ordering Civilians to Flee

by Jason Ditz, June 19, 2014
Ukrainian separatist rebels are reporting “heavy losses” today as the nation’s military attacks the key Donetsk Oblast town of Krasny Liman, along with several neighboring villages.
Details are scarce on the fighting, but the rebels report 20 Ukrainian tanks along with other armored vehicles attacking the town. The rebels claimed to have destroyed a single tank and have so far prevented an advance into the town.
Ukraine’s military told the rebels they had “three hours” to unilaterally disarm, and attacked when they refused. The military has since been dropping leaflets on Krasny Liman that read “You will all be destroyed! There will be no further warnings,” along with separate leaflets ordering all civilians to leave town immediately.
The rebels continue to call for Russian aid in the face of the offensive, and NATO today claimed Russia has been deploying troops close to the border again. Russia has warned Ukraine it won’t stand by while the Ukrainian military attacks the ethnic Russian easterners, and the two sides have been talking about a ceasefire, though so far it hasn’t materialized on either side.


Zero Hedge.....


US "Ready To Act" As Russia Looks To Ban US Consultants & Block EU Gas Transit

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It appears Russia 'retaliation' continues for the 'costs' imposed by the West on Putin and his people (Russia +28%, S&P +6% since sanctions). Putin looks set to take on both EU and US as RT reports that Russian MPs are preparing a bill to ban the use of US consulting companies in Russia; and then Ukraine's Naftogaz says Russia's Gazprom seeks to end its accord on daily gas transit - a move which could threaten EU gas supplies. The US put its best man forward to respond and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew thretatened "US is ready to act" on Russia if Ukraine escalates...

Russia retaliation #1:
MP Yevgeniy Fyodorov of the United Russia party is preparing a bill that would ban state-owned companies from using services of American consulting firms, Russia Today reports.
Russia retaliation #2:
  • *UKRAINE: GAZPROM SEEKS TO END ACCORD ON DAILY TRANSIT BALANCE
  • *NAFTOGAZ SAYS GAZPROM MOVE MAY THREATEN EU GAS TRANSIT
  • *NAFTOGAZ: GAZPROM TO END ACCORD ON DAILY BALANCING JUNE 23
Jack lew warns...
  • *U.S. WOULD BE READY TO SEEK FURTHER RUSSIA SANCTIONS, LEW SAYS
  • *U.S. READY TO ACT ON RUSSIA IF UKRAINE ESCALATES, LEW SAYS
But we suspect Russia is not quaking...



Ukraine Truce Lasts "Several Seconds" Before Latest Fighting Involving "4000 Troops, Tanks, APC" Breaks Out

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It took all of "several seconds", in the NYT's own words, for the latest proposal for a ceasefire, issued by Ukraine's new president Petro Poroshenko, to be "rejected."
Here is how the NYT framed it, and why the truce proposal is seen as a "lose-lose" idea from the perspective of the rebels: "After Ukraine’s new president, Petro O. Poroshenko, told reporters in Kiev on Wednesday that he might soon order a temporary, unilateral cease-fire as part of a broader 14-point peace plan, it took all of several seconds for pro-Russian militants to rule it out."
“I am a condemned man,” said a stick-thin fighter who, like many others here, identified himself only by an alias, Tarik, for security reasons. Sipping tea in the gloom of the lobby of Donetsk’s rebel-occupied administration building on Wednesday afternoon, he patted the magazine of the automatic rifle slung across his chest.

Any cease-fire would certainly be violated by the Ukrainian Army, he said, adding that he and other pro-Russian separatists would be arrested the minute the government had the opportunity.

“What peace can they possibly offer me?” he asked. “If they want peace, then they can leave.”
That's the big picture.
The details of the latest fighting, which broke out earlier this morning, come from Reuters :
Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists were locked in fierce fighting in the east of Ukraine on Thursday after rebels rejected a call to lay down their arms in line with a peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko, government forces said. Heavy fighting broke out at around 4 a.m. near the town of Krasny Liman, which itself has been under government control since early this month.

"We issued an ultimatum to the terrorists overnight to surrender their weapons. We guarantee their safety and investigation in line with Ukrainian law ... They refused," said government forces spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov.

"Now we are trying to narrow the encirclement. They are trying to break out," Seleznyov said.
Ironically, the more a truce is trumpeted up, the worse the fighting gets: "Up to 4,000 separatist fighters could be involved in Thursday's fighting near Krasny Liman, and armored vehicles and possibly tanks were being used by both sides, the military source said. "There's a major battle going on which exceeds in terms of force and scale anything there has been up to now," a military source said."
Olesya, a woman in the village of Yampil near Krasny Liman, said Ukrainian forces had entered the village in armored vehicles bearing the Ukrainian flag.
"There's been no shooting. We residents went out into the street to watch the column - and then went back to hide in our houses again," she said by telephone from her house where she was with her husband and five-year-old daughter.
"But there was fighting all night. Mines were flying over our heads. Planes flew over and we could hear heavy weapons. It's awful what is going on here," she said.
Finally, the separatists fighters, realizing they only have to lose should they put down their arms, have no choice but to continue fighting, have "demanded that the Ukrainian military leave the region, called Donbass, while others wanted a war tribunal for Ukraine’s newly elected leaders. Most said they wanted the restoration of “stability,” the precise definition of which remained elusive."
“Maybe there was a way back when this all just started, when the people were out here with the flags to make their point, and before the killing,” said Denis, a separatist fighter from Makeyevka, a depressed industrial town outside of Donetsk, when asked how and when the conflict might be resolved.

Another fighter jumped in helpfully. “The Third World War,” he said to nods of assent.
So much for a detente which as weexplained yesterday, even Putin is now working to promote. Sadly, as Denis summarized, any chance of a real truce is long gone as the time for diplomacy has passed. What remains will be a drawn out, mini civil war which will mark the lives of the citizens in the Donbas for a long time. The only winners now are those who seek continued instability in the region.
As for the general public, their focus on Ukraine has long since passed. Now, it is the turn of Iraq's 15 minutes of infamy to distract from whatever key events are quietly taking place behind the scenes.








Al Jazeera.....


Reports: Ukraine to order unilateral truce

President Poroshenko's move is part of broader plan to end crisis in separatist east, according to Russian media.

Last updated: 18 Jun 2014 10:21
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Kim Vinnell reports from Amvrosiivka on Ukraine's proposal to build a fence along the Russian border
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he will soon order a unilateral ceasefire in the separatist east as part of a broader plan to end the 10-week crisis, according to Russian news reports.
Poroshenko's announcement on Wednesday cam a day after a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the two leaders discussed a long-term solution to the pro-Russian uprising gripping Ukraine's eastern "rust belt" since early April.
"The peace plan begins with my order for a unilateral ceasefire," the Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted Poroshenko as saying on Wednesday.
"Immediately after that, we must receive support for the presidential peace plan from all sides involved [in the conflict]. This should happen very shortly."
Poroshenko's office said the two presidents "discussed a series of priority measures that must be undertaken to implement a ceasefire, as well as the most efficient ways to monitor it".
Interfax-Ukraine said that Poroshenko announced in the capital, Kiev, that the ceasefire was meant to be a temporary measure designed to give the pro-Russian fighters a chance to disarm.
Kremlin said in a separate statement that the conversation between the two leaders "touched on the theme of a possible ceasefire in the area of military action in southeastern Ukraine".
The dialogue between the leaders aims at ending the clashes in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government forces that killed tens of people.
Ukrainian troops have struggled to suppress the fighters, who on Saturday shot down a military transport plane, killing all 49 on board.
Separatists have seized government buildings, held disputed referendums and declared independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along Ukraine's eastern border with Russia.
In his inaugural address on June 7, Poroshenko had said that he was willing to negotiate with people in the region, but not with "terrorists" with "blood on their hands". He proposed an amnesty for separatists, early regional elections and new efforts to create jobs in the area.



Russia Today.....


UN: 356 killed, incl 257 civilians, in E. Ukraine military campaign

Published time: June 18, 2014 10:37
Edited time: June 18, 2014 11:10

A gunman walks by thirty coffins prepared for the funerals of anti-goverment rebels killed during heavy fighting at Donetsk airport on May 26, outside a Donetsk morgue May 29, 2014 (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)
A gunman walks by thirty coffins prepared for the funerals of anti-goverment rebels killed during heavy fighting at Donetsk airport on May 26, outside a Donetsk morgue May 29, 2014 (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)
At least 356 people, including 257 civilians, have died since the beginning of the “anti-terrorist” operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, according to UN calculations. There were 14 children among the dead.
The results prepared by the UN special commission in Ukraine have been presented by Gianni Magazzeni, head of European Department of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
According to Magazzeni, the final body count includes 257 civilians (of them 14 children), 11 more died in Mariupol plus two staff members of Voda Donbassa company . The remaining 86 victims are the servicemen of Ukrainian army, including several dozen paratroopers and nine crew members of Ilyushin-76 who died in the recent plane crash not far from Lugansk airport.
The results prepared by the UN Special Commission in Ukraine have been presented by Gianni Magazzeni, head of the European Department of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
The funeral for Slavyansk hospital nurse who died during the shelling of the hospital 16 June, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)
The funeral for Slavyansk hospital nurse who died during the shelling of the hospital 16 June, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

According to Magazzeni, the body count includes 257 civilians (and among them, 14 children), while 11 more died in Mariupol, plus two staff members of the Voda Donbassa (Donbass Water) company . The remaining 86 victims are the servicemen from the Ukrainian army, including several dozen paratroopers and nine crew members of Ilyushin-76 who died in the recent plane crash not far from the Lugansk airport.
Earlier Wednesday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said that over 100 civilians have been killed, 200 injured and hundreds of homes destroyed in Kiev’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine.
The Investigative Committee intends to launch an investigation against the governor of Dnepropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoysky, and the Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov.
According to the Investigative Committee’s information, starting from April 12, Avakov and Kolomoysky organized and managed the military operation carried out by the Ukrainian military, the National Guard and Right Sector armed fighters, and the Dnepr special forces of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, created and financed by Kolomoysky.


Over 100 civilians killed, 200 injured in Kiev military op – Russia’s investigators

Published time: June 18, 2014 07:47
Edited time: June 18, 2014 10:22

Five people were killed after the Ukrainian air force bombed the Lugansk regional administration. Volunteer Corps members are seen here carrying the body of a person killed during the air strike June 2, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)
Five people were killed after the Ukrainian air force bombed the Lugansk regional administration. Volunteer Corps members are seen here carrying the body of a person killed during the air strike June 2, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)
Over 100 civilians were killed, 200 injured and hundreds of homes destroyed in the Kiev military operation in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Investigative Committee said. Russia blames Governor Kolomoysky and Interior Minister Avakov for the bloodshed.
“During this operation and the shelling of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Mariupol and other towns in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Grad multiple rocket launcher systems, unguarded aircraft rockets with pellet warheads, and other types of heavy offensive weaponry were used intentionally to kill an unlimited number of civilians in violation of international law,”Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
“As a result, over 100 civilians were killed, including two Russian citizens performing their professional activities – journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, human rights activist Andrey Mironov and Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli,” he said.
“Two hundred civilians were also wounded, and over 500 residential buildings, as well as hospitals, kindergartens and schools were destroyed. Following those events, many people had to flee their homes and came to the Russian Federation.”
A house damaged by fighting between Ukrainian and anti-government forces is seen in the eastern Ukranian city of Slaviansk June 16, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Shamil Zhumatov)
A house damaged by fighting between Ukrainian and anti-government forces is seen in the eastern Ukranian city of Slaviansk June 16, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Shamil Zhumatov)

The Investigative Committee intends to launch an investigation against the governor of Dnepropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoysky, and the Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov.
According to the Investigative Committee’s information, starting from April 12, Avakov and Kolomoysky organized and managed the military operation carried out by the Ukrainian military, the National Guard and Right Sector armed fighters, and the Dnepr special forces of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, created and financed by Kolomoysky.
“The Committee believes the kidnapping of the “Zvezda” journalists Sushenkov and Malyshev was organized with the consent of Avakov, Kolomoisky and other high-ranking officials,” he added.
Markin also declared that international arrest warrants would be issued for Kolomoysky and Avakov as “persons who are accused of crimes against peace and the security of humanity.”
A destroyed house following what locals say was overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces is seen in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk June 10, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)
A destroyed house following what locals say was overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces is seen in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk June 10, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

On Tuesday, Kiev’s army shelling near Lugansk claimed the lives of two Russian journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, who were filming refugees leaving the scene when a shell hit their small group.
The two journalists working for Rossiya TV died from their wounds, with reporter Igor Kornelyuk passing away on the operating table.
Later Tuesday, the death of Anton Voloshin, a sound engineer, was also confirmed by the channel. According to RT’s sources he was killed at the scene, but due to ongoing fighting it wasn’t possible to approach the body for a few hours.
Earlier Ukraine's Prosecutor General said that Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine left 181 people killed, including 59 of ruling regime troops, and 293 injured.


Itar Tass....

Ukraine hopes to continue gas talks within tripartite format

 June 18, 14:18 UTC+4
“I hope the dialogue will be continued because the three parties seek to find a solution. Ukraine upholds Europe’s initiative,” Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vadim Ulida said
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Baran
KIEV, June 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s government official has expressed hope that Kiev will continue the gas talks with Russia.
The European Union should be involved in the talks, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vadim Ulida said on Wednesday.
“I hope the dialogue will be continued because the three parties seek to find a solution. Ukraine upholds Europe’s initiative,” Ulida said.
On Tuesday, June 17, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Reuters that the European Commission wanted to arrange another round of three-party gas talks, involving Ukraine and Russia, by mid-July.
The European Commission hopes to find a solution to the gas problem during the summer, when there is enough gas in storage and the demand is low, Oettinger said.
“No doubt we are in a sensitive situation. We are in June, so it's not really urgent today, but it's my concern and my ambition to use the summer time (to solve this crisis),” he said.
He also said he planned to talk to Ukraine in the coming days to try to organize bilateral talks next week. After that, he said he would speak with Russia to arrange another round of three-party talks by mid-July.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told ITAR-TASS that the gas talks within the Russia-Ukraine-EU format could continue only if Kiev paid its $4.5 billion debt, regardless of EU’s suggestions to carry on.
“Our position remains the same: talks, consultations can continue only after Ukraine repays its debt,” Novak said. “Are we ready to meet in July? Generally, we are.”
Russia, Ukraine and the European Union met on late Monday in Brussels for the fifth round of the three-party gas talks, which lasted for almost eight hours and ended on early Tuesday with the participating sides failing to reach a final agreement.
Gazprom started supplying gas to Ukraine on a prepayment basis from 10:00 June 16 for its failure to pay for the previous supplies. The deadline for the payment of the debt expired on Monday morning.
Ukraine’s debt is $4.458 billion, including $1.451 billion for November and December 2013 and $3.007 billion for April and May 2014.
In December 2013, Russian Gazprom and Naftogaz signed an addendum to the gas agreement in effect from January 19, 2009, under which the price of Russian natural gas for Ukraine was to be reduced by one-third to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from January 1, 2014, compared to $410 per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Moscow and Kiev also agreed that the discount would remain in effect as long as the key conditions were met, specifically timely payments for current supplies and repayment of debts.
At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Gazprom said it would have to raise the price of gas for Ukraine by more than $100 to $385.5 per 1,000 cubic meters because Ukraine had failed to pay the debt for the gas delivered in 2013 and had not made payments for current supplies.
The gas price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters offered by Russia to Ukraine is not the best one on the market, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan said after trilateral talks with Russian and EU officials in Brussels on June 11.
“We have many proposals, including on reverse flow supplies at a price much lower than $385. Given the transit across Ukraine and back to European countries, we can say that Gazprom’s price can be lower than what European suppliers are offering now,” the minister said.
Russia proposed renewing a $100 discount for gas supplies to Ukraine, but Kiev turned down the offer.
Yatsenyuk said his government was insisting on changes to the effective gas contract. “If gas is a political weapon, then this is a political weapon in the hands of the Russian government. If gas is a commodity, as it is in the rest of the world, we trade on the basis of a contract, not on the basis of whether Russia likes the Ukrainian government or not,” he said.
The current price of Russian gas for Ukraine is $485 per 1,000 cubic meters. Ukraine is insisting on the price of $268.5. However, this week Gazprom lowered the price of gas supplied to Ukraine in April and May to $384.86 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Prodan said an acceptable gas price for Ukraine could be within the range of $268.5 to $385.


Russia to resume gas talks after Ukraine repays debt — energy minister

 June 18, 13:20 UTC+4
The European Commission has proposed to arrange a new round of three-party gas consultations by mid-July
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan
MOSCOW, June 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission will resume only after the Ukrainian side repays its gas debt. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has stated this on Wednesday.
“Our stance has not changed. Talks and consultations may continue only after the Ukrainian side repays its debt,” Novak told ITAR-TASS.
The European Commission has proposed to arrange a new round of three-party gas consultations by mid-July.
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has said that the European Commission hopes to find a solution to the gas problem during the summer, when there is enough gas in storage and the demand is low.
“No doubt we are in a sensitive situation. We are in June, so it's not really urgent today, but it's my concern and my ambition to use the summer time (to solve this crisis),” he said.
Oettinger added that he planned to talk to Ukraine in the coming days in an attempt to arrange bilateral talks next week. After that, he said he would speak with Russia to organize another round of three-party talks by mid-July.
The last round of gas talks on Monday ended to no avail, prompting Gazprom to switch Ukraine to pre-payment as Kiev had failed to repay $1.951 billion in debt by 10.00 Moscow time. After that, only gas contracted by European consumers has been pumped via Ukraine.