Monday, July 14, 2014

Ukraine overview ( July 14 , 2014 ) -- Ukraine continues to attempt to cause a reaction by Russia - latest effort shelling from Ukraine into Russia territory......State of play on the ongoing civil war in South East Ukraine between Kiev and Federalist forces ...... Latest on the natural gas situation between Kiev and Russia.......

Vineyard of the Saker .....


MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

Crucial combat operation are possibly taking place in several locations (UPDATED)

It is too early to post a formal SITREP simply because the situation is way too confused, but I want to give you all a small heads-up on what is happening right now.  Take a look at that map:


Combat situation as of July 13th

The city on the top right is Luganks, center Left Donetsk and to the south you have the border with (Russia indicated by РОССИЯ).  In blue the Ukie forces and in red the Novorussian ones.

First, there are reports that the Novorussians have taken both the Donetsk and Lugansk airports.  However, the Ukie sides claims that it had liberated the Luganks airport were Ukie forces had been surrounded for many weeks by the Resistance.  Obviously, these are mutually exclusive claims.  Finally, the Resistance also said that it had used a captured Su-25 close air support aircraft to attack Ukie positions and that this Su-25 had taken off from the Lugansk airport (FYI - the Su-25 does not need a runway to take off, it could even do that from a grass field).

Second, the Ukie have attempted an envelopment maneuvere in which they hope to surround Donetsk and then cut the city off from Lugansk.  This maneuver apparently failed and with a Resistance counter-attack from around Saur-Mogila (САУР-МОГИЛА on the map) the Resistance is attempting to surround and "squeeze" the Ukie force along the Russian border.  The Ukies, who clearly now see the danger are making a desperate effort at breaking through the Amvrosievka (АМВРОСИЕВКА on the map) to prevent that and to free the Ukie forces.

So what is at stake?

There are reportedly 3000 Ukie soliders currently surrounded in the "southern cauldron" as the region along the Russian border has been called.  Here is what two of them who managed to escape are saying about their situation:
The situation is such that the battalion is in a difficult situation, both in terms of resources and its territorial position. What they show in the news – that we are encircling the separatists – is, where out battalion is [stationed], exactly the opposite. The guys are at the end of their rope. It’s trouble there. It’s a disaster.  On one side, there are the forces of the Russian Federation standing there, practically 4 kilometres from us. And there is such military equipment there, believe me, that nothing would help us. It’s no longer about flack jackets and military equipment. Do you understand? It’s a completely different [situation]. We just have to get our guys out of there.  Unequivocally, the battalion can’t remain there. Well, the guys stationed there, they are like condemned men facing execution. I say this responsibly – I was stationed there and I came from there. And even then, we have to take them out, carefully. We have to take them out, carefully.  And, honestly, I don’t know how this [rescue] is to be done but it must be done. It must be done and it must be done immediately.  Let me repeat, the situation as of today’s morning, I called there and I called yet again: not a single unit of military equipment has arrived, they [the soldiers] are standing in an open field.  Because the battalion we talk about, as a matter of fact, they can perform combat mission only as formulated in the beginning – i.e. guard duty of [important strategic] objects in the region, let’s say, guarding certain checkpoints, but only further away from the epicenter of hostilities.  However in the midst of combat action it can’t fulfill any mission because of the lack of needed equipment. Even if such equipment were to be provided to the battalion, there is nobody trained to use [it].
Now let's look at Lugansk, specifically at the airport.

Ukrainian special forces have been surrounded by the Resistance there for weeks.  A lot of them, not less than 300, had already left the airport and surrendered.  I saw interviews of Resistance fighters made yesterday evening and they seem absolutely sure that they would take control of the airport very soon.  This morning both the Resistance and Poroshenko announced that they had taken control of the airport.  Here is what Poroshenko wrote in this FaceBook page:


Translation: President Petro Poroshenko has just been informed by the headquarters of the ATO (anti-terrorist operation) that Ukrainian forces sucessfully thought their way to the Lugansk airport.  Glory to the Ukraine!

Well, I am not sure as to what to make of that. Both sides are claiming victory here and the reason for that is quite simple: the forces which had been (or still are) surrounded at the Lugansk airport were some of the very best the Ukies had: elements of the 80th Airborne Regiment, 25th Airborne Division and the 8th Special Forces Regiment.  Furthermore, the airport is the crucial node for any encirclement of Lugansk.

There is little doubt that the Ukies are throwing in their best resources to avoid a disaster and that at least three Ukie armored columns were sent in to relieve the pressure on the surrounded Ukie forces.  At least one of these columns (possibly two) were detected and destroyed.  Here is some footage of the aftermath:

MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

Crucial combat operation are possibly taking place in several locations (UPDATED)

It is too early to post a formal SITREP simply because the situation is way too confused, but I want to give you all a small heads-up on what is happening right now.  Take a look at that map:


Combat situation as of July 13th

The city on the top right is Luganks, center Left Donetsk and to the south you have the border with (Russia indicated by РОССИЯ).  In blue the Ukie forces and in red the Novorussian ones.

First, there are reports that the Novorussians have taken both the Donetsk and Lugansk airports.  However, the Ukie sides claims that it had liberated the Luganks airport were Ukie forces had been surrounded for many weeks by the Resistance.  Obviously, these are mutually exclusive claims.  Finally, the Resistance also said that it had used a captured Su-25 close air support aircraft to attack Ukie positions and that this Su-25 had taken off from the Lugansk airport (FYI - the Su-25 does not need a runway to take off, it could even do that from a grass field).

Second, the Ukie have attempted an envelopment maneuvere in which they hope to surround Donetsk and then cut the city off from Lugansk.  This maneuver apparently failed and with a Resistance counter-attack from around Saur-Mogila (САУР-МОГИЛА on the map) the Resistance is attempting to surround and "squeeze" the Ukie force along the Russian border.  The Ukies, who clearly now see the danger are making a desperate effort at breaking through the Amvrosievka (АМВРОСИЕВКА on the map) to prevent that and to free the Ukie forces.

So what is at stake?

There are reportedly 3000 Ukie soliders currently surrounded in the "southern cauldron" as the region along the Russian border has been called.  Here is what two of them who managed to escape are saying about their situation:
The situation is such that the battalion is in a difficult situation, both in terms of resources and its territorial position. What they show in the news – that we are encircling the separatists – is, where out battalion is [stationed], exactly the opposite. The guys are at the end of their rope. It’s trouble there. It’s a disaster.  On one side, there are the forces of the Russian Federation standing there, practically 4 kilometres from us. And there is such military equipment there, believe me, that nothing would help us. It’s no longer about flack jackets and military equipment. Do you understand? It’s a completely different [situation]. We just have to get our guys out of there.  Unequivocally, the battalion can’t remain there. Well, the guys stationed there, they are like condemned men facing execution. I say this responsibly – I was stationed there and I came from there. And even then, we have to take them out, carefully. We have to take them out, carefully.  And, honestly, I don’t know how this [rescue] is to be done but it must be done. It must be done and it must be done immediately.  Let me repeat, the situation as of today’s morning, I called there and I called yet again: not a single unit of military equipment has arrived, they [the soldiers] are standing in an open field.  Because the battalion we talk about, as a matter of fact, they can perform combat mission only as formulated in the beginning – i.e. guard duty of [important strategic] objects in the region, let’s say, guarding certain checkpoints, but only further away from the epicenter of hostilities.  However in the midst of combat action it can’t fulfill any mission because of the lack of needed equipment. Even if such equipment were to be provided to the battalion, there is nobody trained to use [it].
Now let's look at Lugansk, specifically at the airport.

Ukrainian special forces have been surrounded by the Resistance there for weeks.  A lot of them, not less than 300, had already left the airport and surrendered.  I saw interviews of Resistance fighters made yesterday evening and they seem absolutely sure that they would take control of the airport very soon.  This morning both the Resistance and Poroshenko announced that they had taken control of the airport.  Here is what Poroshenko wrote in this FaceBook page:


Translation: President Petro Poroshenko has just been informed by the headquarters of the ATO (anti-terrorist operation) that Ukrainian forces sucessfully thought their way to the Lugansk airport.  Glory to the Ukraine!

Well, I am not sure as to what to make of that. Both sides are claiming victory here and the reason for that is quite simple: the forces which had been (or still are) surrounded at the Lugansk airport were some of the very best the Ukies had: elements of the 80th Airborne Regiment, 25th Airborne Division and the 8th Special Forces Regiment.  Furthermore, the airport is the crucial node for any encirclement of Lugansk.

There is little doubt that the Ukies are throwing in their best resources to avoid a disaster and that at least three Ukie armored columns were sent in to relieve the pressure on the surrounded Ukie forces.  At least one of these columns (possibly two) were detected and destroyed.  Here is some footage of the aftermath:
***
As for the latest news out of the Russian media, this is what their correspondents are reporting:
  • Attack on Lugansk failed
  • 2 Ukie Aircraft (An-26 & Su-25) shot down (+2 yesterday)
  • 100 dead Ukies in 2 different column which were destroyed
  • 1 Kindergarten destroyed by Ukie (kids had been evacuated)
  • Several civilian buildings (including one hospital) hit in Lugansk
  • 1  Ukie column (with 50 tanks) fully destroyed
  • 1 Ukie colum (with 50 tanks) repelled with heavy losses for the Ukies
Interestingly, Russian experts are speculating that the combined attacks on Lugansk and Donetsk were distracting attacks aimed at drawing Resistance forces away form the south were up to 5'000 Ukie solidiers had attempted to cut off Novorussia from Russia and surround both Donetsk and Lugansk.  According to the same sources sources, this feint failed to deceive the Resistance forces.  The Ukies then failed to take the hill Saur-Mogila and ended up being surronded in the so-called  "southern cauldron": a long corridor between 4km and 8km in width.  It appears that the Resistance forces did manage to cut off the Ukie corridor in several locations where the mined the fields before withdrawing.  The Resistance is now engaging these forces with artillery from a longer range. 

We should note that, at least so far, Kiev has categorically denied all of the above.

Still, that version would explain the number of Ukie strikes on Russian border posts all along the border.  Add to this that Lavrov issued a stern warning about consequences which would be entirely the Ukie's fault, and you get the image: it is possible that Russia will simply strike the Ukie forces in the "souther cauldron" from within Russia.  Of course, and as always, they will do no such thing if the Resistance forces succeed in doing this without overt Russian help.

Stay tuned, as soon as the situation becomes clearer, I will post another SITREP.

The Saker

UPDATE: thanks to 'SD' who send me a link to an article which claims that Russia is now considering "surgical strikes" on select key Ukie targets.



Ukraine's Démarche Against Refugees - To Be Interned, Split and Forcibly Utilized as Soldiers

Ukraine's Démarche Against Refugees - To Be Interned, Split and Forcibly Utilized as Soldiers
 
Preamble: The document below was published by LifeNews as a true copy of a letter prepared by the acting Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Colonel General Mikhail Koval, who addressed it to the President of Ukraine, Pyotr Poroshenko. Unless I receive a specific request—and due to lack of time and volume of work—I am not going to apply my legal experience dealing with refugees (in Egypt and in Canada) to expound on the enormous and obvious legal failings of this proposed policy.

Suffice to say, this newest pearl of the Ukrainian national-fascist, Nazi government flies directly in the face of the very foundations of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as applicable customary international law. If there is sufficient interest, I may ask Barbara Harrell-Bond, a recipient of the Order of the British Empire and a world-renowned expert in the field (and my kind and dear mentor) to provide a short commentary on the subject, if she is so inclined. In the meantime, a few brief points would be useful here: 


  1. The most basic rule of refugee law is the prohibition on the expulsion of refugees from safety into harm's way. Once a refugee has crossed the boundary into a safe haven (wherever that may be), he or she may not be compelled to return to danger (this prohibition applies also to those accused of international crimes, such as war crimes or crimes against humanity. Although the latter accusations have not here been made, it should be noted that even persons in this category must be brought to trial, rather than re-exposed to the very threat they fled from).
  2. The second basic rule of refugee law is the principle of preservation of families: family units ought not to be split, regardless of the circumstances and irrespective of what any of the family members have done or are alleged to have done. Families (by which I mean husbands, wives, children, relatives, the elderly, etc.) must be permitted to remain together, just as they otherwise would have had the opportunity to do so.
  3. The third basic rule of refugee law is that refugees are persons in need of protection, and not a convenient workforce to be exploited as forced labour, or as soldiers; nor are they to be forcibly interned and segregated into various groups and dispersed into various institutions or establishments (however suitable such institutions may appear to an ignorant, untrained eye). By law, refugees possess and must be furnished with unrestricted freedom of travel and mobility within their country of refuge and may not be corralled or segregated from the rest of the population. This is a fortiori the case when refugees are found in a country in which they already benefit from a full panoply of personal, political and social rights, as is the case with Ukrainian refugees in Ukraine.

A more in-depth discussion would, as indicated, raise further issues. For now, though, I leave you to consider the following shining example of the rise of totalitarianism in Ukraine.



Translated from Russian Equivalent (provided by LifeNews) by Gleb Bazov / edited by Ghayur Bangash (@Gbabeuf)
(with minute formatting and stylistic changes to fit North American standards)

To the President of Ukraine, P.A. Poroshenko

Dear Pyotr Alekseevich!

Pursuant to your order, I am hereby submitting proposals with respect to organizing our dealings with the refugees from the area where the Anti-Terrorist Operation [“ATO”] is being conducted. Accordingly, in order to meet the challenges put before the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence of mobilizing and rotating servicemen in the area of the ATO, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of filtration measures, I consider it necessary to introduce the following refugee categories:

Category “A”—women and children: to be assigned into the care of educational and training establishments (incl. boarding schools/orphanages)

Category “B”—invalids and pensioners: to be assigned into the care of medical and social institutions (incl. group homes for the relevant categories)

Category “C”—men aged between 18 (military recruitment age) and 65 (retirement age): this stream should further be split into two categories:

Group “C1”—aged between 18 (earliest military recruitment age) and 50 (end of military recruitment age); and,

Group “C2”—aged between 50 (end of military recruitment age) and 65 (those who have achieved retirement age).

Those in Group “C1” should be made subject to MANDATORY and full mobilization into the Ukrainian Armed Forces (or into other relevant units) for participation in the ATO, with a term of, for example, two months. If men who fall into the specified age category have health-related issues, but do not fall into the invalid category, they should be transferred into Group “C2”.

Those in Group “C2” should be made subject to MANDATORY mobilization into reserve units (or, for example, into units tasked with maintaining control over the territories already cleared of terrorists in the court of the ATO) for a period of, for example, one month.

Those in Groups “C1” and “C2” ought to be granted refugee status and the appropriate social guarantees only after demobilization from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. With respect to persons avoiding mobilization, the Ukrainian Security Service (“SBU”) should exercise thorough filtering measures. In cases of reasonable grounds, measures within the existing criminal legislation [should be] applied.

I believe that this type of approach would:

a) meet the challenge of [personnel] rotation in the units involved in the ATO;

b) reduce the wave of refugees, which otherwise would have to be provided with means of livelihood;

c) minimize the threat of internal conflict, in which the residents of the Central-Western, Northern and Southern regions would demand an answer to the fair question: “Why is it that men from their regions have to go defend the East of Ukraine, risking their health and their lives, while healthy men from the East run into the ranks of refugees?”;

d) minimize the possible abuse of refugee status among certain categories of the population;

e) allow us to understand the proportion of pro-Ukrainian population in the East without resorting to sociological studies and surveys.

The position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in this regard has been coordinated with the staff of the Prime Minister of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Security Service.

With respect,

Colonel General M.V. Koval
The Acting Minister of Defence of Ukraine


http://rt.com/news/172548-relatives-killed-ukraine-shelling/

‘Father was lying on the porch with his arm blown off’ – eyewitness to Ukraine’s shelling

Published time: July 14, 2014 11:41
Edited time: July 14, 2014 13:26
RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov
RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov
The daughter of a man killed by an artillery shell fired by Kiev’s forces in a quiet Russian town just across the border from Ukraine is still in shock. In a night of horror, she also had to save her 11-year-old brother from the bombing.
Andrey Shulyatyev, a 46-year-old father of four, was killed on Sunday when an artillery shell from Ukraine hit his private house on the border, in the Rostov Region of Russia.

1 killed, 2 injured: Russia vows response to Ukraine shelling Russian city

Irina, 20, was woken up in the middle of the night on Sunday by a sound of an explosion and could not believe it was not all just a bad dream. The girl was crying throughout her whole interview to LifeNews, in which she had to relive the ordeal of her terrible night once again.

I heard a scream, it was my younger brother, I grabbed him and ran towards the exit. Then I heard my father’s scream,” the girl said. “When my brother and I ran up to the door, glass from the windows shattered again. We stopped. When we went out to the porch, we saw my father lying there. He was without an arm. I was in shock, I thought it was a dream, I came back into the house, then went out again to see him lying there without an arm. He was screaming. My brother was screaming. We were bombed.”
***


The girl just knew she had to save her terrified 11-year-old brother. Irina told him to go hide in the cellar, but the boy was too scared to go alone, so she had to take him there.

And my father was lying there,” the girl said, sobbing. “And I just could not call the ambulance. Then we got out of the cellar and ran to our neighbors and called for ambulance from there. But before it arrived, my father died.”

Andrey Shulyatyev’s wife was working the night shift at a local shop. She could hear the shelling and was frightened when she could not reach her family by phone. Then her daughter rang.

She was hysterical,” the woman recalled. “She said something horrible had happened, they did not even understand what it was. She said: ‘We jumped over dad who was lying on the porch and we hid in the cellar.” When I came back from work, they would not let me come close to the house. It was cordoned off."
RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov
RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov

The woman said authorities offered to move her to a hostel, as her house was badly damaged, but she refused.

The same night Shulyatyev was killed, two of his female neighbors were also injured in the shelling. One of them suffered a shell fragment wound in the leg; another woman, reportedly 80 years old, was shell-shocked in her house across the street from the site of the explosion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his “extreme concern” over the Ukrainian military's offensive and also over the incident of an artillery shell from Ukraine hitting a private house and killing a Russian citizen.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday described the shelling as “an obviously aggressive act” on Ukraine’s part and warned it could have “irreversible consequences.”

The National Security Council of Ukraine declared the same day that Kiev’s troops involved in the operation in the east of the country had nothing to do with the shelling incident.

Itar Tass .......

Ukrainian militiamen destroy nine army tanks

 July 14, 17:39 UTC+4
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instructed the director of the state-owned weapons company Ukrobonprom to urgently increase arms supplies to the army
© EPA/STRINGER
00:00 / 00:38
SD HD
KIEV, July 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Militiamen in the south-east of Ukraine said they had downed two government warplanes, and destroyed nine army tanks, one armoured personnel carrier and several mortar positions.
The militiamen now have a Grad multiple rocket launcher, artillery systems and an attack plane.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities are continuing an “anti-terrorism operation” in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with the heads of security agencies earlier in the day and noted “the need to change the tactics so as to narrow down” the operational zone, the presidential press service said.
He instructed the director of the state-owned weapons company Ukrobonprom to urgently increase arms supplies to the army.
The militiamen in Donetsk, however, are determined to defend the city and have not received any orders to evacuate the population, Klavdia Kulbatskaya, spokesperson for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), said.
Militiamen in the Luhansk region said they have downed a government warplane. Earlier reports mentioned three downed planes in the Luhansk area on July 1, 11 and 13.
They did not confirm the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reports that the army had recaptured the village of Roskoshnoye and said they were still controlling it.
The situation in Luhansk is not calm: the Ukrainian army has been reported to be conducting fire in the area of the local bus terminal. However everything is quiet in Donetsk where the DNR authorities are planning to start television broadcasts in Russian from July 15.
The Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) has registered a growing number of civilians coming to the country from war-torn regions in neigbouring Ukraine.According to the latest data, more 30,000 Ukrainians have requested the status of refugee or temporary asylum in Russia.
“As a rule, mainly men enter the country for purposes of employment. Now the number of women has doubled on the whole. The most objective indicator is that the number of children who have entered Russia has doubled too. There are almost 220,000 of them in Russia now compared to about 100,000 last year,” FMS Head Konstantin Romodanovsky said.


Ukraine's Poroshenko narrows offensive zone

 July 14, 15:45 UTC+4
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said that the active phase of the military operation was continuing
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) talks to  a soldier in Sloviansk

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) talks to a soldier in Sloviansk

© ITAR-TASS/Nikolai Lazarenko
LUHANSK, July 14. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian army’s subversive groups have shelled a bus terminal in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on Monday.
Eyewitnesses said that several blasts went off near the bus terminal around 20 minutes ago. Information on casualties is being specified.
At a meeting with army and police chiefs on Monday, Poroshenko said that the “area of the anti-terrorist operation (in the east of the country) will be narrowed".
“The president noted the need for changes in tactics to narrow the zone of the anti-terrorist operation, strengthen the border protection and do everything to ensure the protection of civilians,” the Ukrainian president’s press office reported.
Poroshenko also said that the active phase of the military operation was continuing. The Ukrainian president said that a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council was planned to be held and also ordered head of the state defense company Ukroboronprom Roman Romanov to improve arms supplies to the Ukrainian army to raise the efficiency of combat operations.
Fierce fighting continues between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.
During its military operation conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in the armed stand-off. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

Ukraine holds 114 million cubic meters of gas in underground facilities

 July 14, 15:05 UTC+4
Ukraine pumps 22-25 million cubic meters of gas into its underground gas storage daily from reverse gas supplies and locally produced gas
© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar
KIEV, July 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has pumped 114 million cubic meters of gas into its underground storage between July 4 and July 11 and increased the volume of reserves to 14.503 billion cubic meters, according to the GSE association’s data made public on Monday.
As of July 11, the Ukrainian underground storage were 45.39% full.
Ukraine pumps 22-25 million cubic meters of gas into its underground gas storage daily from reverse gas supplies and locally produced gas.
INFOGRAPHICSRussian gas in EuropeRussian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
Ukraine can pump 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas in June-July into the storage. In May, Russian gas giant Gazprom said Ukraine must have 18.5 billion cubic meters of gas in the storage to ensure flawless transit to the EU in the upcoming winter season.
Ukraine has 12 underground gas storage facilities with a total capacity of around 31 billion cubic meters. The country joined the EU’s AGSI+ system of registering gas reserves in underground storage in May. Under the system’s requirements, Naftogaz will publish gas reserves data each Friday.
June 16, Gazprom switched Ukraine off gas over unpaid debt while continuing pumping gas to the EU.