Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ukraine / Russia situation - News from the battlefield of South East Ukraine , from the political front , sanctions watch .... news and tweets of the day !

Russia Today.....


HRW: Civilian death toll in E. Ukraine rising due to 'indiscriminate and unlawful' shelling

Published time: September 02, 2014 13:13
Edited time: September 02, 2014 14:00
Man inspects damaged residential building in the Mirny district of Lugansk, hit by artillery fire.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
Man inspects damaged residential building in the Mirny district of Lugansk, hit by artillery fire.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
Human Rights Watch has condemned the illegality of Ukrainian actions in east Ukraine, ascribing direct blame to Kiev for the rising death toll in the Lugansk Region, which by local estimates has reached 300 since May.
The organization visited the city on August 20-22, performing asurvey of the situation and carrying out interviews with locals who in one way or another were affected by the heavy bombardment, which had people cowering in fear in basements for weeks without water or electricity.
Ever since Kiev’s attempts to retake the city from the local defense forces, massive power cuts, food and water shortages, and network interruptions have taken place. The situation resembles so many other humanitarian crises, with long lines of people queuing for basic supplies – at least those not afraid to leave their basements.
“With communications cut, there is less information available about the situation in Lugansk [Luhansk] than other areas in the east,” Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher with the NGO said. “But the truth is, local residents are subjected to terrifying daily shelling, much of it apparently unlawful, and that the number of civilian casualties is steadily rising.”
HRW saw that many attacks failed to distinguish between civilians and combatants, which are a violation of international law and the laws of war.
Evidence of the indiscriminate nature of these attacks could be seen in the use of weaponry not meant for areas where precision is required. Projectiles with 152mm caliber aren’t intended for such missions. Nor are 350mm Smersh rockets and cluster munitions deliver by 220mm Uragan (Hurricane) rockets.
“The use of explosive weapons with such wide-area effects in a city full of civilians is completely irresponsible and will almost inevitably lead to civilian casualties… Whether used by government or insurgent forces, those responsible should be held to account for this callous disregard for civilian life,”Solvang continued.

The local head of the medical examiner’s office, Anatoly Tureevich, told HRW that bodies have been coming in almost daily since May.
“The numbers vary from day to day depending on the intensity of the shelling. On July 21, we received 20 bodies, on July 22 – 5, July 23 – 3, July 26 – 18, August 4 – 17. August 14 was a bad day with 22 people. Ninety-nine percent of the civilians we receive have died from shrapnel injuries.”
These only cover civilian casualties.
While the outright lack of security on the ground made it difficult to establish whether said weapons directly led to civilian deaths, there is little doubt the majority of structural destruction was caused by them.
A broken balcony in a residential building damaged by mortar fire of Ukrainian forces in Lugansk.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
A broken balcony in a residential building damaged by mortar fire of Ukrainian forces in Lugansk.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)

While Ukraine isn’t party to the Cluster Munitions Agreement of 2008, its use of large-caliber weaponry on civilian areas cannot be ignored, HRW stated, adding that it will recommend that such weapons are not used in populated areas in future.
Among HRW’s other recommendations was for the international community to put pressure on the Ukrainian government to adhere to the rules of engagement and to international humanitarian law, while also urging Russia to do what it can to appeal to the eastern self-defense forces.
The results of the survey indicate that a large majority of attacks on the city were carried out by Ukrainian government forces, while the insurgents were responsible for much fewer and targeted government positions on the outskirts of Lugansk.
An August 18 attack saw shells strike a busy central market, killing four – then striking it again in the coming days, during HRW’s visit.
Evidence, however, also points to an insurgent role in several attacks, one of which was the August 10 incident in Krasny Yar, a village just north of Lugansk, which injured two civilians when a Grad rocket struck from the direction where self-defense forces were allegedly based.
A rough statistic of injuries and fatalities has been compiled by HRW, outlining eight especially severe incidences of shelling having taken place in August – all in the most severely hit Zhovtnevy district, which underscores the very bad luck some civilians have had: medical clinics, schools, exhibition centers and other area structures had been hit, killing dozens and injuring more.
The chief of the district told the organization there were no self-defense forces in the area at the time of those attacks there.
The shelling by the Ukrainian military has only increased since August 13.
Burned-out cars in the Mirny district of Lugansk, hit by artillery fire.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)
Burned-out cars in the Mirny district of Lugansk, hit by artillery fire.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Melnikov)

Other officials, such as firefighters, compounded the reports of difficulties faced when dealing with the consequences of such heavy assaults.
Although HRW could not get the kind of full account it would have wished, its survey team bore witness to several incidents itself: on the day it visited, one shell truck an apartment block just 200 meters from the group’s location. It counted a dozen more shells on August 21, all striking the central part of Lugansk.
The organization documented craters left after heavy bombardment downtown, some of which were dangerously close to the city hospital.
It gathered harrowing victim accounts of the ordeal undergone by the city’s residents.
In the meantime, the United States continues to place the blame on all escalation on the Russian government, purporting that it has crossed borders, or that it’s controlling the insurgency, and that it had fired upon Ukraine from its own positions near the border.
No evidence of this had been given to date. At the same time, the OSCE observers stationed in the east of the country likewise provided no evidence of Russian military involvement.


Preliminary MH17 crash report to be published within a week – investigators

Published time: September 02, 2014 20:19
Edited time: September 02, 2014 21:27
Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)
Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)
A preliminary report on the reasons behind the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine will be released within days. However, it will take one year to perform a full investigation which will answer all questions, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) said.
The report will be ready at the end of the week or early next week, DSB spokeswoman Sara Vernooij said.

The document will shed some light on the cause of the tragedy, though many questions will remain unanswered, she stressed.

According to Vernooij, the preliminary report will include the first results from the flight recorders and data from other sources such as satellites and radars.

As for the full report, “it’ll take about a year to complete,” she said, adding that it is likely to be published in summer 2015.

The spokeswoman stressed that all of the agency’s specialists involved in the investigation have been working from The Hague, as the final report can be prepared without a visit to the crash site.

However, DSB still plans to send experts to Ukraine, when the area around the crash site becomes safer. She added that they will examine certain debris and confirm available data on the ground.

The Dutch investigation is being executed in accordance with the norms and standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Vernooij said.

All 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet died as it crashed in Ukraine's Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane – which was allegedly shot down – were citizens of the Netherlands.

Both sides involved in the Ukraine conflict – the government and militias which refused to recognize the February coup in Kiev – accuse each other of bringing down the aircraft.

It was initially alleged that the plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. However, claims were also made that the flight was shot down by a military jet which was in the area at the same time.

The investigation of the tragedy was hampered by fighting in the area around the crash site, with Kiev and rebels accusing each other of attempting to conceal the facts.


Tuesday, September 2

16:36 GMT:
More than 1 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, the United Nations estimated.
The number includes 814,000 Ukrainians, who are now residing in Russia as well as thousands in the Baltics, Moldova, and the European Union.
The total figure also includes 260,000 people who were forced to leave their homes and are displaced within the country, while the violent clashes between the militia and the Kiev army continue.
"I mean 260,000 in Ukraine, it's a low estimate, 814,000 in Russia, then you add the rest ...Belarus, Moldova, the European Union," Vincent Cochetel, director of the UNHCR's bureau for Europe, told reporters in Geneva.
Of 814,000 Ukrainian nationals who have entered Russia this year, 260,000 have applied for some sort of protective status. The remaining 554,000 have arrived on the basis of a visa-free regime, which allows them to stay in the country for up to 270 days.
In all, 4,106 Ukrainians have applied for asylum in EU countries including Poland, Germany and Sweden, UNHCR figures show. Some 380 Ukrainians have sought asylum in Belarus.
15:50 GMT:
The city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine is on the verge of a “potential humanitarian catastrophe” as there is no water and electricity, OSCE concluded in its report issued on September 1. Only one of the city’s hospitals remains operational and able to admit patients.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) said that drinking water was distributed in cisterns as shelling had damaged the city’s water supply system.
However, speaking to SMM, representatives of the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR)“downplayed the seriousness of the damage” and stated that the problem could be solved.
The SMM met with representatives of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Lugansk, who stated that about 250,000 people remained in the city, whose population prior to the conflict was estimated to be approximately 420,000.
15:39 GMT:
The prime minister of the Czech Republic has criticized the EU’s policy of imposing sanctions on Russia, saying it was “a very risky business.”
"The problem is that if sanctions are escalated now, there will be a reaction from Russia and we are not able to estimate at this point what impact the next wave of sanctions by Russia against EU countries will have," Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. "If we are entangled in an extensive and lengthy war [of sanctions] between the EU and Russia, both Europe and Russia will pay dearly for it," Sobotka added.
During the weekend’s EU summit in Brussels, Sobotka secured the right for his country to disagree with part of the EU's proposal for tightening sanctions against Russia.
The Czech Republic wants to modify some parts in the draft of the EU’s proposed measures.
"On Wednesday, the government will approve the mandate for negotiators and set priorities for the Czech Republic in view of the comment on this proposal of the European Commission (EC). On the basis of the first reading of the EC´s draft, I can say that we as the Czech Republic will have comments," Sobotka told reporters.
12:15 GMT:
All the assets of Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky in Russia may be frozen, said Vladimir Markin, an official from the Russian Investigative Committee.
Earlier on Tuesday, one of the buildings belonging to Kolomoisky was seized.
“This fate awaits all Kolomoisky’s other properties in Russia,” Markin added.
Kolomoisky who was appointed by the Kiev authorities as governor of the eastern region of Dnepropetrovsk, is accused of murder, kidnapping and other crimes.
11:41 GMT:
Protesters have gathered outside the Ukrainian parliament building as MPs started their seventh and last assembly, which is rounding up its fourth session.
Several hundred people are rallying on Grushevskogo Street in central Kiev, holding banners and chanting anti-government slogans.
Among protesters there are mothers of National Guard fighters. They demand that President Petro Poroshenko return their sons home from the volatile regions in eastern Ukraine.
Their banners read “We are for peace in the world” and “Incompetent commanders out!”
They also call on the president to meet with them.
Members of Svoboda (Freedom) party, who also gathered outside Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, are protesting for the “lustration”, or purge, of the government. 
10:37 GMT:
The number of displaced by the Ukrainian conflict has topped one million, of whom 814,000 are currently seeking shelter in Russia, according to the envoy for UNHCR.
"It's safe to say you have over a million people now displaced as a result of the conflict, internally and externally together," Vincent Cochetel said.

"I mean 260,000 in Ukraine, it's a low estimate, 814,000 in Russia, then you add the rest ... Belarus, Moldova, European Union."


Russia raised the stakes Tuesday over a disputed phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and head of the EU Commission president by threatening to go public with the conversation that the Kremlin said misquoted the Russian leader as saying he could be in Kiev within two weeks if he wanted.
Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the European Union, said the Kremlin is prepared to release the full audio and written transcript of the phone call between Putin and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso,
In a letter to Barroso, Chizhov said that media reports "say you allegedly shared the content of the conversation with some of your EU colleagues, in particular attributing to the Russian president words that were clearly taken out of context."
The Russian president allegedly made the comments during a phone conversation about the Ukraine crisis with Barroso, who reportedly related them to colleagues at last week's European Union summit.
"If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks," Italy's La Repubblica newspaper quoted Putin as saying, implying that this could be the fallout if the EU stepped up sanctions against Russia.
Chizhov said such disclosure of confidential conversations at this level "goes far beyond the bounds of the generally accepted diplomatic practice."
"I am aware that the administration of the Russian President has both a written and audio recording of the telephone conversation in question and to clarify things is ready to release them if you do not inform [us] of your objections to the release in the next two days," he wrote, according to the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
Earlier, in Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, Putin's foreign policy adviser, had also accused Borosso of breaching diplomatic confidentiality and of takingn Putin's words out of context, the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency reports.
Putin's comment reportedly came in response to Barroso pointing out Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had sharply escalated the conflict in eastern Ukraine by sending regular army units into Ukraine.
NATO has estimated that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers have entered Ukraine, helping turn the tide in favor of pro-Russian insurgents.
Ushakov accused Barroso of violating diplomatic practices to speak publicly about a private conversation. "If that was really done, it looks not worthy of a serious political figure," Ushakov said. "Irrespective of whether these words were pronounced or not, this quote was taken out of context and had a very different meaning."
The war of words from Moscow emerged as representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are holding talks in Minsk, the Belarus capital, to try to resolve the festering Ukraine crisis.
The talks on Monday lasted several hours and were adjourned until Friday, when the parties are expected to discuss specifics of a possible cease-fire and a prisoner exchange.
In Moscow, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday urged the United States to use its influence in Ukraine to encourage efforts to reach a political settlement. "It's necessary to restrain the party of war in Kiev, and only the United States can do it," he said at a briefing.
Lavrov also said that "compromise" is the only way to resolve the crisis and accused the West of supporting Kiev and undermining the peace process.
The Ukraine crisis will be high on the agenda for President Obama, who was scheduled to leave Tuesday for a four-day European trip meant to reassure NATO allies and send a stern message to Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
Obama will also attend a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday that will include Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday in Brussels that the alliance will create a Readiness Action Plan in response to "Russia's aggressive behavior."
"We already have a NATO Response Force. This is a multinational force, which brings together land, air, maritime and special operation forces," Rasmussen said. "It can be deployed anywhere in the world, for collective defense or crisis management."
Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have been battling since mid-April in eastern Ukraine, with rebels claiming independence for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. More than 2,500 have died in the fighting.
In the latest clashes, rebels have opened up a new front in the war with an offensive along the coast of the Sea of Azov. Ukraine has charged that Russian military equipment and troops crossed the border last week to bolster the offensive.
Russia has denied sending any soldiers or equipment to the rebels, although rebels have acknowledged that fighters include Russian "volunteers" and some Russian soldiers on home leave.


“Stop Fascism” picket held in front of the European Parliament’s building in Brussels

 September 03, 2:00 UTC+4
Anti-fascist rallies to continue in Brussels until Ukraine’s Right Sector is listed as terrorist organization
© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Voitenko
BRUSSELS, September 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Rallies in support of Ukraine’s cities of Donetsk and Lugansk in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels will be continued until the Right Sector is listed as a terrorist organization, Tatjana Zdanoka, a Latvian member of the European Parliament, told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday. 
A “Stop Fascism” picket was held in front of the European Parliament’s building on Tuesday. About 20 activists, both Russian and Ukrainian nationals and French and Belgian citizens, took part in the action. They were holding slogans “Stop Fascism,” “Save Donetsk” and a Russian flag. They demonstrated dozens of photos made on May 2 in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where at least 48 protesters against the Kiev authorities had been burnt alive by radicals.
“We will stage such rallies on the second day of each month to commemorate the Odessa tragedy. We will be here until the Right Sector is listed as a terrorist organization,” she said. “Today, similar actions were held in Riga, Warsaw, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Milan. People learnt about these actions from anti-fascist organizations, from the European Russian Alliance.”
“There is a solid anti-fascist and anti-war movement in Europe involving tens of thousands of people. The main thing is that we know people who think the same way in all countries of the European Union. Despite the West’s massive pro-Kiev propaganda, there are a lot of people who do not believe it,” Elena Politova, an activist and administrator of the Facebook anti-war group, said.
Earlier on Tuesday, about a hundred people formed a human chain between the Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Riga in a Remembrance and Solidarity action dedicated to the May 2 massacre in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. The action was organized by activists of the party Latvian Russian Union. “We gathered here not only to pay tribute to those killed on May 2 in Odessa, but also to demand that the Ukrainian government do two things. First, it must conduct a really objective investigation and punish those responsible for this tragedy. Second, it must do away with radical right organizations that are now flocking round power in Ukraine,” Miroslav Mitrofanov, a co-chairman of the Latvian Russian Party, told ITAT-TASS. “It is inadmissible to flirt with fascists, they must be controlled and kept away from the state. Otherwise, Ukraine will never be a democratic country.”

What happened to Odessa 

Unrest in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa started on May 2, when football fans from the east Ukrainian city of Kharkov marched along city streets with Right Sector radicals and supporters from Kiev's Maidan Self-Defence Force. Clashes broke out between them and activists seeking a referendum on the issue of Ukrainian federalisation and Russian's official status as a state language.
At least 48 people died and more than 200 were injured in clashes in Odessa after radicals set ablaze the regional House of Trade Unions, where pro-federalisation activists had taken refuge, and a tent camp near it where they had been collecting signatures in support of the referendum.
Some Ukrainian politicians said the clashes had taken the lives of at least 116 people and that Kiev's incumbent authorities sought to conceal exact figures.


Poroshenko to lead Ukraine delegation at NATO summit in Wales

 September 02, 20:32 UTC+4
Kiev sees as a clear signal of support for the country an invitation to hold a special meeting with Ukraine in Wales
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

KIEV, September 02. /ITAR-TASS/. A Ukrainian delegation led by President Petro Poroshenko will take part in a NATO summit in Wales on September 4-5, a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday.
Kiev sees as a clear signal of support for the country an invitation to hold a special meeting with Ukraine in Wales, the director of the ministry’s information policy department said.
Yevgen Perebeynis said the ministry was working with NATO on a draft joint statement in follow-up of the meeting. He said it should first of all reflect solidarity of the international community with Ukraine, NATO’s support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the right of the Ukrainian people to independently determine their own future without foreign interference.
Ukraine looks to the start of “practical cooperation on a number of directions of consultative and technical assistance from NATO to build up its defense potential,” Perebeynis said.
Plans are to set up new trust funds to finance the modernization of the Ukrainian armed forces, he said. "We are establishing four trust funds to finance concrete initiatives within four areas; logistics, command and control, cyber defence, and help to military personnel, including wounded personnel," Rasmussen NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday.
"The whole purpose of these trust funds is to finance activities that can assist Ukraine in reforming and modernising the armed forces with a view to making them stronger to defend Ukraine," Rasmussen said.
Last Friday Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that his government would seek the cancellation of Ukraine's non-aligned status and resumption of the country's course for NATO membership.


Up to 1,000 NATO Servicemen to Take Part in Military Drills in Ukraine This Month

US, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and British soldiers conduct a convoy into the training field.
00:03 03/09/2014
Tags: NATOPolandUnited StatesUkraine
WASHINGTON, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Despite the ongoing hostilities in southeastern Ukraine, the United States plans to go ahead with the Rapid Trident military exercise, scheduled to take place in western Ukraine later this month and expected to involve up to 1,000 servicemen from NATO countries and other US allies, Reuters reported Tuesday.
"At the moment, we are still planning for [the exercise] to go ahead," the agency quoted US Navy Captain Gregory Hicks, a spokesman for the US Army's European Command, as saying.
The annual exercise was initially scheduled to take place in July, at the Yavoriv training center near Ukraine's border with Poland, but was put off until September 16-26 due to the Kiev government’s ongoing military operation against independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine.
The operation was launched in mid-April and has left about 2,500 killed and 6,000 injured, according to the latest UN figures.
NATO has been strengthening its military presence in Eastern Europe following the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis in spring.
The alliances’ plans on the improvement and modernization of NATO’s response forces have raised concerns in Russia which has criticized NATO’s actions, arguing they lead to greater instability in the region.


Dutch Safety Board: Final Report on MH17 Crash Due Next Summer

Topic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing Crashes in Ukraine

Experts and the OSCE representatives work at the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash site.
22:47 02/09/2014
Tags: reportinvestigationMH17International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAODutch Safety Board,Ukraine
MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) — It will take about a year to compile the final report on the causes of the Malaysian Boeing crash in eastern Ukraine, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board that heads the investigation told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
“I think it will take about a year to complete the whole investigation. I think that in summer 2015 we will publish the report," spokeswoman Sara Vernooij said, adding that the board conducts its investigation in full compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules.
“There are also rules [on] how you have to bring the concept of this report to the other countries that have interest, and they have 60 days to look at the concept of the final report, and then we have to work out the critic on the report," she said.
A preliminary report is expected to be made public in the coming weeks.
“It isn’t a final report, it won’t contain all the questions, but it will tell you the first result of black boxes, some information we get from other sources like satellite and radar and that kind of data. And it is really the first consolidated information about this investigation. But a lot of questions will still be there after reading," the spokeswoman said.
On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, where the military operation between Ukrainian Army and independence supporters is ongoing.
None of the 298 people on board survived in the crash.
The reason for the crash is a matter of debate, as Ukrainian authorities claim the independence supporters of the eastern regions shot down the plane, but the latter say they do not possess the means to hit a target flying at the height of the plane.
The United States and a number of European leaders support Kiev’s claim, while the Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that a Ukrainian fighter jet was detected near the Malaysian aircraft shortly before it crashed.
Earlier in August, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that a preliminary report on the black box findings from the MH17 crash is expected to be handed over to the United Nations in September.


New EU Sanctions Against Russia May Affect Ongoing Oil Extraction Projects: Reports

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Oil extraction.
22:40 02/09/2014
Tags: European CommissionCzech RepublicRussia
PRAGUE, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - New sanctions that are currently being developed by the European Commission may include widening of restrictive measures in the field of technology exports to be used in exploration and oil extraction, including maintenance of the technical expert groups working on ongoing projects, Czech news agency CTK reported Tuesday.
According to the news agency, Czech government received the draft list of new sanctions today.
Other proposed measures include an expansion of an export ban on goods that can have both military and civilian use; banning syndicated EU loans to Russian government-owned banks and institutions; widening of a ban to borrow or raise capital in Europe to all Russian state-owned firms, and other measures.
The European Commission is to prepare a final draft of new sanctions against Moscowby Wednesday, and the EU leaders are supposed to take a final decision on sanctions implementation by Friday.
Earlier today, Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that Prague will submit comments on the new European Union’s sanctions proposal, as they could trigger high economic losses for his country. According to Sobotka, “escalation of sanctions is a very risky business.”
Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, the United States persuaded its allies to add Russian individuals and entities to their own blacklists.
On August 30, at the EU Summit in Brussels, European leaders urged the European Commission to create proposals for new economic sanctions against Russia within one week.
In August, Moscow was pushed to introduce protective measures banning for a year the import of agricultural and food products from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia.
Russia has repeatedly referred to the language of sanctions “counterproductive,” saying that such measures “threaten international peace and stability.”

Tweets of note.....

+ RT "No military solution" in ? Of course there is. My piece: /via

to hold major military exercise in Lviv oblast, , between September 16 and 26. Any Ukr. forces left the?!? ...