Ukraine Heats Up With New Russian Moves
KIEV – There are reports that Russian troops have advanced into Ukraine. The move comes after a Russian convey went into the country and apparently left without incident. Jen Psaki from the United States Department of State is saying that the evidence increasingly is pointing to a Russian invasion.
Psaki said Wednesday night that it appears that Russian troops are 20 to 30 kilometres into the Ukraine.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine?
The United States is saying that the Russians won’t admit they are engaged in an invasion.
The White House Press Secretary Earnest state, “Well, our posture on this remains that we are disappointed that President Putin and the Russians have not used their influence to deescalate this situation. And in fact, what we have seen are repeated provocations by the Russian regime to further escalate tensions in the region. And whether that’s moving humanitarian convoys across the border into eastern Ukraine without the consent of the Ukrainian government, that certainly represents a pretty flagrant escalation of this situation.
“There are also a number of reports that the Russians are now actively moving military hardware across the border. That’s something they’ve been doing for some time, and there are some indications that the pace of those movements have increased. We’ve actually asked President Putin to do the opposite. We’ve actually asked him to use his influence to try to deescalate the situation and to convince pro-Russian separatists to actually lay down arms and to negotiate with the legitimate government of Ukraine to resolve this situation”.
President Obama’s Press Secretary Earnest concluded, “So the Russian regime has faced sanctions from the international community, and their economy has borne some costs as a result of their actions in Ukraine. And by continuing to ramp up that activity, they make the imposition of additional costs even more likely”.
Speaking with media following a visit to Belarus, Russian President Putin stated, “For its part, Russia will do everything to promote this peace process if it is launched, and in our view, this process needs to be launched as soon as possible. In this regard, an agreement has been reached – this was during the expanded format meeting, and we confirmed it during our bilateral meeting – that the contact group must renew its work as quickly as possible, perhaps here in Minsk”.
“Frankly speaking, we cannot discuss any conditions for a ceasefire or possible agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. This is not our business; it is a domestic matter of Ukraine itself. We can only support the creation of a environment of trust during this possible and, in my view, highly necessary negotiation process. We spoke about this. We spoke, where possible, about what Russia could do to make this process possible. But Russia did not impose any conditions. We cannot do that, we do not have any right to do so. This is a Ukrainian affair; it is up to Donetsk and Lugansk,” stated the Russian President.
President Putin added, “We expressed our concern with regard to the humanitarian component. That is true. And, indeed, President Poroshenko does not deny the complexity of the humanitarian situation. It cannot be characterised as anything other than catastrophic. We talked about the possibility – this is another topic, I did not mention it earlier – and the need to provide humanitarian assistance to Donetsk and Lugansk, and we agreed on how we will cooperate in this area. I will not get ahead of myself, but overall, we have certain agreements here as well. We will look into how to do this”.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko Seeks Peace
Meetings in Minsk have brought certain results, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko told journalists following his negotiations with leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and representatives of the EU.
“Our main goal is peace. We demand resolute actions that will bring peace to the Ukrainian land,” the President noted.
In the course of the meeting, the key issue had been discussed – closing of the Ukrainian-Russian border to prevent the movement of armored vehicles, mercenaries and ammunition. The importance of consultations of border guards for the implementation of the given task has been emphasized.
The President informs that consultations between the Chiefs of General Staff must begin following the results of the negotiations. “We agreed that we will hold consultations through trilateral contact group to speed up the transition to the bilateral ceasefire regime control of which will be carried out by the representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission,” he informed.
In her turn, High Representative of the EU Catherine Ashton stressed that currently the main thing was peace, security, ceasefire and finding the ways to ensure the security of the Ukrainian-Russian border. She informed that a “positive discussion” had been held in the context of economic aspects of the implementation of the Association Agreement.
Fire consumes the house of culture in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold, Donetsk, after shelling in the area.
Some fled the scene…others surveyed the damage. Locals say at least one person was killed and several others wounded.
Ukraine is accusing Russia of launching a new military incursion across its eastern border; the latest development in five months of fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists, whom many believe are backed by Moscow.
Russia has consistently denied sending weapons and soldiers into Ukraine to help the rebels, and there was no immediate reaction from Moscow on allegations of a new incursion.But the news dampens hopes raised by late-night talks in Minsk between Moscow and Kiev…hopes that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says seemed realistic.
FILES: DAILY MOTION / REUTERS / WHITE HOUSE / RUSSIAN PRESIDENT / UKRAINE PRESIDENT