Category Archives: Military

BOOK REVIEW: The lessons Russia learnt in Chechnya

Chechen Militants file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nicholas Watson in Prague – April 22, 2015) “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″. By Mark Galeotti, Osprey Publishing (2014). As Russia begins a new period of military adventurism, it’s an opportune time to review what happened when the country previously waged war in its backyard, so Mark Galeotti’s “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″ is […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: Countdown to War: The Coming U.S.-Russia Conflict. Putin and Obama think they’ve got this crisis contained. Two prominent experts say they may be wrong.

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

The United States and Russia may be unwittingly stumbling down a path to deeper confrontation and even war, cautioned two prominent American national-security experts at a panel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Graham Allison, director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Dimitri K. Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of this […]

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Why Putin’s Next War Will Be at Home; A pollster and a former Putin adviser predict new popularity problems-and renewed focus on domestic enemies

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin appeared this week in his annual marathon television broadcast to answer questions posed by viewers from across Russia. Of course, the four-hour show, Direct Line With Vladimir Putin, was carefully choreographed to avoid anything that could embarrass the Russian leader. But that doesn’t mean the broadcast shied away […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times/James Cartwright & Vladimir Dvorkin: How to Avert a Nuclear War

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russiaand the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea.

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Interfax: Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 military exercise begins in Ukraine

ukraine-us-army-convoy-poland-army-mil

LVIV. April 20 (Interfax) – During the Fearless Guardian 2015 international military exercise, Ukraine’s National Guard intends to learn from the United States military the practices they have used in operations worldwide, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. “The U.S. special task force has experience received in operations worldwide, and we want to use this experience. Wars are won by […]

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Rebel Forces Prepare Spring Offensive in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 69 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – April 14, 2015) All parties to the Minsk Two agreement, which has resulted in a shaky ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine since February 12, express varying levels of concern about a possible full resumption of hostilities. On April 10, the pro-Russian Ukrainian rebel leader who heads the Donetsk […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: How Russia Plans to Save Its Massive Military Buildup. “For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.”

Russian Soldiers Marching

“For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.” The announcement that Russia is planning to lift its self-imposed ban on selling the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran gives us an important insight into how Moscow plans to move ahead with its ambitious plans to modernize and reequip […]

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Normandy Quartet calls for withdrawal of artillery and heavy weapons below 100mm in Donbass

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – April 14, 2015) Foreign ministers from the Normandy Quartet countries have called on the trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine to agree a schedule for the withdrawal of weapons below a 100 mm caliber from the line of contact in Donbass, the chair of the Normandy format’s ministerial meeting in Berlin said in a statement. “We furthermore call for […]

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[International Law and Crimea Annexation] Re: 2015-#72-Johnson’s Russia List/#45. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Senior Russian judge claims legal justification for Crimea annexation.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[DJ: This individual is active in business in Kyiv and Moscow and requests anonymity] Subject: Re: 2015-#72-Johnson’s Russia List/#45. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Senior Russian judge claims legal justification for Crimea annexation. (Valeriy Zorkin) Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 From: Anonymous 1. I am a putinista, albeit not a passionate/blind one. 2. I am a doctor and a professor of international law. […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Rival Factions in Ukraine Are Urged to Withdraw Heavy Weapons

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Warring parties in Ukraine should withdraw heavy weapons — including tanks, armored vehicles, mortars and artillery — in order to comply with the shaky cease-fire that has held in eastern Ukraine since late February, the German foreign minister said early Tuesday. The call from the minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, came after talks with his counterparts from France, Russia and Ukraine aimed […]

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Swedish Admiral Admits ‘Russian Submarine’ Was Actually Civilian Boat

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 14, 2015) A photo that a retired Swedish naval officer said showed a Russian submarine in Swedish waters last autumn was actually of a much smaller civilian boat, a Swedish admiral told his country’s media Monday. “Analysis revealed that the photograph taken in Stockholm’s inner archipelago was of a smaller boat,” […]

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[CALL FOR PAPERS: State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders:] The Russian Sociological Review

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Subject: The Russian Sociological Review Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:47:05 -0500 From: Nail Farkhatdinov (farkhatdinov@gmail.com) The Russian Sociological Review (sociologica.hse.ru/en), an international peer-reviewed academic journal published by the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (www.hse.ru), invites contributions from philosophy, social sciences and cognate fields for the special issue entitled State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders. […]

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NEWSLINK Institute for War & Peace Reporting: How Russia Fights its Information War

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

The Kremlin is committing huge resources to extending its influence through spin rather than soldiers. As the Ukraine crisis continues, IWPR editor Daniella Peled talks to writer and regional expert Peter Pomeranzev about how Russia is using the media as an extension of its military power. Russia is devoting great resources to the information war – how effective is this […]

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Eastern Ukraine’s Children Fall Prey to War

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Lisa Schlein – March 31, 2015) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that more than 150 children have been killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnance during the past year in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. According to the United Nations, the number of people killed in eastern Ukraine […]

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Nemtsov Allies Plan to Publish ‘Putin.War’ Report on Russian Soldiers in Ukraine

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 31, 2015) A report being prepared by supporters of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims that Moscow has started discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to Ukraine and then denying compensation to the families of men who were killed in order to cover up Russia’s involvement in the […]

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NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

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NEWSLINK ReadRussia: How Not to Influence People. Russia’s “tough” posturing just makes it look ridiculous

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear missiles” isn’t the most intuitive headline in the world. Indeed it sounds like something from a parody magazine or from a clumsy remake of Dr. Strangelove. If Denmark is famous for anything (a contentious proposition, but indulge me) it’s precisely because it is inoffensive and non-threatening. It’s a small, rich, tolerant country sandwiched between Germany […]

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Interfax: Russia to take into account threats resulting from new U.S. security strategy

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – March 26, 2015) Russia will react to the adoption of a new U.S. security strategy and will take into account emerging risks and threats in its founding documents related to national security, says Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Certainly, all threats to Russia’s national security are taken into consideration. They will be analyzed, and if need be, amendments will be […]

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NEWSLINK Hoover Roundtable: Perspectives On Russia’s Hybrid War On Ukraine And US Foreign Policy

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

On March 10, the Hoover Institution [at Stanford University] held a roundtable discussion on “Perspectives on Russia’s Hybrid War on Ukraine and US Foreign Policy.” Hoover fellow Paul Gregory moderated; presenters were Michael McFaul, director of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, Hoover senior fellow, and former ambassador to Russia; Alexander Yarim-Agaev, a professor at Donetsk Technical University; General Jim Mattis, (ret) […]

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NEWSWATCH CNBC: Falkland Islands’ fears for Russia-backed invasion

South America and Falkland Islands

[“Falkland Islands’ fears for Russia-backed invasion” – CNBC – Catherine Boyle -March 25, 2015] CNBC covers British military reinforcements of Falkland Islands defenses on the heels of remarks by the Russian Ambassador to the UK comparing the comparing the Falklands to Crimea. The U.K. has sent extra military support to one of its overseas colonies at the bottom of the world, the Falkland Islands, […]

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Interfax: Moscow will not stay indifferent to U.S. decision on lethal arms supplies to Kiev

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Interfax – March 24, 2015) Russia will not stay indifferent to Washington’s possible decision to begin supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, Alexei Pushkov, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament, has said. “The Congress is urging the president of the United States to begin delivering weapons to the country which has […]

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How to end the Ukraine conflict

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 19, 2015) March will be a tense month as Russia has decided to poke its finger in Nato’s eye again. Russia’s Armed Forces are holding for the first time Arctic military exercises, which kicked off on March 16 and will last through March 21. The exercises are massive. The […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: U.S. Delays Ukraine Military Training, General Says; Washington wary of giving Moscow excuse to scrap truce

Gen. Ben Hodges, USA file photo

The Pentagon is delaying a training program for Ukrainian soldiers so as to avoid giving the Kremlin an excuse to scrap the tenuous peace deal struck last month between Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists, a top U.S. general said Tuesday. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army in Europe, said U.S. officials wanted to make sure such training—which would involve […]

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Experts: Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty is a signal to the West

Russian Soldiers Marching

Russian experts say the decision to abandon cooperation with NATO on conventional forces must be considered in the broader geopolitical and historical context. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH – March 13, 2015) Moscow has announced its withdrawal from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, as of March 11, stating that the agreement had became […]

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In E. Ukraine, Civilian Deaths Push Men to Join Rebels

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Patrick Wells – March 12, 2015) After months of fighting in eastern Ukraine, the presence of the Ukrainian military and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the rebellion. New recruits for Ukraine’s rebel army, part of a battalion of Don Cossacks, are on their way out of […]

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Interfax: Russia ready for new agreement on conventional weapons in Europe

Europe Map

(Interfax – March 11, 2015) Russia is ready for negotiations concerning a new treaty regarding the control of conventional weapons in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said. “We are ready to consider the possibility and hold appropriate negotiations regarding a new agreement that is in line with the new […]

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Interfax: Wikileaks prompted Russia to suspend Joint Consultative Group on CFE participation – Russian Foreign Ministry

Europe Map

(Interfax – March 11, 2015) Russia decided to suspend its work in the Joint Consultative Group on the CFE Treaty because it could not use this format to discuss issues relating to conventional weapons control in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said. “When Wikileaks published secret documents, Department of State […]

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Interfax: Russian defence officials deny US claims of Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 5, 2015) Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has criticized statements by American officials that thousands of Russian military personnel are operating in Ukraine. “Then what about the statement of the chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Gen [Viktor] Muzhenko, that there are no armed forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine?” Antonov said at […]

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NEWSLINK: One Year Later, Obama Administration Still ‘Reviewing’ Lethal Aid to Ukraine.

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

For roughly a year, Obama officials have been weighing lethal aid to Ukraine. Some 6,000 Ukrainians have been killed since, but they’re no closer to a decision. …

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NEWSLINK: Obama Said to Resist Growing Pressure From All Sides to Arm Ukraine

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

As American intelligence agencies have detected new Russian tanks and artillery crossing the border into Ukraine in recent days, President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help. …

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TRANSCRIPT: A Military Assessment of the Russian War in Ukraine

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

A Military Assessment of the Russian War in Ukraine Stephen Blank Senior Fellow American Foreign Policy Council February 2015 Testimony Presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, March 4, 2015 Ukraine needs military help from abroad in terms of weapons, training, and finances to help sustain its government and economy in the face […]

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War in Ukraine is a struggle for new rules in the global game

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The world should not hold its breath for a simple resolution to the confrontation that has arisen between Russia and the West over Ukraine – beyond the struggle for influence over Ukraine’s destiny lies a deeper ideological conflict. Moscow has issued a challenge to the U.S.-led unipolar model that has dominated global geopolitics for the last 25 years, and there […]

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Ukraine and rebels claim to have withdrawn heavy weapons from Donbas ceasefire line

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – March 2, 2015) The ceasefire in East Ukraine’s Donbas region between Ukraine government forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels is fragile but holding. Both sides reported some clashes but no fatalities on February 28 and March 1, and claimed to have withdrawn their heavy weaponry, though this is as yet […]

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Sergei Roy: “Americans and Russians, Person-to-Person, with a Sidelight on Ukraine”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Subject: Americans and Russians, Person-to-Person, with a Sidelight on Ukraine Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2015 From: Sergei Roy <sergeiroy@yandex.ru> Attached is my latest piece on “Americans and Russians, Person-to-Person.” Incidentally, it is a real letter to a real American friend. Americans and Russians, Person-to-Person, with a Sidelight on Ukraine (A letter to an American friend) By Sergei Roy [Former Editor-in-Chief, […]

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Boris Nemtsov: ‘We Must Free Russia From Putin’

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov and Luke Johnson – February 28, 2015) Slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was looking ahead to a planned March 1 opposition rally, though in an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service earlier this month, he portrayed the demonstration as just a first step in a long struggle. “If you think that [authorities] would run away […]

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Putin Will Likely Attack a NATO Country Next, Portnikov Says

NATO Meeting file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 27, 2015) Because Vladimir Putin seeks both recognition as the leader of a superpower and a new Yalta at which he and Western leaders will partition the world into spheres of influence and because he can only move toward that goal by new acts of aggression, the Kremlin leader is likely […]

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Interfax: Kyiv claims partial withdrawal of militia’s heavy weaponry, relocation of forces

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. Feb 27 (Interfax) – The heavy arms withdrawal by the Donbas militia from the line of contact has been only partial, and militia forces are being regrouped and bolstered, Kyiv said. “The militants are pulling back their hardware only partially and to distances which can be covered within 30 minutes. Besides, in the words of spokesman for the OSCE […]

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Experts See Dark Plot in Spate of Mystery Bombings in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – February 26, 2015) As the latest blast in a recent string of mysterious bombings in eastern Ukraine claimed another victim Wednesday, experts warned that there would be more to come – and they could spread the conflict further from the front lines. A Donetsk grocery store became the latest scene of carnage […]

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Is There a Plausible Strategy for the Ukraine Situation?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(John Steinbruner – Perspectives on Peace & Security – perspectives.carnegie.org – Carnegie Corporation of New York – February 2015) John Steinbruner Professor, Public Policy Director, Center for International and Security Studies at University of Maryland CUAF – School of Public Policy One year after Russia’s seizure of Crimea, the situation in Ukraine continues to drift toward active military confrontation between […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia’s military budget may shrink 10 percent in 2015 – Rostec

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

[“Russia’s military budget may shrink 10 pct in 2015 – Rostec” – Reuters – Stanley Carvalho – Feb. 23, 2015] Reuters covers news that Russian defense spending might shrink this year, due to the impact of Ukraine-related sanctions. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov previously had said that 10 percent cuts to government spending would spare defense. But on Monday the head of […]

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Swapping a rifle for a mailbag: One Russian’s alternative to army service

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Makar Butkov, special to RBTH -February 23, 2015) As in many countries, military service is compulsory in Russia for young men between 18 and 27, yet remains unpopular with many, who find various ways of avoiding the draft. Odd as it may seem, few take up the option of legal alternative civilian service […]

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NEWSWATCH: How to spot a Russian bomber

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

[“How to spot a Russian bomber” – BBC – February 20, 2015] The BBC covers recent incursions by Russian bombers into UK’s area of interest, including information on how to recognize Russian bombers. Two Russian bombers have been escorted from near UK territory – the latest in a series of similar incidents. How easy is it to spot a Russian […]

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NEWSWATCH: Danger to UK safety: Vladimir Putin’s Russian bombers ‘put British passenger jets at risk’

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

[“Danger to UK safety: Vladimir Putin’s Russian bombers ‘put British passenger jets at risk'; Russian bombers in British airspace risk a catastrophic collision with a passenger airliner, a former Armed Forces chief warned yesterday.” – The Daily Express (UK) – Tom Morgan – February 23, 2015] The Daily Express covers recent incidents of Royal Air Force jets being scrambled to […]

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Interfax: Russian general coordinates weapons withdrawal in east Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – February 19, 2015) Russian and Ukrainian military representatives are working together to coordinate a plan for withdrawal of heavy weapons in east Ukraine, a Russian general said on Russia’s official state television channel Rossiya 1 on 19 February. Speaking live on the phone in Rossiya’s primetime evening news programme, head of the Russian group for coordinating ceasefire issues […]

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Interfax: DPR Defense Ministry has no information about Ukrainian heavy arms withdrawal

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

DONETSK. Feb 20 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian army has yet to begin the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact consistent with the Minsk deal, the command of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) army said. “The DPR Defense Ministry does not have information about the pullout of Ukrainian heavy armaments from the line of contact,” Eduard Basurin […]

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Debaltseve Was Fatal Flaw in Minsk Agreement on Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February 19, 2015) When the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France spent 17 hours last week negotiating an agreement aimed at stopping the fighting in eastern Ukraine and paving the way for a future fundamental settlement of the crisis, there was one key issue they failed to agree on. This was […]

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Interfax: Russians say external military threat has grown – poll

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Interfax – February 20, 2015) Sixty-eight percent of Russian citizens recently interviewed by the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) believe that their country faces a real military threat from outside, as compared with 52 percent of respondents in 2014, and 49 percent in 2000. Twenty-eight percent of those polled took the opposite view (42 percent in 2014). […]

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Moscow Times: Putin Says Russian Intelligence Shows U.S. Is Already Arming Ukraine

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Feb. 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the U.S. is supplying Kiev with lethal weapons, telling reporters that the conflict in Ukraine will not be resolved through military escalation. “According to our intelligence, [U.S.] weapons are already being delivered,” Putin was shown on state television Channel One as telling a press conference on […]

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Interfax: Luhansk republic leader announces “closure” of Debaltseve

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) – The fighting zone in Debaltseve is closed, so all hostilities are taking place inside the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky has said. “We have a continuous line. The Debaltseve ‘boiler’ is closed. It is Ukraine who cannot and does not want to recognize this. All hostilities taking […]

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