US expands sanctions day after Russia vetoes MH17 UN tribunal

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 31, 2015) [DJ: US Department of Treasury press release here http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0133.aspx] The US Department of Treasury announced on July 30 it would expand the sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies, officials and individuals, which “underscores US commitment to maintain the strength of existing sanctions and the unity of the international […]

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Interfax: Russia will respond to sanctions imposed against it using principle of mutuality, but asymmetrical actions are also possible

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – July 31, 2015) Russia will proceed from the principles of mutuality regarding the countries imposing sanctions against it, but it does not rule out an asymmetrical response as well, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said on July 31. “In general, the principle of mutuality, no doubt, is a basic principle in this sanctions exchange. At the same […]

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RBTH: Flight MH17: Russia blocks UN resolution on international tribunal

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the establishment of an international criminal tribunal in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014. While countries in favor of the resolution accuse Russia of insulting the families of the 298 victims of the disaster, Russia says the tribunal would have been premature, and questioned […]

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Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Subject: Five-part blog: THE WORLD WAR IV SERIES Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:39:46 -0400 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> I have recently written a five-part blog series on what I call World War IV. I think your readers may be interested in this material. At the very least, it should provoke some reflection. David Law — THE WORLD WAR IV […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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Russian Defense Industry Revenues Soar Despite Western Sanctions

Russian Soldiers Marching

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 29, 2015) The Russian government bought defense equipment worth almost 2 trillion rubles ($33.2 billion) in 2014, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in April. Russia’s major defense industry enterprises shrugged off Western sanctions and a Russian economic slowdown to grow their revenues rapidly in 2014, according to a new global ranking. […]

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Ukraine War Risks Reigniting as OSCE Warns of Troop Buildup

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kateryna Choursina, Aliaksandr Kudrytski – July 28, 2015) The battle readiness of Ukraine’s military and the rebels it’s fighting in the country’s east is at its highest level since a February truce, monitors warned, a situation that risks tipping the conflict back into war. After more than a year of fighting, sides are fortifying positions and […]

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New Russian Naval Doctrine Enshrines Confrontation With NATO

Russian Naval Vessel file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 28, 2015) President Vladimir Putin on Sunday approved amendments to Russia’s naval doctrine that prioritize the development of Russian positions in strategic seas around the world, according to the Kremlin website. The updated doctrine takes advantage of a huge injection of funds into Russia’s naval strength to shift the emphasis of […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-AVN: U.S. global missile shield continues to expand – consultant to RVSN commander

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

Interfax-AVN covers comments on U.S. missile defense by the Russian military. The circle of participants of the United States global missile shield is expanding, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), told a press conference …. ‘… At present, parts of the U.S. global missile defense system are deployed on the Danish island […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti: Russia Is Not the Threat the West Thinks It Is

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The Moscow Times, Mark Galeotti comments on U.S. threat assessments of Russia. Suddenly, it seems, America has decided that Russia is a threat, even an existential one. Really?     Air Force Secretary Deborah James said: ‘I do consider Russia to be the biggest threat.’ Nonetheless, she comes across as positively dovish alongside with House Armed Services Committee […]

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RIA Novosti: Supply of U.S. artillery-locator radars to Kiev will have major effect – pundit

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(RIA Novosti – July 23, 2015) The possible supply of artillery-locator radar systems by the United States to Ukraine could treble the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Army in artillery battles with the separatist militias, but will require direct involvement in the war by US troops, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has said, RIA Novosti (part […]

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NEWSWATCH The Independent (UK): Vladimir Putin wants to ‘eliminate Ukraine – I have no doubt’, claims Ukrainian PM

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

The Independent covers comments by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk about the Russo-Ukrainian War and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies towards Ukraine. The Prime Minister of Ukraine has claimed that Vladimir Putin is trying to ‘eliminate Ukraine’ as conflict continues between government troops and rebels.   Russia has persistently denied supporting separatist fighters … but Arseniy Yatsenyuk said there was irrefutable evidence of […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Poroshenko warns of imminent Russian invasion; Russia’s Donbas army consists of around 80,000 troops including 50,000 regular army soldiers

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

Ukraine Today reports on Ukrainian intelligence threat assessments regarding Russian or Russia-backed forces. … Poroshenko says military intelligence officials have confirmed … Russia could rapidly launch a fresh invasion … at any moment …. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has warned … Russia had completed … preperations to launch a massive new invasion in three different directions along the contact line … in the Donbas. … […]

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Putin Warns Russian Defense Industry Not to Fall Behind

Igla Missile Test Firing file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Anna DolgovJ – July 20, 2015) Russia’s military modernization drive is stalling this year under the weight of Western sanctions and the decay of the domestic defense industry, a deputy defense minister told President Vladimir Putin. The defense industry is struggling to keep to schedule on government contracts under a decade-long 20 trillion […]

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Russian Military Struggling to Modernize

Igla Missile Test Firing file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 17, 2015) The Russian military is failing to meet its plans for this year on re-equipping its armed forces with modernized weapons because of Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine and a decline of domestic industries, a deputy defense minister told President Vladimir Putin. Government defense contracts that have fallen […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Amid Kremlin-NATO tensions, what mood in Russia’s European ‘spearhead’? The Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad is home to a major naval base that weighs heavily in both Russian and Western military thinking

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

The Christian Science Monitor reports on Russia’s Baltic enclave Kaliningrad in the midst of stepped-up Russian and NATO military activity. If the tensions between Russia and the West should escalate into full-fledged confrontation, it is this former Prussian town – home to a huge military base in the heart of NATO country – that is going to be right at […]

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Interfax: MH17 investigators have yet to establish type of missile – Dutch prosecutors

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – July 17, 2015) An international group of investigators probing the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine have yet to find out whether the plane was shot down from the ground or from the air, according to the Dutch prosecutor general’s office. “We are investigating the scenario of the ground-to-air missile that downed MH17 and the other […]

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Re: [UTExpertsDiscGrp] Straight talk about Russian aggression in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Subject: Re: [UTExpertsDiscGrp] Straight talk about Russian aggression in Ukraine Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 From: ‘Andrei Liakhov’ via “Untimely Thoughts” – An Expert Discussion Group on Russia The course for violent (in some form) confrontation was set when in mid-to-LATE JANUARY 2014 “Luhansk partisans” (a 100% local group) emerged as a response to the local right sector and captured […]

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Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2015) After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as […]

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Russian weapons face West’s economic wall

asia-map-400

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Rakesh Krishnan Simha, special to RBTH – July 8, 2015) Despite being technologically ahead, Russian weapons face a virtual ban in the West. However, the picture is entirely different in Asia. Russian weapons are good enough for China and India – countries flush with cash and able to afford the best – but […]

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NATO will never invade Russia – McFaul

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – June 28, 2015) Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has said NATO is not planning to invade Russia and there is no need for the Russian leadership to deploy S-400 air defense systems on its Western borders. “NATO will never invade Russia,” he twitted on Sunday. The former ambassador said the Russian leadership is groundlessly concerned about […]

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Interfax: Russia to react “immediately” if NATO increases strength in Europe – source

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, June 26, 2015) By “slightly pushing” Russia by increasing the alliance’s military presence in Europe, the USA and NATO are waging a “game of nerves” for now, however should any practical steps be taken towards an escalation near Russia’s western border, Moscow will respond without delay, a source in the military and diplomatic circles has told Interfax-AVN. […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: U.S. to pre-position tanks, artillery in Baltics, eastern Europe

Ashton Carter File Photo

The United States will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in eastern and central Europe, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on Tuesday, moving to reassure NATO allies unnerved by Russian involvement in Ukraine.

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: Buttressing the Front Line Against Putin. The U.S. must compel Nordic and Baltic states to put aside old prejudices and link arms against the Russian threat.

Europe Map

  Russia is waging a new cold war in the Baltic region, breaching international law and the conventions that govern civilized behavior among nations. The Kremlin provokes and intimidates its neighbors with aggressive espionage, corruption of political elites, propaganda onslaughts, cyberattacks, economic sanctions, coercive energy policies, surprise military exercises, and violations of airspace, territorial waters and even national borders, as […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post editorial: New arms race; The last time that the West got into an arms race with the Kremlin, the Soviet Union collapsed

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

So when we hear threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will respond to the West’s improved NATO defenses on Russia’s border, our response is: Bring it on, peewee Stalin!

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NEWSWATCH Time Magazine: Russia Just Opened a Theme Park for Warmongers; There are army rations for lunch, and tanks and missiles to play with

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Time magazine reports on The Guardian reporting on Russia’s new “Patriot Park,” a military-focused theme park an hour outside Moscow. Want your child to learn how to use a grenade launcher? Now, they can at Putin’s ‘Patriot Park,’ a sort of Disneyland built to showcase Russian military prowess. Attractions include military rations for lunch and tanks and missiles to play […]

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NEWSWATCH: NATO and Russia Are Playing a Risky Game

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing in The Moscow Times, NYU professor Mark Galeotti comments on recent military exercises by NATO and Russia. Both Russia and the West continue to stage all kind of major military exercises and demonstrations, even while both accuse the other of provocation and aggressive intent. Are the drums of war beating? No, they’re not — but we need to understand […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times/Fiona Hill, Steven Pifer: Putin’s Risky Game of Chicken

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russian SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in international waters in the Black Sea late in May, just days after the Royal Air Force scrambled to intercept nuclear-capable Bear bombers near British airspace. These dangerous Russian games of chicken are now regular occurrences and come hard upon a Russian threat in March to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships […]

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How the Soviet Union Wrecked Russia’s Military-Industrial Complex

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – June 11, 2015) While Russia’s tussle with Ukraine may seem an unfair match, Ukraine does have one simple advantage – it makes a number of important vehicles and components that Russia needs to equip its military. After Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last year, Kiev brought its leverage to play and placed a […]

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Putin Is No James Bond Villain

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 9, 2015) Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on foreign-language propaganda, all that President Vladimir Putin has achieved outside Russia is the status of a Bond movie villain. He may enjoy it, especially since there’s no 007 in sight to tackle him, but his variety of pop stardom is growing into […]

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Ukraine defending Europe, world order, says Yatsenyuk

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Interfax – June 9, 2015) Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called for unity of the European Union and the United States needed “to defeat the aggressor.” He made the statement at a forum of the American Jewish Committee during a working visit to Washington DC, the Ukrainian government press service has reported. “We are positive that we can regain […]

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Putin: ‘We Have Never Viewed Europe as a Mistress’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 8, 2015) President Vladimir Putin insisted that the West should not view Russia as a threat in an interview published Saturday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of an official visit to Italy that kicks off this week. “I think that only an insane person – and only in a […]

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: Poroshenko warns of ‘full-scale’ war, prods to speed up reforms

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

Ukraine will stick to the Minsk II peace agreement, even though Russia might launch a “full-scale” invasion in the eastern Donbas, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during an address to Parliament on June 4 almost a year after he came to power. He was inaugurated on June

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Interfax: OSCE SMM publishes special report on Wednesday fighting near Maryinka

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

KYIV. June 4 (Interfax) – The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/SMM) has published a separate report concerning the fighting that erupted near the town of Maryinka in the Donetsk region on Wednesday morning. Between 10:00 p.m. on June 2 and 5:30 a.m. on June 3, SMM observers working in the area controlled […]

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Russians against Kremlin spending money on Crimea or World Cup

putin-fifa-meeting

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – June 4, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-russians-against-kremlin-spending-money-crimea-or-world-cup] An overwhelming majority of Russians are against state money for health and education being redirected toward other areas of the economy, according to a recent poll by the Levada Center. In the wake of announcements that Russia’s revised 2015 budget will increase defence […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Sink or sell? Russia spat leaves France with warships to spare

Mistral Class Ship

Tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine have blocked a deal in which Moscow was to buy the ships, leaving Paris trying to negotiate a face-saving compromise and work out CAwhat to do with two unwanted warships.

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Interfax: Russia air defence firm denies its MH17 claims based on fake satellite photos

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – June 2, 2015) The evidence presented by Russian air defence systems manufacturer Almaz-Antey to show that flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian missile was based only on preliminary data from the Dutch investigation, said Yan Novikov, the company’s general director, as reported by privately-owned Russian military news agency Interfax-AVN on 2 June. Novikov was commenting on […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Vladimir Putin Hides the Truth

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

Last week Mr. Putin added a new and especially cruel twist to his formula of deception by decreeing that the deaths or wounds of Russian soldiers in “special operations” can be classified as military secrets, even in peacetime. In the past, the list of state secrets applied only to personnel losses in wartime.

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Fighting in Ukraine Eases, but Abuses Continue on Both Sides, U.N. Says

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

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has eased recently, but at least 6,417 people have died in the conflict and abuses that may amount to war crimes continue to be committed by both sides, the United Nations said Monday.  

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Putin Classifying Troop Losses Proves They’re in Ukraine – Analysts

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 29, 2015) Legal amendments introduced Thursday that classify as state secrets any losses sustained during peacetime special operations are further confirmation of Russia’s direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict, legal and military experts told The Moscow Times. The amendments, signed by President Vladimir Putin, make “information disclosing the loss of personnel […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: The Russians Are Coming, Again; Vladimir Putin violates another peace deal with Ukraine.

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

So much for February’s Ukraine cease-fire. Russian proxies on Saturday shelled Avdiyivka, a town in eastern Ukraine held by the Kiev government, killing a Ukrainian service member and a civilian in an attack that also shut down a coke-manufacturing plant. On Sunday pro-Kremlin forces fired on Ukrainian positions near the port of Mariupol, killing a Ukrainian soldier and wounding two.

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Russia Prepares for Possible New Summer Military Campaign in Eastern Ukraine

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

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 95 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 21, 2015) Summer is the best time for major offensive military action in the Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk provinces) of eastern Ukraine. In the spring and autumn, long periods of bad weather turn unpaved roads and plains into a mud quagmire (Rasputitsa), […]

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NEWSLINK Euromaidan Press: Separatists in Donbas have more tanks than Germany, France, and Czech Republic combined

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

The armed forces of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics” (“LNR” and “DNR”) have accumulated significant reserves of heavy weapons. According to deputy commander of the Anti-Terrorist Operation, Col. Valentyn Fedychev, as of 8 April 2015 Russia’s hybrid army in Donbas has 700 tanks, over 1 100 ACVs, 600 artillery systems, and 380 MRLS, as reported by news.liga.net

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NEWSLINK Kyiv Post: Alexei Bayer, America should teach Ukraine to wage a clandestine war

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

Where Ukraine really needs U.S. help is in the area of domestic security. In other words, it needs to fight the kind of war Russia has started – especially now, since the hot conflict in its eastern part has become stationary and the war is entering a clandestine phase.  

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NEWSLINK The Ecologist: Ukraine war leaves a long shadow of pollution, ill-health and ravaged industries

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

Over a year after violent conflict began in East Ukraine, indications are emerging of its severe environmental impacts in the highly industrialised Donbas region, and the grave health risks to civilians that will endure long into the future. The area will need international assistance both to reduce the hazards, and to ‘green’ the region’s often polluting industries.

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