The war in Donetsk – end of a post-Soviet taboo?

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

(opendemocracy.net – By Oleg Kashin – September 1, 2015) The devastation of eastern Ukraine has woken Russians up to the reality of war for the first time since 1945. Sergei Loiko is an Russian-American journalist who has spent the last year covering the war in Ukraine. He’s also a friend, and has now written Airport, a novel about the battle […]

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Handing Over Crimea and Donbas to Russia No Solution for Ukraine or the World

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 2, 2015) Many people, horrified by the actions of pro-Moscow forces in Crimea and the Donbas or unwilling to continue to resist Russian aggression, have concluded that the rest of Ukraine would be better off without those two regions and could move forward by sacrificing them to Vladimir Putin. “If only […]

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RIA Novosti: Ukraine draft law a potential “interim” step to constitutional reform – Pushylin

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

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, August 31, 2015) Denis Pushilin [Ukrainian: Denys Pushylin], plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR/DNR], considers the first reading of draft constitutional amendments passed by the Supreme Council to be Ukraine’s internal affair which has little to do with the Minsk Agreement but which could be an interim step towards constitutional reform harmonized with […]

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Kirk Bennett: “On Treating Ukraine Like Georgia – A Reply to Paul Saunders”

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Subject: ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS Date: Sun, 30 Aug 201 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett was the Senior Georgia Desk Officer at the State Department from 2007-09. Kudos to Paul Saunders for his spot-on exposition of U.S. policy […]

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Russian nationalist says followers fight on in Ukraine despite internal disputes

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

(Interfax – August 29, 2015) Russian nationalist politician Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik party (whose members make up most of the Other Russia party), says his members are continuing to fight with the separatist militias in southeast Ukraine, despite not being allowed to lead units or engage in political activity there, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported […]

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Like Stalin, Putin hasn’t Changed the Rules of the Game; He’s Destroyed Them, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 28, 2015) The Anschluss of Crimea and the murder of Boris Nemtsov were not continuations of the rules of the game that had existed before, with the first following the 2008 Russian actions in Georgia and the second that of murders like Galina Starovoitova and Anna Politkovskaya, Vitaly Portnikov says. Instead, […]

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Interfax: DPR claims Ukraine holding approx. 450 prisoners of war

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

DONETSK. Aug 27 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic allows for the possibility of carrying out a new prisoner swap with Ukraine next week. “According to the official data, 450-460 prisoners of war are being held by the other side in addition to civilians. These are those who have been reported,” Viktor Anosov, a representative of the DPR military […]

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Sept. 1 ceasefire in Donbass agreed at meeting in Minsk

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

A meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk with representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” has ended with the parties agreeing to a ceasefire effective from Sept. 1. However, experts are not convinced this a breakthrough on the path to peace. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Eekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 27, 2015) The participants of […]

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Report With Tally Of ‘Russian War Casualties’ Causes Stir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – August 26, 2015) A Russian-language website has caused a stir with a report asserting that more than 2,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Delovaya Zhizn, which translates as Business Life, published the information online in March, as part of a larger story of how the Russian federal […]

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[Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets re: reports on Russian casualties in Ukraine]

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[DJ: Nataliya Vasilyeva (AP Moscow correspondent) tweets: 2 day of Western officials retweeting a Forbes report quoting a Ukrainian web-site quoting a non-existent Russia news web-site re Ukraine. The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources? The ease of spreading rumors in the digital […]

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Interfax: “Diplomat: Rise in NATO activity in Europe near Russian borders is provocative”

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – August 26, 2015) Moscow has branded provocative the rise in NATO military activity in the areas bordering Russia but does not see a threat of a direct military confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry European Cooperation Department Director Ivan Soltanovsky told Interfax in an interview on August 26. “We have a negative attitude to the mounting military activity of NATO […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Interfax: DPR claims 30 truce violations by Ukrainian army, says large calibers being used

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

DONETSK. Aug 26 (Interfax) – The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has observed 30 incidents of shelling from the Ukrainian side over the past day, a ministry representative said on Wednesday. “The Ukrainian army has committed 30 ceasefire violations over the past day. Some 113 82mm and 120mm mines, 85 152mm artillery shells and 15 tank […]

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NEWSWATCH The Daily Caller: “McCain On Putin: ‘He Wants To Restore The Russian Empire'”

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

The Daily Caller covers recent remarks by U.S. Senator John McCain suggesting imperialistic ambitions are evidenced by Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. … McCain said Wednesday during his trip to Sweden that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to “restore the Russian Empire.” The purpose of the trip, made along with Sens. John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehouse, is to […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Times: “East Ukraine could be annexed soon”

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

The Washington Times reports on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and prospects for Russian annexation of eastern Ukraine. … increased violence in East Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels of the Donetsk People’s Republic … comes with reports of an increased Russian military presence on the border … * * * … Xinhau, the Chinese state news agency, reported that […]

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NEWSWATCH Ottawa Citizen: “The coming war with Russia”

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

The Ottawa Citizen reports on concerns over the prospects for open military conflict between NATO and Russia. A couple of months before he retired in July, the head of Canada’s air force provided a blunt assessment of what might emerge from the current military mission to Ukraine. “We pray that our ongoing NATO mission isn’t accompanied by the escalation of […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Russia’s summer of intrigue: Political trials take center stage.

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

Russia ready to discuss new CFE treaty with NATO – Foreign Ministry

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, August 18, 2015) Russia is ready for dialogue with NATO on new parameters of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) if the alliance’s proposal answer present-day realities, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, has said. “In principle, we are ready to discuss the parameters of a […]

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Ukrainians Will Need a Generation to Overcome Trauma from Russian War, Émigré Psychotherapist Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Paul Goble – Staunton, August 18, 2015) Madlen Rozenblum, an émigré psychotherapist who has been helping Ukrainians with Skype consultations and training sessions, says that Ukrainians are going to need a generation or even more to overcome the traumas inflicted on them by Russian aggression there. While different Ukrainians have experienced the trauma of war differently, she told Novy Region […]

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Ukraine Says Separatist Attacks Ease for First Time in Week

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Aliaksandr Kudrytski – August 18, 2015) Ukraine said attacks by pro-Russian insurgents in its easternmost regions abated for the first time in eight days, allaying concern that a six-month-old peace accord is unraveling. Ukrainian officials said they saw a drop in the use of heavy weaponry and reported no new civilian deaths overnight after […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Ukraine bid to shut out Russia with border ‘wall’ falters.

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

AFP covers Ukraine’s unfolding efforts to fortify its border with Russia with defensive structures. … the ambitious project to seal up Ukraine’s porous 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) frontier with its ex-Soviet neighbour was announced in March 2014 after Moscow seized … Crimea …. … over a year later, only a small fraction of the $250-million (225-million-euro) project that Kiev hopes could help […]

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Kyiv Must Work to Isolate Moscow Rather than Negotiate with It, Yeremenko Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 11, 2015) Up to now, Ukraine has made “a serious error” by trying to negotiate with Russia about the Donbas, Bogdan Yeremenko says. What it should be doing is devoting all its efforts to isolating Russia internationally.  That will have far more impact on Moscow’s behavior than any talks Ukraine might […]

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Interfax: Netherlands: Investigators so far don’t confirm finding Buk parts on MH17 crash site in Donbass

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

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) The international group of investigators conducting the criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas does not confirm finding fragments of a surface-to-air missile Buk on the crash site in Donbass, the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office reported. It is now too early to draw conclusions that the found fragments are […]

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Russian official warns of Kiev’s plans for “long-term confrontation” with Moscow

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(Interfax – August 11, 2015) Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev has said that Ukraine’s national security strategy for the period until 2020 is directed at a long-term confrontation with Russia, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 11 August. “According to our specialists, the Ukrainian national security strategy is directed at a long-term confrontation with Russia, which cannot fail […]

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Fifteen Years on, Russians Less Inclined to Cast Blame for Kursk Submarine Tragedy

Kursk Submarine File Photo, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 12, 2015) Fifteen years after one of the worst disasters in Russian naval history – the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in which all 118 crew members died – the number of Russians who blame the authorities for not doing enough to rescue the sailors has dropped. […]

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Interfax: Pro-Russian rebel official says MH17 “most likely” downed by Ukrainian Buk

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

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) Andriy Purhin (Andrey Purgin), the deputy speaker of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) people’s council, has said that the Malaysian Boeing is likely to have been downed by a Ukrainian Buk air defence system, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax quoted him as saying on 12 August. “Certainly, a Buk [missile] is more likely [to […]

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Ukraine Says Attacks on Troops Intensify as Unrest Worsens

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – August 12, 2015) Ukraine said pro-Russian militants intensified attacks on government troops overnight in a bid to win ground, a sign the recent surge in fighting is worsening. Tensions in the 16-month conflict rose this week as the army reported renewed assaults on a village in the Donetsk region, an accusation the separatists […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Propaganda Lessons From an Old – a Very Old – Master

mid-east-holy-land-satellite-photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michele A. Berdy – August 10, 2015) How can you convince men to go to off and fight a war in another country? What arguments will be most persuasive? What tricks of rhetoric will get them to sign up? If these questions sound very modern, think again. These were some of the problems facing a […]

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Toward a ”Reaganov” Russia: Russian Security Policy after Putin

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

(The Washington Quarterly – twq.elliott.gwu.edu – Clifford Gaddy and Michael O’Hanlon – Summer 2015) [article also appeared at twq.elliott.gwu.edu/toward-%E2%80%98%E2%80%98reaganov%E2%80%99%E2%80%99-russia-russian-security-policy-after-putin] Clifford Gaddy is Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution. An economist specializing in Russia, Gaddy is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

Arctic Map

The New York Times comments on Russia’s attempt to use the United Nations to expand Russian territory in the Arctic, accompanied by expanded Russian military activity in the region. As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge […]

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Abandoned Mistral Deal Still Divides Russian Officials, Analysts

Mistral Class Ship

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 5, 2015) France has agreed to reimburse Russia for the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers purchased under a 2011 contract, ending a months-long dispute over the fate of Russia’s largest foreign arms purchase in the post-Soviet era. But the question of whether Russia really needs such expensive ships other than for mere […]

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