Tag Archives: Military of Ukraine

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow

The Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet gaining height towards the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. Kiev must explain why the military jet was tracking the passenger airplane, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it’s distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,” said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.

“[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” he stated.

“The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,” he added. “It’s equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.”

The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

At the moment of the MH17 crash an American satellite was flying over the area of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. It urged the US to publish the space photos and data captured by it.

‘Ukrainian Buk missile system transported to militia-held area’

In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air ‘Buk’ missile systems, the Russian general said.

“We have space images of certain places where the Ukraine’s air defense was located in the southeast of the country,” Kartapolov noted.

The first three shots that were shown by the general are dated July 14. The images show Buk missile launch systems in about 8km northwest of the city of Lugansk – a TELAR and two TELs, according to the military official.

Another image shows a radar station near Donetsk.

While the third picture shows the location of the air defense systems near Donetsk, he explained. In particular, one can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures, he elaborated.

“Images from this area were also made on July 17. One should notice that the missile launcher is absent [from the scene]. Image number five shows the Buk missile system in the morning of the same day in the area of settlement Zaroschinskoe – 50km south of Donetsk and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk,” the Kartapolov said

The question that has to be answered is why the missile system appeared in the area controlled by the local militia forces shortly before the catastrophe, he stated.

Images taken on July 18 show that the missile systems left the area of the MH17 crash, the military official said.

Kartapolov also pointed to the fact that on the day of the plane crash Ukraine’s military increased activity on the part of Ukraine’s Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are part of the Buk system.

..there were 7 radars operating on July 15, 8 radars operating on July 16, and 9 radars operating on July 17 in the area. Then, starting with July 18, the intensity of radar activities radically decreased, and now there are no more than two or three radars operating a day. The reason behind this is yet to be found.”

In response to Moscow’s evidence, Kiev said on Monday it had proof the missile that brought down a Malaysian airliner last week came from Russia.

There is evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council Andrey Lysenko told a news conference. “To disown this tragedy, [Russia] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev has “strong evidence” of the causes of the MH17 crash.

We know exactly the place [the surface-to-air missile was] launched, we know exactly the place where it hit the civilian plane and the place where the plane crashed.

Kiev is ready to hand the information to the international investigation commission, according to the presidential press-service.

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​Russia now enemy, so we’ll help Ukraine build up military – NATO chief

Ukrainian troops outside the town of Andreyevskoye near Slavyansk, Donetsk Region

NATO is preparing a package deal to ramp up the Ukrainian military because it ‘must adapt’ to Russia viewing it as an enemy, the outgoing chief of the military bloc said.

The deal would be submitted to foreign ministers of members states later this month, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told El Pais in an interview. He declined to go into detail, but said it provides for defense industry reform and modernization of the Ukrainian military.

The alliance may also facilitate cooperation with Ukraine over military training, although whatever exercises of NATO member troops would be held in Ukraine is up to individual countries, Rasmussen said.

“We must adapt to the fact that Russia now considers us its adversary,” he explained.

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen

The help that NATO plans to give Ukrainian military comes as the said military are used in a bloody crackdown on the defiant eastern provinces, where local militias defend cities from daily artillery shelling and airstrikes.

Kiev regards the militias as Russia-backed terrorists and refuses any kind of negotiation with them. NATO shares the view, accusing Russia of funneling heavy weapons into Ukraine across the border, although so far no solid evidence of such actions was presented.

The alliance itself is experiencing a sort of revival playing the ‘Russian threat’ card to justify the build-up of troops in Central and Eastern Europe. Moscow sees such deployments as provocative and confirming NATO’s aggressive stance towards Russia.

NATO claims that it has been cooperating with Russia in every way until the Ukrainian crisis sparked the cold war hostilities again. It’s not quite true, considering the alliance’s expansion eastwards in Europe and its plans to deploy a system of anti-ballistic missile defense closer to Russian borders. Both have been done against Russia’s objections that such moves compromise Russian national security.

Breaking news – Military jet downed by anti-Kiev forces in Lugansk – Ukraine’s defense ministry

Anti-Kiev forces took down a Ukrainian military Il-76 jet as it was landing in Lugansk, the country’s Defense Ministry said. It did not provide details on casualties.

TSN.ua news website earlier reported that around 30 paratroopers were killed as self-defense forces hit the jet with a rocket.

The plane was transporting rotating military personnel and had “troops, machinery, equipment and food,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Il-76 is a heavy military transport aircraft that usually has a crew of seven and can transport up to 167 soldiers with weapons.

Meanwhile, shooting has resumed in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region as the Ukrainian military continues its crackdown on self-defense forces in the country’s east, a self-defense representative said.

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Lavrov : Iraq developments show total failure of American-British ‘adventure’

The events in Iraq are a result of the actions carried out by the US and the UK, and the situation has spiraled out of control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists.

“It has been reported that the UK foreign minister declared that the events in Iraq are, according to him, an illustration that terrorism is rampant in the region due to the absence of reconciliation in Syria,” Lavrov said.

“We’ve known that our English colleagues have a unique ability to twist everything. But I didn’t expect such cynicism, because the events that are taking place in Iraq are an illustration of a complete failure of the venture started by the US and the UK that allowed it to spiral out of control completely.”

“We express our solidarity with the Iraqi authorities, the Iraqi people who should restore peace and security in their country, but the actions of our Western partners raise a lot of questions,” Lavrov marked.

Kurdish Iraqi Peshmerga forces deploy their troops and armoured vehicles on the outskirts of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, only 1 kilometre away from areas controlled by Sunni Muslim Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq on June 12, 2014.

Lavrov noted that 11 years ago the US president announced the victory of democracy in Iraq, and that “the situation has deteriorated in geometrical progression.”

“The unity of Iraq has been called into question. The rampant terrorism is taking place due to the fact that the occupation troops didn’t pay any attention to the interior political processes, didn’t help the national dialogue, and only pursued their own interests,” Lavrov said.

On Monday night, the terrorists seized control of the town Mosul – the administrative center of the northern province of Nineveh. On Wednesday, the authorities informed the population about the fall of Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein and just 150km from Baghdad.

Sergey Lavrov has also touched on the developments in Ukraine. He said Moscow demands an immediate investigation into the reports of the use of banned weapons in Ukraine.

A local resident stands in front of the blown out windows and walls of a residential building after it was hit by mortar shells during clashes in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on June 11, 2014.

“We emphasize concern over the reports about the use by the Ukrainian military of fire bombs and other indiscriminate weapons. Those reports must be urgently checked,” Lavrov stressed.

He said the Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin “will be calling the OSCE mission which has observers in Ukraine, to establish facts [of using indiscriminate weapons], as well as will strive for the investigation into the tragedies in Odessa on May 2, in Mariupol on May 9, the ongoing actions in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, and the snipers’ case on Maidan in February – all those probes should be brought to a close.”

“We know that the European Council is ready to be involved in the probe which the Ukrainian authorities carry out. We are convinced that this should be done,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia is also submitting to the UN the draft resolution on Ukraine calling to follow the roadmap the OSCE previously proposed.

“We’ve asked our UN envoy to submit to the UN Security Council the project on the resolution on the Ukrainian situation because the lack of progress on the halt of the violence and military actions since the start of the punitive operation causes concern,” Lavrov said.

At the moment there is no talk about bringing peacemakers to Ukraine, Lavrov said.

“We don’t think that the situation has reached that point yet. There is still hope for a declaration by [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko that the violence will be stopped and the negotiations will begin,” he added.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Warns of War in Ukraine

Michael McFaul, who served as President Obama’s ambassador to Moscow until February, has warned that the Ukraine crisis is approaching a state of war that could trigger a large scale invasion by Russian military forces.

“The last 24 hours was a major escalation,” McFaul told TIME in a Friday interview, as Ukraine’s military began an operation to reclaim eastern cities and towns taken over by pro-Russia militants. The offensive has led to violence, including reports that Ukrainian helicopters were shot down by pro-Russian forces. Brewing violence in the southern port city of Odessa also claimed dozens of lives Friday.

“This is real,” McFaul said. “This is war.”

Amid reports that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are urging Russia’s military to intervene on their behalf, McFaul says he’s now reconsidering the widely-shared assumption that Russian President Vladimir Putin would prefer to destabilize Ukraine from a distance, without staging a cross-border invasion that would compel the west to take new retaliatory steps, possibly including arming the Ukrainian military.

“It would be very costly for Russia to invade Ukraine,” McFaul said. “It’ll be real fight — maybe guerrilla warfare for years. That’s not something one does lightly. But it got a lot more likely in the last 12 hours.”

Russia’s parliament has authorized Putin to intervene in Ukraine, though Putin said last month “I very much hope that I will not have to exercise this right.”

But many experts fear the rising violence may provide Putin with an excuse, even if it brings a harsh western response. “It would be a very foolish move on Russia’s part,” says Olga Oliker, an international security and defense policy analyst at the Rand Corporation. “However that does not mean that it can be ruled out.”

The chaos deepened on Saturday as the Ukrainian military continued to press its offensive. The pro-Kremlin news outlet RT alleged on Saturday that residents in the eastern city of Kramatorsk chased off Ukrainian military forces with chants of “fascists.” In one bright spot, however, a team of international observers held for days by pro-Russian forces were released unharmed.

But the larger picture remains bleak. The events of the past couple of days, McFaul said, “make me more worried than ever before.”

via Former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Warns of War in Ukraine | TIME.com.

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Ukrainian army launches assault on Kramatorsk

Ukraine’s National Guard is reportedly storming the eastern town of Kramatorsk. Meanwhile, the army has resumed its special operation in Slavyansk, where two soldiers have been killed.

“The assault is starting now,” a Kramatorsk self-defense activist has told RIA Novosti by phone. Another activist told the news agency that the National Guard opened fire on self-defense forces.

Dozens have been killed or injured in Kramatorsk, a doctor told RIA Novosti. The medic added that the fighting has now stopped and all of those injured have been taken to hospitals in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. At least two died on the way to the hospital, she said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military’s special operation has resumed in the nearby town of Slavyansk. The headquarters of the people’s self-defense is under snipers’ fire, according to Itar-Tass. There are reports of injuries among protesters.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that two military personnel were killed on Friday in the village of Andreyevka, not far from Slavyansk, Donetsk region. According to the ministry, they came under an attack with the use of small arms.

“The violent military confrontation is ongoing. To date, information about the deaths of two Ukrainian servicemen has been confirmed,” the ministry said in a statement, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.

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Ukrainian military open fire on militia in Kramatorsk, three injured

Ukrainian servicemen opened fire on the militia in Kramatorsk, three were wounded, told supporters of federalization to RIA Novosti.

According to them, in the area of Pchekino in Kramatorsk militia tried to break the car convoy of several BMD that was going to the airfield, which was held since the evening by the Ukrainian military. They wedged into the column and blocked the way to the closing machine.

Ukrainian military opened fire. One militia was wounded in the shoulder and two were wounded in the legs. The car managed to go through towards the airfield. The victims hae received medical help.

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Moscow: No troop build-up or undeclared military activity near Ukraine borders

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Russia is observing all international agreements on troop limits in regions bordering Ukraine, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister said, adding that foreign missions’ inspections can confirm that.

The statement was made in response to reports by several foreign media outlets over concentrations of “thousands” of Russian servicemen on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“By the way this issue has during the last month been regularly raised in telephone conversations between Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu, and his foreign counterparts, including US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and even acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister said.

Sergey Shoigu has, in a very transparent manner, informed all of them about the real situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. He also stressed that Russia has no intention to concentrate troops there, Antonov said.

Following recent probes by foreign missions in Russia of Ukraine’s bordering regions, foreign inspectors came to the conclusion that “Russian Armed Forces are not undertaking any undeclared military activity that would threaten the security of neighboring countries,” Antonov added.

The official said eight foreign inspection groups have recently visited Russia.

“Our venues and regions, where troops are stationed near Ukrainian borders, have twice been checked by the Ukrainian military,” the Deputy Minister said. “Besides, we have had on our territory inspectors from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.”

Seven of those eight missions were interested in Russian regions bordering with Ukraine, Antonov said. Foreign inspectors were allowed to talk to chiefs of the Russian military units, make pictures of deployment sites and military vehicles, and control them during relocation.

“We did our best to meet our partners’ requests by allowing them to inspect all of the sites they wanted to. We have nothing to hide,” Antonov said.

The deputy minister said he was hoping that participants of those inspecting missions would inform their countries’ leaderships of what is really going on at the border between Russia and Ukraine.

“We believe this would to large extent facilitate release of tension, something the head of the Pentagon, Hagel, called for during his recent phone conversation with Minister Shoigu.”

Germans, French ‘nullified military co-op with Russia under pressure’

Berlin’s and Paris’ moves to halt military cooperation with Moscow are derailing the bilateral efforts of recent years and are completely unconstructive, Antonov said. However, according to the defense official, the two did so under pressure from their NATO ally.

“Obviously, the proverbial ‘Atlantic solidarity’ has made our French and German partners come up with loud statements against Russia,” Antonov said.

“Refusing from contacts and delegatory exchange though military departments brings to naught the positive tendencies established in the recent years, including the cooperation on Afghanistan, the dialogue on transparency of military activity and military-technical cooperation. We perceive the decision of the German side as taken under pressure and unconstructive,” Antonov stressed.

Both Russian and German defense ministries have recently undertaken some “serious efforts” in mutually beneficial cooperation, the official noted. He also highlighted the “unprecedented” bilateral work with France, including that of the Air Forces and Airborne Forces, noting that a “new impulse of cooperation” had been planned for 2014.

Addressing media on Sunday, Antonov stressed that Russia and its European partners are equally interested in military cooperation. It is “very easy to ruin what has been done by our countries [in the field of military cooperation] and it will be very difficult to restore relations,” he said.

The Russian side hopes that Germany and France will review the situation on the Ukrainian border upon receiving reports from the international inspectors and will move to restore the severed ties, Antonov said. For now, Moscow will act in accordance with the “existing realities,” he added.

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Crimea military center shooting resembles sniper fire at Kiev’s Maidan

Special forces banish an unidentified man from the Photogrammtry Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kubanskaya Street in Simferopol. Unidentified people allegedly attempted to seize the center on March 18.

The shooting in the Crimean city of Simferopol bears a strong resemblance to the actions of snipers in central Kiev, as February violent clashes, local prosecution said. Russia considers the shooting that left two killed and two injured a “provocation.”

Speaking at the press-briefing the next day after the gunfire in Simferopol, Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, shed very little light on what exactly happened outside the Ukrainian military topography and navigation center.

Stressing that the investigation is still on-going, she recounted how several unarmed officers of the Ministry of Defense of Russia had come to oversee progress on a joint matter regarding mapping. Their visit was earlier agreed with the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces and with Kiev.

Several of their colleagues, who at the time were outside the building of the compound, were fired upon.

“While cartographers were on the territory of the center, some self-defense unit representatives, protecting the center from the outside, came under fire,” Poklonskaya said.

Bullets came from a similar direction, but with varying trajectories, resulting in the death of two officers on both sides and a further two injuries.

Single shots were fired “simultaneously in the direction of Crimean self-defense units and Ukrainian servicemen.” Investigators have found bullets at the scene, but Poklonskaya was reluctant to reveal what kind of gun was used.

“Experts familiar with the crime scene believe the crimes perpetrated today bear a strong resemblance to the actions of snipers on the Maidan on February 18-21,” she summed up.

If this turns out to be the case, she said, it is possible that the attack was possibly aimed at “provoking clashes between the servicemen of Ukraine and Crimea.”

Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya

Now investigators are working on establishing a number of attackers and their exact location.

Earlier, the local interior ministry said in a press release that the shoots came from a house under construction opposite the center.

There has also been information that a sniper was detained. But later this information appeared to be bogus.

At the briefing, the prosecutor stressed that no one had been detained in connection with the shooting.

Despite very little details immediately available, shortly after news of the shooting broke, Western media was fast to point a finger at Russia, blaming the attack on “pro-Russian forces.” This view was shared in Kiev, which in an immediate reaction authorized Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea to use firearms to “defend their lives.”

However, in Russia the shooting is widely seen as a provocation after Crimea and Sevastopol were accepted into the Russian Federation and the treaty was signed.

“What happened in Simferopol yesterday was beyond any doubt a provocation and its style suggests that the sniper there acted in the same manner as the ones on Maidan,” Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Aleksandr Vitko. “Two people died as a result,” he added. “Nonetheless, the hotheads in the incumbent Ukrainian leadership said something about permission to shoot. I’d like to warn everyone in this connection and especially the men and officers of the Ukrainian Naval Forces, God forbid you to make a single shot, even from a slingshot. Matches are not toys, and I’d like to ask everyone to understand it in the very literal sense.”

The situation in Crimea was discussed in NATO between Russia’s Ambassador to the Alliance and its military officials.

“We have informed them that we see this incident as a provocation. The Russian troops were not involved in it; there was no storming of the Ukrainian military base as claimed by the authorities in Kiev. The incident is now being investigated, those guilty will not walk away from the responsibility,” Russian Ambassador to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, was cited by Interfax as saying.

Crimean authorities have shared this stance, saying that the shooting in Simferopol was indeed a provocation aimed at spreading a “spirit of hatred and fear.”

“Such provocative tactics of putting in confrontation opposing parties was systematically employed at Maidan in Kiev. In a similar way provocateurs are trying to blow up the peace and harmony in our house,” Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian coup-appointed Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a note of protest to Russia following the death of a Ukrainian soldier in Simferopol.

“Today he [the Russian charge d’affaires in Kiev, Andrey Vorobyev] was once again given a note against provoking armed incidents, violence and murder of Ukrainian soldiers,” the Ministry said.

A criminal case has been launched after the shooting and the charges are in line with Article 115 of the Ukrainian criminal code – murder. But there is still a lot that is unclear about the attack. It was even less known on the evening it took place.

This, however, was not an obstacle for a stream of conflicting reports, speculating that Russian forces were “storming the base.”

RT’s team was one of the first to arrive at the scene. As they came to the base, RT producer, Lida Vasilevskaya, reported the center was already surrounded by men in camouflage and the situation was “calm.”

She learned that the majority of the staff working at the military topography research center are women. The center’s area is rather small, and servicemen have only six machine guns and three Makarov guns to provide security.

It was confirmed to RT that the shooting did take place, but by that time it was unclear where the shooting had come from. This is yet to be investigated.

RT News.

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2 killed, 2 injured in shooting near Crimea military research center, ‘sniper detained’

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Two people – a self-defense member and a Ukrainian soldier – were killed and two others wounded after snipers opened fire from a partially inhabited building near a military research center in Simferopol. One sniper was detained, another is on the run.

As RT producer Lida Vasilevskaya arrived on the scene, the perimeter of the Ukrainian military topography and navigation center had already been surrounded by men in camouflage and the situation was “calm.”

The local Interior Ministry said in a press release that shooting came from a house under construction opposite the center and targeted Crimean self-defense units as well the military center itself.

“Earlier today self-defense units were informed that a group of armed men had been discovered in a partially inhabited building,” the press release said. “As the self-defense were taking measures to check, they came under fire, presumably from a sniper rifle,” police said adding that shooting came “in two directions from one spot.”

One self-defense unit member was killed and another wounded, police said. Also, one Ukrainian soldier who was guarding the military research center, was killed, and another wounded.

Earlier, Ukrainian servicemen told RT that last night unknown groups tried to break into several military bases, but self-defense units managed to prevent them from entering.

“Guys from self-defense told me today that they were afraid of provocations,” Lida Vasilevskaya tweeted.

Crimean Interior Ministry did not rule out a provocation aimed at complicating the situation in the city after Crimea and Sevastopol were accepted into the Russian Federation.

Despite lack of verified details of what exactly happened in Simferopol, and a stream of conflicting reports, Kiev immediately claimed “Russian soldiers started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen”.

“This is a war crime without any statute of limitations,” coup-appointed Prime-Minister Yatsenyuk told a meeting at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

In another immediate reaction to the accident, acting President Aleksandr Turchinov authorized Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea to use firearms to “defend their lives.”

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