Tag Archives: Ukraine

Putin: ‘US wants to subdue Russia, but no one did or ever will’

President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

The US has no plans to humiliate Russia, but instead wants to subdue it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that no one had ever succeeded in doing so – and never will.

Speaking at a forum of the All-Russia Peoples’ Front in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian leader said that history was not about to change, and that no one would manage to suppress the country.

“Throughout history no one has ever managed to do so toward Russia – and no one ever will,” Putin said.

Responding to a question about whether America was trying to humiliate Russia, Putin disagreed, saying that the US wanted “to solve their problems at our expense.”

He said that people in Russia really like the Americans, but it’s the US politics that are not accepted so well. “I think America and its people are more liked than disliked by people here [in Russia]. It’s the politics of the ruling class [in the US] that is likely negatively viewed by the majority of our citizens,” he said.

The Russian leader said the US had managed to subordinate its allies to its influence – with such countries “trying to protect foreign national interests on obscure conditions and perspectives.”

One of the means of changing the balance of power in the world to eventually subdue Russia was NATO’s gradual approach to its borders, which made Russia “nervous”, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told BBC.

Russia needs a “100% guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO,” Peskov added.

Heads of states and international organizations pose for the “family photo” during the G20 Summit in Brisbane on November 15, 2014.

The Russian president has last met with his American counterpart last week, while attending the G20 summit in Australia. Despite the focus on the world economy, the crisis in Ukraine was one of the hottest topics at the G20. Talking about the summit’s results at a press conference, US President Barack Obama did not announce any significant changes in his country’s approach to Russia.

We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy,” the US president told a news conference, adding that his country was “also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles.”

Before leaving Brisbane, Putin said that a solution to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine was possible. “Today the situation [in Ukraine] in my view has good chances for resolution, no matter how strange it may sound,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

The Russian leader also said he was satisfied with both the results and atmosphere of the meetings.

Australian authorities created an exceptionally friendly atmosphere for discussing solutions to economic challenges at the G20 summit in Brisbane, the Russian president said, dispelling rumors there were any confrontations.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) shaking hands with members of his motorcycle escort at the airport in Brisbane as he leaves the G20 Summit.

“Our Australian partners created an exceptionally friendly working atmosphere, very heartfelt, I should say, that was conducive to finding solutions to the challenges faced by the global economy,” Putin said at a forum of the All-Russian People’s Front, adding that it was a pleasant surprise for him to see the warm reception of the Russian delegation from Australian citizens on the streets of Brisbane.

Answering a question about Abbott’s idea to “shirtfront” Putin over the downing of the MH17 jetliner, the Russian president said no such confrontation took place at the Brisbane summit.

We had very constructive discussions of not only the themes that had brought us together, but some very grave issues involving the Malaysian Boeing. We discussed that in every detail. I can assure you that everything was decent and rather friendly,” said the Russian leader.

Though many media outlets speculated that Putin had left the summit early, skipping a Sunday working breakfast because of an icy welcome at the G20, the Russian leader reiterated on Tuesday that practically all work had been finished by that time. “I addressed all sessions,” Putin said, adding: “Our stance was heard.”

 

Advertisements

NATO leader sees ‘serious military buildup’ in Ukraine

 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Kabul November 6, 2014.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Kabul November 6, 2014.

(Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg denounced on Tuesday what he called a serious Russian military buildup both inside Ukraine and on the Russian side of the border and urged Moscow to pull back its troops.

Stoltenberg said NATO saw movement of troops, equipment, tanks, artillery and also of advanced air defense systems in violation of a ceasefire agreement.

Russia denies providing arms or troops to support a separatist pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine, which began after the removal of a Kremlin-oriented Ukrainian president by mass protests in February. A ceasefire was agreed in early September, but fighting flared again recently.

Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with European Union defense ministers he had information on a buildup inside Ukraine.

“But we also see a military buildup on the Russian side of the border…This is a serious military buildup and we call on Russia to pull back its troops,” he said.

Russia denied similar accusations last week by NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who said NATO had spotted military equipment arriving from Russia in regions of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist rebels.

General-Major Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defense Ministry official, dismissed Breedlove’s comments last week as anti-Russian “hot air”.

 

MH17 crash debris finally retrieved for analysis, more human remains recovered

Local workers carry wreckage from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Dutch investigators have begun evacuating debris of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Human rights activists are addressing the UN and OSCE, warning the investigation is being either delayed on purpose or suppressed.

More human remains have been recovered by experts during the latest debris retrieval operation at the crash site, the Dutch government reported. The remains will be transported to the Ukrainian city of Kharkov for further examination, before being sent to the Netherlands as part of the investigation.

Estimated to last from five to 10 days, the recovery is partial, as investigators have opted to mark only those pieces of debris they are interested in, leaving the rest behind. The works are being supervised by the Dutch Safety Board investigators and observed by the OSCE.

Local emergency workers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are using cranes to load up large fragments of the Boeing 777 on trucks to take them to the nearby Torez railway station, where the debris is unloaded on to the platforms. After the wreckage is shipped to the Netherlands through Kharkov, the fragments will reconstruct parts of the Boeing in order to find out what kind of weapon caused the catastrophe.

A detailed analysis of the crashed Boeing debris could help establish how exactly the plane was brought down.

Authorities of the village of Grabovo, near which the debris fell, have already handed a number of personal items to investigators, including passports and credit cards retrieved by the locals.

Dutch investigators and an Emergencies Ministry member work at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Immediately after MH17 crashed on July 17, investigators could not reach the site for some time because of the high-intensity combat ongoing in the region between the Ukrainian Army and self-defense forces of the DPR.

Even after the investigation teams were allowed to work on the crash site, the area suffered repeated shelling, preventing investigative activities from proceeding and damaging evidence.

The Dutch investigators published a preliminary report in September, which said that the plane crashed “as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

Dutch experts supervise a crew from the emergency ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as they break up and load parts of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 onto the back of a lorry at the crash site near the village of Grabove, in eastern Ukraine, on November 16, 2014.

n late October the chief Dutch prosecutor investigating the MH17 downing in eastern Ukraine did not exclude the possibility that the Boeing may have been shot down from the air, Der Spiegel reported.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by as-yet unknown means in the sky over eastern Ukraine. The debris fell to earth some 60km from the Russian-Ukrainian border. All 298 passengers and crew aboard died, among them 196 Dutch citizens.

Russian human rights activists have addressed the UN, claiming that the investigation of the MH17 crash has been intentionally suppressed.

Georgy Fedorov, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes the tragedy of MH17 is being deferred on purpose and that the slow pace of investigation speaks towards that.

“We’ve addressed all [possible] organizations to form an international commission based on the UN and OSCE to investigate the crash, but there’s no result so far,” Fedorov told RIA Novosti, pointing out that authorities of the DPR have always been ready to let experts freely work at the crash site.

“Looks like somebody wants to hush up the story, once they failed to put the blame for it on Russia,” Fedorov said, promising to make the Public Chamber address the UN and Ukrainian government to bring the investigation to an end without delay.

On the contrary, the chairman of the Russian president’s Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, believes there’s no need speed up the investigation.

“We’re ready to wait patiently for the results,” Fedotov said, as cited by RIA Novosti, urging that experts not be rushed, because the world community and the civil society of the countries that lost their citizens in the crash expect “not politicized, but objective and authoritative conclusions from the experts.”

 

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.

Whistleblower: U.S. Satellite Images Show Ukrainian Troops Shooting Down MH17

Source tells award winning reporter Washington lying about responsibility for tragedy

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 21, 2014

Award winning former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry has been told by an intelligence source that the United States is in possession of satellite imagery which shows that Ukrainian troops were responsible for the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

In the absence of any proper investigation, media rhetoric over the last few days has firmly pointed the finger of blame for the downing of the aircraft on Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels, but Parry’s source tells a different story.

What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.

Although the establishment press has attempted to deride any questioning of the official narrative that Ukrainian rebels were responsible for the incident by invoking the tired “conspiracy theory” pejorative, Parry can hardly be dismissed as a crank given his key role in covering the Iran-Contra scandal for the Associated Press and Newsweek. Indeed, Parry’s investigative work on intelligence matters, for which he was awarded the George Polk Award, suggests that the information provided by his source is worthy of serious attention.

U.S. and Ukrainian authorities continue to insist that Moscow-backed separatists were responsible for the tragedy, asserting that a BUK missile system was used to bring down the airliner. However, this was contradicted by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema, who stated, “The military told the president after the passenger plane had been shot down that the terrorists did not possess our Buk missile systems.”

In a related development, audio experts who conducted a study into the authenticity of a recording released by Ukrainian authorities which implicated Russian-backed rebels as being responsible for the missile attack on MH17 concluded that the tape was fabricated.

“The tape’s second fragment consists of three pieces but was presented as a single audio recording. However, a spectral and time analysis has showed that the dialog was cut into pieces and then assembled. Short pauses in the tape are very indicative: the audio file has preserved time marks which show that the dialog was assembled from various episodes, the expert said,” reports ITAR-TASS.

Who Shot Down the Malaysian Airliner over Ukraine ?

A round-up of the latest facts, speculation and the blame game surrounding the alleged shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Putin : If General Sisi had not taken Egypt in hand, Egypt no doubt would now be wasted and feverish

MOSCOW — Responding to a new round of economic sanctions by the United States, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia lashed out late Wednesday against what he called America’s “aggressive foreign policy,” which he said had caused havoc in the Middle East, and accused the United States of pushing the Ukrainian government to continue fighting rather than encouraging peace.

Mr. Putin, speaking to reporters in Brasília, where he is winding up a trip through central and South America, warned that the American sanctions would backfire.

“I have already said they tend to have a boomerang effect, and without any doubt, in this case they are driving Russian-American relations to an impasse, causing very serious damage,” Mr. Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript. “And I am convinced that this is harmful to the national long-term strategic interests of the American state, the American people.”

Mr. Putin said that rather than imposing sanctions like those announced in Washington on Wednesday against Russian banks and energy companies in retaliation for Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, the Obama administration should be working to end the bloodshed in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting the government since early April.

Although there is evidence that Russia has been supporting the insurgents with weapons, tanks and other equipment, and some of the leaders of the insurgency have identified themselves as Russian citizens, Mr. Putin said that the United States should do more to assist Russian efforts to achieve a peace agreement.

“This must be done together — it must be jointly, of course, to encourage all sides in the conflict in Ukraine to an immediate end to hostilities and negotiate,” Mr. Putin said. “Unfortunately, we don’t see this on the side of our partners, especially the American partners, who it seems to me on the contrary are pushing the Ukrainian authorities to the continuation of this fratricidal war and the continuation of this punitive operation. This policy has no prospects.”

Mr. Putin, who has never hidden his disdain for American foreign policy in the Middle East, once again held up the region as evidence of failed interventionism on the part of Washington.

“In general I would say that those who are planning foreign policy actions in the United States — unfortunately we are not seeing it only in recent times, but say, the last 10-15 years — they conduct quite aggressive foreign policy and, in my opinion, very unprofessional,” Mr. Putin said.

“Look: In Afghanistan, problems. Iraq is falling apart, Libya is falling apart. If General Sisi had not taken Egypt in hand, Egypt no doubt would now be wasted and feverish. In Africa, there are problems in many countries. They touched Ukraine, and there are problems.”

Mr. Putin said that he remained open to negotiations with the United States. “It is a pity that our partners are going on this way, but we have not closed the door to negotiations, to resolve this situation,” he said.

While Mr. Putin seemed unbowed, even bellicose, in his response, the Russian financial markets had a different reaction. The benchmark Russian stock index, MICEX, fell 2.5 percent at opening Thursday, while shares in two of the companies targeted by sanctions — the oil giant Rosneft and the energy company Novatek — declined even further.

Analysts said the American sanctions would carry a sharp bite. “This represents a seismic hit to Russia, and to Russian markets,” wrote Timothy Ash, a market analyst with Standard Bank in London, who follows Russia and Ukraine closely. “With such prominent companies sanctioned, questions will now be asked which other Russian companies will next be on the list.”

Mr. Ash said he believed that the Obama administration was hoping to prevent Russia from intervening further in Ukraine and to give President Petro O. Poroshenko’s military operation more time to quash the insurrection. Mr. Ash also played down the importance of the European Union’s decision to not to impose additional sanctions of its own immediately.

“It does not really matter what the E.U. itself does, but the fact that these Russian companies are being sanctioned by the U.S. will force European companies with business interests in the U.S. to comply,” he wrote. “Every Western business is ultimately forced to comply.”

 

Militia down chopper near Slavyansk, 9 feared dead – military spokesman

Nine people are feared dead after self-defense forces in the Donetsk region shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter, which was used for transporting military cargo, a Kiev spokesman said.

The Mi-8 helicopter was downed “at about 5 pm local time at Karachun Mountain near Slavyansk by a rocket fired from a portable air defense system,” eastern Ukraine military operation spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, wrote on his Facebook page.

“There were nine people aboard the helicopter. According to preliminary information, all those aboard died in the crash,”
he said, adding that the helicopter was returning to a Ukrainian checkpoint after a cargo delivery mission.

The self-defense troops, who fired the missile, escaped to the nearby village of Bylbasovka, Seleznyov wrote.

The Ukraine’s National Guard fighters told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper that the Mi-8 helicopter was downed during takeoff from Karachun Mountain (a strategic high point near Slavyansk where the Ukrainian army’s artillery is deployed).

The place where the shot came from has been established, with troops currently being deployed there, the source in the National Guard added.

The Ukrainian forces continued shelling the village of Semyonovka on the outskirts of Slavyansk on Tuesday night and during the day, the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told ITAR-TASS news agency earlier.

The heavy artillery fire has prevented the self-defense forces from recovering the bodies of two of its troops killed the previous day, they said.

“There’s no living thing left in the village. Everything is devastated, including factories and railway crossings,” the self-defense forces stressed. “The houses are abandoned. Nobody is harvesting crops from their gardens.”

Meanwhile, the town of Slavyansk remains without a water supply, with the majority of shops and pharmacies staying closed.

Also on Tuesday, a crew from Russia’s Channel One was caught in the shelling outside Slavyansk; the journalists luckily avoided injury.

Also, fighting is currently underway in the suburbs of the city of Donetsk, said Aleksandr Boroday, prime minister of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

“Artillery and armored vehicles are being used,” he told RIA-Novosti news agency, adding people have already been killed and injured in the fighting.

President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the resumption of hostilities in Slavyansk and urged Kiev to strive to bring about an end to the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, now I have relevant information that in one of the most troubled areas – near the city of Slavyansk – the fighting is currently underway; [Kiev’s] paratroopers have landed there and there are already victims. It’s sad,” Putin said during a press-conference in Vienna, Austria.

Read more: Putin: Weeklong cease-fire in Ukraine should be extended, accompanied by talks

The fighting in the Donetsk region is continuing despite the seven-day ceasefire announced by Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, on June 20, which was agreed to by the self-defense forces on Monday.

Putin stressed that “the declarations should be backed by real actions, otherwise none of the problems will be solved.”

“Simply declaring a ceasefire isn’t enough,” the Russian president said, calling on the sides to begin “substantive negotiations” on the matter as soon as possible.

“Seven days of ceasefire is insufficient,” he added.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has not excluded the possibility of a premature cancellation of the ceasefire in the country’s southeast, the president’s press service said.

During a meeting with the heads of the country’s security agencies, he touched upon the issue of the downed helicopter, saying that the self-defense forces have no respect for the truce.

According to the president, Kiev’s forces have come under fire 35 times since he announced his peace plan last week.

Poroshenko gave the security agencies “an order to open fire without hesitation” on the self-defense forces,” the president’s press service said.

But the authorities of the People’s Republic of Donetsk said the “so-called ceasefire,” which Porosheko now wants to cancel, “was never in place.”

“The Ukrainian security forces began shelling Semyonovka and Slavyansk in the morning,” Miroslav Rudenko, one of the Donbas self-defense leaders, told Interfax news agency, adding that the artillery fire was less intense than in previous days, but still steady.

“It was only a declaration [of truce]. On the ground, hostilities didn’t stop even for an hour,”
he added.

Seizure, bloodshed could be aims behind Russian embassy attack – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

There are indications that “physical seizure” and bloodshed were the aims of the attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev, Russia’s foreign minister told journalists.

“From our diplomats’ point of view, the aim of the attackers was to physically seize the embassy building. There are also grounds to believe that they wanted bloodshed,” Lavrov said.

The leading players in the attack on Russia’s embassy were “fighters from Azov Battalion, created and financed by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky,” who was appointed by Kiev authorities as governor of Dnepropetrovsk, Lavrov said.

Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov believes the attack was thoroughly planned.

“In the conditions in which we (Russia) and Ukraine [have] lived for the last 20 years, of course there was no question that the embassy here should meet the same safety requirements as in Iraq,” Zurabov told NTV channel. “But it looks like now we will have to reconsider our approach.”

According to Russia’s envoy to Kiev, there were two groups of “well equipped” young people between 25 and 30 years old who took no active part in the violence but were “absolutely ready to storm.”

“They had baseball bats, metal rods, axes. Had they entered the territory of the embassy, I think we would not have avoided victims,” he said.

Sergey Lavrov called the aggression “disgusting,” adding that the violence faced by Russian diplomats is “good reason” for “our Western partners” to think about how Kiev’s ruling regime is using “inherited” following the protests at Independence Square (Maidan) this winter.

As for Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchitsa using the offensive language addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was “beyond the bounds of decency,” Lavrov said, calling the protest outside the embassy “bacchanalia.”

“[This is] a good reason for our Western partners, who in every possible way support any steps by Ukraine’s ruling regime, to think about how this regime is using powers inherited after Maidan,” Lavrov said.

Speaking about the international community’s reaction to the embassy attack in Kiev, Lavrov said that Russia is “disappointed” by Western leaders’ position on the violence.

“Western partners assured me and our diplomats that they condemn the attack. However, when we drafted a certain resolution to the UNSC, it was Western partners who refused to support it,” he said.

“They tried to link it with offers to condemn the downing of a plane in the southeast, with some other things that have no connection with the main point; diplomatic representatives’ inviolability cannot have any conditions,” Lavrov said, adding that such an attitude “does not add to the reputation of the schools of diplomacy in European countries and the US.”

Vandals stand on top of the crashed cars during an attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014.

​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.