2014 Ukrainian Maidan Revolt: News, Views, Photos & Videos

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I have been listening nearly daily to the BBC since 1967 so I know its biases. Here the story it gives of the destruction in Marinka:
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12 July 2014 Last updated at 16:03 GMT
Ukraine conflict: Shells ravage suburb of Donetsk

A suburb of the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk has come under heavy bombardment, a day after the army suffered some of its heaviest losses.

Apartment blocks were hit as shelling continued through the night and into Saturday in Marinka, west of the city.

Pro-Russian rebels said 30 civilians had died in government shelling while the government reportedly accused the rebels of shelling Marinka themselves.

On Friday, a rebel attack in Luhansk region killed at least 19 soldiers.

President Petro Poroshenko vowed to retaliate, saying: "For every soldier's life, the militants will pay with tens and hundreds of their own."

The rebels, who declared independence in Donetsk and Luhansk in April, retreated towards the city of Donetsk last week after a government siege of their symbolic stronghold, Sloviansk.

More than 1,000 civilians and combatants are believed to have died in the fighting since April.

The EU slapped travel bans and asset freezes on 11 rebel figures in eastern Ukraine on Saturday.

The list includes the self-declared rebel prime ministers of the Donetsk and Luhansk "people's republics", Alexander Borodai and Marat Bashirov.

'Rocket attacks'

Rebel commander Igor Strelkov said in a video statement (in Russian) on Saturday that the government had shelled Marinka with Grad and Uragan multiple rocket systems.

Rockets fell on residential areas as well as factories, he said.

Journalists based in Donetsk said Ukrainian forces appeared to have shelled Marinka, Reuters news agency reports.

However, Ukrainian security spokesman Andriy Lysenko accused the rebels of shelling Marinka themselves, with Grad rockets, Russia's Interfax news agency reports.

Quoting eyewitnesses, he said the damage there was "enormous" and people were still trapped under rubble. He also accused the rebels of preventing rescue workers from reaching the scene.

The official mayor of Donetsk, Oleksandr Lukyanchenko, said on his website that he had received reports of explosions from the direction of Marinka and public transport had stopped running to the area.

Government forces in Luhansk reported new fighting on Saturday in the area where the soldiers were killed early the previous day, apparently while their column was at a halt.

Unofficial reports suggest the death toll from Friday's attack, in which the rebels are said to have used Grad rockets, was much higher.

An unnamed officer who survived the attack told his wife by phone that more than 50 soldiers had been killed, Ukraine's Unian news agency reported on Friday.

On 13 June, rebels in Luhansk shot down a military transport plane, killing all 49 military personnel aboard - the army's worst single loss to date.

Mr Lysenko also said government warplanes had killed 1,000 rebels in attacks in the Donetsk region on Friday while the rebels denied suffering any significant losses.


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Since there is talk of new sanctions, this article explains how it has unintended costs.

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To gauge London’s place in the global economy, you could examine World Bank statistics, canvass investors and analyze trade volumes. Or you could visit Mahiki, a Polynesian-themed nightclub in upmarket Mayfair where a bottle of Cristal Champagne goes for $719 -- and Russian customers are being supplanted by revelers from countries including China and Nigeria.

“We’re seeing a lot less Russian surnames on the booking sheet,” said Michael Evans, the creative director of the club, where the likes of Rihanna and Prince Harry have been spotted after dark. “It’s very easy to see what’s going on in the world from the markets we attract.”

With violence continuing in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin pushing to reduce reliance on the West, wealthy Russians are buying fewer high-end goods from furs to Ferraris, and doing less business with the city’s law firms and investment banks. That leaves London, uniquely connected to faraway, fast-growing economies, looking for new patrons, with China and sub-Saharan African countries pitched as possible successors.

Takeovers involving Russian companies, often handled by the London offices of global banks, tumbled 39 percent in the first half of 2014 to $16.6 billion, Bloomberg data show. Russian firms are having a tougher time raising money too. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) last month pulled out of a loan to back a $1.5 billion oil-supply deal for state energy group OAO Rosneft due to concerns about Ukraine, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Escalating tensions in Ukraine’s east may bring Russian economic growth to a near-standstill this year, the country’s Finance Ministry said yesterday. The U.S. and European Union are threatening further sanctions, potentially targeting entire industries, unless the unrest eases.

In another sign of the slowdown, retail spending by Russian visitors to the U.K. between January and May declined 22 percent from a year earlier, according to Global Blue, which runs tax-rebate services. Chinese spending climbed 8 percent in the same period.

Still, Chinese citizens in London may not replicate the tidal wave of wealth that Russians brought with them....

Meanwhile, Putin is urging “strategic” companies to limit their use of overseas banks. In recent years, Russia’s big businesses had grown ever more reliant on foreign -- and especially British -- legal and banking systems, which they viewed as more reliable than those at home.

“The government was already keen to bring more Russian business back,” said Logan Wright, managing partner for Moscow at law firm Clifford Chance. The sanctions have added to that resolve, highlighting “the exposure they have to the international financial system.”

There’s no single candidate to fill Russia’s role in London’s economy, though several other emerging markets have been increasing in prominence.

April saw the London initial public offering of Nigerian oil producer Seplat Petroleum Development Co. (SEPL), making it the country’s first company to be listed in both Britain and at home. Another business from the region, the African unit of Portuguese construction group Mota-Engil SGPS SA, is planning an eventual London IPO. And society bible Tatler magazine late last year ran a 4,000-word feature on Nigerians’ adventures with Bentleys and Mayfair real estate. Mahiki, for its part, is planning a club in Lagos.....

Even in large numbers, Londoners shouldn’t expect new arrivals from China to fully assume the role that wealthy Russians have held in the city’s economy, cautions Peter Wetherell, CEO of real-estate agency Wetherell. For the most part, he said, they aren’t spending enough to become players in storied districts like Kensington and Knightsbridge, choosing instead to stick to less-prestigious zones on the fringes of the central city.

“The Russian market was like a Champagne fountain,” Wetherell said. “The money was coming into the top and flowing down.”


The Capitalist
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The big red star on the map Brocolli posted is Zelenopillya, where the BBC is quoting (follow Delft's earlier link) unofficial but eyewitness sources that at least fifty of Lvov battalion were killed yesterday.

I have to say that I question the sanity of the strategist that decided that trying to force a corridor all along the Donbass and Russian borders was a good idea. It might work if the attacker was the US and the defender Iraq or the Taliban. We have seen very clearly however, that Ukrainian forces lack the overwhelming superiority to be able to pull of such a manoeuvre with impunity. The Zelenopillya annihilation attack is the perfect graphic illustration of this fact.

Instead we have a very extended and very vulnerable force sandwiched between the Pro Russian Militia and the Russian border. This means a long permanently exposed flank to one side and a hostile border on the other and absolutely no room to manoeuvre once things start getting sticky.

To compound the problems of the Ukrainian forces, as they have attacked the militia held border checkpoints, there has been a rapidly escalating number of incidents involving Ukrainian fire and munitions landing on the Russian side of the border, often hitting Russia's own border check points.
After weeks of restraint, Russian patience is clearly starting to wear very thin indeed!

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Moscow strongly condemns Kiev forces shooting at Russian border guards and demands that such actions cease. Otherwise, Russia reserves the right to protect its territory and citizens, the Foreign Ministry has said.
Story is being widely carried as a headline throughout the main Russian media.

The Ukrainians now seriously risk becoming the meat in a Russian sandwich, with militia on one flank and RF army artillery or even air strikes coming in from the other. If Kiev disliked the Grad, I wonder how they would feel after being at the receiving end of Smersh?


Tension is rising. A Russian town on the border with Ukraine was hit this morning:
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1 killed, 2 injured: Russia vows response to Ukraine shelling Russian city
Published time: July 13, 2014 06:43
Edited time: July 13, 2014 11:31

An artillery shell from Ukraine has hit a private house in the Rostov region of Russia, killing a citizen and leaving two more injured. The Russian Foreign Ministry promises heavy consequences.

Reportedly up to six mortar shells exploded on Sunday in the small Russian town of Donetsk, which has the same name as the Ukrainian city and is situated right on the Ukrainian border.

Ukraine’s charge d'affaires in Russia has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry where he was handed a note of protest in the strongest terms.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called the shelling “an obviously aggressive act” on Ukraine’s part and warned it could have “irreversible consequences” with Kiev holding full responsibility for the provocation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin promised a “rigorous and concrete answer” to the shelling of Russian territory that resulted in the senseless loss of life.

“We’re currently evaluating the situation, and the facts we’ve learnt risk a dangerous escalation of the tensions on the [Russian-Ukrainian] border, which puts our citizens in high danger,” Karasin told RIA news agency, stressing that harsh reaction would follow only after detailed analysis of the situation.

The National Security Council of Ukraine has already declared that Kiev’s troops involved in the operation in the east of the country have nothing to do with the shelling incident.

“Ukrainian troops are definitely not shelling the territory of the Russian Federation. We did not shoot,” said Andrey Lysenko, official representative of the information center of the NSCU.

Authorities in the Rostov region have confirmed the death of a 46-year-old man and injuries to four civilians, including two elderly women.

The man who died in a shell explosion was a father of four. One of the injured women suffered a shell fragment wound in the leg; another woman, reportedly 80-years-old, was shell-shocked in her house across the street from the explosion site.

Russia’s Donetsk has a population of approximately 49,000 citizens and has the Donetsk-Izvarino border entry point in the city on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

There have been a number of incidents lately involving Ukrainian troops deliberately shelling Russian border posts.

On Saturday a vehicle, carrying a squad of Russian border guards, came under fire from the Ukrainian side at the frontier between Russia and Ukraine.

On June 28, mortar shells from Ukraine hit Russian territory, damaging a building at the Gukovo border checkpoint and creating potholes in the ground in two villages.

The week before, on June 20, the Russian Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint in the Rostov region was shelled by mortars, Russia’s Border Service said.

Until today’s fatality, there had been no casualties, except for one Russian border guard suffering a head wound from a shell fragment.

The Ukrainian army has sometimes shelled border checkpoints, while refugees from Ukraine were trying to get through passport control to find shelter on Russian territory.

The number of incidents involving Ukrainian artillery shelling on Russian territory has increased of late. On July 3, the Novoshakhtinsk border checkpoint was shelled again. The next day, engineers and investigators, who came to disarm unexploded ordnances on the Russian side, came under mortar fire from Ukraine at the Donetsk border checkpoint. On July 5, about ten mortar shells exploded near the same border checkpoint.


The Capitalist
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oh dear lord. now that was a very stupid thing to do. that chocolate president is sh*tting bricks now.
Unfortunately, there can be little doubt that Kiev is now under the influence of really quite sinister forces, who want nothing more than to be able to recast Russia as the aggressive expansionist bogey man and restart the cold war all over again, with no regard for the cost. I would posit that the underlying rationale of the whole Ukrainian tragedy has been to provoke Russia into actions that would enable the recast, and that Russia's restraint and reluctance is causing others to resort to ever more desperate provocations to achieve it.

Restraint has it limits however and I think today's Demarche from Russia's Foreign Ministry is going to be the final warning. Tass has reported that some border guards have already returned small arms fire across the border after being targeted by mortars.

Beyond that here is a very interesting video linked via the Sakar this morning.
It is described as showing a column of armoured vehicles of South Ossetian and Chechen volunteers arriving in the Donbass.
An interesting comment made is that many of those guys are probably Muslim, but they are still volunteering to defend Orthodox Christians.



Whenever someone does, or appear to at least, do something so incredibly and obviously stupid, my first thought is, did they actually do it?

What is the end game in Ukraine provoking the Russians to war from Ukraine or the west's POV? Russia is far too powerful and dangerous for NATO to want to attack directly, and Ukraine is too weak, internally divided and close to Russia to act as their Vietnam.

If the Russian tanks go in, it will only be a matter of time before they take all of Ukraine.

Casting Russia as the new bogeyman and rebooting the Cold War doesn't make an awful lot of sense either from a western, and particularly American POV because their top fear is China.

China was already the top concern back in the earliest days of the Bush II reign, but history and the hatred of madman changed that. The war on terror and subsequent US military (mis)adventures have already allowed China to make huge strides in terms of closing the gap with the US on all fronts.

America's top priority now must surely be to try and maintain or even re-extend its lead.

How does re-enacting the Georgian war on a larger scale and plunging Europe into a new Cold War with the 'wrong' target advance American strategic aims and objectives in terms of maintaining its homogeny over the world?

If anything, such a course of events would benefit China as it would allow it more time to grow and develop in peace (notice how things in the South China Sea and East China Seas were so much quieter when the US was ears deep in Iraq and had no time for anything else).

Could Chinese agents be behind everything in Ukraine? It is a possibility in the same sense that it's possible to win every lottery draw, but what is far more plausible and likely for the shelling of Russian towns and boarder posts would be false flag attacks launched by the rebels as they are loosing ground and grow more desperate for more substantial Russia assistance.

We saw this is Syria (again, interestingly enough, the supposed Government gas attacks only happened when the west was trying to drum up support for direct military intervention, and inexplicable stopped soon after it became apparent the West was sitting this war out), so it's entirely possible that something similar is happening in Ukraine.

Of course, another big possible cause could just be sheer incompetence and gross stupidity. Maybe some greenhorn Ukraine yobs who were firebombing police in Kiev just a few months back didn't pay as much attention as they should have during basic training and/or some bright spark officer picked the wrong Donetsk on the map. Stupider things have happened, especially the map thing, apparently...


The Capitalist
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I would say follow the money Wolfie. There are many figures in numerous countries that see current and future cuts to military spending as not simply an ideological issue, but one that hits them in their pockets directly and they are determined to see proposed cuts stopped and previous cuts reversed.
I think some have tried to use China as the new bogey man, but China refuses to play ball and there is very little that they can torment her with to try and force the issue.
Russia has some real open wounds that they could get mileage out of.

Things seem to be kicking off on the ground with reports of major assaults starting on Donetsk and Lugansk and Russia reporting a Ukrainian aircraft violating its airspace.

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