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  • Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea


    Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

    Obama backing indirect talks with Moscow aimed at cutting U.S. non-strategic nukes in Europe

    October 10, 2014
    By Bill Gertz

    Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

    Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

    “Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

    “It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

    In a related development, the Obama administration is funding non-official arms control talks with Russia through a Washington think-tank that are aimed at curbing U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe.

    The first round of talks was held in Vienna Monday and Tuesday.

    Critics say Obama administration arms control officials at the State Department and Pentagon are using the informal nuclear talks as groundwork for future tactical nuclear arms cuts.

    Such cuts are likely to be opposed by NATO allies, especially in Eastern Europe, worried by growing Russian military threats to the continent.

    Regarding the nuclear deployments to Crimea, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R., Okla.) first disclosed last month that Putin had announced in August his approval of deploying nuclear-capable Iskander-M short-range missiles along with Tu-22 nuclear-capable bombers in Crimea, located on the Black Sea.

    “The stationing of new nuclear forces on the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian territory Russia annexed in March, is both a new and menacing threat to the security of Europe and also a clear message from Putin that he intends to continue to violate the territorial integrity of his neighbors,” Inhofe stated in a Sept. 8 op-ed in Foreign Policy.

    In their Sept. 23 letter to the president, McKeon, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, and Rep. Michael Turner (R., Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, noted Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty by building a banned cruise missile. The missile has been identified by U.S. officials as the R-500.

    The lawmakers said the Russian nuclear deployment in Crimea represents the “clear, and perhaps irrevocable tearing” of the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia that allowed Russia to maintain a military presence within the alliance.

    The Russian nuclear deployment plans and treaty violation should have been discussed during the recent NATO summit in Wales but were not, they said.

    As a result, the congressmen urged the president to brief Congress on the threatening Russian nuclear deployments in Crimea. They also called on the president to suspend the NATO-Russia accord and demand the removal of all Russian military personnel from NATO facilities.

    Additionally, they asked that the United States and its allies halt all arms control surveillance flights by Russia carried out under the Open Skies Treaty.

    Significantly, the three House leaders called on the administration to begin research and development on deployment sites for new U.S. intermediate-range ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles, if Russian refuses to return to compliance with the INF accord.

    Putin “must be made to understand that his actions will accomplish nothing more than the alienation [of] Russia from the West, its economy and its security architecture,” the lawmakers said.

    “Until we have a strategy that convinces Mr. Putin he cannot achieve his dream of a ‘New Russia’ through illegal annexations, covert invasions, and nuclear saber-rattling, statements and sanctions along cannot be expected to have an effect on his actions,” the letter warns.

    “Too much is at stake to continue to allow Russia’s dictator to continue to proceed on his current path toward regional destabilization without serous opposition.”

    The action “further undermines Russian credibility in terms of the Budapest Memorandum that the Russian Federation signed in 1994,” the congressmen said.

    The memorandum promised Ukraine would have security assurances against threats or use of force in exchange for Kiev giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons – at the time the third largest arsenal in the world.

    On the Track 2 talks between Russian experts and a group hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the program leader was identified as anti-nuclear arms advocate Sharon Squassoni.

    Squassoni took part in a study three years ago sponsored by the leftist, anti-nuclear weapons group Ploughshares Fund that called for removing all U.S. tactical nuclear arms from Europe.

    Thomas Moore, a former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who quit CSIS over concerns about Squassoni’s anti-nuclear slant, said he felt the Track 2 program, which was to cost $215,000 in federal funding, was unwise after Russia’s military takeover of Crimea which began last February.

    Moore said in an interview that the administration could be using the CSIS Track 2 talks as a way of conducting direct negotiations to further reduce U.S. nuclear arms in Europe.

    “Now is the wrong time to entertain any such ideas with any Russians, whether they are official or unofficial Russians, because they all support Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and violation of the INF treaty,” Moore said, noting that verifying any tactical nuclear arms reductions is nearly impossible.

    “My goal was to verify and keep our nukes in Europe,” he said, noting that Squassoni knows little about nuclear arms and has been “a partisan for Obama and his anti-nuclear agenda in Europe.”

    CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz confirmed that the Track 2 talks involving U.S., Russian and European experts are aimed at “limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons.” He declined to identify the U.S. or foreign members of the project and said a report on the program would be published in summer or fall of next year. He said the notion that the project has not been adjusted to account for the Crimea crisis is wrong.

    Squassoni confirmed her participation in the Ploughshares study but said in an email that the recommendations of that project were not discussed during the first Track 2 meeting this week.

    “I can assure you that my personal views do not interfere with my ability to facilitate balanced, analytically sound dialogues,” she said.

    The CSIS-Russia Track 2 nuclear talks also are being supported by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; and Andrew Weber, who recently resigned as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defenses amid allegations of insubordination and improper personnel activities.

    A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to provide details surrounding Weber’s resignation but said he would be taking a lesser position at the State Department.

    A U.S. official close to the Pentagon said Weber ran afoul of his superiors as a result of his anti-nuclear arms positions, and practices related to hiring and the use of personnel within his office.

    Alexandra Bell, a spokeswoman for Gottemoeller said: “The administration is supportive of the domestic and international non-governmental community’s right to conduct research, scholarship, advocacy and Track 2 dialogues as they see fit.”

    Both the Pentagon and State Department spokeswomen would not address the question of whether holding informal nuclear talks on cutting nuclear weapons in Europe with the Russians will undermine NATO security in the aftermath of the Crimean crisis.

    Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider, a strategic nuclear arms specialist, said the Track 2 and any formal arms talks on tactical nuclear arms would fail.

    “They can have as many tracks as they want but the Russians will not agree to limits on tactical nuclear weapons,” Schneider said. “Their advantage is too great.”

    The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000.

    “NATO politics will prevent any cuts in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe,” he said. “This is obviously about the worst possible time to talk about something like this.”

    Schneider said nuclear policymakers should focus on deterrence now instead of disarmament.

    A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told state-run Interfax March 26 that a “missile-carrying regiment” of Tu-22 Backfire nuclear bombers will be deployed to the Crimean airbase at Gvardeyskoye within two years.

    IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly described the nuclear-capable Tu-22s to be based in Crimea as “the backbone of Soviet naval strike units during the Cold War.”

    Rogers, the strategic forces subcommittee chairman, said Sept. 18 that the Russians have discussed “plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea.”
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards) started by Ryan Ruck View original post
    Comments 163 Comments
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post

      Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

      Obama backing indirect talks with Moscow aimed at cutting U.S. non-strategic nukes in Europe

      October 10, 2014
      By Bill Gertz

      Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

      Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

      “Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

      “It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

      Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

      In a related development, the Obama administration is funding non-official arms control talks with Russia through a Washington think-tank that are aimed at curbing U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe.

      The first round of talks was held in Vienna Monday and Tuesday.

      Critics say Obama administration arms control officials at the State Department and Pentagon are using the informal nuclear talks as groundwork for future tactical nuclear arms cuts.

      Such cuts are likely to be opposed by NATO allies, especially in Eastern Europe, worried by growing Russian military threats to the continent.

      Regarding the nuclear deployments to Crimea, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R., Okla.) first disclosed last month that Putin had announced in August his approval of deploying nuclear-capable Iskander-M short-range missiles along with Tu-22 nuclear-capable bombers in Crimea, located on the Black Sea.

      “The stationing of new nuclear forces on the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian territory Russia annexed in March, is both a new and menacing threat to the security of Europe and also a clear message from Putin that he intends to continue to violate the territorial integrity of his neighbors,” Inhofe stated in a Sept. 8 op-ed in Foreign Policy.

      In their Sept. 23 letter to the president, McKeon, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, and Rep. Michael Turner (R., Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, noted Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty by building a banned cruise missile. The missile has been identified by U.S. officials as the R-500.

      The lawmakers said the Russian nuclear deployment in Crimea represents the “clear, and perhaps irrevocable tearing” of the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia that allowed Russia to maintain a military presence within the alliance.

      The Russian nuclear deployment plans and treaty violation should have been discussed during the recent NATO summit in Wales but were not, they said.

      As a result, the congressmen urged the president to brief Congress on the threatening Russian nuclear deployments in Crimea. They also called on the president to suspend the NATO-Russia accord and demand the removal of all Russian military personnel from NATO facilities.

      Additionally, they asked that the United States and its allies halt all arms control surveillance flights by Russia carried out under the Open Skies Treaty.

      Significantly, the three House leaders called on the administration to begin research and development on deployment sites for new U.S. intermediate-range ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles, if Russian refuses to return to compliance with the INF accord.

      Putin “must be made to understand that his actions will accomplish nothing more than the alienation [of] Russia from the West, its economy and its security architecture,” the lawmakers said.

      “Until we have a strategy that convinces Mr. Putin he cannot achieve his dream of a ‘New Russia’ through illegal annexations, covert invasions, and nuclear saber-rattling, statements and sanctions along cannot be expected to have an effect on his actions,” the letter warns.

      “Too much is at stake to continue to allow Russia’s dictator to continue to proceed on his current path toward regional destabilization without serous opposition.”

      The action “further undermines Russian credibility in terms of the Budapest Memorandum that the Russian Federation signed in 1994,” the congressmen said.

      The memorandum promised Ukraine would have security assurances against threats or use of force in exchange for Kiev giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons – at the time the third largest arsenal in the world.

      On the Track 2 talks between Russian experts and a group hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the program leader was identified as anti-nuclear arms advocate Sharon Squassoni.

      Squassoni took part in a study three years ago sponsored by the leftist, anti-nuclear weapons group Ploughshares Fund that called for removing all U.S. tactical nuclear arms from Europe.

      Thomas Moore, a former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who quit CSIS over concerns about Squassoni’s anti-nuclear slant, said he felt the Track 2 program, which was to cost $215,000 in federal funding, was unwise after Russia’s military takeover of Crimea which began last February.

      Moore said in an interview that the administration could be using the CSIS Track 2 talks as a way of conducting direct negotiations to further reduce U.S. nuclear arms in Europe.

      “Now is the wrong time to entertain any such ideas with any Russians, whether they are official or unofficial Russians, because they all support Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and violation of the INF treaty,” Moore said, noting that verifying any tactical nuclear arms reductions is nearly impossible.

      “My goal was to verify and keep our nukes in Europe,” he said, noting that Squassoni knows little about nuclear arms and has been “a partisan for Obama and his anti-nuclear agenda in Europe.”

      CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz confirmed that the Track 2 talks involving U.S., Russian and European experts are aimed at “limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons.” He declined to identify the U.S. or foreign members of the project and said a report on the program would be published in summer or fall of next year. He said the notion that the project has not been adjusted to account for the Crimea crisis is wrong.

      Squassoni confirmed her participation in the Ploughshares study but said in an email that the recommendations of that project were not discussed during the first Track 2 meeting this week.

      “I can assure you that my personal views do not interfere with my ability to facilitate balanced, analytically sound dialogues,” she said.

      The CSIS-Russia Track 2 nuclear talks also are being supported by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; and Andrew Weber, who recently resigned as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defenses amid allegations of insubordination and improper personnel activities.

      A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to provide details surrounding Weber’s resignation but said he would be taking a lesser position at the State Department.

      A U.S. official close to the Pentagon said Weber ran afoul of his superiors as a result of his anti-nuclear arms positions, and practices related to hiring and the use of personnel within his office.

      Alexandra Bell, a spokeswoman for Gottemoeller said: “The administration is supportive of the domestic and international non-governmental community’s right to conduct research, scholarship, advocacy and Track 2 dialogues as they see fit.”

      Both the Pentagon and State Department spokeswomen would not address the question of whether holding informal nuclear talks on cutting nuclear weapons in Europe with the Russians will undermine NATO security in the aftermath of the Crimean crisis.

      Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider, a strategic nuclear arms specialist, said the Track 2 and any formal arms talks on tactical nuclear arms would fail.

      “They can have as many tracks as they want but the Russians will not agree to limits on tactical nuclear weapons,” Schneider said. “Their advantage is too great.”

      The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000.

      “NATO politics will prevent any cuts in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe,” he said. “This is obviously about the worst possible time to talk about something like this.”

      Schneider said nuclear policymakers should focus on deterrence now instead of disarmament.

      A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told state-run Interfax March 26 that a “missile-carrying regiment” of Tu-22 Backfire nuclear bombers will be deployed to the Crimean airbase at Gvardeyskoye within two years.

      IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly described the nuclear-capable Tu-22s to be based in Crimea as “the backbone of Soviet naval strike units during the Cold War.”

      Rogers, the strategic forces subcommittee chairman, said Sept. 18 that the Russians have discussed “plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea.”
      I think this was part of the overall 'strategic deception' of the Free World, and this particular phase of it was planned out about 10 years ago. 'Soviet Union 2.0' can't have the Ukrainians in it, but the Ukrainians couldn't be allowed to keep the Crimea, so this 'crisis' was created with the ouster of Yanukovich to take the Crimea back into Neo-Soviet hands. This war over the Donbass region was expected to go down just like the Crimea annexation, but the Ukrainians fought back and only a ceasefire and the direct intervention of regular Russian troops saved the 'Donetsk People's Republic' from destruction by an increasingly awakened Ukraine.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      So... in connection to the other thread... "Yeah, people DO think about nukes".
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
      So... in connection to the other thread... "Yeah, people DO think about nukes".
      Indeed.

      Ukraine should never have given up theirs, but we thought at the time the fewer new nations in the 'FSU' having them, the better. No weapon can stop an idea though, I look back and saw a photo that sums it all up for me and the way I want to live, an Ukrainian Orthodox priest standing between the people assembled in the main square in Kiev, and the Interior Ministry goons of Yanukovich;

      Attachment 1436

      Saying with his stance; "You shall not pass!", if they attack the crowd, they'd have to go through him first.
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Ukraine soldiers to government: we're coming for you next















      . View gallery






      Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Vitaliy Feshchenko, one of thousands of Ukrainian volunteers fighting pro-Russian rebels, has this message for government leaders back in the capital Kiev: his battle-hardened men might come for them next.
      Related Stories



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      3. Seven soldiers 'missing', 3 dead in east Ukraine: military AFP
      4. Ukraine votes against backdrop of war, corruption AFP
      5. Shelling in east Ukraine's Donetsk kills four civilians Reuters







      The bearded fighter's warning illustrates the lack of trust Ukraine's young revolutionaries have in President Petro Poroshenko and other politicians promising to drag their country from a corrupt, post-Soviet past into a European future.
      And this is why.
      A peaceful, pro-democracy protest in 2004 on Kiev's Maidan Square toppled Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych, but led only to bitter disappointment and Yanukovych's return. So this February, huge crowds once more braved the cold and riot police on Maidan to topple the government and demand reform -- and now their greatest fear is being let down yet again.
      "There won't be a third Maidan if that happens," Feshchenko, 38, said in the frenetic headquarters of the Dnipro-1 volunteer militia in Dnipropetrovsk, in eastern Ukraine, where he is deputy commander. "There'll be a military takeover."
      It might be hard to imagine how Ukraine, nearly bankrupt and being steadily dismembered by Russian troops and heavily armed pro-Russian separatists, could get more chaotic. Angry veterans heading to Kiev would accomplish that.
      "We're going to give them half a year to show the country has somehow changed, that even if it's hard, there's light ahead," Yuriy Bereza, Dnipro-1's popular commander, told AFP.
      Asked what would happen should that deadline pass, another paramilitary member at headquarters, a tall man in civilian clothing with a pistol strapped to his side, didn't hesitate.
      "A coup," he said.
      - VOLUNTEERS TO THE RESCUE -
      When Russian troops swarmed into Ukraine's southern region Crimea in March, Ukrainians dizzy with the success of the latest street revolution in Kiev were caught flat-footed. Their country of 45 million people, it turned out, barely had an army -- no more than 6,000 combat ready troops, according to the then defence minister.
      That's when thousands of civilians, in large part activists from the Maidan, began joining hastily thrown together battalions funded by everything from oligarchs to grassroots charities.
      Crimea, where entire bases of regular Ukrainian troops surrendered without a shot, was already lost, but a new crisis erupted in the industrial east, where separatists closely linked to Russia were taking over strings of towns.
      Deploying alongside Ukraine's regular army, the sometimes barely trained, but enthusiastic volunteers helped stem the tide, forcing separatists into today's stalemate.
      Military analyst Sergiy Zgurets said the regular army had weapons, but low morale, while the volunteers "had high fighting spirit, but, temporarily, a lack of equipment."
      "The volunteer battalions did their task," Bereza, the Dnipro-1 commander, said. "They halted the aggressors. They stopped a second Crimea."
      View gallery

      Maidan self-defence activists sit on an armoured vehicle in front of the parliament in central Kiev …

      - GUNS AND MONEY -
      Dnipro-1's headquarters are on the ground floor of the Dnipropetrovsk administration building. Upstairs sits the regional governor, Igor Kolomoisky.
      The arrangement is no accident: Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's most controversial billionaires, funds the paramilitary, which returns the favour in these troubled times by boosting the banking and industrial tycoon's personal security and political clout.
      All the signs are of a flourishing military enterprise.
      Young men with Kalashnikovs and pistols and several well dressed women working on laptops fill the anteroom to Bereza's office.
      Inside, maps, aerial photos and a picture depicting Adolf Hitler as a father figure to a child-sized Russian President Vladimir Putin line the walls. Ammunition boxes lie in the corner. On Bereza's desk: three mobile phones, a laptop, the Ukrainian flag, and an icon of the Virgin Mary.
      The commander repeatedly breaks off an interview with AFP to take calls, sign papers, or approve the purchase of a fleet of new pick-up trucks that will serve as machine-gun platforms.
      When a young woman comes in to complain about difficulties in booking a theatre for a Dnipro-1 benefit concert, Bereza dials the theatre manager and yells for a full minute, before gently asking: "So, is there a problem? No. I didn't think so."
      The woman leaves happy.
      The interior ministry, which oversees the paramilitaries, was quoted saying in September that there are now 34 such groupings and Zgurets estimates that the country's total of combat ready troops now tops 50,000 men.
      Although the army retains control over heavy weaponry, the motivated -- and increasingly well equipped and skilled -- volunteer groups remain crucial.
      Dnipro-1 members have been in several of the biggest battles in the seven-month conflict, which has killed more than 3,700 people, including at the fierce, continuing standoff around Donetsk airport.
      "It's not so easy for Russia now," said Bereza, who like most Ukrainians believes they are up against an undeclared Russian invasion, not just local separatists. "We were demoralised in the summer, but now we have a lot more experience."
      Dnipro-1 has 700 men -- "officially," Bereza says with an enigmatic smile.
      "Unofficially, it's 7,000."
      - DARK SIDE -
      Questions over the far right leanings of some volunteer groups and allegations of involvement in the murder of civilians cast a long shadow.
      One of the most controversial is the Azov Battalion, which uses the Wolfsangel insignia -- an ancient design that was resurrected in Hitler's Germany. The Azov has been linked to Oleg Lyashko, a politician accused of neo-Nazi sympathies.
      Right Sector, an ultra-nationalist party, also has its own battalion of several hundred men on the frontlines, even if the government refuses to register or pay them.
      Dasha Slutskovska, a 29-year-old volunteer from the battalion in Dnipropetrovsk, conceded that Right Sector has an image problem -- they are relentlessly portrayed in Russia's state-controlled media as fascists. But she insisted her comrades only want the Maidan goals of ending corruption and steering Ukraine into Europe.
      "Nationalists does not mean Nazis. We're just normal people," she said, adding with a laugh: "Well, maybe a bit more radical."
      - BETRAYAL AND PAYBACK -
      Amid Ukraine's increasingly feverish patriotism, Putin is seen as bordering on the diabolical.
      "It's sadomasochism," Svyatoslav Oliynyk, deputy to the Dnipropetrovsk governor Kolomoisky, said of Kremlin policy.
      "Putin is mad, a schizophrenic," Bereza said. "If we don't stop them here, Russian tanks will go all the way to Berlin."
      But among the volunteer battalions there is almost equal hatred for the corrupt bureaucrats running their country and the military top brass responsible for bloody fiascos like the massacre of troops retreating from Ilovaisk in August.
      Which is why if the government doesn't act quickly on those promises to rebuild Ukraine, today's battle might move to the capital, where the revolution began.
      "The people who were in the war won't accept any sliding back," Oliynyk says.
      Slutskovska's eyes shone with anger in Right Sector's dingy Dnipropetrosk office, when asked how she would react to failure of reforms.
      "We'll just go straight there with weapons," she said. "There'll be a coup''.
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Poroshenko fires 30 district administration chiefs under lustration law

      World
      October 30, 21:44 UTC+3
      Most of the dismissed officials are from the south-eastern regions of Ukraine


      © ITAR-TASS/Nikolai Lazarenko


      Read also


      Ukraine’s lustration law runs counter to democratic norms — Russian diplomat
      Lustration bill applies to dozens of state officials in Ukraine
      "Old guard" joined by relatives returning to Ukraine’s parliament
      Head of lustration committee goes missing in eastern Ukraine
      Ukraine fires first 39 top officials in power purge



      KIEV, October 30 /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed 30 district administration heads as part of implementation of Ukraine’s recently-adopted lustration law, the presidential press service reported on Thursday. The list of dismissed district bosses include eight district administration chiefs in the Donetsk region, seven in Dnipropetrovsk region, seven in Zaporizhye region; four in the Odessa region, two in the Sumy region; one in the Rivne region and one in the Kharkiv regions.
      A day earlier, on Wednesday, Poroshenko dismissed Valery Baranov, the governor of the Zaporizhye region, and Roman Vanzuryak, the head of the Chernivtsy region.
      Previously, Ukraine’s Justice Ministry published a list of 179 former officials to whom the lustration law had already been applied on its website.
      © ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin Ukraine’s lustration law excludes President Poroshenko, Ukraine parliament speaker says



      Lustration law


      The law on purge of power, or lustration, was passed by the Ukrainian parliament on September 16 and came into force a month ago. Under the law, subject to lustration are all state officials and members of local governments who were in office during the period from February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014 (under the rule of president Viktor Yanukovich) and officials and law-enforcement personnel who have done “harm to life, health or property of ‘EU-Maidan’ protest participants (activists who gathered at Kiev’s central square Maidan for rallies in support of EU integration). The law is also applied to former Soviet Union Communist Party and Communist Youth League members and former officials and security service officers involved in political persecution against Ukrainian nationalist activists during WWII and post-war time.
      Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that one million officials of various levels, including all cabinet members, were subject to lustration.
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      So, basically this law of 'Lustration' makes it impossible for a present or 'former' Communist to hold public office, ever. Never again. This law is true justice so that the ideological heirs of the perpetrators of the Holodomor can never have a position of authority or responsibility over another human being in the Ukraine, fitting justice for the 10 million Ukrainians who perished 1933-34 during Stalin's genocidal artificial famine, in what was and is the richest agricultural land in Europe....
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Some 'ceasefire' ;


      Kiev claims 'intensive' movements of troops crossing from Russia





      . View photo

      Ukrainian soldiers loads his weapon in the village of Bugas, in the eastern Ukranian Donetsk region on October 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)



      Kiev (AFP) - The Ukrainian military on Sunday reported "intensive" movement of troops and equipment from Russia into the separatist controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.
      Related Stories



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      2. Shelling in east Ukraine's Donetsk kills four civilians Reuters
      3. Blast rocks Donetsk in east Ukraine, no deaths reported Reuters
      4. Rebel chief, Lenin fan set to win separatist Ukraine votes AFP
      5. Pro-Russian rebels vote for leaders in eastern Ukraine Reuters







      "There is intensive deployment of military equipment and personnel of the enemy from the territory of the Russian Federation onto territory temporarily controlled by insurgents," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing in Kiev.
      In Donetsk, the main rebel-held city in Ukraine's industrial south-east, AFP reporters saw about 20 trucks, some carrying anti-aircraft guns, heading towards the government-held airport, although it was not clear whether these were new forces.
      Several Western news outlets reported witnessing heavy movement of troops near Donetsk.
      Among them, reporters for the news sites buzzfeed.com and mashable.com tweeted that they had seen a large military column. Buzzfeed's Max Seddon wrote: "31 unmarked Kamazes (military trucks) just drove past towards Donetsk. Anti-aircraft weapons, ammunition boxes, radar systems, a bus of gunmen."
      Mashable's reporter Christopher Miller tweeted having seen more than 40 trucks headed toward Donetsk "with anti-aircraft guns, fighters".
      Video footage that appeared on YouTube and was rebroadcast on Ukraine's Channel 5 -- but which could not be independently authenticated -- showed a huge column of green trucks snaking slowly through an unidentified city.
      Russia has repeatedly denied accusations from Kiev, Western governments and the NATO alliance that it is fighting on the side of pro-Russian separatists who have taken over a swathe of Ukraine's industrial south-east.
      However, Moscow openly supports the two self-declared rebel statelets politically and said it would recognise the validity of elections being held there Sunday.
      The rebels, who also deny receiving help from Russia, have large amounts of sophisticated, heavy weaponry and no apparent problem in procuring ammunition. They have told journalists that some of their weapons are captured from Ukrainian forces.
      A ceasefire was declared on September 5 in Ukraine but is violated daily in the conflict zone which runs along the Russian border. Rebel leaders say they intend to expand their territory as far as the Azoz Sea port of Mariupol.
      Russian troops already occupy Ukraine's southern province of Crimea, which has been declared a part of Russia.
      The province was taken over almost without a fight when large numbers of heavily armed men in unmarked uniforms quickly surrounded demoralised Ukrainian troops in March. The troops, widely dubbed "little green men", were later confirmed to have been Russian regular troops.
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Round Two?;

      Russian troops moving closer to Ukraine border: NATO chief





      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia has moved troops closer to the border with Ukraine and continues to support rebels in the country's east, NATO's chief said on Tuesday, after an election held by the pro-Russian separatists and condemned by Kiev and Western leaders.
      Ukraine's president said Sunday's vote flouted terms of a plan to end a war that has killed more than 4,000 people, and that newly formed army units would be sent to defend a string of eastern cities against a possible new rebel offensive.
      "Recently we are seeing Russian troops moving closer to the border with Ukraine," Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of NATO, told a news conference with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
      "Russia continues to support separatists by training them, by providing equipment and support them by also having Russian special forces inside eastern parts of Ukraine."
      Russia has denied military involvement in eastern Ukraine despite what Western officials have cited as overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
      "We call on Russia to make genuine efforts towards a peaceful solution," Stoltenberg said, "and to use all their influence on the separatists to make them respect the Minsk agreements and to respect the ceasefire which is a precondition for a political solution to the difficult situation in Ukraine."
      Stoltenberg said Russia was also trying to show strength by increasing military flights close to NATO air space in Europe.
      "We (NATO) are intercepting the Russian planes whether it is in the Atlantic Sea or in the Baltic Sea or in the Black Sea. The numbers of intercepts have so far this year been over 100, which is about three times as much as the total number of intercepts the whole of last year," he said.
      The pro-Russian separatists staged swearing in ceremonies for their leaders in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.
      Moscow says the election of Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky as leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk "people's republics", which jointly call themselves "new Russia", means that Kiev should now negotiate with them directly.
      EU TO MULL CHANGES TO SANCTIONS
      Kiev has rejected this, describing the rebels as Russian-backed "terrorists" or "bandits", with no legitimacy.
      Mogherini said the EU would assess whether to strengthen or ease sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in Ukraine depending on the situation on the ground.
      "This is a process that is going to go on in the coming weeks," she said, when asked if Russia's response to Sunday's rebel ballot could trigger stiffer sanctions against Moscow.
      The situation in Ukraine will be addressed at the next EU foreign ministers' meeting on Nov. 17, she said.
      "...I would say the main topic of discussion today should be ... how do we make sure that we find a solution to the conflict?" the former Italian foreign minister said.
      Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Monday that the newly elected leaders in eastern Ukrainian separatist regions have a "mandate" to negotiate with Kiev, Interfax news agency reported.
      Mogherini said the "so-called elections" in eastern Ukraine were illegal and illegitimate and would not be recognized by the EU. There was a risk they could end chances for rebel dialogue with Kiev and dialogue between Kiev and Moscow, she said.
      The EU has gradually tightened sanctions against Russia in response to its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March, after the overthrow of Kiev's pro-Russian president by protesters, and its support for the rebel cause.
      (Editing by Mark Heinrich)
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      This story was from an Iranian news source quoting an Ukrainian MP on Ukrainian News TV, so it may not be too reliable, but still...



      Ukraine battalions ‘ready for attacks inside Russia’
      Yuri Bereza, a Ukrainian lawmaker and leader of volunteer battalion Dnepr-1 (file photo)
      Mon Nov 3, 2014 7:9AM
      Related Interviews:



      Related Viewpoints:




      A Ukrainian lawmaker, who is also the leader of a volunteer battalion, says brigades like his are ready to “intrude” into Russia to carry out attacks on Russian territory.

      Yuri Bereza, the leader of the Dnepr-1 battalion, made the remarks during a televised interview with a Ukrainian broadcaster.
      “Today, we are ready not just to defend [Ukraine], but to invade the Russian Federation, break into it with reconnaissance detachments and sabotage groups,” said Bereza.
      The Ukrainian MP also spoke about conducting bomb attacks inside Russia before he was cut off by the host of the program.
      Bereza’s volunteer battalion is one of the dozens of brigades set up this year by pro-EU protesters and members of right-wing party Right Sector following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych.
      The battalions have been fighting along with Kiev’s government forces against the pro-Russia forces in the country’s restive eastern regions and have been accused of using fierce tactics.
      The United Nations (UN) recently released a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, accusing the volunteer battalions of violating international humanitarian laws.
      Ukraine, along with Western powers, accuses Russia of having a hand in the Ukrainian crisis, but Moscow denies the allegation.
      Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions have witnessed deadly clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia protesters after the Kiev government launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush protests.
      According to latest figures by the UN, more than 4,000 people have been killed and around 10,000 others injured in the fighting.
      CAH/HJL/HRB
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      From Bill Gertz in 'Business Insider';

      http://www.businessinsider.com/russi...efield-2014-11
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -
      Good info. I'm posting the whole piece here.


      Russia Is Moving Short-Range Ballistic Missiles Towards Eastern Ukraine

      November 6, 2014

      Russia is sending additional military forces toward the border with eastern Ukraine, including units equipped with ballistic missiles, as part of Moscow’s ongoing destabilization effort in support of pro-Russian rebels.

      US officials with access to intelligence reports said one Russian military unit equipped with short-range ballistic missiles was detected this week near eastern Ukraine, where Russia has launched a destabilization program following its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in March.

      The military movements coincided with the an unusual number of flights last week by Russian strategic nuclear bombers and aircraft along Europe’s northern coasts in a what NATO’s military commander called strategic “messaging” toward the West.

      “My opinion is that they’re messaging us,” Gen. Phillip Breedlove, the commander, told reporters at the Pentagon this week. “They’re messaging us that they are a great power and that they have the ability to exert these kinds of influences in our thinking.”

      The bomber flights included three days of paired Tu-95 bomber flights that were to have circumnavigated Europe from the north but instead were halted near Portugal.

      US officials said Russia deployed several Il-78 refueling tankers in Egypt that were to resupply the bombers during flights over the Mediterranean, but those flights were scrapped for unknown reasons.

      NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concerns about Russian military moves in Ukraine during remarks to reporters Tuesday in Brussels.

      “Recently we are also seeing Russian troops moving closer to the border with Ukraine, and Russia continues to support the separatists by training them, by providing equipment, and supporting them also by having special forces, Russian special forces, inside the eastern parts of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

      Other officials said both intelligence and social media reports in recent days revealed an increase in Russian deployments.

      The missile systems being deployed were described as conventionally armed, short-range ballistic missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, and BM-21 Grad multiple rocker launchers.

      Additionally, Russian military forces are moving towed artillery pieces closer to the border.

      One official said the display of military power is part of Moscow’s effort to reinforce “separatists” seeking to carve out a pro-Russian enclave in Eastern Ukraine.

      The Russian “Spetsnaz” or special forces commandos are already inside the country, but the ground forces as of Wednesday appeared to be staging at the border.

      Russian military forces in Ukraine number around 300 commandos. “These are not fighting formations. These are formations and specialists that are in there doing training and equipping of the separatist forces,” Breedlove said.

      The buildup is either part of a plan for military escalation, or a coordinated pressure tactic by Moscow to force Ukraine to make concessions to the rebels, officials said.

      Rebel groups in the region have made repeated threats to take control of the key southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol and other territory unless the Ukrainian government agrees to make changes in the current separation line.

      “The build up may just be a pressure tactic to force such concessions, or it may presage further escalation,” one official said.

      Rebels in eastern Ukraine recently held elections that Ukraine and NATO dismissed as illegal. New charges were raised in Kiev Wednesday about violations of a peace agreement reached in Belarus in September.

      Breedlove said Monday there was no “huge change” in Russian deployments. Currently about seven battalion task groups are stationed near the border with Ukraine.

      “Some of those formations have moved closer to the border,” he said. “We believe that was probably to bring some pressure on and make sure that the elections went according to the separatist plans; we’ll look now to see if they pull back from the border into their previous border locations.”

      “We have now realistically entered the phase of a ‘frozen conflict,’” Yury Yakimenko, a political analyst at Ukraine’s Razumkov political research center told Reuters. The term frozen conflict has been applied to other former Soviet Republics where separatists are being backed by Russian forces.

      Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is part of a program by Russian President Vladimir Putin to gain control or hegemony over former Soviet bloc states described as the “near abroad.”

      Putin is seeking to restore Russian power with territorial seizures, along with a large-scale nuclear and conventional forces buildup.

      Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez said Russian forces and equipment remain on Ukraine’s border and on Ukrainian territory in violation of international law. “We again call on Russian authorities and the separatists they back to abide by their commitments under the Sept. 5 ceasefire agreement and the Sept. 19 implementing agreement,” she said.

      Breedlove said the Russians in the past have conducted small-scale bomber flights.

      “And what you saw this past week was a larger, more complex formation of aircraft carrying out a little deeper and, I would say, a little bit more provocative flight path,” he said. “And so it is a concern.”

      The flights are destabilizing and “problematic,” Breedlove said.

      Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, also voiced concerns about the Russian bomber flights.

      “When it comes to the increased Russian military activity, both in the air but also along the borders of Ukraine, I think that what we see is, especially when it comes to increased air activity of Russian planes, is that they are showing strength, and what we are doing is what we are supposed to do: we are intercepting the Russian planes, whether it is in the Atlantic Sea or the Baltic Sea or in the Black Sea,” he said.

      Breedlove said he has discussed with US military chiefs the idea of moving additional troops and supplies closer to Russia as a result of “increased pressure that we feel in Eastern Europe now and because of the assurance measures that we are taking in the Baltics, in Poland, in Romania.”

      “I believe there is a requirement for rotational forces in the future until we see the current situation begin to normalize,” he said.

      Breedlove said the halt in the conflict in Ukraine has been “pretty much a cease-fire in name only.”

      “There continue to be sporadic engagements in and around the cease-fire zone,” he said. “And the second thing that I would say that has changed is we have seen a general trend towards a hardening of this line of demarcation and much more softening of the actual Ukraine-Russia border.”

      Russia’s border with Ukraine in the east is open and completely porous. As a result, Russian military equipment is flowing back and forth the border

      “Russia continues to resupply the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine,” Breedlove said.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Preparations for World War Three.
    1. Malsua's Avatar
      Malsua -
      Yeah, 2015, the year the Russian Titor nukes fall.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      My thinking too, lol.

      I think, if that crap happens I'll be a Titor-Believor.
    1. Malsua's Avatar
      Malsua -
      Yes, a Russian nuke vs an American city in 2015 and I'm all in on team Titor.

      Of course, 2012 he was in his Shotgun Infantry, or as I like to call a shotgun infantry, walking dead meat, running up and down in Florida selling oranges.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
      Yes, a Russian nuke vs an American city in 2015 and I'm all in on team Titor.

      Of course, 2012 he was in his Shotgun Infantry, or as I like to call a shotgun infantry, walking dead meat, running up and down in Florida selling oranges.
      He was wrong.


      Or, he's missed the boat methinks.

      lol
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
      Preparations for World War Three.
      I have a theory about this, but i'm going to have to do some research on it first. Consider the location of the conflict and the range of these nukes, plus recent Saudi moves....
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      12 November 2014 Last updated at 13:57 ET Share this page







      Ukraine crisis: Russian troops crossed border, Nato says

      A column of unidentified tanks was seen on a road near the rebel-held town of Shakhtarsk on Monday
      Continue reading the main story Ukraine crisis




      Nato officials have seen Russian military equipment and Russian combat troops entering Ukraine this week, its top commander says.
      "Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops" were sighted, US Gen Philip Breedlove said.
      Russia's defence ministry denied that its troops were in eastern Ukraine to help pro-Russian separatists there.
      However, the rebels have admitted being helped by "volunteers" from Russia.
      The United Nations Security Council is convening an emergency session on Wednesday to discuss the reported sightings.
      Heavy artillery fire rocked the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the industrial hub held by pro-Russian separatist rebels, on Wednesday morning.
      There were also reports of fighting near the rebel-held city of Luhansk, with one Ukrainian soldier killed and another injured, according to Ukrainian security forces.

      Analysis: Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent Events in Ukraine seem to be turning full circle.
      Back in August, Nato was warning about the deployment of Russian artillery batteries inside Ukraine, the supply of Russian military equipment to the rebel forces and the build-up of further Russian combat units at the Ukrainian frontier.
      Since then many of these units have been withdrawn.
      But now with tensions renewed, Nato's Supreme Commander in Europe General Philip Breedlove has confirmed that over the past two days, Nato has seen columns of Russian armour, artillery and crucially - combat troops - entering Ukraine.
      The question now is whether this is just a re-run of events in the summer or does a more significant clash beckon, perhaps one where the Kremlin may decide - in its terms - to teach the Ukrainians a military lesson.
      General Breedlove also confirmed that Nato believes Russia is deploying nuclear-capable weapons to Crimea - a reference to reports that Russia is deploying short-range Iskander ballistic missiles there that could potentially be equipped with nuclear warheads.

      Unmarked convoys The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has reported seeing unmarked convoys in the region in recent days.
      Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said any significant military build-up would be "a severe threat to the ceasefire", which was agreed in Minsk on 5 September.
      In a statement, Mr Stoltenberg urged Russia "to pull back back its forces and equipment from Ukraine, and to fully respect the Minsk agreements".
      Gen Breedlove, talking to reporters on a visit to Bulgaria, said the alleged Russian troop deployment may be intended to reinforce "pockets" under separatist control in eastern Ukraine.
      This could, he said, help them to form "a more contiguous, more whole and capable pocket of land in order to then hold on to it long term".
      He did not specify how many troops, vehicles or weapons were seen. A Nato official confirmed to the BBC that Nato had "assessed" that the equipment and troops were Russian in origin.
      The main city in Ukraine's east, Donetsk, has seen its heaviest shelling in weeks
      Russian defence official Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov said "there was and is no evidence" to support Gen Breedlove's claims.
      Russia has consistently denied sending troops and equipment to support the rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine.
      Preparations Separately, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the country's long-range aircraft would go on patrol flights over the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
      He said that the current situation required Russia to restart the flights, which were cut at the end of the Cold War.
      Meanwhile, Ukraine's defence minister has said that government forces are redeploying in preparation for a possible new offensive by pro-Russian separatist rebels.
      A Reuters reporter captured armed men and military vehicles near a checkpoint in Donetsk on Wednesday
      "The main task I see is to prepare for combat operations. We are doing this, we are readying our reserves," Stepan Poltorak told a government meeting.
      More than 4,000 people have died since government forces moved in April to put down an armed insurrection by the rebels in the two regions, which border Russia.
      Hundreds of people have been killed since a fragile truce was agreed three months ago.
      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday her government was "not satisfied" with the progress in implementing the Minsk agreement, but added that there were no plans at present for further economic sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine.
      "Further economic sanctions are not planned at the moment, we are focusing on the winter and the humanitarian situation there and how to get a real ceasefire," she said.
      The OSCE said earlier that the conflict could get worse.
      "The level of violence in eastern Ukraine and the risk of further escalation remain high and are rising," OSCE representative Michael Bociurkiw told reporters in Kiev.


      More on This Story

    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      From 'Euromaidan Press' in Ukraine;


      Four days at the front with the Right Sector battalion

      2014/11/25 • Featured, Stories from the Front


      Article by: Alya Shandra

      Demonized by the Kremlin’s disinformation machine, the Right Sector is perhaps Ukraine’s most legend-shrouded organization since the times of the Euromaidan revolution that started on November 21, 2013. Putin’s virtual reality propagated by Russian medias goes as far as to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by protecting the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine from mythical “fascists from the Right Sector.” We traveled to the forefront of Ukraine’s battle against the Russian army and Russian-backed separatists in Donbas to see for ourselves who are the people that Putin so much fears and why.
      Why are they here?

      Friend Instructor (left) and Leopard (right)

      I had no choice,” says one of the fighters, Friend Instructor from Kyiv. “I am a man, my country is being attacked. It’s my responsibility to defend it.” Another, Friend Leopard, said: “I was woken up by Maidan. My soul told me it’s time to do something for this country. You know, we’re a body, but the soul tells us what to do.” He is 45 years of age and half-Romanian, half-Russian by origin. Friend Leopard left his wife in a Romanian-leaning district of Chernivtsi Oblast in Western Ukraine to become a deputy commander of the 5th separate division of Right Sector’s Volunteer battalion. His division has been stationed on the Ukrainian-Russian front in the village of Pisky near Donetsk for over 3 months.
      Friend Leopard tells that he is fed up with life in Ukraine. “I wanted to do something for this country, and live freely in it. If I commit a crime, I want myself to be judged, and not to have the possibility to bribe myself out of responsibility. Not like it is now, when you can pay UAH 60 000 and get away with killing a woman and child. Corruption. I don’t even understand how that’s possible.” Like other battalion members, he is radically determined to change Ukraine no matter what, after the border is protected and invaders are kicked out. How Ukraine is to be changed exactly is not yet clear, but one thing is for sure: corruption must be eliminated, as well as irresponsible politicians and the rule of oligarchs.
      Friend Moses

      Friend Moses, who is a bishop of the protestant church “Glorification” in Kryvyi Rih (central Ukraine), says that after Maidan he felt a mission from God to help his country. “We came here so Ukraine would live a new life. It’s our obligation to protect our land if it’s attacked. Right now there is a war of light with darkness. God’s hand is in this war, and He is on the side of those that are attacked. My mission here is to speak about God and that there is salvation: even if a soldier is killed, his soul will go home. Some people from our church say that we shouldn’t take up arms, but I think it’s our obligation to protect this land if it’s attacked.” Like many other Right Sector battalion members, he is one of the legendary Cyborgs that are responsible for the Donetsk airport still being under Ukrainian control after over 5 months.
      “War happened to start in my lifetime, and I couldn’t miss it. The war is a continuation of events at the Maidan. At that time, Russia attempted to return Ukraine to the Soviet empire, and it’s doing that now, but more intensively. So I’m here – because there are no absurd orders in the Right Sector. People decide for themselves how they should carry out tasks. The Right Sector goes and does what the army can’t. There was a call on the Maidan to change the format of governance. There power must go to the people. That’s what we’re aiming at,” tells Friend Japanese of his reasons for coming to the front.
      Right Sector battalion member receives a token from schoolchildren

      I don’t want to wait until the Russians are at my doors,” is a reason that is shared by all battalion members that don’t come from the occupied territories. “My three-year-old son in Mariupol tells my wife ‘Mommy, run to the bomb shelter!’ when he hears distant shelling. What sort of a life is that? That’s why I’m here,” says friend Dolphin. He is one of the lucky 30% of the Donbas battalion that came out of the Ilovaisk battle free and alive, and joined the Right Sector battalion while the Donbas battalion trains and regroups. There are members from Donbas and Luhansk whose families live in the occupied territories. Like Friend Dolphin, they request that their photos not be shared, fearing for their family’s safety.
      Taking into account the Right Sector’s role in Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution, there is little doubt that they will continue to act to carry out their plans. It was the Right Sector that on January 19 initiated Maidan’s departure from months of peaceful protests into a phase of active and violent resistance that eventually lead to the toppling of the Yanukovych regime.
      How do you get in and how does it work?

      The way DUK members address each other is “Friend” plus callsign. One would address the Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh as Friend Yastrub [hawk in Ukrainian] or Friend Providnyk [leader]. You either make up the callsign yourself or it finds you. “Pan [the Ukrainian analogue to Sir] is too hierarchical; we are all equals and friends here,” explains Friend Leopard: “we are closer than brothers here, more than brothers. Under danger, we are all the same, because bullets do not choose, we have to hold and support each other.” The Ukrainian word pobratym nails it pretty well: a pobratym is your named brother, one that you share a mission and a life adventure with. This feeling of brotherhood is one that attracts most in the DUK, according to Friend Monakh [Monk]. “We are here like in a monastery. We forget about money, live in a brotherhood, try to help each other.”
      Friend Monakh

      The Right Sector battalion is one of the most well-disciplined formations in Ukraine’s armed forces. Drinking is severely punished, which sets them apart from the regular army. So is negligence of duties. The worst punishment a Right Sector battalion member can face is expulsion from the team. One becomes part of the battalion by signing up at the regional Right Sector branches and undergoing a three-week training near Kyiv where fighters learn the essentials. More experienced members train new members.
      The leadership is elected based on achievements; decisions are made at a lower level. Friend Leopard says that he would observe the fighters for some time and then make a proposal to assign some of them to a post at the morning assembly. The community would then have a chance to voice their opinion. Hearing about this leadership selection method sends me back four centuries to the time of the Zaporizhzhia Kozaks, a military formation in Ukraine’s steppes that battled the Poles and eventually made the fateful decision to unite with Moscow in 1654. With a legacy boasting to have the first Constitution in the world, the Kozaks were famous for their democratic and community-based methods of governance, at least at early stages of the existence of the Zaporizhzhia Sich.
      What do they do and how are they supplied?

      “If it wasn’t for the volunteers, the Russian invaders would be at Poland’s borders”
      Friend Hunter, Donetsk Airport Cyborg

      “Volunteer battalion” means that fighters sign up voluntarily and do not get pay: hence, a division of motivated patriots willing to give their lives to defend their country. Furthermore, the battalion receives no help from the state. Some volunteer battalions in Ukraine (like Azov and Donbas) have become part of the structure of the Ministry of the Interior or Ministry of Defense, which is why the fighters receive at least some kind of pay and provision (recently, Azov was made a regiment and now receives heavy ammunition). However, the Army is too corrupt for the Right Sector battalion to go under its command, tells Friend Leopard: there have been too many betrayals, and it is rumored that the Russian agents in Ukraine’s army sell out their division’s location to the enemy. Nevertheless, Right Sector works closely with the regular Ukrainian Army units stationed in Pisky, and performs the most dangerous and risky operations: for instance, more than half of the last rotation’s Cyborgs defending the encircled Donetsk airport from Russian attacks were from Right Sector. However, on November 12 the Right Sector command decided to withdraw their forces from the airport, as they saw their mission accomplished: “volunteer battalion” also means independence from central army command.
      But the mere existence of volunteer battalions is made possible thanks to another army of volunteers – the ones crowd-sourcing funds and providing everything from thermal underwear to first aid kits to food for the troops, both from volunteer battalions and the regular army. For many of them, helping the army has become their lives, and they place themselves in danger when going up to the frontline under enemy shellings. The volunteers are doing so much that they are even getting criticized for taking the load that should be the government’s on their shoulders, and thus allowing for it to remain inefficient and inactive.
      How do they get weapons?

      Battalion members learning to operate a grenade launcher

      “Volunteer battalion” in Right Sector’s case also means they don’t get weapons and ammunition from the Army. Their rifles are mostly won in battle; ammunition is bartered from the regular army units in exchange for supplies brought by volunteers. Sometimes the “barter” is purely symbolic: it’s in the Army’s interests for the Right Sector to be armed and protect their backs. The Right Sector has access to the Army’s heavy artillery for the same reason: they want to fight so it’s best to give them the opportunity to do so.
      What do they think about the government?

      The Army is not the only organization whose corruption is despised. Friend Leopard says that the Euromaidan revolution did not succeed, and this is only the start. “Our government right now is led by traitors. Not one person responsible for the Maidan shootings has been prosecuted, and neither have the army generals responsible for all the soldiers killed in the battle of Ilovaisk. Corruption still thrives; the people in power have been replaced by others but they are going down the old rotten road. What we all want to do is march on Kyiv and make them either work for the people or leave. But we understand that if we do that, the Russian army will be in Kyiv the next day. So first we will protect the border and then go to change the system. It will take not one year and not two, but we will change it.”
      The Right Sector is famed by its radical actions and a refusal to compromise with corruption. For example, when Ukraine’s corrupt border service demanded their regular bribe to clear customs for vehicles designated to the battalion as aid in fighting the war, a phone call from the Right Sector’s leadership promising that if their vehicles weren’t cleared the customs officers’ cars would be taken instead managed to solve the problem in a matter of minutes. Amid growing dissatisfaction with slow reforms in post-Maidan Ukrainian society, many here see radical action to be the only way to advance justice and change the dysfunctional societal system rotted away by corruption over many years. “How else can you deal with these people…
      How far-right is the Right Sector battalion?

      Wedding in the Right Sector battalion

      The members of the battalion are so diverse it’s almost headspinning. There is a charismatic church pastor who is always jolly, no matter the situation, and a neopaganist. An anarchist that joined the battalion because he saw they were doing the “right thing” and a young man fed up with low salaries and the general state of affairs. People from West Ukraine fighting for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and from East Ukraine because they want to return home and kick out invaders from their land. A buryat (one of Siberia’s ethnic groups) from occupied Crimea says he will only stop when Crimea is returned to Ukraine. A city mayor and first-year university students sneaking away from studies to become soldiers. There are young and old, men and women. Some are even wed in camouflage uniforms right at the front.
      Not all are part of the Right Sector movement or support the political party, some just joined the battalion because of its reputation as a motivated combat group with good commanders (those that “keep to the oath given to the Ukrainian people” and care about their soldiers – don’t treat them as cannon fodder). The political party itself proclaims as its goal the creation of a “Ukrainian national state governed by the people,” its struggle is to “establish a power of the people instead of a power over the people,” and “imperialism, chauvinism, communism, nazism, xenophobia, cosmopolitism, globalism, pseudonationalism” as enemies in that struggle.
      I tried to find out who exactly a Ukrainian is. “In order to be a Ukrainian you don’t have to be born as one, you have to feel yourself as one. You have to be one in your heart and soul. A nation is made up of the people around us that say “yes, I am a Ukrainian, and I want to live here and I will not leave.” Another answer: “Ukrainian isn’t a nationality, it’s a state of mind.” All those asked cared little about nationality or ethnicity, but cared greatly about removing corruption and oligarchy.
      So, it’s hard to say how much this is far-right in the classical meaning. The Right Sector’s nationalism is mostly about liberating Ukraine from remnants of Russian imperialism which has been the centerpoint of the struggles of Ukrainian nationalism in the 20th century, as well as liberating Ukraine from the “internal occupation” of traitors and oligarchs. The varied ethnic backgrounds of Right Sector members suggest that “nationalism” in this case is more about patriotism than anything else.
      Chances are, a Ukraine without corruption is becoming the new national idea of the nation that, according to some, is being reborn. However, Right Sector’s radical determination to eliminate corrupt officials and traitors doesn’t seem to address the reasons for their existing in the first place. Further from the frontline, the sheer heroism of Right Sector members becomes diluted with actions somewhat less brilliant. Friend Leopard told me that if we were to fundraise for the battalion, we should make sure we send the supplies directly through volunteers to Pisky; if it goes through the central base, the chances are that the Pisky division will not see them. On Right Sector checkpoints, people can be arrested for ideological support of separatism. The ones arrested can be thrown into the Right Sector dungeon. The ones in the dungeon may be tortured and beaten. The Right Sector’s arguments are that the separatists are much worse, and that they tortured our guys. War is ugly, and it permeates a cycle of hate. But one thing remains certain: it is the Right Sector that is defending their land from an invasion, and not the other way around.



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      Alya Shandra

      Tags: donbas, right sector, war
    1. Avvakum's Avatar
      Avvakum -
      NATO sees Russia ready for Ukraine incursion

















      . View gallery






      KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia still has enough troops along Ukraine's border to mount a major incursion, NATO's top commander said Wednesday, and Moscow is using its military might to affect political developments inside Ukraine.
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      4. Russia denies NATO accusations over troops in Ukraine Reuters
      5. NATO Sees ‘Significant Buildup’ of Russian Forces in Ukraine The Wall Street Journal







      U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove said a large number of Russian troops are also active inside Ukraine, training and advising separatist rebels.
      Moscow has routinely denied it played any direct role in the conflict in Ukraine, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives.
      Breedlove spoke during a brief visit to Kiev, where he met with top officials to discuss continued NATO assistance for Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists in the east.
      "We are going to help Ukraine's military to increase its capacities and capabilities through interaction with U.S. and European command," he said, adding that it "will make them ever more interoperable with our forces."
      Ukraine has received multiple pledges of military support from Western nations, but has been frustrated by Washington's reluctance to promise any lethal equipment. But a senior aide to President Barack Obama said last week that he believes the U.S. should consider giving lethal defensive equipment to Ukraine.
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      Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, greets U.S. European Command Commander, North Atlantic T …

      Tony Blinken, deputy U.S. national security adviser, said he believed Washington ought to consider strengthening Ukrainian forces as a message to Moscow. Providing defensive military equipment to Ukraine has broad support in the U.S. Congress.
      The Ukrainian armed advance against rebel forces ground to a halt and was substantially reversed over the summer as government troops found themselves faced by a well-equipped and determined foe.
      "This international border is completely wide open and maintained open by Russian forces, so that forces, supplies, money, fighters can move across at will," Breedlove said.
      A truce was agreed in early September but fighting continues daily in several areas of eastern Ukraine.