Ukraine shifts closer to open war with recent attacks

August 19, 2015
An employee works on a turret as armored vehicles are repaired at the Kiev armored plant

An employee works on a turret as armored vehicles are repaired at the Kiev armored plant, Ukraine, Aug. 14, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Renewed fighting in Ukraine has claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and soldiers in the past two weeks alone. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both called emergency war councils since Aug. 4, as the ceasefire and diplomacy have further broken down. In its recent reports, the Ukrainian military has used the phrase “most shelling in six months” multiple times, and with increasing frequency.

On Aug. 10, Russian-backed fighters, whom Ukraine claims were led by Russian military units, launched a tank and artillery assault on the strategic town of Starognatovka, which lies between the capital of the Russian-backed separatists, Donetsk, and the key port city of Mariupol. The battle did not go the way the Russian-backed forces anticipated, however. The Ukrainian military units stationed in the area, which apparently included volunteer units, beat back the offensive within hours, and even counterattacked before returning to their positions. Though some facts are disputed, a few things are clear: The battle marked a significant escalation in fighting, both sides suffered higher casualties than they have in months and the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine has not ended.

On Aug. 3, the day before the Ukrainian president chaired an emergency war council, the Ukrainian military released a map that showed where the fighting was occurring across the front lines and expressed great concern that both civilian and military targets were under regular attack across the entire front line.

Twelve days later, the Ukrainian military’s battle maps looked like a wildfire of ceasefire violations, shelling incidents and combat operations. ukrainemap2
The focus of the newest wave of attacks launched by the Russian-backed fighters is on the western front, from Gorlovka in the north to Mariupol in the south. Nearly every night for more than a week, citizens of Donetsk posted video of outgoing Grad multiple-launch rocket fire. “Grad” is the Russian word for “hail,” and it could not be more appropriate, as these dumb-fire rockets fall indiscriminately on civilian and military targets alike.

The Ukrainian military has been firing back, and civilians have reportedly been harmed and killed on both sides of the demarcation line. But Ukrainian soldiers complain that the military response to the  attacks is neither proportionate nor effective because they do not have the necessary equipment to respond properly. In particular, the Ukrainian government has lobbied the United States for sophisticated ground-scan radar, which would allow the military to monitor and target vehicles and artillery beyond its line of sight. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is ready to supply Ukraine with these weapons, but the White House is holding up the process – presumably to avoid angering the Russian government, which is supposed to be cooperating on other areas of geostrategic importance, like Iran and Syria.

The Russian government has already supplied its proxies with similar weapons. In November, long after the Putin-negotiated Minsk ceasefire was supposed to take hold, both the 1RL232 “Leopard” and the 1RL239 “Lynx” ground-scan radar systems were photographed by journalist Stefan Huijboom and others traveling through Donetsk. There is no evidence that the separatists have ever captured a 1RL232 from the Ukrainian military, and the Ukrainian military has never possessed a 1RL239. The only plausible explanation for these weapons appearing in Ukraine is that they were supplied by the Russian military, which likely operates them since they are highly sophisticated war machines.

Furthermore, Ukraine does not possess sophisticated surveillance drones, yet it has shot down (and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has witnessed) many Russian military drones operating on the wrong side of the border since the start of the conflict. If that is not bad enough, the organization’s monitors in Ukraine have recently seen an R-330ZH “Zhitel” jamming system not far from the front lines. The system is capable of jamming GPS navigation and communication; it was used by the Russian military during its takeover of Crimea last year. Several OSCE drones have been jammed in the past months, and in one incident the aircraft crashed after the signal between the unmanned aerial vehicle and its controller was disrupted. The separatists actually told the OSCE that they have access to sophisticated equipment that can jam unmanned vehicles; in late June, soldiers from the Vostok Battalion, a group long thought to be Russian Special Forces, took selfies with an R-330ZH. Not only is Russia deeply involved in front-line operations in eastern Ukraine; it is hardly making any effort to hide it.

So, the Russian-backed fighters are firing hundreds of shells and rockets toward Ukraine each day, many of which are launched from civilian areas, and Ukraine is unable to respond adequately.

It is possible that Eastern Europe is closest to open war than it has been since the “Russian invasion” of Ukraine one year ago nearly to the day. If this seems like a headline that repeats itself every few months, that’s not an accident. The Russian military has steadily increased its direct intervention in eastern Ukraine since the Minsk protocols, signed in September and again in February, were supposed to freeze the conflict. As long as the fighting never reaches a dramatic threshold, Putin has been able to keep the conflict out of the headlines, and away from the attention of voters in Europe and the United States, who might otherwise pressure their governments to do something to stop it.


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See this videos and then you will understand what Putin is doing in Ukraine and why

1. Why Russia is invading Ukraine, explained in 2 minutes Shg

2. SEPARATISM IN RUSSIA or Ukrainian boomerang 94Y

3. RuSSian myth about Ukraine and Crimea 4pQ

4. Why a federation for Ukraine is bad Cy4

Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine and Boris Nemtsov’s Putin. War.

Putin’s War in Ukraine, provides irrefutable evidence exposing the breadth and depth of Russian military involvement in Ukraine’s east. Drawing upon publicly available information, the report documents the movement of Russian troops from training camps into Ukraine. It also demonstrates that many artillery strikes on Ukraine originate in Russia and examines the wide array of Russian military equipment in the hands of so-called separatist forces. 0kuHI6lNg

Evidence of Russian TV and Kremlin propaganda about 10 year old Girl killed in Ukraine ‘never existed’ – BBC News sjs

Evidence of the torture and killing of Ukrainian prisoners by Kremlin-backed fighters is growing, prompting a strong statement by Amnesty International on April 9.

The statement from the human rights organization follows testimony that Russian mercenary Arseniy Pavlov, also known as Motorola, killed Ukrainian prisoner of war Ihor Branovytsky. The Russian citizen also admitted in a telephone conversation with the Kyiv Post that he had murdered 15 prisoners t-plus/war-crimes-evidence-mounts-of-war -crimes-committed-by-kremlin-backed-forc es-385839.html

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada has passed legislation submitted by the Cabinet on denouncing Communist and nazipropaganda totalitarian regimes and banning their propaganda and symbols… The Ukrianian goverment are NOT MUCH OF noenazis now are they if the just mad a band on propaganda and symbols verkhovna-rada-bans-propaganda-of-commun ism-nazism-in-ukraine-385778.html

Captured Russian Soldiers Discredit Kremlin Claims (including exclusive interviews) ian-soldiers-in-ukraine-truth-428337.htm l

Posted by slavaukarini | Report as abusive

Russian invasion of Ukraine, Really!! how time makes fools of us all.

Posted by Moties001 | Report as abusive

Strange how US Media fails to mention Kiev has failed to implement the Minsk2 agreement. Until they do that Kiev is the primary party in breach of the Minsk2 ceasefire agreement. No iff’s and no buts.

Posted by Rkap | Report as abusive

The West-Ukraine coup governments Army and militia’s need to get out of the Donets’k and Luhans’k Oblasts.

Posted by demiboone | Report as abusive

Russian economy is now smaller than Italy’s. 12 time zones. And they produce the same value of goods and services…. as Italy. Russia is going down the toilet under Putin, and he’s focused on recapturing Chernobyl. Haha.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Both sides are just as bad as each other. On the one hand you cant just invade another country and offer a referendum to the people. That is a sure way to war. On the other hand there is the very serious question of how do regions with different ethnicity to the country they live gain independence? We see the same issue with the Kurds. Peace could be granted in a week if they just split Ukraine into Novorossiya and Ukraine.

Posted by rndom | Report as abusive

Vice News presents who started recent offensive ystery-battle-hunting-for-truths-across- an-elastic-border?utm_source=vicenewstwi tter

Posted by Slat | Report as abusive

Search recent article “Ukraine’s Mystery Battle” from Vice news.
It clearly describes than recent offensive was started by Right Sector battalion.

Posted by Slat | Report as abusive

Another Syria in the making – a clear proxy war with Russia, started once more, by US.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

The best thing is for this whole mess to get resolved fast instead of being frozen. Putin wants a frozen conflict to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, so any type of status quo ceasefire is playing to his strategic interests. Better to have a brief military conflict with an unambiguous resolution at the cost of some casualties now than subjecting the people living in Ukraine and especially in contested regions to years or even decades of stunted economic and political growth.

Posted by amd65 | Report as abusive