Wednesday September 16, 2015
Europe’s Ill-Advised Policy the Root of All Troubles in Ukraine, World / Sputnik / September 16, 2015 / Europe’s inability to foresee the outcome of its policy has set off an avalanche of refugees and cost Ukraine its Crimean peninsula and quite possibly the Donbass region, a Kiev-based political analyst said on Tuesday. “When the Europeans helped destroy the Middle Eastern states under the pretext of changing their authoritarian regimes, didn’t they realize that by doing so they were preparing this massive influx of migrants? Did they really think that dictator Kaddafi would be replaced by a democratic Libyan parliament, which would legalize same-sex marriages? I don’t think so,” Mikhail Pogrebinsky, the director of the Center of Political and Conflict Studies in Kiev said, commenting on the current migrant crisis in Europe. He added that the European leaders never bothered to think what their rejection of the idea of a federative Ukraine on the false assumption that this would undermine the country’s territorial integrity would eventually lead to. As a result Ukraine lost Crimea and is now losing Donbass too, not to mention the thousands of lives lost and the ruined economy. “Instead, they should have engaged in a broad-based dialogue on a type of federalization that would prevent Ukraine’s disintegration,” Pogrebinsky added. He also noted that when Jean-Claude Juncker and others make calls for a united Europe and introduce migrant quotas while, at the same time, criticizing the East European leaders for their ‘un-European’ policy and flatly refusing to join forces with [Syrian president Bashar] Assad against ISIL, they act just as inconsistently as they did regarding the situation in Ukraine. “Sometimes they do say that there will be no peace in Syria without Russia, but they never go any further than that… Well, when they are finally ready, it could be too late!” Mikhail Pogrebinsky warned.
All dialogue formats of OSCE PA should be engaged to solve Ukraine crisis — lamaker / TASS / September 16, 2015 / ULAN-BATOR / All dialogue formats in the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should be engaged to settle the Ukrainian crisis, the speaker of the Russian lower house of parliament told a PA session in Mongolia’s Ulan-Bator on Wednesday. “I am confident that work towards overcoming the Ukrainian crisis should proceed in all dialogue formats,” Sergey Naryshkin said, marking that the Minsk agreements should remain the basis in that. Giving credit to the OSCE, he said “this is almost the only common platform where the way the situation [in Ukraine] could be normalized is still discussed.” The State Duma speaker marked that it was the OSCE that had deployed a special monitoring mission and participated in the Contact Group for the settlement in Ukraine. “And what about our Assembly? It has been more than a year since Russia’s initiative to set up an inter-parliamentary contact group for Ukraine was approved in Baku,” he noted. “I am confident that the group could be set up if most members of the Assembly paid due attention to that,” he said, also noting that it would be expedient to work in the parliamentary Normandy format. Naryshkin thanked Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva and his colleagues for supporting the initiative to set up a contact group on Ukraine, regretting that the Ukrainian side has so far failed to show its will to cooperate.
Win or Lose In Ukraine: Some Rich Bastard Wins / by Phil Butler / New Eastern Outlook / September 14, 2015 / The conflict in Ukraine today is the handiwork of greedy, evil men intent on only one goal – profit at any cost – profit no matter what. I think most people understand this by now. What readers may not know though, are those instrumental in the death dealing, the banking elite who pull the economic strings. I hope you will help me positively identify the chief suspect in the case of the destruction of a European nation. An illuminating discussion with the Nation‘s Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor, is required listening for anyone interested in the new Cold War. Cohen, for those unfamiliar, is an American scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, one of the world’s leading experts. The segment I refer to, it reveals the real nature of this conflict. Cohen lays bare the irrevocable dependence of Ukraine on Russia, first of all. Then like a stroke of lightning, the often confusing role of Petro Poroshenko arises. Petro Poroshenko – No Daffy Duck: I’ll allow the reader to listen in for the rest, but it is on Poroshenko’s seeming madness I would like to dwell. Cohen wonders at the Ukrainian president’s strategy in continually aggravating Ukraine-Russia relations in the radio bit. In particular, the Princeton professor wonders at Poroshenko’s most recent track of wanting Russia to lose her veto power as a member of the United Nations security council? With his country about to default, Winter coming on, and almost all of Ukraine’s manufacturing headed to Russia, Cohen questions Poroshenko’s sense of reality. “We have to wonder what parallel universe he’s living in,” Cohen suggests. The head of a “beggar state”, Cohen’s words, simply must get help from the IMF and outside investors via . . . MORE>>
Ukrainian Anti-Russia Sanctions Target 400 Individuals, 90 Entities / Sputnik / September 16, 2015 / Ukrainian President Poroshenko says that Ukraine has put over 400 individuals and 90 entities on Russia-related ‘black list.’ /KIEV / President Poroshenko said Wednesday that Ukraine had put over 400 individuals and 90 entities on Russia-related ‘black list.’ The expanded version of the list was approved by Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council on September 2. “The president announced that the restrictive measures are now targeting more than 400 individuals and 90 entities responsible for crimes against our country,” Poroshenko’s press service said.
Bashar Assad: ‘The West Wants to Get Rid of Me and Putin’ / Sputnik / September 16, 2015 / The West is trying to portray Vladimir Putin as an enemy and dictator who cracks down on domestic opposition, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview on Tuesday. President Assad said that the West was waging a war of words against him just like it was against Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The developments in Syria look much like what is now happening in your region,” Assad told Russian media on Tuesday. “Ever since the coup in Ukraine President Putin has been viewed by western media as an enemy, a czar, a dictator clamping down on the opposition, someone who came to power in an undemocratic way even though he was elected as a result a popular vote recognized by the West. No longer. This is what the western propaganda campaign is all about,” Bashar Assad added. He also said that the Western powers were working hard to bring about regime changes in Syria, Russia and other countries. “They do not recognize others as partners and sovereign states. All they want is to replace someone who they don’t like with one who would be serving their interests, not his own country’s,” Bashar Assad emphasized. Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, with government forces battling against multiple opposition militias and radical groups. Since the beginning of the war, the United States and some of its allies have supported the moderate Syrian opposition and called for Assad’s resignation, while Russia and Iran recognized Assad as the only legitimate Syrian authority.
Ukraine May Automatically Become Non-Permanent UN Security Council Member / Sputnik / September 16, 2015 / The absence of contenders is likely to help Ukraine become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia’s envoy to the organization said. / MOSCOW / Ukraine may automatically become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, as it has no contenders, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said Wednesday. “Ukraine will take part in an election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. The vote, as I understand it, will most likely take place in October, and Ukraine has no competitors, Ukraine is nominated by the Eastern European group,” Churkin said during a Moscow-New York video conference organized by Rossiya Segodnya news agency. The UN Security Council includes five permanent and 10 non-permanent members. The latter are elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly. The Eastern European group is currently . . . MORE>>
Will the Lull on the Ukrainian Battlefield Hold? / Stratfor / September 15, 2015 / In Ukraine, all signs point toward continuing interest from every party in moving forward with talks on the country’s ongoing conflict. Foreign ministers from the four members of the Normandy format met in Berlin on Sept. 12, ahead of the group’s planned presidential-level meeting, set for Oct. 2 in Paris. Diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have been working to resolve the conflict in Ukraine since June 2014, and if the success of the recent temporary cease-fire is any indication, they now may be dealing with a calmer eastern Ukraine and a more amenable Russia. Since its implementation last week, the cease-fire between Ukrainian security forces and Russia-backed separatists has remained more or less intact. The relative calm on the front lines and the resumption of Normandy meetings indicate that both Russia and the West are serious about reaching a diplomatic solution to the conflict. However, Ukraine’s own domestic pressures will continue to create significant obstacles to ending the conflict. Since the establishment of a temporary cease-fire on Sept. 1, there have been significantly fewer skirmishes and casualties on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine. Both sides frequently violated the first Minsk cease-fire . . . MORE>>
Tuesday September 15, 2015
Militia intelligence detects new gun lines of Kiev forces outside Donetsk — DPR / TASS / September 15, 2015 / Intelligence service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has detected new lines of multiple rocket launcher systems and self-propelled guns of Ukrainian armed forces in the town of Krasnogorovka close to the western outskirts of Donetsk, republic defense ministry’s spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Tuesday. “Taking advantage of a formal ceasefire, Ukrainian troops keep concentrating arms and military hardware banned by the Minsk agreements along the disengagement line,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying. “Thus, DPR intelligence has spotted four Grad multiple rocket launcher systems and four self-propelled guns in the settlement of Krasnogorovka, three kilometers from the disengagement line,” he said. The Contact Group on resolving the crisis in Donbas agreed at the meeting in Minsk, Belarus, in late August to ensure complete ceasefire starting from September 1. However, the DPR defense ministry has repeatedly said the Ukrainian troops were taking advantage of the truce to regroup their forces.
Zakharchenko: DPR Forbidden to Supply Coal to Ukraine / Quemado Institute / September 15, 2015 / The Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko said at a briefing today with coal industry leaders that they are forbidden to ship coal to Kiev-held areas of Ukraine. The official DPR government news site dnr-online reported (translation): “On September 15 in Donetsk, a working meeting of the Head of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko with the heads of the coal industry was held…. During the meeting Alexander Zakharchenko gave the order to stop supplying coal to Ukraine as long as the Ukrainian side did not begin to pay a decent price for Donbass energy.” According to Russkaya Vesna,, in a report translated and posted on Twitter by Pete John: “9-15-15: The Head of the DPR banned coal supplies to Kiev. The Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic said on Tuesday that he has decided to ban coal supplies to Ukraine. ‘I forbid you to ship coal to Ukraine. It is not to be worth the price…. I do not care how will meet winter Lviv and Kiev,’ said Zakharchenko at a briefing. Ukraine, because of the conflict in Donbass, lost most of the mine[s]. On the territory of the [DPR/LPR] were the most profitable mines, and enterprises remaining under the control of the authorities of Ukraine extract unprofitable gas coal. The coal deliveries from the zone of military operations is complicated by the destruction of infrastructure, because of damage [due to] explosions of the railway.” Quemado Institute comments: It seems sensible that UAF-caused railway damage has raised the price of coal, and that the extra cost should be paid by Kiev.
Monday September 14, 2015
Zakharchenko: Ukraine Will Understand What It Means to Be Under Shelling (video) / Quemado Institute (source Newcoldwar.org) / September 14, 2015 / DPR PM: Real Combat May Develop in the Streets of Kiev. / Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko gave a 12-minute press conference on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Among other topics, he explained issues of the coming October 18 elections, especially as they relate to the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements. He stressed that the provisions of the agreements must be satisfied by the end of 2015, and significantly made no mention of the extensions into 2016 that have been proposed by Denis Pushilin and Vladimir Putin. The DPR Prime Minister goes on to discuss the import of the August 31 riot outside the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev, saying, “I really feel sorry for the city of Kiev, because real combats may develop in the streets of this city in the near future. Street combats are scary. Ukraine will understand what it means, to be under shelling. Explosions of true grenades, not pop-guns. A sharp phase of the conflict seems to be ahead. There’s a high probability that it will be soon.” Zakharchenko also cautions about low morale in the Ukrainian Armed Forces: “Many militaries who are (or were) in the ATO zone understand clearly against who they fight and what’s happening. Earlier, one of ten soldiers could say ‘Poroshenko is a scoundrel.’ Now, 100% of soldiers at the frontline are speaking openly about this.” The 12-minute video of the press conference with English subtitles, along with a brief introduction, is available at NewColdWar.org. Below is a partial transcript of the subititles. Click here for video: NewColdWar.org. Partial Transcript of Subtitles: DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko September 12, 2015 Video Press Conference. Zakharchenko: I’m glad to see all of you. First I’d like to deny rumours about a referendum. No referendum on joining the Russian Federation is planned on 18th October. These rumors are distributed by the Ukrainian mass media. Local elections are under preparation in accordance with the Constitution and legislatin of the Donetsk People’s republic. These totally comply with the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements. Kyiv authorities have said that hese elections have no juridical force. This is not true, since we should carry out elections according to the Minsk agreements. It was emphasized that the elections should be coordinated with us. But this hasn’t been done. So, we carry out ourselves the elections according to the Minsk agreements. Why on 18th october? It’s convenient for us. Our neighbors are doing this a bit later, maybe due to technical problems. The basic issues of the Minsk agenda are being implemented. The results of the implementations of the Minsk agreements should be summaraized by the end of the year. Everything that was signed in Minsk shold be accomplished by the end of the year. As of today, we implement all the agreements signed in Minsk as we understand them. This is principal. . . MORE>> Click here.
14.09.2015 Military Report of Novorossia / LiveLeak (South Front) / September 14, 2015 / Tens of explosions have affected DPR and LPR since yesterday. According to the OSCE mission’s report, 44 explosions were observed in DPR and 38 were in LPR. The information about causalities is under definition. However, these facts are apparently related to the activity of pro-Kiev raid forces in Donbass. Yesterday, an Ukrainian raid forces conducted mortar shelling of the town of Khartsyzk from the Illovaisk direction. Meanwhile, Pro-Kiev forces have been strengthening fortifications in the Donetsk Airport outskirts. Earlier, the movement of Ukrainian artillery and military equipment were observed there. DPR has been creating a new elite force to defend republic’s independence, Republic Guard Brigade 100. The brigade will include the best warriors of DPR Armed Forces and will be equipped by the most effective means to run its missions. Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Stepan Poltorak, reported that manpower of Kiev Armed Forces has raised from 120,000 to 280,000 since a start of the year. The only reason to have such an army is the Kiev’s strong will to destroy Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics after taking control of the border between Russia and Donbass due to the Minsk agreements.
Eduard Basurin Reports on Enemy Movements / Pete John, Twitter / September 14, 2015 / The following report, translated from the original Russian source Donetsk News Agency, was posted on Twitter by Pete John. Click image to enlarge.
Ukraine Security Service Kidnaps Russian Serviceman From Russian Village / Sputnik / September 14, 2015 / MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Employees of the Ukrainian security service on Saturday kidnapped and took to Ukrainian territory a Russian serviceman and his civilian brother, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry stated. “Today, on September 12, at about 6 a.m. [04:00 GMT] employees of the Ukrainian security service kidnapped Russian contract serviceman Viktor Barsukov from the village of Chertkovo in the Rostov Region, and took him to the territory of Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, the Russian serviceman’s civilian brother Nikolay Barsukov was also kidnapped from the Russian village of Chertkovo located on the border with Ukraine. In the statement, the ministry urged the Ukrainian side to free the captured Russians and to stop such provocations. The defense ministry reportedly acquired the information about the kidnapping from the relatives of the victims.
Klimkin: Kyiv will not conduct dialogue with Donbas leaders / Interfax-Ukraine / September 14, 2015 / Kyiv will not conduct a dialogue with the leaders of Donbas who came to power as a result of fake elections of November 2, 2014, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said. “If by Donetsk and Luhansk you mean legitimate representatives of Donbas elected in fair and free elections, if you mean them as those who returned the Ukrainian legal space to Donbas, who returned Ukrainian law to Donbas, we are not only prepared for direct dialogue, we must conduct it. If by representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk you mean those who appeared as a result of fake elections of November 2 last year, then it is not a road forward,” Klimkin said answering a question from a Russian reporter whether Kyiv is ready for a direct dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk. Editor’s note: What is meant by “representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk” are those who signed the Minsk agreements.
Dragana Trifkovic: Donbass through Serbian eyes / by Marina Kharkova, translated by J. Arnoldski / Fort Russ / September 14, 2015 / “The fate of Serbia and the fate of Donbass” That fate led me to meet with Dragana Trifkovic is not an accident. Dragana, who is a bright and bold Serbian politician, political scientist, and leader of public opinion, repeatedly came to Donbass, despite ongoing hostilities, in order to assist by word and deed. The foundation of her clear political position is the unity and solidarity of the Slavic world and a fierce rejection of Western intervention in others’ affairs. She is especially hostile towards NATO interventions, one of which, with the support of European structures, destroyed Yugoslavia and brought war and woe to her land. The most ruthless strike was inflicted on Serbia. Now, Europe has come to reap the benefits of being shackled in the wake of the American course. Dragana Trifkovic’s point of view is extremely interesting in light of events happening in Donbass and the world. Marina Kharkova: How do the people of Serbia and Serbian politicians react to the war being waged by Ukraine against Donbass? Dragana Trifkovic: The people of Serbia sympathize with the Russian people in Donbass because we know, from personal experience, what you are going through. There are many parallels between the war in Yugoslavia and the war in Ukraine. In both cases, war is imposed from outside, and the reasons are political, not ethnic, in nature. The US has used the same script for many years, creating havoc throughout the world. Color Revolutions, snipers who shoot at crowds, special operations . . . MORE>> Click here.
Sweet Irony: Billionaire Chocolate Baron Poroshenko Denounces Oligarchs / Sputnik / September 14, 2015 / Local oligarchs pose a serious threat to Ukraine, according to the country’s President Petro Poroshenko. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko believes that Ukraine’s local oligarchs pose a serious threat to his country from within, according to his interview with the British newspaper The Independent [see Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko: We’re inching towards peace with Russia –QI editor]. In the interview, he claimed that the Ukrainian government is making a “serious attempt” to limit the control of the country’s oligarchs over the market, which Poroshenko said “isn’t right”. Separately, Poroshenko said that his country is going to ask the West for more defensive weapons if the military conflict between Kiev and southeast Ukraine continues. This is something that Poroshenko said will help Ukraine create an “effective system of defense” in the area. As for the oligarchs, the Independent noted that last week, Odessa Region Governor Mikheil Saakashvili, who is believed to be Poroshenko’s ally, added fuel to the fire by suggesting that a small number of local oligarchs currently effectively “own and operate a shadow government in Ukraine.” The Independent also recalled that whereas one of Poroshenko’s election promises was to temper the power of the Ukrainian oligarchs, he himself . . . MORE>> Click here.
Sunday September 13, 2015
DPR Plans to Hold Local Elections on October 18 / South Front / September 13, 2015 / DPR ingores Kiev’s attempts to ban the Donbass elections and will hold local elections on October 18, 2015. “Now we have the intention to hold the elections on 18 October. We are waiting for the decree of the DPR’s leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko and then start the process. Ukraine makes illogical steps by doing everything to ban the local elections on our territory,” DONiNEWS cites the new elected speaker of the People’s Council Denis Pushilin. In turn, LPR is planning the elections on 1 November, while Ukraine set the date for 25 October.
Ban On Novorossiya Military Badges in Donbass? / Quemado Institute / September 13, 2015 / According to a Twitter post by well-known Donbass supporter and political analyst Vladimir Suchan, the Russian news site Russorum Live Journal reports that the military badges showing the symbol of Novorossiya, worn throughout the Donbass war by Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic militias, is now unofficially banned in the Lugansk People’s Republic. Militia members have expressed outrage and alarm that this symbol under which they fought and for which many died is now taboo in Donbass. “Traitors in our camp want to kill the idea of the Russian world,” says the article’s author. “Some in the militia told me they will never observe this criminal order to remove the chevron with the flag of Novorossiya! ‘We fought under this flag one and a half years and [many] have shed their blood in this war, and now we are asked to carefully remove the dipped in the blood of Russian patriots banner?!’ That is their words. They also told me that for them it is a matter of honor!”
Defence Ministry of the DPR reports about violations of the ceasefire by Ukraine / Novorossia Today / September 14, 2015 / “Ukrainian fighters keep on shelling the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” an interlocutor of the agency reports. “Armed groups of Kiev violated the ceasefire. The village Spartak was subjected to fire. Kiev fighters shelled the village from Avdeevka. They used mortars,” the representative of the Defence Ministry added.
Amendments to Constitution of Ukraine Contributed to Verkhovna Rada Violate Minsk Agreement – Pushilin / dnr-online / Edited autotranslation / September 12, 2015 / Today, September 12, the plenipotentiary representative of the DPR in the Contact Group on the negotiations in Minsk, President of the DPR National Council Denis Pushilin commented on the recent statement by Victoria Nuland that the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine ostensibly meet the Minsk agreements. Pushilin considers the discrepancies between the amendments to the Constitution voted by the Verkhovna Rada and the provisions of the Set of measures prescribed in Minsk very serious. “Victoria Nuland, may not be aware of it, it is not obvious from far away and perhaps not always reported to the ambassador. However, these amendments have not been agreed with us. A set of measures, signed in Minsk, 11 points, clearly requires approval of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk. In fact, the vote in the Verkhovna Rada was a violation of the Minsk Agreement,” said Denis Pushilin. “We insist (and hope for support of the Norman format), that the process of constitutional reform in Ukraine is started overagain,” said Denis Pushilin.
Yay for Irredentism! Victoria Nuland Promises Yalta’s Return to Ukraine / Sputnik / September 12, 2015 / Speaking at the Yalta European Strategy forum in Kiev on Saturday, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland raised quite a stir among Ukraine’s irredentist politicians, saying that the city of Yalta would one day return to Kiev’s control. The forum, concluding Saturday, is a virtual who’s who of the post-Maidan coup Ukrainian elite, as well as their foreign backers and supporters. Following the Maidan, the conference has been forced to relocate to Kiev from Yalta, a city situated in southern Crimea, the peninsula which broke off from Ukraine in March 2014 to join Russia. Nuland’s remarks featured rhetoric on stopping Russian aggression, praise for the Ukrainian leadership’s great successes in reforming Ukraine’s economy and tackling corruption, and promises that the US would continue to assist Ukraine, including its armed forces. “You have stopped the Novorossiya project in its tracks, stabilized . . . MORE>> Click here.
Kiev to Introduce Martial Law in Event of Hostilities in Donbass – Poroshenko / tvzvezda / Edited autotranslation / September 13, 2105 / Ukrainian President Poroshenko said that if there is a resumption of hostilities in Donbass, Ukraine will impose martial law. He said this in an interview to 112 Ukraine. “Also, in the case of fighting in Donbass, Kievwill not accept amendments to the Constitution. “If the conflict is on a war footing, no amendments to the Constitution will be accepted. During martial law, This is illegal,” said Poroshenko. Earlier the Verkhovna Rada, on the proposal of Peter Poroshenko, adopted in the first reading the draft amendments to the Constitution in terms of decentralization. The DPR and LPR noted that the amendments have not been brought up for discussion in the framework of the Minsk process. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that such amendments are only an imitation of Ukraine’s implementation of the Minsk Agreement.
Kiev Vows to Crush Donbass With Professional Unit of Volunteers / Sputnik / September 13, 2015 / Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has announced plans to create a new special forces brigade and deploy them to eastern Ukraine. A new brigade of the Ukrainian special forces, which is already being formed as part of the country’s National Guard, will be deployed to eastern Ukraine to take part in its so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against the breakaway Donbass region, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. According to his Facebook page, the brigade will be trained in line with NATO standards and will only include volunteers, mostly those with combat experience. He also said that the brigade’s chief of staff had studied military science for two years in the United States. According to Avakov, the creation of the brigade, endorsed by the Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief, should become the first step towards converting the National Guard into a professional army. [ … More background at source.]
Lavrov arrives in Berlin for Normandy Four ministerial talks / Novorossia Today / September 13, 2015 / Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Berlin for talks in the Normandy Four format, a source with the Russian delegation told TASS on Saturday. “Sergey Lavrov arrived in Berlin for talks in the Normandy Four format,” the source said. “A meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius has been scheduled to be held before the ministerial meeting.” Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier are having a meeting in Berlin before the talks in the Normandy Four format (Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany), a source with the Russian delegation told TASS on Saturday. Russian Foreign Minister is having a meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Berlin, a source told TASS. Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany called the Normandy Four will focus on the political part of the Minsk agreements. “Our countries’ leaders have agreed that the talks would focus, first of all, on the political part of the Minsk agreements,” the Russian foreign minister said earlier. “This applies to elections, the status, constitutional amendments, amnesty issues and exchanges of detainees, all that is needed for creating the right atmosphere for the implementation of all aspects of the February 12 Package of Measures.” Talks of the Normandy Four leaders on the Ukrainian issue along with regular talks of the Contact Group on resolving the Ukraine conflict took place in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12. The talks ended by adoption of a 13-point package of measures, which contained in particular a ceasefire starting from February 15, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line disengaging the Kiev troops and militias of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as measures on long-term political settlement in Donbass.
Foreign Ministers of the Norman Quartet Positively Assess Talks on Donbass / Quemado Institute / September 13, 2015 / According to the Donetsk News Agency, the foreign ministers of the ‘Norman Quartet’, which includes Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine, discussed on Saturday February 12 issues about the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Despite the lack of visible progress, the parties positively assessed the atmosphere of the negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he had a positive impression from the talks. “There was some controversy over the sequence of steps in relation to constitutional reform, on the necessary actions by the Kiev authorities to ensure permanent special status of Donbass, but the arguments in my opinion, needed to be heard,” he added. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in turn, said that “as always, it was not easy. But I can say with relief that it was less confrontational than in the past. On some issues, we were able to move forward.” The negotiations have also shown “how difficult and how exposed to danger every step forward is,” the minister added. “What we have achieved today was the result of hard work and must be implemented by the Contact Group,” said Steinmeier. It was also noted that the regime of silence persists. Lavrov stated, “We had serious talks in Normandy format as requested by the leaders. We, first of all, expressed satisfaction that the ceasefire is observed. Isolated cases of violation are taking place, but in general we have quite a positive assessment of what is happening.” According to Lavrov, “it coincides with the assessment that was made in a telephone conversation by the leaders of our countries.” The German Foreign Minister, in turn, noted that the ministers “reaffirmed together that [the ceasefire] has persisted for two weeks and should be maintained and strengthened.” At the same time, Steinmeier stressed that “it is now a significant step for the diversion of arms” of caliber up to 100 mm from the contact line in Donbass. The Russian Foreign Minister noted, “We heard from the head of the special monitoring mission CMM OSCE, who confirmed that a draft agreement is 90 per cent ready. It remains lacking in some aspects,” adding that “as always, the devil in the details…. This provides for a very dense verification, a very tight monitoring by the CMM OSCE,” he stressed. About progress on the political issues, according to Steinmeier, the Foreign Ministers spent considerable time “discussing the issues related to the political process”. Lavrov said in turn, “We are interested in the fact that those discrepancies concerning the Minsk agreements that emerged in the course of the group’s work on political issues regarding the modalities of the local elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are resolved.” According to him, the coordinator of the working subgroup of the Contact Group for Political Affairs, Pierre Morel, “proposed a decoupling” of these problems. “They are not at all satisfied with the Ukrainian side, the Ukrainian government and representatives of the DPR and LPR. But our general impression, the overall impression of Russia, France and Germany, is that these misunderstandings can be overcome,” he stressed.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sums up the outcome of the meeting in the Normandy Format / Auswartiges Amt / September 13, 2015 / Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier summed up the outcome of today’s meeting of the Foreign Ministers of France, Russia and Ukraine – Laurent Fabius, Sergey Lavrov and Pavlo Klimkin – as well as of Germany, at Villa Borsig in Berlin on the evening of 12 September 2015 as follows: We have now met in the Normandy Format seven times, five of them here in Berlin. In all of these meetings there has been heated discussion, and this time it was no different. But at least I can say with some relief that today’s meeting was one of the less confrontational and more successful. However, today’s consultations also showed, even now, how arduous and difficult it is to make any headway and that any progress made can be jeopardised time and again. What we achieved today was hard work, and will remain so, and this will now have to be implemented by the Contact Group. What have we agreed on? I. Security. We jointly reaffirmed that the ceasefire . . . MORE>> Click here.
Putin: question of Donbass future should be decided not by Russia / TASS / September 12, 2015 / SEVASTOPOL / Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says Donbass future should be decided not by Russia. “Our souls and hearts are with Donbass,” he told reporters. However, he said, “this serious matter is not decided by Russia”. Russia’s President is sure there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements. “The most important is that there should be established a direct contact” between the Kiev authorities and the authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk “in order to implement the Minsk agreements.” He said those agreements “read both the changes to the constitution, and the elections should be done with approval from Donbass.” “However, it (approval) is not organised,” Putin said, stressing the importance of amnesty and “at last to implement the law adopted by Rada (on changes to the Ukrainian constitution regarding de-centralisation).” The president pointed to the economic aspects of Minsk2. “Coal from Donbass is being supplied now, and this means we also may begin supplies.” “I believe, we shall settle the issues regarding gas supplies, too,” Putin added. Putin: It may be possible to consider delaying execution of Minsk agreements: Vladimir Putin does not rule out delay of implementation of the Minsk agreements. “A delay may be considered,” he told reporters, adding most important is that the agreements are observed. “Mister Kuchma (representing Kiev at the peace talks) told me they do not manage everything in time,” he said. “In fact, it may be possible to consider some review of the timing, but it is much better to be implementing what we have achieved in Minsk.” “It is extremely important today that the shelling of Donbass from the positions of the (Ukrainian) military and from the volunteer battalions has stopped. I believe it is the most important recent achievement,” the president said. [… More background at source.]
Kiev’s Dilemma: Donbass Residents May Change Balance of Power in Ukraine / Sputnik / September 13, 2015 / The Ukrainian government is on the horns of a dilemma: although Kiev wants the Donbass region to come back into its fold, it realizes at the same time that it would be politically disastrous for the present regime, US author Eric Zuesse stresses. Citing Internal Minister Arsen Avakov’s adviser Anton Gerashenko, US author and investigative historian Eric Zuesse points out that re-absorbing of the breakaway Donbass region would be politically disastrous for the Ukrainian government. “[Russian President] Putin will do everything to return Donbass to the Ukraine… in order to allow pro-Russian inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to vote and change the configuration of power in our country,” Gerashenko said in an interview to Ukraine’s Apostrophe media outlet. According to Zuesse, the Ukrainian government is facing a painful dilemma: while Kiev admits the necessity to return the Donbass region to the Ukrainian fold, it realizes . . . MORE>> Click here.