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Russo-Ukraine War - Anti-Terrorist Operation
August 2014 - Week 1 - 1-7 August

President Obama said 01 August 2014 "Right now what we've done is impose sufficient costs on Russia that objectively speaking they should, President Putin should want to resolve this diplomatically. Get these sanctions lifted. Get their economy growing again and have good relations with Ukraine; but sometimes people don't always act rationally and they don't always act based on their medium- or long-term interests. That can't deter us though. We just have to stay at it".

At least 10 Ukrainian paratroopers were killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatists near the town of Shakhtarsk, which is located not far from the crash site. The acting commander of Ukraine's airborne troops, Colonel Yuriy Halushkin told reporters in Kyiv that 13 other paratroopers were wounded and 11 were missing.

Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, blasted the country’s parliament as a “fifth column which cannot recognize the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics as terrorist groups.” The country is in need of snap parliamentary elections, he added. “I don’t know how to work with the parliament where half of the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] does not vote to recognize the Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic as terrorist organizations,” said Poroshenko, Ukraine’s local media reported.

“I don’t know how to work with the parliament where the majority of people represent a ‘fifth column’ which is controlled from abroad, whole factions. And the danger of this is only rising,” he added. Poroshenko’s reference to a “fifth column” is a strong term in the current situation, as it originates from the Spanish Civil War, where Franco’s fascists literally sent a “fifth column” of spies and provocateurs to try to capture Madrid from inside the city.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said 04 August 2014 he had officially appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.N. "to organize something like an international humanitarian mission" to get aid to the areas in and around Luhansk and Donetsk. Lavrov proposed humanitarian convoys, saying that Russia was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to its neighbor “on our own.”

A spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said that Russia cannot unilaterally deploy peacekeeping forces in Ukraine, noting that such deployments are the "strict prerogative" of the U.N. Security Council and that both sides to the conflict must consent. "So far, there has been no U.N. statement, nor have the sides given their consent," Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kyiv.

Russia bolstered its troops presence on its frontier with Ukraine’s east, triggering concerns of cross-border fire or a possible intervention in support of pro-Moscow rebels increasingly besieged by Ukrainian government forces. "In early August, Russia significantly increased the number of troops in the vicinity of the Russian border. Our current assessment is that around 20,000 troops are now in the area. This troop presence includes tanks, infantry, artillery, air defense systems, as well as logistics troops, special forces, and various aircraft," a NATO official said in a written statement 05 August 2014.

Russia, having amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border, could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission to invade, NATO warned on 06 August 2014. "We share the concern that Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the threat of Russian intervention in Ukraine has risen over the past few days. "We have reasons to suspect - we have been receiving such information in the last several hours - that the risk of a direct intervention is higher than it was several days ago," Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

NATO said in early 2014 that Russia had amassed some 40,000 troops close to the Ukraine border. By June, the number had dropped to less than 1,000, but then Russia started building the force up again.

Ukraine's border guard service reported 07 August 2014 that Russian forces had fired 46 howitzer rounds at Ukrainian positions across the border the previous day, and that an undisclosed number of border guards were injured. Later, separatists shot down a Ukrainian military jet fighter flying over the Donetsk region. News site Ukrainska Pravda quoted Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov as saying the downed aircraft was a MiG-29 and that it was probably hit by a "Buk" missile.

In a post on Vkontakte, Russia's most popular social network, the commander of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine lashing out at his pro-Russian Cossacks for the military losses. Igor Girkin, known by his nom-de-guerre, Strelkov, or "Shooter", facetiously congratulated them for recent defeats. "The Cossacks, keeping with tradition, ran... They are awaiting new great achievements. The brilliant Donetsk Cossack battle path has been marked by landmark achievements like [their] surrender of Krasnyy Lyman in one day, the surrender without a fight of Poposna, the surrender of Debaltseve, and the surrender without a fight of Fashchivka. Now Krasnyy Luch has joined the list. Hooray! We will wait for new achievements."

On 07 August 2014, Russia introduced a one-year ban on food imports from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. Banned products include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. The decision was made as a countermeasure to the sanctions, imposed on Moscow over its involvement in the crisis in Ukraine. The embargo may cost the European Union $16 billion in export losses. In 2013, Russia imported $ 17.2 billion worth of food from the countries covered by the sanctions, of which $9.2 billion was in the affected categories, according to the International Trade Center, a joint venture of the UN and World Trade Organization.

The countries from which Russia has just banned food imports supply over 10 percent Russia's pork, fish and fruit, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov told a briefing. Russia consumes 2.345 million tonnes of beef, but the embargoed suppliers, the EU, United States, Australia, Norway and Canada supply 59,000 tonnes of this. The figures for pork are 3.415 million tonnes (450,000 tonnes), poultry - 4.28 million tonnes (338,000 tonnes), fish - 3.44 million tonnes (457,000 tonnes), dairy products - 36 million tonnes (459,000 tonnes), vegetables - 16 million tonnes (900,000 tonnes) and fruits and berries - 11 million tonnes (1.6 million tonnes).

Fyodorov said Russia could easily replace any shortfall in supplies with other sources, such as Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Israel, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Belarus, depending on food category; and by redirecting the flow of goods - Russia currently exports more fish than it imports, for example. "We can't say we're expecting shortages of any particular foods. Perhaps something will arise, but we're not expecting it," he said.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, said it would hold consultations with several Latin American countries on expansion of their food supplies to Russia. "Meetings with diplomats from Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina will be held on August 7. They will focus on possibility of expanding food supplies from these countries to the Russian market," the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance said.

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Page last modified: 30-01-2017 19:36:10 ZULU