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Russo-Ukraine War - Anti-Terrorist Operation
August 2014 - Week 2 - 8-15 August

"Given that Ukraine has allowed international humanitarian groups to deliver aid within its territory, there is no logical reason why Russia should seek to deliver it," US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told a Security Council meeting on Ukraine on 08 August 2014. "Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming. And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine," Power told the 15-member body.

On 08 August 2014, Azad Zangana and Craig Botham of Schroder Investment Management Limited wrote that "... the true impact on Europe is likely to be very small. 6.9% of total EU exports go to Russia, but when isolating agricultural goods and livestock, the share of total exports falls to just 0.5% - barely worth 0.1% of GDP. Moreover, the banning of these exports does not mean the goods will not be sold or consumed elsewhere.... Russia will not be able to fill the gap domestically (plans to expand domestic production will take time to come to fruition given the natural production cycle for agricultural produce). Instead, they will have to seek out alternative providers. For some goods, Russia is particularly reliant on the sanctioned countries. Over 50% of imports of pork, poultry, and dairy products, for example, are now banned. Global production data suggests the rest of the world does not produce enough to immediately meet Russian demand. Sharp price rises consequently seem inevitable."

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine said 09 August 2014 they were ready for a cease-fire with the government, amid growing gains by Ukrainian forces against the rebels. There were no immediate reports of a government response to the statement, but Ukrainian officials had previously said they would agree to a cease-fire if the rebels surrender their weapons. The Ukrainian military continued to squeeze separatist forces in their remaining strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. Conditions in Donetsk had been deteriorating, raising concerns of a humanitarian crisis in the city.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko rejected the appeal and on 10 August 2014 called on the rebels to "raise white flags" and lay down their weapons. The separatists themselves backed away from their appeal, saying that any cease-fire must be "mutual," and that the Ukrainian government is incapable of reaching an agreement and therefore any discussion of a cease-fire is "pointless."

At least 300,000 of Donetsk's 1 million residents had fled as violence escalates between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists, claiming the lives of over 1,300 people since April. A siege is the most likely option military, with the possibility of an escape corridor for the separatist fighters in the hope they may flee to Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on 11 August 2014 called on the West not to impede the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid to eastern Ukrainian regions, which, as he earlier stated, are under threat of a humanitarian catastrophe. The minister sharply criticized the recent statements of London, Washington and Berlin officials that eastern Ukraine does not require humanitarian assistance, despite the worsening situation in the regions, caught in armed clashes between Kiev-led forces and independence supporters.

The Kiev government’s military operation in eastern Ukraine seems to be aimed at “razing the southeast to the ground” and forcing the Russian-speaking population to flee, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said 11 August 2014. “So far, it seems that the purpose of the so-called anti-terrorist operation is to raze the southeast [of Ukraine] to the ground and make all Russians leave it. Apparently, with a purpose to later populate it with those who have a different view of our history, culture, friendship and centuries-long ties between our peoples,” Lavrov told reporters.

Moscow and Kiev agreed on a humanitarian mission under the authority of the Red Cross, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated. “With careful optimism, I can now say that, I think, all possible and impossible pretexts have been dismissed. I hope that in the very nearest future this humanitarian action will take place under the authority of the Red Cross,” Lavrov said. “We’ve agreed on all details with the Ukrainian leadership,” the Foreign Minister declared. He also expressed hope that “Western partners won’t put a spoke in the wheel and will think about the people who are badly in need of water and electricity”.

A truck convoy with Russian humanitarian aid will depart shortly to eastern Ukraine under the aegis of the Emergencies Ministry, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "The convoy will depart directly to the region very soon," Peskov said. The spokesman confirmed that the mission will be carried out without any involvement of the Russian military.

President Vladimir Putin told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on 11 August 2014 that Russia was coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine. “The Russian side, in collaboration with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine,'' the Kremlin said. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the convoy Russia planned to send to Ukraine would not have a "military escort." He said that the mission had been "agreed with" Kyiv and will be supervised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“President Barroso warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian,'' the commission said in a statement. US President Barack Obama, in phone call Monday, told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that any Russian intervention in Ukraine "without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable and a violation of international law," the White House said. Ukraine said it would support a ICRC-led mission with the participation of the EU, Russia, Germany and other partners. Obama confirmed that “the U.S. intends to play an active part in such an international humanitarian mission”.

Ukraine said 12 August 2014 it would not allow a convoy of 280 trucks reportedly carrying humanitarian aid from Russia to enter its territory. Ukrainian officials said the convoy would not be allowed in because it is not being coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and could be a pretext for Russia to send troops into separatist-held territory.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said 13 August 2014 that a possible food shortage and a resulting imbalance in food prices that could occur in the country’s westernmost exclave could easily be compensated by Belarus. “There is a case in particular [of price imbalance] and that’s the Kaliningrad region, which is extremely close to Belarus, and I think that the imbalance on the Kaliningrad market could be compensated with Belarusian goods,” Dvorkovich said during a televised interview on Rossiya-24 news channel.

Heading toward Luhansk from just outside Moscow, Russian authorities said the 280 trucks carrying 2,000 tons of food, medicine, medical equipment, sleeping bags, and power generators would arrive in the embattled eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk by the morning of August 13. While Russian news agencies reported that the trucks were coming from Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry, Russian bloggers quickly pointed out that the automobiles appeared to be repainted versions of green Russian military trucks.

The United Nations human rights office said 13 August 2014 that the death toll from the fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in mid-April, appeared to have doubled in the previous two weeks, reaching at least 2,086 as of August 10. "This corresponds to a clear escalating trend," UN human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said. Over 60 people have been killed or wounded every day, Pouilly added. Almost 5,000 have been wounded. The UN blamed most civilian deaths on the separatists. The Ukraine crisis has been widely described as a humanitarian catastrophe. According to the UN’s latest estimates, over 110,000 people have been internally displaced in the conflict. Moscow has reported that 730,000 people have fled across the border into Russia. In Donetsk alone, more than 1,000 people had been left homeless due to the fighting, according to the city administration. In Lugansk, another regional center, 250,000 people can’t leave the city and had been without water, electricity, and communications for over a week.

Slovakia's prime minister criticized the European Union sanctions against Russia over Ukraine on 14 August 2014, saying they would only threaten economic growth in the 28-member bloc. “Why should we jeopardize the EU economy that is beginning to grow?” Robert Fico told a news conference. Putin on said he believed many European leaders were eager to end the standoff over sanctions with Russia, which he said was “damaging our cooperation.”

The Donetsk regional health department reported that 74 civilians had been killed and 116 wounded in fighting throughout the region over the past three days. The defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic Igor Strelkov, whom Kyiv accused of being a Russian intelligence officer, is reportedly moving to a less senior post. And Valery Bolotov, head of the self-proclaimed rebel government in Luhansk region, said he was injured and could no longer carry out his duties.

Alexander Zakharchenko, the newly appointed prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said during a meeting with separatist leaders that a column of military vehicles with weapons and personnel was advancing toward the Ukrainian frontier from Russia. "I'd like to give you some good news," Zakharchenko told his comrades in an address on Aug. 15 that was published on YouTube. "At present, moving towards the corridor [from Russia to Ukraine that is controlled by the rebels] are... 150 items of military hardware, 30 of which are tanks and the rest are infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers." Joining the military column are 1,200 personnel who had received four months' training in Russia, he added.

Ukrainian pro-government forces are closing in on the terrorists in the city of Luhansk, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on 15 August 2014.

A column of Russian military equipment crossed the border of Ukraine in the area of Izvaryne checkpoint, trying to break through to help militants in besieged Luhansk, spokesman of the National Security and Defence Council's Information and Analytical Centre Andriy Lysenko said. When asked why the column was not destroyed from the air, Lysenko said that this border area is not controlled by the ATO. "But I assure you that what has got here, will not be released," he said. The number of technique and composition of the column is specified, according to the NSDC.

A journalist of the British newspaper Guardian reported that he saw a column of 20 Russian armored vehicles and army trucks cross the Russia-Ukraine border in the region of Donetsk, Rostov region. According to him, Western journalists for the first time saw the movement of Russian military equipment to Ukraine. Later, the NSDC confirmed this information. At a subsequent news conference, NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed the sighting of "a Russian incursion.”

Militants in eastern Ukraine withdrew forces closer to the border with Russia - to be closer to flee, Head of the Centre of Military and Political Studies Dmytro Tymchuk wrote. "Simultaneously with strengthening defensive pivots near the settlement of Snizhne, Stakhanov, Alchevsk, terrorists begin withdrawing a part of manpower and equipment closer to the border with Russia, to the area of Sverdlovsk- Rovenky- Molodohvardiysk- Izvarino. Obviously, it is here that the “last bulwark” of militants will be formed, with access to the border with the Russian Federation, which allows to obtain help, and then retreat to the territory of Russia," he said.

The Ukrainian government said its troops had destroyed military vehicles that crossed the border from Russia into eastern Ukraine. The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine destroyed a "significant" portion of the military column. Before the attack, Ukrainian officials had begun inspecting a Russian convoy of at least 200 trucks that Moscow said is carrying humanitarian aid for war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Roman Burko wrote that "... based on circumstantial evidence and the statements of some former military commanders we can make a preliminary conclusion that the vehicles were destroyed by the 9M79 missile fired from the tactical missile complex “Tochka-U” (NATO code name SS-21 Scarab B). As of 2013, Ukraine had 90 of these systems in its arsenal..."

The Russian Defense Ministry denied allegations of Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine, calling the claims a 'fantasy' that is not worth discussing. “No Russian military column crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border, either at night or during the day,” the ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said. “Such statements, based on fantasies or pure assumptions by journalists, cannot be subject of serious discussion by leaders of any country,” Konashenkov said.

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