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Russo-Ukraine War - 2014
NATO's military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, told a Pentagon briefing on 03 November 2014 that 250-300 Russian troops remain inside Ukraine and that they are training and equipping separatist forces. The cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, he said, "is a cease-fire in name only." The United Nations said more than 4,000 people had died in the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia rebels.
Poroshenko said 04 November 2014 Kyiv had been a “firm supporter” of a peace plan agreed on September 5 in Minsk but that other signatories were not meeting their obligations -- referring to the rebels and Russia. Poroshenko said the November 2 elections held in rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions "torpedoed" a key provision of the peace deal.
Poroshenko sent additional troops to the region and asked parliament to repeal a law on autonomy for the breakaway regions that was passed as part of the Minsk process. The rhetoric coming out of Kyiv following the elections in the Donbass and the revocation of the autonomy agreement meant that Russia and the Donbas leadership can't rule out a renewed Ukrainian offensive.
Ukraine's Donbass stumbled back toward open war as Kyiv and pro-Russian rebels accused each other of starting major offensives in the region. Ukrainian authorities said 07 November 2014 that artillery fired by government forces killed up to 200 pro-Russian separatists in the country's east amid reports of Russian tanks and soldiers crossing the border. The number of insurgent casualties is much higher than most previous tolls reported for a single day of fighting in the conflict.
Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said in a televised briefing 07 November 2014 that at least 32 tanks, 16 howitzer artillery systems and 30 trucks loaded with ammunition and fighters from Russia crossed into separatist-held Ukrainian territory the previous day.
More than 80 unmarked military vehicles were seen moving through parts of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists on November 8, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported. AP reporters took photos and video of three columns of armed vehicles and other military hardware: one near the city of Donetsk and two near Snizhne. Most of the vehicles were transport trucks but there was at least one armored personnel carrier. AP said several of the trucks were carrying troops.
The White House voiced "grave concern" November 09, 2014 over reports of military reinforcements pouring into eastern Ukraine from neighboring Russia, including the cross-border transfer of heavy weapons and tanks. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also warned that any move by pro-Russian rebels to seize more territory in Ukraine's embattled east would be seen as a "blatant violation" of a cease-fire deal with the Kyiv government.
Tensions were rising in Ukraine's southern port city of Mariupol. Soem Ukrainian forces were expecting a major assault as pro-Russia rebels threaten to retake the city. But the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) said the number of armed opponents of Kyiv was insufficient for mounting a major offensive against the Ukrainian army positions. Russian authorities may have decided to wait and see what happens after the European Union meets to discuss the sanctions and after the G20 meeting on 15-16 November. The economy was in such a state that Russia did not need new sanctions.
Journalists and other observers on November 7 reported seeing dozens of military vehicles, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, entering separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine from Russia. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed the sightings the following day.
By 11 November 2014 fighting in eastern Ukraine -- and particularly around the city of Donetsk -- flared up again, more intensely than at any point since the shaky cease-fire was agreed in Minsk on September 5.
Ukrainian armed forces are redeploying troops in eastern Ukraine, RIA Novosti quoted the country’s defense minister, Stepan Poltorak, as saying on 12 November 2014. The task is to be ready “for combat activities,” he said. The redeployment is being conducted in the area of Ukraine’s special operation in Donbass. Ukrainian troops are preparing for a winter campaign against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, stocking up supplies, re-locating units and placing orders for more weapons and battle vehicles, reports the defense minister.
At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council 12 November 2014, US Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia and the separatists have not lived up to any of the conditions of the September 5 Minsk cease-fire agreement, including pulling out all foreign fighters from Ukraine. Power said at the same time, Ukraine has made a genuine effort to stick to the deal, calling on the UN to tighten the pressure on Russia.
Representatives of the EU and the US met in Brussels 13 November 2014 to discuss additional sanctions against Russia’s economy and separatists in Ukraine. After meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin Thursday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said she and Steinmeier were “deeply disturbed, particularly by the military escalation that is afoot. ... In terms of next steps... our experts are meeting this week in order to see how we can jointly impose costs on Russia..."
The separatists were seeking to take control over Piski, Avdiivka, and Schastye, a town with a central heating station." In addition, they might want to recapture Slovyansk and Kramotorsk, which are symbolically and strategically important towns for them. During the summer, the Ukrainian military pushed the rebels back from the large areas they have been claiming, to small enclaves near the Russian border. Now, Russia and the rebels seem intent on reversing that.
More dramatically, Moscow may be intent on adding territory to the separatist region that would give Russia a land bridge across eastern Ukraine to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in March 2014. The region is currently accessible to Russia only by air and across the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Such a land bridge would make it much easier for Moscow to supply Crimea. The long-term objective is simple -- either the Ukraine enters into the Russian sphere of influence as a whole state, or if it remains in a Western sphere of influence, as the Russians see it, it would only be as a truncated Ukraine.
Burkonews reported 18 Novmeber 2014 about the "gradual reorganization within the militant groups, and about cleanup operations and “disappearances” of unwanted or uncontrollable individual militants or even their whole groups, conducted by the Russian armed forces, under the protection of the Russian special services. This “restructuring” has as its goal the creation of a unified army of Novorossiya, strictly controlled by the Russian security services."
Shelling continued 19 November 2014 on the outskirts of Mariupol, in southeast Ukraine, as Russia-backed rebels have gradually advanced from the northeast on the strategic port city. Ukrainian troops posted at checkpoints said they were prepared to defend the city, but could use more support. While in the city center, joint patrols and “anti-violator” drills were conducted to prepare to deal with any potential civil unrest.
The United Nations said in a new human rights monitoring report released 20 November 2014 that 4,317 people had been killed and 9,921 wounded in the conflict in east Ukraine since mid-April. The report said that nearly a 1,000 people had been killed and serious human rights violations committed in the weeks since representatives of Ukraine's government and the rebels signed a cease-fire agreement September 5.
Another convoy of tanks, KamAZ trucks and Tigr vehicles entered Ukraine from Russia 28 November 2014. Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) information and analytical center spokesman Andriy Lysenko said this at a briefing. "A military convoy of 11 tanks, two Tigr vehicles and four KamAZ trucks, as well as eight artillery tractors for transportation, was moving yesterday at 06.00 from Russia towards Komsomolsk in Donetsk region," Lysenko said.
He said that the movement of a significant amount of military equipment across Izvaryne had been recorded over the past three days. "Columns included three tanks, two armored personnel carriers, two BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers, 121 KamAZ trucks, 14 trucks of another type, three vans, 22 Ural trucks and other equipment. Some vehicles were carrying military. Forty-seven Urals, 51 KamAZs, one BTR, one BRDM and two Grads moved in the opposite direction, to Russia," he said.
Ukraine accused Moscow on November 30, 2014 of again using alleged aid shipments to send weapons and ammunition to the separatist rebels as a Russian convoy entered its eastern region without permission. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing, "The lion's share of humanitarian supplies find their way to the rebels partly in the form of food, but mostly it is ammunition, equipment and other things for combat operations."
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