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Russo-Ukraine War - February 2015

  • Russo-Ukraine War
  • Russo-Ukraine War - 2015 - January
  • Russo-Ukraine War - 2015 - February
  • Russo-Ukraine War - 2015 - March

  • Donetsk People's Republic (DNR)
  • Luhansk People's Republic (LNR)

  • Ukraine Political Crisis - 2014
  • Russian Military Intervention
  • Russian Annexation of Crimea

  • Russia Military Guide
  • Russian Rapid Reaction Forces
  • Russian Special Forces
  • 45th Airborne Spetznaz Regiment

  • Operation Atlantic Resolve

  • In an interview with CNN, aired 01 February 2015, US President Barack Obama described Putin as a Soviet-style leader who is "looking backwards and not forwards." Obama said there had been no recognition on the part of the Kremlin that it was in Russia's interests to resolve the issue over the long term. He said the separatists in Ukraine are Russian-financed, Russian-trained and their strategy comes directly from Russia. Obama said the US would continue to put more pressure on Russia, bolstering Ukraine, while delivering a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that diplomatic resolutions remain available.

    The New York Times on 01 February 2015 quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying three leaders Secretary of State John Kerry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's national security adviser were open to new discussions about providing lethal assistance to Ukrainian forces. The Times said outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel already supported giving defensive weapons to the government forces. It also reported that an independent report released 02 February 2015 by eight former senior American officials, urging the United States to send $3 billion in defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine, was "fueling the broader debate" in Washington.

    Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, announced a "general mobilization" 02 February 2015, with the aim of bolstering separatist armed forces to as many as 100,000 fighters. He said he hoped the mobilization would make it possible to add at least five additional brigades one tank, one artillery and three motorized infantry brigades to the separatist forces by spring 2015. He gave no indication where the military hardware to equip these forces would come from. The official later clarified that they plan to recruit more volunteers, rather than to enforce conscription, and that the training may take as long as six months.

    The NATO Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, giving a speech to the Nobel Institute in Oslo, on 2 February 2015, said Russias aggression against Ukraine is not an isolated incident, but a game-changer in European security. It reflects an evolving pattern of behavior that has been emerging for several years, despite our efforts to reach out to Russia and build a cooperative European security system with Russia....

    "Putin fears his own color revolution. The Maidan demonstrations, the aspiration for more democracy and for less corruption, are a threat to his own system of power in Russia especially after he saw how the flawed Duma and Presidential elections in 2011 and 2012 triggered popular protests on the streets of Moscow.

    Russia expects us to give up the sanctions and go back to business as usual, without changing its own conduct. That is basically what we did after the war in Georgia in 2008. But this time around, having chosen our course, we must stick to it.

    Adviser to the Interior Minister Zorian Shkiriak wrote 02 February 2015 that units of the Russian army participate in clashes near Debaltseve, and planning is performed by the senior officers of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. "Concentration of Russian-terrorist forces continues on Debaltseve direction. After the enormous losses militants concentrate their reserve force here, transferring troops of mercenaries and heavy equipment from the rear and other directions of the front line. Regular units of the Russian army participate in the clashes near Debaltseve, and the planning is performed by the senior officers of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces".

    Speaking 03 February 2015 at a news conference on Ukraine, Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, said Russian action in Ukraine was more than just a provocation. The right way to characterize it is an act of war on the part of the Russian Federation," Talbott said. "And in that respect, this is a major threat to the peace of Europe, to the peace of Eurasia and, therefore, a threat to the interests of the United States, and I would say a threat to the chances of a peaceful 21st century.

    Ukraine's hryvnia currency plunged about 30 percent against the dollar on 05 February 2015, after the central bank abandoned the foreign currency auctions which had set an unofficial peg for banks to follow. Following the announcement, the hryvnia was trading at 24-25 against the dollar. The central bank also raised its main interest rate from 14 percent to 19.5 percent as it sought to avert a Ukrainian financial collapse, brought closer by fighting in the Donbas and a lack of foreign funding. Without a ceasefire, foreign financing would be difficult to secure. Putin was betting that no amount of Western financing would work unless the conflict was halted.

    A Western diplomat said 05 February 2015 a new Russian proposal for Ukraine, presented by Moscow to France and Germany, "is not a peace plan. It is a roadmap to creating a new Transnistria or Abkhazia in Ukraine. It is a cynical effort to get out of all the commitments made in Minsk."

    At least 92 pro-independence militiamen and 242 civilians were killed as a result of renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine in January, leaders of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (DPR and LPR) said. Donetsk Peoples Republic released their data about losses of the Kiev-led forces in the military operation since January 17. According to DPRs Deputy Defense Minister Eduard Basurin, 1,738 Kiev troops had been killed in recent three weeks, and 52 soldiers were captured by independence supporters. According to the official data provided by the Ukrainian government, a total of 1,422 troops had been killed since the beginning of the military operation in Donbas in 2014.

    the 51st Munich Security Conference on 07 February 2015 saw the agenda dominated by the Ukrainian crisis, with a hard-hitting speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov provoking much debate among Western elites. Lavrovs speech at the Munich conference marked a watershed for the West. Russia had no intention of revising in principle its position on Ukraine and the West should accept this reality. Lavrov is now offering the West what amounts to a clever hint as to how to save face and interact with Kiev and, primarily, with Russia.

    The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany discussed by phone on 08 February 2015 a French-German peace plan to end the fighting in Ukraine. The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came amid an intense diplomatic push to end the pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine. The four leaders aimed to meet on 11 February 2015 in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, to continue work on resolving the Ukraine crisis.

    The German intelligence service [implausibly] estimated the real losses in the Ukrainian civil war at 50,000 dead (civilians and servicemen), which is nearly 10 times higher than reported by the Kiev authorities, German media report. The information comes from a source in German intelligence, who spoke to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) newspaper. Germanys special services estimate the probable number of deceased Ukrainian servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000 people. This figure is about 10 times higher than official data. Official figures are clearly too low and not credible, the newspaper reported on 08 February 2015.

    On February 12, after a night of talks and negotiations in Minsk, Belarus, the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France announed they had reached an agreement for a a cease-fire deal aimed at ending months of fighting in eastern Ukraine. The cease-fire was set to begin at midnight on February 15. The deal included a Ukrainian commitment to provide constitutional guarantees of for people in the rebel-controlled areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions though Ukrainian President Poroshenko said this excluded federalization of the country.

    The agreement also called for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines, the establishment of a 50-kilometer line of separation and constitutional reform for broader self-rule in the restive regions. The delay between the announcement and the time between when the ceasefire was to go in effect saw increased fighting as both sides jockeyed for position, with the strategic transport/railway hub of Debaltseve, controlled by Ukrainian government forces, coming under intense attack by rebels.

    It was reported that pro-Russian rebels had claimed the terms of the cease-fire agreement did not apply to Debaltseve where thousands of Ukraine troops are believed encircled by rebel fighters. In response, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that failure to abide by the terms of the cease-fire agreement would push him to introduce martial law across the country.

    Ukraine's military said 23 February 2015 it could not begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the frontlines as called for in the cease-fire deal, because rebels were still carrying out attacks on targets near the Russian border. The Ukrainian military said it cannot pull its weapons from the front in the eastern part of the country as required under the Minsk ceasefire agreement, as long as its troops were still under attack. Given that the positions of Ukrainian servicemen continue to be shelled, there cannot yet be any talk of pulling back weapons, spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said. Another spokesman, Anatoly Stelmakh, said that self-defense forces had attacked a village on the coast road towards Mariupol overnight. Eduard Basurin, deputy military commander for the Donetsk Peoples Republic, denied that self-defense forces had launched any attacks.

    Rebels said 24 February 2015 they had begun pulling back heavy weapons from the frontlines, as required by an internationally brokered cease-fire. Top rebel commander Eduard Basurin said the withdrawal began at 9 a.m. local time. The move could not be independently confirmed. Ukrainian military officials have not responded, but have insisted they will not pull weapons off the frontlines as long as the fighting continues. Kyiv said rebel attacks persisted Tuesday near the port city of Mariupol and near Debaltseve.

    Ukraine's military for the second consecutive day reported a "significant reduction" in attacks by pro-Russian rebels on 26 February 2015, as well as no combat fatalities for its troops in the past 24 hours. The rebels promised that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will soon be able to verify that they have removed all heavy guns.

    Three Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and seven wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, a military spokesman said on 27 February 2015. During the two previous consecutive days, the military reported none of its troops had been killed.

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