Kiev escalates war on Donbass to muddy Trump’s peace efforts
For almost two weeks now, the people of Donbass have endured thousands of artillery shellings by Poroshenko’s forces.
Published: February 8, 2017, 10:09 am
The city of Donetsk and surrounding towns are being targeted. Apartment blocks, schools and factories have not been spared the horror.
Water and electricity has also been cut off in the dead of winter by Kiev forces striking civilian infrastructure.
Before the latest escalation, senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham took a trip to the front lines in Ukraine on January 2, where Senator Graham was videotaped telling Kiev’s troops: “You need to go on the offensive in 2017.”
He added: “When we get home we’re going to make sure that we punish Russia.” Shortly after Kiev’s troops were told to go to war, they started a new offensive.
To the Kiev regime’s horror, Trump has said that he would work with all sides, including Putin, to end the conflict in Ukraine.
Trump was evidently not buying into the narrative by Poroshenko’s regime, that the Ukraine is being “attacked by Russia” through Donbass proxies.
As Daniel McAdams told RT: “I think it [Trump’s attitude] is very interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, it is very significant that President Trump spoke with Yulia Timoshenko before he spoke with Petro Poroshenko. I am certain that move was heard very loudly in Kiev. We don’t know what they talked about, but I think it’s very significant.”
The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe which is supposed to be monitoring the 2015 Minsk ceasefire have confirmed that it is the Kiev forces who are breaching the contact line, as Kiev authorities are doing their best to avoid adhering to the Minsk peace agreements.
— Tom Burridge (@TomBurridgebbc) February 1, 2017
The agreement is specifically related to the planned ceasefire in Donbass. The second of the two Minsk peace agreements is now nearing its second anniversary.
Earlier this week, the OSCE reported that four Ukrainian army T-64 tanks had parked behind a building in the Donetsk suburb of Avdiivka in violation of the respective withdrawal lines.
The situation near Avdiivka and neighbouring city of Yasynuvata has been tense for several days, with both Kiev forces and Donbass militia reportedly suffering casualties.
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday that at least seven people had been killed and 41 more had been injured in Donbass fighting since the beginning of the flare-up.
Billions of dollars have been poured into this reportedly corrupt regime by its sponsors in Washington, Europe and the IMF, but none of the promised reforms have been delivered so far.
The current escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region can be explained by many factors, including Kiev’s desire to muddy US President Donald Trump’s proposed friendlier policy towards Russia, Russian political analyst Andrey Suzdaltsev told Sputnik.
“Paradoxically, Moscow is accused of not sticking to the Minsk agreements, which were, by the way, not signed by Russia, while Kiev actually launches an offensive by deploying tanks and preparing an attack,” he said.
He added that “on the one hand, the OSCE [Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine] mission takes the records of everything, but on the other – they are using double standards”.
“They were actually present during the preparation for a tank attack and did nothing. And now the only hope is that the OSCE mission will be present in Donbass as a witness,” Suzdaltsev concluded.
According to Eduard Basurin, the vice commander of the DPR, as quoted in Fort Russ: “Following the talk between Poroshenko and Trump, Ukraine will in the near future cease to receive financial and military support for its terrorist operation in the land of Donbass. In connection with this, the Ukrainian president has fallen into complete despair and is ready to desperately commit to the most reckless action of unleashing a full-scale and bloody war in Eastern Europe.”
In order to resolve the Ukrainian conflict, Donald Trump might be looking for a way to help to eject Porochenko. He received the head of the opposition even before he accepted a phone call from Porochenko at the White House.
But on Wednesday the group of anti-Russian US senators intended to introduce legislation allowing a congressional review of a White House request to lift anti-Russian sanctions and giving Congress the veto power.
In case US President Donald Trump unilaterally takes a decision to lift sanctions against Russia, the initiative led by Lindsey Graham and Ben Cardin, and supported by John McCain and Marco Rubio, is designed to uphold the sanctions in place.
According to CNN, the Russia Review Act would urge the Trump administration to submit to Congress a detailed report, explaining the reasons for sanctions lifting. It would also introduce a 120-day review period, granting the Congress final approval authority.
“I think if there was a real threat of lifting sanctions minus the respect for Ukrainian sovereignty and meeting those conditions, my sense is that we would have the votes to pass that in the Senate and we would be able to pass it with a veto-proof majority,” Rubio, who is also member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN.
The new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has meanwhile requested an audit of 16 US “peace-keeping” missions. She has made it known that she intends to put an end to those which seem to be quite inefficient in ending wars.
Mikhail Tolstykh, better known by his nom de guerre Givi, died after a bomb exploded in his office in the stronghold of Donetsk just after 6am local time on February 8, a source with ties to its military told RFE/RL by phone.
Donetsk authorities have called the killing “a continuation of the terrorist war launched by the Kiev authorities” against the residents of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency. They said an investigative team was working at the bomb site.
ANOTHER commander of Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine killed. Separatists say ‘terrorist attack’.
— Tom Burridge (@TomBurridgebbc) February 8, 2017
The news comes as the self-proclaimed republics of DPR and LPR have been witnessing the largest military activities since the signing of the Minsk-2 agreement.
Givi is yet another victim of such assault as earlier this week LPR’s colonel Oleg Anashtenko died in a similar case when his car was blown up.
Another separatist commander, Arseny Pavlov aka Motorola, died on October 16 last year when a bomb exploded in an elevator in his apartment block in Donetsk.
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and militias has killed thousands in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.
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