Ukraine claims Russian military column has entered east of country

Tanks, howitzer artillery systems and trucks carrying ammunition and fighters in column, says military…

 A rebel tank being repaired in Starobeshevo in Donetsk. Ukraine says Russian tanks and trucks have entered the country. Photograph: Petr Shelomovskiy/Demotix/Corbis

A rebel tank being repaired in Starobeshevo in Donetsk. Ukraine says Russian tanks and trucks have entered the country. Photograph: Petr Shelomovskiy/Demotix/Corbis


A column of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer artillery systems and trucks carrying ammunition and fighters has crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia, the Kiev military said on Friday.

“The deployment continues of military equipment and Russian mercenaries to the frontlines,” spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing referring to Thursday’s cross-border incursion.

NATO said it has seen an increase in Russian troops and equipment along the Ukraine border was looking into the reports. “We are aware of the reports of Russian troops and tanks crossing the border between Ukraine and Russia,” a NATO military officer told Reuters. “If this crossing into Ukraine is confirmed it would be further evidence of Russia’s aggression and direct involvement in stabilising Ukraine.”

But NATO “forgot” to mention that the Ukrainian president, the chocolate billionaire Petro Poroshenko, has promised to use full force until all separatists have been destroyed. He has now vowed to strengthen the military crackdown, making it faster and more efficient.

Mr. Poroshenko’s latest declaration of war alerted the leadership of the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk of his new planed genocide in Eastern Ukraine, and the help of Russia to the leadership of the Republics to prevent another gruelsome massacre of civilians and self-defense forces in the east.

The so-called report of a new Russian movement of armour across the border follows a charge on Thursday by the leadership of the two Republics that the Kiev regime forces had launched a new offensive – which Kiev, as usual, immediately denied.

Shelling by the Ukrainian army following orders from Poroshenko and “Yats”  have continued even when a cease-fire was still in effect, with more civilians killed, including children,  in a conflict that has cost more than 4,000 lives.

The ceasefire was broken by Kiev multiple times, forcing the leadership of the Republics to accept another cease-fire,  a game used by Poroshenko to make believe he wants peace with the pro-independence leadership in East Ukraine after the leaders held elections in the “people’s republics” last Sunday.

The parliamentary elections in Kiev have not changed anything. Mr. Poroshenko, faithful to his US masters, wants to destroy the self-defence forces as well as the civilians in east ukraine, and peace in the two regions is not in the US/NATO war agenda.

“Supplies of military equipment and enemy fighters from the Russian Federation are continuing,” Lysenko said. He added that five Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and 16 wounded in the past 24 hours despite the “ceasefire” that didn’t exist since a few weeks ago when the shelling by the Ukrainian army started again. .

Fifteen civilians were wounded by shrapnel in Donetsk, the mayor’s office said, in a night of shelling in two neighbourhoods near the ruins of the airport, where government troops are holding out.

Some 150 mourners later attended an emotional memorial service in the city for two teenage boys killed when a shell hit a school playing field on Wednesday. Kiev blamed the pro-independence rebels for the incident.

Claims of fresh troop movements are reinforcing fears of a return to all-out fighting.

Poroshenko, said this week that the rushed elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which the Kiev government and EU had declared illegal, had violated the September peace accord. He said the votes – which the rebel leaders claimed gave them a mandate to negotiate directly with Kiev – had “torpedoed” an offer of autonomy for the east and ordered troops to reinforce frontline cities.

But Mr. Poroshenko withdrew the offer for “autonomy” long before the elections in Donetsk and Luhansk. And the date chosen for the elections in the Republics doesn’t violate the Minsk agreement.

A Kremlin adviser said on Friday that Russia was committed to the two-month-old agreement and wanted further talks held to build on peace moves involving government forces and the pro-independence leadership.

Foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov also said Russia respected the will of voters after the elections, but following western criticism of Moscow’s stance on Sunday’s vote, he said he had deliberately chosen the word “respect” rather than “recognise”.

The elections have been condemned by the U.S., E.U., and Ukraine, erroneously, for violating the September Minsk agreementa truce between the rebels and the Ukrainian governmentwhich stipulated that “early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine” would be held in rebel territories. The Ukrainian government had scheduled those elections for December 7.

The Donetsk and Luhansk leadership said that the elections were entirely legal under the provisions of the Minsk agreement. “It was said there [in the Minsk protocol] that we have the right to hold our own elections. The date was not specified,” Zakharchenko said on Sunday, RIA Novosti reports. It is abundantly evident that the Ukrainians had no plan for how exactly “early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine” could possibly be held in rebel territory, just like it is also painfully clear that the government has no plan for how that territory will ever be re-integrated into the rest of the country.

Meanwhile,  elected Prime Minister of Donetsk, Alexander Zaharchenko, issued a statement on Thursday, saying he did not to rule out full-scale conflict re-igniting between separatists in eastern Ukraine and Kiev, warning that “a period of very heavy military action is approaching”, referring to Proshenko’s threats he will destroy all the pro-independence fighters.  “We are going to take Slaviansk and Krematorsk and Mariopol. Sadly this has not been conveyed successfully in a peaceful way. The ceasefire is observed only by our side,” he told a press conference.

Newspapers and magazines in Europe have continued with their venomous attacks on Russian and the pro-independence leadership in Donetsk and Luhansk in East Ukraine. The entire “reports” were designed to dispel doubts about the legality of the elections  the people of the two regions held on Sunday in which they elected  Alexander Zakharchenko as Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

An article published in Der Spiegel, the writer erroneously claimed that “the Russian television has also been peddling the idea that radicals somehow prevailed in the Oct. 26 vote — despite the fact that the opposite is true. The fact is that the right-wing extremist parties didn’t even clear the five-percent hurdle necessary to gain seats in parliament. This is not true.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that “Russia is ready to recognize parliament elections in Ukraine, but is very concerned with two radical parties getting into the Ukrainian parliament,”  he said in an interview with LifeNews channel.

“Elections did indeed take place, even though not across all of Ukrainian territory,” Lavrov told Life News and Izvestiya newspaper. “I think Russia will recognize the election results — it is very important to us that Ukraine will finally get a government, which is not focused on internal conflict or ‘dragging’ the country towards east or west divide, but instead work on how to facilitate unity in the country.”

However, promotion of certain radical elements into Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada), such as the Svoboda Party and Radical Party, remains a serious concern, Lavrov said.

The Svoboda Party’s platform is based on principles that stand in solidarity with Hitler’s ideology in Europe, he said, adding that EU has turned away from the party due to its radicalism in the past.

“The EU protested against the Svoboda Party joining the ranks of Rada back in 2012, rightly referring to it as ultranationalist … Brussels called on other political forces not to cooperate precisely because of the party’s views.”

He added that Poroshenko has repeatedly confirmed his commitments to the Minsk treaty and firmly declared that he will not allow the military scenario to repeat. Avoiding another outbreak of violence is the top priority right now, Lavrov said.

Lavrov also highlighted that upcoming elections on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk self-proclaimed republics will prove to be very important in terms of legitimizing the Ukrainian government, as they were outlined in the Minsk protocol.

“We believe that this is one of the most important Minsk agreements. We are assuming that the elections will be carried out as discussed and we will of course recognize the results,” Lavrov said.





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