Midnight in Damascus

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MIDNIGHT IN DAMASCUS

Imagine you are part of a hardcore, heavily weaponized Islamist outfit in Syria.

You would have had until noon this Friday to contact the US and/or Russia military and win a prize; be part of a “cessation of hostilities,” ersatz “ceasefire” that does not apply to ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, as well as assorted remnants of the former Free Syrian Army (FSA) who are for all practical purposes embedded with al-Nusra.Compounding the drama, as background noise you have US Secretary of State John Kerry bluffing that Plan B is the partition of Syria anyway. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again had to call for order in the court.

So what do you do? You’re a Washington-approved “moderate rebel”. So you re-label yourself as FSA. Will you fool the task force set up by the US and Russia — hotline included — to monitor the “ceasefire”? Well, at least you’ve got a shot. The “ceasefire” mostly applies to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), unspecified “moderate rebels” and the Syrian Kurds. Everyone must de-weaponize by midnight this Friday.

If you’ve skipped the deadline, you may be in serious trouble. Because for the Russians, that qualifies you as an ally of Salafi-jihadis. You will be bombed to smithereens. And there’s nothing Uncle Sam can do to save you.

This positively Dadaist development is what passes for a road map to peace in Syria — even though odds are on Washington and Moscow will be seeing red on virtually every noon and cranny of it.

What this might spell out though goes way beyond Syria; it’s all about the White House, the Pentagon and NATO’s spectacular demise as exceptionalist arbiters and executioners — using Shock and Awe, R2P (responsibility to protect) or straight-up regime change — of geopolitical tangles.

Or is it?

Position of Syrian army at village of Salma and city of Zabadani
© Sputnik/ Michael Alaeddin

A hefty case can be made whether the “ceasefire” benefits Damascus and Moscow — considering the “4+1” (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah) has been heavily on the offense. The “ceasefire” may certainly benefit Washington if the hidden agenda — to re-weaponize gaggles of “moderate rebels” — still applies. After all Pentagon supremo Ash “Empire of Whining” Carter, Marine General Joseph Dunford and CIA Director John Brennan are terminal Russophobes who will never admit defeat.The vague terms of the “cessation of hostilities” do not explicity specify that Washington, London and other members of the US-led-from-behind “coalition” should stop bombing Syrian territory. And there’s nothing about suicide bombs and chemical weapons routinely used by any outfit, from ISIS/ISIL/Daesh to “moderate rebels”, against the civilian Syrian population.

So there’s got to be some heavy-duty horse-trading between Washington and Moscow behind all the shadowplay. And none of it has leaked, at least not yet.

Daddy Stole My Invasion

Meanwhile, the much-ballyhooed joint invasion of Syria by Turkey and Saudi Arabia is not going to happen because His Masters’ Voice vetoed it — as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was forced to explain. He essentially admitted that the invasion would need the agreement of all members of the US-led-from-behind coalition fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Unfortunately, they are scared to death of being decimated by the Russian Air Force. So they might as well cozily revert to the “cessation of hostilities” charade.

On what really counts — the Syrian theatre of war — the most pressing issue is whether the SAA will finally be able to control Aleppo and environs, continue to rule in Latakia, and manage to configure Idlib as a Saudi remote-controlled Army of Conquest enclave cut off from almost all sides and depending solely on Ankara, which for its part won’t dare a face-to-face with the Russian Air Force.

It’s no wonder Turkey’s Sultan Erdogan fears this ceasefire business like the plague. Because he’s got nothing; at best a vague promise, extorted by Team Obama, that Syrian Kurds won’t keep advancing to smash either ISIS/ISIL/Daesh along the border, or pockets of al-Qaeda in Syria.In return, Ankara shall desist from its Syrian invasion and that dream of a 10 km “safe zone” inside Syrian territory to keep away the Kurds and facilitate the re-weaponizing of its Islamist proxies. Ankara’s favorite Jabhat al-Nusra, by the way, remains active north of Aleppo, and in the Turkmen regions of Latakia and Azaz (in the Turkish-Syrian border).

What Team Obama seems to have finally understood — and “seems” is the operative word — is that neither ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor al-Nusra could ever “unify” Syria; assuming 60% of Syria’s population is Sunni, what matters is that over half are secular and do support Damascus against all those Turk/Saudi-supported Salafi-jihadi crazies.

Will this all be enough to assure the success of the “cessation of hostilities” charade? Hardly. Keep calm and carry on (watching). Plan B remains Return of the Living Dead material.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do notnecessarily reflect the official position of UNRULY HEARTS.

 

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Tags:
cessation of hostilities, forecast, military, ceasefire, Daesh, United States, Damascus, Russia, Syria

US leads ‘largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine’ – Follows Pentagon’s Advice to Conquer the World?

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Ukrainian soldiers and servicemen of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team take part in a joint military exercise called “Fearless Guardian 2015” at the military training area in Yavoriv, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 12, 2015.Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters

Troops from the US, UK, Germany and 14 other countries are set to conduct what officials are calling the “largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine” in the west of the country over the coming weeks.

The exercises will be conducted in Lviv region, in western Ukraine, far from the conflict zone in the east, with as many as 1,800 servicemen from 18 countries taking part from today until the end of the month.

The Saber Guardian and Rapid Trident exercises are conducted annually between the US army in Europe and European states which agree to participate. Last year they included 1,300 defence staff from 15 militaries, including Ukraine. However last year, only Rapid Trident took place on Ukrainian soil, with Saber Guardian being organised in Bulgaria.

Beside the US military and their Ukrainian hosts, personnel from other Nato allied nations joining the exercise include the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while non-members Serbia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan are also set to participate.

“Multinational exercises have been conducted in Ukraine since 1995, however it is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” Don Wrenn public affairs public affairs specialist for US Army Europe, who is at the site of the exercises says.

Despite the heightening tension in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed rebels have intensified fire towards Kiev-held positions since May, Wrenn says the exercise has no relation to the specific conflict.

“It is not anything to do with the political situation,” Wrenn says “This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on. Rapid Trident has been going for years in Ukraine.”

“Part of why this is larger this year is that there are two exercises going ahead at the same time in the same place,” Wrenn explains. The Saber Guardian exercise rotates between host nations, it just so happens that this year it was Ukraine’s turn to host it, coinciding with Rapid Trident

“The two were held together and integrated with each other,” Wrenn says. Training will begin tomorrow, after the end of today’s opening ceremony.

“We will be looking at practicing skills such as casualty evacuation and first aid, reacting to being ambushed in both an offensive posture or in defensive mode, we are conducting training in how to identify and react to improvised explosives and devices and there will be some simulated outpost operations.”

“These are all skills that are to be used either in combat or peacekeeping. Some Ukrainian armored vehicles will be included but most of the vehicles being used are just US humvees and wheeled vehicles,” he adds. Contrary to some media reports, no air operations are scheduled as part of the exercise.

Although a period of relative calm followed in the east after a ceasefire agreement was signed by the rebel leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in February, clashes increase along the contact lines in May and by June the rebels launched the largest offensive since the battle for the strategic town of Debaltseve on the eve of the ceasefire deal.

Rebel leader Alexander Zaharchenko once again publically set target towns which the rebels plan to “take” in May and Reuters, Nato and the Ukrainian government have all reported an increasing military build up on the Russian side of the border.

Since the start of the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east, Ukraine has led a series of reforms to its military in a bid to strengthen its efficiency in the short and long term. Eastern regions have obtained physical reinforcement bases and Ukraine has also pursued stronger ties with western neighbours such as the joint battalion it formed last year with Poland and Lithuania,

President Petro Poroshenko pledged yesterday to increase Ukraine’s security spending power, adding a further 5 billion hryvna (over €200m) to the defence budget, according to a statement released on his official website. Independent Russian news site Slon reported that the last Ukrainian budget allotted 90 billion hryvna to defence spending, which, together with Poroshenko’s latest pledge equals around €4bn.

However,  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s claim that the Ukraine will take over Donbass by the end of the year seems to be one more of his tricks. 

According to Forbes, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has offered Russian counterpart Vldimir Putin to ”include Donbass” in the territory of the federation. The announcement was released to Forbes magazine through an anonymous source.

It was stated that the proposal had been extended during the Normandy Four talks held in Minsk on February 11 and 12.

”Poroshenko directly told me, ”Take Donbass”, and I responded, ”Have you gone mad ? I don’t need Donbass. If you don’t need it, announce its independence”, was the statement Vladimir Putin made at his meeting with Russian industrialists and businessmen on March 19, as quoted by Forbes.

In the words of the Russian President, Poroshenko then stated that Ukrainian authorities are not able to take the step, ” Then, let Ukrainian authorities pay the pensions and social care to the population of Donbass and let them restore the banking system,” Putin allegedly insisted.

The ceasefire deal included 14 points connected to the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners, the providing of humanitarian aid for the severely affected regions of Ukraine, as well as establishing of special statute for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Republics.

According to the source released information to Forbes, Putin himself is skeptical regarding the peace deal and believes that Ukrainian authorities are attempting to win the fight with rebel forces and to destroy Donbass in economic terms.

Allegedly, Putin said that EU leaders are well aware of the Ukrainian intentions, but the strengthening of the conflict is said to be in favor of US foreign polices. He also informed business leaders that the EU sanctions against Russia are unlikely to be removed in the upcoming years.

On the other hand, Poroshenko’s relations with Poland have deteriorated.

A scheduled meeting of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the winner of the Polish presidential elections Andrzej Duda in Warsaw will not now take place, Polish news agency PAP reported on Wednesday, with reference to its own sources close to the newly-elected head of state.

At home, Poroshenko is facing serious problems with the nationalist “Right Sector” paramilitary group.  The popular assembly is dubbed ‘Away With Traitors in Power!’

The popular assembly dubbed “Away With Traitors in Power!”organized by Ukraine’s far-right paramilitary group, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) has started on Independence Square (Maidan).

Here’s the scene on ‘s Maidan right now. 1000+ now gathered for far-right nationalist rally:

WATCH LIVE STREAMING VIDEO  HERE

The rally follows a recent shootout involving members of ‘Right Sector’, security teams close to Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Lanyo and local police officers which took place in the town of Mukacheve in Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region on July 11. Four people were killed and up to 14 were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

‘Right Sector’ is one of a number of militarised groups that emerged during violent protests that toppled former Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

The militias went on to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the east against Russian-backed militants, but concerns have risen over whether they could pose a challenge to President Poroshenko and the government or threaten public security.

‘Right Sector’ and police have accused each other of initiating the violence in Mukacheve, but on Tuesday a spokesman for the group said two of its members had surrendered to the SBU security service. 

 

Political maneuverings in Ukraine, to what end? Poroshenko and Lavrov on the ceasefire

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

Signs of the Times

14 October 2014

On Sunday, October 12, RIA Novosti reported that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made a statement on his official website saying the following:

We expect to achieve complete ceasefire in the coming days. Once this happens, the creation of a buffer zone will be launched. Both sides must pull out heavy weaponry at least 15 kilometers [9.3 miles] away into the controlled areas.

This comes at a time that has seen Ukrainian forces violate said ceasefire multiple times a day. The OSCE has reported on the shelling of multiple towns by Kiev forces, and Donetsk’s leadership has claimed Kiev violated the ceasefire a total of 17 times on Monday with shelling of residential areas killing 3 and injuring 7, with more attacks that night, bringing the total to 45 violations, at least 12 dead, with dozens more wounded. This comes after 16 civilians were reported killed on Sunday alone.

The continued violations on the part of Kiev have prompted DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko to curb the planned “silence regime”, which would have seen Novorossiyan troops withdraw their artillery from the line of conflict if Kiev could abide by the ceasefire for 5 days.

Poroshenko, in his official statement, also mentioned that he had reached out to the OSCE to increase the number of monitors of the conflict to 1500, upon which they agreed.

Today, Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

Today, the window of possibility to overcome the Ukrainian crisis is open. Practical measures are being agreed upon and implemented on the basis of ceasefire agreements reached on the initiative of presidents [Petro] Poroshenko and [Vladimir] Putin. The question is whether the conflicting Ukrainian sides will manage to complete this path toward solid peace or they will be hindered by those seeking to use the tragedy of the Ukrainian people to try to show Russia its place.

So while the leadership of both sides are making public claims to fully implement the ceasefire, establish a buffer zone between fighting forces, and increase international observers, the fighting continues.

What’s going on? According to Zakharchenko, the continued violations are not necessarily the result of orders from Kiev: individual commanders (some, like Right Sector’s battalions, being extremists not likely to follow orders they don’t like) are taking it on their own initiative to continue shelling civilian areas.

Do Poroshenko and his ‘advisers’ see the futility of the continuation of their “antiterrorist operation”? Are they merely trying to appease the extremist elements on whose support they have relied for exterminating Novorossiyans (e.g., by ‘retiring’ Defense Minister Geletey and replacing him with ATO commander Poltorak?), with the goal of actually implementing the ceasefire?

Have the rumors that Russia has cut off its covert aid to the militias, but that they will restart them if and when a new offensive is launched by Kiev, sufficiently scared Kiev’s military leadership? Or is Kiev merely talking peace while planning one more genocidal push on the orders of their U.S./NATO masters?

 

Poroshenko, Nuland Discuss Implementation of Minsk Agreement in Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, talks with the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, second right, in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 6, 2014.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, talks with the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, second right, in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 6, 2014.

 

MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland have discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreement aimed at resolving the situation in the southeastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian president’s official website reported Monday.

“The Head of State said it is important to resume the work of the Ukrainian border guards, and to involve OSCE experts with proper technical equipment in monitoring the checkpoints and border,” according to the president’s statement.

Poroshenko also stressed the need to resume the supply of gas, electricity and food to areas controlled by independence supporters.

Moreover, the Ukrainian president thanked the United States for its support.

“The president expressed his gratitude to the US president and the government for strong support of Ukraine on its way to freedom and democracy,” according to the statement published on the website.

In April, the Kiev authorities launched a military operation in southeastern Ukraine, where independence supporters refused to accept the new government which came to power as a result of the February coup.

On September 5, a ceasefire agreement was reached between Kiev authorities and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR). The agreement, signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, at a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine, which comprised representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

On September 19, a memorandum was drawn up by the Contact Group to include nine provisions for the ceasefire, which included the creation of a 30-kilometer (18-mile) buffer zone, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from residential areas and the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission in southeastern Ukraine. Both the Kiev forces and independence fighters have subsequently accused each other of violating the ceasefire.

On October 3, Nuland said that the United States would be ready to lift some of the sanctions against Russia if the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk was observed. The US diplomat said that “Ukraine is fulfilling its commitments under the September 5 Minsk agreements.”

On October 5, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council admitted that the ceasefire in Donbas had been violated, but said it had been done by uncontrolled military groups.

Kiev Says More Than 50 Ukrainian Troops Killed, 300 Wounded Since Beginning of Ceasefire

More than 50 Ukrainian troops have been killed and 316 wounded since the beginning of the ceasefire in the conflict zone.

More than 50 Ukrainian troops have been killed and 316 wounded since the beginning of the ceasefire in the conflict zone.

 

MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) – More than 50 Ukrainian troops have been killed and 316 wounded since the beginning of the ceasefire in the conflict zone, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

“Since September 5, some 56 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed, 316 wounded. Additionally, 32 civilians were killed,” the ministry said on Twitter.

In April, Kiev authorities launched a military operation in southeastern Ukraine, where independence supporters refused to accept the new government which came to power as a result of the February coup.

On September 5, a ceasefire agreement was reached between Kiev authorities and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR). The agreement was signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, at the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine, which comprised representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Both the Kiev forces and the independence fighters have been accusing each other of violating the ceasefire. On October 5, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council admitted that the ceasefire in Donbas had been violated, but said it had been done by uncontrolled military groups.

Syrian “Moderate” Rebels and Islamic State Jihadists “Make Peace”. What Will Obama do Now?

By Timothy Alexander Guzman
Global Research, September 14, 2014
Silent Crow News

Region: Middle East & North Africa, USA
Theme: US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

Well, Well, Well, what do we have here?

Syria-mapAccording to a new report by Agence-France Presse (AFP) “Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.”

What will the Obama administration do now? Originally President Obama said in a televised speech that he will support “military assistance to the Syrian opposition.” Here is what he said:

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

This is an interesting development since Washington wants to authorize airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or ISIS on Syrian territory. It is a move ISISthat the Assad government and Russia say that would be an act of aggression and a breach of International law. Will the mainstream media report this peace agreement between these two organizations? Washington would welcome this development because both groups consider the Assad government a common enemy. Online news organization Middle East Eye reported that both moderate Syrian rebels and the Islamic State’s common enemy is the Assad government:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that moderate and Islamist rebels had signed a ceasefire deal for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus. “The two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found, and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy” to be Assad’s government and his forces.

They forgot to mention that the U.S. and other Western allies consider the Assad government their enemy as well. Although this truce is a new development, it should not surprise anyone. The U.S. has been supporting the Syrian rebels’ right from the start to remove Assad. Many of them joined the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in the region including those in Iraq. Washington would welcome a truce between both groups because they will target the Syrian government. Washington will most likely launch airstrikes against these same terrorists in Syria as a justification to enter Syrian territory.

The AFP detailed exactly what was agreed upon between both groups:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between IS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.

Under the deal, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime.”

Nussayri is a pejorative term for the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

The world needs to stop this war. If the U.S. does launch airstrikes into Syria to target these terrorist organizations, it will be considered an aggression against the Assad government. If innocent civilians or Syrian government forces are killed in the airstrikes, the Assad government would most likely respond with military action. Russia, China and most nations around the world would condemn U.S. actions on Syria’s sovereign territory. The U.S. wants Assad out of power. ISIL was created by the U.S. and its allies in the region. Is this the start of World War III? I hope not. The Syrian government can defeat ISIL on their own if Washington would stop sending arms into the region. The question we must ask is who will receive U.S. arms shipments now. ISIL?

Rasmussen Sings a Different Song: “Russia ‘Not an Imminent Threat’ to NATO Members”

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a news conference at the Residence Palace in Brussels September 1, 2014.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a news conference at the Residence Palace in Brussels September 1, 2014.

MOSCOW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) – NATO does not consider Russia an ‘imminent threat’ to its members, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday.

“I do not think Russia poses an imminent threat to the NATO allies for the very reason that Russia knows that we have an Article 5 in our NATO treaty that protects any allies against attack, and an attack on one would be an attack on the whole alliance. Russia knows that and that is why I do not think Russia poses an imminent threat to the alliance,” Rasmussen told reporters.

“However, to keep our deterrence credible, we have taken steps, as you know, to reinforce our collective defense,” he added.

The NATO chief also said that the international community should prevent by all means necessary a “frozen conflict” in Ukraine, the scenario Russia wants, according to Rasmussen.

“We should never accept a new frozen conflict in eastern Europe. Of course, we should do all we can to encourage a peaceful solution to this conflict.”

An armed confrontation in eastern Ukraine began in mid-April, when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters who refused to acknowledge the new government that was instated after the February 22 coup.

On September 5, the Contact Group on Ukraine, comprising the representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), held a meeting in Minsk, which resulted in a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has been accused by Kiev and the West of providing Donbas independence supporters with military assistance. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the internal Ukrainian conflict.

Rasmussen: NATO Ready to Welcome Putin’s Peace Plan for Ukraine if It Is Genuine

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he is ready to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin’s peace plan for Ukraine in case it is genuine.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he is ready to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin’s peace plan for Ukraine in case it is genuine.

MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed his readiness to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin’s peace plan for Ukraine in case it is genuine.

“If recent statements from President Putin represent a genuine effort to find a political solution, I would welcome it, because that is exactly what we need, a constructive political process,” Rasmussen said during joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the course of NATO summit in Wales.

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin outlined a seven-point plan for the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, calling on Kiev to withdraw troops from southeastern regions of the country and militia to cease military advances. The plan also includes proposals for an international monitoring force, the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, a ban on the use of combat aircraft over urban areas, an exchange of prisoners in an “all for all” formula and direct repair-crew access to destroyed infrastructure in the war-ravaged areas.

The outlined plan will be further discussed at the meeting of contact group on Ukrainian reconciliation, comprising Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian government and eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters. The meeting is to be held on September 5 in Belarussian capital, Minsk.

Rasmussen: NATO Not Involved in Member States’ Decisions on Military Aid to Ukraine

NATO Secretary – General Anders Fogh Rasmussen comments on the cooperation with Ukraine: “NATO as an alliance is not involved in delivery of equipment because we do not posess military capabilities”.

NATO as an alliance is not involved in member states’ decisions regarding military assistance to Ukraine, as the alliance does not possess military capabilities, according to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

«NATO as an alliance is not involved in delivery of equipment because we do not posess military capabilities. This are possessed by individual allies. So such decisions are national decisions and we are not going to interfere with that,» Rasmussen said ahead of Ukraine-NATO commission consultations.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that NATO member states have proposed military cooperation on bilateral basis to Ukraine.

During the NATO Summit, which is currently being held in Wales, the heads of the alliance also decided to allocate about 15 million euro ($19.4 million) in financial aid for Ukraine.

Apart from that, the alliance has established a comprehensive package of measures to help Ukraine better provide for its security, focusing on cyber defense, logistics, command control and communications, Rasmussen said.

NATO leaders gathered in Wales on Thursday for two days of talks focused on situation in Ukraine.