Reuters interviews an American volunteer soldier in Ukraine

Reuters reports that they came across an American fighting against the Kiev junta in Ukraine.

“I’m an American. I joined an independence movement,” said Hunter, flashing a U.S. passport as proof of his nationality.

Using his “nom de guerre” and refusing to reveal his real name, age or home town, he described himself as a veteran of the American military without a job in the United States. He did not explain the reasons for his commitment to helping the rebels.

“I don’t want anybody to think I fight for the Russian government here,” he said, adding that he was in eastern Ukraine to “help” the population demanding a clean break from Kiev.

Many are now wondering what sanctions U.S. will impose on itself for their now apparent support of “separatists” in Ukraine…… -->

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Russia demanded to publish records of communication with the “Boeing”

Russia wants Ukraine to provide records of negotiations between the air traffic controllers and the pilots of the Malaysian “Boeing”, which crashed in the Donetsk region. This was reported on Tuesday, August 19, by the ITAR-TASS agency referring to Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin.

The question of negotiations, according to the diplomat, was raised at a meeting of the Security Council devoted to the course of the investigation of the crash in eastern Ukraine. Churkin called on UN Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who on Tuesday will go to Kiev, to learn how Ukrainian authorities cooperate with international experts.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that they have to provide records of communication of their air traffic controllers to be able to understand why the Malaysian airplane was sent to the conflict zone,” – said Churkin.

Earlier Monday, Churkin said that Russia will request the UN Security Council for a report on the investigation of the crash of a Malaysian “Boeing-777”. On the same day, the Security Council held a closed hearing by UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Tarranko about the investigation of the airliner disaster. The diplomat said that the preliminary report of international experts will be published before the end of August.… -->

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Zelfs Hitler beschoot zijn eigen steden niet

De Volkskrant publiceerde een eye-opening artikel.

Spookstad Loehansk: ‘Alleen met een tank kom je er nog door’

Door: Jan Hunin − 12/08/14, 09:29 © afp. Een Oekraïens meisje huilt terwijl ze aan de kant van de weg in het dorp Hrabove wacht op vervoer naar veiliger gebied.

De inwoners van het Oost-Oekraïense rebellenbolwerk Loehansk leven in een spookstad. Het leger beschiet de stad met raketten. Niemand weet hoeveel doden er al zijn gevallen. Correspondent Jan Hunin wist als een van de weinige journalisten de stad te bereiken.

  • Circa de helft van de 500 duizend inwoners heeft Loehansk verlaten, en wie gebleven is durft zijn huis niet uit. De hele stad ligt er verlaten bij.

     

  • © afp. Een Oekraïense grenswacht passeert de overblijfselen van een granaat in Milove, regio Loehansk.
  • © afp. Oekraïense grenswachten in Milove, waar flink gevochten is.

Genadi, commandant van de pro-Russische rebellen in het Oost-Oekraïense Perevalsk, zit met de handen in het haar. In twee weken is er geen westerse journalist in Loehansk geweest, terwijl daar een humanitaire ramp plaatsvindt. Door de beschietingen door het Oekraïense leger zijn de inwoners verstoken van water en stroom. Hoog tijd dat het Westen van die dramatische toestand op de hoogte wordt gebracht, vindt de commandant. Dus ja, hij zou graag helpen. Alleen weet hij niet hoe.

Loehansk, het oostelijkste bolwerk van de rebellen, is bijna volledig omsingeld door het Oekraïense leger. Alleen via Rusland valt de stad nog te bereiken. De commandant haalt er een kaart bij en toont de dorpjes waar de vijand aan het oprukken is.

‘Alleen met een tank kom je er nog door’, grapt een van zijn strijdmakkers, een wat oudere man. Hij biedt gratis zijn kogelvrije vest aan: ‘Jullie zullen dat harder nodig hebben dan ik.’

Tja, een tank – die hebben we niet, alleen een afgedankte Cherry Amulet, die al twee dagen in het niemandsland tussen de frontlinies een doorgang probeert te vinden naar de belegerde stad. Die ene keer dat we dachten ons doel bereikt te hebben, stuitten we op een Oekraïense legerpost, en dat was pech hebben. Voor Kiev is het beter dat de buitenwereld niet weet wat er zich in Loehansk afspeelt.

Met de trein
Een tank zou dus geen slecht idee zijn; beter nog twee, want aan de rookpluimen te zien wordt er zwaar gevochten in de streek. Maar misschien is er iets… -->

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United Nations calls for investigation of war crimes in Ukraine

The new report on the situation in Ukraine from the United Nations Commission for Human Rights was released on the 28 July. The report covers the period from 8 June to 15 July and documents how armed groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.”

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has commented on the issuance of the report highlighting the downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane not covered by this report but requiring a “prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation.”

In general, the report indicates that the situation in Ukraine deteriorates quickly. “The reports of increasingly intense fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are extremely alarming,” – Ms. Pillay said. “Already increasing numbers of people are being killed with serious damage to civilian infrastructure, which – depending on circumstances – could amount to violations of international humanitarian law. The fighting must stop.”

“I would like to stress to all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters, that every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law, including war crimes, will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” – Navi Pillay said. “I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

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Russian villains are back?

The Defense Committee of UK has published its report “Towards the Next Defence and Security Review” in the part that deals with preparedness of NATO today. The report argues that NATO is not well prepared for a war with Russia today.

Russian Federation actions in Ukraine have now raised the prospect, however unlikely, of a Russian attack on a NATO Member State. The risk of a conventional attack by the Russian Federation on a NATO state is low, but NATO needs to take much more action to deter that risk. The risk of an unconventional attack using the “ambiguous warfare” tactics deployed in Ukraine and elsewhere, whilst still small, is more substantial and would be even more difficult to counter.

It feels like if the clock is running backwards. I caught myself looking for the news of the restoration of the Berlin wall. Are we back to the times of “Cold War”? Should we now expect to get a rerun of all those “Red Menace” movies again?

At the same time, it is a little strange to see the admittance that Russia is prepared to operate using all those modern tactics that we are used to seeing from USA these days: cyberwar, infowar, “ambiguous warfare”, etc. We are used to hearing that Russia is laid back and outdated and, quite suddenly, it turns out that NATO has to play the catch-up game. This is … a tad unexpected, isn’t it?… -->

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UN recognized the crimes of Kiev authorities in Ukraine

UN observers issued a report on human rights violations during the crisis in Ukraine.

The monitoring mission of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has prepared an extensive report on the situation in Ukraine. It was presented on Wednesday, June 18, and includes a report on developments in the country, which took place May 7 – June 7, 2014.

The report notes that human rights violations in the east include abduction, detention, torture and murder. The preamble of the document emphasizes that most often these actions are committed by Ukrainian military forces. Often journalists working in eastern Ukraine become victims of arbitrary attacks.

Thus, in mid-May Italian journalist Andrea Rokkelli and his translator Andrei Mironov were hit by artillery fire of a Ukrainian military near Slavyansk. Both died. UN also recalled the arrests of Ukrainian and Russian reporters.

The human rights activists say that the Ukrainian state media only adds heat to the atmosphere, provokes people by tough rhetoric and reinforces divisions between people in the country.

UN observers report that violence and lawlessness reign in the South-East of the country. According to them, there are frequent kidnappings of people who are not involved in hostilities, looting and killing of civilians. In addition, there were established cases when the Ukrainian army bombed hospitals and kindergarten.

Observers report spontaneous disappearances of people related to government investigations. According to the UN, only from April to June 387 people have been abducted on both sides, including 39 journalists. Rights activists report frequent strange disappearances of pro-Russian activists. For example, the report mentions 11 cases of detention by Ukrainian special services of people who later ended up missing.

The biggest concern are the vulnerable – women and children. Thus, in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics experts from UNICEF inspected more than 200 children and found that every second child suffers from sleep disorders, depression and outbursts of anger. In addition, the report mentions that Ukrainian state does not pay out pensions in Donetsk and Lugansk areas for the last two months.

A separate report focuses on events in Odessa on May 2. In particular, the UN observers citing “confidential sources” indicate… -->

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