In the past few days, Vladimir Putin’s objectives in eastern Ukraine have taken a new and darker turn. The Russian president has so far been opportunistic in his conduct of the war with Kiev, keeping open his options to escalate and de-escalate where and when he sees fit. Now, pro-Russian rebels are engaged in a major offensive against the Ukrainian army on several fronts.
Everybody knows that so-called Novorossia in eastern Ukraine is awash with modern Russian weapons. Social networks publish photos and videos daily showing endless columns of military vehicles traversing the region. Whenever Ukrainian forces manage to destroy such a column, they show the documents carried by the soldiers who manned the tanks and armored vehicles.
ZURICH - Last March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine, supposedly in defense of Russian-speakers there, was just like "what Hitler did back in the '30s" - using ethnic Germans to justify his invasion of neighboring lands. At the time, I thought such a comparison was over the top. I don’t think so anymore. I’d endorse Mrs. Clinton’s comparison purely for the shock value: It draws attention to the awful things Putin is doing to Ukraine, not to mention his own country, whose credit rating was just reduced to junk status.
Russia is winning the battle for Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatists captured the airport at Donetsk, a bright new terminal now reduced to rubble, last week. Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk, has made it clear that he will attack Ukrainian lines once more. He will rely, as he has done before, on reinforcements from the Russian army and special forces.
The European Union wants to tighten sanctions on Russia again, as renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine causes heavy casualties and raises fears that Russian-backed separatists will seize control of more territory.
There can be no doubt that the recent escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine is the direct result of the increased support Moscow is providing to separatist forces in the Donbas region. As President Barack Obama said on Jan. 25, the separatists' aggression had "Russian backing, Russian equipment, Russian financing, Russian training and Russian troops".
As Ukraine burned again last weekend, Western leaders stubbornly stuck to their chosen path: No appeasement and no military action, just more economic sanctions against Russia. It's a sure-fire way to get more Ukrainians killed.
The ceasefire is a fiction, a thing of the past. The death toll, estimated at some 5,000 since fighting began last year, is rising again, and violence in eastern Ukraine is at its worst by a distance since the ceasefire was agreed last September.
You can learn a lot about someone from their delusions. Consider Vladimir Putin's comments on Jan. 26. Speaking to students at St. Petersburg, the Kremlin leader said the Ukrainian Army is not really the Ukrainian Army at all. Those soldiers fighting pro-Moscow separatists in Donbas? They're actually NATO's foreign legion.
On a number of occasions, the Ukrainian government claimed that the country is doing its best to boost its investment offering in the oil and gas sector.
Last Friday, The Victor Pinchuk Foundation hosted their annual Ukrainian event in Davos. It was truly extraordinary, bringing together the new Ukrainian leadership to discuss a total overhaul of Ukrainian society, with particular focus on increasing transparency, stamping out bureaucracy and corruption as well as promoting efficiency and Western practices.
Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post 20th anniversary series continues with the reminiscences of Stefan Korshak, a prolific Kyiv Post staff writer from 1997-2000. The American served in the U.S. Army and is a veteran war correspondent who makes his permanent home in Kyiv.
After a bloody weekend in eastern Ukraine that left 30 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded, ambassadors from Ukraine and NATO announced that they would hold a special meeting Monday, Jan. 26, to discuss the recent upswing in fighting near the strategic cities of Mariupol and Debaltseve.
A new Ukraine was born a year ago in the pro-European protests that helped to drive President Viktor F. Yanukovych from power. And today, the spirit that inspired hundreds of thousands to gather in the Maidan, Kiev’s Independence Square, is stronger than ever, even as it is under direct military assault from Russian forces supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.
There comes a time when prudence, patience, and reasonable discourse ends, and is replaced by weakness and whining. While the U.S. president and one European leader after another keeps threatening new sanctions; and while NATO keeps holding “reviews” and emergency sessions on reshuffling its troops; and while baseless assurances of “progress” in peace talks are articulated in Berlin, fierce fighting lights up the skies in the east. No one is fooled…least of all Russian President Vladimir Putin. The code of the KGB is the same as that of the Mafia: put up or shut up.
Monday's armed search of TV ATR was the most dramatic, but not the only offensive against the only Crimean Tatar TV channel since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 and appears part of mounting efforts to intimidate, silence or banish Crimean Tatars
Some have argued that little has changed in Ukraine since the Maidan "Revolution of Dignity" last year except for the faces of those who make up Ukraine’s political establishment. But the opposite is true: In stark contrast to life before Maidan, Ukraine’s leaders are now working hard for the good of our country.
A missle strike against the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Jan. 24 should have awakened Western leaders to the seriousness of Russia’s latest aggression in Ukraine.
In conflict, physical changes often happen quickly: a road is closed, an apartment block flattened. Mental changes, meanwhile, happen slowly and imperceptibly. It has taken a long time for the realisation to sink in that Ukraine's "crisis" is really a war, and quite possibly a long one.
Editor's Note: To counter Russian propaganda lies about the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula on Feb. 27, Dmitry Tymchuk has set up the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv. He served in the Army air defense from 1995-1998, the National Guard from 1998-2000 and in the Defense Ministry in subsequent years on missions to Iraq, Lebanon and Kosovo. His blogs are translated into English by Voices of Ukraine. The Kyiv Post has not independently verified his findings, but will correct any misinformation brought to our attention at email@example.com or 38-044-591-3344 or any of our contacts at www.kyivpost.com/contacts.