UkraineAlert


Could Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in six weeks produce representatives from eastern Ukraine who might provide a clear alternative voice for that region, distinct from those of the thuggish, Kremlin-sponsored “people’s republics?” If so, that could offer President Petro Poroshenko a set of credible, more moderate interlocutors to bring into negotiations to come over the east’s political future within Ukraine.

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Petro Poroshenko Will Ask Congress' Support in Getting US Weapons


President Petro Poroshenko arrives in Washington this week at the most perilous moment in the history of independent Ukraine. After the Kremlin’s months of attacking Ukraine with its proxy militias, it directly invaded southeast Ukraine last month with thousands of regular Russian army troops, thus halting the Ukrainian forces’ advances in regaining control over the region. NATO's reluctance at its summit this month to respond to President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine (and his threat to eastern members of the Alliance) forced Poroshenko to accept reluctantly a cease-fire that leaves Moscow’s forces in control of much of the Donbas region and positions them to move deeper into Ukraine.

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A Strategic City Prepares Its Defense; But if Truce Fails, Its Fate Will be Uncertain


Amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, no city is watching the viability of the fragile cease-fire with more apprehension than Ukraine’s second-largest seaport, Mariupol. That is because the city, home to steel mills and, normally, a half-million residents, will likely become an immediate and intense battleground if the fighting resumes. Russian troops and their allied militias in southeastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province launched an offensive toward the city last week just before the truce was declared.

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Inaction by US and NATO to Russia's August Incursion Showed Putin He Could Invade Ukraine


History books to be written about the Ukraine crisis and the Battle for Donbas will likely record as a military turning point the battle on September 5 for the town of Ilovaisk. A massive, pinpoint-accurate artillery barrage, using high-tech reconnaissance and targeting, killed hundreds of the Ukrainian troops who had been closing in on nearby Donetsk, the headquarters of the Russian-backed rebellion. That precisely guided rain of shell and rocket fire shattered Ukraine’s offensive, and was beyond the capability of the ill-trained, informal militias of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic.” It is probably beyond the realm of any doubt that this assault was part of Russia’s direct military intervention in Ukraine.

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Nadiya Savchenko Will Refuse to Submit to 'Illegal' Exam, Her Lawyer Says


A Russian court has sent Ukrainian soldier and pilot Nadiya Savchenko for a “forensic psychiatric evaluation” at the Moscow institute where Soviet authorities for years performed abusive treatments on political dissidents. Savchenko says she will refuse to submit to the examination, which she condemns as illegal, according to a hand-written statement made public by her lawyer.

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A Cease-Fire, if It Holds, Could Let the Kremlin Strengthen Its Grip on the Donbas Region


When Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko attended the NATO Summit on Friday, it was clear that the Alliance had chosen not to offer his country the weapons it needs to fight the Russian troops and paramilitaries who have invaded his country, Atlantic Council experts say. So as Poroshenko accepted instead the symbolic support of a meeting with President Barack Obama and other NATO leaders, he instructed his government to accept a risky Plan B: a cease-fire and negotiations with Russia that could give the Kremlin effective control of much of Ukraine’s industrial center.

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Russia’s Former Deputy Prime Minister Explains to Ukrainians Why His Government Has Invaded Their Country Again


With Russia again having escalated its war on Ukraine last month (sending in paratroopers from its 76th and 98th Airborne Divisions, plus armor and artillery), few are asking what is really driving the Kremlin’s military campaign in Ukraine’s southeast.

Boris Nemtsov, Russia’s former deputy prime minister and a leading opposition politician, writes this week on the independent Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda that Russian President Vladimir Putin is prosecuting this war to preserve his own position in power – and to avoid winding up in jail. Writing as a Russian to his Ukrainian readers, Nemtsov declares, “This is not our war, this is not your war, this is not the war of 20-year old paratroopers sent to Ukraine. This is Vladimir Putin's war.”

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky Calls for General Strike in Russia to Protest Invasion


The Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chairman of Yukos, once Russia’s biggest oil company, is speaking out against the toll that the Kremlin’s undeclared war on Ukraine is taking on Russians. Khodorkovsky, a Putin foe who spent nearly ten years in prison on politically motivated tax charges, published a statement on his website today entitled “We could and can stop this.” A general strike, he says, could do so.

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Russian military officials stood at a cemetery surrounded by forest in far northwestern Russia, early Tuesday morning, and carefully vetted the army officers, soldiers and family members arriving for a funeral to be held in secrecy. Two paratroopers from Russia’s 76th Airborne Division were to be buried. They died last week – no one would say where or how – just a day or two after President Vladimir Putin decorated their unit for “carrying out combat missions with courage and heroism.”

Putin was silent on what that mission is.

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As Media Harden Their Accounts of Russia’s Assault, Will the West Harden Its Response?

Russia’s attacks into Ukraine this week (exactly six months after its troops began their invasion of Crimea) are bringing the actual word ”invasion” into media headlines. Atlantic Council analysts and others say the key question now is how hard a response the US and its allies will muster, notably by the NATO Summit in Wales that opens in seven days.

Russian President Vladimir “Putin is again raising the ante,” with just the latest of many escalations in Russia’s attack on Ukraine, said Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky. “If the West does not respond with significant lethal military aid to Ukraine and with broad sanctions on entire sectors of Russia’s economy, Putin will view it as open license to expand his now-transparent invasion. By contrast, such a focused reaction from the West can open the door to a real negotiation between Russia and Ukraine.”

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