by Dish Staff
NATO claims that Russian artillery have been moved into Ukraine over the past few days and are now firing on Ukrainian forces:
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in a statement from Brussels, said the group has “also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.” Rasmussen condemned Moscow for allowing an ostensibly humanitarian economic convoy to enter Ukraine with no involvement from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which typically coordinates such missions. He went on to blame Russia for escalating tensions with a military buildup along the Ukrainian border.
The European Union commission urged Russia to “reverse its decision.” The Pentagon told Russia to “remove its vehicles immediately.” But the “or else” threats from the West have been piling up for months in the Ukrainian crisis. And Putin suspects that Ukraine will not fire on the convoy, which would give Russia a pretext for more direct intervention. Putin also knows the European Union and U.S. are unlikely to directly intervene, as they are looking to calm tensions in the region and for a possible cease-fire. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are scheduled to meet next week in Minsk, Belarus, the first time the two will have met face-to-face since June. It’s the best chance in a while that European leaders have seen to defuse the crisis.
“Meanwhile, Russia has been losing on the military front in southeast Ukraine. So the advantage to Russia is to get the humanitarian convoy in and sit there, making it much more difficult for the Ukrainian government to defeat the separatists. The separatists, in turn, can take the time to rearm and reorganize,” Bremmer told Business Insider in an email. “Putin just called Ukraine’s bluff … and Ukraine (wisely, in my view) has chosen not to attack the convoy,” Bremmer added. “But that means what we’ve known all along. Putin was never going to allow Ukraine to ‘win’ this conflict. We’re back to the long game.”
Naturally, the Kremlin and its supporters are spinning the situation a bit differently:
But the indispensable Interpreter, which has been documenting Russian military incursions into Ukraine for some time now, clears up a few things about who the aggressor is:
Despite the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statements that Moscow is working to bring peace to eastern Ukraine while Kiev and the West are working to continue the conflict, two things should be noted. The first is that Kiev, with the cooperation of the International Red Cross, have already delivered an aid convoy to Lugansk within the last week. The delivery of that convoy was incident free. Russia, on the other hand, has been pouring weapons and soldiers across the border and has continued to build an invasion force just kilometers from Ukraine (here’s just yesterday’s evidence of that buildup). In the last week Ukrainian positions have been laced with artillery and mortars which are firing from inside Russian territory. Ukrainian soldiers say that they have orders not to fire back, and are taking heavy losses as a result.