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Posts : 13099
Join date : 2015-05-20
Location : United States

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News -

The EU and Turkey have closed airspace to Russia. It's reported below. Will they have another event like what happened in Turkey, elsewhere in Europe? Does the Kremlin really want to start a WWlll, when involved in not only Ukraine, but also in Syria. They're so strapped for money now. It would be a disaster for them to start another war, especially against NATO, which has vastly improved their standings recently. IMO, the US alone can defeat Russia's weak military forces.

The EU officially approved visa-free travel for Ukraine. It was reported, it will start around May-July. Seems a priority will be to improve its own borders from the nearby countries.

The EU also approved the 6 month extension on sanctions against Russia. Overall, things aren't looking good for Russia.

Russia has actually broken agreements with the Geneva Convention, which calls for no killing of civilian masses as they've been doing in Syria recently. Plenty of proof documented, but I doubt international courts will press charges against them, due to fear.

Weather -

Today's real feel temperature currently in Kyiv is around 36f and cloudy. Sunday night will drop below 36f and foggy.

Last edited by Admin on Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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The United States will increase the level of financial support to Ukraine in 2016. The amount may exceed $ 658 million.
The relevant law was signed by President Barack Obama, reports "New Time".

Consolidated Law on budget allocations for 2016 (Consolidated Appropriations Act - 2016) consists of 12 of the individual allocations for the agency.

According to the law, the amount of appropriations to the State Department to help Ukraine for 2016 financial year will be at least $ 658,185,000, or $ 145 million more than the original request.

"Together, the funds allocated to the State Department and the US Department of Defense, can be used to program the military policy of assistance to Ukraine may exceed the sum of $ 300 million, which was included in the budget for the needs of national defense. These provisions include the $ 250 million allocated Ukraine through the US Department of Defense, "- said in a statement.

Funds allocated by the US Defense Department may be directed to the exercises, the provision of military equipment, lethal defensive weapons, logistic support, supplies and services, intelligence support for the armed forces and structures of national security of Ukraine.

As previously wrote "The Observer", the United States suddenly gave Putin tens of millions of dollars.
During the September meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York, US President Barack Obama has invited the head of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to end the conflict over Ukraine.

This was the Russian TV program "Vesti on Saturday", said US Secretary of State John Kerry, said "Gordon."

"In New York, I was witness to the meeting between Putin and Obama. President Obama has looked at Putin and then said bluntly:" Vladimir, let's get this over with, let's stop the conflict over Ukraine. Help us to deal with it, realizing the Minsk agreement ", - he said.

According to Kerry, the Ukrainian authorities to carry out the agreement in Minsk. At the same time, OSCE observers still can not get access to the territory controlled by the rebels. "We still do not see the return of the hostages, did not see that the heavy artillery assigned to those items, where it should be," - said US Secretary of State.

As reported by the "Observer", formerly US ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt said that the Ukrainian military during the celebration of Christmas and New Year should not give the Russians an excuse to resume hostilities. In Russian

Last edited by Admin on Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly stated that “we have never denied that there are people [in Ukraine] resolving various tasks, including in the military sphere”, his Press Secretary has claimed that the President was “misinterpreted”.

As reported, Putin was answering a question from Ukrainian UNIAN correspondent Roman Tsymbalyuk who began by sending him greetings from the two Russian military intelligence officers captured in the Luhansk oblast and then asked if Moscow planned to exchange them for Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainians held prisoner in Russia. He also pointed out that the Minsk Agreements had not been implemented by any side and asked whether Putin was planning a new offensive or whether he might leave Ukraine in peace for a while.

Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, together with such Kremlin-funded media as Russia Today (RT) have concentrated only on the above-quoted sentence, circumspectly omitting Putin’s later words in which, like any kidnapper, he counted the prisoners on each side, and insisted that the exchange must be “of equal value” (discussed in detail here)

Putin was certainly aware that the two Russians named, Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Aleksandr Aleksandrov stated repeatedly in May and later that they were serving Russian military intelligence [GRU] officers. They repeated this, without Ukrainian officials present, to representatives of the OSCE Monitoring Mission, to Sergei Krivenko, a well-known Russian human rights activist and member of the Human Rights Council under Russia’s President; to Pavel Kanygin from the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta who first spoke to the men on May 22 and then visited them again at the end of the month. This is not to mention considerable evidence presented by the Ukrainian investigators, testimony by the Ukrainian soldiers who took the men prisoner and the interview they gave the Kyiv-based journalist Savik Shuster.

It was indeed unexpected that Putin should have disregarded the official version which is that the men resigned from their posts at the end of 2014, and signed contracts to work in the militia of the so-called ‘Luhansk people’s republic’. It was not the first time, however, that Putin has openly admitted to having lied. In the film on Crimea marking the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion and annexation, Putin openly refuted his own previous denial that Russian soldiers were involved.

Putin went on to say that there are no regular troops there, however, and expected his listeners to “feel the difference”.

They did not, and the Kremlin is now doubtless feeling aggrieved, but this does not make Peskov’s ‘correct interpretation’ any more convincing.

He asserts that “Russian citizens have gone to the south-east of Ukraine at their own wish, and nobody sent any military specialists there”.

“A war was waging there. People went there to fight. They shot and took part in military activities. That is the military sphere”, Putin’s press secretary claimed.

The words are reported by the Russian Interfax agency which obligingly reported only that “Putin had stated that Russian citizens are present on Ukrainian territory, but one is not talking of the regular Russian army.”

By late afternoon on Thursday, the Kremlin-funded Russia Today TV channel was also pushing the line that Putin’s comments had been “twisted by Western media”. Amusingly, however, after correctly quoting the relevant words, their obliging western ‘experts’ had difficulty explaining what had been “misreported”, but one, Neil Clark, certainly seemed in no doubt that Putin had meant military advisors.

It has now been established that a Russian-made BUK missile positioned on territory under Kremlin-backed militant control shot down the Malaysian airliner MH17 on July 17, 2014. Hopefully the question of whether Russian military trainers were provided with the sophisticated surface to air missile carrier or whether the militants were left to their own devices will one day be assessed by a war crimes tribunal.

A recent study carried out by Ukrainian human rights groups found that both Russian military servicemen and mercenaries were directly implicated in the torture of Ukrainian prisoners, both soldiers and civilians. More than 87% of soldiers and 50% of civilians taken prisoner had been subjected to torture or ill-treatment. In over 40% of these cases, key roles had been played by men who identified themselves as Russian military personnel or mercenaries.

Russian human rights activists have also been active in probing the involvement, often forced, of Russian conscript or contract soldiers, and the deaths of many of them, almost certainly in Donbas.

Earlier in December, Sergei Krivenko, the above-mentioned member of the Russian Human Rights Council, informed that he and colleagues are demanding a proper investigation into the sharp increase in Russian soldiers’ deaths during the second half of 2014. This covers the period when western journalists were demonstrating long columns of Russian military trucks heading to the militant-controlled part of the Russian-Ukrainian border, and NATO and most western countries were reporting significant Russian military engagement in Ukraine. .....................

To read further go to this link:
The combined Russian-separatist forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in eastern Ukraine 59 times overnight, the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) wrote on Facebook early Saturday.

"The situation in the Donbas conflict zone remains tense. Around noon on December 18, the pro-Russian illegal armed groups fired Grad multiple rocket launchers twice on ATO forces. They launched seven unguided rocket missiles on the Ukrainian defenders near the village of Troyitske in Luhansk region," the press center said.

The intensity of armed provocations by the Russian-backed hybrid gangs increased significantly in the evening.

From 18:00 until now, the Ukrainian armed forces have recorded 40 attacks in the direction of their fortified positions, while six of them were carried out after midnight.

The militants fired 82mm mortars twice in the direction of the village of Zaitseve and the town of Krasnohorivka. In addition, the Ukrainian positions near the towns of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka were under intense fire from the small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns. For the sake of their own lives and safety of local residents, the Ukrainian soldiers were forced to open fire in response from the allowed weapons, after which the invaders stopped firing.........................

To read further go to this link:
The decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the suspension of a free trade area (FTA) agreement between the CIS and Ukraine from January 1, 2016 confirms the political character of Russia's claims to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Olena Zerkal has said.

"[On Monday] a meeting of ministries will be held and its main goal is to fix the violation regarding the adoption of this decree, and how the sides will communicate in the future," she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Saturday.

She said that after enacting the decree on the suspension of the CIS FTA with Ukraine Putin violated all of international law canons.

Zerkal said that at the trilateral ministerial meeting Ukraine, Russia and EU will discuss how to act in the future and what we've done during 15 rounds of technical talks.

"Each time we tried to answer to Russia to its worries, but its worries are not linked to economic issues, this is only the political reaction," Zerkal said.........................

To read further go to this link:
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt called on Ukrainian military servicemen not to give a handle to Russia to resume hostilities in Donbas during the New Year and Christmas holidays.

The Defense Ministry of Ukraine wrote on its Facebook page on Saturday that Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff Viktor Muzhenko held a protocol meeting with Maj. Gen. David W. Allvin, Director for Strategy and Policy at the Headquarters of the U.S. European Command, and Pyatt...................

To read further go to this link:
Residents in 'LPR'-controlled Novooleksandrivka village said they had been without any electricity for about 18 months.

The OSCE SMM's last report reads, Censor.NET reports citing 112 Channel.

The SMM's representatives spoke with civilians living in areas near the front line. Residents (12 women and men between 20-70 years old) in 'LPR'-controlled Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk city) told the OSCE SMM they had been without any electricity for 18 months and were also without gas supply as a result of damage caused by shelling. They added that, as they have no coal, they use wood from a nearby forest - believed to be mined - for heating.

The SMM observed an increase in ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared to previous days. The SMM encountered restrictions to its freedom of movement, including to a border area not controlled by the Government. The SMM continued to facilitate the enabling of repairs between government and non-government-controlled areas in the Donetsk region. In Russian
Embassy of Ukraine states that the consolidated law on budget allocations for 2016 provided 658 million dollars the State Department of the United States to help Ukraine.

This is stated in the message of the embassy, ​​reports Tsenzor.NET. The report notes that on December 18 the Act was approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. "The provision for the needs of the State Department assistance to Ukraine for the 2016 financial year will be at least 658 mln 185 thous. US dollars, 145 million dollars more than the original request, "- said in a statement. In addition, the report stresses that ovokupno funds which are allocated to the State Department and the US Department of Defense and can be used on programs of military assistance to Ukraine may exceed the amount of $ 300 million., which was incorporated in the budget for the needs of national defense. These provisions include the $ 250 million allocated through the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the United States and may be directed, in particular ,: exercises, the provision of military equipment, lethal defensive weapons, logistic support, supplies and services, intelligence support for the armed forces and national security structures Ukraine. In Russian
On December 18, 2015 President Barack Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 passed by the Congress earlier that day.

According to the Act, the U.S. assistance to Ukraine will significantly increase, Censor.NET reports citing Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America.

Of the funds appropriated by the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2016, constituting part of the omnibus legislation, not less than $658,185,000 shall be made available for assistance for Ukraine, which is $145 million above the initial request.

Combined with resources from other funds that may become available for the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense, the total amount of funds for the defense and security assistance to Ukraine may exceed the authorized level of $300 millions allocated for Ukraine in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2016. These appropriations also include $250 millions to be available to the Secretary of Defense to provide Ukraine with assistance, including training; equipment; lethal weapons of a defensive nature; logistics support, supplies and services; sustainment; and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine.

Another important provision of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 lifts a 40-year ban on the national crude oil exports. The decision will also assist efforts to strengthen the European energy security, as well as to decrease Ukraine's reliance on the Russian energy resources. In Russian

Last edited by Admin on Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total
European Commission Report on the implementation of visa-free regime plan for Ukraine is final and assumes no additional requirements for Kyiv.

Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal said at a briefing today, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform.

"All these bold speculations and interpretations of the obligations of Ukraine, have nothing to do with what the report really means. This report is a final one; it won't be expanded. We continue to work only within the framework of the Association Agreement," Zerkal said.

She explained that the report contains a recommendation of the European Commission for the EU Council to repeal obtaining of the short-term visas by Ukrainian citizens who wanted to visit the European Union.

Henceforth, these recommendations will be considered and discussed on the official level by different EU members.

"If a question arises, if some countries have doubts about the readiness of Ukraine to ensure, for example, border security, this issue shall be discussed once again," Zerkal clarified the procedure. In Russian
European Union and Turkey closed theirs airspace for long-range aviation of the Russian Federation.

Major-General Anatoliy Konovalov, deputy commander of the long-range air forces of the Russian Federation, told journalists at a briefing, Censor.NET reports citing RIA News.

"Olenegorsk - is ours the northernmost airfield that allows us to increase reach range and refueling possibilities. But the European Union and Turkey do not allow us to enter their airspace," Konovalov said. In Russian
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