From Rick Rozoff
March 13, 2015
Ukraine, U.S. may start joint drills next week – Avakov
Ukraine and the United States may begin joint military exercises next week with the consent with the Ukrainian parliament, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said.
The U.S. government is ready to start the drills next week, he said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
“If the Verkhovna Rada votes for this decision on Tuesday [Mar. 17]– and I hope it will do so – regular units of the U.S. Armed Forces will come to us. They will have a long practice together with our National Guards in Yavoriv in Lviv region,” Avakov said.
As reported, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has tabled a bill in parliament to admit foreign servicemen for multinational exercises in Ukraine in 2015.
In keeping with the scheduled of the exercises, Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 drills March through November 2015. Up to 2,200 servicemen with weapons and military hardware are to participate: up to 200 men from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, up to 1,000 men from the National Guard of Ukraine, and up to 1,000 men from the U.S. Armed Forces.
From July to October 2015, the international center for peacekeeping and security in Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukrainian-U.S. Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015 exercises. The total number of participants will be up to 2,100 servicemen with weapons and military hardware. Namely, there will be up to 1,000 men from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, up to 500 men from the U.S. Armed Forces, and up to 600 from NATO member states and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program.
U.S. Army Europe
February 25, 2015
USAREUR commander visits with Sky Soldiers in Vicenza
By Staff Sgt. Opal Vaughn
VICENZA, Italy: “I want to talk you today about Strong Europe,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaking to paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade here on Feb. 24, 2015, about their role in Europe and what they represent.
“Think of it in terms of people, places and things,” said Hodges. “The people, that’s all of you paratroopers. You all play a vital role and we want to continue that.”
During his visit, Hodges observed the brigade’s preparation for its scheduled training mission in western Ukraine, providing feedback for paratroopers who will train the newly-formed Ukrainian National Guard.
Hodges emphasized the important role the 173rd Airborne plays in enabling the NATO Alliance through multinational exercises.
“When you train in all these exercises with your allies, you build relationships,” he said, referring to the brigade’s participation in exercises such as Operation Atlantic Resolve and the upcoming Swift Response and Saber Junction. “It is U.S. Army Europe’s contribution to Europe on behalf of the Army, NATO and all the components that we support.”
Strong Europe represents the strategic framework that Hodges introduced since taking command last year of the approximately 30,000 Soldiers forward stationed in Europe.
Training allows paratroopers from the 173rd to exercise their own quick-response procedures. As the Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, the brigade maintains the ability to deploy on short notice to conduct the full spectrum of operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility.
Posted on Fort Russ, January 27, 2015
Eduard Basurin (DPR) – Newsfront
Translated by Kristina Rus
DPR MOD Frontline Update
After a loss suffered on January 26, the enemy turned to offensive activities on separate fronts.
Fearing encirclement, Ukrainian forces are leaving the Debaltsevo ledge. On Donetsk front the enemy with the forces of the 25th airmobile brigade undertook unsuccessful attempts to attack Donetsk airport.
The attack has been repelled.
During the fighting militia burned 4 tanks and 4 BMD. The loss of live forces was up to 50 people killed.
On Debaltsevo front the enemy has unsuccessfully attempted to regain control over North Eastern part of Debaltsevo. Counter attack by NAF pushed UAF to its former positions.
On Mariupol front there were no active military operations.
Over the last 24 hours as a result of military operations total losses of security forces of Ukraine were: 21 tank, 14 BMP and BTR, 7 field artillery weapons, as well as up to 170 killed and wounded. 11 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered.
I want to emphasize that repeated announcements by Kiev about large losses of NAF is a typical propaganda fake. In a 40 million Ukraine, as is well known, losses of a thousand people are easy to hide for the Kiev junta.
We have a lot fewer people. We all know each other, we are all acquainted. Therefore such losses, if we really had them would be impossible to hide. We really do have losses, in the last weeks we lost 62 fighters, who we said are good byes to.
However, the losses of Ukrainian forces for the same period are not comparable – more then 1,100 people. The bodies of most of the killed Ukrainians are laying in the fields for more then a week. No one from the commanders of Ukrainian forces is trying to take them out.
More then 70 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered since January 9th.
We would like to bring to the attention of the world community and international organizations, the increasing shelling of our cities by the Ukrainian artillery, which leads to mass deaths among peaceful residents, including children.
The number of killed and wounded among the peaceful residents of Donetsk is in the hundreds.
Although for Poroshenko all of them are separatists.
Instead of objective and diligent investigation of these crimes with participation of representatives of OSCE, Ukrainian authorities continue to engage in propaganda demagogue and hide their own war crimes.
As a result the number of victims among the peaceful population is growing.
Ukrainian troops are demoralized, which is shown by unprecedented incident, which occurred last night.
During overnight clashes a wounded soldier from 128th separate mountain-infantry brigade had surrendered, and talked during questioning about the facts of using “zagradotriads” [army police] from the territorial battalions against Ukrainian soldiers. As a result of shooting at Ukrainian soldiers head on from the positions of the National Guard, more then 20 people died on the spot, several dozen more were wounded. The rest of the soldiers of the 128th brigade ran away, according to him.
During today we recorded 45 violations.
Due to shelling of the central districts of Gorlovka, 2 people were killed immediately, and 6 wounded. Among them – 2 children, 9 and 8 years old.
Today in Gorlovka, in the afternoon on Lenin Prospect, a driver (born in 1980) of a car was killed by shrapnel on the spot.
One person was killed in Donetsk, 2 wounded.
The losses of DPR army are: 3 killed, 12 wounded.
Also, I would like to point out that in Gorlovka during an attempt to put out fires, first responders were caught in shelling. They were unable to finish their job, and had to wait for about half an hour, and only after that they were able to live.
This is all I have for now.
Are there any injured first responders and do you have any details about the shooting of a bus driver?
There were no injured among the first responders. Regarding the driver of a bus #25, he is in a hospital in stable-serious condition. No one else was injured, we were lucky that there was no one else on the bus.
Could you comment on the situation in Zeranovka. There was a video from militia online. We would like to find out who controls this village now?
The message that you saw online is true, this locality is under the control of DPR. This is South-West of Gorlovka.
There was information online in the morning that UAF is completely controlling Peski and Avdeevka, and that our guys retreated.
No, this is not true. Peski is a neutral zone. Not one party controls it entirely. Part of Peski is controlled by the militia, part – by UAF. We never announced that we controlled Avdeevka, so the announcement by the Ukrainian side that we had left – how could we leave it, if we were never there? Yes, we are on the outskirts of Avdeevka.
When will the road from Gorlovka to Donetsk be safe for civilians?
UAF artillery has 50 km range, so until it is pushed far beyond Gorlovka, we can not talk about safety.
Has Mariyinka come under the control of the militia?
No, not entirely. 40% is controlled by the militia, the rest of the territory doesn’t belong to anyone, is under clashes.
How is the situation in Elenovka?
After the capture of this locality nothing else happened. Artillery shelling does continue.
You said that UAF is trying to return the control of North-Eastern district of Debaltsevo, does it mean that they had lost control over it?
If you look at the map carefully, the so-called Debaltsevo ledge, we call it the Debaltsevo Tongue, from two sides – DPR and LPR – certain activities are taking place in order to allow us to encircle this formation. UAF is trying to use various methods to avoid it. One of the methods is to leave some of the positions, which it used to control. If someone is retreating, then someone else is taking it.
Which positions did they vacate, and was it occupied by the militia?
I can not tell you everything, then it wouldn’t be interesting to come here tomorrow [laughter]
Have there been any new localities which were captured by DPR?
Azarianovka is completely under our control, this is what I can name. All the other localities I cannot name, because there are still clashes.
What are the hot spots?
Hot spots: Debaltsevo ledge is still under fighting. I know you are all waiting for the door to shut. For now it is not as easy to do, as we would like it to be. Here, in the area of Gorlovka highway. Krasny Partisan. There are other localities behind Krasny Partisan which have to be liberated, and taken under our control. Also those areas near the airport, and also those areas in the West, like Mariyinka. Besides this large town there are smaller localities.
Has UAF used aviation over the last 24 hours?
We have not recorded that.
What is the situation near Krasny Partisan?
It would be nice if it was faster, but it is not. You have to understand, UAF is resisting. We ask them not to resist, but they are resisting [smiling]. You know these cases of shooting, we recorded them even before. The territorial battalions were created for the cities. And then they were sent here. They were supposed to serve only on the territory of their own city. In the summer, in the fall, when there were active military oiperations, when these qualdrons were created, they wanted to surrender in large quantities. And we fixated that they were shot. We always reported this. Now this repeated again. When this happens again they will put up resistance. We recorded that nationalist battalions and the army were shooting at each other, they had some kind of fighting between each other. It is very difficult to hide such facts. They have cell phones, yes their cellphones are taken away. But they will find a way to report to their friends and family, that they were shot, by their own. And we will help, you will help, this is why you are here. This is how we can shake up this situation. So that there are not just single cases, when a mother learns about her child, when he is captured here, but does not let him go in the first place. The more protests there are in Ukraine the fewer Ukrainian soldiers will die.
Did the militia shell the city of Svetlodar? Ukrainian soldiers report that there was shelling of a hospital of that city, with some injured. It’s near Debaltsevo, towards Artemovsk.
You know, on one hand, Ukrainian military announces a lot of interesting things. On the other hand this is war. Nevertheless, all commanders know that shelling of populated areas were civilians reside is banned. I have nothing else to say about this. We are not there. This is only reported by Ukrainian journalists, there are no other journalists there, they are not allowed there
[Many Russian journalists are banned from Ukraine, and are subject to arrest and deportation. The media and TV channels are controlled by the oligarchs in power, such as Poroshenko and Kolomoisky].
Whether this happened or not we can find out only when we get there.
Posted on Fort Russ, January 3, 2015
Vajag_2007 – Live Journal
Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus
A large number of well-equipped, armed men on “Kraz” trucks arrived to Odessa train station.
According to the publication “Dumskaya”, at least two columns entered the city: from Tairov and through the village Kotovsky.
As explained by the press service of the Odessa police, “gunners which scared the citizens are soldiers of the National Guard, who will participate in the anti-terrorist crime-prevention sweep of the city.”
“They will patrol the streets together with the police, special battalion (former “Berkut”), the state security service, police and other security forces,” – said the head of the Department Vladimir Shablienko.
As reported by “Politnavigator” earlier the Odessa Police HQ announced the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation. During their duty police officers will stop and check suspicious persons, inspect personal belongings – informed the Odessa police.
A few days ago, the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Alexey Goncharenko from “Poroshenko Block” said that Kyiv has retained control of Odessa only due to the position of pro-Ukrainian forces, which on May 2 did not allow the pro-Russian citizens to stage a “Russian spring”.
“Odessa was the first city that gave resistance to the separatists. On May 2nd in Odessa, when an attempt was made to disperse a pro-Ukrainian march and seize the Odessa administration building, it was stopped not by police, not by the SBU, not by the national guard, but by ordinary Odessans, which came to the city centre. And this is very important,” – said Goncharenko.
In October 2014 the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko denied the opportunity of militia’s advance in the direction of Odessa. According to him, Odessa in the Western and Russian media is now called “a banderite city”.
“Democracy” was one of the main goals declared by the Maidan movement, which promised a better future for Ukrainians. Not only the leaders of Maidan toppled a democratically elected president, but also marginalized, silenced, murdered and prosecuted a large part of Ukrainian population, just for their political beliefs – not wanting to sell out the country to the Western handlers and instead wanting to maintain the close ties with Russia, which were built over centuries, and not wanting to worship a war-criminal Stepan Bandera who inspired a brutal mass murder of 100’s of thousands men, woman and children, because they weren’t Ukrainian in the Volyn Massacre. Instead of an all-inclusive dialog and political process the opposition to the new government is dealt with by force. It is no surprise that force is the only tool that the opposition is left to resort to in the absence of a political solution. The question remains, what has changed recently which led to such a radical response by the Ukrainian government? The answer could range from an increase of a threat to the authorities on the ground to a general intensification of a crack down across the potential “hot spots” in South-Eastern Ukraine due to an influx of nationalist military commanders in the Ukrainian government, who successfully advocated for an increase in the funding for the military as of January 1, 2015 on the backs of the vulnerable sectors of the population.
View the grim photograph below which may be more clearly seen on RT’s website.
Reminder: the California National Guard has been training and working with the Ukrainian National Guard for over 20 years, and was honored by the California legislature this year.
From Russia Today, October 2, 2014
There is irrefutable evidence that the National Guard and ultra-nationalist Right Sector fighters are responsible for the murder of people recently discovered in mass burial sites near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine said Russia’s Investigative Committee.
“For those who have doubts regarding who’s responsible for these murders, the Investigative Committee has irrefutable evidence – witness accounts and appropriate examinations – that directly indicates that this crime was committed by fighters from the National Guard and Right Sector,” the committee’s head Vladimir Markin in a statement on Wednesday.
The mass graves discovered in September near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine “are further eloquent testimony to the atrocities of the Ukrainian nationalists,” Markin said, adding that “all of the victims were tortured before their murder.”
The murders were described in detail in the testimony of a soldier from the ‘Dnepr’ battalion, Sergey Litvinov, detained in a Russian hospital as a civilian after he fled Ukraine, Markin said. Currently Litvinov is under arrest and is to be transferred to Moscow for further questioning, he added.
Litvinov “personally killed civilians not involved in the military conflict, including women and children residents of the villages Melovoye, Shiroky, Makarovo and Kamushnoye, guided by anonymous denunciations,” Markin said, quoting the soldier’s testimony.
“What is more interesting that this fighter received a money reward for the killings from his leadership sponsored by Igor Kolomoysky,” Markin said, referring the Kiev-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor and prominent oligarch.
“We know the names of many of the commanders of military units, the militants of the Right Sector and the National Guard, who carry out criminal orders of the military and political leadership of Ukraine,” Markin said, adding that all of them will sooner or later have to answer “not only before the law, but also to their own conscience.”
In the Wednesday statement the spokesman of the Investigative Committee stressed that all information and evidence of the crimes is provided by direct witnesses, primarily refugees who fled the region of military operations.
There are over 300,000 refugees who fled to Russia, according to Markin. Over 60,000 were questioned and 12,000 of them were confirmed to be victims, he added.
“In addition to eyewitness accounts, many victims have provided evidence to the Russian Investigative Committee and evidence in the form of soil samples, genetic material. These samples were thoroughly examined, confirming the testimony of witnesses and victims themselves.”
Markin slammed Ukraine’s General Prosecutor’s Office for failing to carry out its own investigation.
“What prevented andis preventing them now from conducting their own investigation into the massacres of the civilian population and to try to protect the innocent population of Donbass instead of makinghysterical statements about the alleged ‘interference’ in the affairs of a sovereign republic?” he questioned.
The discovery of the graves was made on September 23 by self-defense forces, who were responding to information given to them by locals, who said that they had been dug by Ukrainian government forces. The OSCE confirmed the finding on September 25 and reported its concerns to the European Union.
A Donetsk People’s Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves of peaceful residents discovered near Mine 22 “Kommunar” outside Donetsk (still from video courtesy of the Ruptly international news agency.)
Ukraine: Strong Evidence Right Sector, National Guard Linked to Killings and Mass Graves Near Donetsk
Lavrov: 400 Bodies Found in Ukraine Mass Graves Are Evidence of War Crime
Posted at Ria Novosti, 1 October, 2014
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that more than 400 bodies have been discovered in mass graves near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, in what he described as “horrific” evidence that pointed to a war crime.
“This is obviously a war crime. Already more than 400 bodies have been discovered in [mass] graves outside Donetsk and we hope that western capitals will not hush up these facts [because] they’re horrific,” Lavrov said, adding there was an apparent blackout of the incident in Western mass media.
Last week, several mass graves filled with bodies of massacred civilians and independence supporters, killed execution-style, were unearthed 35 kilometers northeast of Donetsk.
“I expect [to hear] a clear, unbiased and responsible response from international organizations. OSCE is already working at the scene. We will make the truth known and, of course, make sure that the justice is done,” Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.
Speaking at PACE’s fall session in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Russian lawmaker Olga Kazakova called on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to keep an eye on the investigation into this horrendous massacre.
The independence supporters of southeastern Ukraine believe that the civilians were murdered by the National Guard fighters who had stayed in the village of Nyzhnia Krynka, near the city of Donetsk, where the graves had been discovered, since April. Ukrainian authorities later denied this accusation, saying that not a single National Guard fighter had been in the area, adding however that some other Ukrainian units were deployed there at the time.
Lavrov commented on Kiev’s recent claim to conduct an open and impartial probe of the alleged massacre as soon as it regained control of the area, saying it was pure hypocrisy because “these crimes were obviously perpetrated there at the time when Ukrainian security forces were in control of this region.”
Re-posted 10-1-14 at