Author Topic: Ukraine - Superthread  (Read 770818 times)

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Offline MilEME09

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A good article that sums up some of the reforms in Ukraine

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Ukraine is making progress against tough odds. It deserves US support.

Building a democracy isn’t easy, even in the best of circumstances. As a diplomat for over 40 years, I have seen firsthand how difficult it has been for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to overcome the legacy of Soviet authoritarianism, root out corruption, and establish free societies and market economies based on the rule of law.

No country in this region has faced more formidable challenges than Ukraine.

In the 25 years after achieving independence in 1991, Ukraine squandered many opportunities for reform, disappointing the aspirations of its people for a European future based on justice, prosperity and accountable leaders and institutions. When former President Viktor Yanukovych, yielding to Russian pressure, suspended Ukraine's negotiations on partnership with the European Union in late 2013, the Ukrainian people made it clear that they had had enough.

Their frustration led to the Revolution of Dignity on Kyiv's Maidan square, Yanukovych's flight to Russia and, a few months later, the election of new, reformist leaders led by current President Petro Poroshenko.

Since that time, however, Ukraine has had to continue the reform process with a gun to its head, both literally and figuratively.

It has not been easy for Ukraine to start a reform process from the ground up, especially while it has been fighting to protect its freedom and independence from Russian aggression.

Russia has worked to undermine Ukraine through its illegal annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of an armed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, coupled with economic intimidation and misinformation campaigns. Russia's actions are designed to portray Ukraine as a failed state that doesn't deserve support from the larger international community.

 

Yet, remarkably, Ukraine has persevered and is on the right track. Ukraine has embarked on a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign to dismantle the institutional roadblocks that have thwarted reform in the past. With a focus on law enforcement, the civil service, public procurement and the energy sector, more institutions have been reformed in the last two years then in the preceding 23.

Addressing one of the most troublesome aspects of its own government, a new Ukraine National Police was formed in an effort to completely restructure an institution previously known for its corruption. The new police force has been launched in 32 cities thus far, and includes over 12,000 new officers.

Coupled with legal reforms, Ukraine has established new professional and ethical requirements, requiring evaluations of the performance of judges and consistent and secure handling of judicial files. Ukraine has also established several new institutions designed to investigate cases of corruption.

And to ensure its National Anti-Corruption Bureau, National Anti-Corruption Policy Council and National Agency for Prevention of Corruption serve the public interest, the country has conducted an open hiring process meant to give priority to true reformers.

Ukraine has also worked to hold its own politicians accountable to their constituents by instituting a mandatory online assets declaration. Officials from Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman down to lower-level civil servants are now required to publicly declare and describe all assets they possess inside and outside of the country, as well as assets officially registered in the name of relatives. Attempts to conceal finances over the equivalent of $14,000 carry criminal liability.

The country has also cut its bloated civil servant corps, reducing its ranks by 16 percent, which in turn has increased efficiency, curbed graft and reined in government procurement, saving the country $1.2 billion to date.

Equally important as government reforms is Ukraine's effort to strengthen its economy through energy independence. By establishing an independent regulator, Ukraine has adjusted its utility rates to market levels, and slashed energy subsidies by 10 percent of its gross domestic product.

Not only has this saved the country billions and closed loopholes previously used for corruption; it has also ended Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia.

While collectively, these reforms have brought a much higher level of transparency and scrutiny to the country, democracy in Ukraine is still a work in progress, with more still to accomplish. Decentralization of power to the regions must still be carried out, and inter-institutional scuffles and remnants of the old guard must still be overcome.

But with continued encouragement and engagement by the international community, Ukraine can succeed.

It is of paramount importance that Ukraine be given the support it needs to foster democracy and overcome its post-Soviet legacy. The United States has been a leader in this regard, thanks to strong bipartisan support for Ukraine within Congress. Ukraine deserves continued political, economic and military support, including the possibility of lethal military assistance should Russia and its separatist proxies continue their aggression in Eastern Ukraine — a conflict that has claimed the lives of 10,000 Ukrainian citizens.

A sovereign, democratic Ukraine finds itself undermined at every turn by a provocative Russian neighbor desperate to see it fail, yet Ukraine is moving forward against all odds.

The Ukrainian people know firsthand how hard it is to build a democracy. They deserve our reassurance they are not in this alone.

Alexander Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and an adviser to Rasmussen Global. He was NATO deputy secretary general from 2012 to 2016, and previously assistant secretary of Defense and U.S. ambassador to NATO, Russia and South Korea.
http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/319863-ukraine-is-making-progress-against-tough-odds-it-deserves-us


slashing the energy dependence on russia, and saving billions from efficiency and anti-corruption measures, that said Ukraine did just declare a state of emergency due to energy consumption, and word that coal is being important from eastern Ukraine. Protestors are now blocking rail lines used to transport that coal and calling it criminal that the government is buying coal from the separatist regions.
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slashing the energy dependence on russia, and saving billions from efficiency and anti-corruption measures, that said Ukraine did just declare a state of emergency due to energy consumption, and word that coal is being important from eastern Ukraine. Protestors are now blocking rail lines used to transport that coal and calling it criminal that the government is buying coal from the separatist regions.
And when the President says "Participants of “blockade” in the east (keeping coal from separatist areas out of western Ukraine) first of all cause damage to the state," you know it's a ... complex situation.
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“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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A few tidbits ...
  • Eastern UKR separatists:  we're good to go to take ground from Ukrainian forces.
  • Russia"... "Of course, such statements are not in line with the Minsk agreements," Russian Presidential Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Friday. "On the other hand, unfortunately, this could be the emotional background, which accompanies the tensions we can see along the separation line and which emerged after the aggressive actions by the Ukrainian armed forces and individual units."..."
  • UKR separatists:  By the way, if Ukraine won't give you an amnesty for what you've done during the war, we'll be happy to oblige you (links to statement in Russian).
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“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

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And when the President says "Participants of “blockade” in the east (keeping coal from separatist areas out of western Ukraine) first of all cause damage to the state," you know it's a ... complex situation.
More on the complexity that is the "UKR has to buy coal (and iron ore) from occupied areas to survive, but there's a blockade right now" story ...
A short think-tank (Jamestown Foundation) summary on the forces at play in the "coal/iron ore from occupied areas" fracas here.

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More offers of help from the separatists to Ukrainian-held areas ...
Rejigging the narrative further, this from separatist media:
"United Donbass Foundation, An Organization To Help Our Compatriots Living In The Occupied Part Of Donbass, “You Are Not Forgotten” "

Also, more of those pesky foreign (including Canadian) mercenaries mentioned in Russian army media (screen capture of photo of alleged mercs attached) -- one translation (pro-RUS source) here ...
Quote
Several hundreds of foreign mercenaries arrived to the contact line in Donbass, stated the official representative of People's militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) Andrey Marochko to journalists at a briefing.

"According to available information, several hundred mercenaries from Canada, the Baltics, Poland, and Georgia arrived at the settlements located near the contact line, armed with small arms and light armored vehicles" reported the representative of the People's militia.

According to him, field camps were placed in various settlements where foreign military instructors train fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are armed with small arms corresponding to those used by NATO.  Marochko specified that the mercenaries train snipers, and carry out training for sweeping in urban conditions, and also train sabotage groups, which are planned to subsequently be sent to Donbass.
... with a Google Translate version of the Russian mil article here:
Quote
LNR has declared arrival of hundreds foreign mercenaries to a contact line in Donbass

Several hundred foreign mercenaries arrived to the contact line in the Donbass, an official representative of the People's Militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) Andrei Marochko told reporters at a briefing.

"According to available information, several hundred mercenaries from Canada, the Baltic states, Poland and Georgia, armed with small arms and lightly armored vehicles, arrived in the settlements near the line of contact, " the representative of the People's Militia said.

According to him, field camps are located in various localities, where foreign military instructors train fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are armed with small arms that match the NATO models.

Marochko said that the mercenaries are training snipers, are trained in sweep operations in urban conditions, and also train sabotage groups, which are later planned to be sent to the Donbass.
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Rejigging the narrative further, this from separatist media:
"United Donbass Foundation, An Organization To Help Our Compatriots Living In The Occupied Part Of Donbass, “You Are Not Forgotten” "

More from the separatists on their "come on over, Ukrainians - we have money/aid/education/health care for you if Kiev's not giving it to you" plan:

Meanwhile, riots break out in UKR over police arresting protesters trying to block the UKR government's purchase of coal et. al. from Donbass/Novorossia/occupied territories/liberated zones ...

* - I wonder if this includes UKR veterans of the current fight?
** - This compares with an average UKR pension payment of US $70-85 (~CDN $100-115) a month (source, source).
*** - I'm guessing they can only spend it on the separatist side.
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As we get closer to the anniversary of Russia annexing/invading/getting back Crimea, a reminder of the narrative progression ... (source)
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Canada's take on the Crimea anniversary ...
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The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Today we mark three years since Russia’s illegal annexation and invasion of Crimea. We condemn unreservedly this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Since the occupation of Crimea, there has been a severe suppression of human rights, including freedom of expression and association.

“Canada is deeply troubled by the politically motivated application of ‘anti-terrorist’ and ‘anti-extremist’ legislation; ongoing harassment of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers; arbitrary detentions; disappearances; and the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities. We denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and have called on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.

“It is shameful that Russia impedes access to Crimea for international human rights groups, including the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The importance of this access was endorsed on December 19, 2016, in a UN General Assembly resolution co-sponsored by Canada.

“Canada is steadfast in its support for the people of Ukraine. Together, the international community must maintain its pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
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“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

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“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

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Huge ammo depot explosion in eastern Ukraine near Kharkiv, leading to evacuations and what appears to be a fair bit of UXO lying about -- UKR President says NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is helping out.
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Aaaaaaaaand it appears the separatist info-machine's narrative has been ... further refined ...

“No Plans to Hold Referendum on LPR Joining Russia in Near Future – Head — The head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, said that a referendum in LPR on joining Russia would be done “in proper time.”…” (RUS state media)

Referenda?  We don't need no stinking referenda! Because 2017. 
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

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Ukrainian and Russian media outlets say ANOTHER ceasefire's coming 1 April (no irony there) ...

:pop:
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Offline MilEME09

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Perfect timing for another false cease-fire

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk

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Perfect timing for another false cease-fire
Yup - Ukrainians and separatists agree it's "back to your regularly-scheduled" insurrection ...

Meanwhile, the separatist info-machine has posted a short video highlighting a "mobilization assembly", with bus loads o' folks collecting in a field somewhere to prepare against "a perfidious attack on Donbass" - enjoy!
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UKR Chief of the General Staff:  We DID have a plan to take secure Crimea, but ... - shared under the Fair Dealings section of the Copyright Act.
Quote
Gen. Staff planned operation against "little green men" during Crimea seizure

At the beginning of the Russian occupation of Crimea, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces planned an operation that could drastically change the course of events, former deputy head, now Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said in an interview with Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

"On March 1, 2014, together with Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate, General Viktor Nazarov, we proposed an option to respond to the developments in Crimea. Then I submitted for the Chief of the General Staff (Mykhailo Kutsyn) a number of orders regarding our actions," he told UP.*

The plan was to conduct an amphibious operation: landing on the peninsula and seizing airfields across Crimea, strengthening our groupings there and carrying out certain actions that would prevent the Russian military from advancing in the relevant areas.

We planned to capture the narrow isthmus between Crimea and the Kerch peninsula with the use of the 95th Brigade units.

It was supposed to strengthen these groupings with the 1st Marine Battalion, which was stationed in Feodosia, and to deploy the 501st Battalion, which was stationed in Kerch. The units of the 95th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade had to be transferred by air to the Kirovsky airfield.

"We also deploy military hardware. The hardware of the 95th Brigade had to be deployed through the Arabat Split and get to the Feodosia outskirts," he said.

According to Muzhenko, the Russians were building up their forces from Sevastopol to Kerch. By that time, part of the units of our 36th coastal defense brigade had already reached the Angarskyi training range near Simferopol. We planned to transfer two battalions there: a tank mechanized battalion was to block the direction along the Sevastopol-Simferopol motorway, while a mountain infantry battalion was to block the Yalta-Simferopol highway on the Angarskyi Pass.

"Thus, we would have completely blocked access of Russian units to the steppe part of Crimea, It was a chance, we thought. Because all military facilities on the south coast were already blocked by the Russian forces," he said.

He recalled that on the same day, in the evening of March 1, a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council was held, which was attended by Chief of the General Staff and Acting Minister of Defense.

"And we were preparing the implementation of our plan at the premises of the Main Operations Department. The Commander of the Air Force had already received an appropriate order to provide air transfers and air force support," he said.

According to him, Chief of the General Staff and Acting Minister of Defense returned from the meeting late in the evening.

"The then first deputy chief of the General Staff, Colonel-General Vorobiov took me and a few more generals into the waiting room near his office and said: "Everyone halt everything!" I said: "How can it be "halted" if we aircraft are in the air heading to the airfields to pick up the assault forces?"

He asked: "On what orders are these actions being carried out?" I said: "Based on the order I had the Chief of the General Staff sign," Muzhenko said.

"I went to the chief of the General Staff and asked: “The operation has begun, the planes are in the air, the assault forces are at the airfields. What's next? "He asked: "What's going on?" I answered: "What do you mean?! The relevant actions are underway based on your orders." He said: "I did not sign such orders..." Muzhenko said.

"These orders signed by the Chief of the General Staff, General Mykhailo Kutsyn, are still out there – they are stored in a “to secret” folder... Why did it happen? I have no idea. Perhaps, the corresponding decision was taken at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council. If there is no political decision, the military don’t take such decisions," he said.

"If we fulfilled that what we had planned, we had a chance to retain control over the steppe part of Crimea. This would not have made it possible to hold a "referendum," as they call it. But it's very difficult to predict how the events would have developed further... But there was a chance... The next day, Russia deployed to Crimea some eight or nine Il-76 military cargo aircraft and up to 12 helicopters," Muzhenko added.

In turn, the then head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov** responded to the question whether the proposal for such an operation had been voiced and why it had been canceled: "I did not receive from the General Staff any separate proposals on the steppe and mountainous parts of Crimea, or any other operations on the peninsula. All official proposals of military leadership on the use of troops go through a classified paper flow, so any statements can always be verified."
* - Original source article in Ukrainian.
** - Currently the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.
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OSCE monitor team member killed in mine blast in occupied zone ...
Quote
A paramedic who was part of a patrol of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) died and two SMM monitors were taken to hospital today after their vehicle was heavily damaged by an explosion near Pryshyb in the non-government controlled Luhansk region ...
... with this from Canada's Global Affairs info-machine:
Quote
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement regarding the killing and wounding of members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) Special Monitoring Mission in Eastern Ukraine:

“The Government of Canada is horrified by the incident that left one OSCE monitor dead and two others injured near Luhansk (Ukraine). Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected and we wish a swift recovery for the wounded.

“This incident must be fully investigated, and those responsible held accountable. The work undertaken by the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is essential to improving the security situation in eastern Ukraine. Canada urges that the Special Monitoring Mission be given full, secure and unimpeded access to all conflict-affected areas.”
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“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

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Re: Ukraine - Superthread
« Reply #2120 on: May 11, 2017, 20:15:09 »
Ahhhh, silly me -- this is all it takes ...

#HarderThanIThought?
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Re: Ukraine - Superthread
« Reply #2121 on: May 11, 2017, 20:16:40 »
So if Trump successfully mediates a lasting peace and resolution to the Ukrainian conflict, will he get a Nobel Peace Prize?

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Re: Ukraine - Superthread
« Reply #2122 on: May 11, 2017, 20:21:20 »
So if Trump successfully mediates a lasting peace and resolution to the Ukrainian conflict, will he get a Nobel Peace Prize?
If health care and tax reform are harder than he expected, I'd put Ukraine somewhere between those and the sane, reasonable Middle East for difficulty to sort out.

And it doesn't count just because he says he did it ...  ;D
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Re: Ukraine - Superthread
« Reply #2123 on: May 11, 2017, 20:37:13 »
If health care and tax reform are harder than he expected, I'd put Ukraine somewhere between those and the sane, reasonable Middle East for difficulty to sort out.

And it doesn't count just because he says he did it ...  ;D

To be fair, he's already doing more to help the peace process than Obama did...

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Re: Ukraine - Superthread
« Reply #2124 on: May 12, 2017, 09:18:49 »
To be fair, he's already doing more to help the peace process than Obama did...
Which one?  UKR or Mid East?
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