Atlantic Council July 30. Ukraine officially has 1,381,953 internally displaced persons (IDPs), the country's Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP) reported July 10. Overall, more than 2.3 million Ukrainians—including IDPs and those seeking refuge abroad—have been uprooted by conflict since March 2014. Yet the actual number of IDPs remains unknown and is likely to be higher, since the official figure includes neither displaced people living in the non-government controlled area (NGCA) of Donetsk and Luhansk, nor IDPs whose registrations have been cancelled.
In fact, internal displacement is a relatively new phenomenon for Ukraine. Until fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine more than a year ago, the country's experience with forced migration had been limited to relatively small numbers. Any government faced with such a rapid and large-scale displacement would be hard-pressed to respond quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, experience suggests that displacement is likely to become a long-term problem. MORE
Atlantic Council July 30. How would the West react to a major escalation of the war in eastern Ukraine? What would Brussels and Washington do if Russia continues to send troops there?
Even though analysts often suggest arming Ukraine with defensive weapons, what people sometimes forget is that the West is still, by far, Russia's largest trade and investment partner. Current sanctions against Moscow only forbid the export of a limited number of services and technology to Russia—leaving most of Russia's trade with the West intact. In particular, they do not limit Russia's crucial energy exports to the European Union. MORE
KyivPost, July 31. The United States has imposed further Russia and Ukraine-related sanctions, including on Crimean port operators, former Ukrainian officials, and a former Russian gas trader.
The Treasury Department said on July 30 that it had placed the names of 26 individuals and entities on blacklists that freeze any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdictions.
The blacklists also ban Americans from doing business with them.
Officials said the list is intended to maintain the effectiveness of existing sanctions. MORE
KyivPost July 30. As expected, Russia used its veto at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on July 29 to block moves to set up an international tribunal to investigate the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Malaysia in mid-July submitted a draft resolution on setting up the tribunal to the U.N. But Russia soon made it clear that it would oppose the measure, with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 describing any such tribunal as “counterproductive and premature.” Russia was the only country on the 15-member U.N. Security Council to oppose the resolution.
In explaining Russia's decision, Russia's Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin reiterated earlier statements that a tribunal would be premature and also questioned whether the investigation into the tragedy could "resist the propaganda" from Western media. MORE
Censor.net July 27. The militants fired at the ATO forces for 75 times over the last 24 hours. In particular, 39 cases of shelling were reported from 6 p.m. till midnight.
Ukrainian forces' positions in Krasnohorivka and Nyzhnie were simultaneously shelled starting from 8 p.m. yesterday. Later the militants started firing at Pisky, Maiorske, Pershoho Travnia mine, and Mykolaivka. The ATO forces' positions near Kurdiumivka were shelled twice from 152mm artillery. The terrorists fired at Berezove twice from a tank.
The occupiers also mortared and fired with small arms at Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, Nelypivka, Zhovte, Luhanske, Chermalyk, Opytne, Triokhizbenka, Pisky, and Maiorske. Source: http://en.censor.net.ua/n345307 MORE
VOA July 27. Ukraine’s former intelligence chief says Russia is financing and organizing training camps from within Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern provinces in order to destabilize the country.
“Up to 30 camps in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea are training subversive groups, providing them with weapons and sending them on missions throughout Ukraine,” said Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who ran the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), the country’s successor to the Soviet-era KGB, until his forced resignation last month. MORE
UAToday.tv, July 27. Ukraine's Border Guard Service stopped two men late on July 25 leaving the militant-stronghold city.
A Russian army officer traveling in a truck, full of ammunition, has been arrested by Ukrainian Border Guards just outside of the militant-held city of Donetsk. These pictures show the vast haul of weapons discovered late on Saturday – including grenades, portable grenade launchers and various caliber rounds.
The two men were caught here, near to the village of Berezove, located some 30 minutes' drive southwest of the insurgent stronghold city, on the main road to Ukraine's port city of Mariupol. The culprits were stopped whilst traveling into areas under Ukrainian-control. MORE
Oakland Press, July 24 By definition, the word “community” means a group of people living together in one particular area or place. Ukrainians are giving a new meaning to the word “community” as they come together from all over the world to help those being directly impacted within Ukraine. Metro Detroit families are getting involved with helping the Ukrainian community. Roman Zubar of Bloomfield Township is one of them. He’s an active member of the local Ukrainian community and said the Detroit chapter is sending “anything that would afford them (Ukrainians) a normal life.” “These people have left home and are living in tents and whatever other makeshift shelters,” Zubar said. MORE
Express, July 13 A RECORD number of Russian troops are stationed on the borders of Ukraine, the under-siege country's has warned amid claims of intensifying attacks by pro-Russian rebels.
President Petro Poroshenko claimed NATO, EU and even US sources had warned of large numbers of Russian Federation armed forces being manned along the war-stricken borders. His caution came as defence forces in Ukraine complained of more frequent and dangerous attacks in eastern regions of the torn country. He said: "We have information that there is a record number of the Russian Federation's armed forces along with the borders of Ukraine. "This information is not only from our own intelligence sources. We have confirmation from NATO, the United States and EU countries. "We have obtained information about possible major directions of attacks." Ukraine defence forces reported as many as 540 violations of the ceasefire imposed in regions of Donetsk and Lugansk for one week of June 2015 alone. MORE
Newsweek, July 9 Dr. Aleksandr Borzykh is an award-winning surgeon from Donetsk who came to Kyiv on vacation last August to visit his relatives. But on returning to his home city, he realized he could no longer live in a place occupied by Russian-separatist forces, amid constant fighting.
“They came to protect me,” Borzykh said sarcastically of the Russian-separatist forces. “I didn’t need their protection.” So Borzykh, born in Russia in 1952 to a Russian father and a Ukrainian mother, soon returned to Kyiv. “My mom loved Ukraine with all her heart and brought us back,” Borzykh told the Kyiv Post. His mother had been deported to Soviet Russia after her parents were killed in 1937. She met his father there. MORE
Newsweek, July 8 Konstantin Bernatovich’s hands began to tremble. He leaned forward, breathing quickly. He tried to say something, but his English failed him and he pulled out his smartphone to type a Russian message into Google Translate: “Seeing you makes me feel very nervous. I have to go smoke a cigarette for a moment to calm down.”
This reporter had spent eight days embedded with Konstantin Bernatovich’s unit on the front lines in Pisky, just outside Donetsk, Ukraine. As he sat down for coffee at a café along the Obolon boardwalk in north Kiev, Konstantin Bernatovich was reminded of the war. “He has changed,” his wife, Zhanna, said while Konstantin Bernatovich smoked his cigarette. “He shows more emotion when he’s home, but when he calls from the front there is no joking.” MORE
KyivPost, July 7 The good news is that Russian and Donbas separatist leaders have called an end to the "New Russia" project, which had targeted eight Russian-speaking Oblasts of eastern and southern Ukraine for separatist agitation and union with Russia. The bad news is that while it always was a mistake to assume Ukraine's Russian-speakers were fans of president Vladimir Putin, Ukraine's political vacuum and its selective "de-oligarchisation" are allowing diehards from the former ruling Party of Regions grouped in the Opposition Bloc and funded by Ukraine's powerful gas lobby to retain influence in eastern and southern Ukraine. MORE
WashingtonPost, July 5. A Ukrainian military unit last week released footage from a drone showing a large new Russian military base in eastern Ukraine, equipped with T-72 tanks, barracks, communications equipment and even a parade ground. International observers reported “increased intensity” of fighting in the region, in violation of a cease-fire.
Russia meanwhile suspended gas deliveries to Ukraine, thwarting its attempt to stockpile supplies for next winter. In Washington, a committee of Ukrainian bond-holders, led by several U.S. hedge funds, resisted an International Monetary Fund-backed plan to reduce the government’s debt burden so that it can avoid a default.
Ukraine’s democratically elected and fervently pro-Western government faced all these trials essentially alone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her European Union partners are preoccupied with the crisis in Greece; Barack Obama is intently focused on completing a nuclear bargain with Iran. Western governments have taken no new action either to prevent a new Russian military offensive this summer or to provide Ukraine’s government with the funds it needs to survive through another year.
Will this be remembered as the summer when the West let Ukraine die? It’s beginning to look like it. MORE
KyivPost, July 4. Spain has become a refuge for Ukrainian kids affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine, with several Spanish nongovernmental organizations pitching in to give children from the Donbas war zone, including orphans and the poor, a respite during summer. MORE
Atlantic Council, July 2. The war in eastern Ukraine is a Kremlin-manufactured conflict. The arrival of "little green men" in Crimea in February 2014 transformed the conflict from a domestic altercation between citizens and their government to an international crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly acknowledged in a government-sponsored documentary that he carefully planned and orchestrated the military takeover of the Crimean peninsula. No such admissions have been made about the war in the Donbas. MORE
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Preventing humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine