Kremlin Kicks-Out Soros/NED NGOs Fomenting Revolution

George Soros | Photo by EPA

Russia to bar Soros, other foreign NGOs

politico

 

Kremlin threatens anyone working with a dozen pro-democracy NGOs with up to six years in prison.

By Karen Shainyan

 

MOSCOW — Russia is moving to ban the MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute and 10 other foreign groups under a law on “unwelcome organizations” adopted this spring.

The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, on Tuesday unveiled the initial names on what the Kremlin and its allies call a “Patriotic STOP-list.”

President Vladimir Putin in May signed the law, the latest step by the Kremlin to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations in Russia.

The others on the ban list are Freedom House, a U.S. democracy advocacy group; the U.S.-government backed National Endowment for Democracy; two arms of the main American political parties that help parties abroad, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute; the Michigan-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the Education for Democracy Foundation and the East European Democratic Center, which are both in Warsaw; the Toronto-based Ukrainian World Congress; the International Ukrainian Coordination Union in Kiev; and the Crimean field mission for human rights, which is overseen by the Ukrainian parliament.

The list, which is to be voted on Wednesday, would be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office and the foreign ministry for inclusion on the official “unwelcome” register.

Under the law, anyone in Russia who works for or collaborates with these banned groups faces financial penalties as well as up to six years in prison.

Since the 2011 mass protests in Moscow against fraudulent elections for parliament, the Kremlin has steadily moved to crack down on dissent. The Russian parliament has passed laws that require any Russian NGO or charity that gets funding from abroad register as a “foreign agent” and that bloggers register with the state.

Authors:

Karen Shainyan

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Zbig, the Polish Defector Pushes Congress To Fight Russia In Eastern Europe

satanski

The ‘Democrat’ Brzezinski Says Russia’s Putin Wants to Invade NATO

rinf news

 

Eric Zuesse

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. President Obama’s friend and advisor on Russia, is a born Polish aristocrat who has hated Russia his whole life but who hid that hatred until after the communist Soviet Union collapsed and he then publicly came out as hating and fearing specifically Russia — the nation, its people, and their culture. In 1998, he wrote The Grand Chessboard, arguing for an unchallengeable U.S. empire over the whole world, and for the defeat of Russia as the prerequisite to enabling that stand-alone global American empire to reign over the planet.

He now has told the U.S. Congress (on February 6th but not reported until March 6th, when the German Economic News found the clip) that Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin “seized” Crimea and that Putin will probably try to do the same to Estonia and Latvia, unless the U.S. immediately supplies weapons and troops to those countries and to Ukraine. Here is his stunning testimony (click on the link under it, to hear it, but the key part is quoted in print below):

“I wonder how many people in this room or this very important senatorial committee really anticipated that one day Putin would land military personnel in Crimea and seize it. I think if anybody said that’s what he is going to do, he or she would be labeled as a warmonger. He did it. And he got away with it. I think he’s also drawing lessons from that. And I’ll tell you what my horror, night-dream, is: that one day, I literally mean one day, he just seizes Riga, and Talinn. Latvia and Estonia. It would literally take him one day. There is no way they could resist. And then we will say, how horrible, how shocking, how outrageous, but of course we can’t do anything about it. It’s happened. We aren’t going to assemble a fleet in the Baltic, and then engage in amphibious landings, and then storm ashore, like in Normandy, to take it back. We have to respond in some larger fashion perhaps, but then there will be voices that this will plunge us into a nuclear war.”

He continues there by saying that we must pour weapons and troops into the nations that surround Russia, in order to avoid a nuclear conflict: deterrence, he argues, is the way to peace; anything else than our sending in troops and weapons now would be weakness and would invite World War III. 

He says that American troops must be prepositioned in these countries immediately, because otherwise Putin will think that America won’t respond to a Russian attack against those countries.

The most serious falsehoods in his remarkable testimony are three, and they’ll be taken up here in succession:

(1) The crucial background for what Brzezinski there calls the “seizure” of Crimea by Russia on 16 March 2014 was an extremely aggressive action by the United States, a violent coup in Kiev that climaxed prior, during February 2014, which used the “Maidan” demonstrations there as a cover in order to take over Ukraine’s Government, a violent coup which the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor subsequently (and correctly) referred to as “the most blatant coup in history,” and which the President of the Czech Republic says should not be compared at all to Czechoslovakia’s 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and that only “ignorant” people don’t know that it was a coup instead of a revolution. But not only was it an incredibly bloody coup, but the leader of the post-coup Government who became officially designated on 26 February 2014 turned out to be exactly the same person whom Obama’s controlling agent on the entire matter had explicitly selected and informed her underling on 4 February 2014 to get appointed to become the new leader; so, she not only knew that the coup would soon be occurring, but she had already selected by no later than 18 days beforehand the person who would replace the then sitting, democratically elected, President of Ukraine. Furthermore, Ukraine is a country bordering Russia, and so this coup was far worse for Russia than even the 1959 communist takeover of Cuba was for the United States. The U.S. many times tried to overthrow Castro — so, how much gall does the United States have today for its refusing even to acknowledge that our extremely violent takeover of Ukraine, on Russia’s very border, constitutes an existential threat against Russia? (And even the top EU leadership knows that this was a U.S. coup, not any authentic revolution.) For Brzezinski to say nothing at all about any of this is simply scandalous (an obvious intention by him to deceive), but for the U.S. Senate to invite such a man to address it is even worse: it is as if the U.S. Congress in 1933 had invited Hitler to lecture it about “the Jewish threat.” It’s worse than insane; it is bloody dangerous in a nuclear-armed world.

(2) As I recently documented with links to the direct sources, headlining “The Entire Case for Sanctions Against Russia Is Pure Lies,” Gallup polls in Crimea both before and after the 16 March 2014 plebiscite on whether to stay within Ukraine, which Crimea had been part of since 1954, or instead to rejoin with Russia, which Crimea had been part of between 1783 and 1954, showed that by more than 90%, Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia and held both the U.S. and EU in extremely low esteem. Furthermore, because Russia’s key Black Sea Fleet had been stationed there since 1783, Russia always had troops there and didn’t need to “land military personnel in Crimea and seize it.” There was no invasion, no “seizure” at all. The plebiscite was entirely peaceful, because the public craved it (on account of the recent bloody coup in Ukraine) and because the already-existing presence of Russian troops to protect them to have it so that Ukraine wouldn’t send in their army to prevent it, enabled it to be carried out peacefully. There is no military base of any sort from Russia anywhere in Latvia nor in Estonia, nor in any other NATO country. The very idea put forth by Brzezinski, that the two situations are at all analogous, is insane and can be understood only within the context of the bizarre hatred held by this born aristocrat who learned his hatred since birth and who is now obsessed with it in his old age. The very fact that U.S. Senators would invite such a person to testify is scandalous, and is an indication of their ignorance or else of their sharing Brzezinski’s rabidly counterfactual and extremely dangerous beliefs. Russia should take that as being a clear indication of hostile intent from the U.S. Congress, because Brzezinski’s statements are entirely out of line and an irrational outburst that’s based on nothing but hatred and a distorted portrayal of the clearly documented realities to the contrary of Brzezinski’s selective and false description of Russia, Ukraine, Putin, and NATO.

(3) The basis of the NATO Treaty is its mutual-defense provision: that all members are committed to the defense of each member. How crazy does Brzezinski have to be to think that in order to prevent Putin from invading NATO, the U.S. must now send weapons and troops in to each one of the 12 NATO member-nations that were formerly Russia’s allies? Brzezinski’s alarmist and sensationalistic lies and distortions go well beyond standard propaganda into the realm of the insane: propaganda that’s directed at fools and yet that’s being presented to U.S. Senators. Are they crazy, too?

Russia has every reason to believe that the U.S. Government is set upon surrounding it by armed and dangerous hostile nations and taking it over by force. This isn’t at all about Putin; it is about U.S. President Barack Obama, and the U.S. Congress.

For whatever democratic nations that still exist in the EU and NATO not to quit those organizations is for them to consent to being ruled by the U.S. dictatorship, which means that they themselves are dictatorships serving the American aristocracy. This is a dictarorship by America’s aristocracy, the very same people who are ruining the United States and who are now determined to take over every other aristocracy in the entire world — determined to reign over the entire planet.

Testimony such as Brzezinski presented to the U.S. Senate yesterday is shocking and damning against the Senate itself. Brzezinski accuses Russia of planning to invade NATO when instead the United States has been surrounding Russia by formerly-Russian-allied nations, which are new members of America’s anti-Russian military club, NATO. The preparations for an all-out nuclear war have begun. The U.S. aristocracy definitely started this incipient war; for them, it’s a war of choice. It’s not a war of choice for anyone in Russia. (Ukraine’s oligarchs, especially the White-House-connected Ihor Kolomoysky, are ripping off everything they can from it.) The significance of the Ukrainian conflict is that it’s the beachhead to take over Russia. And the Ukrainian post-coup leadership have stated proudly, many times, that this is their ultimate aim. It clearly is Obama’s.

Why are Americans not marching by the millions against this rogue government in Washington? How much longer will the American people continue to tolerate it — an affront against not only the American people but the entire world?

Brzezinski’s testimony to Congress on February 6th was so brazen because he’s like he describes Putin as being: he does what he can get away with doing. It’s way over the line. If there is no public revulsion expressed against it, then we are all heading into danger that’s unprecedented since 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis, when the shoe was on the other foot and the United States was the country facing the existential threat.

Russia has already let things go too far, with 12 former Warsaw-Pact allies already being members of the NATO alliance against Russia. If Putin doesn’t draw the line at Ukraine, as being over the line, then he might as well do everything that America’s President demands him to do. But America’s Presidency no longer represents the American people; it now represents the American aristocracy. So: for the welfare of everyone except America’s aristocrats, Putin should stand firm. But the danger of America to the world exists no matter what he does.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

writing off postcommunist reforms as a failure would be a mistake

The eastern question

khaleej times-logo-s

Jonathan Power (Power’s World) / 26 February 2015

East Europeans are nostalgic as Ukraine slumps into anarchy

 

Economically Ukraine continues to go down the chute. No other East European has messed up its economic potential, as has Ukraine. During Soviet times Ukraine with its industrial prowess and wonderful fertile soil, making it the Soviet Union’s breadbasket, was a success (by communist standards). Now 25 years of political upheaval, economic mismanagement and greed by the oligarchs have taken a dreadful tool on living standards. The stoicism of ordinary people is to be wondered at. One reason why many easterners want to return to Russia is because they think they will have higher living standards.

In “Normal Countries,” in the December, 2014, issue of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Shleifer, a professor of economics at Harvard and Daniel Treisman, a professor of political science at the University of California, presented an analysis of what went right in the other East European countries, and, a for a time, in Russia under President Vladimir Putin. They write: “The East European countries have transformed their militarised, over industrialised and state-dominated systems into service-orientated market economies based on private ownership and integrated into global commercial networks.

No longer distorted to fit Marxist blueprints, their economic institutions, trade, and regulatory environments today look much like those of other countries at similar income levels. These changes notwithstanding, observers often blame post-communist reforms for poor economic performance, Two common charges are that the reforms were fundamentally misconceived and that they were implemented in too radical a fashion. Such criticism raises two questions: first whether the states’ economic performance has indeed been poor, and second, whether more radical strategies resulted in worse outcomes than more gradual approaches. The short answer to both questions is no.”

There was well-publicised economic slump after communist rule was ended but half of it reflected cuts in fictitious output or worthless investments. And it didn’t take more than a handful of years for economic growth to buzz. For example, between 1990 and 2011, the median income in Uzbekistan expanded slightly more than the median income elsewhere in the world. Bosnia had the third-highest growth rate in the world — its national income increased by 450 per cent. Poland, Albania, as well as Bosnia, outpaced the traditional growth engines of Hong Kong and Singapore.

The rise in consumption took off. From 1990 to 2011 household consumption per capita in the region grew on average by 88 per cent, compared with the average increase elsewhere in the world of 56 per cent. In Poland, it was 146 per cent, the same as South Korea’s. In Russia the increase was 100 per cent.

Between 1993 and 2011 car ownership in Eastern Europe climbed from one for every ten people to one for every four.

Mobile phone subscriptions per head are today greater than those in Western countries. Living space — mainly larger apartments — has increased per person, expanding by 100 per cent in the Czech Republic, 85 per cent in Armenia and 40 per cent in Russia. University enrolments have increased significantly.

Poverty and income equality did increase in the immediate post-communist years but today the rates are now lower than in those countries with similar income levels.

Infant mortality has fallen faster than any other region in the world. While it is true that the alcohol consumption rates are too high in Russia and the Baltic states they are not as high as in France, Austria, Germany and Ireland.

When it comes to demilitarisation, the Soviet Union in Cold War years spent 25 per cent of its GDP on armaments. The successor states are spending no more than five per cent — and that includes Russia.

A note of caution about the statistics above. Some are averages and don’t show, for example, that while Poland has doubled its income Tajikistan remains war-scarred and is a very poor dictatorship.

It is true that the aggressive reforms that put an end to Soviet-style economic management did result in falling incomes and rising unemployment. But by the mid 1990s countries that had fully embraced serious reforms were doing much better than those who were more cautious (and perhaps, we shouldn’t forget, more caring of the poor- the communists were good at providing universal health services).

Most of this grand achievement is not well known in Western Europe and North America but there it is — the honest truth.

 

Jonathan Power is a veteran foreign affairs analyst

 

Obama Dancing On Reagan’s Grave, Running Tanks Up To Putin’s Doorstep

Cross-Eyed-Bill-Clinton--58648

[SEE:  BILL CLINTON: FIRST NEOCON PRESIDENT ]

Bill Clinton’s Epic Double-Cross: How “Not An Inch” Brought NATO To Russia’s Border

zero hedge

“It began as a pledge by the first Bush Administration to Gorbachev that in return for German unification and liberation of the “captive nations” there would be “not an inch” of NATO expansion. It ended up its opposite, and for no plausible reason of American security whatsoever. In fact, NATO went on to draft nearly the entire former “Warsaw Pact”, expanding its membership by 12 nations. So doing, it encroached thousands of kilometers from its old Cold War boundaries to the very doorstep of Russia.”

“Bill Clinton used NATO enlargement to advertise his assertiveness in foreign policy and America’s status as the “world’s indispensable nation.” Clinton bragged about proposing NATO enlargement at his first NATO summit in 1994, saying it “should enlarge steadily, deliberately, openly.” He never explained why.”

“Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”–George Kennan, father of the “containment” doctrine and Truman’s aggressive anti-Soviet policy,

US armor paraded 300m from Russian border

Russia-Today

U.S. soldiers attend military parade celebrating Estonia's Independence Day near border crossing with Russia in Narva February 24, 2015. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

U.S. soldiers attend military parade celebrating Estonia’s Independence Day near border crossing with Russia in Narva February 24, 2015. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

NATO member Estonia has held a military parade in border town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. Tallinn is a long-time critic of Moscow, which it accuses of having an aggressive policy towards the Baltic nation.

Tuesday’s military parade was dedicated to Estonia’s Independence Day. Chief military commander Lt. Gen. Riho Terras headed the troops as President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reviewed them.

Over 140 pieces of NATO military hardware took part in the parade, including four US armored personnel carriers M1126 Stryker flying stars-and-stripes. Another foreign nation, the Netherlands, provided four Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 tracked combat vehicles (designated CV9035NL Mk III by the Dutch).

Estonia also showed off its own howitzers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and other hardware. Over 1,400 troops also marched the streets of Narva.

The parade is an obvious snub at Estonia’s eastern neighbor Russia, whom it accuses of pushing aggressive policies in Eastern Europe. The Estonian government is among several vocally accusing Russia of waging a secret war against Ukraine by supplying arms and troops to anti-Kiev forces in the east.

Moscow denies the accusations, insisting that the post-coup government in Kiev alienated its own people in the east and started a civil war instead of resolving the differences through dialogue.

NATO seized the Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to argue for a military build-up in Eastern Europe, supposedly to deter a Russian aggression. The three Baltic States are among the most vocal proponents of this policy.

Russia sees it as yet another proof that NATO is an anti-Russian military bloc that had been enlarging towards Russia’s border and compromised its national security.

The Estonian government defended its right to hold whatever military maneuvers it wants in its territory.

“Narva is a part of NATO no less than New York or Istanbul, and NATO defends every square meter of its territory,” Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said in a speech in capital, Tallinn.

Historically Narva was a point of centuries of confrontation between Russia and Sweden, when the two nations fought for dominance in the region. The city changed hands several times and ended up under Russian control in 1704, serving as a military outpost for decades.

The city was again contested in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the dissolution of the Russian Empire it triggered. Narva took turns between being governed by the self-proclaimed Estonian Republic, occupying German troops and the Red Army until eventually becoming Estonian again under a peace treaty between Estonia and Russia.

It then changed hands between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the Baltics during World War II and went on to be part of an independent Estonia in 1991.

The city has a large number of ethnic Russians and a strong pro-autonomy movement, with some Estonian politicians fearing that it could be exploited now by Russia to saw dissent. Commenting on the issue in an interview with Washington Post, President Ilves said seeing Narva as a potentially separatist region “is stupid.”

The Empire’s Ants Mistake Russia For the AntEater

Georgia victim of Russia imperialist ambitions, appreciates Croatia support

dalje croatia

David Usupashvili

Georgia is a victim of Russia’s imperialist ambitions and it appreciates Croatia’s support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Georgian Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili said after talks with Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko in Zagreb on Monday.Concurrently with the horrible developments in Ukraine, Georgia too has become a victim of the imperialist ambitions of its big neighbour, Usupashvili said, adding that while openly violating international law in Eastern Europe, Russia had taken another step in Georgia’s case, by concluding agreements on integration with the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which he said in reality constituted the annexation of the occupied territory.

The Georgian official, who was on an official visit to Croatia, said the problem could be solved only peacefully and not through war, which was why Georgia was interested in joining the EU and NATO, which he said protected stability in Europe.

Usupashvili said that he came to Zagreb to convey to the Croatian people the Georgian people’s appreciation of their strong support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Leko told reporters that he and his Georgian counterpart discussed the Geneva talks on Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Leko said they agreed on the continuation of parliamentary cooperation and closer cooperation in the transfer of Croatia’s experience relating to the process of its integration with the EU and NATO.

Usupashvili was interested in the process of development of democratic standards in Croatia, from the judicial authorities to human rights and freedoms and minority rights.

The two officials agreed that there was great potential for enhancing overall bilateral cooperation, notably in the economic sector.

Georgian Prosecutor’s Office–‘Ukraine Refuses to Extradite Saakashvili’

Georgian Prosecutor’s Office: ‘Ukraine Refuses to Extradite Saakashvili’

civil.ge

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi

Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on February 17 that despite its request, Ukraine has “not cooperated” with Georgia and refuses to extradite ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-justice minister Zurab Adeishvili.

On February 13 Saakashvili, wanted by the Georgian authorities, was appointed by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko as his adviser and head of International Advisory Council on Reforms. The Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukrainian ambassador in Tbilisi over Saakashvili’s appointment.

Although ex-justice minister of Georgia Zurab Adeishvili, who is also wanted by Tbilisi, has no official post in the Ukrainian government, he is informally advising Ukrainian authorities, according to former Georgian officials now working in Ukraine.

A close ally of Saakashvili and Adeishvili, Georgian MP from UNM party, Davit Sakvarelidze was appointed as Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine on February 16, joining several other former Georgian officials who took senior government posts in Ukraine, among them Eka Zguladze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister; Gia Getsadze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Justice Minister, and Alexander Kvitashvili, who is Ukraine’s Healthcare Minister.

“Extradition of wanted persons between Ukraine and Georgia is carried out according to the European Convention on Extradition of 1957, Minsk Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters of 1993, Bilateral Agreement signed between Georgia and Ukraine in 1995. Based on the aforementioned international treaties, parties undertake to review and extradite wanted persons to the other country in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement,” the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in the written statement on February 17.

“Therefore, since charges have been filed against Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Adeishvili, they are wanted in Georgia, and Adeishvili is further wanted under [Interpol’s] Red Notice… Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia has addressed the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine with petitions on the identification, detention and extradition of the aforementioned persons,” the Georgian prosecutor’s office said.

“Notwithstanding the above obligations between the two countries in the field of extradition, the Ukrainian side has not cooperated with the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia in the matter of the extradition of Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Adeishvili to Georgia, and has refused to extradite the abovementioned persons,” it said.

INTERPOL

ADEISHVILI, ZURAB

ADEISHVILI, ZURAB

Wanted by the judicial authorities of Georgia for prosecution / to serve a sentence

Identity particulars

Present family name: ADEISHVILI
Forename: ZURAB
Sex: Male
Date of birth: 27/07/1972 (42 years old)
Place of birth: Georgia
Language spoken: Georgian, English, Russian
Nationality: Georgia

Charges Published as provided by requesting entity

Charges:

1. Organizing the abuse of official power by a state political official against the public interest, with the intent to obtain benefit for oneself and others that resulted in the substantial violation of rights of natural and legal persons and the legitimate interests of the public and state, committed with the use of violence and in the manner of humiliating the personal dignity of the victim; 2. Organizing the degrading and inhuman treatment of inmates revealed in their humiliation, intimidation inhuman treatment and putting them in a position degrading human dignity and honour, which caused strong physical, mental pain and moral suffering, committed by a public official, with the abuse of official power, against two or more persons, by a group, against detainee and by a hired offender; 3. Organizing the falsification of evidences regarding the criminal case of a grave crime; 4. Organizing the provocation of crimes.

Kyiv Drafts 200,000 Boys and Men, NovoRussia Calls-Out 100,000

[SEE:  Forced Conscription: Ukraine to Mobilize 200,000 Armed Forces; Hyperinflation on the Way?]

Ukraine rebels vow to raise army of 100,000 troops to fight government forces

the independent

Alexander Zakharchenko

The US is reportedly considering providing military assistance to Ukraine

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have vowed to muster another 10,000 men to boost their ranks to 100,000 as fighting continues.

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), claimed a “general mobilisation” would achieve the target but did not elaborate on details.

“A general mobilisation is planned in the DNR in 10 days. Ten thousand men will be called up,” the Russian RIA news agency quoted him saying.

“The joint army of the DNR and the LNR [Luhansk People’s Republic] will be 100,000 men strong.

“Mobilisation is the first stage; there will be volunteers first and we will see what to do next.”

Mr Zakharchenko, who was elected in a vote in November that was not recognised by the Ukrainian government or the West, did not say how many separatists were currently fighting.

The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko (on left) next to kneeling captive Ukrainian soldiers at a bus stop where 13 people were killed
The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko (on left) next to kneeling captive Ukrainian soldiers at a bus stop where 13 people were killed

Critics have said it was unlikely that the rebels could mobilise such a high number of troops, suggesting the announcement could be a guise to bring in more Russian volunteers.

Kiev, Nato and Western governments have presented evidence they say proves Russia has sent troops and weapons to support the rebels but Moscow denies this. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko put the number of Russian troops in the east last month at 9,000.

Read more:  Peace talks collapse as civilians flee rebel bombs
Government and rebels blame each other for civilian shelling
13 people killed by shell at Donetsk bus station

Fighting has increased in eastern Ukraine in the past few weeks and hopes of easing the situation faded after peace talks collapsed yet again on Saturday.

Ukrainian forces have also mobilised more troops because of the surge in fighting, lessening further the hopes for a peaceful revolution in the near future.

A rebel comforts a wife of a killed civilian in shelling in Donetsk
A rebel comforts a wife of a killed civilian in shelling in Donetsk
The US could be on the brink of sending military assistance to Ukraine’s floundering military, a source in Washington has said.

The anonymous official claimed that Barack Obama continues to have concerns about the move, including the risks of starting a proxy war with Russia and the Ukrainian military’s capacity for using US-supplied weaponry.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States on Monday of supporting efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine with force after media reports that Washington is taking a new look at providing Kiev’s forces with “lethal aid”.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

On hearing the reports, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said: “The rhetoric shows Washington’s intention to continue doing everything possible to unconditionally support Ukraine’s authorities who have apparently taken a course towards a military solution to the conflict.”

Prospects for a truce looked worse than ever after a new set of negotiations collapsed on Saturday in Minsk, Belarus, where the long-shattered peace treaty was drawn up between rebels and the government in September.

Dozens of civilians have been among those killed in recent days as shells rained on the rebel stronghold of Donetsk city and the besieged towns of Debaltseve and Vuhlehirsk.

Civilians in Debaltseve board an evacuation bus on Saturday (AP)
Civilians in Debaltseve board an evacuation bus on Saturday (AP)

Debaltseve, a strategic railway hub, has been almost completely surrounded by rebel forces and the one road still open for families to escape has been targeted by artillery fire.

Ukraine’s government said on Sunday that 13 of its troops were killed and another 20 wounded in a day of fighting across the region.

More than 5,100 people have so far been killed in the conflict and more than 900,000 have been displaced since it began in April, according to UN estimates.