Ukraine’s military push eastward stalls as militants seize armored vehicles
By End the Lie
The effort of the Ukrainian military to recapture towns taken over by pro-Russian separatists has hit major setbacks as militants seized a column of armored vehicles and another was forced to stop when blocked by unarmed protesters, according to a report.
Ukrainian news sources reported that six armored personnel carriers were seized by militias and driven to the central square of Slovyansk. However, it should be noted that reports coming out of these regions of Ukraine can vary greatly and contradictory reports are hardly unusual, as seen yesterday.
The New York Times noted that these quite significant setbacks “appeared to reflect new indecision and dysfunction by interim authorities in Kiev.”
The defeat has much larger significance than just the control of a few armored vehicles. Indeed, Reuters said the seizure and flying of the Russian flag “humiliat[ed] a Kiev government operation.”
Reuters notes that it is unclear if the armored vehicles were “captured by rebels or handed over to them by Ukrainian deserters.”
An additional 15 armored personnel carriers full of paratroops were surrounded and halted by a pro-Russian crowd and only allowed to retreat after the soldiers handed over their rifles’ firing pins to a rebel leader.
Meanwhile, the United States and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreed Wednesday to increase the number of air patrols over Baltic nations and send more warships into the region.
The move was “in response to Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
In addition, NATO will deploy military personnel to Eastern Europe for training and military exercises. This comes after NATO allies called for “a more visible show of strength,” according to officials.
Yet NATO officials have not yet given any indication that they are preparing to open new bases in Eastern European nations or deploy ground troops for purposes beyond training.
Polish officials and others in the region have called for a greater NATO presence in Eastern Europe due to the events in Ukraine.
While many have speculated about the Russian military buildup across the border with Ukraine, a retired Army general thinks Russia will not invade.
“I think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s smarter than to have an invasion,” retired Gen. Montgomery Meigs said to NBC News.
Meigs said that Putin “has the whip hand with all his special-ops guys running around firing up the Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.”
Thursday will see a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian, European and Ukrainian counterparts in Geneva, according to Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.
“We want the Russian [sic] to call for armed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine to stand down and disarm,” Harf said, according to NBC. “Any destabilization that’s going on inside Ukraine right now is a direct result of Russian action there.”
Ukraine similarly accused Russia of fueling terrorism in the eastern part of the country.
“Russia has a new commodity for export in addition to oil and gas — terrorism,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said during a government meeting in Kiev on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. “It’s become clear our Russian neighbors have decided to build a new Berlin Wall and want a return to the Cold War.”
Meanwhile, the United States is “actively preparing new sanctions” on Russia, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney.
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