region:eastern ukraine

    • #MH17 à la CEDH, la plainte visant l’Ukraine pour la non fermeture de son espace aérien est toujours en attente : toujours pas de décision sur sa recevabilité…

      l’article original
      MH17 : Der EGMR drückt sich vor einer Entscheidung | Telepolis

      Im Namen von Angehörigen hat der deutsche Experte für das Luftfahrtrecht, Elmar Giemulla, die Ukraine bezichtigt, den Luftraum fahrlässig nicht gesperrt zu haben. Die Klage wurde bis zum heutigen Tag weder abgewiesen noch angenommen

    • Sur le site de la CEDH, la recherche de « MH-17 » ne me retourne qu’une décision toute récente (04/04/19) de transmission à la Russie des plaintes la visant. Trois ans après le dépôt de la première.

      Communication Ayley and Others v. Russia and Angline and Others v. Russia - downing of flight MH-17{"itemid" :["003-6376180-8356050"]}

      The European Court of Human Rights decided on 3 April to communicate to the Government of Russia the applications Ayley and Others v. Russia (application no. 25714/16) and Angline and Others v. Russia (no. 56328/18), and requested it to submit observations.

      The applications were lodged by the relatives of people who were killed in the downing on 17 July 2014 of flight MH-17 over the territory of eastern Ukraine.

      They allege in particular that the Russian Federation was directly or indirectly responsible for the destruction of the plane and failed to investigate the disaster properly or cooperate with other investigations.

      Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the destruction of the aircraft.

      A statement of facts submitted to the parties, with questions from the Court, is available in English on the Court’s website. The Court’s ruling in the case will be made at a later stage.

  • From Neo-Nazi to militant: The foreign fighters in Ukraine who Australia’s laws won’t stop - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

    Australia’s former watchdog on national security laws, Bret Walker SC, called for changes to Australia’s foreign fighter laws in response to the ABC’s revelations that Australians had fought with militant groups in Ukraine.

    Mr Walker said Australia was vulnerable to any returned ultranationalist fighters who go on to become violent.

    “Those are people whose skills, experiences and lack of sensitivity are very likely to constitute dangers in this country,” he said.

    “There is a domestic concern, not just a concern about Australia’s obligations in relation to prohibiting war, but also domestic concern in terms of terrorist dangers in Australia.”

    Mr Walker said the inconsistency in the current legislation was highlighted by the fact Australians could legally fight with the forces of foreign government dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

    As the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor in 2014, Mr Walker SC made a recommendation to Federal Parliament for the law to be changed so that all foreign fighting would be illegal unless officially approved by the Australian Government.

    His recommendations were ignored.

    “There’s very little sign that there was — let alone at parliamentary level — any consideration of them,” Mr Walker said.

    “They have been utterly silent in relation to the basic principle that Australians should not fight abroad except for Australia or with Australia’s approval.”

    Italy Moves To Crack Down On Its Fighters In Ukraine’s Donbas

    On August 1, Italian police announced they had arrested three men accused of recruiting mercenaries to fight in eastern Ukraine. Three others are still being sought after prosecutors in the northern Italian city of Genoa accused the six of fighting in eastern Ukraine and recruiting others to the cause.

    It was the first time that Italian authorities have charged anyone with fighting in eastern Ukraine, where more than 10,300 people have died since the conflict erupted in April 2014.

    In a statement, Italian police said they searched the homes of another seven people as part of the investigation into the Italian-Ukrainian recruitment network. Some of the suspects allegedly had ties with the commander of a neo-Nazi paramilitary unit called Rusich, which operates in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

    Genoese prosecutors have also charged 15 others with being members of the recruitment ring.

    Authorities in Genoa carried out the probes and arrests in tandem with ROS, the anti-organized-crime and antiterrorism branch of the carabinieri, Italy’s paramilitary national police force.

    Police in Genoa have been investigating far-right networks in the area since 2016, according to the Genova Today newspaper.

    However, as UNIAN notes, the action comes months after a Ukrainian lawmaker submitted a list of 25 Italians believed to be fighting with the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    Publication en 2017 et suite à un colloque NATO en Moldavie d’un receuil de recherches sur le phénomène des foreign fighters autre que le cas Syrie.
    Foreign Fighters in Ukraine : Risk analisys from the point of view of NATO.

  • Avakov: Ukraine’s wall along Russian border nearly half complete

    Ukraine has built almost half of its 2,300-kilometer wall on the border with Russia, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Nov. 24 during his visit to the border checkpoint in Kharkiv Oblast.

    “The project has been extended until 2021,” Avakov said. “The budget plan for the 2019 allocates Hr 400 million ($14.4 million) for it. But the head of the Border Guard Service hopes to receive additional funds.”

    The Kharkiv section of the Ukrainian-Russian wall has been almost completed with only 20 kilometers left, according to Avakov. The works will continue on the border sections in Sumy and Luhansk oblasts. It includes fortifications with a barbed wire fence, two-meter deep anti-tank trenches, 17-meter-high watchtowers, 40 border checkpoints as well as equipment with motion sensors, border security closed-circuit television (CCTV) and alarm systems.

    Overall, 47 percent of the 2,300-kilometer wall has been built, the minister said.

    In addition, starting from January, Ukraine has launched the biometric control system for Russian passport holders at all border-crossing checkpoints.

    Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is running for president in the upcoming March presidential elections, joined Avakov on the trip to the border in Kharkiv Oblast on Nov. 24.

    The ambitious project known as the European Wall was announced by then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in 2014 in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Donbas. Ukraine lost control over parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and 400 kilometers that border with Russia. The wall was designed to protect Ukraine from further attacks on its territory as well as to stop illegal flow of weapons from Russia.

    In the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, 2014, Kremlin incited mass anti-government demonstrations in eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimean peninsula. In Donetsk and Luhansk, protesters “declared independence” from Ukraine which escalated into an armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Kremlin-backed forces. In April 2014, pro-Russian protesters took over the Kharkiv administration and “declared independence from Ukraine” but the Ukrainian government managed to retain control over the region.

    The construction of the wall, however, halted due to lack of funding and a corruption scandal.

    In 2015-2017, the Border Guard Serviced received Hr 800 mln ($28.8 million) — less than a quarter of the total cost of the project estimated at over Hr 4 billion ($147.6 million).

    In November 2017, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested eight people on embezzlement charges. NABU detectives found that the officials of the Border Guard Service in cahoots with local contractors had siphoned off Hr 16.68 million ($600,800) from the Project Wall funds.

    #Ukraine #Russie #murs #frontières #barrières_frontalières

  • Russian Intelligence Is Co-opting Angry Young Men - The Atlantic

    Deep in the forests of Slovakia, former Russian Spetsnaz commandos trained young men from a right-wing paramilitary group called the Slovak Conscripts. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, some of these freshly-minted paramilitaries went to fight with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine while others stayed at home to agitate against NATO as a “terrorist organization.”

    On the streets of the French city Marseille, Russian soccer hooligans sporting tattoos with the initials of Russia’s military intelligence service, GRU, brutally attacked English soccer fans in June 2016, sending dozens of bloodied fans to the hospital. Alexander Shprygin, an ultranationalist agitator and the head of the All-Russian Union of Supporters (a soccer fan club that he claims was established at the behest of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB), was arrested during the melee and deported from France.

    #europe #néonazis #extrême-droite #populisme #russie #slovaquie #hooligans

  • Support Water not Conflict in Ukraine

    Along the frontline in eastern Ukraine fighting continues. Regularly, critical water infrastructure, providing water to the people on both the government and non-government controlled areas, is hit and damaged. Over 4 million people are at risk. We call on both parties to the conflict to protect critical civilian water infrastructure.

    #Ukraine #eau #conflit #eau_potable #Donetsk #Luhansk #conflit #guerre #approvisionnement_en_eau #cartographie #visualisation #vidéo

  • Tomgram : Andrew Bacevich, A Memo to the Publisher of the New York Times | TomDispatch

    The key point is that when it comes to recent American wars, the Times offers coverage without perspective. “All the news” is shallow and redundant. Lots of dots, few connections.

    To put it another way, what’s missing is any sort of Big Picture. The Times would never depict Russian military actions in the Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria, along with its cyber-provocations, as somehow unrelated to one another. Yet it devotes remarkably little energy to identifying any links between what U.S. forces today are doing in Niger and what they are doing in Afghanistan; between U.S. drone attacks that target this group of “terrorists” and those that target some other group; or, more fundamentally, between what we thought we were doing as far back as the 1980s when Washington supported Saddam Hussein and what we imagine we’re doing today in the various Muslim-majority nations in which the U.S. military is present, whether welcome or not.

    Ce n’est pas vrai, le #New_York_Times ne se contente pas de ne pas se poser des questions sur la #violence criminelle des #etats-unis, le new york times la blanchit.

  • How both sides in Ukraine’s war are losing the #HIV battle

    Displacement, aid delivery issues, and different strategies are all feeding a raging epidemic.
    Every month or so, health project manager Yulia sets off on an arduous 24-hour, 100-kilometre journey across eastern Ukraine’s “contact line” from Severodonetsk to the rebel-held city of Luhansk. It is the front line not only of a conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives since early 2014 but also of one of Europe’s worst HIV epidemics.
    #sida #AIDS #Ukraine #santé

  • Facebook : des sites mensongers peu lus mais au succès considérable — Le blog du #Decodex

    Les médias traditionnels attirent plus de lecteurs, mais l’écart est beaucoup moins net sur Facebook, selon une étude britannique qui exploite notamment les données du Décodex.
    L’étude de l’institut Reuters s’intéresse à la circulation des fausses informations en France et en Italie. Pour tenter d’en mesurer la portée, ils se sont servis de listes de sites jugés peu fiables, dont ils ont comparé l’audience avec celle des médias traditionnels. « Le débat sur les fausses informations se concentre souvent sur ce qui se passe au Royaume-Uni. Nous avons cherché à comprendre ce qui se passait ailleurs en Europe », nous explique Richard Fletcher, coauteur de l’étude.

    Les chercheurs ont utilisé des listes préexistantes de sites connus pour diffuser de fausses informations. Pour le volet français de leurs travaux, ils se sont appuyés sur l’annuaire des sources d’informations du Décodex.

    Les chercheurs ont retenu 38 sources parmi les quelque 450 qui y sont classées en « rouge » parce qu’elles ont publié un nombre significatif de fausses informations et/ou d’articles trompeurs : celles qui correspondent à des sites Internet dont l’audience était quantifiable dans les données issues des analyses de la société Comscore (ces mesures sont réalisées en étudiant le comportement d’un panel d’internautes croisé avec d’autres données). Certains sites n’ont pu être analysés, de même que les pages Facebook ou comptes Twitter et YouTube isolés.

    Les autres catégories du Décodex (sites parodiques en « bleu », sites « orange » dont la fiabilité ou la démarche est douteuse) n’ont pas été étudiées.

    • Fact sheet (résumé) de l’étude mentionnée

      Measuring the reach of “fake news” and online disinformation in Europe | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

      In this factsheet by Richard Fletcher, Alessio Cornia, Lucas Graves and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, we provide top-level usage statistics for the most popular sites that independent fact-checkers and other observers have identified as publishers of false news and online disinformation. We focus on two European countries: France and Italy. We examine France and Italy as two particularly important cases, as both are widely seen as facing serious issues with for-profit and ideologically/politically motivated online disinformation.

      We find that:
      • None of the false news websites we considered had an average monthly reach of over 3.5% in 2017, with most reaching less than 1% of the online population in both France and Italy. By comparison, the most popular news websites in France (Le Figaro) and Italy (La Repubblica) had an average monthly reach of 22.3% and 50.9%, respectively; 
      • The total time spent with false news websites each month is lower than the time spent with news websites. The most popular false news websites in France were viewed for around 10 million minutes per month, and for 7.5 million minutes in Italy. People spent an average of 178 million minutes per month with Le Monde, and 443 million minutes with La Repubblica—more than the combined time spent with all 20 false news sites in each sample;
      • Despite clear differences in terms of website access, the level of Facebook interaction (defined as the total number of comments, shares, and reactions) generated by a small number of false news outlets matched or exceeded that produced by the most popular news brands. In France, one false news outlet generated an average of over 11 million interactions per month—five times greater than more established news brands. However, in most cases, in both France and Italy, false news outlets do not generate as many interactions as established news brands.

      We have shown that many of the most prominent identified false news websites in these countries are far less popular than major established news sites. However, the difference between false news sites and news sites in terms of interactions on Facebook is less clear-cut. We believe that online disinformation is an important issue that the public, publishers, platform companies, policymakers, and other stakeholders should pay serious attention to. But overall, our analysis of the available evidence suggests that false news has more limited reach than is sometimes assumed.

    • Note : l’étude est financée par Google, ce que ne mentionne nulle part le blog du Decodex

      The research was supported by Google UK as part of the #Digital_News_Initiative (CTR00220), as well as the Digital News Report (CTR00150)

      (extrait du pdf de l’étude, 10 pages dont 2 de tableaux en annexe )

    • version Le Monde

      Les sites russes Russia Today et Sputnik, également mentionnés par les chercheurs parce qu’ils sont régulièrement évoqués dans le débat sur les fausses informations, touchent eux aussi une frange restreinte de la population (respectivement 1,5 % et 1,4 %).

      version Institut Reuters

      For comparative purposes, we also included two prominent Russian news sites which have featured in European policy discussions around disinformation, namely Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik. These Russian state-backed organisations are clearly different from sites that engage in for-profit fabrication of false news, but both independent fact-checkers and the EU’s European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force have identified multiple instances where these sites have published disinformation.

      avec en note la référence à 2 sites : site tenu par la East StratCom Task Force, montée en 2015 et financée par le Conseil de l’Europe (décisions du 19 et 20 mars 2015)

      Q&A about the #East_StratCom_Task_Force - European External Action Service

      How is the team composed?
      The team is made up of fourteen full-time staff, recruited from the EU institutions or seconded by EU Member States. Team members have a variety of professional communications backgrounds and speak several languages, including Russian.

      • nettement plus comique (!)
      dont le sous-titre affiche bravement

      La lutte contre les informations falsifiées sur les événements en Ukraine

      À propos de nous

      Le site de vérification des faits a été lancé le 2 mars 2014 dans le but de vérifier les faits avancés par la propagande du Kremlin. Les initiateurs du projet sont des enseignants, d’anciens diplômés ainsi que des étudiants de l’Académie Mohyla (une école de journalisme en Ukraine. ndlr) et du programme « Futur digital du journalisme », destiné aux journalistes et rédacteurs.

    • Three things you should know about RT and Sputnik | EU vs DISINFORMATION

      1. They are not independent
      • Sputnik was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”;
      • RT is fully financed by the Russian government and is included in an official list of core organizations of strategic importance for Russia.

      2. They do not want to be impartial
      • “The period of impartial journalism is over. Objectivity is a myth”, the CEO and editor-in-chief Dmitry Kiselyov told Sputnik’s editorial staff after a reorganisation of the media house to which Sputnik belongs;
      • The management of both RT and Sputnik receive weekly instructions from the Kremlin. These instructions include guidelines on political narratives, what should be covered and whom the outlets should not talk about.

      3. They produce fake news to promote political objectives
      • The independent media watchdog in the UK, Ofcom, has on 15 occasions expressed criticism of RT for, among other problems, “materially misleading” output;
      • RT has for example been instrumental in creating the smoke screen of disinformation, with which the Russian authorities seek to cover up the facts about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine with this article as just one of many examples.

    • Pour être complet (?) il faut aussi rappeler que Decodex est financé par Facebook (je ne crois pas qu’il y ait de montants qui circulent).

      Le Monde reçoit des financements publics mais aussi de Google (FINP - AIPG).

      En résumé, une étude financée par Google sur des données collectées par Le Monde sur financement de Facebook.

      Pour terminer, que donne une recherche Google sur les termes Decodex Facebook ?

      Sur les 4 premiers articles résultants, 2 (dont, « À la une », celui à l’origine de ce billet) et 2

      Bon, c’est un peu normal, mais où se trouve la limite ? Sur cette recherche, Il n’y a sans doute pas vraiment besoin d’éventuels coups de pouce algorithmiques au profit des clients et des partenaires pour arriver à ce résultat. Encore que… pour être « à la une »…

  • Uncertain Borders in the Post-Soviet Space

    numéro époustouflant sur les frontières et leur évolution dans l’espace post-soviétique. Juste le problème, ça manque de cartes.

    Ukraine’s border is sacred and untouchable," reads a sign in a border garrison in the Chernivtsy region of western Ukraine. Sacred and untouchable? The news coming out of Ukraine seems to indicate the opposite. Though protected by a specific international agreement1, the Ukrainian border was brutally redrawn with the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014. Immediately after, the armed conflict that erupted in Donbass deprived Kyiv of its control on almost four hundred kilometres of borders in eastern Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian situation is not unique in the region. Post-Soviet borders offer a particularly rich and complex picture, rooted in Russian and Austro-Hungarian imperial history, as well as in the consequences of the two world Wars and of Soviet Union’s foreign policy. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, local wars on the periphery led to the formation of unrecognized states and disputed borders. More recently, with the EU’s eastward enlargement, these problematic boundaries have become the external borders of the European Union.

    #frontières #urss #ex-urss #espace_post-soviétique

  • Humanitarian de-mining of eastern #Ukraine

    In April 2014, conflict between armed groups and government forces broke out in eastern Ukraine and continue to this day. The humanitarian needs persist. It has affected over 4.4 million people, out of which 3.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance (UN-coordinated Humanitarian Response Plan 2017), 1.58 million people are internally displaced and an estimated 1.4 million people have fled to neighbouring countries (UNHCR, August 2017).

    Being one of the largest humanitarian donors to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department has provided over €88.1 million in emergency assistance. Mines and unexploded ordinances are a consequence of conflict and pose a risk to the civilian population. The EU funds training programmes which allow qualified de-miners to clear civilian areas of this threat in eastern Ukraine.
    #déminage #mines_anti-personnel
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Russland zieht plötzlich alle Beobachter des Gemeinsamen Zentrums der OSZE aus der Ukraine ab | Telepolis

    Voici un développement inquiétant

    Der letzte OSZE-Bericht vom 17. Dezember meldet mehr Waffenstillstandsverletzungen während der letzten beiden Tage. Von beiden Seiten wird gefeuert, der Sinn ist nicht klar. Säuberlich werden die einzelnen Explosionen, Schießereien und Artilleriebeschüsse aufgelistet, die täglich in die Hunderte gehen. Von einem Waffenstillstand kann man also schon lange nicht mehr sprechen. Beide Seiten wollen offenbar lieber die militärische Konfrontation aufrechterhalten, als in einen Dialog treten. Die OSZE-SMM-Mission beschwert sich, dass den Beobachtern oft kein sicherer Zugang gewährt wird. Insbesondere sei dies bei den beiden „Volksrepubliken“ der Fall, wo den Beobachtern oft kein Zugang zur Grenze zur Ukraine genehmigt werde. Aber auch die ukrainische Armee blockiere die Beobachter.

    Wenn die russischen Beobachter des JCC abziehen, wird die Beobachtung des Waffenstillstands bzw. der anhaltenden Kämpfe schwieriger. Das könnten beide Seiten ausnutzen, offensiver zu werden. Daran haben beide Seiten eher Interesse als an der Umsetzung des Minsker Abkommens. Kiew könnte damit die USA und die Nato stärker hinter sich bringen und innenpolitischen Probleme, etwa die bis zum Präsidenten reichende Korruption, mit dem äußeren Feind überspielen, während die Separatisten Russland stärker an sich binden könnten. Ziehen sich die Russen aus dem JCCC zurück, könnte dies bedeuten, dass man den Separatisten die Möglichkeiten bieten will, offensiver vorzugehen. Genauso gut könnten dies die ukrainischen Streitkräfte und Milizen machen. Es könnte über Weihnachten jedenfalls zu einer gefährlichen Eskalation kommen.

    #Russie #Ukraine #Donbass #Nouvelle_Russie #guerre

    • Macron et Merkel exhortent la Russie à retourner au centre de contrôle en Ukraine - Sputnik France

      Le Président français et la chancelière allemande, intermédiaires dans le cadre du processus de Minsk, ont appelé les militaires russes à reprendre leur participation au Centre conjoint de contrôle et de coordination, en réitérant leur attachement au règlement politique et diplomatique de la crise ukrainienne.
      Le Centre conjoint de contrôle et de coordination a été créé en septembre 2014 afin de surveiller le respect du cessez-le-feu établi par le mémorandum du 19 septembre 2014. Le Centre était principalement composé de militaires russes et ukrainiens. Le 18 décembre 2017 le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères a annoncé la suspension de la participation de la Russie au travail de cette structure à cause des actions de l’Ukraine, qui, selon lui, entravait l’exécution des missions des militaires russes.

      Il faut, évidemment, aller sur un site « mal-famé » pour trouver un motif au retrait subit des militaires russes.

    • Presse de l’autre bord.

      Germany, France Call For Curb In Ukraine Cease-Fire Violations, Russia’s Return To JCCC

      Germany and France have urged all sides involved in an increase in cease-fire violations in eastern Ukraine to stop their actions and implement already agreed moves because there is no alternative to an exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict.

      A joint statement signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on December 23 also called for a return of Russian officers to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) for the cease-fire in the conflict region.

      Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s December 18 withdrawal from the body undermines the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s operations and is an attempt by the Kremlin to force Kyiv into talks with representatives of the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

      Rappel : #Minsk_II (28/02/2015)

      Minsk II - Wikipedia

      4. On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law.

    • Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 18 December 2017 | OSCE

      In Donetsk region, the SMM confirmed that Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC had withdrawn from their duties in five JCCC offices. The SMM called JCCC duty phones in “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivka (20km south-west of Donetsk) and Yasynuvata on 18 December and found that they were answered by persons who introduced themselves as “ministry of emergency situations” members. The duty phone in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) was answered by someone introducing himself as an “LPR” member of a “contact group”.

    • du coup…

      Ukraine to continue operations at JCCC but to withdraw monitors from occupied Donbas | UNIAN

      Meanwhile, this will certainly complicate the activities of the Joint Centre, since there will be no representatives on the other side if they withdraw their military personnel ... If Russian officers withdraw from the JCCC, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are forced to pull back from the occupied territories its monitors who were acting there on behalf of the JCCC to the territory controlled by Ukraine due to the fact that their safety will not be ensured,” said [deputy spokesman for Ukraine’s Armed Forces Yuzef] Venskovych.

  • Land mines in Ukraine’s east put it among world’s most dangerous areas for civilians

    MYRNA DOLYNA, Ukraine — In an overgrown minefield, Yulia Boiko kneels down and starts gardening. Years of war have caused weeds to grow high in the abandoned croplands of eastern Ukraine. Clad in flak jacket and face mask, she uses shears to snip back sun-scorched scrub, removing vegetation one careful inch at a time to avoid hidden tripwires.
    #mines_anti-personnel #Ukraine
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Tillerson is working with China and Russia — very, very quietly - The Washington Post

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has often been the silent man in the Trump foreign policy team. But out of the spotlight, he appears to be crafting a broad strategy aimed at working with China to resolve the North Korea crisis and with Russia to stabilize Syria and Ukraine.

    The Tillerson approach focuses on personal diplomacy, in direct contacts with Chinese and Russian leaders, and through private channels to North Korea. His core strategic assumption is that if the United States can subtly manage its relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin — and allow those leaders to take credit for successes — complex regional problems can be solved effectively.

    Tillerson appears unfazed by criticism that he has been a poor communicator and by recent talk of discord with President Trump. His attitude isn’t exactly “take this job and shove it,” but as a former ExxonMobil chief executive, he doesn’t need to make money or Washington friends — and he clearly thinks he has more urgent obligations than dealing with the press.

    Tillerson appears to have preserved a working relationship with Trump despite pointedly separating himself from the president’s controversial comments after the Charlottesville unrest. Although Trump didn’t initially like Tillerson’s statement, it’s said he was ultimately comfortable with it.

    The North Korea crisis is the best example of Tillerson’s diplomacy. For all the bombast of Trump’s tweets, the core of U.S. policy has been an effort to work jointly with China to reverse the North Korean nuclear buildup through negotiations. Tillerson has signaled that the United States is ready for direct talks with Kim Jong Un’s regime — perhaps soon, if Kim shows restraint. Tillerson wants China standing behind Kim at the negotiating table, with its hands figuratively at Kim’s throat.

    Despite Pyongyang’s hyper-belligerent rhetoric, its representatives have conveyed interest in negotiations, querying details of U.S. positions. But Kim’s actions have been erratic and confusing: When it appeared that the North Koreans wanted credit for not launching missiles toward Guam, Tillerson offered such a public statement. Bizarrely, North Korea followed with three more weapons tests, in a reckless rebuff.

    Some analysts see North Korea’s race to test missiles and bombs as an effort to prepare the strongest possible bargaining position before negotiations. Tillerson seems to be betting that China can force such talks by imposing an oil embargo against Pyongyang. U.S. officials hope Xi will make this move unilaterally, demonstrating strong leadership publicly, rather than waiting for the United States to insert the embargo proposal in a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

    Tillerson signaled his seriousness about Korea talks during a March visit to the Demilitarized Zone. He pointed to a table at a U.N. office there and remarked, “Maybe we’ll use this again,” if negotiations begin.

    The Sino-American strategic dialogue about North Korea has been far more extensive than either country acknowledges. They’ve discussed joint efforts to stabilize the Korean Peninsula, including Chinese actions to secure nuclear weapons if the regime collapses.

    The big idea driving Tillerson’s China policy is that the fundamentals of the relationship have changed as China has grown more powerful and assertive. The message to Beijing is that Xi’s actions in defusing the North Korea crisis will shape U.S.-China relations for the next half-century.

    Tillerson continues to work the Russia file, even amid new Russia sanctions. He has known Putin since 1999 and views him as a predictable, if sometimes bullying, leader. Even with the relationship in the dumps, Tillerson believes he’s making some quiet progress on Ukraine and Syria.

    On Ukraine, Tillerson supports Russia’s proposal to send U.N. peacekeepers to police what Putin claims are Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s assaults on Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. The addition of U.N. monitors would help implement the Minsk agreement, even if Putin gets the credit and Poroshenko the blame.

    On Syria, Tillerson has warned Putin that the real danger to Russian interests is increasing Iranian power there, especially as Bashar al-Assad’s regime regains control of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria. To counter the Iranians, Tillerson supports a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the lower Euphrates Valley.

    Trump’s boisterous, sometimes belligerent manner and Tillerson’s reticence are an unlikely combination, and many observers have doubted the relationship can last. But Tillerson seems to roll with the punches — and tweets. When Trump makes a disruptive comment, Tillerson seems to treat it as part of the policy landscape — and ponder how to use it to advantage.

    Tillerson may be the least public chief diplomat in modern U.S. history, but that’s apparently by choice. By Washington standards, he’s strangely uninterested in taking the credit.

  • Dangerous Propaganda : Network Close To NATO Military Leader Fueled #Ukraine Conflict

    The newly leaked emails reveal a clandestine network of Western agitators around the NATO military chief, whose presence fueled the conflict in Ukraine. Many allies found in Breedlove’s alarmist public statements about alleged large Russian troop movements cause for concern early on. Earlier this year, the general was assuring the world that US European Command was “deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary.”

    The emails document for the first time the questionable sources from whom Breedlove was getting his information. He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev.

    The general and his likeminded colleagues perceived US President Barack Obama, the commander-in-chief of all American forces, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel as obstacles. Obama and Merkel were being “politically naive & counter-productive” in their calls for de-escalation, according to Phillip Karber, a central figure in Breedlove’s network who was feeding information from Ukraine to the general.

    #OTAN #va_t_en_guerre #falsifications #propagande_mensongère

  • #Ukraine: #Torture and Secret Detention on Both Sides of the Conflict Line

    Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary and sometimes secret detention and torturing them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.
    #détention #guerre #conflit

  • Interpreting the Russian Withdrawal from Syria - Syria in Crisis - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Putin may be telling the truth. The Russian intervention has achieved quite a lot. It has undercut the Syrian opposition, stabilized Assad’s government, and produced a peace process on more favorable terms for Assad than was previously possible. Perhaps Putin was always planning for an intervention of limited duration and kept Assad informed about this. With a truce in place, now is a good time to start scaling it down.

    Meanwhile, other forms of support to the Syrian government are likely to continue and, if the peace process collapses, Putin could easily reverse his decision. Remember, the Hmeymim and Tartus bases will remain operational, which leaves Russia with all the infrastructure it needs to resume airstrikes on short notice.

    Putin may be bluffing. The Russian government is not above a bit of wartime subterfuge and Putin saying something is not the same as Moscow actually doing it. The Kremlin has very consistently lied about its troop presence in eastern Ukraine and about what insurgent factions are being targeted in Syria. It is possible that the Russian president is simply telling his enemies what they want to hear, in order to mollify critics in the White House and gain time, without any intention of stopping the attacks.

  • Months After Russian Annexation, Hopes Start to Dim in Crimea - The New York Times

    When residents in this typical Soviet factory town voted enthusiastically to secede from Ukraine and to become Russians, they thought the chaos and corruption that made daily life a struggle were a thing of the past.

    Now that many of them are being forced to cook and boil drinking water on open fires, however, they are beginning to reconsider.

    There has been no steady electricity supply in this hard-hit town since Nov. 22, when protesters in Ukraine blew up the lines still feeding Crimea with most of its electric power. The bigger towns and cities are only marginally better off.

    11ème jour sans électricité en Crimée…

    • Russia blames Ukraine of ’sabotage’ over Crimean power shortages Vatican Radio

      Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has accused Ukraine of “sabotage” as damage to key electricity pylons left some two million people on the Crimean peninsula without power for more than a week. The loss of electricity to Crimea has sparked a reduction of coal supplies to Ukraine from Russia and from the pro-Russian rebel-held eastern Ukraine. Despite the tensions, a prisoner exchange was reported Tuesday between pro-Russian rebels and Kiev.
      Ukraine says Tatar activists will need to allow repairs before power supplies can be resumed.
      However speaking through an interpreter an activist says this can only happen if Russia meets at least some of their demands. “As soon as at least one political prisoner is released than we give permission to repair one pylon and to run electricity as well,” the masked man said.
      In response, coal supplies to Ukraine have been reduced from Russia and from the pro-Russian rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

  • On Ukraine’s front lines, U.S.-supplied equipment is falling apart - The Washington Post

    An aging U.S. Humvee with worn out tires near Ukrainian front lines. on Nov. 6.
    Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post

    The United States has delivered more than $260 million in non-lethal military equipment to help the government of Ukraine in its fight against a Russian-backed insurgency, but some of the U.S.-supplied gear meant to protect and transport Ukrainian military forces is little more than junk.

    On the outskirts of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, for example, one Ukrainian special forces unit is using U.S.-supplied Humvees dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s, based on serial numbers on the vehicles.

    Three of the Humvees had plastic doors and windows — barely any protection at all. The tires on one of the trucks blew apart after driving only a few hundred kilometers, the result of sitting in a warehouse too long, said one mechanic.

    Another infantry unit of approximately 120 men received from the Pentagon a single bulletproof vest — a type that U.S. troops stopped using in combat during the mid-2000s.

    If the Americans are going to send us equipment, don’t send us secondhand stuff,” said one Ukrainian special forces commander, who like other soldiers spoke on condition of anonymity to criticize the condition of his unit’s gear.

    The obsolete equipment was identified on a tour near the front lines in eastern Ukraine with help from mechanics serving in the Ukrainian army and through interviews with front-line troops. In some cases, serial numbers were used to trace the origins of certain vehicles.

    The decaying state of U.S.-supplied equipment on Ukraine’s front lines has bred distrust and lowered morale among Ukrainian troops, soldiers said. Experts said the low quality of the gear also calls into question the U.S. government’s commitment to a war that is entering its second year, with well-equipped Russian-backed separatists still firmly entrenched in Ukraine’s eastern region.

  • Kuwait arrest raises specter of Ukraine black market as source of arms for ISIS

    The arrest in Kuwait of a Lebanese man with ties to the Islamic State has raised the specter that Ukraine’s notorious illicit arms market may be a source of weapons for the the militant group.

    One senior Ukrainian official with access to intelligence agency reports told Mashable on Friday that it is “plausible” the man, arrested by Kuwaiti authorities on Thursday, had obtained FN-6 surface-to-air missile systems he admitted to getting from a broker in Ukraine. Calling news of the arrest “interesting,” the official stopped short of giving a definitive answer to a question about whether Kiev had direct information about the arms sale in question.

    Pour les purs et durs, ça ne peut venir, évidemment, que des zones tenues par les séparatistes…

    FN-6 shoulder-fired missile systems, manufactured by China, have never been sold to Ukraine, nor has the government given permission for their transit through its territory, the Ukrainian defense ministry said in a statement on Friday. And there have been no documented reports of the the FN-6 shoulder-fired missile systems appearing in Ukraine since the war began in April 2014.

    But that doesn’t mean the weapons couldn’t have been transported into the country another way, the senior official admitted, adding that Kiev has monitored the illicit trafficking of weapons to and from separatist-controlled territories since the start of the war, and that it "really struggles" to stem the “heavy” flow.
    But on both sides of the battle lines, weapons have a way of disappearing in Ukraine, where corruption remains rampant, an Ukrainian security official told Mashable in June.

    Weapons can disappear all the time,” possibly falling into the hands of extremist groups, said the official. “We have seen the black arms market flourish since the start of the war in Donbass,” the official said, using the colloquial term for eastern Ukraine.

    (photo illustrant un article de mars 2013, lorsque la FSA avait abattu un hélicoptère d’origine russe avec ce type de missile)

    • échantillon de démentis,…

      Claim of Ukrainian weapons sale to ISIS prompts denials, alarm


      Ukraine has not manufactured or carried out purchases of the FN-6 anti-aircraft missile systems mentioned in the statement, and also has not provided the transport for their shipment,” a statement on [Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s] website said.

      « impossibilités » diverses

      Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian military spokesperson, said there would be “nothing surprising” about such Chinese-made systems winding up in the occupied territory of Donetsk, noting that separatists could easily transport weapons across the uncontrolled border with Russia.

      But it would be “practically impossible” to move such weapons across territories under control of the government, he said.

      Apart from the war-torn east, however, the city of Odesa also has a reputation for a smuggling hub.

      Nikolai Holmov, a writer and consultant based in Odesa, said corruption could have made it possible to have weapons smuggled out of the ports in Odesa, “but that does not mean it’s necessarily probable.

      et l’incontournable, c’est les Russes !

      Volodymyr Fesenko of the Penta political research center warned that the news about the weapons sold to ISIS could play into Russia’s hands.

      The likelihood that this news is nothing more than another Russian information attack on Ukraine is rather high. They already did this several times in 2002-2003, when the news that Ukraine sold ‘Kolchuga’ radar systems to Iraq appeared in the media. That was when (Leonid) Kuchma decided he needed closer ties with NATO,” Fesenko said.

      There is a chance that someone in Ukraine could have sold weapons to ISIS, he said, but Russia will exaggerate the news.

      Russia is fighting against terrorism together with the West. And now it can show the West, “Look at this little nasty Ukraine! You protect them, and you confront us because of them! And they sell weapons to ISIS!” said Fesenko.

  • Sinai plane crash may show price of Putin’s military adventurism in Syria | World news | The Guardian

    With many US and European security officials now appearing to agree that a bomb on board the plane is the most likely cause of the disaster, questions will be asked about why a Russian airline, rather than any other airline, was attacked – and why Putin was so keen to discount the possibility that terrorism was responsible.

    The most likely answer to both questions is Putin’s Syria adventure. To be fair to the Russian leader, he has long identified spreading Islamist terrorism as a threat to Russia and its central Asian allies, as well as to Arab and western countries. Islamist separatists in Russia’s Muslim Caucasus region, particularly in Chechnya, have a recent history of terror attacks on Russian soil. And many Chechen fighters have reportedly joined Isis ranks.

    But by making an enemy of Isis, Putin has put Russia directly in the firing line. This will not go down well with the Russian public, which showed little support for another recent Russian interventions, in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Body bags, military and civilian, bring back bad memories for Russians of the disastrous war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    For a man who is notoriously touchy about Moscow’s reputation and standing, the fact that the Obama administration and British ministers publicly predicted that Putin’s intervention would make Russia a terrorist target is galling.

    Donc, si on comprend bien la logique : voilà ce qui se passe quand on attaque vraiment l’EI ; c’est bien fait pour lui, fallait pas qu’il y aille !

  • Ukraine’s President Signs Law Allowing Foreigners In Armed Forces

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed into law a bill that allows foreign citizens to serve in Ukraine’s armed forces.

    The legislation, which had been passed by the parliament in Kyiv on October 6, allows foreigners a legal possibility to serve under a contract in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations.

    A statement from Poroshenko’s office said the law “will increase the combat capability of Ukraine’s military forces” by receiving "several combat-capable, experienced and motivated battalion-level units with a total number of up to 1,000 personnel.

    Poroshenko’s office said the influx of foreigners also would “help reduce the need for the conscription of Ukrainian citizens as part of mobilization” in response to fighting with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

  • OSCE observer in Luhansk region found to be Russian intelligence officer - media

    An observer of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE in Luhansk region, Maxim Udovichenko, has been revealed to be an employee of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the Russian Federation, the TSN news service of the “1+1” TV channel has reported.

    (intégralité de la brève)

    Ça ne va pas arranger les membres de la mission qui sont — déjà — soupçonnés par les deux côtés…

    • OSCE’s impartiality questioned as monitor turns out to be ex-Russian intelligence officer

      A scandal over the work in Ukraine of Russian monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has erupted after one of them was videoed saying he had recently served in Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

      The Russian was also videoed using insulting and derogatory language regarding Ukraine.

      The OSCE said on Oct. 27 that it had expelled the monitor from its mission in Ukraine, attributing the move to the monitor’s “unprofessional conduct, (and) violations of (the OSCE) code and the principle of impartiality.” The OSCE said the observer had been “apparently inebriated.”

      The scandal underscores long-running concerns in Ukraine over the presence of Russian monitors on the OSCE mission in the country.

      Critics say that allowing representatives of an aggressor country to monitor the war zone in eastern Ukraine is an absurdity. They also suspect that some of them could be spying for Russia.

      However, the OSCE has been reluctant to recognize Russia as a party to the war in eastern Ukraine, despite there being an immense pool of evidence of the presence of Russian weapons, mercenaries and regular troops in the country.

      The monitor who triggered the scandal, Maxim Udovichenko, told Ukrainian channel 1+1 in the city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast that he had served in the 24th special forces brigade of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), according to footage of the 1+1 television network posted on the Ukraine Today channel’s site on Oct. 27.

      Yes, I served in Russian armed forces…” Udovichenko said in the video footage. “I served in the 24th brigade of special forces. I retired in 2010.

      1+1 also sent the Kyiv Post footage in which Udovichenko explicitly calls himself a “GRU officer” and appears to threaten a 1+1 journalist.

      I served in the Main Intelligence Directorate,” he told the journalist. “Are you out of your mind? You’re messing with the wrong guy.

      Udovichenko said he had retired as a lieutenant colonel, and added he had served during the war in Chechnya in 1994. He also lambasted Ukraine.

      Ukraine is a piece of shit,” he told a local resident in the 1+1 footage. “There is great Russia. It’s right nearby.

      1+1 also cited Udovichenko as saying that Russian troops would return to Ukraine.

      The entire armada has gone away to Syria, now you sort it out yourselves,” Udovichenko said in the 1+1 video, apparently referring to Russian regular troops being redeployed from Ukraine to Syria.

      Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, described the incident as a “very unfortunate and very rare occasion.

      Whatever his personal views, we’re not going to comment on them,” he told the Kyiv Post.