An unspecified amount of Mig-31s based at Perm have been deployed to Millerovo airfield, in the Rostov region, close to the border with Ukraine. This is a sign that Moscow may be preparing to actively control the airspace over Luhansk Oblast. The MiG-31 is a two-seater derivative of the MiG-25 in service since 1983.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko today said he is ready for ‘total war’ against Russia as he claimed the crisis in eastern Europe is more serious than the threat from Islamic State. Kiev is convinced that Moscow is strengthening its troop presence on its borders and inside rebel-held areas, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. As Putin returned from the G20 in Brisbane where he was under siege from Western leaders, Poroshenko claimed his army is now better prepared to fight to defend its territory than when the conflict began.
Russia has deported several Polish and one German diplomat in recent days, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat expulsions that have accompanied mounting tensions between Russia and European governments over the crisis in Ukraine. In an interview with German ARD television broadcast late Sunday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia said he still believes diplomacy can bring peace to eastern Ukraine, but he said Moscow would not allow the separatists there to be “annihilated.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that “a number of Polish diplomats” were being sent home in retaliation for the “unfriendly and unfounded” expulsion of Russian diplomats from Poland this month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he won’t allow rebels in eastern Ukraine to be defeated by government forces as European Union ministers met to consider imposing more sanctions on the separatists. “You want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents,” Putin said in an interview yesterday with Germany’s ARD television. “Is that what you want?
Ukraine’s military accused Russia on Friday of sending a column of 32 tanks and truckloads of troops into the country’s east to support pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces. Thursday’s cross-border incursion, if confirmed, is a significant escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people since the separatists rose up in mid-April and would call into question Russia’s commitment to a two-month-old ceasefire deal. The truce has looked particularly fragile this week, with each side accusing the other of violations after separatist elections last Sunday condemned as illegitimate by the West.
Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast. In a report on the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, Moscow correspondent Bernhard Lichte used pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. A second soldier was seen with a swastika on his gear.
As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies. The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reportedly told a European official that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted to, adding a new dimension to the tensions building in Ukraine as Russian forces become more involved in the fighting there. As NATO leaders gather in Wales for a summit meeting, Mr.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Monday that she was unaware of possible presence of NATO officers in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. “On this particular issue I can say that I’m not aware of any NATO officers in Mariupol,” she said. Earlier today, Donetsk People’s Republic representatives said that a group of six NATO officers has been blocked in the town of Mariupol in Donetsk region.
Ukraine said Russian tanks had flattened a small border town and pro-Russian rebels had made fresh gains in its east, as EU leaders signaled on Saturday they would threaten more sanctions against Moscow over the crisis. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, attending an EU summit in Brussels, said he was hoping for a political solution, but warned that his country was on the brink of full-scale war. Russia has repeatedly dismissed accusations from Kiev and Western powers that it has sent soldiers into its neighbor, or supported pro-Russian rebels fighting a five-month-old separatist war in Ukraine’s east.
Ukraine alleged today that a huge convoy of up to 100 Russian tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers had infiltrated its territory. If confirmed, the claim could destroy a new ‘roadmap’ to peace discussed by the two countries’ leaders and EU officials at a Minsk summit less than 24 hours earlier. The news comes as a column of Ukrainian tanks, trucks and heavy artillery was pictured massing near the town of Mariupol, close to where Pro-Moscow separatists began shelling today.
Russian forces in two armored columns captured a key southeastern coastal town near the Russian border Thursday after Ukrainian forces retreated in the face of superior firepower, a Ukrainian military spokesman said. The two Russian columns, including tanks and armored fighting vehicles, entered the town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov after a battle in which Ukrainian army positions came under fire from Grad rockets launched from Russian territory, according to the spokesman, Col. Andriy Lysenko.
Russian soldiers and Ukrainian soldiers are now shooting at each other in eastern Ukraine. Could this conflict ultimately lead us down the road to World War 3? This week, a very robust force of “tanks, artillery and infantry” has opened up a “third front” in the Ukrainian civil war in a part of southeastern Ukraine that had not seen much fighting yet.