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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Live Day 654:

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Lavrov Claims 'NATO Aggression' Led To Ukraine Conflict While SBU Presents Claims On Russian Tanks

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, claimed today in Belgrade that NATO, not Russia, was responsible for the conflict in Ukraine.

An Ukrainska Pravda correspondent at the OSCE ministerial conference reports that Lavrov said that "NATO's aggressive politics" had destroyed agreements on peaceful coexistence between OSCE member states.

"It is precisely the NATO countries' aggression against Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 1990s that opened Pandora's box, and this can not be disputed.

Tensions began to arise as a result, which burst open during the Ukrainian conflict."

Lavrov had already played on the history of the venue of the conference earlier this morning, when he compared current events to those that led up to the First World War:

"The development of events invokes some associations with the period of the First World War, when politicians lacked the wisdom to avoid the impending catastrophe."

The foreign minister implied that NATO states should drop their complaints about Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria in order to combat ISIS together:

"The question that will single-out today's statesmen is whether they will continue to pursue one-sided, opportunistic gains, or decide to turn towards serious partnership to counter shared challenges."

Of course, as regular readers of The Interpreter will be aware, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence of Russia's direct military involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine.

This autumn, we compiled a report detailing specific instances of Russian military action in the war: 

 

One of the most distinctive signs of direct Russian involvement was the appearance of advanced T-72BA or B3 tanks. These tanks had never been in Ukrainian service, with the B3 only entering Russian army service in 2013. However Ukraine did possess a large number of older T-72 models in storage. While Ukraine claims not to have returned any of their T-72 fleet from storage until late in 2014, the presence of older T-72 models in the Ukrainian arsenal gave a veneer of deniability to the Kremlin.

Today the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) published claims that two T-72B tanks abandoned by Russian-backed fighters bore numerous signs of Russian modification and servicing.

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The claims largely involve interior mechanical details which we are so far unable to verify.

According to the SBU, components have been installed in a manner inconsistent with standard Ukrainian practice, parts bear serial numbers that indicate Russian origin, and a Russian-made starting battery bears a production date of December, 2013.

-- Pierre Vaux

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