And finally, you can view your Pressimus profile by clicking on your profile image, and selecting your profile, and you can customize your Pressimus settings by selecting settings.
Watch quick explainer video
Finish
X

Request Invitation




Submit
Close
Submit
Stream by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Liveblog Day 108: Is Ukraine Losing Control of the Lugansk Borderlands?

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
Readability View
Press View
Show oldest first
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Stocks Higher Than They Were Before Crimea Invasion

While not quite at the levels that they were before the Yanukovych government started to founder in February, Russian stocks are now higher than they were before Russia invaded Crimea.

Today was the first day all week that the MICEX index lost value (it was down .34% today), but Russia's stock market which was staring disaster in the face not long ago is only down 2.15% for the year. As Russia's economy was, according to many experts, already destined to slide even before this crisis began, this is good news for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

INDEXCF-Chart-MICEX-Index-Bloomberg-june

Russian stocks were down today on news that the Russian government may raise the capitalization for the state-owned energy giant Gazprom. Business Week reports:

The Micex Index dropped 0.1 percent to 1,474.30 by 5:35 p.m. in Moscow after closing at the highest level since Feb. 25 yesterday. Gazprom retreated 0.5 percent and VTB Group lost 3.8 percent, the stock’s first decline in four days.

Gazprom’s eastern Siberian gas pipeline to China may be financed by additional capitalization or with an advance gas payment from China, Putin said yesterday at an energy meeting in Astrakhan, Russia. Stocks have rebounded to levels last seen before Putin’s incursion into Crimea in March as prospects of tougher U.S. and European Union sanctions fade.

“Gazprom shares will remain under big pressure since the government is planning additional capitalization, which may dilute existing shareholders’ stakes,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, who helps oversee about $4.1 billion at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by e-mail. “It’s a strange proposal since Gazprom has the capacity to build the pipeline to China without extra capitalization. ”

Despite this minor setback the trend remains clear. Many Russia observers are looking at today's battles on Ukraine's border as the clearest and most concerning sign that Russian interference is destabilizing Ukraine, at least since the Crimean annexation. And yet Russia's markets don't seem to have noticed these incidents, the Western media is largely devoid of reports of the fighting on the border, and it's not clear that world leaders are willing to pass additional sanctions against Russia over the flow of Russian militants into eastern Ukraine.

There is now a total disconnect between the deepening crisis in eastern Ukraine and the price Russia is paying for helping to deepen that crisis.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Are Western Governments Still Focused On Yesterday's Conflict?

What we have witnessed in the last several weeks has been the start of a new phase of the conflict in Ukraine. Russian-backed separatists, swelling in numbers and wielding increasingly powerful (and Russian made) weapons, have captured Ukrainian military bases, including National Guard bases and Border Guard posts, across parts of eastern Ukraine.

The fall of those bases have given the separatists several advantages. First, it is a major boost for morale. Secondly, it has provided them with more weapons, including armored vehicles and Igla anti-aircraft missiles. Not only does this serve an obvious purpose, but it provides the separatists with plausible deniability when it comes to the source of their weapons. Whereas before many eyebrows were raised by the amount of firepower in the hands of these "rebels," now the separatists (and the Kremlin) can say that they got them from captured bases. Third, as we've been writing, the victories have opened up the borders, allowing more Russian fights, and possibly weapons and heavy equipment, to come and militarily support the rebel fighters.

In the last two days, the G-7 has been meeting in Brussels. The summit was supposed involve the G-8 and was supposed to take place in Sochi, Russia, but the Russian Federation was dis-invited to its own summit. The G-7 has decided not to pass more sanctions against Russia at this moment. Here is an excerpt from the press release sent by The White House today:

G-7 leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine and stand united in support of the efforts of the people of Ukraine to build a deeper and stronger democracy that accommodates the rights and aspirations of all people in all regions of Ukraine.  Despite violence and intimidation, strong voter turnout for the May 25 presidential election underscores the determination of Ukraine’s citizens to determine the future of their country.  Against this backdrop, G-7 leaders discussed their commitment to support Ukraine as it works to unite the country and transition to an inclusive democracy and prosperous market-driven economy and their determination to raise the cost for Russia of continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Response to Russian Actions

G-7 leaders also agreed that coordinated actions must continue to raise the cost of Russia’s unacceptable interference in Ukraine, including the occupation of Crimea in violation of international law and the ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine’s east and south.  G-7 leaders have taken a number of steps to impose economic costs on Russia and committed to take further intensified measures if needed.  Specifically, all G-7 members have:

•        Imposed sanctions on individuals and entities who have actively supported or implemented the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity or who are threatening the peace, security, and stability of Ukraine.

•        Committed to supporting a diplomatic solution and called on Russia to fulfill the commitments it made in the Geneva Joint Statement to pursue a diplomatic path and cooperation with the government of Ukraine as it implements it plans for promoting peace, unity, and reform.

•        Called on Russia to recognize the results of the Ukrainian election, complete the withdrawal of its military forces on the border with Ukraine, stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, and exercise its influence among armed separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence.

•        Affirmed their readiness to intensify targeted sanctions and to implement significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia if necessary.

But Russia's stock market has rallied and erased most of the losses it has suffered as a result of this crisis and the previous rounds of sanctions. So while there is an acknowledgement that Russia is still playing the role of provocateur, the statements from the G-7 lead with Crimea as the headline. In reality, the provocations in eastern Ukraine are a far more pressing problem.

In separate statements, U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed that the current crisis is moving Ukraine into dangerous waters. Financial Times reports:

“We can’t simply allow drift,” Mr Obama said. “The mere fact that some of the Russian soldiers have moved back off the border, and Russia is now destabilising Ukraine through surrogates rather than overtly and explicitly, does not mean that we can afford three months or four months or six months of continued violence and conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Russia’s foreign ministry reacted angrily to accusations that it was responsible for weapons shipments to rebels in eastern Ukraine. “These unfounded allegations on Ukraine’s part that trucks with weapons are crossing the border, et cetera, this is all the work of the devil,” said Alexander Lukashevich, the foreign ministry spokesman, according to Interfax.

But will the G-7, and both the U.S. and the EU, hold Russia to those standards, or is the Russian troop pullback good enough for them?


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
A Hole In Ukraine's Border

Before today's fighting at various border checkpoints, Russian-backed separatists had already opened a hole in Ukraine's border that allows Russians -- even armed ones -- to flock into Ukraine. In a report for The Daily Beast, Anna Nemtsova says that, despite claims that Russia is deescalating the situation by claiming to withdraw from Ukraine's borders, now that this hole has been opened "the real war is about to begin."

Two local taxi drivers, Aleksei and Vladislav, drove us to the crossing point, which is called Krasny Partizansk in Russian or Chervono Parizansk in Ukrainian. Shortly before we arrived, armed rebels took over the base and took down the Ukrainian flag.

There is now no flag at the border. It is now nobody’s border, the locals are joking. One of the rebels told us that no passports or identity papers had to be checked on this side of the frontier any longer. We saw cars crossing into Russia with only Russian customs checking their papers.

This was published by Nemtsova yesterday. Below we have several reports of fighting along the border, and at least one of the battles is fierce enough that it is still ongoing and Ukraine has had to conduct airstrikes to defeat the attackers. Several more border posts have fallen since this was published, and it looks like this trend will only accelerate.

Ukraine has essentially lost the border, and with it Kiev may now lose the east.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Airstrikes Reported On Northern Border With Russia

Another serious headline from the official Ukrainian Border Services (SBSU) website:


Translation: "The status as of 18:30: battle with terrorists at the Marinovka checkpoint continues. Aviation has already twice delivered strikes."

The SBSU website says that the battle is ongoing, Ukrainian air forces have conducted two strafing runs, the nearby grass is on fire, and the attackers are losing. This is the report that says that three border guards have been wounded.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Three Border Guards Reportedly Injured In Cross-Border Attack
A new detail on the fighting on the border north of Lugansk (see previous update):
X

Acknowledgements