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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 Liveblog Day 214

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
Russian Aircraft Challenging North American, European Air Defense Zones
Russian aircraft have been flying into European and North American air defense zones in recent days, apparently in retaliation for EU, US and Canadian support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

Six Russian fighters were intercepted two days ago by US aircraft near Alaska, AFP reported:

Two Russian fighters entered a US "air defense identification zone" two days ago and were intercepted by American F-22 jets near Alaska, military officers said.

The incident occurred on the eve of a visit by Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko  the US to meet with President Barack Obama and speak before the US Congress, although officials discounted the connection, said AFP:

But Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said there was no indication of a link between Poroshenko's visit to Washington and the air incidents.

"We've faced these kinds of incidents before. We take them very, very seriously. And we routinely intercept them," Kirby told CNN.

"We'll make our intentions known to Russia as we always do and we'll certainly discuss our concerns with them at the appropriate time and in the appropriate venue."

It was unclear if the Russian aircraft were in the area due to exercises announced by Moscow in far-eastern regions, including the off-shore naval training grounds of the Kamchatka region.

Then according to the Canadian Globe and Mail, this afternoon, Russian planes also flew near Canadian territory:

A patrol of Russian bombers veered to within 50 to 100 kilometres of Canada’s northern landmass the day after Ukraine’s President received a hero’s welcome in Ottawa for his struggle to defend his country from Moscow’s aggression.

This pair of Tupolev bombers, conducting what Moscow has long referred to as training flights, are among those that have flown the closest to Canada’s mainland, a government source says.

The incident follows closely on the heels of an official Canadian visit by Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko, who’s been fighting Russian-backed rebels for months and addressed Canada’s Parliament on Sept. 17.

And the UK's Royal Air Force also scrambled today as Russian aircraft came near a NATO defense zone, the Telegraph reported:

RAF Typhoon jets have scrambled to investigate long-range Russian bombers north of Scotland for the first time since moving to their new quick reaction airbase.

The intercept force fighters launched to meet the Tu-95 ‘Bear’ aircraft as they approached a Nato air defence zone north of the UK.

Sweden also reported a Russian incursion, thelocal.se reported:

The two Su-24 attack planes took off from Kaliningrad and skirted the Polish coast before heading north at low altitude towards the Swedish island of Öland in the Baltic Sea, newspaper Expressen reports.

A source told the newspaper several JAS Gripen fighter jets scrambled to intercept the Russian aircraft, which left Swedish airspace when one of the Swedish planes arrived and headed off the encroachment.

As we reported earlier, Sweden has filed a complaint with Russia over the violation of Swedish air space.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania Form Joint Military 'LITPOLUKRBRIG' Brigade
An agreement was signed in Warsaw today among Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine on the creation of a joint military brigade called LITPOLUKRBRIG, UNIAN reported.

The Defense Ministry published a report on its Facebook page. RBK Ukraine reports (translation by The Interpreter):

It is known that from Ukraine, the soldiers from the 80th Separate Air Mobile Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will go into the joint brigade. Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Polish military will take part in joint exercises and also take part together in operations.

The technical documentation will be drafted for two years, by which time the brigade will be in full operational readiness.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, in a government decree no. 732 dated 9 July 2014, assigned Ukrainian Defense Ministery Valeriy Heletey to sign an agreement with Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland on the creation of a joint military unit.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Exxon Forced To Wind Down Russian Artic Drilling Due to New US Sanctions

The US government has granted ExxonMobil a short-term license to "enable the  safe and responsible winding down of operations” in the Russian arctic, since in the long-term new US sanctions block US companies from doing business with key Russian energy giants. As Financial Times reports, these new sanctions go much further than previous rounds:

It added that it would be bringing to an end all activities associated with the project, a joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft , “as safely and expeditiously as possible”.

Exxon’s announcement shows that the new round of sanctions has changed the legal basis for US and European companies seeking to work in Russia’s frontier oil areas such as the Arctic and shale formations, which are specifically targeted in the measures.

The previous round of sanctions, announced in July, did not prevent Exxon and Rosneft from starting to drill a well in Russia’s Arctic Kara Sea last month, part of a planned $700m exploration programme.

Those sanctions restricted only the export from the US of technology for Arctic and shale oil exploration. The new measures broadened that to include bans on US companies providing services or technology, with a deadline of September 26.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
NSDC Says Russian-Backed Forces Continue To Attack In Eastern Ukraine
A summary of the latest fighting, according to the National Security and Defense Council:
It's not just the Ukrainian government that is reporting breeches in the ceasefire. While separatists claim that they have been attacked (Ukraine claims that the Russian-backed militants have done all the attacking and they have only returned fire), the fighters are also bragging about their artillery barrages to pro-Russian propagandists.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Can Ukraine Afford Austerity, Or Will IMF's Loan Drive It Into Economic Collapse?
Responding to our last update about Ukraine's sinking currency and sagging GDP, Josh Cohen sent along his thoughts on the matter:

Ukraine is fighting a war against Russia, but it is also trying to recover from years of corruption and economic stagnation and months of revolution, and it has to do this with a government that is made up of a mix of novices to government and hold-overs from the former regime. Though, to be clear, certainly not everyone in the previous government was corrupt or is tainted, many of those who were have already been replaced, mostly by people with little-to-no governmental experience. Some of those who are still in place are still operating in the culture of the former failed governments.

Cohen argues that Ukraine simply cannot afford the austerity measures which come attached to the IMF's injection of funds:

While the IMF's loan is designed to support Ukraine's budget and allow Kiev to pay its external debts as they come due, the fund now says that Ukraine's central government will have a substantially higher deficit then originally predicted due to a spike in military expenditures combined with reduced tax collection as its taxable base shrinks along with the broader economy. The IMF now acknowledges that Ukraine could need a further $19 billion in emergency support over the next 16 months.

Despite the economic crisis, the IMF's loan requires Kiev to enact a series of policy changes, all of which will accelerate the collapse of the economy and decrease the purchasing power of ordinary Ukrainians.

The IMF demands that Ukraine make immediate cutbacks to reduce the fiscal deficit. To meet this requirement, Kiev has already enacted a series of laws raising excise and property taxes, reduced social income support expenditures for retirees and public employees, frozen Ukraine's minimum wage, and cut public-sector wages.

Another target is the energy sector. Ukraine is required to increase natural gas and heating tariffs for consumers by 56 percent and 40 percent in 2014, respectively, and by 20 to 40 percent annually from 2015 to 2017. At the same time, as gas prices increase sharply, gas subsidies to end users will be completely ended over the next two years. With Russia ceasing gas supplies to Ukraine since June as a result of a payment dispute, Ukrainian consumers may face further price increases unless Kiev is able to obtain gas from other sources.

The entire article can be read on Foreign Policy.


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