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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 282

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
Is Germany Softening Its Line On Russian Actions In Ukraine?

Earlier we reported a story published on Bloomberg that, according to two unnamed German officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel is alarmed by proposals by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko to hold a referendum on joining NATO as it would "inflame tensions with Russia." The story is supposedly a leak by tow officials who refuse to be named, but the timing is curious. Today the Financial Times is running a story, Merkel offers Russia trade talks olive branch, in which Merkel has asked for the EU to hold trade talks with Russia in order to "maintain dialogue."

“We are ready for talks between the Eurasian Union and the EU on trade issues,” Ms Merkel told the German parliament. The German chancellor floated the idea in a long late-night meeting with Mr Putin during her recent visit to the G20 summit in Brisbane.

But then the article quotes German officials who suggest that Germany is still holding the line on sanctions against Russia:

“One of the interesting questions now is whether you can engage with Russia at all, for example at a political level between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union,” said a German official. But he made clear that there could be no real progress without first calming eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces have continued fighting despite the ceasefire agreement.

Ms Merkel insisted in her speech that EU sanctions would remain in place as long as Russia remained involved in east Ukraine and that nothing justified or excused the annexation of Crimea or Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine. She said: “Russia’s behaviour puts Europe’s peaceful order into question and breaks international law.”

Yesterday Spiegel published an interview with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who "warned recently that leaders should tone down their rhetoric on Russia. SPIEGEL asked him whether his comments were directed at Chancellor Merkel and how he believes the conflict with Russia might develop." Steinmeier dismissed that his comments were designed to cause tension with Merkel. He also said he supported new sanctions for separatists who "are riding roughshod over Ukraine's territorial integrity." But a choice quote was noticed by Russia observer James Kirchick:

Are all these statements coming out at the same time just a coincidence? Is Germany holding the line on Russia's actions in Ukraine, or is this a sign that it is softening its stances on sanctions, and perhaps other issues that concern Moscow?
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Donetsk Mayor Lukyanchenko Is Prepared To Resign

Novosti Donbassa reports that Oleksandr Lukyanchenko, the mayor of Donetsk, has said that he is prepared to resign.

During in an interview with Ukrlife.net, Lukyanchenko said (translated by The Interpreter):

"I can apologise before my own countrymen, before my fellow city residents, for the fact that I cannot today solve the problems that have arisen for us in the Donbass and in Donetsk. I am trying to do everything to focus on the issues that are facing the population today and the issues that need solving - pensions, peace, social benefits and humanitarian aid.

If I cannot resolve at least one of those issues, I am prepared to step down from office."

Donetsk news site 62.ua reports that Lukyanchenko had said during the interview that the uncontrolled border meant that the conflict would only intensify after separatist forces received fresh arms and reinforcements from Russia.

He seemed pessimistic about the chances of a military solution, his words suggest a belief in a need for a compromise:

"If they want a civilised divorce, then they need to do that - everything is heading in that direction."

-- Pierre Vaux

 

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Merkel Opposes Ukrainian NATO Membership Referendum - German Officials

Bloomberg news reports that two German officials, who asked not to be named, have told them that Chancellor Angela Merkel is alarmed by proposals by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko to hold a referendum on joining NATO as it would "inflame tensions with Russia."

Ukrainian membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not on the table for Merkel, according to one German official, who said that a referendum wouldn’t bring Ukraine closer to NATO since decisions on membership are made by Alliance countries and not voters. Any bid to join NATO can only end badly, a second official said. Both asked not to be named discussing German government strategy.

This is not the first statement from Germany dismissing talk of Ukraine's possible entry into the military alliance.

As Bloomberg notes, Michale Grosse-Broemer, parliamentary whip for the Christian Democrats, said yesterday that:

“NATO membership for Ukraine isn’t on the agenda at this point.”

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told Speigel Online that he did not foresee NATO membership for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Steinmeier's French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, told France Inter radio:

"In recent days there have been a number of statements from the Ukraine side that have not helped.”  

However NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has said as recently as November 24, that:

"The 'open door' is still open. Ukraine will become a member, that decision still stands providing that Ukraine meets the requirements." 

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Says 2 Russian Jets Crossed Border Near Stanitsa Luganskaya

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council announced earlier today that two Russian aircraft were detected entering Ukrainian airspace on Tuesday, November 25.

According to the Council's spokesman, Andrei Lysenko, two Russian jets crossed the border between the Russian village of Manotskiy and the Ukrainian village of Kolesnikovka. The two penetrated Ukrainian airspace to a depth of 0.5 km and 5 km.

Lysenko claimed that Ukrainian air defence forces were "ready to strike the target" but the Russian planes returned to their own territory.

Here is a map showing the locations of the two villages:

141126-border-map.png

The incident comes amidst an intensification in fighting around Stanitsa Luganskaya, just to the west of Kolesnikovka.

Earlier today it was reported that close combat was under way just to south-east of the town. On November 24, the Ukrainian military reported that their positions in Stanitsa Luganskaya and Verkhnaya OIkhovaya were being shelled from the Russian side of the border.

It is possible that the Russian jets crossing the border were performing reconnaissance or electronic warfare missions to aid ground forces in their attacks on the Ukrainian army.

-- Pierre Vaux

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Moves Advanced Strike Aircraft To Crimea

Russia's state-owned TASS news agency reports that 14 jet fighters have been relocated to Belbek airbase near Simferopol in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Ten fighter jets Sukhoi Su-27 SM and four fighter jets Su-30 M2 flew to the air regiment from southern Russia’s Krasnodar territory on Wednesday.

The air regiment in Belbek will operate a total of 24 warplanes and six training combat aircraft. First training flights will start on December 1.

The 62nd air regiment of fighter jets, which is incorporated in the 27th combined air squadron, is based at the Belbek airfield.

The Su-27 SM is a recent modification of the Su-27 fighter and the two-seat Su-30 M2 is an advanced long-range strike aircraft which first flew in 2010.

0_fb31f_ac66b9fb_XXXL.jpg

-- Pierre Vaux


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