Friday, 22 August 2014

Ukraine - Major News from Friday, August 22

- NATO officials accused Russia's military of a dangerous escalation by sending artillery units manned by Russian personnel into Ukraine, where they are firing on pro-Kyiv forces, "The New York Times" reported.
-- Dozens of trucks from a convoy of around 270 that Russia claims is carrying humanitarian aid ignored Ukrainian and Red Cross demands and entered eastern Ukraine after Moscow expressed impatience with "excuses." Pro-Russian separatists on Ukrainian territory cleared people and cars from the highway ahead of the Russian trucks, which some sources said numbered as many as 145. Ukrainian authorities said only 34 trucks had been inspected.
-- Kyiv described the move as an "invasion," and the convoy's actions were condemned by the European Union, United States, and NATO. Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko said Kyiv would not use force against the trucks in an effort to avoid "provocations."
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told Germany's Angela Merkel by telephone that further delay was "unacceptable." 
-- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would ask Putin to withdraw pro-Moscow militants from Ukrainian territory. Poroshenko and Putin are both expected to attend a summit of the Russia-led customs union in Belarus next week, which will also be attended by senior EU officials.
-- The first trucks arrived in the separatist-held city of Luhansk, where residents have been without water or electricity for days.
-- Lithuania's foreign minister said an honorary consul in separatist-held Luhansk had been "kidnapped and brutally murdered by terrorists" there.
-- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said his ministry's website was under a denial-of-service attack and he blamed Russia.
-- A Ukrainian urban climber who calls himself "Mustang Wanted" confessed via Facebook to having painted the star of a spire high above Moscow in Ukrainian blue and yellow and raising the national flag in "a fit of sincere patriotic sentiment." He urged Russian authorities to release the four suspects in custody and suggested he would turn himself in if Russia freed Ukrainian army pilot Nadya Savchenko, who was abducted by separatists and smuggled into Russian custody, then accused of complicity in the killing of two Russian war correspondents.
-- Serbia announced that it would not subsidize extra exports to Russia but also would not curb that trade despite a request by the European Union that the aspiring member avoid compensating for the effects of Russia's ban on many foods from the West.
-- In a televised roundtable interview on Hromadske TV, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Russia of plotting its invasion "since 2004," when the Orange Revolution broke out, and acknowledges that his country can't get by without Russian gas. 
-- The bodies and ashes of 20 Malaysians killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine in July have arrived in Kuala Lumpur.
*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv

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