Ukraine rebels getting tanks and reinforcements, says separatist leader

August 17, 2014 | By | Reply More

Aug 17, – Ukrainian rebels are receiving new armoured vehicles and fighters trained in Russia, with which they plan to launch a major counter-offensive against government forces, a separatist leader said in a video released on Saturday.

hromedia Ukraine rebels getting tanks and reinforcements, says separatist leader eu news2The four-month conflict in eastern Ukraine has reached a critical phase, with Kiev and Western governments watching nervously to see if Russia will intervene in support of the increasingly besieged rebels – an intention Moscow denies.

Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said the rebels were in the process of receiving some 150 armoured vehicles, including 30 tanks, and 1,200 fighters who he said had spent four months training in Russia.

“They are joining at the most crucial moment,” he said in a video recorded on Friday. He did not specify where the vehicles would come from.

Moscow has come under heavy Western sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and accusations it is supporting separatists in east Ukraine with fighters, arms and funds. Russia denies those charges.

Ukrainian rebels are receiving new armoured vehicles and fighters trained in Russia, with which they plan to launch a major counter-offensive against government forces, a separatist leader said in a video released on Saturday.

The four-month conflict in eastern Ukraine has reached a critical phase, with Kiev and Western governments watching nervously to see if Russia will intervene in support of the increasingly besieged rebels – an intention Moscow denies.

Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said the rebels were in the process of receiving some 150 armoured vehicles, including 30 tanks, and 1,200 fighters who he said had spent four months training in Russia.

“They are joining at the most crucial moment,” he said in a video recorded on Friday. He did not specify where the vehicles would come from.

Moscow has come under heavy Western sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and accusations it is supporting separatists in east Ukraine with fighters, arms and funds. Russia denies those charges.

The rebels, who have ceded ground to government forces in recent weeks, have been promising a counter-offensive for several days but have yet to launch one.

Ukrainian native Zakharchenko took over from Russian citizen Alexander Borodai last week and his combative comments will probably dash hopes that changes at the top of the rebel leadership might signal willingness to end hostilities.

CONVOY WAITS

Adding to the tensions, Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads for days over a convoy of 280 Russian trucks carrying water, food and medicine, which remained about 20 km (12 miles) from the Ukrainian border, unmoved since Friday.

Officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross said most procedures had been agreed by Russia and Ukraine but the two sides still needed to figure out how to provide security before the convoy moves ahead under the ICRC’s aegis. It was not clear when a deal on security could be agreed.

Russia says it is a purely humanitarian mission in support of civilians in areas hit by the conflict, but Ukraine is concerned it could serve as a Trojan Horse to infiltrate military supplies or create a pretext for armed intervention.

The crisis has dragged relations between Russia and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War and set off a round of trade restrictions that are hurting struggling economies in both Russia and Europe. The United Nations said this week that an estimated 2,086 people had been killed, with nearly 5,000 wounded.

The Finnish President, Sauli Niinisto, held talks in Kiev with Poroshenko, a day after discussing how to settle the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I do not see a great risk of an outright war,” Niinisto said. “My hopefulness is based on the fact that communication is open, at least by a crack.”

France said a meeting of Ukrainian, Russian, German and French foreign ministers scheduled in Berlin on Sunday could be a first step towards a peace summit.

Press journalist for HRO media – Norberto Lluch reports.

 

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Category: European Crises

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