Ukraine violence flares as ceasefire collapses, 8,000 Russian troops now in Donetsk

November 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

Nov 12, – Gunfire crackles and flames scar battlefields in eastern Ukraine — signs, officials warn, of a crumbling ceasefire in the volatile region. And there’s new fear that the long simmering battle may be about to explode to a deadly new level.

hromedia Ukraine violence flares as ceasefire collapses, 8,000 Russian troops now in Donetsk eu news2The ceasefire is in name only at this point, “The violence continues to increase day by day.”

But now, fighting between pro-Russian rebel forces and the Ukrainian military has returned to levels that preceded the ceasefire, a British security source who has detailed knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Russia has amassed some 8,000 troops along the Ukraine border, Pentagon officials and the British security source said.

Russia has also stepped up shipments of heavy weapons to separatists in recent days, Pentagon officials say. And Moscow has again sent in a convoy that it claims is humanitarian, but U.S. and Ukrainian officials say went through no independent inspection.

The situation has come up in meetings between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meetings in Beijing.

Eyewitnesses have spotted hundreds of Russian-made vehicles and heavy munitions moving into eastern Ukraine. Thousands of Russian troops are on the border — and thousands more may already be inside Ukraine, if one informed estimate is to be believed.

The steady, and by several accounts heavy, buildup of troops and military equipment along Ukraine’s border with Russia has U.S. officials on alert ahead of a possible new offensive by Russian-backed separatists in the country’s restive east.

“Obviously this represents an escalation. Escalation remains high and is rising,” spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said in an interview.

The OSCE has observers on the ground in Ukraine, says it has spotted 126 unmarked vehicles heading from an easterly direction into the contested Ukrainian town of Donetsk since Saturday.

On Tuesday, the group witnessed a convoy of 43 unmarked green military trucks with tarpaulin covers moving towards Donetsk. Five of the trucks were towing 120mm howitzer artillery pieces, and another five were towing partly-covered multi-launch rocket systems, the group said. That comes on the heels of a report last week of “convoys of heavy weapons and tanks” moving into the city, reportedly belonging to the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian-backed separatist group. The convoy included more than 40 tankers and trucks–19 of those were each towing a 122mm howitzer.

And according to an independent assessment provided to The Daily Beast, there are as many as 7,000 Russian troops inside Ukraine now, and between 40,000 and 50,000 amassing on the country’s eastern border.

Phillip Karber, a former Pentagon strategy adviser who has worked closely with the Ukrainian government, said in an interview that he had just returned from Ukraine, where he spoke with commanders at the front. Karber said that in addition to the thousands of ground troops, as many as 100 tanks are inside Ukraine now, more than 400 armored vehicles, and more than 150 self-propelled artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Another 350 to 400 tanks are poised along the border, along with more than 1,000 armored vehicles and 800 self-propelled artillery, Karber said.

As many as 8,000 Russian troops are already in Ukraine, by his estimate.

Press journalist for HRO media – Norberto Lluch reports.

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Category: European Crises

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