European diplomacy or US Proxy War in Ukraine?
This is News Front. Amidst the success of the rebels counter-offensive in Ukraine, German and French officials engaged in a diplomatic proposals with the Ukrainian and Russian government to ease the tensions. The attempt is seen to scrambles to save what is left of the remnants of the Ukrainian military trapped in the town of Debaltseve in Donetsk region. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande visited Kiev on Thursday and meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko after the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry in Ukraine. The European attempts to talk peace is in contrast with the United States government proposal to send lethal weapons to the Kiev army. The visit of German and French leaders to Ukraine and Russia is an attempt to tussle with the U.S. in supplying weapons to Kiev government against the separatists where the two leaders are voicing an opposition. The talk in the Belarussian capital, Minsk on Wednesday will include the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany dubbed as Normandy Four where a peace dialogue between rebels and the Kiev government is on top of the agenda. The talks is said to propose the creation of demilitarized zone in southeast Ukraine spearheaded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (OSCE) However, despite of the talks, US authorities are still determined to supply Kiev with heavy weaponry that will be viewed by Russia as an act of war based on a report of Moscow Times, citing a member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s public advisory board who requested anonymity. The supplying of the weapons by the US government is already ongoing according to the rebel leaders although still being denied, both by the US and Ukraine government. However, if US officially send in the weapons, Russian government may view the U.S. to be a direct participant in the conflict and might trigger an arms race bound to end up in Ukraine’s complete military defeat according to an article by Fiscal Times. The Russian Army is currently conducting military exercises in the southern Russia along the border of Ukraine in apparent attempt to show a strength before a summit on the Ukraine crisis. News agencies quoted military officials as saying that about 2,000 Russian reconnaissance troops had started large-scale exercises in the southern military district. Separately, more than 600 soldiers from the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had started training in the southern Crimea peninsula, and in Kamchatka, in Russia’s east, 2,500 soldiers of the Pacific Fleet and joint forces were checked for military readiness. The timing of the arrival of the two leaders to Ukraine and Russia is also being questioned. Rebels are suspecting that the visit and the attempt to hold another talks in Minsk Belarus is not to ensure the successful ceasefire agreement but to save or hide the facts that out of Ukraine troops there are NATO elements now trapped in the Debaltseve cauldron under siege by Novorossian troops. Out of the estimated 8,000 troops trapped in Debaltseve, more than 50% of the personnel are made up of NATO troops and foreign mercenaries according to a Facebook post by Donetsk rebel commander Motorola. On February 7, intercepted communications from the Ukrainian troops reported the extraction of about 700 NATO troops disguised as civilians was taken from Debaltseve by Ukrainian government. DPR military spokesperson Eduard Basurin claimed that they have intercepted communication coming from Debaltseve is in many languages such as French, English, German, Poles and Flemish among the trapped Ukrainian soldiers. Basurin has previously said that the Ukrainian forces try to destroy any proof that there are international mercenaries fighting for the Ukrainian troops based on their futile attempt to regain control of the Donetsk International Airport allegedly rescuing foreign mercenaries fighting for the Kiev Junta. Latest rebel offensive has claimed the village of Chernukhino under NAF control, Kamyanka and Maloorlika is also being sieged by the rebels. The village of Chernukhino, is only 3 kilometer east of Debaltsevo. Several settlement is also being sieged or captured by the rebels such as Logvinovo preventing supplies and reinforcements from the Ukrainian army. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion conducted an offensive against NAF forces in the east of Mariupol and was able to enter Shokino and Pavlopol but were repulsed by the rebels defensive line at Sakhanka. Notably, Ukraine Press Service of the Ministry of Defense continue to deny that Debaltseve is being cordoned. Debaltseve is a key transportation city in the Donbass region that connects the rebellious regions of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. It is now the scene of the largest battles of the Ukrainian conflict where thousands of Ukraine and believed to be NATO soldiers are trapped in a cauldron by the rebel forces. Latest reports indicate a grim reality for the Ukraine Army engaging in the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation since NAF “Ryazan unit” is said to have reached Debaltseve town and heading for central districts. Despite the prospect of the talks in Minsk, the rebels and the government are continuously on the recruiting drive for fighters to fight to front-lines. Earlier, the Kiev government pass a law for mandatory drafting of conscripts among Ukrainian populations but the drive is met with setbacks. They are reporting many cases of residents dodging their draft orders and fleeing the country. While residents in some towns have been confronting military recruiting officials preventing them to implement the forced conscription of the residents. Meanwhile, rebels accused the Ukraine army of continuously shelling civilian populations in the area of Donetsk and Luhansk. Reports indicates that Kramatorsk is being bombarded and few days before a military chemical plant was hit by a missile by Kiev’s forces. Fatalities among the civilian population is increasing every day especially in rebel-held areas. German intelligence has recently estimated that the death toll in the southeast of Ukraine has mounted to 50,000 people, ten times the officially announced figure which has repeatedly been cited in the press. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the recent uptick in fighting has seen casualty figures spike, with 224 civilians killed and 545 wounded in the three weeks leading up to February 1. News Front