News / Europe

    Report to Allege Direct Kremlin Link to Ukraine Invasion

    Russia-backed separatists walk after inspecting destroyed Ukrainian army tanks for  functional weapons and ammunition near the village of Lohvynove, outside Debaltseve, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, on the edge of the territory under their control.
    Russia-backed separatists walk after inspecting destroyed Ukrainian army tanks for functional weapons and ammunition near the village of Lohvynove, outside Debaltseve, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, on the edge of the territory under their control.
    VOA News

    The editor of a leading independent Russian newspaper says he plans this week to publish what purports to be an official Kremlin strategy document outlining Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine.  

    Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitri Muratov said the document appears to have been prepared weeks before Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February 2014, following weeks of anti-government protests in Kyiv.  

    Muratov's disclosure came in an interview with Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio.  He did not reveal how the document was obtained, but said he is confident it is authentic.

    Muratov quotes the 2014 document as saying Moscow was obliged to intervene in Ukraine to protect against the possible loss of the Ukrainian market for Russia's natural gas.  He said the document also noted the risks to the Russian economy and to western European consumers, if Moscow were to lose control of pipelines carrying natural gas through Ukraine to Western markets.

    The editor also said evidence shows the strategy document was prepared between February 4 and February 15, 2014.  Yanukovych did not abandon the presidency and flee to Russia until February 22.

    Novaya Gazeta, founded by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is renowned for its aggressive investigations of corruption within the Kremlin, and has been nominated for a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.  Six of its journalists have been killed since 2001, including Kremlin critic Anna Politskovskaya, who was shot dead at point blank range in 2006 after publishing reports critical of the Kremlin for Russian military actions in Chechnya.

    Casualties reported Sunday

    A policewoman walks near the body of a victim covered by a Ukrainian national flag at the site of an attack in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2015.A policewoman walks near the body of a victim covered by a Ukrainian national flag at the site of an attack in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2015.
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    A policewoman walks near the body of a victim covered by a Ukrainian national flag at the site of an attack in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2015.
    A policewoman walks near the body of a victim covered by a Ukrainian national flag at the site of an attack in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2015.

    In other developments, two people were killed Sunday in a bomb explosion in the Ukrainian-held city of Kharkiv, as government supporters there and elsewhere marked the one-year anniversary of the overthrow of former president Yanukovych.  Authorities said at least 10 others were wounded.

    Police said several suspects were arrested in this latest attack, with a Ukraine security aide saying they had received weapons and training in Russia.

    In Kyiv, several thousand people, led by President Petro Poroshenko, held a peaceful ceremony in Independence Square to mark the anniversary and to commemorate the deaths a year ago of 100 anti-Yanukovych protesters.

    Prisoner exchange

    On Saturday, Ukraine and the rebels carried out a prisoner exchange, the first major sign of progress for an otherwise shaky truce signed more than a week ago.  The swap, involving 139 Ukrainian troops and 52 rebels, took place near the eastern village of  Zholobok.

    Since the ouster of the Yanukovych government, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and separatists launched a rebellion in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east.  At least 5,600 people have been killed since fighting erupted 10 months ago.

    Moscow has been widely accused of supplying rebels with arms, fighters and other supplies.  Moscow has repeatedly denied direct involvement.

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    Comments page of 4
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    by: john from: UK
    February 25, 2015 11:26 AM
    Clearly a deluded individual, who knows nothing.... Who doesn't even have the courtesy to use a name.. Not only am I there every few weeks, but I have family who are in thick of it, so check your facts before you make uninformed judgements..

    by: Anonymous
    February 25, 2015 10:15 AM
    Internet is good place to lie, apparently John's been to battlefield not sure how they let him in and comes back to england for his cuppa. If you're going make stuff up try to make plausible.

    by: John from: UK
    February 25, 2015 8:52 AM
    I spend a lot of time in the Ukraine, and its quite clear that Putin, who clearly wants to re claim lost ground is behind all the events that have resulted in the annexation of the Crimea, and the brutal deaths of over 6000 people. Anyone who believes the rebels are arming themselves is deluded... Russia is providing troops, and hardware on a daily basis. Putin and his cronies couldn't tell the truth if their lives depended on it....

    by: JJ Joseph from: Peterborough
    February 25, 2015 2:57 AM
    "Anybody have a clue where the rebels got their RUSSIAN made weapons from?"

    Ans: The "RUSSIAN made weapons" are actually made in east Ukraine. The rebels make them in their own tank factories in Donetsk, Kharkov, & Dneporopetrovsk. When they need some already fueled and armed, they steal them from the Ukraine Army. That's why they all look the same.

    by: stewart from: England
    February 24, 2015 7:52 PM
    Interesting article in the Guardian news

    I hope that Jonathan Steele’s excellent critique of Richard Sakwa’s book Frontline Ukraine (Review, 21 February) will be widely read. It is the first piece I have discovered in the UK press to provide a realistic synopsis of the background to current events.

    The real ending of the cold war was in 1986, when the USSR leadership resolved on a five-year programme to move to parliamentary democracy and a market economy. The intention in Moscow was to use that period to achieve a progressive convergence with the EU.

    There could have been huge benefits to Europe in such convergence, but the process was deliberately sabotaged by US intelligence agencies, working from the hypothesis that a tie-up between the EU and a democratic Russia would pose a major threat to American long-term economic interests. The chaos that we now have, and the distrust of America which motivates Russian policy, stems primarily from decisions taken in Washington 30 years ago.
    Martin Packard
    (Lieut Cdr, Ret’d; Former Nato intelligence analyst), Deddington, Oxfordshire

    Appears they are still doing it today regardless of the deaths and dangers to the EU

    by: Boyee from: Illinois
    February 24, 2015 6:10 PM
    Crimea has be controlled by many groups throughout history and Russia first took it over in 1783.

    by: Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick from: New York City
    February 24, 2015 5:08 PM
    I have translated this document in full and also excerpts of Muratov's interview, and have provided background and commentary.

    Apparently VOA doesn't allow links to other publications in its comments.

    by: Anonymous
    February 24, 2015 2:32 PM
    Roman, thanks for proving the Pro-Russian points, being deceptive and speculative are good indication you're telling tales.

    by: roman from: Massachussetts
    February 24, 2015 2:08 PM
    What does it matter what kind of tank is in the photo? What really matters is that one can never, ever believe anything RasPutin and Moscow says.

    by: CDNborn from: Canada
    February 24, 2015 8:17 AM
    The separatists don't need Russian military support, they're getting enough stuff from the Ukraine military when they run away. They left the AN/TPQ-48A Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar (provided by USA) systems in Debaltseve when they retreated, now the separatists have them. They also have the stuff Canada sent Ukraine, warm gear, night vision goggles etc.
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