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Group for Tomorrow's Ukraine (GTU)

Group for Tomorrow's Ukraine
Serving as an informational bridge between the West and a changing Ukraine.

Pressing Forward:
  • July 28, 2014 4:17 pm

    US Releases Images Showing Russia Fired On Ukraine, Gave Rockets to Rebels

    by Seamus Kelleher
    Member, Group for Tomorrow’s Ukraine

    The U.S. State Department has released satellite images backing up Washington’s assertion that Russian forces have been firing rockets into eastern Ukraine in support of separatists, a claim that Kyiv has been making loudly over the last couple weeks.

    They images directly contradict Moscow’s repeated claim that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is simply an “internal conflict.” 

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    Image released by the U.S. State Department showing what it says is evidence of Russia firing artillery into eastern Ukraine.

    The four-page document, titled Evidence of Russian Shelling into Ukraine, was released on 7/27. It shows blast marks from rocket launches within Russia’s borders, as well as corresponding craters in Ukraine, the State Department says.

    The doc also reveals that there are “self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units, on the Russian side of the border, oriented in the direction of a Ukrainian military unit within Ukraine” and that “Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine.”

    The images in the document are thanks to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. They were taken between July 21 and July 26, according to officials.

  • July 25, 2014 12:19 pm

    WP: If The West Doesn’t Do More For Ukraine Now, It Might Soon Be Too Late

    VLADIMIR PUTIN has responded to the international outrage over the destruction of a Malaysian airliner by his proxies in eastern Ukraine by escalating his aggression. According to U.S. officials, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons have continued to cross from Russia to Ukraine since the passenger jet was shot down. On Wednesday, two more Ukrainian military jets were hit by anti-aircraft missiles, which Ukrainian officials said had been fired from Russia. The State Department also said Thursday that Russian artillery was firing at Ukrainian positions from across the border.

    Read the story here

  • July 24, 2014 6:04 pm

    US Officials: Russia Firing On Ukrainian Military From Within Russian Federation

    The Obama administration revealed today that the Russian military is firing artillery from within the Russian Federation… and they’re targeting Ukrainian military sites.

    Thus far in the conflict, Russia has tried to maintain it’s not at all involved in eastern Ukraine’s bloody conflict.

    This changes everything. 

    "This clearly is a military escalation," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said. He also stated that there is "no question" that Russian military, not Russian-sponsored insurgents, directly fired the shots.

    Russia has maintained about 12,000 troops on the doorstep of Ukraine.

    Marie Harf, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department first made the claim during a press conference earlier today. She also went on to say that Russia’s increased arms support to the Kremlin-backed insurgents since the downing of Malaysian Flight MH17.

    "We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to separatist forces in Ukraine and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russian to attack Ukrainian military positions," Harf said. 

    The Pentagon confirmed Harf’s statements, adding that Russia’s been firing artillery on Ukrainian military sites for a few days now.

    Moscow’s been adamant to deny involvement in Ukraine’s internal conflict, but the rest of the world is not so deft. Foreign leaders have been saying, especially since the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over eastern Ukraine, that Russia has blood on its hands.

    The U.S. has repeatedly chastised Russia for promoting the Ukrainian rebellion, as have EU leaders, with Harf saying Wednesday that  responsibility for the 300 deaths in the downing of the Malaysian jet ultimately lies with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

    The question remains: what happens next?

  • July 24, 2014 1:31 pm

    Ukraine’s Prime Minister Resigns As Coalition Collapses

    by Seamus Kelleher
    Member, Group for Tomorrow’s Ukraine

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation Thursday after it was announced that the governing coalition of Parliament was dissolving.

    “I declare my resignation in connection with the collapse of the coalition and blocking of government initiatives,” Yatsenyuk said in a session of parliament. Two parties, UDAR (led by Kyiv Mayor and former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko), and nationalist Svoboda chose to leave the governing coalition, a step that would enable President Poroshenko to fully dissolve Parliament and call elections for the fall.

    Many have complained of inefficacy in parliament due to its makeup. Despite a new, promising president in Petro Poroshenko, this parliament was elected in 2012 and still includes many who supported former president Viktor Yanukovych.

    President Poroshenko praised the move, saying lawmakers were reflecting the will of Ukrainian voters and not their own personal ambitions: “All opinion polls, as well as direct communication with the people, shows that the public wants a full rebooting of the authorities,” Mr. Poroshenko said.

    It remains to be seen what will come of this move, but it’s been speculated that Ukraine will ride the wave of anti-Russian sentiment stemming from the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine to elect a predominantly pro-Western parliament come late Fall.

  • July 24, 2014 10:20 am

    Europe’s Scared Of Putin

    by Zoe Ripecky
    Member, Group for Tomorrow’s Ukraine 

    As Russia’s Power Grows to Dangerous Levels, Europe Stops Short of Ruffling Putin’s Feathers

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    World leaders deemed the shoot down of a Malaysian passenger jet July 17th an effect of ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The conflict, it is widely understood, is caused by Russian support of separatists in the region. On July 22nd, members of the European Union agreed to intensify sanctions against Russia. The EU has already targeted 63 Russian officials and oligarchs, and is now debating additions to the black list.  

    The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, a move not dared by many European countries dependent on Russian gas. The U.S. can afford to sanction Russia’s integral gas industry, as it has just recently surpassed Russia in production of natural gas.  

    In Europe, the British government took a leading role in the sanctions meeting. "Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets, European capital, European knowledge and technical expertise while she fuels conflict in one of Europe’s neighbors,"said Prime Minister David Cameron.  

    Germany’s government, whose country imports about a quarter of its natural gas from Russia, was reluctant to take definitive action. Other EU countries also took a more hesitant role. French president Francois Hollande plans to complete the controversial delivery of two military carrier-ships to Russia in October. Both the U.S. and British governments have publicly opposed the deal. Pulling out of the ship deal would cost France $1.7 billion dollars. As a result, new sanctions would exclude completed deals. 

    The Netherlands is also heavily reliant on Russian energy. However, with mounting evidence of Russian involvement in the shoot down, the Dutch government said it is prepared to impose more intense sanctions. Of the 298 passengers killed in Thursday’s crash, 200 were Dutch citizens.

    Because of dependence on Russian business, European sanctions will unlikely have a major impact. “Phase Three Sanctions" which could have an actual negative effect on the Russian economy, have been put on the back burner to be imposed only “if” Russia crosses the line. Phase Three Sanctions include a complete arms embargo and measures against Russia’s energy sector, pointed attacks straight to the heart of the Russian economy.

    The problem with this approach is this: Russia has crossed the line. Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence forces have revealed evidence that the Malaysian airliner was brought down by pro-Russian rebels using a Russian-made missile.

    The crash understandably caused sadness and outrage across the EU, whose citizens were directly involved. What it has not caused is serious action against Putin and the Russian government, whose promotion and sponsorship of the insurgency is responsible for the crash and for the deadly conflict that now compromises the very sovereignty of Ukraine.

    The world is well aware that over the Russian border, Putin’s government uses propaganda and authoritative force to keep its population under its tight control. Popular movements challenging the government have been stiffly put down almost before they could begin. Peaceful anti-government protest groups such as the punk rock band “Pussy-riot” have served jail sentences simply for voicing their opinions. People who stand up to the government can fear imprisonment, or in some not-so-infrequent cases, death. People are rightfully afraid. But why are the leaders of some of the most powerful Western nations just as afraid to stand up to Mr. Putin?

    Putin has continued to wield his influence and authoritarian practices over Ukraine, a country that has called out to the West for guidance and assistance. People took to the streets in a peaceful, democratic fashion, and ousted a corrupt governance system that blatantly violated human rights. Ukrainians were not rewarded by Western support and guidance, but rather were punished by Russia’s illegal invasion, annexation of Crimea, and continued military presence in eastern Ukraine. All this has occurred without any significant reaction from Europe or the U.S apart from finger-wagging rhetoric. Now, after so many innocent lives have been taken, Putin still has not “crossed the line” far enough to call for any type of effective economic retribution.

    The question many are asking is: when will moral values come before economic considerations? The West and its new partners Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, must band together to promote an international environment less vulnerable to geopolitical pressure from Russia. Alternative energy sources must be pursued. Russia’s financial presence in Europe and the U.S. must be minimized. The Russian government’s actions, both domestically and internationally, clash with Western values and principles. Russian officials should not have a right to benefit from European and American markets. Putin’s growing influence over Ukraine and over Europe’s moral choices has become dangerous. Now is the time for the West to unite and counterbalance this influence. If Russia’s economic importance continues to enable its regime’s destructive behavior, Ukraine, along with the rest of the world, is in big trouble.

    If the West still thinks Putin has not “crossed the line” how much more must Ukraine and the rest of the world endure before they realize what we’ve known all along— he already has.

  • July 23, 2014 12:23 pm

    2 More Jets Shot Down Near Flight MH17 Crash Site

    by Seamus Kelleher
    Member, Group for Tomorrow’s Ukraine

    Two more Ukrainian Su-25 military jets were shot down Wednesday by Russian-sponsored rebels near the village of Dmytrivka in Ukraine’s east, just a few miles from the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

    Prior to the downing of these two additional jets, senior U.S. intelligence officials said on Tuesday that rebels have shot down about a dozen aircraft thus far in the conflict.

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    The Su-25s were downed while returning from a mission to secure the Ukrainian border, a border that’s been compromised by arms shipments and personnel travelling from Russia into eastern Ukraine. They were shot down over rebel-controlled territory near the Ukrainian-Russian border, according to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine

    This news comes just a day removed from U.S. intelligence officials’ declaration that Russia has continued to supply insurgents with equipment and training following the downing of Flight MH17, the passenger jet shot down July 17th (killing 298 and sparking international outrage).

    According to U.S. intelligence, Russia has sent as many as 20 tanks to Ukraine as recently as Tuesday.

    The insurgents and Russian government (and subsequently Russian media) continue to blame Ukraine’s military for downing the Boeing 777, an assertion the U.S. on Tuesday called “implausible.”

    The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said via Facebook that the pilots in both aircraft ejected from their jets. Their condition, though, is not currently known.