No one in media speaks about Russia or Ukraine and the White House along with the National Security Council has left the matter of Russia and adhering to the Minsk Agreement to General Breedlove at NATO.
When we have our top Generals saying that Russia is a major and aggressive threat, someone needs to listen.
Ukraine Live Day 554: Ukrainian Forces Suffer Heavy Casualties After Village Just Outside Mariupol Shelled This Morning
Liveblog Team August 25, 2015
For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.
For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?
Oleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC), has claimed today that Russian forces are preparing for a major offensive in the Lugansk region.
The statement, published on the NSDC website, reads:
In the East of our country activation of Russian army is taking place. This was stated by NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov in his comment. According to him, the engineering units of Russian armed forces have put up 5 pontoon ferries across the river Siverskyi Donets at the area, where the state border of Ukraine with Russia goes along its fairway, “as well as have equipped the access routes to these crossings”.
“In this way the military infrastructure is being formed to provide redeployment of additional units of Russian troops to the occupied territory of Ukraine for their combat use”, – NSDC Secretary said, emphasizing that this is another evidence of direct and unmediated participation of the Russian army in war, unleashed by the Kremlin in the East of Ukraine.
This is not the first report of Russian military bridging equipment in Ukraine.
On July 4 this year, an OSCE observation drone spotted two pontoon bridge layers near Komsomolskoye, on the eastern banks of the river Kalmius, in the south of the Donetsk region.
This is another area of the front where a river forms a natural barrier to a Russian offensive. Fighting along both the Seversky Donets and the Kalmius has been intensifying in recent weeks.
The Seversky Donets river forms a natural barrier, running along most of the demarcation line in the Lugansk region between Krymskoye, in the west, and the Russian border.
Earlier today, Liga Novosti, citing the Lugansk Regional Military-Civil Administration, reported that, after a day of attacks on Stanitsa Luganskaya and Popasnaya, Russian-backed forces were shelling the villages of Troitskoye and Novozvanovka with self-propelled guns, severing power lines and leaving 600 people without electricity,
— Pierre Vaux
News has emerged this morning that Ukrainian naval infantry in Sopino, less than seven kilometres outside Mariupol, have suffered casualties when Russian-backed forces shelled the village after midnight.
Leviy Bereg‘s Oleksandr Rudomanov reported, citing soldiers in the naval infantry, that one serviceman had been killed and another wounded.
Halyna Odnoroh, a volunteer supporting Ukrainian troops in Mariupol, wrote on her Facebook at 8:31 local time:
Night in Mariupol
We have 2 killed and 5 wounded, some very seriously. Three fighters from the Donbass Battalion, two marines, one of which is very critical and on life support, and two dead marines.
Heavy artillery smashed down on Sopino, and also on the marines’ checkpoint.
Power has been cut.
Yaroslav Chepurnoy, a military spokesman for the Ukrainian military headquarters in Mariupol, told 0629.com.ua that the attack had been conducted with 152 mm self-propelled artillery and had begun at 00:30.
At around the same time, Chepurnoy said, Ukrainian positions in the village of Talakovka, around 10 kilometres north of Sopino, were shelled with 122 mm self-propelled artillery.
He also described “very serious” shelling in Granitnoye, east of Volnovakha, which was attacked from 5:40 until 6:50 this morning with 120 mm mortars.
Chepurnoy confirmed that their had indeed been casualties in the Mariupol area, but said that numbers were still being confirmed.
According to the spokesman, there were three attacks in the area yesterday, two incidents of fire from small arms, and one from an infantry fighting vehicle, These occurred near Granitnoye, Shirokino and Novotroitskoye.
The Ukrainian military says it has clashed with rebel armoured vehicles that crossed from Russia and headed to the south-eastern port of Mariupol.
One commander said rebels might be trying to open up a new southern front. Russia did not comment on the issue.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko voiced his “extreme concern” about the alleged crossing, his office said.
More than 2,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian forces and the separatists in recent months.
Some 330,00 people have been displaced.
Mr Poroshenko made the comments during a telephone conversation with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, his office said.
He was reacting to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said the Kremlin planned to send a second humanitarian convoy “in the next few days” as the situation there was “deteriorating”.
The first convoy, which returned at the weekend, crossed the border without Ukraine’s authorisation. Ukraine feared it was carrying military equipment to pro-Russian separatists and denounced it as an invasion.
The Russian and Ukrainian presidents are scheduled to meet in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday for talks on the crisis.
Ukraine’s military said border guards had halted the column about 5km (3 miles) north-east of Novoazovsk, which is about 10km from the frontier in the far south-east of Ukraine.
Heavy clashes were reported at the village of Markyne.
One commander of a Ukrainian national guard unit in the area told Reuters news agency: “A war has broken out here.”
Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council later said in a statement that two tanks were destroyed and several members of a “sabotage and reconnaissance” group were seized.
It said the area was blocked by Ukrainian troops.
Ukrainian sources earlier said the armoured vehicles had crossed the border bearing symbols of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic.
Officials said 10 tanks and two armoured personnel carriers were in the column although other reports said the number of vehicles was as high as 50.
Mariupol, a major port on the Azov Sea, is in the hands of Ukrainian government forces, who ousted rebels from the city in June after weeks of fighting.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said government forces still controlled Mariupol and the road to Novoazovsk.
Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said it was an attempt “by the Russian military in the guise of Donbas fighters (rebels) to open a new area of military confrontation”. The scene of most of the fighting has been much further north.
Mr Lysenko said there were enough resources to repel any attack.
Ukraine and Western powers have accused Russia of arming the rebels, charges Moscow has denied.
There have been numerous previous reports of armoured vehicles crossing Ukraine’s eastern border.
Mr Lavrov said he had also sent a note to the Ukrainian foreign ministry on Sunday informing it of the new aid convoy.
“The humanitarian situation is not improving but deteriorating,” he said.
“We want to reach an agreement on all conditions for delivering a second convoy by the same route… in the coming days”.
Russia said the first convoy had delivered generators, food and drink.
Asked about Tuesday’s presidential meeting, Mr Lavrov said: “We are ready… for any format as long as there is a result,” adding that Russia wanted “to help Ukrainians agree among themselves”.