Civilians Caught in the Crossfire in Eastern Ukraine

The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, presumably by a separatist surface to air missile, internationalizes a conflict that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and displaced tens of thousands of people. As we rightly express outrage over MH17, we shouldn’t forget that civilians are caught in the crossfire between the Ukrainian military […]

Why We Can’t Let Ukraine Lose the Donbass

By William Risch Last night, Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, told his nation that they were at war.  The Ukrainian government, after attempting peace talks for several days, was ending its unilateral ceasefire with pro-Russian forces in the Donbass region, which it has been fighting for over two months.  “They have publicly declared their unwillingness to […]

Ukraine’s Refugees: How Many?

In my post on Ukraine’s refugees, I anticipated some questioning about the numbers of Ukrainians fleeing to Russia. I cited a MChS estimate of 30,000. It’s hard to pin down just how many people have packed up whatever they could and crossed the border. The Russians have presented various figures. Valentina Matvienko, Russia’s Federal Council […]

Off to an Unquiet Eastern Front

By William Risch On June 23, Kyiv sent over 500 men off to the battlefields of eastern Ukraine.  Outside the city well over 400 soldiers, including at least one woman, swore solemn oaths to the Donbas Battalion, a paramilitary unit led by Donbas native Semen Semenchenko.  On Sofia Square in central Kyiv, I witnessed the […]

Ukraine’s Refugees

One of the hidden aspects of the crisis in Ukraine is the growing number of refugees internally displaced and fleeing to Russia. This is a growing crisis that has mostly been ignored by the western press besides a few notable exceptions. Fighting and lawlessness in the Donetsk and Lugansk is driving people from their homes. […]

Those Alleged Three Russian Tanks

The media is abuzz with claims that Russia has sent three T-64 tanks over the border in Ukraine. Reports the Wall Street Journal: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization provided satellite imagery Saturday that appeared to reinforce Ukrainian and U.S. claims that Russian tanks had crossed into Ukraine in recent days. On Thursday, senior Ukrainian officials, […]

“This is Not My War” – A Voice From Slavyansk

Translation and introduction by William Risch. A friend of the Facebook group, Euromaidan News in English, sent this report from Sloviansk, Ukraine, the scene of fierce fighting between pro-Ukrainian and pro-separatist forces. As with this person’s previous report, posted in May, I have withheld the names of the author and translator.  I have changed transliterations […]

Israelis in the Donetsk People’s Republic?

“For weeks,” a recent New York Times article begins, “rumors have flown about the foreign fighters involved in the deepening conflict in Ukraine’s troubled east, each one stranger than the last: mercenaries from an American company, Blackwater; Russian special forces; and even Chechen soldiers of fortune.” You might be able to add Israelis to that list […]

Donetsk Republic Executes Its Own

While the battle between Kyiv and separatists intensifies, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is helping stack the bodies via revolutionary justice. The DNR may be adopting Russian laws, but one practice it’s exercising not found in the Russia codex is the death penalty. Several Russian news outlets reported that an order given by Igor Stelkov, the […]

Ukraine’s Presidential Election Won’t Mend Fences

Ukrainians have elected Petro Poroshenko as their next president with 56% of the vote according to exit polls. The West quickly recognized his victory, but Moscow remains cautious. Today Russian Duma members were hesitant to recognize the vote opting to wait for the official results. Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister told reporters that Moscow is “open […]