Thursday, May 01, 2014

Fw: Daily Digest April 30, 2014

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:03:26 PM, Joe Hueglin <> wrote:



The purposes of the OSCE mission.

"We are looking to neutrally observe what we see; to characterize the situation on the ground as honestly as we can."
"We hope to visibly demonstrate our support for Ukraine and that our work is a deterrent to those who might wish to challenge the territorial integrity of Ukraine,"

As you read the accompanying article consider the absence
of the descriptive word used in this article - and the probability
of our soldiers having been informed of this occurrence:
Six Ukrainian Army Vehicles Join Pro-Federalist Protesters in Kramatorsk

Canada to take over leadership of military observer mission in Ukraine

Matthew Fisher
Published: April 30, 2014, 3:30 pm
Updated: 2 hours ago

DONETSK, Ukraine — Canada is stepping into the increasingly tense showdown between Kyiv and Moscow over the future of eastern Ukraine by taking over leadership of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's observer mission in the central European country.

Three Canadian army officers are to lead a nine-member team, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement released Wednesday. The other members will come from Ukraine, France, Moldova and the U.S.

It is the first time that Canada has led such a mission. Its job will be to monitor the deteriorating security situation across Ukraine until May 11.

"This mission constitutes a strong show of support to Ukraine and is a concrete demonstration of Canada's commitment to the security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Nicholson said in a statement.

The OSCE was invited to observe the chaotic security situation by Ukraine's acting government. Canada volunteered to lead this mission, which is to begin its work Thursday from a location in southern Ukraine.

Such observer duty does not come without hazards in the current situation. Seven members of another OSCE team were kidnapped and have been held hostage since last week by pro-Russian militias in the town of Slovyansk. Those holding that German-led team of observers have demanded the release of some of their supporters who have been jailed by the Ukrainian government and the dismantling of barricades in the centre of Kyiv that played a central role in the coup that toppled the pro-Russian former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

"While military personnel, there is a strong diplomatic aspect to the mission," said Lt. Col. Gary Hardwick, the artillery officer chosen by Ottawa to lead the group. "We are looking to neutrally observe what we see; to characterize the situation on the ground as honestly as we can."

Hardwick's group will be unarmed. But they will be accompanied by armed Ukrainian military escorts.

"We hope to visibly demonstrate our support for Ukraine and that our work is a deterrent to those who might wish to challenge the territorial integrity of Ukraine," the colonel, an Afghan war veteran, said by telephone from southern Ukraine.

The other Canadians on Hardwick's team are infantry officers. The entire team has at least four years experience in similar verification work in eastern Europe, he said.

While not being drawn on the specific perils of such a mission, Hardwick acknowledged that the current security situation in Ukraine was "more fluid" than usual.

In diplomatic parlance such OSCE verification missions are taken under something known as a Vienna Document 2011 (VD11).

It was "being conducted in order to dispel concerns regarding unusual military activities in Ukraine, and to ensure a continuous international military presence on the ground," DND said in its statement.

Where the Canadian-led team will conduct inspections has not yet been decided. They have been invited in by Ukraine because of "concerns of unusual military activity in the region," a Department of National Defence statement said.

The OSCE is made up of 57 participating states, including all NATO allies.

The announcement came as Ukrainian security forces were placed on full combat alert Wednesday after the acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, told regional governors that his government's security forces were "helpless" to stop pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine and must now try to save cities outside the region such as Odessa and Kharkiv from a similar fate.

Turchynov's ominous declaration came as another swarm of armed supporters of union with Russia easily captured another municipal building and police headquarters in the eastern city of Horlivka and a city council building in the nearby town of Alchevsk. These unopposed takeovers — walkovers is more like it — followed by a day a similar action in the border city of Luhansk.

With Wednesday's assaults, there were now at least 14 cities and towns in the coal and steel-producing Donbass region where separatists sympathetic to Moscow who call themselves part of the People's Republic of Donetsk now appear to control the political destiny of several million Ukrainians.

In each case, Ukrainian police provided little resistance. In a few cases they joined those attacking the buildings they were supposed to be defending.

"Our main task is to prevent the terrorist threat from spreading to other regions of Ukraine," Turchynov said as he announced the security alert. There was a "real danger of continental war (being) unleashed against Ukraine," he said, alleging a campaign by Russian intelligence operatives and special forces troops to create chaos and fear.

The swift, apparently well coordinated takeovers were designed by "the Russian leadership" to prevent Ukraine from staging presidential elections scheduled to take place on May 25, Turchynov said. He became interim leader after a pro-western coup in Kyiv two months ago and is to step aside after the ballot.

The confused security situation across eastern Ukraine, which shares a long border with Russia, has created jitters everywhere. Perhaps nowhere are apprehensions higher than among the two million mostly ethnic Russians who live in the heavily industrialized city of Donetsk where separatist gangs seized municipal and regional offices on April 7.

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