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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

Lithuania Restores Military Draft, Eyes Ukraine’s Fight for Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

As the situation in Ukraine provides an object lesson in what to avoid in national defense strategies, Lithuania has decided to restore mandatory army service to its list of “to do”s for young men entering adulthood.

Lithuanian males from ages 19 to 27 will be called to serve their country for a period of nine months beginning in September 2015. The draft will be in force for the next five years.

Some 3,000 eligible males will be drafted, government officials told international media on Tuesday. President Dalia Grybauskaite said after a meeting of top government officials and military leaders the measure was necessary due to the “growing aggression in Ukraine. Lithuania has no tanks or military aircraft, however. Its entire military force totals some 15,000 troops.

The move comes amid tensions that continue to widen concern around the region — as well as around the world — as Ukraine fights for its life with pro-Russia separatists seizing control over an increasingly wide area.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday, according to the DW website.

Speaking to a meeting of U.S. senators, an irritated Kerry said Tuesday that officials in Moscow had been “lying” about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the height of the Cold War,” Kerry told the Senate subcommittee meeting. “And they have been persisting in their misinterpretations — lies — whatever you want to call them — about their activities to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions,” he added.

On Saturday, he and the Russian foreign minister would meet to discuss “Syria and other things” before leaving for Iran to continue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

32 Illegal Foreign Workers Arrested in Ashdod

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Immigration officials arrested 32 illegal foreign workers in Ashdod Sunday night, including 10 who were employed in a fish plant and another 10 in a bakery.

All of them were from Ukraine, except for one from Russia, and of them were women.

They will be deported after a hearing.

 

 

Ukraine Conflict Transforming to ‘Russia versus the West’

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Despite a cease-fire that went into effect one minute after midnight on Sunday, the conflict has apparently resumed between pro-Russia separatists and Ukraine government forces, but with clear Russian involvement.

The European Union has responded by activating sanctions against nine organizations and 19 people in Russia, including two Russian deputy defense ministers and Iosef Kobzon, age 77 — a Jewish man known as the “Russian Frank Sinatra.”

Kobzon is a long-time member of the Russian parliament. Sanctions were imposed against him because he “visited the so-called Donetsk People’s Repubic and during his visit made statements supporting separatists” after the Kremlin annexed Crimea, seizing it from Ukraine, the EU Official Journal explained. Donetsk is Kobzon’s birthplace.

For weeks the Russian-backed separatists have been focusing their attention on laying siege to the railway hub of Debaltseve, which so far has remained under the control of the Ukraine forces.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing over the weekend that photos snapped in eastern Ukraine provided “credible pieces of evidence” that Russia herself – and not just separatist rebels – has been involved in the conflict.

“We are confident that [large amounts of artillery and multiple rocket launchers seen in the images around Debaltseve] are Russian military, not separatist systems,” Psaki said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a phone conversation on Saturday to discuss the situation. Kerry expressed concern over what he called efforts by Russia and separatists to cut off the town ahead of the cease-fire.

Artillery fire was also exchanged in massive shootouts around the rebel-held regions of both Donetsk and Lugansk. Rocket attacks were directed at areas around the government-held Azov Sea port city of Mariupol on Saturday as well.

Last week a teacher at the Chabad-Lubavitch preschool was killed in Donetsk when a rocket slammed into her apartment, killing her instantly. Irina Shelkayeba was an active member of the Donetsk Jewish community and a teacher at the Ohr Avner Preschool, Rabbi Aryeh Schvartz told Chabad.org.

The Beth Menachem synagogue – the only synagogue left in Donetsk – survived a narrow miss in a rocket attack that followed Shelkayeba’s death the same day. Instead, a minibus in a bus station some 300 meters away was hit by a shell in an attack that followed on the heels of the one that killed Shelkayeba.

Four people were killed in that attack, including the driver of the bus, which was incinerated along with a nearby vehicle. Nevertheless, the synagogue’s morning minyan (quorum) gathered to pray the regular morning service 90 minutes later as it does each day. Emergency food and supply packages sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews were then distributed at the Jewish Community Center next door to the synagogue.

The city’s Chabad emissary, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, said, “We have recently known many especially difficult and terrible days. I ask that Jews worldwide pray for their brethren in the war-torn territories – for everyone living in danger – and that they should all have peace and security.”

Putin Agrees to Cease-Fire in Ukraine

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday morning he has agreed to a cease-fire brokered by France and Germany to end the 10-month stand-off in Ukraine.

The deal is amends the cease-fire agreement last September that failed. Each side has agreed to retract heavy weapons, release all prisoners and allow more autonomy to separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The agreement does not settle all issues, and Germany’s foreign minister said it was not a “comprehensive solution”

The cease-fire is to begin on February 15.

Obama, Merkel Won’t ‘Allow Borders of Europe To Be Redrawn by Barrel of a Gun’

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Monday they would stand together in the battle to restrain Russia from swallowing European territory again.

Speaking with reporters following a meeting Monday at the Oval Office, Obama said he was “very encouraged about the extent to which we’ve been able to maintain U.S.-European unity on this issue.

“We are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot have us stand idle and allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn by the barrel of a gun,” Obama said.

But the president added there were “tactical disagreements” on how to proceed, should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis between pro-Russia separatists and Ukraine.

With the suggestion that military aid to Ukraine could be considered, “The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined,” Obama said.

No decision has yet been made about that choice, however, which Merkel opposes.

“I’ve always said I don’t see a military solution in this conflict but we have to put all our efforts behind a diplomatic solution,” she said, speaking in German. “But if, at a certain point in time one has to say that a success is not possible, even if one puts every effort into it, then the United States and Europe have to sit together and try and explore further possibilities, what one can do.”

Talks in Munich and Kiev proved fruitless last week. A new attempt will be made this Wednesday in Minsk.

Western Leaders Head to Ukraine to Try for Peace with Russia

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all intend to try and make peace between Ukraine and Russia this week.

Kerry is already in Ukraine to show America’s support for the Kiev government.

Hollande told international media Thursday in Paris that he and Merkel would head first to Kiev and then to Moscow on Friday to present Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

NATO, meanwhile, is unveiling details of a plan to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, according to the BBC. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the news service it will be the biggest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, centering on a “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 troops with lead units able to deploy within two days. A network of command centers is being established in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, Stoltenberg said, in response to “the aggressive actions we have seen from Russia, violating international law and annexing Crimea.”

The French president described the months-long conflict with pro-Russia rebels that wreaked havoc in Ukraine as a full-fledged war. “Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily,” Hollande said.

Kerry told the BBC in Kiev that the U.S. wants to see a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but will not close its eyes to Russian aggression.

“We want a diplomatic resolution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

More than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebel troops, some of which include Russian “volunteers,” since April 2014. The eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are both under rebel control.

Dead, Wounded as Donetsk Hospital Shelled in Eastern Ukraine

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

At least four people are dead according to the International Business Times and numerous others wounded after a hospital in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk was shelled today in eastern Ukraine.

“There are multiple casualties at the hospital. A preliminary count says more than 15 people were killed,” local emergency services told the Interfax news agency.

In a statement on its website, the city administration confirmed there had been an attack on the hospital, saying “there was an artillery shell at 12 noon… the shell hit a hospital, there are dead and wounded.”

A correspondent for the Russia-based RT news service reported from the scene that rockets hit the hospital and an apartment building next door.

Nearby schools also were damaged in the blast, city officials said, which comes as European Union policy chief Federica Mogherini called for an immediate ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the conflict zone.

Last week scores of people were killed, including children, after pro-Russian separatists fired Grad missiles at a residential neighborhood in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, still held by Kiev government forces.

Mortar fire and rocket fire is regularly aimed at residential areas in the two main rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Lugansk. Separatists who want to secede from Ukraine blame the Kiev government for the attacks.

A truce that had been arranged several months ago between rebel forces and Kiev collapsed in January.

“The OSCE monitors should investigate the site of the attack, determine the direction and the location from which the barrage was fired and report their findings,” said Andrey Purgin, spokesperson for the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples’ Republic.

According to the most recent estimate by the United Nations, at least 5,358 people have died in the revolt by pro-Russian Ukrainians.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/breaking-dead-wounded-as-donetsk-hospital-shelled-in-eastern-ukraine/2015/02/04/

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