US Demands Russian Forces Leave Ukraine After 'Bloodiest Month'
The U.S. has urged Russia to withdraw from eastern Ukraine, only a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of âheavy consequencesâ if Kiev made any fresh moves.
The conflict in Ukraineâs two Donbas regions will enter its fifth year this summer, triggering the current freefall in U.S.-Russia tensions. At the time, public protests toppled Ukraineâs pro-Russian government, only for the Kremlin to back a separatist insurgency in the countryâs east that remains until today. The conflict has killed around 10,000 people, injured more than double that number and the arrival of summer consistently causes surges in violence.
"May was the bloodiest month this year for Ukrainian soldiers defending their country against Russian aggression: ten killed and 91 wounded,â Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the Department of State wrote on Twitter. âThe United States stan ds with Ukraine and calls on Russia to withdraw its forces from Donbas," she added, using the hashtag #Peace4Ukraine.
Over the past month, Ukrainian authorities reported coming under fire in regular flashpoints near the frontline Marinka and Mariupol. Police in Donetsk region confirmed on Facebook that the barrage in Marinka killed a 36-year-old civilian man. Authorities reportedly struggled to recover his body due to sniper fire.Recommended Slideshows51In Pictures: The 50 Most Powerful Military Forces in the World61Every World Press Photo Winner Ever: 60 Images That Define Our World51Th e World's Most Expensive Cities for a Cup of Coffee
Asked about the likelihood of any new attempts by Ukraine to retake the territories while Russia is focusing on hosting the World Cup this summer, Putin said on Thursday : âIf this does happen, I think that it will have heavy consequences for the entire Ukrainian stateâ
Servicemen of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peopleâs Republic (DNR) walk as people visit the war memorial complex Savur-Mohyla on the eve of the Victory Day, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Donetsk Region, Ukraine May 8, 2018.
The Kremlin continues to deny that the insurgency on Ukraineâs border with Russia gets any military backing from Moscow, despite the absence of any other apparent supply route to the separatists. Russian fighters in Ukraine have confessed to arriving into the regions as part of a Russian military deployment, only for Moscow to disown them as military personnel.
Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now
Ukraine has estimated that after almost four years of fighting, the number of Russian tanks in the countryâs east has increased tenfold. In a recent interview Putin denied supplying the anti-Ukrainian forces, saying that both sidesâ arsenal is Russian-made. Moscow has never provided a plausible explanation for the amount of military supplies the insurgencies have at their disposal.
To date, Russia has sent 75 convoys of what it claims is humanitarian aid to the occupied regions, without allowing for international observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) or recognized humanitarian groups to run checks on the contents. Drawing attention to this consistent but unregulated flow of goods from Russia, the U.S. envoy to the OSCE Harry Kamian said governments need look no further for Moscowâs alleged avenue for backing the insurgency.
Also Read: Ukraineâs brand new tank can take on Russiaâs best but can Kiev even afford it?
âMarkings or no markings, we have no idea what is actually inside these supposed humanitarian aid convoys, because the Russian Federation will not let the Observer Mission or the SMM inspect them or watch them unload,â he said last month. âWe do know, however, that these so-called aid trucks did not unload at any hospital, school, NGO, or UN warehouse.â
âThese convoys show that Russia is interested in the appearance of aiding local communities, while its actions leave little doubt that the white-truck convoys simply mask the movement of supplies and material for military purposes,â he added.Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine