Ukrainian health officials fear a major polio outbreak, after it is announced that the disease has paralyzed two children in the south-western region of Trans-Carpathia. Many Ukrainian children are not vaccinated, and less than 14% of one year children have been immunized against polio. Officials have launched a national immunization campaign that will embrace all children up to ten years old. Parent:
The vaccinations are much more dangerous than the illnesses that they treat. Nobody knows how the vaccines were stored or if the expiration dates were changed.
Health experts say anti-immunization activists and parents, some of whom include local doctors, are flat-out wrong, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the vaccines used in Ukraine:
(They believe) that a child should build up his or her immunity in a natural environment, that the immune system should work itself out by being exposed to illnesses. They don’t understand how serious these diseases are.
The Ukrainian government expels Shibeko, Russia’s consul general, from the Black Sea port of Odessa, declaring him ‘persona non grata’ after the Security Service of Ukraine accuses him of ‘actions incompatible with diplomatic activity.’ Ukraine security:
The security service will continue to identify foreigners who work against our government using their diplomatic status as cover.
German lawyer Elmar M. Giemulla, an aviation expert, says he will file a suit at the European Court of Human Rights in the coming weeks on behalf of three German families who lost relatives when the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. He argues that Ukraine should have closed the airspace if safety could not be guaranteed for aircraft flying in it. German weekly Bild am Sonntag reports Giemulla will ask for compensation of $1.29 million for each victim killed in the crash.
Poroshenko says Russia has withdrawn the majority of its forces from eastern Ukraine. At a government meeting:
According to the latest information that I have received from our intelligence, 70 percent of Russian troops have been moved back across the border. This further strengthens our hope that the peace initiatives have good prospects.
Fighting erupts in two Ukrainian cities, threatening the ceasefire status. Sporadic artillery and machine gun fire are reported in the early hours of Sunday on the outskirts of the strategic port city of Mariupol. A gas station is set on fire, and cars carry wounded civilians down the roads with the Mariupol city government saying pro-Russian rebels carried out the shelling near the city overnight, killing one woman and leaving three people wounded. Shelling and explosions are also heard near the airport of the flashpoint city of Donetsk on Sunday morning, the Donetsk city council says. Mariupol resident Gennady Andreyavich:
There is so much confusion. We really don’t know what will happen, because when people say we must live in a united Ukraine and we see at the same time Ukrainian forces in retreat – what should we think?
Ukraine, Russia and the Kremlin-backed separatists sign a ceasefire deal. Gunfire and shelling appear to fall silent across the east of the country as the agreement takes effect. Poroshenko says he ordered his forces to halt hostilities at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT) after the deal was signed in Minsk, Belarus capital, by the three sides and a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Separatist leaders also say they ordered their forces to hold fire. Poroshenko says the cease-fire is based on an agreement reached during a ‘long conversation’ with Putin and will be overseen by international monitors from the OSCE. The European Union is preparing additional sanctions in case it fails. The negotiators also agree on withdrawal of all heavy weaponry, the release of all prisoners and the delivery of humanitarian aid to devastated cities in eastern Ukraine.
Obama and Cameron write in a commentary for The Times that global security is under threat from Russia’s unilateral actions in the Crimea and Ukraine and the ability of groups like ISIS to develop state-like powers:
The growth of technology and globalisation, for all its great benefits and opportunities, has put power once reserved for States in the hands of the individual, raising the capacity of terrorists to do harm. The utterly despicable murders of two American journalists by ISIL are but the latest evidence of a brutal and poisonous extremism that murders indiscriminately and risks exporting terrorism abroa.
Isolationism has no place in the global era:
Of course there are some who say that we shouldn’t get involved in addressing these threats, that in Britain and America we have done our bit for the world and we should leave today’s problems for others to sort out. … First, those who believe in stepping back and adopting an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century. Developments in other parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria threaten our security at home.
They say NATO can adapt to the new global security environment, and renew calls for a rapid response force to tackle the Russian aggression and for member nations to commit to spending 2% of GDP on defense. Military, economic and political force must all be utilized:
We know that terrorist organisations thrive where there is political instability and weak or dysfunctional political institutions. So we must invest in the building blocks of free and open societies, including the creation of a new genuinely inclusive Government in Iraq that can unite all Iraqis, including Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian and other minority populations. When the threats to our security increasingly emanate from outside the borders of our Alliance, we must do more to build partnerships with others around the globe who share our values and want to build a safe, tolerant and peaceful world – that includes supporting the partners who are taking the fight to ISIL on the ground, as we have done by stepping up support for Kurdish and Iraqi Security Forces. And we should use our expertise to provide training and mentoring to forces elsewhere, whether in Georgia or the Middle East, strengthening the capacity of forces there to tackle local threats.
The U.S. and UK will continue to lead the alliance:
… It is only by supporting peace, democracy and human rights around the globe that we will keep British and American families safe today.
Abbott announces that uranium trade with Russia is ruled out until further notice due to its actions in the Ukraine, several days after the government announces other sanctions including restrictions on investment, travel, and access by Russian banks to Australian capital markets.
Australia has no intention of selling uranium to a country which is so obviously in breach of international law as Russia currently is
Abbott says Australia is considering ‘non-lethal’ military action and humanitarian assistance in the Ukraine:
… Ukraine continues to be subject to active destabilisation and indeed outright invasion from Russia, a country it has never ever sought to harm … along with our European partners and allies, we are considering short-term humanitarian assistance and non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine and in the medium term … we are considering civil and military capacity building assistance to that country.
Barroso questions Putin on the apparent presence of as many as 1,600 Russian troops in Ukraine at a closed-door discussion at an EU summit in Brussels, and the Russian leader responds that he could take the country’s capital in a fortnight. Details of the talk leaked by the Italian La Repubblica newspaper show that he responds:
The problem is not this, but that if I want I’ll take Kiev in two weeks
A Kremlin foreign policy advisor says the remarks are out of context, however the Kremlin does not deny that Putin has spoken of taking Kiev.
The United Nations refugee agency states that over a million Ukrainians are in a situation of displacement do to conflicts and warn of “devastating consequences” if the fighting does not cease. The last three weeks a displacement of 260,000 refugees is only a low estimate, nearly double the effect in that time frame. Approximately 814,000 are and may continue to migrate to Russia, with tens of thousands moving to varies European countries. Ukrainian authorities say that about 2.2 million still live in battle areas.
If the crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences, but it also has the potential to destabilize the whole region. After the lessons of the Balkans, it is hard to believe a conflict of these proportions could unfold in the European continent.
NATO members meeting this week in Wales are expected to create “a very high-readiness force” to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine, says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He calls the new unit “a spearhead within our Response Force” that can “travel light, but strike hard if needed.” It will include several thousand troops and respond with air, sea and special forces support.
At the summit, we will meet with (President Petro Poroshenko) of Ukraine and make clear our support for Ukraine, as it is confronted by Russia’s aggression. Russia appears to be trying to force Ukraine to abandon its democratic choices through the barrel of a gun.
European leaders give Russia one week to scale back its intervention in Ukraine – or face fresh economic sanctions. European leaders order officials to make urgent preparations for a toughening of measures, likely to target senior Kremlin figures as well as the defence, energy and financial sectors. Barroso:
We are in a very serious, I would say, dramatic situation … where we can reach the point of no return. If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point can come.
Putin tells NATO and US not to mess with Russia. He also says that Moscow doesn’t want or intend to wade into any “large-scale conflicts”.
I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words. We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware … it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict.
Ukraine’s military forces announce that they are close to recapturing Donetsk and are preparing the “final stage” of the attack. A spokesman says Kiev’s troops have cut Donetsk off from the other main rebel-held city of Luhansk, 150 km (90 miles) away, on Russia’s border. He tells Reuter’s:
The forces of the anti-terrorist operation are preparing for the final stage of liberating Donetsk. Our forces have completely cut Donetsk off from Luhansk. We are working to liberate both towns but it’s better to liberate Donetsk first – it is more important.
In a phone call, Obama tells President Petro Poroshenko that any Russian intervention in Ukraine without consent from Kiev would be “unacceptable” and a violation of international law. Poroshenko tells Obama that shelling of Ukrainian territory from Russia in ongoing. Obama urges Poroshenko to exercise restraint in military operations in order to avoid civilian casualties.
Hours before international investigators arrive at the crash site, at least 10 Ukrainian soldiers are killed when their convoy is ambushed by pro-Russian separatist rebels in a town close to the wreckage.Thirteen soldiers are unaccounted for, and four other bodies are being examined to determine whether they are soldiers or rebels.
International investigators and observers are again prevented from entering the crash site because of the ongoing fighting between pro-separatists and Ukrainian forces. The group of 50 Dutch and Australian experts, accompanied by monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), was also forced to abandon its attempts to reach the site because of the fighting on two other recent occasions. The Dutch Justice Ministry says the team is unable to leave Donetsk because
there is too much fighting at the moment on and near the route to the disaster site.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Cabinet resign. He tells parliament:
I announce resignation after the collapse of the coalition and the blocking of government initiatives.
Two Sukhoi-25 fighters are shot down in Ukraine over Savur Mogila. According to a Defense Ministry spokesperson, the jets may have carried two passengers each. The pilots ejected from the planes, but it is not known if they survived the fall, and search parties are looking for them. Reuters reports that Kiev blames the pro-Russian separatists for the incident.
With almost two-thirds of the people killed in the crash of flight MH17 being Dutch, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, urges President Vladimir Putin to use his power to influence the rebels to allow full access to the crash site. In a press briefing he says:
I want to see results in the form of unimpeded access and rapid recovery. This is now priority number one.
Obama announces new sanctions against Russia aiming at banking, energy and defense entities. The new sanctions are mainly a response to the country allowing weapons to cross into Ukraine, as well as other related issues.
I have repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. I have made this clear directly to [Russian President] Putin.
Four crew members escape and two others on board are taken as hostages from the transport plane that was shot down near the Russian border this week. Two people remain missing. All of the people that were on the plane are Ukrainians. The Defense Ministry says the four who escaped “are in a safe location.”
Pro-Russian separatists take responsibility for shooting down a An-26 plane over Luhansk, but Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Heletey says the aircraft had been flying too high for their rockets to reach it. Hetley tells President Petro Poroshenko, according to a statement on the president’s web site:
The plane was downed by another, more powerful missile weapon that probably was used from the territory of the Russian Federation.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, tells reporters in Kiev that the plane was flying at about 21,000 feet and that they believed it had been hit either by a powerful Pantsir surface-to-air missile or by an air-to-air homing missile fired by a fighter jet from Russia’s Millerovo air base. Russia did not comment on the matter.
A shells hits a courtyard outside of a residential building in Donetsk and kills one and seriously injures two others. Putin expresses “grave concern” over the incident. Ukrainian officials are denying that Ukrainian shells had fallen on Russian territory. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, was quoted by Interfax Ukraine as saying that Ukrainian forces:
do not fire on the territory of a neighboring country. They do not fire on residential areas.
He is placing the blame for the attack on the rebels themselves.
Russia is accusing Ukraine of lobbing a shell over the border and killing one civilian and are warning of “irreversible consequences” in response to the act. Ukrainian officials deny the accusation. A senior Russian legislator is now calling for pinpoint airstrikes on Ukrainian soil of the sort, he says, Israel is making in the Gaza Strip:
We need to use precision weapons, like Israel’s, to destroy those who launched the bomb.
The European Union extends sanctions to cover 11 leaders of the pro-Moscow rebellion in eastern Ukraine. Targets of the asset freeze and travel ban include two Russian spin doctors, Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, and his counterpart in the Luhansk People’s Republic, Marat Bashirov, both formerly worked for Russian tycoons. Also on the new list were two men identified as rebel military leaders: Nikolai Kozitsyn, commander of Cossack forces, and Alexei Mosgovy, responsible for military training. The names were published today in the EU’s Official Journal; it brought the total of people affected by the EU’s Ukraine-related sanctions to 72, as well as two companies whose EU-based assets have been ordered frozen.
Several civilians die in an overnight shelling in Maryinka, a town in southeastern Ukraine near Donetsk. A cattle feed plant, a milk factory and a former tire plant were hit in the attack. A water purification station was also struck, leaving the town without water. There are also unconfirmed reports that an orphanage was destroyed. According to a resident of the town:
There are 2 bodies over here – and 1 more over there. In total, they say, 6 people have been killed.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reports missiles fired at government troops near the Russian border killed 19 servicemen. A Defense Ministry spokesman says four other troops died, but does not elaborate on the circumstances regarding those deaths.
Explosions blow up three bridges leading into Donetsk. Although it is not clear who caused the explosions, they are being blamed on Russian rebels, as they attempt to hold on to one of the last major cities under their control. After being driven out of Sloviansk by the Ukranian Army, the rebels fled to Donetsk where they had previously declared their independence as Donetsk’s People’s Republic. Reuters is reporting bursts of gunfire in many of the neighborhoods in the center of Donetsk, and is saying people are fearful of warfare breaking out between the army and the rebels.
Russian separatists regroup in the city of Donetsk after being driven out of Sloviansk by rebels. In front of a crowd of thousands, they are vowing to renew their fight against the government in Kiev. Pavel Gubarev, the self-described governor of the Donetsk People’s Republic, tells the crowd:
We will begin a real partisan war around the whole perimeter of Donetsk. We will drown these wretches in blood.
After a night of fighting, President Poroshenko and a rebel spokesperson report the Ukranian flag is now flying over Sloviansk. The city had been under rebel control since April 12, 2014. The military reports it destroyed a tank and four other armored vehicles during the overnight battle. A spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council:
Sloviansk is under siege. Now an operation is going on to neutralize small groups hiding in buildings where peaceful citizens are living.
President Poroshenko announces the cease-fire has ended in a television address. The agreement expires at midnight, and military operation in the east part of the country commence today.
Termination of ceasefire is our response to terrorists, insurgents, marauders … and (those who) deprive people of normal peaceful life.
Pro-Russian insurgents release a second team of members from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who were being held captive since the end of May. The release happened after a EU summit on June 27, 2014. The first OSCE team was released earlier last week. The observers were released and met by organization officials in Donetsk. An OSCE spokesman says:
They’re in good health, they’re in good spirits.
Alexander Borodai, an insurgent leader says:
We have fulfilled our obligations before the Ukrainian side. All eight observers have been released.
Poroshenko says peace is possible if Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the right mood. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour he says:
Sometimes, the position of Mr. Putin is quite pragmatic, sometimes it is very emotional. I just try to find out the time when he is more pragmatic than emotional.
Ukraine’s signing of a trade and economic pact with the European Union may bring “grave consequences,” Russia warns. The agreement prompts EU leaders to hold off on imposing new sanctions on Russia for its continued military presence in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko calls the agreement with the EU the “most important day” for his country since it became independent from the Soviet Union. Olexander Motsyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., told FoxNews.com:
It is our ambition to become a member of the European Union in foreseeable future, the purpose of which is not just to join the EU, but, most importantly, to build a free, democratic and prosperous European nation in Ukraine.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said.
There will undoubtedly be serious consequences for Ukraine and Moldova’s signing.
As the cease-fire truce nears an end, thousands of Ukranian citizens flee to Russia, many vowing never to return because they feel their government betrayed them. Over the past few months, tens of thousands have already fled to Russia seeking safety. Russia’s migration service reports they have registered the arrival of 90,000 Ukranians, with very few requesting refugee status, which would require them to stay in Russia for six months.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s top civilian official, says that Russia’s occupation and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula has led the alliance to suspend programs for practical cooperation with Moscow.
This is “a critical moment for our security. When we face old threats and new, from Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East. So we need to continue to adapt our readiness, and reinvest in our capabilities and partnerships. And I regret to say that we see no signs that Russia is respecting its international commitments. So today we will review our relations with Russia and decide what to do next.
In a report made to an international landmine conference, Ukraine accuses Russia of using landmines in the Crimea Region. Ukraine also says that Russia seized 605 anti-personnel landmines stored at a Ukrainian military depot in the Saki area of Crimea, which Ukraine was allowed to keep for training under the international Mine Ban Treaty. Russia is not a participant in the treaty. The report states that one Ukrainian soldier was killed and three others were wounded by mines and other explosive devices in southeastern Ukraine during April and May.
Putin is supports Ukraine’s cease-fire declaration and is now asking for both sides to reach a compromise. Putin says the compromise must guarantee the rights of the Russian-speaking residents of eastern Ukraine. They must feel they are an “integral part” of their own country. The comments were made today following a ceremony commemorating the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on this day in 1941.
On the first day of Ukraine’s cease fire directive, Putin puts the military on alert in the central district and resumes airborne troop drills. The alert will continue through June 28. 65,000 troops will take part in military drills under this combat alert.
Pro-Russian insurgents are being pushed out of the Eastern Ukraine city of Mariupol by local steelworkers who are forcing them out of government buildings they had seized. The Citizen-led patrols are supported by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s wealthiest man,
Ukrainians are fleeing the Russian-occupied Eastern regions amid violent threats. Russians are tracking down Ukrainians, via photos on a popular Russian social media site, for partaking in pro-Ukrainian actions. Many of these people are fleeing to Kiev in an attempt to escape the violence in Eastern Ukrainian cities of Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol.
In a conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Putin demands that Ukraine must remove its military from the southeastern region of the country to resolve the show-down there with Russian militants. He emphasizes that in addition to all military being removed, violence must be stopped and a national dialogue be launched as part of the constitutional reform process involving all regions and political forces. Christina Wirtz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Merkel, told Interfax that the Chancellor “reminded President Putin of Russia’s responsibility as a member of the O.S.C.E. and called on the president to use his influence.”
Ukraine says its security forces are unable to maintain peace in two eastern Ukrainian regions along the Russian border. In some instances, Ukrainian police have even sided with pro-Russian gunmen who are taking over government buildings and holding people hostage. According to Oleksandr Turchynov, their main goal at the moment is to prevent the violence from spreading to other territories.
Russia is saying they will respond to newly imposed sanctions from the West for their behavior in the Ukraine crisis. The European Union releases its list of 15 Russians and Ukrainians who are affected by the sanctions. This list includes the deputy chairman to the lower house of parliament, a deputy prime minister and a few pro-Russian rebel leaders in Ukraine.
Thousands of demonstrators dressed in orange gather in Kiev’s Independence Square to protest apparent corruption, voter intimidation and fraud in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election after the country’s election commission declares victory for pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Many of the protestors are from the country’s growing middle class and its emerging political opposition, led by opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko and politician and businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko. Yushchenko after a meeting with the electoral commission to discuss the unexpected election result:
We do not trust the accountability of the Central Election Commission. We call on our supporters to come on to Maidan of Independence and protect their freedom
The Socialist Party of Ukraine and Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine are also represented, along with the student organization Pora, with around 100-150,000 people eventually gathering in the square despite freezing weather and armored vehicles (BTRs) and spetznatz special forces troops relocated from the presidential palace and electoral commission. They chant:
Together, we are many! We cannot be defeated!
By evening, a tent city is set up and being defended against security forces, with the protestors planning to stay in the square until their goal of a are achieved of a fair election result.
New tests by the Free University in Amsterdam reveal that Yushchenko’s blood contains around 100,000 units of dioxin per gram of blood fat, 6,000 times the normal level of dioxins and the second-highest dioxin level ever recorded in a human. University Prof. Adam Brouwer:
From a (chemical) fingerprint, at least you can deduce what kind of sources might have been involved. The labs will … try to find out whether it matches any of the batches of dioxins that are around, so that maybe you can trace it back to where it was ordered or where it came from.
Medical officials say that while Yushchenko’s pockmarked appearance will persist, he has likely survived the worst of the poisoning. It is also possible that Yushchenko has ingested dioxin-like PCBs, which have were banned from use in most of the world in electrical transformers and as hydraulic fluid in the 1970s because they are highly toxic and persist in the environment.
Ukraine’s supreme court declares the 2004 presidential election result invalid, citing systemic and massive” violations, and orders a new runoff vote to be conducted by Dec. 26. It says the government of President Leonid Kuchma ‘illegally meddled in the election process’ during the original Nov. 21 ballot. Chief Justice Anatoly Yarema:
The conclusion of the court is that the rules of the electoral law were broken and the exact result of the voters’ will across the territory of Ukraine cannot be ascertained.
A majority of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, supports a motion to declare the election result placing Yanukovych ahead of Yushchenko invalid. The parliamentary vote is not binding and may not influence the outcome of Yushchenko’s upcoming challenge in the Supreme Court. Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn ahead of the vote:
The logical issue to be raised is to declare the election politically invalid because the true will of the people is now impossible to establish.