12 August 2016
Russia’s Military Escalation – A Threat to Ukraine and Global Security
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) strongly condemns the Russian Federation’s military escalation, its aggressive, provocative statements, and continued refusal to honour a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
Large movements of Russian troops, tanks, artillery into the occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas over the last week have been reported. Heavy shelling of Ukrainian positions by Russian and proxy forces in the Donbas are a daily occurrence as Russia continues to blatantly violate the Minsk Agreements to which it is a signatory. Ukrainian soldiers being killed and wounded as a result of these attacks has become a daily occurrence.
On August 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged that Ukraine’s military intelligence services had supposedly organised a “sabotage and reconnaissance group” that infiltrated Crimean territory. Putin accused Ukraine of “turning to terror.” He stated, ominously, that “We will do everything we can, of course, to ensure security at infrastructure facilities and protect people, and we will take additional security measures, serious additional measures, technical and others.”
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has strongly refuted these mendacious claims stating: “Russian accusations that Ukraine launched terror attacks in the occupied Crimea are equally cynical and insane as its claims there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. These fantasies pursue [one] goal: a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine…. Ukraine is devoted to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity exclusively through political and diplomatic means. That includes de-occupation of Crimea.”
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement “Ukraine condemns in the strongest terms yet another Kremlin-manufactured provocation and rejects all accusations, which are completely groundless. Under a made up pretext, the Kremlin is undertaking another hybrid special operation with the aim to justify its future aggressive actions against Ukraine……… Ukraine resolutely and consistently condemns terrorism in all its manifestations. Against this background, it should be recalled that since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in February 2014 thousands lost their lives – both Ukrainians and foreign nationals – as a result of terrorist acts carried out with financial, material and technical support of the aggressor state. In particular, it is worth recalling the downing of the MH17 flight, rocket attacks against Volnovakha, Mariupol, Kramatorsk and other peaceful Ukrainian cities and towns.
Ukraine urges the international community to take all possible political and diplomatic steps to exert influence on the Kremlin in order to prevent a new round of aggression against Ukraine and the ultimate disruption of the Minsk peace process by the Kremlin………”
US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt stated today, “The US government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations of a ‘Crimea incursion’ and Ukraine has strongly refuted them. Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine to deflect attention from its own illegal actions. Our view on Crimea’s status is well known. Crimea is, and will always remain, part of Ukraine. Our Crimea related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine.”
The movement of Russian troops and weapons, together with the baseless accusations levelled by Russia are an extremely troubling sign that Russia intends to seriously escalate its military invasion of Ukraine.
“It is time for the international community to act now to ensure that the situation does not escalate further. Vladimir Putin needs to hear a united international message – We will not allow Russian to manipulate, fabricate a situation that will again result in lives being lost and territories invaded.” AFUO Chairman Stefan Romaniw said.
“Traditionally August is the season for escalation of Russian aggression – Chechnya, August 1999, Georgia August 2008. August 2016 may be the next episode if the international community does not act now. One need to ask if no action is taken what will be the end result in terms of global tensions, aggression and security?” Mr Romaniw said.
The AFUO has written to Australian’s Minister for Foreign Affairs calling on Australia to again take a lead role internationally and send the strongest of message through
- Increased sanctions against the Russian Federation
- Relaying via Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Australia the message of condemnation of current Russian aggression and that Australian continues to stand united with Ukraine
- Providing defensive weapons to assist Ukraine in defending its territorial integrity
FOR MORE INFORMATION: STEFAN ROMANIW 0419 531 255