The armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine (officially — the anti-terrorist operation) is fighting on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. It began in April 2014.Fighting broke out between Ukraine’s armed forces and rebel groups (mostly self-proclaimed supporters of Donetsk and Lugansk National Republics). In addition to the armed forces of Ukraine, in the battles against supporters of the DPR and LPR were also participating volunteer militias.
Ukraine, USA and several other states, but also NATO, Council of Europe, the OSCE parliamentary Assembly and the European Union accuse Russian Federation of interfering in the conflict: in particular, the use of regular troops in fighting on the side of the rebels, supplying arms and financial support (BBC News). The Russian leadership has consistently denied the accusations in participation in the hostilities and supplying arms to the rebels, saying that Russia is not a party to the conflict. At the same time, Russia’s military intervention in the conflict was confirmed by the former Minister of defense DPR Igor Strelkov.
The chronology of events
The date of the beginning of the conflict is considered to be April 7, 2014, when acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov in connection with the seizure of administrative buildings in Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk and the proclamation of the Kharkiv and Donetsk national republics announced the creation of a crisis department. On April 14 the text of the decree No. 405/2014 on beginning of antiterrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine was placed on the website of the President of Ukraine: “to enact the decision of national security Council and defense of Ukraine against April 13, 2014 “On urgent measures to overcome terrorist threat and preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity””. The decree entered into force from the date of publication.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly called the conflict a “world war.” Pro-Russian forces and the Russian leadership called the actions of the Ukrainian side in the conflict a punitive operation, and the conflict — civil war in Ukraine.
By the end of April 2014, the conflict between the rebels and Ukrainian security forces was limited to periodic skirmishes, raids and attacks on checkpoints using small arms. Gradually, the Ukrainian armed group has been strengthened with armored vehicles, helicopters, artillery and began shelling. The airstrikes, the rebels have responded by firing portable anti-aircraft missiles, knocking down planes and helicopters. By the beginning of August 2014, the ATO forces, four times reduced the territory controlled by insurgents since the beginning of hostilities, almost surrounded Donetsk and Lugansk. But in mid-August, after the change of leadership of the DPR and LPR, the new rebel leaders have announced the receipt of significant reinforcements. In the ensuing counterattack, several thousand Ukrainian military were the rebels in the surrounding. In early September 2014 was signed a ceasefire agreement, after which the intensity of the fighting fell, however, in certain areas, clashes and shelling continued with varying degrees of intensity. From mid-January 2015 recommenced active operations all along the front. As a result of fights, in the beginning of February 2015, the rebels managed to achieve considerable success. At the talks on February 11-12 was agreed a new set of measures for implementation of the September agreement on ceasefire.
As indicated in the report of the office of the UN high Commissioner for human rights of 15 December 2014, the situation in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine was characterized by a complete lack of law and order, the preservation of violence and ongoing fighting, helped by the influx across the border of heavy and sophisticated weaponry and manpower, including Russia. All this has had a direct impact on basic human rights, including the security, liberty and well-being of the local population (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 17). According to the United Nations, on 23 March 2016, the victims of the conflict in Ukraine became 30346 people: more than 9 thousand were killed and more than 21 thousand were wounded (including civilians, Ukrainian forces and the rebels and 298 passengers of flight MH17), 17 087 were injured, and the number of refugees exceeded 2.3 million people (UAToday.tv).
Russia and armed conflict
The question of the role played by Russia during the armed conflict in the Donbas, was repeatedly raised by the international community, including the UN and the OSCE. Statements about this were made by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia and other countries.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine escalated sharply in 2014 after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, and later the inclusion of Crimea in structure of Russia. On January 27, 2015 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a resolution, in which Russia’s actions in Crimea and Donbass were classified as aggression against Ukraine, and in September 2015 approved the new military doctrine of Ukraine, where the Russian Federation was declared military enemy.
In the new “national security Strategy of the Russian Federation” adopted by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 31.12.2015 N 683, a change of government occurred in Ukraine in early 2014, was described as “anti-constitutional coup”, that the U.S. and the European Union “has led to a deep rift in Ukrainian society and the emergence of armed conflict”. The document States: “Strengthening the far-right nationalist ideology targeted the formation of the Ukrainian population of the enemy image in the face of Russia’s blatant bid to force the internal contradictions, deep socio-economic crisis in Ukraine is converted into a long-term source of instability in Europe and directly on Russia’s borders”.
The Russian government views the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as a civil war, which has been provoked by the USA, that, according to Russia, were also involved in the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The help of EU and USA
Although the European Council July 16 2014 rented imposed on February 20 of the same year ban on the supply to Ukraine, as NATO left the decision of this question to the discretion of each individual country, Western supplies of a military nature, according to the Ukrainian authorities, does not include lethal weaponry. As of mid-March 2015, foreign partners gave the Armed forces of Ukraine aid military equipment and supplies for total cost of 120 million US dollars:
Canada gave the Ukrainian army humanitarian assistance in the amount of $ 20 million (ballistic masks, ballistic vests, Kevlar helmets, sleeping bags and a large amount of winter uniforms);
The United States has provided the Ukrainian army assets totaling $ 13 million (medical equipment, medical kits, multi-band radios, night vision devices, chemical laboratory for quick and accurate analysis of unknown chemical substances, equipment to conduct demining, radar counterbattery, sets of summer and winter camouflage uniforms, flak jackets and Kevlar helmets) and rations worth about 2.5 million dollars;
Poland gave support totaling $ 5.5 million (bedding sets, rye bread long-term storage, dry rations and clothing property);
Australia gave the winter uniforms of a total cost of 2.3 million dollars;
Britain handed aid worth 1.8 million dollars (bullet-proof vests and Kevlar helmets, individual and group first aid kits, clothing assets, as well as insulated sleeping bags);
Slovakia gave assistance for a total amount of 632 thousand dollars (generators, lighting sets, plastic utensils, sleeping bags, duffel property and a wide range of medical equipment and property);
Norway gave dry rations for a total amount of 630 thousand dollars;
France gave the body armor and medical supplies for a total amount of 600 thousand dollars;
The Netherlands handed over the generators and winter clothing property worth 500 thousand dollars.
On February 16, 2015 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “the decision to arm Ukraine or not, is accepted by individual member States of NATO” and, “this will not be the actions of NATO as an organization” (NATO).
Mainly because of the conflict in the East, Ukrainian economy in 2014 decreased on 7-7.5%. In early March 2015, about a quarter of the country’s industry is stopped, the tenth part is destroyed. On July 10, 2015 — the conflict zone is still a home to 3.2 million people. The number of internally displaced people is 1 381 953, and 922 651 were granted asylum in other countries (more than 600 thousand people left for Russia for permanent residence). The war resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and considerable industrial capacity.
- “Merkel Condemns Russia ‘Interfering’ In Eastern Europe – BBC News”. BBC News. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,. Report On The Human Rights Situation In Ukraine. 2014. Print.
- “Secretary General: Situation In Ukraine Is Critical, NATO Supports Peace Efforts”. NATO. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
- “U.N. Provides Update On Donbas War Victims, Warns Against Collapse Of Truce”. uatoday.tv. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.