Russian President Vladimir Putin had called upon Ukraine to begin talks with Pro-Russian Rebels regarding eastern Ukraine’s “statehood.” The political gaffe caused controversy as Putin only meant to indicate that the two parties must surrender to an unconditional ceasefire and replenish their natural gas supplies for the coming winter.
Putin said that “We must immediately begin substantive, meaningful negotiations, not on technical questions, but about the political organisation of society and the statehood of Ukraine’s southeast for the unconditional securing of the legal interests of the people who live there.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that Putin meant not to call for independence regarding eastern Ukraine, but to seek inclusive negotiations to provide greater autonomy for the southeast.
Meanwhile, Russia is in peril of additional sanctions from the European Union as leaders vowed to toughen economic sanctions against Russia if the Ukrainian crisis failed to become stagnant or die down.
After meeting in Minsk, Putin had praised Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for being “a partner with whom dialogue can be conducted.” Putin had called for the pro-Russian rebels to open corridors to allow Ukrainian troops to retreat. However, the rebels demanded the Ukrainian forces surrender their artillery and heavy vehicles.
The west and Europe continue to suspect Russia of supporting the Pro-Russian rebels. Evidence of 10 Russian paratroopers arrested inside Ukraine showed that Russian fighters were battling alongside the pro-Russian rebels.
According to the Ukrainian military, a pro-Russian rebel group had fired rockets against a refugee truck, whose survivors said they had “waved the white flag.” The assault had killed dozens of people as 15 bodies have been recovered. Among the casualties were women and children.
The Pro-Russian rebels have denied any involvement.
Fighting continued between the Rebels and the Ukrainian military in central Luhansk and Donetsk, currently besieged as artillery continued to shake the rebel stronghold.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be meeting for possibility of peace talks in Minsk, Belarus on August 26.
According to the Ukrainian military, the victims had burned inside the convoys as rockets landed. The attack took place in the villages of Khryashchuvatye and Novosvitlivka, eight miles southeast of Luhansk. The refugees had already hung out white flags. Ukrainian military intelligence said that the military escort trucks it travelled with made it a target of rebels.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence had released a video that showed soldiers were helping people escape the area and showed other survivors running from the burning wreckage.
One of the survivors, a woman tending a young man with a bandaged leg, said the rocket hit a vehicle with 15 people and shrapnel from the wreckage had landed into another truck.
According to political analysts, the wisest thing for Russia to avoid falling into recession because of economic sanctions by western countries and the EU is to stop supporting the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, but it will not submit easily. According to Oxford Economics Adam Slater, Putin’s political image is a strong leader that could stand up against the Western World and the defender of ethnic Russian nations abroad.
US President Obama warned that Putin should stop the support to gain economic relief, but he also added that people may not always act rationally.
According to Putin Observer Andrei Kolesnikov, the best time for the Russian government to pull out from Pro-Russian militants the crashed MH17 flight had given an opportunity. Putin could appear as one having honour and defiant of involving children, elderly and all civilians in a political crisis.
However, Konstantin Kalachev of the Moscow Political Expert Group, said that Putin cannot disown the pro-Russian and that he is left with only “bad moves” as in chess.
The rebellion began after the previous pro-Russian government of Ukraine had been ousted. As a western-aligned government took control of Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels led by former Russian officers began.
The MH17 was a focal point of the bad moves Putin currently has on hand. It only soured his relationship with the western world. It had also urged many European countries to increase defence budget spending against the new tactics and strategies of Russia.
About 47 people have died in clashes between rival Libyan militias vying for control over Tripoli’s international airport. According to the Health Ministry, the battle in Tripoli caused by Islamist militias from Misurata attacked the airport. Meanwhile, Zintan militias are occupying the airport. The battle of the two factions have lasted for over a week.
A $113 million passenger jet of Afriqiyah Airways was destroyed on Sunday after the clashes between the two factions. According to Libya’s Transportation Minister Abdelkader Mohammed Ahmed, it was the Libyan fleet’s pride as it had flown into South Africa, Bangladesh and China.
The terminal was ridden with bullet holes and debris from fragments.
The Health Ministry still has no comprehensive count on the number of people who have been killed and wounded in the skirmishes.
Meanwhile, Libya is in a state of political instability because of the militias. The clashes had forced government offices, gas stations and banks to close. The militias have also targeted activists and government officials. Recently, two lawmakers were kidnapped in the Tripoli suburbs.
A renegade general in Benghazi, Khalifa Hifter, had five of his soldiers killed after Islamist militias have attacked a barracks of his men. General Hifter had vowed to crush all Islamist Militias in Libya.
According to one of Iraq’s senior politicians, the country could ask its neighbour Iran to bomb the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria if the US will not comply with its request. Iraqi Parliament and Spokesman Dr. Haider al-Abadi said that the Iraqi government feels vulnerable against ISIS that it will take its chances with Iran’s cooperation just to eradicate the ISIS threat.
He added that Iraq has been waiting for the US to provide air support against the ISIS. Should the US comply, Iraq will disregard asking Iran. However, the fact remains that it may ask Turkey or Iran for bombing support.
However, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that launching an air strike against ISIS would be irresponsible because there is a sectarian divide in Iraq, which could further inflame if the US bombs the ISIS, composed primarily of Sunni Muslims.
The Iraqi Spokesman iterated that Iraq could survive with minimal military support, but a bombing run could help protect Iraq by kicking the ISIS out of Iraq’s territory.
The impact of ISIS and other extremist groups will greatly impact not just the areas in the Middle East, but the sectarians living in the other regions of the world. The UK is currently dealing with a security issue regarding UK Muslims joining the ranks of ISIS to fight in Iraq.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has captured four more towns in western Iraq and were met with very little assistance. As the ISIS continues its offensive, the Iraqi military is becoming morally weakened as their threat of speedy expansion continues.
The Obama Administration and US Secretary of State John Kerry had issued a warning against ISIS as they progressively become a grave threat to US national security. The destabilisation of Iraq could spill towards US allies, including Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait, and other Middle Eastern countries.
ISIS recently captured Anah, Rawa, Rotba and Haditha, a number of villages a few miles away from Baghdad.
US President Obama appeared on national television and said that the administration intends to create a focused strategy and help train the military to do their jobs properly.
The US recently sent 300 military advisers, who had assessed that the recent weak movements of Iraq’s military commanders, their inadequate equipment to defend against the militants, and the summary execution committed by ISIS, is gnawing at the morale Iraq’s soldiers.
Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Khamenei sees the US support for Iraq as having a vested interest to take advantage of the situation of the country.
The consecutive capture of towns that trail toward Baghdad will aid ISIS fighters with faster transfer of weapons and equipment to many battlefields.
In response to the public’s favour of populist and far-right political parties, European leaders had agreed to meet at an informal summit in Brussels after the recent parliamentary elections to review their priorities and come up with policies that will help them gain support from voters supporting the opposition.
According to the European Council President, as the EU emerges from the financial crisis, it also needs to have a positive and future-oriented agenda of growth, competitiveness and jobs. It is important that the EU preserve the unity of the EU.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that he will block any attempt by anti-EU tories to forge alliances with the Eurosceptic parties in other countries. Cameron said he will block any request or attempt to invite the new Alternative for Germany parties in to the pan-European grouping.
In the UK, UKIP Leader Nigel Farage faced great success with the public. It was only centre-left Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who broke the trend of Eurosceptic wins.
French Far Right Front National Party President Marine Le Pen, who had been campaigning for the purity of French nationalities, had won in the European Parliament elections.
According to political experts, the wins of the hard-left and far-right political parties is a reflection of the public’s dissatisfaction with over austerity, mass unemployment and immigration.
Two car bombs that exploded in Jos City’s Terminus Market in Nigeria killed more than 118 people according to Nigerian authorities. Authorities point to the Boko Haram extremist group as the culprits of the attack. They also said that the number of people killed may be more inside damaged buildings.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said that the two car bomb attack was a “tragic assault on human freedom.” He had also called the Boko Haram as cruel and evil. A statement from his office assures that the government will do all it can to win the war against terror.
The attack happened around 15:00 local time in the New Abuja Market Area of the city. A truck exploded in the nearby commercial district. Around 20 minutes later, a minibus exploded and wounded many emergency workers.
The United States Department of State had already declared Boko Haram as a terrorist group in 2013, but Nigeria is pushing for its identification in the UN Security Council. The UN can then place sanctions such as arms embargo, travel ban and asset freezes.
Boko Haram became infamous after assaulting a Nigerian mall and taking several people inside as hostages. Awareness about the group rose further when the families, friends and sympathizers of the 300 kidnapped schoolgirls had turned to social networks for help in recovering their children.
Turkey has banned May Day celebrations in Taksim Square. The government had deployed its security forces armed with plastic pellets, tear gas and water cannons to prevent any gatherings in Taksim Square. Protesters and May Day demonstrators threw stones, bottles, and used fireworks against riot police forces.
Aside from the clashes in Taksim Square, similar situations had arisen in Ankara and Izmir.
The government banned the protests citing that security threats from extremist groups can manifest in such gatherings. The government had also closed Istanbul’s subway systems, which closed commercial ferry services and it had blocked vehicular traffic in Istanbul’s roads.
It also justified the ban on the May Day rallies to the fact that it would hurt Istanbul’s image as a tourist destination.
Observers said the ban on rallies might also be due to the earlier protests in 2013 against the reconstruction of Gezi Park. The rallies erupted into violence and disrupted the peace in many areas of Turkey. Human rights groups had condemned the handling of the protests.
Taksim Square is also significant to Turkish leftists because many people had been killed in May 1, 1977, when gunfire triggered a stampede during a demonstration in the square.
Ukrainian investigators point to pro-Russian rebels as the suspects for the death of a local politician from Ukraine’s Acting President Oleksander Turchinov’s political party. The politician was found dead with signs of torture, according to investigators. This adds to the turmoil right after a Ukraine-Russia Accord forged in Geneva was immediately broken following a shoot-out at a pro-Russian activist checkpoint in Slaviansk.
The police found the local politician’s body alongside another floating body. According to police, the man resembled Rybak, a local councillor in the town of Horlivka in Donetsk. However, they have not fully identified the man’s body to be Rybak as formal identification procedures will be needed.
Russia and Ukraine continue to point each other for failing to address the action needed to ensure the implementation of the Geneva accord. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine’s Right Sector group of initiating the attack against the Slaviansk checkpoint. Ukraine accused Russia’s Secret Service for using the checkpoint assault as a pretext for Russia to take over the city.
Turchinov said that their crimes were carried out with full support and indulgence from the Russian Federation and he called out to Ukraine’s Security Agencies to relaunch and carry out effective anti-terrorist measures to protect Ukrainian citizens living in eastern Ukraine from possible terrorists.