Russian Troops Mounting On Border As Ukraine Backs Off

As press reports indicate a build-up of Russian troops on its border, a Ukraine anti-terrorist offensive to unseat pro-Russian separatists is cancelled.

Russian Troops Mounting On Border As Ukraine Backs Off

Concern for Russian invasion led to cancel anti-terrorist advance

In reporting on the halt of the terrorist offensive, the Kyiv Post cites a senior security official and notes the recent events leading up to the event, then notes taunting on Twitter by Russian-backed forces.

After failure to live up to agreement, Ukraine moves against separatists

The report notes that on April 22, interim President Oleksandr Turchynov announced that Ukraine would restart its anti-terror operation to quell Russian-backed separatist movements in Donetsk Oblast.  After not abiding by terms of a recently negotiated Geneva Statement, the Ukrainian government mounted the offensive.

On April 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ominously was quoted in an interview with Russia Today that Russia will be forced to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine if they are attacked directly.  The move against the separatist forces would be one such attack trigger.

RIP Ukraine is the taunt

Ukraine taunt

As if further taunting – or perhaps just intimidating the Ukraine government not to take action – chief editor of Russia Today, the country’s English language news organization, tweeted “Ukraine. R.I.P.”

It is unclear if the Russian troops will invade Ukraine even if the government does not directly move against the separatists. The Kjiv Post is live blogging as events unfold.

Vice journalist released

In other news from the region, Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been freed after nearly two days of captivity in Sloviansk. Ostrovsky was taken hostage April 22 by Russian-backed separatists.

“VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health. We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time,” the news organization said in a statement. “Out of respect for Simon and his family’s privacy, we have no further statement at this time.”

Cry for help?

BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray is reporting that Ukraine could be looking to the US to supply it with military equipment.  Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. on April 24, deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky was quoted as saying that Ukraine “would definitely be interested to gain all necessary means to protect our country.”

When asked whether Ukraine is asking the U.S. to provide it with weapons to defend a Russian invasion, Lubkivsky said, “We have to protect Ukraine against the aggression. All possible means that may help in this case should be used.”

Financial fallout

“It is probable that the United States will place sanctions on Russia primarily in the financial sector,” said Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove in an e-mail settlement. “Russia will retaliate. Those banks with exposure are likely to be forced by the regulators to place reserves against their Russian positions.”