Thursday

9th Feb 2023

Germany and US voice concern on Russian troops in Ukraine

Germany and the US have lent weight to Ukraine’s claim that Russian troops are directly involved in opening up a new front in the conflict.

The fresh Western concern comes after Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian army spokesman, told press in Kiev on Wednesday (26 August) that Russian soldiers took part in a rebel attack on the town of Novoazovsk, near Crimea, in south-east Ukraine.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added that Russian soldiers and armoured vehicles also crossed the border further north, near the Ukrainian town of Amrosievka.

Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, said Merkel called Russian leader Vladimir Putin the same day to ask him if it is true.

“The latest reports of the presence of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory must be explained. She emphasised Russia's major responsibility for de-escalation and for watching over its own frontiers”, his statement said.

The Kremlin’s communique on the Merkel call said nothing on the subject, however.

Instead, it “announced the intention of the Russian side to provide new supplies of humanitarian aid to Luhansk and Donetsk” - two rebel-held areas where Russian "aid" trucks recently came and went without approval from Ukraine or the Red Cross.

The US was more explicit.

Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, told media in Washington on Wednesday that “these [new] incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk”.

She added: “Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine … We also note reports of wounded Russian soldiers in a St. Petersburg hospital and that other Russian soldiers are returning home to Russia for burial”.

Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, said on Thursday morning: “An increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory. Russia … is now directly involved in the fighting”.

Wednesday’s developments come after Russia and Ukraine agreed to revive peace talks on Tuesday and ahead of an EU summit on Friday.

They also come at a decisive moment in military terms.

Ukrainian forces have encircled pro-Russia rebels in Luhansk and Donetsk. But if they do not score a decisive victory before October, when bad weather begins to set in, the fighting will be frozen until spring, giving the pro-Russia side a chance to dig in.

The coming winter is also raising the stakes on the gas side of the conflict.

Russia has stopped deliveries to Ukraine in a price dispute while promising to keep pumping gas to EU clients via Ukraine's pipelines.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s PM, Arseniy Yatseniuk, told a government meeting that “we [Ukraine] know of Russia's plans to block [gas] transit even to European Union countries this winter”.

But Russian energy minister Alexander Novak denied the allegations.

“We can qualify them only as absolutely baseless speculations aimed at confusing or deliberately misinforming of European consumers of Russian gas”, he said.

Russia relaxes EU food ban, counts costs

Russia has said its ban on EU food imports will cost it “hundreds of billions of rubles”, while taking several items off the blacklist.

Ukraine says Russian invasion has begun

Ukrainian president Poroshenko has said Russian forces have invaded his country, with Kiev calling for an emergency EU and UN meeting.

Opinion

EU buries head deeper in sand over Israel's apartheid

While every European diplomat knows that a return to the "status quo" means maintaining the daily oppression, humiliation and anguish that comes with living under apartheid, the EU continues to acquiesce to a situation that gets worse by the day.

Opinion

Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'

The scars of Brexit have left their mark in communities across Wales. The Menai mussel industry has experienced a sharp decline having once been a staple in fish counters and restaurants across Europe; its business model wrecked by post-Brexit rules.

Latest News

  1. EU leaders attempt to hash out response to US green subsidies
  2. Russian diplomats in EU: unpaid wages, low morale
  3. Eight EU states press for more Turkey-style migrant swap deals
  4. EU buries head deeper in sand over Israel's apartheid
  5. Polish MEP also went on freelance Azerbaijan trip
  6. Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue
  7. Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'
  8. MEPs to vote on risky 'hydrogen for home heating' rule

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEU Social Dialogue review – publication of the European Commission package and joint statement of ETUFs
  2. Oxfam InternationalPan Africa Program Progress Report 2022 - Post Covid and Beyond
  3. WWFWWF Living Planet Report
  4. EFBWWEFBWW Executive Committee report on major abuses, labour crime and subcontracting
  5. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  6. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  2. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us