Despite its harsh position towards the Russian Federation and recent PACE decision to suspend Russia’s voting rights at the Assembly until September 2015, the West so far will not strengthen sanctions against Russia. It is noteworthy, though, that following the Russian shelling of civilian neighborhoods in Mariupol, Western rhetoric is becoming tougher.. The EU Council will consider extending sanctions against Russia tomorrow, as well as the possible toughening and expansion of the sanctions list. Greece vigorously opposes these plans, as a pro-Russian party came to power in Athens and has expressed its readiness to block a decision.
According to a local web-site in Mariupol, key words disappeared from the resolution of Mariupol town council which recognized Russia as an aggressor country and the LPR and DPR as terrorists on January 27. The final version of the resoution, published on January 28 on the town council web-site, does not contain a single word about Russia.
WAR. ACTIONS IN THE ATO ZONE.
Avdiyivka, a town located nearby Donetsk, has been shelled by artillery several days in succession by militants.. The fire was so strong on January 26 and 27 that nearly every home in the village was destroyed. Missiles hit residential houses, shops, a hospital, a library and a kindergarten. Communications are destroyed, central heating is out of service and there is currently no electricity in the town.
Two elderly women died as a result of Popasna village shelled by Cossacks of so-called LPR pro-Russian organization. One local business– a car-repair plant – was damaged after shelling.
PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF THE CRISIS
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution on Russia, imposing diplomatic sanctions on Russian Federation and stripping the Russian delegation of the vote at PACE. The Russian delegation stated they were suspending their participation in PACE activity, as well as any contacts with the Assembly by the end of the year. The head of the delegation, Aleskey Pushkov, emphasized that the Russian party refused to comply with the PACE decision to release a Ukrainian prisoner of war illegally detained in Russia.. He also stated that Moscow is seriously considering the possibility of leaving the Council of Europe. . Earlier, PACE passed an amendment to the resolution on Russia, urging Russian authorities “to release Nadiya Savchenko within 24 hours”.
Reuters wrote that on February 29 the EU Council will hold an extraordinary meeting in connection with the deterioration of the situation in Ukraine at which the prolongation of sanctions against Russia till September 2015 will be considered. They will also prepare options for toughening sanctions, as well as extended the current sanction list. According to mass-media, Greece may oppose new sanctions. The new prime-minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, the head of the radical leftist party that won recent elections, did not support statements of EU countries leaders on discussion and introduction of new sanctions against Russia.
The US Secretary of the State counsel, Victoria Nuland stated that freedom and peace in Europe directly depend on Ukraine. The USA stated they are ready to make new steps to strengthen pressure on Russia. Helsinki is ready to introduce new sanctions against the Russian Federation, if necessary, but the country has no clear picture of what is happening in the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland Erkki Tuomioja stated. The German Minister of Economy and Vice-chancellor, leader of Social-Democratic Patry of Germany Sigmar Gabriel cast a dissenting vote on strengthening the EU sanctions against Russia. The politician is not sure that the present time is appropriate to further punish Moscow.
The Financial Times writes that Putin stopped pursuing the creation of an autonomous region of Ukraine or obtaining geopolitical leverage. Having apparently decided that Kyiv is Kyiv is beyong Moscow’s control for good, he is trying to create a new puppet country able to exist economically and disobey Kyiv. In Jonathan Eyal’s opinion, the Director of International Security Studies at RUSI, any attempts to settle the conflict in Ukraine will fail as Putin persistently aims at creating so-called ‘Novorossiya’.
ACTIVITY OF THE PARLIAMENT. WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade intends to liquidate UkrEcoResources state agency due to the fact that many business associations filed complaints about its activity. The Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper emphasized that Brodskyi and Sheremeta were trying to liquidate the same corruption scheme, but could not prove anything, resulting in their dismissal.
STABILIZATION OF ECONOMIC SITUATION.
The Canadian government decided to provide Ukraine with an additional loan of 200 million Canadian dollars (160 million USD), reads the statement of the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.
The USA and Ukraine signed a declaration to lend Ukraine credit guarantees to the sum of 1 billion dollars for the first half of 2015. The US Congress will address the issue of lending another 1 billion dollars in the near future.