All of the participants of the contact group on the Ukraine crisis – OSCE representatives, Kiev, Moscow, and the Donbass region – have met in Minsk. No new agreements have been reached, with the meeting ending in a blame game between Kiev and the rebels.
The most recent military draft in Ukraine has been described as “problematic” by Kiev's army spokesman. The recruitment effort, coming amid ever more intense fighting in the country’s east, sees a lack of enthusiasm on the part of potential soldiers.
The Ukraine army’s chief of staff has admitted that Kiev troops are not engaged in combat with Russian units, thereby thwarting all Western allegations of Moscow's “military invasion,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Some 8,000 Ukrainian troops are believed to be surrounded near the village of Debaltsevo in Donbass, as militia units cut off the only road linking the pocket to Kiev-held territory. The servicemen have been offered the chance to surrender.
The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs has told local media that Warsaw was “open” to sell weapons to Ukraine, regarding it as sheer “business.” It comes as the situation in the east of Ukraine has significantly deteriorated in recent weeks.
Poland plans to allow civilians to sign up for military training. With anti-Russian hysteria spreading like wildfire, Warsaw has rushed to step up its defense systems amid fears over the ongoing military conflict in neighboring eastern Ukraine.
At least 12 civilians were killed in Donetsk after Ukrainian troops shelled the city from a neutral zone north of the airport, the republic’s officials said. Kiev has blamed rebels, though, calling the attack an attempt to undermine the Minsk peace talks.
Two Russian journalists working for Life News TV channel have been detained in Kiev by Ukraine’s Security Service, which says the crew will be expelled from the country and denied entry for five years.
After leaving the Parliamentary Assembly, which Russian officials believe has lost its credibility as a platform for mature and equal dialogue, Moscow will focus on other global forums and may even reconsider its membership to the Council of Europe.