World View: Ukraine's Forces Assault Pro-Russian Separatists as Cease-Fire Ends

World View: Ukraine's Forces Assault Pro-Russian Separatists as Cease-Fire Ends

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Ukraine’s forces assault pro-Russian separatists as cease-fire ends
  • China’s neighbors react to new South China Sea claims
  • In face of China’s increased aggression, Japan reinterprets its constitution

Ukraine’s forces assault pro-Russian separatists as cease-fire ends

Both Ukraine government forces and pro-Russian separatists in easeUkraine appear to be digging in for a protracted conflict, as a dozenor so people were killed on Tuesday in firefights between the twogroups. The government forces began an assault on the pro-Russianseparatist positions after Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko calledan end to a 10-day old cease-fire. 

Poroshenko had declared a unilateral 7-day cease-fire on June 20 and then extended it for three more days. However, during the cease-fire,Russian-led forces continued attacking Ukrainian fixed positions,killing dozens of Ukrainian soldiers. At the same time, U.S. and NATO intelligence ascertained that during the unilateral cease-fire, Russiatransferred additional tanks, armored personnel carriers,anti-aircraft guns, and other hardware to the Russian-backed fighters. 

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has provided supplies of heavy weapons to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad toconduct his “industrial strength” torture and extermination ofcivilians. Putin has no ethics or morals, and in Ukraine he was playingthe usual game of calling for peaceful negotiations, using the time torearm his troops. Putin and European leaders all were pressuringPoroshenko to extend the cease-fire past June 30, but he was receivinga great deal of internal pressure not to force his own armed forces tostand still as sitting ducks for Russian-supplied weapons. 

On Tuesday, Poroshenko gave a nationally televised speech ending thecease-fire: 

After a June 30 evening meeting of the the NationalSecurity and Defense Council of Ukraine I, as Commander-in-Chief,have decided not to pursue a unilateral cease-fire.

Protection of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, safety andlife of civilians requires not only defensive but also offensiveoperations against terrorist militants.

The Armed Forces, National Guard, the State Border Guard Service,Security Service have received appropriate instructions…

We will attack and liberate our land. Non-renewal of the ceasefire- is our response to terrorists, rebels, looters, and to all thosewho are making fun of civilians, who are paralyzing the work ofregional economy, who steal the payments of salaries, pensions,stipends, who undermine and destroy railroad plumbing, who havedeprived people of normal, peaceful life. …

Everyone who stood in the way of armed resistance to lawfulauthority, but realizing that mistake and wants to correct it, aspresident, I guarantee FAILURE to justice. Condition One -voluntarily lay down their arms.

Vladimir Putin responded as follows: 

Unfortunately, President Poroshenko has taken thedecision to resume military actions, and we – meaning myself andmy colleagues in Europe – could not convince him that the way toreliable, firm and long-term peace can’t lie through the war.

So far, Petro Poroshenko had no direct relation to orders to takemilitary action. Now he has taken on this responsibility infull. Not only military, but also political, more importantly.

Everything that’s going on in Ukraine is of course the internalbusiness of the Ukrainian government, but we are painfully sorrythat people die, civilians.

Given his support of torture and genocide in Syria, I doubt very muchthat Putin is “painfully sorry” that civilians die. Also, there hasbeen no confirmation that his “colleagues in Europe” agreed with hisversion of the discussions. Australian Broadcasting and Jamestown and Voice of Russia and Ukraine’s government (Trans)

China’s neighbors react to new South China Sea claims

President Obama’s recent visit to Asia was, like many of his foreigntrips, supposed to reduce hostilities and encourage peacefulnegotiations, especially between China and its neighbors. Instead, itseems to have encouraged China to more aggressively assert its claimsto the entire South China Sea, including regions that havehistorically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. China is building a network of airstrips andmilitary garrisons in the South China Sea in clear violation ofinternational law. 

China has updated its famous “nine-dash map,” which depicts itssovereignty over the entire South China Sea with a newmap that signals China’s treatment of its territorial claimsas a “core interest,” meaning that any compromise in the SouthChina Sea would be equivalent to giving away a part of mainlandChina. This is consistent with China’s repeated statementsindicating that it will annex the entire South China Sea anddeclare war on anyone that tries to stop them. 

A web site reader recently wrote the following: 

Mr. Xenakis, you sir are very good in your craft. Imay not have heard or read about most of the internationalincidents here in your column, but your articulation about China’sstrong-armed annexation of a string of islets and shoals belongingto the Philippines is a fact I can definitely affirm myself. Proofis that one of these shoals, Panatag shoal and the seassurrounding it, has been a common fishing ground of my ancestorseven before WW2. Now this area is surrounded by hundreds of largeChinese fishing trawlers, sucking everything from a grain-sizedshrimp to giant, 10-pounder oysters. And these illegal fishermenare escorted by a numbers of Chinese coast guard ships armed withcal. 50 machine guns and powerful water cannons, used tointimidate and deter us Filipino fish folks from ourlivelihood.

China’s relations with its neighbors continue to deteriorate, bringingincreasing criticism. Diplomatic relations with Vietnam and thePhilippines have become increasingly hostile, and the two countriesare forming an alliance with Japan against China. Even Singapore,which has always been very cautious about China, is now speaking out,decrying China’s militaristic approach. Reuters and Lowy Interpreter

In face of China’s increased aggression, Japan reinterprets its constitution

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has won his battle to partiallyabandon his country’s self-defense only military policy bygetting his cabinet to approve a reinterpretation of Article 9of the Constitution, the clause that permits military activityonly for self-defense. 

The change reinterprets the clause to allow Japan to use militaryaction to come to the aid of an ally under military attack.According to Abe: 

We will not resort to the use of force (solely) withthe aim of defending other countries. By being fully prepared todeal with any situation, Japan can foil any attempt to wage waragainst Japan.

According to the reinterpretation of the self-defense clause, Japanwill use only the minimum force necessary, and only when the attack onthe ally poses a clear danger to Japan. Japan Times

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko,Russia, Vladimir Putin, Syria, Bashar al-Assad,China, South China Sea, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore,Japan, Shinzo Abe 

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