ERR in Kyiv: New Front Aimed to Force Ukrainians Behind Negotiation Table (2)
ERR reporter Igor Taro, who is in Ukraine, said the recent offensive in southeast Ukraine, near the town of Mariupol, was used to show Ukrainians the power of Russian military might and force them to the negotiation table.
Taro said Russian President Vladimir Putin's aim is not peace itself, but to force Ukraine to accept his view of the future of eastern Ukraine.
“If Ukraine accepts the format of negotiations offered by the Kremlin it means admitting that the nation currently does not have enough military might to continue to stand against Russian aggression,” said Taro, adding that this might mean Ukrainian government forces could have to hand over control of areas currently under their control, such as Mariupol in the Donets Basin.
He said US President Barack Obama's speech in Tallinn was followed closely by the media in Ukraine. “It definitely received coverage here. Many points, including Obama's words that sending Russian tanks across the border will not help bring peace. It has been emphasized here that he sees Russia at work here, although Russia itself has distanced itself at every possibility, saying it is not a side in the conflict,” Taro said.
Ahead of the NATO Summit in Wales that began today, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he does not believe Russia is interested in a ceasefire, saying they want to continue destabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine, and that NATO will continue to pressure Russia to pull its military forces from border areas and stop supporting armed separatists in Ukraine.
Rasmussen said increasing defense expenditures will be a hot topic in Wales, as security can no longer be taken for granted.