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Russian paratroopers were captured while having attempted to enter the Ukrainian territory disguised as rebels for a « special mission ». They had attempted to penetrate the Ukrainian territory at its extreme South-East, in Novoazovsk, with 10 tanks and two armoured infantry vehicles, and were halted by border guards. Vladimir Putin actually appeared to recognise the incursion, saying that the soldiers were simply « patrolling the border and [that they] may have found themselves on the Ukrainian territory » ; he declared « I hope in this case there won't be any problems with the Ukrainian side ».

The men have been shown in the Facebook page of the Ukrainian government's « anti-terrorist operation » in camouflage fatigues. According to the Ukrainian Defence Minister ValeriyHeletey, « officially they are on military exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality they are involved in military aggression against Ukraine ». The Ukrainian military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, says « there was an attempt by the Russian military in the guise of Donbass fighters to open a new area of military confrontation in the southern Donetsk region ».

A soldier who identified himself as Ivan Milchakov said « I did no see where we crossed the border. They just told us we were going on a 70 km march over three days ». Michalkov suggested nothing is « like [the Russian media] show it on television » and that soldiers are used by their hierarchy as « cannon fodder ». Another man, Sergeant AlekseiGeneralov, said « this is not our war », and that he was not interested by the separatists' cause.

Apparently, the Ukrainian government had not placed enough soldiers in the region, as it is concentrated on its assaults in Donetsk and Luhansk. This must be the reason why the Russian military attempted to open this new area of confrontation.

There was no sign of progress during the meeting between Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin in Minsk on Tuesday 26 August. Petro Poroshenko has promised to work on an urgent bilateral ceasefire plan, in order to defuse the conflict. Vladimir Putin, however, says of any ceasefire plan that « this is not our business » but « Ukraine's business ». He keeps on insisting that Russia is not a party to the conflict. The one-to-one talks have lasted for two hours and have been described by Poroshenko as « very tough and complex ». They were preceded by six hours of wider negotiations with top EU officials and the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Putin said the conflict « could not be solved by further escalation of the military scenario without taking into account the vital interests of the south-east of the country and without a peaceful dialogue of its representatives », according to AP.

Russia stills wants to retain some sort of leverage over the South- East of the country. He fears Ukrainian membership of NATO and wants to defend the economic interest of the inhabitants of the South-East, which would be most hurt by the signature of the free-trade agreement with the European Union, along with the Russian economy. He also wants Ukraine to federalise. Petro Poroshenko has resisted the idea.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has just dissolved the Ukrainian Parliament, is said to be willing to capitalize on military successes in the East to secure a significant political majority during the vote on October 26. But this strategy may augur an even heavier toll for civilians and soldiers in the region. See also our last article on the issue :http://www.eiilir.eu/politics-strategies/europe/ukraine/146-petro-poroshenko-and-vladimir-putin-starting-talks-in-minsk-summit

In Gaza, Israel is seeking the political, as well as military, emasculation of Hamas through the widespread destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure and economy. This is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine,” named after a suburb of Beirut that was almost leveled during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in summer 2006. The doctrine was encapsulated in a phrase used by Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff, at the time. He said Lebanon’s bombardment would “turn back the clock 20 years”. The same strategy was also applied for instance during the 2008-2009 war which made 1100 casualties in Gaza, during the 2012 “Pillar of Defense” war, and it is again being applied now.

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