Press Digest: UN convenes after unmarked military column seen near Donetsk

The emergency meeting on Ukraine held by the United Nations Security Council. Source: Reuters

The emergency meeting on Ukraine held by the United Nations Security Council. Source: Reuters

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring a report on the emergency meeting held by the UN Security Council after sightings of what are alleged to be Russian troops near Donetsk, as well as further analysis of the prospects of German Chancellor Angela Merkel being able to lead Russia and the EU toward reconciliation.

Kommersant

The Kommersant daily reports on the emergency meeting on Ukraine held by the United Nations Security Council due to the rising risk of a resumption of hostilities in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Prior to the meeting, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) released a statement warning of an escalation in the conflict. Representatives of the OSCE mission in Ukraine say they saw a convoy of 43 unmarked military trucks, howitzers, and other military equipment near Donetsk.

The Donetsk authorities say the latest military preparations are simply a redeployment of rebel forces; however, according to Kommersant, Commander of NATO’s U.S. European Command, Philip Breedlove, is placing the blame on Moscow. General Breedlove said eight Russian battalions are concentrated on the border with Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry is denying the allegations. Kommersant emphasizes that the extremely tense situation in the conflict zone persists and that the Minsk agreements are for the most part not working.

Whether Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is able to keep the situation under control and prevent full-out war from resuming will largely depend on the balance of power within the new ruling coalition that resulted from the October elections. Despite initial statements that the entities supporting Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk were joining forces, experts are split down the middle as to whether there is a chance for a coalition agreement between the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front. Ukraine might find itself de facto ruled by two authorities, Kommersant reports. 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

“Angela Merkel may reconcile the West and Russia,” reads the headline of an article by Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Several countries in the European Union have doubts as to whether the sanctions are an effective tool for influencing Moscow’s policy, the newspaper reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will soon get the opportunity to discuss the Ukrainian situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 15-16. German experts are convinced that Merkel will have a chance at reconciliation because she is the only leader who is in constant contact with both the White House and the Kremlin, the newspaper writes.

There is still no consensus within the EU regarding the sanctions. The situation is complicated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is seeking even tougher sanctions. Merkel disagrees and has said that the EU is not currently planning further economic measures. She is supported by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who stress the need to continue a dialogue with Russia.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, public opinion might also play an important role in how the situation unfolds. Many Europeans are expecting Berlin to take a greater initiative in finding a way to settle the crisis 

Moskovsky Komsomolets

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper has access to a document that allegedly confirms that a military jet was in the vicinity of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at the time it was shot down. That document – a data snapshot from an air traffic controller radar at the time of the crash – was shown to the publication by the Aviation Safety Consultancy and Analysis Agency. According to the agency’s chief Sergei Melnichenko, the “photo” was taken at an air traffic control center.

“This is a picture of events from the time of the catastrophe plus another 20 minutes after it – from the moment the Boeing signal was lost. In other words, this is not a momentary photo, but a record of movement of aircraft that were in the area after the tragedy. This image is the screen of a radar used in air traffic control. On it you can clearly see that aircraft were seen moving at the time of the catastrophe and after it, north of the Boeing flight’s route. In all likelihood these are military aircraft, because the marks are very close. You can conclude that there are either one or two planes,” Melnichenko explained.

According to Melnichenko, the “unidentified objects” in the area surrounding the Boeing crash are military planes, because special transponder devices, which inform the dispatcher of altitude, speed, and other parameters needed for air traffic control, had been disabled on them.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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