World Press review on the situation in Ukraine, the possibility of new sanctions against Russia and preparations for the celebration of Victory Day (23 February 2015)
The US edition of the Washington Post published an article on the crisis in Ukraine entitled 'Is Mariupol the next target of the rebels’ advance in Ukraine?'. The article begins with a report that last week, when Debaltseve was given away to the rebels, in Mariupol, in turn, a panic began. "Actually, for several months Mariupol has been preparing for the invasion of the separatists. All roads leading into the city are equipped with roadblocks and checkpoints. Bridges leading to the city from East to West are mined: they are ready to be exploded at the first sign of an attack by pro-Russian forces. In several areas of the city the authorities are testing air raid sirens," the article reports. The city administration is trying to prevent panic, either denying the threat, or assuring that local forces will not allow Mariupol to turn into a new Debaltseve. Nevertheless, Peter Hook, the head of reinforcements for the "Azov" battalion in Mariupol, said that the battalion is preparing for possible street fighting in Mariupol. At the same time, the chairman of the Council of Europe, Donald Tusk, said on Friday that the EU will discuss the "next steps" against Russia and the rebels."But as long as such actions are limited to economic and diplomatic sanctions, Kiev asks for weapons," the article says.
Reporting on the same topic, yhe New York Times publishes an article entitled 'Kerry Raises Prospect of More Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine'.About a week after the armistice in Ukraine was due to come into force, the US Secretary of State John Kerry met with his British counterpart to discuss additional sanctions due to the phenomenon that, according to him, is 'an impudent violation of the agreement by Russia,' the New York Times article reads. “We know to a certainty what Russia has been providing to the separatists,” Mr. Kerry said at the start of a meeting with Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary. “We’re not going to sit there and be part of this kind of extraordinarily craven behavior at the expense of the sovereignty and integrity of a nation,” the article quotes Kerry. Last week, the State Department claimed that Russia has not only supplied weapons to the separatists, but also used its own forces in the artillery and rocket bombardment of Debaltseve, the article notes. Kerry repeated these concerns on Saturday, recalling Russia's involvement in territorial conquests. "The Obama administration has been weighing whether to send defensive weapons to Ukraine. Proponents have argued that sending weapons to the Ukrainians would dissuade the Russians and the pro-Russian separatists from trying to take more territory," the article reports.
The Financial Times reported on the situation around the preparations for Victory Day in Russia in an article titled "Russia is being mobilized so that the military songs sounded for the Victory Day." Russian mobile operators are offering free download of ringtones on the themes of military songs. The action "Hurray to the Victory!", supported by the government, is beginning at a time when Russia is reaching the final straightway of the campaign to commemorate the end of World War II," reports the Financial Times. This year, the theme of war is something omnipresent. Since March last year more than 100 events have been organized. State sponsored movies, presentations, books and TV shows on military themes are distributed across the country. The action to download war-themed songs starts today, on February 23, when Russia celebrates the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland. But it was in late February last year that Russians in Crimea began to protest for a change of government in Kiev. At the same time, many European countries are using the anniversary of the end of World War II to call for reconciliation and to end any conflicts. "Russia under Putin is willing to use the anniversary to highlight the role of the Red Army in defeating Nazi Germany and to support the national myth of the power of Russia," the article reports.