With Ukraine shelling having killed 52 civilians in the city of Horlikva (Donetsk region) over the last two weeks alone, Russia is growing increasingly vocal of the need for a humanitarian cease-fire (notably with Germany also "concerned about the humanitarian situation" in Ukraine). However, as AP reports, fighting raged once again today as Ukrainian forces killed 1 and injured 10 in Donetsk, ignoring calls for a cease-fire. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said the only way for the rebels in Donetsk to save their lives would be to "lay down their arms and give up." Meanwhile, just as we warned, the mainstream media is starting to pick up on the 'other' border dispute that Russia is involved in as Putin mediates talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
*UKRAINE SHELLING KILLS 52 CIVILIANS IN HORLIVKA OVER 2 WKS: RIA
Death toll include 9 children in city in Donetsk region, state-run Russian news service RIA Novosti reports, citing Horlivka’s health department.
71 people hospitalized between July 27 and Aug. 10, according to RIA
Russia is in talks with Ukraine, UN humanitarian organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross on urgent relief supplies to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We have given priority in our talks with Ukraine, with the International Committee for the Red Cross and with UN humanitarian organizations to the necessity to dispatch relief aid to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions without delay," Lavrov told reporters in Sochi on Sunday.
There is neither power, nor water in Luhansk, where hospitals have no essential medicines at their disposal, Lavrov said.
"All this is a sign of the most acute humanitarian situation. I discussed it over the past two days with the Ukrainian foreign minister, the U.S. secretary of state, the British secretary of state for foreign affairs, the leader of the International Committee of the Red Cross and with other colleagues," the Russian foreign minister said.
"This issue is urgent and cannot be delayed, and it is under the Russian president's control. I am convinced we will manage to reach agreement on relief supplies shortly," Lavrov said.
Ukraine 'agreed' on their terms...
Poroshenko issued a statement late Saturday saying that Ukraine was prepared to accept humanitarian assistance in eastern Ukraine. But he said the aid must come in without military assistance, pass through border checkpoints under Ukrainian control and be an international mission.
Poroshenko said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed German participation in such a mission.
But fighting continues and the chance of agreement seems slim...
Fighting raged Sunday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk despite a request from the pro-Russian rebels for a cease-fire to prevent a "humanitarian catastrophe." Ukrainian officials demanded that the insurgents surrender instead.
In a press conference in Kiev, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said the only way for the rebels in Donetsk to save their lives would be to "lay down their arms and give up." He said the Ukrainian side hadn't seen the rebels show any real willingness to cooperate.
"If white flags come up and they lay down their arms, nobody is going to shoot at them," he said. "(But) we have not seen any practical steps yet, just a statement."
The situation is deteriorating and doubts are rising...
"This is a real war! It's impossible to live in this city, I've been sleeping in the basement for the past week," said Inna Drobyshevskaya, a 48-year-old lawyer in Donetsk.
"We don't want Novorossiya (New Russia) for this price," she added, referring to a term used by rebels to describe the parts of eastern Ukraine seeking independence from the government in Kiev.
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Does any of this really sound like de-escalation? It hardly seems like Putin will just bow out and let this happen to 'his' people...