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Ukrainian crisis talks in Berlin : progress made but no ceasefire

An emergency summit was held on Sunday August 17th between Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in Berlin. It was the second round of talks over the Ukrainian crisis after the last summit that was held on April 17th in Geneva. Although progress emerged about the Russian humanitarian convoy’s entry on Ukrainian territory, Sergei Lavrov, Pavel Klimkin, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Laurent Fabius did not reach any agreement concerning an exit from the current crisis between the two countries.

Situation in Ukraine worsens as Russian convoy moves towards frontier

The crisis in Ukraine has entered its sixth month in August. From a national opposition between Ukrainian supporters of the country’s integration to the EU’s Eastern Partnership and followers of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, the crisis has gradually moved into a international political deadlock between Western states and Russia. While diplomatic sanctions escalate from both sides, the number of civilian casualties has increased dramatically in the last weeks. The convoy sent yesterday from Russia to Ukraine, officially to answer the current humanitarian crisis in the region, is suspected by the West of hiding an aggression. At the same time, the Parliament in Kiev drafted a law aiming at censoring media coverage on August 12th, sharpening the communication war between both parts.

Ukraine ruling coalition collapses after Communist Party is banned.

Two Ukrainian parties left the majority coalition in Parliament today. The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda declared they would leave Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government in order to call for new elections and clear what the leader of Svoboda called “Moscow agents” in the chamber. The news could put an end to dissolution of the Ukrainian Communist Party that was agreed on by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday 22 July. The decision was contested by the Communist Party which filed a complaint, and declared that it underlines the "lawlessness prevailing" in Ukraine.

UPDATED - Malaysian MH17 crash : anger grows as investigations stagnate

298 people died on Thursday 17 July in the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH 17 passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, in the unstable region of Donetsk in Ukraine. While uncertainties remain as for how the plane was effectively attacked, 272 bodies had already been found this morning and loaded on two refrigerated railroad cars. The tragedy has raised a lot of international reactions and anger as the area was controlled by pro-Russian separatists suspected of launching a missile that hit the plane and later taking evidence away from the crash scene. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the warring parties to ensure an international investigation that can take place in the Donetsk region, while the United Nations Security Council is issuing a resolution.

US-EU impose toughest targeted sanctions on Russia since Ukraine crisis start

The United States and the European Union have increased the level of their sanctions against Russia on Wednesday 16 July. For the first time, they have targeted Russian enterprises specialised in gas and petrol, which maintain close relations to the central power in Moscow. US President Barack Obama underlined that Russia faces economic weakening and diplomatic isolation as a result of politic decisions in Ukraine. The European Union also decided to target the entities that materially and financially support breaches to the Ukrainian sovereignty.

The newest EU-“associates”: Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

Moldova has been increasing its political and economic ties with the European Union since the signature of the Association Agreement on June 27th, alongside Ukraine and Georgia. In comparison to the turmoil created in Ukraine by its rapprochement with the European Union, very little attention has been given to former Soviet nations such as Moldova and Georgia who are involved in a similar move westwards. Nevertheless, European agreements have large implications for these countries.

Poroshenko ends ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine against European and Russian advise.

On the night of July 1st the ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian state was put to an end by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In his address to the nation, he declared that Kiev "will attack and liberate [its] land. Not renewing the ceasefire is [its] response to terrorists, rebels, looters." This statement followed the multiplication of aggressive actions by pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern part of the country. The ceasefire had been effective for ten days, without a clear diminution in the conflict’s intensity and renewed breaches of the truce. Ukrainian Foreign Minister stated on Monday that the ceasefire had led to 27 Ukrainian servicemen being killed and 69 wounded during more than 100 violations of the ceasefire by rebels.

New offensive in Ukraine

In order to reclaim control over the country’s eastern regions, Ukrainian security forces have started a new offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas and Luhansk region. The offensive started on Sunday 1 June as government forces marched on the strategic town of Slavyansk, breaking through several roadside barricades. Separatist forces reacted by besieging a government-controlled border camp near the town of Luhansk on Monday 2 June. Thousands of civilians are on the run to escape the violence

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