20 Jun 14. Ukraine declares ceasefire, claims borders nearly secure. Pro-Russian troops in tanks and armored vehicles head towards Donetsk on Friday, June 20. Ukraine’s new pro-western president called a one-week ceasefire on Friday, hours after security officials claimed they had largely secured the country’s eastern border, cutting off separatists from supplies of arms and rebels from neighbouring Russia.
Petro Poroshenko announced the ceasefire during a surprise first visit to the restive eastern Donbass region as he touted a 14-point peace plan intended to end an increasingly violent conflict with pro-Russian separatists. “Ukraine’s army is ceasing fire,” Mr Poroshenko said while speaking to residents in Sviatohirsk, a town north of the rebel stronghold Slavyansk. But, he warned, “this does not mean that we will not [return fire] if our soldiers face aggression”. According to an interior ministry statement, Ukrainian forces will stop fighting until June 27. “This is being done to allow terrorists to lay down their arms. Those who do not do this will be destroyed,” the statement said.
Ukraine’s security services estimate that 300 rebels have been killed in the past two days near the villages of Yampil and Zakitne – a figure that could not be independently verified – while seven of their own soldiers were lost. Russia criticised the plan. “This is not an invitation to peace and negotiations but an ultimatum to militias in southeastern Ukraine to lay down their arms,” the Kremlin said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies. Meanwhile, the US on Friday issued a detailed accusation that Moscow was massing heavy weapons and troops on the border and Germany warned that it would press for further sanctions against Russia at a meeting this week if it did not de-escalate the situation.
20 Jun 14. New battles as Ukraine says 300 separatists killed in fighting. Kiev Fighting raged for a second successive day in the east of Ukraine on Friday, a day after clashes in which Ukrainian government forces said about 300 separatists were killed. The casualty figures for the pro-Russian separatists could not be independently confirmed though a rebel commander said on Thursday the rebels had sustained “heavy losses” when they were outgunned by government forces backed by heavy armor. The government forces said seven of their own number had been killed in Thursday’s fighting. The new fighting on Friday was about 100 km (60 miles) from the border with Russia. Fighting broke out just east of the town of Krasny Liman early on Thursday after pro-Russian separatists refused to lay down their weapons in line with a peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko, the government forces said.
The government forces have been gradually squeezing rebels in the area though separatists, who rose up against central rule from Kiev following the overthrow of a president sympathetic to Moscow, still control the strategic city of Slaviansk. Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation”, said about 300 separatists had been killed in action around the villages of Yampil and Zakitne which included artillery fire and air attacks. Heavy weapons had been seized from the separatists, including an armored personnel carrier, a truck with a high-caliber machine gun mounted on it, a shoulder-launched missile, grenade launchers and small arms, Seleznyov said on his Facebook page. “Losses to Ukrainian servicemen are seven dead and 30 wounded. Military action is continuing,” Seleznyov said. (Source: Reuters)
22 Jun 14. Elbit Systems Ltd. was awarded a contract, valued at approximately $20m, for the supply of upgraded armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to the Philippines Armed Forces. The upgrade will include 25 mm unmanned turrets, 12.7 mm remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS) and fire control systems (FCS) for 90 mm turrets. The APCs will be supplied over a one-year period. The contract marks a significant break