Putin Warns U.S. Spat Over Ukraine Threatens Global Stability

Russian President Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin warned Washington that a spat between nuclear powers over the Ukraine crisis could threaten global stability and said in remarks published on Wednesday that Russia would not be “blackmailed” by sanctions.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine

Russian "rebels" fire conduct peaceful mortar fire to celebrate the success of the Russian-brokered ceasefire. (AP)

At least 331 people have died since the signing of a “truce” between Ukraine and the Russian-backed militants waging war in the eastern part of the country. The United Nations says fighting has continued “on an almost daily basis.” The airport in Donetsk, a crucial transportation hub, has been flattened by shelling. According to the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, at least 3,000 Russian troops remain in the country.

Russian-Backed Rebels Launch Assault on Donetsk Airport

Pro-Russian rebels fire mortars toward Ukrainian position near to the airport in the town of Donetsk / AP

The ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in the country’s east has all but collapsed as the separatists continue to launch attacks on the crucial Donetsk airport, according to reports.

The Russian-backed separatists are reportedly firing artillery at the airport grounds that are controlled by Ukrainian government troops. Five government soldiers and some rebels died in the fighting, according to Ukraine’s Defense Council, and there were additional reports of civilian casualties on Wednesday.

Death Rate 10 a Day in East Ukraine Despite Ceasefire

Smoke rises near the damaged main terminal of the Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport during fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 4

GENEVA (Reuters) – The conflict in eastern Ukraine is still claiming about 10 lives a day among government troops, pro-Russian separatists and civilians despite a ceasefire agreed in early September, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The Ceasefire in Ukraine is Being Ignored by Moscow

Ukraine

As exercises in cognitive dissonance go, it’s hard to beat the first sentence of this Washington Post report on events in Ukraine:

Fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday despite a fragile cease-fire, as pro-Russian rebels appeared to be close to capturing the strategically important Donetsk airport.

This ceasefire appears to be fragile in the sense that a piece of china you have just shattered is fragile.

In the Post’s defense, at least some of the parties to the truce still speak as though it is still in effect. The Ukrainian government, perhaps fearing the military consequences of a complete breakdown and hoping to buy some time, is “reluctant” to declare the agreement over, according to the Post.