Kiev Assault on Eastern Ukraine Continues as Putin Pushes OSCE Effort
July 4, 2014 • 10:42AM

After the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met late Wednesday in Berlin, it was agreed that a ceasefire should be reinstated but that this would require the activation of the OSCE contact group. So, while there is still no ceasefire, and the Kiev forces continue to conduct brutal bombing of the Luhanks and Donatz regions of eastern Ukraine, causing further refugee flight across the border into Russia, there was a commitment made that the contact group would convene by no later than Saturday, July 5.

Thursday morning, Putin, Merkel, and Hollande held another conference call, in which the three agreed on the urgency of OSCE action and it was agreed that Putin would mediate between the independence forces in the southeast of Ukraine and the government in Kiev. It remains the understanding that the OSCE is the only venue for both ceasefire arrangements and for the resumption of direct talks by the contending forces inside Ukraine.

Poroshenko spoke with US VP Joe Biden Thursday and laid out his own pre-conditions for resuming the ceasefire: that the ceasefire is bilateral, that all prisoners be freed, and that the OSCE establish controls over the Russia-Ukraine border. Of course, President Putin has been pushing all along to have Ukrainian and OSCE observers on the Russian side of the border so that they can clearly see that there are no flows of Russian weapons or personnel into eastern Ukraine, but that there are floods of refugees from the bombings and National Guard shelling of cities and towns in the east, crossing the borders into Russia. To bolster the point, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out new data on the number of civilian casualties and the refugee flows over the past 48 hours.

Russia Says 2,700 Victims of Crimes by the Kiev Regime

The Russian Investigative Committee that is looking into crimes committed by the coup regime in Kiev against the population of southeastern Ukraine, reported, Wednesday, that it has identified 2,700 victims in the criminal cases that it has opened so far. The committee has opened cases against Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Dnipropetrovsk Region Governor Ihor Kolomoyskyi and has charged them with "organizing murders and abductions, using banned means and methods of warfare, and preventing legal journalistic activities," reports RIA Novosti.

"More than 4,000 individuals have been questioned and 2,700 have been recognized as victims. Their testimonies confirm the investigators' theory in the participation of Kolomoyskyi, Avakov, [Aidar Battalion Commander Serhiy] Melnichuk, as well as Ukrainian military personnel, the armed members of Ukraine's National Guard, and [members] of the Right Sector in the aforementioned crimes," committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement.