Ukraine gives rebels deadline to disarm or face military operation
By Conor Humphries and Thomas Grove
KIEV/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine has given pro-Russian separatists a Monday morning deadline to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" by its armed forces, raising the risk of a military confrontation with Moscow.
Angered by the death of a state security officer and the wounding of two comrades near the flashpoint eastern city of Slaviansk, acting president Oleksander Turchinov gave rebels occupying state buildings until 0600 GMT to lay down their weapons.
"The National Security and Defence Council has decided to launch a full-scale anti-terrorist operation involving the armed forces of Ukraine," Turchinov said in an address to the nation.
He blamed Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region when Moscow-backed former president Viktor Yanukovich fled after months of pro-Western protests, for being behind the rash of rebellions across Russian-speaking towns in eastern Ukraine.
"We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine," Turchinov said.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
In case you have not been watching China vs. Japan.
Japan’s scrambles against Chinese planes hit record high
April 9, 2014 7:15 AM
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese fighter jet scrambles against Chinese planes hit a record high in the year that ended in March, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, as Sino-Japanese ties were strained by disputes over territory and interpretations of history.
Japan scrambled combat planes against Chinese aircraft 415 times during the year, up 36 percent from a year earlier. It was the highest number since the ministry started disclosing country-specific figures in 2001.
Relations have been plagued by China’s memories of Japan’s occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two and conflicting claims over a group of tiny East China Sea islets.
Tensions mounted further after China in November declared an air defense identification zone covering a large swathe of the East China Sea, including the disputed isles, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit in December to Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression.
"As for China, we understand they are keeping up vigorous activities," Akira Asai, public affairs director of the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff, told a briefing.
Over the past year, Chinese fighter jets and other planes appear to have expanded their range of activities, Asai said.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Strange, global economic recovery?
Europe’s top banks cut 80,000 more staff in post-crisis overhaul
By Laura Noonan and Joshua Franklin
Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:39am EDT
(Reuters) – Europe’s largest banks cut their staff by another 3.5 percent last year and the prospect of a return to pre-crisis employment levels seems far off, despite the region’s fledgling economic recovery.
Spurred into action by falling revenue, mounting losses and the need to convince regulators they are no longer "too big to fail", banks across the globe have shrunk radically since the 2008 collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers sparked the financial crisis.
Last year, the tide of bad news began to turn for European banks, which are among the region’s largest employers.
Helped by recovering economies and receding fears for the euro zone’s future, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index .SX7P rose 19 percent, outpacing the 17.4 percent increase in multi-sector stocks.
But despite the improved outlook, Europe’s 30 largest banks by market value cut staff by 80,000 in 2013, calculations by Reuters based on their year-end statements showed.
UN Security Council meeting called by Moscow convenes soon
DEBKAfile April 13, 2014, 11:23 PM (IDT)
Russia has called an urgent UN Security Council meeting to protest the Ukrainian government’s plan to use armed forces in eastern Ukraine. Acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a TV address Sunday night that he would not allow a repetition of Crimea’s annexation by Russia last month after a referendum. In the last 48 hours, pro-Russian forces seized government and police buildings in half a dozen East Ukraine cities and demanded referendums to determine their future. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman accused Ukraine of "waging war against its own people".
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
It is nothing but automated front running and manipulation.
CME Gave High-Frequency Traders Peek at Market, Lawsuit Claims
By Matthew Leising and Andrew Harris
April 13, 2014 4:22 PM EDT
CME Group Inc. (CME), owner of the world’s largest futures market, was sued by users who allege the company sold order information to high-frequency traders ahead of other market participants.
The Chicago-based company, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, offers futures based on interest rates, equity indexes, currencies, energy products and agricultural commodities. The plaintiffs, in their complaint against CME and CBOT, allege “a fraud on the marketplace” and seek class-action status on behalf of exchange users. CME denied their accusations in a statement.
Sometime after the start of 2007, the CBOT and CME began letting HFTs peek “at all orders to buy and sell futures contracts before they were reflected” to the rest of the market, according to the complaint filed April 11 in federal court in Chicago. That glimpse occurred “before the person or entity entering the buy or sell order received confirmation that their order was received — in other words before anyone other than the HFTs were privy to this information.”
The debate over whether lightning-fast trading gives some investors an unfair advantage reignited this year amid government probes and the March 31 publication of “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis. While those examinations have focused mostly on U.S. equity markets — such as dark pools run by banks and exchanges owned by companies including Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc., and Bats Global Markets Inc. — high-frequency traders also are active in futures markets.
Ukraine warns of ‘large-scale operation’ against pro-Russian forces after clashes
President sets deadline for pro-Russia militiamen to lay down arms as minister says state security officer killed in Slaviansk
Alec Luhn in Slaviansk and Ian Black
theguardian.com, Sunday 13 April 2014 14.56 EDT
Ukraine is to launch a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" to resist pro-Russian forces, the country’s president warned on Sunday following a shootout that claimed one victim in the eastern city of Slaviansk. The threat came after gunmen seized control of government buildings and fuelled international alarm about the escalating crisis.
Events on the ground suggested that the authorities in Kiev – anticipating a repeat of the Russian takeover of Crimea – were rapidly losing control of the situation, while Moscow, which denies any direct involvement in Ukraine, warned of the danger of civil war.
Armed men, widely believed to include Russian commandos, took over buildings in Slaviansk on Saturday and targeted four other cities. Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said a state security officer had been killed and five others wounded. There had been an "unidentifiable number" of casualties on the side of the separatists, Avakov said.
Moscow accuses Kiev of issuing ‘criminal orders’ and warns of civil war
Russia orchestrating latest violence in east Ukraine and is staging another Crimea-syle intervention, claims US and Nato
Paul Lewis in Washington and Alec Luhn in Slaviansk
The Guardian, Sunday 13 April 2014 15.35 EDT
The crisis in Ukraine escalated dramatically on Sunday night as Russia accused Kiev of issuing a "criminal order" against protesters and warned of a civil war in the country, which has been hit by a wave of unrest that America believes has been orchestrated from Moscow.
The Russian statement came after unknown armed men attacked a convoy of Ukrainian troops in Slaviansk, about 100 miles from the border, launching the first gun battle in Ukraine since the standoff began, in which at least one person was killed. Both the US and Nato accused Russia of staging another Crimea-style intervention, with Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, saying events were following the same pattern as in Crimea, where unidentified military forces took over government installations before the peninsula was in effect annexed last month.
"[The unrest] is professional, it’s co-ordinated, there is nothing grassroots-seeming about it," Power said. "The forces are doing, in each of the six or seven cities they’ve been active in, exactly the same thing. Certainly it bears the telltale signs of Moscow’s involvement," she told ABC’s This Week.
Ukraine Tension Turns Deadly as Russia Seeks UN Meeting
By Volodymyr Verbyany, Kateryna Choursina and Vladimir Kuznetsov Apr 13, 2014 6:04 PM ET
Russia sought an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after Ukrainian security forces clashed with pro-Russian gunmen in the eastern town of Slovyansk in the latest escalation in the crisis.
The Security Council session was scheduled for 8 p.m. in New York as the U.S. and Ukrainian officials accused Russia of being behind the violence.
Camouflaged gunmen fired on units deployed by the government in Kiev in an anti-terror operation near Slovyansk, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from the Russian frontier, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said today on Facebook. One serviceman was killed and five were wounded, with an unknown number of casualties on the separatist side, he said.
The confrontation followed the takeover of a regional police station in Donetsk and gun battles in which police stopped separatists from seizing buildings in other towns.
Ukrainian officers “spilled blood today in a war that is being carried out by the Russian Federation,” Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said yesterday in statement on his website. “The aggressor has not stopped and continues to organize unrest in the east.”
High-Frequency Traders Set for Curbs as EU Reins In Flash Boys
By Jim Brunsden Apr 13, 2014 6:00 PM ET
European Union lawmakers are poised to approve some of the toughest restrictions in the world on high-frequency trading, the first crackdown in the aftermath of Michael Lewis’s latest book, “Flash Boys.”
The curbs are part of revamped EU markets legislation spanning from commodity derivative speculation to investor protection. The high-frequency trading limits include standards meant to keep the price increment for securities from being too small, mandatory tests of trading algorithms and requirements that market makers provide liquidity for a set number of hours each day.
“With these rules the EU is putting in place one of the strictest set of regulations for high-frequency trading in the world,” EU financial services chief Michel Barnier said in an e-mail. “While HFT trading might bring some benefits, we need to make sure that it doesn’t cause instability, and isn’t a source of market abuse. That’s what these rules set out to achieve.”
High-frequency trading in stocks grabbed the headlines after the plunge known as the flash crash in May 2010, during which the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly lost almost 1,000 points. Controversy returned with the publication of Lewis’s book on March 31. Lewis argues that the $22 trillion U.S. stock market is rigged in favor of speed traders, who he says prey on slower investors by getting faster access to information.
US corn exports to China drop 85 percent after ban on GMO strains – industry report
Published time: April 12, 2014 12:11
China’s rejection of shipments of US corn containing traces of unapproved genetically modified maize has caused a significant drop in exports. According to a new report, US traders have lost $427 million in sales.
Overall, China has barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since last year, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), an American industry association, said Friday.
The tally is based on data from export companies and is significantly higher than the previous numbers reported by the media, which said roughly 900,000 tons were affected. US corn exports to China since January are down 85 percent from the same period last year, the report says.
China has been blocking shipments of American corn from its market since November. This was caused by the presence of the MIR162 genetically modified corn strain in the shipments. It was developed by the company Syngenta and has not been approved by the Chinese government since an application was submitted in March 2010.
China has sharply increased corn imports since the late 2000s, with purchases increasing from 47,000 tons in 2008 to an estimated 5 million tons last year. It was the third-largest importer of American corn before the imports of Syngenta’s GMO strain were blocked.
Risk of ‘gas war’ grows as Ukraine halts payments to Russia
By Pavel Polityuk and Conor Humphries
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine said on Saturday it was suspending payments to Russia for deliveries of gas, ratcheting up the tension in a standoff that has the potential to leave European Union states cut off from the Russian gas supplies on which they depend.
In eastern Ukraine, where groups of pro-Russian activists have been emboldened by the Kremlin’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, a band of armed men in mismatched camouflage outfits seized a police station in the town of Slaviansk.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in confrontation since protests in Kiev forced the Moscow-backed president from office, and the Kremlin sent troops into Crimea. Now, the gas dispute threatens to spread the impact across Europe.
A large proportion of the natural gas which EU states buy from Russia is pumped via Ukrainian territory, so if Russia makes good on a threat to cut off Ukraine for non-payment of its bills, customers further west will have supplies disrupted.
Andriy Kobolev, chief executive of Ukraine’s state-run energy company Naftogaz, said the increased price Russia was demanding for its gas was unjustified and unacceptable.
"Accordingly, we have suspended payments for the period of the price negotiations," Kobolev was quoted as saying in an interview with Ukraine’s Zerkalo Nedely newspaper.
Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts
By Marc Fisher, Published: April 10
A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.
When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.
Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.
The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.
U.S. import prices rise on surge in food costs
WASHINGTON Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:35am EDT
(Reuters) – U.S. import prices rose more than expected in March as food prices recorded their largest increase in three years, but there was little sign of a broader pickup in imported inflation.
The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices increased 0.6 percent last month after an unrevised 0.9 percent rise in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.2 percent in March.
In the 12 months through March, import prices fell 0.6 percent, pointing to still weak imported inflation that is helping to keep a lid on domestic price pressures.
The lack of inflation pressures in the economy suggest the Federal Reserve could keep monetary policy very accommodative for a while even as labor market slack starts to ease.
The U.S. central bank slashed overnight interest rates to a record low of zero to 0.25 percent in December 2008 and pledged to keep them low while nursing the economy back to health.
The Fed is reducing the amount of money it is pumping into the economy each month. The minutes of its March 18-19 policy meeting published on Wednesday suggested the Fed was not eager to start raising rates when its bond-buying program ends later this year.
G20 gives U.S. year-end deadline for IMF reforms
By Louise Egan and Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:52pm EDT
(Reuters) – Finance chiefs from around the globe on Friday gave the United States until year-end to ratify long-delayed reforms to the International Monetary Fund and threatened to move forward without it if it fails to do so.
The inability to proceed with giving emerging markets a more powerful voice at the IMF and shoring up the lender’s resources appeared the most contentious issue for officials from the Group of 20 leading economies and the representatives for all IMF member nations who met with them.
In a final communiqué, G20 finance ministers and central bankers said they were "deeply disappointed" with the delay.
"I take this opportunity to urge the United States to implement these reforms as a matter of urgency," Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey told reporters on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings.
The reforms would double the Fund’s resources and hand more IMF voting power to countries like the so-called BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The U.S. Congress has refused to sign off on the overhaul, which was agreed to in 2010, and the failure overshadowed even the crisis in Ukraine and the spillover effects of ultra easy monetary policies in advanced economies in the discussions.
Some Republicans have complained the changes would cost too much at a time Washington was running big budget deficits. The reforms also ran afoul of a growing isolationist trend among the party’s influential Tea Party wing.
Ukraine’s Slavyansk under siege as Kiev orders crackdown on protests
Published time: April 13, 2014 06:17
Edited time: April 13, 2014 08:09
There are reports from the scene of a gunfight in the city of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine, where anti-government protesters seized several buildings. It comes after Kiev announced an “anti-terrorist operation” against the protesters.
Helicopters are flying over the defiant city in the Donetsk region. The aircraft are Ukrainian, judging by two white markings on their tails painted on all Ukrainian military hardware to distinguish them from Russian ones of the same design. Armored infantry vehicles have been also spotted near the city.
Local residents said several transport helicopters landed at an old airfield some 5 kilometers from the town center. Troops wearing black uniforms disembarked and went toward Slavyansk.
The shooting reportedly started at a checkpoint, which was established by protesters Saturday evening on the outskirts of the city.
At least three people, including one civilian, have been injured in the fighting and have been taken to the local hospital, some reports claim.
Approaches to the city have been blocked by uniformed troops besieging the city, RIA Novosti reported. Local bus services from the city have been canceled due to the blockade, Itar-Tass reported.
Ukraine officer killed in gun battle in east
By PETER LEONARD
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia in an eastern city Sunday, with at least one security officer killed and five others wounded. It was the first reported gunbattle in eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia men have seized a number of government buildings in recent days.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post that a Security Service officer was killed in Slovyansk, where the police station and the Security Service office were seized a day earlier by camouflaged armed men. He also reported a number of casualties among the militia, but did not offer a number.
An Associated Press reporter found a bullet-ridden SUV on the side of the road and a pool of blood on the passenger seat where the gunbattle was supposed to have taken place.
Vladimir Kolodchenko, a lawmaker from the area who witnessed the attack, said a car with four gunmen pulled up on the road in a wooden area outside Slovyansk and open fire on Ukrainian soldiers who were standing beside their vehicles. Both attackers and the Ukrainian servicemen left soon after the shooting.
Unrest has spread to several municipalities in eastern Ukraine, including the major industrial city of Donetsk, which has a large Russian-speaking population.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
According to this Max Keiser report 40 central banks are starting to stock up on the petro yuan.
US ponders military exercises in Baltics in bid to reassure Russia’s neighbours
Joe Biden says US exploring sending ground troops to Baltic region to try to prevent further territorial aggression by Russia
Dan Roberts in Washington
theguardian.com, Tuesday 18 March 2014 14.43 EDT
The US is considering sending ground troops to the Baltic states on new military exercises as it seeks to reassure Nato allies in eastern Europe of its commitment to preventing further territorial incursion by Russia.
Vice president Joe Biden spoke of the plan during a meeting with the Estonian president Toomas Ilves after calls for a tougher US response to Russia’s attempted annexation of the Crimea.
It follows a Pentagon announcement of extra US F-15 jets to join Nato patrols in Poland and the Baltic on March 5, and recent requests by the Ukrainian government for possible US military assistance outside the Nato area.
“We are exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military co-operation, including rotating US forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises – as well as training missions,” said Biden.
President Ilves called on Nato to put “the east-west relationship on a new standing” after events in the Ukraine.
Separatist violence spreads to three more East Ukraine towns
DEBKAfile April 12, 2014, 10:14 PM (IDT)
Firing is reported in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region of E. Ukraine Saturday night when men tried to storm local administration buildings and police fired back. In Sloviensk, separatists occupied a police station and security buildings, while in Druzhkovna, buildings were also taken over. A Donetsk police chief quit after pro-Russian crowds marked on a police station demanding his resignation.
Friday, the Ukraine prime minister offered to grant sweeping autonomous powers to restive regions.
Ukraine’s far-right leader calls for Right Sector’s total mobilization
Published time: April 12, 2014 19:22
Edited time: April 13, 2014 10:34
Far-right Right Sector party leader Dmitry Yarosh has called his supporters to mobilize and get ready to take decisive steps to ‘defend Ukraine’s sovereignty’. He urged the security forces not to interfere but help the nationalists restore ‘legal order’.
In an online video on the Right Sector Youtube page Yarosh “commanded all arms of the Right Sector to fully mobilize and get ready to take decisive steps to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“I call upon the Ukrainian security forces not only to refrain from counteracting the Right Sector, but also help [the party members] to bring legal order to the Ukrainian land,” he said.
On Monday radical activists representing the Right Sector attempted to storm Kiev’s Supreme Court building, demanding the adoption of lustration legislation, which implies that people connected to the former regime may not hold office in the new authority.
Ukraine prepares armed response as city seized by pro-Russia forces
By Pavel Polityuk and Thomas Grove
KIEV/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Armed separatists took control of a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Kiev prepared troops to tackle what it called an "act of aggression by Russia", pushing the conflict between the neighbors into a dangerous new phase.
Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slaviansk, a town about 150 km (90 miles) from the Russian border, and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city.
In Kramatorsk, some 80 km to the north, gunmen seized the police station after a shootout with police, a Reuters witness said.
Government buildings in several other towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions were attacked in what Washington said were moves reminiscent of the events that preceded Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
"We are very concerned by the concerted campaign we see under way in eastern Ukraine today by pro-Russian separatists, apparently with support from Russia," said Laura Lucas Magnuson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
Russia says armed action by Ukraine would threaten peace talks
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia warned the United States on Saturday that any armed action by Ukrainian authorities in the east of Ukraine would undermine efforts at a diplomatic solution to the conflict and put planned peace talks at risk.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the warning during a call from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who expressed concern about Russia’s role in "inciting" trouble in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Separatists have seized state premises in eastern Ukrainian towns in recent days.
Lavrov said Ukraine was "demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country".
He said that any use of force against Russian speakers in the east of Ukraine "would undermine the potential for cooperation … including the holding of planned four-party talks in Geneva" on April 17 between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.
Biden to visit Kiev to show U.S. support for Ukraine unity: White House
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Kiev on April 22 to meet with government officials and civil society groups ahead of the Ukrainian presidential election in May, the White House said on Saturday.
"The vice president will underscore the United States’ strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path," the White House said in a statement.
Paul Craig Roberts – Why This Collapse Will Be So Horrific
Today former US Treasury official, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, spoke with King World News about why the coming collapse will be so horrific. Dr. Roberts also warned about the lies and corruption which are now engulfing the U.S., as well as how this is beginning to impact the way other countries around the world view Washington. Below is what Dr. Roberts had to say in this powerful interview.
Eric King: “When you say 2014 will be the year of reckoning for the United States, how bad will it get here, in your opinion?”
Dr. Roberts: “It could get very bad, particularly as American prestige has taken such hard hits — not just in Ukraine, but also with the announcement by the retiring prosecuting attorney of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He announced that his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other mega-banks had been squelched by the political people at the top of the SEC because ‘they were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing cases.’….
Armed pro-Russian protesters seize city in eastern Ukraine
US announces Joe Biden will visit Kiev as unrest spreads, adding to fears that conflict could disrupt energy supplies across Europe
Reuters in Kiev and Slavyansk, Ukraine
theguardian.com, Saturday 12 April 2014 21.12 EDT
Armed separatists took control of a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Kiev prepared troops to tackle what it called an "act of aggression by Russia", pushing the conflict between the neighbours into a dangerous new phase.
Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slavyansk, a town about 90 miles from the Russian border, and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city.
Meanwhile, the White House announced that vice president Joe Biden would travel to Kiev on 22 April to show support for the Ukrainian government. He will become the most senior US official to visit the country since the crisis began.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, spoke by telephone to Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, according to the state department. An official said: "[Kerry] expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronised, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.