Ukraine Day 873: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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According to the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation [ATO] Facebook page, 17 attacks on Ukrainian positions were recorded.
The most tense situation was around Luganskoye. At around 4:00 am, Russian-backed militants fired on Ukrainian positions with 122-mm artillery and released 60 mortars with 120-mm artillery. Positions in Novoselovka Vtoraya and Svetlodarsk were also shelled; Avdeyevka and the Butovka coal mine were struck by grenade-launchers and large-calliber machine guns.
Along the Mariupol line, grenade-launchers were fired at Ukrainian defenders of Shirokino and Novotroitskoye. A BMP was used in Talakovka and large-caliber machine-guns near Novogrigoryevka. Stanitsa Luganskaya and Novoaleksandrovka were also fired on with grenade-launchers
NATO leaders agreed to provide a comprehensive assistance package to Ukraine to supporthe country’s government in efforts to ensure closer cooperation with the alliance and combat Russia-backed insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
The plan was approved July 9 on the second day of the summit in Warsaw.
The last session of the Warsaw summit was a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, providing the opportunity for alliance leaders to discuss the country’s security situation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
At his last press conference at the summit on July 9, US President Barack Obama said NATO’s assistance package is designed to strengthen the Ukrainian military.
“The trust funds we set up at our last summit are already assisting Ukraine in areas such as cyber defense, logistics and the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers,” Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, said at a joint press conference with Poroshenko.
Stoltenberg said that some of the areas of potential cooperation between NATO and Kiev include countering threats from improvised explosive devices and combating hybrid warfare.
Yet none of this aid came close to providing the kind of precision weapons that Ukraine would like to defend its territory against the Russian-backed forces.
And both NATO leaders and leaders of individual countries reiterated that their purpose was not to antagonize Russia, with which they sought dialogue.
Russia shouldn’t be considered an adversary, but rather a “partner that can, at times, use force,” Francois Hollande said as he arrived at a summit of NATO leaders.
The French president’s remark not only summed up NATO’s complex relationship with its largest and most aggressive neighbor; it also revealed how its 28 leaders are struggling to come up with a unified message to send to Vladimir Putin more than two years after he snatched Crimea from Ukraine.
“Russia is part of the problem, but at the same time it has to be part of the solution,”Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his peers at the summit, according to a transcript emailed by his office.
NATO did not raise the issue of Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO and President Poroshenko did not request it.