– Watch As Ukraine Helicopter With 14 Troops On Board Is Shot Down (ZeroHedge, May 29, 2014):
Events in Ukraine may have been moved to the backburner because not only are they not impacting US equities but have somehow managed to push Russian stocks to pre-sanction highs, but that does not mean that there is any de-escalation in the self-proclaimed eastern regions of Donetsk and Slavyansk where fighting between pro-Russian groups and Kiev army rages on. The latest incident took place a little over an hour ago when Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a military helicopter near Sloviansk, killing 14 people, the country’s outgoing president says.
This attack took place following a weekend of heavy fighting in Donetsk following a push against “terrorists” by the new president that left many rebel soldiers dead.
The helicopter was hit during heavy fighting between Sloviansk and Kramatorsk on Thursday after it had dropped off troops at a military base, reports said.
Insurgents shot down an Mi-8 transport chopper with a shoulder-fired missile amid heavy fighting in Slovyansk, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Russian border, Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov told lawmakers in parliament in Kiev today.
Below is a clip of the helicopter downing:
Meanwhile, as reported yesterday, Russia offered its services to provide humanitarian aid in the eastern part of the country. Ukraine promptly declined. From Bloomberg:
The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said yesterday that Russia is being asked for humanitarian aid by people in eastern Ukraine affected by the conflict. Russia wants Ukraine’s help delivering supplies across the border and expects “the fastest possible answer,” the ministry said on its website.
Ukraine said thanks, but no thanks.
“This is another element of propaganda,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said. It may also be a “a hidden attempt to help Russian terrorists who are now in a difficult position,” the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.
Putin, who has repeatedly denied aiding the insurgency, told Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a phone call on May 27 that Ukraine’s military operations must stop.
“Russia’s goal was and is to keep Ukraine so unstable that we accept everything that the Russians want,” Poroshenko said in an interview with German newspaper Bild that was published yesterday. “I have no doubt that Putin can end the fighting with his direct influence.”
Events like today’s helicopter downing will only further antagonize the two sides, leading to even more vocal demands for Russian intervention by eastern separatists until finally the Kremlin is “forced” to cave.
But perhaps the biggest irony in this latest and most serious escalation episode to date is that it comes days after EU ldears met in Brussels on May 27 and where France’s Francois Hollande said this: “The possibility of de-escalation is here, finally,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters after the summit ended.