There is ostensibly a ceasefire in Ukraine, but since the Minsk Accord was signed in September, the OSCE says it's been breached some two and a half thousand times. There have been more than 4,000 deaths since April, according to the U.N..
As the deadly battle unfolds on the ground, a heated propaganda war is also being waged. Russia recently launched its “Sputnik” offensive, a new state-run international media outlet named after the soviet space program. This follows long time Kremlin-funded RT and other, state-run TV.
Christiane Amanpour on Thursday spoke with opposing views on the subject – Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and RT Host Anissa Naouai.
Click above to watch.
By Madalena Araujo, CNN
Russia will not let the Ukrainian people freeze, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, told CNN’s Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.
Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June citing unpaid bills and exacerbating already existing tensions between the two countries, triggered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in February. The time to resolve the gas dispute is now running out with temperatures in Kiev already falling below zero.
“What I can absolutely guarantee is that Russia will never stop supplying gas to Ukraine because we have a lot of people from Ukraine in Russia, and it is impossible that we let Ukrainian people freeze. This is out of the question,” Kelin said.
“On the other hand,” the Ambassador warned, “we cannot always supply gas for credit to Ukraine, which happened in the past. Ukraine still did not pay, for instance, last three months or the year and we expect this payment.”
Ukraine’s parliamentary elections took place on Sunday and, for the first time since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Communist Party will be left out from parliament.
Despite the “omissions and violations” committed during the election, Kelin remarked, “I think that we are going to recognize the outcome when all calculations will be finalized.”
While the world is pre-occupied trying to find a way to stop ISIS, on Russia's border, war games and psychological warfare continue.
Apart from its obvious attempt to halt Ukraine's tilt westwards, worrying new questions now about Russia’s aim – and game – in the Baltic States.
What happened in Estonia last month reads like a John le Carre novel. One of their intelligence agents was snatched in a cross border raid by Russian FSB agents, and recently paraded on Russian TV as a spy.
Is President Vladimir Putin testing NATO? Seeing how far he can probe one of its own?
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke with Estonian Foreign Minister Urman Paet on Wednesday about whether the country feared the "Ukraine treatment."
Click above to watch.
By Mick Krever, CNN
The new NATO Secretary General, Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized his long and productive relationship with Russia in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, a day after he took office.
“As a Norwegian politician in Norway, a country bordering Russia, I have developed a working relationship with Russia,” he said. “And we were able also during the coldest period of the Cold War to work with Russia on issues like fishery, energy, environment.”
When Stoltenberg was chosen for the position earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian State TV that he had “very good relations, including personal relations” with the former Norwegian premier.
“This is a very serious, responsible person,” President Putin said, “but we’ll see how our relations develop with him in his new position.”
By Mick Krever, CNN
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is speaking out for the first time on the “unconventional” backdoor negotiations he led to get MH17’S black boxes and victims’ bodies out of eastern Ukraine.
“Sometimes,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday, “you have to work the back channels.”
When Malaysian Prime Minister Najib came to the United Nations last year, he could never have imagined that two of his country's planes would soon suffer disasters.
“If you can imagine, he said, “just four months after MH370 disappeared, and all of a sudden, middle of the night, you know, a message comes across: Look, we've just lost a plane; it’s off the radar.”
“I was in a state of disbelief.”
By Mick Krever, CNN
Pro-Russian separatists will “liberate” the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, anticipated in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Friday.
Ukrainian forces are working to fortify the city; they claim that Russian intelligence groups have been spotted in the area.
Mariupol is “the second-biggest city in Donetsk Oblas, probably, and I believe that they are going to liberate,” Kelin said.
By Mick Krever, CNN
As Ukraine and Pro-Russian separatists agreed to a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the deputy NATO military commander said Moscow must be judged by its actions, not its words.
"If [the ceasefire] is the portent of a peaceful solution to this conflict in eastern Ukraine that's welcome news. But I think we need to judge things by actions and not by words,” General Adrian Bradshaw told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.
“I'm afraid during this crisis in the past we've heard words said which haven't been reflected by actions on the ground. So we need to just ensure that people are being genuine here."
by Henry Hullah
NATO satellites, journalists on the ground and Ukrainian officials have all reported Russian troops in Ukrainian territory, but how much longer can Russia claim it has no military presence in Eastern Ukraine?
"Russia will say that until it really has some forces on the ground. As at this point, definitely we don’t have any." answered Russian Member of Parliament Vyacheslav Nikonov.
He told Michael Holmes, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, that the Russian government had not been providing weapons, such as T-72 tanks which the MP insisted came from Hungary, to separatists and also had nothing to do with the current state of Ukraine.
"It is a completely domestic Ukrainian mess and people living there, in the eastern part of Ukraine, are mostly Russian. So I think it’s very understandable why Russia emotionally is there. Though Russian troops are definitely not there."
With high stakes and emotional investment in the dire situation of those in the Eastern Ukraine, the program asked what is the Russian Endgame here, do they want, as some believe, a land bridge to Crimea?
"The end game for Russia is of course a peaceful Ukraine, and Russian national security."
"In case of the Crimea, it was an immediate reaction of the people of the Crimea for reunification with their mother country, with Russia. "
"Crimeans never had any Ukrainian identity whatsoever. The people in Donetsk and Luhansk have maybe a little bit stronger Ukrainian identity, but it would be very hard for Kiev to convince them that they should stay inside Ukraine."
by Henry Hullah
As the United Nations held an emergency meeting over reports of Russian troops in Ukrainian territory, Christiane Amanpour was joined by the top Ukrainian official in London, Andrii Kuzmenko, for analysis of what this could mean for his nation.
Amanpour asked what the diplomat was hoping for from the U.N meeting in New York.
"Since the sanctions that are already imposed against Russia we do have the terrible aggravation of the situation, it means that those sanctions are weak and insufficient. We are calling for a full stop of cooperation with the aggressor, for further tougher sanctions and further support of Ukraine."
"We are not at this stage asking for military assistance"
After what happened to Georgia in 2008, was he confident that Ukraine could defend itself against a potential Russian attack?
"This is a very new stage of conflict. We will halt the aggressor and I have no doubt we will defeat them but, for that reason we will need assistance from the West since we are fighting not just for territorial integrity of Ukraine."
"We are fighting against the war in Europe that could explode the continent."
'It is inappropriate to tolerate the use of force in the 21st century'
Kuzmenko was unrelenting in a powerful attack on the Russian government's behavior in this conflict. He told the program that he believed Putin's Russia was acting in a manner befitting the "19th century."
"We are witnessing another war crime," he told Amanpour. "Just due to the certain imperial ambitions."
Summing up Russia's actions, the diplomat said, "We should remember the war started with imperial ambitions and will end with shame for the nation."
By Henry Hullah
A convoy of 280 Russian trucks are heading towards Ukrainian border. Russian officials say they are full of aid desperately needed for relief efforts in Eastern Ukraine, officials across the border are not so optimistic.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has come out strongly against the convoy said the move is "cynical," and that "it would be better for Russia to send 300 empty Kamaz trucks to take their bandits back. Then there would be no need to send humanitarian aid."
Russian officials have insisted the move is to deliver humanitarian aid to areas in need.
Oleksandr Scherba, the Ambassador-at-Large to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, echoed the view of his Prime Minister on the program:
"Of course we are very distrustful of Russia's intentions from the very beginning Russia didn't show any goodwill whatsoever."
"But on the other hand," Scherba stated, "The humanitarian situation on the ground is very desperate, very difficult. We are not in the kind of situation to be very adamant about sending back anything we receive even from the nation that is behaving in a really hostile manner."
When questioned by Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, about why there has been no coordination with red cross, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Special Representative for Human Rights, rebutted "I am amazed to hear that it hasn't been coordinated. From what has been said many times, not just by Russian officials, all the details, all the parameters of this humanitarian convoy have been meticulously discussed and agreed upon by: Russia, Ukraine, the International Committee for the Red Cross."
"As far as I understand he [Scherba] works in the Foreign Ministry" the special representative went on to say. "The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has officially, by sending a reply note to the Russian Foreign Ministry, has confirmed that all the details of that humanitarian convoy have been agreed upon. Once they have confirmed that all the details have been agreed upon. This was a very precise official reaction."
"The green light was on in Kiev."
Ukraine's Ambassador-at-large responded: "Nobody except for Moscow knows about that meticulous discussion."