Yomiuri editorial: Russia must stop military incursion into Ukraine immediately

Yomiuri editorial: Russia must stop military incursion into Ukraine immediately
Russian military personnel sit atop armoured vehicles outside Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov Region, August 15, 2014.

It has been revealed that more than 1,000 Russian troops have entered Ukraine's territory.

The incursion represents a blatant intervention by Russia in Ukraine's domestic affairs following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March. Such an outrageous action, which trampled on the sovereignty of a neighbouring country, should absolutely not be tolerated.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has released smoking-gun satellite photos of Russian self-propelled artillery units moving in a convoy formation in eastern Ukraine. The photos were reportedly taken on Aug. 21.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting at which US and European representatives criticised Russia in chorus. US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Russia had "outright lied" about its role in Ukraine.

US President Barack Obama said, "Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine" and hinted sanctions against Moscow may be strengthened, which would be quite natural. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan "will deal with the [Ukrainian] situation appropriately in cooperation with the G-7."

Nevertheless, Russia has continued to deny the reports on its military advance into Ukraine, saying they are "fake."

It is imperative for the international community to cooperate in applying pressure on Russia to halt its unjust interference with Ukraine.

Moscow had argued that Russians supporting pro-Russia armed separatists in eastern Ukraine are "volunteer soldiers" who do not belong to the Russian military.

But it also came to light that Russian troops have been involved in fighting for more than two weeks.

Two-faced diplomacy

A member of Russia's Human Rights Commission has testified that more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in attacks by Ukrainian troops in the state of Donetsk on Aug. 13. Convoys of trucks carrying ammunition were said to have been attacked.

This means that Russian troops have been operating on a large scale in Ukraine, a fact that runs counter to Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that the fighting in the eastern Ukraine is "a domestic crisis of Ukraine."

Putin conferred with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Tuesday and said that Moscow "will also discuss any kind of cooperation." Russia has been expanding its military intervention steadily. At the same time, Putin shook hands with Poroshenko with a smile. Such two-faced diplomacy can never work for long.

The leak of the information about the deaths of Russian troops in Donetsk by the Human Rights Commission, which is under the direct control of the Russian presidential office, shows Moscow has become unable to control information.

The European Union was to discuss additional economic sanctions against Russia during its meeting Saturday.

If the EU shows a weak-kneed stance toward Russia, on which it relies for supplies of natural gas and other energy sources, this will make Moscow more arrogant and assertive. A resolute stance is called for from the EU.

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