tv Inside Story Al Jazeera November 14, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
♪ welcome to new york ♪ you'll probably never feel ♪ welcomed to new york >> leave it to new yorkers to tell you what they think. >> and i don't know what people in iowa really care "inside story" is next. [music] >> hello, i'm sheila mcvicar. ukrainian government forces and russian-backed separatists and militias are once again engaging in heavy fighting. some of the hessers in months. the internationally brokered cease-fire between them barely holds and since april more than
4,000 people have been killed. reports of armored russian columns crossing the border has nato on edge and watching closely but not doing much more than that while leadership in kiev said it's top priority is building an army strong enough to halt any russian aggression. g-20 gathering in brisbane this weekend are saying enough is enough and are threatening further sanctions against russia. for his part president vladimir putin is not backing down. >> the g-20 summit is said to start in brisbane, australia, this weekend, and all eyes are on one v.i.p. guest, russian president vladimir putin. he arrived friday with his navy trailing behind parked off the country's northeast coast. australia's prime minister tony abbott reacted. >> one of the points that i tried to make to president putin is that russia would be so much more attractive if it was
aspiring to be a superpower for peace and freedom and prosperity, if it was trying to be a superpower for ideas and values rather than recreate the lost glorious of czarism or the old soviet union. >> provocations by putin have dominated headlines this week. nato commanders confirm tanks began rolling across the russian border. russia, as it has before, continues to vehemently deny it's equipment and some of its troops are in ukraine. >> i am telling you very frankly and officially as well there are no military forces or any military movement across the border, and more over there is no presence of our troops in the territory of ukraine in its southeast. there has never been and there isn't. >> and so there is technically a cease-fire in affect. theffect.
the stories in donetsk tell a different story. >> we were inside when the shell hit the house. everything went black, and all of the windows were shattered. >> they said wednesday the military is ready to take on russia if it blanches a full-blown attack. >> we see all their movements, their positions and of course we're waiting for them to act. how we can react to their acts i see it as my aim to be ready to fight. >> throughout the ukrainian crisis the european union has fought back with sanctions such as freezing assets and limiting visas. >> the sanctions are harmful of oof course. it understand mines the economic relations but i hope an understanding will be reached and all this will be lest in the past. >> the conflict has ruined
ukraine's economy. the gdp could full by 10% and inflation could rise 20%. and the country's currency has dropped by 50%. there is pressure for european nations to do more as russia's biggest trading partner. prime minister david cameron has laid out his country's ultimatum. >> of course there will be those who argue that we should just draw a line under what has happened, and our own economy will suffer if we don't. but i believe that they're wrong. if we allow such a fundamental breach of our ruled based system to go unchecked then in the long run we'll suffer more instability and be worse off as a result. >> more sanctions, that's what they think will work against russian aggression in raw rain.
putin calls them illegal. no matter the economic sprinkle hold of sanctions, kiev's fiscal problems stemming from the war are hurting them, too. what might change the situation? joining us in that conversation from kiev, michael, spokesperson for the organization of security and corporation and europe's special monitoring system in ukraine. and from london, atilia donachie, from a global advisory firm. michael, if i can begin with you, we've heard from nato this week, and we have seen pictures of what appears to be heavy russian weaponry again moving across the border into ukraine. the organization's security that you represent have you been able to confirm where those tanks and other weapons are coming from? do you know if they are, indeed,
russian? >> well, good to be with you. and we have about 300 observers throughout ukraine and half of them are now in the eastern part of ukraine. and i'll tell you what we have not been seeing, and that is a withdraw of heavy weaponry as put forth in the documents of early september. now since saturday on three separate occasions what are observers in donest city, are unmarked military vehicles. these are not ordinary trucks. they're command trucks. they were arriving from the east of the country, the eastern direction of the country, and 120 in all, and they were towing some of them, 120 howitzer military pieces as well as
multiple rocket launch systems. these vehicles did not carry license plates or insignia. the men inside did not have insignia either. sheila, what we've been observing and reporting on is intense shelling we're looking for more sightings of men in camouflage in other parts of the conflict region. as chief monitor ambassador told the security council the other day is we're not seeing much adherence to that cease-fire and the civilian toll is increasing at the moment. >> we have heard this week from ukraine's government that their intent is to build up their armies so as to be able to confront what they call russian
aggression. ing a a magnitude in scale ukraine is a far poorer and smaller country than russia. >> you're right. it is the noble thing to defend their territory and it would be a heroic struggle for them, unfortunately, the ukrainians do not have the abilities to fight russians head to head. and the russian intervened decisively in august and paid a heavy toll on the ukrainian forces. >> we've seen repeatedly when it comes to a fire fight if the russian forces are in the field and supporting activecally those russian separatest, the ukrainian military is outmanned and outgunned. >> the russian military has more professional soldiers in greater number and more advanced equipment.
>> even if the ukraine were to make this decision to go ahead and try to bolster its armed forces, does it have the fiscal pockets to be able to do that? are they in a position to be able to afford to build a modern army that is capable of defending themselves against the russians? >> well, in the first place it does have budgetary problems. therefore, the money is tied to start with. they're also looking for military aid if they can get it, and clearly they will be looking for resources to fulfill the aim that they just stated. that is more about the equipment they would have to replace as they've had heavy losses
already. >> how else are those fiscal problems having an impact in ukraine, especially in the east? >> well, so far we have not seen any major impact in baghdad that would challenge the life of people in eastern ukraine as such. the problems are more on them being able to disband whatever possible for running the military campaign. therefore we believe that ukraine is going to focus on defense rather than conducting advance operations. >> michael, we talked about this movement of this weaponry deeper in eastern ukraine. we talked about the forces that appear to be supporting it. is it possible for you're monitors to discern a pattern in terms of what the russian and russian rebels are looking for? what the aim is? what their targets are?
what they seem to be wanting to do? >> we've been in the ground since april, and what we have been seeing, you remember the days o when civilian buildings were being taken over and then we reported on the gradual build up of heavy weaponry, including a launching pad for rockets. then what we're now seeing is not only build up of weaponry for shelling, but introduction of new school curriculum. we're talking about the switch of time zone back to moscow time, and we're seeing hard-hit small business owners in places like luhansk. they're forced to reregister
their businesses, t, and apply to those rules. they have been subjected to hissated military grade electronic jamming. meaning that they're not able to fly as regularly as they should be. >> we'll take a short break. when we come back we'll dig deeper in the dilemma that europe faces. how far can europe go before it hurts itself economically in the process? this is inside story.
>> economic jacksons on russia are having an impact. capital has blown out of russia. blanks are short of finance. and the rouble has fallen significantly. russia's actions pose a grave danger to the rest of europe. >> welcome back to inside story. i'm sheila mcvicar. that's british prime minister david cameron at a formal event in london this week. if sanctions are imposed and should putin fail to back down will tough be sanctions be given from the e.u. we've seen putin bluster a lot. we've seen him deploying his military in ways we have not
seen in a great many years how much is putin bluffing here? is it possible to know how much the russians are hurting? >> i don't think he's bluffing. he's trying to make us reluctant to impose further sanctions on him. i think it's criminal as we see these military forces streaming in to ukraine for a second invasion of the ukrainian territory that the west has not pull filled its promises. we promised if russia continued to increase the conflict, there would be further sanctions imposed on it. now it's high time for europeans and u.s. to impose more sanctions before it escalates. >> how many pain can the
european take? especially the germans. we know the german economy is most vulnerable to russia. how much more willing are they to feel more pain and how much more pain can they stand without doing real damage to their own economies? >> well, so far the pain that europe is feeling from the deterioration of economic and other links with russia is very difficult to quantify. there is more of a worry about the. >> would be shaving off growth. the main concern is that this could be--this could be the thing that would tip europe over
into another recession. are they willing to take more pain? they're not very keen on it. it is most likely that on monday we'll get sh very sharp redress, and it will take longer for europe to find a consensus on increasing the more significant sanctions. >> the sanctions list has been at pains not to go very close to president putin's inner circle. is there a chance now with this movement of new weaponry, new troops and escalation now taking place in yearn europe that the europeans will now agree that now is the time to hit very close to putin himself? they would be looking at the
attention of wrapping up the economic sanctions even if they were turn on the ground. they still would not be looking at bans as has been imposed on iran, and they'll want to keep the doors open to negotiations where the people in the inner circles where president putin would be instrumental. the closing of the inner circle will likely remain off the list of asset freezes and travel bans and it will more likely the ukrainian separatists who will be included. >> i know it's not quite winter. i know the first snow is forecast for the end of next week, perhaps, with winter coming with the deepening economic problem with ukraine itself how are people i in the
east faring? how are they faring in not just the rebel-held areas but the eastern region itself? >> it's very difficult. we see ourselves as one of the trusted actors on the ground. we've made a deliberate attempt to document the plight of people in the complex zone, and also outside so we can warn ahead of time the international community of what is happening. and what is happening, as you correctly pointed out it's gotten very cold. the snows are right behind us, and people don't have access to proper shelter. in cities like luhansk where half the population has fled there has been no electricity, running water and very little gas. my colleague has visited villages outside of donetsket, and they told of stories of no
heating and they have problems of seniors accessing their pensions because those aren't being paid any more. finally outside of the conflict zone we have over a thousand registered, people have fled the area and who are living in facilities that have not been winterized and they are running low on resources. take that picture together in a very possibility of humanitarian catastrophe coming up in weeks to come. >> as we're hearing people in the east are not doing well. there is a continuing reluctan reluctance to amp up the sanctions. what does putin do next? >> he's trying to use military force to settle the question of his control over eastern ukraine. he's going to try to deepen his connection between the territory he has in luhansk and donetsk
and the land bridge to crimea. >> you think his intent is to make that permanent. >> yes, a tremendous number of equipment and troops that he's pouring in the area seems to indicate a major inoffensive. >> coming up, ali velshi will give us an up close look at nato training. is another cold war coming? stay with us.
battl document the battle of natural resources between russia and the west. here is a look of some of what you'll see. >> it's a routine nato exercise in military readiness. but demonstrations had taken on a new urgency for the west. here in the mountains of romania these soldiers are training for battle just a seven-hour drive from ukraine. despite good relation with russia, nato uses the command center to be nato's eyes and ears in the sky when it comes to russia. >> that's al jazeera america ali velshi with his new series the new cold war. that's all next week with ali velshi 7:00 p.m. eastern and 4:00 p.m. pacific. as you saw in the clip, nato is ready to support ukraine if called. we continue our conversation,
george in washington, otilia in london and michael, the ofce in kiev. is it realistic to think that nato under its current rules of engagement would come to the defense of ukraine? >> well, nato as an organization cannot be involved because ukraine is not a nato member right now. but nato member and the united states and european partners can provide economic and military assistance to the ukrainian people to help convince them to defend their territory and get putt on it back off from attac attacking his neighbors. >> otillia, what kind of impact do you think the behavior of russian's president vladimir putin in the way that they're thinking about their future and the future of russia with europe? >> well, it is making a lot of people nervous. it is not just the crisis in
ukraine as it is, but also russia's assertive behavior along the border. we've seen incursions in the air space of the baltic countries. i'm sure you remember the story of sweden a couple of weeks ago, and many of the baltic countries are thinking about their future defense and started thinking about russia as a strategic threat rather than a lost commercial opportunity as many of them were thinking in summertime. some of the countries have already decided to increase their military spending to the level of 2%, which the nato recommends. and have been stopping for review their strategic options for the future year. it is highly unlikely that the relations between iran and the e.u. would get to the crisis of framework even after the
fighting in eastern ukraine quiets down. >> michael, if i could turn to you. when you speak to government officials in kiev, are they optimistic that sanctions as they stand now would be enough to dampen the iran enthusiasm, or do you think that they'll be fighting again through the winter? >> well, we do meet frequently with ukrainian government officials. yesterday, we met with president poroshenko, the message we're getting from the ukrainian government is that with the help of the oce and other parties is to get everyone back to the dialogue table, and to exercise
maximum strength. the feeling seems to be that that is the only way that we're going to reach our piece. also as pointed out the other day, pulling back of those weapons because at the moment there is a feeling that we're getting too close to that brink. >> georgia, we know that of course there are limitations to what nato and any country has been prepared to do. we see that putin is flexing his power and strutting his stuff in many ways. what do you think happens the course of the next few months. we've seen russian incursions and russian probing, what do you think the russians are going to do to basically show their strength? >> unfortunately, putin is going to use his military forces in eastern ukraine to further increase the territorial control they have, and to gain mortar tore and connect the pockets that he has closer to one
another and mortar tore for russia. i think what could happen is that the west, u.s. and europeans if they ramped up their sanctions now an put a hurt on putin before he did that, that would give them incentive to withdraw the forces and not provoke this conflict. >> this brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. thanks for being with us. in washington, i'm sheila mcvicar. >> coming up at 6:00 p.m. on al jazeera america you've heard a lot of political talk about the keystone pipeline project. now that the house of representatives have signed off on that project, we'll find out what it could really mean to the environment as well as the
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