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US Calls on All Nations to Reject Regional Elections in DPR, LPR: State Department

US Calls on All Nations to Reject Regional Elections in DPR, LPR: State Department

Jen Psaki stated that the US will not recognize the results of the the November 2 regional elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

 

Kiev Threatens to Cut off Gas Supply to Donbas

Kiev Threatens to Cut off Gas Supply to Donbas

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller shakes hands with Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev after gas talks between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels October 30, 2014.

KIEV, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine may consider cutting off gas supplies to eastern Ukrainian regions, the head of Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz Andriy Kobolev said in his interview with Ukraine's First National TV Channel.

“Possibly, the decision will involve cutting this zone off, possibly – some restrictions,” Kobolev said.

Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk proposed to cut off gas supplies to the regions, which are not controlled by Kiev, and said that he plans to discuss this issue with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

Yatsenyuk stated that Kiev does not receive gas payments from these regions, and assured that Naftogaz has all necessary technical capabilities to cut the supply gas off.

On Thursday, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union have signed a so-called winter package agreement, securing gas deliveries to Ukraine for the winter months. The agreement stipulates that Russia resumes gas supplies to Ukraine, following a three-month break in deliveries caused by Kiev's massive gas debt in excess of $5 billion. In its turn, Ukraine agreed to pay $3.1 billion of the debt to Russia by the end of 2014.

Residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s republics, refusing to recognize the new Kiev authorities that came to power in Ukraine after the February coup. Republics declared their sovereignty, based on the results of the referendums held in May.

 

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Thousands forced from homes as Egypt clears Gaza border area after bombing

Thousands forced from homes as Egypt clears Gaza border area after bombing

According to an article from The Telegraph:  The Egyptian authorities are demolishing hundreds of houses along its impoverished border with the Gaza Strip to create a buffer zone that will slow the flow of weapons and militants between the two territories.

Army officials told residents in the eastern Rafah area to evacuate their homes on Tuesday. They later confirmed that they planned to empty more than 800 houses – home to about 10,000 people.

“It’s a confusing mess, the sound of explosions is so loud and the people don’t know what to do,” one local resident told the Telegraph by phone on Wednesday.

The measure came four days after militants attacked an army post close to the Rafah crossing, killing at least 31 soldiers. It was the deadliest attack on Egyptian army personnel in decades.The new buffer zone, billed to include water-filled trenches that thwart tunnel diggers, would be 500 yards wide and extend along the nine-mile border.

A dawn-to-dusk curfew is now in place across Egypt’s restive North Sinai peninsula where Islamic State-inspired militants have been locked in battle with the army since it overthrew Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

Hundreds of security personnel have been killed, and the Ansar Bayt el Maqdis group has beheaded several local residents for allegedly acting as informants for the Israeli authorities.

Over the past year, the army says it has destroyed most of a once-vast tunnel network through which weapons and militants were smuggled between Egypt and Gaza. Entrances are often located in houses along the border. Egyptian officials will hope that their new buffer zone will make it harder for the tunnel operators to rebuild that network.

But security experts suggest the buffer zone will be unlikely to have a significant impact on the frequency of attacks against Sinai security personnel. “These attacks originate in the peninsula, not in Gaza,” said Zack Gold, an adjunct fellow at the Washington-based American Security Project.

Ismail Iskandrani, an Egyptian researcher who monitors developments in North Sinai, described the demolitions as ‘collective punishment’ for Rafah’s residents, and warned it was likely to increase local sympathy for the militants.
Civilians have repeatedly been caught in the crosshairs of the battle between Ansar Bayt el Maqdis and the army. A Telegraph visit to the borderland villages last year found civilian houses had been bombed, scorched, and pocked with bullets.

Ansar Bayt el Maqdis’ core group of fighters is estimated to be in the low hundreds, drawing most of its manpower from the local Bedouin community. Local residents say other fighters hail from the Egyptian mainland and, in some cases, Gaza and Sudan.

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