SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

War in Donbass

The War in Donbass is an armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine. In the aftermath of the Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, protests against the newly formed government took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, an area collectively called the "Donbass"; these demonstrations were part of a wider group of concurrent pro-Russian protests across southern and eastern Ukraine. The protests in Donbas escalated into an armed conflict between the separatist forces and the Ukrainian government. Two self-declared states were formed by the separatists: Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. In the Donetsk People's Republic, from May 2014 until August 2014 some of the top leaders were Russian citizens. According to the Ukrainian government, at the height of the conflict in mid-2014, Russian paramilitaries were reported to make up between 15% to 80% of the combatants. Between 22 and 25 August 2014, Russian artillery and what Russia called a "humanitarian convoy" crossed the border into Ukrainian territory without permission of the Ukrainian government.

Crossings occurred both in areas under the control of pro-Russian forces and in areas that were not under their control, such as the south-eastern part of Donetsk Oblast, near Novoazovsk. These events followed the reported shelling of Ukrainian positions from the Russian side of the border over the course of the preceding month. Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko characterised the events of 22 August as a "direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine", while other western and Ukrainian officials described the events as a "stealth invasion" of Ukraine by Russia. Russia's official position on the presence of Russian forces in Donbass has been vague: while official bodies have denied presence of "regular armed forces" in Ukraine, it has on numerous occasions confirmed presence of "military specialists", along with other euphemisms accompanied by an argument that Russia "was forced" to deploy them to "defend the Russian-speaking population"; as a result of the August 2014 events, DPR and LPR insurgents regained much of the territory they had lost during the Ukrainian government's preceding military offensive.

Ukraine, the DPR and the LPR signed an agreement to establish a ceasefire, called the Minsk Protocol, on 5 September 2014. Violations of the ceasefire on both sides became common. Amidst the solidification of the line between insurgent and government-controlled territory during the ceasefire, warlords took control of swaths of land on the insurgent side, leading to further destabilisation; the ceasefire collapsed in January 2015, with renewed heavy fighting across the conflict zone, including at Donetsk International Airport and at Debaltseve. Involved parties agreed to a new ceasefire, called Minsk II, on 12 February 2015. Following the signing of the agreement, separatist forces launched an offensive on Debaltseve and forced Ukrainian forces to withdraw from it. In the months after the fall of Debaltseve, minor skirmishes continued along the line of contact, but no territorial changes occurred; this state of stalemate led to the war being labelled a "frozen conflict". In 2017, on average one Ukrainian soldier died in combat every three days, with the number of Russian and separatist troops remaining in the region estimated at 6,000 and 40,000 respectively.

By the end of 2017, OSCE observatory mission had accounted for around 30,000 individuals in military-style dress crossing from Russia to Donbass just at two border checkpoints it was allowed to monitor. Since the start of the conflict there have been more than 20 ceasefires, each intended to remain in force indefinitely, but none of them stopped the violence; the most successful attempt to halt the fighting was in 2016, when a ceasefire held for six consecutive weeks. The latest ceasefire came into force on 8 March 2019, which led to a significant decrease of fighting in the following days. Ukraine, the DPR, the LPR, the OSCE agreed to a roadmap for an end to the conflict on 1 October 2019. Attempts to seize the Donetsk Regional State Administration building began since pro-Russian protests erupted in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in the wake of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Pro-Russian protesters occupied the Donetsk RSA from 1 to 6 March 2014, before being removed by the Security Service of Ukraine.

On 6 April, 1,000–2,000 people gathered at a rally in Donetsk to demand a status referendum similar to the one held in Crimea in March. The demonstrators stormed the RSA building, took control of its first two floors, they said that if an extraordinary legislative session was not held by regional officials to implement a status referendum, they would take control of the regional government with a "people's mandate", dismiss all elected regional councillors and members of parliament. As these demands were not met, the activists held a meeting in the RSA building, voted in favour of independence from Ukraine, they proclaimed the Donetsk People's Republic on 7 April 2014. Unrest in Luhansk Oblast began on 6 April, when 1,000 activists seized and occupied the SBU building in the city of Luhansk, following similar occupations in the cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv. Protesters barricaded the building, demanded that all arrested separatist leaders be released. Police were able to retake control of the building, but the demonstrators regathered for a'people's assembly' outside the building and called for a'people's government', demanding either federalisation or incorporation into the Russian Federation.

At this assembly, they elected Valery Bolotov to the position of "People's Governor"

Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael

The Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael or Clingendael Institute is an independent think tank and academy on international affairs which aims to contribute to a secure and just world. Clingendael - the Netherlands Institute of International Relations - is the leading independent Dutch think-tank and academy for international relations, based in The Hague - City of Peace and Justice. Through its research and public debate the institute inspires and equips societies and governments to encourage a secure, sustainable and just world. Clingendael publishes Clingendael Magazine'Spectator', an online monthly on international politics; as of 2012 the Institute is organised into two departments: Clingendael Research and Clingendael Academy. Former Permanent Representative of The Netherlands to the EU, former State Councillor and former Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Tom de Bruijn is Chairman of the Supervisory Council of the Institute. General Director of the Clingendael Institute is Monika Sie Dhian Ho.

Peter Haasbroek is Financial Director. The Clingendael Institute was founded in 1983 due to the merger of five smaller think-tanks; the institute received funding and support from the Dutch Ministry of Defense. The research focus of the institute has changed throughout its history, responding to shifts within the discipline of international relations. Today, the organization focuses much of its research and programming around the European Union and relations between member states, security issues around terrorism and the rule of law, sustainable development, diplomatic skills such as economic diplomacy, "conflict management, crisis control and negotiation techniques". Both Clingendael and the Hague Institute for Strategic Studies are contracted by the Ministry of Defense to provide research and analysis of global trends and risks. Clingendael works with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project to complete these projects. Clingendael's diplomatic academy has trained foreign service workers from both the Netherlands and outside countries, including Pakistan and Kosovo.

Since 2004, the institute has provided short-term training programs for Indonesian diplomats. In the organization's 2017 Annual Report, Clingendael noted that they trained 640 diplomats from over 150 countries, as well as civil servants from several other countries. Diplomats from Cyprus were trained on trade promotion and public diplomacy skills, diplomats from Bhutan were trained in negotiation techniques, as were the incoming non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Specialists from the Institute traveled to Bulgaria to assist civil servants in the country on how to work with the European Union in Brussels, while others traveled to Tbilisi to train cadets at the Georgian Defense Institution Building School in capacity building. Today, the institute receives about 75% of its funding from the Dutch Government the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. Official website Internationale Spectator

South Amboy station

South Amboy is a station on NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line located in South Amboy, New Jersey, United States. The station is 2½ miles south of Perth Amboy station and 5 miles northwest of Aberdeen-Matawan station. Electric trains from the north started terminating here in 1938, many still do; this station is located at grade level on Mason Street, has a high-level island platform serving two tracks. South Amboy station has been upgraded for full ADA access. Phase One of the project included the building of a new pedestrian overpass allowing safe transfers across the two tracks at the station; the bridge cost a total of $4.8M when it opened on March 14, 2005. The second engineering and construction phase consisted of replacing the two original low-level side platforms with a new ADA-accessible high-level island platform and a reconstruction of the current station building. Among the new improvements to the station are a new ticket office, canopies and signage; the cost of the new platform and station amenities amounts to $29M.

The second phase of improvements was completed on January 5, 2010. Media related to South Amboy at Wikimedia Commons entrance from Google Maps Street View Station House from Google Maps Street View