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Author Topic: BIRTH CHART FOR PIG PUTIN..DANGER TO WORLD STABILITY  (Read 4206 times)
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« Reply #45 on: Apr 01, 2014, 06:00 AM »

Ukraine: how to lose a country

When the Pig separated Crimea from Ukraine, he separated Ukraine from Russia, at least for the foreseeable future

Guardian G logo
Editorial   
The Guardian, Monday 31 March 2014 22.50 BST          

When the Pig seized Crimea, he lost Ukraine. He had slandered the Ukrainian protest movement as variously fascist, decadent, and gay. Then he went beyond that, to claim that the interim government that the protesters had helped bring into being was planning to persecute Russian speakers in Crimea and elsewhere. Finally he insulted a neighbouring country that had no way of defending itself by seizing its land.

He thereby confirmed the alienation of people in the western part of the country from their historic Russian connection. He enraged the liberals, both Ukrainian and Russian in background, who valued the relative freedoms that Ukraine had raggedly preserved even as those freedoms dwindled in the Russian Federation.

He divided and confused people in the centre and east who preferred the ambiguity, and the sophistication, on the issue of identity that enabled them to live together. When Crimea was separated from Ukraine, Ukraine was separated from Russia, not for ever, because certain deep links remain, but for the foreseeable future. This is the dominant fact that the United States and European countries must keep in mind as they shape their policies on the crisis that the Russian leader created by his action on Crimea.

They are not blameless. The push to take the EU and Nato right up to Russia's front door was ill advised. Now they have to try to manage the resulting divide between Ukraine and Russia, deeper and more bitter than before. Their policies should not be based on the sort of token military moves that may be discussed at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers this week; they fool nobody. Nor on the forlorn hope that punishing the Russian leadership, still less the Russian people, with sanctions could cause the Crimean annexation to be reversed; it will not be.

Nor should their policies be based on the idea that those sanctions, together with some astute diplomacy, will at least persuade Russia to withdraw the large number of troops it has concentrated in areas close to Ukraine. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, broached this issue again with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, at the weekend.

Getting Crimea back is an impossible strategic objective. Getting Russian troops away from the borders is a desirable tactical objective but not one to be pursued at the price of compromising Ukraine's sovereignty. Ukraine is an over-centralised country that, in an ideal world, should be considering some devolution of power to its regions, especially its eastern regions. Yet there are objections to Russian proposals for a federal system.

First, they are made over the heads of the Ukrainian people. Second, they could become an instrument for covert Russian control of eastern parts of Ukraine, as well as a means of exerting influence in a Kiev in which otherwise, given the recent record, Russia would have little say. Still, devolution should come, but with safeguards, and it would be best attempted in stages. What should also be acceptable is the principle of neutrality for Ukraine, in the sense of no membership of Nato or of any similar military pact on the eastern side. And it is undeniable that the extreme right is too prominent in the new Kiev government. That should change. That ought to be enough for a limited deal on Ukraine between Russia and the west.

Nobody wants to legitimise Russia's foolish actions, but it is too dangerous to have no deal at all. Meanwhile, let Russia digest the consequences and costs of what it has done. The hopes expressed by the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit there on Monday, that Crimea could soon become self-sufficient are likely to prove illusory.

As for Russian influence in Ukraine, it will take a long time to recover. It could have been different, had the Pig not given in to his worst impulses. Whatever international deals are now done, history is likely to show that he gained a peninsula but lost a country.


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« Reply #46 on: Apr 01, 2014, 06:02 AM »

Ukraine Agrees to Host NATO War Games

by Naharnet Newsdesk
01 April 2014, 12:34

Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put U.S. troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.

"This is a good opportunity to develop our armed forces," acting defense minister Mykhailo Koval told Verkhovna Rada lawmakers ahead of the 235-0 vote.

The decision came as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels for a two-day meeting dominated by concern over the recent buildup of Russian forces near Crimea that U.S. officials estimate had at one point reached about 40,000 troops.

NATO has sought to reinforce its eastern frontier after Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula and amid concerns about Kremlin's emboldened foreign policy.

Russia on Monday reported pulling back a battalion of about 500 to 700 soldiers from the border region in a move that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called "a small sign that the situation is becoming less tense".

Ukraine is not a NATO member and its new Western-backed leaders have vowed not to push for closer relations with the Brussels-based military alliance -- a bloc that has been viewed with deep mistrust by Moscow since the Cold War.

But the ex-Soviet nation did form a "distinctive partnership" with the Alliance in 1997 and has been staging joint exercises with its state members ever since.

The exercises approved on Tuesday would see Ukraine conduct two sets of military exercises with the United States this summer -- Rapid Trident and Sea Breeze -- that have prompted disquiet in Russia in previous years.

Ukraine is planning two additional maneuvers with NATO member Poland as well as joint ground operations with Moldova and Romania.

The Sea Breeze exercises have particularly irritated Moscow because they had on occasion been staged in Crimea -- the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Those maneuvers have in more recent years been moved to the Black Sea port of Odessa where Ukraine also has a naval base.

An explanatory note accompanying the Tuesday bill says that the naval section of Sea Breeze would this time be conducted over a 25-day span between July and October out of two Odessa ports and "along the waters of the Black Sea".

The MPs met a key demand posed by both the West and Russia by voting unanimously to disarm all self-defense groups that sprang up across the country during its political crisis.

"The Ukrainian people are demanding order," acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said ahead of the 256-0 vote. "Those who carry arms -- besides the police, the security services and the national guard -- are saboteurs who are working against the country."


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« Reply #47 on: Apr 01, 2014, 06:12 AM »


Nato plans stronger military ties to ex-Soviet states south of Russia

Foreign ministers consider holding joint exercises with Azerbaijan, Armenia and Moldova after annexation of Crimea

Ian Traynor in Brussels
theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 April 2014 12.21 BST    

Nato has drawn up plans to strengthen military co-operation with the former Soviet states on Russia's southern flank after the Kremlin's seizure of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Nato foreign ministers were meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the alliance's response to the Ukraine crisis amid continued fears of Russia's territorial ambitions and what the Americans term a "tremendous" buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine's eastern border.

Before the meeting, a Nato committee drafted plans "for promoting stability in eastern Europe in the current context" by increasing military co-operation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova – all in Russia's "near abroad" and considered by Moscow as falling within its sphere of influence.

A confidential seven-page paper leaked to the German news weekly Der Spiegel proposed joint exercises and training between Nato and the three countries, increasing the "interoperability" of their militaries with Nato, and their participation in Nato "smart defence" operations.

The paper also proposed opening a Nato liaison office in Moldova, military training for Armenia, and projects in Azerbaijan aimed at securing its Caspian Sea oil and gas fields.

Nato and EU member states such as Poland and the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are alarmed at the Pig's expansionist policies. There are widespread suspicions that the Kremlin will seek to destabilise and coerce Moldova ahead of its scheduled signing of a trade and political pact with the EU in June.

The US has responded to the pleas from eastern Europe by reinforcing Nato air patrols over the Baltic and dispatching aircraft to Poland. The foreign ministers are expected to discuss how to contribute to the precautionary moves, with Britain, Denmark and Germany offering to supply more air power.

"We should do everything we can to reassure our friends and colleagues in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and in Poland that we really believe in their Nato membership and the guarantees that we have given them," the British prime minister, David Cameron, said.

Training for Ukrainian forces and freezing of military co-operation with Moscow were also to be discussed.

According to Germany, the Pig told the chancellor, Angela Merkel, he was pulling back some of his forces from the Ukrainian border. But he is believed to have moved just 500, out of tens of thousands.

Nato's supreme commander in Europe, the US general Philip Breedlove, warned at the weekend that the Russian buildup was "very, very sizeable and very, very ready". He said the Kremlin could move to seize Transnistria, a Russian-speaking part of Moldova that has been locked in a "frozen conflict" and effectively controlled by Russia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Britain's defence secretary, Philip Hammond, said the UK was considering increasing its participation in Nato military exercises in eastern Europe.

"Certainly one of the things we are looking at is a greater participation in exercises in the Baltic states, the eastern European Nato member countries, as a way of reassuring them about our commitment to article five of the Washington treaty, the mutual guarantee," Hammond told the BBC.

Article five is the "all for one, one for all" pledge that obliges Nato to come to the military rescue of any member state that is attacked.

While Barack Obama has declared that Nato must respond to the Russian force with "strength and conviction", there is a sense among Nato diplomats that the Kremlin's strategy has reinforced Nato's raison d'être, boosting the arguments for its continued existence against regular calls for its dissolution as a cold war relic.

A Nato spokesman said the meeting would "focus on increasing support for Ukraine and on the consequences of Russia's illegal military actions against Ukraine for Nato-Russia relations".

While the meeting is to focus on boosting security in eastern Europe, there have also been calls to establish Nato bases in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Nato avoided such moves during the alliance's expansion to eastern Europe in the 1990s for fear of antagonising Russia. The topic is still controversial and would be likely to run into resistance, especially in Germany and elsewhere in western Europe.


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« Reply #48 on: Apr 01, 2014, 06:48 AM »

Russia Warns Kiev Against NATO Integration

By REUTERS
APRIL 1, 2014   

MOSCOW — Russia warned Ukraine against integration with NATO on Tuesday, saying Kiev's previous attempts to move closer to the bloc had strained ties with Russia and caused problems between Moscow and the defense alliance.

"(Past attempts) led to a freezing of Russian-Ukrainian political contacts, a headache between NATO and Russia and ... to a division in Ukrainian society," the Russian Foreign Ministry said as NATO foreign ministers gathered for a meeting in Brussels.

It warned that future economic ties between Moscow and Kiev "will largely depend on the actions Ukraine takes in its foreign policy".

The statement underscored Russia's sensitivity to contacts between Moscow's former Cold War enemy NATO and Ukraine, with whom Russia's relations have deteriorated since the removal of Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich as president on February 22.

Moscow sees Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, as part of its traditional sphere of influence and wants a neutrality clause included in Ukraine's constitution to prevent it joining NATO.

Ukraine pursued NATO membership during President Viktor Yushchenko's rule from 2005 until 2010. The Kremlin has sought, where possible, to keep buffer states between Russia and NATO.
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« Reply #49 on: Apr 02, 2014, 05:21 AM »


Nato moves to bolster eastern European defences against Russia

The Pig's seizure of Crimea prompts alliance to reinforce Poland and Baltic states, and suspend co-operation with Kremlin

Ian Traynor in Brussels
theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 April 2014 18.33 BST   

Two decades on from the end of the cold war, Nato governments returned last night to their core mission of protecting Europe from Russia.

As a result of the Kremlin's seizure of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, Nato foreign ministers discussed plans to bolster defences in eastern Europe and suspend "all practical civilian and military co-operation" between Nato and Russia", Nato officials said.

The foreign ministers also acted to boost military co-operation with former Soviet states on Russia's southern flank.

However, the first Nato ministerial meeting since Moscow annexed Crimea shied away from stationing Nato forces permanently in eastern Europe and from contemplating Nato membership for Ukraine.

While Moscow declared that the seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula had nothing to do with Russia but rather had occurred as a result of "internal processes" in Ukraine, Nato leaders dismissed assurances from the Kremlin of a pull-back of forces, estimated at 40,000, massing on Ukraine's eastern borders.

"Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing its troops. This is not what we have seen," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, said: "We have heard some statements or rumours that Russia was pulling back from the eastern border of Ukraine, but we haven't seen the evidence of that yet."

"The concentration of troops along the Ukraine border is very high," said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

The meeting discussed military aid for Kiev, reinforced defences for "frontline" Nato states in Poland and the Baltic, planned to extend military co-operation to Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia – all former Soviet republics on Russia's southern flank – and froze military and civil co-operation with Russia.

"Our goal of a Euro-Atlantic region whole, free and at peace has not changed but has been fundamentally challenged by Russia," said a Nato statement. "Over the past 20 years, Nato has consistently worked for closer co-operation and trust with Russia. It has gravely breached the trust upon which our co-operation must be based."

Poland voiced exasperation with delays in strengthening Nato's eastern borders and with the reluctance to base Nato forces there. The topic has been taboo since Nato's expansion into eastern Europe in the 1990s for fear of antagonising Russia.

Rasmussen ruled out any quick decisions on this, calling instead for diplomacy and dialogue with Russia and Ukraine. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, said he saw no prospect of drawing Ukraine or any other former Soviet state into Nato.

Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, voiced disappointment, while his foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, called for two Nato brigades to be stationed in Poland.

"The pace of Nato increasing its military presence for sure could be faster," said Tusk. "This is a unsatisfactory result for us."

In advance of yesterday's meeting, a Nato committee drafted plans "for promoting stability in eastern Europe in the current context" by boosting military co-operation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova, all in Russia's "near abroad" and viewed by a proprietorial Moscow as falling within its sphere of influence.

A confidential seven-page paper leaked to the German news weekly Der Spiegel proposed joint exercises and training between Nato and the three countries, increasing the "interoperability" of their militaries with Nato and their participation in Nato "smart defence" operations.

The paper also proposed opening a Nato liaison office in Moldova, providing military training for Armenia, and undertaking projects in Azerbaijan aimed at securing its Caspian Sea oil- and gasfields.

Nato and EU member states such as Poland and the three Baltic countries on the frontline of the new frictions with President Vladimir Putin are alarmed at Russia's expansionist policies, amid widespread suspicions that Moscow will seek to destabilise and coerce Moldova prior to its scheduled signing in June of a trade and political pact with the European Union.

The US has responded to the pleas from eastern Europe by reinforcing Nato air patrols over the Baltic and dispatching aircraft to Poland. The foreign ministers discussed contributing to the precautionary moves, with Britain, Denmark and Germany offering to supply more air power.

"We should do everything we can to reassure our friends and colleagues in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and in Poland that we really believe in their Nato membership and the guarantees that we have given them," said David Cameron.

Nato's supreme commander in Europe, the US general Philip Breedlove, warned at the weekend that the Russian buildup was "very, very sizeable and very, very ready".

He added that the Kremlin could move to seize Transnistria, a Russian-speaking part of Moldova that has been locked in a "frozen conflict" and effectively controlled by the Russians since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

While Barack Obama has declared that Nato must respond to the Russian force with "strength and conviction", there is a sense among Nato diplomats that the Kremlin's strategy has reinforced Nato's raison d'être , boosting the arguments for its continued existence against regular calls for its dissolution as a cold war relic.


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« Reply #50 on: Apr 07, 2014, 05:29 AM »

Pro-Russians Proclaim Independence for Ukraine's Donetsk

by Naharnet Newsdesk
07 April 2014, 10:52

Pro-Russian activists who seized the main administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed Monday the creation of a sovereign "people's republic" independent of Kiev rule.

The decision was announced to reporters by a spokesman for the protesters who came out of the occupied building.

Footage posted on YouTube showed one Russian speaker telling the packed assembly from a podium: "Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, I proclaim the creation of the sovereign state of the People's Republic of Donetsk."

The announcement was met by a huge roar from about a hundred men packed inside an auditorium of what appeared to be the Donetsk administration building.

The industrial eastern region's Ostrov (Island) news website reported that the activists later resolved to join the Russian Federation in a move similar to the one taken by Ukraine's Crimea peninsula last month.

The news site said the resolution was met with cheers and chants of: "(Russian President Vladimir) Putin, help!"

The Interfax news agency reported that the self-proclaimed leaders of Donetsk vowed to hold a regional sovereignty referendum no later than May 11.

Ukraine's latest secessionist crisis prompted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to send his deputy Vitaliy Yarema to the region in order to establish a semblance of control.

The Donetsk administration building on Monday remained surrounded by about 2,000 Russian supporters -- some of them armed.

Pro-Russian protesters also remained in control of the headquarters of the security service of the eastern region of Lugansk. Activists freed the administration building in Kharkiv on Monday after occupying it overnight.

Donetsk Governor Sergiy Toruta urged the government to hold an urgent meeting of the national security and defense council in his region.

"Today, a plan is being implemented in the Donetsk, Lugank and Kharkiv regions to destabilize peace as well as social and economic stability," Toruta said in a statement.

Yatsenyuk accused Russia of trying to "dismember" his country by plotting seizures of government buildings in eastern regions that are seeking to break away from Kiev.

His latest volley against Ukraine's giant neighbor came as his top lieutenants fanned out across the heavily Russified eastern swathes of the country trying to regain a semblance of control.

Yatsenyuk said Russia had helped orchestrate the occupations in Kharkiv and Donetsk in order to find an excuse for a full-out invasion that would punish Ukraine for February's ouster of its Moscow-backed president and decision to seek a political and economic alliance with the West.

"There is a plan to destabilize the situation, a plan for foreign forces to cross the border and seize the territory of the country, which we will not allow," Yatsenyuk told a government meeting.

"This scenario is written by the Russian Federation and its only purpose is to dismember Ukraine."

The unrest comes with Ukraine's borders seeing a massing of Russian troops who had earlier seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and the economy in tatters after decades of mismanagement and government theft.

Several eastern regions now want to stage referendums on joining Kremlin rule when Ukraine holds snap presidential polls on May 25 that feature two frontrunners who both want to tie the vast country's future to Europe and break its historic dependence on Russia.

Moscow is now lobbying for Ukraine to be transformed into a federation that allows eastern regions in the vast nation of 46 million to adopt Russian as a second state language and overrule some decision coming from Kiev.

The Kremlin has argued the changes were needed because ethnic Russians had allegedly been coming under increasing attack from ultranationalist forces that helped the new leaders ride a wave of anti-government protests to power.

But Washington and its EU allies fear that Russia -- having already annexed Crimea last month -- is using the federation idea as an excuse to further splinter Ukraine by granting the Kremlin veto powers over Kiev's regional policies.

The new Kiev government approved a draft reform plan last week that would grant more powers to the regions in line with Western wishes but stopped well short of creating the federation sought by Russia.

And Yatsenyuk on Monday called federalization a dangerous idea aimed at ruining Ukraine.

"Any call toward federalization is an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian state," said Yatsenyuk.

He added that the Kremlin's ambition was to turn "a part of Ukraine into a slave territory that was under the diktat of the Russian Federation."


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« Reply #51 on: Apr 07, 2014, 05:38 AM »


EU energy strategy must counter the Pig's fossil fuel-fed autocracy

The role of climate and energy policy in the 'long game' that will play out between Russia and the west has been overlooked

Stephen Stec and Alexios Antypas
theguardian.com, Monday 7 April 2014 11.17 BST   
 
The Pig's land grab in Crimea has shocked the west into rethinking security strategy on the continent.

Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Moscow, has rightly argued in the New York Times that Pig Putin has made a strategic pivot, and has abandoned reform and partnership with the west for a campaign to consolidate autocratic power at home and erect an alternative to western liberal democracy for the nations in its "near abroad".

In the efforts to gauge how far Russia will go and what it means for transatlantic institutions, however, a larger theme is being overlooked.

That is the role of climate and energy policy in the “long game” that will now play out between Russia and the west. Rather than being a choice between democracy and autocracy, the choice is actually one between patronage-based oil-and-gas oligarchies on the one hand, and adaptive and innovative low-carbon economies on the other.

Russia is a country that has fallen victim to the now quite well-understood “resource curse” – the seeming contradiction that countries with great natural wealth, especially in fossil fuels, tend towards autocratic government, systemic corruption and developmental stagnation affecting the general population, combined with extravagant wealth on the part of controlling elites. The leaders of resource-cursed countries rely on networks of patronage among the rent-seeking class that has gained control over natural resources and derivative industries, and such political systems do not change as long as the petro-dollars keep rolling in.

At the same time that attention is riveted upon Russian expansionism and efforts to negotiate its limits, the international community is busy working towards a global climate agreement in 2015 that aims to hold warming to 2C in this century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued its first report in seven years on the impact of global warming, showing that the impacts are real and that the world needs to redouble its efforts on climate mitigation and adaptation for at least the generation to come.

It is this viewpoint that the Pig's Russia is implicitly rejecting, for the reason that the world’s movement away from the carbon-based energy paradigm would deprive Russia of its immense wealth. Author Bill McKibben has estimated that to achieve this goal up to $20tn worth of fossil fuel reserves would need to remain in the ground, essentially worthless.

One can quibble with the numbers, but the conclusion in regards to the current geo-political situation is clear: in the long term the alternative to military containment of an oil-drunk Russian autocracy is authentic, internal reform of the Russian state and economy, which will only occur when the windfall profits that sustain Pig Putinism cease to flow.

Now, the world has not devalued these assets yet, but Russia is behaving as if its natural wealth has to be leveraged through its military-industrial complex to convert devaluing assets into territorial gains. The Pig's behaviour is like that of individuals in an inflationary spiral. More and more oil and gas will translate into fewer goods and services. So the strategy is to convert the inflating assets into “real” ones as quickly as possible, before three-quarters of Russia’s natural capital becomes worthless. It will be a diminishing window of opportunity if the world gets serious about climate change.

There is enough progressive thinking in Russia today that the Pig can be frightened by the threat of a Maidan-type uprising in Moscow. Currently the Russian leader and his cronies have sufficient resources to see off the threat, and the incorporation of new Russian citizens who owe their chance at prosperity to the Pig's decisive leadership provide him with an additional loyal column of support. But the resource curse can come back to haunt him, particularly if oligarchs start fighting among themselves. The west can help move things along by developing an energy security strategy that starves the regime of money.

The European Union, while taking a back seat to Nato on security strategy, must lead on a transatlantic alignment on energy and climate security that includes US as well as European shale gas as a bridge leading to a renewables-based economy. Until now the United States has been a laggard in international climate talks, and its domestic energy policies have propped up corrupt and authoritarian regimes around the world. This must change.

European countries have been loathe to incur the risks of exploiting their own shale gas resources, but member states should now reconsider their policies, keeping in mind that Europe has the capacity to apply the toughest environmental standards of any energy producing region in the world.

Even if Russian territorial ambitions are curbed, Putin has effectively declared a new ideological divide in Europe. If it would be an ideological divide, let it be one between rent-seeking oil and gas oligarchs and sustainability innovators; between closed societies with press controls and open societies with press freedom; between respect for partners and the aspirations of their populations and cynical leveraging of power.

In the meantime, let the United States join Europe in seriously engaging the climate negotiations and forging an energy strategy that is both more sustainable and more likely to empower the younger generation of Russians to create opportunities for reform that are currently closed by Putin's fossil fuel fed autocracy.

• Stephen Stec is visiting professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University. Alexios Antypas is associate professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University


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« Reply #52 on: Apr 07, 2014, 12:21 PM »

U.S. Sends Warship to Black Sea amid Ukraine Crisis

by Naharnet Newsdesk
07 April 2014, 20:52

The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the United States is sending a guided missile destroyer to the Black Sea in order to reassure European allies in the region following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"We have decided to send a ship into the Black Sea. We expect it will arrive there within a week," said Pentagon spokesman colonel Steven Warren, without disclosing the name or type of the vessel citing "operational security."

A Department of Defense official confirmed to Agence France Presse the warship being sent to the region was the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer.

The boat was recently upgraded to make it capable of firing SM-3 missiles, allowing the ship to function as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The boat has been deployed at the Spanish naval base in Rota in order to serve as part of the proposed NATO missile shield.

NATO insists the missile shield is a purely defensive system designed to counter potential missile threats from nations such as Iran. However it has long been a source of tension between NATO and Russia, which sees the project as a threat to its own security.

Warren insisted the deployment of the Donald Cook was meant only to reassure regional allies.

"The purpose is primarily to reassure our allies and partners in the region that we're committed to the region," he said.

"We're still planning the details of our operations in the Black Sea but we expect port calls and exercises with other Black Sea nations."

None of the planned exercises would take place in Ukrainian ports, according to Warren.

Another American destroyer, USS Truxtun, was sent to the Black Sea when the crisis between Russia and Ukraine erupted but left the region on March 21.

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U.S. Urges the Pig to Stop 'Destabilizing' Ukraine as Moscow Calls for Federalization

by Naharnet Newsdesk
07 April 2014, 19:36

The United States called Monday on Russia's President Pig Putin to stop “destabilizing” Ukraine, saying it was concerned about "several escalatory" moves over the weekend, as Moscow called for the federalization of the unrest-hit country.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States was prepared to impose further sanctions, this time targeting the Russian economy, if the situation continues to escalate.

The warning came after pro-Kremlin militants occupied the seat of government in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine and proclaimed independence from Kiev, promising a referendum on joining Russia.

"We are concerned about several escalatory moves in Ukraine at the weekend. We see them as the result of increasing Russian pressure on Ukraine," Carney said.

He warned that any move into eastern Ukraine by Russian forces would be regarded as "a serious escalation and would unleash new consequences from the West."

"We call on the Pig and his government of stooges to cease efforts to destabilize Ukraine," he said.

The United States imposed targeted sanctions on a Russian bank and officials in Putin's inner circle after Moscow last month annexed Crimea, a breakaway mainly Russian-speaking province of Ukraine.

The White House has previously said that further aggression from Moscow could lead the United States to seek sanctions that go beyond individuals and aim to hurt the broader Russian economy.

Later on Monday, Moscow called for the federalization of Ukraine, saying authorities in Kiev needed to heed the "legitimate demands" of people in the Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine, where there have been calls for independence from the central authorities.

Ukraine could not have long-term stability "without conducting genuine constitutional reform" whereby "the interests of all the country's regions ... would be ensured through federalization," said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement.

"Stop pointing the finger at Russia, blaming it for all the problems in today's Ukraine."

"The Ukrainian people want a clear answer from Kiev to all of their questions. It's time to heed these legitimate demands."

The Kremlin has been lobbying for Ukraine to become a federation to ensure greater autonomy for its Russian-speaking eastern regions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, however, said Monday federalization was a dangerous idea aimed at splitting Ukraine.

Moscow said it was watching carefully the latest events in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine.

The call came after Russia annexed the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea in February after staging a referendum Western powers condemned as illegitimate.

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Germany Worried by Flare-Up in Eastern Ukraine

by Naharnet Newsdesk
07 April 2014, 20:22

Germany said Monday it was worried by the actions of pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine and called for stability in the region.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin was watching events in the eastern Ukrainian cities Donetsk and Kharkiv closely after irate activists occupied government buildings there Sunday.

On Monday, the demonstrators proclaimed independence from Kiev and vowed to hold a referendum on joining Kremlin rule.

"We in the German government have been observing recent events in Donetsk and Kharkiv with a great deal of concern," he told reporters.

"We must renew our urgent call to work toward the stability of the region so that such flare-ups can be avoided."

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said later that recent events showed "how difficult the work still ahead of us, in effect, is" and urged efforts to stabilize Ukraine economically and politically.

"That will not succeed if the country moves towards a political division," he told reporters after a meeting of his Social Democratic Party's leadership in Berlin.

Meanwhile Seibert said Berlin was "disappointed" there was no "verifiable" sign of a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from a sensitive border region with Ukraine that Pig Putin announced during a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

"Of course we are not the only ones waiting for such urgently needed confidence-building measures to become apparent," he said, adding that a troop withdrawal from the region would mark a "step toward deescalation."

Seibert said that Germany was nevertheless committed to "dialogue" with Russia "with the aim of rapprochement, diplomacy and deescalation."


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« Reply #53 on: Apr 08, 2014, 12:42 PM »

Russians Sent to Foment 'Chaos' in East Ukraine, Says Kerry

by Naharnet Newsdesk
08 April 2014, 18:05

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia was sending agents into eastern Ukraine to "create chaos" the Kremlin could use as a pretext for more military intervention.

With tensions again on the boil in Ukraine, Kerry said he would meet next week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Washington seeks to tamp down the most serious East-West crisis since the Cold War.

But Kerry bluntly accused Russia of mounting an "illegal, illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state."

In recent days pro-Kremlin activists have seized government buildings in several cities in Ukraine's east, declaring independence and vowing to vote on splitting from Ukraine.

"Everything that we've seen in the last 48 hours, from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they've been sent there determined to create chaos," Kerry told U.S. lawmakers.

And Kerry said Moscow was seeking to further destabilize neighboring Ukraine by fomenting separatism.

"Russia's clear and unmistakable involvement in destabilizing and engaging in separatist activities in the eastern Ukraine is more than deeply disturbing," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a panel he chaired before becoming America's top diplomat.

"No one is fooled by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea."

Washington wants to see four-way talks between the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union within the next 10 days to find a way to calm the crisis.

Moscow said Tuesday it was ready to take part in talks with Brussels and Washington over the future of Ukraine but insisted the ex-Soviet country's Russian-speaking east and south be represented in the negotiations.

Lavrov told reporters that Russia wanted Ukraine's south and east being represented in such discussions.

Russian President Pig Putin helped trigger an international crisis last month when his troops invaded Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, a majority Russian-speaking region. Moscow then annexed the region, a move rejected by western nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced sanctions on Russian officials and a bank for Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

But some lawmakers like Senate Republican Bob Corker have called for tougher sanctions, saying the White House should impose broader penalties on Russian banks and economic sectors.

"I hope that you will address when we will implement the executive order relative to sectoral sanctions," Corker said, "and hopefully that will be this week if they continue to have the buildup that they have."

***********

Pro-Moscow Separatists Declare 'Provisional Govt.' in Donetsk as U.S. Says May 'Reexamine' Europe Military Presence

by Naharnet Newsdesk
08 April 2014, 19:18

Hundreds of pro-Russians remained holed up Tuesday inside the Donetsk administration building in eastern Ukraine a day after proclaiming the creation of a sovereign "people's republic" and demanding that an independence referendum be held before May 11, as the U.S. said Russia's takeover of Crimea could prompt it to review its military presence in Europe.

"We have formed a provisional government in Donetsk," separatist leader Vadym Chernyakov told Agence France Presse inside the occupied building.

The 33-year-old said his forces intended to control the region's airport and railway stations in order to "maintain order."

The heart of Donetsk itself was a mesh of razor wire and hastily-assembled barricades of old tires that could be set on fire in case the riot police decided to mount an assault on the regional government seat.

In another development, Ukraine's state security service said on Tuesday that pro-Russian separatists who had seized one of its regional headquarters had mined the building and were holding 60 people "hostage."

The SBU security service said it had "established" that militants in the heavily Russified city of Lugansk had rigged the building with explosives after seizing it on Sunday and releasing several suspects that Ukrainian authorities had accused of trying to stage a coup.

"The Lugansk separatists have mined the SBU building and taken 60 hostages," the security service said in a statement.

"Threatening them with weapons and explosives, the separatists are holding 60 people against their will, not letting them leave the building and return home."

The SBU did not explain why it was making the announcement two days after the actual raid.

The Russian militants have refused to allow any media inside the building and it was unclear how the SBU knew that its regional headquarters had been mined.

The Lugansk raid occurred on the same day that militants had also taken control of the main administration offices of the eastern cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk.

Meanwhile, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday that Russia's takeover of Crimea could prompt a review of the U.S. military presence in Europe, which has declined steadily since the end of the Cold War.

"While we do not seek confrontation with Russia, its actions in Europe and Eurasia may require the United States to re-examine our force posture in Europe and our requirement for future deployments, exercises, and training in the region," said Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet.

Some 67,000 U.S. military members are currently stationed on the European continent, mainly in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000) and Britain (9,500).

When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total presence stood at 285,000.

Chollet, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, did not specify what such a re-examination could entail at a time when the Pentagon faces budget cuts and is seeking to redeploy part of its resources to the Asia Pacific region as part of a so-called pivot strategy.

"Russia's unlawful military intervention in Ukraine challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace," he said.

"It changes Europe's security landscape. It causes instability on NATO's borders. And it is a challenge to the international order."

To reassure Eastern European NATO members, Washington has already deployed six F-15s as reinforcement to the Baltics, as well as 12 F-16s and three transport planes to Poland.

A guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald-Cook, is due to arrive in the Black Sea in the coming days.

The seizure of local administration buildings in Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine was "very concerning," Chollet said, adding that Washington did not believe them to be "spontaneous demonstrations."

"Moving into eastern Ukraine would clearly be a very serious escalation of this crisis," he said.

In his written testimony, Chollet said pressure from Moscow is not confined to Ukraine.

"Moldova, for example, has Russian forces on its territory, nominally peacekeepers, but who actually support the separatist Transnistria region."

NATO's top commander, the US General Philip Breedlove, expressed concern at the end of March about the large Russian troop presence along Ukraine's border, fearing it could lead to an intervention by Moscow in Transnistria.
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« Reply #54 on: Apr 08, 2014, 02:00 PM »

Dear Rad

Excuse me my ignorance, I have not been very active in recent years. I do not know you, and I do not want to offend you, but I was put off here by your tone.

It says under your name, moderator, so I was surprised the way you treated poor Daniel here, you shut him up by threatening him with suspension and when he apologizes you bless him like a pope. No wonder your the only one on this post.

Right from the start your title does not show any moderation, What do you make of the rest of history and I am not talking about the last 100 years, how about the last 500 hundreds years, well, a thousands, who do you think won and lost all those battles. You think our demons are better and more clever with their blazing mantle of DEMOCRATY-DEMONCRAZY.

In a system where we put up our worst and clever demons to rule us, who is really fit on both side to point fingers at anyone. Humanity most rise against all form of violence and it is the work of each and everyone of us to become conscious of our own personal evil, the deep shadow dug by our own worst fears.

Someone here always write this: What you believe you create

Moderation here would be to express our hopes that love and harmony will prevail otherwise taking side against each other is sure to fail.

Hope this finds you in good health

Serge



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« Reply #55 on: Apr 09, 2014, 04:35 AM »

Dear Rad

Excuse me my ignorance, I have not been very active in recent years. I do not know you, and I do not want to offend you, but I was put off here by your tone.

It says under your name, moderator, so I was surprised the way you treated poor Daniel here, you shut him up by threatening him with suspension and when he apologizes you bless him like a pope. No wonder your the only one on this post.

Right from the start your title does not show any moderation, What do you make of the rest of history and I am not talking about the last 100 years, how about the last 500 hundreds years, well, a thousands, who do you think won and lost all those battles. You think our demons are better and more clever with their blazing mantle of DEMOCRATY-DEMONCRAZY.

In a system where we put up our worst and clever demons to rule us, who is really fit on both side to point fingers at anyone. Humanity most rise against all form of violence and it is the work of each and everyone of us to become conscious of our own personal evil, the deep shadow dug by our own worst fears.

Someone here always write this: What you believe you create

Moderation here would be to express our hopes that love and harmony will prevail otherwise taking side against each other is sure to fail.

Hope this finds you in good health

Serge


Hi Serge,

All that has been posted here are actual news articles from various sources that document what Pig Putin is doing. It is the use of the word Pig that you and Daniel, or whomever else, reacts too. The facts can't be changed one way or the other whether I chose to use this word to describe what this man is to me. If I did not use that word at all all that would be posted here are the news articles that speak for themselves.

I would use this word to describe other world leaders who do or have done the same of similar things as Putin has. For example, the former president of the USA, George Bush who invaded Iraq for self justifying reasons that were in fact lies and deceptions peddled to Americans and the rest of the world to justify that invasion. Or Hitler, or Stalin, or Pinochet, or Pol Pot and so on.

No taking of some mythical high road or wishing for peace and love altered one thing that any of these pigs have done. And the same is true for Pig Putin. History itself demands that we looked as cleared eyed as we can as such things in order to restrain such evil things as much that is possible which is the real intention of my posting all these articles that detail what Pig Putin is doing. The facts speak for themselves whether I choose to use the word pig or not.

Daniel in fact, in his words, came to the conclusion that he was wrong, and said he was big enough to do so. That's why I said what I said to him. Not as some pope, that reflects a choice of words that you choose to describe me, but as a fellow human being.

Steve posted a lengthy piece as to why we need to be as clear eyed as we can relative to Putin, and all that are like him. Did you not see/ read this ? Or Gonzalo's post, etc ? And that is, again, the intent of these posts. The posting of the Pig's birth chart is for us to learn about the archetypes that manifest in these ways which is the actual core intention of this thread. The facts reflected in the various news articles are meant to be read and used in looking at, and understanding, this chart from an EA point of view. Whether you like the use of my choice of words to describe Putin, and all like him, is your business.

In am not interested in any further discussion as to my choice of the word Pig to describe Putin and all others like him. If you personally object that is fine, and, of course, you are free not to read these posts at all just like anyone else is. Beyond these personal asides, which mean nothing to me, it is the actual facts as to what is happening relative to Putin that we and the world need to pay attention too. In so doing whatever actions that can be taken to help contain this evil are actions that can hopefully stabilize our world, a world that we all live in. 

God Bless, Rad  
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« Reply #56 on: Apr 09, 2014, 04:41 AM »

U.S. and NATO Warn Russia Against Further Intervention in Ukraine

By ANDREW HIGGINS and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
APRIL 8, 2014
IHT

DONETSK, Ukraine — As the government in Kiev moved to reassert control over pro-Russian protesters across eastern Ukraine, the United States and NATO issued stern warnings to Moscow about further intervention in the country’s affairs amid continuing fears of an eventual Russian incursion.

Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Kremlin of fomenting the unrest, calling the protests the work of saboteurs whose machinations were as “ham-handed as they are transparent.” Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he added: “No one should be fooled — and believe me, no one is fooled — by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea. It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalysts behind the chaos of the last 24 hours.”

The secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Russia would be making a “historic mistake” by going into Ukraine, and he urged the Kremlin to “step back.” At a news conference in Paris, he said any such actions “would have grave consequences for our relationship with Russia” and “would further isolate Russia internationally.”

Officials from the United States, Russia and Britain discussed the growing unrest and violence in the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk.

In Moscow, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, on Tuesday denied the accusations of Russian meddling in Ukraine. He said Russia would seek talks on the Ukrainian political crisis that could involve the United States, the European Union and “all the political forces in Ukraine,” which should include representatives of the southeastern region.

But none of that was soothing nerves rattled by days of protests here, orchestrated or otherwise. With pro-Russian demonstrators having been expelled from a government building in the eastern city of Kharkiv and the government determined to end the protests across the south and east, separatist protesters here in the east’s biggest urban center reinforced barricades outside the occupied regional administration building and vowed to stand firm, setting up a possibly violent showdown.

The operation in Kharkiv was announced by Ukraine’s acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, who had traveled to the city to supervise the action. He wrote on Facebook that the building was retaken “without firing a shot, grenades, or other special weapons,” and that the troops were part of a broader redeployment in the region to contain unrest that Ukraine has accused Russia of orchestrating.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to the use of the Interior Ministry troops, accusing Ukraine’s government of embedding nationalist militants from the group Right Sector and private American mercenaries from a company called Greystone in its forces in the east. The statement said the American contractors were disguised as members of a Ukrainian military unit called Falcon.

A private American security company formerly affiliated with Greystone, called Academi, issued a statement in mid-March saying its employees were not working in Ukraine, after similar allegations surfaced in the Russian news media. But it was unclear what role, if any, Greystone had in Ukraine.

The ministry, which has denounced the government in Kiev as the illegitimate product of a coup, warned against the use of military force in eastern Ukraine. “We call immediately for the halt of any military preparations, which risk the outbreak of civil war,” it said in its statement.

Pro-Russian demonstrators seized government buildings Sunday evening in several eastern cities, including Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk, posing a challenge for the authorities in Kiev, who wrested power from the former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, using similar tactics. Russian troops are deployed along the border nearby, and the Kremlin has warned that it is prepared to intervene again in Ukraine to protect the many ethnic Russians living there, as it had in Crimea in the south.

Provoking an attack is evidently the fervent wish of the pro-Russian activists here, who on Monday declared the creation of an independent People’s Republic of Donetsk and waved Russian flags and the black, red and blue standard of their new state, which even Moscow has shown no inclination to recognize.

Between blasts of Soviet martial music dating from World War II, they pleaded with a crowd of predominantly older supporters gathered in a square below to resist any move by Ukrainian authorities to retake the building and snuff out their new state. No weapons were visible, but a security adviser to the Ukrainian government said about 30 Kalashnikov rifles and a number of grenades had been seized by protesters who briefly took control of the Donetsk headquarters of Ukraine’s state security service. Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops took back the security agency building late Monday.

“Comrades, beware of provocateurs and get ready to defend yourselves from the fascists,” a middle-aged man in an orange hard hat screamed through a bullhorn, echoing Russia’s line that Ukraine fell to neo-Nazi extremists after the flight of Mr. Yanukovych in late February.

Bands of pro-Russia youths, however, mimicked the tactics of the pro-Europe protest movement that led to Mr. Yanukovch’s departure. As rumors spread of an impending crackdown, they formed self-defense teams armed with clubs and metal rods, dug up paving stones to hurl at troops in the event of a government attack and piled rubber tires and sandbags around the entrance of the occupied multistory regional administration building.

“This is our land, Russian land,” said Oleg Shifkemenko, waving a flag emblazoned with the word “Rus,” for an ancient Slavic people celebrated by Russian nationalists. “Russians built the roads here, the railways, the factories. We built everything, and it is ours, forever.” Despite his Ukrainian name, he described himself as a “proud Russian.”

But like many others involved in the unrest, Mr. Shifkemenko expressed uncertainty over whether the objective is to protect the so-called People’s Republic of Donetsk, to merge Donetsk with Russia or simply to gain more autonomy for the region.

Ukrainian security experts said the pro-Russia camp in Donetsk was bitterly divided over its goals and scoffed at its attempt to seize power. “They have no clear idea of what they want,” said Nikolai Yakubovich, an adviser to the Interior Ministry in Kiev. “It is a nonsense, a dangerous nonsense.” He said negotiations had started between protest leaders in Donetsk and the authorities but had been hampered by infighting between rival pro-Russia factions over their aims.

As part of its efforts to regain control, the government in Kiev flew antiterrorism forces to the Donetsk airport on Tuesday and vowed to prevent eastern Ukraine from going the way of Crimea, where pro-Russia demonstrations paved the way for a formal annexation by Moscow.

Mr. Yakubovich said the authorities would hold off on trying to storm the occupied administration building and focus on undermining the resolve of those inside by making clear that they face criminal charges with sentences of up to 15 years if they persist in their actions. “We have people working to let them know that this is very serious,” he said.

Unlike the pro-Europe protest movement in Kiev, the stirrings in Donetsk have so far attracted little support from the middle class and seem dominated by pensioners nostalgic for the Soviet Union and angry, and often drunk, young men.

“They used to sit at home and play games on the computer,” said a 27-year-old company manager who gave his name only as Oleg. “But now they are here playing for real.” He said he had not supported the protests in Kiev against Mr. Yanukovych but also did not support what he called the “pointless disorder” now unfolding in eastern cities.

The lack of widespread public support makes the government’s task easier, but any crackdown that results in serious bloodshed would probably widen the appeal of the protesters in a mostly Russian-speaking region that has little liking for leaders in Kiev, who mostly speak Ukrainian.


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« Reply #57 on: Apr 09, 2014, 04:44 AM »

Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry Is Pig Putin, Not Pogroms

By ANDREW HIGGINS
APRIL 8, 2014
IHT

DNIPROPETROVSK, Ukraine — From his office atop the world’s biggest Jewish community center, Shmuel Kaminezki, the chief rabbi of this eastern Ukrainian city, has followed with dismay Russian claims that Ukraine is now in the hands of neo-Nazi extremists — and has struggled to calm his panicked 85-year-old mother in New York.

Raised in Russia and a regular viewer of Russian television, she “calls every day to ask, ‘Have the pogroms happened yet?’ ” Rabbi Kaminezki said. He tells his mother that they have not, and that she should stop watching Russian TV. “It is a total lie,” he said. “Jews are not in danger in Ukraine.”

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, added his own voice to the scaremongering in a speech at the Kremlin on March 18, when he described the ouster of President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine as an armed coup executed by “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites” who “continue to set the tone in Ukraine to this day.”

But instead of reeling in panic at any fascist resurgence, the Jewish community of Dnipropetrovsk, one of the largest in Ukraine, is celebrating the recent appointment of one of its own, a billionaire tycoon named Ihor Kolomoysky, as the region’s most powerful official.

A visual survey of the continuing dispute, including satellite images of Russian naval positions and maps showing political, cultural and economic factors in the crisis.

“They made a Jew the governor. What kind of anti-Semitism is this?” asked Solomon Flaks, the 87-year-old chairman of the region’s Council of Jewish Veterans of the Great Patriotic War, a group of a rapidly shrinking number of World War II veterans. Since being formed in 1994, when it had 970 members, the council’s membership has fallen to 103, the result of old age and emigration to Israel.

A few Jewish leaders do endorse Russian claims of a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, but they are nearly all outsiders, most notably Berel Lazar, Moscow’s chief rabbi and a firm ally of the Kremlin. In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last month, Rabbi Lazar criticized Ukrainian Jews for denouncing Mr. Putin and suggested they had played down the risk of anti-Semitism out of fear for their safety.

Mr. Kolomoysky, the new governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, derided Rabbi Lazar’s support for Mr. Putin as Kremlin-orchestrated propaganda. Russia, he said in an interview, has put pressure on Jewish leaders to fall into line with Moscow’s contention that Ukraine’s government was toppled in a fascist coup. “Unlike in Russia, Ukraine’s Jewish community is not a lever of the state,” he said.

Mr. Kolomoysky, a Russian speaker who has both Israeli and Ukrainian passports, scoffed at the Kremlin’s pledges to protect Jews, Russian-speakers and other minorities. “We can protect ourselves. We don’t need any protection from Russia,” he said. “There is no fascism here. It does not exist.”

Anti-Semitism is experienced in daily life, he said, but gets no support or encouragement from the state, unlike in Russia, where the security services have tolerated and at times nurtured neo-Nazi nationalist groups with openly anti-Semitic agendas. Russia’s state-run news media regularly air the views of Aleksandr A. Prokhanov, the editor of the Zaftra newspaper, a notorious platform for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Although not particularly observant, Mr. Kolomoysky, who is also the president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, has poured tens of millions of dollars into Jewish causes over the years. Together with a fellow billionaire, Gennadiy Bogolyubov, he financed the Menorah Center, the seven-towered, $70 million community center here where the veterans’ association, the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish Community and dozens of other organizations have their offices. Also housed in the building are the Israeli Consulate, a synagogue, kosher restaurants, a Shabbat-friendly hotel and a high-tech Holocaust museum.

The museum skirts the delicate issue of how some Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with the Nazis when Hitler invaded Ukraine in 1941, explaining instead how Jews supported Ukraine’s efforts to become an independent nation.

Before the Holocaust, Jews made up nearly a third of Dnipropetrovsk’s population, making it one of the most important centers of Jewish life and culture in Europe. The city now has 30,000 to 50,000 Jews, a small fraction of a total population of over a million but enough to sustain a vibrant community. The World Jewish Congress estimates that there are more than 250,000 Jews in Ukraine as a whole, the third-largest population of Jews among European nations.

“This is an example of a Jewish renaissance,” said Rabbi Kaminezki, a member of the Lubavitch movement who was born in Israel and studied at a rabbinical college in Morristown, N.J.

When protests against Mr. Yanukovych started in November, he said, many Jews shared the pro-European aspirations of the demonstrators who gathered in Kiev’s Independence Square, though some worried about the role played by far-right groups. One such group, Svoboda, stirred particular unease because of anti-Semitic remarks by its leaders in the past and its lionization of Ukrainian nationalist heroes who, in some cases, helped the Nazis and shared their ethnicity-based concept of nationhood.

But Rabbi Kaminezki said fears of a fascist revival had faded, “as there is a difference between what these people say to their own crowd and what they do when they become legitimate political leaders.” Anti-Semitism, he added, “exists in Ukraine, like everywhere,” but it has shown no sign of increasing since Mr. Yanukovych lost power.

After a series of unsolved anti-Semitic attacks since his ouster, including an assault on a rabbi and his wife in Kiev, the new head of Ukraine’s state security service told Jewish leaders that he would reopen a special unit to fight xenophobia and anti-Semitism that had been shut down under Mr. Yanukovych.

Even Right Sector, a coalition of ultranationalist and in some cases neo-Nazi organizations, has made an effort to distance itself from anti-Semitism. In late February, its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, pledged during a meeting with Israel’s ambassador in Kiev to fight all forms of racism.

Rabbi Kaminezki said most Jews were far more worried about the Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border than about the risk of violence by anti-Semitic extremists. “Nobody is afraid of fascists, but everyone is afraid of war with Russia,” he said, noting that there has been an upsurge of interest among local Jews in moving to Israel because of worry about an armed conflict.

Mr. Putin stoked such fears when, in his Kremlin address, he not only claimed Crimea as Russian territory but complained that “large sections of the historical south of Russia,” an area that includes Dnipropetrovsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine, had wrongly been incorporated into the territory of what until 1991 was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Mr. Flaks, of the veterans’ association, said he did not expect a conflict with Russia but worried that Mr. Putin underestimated the determination of Ukrainians, including Jews, to defend their country.

In a recent open letter to Mr. Putin, representatives of more than 20 Ukrainian Jewish organizations noted their country’s political instability but told him not to act on Russian pledges to “protect” threatened minorities. “This threat is coming from the Russian government, namely from you personally. It is your policy of inciting separatism and crude pressure placed on Ukraine that threatens us and all Ukrainian people,” the letter said.

The protest movement that overthrew Mr. Yanukovych, the letter added, included some unsavory nationalist groups, “but even the most marginal do not show anti-Semitism” and are “well controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government — which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security forces.”


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« Reply #58 on: Apr 09, 2014, 04:47 AM »

U.S. accuses Russia of instigating eastern Ukraine secession push

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 16:10 EDT

The United States accused Russia on Tuesday of sending its agents to stoke a flaring secession crisis in eastern Ukraine that Moscow itself conceded could spill over into civil war.

The blunt U.S. charge came as Ukraine’s embattled leaders waged an uphill battle to keep their culturally splintered nation of 46 million together after the February ouster of a pro-Kremlin president and subsequent loss of Crimea to Russia.

An eery echo of the Black Sea peninsula’s separation sounded on Sunday when militants — many of them masked — stormed a series of strategic buildings across a swathe of heavily Russified eastern regions and demanded that Moscow send its troops for support.

Ukraine mounted a counter-offensive on Tuesday by vowing to treat the separatists as “terrorists” and making 70 arrests in a nighttime security sweep aimed at proving the Kremlin’s involvement in the secessionist movement.

An urgent deployment of forces saw Kiev also regain control of an administration office in Kharkiv and the security service headquarters of Donetsk — the stronghold of Viktor Yanukovych prior to his ouster as president and flight to Russia.

But Kalashnikov-wielding militants still held on to the main police building in the nearby city of Lugansk after breaking into its massive weapons cache and releasing several activists who had been accused of plotting a coup.

Ukraine’s state security service said on Tuesday it had “established” that the Lugansk militants had rigged its regional centre with explosives and were holding 60 people “against their will, not letting them leave the building and return home.”

But the agency did not explain why it was making the announcement two days after the actual raid or say how it had gained information from inside the heavily-fortified building.

Hundreds of pro-Russians also remained holed up inside the Donetsk administration centre a day after proclaiming the creation of a sovereign “people’s republic” and demanding that an independence referendum be held before May 11.

“We have formed a provisional government in Donetsk,” separatist leader Vadym Chernyakov told AFP inside the occupied building.

The 33-year-old said his forces intended to control the region’s airport and railway stations in order to “maintain order”.

The heart of Donetsk itself was a mesh of razor wire and hastily-assembled barricades of old tyres that could be set on fire in case the riot police decided to mount an assault on the regional government seat.

But calm had returned to the city of Kharkiv after a night of violence that saw retreating militants throw Molotov cocktails at the administration building as hundreds of police regained control of it.

- Kremlin ‘agents’ -

Months of deadly political turmoil threaten not only to break up the vast nation on the EU’s eastern frontier along its ethnic divisions but also plunge Moscow’s relations with the West to a low that may take decades to repair.

US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to cast aside the last vestiges of diplomatic decorum on Tuesday by explicitly accusing the Kremlin of sending operatives into eastern Ukraine in order to foment unrest.

“Everything that we’ve seen in the last 48 hours, from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they’ve been sent there determined to create chaos,” Kerry told US lawmakers.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague backed up that message by noting the flareup bore “all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilise Ukraine”.

And NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen reaffirmed on a visit to Paris that Moscow — its forces now massed along Ukraine’s eastern frontier — would be making an “historic mistake” if it were to intervene in Ukraine any further.

Yet the sharply barbed rhetoric has not yet led to a complete breakdown in diplomatic relations similar to the one that had endangered global security in the nuclear-charged decades of the Cold War.

Kerry said he intended to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “in Europe next week” to discuss preparations for possible four-way talks with Ukraine and EU diplomats.

The increased tensions helped Europe’s main stock markets to retreat further on Tuesday.

London’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.49 percent to close 6,590.69 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.25 percent to 4,424.83 points. The DAX 30 in Frankfurt fell 0.21 percent to 9,490.79 points.

- Russia warns of ‘civil war’ -

The West’s anxiety stems in part from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vow to use “all means necessary” to protect his compatriots in Ukraine.

Moscow is further demanding a decentralisation of power that could push Ukraine’s east further out of Kiev’s reach and into what the West fears may turn into the Kremlin’s permanent ambit.

The Russian foreign ministry put still more pressure on Kiev on Tuesday by accusing it of making “military preparations (in eastern regions) that are fraught with the risk of unleashing a civil war.”

Russia has also put tough conditions on Washington’s four-way talks idea by stressing that negotiations should also include representatives of Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions — a condition implicitly unacceptable to Kiev.

“When we are talking about negotiations at such a level, they should only include official state representatives,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Yevgen Perebiynis said.

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« Reply #59 on: Apr 09, 2014, 05:35 AM »


Ukraine: dangerous games

If Russia intervenes again in Ukraine, and war is avoided, the world will still become a shrunken, soured place

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Editorial   
The Guardian, Tuesday 8 April 2014 22.55 BST          

It would be hard to overestimate the damage that would be done were Russian forces to intervene again in Ukraine. That country's hopes of a reasonable future would disappear into the vortex. But that would only be one aspect of a truly malign change in international affairs that would weaken Europe and Russia, undermine all our economies, and lead to a confrontation between east and west that might take years to overcome.

No doubt business would still be done, trade would not cease, and, although military spending and preparedness would increase, war would be avoided. Yet what a shrunken and soured world it would be, just at the time when the developed countries need to work together to deal with the multiple challenges which face us all. The Crimean annexation has already taken us halfway to that dismal destination, but further encroachment would complete the process. That is why the appearance in eastern Ukrainian cities of demonstrators proclaiming "republics", and demanding referendums not only on their future status within Ukraine but also on the question of whether they should join Russia, is so disturbing. It may be that these miniature uprisings – and they are, so far, very small – are being orchestrated by Russia.

That is unproven, but in one sense it does not matter whether they are spontaneous or contrived. It also does not ultimately matter whether Russia's aim, if Moscow is behind these incidents, is to exert pressure, or whether there is a deeper plan for annexation. What matters is that it would take only a few deaths as Ukrainian police oust protesters from the government buildings they have occupied to create an opportunity, a pretext or a compulsion to intervene, and then events would unroll in ways none of the actors could control. One building has been retaken without casualties, but this kind of luck may not last, particularly if there are people who would very much prefer it not to.

The Russian position is that such things were almost bound to happen, given the unrepresentative and unsavoury nature of the interim regime in Kiev. They would add, taking a delight in the hoist-by-their-own-petard moral, that the tactics of the eastern protesters are not that different from those of the Maidan protesters in the Ukrainian capital. The scale, of course, is completely different and the motivation very suspect. However, this is not a time for point-scoring.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, is right to say there are differences between the Ukrainian regions. The question he and Mr Putin have to answer is whether they want to deal with those differences in a way that helps Ukraine, or to manipulate them to dismember or to dominate that country.
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