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Author Topic: Ukraine  (Read 4952 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2014, 10:28:47 AM »

One of the key themes in the Ukraine is natural gas and the Russian's control of supplies of it to Europe.  As long as that remains the case, Europe will do nothing and Russia remains in the driver's seat.  Period.

I would note that I have been making this point here for several years.  I would note the strategy I advocated (helped mightily by the insights shared by YA in the Afpakia thread) about developing alternate routes for central Asian gas (e.g. through Afpakia to the Indian Ocean, though Georgia, etc) so that Russia was not its only buyer; for without importing this gas, Russia cannot export to Europe.

Instead we have a president who finds it necessary to rely upon Russia as a supply route to Afpakia (which does support mightily Obama's determination to exit Afpakia) and Russia as a "partner" in Syria, and in dealing with Iran and who suppresses the US as a supplier of natural gas to the world-- leaving Europe subject to Putin's whims.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #51 on: March 18, 2014, 03:53:44 PM »

Here is an interesting idea: Have NATO member Turkey close the Dardenelles to Russian naval movements-- thus denying Russia its only warm water port for military purposes http://www.theblaze.com/.../new-sanctions-may-not-be.../
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« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2014, 11:16:40 PM »

By George Friedman

The fall of the Ukrainian government and its replacement with one that appears to be oriented toward the West represents a major defeat for the Russian Federation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia accepted the reality that the former Eastern European satellite states would be absorbed into the Western economic and political systems. Moscow claims to have been assured that former Soviet republics would be left as a neutral buffer zone and not absorbed. Washington and others have disputed that this was promised. In any case, it was rendered meaningless when the Baltic states were admitted to NATO and the European Union. The result was that NATO, which had been almost 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from St. Petersburg, was now less than approximately 160 kilometers away. 

This left Belarus and Ukraine as buffers. Ukraine is about 480 kilometers from Moscow at its closest point. Were Belarus and Ukraine both admitted to NATO, the city of Smolensk, which had been deep inside the Soviet Union, would have become a border town. Russia has historically protected itself with its depth. It moved its borders as far west as possible, and that depth deterred adventurers -- or, as it did with Hitler and Napoleon, destroyed them. The loss of Ukraine as a buffer to the West leaves Russia without that depth and hostage to the intentions and capabilities of Europe and the United States.
 
There are those in the West who dismiss Russia's fears as archaic. No one wishes to invade Russia, and no one can invade Russia. Such views appear sophisticated but are in fact simplistic. Intent means relatively little in terms of assessing threats. They can change very fast. So too can capabilities. The American performance in World War I and the German performance in the 1930s show how quickly threats and capabilities shift. In 1932, Germany was a shambles economically and militarily. By 1938, it was the dominant economic and military power on the European Peninsula. In 1941, it was at the gates of Moscow. In 1916, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson ran a sincere anti-war campaign in a country with hardly any army. In 1917, he deployed more than a million American soldiers to Europe.
 
Russia's viewpoint is appropriately pessimistic. If Russia loses Belarus or Ukraine, it loses its strategic depth, which accounts for much of its ability to defend the Russian heartland. If the intention of the West is not hostile, then why is it so eager to see the regime in Ukraine transformed? It may be a profound love of liberal democracy, but from Moscow's perspective, Russia must assume more sinister motives.
 
Quite apart from the question of invasion, which is obviously a distant one, Russia is concerned about the consequences of Ukraine's joining the West and the potential for contagion in parts of Russia itself. During the 1990s, there were several secessionist movements in Russia. The Chechens became violent, and the rest of their secession story is well known. But there also was talk of secession in Karelia, in Russia's northwest, and in the Pacific Maritime region.
 
What was conceivable under Boris Yeltsin was made inconceivable under Vladimir Putin. The strategy Putin adopted was to increase Russia's strength moderately but systematically, to make that modest increase appear disproportionately large. Russia could not afford to remain on the defensive; the forces around it were too powerful. Putin had to magnify Russia's strength, and he did. Using energy exports, the weakness of Europe and the United States' distraction in the Middle East, he created a sense of growing Russian power. Putin ended talk of secession in the Russian Federation. He worked to create regimes in Belarus and Ukraine that retained a great deal of domestic autonomy but operated within a foreign policy framework acceptable to Russia. Moscow went further, projecting its power into the Middle East and, in the Syrian civil war, appearing to force the United States to back out of its strategy.
 
It is not clear what happened in Kiev. There were of course many organizations funded by American and European money that were committed to a reform government. It is irrelevant whether, as the Russians charge, these organizations planned and fomented the uprising against former President Viktor Yanukovich's regime or whether that uprising was part of a more powerful indigenous movement that drew these groups along. The fact was that Yanukovich refused to sign an agreement moving Ukraine closer to the European Union, the demonstrations took place, there was violence, and an openly pro-Western Ukrainian government was put in place.
 
The Russians cannot simply allow this to stand. Not only does it create a new geopolitical reality, but in the longer term it also gives the appearance inside Russia that Putin is weaker than he seems and opens the door to instability and even fragmentation. Therefore, the Russians must respond. The issue is how.
Russia's Potential Responses

The first step was simply making official what has been a reality. Crimea is within the Russian sphere of influence, and the military force Moscow has based in Crimea under treaties could assert control whenever it wished. That Sevastopol is a critical Russian naval base for operations in the Black and Mediterranean seas was not the key. A treaty protected that. But intervention in Crimea was a low-risk, low-cost action that would halt the appearance that Russia was hemorrhaging power. It made Russia appear as a bully in the West and a victor at home. That was precisely the image it wanted to project to compensate for its defeat.
 
Several options are now available to Russia.

First, it can do nothing. The government in Kiev is highly fractious, and given the pro-Russian factions' hostility toward moving closer to the West, the probability of paralysis is high. In due course, Russian influence, money and covert activities can recreate the prior neutrality in Ukraine in the form of a stalemate. This was the game Russia played after the 2004 Orange Revolution. The problem with this strategy is that it requires patience at a time when the Russian government must demonstrate its power to its citizens and the world. Moreover, if Crimea does leave Ukraine, it will weaken the pro-Russian bloc in Kiev and remove a large number of ethnic Tartars from Ukraine's political morass. It could be enough of a loss to allow the pro-Russian bloc to lose what electoral power it previously had (Yanukovich beat Yulia Timoshenko by fewer than a million votes in 2010). Thus, by supporting Crimea's independence -- and raising the specter of an aggressive Russia that could bind the other anti-Russian factions together -- Putin could be helping to ensure that a pro-Western Ukraine persists.

Second, it can invade mainland Ukraine. There are three problems with this. First, Ukraine is a large area to seize and pacify. Russia does not need an insurgency on its border, and it cannot guarantee that it wouldn't get one, especially since a significant portion of the population in western Ukraine is pro-West. Second, in order for an invasion of Ukraine to be geopolitically significant, all of Ukraine east of the Dnieper River must be taken. Otherwise, the frontier with Russia remains open, and there would be no anchor to the Russian position. However, this would bring Russian forces to the bank opposite Kiev and create a direct border with NATO and EU members. Finally, if the Russians wish to pursue the first option, pulling eastern Ukrainian voters out of the Ukrainian electoral process would increase the likelihood of an effective anti-Russian government.

Third, it can act along its periphery. In 2008, Russia announced its power with authority by invading Georgia. This changed calculations in Kiev and other capitals in the region by reminding them of two realities. First, Russian power is near. Second, the Europeans have no power, and the Americans are far away. There are three major points where the Russians could apply pressure: the Caucasus countries, Moldova and the Baltics. By using large Russian minority populations within NATO countries, the Russians might be able to create unrest there, driving home the limits of NATO's power.

Fourth, it can offer incentives in Eastern and Central Europe. Eastern and Central European countries, from Poland to Bulgaria, are increasingly aware that they may have to hedge their bets on Europe and the West. The European economic crisis now affects politico-military relations. The sheer fragmentation of European nations makes a coherent response beyond proclamations impossible. Massive cuts in military spending remove most military options. The Central Europeans feel economically and strategically uneasy, particularly as the European crisis is making the European Union's largest political powers focus on the problems of the eurozone, of which most of these countries are not members. The Russians have been conducting what we call commercial imperialism, particularly south of Poland, entering into business dealings that have increased their influence and solved some economic problems. The Russians have sufficient financial reserves to neutralize Central European countries.

Last, it can bring pressure to bear on the United States by creating problems in critical areas. An obvious place is Iran. In recent weeks, the Russians have offered to build two new, non-military reactors for the Iranians. Quietly providing technological support for military nuclear programs could cause the Iranians to end negotiations with the United States and would certainly be detected by U.S. intelligence. The United States has invested a great deal of effort and political capital in its relations with the Iranians. The Russians are in a position to damage them, especially as the Iranians are looking for leverage in their talks with Washington. In more extreme and unlikely examples, the Russians might offer help to Venezuela's weakening regime. There are places that Russia can hurt the United States, and it is now in a position where it will take risks -- as with Iran's nuclear program -- that it would not have taken before.

The European and American strategy to control the Russians has been to threaten sanctions. The problem is that Russia is the world's eighth-largest economy, and its finances are entangled with the West's, as is its economy. For any sanctions the West would impose, the Russians have a counter. There are many Western firms that have made large investments in Russia and have large Russian bank accounts and massive amounts of equipment in the country. The Russians can also cut off natural gas and oil shipments. This would of course hurt Russia financially, but the impact on Europe -- and global oil markets -- would be more sudden and difficult to manage. Some have argued that U.S. energy or European shale could solve the problem. The Russian advantage is that any such solution is years away, and Europe would not have years to wait for the cavalry to arrive. Some symbolic sanctions coupled with symbolic counter-sanctions are possible, but bringing the Russian economy to its knees without massive collateral damage would be hard.

The most likely strategy Russia will follow is a combination of all of the above: pressure on mainland Ukraine with some limited incursions; working to create unrest in the Baltics, where large Russian-speaking minorities live, and in the Caucasus and Moldova; and pursuing a strategy to prevent Eastern Europe from coalescing into a single entity. Simultaneously, Russia is likely to intervene in areas that are sensitive to the United States while allowing the Ukrainian government to be undermined by its natural divisions.
Considering the West's Countermoves

In all of these things there are two questions. The first is what German foreign policy is going to be. Berlin supported the uprising in Ukraine and has on occasion opposed the Russian response, but it is not in a position to do anything more concrete. So far, it has tried to straddle the divides, particularly between Russia and the European Union, wanting to be at one with all. The West has now posed a problem to the Russians that Moscow must respond to visibly. If Germany effectively ignores Russia, Berlin will face two problems. The first will be that the Eastern Europeans, particularly the Poles, will lose massive confidence in Germany as a NATO ally, particularly if there are problems in the Baltics. Second, it will have to face the extraordinary foreign policy divide in Europe. Those countries close to the buffers are extremely uneasy. Those farther away -- Spain, for instance -- are far calmer. Europe is not united, and Germany needs a united Europe. The shape of Europe will be determined in part by Germany's response.
 
The second question is that of the United States. I have spoken of the strategy of balance of power. A balance of power strategy calls for calibration of involvement, not disengagement. Having chosen to support the creation of an anti-Russian regime in Ukraine, the United States now faces consequences and decisions. The issue is not deployments of major forces but providing the Central Europeans from Poland to Romania with the technology and materiel to discourage Russia from dangerous adventures -- and to convince their publics that they are not alone.

The paradox is this: As the sphere of Western influence has moved to the east along Russia's southern frontier, the actual line of demarcation has moved westward. Whatever happens within the buffer states, this line is critical for U.S. strategy because it maintains the European balance of power. We might call this soft containment.
 
It is far-fetched to think that the Russians would move beyond commercial activity in this region. It is equally far-fetched that EU or NATO expansion into Ukraine would threaten Russian national security. Yet history is filled with far-fetched occurrences that in retrospect are obvious. The Russians have less room to maneuver but everything at stake. They might therefore take risks that others, not feeling the pressure the Russians feel, would avoid. Again, it is a question of planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
 
For the United States, creating a regional balance of power is critical. Ideally, the Germans would join the project, but Germany is closer to Russia, and the plan involves risks Berlin will likely want to avoid. There is a grouping in the region called the Visegrad battlegroup. It is within the framework of NATO and consists of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It is now more a concept than a military. However, with U.S. commitment and the inclusion of Romania, it could become a low-cost (to the United States) balance to a Russia suddenly feeling insecure and therefore unpredictable. This, and countering Russian commercial imperialism with a U.S. alternative at a time when Europe is hardly in a position to sustain the economies in these countries, would be logical.

This has been the U.S. strategy since 1939: maximum military and economic aid with minimal military involvement. The Cold War ended far better than the wars the Americans became directly involved in. The Cold War in Europe never turned hot. Logic has it that at some point the United States will adopt this strategy. But of course, in the meantime, we wait for Russia's next move, or should none come, a very different Russia.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this analysis misstated which part of Ukraine that Moscow would have to seize for any Russian invasion to be geopolitically significant.

Read more: Russia Examines Its Options for Responding to Ukraine | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2014, 06:59:46 PM »

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March 24, 2014 7:19 p.m. ET

Russia is a big country. In case you didn't know.

A flight from New York to St. Petersburg will cover the same distance as one from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. There are 22 Russians for every Russian square mile, a population density only slightly exceeded by Mali. Exclude all of Russia east of the Urals, and the European portion of the country is still about the size of India and Turkey put together.

This is not exactly a state needing greater Lebensraum.

The point needs making in the face of an undercurrent of Western apology for Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea. It's an argument that goes roughly as follows:

• Yes, Russia's seizure of the peninsula was provocative and illegal. But look at it from Moscow's point of view. "To Russia," writes Henry Kissinger in the Washington Post, GHC -1.04% "Ukraine can never be just a foreign country." Defining events in Russian history—Mr. Kissinger cites the 1709 battle of Poltava—took place on (current) Ukrainian soil, and Ukraine has been independent for just 23 years. Crimea itself is ethnically Russian and only passed into Ukrainian hands through a Soviet bureaucratic maneuver in the mid-1950s.

• As for provocation, how could any Russian leader be indifferent to a Ukraine that sought to join NATO or the European Union, much less sit still as demonstrators in Kiev paralyzed the country and brought about the downfall of its democratically elected leader?
Enlarge Image

Russia's president is trigger happy. Getty Images

In this reading, the West's post-Cold War policies toward Russia have been a complex of patronizing lectures about democracy and good governance alongside a string of geopolitical humiliations, above all the expansion of NATO to former Warsaw Pact countries.

• Also, isn't it hypocrisy for Washington to protest Russia's occupation of foreign soil? "As ambassador, I found it difficult to defend our commitment to sovereignty and international law when asked by Russians, 'What about Iraq?' " writes Mike McFaul, until recently the administration's envoy to Moscow, in Monday's New York Times. NYT -1.71%

• Finally, isn't Mr. Putin merely duplicating the tough-guy tactics conservatives favor when it comes to the pursuit of American interests? "For Putin, an anti-Russian government in Kiev is illegitimate regardless of how it takes power," writes Peter Beinart. "For many American hawks, the same is now true for a pro-Chávez government in Latin America or an Islamist government in the Middle East." Mr. Beinart calls Mr. Putin a "Russian Neocon."

Thus does cold-blooded foreign policy "realism" blend with the embarrassed apologetics of postmodern liberalism to become the enabler of Russian revanchism.

Let's get a few things straight.

(1) NATO is a defensive alliance. As the Kremlin well knows, despite its propaganda and paranoia. The notion that the West provoked Russia by expanding NATO ignores why Poland, the Baltic states and other new members wanted to join NATO in the first place. Russia, threatened only by its internal discontents, does not need Ukraine as a territorial buffer against the Wehrmacht.

(2) A historic claim is not a valid claim. Much of modern-day Ukraine was Polish until September 1939. Yet Poland does treat Ukraine as "just a foreign country." To invoke history as a way of rationalizing Mr. Putin's moves in Crimea allows him to manipulate history. It strengthens his interests at the expense of the interests, and history, of others.

(3) Ethnic claims aren't valid claims, either. Especially when there is no evidence of ethnically motivated harms. Especially, too, when the non-Russian minority amounts to a non-trivial 40%. Especially, three, when the referendum used ex post facto to justify the seizure of Crimea yielded the kind of lopsided vote—a Stalinist 97%—that can only be achieved by fraud and intimidation, further undermining the validity of the ethnic claim. Especially, four, when Russia's ethnic claim to Crimea opens a global Pandora's box.

(4) Russia was not humiliated by the end of the Cold War. Even if Mr. Putin and his colleagues in the KGB were. Humiliation is what Germany imposed on Russia at Brest-Litovsk, and what France imposed on Germany at Versailles. In reality, Russia was saved by the end of the Cold War and a postwar settlement that provided lavish foreign aid and went out of its way to integrate Russia into the global economy, the G-8 and even NATO itself.

(5) Crimea is not Iraq. And Amb. McFaul's suggestion that the two are even remotely comparable is both insipid and outrageous. In Iraq, the U.S. deposed a tyrant who had spent the previous decade defying international law. We then did our imperfect best to stand up a representative government while fighting an insurgency consisting of al Qaeda, Baathist holdouts, and proxies of Iran. Then we got out. How, again, is this like Crimea?

(6) Neocons typically want to promote liberal democracy. And stand up to the enemies of liberal democracy. That's why this column has been calling for Russia to be kicked out of the G-8 since 2006, two years before liberals started clinking glasses to the "reset" and nearly eight years before Mr. Obama finally took my good advice.

Our new Kremlinogists now tell us that Mr. Putin's gambits need to be understood in the context of Russia's historic foreign policy objectives. True up to a point. But Mr. Putin is also pursuing his own interests as ringleader in a corrupt oligarchy sitting on the economic time bomb that is a commodities-based economy. The best U.S. policy will seek to light the shortest fuse on that bomb, strengthen our allies, and contain the fallout.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #54 on: March 25, 2014, 09:15:38 PM »

 Crimea Joins the East While Ukraine Looks West
Geopolitical Diary
Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 17:58 Text Size Print

Two major events in the unfolding Ukraine crisis will occur Friday. First, Russia's Federation Council will ratify a treaty with Crimea concluding Russia's formal annexation of the territory. Second, Ukraine will sign the political chapters of an association agreement with the European Union.

Both events show just how much the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine has escalated, leading the country to split in two. They also make the future uncertain for what is left of Ukraine. The government in Kiev is sure to face greater pressure from Russia while not being clear on exactly what to expect from the West.

In practical terms, Ukraine's inking of the political parts of the association agreement changes little, with the complete signing of the EU agreements not scheduled until sometime later in the year. But the symbolism of the act is huge. After all, the Ukrainian crisis began when former President Viktor Yanukovich rejected the association and free trade agreements in the lead-up to the Nov. 29-30 Eastern Partnership summit over the issue. This led to protests against the decision from pro-EU demonstrators that eventually expanded to general anti-government rallies, culminating in Yanukovich's ouster on Feb. 22.

An interim government under former opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk replaced the Yanukovich regime. One of the main priorities of the new government has been to reverse the decision to suspend the agreements with the European Union. Now, less than a month after Yanukovich's ouster, the first formal step toward concluding these deals is being taken.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman explains.

While this is a cause for celebration in Kiev and among the government's pro-Western supporters, Russia sees it as a major affront. Moscow adamantly opposed the Western-backed uprising against Yanukovich and has firmly expressed its view that the new government in Kiev is illegitimate. Russian actions in Crimea came in response to the events in Kiev, with Moscow framing its steps as completely legitimate given how the new government in Ukraine took power and allegedly threatened the rights of ethnic Russians.

Still, Russian opposition has not persuaded the Ukrainian government to stop its integration efforts with the West, as the expected signing Friday shows. But Russia's intervention in Crimea is not the only response to be expected from Moscow. Just as it worked to dissuade Yanukovich from following through with the EU deals by enacting painful trade restrictions on Ukrainian goods, Russia is again showing that a blockade of Ukrainian exports to Russia could be forthcoming. Russia briefly barred Ukrainian trucks from entering Russian territory at certain border crossings overnight on Thursday, though by the afternoon it had started letting them in again. This move was likely meant as a warning of things to come.

The new government in Kiev probably will not reverse its pursuit of EU integration, something it has specifically cited it has a mandate to continue. But while Kiev's commitment to integration may not be in question, the West's commitment to Ukraine is.

So far, Western willingness to back the new government in Ukraine has not been convincing. Russia's military incursions into Crimea have gone without a significant response, but that can be expected given that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. U.S. and EU sanctions have been levied against Russia but so far have not deterred Putin. And while the West has pledged to offer concrete financial assistance to economically beleaguered Ukraine, very little has actually been transferred -- and the larger sums pledged have come with painful austerity conditions attached.

Kiev has in principle accepted even these conditions, given that Ukraine needs the West more than ever. As the government proceeds with its EU integration efforts, this will necessarily incur greater economic costs from Russia. Moscow will also seek to destabilize the country via other methods, including by raising natural gas prices and stirring up ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Weathering such moves will require tremendous Western support, both economic and political. While the European Union and the United States have demonstrated their ability to help a pro-Western government rise to power in Ukraine, they have yet to demonstrate an ability or willingness to sustain such a government and bring it firmly into the Western fold. The question of the West's commitment may therefore be just as worrisome to the new Ukrainian government as the certainty of Russian retaliation.

Read more: Crimea Joins the East While Ukraine Looks West | Stratfor
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2014, 02:17:36 PM »

Russia Likely Isn't Done
This just in: Russia may not stop with annexing Crimea. A new U.S. intelligence report indicates that Russia may seek to takeover a corridor in Ukraine connecting Russia with Crimea. As one official put it, the assessment is "that the likelihood of a further Russian incursion is more probable than it was previously thought to be." There are tens of thousands of Russian troops amassing at the border with Ukraine, and, while Moscow insists that's for "training exercises," it's clearly meant at the very least to rattle Ukraine and the West. The whole thing even provoked Barack Obama to say something very un-Obama-like. He chastised fellow NATO members for cutting defense spending, saying, "The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn't free, and we've got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training to make sure we have a credible NATO force and an effective deterrent force." Surely he was reading from the wrong teleprompter.


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G M
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2014, 02:29:53 PM »

Meanwhile Obama guts our military...
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DougMacG
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« Reply #57 on: March 27, 2014, 02:32:00 PM »

Meanwhile Obama guts our military...

I wonder if they see the incongruity.
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G M
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« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2014, 02:39:55 PM »

It's all about feeding soundbites to the short attention span, low information voters. To them, saying something is just like solving the problem.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #59 on: March 28, 2014, 10:17:33 AM »

By Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes
Updated March 28, 2014 7:34 a.m. ET

Russian soldiers stand near a tank outside a former Ukrainian military base near the Crimean capital of Simferopol. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, U.S. officials said.  Such an incursion could take place without warning because Russia has already deployed the array of military forces needed for such an operation, say officials briefed on the latest U.S. intelligence. (Follow the latest developments on the crisis in Ukraine.)

As Russia began its invasion of Crimea last month, Ukraine's fledgling government turned to its armed forces to bolster security. What they found was a badly degraded military, stripped bare by years of neglect and corruption. Photo: EPA


The rapid speed of the Russian military buildup and efforts to camouflage the forces and equipment have stoked U.S. fears, in part because American intelligence agencies have struggled to assess Russian President Vladimir Putin's specific intentions.  The troop movements and the concealment—involving covering up equipment along the border—suggest Mr. Putin is positioning forces in the event he decides to quickly expand his takeover of the Crimea peninsula by seizing more Ukrainian territory, despite Western threats of tighter sanctions.

Still unknown, however, is Mr. Putin's plan, or whether he has one.  The Kremlin has defended the deployments as a legitimate military exercise on Russian soil.

"It's really a question of leadership intentions. Who does Putin tell, if anyone, what his plans are?" a senior Obama administration official said. "He's obviously putting things in place in case he wants to go in. The question is whether a political decision has been made to do so."

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said U.S. officials are working at understanding the Russian force movements.

"We're actively monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine, including the massing of Russian troops and materiel at the border," said the spokesman, Shawn Turner.
"Our immediate focus is on providing policy makers with regular intelligence updates and forward-looking analysis of the situation in order to help inform decisions," he added.

The U.S. believes Russia now has nearly 50,000 troops in position for possible operations, including those participating in the declared exercises along the Ukrainian border and those already inside Russian-controlled Crimea, officials said.  U.S. and Western officials previously have said there were 20,000 Russian forces along Ukraine's border, in addition to those inside Crimea, estimated at as many as 25,000.

A senior Ukrainian official said Thursday that the number of Russian troops in the area was closer to 100,000.  A senior U.S. official said that 100,000 figure was "way too high."

"It's not the number that matters most. They have enough to move in now, regardless, and in the right composition to be dangerous," the senior U.S. official said. "What matters is the intent. And we don't have a clear sense of that."

Another senior military official said the Pentagon was increasingly worried that the Russians have moved into place additional supplies including food and spare parts that could both support an exercise or a military incursion into Ukraine. Putting in place the logistics support could allow Russian forces to sustain themselves if they were to cross into eastern Ukraine.

"They are positioning logistics. That is necessary for the exercise but could also be used for further aggression if they choose to go," the senior military official said. "They have in place the capability, capacity and readiness they would need should they choose to conduct further aggression."

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that Russia has continued to send more troops to its border with Ukraine.  While Russia has said the troops were sent to the border to conduct military exercises, Adm. Kirby said the U.S. has "seen no specific indications that exercises are taking place."

U.S. spy agencies have struggled to intercept telltale communications in which Russian leaders, military commanders or front-line troops have indicated their military plans, said U.S. officials.  Intelligence officials are using an array of intelligence tools, including imagery and human sources to discern Russia's next moves.  Russia is often very good at operational security and may be working actively to not voice intentions because they know they might be overheard, U.S. officials say. 

A U.S. official said the U.S. is tracking the Russian efforts closely and has "visibility into the Russian troop buildup along the Ukrainian border."  The senior Obama administration official acknowledged the difficulty of collecting intelligence about Russian intentions, calling the country a "hard target."  Military officials said the camouflaging has further complicated U.S. efforts to assess the size and scope of the military forces being put in place.

"They have moved into concealed positions," said a senior military official.  The official said concealment could be aimed at obscuring images taken by American spy satellites.
The concealment effort may also be designed to obscure location and size of their force from the Ukrainian military.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has told U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russia has no designs to invade Ukraine but the Pentagon is concerned that the Russian minister isn't the final word on Russia's intentions in the region.  On Tuesday, U.K. Defense Minister Philip Hammond expressed concerns that Mr. Putin is directly controlling strategy and that the views of ministers like Mr. Shoigu may be "moot."

Adm. Kirby said Wednesday that the Pentagon shares that concern.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #60 on: March 29, 2014, 05:13:21 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/world/europe/russianborder.html?emc=edit_th_20140329&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #61 on: March 31, 2014, 10:11:25 AM »

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/31/russia-ukraine-deal-troops-lavrov-kerry
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G M
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« Reply #62 on: March 31, 2014, 10:37:18 AM »


Has Lurch promised us peace in our time yet?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #63 on: April 09, 2014, 10:21:41 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303873604579490860377829796?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond&mg=reno64-wsj
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« Reply #64 on: April 14, 2014, 08:12:59 AM »



pro-Russian forces taking control of the police headquarters in Kramatorsk

Takeover Of A Local Government Building In Kramatorsk, In The Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine, April 12, 2014

A video that clearly shows the ontology of the takeover of a local government building in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region. First, organized spetsnaz teams enter--guns blazing. They are followed by organized bands of less well armed "titushky" ( paid $ 500 if they participate in a takeover) and these are followed by local protestors--mainly poor, some ideological-- (many of whom are reportedly encouraged with payments of $50 for participation in protests). Phase one and two of such a takeover is chillingly recorded in this video. This is a planned, military and paramilitary operation.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 10:02:12 AM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #65 on: April 14, 2014, 01:29:16 PM »

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304117904579499762012132306?mod=trending_now_4


By
Matthew Kaminski
Updated April 14, 2014 5:39 a.m. ET

Kiev, Ukraine

'We're the chosen generation," says Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's interim prime minister. He's referring to all those who made this winter's European revolution. For the first time since 1654, when Ukrainian Cossacks formed a fateful alliance with Moscow against Polish rulers, Ukrainians are heading back West.

Their timing is terrible. Two decades ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, the West embraced another generation of Eastern Europeans. Ukraine has gotten a different welcoming committee. An economically feeble European Union gorges on Russian energy and dirty money while lecturing Ukraine on Western values but refusing to defend it. Asking for Washington's help against Russian attack, Kiev finds a man "chosen" in the past two presidential elections to get America out of the world's trouble spots.

Vladimir Putin sees a West made soft by money, led by weak men and women, unwilling to make sacrifices to defend their so-called ideals. In the Ukrainian crisis, the image fits. Russia's president is many things, but most of all he is resolute. He took the EU and America's measure and annexed Crimea last month at minimal cost. Ignoring Western pleas for "de-escalation," Russia this weekend invaded eastern Ukraine. Just don't look for video of T-72 tanks rolling across the borders, not yet at least.

Russian intelligence and special forces on Saturday directed local crime bosses and thugs in coordinated attacks on police stations and other government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. These men were dressed and equipped like the elite Russian special forces ("little green men," as Ukrainians called them) who took Crimea. Ukrainian participants got the equivalent of $500 to storm and $40 to occupy buildings, according to journalists who spoke to them. Fighting broke out on Sunday in Slovyansk, a sleepy town in the working-class Donbas region that hadn't seen any "pro-Russia" protests. A Ukrainian security officer was killed.

Kiev is on a war footing. Radio commercials ask for donations to the defense budget by mobile-telephone texts. The government's decision to cede Crimea without firing a shot cost the defense minister his job and wasn't popular. Western praise for Ukrainians' "restraint" got them nothing. The fight for Ukraine's east will be different.

This invasion was stealthy enough to let Brussels and Washington not use the i-word in their toothless statements. The EU's high representative, Catherine Ashton, called herself "gravely concerned" and commended Ukraine's "measured response." There was no mention of sanctions or blame. The U.S. State Department on Saturday said that John Kerry warned his diplomatic counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that "if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences."

By now, the Ukrainians ought to have seen enough to know that they're on their own. Moscow has reached the same conclusion. These perceptions of the West are shaping events.

A month ago, the EU sanctioned 21 marginal Russian officials and quickly tried to get back to business as usual. On Friday, the U.S. added to its sanctions list seven Russian citizens and one company, all in Crimea. What a relief for Moscow's elites, who were speculating in recent days about who might end up on the list. Slovyansk fell the next day.


Any revolution brings a hangover. Ukrainians expected problems: an economic downturn, some of the old politics-as-usual in Kiev, including fisticuffs last week in parliament, and trouble from Russia. Abandonment by the West is the unexpected blow. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fought, and 100 died, for their chance to join the world's democracies.

As an institution, the EU always found excuses to deny Ukraine the prospect of membership in the bloc one day. But Bill Clinton and George W. Bush never recognized Russian domination over Ukraine. Billions were spent—Kiev was the third-largest recipient of U.S. aid in the 1990s—and American promises were made to protect Ukraine's sovereignty. In return, Ukraine took active part in NATO discussions and missions, sending thousands of troops to the Balkans and Iraq.

When Russia invaded Crimea and massed 40,000 or more troops in the east, Ukraine turned to an old friend, the United States, and asked for light arms, antitank weapons, intelligence help and nonlethal aid. The Obama administration agreed to deliver 300,000 meals-ready-to-eat. As this newspaper reported Friday, military transport planes were deemed too provocative for Russia, so the food was shipped by commercial trucks. The administration refused Kiev's requests for intelligence-sharing and other supplies, lethal or not.

Boris Tarasiuk, Ukraine's former foreign minister, barely disguises his anger. He says: "We've not seen the same reaction from the U.S." as during Russia's 2008 attack on Georgia. U.S. Navy warships were deployed off the Georgian Black Sea coast. Large Air Force transport planes flew into Tbilisi with emergency humanitarian supplies. But who really knew for sure what was on board the planes? That was the point. Russian troops on the road to the Georgian capital saw them above and soon after turned back. The Bush administration dropped the ball on follow-up sanctions but may have saved Georgia.

By contrast, the Obama administration seems to think that pre-emptive concessions will pacify Mr. Putin. So the president in March ruled out U.S. military intervention in Ukraine. Maybe, but why say so? Late last month at a news conference in Brussels, Mr. Obama also openly discouraged the idea of Georgia or Ukraine joining NATO.

The next diplomatic "off ramp" touted by the Obama administration will be the negotiations involving Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the U.S. scheduled for later this week. Petro Poroshenko, the leading Ukrainian presidential candidate, tells me that these "talks for the sake of talks" send "a very wrong signal" about the West's commitment to sanctions. It's a case of the blind faith in "diplomacy" undermining diplomacy. See the Obama record on Syria for the past three years.

The West looks scared of Russia, which encourages Mr. Putin's bullying. But on the Ukrainian side, the sense of abandonment brings unappreciated consequences. Ukraine's political elites have taken into account that Russia could reimpose its will—perhaps that anticorruption law demanded by the EU isn't so necessary after all?

While millions of Ukrainians have united against Russia, out in the east of the country many people are fence-sitters. The fight there, as in Crimea, won't be over any genuine desire to rejoin Russia. Before last month, polls in Crimea and eastern Ukraine put support for separatists in single digits. But the locals' historical memory teaches them to respect force and side with winners. Left to fend for itself by the West, Ukraine looks like a loser to them, notes Kiev academic Andreas Umland.

The U.S. Army won't save Slovyansk. But Ukraine expects and deserves America's support by every other means that Washington has refused so far. Betrayal is an ugly word and an uglier deed. Europe and the U.S. will pay dearly for it in Ukraine.

Mr. Kaminski is a member of the Journal's editorial board.
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« Reply #66 on: April 14, 2014, 04:38:43 PM »

second post

President Obama is dispatching Vice President Joe Biden to Kiev next week in a show of Western support against Russian intimidation, but the Veep may want to speed up his deployment. By then Vladimir Putin may already have annexed another chunk of Ukraine.

As our Matt Kaminski reports nearby from Kiev, the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine may already be underway. Masked and armed Russian speakers with the distinct look of special forces, but no military insignias, took over police stations and other locations in much of Ukraine's east over the weekend. This was the Russian president's stealth mode of invasion in Crimea. By the time the West figured out what was going on, the deed was done.
Opinion Video

Editorial page editor Paul Gigot on Kiev's reaction to Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The difference this time is that Ukraine is responding with at least some force of its own. The Kiev government is mobilizing its military for what it called a "large-scale antiterrorist operation" in the east. "We won't allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of the country," said acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.

Gun battles in Slovyansk and elsewhere have already produced casualties, and the violence may be exactly what Mr. Putin wants as a pretext to send in larger forces in the name of protecting Russian-speaking minorities. This too was part of the Crimea playbook. So much for the diplomatic "off-ramp" that Mr. Obama keeps beseeching Mr. Putin to take. The only off-ramp the Russian wants is inside Ukraine and points west.

Mr. Kaminski also reports on how the Obama Administration rejected Kiev's pleas for military aid that could be useful now and might have even given the Kremlin cause to slow its revanchism. Instead Mr. Putin has seen the flimsy Western response to Crimea, following Mr. Obama's climbdown on Syria, and he has calculated he can move without fear of serious economic sanctions or a military buildup inside front-line NATO countries.

Mr. Putin may also calculate that raising the military pressure on Ukraine will help achieve what he wants without a full-scale invasion. This week envoys from the EU, U.S., Ukraine and Russia are set to meet to discuss a diplomatic solution. Mr. Putin's solution is to impose conditions on Kiev that include Russian as a second national language, a pledge not to join NATO or the EU, and a "federalist" reform that would make eastern parts of Ukraine essentially self-governing. Eventually the autonomous regions might choose to join Russia.

Mr. Putin would like nothing better than to get the EU and U.S. to tell Kiev that it has little choice but to accept these terms or risk a full-fledged invasion. If Kiev still resists, the West would have given Mr. Putin another pretext to invade his neighbor to defend his fellow Russian-speakers. With this second military action in weeks, the U.S. ought to drop its illusion that Mr. Putin is interested in diplomacy. His real goal is to redraw the postwar map of Europe to Russia's advantage, with faux diplomacy if he can, by force if necessary.
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« Reply #67 on: April 14, 2014, 05:16:03 PM »

Well, Putin was promised more flexibility in Obama's second term.
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« Reply #68 on: April 14, 2014, 11:50:22 PM »

We not only prevented Ukraine from fighting back by disarming them, we are paying Russia for their trouble.
It seems wrong to me.

US Pays Half Of Gazprom's Overdue Invoice With $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-14/us-treasury-pays-half-gazproms-overdue-bill-1-billion-ukraine-loan-guarantee
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« Reply #69 on: April 15, 2014, 06:43:02 PM »



http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303887804579502892789915218?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories&mg=reno64-wsj
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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2014, 04:10:50 PM »

Eastern Ukraine's Pro-Russian Activists Stand Fast
Rebels Say They Have No Intention of Leaving, Despite Geneva Agreement
By Paul Sonne in Donetsk, Ukraine and Gregory L. White in Moscow
Updated April 18, 2014 4:52 p.m. ET

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine said Friday they had no plans to vacate the government buildings they have occupied, despite the compromise agreement calling for that. Paul Sonne reports. Photo: Getty.

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine refused to vacate the government facilities they have occupied, defying a compromise agreement struck a day earlier by international powers, including Russia, that called on them to leave.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of the uprising that calls itself the People's Republic of Donetsk, said at a news conference in the southeast Ukrainian city's seized administration building that the activists wouldn't exit until the new leaders in Kiev leave the government, which he said they have been occupying unlawfully since late February.

"After that, we'll also agree to do it," Mr. Pushilin said. Instead, he said he and other activists in the building were continuing to prepare for a referendum on the southeast Ukraine region's future, which they intend to hold by May 11. We will defend our interests "until the last drop of blood if necessary" against the "Kiev junta," he said. (Follow the latest updates on the crisis in Ukraine.)

The activists' refusal seemed to undermine a deal reached Thursday in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union, aimed at neutralizing a crisis that has plunged Ukraine into political and civil disarray and thrown Russia and the West into their deepest conflict since the end of the Soviet Union.

Pro-Russian protesters tie a banner on barricades placed in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, on Friday. Reuters

It also appeared to confirm dwindling hope by the new powers in Kiev that the joint statement released at the close of the Geneva negotiations would translate into substantive results. "We don't have any excessive expectations from this statement," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the country's parliament in Kiev on Friday, referring to the statement.

Late Friday, Mr. Yatsenyuk and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced what they said was a sweeping constitutional-reform plan aimed at addressing many of the concerns of their opponents in Ukraine's east, where many residents speak Russian and are wary of Kiev's new pro-Western leadership.

The plan calls for replacing appointed mayors and regional governors with officials elected locally and giving regional governments more power to determine how budget funds are spent. The plan would also allow towns, cities and regions to independently determine whether to make Russian an official language alongside Ukrainian. Language rights have been a central issue for protesters.

But hopes the reform plan would win parliamentary approval Friday fell short as Communist legislators, as well as those from the Party of Regions, which is particularly strong in the east and the party of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, refused to back it. Messrs. Yatsenyuk and Turchynov said they hoped for passage soon.

Mr. Yatsenyuk said Ukraine's new government has prepared a draft law granting amnesty to any protesters on either side who give up their weapons and leave occupied buildings. In Kiev, pro-Western protesters who helped usher Mr. Yanukovych's ouster have continued to occupy the city's main Independence Square and some nearby buildings.

Kiev and its Western allies say Moscow has incited the separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine, a charge the Kremlin has denied. Western diplomats say they aren't optimistic that Russia will follow through and help force the militants to disarm and vacate the occupied buildings across eastern Ukraine. Russian officials say they have no influence over those protesters.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday evening saying it was disappointed with U.S. official responses to the Geneva deal and accused Washington of stubbornly supporting the Kiev government in what Moscow called its determination to use force against pro-Russian protesters in the east. The Foreign Ministry said the Geneva deal's call on protesters to give up weapons and occupied buildings should apply first to those in Kiev, "who participated in the February coup."

Donetsk activist leader Mr. Pushilin began his news conference earlier Friday with a nearly identical comment. But he said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who signed off on the statement in Geneva, "didn't sign anything for us, he signed on behalf of the Russian Federation." Mr. Pushilin said he isn't receiving any money from Russia.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been tasked with assisting the effort to disarm the activists. But diplomats said the organization doesn't have the personnel on the ground in Ukraine to implement the disarmament effectively.

Mr. Pushilin denounced the new authorities in Kiev for sending in the Ukrainian military to try to control the situation in the country's east—an "antiterrorist" operation launched earlier this week that so far has yielded few results.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said whether military action continues will depend on whether the activists respond to the demands articulated in Geneva.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hoped not to send Russian troops into Ukraine but didn't rule it out, accusing the Kiev government of committing "a serious crime" by using the military to quell unrest. Paul Sonne reports. Photo: AP.

"As far as the antiterrorist operation goes, it is continuing and its intensity will depend on whether there is any real fulfillment of the [Geneva] agreement," Mr. Deshchytsia told the Interfax news agency. Ukrainian authorities have said they put the operation on hold for the duration of the Easter holidays.

The Kiev government and Western officials have said some of the armed men in unmarked uniforms aren't local residents but Russian special-forces troops who are leading the uprising, as they did in Crimea. Moscow and the protesters in eastern Ukraine deny that, describing the events as an independent uprising.

Anti-Kiev activists who continue to hold municipal and security buildings across cities in southeast Ukraine have shown no sign of retreat.

Gun-wielding men traveling in an armed personnel carrier with protest flags rolled into the village of Seversk on Friday and took down the Ukrainian flag on the city administration building before speeding away, according to photos, an official at the local information site and the police department spokeswoman.

When the Ukrainian military arrived in such armed personnel carriers during the "antiterrorist operation" earlier this week, a number of the vehicles ended up being seized by angry activists. Ukrainian authorities said Friday that they had recovered two of the six vehicles.

In the city of Slovyansk, a hotbed of anti-Kiev sentiment in Ukraine's east, protesters who have taken control of the city administration building announced Friday that the city's mayor, Nelya Shtepa, was in their custody. "She is currently with us," an activist announced outside the building, saying the activists had decided to protect her after she had given up power. It wasn't immediately clear whether she had been taken hostage or was, in fact, in the building.

Outside the city, unidentified masked men with automatic weapons took control of the main television transmission tower for the area on Thursday and turned off Ukrainian channels, leaving only state-controlled Russian news that was broadcasting snippets from an annual televised phone-in session by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine's central state broadcasting operation in Kiev responded by shutting off electricity to the facility early Friday, causing the armed men to leave, according to a top official from the state transmission operator, who said the tower services about a million people. The official said the men showed up again hours later with more than double the force and managed to hook up electricity from another source.

Two masked men in green camouflage outfits, who stood outside the facility with automatic weapons on Friday, declined to discuss the situation or allow entrance to the television tower.

The news conference Friday in Donetsk, held by rebels who took control of the central regional administration building there on April 6 and proclaimed an independent "people's republic" the following day, showed the challenge Kiev faces in holding together Ukraine.

"To call us criminals and terrorists for occupying buildings, while calling the people in Kiev who have done the exact same thing heroes, is at the very least not right," Mr. Pushilin said. He echoed Mr. Putin's long-standing criticism that the West operates on a system of double standards when it comes to Russia.

Both Russian officials and activists in Ukraine's east have sought to present the recent seizure of buildings in the region as an equivalent response to the actions pro-Europe protesters took in Kiev in late 2013 and earlier this year.

The activists in Donetsk are demanding a referendum on the future of the largely Russian-speaking region, the home of the deposed Mr. Yanukovych, which has long had closer relations with Russia than much of the rest of Ukraine.

But when pressed on Friday, neither Mr. Pushilin nor other leaders of the uprising could say what exact question they hope to pose on any referendum on the region's "self determination." Mr. Pushilin said it would be the question of the Donetsk region's "sovereignty." Asked if that meant the region would stay part of Ukraine, he said he wouldn't rule it out.

Alexander Khryakov, another leader in the uprising, said the question was being formulated by experts and leaders and couldn't be described yet. Mr. Khryakov said his personal preference is a return to the Soviet Union, which would make the region part of the same country as Russia.

Mr. Khryakov said that authorities in Brussels and Washington, with their support of Kiev, have wakened the "Russian bear." He said: "The Russian bear is us, who stand for the all the hopes of our people here."

—Olga Padorina contributed to this article.
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« Reply #71 on: April 20, 2014, 03:50:28 PM »

An Independent Ukraine Hangs Between Life and Death
The Geneva agreement on Thursday was a diplomatic masterpiece—for Putin.
By Charles Fairbanks
April 18, 2014 6:55 p.m. ET

Le Monde reported a few days ago that the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, "where no one stops in normal times," was the "epicenter of an historical drama that goes beyond it: the Ukrainian state finds itself between life and death." Vladimir Putin has been chewing off pieces of eastern Ukraine in professional special-forces operations.

What most news coverage isn't reporting is the failure of several major Ukrainian military efforts to retake the public centers seized by the Russians. As Piotr Smolar writes in Le Monde, the new Ukrainian government has revealed itself to be "without a real army, unable to lean on Western military support, incapable of insuring itself by the loyalty of the [security] services (SBU) or of the police."


This Ukrainian government—which has to assure the legitimacy of an election that will take place nationwide in little more than a month—is now under assault by foreign troops. It cannot survive without the forces that Max Weber defined as the very essence of the modern state.

What is happening now in these dreary provincial towns really is a matter of life or death for Ukraine. The country didn't exist as an independent state until 1991, and it may not survive as one into next year.

There was a heady sense of liberation this winter when the Maidan protesters in Kiev won, but the new government cannot survive the revelation that it is making empty threats against aggressors it can never fulfill. Beyond what the Russian attacks can gobble up in eastern Ukraine, Moscow can expose the new government as unable to cope with a crisis of national survival.

It is easy to deride Kiev's responses, but its new leaders are in the same situation as the Russian provisional government of 1917 after the fall of the czar. They are a disparate collection of politicians and activists, floated to the top of the govenrment by waves of still surging change, who must improvise the means of self-defense in a government rusted away by corruption, with an empty treasury, a foreign army penetrating deeper into the country, and friends from abroad who offer plenty of free advice but never act.

President Obama, David Ignatius wrote on April 17 in the Washington Post, GHC +1.81% "appears, for now, to have averted war. Each side can reasonably claim success." Is that so? The agreement reached on Thursday in Geneva does say occupied buildings and squares "must" be vacated, in return for an amnesty and all sides' promise to refrain from "violence, intimidation or provocative actions." In other words, Ukraine's attempt to assert its sovereignty on its own soil must stop.

And so Ukraine will come under the tutelage of the other powers that met in Geneva. Which ones specifically—the United States, the European Union, or Russia? The answer becomes clear not in the text of the Geneva agreement but in events on the ground.

Leaders of Mr. Putin's puppet "People's Republic of Donetsk" immediately announced that they had no intention of fulfilling the agreement. And why should they? They didn't participate in the negotiations. And who will persuade them? Only Russia possibly could, because Russia put them there, arms them, pays them and gives them instructions.

Under the Geneva agreement, we give Russia concessions in the hope that Moscow will be able to influence the puppet government it imposed. Geneva will in practice give Russia an international benediction for interfering in eastern Ukraine. Henceforth Russia has one more lever. The first, in use since the invasion of Crimea, is covert action with military special forces. The second will now be the international effort to negotiate a "solution."

It is a diplomatic masterpiece—for Mr. Putin. With the Geneva agreement, Russia has advanced considerably toward its goal of federalizing Ukraine and creating puppet domains carved into its eastern border, like South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made this clear in his revealing news conference.

The agreement specifies that "the announced constitutional process"—of drafting a new Ukrainian constitution—"will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine's regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments."

Mr. Lavrov explains: "That is the essence of our agreement of today. . . . It is important that those who took over power in Kiev as a result of the coup . . . listen to [the regions'] worries, sit with them and begin negotiations on settling concrete problems of security in this or that settlement." So, for Russia, Geneva implies Ukrainian government recognition of the secessionist "governments" put "in power" by mobs of a couple of hundred people, in provinces of millions, and sometimes controlling only the buildings they sit in.

Russia wants the "federalization" of Ukraine. Federalization is newspeak for partition. Until Geneva, we kept this demand at bay. Russia hopes to reach it by what the U.S. has now agreed to. Russia's foreign ministry said of the Geneva agreement's disarmament provision that it includes "the militias of the right sector and other fascist groups, who participated in the February coup in Kiev."

The Geneva agreement will break down, probably soon, amid more Russian military moves and threats. Then, with our endless appetite for negotiation, we will go back to the table, no doubt to make more concessions.

So far all the American and European countermeasures, including Thursday's agreement, belong to a virtual reality native to politics: things you do to seem to be doing something, not to achieve any aim. They don't deflect Mr. Putin but further discredit the public space indispensable to a republican government.

The saving grace, if there is one, is that in the past week some in Europe are beginning to wake up to what is really happening. For the first time there is a note of real urgency in European journalism close to some governments. The question is finally being asked: What if an independent Ukraine does not survive?

With Ukraine's partition, occupation or dissolution into chaos, the order America helped to establish in the region after 1991 will also come tumbling down. And the crash will reverberate world-wide. If President Obama will not defend the arrangements achieved by three earlier presidents over 20 years, everything our efforts and sacrifices achieved since the end of the Cold War will be eroded as quickly as sand castles with the tide.

Mr. Fairbanks is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Ronald Reagan administration.
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« Reply #72 on: April 21, 2014, 12:50:07 PM »

‘Grotesque’ fliers warn Jews in Ukraine

 


Click here to watch: ‘Grotesque’ fliers warn Jews in Ukraine
U.S. officials Thursday denounced what one called a "grotesque" leaflet ordering Jews in one eastern Ukrainian city to register with a government office, but the Jewish community there dismissed it as a "provocation. The fliers were handed out by masked men in front the main synagogue in Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have declared a "People's Republic," Jewish leaders there said. The document warned the city's Jews to register and document their property or face deportation, according to a CNN translation of one of the leaflets. Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" that a respected Jewish leader in Ukraine showed him a photograph of one of the leaflets. He called the document "chilling." And in Geneva, where diplomats held emergency talks on the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable."
Watch Here
But the Jewish community statement said relations between the Jews of Donetsk and their neighbors were amicable, and the self-proclaimed head of the "People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, denied any connection to the fliers. Pushilin told CNN the handwriting on the flier wasn't his, and the title attached to his name was not one he uses. It wasn't clear who had distributed the leaflets, but the chief rabbi of nearby Dnipropetrovsk said, "Everything must be done to catch them." "It's important for everyone to know its not true," said the rabbi, Shmuel Kaminezki. "The Jews of Donetsk will not do what the letter says. The reports come as Ukraine's Western-backed interim government has been struggling to contain uprisings by pro-Russian political movements in several eastern cities, with both sides invoking the historical horror of Nazism in their disputes. Pyatt told CNN that radical groups may be trying to stir up historic fears or create a provocation to justify further violence. "It's chilling. I was disgusted by these leaflets," Pyatt said. "Especially in Ukraine, a country that suffered so terribly under the Nazis, that was one of the sites of the worst violence of the Holocaust. To drag up this kind of rhetoric is almost beyond belief." The leaflets were handed out on Tuesday, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Jewish community statement said. They stated that registration was required because Jewish leaders had supported the "nationalists and bandits" in Kiev, where a popular revolt ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Source: CNN


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« Reply #73 on: April 27, 2014, 10:02:11 PM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/23/sold-out-ukraines-leadership-swapped-best-military/
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« Reply #74 on: April 29, 2014, 05:46:33 AM »

Russia's Obama Rally
The latest weak sanctions cheer investors in Moscow.
April 28, 2014 7:23 p.m. ET

The U.S. and European Union imposed more sanctions on Russia Monday, and both the ruble and Moscow stock index rallied, the latter up 1.5%. The markets didn't take this response to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine seriously, and neither will Vladimir Putin.


Secretary of State John Kerry last week used blistering language to describe Moscow's actions in eastern Ukraine. He was right. Russian special forces and local separatists have stormed government offices and threatened journalists and opponents. Some were tortured, a couple killed. The independent mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, was shot Monday in an assassination attempt.

On Friday, the Russian-sponsored warlords who hold the provincial city of Slovyansk took hostage monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. These are the monitors the U.S. insisted be allowed to oversee the truce Mr. Kerry negotiated only two weeks ago.

Yet President Obama delayed the announcement of new sanctions and then watered them down. The White House targeted seven more Russian officials, barring them from travelling or banking in the U.S., and it added 17 companies linked to Putin cronies who were already sanctioned. The EU followed on Monday by sanctioning 15 Russian and Ukrainian officials, but its list includes fewer top officials and no companies.

The one notable name on the U.S. list is Igor Sechin, a close Putin friend and a Kremlin hard-liner. Mr. Sechin runs the state-owned oil company Rosneft, whose best assets were plundered from Yukos, a private company destroyed by the Kremlin a decade ago. He joins a few other close Putin friends whom the Administration—in the one notably bold American move of the whole Ukrainian crisis—sanctioned five weeks ago, soon after the annexation of Crimea. His absence was an oversight corrected on Monday.

This round of sanctions is once again more notable for what wasn't done. Gazprom OGZPY -2.51% boss Alexei Miller, who carried Mr. Putin's bags during his days atop the KGB in the late 1990s, was considered. President Obama took him off, according to several news reports.
Enlarge Image

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Rosneft's President Igor Sechin Getty Images

None of the Russian outrages in eastern Ukraine, with many to choose from, were sufficient for the Administration to go after prominent energy or financial companies. The Kremlin and the markets feared the U.S. would target Gazprom, an important instrument of Russian foreign policy and crony enrichment. Vneshtorgbank VTBR.MZ +2.41% and Sberbank, SBER.MZ +0.89% the savings bank, are other arms of the Russian state that might have been included.

Sanctions on entire sectors of the economy would be more effective and potentially damaging. In the end the Administration didn't even sanction Rosneft, taking away the bite of including Mr. Sechin. Rosneft's shares still fell 1.7% on investor concerns about the future of the company's ventures with BP BP.LN +0.85% and ExxonMobil. XOM +0.76% But Gazprom was up over 2%, Sberbank 5%. Call it Moscow's Obama rally.

The White House defends this "calibrated" approach as necessary to make sure Europe comes along. But Europe is always going to resist unless the U.S. is willing to go it alone, and then it may come along. That's what happened on Iran.

Sanctions only make sense if they cause enough economic pain to make Russians begin to question the wisdom of Kremlin imperialism. Otherwise they make the West look weak and disunited. This is exactly what Mr. Putin is counting on, and so far he's been right.
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« Reply #75 on: May 03, 2014, 11:00:06 AM »

Ukraine Needs U.S. Military Aid
Obama offers Spam while Putin sends in special forces.


May 2, 2014 6:51 p.m. ET

The battle for Ukraine is entering a dangerous new phase, as the Kiev government is finally making an attempt to regain control over its eastern cities from local thugs and Russian special forces. Is it too much to ask the U.S. to offer the military means to help Ukraine keeps its own territory?

Vladimir Putin's campaign to destabilize and disrupt his neighbor is escalating as the May 25 date to elect a new Ukrainian government nears. The Russian strongman wants to block the vote, or disrupt it enough so he can call it illegitimate. His Russian-sponsored fighters moved this week from smaller towns in eastern Ukraine to the regional centers of Donetsk and Luhansk, taking key government installations.


The interim authorities in Kiev, which came into office after Moscow crony and President Viktor Yanukovych fled this winter, has dithered. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Wednesday said the Ukrainian state had no authority in the east, a demoralizing and questionable admission. Seizing an opening, Mr. Putin the next day told Kiev to withdraw from the east and sue for peace. The Ukrainians might as well send him the keys to the capital.

We're told the assault launched on Friday reflects a change in approach and a commitment to push back. The "restraint" shown by Kiev in Crimea and in the east—which President Obama praised again on Friday—has frustrated most Ukrainians and failed to stop the Russian advance. The interim government might have faced an uprising in Kiev over its defeatist approach.

Russian gains in the east will nonetheless be hard to reverse given the weakness of Kiev's government and military. Ukrainian forces moved Friday against the Russian-held town of Slovyansk, strategically located on the road between Donetsk and Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city. Two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down, showing how well-armed and trained the Russian-backed forces are.

A Kremlin spokesman claimed the operation "effectively destroys all hope for" the peace deal reached last month in Geneva. Cue the laughter in Moscow. Russia all along merely used Geneva as cover for its destabilization strategy, and its boys in Slovyansk are still holding as hostages seven foreign monitors who were sent to implement Geneva.

Yet eastern Ukrainians are hardly rushing to secede and join Russia. Though skeptical of the new authorities in Kiev, easterners are even more opposed to Russian intervention. No leading politician among remaining Yanukovych allies has gone over to Moscow's side. Pro-Ukraine demonstrations in the southeast are large, and the Russians have tried to beat them into silence. Some three dozen people died on Friday during clashes in Odessa.

Ukraine is desperately seeking Western military help, but so far the U.S. has refused. Earlier this week in Manila, President Obama tetchily addressed his Ukraine policy, saying, "Well, what else should we be doing?" He offered another rhetorical question: "Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army?"

Well, who knows? Mr. Putin could crush Ukraine if he wants to send in the tanks, but he also knows the political cost of an invasion would be high. That's why he prefers destabilization with special forces, hostage-taking, murder and thuggery. Defensive but lethal weapons for Ukraine—anti-tank mines or artillery, modern guns—would raise the cost and risk of this intervention.

But Mr. Obama is so worried about upsetting Mr. Putin that he refused to send even night-vision goggles, offering 300,000 meals-ready-to-eat instead. The Ukrainians are battling to free themselves of Russian domination and build a European democracy. They deserve more than Spam in a can from America.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #76 on: May 03, 2014, 11:11:31 AM »

second post of the day


Summary

Poland and Lithuania are working with Ukraine to establish stronger trilateral military ties after the recent political transition in Kiev. Knowing that NATO membership for Ukraine is unlikely because of resistance from other European countries and Russia, Warsaw and Vilnius -- two of Europe's strongest advocates for closer relations with Kiev -- hope to use the trilateral partnership to strengthen the Ukrainian military's Western orientation and build a closer alliance with Kiev. The Ukrainian political crisis and tensions with Russia mean Kiev is more willing than it has been in the past to forge such ties, but persistent political instability and Kiev's constant balancing act between the West and Russia call into question the potential strengthening of military ties between Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Analysis

In recent months, Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian officials have met several times to discuss forging stronger trilateral military relations. These plans for deeper military ties are not new, but they have been postponed over the years largely because of a lack of political will in Kiev. The political transition in Kiev has given Vilnius and Warsaw an opportunity to assist Ukraine and finally strengthen ties.

During an April 22 meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mikhail Koval, Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said Lithuania was willing to offer Ukraine assistance in restructuring its defense forces. Since Poland and Lithuania went through drastic military reforms to join NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union and are still making reforms, their assistance and experience likely would help Kiev improve ties with Western military forces on a technical level and could aid potential reforms within the Ukrainian military.

Beyond assisting Ukraine with reforms, Poland and Lithuania are pushing for more long-term institutional ties through a three-country joint brigade. Warsaw, Vilnius and Kiev agreed to set up this force in 2009, but tensions between Poland and Lithuania as well as Kiev's lack of political will to strengthen defense ties kept the brigade from materializing. The agreement to form the joint brigade was made while the Western-oriented Viktor Yushchenko was the president of Ukraine, but its implementation was delayed after Viktor Yanukovich's victory in the presidential election of 2010.
Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine
Click to Enlarge

The aim of the joint brigade would be to have a small permanent staff with representation from all three countries headquartered in Poland to plan joint training and eventually joint missions under NATO, EU or U.N. mandates. Setting up the joint brigade likely would not encounter many technical hurdles, especially since operational ties between Poland and Ukraine were quite strong from 1998 to 2010. Ukrainian forces were engaged in the Iraq War under Polish leadership, and Poland and Ukraine jointly participated in the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, at times with Lithuanian forces. The past collaboration between Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine was tied into NATO operations, several of which Ukraine has been a part of as a partner country. Warsaw and Vilnius likely hope that their efforts to strengthen trilateral ties will also help Ukraine integrate further with NATO.

As a result of the confrontation between the West and Russia, calls from the West and within Ukraine to give Kiev clearer prospects for joining the European Union and NATO have grown louder. However, Ukraine's membership in these institutions remains unlikely. The new government in Kiev has noted that it is not seeking NATO membership at this time. Moreover, important Western European countries such as Germany and France are willing to support the new Ukrainian government but -- as in the past -- are hesitant to fully integrate Ukraine with Western institutions, fearing the high cost of integration and the possibility of souring relations with Russia.

However, Poland and Lithuania are more interested in Ukraine's Western orientation than other European countries are, and thus want stronger military ties with Ukraine in anticipation of the difficulties associated with formally integrating it with NATO. Whether Warsaw and Vilnius succeed greatly depends on the future political stability of Ukraine and the nature of the Ukrainian government. The current leadership in Kiev is interested in strengthening military ties with Western countries as tensions with Russia persist, so more formal ties with Poland and Lithuania are likely. However, because domestic instability has created numerous new challenges for the Ukrainian military -- ranging from defending the country's territorial integrity to dealing with leadership changes and the emergence of armed groups -- foreign partnerships that do not directly help Kiev deal with these challenges will be a low priority.

Ukraine's Western orientation is by no means cemented. Thus, Warsaw and Vilnius are likely to see Kiev's enthusiasm for military collaboration fade again depending on the evolution of the relationship between Kiev and Moscow in the coming years.

Read more: Lithuania and Poland Seek Closer Military Ties With Ukraine | Stratfor

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« Reply #77 on: May 05, 2014, 07:38:44 PM »

This looks about right to me, "Unless and until the West takes a seriously strong stand against Putin’s undeclared war against Kiev and commits to keeping Ukraine united and independent, Putin will continue on his present path of stealth conquest."

Foreign Policy Research Institute

http://www.fpri.org/articles/2014/05/putins-greater-novorossiya-dismemberment-ukraine

Putin’s “Greater Novorossiya” - The Dismemberment of Ukraine
Adrian A. Basora, Aleksandr Fisher 
About the Author:  http://www.fpri.org/contributors/adrian-basora 
(more at the link, sources, footnotes)  May 2014

On April 17, Vladimir Putin introduced a dangerously expansive new concept into the Ukraine crisis. During his four-hour question and answer session on Russian TV that day he pointedly mentioned “Novorossiya” – a large swath of territory conquered by Imperial Russia during the 18th century from a declining Ottoman Empire. This historic Novorossiya covered roughly a third of what is now Ukraine (including Crimea).

Subsequent comments and actions by Putin and his surrogates have made it clear that the Kremlin’s goal is once again to establish its dominance over the lands once called Novorossiya. Furthermore, it is clear that Putin hopes to push his control well beyond this region’s historic boundaries to include other contiguous provinces with large Russian-speaking populations.

Most commentators and media are still focusing on Putin’s annexation of Crimea and on the threatened Russian takeover of the eastern Ukraine provinces (oblasts) of Donetsk and Luhansk. But the far more ominous reality, both in Moscow’ rhetoric and on the ground, is that Putin has already begun laying the groundwork for removing not only these, but several additional provincesfrom Kiev’s control and bringing them under Russian domination, either by annexation or by creating a nominally independent Federation of Novorossiya.

Unless the U.S. and its European allies take far more decisive countermeasures than they have to date, Putin’s plan[1] will continue to unfold slowly but steadily and, within a matter of months, Ukraine will either be dismembered or brought back into the Russian sphere of influence.

Putin’s convenient and expansive (though historically inaccurate) ‘rediscovery’ of Novorossiya now appears to include the following provinces in addition to Crimea: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mikolaiv and Odessa. If he can turn this vision into a reality, Moscow would dominate the entire northern littoral of the Black Sea and control a wide band of contiguous territory stretching all the way from Russia’s current western boundaries to the borders of Romania and Moldova (conveniently including the latter’s already self-declared breakaway province of Transdnistria).



If all of these provinces are either annexed by Russia or form a nominally independent federation of ‘Greater Novorossiya’, the population of Ukraine would drop from 46 million to 25 million. This would not only subtract nearly 45% of Ukraine’s 2013 population but also roughly two thirds of its GDP, given that the country’s eastern and southern provinces are far more industrialized than those of the center and west.[2]

So far, neither financial sanctions nor international condemnation of Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine have had the slightest deterrent effect against Putin’s strategy. Instead, he is now steadily undermining Kiev’s control of the country’s eastern oblasts in small slices – currently at the rate of two or three strategic centers per day – the same pace and playbook that enabled Russia to establish total control of Crimea within a matter of weeks.

Given its track record so far, the weak government in Kiev and its even weaker military and security forces are obviously powerless to put a stop to Putin’s Novorossiya strategy. Meanwhile, the western powers continue to talk but take actions that are patently having no deterrent value. Unless the U.S. and its European allies can manage a quantum leap in their sanctions and counter-measures, Putin’s strategy seems likely to continue to unfold, slowly but steadily, likely without need for any overt large-scale Russian military intervention other than menacing moves on Ukraine’s borders.

If this happens, not only will the map of Ukraine be dramatically redrawn, but the entire geopolitical balance of Europe will be decisively altered. And, needless to say, the fate of democracy in the region, which has already suffered worrisome erosion in several post-communist countries over the past few years, will be severely compromised.

And, beyond Europe, Putin will have taken a giant step towards creating his new Moscow-dominated Eurasian Union. This is a potentially massive geopolitical and economic bloc stretching through the Caucasus into post-Soviet Central Asia – with obvious negative global repercussions.

Putin’s Vision of “Greater Novorossiya”

Novorossiya (literally, New Russia) refers historically to a very large section of present-day Ukraine lying north of the Black Sea and stretching from Luhansk and Donetsk in the east to Odessa in the west. Russia, and subsequently the USSR, controlled this region from the 18th century until the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. But in the Soviet period it was part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic rather than directly part of Russia.

Ominously, however, on April 17, when Putin evoked the memory of historic Novorossiya, he also exclaimed that only “God knows” why Russia surrendered this region in 1922 to Ukraine.

Just a few weeks earlier, Putin had described Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to incorporate Crimea into Ukraine in 1954 in a remarkably similar vein. The analogy seems all too obvious.

Furthermore, as if Putin’s concept of correcting historic anomalies were not sufficiently threatening, he quickly expanded his description of Novorossiya to include territories that lie well beyond its actual historical boundaries, most notably by explicitly including Kharkiv – a major city and important oblast that was never part of that historic region.

Furthermore, Putin and his hard-line Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, along with the Kremlin’s prolific propaganda machine, also regularly attempt to legitimize Russian intervention by focusing on the high number of “Russians” in Ukraine overall. Lavrov has also repeatedly claimed that Moscow has a right to protect Russian “citizens” in Ukraine – thus adding a further argument in favor of defining the new version of Novorossiya quite expansively.

http://www.fpri.org/docs/resize/image_2-400x307.png

Putin’s Motives and Russian Grand Strategy

Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine strategy is driven by three goals: survival, empire and legacy.

First and foremost, Putin sees the fate of Ukraine as an existential issue both for himself and for the authoritarian regime that he and his inner circle have gradually rebuilt over the past fifteen years. The Orange Revolution of 2004 was a deep shock to Putin because of the echoes it created in Russia and because Ukraine seemed to be on the brink of becoming a major source of longer-term “democratic diffusion” right on Russia’s long southwestern border. Fortunately for Putin, however, the luster of this revolution quickly wore off once its leaders gained office and failed to live up to their reformist promises. From the start there was infighting between Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; reforms were postponed; the Ukrainian economy spiraled downward and corruption remained rampant.

By the time Yushchenko’s presidency ended in 2010, many voters had come to see Viktor Yanukovych as a preferable alternative. Yanukovich also reportedly benefited from substantial financial and “political technology” support from Moscow. For Putin, Yanukovych was a promising alternative to the western-oriented “Orange” leaders, since he seemed likely to maintain strong trade and financial ties with Russia, show proper deference towards Moscow and, above all, keep Ukraine out of NATO. But it turned out that too many Ukrainians were unwilling to follow the Putin/Yanukovich script.

When Yanukovich fled Kiev on February 21, it must have seemed to the Kremlin that a second wave of the Orange Revolution had taken control of Ukraine. Putin no doubt trembled with fury – but also with fear.

Putin’s second driving motive for going all out to reassert as much dominance as possible in Ukraine combines his goals of restoring a Russian empire and of burnishing his personal legacy. It is abundantly clear that Putin seeks to restore Russia to its former imperial glory, and in so doing to secure for himself a place in history as one of the greatest Russian leaders of all time. In a 2005 speech, Putin famously stated that “the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.”[3]

Putin’s comments on the Soviet Union, taken together with his current vision of Novorossiya, should make it crystal clear to the West that the crisis in Ukraine is not a small-scale conflict, nor simply an internal political problem between eastern and western Ukraine. Rather, a de facto war for control of Ukraine has begun – and Ukraine, in turn, is only a part (though a very important one) of Putin’s strategic plan to re-establish Russian hegemony over as much as possible of the former Soviet Union, and thus to reassert Russia’s role as a major global power.

Repeating the Crimea Playbook, Province by Province

Although his strategy in Ukraine is highly ambitious, Putin is clearly convinced that the most effective tactic is to proceed one stealthy step at a time. He will avoid overt military intervention if at all possible so as not to shock the western powers into genuinely painful countermeasures. Putin is clearly repeating the Crimea pattern in eastern Ukraine, having already established de facto control of over a dozen key locations in its most important eastern province, Donetsk. This is Ukraine’s most industrialized oblast[4], with a population of 74.9 percent Russian speakers and very strong industrial ties to Russia.



The next three oblasts most immediately threatened by Russian stealth takeovers are Luhansk with 68.6 percent Russian speakers, Zaporizhia with 48.2 percent. Kherson with 24.9 percent also belongs on the immediately endangered list, despite its lower percentage of Russian-speakers, because Russia needs to control it along with Donetsk in order to create a “land bridge” between Russia and Crimea. A further “favorable” factor from Moscow’s viewpoint is that Kherson – along with Donetsk, Zaporizhia and part of Luhansk – falls largely within the boundaries of historic Novorossiya.

Beyond these four provinces, there have already been major Russian incursions into the two contiguous provinces of Luhansk and Kharkiv (which has a 44.3 percent Russian speaking population). And, as mentioned earlier, Putin has also proclaimed publically, even though inaccurately, that Kharkiv is part of Novorossiya.

To the west of the six oblasts mentioned above are Mykolaiv and Odessa, which have 29.4 percent and 41.9 percent Russian speakers, respectively. The strategic port city of Odessa has already seen the same type anti-Kiev agitation and organization of a secessionist movement that are the hallmarks of the Crimea playbook. Christian Caryl, an American journalist and editor of Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab, has recently interviewed Odessans who are excited about the prospect of an autonomous Novorossiya state. He quotes one citizen as exclaiming, "A population of 20 million, with industry, resources. With advantages like that, who needs to become a part of Russia? By European standards that's already a good-sized country.”[5]

Language, Ethnicity and Attitudes



In claiming a Russian right to intervene in these eastern and southern provinces, it is clear that Moscow will use a maximalist definition of “Russians”. This means counting the number of Russian speakers rather than the number of ethnic Russians.[6] This is to Putin’s advantage, since the number of ethnic Russians in these provinces is much lower than the number of Russian speakers. Furthermore, not only do many Ukrainians living in the east and south acknowledge Russian as their native tongue, but an additional significant percentage speak the language fluently, which Moscow could well use as a further rationale either for the annexation of these provinces or to create an enlarged version of Novorossiya that would in fact be subservient to Moscow.

Beyond fueling ethnic and linguistic differences to justify Russia’s incursions into Ukraine, Putin is working systematically to create a permanent rift between eastern and western Ukrainians based on pre-existing differences of perspective and attitude, and by building upon manufactured confrontations and grievances.

Recent public opinion polls conducted by the Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization show that the linguistic and ethnic divisions between western and eastern Ukraine also correlate with the two regions’ viewpoints on a variety of issues including: Russia’s military excursion in Crimea, the EuroMaidan protests that ousted Yanukovich, and the upcoming presidential election on May 25.[7] According to the poll, over 94 percent of western Ukrainians believed Putin’s actions in Crimea constituted an invasion, while only 44 percent of eastern Ukrainians believed the same. In fact, 45 percent of eastern Ukrainians believed that the referendum in Crimea on joining Russia is a legitimate right of the residents of Crimea to express their opinion about the future of Crimea.

Sixty-six percent of citizens in western Ukraine said they viewed the Euromaidan events positively while only 7 percent of citizens in eastern Ukraine said the same. While 34 percent of citizens in western Ukraine said they would vote for Petro Poroshenko, the “chocolate oligarch”, in the upcoming presidential election, only 7 percent of eastern Ukrainians agreed, and 11 percent said they would vote for Serhiy Tihipko, a former member of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions who has taken a pro-federalization stance.

Perhaps most importantly, 59 percent of citizens in eastern Ukraine are already in favor of joining Russia’s Customs Union as opposed to 20 percent who are in favor of joining the European Union.

The total population of Putin’s ideal Greater Novorossiya (Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Odessa, and Crimea), would be approximately 21 million. This would be a sizable potential addition to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan, which would give Putin’s Russia even stronger economic leverage against the European Union.

Russian journalist Yulia Latynina views Putin’s tactics in Crimea and eastern Ukraine as a new military strategy, in which the government controls and distorts information to cast Russia and the pro-Russian separatists as the victims. She argues that this “is far more important than achieving a military victory. To come out the winner in this scenario, you don't have to shoot your enemy. All you have to do is either kill your own men — or provoke others into killing them — and then portray it as an act of aggression by the enemy with all of the attendant media spin.”[8] Due to this media spin, all of the Ukrainian government’s attempts at diffusing the situation in the eastern provinces have horribly backfired.

Implications for Moldova and Beyond

Even assuming that Putin achieves his ambitious vision of a Greater Novorossiya, there is no guarantee that Putin will stop at Odessa. In fact, the contrary seems likely. Moldova would also be directly threatened. In March, the separatist de facto government in Transdniestria asked to be incorporated into the Russian federation.[9] Putin could thus easily repeat the same tactics that were successful in Crimea and are working in eastern Ukraine, in Transdniestria. This breakaway region would become independent from Moldova and possibly join the Novorossiya federation.

It is beyond the scope of this essay to discuss the potential impact of this scenario on the weak remainder state of Moldova or, for that matter of the putative rump state of central and western Ukraine. Suffice it to say that, if Ukraine and the West do not act decisively against Russian “irredentism” in eastern Ukraine, any state in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, or Central Asia with a Russian speaking minority could well be at risk of either dismemberment or of de facto Russian domination as the price of avoiding it.

Can Putin be Stopped?

It is hard to envision any realistic scenario whereby the current Ukrainian government in Kiev might stop this slow and steady dismemberment of the country. Given pro-Russian separatists’ success in seizing government buildings all across eastern Ukraine with impunity, what options does the current Ukrainian government have?

If Ukraine can manage to make serious military efforts to counteract the gradual slicing off of its provinces, Moscow will blame the resultant bloodshed on Western-instigated “fascists” in Kiev and would likely intervene militarily to assure the victory of the pro-Russian separatists whom they are currently instigating and assisting with semi-covert military support. Putin has already expressed indignation towards Ukraine’s miniscule “anti-terrorist operations” in the east and has called these actions a “grave crime.”[10]

Given Ukraine’s likely ineffectiveness in dealing with Russia’s incursions into its territory, what options does the West have in dealing with Russia’s increased aggression and imperialistic ambitions?

The U.S., its NATO allies and the European Union are left with two basic options. The first is to continue the current pattern of de facto acquiescence. The West can continue its current course of public condemnation and minor punitive economic and financial sanctions that stop short of really serious pain on either side. If so, Putin will almost certainly ignore the West’s sanctions, despite their toll on the Russian economy. He will thus move steadily ahead with his plan to either separate and federalize eastern and southern Ukraine, or incorporate it into Russia.

The alternative is for the West to undertake truly deep and thus mutually painful economic sanctions that would sharply reduce Russia’s oil and gas exports and revenues, decimate foreign investment and wreak havoc with that country’s economy. This would require going very far beyond the half-hearted European support for intensified sanctions against Russia that we have seen so far, especially among European countries with strong trade ties to Russia.[11]

And, given the insulation of Putin and his ruling elite from economic pain, there would also need to be a strong show of military resolve. The U.S. would need to at least double the number of its forces stationed in Europe (currently only 66,000 vs. 400,000 during the Cold War) and NATO would have to move several thousand European, Canadian and American troops to the eastern borders of Poland and the Baltic republics, and to northeastern Romania.

As of now, the West has not committed a substantial number of troops to the defense of Eastern Europe, despite its treaty obligations to defend these NATO members. On April 23rd, the U.S. sent 150 American troops, with 450 more expected to join them, to Poland as part of a military exercise.[12] However, these 150 troops are dwarfed by Russia’s 40,000 men stationed at the Ukrainian border.[13] From Putin’s expansive perspective, these micro-exercises are derisory at a time when he has held military exercises near Ukraine involving troops in the tens of thousands.

Putin will not be deterred by anything short of a commensurate show of resolve by the Western powers.

Unless and until the West takes a seriously strong stand against Putin’s undeclared war against Kiev and commits to keeping Ukraine united and independent, Putin will continue on his present path of stealth conquest. He will implement his own vision of Novorossiya as a step towards re-establishing a “Greater Russia” – one that continues its aggressive expansionism well beyond Ukraine and in which he plays a major role on the world stage dedicated to undercutting the West and its democratic values.

 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #78 on: May 05, 2014, 08:37:25 PM »

Excellent Doug-- would you please post it here http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1179.0 as well?  TIA.
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« Reply #79 on: May 13, 2014, 01:01:46 PM »

The Battle for Eastern Ukraine
Putin presses his annexation by stages while the West watches.
May 12, 2014 7:00 p.m. ET

Vladimir Putin may have lost this winter's pro-European uprising in Ukraine, but he's winning the counterrevolution. On the weekend he took a big step toward disrupting Ukraine's May 25 presidential election and grabbing another chunk of his neighbor's territory.

Separatist leaders in Eastern Ukraine followed through Sunday with their sham referendum on local autonomy. As in Crimea, the separatists had taken control of cities and towns in the east with the help of Russian special forces. Then on Monday a separatist leader who was unknown a month ago demanded that Ukraine withdraw security forces from his "sovereign territory" and asked Russia to absorb the Donbas region.

The Kremlin didn't respond directly to the absorption request but replied that it "respects the will of the population" and "all mediation efforts will be welcome." It's an old Putin habit to offer to solve a problem he's created, and Germany and the Obama Administration have fallen for it before. Witness last month's so-called peace deal for eastern Ukraine, which Russia flouted from the first. Now Mr. Putin is once again inviting Secretary of State John Kerry and the EU to negotiate the terms of Kiev's surrender.

The government in Kiev denounced the referendum, but its military writ doesn't extend to the east. Most pro-Ukrainian voters didn't bother to vote in the referendum, which was supervised by the separatists, who counted ballots dropped in clear cannisters that supervisors could see. Independent monitors were barred from the region.

But the battle for eastern Ukraine isn't over. Unlike in Crimea, the Ukrainians haven't given up and the territory is majority ethnic Ukrainian and voted by a large majority for Ukraine's independence in 1991. After presidential elections later this month, Ukraine will have a leader whose chief task will be to hold the country together. But the government in Kiev needs outside military help. The Ukrainians have presented the U.S. with a long list of requests for military aid, but the Obama Administration has so far agreed to send only prepackaged meals. Literally.

The U.S. and EU joined Kiev in denouncing the referendum, but it isn't clear they will do anything about it. On Monday the EU added 13 more Russians to its sanctions list, but it continues to resist more far reaching punishment against companies or industries that would raise the costs for Mr. Putin. The U.S. has done better, though not by much.

A judo black belt, Mr. Putin can sense that Western leaders want to do as little as possible. So he is trying to achieve his goals in Ukraine without the full-fledged invasion that would leave President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel with little choice but to impose broader sanctions. The White House strategy of threatening more sanctions only after Mr. Putin takes the next step has played into the Russian's plan of disruption in stages and via separatist proxies.

Mr. Putin hasn't begun to feel enough economic pain to make him back off his strategy of gobbling eastern Ukraine and destabilizing the rest. Until he does, expect him to keep moving westward.
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« Reply #80 on: June 13, 2014, 08:47:12 PM »



Russia Has Sent Tanks to Ukraine Rebels, U.S. Says
The State Department confirmed on Friday that Russia has sent tanks and other heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine.
A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. Reports and images of the weapons’ presence circulated on Thursday, but there were conflicting claims about where they had come from.
“This is unacceptable,” said Marie Harf, the deputy State Department spokeswoman. “A failure by Russia to de-escalate this situation will lead to additional costs.”
A Western official said that intelligence about the movement of the tanks and other weapons into Ukraine was shared on Friday with NATO allies. Secretary of State John Kerry complained earlier this week about the flow of Russian arms to separatists in Ukraine in a phone call to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.
The T-64 is an obsolescent tank no longer in active use by Russian forces, but still kept in storage in southwest Russia.
READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/world/europe/russia-has-sent-tanks-to-ukraine-rebels-us-says.html?emc=edit_na_20140613

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« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2014, 10:05:56 PM »

Careful Putin, Obama has a phone and a pen.
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« Reply #82 on: June 14, 2014, 11:37:16 AM »

Ukrainian jet shot down.

It would appear that the annexation of Ukraine by Putin continues.  Nary a peep from Baraq, nor any word I am aware of concerning the French selling navy assault ships to the Russians.    cry

Life is tough and it is tougher when we are stupid.

==================================================

Meanwhile, Back in Ukraine
Tanks mysteriously roll in from Russia.
WSJ
June 13, 2014 6:56 p.m. ET

After Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to pull back from Ukraine's borders this month, the West sighed in relief. "Putin blinked," goes the meme du jour. We'd welcome it, but the facts on the ground tell a different story.

Waves of Russian tanks and divisions of infantrymen are one way to undermine the budding democracy in Kiev. But an overt invasion would force a reluctant America and EU to sanction Russia, and the Kremlin figures it can get to the same place by a less costly route.

For two months Russian and Chechen mercenaries, money and weapons have flowed over the border, fueling a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine. Late this week, three T-64 or T-72 tanks, B-21 "Grad" multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles arrived from Russia, according to the Ukrainian government and U.S. State Department. On Friday Moscow also threatened to cut exports of natural gas to Ukraine after talks on a new contract failed.

The pro-Russian rebels showed off the tanks without revealing their provenance. If they came from Russia, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a statement Friday, "this would mark a serious escalation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine." It's safe to presume the separatists, who include a high proportion of Russian citizens, didn't pick up the tanks at a used car lot.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, who took office a week ago, has launched a counteroffensive in the east. The separatists control territory around Donetsk and Luhansk, the two largest cities in the industrial Donbas region. The Ukrainian military on Friday said it had ousted the rebels from the port city of Mariupol and destroyed two of the three tanks. After the past few months of military setbacks, the Ukrainians need the morale boost.

But Russia has tanks to spare, and President Putin has little reason to fear a Western backlash. The Iraqi crisis is a useful diversion for him. President Obama and the Europeans rarely mention Crimea, implicitly accepting Russia's illegal annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in March. Mr. Putin was welcomed to last week's D-Day commemoration in France despite his Ukraine revanchism.

New sanctions on Russia are off the table, and the Moscow stock exchange index has returned to pre-Crimea levels. The markets are saying who really blinked on Ukraine.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 11:48:37 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #83 on: June 18, 2014, 07:25:26 PM »

Ummm , , , has anyone noticed what is happening in the Ukraine?
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« Reply #84 on: June 19, 2014, 09:46:46 AM »

Ummm , , , has anyone noticed what is happening in the Ukraine?


It's hard to keep track of all the scandals and foreign policy trainwrecks right now.
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« Reply #85 on: June 28, 2014, 08:15:40 AM »


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/world/europe/ukraine-signs-trade-agreement-with-european-union.html?emc=edit_th_20140628&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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« Reply #86 on: July 07, 2014, 12:39:03 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/world/europe/ukraine-military-finds-its-footing-against-pro-russian-rebels.html?emc=edit_th_20140707&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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« Reply #87 on: July 17, 2014, 07:23:55 PM »

Maybe if our Commander in Chief can break away from brie and crackers in the Hamptions while fundraising, he can announce giving something a tad more effective for fighting to the Ukrainians than MREs , , , tongue angry angry
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« Reply #88 on: July 17, 2014, 07:29:04 PM »

Maybe if our Commander in Chief can break away from brie and crackers in the Hamptions while fundraising, he can announce giving something a tad more effective for fighting to the Ukrainians than MREs , , , tongue angry angry


He did stop for a hamburger in Delaware as well !

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« Reply #89 on: July 17, 2014, 07:36:00 PM »

I've said it before, I'll say it again, and damn the consequences. You go electing a Detroit style politician, you're going to get Detroit style results.
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We all die. The second one accepts that, only then are they capable of living.
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« Reply #90 on: July 17, 2014, 07:40:10 PM »

Give him a break, this is his first real job. He's still trying to get oriented.
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« Reply #91 on: July 17, 2014, 07:41:36 PM »

Give him a break, this is his first real job. He's still trying to get oriented.

There are some things however, where you and I are on exactly the same page. My daughter is still in Russia. I'm less than thrilled with his "handling" of this. Another cold war is the last thing any of us need.
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« Reply #92 on: July 17, 2014, 07:46:03 PM »

It's only a war if someone fights back. Putin will continue to run the table while Obama pretends nothing is happening because he has no idea what to do.

Short of a nuclear launch, I expect some meetings with Lurch and at most a few more token sanctions that will in reality serve to harm American interests more than Russian.
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« Reply #93 on: July 17, 2014, 11:23:58 PM »

Someone on our side is trying to pay attention.  The new, slightly expanded sanctions announced just before today's jetliner shoot down included the company that made the missile that did it. 

BTW, this missile reaches up to 72,000 feet altitude; this is not amateur stuff.
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« Reply #94 on: July 17, 2014, 11:32:14 PM »

I'm pretty sure that was luck. Competence is not a hallmark of this administration.
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« Reply #95 on: July 18, 2014, 10:04:52 AM »

My intended point was that there are people who were there before this administration and who will be there after this administration , , ,
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« Reply #96 on: August 23, 2014, 08:22:13 AM »

Putin Makes His Move
His forces intervene to grab another chunk of Ukraine.
Updated Aug. 22, 2014 7:10 p.m. ET

The use of Russian-manned artillery inside Ukraine is being portrayed as a "significant escalation" in Vladimir Putin's effort to seize his neighbor's territory. That's putting it mildly. So far in this crisis the Russian strongman has practiced a form of ambiguous aggression—the insignia-less "little green men" in Crimea; the quasi-covert military aid to the separatists in eastern Ukraine—that provided the Kremlin with at least a fig leaf of deniability. What's happening now looks like an outright invasion.

The insertion of artillery, which was confirmed Friday by NATO officials, comes as a convoy of some 200 Russian trucks illegally entered the separatist-controlled territory in and around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. The trucks, ostensibly delivering humanitarian aid, were supposed to be escorted by the International Red Cross. Red Cross officials refused to join the convoy for fear of being caught in a crossfire, but the convoy entered anyway.
Opinion Video

Global View Columnist Bret Stephens on news that Russia artillery units are inside Ukraine, firing on Ukrainian forces. Photo: Associated Press

Exactly what Mr. Putin hopes to achieve remains to be seen. At a minimum, the convoy serves the Kremlin's domestic propaganda purposes by offering visual evidence that Mother Russia will come to the aid of fellow Russians stranded in the country's "near abroad" and under dire threat from allegedly nefarious forces.

U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Commander, has noted that Russia has "previously sent 'humanitarian' and 'peacekeeping' efforts to Georgia, Moldova and Crimea, and we have seen how they proved to be deceptions that freeze conflicts rather than resolve them." The Kremlin formula is to insert the convoy, demand a ceasefire, then insist that Kiev honor the ceasefire, in turn allowing the rebel enclaves to become self-governing territories.

But the convoy also creates the possibility of an incident—accidental or premeditated—that can spark a wider war. Mr. Putin has a history of using such incidents to start wars against his enemies. That includes the mysterious apartment building explosions—blamed on Chechen terrorists but widely suspected of being the work of Russian intelligence services—that sparked the Second Chechen War in 1999 and first brought Mr. Putin to power. The 2008 invasion of Georgia was sparked by another ambiguous border incident.

As for the Ukraine crisis, there is little doubt the Kremlin is ready and perhaps eager for another incident. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has "guaranteed" to the Obama Administration that the convoy would not be used to start an invasion. Yet his ministry has also stationed some 18,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, and now the deployment of Russian artillery shows how little that guarantee was worth.
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Yalta, Crimea, in August. Reuters

All the more so since Kiev has surprised much of the world, perhaps including itself, by prosecuting a successful military offensive that seemed to be on the cusp of cutting off the rebels from their supply routes to Russia. Among the reasons the Obama Administration has refused to supply Ukraine with arms is the fear that its military was incompetent, undisciplined and possibly disloyal. Having proven the Administration skeptics wrong, Ukraine's military deserves immediate U.S. support.

We noted last week ("Some Realism on Russia," Aug. 16) what some of that support might be: body armor, night-vision goggles, small UAVs, antitank weapons, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and radio jammers. This equipment can be rapidly loaded on C-17 cargo planes and flown directly to Kiev, much like the crucial aid that was delivered to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Merely the sight of those planes might give Mr. Putin reason to think twice about sending in the main body of his forces. It would also give Ukrainians—not to mention nervous NATO allies in the Baltics and Central Europe—confidence that Mr. Obama's assurances are more than talk. The President has boasted about the efficacy of his post-Crimea sanctions, but so far they've had little impact on the Russian economy and even less on the Kremlin's behavior, save perhaps to underscore how reluctant the West is to punish the Kremlin.

Eastern Ukraine is now the place where Western resolve is being acutely tested against the usual temptations of timidity and indifference. This is an old story, and Mr. Obama is fond of saying that this kind of aggression has no place "in the 21st century." But Russia's revanchism is a reminder that human nature remains the same no matter what century we're living in. Dictators do not do off-ramps. Their aggression doesn't stop until it is checked.

The White House on Friday called Mr. Putin's actions a "flagrant violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty. But the question now in Ukraine, as also regarding ISIS in Iraq, is not the sincerity of Mr. Obama's indignation. It's whether this President has the will to do anything to stop it.
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« Reply #97 on: August 27, 2014, 03:53:52 PM »



Russia Opens 3rd Front With a New Offensive, Ukrainian and Western Officials Say

Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in the small border town of Novoazovsk but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.

The attacks outside Novoazovsk and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/europe/ukraine-russia-novoazovsk-crimea.html?emc=edit_na_20140827

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« Reply #98 on: August 27, 2014, 04:39:01 PM »



Russia Opens 3rd Front With a New Offensive, Ukrainian and Western Officials Say

Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in the small border town of Novoazovsk but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.

The attacks outside Novoazovsk and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/europe/ukraine-russia-novoazovsk-crimea.html?emc=edit_na_20140827



Quick, somebody find that reset button!
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« Reply #99 on: September 04, 2014, 10:45:26 AM »


Sept. 3, 2014 7:17 p.m. ET

Zbigniew Brzezinski writing in Foreign Affairs, March/April 1994:

Insurance is needed against the possibility, one might even argue the probability, that the weight of history will not soon permit Russia to stabilize as a democracy, and that the single-minded cultivation of a partnership with Russia, while downgrading other interests, will simply accelerate the reemergence of an ominously familiar imperial challenge to Europe's security. . . .

The crucial issue here, one that might well come to a dramatic head in the course of 1994, is the future stability and independence of Ukraine. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire. American policymakers must face the fact that Ukraine is on the brink of disaster: the economy is in a free-fall, while Crimea is on the verge of a Russia-abetted ethnic explosion. Either crisis might be exploited to promote the breakup or the reintegration of Ukraine in a larger Moscow-dominated framework. It is urgent and essential that the United States convince the Ukranian government, through the promise of substantial economic assistance, to adopt long-delayed and badly needed economic reforms. At the same time, American political assurances for Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity should be forthcoming.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 10:53:27 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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