Daily Archives: March 2, 2014

أوباما وكاميرون يحذران روسيا من دفع ثمن باهظ

حذر الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما ورئيس الوزراء البريطاني ديفيد كاميرون من أن روسيا ستدفع ثمنا باهظا إذا لم يغير الكرملين موقفه بشأن أوكرانيا، وذلك في أحدث محاولة للضغط على موسكو من أجل تجنب تصعيد الأزمة

وقال متحدث باسم رئاسة الحكومة البريطانية إن كاميرون اتفق مع أوباما على أن التصرفات الروسية في أوكرانيا غير مقبولة بالمرة

وأضاف المتحدث “اتفقا على ضرورة أن يكون هناك (تكاليف كبيرة) لروسيا إذا لم تغير مسارها بشأن أوكرانيا” ودعا الزعيمان موسكو إلى عدم التصعيد والمشاركة في حوار مع أوكرانيا بشكل مباشر

من جانبها، اعتبرت اليابان الاثنين أن قرار البرلمان الروسي السماح للرئيس فلاديمير بوتين بالتدخل عسكريا في أوكرانيا “يهدد بزيادة التوتر في المنطقة وبزعزعة سلم المجتمع الدولي واستقراره”

وأعلنت الحكومة الألمانية أن الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتن وافق على اقتراح من المستشارة الألمانية أنغيلا ميركل بتشكيل مجموعة اتصال بهدف البدء بحوار سياسي في الشأن الأوكراني

ضغوط غربية

وتبذل الدول الغربية وعلى رأسها الولايات المتحدة ضغوطا على موسكو لدفعها إلى التراجع عن التدخل العسكري في الأزمة الأوكرانية

ودان زعماء دول مجموعة الدول السبع الصناعية الكبرى “الانتهاك الواضح” لسيادة أوكرانيا من جانب روسيا وأعلنوا تعليق التحضيرات الجارية لقمة مجموعة الثماني المقرر عقدها في منتجع سوتشي الروسي في يونيو، حسبما أعلن البيت الأبيض

وهددت واشنطن في وقت سابق بتعليق عضوية روسيا في مجموعة الدول الثمانية، كما أعلنت عن إلغاء محادثات تجارية مع روسيا وزيارة لوفد روسي إلى واشنطن

وأشار وزير الخارجية الألماني فرانك فالتر شتاينماير الأحد إلى أن أعضاء مجموعة الثماني منقسمون حول ما إذا كان من الحكمة استبعاد روسيا من النادي بسبب الأزمة في أوكرانيا

وقبل يوم من اجتماع وزراء خارجية الاتحاد الأوربي لمناقشة الأزمة، قال شتاينماير لقناة إيه أر دي الألمانية إن العمل على إجراء محادثات بين كييف وموسكو هي أولوية قصوى

وتتكون مجموعة الثماني من الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وكندا وفرنسا وألمانيا وإيطاليا واليابان وروسيا. ومن المقرر أن ترأس ألمانيا المجموعة في 2015

كيري يزور كييف

من جهة أخرى، قال مسؤول أميركي إن وزير الخارجية جون كيري سيبدأ زيارة إلى العاصمة الأوكرانية كييف الثلاثاء للقاء مسؤولي الحكومة هناك، والتعبير عن دعم واشنطن السياسي والاقتصادي

وأضاف المسؤول أن  القوات الروسية باتت لديها “الآن السيطرة العملانية الكاملة على شبه جزيرة القرم”

ووصلت قوات مجهولة للقاعدة العسكرية الأوكرانية في بريفالني بشبه جزيرة القرم، الأحد، في قافلة تضم 13 شاحنة و4 مدرعات تحمل بنادق آلية، وكانت الشاحنات تقل كل واحدة منها نحو 30 جنديا وتحمل لوحات معدنية روسية

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Thousands in Moscow, St Petersburg rally in support of Russian speakers in Ukraine

A Moscow rally in support of Russian-speakers in Ukraine. “Russia + Crimea,” “Bandera followers are criminals and murderers,” and “Fascism won’t pass.”

Rallies and other actions in support of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine have attracted thousands in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities across Russia.

Around 27,000 people, including members of the patriotic youth groups and veterans’ organizations, took part in the Moscow march, which started on Pushkin Square in central Moscow on Sunday, the police said.

The demonstrators carried Russian national flags and chanted: “Russia and Ukraine are brothers forever,” and “Crimea, Russia is with you.”

“We are worried about the developments in Ukraine where millions of our compatriots live,” the organizers of the rally, which went on under the slogan, “We don’t abandon our people,” told Itar-Tass news agency. “The Ukrainians are our fraternal nation, which is historically connected to us and has unified cultural and spiritual roots with Russia.”

Russia’s biggest bikers’ club, the Night Wolves, has staged a major motorbike rally in the capital in support of Russian speakers in Ukraine. Despite the fact that the motorcycle season hasn’t yet kicked off, over 100 bikes participated in the rally.

“With this event, we want to express our attitude to the events in Ukraine,” one of the bikers told Ridus website. “During the last five years, we have conducted various activities in the Crimea, which were bound by a sense of unity between Crimea and Russia.”

The motorcycle enthusiasts were backed by car owners, who organized an motorized rally of their own in Moscow. Over 50 cars decorated with Russian flags joined the rally, city police told RIA-Novosti news agency.

Around 15,000 people gathered in the center of St Petersburg, local police in the city said.

“The main idea of the demonstration is to express outrage about the treatment of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine,”
Orlana Zapolskaya, from the United Russia party, told Itar-Tass news agency.

The rally was also aimed at showing full support for the decision of the Federation Council, which voted to use stabilizing Russian military forces on Ukrainian territory, Zapolskaya added.

On Saturday, Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to send Russian military forces in Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”

However, the final say about sending in the troops lies with Putin, who hasn’t yet made such a decision.

The authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of languages other than Ukrainian in official circumstances in the country.

Crimea has longstanding close ethnic, cultural and military links with Russia, as part of Imperial Russia since the 18th century and then the Soviet Union in the 20th century.

Under Ukrainian-born Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in 1954 Crimea was transferred from the Russian to the Ukrainian Soviet republic, but retained strong links with Russia after the end of the Soviet Union through Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which has a base there.

With more than half of Crimea’s population being Russian, the referendum to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region is scheduled for March 30.

 

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Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol : sources

About 10 Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet ships have left the naval base in Sevastopol, with several vessels now heading to Odessa, administrative sources have said. The ships left the base voluntarily but some of them broke down and returned, they claimed.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Over the last 24 hours, “about 10 [war]ships and vessels of the Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet have left the Sevastopol base,” a source in the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea told Interfax on Sunday.

“Naturally, no one has compelled them to do so,” the government source added.

The administration of the Crimean autonomy has nothing to do with the moves of the Ukrainian ships, an administrative source also told RIA Novosti.

Several vessels have since returned to the base in Sevastopol “because of malfunctions,” the source said.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian troops were due to swear allegiance to the Crimean authorities in Sevastopol at 5pm local time (15:00 GMT). An unnamed official source earlier told RIA Novosti that “the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea” have passed to the side of the region. The transition was made “without a single shot fired,” the source said.

Ukrainian state agencies have been categorically denying both the claims of Ukrainian soldiers switching sides en masse and, earlier, reports of warships leaving Sevastopol.

However, the governor of southern Ukrainian Odessa Region told local media that several Ukrainian ships are sailing to the city of Odessa and it is being decided where they will dock.

A Russian media report on Saturday claimed that Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate has refused to follow orders from Kiev, came over to Russia’s side and was returning home from the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag. Various Ukrainian media denied the report as “false” and “propaganda,” but gave only a Facebook statement of a former Navy officer turned journalist in support of the rebuttal.

This comes as the newly appointed Navy Chief rear admiral Denis Berezovsky has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea, according to RIA Novosti.

“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations,” Berezovsky said.

Hours after the announcement, the self-proclaimed government in Kiev dismissed the Navy Chief and launched a treason case against him.

Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol: sources — RT News.

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Crimea forms its own fleet as Ukraine Navy chief sides with region

Denis Berezovsky

Rear admiral Denis Berezovsky, appointed as head of Ukraine’s Navy forces just two days ago, has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea. Taking his oath, regional Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov announced creating Crimea’s Navy.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations. I swear to take orders of Crimea and Sevastopol‘s Supreme Commander,” Berezovsky said as seen in video footage

The region’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov announced the creation of Crimea’s Navy forces and appointed Berezovsky its head.

The Republic will have its own navy, which will be commanded by rear admiral Berezovsky,” Aksyonov told the journalists Sunday.

“Subsequently, this day will be considered the birthday of the naval forces of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” he added.

All Navy troops dislocated in Sevastopol are ordered to disregard any commands coming from Ukraine’s new self-proclaimed authorities,” the PM also declared. “Do not take any orders of using arms till my personal instructions.”

Aksyonov promised that “all soldiers, who’ll swear allegiance to the Crimean people, will retain their allowance, health and social benefits, military rank and position.”

As for those, who wouldn’t want to join the Crimean navy, they have the full right “to retire” and “won’t be prosecuted” afterwards, the PM stressed.

Berezovsky was appointed Ukraine’s Navy chief on February 28, but following Sunday developments the country’s Security Council dismissed him and launched a case for “treason” and for surrendering his headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal case against Denis Berezovsky under statute 111: state treason,” said Viktoria Syumar, deputy secretary of the Security Council. Another admiral, Sergey Hayduk, was placed in charge of the navy.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea were said to have switched to the side of local authorities.

Today the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea passed to the side of the authorities of the Crimean autonomous region. The transition was absolutely peaceful, without a single shot fired either by the military or by the forces of self-defense,” a source told RIA Novosti news agency.

A Russian media report on Saturday also claimed that Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate has refused to follow orders from Kiev, came over to Russia’s side and was returning home from the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

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Hundreds arrested at Keystone XL White House sit-in protest

Environmentalists rally and pretend to be dead on a black sheet symbolizing an oil spill as they rally in front of the White House and call on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline, in Washington, March 2, 2014

Several hundred people have been arrested during a peaceful protest in Washington DC after they strapped themselves to the White House fence and laid out their demands on Pennsylvania Avenue in protest against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The activists, mostly university students started their march at Georgetown University and headed towards the White House. More than 1,000 students from across the country signed up to take part in a march.

Armed with slogans “climate justice now”, they carried placards reading “don’t tarnish the earth” with the aim to convince President Obama to reject the pipeline that will have dire consequences for the environment if built.

Students protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline march past the US Chamber f Commerce near the White House in Washington,DC on March 2, 2014

Students protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipelinerally in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington,DC on March 2, 2014.

Along their route, they made a stop outside the residence of US Secretary of State John Kerry to push him to recommend President Obama reject project of a 1,700-mile crude oil pipeline stretching from western Canada to the US Gulf Coast.

Symbolic oil spill outside Sec. Kerry’s residence; protest against Keystone pipeline in DC. pic.twitter.com/tujIrnybHn

— M. Scott Mahaskey (@smahaskey) March 2, 2014

“If the Democratic Party wants to keep our vote, they better make sure President Obama rejects that pipeline,” said Nick Stracco, a 23-year-old student at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Police were waiting for them in front of the White House in their buses and vans. Around 450 people were arrested in this “largest youth act of civil disobedience at the White House in a generation,” according to the environmental organizers 350.org.

Prior to the detentions authorities warned the activists that blocking the sidewalk or strapping themselves to the fence would lead to their arrest.

“Our future is on the line. The climate is on the line,” said 20 year-old Aly Johnson-Kurts, from Smith College in Massachusetts. She said she had decided to get arrested on Sunday. “When do we say we’ve had enough?”

The $7 billion oil pipeline is destined to deliver high-carbon tar sands oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to a hub in Nebraska, where it would then connect with other existing pipeline networks to deliver 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries in Texas.

Critics of the project say that, in addition to the carbon-intensive impact that results from the extraction of tar sands that will only worsen the effects of climate change. The opponents also feel that the pipeline will also put communities nearby at risk of oil spills and their subsequent fallout.

Activists are also concerned that oil will go to growing economies overseas that have an increasing demand for more fossil fuels and is unlikely to lower the price of gasoline in the US.

In late January, the US State Department released a report on the project raising few objections to the environmental impact of the pipeline.

Obama blocked Keystone XL approval in January 2012, saying he needed more time for a fair review, pushing the decision to after his re-election campaign. Following the publication of the report Obama is expected to make a definitive decision on approval of Keystone XL in a matter of months.

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Seriously, what?! Kerry tells Russia ‘you don’t invade a country on completely phony pretexts’

The US Secretary of State spoke today of the unacceptability of invading a sovereign country on phony pretexts in order to assert one’s own interests in the 21st century. But no, he was not speaking about the United States, as one might have thought.

“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”

Kerry has also threatened to isolate Russia economically and politically and warned of potential asset freezes and visa bans, adding to media and political hype that followed Russia authorization of sending a stabilization force in Crimea on official request from the authorities.

“There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine, there could be business drawback on investment in the country,” he said. “There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans.”

Although Kerry was never challenged by the interviewer to comment in terms of that statement on Washington’s own constant threats to use force and military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who watched the interview immediately smelled the hypocrisy.

“Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity? They certainly are not doing that at the moment in Syria,” Marcus Papadopoulos, commentator for ‘Politics First’ told RT. “They certainly did not do that when they attacked Libya. They certainly didn’t do that when they invaded Iraq. They certainly didn’t do that when they attacked Serbia over Kosovo and then later on recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The United States government merely pays lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity, it picks and choses.”

Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated to a point where the lives of the Russian speaking population of Ukraine has become threatened, Kerry’s reaction comes, some believe, as the most ridiculous thus far, taking into account US own history of military actions all over the globe.

Kerry:U just don’t in the 21stC behave in 19thC fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. GC:Like invading Iraq?

— Gerald Celente (@geraldcelente) March 2, 2014

.@JohnKerry Wait, are you referring to the Israeli occupation of Palestine?

— Nikhil Goyal (@nikhilgoya_l) March 2, 2014

voice of experience RT @JohnKerry: Invasion is not the act of someone who is strong. It is the act of someone who is weak. @FaceTheNation

— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) March 2, 2014

Following Russia’s parliament approval of potential deployment, four countries, including the US, Canada, France and the UK have announced they have suspended preparations for the upcoming G8 summit in Sochi on June 4 and 5.

“The United Kingdom will join other G8 countries this week in suspending our co-operation under the G8, which Russia chairs this year, including the meetings this week for the preparation of the G8 summit,” UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

France has stated it wants “preparations for the Sochi G8 summit to be suspended until our Russian partners have returned to principles compatible with those of the G7 and G8.”

The US also warned Russia that it risks losing its place in the Group of Eight developed countries over the deployment of troops in Crimea.

Canada in the meantime warned of “ongoing negative consequences” for Canada-Russia relations, if Russia pushes forward with military action.

This year Russia holds the presidency in G8 that includes the governments of the UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia, USA, France and Japan.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

Feeling a threat from the new central government of questionable legitimacy, a number of regions stood up against it. Thousands of people across eastern and southern Ukraine are flooding the streets of major cities, urging local authorities to disobey Kiev’s orders. The local population is calling the government in Kiev illegitimate and demanding that their local governments refuse to take orders from it.

 

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675,000 Ukrainians pour into Russia as ‘humanitarian crisis’ looms

Pro-Russian protesters wave a Russian flag and hold a sign (C) reading “Our brothers are in Russia, we are slaves in Europe” during a rally in front of the regional administration building in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014.

An estimated 675,000 Ukrainians left for Russia in January and February, fearing the “revolutionary chaos” brewing in Ukraine, Russia’s Federal Border Guard Service said. Officials fear a growing humanitarian crisis.

On Sunday, the border guard service said Russian authorities have identified definite signs that a “humanitarian catastrophe” is brewing in Ukraine.

“In just the past two months (January-February) of this year…675,000 Ukrainian citizens have entered Russian territory,” Itar-Tass news agency cited the service as saying.

“If ‘revolutionary chaos’ in Ukraine continues, hundreds of thousands of refugees will flow into bordering Russian regions,” the statement read.

Ukrainians have long formed a large presence in Russia. According to the official 2010 census, 1.9 million Ukrainians were officially living in Russia, although the head of the Federal Migration Service put that figure as high as 3.5 million one year before. While those migrants were often prompted by economic concerns, political turmoil has spiked the recent rise in Ukrainian’s attempting to leave the country.

On Saturday, Russian migration authorities reported that 143,000 requests for asylum had been sent to Russia within a two-week period. Russian officials have promised to expedite the processing of those requests.

“Tragic events in Ukraine have caused a sharp spike in requests coming from this country seeking asylum in Russia,” said the chief of the FMS’s citizenship desk, Valentina Kazakova. “We monitor figures daily and they are far from comforting. Over the last two weeks of February, some 143,000 people applied.”

Kazakova said most requests come from the areas bordering Russia, and especially from Ukraine’s south.

“People are lost, scared and depressed,” she said. “There are many requests from law enforcement services, state officials as they are wary of possible lynching on behalf of radicalized armed groups.”

A week after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was toppled by violent street protests, fears of deepening political and social strife have been particularly acute in Ukraine’s country’s pro-Russian east and south.

Soon after Yanukovich opted to flee the country in what he branded as an extremist coup, a newly reconfigured parliament did away with a 2012 law on minority languages which permitted the use of two official languages in regions where the size of an ethnic minority exceeds 10 percent.

Apart from the Russian-majority regions affected by this law, Hungarian, Moldovan and Romanian also lost their status as official languages in several towns in Western Ukraine.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Ukrainian deputies were wrong to cancel the law, while European parliamentarians urged the new government to respect the rights of minorities in Ukraine, including the right to use Russian and other minority languages.

Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, was far more damning in his criticism.

“The attack on the Russian language in Ukraine is a brutal violation of ethnic minority rights,” he tweeted.

Out of some 45 million people living in Ukraine, according to the 2013 census, some 7.6 million are ethnic Russians. Leaders of several predominately Russian-speaking regions have said they will take contr

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Russia’s UN envoy: Radical forces destabilising Ukraine must be stopped

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Vitaly Churkin, speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on March 1, 2014 in New York City

The efforts of radical forces and the self-imposed government in Kiev to forcefully overthrow local authorities in the East are unacceptable and endanger the lives of Ukrainians and Russians, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council.

“In the eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea in particular we have seen the emergence of people from Kiev with a clear intention of repeating what has been happening in the Western part of Ukraine, they want to replace regional governments,” Churkin said, adding that the Crimea authorities have asked Russia to provide assistance to ensure peace and order in the region.

Russia’s envoy pointed out that nationalist radical forces are widely represented in what remains of the formerly legitimate authorities in Kiev, and called on the UN Security Council members to influence those forces to refrain from the use of violence.

There was a number of attempts by gunmen to raid and seize local government buildings, fenced off by the self-defence squads in Crimea, and the developments prompted local authorities to consolidate armed forces in the region and ask for Russia’s assistance.

Russia’s parliament authorized the use of limited stabilizing military forces “on the territory of Ukraine” until the “normalization of the socio-political situation”, however the Russian President has not yet ordered such a deployment, Churkin added.

Churkin emphasized that his counterparts’ claims and speculations of Russia using or planning to use military forces “against” Ukraine are completely wrong and biased. The Russian president has already spoken about the Ukraine crisis with world leaders including US President Obama and told them about the threat to Russian citizens’ lives.

Churkin urged the sides to sit “with cool heads” and go back to the latest decision of Ukraine’s legitimate government of February 21, and, as was agreed with opposition forces, to establish a national unity government.

The members of the UN Security Council pushed for an open session on Saturday, giving the Ukrainian ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev a chance to publicly accuse Russia of a “military intervention” and build a case for the legitimate representatives of council member states to further grill Russian authorities.

The US ambassador Samantha Power has claimed that Russian actions are “violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and threaten international peace and security,” and called for “immediate deployment” of UN and OSCE observers in Crimea. The day before US President delivered his own “aggressive” remarks on the situation, over which Russian senators are now urging Putin to consider recalling Moscow’s Ambassador to the US.

The UN Secretary General in the meantime has called for an “immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis.”

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Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources

The majority of resigned Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have switched to the side of local authorities and are expected to take military oath soon, Russian news agencies report.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Earlier, Ukrainian troops in Crimea were said to be resigning on a massive scale. Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called ‘self-defense forces.’

Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.

Since Thursday, the city’s Supreme Council and a number of other buildings have been occupied and guarded by the self-defense forces run by the local population.

Crimea’s deputy prime minister, Rustam Temirgaliev, announced earlier that the Ukrainian armed forces have all but surrendered their military capabilities and that no active units remain in the Crimea.

“The entire Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the Crimean territory have been blocked – a number have been disarmed, while another big portion is switching to the Crimean side,” Interfax reported him as saying.

“The self-defense forces have taken control of the landing strips of all the Crimean airports and airfields,” Temirgaliev added.

The deputy PM said that that the region’s security services and emergency services now report to the local government, while self-defense forces control all the runways at Crimea’s airports and airfields.

The local government, Temirgaliev went on, will promise the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority a place in Crimea’s Supreme Council, adding that funding for programs of resettlement and reintegration of those deported during the Stalin era will be plentiful. The Crimean Tatars have been supporting the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

via Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources — RT News.

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A History Lesson That Needs Relearning

By

SUDDENLY the specter of the Cold War is back. Prompted by the political crisis in Ukraine, some conservatives have called for President Obama to stand up to Vladimir V. Putin in the grand tradition of previous American presidents who stared eyeball to eyeball with Soviet leaders from Joseph Stalin to Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

Mr. Obama came close on Friday. Responding to reports of Russian mobilization, he said, “There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

His critics acknowledge that times have changed. “No one wants a new Cold War,” a Wall Street Journal editorial put it, before going on to imply the opposite, that Mr. Obama could prevent a civil war in Eastern Europe “if he finally admits Vladimir Putin’s hostility to a free and democratic Europe and clearly tells protesting Ukrainians that we’re on their side.”

Such a sentiment inevitably conjures John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech before a crowd in West Berlin in 1963, or Ronald Reagan, on a visit there in 1987, urging the Soviets to “tear down this wall.”

The Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev on a plane with President Richard M. Nixon in 1973. Credit Dirck Halstead Liason via Getty Image

More echoes of the Cold War surfaced in recent reports that Russia has been violating nuclear arms accords dating back to the Reagan years and alarmed reactions to the news of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposal to reduce the United States Army to a level not seen since before World War II.

Even Mr. Obama seemed to be drawing on the collective memory of old-time superpower struggles when he insisted recently that his administration’s approach to Ukraine was “not to see this as some Cold War chessboard in which we are in competition with Russia.”

That image of a chessboard — an epic contest between two giant players, carefully nudging their pieces around the globe as part of a grand strategy — has indeed become a familiar metaphor for the Cold War. But it is misleading. Many decisions remembered today for their farsighted, tactical brilliance were denounced in their day as weak-willed. And
big, public gestures often made less difference than the small, hidden ones.

Born in tandem with the nuclear age, the Cold War was defined from the outset less by outright confrontation than by caution. And with caution came adjustment, compromise, improvisation and at times retreat. As often as not, both sides blinked.

The term surfaced in 1947, in Walter Lippmann’s book “The Cold War,” whose title was derived from a phrase “used in Europe during the late 1930s to characterize Hitler’s war of nerves against the French, sometimes described as la guerre blanche or la guerre froide,” as Ronald Steel wrote in his book “Walter Lippmann and the American Century.”

Lippmann, a dean of foreign policy realism, argued that policy should be made in the spirit of pragmatism, rather than as a global crusade against Communism that would require the headache, or worse, of “recruiting, subsidizing and supporting a heterogeneous array of satellites, clients, dependents and puppets.”

In fact the costliest maneuvers — chess-piece gambits in Korea and Vietnam — backfired, increasing tensions abroad even as they shook public confidence at home.

Overheated rhetoric often contributed to trouble. In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected on a Republican platform that promised to replace the Communist containment strategy of President Harry S. Truman with a more aggressive “liberation” policy that would seize the initiative from the Soviet Union.

Yet throughout his two terms, Eisenhower consistently opted for stability over conflict. Arriving in Geneva for a summit with Nikita S. Khrushchev in July 1955, Eisenhower said he came bearing “the goodwill of America” and “the aspirations of America for peace.”

A year later, when Moscow sent two Red Army tank divisions to quell anti-Communist protesters in Budapest, killing as many as 30,000 people, the cry went up for action. “What are the West and the United Nations going to do?” one despairing protester asked an American reporter.

The answer: nothing. Counteraction would only provoke Moscow to tighten its noose and perhaps “go back on de-Stalinization,” Eisenhower explained.

To some this sounded like retreat. John W. McCormack, a Massachusetts Democrat, accused the Eisenhower administration of appeasement and said it was living in “a dream world” that was emboldening the Soviets.

A similar tone was struck recently when Senator John McCain said Mr. Obama was “the most naïve president in American history,” blind to the reality that Mr. Putin “wants to restore the Russian empire.” That second charge was also made (by Lippmann, among others) of Stalin and his successors.

Still, it did not stop Eisenhower from inviting Khrushchev to the United States in 1959, again angering conservatives, who mounted protests during the visit.

Later presidents followed Eisenhower’s example. Even the most celebrated war of nerves, the Cuban missile crisis, was resolved by a secret bargain: The Soviets agreed not to place missiles in Cuba, and the Kennedy administration agreed to remove missiles it had placed in Turkey.

Another cold warrior, Richard M. Nixon, got the country out of the Vietnam War and also cut deals with the Soviets, including an accord that reduced both nations’ stockpile of nuclear missiles.

Or consider the most hallowed of Republican Cold War presidents, Ronald Reagan. Early in his first term, he too faced a Ukraine-like emergency when the Solidarity movement was crushed in Poland. Many expected a powerful response. Instead he showed restraint. He voiced sympathy for the movement, but the assistance he provided came quietly — and covertly, in part — through money and communications equipment funneled to anti-Communists. Eventually, Poland and other Soviet satellites were freed, but the change was partly made possible after Reagan realized he could negotiate with Mr. Gorbachev.

Calculations like these are the true prologue to the approach that Mr. Obama seems to have adopted in trouble spots from Syria to Ukraine. Like Nixon, he wound down a war he inherited, this time in Iraq, just as his reliance on drones and cyberwarfare parallels Eisenhower’s avoidance of military operations. And his ambition to eliminate nuclear arsenals builds on the efforts of both Nixon and Reagan.

Perhaps it’s time the chessboard metaphor was retired. The truth is that the Cold War was less a carefully structured game between masters than a frightening high-wire act, with leaders on both sides aware that a single misstep could plunge them into the abyss.
Correction: March 1, 2014

An earlier version of this news analysis misstated John W. McCormack’s role at the time that he accused the Eisenhower administration of appeasement. He was a member of the House of Representatives; he was not yet the speaker of the House.

 NYTimes

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