Swiss president greeted with Danish flag in Ukraine
In the photograph above, Swiss president Didier Burkhalter is greeted by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev .
In an interview aired on Russian state television on Sunday, Yanukovich, who has been in Russia since fleeing Ukraine in February, said that Brennan had “sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed.”
“The US bears its share of responsibility for starting a civil war in Ukraine, not only through diplomatic influence, but its security forces, which do not only meddle, but issue orders,” said the Ukrainian politician.
The CIA did not explicitly deny its chief’s visit, but said that “the claim that director Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations inside Ukraine is completely false.”
DETAILS TO COME
The Pentagon said a Russian fighter jet made multiple close-range passes near an American navy destroyer. The warship was deployed in the Black Sea as Russian military monitored NATO’s systematic build-up of naval forces in the region.
The fighter appeared to be unarmed, US military said, calling the move “provocative and unprofessional”.
“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with their national protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
Pentagon defined the jet as a Russian Su-24 aircraft, or Fencer, which made 12 passes at low altitude near the USS Donald Cook that, at the time, was conducting a patrol in international waters in the western Black Sea, Reuters reported.
Earlier, a military official told AP that on April, 12, a Russian aircraft flew repeatedly within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook at about 500 feet above sea level for over 90 minutes.
According to the official, the destroyer’s crew made several attempts to radio the Russian warplane requesting the reason for the manoeuvre. They then reportedly issued warnings to remain at a safe distance, however, there was no response from the Russian pilot.
Pentagon confirmed the fighter jet was not armed with any aerial bombs.
On Monday, the USS Donald Cook entered waters of Romania.
Last week the Russian military considered the USS Donald Cook manoeuvre part of a systematic build-up of naval forces and accused NATO of violating the Montreux Convention on naval movements in the Black Sea.
“What we are seeing is that for the first time since 2008, NATO is creating a naval battle group outside Russian borders,” a Russian military source told Interfax news agency.
According to the treaty, warships from non-Black Sea states can only stay in the basin for up to 21 days consecutively. USS Taylor spent 11 more than that in the region in February and March.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed “bemusement” over the move.
“Turkey [which administers the treaty] did not inform us about the overstay. We have expressed our concern to the Turkish and US side in a verbal note,” said a statement on the ministry website.
Asked about Putin’s reaction to reports coming from eastern Ukrainian regions asking the Russian president to interfere, Peskov told journalistsб “Unfortunately, many such requests, addressed personally to Putin and asking him to help, interfere in this or that form, are coming from eastern Ukraine”.
“The Russian president is watching the development of the situation in these regions with great alarm,” Peskov said.
“That’s all I can say on the issue,” the spokesman added.
MOSCOW, April 14. ITAR-TASS.
“We were alarmed by reports saying chemical substances had been used once again,” the minister said. “We believe any reports and facts connected with the use of chemical weapons and their components must be immediately investigated,” Lavrov said. “We place special responsibility on the sponsors of extremist opposition which has not abandoned attempts to disrupt the process of chemical disarmament in Syria,” the top diplomat said.
Lavrov said resolution 2118 of the UN Security Council demanded “keeping chemical weapons and their components from out of the hands of non-state actors, first of all having in mind terrorists and extremists”. “It was emphasized that special responsibility was first of all with neighbouring on Syria countries, that are responsible for not allowing the use of their territories for such dishonest goals,” Lavrov said. “We will seek a strict compliance with these decisions of the UN Security Council,” he added.
A Ukrainian government deadline for pro-Russian protesters to lay down their arms and leave occupied buildings passed Monday with no sign of it being heeded in the eastern cities of Donetsk or Slaviansk.
But the deadline passed with no movement at the regional government building in Donetsk, which has been occupied for more than a week, and where barricades have been strengthened in the last few days.
In Slaviansk, pro-Russian protesters milled around with makeshift shields outside the occupied police station.
Similar deadlines in the past passed with no consequence.
Turchynov had issued a promise of amnesty for the activists — made up of protesters as well as armed militants who in recent days have stormed public buildings and planted Russian flags on them — in eastern Ukraine but warned that anyone who continues to support the takeover of government buildings would be held responsible for their actions.
“We’ll not allow any repetition of the Crimean scenario in the east of Ukraine. I have signed a decree that would allow those who did not shoot at our officers to lay down their arms and leave the occupied buildings by Monday morning without fear of being prosecuted,” he said.
Turchynov added that anyone who supports violence will be punished.
“We are ready to consider a significant expansion of regional powers of all regions and the wider reform of local self-government. However, all those supporting aggressors and occupiers in an armed struggle against our country will not escape punishment and will be prosecuted,” he said.
No top Ukrainian officials immediately posted any updates to mark the passing of the deadline.
“The international community must demand the stooges of Maidan stop the war against their own people”, Churkin said at an emergency Security Council session.
Churkin stressed that “reckless actions” of the Kiev government are “threatening to rip apart the delicate garment of Ukrainian mosaic society.”
Kiev’s post-coup authorities “stubbornly,” Churkin says, refuse to listen to those who do not accept Kiev’s “radicalized, chauvinistic, russophobic, anti-Semitic forces.”
“Some, including those in this hall, constantly look for Moscow’s hand in the events in the southeast , persistently without wishing to see the true reasons of the events in Ukraine. Quit doing it,” Churkin told the meeting.
“Quit spreading tales that we built up military armadas on the border with this country, ready at any moment, within a few hours to reach almost as far as La Manche, that we sent hordes of agents to coordinate actions of the protesting people of Ukraine.”
Monstrous russophobia bordering on hatred became the norm in the Verhovna Rada, Churkin reminded. “These beings deserve only one thing – death,” Churkin quoted a recent female Svoboda party MP’s statement about protesters in the East. And such views are widely shared among her “brutal co-party members,” he added.
The people’s outcry in the East was indeed answered by Ukraine Parliament – with “draconian laws” threatening them long term imprisonment for “separatism” and “terrorism,” Churkin said.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power used a chance to accuse Russia of directly intervening and orchestrating the protests in Ukraine.
“You heard that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine but the fact is that many of the armed units that we have seen were outfitted in bullet proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed,” Power said.
“We know who is behind this. Indeed the only entity in the area capable of coordinating these professional military actions is Russia,” Power claimed.
In his turn, Ukraine’s Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said that “Russia has not only constantly been increasing its troops alongside the Ukrainian border but also sending subversive groups into Ukrainian regions in order to destabilize the situation,” accusing Russia of orchestrating a full-scale “terrorist operation” in the East.
Taking the floor for the second time, Churkin warned that the deadline was looming, and that prospects of holding negotiations next week would be undermined if Kiev uses force against its people in the East, Churkin said in his rebuttal to the accusations by other members of the UNSC.
“Let’s move aside from speculations, accusations, from searching for Russian phantoms flying all over different corners of Ukraine, but let’s concentrate attention on what we can do – in this case I’m directing my eyesight at my Western colleagues – in order to prevent the Kiev authorities’ reckless actions, which at this moment are embodied in the criminal order of Mr. Turchinov, and to prevent the realization of this order, which will have the most severe implications primarily for the people of Ukraine.”
In response to his Ukrainian colleague’s accusations that Russia is engaged in supporting terrorism in Ukraine, Churkin responded: “Why did you not accuse of terrorism those who were terrorizing your government for a span of several months?”
“Those who actually terrorized the security forces, who actually set on fire the policemen, shot at them, just like they did at those who were protesting against the authorities and seemingly acted on their side. Those people, for some reason, you did not call terrorists, and even relieved them from any liability for their criminal actions that were conducted over several months.”
Churkin called accusations against Russia “ridiculous” pointing out that Russia’s calls to start negotiations at the beginning of the crisis were ignored. “Why did you encourage this crisis?” Churkin asked.
“Russia, throughout the stretch of the Ukrainian crisis spoke out not for aggravation of the crisis, not to destabilize the country,” but to “keep the situation stable” in the neighboring country, Churkin told the UNSC, adding, “it is not our fault what we are witnessing there.”
He also questioned the role the US plays in the EU decision making process, citing the fact that Washington was quick to answer President’s Putin letter addressed to EU nations, on gas transit to Europe. “We will have to wait and see if there is any sovereignty left in the EU. Can it independently make decisions that could lead the situation out of crisis?”
Churkin also stressed that Russia repeatedly stated that constitutional reform mentioned in February 21 agreement has to be implemented to avoid the escalation of tensions. He also stressed that FM Sergey Lavrov in his conversations with his counterpart John Kerry, always tries to explain to him the position of pro-federalization activists, so the US can get a full picture of the tension in Ukraine.
And while Russia and the US continue their talks, Churkin says, some politicians in the US already state that these conversations “will not lead to anything” and are just being conducted by the US to “occupy time.”
“Occupy time? So, does that means that someone in Washington actually has something like Turchinov’s armed scenario in their heads? If so, let’s not accuse Russia of seeking to destabilize the situation.”
Churkin also accused the West of double standards, pointing out the fact that the West encouraged actions to overthrow the government in Kiev in February, while at the same time condemning the events in the East of the country, where people reject the new rule forcefully imposed on them.
Russia’s UN envoy also said that there seems to be a total disconnect in Kiev’s approach to the crisis, as the acting prime minister Yatsenyuk is talking of the possibility of referendum while Turchinov at the same time is giving crackdown orders. “It seems they prefer to use force,” Churkin said.
When Samantha Power took the floor for the second time she stressed the US consistently “called for de-escalation and urged restraint” when dealing with the Ukrainian crisis, saying “there has been no shortage of evidence in diplomacy.”
She once again blamed Russia for fuelling Ukrainian crisis.
“It is not the United States that escalated the situation. It is the Russian Federation,” Power said, stating that it is hard to “reconcile the behavior of the Russian Federation, the propaganda of the Russian Federation, the military actions of the Russian Federation which range from the massing of 40,000 troops at the border to the subversive activities inside Ukraine” with “this appeal for diplomacy and de-escalation, and an appeal we wish was in fact sincere.”
Power said that Russia’s point of view is “rooted in the idea that the internet does not exist” where people can see all the “evidence.” She claimed that pro-federalization rallies are not protests, but instead are a series of military operations by “professional forces, carrying weapons, Russian made weapons as it happens, carrying out sophisticated, complicated military operations across a substantial number of eastern Ukrainian cities.”
Finally, Powers said that the “credibility of the Russian Federation has been greatly undermined.”
In his final address to the council, Churkin expressed hope that his calls will eventually find some response, and the bloodshed in Ukraine will be prevented while there is still time.
“Maybe, he Vice President Biden will pick up the phone and call Mr. Turchinov, as he numerously called Mr. Yanukovich before Feb 21?” Churkin asked. “Just call to tell Mr. Turchinov the same thing he told Mr. Yanukovich. He told him, as press service of vice president reported: ‘For god’s sake don’t use force, get rid of your security forces from central Kiev.”
“And now what, the US will endorse the realization of this criminal order to use armed forces?” Churkin said, urging Samantha Power to tell Biden to “immediately” call Kiev instead of waiting for a planned visit, as “in a couple of hours the situation can take an irreversible turn.”
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting requested by Russia to discuss the Kiev’s decision to use military forces to crush protests in Eastern Ukraine.
The United Nations Security Council emergency session was requested by Russia to discuss Ukraine’s declaration of a so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-federation protesters in Eastern Ukraine.
The session was initially planned to be closed, but several Security Council members were pushing for an open format.
The urgent meeting comes after the coup-imposed Kiev government authorized the use of the military in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions to supress the popular uprising.
Events on the ground have taken a very dangerous turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, slamming the order of a full-scale military operation as “criminal.”
“The Kiev authorities, who self-proclaimed themselves as a result of a coup, have embarked on the violent military suppression of the protests,” the ministry said adding that the rallies, which have gripped the Donbas region were prompted by Kiev’s disregard of the legitimate interests the people.