Tag Archives: Cold War

RF ambassador : NATO seeking to make maximum use of Ukrainian crisis to prove its worth

BRUSSELS, May 13. ITAR-TASS.

NATO seeks to make maximum use of the crisis in Ukraine to prove it is still in demand, Russia’s permanent representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Tuesday.

“These days, NATO representatives have said many words how important it is for the alliance to waken from sleep, and, judging by the enthusiasm of the rhetoric about the emergence of a new threat in Europe, NATO is seeking to make maximum use of the Ukrainian crisis to prove that it is still needed in the current security environment,” he said. “The aim of this deliberately heightened rhetoric is simple – to reanimate the bloc, to have more funds for military needs. And this requires an enemy.”

“The base of argument is being built up to prove that Russia has some expansion plans,” he noted, adding that for these ends new threats were being invented. “Thus, one of NATO’s military chief has worded a universal formula explaining any protest movements – everything gives away the hand of Moscow.”

“At the same time, they prefer not to see the contribution our country has made to do away with the heritage of the Cold War and put an end to the arms race. If truth be said, Europe should be thankful to Russia that it can spend only one to two percent of its GDP on defence. Now, amid this campaign, taxpayers will be tapped for additional money on defence,” Grushko said.

“The alliance denies the fact that the crisis in Ukraine is an internal one and, despite all the tragic instances, keeps on speaking about a foreign interference in Ukraine’s eastern regions,” the Russian ambassador said. “I hope that now that they have seen longest queues to polling stations in Donetsk and Lugansk NATO would admit that this is civil society but not mythical ‘agent provocateurs.’ If the alliance is really interested in deescalating of the situation, as its representatives are claiming, it can also make its contribution by urging the Kiev regime to stop the punitive operation, to pull back its troops and by stopping any aid to it.

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Russia calls restricted access to NATO HQ ‘Cold War’ Mentality

NATO decision to limit the access of Russian diplomats to its headquarters in Brussels reflects the persistent “Cold War” mentality among the alliance’s officials, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. NATO said Monday the access to NATO Headquarters will be denied to all representatives of the Russian Mission, except the Russian Ambassador, his Deputy Head of Mission, and two support staff. Other Russian diplomats will have to notify NATO about their planned visit to its headquarters in advance, register upon arrival and be escorted by security staff throughout their visit.

“We noted that information about the move was posted on the main page of NATO’s official website. It looks like access by Russian diplomats to the NATO office is the North Atlantic alliancea’s number one problem,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The introduction of restrictive measures against [Russian diplomats] confirms once again that the alliance is not capable of overcoming the “Cold War” mentality, preferring the language of sanctions over dialogue,” the statement reads.

Ties between Moscow and the West plunged to record lows in recent weeks surrounding disagreements over Crimea, which rejoined Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine last month.

In the ongoing diplomatic strife that followed, NATO froze all practical aspects of its military cooperation with Russia last week. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the Atlantic alliance’s moves as “Cold War-style sword swinging.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said last Thursday it has decided to recall its chief military representative to NATO, Col. Gen. Valery Evnevich, for consultations amid the standoff, RIA Novosti reports.

Russian officials have repeatedly said that Moscow was not seeking confrontation with NATO, but was ready to take all political and military measures to ensure its security.

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‘Cold War stereotypes’ : Russia condemns NATO plan to strengthen cooperation with Ukraine

Russia has slammed NATO for applying “Cold War” stereotypes and double standards after the alliance announced it will review its relations with Russia while stepping up engagement with the Ukrainian military.

“This meeting proved that NATO still has a double standard policy. And Cold War stereotypes are still applied towards Russia,” Russia’s NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, told reporters.

His comment comes as NATO and Russian officials met to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Following the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that alliance officials would put “the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation under review.”

He stated that NATO has decided to “take a number of immediate steps” because “Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its own international commitments.”

“We have also decided that no staff-level civilian or military meetings with Russia will take place for now,” Rasmussen added.

Russia and NATO had been discussing a possible joint mission to protect a US ship that will destroy Syria‘s deadliest chemical weapons. However, that plan has been suspended as one of the “immediate steps.”

“We have suspended the planning for our first NATO-Russia joint mission. The maritime escort for the US ship Cape Ray, which will neutralize Syria’s chemical weapons. Let me stress, this will not affect the destruction of chemical weapons, but Russia will not be involved in the escort of the US vessel,” Rasmussen said.

Nevertheless, NATO is willing to “keep the door open for political dialogue. So we are ready to maintain meetings of ambassadors in the NATO-Russia Council, as we have done today,” Rasmussen said.

NATO has decided to “intensify our partnership” and “strengthen our cooperation” with Ukraine in order to “support democratic reforms.”

“We will step up our engagement with the Ukrainian civilian and military leadership. We will strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises. And we will do more to include Ukraine in our multinational projects to develop capabilities,” Rasmussen clarified.

The way NATO sees it, cooperation between the alliance and Ukraine will “complement the international efforts to support the people of Ukraine” while they are forming their future.

“Tomorrow, I will meet the prime minister of Ukraine to make clear NATO’s support,” he stressed.

The statement from NATO’s Secretary General comes on the same day that Ukrainian parliament reportedly registered a draft bill on Ukrainian accession to the alliance, submitted by the Batkyvshchina (Fatherland) Party.

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Does the West need a war against Russia?

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There have been remarkable changes in the U.S. rhetoric against Russia in the last few days. They ranged from threats to isolate the Russian Federation politically and economically to the acknowledgement that Moscow has its own interests in the Crimea, and Washington is ready to help Russia in “taming the hooligans.”

The change occurred after a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

On Sunday, immediately after the Council of the Federation gave Putin permission to conduct military operations on the territory of Ukraine in the event of extraordinary situations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. and the West were “prepared to put sanctions in place, … prepared to isolate Russia economically.”

“There are visa bans, asset freezes, isolation with respect to trade, investment,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “American businesses may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this. These are serious implications.” President Barack Obama mentioned that “there will be costs” if the troops are entered.

However, a day later the American rhetoric has changed dramatically. Kerry said that President Obama and his entire administration preferred to peacefully settle the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. “We’re not trying to make this a battle between East and West; we’re not trying to make this a Cold War,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said that “President Obama made it clear that we are prepared to work with Russia.”

“We are prepared to stand up against any hooligans, any thuggery, any individual efforts with Russians in order to create stability in Ukraine and allow the people of Ukraine to make their choices for the future.”

Why is this sudden turn? Likely, Vladimir Putin explained Obama that Moscow is acting strictly in the constitutional field, unlike the new Kiev authorities. There are also significant legal claims to the European allies.

Where are they are now, the guarantors of the agreement (the document signed on February 21 between the legitimate President Yanukovych and the opposition) represented by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Germany and France? They were obliged to ensure its full execution, in particular with regard to the provisions on the disarmament of illegal armed groups. However, Bandera Maidan is ready to stand until the presidential elections in May, and perhaps longer, and no one asked them to leave.

Can we expect sober decisions from the “hooligans” under these circumstances? Of course not, which is why the Russian leader has stressed that in the event of a further escalation of violence in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea, Russia reserves the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population residing there.

The U.S. administration is again clearly caught off guard by Putin. Andrew C. Kuchins, a senior fellow and director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program, responded to this development in a CNN article: “Yes, Crimea may already be gone. But we have to make absolutely clear – and in the most credible way possible – that Russian military intervention in other regions of Ukraine is a red line that will mean war with Ukrainian and NATO military forces if it is crossed. U.S. and NATO naval forces need to be deployed to the Black Sea in close proximity to the Ukrainian Coast. Military forces of neighboring NATO member countries, meanwhile, should be deployed closer to the Ukrainian border.”

Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar, told The Guardian: “We’ll talk about sanctions. We’ll talk about red lines. We’ll basically drive ourselves into a frenzy. And he’ll stand back and just watch it. He just knows that none of the rest of us want a war.”

The U.S. Sixth Fleet headquartered in Naples may enter the Black Sea, but it has to pass through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, a move that Turkey that must authorize the passage of warships considers highly undesirable. Any decision on the land deployment of the U.S. forces or NATO near the borders of Ukraine is also hard to imagine. The West simply has neither resources nor desire to do this. All latest NATO’s military operations were air bombings.

Risky ground operations are out of the question, as the U.S. will not be able to explain them to the American voters who are already exhausted by 12 -years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Europe, Germany is generally averse to military actions, and is reluctant about getting involved even in peacekeeping operations. Paris is involved in Africa, and Francois Hollande has the lowest approval rating in the history of France – 18 percent. Great Britain will not get involved either. This means that there will be no direct military confrontation between the West and Russia over Ukraine. Diplomatic and political measures could be employed, with an escalation to the Cold War. The West could kick Russia out from the “G 8,” condemn its actions in the UN Security Council without the adoption of a resolution, ban visas, but for Russia these are not real sanctions.

Russia may well look to the allies within BRICS, Turkey, and Iran. “The format of the G8 is actually the only one in which we in the West can speak directly with Russia,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told  the public broadcaster ARD. “Should we really give up this unique format?” This is a very wise thought. As for the economic and financial leverage, they may have a negative impact on Russia only if Europe is involved, but for the latter Russia is a reliable trading partner, especially for Germany.

“I would not jump to conclusions regarding the future of the relations with the West. One thing is clear though, the West will not choose the Cold War or a sharp deterioration of the relations with Russia,” told Pravda.Ru Pavel Podlesnyy, head of the Russian-US Relations at the Institute of USA and Canada, head of the Institute of European processes. “None of the NATO countries will launch a war with Russia. This is completely ruled out. Now the West is considering possible sanctions against Russia. It is very important that at the Security Council meeting held recently it was clear that so far the West has not proposed any serious resolutions. The UK or Canada might introduce lists similar to the Magnitsky list, for example. I do not think that France or Germany would do it. Incidentally, Italy remains silent.”

“The Crimean crisis is a good reason not to start the Cold War. It is tempting for the West to declare Russia a fiend, to cancel visas, to create blacklists, to deny investment. But we understand that in today’s world this is a game of destructing each other. We have serious economic ties with Europe, and who needs to ruin them?” said Konstantin Simonov, Head of the Department of Applied Politics at the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation. “I think the Crimean crisis is a reason to sit down and consider that the current formula of solving international conflicts is not working, the UN is not working.

Russia, by and large, acted the same way the U.S. always acted in such situations. Another thing is that it was surprising for them. Apparently, they believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want, and we have to passively watch from the sidelines. The interests of our citizens were threatened, and we chose not to wait for the UN Security Council sanctions. We acted the same way the Americans have always acted. Russia has simply become a strong country and began to use the same tools the United States has been using. It was surprising to them, but this is the reality, and if we want to make the world safer, then let’s sit down and think about the way it will look in the future.”

Lyuba Lulko – Pravda.Ru

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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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Will Russia go to war to win Ukraine’s Crimea?

A senior representative of the Russian Defense Ministry shared his views with Pravda.Ru about possible developments in the Crimea and Russia’s reaction to such events.

“Will Russia deploy troops in the Crimea, if required?”

“Russian troops are already located in the Crimea. This is a contingent that is located there under an interstate agreement about a military base. The strength of the contingent can not be increased in violation of the agreement.”

“If the Crimean authorities ask for help or Russian troops are attacked, what is going to happen?”

“The republic of Crimea, in accordance with the laws of Ukraine, is subordinated to the central government. Ukraine’s President has resigned, and the central legitimate power in Ukraine is hence limited in powers before early presidential elections. The deployment of troops at the request of a part of the state would automatically recognize the central government illegitimate – it would be recognized so by the country that would deploy troops.

“As for the attack on the contingent – the probability of an organized military attack on the Russian base in Crimea, Ukraine, is equivalent to the probability of Ukraine’s wish to declare war on Russia.

“That is, additional forces will not be introduced, will they?”

“Since Ukraine is an independent state that does not participate in military blocs such as the CSTO and NATO, its sovereignty under the conditions of an internal conflict can not be broken, even with a purpose to assist its authorities by second party efforts.”

“Some people say that “insubordination” in the Crimea would be suppressed with the use of force. Can it be real?”

“No. Violent suppression of unrest with army’s help is impossible. First, the army needs to be sworn in. To do this, Ukraine will have to have a new president first, the defense minister, etc. Secondly, the army of Ukraine is a conscript army, which means that this is the people’s army. The army formally subordinates today to Parliament Speaker Alexander Turchynov. In fact, as long as there is no legitimate president in the country, the army of Ukraine remains in a passive position. And of course, it is capable of reflecting an external threat – not more than that. The police repression is also impossible. Special units of public security police in Ukraine have been disbanded. Creating new ones takes a lot of time.
“As for “people’s groups,” there is such a probability, but I would not take this option s

ere are armed militia groups on the territory of the Republic of Crimea. Representatives of various mono-ethnic politically engaged groups that historically seek greater authority and political autonomy are likely to act as main provocateurs of massive clashes in the Crimea. The decentralization of power in Ukraine can make it possible.

“You mean the Crimean Tatars?”

“No comment.”

“Does the leadership of the country have a response to statements from the Ukrainian side about the need to withdraw Ukrainian citizenship from those, who do not know the Ukrainian language?”

“We have no right to speak on behalf of the Russian leadership. As for the formulation of the “Ukrainian side,” I would not take statements from some Ukrainian politicians, who do not hold legitimate power, as statements from the “Ukrainian side.”

“How do you estimate the current state of affairs?”

“I’m upset. Probably, this is the most precise formulation. I am upset because of the actions of individual politicians and officials, Ukraine found itself in a very difficult situation. The events in Ukraine have exacerbated the difficult financial situation, in which the state has found itself.  Youth unemployment in Ukraine is around 20 percent. This means that one in every fifth Ukrainian aged 17-35 has no permanent source of income. According to most conservative estimates, by the summer of 2014, unemployment among young people will grow to 23-25 ​​percent.”

“What can you say about Viktor Yanukovych?”

“I would refrain from evaluating the actions of the former president.”

Anton Kulikov – Pravda.Ru

 pravda.ru.

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U.S. warns Russia against Ukraine intervention

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WASHINGTON/KIEV : The U.S. warned Russia Wednesday it would be a “grave mistake” to intervene militarily in Ukraine, after President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 combat troops on high alert for war games near the turmoil-ridden country.

“For a country that has spoken out so frequently … against foreign intervention in Libya, in Syria and elsewhere, it would be important for them to heed those warnings as they think about options in the sovereign nation of Ukraine and I don’t think there should be any doubt whatsoever that any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge – a grave mistake,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a small group of reporters.

Moscow denied that the previously unannounced drill in the western military district near Ukraine was linked to events in its neighbor but it came amid a series of increasingly strident statements about the fate of Russian citizens and interests.

With the political turmoil hammering Ukraine’s economy, the central bank said it would no longer intervene to shield the hryvnia currency, which tumbled 4 percent and is now down a fifth since Jan. 1. The abrupt abandonment of Ukraine’s currency peg sent ripples to Russia where the ruble fell to five-year lows and bank shares fell.

Also, thousands of ethnic Russians, who form the majority in Ukraine’s Crimea region, demonstrated for independence and scuffled with rivals supporting the new Kiev authorities.

One person died in the Crimea protest, apparently of a heart attack during a crush of the crowd, Interfax news agency reported. A Reuters correspondent on the scene reported surging crowds and scuffles but no major violence.

In Kiev, protest leaders named former Economy Minister Arseny Yatseniuk as their choice to head a new national unity government.

NATO defense ministers, meeting in Brussels, issued a statement supporting “Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers.”

Their statement made no direct mention of the Russian war games.

The Russian and German foreign ministers, meanwhile, called for steps to improve security, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The importance of taking urgent measures to restore law and order and to immediately cease violence was stressed,” it said in a statement after Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke by telephone. “Agreeing on the need for close monitoring of ongoing events in Ukraine, the German minister argued in favor of intensive interaction between Russia and the EU on Ukraine,” the ministry said.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern for the safety of Russian citizens in Ukraine, using language similar to statements that preceded its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

“In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 2 p.m. today,” Interfax news agency quoted Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting while visiting the airborne troops in the city of Ryazan, some 100 km southeast of Moscow, Russia. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, ordered massive exercises involving most of its military units in western Russia amid tensions in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a meeting while visiting the airborne troops in the city of Ryazan, some 100 km southeast of Moscow, Russia. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, ordered massive exercises involving most of its military units in western Russia amid tensions in Ukraine.

Shoigu also said Russia was also “carefully watching what is happening in Crimea” and taking “measures to guarantee the safety of facilities, infrastructure and arsenals of the Black Sea Fleet,” in remarks reported by state news agency RIA.

Since Yanukovich’s downfall Friday all eyes have been on Putin, who ordered the invasion of neighboring Georgia in 2008 to protect two self-declared independent regions with many ethnic Russians and others holding Russian passports, and then recognized the regions as independent states.

Any military action in Ukraine would be far more serious – the closest the West and Russia have come to outright confrontation since the Cold War.

Despite the alarm raised by the saber-rattling, many analysts expect Putin will pull back before taking armed action.

The war games would cause tension in Ukraine and Europe but were probably for show, said Moscow-based military analyst Alexander Golts: “Any rational analysis says that Russia would get nothing out of military intervention – it would become an international outcast.”

Ukraine’s new authorities say they are worried about separatism in Crimea, the only part of Ukraine where the majority is ethnic Russian.

Demonstrators poured into the regional capital Simferopol, where the provincial parliament was debating the crisis.

Pro-Russian crowds, some cossacks in silk and lambswool hats, shouted “ Crimea is Russian!”

U.S. warns Russia against Ukraine intervention | News , International | THE DAILY STAR.

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New Ukraine ministers proposed, Russian troops on alert

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(Reuters) – Ukraine’s protest leaders named the ministers they want to form a new government following the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, as an angry Russia put 150,000 troops on high alert in a show of strength.

President Vladimir Putin‘s order on Wednesday for soldiers to be ready for war games near Ukraine was the Kremlin’s boldest gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend.

Moscow denied that the previously unannounced drill in its western military district was linked to events in its neighbor but it came amid a series of increasingly strident statements about the fate of Russian citizens and interests.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Moscow that “any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge – a grave mistake”.

With the political turmoil hammering Ukraine’s economy, the central bank said it would no longer intervene to shield the hryvnia currency, which tumbled 4 percent on Wednesday and is now down a fifth since January 1. Wednesday’s abrupt abandonment of Ukraine’s currency peg sent ripples to Russia where the rouble fell to five-year lows and bank shares fell.

In Kiev, leaders of the popular protests that toppled Yanukovich on Wednesday named former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk as their choice to head a new interim government.

In a display of people power, the so-called ‘Euromaidan’ council made its announcement of Yatseniuk, and candidates for other key ministries, after its members addressed crowds on Independence Square, cradle of the insurgency.

UNPOPULAR DECISIONS

Oleksander Turchinov, now acting president, said the new government would have to take unpopular decisions to head off default and guarantee a normal life for Ukraine’s people.

The Euromaidan council’s proposals must be approved by parliament, which meets on Thursday in an atmosphere heavy with memories of recent bloodshed, whose hundred or so victims are taking on the status of martyrs.

Yanukovich fled Kiev on Friday night after days of violence in which scores of his countrymen were killed. the government says it believes he is hiding in Crimea. It wants him tried at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The council named career diplomat Andriy Deshchytsya as foreign minister. Oleksander Shlapak, a former economy minister and former deputy head of the central bank, was named as finance minister.

“This is a government which is doomed to be able to work only for 3-4 months … because they will have to take unpopular decisions,” Turchinov said.

If the new ministers are approved, that would pave the way for talks with the International Monetary Fund to stave off financial meltdown now that Russia is expected to cut off a $15 billion lifeline it offered Yanukovich when he turned his back on ties with the EU in November.

Kerry held out the possibility of providing $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine, as well as U.S. budget support. He said Europe was also considering putting up roughly $1.5 billion in assistance for Ukraine.

FINANCIAL NEEDS

Senior EU officials discussed a possible aid package for Ukraine and said officials would travel there alongside experts from the IMF to assess Kiev’s financial needs.

In Crimea, thousands of ethnic Russians, who form the majority in the region, demonstrated for independence. They scuffled with rival demonstrators supporting the new Kiev authorities. Crimea is home to part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which Moscow said it was taking steps to secure.

Demonstrators poured into the regional capital Simferopol, where the provincial parliament was debating the crisis.

Pro-Russian crowds, some cossacks in silk and lambswool hats, shouted “Crimea is Russian!”.

Rival demonstrators backing the new authorities – mainly ethnic Tatars repressed under Soviet rule – rallied under a pale blue flag, shouting “Ukraine! Ukraine!” [ID:nL6N0LV2E0]

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern for the safety of Russian citizens in Ukraine, using language similar to statements that preceded its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

“In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (1000 GMT) today,” Interfax news agency quoted Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

Shoigu also said Russia was also “carefully watching what is happening in Crimea” and taking “measures to guarantee the safety of facilities, infrastructure and arsenals of the Black Sea Fleet,” in remarks reported by state news agency RIA.

Since Yanukovich’s downfall, all eyes have been on Putin, who ordered the invasion of neighboring Georgia in 2008 to protect two self-declared independent regions with many ethnic Russians and others holding Russian passports, and then recognized the regions as independent states.

Any military action in Ukraine, a country of 46 million people that has close ties with European powers and the United States, would be far more serious.

Despite the alarm raised by the sabre-rattling, many analysts expect Putin will pull back before taking armed action.

The war games were probably for show, said Moscow-based military analyst Alexander Golts: “Any rational analysis says that Russia would get nothing out of military intervention – it would become an international outcast.”

New Ukraine ministers proposed, Russian troops on alert | Reuters.

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Ukraine has been raped, beheaded, dismembered. What’s next?

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Is a guarantee that there is no conspiracy against Ukraine between Germany, Poland and Russia? As a result of certain events going on in the country, the Crimean Peninsula would be handed over to the Russian Federation, the land that belonged to Poland before 1939 would be handed over to Warsaw, while Germany would take control of the west of Ukraine. These were the ideas expressed by retired colonel Alexander Musienko.Alexander Musienko took part in combat actions in Afghanistan and Chechnya, events in Baku in 1990 and the civil war in Tajikistan in 1992-1993. He told Pravda.Ru that one could have avoided the civil war in Ukraine if the authorities had declared the state of emergency on time. “There would have been victims, 500, 1000, maybe even five thousand casualties. This would have been a terrible tragedy, but it would have prevented much greater sacrifices – dozens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people and the collapse of the state,” said Musienko. According to him, the events in Kiev show that Ukraine has not been able to build a state machine in its new history, nor could it do that before, during the times of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who had to seek assistance from the Russian tsar.

The spineless Ukrainian authorities had the spineless military, the expert said. They formed a generation of military leaders of low and medium level, who could not take responsibility for their actions. They can be prosecuted for executing orders, although it is the officials, who give orders that should be prosecuted.

“In Tajikistan, to restore constitutional order, we once formed a guerrilla movement. Was created the Popular Front of Tajikistan, and a year later, the government of Emomali Rakhmonov was brought to power – the constitutional order was established. In Azerbaijan, in 1990, the conflict was suppressed quickly, as soon as it started. With the help of KGB, special forces of the defense ministry, interior troops, strict order was established quick. A curfew was introduced, and opposition politicians were isolated.”

Those were correct actions to make, the expert said, as people need law and order- they do not need chaos. Therefore, the task of any state is to prevent chaos at all costs. And what is happening in Ukraine?

“I was on the phone with Lvov five minutes ago. Ambulance crews do not work, unbridled masked militants walk around the city wielding batons and weapons. This is anarchy. Looting, robbery, rape – this is chaos, and people were left defenseless.”

“The events in Egypt, Syria, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and even in Russia on Bolotnaya Square – this is one and the same scenario, where identical technology is used,” said the expert.

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There is no counteraction to such technologies because of the amateurish  approach of the administration. “Unfortunately, no one asked specialists who have the knowledge and experience,” Musienko said. According to him, in November 1994, it was possible to avoid bloodshed in Grozny, Chechnya, after which the first Chechen war started. “If they had used the technology that was used in Tajikistan in 1992, the first Chechen war wouldn’t have happened, let alone the second war,” he said.

As for Ukraine, the Ukrainian coup was administered by well-trained people, who used, among other things, the crowd effect, when two or three instigators start to generate and maintain aggression. The less aggressive the other party answers, the more aggression they show.

What does Berkut do? On the contrary, Berkut provokes the crowd. They shoot rubber bullets at protesters, and real bullets fly back at them. If Berkut fighters had used military weapons against snipers, leaders and those, who shoot most, the events that we can now see in Ukraine wouldn’t have happened,” said Musienko.

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The expert believes that Russia should intervene in the situation in Ukraine. “If the Americans intervene, if London intervenes, if Berlin intervenes, why Russia, having a common border with Ukraine, should not interfere? On the Russian side, this is not intervention – this is help. From the side of the West – this is nothing but intervention,” the expert believes.

Musienko does not see anyone among opposition, with whom one could negotiate. “They are not responsible for the situation. They just flatter themselves with their ability to control everything. As a matter of fact, the situation in Ukraine is absolutely out of control.”

“Human what-not on Maidan can not be controlled, and the crowd is on the offensive. The offensive position always wins. One can not win being in defense – let’s face it. Unfortunately, many politicians and political scientists forget about it, and we can eventually see what we see. The militants who got to know the taste of blood are extremists. They will not listen to anyone, they can only careless about Yatsenyuk and Klitschko. They just do their shady business. They revel in anarchy, looting, violence, the possibility of taking people’s lives,” said the colonel. All this story with the European Union, in his opinion, is just an excuse to topple Yanukovych.

Musienko put forward a conspiracy theory about the events in Ukraine. Some believe that there was plan between Russia and Georgia for Georgia to annex South Ossetia and Abkhazia will go to Russia. “But the Georgian artillery captain (Saakashvili) was not warned that one should not shoot at Russian peacekeepers. So there was a situation, when Russia deployed troops. Then, Sarkozy, who could contribute to the partition, became an umpire and reconciled Russia and Georgia.”

“Where is a guarantee that there is no similar collusion about Ukraine? There is an opinion that as a result of political events in Ukraine the Crimea will go to Russia. The land that belonged to Poland before 1939 will be handed over back to Poland, and the western part of Ukraine will be given under the protectorate of Germany. Respectively, southern or eastern regions of Ukraine turn to Russia for help.”

Musienko believes that the deployment of occupying or peacekeeping forces in Ukraine will cause only another round of escalation. “I believe that the deployment of German, Polish or Russian troops in Ukraine is absolutely out of the question. It would be a mistake, but maybe someone wants it. We understand that there is a backroom struggle, there are geopolitical agreements that define the role and place for every subject. But we can only guess about it,” retired Colonel Musienko said.

Lyuba Lulko – Pravda.Ru

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Ukraine parliament votes to try ousted President Yanukovich & others in ICC

The Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada has voted in favor of fugitive President Yanukovich being tried in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for alleged “crimes against humanity during the recent peaceful protests.”

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Ex-Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka are among those whom the Rada wants to be tried in the ICC.

All are accused of “crimes against humanity during the peaceful protests in the period of November 30, 2013, and February 22, 2014.”

“During the period of three months the law enforcement agencies have been following the orders of the highest Ukrainian authorities. They used violence against the peaceful activists in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities,” said a Rada statement.

“Over 100 Ukrainian citizens have been killed and 2,000 injured as a result of such actions,” it added.

Three hundred and twenty-four MPs voted in favor of the resolution.

During the discussions the MPs also proposed to add the names of ex-deputy prime minister, ex-PM and ex-security council secretary. However the names were not approved by all the members of the Rada.

“The list will be extended with the names of those whose guilt is proven,” added Turchinov.

The Hague war crimes court didn’t confirm the information that Ukraine asked it to investigate the case of Yanukovich and other Ukrainian ex-ministers.

“A government can make a declaration accepting the court’s jurisdiction for past events,” said ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, adding that the court’s prosecutor would decide whether or not to open an investigation.

The three-month political crisis in Ukraine escalated last Tuesday, with radical opposition activists and riot police engaged in two days of clashes in Ukraine capital, Kiev.

The central Ukrainian government collapsed under opposition pressure and President Yanukovich left the capital and de facto resigned his office. His whereabouts are still unknown.

On Sunday the new parliament voted to appoint its freshly-elected Speaker Aleksandr Turchinov as acting president of Ukraine.

The new regime immediately voted to strip Yanukovich of his powers, capitalizing on his absence from the capital, and voted for snap elections which are to be held on May 25.

A day later, on Monday, Rada put President Yanukovich on the wanted list on suspicion of involvement in mass killings during the riots in Kiev.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, will next meet Thursday to discuss the formation of a national unity government – a debate originally scheduled for Tuesday.

“The vote on the national unity government should be on Thursday,” said interim President Aleksandr Turchinov, adding that forming the government is the top task needed to stabilize the situation in Ukraine.

 RT News

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