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At the same time that Russia is condicting its latest massive military drill on the border with Ukraine, and one day after the latest stark warning by Ukraine’ president Poroshenko that the simmering conflict with Russia may be set to explode again when he said on national TV that “the probability of escalation and conflict remains very significant” adding that “we don’t rule out full-scale Russian invasion”, Russian president Putin made a not so subtle point that Crimea will not be relinquished when he flew into contested territory on Friday, one day after staging war games there, and said he hoped Ukraine would see “common sense” when it came to resolving a diplomatic crisis over the peninsula.
Officially, Putin arrived on a working visit in Crimea, where he held a briefing with members of the Russian Security Council and visited the Tavrida international youth forum, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Friday. The schedule of Putin’s visit to Crimea, at least his fifth in the past two years, also involves meetings with local officials, according to local media reports that broke news of the visit this week.
Apr 13, 2016
Ukraine’s incredibly unpopular prime minister has finally resigned. He will probably be forever remembered by his nickname ‘Yats’ – given to him by the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Yatsenyuk’s failure in power speaks volumes about the many failures Ukraine has experienced since the illegal regime change two years ago.
CrossTalking with Michael Vlahos, George Szamuely, and Richard Sakwa.
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“Saakashvili was offered the position of first deputy prime minister of Ukraine last December, but he refused the appointment, saying he doesn’t want to renounce his Georgian citizenship.”
– Jewish Georgian minister: Thanks to Israeli training, we’re fending off Russia (Haaretz, Nov 8, 2008):
“Israel should be proud of its military which trained Georgian soldiers,” Yakobashvili told Army Radio in Hebrew, referring to a private Israeli group Georgia had hired.
“We killed 60 Russian soldiers just yesterday,” said Yakobashvili. “The Russians have lost more than 50 tanks, and we have shot down 11 of their planes. They have enormous damage in terms of manpower.”
… which is why…
– Vladimir Putin ‘wanted to hang Georgian President Saakashvili by the balls’ (The Times, Nov 14, 2008):
With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to Mr Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.
Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” – he asked. “Why not?” Mr Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”
Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?” Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah – you have scored a point there.”
And just in case somebody still doubts who started it …
– Saakashvili admitted that Georgia began military operations in South Ossestia (The Times, Nov 29, 2008):
“Mr Saakashvili admitted yesterday that Georgia began military operations in South Ossestia but insisted that it was in response to Russian provocation.”
And now he becomes governor in Ukraine.
You really can’t make this stuff up.
– Ex-Georgian president, wanted at home, becomes governor in Ukraine (RT, May 30, 2015):
Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted by his country’s prosecutors for embezzlement, abuse of power and politically-motivated attacks, has been appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.
President Petro Poroshenko personally appointed Saakashvili to the post, saying the former Georgian leader is “a friend of Ukraine.” In a statement at Saakashvili’s nomination in Odessa, Poroshenko said the two had known each other for 25 years, since university days.
Нас об’єднує любов до Одеси і України.Від щирого серця бажаю успіху новому главі ОДА Михайлу Саакашвілі.У добру путь! pic.twitter.com/O1Dj8cWWRq
— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) May 30, 2015
According to Poroshenko, Saakashvili “has proven with deeds, not words that he can not only give birth to creative ideas, but also put them into practice.” He added Georgia’s ex-president had changed his country “in the direction of transparency, effectiveness, anti-corruption, appeal for foreign investors, fair justice, protection of citizen’s rights, democracy,” something Poroshenko “would like to see very much” in Odessa.
– Poroshenko Threatens To Declare Martial Law In Ukraine Within Hours “To Demonstrate Readiness For War” (ZeroHedge, May 28, 2015):
In the case of any advance of Ukrainian army positions – and who is to say whether there is or not – Ukraine’s President Poroshenko says he will declare martial law across his country within hours. As RT reports, Poroshenko added that Ukraine will “demonstrate its readiness for war, for victory, for defense and for peace.”
For martial law to be enacted, the parliament has to approve a corresponding ruling by the Ukrainian president. It can be declared in the whole country or selected regions. And as RT reports,
OK, so somebody hand Porkoshenko a rifle and tell him that he will have to fight Russia on the front line then …
… and then let’s see how that will immediately change his rhetoric.
– Poroshenko Says Ukraine is at War with Russia (GlobalResearch, May 21, 2015):
In an inflammatory statement to the BBC yesterday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared that his regime, which enjoys political and military support from Washington and the European Union (EU), is at war with Russia.
“Can I be absolutely clear with you, this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia,” Poroshenko said. He added that he expected renewed fighting in regions of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist forces in the coming days.
– US To Send Drones, Humvees To Ukraine, Boost Russia Sanctions As Moscow May “Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Crimea” (ZeroHedge, March 11, 2015):
So much for the second Minsk ceasefire. A few hours ago, the US returned to its strategy of escalating Russian “costs” when it placed sanctions on eight Ukrainian separatists and a Russian bank, warning that recent attacks by rebels armed by Russia violated a European-brokered ceasefire in the war-torn country. The Russian response to the latest sanction pending, but the response may have been hinted at earlier today when an official from Russia’s Foreign Ministery said the nation has the right to deploy nuclear arms in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. And finally, indicating that the semi-hot escalation between the US and Russia is close to getting out of control, Vice President Biden told Ukraine’s president Wednesday the U.S. will send more aid to the country, which U.S. officials said will include small drones and armored Humvees.
– US to send more drones, Humvees to Ukraine (RT, March 11, 2015):
Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed US was to send Ukraine more non-lethal military aid, including drones and armored Humvees.
“We are today providing immediately some 75 million dollars of additional non-lethal assistance, immediately, to Ukraine in order to help them in non-lethal assistance,” Kerry told the Senate on Wednesday afternoon during a hearing concerning a proposed war powers act offered by the White House. “And, as you know, other things are currently under consideration.”
The aid has been discussed on the phone by Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenkoduring a phone call, according to US officials, AP reported.
– ‘New IMF loan to Ukraine will go down the drain’ (RT, March 11, 2015):
President Poroshenko’s government is far more corrupt and less efficient than the previous one, according to Martin Sieff, columnist for the Baltimore Post-Examiner. It’s like a black hole, the more money you pour in the less you will have, he added.
– IMF approves $17.5bn bailout package for Ukraine (RT, March 11, 2015):
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board of directors signed off on Ukraine’s new $17.5 billion package of financial aid Wednesday, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has announced.
Lagarde however did not provide details on how large an initial payment will be made to Ukraine or on what timetable.
“This new four-year extended arrangement will support immediate economic stabilization in Ukraine,” she said.
The first immediate payment from the IMF will consist of $5 billion, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk announced at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, RBC Ukraine reported. He also said the newly approved financial help would allow Ukraine to receive $7.5 billion in other loans.
Putin, Poroshenko ‘handshake’, Minsk talks behind the scenes
– Ukraine peace deal: Ceasefire starting February 15, removal of heavy weapons (RT, Feb 12, 2015):
An agreement has been brokered in Minsk to stop hostilities in Ukraine from Sunday. The deal was reached after marathon talks between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, and signed by the Ukrainian rebels.
“I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the media after the talks were finished.
“The main thing achieved is that from Saturday into Sunday there should be declared – without any conditions at all – a general ceasefire,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists in a separate statement.
– Ukrainians Rage Against Military Draft: “We’re Sick Of This War” (ZeroHedge, Feb 10, 2015):
When Ukrainian army officers came to the Ukrainian village of Velikaya Znamenka to tell the men to prepare to be drafted, they weren’t prepared for what happened next. As the commanding officer was speaking, a woman seized the microphone and proceeded to tell him off: “We’re sick of this war! Our husbands and sons aren’t going anywhere!” She then launched into a passionate speech, denouncing the war, and the coup leaders in Kiev, to the cheers of the crowd.
What she did is now a crime in Ukraine: the only reason she wasn’t arrested on the spot is that the villagers wouldn’t have permitted it. But in Ukrainian Transcarpathia, well-known journalist for Ukrainian Channel 112 Ruslan Kotsaba has been arrested and charged with “treason” and “espionage” for making a video in which he declared: “I would rather sit in jail for three to five years than go to the east to kill my Ukrainian brothers. This fear-mongering must be stopped.” Kotsaba may sit in jail for twenty-three years, the prescribed term for the charges filed against him.
– Putin: ‘Foreign legion’ operating in Ukraine (Russia Beyond The Headlines, Jan 27, 2015):
During at visit to the National Mineral Resources University in St. Petersburg on Monday, Jan. 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused NATO of interfering in Ukraine and not acting in that country’s interests. “We often say: Ukrainian Army, Ukrainian Army. But who is really fighting there? There are, indeed, partially official units of armed forces, but largely there are the so-called ‘volunteer nationalist battalions’,” said Putin.
According to Putin, the Ukrainian army “is essentially no longer an army, it is a foreign legion – in this case a foreign NATO legion – which, of course, is not pursuing Ukraine’s national interests.”
At a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels the same day, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Putin’s comments “nonsense.” “There is no NATO legion, the foreign forces in Ukraine are Russian,” Stoltenberg said, urging Russia to stop backing the rebels in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
– Moscow demands copies of ‘Russian soldiers IDs’ shown in Munich (RT, Feb 8, 2015):
The Russian Foreign Ministry says Kiev is reluctant to hand over copies of what it claims to be documents, proving Russian military presence in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko showed the audience at the Munich Security Conference several passports on Saturday, saying they belonged to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
“We asked the Ukrainian side to give us copies of the documents containing last names, because such IDs, as were shown yesterday, could easily be bought,” said Viktor Sorokin, director of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) department within the Russian Foreign Ministry, as cited by RIA Novosti.
“There’s no real proof, as of today, the Ukrainian side hasn’t been able to give us copies of these documents.”
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko holds Russian passports to prove the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine as he addresses during the 51st Munich Security Conference at the ‘Bayerischer Hof’ hotel in Munich February 7, 2015. (Reuters/Michael Dalder)
– ‘Political comedy’: Poroshenko’s ‘Russian army evidence’ raises eyebrows (RT, Feb 8, 2015):
President Poroshenko’s PR advisers are helping him turn speeches into a kind of performance art. Sadly for the Ukrainian leader, they are more Laurel and Hardy than Laurence Olivier.
On Saturday, Poroshenko was again engaged in physical theatre, this time in Munich. Holding up Russian passports, he alleged that they belonged to Russian soldiers who had been found on Ukrainian soil. Citing “mountains of (Russian) lies and propaganda,” the Ukrainian President stood on a German stage and, well, lied.
Speaking of ‘propaganda,’ Yahoo news called the Russian (civilian) passports – which all Russians traveling abroad carry – ‘military ID’s’ which is certainly a new one.
Russian soldiers cannot use their passports while on active service – they must hand them in. Everybody who has ever lived in Russia knows this. Indeed, even contract soldiers are forced to hand in theirs while on army business and, like the troops, they get a replacement military ID. This is why Sochi’s bars are crawling with off-duty Russian military – they can’t go abroad without their travel documents.
Just as the existing ‘truce’ in Ukraine has been made a total farce as 1000s of military and civilians have been killed, so any ‘hope’ that this weekend’s “peace efforts” will result in anything but more talk is rapidly diminishing… Germany’s Merkel exclaimed honestly that it’s “uncertain whether this will be successful,” seemingly resigned to the fact as she added, “but it’s at least worth making an attempt.” French President Hollande admitted that Ukraine’s eastern regions likely need “strong autonomy.” Ukraine’s Poroshenko blustered that he “trusts” Merkel, that the economy is collapsing (more money please), that the country does not need peacekeepers and a lack of arms is fueling conflict (so send us weapons) while pushing for a Russian withdrawal and quick cease-fire. Finally Vladimir Putin blasted that Russia is unwilling to tolerate a post-Cold War global system dominated by one absolute leader, to which US VP Joe Biden remarked simply “get out of Ukraine.”But apart from that, talks are going great…
Stocks rallied after hours on Friday on a spurious headline that peace talks were progressing…
That appears to be entirely false…
– Ukraine’s Poroshenko Rejects Putin’s “Peace Plan”; Massive Shelling Ensues (ZeroHedge, Jan 18, 2015):
Further to the dramatic footage yesterday, Ukrainian troops have launched a massive assault on militia-held areas, according to RT. This comes on the heels of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko rejecting a peace plan proposed to him last week by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. As Reuters reports, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday evening, according to Russian media, that the plan, contained in a letter sent by Putin on Thursday evening, proposed a ceasefire by both government forces and separatist militiamen in southeastern Ukraine, as well as the withdrawal of heavy artillery by both sides. Given the images below, it will be hard to see how Ukraine (and The West) will spin this…
– Ukraine President Signs Mobilization Decree: 50,000 To Be Drafted (ZeroHedge, Jan 15, 2015):
And with a stroke of his pen, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signs a decree that mobilizes up to 50,000 “health men and women” aged 25 to 60 to the frontlines in Eastern Ukraine…
– Ukraine Bank Runs Begin As Poroshenko Plans To Sever Socio-Economic Ties With Separatist-Held Regions (ZeroHedge, Nov 16, 2014):
In what the pro-Russian separatists call “an act of genocide,” Ukraine’s President Poroshenko signed a decree Friday that will explicitly withdraw state support for the regions within a month. While appearing to implicitly recognize the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as autonomous, the decree means that the central bank will no longer service bank accounts, prisoners will be transferred (inmates with minor offences will be released), and perhaps most troubling as the cold winter begins, the order covers all public services, including crucial ones, such as schools, hospitals, and emergency services; and local heating and power plants will be subject to new laws that could involve cutting energy supplies altogether to the plants that don’t pay. Luhansk’s leader exclaimed, “the total socio-economic blockade of Donbass is de facto an act on genocide and devastation of our people,” and as the images below show, bank runs have already begun across the region with long lines forming at ATMs.
– Putin, Poroshenko Speak; Kiev Church Says Russian “Under Satan’s Spell”, Locals Say “Ceasefire Just Theater” (ZeroHedge, Sep 6, 2014):
So far, and contrary to most expectations, the latest ceasefire between Ukraine and the eastern separatists, which was announced early yesterday, has managed to hold up. “Contrary” because while it is the talking point of the west that it is Putin’s desire to perpetuate the proxy civil war, in reality it was Ukraine’s own troops who voiced against a ceasefire as we reported yesterday:
“A ceasefire would be a disaster, we would lose everything. By fighting we can resist the invasion and send them back. With a ceasefire they will consolidate and carry on after a while,” said Ukrainian soldier Taras. Another Ukrainian soldier who gave his name as Mykola said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – who was attending the second day of a NATO summit in Wales on Friday – would “betray the country” if he backed a peace plan at this time.”
– Russia Warns Of “Gas Crisis” By Fall, Blasts Poroshenko “Personally Responsible For New Deaths” (ZeroHedge, July 2, 2014):
While the USA has been oddly quiet since Ukraine’s President Poroshenko unilaterally ended the cease-fire, the Russians have not. This morning’s “anti-terrorist” shelling of East Ukraine buildings stirred Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev to warn:
- *MEDVEDEV SAYS POROSHENKO MADE MISTAKE ENDING CEASE-FIRE
- *MEDVEDEV SAYS POROSHENKO PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR NEW DEATHS
- *MEDVEDEV SAYS THERE MAY BE FULL FLEDGED GAS CRISIS BY FALL
Of course, Ukraine is ‘fixed’ – it must be: stocks are up. However, it appears a new round of violence (with little seeming room for negotiation) appears set to start as Ukraine moves ahead and Medvedev makes it clear there will be repercussions.