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Name: Steve
Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: US
Current location: US
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 22,964

Journal Archives

Interview with first president of Ukraine (Leonid Kravchuk)


Just over two decades ago, Leonid Kravchuk travelled to a state dacha in one of Europe’s largest forests to sign an agreement that buried the Soviet Union and allowed the birth of Ukraine.

But the man who served as its first independent president, between 1991 and 1994, is deeply worried about his creation. In the aftermath of the revolution, he fears that his country could simply dissolve, with the largely Russian-speaking Crimea breaking away.

“The danger is enormous,” he told The Sunday Telegraph, speaking before Russian forces proved him right by occupying key installations across Crimea on Friday.

“There is direct Russian interference in the political life of Crimea,” added Mr Kravchuk. “Russia is already considering a simplified procedure to offer Russian citizenship to Ukrainians, not only in Crimea but in other regions too. There are ideas to turn Ukraine into a federation. This is very dangerous.”

*much more at link*

Russia, West trade accusations over Ukraine crisis at U.N


(Reuters) - Russia and Western nations on the U.N. Security Council accused each other of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs on Saturday as the United States called for the immediate deployment of international monitors to the former Soviet republic.

The hurling of accusations back and forth at the United Nations highlighted the deep gulf between Moscow on one side and the United States and Europe on the other when it comes to countries in what Russia considers its sphere of influence.

Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev asked the United States and other key members of the 15-nation council to help safeguard its territorial integrity after Russia announced plans to send armed forces into neighboring Ukraine.

But it was not immediately clear how they could do that given Russia's veto powers on the Security Council.

Breaking: U.N. Secretary-General calls for immediate de-escalation in Ukraine.

Source: CNN official Twitter feed

Breaking: U.N. Secretary-General calls for "immediate de-escalation" in Ukraine. http://bit.ly/1fyNykM

Will post more from CNN website when I get it.

Read more: https://twitter.com/CNN/status/439902271657095169

DSG: The reason we meet is that we see negative signs, serious signs, risks of escalation, both on the ground and, I would say, verbally. There has to be a de-escalation, both physically and in terms of political language. There are some positive signs. There are calls for dialogue from all quarters. There are also intentions stated by authorities in Ukraine to have inclusive government with also representatives from eastern Ukraine, so we hope, as I said, that cool heads will prevail. That is what we all need to think of now. It is a very, very important responsibility, for all concerned, both inside and outside Ukraine.


All I can find so far. DSG is Deputy Secretary-General.

UK asks nationals to immediately leave Ukraine


LONDON: Britain has advised all its nationals to leave Crimea immediately by 'all practical means possible'.

In the light of President Vladimir Putin's request to the Federation Council, Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to the foreign office to register their deep concerns.

Britain's foreign minister William Hague will visit Ukraine on Sunday to discuss concerns directly with the Ukrainian Government.

Britain has joined hands with Germany and agreed on the need for international diplomatic action to address the crisis.

"(Turkish FM) Davutoglu called on world powers to safeguard the rights of the region's Tatar...."


Earlier on Saturday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov in Kiev. Afterward, he spoke at a joint news conference with lawmaker Mustafa Qirimoglu, the former chairman of the National Assembly of the Crimean Tatar People.

Mr. Davutoglu called on world powers to safeguard the rights of the region's Tatar minorities who he described as "kin." Tatars were persecuted during the Soviet era of Ukraine and Crimea.

"When it comes to the rights of our kin in Crimea, is in all sorts of efforts--a state of mobilization, so to say--for all sorts of initiatives," he added.

Yet another wrinkle to the Ukraine/Crimean crisis.

"Latvia+Lithuania have invoked NATO art. 4 in response to #crimea"


Latvia+Lithuania have invoked NATO art. 4 in response to #crimea NATO now obliged to hold emerg council meeting. Only 4th time in history
2:23 PM - 1 Mar 2014


I found this interesting, to say the least.

U.S. 'Suspends' Role in Russia G8 Summit After Obama, Putin Speak

Source: NBC News

The U.S. is preparing to pull out of the next summit of industrialized nations — scheduled in Russia — in protest of Russian military moves in Ukraine, the White House said Saturday after President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke directly by phone.

As tension in Ukraine threatened to boil over, Obama told Putin in the 90-minute call that he was deeply concerned over Russia's "clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said in a statement, adding that the president warned Putin that Russia's "standing in the international community" was at stake.

The statement said the U.S. was suspending "upcoming participation in preparatory meetings" for the G-8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia.

"Going forward, Russia's continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation," it promised.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/u-s-suspends-role-russia-g8-summit-after-obama-putin-n42116


Official link above

Summary of 90 minute call between PBO and Putin today


First, PBO:

22.21 We now have the White House read out of that call which lasted 90 minutes:

"President Obama spoke for 90 minutes this afternoon with President Putin of Russia about the situation in Ukraine. President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

"The United States calls on Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. We have consistently said that we recognize Russia’s deep historic and cultural ties to Ukraine and the need to protect the rights of ethnic Russian and minority populations within Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has made clear its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and to abide by Ukraine’s international commitments, and we will continue to urge them to do so.

"President Obama told President Putin that, if Russia has concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine, the appropriate way to address them is peacefully through direct engagement with the government of Ukraine and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As a member of both organizations, Russia would be able to participate. President Obama urged an immediate effort to initiate a dialogue between Russia and the Ukrainian government, with international facilitation, as appropriate. The United States is prepared to participate.

More at link above. Now, for Putin:


Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Barack Obama on the American side’s initiative.

The two presidents discussed in detail various aspects of the extraordinary situation in Ukraine.

In reply to Mr Obama’s concern over the possibility of the use of Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin drew his attention to the provocative and criminal actions on the part of ultranationalists who are in fact being supported by the current authorities in Kiev.

The Russian President spoke of a real threat to the lives and health of Russian citizens and the many compatriots who are currently on Ukrainian territory. Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas.

Interesting historical graphic about Ukraine, 1654-2014

from this link:


At heart of Ukraine drama, a tale of two countries


DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — In the afternoon, when the shift ends at the coal mine and the miners walk out into the cold and past the old concrete statue of Lenin, they often head to a tiny corner store a block away. There they'll stand in the parking lot for a while, drinking little bottles of the vodka called "Truthful."

They know what is happening in Kiev, the capital city that can seem so far away. They've seen pictures of the democracy protesters shot dead in Kiev's streets, and the TV reports on the mansions of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, the one-time thug and pro-Russia politician who grew up in this far-eastern city. They watched from afar this week as protesters, many from western Ukraine, helped form the country's new government.

They don't like it at all.

"I have always felt that we are so different," said a miner who gave his name only as Nikolai, a thickset 35-year-old who went from high school directly into the mines. People speak Russian across most of Ukraine's east, and worship in onion-domed Orthodox churches. They were shaped by 70 years of Soviet rule and its celebration of socialist industrialization, and by the Russian empire before that. To them, the government is now being run by outsiders who care little for this side of the country. "If they try to pressure us, our region will revolt."
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