Ukraine Conflict: Putin Strengthens His True Enemies || by Benjamin Bidder


Military personnel, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on military vehicle outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol

The Russian invasion of Crimea has the potential to set off an explosive set of events within Ukraine.

Although Russia has espoused moral justifications for its invasion of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin’s move is all about geopolitics. His short-sighted logic, however, could bring Ukrainian nationalists to power — and create a whole new set of problems.

Whenever Russia pursues its own interest against the will of the international community, a dictum by Czar Alexander III springs to mind. Russia, he said, has only two allies: its army and its navy. If you can believe the Kremlin’s propagandists, however, a new, unexpected ally has come to Moscow’s defense: the Western press. According to the website “Sputnik and Pogrom,” the Western media have “begun to support the Russian Federation’s course of action in the Crimean crisis.”

 

The statement has little basis in reality, but it has nevertheless been shared thousands of times on Russian social media networks. European reporters, it is said, have finally figured out that hardboiled neo-fascists and not freedom fighters were behind the takeover of Independence Square.

This has been the Russian propaganda line for months — that the West is ignoring the hordes of neo-Nazis bullying valiant Ukrainian policemen. The role of the violent nationalists, however, has been widely covered in the international press, and it was police brutality — and Yanukovych’s attempts, supported by Moscow, to outlast the protests — that actually radicalized Independence Square. When students were beaten down on the night of November 30, they had neither helmets, nor batons, nor firearms.

Russia’s Ridiculous Justification

Read More Here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/russian-invasion-of-crimea-will-create-nationalist-problem-in-ukraine-a-956614.html

 

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Obama preparing sanctions against Russia || By Julian Pecquet


Hill Global Affairs

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The Obama administration is “likely” to impose sanctions on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine, the State Department declared Monday.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that planning for sanctions has gone into overdrive following stepped up Russian interference in the Crimea region, including unconfirmed reports that Russia has given Ukrainian troops in the Crimea until 10 p.m. EST to surrender.

“At this point we’re not just considering sanctions; given the actions Russia has taken it is likely that we will put those in place,” Psaki said. “And we are preparing that right now.”

Psaki did not give any details on what sanctions the administration might impose, but Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. could ban visas and freeze the assets of Russian officials.

 

Russian moves raise stakes in Ukraine conflict || By DALTON BENNETT | Courtesy: MILINET


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Anti-Yanukovych protester sit on top of an army armored vehicle drive past a barricade along a street in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Ukraine put its police on high alert after dozens of armed pro-Russia men stormed and seized local government buildings in Ukraine’s Crimea region early Thursday and raised a Russian flag over a barricade. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine, Ukraine (AP) — Masked gunmen stormed the parliament of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region as Russian fighter jets screamed above the border, while Ukraine’s newly formed government pledged to prevent a national breakup with the strong backing of the West – the stirrings of a potentially dangerous confrontation reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Moscow reportedly granted shelter to Ukraine’s fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was said to be holed up in a luxury government retreat and to have scheduled a news conference Friday near the Ukrainian border. As gunmen wearing unmarked camouflage uniforms erected a sign reading “Crimea is Russia” in the provincial capital, Ukraine’s interim prime minister declared that the Black Sea territory “has been and will be a part of Ukraine.”

The escalating conflict sent Ukraine’s finances plummeting further, prompting Western leaders to prepare an emergency financial package.

Yanukovych, whose approach to Moscow set off three months of pro-Europe protests, finally fled by helicopter last weekend as his allies deserted him. The humiliating exit was a severe blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had been celebrating his signature Olympics even as Ukraine’s drama came to a head. The Russian leader has long dreamt of pulling Ukraine – a huge country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization – closer into Moscow’s orbit.

U.S. warns Russia to keep its military out of Ukraine [ by Guy Rucker ]


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U.S. warns Russia to keep its military out of Ukraine [ by Guy Rucker ]

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The Obama administration warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday not to react too aggressively to the fast-moving developments in Ukraine, where pro-Western demonstrators forced the nation’s Moscow-backed president from power over the weekend.

National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice said the situation unfolding in Kiev “reflects the will of the Ukrainian people and the interests of the United States and Europe,” and that Russia would be making a “grave mistake” if it sends in military forces to try to reverse the developments — or to seize control of pro-Moscow eastern Ukraine.