End Times and Current Events

General Category => Current Events => Topic started by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 04:36:18 pm

Title: Russia preps for WWIII against US...or maybe not...Hegelian Dialectic?
Post by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 04:36:18 pm
Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border

debkafile’s military sources report that units of the Russian forces which formed a steel ring around the Olympic Winter Games that ended in Sochi Sunday were flown and shipped Monday, Feb. 24 to Russian bases at the Ukrainian Crimean port of Sevastopol, as Moscow refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new authorities in Kiev.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 04:36:41 pm
Russian Ships Arrive On Ukraine's Crimean Coast As Fears Mount Over Russian Invasion In the Region

According to Russian news site flot.com, Russian military ships carrying soldiers have arrived on Ukraine’s Crimean coast in what some are claiming could be the early signs of a Russian coup in the hotly disputed autonomous region of the Crimea. 


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 04:37:51 pm

Pentagon Set to Slash Military to Pre-World War II Levels

The cuts in military spending, forces and weapons programs address the stark reality of growing budget pressures at home while pointing to the improbability that the United States will engage in a large ground war.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 05:42:14 pm
Russian Troops Take Up Positions In Sevastopol As Ukraine Teeters On The Brink Of Civil War

Russian military vehicles have been photographed in the main square of Sevastopol, and there are fears that Ukraine is about to plunge into a very bloody civil war.  The pro-Russian eastern half of Ukraine is in a state of shock, and many living there are openly calling on Russia to militarily intervene to protect them against the protest groups that have seized power in Kiev.  Down in the Crimea, where approximately 60 percent of the population is ethnically Russian, militia groups have formed to protect their region from the “fascist scum running around in Kiev with swastikas“.  That quote is from a recent Time Magazine article, and it demonstrates the extreme level of tension that exists between the two halves of Ukraine right now.  Perhaps a peaceful resolution can still be achieved, but at the moment a civil war seems quite likely.  And if war does erupt, the truth is that it is going to be exceedingly difficult for Russia to stay out of it.

And Russia is not just sitting back and waiting to see what will happen.  They are actively moving military forces into position for a potential conflict.  Just check out this excerpt from an International Business Times article entitled “Russian Ships Arrive On Ukraine’s Crimean Coast As Fears Mount Over Russian Invasion In the Region“…

    According to Russian news site flot.com, Russian military ships carrying soldiers have arrived on Ukraine’s Crimean coast in what some are claiming could be the early signs of a Russian coup in the hotly disputed autonomous region of the Crimea.

    Russia’s large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov has arrived near the Russia Black Sea Fleet’s base at Sevastopol, which Russia has leased from Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    The ship is reported to be carrying as many as 200 soldiers and has joined four additional ships carrying an unknown amount of Special Forces troops. Flot.com also reported over the weekend that personnel from the 45th Airborne Special Forces unit and additional divisions had been airlifted into Anapa, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coastline. In addition, it is believed that Russia’s Sevastopol base contains as many as 26,000 troops already, according to the German Institute for International And Security Affairs.

Posted below is a photograph that has been shared widely on Twitter of a Russian armored personnel carrier sitting right in the middle of the main square in Sevastopol.  Needless to say, this sends a very strong message to the new “regime” in Kiev…

And according to the Guardian, officials have “installed” a pro-Russian mayor in the city.  In fact, this new mayor is actually a Russian citizen…

    Authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Sevastopol have installed a pro-Russian mayor as fears grow that the Kremlin may be stoking separatist sentiment in the region.

    Sevastopol’s city council handed power to Aleksei Chaliy, a Russian citizen, during an extraordinary session on Monday evening while more than a thousand protesters gathered around city hall chanting “Russia, Russia, Russia,” and “A Russian mayor for a Russian city.”

    Fears are spreading that separatists in Sevastopol, and the Crimean region of which it is a part, could use the power vacuum in Ukraine to seize greater autonomy and deepen ties with Russia.

It has become quite clear that Russia does not intend to relinquish control over the Crimea, and the overwhelmingly pro-Russian population down there does not want that to happen either.  In fact, many citizens down there see this as an opportunity for the Crimea to reunite with Russia…

    So when the forces of the revolution took over the national parliament on Friday, pledging to rid Ukraine of Russian influence and integrate with Europe, the people of Crimea panicked. Some began to form militias, others sent distress calls to the Kremlin. And if the officers of the Berkut riot police are now despised throughout the rest of the country for killing dozens of protesters in Kiev this week, they were welcomed in Crimea as heroes.

    For Ukraine’s revolutionary leaders, that presents an urgent problem. In a matter of days, their sympathizers managed to seize nearly the entire country, including some of the most staunchly pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine. But they have made barely any headway on the Crimean peninsula. On the contrary, the revolution has given the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea their best chance ever to break away from Kiev’s rule and come back under the control of Russia. “An opportunity like this has never come along,” says Tatyana Yermakova, the head of the Russian Community of Sevastopol, a civil-society group in Crimea.

It will be fascinating to see what happens in the days and weeks to come.

Of greatest concern to the west, of course, is the possibility of Russian military intervention in the rest of Ukraine.

At this point, western officials don’t think that Russia will intervene in Ukraine, but they certainly aren’t ruling that possibility out either…

    There would be enormous risks – and Moscow would likely contemplate it only as a last resort. But it is not inconceivable that Russia could find a pretext—particularly if ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine were violently suppressed in an uprising against decisions made by a new government. In such extreme circumstances, Moscow would probably prefer a partition that would install a Russian-friendly government in the East, arranged either by force or maneuvering behind the scenes.

If Russia does get militarily involved, it is a certainty that Ukraine will at least lose control of the Crimea.  In fact, one Russian official has already made that abundantly clear…

    The Crimea region lies on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Russia’s massive Black Sea Fleet is stationed at Sevastopol and 60% of the region’s population are ethnic Russians.

    Moscow earlier revealed that it would be ready to go for war over the Crimea region in order to protect the large population and army installations.

    “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war. They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia,” an unidentified Russian official told the Financial Times.

So if Russia does take military action in Ukraine, what will the West do?

Will the U.S. and the EU just sit on their hands and complain loudly?

Or will they also take military action?

This proxy war in Ukraine has already caused permanent damage to the relationship between the United States and Russia, and many believe that this conflict is planting the seeds from which World War III may eventually erupt.

Please keep the people of Ukraine in prayer.  This is a great tragedy for their nation.  And if the situation in Ukraine does descend into mass bloodshed, it could potentially set off a chain of events which would ultimately lead to global war.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 25, 2014, 05:43:23 pm
Hhhhmmm...this could lead to the end times Gog/Magog war in Ezekiel 38-39...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 25, 2014, 05:48:10 pm
Hhhhmmm...this could lead to the end times Gog/Magog war in Ezekiel 38-39...

This could lead to WW III very fast. If Russia invades, China, North Korea and Iran will make their moves. The US is in no state to do anything about any of it. And just imaging all the regional wars that would pop up all over the globe, Africa would fall into disarray in days...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on February 26, 2014, 01:51:07 am
Don't fall for it. This is nothing more than Russia being a bully, again, with it's former states. This won't go anywhere. And the dust up between Obama and Putin is a sideshow. Both of them are top shelf globalist socialists.

This could lead to WW III very fast. If Russia invades, China, North Korea and Iran will make their moves. The US is in no state to do anything about any of it. And just imaging all the regional wars that would pop up all over the globe, Africa would fall into disarray in days...

Uh, isn't that basically what prophecy says? Countries fighting each other all over the place. And so it is. WW3? Not even close, simply because there will not be such a thing, as scripture makes it perfectly clear.

Don't be distracted by these local flare ups. The real focus is on Israel and Jerusalem.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 26, 2014, 10:33:16 am
Don't be distracted by these local flare ups. The real focus is on Israel and Jerusalem.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 26, 2014, 02:15:41 pm
Russian troops take control of main road to Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol -@globeandmail

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 26, 2014, 02:33:58 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry: Possible military intervention by Russia in Ukraine would be a costly decision - @Reuters

for who? The US isnt in any state to oppose this, and Europe sure dont have the military to stop em.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 26, 2014, 10:02:26 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kerry says US plans $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 27, 2014, 05:31:31 am
Putin puts Russian troops on alert amid tension over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 Russian combat troops on high alert for war games near Ukraine on Wednesday, the Kremlin's boldest gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Viktor Yanukovych was toppled as president in Kiev. 


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 27, 2014, 10:15:12 am

Ousted President Issues Defiant Statement as Moscow Puts Jets on Combat Alert...

REPORT: Russia sheltering...

US issues warning...



Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 27, 2014, 08:01:46 pm
We'll see how this plays out - what if, let's say, a massive earthquake happens on the West Coast of America while all of this is going on?

Again, stay tuned...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 05:10:17 am
Ukraine's interior minister accuses Russian military of blockading Sevastopol airport in Crimea, in 'armed invasion' - @BBCBreaking

Photo: Armed men stand at the Simferopol airport in Ukraine - @BBCDanielS

Russian military denies Ukrainian claim that it has seized or blockaded military airport in Sevastopol, Crimea - @BBCBreaking
read more on t.co


Ukraine's parliament urges Moscow to cease any moves that could undermine the country's territorial integrity after armed occupation of Crimea airports - @Reuters
read more on trust.org


Photo: Unknown armed men on guard in Crimean capital Simferopol

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 05:11:44 am
Ukraine says Russian forces control Crimea airport

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) - Russian troops took control of the two main airports in the strategic peninsula of Crimea, Ukraine's interior minister charged Friday, as the country asked the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the escalating conflict. Russian state media said Russian forces in Crimea denied involvement. No violence was reported at the civilian airport in Crimea's capital of Simferopol or at the military airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, also part of Crimea. At the Simferopol airport, a man claiming to speak for the camouflage-clad forces patrolling the airport described them as Crimean militiamen.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 05:57:28 am
Russian moves raise stakes in Ukraine conflict

 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.

For Ukraine's neighbors, the specter of Ukraine breaking up evoked memories of centuries of bloody conflict.

"Regional conflicts begin this way," said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, calling the confrontation "a very dangerous game."

Russia has pledged to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity. But the dispatch of Russian fighter jets Thursday to Ukraine's borders and drills by some 150,000 Russian soldiers - almost the entirety of its troop force in the western part of the country - signaled strong determination not to lose Ukraine to the West.

Thursday's dramatic developments pose an immediate challenge to Ukraine's new authorities as they named an interim government for the country, whose population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West. Crimea, which was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

In the capital, Kiev, the new prime minister said Ukraine's future lies in the European Union, but with friendly relations with Russia.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, picked Thursday in a boisterous parliamentary session, now faces the thorny task of restoring stability in a country that is not only deeply divided politically but on the verge of financial collapse. The 39-year-old served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010, and is widely viewed as a technocratic reformer who enjoys the support of the U.S.

Shortly before the lawmakers chose him, Yatsenyuk insisted that the country wouldn't accept the secession of Crimea. The Black Sea territory, he declared, "has been and will be a part of Ukraine."

In Simferopol, the Crimean regional capital, gunmen toting rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles raised the Russian flag over the local parliament building. The men threw a flash grenade in response to a journalist's questions. They wore black and orange ribbons, a Russian symbol of victory in World War II.

Oleksandr Turchynov, who stepped in as acting president after Yanukovych's flight, condemned the assault as a "crime against the government of Ukraine." He warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea "will be considered a military aggression."

"I have given orders to the military to use all methods necessary to protect the citizens, punish the criminals, and to free the buildings," he said.

Experts described a delicate situation in which one sudden move could lead to wider conflict.

"The main concern at this point is that Kiev might decide to intervene by sending law enforcement people to restore constitutional order," said Dmitry Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "That is something that would lead to confrontation and drag the Russians in."

In a bid to shore up Ukraine's fledgling administration, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund says it is "ready to respond" to Ukraine's bid for financial assistance. The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in the organization's first official statement on Ukraine's crisis that it is intense talks with its partners on "how best to help Ukraine at this critical moment in its history." Ukraine's finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion for this year and next to avoid default. Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, dropped to a new record low of 11.25 to the U.S. dollar, a sign of the country's financial distress.

Western leaders lined up to support the new Ukrainian leadership, with the German and British leaders warning Russia not to interfere.

"Every country should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukraine," British Prime Minister David Cameron said after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in London.

NATO defense ministers met in Brussels, and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel emerged appealing for calm.

"These are difficult times," he said, "but these are times for cool, wise leadership on Russia's side and everyone's side."

Yet the prospect of the West luring Ukraine into NATO is the very nightmare that Russia is desperately trying to avoid. Trenin of the Carnegie Center said a Ukraine-NATO courtship "would really raise the alarm levels in Moscow."

Yanukovych declared Thursday in a statement that he remains Ukraine's legitimate president. He was reportedly to hold a news conference Friday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, not far from the Ukrainian border. A respected Russian news organization said that the fugitive leader was staying at the Kremlin-run Barvikha retreat just outside Moscow, though spokesmen for Putin and for the department that runs the resort told The Associated Press that they had no information about Yanukovych's whereabouts.

"I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists," Yanukovych's statement read, according to Russian news agencies. Shortly after, the same three news agencies quoted an unnamed Russian official as saying that Yanukovych's request had been granted.

Yanukovych fled after riot police attacked protesters in Kiev's central square in clashes that killed more than 80 people, and European and Russian officials intervened. He has not been seen publicly since Saturday, when he said he remained the legitimately elected president - a position that has been backed by Russia. Legal experts say that his flight and the appointment of a new government make that stance moot.

On Thursday, the White House said Yanukovych "abdicated his responsibility" and welcomed the Ukrainian parliament's efforts to stabilize the country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry voiced concern about the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and vowed to protect their interests. State-owned ITAR-Tass news agency quoted a statement read at a session of the ministry's board on Thursday, saying that Russia "will have a firm and uncompromising response to violations of the rights of compatriots by foreign states."

In Crimea's capital, Maxim, a pro-Russian activist who refused to give his last name, said he and other activists had camped overnight outside the local parliament in Simferopol when 50-60 men wearing flak jackets and carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers and sniper rifles took over the building.

"Our activists were sitting there all night calmly, building the barricades," he said. "At 5 o'clock unknown men turned up and went to the building. They got into the courtyard and put everyone on the ground.

"They were asking who we were. When we said we stand for the Russian language and Russia, they said: 'Don't be afraid. We're with you.' Then they began to storm the building bringing down the doors," he said. "They didn't look like volunteers or amateurs; they were professionals. This was clearly a well-organized operation."

"Who are they?" he added. "Nobody knows."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 05:58:58 am
12 Signs That Russia Is Ready To Fight A War Over Crimea

Russia will never, ever give up Crimea without a fight.  Anyone that thinks otherwise is just being delusional.  The Russian Black Sea fleet's main base at Sevastopol is far too strategically important.  In addition, ethnic Russians make up approximately 60 percent of the population of Crimea, and most of the population is rabidly pro-Russian.  In fact, many prominent Crimean politicians are already calling for reunification with Russia.  So if you have been thinking that Russia is just going to fold up shop and go home now that pro-European protesters have violently seized power in Kiev, you can quit holding your breath.  The truth is that Russia is more than willing to fight a war over Crimea.  And considering the fact that vitally important pipelines that pump natural gas from Russia to the rest of Europe go right through Ukraine, it is not likely that Russia will just willingly hand the rest of Ukraine over to the U.S. and the EU either.  If the U.S. and the EU push too hard in Ukraine, a major regional war may erupt which could ultimately lead to something much larger.

Russia and Ukraine have very deep historical ties.  Most Americans may not think that Ukraine is very important, but the Russians consider Ukraine to be of the utmost strategic importance.

As an American, how would you feel if another nation funded and organized the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected Canadian government and replaced it with a government that was virulently anti-American?

By doing this to Ukraine, the United States and the EU are essentially sticking a pin in Russia's eye.  Needless to say, Russia is extremely angry at this point and they are gearing up for war.

The following are 12 signs that Russia is ready to fight a war over Crimea...

#1 More Russian military vehicles continue to pour into Crimea.  Just check out this video.

#2 Russian military vehicles have been photographed in the main square of Sevastopol.

#3 Russian military jets near the border with Ukraine have been put on combat alert.

#4 Russia has ordered "surprise military exercises" along the Ukrainian border.

#5 In connection with those "exercises", it is being reported that Russia has deployed 150,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.

#6 Russia already has approximately 26,000 troops stationed at their naval base in Sevastopol.

#7 Russian ships carrying additional soldiers have been spotted off the coast of Crimea...

    Russia’s large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov has arrived near the Russia Black Sea Fleet’s base at Sevastopol, which Russia has leased from Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    The ship is reported to be carrying as many as 200 soldiers and has joined four additional ships carrying an unknown amount of Special Forces troops. Flot.com also reported over the weekend that personnel from the 45th Airborne Special Forces unit and additional divisions had been airlifted into Anapa, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coastline.

#8 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the following statement to reporters on Wednesday...

    "Measures are taken to guarantee the security of our facilities."

#9 An unidentified Russian official has told the Financial Times that Russia is willing to use military force to protect Crimea...

    Moscow earlier revealed that it would be ready to go for war over the Crimea region in order to protect the large population and army installations.

    “If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war. They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia,” an unidentified Russian official told the Financial Times.

#10 Officials in Sevastopol have "installed" a Russian citizen as mayor of the city.

#11 Approximately 120 pro-Russian gunmen have seized the Crimean parliament building and have raised the Russian flag.

#12 There are rumors that Russian authorities have offered protection to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych...

    Viktor F. Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine, declared on Thursday that he remained the lawful president of the country and appealed to Russia to “secure my personal safety from the actions of extremists.” Russian news agencies reported that he had already arrived in Russia, but officials did not immediately confirm that.

No matter what the "new government" in Kiev says, and no matter how hard the U.S. and the EU push, Russia will never give up Crimea.  The following is what a recent Debka article had to say about the matter...

    There is no way that President Vladimir Putin will relinquish Russian control of the Crimean peninsula and its military bases there - or more particularly the big Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. This military stronghold is the key to Russia’s Middle East policy. If it is imperiled, so too are Russia’s military posture in Syria and its strategic understandings with Iran.

And you know what?

The people of Crimea do not want Russia to leave either.  In fact, they overwhelmingly want Russia to help defend them against the "new government" in Kiev.

As you read this, militia groups are being formed in Crimea to fight back against the "nationalist invasion" that they are anticipating.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article...

    Many of the people at the rally in Sevastopol were not just ready to believe. They were convinced of the imminent nationalist invasion. What scared them most were the right-wing political parties and militant groups that have played a role in Ukraine’s revolution. “What do you think they’re going to do with all those weapons they seized from police in Kiev? They’re going to come here and make war,” said Sergei Bochenko, who identified himself as the commander of a local militia group in Sevastopol called the Southern Russian Cossack Battalion.

    In preparation, he said, his group of several hundred men had armed themselves with assault rifles and begun to train for battle. “There’s not a chance in hell we’re going to accept the rule of that fascist scum running around in Kiev with swastikas,” he said. That may be overstating the case. Nowhere in Ukraine has the uprising involved neo-Nazi groups, and no swastikas have appeared on the revolution’s insignia. But every one of the dozen or so people TIME spoke to in Sevastopol was certain that the revolt was run by fascists, most likely on the payroll of the U.S. State Department.

And just remember what happened back in 2008 in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Russians have already shown that they are not afraid to militarily intervene in order to protect Russian citizens.

So what would the U.S. and the EU do if a war erupts between Russia and Ukraine?

Would they risk a direct military confrontation with Russia in order to help Ukraine?

I am very concerned about where all of this could be heading.

What about you?

What do you think?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below...


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 06:13:58 am
Ukraine pleads for Britain and US to come to its rescue as Russia accused of 'invasion'
Ukraine has called for Britain and the United States to intervene in its rapidly-escalating conflict, as the interior minister accuses Russian forces of staging an "armed invasion" in Crimea

 Deeply worried politicians inside Ukraine's parliament have pleaded with Britain and the United States to come to their rescue, after Russia was accused of launching a series of raids in the Crimea region.

The two Western powers signed an agreement with Ukraine in 1994, which Kiev's parliament wants enforcing now. The Budapest Memorandum, signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – promises to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Article one reads: "The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine ... to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine."

And Kiev is now claiming that their country's borders are not being respected.

Oleksandr Turchynov, the interim president, also told agitated MPs on Friday morning that he was convening the country's security and defence chiefs for an emergency meeting over the unfolding crisis.

Arsen Avakov, who was named interior minister on Thursday, said that the international airport in Sebastopol had been blocked by Russian forces. Sebastopol has for the past 230 years been home to Russia's Black Sea fleet – a key strategic hub for Moscow, as ships and submarines based there are just north of Turkey and can reach the Mediterranean to influence the Middle East and the Balkans.

Mr Avakov said Russia's actions amounted to "a military invasion and occupation".

He wrote on Facebook: "It is a direct provocation of armed bloodshed in the territory of a sovereign State."

A day earlier, pro-Russian gunmen had seized control of Crimea's regional parliament and government building, and Crimea's regional assembly voted to hold a referendum on May 25 to expand the region's autonomy from Kiev and replaced the local government with a pro-Moscow official.

Crimea has for centuries been a prize much sought-after by competing empires. The Greeks, Ottomans, Venetians and Mongols have all controlled the territory throughout its history.

It was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia – a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

This week the age-old tug of war between East and West resurfaced again, with rival demonstrators chanting "Crimea is Russia" and "Crimea is not Russia" back and forth at each other.

Moscow has not commented on the accusations that it is fomenting the rising tensions in Crimea.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 08:05:36 am
Ukraine accuses Russia of 'armed invasion' after Crimea airports blockaded
Ukranian minister accuses Russia of an armed takeover of Crimea amid reports that airports have been seized

 Ukraine accused Russia of staging an "armed invasion" of Crimea on Friday as the ex-Soviet state's ousted leader prepared to emerge defiant from five days of hiding after winning protection from Moscow.

Ukraine regains control of airports after 'armed invasion': live

Unidentified armed men were patrolling outside of Crimea's main airport early Friday while gunmen were also reported to have seized another airfield on the southwest of the peninsula where ethnic Russians are a majority and where pro-Moscow sentiment runs high.

Armed men guard Simferopol airport (DAVID ROSE)

Western governments have been watching with increasing worry as Kiev's new pro-EU rulers grapple with dual threats of economic collapse and cession from Russified southern and eastern regions of the divided nation, which had backed fugitive ex-president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week stoked concerns that Moscow might use its military might to sway the outcome of Ukraine's three-month standoff by ordering snap combat drills near its border involving 150,000 troops and nearly 900 tanks.

Russian military vessels are anchored at a navy base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol (REUTERS)

Ukraine's interim president Oleksandr Turchynov responded on Thursday by declaring that any movement of Russian troops out of their Black Sea bases in Crimea "will be considered as military aggression".

US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to relieve diplomatic pressure that has increasingly assumed Cold War overtones by announcing that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured him that Moscow "will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Putin also appeared to take a more conciliatory approach late on Thursday by vowing to work on improving trade ties with Ukraine and promising to support international efforts to provide Kiev with funds that could keep it from declaring a debt default as early as next week.

Yet tensions continued to soar by the hour in the Russian-speaking Crimea - a scenic Black Sea peninsula that has housed Kremlin navies for nearly 250 years and was handed to Ukraine as a symbolic gift by a Soviet leader in 1954.

A hand-painted sign that reads: 'Crimea Russia' lies beside a flag on a barricade outside the Crimea parliament building in Simferopol (GETTY)

Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accused the Russian armed forces of being directly involved in armed dawn raids on an airport in Crimea's main city of Simferopol as well as an airfield on the southwestern coast.

AFP reporters saw dozens of men armed with Kalashnikovs encircle the Simferopol airport on Friday morning after reports suggested that they had briefly seized control of its runway.

An administrator told AFP the "airport was operating normally" on Friday morning despite the presence of the armed men in battle fatigues.

Several supporters of the apparently pro-Russian gunmen said the armed men arrived after reports that members of the country's new pro-EU government were planning to fly to Simferopol.

Unconfirmed reports by Ukrainian media said armed men had also seized the Belbek airfield near the city of Sevastopol, which is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Avakov accused the Russian armed forces of being behind both incidents.

A soldier at Simferopol (GETTY)

He said gunmen at the Simferopol airport "are not even hiding the fact that they belong to the armed forces of the Russian Federation."

The interior minister added that the Belbek airfield was "blockaded by military units of the Russian navy."

"I consider what is happening to be an armed invasion and an occupation," Avakov said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

But Russia's Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying that the Belbek air field was under the control of local pro-Russian self-defence units who had no links to the Black Sea fleet.

The peninsula of nearly two million people has been in crisis since dozens of pro-Kremlin gunmen seized and raised the Russian flag over Crimea's parliament and government buildings on Wednesday.

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko shakes hands with a woman as she arrives in Kiev (AFP/GETTY)

Crimean lawmakers appointed Russian Unity party member Sergiy Aksyonov as regional premier in place of Kiev-allied Anatoliy Mohilyov in a vote held late on Thursday under the watchful eye of the pro-Kremlin militia.

Aksyonov said on Friday that he still recognised Yanukovych as Ukraine's legitimate head of state.

The fugitive leader had not been seen since making a brief taped television appearance last Saturday that was aired only hours before parliament stripped him of power for a week of carnage in Kiev that claimed nearly 100 lives.

Ukraine's bloodiest crisis since its 1991 independence erupted in November when Yanukovych made the shock decision to ditch an EU trade pact in favour of closer ties with old master Russia.

The 63-year-old fugitive issued a statement to Russian news agencies from an undisclosed location on Thursday announcing that he was "compelled to ask the Russian Federation to ensure (his) personal security."

A source later told the same agencies that Yanukovych's request for protection "was satisfied on Russian territory."

The ousted leader is now expected to appear before the media at 1300 GMT in Rostov-on-Don - a Russian city less than two hours' drive from the Ukrainian border.

Yet his personal problems do not appear to be over even if Yanukovych pronounces himself to be the head of a Ukrainian government in exile.

Switzerland said on Thursday said it was prepared to freeze any funds the Yanukovych family might have in the Alpine country's banks.

It is unclear whether Yanukovych himself has funds in Switzerland. But his 40-year-old son Olexandr opened a branch of his Management Assets Company (MAKO) in Geneva in late 2011.

The Swiss weekly L'Hebdo estimates that Olexandr had amassed a personal fortune of around half a billion dollars (365 million euros) in the past three years alone.

Yulia Tymoshenko stands with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird prior to their talks in Kiev (AP)

Ukraine's new leaders meanwhile are suffering from Moscow's decision to freeze a $15-billion bailout package Putin promised to Yanukovych.

The leadership in Kiev won some reprieve when Kerry promised quick delivery of $1 billion in loan guarantees "with some other pieces" to follow.

Kerry said the EU was looking at loan guarantees worth some $1.5 billion for the nation of 46 million people.

Any aid would probably be funnelled through a mechanism overseen by the International Monetary Fund which had frozen its assistance programme because of Yanukovych's refusal to make painful structural changes.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde promised Thursday to send a fact-finding mission to Kiev in the coming days to launch a "preliminary dialogue with the authorities".

But Fitch Ratings warned on Friday that Ukraine's new leaders "may struggle to regain confidence and meet policy conditions attached to IMF lending."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 08:19:24 am
Ukraine says it controls Crimean airports

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) -- A top Ukrainian security official says two airports in Crimea are under Ukrainian control despite attempts by gunmen to "seize" them.

Ukraine's Interior Minister earlier Friday said Russian navy troops were blocking access to the airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol, describing it as a "military invasion and occupation."

But Ukraine's Security Council Chief Andriy Parubiy insisted later Friday that the airports were still under Ukrainian control, according to the Interfax news agency.

Parubiy said the gunmen had set up checkpoints outside the airports. "But de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine."

Ukraine's State Border Guard Service said about 30 Russian paratroopers from the 810th brigade of Russia's Black Sea Fleet had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the Sevastopol area. It said the paratroopers said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia's defense ministry had no comment.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine's conflict, which saw the pro-Russian president flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

"I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation," Ukraine's new interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Avakov said the airports were controlled by Russian navy troops. Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the road block. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite the armed men.

In Kiev, Ukraine's parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia's state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to "maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine."

Putin also asked the government to "hold consultations with foreign partners including the (International Monetary Fund) and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine."

At the airport in Simferopol, dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were patrolling with assault rifles Friday morning. They didn't stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said they were part of the Crimean People's Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no "radicals and fascists" arrive from other parts of Ukraine.

The airport seizures came a day after masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area but didn't confront the gunmen.

The events in Crimea have heightened tensions with neighboring Russia. Moscow scrambled fighter jets on Thursday and put most of its troops in western and southern Russia on combat readiness exercises that it said were unrelated to the Ukraine conflict. The moves were reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Moscow has been sending mixed signals about Ukraine but pledged to respect its territorial integrity. Putin has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine, a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization, closer into Moscow's orbit.

Russia also granted shelter to Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, state media reported. They said he would give a news conference Friday in southern Russia, near the Ukrainian border.

Yanukovych has not been seen publicly since Saturday when he was still in Ukraine, and he declared Thursday in a statement that he remains Ukraine's legitimate president.

The prosecutor-general's office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych's extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week's violent clashes between protesters and police, in which over 80 people were killed.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over "aggravated money laundering." They said police and Geneva's chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych.

Switzerland's governing Federal Council announced that it decided to block all assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland.

Ukraine's parliament on Thursday elected a new government led by a pro-Western technocrat who promptly pledged to prevent any national break-up.

Ukraine's population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.

Crimea, a southeastern peninsula of Ukraine, was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

In a bid to shore up Ukraine's fledgling administration, the International Monetary Fund has said it is "ready to respond" to Ukraine's bid for financial assistance. The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

Ukraine's finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 02:17:40 pm
Editor's note: AFP, citing a Kiev official, is reporting that 2,000 Russian soldiers have landed in an 'armed invasion' of Crimea, Ukraine. We're looking for confirmation. - Lauren


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 03:38:31 pm
Russia admits that it has moved troops in Ukraine
Russia has finally confirmed that it has moved troops into Ukraine's restive Crimea region, after speculation about Moscow's involvement

 Russian troops have moved into Crimea in what Moscow is calling a mission to “protect Black Sea Fleet’s positions” but which the Ukrainian government has denounced as an “armed intervention.”

The Russian foreign ministry said Friday that it had informed the Ukrainian government that armoured units from the Black Sea Fleet base near Sevastopol had entered Crimea in order to protect fleet positions.

“The Ukrainian side was also passed a note regarding the movement of armoured vehicles of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, which is happening in full accordance with the foundation Russian-Ukrainian agreement on the Black Sea Fleet,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Friday afternoon.

In the same note the Russian foreign ministry said it had declined a Ukrainian request for “bilateral consultations” on events in Crimea because they are “the result of recent internal political processes in Ukraine.”

Unconfirmed reports were emerging late on Friday that a convoy of armoured vehicles were moving up the Sevastopol highway toward Simferopol, the regional capital.

Earlier armed men in unmarked uniforms occupied key transportation hubs in the Crimea on Friday, in what the Ukrainian government denounced as an “armed intervention” by Russian troops.

Men in unmarked camouflage uniforms occupied two airports and blocked the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol before dawn, while a Russian warship was reported to have blockaded the entrance to the bay at Balaklava, the home of the Ukrainian coast guard.

Several dozen men in camouflage uniforms and carrying AK-74 assault rifles and PK 7.62 mm machine guns occupied a restaurant and patrolled the car park and forecourt of Simferopol international airport early on Friday morning.

The soldiers, who wore no identifying insignia, refused to answer questions from journalists as they strolled up and down outside the airport.

The troops made no apparent attempt to interfere with the running of the airport or take over key infrastructure, contenting themselves with strolling up and down the car park at a leisurely place, apparently deliberately for the benefit of television cameras.

While those patrolling the car park carried assault rifles without magazines attached, belt ammunition could be seen loaded into two medium machine guns carried by sentries outside the occupied restaurant building. Some rifles carried telescopic sights and under-barrel grenade launchers.

They were backed by civilian volunteers wearing the orange and black St George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military prowess that has been adopted by pro-Russian activists in Crimea as an identifying mark.

“We are here for your safety,” said one man, who described himself as a member of the “people’s militia and ordered journalists away from the restaurant the troops had occupied. “If you don’t move away from this building maybe someone will throw a grenade at you,” he said. He denied he was threatening journalists, citing an incident yesterday when armed men in the regional parliament building reportedly answered shouted questions with a stun grenade.

“It is an unpredictable situation and we want to make sure everything remains calm. We are just people from this city who want to protect their families,” he said.

The man refused to give his name, but said he and his group arrived at the airport at 6 AM. He refused to say who controlled his "militia" or whether they accompanied or knew the identity of the mysterious soldiers.

Meanwhile, at least 20 men wearing the uniform of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet carrying automatic riffles were reported to have surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in the port city of Sevastopol on Friday.

A serviceman who identified himself as a Black Sea Fleet officer said “we are here…so as not to have a repeat of the Maidan,” Reuters reported.

A Russian warship is reported to have blocked the bay at Balaklava, where the Ukrainian coast guard is based.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 03:38:48 pm
Ukrainian political crisis
President Obama to give a statement in the briefing room on Ukraine at 4:45 pm ET - @mpoindc

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 03:51:30 pm

Ukraine's UN ambassador says he told UN Security Council that Russian military helicopters, planes entered country, armed forces seized Crimea's main airport - @AP

read more on abcnews.go.com

Russia does have VETO power.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 28, 2014, 03:57:24 pm

Ukraine's UN ambassador says he told UN Security Council that Russian military helicopters, planes entered country, armed forces seized Crimea's main airport - @AP

read more on abcnews.go.com

Russia does have VETO power.

As does China too...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 28, 2014, 04:18:15 pm


Revealed: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into WAR with Russia if Putin's troops intervene in Ukraine

The agreement sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine's borders

It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in 1994
Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the  countries who signed the treaty
Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine's borders

The US and Britain have both made 'crisis calls' to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries
NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension

However Moscow responded by telling the organization to 'refrain' from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its 'non-bloc' status

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 04:22:23 pm
UN Ambassador Samantha Power says US is 'gravely disturbed' by reports of Russian military movements into Crimea region - @NBCNews
President Obama: 'The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future' - live video
President Obama says US 'deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine' - live video
'There will be costs' if Ukraine is subjected to 'deeply destabilizing' military violation, President Obama says - @BBCBreaking

Im pretty sure they dont care what you have to say, like most of the World.

Report Crimea's main airport closed, several Russian military transport planes seen arriving - @BillNeelyNBC

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 04:31:29 pm
Spokesman for the Ukrainian border service says 8 Russian transport planes have landed in Crimea - @AP
read more on chron.com


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 04:38:36 pm
Obama warns Russia of 'costs' in Ukraine

Delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern Friday over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned "there will be costs" for any intervention.

He did not say what those costs might be.

Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

"Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply stabilizing," Obama said in a hastily arranged statement delivered from the White House. Such action by Russia would not serve the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russia or Europe, Obama said, and would represent a "profound interference" in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.

"Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world," Obama said. "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on February 28, 2014, 07:18:20 pm
Shocking Videos Of Russian Troops And Helicopters Moving Through Crimea

Russian troops and pro-Russian militia forces now have full military control of Crimea without a shot being fired, and Russian troops and helicopters continue to pour into the region.  Not that there really was ever any doubt about what was going to happen in Crimea.  As I wrote about yesterday, Russia will never, ever let Crimea go without a fight.  The Russian Black Sea fleet’s base at Sevastopol is simply way too strategically important.  But it is still shocking to see video of dozens of Russian attack helicopters and dozens of Russian armored personnel carriers heading toward Sevastopol.  The acting president of Ukraine says that Russia “has invaded Ukraine” and is attempting to “annex Crimea”.  The former president, Viktor Yanukovych, insists that he is still the rightful democratically-elected president of Ukraine and he is calling on Russia to intervene militarily in his nation.  Meanwhile, Russia is calling on the new government in Kiev to honor “the peace deal signed last Friday, Feb. 21, by Yanukovych and the opposition, notarized by the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland and approved by the US.”

But Russia is not just sitting around and waiting for the new government in Kiev to honor the peace agreement that was made.

Rather, Russia has been very busy moving their chess pieces around the board.

The following are some shocking videos of Russian troops and helicopters moving through Crimea…

#1 Russian military helicopters heading toward Sevastopol…

vids: http://thetruthwins.com/archives/shocking-videos-of-russian-troops-and-helicopters-moving-through-crimea

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 06:08:14 am
Ukrainian prime minister says his government will not be drawn into conflict by Russian 'provocations' in Crimea - @BBCBreaking

Acting leader of Crimea's new government Sergey Aksyonov calls on Moscow to intervene to keep the peace - @maxseddon

Ukrainian defense minister says Russia has recently brought 6,000 additional troops into Ukraine - @Reuters

Russian foreign ministry says Moscow is 'extremely concerned' about the recent developments in Ukraine's Crimea - @Reuters

Crimea's secession referendum rescheduled for March 30, Crimean governor says - @MaximEristavi, @WSJ


Russian forces seize control of military airfield in east of Ukraine's Crimea region; Simferopol Airport airspace now closed - @Reuters

Russia's Black Sea fleet says it is cooperating with Crimea authorities on security of fleet facilities - @WSJbreakingnews


Thousands participate in a pro-Russia demonstration in Donetsk, Ukraine - @novostidnua via @MaximEristavi

France's foreign minister urges all sides in Crimea to refrain from acts that could increase tension and affect Ukraine's territorial integrity - @Reuters

France wouldnt do anything anyways...  :D

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 06:12:21 am
Crimean leader claims control, asks Putin for help

The pro-Russian leader of Ukraine's Crimea region claimed control of the military and police there Saturday and appealed to Russia's President Vladimir Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two Slavic neighbor countries.

It was the latest escalation following the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia.

Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports and a communications center in Crimea on Friday. Ukraine has accused Russia of a "military invasion and occupation" - a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis, and raised fears that Moscow is moving to intervene on the strategic peninsula where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based.

Ukraine's population is divided in loyalties between Russia and Europe, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support. Crimea is mainly Russian-speaking.

Crimean's prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, declared that the armed forces, the police, the national security service and border guards in the region will answer only to his orders.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk opened a cabinet meeting in the capital, Kiev, by calling on Russia not to provoke discord in Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea.

"We call on the government and authorities of Russia to recall their forces, and to return them to their stations," Yatsenyuk was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. "Russian partners, stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine."

Crimea only became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality when both Ukraine and Russia were part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet breakup in 1991 meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Friday "there will be costs" if it intervenes militarily.

Russia has taken a confrontational stance toward its southern neighbor after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country. Yanukovych was voted out of office by parliament after weeks of protests ended in violence that left over 80 people dead.

Demonstrators sought his resignation after he backed out of signing an agreement to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union instead of Russia. Yanukovych took refuge in Russia and still says he's president.

Aksyonov, the head of the main pro-Russia party on the peninsula, appealed to Putin "for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea." Aksyonov was voted in by the Crimean parliament on Thursday after pro-Russia gunmen seized the building and as tensions soared over Crimea's resistance to the new authorities in Kiev, who took office this week.

Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

He said such action by Russia would represent a "profound interference" in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.

"The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," he said. He did not say what those costs might be.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter that it was "obvious that there is Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Likely immediate aim is to set up puppet pro-Russian semi-state in Crimea."

At the United Nations, the Ukrainian ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, said Friday that Russian transport aircraft and 11 attack helicopters had arrived in Crimea illegally, and that Russian troops had taken control of two airports in Crimea.

He described the gunmen posted outside the two airports as Russian armed forces as well as "unspecified" units.

Russia has kept silent on claims of military intervention and has said any troop movements are within agreed rules, even as it maintained its hard-line stance on protecting ethnic Russians in Crimea.

Meanwhile, flights remained halted from Simferopol's airport. Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolled the area. They didn't stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 07:36:30 am
Ukrainian Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov signs decree ruling that appointment of pro-Russia premier in Crimea is illegal - @Reuters

 :D you mean like your illegal take over?

Russia refuses to hold talks with Ukraine over territorial integrity, Interfax news agency reports - @Reuters


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 08:46:29 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin submits proposal to parliament to use armed forces in Ukraine's Crimea, Kremlin statement says - @Reuters, @AP

More: Russian President Vladimir Putin says military is needed to protect ethnic Russians and military base personnel in Crimea - @AP
read more on bigstory.ap.org


Russian President Vladimir Putin requests use of 'armed forces on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the sociopolitical situation in that country' - @clarissaward


Photo: Full text of Russian President Vladimir Putin's request to use military in Ukraine - via @mashable

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 08:49:24 am
Putin Asks Russia’s Senate to Use Military Force in Ukraine

As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested that the Russian Senate authorize him to use military force in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin’s request, largely a formality, signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Even as Mr. Putin submitted his request to the Senate, formally called the Federation Council, it was clear that forces allied with Moscow were largely in control of the disputed peninsula.

Just a few hours earlier on Saturday morning, the newly installed, pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea declared that he had sole control over the military and the police in the disputed peninsula and he appealed to Mr. Putin for help in safeguarding the region.

The prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, also said a public referendum on independence would be held on March 30.

On a day of frayed nerves and set-piece political appeals that recalled ethnic conflicts of past decades in the former Soviet bloc — from the Balkans to the Caucasus — pro-Russian forces were said to have taken control of a government building in Kharkiv, and a crowd in the center of Donetsk pulled down the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag and raised a Russian one.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 08:56:32 am
Russians strike Ukraine army post in Crimea. Kiev fears Ukraine army putsch. US warships on standby

As Moscow’s master plan for Ukraine continued to unfold, Russian forces Saturday, March 1, staged their first attack on a Ukraine military installation in Crimea, while completing their takeover of the region and its severance from Ukraine. Interfax reported from a Ukrainian source that 20 soldiers had entered an anti-aircraft missile command post in western Crimea and that negotiations rather than a clash were under way.

Earlier Saturday, Crimea's new pro-Moscow prime minister Serhiy Aksyonov asked President Vladimir Putin for help in “maintaining peace in the region,” saying he was in control of the region’s interior ministry, armed forces, fleet and border guards.

The invitation set the scene for Russian military intervention in Crimea at the request of its government. Moscow said the appeal would not go “unnoticed," while the Russian foreign ministry declared itself “extremely concerned” by developments in Crimea – cynically echoing US President Barack Obama’s expression Friday of “deep concern” about Russian military movements inside Ukraine and his warning of “costs.”

The Crimean premier, appointed Thursday by parliament in Simferopol, later announced that a referendum would be held on March 30 to determine the peninsula’s status. Meanwhile, he said, Russian Black Sea fleet servicemen were guarding important buildings.

In Kiev, interim defense minister Igor Tenyukh, addressing the first new cabinet’s first meeting, accused Russia of an armed invasion of Ukraine and pouring an additional 6,000 troops into the peninsula. Western correspondents reported that Crimea is now cut off from the rest of Ukraine after “unidentified troops” in combat fatigues, armed with automatic rifles, machine guns or RPGs, seized control of Crimea’s sea and air ports and its main road network in the last 24 hours.
Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told the Kiev cabinet that Ukraine forces were on alert, but he would not be ”drawn into a military conflict by Russian provocations in the Crimea region.”

debkafile’s military sources report that this announcement was hollow.

The 160,000-strong Ukrainian army is no match for the Russian army’s operational capabilities and fire power, although it too is equipped with Russian weapons and trained in Russian military tactics.
But above all, it is far from certain that the new authorities in Kiev control the Ukraine army. No one knows where the loyalties of its officers lie, whether with the new pro-European regime or the absconding pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

This confronts the troubled country with a fresh peril, a possible army putsch to oust the interim regime set up by the Ukraine opposition in Kiev, and its replacement with a military government for containing continuing Russian expansion beyond the borders of Crimea. The former Independence Square protesters would have no answer to this.

Moscow, while insisting that its military actions were not an invasion but a legal bid to protect its interests, has also moved to offset any financial assistance the West may offer Kiev. Russia's energy giant Gazprom bluntly warned Kiev that it had accumulated a "huge" debt of $1.5 billion for natural gas that needed to be urgently paid if the supply is to continue.

This is the exact amount of the loan guarantees the US and EU propose to offer the stony-broke Kiev authorities.
Along with US warnings to Moscow, a high alert was secretly declared Saturday by the US Mediterranean Sixth Fleet. Two US warships which had been deployed in the Black Sea to back up Russian security for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi - the USS Taylor Frigate and the USS Mount Whitney Blue Ridge-class command ship - have moved over to the western side of the Black Sea opposite Crimea and facing the Russian navy base of Sevastopol.

The Mount Whitney is outfitted with sophisticated intelligence-gathering systems. Its current location  means that ongoing Russian military movements across central, southern and western Russia, around its borders with Ukraine and inside the Crimean peninsula, are being monitored and beamed to the White House and the Pentagon. Obama’s response is anyone’s guess. So far, the only hints thrown out are that Western leaders are planning a boycott of the G8 summit Putin plans to host in Sochi this summer, in protest against Russia’s takeover of Crimea.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 09:14:46 am
White House on Russian President Vladimir Putin's request to Parliament to approve use of armed forces in Ukraine: 'We're monitoring the situation closely, consulting with our partners, and considering the potential costs the President spoke about yesterday' - @NBCNews

 ::) awesome leadership

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 09:18:20 am
Ukraine's acting president calls emergency meeting of security chiefs, spokeswoman says - @Reuters

yep that hard realization when you realize that your western partners that helped put you in power bail on ya

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 09:31:01 am
Russian parliament approves President Vladimir Putin's request to send military to Ukraine - @AP, @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 09:59:43 am
Senior Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko calls for 'general mobilization' in Ukraine - @Reuters

More: Russia's parliament recommends Moscow's ambassador be recalled from US over comments made by President Barack Obama regarding Ukrainian situation - @AP


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 10:29:52 am
Dozens hurt in clashes when pro-Russia activists stormed regional government's headquarters in eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and raised the Russian flag, local media reports - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 10:33:32 am
UN Security Council to hold meeting on crisis in Ukraine at 2 pm ET - @Reuters

Why? Russia has veto power. Nothing you can do.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 11:03:37 am
Pro-Russia demonstrators reportedly 'tear up Ukrainian flag' in protests in Donetsk, Ukraine - @itvnews

British Foreign Secretary William Hague: 'This is a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine' - @jessicaelgot

so British, potentially 

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 12:07:40 pm
US official says there is no change in US military posture as a result of Crimea situation - @Reuters

well duh, Obama is just going to talk them to death

Joint Chiefs Chair General Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel seen departing White House after meeting - @stevebruskCNN

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke Saturday with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 12:38:58 pm
Obama Warns Russia on Ukraine, Then 30 Minutes Later Declares 'Happy Hour' For Democrats

i wonder if he went golfing later that night?

 In one of the weirdest episodes of his presidency, Barack Obama yesterday popped up in the White House briefing room to somberly warn Russia not to intervene in Ukraine in what critics called an incredibly weak statement, and less than 30 minutes later declared "Happy Hour" with a band of fellow Democrats.

In a hastily scheduled appearance after a day in which Russian troops swarmed into Crimea, the president urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians "to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring."

With his most serious face on, he said he had spoken with President Putin "several days" ago, but added that "we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine.

"It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people.  It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws," he said.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said afterward on Fox News that “The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.”

He interpreted the statement to mean that when Obama said “We will stand with the international community_ he really meant "We are going to negotiate with a dozen other countries who will water down the statement — in affirming that there will be costs — meaning in making a statement not even imposing a cost, but in making a statement about imposing a cost — for any military intervention.”

Weirder still, minutes later, Obama hit the Capitol Hilton hotel for the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting. He was in an oddly jovial mood, given that he'd just delivered such a somber statement.

"Well, it's Friday. It’s after 5 o'clock. So, this is now officially happy hour with the Democratic Party,” the president said at the huge fundraiser. "I can do that. It is an executive action. I have the authority.”

At one point, an audience member in the raucous crowd yelled: "Tell us about your plans for nuclear war with Russia!
Then this happened, according to the White House transcript:

    THE PRESIDENT:  I'm sorry, who’s that back there?  (Laughter.)  What the heck are you talking about?  (Applause.)
    AUDIENCE:  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!
    THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, don't worry about it.  We're okay.  Have a seat.  I don't know anything about that plan.  (Laughter.)  I don't know what you’ve been reading.  (Laughter.) Let me return to what I was talking about.  (Applause.)  See, he thought happy hour started earlier.  (Laughter and applause.)

And maybe happy hour started a bit early for the president, too.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 01, 2014, 01:08:15 pm
It's all a charade by world leaders. Obama and the rest know exactly what Russia will do.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 02:36:32 pm
President Obama's national security team met for an update on the situation in Ukraine and to discuss potential policy options, senior US official says - @Reuters

hmm, lets see, what to do what to do. Well we cant set a line for them to cross already blew that one. Maybe a treaty, wait nope trying not to do that... what to do. Golf anyone?

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 03:20:09 pm
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he is convening a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Sunday to discuss Ukraine - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 01, 2014, 03:23:57 pm
ALOT to digest on this day alone! :o

Title: Ukrainian Jews seek urgent help from Israel
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 01, 2014, 03:32:03 pm
Ukrainian Jews seek urgent help from Israel

Director-general of European Jewish Association urges Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to send security forces to Jewish communities in Ukraine due to 'growing wave of anti-Semitic attacks.'


Kobi Nachshoni 

Published:  02.27.14
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director-general of the European Jewish Association (EJA), has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to urgently send security forces to the Jewish communities in Ukraine, which he says are suffering from a "growing wave of anti-Semitic attacks."

Margolin voiced his concern that the anti-Semitic activity in the eastern European country would escalate to the point of claiming lives.

Community reports indicate an alarming, and increasingly violent, trend of hatred towards Jewish targets – and so far, there’s been no reaction," he said. "The challenge is clear and the State must help to take security measures for what has become a Jewish emergency."

He also called on the leaders of European states to make it clear to the opposition members in Kiev that they are responsible for preventing the ongoing harassment.

The reported events include a Molotov cocktail thrown at a synagogue in Zaporizhia; an incident which was captured on security cameras; a message sent to the rabbi of Kryvyi Rih that he must leave the city within 72 hours; a writing on the home of the rabbi of Bilytske saying, "We are already near you"; vandalism against a sculpture created by a Jewish artist; and graffiti in favor of the anti-Semitic party.

"The complicated challenge in taking security measures in a foreign sovereign country is clear," Rabbi Margolin wrote to Netanyahu and Ya'alon, "but this is an emergency. On behalf of the Jews of Ukraine, the Rabbinical Center of Europe and the European Jewish Association, I urge you to take every possible step, including dispatching security guards to secure the safety of Jewish communities in Ukraine, until the danger has passed."

'It's time for the State of Israel to intervene'

The EJA director-general noted that the State of Israel was established to guarantee the safety of the Jewish people.

"The Israel Air Force aerial demonstration over the death camps in Auschwitz conveyed a clear message that the State would secure the safety of the world's Jews even in foreign countries," he concluded. "There is no need to reach such a radical situation, and unfortunately the time when the State is required to intervene has arrived."

About a month ago, 30-year-old Dov Ber Glickman, a member of Kiev's Jewish community, was assaulted by three youngsters as he was making his way home from a Shabbat meal. After knocking him to the ground, Glickman's assailants stabbed him three times, apparently in his arms and legs.

A week earlier, a Jewish Israeli teacher was beaten up at the entrance to his building. Members of the Jewish community described feeling "real fear," and demanded tight security from the Ukrainian authorities.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 03:40:11 pm
Russian ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin says UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine is a 'game without rules' - @marcellehopkins


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 04:14:09 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Obama that Russia reserves the right to protect its interests if there is violence in eastern Ukraine or Crimea - @CBCAlerts

hmmm, wouldn't we say the same thing?

US calls for 'immediate deployment' of UN observers to Ukraine - @itvnews

yep such severe costs...  :D

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 04:35:19 pm
In call with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, President Obama says Russia has violated international law - @AFP

US to suspend participation in preparatory meetings for G8 Summit in Sochi, Russia; warns of 'greater political economic isolation,' White House says - @Rueters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 06:37:04 pm
Ukraine army on full alert as Russia backs sending troops

Ukraine says it has put its army on full combat alert after Russia's parliament approved the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.

Acting President Olexander Turchynov this guy just ran a coup, he has no reason to complain. Bet he was backed by the U.S. said he had also stepped up security at key sites, including nuclear plants.

Russia's Vladimir Putin requested extra troops to protect Russian interests in Ukraine. It came on a day of pro-Russia rallies in the country.

The move has been met with alarm from Western leaders.

President Putin had a 90-minute phone call with US President Barack Obama in which, the Kremlin said, he made clear that Moscow reserves the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

He also stressed that that this would not be limited to the current flashpoint of Crimea "if violence spread further in the eastern regions of Ukraine".

Mr Obama, the White House said, told Mr Putin that the appropriate way to address any concerns "is peacefully through direct engagement" with the Ukrainian government and international mediating bodies.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for "an immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue", whilst Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen tweeted: "Urgent need for de-escalation in Crimea."

The UN Security Council was holding an emergency session on the crisis on Saturday, and Nato and EU officials are due to hold talks in the coming days.

rest: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26403996#TWEET1059430

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 06:55:04 pm
It's all a charade by world leaders. Obama and the rest know exactly what Russia will do.

well yah, but it is still good drama.  ;)

Obama Skips National Security Team Meeting on Russia, Ukraine

A White House official emailed some reporters to say that President Obama's team met today to discuss the ongoing situation on Ukraine. It appears President Obama did not attend.

"The President's national security team met today to receive an update on the situation in Ukraine and discuss potential policy options. We will provide further updates later this afternoon," reads the full statement.

    Full statement from WH official pic.twitter.com/xx13P8TsYd

    — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 1, 2014

According to Time magazine's Zeke Miller, Obama skipped the meeting. "Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team," says Miller.

    Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team.

    — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 1, 2014


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 01, 2014, 06:58:01 pm
Canada recalls ambassador from Moscow over Russia's military involvement in Ukraine, government says - @CP24

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 01, 2014, 10:05:37 pm
Here's another example over how the Illuminati loves to telegraph their punches ahead of time. Definitely don't be fooled by Palin - remember she was JOHN MCCAIN's (puppet)running mate!

Sarah Palin: 'I told you so on Ukraine'

Back in 2008, Sarah Palin predicted that Russia might invade Ukraine, as it had Georgia, if Barack Obama became president. She's gone on Facebook to remind her critics that she was right.


It’s not true that Sarah Palin once said “I can see Russia from my house.” That was comedian and Palin impersonator Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live.”

But back in 2008 when she was the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, trying to establish her credentials on things like foreign policy, the ex-Governor of Alaska did say of Russia, “They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”

Which is literally true – on a clear day if you stand on your tippy-toes and gaze from the Alaskan island of Little Diomede across the International Date Line to the unpopulated Russian island of Big Diomede two and one half miles away.

This running joke about Ms. Palin – who went on to become a Fox News commentator, star of her own brief reality show, and well-paid Obama scold on behalf of the tea party – came to mind when she went on Facebook to comment on the crisis in Ukraine:

“Yes, I could see this one from Alaska,” she wrote. “I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as ‘an extremely far-fetched scenario’ by the ‘high-brow’ Foreign Policy magazine. Here’s what this ‘stupid’ ‘insipid woman’ predicted back in 2008: ‘After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next.’”

Then she went on Fox News to elaborate.

"Back in 2008, I accurately predicted the possibility of Putin feeling emboldened to invade Ukraine because I could see what kind of leader Barack Obama would be,” she said. “The bullies of the world are always emboldened by indecision and moral equivalence. We can expect more of this sort of thing in a world where America is gutting its military and 'leading from behind.'"

As usual, Palin is nothing if not controversial, and she delights in tweaking the “lamestream media.”

Earlier in the week, Palin won Newshound’s “most outrageous quote” reader poll for another Facebook post: “If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!” (Newshound’s motto is “We watch Fox so you don’t have to.”)

Ted Nugent, of course, is the geezer rocker who called President Obama a “communist-educated, communist-nurtured, subhuman mongrel.” Palin’s reference was in support of Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for Texas governor now serving as the state’s Attorney General, who has welcomed Nugent’s endorsement – or at least refused to say anything critical about “The Nuge’s” political pronouncements.

Meanwhile, fellow tea partiers have been chuckling over Palin’s Ukraine moment.

“Palin not only knows where Russia is, but she knew what Putin would do to Ukraine with Obama as president,” radio talk show host Mark Levin tweeted.

“In light of recent events in Ukraine … nobody seems to be laughing at or dismissing those comments now,” wrote Tony Lee at Breitbart.com.

Others note that Mitt Romney was accused of reviving the Cold War when, as the 2012 Republican presidential candidate debating Obama, he stated that Russia is "without question our number one geopolitical foe."

At the moment, Palin’s Facebook post on Ukraine has 66,684 “likes” and 15,442 “shares.”

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 05:36:42 am
Ukraine announces it is calling up military reservists, following Russia's decision to allow deployment of troops http://t.co/XNcRQgsZ7P - @BBCBreaking

Ukraine closes its air space to non-civilian aircraft as its leaders warn "we are on the brink of disaster" http://t.co/ME190DlhLG - @BBCBreaking

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 06:41:30 am
Hundreds of unidentified gunmen surround Ukrainian military infantry base in Crimea, blocking soldiers from leaving - @AP

Photo: Ukrainian soldiers behind the gates of Ukraine's infantry base in Privolnoye - @jamesmatesitv


German foreign minister says escalation of tensions in Ukraine is 'extremely dangerous' - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 07:01:14 am
Convoy of gunmen outside Ukrainian infantry base in Crimea includes at least 13 troop vehicles each containing 30 soldiers, 4 armored vehicles - @AP

Ukraine's national security council secretary orders call-up of military reservists, says forces must be 'combat ready' - @NBCNews

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 07:28:00 am
France suspends participation in preparatory meetings for upcoming G8 meeting in Sochi, Russia, presidential source says - @Reuters

More: Britain joins France in pulling out of preparatory talks for G8 summit in Russia due to Ukraine crisis - @itvnews

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 08:14:31 am
US Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia is behaving 'in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext' - @Reuters

John Kerry says Russia could face visa bans, asset freezes, trade and investment penalties over actions in Crimea - @meetthepress, @AP

John Kerry says Russia may not remain in G8 if they don't back down over Crimea - @meetthepress


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 09:25:21 am
Ukrainian Navy flagship takes Russia’s side – report

Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, has reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev, and come over to Russia’s side and is returning home after taking part in NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.

There has been conflicting information on where exactly the vessel is, but a Russian senator has confirmed to Izvestia daily that the frigate defected to the Russian side.

“Ukraine’s Navy flagship the Hetman Sahaidachny has come over to our side today. It has hung out the St Andrew’s flag,” Senator Igor Morozov, a member of the committee on the international affairs, told Izvestia daily.

He said the flagship is on its way back to the Black Sea after drills in the Mediterranean. “The crew has fulfilled the order by the chief commander of Ukraine’s armed forces Viktor Yanukovich,” he added.

The move comes after the Navy command resigned Friday. Self-appointed President Aleksandr Turchinov made Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky the new Navy Chief, a statement published on the President’s website Saturday said.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine had earlier asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to let the frigate through the Bosporus strait, according to the Kiev Times. The ship captain and the head of Ukraine’s contingent in the operation, Rear Admiral Andrey Tarasov disobeyed orders from Kiev.

The Hetman Sahaidachny returns to Sevastopol, Crimea after taking part in a joint counter-piracy operation with NATO and the EU off the Horn of Africa, reported UNN on Friday, citing Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. On February 26, after crossing the Suez Canal, the ship entered the Mediterranean Sea and was expected to be in Sevastopol in early March.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 10:04:25 am
Sort out who’s boss in Kiev, Crimea takes care of itself – republic’s parliament speaker

Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea wants Kiev to stay out of its business, and put its own house in order first, the Crimean parliament speaker has said, adding that local authorities can meanwhile take care of local business.

“You in Kiev sort it out between yourselves, and we will deal with the republic’s problems,” Vladimir Konstantinov told a news conference.

The top priority for Crimean authorities is to hold a referendum on whether it should have greater autonomy, the speaker said. Such a referendum has been scheduled for March 30.

Konstantinov said the self-proclaimed government in Kiev discredited itself by breaking an agreement it signed with ousted President Viktor Yanukovich. It started chaos in the country and is busy abruptly changing legislation instead of calming down the situation.

“The situation in southeastern Ukraine is very tense. People are trying to protect themselves. We all know what that Nazi gang [in Kiev] is capable of. I am sorry that respectable politicians in Kiev decided to settle their scores with the help of that terrible force,” he said.

Most of the Crimean law enforcement and military share this point of view, Konstantinov said. They also support the local self-defense forces, who are basically people who were scared for their lives and their families in the wake of the violence in Kiev and the anti-Russian gestures of the new authorities.

Konstantinov said Crimea would give asylum to anyone persecuted elsewhere in Ukraine for their political views and beliefs.

The speaker advised Kiev against using force to attempt to take control of Crimea or any other region resisting it. He said such a move would end with the new authorities having no region to call their own in Ukraine.

He thanked Russia for agreeing to help Crimea in a difficult situation.

“We turned to Russia for help in ensuring law and order, and providing financial aid in this difficult period. This request was granted. Now a working group in Moscow is talking about the technical details of this issue,” Konstantinov said.

The speaker declined to identify armed men in uniforms without insignia, who had been guarding key locations in Crimea for several days. Kiev alleges these are units of the Russian military invading Ukraine.

Konstantinov said that Crimea was part of “the Russian world” and does not welcome NATO. He also stressed that despite this pro-Russian leaning, the people of Crimea don’t have problems with Ukrainians, but have problems with radical nationalists and neo-Nazis, who played a big role in ousting President Yanukovich.

The speaker said the Crimea needs self-governance by an inclusive government, which would take into consideration the interests of all its people, be they Ukrainians, Russians or Tatars. The latter groups are a substantial minority in Crimea, and local Russians, being a minority in the whole of Ukraine, can sympathize with the Tatars, Konstantinov said.

“We are prepared to offer Crimean Tatars a level of authority that they never had before,” he said.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 12:14:45 pm
Ukraine navy chief switches allegiance to Crimea pro-Russia authorities, a day after he was appointed - @AFP
read more on yahoo.com

Ukraine fires navy chief, launches treason case against him for refusing to fight Russians, surrendering Sevastopol HQ - @Reuters


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 02:04:08 pm
NATO calls on Russia to withdraw forces back to bases and refrain from interfering elsewhere in Ukraine, Rasmussen says - @Reuters

NATO doesn't have the power it had in the 80's.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 02:45:09 pm
Russian President Putin has accepted Chancellor Merkel's proposal to set up a 'fact-finding mission to start political dialogue over Ukraine, German government spokesman, per @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 02, 2014, 08:51:59 pm
G7 finance ministers say they are committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to Ukraine - @Reuters

this is just getting ridicules now.Soon the average sheeple will see through the deception. 

Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Psa 2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

Lets break this down, the Western powers instigated a revolt in Ukraine as they did in other countries and barley succeeded by threatening the former presidents family. Crimea due to the national dissolution of the government broke away as a coup took place, turned to Russia and asked for assistance and protection, thus becoming a separate state on its own. Russia, on the request of the new state of Crimea sent troops to protect its own assets and those of the new state of Crimea. And then the Western powers get upset as the coup; falls through as Russia says enough is enough. And thus we are here on the edge of WW III. Russia didn't invade but responded to a request. No one has died, except during the west's coup of the government. Russia broke no intentional laws, but only took steps to protect its own interests. The exact same thin the US did during Grenada and Panama. And that is where we are, Obamas plans has fallen through, and Putin has called his bluff. And now the West id trying to figure out what to do.

at least that is how we are to perceive it.     

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2014, 09:50:30 pm
They didn't call the United States the "Great Satan" for nothing.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2014, 10:17:02 pm
Obama and Francis - one and the same...

Pope calls for dialogue in Ukraine to resolve its crisis

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis is urging world leaders to promote dialogue as a way of resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

Speaking to thousands of people in St. Peter's Square during his traditional Sunday midday appearance, he said: "I am making a heartfelt appeal to the international community: support every initiative for dialogue and harmony."

Francis urged all segments of Ukrainian society to work together to overcome their misunderstandings and build a future together.

Russian forces have effectively seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula after months of anti-government protests drove its pro-Moscow president out of the country.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 04:49:06 am
US Government Caught Funding The Coup In Ukraine

Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.

Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

    “There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”

These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

But that’s not the shocking part.

What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).

Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

[Update: Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics. Adam Colligan, with whom Wheeler was debating, commented on Pando that "while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed." Further "[Pax Americana] appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers’ willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state.” Neither Wheeler or Colligan has commented on the main subject of the story: Pierre Omidyar’s co-investment in Ukrainian opposition groups with the US government.]

* * * *

When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Department, DC neocons, EU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.

Last December, the Financial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”

- See more at: http://govtslaves.info/us-government-caught-funding-coup-ukraine/#sthash.F83GecP2.dpuf

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 08:41:00 am
Baltic Fleet holds exercises in framework of surprise inspection

More than 450 units of military hardware are taking part in the large-scale exercise

KALIINIGRAD, March 03. /ITAR-TASS/. More than 3,500 servicemen of the Russian Baltic Fleet are taking part in the tactical exercise of coast guard troops on a test-site in the Kaliningrad region on Russia's Baltic coast in the framework of a surprise inspection of combat readiness of troops and ammunition of the Western and Central Military District.

More than 450 units of military hardware, including personnel armored carriers BMP-2, tanks T-72, self-propelled artillery installations and communication facilities, are taking part in the large-scale exercise, Chief of the public relations department of the press service of the Western Military District Captain 2nd rank Vladimir Matveyev told Itar-Tass on Monday.

The coast guard troops which had marched many kilometers from places where they are permanently stationed have practiced defense and offensive operations to improve their skills in handling conventional armaments and hardware, maneuvering on a battle field and in the construction of fortifications. During the tactic exercise the troops have complied with the assigned norms in shooting, tactical , engineering and special training under conditions which maximally resembled a battle field, Matveyev said.

The specifics of the exercise was that servicemen of motor-rifle regiments had practiced defense and offensive operations under conditions of radio and electronic blockade, enforced by a presumed adversary, artillery fire and air strikes, Matveyev added.

In the final leg of the exercise, the servicemen will practice combat shooting from all kinds of firearms and grenade launchers at targets which imitate caterpillar and cross-country vehicles and live manpower.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 08:42:52 am
Video: Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko says if Russia is allowed to take Crimea the whole world will change - @CNN

Well the world changed when the US backed your coup in Ukraine. hypocrite.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 09:21:40 am
Ukraine defense ministry: Russian fleet issues ultimatum to Ukraine forces in Crimea to surrender by 10pm ET or face 'storm' - Interfax

Russia's fleet has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 3am to surrender or face a military assault, according to Interfax.

The ultimatum, from the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet Alexander Vitko, has a base in Crimea where Russian forces are now in control.

According to the agency, it reads: "If they do not surrender before 5am (3am GMT) tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea."


Russia And China 'In Agreement' Over Ukraine

Russia has said China is largely "in agreement" over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers have surrounded a military base in Crimea, preventing Ukrainian soldiers from going in or out.

The convoy blockading the site, near the Crimean capital Simferopol, includes at least 17 military vehicles.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 10:53:31 am
French foreign minister Fabius says there will be 'targeted measures' if there is not quick deescalation of situation in Crimea - @Reuters

i dont think Russia is worried by France, no one else in the world is.  :D

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 03, 2014, 11:54:57 am
French "targeted measures" amount to them saying, "Stop that, or we'll complain some more!"  ;)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 03, 2014, 12:28:35 pm
3 March 2014 Last updated at 11:06 ET
Russian rouble hits new low against the dollar and euro

Title: Russian markets nosedive as Ukraine panic takes hold
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 03, 2014, 12:59:30 pm
Russian markets nosedive as Ukraine panic takes hold

Moscow (AFP) - Investors in Russia reacted with panic Monday to the potentially disastrous economic consequences of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, with Moscow stock markets crashing up to 12 percent and the ruble plunging to historic lows against the dollar and euro.

In an emergency move to limit the losses for the ruble amid what risks becoming at least Russia's worst economic crisis since 2009, Russia's central bank hiked its main interest rate by 150 basis points.

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday won approval from Russia's upper house of parliament to send troops into Ukraine due to the stand-off in Crimea following the ousting of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych.

But economists warned the move risks creating a litany of further troubles for the Russian economy, which is already battling chronically slow growth.

In comments that further rattled investors' nerves, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Putin that Moscow could lose the right to host the G8 this year in Sochi and could even be expelled from the group of top nations itself.

Military intervention would drain further resources from a Russian budget already stretched by costs like the Sochi Olympics, limit Russia's economic ties with the West and force Russian companies into huge write-offs in Ukraine.

"Sochi was already expensive. Military adventures and strained relations with the West can be much more expensive than that," said economist Holger Schmieding at Berenberg Bank in London.

"Russia cannot afford that in the long run," he added.

Kerry himself gave a bleak assessment of the consequences for Russia, saying Putin may be hit by "asset freezes on Russian business, American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the ruble."

- Black Monday -

The MICEX stock market in Moscow closed down 10.79 percent while the RTS bourse fell 12.01 percent. It was also a Black Monday of carnage on the stock markets for some Russian blue chip shares.

The ruble has already been under major pressure in recent weeks due to investor nerves about emerging markets and Russia's flimsy medium-term growth prospects.

But the Ukraine crisis Monday pushed it to levels not seen even in Russia's 2009 financial crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and a brief war with Georgia.

The ruble slid to 50.22 rubles to the euro, from 49.58 on Friday. It fell to 36.44 rubles to the dollar from 36.28 on Friday.

The Bank Rossii (Bank of Russia) raised its main interest rate to 7.0 percent from 5.50 percent in a clear bid to support the ruble and stem an already alarming capital flight amid the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

"The decision is aimed at averting the appearance of risks for inflation and financial stability linked to the increased volatility on financial markets," it said in a statement, adding the hike would take effect from 0700 GMT Monday.

Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach admitted the decision was linked to the "hysterical situation" surrounding the pressure on the ruble.

- 'Worse than after 2008 war' -

The economic consequences of intervention in Ukraine risk becoming a huge headache for Putin and have parallels with the 2008 war with Georgia over the region of South Ossetia, which fed into Russia's 2009 financial crisis.

However the magnitude of the Ukraine situation means a Russian economic crisis in 2014 could be even more serious.

"Unlike the five-day war in South Ossetia, we are concerned that the tensions in Ukraine will very likely last considerably longer, having a prolonged negative effect on Russia's economic environment," economist Natalya Orlova at Alfa Bank said in a note to clients.

She said that not even the current depreciation of the ruble would support Russian GDP while several Russian banks were hugely exposed to Ukraine.

Before 2009, Russia had enjoyed stellar average annual growth rates of seven percent under Putin's rule. But after expanding just 1.3 percent in 2013, economists now warn it risks being trapped in a cycle of low growth.

Russia's top business daily Vedomosti said the country now faced economic stagnation and businesses were already preparing for the worst.

"What is there to say?" it quoted an Russian economy official as saying. "It is clear this is only going to make the already complicated economic situation worse."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 03, 2014, 05:42:34 pm
Obama warns Russia of political, economic 'isolation'

The United States will take a series of steps to isolate Russia economically and diplomatically if it does not end its intervention in Ukraine, President Obama warned Monday.

In rhetoric that underscored how quickly the crisis in Ukraine has escalated, Obama said the U.S. would look to hurt Russia’s economy if its leaders continued “on the current trajectory they’re on.”

He said the administration was “examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic — that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and status in the world.”

The State Department said it was preparing sanctions to punish Russia for seizing the Crimean peninsula, a region in Eastern Ukraine with strong cultural and military ties to Moscow.

“So there are really two paths that Russia can take at this point,” Obama said during a media appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Obviously, the facts on the ground in Crimea are deeply troubling, and Russia has a large army that borders Ukraine. But what is also true is that, over time, this will be a costly proposition for Russia, and now is the time for them to consider whether they can serve their interests in a way that resorts to diplomacy as opposed to force.”

Senate Foreign Relations panel Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said his committee was developing sanctions legislation and would hear from administration witnesses Thursday.

“We are also consulting with the Administration on possible sanctions actions against individual Russians and Ukrainians that range from visa bans and asset freezes, to the suspension of military cooperation and sales, as well as economic sanctions,” he said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he’s asked his committee chairmen to “develop plans to assist the government of Ukraine, put pressure on Russia, and reassure allies throughout the world that the United States will not stand idly by in the face of such aggression.”

Russia is already paying an economic price as financial markets react to the instability.

The ruble fell 2.5 percent against the U.S. dollar in early morning trading on Monday, driving the Russian central bank’s key lending rate up 1.5 points, while the index of Moscow stocks fell 11 percent.

The U.S. has suspended preparations for the Group of Eight summit to be hosted by Russia in Sochi and canceled a trip by the U.S. trade representative to Russia.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who is set to arrive in Kiev on Tuesday to assert support for Ukraine’s fledgling government, has also said the U.S. is considering freezing the U.S. assets of Russian officials or their allies in Crimea and barring them from entering the United States. The administration could also target Russian banks and punish companies found to have helped the Crimean occupation.

Obama is under heavy domestic pressure from members of both political parties to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Critics say the failure of Congress and the George W. Bush administration to punish Russia for its 2008 invasion of two breakaway regions in Georgia helped embolden the country. Lawmakers of both parties have accused Obama of having failed to act decisively, notably following the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“I frankly think we’ve lost some ground in the region because our vital allies don’t believe that the United States has the will, the determination, the courage to act, after a red line was drawn, was crossed, and we didn’t act in Syria,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs panel on Africa, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference over the weekend.

Still, hitting Russia where it hurts won’t be easy.

The U.S. needs Putin’s help on a wide range of issues, including denuclearization, keeping open a supply route to Afghanistan, nuclear talks with Iran and getting Syria to follow through with its pledge to abandon its chemical weapons.

Kerry himself insisted over the weekend that Obama’s “reset” with Russia has produced some positive results.

“I don’t think this is a moment to be proclaiming one thing or the other,” Kerry said on “Meet the Press.” “We’ve had difficulties with Russia with respect to certain issues, and even as we have, we’ve managed to do the START Treaty, they’ve cooperated on Afghanistan, they’ve cooperated on Iran. It’s not zero-sum, dead-alive.”

The 28-nation European Union, which the Obama administration wants firmly in its corner, is also struggling with a unified response. The EU will hold an emergency summit on Thursday but has indicated that it may only suspend visa liberalization talks “in the absence of de-escalating steps by Russia.”

Germany, which relies on Russian natural gas, is particularly wary of antagonizing Russia and has won support from Putin for a fact-finding mission to defuse tensions.

The U.S., meanwhile, is pushing for a large-scale monitoring mission into Crimea and eastern Ukraine by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but Russia objects.

Kerry is traveling to Ukraine for the first time since protesters overthrew President Viktor Yanukovych.

“He’s going to be discussing of course Ukraine’s economic and political needs, seeing what additional support we can provide,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “And really sending a strong message that we support the people of Ukraine.”

This story was first posted at 1:43 p.m. and last updated at 5:49 p.m.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 03, 2014, 08:46:48 pm
President Obama discussed with National Security advisers what steps the US and partners can take to further isolate Russia - @Reuters

there is nothing they can do as Europe receives over 80% of their natural gas and oil from Russia.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2014, 05:14:51 am
Breaking:largest oil refinery in Europe. It is located in Tatarstan, Russia it is on fire. Was Russia attacked

“Neftekamskneftehim” is the largest oil refinery in Europe. It is located in Tatarstan, Russia and today, at 7.00pm Moscow Time, dozens of firemen were urgently summoned as the oil giant started burning.

If this is an attack then the west has just hit Russia where it hurts. The timing is perfect Russia is at at defcon one. Russian wealth is based on oil and gas. Was it a missile a bomb we dont know yet but whatever it was it was no accident.

Russia will no doubt see this as an attack on its own ground and a very public attack expect major cites in the US and or Europe to be  hit in the same way and or now a full invasion of the Ukriane


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2014, 05:30:31 am
Obama’s Strategy Of Fomenting Revolution In Ukraine Is Backfiring Dramatically

When the Obama administration was plotting to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, what in the world did they expect to happen in the aftermath?  Did they just expect Russia to roll over and play dead as the U.S. and the EU installed a rabidly anti-Russian government in Kiev?  Over the past few years, the U.S. government has chosen to foment violent political revolutions all over the globe.  We have seen violent revolutions overthrow governments all across the Middle East and Africa, but when the U.S. government decided to do the same thing in Ukraine they went way too far.  When you mess with Ukraine, and when you mess with Crimea in particular, you are crossing a huge red line as far as the Russians are concerned.  By crossing that red line, the Obama administration has ensured that the relationship between the United States and Russia will never be friendly again.

If you have not listened to the conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that was leaked a little over a month ago on YouTube, please click on the video posted below.  As Robert Wenzel recently discussed, this video is solid proof that Obama administration officials were plotting who the new leaders of Ukraine would be several weeks before a violent revolution ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from power…

    During the clip, Nuland and Pyatt discuss their desired outcome for the crisis in Ukraine. Now that 3 weeks have passed since the leak and events have developed, it is instructive to listen to the recording once again. (See below.) Keep in mind that this leak was made on February 2, which means the conversation occurred before that date. Viktor Yanukovych did not lose power over the Ukrainian government until more than three weeks later February 24th.

    The recording reveals Nuland and Pyatt discussing  whether Vitali Klitschko, sometimes referred to as “Klitsch” in the recording, should be named the deputy prime minister and seems to assume that Arseniy Yatseniuk, sometimes referred to in the recording as “Yats,” will become prime minister. Since that conversation, Yatseniuk has, indeed, become prime minister. Anybody that tells you that the US is not running the “revolution” from behind the scenes is blowing smoke.

Here is the video…


Thanks to the meddling of the United States and the EU, the situation in Ukraine is now a giant mess.  Russian troops have moved into Crimea to protect Russian interests, and Ukraine stands on the brink of civil war.

Sadly, when Barack Obama’s national security team met on Saturday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, Obama didn’t even show up.

Obama did speak with Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes on Saturday, but that didn’t solve anything of course.

And with each passing day, Obama’s foreign policy is looking like an even bigger joke.

Even U.S. Senators are mocking him.  Just check out what U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham had to say on the matter…

    “Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody’s eyes roll, including mine.”

Conservative commentator Mark Levin was even harsher when he stated that he “can’t think of anything he [Obama] touches that doesn’t turn to crap!”

But of course Obama has been completely and totally clueless when it comes to Russia for a very long time.

During one of the presidential debates during the last election, Obama made the following statement to Mitt Romney when Romney suggested that Russia is a serious threat…

    “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the cold war’s been over for 20 years.”

Who looks like the fool now?

And Obama especially looks foolish since his “democratic revolution” is starting to backfire dramatically.  Just consider the following facts…

-It is estimated that approximately 675,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia during January and February.  Why would they be going into Russia for protection if Russia is the “bad guy”?

-The head of Ukraine’s navy has defected and is now working with the Russians.

-The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy has switched sides…

    Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, has reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev, and come over to Russia’s side and is returning home after taking part in NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag.

    There has been conflicting information on where exactly the vessel is, but a Russian senator has confirmed to Izvestia daily that the frigate defected to the Russian side.

-A large number of high ranking Ukrainian military officials have switched sides…

    A number of high ranking Ukrainian military and security officials in Crimea have sworn their allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as Simferopol pushes for its autonomy from the self-imposed government in Kiev.

    The head of the Security Service of Crimea Petyor Zima, Chief of Department of Internal Affairs in the Crimea Sergey Abisov, the head of Service for Emergency Situations Sergei Shakhov and acting Chief of the Border Guards of Crimea Victor Melnichenko all took an oath of allegiance to the people of Crimea.

-It is being reported that many of the Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea have turned on the government in Kiev…

    Crimea-stationed Ukrainian troops have switched sides to join forces with local pro-Russia authorities in the Russian-dominated autonomous republic of Crimea, a source in the region’s administration has said.

    The source has stressed the transition was peaceful and without a single shot being fired.

    Some of the servicemen reportedly left their posts without prior warning, while others surrendered letters of resignation but the majority went over to the Crimean government.

-The pro-Russian revolution that is sweeping Crimea is starting to spread to other regions as well…

    In the economically important eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, hundreds of pro-Russian protesters massed Saturday in the main square and took over a main government administration building, and raised the Russian flag, according to local residents and news outlets. It was unclear whether the protesters were local residents. The number of protesters was also unclear; Russian and Ukrainian media had wildly different estimates of crowd strength.

    The Donetsk city council issued a statement demanding a referendum over whether the mining region with strong ties to Russia should remain part of Ukraine.

    By nightfall, the area around the Donetsk main square was quiet. A reporter from Ukrainian national television said that the protesters remained inside the building, drinking tea and planning new pro-Russia protests for Monday.

And this is probably what Russia is planning to do.

Instead of taking Ukraine militarily, they hope to enable a “new revolution” to swing things back their way.  The following is an excerpt from an NBC News article…

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that Ukraine’s leaders had seized power illegally, and predicted their rule would end with “a new revolution [and] new bloodshed.”

    Medvedev said that, while Viktor Yanukovych had practically no authority, he remained the legitimate head of state according the constitution, adding: “If he is guilty before Ukraine – hold an impeachment procedure … and try him.”
    “Everything else is lawlessness. The seizure of power,” Medvedev said on his Facebook page. “And that means such order will be extremely unstable. It will end in a new revolution. New bloodshed.”

Of course large numbers of Russian troops will be on hand to make sure that this “counter-revolution” succeeds.  Even as you read this, more Russian forces continue to pour into Crimea…

    Meanwhile, in Crimea, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told CNN on Monday that up to 12 trucks full of Russian troops have crossed into the eastern Crimean city of Kerch from Russia.

    Additionally, Ukrainian Border Service Assistant Chief Colonel Sergei Astakhov described Russian troop movements by ferry from Russia across the Strait of Kerch in a phone conversation. Astakhov said the first two ferries carrying armed men were navigating towards the ferry dock and border post in Kerch. As the ferries approached the port, 10 heavily armed troops from the Russian Black Sea Fleet attacked the border post from land and used force to overwhelm the Ukrainian border guards, Astakhov said.

The upper house of Parliament in Moscow has given President Vladimir Putin the authority to use “the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country“, and even U.S. officials are admitting that the Russian military has “complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula” at this point.

And this may just be the beginning.  Reportedly, during his 90 minute conversation with Obama on Saturday Putin hinted that Russian military intervention “could go beyond Crimea”…

    During his 90-minute phone conversation with President Obama on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that Russian military intervention in Ukraine could go beyond Crimea, the region now under effectively occupied by Russia.

    That’s according to the Kremlin’s brief account of the phone call, initiated by Obama.

    “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,” it said.

So what is going to happen next?

Nobody knows for sure.

But without a doubt, Obama’s strategy of fomenting revolution in Ukraine is backfiring dramatically.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2014, 05:36:02 am
Russia And China Stand In Agreement On Ukraine – And That Is Very Bad News For The United States

So much for "isolating" Russia.  The Chinese government is publicly siding with Russia on the crisis in Ukraine, and that is very bad news for the United States.  Not only does it mean that the U.S. is essentially powerless to do anything about the situation in Ukraine, it also means that Russia and China are starting to understand how much economic leverage that they really have.  Yes, the Obama administration can threaten to slap "sanctions" on Russia or threaten to kick Russia "out of the G8", but those actions would not actually hurt too much.  On the other hand, Russia and China hold approximately 25 percent of all foreign-owned U.S. debt, and if they started massively dumping U.S. debt it could rapidly create a nightmare scenario.  In addition, it is important to remember that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.  And China now imports more oil than anyone else on the planet does, including the United States.  If Russia and China got together and decided to kill the petrodollar, they could do it almost overnight.  So when it comes to Ukraine, it is definitely not the United States that has the leverage.

If China and the rest of the world abandoned Russia over Ukraine, that would be one thing.  But that is not happening at all.  In fact, China has chosen to publicly stand with Russia on this issue.  The following is from a Sky News article entitled "Russia And China 'In Agreement' Over Ukraine"...

    Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had "broadly coinciding points of view" on the situation there, according to a ministry statement.

And Chinese state news agency Xinhua is publicly rebuking the West for their handling of the Ukrainian crisis...

    China's state news agency Xinhua accused western powers of adopting a Cold War- like mindset towards Russia, trying to isolate Moscow at a time when much needed mediation is need to reach a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Crimea.

    "Based on the fact that Russia and Ukraine have deep cultural, historical and economic connections, it is time for Western powers to abandon their Cold War thinking. Stop trying to exclude Russia from the political crisis they failed to mediate, and respect Russia's unique role in mapping out the future of Ukraine," Xinhua wrote in an opinion piece.

Apparently clueless as to how the geopolitical chips are falling, the Obama administration is busy planning all sorts of ways that it can punish Russia...

    Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told The Daily Beast. Among the possible targets for these financial attacks: everyone from high-ranking Russian military officials to government leaders to top businessmen to Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine. It’s all part of the work to prepare an executive order now under consideration at the Obama administration’s highest levels.

Does the Obama administration really want to start an "economic war" with Russia and potentially against China as well?

Considering how much money we owe them, and considering the fact that we desperately need them to continue to use the petrodollar, we stand to lose far more than they do.

This is one of the reasons why I have always insisted that the national debt was a national security issue.  By going into so much debt, we have given other nations such as Russia and China a tremendous amount of leverage over us.

Unfortunately, the debtmongers in Washington D.C. never have listened to common sense.

When it comes to Ukraine, there are other economic considerations as well.

For example, about 25 percent of the natural gas that Europe uses comes from Russia, and Ukraine only has about four months of natural gas supplies stockpiled.

If Russia cut off the natural gas, that would create some huge problems.  Fortunately, winter is just about over or the Russians would have even more leverage.

In addition, Ukraine is one of the leading exporters of wheat and corn on the planet, and a disruption in the growing of those crops could make the emerging global food crisis even worse.

But of course the biggest concern is that the Ukraine crisis could ultimately spark a global war.

Unfortunately, there is a treaty that requires the United States to defend Ukraine if it is attacked...

    President Bill Clinton, along with the British, signed in 1994 a nearly forgotten agreement to protect Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine now is appealing to the countries that signed the agreement.

    As the British Daily Mail points out, it means that, technically, if Russia were to invade Ukraine, it would be difficult for the U.S. and Britain to avoid going to war.

    Given that the late Russian president, Boris Yeltsin also signed it, it was apparent that it wasn’t expected that the Russians would take the action that Putin now is undertaking.

And top Ukrainian politicians are now asking western nations to come to the aid of Ukraine militarily...

    Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has appealed for the West to adopt 'strongest means' to intervene in Russia's occupation of Crimea if diplomacy fails.

    In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Tymoshenko, freed last week after the riots throughout the nation, said if Russia is allowed to 'take away' Crimea, life will change 'practically everywhere in the world.'

    She added: 'Then we have to accept... an aggressor, can violate all the international agreements, take away territories, whenever she likes.'

On the other side, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has formally requested that Russia militarily intervene in his nation...

    Russia's U.N. envoy said Monday that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russia to send troops to "establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability, and defending the people of Ukraine." Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin read a letter from Yanukovych at the U.N. Security Council meeting.

    "Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. In the country, there is chaos and anarchy. The life, the security and the rights of people, particularly in the southeast part in Crimea are being threatened. So under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terrorism and violence. People are being persecuted for language and political reasons," the letter said. "So in this regard, I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability, and defending the people of Ukraine."

And it is very important to note that Yanukovych would have never issued this letter if the Russian government has not asked him to.

So the stage is set.

Russia has already grabbed Crimea, and it is eyeing other territories in eastern Ukraine.

China is publicly backing Russia, and collectively they have a tremendous amount of economic leverage.

The Obama administration is barking loudly about what Russia has done, but the reality is that the U.S. has very little economic leverage at this point.

What the U.S. does have is the strongest military on the entire planet, but let us hope and pray that Obama does not decide to get the U.S. military involved in Ukraine.  That would be absolutely disastrous.

In the end, the U.S. has no good options in Ukraine.  The Obama administration helped aid and organize the violent revolution that overthrew the Ukrainian government, and now we have a giant mess.

Nobody is quite sure what comes next, but one thing is certain...

The relationship between the United States and Russia will never, ever be the same again.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2014, 05:39:51 am
Why Is The Mainstream Media Ignoring The Rabid Anti-Semitism In The New Ukraine Government?

In World War II, the United States fought against rabidly anti-Semitic fascists.  In 2014, the United States helps them overthrow democratically-elected governments.  And the sick thing is that the mainstream media is acting an an accomplice because it is purposely ignoring or greatly playing down the rabid anti-Semitism in Ukraine.  The anti-Semitism of many of the “reformers” that have seized power in Kiev does not fit with the narrative that the U.S. government is trying to push, so the mainstream media conveniently turns a blind eye to the fact that the United States is essentially helping neo-****s take power.  In fact, leaders of the Svoboda Party have been appointed to numerous important positions throughout the new government.  As you will read about below, the head of the Svoboda Party has denounced the “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry”, another top Svoboda official regularly quotes Joseph Goebbels, and the Party itself was known as “the Social-National Party” (in reference to National Socialists) until 2004.  There is a long history of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, but our politicians in Washington D.C. don’t seem to care about that.  All they seem to care about is making sure that there is not a pro-Russian government in Ukraine no matter what the cost.

There is a reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin cited “ultranationalists” as one of the reasons why Russian troops had to intervene in Ukraine.  What we are seeing in Ukraine right now is eerily reminiscent of what we saw in **** Germany before World War II.  The following comes from a recent Gawker article…

    Earlier this week, a synagogue in the country’s southeast was firebombed. There have been multiple reported beatings of Jews and acts of vandalism at Kiev synagogues. A leading rabbi in Kiev has called for Jews to leave the city and the country, if possible—though he later said he was stressing that it’s dangerous for everyone out there—and the Israeli embassy has reportedly advised members of the Jewish community to stay off the streets.

Some people are dismissing these as “isolated incidents”.  Well, then how do you explain the white power flags and other neo-**** symbols that have been going up all around Kiev?  In the video posted below, you can see a white power flag that has been erected in a city government building in Kiev…


The truth is that it is not a good time to be a Jewish person living in Ukraine.  Just like in so many other nations around the planet, anti-Semitism is on the rise.  The following is from an article about the rising anti-Semitism in Ukraine that comes from a news source in Israel…

    “We are aware of a terrible situation unfolding there,” Frenkel noted. She receives updates on the crisis from a friend of her son’s; the contact has described attacks and accusations being leveled at Jews on a regular basis. Among other things, Frankel has been notified that a grenade has been lobbed into a synagogue, a hareidi man assaulted on his way home from synagogue on Shabbat, and anti-Semitic graffiti has cropped up in several places.

Earlier I mentioned the Svoboda Party.  It is one of the primary political parties that make up the new governing coalition in Ukraine.  Unfortunately, this party has historical roots in ****sm and nobody disputes this.

According to Slate Magazine, the Svoboda Party was even called “the Social-National Party” until 2004…

    The party traces its roots to a ****-allied partisan army during World War II  and was known as the Social-National Party—in reference to National Socialism—until 2004.

And the current leader of the Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok, is quite a piece of work.  The following is what Stephen Lendman had to say about him…

    “Washington openly backs fascist Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok…In 2004, Tyahnybok was expelled from former President Viktor Yushchenko’s parliamentary faction. He was condemned for urging Ukrainians to fight against a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.”

    In 2005, he denounced “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry.” He outrageously claimed they plan “genocide” against Ukrainians.”…

    Tyahnybok extremism didn’t deter Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. On February 6, she met openly with him and other anti-government leaders.

    In early January, 15,000 ultranationalists held a torchlight march through Kiev. They did so to honor ****-era collaborator/mass murderer Stepan Bandera. Some wore uniforms a Wehrmacht Ukrainian division used in WW II. Others chanted “Ukraine above all” and “Bandera, come and bring order.”

Isn’t that lovely?

And another top Svoboda Party official loves to quote Joseph Goebbels and other top ****s from the World War II era…

    Another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes **** Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser.

You would think that the U.S. government would want nothing to do with such people.

But instead, the U.S. government has actively aided their rise to power, and now members of the Svoboda Party have been appointed to very important positions throughout the new government in Ukraine…

    As the fires die down from the turmoil in Kiev, a political party that has been accused of promoting anti-Semitism and xenophobia is set to reap the benefits of the new government arrangement.

    The Svoboda Party will take control of not one, but three ministries in the interim government.

    These posts include the deputy prime minister and the heads of the agriculture and environmental ministries. In addition to these positions, a Svoboda lawmaker was appointed the new prosecutor general in the interim government.

Are you disgusted yet?

You should be.

If I was a Jewish person living in Ukraine, I would be trying to get out as fast as I could.

Fortunately, there are some people that are seeking to help them.  In fact, they will soon receive a million dollars from one organization to help with security…

    Ukrainian Jews are slated to receive $1 million to increase security against possible upticks in anti-Semitic behavior in the wake of the country’s massive political upheaval.

    The money is coming from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Week reported, and is going toward protection for places where Jews gather, as well as for the elderly and poverty-stricken.

    “From the many conversations I’ve conducted this week with Jewish leaders in the Ukraine, we understood that the situation on the ground is critical,” organization founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said. “Rabbis and communal leaders feel under threat.”

Hopefully as word gets out about the extreme anti-Semitism of some of these Ukrainian politicians, our politicians in Washington D.C. will start to change their tune.

But we have seen this kind of thing before.  The Obama administration helped al-Qaeda take power in Libya, it is helping al-Qaeda try to overthrow the Syrian government, and now it is helping neo-****s rise to power in Ukraine.

It is almost as if a case of collective insanity has gripped the people running things in Washington.

I truly fear for what is ahead.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2014, 08:52:38 am
Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry places flowers at shrine in Kiev - @BBCWorld

you should too as it was the US that funded all of this slaughter. So glad it back fired in Obama's face.

John Kerry placed flowers and left a candle at the 'Shrine to the Fallen' in Kiev's Independence Square - @NBCNews

This was a coup set up by the US. Kind if sick of ya John, but then again your whole career is on the backs of the dead you walked all over and used for your own political career.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 04, 2014, 11:46:50 am
I only skimmed through these articles - but if I understand the big picture correctly, this coup by the USA backfired so much, that even everyone in the Ukraine that was anti-Russia, is siding with Russia now?

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 04, 2014, 12:40:54 pm
This is one of the reasons why I have always insisted that the national debt was a national security issue.  By going into so much debt, we have given other nations such as Russia and China a tremendous amount of leverage over us.

Unfortunately, the debtmongers in Washington D.C. never have listened to common sense.

When it comes to Ukraine, there are other economic considerations as well.

For example, about 25 percent of the natural gas that Europe uses comes from Russia, and Ukraine only has about four months of natural gas supplies stockpiled.

If Russia cut off the natural gas, that would create some huge problems.  Fortunately, winter is just about over or the Russians would have even more leverage.

In addition, Ukraine is one of the leading exporters of wheat and corn on the planet, and a disruption in the growing of those crops could make the emerging global food crisis even worse.

I don't know if this will lead to "world war", per se, but nonetheless previous big wars were a result of just that...the love of money...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 05, 2014, 05:44:43 am
Ukraine's foreign minister says he wants to settle conflict peacefully, does not want to fight Russia - @Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterates President Putin's statement that Ukraine events were an armed coup d'etat - live video

Russian FM Lavrov says Russia can't withdraw troops from Crimea because they aren't Russian troops - @markmackinnon

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 05, 2014, 06:24:56 am
Russia warns could 'reduce to zero' economic dependency on US

Russian Dollar Dump Could Crash Financial System-John Williams

RED ALERT: This Is A Set Up! PUTIN TO CRUSH U.S. ECONOMY. Here's How. By Gregory Mannarino

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 05, 2014, 06:49:20 am
Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea

Ukraine’s statement at the UN that ‘16,000 Russian soldiers had been deployed’ across Crimea sparked a MSM feeding frenzy that steadfastly ignored any hard facts that got in their way.

Especially unwelcome is the fact that the so-called ‘invasion force’ has been there for 15 years already.

The media many trust described in hysterical tones how the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was under a full-scale Russian invasion with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea”, “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia's invasion of Crimea?”.

Facts, and ardent statements by top Russian diplomats were totally ignored by the western ‘war press’.

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pointed to the longstanding 25,000 troop allowance while FM Sergey Lavrov stressed the Russian military “strictly executes the agreements which stipulate the Russian fleet’s presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well.”

 So here they are, the facts:

1) A Russian naval presence in Crimea dates to 1783 when the port city of Sevastopol was founded by Russian Prince Grigory Potemkin. Crimea was part of Russia until Nikita Khruschev gave it to Ukraine in 1954.

2) In 1997, amid the wreckage of the USSR, Russia & Ukraine signed a Partition Treaty determining the fate of the military bases and vessels in Crimea. The deal sparked widespread officer ‘defections’ to Russia and was ratified by the Russian & Ukrainian parliaments in 1999. Russia received 81.7 percent of the fleet’s ships after paying the Ukrainian government US$526.5 million.

3) The deal allowed the Russian Black Sea Fleet to stay in Crimea until 2017. This was extended by another 25 years to 2042 with a 5-year extension option in 2010.

4) Moscow annually writes off $97.75 million of Kiev’s debt for the right to use Ukrainian waters and radio frequencies, and to compensate for the Black Sea Fleet’s environmental impact.

5) The Russian navy is allowed up to

- 25,000 troops,

- 24 artillery systems with a caliber smaller than 100 mm,

- 132 armored vehicles, and

- 22 military planes, on Crimean territory.

 6) Five Russian naval units are stationed in the port city of Sevastopol, in compliance with the treaty:

- The 30th Surface Ship Division formed by the 11th Antisubmarine Ship Brigade. Comprises the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship guard missile cruiser Moskva as well as Kerch, Ochakov, Smetlivy, Ladny, and Pytlivy vessels, and the 197th Landing Ship Brigade, consisting of seven large amphibious vessels;

- The 41st Missile Boat Brigade includes the 166th Fast Attack Craft Division, consisting of Bora and Samum hovercrafts as well as small missile ships Mirazh and Shtil, and 295th missile Boat Division;

- The 247th Separate Submarine Division, consisting of two diesel submarines – B-871 Alrosa and B-380 Svyatoy Knyaz Ge****;

- The 68th Harbor Defense Ship Brigade formed by 4 vessels of the 400th Antisubmarine Ship Battalion and 418 Mine Hunting Ship Division respectively.;

- The 422nd Separate Hydrographic Ship Division boasts the Cheleken, Stvor, Donuzlav and GS-402 survey vessels and hydrographic boats.

7) Russia has two airbases in Crimea, in Kacha and Gvardeysky.

 8) Russian coastal forces in Ukraine consist of the 1096th Separate Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment in Sevastopol and the 810th Marine Brigade, which hosts around 2,000 marines.

Authorities in the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea – where over half the population is Russian – requested Moscow’s assistance after the self-proclaimed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of languages other than Ukrainian in official circumstances.

Last week, Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to send the country’s military forces to Ukraine to ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”

However, the final say about deploying troops lies with Putin, who hasn’t yet made such a decision, stressing that deploying military force would be a last resort.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 05, 2014, 11:26:21 am
Leaked Phone Conversastion: Kiev Snipers Were Hired By US Supported Opposition Leaders (Video)

The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation.

“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.


This is a huge development!   This proves that the whole ‘revolution’ was a farce, a western baked coup, a false flag even to get western powers to back them against Russia.  I’m not going to knock the source of the leak either.  Why wouldn’t people loyal to Yanukovych want to clear his name and prove they were not behind the killings? Where else would information come from like that?   Plus you have a foreign minister from the west backing the claim.  She gives it credibility! 

Obviously if we have gotten to this point then they are ignoring this information and why wouldn’t they right?  It’s all part of the plan.  Western media sure as hell aren’t talking about this.  I implore you to take this as is because your not going to find smoking gun information like this from a western source.  They don’t want this, they want war, they want Ukraine.  This has been a US Op from the beginning.  A US funded, US backed coup. If it wasn’t obvius before, it should be now.  This is a farce.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 05, 2014, 01:56:39 pm
seems like the only people who are escalating this is the US...

The Pentagon is more than doubling the number of fighter jets it is sending to a NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, as part of the US response to the Ukraine crisis - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 06, 2014, 05:24:40 am
Report: Crimea's vice premier Rustam Temirgaliev says a referendum on the region's status will take place on March 16 - @Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Crimean parliament's appeal to let Crimea join Russia at security council meeting, RIA reports, quoting a spokesman - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 06, 2014, 07:15:43 am
Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea will be considered 'occupiers' and must leave or surrender territory, Crimean deputy prime minister says - @Reuters

Crimea's parliament votes in favor of leaving Ukraine for Russia, referendum scheduled

The parliament of the disputed Crimean Peninsula has voted in favor of leaving Ukraine to become part of Russia, with a referendum on endorsing the move to be held later this month.

The parliament, which enjoys a degree of autonomy under current Ukrainian law, voted 78-0 with eight abstentions in favor of holding the referendum and joining Russia. Local voters will also be given the choice of deciding to remain part of Ukraine, but with enhanced local powers.

Crimean Vice Premier Rustam Teemirgaliev said the referendum will be held March 16. RIA reported that the referendum would consist of two questions. The first would ask whether voters wished to join Russia "as a subject of the [Russian Federation]." The second question would ask whether voters wished to remain a part of Ukraine but as an autonomous republic, as laid out in the country's post-Soviet 1992 constitution.

In Moscow, a prominent member of Russia's parliament, Sergei Mironov, said he has introduced a bill to simplify the procedure for Crimea to join Russia and it could be passed as soon as next week, the state news agency ITAR-Tass reported.

A referendum had previously been scheduled in Crimea on March 30, but the question to be put to voters was on whether their region should enjoy "state autonomy" within Ukraine.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Temirgaliev said, "From today, as Crimea is part of the Russian Federation, the only legal forces here are troops of the Russian Federation, and any troops of the third country will be considered to be armed groups with all the associated consequences."

Temirgaliev told the Interfax news agency that the region is ready to adopt Russian currency, according to Reuters.

"This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev," Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the local Crimean legislature, told the Associated Press Thursday. "We will decide our future ourselves.”

The vote drew harsh criticism from acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchinov, who said the authorities in Crimea are “totally illegitimate.”

“They are forced to work under the barrel of a gun and all their decisions are dictated by fear and are illegal,'' his spokeswoman quoted him as saying, according to Reuters.

Ukraine’s interim Economy Minister, Pavlo Sheremeta, also cast doubt on the legality of the upcoming referendum.

"We're not working out what to do if Crimea joins the Russian Federation because we believe [the referendum is] unconstitutional,” he said, according The BBC.

On Wednesday, interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told The Associated Press that Crimea would remain under Ukrainian control.

The region has been a part of Ukraine since 1954, when Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev, himself of Ukrainian origin, formally transferred ownership of the region to Ukraine from Russia. In 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Crimea briefly became an autonomous region before its parliament agreed to remain a part of Ukraine.

News of the referendum came as leaders of European nations were arriving in Brussels for a summit on the ongoing crisis. British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters the purpose of the summit was threefold: to begin talks between Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, to show Ukrainians that Europe would "help the Ukrainian people in their hour of need," and send a "very clear message to Russia that what they are doing in unacceptable and will have consequences."

Late Wednesday, Crimea's new regional Prime Minister, Sergei Aksyonov told the Associated Press that 11,000 self-defense troops, all or most of whom are believed to be Russian, had joined with riot police and security forces to control all access to the strategic peninsula and had blockaded all Ukrainian military bases that have not yet surrendered. Aksyonov also said that his government was in regular contact with Russian officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu have all denied sending troops into the region.

The West has joined the new Ukrainian leadership in demanding that Russia pull its forces from Crimea, but little progress was reported after a flurry of diplomatic activity Wednesday. U.S. and Western diplomats failed to bring Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers together for face-to-face talks on the confrontation in Crimea, even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced optimism that an exit strategy was possible. "I'd rather be where we are today than where we were yesterday," he said.

Meanwhile, NATO punished Russia by suspending military cooperation, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country's fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord.

The EU also imposed asset freezes against 18 people held responsible for embezzling state funds in Ukraine, including Yanukovych, his son and some of his closest allies. EU leaders will meet for an emergency session in Brussels on Thursday to decide what sorts of sanctions they can impose on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.  Moscow has threatened to retaliate if any punitive measures are put in place.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 06, 2014, 08:53:36 am
US State Department official: 'Actively considering' adding names of Russians involved in Ukraine to 'Magnitsky' list of suspected human rights abusers - @Reuters

 ??? now that just doesnt make any sense at all. Especially when compared to this...

Pro-Russia protest leader in Donetsk, Ukraine, arrested as his apartment, according to @Reuters witness

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 06, 2014, 11:11:01 am
Ukraine's acting president says decision on Crimea referendum is illegitimate, against interests of people in Crimea - @Reuters

from the people who just ran a coup on the legitimate Ukraine government.  ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 06, 2014, 11:27:39 am
seems like the only people who are escalating this is the US...

The Pentagon is more than doubling the number of fighter jets it is sending to a NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, as part of the US response to the Ukraine crisis - @Reuters

US destroyer en route to Black Sea for 'routine' drills...


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: FervorForFaith on March 06, 2014, 07:29:06 pm
Ukraine's acting president says decision on Crimea referendum is illegitimate, against interests of people in Crimea - @Reuters

from the people who just ran a coup on the legitimate Ukraine government.  ::)

Exactly. This whole Ukraine situation is a complete joke.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 07, 2014, 02:05:11 pm
Report: Russian troops storm air force base in Sevastopol, Ukraine, in Crimean region - @shustry, @Reuters reporter on scene

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 08, 2014, 05:45:56 am
Obama And Putin Are Trapped In A Macho Game Of “Chicken” And The Whole World Could Pay The Price

The U.S. government and the Russian government have both been forced into positions where neither one of them can afford to back down.  If Barack Obama backs down, he will be greatly criticized for being "weak" and for having been beaten by Vladimir Putin once again.  If Putin backs down, he will be greatly criticized for being "weak" and for abandoning the Russians that live in Crimea.  In essence, Obama and Putin find themselves trapped in a macho game of "chicken" and critics on both sides stand ready to pounce on the one who backs down.  But this is not just an innocent game of "chicken" from a fifties movie.  This is the real deal, and if nobody backs down the entire world will pay the price.

Leaving aside who is to blame for a moment, it is really frightening to think that we may be approaching the tensest moment in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cuban missile crisis.

There has been much talk about Obama's "red lines", but the truth is that Crimea (and in particular the naval base at Sevastopol) is a "red line" for Russia.

There is nothing that Obama could ever do that could force the Russians out of Sevastopol.  They will never, ever willingly give up that naval base.

So what in the world does Obama expect to accomplish by imposing sanctions on Russia?  By treaty, Russia is allowed to have 25,000 troops in Crimea and Russia has not sent troops into the rest of Ukraine.

Economic sanctions are not going to cause Putin to back down.  Instead, they will just cause the Russians to retaliate.

In a letter that he sent to Congress this week, Obama claimed that the Ukrainian crisis is an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

Language like that is going to make it even more difficult for Obama to back down.

On Thursday, Obama announced "visa restrictions" on "those Russians and Ukrainians responsible for the Russian move into Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula", and a House panel passed a "symbolic resolution" that condemned Russia for its "occupation" of Crimea.

But those moves are fairly meaningless.  Leaders from both political parties are now pushing for very strong economic sanctions against Russia, and there does not appear to be many members of Congress that intend to stand in the way.

If the U.S. does hit Russia with harsh economic sanctions, what is going to happen?

Is Russia going to back down?

No way.

So let's just play out the coming moves like a game of chess for a moment...

-The U.S. slaps economic sanctions on Russia.

-Russia seizes the assets of U.S. companies that are doing business in Russia.

-The U.S. seizes Russian assets.

-The Russians refuse to pay their debts to U.S. banks.

-The U.S. government hits Russia with even stronger sanctions.

-Russia starts dumping U.S. debt and encourages other nations to start doing the same.

-The U.S. gets Europe to also hit Russia with economic sanctions.

-Russia cuts off the natural gas to Europe.  As I noted the other day, Russia supplies more than half the natural gas to a bunch of countries in Europe.

-The United States moves troops into western Ukraine.

-Russia starts selling oil for gold or for Russian rubles and encourages other nations to start abandoning the U.S. dollar in international trade.

Of course the order of many of these moves could ultimately turn out to be different, but I think that you can see the nightmare that this game of "chicken" could turn out to be.

And what would be the final result?

Nothing would be resolved, but the global economy would greatly suffer.

What makes all of this even more complicated is that about 60 percent of the people living in Crimea are actually ethnic Russians, and a majority of the population appears to want to leave Ukraine and be reunited with Russia.  The following comes from a Reuters article...

    Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum on the decision in 10 days' time in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

    The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders held an emergency summit groping for ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation.

The Obama administration is calling the upcoming referendum "illegal" and says that it will not respect the will of the Crimean people no matter how the vote turns out.

But the people of Crimea are very serious about this, and of course they never would be pushing for reunification with Russia if they had not gotten approval from Putin...

    The decision, which diplomats said could not have been made without Putin's approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War.

    The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. All state property would be "nationalized", the Russian ruble adopted and Ukrainian troops treated as occupiers and forced to surrender or leave, he said.

There is no way that the U.S. government is going to accept Crimea becoming part of Russia, and there is no way in the world that Russia is going to back down at this point.  Just consider what geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group recently had to say...

    "Russia is not going to back down from Crimea, irrespective of U.S. pressure. Which means if the U.S. wants to find any resolution here, they’re going to have to find a way to come to terms with that. Now that the Crimean parliament has voted — clearly with Russian assent — we’ll have a referendum … and then further militarization of the peninsula by the Russians."

What we need is someone with extraordinary diplomatic skills to defuse this situation before it spirals out of control.

Unfortunately, we have Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett and John Kerry running things.

What a mess.

So why is Ukraine such a big deal anyway?

In a recent article, Peter Farmer explained succinctly why Ukraine is so incredibly important...

    The Ukraine is strategically-important for a number of reasons. It sits astride enormous petroleum and natural gas deposits found in the Black Sea region. The nation is also home to an extensive network of liquid natural gas pipelines which crisscross it; control the Ukraine and you control its pipelines - and thus the flow of energy into the hugely-lucrative European market. Western energy firms such as Exxon-Mobil, BP-Amoco and Chevron are locked in competition with the Russian energy giant Gazprom - for control/exploitation of as-yet-undeveloped petroleum deposits not only in the Ukraine, but in neighboring Poland and Romania. Fracking technologies and other new extraction methods have only added urgency to the competition. Income from fossil fuels development is the lifeblood of the new Russian economy. Threats to the regional hegemony of Gazprom are likely to be treated by Putin and Russia with the utmost urgency and seriousness.

    The Crimean Peninsula is also home to the Black Sea fleet of the Russian navy, which leases its base at Sevastopol from the Ukrainian government. Since the Black Sea - via the Dardanelles - provides the only warm-water base with access to the Mediterranean Sea - it is of enormous importance to Russia. Its loss would be a crippling blow to the Russian fleet.

    Finally, the Ukraine - once known as the "bread basket of Europe" - is home to arguably the finest temperate agricultural region in the world. Its topsoil is widely-acknowledged by agronomists to be among the world's best. Control the Ukraine and you control the grainery of Europe - and can exert tremendous leverage upon worldwide grain agricultural commodities prices.

If the U.S. insists on playing a game of brinksmanship over Ukraine, the consequences could be disastrous.

For one thing, as I mentioned above, the status of the petrodollar could be greatly threatened.  The following is how Jim Willie is analyzing the situation...

    If the Kremlin demands Gold bullion (or even Russian Rubles) for oil payments, then the interventions to subvert the Ruble currency by the London and Wall Street houses will backfire and blow up in the bankster faces. Expect any surplus Rubles would be converted quickly to Gold bullion. If the Chinese demand that they are permitted to pay for oil shipments in Yuan currency, then the entire Petro-Dollar platform will be subjected to sledge hammers and wrecking balls. The new Petro-Yuan defacto standard will have been launched from the Shanghai outpost. If the Saudis curry favor to the Russians and Chinese by accepting non-USDollar payments for oil shipments, then the Petro-Dollar is dead and buried.

In addition, if Russia starts dumping U.S. debt and gets other nations (such as China) to start doing the same, that could create a nightmare scenario for the U.S. financial system very rapidly.

So let us hope and pray that cooler heads prevail.

In my recent article entitled "The Top 12 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading Toward Another Recession", I discussed how the U.S. economy appears to be hurtling toward another major downturn.

And on Thursday, we learned that office supplies giant Staples has just announced that it is going to close 225 stores.

Even without this major international crisis, the U.S. economy would still be deeply troubled.

But if the United States and Russia do declare "economic war" on each other, all hell could start breaking loose.

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be much hope of anyone backing down at this point.  In an editorial for the Washington Post, Henry Kissinger stated that it "is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea."

Very interesting word choice.

So this is the situation we are facing...

-The U.S. government seems absolutely determined to "punish" Russia until it leaves Crimea.

-Russia is never going to leave Crimea, and has promised to "respond" harshly to any sanctions.

Most Americans are not paying much attention to what is going on in Ukraine, but this is a very, very big deal.

In the end, it could potentially affect the lives of virtually every man, woman and child on the planet.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2014, 02:27:34 pm
Obama And Putin Are Trapped In A Macho Game Of “Chicken” And The Whole World Could Pay The Price

Playing "chicken" was initially made up by the communists - pretty much the worst-case scenario of the end game is where EVERYONE loses. It was also symbolized in Hollywood movies, like those James Dean movies where he and others would play chicken by driving their cars against each other(the 1st car that swerves out of the way loses - ultimately, if you want to win, then be prepared to total your car). And now teenagers are playing chicken with the trains on railroad tracts. Ultimately, it's a very dangerous "playing with fire" game however you look at it.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2014, 02:42:27 pm
Russia warns sanctions over Ukraine would 'hit US like boomerang'

Russia warned the United States on Friday that any sanctions imposed on Moscow over its response to the crisis in Ukraine would "boomerang" back on the United States, as U.S. officials continued to explore ways to resolve the standoff diplomatically.

In a telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that U.S. sanctions could "backfire" and urged the U.S. not to take "hasty, poorly thought-out steps that could harm Russian-U.S. relations," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Sanctions...would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang," the statement added, according to a Reuters report.

Heavier U.S. and European Union sanctions could sting Russia's already slow-growing economy and hurt its financial sector. But Moscow could retaliate and seize American and other foreign assets or cut exports of natural gas to Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia for energy.

Meanwhile, Russian news agencies reported Saturday that Moscow is considering a freeze of U.S. military inspections in Russia in line with the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty and the 2011 Vienna agreement between Russia and NATO on confidence-building measures.

Agencies on Saturday carried a statement by an unidentified Defense Ministry official saying that Moscow sees Washington's decision to halt military cooperation with Russia as a reason to halt inspections.

The State Department said Friday that Kerry underscored to Lavrov the importance of finding a constructive way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which would address the interests of the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the international community. Kerry and Lavrov agreed to continue to consult in the days ahead. 

President Obama on Thursday slapped new visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of Ukraine's government in Kiev and authorized wider financial penalties against those involved in the military intervention or in stealing state assets. Obama emphasized his resolve in an hourlong telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, affirming his contention that Russia's actions violate Ukraine's sovereignty.

Putin, who on Friday opened the Paralympic Games in Sochi, which have been boycotted by Western nations, said Ukraine's new, pro-Western authorities had acted illegitimately over the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions, Reuters reported.

"Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law," Putin was quoted as saying.

On Capitol Hill, both chambers of Congress looked to advance legislation imposing hard-hitting sanctions on Russia.

Obama hailed U.S. cooperation with the European Union, which on Thursday suspended talks with Putin's government on a wide-ranging economic agreement and on granting Russian citizens visa-free travel within the 28-nation bloc. But Europe's presidents and prime ministers remain divided on taking more drastic steps such as freezing assets and issuing travel bans on Russian officials.

European hesitancy reflected the reality that targeting influential Russian businessmen or major Russian companies would also harm Europe's economic interests. U.S. trade with Russia is less than one-tenth of Europe's.

Russian investors hold assets worth billions in European banks, particularly in Britain, which is highly protective of its financial sector, and major exporters such as Germany and the Netherlands have far more at stake than the United States in Russia's consumer economy.

Showing greater caution than Obama on sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European penalties against Russia depend "on how the diplomatic process progresses." EU President Herman Van Rompuy said travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of an EU-Russia summit could still come. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk acknowledged "no enthusiasm" in Europe for economic sanctions.

China also showed caution, saying economic sanctions were not the best way to solve the crisis and avoiding comment on the referendum scheduled for March 16 to decide whether to become part of Russia, according to Reuters.

While Russia has expressed openness to international mediation, in an interview on Russian state television, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, rejected calls for Russia and the new government in Kiev to use Western countries as mediators, The Washington Post reported.

“One can only smile at that,” he said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow sees no sense in having a dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities because, in his view, they kowtow to radical nationalists.

"The so-called interim government isn't independent, it depends, to our great regret, on radical nationalists who have seized power with arms," he said at a news conference.  He said that nationalist groups use "intimidation and terror" to control Ukraine.

In some ways, the debate over sanctions echoes the Cold War doctrine of military strategy in which if two opponents fired off nuclear weapons, both sides would be annihilated.

The State Department sought to allay fears that Europe might find itself short on Russian gas.

"We understand that European gas inventories are well-above normal levels, due to a milder than usual winter, and could replace a loss of Russian exports for several months, if necessary," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "Naturally, we take the energy security of our friends very seriously."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, saw an opening for U.S. gas producers. He called on Obama to fast-track approval of U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, claiming the Energy Department has a slow approval process that amounts to a de facto ban on American natural gas exports.

The Energy Department has given final approval to one of about two dozen proposed liquefied natural gas export terminals in the past two years. Five other projects have received conditional backing.

However, even if the Energy Department approved all the pending permits from companies seeking to export natural gas, fuel could not begin flowing overseas for several years. A project in Sabine Pass, La., is tentatively scheduled to open in late 2015, but most others are not expected to begin operations until 2017 or later.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2014, 02:50:42 pm
Ukraine braces for new protests as Russia threatens gas supply

Eastern city of Donetsk expects large demonstrations by pro-Russian activists demanding a secession referendum

SIMFEROPOL (AFP) — Ukraine braced Saturday for new pro-Russian protests in the tense eastern city of Donetsk after Moscow threatened to stop crucial gas supplies to the country, further escalating hostilities with the West.

Donetsk, a focal point of the crisis engulfing Ukraine since the protests that toppled president Viktor Yanukovych, was expecting a large demonstration by activists demanding a secession referendum like the one planned for the Crimean peninsula. 

The latest show of pro-Moscow sentiment in the largely Russian-speaking southeast comes after Russia threatened Friday to halt gas supplies to Ukraine following Western sanctions to punish the Kremlin for seizing de facto control of Crimea.

The warning by Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom, which could affect supplies to other countries, raised the spectre of previous gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine that deeply rattled European economies in 2005-2006 and again in 2009.

Gazprom said the move was in response to unpaid bills, but the threat — made after the European Union warned it could toughen sanctions against Moscow — underscored the Kremlin’s resolve to stand its ground in the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War.

In a sign of the tensions racking Crimea, Ukraine’s defense ministry said late Friday that unidentified militants had smashed through the gates of a Ukrainian air force base in Sevastopol.

No shots were fired in the incident.

A convoy of foreign observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was earlier stopped at a checkpoint in Crimea guarded by pro-Kremlin gunmen.

Russia’s foreign ministry accused the OSCE of attempting to enter the Black Sea peninsula uninvited and “without considering the opinions and recommendations of the Russian side”.

The OSCE observer mission is a crucial part of the “off-ramp” US President Barack Obama is pushing to de-escalate a crisis that threatens to splinter Ukraine, an ex-Soviet state of 46 million people perched on the threshold between Russia and the EU.

Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and hailed the US and EU’s “unified position” on Ukraine, the White House said.

Obama and Merkel “agreed on the need for Russia to pull back its forces” and allow international observers and human rights monitors into Crimea, the statement said.

It said the leaders had also discussed a “contact group” to lead a direct dialogue between Russia and Ukraine — an idea the Kremlin has scorned.

In Moscow, police said more than 65,000 people had attended a rally outside the Kremlin supporting Russia’s full annexation of Crimea, a predominantly ethnic-Russian peninsula roughly the size of Belgium.

The heads of Russia’s two houses of parliament said they would respect the decision by the flashpoint region’s parliament to split from Kiev and hold a March 16 referendum on switching to Russian rule.

And in Donetsk, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) northeast of Crimea, tensions were high around Lenin Square, where pro-Russian activists have set up a round-the-clock picket under a red Soviet flag.

Militants occupied the city’s regional government offices for three days this week, hoisting a Russian flag before being dislodged by police Thursday.

Riot police encircled the building ahead of Saturday’s planned demonstration by pro-Russian activists.

Rival demonstrations brought thousands of people into the streets this week and degenerated into running street battles on Wednesday.

The EU has vowed to sign a landmark trade pact aimed at pulling Kiev out of Moscow’s orbit before Ukraine holds snap presidential polls on May 25.

Yanukovych’s decision to ditch that pact in November in favour of closer ties with Russia sparked the initial wave of protests that led to his regime’s downfall late last month, and the rise of Ukraine’s new pro-EU government.

With Russian forces in effective control of Crimea — a region of two million people and the base of the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet — the threat of Ukraine splintering seemed more real than at any point since Putin won parliamentary approval to use force against his western neighbour.

Western allies have been grappling with a response to Putin’s seeming ambition to create a Soviet-style sphere of influence that Moscow argues provides a defence for ethnic Russians coming under attack.

“Can Russia stand idly by when Russians somewhere in the world — especially in neighbouring Ukraine — face mortal danger?” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asked on Russian state television Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington’s sanctions against Moscow — which so far include visa bans and asset freezes on targeted individuals — would “boomerang” back on the United States.

The foreign ministry added that Russia would not leave any EU punitive measures “without a response”.

Gazprom — often seen as a political weapon wielded by the Kremlin against Western-leaning ex-Soviet states — said a few hours later it might have to cut off Ukraine for the first time since 2009 due to a debt of $1.89 billion (1.36 billion euros).

“Ukraine has de facto stopped paying for gas,” said chief executive Alexei Miller. “We cannot deliver gas for free”.

Debt-laden Ukraine has said it will need $35 billion over two years to put its books in order. The EU has offered loans and grants worth up to 11 billion euros ($15 billion), and the US has announced a $1-billion loan guarantee.

But Russia has suspended a $15-billion aid package that was keeping the country solvent

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 09, 2014, 07:54:20 am
BBC Now Admits: Armed N@zis Led “Revolution” in Kiev, Ukraine

Like the West’s support of sectarian terrorists across the Middle East, including Al Qaeda, it has found the most despicable elements in Ukrainian society to lead “revolution” for the sociopolitical reordering of Eastern Europe. As the dust settles and the West’s proxy regime finds itself safely entrenched in Kiev, Ukraine – the Western media can now finally recuperate some of its lost legitimacy after months of denying the obvious – that armed Neo-N@zis led the so-called “Euromaidan” uprising.

A BBC Newsnight short titled, “Neo-N@zi threat in new Ukraine,” reveals xenophobic Jew-hating nationalists, armed and leading the mobs in Kiev, directly contradicting months of Western media narratives portraying the rabble as aspiring for “freedom,” “democracy,” and “closer ties with the West,” with the most absurd example being  the “I am Ukrainian” propaganda reel.

Far from a “pro-democracy” uprising, the “Euromaidan” was yet another case of Western engineered regime change leveraging the good intentions of the ill-informed to mask the covert backing of ugly armed extremists, just as it had done all across the similarly engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011.

In light of the BBC’s report, confirmed intercepted phone conversations between the EU and Estonia regarding the Ukrainian opposition’s hiring of snipers deployed against both police and protesters takes on a new degree of veracity with deepening implications. It also reframes US Senator John McCain’s taking to the stage in Kiev, side-by-side with these overt N@zis as an abhorrent, shameful act bordering on treason and material support of terrorism.

The BBC’s exposure of armed N@zis in Kiev leading the mobs and the overthrow of an elected government, with the overt backing and blessing of the West exposes the Western narrative as outright fabrications. A prime example of this narrative was the Daily Beast’s article, “Putin’s Crimea Propaganda Machine,” which ironically attempts to twist accusations of skewing reality around onto Russia. In it, it states:

    Russia invaded Ukraine over the weekend, justifying its incursion by claming it needed to protect Crimea’s ethnic Russian population from supposed neo-N@zi extremists. This was pure propaganda, of course—Vladmir Putin has been keen to annex land that used to be part of Russia, as he did in Georgia in 2008, and seems to think that the Ukrainian army will and should immediately surrender to the Russian one.

    Still, Putin needed a story to spin, no matter how full of holes, and thus the neo-N@zi claims. But as it turns out, Crimea’s streets are not exactly paved with extremists—a fact that has proven troublesome for Russian state TV channels looking to find token far-right bogeymen.

While the Daily Beast claims Russian state TV is having trouble finding Neo-N@zi extremists in Crimea, it appears the BBC is falling all over them in Kiev. Their existence in the capital of Ukraine, the fact that they are confirmed to be armed and poised to seize and consolidate greater power, is an overt threat to both the people of Kiev, and the rest of the Ukrainian population, and is cause of grave concern for Ukraine’s neighbors – considering the N@zis’ blood-soaked, genocidal origins.

In this light, we see precisely what Russia is attempting to counter, but is being wholly condemned by the West for standing up against. For the West, its ability to ally itself with the most abhorrent ideologies ever conceived by mankind indicates that the supposed principles its society is based upon are merely facades behind which it couches its true ambitions – hegemonic expansion, no different than the violent extremist helping-hands it regularly finds itself collaborating with around the world.

The West Drawing the Long Knives Already?

 The BBC’s sudden “honesty” regarding brigades of armed N@zis infesting western Ukraine, however, is not the result of the British state propaganda arm examining its journalistic conscience, but rather an attempt to throw off extremist thugs that will only, from now on, become a liability for the West’s ambitions in the Eastern European nation.

The West would most likely prefer to replace armed Neo-N@zis with NATO forces, professional mercenaries, and a proxy force of Ukrainians trained and led by Western special forces and intelligence operatives.

Just as the West has done in Afghanistan, where it used sectarian extremists and terrorists to wage a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the 1980′s, only to end up turning on their “allies” from 2001 onward – the West will use the Neo-N@zis of Kiev only for as long as absolutely necessary before turning on them and dumping them. The BBC’s short piece exposing the repugnant nature of the forces that in fact led the so-called “Euromaidan” uprising is perhaps the first step toward achieving this goal.

Those watching the Ukrainian crisis closely will want to monitor the posture the West takes regarding their fascist armed, militant proxies, and be aware of preparations the West might be making to replace them with a more professional, as well as presentable, armed front to consolidate and hold gains made during the violence and chaos that has consumed Kiev for the past several months.



Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 09, 2014, 07:55:00 am

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 10, 2014, 11:47:46 am
Notice how this story is now on the back burner.... Just saying...

Russian troops seize hospital, missile base in Ukraine's Crimea

Russian troops seized a military hospital and a missile base in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea Monday, in the latest show of force in the battle for the country’s disputed future.

Pro-Russian militias joined Russian troops in taking over the hospital in Simferopol -- the region’s main administrative city -- herding staff members into a hallway to apparently “meet the institution’s new directors,” Reuters reported, citing Interfax. The report said 20 patients at the hospital are gravely ill.   

Russian soldiers disarmed servicemen at a Ukrainian Army missile base overnight Friday. Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told a local TV station that some 200 troops approached the building and threatened to charge it if the Ukrainian soldiers refused to give up their weapons.

Crimea's parliament has set a March 16 referendum on joining Russia, which has been denounced by Ukraine's government.

rest: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/10/russian-troops-seize-hospital-missile-base-in-ukraine-crimea/

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 10, 2014, 12:59:09 pm
Notice how this story is now on the back burner.... Just saying...

Yeah noticed that too - this is just my opinion, but I think that whole missing Malaysia airline near China/Pacific coast story that the MSM has been running away with has been nothing but a diversion and a distraction.

No, I'm not trying to say the MSM made it up or anything, but nonetheless they've really been putting this particular story on the frontburner, which has all but flushed out other more important news items.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 10, 2014, 04:39:04 pm
Did Ukraine Just Airlift Its Entire Gold Hoard To The U.S. Fed?

oday an outspoken hedge fund manager out of Hong Kong stunned King World News when he said that the entire Ukrainian gold hoard may have just secretly been flown from Ukraine to the United States.  William Kaye, who 25 years ago worked for Goldman Sachs in mergers and acquisitions, also spoke about the incredible implications of this astonishing development.  Below is what Kaye had to say in this powerful interview.

Kaye:  “There are now reports coming from Ukraine that all of the Ukrainian gold has been airlifted, at 2 AM Ukrainian time, out of the main airport, Boryspil Airport, in Kiev, and is being flown to New York -- the presumable destination being the New York Fed....

Continue reading the William Kaye interview below..

“Now that’s 33 tons of gold which is worth somewhere between $1.5 billion - $2 billion.  That would amount to a very nice down payment to the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland boasted that the United States has already spent in their efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and put in place their own unelected  government.”

Eric King:  “Whether the United States is taking down Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, there always seems to be gold at the end of the rainbow, which the U.S. then appropriates.”

Kaye:  “That’s a good point, Eric.  The United States installed a former banker in Ukraine who is very friendly to the West.  He is also a guy with central bank experience.  This would have been his first major decision to transport that gold out of Ukraine to the United States.

You may recall that allegedly the logistical requirements prevented the New York Fed from returning the 300 tons of gold the United States stores for Germany back to Germany.  After a year of waiting, the New York Fed only sent Germany 5 tons of gold.  So only 5 tons of gold was sent from the Fed to Germany, and it wasn’t even the 5 tons that had been originally stored with the Fed.

Even the Bundesbank has admitted that the gold sent to them by the New York Fed had to be melted down and tested for purity because it wasn’t Germany’s original bars.  So how is it, since logistical requirements are supposedly such a major issue, that in one airlift, assuming this report is accurate, all the gold Ukraine possessed in their vault was taken out of Ukraine and delivered to the New York Fed?

I think anybody with any active brain cells knows that just like Germany, Ukraine will have to wait a very long time, and very likely will never see that gold again.  Meaning, that gold is gone.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 10, 2014, 04:52:11 pm
You may recall that allegedly the logistical requirements prevented the New York Fed from returning the 300 tons of gold the United States stores for Germany back to Germany.  After a year of waiting, the New York Fed only sent Germany 5 tons of gold.  So only 5 tons of gold was sent from the Fed to Germany, and it wasn’t even the 5 tons that had been originally stored with the Fed.

Even the Bundesbank has admitted that the gold sent to them by the New York Fed had to be melted down and tested for purity because it wasn’t Germany’s original bars.  So how is it, since logistical requirements are supposedly such a major issue, that in one airlift, assuming this report is accurate, all the gold Ukraine possessed in their vault was taken out of Ukraine and delivered to the New York Fed?

And remember the plot in the 3rd "Die Hard" installment(1995) - where German terrorists went to rob the fed banks in NYC Wall Street.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 11, 2014, 03:17:58 am
“Now that’s 33 tons of gold which is worth somewhere between $1.5 billion - $2 billion.

33? Really?  ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 11, 2014, 07:12:32 am
Ukraine's ousted President Yanukovych says he was not removed from his office in accordance with Ukraine's constitution - live video

More: Yanukovych says upcoming Ukrainian elections are illegitimate, calls on international community not to support 'anti-constitutional coup' - live video

Yanukovych says US law prevents United States from giving financial aid to illegitimate governments - @Reuters
he is correct on that one. Ukraine was seized by a military coup.

Crimea is breaking away from Ukraine, ousted President Yanukovych tells news conference, blames his opponents - @Reuters

Ukraine parliament warns Crimean assembly it faces dissolution unless March 16 referendum is called off by Wednesday - @Reuters

Report: All flights to Crimea airport suspended except from Russia's capital Moscow - @AFP

European Union leaders to call for greater efforts to cut reliance on imported gas at Brussels summit next week over Ukraine concerns - @Reuters

NATO's E-3A AWACS plane to start mission in Romanian airspace on Tuesday, Romania's defense ministry says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 11, 2014, 09:29:22 am
European Union is set to impose sanctions on Russia starting March 17, Poland's PM Tusk says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 11, 2014, 11:17:16 am
Vladimir Putin Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
Putin said on Tuesday it would honor its obligations to lend Ukraine $15 billion and reduce its gas prices even if the opposition formed the next government. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, CBS News reports.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 13, 2014, 10:54:20 am
Russia Massing Military Forces Near Border With Ukraine

 Russia’s Defense Ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned the Kremlin to abandon the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe.

In Moscow, the military acknowledged significant operations involving armored and airborne troops in the Belgorod, Kursk and Rostov regions abutting eastern Ukraine, where many ethnic Russians have protested against the new interim government in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, and appealed to Moscow for protection.

A day after a deputy minister denied any military buildup on the border, the Defense Ministry released a series of statements beginning early Thursday that appeared to contradict that. They outlined what was described as intensive training of units involving artillery batteries, assault helicopters and at least 10,000 soldiers.

rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/world/europe/ukraine.html?_r=0

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 13, 2014, 02:01:27 pm
John Kerry: Russia has until Monday to reverse course in Ukraine

Secretary of State John Kerry warned of serious repercussions for Russia on Monday if last-ditch talks over the weekend to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to persuade Moscow to soften its stance.

Kerry will travel to London for a Friday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of a Sunday referendum vote in the Crimea region to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

U.S. and European officials argue that Moscow is orchestrating the referendum and waging an intimidation campaign with thousands of Russian troops controlling the region. If Russian-backed lawmakers in Crimea go through with the Sunday referendum, Kerry said the U.S. and its European allies will not recognize it as legitimate under international law.

rest: http://washingtonexaminer.com/john-kerry-russia-has-until-monday-to-reverse-course-in-ukraine/article/2545610

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 13, 2014, 03:17:15 pm
John Kerry: Russia has until Monday to reverse course in Ukraine

...or what?

You gonna write another diplomatic letter with even harsher words?  ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2014, 02:25:56 pm
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says US will respond quickly with sanctions against Russia after Crimea referendum - @markknoller

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2014, 03:11:22 pm
There goes Obama's number 1 war weapon. Who would have thought they would have been so easy to knock down...

Russia says intercepted US drone over Crimea: arms group

A United States surveillance drone has been intercepted above the Ukranian region of Crimea, a Russian state arms and technology group said Friday.

"The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic" technology, said Rostec in a statement.

The drone fell "almost intact into the hands of self-defence forces" added Rostec, which said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

"Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria," Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.

The photograph appeared to show an apparently armed drone in flight, rather than debris.

The Crimean port of Sevastopol is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is believed to be equipped with detection equipment.

Crimea, where pro-Kremlin forces have control, is to hold a referendum on Sunday on the peninsula joining Russia, in what Moscow says is a fair expression of self identity but the West views as an illegal annexation of sovereign territory.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 14, 2014, 04:10:12 pm
Maybe it's scripted, maybe it's not - but either way, Russia seems to be 1-2 steps ahead of the game.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2014, 05:56:28 pm
Russian companies withdraw billions from west, say Moscow bankers

Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow.

Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers.

The flight comes as last-ditch diplomatic talks between Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state to resolve the tensions in Ukraine ended without an agreement.

 Markets were nervous before Sunday’s Crimea referendum on secession from Ukraine. Traders and businesspeople fear this could spark western sanctions against Russia as early as Monday.

Yields on Russia’s 10-year government bonds rose close to 9.7 per cent on Friday, compared with less than 8 per cent in January. The rouble hit 36.7 to the dollar, near to its weakest rate on record.

It also emerged on Friday that Russia’s top 10 billionaires, led by Alisher Usmanov, had lost a combined $6.6bn of their net worth over the past week, according to research firm Wealth-X. Russian equities, which showed more weakness on Friday, have lost 20 per cent of their value since the start of the year.

“You don’t need to have sanctions in place to cause economic turmoil,” said Christopher Granville, managing director of Trusted Sources, an emerging markets research firm. “The expectation is enough.”

Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, who served in the State Department under Bill Clinton, said: “The irony is that the Russian banking sector has made quite a lot of progress in plugging into the global system. That means it is vulnerable, and a good lever for applying pressure.”

Data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sparked speculation that the Russian central bank was also reducing its vulnerability to potential sanctions. The data showed a drop of $105bn in Treasuries held by foreign institutions for the week ending March 12.

“We can only speculate about who might have decided to move their securities out of the Fed and into a third-party custodian, but one obvious candidate is Russia,” said Lou Crandall at Wrightson Icap.

Russia held $138.6bn in US government debt at the end of December, according to the US Treasury.

One senior Moscow banker said 90 per cent of investors were already behaving as if sanctions were in place, adding that this was “prudent exposure management”.

These moves represent the flipside of the more obvious withdrawal of western money from Russian markets that has been evident over the past fortnight.

Traders and bankers said US banks had been particularly heavy sellers of Russian bonds. According to data from the Bank for International Settlements, US banks and asset managers between them have about $75bn of exposure to Russia.

Joseph Dayan, head of markets at BCS, one of Russia’s largest brokers said: “It’s been quite an ugly picture in Russian bonds the last few days and some of it has to do with international banks reducing exposure.”

Although foreign banks have not yet begun cutting credit to Russian companies en masse, bankers said half a dozen live deals to fund some of Russia’s biggest companies were in limbo as lenders waited to see how punitive western sanctions would be.

Bankers said Barclays of the UK had withdrawn from a plan with Russia’s VTB jointly to fund an Essar Energy deal. Barclays declined to comment.

Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister and a member of Vladimir Putin’s economic council, warned on Thursday that sanctions could drive an extra $50bn of capital outflows from the Russian economy per quarter.

The New York Fed and Russia’s central bank declined to comment, as did Sberbank, VTB and Lukoil.

Meanwhile, in a sign of the EU’s continuing economic ties to Russia, South Steam, the gas pipeline project backed by Gazprom of Russia, Eni of Italy, EDF of France and BASF of Germany, announced that it had signed a contract worth about €2bn with Saipem of Italy to build the offshore stretch of the route under the Back Sea from Russia to Bulgaria. Construction is scheduled to start in June.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2014, 06:00:30 pm
Talks in London between Kerry and Lavrov end with impasse on Ukraine

An 11th-hour U.S. effort to head off the growing confrontation with Russia over Ukraine failed Friday, and Moscow shipped more troops and armor into the flash point Crimean region ahead of a planned vote on breaking away from Ukraine and rejoining Russia.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry warned against a “back-door annexation” of the strategic Black Sea peninsula by Russia. But Kerry conceded that six hours of talks with Russia’s top diplomat here neither stopped Sunday’s vote nor opened a new diplomatic path for Moscow to step back from the Cold War-tinged standoff.

U.S. and European sanctions on Russia, the most significant since the collapse of the Soviet Union, were all but certain.

“We don’t have a common vision of the situation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following crisis talks called by Kerry.

No agreements were reached, Lavrov told reporters in Russian. He stressed that Russia still insists on Crimea’s right to hold the referendum Sunday on independence. He said Russia would decide after the vote on how to respond.

When pressed by reporters about whether Russia would annex Crimea after the vote, he said, “There are no what-ifs in politics.”

The meeting came 48 hours before the planned referendum in the Crimea region over whether to secede and join Russia or remain part of Ukraine with greater autonomy.

The vote will be held under the eyes of Russian troops who effectively took control of Crimea late last month, after protesters overthrew the Ukrainian government. The Crimean regional parliament has already voted to leave Ukraine, and the traditionally pro-Russian population of Crimea is expected to approve the idea as well.

[READ: Lavrov is the Russian foreign minister the U.S. loves to hate]

Moscow’s tightening grip on Crimea and the gathering of Russian troops along the two countries’ borders have unnerved Ukrainians and left the country’s fledgling government concerned about further Russian military action. Kerry said those deployments had left the United States “deeply concerned.’’

The United States and other nations have been dangling a diplomatic out for Russia, tacitly acknowledging that the referendum and its pro-Russian outcome were a fait accompli but suggesting that Russia could then avert further escalation by leaving Crimea’s precise status vague.

But Kerry said Lavrov had made it clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not prepared to take that step. Lavrov said Russia will “respect” the results of the plebiscite, and it was clear from Kerry’s tone that the United States fears full annexation.

“We did not find common ground today on the way ahead,” said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the roughly six hours of intensive discussions Friday.

In Washington, President Obama stressed the continued need for “a strong message to Russia that it should not violate the integrity and sovereignty of its neighbor.”

The European Union is expected to impose travel bans and asset freezes Monday on Russians accused of complicity in Moscow’s military incursion and alleged intimidation of Crimea. The E.U. identified more than 120 potential individuals Friday.

Speaking to reporters in London, Lavrov insisted that Russia had no plans to invade Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine. But he echoed a statement issued in Moscow by the Foreign Ministry, which warned that Russia “reserves the right to take people under our protection.’’ Overnight clashes between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk had led to the death of one protester.

The protester who was killed was identified as Dmytro Chernyavskiy, the press secretary of the regional branch of a pro-Ukrainian ultra-nationalist party. Donetsk regional governor Sergey Taruta said in Kiev on Friday that the fighting was provoked by “non-Ukrainian citizens” and pro-Russian activists.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported Friday that a newly announced series of military exercises had expanded to include training missions for fighter jets and helicopters. Ukrainian military officials reported the seizure of another base in Crimea, this one a radar facility taken by Russian Federation soldiers around 3 a.m. Friday.

[Russia supporters in eastern Ukraine pose challenges to government]

In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, campaigning for Sunday’s referendum was in high gear Friday. Vans with megaphones blared Russian music from the streets around the regional parliament, where a large Russian flag already flies.

Vasilyev Maxim, an official from the Russian city of Kursk, said he took $10,000 of his own money and drove to Crimea with thousands of Russian flags to distribute ahead of the vote. “In 30 years, the history books will say Putin took back Crimea to rebuild our country,” he said. “And no one will remember Kerry or that Obama had anything to do with the situation.’ ”

It remains unclear how Moscow will consider Crimea’s status, said Sergei Markedonov, an associate professor of regional studies and foreign policy at the Russian State University for the Humanities.

Putin said at his recent news conference that Russia did not intend to annex Crimea, Markedonov pointed out, and he has not made any public statements to the contrary since then. Crimea could emerge as some kind of de facto state, like Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus, he said.

Lavrov told reporters that there were other precedents for Crimean independence besides Kosovo, referring to the Comoros Islands, which declared independence from France. Crimea, he said, meant far more to Russians than the Comoros did to France.

The talks at the sumptuous central London home of the U.S. ambassador were always a long shot.

Lavrov, a quick-witted diplomat who is often jocular when meeting Kerry, was grim-faced as he entered the meeting. Although he speaks flawless English, he stuck to Russian and spoke through an interpreter as he referred to the “difficult situation we are in.”

The mood may have lightened somewhat as the session continued into the afternoon, far longer than planned. Lavrov’s spokeswoman tweeted a picture of the two men kicking a soccer ball in their dress shoes as they strolled the parklike grounds of the ambassador’s residence.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2014, 06:01:43 pm
War with Russia, Mystery plane.... Wonder what the other hand is doing...


U.S. aims to give up control over Internet administration
By Craig Timberg, Friday, March 14, 5:19 PM

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year.

“The timing is right to start the transition process,” said Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”

The practical consequences of the decision were not immediately clear, but it could alleviate rising global complaints that the United States essentially controls the Web and takes advantage of its oversight role to help spy on the rest of the world.

U.S. officials set strict conditions and an indeterminate timeline for the transition from federal government authority, saying that a new oversight body must be created and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world, officials said. An international meeting to discuss the future of Internet is scheduled for March 24, in Singapore.

The announcement essentially ruled out the possibility that the United Nations would take over the U.S. role, something many nations have advocated and U.S. officials have long opposed.

The looming change — if successfully executed — would end or at least dramatically alter the long-running contract between the U.S. Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based non-profit group that goes by the acronym ICANN. That contract is due to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

“I welcome the beginning of this transition process that you have outlined. The global community will be included in full,” said Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN.

Rumors that the U.S. government would step out of its oversight role sparked concerns among those who long have maintained that ICANN did not do enough to protect security online.

“To set ICANN so-called “free” is a very major step that should done with careful oversight,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We would be very concerned about that step.”

Yet other groups saw the move away from U.S. oversight as inevitable and expressed support for the process if it’s open and embraces the needs of people who use the Internet around the world.

“This is a step in the right direction to resolved important international disputes about how the Internet is governed,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a group that promotes open access to the Internet.

Verizon, one of the world’s biggest Internet providers, issued a statement saying, “A successful transition in the stewardship of these important functions to the global multi-stakeholder community would be a timely and positive step in the evolution of Internet governance.”

ICANN’s most important function is to oversee the assigning of Internet domains — such as .com, .edu and .gov — and ensure that the various companies and universities involved in directing digital traffic do so safely. ICANN is midway through a massive and controversial expansion that is adding hundreds of new domains, such as .book, .gay and .army, to the Internet’s infrastructure.

It long has faced complaints that the highly profitable domain name industry, which sells individual Web addresses for hefty markups, had established practical control over ICANN, to the detriment of other users. Rumors that the U.S. government would relinquish control were enough to alarm some business leaders on Friday.

Chehade addressed such concerns, saying, “Nothing will be done in any way to jeopardize the security and stability of the Internet.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 05:00:50 am
Photo: Russian flag flying outside Crimean parliament ahead of Sunday's referendum - @khaddon


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 15, 2014, 05:10:09 am
but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web

That's silly! There is nothing smooth about the internet in the US. We have on average the slowest speeds, and the highest prices ON THE PLANET!

The US managing the internet has been an abject failure.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 07:50:11 am
Photo: Protesters march in anti-war demonstration in Moscow - @varlamov

Photo: People chant 'Russia!' as several thousand gather at protest in Donetsk, Ukraine - @mike_giglio

Cheers heard from crowd in Donetsk, Ukraine, as Ukrainian flag taken down at security headquarters, replaced by flag of local pro-Russia group - @mike_giglio

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 10:10:50 am
Ukraine's military scrambled aircraft and paratroops to repel an attempt by Russian forces to enter a long spit of land belonging to a region adjacent to Crimea, Ukraine's defense ministry says - @Reuters

Diplomats gather at the UN Chamber for the vote on the UN Security Council Resolution on Ukraine - via @AdiKhair

for what? Russia has VETO power.  :D

French President Francois Hollande says Paris will review its military cooperation with Russia as part of a 3rd level of sanctions if Moscow does not de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine - @Reuters

I bet Putin juts gave a sigh of relief.  ;D

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 10:21:49 am
UN Security Council voting now on a resolution on the situation in Ukraine -

Russia vetoes UN resolution that says Sunday's referendum in Ukraine's Crimea will not be valid - @Reuters

China abstains on UN Security Council vote on Ukraine - @APDiploWriter

 :D woops

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 01:35:31 pm
This video reportedly shows the Russian invasion into Kherson, Ukraine - via YouTube user larintelio


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 03:13:57 pm
Crimea to vote on joining Russia, Moscow wields U.N. veto

 Pro-Russian leaders in Crimea made final preparations on Saturday for a referendum widely expected to transfer control of the Black Sea region from Ukraine to Moscow, despite an outcry and threat of sanctions from the West.

Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that declared the referendum invalid, as Ukraine's defense ministry scrambled aircraft and paratroopers to confront what it said was a Russian encroachment just beyond Crimea's formal regional boundary.

Ukraine's new rulers accused "Kremlin agents" of fomenting violence in the Russian-speaking east of the country. They urged people not to respond to provocations that Kiev fears Moscow may use to justify further incursions after its takeover of Crimea.

Russia issued a new statement saying it was ready to protect Ukrainians from nationalist militants who it said were threatening eastern cities.

Sunday's vote in Crimea, dismissed as illegal by Kiev and Western governments, has triggered the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. It also marks a new peak in turmoil in Ukraine that goes back to November, when the now-ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, walked away from a trade deal with the European Union.

"This annexation ... goes beyond Ukraine. It concerns us all," France's U.N. ambassador said after the Security Council vote. U.S. President Barack Obama is sending Vice President Joe Biden with a message of reassurance to Poland, a former Soviet bloc state, and the Baltic states, which until 1991 were ruled by Moscow.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted there should be no new Cold War in an age of globalization and economic interdependence: "We hope with all our heart that both we and our partners have enough political wisdom and sense of political realism to avoid sliding into an even deeper confrontation."

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer is extending exercises in the Black Sea. Along with NATO air patrols on Ukraine's western border, such maneuvers aim to send signals of resolve.


Though the situation was calm in Crimea ahead of the vote, tensions remained high in eastern Ukraine, where two people were killed in Kharkiv late on Friday.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, whose election in a closed session of the regional parliament is not recognized by Kiev, said there were enough security personnel to ensure the poll would be safe.

"I think we have enough people - more than 10,000 in the self-defense forces, more than 5,000 in different units of the Interior Ministry and the security services of the Crimean Republic," he told reporters.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament voted to dissolve Crimea's regional assembly, which has organized the referendum and backs union with Russia. But the move was symbolic, as Kiev has lost both political and military control of the peninsula.

On Kiev's Independence Square or Maidan - heart of the revolt against the Moscow-backed Yanukovich - hundreds of people chanted "Crimea is Ukraine! Crimeans, we support you!"

Aksyonov and Moscow do not officially acknowledge that Russian troops have taken control of Crimea. They say that thousands of unidentified armed men, visible across the region, belong to "self-defense" groups created to ensure stability.

But the Russian military has done little to hide the arrival of thousands of soldiers, along with trucks, armored vehicles and artillery. Masked gunmen surrounding Ukrainian military bases in Crimea have identified themselves as Russian troops.

Ukraine's military said it confronted Russian forces which crossed Crimea's regional border on a remote sand spit, some 30 km (20 miles) off the mainland. Crimea's separatist government said these were its own 'self-defense forces', which had moved to defend a gas pumping station.

Ukrainian officials said no shots were exchanged.


Moscow leases the Crimean port of Sevastopol from Kiev to station its Black Sea Fleet. Under the deal it can station up to 25,000 troops there but their movements are restricted onshore.

Polling stations will open at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Sunday and close 12 hours later. Preliminary results are expected within hours of polls closing on Sunday night.

Crimea's electorate of 1.5 million will choose between two options - but both imply Russian control of the peninsula.

Many of the ethnic Russians who form the majority on the peninsula seem likely to back the first choice on the ballot, union with Russia, if only for economic reasons. A second option is independence, initially within Ukraine, that Crimea's new leaders say they will use as a basis for accepting Russian rule.

Ethnic Tatars - Sunni Muslims of Turkic origin who make up 12 percent of Crimea's population - have said they will boycott the referendum, despite promises by the authorities to give them financial aid and proper land rights.

Acting Ukrainian president Oleksander Turchinov referred to three deaths in two days in two eastern cities - Donetsk and Kharkiv - and said there was "a real danger" of invasion by Russian troops across Ukraine's eastern border.

Both cities have large numbers of Russian-speakers - significant since Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to protect ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine. His foreign ministry said on Saturday it would consider requests from people in Ukraine for protection - similar language to that used to justify Moscow's move in Crimea.

Addressing members of Yanukovich's party, Turchinov said: "You know as well as we do who is organizing mass protests in eastern Ukraine - it is Kremlin agents who are organizing and funding them, who are causing people to be murdered."

Two men, described by police as pro-Russian demonstrators, were shot dead in a fight in Kharkiv late on Friday. A Ukrainian nationalist was stabbed to death when pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine demonstrators clashed in Donetsk on Thursday.

Turchinov told parliament: "There is a real danger from threats of invasion of Ukrainian territory."


Russia has refused to recognize the new Western-backed interim administration in Kiev. Its foreign ministry unnerved the new authorities in Kiev by saying clashes in Donetsk showed Ukrainians had lost control of the situation there.

Ukraine's interior minister accused ousted president Yanukovich of promoting unrest with "extremist Russian forces". Arsen Avakov issued an appeal on Facebook: "Don't let them manipulate you! ... This isn't a game of toy soldiers."

Two men, aged 21 and 30, were killed in Kharkiv by buckshot late on Friday when pro-Russian demonstrators besieged an office of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, which rose to prominence fighting riot police in Kiev over the winter.

Police said 32 Right Sector activists and six pro-Russian demonstrators were detained and a number of weapons seized.

Kharkiv governor Ihor Baluta, newly appointed by the interim authorities in Kiev, called the incident a "well-planned provocation by pro-Russian activists".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had information that armed Right Sector militants were opening an "eastern front" and planning to reinforce their activists in eastern cities.

Western powers, preparing economic sanctions against Russia over Crimea, largely dismiss Russia's characterization of the new authorities in Kiev as the successors of Nazi-allied Ukrainian forces which fought the Red Army in World War Two.

Authorities in Kharkiv banned political gatherings that were planned in the city over the weekend. In Donetsk, hundreds of people rallied in Lenin Square, flying Russian flags and calling for a referendum in the region similar to that in Crimea.

In Moscow, a large crowd estimated by witnesses at some 30,000 demonstrated against Russia's action in Ukraine, in the biggest protest against Putin in two years - a sign his moves against Ukrainian leaders brought to power by street protests might be a rallying point for the jaded Russian opposition.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 03:45:36 pm
U.S. Preps for Russian Retaliation

As Russian tanks amass on the Ukrainian border and John Kerry travels for a last-ditch meeting with his Russian counterpart, signs are increasing that Washington and Moscow are preparing for a series of punitive and retaliatory measures following a planned referendum in Crimea on Sunday.
Related Stories

President Obama and his team have repeatedly and loudly warned Vladimir Putin that unless Russia deescalates the current crisis, the U.S. in conjunction with its European partners will begin to increase the “costs” for the Russian government and business community, through a series of sanctions and other tactics. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Obama administration is preparing for the blowback that will sure come when Russia retaliates.

“Of course we are looking at the possibility of retaliation,” one administration official told The Daily Beast. “We’re looking at all areas of cooperation we have with the Russians.

"I don't want to go into all of the detail, except to say this: It can get ugly fast [if] the wrong choices are made," Kerry noted in Congressional testimony this week. "And it can get ugly in multiple directions."

One administration official told The Daily Beast that the White House’s National Security Council is leading an interagency process to examine all of the possible retaliatory steps Moscow might take if U.S. and European sanctions move forward. The potential counterstrikes include what this official called “asymmetric” actions by Moscow -- Russian actions against the U.S. that have nothing to do with Ukraine.

The NSC is preparing for potential Russian actions on all issues in its multi-faceted relationship with the United Stated: American military access to Afghanistan through Russia; Moscow’s cooperation on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles; Russian pressure on Iran to strike a deal over its nuclear program; and much, much more.

American and European businesses in Russia could also fall victim to the Russian retaliation, especially if the West goes after Russian oligarchs and business leaders as part of its plan to pressure Putin, as the Obama administration has threatened.

There is a need to coordinate the preparations for Russian retaliation inside the White House because each U.S. government agency that deals with Russia might seek to protect its own projects, the official added. There is also disagreement inside the administration over how far to go with sanctions against Russia -- and how much economic pain to subject the American economy to in the name of punishing Putin.

The New York Times reported this week that inside the Obama administration, State Department officials are pressing for tougher sanctions sooner, while officials from the Treasury Department, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and White House economic office are urging more caution.

American and Russian officials both said Moscow is waiting to see what the West does before it decides how to strike back. But what all agree is that there will be a price to pay and U.S. businesses could be caught up in the fight.

“If we levy sanctions on Russia, there will be a counterstrike,” said Nick Burns, who served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. “We just need to make sure we don’t get surprised and we know what they are going to do in response. And you have to be aware of the trade-offs.”

The most likely retaliation: proportional responses for Moscow if Washington and its allies start freezing certain Russians’ assets and banning them from getting visas to Western countries.

For example, the U.S. Congress may work to expand the Magnitsky list, a roster of Russian human rights violators banned from traveling to the U.S., to include those involved in the invasion of Crimea. Moscow already has its own visa ban list for Americans, and could expand that in response.

“If we have mainly visa sanctions, then they are probably are going to have countermanding visa sanctions on us. If we have trade sanctions, they will very definitely take action against a corresponding American firm or industry or product,” said Burns. “The Russians are going to make sure there is parity. We are going to have to assume that. That’s what the administration is considering right now.”

U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil and Ford have huge investments in Russia and could also become targets for retaliation. But Moscow also must keep in mind that sanctions Western businesses in Russia could cause a side effect of damaging the fragile Russian economy as well, he said.

Many European countries are more vulnerable to Russian retaliation due to their dependence on Russia for their natural gas. That’s why some Western European governments have been pushing back against Washington on the drive for tougher sanctions. The gap between the U.S. and countries such as France is hurting the effectiveness of the sanctions drive, experts said.

“What the Europeans need above all is a strong demonstration of American leadership, because without that they aren’t going to do much,” said Ian Brzezinski, senior fellow at The Atlantic Council.

There’s also a concern that in the effort to minimize the blowback from Moscow, the White House will produce sanctions too weak to convince Putin to change his calculus on Ukraine.

“The administration has got to make sure its measures are firm and strong and hard hitting and comprehensive, including diplomatic and military measures,” said Brzezinkski. “They should be less focused on calibration and retaliation control, and they should focus more on sending a strong message to Putin.”

In Congressional testimony Thursday Kerry said that if the referendum goes ahead on Sunday, U.S. and European actions against Moscow would start Monday.

Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London Friday to try to negotiate a compromise over Crimea ahead of a Sunday referendum on secession that the U.S. said it would never recognize. A senior State Department official added that Kerry also warned Lavrov in a Thursday phone call about impending sanctions if Russia proceeded with aggressive moves.

Yet Russia’s help is crucial when it comes to completing the effort to remove Syria’s chemical weapons by a June deadline. Kerry noted on Thursday that the upcoming confrontation with Moscow could impact that. “Now there's a question mark about where that's going to go,” he said.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman is headed to Vienna next week for negotiations between Iran and world powers, including the U.S. and Russia. Administration officials said Thursday that as of now, there is no indication Russia is linking that effort to the current impasse over Ukraine.

Then there’s Afghanistan. The U.S. military has, for years, used this so-called “Northern Distribution Network” through Russia to supply its troops. They’d like to use the same path to get equipment out, especially with continued volatility in Pakistan. Gen. Joseph Dunford, who commands the war effort in Afghanistan, testified this week that the military could complete its withdrawal even if Russia cuts off the route.

"We've got resilience in the system and I'm not concerned at all about a loss of the Russian (routes in the) Northern Distribution Network," Dunford said. 


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 04:46:32 pm
Ukraine mobilizes their SS brigades

Concerns as Ukraine’s govt hastily revamps Maidan squads into National Guard

The creation of Ukraine’s National Guard – the custodian of the coup-imposed government – has raised concerns that it may later be deployed to eastern regions of Ukraine to suppress the population increasingly standing up against Kiev.

Ukraine has established a National Guard which will be comprised of former and current Ukrainian troops and volunteers from Maidan self-defense squads. Its declared goal, according to the statement of the country’s parliament, is the protection of Ukrainians against external and internal aggression as well as ensuring territorial integrity of the country.

A decree enabling the creation of National Guard has already been signed by the coup-imposed President of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, after it was hastily passed by the parliament on Thursday. A total of 262 members of the Rada voted in favor of establishing the Ukrainian National Guard. According to the law, the National Guard's chief will be appointed by the Rada upon the recommendation of the acting president.

The Guard will be compromised of 60,000 men and women and its official tasks will be to protect and safeguard the lives, rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, society and the state from criminal and other unlawful acts. In addition, the guard will ensure public order in cooperation with law enforcement authorities, protect state borders, combat terrorism, as well as the suppress the activities of illegal paramilitary or armed organized groups or individuals.

The National Guard will be able to carry out the functions of any law enforcement agency in the post-coup country, as the existing agencies cannot be fully relied upon, considering the questionable legitimacy of the new rulers and the public discontent in eastern regions.

Ukraine previously established the National Guard in 1991 with a similar role, as the remnants of the former Soviet army were then considered unreliable. In 1995, it became the personal praetorian guard of President Leonid Kuchma. It was later disbanded in 2000.

Yet experts are already beginning to question the true motives behind the formation of the new combat force in Ukraine. Historian Vladimir Skachko argues that the Guard will be used to antagonize the Russian speaking population, and he has called the creation of the special force “legalization of neo-**** and neo-fascist batons.”

Citing historical examples from 20th century European history, Skachko draws a parallel with the SA, or Brownshirts, a paramilitary wing of the **** Party, which acted as death squads.

This theory appears to hold ground, considering the coming of extreme right-associated politicians to key posts in the coup-installed Ukrainian government.

 The new secretary of Ukraine's Security Council, Andrey Parubiy, was one of the founders of the Neo-**** Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU), known as Svoboda party. Parubiy, according to numerous reports was in control of the building, from which snipers attacked the central Kiev in February.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Sych is also a member of Svoboda, which reportedly uses **** symbols, flying WWII era nationalist flags from the time when Ukrainian ****s collaborated with Berlin. The self-imposed prosecutor general of Ukraine, Oleg Makhnitsky is also a member of Svoboda.

A 1999 report from Tel-Aviv University called the Svoboda party "an extremist, right-wing, nationalist organization which emphasizes its identification with the ideology of German National Socialism."

On Friday, Moscow launched a criminal investigation into Svoboda’s leader Oleg Tyagnibok for his alleged role in fighting Russian forces in Chechnya.

Another key figure is Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, which was instrumental in setting up the National Guard forces. The Right Sector is an alliance of neo-fascist groups including UNA-UNSO, Patriot of Ukraine who allegedly fought against Russian troops in Chechnya and Moldova.

Russia placed Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged with inciting terrorism, after the Right Sector’s social page published an address to Doku Umarov, Moscow’s most wanted man, to attack Russia. Yarosh later said the page was hacked and the address was fabricated.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Kiev are trying to channel the neo-**** “combustible material” away from the capital, historian Vladimir Skachko believes. Most likely, he says they would be dispersed around Crimea.

The idea is supported by sources cited by the editor-in-chief of National Defense Magazine Igor Korotchenko, who told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that ‘Maidan commissars’ have joined the ranks of the National guard.

“Rotation of forces is taking place, to move the military units to new locations. New authorized political representatives posts are created for those troops that are being sent to South-East and the Crimean borders,” Korotchenko said, claiming his information came from his Ukrainian sources.

The National Guard units, he says, would act as guardians of the coup leadership and ideals.

“Roughly speaking, these will be the commissars of the Maidan, people with executive functions and the right to dismiss field commanders in case of any suspicion of disloyalty to the new Ukrainian authorities,” the journalist elaborated, saying the troops will be deployed to those areas which seek greater autonomy from Kiev and might be used “against the population and the Self-Defense Forces of Crimea.”

Kiev’s continued economic struggles make some experts wonder who will support Ukraine’s military reform.

“Most of the financial assistance allocated to Ukraine by foreign countries, will focus on the establishment and maintenance of the National Guard of Ukraine,” former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Vladimir Tereshchenko.

Tereshchenko says that financially supporting the Ukrainian Navy and army is being neglected by Kiev “thus emphasizing the priority of the domestic power structure” on the National Guard, which will receive the funds.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 06:41:25 pm
Welcome to the world of 21st century warfare

NATO spokesperson: Several NATO websites target of 'significant' denial-of-service attack; 'working to restore normal function' - @WorldNews

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 15, 2014, 06:56:09 pm
Crimeans set to vote in referendum to leave Ukraine for Russia

Crimeans decide on Sunday whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum that has infuriated Kiev and triggered the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.

Thousands of Russian troops have taken control of the Black Sea peninsula, and Crimea's pro-Russian leaders have worked hard to ensure that the vote is tilted in Moscow's favor.

That, along with an ethnic Russian majority, is expected to result in a comfortable "yes" vote to leave Ukraine, a move that could prompt U.S. and European sanctions as early as Monday against those seen as responsible for the takeover of Crimea.

Polling stations open at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) and close 12 hours later. Provisional results will be released late on Sunday with the final tally expected one or two days later.

The majority of Crimea's 1.5 million electorate support leaving Ukraine and becoming a part of Russia, citing expectations of better pay and becoming part of a country capable of asserting itself on the world stage.

But others see the referendum as nothing more than a power grab by bullies in the Kremlin prepared to exploit Ukraine's relative economic and military weakness.

Sergei, a Sevastopol resident, said he would vote for Crimea to join Russia, but that the referendum was dividing families.

"I haven't spoken to my brother Maxim since last month after we argued on the phone about the situation. He lives in Kiev and his wife has brainwashed him into supporting extremists there."


Russian President Vladimir Putin has justified his aggressive stance on Crimea by saying "fascists" in Kiev ousted his ally, Viktor Yanukovich, in February following a violent uprising in which nearly 100 people were killed.

The protests began when Yanukovich turned his back on a trade deal with Europe and decided instead on closer economic ties with Ukraine's former Soviet overlord - Russia.

Kiev and Western governments have declared the referendum illegal, but have been powerless to stop it.

According to a format of the ballot paper issued last week, voters will have two options to choose from - but both imply Russian control of the peninsula.

Ethnic Tatars, Sunni Muslims of Turkic origin who make up 12 percent of Crimea's population, said they would boycott the referendum, despite promises by the authorities to give them financial aid and proper land rights.

The streets of the Crimean capital Simferopol have been largely calm in the days leading up to the vote, although the heavy presence of armed men, many wearing black balaclavas, has created an unnerving atmosphere in the normally sleepy town.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, whose election two weeks ago in a closed session of the regional parliament is not recognized by Kiev, does not officially acknowledge that Russian troops are in control of Crimea - a position also maintained by Moscow.

They say that thousands of unidentified armed men, visible across the region, belong to "self-defense" groups created to ensure stability.


But the Russian military, which leases the Crimean naval base of Sevastopol from Ukraine, has done little to hide the arrival of thousands of soldiers, along with trucks, armored vehicles and artillery.

Masked gunmen surrounding Ukrainian military bases in Crimea have identified themselves as Russian troops.

Adding to tensions on the eve of the referendum, Ukraine's military on Saturday confronted Russian forces which crossed Crimea's regional border on a remote sand spit, some 30 km (20 miles) off the mainland.

Crimea's separatist government said its own forces had moved to defend a gas pumping station. Ukrainian officials said no shots were exchanged.

Late on Saturday, around 30 policemen carrying automatic weapons entered a Simferopol hotel popular with foreign journalists and took over the fourth floor.

The regional defense minister said security personnel had been called out on a false alarm, and accused Kiev of waging an "information war". Several witnesses said they believed the incident was designed to intimidate the media.

In the run-up to the referendum, the worst violence in Ukraine has been in the east, where acting president Oleksander Turchinov said there had been three deaths in two days.

He also said there was "a real danger" of invasion by Russian troops across the eastern border. The area has a large number of Russian-speakers - significant since Putin has vowed to protect ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 05:02:38 am
Ukraine crisis: Crimea holds secession referendum

Crimea is voting on whether to rejoin Russia or stay with Ukraine but with more autonomy.

The referendum has been condemned as "illegal" by Kiev and the West but is backed by Moscow.

Since the fall of Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian troops have in effect taken control of the majority ethnic-Russian region.

Voters are expected to support leaving Ukraine, but Crimean Tatars are boycotting the poll.

The BBC's Ben Brown at a polling station in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, reported a strong turnout - with 100 people arriving in the first 10 minutes after polls opened.

Polling stations across Crimea opened at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT) and will close 12 hours later.

rest: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26598832

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 07:50:48 am
Crimea's parliament schedules session for Monday to approve result of referendum - @BBCNews

Defense ministries of Ukraine, Russia, agree truce in Crimea until March 21, acting Ukrainian defense minister says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 11:31:59 am
Crimea referendum is illegal and illegitimate and outcome will not be recognized, EU's Barroso and Van Rompuy say - @Reuters

John Kerry reiterated to Russia's Lavrov that US regards Crimea referendum as illegal and will not recognize its outcome. senior US official says - @Reuters

Commission chair in Crimea announces turnout has reached 63% as vote continues - @nickschifrin

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 01:26:31 pm
Exit polls show 93% of voters in Ukraine's Crimea supported union with Russia - @riabreakingnews via @Reuters

White House says it rejects referendum in Crimean region of Ukraine; calls Russia's actions 'dangerous and destabilizing' - @Reuters
US rejects Crimea vote held under 'threats of violence and intimidation' by Russian military - @AP

 ::) But the coup they orchestrated in Ukraine was ok...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 04:31:20 pm
Crimea voters overwhelmingly approve referendum to secede from Ukraine

Crimean voters on Sunday overwhelmingly backed a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in an election denounced by the United States, Europe and the Ukrainian government as illegal and destabilizing.

Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds after the vote, which election officials said stood at 95 percent with more than half of the ballots counted.

The vote offered voters on the strategic Black Sea peninsula the choice of seeking annexation by Russia or remaining in Ukraine with greater autonomy.

Opponents of secession appeared to largely stay away Sunday, denouncing the vote as a cynical power play/land grab by Russia. But turnout was reported to be well above the 50 percent that would make the referendum binding -- and secession was expected to be approved overwhelmingly.

"Today is an important day for all of Crimea, Ukraine and Russia," voter Manita Meshchina said in Sevastopol, the Crimean port where Russia now leases a major naval base from Ukraine for $98 million a year.

More than 70 people surged into a polling station in the city within the first 15 minutes of voting Sunday.

"Today is a holiday!" said 66-year-old Vera Sverkunova, breaking into a patriotic war song:  "I want to go home to Russia. It's been so long since I've seen my mama."

The referendum comes two weeks after Russian-led forces seized control of Crimea. Locals say they fear the new Ukrainian government that took over when President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last month will oppress them.

"It's like they're crazy Texans in western Ukraine. Imagine if the Texans suddenly took over power (in Washington) and told everyone they should speak Texan," said Ilya Khlebanov, a voter in the Crimean capital of Simferopol.

Ukraine's new prime minister insisted again Sunday that neither Ukraine nor the West will recognize the referendum, which he said was conducted at gunpoint.

"Now, on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea under the stage direction of the Russian Federation, a circus performance is underway: the so-called referendum," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a government meeting. "Also taking part in the performance are 21,000 Russian troops, who with their guns are trying to prove the legality of the referendum."

Russia raised the stakes Saturday when its forces, backed by helicopter gunships and armored vehicles, took control of the Ukrainian village of Strilkove and a key natural gas distribution plant nearby-- the first Russian military move into Ukraine beyond the Crimean peninsula of 2 million people.  The Russian forces later returned the village but kept control of the gas plant.

On Sunday, Ukrainian soldiers were digging trenches and erecting barricades between the village and the gas plant.

"We will not let them advance further into Ukrainian territory," said Serhiy Kuz, commander of a Ukrainian paratrooper battalion.

Despite the sanctions threat, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vigorously resisted calls to pull back in Crimea.  At the United Nations on Saturday, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution declaring the referendum illegal. China, its ally, abstained and 13 of the 15 other nations on the council voted in favor -- a signal of Moscow's isolation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Putin by phone Sunday, proposing that an international observer mission in Ukraine be expanded quickly as tensions rise in the east. Her spokesman said she also condemned the Russian seizure of the gas plant.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke and agreed to support constitutional reforms in Ukraine that could ease the tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Ukraine's Regional Policy Minister Volodymyr Groisman told The Associated Press that the new government was already working on giving towns and regions more autonomy but said there were no plans to turn Ukraine into a federation.

In Donetsk, one of the main cities in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russia demonstrators called Sunday for a referendum similar to the one in Crimea and some of them stormed the prosecutor-general's office.

In Sevastopol,  speakers blared the city anthem up and down the streets, giving off a block-party feeling. But the military threat was not far away -- a Russian naval warship still blocked the port's outlet to the Black Sea, trapping Ukrainian boats.

At a polling station inside a historic school, tears came to Vladimir Lozovoy, a 75-year-old retired Soviet naval officer, as he talked about his vote.

"I want to cry. I have finally returned to my motherland. It is an incredible feeling. This is the thing I have been waiting for for 23 years," he said.

But Crimea's large Muslim Tatar minority -- whose families had been forcibly removed from their homeland and sent to Central Asia during Soviet times -- remained defiant.

The Crimea referendum "is a clown show, a circus," Tatar activist Refat Chubarov said on Crimea's Tatar television station. "This is a tragedy, an illegitimate government with armed forces from another country."

The fate of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in their Crimean bases by pro-Russian forces was still uncertain. Crimea's pro-Russian authorities have said if those soldiers don't surrender after Sunday's vote, they will be considered "illegal."

"This is our land and we're not going anywhere from this land," Ukraine's acting defense minister, Igor Tenyuk, was quoted as saying Sunday by the Interfax news agency.

But Tenyuk later said an agreement had been reached with Russia that its forces would not block Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea through Friday. It was not clear exactly what that meant.

On the streets of Simferopol, blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags were nowhere to seen but red, white and blue Russian and Crimean flags fluttered in abundance.

Ethnic Ukrainians interviewed outside the Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral of Vladimir and Olga said they refused to take part in the referendum, calling it an illegal charade stage-managed by Moscow. Some said they were scared of the potential for widespread discrimination and harassment in the coming weeks, similar to what happened in parts of nearby Georgia, another former Soviet republic, after its 2008 war with Russia.

"We're just not going to play these separatist games," said Yevgen Sukhodolsky, a 41-year-old prosecutor from Saki, a town outside Simferopol. "Putin is the fascist. The Russian government is fascist."

Vasyl Ovcharuk, a retired gas pipe layer who worked at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, predicted dark days ahead for Crimea.

"This will end up in military action, in which peaceful people will suffer. And that means everybody. Shells and bullets are blind," he said.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 16, 2014, 08:16:03 pm
Referendum may see Venice elect to secede from Italy...

Battle in Canada rekindled with Quebec election...

Scottish independence looms...

As a Scott by descent, i can only hope

So Obama? You against all these also? Illegal by UN mandate? What about all the US Secession that is happening right now?

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 17, 2014, 05:08:55 am
Election chief Mikhail Malyshev says final referendum tally was 96.8 percent in favor of splitting from Ukraine - @AP

Turnout in Crimea referendum was 83.1% with 1.2 million people casting votes - @cnnbrk

Crimean parliament passes independence resolution following referendum, formally applies to join Russia - Interfax, @Reuters

Crimea nationalizes all Ukraine state property on its territory following ratification of referendum - @whitegl

President Putin will address a joint session of Russia's parliament about Crimea on Tuesday - @itartassnews_en, @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 17, 2014, 04:35:08 pm
Russia Will Sanction U.S. Senators

Putin is set to respond to Obama's sanctions of Russian officials with his own list. Several U.S. Senators and officials will be banned from visiting Russia, including Sen. Dick Durbin.

U.S. senators, congressmen and top Obama administration officials are sure to be on Vladimir Putin’s sanctions list; a response to the Obama Administration’s announcement on Monday that 7 Russian officials and 4 Ukrainian officials would be barred from holding assets or traveling to the United States.

Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Durbin’s inclusion on Putin’s list would mirror Obama’s naming of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are not expected to be on the Russian sanctions list.

UPDATE: Durbin told The Daily Beast in a statement Monday: "My Lithuanian-born mother would be proud her son made Vladimir Putin’s American enemies list."

Sen. John McCain, who traveled to Kiev last weekend to meet with Ukrainian leaders, told The Daily Beast that he expects to be on the list and is happy about it.

“You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain said. “I would be honored to be on that list.”

McCain said he would not be impacted financially by being subject to a visa ban and asset freeze in the Russian Federation.

“I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg,” he joked.

Other names that could be on the Russian sanctions list, although not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who are leading the sanctions drive in the Senate, and Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, who has been heavily involved in working with the Ukrainian opposition that ousted the Yanokovich government.

One U.S. official who can rest easy is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who will not be on Putin’s sanctions list. It's been an ongoing rumor in administration circles that Carney is quietly lobbying to replace former Ambassador Mike McFaul as the next U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, who will also not be on the list. (Today, Carney denied he is seeking the job)

The tit for tat sanctions are not likely to convince either side to back down from their position over the Russian invasion of Crimea, McCain said.“If we acquiesced to that, that would be a green light for him to go for Moldova, where there are also Russian troops,” said McCain. “That’s the problem with this appeasement policy.”

McCain is advocating for a series of more serious steps, which include the immediate arming of the Ukrainian military, which the administration has rejected for now, promising to help the Ukrainian military develop over the long term, rethinking U.S. approaches to Putin, and restarting U.S. missile defense projects in Eastern Europe.

There are signs that Putin is preparing a scenario ahead of a possible invasion of Eastern Ukraine, including sending Russian intelligence agents inside Ukraine to stir up unrest as a pretext for a possible expansion of the invasion.

“I’m not sure about Eastern Ukraine, but Putin has put everything in place for a de facto partition of Eastern Ukraine,” he said. “Will he do it? I don’t know. But I don’t think he can be discouraged from that by these limited actions by the United States… We must commit to the ultimate return of Crimea to Ukraine, just as we promised to the so-called captive nations that they would eventually be free of Soviet domination.”

Administration officials said that today’s actions were just initial steps, meant to increase pressure on Putin but also allowing him the opportunity to deescalate before the U.S. moves forward with further sanctions designations. The U.S. could increase sanctions to include Russian business leaders and institutions that are determined to be aiding officials implicated in the Crimea invasion.

“Our actions today demonstrate our firm commitment to holding those responsible accountable for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. “We are thoroughly prepared to take increasing and responsive steps that would impose further political and economic costs.  At the same time, we want to be clear that a path of de-escalation remains available to the Russians, should they choose to use it."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 17, 2014, 04:37:30 pm
Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions

 Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today  asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn’t appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal,  took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting  he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list

In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.

Surkov,  a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Here’s who gets hit with the sanctions:

U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the “key ideologists and architects” of Russia’s Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing “human rights and liberties” in Russia.

The sanctions freeze any assets under American jurisdiction and prevent American banks from doing business with the named individual, essentially freezing them out of the international banking system. The sanctions also impose a ban on their travel to the United States. Separately, but in coordination with the White House, the European Union announced sanctions today on 21 individuals that it plans to name later. U.S. officials told reporters that the American and European lists “overlapped” in some area, but declined to say how.

While some of the sanctioned officials are bold faced names, the White House move is unlikely to affect Russia’s decision making with regard to Crimea’s bid to join the Russian Federation. Russia’s stock market actually improved on the news that so few officials were included on the list. U.S. officials warned that, if Russia does go ahead with annexation of Crimea, additional penalties will follow, with more, harsher measures to come if Russia attempts to enter eastern Ukraine.

Kremlin aides

Vladislav Surkov – An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.

Sergei Glazyev – An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.

Top government official

Dmitry Rogozin – An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.

 Russian lawmakers

Elena Mizulina – A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.

Leonid Slutsky – A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

Andrei Klishas – A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society.

Valentina Matviyenko – The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.

Crimean officials

Sergey Aksyonov – Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.

Vladimir Konstantinov – The newly declared speaker of Crimea’s parliament.

Ukrainian officials

Viktor Medvedchuk – A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support” to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.

Viktor Yanukovich – The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 17, 2014, 09:42:13 pm
Analysis: Ukraine casts pall over Iran nuke talks

VIENNA (AP) — Tehran may have a new ally when Iran nuclear talks reconvene Tuesday — the Ukraine crisis. U.S.-Russian tensions over Ukraine could fray the search for consensus on what Iran needs to do to ease fears it could make atomic arms.

Both Washington and Moscow are emphasizing that their commitment to eliminating any Iranian proliferation threat overrides their clash over Ukraine. But diplomats tell The Associated Press that Moscow and Washington are wide apart on how much Tehran needs to trim its nuclear program, a split that Iran could exploit.

In a more immediate sign of possible trouble ahead, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif cancelled a planned pre-talks dinner Monday with the European Union's foreign policy chief over her meetings with opposition activists in Iran earlier this month.

Ahead of the resumption of the Vienna talks, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said she expects Russia to "remain an active partner" in the attempt to persuade Tehran to agree to long-term nuclear curbs in exchange for full sanctions relief.

A senior Russian diplomat said his country would work "actively" to reach a deal. He demanded anonymity because he did not have permission from Moscow to comment.

But former U.S. nuclear negotiator Gary Samore says any superpower tensions will make Tehran feel "under much less pressure to make concessions."

That, in turn, could affect what the U.S. sees as central goal — reducing the number of Iranian centrifuges set up at uranium enrichment sites.

Iran says its enrichment program is meant only to make lower-enriched fuel for reactors, scientific research or for medical treatments. But because enrichment to very high levels creates weapons-grade uranium that can be used in nuclear warheads, Washington wants Tehran to scale back from nearly 20,000 centrifuges to no more than a few thousand.

Russia's demands are far less strict. Two diplomats told the AP that Moscow was open to Iran keeping many more of the machines — perhaps even the status quo of the nearly 20,000 — with further negotiations on how many would be allowed to operate

Moscow's condition would be that Iran ratify an agreement with the U.N. nuclear agency that would give agency experts wide-ranging inspection powers to make sure Tehran's nuclear program is peaceful, they said. The diplomats are familiar with the details of the closed-door talks but demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them.

China usually supports Russia's position at the negotiations, but Moscow's stance is rejected by the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

Moscow and Washington have been able to bridge previous differences over Iran. And former State Department official Mark Fitzpatrick notes that even during the Cold War, the two nations cooperated "despite many periods of intense distrust."

Fitzpatrick, who is now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, lists Russian-U.S teamwork on bringing about the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and extending its reach as well as concluding several arms control agreements as examples of how common interests can override even the worst tensions.

Still, he says a Moscow at odds with Washington over larger geopolitical issues could put its own agenda — including building nuclear reactors for Iran — above cooperation. Russia, he says, always "marches to its own drum."

Samore, of Harvard's Belfer Center, says Iran is bound to feel "emboldened," and public statements and actions from Tehran seem to mesh with that view, including the reported dinner cancellation. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann confirmed only that — contrary to established routine — the two would not meet for dinner on the eve of the upcoming nuclear round.

Formally at least, Ashton is the chief negotiator for the six powers. Zarif leads the Iranian negotiating team.

At the same time Moscow is negotiating on reducing Iran's nuclear program, it is in talks on expanding it by building new reactors there. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said last week his country and Russia had common interests and that Tehran was banking on "Moscow's help to reach the final agreement."

Iran's Fars news agency, meanwhile, appeared to take a dig at veiled U.S. threats of military strikes if negotiations fail and Washington believes that Tehran is working on a bomb. It republished a cartoon showing President Barack Obama peering into an empty paint can marked "Red Line."

The cartoon shows a grinning Russian President Vladimir Putin walking away, with the caption: "I think you used it all on Syria."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 05:49:37 am
Putin informs parliament of Crimea's request to join Russia, in formal step towards annexation http://t.co/UY6mP4k32G - @BBCBreaking

Putin issues order saying he considers it expedient to sign a treaty with Crimea to make it part of Russia - @RIA_Novosti via @Reuters

Update: Russian President Putin has approved a draft bill for annexation of Crimea - @AP

YouTube suspends Russia Today's account 'due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy against spam, gaming, misleading content, or other Terms of Service violations' - YouTube

Russian lawmakers, in caustic response to Western sanctions, adopt statement urging US and EU to impose same sanctions on all Russian lower house members - @Reuters

Update: YouTube reinstates Russia Today's account after it was suspended; no explanation given - @RT_com

Crimea will adopt the Russian Rouble as its official currency, dropping Ukraine's Hryvnia, deputy PM says - @RIA_Novosti via @Reuters

Russia has been suspended from the G8 group of nations, according to France's foreign minister - @Guardian

Aide to President Putin says Western sanctions against Russian officials provoke 'irony and sarcasm' - @itass_en via @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 07:39:21 am
World War III: Ukrainian leader threatens to blow up Russia’s gas pipelines

Ukraine’s deputy national security chief and leader of the nationalist group Right Sector threatened to destroy Russia’s gas pipelines in retaliation for the country’s recent actions in Ukraine.

Dmitry Yarosh, who is also running for president in the upcoming May elections in Ukraine, told media that this aggressive action would have to be attempted to stop “World War III” and punish Russia for their intervention into his native country, Forbes reports.

“We cannot allow the enemy to carry out a blitzkrieg attack on Ukrainian territory,” Yarosh said, according to The International Business Times.

“Let the ground burn under the feet of the occupiers! Let them choke on their own blood when they attack our territory! Not one step back!

Read Full Article: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/17/world-war-iii-ukrainian-leader-threatens-to-blow-up-russias-gas-pipelines/

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 09:28:09 am
Kremlin says Crimea and Sevastopol are now officially part of the Russian Federation - @JimAcostaCNN

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 09:31:11 am
Putin says U.S. guided by 'the rule of the gun' in foreign policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Monday of being guided in its foreign policy not by international law but by the "rule of the gun."

"Our Western partners headed by the United States prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun," he told a joint session of parliament.

"They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones. That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 09:35:07 am
Obama, Putin at breaking point

The relationship between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have reached the breaking point over the crisis in Ukraine.

Through a series of long telephone conversations, Obama and Putin have talked extensively behind the scenes about the fate of Crimea, with the United States repeatedly warning Russia against a grab for territory.

But Putin appears to be forging ahead, defying Obama’s calls for a diplomatic solution that would allow both sides to save face.

Now the United States and its allies are directly hitting some of Putin’s closest advisers with sanctions in a move intended to isolate and punish the Kremlin.

Foreign policy analysts warn the latest steps could be the beginning of a deep freeze in U.S.-Russian relations.

“This has the potential to end very badly,” said Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). “I don’t think this means war, but this could spell the beginning of a long period of extreme diplomatic alienation between the West and Russia.”

The tit-for-tat intensified on Monday, as Obama announced sanctions against Russians and Ukrainians deemed responsible for Russia’s incursion into Crimea, including close allies of Putin and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Obama said that the United States would “calibrate our response based on whether Russia chooses to escalate or de-escalate the situation,” and administration officials did not rule out sanctioning Putin directly, an action rarely taken against a foreign head of state.

Putin was unbowed, and quickly issued a decree declaring Crimea a sovereign and independent nation.

Putin followed that up on Tuesday by signing a treaty that would annex Crimea.

In a speech to both houses of Russia's parliament, he argued the referendum on Crimea's succession was legal and that Russia could not abandon Crimea, an area with long ties to his country.

“We couldn’t leave Crimea in the lurch; otherwise we would be considered traitors,” Putin said, according to an interpreter. “[The West says] we are violating norms of international norm. It’s good that they realize international laws still exist. It’s better late than never.”

Gary Berntsen, who served in the CIA Directorate of Operations between 1982 and 2005, said Putin is likely to take Crimea while working covertly to annex other parts of Ukraine.

"The Russians are unlikely to just roll into Ukraine with tanks. They will likely try to subvert the political process in other parts of Ukraine,” he said. "Putin’s made a very bold calculation [over Crimea] and he’s proceeding. He’s assessed that we won’t move against him militarily, and he’s moving ahead.”

John Bellinger III, who was legal adviser at the State Department under former Secretary Condoleezza Rice, said the Kremlin is likely to retaliate against the U.S by leveling sanctions against American officials.

“I expect that Putin will announce retaliatory sanctions against certain U.S. officials, if not tomorrow, then soon thereafter,” said Bellinger, who currently heads an international law practice. “Putin is likely to be especially incensed by the sanctions against several of his close advisers.” 

The Daily Beast reported Monday evening that the Kremlin was preparing sanctions that included Russian travel bans on several U.S. senators.

Obama and Putin have spoken by phone three times since Russia’s military intervention in Crimea, including a marathon 90-minute phone call. The latest conversation occurred on Sunday after the Crimea referendum, a vote that the U.S. and allies say is not legitimate.

Obama warned on Monday that additional sanctions could be on the horizon — and White House officials would not rule out bringing down the hammer on Putin.

“We're not going to rule out individuals or rule out actions, except to say that there will be additional costs imposed on Russia, if Russia does not change direction here when it comes to how it's handling the situation in Ukraine,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

The sanctions announced Monday target the assets of seven individuals in the Russian government, in addition to four Ukrainian officials, and will prevent any American citizen from doing business with them.

“If they want to transact in dollars, they will be unable to do so,” said an administration official, who added that, in the past, individuals targeted for American sanctions “tend to find great difficulty in accessing financial services elsewhere.”

Fontaine said that the U.S. is trying to increase the pressure on the Kremlin with the sanctions while also providing an “off-ramp” to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

“The problem with that is Putin has shown absolutely no appetite whatsoever for any off-ramp,” Fontaine said.

“The question is, are these sanctions significant enough to impose a cost that he would find painful enough that he would reverse his position?” he added. “I don’t think he’s going to back off only in response to these sanctions. If this is the first of more things to come, then that’s a step in the right direction.”

The White House is coming under pressure from Republicans to turn up the heat on Putin.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has criticized the Obama administration for not providing military assistance to Ukraine, and Monday called for admitting Georgia and Montenegro into NATO.

“The crisis in Ukraine calls for a far more significant response from the United States,” McCain said.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, pushed Obama to consider direct military assistance to Ukraine.

“So far, the administration’s calibrated actions have failed to affect Vladimir Putin’s decisions, and that has to change,” Corker said Monday.

While the Obama administration has focused on diplomatic efforts, the U.S. military has also bolstered its presence in Eastern Europe to send a message to both Russia and worried allies in Europe.

"Our actions in the region serve to demonstrate our commitment to our collective defense responsibilities and provide reassurance to our NATO allies," Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said Monday. "We continue to support the diplomatic approach to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.”

So far, about 200 U.S. airmen and the additional 12 F-16s have arrived at Lask Air Base in Poland, according to European Command spokesman Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks. Flight operations were set to start Monday, but were postponed due to weather.

NATO officials don’t expect to see near-term military “stand offs” with Russia, but are planning to bolster Ukrainian forces in the long-term, a NATO official told the Hill.

NATO plans to help Ukrainian forces build capacity via joint exercises, advice and other unspecified things, the official said.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 18, 2014, 09:52:54 am
UK PM David Cameron says Russia will face serious consequences for completely unacceptable attempt to annex Crimea - @Reuters

 ??? this guy must live under a rock or something...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 03:23:36 am
ears of war grow as Ukrainian officer is killed at military base in Simferopol

Fears were growing that widespread violence would erupt in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, as former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of growing regional tensions.
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Clinton called Russia's move to annex Crimea "illegal" and "a violation of international law" and said that other countries near Russia could also face aggression if President Vladimir Putin is allowed to get away with his actions in Ukraine.

"If he's allowed to get away with that, I think you'll see a lot of other countries either directly facing Russian aggression or suborned with their political systems so that they are so intimidated that in effect they are transformed into vassals, not sovereign democracies," Clinton said at an event hosted by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal at the Palais des Congres.

She argued for sanctions against Russia and increased financial and technical support for a democratic government in Kiev.

It came as an Ukrainian officer was killed in a confrontation in Simferopol, just hours after the Russian president delivered an incendiary speech justifying Moscow’s reclamation of the former Ukrainian territory.

Several others were injured and the Ukrainian commander captured as the military facility in the Crimean capital was stormed by troops dressed in Russian camouflage kits and balaclavas.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister warned that  “the conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage” and claimed that “Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and that is a war crime”. His government, he added, has now authorised the use of firearms for its forces surrounded in their bases in Crimea.

However, there were indications that it was the separatist Crimean government’s recently created “Self Defence Forces” who had actually carried out the fatal attack. Local officials, meanwhile, claimed that “fascist snipers” had fired the first shot from a residential building and one of the injured was one of the defence force members.

The Ukrainian and Russian governments had agreed to a ceasefire until 21 March, aimed at preventing hostilities breaking out at the blockaded bases. But there was apprehension that the assault and the resultant death and injuries may break the delicate accord, with highly dangerous consequences.

The shooting began three and-a-half hours after Mr Putin had claimed Crimea for his country in a speech laced with invectives against the West and a robust reassertion of Russian power. At the end of his 66-minute address , punctuated by repeated applause, came the signing of documents which, the Kremlin declared, transferred control of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia once and for all.

There were expressions of outrage from the US, the European Union and the government in Kiev, but no immediate ratcheting up of the international sanctions Moscow has publicly derided as ineffectual. The G7 group of countries are to hold an emergency summit, at President Barack Obama’s request, in the Hague next week, when announcements of further measures are expected.

Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen also condemned Russia’s move to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region, saying Moscow had embarked on a “dangerous path”. “Crimea’s annexation is illegal and illegitimate and Nato allies will not recognise it,” he said.

A Crimean woman watches Vladimir Putin address the Russian Federal Assembly (EPA) A Crimean woman watches Vladimir Putin address the Russian Federal Assembly (EPA)
During a visit to Warsaw, the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, accused President Putin of carrying out “nothing but a land grab” adding that “the world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic”. The White House declared that Mosow’s actions “are in violation of international law and Ukrainian constitution.”

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “It is completely unacceptable for Russia to use force to change borders based on a sham referendum held at the barrel of a Russian gun.”

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that the referendum, the declaration of independence and Crimea’s “absorption into the Russian Federation” were “against international law”. France has threatened to halt the sale of two warships to Russia.

President Putin’s speech and the signing ceremony with the Crimean Prime Minister, Sergei Aksyonov, who had come to power in a putsch, had drawn a rapturous crowd at Simferpol’s Lenin Square which regularly burst into chants of “Russia, Russia”. They heard the President stress: “There was not one single military confrontation in Crimea, there were no victims.”

President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federation Council in Moscow's Kremlin (AP) President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federation Council in Moscow's Kremlin (AP)
Later, around a dozen troops arrived in two vehicles without registration numbers and started moving towards the base of the Mapping and Navigation Service at Kubanskaya Street. There were two prolonged bursts of gunfire, followed by several single shots. Soon afterwards soldiers inside started calling journalists.

One wanted to reveal: “A serviceman, Ukrainian, has been wounded in the neck and collarbone. Now we have barricaded ourselves on the second floor. The headquarters has been taken and the commander has been taken. They want us to put down our arms, but we don’t intend to surrender.”

The officer, believed to be a Captain Valentin Fedun, was later taken to a hospital for treatment. His father-in-law said the armed men had asked the Ukrainian soldiers to take their flag and depart before the shooting had started.

The dead Ukrainian officer is thought to have been outside the base when he was gunned down. The commander, Colonel Andriy Andryushin, and his remaining men were disarmed and arrested.

Local authorities presented a different version of what had taken place. A police officer said: “There were snipers who were using peoples’ homes to start shooting, that was the provocation. One of those injured was from the Self Defence Forces.”

Ukraine’s acting President, Oleksandr Turchynov, said: “We would like to warn President Putin, who is personally responsible for this act of provocation, that the political leadership of the Russian Federation will have to answer to the entire world for the crimes which they are committing today on the territory of our country.” The Russian annexation of Crimea, he said, echoed Nazi Germany’s takeover of Austria and Sudetenland.

At the Kremlin, it was President Putin who had accused the Ukrainian government, which came to power after the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, as being riddled with “neo-Nazis” and “anti-semites” and having no legitimate authority.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 05:38:59 am
Russian constitutional court approves treaty on Crimea's accession into Russia, court chairman says - Interfax

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 07:42:33 am
Russian forces storm Ukraine naval HQ in Crimea

- Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Wednesday and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow's intent to neutralize any armed opposition.

Russian soldiers, and so-called "self-defense" units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control.

Shortly after the incident, Ukraine's acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in Kiev that the country's forces would not withdraw from Crimea even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make it part of Russia.

But an hour later, Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothing, began walking out of the headquarters.

Interfax Ukraine news agency said the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, was among those who left and was driven away by officers of Russia's FSB intelligence service. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The first group of servicemen was followed within a few minutes by a handful of troops in Ukrainian uniform, looking shell-shocked at the dramatic turn of events.

"This morning they stormed the compound. They cut the gates open, but I heard no shooting," said Oleksander Balanyuk, a captain in the navy.

"This thing should have been solved politically. Now all I can do is stand here at the gate. There is nothing else I can do," he told Reuters, appearing ashamed and downcast.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported that Alexander Vitko, commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet which is based in Sevastopol, had been involved in talks at the headquarters.

Viktor Melnikov, in charge of the "self-defence" unit, said talks were going on to negotiate a surrender.

"We've had difficult negotiations with the command here," he told reporters. "Some Ukrainian servicemen are already leaving, without their uniforms, but there was no violence."

A Reuters reporter saw three armed men, possibly Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms, at the gate and at least a dozen more inside the compound.


In Kiev, pro-Western Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered his first deputy prime minister and the acting defence minister to fly to Crimea to "resolve the situation," a senior minister told a cabinet meeting.

But Sergei Askyonov, Crimea's new prime minister since the Russian takeover, said Vitaly Yarema and Ihor Tenyukh were not wanted in Crimea and would not be permitted to land.

Thousands of Russian soldiers took control of Crimea in the buildup to a weekend referendum last weekend in which the region, with ethnic Russians in the majority, voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and join Moscow.

Putin said his move to take control of Crimea was justified by what he calls "fascists" in Kiev who overthrew pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich last month after three months of often deadly street protests.

Ukraine and Western governments have dismissed the referendum, which has triggered the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, as a sham, and say there is no justification for Putin's actions.

Moscow officially denies deploying extra troops and Russian soldiers in the region are wearing unmarked uniforms, making it difficult to verify exactly who is who on the ground.

In Crimea's main city, Simferopol, where one Ukrainian serviceman was killed after a shooting on Tuesday, the situation was calm on Wednesday.

It was the first death on the Black Sea peninsula from a military clash since the region came under Russian control three weeks ago. Ukrainian prime minister Yatseniuk denounced it as a "war crime".

Aksyonov, Crimea's pro-Moscow leader, suggested the incident was the fault of "provocateurs" opposed to the annexation of the region to Russia.

"Unfortunately, two people were killed," he said, speaking in Moscow. "I'm sure we will find these scoundrels. The security service of the Crimean Republic is investigating."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 09:52:35 am
Russian forces seize western Crimea's Novoozerne naval base from Ukrainian forces - @AFP

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 11:56:40 am
Ukraine president gives Crimea leaders three hours to release navy chief

Ukraine's acting president on Wednesday said Crimea's separatist leaders had three hours to release the detained head of the ex-Soviet state's navy or face "an adequate response".

Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said in a statement that "unless Admiral (Sergiy) Gayduk and all the other hostages -- both military and civilian ones -- are released, the authorities will carry out an adequate response... of a technical and technological nature."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 12:10:09 pm
Russia signals concern at Estonia's treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in Estonia with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian - @Reuters

 :o maybe a little expansion North now...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 01:18:07 pm
Was watching CNN last night - and they spent ALL of their coverage on that "missing" Malasyian flight. Yes, ALL(and to boot, nothing but vain babbling and changing their stories).

Looks like Ukraine has been put on the backburner for awhile now. Good thing there's the internet.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 01:37:42 pm
Was watching CNN last night - and they spent ALL of their coverage on that "missing" Malasyian flight. Yes, ALL(and to boot, nothing but vain babbling and changing their stories).

Looks like Ukraine has been put on the backburner for awhile now. Good thing there's the internet.

I think that is the whole purpose of the missing plane, to draw attention away from Crimea. Obama isnt looking to good over it.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 01:43:53 pm
I think that is the whole purpose of the missing plane, to draw attention away from Crimea. Obama isnt looking to good over it.

I was thinking the same thing too - no, I don't think there is a FF in the making with this(like these Alex Jones/"truth" movement-types want to make you believe - which confirms even more that these "truth" movement-types like Jones are also working for the puppet masters).

Also - if you've seen the movie "Wag the Dog"(1997 Dustin Hoffman/Robert DeNiro movie), they did just that - create a headline news media distraction when their Prez admin was hit with scandals.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 02:14:04 pm
Senior Russian diplomat says Moscow may change its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks amid tensions with the West over Ukraine - @AP.

Way to go Obama... (http://twinpossible.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/thumbs-up-smiley..gif)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 02:22:12 pm
Senior Russian diplomat says Moscow may change its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks amid tensions with the West over Ukraine - @AP.

This is getting very interesting...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 02:23:31 pm
Another Region Seeks to Break Off and Join Russia

Obama will single handily bring back the USSR

The Trans-Dniester region in Moldova is trying to break off and join Russia, the latest development in a series of events that have left Western leaders scrambling to respond.

The request from Russian loyalists in the Trans-Dniester region, which is recognized by the United Nations as part of Moldova and not an independent state, comes just one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to absorb Crimea.

Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti responded to the request by warning that any attempt by the area to break off and join Russia would be a “mistake.”

“This is an illegal body which has taken no decision on inclusion into Russia,” Timofti said, according to Reuters. “If Russia makes a move to satisfy such proposals, it will be making a mistake.”

The request for Russia’s parliament to draft legislation allowing the non-recognized republic to join the Russia Federation was drafted by speaker of the high council, Mikheil Burla, and sent to the Duma, Russia’s lower house, CNBC reported.

f the Trans-Dniester region sounds familiar, it’s because it already tried in 1996 to break off from Moldova. The area also tried in 2006 to gain its independence by holding a referendum vote in which 97 percent of the population voted to join Russia. However, the vote went nowhere because the international community refused to recognize its legitimacy.

It’s worth noting that the Trans-Dniester region actually wanted to remain in the Soviet Union during the time of its collapse, so this latest attempt to break away should not come as too much of a surprise.

Putin’s recent actions involving Ukraine and Crimea may have even added a new spark to the region’s desire to break from Moldova and be united with Russia, or so says Otilia Dhand, vice president at advisory and intelligence firm Teneo Intelligence.

“There are 550,000 citizens of citizens of Trans-Dniester who mostly also claim other citizenships. There are about 150,000 of them that claim dual citizenship with Russia and many others claim Ukrainian citizenship or Romanian so it is kind of a mixed picture,” Dhand told CNBC, adding that the region has been trying for two decades to join the Russian Federation

“Russia has roughly 1,000 soldiers based there and also some ammunition and equipment that comes with it. They are not such a substantial force as they are in Crimea and Russia does not have common borders with Trans-Dniester, so it would be difficult to service as a territory,” she said. “If they were interested in tactically taking it over – it would just really be for show. Should Russia choose to take Trans-Dniester over, it would be quite intimidating for Ukraine.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 02:36:30 pm
Ukraine Plans to Pull Military From Crimea, Conceding Loss

Bowing to the reality of the Russian military occupation of Crimea a day after Russia announced it was annexing the disputed peninsula, the Ukrainian government said on Wednesday that it had drawn up plans to evacuate all of its military personnel and their families and was prepared to relocate as many as 25,000 of them to mainland Ukraine.

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and sailors have been trapped on military bases and other installations here for more than two weeks, surrounded by heavily armed Russian military forces and loosely organized local militia.

While the provisional government in Kiev has insisted that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and has appealed to international supporters for help, the evacuation announcement by the head of the national security council, Andriy Parubiy, effectively amounted to a surrender of Crimea, at least from a military standpoint.

It came hours after militiamen, backed by Russian forces, seized the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol and detained its commander.

Officers of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is also headquartered here, later entered the base through its main gates as Ukrainian military personnel streamed out carrying clothing and other personal belongings.

The takeover proceeded as anger intensified in the West over Russia’s move to annex Crimea, with calls for Russia’s expulsion from important international bodies such as the G-8 grouping of leading economic powers. At the same time, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. continued his effort to reassure American allies in the Baltic region, once part of the Soviet Union, that the United States would protect them from any aggression by Russia.

The United Nations said Wednesday that Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, would fly to Moscow and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Thursday and Friday for meetings with leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whose moves to reclaim Crimea have set off the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Soviet Union’s demise two decades ago.

Mr. Ban has expressed disappointment over the Kremlin-backed weekend referendum in Crimea that created the basis for Russia’s annexation, but he has said nothing about whether he considers the Russian step to be illegal. The United States and other Western members of the Security Council, which was meeting later Thursday, proposed a resolution last Saturday declaring the referendum illegal but Russia vetoed that measure.

At the Ukrainian naval headquarters here, soldiers with machine guns, wearing green camouflage but still no identifying insignia, were deployed in and around the base. A large military truck parked just outside the base bore the black-and-white license plates of the Russian forces.

Although the gates were forced open during the initial storming of the base, there were no reports of shooting or injuries. And while there was no indication that the Ukrainian government was prepared to issue a formal surrender in Crimea, capitulation by military units surrounded throughout the peninsula seemed increasingly inevitable.

When asked why they did not return fire, one Ukrainian soldier leaving the base here said, “We had no order and no weapons.” Another said, “We met them empty-handed.”

On Tuesday evening, after reports that a shooting at another military installation, not far from the Crimean capital of Simferopol, had left at least one Ukrainian soldier dead, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry in Kiev issued a statement saying its troops had been authorized to use force to defend themselves.

At the base here in Sevastopol, however, the troops seemed to feel less of a threat of deadly harm, than the resolute sense of facing eviction at gunpoint.

Andrew Yankov, a member of a local self-defense group who was present during the takeover, described the action as “a big victory.”

“We stood here for weeks and now we’re finally successful,” Mr. Yankov said. “It’s also freedom for the guys inside. We took responsibility. They’re happy because they’re tired. They want to go home.”

At a far side of the base, local militia units appeared to be looting some equipment, removing a refrigerator through one gate, and throwing bags over the walls, which were then loaded onto a truck.

The base, likes other military installations across Crimea, has been surrounded since shortly after Russian forces occupied the region at the beginning of March.

The local militiamen have been guarding the perimeter of the base along with professional soldiers who have no identifying badges but whose equipment and organization leave little doubt they are Russian military personnel. The militiamen entered the base around 8 a.m. and an hour or so later hoisted a Russian flag on the main flagpole.

The seizure came a day after Mr. Putin reclaimed Crimea as a part of Russia, reversing what he described as a historical injustice made by the Soviet Union 60 years ago and brushing aside international condemnation that could leave Russia shunned internationally.

The United States and Western allies have begun imposing economic sanctions to punish Russia for the incursion into Crimea, but it is not clear that they are prepared for any action that would prevent the Russian annexation from moving forward.

On Wednesday, there were reports from several bases that Russian forces and local militias were gathering in anticipation of seizing control, in Novoozornoe, on a lake not far from the city of Yevpatoriaa on the western coast of Crimea.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea drew broad Western protest on Tuesday as governments scrambled to find a response to the Kremlin’s audacious moves, which have unfolded with remarkable haste since the stealthy takeover of the strategic peninsula began.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said the world’s leading industrialized countries should consider expelling Russia permanently from the G-8 grouping. The United States, Britain and their allies in the older G-7 body are meeting in The Hague next week to debate further measures against Russia, which will not be present at the gathering.

“I think it’s important that we move together with our allies and partners and I think we should be discussing whether or not to expel Russia permanently from the G-8 if further steps are taken,” Mr. Cameron told Parliament, echoing a similar call several weeks ago by Secretary of State John Kerry. “That’s the meeting we’ll have on Monday and I think that’s the right way to proceed.”

Before the crisis in Crimea, Mr. Putin was scheduled to host a gathering of the G-8 countries in June in Sochi, where the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games were held, but Western countries have suspended their participation.

On Thursday, leaders of the 28-nation European Union are scheduled to discuss a response to Russia’s moves.

“If we turn away from this crisis and don’t act,” Mr. Cameron said, “we will pay a very high price in the longer term.”

Germany’s government, by contrast, has expressed more caution, reflecting its deep intertwined economic relations with Russia. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel took a tough tone with Moscow in public last week, business executives in Germany are reluctant to jeopardize trade ties, and diplomats and officials steeped in decades of conciliation with Russia are hesitant to sever avenues for negotiation. High-level talks scheduled for April have not been canceled.

Nonetheless, the German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, speaking Wednesday after Ms. Merkel’s weekly cabinet meeting, said that Russia was “pursuing a path of international isolation, and it is a path containing great dangers for the coexistence of states in Europe.”

He also gave the first official response to Mr. Putin’s appeal on Tuesday to ordinary Germans to support what he depicted as Russian reunification, just as Russia had supported German reunification in 1990.

German reunification had brought together two German states, Mr. Seibert said, while “Russia’s intervention by contrast is leading to a division of Ukraine.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 02:46:07 pm
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine security chief: Ukraine plans military exercise with United States and Britain. @AP NewsAlert

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 02:54:38 pm
Russia's UN representative Vitaly Churkin to UN Security Council: Reunification with Crimea is something our people waited 6 decades for - @HannahAllam

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 19, 2014, 04:21:39 pm
President Obama says US will not take military action in Ukraine against Russia - interview with @nbcsandiego via @thehill

Guess that gives the USSR the go ahead

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 05:49:14 pm
President Obama says US will not take military action in Ukraine against Russia - interview with @nbcsandiego via @thehill

Guess that gives the USSR the go ahead

THIS while they're still "looking" for that "missing" Malaysian airplane.

And yes, all of this was scripted from the get-go.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 19, 2014, 06:08:24 pm
Yet more proof that the globalists are working both sides of the fence...

Gorbachev: Crimean referendum "happy event"

Associated Press

March 18, 2014 5:37 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has hailed Crimea's vote to join Russia as a "happy event."

Gorbachev said in remarks carried Tuesday by online newspaper Slon.ru that the vote offered the Crimean residents the freedom of choice and justly reflected their will.

He said that Sunday's referendum showed that "people really wanted to return to Russia" and was a "happy event."

Gorbachev added that the Crimean referendum has set an example for people in Russian-speaking in eastern Ukraine, who also should decide their fate.

Gorbachev, who resigned as the Soviet president on Christmas Day 1991, has voiced regret that he was unable to stem the Soviet Union's collapse. He has criticized President Vladimir Putin's authoritarian policy, but said Tuesday that he supports his course in the Ukrainian crisis.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 06:20:42 am
Found this interesting....

Will Ukraine's eastern regions eventually fall to Russia too? Russian TV channel REN apparently thinks so, expanding its report on Russian weather to include the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv.



Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 06:34:50 am

11.30 In Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has adopted a more cautious stance on sanctions against Russia than has Prime Minister David Cameron, opinion polls suggest much of the public agree with her. Tony Paterson reports from Berlin for the Telegraph:

Opinion polls have shown that 75 per cent of Germans fear that economic sanctions against Russia could have a negative impact on their economy and jobs. The Forsa polling organisation found that Germans “greatly feared” that sanctions would hit energy resources. Russia provides a third of Germany’s gas and oil supplies.

Forty four percent of Germans want their government to resolve the crisis by diplomatic means whereas 25 percent backed the idea of economic sanctions, according to Forsa.

The organisation also found that many Germans were not convinced that Crimea belonged to Ukraine rather than Russia. Seventy five percent of those polled thought that President Vladimir Putin was “power hungry, clever and strong”.

The Forschungsgruppe Wahlen public opinion research group found that many Germans thought that because the United States had in the past broken international law, Russia’s actions in the Crimea could not be so easily condemned. Sixty percent of those polled doubted that President Obama could solve the crisis.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 08:37:31 am
Ukrainian border guards in Crimea have begun redeploying to regions on the mainland following the Russian annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

"We have started the gradual redeployment of our servicemen to the territory of Kherson and Mikolayiv regions," Pavlo Shysholin, deputy head of the state border guard service, told a news conference.

Mr Shysholin also said about 1,000 civilians had so far left Crimea


Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament overwhelmingly votes to approve a treaty to annex Crimea from Ukraine - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 09:27:27 am


14.00 Our correspondent Bruno Waterfield in Brussels has obtained details of the draft list of individuals expected to be targeted for sanctions by the EU at the two-day summit beginning today:

European Union leaders are expected to add up to 12 names to a sanctions blacklist targeting Vladimir Putin’s cronies, including the television presenter who warned that Russia could turn the US “into radioactive ashes”.

The Telegraph understands that Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of Rossia Segodnya, or Russia Today, a state funded news organisation that is close to the Russian President, is on the draft list that will be debated by EU ambassadors this evening.

Mr Kiselyov, who is often described as the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist”, was catapulted to international notoriety last week when he boasted that “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the US into radioactive ash”.

He is expected to be sanctioned as a state official rather than a journalist, according to diplomatic sources speaking in Brussels on Friday, but his name could be removed during talks tonight amid concerns that it will hand Russia a propagnada coup.

Also on the EU blacklist of individuals to be hit by travel bans and asset freezes are five people including Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, aides in President Putin’s inner circle and politicians who are allies of the president.

Mr Rogozin has mocked Western sanctions as the action of “pranksters” targeting people who do not regularly travel to or have bank accounts in the West.

The inclusion of Mr Rogozin's name has run into opposition from Italy and Spain, who are concerned it will lead to retaliatory measures from Russia.

The names also include Vladislav Surkov, a close aide to Mr Putin, who has mocked sanctions, saying he will “lose nothing.”

Sergey Glazyev, an adviser to Mr Putin, Valentina Matviyenko, the head of the Russian Federation Council and Yelena Mizulina, a Russian MP, are also expected to be on the new EU list.

After European leaders meet on Thursday night, the EU sanctions lists is expected to have grown to 33 names. They are not expected to include businessmen and oligarchs because the EU’s legal base for sanctions is “too narrow”.

The EU has so far restricted sanctions to “natural persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, and of natural persons associated with them”.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 10:53:21 am
Here is the full, updated list of Russian individuals - and one Russian bank - targeted for sanctions as announced by Barack Obama in the last hour:

BUSHMIN, Evgeni Viktorovich (a.k.a. BUSHMIN, Evgeny; a.k.a. BUSHMIN, Yevgeny); DOB 10 Oct 1958; POB Lopatino, Sergachiisky Region, Russia; Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation; Chairman of the Council of the Federation Budget and Financial Markets Committee (individual) [UKRAINE2].

DZHABAROV, Vladimir Michailovich; DOB 29 Sep 1952; First Deputy Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

FURSENKO, Andrei Alexandrovich (a.k.a. FURSENKO, Andrei; a.k.a. FURSENKO, Andrey); DOB 17 Jul 1949; POB St. Petersburg, Russia; Aide to the President of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

GROMOV, Alexei; DOB 1960; POB Zagorsk (Sergiev, Posad), Moscow Region, Russia; First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office; First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration; First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff (individual) [UKRAINE2].

IVANOV, Sergei (a.k.a. IVANOV, Sergey); DOB 31 Jan 1953; POB St. Petersburg, Russia; Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office (individual) [UKRAINE2].

IVANOV, Victor Petrovich (a.k.a. IVANOV, Viktor); DOB 12 May 1950; alt. DOB 1952; POB Novgorod, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

KOHZIN, Vladimir Igorevich; DOB 28 Feb 1959; POB Troitsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

KOVALCHUK, Yuri Valentinovich (a.k.a. KOVALCHUK, Yury Valentinovich); DOB 25 Jul 1951; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

MIRONOV, Sergei Mikhailovich (a.k.a. MIRONOV, Sergei); DOB 14 Feb 1953; POB Pushkin, Saint Petersburg, Russia; Member of the Council of the State Duma; Leader of A Just Russia Party; Member of the State Duma Committee on Housing Policy and Housing and Communal Services (individual) [UKRAINE2].

NARYSHKIN, Sergey Yevgenyevich (a.k.a. NARYSHKIN, Sergei); DOB 27 Oct 1954; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

OZEROV, Viktor Alekseevich (a.k.a. OZEROV, Viktor Alexeyevich); DOB 05 Jan 1958; POB Abakan, Khakassia, Russia; Chairman of the Security and Defense Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

PANTELEEV, Oleg Evgenevich (a.k.a. PANTELEEV, Oleg); DOB 21 Jul 1952; POB Zhitnikovskoe, Kurgan Region, Russia; First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Parliamentary Issues (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ROTENBERG, Arkady; DOB 15 Dec 1951; POB St. Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ROTENBERG, Boris; DOB 03 Jan 1957; POB St. Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

RYZHKOV, Nikolai Ivanovich (a.k.a. RYZHKOV, Nikolai); DOB 28 Sep 1929; POB Duleevka, Donetsk Region, Ukraine; Senator in the Russian Upper House of Parliament; Member of the Committee for Federal Issues, Regional Politics and the North of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

SERGUN, Igor Dmitrievich; DOB 28 Mar 1957; Lieutenant General; Chief of the Main Directorate of the General Staff (GRU); Deputy Chief of the General Staff (individual) [UKRAINE2].

TIMCHENKO, Gennady (a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennadiy Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennady Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMTCHENKO, Guennadi), Geneva, Switzerland; DOB 09 Nov 1952; POB Leninakan, Armenia; alt. POB Gyumri, Armenia; nationality Finland; alt. nationality Russia; alt. nationality Armenia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

TOTOONOV, Aleksandr Borisovich (a.k.a. TOTOONOV, Alexander; a.k.a. TOTOONOV, Alexander B.); DOB 03 Mar 1957; POB Ordzhonikidze, North Ossetia, Russia; alt. POB Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Russia; Member of the Committee on Culture, Science, and Information, Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

YAKUNIN, Vladimir; DOB 30 Jun 1948; POB Vladimir Oblast, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ZHELEZNYAK, Sergei Vladimirovich (a.k.a. ZHELEZNYAK, Sergei; a.k.a. ZHELEZNYAK, Sergey); DOB 30 Jul 1970; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia; Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

The following entity has been added to OFAC's SDN List:

BANK ROSSIYA (f.k.a. AKTSIONERNY BANK RUSSIAN FEDERATION), 2 Liter A Pl. Rastrelli, Saint Petersburg 191124, Russia; SWIFT/BIC ROSY RU 2P; Website www.abr.ru; Email Address bank@abr.ru [UKRAINE2].

15.37 Here is Obama's statement in full on the imposition of fresh sanctions on Russia:


The Russian Duma has ratified the treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russian territory, the penultimate legislative hurdle for the annexation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula. The treaty must still be given the go-ahead by the upper house of the Russian parliament tomorrow, but given that 445 out of 446 members of the lower house approved it, the vote is a foregone conclusion.

MPs got to their feet for a standing ovation and sang the national anthem after the vote this afternoon.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 11:01:45 am
Russia has retaliated against the latest round of US sanctions by announcing its own sanctions against US officials, including entry bans.

"There should be no doubt: each hostile attack will be met in an adequate manner," the Russian foreign ministry said, saying it was targeting nine Obama aides and senators.

Moscow's blacklist includes Obama aides Caroline Atkinson, Daniel Pfeiffer and Benjamin Rhodes and senators Mary Landrieu, John McCain and Daniel Coats.

Kirit Radia, the ABC News correspondent in Moscow, tweets:

Notice how Russia is viewing these as attacks, and Obama is planning another vacation...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 20, 2014, 12:57:05 pm
Old school communist Russia sabre rattling to get support from their comrades. Thought they were done with that silliness years ago.  ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 01:00:40 pm
Old school communist Russia sabre rattling to get support from their comrades. Thought they were done with that silliness years ago.  ::)

I dont know, i do remeber an old story about how the fall of the USSR was a deception to put the west at ease, and then Russia would strike out and conquer the west. Ill have to look into that. I thin it was before the 2000's. it was a story about how i believe it was Putin, or another high ranking Ruso, had a map of Russia in his office and had Alaska as part of it.  ???

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 01:12:42 pm
Pro-Russian crowds have seized two Ukrainian warships and Ukraine has said its troops are being threatened in Crimea, the Associated Press has reported.

Shots were fired but there were no casualties as the Ukrainian corvette Khmelnitsky was seized in Sevastopol, according to an AP photographer at the scene. Another ship, the Lutsk, was also surrounded by pro-Russian forces.

The Ukrainian defence ministry had no immediate information on the incidents.



Russian troops storm Ukraine's warship in Crimea:

Ukraine's defence ministry on Thursday said around 20 gunmen seized a Ukrainian warship, the Ternopil, in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea.

"The ship has been taken," Vladislav Seleznyov, the defence ministry's spokesman in Crimea, said on his Facebook page, after earlier telling AFP: "The assault has begun".

On Facebook, Seleznyov said pro-Moscow armed men and Russian soldiers cordoned off the area, while a boat with the gunmen on board approached the Ternopil and stormed it.

"Stun grenades were used during the assault and automatic fire was heard," he said.

Called by AFP, an officer on board the Slavutich, a second Ukrainian warship next to the Ternopil, did not answer.

Seleznyov did not say whether the Slavutich was also seized by Russian forces.

The commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Alexander Vitko, had reportedly boarded the Slavutich earlier on Thursday in an attempt to negotiate a surrender.

The two warships had been blockaded in the port by the Russian navy and had distanced themselves from the dock in an attempt to prevent an assault. [AFP]


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 01:13:12 pm
I wonder if that will get Obama off the golf course....  8)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 20, 2014, 01:15:47 pm
Old school communist Russia sabre rattling to get support from their comrades. Thought they were done with that silliness years ago.  ::)

I dont know, i do remeber an old story about how the fall of the USSR was a deception to put the west at ease, and then Russia would strike out and conquer the west. Ill have to look into that. I thin it was before the 2000's. it was a story about how i believe it was Putin, or another high ranking Ruso, had a map of Russia in his office and had Alaska as part of it.

The West lost the Cold War when all was said and done, FYI - Mikael Gorbachev was given his OWN CENTER in San Francisco.

If anything - the fall of the Soviet Union ended up opening the doors to building global government(as technology ended up exploding exponentially).

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 20, 2014, 01:27:55 pm
had a map of Russia in his office and had Alaska as part of it.

That's an old dispute that goes WAY back to before the Alaska purchase I think. Some Russians consider their property to extend that far into Alaska, so it doesn't surprise me they have maps like that.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: FervorForFaith on March 20, 2014, 08:26:47 pm

11.30 In Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has adopted a more cautious stance on sanctions against Russia than has Prime Minister David Cameron, opinion polls suggest much of the public agree with her. Tony Paterson reports from Berlin for the Telegraph:

Opinion polls have shown that 75 per cent of Germans fear that economic sanctions against Russia could have a negative impact on their economy and jobs. The Forsa polling organisation found that Germans “greatly feared” that sanctions would hit energy resources. Russia provides a third of Germany’s gas and oil supplies.

Forty four percent of Germans want their government to resolve the crisis by diplomatic means whereas 25 percent backed the idea of economic sanctions, according to Forsa.

The organisation also found that many Germans were not convinced that Crimea belonged to Ukraine rather than Russia. Seventy five percent of those polled thought that President Vladimir Putin was “power hungry, clever and strong”.

The Forschungsgruppe Wahlen public opinion research group found that many Germans thought that because the United States had in the past broken international law, Russia’s actions in the Crimea could not be so easily condemned. Sixty percent of those polled doubted that President Obama could solve the crisis.


Find this part kind of interesting.

I know this is kind of "mainstream" theory, but if Gog/Magog in Ezekiel 38 actually is Russia and Gomer is Germany, that is starting to make sense and take shape now.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 20, 2014, 09:16:47 pm
Did Russia Dump Its U.S. Bonds?

The conflict between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine is escalating rapidly. But the warfare is mostly rhetorical and financial.

Earlier this month, after the U.S moved to impose sanctions on top Russian officials and bar Russia from the G-8, Russia’s stock market plummeted and the value of its currency, the ruble, fell against the dollar. In response, Putin adviser Serge Glazyev said Russia would strike back through financial means. “We hold a decent amount of Treasury bonds—more than $200 billion—and if the United States dares to freeze accounts of Russian businesses and citizens, we can no longer view America as a reliable partner,”  Glazyev said earlier this month, per this Barron’s report. “We will encourage everybody to dump U.S. Treasury bonds, get rid of dollars as an unreliable currency, and leave the U.S. market.”

READ MORE Thugs Prep Ukraine for Putin

And new data released this week suggests there might be some action behind this rhetoric.

Here’s what happened: Russia’s central bank, like every other, has a lot of dollars. It’s not because we have a huge trade relationship, but rather because people around the world pay for oil—one of Russia’s main exports—in the U.S. currency. “They get paid for their oil in dollars,” said David Solin, a partner at Foreign Exchange Analytics in Essex, Connecticut. Russia takes those dollars and buys safe U.S. government bonds. Those bonds in turn are held in custody accounts at the New York Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan. The Fed keeps the account secure and makes sure investors get their interest payments. (Many foreign central banks also keep their gold in the basement of the New York Fed.)

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Every Wednesday afternoon, the Fed releases data showing the aggregate amount of Treasury securities that sits in those account. And typically, they rise over time. Because the U.S. runs deficits, it creates hundreds of billions of government bonds every year. And foreign central banks are reliable buyers of this debt. Over the course of the 2013, the sum rose from $2.885 trillion to about $3.02 trillion, an increase of about $130 billion.

But in the last couple of weeks, there’s been a sharp, unexpected drop in the amount of U.S. government bonds the Fed is holding for foreign accounts. From $3.02 trillion in December, the total fell to $2.973 trillion on February 26, to $2.959 trillion on March 5, and $2.855 trillion on March 12. That’s a decline of $104 billion in one week, or 3.5 percent, and a fall of $118 billion in two weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, total foreign Treasury holdings at the Fed are at a 15-month low. (The releases can be seen here.)

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That’s anomalous.

The New York Fed doesn’t divulge information on individual accounts and countries, and won’t comment. But the Treasury Department’s Treasury International Capital system tallies foreign ownership of U.S. debt by country. In January, Russia, according to this data, had about $165 billion in U.S. government bonds. Unfortunately, TIC reports have a six-week time lag. So we won’t get data on Russia’s March holdings until two months from now.

READ MORE Russia: Release Ukrainian Hostage

Now, the decline in custody holdings over the last couple of months is roughly equal to Russia’s holdings as of January. And no other central bank has announced a dramatic shift in its holdings of U.S. government debt.

That leaves two possibilities. Either Russia sold the bonds, and converted the cash back into rubles, Euros, or another currency. Or, it simply moved the bonds away from the Fed to a different custodial account—in Russia, or in the Cayman Islands, or in some offshore banking center where it would be impossible for the U.S. to freeze it.

READ MORE Ukraine Preps Crimea Evacuation

Analysts say the latter seems more likely. “It all points to a transfer to custodial holdings offshore, rather than a sale,” said Win Thin, global emerging markets at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York. “If the Russians had dumped the bonds, you would have seen more of a reaction in the bond market.” But over the last couple of weeks, Treasury yields have remained very low.

We would have also expected for a huge sale to create a big ripple in the currency markets. Selling a lot of dollar-denominated assets and converting them into rubles or other currencies would have had the effect of strengthening the ruble against the dollar, notes David Solin of Foreign Exchange Analytics. Instead, the ruble has weakened significantly against the dollar in recent weeks.

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Whether Russia has sold its holdings or simply moved them out of reach of U.S. officials, it highlights two key points.

First, Russia can’t inflict much damage on the U.S. financially with rhetoric, or with unilateral action. Russia’s holdings are a small portion of the amount of debt outstanding. China ($1.2 trillion) and Japan ($1.1 trillion) each have six times as many Treasury holdings as Russia. Brazil, Taiwan, and Switzerland, also have more than Russia. Russia accounts for only three percent of total foreign holdings of U.S. debt.

READ MORE Reeva’s Terrifying Final Moments

Second, any move that actually hurts the dollar would wind up hurting Russia sooner rather than later. Because there’s no way Putin can foreswear using the greenback. Despite the war of words, Russia continues to harvest dollars thanks to its continuing sales of oil. “It’s really hard for Russia to move away from the dollar,” said Win Thin of Brown Brothers Harriman. “It’s just the way their economy is.”

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 20, 2014, 09:45:21 pm
Merkel declares G8 defunct; Europe scrambles to replace Russian gas

posted at 5:21 pm on March 20, 2014 by Bruce McQuain


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared the G8 to be dead, thanks to Russia’s take over of the Crimea:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the Group of Eight leading nations defunct given the current crisis in Ukraine, in a clear message to Russia that the world’s seven other major industrialized countries consider its actions in Ukraine unacceptable. “As long as there is no political environment for such an important political format as the G-8, the G-8 doesn’t exist anymore, not the summit nor the format,” said Ms. Merkel, in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. “Russia is widely isolated in all international organizations,” the chancellor said.

Ah, yes, the old “isolated in all international organizations” gambit.  And what have all the “international organizations” done in reaction to Russia’s Crimean takeover?  About what they did when Russia pushed into Georgia.  A whole lot of nothing. It is one thing to have international organizations that have teeth and are willing to do something in reaction to such a blatant act.  But when they mostly issue statements condeming the action and void the Netflix accounts of certain Russian officals, being isolated from those organizations isn’t such a big deal.  All it does is make further diplomatic efforts more difficult, not that it is clear that Russia is open to diplomatic overtures.

Another thing that is happening is Europe is discovering it has managed to put itself in an energy situation that isn’t at all to its advantage.  30% of Europe’s natural gas flows through Russian pipelines (Germany gets 40% of its natural gas supplies from Russia).

So the scramble is purportedly on to change that situation.

European leaders will seek ways to cut their multi-billion-dollar dependence on Russian gas at talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, while stopping short of severing energy ties with Moscow for now. EU officials said the current Ukraine crisis had convinced many in Europe that Russia was no longer reliable and the political will to end its supply dominance had never been greater. “Everyone recognises a major change of pace is needed on the part of the European Union,” one EU official said on condition of anonymity. As alternatives to imported gas, the Brussels talks will debate the European Union’s “indigenous supplies”, which include renewable energy and shale gas.

Now, one would think that such a situation would call for drastic and speedy action.  Anyone want to bet how long they dither and, should they decide to exploit their “indigenous supplies”, how onerous the rules and regulations will be?

When leaders of the European Union’s member states meet today and tomorrow (20-21 March) in Brussels, they hope to reach consensus on the EU’s long-term climate goals. But agreement appears unlikely because of deep divisions between east and west. Ahead of the summit, ministers from 13 member states signed a declaration supporting a European Commission proposal for an EU commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 – up from a 20% target set for 2020. This ‘green growth group’ includes France, Germany, Italy and the UK. But Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are wary of the target and the timeline, and are resisting any such commitment.

The latter group will most likely be all for moving ahead as speedily as possible to exploit “indigenous supplies”.  They’ll meet some pretty stiff headwinds, apparently, from the Western EU nations. You can almost see this train wreck coming.

Meanwhile in the pursuit of “green energy”, Europe is apparently ready to toss in the towel:

Governments across Europe, regretting the over-generous deals doled out to the renewable energy sector, have begun reneging on them. To slow ruinous power bills hikes, governments are unilaterally rewriting contracts and clawing back unseemly profits.

You have to laugh.  ”Unseemly profits”?  They’re subsidies, sir.  Not profit

It’ll be interesting to see if the EU has the will to sort this all out in the next couple of days.  If one is a betting person, you’d have to guess that the odds for success are long, given the EU’s recent history.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 20, 2014, 09:50:29 pm
Hitlers daughter is in for a world of hurt...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 21, 2014, 02:53:24 pm
How Obama Crippled a Russian Bank with a Stroke of a Pen

He may not take shirtless horseback rides across the steppes, or have a black belt in judo, but on Thursday, President Obama sent a message to Russian president Vladimir Putin about strength. Specifically, economic strength.

The message was this: Whenever I decide to, I can pick up a pen, and kill a significant financial institution in your country.

Obama’s victim was the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya.

In response to Russia’s takeover of the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Obama yesterday authorized the Treasury Department to add 20 members of Putin’s inner circle, as well as Bank Rossiya, to the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s list of “specially designated nationals.”

The designation makes the individuals named ineligible to do business with U.S. financial institutions, which is likely a major personal inconvenience. But for Bank Rossiya, the designation is something like the kiss of death.

Bank Rossiya is not the largest bank in Russia by a long shot, but its significance lies in its clientele rather than its size. In announcing the sanctions, the Treasury Department noted that Bank Rossiya “is the personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation” including members of the Ozero Dacha Cooperative, an exclusive community where members of Putin’s inner circle live. In addition, it provides financial services to the single largest segment of the Russian economy – the oil, gas, and energy sector.

Essentially, this is a credit union for oligarchs, with a side business in financing the Russian energy industry. Its customers include many more high-profile Russians than just those named in the Treasury statement. As of Thursday it is, for all intents and purposes, out of business.

If account holders want to do any kind of business at all short of paying their utility bills and using Russian ATMs, they are going to need to go elsewhere, said experts.

“They’ve got to go to another bank,” said Lester M. Joseph, former principal deputy chief of the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering section. “That bank is pretty much a pariah.”

Currently the international investigations manager at Wells Fargo Bank, Joseph said when heard about the sanctions on Bank Rossiya, the first thing he did was check to see if it was a customer of his institution. “It is not, thankfully,” he said.

The impact doesn’t stop there, Joseph explained. His next step, which is ongoing, is to see if any banks that Wells Fargo has relationships with are also doing business with Bank Rossiya, and to make sure that none of those banks are routing transactions from the Russian bank through Wells Fargo’s system. “If a transaction from that bank is coming from another bank, we would have to block it,” he said.

Joseph said that every other bank in the U.S. is – or ought to be – doing exactly the same thing.

Considering the volume of international wire transfers that flow through the systems of U.S. banks, he said, this essentially shuts down Bank Rossiya’s access to a huge portion of the worldwide banking system.

As one U.S. official told Reuters, Bank Rossiya will be “frozen out of the dollar.”

And it only gets worse.

Even if governments in other countries don’t join the U.S. in sanctions against Bank Rossiya, their bankers will have a very strong incentive to stop doing business with the Russian bank if they have any ties at all to U.S. institutions – which virtually all significant international banks do.

“If they are doing business with that bank, and they are also doing business in the United States, if something slips through,” then suddenly they’re facing U.S. regulatory action, said Robert Rowe, vice president and senior counsel for the American Bankers Association. International wire traffic is voluminous and largely automated, he said, making it easier for an international bank to simply stop doing business with Bank Rossiya rather than trying to route transactions associated with it away from the U.S.

Rowe said this would affect not only individuals who do their banking at Bank Rossiya, but perhaps more importantly, the oil and gas companies that arrange their trade financing through the bank.

“That’s where it’s going to have an impact,” said Rowe.

Banking experts said that one of the uncertainties surrounding yesterday’s move is how Russia will respond. The Russian government immediately released a widely mocked list of U.S. officials whom it said would be blocked from doing business in Russia.

Politicians named on the list rushed to Twitter to boast about being sanctioned and to leave sarcastic comments about being forced to forgo vacations in Siberia.

However, according to John Byrne, executive vice president of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists – a trade group for bankers and law enforcement professionals who deal with issues including OFAC compliance – that’s likely not the end of it.

“There’s no question these sanctions are an appropriate and effective national security tool, he said, “but this is a country that can fight back.”

How Russia reacts to the sanctions, Byrne said, will be closely watched by the financial community. And that reaction is by no means predictable. In general, major industrialized countries don’t try to shut down each other’s financial institutions without evidence of blatant illegal activity – which does not appear to exist in the case of Bank Rossiya.

“This is a new thing,” said Joseph. “It’s not a rogue bank. It’s a bank in a country where we do a lot of business. It’s not involved in a criminal case.” Compared to other actions by past administrations, he said, “It’s much more complex.”

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 22, 2014, 02:53:18 pm
Crimea goes east, Ukraine goes west in 2 new deals

BRUSSELS (AP) - Two almost simultaneous signatures Friday on opposite sides of Europe deepened the divide between East and West, as Russia formally annexed Crimea and the European Union pulled Ukraine closer into its orbit.

In this "new post-Cold War order," as the Ukrainian prime minister called it, besieged Ukrainian troops on the Crimean Peninsula faced a critical choice: leave, join the Russian military or demobilize. Ukraine was working on evacuating its outnumbered troops in Crimea, but some said they were still awaiting orders.

With fears running high of clashes between the two sides or a grab by Moscow for more of Ukraine, the chief of the U.N. came to the capital city Kiev and urged calm all around.

All eyes were on Russian President Vladimir Putin, as they have been ever since pro-Western protests drove out Ukraine's president a month ago, angering Russia and plunging Europe into its worst crisis in a generation.

Putin sounded a conciliatory note Friday, almost joking about U.S. and EU sanctions squeezing his inner circle and saying he saw no reason to retaliate. But his government later warned of further action.

Russia's troubled economic outlook may drive its decisions as much as any outside military threat. Stocks sank further, and a possible downgrade of

Russia's credit rating loomed. Visa and MasterCard stopped serving two Russian banks, and Russia conceded it may scrap plans to tap international markets for money this year.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 22, 2014, 03:24:54 pm
Russia demands Ukraine pay back $11 billion

Moscow (AFP) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday demanded Ukraine pay back $11 billion that he said Kiev had saved through discounted gas prices in return for hosting a Russian naval base in Crimea.

Ukraine owes the money because Crimea is now part of Russia and the two countries' 2010 lease agreement was now "subject to annulment," Medvedev said at a meeting of the Security Council.

"The Ukrainian state saved some $11 billion dollars and accordingly the Russian budget has a missed profit of the same $11 billion," he warned.

Soon after coming to power in 2010, then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, agreed to extend the lease on Russia's Black Sea fleet in Crimea that was due to expire in 2017 for 25 years, until 2042.

In return, Moscow agreed to cut natural gas prices for Ukraine by $100 for every 1,000 cubic metres

According to Moscow, Ukraine has been receiving the discount since 2010 even though the new lease agreement was not to enter force before 2017.

This week Russia officially made Crimea part of its territory despite condemnation from Kiev authorities and the West.

Medvedev, who signed off on the agreement with Yanukovych in his capacity as president in 2010, said it would be "absolutely legitimate" to seek the return of the money through courts even though he acknowledged such measures would be "tough".

He put Ukraine's total debt to Russia at $16 billion.

"I believe that we cannot lose such money taking into account the fact that our budget is also struggling," Medvedev said in comments released by the Kremlin.

Ties between Moscow and Kiev plunged to unprecedented lows after the Kremlin sent troops to Crimea following a popular uprising that ousted Yanukovych last month.

Washington introduced sanctions against Putin's close allies and urged Moscow to reconsider its takeover of Crimea.

Kommersant business daily reported earlier Friday that if the fleet agreement was annulled, Ukraine would end up paying up to $480 per 1,000 cubic metres for natural gas, the highest price of any of gas giant Gazprom's clients in Europe.

The expected gas price hike will deal a huge blow to Ukraine's struggling economy and is likely to exacerbate the raging political crisis

End-of-the-year haggling over energy prices has become a familiar problem in bilateral ties, with Russia repeatedly cutting gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe over the past few years.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 22, 2014, 04:01:59 pm
Pro-Russian forces storm Ukrainian base in Crimea

BELBEK AIR BASE, Crimea (AP) — Ukraine's armed forces took what may prove to be one of their final stands Saturday in Crimea, as pro-Russian forces stormed and seized control of an air force base amid a barrage of gunfire and explosions.

A tense blockade of the Belbek air base base that has endured for more than a week looked set for an inevitable culmination following the seizure of one Ukrainian-held military facility after another in recent days.

It was the last major Ukrainian military facility in Crimea to fall into the hands of pro-Russian forces. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry hasn't provided details of how many bases it still controls on the peninsula.

Crimea residents voted last week to secede from Ukraine and join Russia — a process that was formalized this week with the blessing of President Vladimir Putin. The vote, which was held under condition akin to martial law under the gaze of apparently Moscow-led militia forces, has been rejected as illegitimate by the international community.

The assault on the Belbek base mirrored events at other Ukrainian-held military facilities on the peninsula in recent days.

In footage provided by the Ukrainian Defense ministry, a Russian-made BTR-80 armored personnel carrier could be seen smashing open a front gate at Belbek, a base across the bay from the port city of Sevastopol.

APCs crashed through walls at two other locations and were followed by armed personnel, who advanced in crouching position as they secured the area. Four BTR-80s were involved in the assault, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukrainian troops offered no resistance. Later, a separate motley group arrived at the scene. The crowd appeared to be made up of professional soldiers, members of a recently-formed militia unit and Cossacks.

The cause of the explosions wasn't immediately clear, although Ukrainian officials said they were stun grenades used to disperse any potential resistance.

Two ambulances arrived and then departed shortly after. Ukraine's Defense Ministry said one reporter and a Ukrainian soldier were injured in the raid.

After the takeover, Belbek base commander Col. Yuliy Mamchur called together his men, who sang the Ukrainian national anthem and then stood at ease. He then told his men to put their weapons in the base's armory.

A few hours before, Mamchur attended a wedding between two lieutenants serving at Belbek. Soldiers drank champagne and toasted the couple, despite the looming threat of a raid on the base.

Earlier, a crowd stormed the Novofedorivka base, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Crimea's capital, Simferopol, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said.

Ukrainian television station TSN said troops inside the base hurled smoke grenades in an attempt to disperse groups of burly young men attempting to break through the front gates.

There were conflicting reports about whether the base was eventually taken over.

The Russian Defense Ministry says that as of late Friday, less than 2,000 of 18,000 Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea had "expressed a desire to leave for Ukraine." The ministry, however, stopped short of saying the remainder of the troops would serve in the Russian army.

No similar information has been forthcoming from Ukraine's authorities, who have been criticized by servicemen marooned in Crimea, some of whom have complained to media that they have been given no clear instructions on what they should be doing.

Elsewhere, more than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of a major city in Ukraine's east demonstrated in favor of holding a referendum similar to the one carried out in Crimea.

The apparent ease with which Russia has managed to take control over Crimea has ignited concerns for Ukraine's government that elements in the mainly Russian-speaking east will agitate for a similar move.

Russia has brought large military contingents to areas near the border with eastern Ukraine. Putin has said there is no intention to move into eastern Ukraine, but the prospect of violence between pro- and anti-secession groups in the east could be used as a pretext for sending in troops.

Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament and a close Putin ally, said Saturday there is no intention to absorb other regions of Ukraine, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Eastern Ukraine is the heartland of Ukraine's economically vital heavy and mining industries. It's also the support base for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president who fled to Russia last month after three months of protests in the capital, Kiev, triggered by his decision not to sign an agreement with the European Union.

Russia and Yanukovych supporters contend the former leader's ouster was a coup and allege that the authorities who then came to power are nationalists who would oppress the east's large ethnic Russian population.

"They're trying to tear us away from Russia," said demonstrator Igor Shapoval, a 59-year-old businessman. "But Donbass is ready to fight against this band which already lost Crimea and is losing in the east."

Donbass is the name for the region of factories and mines that includes Donetsk.

About an hour after the Donetsk rally began, the crowd marched through the city center and assembled before the regional administration building chanting: "Crimea! Donbass! Russia!"

Demonstrators waving Russian flags were faced off by lines of riot police. Inside, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with local officials.

"We heard that there is much desire to preserve Ukraine as a single state," he told reporters after the meeting.

The demonstrators erected several tents — an ironic echo of the huge tent camp that was established on Kiev's central square after the protests against Yanukovych broke out in late November.

"I'm ready to live in a tent, but I'm not ready to submit to the West, to dance to their tune," said Viktor Rudko, a 43-year-old miner.

The rally in Donetsk in the end dispersed without any disturbances. Another similar meeting is expected Sunday.

The local provincial parliament on Friday formed a working group to develop a referendum analogous to the one in Crimea. Activists on Saturday passed out mock ballots, although no referendum has been formally called.

A number of leading pro-Russian activists have already been detained by police on suspicion of fomenting secessionist activities. The country's security services said Saturday that they have arrested Mikhail Chumachenko, leader of the self-styled Donbass People's Militia, on suspicion of seeking to seize authority.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kiev on Saturday and said: "I am confident that with such strong support from the international community that you are receiving, under your leadership as well as with your courageous people, you will be able to overcome this difficult time."

Sanctions imposed this week by the U.S. and the European Union haven't persuaded Russia to back off on its intent to annex Crimea.

As tensions roil in the east, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is deploying an observer team aimed at easing the crisis.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement on Friday that Moscow hopes that the 200-strong team "will help to overcome the internal Ukrainian crisis" and ensure the respect for human rights there.

It is unclear whether the team will be allowed into Crimea. Russian forces last week stopped OSCE military observers from entering Crimea. The organization on Friday didn't specify whether the observers will go to Crimea.

Lukashevich said Saturday that the OSCE's mission "will reflect the new political and legal order and will not cover Crimea and Sevastopol, which became part of Russia."

Sevastopol, a city in southwest Crimea, is the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Daniel Baer, the chief U.S. envoy to OSCE, said the observers should have access to the territory because Crimea remains Ukrainian to the rest of the world.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 23, 2014, 12:00:45 am
Ukraine Closes Border with Crimea

MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian border guards closed the exit from the Republic of Crimea, local authorities said on Saturday.

The office of the Crimean Federal District, which was established by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, said that even Ukrainian servicemen who wanted to leave Crimea could not cross the border.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, only 2,000 out of 18,000 Ukrainian troops serving in Crimea decided to leave the peninsula.

"The obvious purpose of this provocation is to accuse the Crimean authorities of not letting people out and create tensions in the border area," the office of the Crimean Federal District said.

Putin signed a decree on Friday to ratify the treaty providing for the reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with Russia.

Leaders in the predominantly Russian-ethnic republic refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev that came to power amid often violent protests last month, instead seeking reunification with Russia.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 23, 2014, 08:33:51 pm
Ukraine says top commander held after base stormed

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian air force commander is being held after his base in Crimea was stormed by pro-Russian forces, and the acting president called for his release Sunday.

Col. Yuliy Mamchur is the commander of the Belbek Air Force base near Sevastopol, which was taken over Saturday by forces who sent armored personnel carriers smashing through the base's walls and fired shots and stun grenades. One Ukrainian serviceman was reported wounded in the clash.

It was unclear if the forces, who didn't bear insignia, were Russian military or local pro-Russia militia.

Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov, in a statement, said Mamchur was "abducted" by the forces. He didn't specify where Mamchur is believed to be held.

However, prominent politician Vitali Klitschko said Sunday that Mamchur is being held by the Russian military in a jail in Sevastopol, the Crimean city that is the base of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Klitschko was one of the leaders of the three months of protests in Ukraine that culminated in late February with President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and interim authorities taking power before a May 25 presidential election. The protests were triggered by Yanukovych's decision to reject a deal for closer ties with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead.

Yanukovych's ouster was denounced by Russia and much of Ukraine's ethnic Russian population as a coup. Soon thereafter, Russian forces took control of Crimea and the region held a referendum to break off from Ukraine and join Russia.

Russia formally annexed Crimea last week, a move that Western countries say is illegitimate. The U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions on Russia in the dispute, but Moscow appears unmoved.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian flag was now flying over 189 military facilities in Crimea. It didn't specify whether any Ukrainian military operations there remained under Ukrainian control.

At a Ukrainian marines base in Feodosia, troops were negotiating with Russian forces on handing over the base, Lt. Anatoly Mozgovoi told The Associated Press. The marines were loading 50-caliber machine guns into armored personnel carriers to take them to the base armory, but Mozgovoi said they hope to hold on to heavy weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and cannon.

"I think from my personal opinion, the Russian Federation has enough weapons," he said.

In Donetsk, one of the major cities in eastern Ukraine, about 5,000 people demonstrated in favor of holding a referendum on secession and absorption into Russia.

Eastern Ukraine is the country's industrial heartland and was Yanukovych's support base. Donetsk authorities on Friday formed a working group to hold a referendum, but no date for it has been set.

Russia has deployed thousands of troops in its regions near the Ukrainian border and concerns are high that it could use unrest in the east as a pretext for crossing the border.

On Sunday, Russian deputy defense minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the number of Russian troops in the area of the Ukrainian border does not exceed international treaty limits.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 24, 2014, 09:56:20 am
Find this part kind of interesting.

I know this is kind of "mainstream" theory, but if Gog/Magog in Ezekiel 38 actually is Russia and Gomer is Germany, that is starting to make sense and take shape now.

Why Germany and Poland Are Winners in the Ukraine Crisis

Russia is winning the Ukraine crisis.  While Moscow may have suffered some economic sanctions, the world saw a disobedient Russian neighbor being forcibly brought to heel.  The land grab was no doubt designed to encourage the others—Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Georgia – all those unfortunates who live nearby.  And it will.

There are other winners, even on the side of the somewhat hapless angels. Like Germany, which is currently less an angel, and Poland, which is currently more.  Before taking a mildly more aggressive position on sanctions Friday, Germany had been the least enthusiastic major European power about aggressively confronting Russia. Part of this is due to Germany’s oil and gas imports, over a third of which comes from Russia and its other economic ties to the east.  It’s not all economics, though: while money plays a part, power plays a bigger one.

Since both its unifications, Germany has been the strongest European power in a difficult geographic position, surrounded by a stronger Russia and weaker France and Britain. It has usually thus played off one side against the other, in a foreign policy that was neither East nor West but neutralist.

In 1922, for example, post-WWI Germany extended diplomatic recognition to Bolshevik Russia, the first major power to do so. The Rapallo agreement led to secret German-Soviet military cooperation that evaded the treaty’s prohibitions on remilitarization. Later, West German Chancellor Willi Brandt’s controversial Ostpolitik in the 1960s and 70s famously favored closer relations with the USSR, rattling some NATO members.

Berlin’s behavior over the Ukraine is thus a potential reversion to its traditional East-West behavior.  Chancellor Angela Merkel will punish Putin when he gets too aggressive, but probably slower and less than her eastern or western neighbors would like.  Unless he pushes her too far, as he might now have. But because Germany has solidified its political leadership of Europe by financing away the debt crisis, Europe can’t really react until Berlin does.

Poland also wins, but in a slightly different way.  Since the minor crisis in Maidan Square turned into a major crisis in Crimea, Poland has repeatedly and loudly called for stronger action against Russia and its minions.

It’s no wonder.  Poland, as a nation, is a historical trauma case, as close to a collective PTSD state as a people can be. It’s flat, with no natural borders, and is rivaled only by Korea for its frequent geopolitical catastrophes. Like Korea, it lives in a terrible neighborhood, bookended between a baleful Russia and a less baleful but somehow even less reassuring Germany. And thus for long periods of history, Poland has disappeared entirely from the map.

Russia’s behavior in the Ukraine thus set off the usual alarm bells in Warsaw.  During Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Poland on Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk repeated Poland’s stand: “It is a challenge for the whole world…It is not just Poland, but all of Europe must speak in a strong voice.”

Europe won’t, thanks partially to Germany, but also to the Western European states which don’t really want a serious conflict over ethnic Russians in the Crimea.  US help to Poland has also been minimal--a visiting fighter squadron, a few tankers, and some of Joe Biden’s thoughts about gas dependency.

It’s not perhaps overly reassuring, but then it wouldn’t be. Most alliances are negatively defined: they are coalitions against something.  NATO lost its core definition for the West in 1991.  Hence the growing disconnect with NATO’s eastern members, who thought the basic purpose of the alliance was to defend them against Russia.

For Poland, Hungary, and Latvia and the other Soviet punching bags there’s only Russia.  If NATO won’t defend them– if its bluff was just a bluff – well then, those states will take matters into their own hands.  One of the few benefits of a traumatic national upbringing is that you take power very seriously. And they have been thoroughly unimpressed by NATO’s response to Putin.

Because of Russia’s aggression, Poland now has the chance to expand its military power without alarming or incurring pushback from nearby states. It can act more according to its own interests, less muted by the EU, NATO, or the UN, and assume a more regionally assertive role with fewer costs.  Russia has given Poland carte blanche to become a regional power, and potentially the linchpin of an eastern coalition against Russia.

That would be an historic shift; Europe has not seen a major eastern European power since the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth almost five hundred years ago.  And nobody would deserve it more than Putin. Poland can thus come out of the Ukraine crisis a winner; not because the fates have been kind to it, for they never are, but because it can rise with near-impunity. It’s a self-help, tough-love kind of win, but that’s the only kind Poland ever gets.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 24, 2014, 05:01:42 pm
Prokhorov says transferring Brooklyn Nets ownership to Russia

Moscow (AFP) - Russian billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball franchise, said Monday he was transferring its ownership to Russia.

As one of the richest Russians with assets abroad, Prokhorov could be vulnerable if the Western powers escalate economic sanctions against Russia over its takeover of Crimea.

"I am doing all that I can to own the basketball club through a Russian company," Prokhorov told journalists, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Prokhorov is the principal owner of the Brooklyn Nets through his Onexim Sports & Entertainment holding, according to the team's website.

The Brooklyn Nets last year jumped in value 47 percent to $780 million, making it the fifth most valuable National Basketball Association club.

Asked if US sanctions imposed on Russia could affect his assets, Prokhorov said: "This question is not clear so far. We are all now looking at it together. At the moment, so far, no."

The billionaire tycoon and former presidential candidate has not been personally targeted by US sanctions over Crimea, which have blacklisted several billionaires closely linked to President Vladimir Putin.

Prokhorov said that the transfer of the team's ownership to Russia was an ongoing process.

"This process is going slowly. I have already said numerous times that I am gradually transferring the basketball club to Russian companies, according to the law."

Putin decorated Prokhorov on Monday over his contribution to the Sochi Winter Olympic games as the head of biathlon in Russia.

Prokhorov was estimated to be worth $10.4 billion by Forbes magazine this year.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 25, 2014, 05:29:40 am
Vladimir Putin Vows To Defend Christianity Worldwide

The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this week of the urgent situation Christians are facing around the world in persecution hot spots, and has asked him to use his power to aid their situations. RT online reported that Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relation chief of the Russian Orthodox Church presented evidence and statistics that stated, “Every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the word.”

Christians face persecution in many nations; from church demolition in Afghanistan and bombings of churches in Iraq, to the violence against Christians taking place in rebellious towns in Syria.     

MORE: http://global.christianpost.com/news/vladimir-putin-vows-to-defend-christianity-worldwide-69002/

Of course they mean the Catholic church... Now where have i seen this before??  ??? hmmm... Catholic wants to defend all "christians" in the world through force... hmm, lets see here


Yep, there it is...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 25, 2014, 05:34:40 am
Dont worry, Putin is on it

Christians In Israel Ask EU To Stop ‘Christian Ethnic Cleansing’ In Arab Countries

150 Christian citizens of Israel demonstrated outside the European Union's delegation in Tel Aviv, against the EU's silence relative to what they termed “the ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the Middle East.” The protesters demanded that the EU act for human rights and fight for the Christians throughout the Middle East, who are quickly becoming extinct except in Israel.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 25, 2014, 09:12:48 am
And remember Rick Warren saying how he plans to amass a 1b man Christian "army" to transform the world. The "religious right" also has the same agendas as well.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 25, 2014, 09:31:57 am
Russia Booted from G8, More Sanctions Possible

Russia's membership in the G8 suspended in the latest response to its annexation of Crimea.

First Publish: 3/25/2014, 2:45 AM

The G8 group of leading industrialized nations became the G7 on Monday, as leaders decided to end Russia's role in the group, CNN reports.

The move to suspend Russia's membership in the G8 is the latest direct response from major countries allied against Russia's annexation of Crimea, the White House said in a statement quoted by the network.

"International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state's territory through coercion or force," the White House said. "To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine's constitution.”

"We also strongly condemn Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations," added the White House.

Russia was apparently not concerned by the move, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in the day that being kicked out of G8 would be no big deal.

"G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone," he said during a news conference.

"All the economic and financial questions are decided in G20, and G8 has the purpose of existence as the forum of dialogue between the leading Western countries and Russia," added Lavrov.

He added that Russia was "not attached to this format and we don't see a great misfortune if it will not gather. Maybe, for a year or two, it will be an experiment for us to see how we live without it."

An aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed to CNN that a group summit initially planned for June in Sochi, Russia, where the Winter Olympics were just held, is now off.

The United States and its allies in Europe are "united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Obama said earlier in the Netherlands where he attended a nuclear security summit with other world leaders.

Western powers have imposed sanctions and other penalties against specific people in Russia close to President Vladimir Putin.

A senior Obama administration official told CNN that Obama and other leaders agreed that further steps to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin could include sanctions on energy, banking and defense sectors, all areas where Europe is deeply engaged economically with Russia.

Those additional sanctions could be prompted if Russia further escalates its incursion into Ukraine, which the official defined as sending troops beyond Crimea into the southern or eastern parts of the country. Violence in the contested peninsula could also trigger further sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin completed drafting a bill to annex Crimea last Friday, thumbing his nose at EU and U.S. sanctions, and even drafting his own sanctions on top American senators.

Obama has come under fire from Republicans over his foreign policy which, they say, encouraged Putin to annex Crimea.

On Sunday, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined in the criticism, saying Obama could have taken more drastic steps to prevent the Russian invasion of Crimea.

Romney declared that Obama has been exhibiting "faulty judgment" and "naiveté" in dealing with the crisis in Ukraine, and noted that the President had slammed him during the 2012 presidential race for calling Russia the "number one geopolitical foe" of the U.S.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 25, 2014, 09:38:27 am
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Ukraine bill: 'In order for it to become law, the controversial IMF provision must be removed' - @elwasson

Actually you have to get rid of this... 

The Foreign Assistance Act mandates that the U.S. cut aid to any country “whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.”


Senate Minority Leader
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 25, 2014, 12:07:42 pm
Russian economy grinding to a halt as Ukraine crisis takes heavy toll

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's economy is barely growing, inflation is rising fast, and capital is pouring out of the country, the Economy Ministry said on Monday, a sign that international tensions around Ukraine are already inflicting severe economic costs.

In February Russia's gross domestic product eked out growth of just 0.3 percent year-on-year, down from 0.7 percent in January, Russia's Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach said.

Last year the economy grew by just 1.3 percent, far below initial forecasts, but there had been hopes that growth would rebound this year. Instead Russia's economic performance is deteriorating further as the international tensions around Ukraine lead capital to flee Russia.

Klepach said that when seasonal and calendar factors are taken into account, February's 0.3 percent was "not bad" and "better than expected."

But he added that "it's too soon to talk about a turn-around in economic trends, about a recovery from stagnation."

He said that the ministry anticipates GDP growth of "around zero" for the first quarter as a whole. That would make its 2.5 percent growth forecast for 2014 challenging.

"There won't be a recession, but there is a problem of stagnation: it's length and depth. Unfortunately the investment slump is continuing. I'm not ready to say how long it will continue," Klepach said.


While Russia's economic growth slows, inflation is shooting up. The Economy Ministry expects inflation to reach 6.9-7.0 percent in March, up from 6.2 percent in February.

The sharp rise illustrates how a slumping rouble is feeding into higher import prices, as both Russians and foreigners scramble to get out of rouble investments

Klepach said that the Economy Ministry forecasts the net capital outflow during the first quarter at $65-70 billion - and "closer to $70 billion".

That compares with an outflow of $62.7 billion during the whole of 2013.

He said that Russia's economic indicators have been deteriorating, even though western sanctions against Russia have so far had only a minor economic impact, because cool relations between Russia and the West damage investor confidence.

"We considered in the forecast how the general deterioration of our relations with developed countries and world markets is having an influence," he said.

"Sanctions so far don't have a significant economic character, but in itself a worsening of relations is a significantly negative factor for economic growth and correspondingly influences the capital outflow."

(Writing by Jason Bush; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 26, 2014, 08:04:11 am
In military rout, Russia seizes 51 Ukrainian ships in Crimea


In its invasion and annexation of Crimea, Russia has seized 51 vessels belonging to the Ukrainian navy, according to information compiled by Dmitry Tymchuk, director of the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv.

Among the Ukrainian vessels reportedly captured by the Russians are submarine Zaporizhia, management ship Slavutych, landing ship Konstantin Olshansky, landing ship Kirovohrad, minesweeper Chernihiv and minesweeper Cherkasy.

The Cherkasy was the last of the ships to have been overtaken following weeks of threats and ultimatums to surrender. It was finally chased down and overtaken by the Russian navy on March 25 after failing to slip past a blockade of two ships intentionally sunk by the Russians to trap it and other vessels in a narrow gulf, keeping them from escaping into the Black Sea.

As of March 26, just 10 Ukrainian vessels remained in its navy's possession, including frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy, gunboat Skadovsk, intelligence ship Pereyaslav and diving vessel Netishin.

a good chart: http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/russia-reportedly-seizes-51-ukrainian-ships-in-crimea-340929.html

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 26, 2014, 08:38:47 am
Is it just me, or does this feel like it's playing out like a Tom Clancy novel?

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 26, 2014, 09:16:51 am
BRICS rejects sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

oops  :o another Obama black eye   :D

The group of five major emerging national economies known as the BRICS has rejected the Western sanctions against Russia and the “hostile language” being directed at the country over the crisis in Ukraine.

“The escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions, and force does not contribute to a sustainable and peaceful solution, according to international law, including the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter,” foreign ministers of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - said in a statement issued on Monday.

The group agreed that the challenges that exist within the regions of the BRICS countries must be addressed within the framework of the United Nations.

    “BRICS countries agreed that the challenges that exist within the regions of the BRICS countries must be addressed within the fold of the United Nations in a calm and level-headed manner,” the statement added.

The White House said earlier on Monday that US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan decided to end Russia's role in the G8 over the crisis in Ukraine and the status of Crimea.

Meanwhile, the G7 group of top economic powers has snubbed a planned meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to host in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in June.

The G7 said they would hold a meeting in Brussels without Russia instead of the wider G8 summit, and threatened tougher sanctions against Russia.

Russia brushed off the Western threat to expel it from the G8 on the same day. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier, in which nearly 97 percent of the participants voted in favor of the move.

On March 21, Putin signed into law the documents officially making Crimea part of the Russian territory. Putin said the move was carried out based on the international law.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 28, 2014, 05:53:59 am
Report: Poland Calls Up Army Reserves: “The World Stands On the Brink of Conflict”

Though not much is being said about the the Ukraine in U.S. mainstream news circles, the tension in Europe is being stretched to a near breaking point.

A few weeks ago the country of Estonia warned that their sources indicated that the Russian Army was are preparing an invasion of the Western-supported Ukrainian government. The President of the country’s provisional government has since deployed at leas 40,000 troops to its Eastern front as a countermeasure should Vladimir Putin’s 80,000 strong military cross its border.

In Poland, which sits in a region that has been party to just about every European engagement in modern history, leaders are concerned with the possibility that a Russia/Ukraine conflict would spill over to its country.

According to a report from The Week Polish military reservists are being called up by the thousands, presumably to prepare for the possibility of not just spillover, but all out military confrontation with Russia.

    At least 7,000 reservists have been recalled to the colours for immediate exercises lasting between 10 and 30 days.

    They’re told by the Polish authorities that the call-ups are “routine”: but the men say they haven’t been asked before and they’re well aware of the growing alarm in Warsaw at President Putin’s aggression. Three weeks ago, their Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, called a press conference to warn that “the world stands on the brink of conflict, the consequences of which are not foreseen… Not everyone in Europe is aware of this situation.”


    But in the worst case scenario of a truly revanchist Russia, Poland certainly has the borders from hell.  Starting from the top, it abuts Kaliningrad (the Russian exclave on the Baltic carved at the end of the war from East Prussia), Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

    None of these borders relies on any natural barriers like rivers or mountain ranges – they are just lines on a map drawn by Stalin in the full flush of victory.  No wonder the Poles are feeling vulnerable.

    And we should be worried, too. Poland is both a Nato and EU member.  We are bound by solemn treaty to defend her in case of attack.  Violation of Poland’s territorial integrity was after all why we went to war reluctantly in 1939.


    Poland is one thing but there are other states in Russia’s shadow who are members of both Nato and the EU. Would we fight for the vulnerable Baltic states should President Putin turn the screws on them?

This is the first time in Poland’s history that they have called up their reserve troops, so whatever prompted the mobilization is likely of serious concern.

REST: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/report-poland-calls-up-army-reserves-the-world-stands-on-the-brink-of-conflict_03262014

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 28, 2014, 06:32:12 am
Ukraine says 100,000 Russian troops near border

Washington (AFP) - Nearly 100,000 Russian forces have massed on Ukraine's border, a top Ukrainian defense official told an American audience Thursday, giving a number far higher than US military estimates. "Almost 100,000 soldiers are stationed on the borders of Ukraine and in the direction ... of Kharkiv, Donetsk, " Andriy Parubiy, chairman of Ukraine's national security council, said via a webcast from Kiev.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 28, 2014, 09:33:53 am
Obama: Russia Must Pull Back Troops From Ukrainian Border

you better, or Obama will get all red in the face and look sternly at the teleprompter

U.S. President Barack Obama says Russia must pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border and begin negotiating to defuse tensions.

In an interview with CBS, Mr. Obama said Russia's military moves may be no more than an effort to intimidate Ukraine. But he added that Russia may have "additional plans."

On Thursday, the head of Ukraine's national security council said Russia has close to 100,000 troops along Ukraine's borders in the north, south, and east. He said Russian forces are in full readiness to strike.

Russia says the soldiers are involved in "springtime exercises" and has assured the United States they will not cross the border.

Western experts believe the number of Russian forces near eastern and southern Ukraine is close to 30,000.

Also Friday, Russia described as "counterproductive" a U.N. resolution that refuses to recognize its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Russia's Foreign Ministry said the U.N. General Assembly resolution will only complicate efforts to settle Ukraine's internal political crisis.

The ministry accused Ukraine of seeking to distract from domestic tensions by blaming its problems on Russia.

The U.N. General Assembly passed the non-binding resolution on Thursday, with 100 countries in favor, 11 opposed and 58 abstaining.

Crimea's majority Russian residents voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum earlier this month that Western powers deemed illegal.

Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych called Friday for referendums to determine the status of all Ukrainian regions. He said only a nationwide referendum and not an early presidential election can stabilize Ukraine and preserve its sovereignty and integrity.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 28, 2014, 03:21:21 pm
Yeah - we are living in some very, very interesting times now.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on March 29, 2014, 03:14:15 am
you better, or Obama will get all red in the face and look sternly at the teleprompter

 :D Sends shivers down my spine! Oooh.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on March 29, 2014, 10:59:46 am
A rapid Russian build-up of tanks and troops with tough talk from President Vladimir Putin raises fears war with Ukraine could be imminent

    War college professor warns of imminent invasion
    US officials tell of ‘awful’ developments
    NATO chief briefs US government on threat

WAS Crimea just the beginning?

A senior military academic is warning Europe is staring down the barrel of its biggest war since 1945. And it could start in days, as Russian forces mass on the border with Ukraine — apparently poised to invade.

The commander of NATO forces in Europe visited the White House overnight to voice his alarm at Moscow’s massive military build-up facing eastern Ukraine — on the other side of the embattled country to the already-annexed Crimean peninsula.

Many other military and political voices are suddenly expressing the same fears.

“By the end of the weekend, Europe’s biggest war since 1945 will have begun or Putin will have started to send the troops on the border home,” declared Professor of the Naval War College at Boston University, John Schindler.

And he is not the only academic voicing this concern.

The troops are reportedly not average Russian conscripts. New intelligence reveals the mechanised infantry units and their tanks to be among the best and most highly trained the Russian Federation has — diverted from their Moscow barracks to their tents and revetments overlooking Ukraine.

Also early this morning Australia time, a group of masked right wing ultra-nationalists began a demonstration inside and out of the Ukraine’s main parliament building - calling for the sacking of the police minister after one of their leaders was shot dead.

There are even reports — unconfirmed at this stage — that Russia has in the past few hours erected a massive field hospital designed to treat wounded soldiers.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric has also been heating up, with claims that Russian-speaking people in Ukraine are being treated “brutally”.

The much-talked-about Russian defence exercises near the Ukraine seem to be a spoof, designed to explain away the buildup.

While highly publicised exercises have been underway in distant Siberia, only a few “events” seem to have been staged among the troops massed near Crimea and Ukraine.

 John Schindler @20committee

By the end of the weekend, Europe's biggest war since 1945 will have begun or Putin will have started to send the troops on the border home.
3:40 PM - 27 Mar 2014

S Defense officials say the numbers of troops far exceeds the amount needed for any training exercise. And there is no evidence any large-scale manoeuvres have actually taken place

More worrying is that none of the troops have returned to their bases.

War expert Schindler has been fast and furiously tweeting his fears to all who care to listen in recent hours.

He speculates the real number of Russian troops now in place may amount to 80,000.

“(The) odds of invasion are raising,” he tweeted early this morning. “Only Putin really knows, but the world will know soon enough.”

rest: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/a-rapid-russian-buildup-of-tanks-and-troops-with-tough-talk-from-president-vladimir-putin-raises-fears-war-with-ukraine-could-be-imminent/story-fni0xs61-1226867240935

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 01, 2014, 03:52:48 pm
Russia hikes gas price for Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Tuesday sharply hiked the price for natural gas to Ukraine and threatened to reclaim billions previous discounts, raising the heat on its cash-strapped government, while Ukrainian police moved to disarm members of a radical nationalist group after a shooting spree in the capital.

NATO foreign ministers were gathering for a two-day meeting in Brussels to consider further steps in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea, including measures to reassure the Baltic states, Poland, and Romania that the alliance would help guarantee their security.

Alexei Miller, the head of Russia's state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom, said Tuesday that the company has withdrawn December's discount that put the price of gas at $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters and set the price at $385.50 per 1,000 cubic meters for the second quarter.

The discount was part of a financial lifeline which Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to Ukraine's President, Viktor Yanukovych, after his decision to ditch a pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow. The move fueled three months of protests which led Yanukovych to flee to Russia in February.

Radical nationalist groups played a key role in Yanukovych's ouster, but they quickly fell out with the new government. Many activists are still encamped on Kiev's Independence Square, known as the Maidan, and have signaled their intent to remain there until the election of what they deem to be a legitimate government.

Last week, one of the leaders of the most prominent radical group, the Right Sector, was shot dead while resisting police.

Right Sector members then besieged parliament for several hours, breaking windows and demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. They lifted the blockade after lawmakers set up a panel to investigate the killing.

Late Monday, a Right Sector member shot and wounded three people outside a restaurant adjacent to Kiev's main Independence Square, including a deputy city mayor, triggering a standoff that lasted overnight.

Police responded by surrounding the downtown Dnipro Hotel, which Right Sector had commandeered as its headquarters, demanding that the radicals lay down their weapons and leave. Avakov said that Right Sector members agreed Tuesday to leave their weapons behind and went to a suburban camp, escorted by officers of Ukraine's Security Service.

The Ukrainian parliament then voted to order police to disarm all illegal armed units. Backers of the measure said the drive was needed to combat a recent surge in violent crime and to defuse the risk of provocations by "foreign citizens" in Kiev and the south and east of Ukraine, heavily Russian-speaking regions where anti-government groups have rallied over the past several weekends in calls for secession.

In March, authorities launched a broad appeal for the voluntary surrender of weapons, many of which went astray from police depots during months of unrest. The government has said a similar amnesty will remain in effect in April.

If police disarm nationalists and other radical groups, it would undermine Russia's key argument: the allegation that the new Ukrainian government was kowtowing to nationalist radicals, who threaten Russian-speakers in southeastern Ukraine. Russia has pointed at the perceived threat from ultranationalists to defend its annexation of Crimea, and has concentrated tens of thousands of troops along its border with Ukraine, drawing Western fears of an invasion.

Putin and other officials have said that Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu insisted Tuesday that the Kremlin wants a "political settlement that would take interests and rights of the entire Ukrainian people into account."

.EU wants US gas. Play video 
EU wants US gas
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he couldn't confirm reports of a Russian pullback from Ukraine's borders.

"This is not what we have seen," he told reporters in Brussels. "And this massive military buildup can in no way contribute to a de-escalation of the situation, a de-escalation that we all want to see, so I continue to urge Russia to pull back its troops, live up to its international obligation and engage in a constructive dialogue with Ukraine."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference in Berlin that she could not confirm any withdrawal. Even if Putin had removed some troops, she said, "it is also certainly not the final step... the troop concentration on the Ukrainian border is very high."

Germany's foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, renewed a push for internationally backed direct talks between Russia and Ukraine amid "small signals of de-escalation" including the launch of an international observer mission.

"What will be important in the coming days is getting Russia and Ukraine around a table together," Steinmeier said at a meeting with his French and Polish counterparts in Weimar, Germany. He said that could be done in an international framework — "it can be a contact group, it can be a support group."

Russia has used financial levers to hit Ukraine, which is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Gazprom's Miller said that the decision to charge a higher price in the second quarter was made because Ukraine has failed to pay off its debt for past supplies, which now stands at $1.7 billion.

On Tuesday the Russian parliament moved to annul agreements with Ukraine on Russia's navy base in Crimea. In 2010, Ukraine extended the lease of Russia's Black Sea Fleet's base until 2042 for an annual rent of $98 million and discounts for Russian natural gas. The lower house voted to repeal the deal Monday, and the upper house was to follow suit.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia had given Ukraine $11 billion in gas discounts in advance and should claim the money back once the lease deal is repealed — a threat repeated Tuesday by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

The Russian moves would fall hard on Ukrainian consumers, who have benefited from generous state subsidies that have kept gas prices low while swelling government debt.

Ukraine has agreed to gradually withdraw subsidies under a deal with the IMF that required the country to make its utility costs economically viable for the state by 2018 as condition for up to $18 billion in loans. Household gas prices in Ukraine are set to rise 50 percent beginning May 1.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 01, 2014, 06:30:16 pm
Russia raises price of gas for Ukraine by 65 percent
 April 1, 2014  DEBKAfile

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 02, 2014, 01:32:41 pm
NASA suspends work with Russia over involvement in Ukraine

Citing Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereign and territorial integrity, NASA announced today that it is suspending all contact with Russian Government representatives. In an internal NASA memorandum obtained by The Verge, NASA said that the suspension includes travel to Russia, teleconferences, and visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities. NASA is even suspending the exchange of emails with Russian officials.

Ongoing International Space Station activities are exempt from this suspension, however, as are meetings with other countries held outside of Russia that include the participation of Russian officials.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 02, 2014, 03:15:12 pm
US calls on Europe to wean itself from Russian gas

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States on Wednesday called on Europe to wean itself from a dangerous dependency on Russian gas, saying it was time to stand together and bring an end to the Kremlin's use of energy supplies as political leverage.

Left unsaid was the European Union's reluctance to follow the United States headlong into shale gas extraction, which has transformed the global energy scene and turned the U.S. from importer into a nascent exporter. Or its refusal to fully re-embrace nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

And even if it tried to become independent, it would take Europe years to develop promising sources, such as shale deposits in Ukraine and Poland — and with no guarantees of success.

Europe's reliance on Russia for a third of its energy needs has left the Kremlin in a position of power, emboldening it as it swept in to annex the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month, with little more than diplomatic protest and a few sanctions in return.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 05, 2014, 07:07:50 am
Russia prepares to attack the petrodollar

The US dollar's position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America's economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom's natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.

First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must should ditch the dollar. “ They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries, ” he said.

Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “ I've spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don't mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that ”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.

Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed' decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 - which is still taking its toll on the world - started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said.

It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange. In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a "global mechanism to trade natural gas" and went on suggesting that " it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies ". Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.

Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora's box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We'll soon find out.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_04/Russia-prepares-to-attack-the-petrodollar-2335/

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 05, 2014, 08:59:18 pm
EU working with Russia, Ukraine to defuse crisis

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — EU foreign ministers stressed the need Saturday for Russia to defuse tensions with Ukraine following a two-day informal meeting that ended with leaders insisting that all options remain on the table — including further sanctions.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stressed the need for resolve in dealing with Moscow after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March — arguing that Russia had deviated from accepted norms. Unity among the 28 member states was critical.

"We should be very firm on international law and the rules that must apply," he said.

Bildt took it a step further, underscoring Western unease with the Crimean referendum, which was called just two weeks after Russian forces had overtaken the Ukrainian region. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote and the annexation.

Bildt, who served as a mediator in the Balkan conflict, said that outsiders must start thinking about Russia's motives in the complex interplay of faith and power.

"We are having a profound debate on what is the nature of Russia ... I think it's pretty clear that Russia has changed in the last few years," he told reporters outside the session in Greece. "There is a new political mentality, at least from the Kremlin. They are intending to build up... an Orthodox bastion against the West."

Referring to a public rally last month in which Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in front of a banner reading "Crimea is in my heart," Bildt said, "You have to ask yourself, what else is in his heart?"

Speaking just before the meeting got under way Friday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged EU partners to develop stricter sanctions for possible use against Russia should they become necessary. The EU has so far imposed sanctions against individuals.

The informal meeting involved just the 28 ministers, without the presence of assistants, to facilitate debate, in a tradition reaching back to 1974. Foreign ministers of EU candidate countries, as well as the chairman of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee, were invited to join on Saturday, the final day of the meeting.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 07, 2014, 07:14:12 am
Pro-Russians seize state buildings in eastern Ukraine

Activists chanting "Russia!" broke through police lines Sunday and stormed several government buildings in eastern Ukrainian regions seeking independence from Kiev following last month's fall of a Kremlin regime.

Clashes in Donetsk and similar rallies in the heavily Russified cities such of Lugansk and Kharkiv provided another reminder to the untested pro-Western leaders in Kiev of the monumental task facing them after their February 22 overthrow of president Viktor Yanukovych.

The unrest comes with Ukraine's borders surrounded by Russian troops who had earlier seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and the economy in tatters after decades of mismanagement and government theft.

Several eastern regions now want to stage referendums on joining Kremlin rule when Ukraine holds snap presidential polls on May 25. Both election frontrunners want to tie the vast country's future to Europe and break its historic dependence on Russia.

The day's most violent protest saw nearly 100 activists move away from a crowd of 2,000 rallying on the main city square of Donetsk to storm and occupy the government seat where they raised the Russian flag.

They threw firecrackers at about 200 riot police and ripped away several of their shields before raising the Russian flag above the 11-story building.

Some in the bustling city of one million chanted "Give us a referendum" and "NATO go home".

Police in the eastern city of Lugansk were forced to fire tear gas at a few hundred protesters who broke into the local security service building in order to win the release of 15 pro-Russian activists arrested earlier in the week.

The region's security service had accused the group of planning to seize the main administration building on Thursday with "the use of arms and explosives".

An AFP reporter saw several men break down the door of the security service building while others pelted its windows with stones and eggs. Local news reports said two police officers were hurt in the melee.

Unconfirmed reports from pro-Russian media sources said the activists had managed to secure the release of six of the 15 alleged Lugansk coup plotters and had barricaded themselves inside the building.

Several dozen people also entered the government seat in the eastern city of Kharkiv after breaking through police lines.

They thrust several Russian flags out of windows as a crowd of about 2,000 outside cheered and chanted "The police are with the people".

The police officers refused to use force against the crowd and moved about 50 metres (165 feet) away from the government seat after the Russian supporters broke inside.

An AFP reporter in Kharkiv also saw several hundred protesters surround a group of pro-European supporters who were mistaken for members of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector group.

The group was forced to march down a steep hill on their knees in what appeared to be a humiliation ritual that drew no police response.

- Putin 'ordered turmoil' -

The unrest and threat of bloodshed has sparked concern in both Kiev and Western countries that Russian President Vladimir Putin may order his troops into the eastern regions following his promise to "protect" his compatriots there.

Washington believes that Russia has massed about 40,000 soldiers near the eastern border of Ukraine.

Moscow has denied plans to move its troops beyond Crimea but has thus far pulled only a few hundred troops back from the border region.

The latest violence prompted acting President Oleksandr Turchynov to cancel a planned visit to Lithuania and call an emergency meeting of his national security and defence council.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accused Putin and Yanukovych -- now living in self-imposed exile in Russia -- of "ordering and paying for another wave of separatist turmoil in the country's east".

"The situation will be brought under control without bloodshed," the interior minister wrote in a message posted on his Facebook account.

"But at the same, a firm approach will be use against all who attack government buildings, law enforcement officers and other citizens," Avakov warned.

- Nationalist tortured to death -

Kiev and western regions of Ukraine that have ancient ties to nations such as Poland and overwhelmingly support the old government's ouster have recently been free of protests but also remain tense.

A prominent Right Sector leader was killed in a police shootout in western Ukraine late last month while another member of the group was arrested after wounding three when he opened fire near a central Kiev hotel last week.

The far right Svoboda party said that the body of one its more prominent activists had been found Saturday dumped in the woods with signs of torture a day after his abduction in the central village of Vygrayev.

Prosecutors said they had launched an investigation but provided no other details.

Svoboda is the current parliament's fourth-largest faction and is headed by the billionaire Sergiy Tigipko -- a veteran politician who is known for making disparaging remarks about Jews and is also standing for president in next month's elections.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 08, 2014, 09:17:13 am
Russia warns of civil war if Ukraine uses force to quell eastern revolts

So this would be the THIRD civil war in a matter of months? Really isnt it just a continuation?

 Russia warned Tuesday that any use of force in Ukraine's eastern region could lead to civil war, as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities.

Pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in the three cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv on Sunday. Rebels occupying Donetsk's regional government building Monday declared a "people's republic" and called for a referendum on secession from Ukraine to be held by May 11.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said reports that the protesters are facing a crackdown by Ukrainian authorities are of particular concern.

"We are calling for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which could lead to civil war," it said in a statement on its official website.

The ministry alleged that what it called "American experts from the private military organization Greystone," disguised as soldiers, as well as militants from the Ukrainian far-right group Right Sector, had joined Ukrainian forces preparing for the crackdown in the country's east.

Late Monday, Ukrainian special forces cleared armed protesters from the headquarters of Ukrainian security services in Donetsk, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov's office announced.

But Ukraine's interim Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema was quoted by Russian state-run news agency ITAR-Tass as saying Tuesday that the authorities are not going to storm the city's regional administration building. Yarema said the decision was made after talks with representatives of the protesters in the building.

A CNN team on the ground said that pro-Russian protesters appear still to be in control of the building and that there is no sign of special forces nearby.

According to the deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council, Victoria Syumar, negotiations are under way between the protesters and police, coordinated by influential oligarch Rinat Ahmetov.

Donetsk is the hometown of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose pro-Russian government was toppled in a popular revolt in February.

'Anti-terrorist operation'

Police detained about 70 people in Kharkiv in an "anti-terrorist" operation that cleared the building in Kharkiv, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said.

Special forces police from outside of the city carried out the operation, in which all those arrested were armed with knives or batons, spokeswoman Natalia Stativko said.

Those arrested have been taken to police detention centers in the cities of Poltava and Zaporijya and face charges relating to separatism, violence and taking part in mass protests, she said.

Earlier, in a Facebook message, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the city center had been closed to the public and urged people to remain calm. No guns were fired, he said.

In Luhansk, pro-Russian demonstrators remain inside the Security Services Building, Syumar said. They are armed, having gained access to a weapons storage area at the site Sunday. Ukraine road police are manning checkpoints on roads going to Luhansk.

On Monday, Turchynov blamed "separatist groups coordinated by Russian special services" for the revolts, which he said echoed events leading to the Russian annexation of Crimea three weeks ago.

"Enemies of Ukraine are trying to play out the Crimean scenario, but we will not let this happen," Turchynov said in a televised message.

In a speech Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the events were of "great concern." The Western military alliance, along with Kiev, has expressed concern about Russia's reported military buildup along its neighbor's border.

"I urge Russia to step back. Any further move into eastern Ukraine would represent a serious escalation, rather than the de-escalation that we all seek," he said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the protests bore "all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilize Ukraine" and warned of "grave economic and political consequences."

Ukraine to Russia: I'm not your child

‎Separatism outlawed

Turchynov reiterated Tuesday he would treat Russian separatists who have seized buildings in the east of the country as "terrorists" who will be prosecuted with the full force of the law.

His remarks to parliament came ahead of a vote in which it approved legislation outlawing groups and individuals who call for separatism. Of the 450 members of the Ukrainian parliament, 230 voted in favor of the bill. All members of the communist party abstained from voting.

Before the vote, a fight broke out in parliament when Petr Simonenko, the leader of the Communist Party, began to say lawmakers should listen to the demands of eastern Ukraine.

He defended demonstrators who have seized local government buildings, saying they are not doing anything different from what the current interim government has done. He also accused "nationalists" of starting the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Simonenko was prevented from speaking further by a member of the far-right Svoboda party, and peace was restored in the parliament.

Russia urges talks

Russia, which has tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border, said Monday that it was "watching closely" what was unfolding and told Ukraine to stop blaming it for Ukrainian problems.

President Vladimir Putin's government pushed Ukraine to set up a federal system in which regions with ethnic Russian majorities would have more autonomy, and its Foreign Ministry urged Ukraine to enter into talks over the issue.

"Ukrainian people want to get a clear answer from Kiev to all their questions. It's time to listen to these legal claims," a Foreign Ministry statement read. The Ukrainian government was acting "irresponsibly," it said.

At a news conference Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow has proposed involving Ukrainian presidential candidates in Russian, U.S. and EU talks on Ukraine. He insisted that representatives of southeast Ukraine take part, too, according to the Interfax news agency. He said Russia was ready for the talks, which may take place in 10 days.

But in Washington, U.S. officials have urged Putin's government to disavow the protests and warned that further Russian intervention in Ukraine would bring stiffer economic sanctions than those already imposed on targeted individuals over the Crimean annexation.

Moscow dispatched thousands of troops to Crimea in support of a pro-Russian movement that seized power in the semi-autonomous region shortly after Yanukovych fled to Russia. The Black Sea peninsula was then subsumed into Russia after a referendum denounced as illegal by Kiev and the West

Russia has called Yanukovych's removal a coup and says the interim government in Kiev is illegitimate. It has said it doesn't intend to invade eastern Ukraine but reserves the right to protect ethnic Russians there.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 08, 2014, 12:09:07 pm
Fistfight Breaks Out in Ukrainian Parliament

It was just the latest of a series of brawls that erupted in the Parliament's chambers over the course of the past year — and fortunately, no one was hurt

A fistfight broke out during a session of the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday between communist lawmakers and members of the right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party as tempers rise over pro-Russian demonstrations.

Two deputies from a far-right nationalist party seized a communist leader, Petro Symonenko, as he was talking in Ukraine’s chamber, Reuters reported. The scuffle erupted after Symonenko said that Ukrainian nationalists were to blame for pro-Russian protesters seizing buildings in eastern Ukraine, because they set a precedent earlier this year by taking over government buildings in protest at the rule of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

But this is not the first brawl in Ukraine parliament. In February, a fight broke out in February after some demanded a snap presidential election.

video: http://time.com/53598/ukraine-fight-parliament-russia/

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Kilika on April 09, 2014, 02:54:46 am
 :D The Koreans are good for a fist fight now and again too. Maybe some in Congress need to go a few rounds.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 11, 2014, 09:14:28 am
US Accuses Russia of Fueling Ukraine Protests

Tensions are rising along Ukraine's border with Russia. In recent days hundreds of pro-Russia protesters have captured key government buildings in eastern Ukraine, demanding closer ties with Moscow.

The United States is accusing Russia of fueling the protests to justify a possible military intervention.

"It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalyst behind the chaos," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops less than 20 miles from the border, NATO says any intervention would be a "historic mistake."

One top NATO general predicted it would take the Russians three to five days to carry out an invasion.

"This is a very large and very capable and very ready force," U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, who commands all NATO forces in Europe, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, hundreds of masked men with metal rods and Molotov cocktails remain in control of the main government building in Donetsk, demanding referendums be held on whether to join Russia.

"The next step is we are going to announce a referendum that is going to take place between now and, at the latest, May 11," pro-Russian activist Vadeem Chernikov said.

Like Crimea, the south and eastern parts of Ukraine hold a significant majority of ethnic Russians. Many of them would like nothing better than to be part of Russia's orbit.

Moscow is considering passing a law that would make it easier for Russian foreigners living in former Russian or USSR territories to get Russian citizenship.

Meanwhile, the United States is warning additional sanctions on Russia's energy, banking and mining sectors could be next if Moscow does not back down.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., want Washington to send military aid to Ukraine.

"By withholding military assistance, the administration may think it is reducing the risk of further conflict. In fact, the opposite may be true," McCain wrote in a statement.

"The decision will appear to Putin as yet another sign of weakness, which may only invite further aggression," he warned.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Ukraine's weak transitional government are struggling to cope with the unfolding crisis.

They broke out into violent fist fights late Tuesday as members of parliament were debating how to deal with the Russian threat.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 11, 2014, 09:15:24 am
Ukraine Threatens Pro-Russia Protesters with Force

Isnt that what started all of this to begin with?  ???

Ukrainian authorities are threatening to use force against pro-Russian separatists who've taken control of government buildings in several cities in the east.

They've given the protestors two days to get out.

In the city of Luhansk, pro-Russian demonstrators seized the government security building and raised a barricade out front.

Hundreds camped out, chanting the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian government says Russia is fostering the unrest in an attempt to expand its influence over eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, NATO has released pictures of the tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed on the Ukraine border.

Russia is also threatening to make Ukraine pay for its natural gas shipments in advance, which could cripple its weak economy.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 11, 2014, 09:16:20 am
Putin Threatens to Cut Ukraine Natural Gas Supply

Ukraine's prime minister is looking to ease the tension Friday in the eastern region of his country, an area where pro-Russia separatists have captured several government buildings.

Just last month, Russia quickly annexed Crimea after voters cast ballots to secede. Now pro-Russia activists are calling for a referendum that could lead to Moscow annexing more of Ukraine.

On Friday, Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met with legitimate leaders in the east and told them more power should be delegated to regional authorities.

The cash-strapped country's crisis was also a topic of concern at the latest meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

"So, in Ukraine, we have put together a $3.5 billion package, about $1.5 billion of which will be provided in direct budget support," World Bank President Jim Kim said at a Thursday news conference."

Kim's promise of support comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin levels a new threat at Ukraine.

Putin is demanding Ukraine pay $35 billion for the natural gas Russia supplies to the country. He also warned in a letter to 18 Eastern European leaders that Europe may face a shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies.


Dont worry Obama will save you...    ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 04:58:32 am
Ukraine's state-run energy company Naftogaz suspends gas payments to Russia until the conclusion of price talks - @Reuters

yep, theres one way to keep the gas on, dont pay your bill. Dont worry Ukraine, Obama has your back.  :D

Armed men seize eastern Ukraine police station

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - At least a dozen armed men have seized a police station in a small town in eastern Ukraine as tensions in the country's Russia-speaking regions intensify. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said men in camouflage stormed a police station in Slovyansk early Saturday. The town is about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the regional center, Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have occupied a government building for nearly a week.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 06:43:56 am
Ukraine: Gunmen Storm Eastern Police Station
Ukraine's interim interior minister says the government response to "terrorists" will be very severe.

Armed men in camouflage have taken over a police station in eastern Ukraine, in the latest in a string of attacks on government buildings.

Police said six men fired several shots into the air before entering the building in the early hours of Saturday morning.

It remains unclear whether anyone was injured in the raid or whether any hostages were taken.

In a statement on his Facebook page acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Ukrainian special forces had been sent to the scene.

He warned that the government's response to the "terrorists" would be "very severe."

Another group of men also attempted to take control of a prosecutor's office in the region, but was repelled.

Mr Avakov said: "Another self-declared defence minister has been arrested."

 The interior minister previously gave pro-Russian separatists 48 hours to end their occupation of government buildings in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, however that deadline has since passed.

Activists staged attacks on a total of three cities on Sunday, but were swiftly removed from one building in Kharkiv.

Protesters in Ukraine's east, which has a large ethnic Russian population, hope to follow in the footsteps of the Crimean Peninsula and force a referendum on joining the Russian Federation.

In Donetsk, (80 miles from Sloviansk), protesters have already proclaimed the creation of their own "people's republic."

 Western leaders have joined Ukraine's interim government in voicing suspicions that Russia may be behind the recent surge in violence.

They have expressed concern Russia may be using the attacks as a pretext for extending its military control beyond Crimea.

According to Nato up to 40,000 Russian troops are currently massed along the Ukrainian border.

Despite previously vowing to protect ethnic Russians in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied stoking tensions, saying he has no plans to invade.

Russia's gradual takeover of military bases in Crimea, which preceded the overwhelmingly-backed referendum, prompted EU and US sanctions against a number of Russian and Ukrainian individuals.

 The US has since followed that up with sanctions against six of Crimea's breakaway leaders.

They include the officials who helped secure the vote and signed the deal with Russia to split from the Ukraine.

Also on the list was a subsidiary of a Ukrainian state gas company whose assets have been seized by the Crimean authorities.

No sanctions targeting Russia's economy have yet been levied.

Top-level talks on the crisis are to take place between the Kiev government, the US, EU and Russia in Geneva on Thursday.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 06:46:37 am
Pro-Russia militants seize hundreds of guns at Slaviansk police HQ in eastern Ukraine - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 09:33:06 am
Report: Ukrainian flag no longer flying over regional police headquarters in Donetsk, Ukraine; replaced by separatist flag, witness says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 01:06:20 pm
Armed attack under way on police station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, interior minister says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 12, 2014, 04:30:42 pm
And the MSM is either going 24/7 on the "missing" Malaysian plane, or this nonsense 2014 midterm elections.

Yeah, lots of news items still trickling in HERE. :-\

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 04:33:48 pm
Report: Pro-Russian militants take over police headquarters in east Ukrainian city Kramatorsk - @Reuters


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 12, 2014, 04:37:50 pm
Report: Pro-Russian militants take over police headquarters in east Ukrainian city Kramatorsk - @Reuters


If you don't mind me asking, what is the "woops" about here? Just wondering, that's all.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 12, 2014, 04:45:32 pm
If you don't mind me asking, what is the "woops" about here? Just wondering, that's all.

Its a different police head quarters in a different city.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 12, 2014, 04:50:49 pm
Its a different police head quarters in a different city.

Oh OK, I see it now(don't know why I didn't catch it initially) - thanks! :)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 13, 2014, 07:18:25 am
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov calls Ukraine's foreign minister, urges Ukraine's government to avoid use of force when dealing with protesters - Interfax

Ukrainian interior minister urges residents in city of Slaviansk to stay indoors, away from windows - Interfax Ukraine via @Reuters

Special forces sent to retake buildings in eastern Ukraine; pro-Russians open fire - @AP

Crowds blocking the main road into Slaviansk, eastern Ukraine - @maxseddon

'"Units from all of the country's force structures are participating. May God be with us,' Ukraine's interior minister says about security operation - @AFP

1 Ukrainian state security service officer killed, 5 others wounded in 'anti-terrorist' operation in Slaviansk, eastern Ukraine, interior minister says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 13, 2014, 07:33:10 am
Fears of full-scale Russian invasion as eastern Ukraine cities toppled

A series of coordinated attacks by pro-Russia gunmen in eastern Ukraine are eerily reminiscent of the Crimea takeover, writes Roland Oliphant in Slavyansk

 Fears of further Russian land-grabs in Ukraine grew on Saturday as pro-Kremlin gunmen mounted a series of co-ordinated assaults on police stations and security buildings.

The operations came as Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said Ukraine was “demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country”.

In what many fear could be the prelude to a full invasion by Russian troops, masked men armed with Kalashnikovs and stun grenades seized two police stations and an intelligence headquarters in eastern Ukraine.

Believed to include professional soldiers in their ranks, the gunmen also set up checkpoints along local roads and began barricading the buildings. There were reports of gunfire, but no casualties.

The operations followed a period of relative calm in eastern Ukraine, where the pro-Russian movement that had occupied a number of town hall buildings appeared to have lost momentum.

 But the Ukrainian government, which on Saturday evening convened an emergency security meeting, has long maintained that the Kremlin was simply biding its time.

The White House echoed the fears of observers on the ground who said the attacks bore a speed and professionalism reminiscent of the early stages of Russia’s Crimea annexation. It warned Russia against further military action.

“We saw similar so-called protest activities in Crimea before Russia’s purported annexation,” said Laura Lucas Magnuson, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Vladimir Putin, the country’s president, should “cease all efforts to destabilise Ukraine”, she added.

The gunmen's main focus of attack was Slavyansk, a city of 120,000 people that lies on a river 35 miles from Donetsk, Ukraine's eastern regional capital.

After raising the Russian flag at both the police station and the local security service headquarters, they ransacked the police station armoury of at least 400 handguns and 20 automatic weapons.

"The aim of the takeover was the guns," a Ukrainian police statement said. "They are giving these guns to participants in the protest in Slavyansk."

The men standing guard behind newly erected barricades appeared to include professional soldiers as well as retired veterans and civilian volunteers. Some said they wanted a referendum on becoming part of Russia, as Crimea did last month.

"For three months we have been demanding a referendum and they haven't listened to us," one armed man told The Sunday Telegraph, describing himself as a veteran of Afghanistan.

"Since that war I have not picked up a gun, I became a builder and tried to forget a war. After this, I'll put it away and never need it again," he said, tapping a loaded AK-47.

Asked where the weapons came from, he nodded at the Russian flag now flying from the police station and said: "Look at that flag. You know which country that represents."

Meanwhile, in Donetsk, around 200 pro-Russian protesters armed with clubs and sticks stormed the regional police headquarters without resistance from anyone inside. Witnesses said they wore the uniforms of the Berkut, the feared riot police squad accused of taking part in shootings that killed over 100 people during the anti-government protests that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych.

 Later, anti-riot police who arrived at the scene were seen sporting orange and black ribbons, symbolising support for Russian rule

The local police chief also went on national television and said he was resigning.

Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister, pledged to deal with the unrest, saying: "The response will be very tough because there is a difference between protesters and terrorists".

But it is likely to be a strong test of nerve for the Ukrainian security forces, who know that any serious bloodshed could give Russia a pretext to intervene to "protect" pro-Russian elements.

A 48-hour ultimatum given by the interior ministry to another group of separatists who seized an administrative building in Donetsk expired on Friday with no action taken.

In a further sign of the increasing tensions, Ukraine's state energy company, Naftohaz, has suspended payments to Russia for deliveries of gas until price negotiations between the two countries are concluded.

Earlier this month, Russia increased the gas price for Ukrainian consumers from £160 to £290 per 1,000 cubic metres (tcm), saying Kiev was no longer eligible for previous discounts.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 13, 2014, 12:39:18 pm
Russia's foreign ministry says decision by Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov to mobilize army is 'a criminal order' - Interfax via @Reuters

Ukraine presidential decree sets deadline of 2 am ET on Monday for separatists to give up weapons - @Reuters

i think that is Obama's tee off time also...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 13, 2014, 07:30:37 pm
UN Security Council sets emergency meeting for Sunday

The U.N. Security Council has called an emergency meeting at Russia's request to discuss the growing crisis in Ukraine.

Russia's U.N. mission sent a text message to reporters saying a closed meeting of the Security Council would begin at 8 p.m. Sunday (0000 GMT). The Russian mission said it had requested the meeting.

The President of the Security Council confirmed in an email that members have been invited to attend "informal consultations" on Ukraine Sunday evening.

The meeting comes as the new Ukrainian government declared it would deploy armed forces to quash an increasingly bold pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia in an eastern city Sunday morning, with at least one security officer killed and five others wounded.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 14, 2014, 05:19:04 am
Ukraine's President Turchinov says anti-terrorist operation with army will begin and the Donbass region 'will soon be stabilized' - @Reuters

Russia conducts test launch of new intercontinental ballistic missile, defense ministry says - @itass_en

well, when you are the only true super power...

Russia's Lavrov says he wants an explanation about unconfirmed reports that CIA Director John Brennan visited Ukraine's capital Kiev - @Reuters

the civil war keeps spreading

Pro-Russian activists are building barricades inside a police station they now control in Horlivka, eastern Ukraine - @SkyNewsBreak

Update: At least 100 pro-Russian separatists involved in attack on Horlivka police headquarters in eastern Ukraine - @Reuters

German government spokeswoman says EU foreign ministers to discuss whether threshold for a 3rd phase of sanctions against Russia has been reached - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 14, 2014, 05:22:22 am
Ukraine's ousted president puts blame on CIA

Ukraine's ousted president has accused the CIA of being behind the new Ukrainian government's decision to deploy armed forces to quash an increasingly brazen pro-Russian insurgency.

Speaking late Sunday on Russian state television, Viktor Yanukovych claimed that CIA director John Brennan had met with Ukraine's new leadership and "in fact sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed."

There was no independent confirmation that Brennan was in Ukraine or in any way involved in the decision to send troops to eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia men have seized a number of government buildings.

Yanukovych was ousted in February following months of protests in Kiev, the capital, that were ignited by his decision to back away from closer relations with the European Union and turn toward Russia. He fled to Russia, saying he feared for his life.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 14, 2014, 10:48:04 am
US Pays Half Of Gazprom's Overdue Invoice With $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee

With Ukraine no longer paying for Russian gaz, and with Gazprom making it clear Kiev has to a) first pay the overdue $2+ billion in invoice and then b) prepay some $5 billion in gas until the end of the year of Europe gets it, it was only a matter of time before the US Treasury stepped in and paid off part or all of Gazprom's demands. That time is now, when moments ago Jack Lew announced a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine - very much the same way that the US provided billions in loan guarnatees for the now long overthrown Mursi regime in Egypt. And in other news, many more "costly" and "damaging" US sanctions are surely headed Russia's way any second now.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 14, 2014, 10:52:50 am
Pro-Russian armed men stand outside mayor's office in Slaviansk, Ukraine - Gleb Garanich/Reuters via @ajamlive

Pro-Russia militiamen detain head of the regional police after storming the police building in Horlivka, Ukraine - via @AFPphoto

US is considering supplying arms to Ukraine, as unrest continues in Eastern cities, an adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry says - @Reuters

im pretty sure they already have weapons, unless the military industrial complex wishes for tests or something

US military officials say a Russian attack warplane engaged in 'provocative action' when it buzzed the US Navy guided missile destroyer Donald Cook in the western Black Sea on Saturday, April 12 - @NBCNews

riiiiigght   ::)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 16, 2014, 06:14:06 am
5 or 6 armored personnel carriers enter eastern Ukraine town of Slaviansk, lead vehicle showing the Russian flag, eyewitness says - @Reuters

Photo: 1 of the 6 armored vehicles of the Ukrainian army in Kramatorsk that switched sides, now displaying Russian flag - @Ranyah


More: 15 or so armed men wearing mismatched battle fatigues sit atop each vehicle, waving to local people - @Reuters

Update: Pro-Russian armed separatists seized 5 armored personnel carriers and a tank from the Ukrainian army - @Guardian


Ukraine PM Yatseniuk says Russia is 'exporting terrorism to Ukraine' - @Reuters
Doesn't look that way

About 20 pro-Russian protesters armed with rifles entered the mayor's office in Ukraine's Donetsk - @AFP

Update: At least 3 armored troop carriers in hands of pro-Russian forces in Slaviansk were under control of Ukrainian Army in Kramatorsk earlier, photographers say - @Reuters

Ukraine's defense minister is traveling to Kramatorsk to clarify situation on troops and armored troops carriers, government says - @Reuters

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen says NATO agrees on package of further military measures to reinforce members' defenses; says there will be deployments by sea, air and land within days - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 16, 2014, 01:53:57 pm
EDWARD LUCAS: I hope I'm wrong but historians may look back and say this was the start of World War III

 'Vladimir Putin is striking at the heart of the West'
 'We can chose to surrender any responsibility we have to protect Ukraine and the Baltic states'
 'Or we can mount a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from furthering its imperial ambitions'
 'If we choose to resist Putin, we will risk a terrifying miltary escalation'
 'I do not think it an exaggeration to say this could bring us to the brink of nuclear war'

Deep in the flat and featureless landscape of eastern Ukraine, it is all too ­possible that the outline of World War III is taking shape.

Whipped up by the Kremlin ­propaganda machine and led by Russian ­military intelligence, armed men are erecting road blocks, storming police stations and ripping down the country’s flag.

They are demolishing not just their own country — bankrupt, ill-run and beleaguered — but also the post-war order that has kept most of Europe and us, here in Britain, safe and free for decades.
Vladimir Putin is striking at the heart of the West.

Scroll down for video

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2605578/Edward-Lucas-I-hope-Im-wrong-historians-look-say-start-World-War-III.html#ixzz2z4ppAPiW

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 05:06:49 am
Deployment of US missile shield in eastern Europe is leading to arms race and Russia is forced to respond, Putin says in phone-in - @Reuters
Negotiations on US missile shield will continue, Putin says he will do everything necessary to ensure Russian security - @Reuters

Obama brought back the Cold War Arms race. 

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 07:23:08 am
Russia and China forge closer ties, as EU explores sanctions

Russia is rolling out two major projects – a gas pipeline and a Crimea deep water port – with China, as EU countries and the US weigh options on economic sanctions. Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told EUobserver on Wednesday (16 April) that work on the “Power of Siberia” pipeline and the Chinese construction of a 25-metre-deep port in Crimea are proceeding as normal despite the Ukraine crisis.   

EU countries to boost defence budgets in light of Ukraine

Military chiefs have said the Ukraine crisis is a “wake-up call” for EU countries’ defence spending, as the US backed Ukraine’s use of force in eastern regions. ...the deputy chief of the EU’s external action service, Maciej Popowski, said: “We’ve had 70 years of peace now [in Europe], but we see that power politics is back with a vengeance, so it’s a wake-up call and now we need to get serious about defence.”   

Obama warns of "consequences" for Russian actions destabilizing Ukraine

President Obama put Russian President Vladimir Putin on notice Wednesday evening, warning that further actions to destabilize the interim Ukrainian government will result in consequences from both the United States and Europe. ...Mr. Obama said it was "absolutely clear" that Russia had violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity...and they continue to do so by supporting "non-state militias" in southern and eastern Ukraine.   

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 09:13:42 am
Ukraine army's humiliations pile up as eastern push fizzles

The humiliation Wednesday of the Ukrainian army in its much-vaunted "anti-terrorist" push into separatist eastern territory makes an embarrassing string of failures even worse.

Allowing pro-Russian rebels to seize six of its armoured personnel carriers and disarm its servicemen was evidence of a poorly planned and executed operation, analysts said.

They pointed out that the region, the Donbass, is hostile to Kiev's new, pro-EU leaders, and home to magnates and police reluctant to face down the separatists.

"It was a mistake to launch an 'anti-terrorist operation' in the Donbass where the overwhelming majority is against the government. Targeted operations against armed groups is one thing, but when there are tanks in the street, people block them," said a Ukrainian political analyst, Volodymyr Fesenko.

A military expert at the Razumkov think-tank in Kiev, Oleksiy Melnik, criticised the government for hesitating to use force and in the end sending in a smaller force than the one implied when it announced its "major operation" on Sunday.

"The arguments that 'We mustn't provoke Russia' are absurd in the current situation, because Russia needs no pretext to carry out its plan. The reason behind what happened is government inaction," he said.

- Demoralised army -

"The armoured vehicles were stopped by unarmed civilians, who they cannot shoot. That showed how badly thought-through the operation was, Melnik said.

"These sorts of defeats are demoralising the army, whose fighting spirit has already been undermined by the events in Crimea," where Ukrainian soldiers ended up abandoning their units without offering any resistance to the Russian forces, he said.

Under-funded and possessing outdated weapons, the 130,000-strong Ukrainian army is easily overshadowed by the Russian one, which is six times bigger -- and which currently has 40,000 men massed on Ukraine's eastern border, according to NATO.

Kiev asserts that the armed, pro-Russian rebels are being managed by Russian military intelligence officers on the ground. Several hundred trained military personnel carrying the sort of weapons used by Russia's elite forces and wearing uniforms stripped of any insignia can be seen in the region, but Moscow denies they are its soldiers.

Another military expert, Mykola Sungurovsky, said Ukraine has sent its best men and equipment to the border to protect it.

"But they are only capable of rebuffing a first assault. After that, they would need to turn to guerrilla actions because the balance of forces is not in our favour."

Several analysts observed that Ukraine's military is the main force loyal to Kiev's government in the east; the police, they said, did nothing to stop the pro-Russian assaults on public buildings and police stations in several towns in the region.

In Donetsk, the main city in the east, "the situation is very complicated," the interim first deputy prime minister Vitaliy Yarema acknowledged on Wednesday. "Some police officers are at the command of the separatists."

But Mykhaylo Kornyenko, a former deputy interior minister, said the police should not be blamed.

"Police stations were attacked by men with combat experience whereas they lack such experience. If they had used their weapons, the consequences could have been catastrophic."

Olexandra Rudneva, an analyst at the Strategic Studies Institute, said, however, that many police are also bitter towards the new authorities for not punishing those responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people during the mass protests in Kiev early this year, and for being used as scapegoats for that bloodshed.

"In this situation, whoever is in power in Kiev would have a tough time exerting influence over the police, especially in Donetsk," she said.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 17, 2014, 09:57:52 am
Putin says impossible for Europe to stop buying Russian gas

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it would not be possible for Europe, which is trying to cut its reliance on Russian energy, to completely stop buying Russian gas.

Putin also said that the transit via Ukraine is the most dangerous element in Europe's gas supply system, and that he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Ukraine on gas supplies.

Russia meets around 30 percent of Europe's natural gas needs. Moscow's actions in Ukraine have spurred attempts by the continent to reduce its dependency on oil and gas supplies from the former Cold War foe.

"Of course, everyone is taking care about supply diversification. There, in Europe, they talk about increasing independence from the Russian supplier," said Putin.

"It's just like we begin to talk and take action towards independence from our consumers," he added. Russia has made efforts to forge closer ties with Asia.

Reuters calculations suggest Europe's efforts could slash imports from Russia by around 45 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2020, worth $18 billion a year, equivalent to a quarter of what Russia currently supplies.

"We sell gas in European countries which have around 30-35 percent of their gas balance covered by supplies from Russia. Can they stop buying Russian gas? In my opinion it is impossible," he said during an hours-long televised question and answer session.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 11:07:03 am
NATO sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea as part of measures to step up the defense of its eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, the alliance says - @Reuters

Russian Foreign Ministry demands clarification from Ukraine and says it will consider retaliating after Kiev said it would impose restrictions on entry into the country by Russian men - @Reuters

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: US moves not meant to 'provoke or threaten Russia' - @sangwonyoon

But that is all you have been doing this whole time

President Obama approves sending helmets, sleeping mats and water purification systems to the Ukrainian military, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says - @margbrennan
See, your now supplying their Army with equipment. ehh, they will probably take it with them when they switch sides.  :D

Ukraine invites the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into any serious international crimes that may have been committed on its territory in late 2013 and early 2014, the court says - @Reuters
Sure you want that? Records have already came out it was the first "rebels" un US leadership that were helping the snipers.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 11:08:51 am
Ukraine imposes severe entrance restrictions on adult Russian males

Russian men aged 16 to 60 entering Ukraine without their families will only be allowed in if they have close relatives or an invitation, according to Ukrainian officials. Previously, all Russians could travel to Ukraine with just their internal IDs.

“The restrictions concern physically fit men, who can influence the political situation in the country,” a Ukrainian border agency official told RIA news agency.

"We are imposing these controls at all border posts."

The Russian foreign ministry has demanded an official explanation for the move, and said that it will consider counter measures.

Thirty people were already made to disembark from a train crossing Ukraine on a route between Russia and Belarus, according to Interfax news agency.

Russian national carrier Aeroflot published the new restrictions - issued by the Ukrainian border service for all forms of transport - on their website. One set concerns travelers from mainland Russia, and another even stricter set of limitations for those from Crimea, which seceded from Ukraine last month.

Mainland male adult Russians will have to present documents confirming that their relatives live in Ukraine, or have recently died there. This may be substituted with a personal notarized invitation from an individual or an organization, or special permission from the Ukrainian border service.

Those traveling from the mainland with women and children will remain unaffected.

Men crossing the border from the Crimean peninsula will have to prove that they are either traveling to the funeral of a close relative, or to show tickets and hotel vouchers for the duration of their stay. Women between the ages of 20 and 35 will be subjected to unspecified “filtering and verification checks.”

Unrestricted travel between the two countries was a holdover from the Soviet Union, and millions of nominally Russian and Ukrainian citizens have lived in their neighboring country and crossed the border freely for decades.

Authorities in Kiev considered imposing visas following the toppling of Viktor Yanukovich in February, but instead have been conducting discretionary checks, barring 'undesirable' Russians from entering at will. Several Russian journalists have also been stopped and turned away under the pretext of lacking the finances to support themselves.

Ukrainian border authorities said this week that they have refused entry to more than 12,000 Russians since February.

Kiev has accused the Kremlin of sparking and controlling the protests and occupations of government buildings that have plunged the East of the country into chaos, and interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that he has “incontrovertible evidence” that there are Russian citizens involved in the stand-off between special forces and protesters.

During Thursday’s televised hotline, Vladimir Putin flatly denied that Moscow had sent anyone to the east of Ukraine.

Aleksandr Kots, a journalist working for Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper told RT that peaceful pro-Russian activists protesting in - though not in control of - Donetsk airport say they "will not take orders" from Kiev over the new restrictions. Instead, demonstrators have called for direct negotiations with the government.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 11:11:56 am
Jews Ordered To Register Religion And Property In Donetsk, Ukraine – False Flag?
its a false something, but then again, if you go back through this thread we have evidence of n@zi's putting up flags. Dont buy this story

 According to YNet, a leaflet was handed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine, ordering them to register their religion and property or be deported. The claim is that this came from the pro-Russian faction in Donetsk, but that allegation has been vehemently denied by Russia.

    Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk's Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship.

Via IBTimes: The Denial

    The role of Right Sector in post-revolution Ukraine was exploited by Russia to justify its intervention in Crimea, arguing that Kiev had been taken over by fascists and neo-Nazis. Russian president Vladimir Putin said the Maidan uprising had been hijacked by Jew-haters and Nazi sympathisers.

    UPDATE: Pushilin has denied the Novosti Donbassa's report and assured reporters that the flyer is not from his organisation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may not be a boy scout, but as an ex KGB war expert, there is no way he is this stupid, this is obviously an attempt by the West to turn the tide in the Ukrianian conflict....... or is it?  Is Putin actually arranging things so he can now come in and save the day and "save the Jews."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 12:04:37 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry: Responsibility lies with those who finance, support, clothe and guide those armed groups in Ukraine - @sangwonyoon

That would be YOU, as the US financed and instigated the first revolt, well it never ended so you are responsible.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 17, 2014, 01:56:53 pm
Russia, West reach surprise deal on Ukraine crisis


Russia, Ukraine, the US and EU reached a surprise deal Thursday on de-escalating the worsening Ukrainian crisis, in a ray of hope for the former Soviet republic that has plunged into chaos.
Related Stories

    Lavrov says no US-Russia deal, 'constructive' talks to continue AFP
    Russia denies it wants to take more Ukrainian territory Reuters
    Russia sees no need for Ukraine incursion, Lavrov to meet Kerry Reuters
    Kerry heads for crunch Ukraine talks as tensions mount AFP
    US, Russia talks fail to end Ukraine deadlock Associated Press

The agreement reached in Geneva comes as a strong contrast to earlier hawkish comments made by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who left the door open for intervention in Ukraine.

A ban by Kiev on all Russian males aged 16 to 60 from entering Ukrainian territory had also ratcheted up the tensions, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling the measure "disgusting".

But after half a day of talks, the four parties agreed on steps to "restore security for all citizens", including a call to disband armed groups that have taken over buildings in Ukraine "illegally".

While not spelt out in the agreement, these groups could refer to pro-Kremlin separatists who have seized control of government buildings and taken over parts of Ukraine's southeast, destabilising the country.

"All illegal armed groups must be disarmed, illegally seized buildings returned to their rightful owners," Lavrov said as he briefed reporters about the deal reached with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ukraine's Andriy Deshchytsya and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
View gallery
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) leaves alongside …
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) leaves alongside European Union High Representative Catherine …

Washington and Kiev have accused Russia of supporting the militants who have occupied buildings such as police stations and government bases, but Moscow has always categorically denied this.

Lavrov also said Russia had "no desire" to send troops into Ukraine, toning down earlier comments by Putin.

Warning that Ukraine was plunging into the "abyss" just hours after three separatists were killed in a gunbattle with troops in eastern Ukraine, Putin had stressed he hoped not to have to use his "right" to send Russian troops into its western neighbour.

"I very much hope that I am not obliged to use this right and that through political and diplomatic means we can solve all the acute problems in Ukraine," he said in his annual televised phone-in with the nation, in a signal the option was on the table.

- 'Additional sanctions' -
View gallery
Map of eastern Ukraine locating deadly clash
Map of eastern Ukraine locating deadly clash (AFP Photo/)

The upper house of parliament on March 1 authorised the Russian leader to send troops into Ukraine after pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, and Moscow later went on to annex Ukraine's Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula.

Russia has now massed tens of thousands of troops at the border and has warned Kiev's untested new leaders -- whom it does not recognise as legitimate -- not to unleash force in Ukraine.

Accordingly, Kerry warned Russia that if there was no progress on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine, "there will be additional sanctions, additional costs."

The United States and European Union have already imposed punitive sanctions on key Russian and Ukrainian political and business officials, including members of Putin's inner circle.

And the European Parliament on Thursday said the European Union should act "against Russian firms and their subsidiaries, especially in the energy sector, and Russia's EU assets".
View gallery
Ukrainian people hold up a large national flag and …
Ukrainian people hold up a large national flag and shout slogans as they take part in a nationalist  …

So far, though, any further sanctions appear to have been put on hold.

Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula last month escalated a crisis that has shaped up to be the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

On Thursday, Kerry said the West is "not giving up" on peninsula, "but we did not come (to Geneva) to talk about Crimea."

Each side came to the Geneva talks armed with a very specific set of demands, and the West and Kiev had aimed to persuade Moscow to demobilise the militias.

Ukraine's Security Service said it was detaining 10 "Russian spies" arrested over the past six weeks on suspected missions to stir up unrest in the country, further implying Russia's role in the destabilisation of the country.

But Russia has blamed Kiev's interim leaders -- installed by Ukraine's parliament in February after the overthrow of Yanukovych following months of protests -- for pushing the country dangerously close to a civil war.

The agreement also called on all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation and provocation, as well as to reject extremism in all shapes.

Kerry told reporters that notices were sent to Jews in a Ukrainian city believed to be in the east, asking them to identify themselves as Jews -- a move he condemned as "grotesque".

"In the year 2014, after all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable," he said.

Separately, the European Union announced Thursday it had agreed to hold talks with Russia on its gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, warning Moscow its reliability as an energy source was at stake.

The announcement came even as Putin ramped up pressure on Ukraine by setting a one-month deadline for Kiev to settle its debt for gas imports from Russia.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 20, 2014, 05:58:35 am
5 killed as gunmen attack checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, Russian state TV reports - @Reuters

Russia says fatal attack near Slaviansk testifies to Ukrainian government's lack of will to disarm extremist militants - @Reuters

Russia is indignant about attack on civilians near Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, Russia's foreign ministry says - @Reuters

Ukraine's right sector nationalists deny involvement in Slaviansk shooting in east Ukraine, blame Russian special forces - @Reuters

Ukraine crisis: Slavyansk shooting threatens Easter truce

At least two people have been killed after a gunfire battle erupted between pro-Russian separatists and far-right militiamen in the eastern Ukraine town of Slavyansk on Sunday.

The incident comes just hours after Kiev declared a truce coinciding with the Easter holidays in an effort to de-escalate tensions in the volatile region where pro-Russian groups have seized government buildings calling for the interim government to resign.

Pro-Russian separatists said the battle broke out at a checkpoint at around 2am when Ukrainian nationalists opened fire, killing at least five, according to Russian television citing correspondents on the ground.

In a statement, Russian's foreign ministry said a group of innocent civilians were shot dead in an attack led by the Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary group which played prominent role in the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych. The group denied being involved in the Slavyansk shooting and blamed Russian special forces for the attack.

"Russia is indignant about this provocation by gunmen, which testifies to the lack of will on the part of the Kiev authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists," the statement said.

Ukraine's interior ministry confirmed one person was killed in the attack and three were injured. It said police is investigating the incident

On Saturday, a senior mediator with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) set off for eastern Ukraine to try to persuade pro-Russian groups to lay down their arms.

Separatists have remained in the buildings in defiance to an agreement reached between the interim government in Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union.

Washington has threatened further sanctions on Russia if it does not work to use its perceived influence over the separatists to get them to  leave the buildings.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 20, 2014, 06:07:07 am
Russia 'outraged' at deadly shootout in east Ukraine

 Russia's foreign ministry said on Sunday it was outraged by a deadly shootout in eastern Ukraine that breached an Easter truce, urging Kiev to abide by the terms of an international accord and de-escalate the situation.

"The Russian side is outraged at this provocation by the fighters," the ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

"The Russian side insists on Ukraine's strictly fulfilling the obligations it took on to de-escalate the situation in south-eastern Ukraine."

Four people were reported killed on Sunday in a gun battle in restive eastern Ukraine, shattering a fragile Easter truce in the crisis-hit former Soviet republic.

Three pro-Russian militants and one attacker were killed in a deadly firefight at a road block close to the separatist-held town of Slavyansk, local leader Vyatcheslav Ponomarev said.

The identity of the assailants was not known. Kiev's interim government had pledged a halt to military operations to oust the rebels until the end of the Orthodox Easter holidays on Monday.

A pro-Russian militant at the scene told AFP that roughly twenty attackers in four cars had opened fire with automatic weapons on the rebel post early on Sunday. He could not, however, confirm any casualties.

The reported violence came as the United States was pressing Russia to persuade the pro-Kremlin rebels to abide by an international accord calling for them to surrender their weapons and leave occupied public buildings.

Overnight, Orthodox leaders in Kiev and Moscow traded barbs over the Ukraine crisis as politics overshadowed traditional Easter observances.

Patriarch Filaret thundered to the faithful in pro-West Kiev that Russia was an "enemy" whose "attack" on Ukraine was doomed to fail because it was evil and contrary to God's will.

In Moscow, the patriarch of the Russian Church, Kirill, delivered a prayer for Ukraine in which he called on God in turn to put "an end to the designs of those who want to destroy Holy Russia".

Kirill said that while Ukraine was "politically" separate, "spiritually and historically" it was at one with Russia, and he prayed that it would benefit from authorities that are "legitimately elected".

In comments to be broadcast on US television on Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin — whom Kiev and Washington accuse of masterminding the insurgency in Ukraine — for having a "dream to restore the Soviet Union".

Yatsenyuk, speaking to NBC's "Meet the press", also condemned those who reportedly handed out pamphlets demanding Jews register or be expelled in the east of Ukraine as "these bastards" who should be brought to justice.

The United States on Saturday was reported to be flexing its military muscle in a warning to Russia, which has tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine's border.

Washington Post said that the US was about to deploy ground troops to Poland and maybe Baltic states to expand NATO's presence in eastern Europe.

Poland's defence minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, was quoted saying that Poland, a NATO member, would be taking a lead role in the operation.

Washington has warned Moscow that Ukraine is in a "pivotal period" as the pro-Russian rebels refuse to comply with the Geneva accord reached on Thursday by Russia, the US, Ukraine and the EU to disarm.

US secretary of state John Kerry told Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that "full and immediate compliance" was needed within "the next few days".

The Kremlin has snapped back by stressing its troops' deployment on Ukraine's doorstep — an apparent warning that the situation could rapidly deteriorate if Washington follows through with a threat to impose further sanctions.

Putin has switched stances on the crisis between threatening — saying he "hoped" he would not have to invade Ukraine — to conciliatory, saying "no obstacle" existed to better relations with the West.

But thus far there have been no concrete moves de-escalating the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

The separatist leaders in the self-declared eastern Donetsk Republic say they will not vacate public sites until the "illegal" government exits state buildings in Kiev.

If no change happens soon, a spike in tensions could occur when US vice-president Joe Biden makes a scheduled visit to Kiev on Tuesday.

He will be meeting leaders who have taken charge since the February ouster of pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych, after months of street protests that turned increasingly deadly.

Russia refuses to see the new Kiev government as legitimate, and the turmoil in Ukraine's southeast could prove an obstacle to a planned May 25 presidential election.

In concessions to the Russian-speaking militants, Ukraine's interim president and prime minister have vowed to protect the Russian language, decentralise power and hold off further military action against the separatists until at least Tuesday.

Ukraine's military has so far proven woefully inept in its efforts to dislodge the separatists. On Friday, the army said it recovered two of six armoured vehicles captured by rebels during a disastrous military operation earlier in the week.

A poll published on Saturday suggested the majority of inhabitants in Ukraine's restive east, while suspicious of Kiev's authorities, had no desire to be subsumed into the Russian Federation.

The Russian-language Weekly Mirror newspaper said 52.2 percent of those surveyed for a poll in the separatist hub of Donetsk by Kiev's Institute for International Sociology were against coming under Russian rule while 27.5 percent were in favour.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 20, 2014, 09:09:59 pm
Russia writes off 90 percent of North Korea debt, eyes gas pipeline

Reuters) - Russia's parliament has agreed to write off almost $10 billion of North Korea's Soviet-era debt, in a deal expected to facilitate the building of a gas pipeline to South Korea across the reclusive state.

Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighbouring South Korea's.

The State Duma lower house on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012.

The rest of the debt, $1.09 billion, would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal instalments every six months. The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank, Vnesheconombank.

Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told Russian media that the money could be used to fund mutual projects in North Korea, including a proposed gas pipeline and a railway to South Korea.

The two Koreas remain technically at war and are separated by one of the world's most militarised frontiers. Parts of the international community have been seeking to re-engage with North Korea amid hopes that the reclusive state's government would seek ways to end years of isolation and poverty.

Russia's state-owned top natural producer Gazprom, has long planned to build a gas pipeline via North Korea to South Korea with a view to shipping 10 billion cubic metres of gas annually.

Moscow has been trying to diversify its energy sales to Asia away from Europe, which, in its turn, wants to cut its dependence on oil and gas from the erstwhile Cold War foe. Moscow aims to reach a deal to supply gas to China, after a decade of talks, this May.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 21, 2014, 05:36:46 am
President Putin approves amendments to law to allow Russian-speakers in former Soviet Union to acquire Russian citizenship, Kremlin says - @Reuters

Russia's Lavrov says Kiev authorities are taking steps which crudely violate Geneva accord - @Reuters

Ukraine's government is failing to remove illegal protests from squares in Kiev, Lavrov says - @Reuters

Killings in Ukraine's Slaviansk was a crime, shows Kiev does not want to control extremists, Lavrov says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 21, 2014, 08:06:10 am
Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
Tanks-to-troops modernization

Elite Russian troops are displaying a new arsenal of body armor, individual weapons, armor-piercing ammunition and collar radios — a menu of essential gear that gives them a big tactical advantage against a lesser-equipped Ukrainian army.

If President Vladimir Putin orders an invasion, the new-generation body armor, in particular, would provide exceptional protection against small arms if Russian troops go street by street to capture Kiev and other cities.

“What we saw and what was dangled in front of the West was a clear indication that Putin is on a roll,” retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales said. “It just seems to me from watching the films that their arrows are pointing up and ours are sadly pointing down.”

Weapons specialists such as Gen. Scales have been studying images of Spetsnaz, Russia’s ubiquitous special forces, and airborne troops since they conquered the Crimea region and mobilized to strike eastern Ukraine.

What they see are the fruits of a modernization plan begun in 2008, not just in tanks and vehicles but all the way down to the individual warrior. Russia now has the world’s third-highest defense budget, at over $70 billion.

“They’ve got better equipment than they had five years ago,” said Scott Traudt, an executive with Green Mountain, a Vermont gun manufacturer. “They’ve got new grenade launchers that are awesome. The helmets are better than our helmets. The body armor is better than our body armor. They’re doing a lot of things right. I’m pretty amazed at it.”

Mr. Traudt is paying special attention to the body armor because it presents a big challenge to rifle and munition makers. It might be able to deflect NATO’s basic 5.56 mm rifle round. If so, Ukrainian soldiers face a daunting task because their AK-74 assault rifles fire a similar munition.

The Russians, in their new 6B43 model body armor, issued chest and back plates made of titanium and hard carbide boron ceramics.

“The stuff they have is impervious to 5.56, whereas our body armor is not completely proven against their weapons,” Gen. Scales said.

Gen. Scales said the Russians carry AK-74s whose magazine is loaded with 5.45 “steel core” ammunition — a round that on April 8 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives banned from importation because the agency deemed it armor-piercing.

Gen. Scales described the 5.45 as “extremely lethal against any kind of body armor.”

While some national leaders focus on big defense issues, Mr. Putin has taken a personal interest in one of the smallest: the rifle. Last year, his government consolidated rifle manufacturing into one new firm, the Kalashnikov Corp., named after the AK’s famous inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov.

“Putin actually goes out and shoots these things,” Gen. Scales said.

U.S. soldiers have complained that their main rifle and round, the M4 carbine and its 5.56, lacked lethality in Afghanistan against a Taliban enemy that does not often wear body armor. Without a shot to the head, the enemy could take several 5.56 hits and keep going, soldiers said in surveys.

“If the Russians are coming across mechanized, with airborne and infantry units wearing their body armor, it basically means the Ukrainian rifles have no ability to penetrate the body armor worn by the Russian troops, meaning you’re talking about having to shoot somebody six, seven, eight times, in the chest,” Mr. Traudt said. “They’re going to get bumped, but there’s no lethality involved.”

In all, Russian fighters, including Mr. Putin’s hired guns of ex-military commandos who wear civilian clothes, have displayed a new inventory of rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers and rocket-propelled grenades. The Russians claim the RPG can kill a tank.

Photographs of masked Spetsnaz troops in Crimea show them with what might be U.S.-designed sights and silencers on their assault rifles.

Jacob Kipp, a former director of the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., said what stands out to him are new mobile communications.

Spetsnaz commandos carry collar, or helmet-mounted, radios that enable them to talk to one another and to the battalion level overseeing the operation.

“A couple things stand out, and one of them is the radio equipment attached to the uniform up by the face so he doesn’t have to use his hands to communicate,” Mr. Kipp said. “That’s real new. There is also a helmet version that also has ‘commo’ gear inside. It basically allows you not to have to do hand signals to move people around.”

The Russians have employed a different communication tactic than the United States.

“There is a whole different culture about ‘commo’ in the Russian army than there is in ours,” Mr. Kipp said. “We tend to want everyone to report in whenever they do something. The Russians lay out an assignment and tasks and give it a timeline and you report in if you are not on your timeline, or if you run into unexpected opposition.”

Gen. Scales said Mr. Putin is displaying for TV cameras his best forces: Spetsnaz, airborne, naval infantry (akin to U.S. Marines) and interior security forces, or about 30,000 of the 860,000 active military force.

“We don’t know what shape the Russian military is in, really,” he said. “It would be like us highlighting a foreign adventure by only showing Delta, SEALs and Special Forces and Rangers. We’d look a lot more intimidating if we only showed that face of our force.”

On the conventional side, Gen. Scales said, the Russians do not have an answer to U.S. Apache gunship helicopters and armored vehicles.

Still, the better-equipped Russian soldier is bad news for the smaller and budget-strapped Ukraine military, which numbers about 160,000.

The wide gap in capability is spelled out in a report by retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO’s former top commander who directed the 1998 air war against Belgrade, and Phillip Karber, a former Pentagon adviser to Caspar Weinberger.

Financed by the nonprofit Potomac Foundation, the two spent time in Ukraine this month interviewing government officials and visiting troops on the front lines.

In a report outlined in The New York Times, they said the Ukrainian army badly needs at least four essential items: American body armor, night-vision goggles and sights, radios, and aviation fuel.

“What little Ukrainian body armor available, is only designed for smaller caliber lower velocity projectiles,” the report said. “Given that Russian troops are universally equipped with high-quality body armor, it is both militarily untenable and politically ridiculous to deny symmetrical protection to the victim of aggression.”

For now, that is just what the Obama administration is doing. It has rejected Ukrainian requests for lethal, and most nonlethal, military gear, except packaged food, blankets, sleeping bags, helmets and generators.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Karber said the administration needs to assemble a team of active or retired American officers to advise the Ukrainian army in-country.

They note that Ukraine has become a U.S. ally by sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet its military is having trouble persuading the Obama administration to provide any aid, even bedding.

“As of last week, U.S.-promised sleeping bags had not arrived in Ukraine,” the Clark-Karber report said. “Troops in the rain and mud at the front build fires to keep themselves warm and dry their wet blankets. But the fires give away their positions to Russian snipers and infiltrators.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/20/tactical-advantage-russian-military-shows-off-impr/#ixzz2zWeIjD4k

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 21, 2014, 03:01:01 pm
US could potentially impose sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin himself over the crisis in Ukraine, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says - @Reuters

act of war anyone?

This Means War: US To Target Putin's Personal $40 Billion Stash

While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions... the "nonsense" of replacing Russian gas with US gas... the Russian warnings of "interdependence" and "boomerangs"... all reduce the West's arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin - a sanctions regime that would target Putin's personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

As The Hill reports,

    The White House on Friday refused to comment on reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal wealth could be targeted if the West were to move ahead with additional sanctions over Ukraine.

    "I'm not going to get into foreshadowing particular individuals or entities that the United States may target," national security adviser Susan Rice told reporters at the White House. "But let me just say we've been clear that there are additional individuals, officials, close associates of senior leadership, oligarchs and those entities that they are associated with that remain very much potential targets of additional sanctions."

The Times of London reported Friday that the U.S. was preparing a sanctions regime that would target Putin's personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

    Putin's actual holdings are a tightly held secret, and the extent of his holdings are difficult to estimate. But a threat of trying to freeze the Russian president's personal assets could have played a role in a deal brokered Thursday by foreign ministers from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and European Union.

Perhaps it is worth remembering Putin's response from last week's Q&A...

    Putin was asked why the US can do whatever it wants and no one punishes them, while attempts are being made to punish Russia.

     “The US is certainly one of the world’s leaders. At some point it seemed that it was the only leader and a uni-polar system was in place. Today it appears that is not the case. Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face,” he said.

Though we are sure Obama and his team have considered all the intended and unintended consequences of any such actions.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 22, 2014, 05:27:58 am
Russia and Iran End Times War

The battle wheels are turning in Russia and the world sits unaware of the possibilities of an end times war between a middle eastern alliance with Russia, including modern day Iran and Israel. In fact, according to Omega Shock.com, a Christian website dedicated to end times prediction, the Ukraine is mentioned specifically. In the Bible, Ukraine is identified as Rosh. The Bible says that man should beware of the predictions based on Gog, in the land of Magog, who is prince of Rosh, Tubal and Meshech, in the chapter of Ezekiel verse 38:2

The word Rosh is very similar to the original name for Ukraine, Rus (its exact pronunciation is debatable). Not only does the Bible predict a Russian alliance with Ukraine but also with Meshech and Tubal which includes many of the former Russian nations. Gog is the chief prince of Magog or Russia. According to the website Tracking Bible Prophesy, the chief prince may not be the leader of Russia but rather an official high up in the government who is led by a demonic spirit in order to take over the world.

The most recent attempt by Russia to invade and occupy Ukraine is not the only sign that Russia would like to take back its former territories. According to Tracking Bible Prophesy, the 2008 invasion of Georgia by Russia was significant. This attempt to reintegrate South Ossetia in Georgia was evidence of a desire to possibly reunite the old Russian Empire.

So it would the war with Gog and Magog has been a long time in the making as Russia would like to accomplish taking over and ruling of all its old territories. However it is a bit disconcerting that the Bible predicted a Russian take over of its old territory while the world watches as Ukraine is possibly being reintegrated into Russia.

The Bible allegedly predicted an end times war between Russia (Magog), Lybia (Put), Iran (Persia), Former Soviet States (Mechech and Tubal), Turkey (Togarmiah), Eastern Europe, (Gomer), Sudan (Cush), and  Israel. This war would be followed by a rapture in which all the Christians of the world would ascend into heaven. Finally the world will see a period of tribulation in which it would be subject to famine, flood, pestilence and disease for many years.

There seems to be evidence that some of the teachings in the Bible have come true. The climate change and disease that is being experienced as well as the emergence of a  Israel, a free Jewish state are both predicted in the Bible in the end times. Time will tell if the rest of the scriptures prove to be accurate.

Are these prophesies hog wash or should they be examined scientifically? The world should not sit uninterested or in disbelief of these predictions due to a difference in belief. Regardless of one’s faith, predictions that have some merit should be heeded. It might be prudent for the United States and other countries to study them as part of their military strategies. There are many clues that are outlined in the Bible that predict an end times war between Russia, Iran and Israel. Perhaps they could shed some light on future events in the world.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 22, 2014, 05:46:14 am
U.S. Conducts Spy Flight Over Russia
Moscow confirms it canceled flight last week

After a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory on Monday, a State Department official said.

The spy flight originally was scheduled for April 14 but was canceled by Russia after a U.S. team for the flight failed to arrive near Moscow on time and Moscow refused temporarily to reschedule it.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman also expressed anger on Monday over U.S. delays in certifying a new high-tech Russian aircraft to be used for spying missions over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty that permits limited legal spying over U.S. and Russian territory.

The State Department official said, however, that last week’s delay was the result of bad weather – despite radar images showing mostly clear skies over of Russia during the period of last week’s planned flight.

“The U.S. Open Skies mission dated April 14 was delayed due to weather conditions beyond the time permitted by the treaty,” the official said in a statement. “The flight was rescheduled and on April 21, the U.S. Open Skies Treaty aircraft began its mission in the Russian Federation.”

The official said the treaty permits the country conducting the surveillance flight to postpone the flight for 24 hours, “after which the host country is permitted to cancel the mission.”

Earlier, the official did not mention that Russia had canceled the April 14 flight or the reasons for the cancelation.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Monday defended Moscow’s decision to cancel the flight and criticized the United States regarding the treaty, calling the U.S. position “highly non-constructive.”

Lukashevich said Russia canceled the April 14 flight by a joint U.S.-Czech Republic team after the team failed to arrive at a meeting point in Kubinka, a town about 40 miles west of Moscow.

Lukashevich made no mention of Monday’s U.S. flight, however.

“At the request of the American side of the mission the arrival time was postponed for 24 hours,” Lukashevich told state-run ITAR-TASS news agency.

“However, neither the Americans nor the Czechs showed up in Kubinka,” he said. “When a new request for a postponement came, we rejected it for good reason, taking into account, among other things, the fact that Russia had already sustained certain costs while waiting for the American observation plane.”

Lukashevich said the costs of using Russian resources to support the mission were part of the decision to cancel the mission last week.

The spokesman also noted the U.S. refusal to certify a new Russian Open Skies aircraft for use over the United States as one reason for Moscow’s anger at the U.S. overflight last week.

“We have to state with regret that the American side, the only of the parties to the Treaty on Open Skies, has long been adhering to a highly non-constructive position on the examination of our digital observation equipment by putting forth requirements that are not provided for in the treaty,” he said.

The Russians want “implementation of the treaty will be safeguarded against the negative impact of considerations of expediency and that its members will strictly abide by their obligations,” Lukashevich said.

U.S. intelligence officials and members of both congressional intelligence oversight committees want the Obama administration to block certification of the new Russian surveillance aircraft that are equipped with digital sensors, including advanced radar that allows the aircraft to see through structures.

The White House National Security Council (NSC) deputies committee, a group of senior security officials, met on the issue last week.

An NSC spokesman declined to comment on whether the Russian aircraft had been certified for future Open Skies flights over the United States.

The aircraft are part of a 1992 agreement among 34 nations that allows parties to the treaty to conduct intelligence-gathering flights over national territory. The treaty is a so-called confidence-building measure.

Pentagon and U.S. intelligence officials are concerned the new equipment on the Russian aircraft will permit spying on new and advanced U.S. military capabilities, weapons, and facilities.

The cancellation of the flight last week coincided with the crisis over Ukraine where some 80,000 Russian troops, along with tanks and armored vehicles, are massed near Ukraine’s eastern border.

A U.S. official said the cancellation of the flight last week appeared to be part of an effort by Moscow to deny U.S. surveillance of Russian force deployments that appear being readied for a large-scale military intervention in eastern Ukraine.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 22, 2014, 11:25:41 am
its on now...

Report: Ukraine military plane hit by gunfire over town of Sloviansk, held by pro-Russian militants, defense ministry says - @BBCBreaking

More: Ukrainian military aircraft hit by gunfire while on a reconnaissance flight over the eastern city of Slaviansk, which is in the hands of armed pro-Russian separatists, Defense Ministry says - @Reuters


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 22, 2014, 11:52:51 am
Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov calls for relaunch of an anti-terrorist operation in the east after body of a local politician from his own party was found showing signs of torture - @Reuters

imagine that...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 22, 2014, 12:47:09 pm
the US escalates once more, please remember that the US isnt mentioned in end times prophecy.

US to send 600 soldiers to Baltic nations for training over next week in response to Ukraine crisis - @NBCNews

Russia expels Canadian diplomat from Moscow in retaliation for Ottawa kicking out a Russian military attaché earlier this month - @CBCAlerts

Leader of Crimea's Tatars, in Kiev to meet Vice President Joe Biden, says there 'will be bloodshed' if the region's problems are not solved - @BBCNewshour

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 22, 2014, 04:30:18 pm

Ehud Ya’ari of Israel’s Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday night, that Egypt and Russia will be signing an unprecedented military agreement.

In this agreement between Cairo and Moscow, Egypt will receive 24 of Russia’s advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 fighter jets, along with military and strategic advisers, as well as training for the Egyptian Air Force.

The deal is worth $3 billion

It follows in the footsteps of a $2 billion arms deal that Egypt signed with Russia in February, and was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The deal itself has been in the works since November, as JewishPress.com reported when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Cairo and Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and developed in response to decreased US military aid to Egypt.

This deal is a major setback to US policy and diplomacy in the Middle East, and is a direct slap in the face for U.S. President Obama.

In related news, the U.S. is sending 600 troops to Eastern Europe for an exercise, to try to reassure its NATO allies, following Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 23, 2014, 05:46:42 am

Ehud Ya’ari of Israel’s Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday night, that Egypt and Russia will be signing an unprecedented military agreement.

In this agreement between Cairo and Moscow, Egypt will receive 24 of Russia’s advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 fighter jets, along with military and strategic advisers, as well as training for the Egyptian Air Force.

The deal is worth $3 billion

It follows in the footsteps of a $2 billion arms deal that Egypt signed with Russia in February, and was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The deal itself has been in the works since November, as JewishPress.com reported when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Cairo and Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and developed in response to decreased US military aid to Egypt.

This deal is a major setback to US policy and diplomacy in the Middle East, and is a direct slap in the face for U.S. President Obama.

In related news, the U.S. is sending 600 troops to Eastern Europe for an exercise, to try to reassure its NATO allies, following Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

must be why the US is giving Egypt these, that will be used against Israel

US to lift suspension on the delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt after concluding Cairo has upheld its peace treaty with Israel - @AFP
read more on yahoo.com

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 23, 2014, 05:47:51 am
Russia's Lavrov says Russia would retaliate if Russian citizens' interested threatened - @RT_com via @Reuters

An attack on Russians is an attack on Russia, Lavrov says in interview - @RT_com via @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 23, 2014, 06:34:13 am
Germany Helped Prep Russia for War, U.S. Sources Say

Over the past few years, NATO countries have helped Russia revolutionize its armed forces. Now questions are arising about a German defense contractor that trained the Russian military.

The world was shocked when Russian special operations forces invaded Crimea with advanced technology, drastically improved operations, and with so much operational security that even agencies in the U.S. intelligence community didn’t see it coming. In Washington, government and congressional leaders are wondering how the Russian special operations forces got so good, so fast, without anyone noticing. Some are wondering how much help Russia had from the West.

In 2011, for example, the German defense contractor Rheinmetall signed a $140 million contract to build a combat simulation training center in Mulino, in southwest Russia, that would train 30,000 Russian combat troops per year. While the facility wasn't officially scheduled to be completed until later this year, U.S. officials believe that Germany has been training Russian forces for years.

Rheinmetall defended the project even after the invasion of Crimea, up until the German government finally shut it down late last month. But many tracking the issue within the U.S. government were not happy with Germany's handling of the Russian contract, and worry that some of the training may have gone to the kind of special operations forces now operating in and around Ukraine.

“It’s unfortunate that German companies were directly supporting and training Russia’s military even during the attacks against Ukraine,” one senior Senate aide told The Daily Beast. “The U.S. government should call on our NATO allies to suspend all military connections with Russia at this point, until the Russians leave Ukraine, including Crimea.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, Rheinmetall’s partner in the deal was the Russian state-owned Oboronservis (“Defense Service”) firm. The training center, modeled after one used by the German Bundeswehr, was to be “the most advanced system of its kind worldwide.” Reinmetall saw the contract as a precursor to several more projects “in light of the plans to modernize the equipment of the Russian armed forces.”

U.S. officials, now looking back, are privately expressing anger and frustration about the German work with the Russian military. While definitive proof is hard to come by, these officials look at the radical upgrade of Moscow’s forces–especially its special operations forces–experienced since they last saw major action in 2008's invasion of Georgia. The U.S. officials believe that some of the German training over the last few years was given to the GRU Spetsnaz, the special operations forces that moved unmarked into Crimea and who can now be found stirring up trouble in eastern Ukraine.

“People are pissed,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “The chatter inside the Pentagon is that the training they were providing was going to Spetznaz.”

Rheinmetall did not respond to a request for comment.

Russia maintains close economic ties with many NATO states–especially Germany. By some estimates, the country exported nearly $50 billion in goods to Russia in 2013. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of German jobs depend on Russian trade.

The armed forces of NATO members have also been working with their counterparts in the Russian military, on and off, for years. Russia has held joint military exercises with both Germany and the U.S., for example. America has bought Russian helicopters to use in Afghanistan. And Moscow allows NATO equipment to pass through Russian territory as the gear comes into and out of the war zone.

    “It’s unfortunate that German companies were directly supporting and training Russia’s military even during the attacks against Ukraine.”

To the Congressional Research Service, “Rheinmetall’s construction of an army training center could be viewed in the context of the broader bilateral defense cooperation between Germany and Russia,” the service writes in its report. “The German…  government’s approval of the contract to construct a training center also appears to be in line with long-standing German policy to promote military training and joint exercises with partner countries.”

But some on Capitol Hill see the Rheimetall contract as only one example of the folly of several NATO countries that rushed to sign lucrative defense contracts with Russia after President Obama declared a new “reset” policy with the Russian Federation. Lawmakers have tried to halt the French sale of the Mistral, an amphibious warship, to the Russian Navy. Some are also unhappy about the Italian sale of Lynx armored personnel carriers to Russia.

A Senate aide said that one of Rheinmetall’s contributions was to help the Russian army and GRU Spetznaz upgrade their gear. Reports show that the Russian military units both inside Ukraine and amassed on its eastern border are sporting brand new communications equipment, body armor, personal weapons, and ammunition. Taken together, it gives them a huge tactical advantage over the beleaguered Ukrainian armed forces.

Top defense officials are now acknowledging that Russia’s military has been revolutionized in recent years. This month, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, the director for strategic plans and policy for the military’s joint chiefs of staff, told Congress in open testimony that in recent years Russia has created regional commands that “coordinate and synchronize planning, joint service integration, force movement, intelligence support, and the tactical employment of units” in what he deemed “snap exercises,” or military training missions that can be ordered at a moment’s notice.

In the testimony, Pandolfe also said Russia has placed greater emphasis on the use of Special Operations Forces as well as information and cyber warfare.  Experts said that Russian military doctrine was dramatically updated in the past few years and clearly set out Russia’s plans for modernization and a focus on highly trained rapid reaction special forces. But in the West, the papers were not well read, much less understood.

The Russians also changed their doctrine to reflect that they viewed the threat as not coming from a conventional war, but from the need to protect Russian populations in unstable states facing what they deemed to be Western aggression.

“This wasn’t just about implementing lessons learned from [the 2008 invasion of] Georgia, it was about giving them a basis for a different kind of operations,” said Fiona Hill, a former top intelligence official on Russia, now with the Brookings Institution. “We should have been paying more attention to this. There have been these signals for a long time, but we have been misreading them.”

Western and NATO countries believed they could tie Russia into greater military cooperation through engagement, but now have realized that Russian was probably never really interested in that. The Russian military is now organized to respond to conflicts caused by such things as popular revolutions, political crises, and domestic insurgencies.

“Everyone was looking for a way to cooperate with the Russian military and rushed to find ways to do it, including us,” said Hill. “Whatever we do now, we have to be mindful that the Russians have been preparing for something else.”

Andranik Migranyan, a past member of Russia’s Presidential Council and currently an adviser to the Vladimir Putin administration, told reporters that ever since the Georgia war, Russia has been spending to radically upgrade its military, but that the West has only itself to blame for not following along.

“We have new armament, new army, new training,” he said. “It’s very strange you are not following what’s happening.”



Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 23, 2014, 06:50:11 am
Pentagon deploying troops to thwart Russia

The Pentagon is sending about 600 troops to Eastern Europe in response to Russia's incursion into Ukraine, Rear Adm. John Kirby announced Tuesday.

The first contingent of 150 soldiers from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy, will arrive in Poland on Wednesday to conduct infantry exercises. Another 450 soldiers will be deployed to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for similar duty. The American forces will be replaced to ensure a continual presence in the region.

"Russia's aggression in Ukraine has renewed our resolve to strengthening NATO's defense plans and capabilities, and to demonstrate our continued commitment to collective defense in reinforcing our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe," Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

The move drew measured praise from Rep. Buck McKeon, a California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

"This as a small step in the right direction," McKeon said. "By rearranging U.S. forces already deployed in Europe, the president is doing something, however incremental, to reassure our allies. It might have more deterrent value if he included the Ukrainian military in the exercises. It remains to be seen if this move of 600 troops comes in time to make an impression on the tens of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders."

Russia annexed Crimea, taking control of key port facilities on the Black Sea, and has been accused by U.S. officials of sending forces elsewhere into eastern Ukraine to destabilize the country.

The token presence of U.S. troops in Poland, a NATO ally bordering Ukraine, and the Baltic nations, also NATO allies, could not repel a Russian invasion or eject them from Ukraine. Russia has massed about 40,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border.

"What would be very helpful is if they removed their forces off that border and took concrete actions to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine," said Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary.

The presence of U.S. soldiers raises the stakes for Russia in Poland and the other countries if it moves against them militarily. Wounding or killing an American soldier there could risk a major war.

There are about 67,000 U.S. troops in Europe and 12,000 civilians, according to U.S. European Command. The Cold War peak was 400,000 troops, in 1955 and it dropped to about 100,000 several years ago.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 05:10:48 am
Brink of war: Russia begins new military drills on border after Ukrainian special forces shoot dead up to five militants in dramatic 'anti-terrorist' assault on illegal checkpoints

    Armoured personnel carriers and helicopters backed up heavily armed commandos in the assault in Slovyansk
    Russian president Vladimir Putin said attack constitutes 'a very serious crime' and warned Kiev of 'consequences'
    In response to the attack Russia started new military drills near the Ukrainian border
    Barack Obama accused Moscow of not honoring an agreement to ease tensions and says more sanctions are 'teed up'
    He said, however, that the U.S would need allied support to apply more sanctions
    British, Dutch and Danish fighters scrambled to intercept Russian bombers that encroached on restricted airspace
    U.S troops arrive in Poland to take part in joint military exercises in move to reassure eastern European countries
    Ukrainian troops repelled an overnight raid by about 70 armed men on a base at Artemivsk

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2611946/Obama-issues-stark-warning-Russia-new-economic-sanctions-teed-unrest-continues-grow-Ukraine.html#ixzz2ztKtVZyE

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 05:13:57 am
Ukraine PM: Russian attempts to start conflict in Ukraine will lead to military conflict in Europe - @Reuters

Ukraine FM: Russian troops conducting exercises close to Ukrainian frontier this week came within 1km of border but did not cross - @interfaxua

Russian President Putin: Russia should increase production of anti-missile systems - @ria_novosti via @Reuters

Barack Obama says he will talk to key European leaders today about events in Ukraine and may be ready to impose sectoral sanctions on Russia - @SkyNewsBreak

Military officials: Ukrainian helicopter hit by gunfire whilst on the ground and caught fire, wounding pilot - @Reuters

Obama says the targeted sanctions against Russian individuals might not 'necessarily solve the problem'. More measures might be needed - @BBCGavinHewitt

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 06:23:18 am
Russia says Kiev will face justice for 'bloody crime' in Ukraine

Russia warned Kiev on Friday that it would face justice for a "bloody crime" in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Russian rebels a day earlier, while Washington said Moscow was running out of time to defuse the crisis before facing further sanctions.

"They (Kiev) are waging a war on their own people. This is a bloody crime, and those who pushed the army to do that will pay, I am sure, and will face justice," Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, told a meeting of diplomats.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's also provided a reminder of the costs of the dispute to Moscow, as it cut the country's ratings, forcing Russia's central bank to raise its key interest rate to reverse a drop in the rouble.

Lavrov said Moscow was committed to implementing an agreement struck in Geneva on April 17 between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union to ease tensions in Ukraine and disarm illegal groups but accused Washington of distorting it with "one-sided demands".

The Defence Ministry said it was ready for "unbiased and constructive" talks with the United States to stabilise the situation.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who accuses Moscow of sending agents to coordinate the unrest in the east, as it did before seizing Ukraine's Crimea region in February, is planning to call allies in Europe later in the day to nudge them towards tougher sanctions.

"The window to change course is closing," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said late on Thursday, citing Obama's earlier comments that Washington was ready to impose new sanctions, on top of those imposed after Crimea was annexed.

Kerry said Russia was using propaganda to hide what it was trying to do in eastern Ukraine - destabilise the region and undermine next month's Ukrainian presidential elections - and denounced its "threatening movement" of troops up to Ukraine's border.

"If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake," Kerry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has scoffed at the sanctions so far imposed, which have been limited to travel bans and overseas assets freezes on individuals.

Ukraine said Russian troops conducting exercises had approached to within 1 kilometre (1,100 yards) of the border and that aircraft had also taken part in the manoeuvres. It said it would treat any incursion as an invasion.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Russia wanted to start World War Three by occupying Ukraine "militarily and politically" and creating a conflict that would spread to the rest of Europe.

Ukrainian special forces launched a second phase of their operation in the east of the country on Friday by mounting a full blockade of the rebel-held city of Slaviansk, an official on the presidential staff said.

One of its military helicopters was hit by rocket fire and exploded while on the ground at an airport near the city, the Defence Ministry said.

Interior minister Arsen Avakov insisted every care was being taken to avoid non-combatant casualties, after Moscow warned it may act if Kiev used the army against civilians.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier meanwhile suggested that the United States, the EU and Russia should make a joint high-level trip to hotspots in Ukraine with local officials to signal political backing for the Geneva agreement.

A German government spokesman told reporters on Friday that Russia had done nothing to implement the agreement, and Chancellor Angela Merkel had called Putin to urge action.

During that call, Putin called for urgent talks between Russia, the EU and Ukraine on Russian gas supplies to Europe, which are now under threat over the crisis in Ukraine, through which much of the gas is piped.


Seven people were injured overnight at a pro-Ukrainian checkpoint near the Black Sea port of Odessa when an explosive device blew up, police said on Friday.

Residents in the town have built several such checkpoints near the town aimed at stopping pro-Russian separatists entering from Moldova's breakaway territory of Transdniestria.

Interfax news agency quoted witnesses as saying a bomb was thrown at the checkpoint from a passing car, though this was not confirmed by police.

Transdniestria, home to Russian peacekeepers and Russian troops guarding a Soviet-era arms stock, declared independence in the early 1990s.

NATO warned last month of a possible Russian military grab for Transdniestria following its annexation of Crimea.

Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east, and Russia launched army exercises near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade.

The Ukrainian offensive amounts to the first time Kiev's troops have used lethal force to recapture territory from rebels who have seized swathes of eastern Ukraine since April 6 and proclaimed an independent "People's Republic of Donetsk".

The Kremlin, which says it has the right to invade its neighbour to protect Russian speakers, has built up forces - estimated by NATO at up to 40,000 troops - on Ukraine's border.


Though the direct financial impact of sanctions has been limited, Russia's economy is being damaged by the crisis.

Central bank data released earlier this month showed an estimated $63.7 billion in net capital outflows in the first three months of 2014, the same as for the whole of 2013. The World Bank has said this year's total could reach $150 billion.

S&P cut Russia's foreign currency sovereign ratings to reflect the risk of further outflows, hitting Moscow stocks and weakening the rouble.

Russia's central bank then raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 percent to address the currency weakness, which it said was raising inflation expectations.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, slid into unrest late last year when Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a pact to build closer ties with Europe. Protesters took over central Kiev and he fled in February. Days later, Russian troops seized control of Crimea.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 25, 2014, 10:14:48 am
Russia, India Planning $30 Billion Oil Pipeline Through Xinjiang

Russia is changing its energy export policy vector as strong demand for hydrocarbons in both in China and in India continues to grow. The recent unease in both the U.S. and Europe over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s March 17 annexation of Crimea has only added to Moscow’s efforts to diversify its markets beyond Europe.

Now Russia and India are planning to construct a $30 billion oil pipeline through China’s restive Xinjiang province. If successful, the pipeline will be the most expensive in the world.

The groundwork for the project was laid on October 21, 2013, during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow for the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit. Singh and Putin issued a joint statement that said, “Russia and India have agreed to establish a joint group to study the possibility of direct ground transportation of hydrocarbons.”

That announcement reaffirmed the two countries’ joint commitment to implement the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on the Enhancement of Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector, which was concluded on December 21, 2010.

The project has been on the drawing boards for nearly a decade, as Russia and India first began discussing it in 2005.

Four years later, in 2009, the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China agreed to enhance energy cooperation. Sergei Lavrov, S.M. Krishna and Yang Jiechi met in Bangalore to discuss energy security, the fight against terrorism and climate change. In a joint declaration, the diplomats said, “India, Russia and China are seeking to intensify international energy cooperation on a new basis to help make the energy market more open, transparent and competitive and reflect the common interests of all the parties involved.”

At the end of last year, India's biggest oil and gas company, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) confirmed its interest in the pipeline project, saying, “The pipeline from Russia seems appropriate. The details of the project will be clarified with the Russian partners.”

India currently buys very little crude oil from Russia. According to the Indian Embassy in Moscow, fuel and oil imports from Russia in 2012 were only $176 million even as bilateral trade increased by 24.5 percent to $11 billion. Indian exports accounted for $3 billion while Russian exports, primarily weaponry, were valued at $8 billion.

Political support in Russia for the Xinjiang pipeline project has increased in the wake of worsening relations with the U.S. and EU over Crimea. On February 26, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin observed, “This is one of the major infrastructure projects that can be implemented.” But he also added, “I think it has a right to exist, but we should make calculations to see how profitable it can be.”

The pipeline also has political support in China. China’s Center for Strategic Studies in Energy Director Xia Yishan recently said, “The project is beneficial for both India and China, as it would allow China to become an oil transit in addition to its ‘status’ of recipient of the Russian oil.”

The pipeline project will strengthen India’s intention to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Russia and China are charter members.

The pipeline still faces substantial impediments, aside from its astronomical price tag. Up to 35 percent of its route runs through mountainous terrain, a factor that has set back completion schedules to 2020-2022.

Any pipeline to India through China would also become subject to the two states’ complex relationship, which is fraught with border disputes and mutual suspicion.

As Russian Center for Current Politics expert Dmitry Abzalov observed, “If a significant portion of the pipeline passes through the Middle Kingdom, there is a risk that it could be used to exert pressure on India.”

But evolving political relations may yet hasten the pipeline’s development. Russia is seeking to broaden its energy markets, India remains a major energy exporter, and China would strengthen its relations with both countries should the pipeline be built. While the last couple of years have seen major pipeline projects such as Nabucco abandoned, rising political and security considerations in this case may trump costs and end up propelling the project forward.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 10:49:12 am
The West escalates again, virtually declares war

White House: US is prepared to impose targeted sanction to respond to Russia's latest actions - statement via @Reuters

White House: Obama, Hollande, Merkel, Renzi agree to work together to 'coordinate additional steps to impose costs on Russia' - @Reuters

White House: Obama, other leaders agree Russia has escalated tensions in eastern Ukraine, but say 'Russia could still choose a peaceful resolution to the crisis' - @Reuters

Russia's refusal to support Geneva process for Ukraine means extension of current targeted sanctions would need to be implemented, spokesman for British Prime Minister Cameron says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 03:04:05 pm
Putin Warns of Consequences as Ukraine Steps Up Offensive

anti-separatist offensive after government troops killed five rebels and prompted Russia’s military to begin new drills on the two nations’ border.

“If it’s true that the current regime in Kiev sent the army against citizens inside its country, then it is a very serious crime against its own nation,” Putin said today in St. Petersburg. “It will have consequences for the people who make such decisions, including relations between our countries. We’ll see how the situation develops and we’ll make conclusions based on the reality on the ground.”

Ukrainian Interior Ministry and army troops destroyed three road blocks as they fought pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk region city of Slovyansk, the ministry said today on its website. Russia’s latest drills are a response to events in eastern Ukraine and involve warplanes near the border, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, according to Interfax.

An agreement to disarm rebels signed last week in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the U.S. is on the brink of collapse. President Barack Obama said today the U.S. and its allies have additional sanctions against Russia ready to go because Putin’s government has yet to abide by the accord.

Russia’s Micex Index (INDEXCF) fell for a fourth day, losing 2.2 percent and taking its decline since Putin’s intervention in Crimea started March 1 to 10 percent.
IMF Loan

After rallying on the prospect of an International Monetary Fund loan, Ukrainian bonds fell. The Washington-based lender’s staff endorsed a $17 billion bailout that may get board approval April 30, according to government officials. The yield on the government’s dollar-denominated note due April 2023 rose 0.03 percentage point to a month-high 10.09 percent.

“Ukraine is at risk of a foreign invasion, or a civil war, or both at the same time,” Czech President Milos Zeman said today at a meeting of east European leaders in Prague. “The older among us experienced something similar about 20 years ago in Yugoslavia.”

After an operation to rein in the separatists resumed this week, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said security forces cleared the mayor’s office in Mariupol, less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Russian border. There were no casualties, he said on his Facebook page.

Ukrainian troops also repelled an attack by about 70 gunmen on a military base in Artemivsk, north of Donetsk, during the night, Avakov said. One soldier was wounded.
‘Successful’ Operation

Acting Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov called the operation to counter the separatists “successful” and said it would continue. In a live television address, he urged Russia to pull back its forces from his nation’s border.

“Russia has switched from public threats to concentrating its forces on our eastern border,” Turchynov said. “There’s an increasing number of troops, who’ve been threatening our country for some time.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky said in Washington that while a Russian invasion is possible, Ukraine is prepared. The ministry later said Russia should explain its latest military drills in the next 48 hours.

An attack on a Russian citizen is an attack against Russia and “if we’re attacked, we’d certainly respond,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday in an interview with state-run broadcaster RT. Speaking in Moscow today, he called on Ukraine to pull back its army, stop “illegal actions” and disarm the nationalist Pravyi Sektor group.
‘Serious Question’

The offensive in the east is “criminal” and raises a “very serious question” about planned May 25 presidential elections called to help end the nation’s political crisis, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in St. Petersburg.

Turning up the economic heat on Ukraine, Russia’s state-run OAO Gazprom presented the nation with an additional $11.4 billion bill for gas it promised to buy last year.

The U.S. has been preparing for the prospect of further sanctions against Russia, Obama said today.

Russia has yet to act in the spirit or the letter of the Geneva agreement, and if there’s no progress in the coming days, “we will follow through,” he told a news conference in Tokyo. All that’s required is some “technical work” and coordination with allies, he said.

The U.S. joined the EU in imposing sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last month. “Already you’ve seen a whole lot of money and investors leave Russia,” Obama said.
‘Legitimate Actions’

French President Francois Hollande told reporters in Paris that unless the Geneva deal was implemented fully, “we would by necessity have to apply the sanctions as planned by Europe.”

The EU didn’t criticize the Slovyansk operation. While calling on “all parties” to live up to the Geneva pledges, EU spokesman Michael Mann told reporters in Brussels that the Kiev government has the “right to take legitimate actions to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service pledged yesterday to use “all means” to restore order in the east. As many as 1,300 separatists were involved in holding government buildings in the Donetsk region, according to the SBU.

The government in Kiev accuses Putin of instigating turmoil to possibly lay the groundwork for an invasion. The separatists who took over buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities say they’re not subject to the Geneva accord.
Troop Approval

Putin has parliamentary approval to deploy troops in Ukraine to protect Russian speakers and those of Russian heritage. He has about 40,000 troops massed on the border with Ukraine, according to NATO.

The Russian exercises announced today are “exactly opposite of what we have been calling on the Russian’s to do, which is to de-escalate the situation, so we again call on them to act responsibly,” Army Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon.

“We have seen some movement associated with” Russia’s announcement “but it’s too early to tell what it is.” he said.

Obama stressed that there won’t be a “military solution” to the confrontation and held out the chance diplomacy will work. “There’s always the possibility that Russia tomorrow or the next day takes a different course,” he said.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 03:04:58 pm
STEP 1 in prelude to WAR

Russian jets cross into Ukraine airspace

U.S. officials said Friday that Russian fighter jets flew into Ukrainian airspace a handful of times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a continued provocation of the heightened tensions in the region.

The officials said it's not clear what the intent was, but the aircraft could have been testing Ukrainian radar or making a show of force. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the issue.

The flights come as Russia increases military exercises along the Ukraine border, including moving a broad array of fixed wing and rotary aircraft, infantry and armored troops. The exercises inflame worries about a potential Russian military incursion into Ukraine.

The West has threatened additional sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean region in March and the ongoing escalation of military operations along the border.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, yesterday, but officials were not able to provide details of the conversation.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. officials have let Russian defense ministry officials know that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would like to speak to his counterpart, Russia Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. There has been no response yet, Warren said.

This is the second set of military exercises conducted by the Russians along the border region. The latest exercises were quickly denounced by Hagel, who called them "dangerously destabilizing" and "very provocative." If such activities escalate, they will make it more difficult to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, Hagel said, speaking in Mexico City.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 03:05:51 pm
STEP 2 in prelude to WAR

Exclusive: Putin Halts All Talks With White House

As new U.S. sanctions against Russia loom, the Kremlin has shut down—at least for now—intensive high level communications between top U.S. and Russian officials.

Since the invasion of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have had regular phone calls in an often half-hearted attempt to deescalate the ongoing crisis inside Ukraine. But as the U.S. and EU prepare to unveil new sanctions against Russia, Putin has decided the interactions should stop. The Kremlin has ended high-level contact with the Obama administration, according to diplomatic officials and sources close to the Russian leadership. The move signals an end to the diplomacy, for now.

“Putin will not talk to Obama under pressure,” said Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Development, a prominent Moscow think tank, and a close associate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “It does not mean forever.”

Obama and Putin last spoke over the phone on April 14, a call that the White House said was initiated at Moscow’s request. Obama urged Putin in the call to end Kremlin support for armed, pro-Russian activists creating unrest in eastern Ukraine. Obama also warned that the U.S. would impose more “costs” on Russia if Putin continued his current course. According to the Kremlin’s readout of the call, Putin denied Russian interference in eastern Ukraine and said “that such speculations are based on inaccurate information.”

Obama and Putin have spoken to each other about Ukraine regularly over the past weeks, including calls on March 28, March 16, and March 6. But that these calls are now on hold for the indefinite future, due to their lack of progress and frustration on both sides.

On Friday, Kerry warned that new round of American financial assaults on Russia were on the way. “We are putting in more sanctions, they will probably come Monday at the latest,” said in a private meeting in Washington, according to an attendee. Russian businesses and individuals close to Putin would be on the sanctions list, he added.

Diplomatic sources close to the process confirmed that Putin is not interested in speaking with Obama again in the current environment. The two leaders might talk again in the future but neither side is reaching out for direct interaction, as they had been doing since the Ukraine crisis began. The failure of the agreement struck last week in Geneva between the contact group of the U.S., EU, Russia, and Ukraine has made further direct Washington-Moscow interactions moot.

    “‘We are putting in more sanctions, they will probably come Monday at the latest,’ Kerry said. Russian businesses and individuals close to Putin would be on the sanctions list, he added.”

Other top U.S. officials are also now out of direct contact with their Russian interlocutors. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is also getting the cold shoulder from his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu. Pentagon officials have reached out to Russia on Mr. Hagel’s behalf within the past 24 hours but have not gotten any response, according to Pentagon Spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.

That leaves the channel between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as the only semi-functioning high-level diplomatic channel between Washington and Moscow. But even that often-frosty relationship has further chilled as the two sides hurled insults and accusations this week.

After speaking over the phone Monday and then again Tuesday about the now defunct Geneva agreement on Ukraine, Kerry and Lavrov are now conducting diplomacy through the press—and leveling harsh and undiplomatic charges against one another.

Kerry appeared at the State Department press room Thursday afternoon to declare publicly that Russia was not keeping its word.

“For seven days, Russia has refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction,” Kerry scolded. “Not a single Russian official, not one, has publicly gone on television in Ukraine and called on the separatists to support the Geneva agreement, to support the stand-down, to give up their weapons, and get out of the Ukrainian buildings. They have not called on them to engage in that activity. “

Kerry also lashed out at Russia Today, the Kremlin-sponsored television network, which Kerry said spends all its time “to propagandize and to distort what is happening or not happening in Ukraine.”

“Instead, in plain sight, Russia continues to fund, coordinate, and fuel a heavily armed separatist movement in Donetsk,” Kerry accused.

Lavrov publicly responded, “The U.S. is trying to pervert everything that is going on in Ukraine.”

On Friday, Kerry summed up his recent interactions with his Russian counterpart”  “I’ve had 6 conversations with Lavrov in the last few weeks. The last one was Kafka-esque. It was bizarre.”

U.S. and Western European officials, echoing Kerry, told The Daily Beast that new sanctions against Russia could come as early as Monday, following an EU meeting to endorse a list of 15 Russian individuals that will be targeted for new sanctions. The U.S. could also unveil new individuals for targeted sanctions on Monday, but while the U.S. list overlaps the EU list, the two lists are not identical.

The decision to move ahead with new sanctions, thereby pronouncing the death of the Geneva agreement and the current diplomatic process with Russia, was agreed on a Thursday night video conference call between President Obama (from Tokyo), Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi, several officials said.

“While they continued to hold open the door to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis, based on the Geneva agreement, the five leaders agreed that in the light of Russia’s refusal to support the process, an extension of the current targeted sanctions would need to be implemented, in conjunction with other G7 leaders and with European partners,” a spokesperson for Cameron’s office said.

Those targeted sanctions will still fall short of what many in Washington, including leading Democrats, are calling on the Obama administration to do. During a stop in Kiev Thursday, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin said that the U.S. “should make more robust use of the powers established in Executive Order 13661, which authorizes sanctions against the Russian financial, energy, metals, mining, engineering, and defense sectors… and we should use this authority to sanction Russian banks… and to take on Russia’s manipulation of energy prices and supplies, which it uses to coerce not only Ukraine, but also many of its neighbors.”

Obama said Thursday there is a limit to the harm he wishes to see imposed on Putin. Asked during his stop in South Korea if he would save Putin from drowning, Obama said. “I absolutely would save Mr. Putin if he were drowning.  I’d like to think that if anybody is out there drowning I’m going to save them.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 25, 2014, 03:06:51 pm
FINAL STEP in prelude to WAR

With Ukraine in turmoil, Hagel can’t get Russian counterpart to take his calls

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been unable to get Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on the phone amid escalating tension near the country’s shared border with Ukraine.

Mr. Shoigu announced Thursday that Russia planned to engage in a new series of military exercises near the Ukraine border. The military move, he said, is in response to ongoing NATO training exercises in Poland and the death of at least two pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Friday that Mr. Hagel has been trying to communicate with Russian officials but has yet to hear back from Mr. Shoigu or anyone else. Pentagon officials have reached out to Russia on Mr. Hagel’s behalf within the past 24 hours, according to Col. Warren.

“We have made it clear to the Russians that Secretary Hagel is available for a phone call at any time,” he said. “We have reached out to them and made it very to them that he is willing to speak to his counterpart there at any time.”

Mr. Hagel intends to call on the Russians to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and express to them that the new round of military exercises along the Ukrainian border are unhelpful, Col. Warren said. The Russians, he said, “need to withdraw their troops from the Ukranian border and place them back into their garrisons.”

Russia has “a broad array of forces aligned along the Ukranian border, according to Col. Warren. The Pentagon, he said, is tracking troop movements throughout the region and is “seeing all flavors of the Russian-combined armed force.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/25/chuck-hagel-cant-get-russian-defense-counterpart-p/#ixzz2zvkzkgCh

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 25, 2014, 05:50:31 pm
We are living in very interesting times now...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: FervorForFaith on April 25, 2014, 09:17:04 pm
We are living in very interesting times now...

I concur.

Truly interesting times...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 26, 2014, 06:29:20 am
G-7: New sanctions on Russia could come next week

DONETSK, Ukraine (April 26, 2014) — The United States and other nations in the Group of Seven say they could move as early as Monday to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine.

The announcement followed President Barack Obama's telephone conversations with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

In a joint statement released Friday night by the White House, the leaders said they would act to intensify "targeted sanctions" which would include but not be limited "to the economic, trade and financial areas."

The statement said the G-7 will continue to prepare broader sanctions on key Russian economic sectors if Moscow takes more aggressive action.

The White House said U.S. sanctions could be announced as early as Monday.

- See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/ap/world/g-7-new-sanctions-on-russia-could-come-next-week#.U1uYd1ehFyI

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 26, 2014, 11:59:09 am
25 April 2014 Last updated at 05:57 ET

Russia fears Crimea water shortage as supply drops

Russian officials say a water shortage in Crimea is threatening to become acute as Ukraine has reduced the supply via a key canal.

Ukraine does not recognise the new authorities in Crimea who are backed by Moscow. Russia made the peninsula part of its territory last month.

Crimea's harvest of grapes, rice, maize and soya will be ruined if it does not get more water soon, officials say.

Russia says the Crimea-Ukraine border is now officially a state border.

The Russian government plans to establish permanent checkpoints there, as well as new rules for entering or leaving Crimea, Ria Novosti news agency reports.

The North Crimea Canal delivers water to Crimea from the River Dnieper, in Ukraine's southern Kherson region. The canal accounts for 80% of Crimea's water.

The current water shortage is threatening 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres) of Crimea's crops, which rely on irrigation, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said.

A ruined harvest across that area would mean losses of up to 5bn roubles (£83m; $140m), he told the Gazeta.ru news website.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 26, 2014, 08:21:10 pm
We are on the advent of WWIII, Nato doesn't have the power to stop Russia. As soon as Russia invades the Ukraine and quite frankly i don't see a reason as to why they haven't yet, Amerika will get all upset, and North Korea will move against the South, China will strike out against a couple of their enemies in the Pacific, South America will literally collapse into chaos, and the middle east will ally with Russia and strike out against Israel and the Lord will reveal himself for ONE last chance before the rapture. We are this close, one breath away. Please tell someone.   

G7 agrees to Russian sanctions over Ukraine

The Group of Seven rich countries have agreed to start slapping fresh sanctions on Moscow as early as Monday over the worsening Ukraine crisis amid Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion.

Why is Amerika one of the G-7? We have no money...  ???

International negotiators rushed to eastern Ukraine on Saturday to seek the release of European military monitors who were captured on Friday and promptly branded "spies" by the pro-Russia militia that seized them.

The detention of the monitors instantly raised the stakes in an already fraught drama pitting the Ukrainian government against motley bands of separatists who have overtaken city halls across the country's eastern half.

Although the standoff in Ukraine has for months been a proxy fight between Russia and the West, the imprisonment in a makeshift separatist jail of military officers from NATO countries threatens to draw the West more directly into the conflict.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is monitoring events in Ukraine and trying to broker local peace deals, said it would keep its monitors out of Slovyansk until further notice, and that it was carefully watching conditions in other cities.

"It's a very fluid security situation in a lot of these areas," said Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE monitoring mission. "We're definitely taking more precautions."

International tensions were also stoked in the ex-Soviet republic, where sporadic fighting between pro-Kremlin rebels and Ukrainian security forces flared this week.

Russian warplanes violated Ukraine's airspace several times on Thursday and Friday, the Pentagon said.

Russia has also begun new drills on the border, where it has tens of thousands of troops massed.

A Western diplomat warned: "We no longer exclude a Russian military intervention in Ukraine in the coming days."

The diplomatic source noted that Russia's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, had been recalled to Moscow for urgent consultations.

Russia said Saturday that it would do all it could to win the release of the detained men, who include a total of eight military monitors from Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark and Sweden as well as five Ukrainian military escorts. But as of Saturday night, leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in the city of Slovyansk remained adamant that they had no intention of freeing the officers, accusing them of espionage. Ukrainian officials said they feared that the men would be used as human shields.

The standoff raised fresh questions about the ability of any government - whether Ukrainian or Russian - to control events in a region where security is perilous, and where shadowy militias hold growing sway.

A barricade around the building where the OSCE team was being held had been greatly fortified with sandbags and a machine-gun.

Washington and Europe called for the immediate release of the OSCE team, which includes members from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to intervene to have the team freed, officials in Berlin said.

Russia responded it would do everything in its power to win their release.

Kiev has accused Moscow - which it sees as controlling the rebels - of seeking to trigger a "third world war" and urged Russian troops to withdraw from the border.

Russia in turn has warned it has a "right" to invade to protect Ukraine's Russian-speaking population concentrated in the east and southeast, sparking the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

The G7 nations said in a joint statement they would "move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia".

"These sanctions will be coordinated and complementary, but not necessarily identical. US sanctions could come as early as Monday," a senior US administration official said.

The Group of Seven consists of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. European Union foreign ministers are also to meet soon to discuss the issue.

The US and the EU have already targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle with visa and asset freezes and imposed sanctions on a key Russian bank.

A senior White House official said the next round of sanctions could target "individuals with influence on the Russian economy, such as energy and banking".

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/g7-agrees-to-russian-sanctions-over-ukraine-20140427-zr05b.html#ixzz302o0xqab

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Christian40 on April 27, 2014, 06:03:32 am
We are on the advent of WWIII, Nato doesn't have the power to stop Russia. As soon as Russia invades the Ukraine and quite frankly i don't see a reason as to why they haven't yet, America will get all upset, and North Korea will move against the South, China will strike out against a couple of their enemies in the Pacific, South America will literally collapse into chaos, and the middle east will ally with Russia and strike out against Israel and the Lord will reveal Himself for ONE last chance before the rapture. We are this close, one breath away. Please tell someone.   

i think Putin knows he is risking a war and is carefully preparing before it happens, i dont know if NATO will protect Ukraine or not, NATO does not need to protect Ukraine why should they if they cant win against Russia there? How come the US can invade other countries yet Russia cannot? i pray that there be no war in the Ukraine i think prayers can stop all this but whatever God allows will happen.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 27, 2014, 09:14:48 am
Pretty much - whenever the (global)economy starts to go south, that's when these minions start wars. Not just WW1 and 2, but the Iraq war is another example.

I don't know what will come out of this, but nonetheless the global economy is taking a nosedive now.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 27, 2014, 03:12:54 pm
Looks like the Jesuits are behind this too...

Separatists seize control of TV HQ in east Ukraine city


DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatists on Sunday seized control of the offices of regional state television in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and said they would take it off air and broadcast a Kremlin-backed Russian channel instead.

A Reuters reporter said four separatists in masks, with truncheons and shields, were standing at the entrance to the building controlling access, while more separatists in camouflage fatigues could be seen inside.

About 15 police officers were standing a short distance away but were not trying to resist the separatists. One police lieutenant, who was sitting in a police vehicle nearby, said it would have been pointless to intervene.

It was the first time the station had been seized by the separatists, though previously a transmission tower in the Donetsk region had briefly been seized and technicians forced to broadcast Russian stations' output.

Pro-Russian separatists, some of them armed, have seized about a dozen official buildings in eastern Ukraine. They say they are rising up against a Ukrainian government they say is illegitimate, but Kiev says they are proxies of the Russian government bent on destabilizing Ukraine.

About an hour after the station in Donetsk was overrun, it was still broadcasting its scheduled programs, a children's show called "Circle of the Sun".


But the station's director, Oleg Dzholos, who came outside to speak to reporters, said the people who seized the building had ordered him to change the programming.

"They used force to push back the gates," he said. "There were no threats. There were not many of my people. What can a few people do? The leaders of this movement just gave me an ultimatum that one of the Russian channels has to be broadcast."

Dzholos said three of his staff were still inside the building, and that the separatists had not ejected him from his office.

Separatists who swear allegiance to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic already control the regional governor's office and the city hall in Donetsk, the regional capital.

A man in a white shirt who came out of the building and said he was a representative of the Donetsk People's Republic said that from now on the station would be broadcasting Rossiya 24, a Russian state-owned news channel.

Earlier, a crowd of around 400 people surrounded the building and shouted "Russia!" and "Referendum!," a reference to a vote the separatists want to hold on seceding from Ukraine. The protesters later drifted away, but the separatist guards on the doors remained.

One of the masked men at the entrance, asked why the building had been seized, said: "They show lies, they try to influence the people and they broadcast misinformation."

The police officer sitting in his vehicle nearby, who gave his name as Vitaly, said his superiors had ordered him to protect the building after they received information that a crowd was heading to the television station.

"I don't see any point in using force," he said. "It would not have worked if we had tried to stop anybody, there were a lot of people here."

(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Nigel Stephenson)

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 27, 2014, 03:14:11 pm
Sorry about the image being too large above - the guy on the far right is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 28, 2014, 08:44:50 am
Ukraine's failure to pay gas debt may cut gas supply to Europe - Russia’s energy minister

Ukraine’s growing gas debt may lead to the failure of the country’s transit obligations and the reduction of gas supplies to south-eastern Europe, said the Russian Energy Ministry.

Officials from Russia, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, and officials from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Moldova held talks in Moscow on Saturday.

 The meeting, also attended by officials from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Finance Ministry, was held in the form of consultations on the security of gas transit through Ukraine.

 All sides expressed deep concern about Ukraine’s growing debt, Novak told journalists.

“Currently Ukraine’s debt is US$2.238 billion, this [figure] does not include gas deliveries made in April,” Novak noted. “The debt will rise 1.3 billion for the April deliveries.”

Ukraine’s debt may lead to a situation where not enough gas will be pumped into Ukrainian underground storage facilities, which may create the risk of non-performance by Ukraine of its transit obligations and of undersupply of gas to Southeastern Europe, the ministry said.

 In turn the parties discussed the importance of gas transportation projects designed to reduce transit risks for European consumers, primarily the South Stream project.

“Today, only the South Stream project can give Europe real additional guarantees of energy security," said Miller on Friday.

 Russia also discussed with the participants the efforts to organize negotiations with the European Commission and Ukraine on how to deal with Kiev's failure to pay for gas.

 Novak said that the talks on the IMF stabilization loan will soon be held. The use of a portion of the IMF loan to repay the debt for previous gas supplies will be discussed there he added.

Russia said it hopes the EU “will take measures towards the speediest disbursement of financial aid to Ukraine by European financial institutions, which will be used, among other things, for ensuring Naftogaz of Ukraine's timely payments for natural gas supplies from Gazprom", the ministry said.

 The ministry believes this will help to prevent unauthorized siphoning of gas from transit in Ukraine and strengthen Europe's energy security.

Gazprom’s $45 billion South Stream project is due to partially open in 2015 and reach full capacity in 2018. It will deliver 64 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe, running through EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, and soon to be EU member Serbia. The line connects Russia to Europe via the Black Sea and will supply Europe with 15 percent of its gas needs.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 28, 2014, 12:54:04 pm
Here we go again - the MSM is going overboard with this "fallout" from the NBA's LA Clippers owner to further distract from what's going on in the Ukraine/Russia.

First they did it with this "missing" Malaysian flight. Then when they ran out of tricks with this, and were forced to report on Ukraine/Russia, they came up with another trick out of their bag with THIS.

1Thes 2:1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th 2:2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 28, 2014, 03:48:13 pm
Sanctions Further Crimp Finances of Russian Elites

Another round of sanctions against Russia announced Monday morning make it clear that the Obama administration’s game plan remains the same: to make life uncomfortable for the oligarchs in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle while limiting the damage to the overall Russian economy.

The new round of sanctions targets seven individual members of the Russian government and 17 businesses, including three banks, all of which were added to the list of “specially designated nationals” maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S. individuals and U.S.-based companies are not allowed to do business with individuals and entities on that list.

An earlier round of sanctions had effectively shut down the international business of St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which provided financial services to the Russian political elite and businesses in the country’s essential energy sector. The sanctions announced Thursday appear to be in the same vein.

Among the individuals targeted are Vyacheslav Volodin, Putin’s chief of staff; Sergei Cemezov, the director general of the state-owned technology export firm Rosnet; Igor Sechin, the chairman and president of state-owned petroleum company Rosneft; and Evgeniy Murov, the director of Russia’s Federal Protective Service and a general in the army.

Among the businesses are several banks, construction and transportation firms, and companies connected to Russia’s oil and gas production industries.

U.S. officials say the sanctions were imposed because Russia has not taken steps to enforce an agreement reached in Geneva earlier this month that sought to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine. After Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula earlier this year, pro-Russian militants have taken over buildings – and in some cases, whole towns – in the eastern part of Ukraine, and are calling for Russia to annex that Area as well.

The Geneva agreement had obligated Russia to not provide support to the separatists and to take steps to persuade them to stand down.

Calling Russia’s acts in Ukraine thus far “illegal and illegitimate,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday announced the new round of sanctions. “Since Russia has refused to follow through on its Geneva commitments, today the United States is following through on its statements – we are imposing additional costs against Russia, including sanctions on individuals in the Russian leadership’s inner circle and 17 entities closely linked to previously sanctioned members of the inner circle.”

Lew went on to claim that the sanctions imposed so far have contributed to a downturn in the Russian economy. “Russian economic growth forecasts have dropped sharply, capital flight has accelerated and higher borrowing costs reflect declining confidence in the market outlook,” he said. “Our goal continues to be for Russia to deescalate the situation so that additional sanctions are not needed. However, we are resolved to continue to work with our international partners and take the steps required, including action against individuals and entities in specific sectors, if Russia continues to press forward.”

While the sanctions in place now have certainly had some effect on Russia’s economy, it is not clear that they deserve most of the credit. The private sector has been pulling money out of Russia on concerns about stability and the prospect of a military confrontation with Ukraine that could spread to other parts of Europe.  Investors have been unwilling to buy Russian bonds except at extremely high risk premiums, which has forced the country’s Finance Ministry to withdraw proposed bond sales.

While the Obama administration has avoided the kind of sanctions that would be outright crippling to Russia, that does not mean those imposed Monday will have no impact. Tagging people and companies with the “specially designated national” label makes it illegal for U.S. companies, including U.S. banks, to do business with them, and that can have an impact that extends far beyond the United States.

For example, a large percentage of international wire transfers are routed through banks based in the U.S. It is now illegal for U.S. banks to process transactions connected to any of the people or companies on that list, so they will not just be policing just their own accounts, but will also require the non-U.S. banks that use their networks to attest that they do not do business with Specially Designated Nationals either.

The practical effect of this is that, for many, if not all of the people and entities on the list, doing business and traveling internationally will become very difficult, if not impossible. Firms that value their connection to the U.S. economy will no longer want to take the risk that providing them services, for fear of U.S. businesses concerned about federal penalties cutting them off.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 28, 2014, 06:36:28 pm
US, NATO increasing military presence near Russia's borders with unprecedented force - Defence Minister

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, in his recent phone talk with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel, said that the US and NATO are increasing its military presence near Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe with unprecedented force, RIA Novosti reports.

The press service of Russia’s Defense Ministry also reports that Mr. Shoygu noted that these steps of the West are accompanied with statements of NATO’s Secretary General that Russia should be “restrained”. Besides, quite a few Western media sources have unveiled a real anti-Russian hysteria, Mr. Shoygu added.

The Russian Defense Minister tried to draw the attention of his American counterpart to these facts and noted that spreading anti-Russian sentiments can hardly lead to easing of tension in the world.

Russia's Defense Minister denies reports about Russian agents destabilizing situation in Ukraine

In his recent phone talk with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu categorically denied that Russia has sent its agents to Ukraine for certain “subversive actions”.

After Mr. Hagel expressed concern that Russia is dislocating more military forces near Ukraine’s border and that Russia’s plans to hold military maneuvers near this border are allegedly aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, Mr. Shoygu called on him not to listen to this groundless rhetoric and try to prevent the spreading of such rumors.

Rumors that certain groups of Russian agents in Ukraine’s southeastern regions are trying to destabilize the situation there are also groundless, Sergey Shoygu says.

Earlier, several media sources reported that the US Defense Secretary was trying to communicate with his Russian counterpart to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry, in its turn, said that it was ready to discuss the situation in Ukraine with the Pentagon, but has not yet received any official notification from it.

Besides, earlier, Defense Minister Shoygu has announced that Russia was starting military maneuvers near Ukraine’s border as a reaction on the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine. In response, Defense Secretary Hagel expressed his concern in connection with these Russia’s plans.

Russia's Defense Minister confirms readiness for dialogue over Ukraine

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has had a phone talk with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel, RIA Novosti reports quoting the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry.

During this talk, Mr. Shoygu confirmed Russia’s readiness for a constructive dialogue with any country or organization that is interested in peace in Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Minister says that Russia stands for looking for a compromise decision of the Ukrainian issue, but this compromise should be based on the decisions reached in Geneva on April 17.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 28, 2014, 07:33:09 pm
Eastern Ukraine slips further into chaos as violence flares and mayor shot
Pro-Russian militants attack Donetsk rally and seize buildings as mayor of Kharkiv suffers assassination attempt in broad daylight

it is a civil war instigated by the West

 The mayor of Ukraine's second largest city was fighting for his life on Monday after an assassination attempt in broad daylight and an eruption of street violence in Donetsk dragged the east of the country further into chaos.

Gennady Kernes, who has been mayor of the eastern city of Kharkiv since 2010, was out jogging when he was shot in the back at about midday local time.

The attempted murder came as pro-Russian militia seized police buildings in yet another town in the Donetsk region, consolidating their hold on a strategic highway around the town of Slavyansk.

Later in the evening pro-Russian protesters armed with bats attacked a pro-Ukrainian march in Donetsk, leaving at least five people hospitalised with head wounds.

 Trouble started at 6.30pm local time (4.30pm UK) as over 1000 pro-Ukrainians gathered for a march in the centre of the industrial city in the early evening.

Police largely stood by as a mob of several hundred pro-Russian activists, some armed with metal bars and baseball bats, ambushed the march from behind shortly after it began, attacking both marchers and bystanding journalists.

After the clash, in which protesters from both sides were injured, the pro-Ukrainian marchers apparently fled, leaving a large pro-Russian crowd prowling the streets and forcing some riot police to lay their shields on the ground.

The violence capped another day of rising tensions that saw Mr Kernes hospitalised after a bullet punctured one lung and his liver, leaving him in a critical condition.

"He is currently on the operating table in a hospital emergency room. Doctors are fighting for his life," his office said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

Mr Kernes suffered a serious abdominal injury from a single shot, but was operated on successfully, it was later reported.

Mr Kernes is a member of former president Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, and was a vocal opponent of the pro-European protest movement that brought down Mr Yanukovych in February. He has since vacillated between support for the pro-Russian movement and backing the new government in Kiev.

Mikhail Dobkin, the Party of the Regions' presidential candidate and a former governor of Kharkiv region and close ally of Mr Kernes, said on Monday that he believed the gunman had been aiming to kill.

"I can say this shot was aimed to kill, to the heart," he told Interfax Ukraine. "And I can say it was only due to a happy coincidence that he was not killed." Oleksandr Turchynov, the interim president, ordered an investigation into the attempted killing.

 Kharkiv is a major industrial and university city just 20 miles from the Russian border, and has been seen as a potential flashpoint in the on-going struggle for control of eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and the interim government in Kiev.

But while the city has seen pro-Russian disturbances in recent weeks, separatist activists have failed to establish a foothold there similar to those in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Pro-Russian demonstrators briefly occupied the regional administration building in the city centre earlier this month, but were swiftly evicted by police.

The attack on Mr Kernes came as rebels based in Slavyansk, 100 miles to the south, seized control of yet another town on the highway to the regional capital of Donetsk.

About 20 heavily armed gunmen took over the police station and town hall in Konstantinovka on Monday morning before unarmed volunteers began to build barricades around the occupied buildings, in an attack which closely followed the pattern of earlier occupations in neighbouring towns.

The pro-Russian rebels who seized the state buildings said they met with no resistance from local law enforcement officials. "We took it without a single shot being fired, we have the popular support," said Hans, a balaclava-clad gunman who also claimed the police had defected to "join with the people".

A reported firefight at the government-held airfield near Kramatorsk also ended without any deaths.

Eyewitnesses said soldiers returned fire when the base came under attack from its Western side at about 8 AM this morning.

Ukrainian troops were on high alert at the strategically important site on Monday afternoon, with snipers moving through the trees outside the perimeter threatening to shoot anyone who attempted to approach.

But there seemed to be little enthusiasm amongst the troops for engaging in combat. "We shot back because we were commanded to do so," said Roman, a 27-year-old soldier from Kiev stationed inside the base, "but we don't want to fire on our own people, we just want to go home."

Tensions in the area around Slavyansk are high since Mr Tuychynov re-launched an "anti-terrorist" operation to dislodge rebels late last week.

But Ukrainian forces have made no further move towards the city since skirmishes on Friday left up to five people dead.

The Ukraine Security Service said on Monday that pro-Russian separatists were now holding more than 40 hostages, most of them jailed in Slavyansk.

The prisoners include journalists, Ukrainian security officers, and seven European military officers and a translator who were part of an OSCE observer mission when they were detained as they tried to enter Slavyansk on Friday.

Rebel leaders have said they will seek a prisoner exchange for the release of the observers.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 28, 2014, 07:34:57 pm
Britain, France deploy fighter jets for NATO Baltic patrols

Britain and France deployed eight fighter jets on Monday to reinforce NATO air patrols over the Baltics as tensions rise with Russia over Ukraine, officials said.

Four British Typhoon jets arrived in Lithuania to start their mission while four French Rafale jets touched down in Malbork, northeast Poland, their defence ministries said.

British defence minister Philip Hammond said the move would "provide reassurance to our NATO allies in eastern Europe and the Baltic states."

"In the wake of recent events in Ukraine, it is right that NATO takes steps to reaffirm very publicly its commitment to the collective security of its members," Hammond said.

Around 70 French military personnel have been deployed to Malbork in support of the new planes, French military spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron said.

Britain and France have each also deployed AWACS early-warning aircraft to patrol Polish and Romanian airspace in recent weeks.

The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, joined NATO in 2004 but lack sufficient aircraft to police their own skies, so larger NATO members take turns patrolling their airspace.

NATO announced in April that it would step up its defences in eastern Europe due to the growing crisis in Ukraine and Russia's absorption of Crimea.

It has increased fighter jet patrols and also deployed ships in the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean.

The United States announced last week it was deploying 600 airborne troops for exercises in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a show of solidarity with NATO members bordering Russia.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 28, 2014, 10:55:00 pm
Flipped channels again briefly to the MSM tonight - both MSNBC and FOX were primarly focused on this whole LA Clippers owner "fallout" nonsense(bringing race into the debate), while CNN primarly focused on the tornado destruction in the south.

Don't get me wrong - the tornado news deserves a lot of coverage, but nonetheless keep in mind that the Illuminati minions control the weather(and news reports in days prior PREDICTED this). And ultimately, they already had all of this 24/7 news coverage in the bag.

So pretty much no Ukraine/Russia news on the MSM today.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 29, 2014, 04:02:26 am
Ukraine crisis: Mayor of second city Gennady Kernes fights for life after murder attempt is blamed on Kremlin

The day began with the police station and administration building  Konstantinovska being  overrun; next the airport at Kramatorsk was attacked with rocket propelled grenades and then the mayor of Kharkiv was shot in the back. It ended in a vicious ambush on a demonstration in Donetsk. While America and the European Union impose new sanctions on Russia, violence and turmoil continues unabated in  eastern Ukraine.

The attempted murder of Gennady Kernes, the mayor of the country’s second-largest city, raised fears that prominent public figures were being targeted for assassination. Last night he was “fighting for his life”, said his spokesman, after emergency surgery, with blame for the shooting leveled at both the Kremlin and extreme right wing groups.

Mr Kernes, a colourful character who regularly posted photographs of himself on social media taking part in sporting activities, was gunned down while he was out cycling, jogging, or swimming according to differing accounts of what took place. Valeriy Boyko, the director of Surgery institute in Kiev, where he was being treated, said the mayor “had suffered a very serious wound with a number of organs damaged”.

The 64-year-old billionaire businessman had been a fervent supporter of Victor Yanukovych, the overthrown president, and a fierce critic of  Kiev’s Maidan, banning similar protests in Kharkiv under an emergency order which had been put in place to “avoid the spread of infectious diseases”.

Since then, however, he had sought to distance himself from Mr Yanukovych’s coterie and spoken out for a united Ukraine and those who want to take the region under Moscow’s rule. Zurab Alasania, the director general of the state-run National Television Company, charged: “The Russian Federation is identifying and liquidating key centres of resistance”. However, Sergey Borodkin, a separatist leader in Donbass who had been working with sympathisers in Kharkiv, dismissed the claim: “He was close to Yanukovych, he was against the Maidan, the fascists there hated him. We know that members of Right Sector [an ultra nationalist group] visited Kharkiv three weeks ago to plan attacks.”

Pro-Russian officials said Mr Kernes had made a public statement that he was being subjected to “political persecution”, adding that Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, could be linked to threats against Mr Kernes and the attack on him.

There is no evidence that Mr Avakov has any link to Monday’s shooting. The two men have, however, clashed in the past with Mr Avakov accusing Mr Kernes, to whom he lost the mayoral race in 2010, of organising gangs to attack Maidan protestors in Kiev.

Pro-Russian officials said Mr Kernes had made a public statement that he was being subjected to “political persecution”, adding that Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, could be linked to threats against Mr Kernes and the attack on him.

There is no evidence that Mr Avakov has any link to Monday’s shooting. The two men have, however, clashed in the past with Mr Avakov accusing Mr Kernes, to whom he lost the mayoral race in 2010, of organising gangs to attack Maidan protestors in Kiev.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 30, 2014, 07:11:15 am
Ukraine 'on full combat alert' against possible Russia invasion
Pro-Russian separatists seize control of state buildings in the town of Horlivka, tightening their grip on swathes of Ukraine's east almost unopposed by police

 Ukraine's military is "on full combat alert" against a possible invasion by Russian troops massed on the border, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a ministerial meeting in Kiev on Wednesday.

"Our armed forces are on full combat alert," he said. "The threat of Russia starting a war against mainland Ukraine is real."

Pro-Russian gunmen have seized more administrative buildings in eastern Ukraine, further raising tensions in Ukraine's Russian-leaning regions shaken by separatist unrest.

Insurgents wielding automatic weapons took control and hoisted a separatist flag on top of the city council building on Wednesday morning in the city of Horlivka in the Donetsk region which borders Russia. They also took control of a police station in the city, adding to another police building which they had controlled for several weeks.

A small group of men were seen standing guard outside the building and checking the documents of those entering. One of the men said that foreign reporters will not be allowed in and threatened to arrest those do not obey orders. Similar guards were also seen outside the police station in the city.

 The insurgents now control buildings in about a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine, including Lugansk, demanding broader regional rights as well as greater ties or outright annexation by Russia. The militiamen are holding some activists and journalists hostage, including a group of observers from a European security organisation.

Eastern Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking population, was the heartland of support for Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president who fled to Russia in February. The government that replaced him in Kiev has resisted the insurgents' demands, fearing they could lead to a breakup of the country or mean that more regions could join Russia, as Crimea did.

Kiev and Western governments accuse Moscow of orchestrating the protests in eastern Ukraine. The United States and the European Union rolled out a fresh set of economic sanctions against Russia this week, but Moscow has remained unbowed, denying its role in the unrest and saying the actions were Kiev's fault.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 30, 2014, 07:40:26 am
Restive eastern Ukraine slips from Kiev government's grasp

Masked gunmen in military fatigues seized government offices in another Ukrainian town on Wednesday, in a further sign that pro-Western authorities in Kiev are losing control of the country's eastern industrial heartland bordering Russia.

The gunmen, who turned up at dawn, took control of the offices in Horlivka, a town of almost 300,000 people, said a Reuters photographer. They refused to be photographed.

The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other unidentified "green men" who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of towns across Ukraine's Donbass coal and steel belt.

Attempts to contain the insurgency by the government in Kiev have proved largely unsuccessful, with security forces repeatedly outmaneuvered by the separatists.

The West and the new Ukrainian government accuse Russia of being behind the unrest, a charge Moscow denies.

Daniel Baer, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, a European security watchdog, told reporters in Vienna: "I think it's very clear that what is happening would not be happening without Russian involvement."

A police official in Donetsk, the provincial capital where separatists have declared a "People's Republic of Donetsk", said separatists were also in control of the Horlivka police station, having seized the regional police headquarters earlier in April.

Wednesday's takeover followed the fall of government buildings on Tuesday further east in Luhansk, capital of Ukraine's easternmost province, driving home just how far control over the densely populated region has slipped from the central government in Kiev.

"They've taken them. The government administration and police," the police official said of Horlivka.


The town sits just north of Donetsk, where mainly Russian-speaking separatists have called a referendum on secession for May 11.

Many hope to follow Crimea's break from Ukraine in March and subsequent annexation by Russia, following the overthrow of Ukraine's then Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich in late February in a tug-of-war between the West and Russia over the strategic direction of the former Soviet republic.

The Donbass region is home to giant steel smelters and heavy plants that produce about a third of Ukraine's industrial output.

An armed uprising began there in early April, with Kiev almost powerless to respond for fear of provoking an invasion by tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border.

Oleksander Turchynov, Ukraine's acting president until an election on May 25, reiterated on Wednesday that police were incapable of reasserting control in the region.

"Our main task is to prevent the terrorist threat from spreading to other regions of Ukraine," he told a meeting of regional governors in Kiev.

"The Russian leadership is doing everything to prevent the election. But the election will take place on May 25," he said.

There were further signs on Monday that Russia is paying an economic price for its involvement in Ukraine, from which it annexed the Crimea region after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president was ousted in February by protesters demanding closer links with Europe.

The International Monetary Fund said international sanctions imposed on Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine were hurting the Russian economy.

The IMF cut its 2014 growth forecast for Russia to 0.2 percent from 1.3 percent and forecast capital outflows of $100 billion this year.

The IMF mission chief to Russia, Antonio Spilimbergo, also told reporters that Russia was "experiencing recession" and that a resolution of the Ukraine crisis would significantly reduce Russia's own economic uncertainties.

"If you understand by recession two quarters of negative economic growth then Russia is experiencing recession now," Spilimbergo said.

Ukraine is also suffering from the turmoil, with economic output falling 1.1 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2014, according to government figures released on Wednesday.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 30, 2014, 07:53:07 am
US astronauts should use trampolines to get into space, Russian official says

A Russian official angered over new sanctions that the United States imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis is suggesting that American astronauts get to the International Space Station by using trampolines instead of rockets.

"The United States introduced sanctions against our space industry... We warned them, we will reply to statements with statements, to actions with actions," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who heads Russia's defense industry, said on Twitter, according to Reuters.

American astronauts depend on Russian rockets to get to the ISS, but after the U.S. imposed sanctions – which deny export licenses for high-tech items that could aid Russia’s military -- Rogozin offered up a different idea.

"I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline," he said.

But analysts told Reuters that Russia is unlikely to suspend its shuttle service to the ISS, as NASA provides essential financing for the effort, paying more than $60 million per person to get them into space.

Still, Russia is expected to be hit hard by the sanctions, and five upcoming commercial satellite launches -- contracted by foreign clients at a Russian space center -- could be at risk.

Earlier this month, NASA was also banned from contacting the Russian government.

"This is a very sensitive issue since our defense industry was completely unprepared for such developments," Sergei Oznobishchev, the director at the Institute for Strategic Assessments think tank in Moscow, told Reuters. "Both sides will suffer but Russia will lose out more in terms of technology transfer."

Analysts say Russia lags behind in production of high-tech electronic equipment, such as microchips for satellites, and is reliant on imports from Western nations.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 30, 2014, 11:22:05 am
Kiev: Forces "helpless" to restore order in east

Ukraine's police and security forces are "helpless" to quell the unrest in two eastern regions bordering Russia and in some cases are cooperating with the pro-Russia gunmen who have seized scores of buildings and taken people hostage, Ukraine's leader said Wednesday.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said his government's goal now was to prevent the agitation from spreading to other territories in the sprawling nation of 46 million people.

His interim government in Kiev and Western governments have accused Moscow of orchestrating the turmoil in eastern Ukraine, which borders Russia. The United States and the European Union rolled out new economic sanctions against Russia this week but Moscow has remained unbowed, denying its role in the unrest.

Turchynov spoke hours after pro-Russia gunmen seized more administrative buildings in eastern Ukraine.

(AP) A pro-Russian gunman in camouflage uniform stands guard next to Orthodox icons...
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Kiev city authorities, meanwhile, announced unexpected middle-of-the night security drills running from Wednesday night into Thursday morning by the state guard service. That could alarm the eastern insurgents who favor more independence or even separatism, but also could be aimed at reassuring Ukrainians unsettled by Turchynov's admission of impotence in the east.

At a meeting in Kiev, Turchynov laid out the central security challenge facing Ukraine, instructing regional governors to try to prevent the threat in the east from overtaking central and southern regions.

"I will be frank: Today, security forces are unable to quickly take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions under control," Turchynov said. "The security bodies ... are unable to carry out their duties of protecting citizens. They are helpless in those matters. Moreover, some of those units are either helping or cooperating with terrorist organizations."

He said "mercenaries and special units" were attacking eastern Ukraine.

"That is why I am stressing our task is to stop the spread of the terrorist threat, first of all in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions," Turchynov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

(AP) A pro-Russian gunman guards inside an administration building they seized Tuesday,...
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The mayor of Kharkiv, who had been credited with keeping Ukraine's second-largest city calm, was shot in the back earlier this week.

Turchynov said the threat of a Russian invasion was real and urged the creation of regional self-defense units throughout the country, according to the Interfax news agency. Russia has placed tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine and has annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Yulia Torhovets, a spokeswoman for the Kiev city government, would not provide any details about the drills, saying only that the city made the announcement to keep residents informed.

"We didn't want people to get scared when they see combat equipment," Torhovets told The Associated Press. "We didn't want anyone to panic."

Some Ukrainians were appalled by the loss of control over the country's eastern regions and accused the central government of reacting too slowly.

(AP) A pro-Russian gunman in camouflage uniform stands guard Wednesday, April 30, 2014,...
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"In a normal society, when Oleksandr Turchynov admits the fact that the authorities do not control the situation in the east of the country, that's grounds for resignation. And not just from him, but all the security forces," Valeriy Kalnysh, the former editor of the now-defunct Kommersant Ukraine daily, wrote on Facebook. "But can we afford this now? .... And is it the right move in the conditions of an undeclared war with Russia?"

Former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko urged Ukrainians to join a resistance force that she was creating that would act in coordination with the army.

"Ukraine is under attack. Russia has begun an undeclared war against our country in the east," Tymoshenko said in a statement Wednesday. "I call upon all patriots who have ever participated in military operations to join us immediately.

Ukraine is holding a presidential election on May 25, and Tymoshenko is among several top candidates.

In eastern Ukraine, insurgents wielding automatic weapons took control and hoisted an insurgent flag on top of the city council building Wednesday morning in the city of Horlivka in the Donetsk region. They also took control of a police station in the city, adding to another police building they have controlled for several weeks.

An Associated Press reporter saw armed men guarding the city council building in Horlivka and checking the documents of those entering. One man said foreign reporters would not be allowed in and threatened to arrest those who didn't obey. Similar guards were also seen outside the city's police station.

The insurgents who now control buildings in about a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine are demanding broader regional rights as well as greater ties or outright annexation by Russia. The militiamen are holding some activists and journalists hostage, including seven observers from a European security organization.

In Luhansk, one of the largest cities in eastern Ukraine, gunmen in camouflage uniforms maintained control of several government offices they seized Tuesday. In Donetsk, insurgents added the local tax agency office to the list of buildings they have seized.

Dzhavad Iskanderov, a spokesman for the insurgents, told the AP the tax building was seized to prevent nationalists and other pro-Kiev forces from seizing the weapons inside.

Eastern Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking population, was the heartland of support for Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president who fled to Russia in February. The government that replaced him in Kiev has resisted the insurgents' demands, fearing they could lead to a breakup of the country or more regions being annexed by Russia.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on April 30, 2014, 02:28:25 pm
China to conduct naval drills with Russia in East China Sea

China said on Wednesday it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation.

China's defense ministry did not give an exact location in the East China Sea, where Beijing is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with Japan over the ownership of a group of uninhabited islets.

"These drills are regular exercises held by China and Russia's navies, and the purpose is to deepen practical cooperation between the two militaries, to raise the ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," the ministry said on its website.

It provided no other details.

China alarmed Japan, South Korea and the United States last year when it announced an air defense identification zone for the East China Sea, covering the islands.

The Beijing government, which is swiftly ramping up military spending, has regularly dispatched patrols to the East China Sea since it established the defense zone.

China was angered last week after U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan that Washington was committed to its defense, including the disputed isles.

Earlier this month, Tokyo announced it would break ground on a new radar base in the area, on a tropical Japanese island close to Taiwan.

The radar station on Yonaguni Island, just 150 km (93 miles) from the disputed islands in the East China Sea, marks Japan's first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years.

China and Russia have close diplomatic, security and economic ties, and regularly carry out military exercises together.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 30, 2014, 05:52:00 pm
The NBA suspended that LA Clippers owner for life(I'm sure most of you know this story, so I won't elaborate into it) - pt being that this story is finally put to rest? Yes? NO - the MSM is STILL over-saturating this story(with not a thing, yet again, over Ukraine/Russia).

Good thing there's the internet to get news!

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 01, 2014, 05:07:58 am
Large pro-Russian demonstration through Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on May Day - @itvnews


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 01, 2014, 09:23:25 pm
Ukraine renews military draft as unrest intensifies

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Ukraine should withdraw its military from the eastern and southern regions of the country, a statement that could bolster anti-government insurgents who are seizing buildings.

Hours later, Ukraine's acting president ordered that the military draft be renewed, citing "threats of encroachment on the nation's territorial integrity" and interference by Russia in its internal affairs.

Moscow has consistently denounced Ukrainian security forces' largely ineffectual operation against the eastern insurgents and warned they should not commit violence against civilians.

In a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin said the removal of military units was the "main thing," but it was unclear if that could be construed as an outright demand.

Oleksandr Turchynov's conscription order marked a turnaround for the country, which last year announced plans to end military conscription in favor of an all-volunteer force. His order did not specify where conscript-bolstered forces could be deployed. The renewal of military conscription affects only men 18 to 25 years old.

Earlier in the week, the acting president said police and security forces had been effectively "helpless" against insurgents in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the heart of the unrest, and that efforts should be focused on preventing the instability from spreading to other parts of the country.

In the regional capital city of Donetsk, anti-government demonstrators took over the regional prosecutor's office Thursday. Several dozen riot police standing guard at the office fired stun grenades and tear gas when some at the front of the crowd of several hundred people attempted to force their way into the building.

As the confrontation escalated, some in the crowd threw rocks and managed to wrest away shields from police. An Associated Press reporter saw a handful of officers being dragged away and beaten by members of the crowd.

Hundreds of onlookers accompanying the protesters shouted slogans and hurled abuse.

A car outside the building blared out patriotic World War II music. Inside, a passenger waved a flag bearing a doctored image of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in a black vest and holding a machine gun superimposed with the words: "Death to Fascism."

Upon occupying the building, protesters discarded the Ukrainian flag and replaced it with that of the Donetsk People's Republic — a movement that seeks either greater autonomy from the central government, or independence and possible annexation by Russia.

Donetsk is the heartland of support for Russia-friendly former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February after months of protests in the capital. Opponents of the government that succeeded him have seized buildings in about a dozen cities and towns in eastern Ukraine.

Local news website Novosti Donbassa reported that earlier in the day around 30 armed men arrived in six cars in the town of Amvrosiivka, which lies close to the Russian border, and took over the city council and forced the mayor to resign.

On Wednesday, insurgents took control of the customs-service building in Donetsk and city hall in Alchevsk, an industrial center of about 110,000 people, adding to the scores of buildings taken by the separatists over the past month in the east, where a dozen cities are now in the hands of the separatists.

There has also been a spate of reported kidnappings of pro-government politicians. The Svodoba nationalist party said a local party branch leader in Kostiantynivka, 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of Donetsk, initially managed to fight off attackers at his home but was taken away as he was phoning for help.

Turchynov has twice proclaimed "anti-terrorist" operations to regain control of the east, but to little effect.

Unlike many recent seizures of the government offices, the assault on the prosecutor's office appeared to have been spearheaded by people armed with little more than sticks. However, at least one young man was seen with a handgun tucked into his trousers, and at least one firebomb was thrown at the building.

The armed element of the insurgency is focused on Slovyansk, a city 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Donetsk in which seven European observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe remain held by pro-Russia gunmen.

Merkel on Thursday again called Putin and asked for his assistance in freeing the group, Merkel spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said.

Russia denies allegations from Kiev and the West that it is influencing or fomenting strife in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin confirmed the conversation and said Putin stressed "the main thing was for Ukraine to withdraw its troops from southeastern Ukraine, stop the violence and quickly start a broad national dialogue on constitutional reform."

In Washington, the second-ranking official of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said the alliance now feels compelled to start treating Moscow as an adversary.

"In central Europe, clearly we have two different visions of what European security should be like," Alexander Vershbow, the deputy secretary-general of NATO, said in a question-and-answer session with reporters.

He said Russia's annexation of Crimea and its apparent efforts to manipulate turmoil in eastern Ukraine have fundamentally changed the NATO-Russia relationship.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 03, 2014, 04:33:11 am
Ukraine interior minister says troops conducted dawn operation near rebel-held Eastern town of Kramatorsk - @Reuters

Flowers being laid outside Odessa's burnt out trade union building this morning

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman: Kiev authorities are not only irresponsible but direct participants in Odessa "crime

42 killed in yesterday's violence in Odessa, south Ukraine; 125 injured in fires and clashes, police say - @NBCNews

Insurgent leader in eastern Ukraine says detained OSCE military observers have been released

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 03, 2014, 04:41:52 am
MAP: How Ukraine and Russia are moving toward war

With Ukrainian troops launching a major assault on a rebel stronghold Friday, just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kiev to withdraw its troops from the east and south of the country, it looks like the Ukraine crisis is entering a new stage.

As The Post's Michael Birnbaum reported from Moscow, "it seemed possible that even a small spark could ignite a tinderbox regional conflict."

Given this escalation, The Washington Post is publishing a new map that shows, using information from the Royal United Services Institute and our own analysis, recent troop movements in the region. The graphic illustrates how military exercises conducted by Russia have left a big build-up of troops on Ukraine's border. It also shows Ukraine's own military moves to its borders with Russia and Moldova's Russian-dominated enclave, Transnistria.

It'd be wrong to assume that military conflict between Russia and Ukraine is inevitable: There remains plenty of hope that a diplomatic solution can be found. That said, the graphic provides an important look at the military reality of the crisis.

Click the image to see the full graphic.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 03, 2014, 04:43:55 am
Ukraine unrest: Kiev resumes military operation in east

Ukraine's government has resumed military action to tackle pro-Russian separatists in the east, after a day of deadly violence in the city of Odessa.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the operation "continued at dawn", with attacks around the town of Kramatorsk.

On Friday dozens of people died in a fire at a building taken over by pro-Russians in Odessa in the south-west.

Seven international observers seized by pro-Russians in the town of Sloviansk last week were freed on Saturday.

Five Ukrainian officers taken with the military observers, linked to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, were also freed, Russian reports say.

Mr Avakov said Ukrainian forces had on Saturday taken a television tower in Kramatorsk, which is about 17km (10 miles) from the pro-Russian separatists' stronghold of Sloviansk.

rest: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27265514

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 04, 2014, 04:35:16 am
Words of a dictator

Ukraine's prime minister blames security forces for failing to stop the Odessa clashes that killed more than 40 - @BBCNews

Ukraine crisis: 'thousands' pleading for our help says Russia, as more clashes take place
Ukraine forces retake television tower in dawn raid in eastern region of Donetsk, but pro-Russian rebels free seven OSCE observers

 Russia has received “thousands” of pleas for help from people inside Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Saturday, after the worst bloodshed inside its neighbour since the revolution in February.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed near Ukraine’s eastern frontier, violence of the kind that claimed about 40 lives in the port city of Odessa might provide Moscow with a reason to invade.

However, Russia used its influence to secure the release on Saturday of seven military observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who had been held by pro-Kremlin rebels in the eastern town of Slavyansk.

The military officers – four Germans and one each from Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic – were freed alongside five Ukrainians who were acting as their escort. They had spent eight days in captivity at the hands of pro-Russian insurgents who have de facto control over Slavyansk, a town of 100,000 people in Donetsk region.

Their release appears to have been brokered by Vladimir Lukin, an envoy from the Kremlin, who visited Slavyansk.

Nearby, however, the Ukrainian army resumed its attempt to restore Kiev’s control over Donetsk region. Arsen Avakov, the interior minister, said that government forces had seized back a television tower near the town of Kramatorsk in a dawn operation.

Ukrainian forces have also tried to seal off Slavyansk by capturing pro-Russian checkpoints on its perimeter. They have not yet attempted a full scale assault to retake the town.

All their decisions are taken under the shadow of Russia’s possible response. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, denounced the bloodshed in Odessa, adding that “thousands” of “people are calling in despair, asking for help, the overwhelming majority demand Russian help. All these calls are reported to Vladimir Putin.”

But Mr Peskov said that Russia had not yet decided how to respond. “This element is absolutely new to us,” he said, according to the Interfax news agency. “Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it," added Mr Peskov.

Ukraine plans to hold a presidential election on May 25. The aim is to install a legitimate ruler after the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych, the fallen president, in the February Revolution. But Mr Peskov said that it would be “absurd” to hold an election under the current conditions of “military action, a punitive operation and mass killings”.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 04, 2014, 04:44:23 am
Ukraine crisis: Kremlin insists it cannot control pro-Russian separatists and calls for dialogue with West

The Kremlin said yesterday it was receiving "thousands" of pleas for help from Ukraine, warning that it could not control pro-Russian separatists in the country and now required help to resolve the worsening violence.

As Russian troops continued to conduct exercises near the Ukrainian border and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, demanded the Russian government do more to defuse the situation or risk further economic sanctions, a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was quoted as saying that Russia had "lost its influence" over separatists in the region.

Speaking in Moscow yesterday, Mr Peskov said: "People are calling in despair, asking for help. The overwhelming majority demand Russian help. All these calls are reported to [President] Vladimir Putin."

He made clear that the Russian government blamed the West for the worsening situation, while stressing the need for "dialogue" towards a peaceful resolution. "Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it. Those who recognise this junta as a legal power become an accomplice to this crime."

Ukraine is scheduled to hold a presidential election on 25 May. But Mr Peskov said it would be "absurd" for it to go ahead under the current conditions of "military action, a punitive operation and mass killings".

Mr Kerry, currently in Africa, spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to warn of further economic penalties if the situation did not stabilise.

"It's important for Russia to withdraw support for the separatists," he said. "If those supported by Russia continue to interfere with the elections, regrettably there will have to be sanctions, including the possibility of – the reality of – sector sanctions."

Mr Lavrov responded by placing the responsibility for defusing the crisis on the West. The US, he said, must use its influence in Kiev.

A former British ambassador to Moscow warned that the Kremlin's claims not to be orchestrating the situation should not be dismissed. Sir Rodric Braithwaite told The Independent on Sunday: "It may be true that Putin is losing control of events in eastern Ukraine and that he fears being sucked into a situation which could turn out to be unmanageable. It is unlikely that he has abandoned the proposition that he put forward weeks ago, that Ukraine needs a new constitution of a federal kind with specific rights for the Russian-language population in the East … The West will need to think how to respond to these propositions if a constructive negotiation for the benefit of the Ukrainians themselves is to be got under way."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 04, 2014, 11:41:52 am
Russian bombers, fighter jets 'seen over Crimea'

Several dozen Russian planes including what appeared to be strategic bombers and fighter jets have been spotted in the sky above the Moscow-controlled peninsula of Crimea, witnesses and experts said.

According to Russian media, President Vladimir Putin is poised to visit Crimea on Friday after overseeing the main military parade on Red Square when Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

A local aviation expert told AFP on Sunday that he had sighted a number of planes over the peninsula's main city of Simferopol on Saturday, including supersonic heavy strategic bombers and heavy military transport aircraft.

The expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had also seen refuelling tankers and MiG-29 jets.

Another expert, Alexei Savich, who was shown footage of the aircraft, said a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet could be seen among the planes.

He also identified the tankers and military transport planes.

Many local residents have also seen the aircraft rumble over the peninsula including in Simferopol and the neighbouring town of Bakhchisarai.

"It was a bit scary," local resident Arzy Khaibulaeva told AFP. "Children were frightened."

She said the planes were flying low and some were seen re-fuelling in mid-air.

The Russian defence ministry declined to comment on Sunday.

Savich suggested that Moscow might be moving "some serious military aircraft" to the peninsula.

"Russia is most likely ramping up its military presence on the peninsula," he told AFP.

In March, Putin sent troops to Ukraine's Russian-speaking peninsula claiming he had to protect the local population after a popular uprising ousted Ukraine's Moscow-backed president.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 06:08:56 am
Some Ukraine troops killed in fighting on outskirts of Sloviansk, interior minister says - @BBCBreaking

Report: Ukrainian government shuts down border control posts in disputed Crimea region - Interfax

disputed?  :D

German government says separatists' plan for May 11 referendum in Donetsk is against Ukraine's constitution, would escalate situation - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 06:36:10 am
Odessa Jewish community mulls emergency evacuation

Odessa’s Jews are prepared to evacuate should the violence in the western Ukrainian city get significantly worse, several community leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Odessa’s Jewish community numbers some 30,000, down from nearly 40 percent of the city’s population before the Holocaust.

Running street battles between pro-Russian and nationalist forces claimed dozens of lives in the Black Sea port this weekend, culminating in the burning of dozens of pro-Russian protesters in the city’s trade union building on Friday evening.

The Odessa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometers away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

While Jewish community leaders are unanimous in asserting that the violence is unconnected to the Jewish community and that they do not feel specially targeted, they agreed that, should the situation deteriorate, it would be easy for the spillover to affect their constituents.

According to Rabbi Refael Kruskal – the head of the Tikva organization, which runs a network of orphanages and schools and provides social services to the city’s elderly – several of the wounded from Friday’s clashes were Jews, and the community is taking all necessary precautions.

“Over the weekend we closed the [Great Choral] Synagogue,” Kruskal said. “We took all the students out of the center of the city where the violence was, because we were worried it was going to spread. We sent a text message to everybody in the community on WhatsApp that they should stay at home over the weekend.”

While the synagogue, which is located close to the site of Friday’s clashes, was reopened Sunday morning, Kruskal said he planned on closing it again later in the day.

The Jewish community, he added, is hunkering down and trying to ride out the storm.

“When there is shooting in the streets, the first plan is to take [the children] out of the center of the city,” Kruskal said. “If it gets worse, then we’ll take them out of the city. We have plans to take them both out of the city and even to a different country if necessary, plans which we prefer not to talk about which we have in place.”

Fearful of further “provocations” on Friday, which marks the anniversary of Soviet Russia’s victory over Germany in the Second World War, Kruskal said that he was considering renting a holiday camp to house 600 Jews away from the fighting he expects next week.

“The next weekend is going to be very violent,” he said.

While other communal leaders are more sanguine, all have evacuation plans in place.

Communal activities are continuing normally, Kira Verkhovsky, head of the Migdal International Center of Jewish Community Programs, told the Post.

No programming has been stopped as a result of the violence, she said, stating that she intends to continue serving the more than 1,000 families affiliated with her organization.

However, “If the situation will be worse, we are planning to move,” she added.

The Chabad hassidic community also has plans for evacuation ready, local emissary Rabbi Avraham Wolf said.

While the situation has not deteriorated to the point where an evacuation is necessary, he said, “we have a number of plans.”

Chabad institutions remained open over the weekend but with extra security measures, such as armed guards.

“We are in touch with authorities and with security services, and we do a situation check every half hour,” he said.

The Jewish community, together with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has prepared a fleet of 70 buses, fueled and ready to go, “if, God forbid, we have to evacuate” the community’s children and any adults who want to leave, he said.

During Friday’s clashes, 20 buses were parked outside of Chabad’s school, but went unused.

There are a number of evacuation plans, ranging from relocating within the city to sending community members to Kishinev, two-and-a-half hours away in neighboring Moldova.

“We are doing everything to strengthen the Jewish community in its normal life. We are responsible for [the children of the community] and we will do everything not to leave and not to evacuate and give them the best life possible,” he said. “We really hope [that] it doesn’t get to that and that all will be okay.”

“Obviously, Jews in Odessa need security,” Eduard Dolinsky, executive director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee in Kiev, told the Post.

Blaming Russia for the unrest, he added that violent clashes “may happen also in Kiev” come Victory Day.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 06:54:37 am
Putin Blames West For Odessa Unrest

It was the West that started the whole mess

Russia’s Vladimir Putin blamed Kiev and the West for the bloodshed in Odessa Saturday, NBC News reported. "Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it," spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters, according to RIA Novosti. Forty-two people were killed and 125 injured Saturday, when riots between pro- and anti-Russian groups in the southern coastal city ended in gunfights and a horrifying fire, police said.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 02:52:17 pm
Ukraine moves special forces to Odessa, helicopter downed in east

Pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk on Monday, and Kiev drafted police special forces to the southwestern port city of Odessa to halt a feared westward spread of rebellion.

Ukraine said the Odessa force, based on "civil activists", would replace local police who had failed to tackle rebel actions at the weekend. Its dispatch was a clear signal from Kiev that, while tackling rebellion in the east, it would vigorously resist any sign of a slide to a broader civil war.

Odessa, with its ethnic mix from Russians to Ukrainians, Georgians to Tatars a cultural contrast to the pro-Russian east, was quiet on Monday. Ukrainian flags flew at half mast for funerals of some of the dozens killed in clashes on Friday.

But in the east, fighting intensified around the pro-Russian stronghold of Slaviansk, a city of 118,000, where rebel fighters ambushed Ukrainian forces early in the day.

The Interior Ministry said five paramilitary police were killed. Separatists said four of their number had also died.

The sound of an air-raid siren could be heard in the center of Slaviansk, and a church bell rang in the main square.

Russia's foreign ministry called on Kiev to "stop the bloodshed, withdraw forces and finally sit down at the negotiating table". It also published an 80-page report detailing "widespread and gross human rights violations" in Ukraine over the past six months for which it blamed the new government and its Western allies.


Russia denies Ukrainian and Western charges it is seeking to undermine the country of 45 million and using special forces to lead the insurgency, as it did before annexing Crimea in March.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he feared neither side could now control forces unleashed.

"I'm convinced we are struggling against a situation that has taken on a dynamic of its own. There are groups in eastern Ukraine that are not listening to either Kiev ... or Moscow."

The self-declared pro-Russian mayor of Slaviansk Vyacheslav Ponomarev told Reuters by telephone: "(The Ukrainians) are deploying ever more forces here. Recently there was a parachute drop... For us, they are not military, but fascists."

Ukraine's Defence Ministry said rebels had shot down a military helicopter, the fourth since Friday, with heavy machine gun fire. The helicopter crashed into a river and the crew was rescued but there were no details of their condition.

Diana, 15, who lives near Slaviansk in a single-storey house at the strategic junction of the road between Kharkiv and Rostov, said she saw Ukrainian tanks fire on rebel cars. A fuel tank at a petrol station exploded and fighters fired at houses.

"My father was injured in the head by glass splinters. It's terrifying. There's just nowhere to live now. Everything is broken, our television, our computer; they shot at our car."

The violence in Odessa marked a watershed for Ukraine.

It increased fears that trouble could spread to the capital in the approach to Friday's celebrations of the Soviet victory in World War Two, an event that could kindle tensions over Kiev's relations with its former communist masters in Moscow.

Over 40 people were killed in Friday's clashes, the worst since pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich fled to Moscow in February amid protests by Ukrainians demanding closer ties to Europe. Most were pro-Russians killed when the building they occupied was set ablaze by petrol bombs.

It is not clear who started the fire, but Moscow accuses Kiev of inciting violence.

On Sunday, hundreds besieged a police station where fellow pro-Moscow activists were held after street fighting that led up to the house blaze. Police freed 67 of them, infuriating Kiev.

"The police in Odessa acted outrageously," Interior Minister Arseny Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "The 'honour of the uniform' will offer no cover."

He said he had sent the newly formed Kiev-1 force to Odessa after sacking the entire Odessa force leadership.

The units Avakov referred to emerged partly from the uprising against Yanukovich early this year.

That could fuel anger among the government's opponents, who accuse it of promoting "fascist" militant groups, such as Right Sector, that took part in the Kiev uprising over the winter.

Alexander, a man in his mid-20s who said he took part in the anti-Kiev actions, agreed with Avakov that police had done nothing.

"But this special new battalion, they're stormtroopers from Western Ukraine who'll be hunting our people all over the city."


Loss of control of Odessa would be a huge economic and political blow for Ukraine, a country the size of France that borders several NATO countries and aspires to join the military alliance, a primary source of concern for the Kremlin.

A city of a million people, with a grand history as the cosmopolitan southern gateway for the tsars' empire, Odessa has two ports, including an oil terminal, and is a transport hub.

Many on the city's streets were shocked by the violence.

"People who brought this to our city were not and are not and will not be true citizens of Odessa," said Alexei, 40, an ethnic Russian. "We are Odessa, and this is a special place."

Rabbi Fichel Chichelnitsky, an official with Odessa's 70,000-strong Jewish community, said: "I'm hoping these deaths serve as a stern warning to everyone that this is not a game."

The chant "Odessa is a Russian city!" was heard at pro-Russian demonstrations through the weekend.

Many Russians agree. Founded by Empress Catherine the Great, it has played a key role in Russian imperial history.

Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein set scenes of a massacre of civilians during a 1905 uprising on the grand steps that sweep down to the port. The images from "The Battleship Potemkin" are among the most famous in cinema history.

Diplomacy continued over the weekend.

Germany said on Sunday it was pressing for a second meeting in Geneva to bring Russia and Ukraine together with the United States and European Union. Moscow and Kiev accuse each other of wrecking an earlier accord on April 17.

Berlin said it was doing what it could to make sure a presidential election planned for May 25 went ahead.

"The election would be not just a means for stabilization but also a strong signal for a better future for Ukraine," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

He said a referendum planned by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk, where rebels have proclaimed a "Donetsk People's Republic", would only increase tensions.

Certainly, failure by Kiev authorities to conduct the election in rebel-controlled eastern cities would give Moscow grounds to question the legitimacy of any government emerging, just as it challenges the present administration.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 03:45:48 pm
US: Russian planes more active in Asia-Pacific

The commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific is reporting a significant increase in activities by Russian planes and ships in the region.

Gen. Herbert Carlisle linked that to the situation in the Ukraine. He said Russia was demonstrating its capabilities and gathering intelligence on U.S. military exercises.

Carlisle said there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California and a circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. He said a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam.

He also reported a sharp increase in Russian air patrols around Japanese islands and Korea.

Carlisle said there was a lot more Russian ship activity too.

He was speaking Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 05, 2014, 04:33:10 pm
Moldova puts borders on alert amid Ukraine unrest

Moldova's government placed the landlocked country's borders on alert Monday, citing concerns about a deteriorating security situation and escalating violence in neighboring Ukraine.

Top Moldovan leaders announced the move in a joint statement after Ukrainian forces deployed an elite unit to the port of Odessa and fighting between government troops and a pro-Russia militia in eastern Ukraine killed combatants on both sides.

President Nicolae Timofti, Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Parliament speaker Igor Coreman said in the statement that security forces had been ordered "to take all necessary actions to ensure public order inside the country."

They made no reference to any specific threat, but "expressed their concern about the deterioration of the security climate in the region following the escalation of violence in Ukraine," it said, affirming Moldova's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Moldova has 1,500 Russian troops stationed in a separatist republic of Trans-Dniester, which recently asked to be united with Russia.

Russia has said it respects Moldova's territorial integrity in the past but leaders are concerned about unrest in Trans-Dniester. Moldova has a 1,220 kilometer border with Ukraine, which is mostly controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Earlier Monday, British Foreign Minister William Hague held talks with Moldovan authorities, and said the former Soviet republic should move forward with talks toward closer ties to the European Union without being seen as a threat to Russia.

Hague says Britain is "strongly opposed to any external pressure or any violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 06, 2014, 06:50:37 am
Ukraine crisis: Moscow accuses Kiev of 'racism and glorifying Nazis'

Moscow accused Kiev of threatening peace in the region on Monday, and called on the international community to intensify efforts to end what it believes is an extremist show of “racism, xenophobia, ethnic intolerance, [and] the glorification of the Nazis" in the east of Ukraine.

As the death toll caused by fighting in eastern cities continued to rise, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to BBC News: “The alternative [to stepping up efforts] is fraught with such destructive consequences for Europe's peace, stability and democratic development that it is absolutely necessary to prevent it.”

Moscow’s call came as Ukrainian military pilots survived their plane being shot down near the pro-Russian town of Slovyansk, according to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry.

The Mi-24 aircraft came under heavy machine gun fire and subsequently crashed into a river, the Ministry said in a statement.

The crew of the aircraft were evacuated to a nearby camp, but the ministry did not give any detail of their condition, other than that they were alive.

The crash is thought to be the latest in a string of incidents involving helicopters reportedly being shot down by pro-Russian rebels, since uprisings began in eastern parts of the country early this year.

Earlier in the day, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 30 injured in a gun battle against pro-Russian militants in the eastern city, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported.

While the statement issued on the Ministry’s website did not disclose any further details about how the officers died, a separate statement said the troops had started an “anti-terrorist operation” against around 800 the pro-Russia militants.

A pro-Russia militia spokesman in Slovyansk said an unspecified number of people had been killed and wounded in the clashes, including a 20-year-old woman killed by a stray bullet.

Both sides indicated fighting was taking place at several sites around the city.

Slovyansk has become the centre of pro-Russian protests in the east against the interim government in Kiev, following the ousting of former Moscow-allied President Yanukovych in February of this year.

Meanwhile, in the southern port city of Odessa, the government has deployed an elite national guard unit to re-establish control.

The twin moves reflected an apparent escalation of efforts to bring both regions back under Kiev's control.

It is likely the government is attempting to prevent a situation in which it loses Odessa and eastern parts of the country – which would see it landlocked and cut off entirely from the strategic Black Sea.

Moscow has already annexed a significant part of Ukraine's Black Sea coast in grabbing back the peninsula of Crimea.

On 11 May separatists in the turbulent eastern city of Donetsk are planning to mirror the internationally disputed March referendum held in Crimea, according to a spokesman from the German government.

Germany believes that the referendum planned would violate the constitution of the country and make the situation there even worse, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Monday.

It is feared that if the activists who have occupied regional offices in Donetsk hold a poll on secession, it could complicate the Ukrainian presidential election scheduled for 25 May.

“Such a referendum, against the Ukrainian constitution, does not calm things down but escalates them,” Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that the people who had called the vote had no democratic legitimacy.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 06, 2014, 06:51:24 am
AP ENTERPRISE: US to unleash IRS on Russian banks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is deploying an economic weapon against Russia that could prove to be more costly than sanctions: the Internal Revenue Service.

As the U.S. attempts to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, the Treasury Department plans to start using a new tax law to make it more expensive for Russian banks to do business in the U.S. Congress passed the law in 2010 to curb tax evasion through the use of overseas accounts.

Starting July 1, the law targets foreign financial institutions that don't agree to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS. Russia had been negotiating an information-sharing agreement with the U.S. But after Russia annexed Crimea and was seen as stoking separatist movements in eastern Ukraine, Treasury suspended negotiations.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 06, 2014, 01:25:56 pm
Ukraine announces change in army command, calls for volunteers to help quell uprising

Ukraine’s interim government appointed a new military commander Tuesday, while other political and military leaders called for volunteers to help restore order ahead of elections that are increasingly threatened by a pro-Russian separatist uprising in the eastern part of the country.

With the nation on alert for more violence, former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko urged the creation of a “volunteer army” because neither Ukraine’s army nor its security services has been effective so far in handling outbreaks of rebellion, the Russian news service Interfax reported Tuesday.

Hers was one of many calls to form combat-ready units of “self-defense” forces ahead of May 25 presidential and mayoral elections. Andriy Tiron, battalion commander of the National Guard, told reporters in Kiev that demonstrators who helped oust the previous pro-Russian government were being urged to volunteer for military duty. But there was confusion about who command them and what their duties would be.

In a brief statement that appeared only in Ukrainian on his official Web site, the acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said Lt. Gen. Anatoly Pushnyakova has been appointed to take command of the army. The statement offered no further details.

The change in command and calls for volunteers came a day after fierce fighting broke out around the eastern city of Slovyansk between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces waging an offensive to take back cities that have slipped from the central government's control. Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s top security official, said Tuesday that an estimated 30 pro-Russia militants were killed and “dozens” injured in the fighting.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Avakov said that in addition to those casualties, four members of Ukraine’s security forces were killed and about 20 wounded as the interim government attempted to take control of the city.

Danylo Lubkivsy, deputy minister for foreign affairs, charged Tuesday that Russian “meddling” in Ukraine appeared aimed at disrupting the elections now less than three weeks away. But he said the interim government was just as intent on ensuring that ballots would be cast in all parts of the country. He also reiterated the government’s interest in talking with regional leaders in rebellious areas about more autonomy for those regions.

“However, we will not engage in negotiations with terrorists,” Lubkivsy said at a news conference in Kiev. He also called clashes Friday that left dozens of people dead in the port city of Odessa “an unspeakable tragedy” and blamed the spread of the violence on Russia.

For their part, Russian officials repeated calls Tuesday for further negotiations on preventing violence in eastern Ukraine, but they said that any discussions without pro-Russian separatists at the table would do little to settle the conflict.

“Getting together again in the same format, with the opposition to the current Ukrainian regime being absent at the table of negotiations, is unlikely to add anything,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “It is possible of course, but we shall be going in circles,” he told reporters after a meeting at the Council of Europe in Vienna, Interfax reported.

rest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ukrainians-call-for-volunteers-to-help-quell-separatist-uprising/2014/05/06/aa2af1e4-d503-11e3-8a78-8fe50322a72c_story.html

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 08, 2014, 12:43:58 pm
Putin Warns of Growing Militant Nationalism, Nazi Ideology in Europe

Militant nationalism, which has led to the appearance of Nazi ideology, is raising its head in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

“Here and there militant nationalism is again raising its head, the same kind that brought on the appearance of Nazi ideology,” Putin said during a meeting with the leaders of Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus.

On Monday, Putin signed a bill making attempts to “whitewash Nazism” punishable with hefty fines and prison sentences. The law is based on the results of the Nuremberg Trials held by the Allies in 1945-1949, which convicted most surviving Nazi leaders of war crimes, denounced fascism and proclaimed most Nazi organizations as criminal.

The law provides for a monetary penalty of up to 500,000 rubles ($14,000) or a jail term of up to 5 years as punishment for rehabilitating fascism and spreading false information about the Soviet Union’s actions during World War II.

Publicly desecrating symbols of Russian military glory or spreading information disrespecting public holidays related to the country’s defense will be punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($8,400) or community service for up to a year.

The Soviet Union’s role in the Allied victory in World War II is an important component of many Russians’ sense of pride and patriotism, with spectacular anniversary parades and ceremonies held each year on May 9.

Pro-federalization supporters have called Ukrainian nationalists, who have protested and fought against federalists in the country's east since the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych and deadly riots in Kiev, followers of Nazi ideology. Europe has been supporting Ukraine’s so-called Euromaidan activists, who wish to see Ukraine become part of the EU.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 11, 2014, 05:38:21 am
Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's 2 eastern regions are holding self-rule referendums - a move condemned by Kiev and the West - @BBCNews

Dozens of people wait in line to vote in the referendum outside occupied administration building in Ukraine's Donetsk - @Henry_Langston

Smoke rises from Donetsk city hall in eastern Ukraine - @RichardEngel

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 11, 2014, 06:10:37 am
Eastern Ukraine vote: a key moment

MOSCOW (May 10, 2014) — People in two regions of restive eastern Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — will vote Sunday on declaring sovereignty.

The plebiscites, hastily arranged by pro-Russia insurgents who have seized government buildings over the past month, are denounced both by the central government in Kiev and the West, and it is unclear whether they will be recognized by Moscow in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin's call for the vote to be postponed. Issues of legitimacy aside, the vote is sure to add to tensions in an area already gripped by rebellion and sporadic clashes between militants and Ukrainian forces.



After Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-friendly Ukrainian president, was toppled in February following months of protests in the capital, many people in eastern and southern Ukraine strongly resented the authorities who took over. The majority in that sprawling swath of the country speak Russian as their mother tongue and many denounced the new government as nationalists — and even fascists — who would suppress the Russian-speakers. The Black Sea peninsula of Crimea held a referendum on secession less than a month after Yanukovych's ouster, and Russia annexed Crimea days later. In April, insurgents calling themselves the Donetsk People's Republic began seizing police stations and government buildings in that region, setting up checkpoints and claiming control of several cities.



The ballot asks if voters approve establishment of sovereign and independent "people's republics." However, the ultimate goal is not clear. Organizers in Donetsk say that, in the event of a "yes" vote, they will decide later if they want to be independent, seek to become part of Russia, or agree to stay in Ukraine but with significantly greater autonomy.



Kiev and the West claim that Russia is fomenting or even directing the unrest in the east, either with the goal of finding a pretext for invading and seizing the region, or of destabilizing Ukraine in order to force it to abandon aspirations to join NATO and the European Union. Russia denies that it has agents on the ground in the east. However, it clearly has strong influence, as witnessed by its success in obtaining the release of OSCE military observers who were taken hostage by militants in the city of Slovyansk, and its adamant criticism of Ukraine's acting government reinforces the insurgents' resistance.

Putin's call on Wednesday for the referendum to be postponed may have been intended to portray Russia as seeking de-escalation of the crisis. The insurgents' rejection of the call the next day promotes the view that they are not pawns of Moscow, but a genuine people's movement rising up against a purported threat of genocide.



Recent poll data show a strong majority in the east favor remaining part of Ukraine, but that doesn't necessarily prefigure a "no" vote on a "people's republic." Many who were on the fence may have been swayed by last week's grisly confrontation in Odessa, where dozens of pro-Russians died when the building where they took shelter was firebombed by government backers. Although Odessa is far away from the referendum regions, the violence reinforced the view of the government side as brutal and vengeful. Friday's violence in the Donetsk region city of Mariupol, in which at least seven people died in a clash between security forces and protesters, also adds to the tensions. In any case, sovereignty opponents may choose to sit out the vote because of the intimidating atmosphere. And without international oversight, the vote count's accuracy will be highly debatable. Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, warned in remarks published Saturday that seeking regional sovereignty would be "a step into the abyss."



If the vote is "yes" and the insurgents push for incorporation into Russia, Moscow will face a dilemma. U.S. and EU sanctions already appear to be affecting the economy. Russia would be leery of inducing more such punishment by annexing the regions. It would also be logistically more challenging: Crimea housed a large Russian military contingent at the Black Sea Fleet base and reinforcements were brought in quickly before Ukraine could respond. But Ukrainian forces are already fighting in the east.

However, Putin's assertion of Russia's alleged right to reclaim territories that it lost through historical "injustices," which he cited in justifying the annexation of Crimea, could end up making Russia feel obliged to add Luhansk and Donetsk to its territory.

- See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/ap/world/eastern-ukraine-vote-a-key-moment#.U29aniihFyI

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 11, 2014, 02:22:52 pm
French President Francois Hollande dismisses referendum on self-rule in east Ukraine, saying the only vote that mattered was a presidential election on May 25 - @Reuters

only their puppet regime matters..

Ukrainian national guardsmen fire on crowd; insurgent official says there are fatalities - @AP

More: Violence in town of Krasnoarmeisk, Ukraine, occurred hours after dozens of guardsmen shut down voting in a referendum on sovereignty for the region - @AP

EU says it will not recognize result of a referendum on self-rule held by pro-Moscow rebels in east Ukraine, calling it illegal - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 11, 2014, 02:26:00 pm
Ukraine Scrambles Fighter Jets, Intercepts Airplane Carrying Russian Deputy Premier

A few short hours ago, a Russian delegation which contained the deputy premier of Russia Dmitry Rogozin was flying back from Moldova's capital Chisinau following his visit to Tiraspol as part of May 9 celebrations, when Ukraine scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Yak-42 carrying the Russian vice premier and forced it to promptly land back in Moldova.

The reason why this is surprising is that Rogozin was well aware in advance of taking off that Ukraine had closed its airspace to the Russian delegation.

But the punchline is that while Rogozin managed to fly into Moldova over Romanian airspace, on his return the EU and NATO member country served him with a surprise - it followed in Ukraine's footsteps and blocked off its airspace to the Russian Deputy PM as well.

So suddenly Rogozin found himself unable to access the airspace of either Ukraine or Romania. Which is a problem, because as the map below shows, Moldova has a contiguous border with just these two countries, and in effect if both neighbors block their airspace to Russians in the country, there is no way to depart.

So what does Rogozin do? Precisely what the outspoken member of the US counter-Russia sanctions list would be expected to do:

This is how the Moldovan website Actualiti described the incident:

    Aircraft of Vice Premier of the Russian Federation Dmitry Rogozin was intercepted by a Ukrainian MiG after he entered the airspace of Ukraine, reports Actualiti.md

    Earlier, the Deputy Prime Minister said that he would still fly to Moscow via Ukraine.


    "I am taking off despite the ban," - wrote Rogozin in social networks.


    Rogozin flew on board the Yak -42 (aka RUS-Jet) from Chisinau airport.


    Actualitati.md recalls that Ukraine refused to allow its airspace to Russian officials. To Dmitry Rogozin, May 8 was in Tiraspol, the board was forced to fly through Bulgaria and Romania.

The Vice PM was not the only one who was forced to return. According to Gazeta.ru, Ukraine also intercepted the flight of the Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky.

    Ukrainian authorities have blocked and did not allow passage through its airspace the plane on which was the Russian delegation headed by the Minister of Culture of Russia Vladimir Medinsky which was returning from Chisinau to Moscow, according to the minister's Twitter account.


    "Our aircraft with the Russian delegation was ordered to return to Chisinau , threatened by a forced landing in Ukraine " - said Medinsky.


    The minister said that Ukraine previously allowed overflights . In Bawtry is on the State Duma delegation includes , Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government.

However, before Ukraine pats itself on the back for its success in keeping the Russians landlocked, Rogozin sent out the following tweet supposedly next to Moscow's airport Domodedovo, where he praised the efficiency of the Russian "Military-Industrial commission" in finding alternative paths:

Of course, had this little incident escalated and the Russian's plane had been shot down, something tells us those who were furiously selling VIX on Friday afternoon to paint the tape with a record Dow Jones high, would be in a bit of a pickle coming Monday.

Still, while this incident was contained, the big one remains: tomorrow's referendum which is still going ahead as planned and following which it is only a matter of time before East Ukraine, now independent, requests Russian "peacekeepers" to enter the country and, well, keep the peace.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 05:40:22 am
Romania queries Moscow after deputy PM sends bomber jet tweets

Romania asked Moscow for an explanation ...after Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, reacting to being barred from its airspace, tweeted he would return in a TU-160 strategic bomber. Rogozin, one of the senior Russian officials sanctioned by the European Union and United States...was turned away when his plane tried to fly to Moscow from Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 05:41:54 am
Pro-Russian separatists claim win in eastern Ukraine independence vote

Nearly 90% of voters in the Donetsk region voted in favor of independence from Ukraine and 10% voted against it, an election official claimed Monday.

Pro-Russian separatists eager to declare independence from Kiev held the vote Sunday.

A similar question was put to voters in Luhansk. Preliminary results were expected Monday, officials said.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov slammed the results.
Some Ukraine voters seen voting twice
Controversial vote in eastern Ukraine

"This propagandist farce will not have any legal consequences, only criminal responsibility of its organizers," Turchynov said in a statement Monday.

"That farce the terrorists call a referendum is nothing else but a propagandist cover for killings, kidnapping, violence and other grave crimes", he said.

He reiterated that his government will continue fighting against "terrorists, saboteurs and criminals," but will negotiate with those in eastern Ukraine "who do not have blood on their hands and those who are ready to defend their goals and beliefs in a legal way."

But Russia welcomed the vote.

"Moscow respects the will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hopes that the practical implementation of the outcome of the referendums will proceed along civilized lines, without repeat outbreaks of violence," the Kremlin said in a statement.

'Step to nowhere'

A vote for autonomy is a vote for the self-destruction of the east, Turchynov has said.

It would cut residents off from the national economy and social programs, he said. "It is a step [to] nowhere for these regions. It is euphoria that may lead to very complex consequences, and many people can already feel them."

'Illegitimate' vote

The vote is a stark contrast to recent polling by the Pew Research Center, which found 70% of people in eastern Ukraine want the country to remain united.

If voters agree to secede from Ukraine, the next logical step is another referendum in the next several months on joining Russia, said Boris Litvinov, head of the People's Republic of Donetsk Central Election Committee.

Several Western powers condemned the vote.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the referendum as illegitimate, and said the focus should be on the May 25 presidential election in Ukraine.

Russian meddling?

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have warned that Russia could face consequences if the presidential vote does not go ahead as planned.

"If no internationally recognized presidential election were to take place, this would inevitably further destabilize the country," Merkel said.

In that case, she said, "we are ready to take further sanctions against Russia."

Merkel and Hollande also said that Russian troops along the Ukrainian border "should undertake visible steps to reduce their readiness."

Putin announced a troop pullback Wednesday, but NATO says it has seen no signs of a withdrawal of Russian forces from the border area.

Russia annexed the southern region of Crimea after announced results in a separatist referendum showed more than 90% in favor of joining Russia. In an independent Pew survey, 54% of Crimea residents showed support for secession.

The Kremlin has said that it has no interest in annexing other parts of Ukraine. But it is pushing for the country to adopt a constitution that would give regions where Russian is widely spoken a larger voice in policy-making.

Critics fear that the creation of autonomous pro-Russian regions in Ukraine would cement alliances with the Kremlin that would give it essential control over them.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 05:44:28 am
Ukraine Authorities Dismiss Referendums as ‘Farce’

because their government is SO legit.   

Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, on Monday dismissed weekend referendums in the country’s restive east, calling them “a farce” with no legal basis, as the European Union prepared to announce a relatively modest tightening of sanctions against Moscow and its allies.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Russia “respects the will of the population” in Donetsk and Luhansk, the two provinces in eastern Ukraine that participated on Sunday in chaotic ballots offering them a question about self-rule. But the statement appeared to leave open the possibility of dialogue and mediation to resolve the crisis.

The ballots left the destiny of the east — Ukraine’s industrial heartland — unclear, with armed forces loyal to the interim government in Kiev and pro-Russian militants locked in a tense standoff that sometimes overflowed into gunfire. It also remained uncertain whether the two provinces would follow Crimea in seeking to be annexed by Russia.

rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/world/europe/ukraine.html?_r=0

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 05:45:16 am
Moscow urges 'respect' for Ukraine votes

Russia called Monday for "respect" for the results of the disputed referendums in eastern Ukraine as it also expressed its hope that dialogue between Kiev and Ukraine's eastern regions would take place.

Moscow said the outcome of the controversial referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk should now be implemented without resorting to violence, and that it should be done in a "civilized way." The Kremlin's brief remarks were carried by Russia's Interfax news agency.

Russia suggested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe could be brought in to help mediate the dialogue between Ukraine's government and representatives of the east.

Earlier, pro-Russia insurgents claimed voters supported succession overwhelmingly after referendums Sunday that could deepen turmoil here and further set Russia against the West. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called the voting a "criminal farce.''

About 90% of voters in Ukraine's sprawling industrial heartland backed their regions' sovereignty in the controversial referendums, which the Ukrainian government and the West have rejected as illegal, organizers said Monday.

"These processes are inspired by the leadership of the Russian Federation and are destructive to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions' economies and threaten the lives and welfare of citizens and have the aim of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine," acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchinov said in a statement.

Locals in Donetsk — where streets had remained calm Sunday — were split on whether to vote for secession or remain part of Ukraine, with a number intimidated by the armed militants occupying the regional council building in the center of the city. Many of those who said they were against independence were opting not to vote at all.

"There is no third way anymore. You have to be either for or against. But why should I hate my own country? So they proclaim independence, but then what?" said Vyacheslav Fomenko, an entrepreneur in Donetsk.

The pro-Russian insurgents who organized the vote said the ultimate status of the regions would be discussed later and could include the possibility of secession or annexation by Russia.

Ukraine's central government and the West have condemned the balloting as a sham and a violation of international law, and accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest in a possible attempt to grab more land weeks after the annexation of Crimea.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 11:49:41 am
Ukrainian separatist leader Pushilin says he is asking Russia to consider absorption of Donetsk region into Russian Federation - @Reuters

Pro-Russian protesters declare independence for the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine - @AP

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2014, 11:51:42 am
Russia threatens to cut off Ukraine gas from June 3

Russia's state energy giant Gazprom warned on Monday that it may halt natural gas shipments to Ukraine on June 3 in a move that could impact the supplies of at least 18 EU nations.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said Ukraine must pay upfront for its June deliveries because of outstanding debts. He added that Kiev had until the morning of June 3 to make the payment "or Ukraine will receive zero cubic metres (of gas) in June," Interfax reported.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 14, 2014, 06:23:47 am
Russia to ban US from using Space Station over Ukraine sanctions
In retaliation for imposing sanctions, Russia will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites

 Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced a series of punitive measures on Tuesday against the US in response to sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.

The two countries have long cooperated closely on space exploration despite their clashes in foreign policy.

The Space Station is manned by both American and Russian crew, but the only way to reach it is by using Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

The US is keen to keep the $100 billion (£600) ISS flying until at least 2024, four years beyond its original target.

 At a time when Moscow is struggling to reform its accident-plagued space programme, Mr Rogozin said US plans to deny export licences for some high-technology items were a blow to Russian industry. “These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate,” Mr Rogozin said. “We have enough of our own problems.”

Moscow’s response would affect NK-33 and RD-180 engines which Russia supplies to the US, Mr Rogozin said. “We are ready to deliver these engines but on one condition that they will not be used to launch military satellites,” he said.

RD-180 engines are used to boost Atlas 5 rockets manufactured by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that holds a virtual monopoly on launching U.S. military satellites.

Mr Rogozin said Moscow was planning "strategic changes" in its space industry after 2020 and aims to use money and "intellectual resources" that now go to the space station for a "a project with more prospects".

He suggested Russia could use the station without the United States, saying: "The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The U.S. one cannot."

The US space agency NASA is working with companies to develop space taxis with the goal of restoring US transport to the station by 2017, but the United States currently pays Russia more than $60 million per person to fly its astronauts up.

Mr Rogozin said Russia will suspend the operation of 11 GPS sites on its territory from June and seek talks with Washington on opening similar sites in the United States for Russia's own satellite navigation system, Glonass.

He threatened the permanent closure of the GPS sites in Russia if that is not agreed by September.

He said the suspension of the sites would not affect everyday operations of the GPS system in Russia, where it is used by millions of Russians for navigation on their smartphones and in their cars.

The upheaval in Ukraine - where the United States says Russia is backing separatists and the Kremlin accuses Washington of helping protesters to topple a Moscow-friendly president in February, has led to the worst East-West crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In addition to the hi-tech sector sanctions, the US has imposed visa bans and assets freezes on officials and lawmakers and targeted companies with links to President Vladimir Putin. The European Union has also imposed sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the latest EU measures were an "exhausted, trite approach" that would only deepen discord and hamper efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 14, 2014, 06:26:03 am
De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar

Is the petrodollar monopoly about to be shattered?  When U.S. politicians started slapping economic sanctions on Russia, they probably never even imagined that there might be serious consequences for the United States.  But now the Russian media is reporting that the Russian Ministry of Finance is getting ready to pull the trigger on a "de-dollarization" plan.  For decades, virtually all oil and natural gas around the world has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars.  As I will explain below, this has been a massive advantage for the U.S. economy.  In recent years, there have been rumblings by nations such as Russia and China about the need to change to a new system, but nobody has really had a big reason to upset the status quo.  However, that has now changed.  The struggle over Ukraine has caused Russia to completely reevaluate the financial relationship that it has with the United States.  If it starts trading a lot of oil and natural gas for currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will be a massive blow for the petrodollar, and it could end up dramatically changing the global economic landscape.

The fact that the Russian government has held a meeting to discuss "getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations" should be front page news on every mainstream news website in the United States.  That is how big this is.  But instead, we have heard nothing from the big mainstream news networks about this so far.  Instead, we have only heard about this from Russian news sources such as the Voice of Russia...

    Russian press reports that the country's Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the Russian ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions. Governmental sources believe that the Russian banking sector is "ready to handle the increased number of ruble-denominated transactions".

    According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia.

    The "de-dollarization meeting" was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov, proving that Moscow is very serious in its intention to stop using the dollar.

So will Russia go through with this?

After all, this wouldn't just be a slap in the face.  This would essentially be like slamming an economic fist into our nose.

You see, Russia is not just a small player when it comes to trading oil and natural gas.  The truth is that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.

If Russia starts asking for payment in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will essentially end the monopoly of the petrodollar.

In order to do this, Russia will need trading partners willing to go along.  In the article quoted above, the Voice of Russia listed Iran and China as two nations that would potentially be willing to make the switch...

    Of course, the success of Moscow's campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by Politonline.ru mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars.

And the reality of the matter is that China has seemed ready to move away from the U.S. dollar for quite some time.  In a previous article, I included a quote from a French news source that discussed how China's official news agency has even called for a "new international reserve currency... to replace the dominant US dollar"...

    For decades the US has benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars-worth of free credit from the greenback's role as the default global reserve unit.

    But as the global economy trembled before the prospect of a US default last month, only averted when Washington reached a deal to raise its debt ceiling, China's official Xinhua news agency called for a "de-Americanised" world.

    It also urged the creation of a "new international reserve currency... to replace the dominant US dollar".

For much more on what China is thinking, please see my previous article entitled "9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar".

So why is the petrodollar so important?

Well, it creates a tremendous amount of demand for the U.S. dollar all over the globe.  Since everyone has needed it to trade with one another, that has created an endless global appetite for the currency.  That has kept the value of the dollar artificially high, and it has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of super cheap products from other countries.  If other nations stopped using the dollar to trade with one another, the value of the dollar would plummet dramatically and we would have to pay much, much more for the trinkets that we buy at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.

In addition, since the U.S. dollar is essentially the de facto global currency, this has also increased demand for our debt.  Major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of our dollars.  Instead of just letting them sit there and do nothing, those nations often reinvest their dollars into securities that can rapidly be changed back into dollars if needed.  One of the most popular ways to do this has been to invest those dollars in U.S. Treasuries.  This has driven down interest rates on U.S. debt over the years and has enabled the U.S. government to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars for next to nothing.

But if the rest of the world starts moving away from the U.S. dollar, all of this could change.

In order for our current standard of living to continue, it is absolutely imperative that everyone else around the globe continues to use our currency.

So if Russia really does pull the trigger on a "de-dollarization" strategy, that would be huge - especially if the rest of the planet started following their lead.

The U.S. economy is already teetering on the brink of another major downturn, and there are a whole host of indications that big trouble is on the horizon.  For much more on this, please see the article that I posted on Monday entitled "If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States".

Just about the last thing that we need right now is for our petrodollar monopoly to be threatened.

It would be nice if things would calm down in Ukraine and the relationship between the United States and Russia could go back to normal.

Sadly, that does not appear likely any time soon.

In fact, the Ukrainian government has already admitted that "we are essentially at war", and on Tuesday six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in a convoy attack in eastern Ukraine.

The regions in eastern Ukraine that have just declared independence have given the government in Kiev until Wednesday to pull their forces out of eastern Ukraine or else face war.

If a full blown civil war does erupt in Ukraine, it is going to take this crisis to a completely new level.

Unfortunately, most Americans are incredibly apathetic at this point and know very little about what is going on.

But in the end, this could have dramatic implications for all of us.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 16, 2014, 07:32:13 am
UN, Kiev in Talks Over UN-Marked Choppers Used in Crackdown

The United Nations is in talks with authorities in Kiev who apparently have been using UN-marked helicopters in a military operation against Ukraine’s restive southeastern territories, according to the RT news channel.

“It is the responsibility of troop-contributing countries that provide contingent-owned equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN's name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes,” UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said Wednesday.

Footage has emerged of a white Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter with a UN logo participating in the government’s crackdown operation near Kramatorsk, Donetsk region.

According to news outlet LifeNews, three further Mi-24 combat helicopters and a transport Mi-8 chopper were also spotted in the region, which has seen weeks of anti-activist operation and scores of casualties.

The UN sought to distance itself from the incident, saying it was Ukraine’s duty to remove the organization’s insignia from military hardware that had been contributed by Ukraine for its Congo peace mission.

She added the UN’s Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support had inquired into the situation with the Ukrainian authorities.

The city of Kramatorsk, together with some other Ukrainian southeastern cities, has become the focal point of pro-federalization rallies that have been ongoing since March.

To crack down on protesters, the Kiev authorities launched a large-scale operation in the regions, a move widely denounced by Moscow, leading to violent clashes and dozens of casualties.

Earlier, the government in Kiev announced its “anti-terror” operation in Slaviansk, Kramatorsk and Krasny Liman had entered a final phase. The chief of the administration of acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchinov said Ukrainian troops had “wiped out a lot of separatists," without citing a number.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 17, 2014, 04:21:08 pm
Religious tensions deepen Ukraine splits - Russian Orthodox official

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Religious tensions are deepening dividing lines in Ukraine's crisis, with rival churches taking political sides and Kiev slighting the Russian Orthodox Church, a senior official of the Moscow-based church said on Friday.

Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Church's foreign relations department, said other churches had clearly lined up behind the Kiev government and he cited religious differences for its decision to refuse him entry to Ukraine last week.

Hilarion told Reuters his Church, which has broad support in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, did not take sides and wanted to play a mediating role in the crisis. But he doubted the others would see it as impartial.

"This lack of sympathy, unfortunately, is mutual," he said in an interview at his office in Moscow's Danilov Monastery.

The Russian church's critics certainly do not see it as neutral in the crisis. Its head, Patriarch Kirill, is close to President Vladimir Putin and has supported his drive to forge closer ties with former Soviet regions outside Russia.

However, Hilarion said his Church had contacts in Ukraine that the Kremlin lacked, including between Patriarch Kirill and Ukraine's acting President Oleksander Turchinov. But he said the government did not appear interested in the offer of mediation.

Kiev's sensitivity to the activities of Russian church leaders was clearly on display on May 9 when Hilarion was barred entry after flying into the city of Dnipropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine to give a local bishop an award on his 75th birthday.

After being detained for more than two hours, Hilarion was told he could not pass the border control and had to give the waiting bishop his award at the airport. He described this as a political decision with religious overtones.

"The people who are now running Ukraine do not belong to the Russian Orthodox Church," he said, noting that acting Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk is a Greek Catholic and that acting President Turchinov is a Baptist


Ukraine has a chequered religious landscape. Alongside the Moscow-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church are a breakaway Kiev-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church and another local Orthodox movement - both of them deemed schismatic by Moscow - and the Greek Catholic Church, which is linked to Rome.

The Moscow-backed church is spread across Ukraine but strongest in the east, while the local Orthodox churches and the Greek Catholics are found more in the centre and west, where the Ukrainian language and national sentiment are stronger.

Priests from the local Orthodox churches and especially the Greek Catholics, who follow Orthodox-style liturgies but are in communion with the Vatican, played a visible role, conducting prayers and masses, during the protests in Kiev that led to the ousting of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich in February.

Hilarion said Ukraine's crisis was not religious in nature, but added: "The situation with religious communities in Ukraine somewhat reflects the division within the Ukrainian nation

"The Greek Catholic Church and the schismatic groups (rival Orthodox churches) have clearly identified themselves with the current regime," he said.

Greek Catholics "always go against the Russian Orthodox Church" and their ultimate goal is "to subordinate all Ukrainian churches to the pope", Hilarion added.

Eastern Catholic churches such as the Ukrainian Greek Catholics emerged in the 16th century. The Orthodox have long accused them of trying to win over souls for Rome.

Hilarion's Church issued a statement on Friday offering its services as a moderator in Ukraine's conflict, in response to a suggestion from Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn that religious communities play a part in seeking a solution.

It echoed the tensions Hilarion mentioned, accusing other churches of exploiting "the sincere religious feelings of deeply pious Ukrainian people as a tool in a political struggle".

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 19, 2014, 06:18:06 am
Resource Strategist Warns of New Russian Threat: “It Would Be the Greatest Blackout in American History”

Amid tensions between the United States and Russia in recent months many international analysts have warned of consequences that may include everything from thermo-nuclear detonations to asymmetric warfare such as financial cyber attacks, weapons of mass destruction, or targeting of the national utility grid.

The Obama administration has already begun implementing sanctions against Russian politicians and business interests, but rather than leading to a compromise the controversial geo-political maneuvers may be further fueling the fire. According to Marin Katusa, Chief Resource Strategist at Casey Research, Russia’s control of valuable domestic resources puts them in a unique strategic position against the United States and gives them significant leverage should they choose to implement sanctions of their own.  The country is rich in oil and gas, an advantage they have used time and again in negotiations with Europe by simply threatening to shut down gas pipelines if their demands weren’t met. But something most people don’t realize is that the Russians also dominate the rare earth metals sector, namely the mining of uranium.

If Russia were to restrict the export of that uranium, explains Katusa, life as we know it in the United States could come to an abrupt halt.

    If that happened America’s lights would go out. It would be the greatest blackout in American history…

    The irony is John Kerry is going out there with Obama and talking about all these sanctions they’re going to put on the Russians. If the Russians wanted they could pull the rug out from under the American energy matrix and 20%, one out of every five homes in America, would be in blackout.

    You have to remember the facts… You can talk about hope and dreams all you want, but the reality is that one in every five homes in America is powered by Russian fuel.

In the following must listen interview with Future Money Trends, Marin Katusa delves into the facts behind America’s dependence not just on foreign oil, but uranium and other resources, and explains the repercussions should Russia choose to literally “pull the plug” on the United States.


    In 2013 America consumed just over 45 million pounds [of uranium] and in the U.S. last year they produced just under 4.4 million pounds. So, depending on which numbers you want to use and what the actual recoveries are, somewhere confidently less than 10% but more likely somewhere around 6% to 7% [of the uranium Americans use is mined in the United States].

    The U.S. imports over 90% of what they consume and that is a strategic issue when you think about the fact that 20% of base-load power is based on nuclear energy and they depend on 90% from imports… Americans should be in shock with that. On of that, half comes from the former USSR, what I call the Soviet influence.

    Ironically, what people do forget is that the Russians produced more uranium on American soil than all the American companies combined, so that’s alarming.

For years the Obama administration, as well as their predecessors, have surrendered America’s energy independence to foreign interests. Americans are already familiar with the economic effects of oil embargos such as the one that lead to the 1973 crisis that quadrupled oil prices. Most recently, as tensions in the middle east rose in 2008, the price of gas rose nearly 40% in a single year and threatened America’s domestic strategic oil reserves.

Since the end of the cold war we’ve experienced a relatively stable trade relationship with Russia up until a few months ago when Ukraine exploded in revolution. Now Americans face a new energy threat that could, should Russia choose to exercise this option, lead to rolling blackouts across the United States and cause electricity prices to sky rocket almost overnight.

It’s a threat that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar, but one that could have an immediate impact on Americans’ way of life if Vladimir Putin decides he’s had enough of the political showmanship.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 19, 2014, 06:20:19 am
Ukraine crisis: Putin orders troops back from border

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops near Ukraine's border to withdraw, the Kremlin says. Units in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions should return to their permanent bases, a statement said. Russia has made similar statements in the past, only for Nato to report no change.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 19, 2014, 01:17:24 pm
For awhile, I had my doubts about Gog/Magog being Russia(or any other end times prophecy country) - the more I read these news items lately, the more I'm changing my mind and shedding my doubts...

Ezekiel 39:9  And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
Eze 39:10  So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.

This can't obviously happen after Jesus Christ's 1000 year mil reign, right?

Revelation 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 19, 2014, 01:34:13 pm
Putin Seeks $400 Billion Gas Deal as Ukraine Speeds China Pivot

Russia President Vladimir Putin arrives in China today with the Ukraine crisis as a new incentive to broker a $400 billion natural-gas deal with his Asian neighbor.

Russia has been in talks for over 10 years to lock in China as a new customer for its vast reserves of the fuel in Siberia. The stumbling block has been price, but with Putin facing trade and financial sanctions from the U.S. and European Union after he annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a deal is seen as probable.

“We expect the Sino-Russia gas deal to be finally ratified during President Putin’s visit and the pricing terms will not be too demanding for China,” said Simon Powell, head of oil and gas research as CLSA Ltd. in Hong Kong.

OAO Gazprom (OGZD), the world’s largest natural gas producer, aims to sign a contract with China National Petroleum Corp. during the visit, Russian executives and officials have said. China, Russia’s largest trading partner with $94.5 billion of business last year, was the only country in the United Nations Security Council not to censure Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

A final deal on price is likely to be made by Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a meeting in Shanghai today. Most other elements of an agreement are in place, according to Gazprom.

“We are just one digit away,” Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said on Russian state television before flying to Beijing for a meeting with CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping on May 17. “There’s just one issue, which is the so-called P-zero, or basic starting price in the formula.”
False Starts

Gazprom plans to build a $22 billion pipeline to China able to carry as much as 38 billion cubic meters (1.34 trillion cubic feet) annually after years of false starts. The company may begin supplies in 2019 to 2020, Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in March.

That amount of gas is almost a quarter of China’s current consumption and about 10 percent of its estimated demand by 2020, said Gordon Kwan, head of oil and gas research at Nomura International Hong Kong Ltd.

For Gazprom, it is about 20 percent of gas sales in Europe, the company’s largest export market.

The deal has been delayed because Russia wanted to use sales contracts in EU as a benchmark price, while China proposed a lower price, based on its imports from central Asia.

Gazprom’s average price in Europe was $380.5 per 1,000 cubic meters last year. CLSA forecasts a price for Russia’s gas of $9.50 to $10 per 1,000 cubic feet ($335 to $350 per 1,000 cubic meters) delivered to the Chinese border.

Field Development

That target, worth almost $400 billion over a 30-year contract, compares with the $10 per thousand cubic fee China pays for imports from Turkmenistan and is substantially lower than liquefied natural gas at about $15, Powell said.

“Better to sign a contract at a relatively low price now, than not to sign it all,” said Ekaterina Rodina, an oil and gas analyst at VTB Bank (VTBR) in Moscow. “Especially if China agrees to provide prepayments or loans, which Gazprom could use in pipeline construction and field development.”

The crisis in Ukraine will make Russia’s government want to do a deal to persuade Europe and the U.S. that sanctions won’t hold back Russia’s economy, said Chris Weafer, a founder of Macro Advisory in Moscow.

“The Kremlin is keen to show both the European Union politicians, western companies and the domestic audience that it is not restrained by the the threat of sanctions and has plenty of energy and trade partnership options with China,” Weafer said.

Supply Sources

Liu Weijiang, CNPC’s Beijing-based spokesman, and Sergei Kupriyanov, Gazprom’s spokesman, both declined to comment.

“If the Russia-China gas deal isn’t signed in the near-term, the window of opportunity may be closing fast as other supply sources enter the market,” said Xizhou Zhou, director of China Energy at IHS Inc., a consultant.

LNG projects in Australia will begin operation next year, making global gas supply “much more abundant,” according to Zhou. Gazprom’s proposed pipeline exports to China may well have to compete with LNG terminals being built in Russia.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in China at the same time as Putin. All will attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai, Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 20, 2014, 09:36:28 am
Russian Prime Minister: We Are 'Approaching a Second Cold War'

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev says that "we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war." He also said that U.S. President Barack Obama could be "more tactful politically" and that he's disappointed in some of the decisions Obama has made.

"Yes, I believe that President Obama could be more tactful politically when discussing these issues. Some decisions taken by the US Administration are disappointing. We have indeed done a lot for Russian-US relations. I believe doing so was right. The agreements that we reached with America were useful. And I'm very sorry that everything that has been achieved is now being eliminated by these decisions. Basically, we are slowly but surely approaching a second cold war that nobody needs. Why am I saying this? Because a competent politician knows how to make reserved, careful, subtle, wise and intelligent decisions, which, I believe, Mr Obama succeeded at for a while. But what is being done now, unfortunately, proves that the US Administration has run out of these resources. And the United States is one of the parties to suffer from this," Medvedev said, according to excerpts of a partial transcript provided by Bloomberg Television.

Medvedev made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg Television:

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 21, 2014, 04:07:00 pm
 May 21, 2014, 1:41 p.m. EDT
Russia agrees to supply China with natural gas

 BEIJING--Moscow and Beijing signed a contract to supply China with hundreds of billions of dollars of Russian natural gas, in a long-stalled deal that could give Russian President Vladimir Putin a boost as his relations with the West have sharply soured.

The two sides were circumspect about many of the details, raising questions from some analysts about whether they will have to negotiate further before China can tap Russian natural-gas supplies to meet its growing energy needs.

China would become Russia’s No. 2 gas market, behind Germany, under the deal and tighten ties between the two countries, as they seek a way to counterbalance U.S. influence in the world. Mr. Putin signed the accord with Chinese President Xi Jinping while on a symbolically significant two-day visit to Shanghai.

Mr. Putin will return to Moscow with a concrete symbol of progress on his promise to deepen Russia’s relationship with emerging markets in Asia. The crisis over Crimea has left Moscow estranged from the U.S. and Europe, which has added urgency for Mr. Putin to seal the gas deal with China.

“This will be the biggest construction project in the world for the next four years, without exaggeration,” Mr. Putin told reporters. The deal also called for at least $75 billion in spending on pipelines and other infrastructure on both sides of the Russia-China border.

The deal was struck on Wednesday between the countries’ largest respective state-controlled energy companies--China National Petroleum Corp. and OAO Gazprom. Under the agreement, Russia will supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to China, equal to more than one-fifth of Chinese gas consumption last year.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told Russian media the two sides had signed a contract worth $400 billion over its 30-year life. “This is Gazprom’s biggest contract. We don’t have a contract like this with any other company,” Mr. Miller said, according to Russian news agencies.

It isn’t clear how hard a bargain China drove, or how much Russia might have given up, to clinch the deal. Mr. Miller said the price of gas under the deal is a commercial secret. Gazprom said the deal included a pricing formula linked to crude oil and that it carried mutually beneficial terms.

The lack of details left doubts among some experts, though. “The question is, what is the starting price and the basis for implementing the formula?” said Michal Meidan, an independent consultant in energy geopolitics. “If this is still open, there is scope for more haggling. This is a political deal that seems to meet China’s conditions but leaves it open for further disagreements.”

“Strategic benefits of the deal, however, outweigh the financial issues because China is a large market,” said Ildar Davletshin, oil and gas analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Alexei Pushkov, a senior Russian parliamentarian from the ruling United Russia party, wrote on his Twitter account: “The 30-year gas contract with China is of strategic significance. B. Obama should give up his policy of isolating Russia: It won’t work,” he said, referring to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 22, 2014, 10:24:04 am
Chinese-Russian Gas Deal Upends World Order

In an abrupt and unexpected about face, Russia and China inked a $400 billion gas deal that marks Moscow’s biggest pivot east to signals the emergence of a new Sino-Russian partnership years in the making.

The timing of the deal came as a shock to many in the international community - both sides seemed to walk away from the deal over a pricing dispute. That’s what makes Wednesday’s announcement so bizarre; according to reports, China ended up paying closer to what Russia wanted for the energy, which will be shipped into China through a pipeline in Siberia. What happened on Tuesday remains a mystery.

"Through mutual compromise we managed to reach not only acceptable, but rather satisfactory, terms on this contract for both sides. Both sides were in the end pleased by the compromise reached on price and other terms," Russian President Vladimir Putin said when announcing the deal.

The precise details of the deal were not disclosed. But experts speculate that one of the reasons that China was willing to pay more for fuel was environmental.

“This higher price level reflects China’s willingness to pay more for cleaner fuel, consistent with its efforts on domestic gas price reform to accommodate rising supply costs,”
IHS Energy, a firm that analyzes the energy industry, said in a commentary on the deal.

The importance of this deal cannot be understated. It essentially upends the dynamics of global power and marks a significant departure from the post-Cold War order. Here are three ways the Russia-China deal changes international affairs:

1. Russia no longer has to rely on Europe to fill its coffers. European payments for Russian gas currently amount to about 40 percent of Russian state budget. This meant that Russia has to play nice with Europe in order to pay its bills.

This deal makes the European energy market far less important to Moscow.

“Gazprom [Russia’s state-controlled energy company] is under increasing geopolitical and competitive pressure to diversify its market toward the East, while China’s gas market remains supply constrained as demand continues to surge,” IHS energy noted.

2. European institutions and opinion now matter much less to Russia. That’s bad news for Eastern European countries like Latvia and Estonia, countries that border Russia and have large Russian speaking populations.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine show that it’s not afraid to exert its influence in neighboring countries. Until this deal was signed, Europe could keep Russia in check with the subtle threat of not paying its gas bills. Russia’s decreased reliance on Europe frees it to act as it pleases in countries that Moscow believes to be in its sphere of influence.

3. China makes a commitment toward cleaner energy. The Chinese environment is a disaster. One of the main reasons for China’s environmental problems is air pollution caused by unclean sources of energy that fueled China’s economic rise.

The fact that China is willing to pay more for cleaner energy suggests that Beijing, at the very least, is acknowledging environmental problems. It also shows that Chinese leaders are willing to spend more in an effort to improve the situation.

Yesterday, many experts and journalists (including me) speculated that the failure to secure a gas deal would chasten Russia. Today, China and Russia have turned international affairs on its head.

Once again, it appears as if Russian President Vladimir Putin is one step ahead of us all.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 23, 2014, 07:36:47 am
Who Needs The United States? Not Russia And China

Russia and China have just signed what is being called "the gas deal of the century", and the two countries are discussing moving away from the U.S. dollar and using their own currencies to trade with one another.  This has huge implications for the future of the U.S. economy, but the mainstream media in the United States is being strangely quiet about all of this.  For example, I searched CNN's website to see if I could find something about this gas deal between Russia and China and I did not find anything.  But I did find links to "top stories" entitled "Celebs who went faux red" and "Adorable kid tugs on Obama's ear".  Is it any wonder why the mainstream media is dying?  If a particular story does not fit their agenda, they will simply ignore it.  But the truth is that this new agreement between Russia and China is huge.  It could end up fundamentally changing the global financial system, and not in a way that would be beneficial for the United States.

(Read More....) http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/who-needs-the-united-states-not-russia-and-china

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 23, 2014, 09:15:43 am
Who Needs The United States? Not Russia And China

Russia and China have just signed what is being called "the gas deal of the century", and the two countries are discussing moving away from the U.S. dollar and using their own currencies to trade with one another.  This has huge implications for the future of the U.S. economy, but the mainstream media in the United States is being strangely quiet about all of this.  For example, I searched CNN's website to see if I could find something about this gas deal between Russia and China and I did not find anything.  But I did find links to "top stories" entitled "Celebs who went faux red" and "Adorable kid tugs on Obama's ear".  Is it any wonder why the mainstream media is dying?  If a particular story does not fit their agenda, they will simply ignore it.  But the truth is that this new agreement between Russia and China is huge.  It could end up fundamentally changing the global financial system, and not in a way that would be beneficial for the United States.

(Read More....) http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/who-needs-the-united-states-not-russia-and-china

Like I was saying above - for awhile, I had my doubts about Russia being this end times Gog/Magog - but in light of recent events in recent months, those doubts have all but shed from me.

Yes - Gog/Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 are DIFFERENT, why? B/c look at the DIFFERENT DISPENSATIONS in both passages! It's always important to divide the word of truth!

2Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

And for further proof, FWIW - look how much the MSM is covering up what's going on in Russia/The Ukraine - for example, after this "missing" Malaysian flight started to wear off(and their hands were forced to start reporting on Russia), they subsequently manufactured this nonsense "fallout" from the LA Clippers owner(whose comments came off of a PRIVATE cell phone call. And they continue to go overboard reporting on this nonsense story).

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 23, 2014, 02:27:56 pm
China and Russia Agree to Contain the United States
Chriss Street

In what appears to be an effort to undermine the United States sanctions against Russia, China indicated to its state-owned Xinhua news agency that the government will agree during Russian President Putin’s May 20-21st visit to Shanghai to invest $18.46 billion in the Crimea. The amount of the investment is highly symbolic, since it exceeds the $17 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to the Ukraine. The Chinese action is part of a series of retaliatory responses to President Obama’s Asian trip in April that was dubbed by Asian media as the “China containment tour.”  China and Russia are seeking to develop their own enhanced relationship to strategically contain the United States.

Geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group told the Business Insider blog, China is “the big winner from the Ukraine crisis -- everybody wants to work with them.”

He added, “I’d say not only are they ignoring U.S./E.U. sanctions, they’re actually taking advantage of them.”  Beijing perceived U.S. President Obama’s late April trip to four Asian countries as an effort by the United States to interfere in their regional affairs. The President declared in Japan that a group of islands, claimed by both Japan and China, were covered by America’s security treaty with Japan. He followed up a few days later in the Philippines by inking of a 10-year agreement to increase U.S. forces there.

In direct retaliation to Obama’s actions, the Chinese military and state-controlled oil monopoly, CNOCC, moved a deep-water drilling rig to a spot just 120 miles off the coast of Vietnam on July 3rd. Vietnam claims the area as their territorial waters and the Chinese drilling site is in an oil exploration block where Vietnam’s state-owned oil monopoly and America’s ExxonMobil have discovered vast oil and gas reserves. The move sparked state-sponsored anti-Chinese riots across Vietnam that caused 27 deaths and at least 100 people wounded.   

In what seems like a counter-retaliation, the U.S. Justice Department announced the indictment of five Chinese military hackers on May 19th. According to Bremmer, “The biggest structural problem between the U.S. and China is that the two countries are at war with each other over cyber.” Bremmer added: “the confrontation is surely growing. And this is an indication.”

Stratfor Global Intelligence reported that China will sign a memorandum of understanding with Russia on a 30-year natural gas supply deal.  But China also intends to start negotiations on the financing and feasibility of various Crimean projects, including, building a bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect the Crimea and Russian mainland, expanding Crimean ports, constructing solar power facilities, and creating special economic zones for manufacturing.  Russia will portray the investments as demonstration of solidarity with the Chinese and as international acceptance of Russia’s right to annex the Crimea.

President Putin said after his first day of negotiations with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that the two countries have agreed to coordinate foreign policy steps more closely. “We have common priorities both on the global and regional scale.” Adding that Russia and China see eye-to-eye on most issues, have lots of plans and are determined to put them into practice.

By combining China’s financial strength with Russia’s military strength, both nations can demonstrate to the world that they cannot easily contained by the United States and its allies. The initiative leverages China’s capability to make aggressive moves against the interests of nearby countries -- much like Russia is doing in Ukraine.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 26, 2014, 06:19:58 am
Ukrainians back Poroshenko to find way out of crisis

Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate manufacturer, claimed the Ukrainian presidency with an emphatic election victory on Sunday, taking on a fraught mission to quell pro-Russian rebels and steer his fragile nation closer to the West.

A veteran survivor of Ukraine’s feuding political class who threw his weight and money behind the revolt that brought down his Moscow-backed predecessor three months ago, the burly 48-year-old won 55 percent in exit polls on a first-round ballot marred by the reality that millions were unable to vote in the troubled eastern regions.

Results will not be announced until Monday but runner-up Yulia Tymoshenko, on 13 percent, made clear she would concede, sparing the country a tense three weeks until a runoff round.

Poroshenko, known as the “Chocolate King”, has no time to lose to make good on pledges to end “war” with separatists in the Russian-speaking east, negotiate a stable new relationship with Moscow and rescue an economy sapped by months of chaos and 23 years of post-Soviet mismanagement and chronic corruption.

The size of his victory reflects in part Ukrainians rallying behind the front-runner in the hope of ending a political vacuum that Russian President Vladimir Putin has exploited to annex the Crimea peninsula and offer solidarity, and maybe more, to rebels in the east who want to break with Kiev and accept Russian rule.

“He has taken a heavy burden on his shoulders,” said Larisa, a schoolteacher who was among crowds watching the results on Kiev’s Independence Square, where pro-Western “EuroMaidan” protests ended in February in bloodshed that prompted President Viktor Yanukovich to flee to Russia. “I just want all of this to be over,” she added. “I think that’s what everybody wants.”

In the eastern Donbass coalfield, where militants ensured polling stations were closed to some 10 percent of the national electorate, rebels scoffed at the “fascist junta” and announced a plan to “cleanse” their “people’s republic” of “enemy troops”. A minister in Kiev said in turn its forces would renew their “anti-terrorist operation” after a truce during the polling.

More than 20 people were killed in the region last week.


Claiming a popular mandate for a resumption of efforts to bind the nation of 45 million into association with the European Union – a drive that triggered the whole crisis six months ago – Poroshenko said he was ready to negotiate with Putin and called Russia a vital partner. He insisted Crimea must be returned.

Yet it remains unclear how the tycoon can square the circle of turning firmly westward as long as Russia, Ukraine’s major market and vital energy supplier, seems determined to maintain a hold over the second most populous ex-Soviet republic, occupying a vast swathe of the borderlands between East and West.

Nor is it clear that Poroshenko has new answers to resolving the uprising in the industrial east, given the weakness of his forces and the threat of Russian military intervention – a threat that has raised fears of a new Cold War, or worse, and has been met by only tentative U.S. and EU economic sanctions.

Declaring that his first trip would be to the Donbass – though quite when is unclear given that it may take some time to be formally sworn in – Poroshenko said he was ready to negotiate with anyone, and to offer the kind of regional autonomy, Russian language rights and budgetary powers that many want in the east.

“To people who have taken up arms but are not using them, we are ready to give amnesty,” he told a news conference at which he fielded questions in a fluent mix of Ukrainian, Russian and English. “As for those who are killing, they are terrorists and no country in the world conducts negotiations with terrorists.”

Poroshenko can be sure of a welcome from the European Union and United States – President Barack Obama hailed the election as a step toward restoring Ukrainian unity. But although Putin told an international audience at the weekend that he was ready to work with a new Ukrainian administration, Russia may use the gaps in the election in the east to question its legitimacy.

A senior member of Putin’s party, deputy parliamentary speaker Sergei Neverov, gave a taste of that when he wrote on Facebook: “It is hard to recognize the legitimacy of elections when tanks and artillery are wiping out civilians and a third of the population is driven to the polling stations at gunpoint.”

He ridiculed Western leaders for endorsing the vote.

In a statement, Obama did not preempt the results by naming Poroshenko but he praised Ukrainians for turning out to vote despite the threats. He called the election “another important step forward in the efforts of the Ukrainian government to unify the country and reach out to all of its citizens to ensure their concerns are addressed and aspirations met”.

It was Yanukovich’s last-minute decision to shun a proffered free trade and economic support package from the EU in November that sparked the protests that led to his downfall. Moscow had threatened to bar Ukrainian imports and cut off gas supplies if Yanukovich, whose power base was in the east, signed the deal.


Poroshenko is hardly a new face in Ukrainian politics, having served in a cabinet under Yanukovich and also under previous governments led by Yanukovich’s foes. This breadth of experience has given him a reputation as a pragmatist capable of bridging Ukraine’s divide between supporters and foes of Moscow.

A former national security council chief, foreign minister and trade minister, he was a strong backer of the protests that toppled Yanukovich and is thus acceptable to many in the “Maidan” movement who have kept their tented camp in the capital to keep pressure on the new leaders to honor their promises.

Constitutional changes since Yanukovich’s fall will leave Poroshenko with less power than his predecessor. He will share duties with Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and parliament.

Poroshenko, who has worked closely with the liberal Yatseniuk in recent months, said there should be a parliamentary election before the end of the year – though he also said that it should not take place before conflict in the east was over.

Poroshenko and former prime minister Tymoshenko traded accusations of corruption when both were in government following the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-05 that thwarted Yanukovich’s first bid for the presidency. But many voters saw him as less culpable than many in Ukraine of enriching himself illegally.

Where many “oligarchs” across the former Soviet Union took control of huge, formerly state-owned assets in the 1990s, many credit Poroshenko with building his Roshen confectionery empire himself. His other interests include a major TV news channel.

“He’s a serious person who built up his business himself,” said Olga Netreba, 54, a civil servant in the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk who said she had voted for him. “He knows economics and I think he didn’t steal his money but earned it.

“I expect that with him Ukraine will be in Europe, that we will finally start getting towards Europe, so that living standards rise and Ukraine never returns to dictatorship.”

Many people in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, home to close to 15 percent of the population, said they were frustrated at being unable to vote as polling station staff stayed home out of fear or found themselves attacked by pro-Russian militants.

Separatists claimed overwhelming support for a break with Kiev after makeshift referendums held two weeks ago. But polls before violence began that has cost dozens of lives suggested a majority wanted to remain in Ukraine, even if they complained of misrule from Kiev and feared anti-Russian bigotry among Ukrainian ultranationalists involved in the Maidan uprising.

“I don’t think much of Kiev or the people’s republic,” said Ivan, 25, a security guard in the Donbass capital Donetsk. “Both sides say they want to bring order but it looks like neither can do it really. I don’t think the election will change a thing.

“Someone first has to end this war – and I don’t know who.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 26, 2014, 02:09:29 pm
Ukraine launches airstrike, paratroops against rebel-held Donetsk airport, security spokesmen say - @Reuters

A minister in Kiev said in turn its forces would renew their “anti-terrorist operation” after a truce during the polling.

Ukraine's Poroshenko says he backs the continuation of 'anti-terrorist operation' in east Ukraine but needs to be more effective - @Reuters

Sustained gunfire heard, smoke seen around Ukraine's Donetsk international airport, witnesses say - @Reuters

Ukraine launches airstrike, paratroops against rebel-held Donetsk airport, security spokesmen say - @Reuters

3 Ukrainian helicopter gunships mount heavy attack on the rebel-held international airport terminal at Donetsk, Ukraine, firing rockets and cannon and throwing out decoy flares as militants shot at them from the ground - @Reuters

Thick black smoke still billowing up from Donetsk, Ukraine, airport; gunfire to south and north of train station has ceased - via @ChristopherJM


Russia urges Ukraine to halt what it called a military operation against its own people; calls on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to investigate clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk - @Reuters

Remeber when Obama first took office? No DRONE strikes in Pakistan?

Death toll of Obama’s Drone Campaign 5 Years Later: 2,400

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 27, 2014, 05:31:57 am
Ukraine rebels say '29 or 30' dead on their side in government offensive near Donetsk, city mayor says total death toll is 40 since Monday - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 27, 2014, 09:28:08 am
Ukraine orders pro-Russian rebels out of Donetsk with threat of 'precision weaponry'

Kiev has ordered pro-Russian rebels occupying buildings in the eastern city of Donetsk to flee or face "precision weaponry," a Ukrainian government spokesman told Fox News.

The Ukrainian government said the pro-Russia separatist militants in Donetsk have until 4 p.m. local time to leave the buildings they are occupying.

A spokesman with Ukraine's "anti-terror operation" said that if the rebels do not leave the buildings, those targets would be "hit with precision weaponry."

Fox News also confirmed from another source that Ukraine may use military action Tuesday against the pro-Russian rebels on the same day Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko said in an interview that the military operation in Donetsk would be over in "a matter of hours."

Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine claim that at least 30 of their colleagues have been killed after a day of heavy fighting in the city of Donetsk that included airstrikes against insurgents who attempted to seize the city's airport.

A rebel fighter, who wouldn't give his name because of security concerns, told the Associated Press outside a hospital in Donetsk that 30 bodies of his fellow insurgents were delivered there.

He said the truck carrying the bodies was still parked outside the hospital, waiting for explosives experts to check it for any unexploded ordnance.

Early Tuesday, a group of unidentified men stormed Donetsk's main ice-hockey arena, which was to host the 2015 world championships, and set it ablaze, according to the mayor's office.

In the neighboring Luhansk region, the Ukrainian Border Guards Service said that its officers engaged in a gunbattle with a group of gunmen who were trying to break through the border from Russia. It said one intruder was wounded and the border guards seized several vehicles loaded with Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket grenade launchers and explosives.

Speaking at a televised government session on Tuesday, Vitaly Yarema, a deputy prime minister in the interim cabinet, said the "anti-terrorist operation" in eastern Ukraine will go on "until all the militants are annihilated."

Donetsk, a city of 1 million, was engulfed by warfare Monday, when rebels moved to seize the airport, Ukraine's second largest, and were repelled by government forces using combat jets and helicopter gunships.

A bombardment of the airport reportedly began shortly after noon local time, and black smoke could be seen rising from buildings following the sounds of shelling.

Vladislav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Kiev's anti-terrorist operation, wrote on his Facebook account that the military presented an ultimatum earlier this afternoon to unknown armed men who had occupied the airport to lay down the arms. The airstrikes began when the insurgents did not comply.

Officials closed the airport, and police shut nearby streets for traffic. The city mayor went on television advising residents to stay at home.

The battles in Donetsk came just as billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in Sunday's presidential vote. Poroshenko has vowed to negotiate a peaceful end to an insurgency in the east, where rebels have seized government offices and fought Ukrainian troops for more than a month.

Poroshenko described the separatists as "Somali pirates," saying that arms should be used against "killers and terrorists," but he also indicated that he wants a quick end to the military operation in the east.

"The anti-terrorist operation cannot and should not last two or three months," he said. "It should and will last hours."

Poroshenko, known for his pragmatism, supports building strong ties with Europe but also has stressed the importance of mending relations with Moscow. Upon claiming victory, he said his first step as president would be to visit the east.

He said he hoped Russia would support his efforts to bring stability and that he wanted to hold talks with Moscow.

Russia welcomed his intention to engage in talks with people in the east and said it would be ready to work with Poroshenko.

Poroshenko is yet to be sworn in and the date for his inauguration hasn't yet been set. The interim government, meanwhile, pledged to press ahead with the operation against insurgents, which has angered local residents, many of whom see the authorities in Kiev as nationalists bent on repressing Russian speakers in the east.

Russia has denied accusations by the Ukrainian interim government and the West that it has fomented the insurgency in the east. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stonewalled the insurgents' appeal to join Russia and welcomed the Ukrainian presidential election in an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions with the West, which has plunged to a post-Cold War low after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

But Russia has kept pushing for Ukraine to decentralize its government, which would give more power to regions, including those in the east, and wants Kiev to withdraw its troops from the area.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 27, 2014, 01:51:56 pm
Soros Admits Responsibility for Coup and Mass Murder in Ukraine
Color revolution collaboration began soon after engineered fall of Soviet Union

George Soros told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria over the weekend he is responsible for establishing a foundation in Ukraine that ultimately contributed to the overthrow of the country’s elected leader and the installation of a junta handpicked by the State Department.

“First on Ukraine, one of the things that many people recognized about you was that you during the revolutions of 1989 funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?” Zakaria asked Soros.

“Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now,” Soros responded.

It is well-known, although forbidden for the establishment media to mention, that Soros worked closely with USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (now doing work formerly assigned to the CIA), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Freedom House, and the Albert Einstein Institute to initiate a series of color revolutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the engineered collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Many of the participants in Kiev’s ‘EuroMaidan’ demonstrations were members of Soros-funded NGOs and/or were trained by the same NGOs in the many workshops and conferences sponsored by Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), and his various Open Society institutes and foundations. The IRF, founded and funded by Soros, boasts that it has given ‘more than any other donor organization’ to ‘democratic transformation’ of Ukraine,” writes William F. Jasper.

This transformation led to fascist ultra-nationalists controlling Ukraine’s security services. In April it was announced Andriy Parubiy and other coup leaders were working with the FBI and CIA to defeat and murder separatists opposed to the junta government installed by Victoria Nuland and the State Department. Parubiy is the founder of a national socialist party in Ukraine and currently the boss of the country’s National Security and Defense Council.

Now that the billionaire “chocolate king” Petro Poroshenko is president of Ukraine, the effort to wipe out all opposition in eastern Ukraine will pick up steam. Poroshenko is a near perfect choice for the globalists and EU apparatchiks. He sat on the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine and collaborated with the IMF, Wall Street and the European Commission.

Poroshenko and the February coup leaders are now killing civilians in Donetsk as the effort continues to dislodge and eradicate “pro-Russian militants” and “terrorists,” i.e., armed resistance fighters going up against Right Sector enforcers possibly accompanied by American mercenaries with the help of the CIA. Civilians are also victims in “rebel”-held Slovyansk and neighboring Kramatorsk as retaliation against resistance to the junta in Kyiv intensifies.

The military response with its overly fascist character, including the terrorist torching of a trade union building in Odessa by “pro-regime rioters” (i.e., Right Sector paramilitaries), can be directly attributed to the activism of George Soros and the hands-on approach of the U.S. State Department, various NGOs (which are, in fact, government and Wall Street fronts), and USAID, NED, and the malattributed “Freedom House,” etc.

Following the murder and expulsion of those opposed to the IMF lording over the government and the people of Ukraine, Russia can expect further provocation, especially now that it has stepped away from supporting the resistance. The financial elite and their EU collaborators are determined to diminish and ultimately eliminate any challenge by Russia and the BRICS as these countries move to counter the neoliberal financial agenda.

“The buildup of NATO air and ground forces along the borders of Russia in eastern Europe and President Barack Obama’s American power-influencing trip to Asia have a single purpose,” Wayne Madsen wrote earlier this month. “The seen and unseen forces who dictate policy to their political puppets in Washington, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and other vassal capital cities have decided to smash BRICS – the emergent financial power bloc encompassing Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 29, 2014, 05:13:01 am
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan agree to create Eurasian Economic Union to further boost ties - @AP

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 29, 2014, 06:55:59 am
Rebels Kill 14 Downing Ukraine Chopper as Russia Sees War

Pro-Russian rebels downed a military helicopter in eastern Ukraine, killing 13 troops and a general, as an aide to President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of pushing the world toward war through proxies in Kiev.

Insurgents shot down an Mi-8 transport chopper with a shoulder-fired missile amid heavy fighting in Slovyansk, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Russian border, Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov told lawmakers in parliament in Kiev today.

Russia called for unspecified “emergency” measures to halt the violence in eastern Ukraine after separatists suffered the heaviest casualties of their campaign. “There’s no excuse” for military action, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier by phone yesterday, according to the ministry’s website.

Ukraine stepped up air patrols over Donetsk yesterday as a convoy of pro-Russian rebels moved through the eastern city with an anti-aircraft gun in tow, regrouping after dozens were killed in a government operation to retake the main airport.

President-elect Petro Poroshenko has vowed to wipe out the insurgents and re-establish order after winning office May 25. He’s faced with trying to stabilize an economy the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expects to shrink 7 percent this year while reclaiming swaths of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions captured by pro-Russian militias.
‘World War’

An economic adviser to Putin, Sergei Glazyev, said the U.S. controls the new Ukrainian government and is seeking to start a “third world war.”

“This can’t be called anything but madness -- the bombing of cities, airports, escalation of unmotivated violence against their own people,” Glazyev told reporters today in the Kazakh capital Astana, where he’s traveling with the Russian president.

Russia has reduced the number of soldiers stationed on its border with Ukraine to about 20,000 from about 50,000, the press service of Ukraine’s border guards said yesterday. The Russian troops are leaving behind military assets, suggesting they may return, the service said, without being more specific.

Even so, a “threatening, capable” Russian force remains “poised along the Ukrainian border,” Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told reporters yesterday.
No Thanks

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said yesterday that Russia is being asked for humanitarian aid by people in eastern Ukraine affected by the conflict. Russia wants Ukraine’s help delivering supplies across the border and expects “the fastest possible answer,” the ministry said on its website.

Ukraine said thanks, but no thanks.

“This is another element of propaganda,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said. It may also be a “a hidden attempt to help Russian terrorists who are now in a difficult position,” the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

Putin, who has repeatedly denied aiding the insurgency, told Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a phone call on May 27 that Ukraine’s military operations must stop.

“Russia’s goal was and is to keep Ukraine so unstable that we accept everything that the Russians want,” Poroshenko said in an interview with German newspaper Bild that was published yesterday. “I have no doubt that Putin can end the fighting with his direct influence.”
Gas Dispute

As the violence continued, Ukraine stopped short of accepting an EU proposal to reach a debt and price deal for natural gas from Russia and avert a threatened shutoff. Russia, the world’s largest supplier of the fuel, has twice cut gas flows to Ukraine since Putin came to power in 2000, leading to shortages throughout Europe.

Under the EU plan, Ukraine’s state energy company, NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, would pay Russian gas exporter OAO Gazprom (GAZP) $2 billion by May 30 and a further $500 million by June 7. That would partially cover Ukraine’s outstanding debt, which Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said yesterday will reach $5.2 billion by June 7.

Ukraine’s government is “ready to clean the bill” and “pay the arrears,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in Berlin yesterday. The country is seeking a market-based price of $250-$350 per 1,000 cubic meters, he said.

Gazprom raised the price it charges Ukraine, which relies on the Russian exporter for half of its gas, by 81 percent to $486 per 1,000 cubic meters after Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February.
No Light

About 15 percent of Europe’s gas supply flows from Russia through Ukraine, which is counting on $17 billion from the International Monetary Fund to avoid bankruptcy.

Talks between EU, Russian and Ukrainian officials to break the deadlock will resume in Berlin tomorrow, Olga Golants, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Energy Ministry, said by phone.

The lack of progress is threatening to escalate into a full-blown crisis, “undermining the sustainability of Russian gas transit to the EU through Ukraine,” Alexander Kornilov, an energy analyst at Alfa Bank in Moscow, said in an e-mailed note.

“Ukraine’s position indicates that the light at the end of the tunnel in Russia-Ukraine-EU gas discussions is still very far away,” Kornilov said.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on May 27 decided to put off further sanctions on Russia after Putin showed a willingness to work with Ukraine’s new leader and pulled back some troops.
Sanctions ‘Reminder’

“The possibility of de-escalation is here, finally,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters after the summit ended. “But we still need this strict reminder.”

In their final statement, the leaders said the EU was working on “possible targeted measures” and agreed “to continue preparations” in case further steps are needed.

Since Putin annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea region in March, the EU has blacklisted 83 Russian and Ukrainian officials and two companies.

President Barack Obama, who has imposed U.S. sanctions on people close to Putin, including Glazyev, the economic adviser, called Poroshenko May 27 to congratulate him on his victory and offer “the full support of the United States,” according to a White House statement.

The U.S. leader plans to meet with Poroshenko during his trip to Europe next week, Obama told NPR News in an interview scheduled to air today. He told the radio network he expects to discuss Crimea with Poroshenko during their meeting.

Poroshenko said after his victory that government forces won’t quit until separatists are completely defeated.

“They won’t last two or three months,” the president-elect said. “They’ll last a few hours.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on May 29, 2014, 06:58:17 am
Poroshenko said after his victory that government forces won’t quit until separatists are completely defeated.

“They won’t last two or three months,” the president-elect said. “They’ll last a few hours.”

This Candy guy is freaking delusional. Who does he think is going to help him? Obama isnt going to go to war over his country, and neither will Europe. Sanctions are the best hes going to get, and Putin is starting to get a little mad about the whole affair. Heck Russia has completely went around all of the US and Europe and formed even stronger ties to the rest of the world. tools....

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 30, 2014, 02:59:55 pm
This Candy guy is freaking delusional. Who does he think is going to help him? Obama isnt going to go to war over his country, and neither will Europe. Sanctions are the best hes going to get, and Putin is starting to get a little mad about the whole affair. Heck Russia has completely went around all of the US and Europe and formed even stronger ties to the rest of the world. tools....

And little do they know they're walking right into bible prophecy. Read Ezekiel 38-39(again) this morning, and this prophecy is NOT the same as the Gog/Magog prophecy in Rev 20(which takes place at the end of Jesus' 1000 year mil reign on earth). Again, divide the word of truth - different dispensations.

Ezekiel 39:6  And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 39:7  So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
Eze 39:8  Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.

Eze 39:27  When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
Eze 39:28  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 02, 2014, 04:08:12 pm
77,000 foreign banks to share tax info with IRS

WASHINGTON (AP) — It will soon get a lot harder to use overseas accounts to hide income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

More than 77,000 foreign banks, investment funds and other financial institutions have agreed to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS as part of a crackdown on offshore tax evasion, the Treasury Department announced Monday.

The list includes 515 Russian financial institutions. Russian banks had to apply directly to the IRS because the U.S. broke off negotiations with the Russian government over an information-sharing agreement because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Nearly 70 countries have agreed to share information from their banks as part of a U.S. law that targets Americans hiding assets overseas. Participating countries include the world's financial giants, as well as many places where Americans have traditionally hid assets, including Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Starting in March 2015, these financial institutions have agreed to supply the IRS with names, account numbers and balances for accounts controlled by U.S. taxpayers.

Under the law, foreign banks that don't agree to share information with the IRS face steep penalties when doing business in the U.S. The law requires American banks to withhold 30 percent of certain payments to foreign banks that don't participate in the program — a significant price for access to the world's largest economy.

The 2010 law is known as FATCA, which stands for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. It was designed to encourage — some say force — foreign financial institutions to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS, making it more difficult for Americans to use overseas accounts to evade U.S. taxes.

"The strong international support for FATCA is clear, and this success will help us in our goal of stopping tax evasion and narrowing the tax gap," said Robert Stack, deputy assistant treasury secretary for international tax affairs.

Under the law, U.S. banks that fail to withhold the tax would be liable for it themselves, a powerful incentive to comply. U.S. banks are scheduled to start withholding 30 percent of interest and dividend payments in July, though recent guidance from the Treasury Department gives U.S. banks some leeway on timing as they gear up their systems.

The withholding applies to stocks and bonds, including U.S. Treasurys. Some previously owned securities would be exempt from the withholding, but in general, previously owned stocks would not.

Private investors who use foreign financial institutions to facilitate trades also face the withholding penalty. Those private investors could later apply to the IRS for refunds, but the inconvenience would be enormous.

Treasury released the list of complying banks on Monday so American financial institutions will know it is OK to send them payments without withholding the tax. Treasury is expected to update the list next month, after another push to complete information-sharing agreements.

"I think having 77,000 on this first list is a pretty big success," said Denise Hintzke of Deloitte Tax LLP. "It appears to me that people are taking it pretty seriously and intend to comply."

Banks in many countries are prevented by local privacy laws from sharing account information with foreign governments. To get around these restrictions, the Treasury Department has been negotiating agreements in which foreign governments will collect the information from their banks and then share it with U.S. authorities.

Russia was negotiating one of these agreements when the U.S. broke off talks in March. Nevertheless, 515 Russian financial institutions applied to the IRS directly and have been accepted into the program. More could apply in the coming weeks.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 03, 2014, 04:56:58 am
US is reviewing its military presence in Europe as a result of Russia's intervention in Ukraine, the White House says - @Reuters

Obama will call on Congress to support a 'European Reassurance Initiative' of up to $1 billion to increase US military rotations on the continent, White House says - @Reuters

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: FervorForFaith on June 03, 2014, 06:30:49 am
And little do they know they're walking right into bible prophecy. Read Ezekiel 38-39(again) this morning, and this prophecy is NOT the same as the Gog/Magog prophecy in Rev 20(which takes place at the end of Jesus' 1000 year mil reign on earth). Again, divide the word of truth - different dispensations.

Ezekiel 39:6  And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 39:7  So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
Eze 39:8  Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.

Eze 39:27  When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
Eze 39:28  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

See, I'm very conflicted on this issue. It says that Israel dwells in "unwalled villages" and "dwells safely" when Gog/Magog occurs. Is Israel dwelling in unwalled villages now? No. Are they dwelling safely now? I'd say no, they have to face the constant threat of attacks by Palestinians and other neighbors. And during the ToJT, it'll be even worse (hence the name of the period).

Whereas we KNOW they will dwell safely in the millennial kingdom. Also, they end the exact same way, and it uses similar imagery to show the sheer number of invaders in both sections. If I had to say when it happens, I'd say after the millennium.

I don't see different dispensations when I read Ezekiel 38-39 and Rev 20. Now I could be wrong, and I am conflicted, but after the millennium is my stance at the moment.

Title: Putin looks east to bolster ties with North Korea
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 04, 2014, 02:31:08 pm
Putin looks east to bolster ties with North Korea

TOKYO (AP) — Angry with the West's response over Ukraine and eager to diversify its options, Russia is moving rapidly to bolster ties with North Korea in a diplomatic nose-thumbing that could complicate the U.S.-led effort to squeeze Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons program.

Russia's proactive strategy in Asia, which also involves cozying up to China and has been dubbed "Putin's Pivot," began years ago as Moscow's answer to Washington's much-touted alliance-building and rebalancing of its military forces in the Pacific. But it has gained a new sense of urgency since the unrest in Ukraine — and Pyongyang is already getting a big windfall with high-level political exchanges and promises from Russia of trade and development projects.

Moscow's overtures to North Korea reflect both a defensive distancing from the EU and Washington because of their sanctions over Ukraine and a broader, long-term effort by Russia to strengthen its hand in Asia by building political alliances, expanding energy exports and developing Russian regions in Siberia and the Far East.

For North Korea, the timing couldn't be better.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union and the largesse it banked on as a member of the communist bloc, the North has been struggling to keep its economy afloat and has depended heavily on trade and assistance from ally China. Sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs have further isolated the country, and Pyongyang has long feared it could become too beholden to Beijing.

Better ties with Russia could provide a much needed economic boost, a counterbalance against Chinese influence and a potentially useful wedge against the West in international forums — and particularly in the U.S.-led effort to isolate Pyongyang over its development of nuclear weapons.

"By strengthening its relationship with North Korea, Russia is trying to enhance its bargaining position vis-à-vis the United States and Japan," said Narushige Michishita, a North Korea and Asia security expert at Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Michishita added that showing Washington he will not be cowed by the sanctions was "one of the most important factors" why Putin is wooing Pyongyang now.

Moscow remains wary of having a nuclear-armed North Korea on its border. But over the past few months it has courted the North with various economic projects, political exchanges and a vote in the Duma, the top Russian legislative body, to write off nearly $10 billion in debt held over from the Soviet era.

It has pledged to reinvest $1 billion that Pyongyang still owes into a trans-Siberian railway through North Korea to South Korea — a project that is still in the very early stages. That, together with a pipeline, would allow Russia to export gas and electricity to South Korea.

Michishita noted that the same day the United Nations' General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Russia's annexation of Crimea, Russia and North Korea were busy signing an economic trade cooperation pact.

The warming began around July last year, but it has accelerated as Moscow's antagonism with the West has grown.

Moscow sent a relatively low-ranking representative to the 60th anniversary of the end of fighting in the Korean War that month. But since then, it has hosted North Korea's head of state at the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi and, in March, sent its minister in charge of Far East development to Pyongyang.

A three-day visit in April by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, who is also the presidential envoy for Russia's far eastern federal district, marked the "culmination of a new phase in Russian-North Korean relations taking shape — a sort of renaissance if you will," Alexander Vorontsov, a North Korea expert at the Russia Academy of Sciences, wrote recently on the influential 38 North blog.

"It is still an open question whether the current crisis in Ukraine will result in any more substantial shifts in Russian policy toward North Korea, particularly in dealing with the nuclear and missile issues," Vorontsov said in his blog post. "With the West increasing pressure on Russia as a result of differences over Ukraine, the very fact that Moscow and Pyongyang are subject to U.S. sanctions will objectively draw them together, as well as with China."

Since 2003, a series of multilateral talks have been one of the primary means of pressuring North Korea to denuclearize and to coordinate policy between the six main countries involved — China, Russia, the United States, Japan and North and South Korea.

Though still seen as one of the best tools the international community has to pressure Pyongyang on the nuclear issue, the talks were fraught from the start because of the North's unwillingness to back down and the lack of a unified stance among the five other nations.

With North Korea showing no signs of giving up its nuclear option, some analysts believe a widening rift between Russia and the U.S. could weaken future six-party talks.

"North Korea's motivations and actions are driven by the leadership's perceptions, world view, and ideology," said Seoul-based analyst Daniel Pinkston, of the International Crisis Group. "That remains the same. As long as the leadership is wedded to son'gun (Military First) ideology, they will not denuclearize before the rest of the world does. And that's exactly what their government and media say repeatedly."

Michishita, the Japanese security expert, said the Moscow-Pyongyang thaw could just muddy the waters.

"North Korea will not denuclearize anyway," he said. "A better relationship with Russia might be a positive factor for North Korea in coming back to the six-party talks. But North Korea will certainly try to use it to enhance its position vis-à-vis not only the United States and Japan, but also China."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 04, 2014, 02:33:07 pm
Rebels seize 3 government bases in eastern Ukraine @AP

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 07, 2014, 12:14:39 pm
Ukraine's Poroshenko sworn in and sets out peace plan

Petro Poroshenko promised to commit himself to ''guarding the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine''

Petro Poroshenko has been sworn in as president of Ukraine, setting out a plan to bring peace to the conflict-torn east of the country.

The 48-year-old tycoon, who won the 25 May election, offered political concessions to people in the east and said he did not want war or revenge.

But he also said he had told Russia's president that Crimea, which Moscow has annexed, would "always be Ukrainian".

Some separatists dismissed the speech, saying they would "never surrender".

Russia's ambassador said the address was a "promising declaration of intent".

Mikhail Zurabov, who attended the inauguration, said Ukraine should end its military operation in the east, provided that militias called a ceasefire and allowed humanitarian access.

Petro Poroshenko called on all who had engaged in armed action to ''lay down their arms''

Kiev says Moscow is backing armed militants in the eastern Donbass area, an accusation that Russia denies.

Clashes continued in some eastern areas on Saturday, with reports of the army shelling the rebel stronghold of Sloviansk and of shooting further south in Mariupol.

'Huge sacrifice'

Mr Poroshenko was inaugurated in the presence of dozens of foreign dignitaries - including US Vice-President Joe Biden - in parliament in the capital Kiev.

Mr Poroshenko, the owner of the Roshen chocolates group, laid out a programme for ending the crisis that included an offer of early regional elections in the east and a decentralisation of power to the regional administrations.

He said: "I don't want war. I don't want revenge, despite the huge sacrifice of the Ukrainian people."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 12, 2014, 05:40:09 am
Pro-Russian Separatists Are Flying the Confederate Flag. Why?

The self-proclaimed leaders of the so-called people's republic of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine are taking some tips from the U.S., but in a way that most people will not find palatable: They adopted a modified version of the Confederate Flag. It holds no meaning in Eastern Europe, so to whom are these Russian-backed fighters trying to appeal?


The Moscow Times reports:

    The flag of the unrecognized Novorossia ["New Russia"] confederation is not entirely identical to the banner of the Army of Northern Virginia, as it lacks stars. …

    But otherwise, it is the same as the Confederate flag, a blue diagonal cross bordered with white on a red background. General Lee would have been proud.

    The pro-Russian rebels, known for their dislike of all things American, do not take direct inspiration from the U.S. secession movement or fear the implications of separatist bad luck that their flag entails. …

    The official news website of the separatist People's Republic of Donetsk, part of Novorossia, on May 31 credited Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pavliv with creating the "official banner" of the self-proclaimed territory.

    Yet, Pavliv, a support of the insurgency, told The Moscow Times he had simply stumbled upon the flag online somewhere.

It doesn't make much sense that anti-Americans, who already have their own Russo-centric images, would start waving this loaded American artifact. For comparison, wouldn't it be weird if instead of calling themselves "the State of Jefferson," the breakaway group in California picked up a name from 1860s Russia opposition politics and called themselves "the State of Mikhail Bakunin"? Transplanted foreign symbols just wouldn't resonate with locals, and Russia has long seen itself as above the racial tensions of America embodied in the Southern banner.

Now, there have been a few incidents of Europeans waving the rebel flag as a banner of anti-tyranny, such as at the fall of the Berlin Wall and, in fact, when pro-Western Ukrainians deposed their corrupt, pro-Russian president earlier this year. But, again, this separatist movement is anti-Western.

The insurgents, by their own admission, don't know jack about Dixie and certainly aren't defending its heritage. A lot of them are just Chechen mercenaries, not history buffs. On the other hand, Moscow has a surprisingly effective propaganda machine that does know history and does direct itself at the U.S.

Americans, for many reasons, are divided about the conflict in Ukraine. There are some who are wary of stopping the spread of Russian oppression because they're more afraid of the U.S.'s imperialist tendencies. Some of those Americans are sympathetic to Vladimir Putin and praise his conservative manliness. Some of those Americans identify positively with the Confederate Flag and see Russia as a cultural ally. Does anyone hear a dog whistle?

Here's a video of the bizarre matchup.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 12, 2014, 05:42:24 am
Russian Bombers Fly Within 50 Miles of California Coast...

Young Russians yearn for glory days of Soviet Union...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 12, 2014, 07:10:19 am
Russia Is Doing It – Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar

The Russians are actually making a move against the petrodollar.  It appears that they are quite serious about their de-dollarization strategy.  The largest natural gas producer on the planet, Gazprom, has signed agreements with some of their biggest customers to switch payments for natural gas from U.S. dollars to euros.  And Gazprom would have never done this without the full approval of the Russian government, because the Russian government holds a majority stake in Gazprom.  There hasn't been a word about this from the big mainstream news networks in the United States, but this is huge.  When you are talking about Gazprom, you are talking about a company that is absolutely massive.  It is one of the largest companies in the entire world and it makes up 8 percent of Russian GDP all by itself.  It holds 18 percent of the natural gas reserves of the entire planet, and it is also a very large oil producer.  So for Gazprom to make a move like this is extremely significant.

When Barack Obama decided to slap some meaningless economic sanctions on Russia a while back, he probably figured that the world would forget about them after a few news cycles.

But the Russians do not forget, and they certainly do not forgive.

At this point the Russians are turning their back on the United States, and that includes the U.S. dollar.

What you are about to read is absolutely stunning, and yet you have not heard about it from any major U.S. news source.  But what Gazprom is now doing has the potential to really shake up the global financial landscape.  The following is an excerpt from a news report by the ITAR-TASS news agency...

    Gazprom Neft had signed additional agreements with consumers on a possible switch from dollars to euros for payments under contracts, the oil company's head Alexander Dyukov told a press conference.

    "Additional agreements of Gazprom Neft on the possibility to switch contracts from dollars to euros are signed. With Belarus, payments in roubles are agreed on," he said.

    Dyukov said nine of ten consumers had agreed to switch to euros.

And Gazprom is not the only big company in Russia that is moving away from the U.S. dollar.

According to RT, other large Russian corporations are moving to other currencies as well...

    Russia will start settling more contracts in Asian currencies, especially the yuan, in order to lessen its dependence on the dollar market, and because of Western-led sanctions that could freeze funds at any moment.

    “Over the last few weeks there has been a significant interest in the market from large Russian corporations to start using various products in renminbi and other Asian currencies, and to set up accounts in Asian locations,” Pavel Teplukhin, head of Deutsche Bank in Russia, told the Financial Times, which was published in an article on Sunday.

    Diversifying trade accounts from dollars to the Chinese yuan and other Asian currencies such as the Hong Kong dollar and Singapore dollar has been a part of Russia’s pivot towards Asian as tension with Europe and the US remain strained over Russia’s action in Ukraine.

And according to Zero Hedge, "expanding the use of non-dollar currencies" is one of the main things that major Russian banks are working on right now...

    Andrei Kostin, chief executive of state bank VTB, said that expanding the use of non-dollar currencies was one of the bank’s “main tasks”. “Given the extent of our bilateral trade with China, developing the use of settlements in roubles and yuan [renminbi] is a priority on the agenda, and so we are working on it now,” he told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a briefing. “Since May, we have been carrying out this work.”

    “There is nothing wrong with Russia trying to reduce its dependency on the dollar, actually it is an entirely reasonable thing to do,” said the Russia head of another large European bank. He added that Russia’s large exposure to the dollar subjects it to more market volatility in times of crisis. “There is no reason why you have to settle trade you do with Japan in dollars,” he said.

The entire country is undergoing a major financial conversion.

This is just staggering.

Meanwhile, Russians have been pulling money out of U.S. banks at an unprecedented pace...

    So in March, without waiting for the sanction spiral to kick in, Russians yanked their moolah out of US banks. Deposits by Russians in US banks suddenly plunged from $21.6 billion to $8.4 billion. They yanked out 61% of their deposits in just one month! They'd learned their lesson in Cyprus the hard way: get your money out while you still can before it gets confiscated.

For those that don't think that all of this could hurt the U.S. economy or the U.S. financial system, you really need to go back and read my previous article entitled "De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar".  The truth is that the U.S. economic system is extremely dependent on the financial behavior of the rest of the globe.

Because nearly everyone else around the rest of the planet uses our currency to trade with one another, that keeps the value of the U.S. dollar artificially high and it keeps our borrowing costs artificially low.

As Russia abandons the U.S. dollar that will hurt, but if other nations start following suit that could eventually cause a financial avalanche.

What we are witnessing right now is just a turning point.

The effects won't be felt right away.  So don't expect this to cause financial disaster next week or next month.

But this is definitely another element in the "perfect storm" that is starting to brew for the U.S. economy.

Yes, we have been living in a temporary bubble of false stability for a few years.  However, the long-term outlook has not gotten any better.  In fact, the long-term trends that are destroying our economic and financial foundations just continue to get even worse.

So enjoy the "good times" while you still can.

They certainly will not last too much longer.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 14, 2014, 03:30:11 am
Russia Sent Tanks to Separatists in Ukraine, U.S. Says

The State Department said Friday that Russia had sent tanks and other heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine, supporting accusations Thursday by the Ukrainian government.

A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. The Ukrainian Army reported Friday that it had destroyed two of the tanks and several other vehicles in the convoy.

“This is unacceptable,” said Marie Harf, the deputy State Department spokeswoman. “A failure by Russia to de-escalate this situation will lead to additional costs.”

Overnight Friday, separatists using antiaircraft and heavy machine guns fired on a military transport plane as it was landing in Luhansk, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said. It did not give details of casualties, but offered condolences to family members of the victims. News reports said the plane was carrying as many as 49 military personnel.

Earlier, a Western official said that intelligence about the movement of the tanks and other weapons into Ukraine was shared on Friday with NATO allies. Secretary of State John Kerry complained this week about the flow of Russian arms to separatists in Ukraine in a phone call to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.

The spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Dmitry S. Peskov, said Friday that a Ukrainian armored personnel carrier had crossed into Russia for unclear reasons and was abandoned there. The Russian state news agency reported that the Russian border service said the occupants had then fled back to Ukraine

At the meeting of the Group of 7 nations last week, President Obama warned Mr. Putin that the West would impose “additional costs” on Russia if its provocations were to continue.

The T-64 is an obsolescent tank no longer in active use by Russian forces, but still stored in southwest Russia.

“Russia will claim these tanks were taken from Ukrainian forces, but no Ukrainian tank units have been operating in that area,” the State Department said Friday. “We are confident that these tanks came from Russia.”

“We also have information that Russia has accumulated multiple rocket launchers at this same deployment site in southwest Russia, and these rocket launchers also recently departed,” the State Department added. “Internet video has shown what we believe to be these same rocket launchers traveling through Luhansk.”

Even before the State Department’s statement, Ukraine was having one of its better days Friday in eastern Ukraine, with government forces winning control of the port of Mariupol, the second-largest city in the separatist region of Donetsk.

The Ukrainian assault in Mariupol left five pro-Russian militants dead and four Ukrainian soldiers wounded, and ended with the hoisting of a Ukrainian flag at City Hall as the military routed the last separatists from the city’s administration buildings.

In Friday’s confrontation, videos posted online showed Ukrainian soldiers standing over captives who were lying face down with hands clenched behind their heads. The videos also showed soldiers displaying trophies of the battle — captured orange-and-black ribbons and shoulder patches of a pro-Russian group, the Russian Orthodox Army — and speaking with prisoners freed from the occupied buildings.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

In that pro-Ukrainian forces — volunteer patrols of factory workers, a Ukrainian nationalist battalion called Azov and the Ukrainian military — had controlled most of Mariupol for weeks, the action was as much a propaganda victory as a military one.

In fighting near Slovyansk, a Grad ground-to-ground rocket of the sort said to be in the weapons convoy from Russia killed one person and wounded several others. Residents said the rocket went off course and hit a vegetable market in the village of Dobroyepole.

Over the long term, Ukraine, with its far larger though badly equipped and poorly trained army, has more forces, and it is unclear how long the separatists can hold out without more support from Russia. That is something Moscow cannot offer openly without risking more severe Western sanctions.

The result is misdirection and sleight of hand, and a conflict of endless puzzles and mind games.

The daytime journey of the three tanks through eastern Ukraine, which was filmed in multiple videos and witnessed by Western reporters, could not have been more obvious, and yet the convoy was too small to serve a military purpose. Was it a warning?

A rebel leader, Denis Pushilin, told Russian state TV on Friday that the separatists had tanks but that it was “improper to ask” where they got them.

Russia ratcheted up the economic pressure on Ukraine on Friday in their dispute over natural gas supplies and prices. The state-run energy giant Gazprom said Kiev had to pay its debts for previous deliveries before further negotiations over gas prices.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 14, 2014, 11:11:59 am
Ukraine: 49 dead as rebels down military plane

Pro-Russia separatists shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane Saturday, killing all 49 crew and troops aboard in a bloody escalation of the conflict in the country's restive east.

It was a bitter setback for the Ukrainian forces, which have struggled to suppress an armed insurgency by foes of the new government. And it came only a week after Ukraine's new president, billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko, spoke about a peace plan in his inaugural address.

Yet the deadliest single incident in the four-month-old conflict suggested the two sides were still far apart in their demands and talk of de-escalating the conflict remained premature.

The loss of the plane "will refocus attention on the fact that Russia does not seem to be doing very much to moderate the insurgency (or) the cross-border resupply of separatists," said Timothy Ash, an analyst at Standard Bank PLC.

The United States, meanwhile, rejected Russia's statements that it was not arming the separatists, saying Russia clearly had sent tanks and rocket launchers to the rebels, making sure the unmarked tanks were of a type not currently being used by Russian forces.

Nine crew and 40 troops were aboard the Il-76 when it went down early Saturday as it approached the airport at Luhansk, the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office said. The Russian-built Il-76 is a four-engine jet used to transport heavy gear and people.

Luhansk is in eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia, an area where separatists have seized government buildings and declared independence after holding disputed referendums. Ukrainian forces still control the Luhansk airport, however.

Defense Ministry spokesman Bohdan Senyk said the rebels used anti-aircraft guns and a heavy machine gun to down the plane, while the prosecutor general's office mentioned an anti-aircraft missile.

The plane's tail section lay with other pieces of scorched wreckage in a field near the village of Novohannivka, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Luhansk. An AP reporter saw a dozen or more armed separatists inspecting the crash site.

The death toll Saturday exceeded the 46 who died after a fire and shootings in Odessa on May 2 and the 12 troops who died May 29 when rebels shot down a helicopter near the eastern city of Slovyansk.

The Kiev government has accused Russia of permitting three tanks to cross the border into eastern Ukraine, where they were used by rebels. Russia denies supplying the separatists.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said Russia had stockpiled both tanks and weapons for the rebels at a depot in southwest Russia.

"Separatists in eastern Ukraine have acquired heavy weapons and military equipment from Russia, including Russian tanks and multiple rocket launchers," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. "Russia will claim these tanks were taken from Ukrainian forces, but no Ukrainian tank units have been operating in that area. We are confident that these tanks came from Russia."

NATO released images on Saturday that it said showed recent Russian tank movements near the border.

The tanks seen in Ukraine, NATO said, "do not bear markings or camouflage paint like those used by the Ukrainian military. In fact, they do not have markings at all, which is reminiscent of tactics used by Russian elements that were involved in destabilizing Crimea."

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated in February after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office by protesters who wanted closer ties with the European Union and an end to the country's endemic corruption.

Russia then seized and annexed Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea after a disputed referendum. The U.S. and Europe rejected the annexation and responded with financial sanctions targeting individual officials they deemed to have played a role. They have held off on widening the sanctions to the Russian economy but have not ruled that out.

"Comments from U.S. officials are now quite specific, and I would expect the focus to return to sanctions next week," said Ash, the analyst.

Poroshenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at D-Day anniversary ceremonies in France and there were reports Russia might take steps to tighten control over its border. Russia says Russian citizens fighting with the Ukrainian separatists are volunteers who went on their own.

Before Saturday's incident, the Ukrainian health ministry said at least 270 people had died in clashes between government forces and armed separatists.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 16, 2014, 11:06:01 am
Russia cuts gas supply to Ukraine as tensions soar

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine on Monday after negotiators failed to reach a deal on Ukraine's unpaid gas bills and future gas prices amid deep tensions between the two neighbors over eastern Ukraine.

The decision provoked strong words from both sides but does not immediately affect the crucial flow of Russian gas to Europe. Ukraine itself has enough reserves to last until December, according to the chief of Ukraine's state gas company Naftogaz.

Still, the Russian move could disrupt Europe's long-term energy supplies if the issue is not resolved, analysts said. Previous gas disputes left Ukraine and some Balkan nations shivering for nearly two weeks in the dead of winter.

The gas conflict is part of a wider dispute over whether Ukraine aligns itself with Russia or with the 28-nation European Union. It comes in the midst of a crisis in relations following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March. Ukraine accuses Russia of supporting an armed separatist insurgency in its eastern regions, which Russia denies.

Ukraine, one of the most energy inefficient countries in Europe, has been chronically behind on payments for the Russian natural gas needed to heat its homes and fuel its industries. In addition, Russia had been giving its neighbor cut-rate sweetheart deals on gas for various political reasons, a practice that came to a halt April 1.

Russia had demanded a payment of $1.95 billion by Monday for past-due bills. At talks over the weekend in Kiev, Ukraine was ready to accept a compromise of paying $1 billion now and more later, but Russia didn't accept the offer, the European Commission said.

Sergei Kupriyanov, spokesman for the Russian gas giant Gazprom, said since Ukraine missed the deadline, from now on it had to pay in advance. Yet that's a nearly impossible demand for the cash-strapped nation, which is fighting an insurgency and investigating possibly billions lost to corruption under its former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Europe gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia, and about half of that goes through the pipelines across Ukraine. In 2013, Ukraine imported nearly 26 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, just over half of its annual consumption.

Kupriyanov said Russian gas supplies for Europe will continue as planned and warned Ukraine to make sure they reach European customers.

Analyst Tim Ash at Standard Bank PLC said Ukraine could in theory simply take what it wants, since gas in the pipeline is intermingled. That would result in a shortage in gas to Europe that could hinder the buildup of stored gas ahead of the critical winter heating season.

"This is unlikely to bring a short-term hit to gas supply in Europe, but it will build up problems for the winter unless a deal is reached quickly," he said in an email.

Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary get 80 percent or more of their gas from Russia, while Poland, Austria and Slovenia get around 60 percent.

At a news conference in Moscow, Alexei Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, berated the Ukrainian government, saying it scoffed at compromise and was deliberately turning commercial negotiations into a political discourse.

"Ukraine will get as much gas as it pays for," Miller said Monday. "The risks to the (gas) transit are there and they're significant."

He said in order to prevent serious disruptions to supplies in winter, Ukraine needs to pump in gas to its underground storages before mid-October. The current amount of gas in storage is not enough for Europe to last through the winter, he said.

In Kiev, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk angrily rejected the Russian position, putting Gazprom's move on par with the annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

"We won't subsidize Gazprom," he said. "Ukrainians will not take $5 billion per year (out of their pockets) to let Russia spend this money on weapons, tanks and planes to bomb Ukrainian territory."

Gazprom had tolerated the late payments but now says Ukraine owes a total of $4.458 billion for gas from last year and this year.

In December, Russia offered Yanukovych a discounted price of $268.50 per thousand cubic meters after he backed out of an economic and political agreement with the EU. But Russia annulled all price discounts after Yanukovych was chased from power in February following months of protests, raising the gas price to $485 per thousand cubic meters starting April 1.

Russia has offered a future price of $385, the price that Ukraine was paying until December, but Kiev has insisted on a lower price. Miller scoffed at that demand, saying it was significantly below European market prices.

In Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, at a meeting with the Gazprom chief and other officials, called the Ukrainian position "absurd" and said it amounted to blackmail over the pipelines.

Ukraine's energy minister, Yuriy Prodan, said Ukraine was prepared for the Russian cutoff.

"We are providing reliable transit of gas and supplies to domestic consumers," he said, adding that Ukraine could do that because of lower seasonal demand and previously stored gas.

In a related case, Gazprom announced Monday that it is suing Ukraine's Naftogaz in an international court for the $4.5 billion. Naftogaz said it has also filed a suit against Gazprom, seeking a "fair and market-based price" for gas, as well as a $6 billion repayment for what it said were overpayments for gas from 2010.

EU spokeswoman Sabine Berger said EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger remained committed to helping broker a deal between Kiev and Moscow.

One reason for EU involvement is the current state of Ukrainian gas reserves. Berger said they now stand at around 13.5 billion cubic meters but need to be at 18-20 billion cubic meters at the end of the summer for Europe to have enough gas this winter.

Berger said the EU was working toward a deal that could allow shipments of gas to Ukraine via Slovakia.

Ukrainian consumers, however, will be facing higher prices no matter what Russia does. Previous governments had sold gas to consumers at about a fifth of what Naftogaz pays for it — leaving little incentive to conserve and saddling the government with huge deficits.

Ukraine's new government is in the process of raising domestic gas prices, a condition of its $17 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 16, 2014, 11:09:17 am
Ukrainian president proposes truce to push peace plan

KIEV (Reuters) - President Petro Poroshenko called on Monday for a truce in east Ukraine, where his government faces a rebellion by pro-Russian separatists, to provide time to seek agreement on a peace plan.

In a statement to security chiefs, Poroshenko said he had set government forces the task of regaining full control of Ukraine's border with Russia this week.

Once the frontier was secure, he said, a temporary ceasefire should be observed and efforts made to agree on a peace plan.

"Declaring a ceasefire while the border is open would be irresponsible," he said.

The separatists rose up against central rule in April following the removal of a president in Kiev who was sympathetic to Moscow, and Russia's subsequent annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. Scores of government troops, rebels and civilians have been killed in fighting since then.

Since he was sworn in on June 7, Poroshenko has been trying to win agreement for peace proposals, few details of which have been published. His efforts have included talks with a Russian envoy and a phone call with President Vladimir Putin.

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of arming the rebels in east Ukraine but Moscow denies the accusations.

Poroshenko said his proposals included constitutional changes to allow more decentralization of power, a demand by many people in eastern Ukraine. He did not say how long the truce he was proposing should last.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 17, 2014, 10:13:24 pm
Reverse gas flows to Ukraine 'legally sound' says EU

Brussels (AFP) - The EU is exploring alternative gas sources for Ukraine, the European Commission said on Tuesday, a day after Russia cut off a key energy flow that also feeds Europe.

With the Russian gas supply to Ukraine now halted, the EU is considering ways to replenish Kiev with imports from neighbouring Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

Moscow is strongly opposed to so-called "reverse flows", but the European Commission on Tuesday said the process was perfectly legal.

"The option of the reverse flows … is legally perfectly sound," said the EU's Energy Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger.

"There are possibilities (for Ukraine) to buy gas from European companies," she said.

Ever since the Ukraine-Russia gas feud erupted earlier this year, Gazprom has cast doubt on the legality of European companies, who are locked into their own Gazprom contracts, pumping gas back into Ukraine.

European energy groups "do not have the right to do that," Miller said again on Monday.

A Ukrainian delegation set out for Budapest on Tuesday to confirm support for "reverse flows", with Kiev confident it can win a cheaper price than what Russia is willing to offer.

Weeks of acrimonious debt and price negotiations broke up on Monday with Russia walking away from a compromise solution proposed in Kiev by the European Union's energy commissioner.

Ukraine receives half its gas from Russia and transports 15 percent of the fuel consumed in Europe -- a dependence that has not diminished despite similar supply disruptions in 2006 and 2009.

The reverse flow option did not exist at the time and was developed as a way to reduce the impact of any new cut-off from Russia.

The EU also said Tuesday that 500 million euros ($680 million), part of a 1.6 billion euro aid package, had been disbursed to Kiev, the proceeds of which could pay for the reverse flows.

Amid the gas dispute, the European Commission also said Russia's President Vladimir Putin had accepted a proposal for talks on the impact on Russia of a planned EU-Ukraine association accord.

Putin bitterly opposes the association accord which Ukraine's pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych ditched in November, setting off the current crisis, and called for talks with both Brussels and Kiev to discuss its impact on Russia.

"We are working at many levels to alleviate concerns," said European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, adding that officials from Moscow and Brussels had just held technical talks on the impact of the agreement on the Russian economy.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 20, 2014, 08:47:33 am
NATO reports new Russian troop build-up near Ukraine

NATO on Thursday reported another build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine as its new president put in place key pieces of his pro-Western government and embraced an EU trade pact that has been bitterly fought by the Kremlin.

Ukraine's parliament unanimously confirmed as foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin -- a charismatic 46-year-old ambassador to Germany who had spearheaded the EU negotiations and now represents Poroshenko at closed-door talks with Moscow.

Those high-stakes meetings and Poroshenko's late-night phone exchange on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin bolstered hopes for a solution to Ukraine's worst crisis since independence in 1991.

Poroshenko promised to soon unilaterally halt the army's 10-week push against pro-Russian insurgents who have proclaimed independence in Ukraine's eastern rustbelt -- a plan some fighters rejected but Moscow cautiously endorsed.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin called Klimkin "one of Ukraine's most experienced and well-known diplomats".

"We wish the new minister success and are ready for contact with him," the Russian diplomat said.

But the Kremlin's good will was immediately put in question by new charges from NATO that Putin had seen "at least a few thousand more" troops to the border in a reversal of a withdrawal he had begun at the start of the month.

"I consider this a very regrettable step backwards," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in London.

"It seems that Russia keeps the option open to intervene further into Ukraine."

NATO's findings -- met with stony silence in Moscow -- came on the heels of US charges that rocket launchers and even tanks were starting to cross the Russian border into the conflict zone.

Daily clashes that have now claimed at least 360 lives saw the Ukrainian border guard services on Thursday report "stepped up activities by rebel groups" near the Russian frontier.

US President Joe Biden called on Russia "to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border and to exercise its influence among the separatists... both of which Russia has thus far failed to do."

- EU trade alliance -

Poroshenko was certain to irritate Putin on Thursday by vowing to sign the trade and economic relations portion of an historic EU pact in Brussels on June 27.

The old Kremlin-backed leadership's rejection of the EU Association Agreement in November sparked months of deadly protests that led to the February ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.

The interim government headed by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political relations portion of the deal in Brussels on March 21.

But Kiev delayed signing the economic section because it demanded that Ukraine lift import barriers aimed at protecting its farmers and steel mills in the east from direct EU competition.

The complete pact's signing will effectively cut Ukraine off from a Moscow-led economic alliance of a few former Soviet nations championed by Putin.

Russia on Thursday once again threatened to impose trade restrictions against Ukraine should it sign the full EU deal.

- 'Positive signal to bankers' -

Poroshenko intends to keep Yatsenyuk -- a 40-year-old economist embraced by the West -- and most members of his cabinet.

The ministers represent the European aspirations of the energetic crowds that engineered Ukraine's second pro-Western revolution in a decade and are still viewed by many as the voice of the people.

But Poroshenko -- a 48-year-old chocolate baron with substantial knowledge of Western finance -- realised that he must act quickly to save Ukraine from spiralling inflation and a banking sector collapse.

His decision to appoint 49-year-old Valeria Gontareva as Ukraine's first female central bank chief -- backed comfortably by parliament on Thursday -- won immediate praise from IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

"I think that my appointment is a positive signal to bankers," Gontareva told reporters on her way out of the confirmation hearing.

"I hope it also will be a positive signal for foreign investors."

Gontareva has worked in international financial institutions for nearly two decades and held top positions in the Kiev branches of the Amsterdam-based ING Bank and France's Societe Generale.

She will play a vital role in turning around the economy by implementing painful economic reforms prescribed under the terms of a $17-billion (12.5-billion-euro) IMF rescue loan.

"She has a good understanding of financial culture," said Vasyl Yurchyshyn, an analyst with the Razumkov Economic and Political Studies Centre.

"We should expect more transparency, openness and clarity in the central bank's work."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 21, 2014, 06:35:56 pm
Vladimir Putin orders Russian troops onto 'combat alert' as Ukraine fighting spills across border Tensions between Moscow and Kiev continue to mount with Vladimir Putin's latest show of force as Russia dismisses Petro Poroshenko's 


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 26, 2014, 01:39:32 pm
Thousands flee Ukraine for Russia; truce nears end

IZVARYNE, Ukraine (AP) — Thousands of Ukrainians in cars stuffed with belongings lined up Thursday at the eastern border to cross into Russia, with some saying they felt betrayed by their government and vowing never to return.

A commander at the rebel-controlled border post southeast of the city of Luhansk said 5,000 people had left by evening, joining a stream he said has continued unabated through a shaky cease-fire set to expire on Friday.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have sought safety in Russia since the fighting began two months ago between government troops and Moscow-backed separatist fighters.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday called on Russia to support his peace plan "with deeds, not words" as the weeklong cease-fire neared its end in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said they too were looking for more action from Moscow ahead of a summit on Friday of European Union leaders, who will be considering a new round of punitive sanctions on Russia.

The summit also will see Ukraine sign a sweeping trade agreement with the EU that will bind it more closely to the West. It was the former Ukrainian president's sudden decision late last year to back out of the EU deal under pressure from Russia that led to his ouster and triggered the current crisis.

By declaring a cease-fire only through Friday morning, Poroshenko may have been trying to push forward the peace process ahead of the EU summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged him to extend the truce and hold talks with the separatists, who have declared independence in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Poroshenko announced Thursday that representatives of the mutinous regions have agreed to talks with the Russian ambassador, a former Ukrainian president representing Poroshenko, and a European envoy. The first round of talks on Monday brought rebel leaders to the negotiating table for the first time.

Russian news agencies quoted Andrei Purgin, a leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, as saying the next round would be held Friday in Donetsk.

Poroshenko has shown willingness to extend the cease-fire and his next step may hinge on the outcome of the talks.

It was unclear how many Ukrainians will end up settling in Russia. Russia's migration service said last week that it had registered the arrival of 90,000 Ukrainians, but few asked for refugee status because it would oblige them to stay in Russia for at least six months.

Many of those at the Izvaryne crossing on Thursday were taking household items, including refrigerators. One family from a village south of Slovyansk, a separatist stronghold that has come under frequent shelling from the military, said they "hated Ukraine" and would not return.

The rebel commander, who would give only his first name, Alexander, said whenever there was a spike in the hostilities the flow of refugees would increase. The day before the cease-fire was announced, the line to cross the border stretched for 5 kilometers (3 miles).

The United Nations estimates that from April 15 to June 20, 423 people, including servicemen and civilians, were killed in eastern Ukraine.

Even though some rebel groups agreed to observe the cease-fire, Poroshenko said 18 government troops have been killed this week. Separatist leaders also have reported deaths among rebel fighters.

Speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Thursday, Poroshenko urged Moscow to stop the flow of fighters from Russia and take other steps to end the conflict.

"Without that, we cannot talk about peace," Poroshenko said. "Support the peace plan with deeds, not words."

Kerry, speaking in Paris, said "it is critical for Russia to show in the next hours, literally, that they're moving to help disarm the separatists, to encourage them to disarm."

Merkel also stressed the importance for Russia to show its commitments "in the coming hours," saying that Germany will "have to decide how we will further proceed" on possible sanctions against Russia after a meeting with Poroshenko on Friday.

Putin and Merkel spoke by phone on Thursday, discussing extending the cease-fire and releasing people held by armed rebels, the Kremlin said.

Germany also announced that it was easing its immigration restrictions for Jews from Ukraine due to reports of an increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the crisis broke out.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on June 27, 2014, 03:41:12 am
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova sign partnership agreements with the European Union, in a move opposed by Russia http://t.co/S4cyYEetei - @BBCBreaking

Russia warns "grave consequences" will follow Ukraine's signing of EU agreement http://t.co/2JFUf4YQCp - @BBCBreaking

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 27, 2014, 09:42:52 pm
Ukraine extends ceasefire by 72 hours until Monday

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine on Friday extended a government forces' ceasefire against separatist rebels by 72 hours until 10 p.m. on Monday, the website of President Petro Poroshenko said.

The announcement came shortly after Poroshenko returned to Kiev from Brussels where he signed a landmark free trade deal at a European Union summit.

The ceasefire extension had been undertaken, it said, in line with a deadline set by EU leaders for Ukrainian rebels to agree to ceasefire verification arrangements, return border checkpoints to Kiev authorities and free hostages including detained monitors of the OSCE rights and security watchdog.

At a separate meeting, Poroshenko and national security chiefs said that during the next 72 hours recruitment centers for Russian fighters across the border in Russia should be closed.

Movements of rebel forces around the east and the setting-up of rebel checkpoints or barricades should also cease.

Ukrainian government forces would have the right to end the ceasefire ahead of time in any areas where ceasefire conditions were not being implemented, the announcement said.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 30, 2014, 07:22:45 pm
Ukrainian president ends unilateral ceasefire

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was abandoning a unilateral cease-fire in the conflict with pro-Russian separatists and sending military forces back on the offensive after talks with Russia and European leaders failed to start a broader peace process.

Poroshenko's decision, announced shortly after the much-violated 10-day cease-fire expired, raises the prospect of renewed escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 400 people.

A grave Poroshenko made a televised address early Tuesday vowing that "we will attack, and we will free our country." The cease-fire expired at 10 p.m. Monday.

There was no immediate sign of a response from Russia early Tuesday.

The idea behind the truce announced June 20 was to give pro-Russian rebels a chance to disarm and to start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections. Poroshenko, a wealthy candy magnate elected May 25, had already extended the cease-fire from seven days.

But rebels did not disarm, and the cease-fire was continually violated, with both sides blaming each other. Rebels called the cease-fire fake and did not yield to Poroshenko's latest push to get them to turn over key border crossings with Russia and permit international monitoring.

"The unique chance to put the peace plan into practice was not realized," Poroshenko said. "This happened because of the criminal actions of the fighters." He said the militants violated the truce "more than a hundred times."

Poroshenko said the government was ready to go back to the cease-fire "at any moment, when we see that all sides are keeping to the basic points of the peace plan."

"Peace is, was and will be my goal," he added. "Only the instruments of achieving it are changing. ... The defense of Ukraine's territorial integrity, of the security and lives of peaceful citizens, demands not just defensive but offensive action against the terrorist militants."

Poroshenko said he made the decision after a meeting of the national security council. "After discussion of the situation, I, as commander in chief, took the decision not to continue the unilateral cease-fire."

"Ending the cease-fire, this is our answer to terrorists, armed insurgents and looters, to all who mock the peaceful population, who are paralyzing the economy of the region ... who are depriving people of a normal, peaceful life," Poroshenko said in his speech.

Poroshenko's decision followed four-way talks in search of a solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Monday as the deadline approached. He issued a statement after the talks ended, saying the key conditions needed to continue the cease-fire had not been met.

European leaders and the U.S. have urged Russia to use its influence with the rebels to ease the bloodshed and have threatened to impose another round of economic sanctions against Moscow.

While Putin has expressed support for the cease-fire, the West has accused Russia of sending weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. Russia says any Russians there have gone as private citizens.

Tension between Russia and Ukraine escalated in February when protests by people who wanted closer ties with the European Union drove pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych from office. Russia called that an illegal coup and seized Ukraine's Crimea region, saying it was protecting the rights of people there who speak Russian as their main language.

The insurrection in the eastern regions near the Russian border started soon afterward, with separatists occupying buildings and declaring independence.

Poroshenko said he meant for a cease-fire to be followed by an amnesty for fighters who had not considered serious crimes, and political concessions such as early local and regional elections, protections for speakers of Russian and, in the longer term, changes to the constitution to decentralize power to the regions.

The end of the cease-fire raises the question of what action the Ukrainian military can take. It has so far been unable to dislodge rebels occupying the city of Slovyansk or to retake control of three key border crossings with Russia. At one point, the rebels shot down a government military transport, killing 49 service members.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 10, 2014, 04:45:46 pm
Donetsk Separatist: Prepare for 'Several Hundred Thousand Refugees'

MOSCOW – A voluntary evacuation of residents will begin from the embattled east Ukraine city of Dontesk, a pro-Russia separatist leader warned Thursday amid fresh fighting. A substantial number of people are already preparing to leave and railway and bus stations are busy, local media reported. "Russia needs to prepare for several hundred thousand refugees. Nearly all of them want to go to Russian Federation," the prime minister of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk republic, Alexander Borodai told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Ukrainian government forces have recently gained the upper hand in the three-month conflict against separatists in the Russian-speaking eastern regions, and the military says it has a plan to deliver a "nasty surprise" to the heavily-armed separatists who have dug in at Donetsk after being pushed out of Slaviansk last weekend. There was heavy fighting Thursday between Ukrainian forces and the rebel fighters near Donetsk airport, according to the city’s mayor and the separatist commander, Igor Strekov.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 11, 2014, 11:57:55 am
A Proposed Russian Gas Pipeline Could Divide Europe

With the Ukraine crisis ratcheting up tensions between the European Union and Russia, Europe is more eager than ever to find other natural gas suppliers. But a proposed new Russian gas pipeline is making that difficult, and threatening to divide a continent that has pledged solidarity in Ukraine's wake.

This week, Russian officials pushed forward with plans to build South Stream, a 578-mile-long pipeline that would ferry up to 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas under the Black Sea and into southeastern Europe. That route would bypass Ukraine, which currently transports the majority of Europe's Russian gas imports. 

The project is highly controversial. Some tout the short-term economic benefits of added gas supply and infrastructure, while others worry about the long-term risks of an expanded relationship with a mercurial supplier. 

Western officials have to some extent succeeded in blocking the pipeline's construction, on the grounds that it gives Russia increased leverage over Europe on Ukraine and other energy negotiations. But on Tuesday, a subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom announced it had signed a contract with Serbia to begin construction on its section of South Stream. The same day, Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini talked up the importance of the project in an interview with ITAR-Tass, a government-owned Russian media organization.   

"South Stream has always been a project of strategic significance for Italy since it would help to diversify routes for the Russian natural gas supplies, eventually enhancing energy security both for Italy and the European Union,” Ms. Mogherini said, according to ITAR-Tass.

In the short term, South Stream could provide Europe with additional supplies of natural gas, a critical heating and electricity fuel, and economic opportunities for parts of Europe hit hardest by the global economic recession. It would also guard against any supply disruptions in Ukraine – something that has already happened twice before, and could happen again.

"What everybody understands but are not saying officially is the energy security issue is not about Russia supply but about the Ukraine transit route," Chris Weafer, founding partner of Macro-Advisory, a Moscow-based business and investment consulting group, writes in an e-mail. 

Last month, Russia shut off gas supplies to Ukraine, after the former Soviet republic failed to pay down the billions Russia says it owes in unpaid gas bills. That hasn't disrupted flows to Europe yet, but a prolonged shutoff could complicate the future of Europe's energy supply.   

It's why some, mostly in southeastern Europe, see South Stream as a boon to the continent's energy security. That's why after Ukrainian disruptions in 2009, Germany worked with Russia to build Nord Stream, a pipeline that sidesteps Ukraine to bring roughly 50 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Western Europe each year. Now, Bulgaria and other countries along South Stream's proposed route say they are equally entitled to secure their own economic interests.   

"Bulgaria’s political elites see it as hypocritical behavior given some EU countries that are demanding Bulgaria drop the project also receive gas shipments from Russia," Amanda Paul, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, writes in an e-mail. "Hence EU solidarity is fragile because of the different situations of different member states."

But in the long term, more gas from Russia does little in the way of diversifying supply or make those supplies more affordable, says Kristine Berzina, a program officer on energy and society in the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels office. European countries that rely almost wholly on Russian gas pay some of the highest prices for it because they are negotiating with a monopoly. Another Russian pipeline also means paying for more infrastructure and gas supply on a continent that has seen flat or even falling energy demand. And Gazprom's tendency to own both natural gas supply and distribution goes against EU energy policy.

"Having Russia versus Russia doesn’t push down the price of gas," Ms. Berzina says in a telephone interview. "Having access to additional or different suppliers would help put prices down and help energy security in that particular sense."

Post by: Mark on July 17, 2014, 11:08:12 am

A passenger plane with 295 people on board has been shot down as it flew above eastern Ukraine, according to aviation sources.

The Malaysia Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 10km (6.2 miles) when it was shot down, Russia's Interfax reported.

The Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry quoted by the news agency said.
A map showing Ukraine and Russia

The adviser said the 280 passengers and 15 crew members who were on the plane are all believed to have died.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has ordered an immediate investigation into what he described as a "catastrophe".

A spokesman for Malaysian Airlines, still reeling from the loss of flight MH370 in March, confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17, which departed from Amsterdam at 12.14pm local time.

The flight disappeared from radar as it flew over Ukrainian airspace, the spokesman said.

Sky's Katie Stallard, in Moscow, said media reports suggest the plane came down in the Donetsk region, where there has been recent heavy fighting amid continuing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Data from Flightradar24 suggests the plane had just passed the city of Kremenchuk, around 300km (186 miles) from the Russian border, when it disappeared.

Several videos apparently filmed in the area, none of which Sky News has been able to independently verify, show plumes of thick, black smoke rising high into the air.

An aviation source told the Reuters news agency the wreckage of a burning aircraft had been found on the ground.

Aviation expert Major Charles Hayman told Sky News: "It's highly likely this aircraft was flying along a fault line between Russian and Ukrainian defences.

"It’s possible the Ukrainians flapped a bit, thought it was hostile and shot it down.

"Perhaps it was confusion at the Ukrainian air defence centre.

"It looks like someone failed to recognise this was a civilian plane and shot it down."

A spokesman for Boeing said it was aware of reports of MH17's disappearance, while a Foreign Office official added: "We're urgently working to establish what has happened."

More follows...


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on July 17, 2014, 11:10:48 am
Boeing 777 Travelling From Amsterdam With 295 On Board...

MALAYSIAN AIRLINES lost contact with flight...

REPORT: Was flying at 33,000 feet when hit by missile fired from a Buk launcher...

Crashed 35 miles from Russian border...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 23, 2014, 06:13:50 pm
July 23, 2014
Oil and natural gas sales accounted for 68% of Russia’s total export revenues in 2013


Russia is a major exporter of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Sales of these fuels accounted for 68% of Russia's total export revenues in 2013, based on data from Russia's Federal Customs Service. Russia received almost four times as much revenue from exports of crude oil and petroleum products as from natural gas. Crude oil exports alone were greater in value than the value of all non-oil and natural gas exports.

Europe, including Turkey, receives most of Russia's exports of crude oil and products, as well as virtually all exports of natural gas. Asia (especially China) receives substantial volumes of crude oil and some liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia. Recently, Russia finalized a 30-year, $400 billion deal to supply China with natural gas from fields in Eastern Siberia, which will further increase Russian export revenues. North America imports some Russian petroleum products, particularly unfinished oils used in refineries.

Although Russia exports less crude oil and less natural gas than it consumes domestically, domestic sales of crude oil and natural gas are much lower in value than exports because of vertical integration of the oil and natural gas industry and subsidized domestic prices.

Many Russian oil firms are vertically integrated, owning both the oil fields and refineries that process crude oil. These firms can sell crude oil directly to their own refineries at low prices. Domestic natural gas prices are also subsidized, forcing Russian companies like Gazprom to use export revenue to fund investment in new infrastructure and projects. EIA estimates that Russian domestic sales of natural gas and crude oil were about $20 billion in 2013, based on data from IHS Energy.

Although revenue from domestic sales of crude oil and natural gas in 2013 was significantly lower than revenue from exports, Russian domestic sales of petroleum products, particularly motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil, were approximately $102 billion, similar to revenue from product exports.

Oil and natural gas activities make up a large portion of Russia's federal budget. According to the Ministry of Finance, 50% of Russia's federal budget revenue in 2013 came from mineral extraction taxes and export customs duties on oil and natural gas.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 27, 2014, 02:45:09 pm
US: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border.

The images, which came from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and could not be independently verified by The Associated Press, show blast marks where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. Officials said the images show heavy weapons fired between July 21 and July 26 — after the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The four-page memo is part of the Obama administration's push to hold Russia accountable for its activities in neighboring Ukraine and the release could help to persuade the United States' European allies to apply harsher sanctions on Russia.

The timing of the memo also could be aimed at dissuading Russia from further military posturing. The Pentagon said just days ago that the movement of Russian heavy-caliber artillery systems across its border into Ukraine was "imminent."

Russian officials have denied allegations of Russia's involvement in eastern Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Sunday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but details about their discussion have not yet been released by the State Department.

The U.S. images claim to show multiple rocket launchers fired at Ukrainian forces from within Ukraine and from Russian soil. One image shows dozens of craters around a Ukrainian military unit and rockets that can travel more than seven miles.

The memo said one image provides evidence that Russian forces have "fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces and that Russian-backed separatists have used heavy artillery provided by Russia in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine."

Another satellite image depicted in the memo shows "ground scarring at multiple rocket launch sites on the Russian side of the border oriented in the direction of Ukraine military units within Ukraine."

"The wide areas of impact near the Ukrainian military units indicates fire from multiple rocket launchers," the memo said.

Moreover, the memo included a satellite image that it stated is evidence of self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units "on the Russian side of the border oriented in the direction of a Ukrainian military unit within Ukraine."

Tensions have run high in that region since Russia seized Crimea in March and Washington has been highly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin's behavior.

More recently, U.S. intelligence officials have said they have what they call a solid circumstantial case that Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine are responsible for downing the Malaysia Airlines plane. Citing satellite imagery, intercepted conversations and social media postings, officials say a Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile hit the plane on July 17.

Moscow angrily denies any involvement in the attack.

U.S. officials said they still don't know who fired the missile or whether Russian military officers were present when it happened. But until Sunday, they were unwilling to share evidence that the separatists had the technology to down a plane.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 29, 2014, 07:07:30 pm
U.S. expands economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the United States has expanded sanctions against Russia over its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Obama said the sanctions targeted energy, defense and finance sectors of the Russian economy.

"If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow," Obama said.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 29, 2014, 07:17:13 pm
EU adopts tough new sanctions on Russia

BRUSSELS (AP) — Shocked into action by the downing of the Malaysian airliner and the resulting deaths of more than 200 Europeans, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions Tuesday against Russia, to be followed swiftly by similar punitive measures from the U.S.

The new sanctions adopted by the Europeans over the uprising in Ukraine include an arms embargo on Moscow and a ban on the unapproved sale to the Russians of technology that has dual military and civilian uses or is sensitive, such as advanced equipment used in deep-sea and Arctic oil drilling, EU officials said.

To restrict Russia's access to Europe's capital markets, EU citizens and banks will be barred from purchasing certain bonds or stocks issued by state-owned Russian banks, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public statements.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and the head of the EU's executive, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, said the 28-nation bloc meant to send a "strong warning" to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the "illegal annexation" of Crimea and Russia's destabilization of Ukraine cannot be tolerated.

"Furthermore, when the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response," the two top EU officials said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was blown out of the sky by a missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 people aboard, most of them Europeans. The Obama administration has blamed separatists armed and supported by Russia.

The new EU sanctions bring Europe in sync with the U.S., which has been pressing the bloc to take a harder line against Moscow.

Europe, which has a much larger trade relationship with Russia than the U.S. does, had hesitated to take actions as strong as Washington's for fear among some leaders that sanctions could boomerang against their own economies.

Germany, for example, imports one-third of its gas from Russia, while France has a contract to deliver two warships.

But on Monday, in a rare videoconference call with President Barack Obama, the leaders of Britain, Germany, Italy and France expressed their willingness to slap new sanctions on Russia in coordination with the U.S.

Up to now, the EU had only targeted specific individuals, businesses or rebel organizations accused of undermining Ukraine.

"Unlike the Americans, we always have to get 28 countries together," German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview with ARD television. "And the interests are very different. All the same, I think that we — at the latest with the shooting-down of this plane — have a situation in which we cannot simply carry on in the same way."

The U.S. hailed the Europeans' harder line.

"We welcome these early indications that European countries are going to take additional steps today," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. He said further U.S. penalties would be announced as early as Tuesday.

The West has accused Russia of supplying weapons and fighters to Ukraine's pro-Moscow separatists in the uprising that has killed more than 1,000 people since mid-April.

In the past few days, the U.S. has also accused Russia of massing 15,000 troops at the border, unleashing artillery attacks on Ukraine from its territory, and shipping more heavy weaponry to the rebels.

"It is now up to the Russian leadership to decide whether it wants to choose the path of de-escalation and cooperation," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday.

The new EU actions will be published Thursday, when they will take immediate effect.

The ambassadors also added eight names to the list of people subject to asset freezes and travel bans, including four people close to Putin, an EU official said. In addition, the ambassadors put three more entities on the list of companies and organizations subject to sanctions.

Paul Ivan, a policy analyst with the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based think tank, said that because of Russia's "lack of cooperation" in helping bring about a peaceful solution in Ukraine, the EU had been moving toward hardening its stance in the days before the jetliner was shot down.

But "the killing of so many of its citizens and especially the undignified way of treating the bodies in the days after, just added to (Europe's) frustration," Ivan said.

"I think EU leaders realized that this is not just a small localized conflict that they can half-ignore, and the feeling of moral outrage has forced even the more reluctant ones to follow."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 01, 2014, 03:33:59 pm
Russia And Germany Allegedly Working On Secret "Gas For Land" Deal

While many were amused by this photo of Putin and Merkel during the world cup final showing Europe's two most important leaders siding side by side, some were more curious by just what the two were scheming:

Thanks to the Independent, we may know the answer, and it is a doozy, because according to some it is nothing shy of a sequel to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: allegedly Germany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over the Ukraine, one which would negotiate to trade Crimea's sovereignty for guarantees on energy security and trade. The Independent reveals that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, "hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies."

Amusingly, this comes on the day when the WSJ leads with "On Hold: Merkel Gives Putin a Blunt Message. Germany's Backing of Russia Sanctions Marks Breach in Pivotal European Relationship" in which we read that " Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for at least the 30th time since the Ukraine crisis erupted. She had a blunt message, according to people briefed on the phone conversation: Call me if you have progress to report in defusing the conflict. That was July 20. The two leaders haven't spoken since."

They may or may not have spoken since, but it is not because Putin has "no progress to report" - it's because the two leaders have come to a secret agreement which will hardly make Ukraine, or most of Europe, not to mention the UN, happy as it requires that Crimea be permanently handed over to Russia in exchange for Russian gas, which has been cut off for a month now due to non-payment by Kiev.

Here is how the deal came to happen:

    Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.

    At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with the Ukraine’s new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.

    Second, the Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russia’s Gazprom, the giant gas supplier, for future gas supplies and pricing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraine’s gas supplies are running low and are likely to run out before this winter, which would spell economic and social ruin for the country.

    As part of the deal, Russia would compensate Ukraine with a billion-dollar financial package for the loss of the rent it used to pay for stationing its fleets in the Crimea and at the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea until Crimea voted for independence in March.

To be sure, in the aftermath of the MH-17 shooting, which in light of this revelation would clearly not benefit Russia, negotiations have stalled they are expected to restart once the investigation has taken place. “It is in everyone’s interests to do a deal. Hopefully, talks will be revived if a satisfactory outcome can be reached to investigations now taking place as to the causes of the MH17 catastrophe."

But while Germany can't wait to put the Ukraine conflict behind it and restore normal Russian relations (see Adidas' record plunge earlier today, blamed on the Ukraine conflict) others are far more eager to stir the pot some more: "A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they had no knowledge of such negotiations taking place. However, the spokesman said he thought it highly unlikely that either the US or UK would agree to recognising Russian control over Crimea. There was no one available at the German embassy’s press office yesterday."

Which, of course, goes back to the fundamental question behind the Eurozone experiment: just who calls the shots. And despite what the UK (and certainly France) believe, that one person was and continues to be Merkel.  And at the end of the day, pragmatic Germany knows that for all the posturing and rhetoric, the biggest loser from a western embargo of Russia (which is now actively shifting its attention to China and now India) would be Germany itself.

    [S ]trong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in the Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.

    Some of Germany’s biggest companies have big operations in Russia, which is now one of Europe’s biggest car markets, while many of its small to medium companies are also expanding into the country. Although Russia now provides EU countries with a third of their gas supplies through pipelines crossing the Ukraine, Germany has its own bilateral gas pipeline direct to Russia making it less vulnerable than other European countries.

    However, Russia is still the EU’s third-biggest trading partner with cross-border trade of $460bn (£272bn) last year, and the latest sanctions being introduced by the EU towards Russian individuals and banks will hurt European countries more than any other – particularly Germany, but also the City of London.

Curiously, if there is one entity that could scuttle the deal it is, no surprise there, the US.

    Central to the negotiations over any new gas deal with Gazprom is understood to be one of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessmen, the gas broker, Dmitry Firtash. Mr Firtash – who negotiated the first big gas deal between the Ukraine and Russia between 2006 and 2009 – is now living in Vienna fighting extradition charges from the Americans. But he has close relations with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders – he supported Mr Poroschenko – and has been acting as a go-between behind the scenes at the highest levels.

Incidentally, the same Americans which over the past 2 years has been desperate to start a regional war in any one part of the globe in order to break some more windows and boost GDP courtesy of the tried and true "Military Industrial Complex" GDP boost. Which is why if indeed the Ukraine peace process is in the arms of the US, then perhaps Putin's advisor was spot on when he said that "There is a war coming in Europe." Compliments of the United States?

Finally, for those wondering how much of the Independent's story is a fabrication, here is Germany denying it all:


Which, if Jean-Claude Juncker is any indication, seals it.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 07, 2014, 05:54:36 am
Faced with Western sanctions, Moscow resorts to food fight

As Western countries launch each new salvo of sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Moscow has returned fire with bans on food imports -- ostensibly for consumer protection.

Milk, cheese and onions from Ukraine, Greek peaches, Serbian prunes, Polish apples and cabbage, Spanish meat -- according to Russia's food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor all these products contain toxic elements, are infected with dangerous bacteria or violate other regulations.

In recent weeks, while Brussels and Washington discussed new sanctions, Rosselkhoznadzor on a near daily basis has uncovered a new foreign food threat to Russian consumers, ordering bans on products from the EU or United States.

Last Friday, it was Poland who had a ban slapped on its fruit and vegetables for "repeated violations" of food safety certificates.

One of the staunchest supporters of the Ukrainian government, which is battling pro-Russian separatists allegedly supported by Moscow, Poland has now lost a market worth more than one billion euros ($1.3 billion) per year, according to official statistics.

Before that, the watchdog had imposed bans on Ukrainian potatoes, soya, juice, canned fruit and vegetables, milk, cheese and other agricultural products because of traces of antibiotics or labelling violations.

Rosselkhoznadzor has also threatened to block powdered milk from EU member Latvia, US chickens and bourbon and all Ukrainian food products.

- 'Measures resemble revenge' -

The reason cited by the Russian authorities for the bans is always the same -- consumer protection and the health of the population -- but never political motives.

"What political decision?" said the head of agriculture committee of the Russian Parliament, Nikolai Pankov, this past week.

"Ukraine is a country at war... Why should we import meat, for example, (from animals) killed by mortar fire?"

Rosselkhoznadzor is operating in step with consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor, whose previous chief Gennady Onishchenko was flippantly dubbed the "minister of foreign microbes" during Russia's previous fights with trade partners.

"It is clearly, in reality, a reaction to sanctions, a continuation of diplomacy by other means," said Russian political analyst Konstantin Kalachev.

"All these measures resemble revenge against countries perceived as hostile."

Russia has often been accused of using trade as a weapon, in particular citing health reasons to ban food imports as a means to pressure its neighbours.

It slapped a ban on wine from Georgia in 2006 as the ex-Soviet nation pursued an increasingly Western-oriented policy, hitting its biggest export item to Russia. The embargo was tightened when the two fought a brief war in 2008, and was lifted only last year.

More recently Moscow limited imports of meat, fruit and wine from Moldova after the ex-Soviet republic signed a free trade deal with the EU in June.

Previously Moldova, like Ukraine, had benefitted from privileged trade relations with Russia.

Moscow has warned it may need to take protective measures to shield its economy and consumers as the two ex-Soviet countries begin implementing the free trade deals with the EU.

- 'Propaganda effect' -

Russia may be able to replace some imports by turning to other countries, but it is still heavily dependent on food imports, which account for around a third of total consumption.

Its self-sufficiency is also undermined by being heavily dependent on imported seeds, pesticides and farm equipment.

Yet Europe is not the only region to have been targeted, with Moscow slapping a near total ban on imports of US meat in 2013 after the US Senate approved sanctions against numerous Russian officials.

US fast food giant McDonald's is also feeling the heat.

Consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor has filed a court case seeking to block a range of the burger restaurant's products for mislabelling the calorie content and not meeting food safety regulations.

"We found violations that make us doubt the quality and safety of food products in the entire McDonald's chain," a spokeswoman for Rospotrebnadzor said.

McDonald's, which has operated in Russia since January 1990 and now has 430 locations throughout the country, said the consumer watchdog had not informed the company of its complaints.

"Other than their economic effects, these measures have a larger propaganda effect: Russia's self-sufficiency and import substitution," said Kalachev.

"These measures are supported by a majority of Russian society because people don't feel they have suffered at all," he added.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 07, 2014, 05:56:20 am
Russia Sanctions Accelerate Risk to Dollar Dominance

U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia threaten to hasten a move away from the dollar that’s been stirring since the global financial crisis.

One place the shift has become evident is Hong Kong, where dollar selling has led the central bank to buy more than $9.5 billion since July 1 to prevent its currency from rallying as the sanctions stoked speculation of an influx of Russian cash. OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest wireless operator, shifted some cash holdings into the city’s dollar. Trading of the Chinese yuan versus the Russian ruble rose to the highest on July 31 since the end of 2010, according to the Moscow Exchange.

While no one’s suggesting the dollar will lose its status as the main currency of business any time soon, its dominance is ebbing. The greenback’s share of global reserves has already shrunk to under 61 percent from more than 72 percent in 2001. The drumbeat has only gotten louder since the financial crisis in 2008, an event that began in the U.S. when subprime-mortgage loans soured, and the largest emerging-market nations including Russia have vowed to conduct more business in their currencies.

“The crisis created a rethink of the dollar-denominated world that we live in,” said Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Corp.’s U.S. Trust, which oversees about $380 billion. “This nasty turn between Russia and the West related to sanctions, that can be an accelerator toward a more multicurrency world.”

Such a transformation may take as long as 25 years, with the dollar remaining “top of the heap” even as other currencies play a greater role, Quinlan said, speaking by phone on Aug. 4 from New York.
Weapons Embargo

The U.S. and EU announced further restrictions on trade with Russia over its support of insurgents in Ukraine on July 29. The additional sanctions limit state-owned banks’ access to European and U.S. capital markets. Europe also imposed an embargo on weapons sales while the U.S. added a shipbuilder to a list of blocked defense-technology entities.

MegaFon, a Moscow-based company that hasn’t been targeted by the sanctions, is moving funds into the Hong Kong dollar, Chief Financial Officer Gevork Vermishyan said in a phone interview last week. Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s wireless operator has traditionally kept its foreign cash in U.S. dollars and euros, according to the company.
Wealth Exits

OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, is also keeping some of its cash in the Asian currency, two people with knowledge of the situation said last week, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The nickel producer keeps its free cash-flow in a variety of currencies and instruments, spokesman Petr Likholitov said last week, declining to elaborate or comment on the use of Hong Kong dollars.

In addition, rich Russians are looking to move funds to banks in Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, Danilo Lacmanovic, chief executive officer of Moscow-based Third Rome LLC, which manages $400 million on behalf of high net-worth individuals, said in a phone interview yesterday.

Dollar Trials

Since the U.S. currency replaced gold as the bedrock of the financial system after World War II, the greenback has weathered numerous crises. It emerged from the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, endured the introduction of the euro almost three decades later and maintained its status as a haven currency even when the 2008 collapse spread from Wall Street to economies around the world.

The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary stimulus to stem that crisis channeled cash into the economy through debt purchases, leading nations including Brazil and Germany to claim the U.S. was debasing its currency.

The crunch increased interest in tenders divorced from a single nation’s strength, spurring the International Monetary Fund to boost almost 10-fold the allocation of special drawing rights, a reserve asset whose value is based on a basket of currencies, and fueling demand for so-called virtual currencies, such as bitcoin.

A $9 billion fine imposed on BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, by U.S. regulators in June has also made some institutions wary of the penalties dealing in dollars can bring, according to Steven Englander, the head of Group of 10 currency strategy at Citigroup Inc. in New York.

BNP was banned from clearing certain dollar-denominated commodity trades for a year after the lender admitted to violating U.S. restrictions on doing business with Iran, Sudan and Cuba.
Geopolitical ‘Baggage’

“You used to think that you had to worry about the Fed and about the supply of dollars and the monetary policy reaction function, and now you have to worry about potentially sanctions and other kind of regulatory liabilities, so it’s baggage,” said Englander, speaking by phone on Aug. 4. “If you see yourself on the receiving end in some geopolitical dispute with the U.S., holding liquid dollar assets is risky.”

The risk may be something institutions stomach in the near term. About 38.8 percent of global payments by value were denominated in the U.S. currency in January 2014, up from 29.7 percent in January 2012, according to data compiled by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift. Use of the euro slipped from 44 percent to 33.5 percent of transactions over the same period.
Dollar World

The dollar’s share of foreign-exchange transactions has also increased. Buying or selling the greenback against another currency accounted for 87 percent of all trades in April 2013, about two percentage points more than in 2010, according to a September report from the Bank for International Settlements.

Dollar pairs comprised about $705 billion of the $811 billion average daily volume seen by North American financial institutions this April, the Fed-sponsored Foreign Exchange Committee said last week.

“You can’t escape the stratosphere,” Sebastien Galy, a senior currency strategist at Societe Generale SA in New York, said Aug. 1. It’s “a broad dollar world which is dominating everything and the consequences are suffered when there’s mismanagement of the system. But it’s one that has no good alternative at this point in time.”

The U.S. currency climbed against all 16 major peers last month as fighting in Ukraine and the downing of a Malaysian jet over the country enhanced the appeal of haven assets. It extended gains today as NATO warned of a Russian incursion in Ukraine under the “pretext” of a humanitarian mission, pushing its advance to 2.5 percent against the euro since the start of last month. It traded at $1.3354 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York.

Citigroup forecasts a rally to $1.33 per euro by the end of the year, compared with a median forecast in a Bloomberg strategist survey of $1.32. SocGen predicts an advance to $1.32.
China Challenge

China is making a push for greater use of its currency in international trade. The People’s Bank of China extended a yuan swap line to Switzerland in July after agreeing a facility with the European Central Bank last year. The nation also agreed to allow companies to clear yuan-denominated transactions in London and Frankfurt for the first time.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought U.S. dollars in the foreign-exchange market this week to curb gains in the local dollar, which is pegged to the greenback, after purchasing $8.4 billion in July, the most since at least October 2012.

Sanctions show the potential for an increasing reliance on economic measures -- such as restricting the use of a currency - - as “an alternative to military” action, according to Marc Chandler, the chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York.

“This represents a big step in the evolution of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia,” he said by phone on Aug. 4. “The real challenge is converting that financial power into political influence.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 07, 2014, 09:17:37 am
Russia Threatens to Block Overflights Between Europe, Asia

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned on Thursday that Russia could block overflights between Europe and Asia in retaliation for Western sanctions.

Mr Medvedev said that closing the use of Russian airspace, which saves Western airlines large amounts in fuel costs, was a "serious measure" being considered in response to sanctions that have shut down Russia's first lowcost airline.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 07, 2014, 10:50:01 am
Russian bombers penetrated U.S. airspace at least 16 times in past 10 days

Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations, according to U.S. defense officials.

The numerous flight encounters by Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers prompted the scrambling of U.S. jet fighters on several occasions, and come amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine.

Also, during one bomber incursion near Alaska, a Russian intelligence-gathering jet was detected along with the bombers.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/7/russian-bombers-penetrated-us-airspace-least-16-ti/#ixzz39iowQWOg

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 07, 2014, 07:38:19 pm
Russia Delivers Blow To Petrodollar In Historic $20 Billion Iran Oil Deal

GoldCore: Russia signed a historic $20 billion oil deal with Iran to bypass both western sanctions and the dollar based western monetary system yesterday.

Currency wars are set to escalate as the petro dollar’s decline continues.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh signed a five-year memorandum of understanding in Moscow, which included cooperation in the oil sector.

“Based on Iran’s proposal, we will participate in arranging shipments of crude oil, including to the Russian market,” Novak was quoted as saying.

The five year accord will see Russia help Iran “organize oil sales” as well as “cooperate in the oil-gas industry, construction of power plants, grids, supply of machinery, consumer goods and agriculture products”, according to a statement by the Energy Ministry in Moscow.

The deal could see Russia buying 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper has previously reported. Under the proposed deal Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day or a third of Iranian oil exports in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.

The Russian government withdrew the statement regarding the deal last night, but said it would issue a new statement today.

In January, Russia said that they were negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially to Russia, undermining Western sanctions.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 09, 2014, 01:28:38 pm
De-Dollarization Accelerates - China/Russia Complete Currency Swap Agreement

The last 3 months have seen Russia's "de-dollarization" plans accelerate. First Gazprom clients shift to Euros and Renminbi, then the UK signs currency swap agreements with China, then NATO ally Turkey cuts ties and mulls de-dollarization, Switzerland jumps in the currency swap agreements, and BRICS create their own non-US-based funding vehicle, and then finally this week, Russia's oligarchs have shifted cash holdings to Hong Kong. But this week, as RT reports, Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments. “"The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China," the Russian regulator said.


As RT reports,

    In early July, the Central Bank’s chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina said Moscow and Beijing were close to reaching an agreement on conducting swap operations in national currencies to boost trade. The deal was later discussed during her trip to China.


    President Vladimir Putin, during his visit to Shanghai in May, said cooperation between Russian and Chinese banks was growing, and the two sides were set to continue developing the financial infrastructure.


    “Work is underway to increase the amount of mutual payments in national currencies, and we intend to consider new financial instruments,” Putin said after talks with President Xi Jinping.

It appears the deal is done...

    The Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments.


    “The draft document between the Central Bank of Russia and the People’s Bank of China on national currency swaps has been agreed by the parties,” and is at the stage of formal approval procedures, ITAR-TASS quotes the Russian regulator’s office on Thursday.


    The Russian Central Bank is not giving precise details on the size of the currency swaps, nor when it will be launched. It says this will depend on demand.


    According to the bank, the agreement will serve as an additional instrument for ensuring international financial stability. Also, it will offer the possibility to obtain liquidity in critical situations.


    “The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said.


    Currently, over 75 percent of payments in Russia-China trade settlements are made in US dollars, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

*  *  *

And as we have explained repeatedly in the past, the further the west antagonizes Russia, and the more economic sanctions it lobs at it, the more Russia will be forced away from a USD-denominated trading system and into one which faces China and India.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 15, 2014, 11:09:39 am
Has Russia invaded? Ukraine enters a critical state

A column of Russian armored personnel carriers (APCs) has reportedly crossed Russia’s border with Ukraine. The APCs had earlier been seen traveling alongside a supposed Russian humanitarian convoy headed towards Ukraine’s conflict-torn east. Evidence of Russian troop movement over the border supports the Ukrainian claim that Russian soldiers have been actively supporting pro-Moscow separatist militants in the region.   


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 15, 2014, 11:13:50 am
This isnt good, but everyone is focused on Obamas racial war in MO...

Report: Column of 23 Russian armored personnel carriers and support vehicles crossed Ukraine border after dark, reporter says - @guardian

Ukrainian border guards cross border into Russia to begin inspecting Russian cargo of aid intended for humanitarian relief in eastern Ukraine - @Reuters

12 Russian armored personnel carriers appear near large aid convoy parked near Ukrainian border poised to cross into rebel-held territory - @AP

International Committee of the Red Cross urges Russia and Ukraine to agree quickly on getting supplies from aid convoy across the border to civilians - @Reuters

Ukrainian artillery destroyed 'significant' part of a Russian armored column that crossed into Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko says in conversation with UK Prime Minister David Cameron - statement

Britain summons Russian ambassador to clarify reports of military incursion into Ukraine, foreign office says - @Reuters, @AFP

EU foreign ministers: Any unilateral military actions by Russia in Ukraine would be considered blatant violation of international law - @Reuters


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 22, 2014, 02:48:27 am
As Ukraine forces gain in east, focus of German diplomacy shifts

By Noah Barkin and Richard Balmforth

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) - After months of ratcheting up pressure on Vladimir Putin, concern is mounting in Berlin and other European capitals that an emboldened Ukraine's military successes in the east are reducing the chances of a face-saving way out of the crisis for the Russian leader.

As a result, the focus of German-led diplomatic efforts has shifted, according to senior officials, towards urging restraint from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and averting a humiliating defeat for pro-Russian rebels, a development that Berlin fears could elicit a strong response from Putin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's planned visit to Kiev on Saturday, her first since the crisis erupted at the start of the year, is above all a signal of support for Poroshenko, the billionaire confectionary magnate who was elected less than three months ago.

But the German leader is also expected to use the trip to try to persuade Poroshenko, and nationalist hardliners in Ukraine who want to press their military advantage and crush the separatist rebellion in the east, to think hard about the consequences of such a course.

Central to Berlin's diplomatic offensive is the view that outright defeat for Putin's proxies in eastern Ukraine would provoke an unpredictable reaction from the Kremlin that could take the crisis to a dangerous new level.

"Poroshenko needs to know that there is understanding for how his government has acted but also that there can't be a military solution in the east," one official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "He can't win with weapons. Putin won't allow this."


Germany has taken the lead in seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis, with Merkel, a Russian-speaker who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, talking to Putin more than any other Western leader.

The dynamics of their relationship took a turn for the worse back in March, according to German officials, when Putin was seen to have deceived the chancellor about his intentions in Crimea, and Merkel has since emerged as a driving force behind EU sanctions against Russia.

Recent developments on the battlefield have flipped the logic of diplomacy in Ukraine on its head.

At the start of the conflict, Ukrainian forces were in disarray as rebels made lightning advances.

In the past few weeks, Ukrainian troops have taken the initiative. Dozens of settlements have been returned to Kiev's control, and Kiev's forces have all but encircled the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, the main rebel strongholds.

Three senior separatist leaders have been replaced, and the rebels in Donetsk have introduced the death penalty for desertion and other infractions, in an effort to restore order in their own ranks.

The battlefield successes – as well as the heavy losses in fighting men and planes that the Ukrainians seem ready to accept – have astonished many observers in Kiev after the campaign's faltering start.

The reverses for the separatists, say diplomats, may have made the Kremlin more open to the idea of a negotiated solution – even while Russian politicians publicly deny helping the rebels or being a party to the conflict.

But for Kiev, whose forces now believe they have a chance of stamping out the insurrection altogether, it may be hard to stomach the idea that its interests are best served by stopping the fighting and signing a peace deal.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 22, 2014, 11:47:22 am
Ukraine calls Russian aid convoy 'direct invasion'

Watch Russian ambassador to UN LIVE at 12:30 p.m. ET here. Russia sent over 130 aid trucks rolling into rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Friday without Kyiv's approval, saying it had lost patience with the Ukrainian government's stalling tactics.


Russia sent over 130 aid trucks rolling into rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Friday without Kyiv's approval, saying it had lost patience with the Ukrainian government's stalling tactics. Ukraine called the move a "direct invasion."

The unilateral move sharply raised the stakes in eastern Ukraine, for any attack on the convoy could draw the Russian military directly into the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the separatist rebels in the east. Ukraine has long accused Russia of supporting and arming the rebels, a charge that Russia denies.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 28, 2014, 02:14:55 pm
As Ukraine Officials Meet on Crisis, Rebel Claims Aid of Russian Troops

Asserting that Russian soldiers and armaments had crossed into Ukraine to support the separatists, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine canceled a trip to Turkey on Thursday and warned his national security council that a panicked response would only further destabilize the situation.

“Columns of heavy artillery, huge loads of arms and regular Russian servicemen came to the territory of Ukraine from Russia through the uncontrolled border area,” Mr. Poroshenko said at the beginning of a meeting of the Ukrainian Nation Security and Defense Council in Kiev.

Mercenaries, along with regular servicemen, were trying to overrun positions held by the Ukrainian military, he said, according to a statement on his official website.

“The situation is certainly extremely difficult and nobody is going to simplify it,” Mr. Poroshenko said. “Still, it is controlled enough for us to refrain from panic.” Panic could be used as a weapon just like tanks, armored personnel carriers and rifles, he said.

He spoke as NATO released satellite images to corroborate its accusations that Russian forces are actively involved in the Ukraine fighting. NATO also asserted that more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had joined the separatists battling the Ukrainian military.

Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, said that the Ukrainian military was planning a counteroffensive against the separatists and what he called “more and more Russians” in the country, but declined to provide details about military plans. He also accused Russia of sending new antiaircraft defense systems into eastern Ukraine.

Separatists aided by Russia held the town of Novoazovsk, he said, with Ukrainian forces having retreated a day earlier. “There was a regrouping of our troops to better protect Mariupol,” Colonel Lysenko said at a briefing in Kiev, saying the aim was to try to prevent the other side from penetrating the key southern city.

Russia officials continued to deny sending soldiers or weapons to Ukraine.

But the leader of the main separatist group in southeastern Ukraine said that up to 4,000 Russians, including active-duty soldiers currently on leave, had been fighting against Ukrainian government forces, Russian television reported.

“There are active soldiers fighting among us who preferred to spend their vacation not on the beach, but with us, among their brothers, who are fighting for their freedom,” Aleksandr Zakharchenko, a rebel commander and the prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, said in an interview on Russian state-run television.

Mr. Zakharchenko said that between 3,000 and 4,000 Russians had fought in the separatist ranks since the conflict erupted in spring.

That assertion evaded the issue of direct Russian involvement by painting the soldiers as volunteers. It suggests, however, that Moscow still seeks to organize and to some extent control a force that could be operated at arm’s length with a backbone of local participation.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

The statement that thousands of Russian soldiers have been involved in Ukraine increased tensions with the United States and the European Union, which have threatened harsher sanctions against Russia as a result of any military incursion. The leaders of both Britain and France were among those warning that the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine was unacceptable and further measures would be contemplated.

At the same time, Ukraine and its Western allies have not responded to criticism that the Ukrainian tactics against the separatists have included the shelling of civilian areas in rebel strongholds, with the death toll exceeding 2,000, according to the United Nations.

rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29/world/europe/ukraine-conflict.html?_r=0

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 29, 2014, 06:58:04 am
The Road To World War 3: Russia And Ukraine Are Now Engaged In A Shooting War

Russian soldiers and Ukrainian soldiers are now shooting at each other in eastern Ukraine.  Could this conflict ultimately lead us down the road to World War 3?  This week, a very robust force of "tanks, artillery and infantry" has opened up a "third front" in the Ukrainian civil war in a part of southeastern Ukraine that had not seen much fighting yet.  Exhausted Ukrainian forces are suddenly being pushed back rapidly and many outsiders are wondering how the nearly defeated rebels were able to muster such impressive military strength all of a sudden.  But it really isn't much of a mystery.  The tanks, artillery and infantry came from inside Russia.  In recent days, Ukrainian units have captured ten Russian paratroopers and there have even been funerals for Russian paratroopers that have been killed in action back home in Russia.  Even though it has become exceedingly obvious that Russia is now conducting a stealth invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is still choosing to deny it.  But if he did publicly admit it, that would be even more dangerous.  Barack Obama would be forced into a position of either having to do something about the Russian invasion or look weak in the eyes of the public.  And as the Russians have already shown, they are more than willing to match any move that the Obama administration makes.

There has already been much written about who is to blame for all of this, and I am sure that much more will be written about who is to blame in the future.  The western world is blaming "Russian aggression" for the mess in Ukraine.    In return, the Russians point out that it was westerners that funded and organized the groups that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government of Ukraine.  To the Russians, the current government of Ukraine is made up of neo-Nazi terrorist usurpers that are attempting to brutally oppress millions of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

So the Russians seem themselves as "the good guys" in this conflict and so does the western world.  But that is how most wars start.  Both sides usually feel morally justified at the start of a conflict.

In the final analysis, however, is it really going to matter very much who was "right" and who was "wrong" if the end result is World War 3?

If the rebels in eastern Ukraine had been able to defeat the Kiev government forces on their own, Putin probably would have been content to let them do that.  But instead, they had been pushed back to two major cities and seemed on the verge of defeat.

But now it is the Ukrainian forces that are experiencing "panic and wholesale retreat"...

    Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials are calling a stealth invasion.

    The attacks outside this city and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

How is this happening?

It is the Russians of course.

In fact, if you talk to Ukrainian soldiers, they are very clear on who they are fighting now...

    "I tell you they are Russians, but this is what proof I have," said Sgt. Aleksei Panko, holding up his thumb and index finger to form a zero. Sergeant Panko estimated about 60 armored vehicles crossed near Novoazovsk. "This is what happened: they crossed the border, took up positions and started shooting."

    The Ukrainian Vinnytsia brigade met the cross-border advance over the six miles of countryside separating Novoazovsk from the Russian border, but later retreated to the western edge of town along the Rostov-Mariupol highway, where soldiers were collapsed in exhaustion on the roadside. "This is now a war with Russia," Sergeant Panko said.

And as I mentioned above, Ukrainian forces have even captured ten Russian paratroopers.  Rather than denying who they are, the Russian government is claiming that they wandered into Ukraine by mistake...

    Ten Russian soldiers were detained in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, that country's Security Service said Tuesday, as tensions simmered over the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels.

    The Russian soldiers were captured with documents and weapons on them, the Security Service said.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied claims by Kiev that it has sent troops and weapons over the border into Ukraine, where the Ukrainian military is fighting pro-Russian rebels.

    Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a source in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the soldiers had been patrolling the border and "most likely crossed by accident" at an unmarked point.

The denials that Russian forces are actively operating inside eastern Ukraine have become so absurd that even some in the Russian press are openly questioning them.  For example, just check out this excerpt from a USA Today article that was posted on Wednesday...

    Vedomosti, a liberal business daily, published an editorial Wednesday on events in Ukraine under the headline, "Are We Fighting?"

    It noted the recent capture of the Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory and reports of "mysterious funerals" of Russian soldiers, some of whom are officially counted dying during training exercises.

    "The number of questions that hang in the air of the dead and detained Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine has reached a critical number. Does Russia fight in Ukraine and, if so, on what grounds? If not, then who is in those freshly dug graves or giving testimony at SBU (Russian Security service) interrogations?"

A Bloomberg editorial contained some more details about the "mystery funerals" that have been taking place inside Russia...

    One such burial, of two soldiers, took place in the village of Vybuty near Pskov in northwestern Russia, where an airborne division is based. Efforts to conceal the deaths produced a fiasco. Though the wife of one paratrooper had reported his death on the Vkontakte social network, when a reporter, Ilya Vasyunin of the Russian Planet website, called the wife's phone number, a woman who answered stated that the paratrooper was alive and well. Two reporters, from Russian Planet and TV Dozhd, who visited the cemetery where the two fresh graves had been seen were immediately attacked by men in black tracksuits. Local journalists, however, succeeded in photographing the graves. According to the independent TV Dozhd, the soldiers' names and wreaths have been removed from the graves.

    There are other reports of paratrooper funerals, which are hard to conceal. Soldiers have grieving families who do not necessarily share the authorities' desire for deception. In any case, Ukrainian troops have captured some Russian paratroopers. For the first time since the conflict began in March, they were able to record interviews with them.

Sadly, most Americans are not paying much attention to this conflict.

Most Americans are not really going to care much about a war on the other side of the planet that does not directly involve us.

But they should care.

Because things are about to escalate to a level that we rarely saw even during the darkest moments of the Cold War.  Relations between the United States and Russia are spiraling downhill, and that could end up having a huge impact on all of our lives.

For example, in my previous article entitled "Russia Is Doing It – Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar", I discussed how this tug of war over Ukraine was causing Russia to think about moving away from the petrodollar.  Well, it turns out that now the Russians are actually taking concrete steps toward abandoning the petrodollar for good...

    The Russian oil company Gazprom Neft has agreed to export 80,000 tons of oil from Novoportovskoye field in the Arctic; it will accept payment in rubles, and will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese yuan for the transfers, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported Wednesday.

    The Russian government and several of the country’s largest exporters have widely discussed the possibility of accepting payments in rubles for oil exports.

    Last week, Russia began to ship oil from the Novoportovskoye field to Europe by sea. Two oil tankers are expected to arrive in Europe in September. According to Kommersant, the payment for these shipments will be received in rubles.

That is huge news, but you probably haven't heard a thing about it on the big mainstream news networks.

Meanwhile, one thing that you probably have heard about is how "Russian hackers" attacked JPMorgan Chase earlier this month...

    Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

    The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

As relations between the United States and Russia continue to decline precipitously, both sides will be looking for ways to hurt one another.

And that won't be good for any of us.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

But ultimately, this current conflict could end up taking us to a destination that the Cold War never did.

World War 3 will probably not happen next week, next month or even next year, but right now we are on a road which could eventually lead to the unthinkable.

Let us pray that our politicians are able to find the exit ramp at some point.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 29, 2014, 08:43:35 am
Why is Vladimir Putin Referring to Eastern Ukraine as 'New Russia'?

In a new statement, the Kremlin has detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's address to pro-Russian separatists battling Kiev's force in eastern Ukraine, which referred to the rebels as "the militia of New Russia" or "Novorossiya".

This term is not a new addition to the Russian leader's personal lexicon. In a televised question and answer session in April in the midst of the Crimea crisis, Putin told the audience, in reference to the restive eastern regions of Ukraine: "It's new Russia."

This phrase has raised fears about Putin's territorial ambitions in the former Soviet Union but what does this term really mean?

"Novorossiya", which translates as New Russia, is a historical term for a region conquered by the Russian empire in the 18th century and controlled by Tsarist Russia in the 19th Century.

In the same Q&A, Putin uttered "God knows" why the "New Russian" regions became Ukrainian territory in the 1920s.

This area, shown below, today represents an area of southern Ukraine and borders the controversial Crimea region, which claimed independence earlier this year.

Putin's use of the nostalgic term rings of similar calls of historical ties to the Crimea region before Russia annexed the peninsula, again heightening fears that the Imperial Russian Bear has its sights set on territory that they still believe to be Russian at heart.

The Ukrainian regions that "Novorossiya" refers to are Donetsk, Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. Putin has repeatedly stated his intention to protect ethnic Russians living in these regions due to the strong cultural connection between them and "Mother Russia".

"We must do everything to help these people to protect their rights and independently determine their own destiny," he said in April.

Ukraine is in both Russia's perceived "sphere of influence" and the "shared neighbourhood" with the European Union and the Nato military alliance. It is a nation torn between the attraction of a modern West and its own eastern Soviet history.

Approximately 21% of Ukraine's population is Russian and it has deep cultural and historical links with Russia. The Russian ambassador to Ukraine has even stated that "Ukrainians and Russians are a single nation".

For now, it seems that Putin, like his ambassador, is intent on framing the Ukrainian rebels as an extension of Russia itself and as part of a "New Russia".

Whether his future actions reflect the controversial rhetoric remains to be seen, but to label the rebels as a "Novorossiya" militia itself is a politically-charged move which is sure to agitate Kiev's elite.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on August 29, 2014, 12:42:45 pm
Don't mess with nuclear Russia, Putin says

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia's armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: "It's best not to mess with us."

Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armor to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.

"Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts," he said at the camp on the banks of Lake Seliger. "We don't want that and don't plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.

"Russia's partners... should understand it's best not to mess with us," said Putin, dressed casually in a grey sweater and light blue jeans.

"Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

Putin spoke easily with the students, many of whom looked to be asking scripted questions about demography and history. Other times he accepted gifts or, smilingly, played down their praise.

When a student said that she had not heard a single negative comment about Putin's presidency from camp speakers, he responded with a grin that "objectivity" was important.

His tone darkened when speaking on Ukraine, blaming the United States and the European Union for the "unconstitutional" removal of Kiev's former Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich and replacement with a pro-European government.

He said eastern Ukraine did not agree with Yanukovich's removal and was now subjected to "crude military force" from government planes, tanks and artillery.

"If those are contemporary European values, then I'm simply disappointed in the highest degree," he said, comparing Ukraine's military operations in the east of the country with the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War Two.

"Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure... It sadly reminds me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist... occupiers surrounded our cities."


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on September 01, 2014, 08:10:22 am
Ukraine forces lose more ground to rebels as Putin calls for 'statehood' talks

Ukrainian forces lost more ground Sunday as Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Kiev to engage in talks on "statehood in southeastern Ukraine" ahead of cease-fire talks scheduled to begin Monday in Belarus.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, later told the Russian news agency Interfax that Putin did not envision sovereignty for the two separatist eastern regions that style themselves as "Novorossiya" (New Russia), despite his use of the word "statehood."

Putin has previously made comments supporting federalization, which would devolve more powers from the central government in Kiev to Ukraine's regions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a peace plan in June that proposed an unspecified level of decentralization of executive powers and budgetary matters. But rebels have so far rejected any talks unless Ukrainian forces halt their offensive.

Hours after Putin's comments, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, a Ukraine military spokesman, said  the attack occurred Sunday afternoon but he had no further information, including how many people were aboard the boat. The incident appears to be the first such clash at sea since fighting began in April, and will only heighten concern that the rebels are attempting to seize a key land bridge linking Russia and Crimea.

Also Sunday, Kiev agreed to release 10 Russian paratroopers who had been captured in Ukrainian territory last week. The soldiers had been subjected to videotaped interrogations, which Ukraine's military posted online as evidence of Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. The Kiev government, NATO and Western officials say that thousands of Russian troops backed by tanks and artillery are now inside Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied their presence, and in the case of the paratroopers, insisted that they wandered into Ukraine while on a routine patrol near the border.

In return, Russia handed back 63 Ukrainian soldiers who were surrounded and pinned down by artillery fire during Kiev's most recent offensive and crossed the border into Russia, where they surrendered.

Ukrainian officials told The Wall Street Journal that the exchange of prisoners was also supposed to include the safe withdrawal of several hundred Ukrainian troops who were surrounded and pounded by artillery in the town of Ilovaisk in eastern Ukraine.

But Ukraine military officials said the retreating troops were shot at anyway, and withdrew with heavy casualties.

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, said "Russia did not honor the customs of war" in the withdrawal and that an undetermined number of Ukrainians were captured or killed.

Residents began returning to their homes Sunday in areas vacated by retreating Ukrainian forces.

In the village of Hrabske, Alexander Bezpalko and his son worked to salvage parts from a burned-out Ukrainian tank.

"My home was leveled and I need to rebuild it somehow," Bezpalko said. "This heap of junk is scrap that I can make some money from. Everything is destroyed and there is no work."

There is barely a street in Hrabske and the nearby town of Ilovaysk left unscarred by artillery strikes. The bitter fight for Ilovaysk and surrounding areas lasted the best part of a month. On Saturday, the government conceded its inevitable defeat as its armed forces were surrounded and under relentless attack.

Meanwhile, two prominent U.S. senators said Sunday that the Obama administration should not only push for tougher sanctions on Russia, but should also send weapons to help Ukraine defend itself.

"We should be providing the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost on Putin for further aggression," Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Menendez, speaking from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, added, "This is no longer the question of some rebel separatists, this is a direct invasion by Russia. And we must recognize it as that."

He said the issue of supplying weapons to Ukraine "may be very well on the table right now" for the Obama administration considering "these are changed circumstances."

Sen. John McCain said that if unchecked in Ukraine, Russia could begin to threaten other nations in Eastern Europe, including Moldova and the Baltic states, former Soviet republics. McCan denied that providing weapons to Ukraine could make things worse.

"For God's sake, can't we help these people defend themselves? This is not an incursion, this is an invasion," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation." ''Give them the weapons they need, give them the wherewithal they need, give them the ability to fight. They will fight. "


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on September 02, 2014, 04:34:42 am
I can take Kiev in two weeks, Vladimir Putin warns European leaders

The Russian president is reported to have boasted his forces could sweep into Kiev in a fortnight if he wanted to as Nato announced it would build a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force

 Vladimir Putin has boasted to European leaders that his forces could sweep into Kiev in two weeks if he wanted.

The Russian president reportedly made the threat to the European Commission president during talks on the Ukraine crisis.

Mr Putin told Jose Manuel Barroso: “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported, implying this could be the result if the EU stepped up sanctions against Russia.

His comments, relayed by Mr Barroso to colleagues at last weekend’s EU summit, emerged as Nato announced it would build a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force of up to 4,000 troops that can be flown into eastern Europe in 48 hours to respond to possible Russian aggression.

The EU’s new head of foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, also warned there was no military solution to what is now Europe’s biggest crisis in decades.

 Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary general of the alliance, said Nato faced multiple crises on its southern and eastern borders that could erupt at any time.

Leaders of the alliance’s 28 members are expected to agree to the new force at this week’s Nato summit in Wales, and it is likely to include British troops.

The spearhead force is part of a package of measures to sharpen up the alliance as it faces crises in Iraq and Ukraine.

A senior Nato official said allies would take turns to command the spearhead and many of the arrangements would be in place by the end of the year. Troops would be based in their home countries and come together when necessary.

The summit will agree to stockpile supplies in eastern Europe so that equipment and ammunition are waiting for the force when it arrives.

The alliance will also boost the number of exercises in the area, so that troops are constantly cycling through it. Mr Rasmussen said the new spearhead force would “travel light and strike hard if needed”.


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Mark on September 05, 2014, 07:53:40 am
NATO is going to war !!!

NATO approves several thousand land troops ready to deploy within just a few days aimed at deterring Russia in Ukraine - @Reuters, @AP

NATO members agree to substantive measures to help advance Georgia towards NATO membership, responding to Russian warnings against Ukraine's bid to join - @BBCGavinHewitt

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 12, 2014, 02:09:58 pm
Central, East Europe Brace for Energy Shortages as Russian Gas Flows Fall
Moscow's Dispute With Ukraine Over Gas Payments Threatens Supplies


PRAGUE—A fall in gas flows from Russia to several Central and Eastern European countries this week has sent a chill through the region as it prepares for possible energy shortages this winter.

Austria's energy regulator E-Control and oil and gas company OMV...

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 12, 2014, 03:05:17 pm
U.S. Ramps Up Sanctions on Russia, Putin Warns of Reprisals

WASHINGTON — The United States hit Russia's largest bank, a major arms maker and Arctic, deepwater and shale exploration by its biggest oil companies with new sanctions on Friday to punish Moscow for intervening in Ukraine.

The sanctions target companies including Sberbank, the country's largest bank by assets, and Rostec, a conglomerate that makes everything from Kalashnikovs to cars, by limiting their ability to access the U.S. debt markets.

They will also bar U.S. companies from providing goods or services to help five Russian energy companies conduct deepwater, Arctic offshore and shale projects. The Russian companies affected are Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas and Rosneft.

The sanctions seek to ban cooperation with Russian oil firms on energy technology and services by companies including Exxon Mobil and BP.

Russia is one of the world's top oil producers and is the main energy supplier to Europe. Exxon signed a $3.2 billion agreement in 2011 with Russia's Rosneft to develop the Arctic.

The sanctions are the latest imposed by the United States and the EU following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March and what the West sees as an effort since to further destabilize Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists with troops and arms.

U.S. officials said Washington took the steps because Russia has intensified its involvement in Ukraine by sending troops and arms to support pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country and by shelling it across the border.

But a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin called the new economic penalties "strange," given his backing of peace efforts in eastern Ukraine, and said he was considering fresh retaliatory measures.

The U.S. officials stressed that the sanctions could be removed if Russia, which denies sending troops into eastern Ukraine and arming the separatists, took a series of steps including the withdrawal of all of its forces from its neighbor.

"What we're looking for with regard to Russian action is the complete removal of all military personnel, military equipment, support for military and mercenaries on the territory of Ukraine, release of all hostages," a senior U.S. official told reporters in a conference call explaining the sanctions.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States wanted to see the creation of a buffer zone on both sides of the border, which the official said was particularly important to stop shelling of Ukraine by Russia.

The new U.S. sanctions, which for the first time targeted Russia's Sberbank, were timed to coincide with new European Union economic penalties that included restrictions on financing for some Russian state-owned companies and asset freezes on leading Russian politicians.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the sanctions include a ban on U.S. individuals or companies dealing with Rostec, a major Russian technology and defense conglomerate, in debt transactions of more than 30 days maturity.

Assets also were blocked for five state-owned defense technology firms, Dolgoprudny Research Production Enterprise, Mytishchinski Mashinostroitelny Zavod, Kalinin Machine Plant, Almaz-Antei, and NIIP.

The new sanctions also tighten the financial noose on six Russian banks, including Sberbank, by barring U.S. individuals and companies from dealing in any debt they issue of longer than 30 days maturity.

The five banks previously covered had only faced a restriction on debt maturities of more than 90 days. Like those five, Sberbank now also faces a ban on U.S. equity financing.

The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions prohibiting U.S. individuals and companies from dealing in new debt of greater than 90 days maturity issued by Russian energy companies Gazprom Neft and Transneft.

"These steps underscore the continued resolve of the international community against Russia's aggression," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. "Russia's economic and diplomatic isolation will continue to grow as long as its actions do not live up to its words."

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 16, 2014, 06:29:01 pm
Ukraine ratifies EU deal, offers special status to rebels

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine ratified a sweeping agreement with the European Union on Tuesday - an issue at the heart of the Russia-West crisis over its future - and sought to blunt the independence drive of Russian-backed separatists by offering them temporary and limited self-rule.

But though Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko savored a historic triumph with parliament's seal of approval for the EU deal, his peacemaking efforts drew derision from separatists and some mainstream politicians, while his military reported three more deaths of Ukrainian servicemen despite an 11-day ceasefire.

"No nation has ever paid such a high price to become Europeans," Poroshenko told parliament referring to the bloody conflict that has gripped Ukraine since his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovich, walked away from the EU pact last November in favor of closer ties with Ukraine's former Soviet master, Russia.

After Yanukovich fled to Russia in February in the face of huge street protests, Moscow denounced a pro-Western "coup" against him, annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and subsequently backed armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern regions in their drive for independence from Kiev.

The chain of events has provoked the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War. The United States and its Western allies imposed sanctions against Moscow over a conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.

Just moments earlier, at a closed session of parliament, deputies voted in support of Poroshenko's plan to grant "special status' to the 'people's republics' proclaimed by the separatists.

Poroshenko elaborated the plan after reluctantly agreeing to a ceasefire on Sept. 5 following battlefield losses and heavy Ukrainian casualties which Kiev said were caused by Russian troops entering the fight on behalf of the rebels.

The law would grant self-rule to separatist-minded regions for a three-year period and allow them to "strengthen and deepen" relations with neighboring Russian regions.
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Ukraine's President Poroshenko clasps hands with …
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) clasps hands with Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk after …

It would allow the heavily-armed rebels to set up their own police forces and hold their own local elections in December.

A separate law also crucially offered freedom from prosecution to separatists who have been fighting government forces - though there would be no amnesty for those involved in the July 17 shooting down of the Malaysian airliner nor people involved in purely criminal acts.

"These laws are an attempts to create a chance for the gradual peaceful settlement of the crisis in the Donbass," political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko said.

"It has to be understood that other variants for the development of events are either freezing the conflict, or war in which Ukraine can lose the whole of the Donbass and possibly even more."


But they quickly drew criticism from both sides.

Rebel leader Andrei Purgin told Reuters in the separatist-held city of Donetsk: "The basic part of the document which forsees us politically staying on Ukrainian territory - that is, naturally, not acceptable."

"We will insist that any political unions with Ukraine are not possible now in principle," Purgin said, renewing charges against the Ukrainian military of violating the Sept. 5 truce.

No breakdown of the parliamentary vote was given after the closed-door session.

Poroshenko risks falling foul of his supporters in the pro-Western establishment if he is perceived as laying the ground for a permanent breakaway state within Ukraine and under Russian protection, similar to those in other ex-Soviet states such as Moldova and Georgia.

"I consider it absolutely wrong to vote capitulation after all these losses. We need peace, and not a truce - but not at any price. We consider these draft laws to be a complete capitulation," said Oleh Tyahnibok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, before the session.

"No-one gave the President the right to put the fate of the people of the Donbass (the industrial east) into the hands of terrorists. If this law comes into force it will only lead to an escalation of the conflict," Andriy Senchenko, a deputy of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, said before the closed session.

Incidents of mortar shelling in and around Donetsk continued to put the ceasefire under pressure and claimed further lives.

"The terrorists and Russian forces have stepped up their shelling of positions of the 'anti-terrorist operation'," said military spokesman Andriy Lysenko. Three more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed overnight, he told journalists.

A Reuters correspondent in Donetsk said that at least five mortar shells struck a funeral parlor and a car service station in the center of Donetsk on Monday evening. Rebels said three people had been killed there.

"The truce is not being observed at all," Leon, a local commander, said. "Latterly they (the Ukrainian army) have begun to shell apartments, houses, where there are civilians."


The EU agreement on association and trade, whose ratification was synchronized with that of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, won unanimous support from the 355 deputies who took part in the vote.

Despite the Western sanctions against Moscow, the European Union and Ukraine agreed last Friday to delay implementation of the free-trade part of the EU deal until the end of next year in a concession to Russia.

Russia, which says its economy could be badly hurt by a sudden flood of duty-free EU goods onto its market via Ukraine, had threatened to slap import tariffs on Ukrainian goods from Nov. 1.

Under the ambitious agreement, Ukraine will continue to enjoy privileged access to the EU market until January 1, 2016, but, in a concession by Brussels, it will not have to cut duties on imports from the EU in return.

Kiev had been concerned that allowing EU products more cheaply onto its market could undercut local goods, creating more problems for its weak economy.

Referring to this breathing space, Poroshenko told parliament: "The national economy has got a year and a half to become competitive and ready itself for competition with European markets.

"Thank you Europe for this multi-billion bonus!"

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; additional reporting by Anton Zverev in Donetsk and Adrian Croft in Brussels; Writing By Richard Balmforth; e

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 18, 2014, 02:12:32 pm
Ukraine's pleas for lethal aid from US go unmet

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will provide $46 million in new security assistance to the Ukraine's military but stop short of fulfilling an urgent request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for lethal aid to help his country fight Russian-backed separatists.

Poroshenko pleaded his case during remarks Thursday to a rare joint meeting of Congress. While he thanked the U.S. for the nonlethal equipment it is providing his country's beleaguered military, he said more was needed to stop provocations near the Russian border.

"Blankets and night vision goggles are important, but one cannot win a war with a blanket," he said during a 40-minute address that was repeatedly interrupted by applause from lawmakers.

Hours later, Poroshenko arrived at the White House for discussions with President Barack Obama, a meeting meant to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the West's support for Ukraine.

"The picture of President Poroshenko sitting in the Oval Office will be worth at least a thousand words — both in English and Russian," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Ukraine and Kremlin-backed separatists have been locked in a months-long fight for control of eastern Ukrainian cities that sit on Russia's border, aggression that followed Russia's annexation of the strategically important Crimean Peninsula.

Ahead of Thursday's White House meeting, U.S. officials said Obama would announce a security assistance packages that will provide Ukrainian forces with countermortar radar to help detect incoming artillery fire. The U.S. also will provide vehicles and patrol boats, body armor and heavy engineering equipment.

Despite some support for Poroshenko's request within the Obama administration, officials said the president continues to oppose lethal assistance and does not envision directly arming the Ukrainian military as an effective way to end the conflict.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also pressed Obama to ramp up military aid to Ukraine. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was expected to vote Thursday afternoon on bipartisan legislation that would increase military and nonmilitary assistance, as well as impose broad sanctions on Russia's defense, energy and financial sectors.

"President Putin has upended the international order, and a slap on the wrist will not deter future Russian provocations," the committee's chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said. "In the face of Russian aggression, Ukraine needs our steadfast and determined support, not an ambiguous response. We are left with no choice but to apply tough sanctions against Russia, coupled with military assistance to Ukraine."

The legislation would authorize $350 million in fiscal 2015 for military assistance, including anti-tank and anti-armor weapons, ammunition, counter-artillery radars and surveillance drones.

The U.S. and Western allies have condemned Russia's provocations in Ukraine, levying a series of economic sanctions and restricting Putin's involvement in some international organizations. But the penalties have done little to shift Putin's calculus. In recent weeks, the West has accused Russia of moving troops and equipment across its border with Ukraine, though the Kremlin denies such involvement.

Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists inked a cease-fire agreement Sept. 5, though the deal has been violated repeatedly. On Wednesday, shelling in rebel-held parts of the east killed at least 12 civilians, as a top leader of pro-Russian rebels rejected Ukrainian legislation meant to end the unrest by granting self-rule to large swaths of the east.

Poroshenko, a billionaire businessman, won Ukraine's presidential election in May after his country's Russian-backed leader fled amid popular protests. Western leaders have praised Poroshenko's commitment to reform, and Obama will press him Thursday for more aggressive political and economic actions that can stabilize the fragile nation.

At the heart of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is the former Soviet republic's desire to strengthen ties with Europe. Poroshenko has only deepened those efforts, making a high-profile appearance at the NATO summit this month and overseeing the backing of a deal this week to strengthen economic and political ties with Europe.

The deal lowers trade tariffs between Europe and Ukraine, requires Ukrainian goods to meet European regulatory standards and forces the Kiev government to undertake major political and economic reforms.

Following a vote by Ukrainian lawmakers, Poroshenko called the deal "a first but very decisive step" toward bringing Ukraine fully into the European Union.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 19, 2014, 11:23:58 pm
Putin: Russian army may enter Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania in few days

Berlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in a couple of days he might commission the Russian troops not only in Ukraine but also in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania, Ukrainian news edition Liga reported, citing a publication of German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to the newspaper, Putin made this statement during a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, who on the other hand, reported his words to European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso.

“If I want, the Russian troops may enter not only in Kiev but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” the German newspaper cited Putin’s words.

According to the newspaper, the Russian President advised Poroshenko “not to count on the EU too much” because if he wished, he could “influence and block the decisions made in the EU”.

Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 20, 2014, 08:48:47 pm

Russian Nuclear Bombers Buzz Alaska, N. Europe
Bear H bomber runs timed to Ukrainian leader visit

BY: Bill Gertz   
September 19, 2014 2:20 pm

Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.

“The group of Russian aircraft flew a loop south, returning westward toward Russia,” Davis told the Free Beacon.

A day later two more Bear bombers were intercepted by Canadian CF-18 jets in the western area of the Canadian air defense identification zone near the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, he said.

The Russian bombers did not enter U.S. airspace but flew within 63 miles of the Alaskan coast and 46 miles of the Canadian coastline, Davis said.
In both instances, the Russian bombers did not enter sovereign airspace, he added, noting the Russian aircraft flew within about 55 nautical miles of the Alaskan coastline, and within about 40 nautical miles of the Canadian coastline.

One defense official said the Russian bomber activity appeared timed to the visit to the United States and Canada by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The Ukrainian leader was in Ottawa for meetings with Canadian leaders on Wednesday. He met with President Obama on Thursday.
Ukraine is locked in a battle with Moscow over the Russian military annexation of Crimea and continuing backing of pro-Russian Ukrainian militias in eastern Ukraine.

Over Europe on Tuesday, two Bear H bombers conducted practice strategic bombing runs on Tuesday and were met by interceptor jets from Norway, Denmark, Britain, and Netherlands, defense officials told the Free Beacon.

“NATO jets … were scrambled to visually identify unknown aircraft approaching allied airspace,” said a NATO military officer who confirmed details of the incident.

“The approaching aircraft were identified as two Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers,” he said. “The Russian flights originated in the Barents Sea and went through international airspace down to the North Sea off the Dutch coast.”


Title: Re: Russia mobilizes rapid deployment forces to Ukraine border
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 24, 2014, 09:16:58 pm
Cease-fire in eastern Ukraine violated

MOSCOW (AP) — Mortar fire struck an apartment block in the rebel-held city of Donetsk overnight, yet another violation of a cease-fire declared weeks earlier between government forces and pro-Russian insurgents.

The attack came even as both sides claimed to be pulling back heavy artillery to set up a buffer zone.

More than 3,000 people have been killed in the conflict since mid-April with key infrastructure such as airports and bridges completely destroyed by shelling.

The Donetsk mayor's office on Wednesday reported two attacks, one late on Tuesday