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US stakes in Ukraine tied to location, location

US stakes in Ukraine tied to location, location

BY NANCY BENAC
Associated Press
Wednesday February 26, 2014, 4:46 PM

WASHINGTON — Ukraine isn’t typically a U.S. foreign policy priority, experts say. President Barack Obama is more occupied with Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and more. His administration rejects the notion that the situation in Ukraine represents some kind of epic East vs. West power struggle.

Still, there are reasons why Americans should care about what’s happening there, starting with location, location, location.

1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Sure, it would be nice for Ukraine to have a stable, democratic government simply because that’s a good thing, and no one wants to see more bloodshed. But the U.S. is more concerned about Ukraine because of its location, perched between Russia and the rest of Europe, where the U.S. has lots of friends. “The U.S. has an interest in a wider, stable, secure Europe,” says Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who’s now at the Brookings Institution. “If Ukraine goes into chaos, that’s likely to pull those European countries in — and we may get involved later on, too.

2. BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MARCH OF DEMOCRACY. The overthrow of Kiev’s democratically elected (but corrupt and repressive) government by protesters seeking a more just Ukraine raises unsettling questions. “Ukraine doesn’t fit this ideal model of how democratic change progresses,” says Olga Oliker, associate director of RAND Corp.’s international security and defense policy center. “What does it mean to try to create more democratic systems in nondemocratic ways?”

3. LOOKING OUT FOR A FRIEND. Ukraine’s actually been a good friend to the U.S. since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It was once home to the world’s third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal, and voluntarily surrendered the stockpile to Russia. It sent troops to help out in Iraq in 2003-05 and dispatched peacekeepers to Kosovo and Lebanon. It agreed to cancel a planned $45 million nuclear deal with Iran in 1992. “On a lot of foreign policy issues, they’ve been fairly helpful, and I would argue that that is one reason why we ought to care about what is going on,” Pifer says.

4. RUSSIA. The unrest in Ukraine could complicate U.S.-Russian relations. The Obama administration dismisses the idea of competing spheres of influence as wildly outmoded and deliberately has tried not to insert itself too deeply in the situation. But Russian President Vladimir Putin very much want,”s to tilt Ukraine his direction. “The U.S.-Russian relationship has been very combative lately and scratchy” says Andrew Weiss, a Clinton administration expert on Ukraine and Russia who’s now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Ukraine adds one more layer on top of the problems that already exist.”

5. PEOPLE. BUSINESS. MONEY. People: There’s obvious concern among the estimated 1 million to 1.5 million people of Ukrainian descent in the U.S., with large concentrations in Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Sacramento, Calif., and the New York City area. Business: Ukraine, an economic mess, is not a big U.S. trading partner. But there’s plenty of commercial potential in a country of 46 million people. Money: Ukraine is in dire need of billions of dollars in financial assistance. The main lender is likely to be the International Monetary Fund. But Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the U.S. plans to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and will consider additional direct assistance.
– See more at: www.northjersey.com/news/US_stakes_in_Ukraine_tied_to_location_location.html#sthash.BqIvXjDw.dpuf

A democratic and Free Ukraine will influence the democratization of Russia- a Russia without Putin. The West needs a free and democratic Russia for economic development and for geopolitical balance towards China and global militant Islamism.

Ukraine: The Budapest Memorandum of 1994

Ukraine: The Budapest
Memorandum of 1994

The following is the text of the Memorandum on Security Assurances, known as the Budapest Memorandum,
in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed Dec.
5, 1994.
The United States of America, the Russian Federa
tion, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland,
Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-
nuclear-weapon State,
Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to
eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a
specified period of time,
Noting the changes in the world-wide security situ
ation, including the end of the Cold War, which have
brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear
forces.
Confirm the following:
1. The United States of America, the Russian Fed
eration, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to
Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE
[Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe]
Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty
and the existing borders of Ukraine.
2. The United States of America, the Russian Fed
eration, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain
from the threat or use of force against the territorial in
tegrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that
none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine
except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with
the Charter of the United Nations.
3. The United States of America, the Russian Fed
eration, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to
Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE

www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2014/2014_1-9/2014-08/pdf/34-35_4108.pdf

Budapest Accord Doesn’t Give Russia Right to Intervene in Ukraine But Kremlin May Think Otherwise, Illarionov Says
windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/02/window-on-eurasia-budapest-accord.html
So Kremlin deceived the world for Ukraine to give up its Nuclear Arsenal with this agreement lest to break it at its conveniance.

United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership
2001-2009.state.gov/p/eur/rls/or/113366.htm

We pray that The 1994 – Budapest Agreement Treaty will not be betrayed by the USA, United Kngdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with impeding aggression from Russia ala Georgia!!!!!!! The 20 Million Ukrainian Diaspora must act on behalf of Ukraine demanding th world leaders to keep their words once given.

February 23, 2014

ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN VIS-À-VIS RUSSIA IN THE EVENT OF FURTHER RUSSIAN AGGRESSION
– ECONOMIC OR OTHERWISE – AGAINST UKRAINE

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and Great Britain are signatories of the 1994-Budapest Memorandum ensuring the territorial integrity, security, and sovereignty of Ukraine and security from economic coercion.

Russia has previously violated its obligations under this agreement with only deafening silence from the other signatory countries. Recent reports in the press have indicated that Russia intends to continue its economic and military coercion of Ukraine with the aim of splitting the country. It is time for the United States and the European Union to finally stand up and defend their own principles and fulfill the commitments they made to Ukraine. If they do not, the risk of overall conflagration in Europe is real, with not only regional but global instability resulting. If they do not, their credibility will vaporize, fueling even further dangers.

Towards this end, the following actions must be immediately taken by the US and the EU.

• Issue forthright public statements to Russia – without delay and without mincing words – that it must stop advocating violence against Ukraine or agitating for its division or separatism.

If such actions by Russia should continue in any form, then the United States and the EU must forthwith:

• The US must act upon its obligations under the “United States – Ukraine Charter On Strategic Partnership Agreement” of December 19, 2008 and the various Ukraine – NATO Cooperation agreements.

• Freeze Russia’s application to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

• Expel Russia from all G-8 conferences and other international economic forums.

• Bring punitive actions against Russia within the rules of World Trade Organization [WTO] for Russia’s repeated violations of WTO rules by its aggressive economic behavior towards Ukraine.

• The EU should intensify its scrutiny of Gazprom’s behavior in the European gas market and strongly pursue a pending antitrust complaint.

• Expand Magnitsky sanctions on Russian government officials and their assets in the US. The EU should also freeze Russian government officials’ assets and reject the pending Russian request for visa-free travel for holders of “official” passports.

• Use the forum of the United Nations to condemn any aggressive Russian behavior vis-à-vis Ukraine. If there are signs of military intervention by Russian forces in Ukraine, to immediately call upon the UN to send UN observers and/or a UN peacekeeping force to prevent and rollback any Russian military incursion into Ukraine.

Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.
Counsellor at Law
Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)
Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the UABA, Former Public Member of the United States Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Madrid, 1980


Ukrainians all over the world must speak up for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, security and territorial integrity by having this Budapest Agreement adhered to 100%.

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

In Memory of the Fallen Heroes of Ukraine Revolution of Dignity.

This is the Shrine to those who gave their lives yesterday on Maidan.
Symbolically, this memorial was set up at the foot of the monument to Ukraine’s independence – scarred with bullet holes, blackened by fire, but still standing!

Вічна пам’ять Героям Майдану!ALTHOUGH WE SAW THE END OF THE YANUKOVYCH BLOODY REGIME TODAY, UKRAINE LOST SO MANY BRAVE SONS THIS WEEK. VICHNAYA PAMYAT TO THE NEBESNA SOTNIA.
sotnya

shrine
Blood stains have been covered with flowers, and memorials set up at each spot where a person was killed during the fighting on Feb 19-20. The coffins of heroes who lost their lives to sniper fire and riot police grenades were brought to the stage in pairs all day today – each was sent off in a moving ceremony in the presence of tens of thousands of demonstrators.

fallen

21 century genocide in Ukraine February 2014 Massive funerals today in Kyiv.
1618556_549940171780287_553132434_n

A tribute to the Heroes that gave their lives for Ukraine and her people ….. average folks like you and I in their regular lives; but extraordinary in their sacrifice. Maidan tonight. The city is heartbroken over its deceased heroes.
The Heavenly Hundred. A tribute to those who defended Euromaidan. Our Heros. Please share in their memory.
TO HEROES GLORY

Putin’s inferno

Ukraine in flames

Putin’s inferno

The West must take a tough stand with the government of Ukraine—and with Russia’s leader
Feb 22nd 2014 | From the print edition

inferno
CIVIL strife often follows a grimly predictable pattern. What at first seems a soluble dispute hardens into conflict, as goals become more radical, bitterness accumulates and the chance to broker a compromise is lost. Such has been the awful trajectory of Ukraine, where protests that began peacefully in November have combusted in grotesque violence. The centre of Kiev, one of Europe’s great capital cities, this week became a choking war zone. Buildings and barricades were incinerated and dozens of Ukrainians were killed.

Despite talk of a truce between some of the participants, the horror could yet get much worse. The bloodshed will deepen the rifts in what has always been a fragile, complex country (see article). Outright civil war remains a realistic prospect. Immediate responsibility for this mayhem lies with Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s thuggish president. But its ultimate architect sits in the Kremlin: Vladimir Putin.

Neither East nor West

The territory that is now Ukraine has a long and painful history as a bloody borderland between East and West. But it came into being as an independent nation only in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. Combining lands in the west that had once been part of Austria-Hungary, and a Russian-speaking south and east, the new country always had its doubters. Since then Ukraine’s politics have been characterised by infighting and graft—including in the years following the orange revolution of 2004, a peaceful uprising whose promise was squandered by its rancorous leaders. Many Ukrainians feel their state has been captured by a corrupt elite, which cannot be dislodged by the usual democratic means. Kiev is one of the few European cities where the European Union is synonymous with good government and the rule of law.

It was Mr Yanukovych’s rejection, in November, of a trade agreement with the EU, in favour of an opaque deal with Russia, which started the unrest. Soon the protesters were demanding his resignation, while Mr Yanukovych and Russian propaganda denounced them as terrorists. How, after three months of tetchy stand-off, the killing started this week is murky. But most of it was perpetrated by the president’s men.

The response from the West should be firm. The president’s henchmen deserve the visa bans and asset freezes that America has imposed and the EU is considering. Mr Yanukovych must rein in his troops and, if he can, the plainclothes goons who are committing much of the violence. But the protesters, if they want to stop a full-scale blood-bath, also need to compromise—to quit their symbolic base in Kiev’s Independence Square, and the other buildings they have occupied. The best option would be for the two sides to form a transitional coalition government.

A presidential election is due in 2015: it should happen this year instead, preferably without Mr Yanukovych. His regime has featured rampant cronyism, the persecution of his rivals, suborning of the media and nobbling of the courts, now topped off by slaughter. But he will be hard to move. Built like a bouncer, he twists like a weasel; he is likely to try to wriggle out of any commitments he makes when he thinks the crisis has passed. If so, the tycoons who have sustained his power, and who have much to lose in this madness, must force him out.

CIVIL strife often follows a grimly predictable pattern. What at first seems a soluble dispute hardens into conflict, as goals become more radical, bitterness accumulates and the chance to broker a compromise is lost. Such has been the awful trajectory of Ukraine, where protests that began peacefully in November have combusted in grotesque violence. The centre of Kiev, one of Europe’s great capital cities, this week became a choking war zone. Buildings and barricades were incinerated and dozens of Ukrainians were killed.

Despite talk of a truce between some of the participants, the horror could yet get much worse.
The bloodshed will deepen the rifts in what has always been a fragile, complex country (see article). Outright civil war remains a realistic prospect. Immediate responsibility for this mayhem lies with Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s thuggish president. But its ultimate architect sits in the Kremlin:Vladimir Putin.

Neither East nor West

The territory that is now Ukraine has a long and painful history as a bloody borderland between East and West. But it came into being as an independent nation only in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. Combining lands in the west that had once been part of Austria-Hungary, and a Russian-speaking south and east, the new country always had its doubters. Since then Ukraine’s politics have been characterised by infighting and graft—including in the years following the orange revolution of 2004, a peaceful uprising whose promise was squandered by its rancorous leaders. Many Ukrainians feel their state has been captured by a corrupt elite, which cannot be dislodged by the usual democratic means. Kiev is one of the few European cities where the European Union is synonymous with good government and the rule of law.

It was Mr Yanukovych’s rejection, in November, of a trade agreement with the EU, in favour of an map3opaque deal with Russia, which started the unrest. Soon the protesters were demanding his resignation, while Mr Yanukovych and Russian propaganda denounced them as terrorists. How, after three months of tetchy stand-off, the killing started this week is murky. But most of it was perpetrated by the president’s men.

The response from the West should be firm. The president’s henchmen deserve the visa bans and asset freezes that America has imposed and the EU is considering. Mr Yanukovych must rein in his troops and, if he can, the plainclothes goons who are committing much of the violence. But the protesters, if they want to stop a full-scale blood-bath, also need to compromise—to quit their symbolic base in Kiev’s Independence Square, and the other buildings they have occupied. The best option would be for the two sides to form a transitional coalition government.

A presidential election is due in 2015: it should happen this year instead, preferably without Mr Yanukovych. His regime has featured rampant cronyism, the persecution of his rivals, suborning of the media and nobbling of the courts, now topped off by slaughter. But he will be hard to move. Built like a bouncer, he twists like a weasel; he is likely to try to wriggle out of any commitments he makes when he thinks the crisis has passed. If so, the tycoons who have sustained his power, and who have much to lose in this madness, must force him out.

What should come next is less clear. Virtually all of Ukraine’s established politicians have discredited themselves, including Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed opposition leader. The protesters have no clear champion—one reason the violence may prove difficult to stop. It is hard to envisage a candidate emerging who will bridge the underlying fault-lines in Ukrainian society (see map). Mr Yanukovych still commands support in the east and south; in Kiev and the west, where protesters have seized government facilities, he is reviled. A split remains terrifyingly plausible. Avoiding that fate requires, above all, an end to the Russian meddling. Mr Putin may not have lit the match this week, but he assembled the pyre.

To most rational observers, fomenting chaos across the border in Ukraine might seem an odd ambition for Russia. Not to Mr Putin, who regards Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s sphere of influence, and saw the orange revolution as a Western plot to steal it. His economic sanctions and threats helped to persuade Mr Yanukovych to turn his back on the EU. It is clear that the loans and cheap Russian gas that prop up Ukraine’s teetering economy are conditional on Mr Yanukovych taking a tough line with the protesters. Mr Putin’s bullying and machinations have brought Ukraine to this pass.

If Mr Yanukovych clings on, weakened at home and ostracised abroad, Mr Putin will be content, for he will have another dependent leader to add to his collection of pliable clients. But he might not stop there. Russian hawks have long wanted to annex Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula that Nikita Khrushchev transferred to Ukraine (reputedly while drunk). This upheaval could provide a pretext for Mr Putin to grab it. Either way, a wretched Ukraine will help convince his people that street protests, and political competition, are the road to ruin.

Confronting the Kremlin

It is past time for the West to stand up to this gangsterism. Confronting a country that has the spoiling power of a seat on the UN Security Council, huge hydrocarbon reserves and lots of nuclear weapons, is difficult, but it has to be done. At a minimum, the diplomatic pretence that Russia is a law-abiding democracy should end. It should be ejected from the G8. Above all, the West must stand united in telling Mr Putin that Ukraine, and the other former Soviet countries that he regards as wayward parts of his patrimony, are sovereign nations.

There is a kind of rough justice in the timing of Ukraine’s turmoil. In 2008 Russia invaded Georgia, its tiny southern neighbour, just as the Olympic games began in Beijing, prompting formulaic Western protests but no meaningful retribution. The events in Kiev interrupted the winter Olympics in Sochi, intended to be a two-week carnival of Putinism. This time the West must make Mr Putin see that, with this havoc at the heart of Europe, he has gone too far.

www.economist.com/news/leaders/21596941-west-must-take-tough-stand-government-ukraineand-russias-leader-putins

Immediate responsibility for this mayhem lies with Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s thuggish president. But its ultimate architect sits in the Kremlin. Mr Putin’s bullying and machinations have brought Ukraine to this pass. It is past time for the West to stand up to this gangsterism: Russia should be ejected from the G8.

Decoding Ukraine

Decoding Ukraine
A lexicon of the smears, stereotypes, and clichés used to describe the battle for the country’s future.
By Anne Applebaum

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Independence Square on Feb. 19, 2014, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Independence Square on Feb. 19, 2014, in Kiev, Ukraine.


Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

WARSAW, Poland—For those who are new to the subject—indeed, for those who have been following it for many years—the Ukrainian crisis can seem murky. The Ukrainians have a president, Viktor Yanukovych, who granted himself dictatorial powers and then repealed some of them, announced a truce and then broke it, and claims to enforce the law but employs thugs who haul journalists out of cars and shoot them. The Ukrainian opposition, meanwhile, has three separate leaders who may or may not actually control the Ukrainian protest movement at any given moment.

The opacity helps to explain why Ukraine, after years of stability, has suddenly become violent and unpredictable. It also helps to explain why so many inside and outside the country use historical clichés to describe the situation. Often, those clichés are intended to serve the interests of those who use them. Sometimes they are just bad simplifications. Either way, what follows is a handy guide to the terms, words, and phrases to treat with deep skepticism:

Fraternal assistance
This is a Soviet expression, once used to justify the Soviet invasions of Prague in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979. Fraternal assistance was intended to prevent Soviet puppet states from being overthrown, whether violently or peacefully. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukraine a “fraternal” country, hinting that he sees it as a puppet state. This week, a senior Russian parliamentarian declared that he and his colleagues are “prepared to give all the necessary assistance should the fraternal Ukrainian people ask for it.” This may well be the cue for pro-Russian organizations inside Ukraine to ask for intervention.

Anti-terrorist operation

This is a Putin-era expression used to justify the Russian invasion of Chechnya in 1999. An anti-terrorist operation, in this particular context, means that anything is permitted: The term granted Russian soldiers carte blanche to destroy Grozny, the Chechen capital. This is why so many reacted with horror earlier this week when the Ukrainian defense ministry warned that the army “might be used in anti-terrorist operations on the territory of Ukraine.”

Coup d’etat
This more universal expression has been used since November by both the Ukrainian government and Russian commentators to describe street protests in Kiev and elsewhere. It can mean anything from “peaceful protests that we don’t like” to “protesters using violence against police,” but either way, it is a term being used to justify the deployment of an “anti-terrorist operation” and not necessarily to describe an actual coup d’etat.

Nazi or fascist
These loaded historical terms have been used by both Russian and Ukrainian officials for many months to describe a wide range of opposition leaders and groups. Fake photographs of nonexistent Hitler posters in Kiev have been circulating online; recently, the Russian foreign minister lectured his German colleagues for, he said, supporting people who salute Hitler. Of course there is a Ukrainian far right, though it is much smaller than the far right in France, Austria, or Holland, and its members have indeed become more violent under the pressure of police clubs, bullets, and attacks.

At the same time, those who throw these terms around should remember that the strongest anti-Semitic, homophobic, and xenophobic rhetoric in this region is not coming from the Ukrainian far right but from the Russian press and ultimately the Russian regime. As historian Tim Snyder has written, “The Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.” The smears do stick. Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, just wrote an otherwise anodyne article ticking off Ukrainian “far-right nationalist groups” as if they were the main problem, proving that even Western statesmen aren’t immune.

Ethno-linguistic divisions or Yugoslav situation

These are more loaded terms, used in both the West and Russia, to show that the conflict in Ukraine is atavistic, inexplicable, and born of deep ethnic hatred. In fact, this is not an ethnic conflict at all. It is a political conflict and—despite the current opacity—at base not that hard to understand. It pits Ukrainians (both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who want to live in a “European” democracy with human rights and rule of law against Ukrainians (also both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who support an undemocratic, oligarchic capitalist regime that is politically and economically dependent on Russia. Some of the regime’s supporters may well believe they are fighting fascists and militant European homosexuals; others may simply fear that deep reforms will cost them their paychecks.

Either way, this is not a fight over which language to speak or which church to attend. It is a deep, fundamental disagreement about the nature of the state, the country’s international allegiances, its legal system, its economy, its future. Given how much Ukrainians have at stake, the least we outsiders can do is avoid foolish stereotypes when discussing their fate.

www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/02/ukraine_s_opaque_politics_the_smears_and_clich_s_used_to_describe_the_fight.html

The Ukrianophobic Media and Press must stop the pathological lying about the Ukrainian people! Its time for fair and balanced reporting. Truth is on the Ukrainian people side along with their Revolution of Dignity. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom as said by Thomas Jefferson.

PRAYER FOR UKRAINE

Prayer for Ukraine

2/20/2014

The Knights of Columbus has been following the events unfolding in Ukraine. Yesterday, Pope Francis said: “I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness and pray for the victims of the violence, for their families, and for the injured. I urge all parties to cease every form of violence and to pursue harmony and peace throughout the country.”

In solidarity with our Holy Father, and with the Catholic Bishops and Church in Ukraine, the Knights of Columbus is asking all of our members around the world to pray the Prayer of St. Francis this coming Sunday that there may be a renewed dialogue and respect and a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine.

assissiPrayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

www.kofc.org/un/en/news/releases/detail/stfrancisprayer-20140220.html

pray

Merkel, Hollande push for Ukraine sanctions

Europe
Merkel, Hollande push for Ukraine sanctions
sanction1

Paris and Berlin have agreed on possible sanctions after at least 25 people died in violent clashes in Kyiv. The EU is preparing to push through emergency measures following the bloodshed on Tuesday.
Merkel und Hollande PK 19.02.2014 Paris

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for targeted sanctions against Ukraine’s leadership at a joint press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

The two said the measures were part of an approach to promote a compromise leading to constitutional reform and elections.

“What is happening in Ukraine is unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable,” said Hollande.

Merkel also said sanctions against Ukraine’s leadership would show the EU was serious in pressing for a political solution. She told waiting reporters that they were talking to all sides in the crisis, including Russia.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called on Kyiv to pull back security forces surrounding protesters in the capital.

In a statement released by Downing Street on Wednesday, Cameron said “I am deeply concerned by the scenes we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

“President [Viktor] Yanukovich should be under no doubt that the world is watching his actions and that those responsible for violence will be held accountable,” Cameron continued.

In a further development on Wednesday evening, the president replaced the chief of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The move was announced in a presidential decree and came as the acting defense minister said the army could take part in a nationwide anti-terrorist operation to restore order.

Foreign ministers head to Ukraine

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be joined by his French and Polish counterparts in Kyiv on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed they would go to Ukraine ahead of talks in Brussels.

“With my Polish and German colleagues we have decided to go to Kyiv tomorrow morning … to gather the latest information before the meeting in Brussels,” Fabius said alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on an official trip to Paris.

Kerry also said the US was working closely with the EU on the Ukraine crisis.

“We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in order to try to create the environment for compromise,” he said.

Emergency EU talks

Speaking from Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy confirmed that “our ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council will at their meeting tomorrow (Thursday) examine targeted measures, such as financial sanctions and visa restrictions against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force.”

EU diplomats are reported to be already in the process of drafting sanctions against those behind fresh violence and continued use of excessive force in Ukraine.

Last week, Europe’s foreign ministers promised they would “respond quickly to any deterioration on the ground,” but the implementation of sanctions needs the unanimous backing of all 28 member states.

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said, “It was with shock and utter dismay that we have been watching developments over the last 24 hours in Ukraine.”

“There are no circumstances that can legitimize or justify such scenes,” he added.

Barroso echoed the international community’s reaction to the deaths of at least 25 people, including nine police officers, in violent clashes on Independence Square – also known as Maidan – in Kyiv on Tuesday. Hundreds were reported to have been injured.

Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said it had frozen its activities in Ukraine due to the recent violence.

Three months of unrest

In November, initial peaceful protests were held in Kyiv after Yanukovych rejected an EU deal in favor of strengthening ties with Russia.

In mid-December, the president had struck a multi-billion dollar bailout agreement with Moscow to a backdrop of increasing unrest.

By then, a reported 300,000 people had joined the demonstrations in the capital – police brutality and use of excessive force became the main media focus in the biggest rallies since the Orange revolution in 2004.

lw/dr (dpa, Reuters, AP)

Europe its time to act. Will the duo of Merkel and Hollande stand-up to Putin. Europe show your resolve for freedom and democracy -SANCTIONS NOW!

Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands

Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands
18.02.14 | Halya Coynash

Two of those whom the authorities call "extremists"

Two of those whom the authorities call “extremists”


The first reports that Berkut riot police were positioned on roofs and aiming rubber bullets and grenades at protesters came early on Tuesday. They almost certainly preceded the later disturbances and the two women who received wounds were very clearly peaceful protesters.

This soon changed, and the conflict became ugly. As of 1 a.m. on Wednesday, at least 20 people are reported dead and the centre of Kyiv is burning.

It is those later images that have been published in the world media and that have prompted European and North Atlantic countries to issue statements condemning the violence and calling for “both sides” to renounce force and sit down at the negotiating table. Ukrainian oligarchs have also grabbed the opportunity and called for “an end to violence”.

Some western commentators are refreshingly blunt. David Kramer from Freedom House has stated that “legitimate democratic leaders do not order riot police to attack protesters asking for a more open government, Yanukovych has forfeited his legitimacy and needs to step down”.

The following are just a few of the day’s events that strip any regime of its legitimacy. More will become clearer over the coming days and weeks. Time however is not on Ukrainians’ side now that the president, Viktor Yanukovych, doubtless buoyed – or bound – by yesterday’s 2 billion loan from Russia has chosen bloodshed.

The reports from Tuesday morning showed ordinary protesters preparing for a march on parliament. The pro-presidential Party of the Regions was blocking attempts to even table a draft law proposing changes to the Constitution. Berkut riot police blocked the streets to prevent the protesters even approaching parliament. Judging by those early reports, and confirmed by photos, Berkut snipers began shooting (then only rubber bullets) and hurling grenades very early on.

This is indeed not the behaviour of a legitimate democratic government, but there is more. There have been reports from morning of large number of titushki or hired thugs in the centre. They were seen provoking conflict, looting and some reports suggest that they may have shot at Berkut officers. There is also a video clip which appears to show a protester injured, perhaps killed, by fire from titushki.

Can such reports be treated as standard attempts to blame the other side for any escalation? There is ample evidence of such use of titushki over recent months, as was noted by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner during his visit to Ukraine. The assertion by the police that 7 officers have been shot and killed seems at least strange since none of the western or Ukrainian media reports speak of protesters using firearms.

The government has tried to present the protesters as “extremists”, and has called the use of force to clear the EuroMaidan demonstrators on Maidan Nezalezhnosti “an anti-terrorist” action. Despite the violence and the number of deaths, the numbers on Maidan have not abated. Some thirty thousand people simply by virtue of their numbers can hardly be called “terrorists”. They do not fit the description in any other way either. Through the evening, they have been singing the Ukrainian national anthem, taking part in public prayer and listening to addresses, including one from Mustafa Jemilev, veteran defender of the rights of the Crimean Tatars and Soviet political prisoner, who expressed pride in his fellow Ukrainians.

These “terrorists” are being treated, when injured, by a medical service made up solely of volunteers, some of whom have themselves come under attack. The EuroMaidan Civic Sector reports that with Berkut setting protesters’ tents and some buildings on fire, the medical unit has been forced to move to the Myhailivsky [St Michael’s] Cathedral. A large number of people have been detained, with lawyers not allowed to see those held at 5 police stations

During meetings with EU and Council of Europe representatives at the end of January, EuroMaidan and human rights activists spoke of credible rumours that a crackdown would be attempted after the middle of February. The timing was linked with the fact that the Sochi Olympics would then be drawing to an end, and Russia would not need to fear any boycott of its games. Over the weekend that danger seemed to have abated with Maidan and opposition negotiators showing readiness to comply with the notorious “hostage law” by vacating government buildings, clearing part of the road, etc, in order to get the charges against a huge number of protesters waived.

The announcement on Monday that Yanukovych had agreed another loan of 2 billion from Russia led to considerable speculation as to what the agreement had entailed.

Tuesday began with Ukrainians of different ages, professions, ethnic origin and faiths endeavouring to present demands which are legitimate in any democratic country. The descent into violence and bloodshed is indeed a cause of deep concern. It is surely time, however, for that concern to be translated into action by those who hold democratic values dear.

khpg.org/index.php?id=1392772605

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

We need a Marshall Plan to fix Ukraine

UKRAINE_DANIEL BILAK
We need a Marshall Plan to fix Ukraine

DANIEL BILAK

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 13 2014, 10:07 AM EST

The turmoil in Ukraine, now in its third month, will be not be resolved without robust intervention on the part of its key western partners, the European Union, the United States and Canada
. The crisis began when Ukrainians swept into the streets to protest President Yanukovych’s abrupt refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Explaining that Ukraine was bankrupt and required an immediate cash injection that the EU was unprepared to provide, the president gratefully accepted a $15-billion bailout from an obliging President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

While the protests have morphed into a countrywide revolt against cronyism and corruption, a political resolution is currently deadlocked, while Ukraine’s beleaguered currency remains in freefall and its bankrupted economy faces imminent collapse. A bellicose Mr. Putin is using the unfolding drama to suborn Ukraine economically and politically, in much the same way that Stalin attempted to leverage the devastation in Europe to advance communism after the Second World War.

These circumstances pose a clear geo-strategic choice to the EU, U.S. and Canada: can the West afford a poor, politically unstable, autocratic, economically derelict nation of 46 million potential refugees on Europe’s eastern border tethered to a poor, but aggressive Russia; or is it in the West’s collective interests to embrace a prosperous, democratically confident and economically stable Ukraine firmly integrated into Europe?

Indeed, as pithily explained by geo-strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, the ultimate prize for the West is not even a stable Ukraine, but a democratic Russia; a peaceful, prosperous European Ukraine destroys Mr. Putin’s residual imperial ambitions and provides Russia with an opportunity to eventually transform into a democratic, responsible and peaceful partner, sharing common values.

This outcome requires the development of a comprehensive assistance plan for Ukraine modelled on the post-war European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan. In 1948, facing the dual threats of Soviet expansionism and the total collapse of Europe’s economies, the United States pumped $15-billion (roughly $148-billion in today’s terms) into modernizing and integrating Europe’s economies. This far-sighted strategic decision resulted in the total political reconstruction of Western Europe, leading to decades of unprecedented growth and prosperity on the continent.

The recovery plan for Ukraine (let’s call it the Ukraine Recovery Program, or URP) should take this same bold, strategic approach. It should be based on the following framework: in return for starting to implement pre-agreed structural reforms (and only then), a new reform-oriented Ukrainian government demonstrably committed to (and capable of) implementing reforms should be offered a substantial three-to-four-year aid package that 1) facilitates the democratic transformation of Ukraine’s governing institutions; 2) stimulates the modernization and competitiveness of the Ukrainian economy; and 3) by offsetting the adverse socio-economic consequences of Russian economic retaliation, provides a social cohesion cushion in three key sectors: energy, state-owned enterprises, and the pension system. Social cohesion assistance in the following areas would cost between $21-25-billion, comprised of stand-by money to be used to backstop the plan agreed with the government to modernize the economy.

Moreover, a detailed outline of the URP, beyond vague promises, should be announced immediately. The impact of the EU, U.S. and Canada demonstrating their willingness to stand behind Ukraine with a massive program of assistance will help break the political logjam and provide a framework for the outcome of the current negotiations. It will 1) reassure Ukrainians of the West’s seriousness in helping Ukraine integrate into Europe; 2) build support among Ukrainians for a European future; 3) assuage the fears, stoked by the governing party and Russia, among Ukrainians (especially in the densely populated and heavily industrialized eastern part of Ukraine) of losing their jobs and pensions during the integration process; and 4) undermine the specious arguments that Ukraine’s only hope of economic salvation lies with Russia.

With this plan the West reaffirms its position as an honest broker to the current dispute, as the URP would be politically neutral and addresses the concerns of all sides.

Notwithstanding the hobbling economic problems in the West, the URP is worth the investment; the cost of containing the long-term fallout from economic collapse in Ukraine will be significantly higher. For the West, Ukraine is too big to fail. Moldova and Georgia may also lay claims for massive assistance, but their own viability as independent states may depend on whether or not Ukraine falls back into Russia’s orbit. Only Ukraine has the heft to block Russia’s imperial aspirations.

Ultimately, the URP will reassure the Ukrainian people that they can enter through Europe’s “open door” not as paupers, but as proud partners.

Finally, the EU, backed by the U.S. and Canada, should take the long overdue, and now obvious step of explicitly promising to open talks with Ukraine on EU accession following implementation of the reforms.

Ukrainians have shown the world that they are prepared to die for the values behind the original Marshall Plan – they have certainly earned the right to be integrated back into Europe.

Daniel Bilak is an international lawyer based in Kiev and a former UNDP senior governance advisor to the government of Ukraine.

www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/we-need-a-marshall-plan-to-fix-ukraine/article16849121/

It is important for the Western World to act decisively and support the evolution of a prosperous, democratically confident and economically stable Ukraine firmly integrated into Europe!

I Am a Ukrainian

The people demand change.

They recognize that something is wrong in their country