Archive | March 9th, 2014

Russia puts Ukraine far-right leader on international wanted list over calls for terrorism

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Dmitro Yarosh, Right Sector leader, speaks during a rally in Independence Square.(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)Dmitro Yarosh, Right Sector leader, speaks during a rally in Independence Square.(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin).

The leader of the Ukrainian radical group, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has been put on an international wanted list and charged with inciting terrorism, after asking Doku Umarov to attack Russia.

“The investigators believe that Yarosh has been publicly calling upon anti-Russian forces for extreme actions and terror on the territory of Russia,” said Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee.

In the near future, Russian investigators are going to demand Yarosh’s arrest, he added.

Yarosh has not yet been put on the Interpol official database because it is up to the secretary-general of the organization to inform member states about putting citizens on an international wanted list.

Earlier, on Sunday Yarosh called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist, Doku Umarov, to act against Russia in an address posted on the Right Sector’s page in the Russian VKontakte social network.

The statement said that “many Ukrainians with arms in their hands” supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and “it is time to support Ukraine now.” The message, signed “leader of Right Sector Dmitry Yarosh” called on Umarov “to activate his fight” and “take a unique opportunity to win”over Russia.

Umarov has claimed responsibility for many attacks on Russian civilians, including the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing, which killed dozens of people and injured hundreds.

After Yarosh’s public appeal to Umarov, Russia’s investigative committee on Monday launched a criminal case against him. If indicted, Yarosh may face up to 7 years in prison in Russia.

However, Ukraine will not hand over the leader of far-right group Right Sector if Russia makes such a request because that would violate Ukrainian laws, the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.

Yarosh, who leads the far-right militant Right Sector group, has always been anti-Russian in his statements, calling for the destruction and division of the “Moscow Empire” and openly supporting Chechen militants and Georgian aggression. Yarosh believes that Russia is Ukraine’s “eternal foe” and that a war between the two countries is “inevitable.”

The Right Sector movement, a combination of several far-right groups, was formed in November 2013 soon after the anti-government protests in Ukraine began. Members of the radical movement were very active in the violent events which led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. After the February-21 agreement between Yanukovich and opposition leaders was signed, they declared they did not recognize it and would continue the armed struggle.

The group has been referred to as the most active, the most radical and the best organized group in the Ukrainian unrest. Many of its violent acts have been well-documented by media and placed on YouTube. Well-equipped masked rioters from Right Sector used clubs, petrol bombs and firearms against the Ukrainian police. Some members of the movement continued to use rifles and pistols to intimidate local authorities after the coup.

Posted in Russia, UkraineComments Off on Russia puts Ukraine far-right leader on international wanted list over calls for terrorism

Arms seizure ‘amazing coincidence,’ Iran FM says

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (Photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi)

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweets that Zio-Nazai high seas arms bust is ‘same failed lies,’ timed to line up with AIPAC

Times of Israel

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his skepticism Thursday at Israeli and US claims that the Israeli Navy had seized a ship carrying a cache of illicit Iranian arms.

“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza,” read a tweet from his official account. “Captured just in time for annual AIPAC anti Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies.”

Israeli forces interdicted the “Klos-C” vessel near Port Sudan early Wednesday morning. According to Israel, the Gaza-bound missile shipment it was carrying had been tracked from Damascus to Iran and then to Iraq before being captured en route to the Hamas-controlled territory.

When naval commandos from the elite Shayetet 13 unit boarded and took control of the ship, soldiers found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds) hidden in shipping containers also carrying sacks of concrete.

The US later confirmed the weapons are believed to be from Iran and acknowledged that it had been planning its own operation to seize the ship before ceding to the Israelis. Video from the ship showing a bag of cement marked “MADE IN IRAN” seems to back up claims of Iranian involvement.

Netanyahu, still in the US after meeting with President Barack Obama on Iran and ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians, lauded the IDF and castigated Iran.

“I would like to congratulate the IDF, Israel’s intelligence apparatuses and of course the commanders and soldiers of the navy who carried out a flawless operation to capture a covert Iranian weapons ship,” Netanyahu said in a video statement Wednesday.

“This is the real Iran and this country must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons,” he said. “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect Israeli citizens.”

The White House later said that the weapons shipment would not affect negotiations on the country’s nuclear program.

“Even as we continue efforts to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy, we will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region, in coordination with our partners and allies, and made clear that these illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s UN Security Council obligations,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Arms seizure ‘amazing coincidence,’ Iran FM says

Turkey grants US warship permission to enter Black Sea

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The US Navy Warship USS Taylor.(Reuters / Yevgeny Volokin)The US Navy Warship USS Taylor.(Reuters / Yevgeny Volokin).

Turkey has given a US Navy Warship the green light to pass through the Bosphorus within the next two days as tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea region continue to divide world powers.

Turkish sources, speaking with the Hurriyet Daily News on Wednesday, declined to elaborate on the name of the US warship. The same officials told the daily on condition of anonymity that the ship in question was not the USS George H.W. Bush nuclear aircraft carrier as suggested in some news reports, as it did not meet the standards specified by the 1936 Montreux Convention in terms of weight.

The US vessel to pass through the straits will meet the convention’s standards, the sources said.

On Wednesday, the Russian Black Sea Fleet Staff confirmed to the Itar-Tass news agency that a US destroyer was expected to enter the Black Sea later this week.

On Sunday, Tass reported that the guided-missile frigate USS Taylor, one of two Navy ships assigned to the Black Sea during the Sochi Winter Olympics was still in the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun. The frigate was deployed on February 5 along with the amphibious command ship, USS Mount Whitney. According to the Montreux Convention, warships of countries which do not border the Black Sea cannot remain in the waters for longer than 21 days. While the USS Mount Whitney left on February 25, the USS Taylor remained at the Turkish port, ostensibly for repairs after running aground on February 12.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Tuesday that two Russian warships entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. The 150 ‘Saratov’ landing ship and the 156 ‘Yamal’ assault ship crossed the strait around 05:30 GMT, en route to the Black Sea, the Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.

No coastguard boats were seen escorting the ships. The Ukrainian Hetman Sahaydachny followed shortly thereafter, crossing the Dardanelles Strait off Turkey’s west coast. Two coastguard vessels were reported by AA to be escorting the ship.

The vessel, which had participated in NATO-led Ocean Shield and Atalanta counter-piracy operations, reportedly docked near Odessa port on Wednesday, says the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The traffic through the Turkish straits comes as tensions between the West and Russia over recent events in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, continue to simmer.

Russia currently leases a military wharf and shore installations in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. The Ukrainian government agreed to extend Russia’s lease on the territory in 2010, allowing the Russian Black Sea Fleet to effectively stay in Crimea until 2047.

Five Russian naval units are currently stationed in the port city of Sevastopol, including the 30th Surface Ship Division, the 41st Missile Boat Brigade, the 247th Separate Submarine Division, the 68th Harbor Defense Ship, and the 422nd Separate Hydrographic Ship Division.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the military personnel of the Black Sea Fleet are “in their deployment sites” and “additional vigilance measures were taken to safeguard the sites.”

“We will do everything to prevent bloodshed,” he said, speaking ahead of his first face-to-face meeting with his US counterpart, John Kerry, since the crisis erupted.

USS Mount Whitney.(AFP Photo / Seiran Baroian)USS Mount Whitney.(AFP Photo / Seiran Baroian)

Over a week after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was toppled by violent street protests, fears of deepening political and social strife have been particularly acute in Ukraine’s pro-Russian east and south.

One day after voting to oust Yanukovich, a newly reconfigured parliament did away with a 2012 law on minority languages, which permitted the use of two official languages in regions where the size of an ethnic minority exceeds 10 percent.

Apart from the Russian-majority regions affected by this law, Hungarian, Moldovan and Romanian also lost their status as official languages in several towns in Western Ukraine.

Authorities in the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea – where over half the population is ethnically Russian – requested Moscow’s assistance following the legal downgrade of the Russian language.

Western states have accused Russia of militarily intervening in Crimea and called on Russian troops to return to their Black Sea bases. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently dispatched military observers to Kiev. The observers from the pan-European security body are en route to Crimea, where they will monitor the situation on the ground.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated President Putin’s previous words that Russian troops had not actually been deployed from their bases in Crimea. Lavrov said that forces with unmarked uniforms which had taken de-facto control over Crimea are self-defense units that are not under Russia’s auspices.

“If they are the self-defense forces created by the inhabitants of Crimea, we have no authority over them,”Lavrov told a news conference in Madrid after a meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

“They do not receive orders [from us],” he said.

On Saturday, the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia – 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.”

According to the bilateral agreement concerning Russia’s Black Sea Fleet military bases in Crimea, Moscow is allowed to have up to 25,000 troops in Ukraine.

Posted in USA, TurkeyComments Off on Turkey grants US warship permission to enter Black Sea

Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea

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Ukrainian marines look at a Russian ship floating out of the Sevastopol bay on March 4, 2014 (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)Ukrainian marines look at a Russian ship floating out of the Sevastopol bay on March 4, 2014 (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev).

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.”

People watch a Russian Navy ship enter the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)People watch a Russian Navy ship enter the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

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.

 

Ukrainian marines look at a Russian ship floating out of the Sevastopol bay on March 4, 2014 (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)Ukrainian marines look at a Russian ship floating out of the Sevastopol bay on March 4, 2014 (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)

 

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 Georgy;

– 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.

 

Servicemen participate in a joint parade of Ukraine's Navy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol on Navy Day.(RIA Novosti / Vasiliy Batanov)Servicemen participate in a joint parade of Ukraine’s Navy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol on Navy Day.(RIA Novosti / Vasiliy Batanov)

 

 

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.

9) Russian naval units are permitted to implement security measures at their permanent post as well as during re-deployments in cooperation with Ukrainian forces, in accordance with Russia’s armed forces procedures.

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.

Posted in Russia, UkraineComments Off on Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea

Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked call on Kiev snipers

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Urmas Paet.(AFP Photo / Vasily Maximov)Urmas Paet.(AFP Photo / Vasily Maximov)

The Estonian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.

Paet told RIA-Novosti news agency that he talked to Catherine Ashton last week right after retiring from Kiev, but refrained from further comments, saying that he has to “listen to the tape first.”

“It’s very disappointing that such surveillance took place altogether. It’s not a coincidence that this conversation was uploaded [to the web] today,” he stressed.

“My conversation with Ashton took place last week right after I returned from Kiev. At that time I was already in Estonia,” Paet added.

Paet also gave a press conference about the leaked tape on Wednesday, saying that the dramatic events in Kiev, which resulted in people being killed, must become the subject of an independent investigation.

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on its website, saying that the recording of the leaked telephone conversation between Paet and Ashton is “authentic.”

The phone call took place on February 26 after Estonia’s FM returned from his visit to Ukraine, which took place soon after the end of street violence in Kiev, the ministry added.

“We reject the claim that Paet was giving an assessment of the opposition’s involvement in the violence,”
the statement stressed, adding that the FM was only providing an overview of what he had heard during his Kiev visit.

RT has contacted Ashton’s spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, who said “we don’t comment on leaked phone conversations.”

The US government declined to comment on the leaked phone conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign affairs minister.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she had nothing to say on the issue, ITAR-TASS reported. However, she did accuse Russia of leaking the tape, stating that “this was another example of how the Russians work.”

The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25, following the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.

 

Anti-government protesters take cover as they are under fire reportedly of police sniper during clashes police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)Anti-government protesters take cover as they are under fire reportedly of police sniper during clashes police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

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

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

According to the Estonian FM, “all the evidence shows” that the “same snipers” at Maidan were shooting at people from both sides – the police and the protesters.

Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible,” adding that the matter is worth investigating.

94 people were killed and another 900 injured during the standoff between police and protesters at Maidan Saquare in Kiev last month.

 

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Michele Bachmann: American Jewish Community ‘Sold Out I$raHell’

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The Huffington Post
by  Samantha Lachman

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has very strong feelings about Israel, and she’s disappointed that American Jews don’t have the same feelings she does.

In a Monday interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins,Bachmann chastised American Jewish organizations for backing off stronger sanctions against Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Right Wing Watch picked up on the congresswoman’s comments Tuesday.

“The Jewish community gave him their votes, their support, their financial support and as recently as last week, 48 Jewish donors who are big contributors to the president wrote a letter to the Democrat senators in the U.S. Senate to tell them to not advance sanctions against Iran,” Bachmann told Perkins.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby, changed course earlier this month and came out against a Senate vote on additional Iran sanctions.

“This is clearly against Israel’s best interest. What has been shocking has been seeing and observing Jewish organizations who it appears have made it their priority to support the political priority and the political ambitions of the President over the best interests of Israel,” Bachmann added. “So in some respects, they sold out Israel.”

Seventy percent of Jewish American voters picked President Barack Obama when he ran for reelection in 2012. J Street, a pro-peace lobbying group that supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, commissioned a poll that year which found that just 10 percent of Jewish American voters identified Israel as one of their top two voting issue priorities.

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Russia says it would retaliate for U.S. sanctions over Ukraine

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(Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday that it would retaliate if the United States imposed sanctions over Moscow’s actions inUkraine.

“We will have to respond,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement. “As always in such situations, provoked by rash and irresponsible actions by Washington, we stress: this is not our choice.”

“We have frequently explained to the Americans … why unilateral sanctions do not fit the standards of civilized relations between states,” Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich did not describe any measures Moscow might impose in retaliation but said the Russian response would not necessarily mirror the U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is consulting the Obama administration on possible measures including visa bans and asset freezes against individuals, suspension of military cooperation, and economic sanctions.

In Kiev on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday condemned Russia’s “act of aggression” in Ukraine and said Moscow, which has taken control of the Crimea region, was looking for a pretext to invade more of the country.

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Spring fails in Ukrainian plunderland

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colorrevolutions

THE ROVING EYE 

By Pepe Escobar

Here’s the US’s exceptionalist promotion of “democracy” in action; Washington has recognized a coup d’etat in Ukraine that regime-changed a – for all its glaring faults – democratically elected government.

And here is Russian President Vladimir Putin, already last year,talking about how Russia and China decided to trade in roubles and yuan, and stressing how Russia needs to quit the “excessive monopoly” of the US dollar. He had to be aware the Empire would strike back.

Now there’s more; Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev

told RIA Novosti, “Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation.”

So the Empire struck back by giving “a little help” to regime change in the Ukraine. And Moscow counter-punched by taking control of Crimea in less than a day without firing a shot – with or without crack Spetsnaz brigades (UK-based think tanks say they are; Putin says they are not).

Putin’s assessment of what happened in Ukraine is factually correct; “an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power”. It’s open to endless, mostly nasty debate whether the Kremlin overreacted or not. Considering the record of outright demonization of both Russia and Putin going on for years – and now reaching fever pitch – the Kremlin’s swift reaction was quite measured.

Putin applied Sun Tzu to the letter, and now plays the US against the EU. He has made it clear Moscow does not need to “invade” Ukraine. The 1997 Ukraine-Russia partition treaty specifically allows Russian troops in Crimea. And Russia after all is an active proponent of state sovereignty; it’s under this principle that Moscow refuses a Western “intervention” in Syria.

What he left the door open for is – oh cosmic irony of ironies – an American invention/intervention (and that, predictably, was undetectable by Western corporate media); the UN’s R2P – “responsibility to protect” – in case the Western-aligned fascists and neo-nazis in Ukraine threaten Russians or Russian-speaking civilians with armed conflict. Samantha Power should be proud of herself.

Don’t mess with Russian intelligence
The “West” once again has learned you don’t mess with Russian intelligence, which in a nutshell preempted in Crimea a replica of the coup in Kiev, largely precipitated by UNA-UNSO – a shady, ultra-rightwing, crack paramilitary NATO-linked force using Ukraine as base, as exposed by William Engdahl

And Crimea was an even murkier operation, because those neo-nazis from Western Ukraine were in tandem with Tatar jihadis (the House of Saud will be heavily tempted to finance them from now on).

The Kremlin is factually correct when pointing out that the coup was essentially conducted by fascists and ultra-right “nationalists” – Western code for neo-nazis. Svoboda (“Freedom”) party political council member Yury Noyevy even admitted openly that using EU integration as a pretext “is a means to break our ties with Russia.”

Western corporate media always conveniently forgets that Svoboda – as well as the Right Sector fascists – follow in the steps of Galician fascist/terrorist Stepan Bandera, a notorious asset of a basket of “Western” intel agencies. Now Svoboda has managed to insert no less than six bigwigs as part of the new regime in Kiev.

Then there are the new regional governors appointed to the mostly Russophone east and south of Ukraine. They are – who else – oligarchs, such as billionaires Sergei Taruta posted to Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky posted in Dnipropetrovsk. People in Maidan in Kiev were protesting mostly against – who else – kleptocrat oligarchs. Once again, Western corporate media – which tirelessly plugged a “popular” uprising against kleptocracy – hasn’t noticed it.

Once again, follow the money
Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves, only in the past four weeks, plunged from US$17.8 billion to $15 billion. Wanna buy some hryvnia? Well, not really; the national currency, is on a cosmic dive against the US dollar. This is jolly good news only for disaster capitalism vultures.

And right on cue, the International Monetary Fund is sending a “fact-finding mission” to Ukraine this week. Ukrainians of all persuasions may run but they won’t hide from “structural adjustment”. They could always try to scrape enough for a ticket with their worthless hryvnia (being eligible for visa on arrival in Thailand certainly helps).

European banks – who according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) hold more than $23 billion in outstanding loans – could lose big in Ukraine. Italian banks, for instance, have loaned nearly $6 billion.

On the Pipelineistan front, Ukraine heavily depends on Russia; 58% of its gas supply. It cannot exactly diversify and start buying from Qatar tomorrow – with delivery via what, Qatar Airways?

And even as 66% of Russian gas exported to the EU transits through Ukraine, the country is fast losing its importance as a transit hub. Both the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines – Russia not on-the-ground but under-seas – bypass Ukraine. The Nord Stream, finished in 2011, links Russia with Germany beneath the Baltic Sea. South Stream, beneath the Black Sea, will be ready before the end of 2015.

Geoeconomically, the Empire needs Ukraine to be out of the Eurasian economic union promoted by the Kremlin – which also includes Kazakhstan and Belarus. And geopolitically, when NATO Secretary General, the vain puppet Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that an IMF-EU package for the Ukraine would be “a major boost for Euro-Atlantic security”, this is what clinched it; the only thing that matters in this whole game is NATO “annexing” Ukraine, as I examined earlier.

It has always been about the Empire of Bases – just like the encirclement of Iran; just like the “pivot” to Asia translating into encirclement of China; just like encircling Russia with bases and “missile defense”. Over the Kremlin’s collective dead body, of course.

Let’s plunder that wasteland
US Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Russia of “invading Ukraine”, in “violation of international law”, and “back to the 19th century”, is so spectacularly pathetic in its hypocrisy – once again, look at the US’s record – it does not warrant comment from any informed observer. Incidentally, this is as pathetic as his offer of a paltry $1 billion in “loan guarantees” – which would barely pay Ukraine’s bills for two weeks.

The Obama administration – especially the neo-cons of the “F**k the EU” kind – has lost is power play. And for Moscow, it has no interlocutor in Kiev because it considers the regime-changers illegal. Moscow also regards “Europe” as a bunch of pampered whining losers – with no common foreign policy to boot.

So any mediation now hinges on Germany. Berlin has no time for “sanctions” – the sacrosanct American exceptionalist mantra; Russia is a plush market for German industry. And for all the vociferations at the Economist and the Financial Times, the City of London also does not want sanctions; the financial center feeds on lavish Russian politico/oligarch funds. As for the West’s “punishment” for Russia by threatening to expel it from the Group of Eight, that is a joke. The G-8, which excludes China, does not decide anything relevant anymore; the G-20 does.

If a wide-ranging poll were to be conducted today, it would reveal that the majority of Ukrainians don’t want to be part of the EU – as much as the majority of Europeans don’t want the Ukraine in the EU. What’s left for millions of Ukrainians is the bloodsucking IMF, to be duly welcomed by “Yats” (as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is treated by Vic “F**k the EU” Nuland).

Ukraine is slouching towards federalization. The Kiev regime-changers will have no say on autonomous Crimea – which most certainly will remain part of Ukraine (and Russia by the way will save $90 million in annual rent for the Sevastopol base, which until now was payable to Kiev.)

The endgame is all but written; Moscow controls an autonomous Crimea for free, and the US/EU “control”, or try to plunder, disaster capitalism-style, a back of beyond western Ukraine wasteland “managed” by a bunch of Western puppets and oligarchs, with a smatter of neo-nazis.

So what is the Obama/Kerry strategic master duo to do? Start a nuclear war?

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Spring fails in Ukrainian plunderland

Hillary Clinton Compares Putin’s Ukraine Strategy To Adolf Hitler’s In Nazi Germany: Report

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The Huffington Post  
by  Shadee Ashtari

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent activities in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s “population transfers” in the late 1930s during a closed Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach fundraiser on Tuesday, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” Clinton reportedly said, referring to Putin’s plan to issue Russian citizenship to those in Ukraine’s Crimean region. “All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Putin is a man “who believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” Clinton said, which includes gaining control over countries once under the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

In late February, the legislature’s lower house passed a bill that would authorize “Russian-speaking citizens of the former USSR, irrespective of nationality, who are in danger of a real threat of ethno-cultural, political, or professional discrimination” to obtain Russian citizenship.

“When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia,” Clinton said, according to a Press-Telegram reporter attending the event.

Clinton, a potential Democratic 2016 presidential contender, projected that if Ukraine and Russia are to attain any kind of agreement, negotiations would start in Crimea.

Harry Saltzgaver, the executive editor for Gazette Newspapers in Long Beach and the reporter who broke the Clinton news, said he feels “badly” about leaking the comments:

I’m a news source for a national story.Frankly, I don’t think Clinton said anything that surprising, or inflamatory [sic]. But when a presumptive presidential candidate says something, it is going to be news.

I feel badly, only because it seems like I’ve somehow breeched [sic] a confidence — even though I was never asked to keep anything in confidence. So instead of being the news, I’m reporting the news.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on Hillary Clinton Compares Putin’s Ukraine Strategy To Adolf Hitler’s In Nazi Germany: Report

Putin Says Those Aren’t Russian Forces In Crimea

NOVANEWS
putinobama

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his news conference Tuesday.

Alexei Nikolsky/AP

(We updated this post at 11:55 a.m. ET.)

Russian soldiers have not occupied government buildings and surrounded Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted Tuesday during a news conference near Moscow at which he gave an account of recent events that contradicts reports from the ground.

Instead, he told reporters that the heavily armed men are “local self-defense forces.”

What’s more, anything Russia has done, Putin said without offering specifics, has been part of a “humanitarian mission” to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea.

But even as he said no Russian troops have been involved in the latest events in Crimea, Putin drew comparisons that would seem to indicate they had been. “Our actions are often described by the West as not legitimate, but look at U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya,” he said, according to a BBC translation of his comments. “Our actions are legitimate from the point of view of international law, because Ukraine’s legitimate president asked us for help. … Defending these people is in our interests. … We do not want to ‘enslave’ anyone.”

Putin made the claims about a lack of involvement by Russian forces even though Russian military helicopters have been seen in the skies over Crimea, Russian trucks have been seen moving the armed men to key locations, and the soldiers in unmarked uniforms speak Russian and in some cases have told reporters and local residents that they are members of the Russian military.

The GuardianBBC News and Reuters live-blogged as Putin spoke. Among the highlights:

— Is Putin concerned about a war breaking out? “No, because we will not go to war with the Ukrainian people.” (The Guardian)

— Does he think ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia last week, has a political future? No, “and I have told this to him. … He would have been killed in Ukraine had we not helped him.” (BBC News)

— Sanctions against Russia would make matters worse. “All threats against Russia are counterproductive and harmful,” Putin said, while adding that Russia is ready to host the G-8 summit in June — but if Western leaders do not want to come, “they don’t need to.” (Reuters)

— Russia is not going to try to annex Crimea, Putin said. (BBC News)

On ‘Morning Edition’: NPR’s David Greene speaks with ‘New York Times’ Moscow correspondent Steven Lee Myers

The Russian leader’s news conference followed word from Moscow that “tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine’s border” are returning to their bases.

That’s being taken “generally as a good sign,” NPR’s Peter Kenyon, who is in Crimea,said on Morning Edition.

There was also no “military storm” — a rumored attack by Russian forces — Tuesday morning.

But the rumors about a possible Russian attack had been debunked earlier. As for the order for troops taking part in exercises on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine to return to their bases, New York Times correspondent Steven Lee Myers pointed out on Morning Edition that those exercises had already been scheduled to end today.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev today for talks with officials from the interim government that replaced the Yanukovych regime. He arrives, the White House says in a statement released early Tuesday, with the news that the Obama administration “is working with Congress and the government of Ukraine to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees aimed at helping insulate vulnerable Ukrainians from the effects of reduced energy subsidies.”

After landing in Kiev Tuesday, Kerry brought flowers to a shrine to those killed in recent weeks and reiterated that the U.S. stands with Ukraine “for self-determination.”

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET: Kerry And Obama Discuss Ukraine Crisis

Saying that people had “put themselves on the line” for Ukraine’s future, Kerry said at a news conference from Kiev that Ukrainians who had asked for their rights and for democracy had instead been met with snipers’ bullets. He also said he spoke to several people who pleaded for help.

Of the military tensions in Crimea, Kerry said, “we are in a new phase” of the confrontation.

“We condemn the Russian Federation’s act of aggression,” he said. And he praised “the restraint that the transitional government has shown” despite what he called an invasion. (You can read our full post on Kerry’s and Obama’s remarks here.)

Kerry spoke around the same time that President Obama unveiled his 2015 budget blueprint today; he was asked about the situation in Ukraine and what Russia has been doing.

“There have been some reports that President Putin is pausing for a moment and reflecting on what’s happened,” Obama said.

Then he added that “there is a strong belief that Russia action is violating international law. … President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers doing a different set of interpretations. … I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.”

In Kiev, Kerry seemed surprised by a reporter’s question about Putin’s remarks earlier Tuesday.

“He really denied there are troops in Crimea?” he asked, interrupting the question.

Our original post continues:

Although the situation in Crimea has been tense since the armed men showed up Friday to surround military bases and take over some strategic locations, there has been no serious violence. Ukrainian forces have stayed in their barracks. The only confrontation reported so far came Tuesday, when some of the armed men fired warning shots in the air after Ukrainian military personnel — who weren’t armed — tried to enter an airfield that has been taken over.

We’ve previously summed up what sparked months of protest in Kiev and ultimately led to Yanukovych’s dismissal last month:

“The protests were sparked in part by the president’s rejection of a pending trade treaty with the European Union and his embrace of more aid from Russia. Protesters were also drawn into the streets to demonstrate against government corruption.”

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Putin Says Those Aren’t Russian Forces In Crimea

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