Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ukraine Re- Revolution updates March 2 , 2014 -- Updates of the day from the Crimean Region , reaction to the Crimean Re0revolution , reactions to the Russian reaction and decision to come to the aid of russian citizens and russian interests.....

Quick round up from Saturday news of the day....

Ukraine Threatens War Over Crimea, But Options Are Limited

Week After Takeover, Interim Govt Not Ready for War With Russia

by Jason Ditz, March 01, 2014
With autonomous Crimea’s parliament approving a referendum for secession and Russia’s parliament approving military action in the area, the week-old Ukraine interim government is getting the sense that its maritime province is quickly slipping away. That’s got them riled up, and threatening war.
That’s the rhetoric the anti-Russia protesters in Kiev want to hear, but as a practical matter Ukraine’s military options are few to none, with both the majority of Crimeans wanting secession and Russia’s much larger military willing to back them.
And that’s assuming Ukraine’s military is even willing to go along with such a war, a big if since protesters took the nation over a week ago. Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny, is refusing orders from the interim government, and is reportedly flying the Russian flag.
While US politicians have also ratcheted up the rhetoric, US officials concede that Russia’s troops in Crimea are setting up defensive positions and are in a “self-defense posture only.”
Reports from Crimea’s government say they’ve got Russian troops helping them protect government buildings in anticipation of the referendum, and with a sense that will easily back secession and re-accession into the Russian federation, it seems that Russia doesn’t need to “invade” at all, but simply needs to keep the interim government at bay until Crimean voters affirm the switch.

In Crimea, citizens stand for self defense and Mother Russia

by  March 1, 2014 5:49PM ET
In port city of Sevastopol, people wave Russian flags and staff checkpoints to keep out those from Kiev and the West
Ukraine Uprising
Foreign policy

Sevastopol, Ukraine, Crimea, Russia, soldiers, uprising

Troops in unmarked uniforms stand guard in Balaklava, on the outskirts of Sevastopol, as residents walk by. The port city is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian uprising has unsettled ethnic Russians there.
Andrew Lubimov/AP
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — Friday night, Vasili Kryshko bought a pair of woodland green hunting waders. A friend accompanying him bought a long waterproof trench coat, also in camouflage, and they set off to serve their shift at the local self-defense battalion checkpoint, 20 miles outside the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
Speaking from the checkpoint, Kryshko said it was set up a week ago to prevent “provocateurs” from Kiev and western Ukraine from coming into the city after three months of protests led to the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovich last Saturday. They are in communication with other battalions across the autonomous peninsula, coordinating security.
"We are not paid," he said. "We are not here for money. We are here for security.”
The post was unarmed on Saturday morning, but Kryshko said they could have weapons delivered in less than 15 minutes if needed. “We hope it won’t come to that, but we are ready for anything,” he said. “Crimea will decide its fate for itself, it’s the people who will decide.”
But the checkpoint’s loyalty was clear: A Russian flag was flying high over the barricades and a sign on the roadblock said: “Russia is where we are.” 
Unhappy with the outcome of the protests in the capital and alarmed at the rise of Ukrainian nationalist groups in Kiev, many ethnic Russians in Crimea, who make up almost 60 percent of the population here, have been protesting and calling for Russia to come to their aid — with some even going as far as demanding their neighbor immediately absorb the territory.
On Saturday afternoon, they may have gotten their wish. The new pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea asked Russian president Vladimir Putin for help safeguarding the Black Sea peninsula. Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian senate to use military force in Ukraine. Already, professional-looking gunmen in neat, matching uniforms, widely assumed to be Russian troops, took over the capital's government buildings, two Crimean airports and the local television building.

'We are not radicals'

Earlier in the day in Sevastopol, the Crimean port city that houses Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Illena Prokena was among several thousand pro-Russia protesters who gathered in the city’s main square. Prokena, a 33-year-old blogger, holds a Ukrainian passport, but self-identifies as Russian.
“We are not radicals or separatists as they call us," she said. "We are ethnic Russians who are afraid of the illegitimate government in Kiev,” she said.
Prokena explained she had been sympathetic to the protesters in Kiev when they first took to the streets — she, too, wanted more from the government. When she saw the rise of Pravy Sektor, a right-wing nationalist organization, however, she had concerns. And when the Ukrainian parliament convened after Yanukovych’s ouster and decided to abolish a 2012 language law that allowed regions to adopt Russian as a second official language, she took it as a harbinger of changes to come. She thinks she will be treated like a second-class citizen by the new government in Kiev.

 Crimea, Sevastopol, Black Sea Fleet, Russia, Ukraine

A local resident moves barricades as unidentified gunmen in the background block the road to the military airport in Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine.
 Darko Vojinovic/AP

“I want my rights guaranteed. Not in words, but in actions,” she said. “Who are they to have changed the government anyway and tell us how to live? It’s like someone coming in your kitchen and telling you you’re brewing your morning coffee wrong. Would you stand for that?”
Crimea has long been a contested territory. In 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decreed the peninsula become a part of Ukraine, despite the presence of many ethnic Russians in the region. After the Soviet Union fell apart, Crimea remained with Ukraine. In May 1992, the Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine, though ultimately remained with the country and was granted autonomous status.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia negotiated to lease Sevastopol to use as the headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet. In 2010, Yanukovych agreed to extend Russia’s lease for another 25 years with an additional option to continue until 2047.
The stationed Russian servicemen bring business to the city, and Russian tourists flock to Crimea’s natural attractions, bonding ethnic Russians closer to their neighbor.
Near newly built yellow and white apartment blocks in Sevastopol specifically for Russian soldiers, Natalia, a saleswoman at a small store specializing in lingerie and underwear, declined to give her last name, but said the Russians were integral to business.
“Where else would they buy underwear?” she asked.
Natalia admitted she doesn't take much interest in politics, but was concerned about the developments in Kiev. She had not been to any protest in the main square, but said she wanted Crimea to join Russia. “We already are Russia,” she said. “We’re speaking Russian!”
Back at the rally in the city square, Peter Vichislav stood with a huge Russian flag he had attached to the top of a massive fishing pole. The 55-year-old fire truck driver was glad Russia was sending troops to the peninsula and said he would continue to protest and push for Crimea to join Russia.
“Russia is the only country that can guarantee our stability. Ukraine is the one who has been occupying us,” Vichislav said. “Thank God this is starting. It’s been a long time coming.”

Russian Parliament Authorizes Sending Troops to Ukraine

New Crimean PM Asks Russia for Help

by Jason Ditz, March 01, 2014
The Crimean Peninsula took another step toward secession today, as newly appointed Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, the head of the Russian Unity Party, claimed full control of army and police forces in the region, and asked Russia for addition military aid.
That may be coming sooner, not later, as Russia’s parliament has already passed a bill authorizing the use of the Russian military in the Ukraine, with a particular eye toward protecting Russian citizens inside the country amid growing unrest.
Aksyonov is already reporting that the Crimean autonomous government has got Russian forces from the navy base protecting key government installations, and there are unconfirmed reports of a deployment of 6,000 Russian troops into the Crimea.
Ukraine’s own interim government, installed itself at the end of a protest last week, insisted they don’t recognize Aksyonov as the Crimean PM because his election this week came amid protests in the Crimean capital of Simferapol.
The Crimea is overwhelmingly ethnic Russian, and there appears to be massive support for secession from the Ukraine. The Crimean parliament has already authorized a referendum on the matter offering several options, including seeking a return to Russia, and Russia’s parliament is debating the possibility of reannexing the Crimea if the referendum shows support for it. The Crimean referendum was initially set for May 25, but Aksyonov pushed it up to March 30.
The pro-Russian backlash at regime change in Ukraine even seems to be expanding outside of the Crimea, with protests in Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Mariupol with demonstrators carrying Russian flags. The protests led to clashes with the pro-Western demonstrators who took over the country last week.

Sunday March 2 , 2014.......

(  US blusters about supplying Kiev with all the help it needs , just note the " strings ' attached to the promise , the need to go through IMF with its strict conditionality , etc. ) 

US Says It Could Give Kiev As Much Help As It Needs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States signaled on Sunday that it and its partners could give as much financial support as Ukraine needs to get the crisis-hit country's economy back on track.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who has urged Kiev to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund, said Washington could lend a hand either through bilateral programs or larger international institutions.
"The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs," Lew told a conference.
He said Washington was monitoring the situation in Ukraine with "grave concern" after Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region.
Lew said Ukraine would have to implement economic reforms for the United States to support any aid packages for Kiev.

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.
Earlier rear admiral Denis Berezovsky swore allegiance to the people of Crimea taking control over Crimea's newly formed Navy.
The ceremony took place in the Council of Ministers chamber in the presence of regional government officials, mayors of different cities and regions.
Those who took the oath promised “to respect and strictly observe the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea” and to “promote the preservation of interethnic accord and civil peace” on the peninsula.
"I believe that this day will go down in history of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy,” The region's Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov announced. “We will prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.”
Aksyonov also added that other authority figures are willing to swear allegiance to the people of the Crimea in the near future. “Up to now, 90 per cent of all law enforcement agencies in the territory of the autonomy are subordinated to the Supreme Council of Crimea. And this work will be completed by us tonight,” Aksyonov told the regional parliament.
Aksyonov also said that a new Defense Ministry will soon be created for the autonomous Crimea
“In the near future, as part of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a new ministry – the Ministry of Defence will be created. I am sure that such a ministry will be vital for us, based on the principle of ‘If you want peace - prepare for war.’”
The Prime Minister of Crimea also noted that self-defense squads are guarding the Crimean prosecutor's office, where a new acting prosecutor will be presented for the regional parliament for approval on Monday. The issue with the Court of Appeal will also be discussed on Monday.
Chief of the Border Guards of Crimea Victor Melnichenko
Chief of the Border Guards of Crimea Victor Melnichenko
“Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an independent, integral public authority,” said Aksyonov. "I am sure that all of us will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can give Crimeans what they expect from us”
The prime minister admitted that a number of outstanding issues must be dealt with in the Crimea and the development of a common strategy is to take place at the next Council of Ministers of Crimea meeting scheduled for March 4.
In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta Aksyonov promised to create a stable state in Crimea by May.
“We will never see ‘Maidan’ with their black smoke and burned tires here,” the Crimean leader said. "I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm, quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here happily.”

The US Secretary of State spoke today of the unacceptability of invading a sovereign country on phony pretexts in order to assert one’s own interests in the 21st century. But no, he was not speaking about the United States, as one might have thought.
“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”
Kerry has also threatened to isolate Russia economically and politically and warned of potential asset freezes and visa bans, adding to media and political hype that followed Russia authorization of sending a stabilization force in Crimea on official request from the authorities.
“There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine, there could be business drawback on investment in the country,” he said. “There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans.”
Although Kerry was never challenged by the interviewer to comment in terms of that statement on Washington’s own constant threats to use force and military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who watched the interview immediately smelled the hypocrisy.
“Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity? They certainly are not doing that at the moment in Syria,” Marcus Papadopoulos, commentator for ‘Politics First’ told RT. “They certainly did not do that when they attacked Libya. They certainly didn’t do that when they invaded Iraq. They certainly didn’t do that when they attacked Serbia over Kosovo and then later on recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The United States government merely pays lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity, it picks and choses.”
Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated to a point where the lives of the Russian speaking population of Ukraine has become threatened, Kerry’s reaction comes, some believe, as the most ridiculous thus far, taking into account US own history of military actions all over the globe.
Kerry:U just don't in the 21stC behave in 19thC fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. GC:Like invading Iraq?

US Official Claims 6,000 Russian Troops In Complete Control Of Crimea - Crisis Map Update

Tyler Durden's picture

While the images and local news have been suggesting that Russia is in control on the Crimean peninsula, US officials (according to Bloomberg) have confirmed this:
Obama, Merkel, and Cameron are now on a conference call to discuss this "fact" and officials have just reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kiev tomorrow (though we suspect not Sevastopol).


US Ships Approaching Sevastopol? Mapping US Naval Assets

Tyler Durden's picture

Here's what is known with certainty:
Yesterday, US Aircraft Carrier CVN-77 George H.W. Bush crossed the Strait of Gibraltar.
This was largely expected, and the path of aircraft carrier into the Mediterranean wasknown well in advance. As of late last week, this is what was known about the distribution of US naval forces around the world (Source: Stratfor).

Here's what is not known with certainty:
It is not known if CVN-77 will continue to its scheduled final waypoint, the Arabian Gulf, or make a detour into the Black Sea.
It is also not known if as some suggested earlier on Twitter, and completely without confirmation, that a state of high alert was declared on the carrier.
Navy USS George Bush nuclear aircraft carrier declares high alert in the .

( Talk is cheap John Kerry ..... Putin reacts to actions , not words ..... ) 

Kerry: “All options are on the table” in response to Russian invasion of Crimea


Maybe the Obama administration is taking the Budapest Memorandum more seriously than we imagined — or at least want Russia to think we are. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC’s This Week that “all options are on the table” for a response to Vladimir Putin’s Crimean invasion, including military options:
Secretary of State John Kerry said that “all options are on the table” when it comes to steps the U.S. can take to hold Russia accountable for its military movements in Ukraine, including economic sanctions and potentially military action.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos today on “This Week,” Kerry said Russian troops moving into the Ukrainian region of Crimea was “a military act of aggression” and that the U.S. will move swiftly to impose penalties if Russian President Vladimir Putin does not withdraw his troops.
While military force is among the options President Barack Obama is considering, Kerry said the U.S. and its allies hope they can avoid such action.
“The hope of the U.S. and everybody in the world is not to see this escalate into a military confrontation,” he said.
Sounds like tough talk, but would Russia buy it? Moving troops into Ukraine from the west would all but declare war between NATO and Russia, including the US. If Putin thought for a moment that the West would fight over Crimea again, he wouldn’t have taken it over this week in the first place.
That’s not to say that we have no options, and even some military signals can have an impact on the situation, argues retired Admiral James Stavridis at Foreign Policy:
In the military sphere, these include ordering the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), led by U.S. General Phil Breedlove, to conduct prudent planning and present options in response to the situation. While such planning should be left to the current commanders and military experts, some ideas to consider would include:
  • Increasing all intelligence-gathering functions through satellite, Predator unmanned vehicles, and especially cyber.
  • Using the NATO-Ukrainian Council and existing military partnerships with the Ukrainian military to share information, intelligence, and situational awareness with authorities in Kiev.
  • Providing advice to Ukrainian armed forces to prepare and position themselves in the event of further conflict.
  • Developing NATO contingency plans to react to full-scale invasion of Ukraine and to a partial invasion likely of Crimea. NATO contingency planning can be cumbersome, but in Libya it moved quickly. …
Many will consider any level of NATO involvement provocative and potentially inflammatory. Unfortunately, the stakes are high and the Russians are moving. Sitting idle, without at least looking at options, is a mistake for NATO and would itself constitute a signal to Putin — one that he would welcome.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, put it another way onFox News Sunday. The problem is that we’re reacting instead of driving events, while Putin has moves figured out several steps ahead:
“Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close” the Michigan Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.”  “They’ve been running circles around us. And I believe it’s the naïve position on the National Security Council and the president’s advisers that, if we just keep giving things to Russia, they’ll wake up and say, ‘the United States is not that bad.’ That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what Russia does.”
Putin intends to expand Russia’s “buffer zones,” as it has in Ukraine, Rogers said, predicting the next former Soviet republic to see a Russian invasion will be Moldova.
“It is in their interest to continue to push out that buffer zone,” Rogers said. “And, by the way, the big one that started this was the absolute retreat on our missile defense system in Poland and Czechoslovakia, caused us huge problems for our allies and emboldened the Russians and it really has been a downhill slide.”
Ethnic Russians only comprise 6% of the Moldovan population, compared to 18% in Ukraine. Moldova is also land-locked on the other side of the north shore of the Black Sea and has no common border with Russia, and wouldn’t even in a partitioned Ukraine. If I were Latvian (26% ethnic Russian) or Estonia (25% ethnic Russian), I’d be a lot more concerned than the Moldovans at the moment.

Kiev Government finances and finances of the Banks about to crash and burn ? Is a Bail - in looming for Ukrainians ?

Ukraine Capital Control Crunch: Largest Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals To $100 Daily

Tyler Durden's picture

As we warned on Friday, the military escalation in Ukraine has had dire consequences for the financial state of the country, its banks, and ultimately its people. The central bank promised to rescue domestic banks so long as they agreed to its complete control and it appears the first consequences of that "we are here to help you" promise is coming true:
Privatbank is Ukraine's largest bank and while claiming this move is temporary (just like Cyprus' capital controls), the bank has also ceased new loans amid what it calls "geopolitical instability". In summary, you can't have your money back! Expect long angry lines at Ukrainian banks on Monday morning (and at the pace of collapse in the Hyrvnia, hyperinflation next).

Ukraine's largest commercial bank, Privatbank, announced temporary limits on cash withdrawals for its account holders and suspended writing new loans, saying in a statement the measures were intended to stop those undermining the political situation in the country. "A temporary limit on withdrawals is needed to stop the forces that are working to destabilize the situation [and] are using the cash for [their] sabotage," the bank said in a statement. The bank didn't clarify which political forces it was referring to.

The bank first announced withdrawal limits of 1,000 hryvnia ($103) a day at both automated teller machines and in over-the-counter transactions.


Privatbank's announcement was the first case in which a major Ukrainian bank has limited customers' immediate access to cash in the local currency since the military tensions erupted . Privatbank is the largest retail bank by number of clients in Ukraine, a country of approximately 45 million people.

Last week, the National Bank of Ukraine introduced a $1,500 daily limit on foreign-currency withdrawal.
But perhaps the most notable, somewhat hidden, comment from the bank was this:
Privatbank said it was suspending all its credit lines issued to both private and corporate customers, including credit cards. It said it would no longer accept debit cards from other banks in the Crimea.
In other words, we won't allow the people of Crimea (the region now in play with the Russians) to 'run' on our bank...
Privatbank said its measures were a "rational" response to the current situation and they were designed to help the bank serve its customers and protect the national currency.
We wonder what 'loophole' the uber-wealthy will find (as in Cyprus deposit shifts to the UK) to extract their deposits before the real capital controls collapse the currency.

But the Ukraine Central Bank said just two days ago ( 2/28/14 ) , that  the Ukraine Banks had plenty of liquidity , right  ??????

Ukraine Imposes Capital Controls, Limits Foreign Currency Withdrawals

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February 28, 2014
Yesterday we reported that as part of the Ukrainian central bank’s plan to bailout the nation’s largely insolvent private banks, it would provide any needed funding but only “if they will remain under open control of the National Bank of Ukraine.” And since the new CB head Stepan Kubiv’s allegiance to Europe were already well-known, this was merely a quick and efficient way of providing Europe with all the banking details including asset holdings of the local population. Today, the annexation of the country’s banking system by a “benevolent” Europe is complete.
Itar-Tass reports that Ukraine’s national bank has imposed temporary limits to withdraw money from foreign currency deposits to sums equivalent to no more than 15,000 hryvnias (about $1,500) a day, National Bank Chief Stepan Kubiv told a press conference. Or, as the citizens of Cyprus call it – capital controls.
Why is Ukraine doing this? Because when your currency is crashing at a record pace to unseen lows, what is the best way to limit FX transactions? Simple – just minimize the amount of foreign currency that can be in circulation.
Which is also why the the central bank’s capital controls do not touch local currency: there is more than enough of that in circulation since after all Ukraine has its own currency and can print it in infinite amounts: “For hryvnia deposits you may take as much as a million or two. Banks have liquidity,” Kubiv said.
Then there was the token propaganda:
The chief banker also noted that the situation on Ukraine’s currency market was under control. “The exchange rate may move in one direction and the opposite. There are just emotions and misinformation on the financial market,” he noted.
He assured the national bank would toughly stop violators of the currency law. For example, inspectors were sent to eight banks that had engaged in speculation, he said.
To summarize: first banks abdicate their control to a pro-European central bank, and now the citizens face their first (of many) capital controls which incidentally will simply aggravate the fund outflow situation even more, leading to an even faster drop in foreign reserves.
Finally comes the inflation. Wait until the people start rioting – think Egypt – when the economy collapses and a loaf of bread costs its wheelbarrow weight equivalent in Hryvnias. Just how fast will the countercoup in Ukraine take place then? Recall, in Egypt it was just over a year and a half…

The US / Nato / Western claims of russian agression ignores russian language ukrainians revolting against the new government and pledging allegiance to Russia ........ frankly ,  we have a de facto split of Ukraine already ..........


The map below is said to summarize all the Ukraine cities where the Russian flag has already been hoisted.

( For the US to complain about Russian agression after Afganistan , Iraq , Libya and of course Syria , is the pot calling the proverbial kettle black..... And the Russian response to US / Nato demands that Russia play according to the rules of the West is " Or what " ? ) 

John Kerry Slams "Incredible Act Of Aggression", NATO Says Russia "Must Stop"

Tyler Durden's picture

Just in case Obama's Friday message of "costs" should Russia invade Ukraine, which it did, was lost in translation, here isNATO with the clarification, and more harsh language:
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen convened an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels on Sunday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Ahead of the meeting he issued the following statement:

I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia's military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin's threats against this sovereign nation.

What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter.It threatens peace and security in EuropeRussia must stop its military activities and its threats.

Today we will discuss their implications, for European peace and security, and for NATO's relationship with Russia.

Afterwards, we will meet in the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

We support Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. We support the right of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future without outside interference. And we emphasize the need for Ukraine to continue to uphold the democratic rights of all people and ensure that minority rights are protected.

Ukraine is our neighbour, and Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO.

We urge all parties to urgently continue all efforts to move away from this dangerous situation. In particular, I call on Russia to de-escalate tensions.
And just in case both Obama and NATO were misunderstood, here is Kerry appearing on CBS' Face the Nation laying down the law, and even more harsh language:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday condemned Russia's "incredible act of aggression" in Ukraine and threatened "very serious repercussions" from the United States and other countries, including sanctions to isolate Russia economically.
"You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text," Kerry told the CBS program "Face the Nation."
Kerry, however, added that Russia still has "a right set of choices" that can be made to defuse the crisis.
"It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President (Vladimir) Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations," Kerry added.
Kerry said U.S. President Barack Obama told Putin in a 90-minute phone call on Saturday that "there will be serious repercussions if this stands. The president ... told Mr. Putin that it was imperative to find a different path, to roll back this invasion and un-do this act of invasion."
Kerry said G8 nations and some other countries are "prepared to go to the hilt to isolate Russia" with a "broad array of options" available.
"They're prepared to put sanctions in place, they're prepared to isolate Russia economically, the ruble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges," Kerry said, as he also mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.
Some great soundbites: we can't wait for the White House to release the obligatory photo op, which we assume would look somewhat different than this.
Russia's response? 
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Sunday when asked for a response to harsh words from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who condemned Russia's "incredible act of aggression" in Ukraine. "No comment at the moment," Peskov said.
Just laughter.

Ukraine Orders Full Military Mobilization, Acting PM Says Russian Actions "Declaration Of War"

Tyler Durden's picture

With less than 6 hours left until FX trading opens, no resolution to the Ukraine crisis is in sight. Instead the situation has devolved even more andovernight Ukraine has ordered a full military mobilization in response to Russia's build-up of its forces in Crimea. Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was "on the brink of disaster." Several other measures were announced on Sunday by national security officials:
  • The armed forces would be put on "full combat readiness".
  • Reserves to be mobilised and trained
  • Ukraine's foreign minister will seek the help of US and UK leaders in guaranteeing its security
  • Emergency headquarters to be set up
  • Increased security at key sites, including nuclear plants.
  • Airspace closed to all non-civilian aircraft.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Sunday that his country was "on the brink of disaster" and personally blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for bringing the two nations to the verge of war. Speaking to reporters at the Ukrainian parliament, Mr. Yatsenyuk called on the international community to rein in Mr. Putin and pressure him to remove troops from the Crimean peninsula, where a majority of residents are ethnic Russians but have Ukrainian passports.

"If President Putin wants to be the president who starts the war between two friendly and neighboring countries, he has [almost] reached this target," Mr. Yatsenyuk said. "We are on the brink of disaster. There was no reason for the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine."


Western diplomats doubt that the Ukrainian armed forces would be able to match up to the Russian forces already in control of the critical infrastructure and border points in the Crimea.

Ukrainian leaders say that Russia has already sent an additional 6,000 troops to Crimea since tensions arose in the peninsula last week. The two countries have a military agreement that allows Moscow to base forces in the region, but Ukrainian officials accuse Moscow of violating that treaty by not informing Kiev of additional troops, and by moving forces without prior notice. Moscow says that it is in compliance of the accord.

Earlier Sunday, Ukraine's interior minister said Russian officials had approached Ukrainian officers remaining in Crimea and offered them immediate Russian citizenship.

"Across the entire territory of Crimea, Russian emissaries and military officers have invited the remaining Ukrainian interior ministry troops to take Russian citizenship and immediately receive Russian passports," Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "This appeal has been aimed at upper and middle officer corps troops."

Mr. Avakov denied that Ukrainian forces had threatened the Russian-speaking population on the largely pro-Russian peninsula, and blamed Russian forces for the sharp militarization of the region.

"In Crimea, there are no forces from the interior ministry or the regular army threatening citizens of the Russian Federation or the Russian-speaking population," he said. "And also no self-defense units from Maidan have arrived from Kiev. All destabilization in the Crimea has come from and been masterminded in Russia."
The BBC adds that it has seen what appear to be Russian troops digging trenches on the Crimean border.  Furthermore, a standoff between Ukrainian troops who have fortified a base in the crimean city of Privolnoye, borth place of the late USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, and Russians who have surrounded them, may be the match that set it all off. Fox reports that hundreds of unidentified gunmen surrounded a Ukraine's infantry base in Privolnoye in its Crimea region Sunday. The convoy included at least 13 troop vehicles each containing 30 soldiers and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. The vehicles -- which have Russian license plates -- have surrounded the base and are blocking Ukrainian soldiers from entering or leaving it.
This is the current state of the standoff:
View image on Twitter
Extraordinary standoff. soldiers defiant behind gates of Perevalne base. Won't surrender.

Hundreds Of Gunmen Surround Ukraine Military Base In Crimea

REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Military personnel stand next to an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the Crimean port city of Feodosiya March 2, 2014. Ukraine mobilised on Sunday for war and called up its reserves, after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to invade in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
PEREVALNE, Ukraine (AP) — Hundreds of armed men in trucks and armored vehicles surrounded a Ukrainian military base Sunday in Crimea, blocking its soldiers from leaving. The outnumbered Ukrainians placed a tank at the base's gate, leaving the two sides in a tense standoff.
In Kiev, Ukraine's new prime minister urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back his military, warning that "we are on the brink of disaster."
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk spoke a day after Russian forces took over the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine without firing a shot.
"There was no reason for the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine," Yatsenyuk said after a closed session of his new parliament in Kiev.
So far, the new government in Kiev has been powerless to react to Russian military tactics. Armed men in uniforms without insignia have moved freely about the key peninsula, occupying airports, smashing equipment at an air base and besieging a Ukrainian infantry base.
Russia has its key Black Sea Fleet stationed on the Crimean peninsula — which was formerly part of Russia until 1954 — and nearly 60 percent of Crimea's residents identify themselves as Russian.
Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine. However, there has been no sign of ethnic Russians facing attacks in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine.
President Barack Obama spoke with Putin by telephone for 90 minutes on Saturday and expressed his "deep concern" about "Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said. Obama warned that Russia's "continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation."
Unidentified troops pulled up to the Ukrainian military base at Perevalne on the Crimea peninsula Sunday in a convoy that included at least 13 trucks and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. The trucks carried 30 soldiers each and had Russian license plates.
A dozen Ukrainian soldiers, some with clips in their rifles, stood on the other side of the military gate. Neither side would speak to AP journalists.
The new Ukrainian government came to power last week following months of pro-democracy protests against a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and his decision to turn Ukraine toward Russia instead of the European Union. Yanukovych fled to Russia after more than 80 people died, most of them demonstrators killed by police. He insists he's still president.
Since then, tensions have risen sharply between the two capitals.
Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced late Saturday that he had ordered Ukraine's armed forces to be at full readiness because of the threat of "potential aggression." He also said he had ordered stepped-up security at nuclear power plants, airports and other strategic infrastructure.
Ukraine's population of 46 million has divided loyalties between Russia and Europe, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the EU, while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.
The Interfax news agency reported the speaker of Crimea's legislature, Vladimir Konstantinov, as saying the local authorities did not recognize the government in Kiev. He said a planned referendum on March 30 would ask voters about the region's future status.
But the U.S. and other Western governments have few options to counter Russia's military moves.
NATO's secretary general said Russia had violated the U.N. charter with its military action in Ukraine, and he urged Moscow to "'de-escalate the tensions." NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke in Brussels as he was about to open a meeting Sunday of the alliance's political decision-making body to discuss the crisis.
Ukraine is not a NATO member, meaning the U.S. and Europe are not obligated to come to its defense. But Ukraine has taken part in some alliance military exercises and contributed troops to its response force.
The U.S. also said it will suspend participation in preparatory meetings for the Group of Eight economic summit planned in June to be held at Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius agreed, saying on Europe 1 radio that planning for the summit should be put on hold.
France "condemns the Russian military escalation" in Ukraine, and Moscow must "realize that decisions have costs," he said Sunday.


Sort out who’s boss in Kiev, Crimea takes care of itself – republic’s parliament speaker

Published time: March 02, 2014 10:58
Edited time: March 02, 2014 12:36

Russian flags flutter atop and in front of the local parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea (AFP Photo/Genya Savilov)
Russian flags flutter atop and in front of the local parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea (AFP Photo/Genya Savilov)

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.

( More news and photos of the day.... ) 


• Russian troops have surrounded at least two military bases in Crimea and approached others seeking to gain access or get hold or their weapons. There were reported to be about 150 Russian troops and more than 20 military vehicles outside the Perevalnoe base, where there was a tense standoff. Ukrainian soldiers drove a tank up to the inside gates of the base in response and around 15 of them lined up against the gate.
• The Ukrainian prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, said Russia has declared war on Ukraine and that it is not just a threat from Moscow. He warned: “We are on the brink of disaster”.
• The US secretary of state, John Kerry, warned that Russia could be expelled from the G8 and face economic sanctions, unless President Vladimir Putin halts his “incredible act of aggression”. He also mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.
• Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen accused Russia of threatening peace and security in Europe by its actions and of violating the UN charter. He called on Russia to “de-escalate”.
 Britain and France joined the US in pulling out of preparatory meetings for the G8 economic summit, scheduled to be held in June at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, site of the just-concluded 2014 Winter Olympics.
• Ukraine’s parliament has called for international monitors to help ensure the safety of its nuclear power plants.
•There were demonstrations both for and against Russian intervention in Ukraine in Moscow. There were at least 10,000 people at the pro demonstration, according to AP, although reporters said some were ordered to be there. The anti demonstration was much smaller but saw at least 50 people detained by Russian police.
The new commander of the Ukrainian navy, Denys Berezovsky, has “defected”, just one day after being appointed, it is being reported.

1-day Ukraine's navy commander defects, takes oath of office as new Crimea's commander-video by @KSHN 

The majority of resigned Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have switched to the side of local authorities and are expected to take military oath soon, Russian news agencies report.
Today the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea passed to the side of the authorities of the Crimean autonomous region. The transition was absolutely peaceful, without a single shot fired either by the military or by the forces of self-defense,” an unnamed source told RIA Novosti news agency.
The source added that some of the servicemen also ran away, while some submitted letters of resignation.
The local military have not been paid for many months, the source also told RIA Novosti.
Earlier, Ukrainian troops in Crimea were said to be resigning on a massive scale. Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called ‘self-defense forces.’
Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.
Since Thursday, the city’s Supreme Council and a number of other buildings have been occupied and guarded by the self-defense forces run by the local population.
Crimea’s deputy prime minister, Rustam Temirgaliev, announced earlier that the Ukrainian armed forces have all but surrendered their military capabilities and that no active units remain in the Crimea.
"The entire Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the Crimean territory have been blocked – a number have been disarmed, while another big portion is switching to the Crimean side," Interfax reported him as saying.
"The self-defense forces have taken control of the landing strips of all the Crimean airports and airfields," Temirgaliev added.
The deputy PM said that that the region’s security services and emergency services now report to the local government, while self-defense forces control all the runways at Crimea’s airports and airfields.
The local government, Temirgaliev went on, will promise the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority a place in Crimea’s Supreme Council, adding that funding for programs of resettlement and reintegration of those deported during the Stalin era will be plentiful. The Crimean Tatars have been supporting the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.
Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

Ukraine turmoil LIVE UPDATES

Published time: February 18, 2014 15:03
Edited time: March 02, 2014 12:23

Pro-Russian protesters raise a Russian flag in front of the regional administration building during a rally in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)
Pro-Russian protesters raise a Russian flag in front of the regional administration building during a rally in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)
The Ukrainian parliament in Kiev has formed a new government while the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, home to a Russian majority, has announced plans to hold a referendum on its future amid ongoing turmoil following last week’s violence in Kiev.

Sunday, March 2

13:38 GMT:
France has called for members of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations to suspend their preparation meetings for the Sochi G8 Summit over the escalating crisis in Ukraine.
"France's position is to call for the suspension of preparation ahead of the G8 meeting in Sochi as long as the Russian partners have not returned to the principles in agreement with the G8 and G7," Foreign minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio.
12:22 GMT:
Two tents have appeared near the City Council building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, RIA Novosti reports. People are gathering near the Donetsk administration building, some of them are holding Russian flags. The banners, “Russian is our mother tongue,” and “Our brothers are in Russia; in Europe we are slaves,” are being carried by the demonstrators.
On Saturday, pro-Russian protesters seized the regional administration building in the city and hoisted the Russian flag above it. After that, the City Council refused to recognize Ukraine’s self-proclaimed government and called for a referendum on the region’s status. The council has made Russian alongside Ukrainian the official language in the region.

View image on Twitter
: Simferopol residents posing for photo with self-defense squad member, more photos: 


  1. Good morning,

    Ukraine is the topic dujour, My only question is whether Russia ends up with the good half or the whole. Both have pluses and minuses, only getting the Russian half means Nato closer to border and losing some pipeline infrastructure. But it also is a much easier prospect with the Russian leaning population in Ukraine already wanting it, plus sticking NATO with the welfare side. Easy enough to start billing full price for the gas on the Russian side and let the Ukrainians bill Europe at a higher price than the pipelines that run thru the Crimea area. More and more gas would bypass NATO's Ukraine, leaving more of a burden to be supported.

    Then again, it doesn't look like the West (Israel/Saudi Arabia) is going to stop it's undeclared war against all things Russia and Chinese for that matter. So maybe go ahead and stage a reason to invade the rest of the Ukraine and cleanse the pro west nazis out.

    I don't know, guess even the Russians might not know yet. .

    Then again, all of this may be a round about way of going after the Chinese, I will be very interested to see their actions, I think the less they come out on Russia's side, the less NATO pushes for war. I know, way off the reservation there but I don't think NATO is going to want to fight a major war and leave their biggest threat unharmed and waiting to pounce on the victor.

    Enough war, on to important things like now the weather forecast has changed and despite the warm day today, it's looking like there will be snow tomorrow and very cold temps. Right now the consensus is 4 inches but I've seen some models with much larger amounts. I have only just healed up from the last snow shoveling, dang it.

    Have a great day, I hope to at least get in a short bike ride in the 60 degree temps this afternoon.

    1. Morning kev - on Ukraine , Russia wants ( first and foremost ) the Crimean Peninsula. Beyond the strategic area , most of ukrainian wealth and their largest businesses ( apart from the wealth pocket of Kiev ) is found in the Eastern part of Ukraine. Depending how things play out , I could see russia assisting the secession of those russian portions of Ukraine ( Crimea , South Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine - and just let the EU and US bailout the rest of the insolvent country !

      Putin as usual , has been calm , cool and collected. either rattled by toothless Western rhetoric or toothless US threats of sanctions. He has a plan ( certainly one that will be in flux and responsive to conditions on the ground , but he seems to believe the West won't do anything but huff and puff ( of course , one should expect the new Ukrainian Government do its best to drag NATO into their looming battle against Crimean secessionists and Russia. )

      Surprised you're getting snow , but it do look to me that the tracking seemed to fall a tad bit more southernly than what I had seen yesterday. I think we're still looking for 6-10 inches or so here in my neck of the woods by the end of this snow moving snow storm , more worried about icing though ....

      Enjoy that bike ride as you won't be doing that on Monday !

      Have a great day !