Friday, March 7, 2014

Ukraine Updates ( Late Friday as well as Friday morning March 7 , 2014 ) .....While Kiev , US and EU shriek loudly about the looming Crimea Referendum - with limp sanction - lite wrist slaps being imposed by the EU and US , both Crimea firmly stand their ground and intend to see the Referendum go forward....

Late March 7 , 2014......




http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-07/russian-troops-storming-ukraine-air-force-base-crimea-time-reports-citing-crimea-tv


Russian Troops Storm Ukraine Air Force Base In Crimea, Reuters Confirms

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Update 2: ARMED ATTACKERS LEAVE UKRAINE MILITARY BASE IN SEVASTOPOL: TV5
* * *
Update, and this time from Reuters:  
  • ARMED MEN ENTER UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA AND TAKE CONTROL, NO SHOTS FIRED - REUTERS REPORTER ON THE SCENE
  • UKRAINIANS AND FORCES THOUGHT TO BE RUSSIANS HOLD NEGOTIATIONS AFTER MILITARY POST TAKEN, NO ARMS SEIZED - REUTERS REPORTER
* * *
More lies, propaganda, or for once, the truth? Just out from Time's Simon Shuster:
BREAKING: Crimea TV reporting that Russians have begun storming Ukraine air-force base on the peninsula, ramming the gates with a truck






China Sides With Russia On Sanctions; Ambassador Warns "Western Nations Would Be Hurting Themselves"

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Amid a Russian spokesperson "hoping" tensions do not escalate into a new cold war with the US, China has come out (perhaps unsurprisingly) on Russia's side strongly condemning any sanctions:
"China has consistently opposed the easy use of sanctions in international relations, or using sanctions as a threat.”
The comments from China's Foreign Ministry reflect the country's close ties with Russia and confirm what Russia's ambassador to Canada noted, we "can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions," adding that "Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions."



Some cryptic words this morning:
  • WESTERN STATEMENTS ON UKRAINE MAKE US THINK OF TASKS, MEANS AND SACRIFICE THEY ARE WILLING TO MAKE - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
  • *PESKOV HOPING FOR COMMON GROUND WITH WEST ON UKRAINE: RIA
  • *PUTIN SPOKESMAN DOESN'T SEE NEW COLD WAR, RIA SAYS

Furthermore, as The Globe and Mail reports, it is clear the Russians have a plan...
Russia’s ambassador to Canada says he was surprised no one bothered to speak with him about the crisis in Ukraine before he received a diplomatic dressing-down last Saturday, and added his country can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Globe and Mail, Georgiy Mamedov insisted Russia wants to see the crisis in Ukraine resolved peacefully.

And he said Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions or make good on warnings that they could boot Russia out of the G8.




Russia Threatens "Sanctions Would Hit US Like A Boomerang""

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With chatter of overnight invasions increasing and rhetoric surging among the non-Russian-allied nations of the world, Russian foreign Miniister Lavrov has some serious words of warning for the West:
  • U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST MOSCOW WOULD "HIT THE UNITED STATES LIKE A BOOMERANG"
Lavrov added that "hasty and reckless steps" would harm Russian-American relations (and bear in mind Russian lawmakers are already drawing up a bill to confiscate western assets).




US Guided-Missile Destroyer Truxtun Has Entered The Black Sea

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As we reported yesterday, after getting permission to cross the Bosphorus, the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun departed the Greek port of Souda Bay on its way to the Black Sea. As of a few hours ago, it is already there. Sky News reportsthat the USS Truxtun passed the Dardanelles strait earlier today on its way to the Black Sea amid heightened tension over the crisis in Ukraine and reports that Russia has now 30,000 troops in Crimea.
The naval escalation is not the only arms build up in proximity to the Ukraine: the Pentagon said six US F-15 fighter jets have arrived in Lithuania to bolster air patrols over the Baltics. The fighter jets and 60 US military personnel landed at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, adding to the four F-15s and 150 troops already there to do the air patrol mission.
As for the pretext for the Truxtun's move, it is only 300 miles away from Sevastopol for one simple reason: naval exercises.
Joint naval exercises with Bulgarian, Romanian and US vessels are to take place in the Black Sea on March 11.

The naval forces of all three nations have stated no connection between the upcoming drill and the tensions on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based, the Bulgarian National Radio has reported.

Vessels participating in the event include a Bulgarian frigate, three Romanian ships and US destroyer USS Truxtun. The US military described the joint military maneuvers as a "routine" deployment scheduled last year, long before the standoff in Ukraine.

Crimea, however, is some 500 km to the north-east of the location where the drill is to be carried out.

According to a statement by the US Navy, the Truxtun left Greece on Thursday after it was granted passage through the Black Sea Straits by Turkey, which controls their traffic.

The USS Truxtun will be at the Bulgarian city of Varna's port from March 12 to March 14
And the Russian ICBM launch was just part of a "routine" drill too.


Pro-Russia Gunmen Block OSCE Monitors Entering Ukraine; Stymie Obama's Plan

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One of the critical steps in President Obama's "off-ramp" de-escalation planfor the crisis in Ukraine was a so-called 'observer mission' by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure that all citizens were being treated fairly. That 'plan' has hit a wall this morning as PTI reports that pro-Kremlin gunmen blocked the obersver entrySeems like another red line just got crossed.

Via PTI,
Pro-Kremlin gunmen kept foreign observers from entering Crimea today as Russia welcomed the prospect of the Ukrainian peninsula joining the country amid the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

A convoy of vehicles from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) -- led by a police car and followed by two buses carrying the observers and a large number of cars waving Ukrainian flags -- were stopped at a checkpoint manned by armed men as they tried to enter Crimea for a second day.

The observer mission is a crucial part of the so-called "off-ramp" US President Barack Obama is pushing to de-escalate a crisis in Ukraine that threatens to splinter the ex-Soviet nation of 46 million along its cultural divides.
With Gazprom threatening their gas supplies, we await President Obama's response to this denial of his plan and the actions of his allies in Europe...








And......









http://rt.com/news/kiev-clashes-rioters-police-571/


Friday, March 7

12:13 GMT:
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Shimonovich is due to visit Crimea during his ongoing visit to Ukraine.

“Shimonovich will make assessment of the existing and potential human rights abuses in Ukraine. He plans to visit Crimea, as well as the western and the eastern regions of Ukraine,” Rupert Colwill, press secretary of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, has announced.

According to Colwill, Shimonovich will be assisted by seven human rights experts, two of whom are currently in Kiev.
12:03 GMT:
Vice-speaker of the State Duma and leader of the ruling United Russia faction, Vladimir Vasilyev, believes that Kiev is not doing enough to find out who is behind the killings during the violent uprising in the Ukrainian capital.
Acts of violence, looting, killings – they have essentially not been investigated,” Vasilyev said, as cited by Interfax. He added the information keeps coming in in the form of leaks and recorded phone calls, and is somewhat ambiguous.
12:00 GMT:
Possible European visa sanctions against Russia will not yet affect ordinary Russian citizens, EU envoy to Russia Vygaudas Usackas said in an interview to Echo of Moscow radio.

“An ordinary person, a citizen of Russia, who is now able to apply for a visa to the EU – those people will not have any obstacles, at the moment,” Usackas said.
11:44 GMT:
The current circumstances in the east of Ukraine and Crimea were not inspired by Russia, President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Russia, according to Peskov, is merely a country being asked for help.

And as Putin put it, Russia is the country which in no way can ignore these events. But the origin of those events is inside Ukraine,” ITAR-TASS cited Peskov as saying.
10:58 GMT:
Ukrainian troops, who do not recognize the new government of Crimea, will be able to leave the peninsular freely, according to Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament.
It will then go like this: if you do not want to swear allegiance to the new authorities, we will do everything for you to peacefully and calmly leave the territory. No problem. We understand you. That’s a tough situation. You swore your allegiance, although to whom is now a big question,” Konstantinov said as cited by the Crimean parliament.
Those who stay will be assigned to the new armed forces with new rules, and, by the way, new working conditions and salary and retirement settlement, etc,” he added.
AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte
AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte
10:36 GMT:
Ukrainian Paralympic chief, Valery Sushkevich, said on Friday his team would pull out of the Winter Paralympic Games if Russian troops invaded Ukraine.
"I am very afraid that despite the world's wishes and my call that the irreversible will happen during the Paralympics. I declare: we will pull out of the 11th Paralympic Games in Russia that very second if the thing we fear and which we are against ... happens," he told a news conference, clearly referring to a possible invasion by Russian troops into Ukraine. (Reuters)
09:56 GMT:
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened criminal cases in regard of threats received by the heads of four Russian southern regions: Belgorodskaya, Kurskaya, Bryanskaya and Voronezhskaya.
The threats via email were allegedly sent by Ukrainian radical nationalist groups after the Crimea region initiated breaking away from Ukraine.
09:13 GMT:
There will be no war between Russia and Ukraine, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said on Friday.
"It's complete nonsense, it absolutely does not reflect our intentions, the feelings of empathy and the pain we feel for the Ukrainian people," said Valentina Matvienko, head of the Russian Federation Council.
"We are absolutely sure that there will never be a war between the two brotherly nations."

08:30 GMT:
The Central Election Commission of Ukraine has blocked access to the database of voters to the Crimean authorities, according to the commission’s press service, as quoted by RIA-Novosti.
The move comes ahead of the March 16 referendum on whether Crimea should become part of Russia’s territory.