Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ukriane and Crimea situation updates March 11 , 2014 - Despite Sanction threats from the EU and US , Threats from the fledgling government in Kiev , Russia still stands firm and the Crimea Parliament declares independence from Ukraine ahead of the March 16 , 2014 referendum .... Additional news of the day focused on the fluid Ukraine geopolitical situation.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-11/red-line-crossing-ukraine-effectively-gifts-crimea-russia-says-will-not-intervene-mi


(  Ukraine fledgling Government  throws in the towel regarding Crimea , how long before the ret of Eastern and Southeastern Ukraine gets the " fever " to join Russia ? )



Red Line Crossing: Ukraine Effectively Gifts Crimea To Russia, Says "Will Not Intervene Militarily"

Tyler Durden's picture





 
It May be time for Obama to explain to Putin the whole thing about "costs" and "red lines" one more time, maybe over a two hour phone call this time so the former KGB spy finally gets it, because while Russia has been seemingly confused for the past two weeks, Moscow just successfully annexed Crimea, without spilling a drop of blood. Which is what Ukraine essentially just confirmed after its acting president, who attained his position after a violent coup and remains unrecognized by Russia, told AFP in an exclusive interview saying Ukraine will not attempt a military move to prevent the southern Crimean peninsula's breakaway in order not to expose its eastern border.
"We cannot launch a military operation in Crimea, as we would expose the eastern border and Ukraine would not be protected," Turchynov said, as Crimea prepares to vote in a referendum Sunday on becoming part of Russia.

Crimea's upcoming referendum is a "sham" whose results will be fixed in Moscow, Turchynov told AFP.

"What they call the referendum will not happen in Crimea but in the offices of the Kremlin," Turchynov said ahead of Sunday's vote and hours after the pro-Russian authorities in Crimea voted for full independence from Ukraine.
So with Crimea down, as Putin prepares for his strategic endgoal - splitting the country in two and annexing the East in an identical fashion - the US strikes back:
  • HOUSE PASSES RESOLUTION SEEKING SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
  • HOUSE VOTES 402-7 FOR NON-BINDING RESOLUTION ON UKRAINE
Surelt this time Putin will lose some sleep, perhaps over all the laughter. Or perhaps from constantly repeating "if you want your sanctions, you can keep your sanctions."










http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-11/russia-warns-us-against-illegal-ukraine-bailout-ukraine-commences-live-fire-drill-ta


Russia Warns US Against "Illegal" Ukraine Bailout; Ukraine Commences Live-Fire "Drill" With Tanks

Tyler Durden's picture





The tit-for-tat sabre-rattling and rhetoric continues to build ahead of this weekend's planned referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region. This morning has seen 3 new threads beginning with Ukraine's "live-fire" exercises involving T-64B tanks. This was then followed by warnings from Russia of "consequences" of "unconditionally indulging radical elements" in Ukraine calling US financial aid "illegal" which was swiftly responded to by the State Department exclaiming it"unacceptable" that Russian forces take matters into their own hands and "do not create the right environment for diplomacy." Not positive...

Ukraine did its own sabre-rattling:
  • *T-64B TANKS INVOLVED IN EXERCISE, LIVE-FIRE TRAINING: MINISTRY

The Russians are not happy
Russia says planned US financial aid to Ukraine is illegal

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that planned U.S. financial aid to Ukraine is illegal and outside American legal norms since it would be funding an illegitimate regime.

"By all criteria, issuing funding to an illegitimate regime that seized power by force is unlawful and goes beyond the framework of the American legal system," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement echoed assertions made earlier in the day by ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. The ministry also warned Washington about the consequences of "unconditionally indulging radical elements" in Ukraine.
And Kerry has his own perspective:
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS RUSSIAN RESPONSES TO U.S. QUESTIONS ON UKRAINE DO NOT CREATE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR DIPLOMACY

Kerry told Lavrov it is unacceptable that Russian forces and irregulars continue to take matters into their own hands in Ukraine
Of course, this remains a constant distraction from the fact that Russian boots are on the ground in Crimea and the US (and the West) are stuck with how to "off-ramp" the escalating Russian threats without sanctions that would blow-back on to their own economies.
And then Merkel chipped in...
  • *MERKEL SAYS RUSSIA IS ANNEXING CRIMEA, PARTY OFFICIAL SAYS








http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-11/diplomacy-fails-ukraine-putin-rebuffs-kerry-proposal-kiev-issues-ultimatum-crimea-su


Diplomacy Fails In Ukraine: Putin Slams Kerry Plan, Kiev Issues Ultimatum, Crimea Suspends All Non-Moscow Flights

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While it may have been pushed back from the front pages to keep confidence high, things in the Crimea, and in Ukraine in general (which may or may not waved goodbye to its gold reserves) are going from bad to worse with every passing day, with the near term catalyst of course being this Sunday Crimean referendum vote, which seems like a done deal, and which will give Russia a carte blanche to annex the territory over the howls of protest from Ukraine's coup government, and the west of course.
Making this outcome one step clower, overnight the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea adopted an independence declaration from Ukraine which is necessary for holding a March 16 referendum.
“We, the members of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council, with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms, make this decision,”says the text of the declaration, which was published by the Crimean media.
As RT reports, the document was adopted during an extraordinary session of parliament. 78 of 100 members of the parliament voted in favor of the declaration.
The Crimean parliament’s vote to become an independent sovereign state paves the way for the March 16 referendum for the Crimean Autonomous Republic and the city of Sevastopol to join Russia. If the referendum is in favor, the Crimean authorities will request for their country to become a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. The declaration was signed by the speaker of the Supreme Council of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, and the head of the Sevastopol City Council, Yury Doynikov.

“We adopted the declaration of independence to make the upcoming referendum legitimate and transparent,” Konstantinov said. “Now we declare ourselves the Republic of Crimea, we don’t add ‘autonomous."

After Tuesday’s declaration of independence, Crimea will never rejoin Ukraine, Konstantinov added. He said that Crimea will adopt the Russian ruble as its currency soon after the referendum.
Not unexpectedly, the west, and Ukraine specifically, continue to make loud noises over the referendum, with the latest development is Kiev sending an ultimatum to Crimea. Guardian reports that "Ukraine's parliament has warned the regional assembly in Crimea that it faces dissolution unless it cancels a referendum it has called to join the region to Russia."
A resolution, supported by a parliamentary vote, gave the Crimean parliament until Wednesday to call off the referendum, due to take place on Sunday. The Crimean parliament on Tuesday passed a motion stating that it would become independent in the event of a yes vote and then seek to join the Russian Federation, arguing that "the unilateral declaration of independence of part of a state does not violate any international laws".
There is the minor matter of enforcing this ultimatum in a territory largely controlled by Russian forces:
Also on Tuesday, the acting Ukrainian president, Oleksander Turchinov, announced that a new national guard would be formed in response to Russian attempts to annex Crimea.

Turchinov said mismanagement of the armed forces under former president Viktor Yanukovych meant that the Ukrainian military had to be rebuilt "effectively from scratch". The acting defence minister said the country had only 6,000 combat-ready infantry compared with more than 200,000 Russian troops on its eastern borders.
Good luck with that.
But aside from the actual area of physical confrontation, the real conflict continues behind the scenes. It is here that we find Russia president Putin has apparently rejected a U.S. proposal to resolve the dispute over Ukraine that had been put forward by Secretary of State John Kerry over the past week, according to senior Russian and U.S. officials. WSJ reportedthat "Mr. Putin's decision led Mr. Kerry to put off a Russian invitation to meet Mr. Putin in Russia, as early as the beginning of this week in Sochi, to discuss the Ukraine crisis, according to these officials."
Moscow and Washington on Monday each blamed the other for the diplomatic stumble and for failing to defuse the most serious U.S.-Russian standoff since the end of the Cold War.

Residents of the Crimean region of Ukraine are scheduled to vote Sunday on whether to secede from their country and join the Russian federation.

Despite the setback, U.S. and Russian officials stressed Monday that discussions on the former Soviet state were ongoing. The State Department didn't rule out Mr. Kerry visiting Moscow to meet Mr. Putin.

"The United States needs to see concrete evidence that Russia is prepared to engage on the diplomatic proposals we have made to facilitate direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said.
Send in the Kerry again perhaps? Speaking of political cadavers, ousted Ukraine president Yanukovich, whose political future even Putin said is over, appeared on TV earlier today and reminded everyone he was still the legitimate leader:
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said in a televised press conference that he is still the legitimate leader of the country. It was his second statement made from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don where he fled to when he was removed from power by the Ukrainian Parliament.

“I want to remind you that I am not only still the legitimate president of Ukraine but also the supreme commander of the army and I haven’t stopped my duties as president early – I am still alive.”

He took no questions from the press after his speech.

Yanukovych claimed that he was still the legitimate leader of Ukraine and that he fled Ukraine because of a direct threat to his and his family’s lives.

He added he would return to Ukraine soon.

He called the upcoming May 25 presidential election “illegal” and said that any government voted in would also be unconstitutional

He said the US and West should not be backing or funding the new “bandit” government which had carried out an illegal coup d’etat.
And then there is everything else. Reading Reuters:
A pro-Russian force opened fire in seizing a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Monday and NATO announced reconnaissance flights along its eastern frontiers as confrontation around the Black Sea peninsula showed no sign of easing. Ukrainian activists trying to cross into Crimea to show solidarity with opponents of last week's Russian military takeover there said they were halted by men in uniforms of the now outlawed riot police. One of these fired at close range, hitting a man in the chest, apparently with rubber bullets.

With diplomacy at a standstill, Russia said the United States had spurned an invitation to hold new talks on resolving the crisis, the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War - although Washington said later a meeting of foreign ministers was possible this week, if Moscow shows it is ready to "engage".

The U.S.-led NATO defense alliance said AWACS early warning aircraft, once designed to counter feared Soviet nuclear missile strikes, would start reconnaissance flights on Tuesday over Poland and Romania to monitor the situation in Ukraine, flying from bases in Germany and Britain.

The United States on Tuesday will also begin previously planned military training exercises in the region, the first since the Russian intervention in Crimea. A U.S. Navy destroyer will participate in maneuvers with Romanian and Bulgarian warships in the Black Sea, across from Crimea. In Poland, U.S. fighter jets will take part in joint exercises.

* * *

On Monday, a Ukrainian defense official said a Russian-led military force of about a dozen men fired in the air as they took control of a Ukrainian naval base near the town of Bakhchisaray, though no one was hurt.

The force was accompanied by the base's Ukrainian commander. He persuaded a number of his men to join the Russian forces while allowing others who refused to leave, the Ukrainian official, Vladislav Seleznyov wrote on Facebook. The Russian force later drove off with nine Ukrainian vehicles.

Yarik Alexandrov, one of the Ukrainian naval personnel who refused to pledge allegiance to Moscow, told Reuters near the base that he and his comrades at first refused to surrender. "Then they started shooting round our feet and we surrendered," he said. "What could we do? We had no weapons."

Similar small confrontations have taken place at other Ukrainian bases around Crimea, although shooting has been rare and there has so far been no bloodshed. Russia denies its troops are involved - a stance ridiculed in Kiev and the West.

In a sign of the peninsula's growing isolation from the Ukrainian mainland, armed men prevented a convoy of cars from a Ukrainian activist group crossing into Crimea.

The group was part of the Maidan movement behind the protests that forced Yanukovich to flee to Russia. Ukrainian television showed men in the uniform of the Berkut riot police, banned by the new authorities for its role in shooting dozens of demonstrators in Kiev last month, blocking the road south.

One was shown firing twice, hitting a man in the chest. His injuries appeared minor, suggesting the use of rubber bullets.

In other armed action, Russian forces took over a military hospital and a missile unit. Reuters correspondents also saw a big Russian convoy on the move just outside the port city of Sevastopol near a Ukrainian air defense base.

It comprised more than 100 vehicles, including around 20 armored personnel carriers, plus mobile artillery.
In conclusion, just so there is no confusion about who is in charge of Crimea...
All flights to Crimea airport suspended except from Moscow @AFP


And....




Crimea parliament declares independence from Ukraine ahead of referendum

Published time: March 11, 2014 10:30
Edited time: March 11, 2014 12:01

A woman walking by a poster calling people to vote in the upcoming referendum, in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol (Reuters / Baz Ratner)
A woman walking by a poster calling people to vote in the upcoming referendum, in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol (Reuters / Baz Ratner)
The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has adopted an independence declaration from Ukraine which is necessary for holding a March 16 referendum.
“We, the members of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council, with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms, make this decision,” says the text of the declaration, which was published by the Crimean media.
The document was adopted during an extraordinary session of parliament.
78 of 100 members of the parliament voted in favor of the declaration.
The Crimean parliament’s vote to become an independent sovereign state paves the way for the March 16 referendum for the Crimean Autonomous Republic and the city of Sevastopol to join Russia.
View image on Twitter
Crimea parliament voted for the declaration of independence, ahead of a secession referendum