Friday, May 23, 2014

Ukraine Updates May 23 , 2014 -- Ahead of the Presidential Election on May 25th , news of note : Kiev troops reportedly shoot at deserting conscripts as eastern military op escalates ..........

Russia Today .....

Kiev troops reportedly shoot at deserting conscripts as eastern military op escalates

Published time: May 23, 2014 01:02
Edited time: May 23, 2014 10:23

The outskirts of the Lisichansk city, Lugansk Region of south-eastern Ukraine on May 22, 2014 (RIA Novosti  / Evgeniy Biyatov)
The outskirts of the Lisichansk city, Lugansk Region of south-eastern Ukraine on May 22, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeniy Biyatov)
Kiev forces have killed at least seven militiamen and injured dozens of people, including civilians, in clashes in the Lugansk Region. Some Kiev troop conscripts reportedly tried to desert and flee to the militia, and were shot at by their commander.
Both sides suffered losses during the battle near the village of Rubezhnoye, close to the city of Lisichansk in the Lugansk region. At least seven self-defense members were killed and 16 others injured, according to the militia. A spokesperson for Kiev’s troops reported two fatalities and seven wounded among their ranks.
The shooting followed botched negotiations between forces of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Lugansk and pro-Kiev troops, Ostap Cherniy, a spokesman for the militias, said at a press conference on Thursday night.
“When the Ukrainian military with a column of armored vehicles approached Lisichansk, militias tried to negotiate with them,” Cherniy said. “Shooting erupted during the negotiations.”
He added that local residents, including children, were among those who went to talk to the Kiev loyalists. The civilians were trying to block military vehicles of the National Guard and asking “not to kill them,” he said.
There are claims that at least some of the casualties among Kiev loyalists were not due to the militias. Some 30 of the conscripts wanted to defect, Cherniy said. The militias fed the prisoners and wanted to relocate them, but the other troops opened fire at the entire group, he added.
“After they boarded a bus and drove to the college, the military opened fire at the bus with a heavy machine gun,” said the self-defense force representative.
A militia member told RIA Novosti that it was the commander of the unit which was preparing to desert who opened fire at his own men. The information was confirmed by one of the defectors, who said he and his fellow conscripts decided to defect no to follow an order to fire at the militias and civilians.
“The commander ordered us to open indiscriminate fire,” the soldier said during the same press conference, adding that locals “saved him” from Kiev-controlled soldiers.
A military doctor Gennady Moralishvili said that most of those injured in the clashes are currently in the local hospital and are civilians, not militiamen. He added that the pro-Kiev National Guard set the city's train station on fire and when fire brigade arrived to put it out, they shot at them too.
Also damaged in the clashes was a local bridge, although it was not immediately clear how it was taken down. Some reports said the militias demolished it to prevent Kiev’s troops from transporting armored vehicles across the river. Others say that the loyalists destroyed it during the clashes.
A local railway was damaged as well, disrupting traffic in the Lugansk Region.
Local residents are evacuated from the village on the outskirts of the Lisichansk city, Lugansk Region of south-eastern Ukraine on May 22, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeniy Biyatov)
Local residents are evacuated from the village on the outskirts of the Lisichansk city, Lugansk Region of south-eastern Ukraine on May 22, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeniy Biyatov)

By nightfall, the gunfight ceased around the city, local activist Sergey told RT by phone, adding that the militias have taken control over all checkpoints that came under fire during the day.
Medics in local hospitals were reporting large numbers of injured coming in during the day, the activist says.
“There are a lot of injured among local population who came under fire on the outskirts of Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. Some are seriously wounded, who will be sent for surgery and treatment to [Lugansk].”
Militias said they captured three BMP-2 armored personnel carriers from Kiev’s troops.
The escalation of violence in the Lugansk Region follows weeks of a focused assault by the Kiev troops on the neighboring Donetsk Region. The confrontation there claimed dozens of lives both among the belligerents and local civilians, but neither side managed to take control over the entire region.
Reports of a possible shooting between different pro-Kiev troops came from the Donetsk Region on Thursday too, where at least 16 Ukrainian troops were killed and over 30 injured in a night attack on a checkpoint. While some accounts said the battle near the town of Volnovakha was a night raid of the militias, there are numerous accounts indicating that it could actually be a case of friendly fire, in which a unit of pro-Kiev militia hired by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky mistakenly attacked a facility manned by the Ukrainian military.
Kiev is trying to crackdown the militias in the defiant eastern Ukraine and is bringing in more troops in anticipation of the presidential election on Sunday.
“According to our data, there’s currently around 6,000 [Kiev troops in the Lugansk Region], and their number has increased in recent days,” Valery Bolotov, the head of the People’s Republic of Lugansk, said.
Lugansk and Donetsk Regions have refused to recognize Kiev’s coup-imposed authorities, and staged referendums on May 11, which garnered landslide support for independence from Kiev, after which the republics announced they will not participate in Ukraine’s presidential elections scheduled for May 25.

Russia Today Article below ,  Video at the top ....

Ukraine helicopters shooting their own soldiers ( supports that either they refused orders or had deserted ! )

​Donetsk bloodbath: Insider video shows Ukraine helicopters firing at own checkpoint

Published time: May 23, 2014 12:33
Edited time: May 23, 2014 19:59

Screenshot from
Screenshot from
Ukrainian helicopter gunships shot at a Ukrainian military checkpoint in Donetsk Region in the aftermath of a night battle, a video presumably shot by one of the soldiers indicates. Apparently, Kiev’s troops suffer from gross lack of communications.
The eight-minute video on YouTube was shot near the town of Volnovakha in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, according to the description. It shows a group of armed uniformed men with Ukrainian army insignia and at least two others in civilian clothes taking cover behind a military truck.
The vehicle is at a field and the men are observing from a distance a woodland belt separating on the field border At least two vans are seen and fire burns among the trees. Sporadic gunfire can be heard, possibly from ammunition detonating in the fire, and then a massive explosion erupts at the camp. The soldiers discuss whether they should fall back.
Then two Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunships start barraging at low altitude over the area. After several passes the aircraft start barraging the burning camp from their cannons.
“What are their doing?” one of the soldiers exclaims in surprise. “Are they ours?” “Who the f*** else?” another replies.
The group hastily flees the scene, but the cameraman continues shooting the footage, cursing and praying as he runs.
Screenshot from
Screenshot from

A couple of minutes later he gets to another woodland belt. He approaches another Ukrainian military man, who is speaking on a mobile phone.
“Who are they shooting at?” the man says. “There are civilians and our soldiers there. Do you have a line to the army aviation, what the f*** is happening?”
“Two [Mi-]24s and one [Mi-]8 arrived. They are flying over our checkpoint and shooting at our checkpoint,” the report continues. “There are lots of corpses there. We were dousing the burning BMP [infantry combat vehicle], we thought the Mi-8 was going to pick up the bodies. Now they are shooting.”
Ukrainian troops use their helicopters in the fight against the local armed militias opposing Kiev’s rule to destroy hardware damaged in the clashes to prevent it from falling into the hands of the militias. Miscommunication among the troops could have led to the aviation command believing that the checkpoint was taken over by the militias.
The video was uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday, which puts the timing of the video hours after a night attack on the military checkpoint near Volnovakha. The attack may not have been a militia raid, but rather a case of friendly fire, in which one pro-Kiev unit mistakenly attacked another unit.
The battle left at least 16 Ukrainian troops killed and 30 others injured.

Itar Tass.....

Coup in Ukraine supported by US and European partners of Russia — Putin

 May 23, 15:21 UTC+4
Russian president believes for the beginning of a substantive Russia-EU dialogue on a new partnership agreement
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev
ST. PETERSBURG, May 23. /ITAR-TASS/.Russian President Vladimir Putin told the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday that problems linked to Ukraine and Crimea had been caused by lack of world trust.
“The question of restoring trust is vital for the entire economic forum. The urgent problems you have mentioned in relation to Ukraine and Crimea are linked exactly to lack of this trust,” the Russian president stressed, adding that without Russia Crimea would have seen a worse tragedy than the May 2 massacre in Odessa.
“What are the causes behind the Ukraine crisis?” Putin asked.
“It was triggered by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to postpone the signing of an association agreement with the European Union. What followed next was a state coup supported by our US and European partners,” the Russian president went on to say.
“What was next? The next thing was chaos, and now we see a full-scale civil war,” Putin stressed.
He added that Russia had created conditions for the Crimean people to express their will freely. Otherwise, Crimea would have seen a worse tragedy than in Odessa.
“If we had not done that, we would have had bigger tragedies (in Crimea) than we are currently seeing in other Ukrainian cities, including Odessa where people were burnt alive inside a building,” the Russian head of state said.
“Fifty people burnt alive while fifty went missing. Where are they? In fact, they were also killed,” Putin stressed.
Putin recalls under the effective Ukrainian Constitution a new president cannot be elected now, as a referendum and a constitutional reform should precede elections. He is convinced that conditions for elections in Ukraine do not meet international standards.
“Tanks are waging fire there or journalists were detained and have been kept in Gestapo conditions for the third day. Are these conditions proper for elections?” the Russian president contemplated. He noted that this situation did not meet international requirements for elections, however, he noted, “Let they hold it (elections).
Russian president wants peace to come to Ukraine and wants the country to overcome current crisis, therefore, Russia will work with newly-elected structures, but the Russian president believes that conditions for elections in Ukraine do not meet international standards.
He hopes for the beginning of a substantive Russia-EU dialogue on a new partnership agreement.
“We hope that a substantive meaningful dialogue, as diplomats say, will begin one day,” the Russian head of state said .
In his view, “there is no other way to build an atmosphere of trust.” Putin also called for the beginning of direct negotiations and search for compromise on this issue “with respect for the rights and interests” of the parties.
He believes that dialogue is necessary to restore world trust.
He also is surprised EU refuses to work with Customs Union. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin is bewildered over Ukraine refusing to pay for gas even after Russia had given a multi-billion aid to the country at the end of the previous year.
“The question is where our money? For what our multi-billion aid was used?” Putin said at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

RIA Novosti.....

Danger Exists That Election Results in Ukraine Could Be Smoothed Over – Lavrov

Ukraine votes in presidential election (Archive)
16:34 23/05/2014
Tags: electionsSergei LavrovUkraineRussia
ST. PETERSBURG, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – There is reason to believe that the results of Ukraine's upcoming presidential election will be “smoothed over,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
“There is, unfortunately, reason to believe that the [Ukrainian election] results will be smoothed over and some of the facts will be hidden that are not very appeasing to the current Ukrainian forces and their sponsors,” Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
The Russian foreign minister earlier said that in order for Moscow to recognize the results of the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, the voting should be completely fair and transparent.
Russian Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Friday the legitimacy of the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine raises doubts.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russia on Friday to accept the verdict of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the results of the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, and expressed regret over the fact that Russia had refused to send observers to Ukraine as part of the OSCE mission. On Wednesday, the Central Election Commission of Russia said Moscow had not received an invitation from Ukraine to send observers to the election.
The Ukrainian parliament scheduled an early presidential election on May 25 following a regime change and the ouster of legitimate president Victor Yanukovich in February. Moscow has repeatedly called on Kiev to deal with the unrest in the southeastern regions of country, which is rapidly turning into a civil war, before holding an election. Ukraine’s interim authorities, backed by the West, however, announced they do not see any obstacles to the vote.

Ukraine Almost in State of Civil War – Russian Defense Minister

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
13:59 23/05/2014
Tags: civil warSergei ShoiguUkraine
MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – After the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, Ukraine “has practically slid into a civil war,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.
“After the forceful overthrow of the current president and with the active participation of external forces, the country has practically slid into a civil war,” Shoigu said during an international security conference in Moscow.
Shoigu said that a hot spot of tension has been artificially created in Europe, which has “a negative impact on global security.”
Ukraine underwent a regime change resembling a military coup on February 22. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.
Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine have refused to recognize the legitimacy of Kiev’s new authorities. The Luhansk and Donetsk regions have been facing violent clashes between government soldiers and protesters following the beginning of a large-scale military operation by the Kiev authorities in mid-April. Both sides have suffered numerous casualties.
The authorities' special operation in the region is still under way even though the Ukrainian parliament approved a so-called memorandum of peace and consent earlier this week, which called on the return of troops stationed in eastern Ukraine to their permanent bases.
The eastern city of Slaviansk is currently surrounded by Ukrainian military personnel, which the Kiev authorities claim is an effort to ensure the conduct of the upcoming presidential election on Sunday. The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic has declared a general mobilization of men aged 18 to 45, with local military offices overcrowded with people wanting to join the self-defense forces.

Russia May Sign Agreement to Build 8 Reactors in Iran

Bushehr nuclear power plant
18:09 22/05/2014
Tags: nuclear energyIranRussia
ST. PETERSBURG, May 22 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow may sign an intergovernmental agreement with Teheran this year to build eight new reactors for nuclear power plants in Iran, a source close to the negotiations told journalists Thursday.
Two reactors could be built at the Bushehr Power Plant and six reactors at other sites, the source said, adding that the talks were in their final stage.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that Russian-Iranian cooperation will continue despite international turbulence around Tehran. Putin said that Russia and Iran are not only neighbors, but also long-standing reliable partners.
Iran’s only nuclear power plant near Bushehr came online September 2011 and began operating at full capacity a year after. Moscow handed over operational control of the Russian-made plant to Iran in September last year.
Construction of the power plant in the country’s south began in the 1970s but was plagued by delays. Russia signed a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete the plant in 1998.

The Guardian......

Chocolate tycoon heads for landslide victory in Ukraine presidential election

Petro Poroshenko has faced down protesters and rivals to lead the opinion polls before the first round of voting on Sunday
petro poroshenko
Presidential hopeful Petro Poroshenko meets supporters in Uma. Photograph: Reuters
For a man with presidential ambitions, it was not a propitious scene. Petro Poroshenko stood atop a bulldozer between a line of police and an angry crowd chanting expletives at him. Shouting into a loudhailer he urged calm, asking protesters to desist from storming the presidential headquarters in Kiev.
Hardcore elements in the crowd didn't like his speech; they responded with jeers of "dickhead" and "Jew trash". (Actually, Poroshenko is a Christian.) Someone dragged him off his perch. Others managed to rescue him from this seething frontline. Masked youths grabbed the tractor and used it as a battering ram to force a path though police. Clouds of smoke billowed across Ukraine's warring capital.
This was early December. Six months later Poroshenko is on the brink of becoming Ukraine's new president. Opinion polls suggest he will win the first round of Sunday's presidential election by a landslide. Such is his lead he may even beat his nearest rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, in the first round, avoiding the need for a run-off vote on 15 June.
For Poroshenko, it has been a steep rise to popularity that begs two questions: how has he managed it? And will this support help him accomplish one of the toughest jobs in the world today: running Ukraine?
Softly spoken, articulate, and fluent in English, Poroshenko bears little resemblance to the bear-like ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych. A former foreign minister and minister of trade, Poroshenko is no political newbie. But he has managed to dodge the unpopularity that has engulfed the rest of Ukraine's governing class.
Poroshenko's current popularity has much to do with adroit positioning. He wasn't one of the three opposition leaders – the current prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, boxer Vitali Klitschko and ultra-nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok – who signed a deal with Yanukovych. And his business fortune came not from the murky world of energy but from something altogether more palatable: chocolate.
"Poroshenko was on the Maidan [central square in Kiev]. But at the same time he escaped unpopular decisions," said Olexiy Haran, a professor of comparative politics in the capital. "He managed to present himself as balanced, reasonable and successful." Even when he popped up on Maidan, paying for food, water and firewood for protesters, he was careful to play both sides. "Russia isn't our opponent, but our partner," he told the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta. "Understand, Euro-Maidan is not a movement away from Russia, but from the Soviet Union."

Journey into politics

Born near Odessa, in south-west Ukraine, Poroshenko launched himself as a business consultant in the 1990s after studying economics in Kiev. (He met his wife, Maryna, a cardiologist, at a university disco; they have four children.) Poroshenko took over state confectionery plants and transformed them into a lucrative empire.
In 1998 he entered politics, winning a seat in Ukraine's lower house, the Verkhovna Rada, representing the Social Democrats. Two years later he founded his own Solidarity party.
Poroshenko's ambition quickly manifested itself, as did a political flexibility which strikes some as slippery. He co-founded the Party of Regions – the eastern-based party of Yanukovych. Soon afterwards, in 2002, he joined the Our Ukraine group of Yanukovych's pro-western rival Viktor Yushchenko. Poroshenko played a leading role in the Orange Revolution which prevented Yanukovych from fraudulently claiming victory in the 2004 presidential elections.
Yushchenko won a re-run vote, and Poroshenko became secretary to the council on national security and defence. He harboured hopes of becoming prime minister but instead the job went to Tymoshenko. Soon, though, this Orange coalition fell apart. Yushchenko fired Tymoshenko and Poroshenko, amid allegations of corruption, which he denied. Poroshenko remains close to Yushchenko, who is godfather to his daughters.
But after exiting government, Poroshenko bounced back. He served as foreign minister in 2009-10 and accepted an offer by Yanukovych – by this time president – to become minister of economic development. Poroshenko negotiated with the International Monetary Fund. Currently, he is an independent deputy without his own proper political party. (He has agreed an electoral pact with Klitschko's Udar party; Klitschko, the early front-runner, pulled out of the presidential race to support Poroshenko.)
According to Alexander Temerko, a London-based Russian businessman, Poroshenko is driven by deep religious convictions. He is a member of Ukraine's Orthodox church, and has financed the restoration of its buildings and monasteries. In high-level meetings he is often seen fiddling with a crucifix.
"Religion is important to many Ukrainians," Temerko said. "This gives him a fantastic advantage over other candidates, especially among simple people. Like Greece, Ukraine is a country of Christianity."
Following years of oligarchic misrule, does Ukraine really need another rich man in charge? "I think he has this feeling of public service in him," said Orysia Lutsevych, a research fellow with Chatham House's Russia and Eurasia programme. Lutsevych acknowledged that Poroshenko was wealthy, with his own business interests. But she added: "His business looks legitimate. It wasn't built on corrupt trade in gas and oil with Russia." Unlike other Ukrainian politicians "he was never involved in any big scandals".
Poroshenko made his own money – Forbes puts his net wealth at $1.3bn – from his chocolates, earning him the nickname of "the chocolate king". His other business interests include shipbuilding, construction and media.

What the future holds 

So what would a Poroshenko presidency hold? A champion of European integration, Poroshenko is seen by many voters as the best person to reform the country's failing economy.
He can be under no illusions as to the grave challenges ahead. "If a country is to deal with Russia as an equal, it must be strong," he said last weekend. In the space of two breathless months, Russian president Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea and fomented an armed uprising in the Russophone east and south. One of the Poroshenko's activists was brutally beaten up in Makiyivka, a town near Donetsk. In Luhansk, next to the Russian border, other members representing him on the local election commission were taken hostage.
After equivocating for weeks, the Donetsk-based oligarch Rinat Akhmetov has finally denounced the separatist uprising in the east. Still, not much voting will take place here on Sunday, with the possible exception of northern parts of Luhansk Oblast, under government control. Pro-Russian leaders have declared independence from Kiev, and have vowed not to recognise Sunday's elections. Masked gunmen are already seizing ballot boxes, including on Tuesday in the town of Artyomovsk.
On the campaign trail, Poroshenko has cast himself as the man who can rescue Ukraine from its numerous afflictions: break-up, corruption, a rampant shady economy and lousy governance. His long-term goal is to transform his nation of 46 million into a modern European state. He wants to decentralise power, amend the constitution and sign the latest chapter in the EU association deal, which he personally drafted as foreign minister. The European path will help Ukraine modernise, he argues, and – as his campaign slogan puts it – "to live in a new way".
But the spectre of a Yugoslav-style collapse remains. Poroshenko takes a hardline against pro-Moscow separatists. "What language do we have to speak with terrorists? That's right, the language of force," he told an election rally last week, according to the Kyiv Post. But the details remain fuzzy. The Ukrainian army is already skirmishing with Russian-backed rebels around the town of Slavyansk; casualties on both sides growing; results inconclusive.
Meanwhile, Tymoshenko has accused her old rival of secretly cosying up to Russia. In March, Poroshenko and Klitschko met with billionaire Dmitry Firtash in Austria. Firtash made his fortune from murky intermediary gas pipeline deals with Gazprom; he is fighting attempts by the US to extradite him on corruption charges. It is well known he has close Kremlin contacts.
Putin's view of Poroshenko – an implacable foe or a man he may be able to do business with – is unclear. Some believe that recent de-escalatory moves by Russia suggest the Kremlin may view him as an acceptable interlocutor.
In reality, though, there's little evidence Poroshenko is a Russian patsy. The businessman has paid a high price already for his outspoken pro-western views. Last summer Moscow banned chocolates from his Roshen factory in Lipetsk, southern Russian, supposedly on health grounds. In March riot police shut down the plant and seized its warehouse. Poroshenko also lost his shipyard in the Crimean port of Sevastopol when Russian troops overran the Black Sea peninsula. He has vowed to use all levers to get Crimea back.
The US and EU already appear to regard Poroshenko's victory as the most likely outcome. In late March Poroshenko visited London, together with Klitschko. They held talks with David Cameron and William Hague, the foreign secretary, and agreed a deal to make it easier for Ukrainians to get long-term British visas.
Outside Downing Street the pair chatted to pro-Ukrainian demonstrators. Poroshenko posed with the Ukrainian flag, a symbol that has practically vanished from much of the east.
With Ukraine's future as a sovereign state in doubt, and Russian troops on the border, Poroshenko will need all the international help he can get. Plus the bravery he demonstrated on the Maidan. Nobody has quite forgotten what happened to Yushchenko, who was mysteriously poisoned while on the campaign trail in 2004. "He is a very determined person. There is a physical risk to Petro," Temerko said. "He is a brave guy."

The chocolate king

Created in 1996, Poroshenko's company Roshen produces more than 300 kinds of sweets, cakes and biscuits at factories in Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Hungary.
Perhaps top of the list is the slightly unimaginatively named Cherries in chocolate, a cherry liqueur smothered in dark chocolate.
They are certainly sweet, but then people in this part of the world are famous for their sweet tooth. "They are tasty and always of decent quality," said Lyudmila Miroshnychenko, from Kherson, southern Ukraine. Cherries in chocolate, for her, is a treat to take with coffee in the afternoon.
Then there is Evening Kiev, a sort of Ferrero Rocher for the east, though frankly most ambassadors in Kiev haven't had much time of late for spoiling guests.
There is an entire range of chocolate bars that retail for around 20p – cheaper than imported Mars bars or Snickers. But many Ukrainians prefer the smaller chocolate sweets in colourful wrappers purchased by weight, some of which have retained brand names that were popular in Soviet times, like Camomile or Red poppy.
Svitlana Tuchynska, a Ukrainian who moved to Malaysia, said she always asks people travelling from Ukraine to bring her some Roshen candies. "I'm not a sweet tooth but once I presented some of Ukrainian Roshen sweets to Malaysians and Chinese locals they were delighted," she said. "And the Europeans also adore them. My friends from Sweden have always been purchasing Cherry in chocolate."
Roshen has not escaped the turmoil unsettling the region. Some residents in Donetsk and Luhansk have started a boycott of the sweets, just as they are boycotting the presidential election.
"Many people say they will not buy Roshen on principle," said Irina, who works in a supermarket candy department in Luhansk.

Russia Today

Understanding why Putin isn' t worried about EU sanctions but Europe is ......

'China ready to replace EU investors in Russia if more sanctions follow'

Published time: May 23, 2014 16:44
Edited time: May 23, 2014 19:58

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and China's President Xi Jinping attend a signing ceremony in Shanghai May 21, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and China's President Xi Jinping attend a signing ceremony in Shanghai May 21, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)
The Chinese investors are ready to replace European companies if the EU goes on with the “irresponsible” policy of sanctioning Russia, Reiner Hartmann, chairman of the Association of European Businesses in Russia told RT in an exclusive interview.
The Chinese are prepared to step in “if we are squeezed out (of Russia) through sanctions or other measures”, Hartmann warned during the 18th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“I’ve heard about 20 or 57 Chinese high-tech companies ready just to move in and replace Alstom, Siemens, BASF, and Bayer, just to name the few. It’s amazing!”
 he said.

However, Hartmann expressed hope that “the trust, which has been built between… Russian government and European investors is still very holding; very strong and will overcome this.”

The businessman said European investors, who had “a great success story” in Russia, are now“taken hostage by irresponsible political decision making people.”

According to Hartmann, sanctions against Moscow demonstrate “shortsightedness” of European MPs and individual governments.

“They have a four-year period and then they’re stepping down or are re-elected, but we – investors – we stay here,” he explained.

Restrictive measures will affect European companies working in Russia, which will have a negative effect on jobs at home and “will be a setback for the recovery of Europe” from the crisis, the businessman warned.

Hartman believes that the investors were put in a difficult situation ahead of the St. Petersburg forum asthey were forced to choose between backing their governments’ stance and ignoring the event or offending their authorities by deciding: “‘I don’t care. I come because I talk about business, I don’t talk about politics.”

“A lot of top businesses CEOs simply have – in the last minute – decided not to come because of this pressure from the government,” he said.

“I am surprised how strong the influence is from the European government in Brussels, in particular, on investors,” Hartmann added.

The European Union and the US have introduced several waves of sanctions against Moscow after the Republic of Crimea voted to cut ties with Ukraine and reunited with Russia in March.

The restrictive measures target individual Russian politicians and businessman, who saw travel bans and asset freezes introduced against them.

However, the EU government keeps repeating that idea of sanctions against specific branches of the Russian economy still remains on the table.

RT also talked with Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, Sun Group CEO Shiv Khemka, Deloitte Managing Partner David Owen, and the Association of European Businesses’ Reiner Hartman.

and from Zero Hedge ....

Russia Has Prepared A Confidential Retaliation Document As Ukraine Set To Hold NATO Accession Referendum

Tyler Durden's picture

Until now Russian retaliation against Western sanctions has been largely symbolic, culminating with this week's Holy Grail gas deal with China, 10 years in the making, which would not have happened on such a truncated timeframe had it not been for western prodding. However, now Russia may be getting ready for actionable retaliation against the west.RIA reports that Russia has prepared a "confidential document" with measures in response to Western sanctions, citing Kremlin advisor Andrew Belousov.
"I can say that, while it is not a strategy, we do have a tactic. It is in the form of a document which for understandable reasons is confidential. But it clearly lists the Russian sanctions: focusing on individuals, companies, sectors, whether they are comprehensive and systemic, and if they impact the banking system" Belousov was cited as telling TV channel Rossia 24.
According to him, there is a prescribed action at each of the listed levels. "So if any further action is taken against Russia, I can say that we know precisely how to react."
And while it is unclear if the US will dare to issue any more sanctions against Russia, considering the Russian stock market is now back to pre-sanctions levels, thus proving their complete futility (and if anything will simply serve to bring Russia and China even closer), one development that would certainly infuriate Putin is the news that Ukraine may hold a NATO accession referendum as soon as June 15.
Itar-Tass reports that Ukrainian presidential nominee Yulia Tymoshenko has suggested to hold an all-Ukrainian referendum on the country’s accession to NATO to coincide with possible second round of presidential elections. The politician said this in a statement on Friday.
Tymoshenko said: “We need to make a strategic decision. This decision is the accession of Ukraine to the system of collective security and defense of NATO”.

The presidential nominee believes “NATO is security and peace” and “all member states of this alliance are secured from aggression”.

“However, no politician has the right to make such a strategic decision without people’s will. Therefore, I suggest to hold the historic, fateful referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO on June 15, simultaneously with the second round of presidential elections,” Tymoshenko suggested.
Whether this is simply a publicity stunt by the former presidential frontrunner whose winning chances have slipped dramatically in recent weeks leading to the very distinct possibility of a second round runoff election without a clear winner this weekend, remains unknown. However, one thing Putin made explicitly clear earlier today is that he sees NATO expansion as the single biggest threat to Russia, especially considering the implicit understanding between James Baker and Gorbachev from 1990 that Nato would not expand east. Well, NATO may not only be expanding east but it may soon be knocking on Russia's doorstep.
And that would certainly provoke the Russian bear like nothing yet seen.