Monday, May 26, 2014

Ukraine Updates May 26 , 2014 - the day after the Presidential Election , what has changed ? anti- terror campaign continues in restive southeastern Ukraine and russia still expects payment for arrears Ukraine owes Gazprom ( 3.5 billion and growing ) , while European businesses frets as to when the ongoing conflict will be resolved and to what extent will business take it in the neck ...... With Porosshenko indicating anti trro campaign will continue and Yats to continue as Prime Minister , it doesn't appear as if things have truly changed .....

Fighting Resumes: Ukraine Jets, Helicopters Raid Donetsk Airport

Tyler Durden's picture

Ukraine didn't waste much time after its presidential election, which appears to have been won outright by the chocolate tycoon Poroshenko much to the humiliation of once frontrunner Tymoshenko, to resume its military operation in the east. Early this morning, the newswires blasted that Ukraine warplanes have carried out an airstrike against pro-Russian separatists at the Donetsk International Airport.
This happened after forces belonging to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, which proclaimed its independence from Kiev last weekend, came to the airport demanding that Ukrainian troops leave it. The self-defense troops said some 200 Kiev soldiers were guarding the inner perimeter of the hub. All flights have been suspended.
At the moment, the attackers are said to be engaged in talks with the Ukrainian forces locked in the key airport of Donetsk region, which also serves Kharkov, Lugansk and Zaporozhie regions.
Here is the brief recap of events as summarized by Bloomberg:
  • Helicopters and planes seen, explosions heard in area of airport.
  • Airport building on fire
  • Paratroopers started clearing airport grounds after separatists ignored 1pm deadline to leave: Ostrov website
  • Troops destroy anti-aircraft weapon used by terrorists, local 62 newswire writes citing armed forces press secretary Aleksey Dmitrashkovsky
  • Ukraine using air strikes against rebels: Russian state-run RIA Novosti
According to RT, "intensive gunfire and blasts have been heard in the vicinity of Donetsk International Airport in eastern Ukraine, and two fighter jets are flying over the facility, witnesses and self-defense forces said. The Ukrainian military are bombing the Donetsk airport, self-defense forces reported on Twitter. Earlier, at least three helicopters were seen flying towards the airport.
“The Ukrainian occupiers are conducting missile and bomb strikes on Donetsk International Airport. They are deploying military aircraft,” the message said.
"I have heard at least three blasts. Helicopters are circling over the city and military jets can be heard flying by," witnesses told local daily Ostrov.
“The fighter jet is supposedly a Sukhoi Su-27,” a self-defense member told RT. “It’s flying at an altitude of 7-10 km, going up and down, circling. Its task is unclear."
“Helicopters land at the airport, then take off,” the witness said.
Mobile connection was also down at some point, the witness added, saying Kiev’s authorities also demanded civilians are evacuated from the airport terminal’s vicinity and the landing field.
The airport has been closed “for security reasons”, and Reuters witnesses are seeing smoke billowing from the building.
Locals share photos of what they see at the Donetsk International Airport:
View image on Twitter
Украинские самолеты наносят ракетные удары по аэропорту Донецка ФОТО

Itar Tass.....

Ukraine’s army helicopters attack a plant in Donetsk

 May 26, 15:45 UTC+4
Ukrainian army helicopter (archive)

Ukrainian army helicopter (archive)

© AP Photo/Manu Brabo
DONETSK, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Three Ukrainian army helicopters have fired at the Donetsk-based Tochmash plant, which specializes in the production of machinery for various sectors of industry, the press service of the newly-formed Donetsk People’s Republic told ITAR-TASS on Monday. One person was hurt in the shooting attack, according to preliminary reports.
Earlier on Monday, fighting broke out between Ukrainian troops and militia representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic near the Sergei Prokofiev international airport in Donetsk.
Clouds of smoke are rising over the airport. Army helicopters and two fighter aircraft are circling over the city.

Explosions heard near Donetsk airport, smoke rising over runway

 May 26, 15:21 UTC+4
Two fighter planes were seen in the sky over the area and three helicopters flew in the airport’s direction
DONETSK, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Explosions were heard in the area of Donetsk’s Sergey Prokofiev international airport on Monday, a spokesman for people’s militia told ITAR-TASS, adding that a pencil of smoke was rising over the runway.
The spokesmen said first intensive fire was heard in the area of the airport with large calibre weapons apparently being used. Two fighter planes were seen in the sky over the area and three helicopters flew in the airport’s direction.
Earlier on Monday, sources in people’s militia told ITAR-TASS that representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic were holding negotiations in the building of the Donetsk airport over the withdrawal of troops that keep the runway under control.
The speaker of the self-proclaimed republic’s legislature, Denis Pushilin, said the operation of the airport had been suspended.
“Until today, the airport was beyond our control. Some unclear cargoes and even mercenaries had been brought to our territory. We believe this is very wrong,” Pushilin said.
Earlier on Monday, the airport’s press-service said that Donetsk’s airport had closed to flights after representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic had arrived in the area in the middle of last night at about 03:00 am local time to demand that the Ukrainian military guarding the internal perimeter of the airport should be pulled out.

Kiev to use “legal levers” in a bid to get Crimea back — Poroshenko

 May 26, 14:32 UTC+4
Petro Poroshenko says he would like to meet the Russian leadership early next month
A mural featuring Crimean peninsula painted in the colors of the Russian national flag and reading 'Crimea and Russia' (archive)

A mural featuring Crimean peninsula painted in the colors of the Russian national flag and reading 'Crimea and Russia' (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dzhavakhadze
KIEV, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Kiev will use legal instruments in a bid to get Crimea back, Petro Poroshenko who leads the presidential election in Ukraine after more than 60% of ballot papers have been counted, told a news conference on Monday.
“The Ukrainian government will use all possible levers”, primarily legal ones in the international courts, said Poroshenko. Kiev, he added, was ready to go to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to assert its rights.
On the election day, May 25, Poroshenko said his two principal positions in the relations between Ukraine and Russia were non-recognition of Crimea’s accession to Russia and self-determination referendums in eastern Ukraine. However, he added, his first visit as president would be exactly to the coal-mining region of Donbass in Ukraine's east where the Donetsk and Luhansk regions voted for independence.
Poroshenko said he would like to meet with the Russian leadership early next month. He said that settling the situation in Ukraine’s southeast would be impossible without Moscow. “Russia is our biggest neighbor,” Poroshenko stressed.

Punitive operation in Ukraine's south-east
Poroshenko also said he does not intend to stop the use of force in the south-east of the country. 
Poroshenko also stressed that Kiev would not conduct negotiations with armed people. “They don’t want to talk to anybody,” he described the position of the people that are protesting with arms against the current Kiev regime that came to power as a result of a coup.
Poroshenko also pledged that the army operation would be conducted more effectively. In particular, Ukrainian troops will get better equipment, their life and health will be insured, he added.

Gas discounts for Ukraine depend on debt repayment — minister

 May 26, 15:16 UTC+4
"Russia is keen to see Ukraine remain solvent," Alexander Novak stated
© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Grabar
BERLIN, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Gas discounts for Ukraine will depend on its readiness to repay old debts, says Energy Minister Alexander Novak in comments reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt.
“Russia is keen to see Ukraine remain solvent, in particular for it to be able to repay gas debt,” he is quoted as saying, adding “We want Ukraine to pay back debts it does not deny — more than $2.2 billion for Q1 supplies made at the old, low price.”
Discounts were possible if Kiev demonstrated it was ready to pay, which, the paper says quoting the minister, would be Russia’s “contribution to Ukraine’s economic recovery”.
Before April 1, the price per 1,000 cubic meters had been $268, the price Kiev wanted Gazprom to charge now. “Since they do not pay even at this price, we have no guarantee we’ll receive money for future supplies,” the minister is quoted as saying.

Escalation over Ukraine 'treading on eggshells' — German power chief

 May 26, 16:12 UTC+4
RWE AG chief executive Peter Terium

RWE AG chief executive Peter Terium

LONDON, May 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The head of Germany’s largest power generator said Europe should avoid escalation in relations with Russia against the backdrop of the Ukrainian political crisis.
“If you live in Europe, particularly in Germany, and have numerous contacts with Russia, we’re treading on eggshells,” RWE AG chief executive Peter Terium told Bloomberg. “You need to maneuvre very carefully in order not to escalate.”
RWE and other European utilities receive about 30% of their gas supply from Russia. About half of that comes through Ukraine’s pipeline network.
“We will not see a very quick, simple solution, but better a long, difficult solution than an escalation,” Terium said in London.
Payment for the sale of RWE’s oil and gas production unit Dea, agreed in March, to a group led by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman for €5.1 billion ($7 billion) “is not at risk” as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, Terium said, adding that he expected the deal to close later this year.
RWE began deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine on April 15. A framework agreement signed by Ukraine's Naftogaz and RWE subsidiary RWE Supply & Trading in 2012 allows for delivery of up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The German utility said it was planning to hold negotiations with Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom to review terms and conditions for natural gas supplies in order “to prevent negative impact on financial results after the expiry of current agreements”.

RIA Novosti.....

ANALYSIS: Ukraine’s Next President to Face Overwhelming Task of Comprehensive Reform

Ukraine votes in early presidential election
16:28 26/05/2014
Tags: electionsUkraine
MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti), Nastassia Astrasheuskaya – Ukraine’s May 25 election, regardless of its outcome, will require the country’s new president to tackle large-scale reforms to reverse the public discontent that triggered the February protests, Dr. Nadiya Kravets of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University told RIA Novosti Monday.
“Ukraine is in the process of fundamentally restructuring and hopefully improving its basic political and economic institutions,” Kravets said.
“February events were the beginning of a revolution, now the movement or momentum is to transform those institutions that for years have contributed to unstable, corrupt and inefficient government, and outdated economy which led to the popular uprisings in the first place. That is the new mandate for the president,” Kravets explained, adding that the country’s new leader must reform government institutions, fight corruption and revitalize the economy.
“Institutional reform that will require constitutional changes. There is a great demand among Ukrainian now for more local self-governance. Most Ukrainians, as polls show, want Ukraine to be unitary state but with greater autonomy for local decision-making and greater say over finances and taxation,” she said, pointing to the need to balance the powers of parliament and the president as separate branches of government.
“The question remains if there will be enough political will by the current president to move more power to the parliament and whether the parliament will be strengthened enough by the civil society and new parties to make policies in the name of all the different constituents and not just selected few oligarchs,” she added.
Kravets cited corruption as one of the core motivations of the crisis in Ukraine, irrespective of the political affiliations of the protesting citizens.
“The fight with corruption was the biggest reason why Euromaidan revolution happened. It was not about EU, Russia or Eurasian Union, but about the state of development of the courtly and corruption. President’s priorities in regards to this will be the ‘cleansing of the government,’ removal of officials who engage or engaged in corruption and billing of the institutions that limit systemic corruption,” she said.
Amanda Paul of European Policy Center echoed the opinion that the May 25 election would lead to massive reform.
“The election result opens the way to move ahead with important constitutional reform including related to decentralization of the regions as well as paving the way for early parliamentary elections before the end of the year,” she told RIA Novosti on Monday.
No less important is the question of legitimacy, a quality the current interim authorities in Kiev hardly enjoy, according to Dr. Kravets of the Ukrainian Research Institute.
“Yes, elections are a turning point for the Ukrainian crisis, since it will bring more legitimacy to the current government. The recent poll undertaken by the Razumkov Center together with the Kiev International Institute of Sociology showed that a significant percent of the population in the eastern and southern parts of the country doubted the legitimacy of the current acting President Turchynov and the head of the government Yatseniuk,” she stated, concluding that “the elections will definitely improve government legitimacy at home and will also improve legitimacy abroad.”
Her outlook was mirrored by Amanda Paul, who said “the election is important because it has provided Ukraine with a legitimate, democratically elected leader.”

Ukraine’s Poroshenko Aims to Continue Special Operation in Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian troops (Archive)
15:38 26/05/2014
Tags: military operationPetro PoroshenkoUkraine
KIEV, May 26 (RIA Novosti) – Billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who has claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential vote in Ukraine, said the special operation in eastern Ukraine should continue and become more effective.
“I have no information that it [operation] should now be stopped. I support its continuation and I demand the change of its formation – it should become shorter in terms and should become more effective,” Poroshenko said, adding that military units should be better equipped.
The statement came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday the resumption of the special operation in eastern Ukraine would be a tremendous mistake.
He expressed hope that Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s new president, would do his best to prevent extremist and radical views from becoming widespread.
New clashes broke out Sunday between Ukrainian troops and local self-defense forces in Ukraine’s east and south, leading to more casualties and bumping up the death toll that has been increasing ever since coup-imposed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced the beginning of an “anti-terror” operation in the region in mid-April.
The UNIAN news agency reported Sunday the Ukrainian government had allocated some 95.4 million hryvnias ($8 million) to the Security Service for “urgent anti-terrorist measures,” without revealing further details.
Moscow called the operation, which has already left scores of civilians dead, a “punitive act.”

Yatsenyuk to Retain His Post as Prime Minister – Ukraine’s Poroshenko

14:36 26/05/2014
Tags: Petro PoroshenkoArseniy YatsenyukUkraine
KIEV, May 26 (RIA Novosti) – Billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who leads the Ukrainian presidential election with over 50 percent of votes, said Monday he plans to keep the current prime minister and hopes to cooperate with him.
“I think that cooperation, first and foremost with Ukrainian government chief Arseniy Yatsenyuk, may be effective. I hope for this and thus have no plans to replace the government’s leadership,” he said.
With 60.15 percent of ballots counted, billionaire Petro Poroshenko leads in Ukraine’s presidential race, taking 53.72 percent of the vote, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission said Monday.
Yatsenyuk became Ukraine’s interim prime minister after a February coup that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych after months of clashes between pro-Russian authorities and supporters of Ukraine’s integration with Europe.
Last week, Yatsenyuk ruled out bilateral talks between Kiev and Moscow, saying de-escalation in the crisis-hit country could only be discussed in international forums.

Moon of Alabama....

Ukraine: Major "Western" Think Tank Admits Defeat

There is simply no viable alternative for Ukraine than to cooperate with Russia and to pay the price that is necessary to do so. That is why Russia is just sitting back and waiting for that simple truth to become evident.
Back in February we said:
Putin will now sit back and let the "west" squabble about who will throw tons of money into the bottomless pit that Ukraine is going to become. ... Putin now just has to wait for the apple to fall from the tree.
In March:
To the growing unrest one can add the likely economic collapse that will come rather sooner than later. Any "western" help will be conditioned on austerity and impoverishing the people as well as on political reform that the oligarchs and the current politicians will not allow to happen. Under such condition further unrest is a given while Ukraine falls apart and there is no need at all for Russia to intervene to achieve such.Russia will do nothing nefarious, it will do just nothing. Russia will not help, neither economically nor politically, unless Kiev and the "west" are willing to pay its price: A federalized Ukraine with strong regions and a weak central government.
Two month later this truth finally dawns to the mediocre thinkers in those "western" misnomed tanks. The Brookings Institute, which in general supports Obama policies, finally admits that a Ukraine without Russia is impossible and therefore cooperation with Russia on Ukraine is the Only viable way forward. It all comes back to money. The loss of access to Russian markets is already hitting and will kill Ukraine's heavy and weapon industry in east Ukraine. That will be expensive:
[A] minimum estimate is $276 billion to buy off the east. It is unthinkable that the West would pay this amount.
The key point here is that there can be no viable Ukraine without serious contributions from both Russia and the West. Of all the options for Ukraine’s future, a Ukraine exclusively in the West is the least feasible. A Ukraine fully under Russian control and with severed links to the West is, unfortunately, possible.
A Ukraine in the "west" is impossible. A Ukraine within the Russian Federation is possible but would somewhat hurt Russia at lesat in the short term. A finlandized Unkraine, in which Russia has a major say is the best possible outcome for all sides.
The upcoming sham elections of the chocolate king Poroshenko over which Russia has major sway -his markets and some of his factories are in Russia- is now just a fig leaf for the "west" to disengage. Poroshenko will be sent eastward to pledge allegiance to Russia and to sign the unconditional surrender treaty. He has to:
[H]ving normal relations with Russia is a natural position for Ukraine which fits her strategic interests. For this basic reason, Ukrainian politicians haven’t the slightest chance of ignoring their past, present, or future ties with Russia, regardless of the fact that they are talking about it.
He will then have to suppress the nazis in the west Ukraine. The political part of the EU Association Agreement, which the coup government signed, will be revoked and the economic part will not be signed at all.
All this now seems to turn into a major defeat for the neo-cons who completely misjudged the situation:
Strategists in the US may not have foreseen that, because of the very delicate domestic equilibrium of so many difference forces and actors, the Ukrainian state may have simply disintegrated in the face of a drastic geopolitical turn, as it is indeed happening.
The US finds itself once again in the awkward position of having decisively contributed to the insurgence of a certain critical phase [...] where however the partners and allies on the ground [...] are successively abandoned at the decisive moment ..

The neocons had planned this attack on Russia via Ukraine and Crimea and they, again, failed. That does not mean that the issue is over. In sight of defeat the neocons love to "surge" and to escalate the situation. But as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan such "surges" are unlikely to change the inevitable outcomes.
Al Jazeera....

Ukraine troops attack Donetsk airport rebels

Jets, helicopters and soldiers storm facility taken by pro-Russians, as president refuses to negotiate with "bandits".

Last updated: 26 May 2014 16:36
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Ukraine has launched air raids and a ground assault against rebels who seized Donetsk's international airport, as the country's new president promised to reassert control in the east and refused to negotiate with "terrorists".
Attack helicopters and jets fired on rebel positions in Monday's operation, while Ukrainian troops were also sent in for a ground offensive. Ukrainian troops blocked access to the site as huge plumes of smoke were seen coming from the area.
The operation came a day after Ukrainians voted in Petro Poroshenko as its new president, and hours after pro-Russian rebels stormed the airport, demanding Ukraine troops leave.
The airport serves a city of one million people, which the rebels have proclaimed capital of an independent "people's republic", and where they succeeded in blocking all voting in Sunday's presidential election.
The attempt to seize the airport may have been intended to prevent Poroshenko from travelling there: he has said his first trip in office would be to visit the restive east.
'Bandit state'
Poroshenko promised to talk with those in the east who have grievances, but not to those who have taken up weapons.
"They want to preserve a bandit state which is held in place by force of arms," he said. "These are simply bandits. Nobody in any civilised state will hold negotiations with terrorists."
Preliminary results with about half of votes counted gave Poroshenko 53.7 percent of the vote - towering over a field of 21 candidates with enough support to avert a run-off.
His closest challenger, former premier Yulia Tymoshenko, secured just 13.1 percent and made clear she would concede.
Poroshenko made clear his most urgent task is finding a modus vivendi with the giant neighbour that has seemed poised to carve Ukraine up since a popular revolt toppled a pro-Russian president in February.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who last month described eastern Ukraine as "New Russia", has made more accommodating statements in recent days.
He promised at the weekend that Moscow would respect the will of Ukrainians, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated that promise on Monday in saying Russia was ready for dialogue with Poroshenko.