Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ukraine situation updates ( August 31 , 2014 ) --Putin puts resolution of crisis in East Ukraine on political will of Kiev Authorities ......Putin and Poroshenko discuss need for substantial talks to deescalate crisis in E.Ukraine..........EU sets ‘deadline’: Russia faces sanctions if Ukraine crisis worsens over next week ....... Key tweets of the morning on Ukraine situation !


Putin response to Brussels summit: EU "backing a coup d'etat" in Ukraine

Several EU member states: Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic & Cyprus oppose next round of sanctions against Russia

A clear and direct threat by Putin over just a few hours after leaders warned of new sanctions if Russia continues aggression.

Putin: "Impossible to predict end of crisis in , everything depends on political will of Kiev authorities"

"Crimea? What corridor to Crimea? We're going to create a corridor to Odessa!"-Rebel commander in Novoazovsk ~

Angela : is not planning to supply with any weapons.

PM of says he will veto any sanctions against .

, , Czech Republic & Cyprus oppose sanctions on [Have the first 3 forgotten 1945?]

Week delay before sanctions is a sign of weakness by the EU and Putin knows it. Green light for Mariupol & maybe Odessa?

( Note " details " different than headline )

Putin: We have agreement with Poroshenko on peaceful resolution in E.Ukraine

Published time: August 31, 2014 09:43

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Kiev to start substantial talks on deescalating the crisis in eastern Ukraine. He added that it’s an illusion to expect that the rebels would calmly watch their homes being destroyed.
We have agreed on a plan, so its realization must be pursued,” Putin told Channel 1 TV, adding that the Ukrainian government “must immediately start substantial talks – not a technical discussion – on the political organization of society and the state in southeast Ukraine so that the interests of people who live there are protected.
Putin said that, while the resolution of the crisis now solely depends on Kiev, it is impossible to say when it may end. He said it could be explained by the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary elections.
All the participants in the electoral race will want to show how cool they are,” Putin said. “Everyone will want to show they are strongmen or strongwomen, and as the political struggle sharpens it is hard to expect anyone to seek a peaceful resolution and not a military one.”

Sunday, August 31

07:49 GMT:
Anti-government forces fighting in eastern Ukraine claim they have handed over to Kiev more than 200 captured Ukrainian troops, according to a representative of the “Novorossiya Army.”

During the night of August 30 and 31, the self-defense forces were maintaining a ceasefire, during which 223 captive servicemen and members of the National Guard were handed over to the Ukrainian side,” the source told Interfax.

He added that the army of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has prevented an attempt by the National Guard to get heavy vehicles out of an area besieged by anti-government forces.

The “Novorossiya Army” representative said the anti-government forces destroyed two Ukrainian tanks and two armored personnel carriers as a result of fighting near the village of Starobeshevo. Six tanks were reportedly captured by the militia and 198 Ukrainian servicemen were disarmed.

Saturday, August 30

18:51 GMT:
Ukrainian “Batkivshchina” (“Homeland”) party is set to conduct an urgent meeting of citizens on September 5 to discuss the possibility of a referendum on Ukrainian entry into NATO, party leader Yulia Timoshenko declared on Saturday.
“I am addressing Ukraine’s president, premier, the chairman of the Parliament, to the Ukrainian people to support us in our dedication to carry out all necessary legislative procedures to ensure that the referendum on the NATO entry takes place on the same day as the early parliamentary elections [on October 26],” she said, as quoted by Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.
3 million signatures are needed to introduce the question for referendum.
18:35 GMT:
500 people have participated in an anti-NATO march in Frankfurt am Main. The demonstration also featured photographs from the exhibition “Odessa massacre”, according to a participant of the coordination council of the Odessa social organization “Kulikovo pole” Oleg Musyka, as cited by RIA Novosti.
The exhibition is dedicated to the tragedy in Odessa that happened on May 2, with dozens of anti-Maidan activists dying in a fire. Official data suggested that 48 people died, while other estimates put the number at over 200.
A protester throws a petrol bomb at the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)
A protester throws a petrol bomb at the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)

18:34 GMT:
The Ukrainian army has begun an offensive in Lugansk region, at the same time fortifying positions in Mariupol, in the south of the Donetsk region, according to Ukraine’s National Security Council speaker Andrey Lysenko, as quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
“There’s been an operational exercise carried out in several residential areas in Slavyano-Serb district, and also Krymskoye and Sokolniki villages. Active fighting is going on in the direction of Lugansk,”Lysenko stated.
According to his statement, self-defense forces lost 40 people.
18:34 GMT:
Self-defense forces are in control of the main part of the territory where the MH17 plane crashed. The debris is untouched, and Malaysian experts may come to the location, according to the vice premier of the Donetsk People’s Republic Andrey Purgin.

Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)
Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

EU sets ‘deadline’: Russia faces sanctions if Ukraine crisis worsens over next week

Published time: August 30, 2014 16:55
Edited time: August 31, 2014 04:38

 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (L) and European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso give a press conference following their meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels, on August 30, 2014.(AFP Photo / Thierry Charlier)
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (L) and European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso give a press conference following their meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels, on August 30, 2014.(AFP Photo / Thierry Charlier)
At the EU summit in Brussels European leaders have agreed to finalize within a week the new set of sanctions against Russia and undertake other “preparatory work”, promising to impose them if the situation in Ukraine remains the same or worsens.
The Brussels summit has decided to ask the EU's executive Commission and its diplomatic service to "urgently undertake preparatory work,” European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile told reporters that the EU would impose new sanctions if there was no change in the situation in Ukraine or if the situation worsened.
The further steps will depend on the situation in Ukraine, which is getting worse every day, according to Van Rompuy. After Kiev over a week ago began losing ground to militia protecting the population of east Ukraine, authorities blamed Russia’s alleged “military invasion” for the failures, although even Ukrainians themselves admit to extremely poor handling of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation.”
Although van Rompuy expressed concerns over the alleged presence of Russian military in Ukraine, European politicians are not planning to supply Ukraine with weapons, German Chancellor Merkel has confirmed.
In the meantime, Slovakia's PM Robert Fico following the meeting slammed the idea of new sanctions as "meaningless and counterproductive" – as the impact of the previous round of tit-for-tat sanctions is still unknown – and reserved the right “to veto sanctions harming national interests of Slovakia.”
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Reuters/Eric Vidal)
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Reuters/Eric Vidal)

EU ‘wants no confrontation’

Earlier on Saturday, following his meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU is “ready to take very strong and clear measures but we are keeping our doors open to a political solution.”
Speaking about “restrictive measures”, Barroso said that the commission had already prepared “some options”, but it would be up to the EU member-states to make a decision on tightening the sanctions against Russia.
Barroso said EU officials earlier warned Moscow of further sanctions in case of an escalation of theconflict.
The situation has worsened considerably. The opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression,” the head of the EU executive body told the media conference.
Barroso said he expected EU states to be ready to take new measures against Russia.
He underlined that sanctions “are not an aim in themselves” but an “instrument” to show the Russian leadership the current situation “is not acceptable and we urge them to come to reason, to work constructively.”
In his words, the EU does not want a confrontation with Russia as it would be “detrimental to all of Europe”. Strategically, the EU official went on, “it makes no sense to have this kind of conflict or kind of a new Cold War”.
The leaders of the 28 EU member states gathered for a summit in Brussels on Saturday. The initial focus of the gathering was to be around the decision on who should replace two EU senior officials: President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was elected as the new president of the Council and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini was appointed to become new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy (R) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Porochenko before a meeting at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. (AFP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy (R) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Porochenko before a meeting at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. (AFP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

However, it is likely that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine will dominate the summit’s agenda, which"demonstrates the severity of the situation and deep concern," European Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas told RIA Novosti.
Poroshenko, who has accused Russia of deploying its troops in east Ukraine, is pushing for further measures against the country’s neighbor. In his words, however, sanctions are aimed at pressuring the Kremlin to start “real negotiations” rather than at harming Russia.
Meanwhile, EU leaders are divided on whether to impose new economic measures against Moscow.
What's happening in Ukraine is so serious that the European Council will be obliged to react by increasing the level of sanctions if things remain as they are, that is to say with the proven presence of weapons coming from Russia, perhaps more soldiers who are also over the borders, so I think we must act and a request to prepare new sanctions will surely be made to the European Commission,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters as he arrived for the summit, Reuters cited.
Earlier, the French president said EU leaders would “without doubt” increase sanctions on Saturday evening.
Finland’s stance is slightly milder, with the country saying that no settlement is possible in Ukraine without Russia.
French President Francois Hollande gives a press conference on August 30, 2014 after meeting of center-left leaders at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris. (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard)
French President Francois Hollande gives a press conference on August 30, 2014 after meeting of center-left leaders at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris. (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard)

The EU summit's signal must be clear: if there is no truce, peace plan implementation and full border control, new sanctions will follow," Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said on Saturday, as quoted by Itar-Tass.
Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite calls for more sanctions and, also military aid to Ukraine “that is fighting for the entire Europe”.
According to Russia’s envoy to the EU, the Russophobic rhetoric that intensified over the past several days was aimed at provoking “strong action” against Russia at the EU gathering and the upcoming NATO summit in Wales next week.The goal was “to remind European and North American countries of the mythical 'Russian threat' and provoke them to take 'strong actions' against Russia,” Vladimir Chizhov said Friday, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Relations between Russia and Western countries have worsened over the situation in Ukraine, with Moscow being accused of escalating the conflict. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations of its involvement in the fighting.
The EU and the US have already imposed sanctions against dozens of senior Russian officials, companies and banks. Russia in response banned imported agricultural products from the US, EU, Norway, Canada, and Australia. The one-year embargo introduced on August 7 applies to meat, pork, fish, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

August 29, 2014

Ukraine Lost A Battle - West Escalates With More Russia Sanctions

Throughout August the Ukrainian president and cabinet, likely following U.S. "advisers", pushed their army into a big attack on the insurgency held south east areas of the country. But the attack of bad equipped, half trained units ran into problems. Some of them reached their attack targets only to find themselves cut off from any resupply. Without ammunition, gas and food they were locked into place and easy targets for the insurgents artillery.
The attack was stretched too far. The "culmination point in the attack" Clausewitz wrote about was reached and crossed. The negative effects of the attack on its own troops became bigger then the positive effects and the government in Kiev, not recognizing the real situation, still pressed on. It now lost the initiative. The parts of the Ukrainian army not surrounded and caught up surrounded in "cauldrons" retreated to be reorganized.
Some of the "volunteer" territorial battalions are simply going home. There is even arevolt against the defense ministry.
By Aug. 27, the battalion had left the war zone and made its way to the city of Znamyanka in Kirovohrad Oblast. Romanyuk said they were in discussion with the Defense Ministry whether to continue home to their base in Ivano-Frankivsk region, or be sent back to the Anti-Terrorist Operation.

In what is becoming a repeated refrain, the apparent failure of the government to provide its soldiers with even the most basic supplies is undermining both the conduct of the war and the morale of those fighting it.

“They were dumped,” said Romanyuk. “And absolutely all the territorial defense battalions are in this position. So they are in revolt against the Ministry of Defense. No one wants to endure this idiotic command anymore, and this inadequate attitude to soldiers, to the needs of the army and the National Guard.”

The situation is not looking good for the coup government in Kiev. Some of the neo-nazi national guard battalions have even threatened to come to Kiev to "clean the house."
The loss of the battle is also the reason why Ukraine now really, really fast wants to join NATO. That is not going to happen. NATO has a simple rule that countries with internationally disputed areas can not join. Should Ukraine give up on Crimea its move would make sense. But as it can not yet do so the joining request is just helpless yapping. As a little consolidation price the IMF squandered another $1.4 billion by giving it to bancrupt Kiev as a part of a larger loan. Ukraine will probably use that to pay for the T-72 tanks it recently bought from Hungary. Officially the IMF is not allowed to give money to countries at war. That may be the reason why yesterday official talk of an "invasion" by Russia was later toned down to "incursion".

The military battle defeat was the reason why Russia was accused of an invasion even when the OECD observers says (in German) that they have "no objective information" to support such a claim. Such propaganda rushes as yesterday always follow when the shit hits the fan for the "western" side. They are also occasions to introduce new sanction which from the U.S. point of view, have the nice feature of solely hurting both Europe and Russia. The U.S. poodle in No. 10 now wants to kick Russia out of the SWIFT inter-banking systems:
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as SWIFT, is one of Russia’s main connections to the international financial system. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government plans to put the topic on the agenda for a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels tomorrow, according to the official, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

“Blocking Russia from the SWIFT system would be a very serious escalation in sanctions against Russia and would most certainly result in equally tough retaliatory actions by Russia,” said Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Moscow-based consulting firm Macro Advisory. “An exclusion from SWIFT would not block major trade deals but would cause problems in cross-border banking and that would disrupt trade flows.”

"Trade flows" in this case are gas supplies from Russia needed in Europe throughout the winter. If the gas bill can not be paid because Russia gets kicked out of SWIFT the spice will not flow. Only the U.K., which does not need Russian gas supplies, could come up with such a lunatic idea.

On the other side it would probably be good for the world in the longer term should Russia be kicked out of SWIFT. The BRICS countries would of course immediately introduce an alternative under their control which would then lead to more preferential trade between them. Such an alternative would make SWIFT no longer indispensable and useless as a tool for "western" sanctions.

Also today the Iranian foreign minister Zarif visited Moscow for talks with Russia. The atmosphere was said to be quite positive. But someone in Washington took this visit as an insult and immediately slapped more sanctions on Iran:
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on more than 25 people and companies it accused of violating sanctions against Iran, including shipping firms, airlines, and six Iranian banks.
Why, in the mid of so far positive talks with Iran about its nuclear program, does the U.S. feel this need to escalate again? Iran and Russia see their national aspirations as just and can therefore not be moved by sanctions. Is that really so hard to understand ?

Such sanctions and childish petty acts, like Poland's overflight blockage of a Russian Defense Minister flight, will only create more strife in the world and a stronger urge for many states to distance themselves from the "west" with its seemingly more and more crazy leaders.