2 hours ago
Ukraine wants financial aid from its Western partners and US’ major non-NATO ally status
“We expect the United States to grant us a major non-NATO ally status,” he told the television Channel 5“Kiev needs technical assistance to carry out real reforms, it needs support in the defence sector and pressure and stable position of our Western partners, the United States and the European Union, on Russia.”He said that the situation in Ukraine was “joint responsibility of the world for global security, it is not just a Ukrainian matter.”“The country needs peace. But no one can grant peace to anyone just for nothing. It is necessary to struggle for peace,” he said.
Europe Folds To Russian Demands, Delays Ukraine Free Trade Deal By Over A Year
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/12/2014 17:17 -0400http://www.moonofalabama.org/
While the world was poring through the details of the latest round of preannounced western sanctions against Russia - a round which Russia commented would have virtually no actual impact - and just as excitedly awaiting the Kremlin's retaliation which Putin warned is coming shortly, far from the glare of the center stage Europe quietly folded to a bigger Russian demand namely to delay the implementation of a Ukraine free trade deal by more than one year until the end of 2015 and likely beyond.
As AFP reported, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said, after talks with Russian and Ukrainian ministers, that the free trade agreement which Ukraine and its imploding economy had hoped would be implemented in the immediate future, will instead be delayed. Perhaps the date of the provisional launch has something to do with it: EU sources said the trade deal was to have taken effect on November 14, i.e. in the middle of Europe's cold, snowy, GDP-sapping winter. The European Council of 28 members states must now sign off on the delay.
De Gucht said that once Kiev ratifies the EU Association Accord, expected next week and which was negotiated at the same time as theDeep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, then Brussels would offer "additional flexibility" in the hope of meeting Russian concerns that its economy would suffer if the DCFTA deal went ahead.
This would be done as part of efforts to "fully support the stabilisation of Ukraine," he said after talks with Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Russian Economy Minister Alexi Ulyukayev. "Such flexibilty will consist in the delay until 31 December 2015 of the provisional application of the DCFTA," he said.
Additional flexibility? That sounds very close to what Obama promised Putin's right hand guy, Dmitry Medvedev, nearly three years ago.
Sometimes glitches in the matrix such as this one make one wonder just how much of what is going on right now between the "west" and Russia has been long pre-agreed and pre-approved by the "feuding" sides, and what is really going on behind the scenes.
But back to what the data available for popular consumption: in effect while Russia and the West are engaging in populism-happy trade and capital flow wars what is taking place at a higher level is far more nuanced, and it is here that a far more pragmatic EU is certainly concerned about pushing Russia too far.
The reason why Moscow is against the Ukraine free trade agreement is because Russia sees it as bolstering Kiev and potentially harming its own economy by allowing an influx of cheaper/better EU goods into the country, an important Russian market. Equally damaging, Moscow said these goods could then be sold on into Russia itself, damaging domestic industry.
Of course, with Europe launch sanction after meaningless sanction, in a world that is all about leverage and optics, the last thing the EU could afford is to be perceived as folding to the Kremlin in a matter which could really hurt the Russian economy. So instead DeGucht presented the delay as win-win for all sides, saying the preferential tariffs addressed "the very difficult economic situation in Ukraine" while the delay in implementing the deal leaves "15 months for either party to make remarks, proposals."
One can just imagine the remarks and proposals that Putin would have uttered had Europe not delayed the agreement.
What's more interesting, Russia may just win another major round in the political war that is taking place just behind the surface: the preferential tariffs announced in March and due to expire in October offered Ukraine significant reductions in customs duties worth about 500 million euros per year, the commission said.
Still, had the free trade deal passed today, it would have allowed the economically devastated Ukraine, whose economy is rapidly imploding, to boost its exports to Europe by one billion euros per year, according to the commission.
In June, the EU and Ukraine signed the long-delayed Association Agreement, the very deal whose 11th-hour refusal last year by then president Viktor Yanukovich plunged the former Soviet country into chaos. It sparked a wave of pro-European protests that eventually toppled the Kremlin-backed Yanukovich in February and ushered in a pro-Western government that deeply angered Moscow.
What goes unsaid is that the signed agreement was merely yet another optical pseudo intervention: in reality is provided nothing to Ukraine but simply sent signals to the global community that the "west" had the upper hand when it comes down to Kiev realpolitik.
If only for now.
But once the Ukraine people have been forced to go through a full winter with no benefit from the Russian bear, it remains to be seen just how enthusiastic they will be about the ongoing western-backed (and funded, and orchestrated) revolution.
As for Europe's true "leverage" vis-a-vis Russia, the following quote from AFP encapsulates it best:
"If you want to solve a conflict, you have to be flexible,"a European source said when asked about the delay in the trade deal.
And speaking of memorable quotes, one my want to timestamp these:
In Kiev, Poroshenko thanked the EU for the new sanctions."A friend in need is a friend indeed," Poroshenko said."I feel a full part of the European Union family," he added.
Let's all check back on how Ukraine, and whoever is its president then, feels about being part of the European Union "family" in a year. Or less.
Ukraine: As Economic War Escalates, Fighting May Resume Soon
The ceasefire of Minsk between the Ukrainian coup-government and the federalists of east Ukraine was something both sides needed.
The Ukrainian army was on the verge of completely loosing it. It was temporarily defeated and needed to rearm and reorganize. While the federalist insurgents were successful and probably able to continue their fight for a few days their forces were overstretched and needed to consolidate.
But many on the insurgent side did not like the ceasefire. It did not give them the federal autonomy they demanded. The neo-nazi "national-guard" battalions on the other side also criticized the ceasefire. They want the total destruction of their enemy and ethnic cleansing of all Russia-affine Ukrainians.
Russia had pressed for the ceasefire to avoid further sanctions. It was an offer to the "western" side to step back from the cliff of an economic war. Obama and NATO tried to sabotage the ceasefire through false claims of a Russian invasion and other propaganda. But the Ukrainian president had to ignore the pressure from Washington and Brussels or he would have lost another city, Mariupol, to the insurgents.
The main Russian reason to support the ceasefire, to hold back sanctions, has now vanished. Three days ago the EU, against the will of several of its members, decided on new sanctions on Russia:
The European Union adopted new sanctions against Moscow on Monday despite the leaders of Russia and Ukraine vowing to uphold a truce aimed at halting a devastating five-month war.
In Brussels, the EU formally approved fresh sanctions against Russia but said they would not come into force for a few more days, effectively delaying the measures to see if the current truce will hold.
The truce held and despite that facts and its earlier claims the EU today announcedthat the new sanctions will be implemented immediately:
The European Union has agreed to impose further sanctions on Russia on Friday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, diplomats say.The move is aimed at maintaining pressure on Russia, the sources said.
Russia says it is preparing a response "commensurate with the economic losses" caused by the EU sanctions.
This is another catastrophic and escalating EU move with regards to Ukraine and Russia. This turns the conflict into an economic war between the EU and Russia in which no side can win. Only the United States and China will profit from it.
Additonally Poland had the crazy idea of supplying gas which it purchases from Russia to Ukraine which is not willing or able to pay for direct deliveries from Russia. This is a breach of contract as the deliveries from Russia to Poland are not allowed to be resold to other Russian gas customers. Russia allegedly responded by lowering the volume of gas it supplies to Poland and Poland immediately folded and stopped the reverse gas flow to Ukraine:
Russia’s OAO Gazprom limited natural gas flows to Poland, preventing the European Union member state from supplying Ukraine via so-called reverse flows.Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, got 20 to 24 percent less fuel than it ordered from Gazprom Export over the past two days and is compensating flows with alternative supply, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.
Poland halted gas supply to Ukraine at 3 p.m. Warsaw time today, according to Ukraine’s UkrTransGaz.
We can be not sure that this is the whole story though. Gazprom says it provides all the gas Poland ordered through its pipelines but hints that Ukraine, where those pipelines cross, may be the party which is taking the gas:
Russia has denied that its state-run gas giant Gazprom has been limiting flows to Poland."Reports by news agencies on the reduction of volumes of gas supplies by Gazprom to Poland's PGNiG are incorrect,” Itar-Tass reported Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov as saying. “The same volume of gas as in previous days – 23 million cubic meters a day – is being supplied to Poland now."
Before Gazprom issued its statement, Uktransgaz’s Prokopiv blamed Russia for trying to “derail” the plan for Poland to supply Ukraine with “reverse” gas, while Ukraine refused to pay its debt to Gazprom and is currently cut off from Russian supplies, and accused Russia of limiting the supply of gas.
In August, Russia’s energy minister, Aleksandr Novak, warned that in the upcoming winter Ukraine may begin siphoning off Russian supplies intended for Europe if it fails to build up its reserves.
There is more conflicting news. The Ukrainian president Poroshenko claimed that most of the "Russian troops", which no one, including the OSCE observers in the area, has ever seen, have left Ukraine:
“Based on the latest information I have received from our intelligence services, 70 percent of the Russian troops have moved back across the border,” Poroshenko said. “This bolsters our hope that the peace initiatives enjoy good prospects.”
NATO, likely fearing that Poroshenko was again moving towards a peaceful solution,disputed the claim:
"The reported reduction of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine would be a good first step, but we have no information on this. The fact of the matter is there are still approximately 1,000 Russian troops in eastern Ukraine with substantial amounts of military equipment and approximately 20,000 troops on the Russian border with Ukraine," the NATO military officer said.
Push, push, push for war ...
But some parts of the "western" media are slowly waking up to the fact that not all is well with Ukraine and the "western" strategy. They note that Ukraine can not afford the IMF's 'Shock Therapy' and needs money without conditions which it will likely never pay back:
Absent this "bail-in" of foreign creditors, Ukraine will simply be taking on more debt that it lacks the capacity to service, risking a long-term compound debt spiral for the country and practically guaranteeing a wholesale default down the road -- and continuing political instability.
After months of ridiculing anyone who pointed to neo-nazis within Ukraine's regime and military forces as "Putin lover" reports about those neo-nazis now pop up inseveral "western" media.
Russia best reason to hold the insurgents in east Ukraine back from further fighting has vanished. The economic war is escalating no matter what Russia does or does not do. As the media have more time to look into the real issues in Ukraine the state of the sorry affair will become more clear and "western" public support for Ukraine will decline. This is a threat to "western" warmongering and to again escalate to fighting is the best method to suppress such news.
Hawks on both sides now have reason to restart the fighting. Expect the ceasefire to completely fail very soon.
First group of trucks with humanitarian aid for Ukraine is through Russian customs http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749390
Russia pledges response to new US sanctions but says door for dialogue open http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/749385
Ukraine wants US, EU to take part in talks to implement peace plan - Arseniy Yatsenyuk http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749384
US sanctions not make Russia change its principled position - Russian Foreign Ministry http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/749379
US says ready to lift some sanctions if Ukraine ceasefire holds http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749330
US imposes new sanctions against Russian companies http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749312
RUSSIA PLANS PROTECTIVE STEPS NOV 1 IF UKRAINE RATIFIES EU PACT: BBG