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Vladimir Putin Honors Critical Russian Journalist’s Birthday with a Celebratory Gunshot Wound to Journalists’s Head 

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Alexander Shchetinin found dead with a gun near his body after friends tried to visit him at home.

Rachael Pells reports: A well-known Russian journalist and critic of President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in his Kiev apartment with a gunshot wound to the head.

The body of Alexander Shchetinin, founder the Novy Region (New Region) press agency, was found at his flat after friends tried to visit him on his birthday.

A police spokesperson said Kiev forces were alerted of Ms Shchetinin’s death at around midnight on Saturday. He is believed to have died a few hours earlier, between 8 and 9.30pm.

Officials have speculated that his death was caused by suicide, after a gun was found near his body along with spent cartridges, and the door to his apartment was said to be locked. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Fistfight! Ukrainian Parliament 

Brawl erupted in Ukraine’s upper house of parliament when a member of the legislature attempted to drag prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk from the floor’s podium.

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From The Daily Beast:

The Ukrainian parliament on Friday broke out into a brawl after one member approached Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, handed him a bouquet of roses, and then forcefully picked him up by the crotch, and removed him from the podium. Mayhem ensued, with members rushing toward the two men. The prime minister had been defending his embattled government.


Putin Accuses West of Provoking Ukraine Crisis

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MOSCOWJames Marson and Andrey Ostroukh report: Striking a defiant tone, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the West of provoking a crisis in Ukraine and using sanctions to try to constrain Russia.

In his annual state of the union address, Mr. Putin defended Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March, saying Russia would never give up the “sacred” peninsula. He accused the U.S. and Europe of cynically using the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to pursue a long-held strategy aimed at weakening Russia.

“The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been carried out against our country for many years,” he said. “Whenever someone thinks that Russia has become too strong or independent, these tools are quickly put into use.”

Mr. Putin’s one-hour speech in the Kremlin’s ornate St. George’s Hall underscored his hard-line response to Western sanctions that, along with low oil prices, have pushed Russia’s economy toward recession. Read the rest of this entry »


Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO

VladPutinKGBOn September 1, 2014 the US State Department published a report, in which it was stated that for first time since the collapse of the USSR, Russia reached parity with the US in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. Thus, Washington admitted that Moscow regained the status that the Soviet Union had obtained by mid-70’s of the XX century and then lost.

According to the report from the State Department, Russia has 528 carriers of 53936strategic nuclear weapons that carry 1,643 warheads. The United States has 794 vehicles and 1,652 nuclear warheads.

It just so happens that today, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces (SNF) are even more advanced in comparison with those of the US, as they ensure parity on warheads with a significantly smaller number of carriers of strategic nuclear weapons. This gap between Russia and the United States may only grow in the future, given the fact that Russian defense officials promised to rearm Russia’s SNF with new generation missiles. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] NATO Sees ‘Significant Buildup’ of Russian Forces in Ukraine

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Large Convoys Reported to be Moving Into the Region

BRUSSELS—Naftali Bendavid reports: Russia has sent convoys of tanks, howitzers and other weaponry along with troops into eastern Ukraine in recent days, possibly aiming to consolidate separatist enclaves there in preparation for a long-term standoff, Western observers say.

The new incursions represent a sharp increase in Russia’s presence in the region, posing a significant new challenge to the peace plan signed in early September in Minsk, Belarus.

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“This is a severe threat to the cease-fire,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “Any attempt by separatist forces to seize more territory in eastern Ukraine would be another blatant violation of the Minsk agreement.”

The flow “includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defense systems and troops,” he said.

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‘We…are again at a point in which we can’t say for sure how this conflict will proceed.’

—German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

In addition, international monitors in the region said that the Russian-backed rebels have been gaining territory, and that the mission’s surveillance drones have been shot at and jammed.

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‘While our aim is to try to work to consolidate the cease-fire, it is more on paper.’

Lamberto Zannier, OSCE secretary-general

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the allegations of a military presence—troops or weaponry—in Ukraine, calling them, like previous ones, “regular concussions of the Brussels air.”

Since the cease-fire was reached between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists on Sept. 5—under Russian auspices—the two sides have regularly accused each other of violations. Hundreds of deaths of fighters and civilians have been recorded since then. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Troops ‘Directly Involved’ in Ukraine Conflict


Ukraine Strikes Russian Convoy, Scores

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Kiev (AFP) – Max Delany with Anais Llobet in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia reporting: Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that entered onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.

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NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.

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The two countries have also been wrangling for days over a Russian convoy that Moscow says is carrying humanitarian aid for besieged rebel-held cities but which Kiev suspects could be a “Trojan horse” to provide military help to the insurgents.

Fears that the border clash could spill into all-out war between Kiev and Moscow sent major share markets tumbling across Europe and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


BUSTED: Pro-Russian Rebel Leader Boasted About Downing a Plane Before He Realized…


[VIDEO] Pro-Russian Separatists Smash Ballot Boxes in Donetsk

Pro-Russian separatists smash ballot boxes in Donetsk Separatists and their supporters determined to disrupt Sunday’s (May 25) presidential elections, smashed ballot boxes outside the headquarters of People’s Republic of Donetsk on Friday.

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[VIDEO] Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine’s Donetsk

Pro-Russian protesters stormed the prosecutor’s office in the separatist-held city of Donetsk on Thursday, lobbing stones and smashing windows after accusing the office of working for the Western-backed government in Kiev.

“The prosecutor’s office was issuing criminal orders from Kiev against its own people, charging them with separatism and other fake crimes.”

— Igor,  a 43-year-old protester from Donetsk

Donetsk, a city of about 1 million people in Ukraine’s industrial east, is at the center of an armed uprising across the steel and coal belt by mainly Russian-speakers threatening to secede from Ukraine.

The violence, in a city already largely under the control of separatists, underscored the shifting security situation and suspicions in the region. Read the rest of this entry »


Masked Gunmen Tighten Grip on Eastern Ukraine

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HORLIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Marko Djurica reports:  Masked gunmen in military fatigues took control of a government building in another Ukrainian town on Wednesday, as pro-Russian separatists tightened their grip on a swathe of the country’s industrial east largely unopposed by police.

Local media reports said the gunmen turned up at first light, and were later seen by a Reuters photographer to be controlling entry to the building in the town of almost 300,000 people. They refused to be photographed.

barbed-wireThe heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other so-called “green men” who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of a string of towns across Ukraine’s Donbass coal and steel belt abutting the border with Russia.

A police official in nearby Donetsk, the provincial capital where separatists have declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, said separatists were also in control of the Horlivka police division, having seized the regional police HQ earlier in April.

Wednesday’s takeover followed the fall of government buildings on Tuesday further east in Luhansk, capital of Ukraine‘s easternmost province, driving home just how far control over the densely populated region has slipped from the pro-Western central government in Kiev. Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin’s Next Move

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ForWorld Affairs JournalMichael Totten writes: If Vladimir Putin invades Poland, I’ll eat my hat.

It’s not going to happen.

Even so, American ground troops are being deployed there as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. This is the West telling him STOP. He’s not going to invade a European Union or NATO state either way, but we’d end up sending a crazy-weak signal if all we did was collectively shrug.

“Even an unspoken threat of invasion, occupation, and annexation is enough to make Ukraine act with tremendous caution toward Moscow, but if Putin pulls the trigger, Kiev would have nothing left to lose.”

Ukraine still isn’t in NATO, however, and probably never will be, so it’s still vulnerable. Putin can slice it and dice it all over again. The US won’t physically stop him for the same reason he won’t invade Poland. Nobody wants to blow up the world, especially not over this.

So Ukraine’s vulnerable. Pro-Russian militiamen are occupying dozens of government buildings, city halls, and police stations in the eastern part of the country where many ethnic Russians live. It’s hard to say for sure if Putin is egging these people on or if they’re acting on their own, envious of their cousins in Crimea who got to go “home” without moving. Either way, they’re serving Putin’s agenda.

By annexing Crimea, he proved to the world that he’s willing to mutilate Ukraine when it displeases him, which it very much did when it cast off his vassal, Viktor Yanukovych, in February. Read the rest of this entry »


When Art Meets Social Media

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A Ukrainian artist has given the pieces of the great Edward Hopper a 21st-century touch-up. Nastya Nudnik, of Kiev, decided to insert social media symbols and emojis into the artist’s paintings. “I realized that some of his characters deserve the right to be more active and dynamic.”

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art writes that the works of Hopper, who died in 1967, are “pervaded by a sense of silence and estrangement.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Policy Rooted in Wishful Thinking

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Another revealing article about the President of the United States of Fantasyland. How the U.S. and its allies can tolerate this for three more years remains a mystery…

Mark Salter  writes:  For the briefest of moments Thursday, a certain cable news network stopped breathlessly reporting on the missing Malaysian airliner as if its disappearance is a harbinger of the end times, and turned to another news story of more lasting importance, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“…five-plus years of a mostly rhetorical foreign policy, where the president seeks to woo the world with words, but where deeds rarely follow and wishful thinking passes for strategy.”

A brief summary of the dreary news of the day from that embattled nation ended with a mention of some thuggish behavior by extremists who represent a small faction of Ukrainian nationalists. The incident provoked a comment from the show’s host. I can’t find a transcript of the remarks, but as best I remember it went something like this: We’ve been told the Russians are the bad guys and the Ukrainians are the good guys but things are never as simple as we’re told. Sometimes America supports some pretty bad people.

Well, one thing is certain. Things are never as simple as many cable news hosts try to make them out to be. But in this instance, contrary to the opinion stated above, the conflict essentially is a contest between good and bad.

Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions

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Kirit Radia reports:  Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today  asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

Read the rest of this entry »


How Western Aid to Ukraine Will End Up in Moscow

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 reports:  With both the United States and the European Union committing tens of billions of dollars in aid to the Ukraine, it appears that much of that money will actually end up in Russia, according to analysts.

The reason? A large chunk of those aid dollars will go to paying for fuel, which Ukraine buys from Moscow. And with Ukraine rich with aid dollars, analysts expect Moscow to jack up the price of energy substantially. Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russian energy, meaning the more western aid that flows to Kiev, the higher Moscow can inflate the price it charges, knowing that western dollars will subsidize paying the higher costs. Read the rest of this entry »


Kremlin Critic Khodorkovsky Seeks Residency in Switzerland

Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaves the Wall Museum in Berlin on December 22, 2013 in Berlin after giving a press conference a few days after he was released after 10 years of jail. David Gannon/AFP

Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaves the Wall Museum in Berlin on December 22, 2013 in Berlin after giving a press conference a few days after he was released after 10 years of jail. David Gannon/AFP

Geneva (AFP) – Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in prison in Russia, has applied to become a resident of Switzerland, his spokesman told AFP on Monday.

“His application for residency was filed a while ago,” said spokesman Boris Durande, without specifying which part of Switzerland Khodorkovsky intends to settle in.

kremlin-dissident2The 50-year-old foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been living at a Zurich hotel since shortly after he was pardoned and released from jail on December 20.

He was once Russia’s richest man and an influential politician with presidential ambitions who openly opposed Putin when the former KGB spy first entered the Kremlin in 2000.

Khodorkovsky’s arrest in 2003 and subsequent convictions on fraud and embezzlement charges have been widely condemned by Kremlin critics as an effort by Putin to silence his most potent rival.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Shep Smith Reports from Inside Ukraine: A Look at Crimea

shep-300x208Fox News’ Shepard Smith traveled to Crimea and filed a report today on exactly what life is like for people there right now. And the big takeaway is that while things “seem better” and relatively normal, Russia still has a hold on “every strategic position there” and so continues to have the upper hand.

He showed how at the airport gate in Crimea, there is scotch tape holding up a Russian flag. Smith said, “The changes are subtle. They are not, in any way, oppressive, but they’re here.” One Crimean woman said she was scared when she saw Russian troops, telling Fox “I thought that it was the beginning of maybe war.”

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: ‘What Cosmos are Obama and Kerry Living in?’

At an impromptu press conference today, President Obama spoke about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The way that some of this has been reported, suggestions somehow that the Russian actions have been clever strategically…I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength.”

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The Hammer couldn’t disagree more.

“Let’s review. Putin has taken over the Crimean peninsula. . . . He regains it without a shot fired in anger, without any consequences yet. I don’t think there are going to be any that are really going to hurt him. The Europeans are resisting any real sanctions. . . . He’s destabilized a regime in Ukraine that is intensely anti-Russian. He’s sitting in a seat where everybody has to come to him, holding a lot of cards, and it’s not clever?”

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“When Obama says, and Kerry also did in Kiev, that this is a sign of weakness and not strength…you’ve got to wonder what cosmos our president and secretary of state are living in.”

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National Review Online


Vladimir to Obama: Mr. President, Why So Serious?

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US Official: Russia in Control of Ukraines Crimea Province

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Mary Chastain reports:  A senior Obama administration official said Russia has complete control of Crimea and that there are more than 6,000 airborne and naval forces in the peninsula.

UPDATE: and from London, 12.13am GMT:

The BBC’s indomitable Nick Sutton, nightly tweeter of tomorrow’s Fleet Street front pages, notes that Ukraine leads on most.

Among them, The Sun has its own characteristic take on the crisis.

“Russian forces now have complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula, some 6,000-plus airborne and naval forces, with considerable materiel,” the official said in a briefing for reporters. “There is no question that they are in an occupation position in Crimea…”

Pro-Russian militants near a local government building in Simferopol, Ukraine. The new government of Ukraine has appealed to the UN security council for help against growing Russian intervention in Crimea. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Pro-Russian militants near a local government building in Simferopol, Ukraine. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Interview with Mikheil Saakashvili: Lessons From the Putin Wars

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Georgia’s former president, who has seen first-hand the sort of trouble the Kremlin is causing in Ukraine, on what to do about Moscow’s threat

For the Wall Street JournalMatthew Kaminski writes:  Between barricades of tires and impromptu memorials to the victims of Ukraine’s revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili stops to pose for pictures and shake hands. “You showed us how to fight Russia,” says a gray-haired man in a camouflage jacket, embracing him on Institutska Street, a front line in last week’s climactic clashes in the capital.

As the former president of the ex-Soviet nation of Georgia, Mr. Saakashvili certainly knows all about confronting Russia and Vladimir Putin. He also lost a chunk of his country in the process. Now he is here in Ukraine, a country he knows well from his youth, to advise its new leaders on how they can revive the economy as well as keep their nation intact from Russian’s potentially crippling intervention.

Mr. Saakashvili studied law and served in the Soviet military in Kiev, altogether for seven years. He has many friends and knows the major politicians, who seek out his advice.

Read the rest of this entry »


CNN Reporter Asks Occupying Russian Gunmen ‘Hey, Are You Guys From Russia?’

Then Anderson Cooper turns our attention to Tom Foreman, to present a kindergarten-level geography lesson for CNN’s barely-literate, low-information viewers. He talks slow, and doesn’t use any big words, so if we watch closely, we’ll be able to follow what he’s showing us. Watch the whole thing:

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“See this yellow circle? This is that place our President was talking about yesterday…

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Russia Invades: Gunmen Seize Crimean Airport

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MARY CHASTAIN reports:  Gunmen seized the Crimea airport, less than 24 hours after gunmen seized government buildings in Simferopol.

Witnesses told the Interfax news agency that the 50 or so men were wearing the same gear as the ones who seized government buildings in the city, Simferopol, on Thursday and raised the Russian flag. 

The report said the men with “Russian Navy ensigns” first surrounded the Simferopol Airport’s domestic flights terminal.

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Crimea retaliated after Ukraine ousted former president Viktor Yanukovich on February 22. The majority of residents are ethnic Russians and they made it known their loyalties lie with Russia. After Yanukovich left, Crimea kicked out their Kiev-appointed mayor and elected a Russian mayor.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Crimean Parliament Stormed, Russian Flag Raised

Ukrainian police stand guard in front the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 27, 2014. Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Thursday and raised the Russian flag in a challenge to the country's new rulers.   REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukrainian police stand guard in front the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 27, 2014. Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament on Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula on Thursday and raised the Russian flag in a challenge to the country’s new rulers. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Alessandra Prentice reports:  Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.

“We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol … we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window…”

“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression.

Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians (R) and Crimean Tatars during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. Thousands of pro-Russia separatists tussled with supporters of Ukraine's new leaders in Crimea on Wednesday as tempers boiled over the future of the region following the upheaval that swept away President Viktor Yanukovich. One person died, apparently of a heart attack, and two others were trampled and injured when people stumbled and fell to the ground in the crush, witnesses said. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians (R) and Crimean Tatars during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia’s acting envoy in Kiev for immediate consultations.

“We have our own constitution, Crimea is autonomous. The government in Kiev are fascists, and what they’re doing is illegal … We need to show our support for the guys inside…Power should be ours.”

There were mixed signals from Moscow, which put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert, but earlier said it would take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial package for Ukraine. Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy.

Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. Thousands of pro-Russia separatists tussled with supporters of Ukraine's new leaders in Crimea on Wednesday as tempers boiled over the future of the region following the upheaval that swept away President Viktor Yanukovich. One person died, apparently of a heart attack, and two others were trampled and injured when people stumbled and fell to the ground in the crush, witnesses said. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.   REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urging Russia not to do anything that would “escalate tension or create misunderstanding”.

Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a “very dangerous game”.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Ukraine’s New Leaders Order Arrest of President Yanukovych

February 23, 2014: People paint on the KGB officers monument in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

February 23, 2014: People paint on the KGB officers monument in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

Ukraine’s acting interior minister announced Monday that an arrest warrant had been issued for that country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych.

In a statement on his official Facebook page, Arsen Avakhov wrote that Yanukovych and several other officials were wanted on charges of “mass killing of civilians” in violence that engulfed Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, earlier this week. At least 82 people, most of them protesters, were killed in clashes with members of the police and security forces. Some of the dead were shot by snipers in strategic positions overlooking the main protest camp in Kiev’s Independence Square.

“We must find Yanukovych and put him on trial….All the criminals with him should be in prison.”

— protester Leonid Shovtak

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and cracked down on protesters.

Avakhov said Yanukovych arrived in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea on Sunday and relinquished his official security detail before driving off to an unknown location.

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Walter Russell Mead: Springtime in Kiev, or Just Another Winter Storm?

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With a revolution on, the chances that events in Ukraine could provoke a dangerous confrontation between Russia and the West may be increasing.

Walter Russell Mead writes:  For the third time in a generation, there is revolution in Ukraine. For the second time in a decade, Viktor Yanukovych has been overthrown in Kiev. It is impossible not to rejoice that the goons and thugs who sought to tie Ukraine to Putin’s imperial project by massacring their fellow citizens in the streets of Kiev were defeated. But it is much too soon to conclude that the next Ukrainian government, whatever it may be, will be any more successful than its predecessors.

“The political leadership of virtually every major party or movement in Ukrainian life is sketchy at best; many are corrupt tools of business interests, some are inexperienced hotheads with ties to dubious forms of ultra-nationalist ideology…”

Worse, if anything the chances that events in Ukraine could provoke a dangerous confrontation between Russia and the West may be increasing.

[Check out Walter Russell Mead’s book “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World” at Amazon]

None of the core facts in Ukraine changed last night. Ukraine is a divided country with a weak state and ineffective institutions. The oligarchs who clawed their way to the top when communism collapsed still hold their ill-gotten gains, still manage their business affairs in the Wild East ways of the post-Soviet days, still dominate politics and economic development and have yet to be brought under any kind of effective legal control. Ukraine’s abject energy dependence on Russia creates a sea of political and economic problems which no Ukrainian government since independence has been able to manage.

Read the rest of this entry »


BBC [VIDEO] ‘This is What a Truce Looks Like’

The BBC’s Duncan Crawford reports that Independence Square resembled a battleground.

At least 21 protesters have been killed in renewed clashes with police in central Kiev after a truce agreed on Wednesday broke down.

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[VIDEO] Ukraine Police Firing Live Ammo

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[VIDEO] Ukraine Violence Continues: Protesters Commandeer Bus for Barricade

BBC News


BREAKING: Ukraine President: Truce Reached, Will Negotiate with Opposition

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Tribune wire reports – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Wednesday he had agreed a “truce” with opposition leaders, after street violence in which at least 26 people were killed, and a start to negotiations to end further bloodshed.

KIEV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 19: Berkut riot police hang a Ukrainian flag from a street light on Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. After several weeks of calm, violence has again flared between anti-government protesters and police as the Ukrainian parliament is meant to take up the question of whether to revert to the country's 2004 constitution. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

KIEV, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 19: Berkut riot police hang a Ukrainian flag from a street light on Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. After several weeks of calm, violence has again flared between anti-government protesters and police as the Ukrainian parliament is meant to take up the question of whether to revert to the country’s 2004 constitution. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

A statement on the presidential website said that during talks with the three main opposition leaders, Yanukovich had agreed firstly a truce and secondly “the start to negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interests of social peace.”

The statement, issued on the eve of a visit by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France, appeared to indicate that riot police who on Tuesday night advanced on to Kiev’s Independence Square would not take further immediate steps to break up the encampment of protesters.

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U.S. is ‘Appalled’ by Deadly Violence in Ukraine, but No Action is Announced

At least 13 killed in Ukraine protests: Violent clashes between hard-line protesters and police erupted Tuesday in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, after more than a week of relative calm, leaving at least 13 people dead and many more wounded.

At least 13 killed in Ukraine protests: Violent clashes between hard-line protesters and police erupted Tuesday in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, after more than a week of relative calm, leaving at least 13 people dead and many more wounded.

  writes:  The United States condemned an explosion of street violence in Ukraine that killed at least 15 people Tuesday and said the government bears primary responsibility for restoring calm.

biden-appalledVice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to express what the White House termed “grave concern,” and called on the embattled leader to pull back government forces after a day of chaotic street clashes and immediately resume political discussions with opponents.

Biden “made clear that the United States condemns violence by any side, but that the government bears special responsibility to de-escalate the situation,” a White House statement said.

obama-appalledWhite House press secretary Jay Carney said the Obama administration is “appalled” by the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital.

Washington announced no specific new action, but U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt threatened both sides with sanctions.

“We believe Ukraine’s crisis can still be solved via dialogue, but those on both sides who fuel violence will open themselves to sanctions,” Pyatt said on Twitter, in both English and Russian. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kiev Spirals Out of Control

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John O’Sullivan  reports:  At least nine people have been killed today in renewed clashes between the police and protesters in Kiev. That number will probably increase over the course of the night since the police are currently overturning barriers and clearing demonstrators from Kiev’s central square, the Maidan, where they have been encamped for the last three months.

GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The battle, broadcast live on numerous television and Internet outlets, is like a scene from the apocalypse, with fires spreading, laser beams searching the landscape, fireworks thrown, smoke from grenades, and a constant deafening sound from loudspeakers.

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[VIDEO] Weaponry & Fireworks [PHOTOS] From the Ukraine Protests

Jesus Diaz writes:  Protests against new anti-democratic laws in Ukraine are increasing in intensity, with four citizens reported dead. As you can see in these extraordinary images by Ilya Varlamov, the demonstrators are using rockets made with fireworks. They look like scenes from some science-fiction movie about urban warfare.

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Flaming Cocktails Make a Comeback

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Pro-European integration protesters carry Molotov cocktails during clashes with police in Kiev January 20, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

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Radical opposition protesters today battled Ukrainian police in new clashes after bloody fighting the day earlier wounded more than 200 people amid mounting fury over draconian new anti-protest laws.

The clashes, the worst in Kiev in recent times, marked a spiralling of tensions after two months of demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovych‘s refusal to sign a pact for closer integration with the EU.

A special commission set up by Yanukovych was due to meet representatives of the opposition today for emergency talks, but it was unclear if this could help ease the crisis, with parts of central Kiev resembling a battlefield.

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The Roots of the Ukraine Protests: Stalin’s Genocide

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Alec Torres writes:  As hundreds of thousands continue to occupy Kiev’s Maidan square, and protests rage across Ukraine, plenty of explanations have been offered for the unrest, which was triggered by the Ukrainian president’s considering a closer relationship with Russia. It’s about a clash of economic interests, some say, or the divide between the western and eastern halves of the country, the latter Russian-speaking and much more industrial. While those issues are important, Walter Zaryckyj, executive director for the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), argues that the mass protests have deeper roots: in Stalin’s great genocide by famine of the Ukrainian people in the 1930s and Ukraine’s collective memory of the atrocity.

stalinZaryckyj, who has been in consultation with experts in Eastern Europe, such as former Ukrainian parliament member and National Institute of Strategic Studies senior analyst Evhen Zherebetsky, as well as with people on the ground in the protests, such as the CUSUR’s own Marko Suprun, tells National Review Online that to understand the protests now one must look to what happened 80 years ago.

“There’s a conscious element of a memory of nation breaking. It isn’t just of famine. The Ukrainians have a lingering memory of a previous union with the Russians that nearly broke the back of their nation,” Zaryckyj tells me. “In fact, some may claim that it did break them.”

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor — a genocidal famine inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Stalin’s Soviet government, during which millions perished in the span of months and Ukraine’s intelligentsia and political, social, and religious elites were annihilated.

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[VIDEO] The Joy of Hating Communism, Old School: Protesters in Kiev Topple Lenin Statue

Tearing Down Lenin’s Statue in Kiev: Protests in Ukraine’s capital, which have grown steadily for weeks, reached new heights on Sunday when demonstrators toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin.
English: Vladimir Lenin‘s monument in Borzna, ...

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Vladimir Lenin‘s (former) monument in Borzna, Ukraine Українська: Пам’ятник В.І.Леніну в центрі Борзни, Україна Русский: Памятник В.И.Ленину в центре города Борзна, Украина 

KIEV, Ukraine and  report: Protesters in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, toppled the city’s main statue of Lenin on Sunday and then pounded it into chips with a sledgehammer as a crowd chanted and cheered. The destruction of the statue was a cathartic moment in the biggest day of demonstrations so far against President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s turn away from Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians filled the streets of Kiev on Sunday, first to hear speeches and music and then to fan out and erect barricades in the district where government institutions have their headquarters.

Carrying blue-and-yellow Ukrainian and European Union flags, the teeming crowd filled Independence Square, where protests have steadily gained momentum since Mr. Yanukovich refused on Nov. 21 to sign trade and political agreements with the European Union. The square has been transformed by a vast and growing tent encampment, and demonstrators have occupied City Hall and other public buildings nearby. Thousands more people gathered in other cities across the country.

“Resignation! Resignation!” people in the Kiev crowd chanted on Sunday, demanding that Mr. Yanukovich and the government led by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov leave office.

With the police nowhere to be seen in the city center, protesters in Bessarabia Square toppled the Lenin statue using steel cables and cranks as a crowd gathered to watch. “People were waiting for this for decades,” said one man in the crowd, Leon Belokur. “Now it’s happened.”

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