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.
A ceasefire will begin in eastern Ukraine on 15 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced.
“We have managed to agree on the main issues,” he said following marathon talks involving Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well the leaders of France and Germany.
French President Francois Hollande said it was a “serious deal” but not everything had been agreed.
Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in the east of Ukraine.
via BBC News
Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych gives news conference
Ben Shapiro writes: On Wednesday, the White House announced that it would be taking a muscular new role in Ukraine: by deferring to the Russians. Again.
As the streets burn in Ukraine, and with police cracking down on opposition protesters, Vice President Joe Biden, who has been handed the unpleasant Ukrainian situation to handle, called up Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to express “grave concern” over the situation. He also told Yanukovich that the “United States condemns violence by any side, but that the government bears special responsibility to de-escalate the situation.” Jay Carney reiterated that message at the White House, stating, “We continue to condemn street violence and excessive use of force by either side. Force will not resolve the crisis.”
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Then the White House went further on Wednesday: White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes explained, according to Reuters, that “the United States would like to see Russia support efforts to reduce tensions in Ukraine.”
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.
Zaryckyj, 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.