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Ukraine Crisis

Breaking news, updates, and analysis on the uprising and crisis in Ukraine.

  • Finance ministers from the Group of Seven developed nations said on Sunday they were prepared to provide "strong financial backing to Ukraine" and that support from the International Monetary Fund will be critical in unlocking other aid.

    "We are united in our commitment to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine," the G7 ministers said in a joint statement.

    [Reuters]
  • The Group of Seven major industrialized nations on Sunday condemned Russia's intrusion into Ukraine and canceled for now preparations for the G8 summit that includes Russia and had been scheduled to take place in Sochi in June, the White House said.


    We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine.
     We call on Russia to address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations, and/or via international observation or mediation under the auspices of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  We stand ready to assist with these efforts.

     

    We also call on all parties concerned to behave with the greatest extent of self-restraint and responsibility, and to decrease the tensions.

     

    We note that Russia’s actions in Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate.  As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G-8 is able to have meaningful discussion.

     

    We are united in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its right to choose its own future.  We commit ourselves to support Ukraine in its efforts to restore unity, stability, and political and economic health to the country.  To that end, we will support Ukraine’s work with the International Monetary Fund to negotiate a new program and to implement needed reforms.  IMF support will be critical in unlocking additional assistance from the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the EU, and bilateral sources.


  • A UN spokesperson says that Secretary-General Ban is dispatching Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to the Ukraine this evening given the "developments on the ground" in Crimea.

    While in Ukraine, the Deputy Secretary-General "will be personally apprised of the facts on the ground and will subsequently brief the Secretary-General on the next steps the United Nations could take to support the de-escalation of the situation."
  • The White House has released a readout of President Obama's calls with British Prime Minister Cameron, Polish President Komorowski, and German Chancellor Merkel:



    President Obama spoke separately this afternoon with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom, President Komorowski of Poland, and Chancellor Merkel of Germany.
     The leaders expressed their grave concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law and a threat to international peace and security.  The leaders stressed that dialogue between Ukraine and Russia should start immediately, with international facilitation as appropriate.


    The leaders affirmed the importance of unity within the international community in support of international law and their support for the Government of Ukraine, including its territorial integrity and its efforts to move forward with elections in May so that the Ukrainian people can continue to determine their own future in this historic hour.  The leaders also pledged to work together on a package of multilateral and bilateral financial assistance to help Ukraine as it pursues urgently needed reforms to stabilize its economy.  The leaders agreed to continue to coordinate closely, including bilaterally, and through appropriate international organizations.

    The President reaffirmed the United States’ longstanding and continuing commitment to security and democracy in Eastern Europe.


  • British Prime Minister David Cameron warned President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that Russia would pay significant costs unless the Kremlin changed course on Ukraine.

    Cameron said he had agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that Russia's actions in Ukraine were completely unacceptable, a Downing Street spokesman said.

    "They agreed that Russia's actions were completely unacceptable. They agreed on the urgent need for de-escalation and for Russia to engage in a dialogue directly with Ukraine," the spokesman said.

    "They agreed there must be 'significant costs' to Russia if it did not change course on Ukraine," the spokesman said.

    [Reuters]


  • Crimean and Russian Cossack volunteers who arrived to help local police, stand in formation in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner )  
    Crimean and Russian Cossack volunteers who arrived to help local police, stand in formation in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner )  
    Crimean and Russian Cossack volunteers who arrived to help local police, stand in formation in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner )  
    Crimean and Russian Cossack volunteers who arrived to help local police, stand in formation in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner )  
     
     

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  • British Prime Minster Cameron says he and President Obama agreed there must be 'significant costs' to Russia unless it changes course on the crisis in Ukraine.

    [Reuters]
  • Protesters, one holding up the national Ukrainian flag, gather to demonstrate against Russia's military intervention in Crimea, in front of the Russian Embassy (background) in Washington March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Mike Theiler)

  • The United States signaled on Sunday it could give as much financial support as Ukraine needs to get the crisis-hit country's economy back on track.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who has urged Kiev to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund, said Washington could lend a hand either through bilateral programs or larger international institutions.

    "The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs," Lew told a conference, adding that Washington was monitoring the situation in Ukraine with "grave concern" after Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region.

    [Reuters]
  • Oh snap. Senior US official: When it comes to soft power, Putin "has no game."
  • Senior US officials: Russia has "complete operational control of Crimean peninsula" with 6,000+ forces w "considerable materiel"
  • A woman holds a sign during a protest march in support of peace in the Ukraine in Times Square in New York, March 2, 2014. Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically, after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor in Moscow's biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

  • Senior US officials say Russian banks are "vulnerable," hint sanctions could target banks
  • US official: We're working w/new #Ukraine transitional govt on IMF package that can be matched by bilateral contributions
  • Is military action an option in Ukraine? "We're looking to DEescalate this, " says SAO. So no.
  • US senior officials offer "offramp" to Russia: UN or OSCE monitors to the Crimea. Putin apparently not opposed to idea in Obama call...
  • "No question" Russia is in an"occupational position" "flying in reinforcements" and "settling in" In Crimea, says SAO
  • The US is weighing steps to expedite economic assistance to Ukraine in near future, a senior US official said on Sunday.

    The official added that the US is focused on economic, political, and diplomatic options on Ukraine, "not on any possible US military intervention."
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday to stress U.S. political and economic support after Russian forces' bloodless seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday.

    [Reuters]
  • In an conference call with reporters, senior US officials said they are discussing an “offramp” for Russia with regards to the Ukraine: that international monitors, either from the UN or OSCE, deploy to Crimea to reassure Russia on its claimed fears (which, as Al Jazeera's Nick Schifrin notes, are "unverified and generally seen as incorrect") that pro-Russian Crimeans need protection.
  • President Barack Obama discussed the Ukraine crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call on Sunday and underscored the "complete illegitimacy" of Russian's incursion in Ukraine's Crimea, a senior U.S. official said.

    "(The primary point) in all of his calls has been to underscore the complete illegitimacy of Russia's intervention" in the Crimea region of Ukraine, the official told reporters in a conference call.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Obama planned shortly to make the same point in conversations with the British prime minister and the Polish president.

    [Reuters]
  • US official forecasts isolation for Russia and Putin. "The Russians have badly miscalculated here."
  • US govt official: Seeing #Putin "distinctly" making "19th, 20th century decisions" to address problems #Ukraine #Russia
  • US official: Kerry will be in #Kiev Tues for consultations w/interim #Ukraine govt, civil society. Will talk about US steps to support them
  • US official: President Obama spoke today with Germany's Merkel, on Sunday, underscored the 'complete illegitimacy' of Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimea.

    [Reuters]
  • President Obama spoke today with Germany's Merkel, will be speaking with Cameron & Poland's President on #Ukraine
  • After @NATO NAC, We continue to support Ukraine & people's right to choose own path. I look for continued exchange w/ Russian counterparts
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Facebook on Sunday that Ukraine's leaders had seized power illegally and predicted their rule would end with "a new revolution" and new bloodshed.

    Medvedev said that while Viktor Yanukovich had practically no authority he remained the legitimate head of state according the constitution, adding: "If he is guilty before Ukraine - hold an impeachment procedure ... and try him."

    "Everything else is lawlessness. The seizure of power," Medvedev said on his Facebook page. "And that means such order will be extremely unstable. It will end in a new revolution. New blood."

    [Reuters]
  • #Russia 's Prime Minister predicts "a new revolution" for #Ukraine .
  • Update: #Russia 's Prime Minister says his country willing to work with #Ukraine - but not with its current leaders.
  • In a Facebook post, Russia Prime Minister Medvedev says Ukraine's new leaders have seized power and predicts their rule will be very unstable and 'end with a new revolution' and more bloodshed, Reuters reports.
  • Obama tells @JeffreyGoldberg he's been silent on Mideast peace because #SecKerry is so active. Both sides now need to agree to framework
  • Secretary of State John Kerry gave a round of TV interviews, where he denounced Russia's actions in the strongest possible terms. 

    On CBS' Face The Nation, Kerry called the Russian parliament's decision to allow armed troops to be deployed to Crimea 'an incredible act of aggression.'

    SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations. Russia is in violation of its obligations under the UN Charter, under the Helsinki Final Act. It’s a violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest agreement. You just don’t, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. So it is a very serious moment.

    But it’s serious not in the context, Bob, of Russia-U.S. It’s serious in terms of sort of the modern manner with which nations are going to resolve problems. There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are. President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there is a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don’t choose to invade a country in order to do that.


    He repeated that language on ABC's This Week and took it a step further, saying the United States 'absolutely' is willing to impose sanctions if Russia doesn't back down:

    QUESTION: Let me pin you down on that, sir. Specify it: Is the United States willing to impose sanctions if Russia doesn’t back down? Are you willing to go to Ukraine and show solidarity with the Ukrainians if Russia doesn’t back down?

    SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. And the United States and the President is currently considering all options; they’re all on the table. We would call on Congress immediately to the degree that they are prepared to be helpful, that they immediately lay down with us an economic package in order to assist Ukraine. We think it’s very important for the international entities – the OSCE, the UN, NATO, the North Atlantic Council, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which will meet tomorrow – all need to weigh in and I believe they will weigh in heavily.

    QUESTION: So let me just pin you down on that. You’re saying that Congress is considering military aid to Ukraine. You want Congress to pass military aid to Ukraine. But do you want them to impose economic – economic – excuse me. Do you want them to impose economic sanctions on Russia?

    SECRETARY KERRY: They’re – it may well come that we would have to engage in that kind of activity. Absolutely. I think all options are on the table. There’s no question but that Russia needs to understand this is serious. And we and the other friends and allies engaged in this are all deadly serious about this. You cannot behave this way in the 21st century and sit around the table of the normal entities and pretend that life is as usual. It is not going to be as usual, but we believe there is an alternative. We call on Russia to engage with the Government of Ukraine. We’re prepared to work very closely with Russia in order to address whatever legitimate concerns may exist. We believe there are many alternatives before you get to an invasion, and none of those have been tried at this point in time.


  • German government spokesperson: German Chancellor Merkel urged Russia's Putin again to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

    [Reuters]
  • Ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovych's authority is "practically non-existent", but under Ukraine's constitution he is still the legitimate head of state, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reports, citing Prime Minister Medvedev.

    Medvedev also told RIA that Russia needs Ukraine to be "strong and stable, and a predictable and economically thriving partner."

    [Reuters]
  • Here's NATO's full statement on the Ukraine crisis:

    The North Atlantic Council condemns the Russian Federation’s military escalation in Crimea and expresses its grave concern regarding the authorization by the Russian Parliament to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.

    Military action against Ukraine by forces of the Russian Federation is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace. Russia must respect its obligations under the United Nations Charter and the spirit and principles of the OSCE, on which peace and stability in Europe rest. We call on Russia to de-escalate tensions.

    We call upon the Russian Federation to honor its international commitments, including those set out in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and Ukraine of 1997, and the legal framework regulating the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, to withdraw its forces to its bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful resolution through bilateral dialogue, with international facilitation, as appropriate, and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO and a founding member of the Partnership for Peace. NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference.

    We emphasize the importance of an inclusive political process based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfills the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people.

    We met today, at Ukraine’s request, to consult in the NATO-Ukraine Commission.  We intend to engage with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council.


  • NATO warned Russia on Sunday that military action against Ukraine was against international law, and expressed grave concern over the Russian parliament's authorisation of the use of force.

    After an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the alliance called on Russia to bring its forces back to bases and refrain from interfering in Ukraine.

    "We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful solution through bilateral dialogue, with international facilitation ... and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," NATO said in a statement.

    [Reuters]
  • The Kremlin has released a readout of President Putin's call with German Chancellor Angela Merkle on the Ukraine crisis:

    In response to Ms Merkel's concern regarding the developments in Crimea and Ukraine as a whole, Vladimir Putin drew the Federal Chancellor's attention to the unrelenting threat of violence by ultra-nationalist forces, endangering the lives and legitimate interests of Russian citizens and the entire Russian-speaking population. It was stressed that the measures being taken by Russia correspond fully to the extraordinary current situation.

    Mr Putin and Ms Merkel agreed to continue consultations both in the bilateral format (through the two nations' Foreign Ministries) and multilaterally to promote the stabilization of the situation in Ukraine.


  • In a statement to the media following a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the deployment of armed forces by Moscow and urged Russia and Ukraine to seek a peaceful resolution to the Crimean crisis through dialogue under the auspices of the UN Security Council or OSCE.

    "Military action is a breach of international law," said Rasmussen. "Today, NATO made clear that we stand by Ukraine as a valued partner and that we stand by the norms and principles of international law."

    Rasmussen called upon Russia to honor its international commitments and to withdraw its forces to its bases while refraining from any interference elsewhere.
  • Members of Crimean self-defence units stand guard in front of a military facility in Simferopol on March 2, 2014. (Reutes/Vasily/Fedosenko)

  • President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday that Russian citizens and Russian-speakers in Ukraine faced an "unflagging" threat from ultranationalists, and that the measures Moscow has taken were completely fitting given the "extraordinary situation", the Kremlin said.

    In a telephone conversation during which Merkel expressed concern about developments in Ukraine, she and Putin agreed that Russia and Germany would continue consultations in bilateral and multilateral formats to seek the "normalization" of the situation, a Kremlin statement said.

    [Reuters]
  • Whoa MT @StefSimanowitz 66% of Russian gas to the EU transits Ukraine (37% Germany, 27% Italy, 27% France) via @afp http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhvkmhHIUAAWc3Q.jpg

  • President Barack Obama plans to speak to allies about the Ukraine situation today, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Sunday.

    "The president's been working on this issue today," Earnest told reporters. "He has calls planned with our partners and allies in other countries."

    [Reuters]
  • This infographic from the AFP provides a nice chronology of the events of the last few weeks, from the protests in the streets of Kiev to the current tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague has arrived in Kiev.

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