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Ukraine Crisis

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

  • OSCE meeting on #Ukraine starts in Vienna, diplomats assembling in historic Hofburg palace, site of much diplomacy, incl Congress of Vienna
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin told Ukraine's paralympic chief that politics and international afairs must not affect sports events such as the Paralympic Games that begin in the Russian city of Sochi on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported.

    Putin and Valeriy Sushkevich discussed "the fact that a sports celebration - all the more so one like the Paralympic Games - cannot and must not be under the influence of ... the international agenda or politics," Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

  • FM #Steinmeier : #Russia 's decisions to bring forward Crimean referendum+draft bill on admission of new fed. members,add fuel to the fire 2/2
  • FM #Steinmeier warns #Russia against annexation of #Crimea : Would not only be vehemently condemned by EU but by int'l Community 1/2 #Ukraine
  • The Huffington Post's Luke Johnson talked with the first president of an independent Ukraine, who said in 1994 no one could have believed Russia would send forces onto Ukrainian soil. 

    From HuffPost:

    The first president of an independent Ukraine, who in 1994 sent Soviet nuclear weapons back to Russia in exchange for its pledge not to use force, said nobody believed at the time that an attack from Russia was even possible.

    "There was no such prediction," former President Leonid Kravchuk told The Huffington Post in an interview from Kiev Wednesday. "No one could imagine that between Ukraine and Russia there could arise such relations, such bitter relations, when Russia can send its forces on the territory of Ukraine."

    Kravchuk called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect the Budapest Memorandum, which Putin has said is now invalid because he considers the new government in Kiev invalid.

    "Putin says because a new government was formed, and with this government, we can't respond to any agreements. I answer to Mr. Putin, the government formed was not new, just new leaders. The government remained as before," he said.

    "If you follow the logic of Mr. Putin, then that means that Ukraine, as a new government, can now refuse all of its agreements with Russia," he added, noting that Ukraine could do away with the agreement holding the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea if it wanted to.

    Kravchuk, 80, was elected as Ukraine's first president in 1991 after being head of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He signed the Budapest Memorandum on Dec. 5, 1994 along with Russia, the United States and United Kingdom. Ukraine gave up what was then the third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, inherited from the Soviet Union, in exchange for security assurances from Russia. Kravchuk lost a bid for reelection in 1994, losing the vote in the Russian-speaking East and South by large margins to Leonid Kuchma, revealing Ukraine's East-West divide.

    Kravchuk has still been active in trying to mediate Ukraine's political crisis, giving a speech to parliament on Jan. 29 calling on all sides to come to an agreement. He got a standing ovation from the deputies.

    Kravchuk lambasted Putin, but said that good relations of Russia were essential for Ukraine.

    "My attitude to his assessments is highly negative. They are not truthful. They are based on imperialistic way of thinking and totalitarian assessments," he said. "And his other actions threaten not only Ukraine, but also Europe."

  • According to Interfax, the Kremlin says Russian President Putin told the Ukrainian paralympic chief the sports events must not be affected by politics, according to Reuters.
  • Analysis: China's 'unusual' nuclear pact with Ukraine's Yanukovich

    After Russia sent troops into Ukraine's Crimea region in defiance of the West, Moscow reached out to China for international support. But while Russia says China is in agreement over Ukraine, Beijing has remained largely silent publicly and, analysts say, will likely remain so.

    That silence may be due to a recent deal that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich signed with Chinese President Xi Jinping — to bring Ukraine under China's nuclear umbrella.

    On Dec. 5, two months before Yanukovich was dismissed by his nation’s parliament, Jinping and Yanukovich signed the accord, which one participating Chinese official indicated to state media amounted to $10 billion and included an “unusual” nuclear clause. In the event of a nuclear attack or so much as the threat of one, China would offer Kiev military support.

    Yet the pact seems to reveal more about Beijing's various territorial disputes in Asia than it does about China's ties with Russia.

    China has in fact penned a slew of multi-billion-dollar agreements with leaders who have since been unseated or debilitated by popular revolt in countries like Libya, Syria and now Ukraine, costing China both financially and in terms of influence.

    Amid Russia's incursions into Crimea, it's unclear whether China will strengthen ties with Russia. But after a series of unfortunate contracts with toppled Arab Spring leaders and now Ukraine's Yanukovich, some China-watchers have expressed hopes that China will stop aligning itself with nations threatened by political instability.

    "China is trying to position itself in the world today as a major economic and political player. I believe that China will play a very sensitive and long-term card in dealing with those countries that had political and social crises like Libya and Syria," said Dong Qingwen, communications professor and Chinese media analyst at the University of the Pacific.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Discussed Crimea with Chinese State Councillor Yang. Strong agreement on need for de-escalation and respect for sovereignty of #Ukraine
  • Anti-Ukrainian rally is about to start by St Basil's in Moscow. Loads of buses on Bolotnaya.

  • .@OSCE military assessment group now approaching Crimean border at Chonar.
  • According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Russia says the European Union has taken an 'extremely unconstructive' position by freezing talks on visa-free travel, Reuters reports.

    Russia says it 'will not accept the language of sanctions and threats,' and will respond if sanctions are imposed, according to Reuters.
  • Opinion: Partition is not an option

    In the months since anti-government protesters took to the streets of Kiev, with Russian troops on the ground in Crimea and threatening to move into Ukraine’s eastern regions, some commentators have argued for partitioning Ukraine. This talk is not only simplistic but also dangerous. Ukraine is indeed a divided country with a contested national identity, but Ukrainians can’t be easily categorized.

    As international audiences scramble to understand Ukraine’s complex history, bloggers such as The Washington Post’s Max Fisher have been circulating maps that misleadingly present Ukraine as a country neatly split between a Ukrainian-speaking west and a Russian-speaking east. These maps offer the tantalizing suggestion that all we need to do is split Ukraine in half and many of its problems would fade away, as Sevastopol and Donetsk join Vladimir Putin’s new Eurasian Union while Lviv and Chernivtsi gravitate toward Europe.

    But the reality is far more complex. Consider the New York Times map showing the balance of native speakers of the two languages, with Russian speakers concentrated in the east and in Crimea. At first glance, this seems straightforward enough, but the emphasis on native speakers is misleading. According to a 2012 survey, more Ukrainians claim Ukrainian as their native tongue than speak it regularly, while the reverse is true of Russian. While Ukrainian is the preferred language in rural areas and among older Ukrainians, Russian is more commonly spoken in Ukraine’s five largest cities (the sixth largest, Lviv, is one of the few major cities in the country where Ukrainian predominates). The two languages are almost mutually intelligible, and in fact many Ukrainians speak a Russian-Ukrainian creole called Surzhyk rather than choose one or the other. A 2004 survey revealed a country where 38 percent of the population is “Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainian,” 30 percent is “Russian-speaking Ukrainian,” 18 percent is “Russian-speaking Russian” and most of the rest are “ambivalent.”

    Even if we simplify matters by putting aside the country’s significant minority groups, which include Muslim Tatars, Jews and Orthodox Christian Armenians, there are really three Ukraines, and they overlap geographically to an extent that would make disentangling them a disaster.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Russia now has 30,000 troops in Ukraine's Crimea region, Ukrainian border guards said on Friday, nearly twice the previous figure given by the government in Kiev.

    Serhiy Astakhov, aide to the head of border guards service, told Reuters the figure was an estimate and included both troops that had arrived since last week and Russia's Black Sea Fleet, permanently based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

    Russia, whose forces occupied the isolated peninsula last week, says the only troops it has there are those based in Sevastopol. The Russian troops that have occupied positions across Crimea wear no insignia on their uniforms but drive vehicles with Russian military plates.

    Ukraine says thousands of extra troops have arrived and have fanned out across the occupied peninsula in violation of the treaty governing the base. Earlier this week Ukraine said there were a total of 16,000 Russian troops in Crimea.

  • According to a press release from the White House, President Obama spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Abe late Thursday evening about the situation in Ukraine:

    The President spoke to Prime Minister Abe late last evening regarding the situation in Ukraine. The two leaders agreed that Russia’s actions are a threat to international peace and security and emphasized the importance of preserving Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  They committed to work with other G-7 partners to insist that Russia abide by its obligations and commitments to Ukraine’s sovereignty, including under the UN Charter and the 1997 basing agreement, but noted that there is an opportunity for Russia to resolve the situation diplomatically, in a way that addresses its interests as well as those of Ukraine and the international community.  Both leaders also agreed to work bilaterally and through the International Monetary Fund to support the government of Ukraine as it works to stabilize its economy and prepare for May elections. The President noted that his April visit to Japan will offer an important opportunity to advance the many diplomatic, defense, and trade initiatives the United States and Japan are pursuing in Asia and around the globe.


  • According to Ukraine's Channel 5 TV, Ukraine border guards say 30,000 Russian troops are now on Ukrainian territory in Crimea, Reuters reports.
  • Ukrainian opposition leader Yulian Tymoshenko sat down with Al Jazeera's John Hendren to discuss the crisis currently gripping her country.

    Below are some highlights from the interview: 

    John Hendren: There is a very real chance, as you know well, that you could lose the Crimea. If that happened, what would that mean to the Ukraine and to the rest of the world?

    Yulia Tymoshenko: I think that today it is not just Ukraine that will lose Crimea. I think it is the whole world that, if it does not react to the situation, will actually lose stability. And I think all top leaders in the world should be aware of this. The Kremlin today has declared war — not on Crimea, not on Ukraine. But the Kremlin declared war on the whole world.

    If diplomacy doesn’t work, what would you like to see the world do?

    It seems diplomacy isn’t working now. The more time we lose, the bigger the risks that we face. Now there are proposals to create negotiations to resolve the situation at the highest possible level. But I think that any consultation or negotiation will not produce any significant results. Instead, they would lead to a situation where the March referendum on Crimea will be held and Ukraine will lose Crimea under the threat of armed force. Today, world leaders have to apply a completely different method.

    The critical date is the referendum to be conducted on Crimean secession. If the international community allows this referendum to be held then our struggle would be much more difficult. I call to all international leaders not to allow this referendum to be conducted and not to allow this brutal destabilization of the world.

    If key world leaders and the countries that promised us to protect Ukrainian territorial integrity when we gave up our nuclear arms would be willing to apply economic sanctions, then these sanctions should be of the highest severity. And these sanctions, like weapons, will destroy all the plans of the aggressor to capture the territory of the other country.

    If a real war starts in Crimea, if Putin starts a real war in Crimea and if he starts to take our territories for real, Ukrainians will fight to the death. A lot of blood will be shed. People will perish. They will give up their lives and if the world stays inactive then not only Putin, but the world will be to blame.

    As you point out this threatens to become an armed conflict. Is there any point at which you would ask the rest of the world to come in militarily?

    I cannot give advice to the countries that signed the Budapest memorandum with Ukraine, which led to Ukraine giving up its nuclear arms voluntarily. I cannot offer them advice. I am just asking them to honor their guarantees.

    When I say that more powerful instruments should be applied I don’t mean that a first shot should be heard. It must be like the Cuban Missile Crisis, when two superpowers clashed. But they ended the conflict peacefully and they kept the whole world quiet. I would call it peaceful greetings by powerful forces. And my opinion is that the containment strategy should be applied as soon as possible.

    If in the 21st century the Russian Federation in a peaceful Europe is allowed to capture a territory belonging to another European country by armed force, then I think the world will be in great danger.

    Click here to read the full interview
  • Ukraine's fledgling government is reaching out to oligarchs for help, according to The Associated Press.

    From the AP:

     In a surprising move after Russia flexed its military might in the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine's new leadership has reached out to oligarchs for help - appointing them as governors in eastern regions where loyalties to Moscow are strong.

    With their wealth, influence and self-interest in preventing further conflict, the oligarchs could be the key to calming tensions and maintaining Ukraine's control in areas where pro-Russian activists have stoked separatist tensions.

    But the decision to appoint the country's richest men as regional administrators has its risks. Some believe the oligarchs, who have a history of manipulating governments, may become too entrenched in their new jobs and could use their posts for personal gain.

    The unexpected move drew instant ire from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called one of the oligarchs, Ukraine's third-richest man, Ihor Kolomoisky, a "swindler."

    "They name oligarchs, billionaires as governors of eastern regions," Putin said during a news conference earlier this week. "Naturally, people don't accept that."

    Under Ukrainian law, governors are appointed by the country's president instead of being elected. After President Viktor Yanukovych fled for Russia last month in the wake of mass protests against his government and deadly clashes with police, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov fired Yanukovych's appointees and replaced them with his own.

  • RIA has the story on Russian parliament welcoming Crimea to leave Ukraine.

    From RIA:

    Russia’s upper house of parliament said Friday it would welcome the addition of Crimea to the country's territory if residents there choose to secede from Ukraine in a referendum scheduled next week.

    Officials in the Crimean parliament – the Supreme Council – and the city council of Sevastopol voted Thursday for the majority ethnic Russian region to become part of Russia, amid increasing fears that Moscow was seeking to annex the Ukrainian territory. The votes by Crimean authorities, however, are not legally binding and have little immediate effect.

    “We [the Supreme Council] have made a decision on entry into the Russian Federation. Now the ball is in your court, you must decide the fate of Crimea – I hope, forever,” said Vladimir Konstantinov, chairman of Crimea’s Supreme Council, at a meeting of the region's officials with the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament Sergei Naryshkin.

  • Yulia Tymoshenko on al-Jazeera right now, calling for West to confront Russia as it did during in Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Pro-Russian supporters gather outside a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol on March 7, 2014. (Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters)

  • The Council of Europe, the pan-European human rights watchdog, is offering to investigate violence and the treatment of minorities in Ukraine to try to defuse mounting tensions between Kiev and Russia, Austria said.

    Sebastian Kurz, the foreign minister of Austria, which holds the revolving chair of the 47-member Council until May, told Reuters on Friday that he and the Council's secretary general would visit Kiev on Monday to offer its services in the conflict.

    Moscow has cited the need to protect the rights of the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine as the official reason for its military intervention that has put pro-Russia forces in control of the Crimea region, where ethnic Russians are in the majority.

    President Vladimir Putin underscored that on Friday, rebuffing a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's intervention and saying that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.

    "We know the ethnic Russians in Crimea are anything but a minority but nevertheless for peaceful co-existence in Crimea it is decisive how people treat each other in Ukraine, how human rights are respected and how minorities are protected and supported," Kurz said.

    Both Russia and Ukraine are members of the Council of Europe, which Kurz said had credibility and expertise in supporting minority rights. He called the Ukrainian parliament's repeal of a law making Russia a recognized language in some regions "an absolute mistake".

    The Council of Europe is best known for drawing up the European Convention on Human Rights, which entered into force in 1953 and established the European Court of Human Rights.

    Asked how Russia had reacted so far to the mediation offer, Kurz said: "At least there have been no negative voices in the Council of Europe from the Russian side."

    The Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is also trying to mediate in Ukraine.

    However, dozens of military observers from OSCE members invited by Ukraine to monitor the situation in Crimea had to turn back on Thursday after failing to get past roadblocks.

    The OSCE, a pan-European forum for security issues that was set up during the Cold War, is also trying to put together a "contact group" of leading players in the Ukraine crisis and to arrange a broader monitoring mission for Ukraine.

    OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors expressed alarm on Thursday about the situation in Crimea, citing "a real risk of bloodshed".

    During her visit to Kiev and Crimea, she "found no evidence of violations or threats to the rights of Russian speakers", her office said in a statement.

  • As America starts to wake up on Friday, here's a quick rundown of everything that has happened with regards to the Ukraine crisis so far today:

    The French foreign minister has announced that sanctions could be possible against those close to Russian President Putin, Reuters reported Friday around 2:30 a.m. ET.

    According to RIA, which was citing quotes heard outside the parliament chamber, the Russia upper house of parliament will support the decision by Crimean residents should they vote in the referendum to join Russia, Reuters reports. The house speaker reportedly went on to state the Russian upper house of parliament says the Crimean parliament has the right to hold a referendum on the region's future status.

    Adding to that, the speaker for the upper house of Russia's parliament says there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported around 4 a.m. ET on Friday.

    Russian President Putin's spokesman said the country is not orchestrating events in Ukraine's Crimea but rather responding to requests for help, according to Reuters. However, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatseniuk, Russia must withdraw its troops, fulfill its obligations under international agreements and stop its support for separatists.

    As the international community continues to wrangle over the fate of Ukraine, country's paralympic chief has asked Russia's Putin to ensure peace during the winter paralympic games, according to Reuters, adding that they will pull out of the games if Russian troops invade Ukraine.

    The Polish foreign minister says the European Union needs to strengthen its defense policy and upgrade its response capabilities in light of the Ukraine crisis, Reuters reports.

    And finally — at least for the early Friday morning updates — according to a statement from the foreign ministers, CEE, Baltic and Nordic states say the European Union should send an observation mission to Ukraine as soon as possible, Reuters reports.
  • #osce observer pitstop at gas station in southern Ukraine, 50km away from #crimea

  • "It's unclear whether #Crimea is prepared for a referendum, to get 2 million people to the ballot boxes in 10 days" - @JenniferGlasse
  • Russians are engaging in “psychological warfare” across Crimea, reports @JenniferGlasse #CrisisInUkraine
  • The Kremlin just released it's readout of President Putin's conversation with President Obama today. Here's a rough translation: 

    Continued to discuss the acute situation in Ukraine. The discussion revealed differences in approaches and assessments of the causes of the current crisis and the current situation.

    Vladimir Putin, in particular, noted that which came as a result of anti-constitutional coup that does not have a national mandate, the current Ukrainian leadership imposes the Eastern and Southeastern regions and Crimea is illegitimate decision. Russia can not ignore the reference to it in this regard, calls for help and acts appropriately, in full compliance with international law.

    Russian President stressed the paramount importance of Russian-American relations to ensure stability and security in the world. These relations should not be sacrificed for individual differences - albeit very important - international problems.

    The two leaders agreed that the foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry will continue intensive contacts.

  • Readout provided by WH goes over the same ground POTUS plowed earlier today...calls for international monitors, forces to return to bases
  • President Obama spoke for an hour with President Putin Thursday afternoon. Here's a readout of their call from the White House.
    President Obama emphasized that Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners.
    President Obama indicated that there is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which addresses the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine, and the international community. As a part of that resolution, the governments of Ukraine and Russia would hold direct talks, facilitated by the international community; international monitors could ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians; Russian forces would return to their bases; and the international community would work together to support the Ukrainian people as they prepare for elections in May. President Obama indicated that Secretary Kerry would continue discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the government of  Ukraine, and other international partners in the days to come to advance those objectives.

  • On Tuesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to protect Russians in Ukraine are reminiscent of "what Hitler did back in the '30s." Julia Ioffe, senior editor at The New Republic, joined Consider This host Antonio Mora on Wednesday to weigh in on the comparison and discuss Putin's style of leadership.


    1 of 4

    Pro-Russian demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest rally in Donetsk on March 6, 2014. Ukraine flew its flag over the government headquarters in the eastern city of Donetsk on Thursday and ejected pro-Moscow demonstrators that occupied it, ending a siege that Kiev had seen as part of a Russian plan to create a pretext to invade.

    Konstantin Chernichkin/Reuters)

  • Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko speaks as her daughter Yevgenia looks on at the European People's Party (EPP) Elections Congress in Dublin March 6, 2014. (Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)

  • Ukraine's Vitaly Klitschko speaks at the European People's Party (EPP) Elections Congress in Dublin March 6, 2014. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

  • Leading Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday called for Europe to take strong action over Crimea's attempt to join Russia, warning that otherwise Moscow would move to take over the rest of Ukraine and destabilize the continent.

    Speaking hours after the parliament of the Ukrainian region of Crimea voted to join Russia, a visibly emotional Tymoshenko warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin would take advantage of any weakness by the West.

    "If we allow Russia on March 16 to hold a referendum at gunpoint on the annexation of Crimea we will lose Ukraine and stability throughout the whole world," Tymoshenko told a meeting of the European People's Party, the largest bloc in the European parliament.

    "If there is no timely support of Ukraine, real support, then it is difficult to forecast the consequences of inaction," she said.

    Tymoshenko, twice Ukrainian prime minister and one of the favorites to become its next president, said Ukraine was too weak to stand up to Moscow alone and that the use of military force against Russia should not be ruled out.

    "Stopping Russian aggression isn't just a matter of achieving freedom for Ukraine. We are talking about freedom for the entire region. We are talking about war or peace in Europe," she said.

    Tymoshenko called for Britain and United States, as signatories of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum which guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity, to act as intermediaries for negotiations with Moscow.

    Speaking two weeks after she was released from prison following the collapse of the government of Viktor Yanukovich, she also said Ukraine still hoped to sign an association agreement with the European Union, which Yanukovich refused to sign.

    "I very much hope that before or after the presidential elections (on May 25) we will sign an association agreement with the European Union."

  • 4th UNSC meeting on #Ukraine crisis ends. UK envoy @LyallGrant predicts no UNSC product (statement, resolution, etc) in coming days.
  • The city council of Sevastopol in Crimea announced that there has been a vote to break away from Ukraine, our colleagues at Al Jazeera English have learned.

    The council said the vote is effective immediately.

    Earlier, the parliament of the Crimean region voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill backing loan guarantees for Ukraine's new government.

    The measure passed in a 385-23 vote.

    The U.S. Senate is expected to consider a similar bill backing $1 billion in loan guarantees next week. If it passes the Senate as expected, it would be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.

  • House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave this statement on the House floor Thursday in support of H.R. 4152, legislation to provide $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.

    Speaker, I am pleased to bring to the floor H.R. 4152, a bill providing the authority for loan guarantees for Ukraine.

    As we all know, Ukraine is facing an extraordinarily difficult time. As a valued partner and friend of the United States, our nation has a duty to provide the people of Ukraine with help when they most need it.

    This bill will provide some stability for the government and people of the Ukraine as they navigate through these troubled waters. The legislation before us will allow funds to be used to guarantee loans for the government of Ukraine – in support of the Secretary of State’s $1 billion pledge this week.

    This bill does not appropriate new funds, but simply allows funds to be used from within existing State Department resources.

    Ukraine’s economy has been in a difficult position for years, but now the country faces real risks. Russia has punished Ukraine for leaning toward the West and has suspended the assistance they planned to provide.

    This bill will not solve all of Ukraine’s problems, but it is an important first step that will allow the country to shore up its finances and begin to make its economy more efficient.

    With this legislation, Congress – and the United States – will show that we stand by those that oppose authoritarian rule.
    It will show that as a nation, we will step up to help the people of Ukraine not only with our words, but with action.

    Ukraine is facing an uncertain economic future, but they are choosing the right path of democracy and reform. The American people will stand with the Ukrainian people as they chart this new course, and today will take a first step to quickly respond to their present need.

    Mr. Speaker, this is a critically important bill, and one that should pass the House, the Senate, and be enacted without delay. I urge a “yes” vote.

  • The US House voted 385-23 Thursday to pass a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine.

  • Cossacks stand guard near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol, Thursday March 6, 2014. Recognized as an independent ethnicity, bands of Cossacks have turned out to support the Russian presence in Crimea. (David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters) 
    People in cossack hats rally in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, on March 4, 2014, in support of ethnic Russians in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The poster reads: "We support our brother people!" (Andrey Kronberg/AFP/Getty Images) 

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    A rejuvenated Cossack "host" has emerged to support Russia in the contested peninsula. See more photos at Al Jazeera America.

  • Stars and Stripes'  Steven Beardsley reports that destroyer USS Truxtun heads for Black Sea amid heightened tensions over Crimea.

    US Navy spokesman Lt. Shawn Eklund says the ship is scheduled to train with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces for an unspecified period of time and that the said visit is unrelated to Russia’s recent incursion into Ukraine.

    “Truxtun’s operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the U.S.,” he told Stars and Stripes.

  • The "referendum" announced by puppet "govt" in Crimea will not be recognized by U.S.-- illegitimate, illegal, unconstitutional escalation.
  • Carney called it unacceptable that UN envoy Serry was accosted in Ukraine on Wednesday. 

    'There's no question this is unacceptable. And it makes more urgent the need for Russia to pursue a diplomatic, peaceful resolution for this,' he said.
  • The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America is planning to hold a protest across the street from the White House Thursday afternoon. The UCCA is protesting the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine and see this as a sign of aggression in the region, according to Al Jazeera English. 
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