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Ukraine Crisis

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

  • John Kerry visiting shrine in Kiev, laying flowers. Woman tells me 'we want moral support from USA at very least' http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bh4suOFIMAAn1VM.jpg


  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Kiev on March 4, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)



  • Demonstrators protest against Russia's intervention in Ukraine, in Whitehall, central London on March 4, 2014 (Olivia Harris/Reuters)


  • #Putin "is NOT backing down. He is introducing the new normal," ex US NIC #Russia analyst @eugene_rumer to me
  • The White House pledged on Tuesday to help ensure Ukraine had "sufficient financing" to restore stability and economic growth and said it was providing advice on getting back stolen assets and adjusting to trade pressures related to energy.

    In a statement, the White House said the United States would provide assistance to train election observers in Ukraine. It said a U.S. team would go there this week to help authorities identify and reclaim stolen assets.

    The United States would also provide "technical advice" to the Ukrainian government on the country's World Trade Organization rights with respect to Russia, particularly regarding energy.

    "At the same time the United States is ready to provide assistance and financing to help Ukrainian businesses find new export markets and adjust to trade pressures and to enhance energy efficiency, helping to reduce dependence on imported gas," it said.

    [Reuters]
  • US Sec of State John Kerry has landed in Kiev for talks with Ukraine govt http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bh4geCkIQAEWnbz.jpg

  • Britain said on Tuesday it regretted the leak of a document which indicated that London opposed trade sanctions on Russia and cautioned that the document should not be seen as any guide to British policy on the response to the crisis in Ukraine.

    The official document, which was photographed as a senior official carried it into a meeting in Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street residence on Monday, indicated Britain opposes trade sanctions and any move to impose restrictions on Russian access to London.

    If it were an accurate reflection of British policy, the document illustrates the difficulties Western powers face in agreeing on sanctions that could deter President Vladimir Putin from further action in Ukraine.

    "Any such photographing or making any documents available for photographing is absolutely regrettable and should not happen," Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament.

    "Anything that is written in one document being carried by one official is not necessarily any guide to the decisions that will be made by Her Majesty's government and our options remain very much open on this subject."

    [Reuters]
  • The White House has released a fact sheet on the United States' support for Ukraine, as well international support for Ukraine: 

    FACT SHEET:  International Support for Ukraine


     


    President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support the Government of Ukraine, including economically.  We have been working closely with international partners to develop an assistance package that will provide rapid financial and technical assistance to help Ukraine restore economic stability and conduct free, fair, and inclusive new elections that will allow the Ukrainian people to continue to make democratic choices about their future.


     


    The new Ukrainian government has inherited an economy with enormous potential but that is currently financially fragile and uncompetitive.  The Government of Ukraine has said publicly that it will work to meet these urgent challenges.  As the government implements important reforms, the United States will work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to ensure that Ukraine has sufficient financing to restore financial stability and return to growth.


     


    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already engaging to help stabilize the Ukrainian economy.  We understand that an IMF mission is currently in Kyiv working with the Ukrainian government at their request.  The IMF will be at the front lines of an international package for Ukraine and is positioned to support  robust and market-oriented reforms needed to restore Ukraine to economic health, including via providing large-scale financing and technical support.  At the same time, the United States is working alongside international partners and the Government of Ukraine to assemble a package of assistance to complement and support an IMF program.  


     


    As part of this international effort, the United States has developed a package of bilateral assistance focused on meeting Ukraine’s most pressing needs and helping Ukraine to enact the reforms needed to make its IMF program a success.  We are working with Congress to approve the 2010 IMF quota legislation, which  would support the IMF’s capacity to lend additional resources to Ukraine, while also helping to preserve continued U.S. leadership within this important institution.  We are ready to work with Congress and the Government of Ukraine to provide U.S. loan guarantees and other financial and technical assistance to address Ukraine’s four most urgent needs:


     


    ·         Critical assistance with economic reforms, including by cushioning their impact on vulnerable Ukrainians:  The U.S. Administration is working with Congress and the Government of Ukraine to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees aimed at helping insulate vulnerable Ukrainians from the effects of reduced energy subsidies.  At the same time, the United States is moving quickly to provide technical expertise to help the National Bank of Ukraine and the Ministry of Finance address their most pressing challenges.  The United States is dispatching highly experienced technical advisors to help the Ukrainian financial authorities manage immediate market pressures.  The United States will also provide expertise to help Ukraine implement critical energy sector reforms.


     


    ·         Conducting free, fair, and inclusive elections:  The United States will provide technical assistance to train election observers, help bring electoral processes in line with international standards, and promote robust participation by civil society organizations and a free and independent media.


     


    ·         Combatting corruption and recovering stolen assets:  The United States is preparing to help the government respond to the clear demands of the Ukrainian people for more robust safeguards against corruption and additional efforts to recover assets stolen from the people of Ukraine.  The United States will support the government as it takes tangible steps to reduce corruption and increase transparency, including in areas such as e-government and public procurement.  The United States is deploying an interagency team of experts to Kyiv this week to begin to work with their Ukrainian counterparts to identify assets that may have been stolen, identify their current location, and assist in returning those assets to Ukraine.


     


    ·         Withstanding politically motivated trade actions by Russia, including in the area of energy:  The United States is preparing to provide technical advice to the Ukrainian government on Ukraine’s WTO rights with respect to trade with Russia.  At the same time the United States is ready to provide assistance and financing to help Ukrainian businesses find new export markets and adjust to trade pressures and to enhance energy efficiency, helping to reduce dependence on imported gas.


  • According to the White House, the United States will work with its international partners to ensure has sufficient financing to restore stability and return to growth, Reuters reports.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev on Tuesday and announced an economic package and technical assistance for Ukraine in a show of support for its new government amid escalating tensions with Russia.

    Kerry's visit comes as Washington and its Western allies step up pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's Crimea region or face economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation.

    A senior U.S. administration official, who briefed reporters en route to Kiev, said the Obama administration would work with Congress to approve $1 billion in loan guarantees to help lessen the impact on Ukrainians of proposed energy subsidy cuts.

    [Reuters]
  • According to a senior US official, the United States is ready to impose sanctions against Russia 'most likely very soon,' meaning in a matter of days, not weeks, Reuters reported Tuesday.
  • A senior United States official leaked some interesting information Tuesday morning about the help the United States is offering Ukraine.

    According to the official, the United States is to advise Ukraine on its WTO rights with respect to trade with Russia, Reuters reports Tuesday morning.

    The US is also slated to send experts to help the Ukraine central bank and finance ministry deal with economic challenges and combat corruption.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Kiev, according to The Associated Press.

    At the same time as the secretary was wheels down in Ukraine, US officials leaked that the White House is set to announce $1 billion in energy aid in an economic package to Ukraine, according to the AP.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday the United States and European Union do not support a consensus government and reforms in Ukraine that would include all sides.

    "We must have a dialogue and not exclude anyone," he said during a visit to Tunisia, speaking through a translator. "Our position is clear on this and won't change."

    [Reuters]
  • The Associated Press has a comprehensive wrap-up of President Putin's marathon press conference Tuesday morning, as well as where things currently stand in the crisis. 

    From the AP:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled his forces back from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday yet said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine. He accused the West of encouraging an anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine and driving it onto anarchy and declared that any sanctions the West places on Russia will backfire.

    It was Putin's first comments since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev last month and landed in Russia. Ukraine's new government wants to put him on trial for the deaths of over 80 people during protests in Kiev.

    Tensions remained high Tuesday in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was en route to Kiev, where Ukraine's new government is based.

    Yet world markets seemed to recover from their fright over the situation in Ukraine, clawing back a large chunk of Monday's stock losses, while oil, gold, wheat and the Japanese yen have given back some of their gains.

    "Confidence in equity markets has been restored as the standoff between Ukraine and Russia is no longer on red alert," said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

    Speaking from his residence outside Moscow, Putin said he considers Yanukovych to still be Ukraine's leader and hopes that Russia won't need to use force in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

    He did say, however, that Yanukovych has no political future and Russia gave him shelter only to save his life.

    Putin accused the West of using Yanukovych's decision in November to ditch a pact with the 28-nation European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia to encourage the months of protests that drove him from power.

    Earlier Tuesday, the Kremlin said Putin had ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to their bases. The massive military exercise in western Russia involving 150,000 troops, hundreds of tanks and dozens of aircraft was supposed to wrap up anyway, so it was not clear if Putin's move was an attempt to heed the West's call to de-escalate the crisis that has put Ukraine's future on the line.

    It came as Kerry was on his way to Kiev to meet with the new Ukrainian leadership that deposed the pro-Russian Yanukovych and has accused Moscow of a military invasion in Crimea. The Kremlin, which does not recognize the new Ukrainian leadership, insists it made the move in order to protect Russian installations in Ukraine and its citizens living there.


  • Ukrainian soldier: we are going back to our barracks. And then it continues
  • Ukrainian officer: we have been ordered to go back. Russia troops will stay
  • President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia was ready to release another tranche of its $15 billion credit to Ukraine, but Western countries asked Moscow to hold off on the Eurobond purchases.

    In December, Moscow bought $3 billion worth of Ukraine's Eurobonds, but a second tranche of a $2 billion due earlier this year has been postponed.

    "In principle we would be ready to consider a further step to release more tranches ... additional purchases of bonds, but our Western partners have asked us not to do it," Putin told journalists.

    [Reuters]
  • Ukrainian commander now negotiating with masked Russian man at besieged air base in Crimea http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bh4Wp6jIUAIZKPY.jpg

  • A Kremlin aide was quoted on Tuesday as saying that if the United States were to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, Moscow might be forced to drop the dollar as a reserve currency and refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks.

    Sergei Glazyev, who is often used by the authorities to stake out a hardline stance but does not make policy, was cited by RIA news agency as saying Moscow could recommend that all holders of U.S. treasuries sell them if Washington freezes the U.S.. accounts of Russian businesses and individuals.

    The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is preparing legislation to provide support to Ukraine and consulting the Obama administration on possible sanctions against individual Russians, the committee's chairman said on Monday.

    The committee was also consulting with President Barack Obama's administration on possible sanctions against individuals ranging from visa bans and asset freezes to suspending military cooperation and sales, as well as economic sanctions.

    "In the instance of sanctions being applied to stated institutions, we will have to declare the impossibility of returning those loans which were given to Russian institutions by U.S. banks," RIA quoted Glazyev as saying.

    "We will have to move into other currencies, create our own settlement system."

    He added: "We have excellent trade and economic relations with our partners in the east and south and we will find a way to reduce to nothing our financial dependence on the United States but even get out of the sanctions with a big profit to ourselves."

    [Reuters]
  • According to agencies citing a Kremlin spokesman, Russia's Putin ordered troops engaged in military exercises to return to their bases, Reuters reported around 1 a.m. ET.
  • Speaking from Tunis, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says Ukraine needs a government formed from all Ukrainians, not just some, Reuters reports.

    Lavrov reportedly added that he hopes 'our partners' will not impose sanctions over Ukraine and will understand the Russian position.

    Lavrov added the Russian move in Crimea was correct, forces seized arms and explosives, according to Reuters. Adding to that, the Russian foreign minister reportedly said no one has the right to be angry with Russia as the European Union and the United States did not fulfill their Ukraine obligations.

    Lavrov added that the European Union and the United States do not want to form a consensus government in Ukraine and make reforms, according to Reuters.
  • According to a foreign ministry spokesman, Poland has summoned the Russian ambassador in Warsaw over the Ukraine crisis, Reuters reported early Tuesday.
  • Russian President Putin has come out with a variety of strong comments about Ukraine Tuesday during a news conference at his residence outside Moscow.

    Russia is to cancel the discount for natural gas supplies to Ukraine, the AP reported while Putin decreed there has been an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine and a military seizure of power, according to Reuters.

    In the news conference, Putin also reportedly said ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovich fulfilled all the conditions of the Feb. 21 agreement with the opposition and he effectively gave up all power. While Putin admitted Yanukovich has no power, he stressed the essentially exiled former leader is still Ukraine's legitimate president.

    Despite words that seemed to support Yanukovich, Putin said he told the embattled leader that he has 'no political future,' according to Reuters.

    Russia helped the ousted leader out of humanitarian concerns, Putin stressed according to Al Jazeera reporters.

    While Putin acknowledged the Ukrainian people wanted changed, he said 'illegal change' cannot be encouraged, according to Reuters. Building off that, Putin said if Ukraine holds elections under the current conditions of 'terror,' Russia will not recognize the results, Reuters reported.

    Putin reportedly said during his news conference that use of force in Ukraine is a choice of last resort but Russia reserves the right to use all options if there is lawlessness in Eastern Ukraine. He added that for now there is no need to use military force in Ukraine's souther region of Crimea, but Russia has the option to do so, according to Reuters.

    Russia is not afraid of war, however Putin said at his press conference, and if the country decides to use troops it will do so only to defend the Ukrainian people, according to Al Jazeera reporters

    When speaking of possible sanctions, Putin said those considering such measures should think of the damage they may incur, Reuters reported early Tuesday, adding that all threats against Russia are 'counterproductive and harmful.'

    Putin said Russia is ready to the G8, but if western leaders don't want to come, 'they don't need to,' Reuters reported.

    He also reportedly said during the news conference that armed groups which seized power in Crimea were 'local forces of self defense,' not Russian soldiers.

    During his marathon news conference Tuesday, Putin also said if Ukraine fails to pay in full for February gas supplies, it will owe Russia almost $2 billion, according to Reuters.

    Putin also said the West asked Russia to hold off on the release of further tranches of $15 billion in a financial aid program, according to Reuters.
  • Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, joined Antonio Mora on the March 3, 2014 edition of Consider This.


    Antonio Mora: 
    I want to start with asking you: Russia went to war with your country when you were President in 2008 over two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Do you think that pattern is repeating itself again, that this time it’s over Crimea, possibly East Ukraine? And do you think Putin was in some way emboldened by what happened in Georgia six years ago?

    Mikheil Saakashvili: Well, first of all, for me it’s a totally feeling of déjà vu because exactly this same thing happened eight years ago — sorry, [in] 2008 — when what happened really was that there was preparation for this whole thing. [At that time], Russia was acting through, first with proxies — there were arming them, they were doing our provocations. Then, later, they came in with the pretext of safeguarding their minorities, which is to say, both in Russia and Ukraine — in Georgia and Ukraine — they are distributing Russian passports to these people so that they could claim that they have title to Russian citizens that were under threat there. In both cases, they had mass-scale military trainings and in both cases they conducted war propaganda.

    Although, I have to mention that in both cases they didn’t go only after regions, I think the goal in Georgia was to depose my government, [cause instability, for their position in the region] and I think it’s exactly the same goal in Ukraine. Putin doesn’t really want Crimea or the Eastern regions. He wants to take over or at least generate permanent chaos in Ukraine under the government in Kiev and these are openly proclaimed goals. 


    Russian forces seized control of the border guard checkpoint on the Ukrainian side of the ferry crossing between Russia and Crimea, and began bringing in truckloads of soldiers by ferry on Monday evening, Ukrainian border guards said.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Sunrise inside the garrison of Ukraine's Belbek base. The supposed Russian ultimatum passed an hour ago. #crimea http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bh2tc66IUAA2rf-.jpg

  • It's been a full half-hour since the 5 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) deadline for Ukrainian forces in Crimea, and so far there has not been a single credible report of clashes between Ukrainian and Russia troops in the Crimean Peninsula.
  • Analysis: Why the Crimea incursion has boosted Moscow's leverage in Ukraine standoff

    by Tony Karon

    Everyone knows how much President Vladimir Putin loves preening for the camera, but he may be willing to sacrifice the vanity photo opportunity of hosting a G-8 summit in pursuit of Russian strategic goals in Ukraine. The immediate diplomatic cost of Russia's incursion into Crimea has been the suspension by NATO countries of planning for a G-8 summit Putin was set to host in Sochi this summer.

    The emphasis, thus far, on symbolic rebukes is a reminder of how little NATO powers can do to expel Russia from a territory in which it has a deeply entrenched military presence and can probably count on substantial local civilian support. There's no serious military option, and even economic leverage is limited by Western Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies. Germany and other European powers reportedly resisted U.S.-led calls for sanctions during consultations in Brussels on Monday.

    The strategic logic behind Moscow's Ukraine intervention prioritizes geopolitical control of Moscow's neighborhood — it's "near abroad" in Kremlin parlance — over glad-handing with Western leaders. Indeed, according to Carnegie Moscow Center analyst Dimitri Trenin, Russia has seized control of Crimea precisely because it saw the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich as a symptom of Western malfeasance and encroachment in its backyard, leading to "a fundamental reassessment of Russian policy in Ukraine, and vis-à-vis the West."

    Russia views the politics of its "near abroad" principally through the prism of NATO's steady expansion toward its borders through the 1990s; the overriding strategic priority of preventing Ukraine from aligning itself with a hostile political-military alliance has long guided the Kremlin's often ham-fisted responses to developments in Kiev. It can live with an autonomous Ukraine only if that Ukraine stays out of NATO's orbit, and in Yanukovich's ouster it saw the specter of Ukraine falling into the Western military and economic orbit. If what it calls a "coup" in Kiev can't be reversed, Moscow's next best option may be to limit the territory controlled by the pro-Western regime, empower those resisting it and create a crisis that keeps Kiev off balance. This militates against any economic recovery and makes Ukraine a less enticing prospect for incorporation into the European Union.

    Even if the threat of being shunned by the West has serious consequences for the oligarchic business elite that has prospered under Putin, it doesn't alter the fundamentals of national strategy in Moscow. Indeed, the very Western powers that are threatening to isolate Russia are portrayed in the Kremlin's nationalist narrative as hostile powers bent on destroying what remains of a once-great Russian power.

    Read more on Al Jazeera America
  • The crisis unfolding in Crimea may be the greatest geopolitical crisis since the Cold War, writes in David Rohde in The Atlantic. "An unresolved international debate over a series of post-Cold War interventions is threatening to cause sweeping instability," says Rohde. "From Europe to the Middle East to Asia, regional powers that might act militarily are watching events in Ukraine."


    In Putin's eyes, the United States may struggle to claim any moral high ground. Some Russian and European commentators point out that the United States intervened in Kosovo in 1999 and invaded 
    Iraq in 2003 without United Nations approval. And Russian officials have repeatedly said they regret supporting the UN-backed 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. Russian officials and some Western commentators have portrayed all of those interventions as Western plots to weaken Russia or destabilize countries in the Balkans and the Middle East.

    American officials flatly reject those interpretations. They argue that Russia and other authoritarian rulers are cynically manipulating facts and spreading false conspiracy theories to justify the use of military force to enhance their own power. They point out that sweeping violence had erupted in Kosovo and Libya, threatening large number of civilians. Both interventions also came after months of diplomatic efforts and international public debate. And even the much-criticized invasion of Iraq came after a decade-long cat-and-mouse game between Saddam Hussein and United Nations weapons inspectors, and a year-long effort by the Bush administration to win UN support.


    Read more in The Atlantic
  • In Crimea's villages, the people shrug

    by Sam Narod

    The main square of Luchyste, a village in the Crimean peninsula’s southeast, isn’t much to look at. Squat ramshackle houses with chain link fences line the narrow roads that lead to the intersection that makes up the downtown. On one side, the town’s small Ukrainian Orthodox Church stands opposite the only grocery, which advertises “Wine” and “Vodka” in bright orange letters against a blue backdrop. A few men loitered outside the market at midday on Monday, swigging from beer bottles.

    Under a shoddy metal bus shelter, two women sat on benches hawking milk, in used water bottles, and eggs from animals they raise themselves. They said they come every day to make some money to supplement their pensions.

    “It’s not a lot,” one of them said, “but it adds something.”

    The women refused to give their names and said they were completely disinterested in politics and the attention of the international media that has descended on the peninsula. “Why are you so interested now?'' one of them asked. "Why didn’t you come here before?”

    Of the political turmoil that has embroiled Ukraine, Russia, and the autonomous Crimean peninsula, her companion was just as dismissive.

    “We continue to live and work as we have while they divide the spoils,” she said. "It’s not like any of them are going to come here and help me feed my cow.”

    That same attitude of indifference over the fate of their autonomous republic seemed to permeate the small villages that dot the Crimean Mountains, a popular hiking destination that runs parallel to the southeast coast of the Black Sea. While people had varying opinions on the continued incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil, no one seemed to think the politicians would do anything to make any difference in their lives. Instead, the local people were sure that no matter what was decided in Kiev and Moscow, their needs would continue to be ignored.

    “Life is life, nothing changes,” said Oleg Mikhailivich, a security guard who has been on disability for years.

    “We can only pray for the best,'' he said as he burned trash in his yard next to Luchyste’s central square. "What’s left to do?” he asked.

    Read more on Al Jazeera America
  • Pro-Russian authorities in Crimea will cut off water and electricity to Ukrainian soldiers in bases surrounded by Russian forces on Monday night, a Russian former lawmaker loyal to President Vladimir Putin said.

    Sergei Markov, who held meetings with pro-Russian authorities on the Ukrainian peninsula earlier on Monday, told reporters the soldiers would also be told they would not receive their next pay packet if they did not publicly renounce their loyalty to the new provisional government in Kiev, the capital.

    "If they stay here and remain loyal to Kiev and the Ukrainian government, it will become more uncomfortable for them," said Markov, who sits in a Kremlin-backed public policy chamber. "The pressure is going to increase tonight."

    [Reuters]
  • President Barack Obama met for over two hours on Monday with his national security advisers and discussed ways the United States and its allies could "further isolate" Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine, a White House official said.

    The group discussed ways to "reinforce that the Russians still have an opportunity to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation or they face further political and economic repercussions from the international community," the official said about the meeting.

    "The president will continue to receive regular updates on the situation, and to remain in close contact with his foreign counterparts," the official said.

    [Reuters]
  • President Barack Obama convenes a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House to discuss the situation in Ukraine, March 3, 2014. (Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

  • The United States has put trade and investment talks with Russia on hold as a rebuke for Russia's incursion into Ukraine, a U.S. official Reuters on Monday.

    "We have suspended upcoming bilateral trade and investment engagement with the government of Russia that were part of a move toward deeper commercial and trade ties," a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
  • The United States is suspending all military engagements with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine including military exercises and port visits, the Pentagon announced Monday.

    Read the full statement from Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby:

    Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding, and reduce the risk of military miscalculation we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia.  This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.  


    The Defense Department is closely monitoring the situation and remains in close contact with the State Department and interagency, along with our Allies, Partners and NATO.  We call on Russia to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine and for Russian forces in Crimea to return to their bases, as required under the agreements governing the Russia Black Sea Fleet.  


    Some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region.  There has been no change to our military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean; our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region.



  • Ukraine might already be lost to Russian control unless pressure is put on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “I’m afraid that may be the facts on the ground unless there are pressures brought to bear on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, which I frankly don't know what they are now,” he told Joie Chen on Monday. “…I’m very worried about eastern Ukraine. I don't know how far he'll go. I predicted Crimea by the way because of the importance of Sevastopol. I hope [Putin] doesn’t go further. What I think you may see is different cities and mayors and people who are sort of declaring their allegiance to Russia. I hope it's not an outright separation.”

    Russia claimed its movement into the Crimea was an effort to protect Russian nationals in the Ukraine, citing the international responsibility to protect doctrine.

    “The reason why Putin did this was to protect Russia populations," McCain said. "Well, there's Russian populations in the Baltic states; there's Russian populations in Poland; there are Russian populations in Romania and other countries. This could set an incredibly dangerous precedent, and obviously, a totally immoral and illegal one."

    Read more at Al Jazeera America

  • Having trouble keeping up with what world leaders are saying about the crisis in Ukraine? The Stream is mapping the position of various countries and statements of world leaders on Russia's intervention. Click here to see more.

  • President Barack Obama is holding a high-level meeting at the White House about Ukraine with senior military and national security advisers, a White House official said on Monday.

    Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, national security adviser Susan Rice, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and General Martin Dempsey were among those in attendance, the official said.

    [Reuters]
  • Sergeyev stressed that Yanukovich left the country and was not under a threat. He gave up his constitutional duties, which is why the parliament elected a new government.

    What people are trying to prove, that the current government is [an] illegal one, it's not true, he told reporters following the Security Council meeting.
  • 'What we need from the international community' is mediation, Sergeyev stressed following the Security Council meeting.

    Still we have diplomatic measures to keep ourselves restrained, he said.
  • U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev of Ukraine refuted the Russian ambassador claims that Russians are under threat in Ukraine, saying there is no proof that Russians' rights have been violated.
  • UK #UNSC Amb: "today I called on #Russia to engage with the #UN SG & to support an #OSCE observer mission to #Crimea " & eastern #Ukraine
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