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Posts tagged ‘Russian President Vladimir Putin’

Cracks Now Appearing In Eastern Ukraine As Secession Talk Intensifies.


DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — More than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of a major city in Ukraine’s east demonstrated on Saturday in favor of holding a referendum on whether to seek to split off and become part of Russia.

The rally in Donetsk came less than a week after the Ukrainian region of Crimea approved secession in a referendum regarded as illegitimate by the Western countries. After the referendum, Russia moved to formally annex Crimea.

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Russia said on Friday it reserved the right to protect compatriots in eastern Ukraine after clashes in the city of Donetsk in which one person was killed. source – Business Insider

With Crimea now effectively under the control of Russian forces, which ring Ukrainian military bases on the strategic Black Sea peninsula, concern is rising that Ukraine’s eastern regions will agitate for a similar move.

Russia has brought large military contingents to areas near the border with eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there is no intention to move into eastern Ukraine, but the prospect of violence between pro- and anti-secession groups in the east could be used as a pretext for sending in troops.

Eastern Ukraine is the heartland of Ukraine’s economically vital heavy industry and mining and the support base for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president who fled to Russia last month after being ousted in the wake of three months of protests in the capital, Kiev.

Russia and Yanukovych supporters contend Yanukovych’s ouster was a coup and allege that the authorities who then came to power are nationalists who would oppress the east’s large ethnic Russian population.

“They’re trying to tear us away from Russia,” said demonstrator Igor Shapoval, a 59-year-old businessman. “But Donbass is ready to fight against this band which already lost Crimea and is losing in the east.”

Donbass is the name for the region of factories and mines that includes Donetsk. The demonstrators erected about several tents, an ironic echo of the massive tent camp that was established on Kiev’s central square after the protests against Yanukovych broke out in late November.

“I’m ready to live in a tent, but I’m not ready to submit to the West, to dance to their tune,” said Viktor Rudko, a 43-year-old miner.

The local parliament on Friday formed a working group to develop a referendum analogous to the one in Crimea. Activists on Saturday passed out mock ballots, although no referendum has been formally called.source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk 

RED DAWN! Russian Forces Storm And Seize Ukraine Naval HQ In Crimea.


Now, I wonder whatever happened to that “red line” that John Kerry and Barack Obama said Russia better not cross? It would appear that the “red line” has become a Red Dawn of the Russian Army in Ukraine.

Memo to the White House: Now would be a good time for more sanctions, maybe against Putin’s butler and his third grade teacher?

SEVASTOPOL/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine’s naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Wednesday and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow’s intent to neutralize any armed opposition.

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Russian soldiers, and so-called “self-defense” units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control.

Shortly after the incident, Ukraine’s acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in Kiev that the country’s forces would not withdraw from Crimea even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make it part of Russia. But an hour later, Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothing, began walking out of the headquarters.

Interfax Ukraine news agency said the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, was among those who left and was driven away by officers of Russia’s FSB intelligence service. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The first group of servicemen was followed within a few minutes by a handful of troops in Ukrainian uniform, looking shell-shocked at the dramatic turn of events.

“This morning they stormed the compound. They cut the gates open, but I heard no shooting,” said Oleksander Balanyuk, a captain in the navy.

“This thing should have been solved politically. Now all I can do is stand here at the gate. There is nothing else I can do,” he told Reuters, appearing ashamed and downcast.

Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that Alexander Vitko, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet which is based in Sevastopol, had been involved in talks at the headquarters. source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk

War May Have Already Begun As 3 Ukrainian Soldiers Shot Dead, Maybe More.


NTEB sources on the ground in Kiev have confirmed to us the death of 3 Ukrainian soldiers at the hands of the Russian Army. Further reports are coming in from Ukraine that ‘war has begun’.

Independent UK: In an extraordinary day which redrew the map of Europe, fears were growing that widespread violence would erupt in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. An Ukrainian officer was killed in a confrontation in Simferopol, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an incendiary speech justifying Moscow’s reclamation of the former Ukrainian territory.

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Several others were injured and the Ukrainian commander captured as the military facility in the Crimean capital was stormed by troops dressed in Russian camouflage kits and balaclavas.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister warned that  “the conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage” and claimed that “Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and that is a war crime”. His government, he added, has now authorised the use of firearms for its forces surrounded in their bases in Crimea. source – Independent UK.

by NTEB News Desk

Biden Arrives in Poland to Send Signal to Russia.


Stepping into a region on edge, Vice President Joe Biden came to Poland on Tuesday to reassure anxious allies that the U.S. will stand up to Russia’s aggression in neighboring Ukraine, even as Moscow brushes aside sanctions and stern warnings from the West.

Biden arrived in Warsaw on Tuesday morning for consultations with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski, a few hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a draft bill for the annexation of Crimea, one of a flurry of steps to formally take over the Black Sea peninsula. Crimea on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and try to join Russia.

On Monday, the U.S. and the European Union levied the toughest sanctions on Russia since the Cold War.

In further meetings in the Polish capital and later in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, Biden was to discuss the crisis with the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — three Baltic nations that are deeply concerned about what Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula might portend for the region. All four countries share borders with Russia; Poland also borders Ukraine.

Biden’s two-day trip is part of a broader U.S. campaign to step up pressure on Putin after Sunday’s referendum, dismissed by the U.S. as illegal. In coordination with Europe, the Obama administration has frozen the U.S. assets of nearly a dozen Russian and Ukrainian officials, although critics contend that amounts to a slap on the wrist that Moscow will blithely overlook.

In Warsaw and Vilnius, Biden will affirm the U.S. commitment to defending its NATO allies, which includes Poland and the three Baltic states but not Ukraine. A senior administration official said the vice president will discuss ways to strengthen the alliance so NATO emerges even stronger from the crisis, and will echo Obama by insisting that if Russia continues to flout international law, the costs will only increase.

Biden will also discuss what additional steps the U.S. can take to shore up security for Poland and the Baltics, such as increased training, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Also on the agenda: long-term energy security in Europe, a key factor that has confounded the West’s attempts to display a united front in punishing Russia. Much of Europe is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, and European countries have major economic interests in Russia that could be in jeopardy if Moscow retaliates with sanctions of its own.

Biden plans to address energy diversification within Europe, but will also discuss how the U.S. can help, said the official, declining to offer more details

Republican lawmakers and a handful of European countries, including Poland, have urged the White House to accelerate approval of U.S. natural gas exports to help Europe wean itself off its dependence on Russia. The White House has insisted that would take too long to help the current crisis and says Russia is too dependent on gas revenues to cut off supplies to Europe.

One option that doesn’t appear to be on the table: rethinking the U.S. posture on missile defense in the region. Poland is still bruised from Obama’s 2009 decision to cancel the final phase of a defense system sorely desired by Poland as a hedge against Russian missiles. The official said Biden will reassure Poland that the smaller, phased-in system Obama chose instead is on schedule, but won’t be discussing potential changes.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Rev. Franklin Graham Praises Putin for Stance Against Homosexuality.


Image: Rev. Franklin Graham Praises Putin for Stance Against Homosexuality(AP)

By Todd Beamon

The Rev. Franklin Graham has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his stance against homosexuality and slammed President Barack Obama’s “shameful” embrace of gay rights.

“To be clear, I am not endorsing President Putin,” Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said in the March issue of Decision magazine.

The magazine in published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Charlotte, N.C. Franklin Graham is the association’s president and CEO.

“To survive in the KGB and rise to power in Russia, you have to be tough,” Graham said of Putin. “His enemies say he is ruthless. To some, he is a modern version of a czar. His personal life has its own controversies.

“Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue — protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda — Russia’s standard is higher than our own?

“Putin is right on these issues,” Graham continued. “Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

Last year, Putin banned the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” Graham said. The restriction was highlighted by the Russian president’s critics leading up to the Winter Games in Sochi last month.

“American media and liberal activists were outraged that the Olympics would be allowed in such an ‘intolerant’ culture,” Graham said. “Even though Putin said that gays and lesbians would be allowed at the Olympics, the fact that he took a stand — simply to protect children — ignited a worldwide cultural firestorm.

“He further explained the law by saying, ‘We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia,’ ” Graham said.

The evangelist called the American response to Putin’s crackdown “sadly predictable,” noting that President Obama sent gay and lesbian athletes to Sochi. He also mentioned Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement last month that his office would push forrecognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states — “even in the 33 states that outlaw those marriages.”

Graham then charged Obama and Holder with having “turned their backs on God and his standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.

“The world used to look to America for moral leadership,” Graham said. “But those days are long gone.”

He said that the United States has “abdicated our moral leadership” — at home and abroad.

“We defeated Communism, only to relax and see secularism and progressives take over our country,” Graham said. “Secularism is as godless as communism. Secularists and progressives have taken over our schools, media, and local and federal government. And it has all happened in the twinkling of an eye.”

He ended by quoting portions of Matthew 25:34 from the New Testament.

“But the Bible makes it clear that one day, ‘all nations will be gathered before [God]’ for judgment, and that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,'” Graham wrote.
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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

McCain: US Should Give Ukraine ‘Long-Term’ Military Aid.


Sen. John McCain called for massive military assistance to Ukraine Saturday, while warning that Russia’s actions in its former Soviet neighbor could lead to unprecedented measures by the United States and it allies.

“Ukraine is going to need a long-term military assistance program from the United States,” the Arizona Republican told reporters a Senate delegation visit to the Ukrainian capital, voicing what he said was a personal opinion.

“When (Ukrainians) ask for some modest means that can help them resist, I believe we should provide it… it’s simply the right and decent thing to do.”

His comments came shortly before Kiev accused Russia of invading a region in southeast Ukraine, neighboring Crimea.

McCain said he was “deeply concerned” about previous reports of Russian troops moving closer to Ukraine’s eastern border and conducting snap military drill there, after having effectively seized Crimea at the start of the month.

He said an all-out Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine “will be a breach of such enormous consequence that the United States of America and our European allies will be contemplating action that we have not ever (contemplated) in our relations with Russia.”

So far, Washington has vowed to impose travel bans and asset freezes on targeted Russians in what has turned into the worst East-West faceoff since the Cold War.

Ukraine is meanwhile headed for a breakup as southern Crimea prepares to vote on Sunday in a referendum that is widely expected to favour reattachment to Russia.

McCain however refused to accept reports that Kiev might sacrifice the Black Sea peninsula in exchange for keeping its eastern majority Russian-speaking region.

“The last thing we want to do is send any message to the people in Crimea that we have abandoned them,” he said.

“We do not agree that (Russian President) Vladimir Putin has the license to invade a sovereign nation.”

The US senators — who met with Ukraine’s new leaders and members of the Maidan protest movement in Kiev — did not mince their words on the eve of the Crimean referendum, organized by the self-appointed pro-Moscow regional authorities but slammed as illegal by the new authorities in Kiev and foreign capitals.

McCain spoke of a “phony referendum” while his colleague Richard Durbin described a “Soviet-style election in Crimea. We know the outcome, we always knew the outcome of those elections long before they took place.”

Ukraine on Saturday accused Russian forces of invading the village of Strilkove off the northeastern edge of the Crimean peninsula, and vowed to use “all necessary measures” to ward off the attack.

 

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

McCain: Ukraine Crisis Exposes Obama’s ‘Disturbing Lack of Realism’.


Image: McCain: Ukraine Crisis Exposes Obama's 'Disturbing Lack of Realism'

 

By Joe Battaglia

A day after calling Barack Obama “the most naive president in history,” Arizona Sen. John McCain continued his assault on the president’s foreign policy in an op-ed piece in Friday’s New York Times.

Specifically addressing Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, McCain wrote that the United States’ response “has exposed the disturbing lack of realism” of the Obama administration and made the country look weak in the eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world.

According to McCain, President Obama’s belief that “the tide of war is receding” around the world so the United States can afford to scale back its military presence is a miscalculation.

That “reset” policy, coupled with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crossing of Obama’s “red line” without consequence, has emboldened Chinese and Iranian loyalists, al-Qaida terrorists, and aggressive actors like Putin, whom he called “an unreconstructed Russian imperialist and KGB apparatchik.”

“To people like Mr. Putin, weakness is provocative,” McCain wrote.

He added, “What is most troubling about Mr. Putin’s aggression in Crimea is that it reflects a growing disregard for America’s credibility in the world.”

McCain echoed that sentiment in a fundraising letter penned for the Republican National Committee on Thursday.

“A secure world relies on a strong America. And a strong America relies on a robust military,” McCain wrote, according to The Washington Examiner. “Yet, sadly under President Obama, America’s military strength has been weakened and our country’s leadership in the world has been questioned. As a result, the world’s most dangerous players are flexing their muscles. Extremists are gaining ground. And these conflicts are becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies — and for us.”

Earlier in the day, McCain told Phoenix radio station KFYI, “The naivete of Barack Obama and [Secretary of State] John Kerry is stunning,” adding that Putin, whom he described as “amoral,” “cold,” “distant,” and “tough,” had “played us so incredibly.”

While McCain condemned Obama’s stance on Crimea to date, he outlined a plan he believes would change the course of events in Ukraine and regain global standing for the United States.

The first step McCain called for was a shoring up of Ukraine and reassuring of the Baltic states that the United States and the world will not stand for Putin bringing Russia’s neighbors “back under Moscow’s dominion.” McCain did not call for military action, but suggested an increased military presence by NATO in the region.

He also said Russia should be ostracized through a boycott of the G-8 summit scheduled for April 24-25 in Sochi, suggesting a Group of 7 meeting be convened elsewhere.

McCain added that the United States should “support and resupply Ukrainian patriots, both soldiers and civilians, who are standing their ground in government facilities across Crimea” as a way to stand with the Ukrainian people in defiance of the dismemberment of their country.

“We need to work with our allies to … show Mr. Putin a strong, united front, and prevent the crisis from getting worse,” McCain wrote. He added that the United States needs to “rearm ourselves morally and intellectually” to prevent Putin from attempting to occupy other nations along Russia’s borders.

McCain remains convinced that strong U.S.-led support of Ukraine will expose Putin’s Russia as being “not a great power on par with America,” but “a gas station run by a corrupt, autocratic regime.” Eventually, he said, the Russian people will revolt against him the same way the Ukrainians ousted Viktor Yanukovych.

“If Ukraine can emerge from this crisis independent, prosperous, and anchored firmly in Europe, how long before Russians begin to ask, ‘Why not us?'” McCain wrote.

While McCain said that there is still hope for a reversal of course in the region, he cautioned that “hopes do not advance themselves.”

“The darkness that threatens [Ukraine] will not be checked by an America in denial about the world as it is,” McCain wrote. “It requires realism, strength and leadership. If Crimea does not awaken us to this fact, I am afraid to think what will.”

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