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Thread: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards)

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    *BREAKING NEWS* Ukraine: Helicopter Shot Down Over Slavyansk







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    A Ukrainian helicopter has been shot down over the pro-Russian stronghold of Slavyansk as fighting there continues to worsen.
    Ukraine’s defence ministry said the pilots had survived but elsewhere in the east of the country four paramilitary policemen were shot dead in fighting.
    A number of other rebels and civilians are also thought to have been killed or injured, according to Sky’s Stuart Ramsey, who is in eastern Ukraine.
    The helicopter, an Mi-24, came under fire from a heavy machine gun and crashed into a river.
    The ministry said in a statement the crew were evacuated to a nearby camp but did not give any detail of their condition.
    At least three other helicopters have been shot down by pro-Russian rebels in the violence that is increasing in eastern parts of the country.
    Pictures shot by news wires showed pro-Russia rebels carrying rocket launchers and rocket propelled grenades.
    The four police officers were killed in fighting near Slavyansk after Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said they were ambushed by separatist rebels on the outskirts of the city of 118,000.
    The fighting has been intensifying since the Ukrainian forces began an operation to remove the rebels from the strongholds in a number of eastern towns and cities.
    Reuters reported that cars were ferrying the wounded from the sites of the clashes but there were no figures for fatalities on the side of the separatists.
    One civilian woman in Slavyansk was reported to have been hit in the head by a bullet, and pictures showed the funeral of a 21-year-old nurse Yulia Izotova, in Kramatorsk, who was said to have been killed in fighting in the surrounding area in the days before.
    I would venture to say that a good deal of these shadow guys running around causing problems are GRU Spetsnaz, along with a larger group of ethnic Russian and even Ukrainian Donbass seperatists, while on the other side you have Ukrainian military and Nationalist paramilitaries like Right Sector, which has a fair amount of ethnic Russians in the organization, and they aren't exactly playing nice with the Russians either. Alot of these guys were in the Soviet military together and know the other side pretty damn well.

    This is getting uglier and uglier.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Ukraine tightens cordon around rebellious city












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    Ukraine forces kill pro-Russian insurgents





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    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops tightened a security cordon around a major insurgent-held eastern city Tuesday, but pro-Russia militia acted with impunity elsewhere in the turbulent region bordering Russia, surrounding a major Interior Ministry base.



    Thirty pro-Russia insurgents and four government troops were killed Monday in operations to expunge anti-government forces around the city of Slovyansk, Ukraine's interior minister said Tuesday. Rebels said 10 people — fighters and civilians — were killed by Ukrainian troops during clashes Monday. They would not elaborate and there was no immediate way to reconcile the figures.
    Gunbattles on Monday around the city of 125,000 were the interim government's most ambitious effort to date to quell weeks of unrest in Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking east.
    In the southwest, Kiev authorities also attempted to reassert control over the key Black Sea region of Odessa by appointing a new governor there Tuesday.
    This nation of 46 million is facing its worst crisis in decades after its Moscow-leaning president, whose base was in the east, fled to Russia in February following months of protests. Ukraine's eastern regions, where armed insurgents have seized dozens of government buildings and police stations in recent weeks, are now at odds with western and central Ukraine, which seek closer ties with Europe and largely back the government in Kiev.
    Interior Minister Arsen Avakov gave the death toll on his Facebook page Tuesday, adding that 20 government troops were also injured during fighting in Slovyansk. He said about 800 pro-Russia forces in and around Slovyansk were using large-caliber weapons and mortars Monday.
    By Tuesday morning, Ukrainian forces had taken hold of a key checkpoint north of the city, dealing a blow to insurgent lines of communication.
    In Donetsk, a major city 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Slovyansk, the airport was closed during the day to international flights following a government order but reopened later.
    In the afternoon, about 30 pro-Russia militants armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers surrounded an Interior Ministry base in Donetsk, demanding that the troops inside not join any government operations against pro-Russia forces. While it was unclear whether they would attack, besieging a government forces base marked an uptick in the offensive of the militants, who previously had focused on seizing police stations and government buildings.
    In the southwest, Kiev authorities announced Tuesday they were firing the acting governor in Odessa and replacing him with member of parliament, Ihor Palytsya. Odessa's police chief was also fired over the weekend.
    View gallery

    A tram passes a portrait of Andriy Biryukov, a pro-Ukrainian activist killed in clashes on Friday, a …

    The move over the predominantly Russian-speaking region came after 46 people died Friday, many in a building fire, after a pro-Ukraine march in Odessa turned into a melee of fighting.
    The concern that Odessa could be the next region to fall to pro-Russia forces — particularly after 67 people detained in Friday's rioting were released by police Sunday under pressure from an angry crowd — has sparked concern in Kiev.
    Opposing sides of the Ukraine conflict have traded bitter recriminations over the Odessa deaths. As residents gathered on Tuesday to lay flowers near the building, they remained confused about exactly what caused the fire and suspicious of the police forces who for whatever reason did not stop the bloodshed.
    Those who gathered to commemorate the victims, at least 15 of whom were buried Tuesday, fell in both the pro-Ukraine and pro-Russian camps. But most people placed responsibility for what happened on the police for standing aside during the violence and for later releasing the pro-Russia activists.
    "I saw how the police were on the side of the pro-Russians — they broke rank when the Russians attacked and closed ranks when they stepped back," said 46-year-old Vitaly Khadyko.
    The central government attempted to boost confidence by sending in an elite national guard unit, which could be seen patrolling the streets of Odessa. On Monday, newly appointed police chief Ivan Katerinchuk left his office to talk to activists who had gathered outside.
    "We won't allow such scenarios to be repeated," he told the angry crowd.
    The goals of the pro-Russian insurgency are ostensibly broader powers of autonomy for the region, but some insurgents do favor separatism or even joining Russia.
    Leaders of the anti-government movement say they plan to hold a referendum on autonomy for eastern regions on Sunday, although no visible preparations for the vote have yet been seen.
    Russia has put the blame for the unrest squarely on the interim government in Kiev. During a Tuesday meeting in Vienna with the Council of Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded that the Ukrainian government end its armed assaults on rebel strongholds. He said he was open to another round of international talks to ease the crisis, but only if pro-Russia rebels were included.
    "Those who protest ... want their voices heard," he told reporters. "They want to have an equal voice when it comes to deciding the fate of their own country."
    His Ukrainian counterpart rejected the proposal, saying the Kiev government already represents all the people of Ukraine.
    Ukrainian authorities have blamed Moscow for fomenting the unrest in the east, saying it's an attempt to derail Ukraine's May 25 presidential election. Lavrov repeated Moscow's claims that violence in Ukraine proved the country was unready for a vote, and that a constitution allowing for greater federalization should come before a presidential election.
    "Scheduling elections in times when the army is used against parts of the population is not conventional," he said. "This is not Afghanistan."
    Russia, Ukraine and European and U.S. leaders met in Geneva on April 17 and signed a deal calling for the dissolution of all illegal military formations in Ukraine. But the sides quickly accused each other of violating the agreement, which has done little to mitigate the turmoil in the country's east.
    ___
    Yuras Karmanau reported from Odessa, Ukraine. George Jahn contributed reporting from Vienna, Austria.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Pro-Russia insurgents to hold vote in east Ukraine












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    Pro-Russia Insurgents to Vote in East Ukraine




    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — The photocopy machines churning out the ballots for eastern Ukraine's sovereignty referendum have been clattering around the clock for days. Even the powerful Vladimir Putin can't stop them.



    Despite the Kremlin leader's plea to postpone Sunday's vote, the pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine who call themselves the Donetsk People's Republic said they'll go ahead with the referendum.
    Ukraine has in recent weeks grown perilously polarized — with the west looking toward Europe and the east favoring closer ties with Russia. Insurgents who detest the central government in Kiev that took power amid chaos in February have seized police stations and government buildings in more than a dozen cities in the east. Ukrainian forces have mounted an offensive to drive them out, an operation that has left several dozen dead.
    Support for the referendum is most pronounced among eastern Ukraine's proudly Russian-speaking working class. Rage against the central government that came to power after months of Ukrainian nationalist-tinged protests is blended with despair at Ukraine's dire economic straits and corruption.
    The occasionally violent protests that culminated in President Viktor Yanukovych's fleeing to Russia were for many in the east seen as a putsch and a portent of repression against the region's Russian-speakers.
    "This isn't our government. It's the government of those that destroyed everything," said construction laborer Galina Lukash, 48.
    Along with the vote in the eastern Donetsk region, a similar and even more hastily improvised referendum is due to take place Sunday in the neighboring Luhansk region. Together they have about 6.5 million people.
    The referenda are similar to the one in Crimea in March that preceded Russia's annexation of that strategic Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. Like the one in Crimea, they are regarded as illegitimate both by Kiev and the West.
    View gallery

    The head of the elections commission of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, …

    But unlike the Crimean vote, which was held as Russian soldiers and affiliated local militias held control of the peninsula, the eastern referenda take place amid armed conflict. And, critically, unlike Crimea, whose majority Russian-speaking population made approval a foregone conclusion, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have a more mixed population.
    A poll by the Washington-based Pew Research center released on Thursday found that 70 percent of the residents of Ukraine's east want Ukraine to maintain its current borders. That suggests the referenda have a chance of failing, if opponents turn out in force and the count is honest.
    However those opposed to the referendum seem likely to ignore it. Some have grown desperate at the anarchy in eastern Ukraine.
    "This is a madhouse. That isn't a particularly literary word, I know, but there is no better way to put it. People are killing one another and we don't know why," said 58-year-old retiree Svetlana Amitina.
    Putin's surprise call on Wednesday for the referendum to be put off appears to reflect Russia's desire to distance itself from the separatists. The West and the Ukrainian government accuse Russia of supporting or outright directing the unrest in the east, while Moscow denies involvement.
    "Russia has made it clear it doesn't want the referendum, so it has no obligation to recognize its results, especially if it fails," said Alexei Makarkin, deputy head of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies think-tank.
    The decision Thursday by the insurgents' councils to go ahead with the votes reinforces Russia's claim it is not in league with the separatists.
    View gallery

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a joint news conference with Swiss Federal President Didi …

    "Putin is seeking a way out of the situation. We are grateful to him for this, but we are just a bullhorn for the people. We just voice what the people want," said Donetsk People's Republic co-chairman Denis Pushilin.
    The Donetsk People's Republic, which arose in chaotic and murky circumstances in early April, claims to want full autonomy from Ukraine, which they say has been led by a "fascist junta" since Donetsk region native Yanukovych was toppled.
    To that end, insurgent election officials say some 3 million ballot papers have been printed for the vote that asks one question: "Do you support the act of proclamation of independent sovereignty for the Donetsk People's Republic?"
    Despite the phrasing, organizers say they decide only after the vote whether they want independence, greater autonomy within Ukraine or annexation by Russia.
    Russian state media describe the Donetsk People's Republic movement as "supporters of federalization," reflecting Moscow's official line that it would like Ukraine's government to devolve some powers to the regions. But many in Donetsk say they would like their would-be republic to one day join their eastern neighbor. The Russian tricolor often flutters over the several dozen government offices seized and occupied by anti-government groups.
    If Putin chooses to dash the hopes of those in his own country and in eastern Ukraine who crave another Crimea-style annexation, his now sky-high approval ratings could suffer. But pursuing expansionist goals, or even tacitly supporting anti-government movements in Ukraine, will likely prompt new and substantially more punitive Western sanctions against Russia.
    Donetsk People's Republic elections chief Roman Lyagin said there will be around 1,200 polling stations and he expects a turnout of 70 percent.
    View gallery

    Graphic shows results of a poll of Ukrainians about the future of their country.

    "Preparations are going according to schedule. Almost the entire run of ballots has been prepared," said Lyagin told The Associated Press.
    Campaigning for the referendum has been negligible, largely relying on crude graffiti. Many sidewalks bear spray-painted stencil images of the word "referendum" next to a crossed-out swastika.
    The Donetsk People's Republic has its own radio and television stations and a fledgling online presence, all of which have churned out a steady diet of anti-Kiev invective.
    The Donetsk People's Republic was formed April 7 by pro-Russia activists after the storming of a regional administrative building. In subsequent days, heavily armed men began storming police stations and city halls. Journalists, activists and politicians sympathetic to the government started to go missing. Horlivka city council representative Volodymyr Rybak turned up dead, bearing signs of torture.
    A climate of fear has grown, fueled by the now-common sight of gunmen roaming even the regional capital, Donetsk.
    "We are remaining quiet, because we are simply afraid for our lives," said Diana Dekatiryova, a university student. "The thought I have is to stay away from the referendum, because nothing will depend on our vote anyway."
    The resolve of many pro-Russians has been emboldened by Ukrainian government operations to militarily recapture Slovyansk, a city 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Donetsk and under the control of the armed Donetsk People's Republic.
    A view shared by many anti-government activists — and eagerly promoted by Kremlin-backed television — is that Ukrainian authorities are shooting people who just want closer relations with Russia.
    "They can't kill everybody. We must cry out. The whole world must learn about this," said Tamara Soynikova, 59, member of a Donetsk People's Republic election panel in the city of Kostiantynivka.
    In contrast, pro-Ukrainian sentiments are especially pronounced among the younger generation, those with no memory of living in the Soviet Union.
    "We were born in Ukraine, we live in Ukraine. What does it matter that we're Russian?" said first-year law student Arkady Sabronov, 18.
    ___
    Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Ukraine crisis: Pro-Russian rebels will proceed with autonomy vote despite Putin's call to delay

    Date
    C.J. Chivers and David M. Herszenhorn







    Pro-Russian activists patrol in front of the Ukrainian regional office in Slaviansk. Photo: AP

    Slaviansk: Anti-government rebels in eastern Ukraine said on Thursday that they would proceed with a referendum this weekend seeking autonomy, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday had appeared to withdraw his support for the vote.
    “The referendum will be held on May 11,” said Miroslav Rudenko, the co-chairman of the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as the rebels call their political wing, according to Interfax, a Russian state-controlled news service.
    The announcement is likely to revive tensions between the interim government in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, and the armed rebels who have seized terrain and buildings in parts of eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk.
    Pro-Russian gunmen atop an armoured personal carrier patrol through the centre of Slaviansk. Photo: AP

    Antigovernment rebels in Luhansk, where the uprising has a smaller presence in a city strategically located beside the Russian border, echoed the message from Donetsk, saying they too would hold a referendum.
    On Wednesday, Mr Putin appealed to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to hold off on the referendum in order to provide an opening for a dialogue on new political arrangements for the country, including more autonomy for regions of Ukraine that identify historically and linguistically with Russia.
    The swift insistence by local separatist leaders that they would persist in holding the referendum immediately raised questions about Putin’s motives in his remarks on Wednesday, in which he appeared to sound a conciliatory note.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a conciliatory tone over Ukraine. Photo: Reuters

    Putin and other senior Russian officials have repeatedly insisted that Moscow is not controlling the unrest in eastern Ukraine, a point that is strenuously disputed by the Ukrainian government in Kiev.
    Officials in Kiev have noted that any such referendum is illegal - a direct violation of the Ukrainian Constitution - and they have questioned the ability of the separatist leaders to carry out anything approaching a normal vote.
    In Kiev on Wednesday, officials reacted guardedly to Putin’s remarks, noting that he had made similar noises about pulling back troops from the border with Ukraine, only for Ukraine and its Western allies to conclude that Russia remained poised for an invasion.
    Andriy Parubiy, the head of Ukraine’s national security council, said in an interview that he was proceeding on a belief that Putin’s ultimate goal was to disrupt the Ukrainian presidential election scheduled for May 25 and that Russia would continue efforts to destabilise the east. “We understand that a key task for Russia is to destroy the elections on May 25,” Mr Parubiy said.
    On Wednesday, the Ukrainian security service posted a recording on its Web site that it said offered proof of Russian involvement in coordinating both the unrest in eastern Ukraine and the referendum on independence, including plans to falsify the results.
    The recording was of a phone call that the security service said took place between a pro-Russian political operative named Aleksandr Barkashov, who was identified as being in Moscow, and Dmytro Boitsov, a leader of separatist rebels in Donetsk.
    The authenticity of the recording could not be independently verified.
    In the conversation, riddled with expletives, Mr Boitsov suggests cancelling the referendum and Mr Barkashov insists that it must go forward, by saying that it is ridiculous to consider holding a real vote. “Are you going to walk around and collect papers?” he asks incredulously, his words punctuated by curses. “Are you insane?”
    “Let’s say that 89 per cent voted for the Donetsk Republic and that’s it,” Barkashov says.

    The referendum seems intended to mimic the series of events that led up to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In that case, however, Moscow had made clear that it supported the idea of a public referendum on independence. Putin’s remarks suggested a far murkier situation, in which the Kremlin does not want to take responsibility for eastern Ukraine where surveys have indicated a majority of the population does not support becoming part of Russia.
    Ukrainian election officials in Kiev have already conceded that it will be virtually impossible to carry out the presidential election in some of the besieged areas in eastern Ukraine, and they are making provisions for voting to take place in adjacent regions, where security can be assured.
    In Moscow, Putin on Thursday afternoon announced training exercises of Russia’s armed forces, which included a simulation of a Russian defence against a nuclear strike on its territory and the launching of ballistic missiles from Russian submarines, according to state television and news service reports.
    Putin said that Thursday’s manoeuvers had been scheduled in advance. He said the same about recent military exercises carried out close to the Ukrainian border.
    “Today on the eve of the May 9th holiday, Victory Day, we are conducting a test of the readiness of the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” Putin said in televised remarks at a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a regional military alliance of six former Soviet countries of which Russia is the largest.
    “All the branches of the armed forces will be involved across the entire territory of the country, including the nuclear deterrence forces,” Putin added.
    Thursday’s military exercises seemed to be an exhibition of sabre-rattling despite Putin’s calls for a return to diplomacy on Wednesday.
    Also on Thursday, Russia’s deputy minister of defence, Anatoly Antonov, said that Ukraine had massed forces of 15,000 troops along the Russian border.
    “Under the conditions of the continuing crisis in Ukraine, such acts at the very least do not promote the de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine,” Mr Antonov said, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
    The New York Times



    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/ukraine-...#ixzz31FZhrH1a
    Last edited by Avvakum; May 9th, 2014 at 20:00.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards


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    Armed men in eastern Ukraine open fire on crowd

















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    KRASNOARMEISK, Ukraine (AP) — Armed men identified as Ukrainian national guard opened fire Sunday on a crowd outside a town hall in eastern Ukraine, and an official for the region's insurgents said there were fatalities.
    The bloodshed in the town of Krasnoarmeisk occurred hours after dozens of armed men shut down voting in a referendum on sovereignty for the region. One of them identified the group as being national guardsmen.
    An Associated Press photographer who witnessed the shooting said two people were seen lying unmoving on the ground and insurgent leader Denis Pushilin was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying there were an unspecified number of deaths.
    Several hours earlier, the men came to the town about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the regional capital, Donetsk, and dispersed referendum voting that was taking place outside the town hall and they took control of the building. In the evening, more arrived in a van and a scuffle broke out with people who were gathered around the building. Then they fired shots.
    Witnesses to the shooting posted a number of videos on YouTube. One of the videos shows several armed men holding AK-47s yelling to the crowd "go home, get out of here." One then cocks his weapon, and seconds later a man from the crowd steps forward and approaches another gunman, also carrying an AK-47, to speak with him. The gunman fires a warning shot over his head, but that doesn't deter the man. He continues to approach as shots continue and the man is struck by a bullet, falls to the ground and can be seen bleeding from his leg.
    The video, shot by someone at the scene of the confrontation, has been authenticated based on accounts by AP journalists at the site and was consistent with AP's own reporting on what happened.
    Eastern Ukraine has been gripped by unrest for the past month as pro-Russia insurgents occupied police stations and government buildings. Ukrainian forces have mounted a limited offensive to try to drive them out.
    The Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Sunday conducted referendums on declaring the regions as so-called sovereign people's republics. Leaders of the vote, which is regarded as illegitimate by the central government and the West, say that sometime after the referendum, a decision will be made on whether to remain part of Ukraine, declare independence of seek annexation into Russia.


    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards


    Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director.
    R. Hunter Biden will be in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations. On his new appointment, he commented: “Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine. As a new member of the Board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the Company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.”
    The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, Mr. Alan Apter, noted: “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.”
    R. Hunter Biden is a counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm based in New York, USA, which served in cases including “Bush vs. Gore”, and “U.S. vs. Microsoft”. He is one of the co-founders and a managing partner of the investment advisory company Rosemont Seneca Partners, as well as chairman of the board of Rosemont Seneca Advisors. He is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Masters Program in the School of Foreign Service.
    Mr. Biden has experience in public service and foreign policy. He is a director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Center for National Policy, and the Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute. Having served as a Senior Vice President at MBNA bank, former U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed him an Executive Director of E-Commerce Policy Coordination under Secretary of Commerce William Daley. Mr. Biden served as Honorary Co-Chair of the 2008 Obama-Biden Inaugural Committee.
    Mr. Biden is a member of the bar in the State of Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court of Federal Claims. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
    R. Hunter Biden is also a well-known public figure. He is chairman of the Board of the World Food Programme U.S.A., together with the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the United Nations World Food Programme. In this capacity he offers assistance to the poor in developing countries, fighting hunger and poverty, and helping to provide food and education to 300 million malnourished children around the world.
    Company Background:
    Burisma Holdings is a privately owned oil and gas company with assets in Ukraine and operating in the energy market since 2002. To date, the company holds a portfolio with permits to develop fields in the Dnieper-Donets, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuban basins. In 2013, the daily gas production grew steadily and at year-end amounted to 11.6 thousand BOE (barrels of oil equivalent – incl. gas, condensate and crude oil), or 1.8 million m3 of natural gas. The company sells these volumes in the domestic market through traders, as well as directly to final consumers.
    For more information contact the press office at media@burisma.com

    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Updated: Putting Unrest in Ukraine’s West in Perspective




    Posted by David on April 24, 2014 in Analysis

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    Updated on April 28, 2014
    Last week, Recorded Future highlighted suspicions (see below) of a Ukrainian MP about Russian-backed neo-Nazi activity in Lviv, a city in Ukraine’s west. His statements suggested at least 1,000 Russian-influenced individuals would stage rallies to commemorate the creation of the Ukrainian SS on April 28.
    The rally, which occurred on April 27, did not reach the proportions previously suggested by MP Moskal. While the peaceful commemoration did take place, estimates of those involved ranged from 500 to 600 participants.
    Indicative of the ongoing war of words between Ukraine and Russia, however, is the fact the rally did not reach the size reported by ITAR-TASS News Agency. In an article published after the event, ITAR-TASS notes that organizers of the rally suggested that “about 3,000 people might take part all in all.”
    The inflated nature of the numbers provided by both MP Moskal and ITAR-TASS highlight the ongoing struggle between Ukraine and Russia to shape the narrative around the ongoing crisis.

    Posted on April 24, 2014
    While Russia continues to foment unrest in Ukraine’s east, open source information collected by Recorded Future suggests it will soon exert pressure on the country’s west to solidify its gains.
    April 28 is a significant date, marking the establishment of the Ukrainian SS branch during World War II. According to Hennadiy Moskal, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, Russia is orchestrating neo-Nazi activity in Lviv and other western Ukraine cities for April 28. This unrest would reinforce Putin’s narrative, in which the Kiev uprising is an illegitimate fascist coup, backed by neo-Nazis, which requires actions to protect Russian speakers in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards





    Mokal: provocations in wsestern Ukraine being prepared to intensify separatist sentiments

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    April 17, 2014, 2:43 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

    According to MP Hennadiy Moskal, those behind the special operation hope that press of many countries of the world will interpret the above-mentioned events as "a neo-Nazism threat rising in Ukraine, which will cause unrest in Western Europe."

    MP Hennadiy Moskal has said that that he has information about planned provocations in western Ukraine during the May holidays to intensify the separatists sentiments in the southeastern part of the country.
    "On April 28 - a date that is considered the day of the creation of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian), marches with symbols of the division are supposed to be held on the streets of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil. The slogans of the marches are supposed to be interpreted by the citizens of south and east of Ukraine as a threat to their freedom, lives and property. Calls for physical elimination of separatists are also planned, along with destruction of the offices of Communist and Regions parties and administrative buildings. The goal of these rallies is to raise the separatist sentiment in the southeastern regions of Ukraine with renewed vigor," Moskal wrote on his Facebook page.
    The MP assured that the information was received from reliable sources, "which are directly connected to this special operation." He noted that "about a thousand people with fluent knowledge of Ukrainian, who were prepared by Russian special services, will come to Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions. They will come as separate travelers through checkpoints in Chernihiv region and from Belarus, and won't raise the suspicions of the Ukrainian border services," the MP said.
    Moskal said that a network of provocateurs is already in Ukraine. They are seeking contacts with NGOs and separate citizens, who will agree to join the mass rallies for monetary compensation. "Coordinators of provocations are experienced employees of Russian special forces and natives of western regions of Ukraine, who speak the local dialect of Ukrainian. They are already in the west of the country," MP claims.
    MP said that one more goal of the provocations is to use "holidays on May 1-9 for full-scale acts of aggression all over Ukraine to oppose the 'neo-Nazis,' 'Banderovites' and supporters of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian)."
    Besides, Moskal addressed Chief of the Ukrainian Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Governors of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions with a request to apply their best efforts to prevent provocations.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    The previous three articles dates suggest a 'false collapse' of Ukraine, with the hoped for result of breaking Ukraine apart into sections both Obama's crowd and Putin's can exploit for their own purposes. I'm not sure, and you all may have differing opinions.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards


    Official Kiev using UN marked Helicopters to attack militia 1

    Societal • Tags: Ban Ki-moon, Contingent Owned Equipment, Donetsk Oblast, Flag of the United Nations, Kiev, Mil Mi-24, Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations
    EEV: Needs 2nd source confirmation
    Wednesday, 14 May 2014
    The UN has voiced concerns over the apparent use of UN-marked helicopters by Kiev troops in their military operation against Donetsk regional militia. A video of a white-painted Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter with UN logo has emerged.
    When inquired about the United Nations’ stance on the use of peacekeeper-marked military hardware in non-peacekeeper operations, the office for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said such use would violate UN rules.
    “It is the responsibility of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) that provide Contingent Owned Equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN’s name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes,” the office told RT.
    It added that UN-marked aircraft can be used for missions tasked by the UN and that UN’s Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities to clarify the issue.
    A video of a UN-marked Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter was published on Tuesday by LifeNews television. It said its correspondents covering Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk Region took the video near Kramatorsk. LifeNews said at least three combat Mi-24 and one transport Mi-8 helicopters carrying UN colors were spotted in the area.
    The Ukrainian military has provided equipment for several UN peacekeeping missions, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/25296/53/
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    As Ukraine has 25% of the world's proven reserves of natural gas;

    Ukraine Just Issued $1 Billion Bonds Backed By The US Taxpayer


    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2014 19:09 -0400






    inShare15



    The bailout floodgates are open and the US taxpayer is footing the bill once again - whether through IMF loans or more directly. Today saw Ukraine issue $1 Billion 5-Year Notes at a stunningly low risk of only 28bps above US Treasuries and dramatically cheaper than the cost of capital in the public markets (and from the IMF) which yield over 10%. The reason for the 1) low cost, and 2) actual ability to raise debt... the bond is guaranteed by the US Agency for International Development and "assures full repayment of principal and interest" based on the full faith and credit of the US (Taxpayer). We assume Gazprom will be happy...

    • *UKRAINE $1B 5Y NOTES LAUNCH AT +28

    So why not pile into these bonds? 28 extra basis points for no apparent additional credit risk... some liquidity risk but we are sure your friendly local central bank will enable you to swap them for infinitely rehypothecatable cash with no haircut...
    They're gonna need moar... (and this does not include Gazprom)


    Oh and Ukraine says "thanks America"... (as WSJ reports)


    "The $1 billion loan guarantee that (U.S. Agency for International Development) will implement will help the government of Ukraine access capital at reasonable rates and manage the transition to a prosperous democracy," Mark Feierstein, assistant administrator at USAID, said in April.

    "The guarantee assures investors of full repayment of principal and interest."

    The deal follows similar guarantees provided for bonds issued by Tunisia in 2012 and Jordan last year.
    But - there is a catch...


    Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Tuesday that Ukraine's bondholders could face losses if separatists in the country's southeastern regions successfully gain independence.

    The bank said a breakup of the country could potentially force the International Monetary Fund to tear up Ukraine's current $17 billion aid package and trigger a debt restructuring program that would hit private investors. An IMF spokesperson said the fund is monitoring the situation.
    Why did an energy firm with big assets in Ukraine hire Joe Biden’s son?

    Yahoo News















    .View photo

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing December 4, 2013. Biden should not expect to make much progress in defusing tensions over the East China Sea if he plans to repeat "erroneous and one-sided remarks" on the issue when he visits China, a top state-run paper said on Wednesday. Beijing's decision to declare an air defence identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea and dominated Biden's talks in Tokyo on Tuesday. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS)



    In the span of a few weeks, an energy firm little-known inside the United States added two members to its board of directors — scoring connections to Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden in the bargain.



    On April 22, Cyprus-based Burisma announced that financier Devon Archer had joined its board. Archer, who shared a room in college with Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, served as national finance co-chair for the former senator’s 2004 presidential campaign.
    Then, on Monday, the firm announced that Biden’s younger son, R. Hunter Biden, would join the board of directors.
    Why would the company, which bills itself as Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, need such powerful friends in Washington?
    The answer might be the company’s holdings in Ukraine. They include, according to the firm’s website, permits to explore in the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the country’s eastern regions, home to an armed pro-Russian separatist movement. They also include permits to explore in the Azov-Kuban Basin of the strategic Crimean peninsula, annexed earlier this year by Moscow.
    It’s not clear what will happen to energy firms, like Burisma, that aim to explore and exploit potential deposits in those areas. Neither the Archer nor the Biden announcement explicitly mentions the unrest, and it’s not clear exactly when their discussions to join the board began. In an April 23 Q&A, the transcript of which appears on Burisma’s website, Archer said he had been approached “a few months ago” about the opportunity to consult for the oil company. The announcement of his directorship came less than a month after the disputed vote in Crimea to rejoin Russia.
    The White House and the vice president’s office denied there was anything untoward about Biden’s appointment.
    “Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the Vice President or President,” said President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney. “But I would refer you to the Vice President’s office.”
    “Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” the vice president’s press secretary, Kendra Barkoff, said in a statement. “The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company. For any additional questions, I refer you to Hunter’s office.”
    The person who answered the telephone at Biden’s office in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday cheerfully declared that Biden was traveling, that his return date was unknown, and that his assistant was also out of pocket.
    An email to Burisma’s public relations department did not elicit a reply.
    But Archer coyly acknowledged the potential benefits of having him on the board in the April 23 Q&A.
    Question: “In the American media you are often linked to the immediate circle of the U.S. Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry and the Vice-president of the United States Mr. Joe Biden.”
    Archer: “American journalists really think so (smiles). I do know them."
    Last edited by Avvakum; May 19th, 2014 at 21:04.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    The secret players in the Russia-Ukraine game



    97 CONNECT 67 TWEET 3 LINKEDIN 21 COMMENTEMAILMORE

    Keeping up with the battle in Ukraine? Then you must know of a man named Ramzan Kadyrov. No? Well, that's because he's the Instagram dictator staying in the background, behind the curtain, asking people to pay no mind to the Chechen military fighters he might be ordering over to fight for Russia.
    Ramzan Kadyrov is the president of Chechnya, a Russian republic situated in the North Caucasus region. Multiple reports from Russia, Chechnya and Ukraine suggest that there is Chechen military involvement in the eastern part of Ukraine, fighting on the pro-Russia side. While the number of Chechens in Ukraine is hard to gauge and their existence difficult to prove, even a small number could have a deep significance.
    To understand why this is important, one must first understand how Russia (and many of its supporters) plays ball. In a word? Subversively.
    "What's going on with Ukraine is a classic covert operation," says OZY contributor and former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin. "The Russians probably won't have to go in militarily with special forces because they are gradually stirring it up, co-opting it." Multiple Russian experts assume that what we see on television from Ukraine has been influenced by Vladimir Putin's intervention.
    "Everyone assumes this is not spontaneously generated by someone who woke up and said, 'Hey, I'd like to be a part of Russia,'" says McLaughlin. "They are doing this very indirectly. Involving the Chechens in that would be also kind of classic, to the extent that you can confuse the adversary." He explains that confusion makes it harder for those who oppose Russia to know what to do next, which is ultimately the aim of covert actions.
    There are a host of reasons why Chechens in Ukraine could add confusion. It would mean introducing fighters of a different nationality with motives that seem to clash with Russia's. Chechnya itself fought a separatist war against Russia in 1994–1996, briefly winning until it lost a second war in 1999–2000.
    The wars turned into an Islamic insurgency in response to the Kremlin's actions, geographically and politically. Kadyrov and his father, both Muslim, fought against Russia in the first war, but changed sides in the second. Given this recent history, it seems like many Chechens would be sympathetic to those fighting against Russia in Ukraine, and not willing to take up arms on behalf of Russia. So what would motivate Chechens to fight for Russia?
    "Kadyrov is a man who has survived by taking positions that are more pro-Russia than Russia," says Paul Goble, a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious issues in the post-Soviet world. He says the Chechen Republic is vastly more Islamic today than it ever was before, and Putin looks the other way because Kadyrov constantly expresses his undying love for Russia.
    Additionally, deploying fighters works to Chechnya's advantage because it gives them military experience in the field, something the Russian government denies them by hesitating to draft North Caucasians in big numbers, Chechens in particular. The government is worried that if it trains Chechens in how to use its weapons, they may turn around and use their training against Russia.
    Chechen forces in the Ukraine can also serve as an implied threat to Russia itself, proving how many able-bodied men Kadyrov has at his beck and call. "I find it a fascinating play by Kadyrov, a very evil man who is not stupid," says Goble.
    Goble points out that it may be hard for observers to distinguish Chechen forces in the eastern regions of Ukraine from the Crimean Tatars, since both groups are Muslim. "They look similar. They could do something, and the Crimean Tatars could be blamed," says Goble. "Then there'd be more support for tough measures against the Tatars because they [would be seen as] dangerous Muslims, like the Chechens."
    The introduction of foreign fighters would eerily resemble the events leading to the escalation of the ongoing Syrian civil war.
    The Tatars were deported from their homeland of Crimea by Stalin in 1944, but have returned en masse since 1989. They make up about 12.1 percent of the Crimean population and have been consistent allies of the Ukranian government against Russia. Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of their mass expulsion, and thousands gathered in commemoration.
    Adding Chechens to the mix could intensify instability yet have minimal consequences for Russia. Goble explains that Chechens have a reputation for being brutal fighters. Kadyrov himself has been suspected of horrific human rights abuses and runs an intensely thuggish regime. (He tries to counterbalance this with pictures of fluffy kittens on Instagram.) However, Moscow could easily deny any responsibility for actions taken by Chechens, as nothing has been officially ordered by Putin.
    In fact, Kadyrov himself is denying official Chechen military involvement. When acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Chechens were fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in Slovyansk, a town in east Ukraine, Kadyrov took to his Instagram (of course) to call this allegation "absurd." As RFE/RL's Liz Fuller points out, Kadyrov was careful to say "Chechen battalions" are not currently deployed in Ukraine, which does not really touch on the issue of informal military units.
    Right now there is no definitive proof that Chechens are in Ukraine, just hearsay and YouTube videos. Kavkazcenter, the official website of the North Caucasus Islamic insurgency, posted a letter from a man who claims he was sent to Crimea and then to Slovyansk, as part of a Chechen security force. Reuters spoke with a soldier who says he went to Crimea ahead of its voter referendum. Recruitment centers in Grozny were reportedly asking for volunteer soldiers to fight in Ukraine, but the offices suddenly closed after stories about them were published. A Chechen student in Grozny alleges, via Russian blogger Oleg Leusenko, that residents were reluctant to volunteer, and recruiters called those people cowards and violently beat a man who refused to sign up.
    Of course, this is not the world according to Kadyrov. "There are tens of thousands of volunteers in Chechnya who are ready to help those who are being abused by fascistic thugs, whose blood is being shed by the unlawful government of Kiev," writes Kadyrov, who can't resist a not-at-all-veiled threat even in a denial. "And if the Chechens really go to Slavyansk and other cities, you will see how people like Avakov flee from there, and will not stop even at the Western border of Ukraine."
    Translation: We're not there — but if we were, you would know because you would be fleeing in terror. How thoughtful of the totally trustworthy Kadyrov to provide such … reassurance.
    Ozy.com is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    From Russia Today;

    Breaking news
    Graham Phillips released by Ukrainian authorities




    Ukrainian ultranationalist leader calls for guerilla war against pro-federalists

    Published time: May 18, 2014 13:38
    Edited time: May 18, 2014 14:37 Get short URL

    Right Sector protest in front of Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on March 27, 2014. (AFP Photo/Genya Savilov)



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    Television debates with three nationalist presidential candidates ended up in calls to pursue a guerilla war against pro-federalist Ukrainian citizens and conduct targeted assassinations of their leaders.
    The leader of the radical Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh, and his no less nationalist opponents, former chief of foreign intelligence service, Nikolay Malomuzh, and chairman of People’s Rukh nationalist party, Vasily Skubiyda, presented their vision of Ukraine on Saturday after the presidential election set for May 25.
    Because their positions are really close, they represent the far-right body of electors. The extremist views of Dmitry Yarosh stood out against a background of total antagonism towards everything non-Ukrainian, in the first place the Russian-speaking citizens of the country’s southeast who are demanding federalization.
    The leader of the militants, who now make up the backbone of the newly created National Guards, currently conducting military operations against federalization activists in eastern Ukraine, has called for “extensive guerilla war” against the protesting federalist forces in Donetsk and Lugansk.
    The Right Sector, which last month formed a special detachment, Donbass-1, for waging war against the federalists in eastern Ukraine, is now busy forming the Donbass-2 unit and plans to recruit militants for a third one, said Yarosh.
    The ultranationalist leader categorically denied that the autonomous republic of Crimea had the right to disengage with Ukraine through a popular referendum and reunite with Russia. Crimea “has always been, and remains” a Ukrainian territory, stated Yarosh and called to start a guerilla war in the peninsula get the region back.
    The Right Sector leader also shared new tactics to be used against federalists in the East, saying that there should be no more attempts to storm the rebel cities, but rather “knock out” the activist leaders. It means that they should be physically eliminated, he specified.

    Dmitry Yarosh (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

    The federalization of Ukraine should never be allowed as it would destroy the Ukrainian state, stressed Yarosh, and promised in case of victory in the presidential race to form future authorities out of Maidan activists who have proven their loyalty.
    There is no secret that several Ukrainian oligarchs, who were appointed governors of several eastern regions of the country by the new Kiev authorities, are financing paramilitary units that actually make up private armies of their own.
    As for and the Right Sector, its leader Dmitry Yarosh stated that he is “against oligarchs.” The new politician claimed that once he becomes president, he would “redirect Ukrainian economy and tax system from supporting monopolies owned by oligarchs to support small and medium business.”
    However, the Right Sector leader never explained what happened to the valuables that were reported missing after Right Sector members occupied certain premises, such as the recreational center ‘Bear oak grove’, or the lavish residence of the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich soon after the ousted president fled the country.
    During the debates, all three candidates agreed that there should be only one official language in Ukraine to maintain the integrity of the country. The presidential candidates expressed a readiness to ensure the rights of the ‘national minorities,’ but offered no solution to the historically Russian-speaking majority of the 20 million-strong population of the South and East of Ukraine, who do not speak Ukrainian.
    Towards the end of the debates, Dmitry Yarosh made a controversial statement, addressing the electorate.
    “I would like to assure all citizens in the East and South of Ukraine that neither me as a person, nor the Right Sector, bear any ill will to peaceful Ukrainian citizens. Yes, we’re ready to carry out our constitutional duty to protect territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine, and we’re already doing so. We will protect our country with arms if necessary,” said Yarosh.
    In fact, Ukrainian citizens of the protesting regions have every right to fear Yarosh and his Right Sector union as they are acting as the spearhead of punitive actions against the protesters in the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov and Odessa regions.

    Right Sector radicals (AFP Photo/Genya Savilov)

    So far there have been 23 registered presidential candidates in Ukraine, but five of them have called of their candidacies for various reasons.
    Developments over the last several months have revealed that the coup-imposed government in Kiev has little, if any authority over the Right Sector’s actions.
    After a notorious Right Sector radical militant, Aleksandr Muzychko, was shot dead in a police raid in late March, Dmitry Yarosh demanded the immediate resignation of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and punishment for those law enforcement officers who took part in the operation. Right Sector militants besieged the Ukrainian parliament headquarters, forcing the coup-imposed government to consider banning the radical organization, but it never dared to do so.
    In Russia Dmitry Yarosh has been put on the wanted list for taking part in killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya in 1994-1995. Moscow also requested Interpol to put the ultranationalist on the international wanted list.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards






    Moscow MIN 14
    MAX 28

    Clear / 12:54 AM / Traffic



    Failing Ukraine State Plays Into Russia's Hands

    • Reuters
    • May. 18 2014 16:46
    • Last edited 16:46


    Yannis Behrakis / ReutersA pro-Russian rebel aims his anti-tank rifle between blocks of concrete near the eastern village of Semenivka.
    In late February, just two days after pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, Ukraine's parliament repealed a law enshrining the rights of Russian speakers to use their first language.
    Ukraine's Russian speakers, concentrated in the east and the south where the law applied, viewed the action as vengeful. In Moscow, Russia's leaders saw an opportunity.
    Ukraine's new rulers took just five days to reverse course to once again allow the use of Russian in some schools, courts and other state institutions. Shocked by the outcry it caused, Ukraine's acting president had refused to sign the legislation.
    But those five days were enough for President Vladimir Putin to set in motion a chain of events that have undermined Kiev's pro-Western government and drawn large areas of the country back into Russia's orbit, abetted by a divided West.
    While Putin has presented separatist violence in eastern Ukraine as spontaneous, interviews with Ukrainian politicians and security sources with knowledge of Russian thinking suggest months of detailed planning by Moscow.
    A key plank of Russia's plan, they say, was to deepen splits in a country that has struggled to form an identity since it emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991. To that end, Russia sought to exploit its connections to Ukrainian business, youth groups, the church, politicians and criminal networks.
    The sources point to a paper from June 2013, described as a Kremlin consultation document by the Ukrainian newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia and first made public in August that year. It sets out Moscow's fear of losing influence in Ukraine and its desire to draw its neighbor into an economic union.
    The Kremlin declined to comment on the document, entitled "On the complex of measures to involve Ukraine in the Eurasian integration process," and Russian officials have previously written it off as a "provocation" by pro-Western politicians in Ukraine.
    Bearing no signature or stamp, it is hard to trace its provenance, but a former security source in Ukraine corroborated its contents. He said he was present during conversations about the document involving officials in Ukraine with close connections to Moscow. Like others interviewed for this article he declined to be identified because of political sensitivities.
    The document indicates that as far back as early 2013 Russia was nervous about Ukraine. Yanukovych's rule was widely seen as corrupt and the Kremlin was worried the president's unpopularity could harm Putin's plan to create a Russian-led "Eurasian" economic union to reunite part of the former Soviet Union.
    Many Ukrainians believed Yanukovych was a Kremlin puppet, according to the document. Moscow was worried it would lose all influence in a new Ukraine if Yanukovych and his Party of Regions were toppled.
    "This aggravates the threat of a seizure of power by forces hostile to the Russian Federation," the document said.
    "As the Party of Regions has suppressed any independent pro-Russian movement, the collapse of the Yanukovych regime would leave us in a "scorched earth" situation, without any influential political forces on which we could rely."
    It said Russia should apply pressure to oligarchs who enjoyed preferential trade with Russia but at the same time publicly criticized Putin's plan to create a Russian-led economic union.
    A month after the report was written, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev decided to scrap quotas for steel pipe supplies, hitting at least one prominent oligarch. Russian pipe makers had taken issue with cheap Ukrainian pipe imports.
    In the same month, Russia's consumer watchdog banned imports of sweets from the Roshen factory belonging to Ukrainian billionaire Petro Poroshenko, now front-runner in a presidential election due on May 25.
    The watchdog cited health concerns for the ban, saying a carcinogenic substance had been found in Roshen's chocolate.
    Planning Ahead

    The document pinpointed one political movement in Ukraine that could help influence opinion, Ukrainian Choice led by Viktor Medvedchuk, a one-time adviser to Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma. Putin is godfather to one of Medvedchuk's children.
    On Ukrainian Choice's website, Medvedchuk is sometimes critical of the roles of the U.S. and European Union in the crisis that has followed Yanukovych's fall and Russia's annexation of the Crimea region. He denies being pro-Russian.
    In a statement to Reuters, he said Ukrainian Choice was pro-democracy. One of its founding principles was the "decentralization of power followed by the transition to a federal structure, while maintaining the territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine."
    Russia too has spoken in favor of a "new federal constitution" for Ukraine, a system which would strengthen regional governors, possibly allowing Moscow to retain its influence in Ukraine's industrial east.
    In response to questions from Reuters, Medvedchuk denied he was a go-between for Russia in Ukraine. He said he always had Ukraine's interests at heart and had nothing to do with the document.
    "At this level all politicians are independent and act on the basis of their understanding of the public interest," he said.
    Even so, a former intelligence source, who was present during conversations involving Ukrainian officials with close contacts to Moscow, said Russia had hoped Medvedchuk would become the saviour when Yanukovych suppressed what it saw as inevitable protests.
    But the protests came sooner than Russia expected and Moscow's plans changed. In November 2013 thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets angered by Yanukovych's decision to spurn closer ties with the EU in favor of Moscow.
    At this time, according to two sources in Ukraine's political and security apparatus, two of Putin's close allies took charge of "Project Ukraine," designed to spread the message that many Ukrainians would lose out if the country looked West.
    Vladislav Surkov, a Putin aide, cultivated ties in Crimea, and Sergei Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, took over Ukrainian operations, the sources said. The Kremlin declined to comment. Surkov and Ivanov did not respond to a request for comment.
    No Need to Set Foot

    With Russia's interests entrenched in Ukraine, many of those interviewed doubted whether Russia, which has massed troops at the border, needed to cross into Ukrainian territory to fuel the uprising in its east, where two regions have voted for self-rule.
    The chaos in eastern Ukraine may already have achieved many of Putin's aims.
    The Kremlin denies playing any role in the uprising.
    Mykola Malomuzh, director of Ukraine's foreign intelligence service for five years until 2010, said Russia's target now was the presidential election — to have it postponed or make it impossible to be seen as legitimate.
    "Putin has a network of his own among the special services, pro-Russian organizations, and the old regime which wields incredible influence through the mafia-type organizations which dominate the economy here," said Malomuzh, who is also running for president on May 25.
    He suggested pro-Russian forces were already trying to influence the front runners in the election or lobby for its delay, although this could not be independently confirmed.
    "If there is no legitimate leader who the people believe in, with whom to hold talks … there will be no leader enough in control to move toward Europe," he said.

    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Ukraine general, 11 troops killed in downed chopper






    A Ukrainian general and 11 servicemen were killed Thursday when pro-Russian rebels shot down a military helicopter near Slovyansk in the restive eastern regions of Ukraine, according to outgoing president Oleksandr Turchynov.


    The interim president told Ukraine's parliament initially that 12 people died when the chopper carrying Gen. Volodymyr Kultchitsky was brought down by anti-aircraft fire operated by insurgents, Interfax Ukraine reports. The chopper was apparently hit after it had dropped off troops to a military base in the area.


    The National Guard of Ukraine, in a later statement, lowered the death toll to12, including the general, and that one soldier survived.


    The Guard also said that anti-terrorist forces responded to the attack by striking the rebel position and "a group of criminals involved in the fire, has been annihilated," Ukrinform reports.


    Slovyansk, which is located about 100 miles west of the Russian border on the Donetsk region, has been at the center of major clashes in recent weeks between Ukrainian troops and separatists.



    Turchynov has served as interim president following the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych in February. A new president, Petro Poroshenko, a wealthy candy manufacturer, was elected on Sunday and has vowed to root out the rebel forces that have seized government building and claimed independence for the region.


    In a separate development, an insurgent leader in eastern Ukraine said Thursday that his fighters are holding four monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and promised that they would be released soon.


    Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, told The Associated Press that the monitors — who are from Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia and Denmark — are safe.


    "I addressed the OSCE mission to warn them that their people should not over the coming week travel in areas under our control. And they decided to show up anyway," Ponomarev said.


    "We will deal with this and then release them," he said, without setting any specific time frame.


    The OSCE said it had lost contact with one of its four-man monitoring teams in Donetsk on Monday evening. Rebels have previously kidnapped military observers working under the auspices of the OSCE.


    The OSCE monitors have been deployed to Ukraine to monitor security situation following Russia's annexation of Crimea and a pro-Russia separatist insurgency that has engulfed regions in eastern Ukraine. They also observed Sunday's presidential vote, won by billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko.



    In the most ferocious battle yet, rebels in Donetsk tried to take control of its airport Monday but were repelled by Ukrainian forces using combat jets and helicopter gunships. Dozens of men were killed and some morgues were overflowing Tuesday. Some insurgent leaders said up to 100 fighters may have been killed.


    The mood in Donetsk was calm Thursday, although many businesses have stopped opening their doors over fear of renewed fighting.


    The rebels have declared the Donetsk and Luhansk regions independent of Ukraine. They have pleaded to join Russia, but President Vladimir Putin has ignored their appeal in an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions with the West and avoid a new round of Western sanctions.


    Putin has supported an OSCE peace plan that calls for ending hostilities and launching a political dialogue. Russia also said it would be ready to work with new leader Poroshenko, but strongly urged the Ukrainian government to end its military operation in the east.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    "An armed man" image above, note the rifle.... looks like a .22 bolt action or a small gauge shotty to me.
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Conflicting accounts in heightened eastern Ukraine fighting

    By Michael Pearson, Azad Safarov and Victoria Butenko, CNN
    updated 8:43 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014


    Separatists blame military for airstrike


    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Ukraine claims 300 pro-Russia militants dead in fighting
    • Separatist official puts number at 10, says fighters downed government aircraft
    • CNN can't independently confirm the accounts
    • They come amid heightened fighting in eastern Ukraine




    Donetsk, Ukraine (CNN) -- Conflicting accounts emerged Wednesday from heightened fighting in eastern Ukraine, with a Ukrainian government official claiming forces loyal to Kiev had inflicted heavy losses on separatists and a pro-Russia official boasting that militants had downed government jets and helicopters.
    A Ukrainian government spokesman claimed that more than 300 pro-Russia militants had been killed and at least 500 wounded during an ongoing Ukrainian military operation in the towns of Chervoniy Liman and Slovyansk.
    The self-declared separatist mayor of Slovyansk, however, said only 10 separatist fighters had died and 12 were injured in the fighting.
    CNN could not immediately confirm either report.
    Obama vows to stand with Ukraine
    Lamy on Ukraine, Russia and EU elections
    Walesa: U.S. spread too thin to lead
    But CNN's Tim Lister, reporting from Donetsk, Ukraine, questioned the government account, saying it would be "incredibly difficult" to confirm such a body count amid the heightened fighting.
    "It would be a dramatic escalation on anything we've ever seen before," he said.
    Ukrainian anti-terror spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said two Ukrainian soldiers also died and 45 were wounded in the fighting Tuesday night, part of an ongoing military operation meant to sweep pro-Russia militants from eastern Ukraine strongholds where the government claims they have been hiding in hospitals, medical clinics and recreational facilities.
    On the separatist side, the self-declared mayor of Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, said pro-Russia fighters had shot down two Ukrainian jets and destroyed a tank and four armored personnel carriers in Tuesday's fighting. On Wednesday, militants shot down two Ukrainian helicopters, claimed.
    While the casualty figures conflict, what is not in doubt is the dramatic uptick in violence in separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine.
    In Luhansk, the government said separatist fighters had taken over two military bases, one run by the Border Guard and the other by the National Guard.
    Border Guard troops retreated from their base after it had been heavily damaged in 12 hours of fighting on Monday, the Border Guard Service said on its website. Separatists then moved in, the agency said.
    The Ukrainian National Guard said troops at its base in Luhansk used up all their ammunition trying unsuccessfully to fight off an attack.
    Video from a National Guard base in the city appeared to show its detachment surrendering to separatists early Wednesday.
    The National Guard said three of its troops were inured and six attackers killed. The other troops at the base had been safely relocated, it said. CNN could not independently confirm the casualty figures.
    The heightened fighting comes as U.S. President Barack Obama visits Ukrainian neighbor Poland. Obama met with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, when the U.S. leader vowed to stand with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
    "We will not accept Russia's occupation of Crimea or its violation of Ukraine's sovereignty," Obama said in Warsaw. "Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia."
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Ukraine military has closed off border with Russia, speaker says

    By Laura Smith-Spark and Victoria Butenko, CNN
    updated 6:29 AM EDT, Fri June 20, 2014

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Ukraine's military has closed off the border with Russia, Speaker says
    • Securing the border is one element of a cease-fire plan proposed by Ukraine's President
    • Petro Poroshenko has discussed his peace plan with Russia's Vladimir Putin
    • Ukraine's President also meets with representatives in Luhansk and Donetsk





    Kiev (CNN)
    -- Ukrainian forces have completed an operation to close off the country's eastern border with Russia, Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov told Ukraine's Parliament on Friday.


    His announcement, citing Ukraine's Defense Ministry, came a day after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO had seen a "new Russian military buildup" near the border with Ukraine.


    This, Rasmussen said, involved "at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, and we see troop maneuvers in the neighborhood of Ukraine."
    Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in a tense standoff since March, when Russia annexed Crimea and massed troops along its border with Ukraine.


    Ukraine's government in Kiev has accused Russia of allowing weapons and military equipment to cross the border illegally into the hands of pro-Russia separatists, who have led uprisings in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.


    On Wednesday, President Petro Poroshenko announced plans to soon implement a unilateral cease-fire to ease the crisis in the restive eastern part of the country.
    He and and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone Thursday, according to Poroshenko's office.


    Putin, according to the statement, backs an effort to de-escalate tensions in eastern regions and a process to forge a ceasefire and a peace plan.


    President: Free hostages
    Poroshenko's proposed ceasefire includes the closure of the Ukraine-Russia border and changes to the constitution to decentralize power.


    It also offers amnesty to those who didn't commit serious crimes, the President said. An escape corridor will be offered for those who disarm to leave Ukraine.


    "We expect that hostages and seized premises will be liberated. We expect that a large number of civilians will use the security guarantees for the citizens of Donbas," Poroshenko said, referring to Ukraine's eastern region.


    In his conversation with Putin, Poroshenko stressed the need for the release of Ukrainian hostages and to establish effective security controls on the border with Russia.
    Poroshenko also met Thursday with representatives of the "legitimate authorities" in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, his office said. They discussed ways to decentralize power and revive the region's economy.


    Violence continues
    Separatists in eastern Ukraine raided a military base in the town of Artemovsk, seriously wounding a soldier late Thursday night, a spokesman linked to the government said.


    There was no word on whether any "terrorists" were killed in the attack, Dmitry Tymchuk, who acts as a conduit for Ukrainian government military updates, posted on his Facebook site Friday.


    He also said Ukrainian forces had come under attack early in the day at the airport in Luhansk, which has traded hands in fighting between the government and separatists in recent weeks.


    A convoy of confiscated tanks and armored vehicles operated by the separatists was arriving in the area near dawn, Tymchuk claimed.
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    The Russian Forces on Ukraine's Border May Not Be as Formidable as They Look

    By Carol Matlack


    Photograph by Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
    Russian military academy cadets march at the Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, during a Victory Day parade

    The showdown in Ukraine has put on display a Russian military that’s dramatically better financed, better trained, and better equipped than it was just a few years ago.
    Russia’s defense spending has more than doubled over the past decade. In 2013 it surpassed the U.S. as the major country devoting the greatest share of its national economy to defense—some 4.1 percent, vs. 3.8 percent in the U.S., according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Poorly disciplined draftees are gradually being replaced by professional soldiers, including crack troops sent into Ukraine’s Crimea region. Hundreds of billions of dollars are to be spent on arms procurement over the next few years.
    Small wonder Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is seekinga ceasefire rather than risk conflict with his neighbor to the east.
    Story: What's Putin Up to Now? Four Possible Explanations
    Yet the Ukraine crisis also highlights some limitations on Russia’s military capabilities. Most of the nearly 40,000 troops camped near the Ukrainian border are probably conscripts, who still predominate in Russian ground forces, says Johan Norberg, an analyst at the Swedish Defense Research Agency who studies the Russian military. Conscripts serve only 12 months, barely enough time to become trained. And while Russia has modernized some of its airborne and seaborne weaponry, Norberg says, “in the ground forces, much of the equipment remains old.”
    Russia also lags the West in critical defense sectors, such as shipbuilding and communications. It relies on Europe for some high-tech gear, making it vulnerable to possible sanctions if the Ukraine crisis should escalate. In 2012, Moscow bought €194 million ($263 million) in arms from European Union member countries, with electronics and imaging equipment accounting for more than half the total. And it’s spending $1.9 billion to buy two Mistral warships from France.
    Although Moscow wants to build more of its own equipment, research and development is lacking. “The government has so far failed to modernize the civilian research sector, and for the defense sector even less progress has been made,” the Swedish Defense Research Agency said in a review of Russian military capability published last December. Despite increased spending, Russia “will be unable to remedy existing structural problems” for at least another decade, the report says.
    Story: Does Russia's Global Media Empire Distort the News? You Be the Judge
    Russia also relies on imports from Ukraine, including such key equipment as nuclear warheads and helicopter engines. Ukraine’s military sales to Russia total about $600 million annually, according to Ukrainian military consultancy Defense Express.
    While Russia now spends an estimated $87.8 billion annually on defense, Ukraine is only one of several conflicts competing for those resources. Unrest is continuing in the Caucasus, as evidenced by the 70,000 police and military forces stationed around Sochi during the Winter Olympics. Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008, is now seeking fast-track NATO membership. And NATO members in Eastern Europe are stepping up their defense spending, aided by a promised $1 billion from the U.S. “Russia sees enemies all around,” Norberg says. “They can’t commit too much to any one operation.”
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    New battles as Ukraine says 300 separatists killed in fighting

    KIEV Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:09am EDT


    Ukraine to sign EU deal on 27 June (01:46)


    Related Video



    Ukraine to sign EU deal on 27 June







    (Reuters) - Fighting raged for a second successive day in the east of Ukraine on Friday, a day after clashes in which Ukrainian government forces said about 300 separatists were killed.


    The casualty figures for the pro-Russian separatists could not be independently confirmed though a rebel commander said on Thursday the rebels had sustained "heavy losses" when they were outgunned by government forces backed by heavy armor.


    The government forces said seven of their own number had been killed in Thursday's fighting. The new fighting on Friday was about 100 km (60 miles) from the border with Russia.


    Fighting broke out just east of the town of Krasny Liman early on Thursday after pro-Russian separatists refused to lay down their weapons in line with a peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko, the government forces said.


    The government forces have been gradually squeezing rebels in the area though separatists, who rose up against central rule from Kiev following the overthrow of a president sympathetic to Moscow, still control the strategic city of Slaviansk.


    Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Kiev's "anti-terrorist operation", said about 300 separatists had been killed in action around the villages of Yampil and Zakitne which included artillery fire and air attacks.


    Heavy weapons had been seized from the separatists, including an armored personnel carrier, a truck with a high-caliber machine gun mounted on it, a shoulder-launched missile, grenade launchers and small arms, Seleznyov said on his Facebook page.


    "Losses to Ukrainian servicemen are seven dead and 30 wounded. Military action is continuing," Seleznyov said.
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