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

    In Ukraine and West, Concerns Grow Over Russia’s Plans

    By STEVEN ERLANGER


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    A Tense Standoff in Ukraine


    A Tense Standoff in Ukraine

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    KIEV, Ukraine — The besieged new government of Ukraine accused Russian forces of a major escalation in pressure over control of the Crimea on Monday night, saying the Russians had demanded that Ukrainian forces there surrender within hours or face armed assault. Russia denied it had issued any ultimatum.
    The Interfax-Ukrainian news agency quoted an unidentified Ukrainian Defense ministry official as saying Russia’s Black Sea Fleet commander had set a deadline of 5 a.m. Tuesday — 10 p.m. Monday Eastern time — for Ukrainian forces stationed in Crimea to lay down their weapons. But Russia’s Interfax news agency said the Black Sea Fleet had no such plans.
    The conflicting reports only further served to worsen tensions in the Ukraine crisis, which has grown drastically in scope within the past few weeks to a new confrontation between Russia and the West reminiscent of low points in the Cold War. It was clear that Russia was strengthening its hold on the Crimean peninsula as more pro-Russia demonstrations were gripping the big cities of Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.
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    The speaker of Russia’s parliament said on television that Russia does not yet need use its “right” to launch further military action in Ukraine. “This right can be used in case it is necessary,” said the speaker, Sergei Naryshkin. “But currently is not necessary.”
    European Union foreign ministers met in emergency session in Brussels to discuss possible punitive steps against Russia unless it pulled its troops back to its own bases in Crimea, including suspension of talks with Moscow on visa liberalization. But France and Germany said that sanctions were not on the table, urging dialogue with Russia first.
    The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that “crisis diplomacy is not a weakness but it will be more important than ever to not fall into the abyss of military escalation,” an indication that the Europeans would not agree on significant action. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans told reporters that “sanctions are not in order today but sanctions will become inevitable” if there is no change in Russia’s position.
    Visiting the new government in Kiev, British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Russia to pull back its forces in Crimea or face “significant costs,” echoing comments made by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who was due here on Tuesday.
    Mr. Hague also emphasized diplomacy. “The world cannot just allow this to happen,” he told the BBC. “The world cannot say it’s O.K. in effect to violate the sovereignty of another nation in this way.”
    The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, responded that Russia was only protecting its interests and those of Russian citizens in Ukraine. In a Geneva speech, Mr. Lavrov broke from his text to say: “Those who try to interpret the situation as an act of aggression, threaten us with sanctions and boycotts, are the same partners who have been consistently and vigorously encouraging the political powers close to them to declare ultimatums and renounce dialogue, to ignore the concerns of the south and east of Ukraine, and consequently to the polarization of the Ukrainian society.”
    The use of Russian troops is necessary “until the normalization of the political situation” in Ukraine, Mr. Lavrov said at an opening of a monthlong session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. “We are talking here about protection of our citizens and compatriots, about protection of the most fundamental of the human rights — the right to live, and nothing more.” But he did not specify what threats Russian citizens faced from Ukraine.
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    At the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Security Council was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, at Russia’s request — the third meeting since Friday. At each, Russia has been sharply criticized by Western members. At one point, the British ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said Russia had provided no justification for its military actions. The United States ambassador, Samantha Power, urged Russia to “stand down,” and recommended a fact-finding mission by either the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
    Russia holds veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council, so it was unclear what the Security Council could do.
    With the new Kiev government confronted with the loss of Crimea and a worsening economic situation, a team from the International Monetary Fund was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday for a 10-day investigation of the true state of Ukraine’s finances. The government has said that it is prepared to take difficult economic reform measures if necessary to secure a stabilization loan from the fund.
    Moscow suspended its offer of bond purchases when President Viktor F. Yanukovych was ousted more than a week ago.
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    Ukraine in Maps

    A series of maps that help explain the crisis in Ukraine.



    Crimea was relatively calm, with Russian forces continuing their military standoffs around Ukrainian bases to neutralize them and seek their surrender. The Ukrainian military personnel were effectively hostages, hemmed in by Russian troops.
    In Donetsk, however, in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Yanukovych’s native region, a large pro-Russian demonstration led to some violence. About 1,000 pro-Russian demonstrators occupied the first floor of the regional government building that has already been flying the Russian flag for several days. The protesters, waving Russian flags and shouting, “Putin, come!”, were unable to go higher because lifts were disabled and stairwell doors shut. They had entered through a side door after confronting police, who were guarding the front entrance.
    The rally seemed the latest in a series in eastern cities that Kiev says are encouraged or even organized by Russia. Most people in the region are ethnic Ukrainians who speak Russian as their native language.
    The Donetsk protest leader, Pavel Gubarev, demanded that the parliament in Kiev be declared illegitimate, a pro-Russian governor be accepted in Donetsk and all security forces be put under regional command, much as has happened already in Crimea.
    In Sevastopol, at the headquarters of Ukraine’s naval forces, six heavily armed men in unmarked uniforms and masks stood outside, cheered on by about 100 locals waving Russian flags and loudly proclaiming their loyalties. The armed men seemed torn; they turned away from cameras, or lowered their gaze.
    Inside, Rear Admiral Sergei A. Gaiduk, said he was acting commander of the Ukrainian navy after the defection on Sunday of his predecessor and declared loyalty to the country’s acting president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov.
    As an almost summer sun warmed the blue and white buildings, Capt. A. Ryzhenko, 45, who said he had worked closely with the Russians on several projects involving all Black Sea nations, was clearly dazed by the rapid divisions that now pit brother Slavs against one another. “We are a little bit shocked,” he said. “We worked together, in adjacent rooms, we studied together.”
    How long the Ukrainians inside could withstand what was effectively a blockade was unclear. One young mother, who refused to talk to reporters, was seen holding a baby at the fence for her husband to kiss. She said she had also brought him food, “because they don’t feed them.”
    She was loudly supported by two woman pensioners waving Russian flags. “It’s the Olympic flag, the flag of friendship,” said Nina Butkeyeva, 60, injecting a surreal reminder that it is barely more than a week since Russia welcomed the world to Sochi for the Winter Games.
    The uncertainty hit the Russian stock market and the ruble hard on Monday morning. The Russian central bank raised its key lending rate 1.5 percentage points after the ruble fell 2.5 percent against the dollar at the opening of exchange trading on Monday, while the MICEX index of Moscow stocks sank 11 percent. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which supplies Europe through Ukraine, was down more than 13 percent in early trading.
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    The situation in Crimea remained one of a tense standoff, with Russian troops, wearing no badges on their uniforms, and pro-Russian “self-defense” forces, surrounded Ukrainian bases, neutralizing and essentially imprisoning the soldiers and sailors there. But there continued to be no real violence.
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    Video|1:10

    Credit Reuters


    Times Minute | Ukraine in Context

    A look at the situation in Ukraine. The current scene in Crimea, what's at stake in Ukraine for diplomats, and the relationship between the United States and Russia.
    Ukraine said Russia was building up armored vehicles on its side of a narrow stretch of water near Crimea, while Russian forces took over the headquarters of the Ukrainian border control in Simferopol. Trucks outside had no license plates but at least one car had Russian military plates.


    Ukraine’s government worked to stem protests in the east, recruiting wealthy eastern businessmen to become provincial governors in an effort to dampen secessionist sentiment there.


    In Kharkiv, the eastern city that is the country’s second-largest, a sprawling pro-Russian protest camp occupied the central square, and Russian flags were on display. Many said they would even prefer that Russian troops invade the city, just 20 miles from the border, instead of submitting to Kiev’s rule.


    “I would welcome them with flowers,” said Aleksandr Sorokin, 55, a pensioner walking by a phalanx of riot police officers guarding the administration building in Kharkiv. “We do not want to spill blood, but we are willing to do so.”


    There were reports that two pro-government supporters died from injuries suffered on Saturday in Kharkiv, where there was a major pro-Russian demonstration and effort to take over government buildings.


    Even as Kiev’s pro-Western government called up its army reserves and vowed to fight for its sovereignty, calling Russia’s invasion of Crimea a “declaration of war,” it mustered a mostly political response to demonstrations in the east.


    The office of President Oleksandr V. Turchynov announced the two appointments on Sunday of two billionaires — Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk — and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions.


    The strategy is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country’s industrial and business elite, and hold great influence over thousands of workers in the east. Officials said the hope was that they could dampen secessionist hopes in the east and keep violent outbreaks — like fighting between pro-Western and pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv that put at least 100 people in the hospital on Saturday — from providing a rationale for a Russian invasion in the name of protecting ethnic Russians.


    At the same time, Ukrainian officials sought international help after a rapid Russian invasion of Crimea over the weekend turned into a celebration of pro-Kremlin sentiment in the streets there.

    In a video address on her website, the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, said that by occupying Crimea, Russia has effectively “declared war” on Britain and the United States, which had sought to guarantee Ukraine’s security through a 1994 Budapest memorandum also signed by Moscow.


    “Vladimir Putin is fully conscious that by declaring war, he is also declaring war on the guarantors of our security, the United States and Britain,” she said.


    In Kiev, Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, warned that the country was on the “brink of disaster” after the Russian move into Crimea. “This is the red alert — this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Can anyone refresh my memory. I heard something out of the corner of my ear a couple of days ago about an "offer" NATO might have made to the Ukraine, or that Ukraine has asked to join NATO.

    Is there any truth to that rumor?

    I've been out of it lately - and got wrapped around the axle with someone on this today.

    I want to know what I heard.
    Libertatem Prius!


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

    CBS/APMarch 3, 2014, 11:55 AM
    Russia setting ultimatums in Crimea struggle, Ukraine claims


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    Last Updated Mar 3, 2014 2:01 PM EST

    Russia issued fresh ultimatums to Ukrainian forces in Crimea Monday, according to Ukrainian officials, adding to an already tense atmosphere following the occupation of the strategic peninsula by the Russian military.
    While Russia has officially denied setting deadlines for Ukrainian surrender of land or military resources, the U.S. State Department said it would hold Russia directly responsible if it has threatened use of force against Ukrainian military. Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, however, that she could not confirm if Russia had in fact made such threats.
    CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, reporting from a Ukrainian air base, said that Russian soldiers had been at the base's gate for some time and had demanded that the soldiers leave the base by Monday.
    Nobody knew exactly what the implied "or else" meant, and nobody knew what would happen next, but it was very tense, Palmer said.

    Most recently, Ukraine said Russian forces are demanding that the crew of two Ukrainian warships must surrender.Four Russian navy ships in Sevastopol harbor were blocking the Ukrainian anti-submarine warship Ternopil and the command ship Slavutych from leaving the dock, waiting for their commanders' responses, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Maksim Prauta said.
    Vladimir Anikin, a Russian defense ministry spokesman in Moscow, dismissed the report of a Russian ultimatum as nonsense but refused to elaborate.
    In addition, Russia's Interfax news agency reported that Russian Black Sea fleet commanderAlexander Vitko had given Ukrainian forces until 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) Tuesday to surrender or face military assault, citing a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
    "If they do not surrender before 5 a.m. tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea," the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.
    Later, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry denied receiving an ultimatum, saying there have only been harassment and acts of intimidation by the Russian military. There was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet.
    Similar ultimatums have been issued throughout the Crimean peninsula since Russian troops began moving in en masse over the weekend.
    The Los Angeles Times reports the Ukrainian president said the Russian military set an ultimatum Sunday for Ukrainian army and navy units "to surrender weapons and leave their bases" in the Crimean peninsula. Like the incident at the air base, nothing happened when the deadline passed.

    CBS News correspondent David Martin reports the biggest mystery to U.S. defense and intelligence officials is Russia's intentions with the estimated 15,000 troops it has already moved into Ukraine. U.S. officials haven't confirmed the latest 5 a.m. ultimatum, but they did say there have been similar ultimatums issued over the weekend, and nothing has happened when the deadlines have passed. There has so far not been any indication the Russians plan on occupying Ukrainian territory outside of Crimea, but Russian troops continue to flow in to the Black Sea peninsula.

    Whether the ultimatums come to pass, Ukraine's military admitted Monday that pro-Russian troops have surrounded or taken over "practically all" its military facilities in Crimea - a move that Russia's foreign minister defended as a necessary protection for the ethnic Russians on the Black Sea peninsula.


    "This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Geneva, where he was attending U.N. meetings.


    There have been no reports, however, of any hostilities toward Russian-speaking in Ukraine during the country's four months of political upheaval.


    The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying that Moscow believes Ukraine must honor its Feb. 21 agreement to form a new national unity government.


    In Kiev, Ukraine's new prime minister admitted his country had "no military options on the table" to reverse Russia's military move into its Crimea region.


    While Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk appealed for outside help and insisted that Crimea still remained part of his country, European foreign ministers held an emergency meeting on a joint response to Russia's military move that could include economic sanctions.


    "Any attempt of Russia to grab Crimea will have no success at all. Give us some time," Yatsenyuk said at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
    New reports of Russian moves came in rapid succession Monday. In addition to seizing barracks and border posts, troops also controlled a ferry terminal in the Ukrainian city of Kerch, just 12 miles across the water from Russia. That intensified fears in Kiev that Moscow will send even more troops into the peninsula via that route.


    The soldiers at the terminal refused to identify themselves Monday, but they spoke Russian and their vehicles had Russian license plates.


    In the meantime, Russian forces were clearly cementing their control over strategic Crimea, home to 2 million mostly Russian-speaking people and landlord for Russia's critical Black Sea Fleet.

    Border guards spokesman Sergei Astakhov said the Russians were demanding that Ukrainians transfer their allegiance to Crimea's new pro-Russian local government.


    "The Russians are behaving very aggressively, they came in by breaking down doors, knocking out windows, cutting off every communication," he said.


    He said four Russian military ships, 13 helicopters and 8 transport planes had arrived in Crimea in violation of agreements that permit Russian to keep its naval base at the Crimean port of Sevastopol.


    Now, fears in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and beyond are that Russia might seek to expand its control by targeting and seizing other parts of Ukraine, especially in its pro-Russian east.


    "The world cannot just allow this to happen," Hague said, but he ruled out any military action. "The U.K is not discussing military options. Our concentration is on diplomatic and economic pressure."


    Outrage over Russia's military moves has mounted in world capitals, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling on President Vladimir Putin to pull back from "an incredible act of aggression." Kerry is to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday.


    Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and those of Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine. His confidence is matched by the knowledge that Ukraine's 46 million people have divided loyalties - while much of western Ukraine wants closer ties with the 28-nation European Union, its eastern and southern regions like Crimea look to Russia for support.


    Faced with the Russian threat, Ukraine's new government has moved to consolidate its authority, naming new regional governors in the pro-Russia east, enlisting the support of the country's wealthy businessmen and dismissing the head of the country's navy after he declared allegiance to the pro-Russian government in Crimea.


    Looming over the political crisis is Ukraine's teetering economy, with a top economic official saying that it needs at least $35 billion to get through this year and next. Putin had promised a $15 billion loan in December, but Russia has only delivered $3 billion.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    Can anyone refresh my memory. I heard something out of the corner of my ear a couple of days ago about an "offer" NATO might have made to the Ukraine, or that Ukraine has asked to join NATO.

    Is there any truth to that rumor?

    I've been out of it lately - and got wrapped around the axle with someone on this today.

    I want to know what I heard.
    Elections have consequences:

    Ukraine suspends membership bit to join NATO


    Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:27PM

    Oleksandra Molotkova, Press TV, Kiev
    Fact Corner

    • Ukraine has suspended its longstanding membership bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO. This, despite the organization’s assurance that its doors are open for new members.



    The secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has said during a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that Ukraine has ended its long-standing bid to join NATO.

    Ukraine fundamentally changed its foreign policy strategy in 2010 when the local Parliament approved the President Viktor Fedorovych’s sponsored bill on non-participation in any military alliances. The country’s non-aligned status was one of his pre-election promises. But in spite of a certain cooldown in the relations, Ukraine-NATO cooperation is underway, in particular in a new European security architecture development and peace-support missions.

    The country’s previous President believed NATO membership guaranteed safety for Ukraine would be a bridge which can help the country join the EU. The current leadership however, rejects that idea, saying the move is considered as a provocation by Moscow which has long opposed NATO’s plans to expand eastward.

    NATO has not relented in its ambition to incorporate Ukraine as a full member. However, for Ukraine the decision on the matter is possible only after it is put to a national referendum. In the meantime, no action group on this has been created - what many say may be a signal Ukraine has already shelved the idea of joining NATO.




    Rasmussen: NATO won't extend membership to Ukraine, Georgia


    Oct. 22, 2013 at 10:29 AM



    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the media following his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office at the White House on May 31, 2013 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
    BRUSSELS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Ukraine and Georgia will not join NATO next year, the trans-Atlantic alliance's top official said Tuesday.NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Ukraine decided to end its long-standing bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while Georgia remained interested but would not become a member in 2014, Russia's RIA Novosti news service reported.

    Both countries will still have partnership action plans with the alliance and will still work together, Rasmussen said before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting began in Brussels.

    Ukraine and Georgia, lobbying to become NATO members for years, both enjoy full support for their bids from the United States, but alliance members rejected a proposal to offer them membership in 2008, RIA Novosti said.

    Russia has opposed eastward expansion by NATO, particularly when it involves former Soviet Union republics.

    Rasmussen also said the alliance does not plan to create any new formal coalitions with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a loose Eurasian military alliance based in Russia.

    Officials said NATO-Russia cooperation, improving capabilities and progress in Afghanistan were the top agenda items when the alliance's defense ministers meet Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The ministers also will discuss defending against cyberattacks, NATO's Ballistic Missile Defense system and review NATO reforms, NATO said on its website. Ministers also will consider the next step in the alliance's Connected Forces Initiative, focusing on NATO's training, education and exercises program after the coalition force's mission in Afghanistan ends in 2014.

    A NATO-Russia Council is planned for Wednesday, officials said. Among other things, NATO ministers and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will discuss international security issues, including Syria.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-Ne...#ixzz2uvhRpQD2


    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    U.S. Endorses NATO MAP For Georgia

    February 27, 2014 - 2:14am, by Joshua Kucera



    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili in Washington on February 26. (photo: U.S. State Department)

    The U.S. State Department has endorsed granting Georgia its long-coveted status as an aspiring NATO member, the Membership Action Plan, on the heels of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili'shigh-profile trip to Washington. It's not clear whether this represents a substantive policy shift, but it is the first time in recent memory that the U.S. has explicitly come out in favor of MAP.

    In response to a recent letter by 40 members of Congress urging the State Department to "advocate granting MAP to Georgia, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield wrote:
    We believe Georgia deserves credit at the upcoming NATO Summit for the progress it has made and its demonstrated commitment to NATO operations and standards. We stand ready to support Georgia's own efforts to build a consensus within the Alliance for granting it a Membership Action Plan.
    Now, that isn't the strongest statement ever, and Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks with Gharibashvili repeated what has been the standard Washington line that "We stand by the Bucharest decision and all subsequent decisions that Georgia will become a member of NATO," adding that: "The United States will work to make sure that Georgia’s progress is acknowledged by all members of this year’s NATO Summit."

    (It was the 2008 Bucharest summit, recall, where NATO declined to give Georgia MAP but instead said that Georgia and Ukraine "will become members of NATO." And we see how that worked out in Ukraine...)

    Kerry also announced "additional assistance" to Georgia: “Today I am announcing additional assistance by the United States to help support Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic vision, specifically to help Georgia achieve visa-free travel with the EU and to mitigate the hardships caused by borderization along the occupied territories." As Civil.ge noted, "details of the 'additional assistance' were not immediately available."

    But State Department officials have recently shied away from talking about MAP, and have only discussed it when asked directly by Georgian reporters.

    Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon said in 2012, ahead of the parliamentary elections, that "the members of NATO have been watching very carefully how this plays out and their judgment as to whether the process with NATO should move forward, whether specifically on a MAP or just more generally will very much be affected on the state of democracy, and it’s one of the features of this alliance that democracy is a key criterion." And Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in 2011: "The issue of MAP, as you well know, is a decision that all the Allies in NATO have to make. We will continue to support Georgia’s aspirations to become a member of NATO, just as we support Georgia’s aspirations to integrate more fully into Euro-Atlantic institutions more generally."

    As Frifield's letter suggested, the U.S. is only one member of NATO. And it was in favor of MAP in 2008, NATO works on consensus and other Georgia-skeptical NATO members, primarily in Western Europe, scuttled that plan. There's no indication that those skeptics have changed their mind on MAP for Georgia, so MAP still seems a remote prospect when NATO gets together later this year in Wales. But this nevertheless seems a significant statement from Washington. (The U.S. State Department and the U.S. embassy in Tbliisi did not respond to queries from The Bug Pit.) And it's all the more reason to believe that something substantial will happen with Georgia and NATO in Wales.


    Flashback:

    Russia says Georgia's entry to NATO could lead to war



    Russia warns of ‘2008 war repetition’ over Georgia’s NATO entry bid
    © AFP 2014/ Samuel Kubani


    16:22 08/12/2011
    MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti)

    Tags: NATO-Russia Council, NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Sergei Lavrov, Brussels, Georgia, Russia, Moscow
    Related News




    Russia’s foreign minister has warned of a repetition of its 2008 war with Georgia if the South Caucasus state joins NATO.
    Speaking at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had warned NATO foreign ministers against “pushing the current Georgian regime towards a repetition of their August 2008 gamble.”

    Georgia has been pursuing NATO membership but the five-day war in 2008 over Georgia’s breakaway territory of South Ossetia has made the alliance wary of taking it on.

    Speaking during a visit to Georgia last month, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the country had “come a lot closer” to joining, but added that Tbilisi should pursue reforms.

    “Further reforms will be Georgia’s ticket to membership and NATO is here to help,” Rasmussen told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

    Ukraine Dragged Into NATO


    Interview By Rick Rozoff
    Global Research, July 20, 2012
    Voice of Russia and Stop NATO 20 July 2012

    Region: Russia and FSU
    Theme: US NATO War Agenda


    Audio: Download

    In a recent interview, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Ukraine to settle the issue of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and remove obstacles in relations with the alliance, in what can be viewed as yet another NATO attempt to steer Ukraine towards the integration of this former Soviet state in the US-led military bloc. Rick Rozoff, the manager of Stop NATO, believes NATO has not relented in its ambition to incorporate Ukraine into NATO ultimately as a full member.


    Secretary General of NATO Rasmussen is urging Kiev to remove obstacles in relation to NATO. Can you tell us about that?

    It’s NATO’s intention, and that of the United States, to bring Ukraine into NATO as a full member, which is why there’s a special NATO-Ukraine Commission that was set up roughly four years ago, three and a half years ago with the express purpose of doing that. At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Ukraine and Georgia had both been not given the green light if you will to join NATO as full members or to be granted what’s called a Membership Action Program, which is the final stage before full NATO accession. So a compensatory mechanism was set up, which is the commission I mentioned both for Ukraine and Georgia, and despite the change in government where Yanukovich has replaced Yushchenko as head of state of the country. NATO has not relented in its ambition to incorporate Ukraine into NATO, ultimately as a full member. So Rasmussen’s comments are in line with that policy of NATO.

    And of course two military exercises in Ukraine have recently been concluded, this month, including the annual Operation Sea Breeze which is run by the United States. It’s supposedly a joint U.S.-Ukrainian military exercise, naval, in the Black Sea, not too far from the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. And included the participation, last heard for me at any rate, of 20 some odd countries, which are NATO members and NATO partner states. Given Ukraine’s location, its size, its role in the armaments industry in post Soviet space and so forth, it’s a key acquisition for NATO. It doesn’t surprise me that Rasmussen is laying down his terms to Ukraine.

    They talk about human rights, the Timoshenko case, Lutsenko, what do you think about their claims?

    They’re going to overrule decisions made by the parliament in Ukraine, by the president. They’re going to trample on the laws of Ukraine in order to support their clients. Yulia Timoshenko, the gas princess, in the first instance of course. The sort of diktat, almost, that’s emanating from the West in relation to Timoshenko, all but ordering the Yanukovich government to release her and so forth is a further example of the interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations that epitomizes Western behavior. It’s not unlike what they’re doing in several other countries in the world. They want their allies, or their operatives, the former Viktor Yushchenkos and the current Yulia Timoshenkos, to be free and to operate, furthering the Western agenda in Ukraine.

    Hillary Clinton keeps making statements – it’s kind of become a habit for her – towards Russia. What about her last statement? Can you comment on this?

    The most recent rather may be the worst. It’s probably a new low even for Hillary Clinton and that’s saying quite a bit.

    And what we’re speaking about of course is her talk at the so-called Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on July, 6th, where she stated to the representatives of ane estimated 100 nations and organizations – transparently in attempt to rally them against Russia and China for having the temerity to defend international law and as we just mentioned noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations vis-à-vis Syria and stated that the problem was in her estimate – and one has to watch her as she’s making these statements, waving her hand in the air and being almost hysterical. She stated that the problem was that Russia and China were not paying a price for their position in relation to Syria and that they would have to pay a price and that the so-called world community would have to ensure that they do. So, I mean, this is the crudest form of threat, intimidation, vituperation.

    What do you think she meant exactly by ‘paying a price’?

    It’s hard to say. Diplomatically, of course. Economically, perhaps. Maybe the U.S. and its Western allies want to do to Russia and China in relation to Syria what they’ve done to several countries including Russia and China in relation to Iran, which is to say they slap increasingly onerous sanctions on a country like Iran or Syria and then start sanctioning countries dealing with them. Something like this situation obtained in the lead-in to the war against Iraq in 2003 when the George W. Bush administration started accusing perhaps dozens of countries of selling so-called “dual-use” equipment to the government of Iraq and threatening them with, if you will, second-generation sanctions. She could have been alluding to that, economically as well as diplomatically punishing Russia and China. However, the tone and the vociferousness of what she stated suggested she was talking about something yet more, almost threatening Russia and China politically and who knows what? But it was the furthest thing removed from diplomatic language that one can imagine.

    But given the fact that she’s the Secretary of State of an administration that proudly proclaims itself, and I’m using President Obama’s own words, “the world’s sole military superpower,” she evidently feels she can make statements like that with impunity and that nobody is going to hold her to account for them.

    Unfortunately, the world has not.

    It gets worse, I suppose, with each successive Secretary of State, but this is a new low point. She made a comparable statement in February of this year, the second time that Russia and China jointly vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed against Syria, where, to use her own word, she referred to Russia and China as being ‘despicable’. I think the rest of the world should take note of how the U.S. treats even major powers, the world’s second economic power, China, and one of the world’s two major military powers, Russia. If they can be referred to in such derogatory and abrasive terms then you don’t need a WikiLeaks’ revelation to understand what the U.S. thinks of the governments of other nations.

    Can you tell our listeners about the recent attack on a NATO convoy to Afghanistan through Pakistan?

    It’s being attributed to a Pakistani Taliban group or the Haqqani network – I’m not sure who’s being accused of having torched the 12 NATO tankers – but I would say, John, more than anything else this is indicative, I believe, of the general sentiment within Pakistan, which is not in favor – the popular sentiment – of renewing transit or NATO convoys from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

    There’s overwhelming opposition to collaboration with NATO for the war in Afghanistan if for no other reason that the people in Western Pakistan, ethnic Pashtuns, don’t relish the thought of their the cousins on the other side of the border being killed by NATO helicopter gunship attacks or in other military attacks including some of the horrible atrocities that have occurred just this year, for example. And what we’re seeing again is that to accommodate NATO is to betray one’s own nation and one’s people no matter where it occurs.

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

    Home> International
    What's Going On in Ukraine? An Up-to-Date Guide

    March 3, 2014
    By COLLEEN CURRY Colleen Curry More from Colleen »

    Reporter










    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the presidential summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali, Finland in this June 25, 2013, file photo.
    Kimmo Mantyla/AFP/Getty Images




    Next Video Pressure Mounts as Russian Troops Take Control of Crimea


    Auto Start: On | Off







    1. Russian Troops Invaded Part of Ukraine This Weekend



    Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to go into a region of Ukraine known as Crimea. The military forces went in and surrounded Ukrainian military bases and, in some cases, took them over. There were no violent clashes.


    Putin rationalized the invasion by explaining to Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel that he needed to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea from "ultranationalistic forces" in Ukraine. Crimea is made up of about 60 percent Russian people.


    In plain language, Putin is arguing that a group of anti-Russian extremists now in power in Ukraine were a threat to Russian-speaking people who live in Crimea.
    Putin's actions came after a change of power in Ukraine's national government last month when the country's Russian-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, left the country for Moscow and pro-European groups called for new elections.


    2. The Struggle Over Crimea Is Partly About East-West Relationships



    The political upheaval in Ukraine in recent weeks was partly about whether Ukraine would become more aligned with the European Union and the West or remain closely aligned with Russia.


    The protesters in Ukraine's capital, along with about 12 percent of the population in Crimea that identify themselves as ethnic Tatars, wanted the government to become more pro-European. They succeeded in setting new national elections for May.


    Yanukovich left the country for Moscow and sought Russian protection, which was quickly granted. Russia has said publicly it blames the West for trying to control Ukraine.


    3. President Obama, European Leaders, and the United Nations Are Warning Russia to Back Off



    President Obama has warned Russia "there will be costs" for any military intervention in Ukraine, and Secretary of State John Kerry has said "all options are on the table."
    European Union foreign ministers are meeting today to work on a response to Russia's military moves, one that could include economic sanctions. In addition, the United States is laying groundwork to kick Russia out of the G-8 due to the military action in Crimea.


    The United Nations is sending a team to investigate the situation in Crimea this week, while NATO meeting Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the situation a "breach of international law" and called on Russia to de-escalate the situation.


    Countries including the U.S. have suspended their planning for the G-8 conference in response to Russia's behavior.


    4. Russia Has Sent 6,000 Troops and Now Controls Many Bases, Buildings



    Russia said it has sent about 6,000 troops into Crimea to protect Russian citizens, in addition to pro-Russian militias that were already in Crimea.


    Together they have taken over parliament, the airports, and many government buildings. Troops have also surrounded or taken over many military bases, though not violently. A Ukrainian navy official tells ABC there are five Crimea bases plus naval headquarters in Sevastopol that have not surrendered, and they don't plan to surrender.


    Today, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he wanted to build a bridge connecting Russia to Crimea across a span of 12 miles.


    At a Coast Guard base in Crimea, a soldier speaking to reporters said he was a contractor from Russia and that the surrender of the base had been emotional, not violent. Troops who supported Russia were seen hugging those who support Ukraine and were leaving. To add to the complex situation and emotions, one soldier standing out front, when asked whether he was Russian or Ukrainian, replied, "My grandfather used to say Ukraine is the best Russia has."


    At the same base, Russia forced 15 Ukrainian naval ships to leave a Crimean port or surrender. They fled to Odessa.


    5. The World is Waiting to See What Will Happen Next



    Ukraine said today that it will not launch any military operations and pleaded with world powers to "give us time," but it has mobilized its troops to readiness levels.
    Russia has not made any move to go beyond Crimea into the rest of Ukraine.


    World leaders will decide on how to respond to Russia's military moves this week, which could include economic sanctions or more serious action.
    Libertatem Prius!


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

    Dangerous Times: Putin slaps down Euro-American Fantasyland

    By James Lewis
    March 3, 2014



    When JFK looked weak to Nikita Khrushchev, we got the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963. When Jimmy Carter bear-hugged Brezhnev, we got the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. When Bill Clinton failed to stop Bin Laden for seven whole years, we got 9/11/01 in New York City.

    And when Obama clowned it up for the world, alienating our allies and bowing down to our deadly enemies, we got this week’s Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

    And that’s only the beginning. Just you watch.

    Putin is establishing a naval presence in Venezuela and Cuba. He already has a major naval base in Syria. He wants to control Middle Eastern oil, and by making Iran and Saudi Arabia dependent on him, he might be able to do it.

    Obama has systematically dismantled Western and U.S. defenses, stabbed allies like Egypt’s Mubarak in the back, invaded Libya without a shred of justification, and backed murderous reactionary gangsters in Syria, Libya, Iran, and Egypt. Our president betrayed U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and purged our top military leaders. Soon he will turn over Iraq to Iran, and Afghanistan to the Taliban. When, through our bottomless folly, Iran gets the bomb, it will control both sides of the Persian Gulf, and run the Middle East through Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.

    The day after Putin predictably invaded the Ukraine, SecState John Kerry assured us that the new Tsar of all Russia would build up the Ukrainian economy --- after stealing its resources, as usual. In the White House Obama said several tough words out loud. But nobody now believes that the West will defend Eastern Europe, because America is led by a wet sock puppet and Europe has cannibalized its defenses to buy welfare votes from millions of radicalized Muslims. Russia is run by a KGB colonel, a seriously expansionist ruler, and nobody in the West is the least bit prepared. Germany curries favor with Moscow by paying extra-high prices for Russia’s natural gas. We’ve lost the plot -- but Putin hasn’t.

    Magical thinkers like Obama spend years persuading themselves that reality isn’t what it obviously is: That there are no aggressive imperial ideologies in the world, and that mere wishful thinking will create love and peace. For anyone who sees the world with open eyes, those ideas are too delusional to argue with. Every time you try to talk sense to a deluded liberal you will fail, because they aren’t open to facts or logic. Psychiatrists know from daily experience that you can’t argue people out of fixed delusions.

    Obama is a fairly intelligent man who lives in the delusional world of Harvard Law, where Obama talked Professor Larry Tribe into publishing an article claiming that Einsteinian Relativity applies to the U.S. Constitution, an idea so wacky that it should have disqualified both of them from holding public office for the rest of their lives.

    When the Democrats put Obama on the world stage in 2004 they knew exactly who he was; the public was completely bamboozled with smoke and mirrors, but the inner party knew they were running a black nationalist from Chicago who happened to look good on TV. The Democratic Party used to be run from smoke-filled backrooms, but these days the smokeseems to come from hash pipes. Democrats have now elected Communists and sex maniacs, but they haven’t had an intellectually serious candidate since Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    Obama is cognitively rigid: He can’t change his mind in the face of facts. Therefore the Western world acts like a milling crowd on the Exxon Valdez right before the ship strikes the reef. We can scream and yell at the captain, but he has both forefingers firmly stuck in his ears. If anything goes wrong, the White House spins lies and excuses. Obama never takes responsibility, and his mendacious media are too afraid to ask questions.

    In 2008 the Democrat-Media Complex sold us a grossly incompetent narcissist simply because he was black and therefore “historic ” They are now intent on electing the worst SecState in memory, simply because she is a woman, and therefore “historic.” After eight years of Hillary they will no doubt find a illegal lesbian immigrant to run, because that would also be “historic.”

    Apparently no Democrat ever thinks of voting for a person of competence and character to do a good job. America’sruling cult makes unbelievably irresponsible decisions -- Tony Weiner’s “Selfie campaign” for NY mayor deserves to go down in song and legend, just to remind future generations of today’s universal idiocy. The mayoral winner, Bill De Blasio, ran as a Communist and still received 70% of the votes, including Upper Manhattanites who were promptly screwed when the new mayor “forgot” to plow the streets in those neighborhoods. De Blasio might have campaigned in Nazi drag singing the “Horst Wessel” song, and nobody would have noticed.

    The worst news is that our people have become infantile. Americans just voted themselves free medical care for life, and now they are surprised because the whole wishful farce is starting to break down. This is not how adults think. It is infantile.

    The infantilized voter is not just an American phenomenon. Just take a look at the British “news” media. The BBC was just exposed for protecting a high-level compulsive child-abuser network, led by star Jimmy Savile, for a period of decades. Such profound and long-lasting corruption cannot happen in a normal, decent organization -- somebody would have called the cops. But the BBC waited for the criminals to die or retire before making its belated confession.

    British politics is heavily influenced by oil-rich Arabs and Iranians, including Tony Blair, who was paid to get the Lockerbie terrorist bomber released for Muammar Gadaffi. Gadaffi also bought up France’s Nicolas Sarkozy in exactly the way Saddam Hussein bought up Jacques Chirac in the 1990s. In return, the U.S. and French co-sponsored a coup against Gadaffi in which he was murdered by impalement.

    Europe’s ruling class is no longer responsible to the voters; they have complete job security just like the U.S. Senate. As a result, Europe’s capitals are now full of Pakistani radicals straight from the badlands, controlling entire neighborhoods with Shari’ah law. Western Europe is committing suicide, and Vladimir Putin knows it.

    When the U.S. withdraws from the world, all the ancient empires make another bid for power. Moscow just grabbed the Crimea again, and is making moves on the Baltic and the Black Sea. China just claimed two huge swathes of energy-rich ocean territory from Japan and the Philippines. A Franco-German axis runs the European Union, forcing poverty and despair on eastern and southern Europe by keeping the euro as strong as the old Deutschmark. Everywhere the power elites control millions of people by dint of 24/7 industrialized propaganda.

    Ordinary Europeans are just as ignorant, confused and childlike as Americans. They are easily swayed by monopoly propaganda run by political media cults. In England the Conservative Party is just as Eurosocialist as Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The EU Parliament has no law-making power at all. It’s a pure front for the all-powerful bureaucracy.

    Which makes Putin one of a small number of serious political leaders in the world.

    Obama is probably the least serious.

    Let’s all pray for a happy ending.

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

    Dollar, yen climb as Ukraine tensions escalate, ruble tumbles

    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK Mon Mar 3, 2014 1:24pm EST


    A man watches television inside his currency exchange shop in New Delhi August 30, 2013.
    Credit: Reuters/Mansi Thapliyal









    (Reuters) - The dollar and yen gained on Monday as investors sought shelter in these currencies, as Russia's invasion of the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula fanned geopolitical tensions.


    The greenback was further supported by economic data showing an increase in U.S. personal income and spending in January despite one of the worst winter seasons in recent memory.


    But the worsening situation in Ukraine has rattled investors more, even though this week is scheduled to be a heavy one in terms of economic data and central bank monetary policy decisions.


    The Russian ruble fell to a record low against the dollar and euro. The dollar hit an all-time peak of 36.6750 rubles, with the euro also touching a record high of 50.5300.
    "Investors turned to classic safe havens amid heightened tensions in Ukraine," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
    "The deteriorating situation in Ukraine poses a fresh threat to the global economy. The world economy is already seen on a fragile footing due to mounting signs of weakness in China."


    Ukraine said Russia was building up armoured vehicles on its side of a narrow stretch of water closest to Crimea after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared at the weekend he had the right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian interests and citizens.


    The Russian central bank, meanwhile, confirmed on Monday it has increased its involvement in the currency market after the ruble plummeted and said it will continue to shift its main monetary policy focus to inflation targeting after the situation on markets stabilizes.


    Traders estimated the central bank sold in excess of $10 billion on Monday to prop up the ruble.


    In midday trading, the dollar was up 1.5 percent versus the Russian currency at 36.5970, while the euro rose 1.2 percent to 50.3480.


    The United States threatened to isolate Russia economically after Putin's action provoked what Britain's foreign minister called "the biggest crisis in Europe in the twenty-first century".


    "Any sign of potential military action by Western nations would cause more risk aversion in the forex market because investors rarely view the prospect of war as positive especially when it involves major world powers like the U.S. and Russia," said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York.
    In midday trading, the dollar index rose 0.3 percent to 79.951 .DXY.


    The dollar was also underpinned by data showing U.S. consumer spending rose more than expected in January, increasing 0.4 percent, as outlays on services recorded their largest increase since late 2001, likely driven by demand for heating. Income also gained 0.3 percent in January after being flat the prior month.


    The dollar's gains pushed the euro 0.3 percent lower at $1.3760.


    However against the safe-haven yen, the dollar fell 0.4 percent to 101.43, after earlier dropping to a month-low of 101.17 yen. The euro also dropped versus the yen, falling 0.6 percent to 139.67 yen.


    The euro is the first safe port of call for capital from eastern European countries such as Poland, Latvia or Lithuania who may be the first to feel the fallout of any conflict or sanctions. But the euro zone also has close ties to Russia.
    Libertatem Prius!


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

    Another imbecile heard from:

    Harry Reid: Get Europe on board before punishing Russia

    He says the U.S. must not 'go off without the European community.' | Getty




    By MANU RAJU and BURGESS EVERETT | 3/3/14 1:49 PM EST Updated: 3/3/14 2:01 PM EST
    The United States should hold off on punishing Russia until the European community is on board with a specific response to the growing crisis in Ukraine, the Senate’s top Democrat said Monday.
    In an interview, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Congress should let the situation play out for “a while” before trying to impose any new sanctions on Russia, which is dispatching military forces into Crimea — forcing the West to scramble for a response.
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    McCain: Ukraine Putin's ‘crown jewel’

    Royce and Kaptur join chorus on Ukraine-Russia

    Latest on POLITICO





    “The most important thing is for us – the United States – to make sure that we don’t go off without the European community,” Reid said Monday in the Capitol. “We have to work with them. Their interests are really paramount if we are going to do sanctions of some kind. We have to have them on board with us.”
    (Also on POLITICO: Why Russia no longer fears the West)
    The comments are Reid’s first since the crisis in Ukraine deepened over the weekend. Congressional leaders from both parties have condemned Russia’s actions in recent days but have said little about how they might proceed.
    Reid said he’s spoken to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough “a couple times” about the situation and was scheduled to get a classified briefing from CIA Director John Brennan on Monday. McDonough also has spoken with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
    If the U.S. ultimately takes action, Reid suggested the government could move to clamp down on the banking sector to hurt Russia, which he accidentally referred to as the Soviet Union.
    (PHOTOS: Ukraine turmoil)
    “We can pretty much control banking, which is so important to the Soviet Un – to the Russians,” Reid said with a grin. “How soon we forget, huh?”
    “The main thing is the European community,” Reid said. “They need to be part of what we do.”
    One reason to wait before pushing penalties on Russia: Gridlock that has brought most legislative activity to a halt in Congress.
    “We couldn’t do congressional action if we wanted, we can’t get in the damn building,” Reid said. “I think we should just play this out for a while.”
    (Also on POLITICO: Obama's options on Ukraine)
    The Nevada Democrat’s assessment comes as urgent talks take place in New York, where the United Nations Security Council plans to meet Monday, and in Brussels, where European Union leaders were engaged in emergency meetings over the escalating situation in Eastern Ukraine. The leaders of the 28-member European bloc plan to meet Thursday in Ukraine, just as Secretary of John Kerry travels to Kiev on Tuesday and as Vladimir Putin says he’s moving to protect Russians in the unstable country.
    Making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, Kerry raised the specter of potential punitive actions against Russia, insisting that the United States was united in its response.
    “There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans,” Kerry said Sunday on NBC. “There could be certainly a disruption of any of the normal trade routine, and there could be business drawback on investment in the country. The ruble is already going down and feeling the impact of this.”
    (Also on POLITICO: Kerry to travel to Ukraine)
    But there’s concern that imposing sanctions on Russia will have negative consequences on U.S. allies. Russia supplies massive amounts of natural gas to European countries and might decide to cut those ties in response to sanctions.
    It remains to be seen whether Congress will do anything.
    Reid’s No. 2, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), said on CNN that the Senate should pass a resolution “condemning what Putin has done.” He added that the United States should clearly should state that if Ukraine will “stand up for real reform, then we’re going to back them through” the International Monetary Fund.
    (Also on POLITICO: Odds slim for U.S. military action in Ukraine)
    Still, a non-binding resolution is more symbolic than anything else, and there’s already pressure from Republicans for Congress to take more substantive action.
    Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said over the weekend that Congress should “consider targeted sanctions against Russian persons and entities that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
    Added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “I would fly the NATO flag as strongly as I could around Putin. I would suspend his membership in the G-8, be the G-7. The G-20 would become the G-19 at least for a year. And every day he stays in the Ukraine, I would add to it.”
    Libertatem Prius!


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

    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    It is radically turning. Today we are witnessing a dramatic fulfillment of this prophecy. America is about to become perilously isolated.
    ian bremmer@ianbremmer23 mins
    UK trying to publicly downplay threat of specific sanctions on Russia. Obama/Kerry not going to get European support here. #Ukraine

    18:44: The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson has more on the official document that reveals that the UK government will not curb trade with Russia or close London's financial centre to Russians. The document also says British ministers should "discourage any discussion (eg at Nato) of contingency military preparations".

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    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Russia is denying they have made an ultimatum.

    UN Security Council is about to meet in 30 minutes.

    Another escalation: The Russians deny they gave an ultimatum to the Ukrainian troops to surrender or suffer from an all out assault.

    Italy telling Russia "Hands off".

    Russian ships blocking Ukraine warships.

    Obama whining and threatening.

    Putin rubbing Obama's face in defiance.

    Tomorrow Kerry will be in Kiev (that will help).

    Russia claims to be protecting citizens.

    US calls that "trumped up".
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Russian Black Sea Fleet says no assault ultimatum in Crimea: Interfax

    MOSCOW Mon Mar 3, 2014 12:34pm EST



    Related Topics








    (Reuters) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet has not issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. on Tuesday or face an assault, Interfax news agency quoted an official at the fleet's headquarters as saying.
    Russia's Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea and Moscow has effectively established control over the peninsula, which is part of Ukraine.
    Interfax quoted an unnamed source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry earlier on Monday as saying a deadline to surrender at 0300 GMT had been set by the Black Sea Fleet's commander.
    The same news agency later quoted an unnamed representative at the fleet's headquarters as saying no assault was planned, adding: "This is complete nonsense."
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards



    President Obama warns that if Moscow continues on its current trajectory, the U.S. is examining a series of steps to "isolate Russia."


    Russia tightens grip on Crimea; U.S. threatens sanctions over Ukraine crisis

    By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Susanna Capelouto, CNN
    updated 3:16 PM EST, Mon March 3, 2014


    (CNN) -- Tensions smoldered in Ukraine, and in capitals around the world on Monday, as Russian troops consolidated their hold on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, global stocks slipped on fears things could get worse and diplomats grasped for a way to stop the crisis from escalating.


    British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the situation Europe's most serious crisis of the still-young 21st century. An emergency U.N. Security Council meeting was scheduled for later in the day.


    U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States is examining a series of economic and diplomatic steps to "isolate Russia," and he called on Congress to work with his administration on an economic assistance package for Ukraine.


    In Crimea, more Russian troops arrived, surrounding military posts and other facilities and taking effective control of the peninsula from Ukrainian authorities. What they planned to do next remained unclear. In one ominous incident, a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet boarded a blocked Ukrainian warship and issued a threat.


    "Swear allegiance to the new Crimean authorities, or surrender, or face an attack," he said, according to the spokesman, Vladislav Seleznev.
    Ex-prime minister calls on world to act
    How will the West respond to Ukraine?
    NATO calls emergency meeting on Ukraine
    Obama to Russia: 'There will be costs'



    But a spokesman for the Russian Black Sea Fleet said there are no plans to storm Ukrainian military units in Crimea, according to the state-run Interfax news agency.
    Despite the assurance, stocks fell around the world, with Russian stocks leading the way as investors parsed the day's developments. Markets declined in Asia, Europe and the United States, where the benchmark Dow Jones was down more than 200 points in mid-afternoon trading.


    Although Russia's foreign minister rejected claims his country was acting aggressively, his European Union counterparts met in Brussels to condemn what they called Russia's "clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity." They demanded Moscow pull its troops back or face possible sanctions.


    Vice President Joe Biden, speaking by telephone to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, warned of increasing political and economic isolation.


    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that sanctions against Russia weren't just possible, but likely.


    A senior U.S. administration official told CNN that Russian forces "have complete operational control of the Crimean Peninsula." The official said the U.S. estimates there are 6,000 Russian ground and naval forces in the region.


    "There is no question that they are in an occupation position -- flying in reinforcements and settling in," another senior administration official said.
    Tensions rise even higher in Ukraine
    Ukraine PM: 'This is a red alert'



    In Kiev, interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who has accused Moscow of declaring war, vowed that his West-leaning government would not give up the region.


    "Nobody will give Crimea away. ... There are no grounds for the use of force against civilians and Ukrainians, and for the entry of the Russian military contingent," he said.

    "Russia never had any grounds and never will."


    Ukraine's shaky new government has mobilized troops and called up military reservists.


    Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, released from jail last week, asked the international community for help.


    "I am asking all the world, personally every world leader, to use all the possibilities in order to avoid Ukraine losing Crimea," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview.
    A strange scene: Somewhat polite standoff in Crimea
    How will the West respond to Ukraine?
    Putin defies U.S. warning about Ukraine
    Lawmaker speaks of blood-soaked soil



    Camouflaged and unidentified

    Ukrainian border guards on Monday reported a buildup of armored vehicles on the Russian side of a narrow sea channel dividing Russia and Crimea, Reuters reported, citing a border guard spokesman.


    He said that Russian ships had been moving in and around the city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet has a base, and Russian forces had blocked mobile telephone service in some areas. The buildup of Russian armor was near a ferry port on the Russian side of the Kerch Channel, opposite the Ukrainian city of Kerch.


    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian State Border Security Service said there had been several attacks on border posts in eastern Crimea just along the border with Russia.


    Also on Sunday night, unidentified armed men tried to enter the arms depot in Belbek military base near Sevastopol, said Seleznev, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman. Ukrainian forces shot into the air to warn them off, but the unidentified men used sound grenades and a Ukrainian commander was wounded as a result, Seleznev told CNN.


    The attackers gained access to the base, but Ukrainian troops retain control of the weapons depot and administration building, Seleznev added.


    Men dressed in both civilian and camouflage gear with red armbands have patrolled the streets of the regional capital, Simferopol. The area has seen several pro-Russia demonstrations with crowds waving Russian flags and shouting "Thank you, Putin."


    If judged by the numbers, Ukraine's military loses war with Russia



    Navy defector seeks allies



    Ten Ukrainian military and naval bases in Crimea were blocked Monday by armed men, the newly appointed naval commander of Ukraine, Rear Admiral Serhei Gayduk, told a Ukrainian TV station.


    His predecessor, Denis Berezovsky, who on Sunday said he would not submit to orders from Kiev and defected, was said to have entered the Ukrainian naval base in Crimea under the protection of a group of Cossacks and tried to convince other Ukrainian officers to defect. However, Gayduk was at the base and urged officers to maintain their allegiance to Ukraine, the Defense Ministry's Seleznev told CNN. Troops responded by singing the Ukrainian national anthem.


    These scenes come after Putin secured permission from his parliament Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine and told U.S. President Barack Obama he had the right to defend Russian interests and nationals, spurning Western pleas not to intervene.


    Worried West
    The tensions have worried the West, and Russia's G8 partners have condemned Moscow's military buildup in Crimea. The world's seven major industrialized powers also suspended preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia, in June.


    Their finance ministers announced some economic support for cash-strapped Ukraine.


    "We are also committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulatory, and anti-corruption challenges," the finance ministers said in a written statement.


    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, due in Kiev Tuesday, said several foreign powers are looking at economic consequences if Russia does not withdraw its forces.


    Obama said Monday that Russia's military moves in Crimea violated international law, adding that "no country has a right to send in troops to another country unprovoked."


    Obama said Russia should consider international condemnation of its military moves in Ukraine, adding that "over time, this will be a costly proposition" due to sanctions and isolation that will result if the situation continues or worsens.


    Kerry will offer Ukraine a "specific" package of U.S. economic aid when he travels to Kiev for talks Tuesday, Obama said.


    "It is now of the utmost importance to install calm and de-escalate tensions immediately through dialogue," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.


    Scheduled to meet Lavrov later Monday, he urged "that the Russian Federation refrain from any acts and rhetoric that can further escalate the situation and instead engage constructively and through peaceful means with Ukraine."


    German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Putin had accepted a proposal to establish a "fact-finding mission" to Ukraine, possibly under the leadership of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and to start a political dialogue.


    Moscow has defended its parliament's approval of President Vladimir Putin's use of military force to protect its citizens in the Crimean Peninsula, an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to Russia.


    "I repeat: This is a matter of defending our citizens and our compatriots, of defending the most important human right -- the right to life," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a U.N. human rights meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.


    But Ukraine's ambassador to the U.N. says Russia's reasoning for a possible invasion is fake.


    "There is no evidence that the Russian ethnic population or Russian-speaking population is under threat," Ambassador Yuri Sergeyev told CNN.


    The Russian parliament, or Duma, is also considering a law that would allow for the annexation of Crimea, according to the parliament's website.


    "Now they are trying to create new legal basis to prove annexation of the territory they're now occupying," Sergeyev said.
    How is the rest of the world reacting?



    East vs. West
    Ukraine, a nation of 45 million people sandwiched between Europe and Russia's southwestern border, has been in chaos since Yanukovych was ousted on February 22 after bloody street protests that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.


    Anti-government demonstrations started in late November, when Yanukovych spurned a deal with the EU, favoring closer ties with Moscow instead.


    Ukraine has faced a deepening split, with those in the west generally supporting the interim government and its European Union tilt, while many in the east prefer a Ukraine where Russia casts a long shadow.


    Nowhere is that feeling more intense than in Crimea, the last big bastion of opposition to the new political leadership. Ukraine suspects Russia of fomenting tension in the autonomous region that might escalate into a bid for separation by its Russian majority.


    Ukrainian leaders and commentators have compared events in Crimea to what happened in Georgia in 2008. Then, cross-border tensions with Russia exploded into a five-day conflict that saw Russian tanks and troops pour into the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as Georgian cities. Russia and Georgia each blamed the other for starting the conflict.


    READ: Ukraine mobilizes troops after Russia's 'declaration of war'
    READ: Opinion: Putin's move could be costly to U.S., Middle East
    MAP: How Ukraine is divided
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  13. #153
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Planned event... "Years in the making".

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/poli...on-338260.html


    Ukrainian experts say Russian invasion was years in making

    Print version
    March 3, 2014, 9:16 p.m. | Politics — by Oksana Grytsenko

    Valery Chaly (on the right) and Vitaly Portnikov (on the left.)
    © Pavel Podufalov

    Tweet

    Oksana Grytsenko

    The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been in the works for years, but still left Ukrainian officials unprepared while other former officials appeared to be working in cahoots with the Kremlin, according to experts who spoke at a news conference in Kyiv today.
    Russian troops, whose number may have now exceeded 16,000 soldiers, went beyond their Russian Black Sea Fleet bases in Crimea on Feb. 27 and seized control of the peninsula.
    Some 6,000 soldiers joined them, coming to Crimea onboard of cargo planes, according to estimates of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. “Russian apparently had these plans long ago,” Chaly said even as Ukraine's military doctrine rated the possibility of such an attack as no possible.
    “Ukraine had no plan of reaction on these plans,” Valeriy Chaly, deputy head of the Razumkov Center think tank in Kyiv, said.
    Chaly, also a former deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “All including heads of military headquarters, chiefs of military intelligence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not thinking about possible aggression from Russia.”
    Vitaly Portnikov, a journalist, said there were signs that defense officials in the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych were acting in Russian interests.
    “Who were these people – (Pavlo) Lebedev (former defense minister) or (Oleksandr) Yakymenko (former Security Services of Ukraine chief)?” Portnikov asked. "Both officials were Russian-born and served for years in Russia. And another defense minister, Dmytro Salamatin, was a relative (son-in-law) of former Russian Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets!” Portnikov said. “These people were working for the destruction of Ukraine’s armed forces for years.”
    Meanwhile, Chaly believes that Russia didn't realise that after EuroMaidan Revolution Ukraine changed dramatically, and after launching the attack Russia totally lost the role it used to play in this country.
    “And now Ukraine’s future is being decided in other places, unfortunately not in Ukrainian ones,” Chaly said.
    Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at grytsenko@kyivpost.com
    Last edited by American Patriot; March 3rd, 2014 at 20:40.
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    EU warns Russia to de-escalate or face sanctions


    By Claire Rosemberg (AFP) – 1 hour ago


    Brussels — The European Union condemned Russia's "acts of aggression" on Monday and warned that EU-Russia ties were at risk failing concrete moves by Moscow to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine by Thursday.


    As the 28-nation bloc raced to defuse the crisis, EU president Herman Van Rompuy announced Monday he was calling a summit of the bloc's heads of state and government on Thursday, in effect setting a time frame for Russia to act.


    The announcement of the summit came at the close of five hours of crisis talks by the EU's foreign ministers that ended with a two-page statement warning of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin's threat of military incursion.


    "The European Union strongly condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces," the ministers said.


    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would hold talks in Madrid on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then go on to Kiev on Wednesday.
    In their statement, the ministers threatened targeted sanctions against Moscow as well as saying bilateral ties were at risk.


    "In the absence of de-escalating steps by Russia, the EU shall decide about consequences for bilateral relations between the EU and Russia," said the statement, issued after the hastily convened crisis talks.


    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that "if there is no de-escalation before Thursday, these measures will take effect."


    The statement cited as an example of such a measure suspending long-running talks with the Russian authorities on easing EU visa requirements for the country's citizens, as well as a new cooperation agreement.


    It added too that the EU was ready to "consider further targeted measures" and would remain "permanently seized (of the matter) in order to be in a position to take rapidly all necessary measures."


    EU sources said "targeted measures" would include visa bans or asset freezes against senior figures as well as suspending mutual accords.


    The statement made no specific mention of an arms embargo suggested in an original draft statement put to the ministers, which was seen by AFP earlier.


    It demanded that Russia pull back its forces to permanent bases and abide by a string of international agreements.


    -Sharp EU differences-


    There were sharp differences however between the ministers meeting for their second emergency EU get-together on Ukraine in less than two weeks.


    Hawkish ministers from EU nations once in the Soviet sphere, such as Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic, went into the talks demanding sanctions.


    "Some in Russia are still impressed by their military might," said Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, also a hardliner. "That is not the way to make friends in Europe, in the world."


    Others opted for a softer approach, in line with heavyweights Germany and France.


    "Europe is without doubt in the worst crisis since the fall of the (Berlin) wall" 25 years ago, said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.


    "The threat of a division of Europe is real again," he added. "Now is the time for diplomacy."


    "Diplomacy does not mean weakness but is more needed than ever to prevent us from being drawn into the abyss of military escalation."


    On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he was violating a 1994 accord in which Moscow pledged to respect the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine.


    But she also suggested, and Putin agreed, to set up a contact group on Ukraine, reflecting Berlin's desire to keep contacts open with Moscow rather than risk an open breach.
    "We need to talk to Putin, who has his own good reasons for doing bad things," a senior diplomat told AFP. "The situation is extremely dangerous. We need a way out of this 'us' and 'them' Cold War syndrome."
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    Default Re: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Kerry: Repercussions for Putin 'act of aggression'

    Mar 3, 2014
    2 hours ago



    The new pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, announced that he has taken control of Crimean military and security and appealed to Russia for help in maintaining peace in Crimea. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)





    WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry calls Russia's military incursion into Ukraine 'an incredible act of aggression" and says President Vladimir Putin has made "a stunning, willful" choice to invade another country.
    Kerry says Russia should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.
    Kerry is raising the possibility of boycotting the June meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Sochi, Russia.
    He's also discussing visa bans, asset freezes, and trade and investment penalties.
    Kerry said he spoke with foreign ministers for G-8 and other nations on Saturday, and says everyone is prepared 'to go to the hilt" to isolate Russia.
    Kerry was interviewed Sunday on CBS, ABC and NBC news shows.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    I don't expect much from this Marxist Administration.

    During the last 4 months of the Bush Administration in 8-8-2008 the House and Senate both controlled by Democrats would never allow any real commitments to remove Russia from Georgia either.

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    We’ll so weaken your
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    I don't either actually.

    I think the consequences to which Obama is referring will be an obvious connection of him to the Soviets... er... "Russians" and he will be called out for it.

    He will do nothing. The US won't do jack. The military can not act without Obama's permission.

    I am rather certain at this point we won't be nuked because, frankly, Putin wants our country intact.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Canada Pledges Support for Ukraine

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper Calls on Russia to Cease Military Activity in Crimea


    By Carolyn King and
    Judy McKinnon
    connect

    March 3, 2014 3:07 p.m. ET
    TORONTO--Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday pledged support for Ukraine's fledgling government and called on Russia to cease its military activity in Crimea.
    Mr. Harper's comments came amid ongoing tension and uncertainty in the region, which has seen a dramatic escalation in Russian military presence since Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian ally, was ousted as Ukraine's president last week. Crimea was already the base for Russia's Black Sea naval fleet.
    Mr. Harper, who was in Toronto to attend a mining-industry conference, called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "immediately withdraw his military." He added that Mr. Putin's actions "have put his country on a course of diplomatic and economic isolation that could well see Russia exit the G-8 entirely."
    Canada said on the weekend that it was recalling its ambassador to Moscow, and joined the U.S. in suspending preparations for the G-8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia, recently the site of the Winter Olympic Games.
    Mr. Harper said he has told newly appointed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk that "Canada pledges ongoing friendship and steadfast support for your efforts to defend your sovereignty and to restore economic and political stability."
    Western countries including the U.S. are considering options for punishing Mr. Putin economically for his actions in Ukraine. They have said military intervention isn't an option they are considering.
    "We will continue to work closely with our G-7 partners and our allies," Mr. Harper said Monday.
    Last edited by American Patriot; March 3rd, 2014 at 20:51.
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    I am rather certain at this point we won't be nuked because, frankly, Putin wants our country intact.
    I really hope that is true.

    I would not rule out surgical strikes to take out what's left of our hardened assets that has not been cut by the sequester or by dismantled by this Administration.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    Default Re: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

    Middle East News‏@MiddleEast_BRK·27 secs
    #BreakingNews Russian army trucks with loudspeakers drive through #Armjansnk, claiming, town will be "front zone" from 5am tomorrow morning.

    Response...

    14:40.00EST - State Department commits to never again "Like" Putin's Facebook status updates

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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