Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Questions Linger Over Russia’s Endgame in Syria, Ukraine and Europe


The New York Times

MOSCOW — The partial truce that Russia and the United States have thrashed out in Syria capped something of a foreign policy trifecta for President Vladimir V. Putin, with the Kremlin strong-arming itself into a pivotal role in the Middle East, Ukraine floundering and the European Union developing cracks like a badly glazed pot.

Beyond what could well be a high point for Mr. Putin, however, lingering questions about Russia’s endgame arise in all three directions.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What Russia's Failing Economy Means For Putin's Legacy And Military Ambitions

The WorldPost spoke with Sergey Aleksahenko, former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank.
 02/20/2016 08:01 am ET | Updated 2 hours ago

THe Huffington Post

The World Post

Alexandra Ma
Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post

Russia is in the middle of its worst economic crisis since 2008.

The country's economic output declined by 3.7 percent in 2015 and is projected to decrease by a further 1 percent in 2016, according to International Monetary Fund estimates published in January. Inflation soared to 15.4 percent in 2015, compared with 7.8 percent in 2014.

The decline is partly the result of the international sanctions imposed following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Large trade and investment partners, including the European Union and the United States, cut off Russia's access to foreign loans and capital markets and froze assets belonging to high-level Russians.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Putin: US and NATO want to 'sit on the throne in Europe alone'

Deutsche Welle

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his policies in Ukraine and Crimea and slammed NATO expansion and the United States. He also said he trusts German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed western sanctions against his country as "geo-political" rather than aimed at solving the crisis in Ukraine and criticized NATO expansion and the United States for trying to impose its will, in a wide-ranging interview published Monday in the popular German daily newspaper "Bild."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sanctions Are Now Syriza's Bargaining Chip

JAN 28, 2015 8:47 AM EST
By Leonid Bershidsky


“…I predict the Greek government will ultimately trade its sanctions vote for debt relief. If so, it will be revealed to be another bunch of cynical horse-trading politicians rather than a force for change, even as Greeks rejoice at seeing their national debt shrink…”

Monday, November 10, 2014

In Ukraine, Shelling and Convoys of Armed Trucks Threaten Cease-Fire

The New York Times


MOSCOW — A shaky cease-fire in eastern Ukraine looked ever more tenuous on Sunday as European monitors confirmed reports of unmarked military vehicles driving through rebel-held territory while Donetsk, the region’s biggest city, endured a nightlong artillery battle.

The monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that long columns of unmarked military vehicles, some towing howitzers, were spotted over the weekend. The monitors did not speculate as to the origins of the trucks or the people inside them, but Ukrainian officials said the statements bolstered their claims that Russia was again arming and training separatists.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ukraine nationalists tear down Kharkiv's Lenin statue

28 September 2014 Last updated at 22:24 GMT

Nationalists have torn down a statue of Lenin in the centre of Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, in a move supported by officials.

People cheered and leapt for joy as the statue came crashing down.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ukrainian president offers rebels major concessions to end uprising

By Anthony Faiola September 15 at 2:36 PM
KIEV, UKRAINE — President Petro Poroshenko on Monday proposed a series of major concessions to end the uprising by pro-Russian rebels in restive eastern Ukraine, offering the separatists a broad amnesty and special self-governance status for territories they occupy.

The proposal also includes protections for the Russian language and would allow the separatist-controlled regions to elect their own judges, create their own police forces and cultivate deeper ties to Russia — while remaining part of Ukraine.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cease-fire in Ukraine threatened as fighting breaks out in east

The Washington Post

KIEV, UkraineUkraine struggled to maintain a tenuous cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels after a series of repeated breaches Sunday, even as the government here faced the equally daunting task of selling the peace plan to the nation.

Firefights broke out near the rebel-held city of Donetsk as well as east of the key port city of Mariupol, eyewitnesses said. Yet Ukrainian officials maintained that in general, the truce, which went into effect Friday evening, was holding.

“The Ukrainian government still believes in the cease-fire ­despite the violations,” said Volodymyr Poleviy, deputy spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Defense Council.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Official: Russian forces back rebels with tanks in eastern Ukraine

By Victoria Butenko, Laura Smith-Spark and Diana Magnay, CNN
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1010 GMT (1810 HKT)

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) -- Pro-Moscow rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, battled government forces on two fronts Thursday, a Ukrainian military official said.
The fighting was taking place southeast of Donetsk, and along the nation's southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.
"This is a full-scale invasion," Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.
In a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Ukraine's Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ukraine crisis: 'Column from Russia' crosses border

25 August 2014 Last updated at 17:28 GMT Share this pagePrint

The Ukrainian military says it has clashed with rebel armoured vehicles that crossed from Russia and headed to the south-eastern port of Mariupol.

One commander said rebels might be trying to open up a new southern front. Russia did not comment on the issue.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko voiced his "extreme concern" about the alleged crossing, his office said.

More than 2,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian forces and the separatists in recent months.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A mounting toll

Jul 14th 2014, 9:54 by N.S. | DONETSK
The Economist
VLADIMIR PISKUNOV once had roses in his garden, red and white ones lining the patio. He once had tomatoes, ripening alongside the cherry trees. He once had a roof over his house. He once had a wife. All of that was wiped out late in the afternoon of July 12th, when three Grad rockets hit 15 Lyubovich Street on the western edge of Donetsk. One landed directly on his house, blasting a crater through its center and killing his wife Tatiana, who was clambering to the basement for safety.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Russia warns Ukraine of ‘irreversible consequences’ after cross-border shelling

By Karoun Demirjian and Michael Birnbaum July 13 at 7:46 PM
The Washington Post
MOSCOWRussia on Sunday accused Ukraine of lobbing a shell over the border and killing a Russian civilian and warned of “irreversible consequences,” in a sharp escalation of rhetoric that raised fears of a Russian invasion in Ukraine’s east.

The accusation, which Ukrainian officials denied, set off furious denunciations in Russia, with one senior legislator calling for pinpoint airstrikes on Ukrainian soil of the sort he said Israel was making in the Gaza Strip.

Ukrainian security officials, meanwhile, said that about 100 military vehicles driven by “mercenaries” had attempted to cross the border from Russia early Sunday, and that Ukraine’s military had destroyed some of the vehicles.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Russia Demands New Cease-Fire in Ukraine as Foreign Ministers Seek Path to Peace

The New York Times

MOSCOW — In a stern warning that cited civilian casualties in war-torn eastern Ukraine, Russia on Wednesday demanded that the Ukrainian government reinstate a cease-fire and halt its military operation aimed at suppressing the pro-Russian separatist insurrection that has destabilized the region for more than three months.

“Again we resolutely demand that the Ukrainian authorities — provided they are still able to evaluate sensibly the consequences of the criminal policy they conduct — to stop shelling peaceful cities and villages in their own country, to return to a real cease-fire in order to save human lives,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ukraine Forces Appear to Oust Rebels From Airport in East

The New York Times

DONETSK, Ukraine — The new Ukrainian government struck the separatists in this eastern province with a major military offensive on Monday, battling them over an important provincial airport in ground fighting that lasted for hours. The rebels were left scattered and shaken, just one day after a successful national election they had tried to disrupt.

The airport battle was the first time the Ukrainian military had moved so aggressively against the separatists, who took over government buildings in two eastern provinces in March, after weeks of low-grade military maneuvers meant to stop their spread to other areas.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Finland model for Ukraine?

By David Ignatius, Published: May 21
The Washington Post

After months of war fever over Ukraine, perhaps the biggest surprise is that citizens there will be voting to choose a new government in elections that observers predict will be free and fair in most areas.

This electoral pathway for Ukraine seemed unlikely a few weeks ago, given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and his covert campaign to destabilize the Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine. There were dire warnings of a new Cold War, and even of a ground war in Ukraine. The country seemed at risk of being torn apart.
Putin appears, at this writing, to have decided that Russia’s interests are better served by waiting — for the nonaligned government he expects will emerge from Sunday’s elections — than from an invasion or some radical destabilization. The Russian leader may be ready to accept a neutral country, between East and West, where Russia’s historical interests are recognized. During the Cold War, such an outcome was known as “Finlandization.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Pushing Putin Toward China

The New York Times
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he was withdrawing Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the second time he has said that in less than two weeks. He also praised the government in Kiev, which he had previously called an illegal, fascist junta, for its willingness to negotiate structural changes.
But the intended audience for these conciliatory remarks may not have been the United States and Europe, who would distrust them in any event. No, Mr. Putin’s gaze was more likely fixed on China, where he arrives on Tuesday by all accounts determined to show that he, too, wants to pivot to Asia.
While Mr. Putin has been casting an eye eastward practically since he returned to the presidency in 2012, the crisis in relations with the West over Ukraine has made ties to Asia, and particularly relations with its economic engine, China, a key strategic priority. With Europe trying to wean itself off Russian gas, and the possibility of far more serious Western sanctions looming should the crisis deepen, Moscow needs an alternative.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In Ukraine talks, finger-pointing and little sign of progress

The Washington Post
By Anthony Faiola and Fredrick Kunkle, Published: May 14 E-mail the writers
KIEV, Ukraine — The first round of talks on Ukrainian national unity descended into grandstanding and accusations Wednesday, offering no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough in the region’s tensest standoff since the Cold War.

Although strongly backed by the West and ostensibly by Russia, the negotiations as they are currently cast are unlikely to have an immediate effect on the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine. During the talks, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk pressed an offer to give more powers to Ukraine’s regions. But he and other members of the interim government in Kiev have ruled out a seat at the negotiating table for the pro-Russian separatists who have captured administrative buildings and are confronting Ukrainian military forces in deadly skirmishes in the east.
“We will conduct a dialogue only with all those who do not shoot and do not kill citizens,” he said.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

As Ukrainian separatists claim victory in self-rule vote, fears of all-out civil war mount

The Washington Post
By Simon Denyer, Michael Birnbaum and Fredrick Kunkle, Published: May 12 E-mail the writers
DONETSK, Ukraine — Separatists in eastern Ukraine proclaimed the birth of two new “sovereign” republics Monday after asserting victory in controversial self-rule referendums, and one of the regions promptly asked to join Russia.

Leaders of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic also demanded that Ukrainian security forces leave the separatists’ territory.
The statements represented a hardening of positions that could drag Ukraine closer to all-out civil war and is likely to intensify tensions between Russia and the West.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why May 9 will be a date to watch in Ukraine

May 7 at 1:20 pm
The Washington Post
It'd be tough to overstate how much World War II still resonates in Russia. Take its naming: It's no "Second World War" in Russia, it's The Great Patriotic War. Then consider the death toll: 27 million Soviet citizens dead, according to one estimate. Horrifying events that took place on Russian soil, such as the Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Stalingrad, are not forgotten.
This week, that's especially important. Remember that in Russia, May 9 is Victory Day: the anniversary of the day that the Soviet Union announced that Nazi Germany had surrendered. And Victory Day isn't just a big day for Russia. It's a big day for all former members of the Soviet Union who fought together in the war. This year, it may be an exceptionally complicated day for one country in particular: Ukraine.
In the past, Ukraine and Russia have celebrated Victory Day together on May 9 – for example, on May 9, 2010, Russian and Ukrainian sailors in Sevastopol marched in a joint parade to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the day on the orders of then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Heavy Fighting in Pro-Russian Separatist Stronghold

Deaths Reported on Both Sides From Sustained Fighting in Slovyansk
The Wall Street Journal

Updated May 5, 2014 12:32 p.m. ET

Heavy fighting erupted Monday around a pro-Russian separatist stronghold in eastern Ukraine, with dozens of casualties reported as the standoff between insurgents and the government entered a more dangerous phase.

The fighting was the most sustained since acting President Oleksandr Turchynov first sent troops to eastern Ukraine about three weeks ago, in what he called an antiterrorist operation. Accounts from both sides suggested the military was pushing further into the volatile, heavily defended city of Slovyansk, following days of intermittent clashes focused there.
Mr. Turchynov reiterated Monday that the government was prepared to negotiate with the pro-Russian protesters, who are seeking greater autonomy for eastern Ukraine.