Separatists build barricades in east Ukraine, Kiev warns of force
(Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatists reinforced barricades around the state security building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on Wednesday and called on President Vladimir Putin for help after the government warned it could use force to restore order.
But protesters were also engaged in talks to ease the standoff, which Kiev has said could provide a pretext for a Russian invasion, and lawmakers from eastern Ukraine proposed an amnesty for protesters to defuse tension.
The former KGB headquarters is one of three government buildings seized this week in eastern Ukraine by protesters demanding regional referendums on independence from Kiev, like the one in Crimea that led to its annexation by Russia.
Tensions have risen in the mainly Russian-speaking east since the overthrow of Ukraine’s Moscow-backed president and the installation of a new pro-European government.
“Of course we must ask Russia to take us in because I don’t see an alternative,” said a man dressed in camouflage who gave his name as Vasiliy and said he was the commandant of the building. “Putin help us!” he said.
Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector has announced it holds the acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accountable for the death of notorious radical militant Aleksandr Muzychko and will avenge it, Ukrainian media reports.
With Iran investing in cruise missile technology and Vladimir Putin strengthening his ties to Latin America’s leftist strongholds, American military leaders are struggling to fully meet the threat of a cruise missile attack from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Journal, American generals are increasingly concerned that Russia or Iran could establish presences in the Gulf of Mexico that require… Read more →
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea — U.S. and Ukrainian officials warned Sunday that Russia may be poised to expand its territorial conquest into eastern Ukraine and beyond, with a senior NATO official saying that Moscow might even order its troops to cross Ukraine to reach Moldova. The warnings came as Russia was finalizing its takeover of Ukrainian military bases in Crimea, the peninsula… Read more →
KHERSON, UKRAINE – As Ukraine appears to have all but conceded Crimea to Moscow, Ukranians in Kherson, the province just north of the peninsula, are believed to be pushing a secession vote of their own in what a local leader angrily denounced as “treason.” The province has a huge Russian speaking population, and a vote – particularly with politicking from… Read more →
(Reuters) - Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian. Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to linguistic tensions… Read more →
In his most aggressive criticisms on the subject to day, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said President Obama should stop “agonizing over what our respective legal teams think” and wake up to the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a quest to reassemble the Soviet Union. “Today his sights are set on Ukraine, but if he continues undeterred tomorrow… Read more →
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany supports tighter EU sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea. This came ahead of an EU summit in Brussels to discuss the bloc’s collective response. Chancellor Merkel used her speech to the Bundestag on Thursday to tell lawmakers that her government supported plans to step up sanctions on Moscow as a result of… Read more →
…Will Conflict Split Ukraine? Indeed, the conflict could ultimately split Ukraine — with the east turning to Moscow and the west to the European Union. If that were to happen, it’s possible the new government in Kiev would lose the part of the country that is most important economically because the coal mines and the steelmaking plants of the east… Read more →
(Reuters) – The United States warned Moscow it was on a “dark path” to isolation on Wednesday after Russian troops backed by unarmed volunteers stormed Ukraine’s naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol and raised their flag. The dramatic seizure came as Russia and the West dug in for a long confrontation over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, with the United States… Read more →