Russia

Ukraine suspends a deal for closer EU ties: Signs a Russian aid agreement instead to helped avoid bankruptcy

Ukraine suspends a deal for closer EU ties: Signs a Russian aid agreement instead to helped avoid bankruptcy

Ukraine’s decision to suspend a deal on closer EU ties and sign a Russian aid agreement instead has helped avoid bankruptcy, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has told ministers in Kiev. The government’s surprise U-turn on an EU association agreement last month has sparked weeks of mass demonstrations. But Mr Azarov said the package from Russia would provide stability. Russia has… Read more →

Poland says worried over Russian missile deployment

Poland says worried over Russian missile deployment

(Reuters) – Poland is worried about the possibility Russia has deployed Iskander missiles in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, and will consult with its NATO partners on the issue, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Monday. “The plans to deploy new Iskander-M rockets in Kaliningrad are worrying,” the ministry said in a statement, commenting on reports in Russian and German… Read more →

Ukrainian riot police withdraw after overnight move on demonstrators

(Reuters) – Battalions of Ukrainian riot police withdrew on Wednesday from a protest camp after moving against demonstrators overnight in the authorities’ biggest attempt yet to reclaim streets after weeks of protests against President Viktor Yanukovich.

Columns of police abandoned positions around a protest camp and state buildings occupied by demonstrators enraged at Yanukovich’s decision to spurn an EU trade deal and move Ukraine further into Russia’s orbit.

Overnight the police had cleared streets near the protest camp, bulldozed tents and skirmished with demonstrators. They later surrounded the City Hall, where protesters who have set up a makeshift hospital in the occupied building sprayed them with water hoses to prevent it from being stormed.

Those moves by hundreds of black-clad police with visors and helmets were the boldest steps the authorities have ordered so far against demonstrators, although the sudden withdrawal suggested they were not prepared orders to use full force.

At stake is the future of a country of 46 million people, torn between popular hope of joining the European mainstream and the demands of former Soviet master Russia, which controls the flow of cheap natural gas needed to stave off bankruptcy.

At the main protest camp on Independence Square, pop stars, politicians and priests pleaded with police not to shed blood. Opposition politicians called for mass demonstrations to protect the square and predicted that Yanukovich would soon be toppled.

The interior minister called for calm and promised that the square would not be stormed. But even after the police left the streets, Vitaly Klitschko, a world boxing champion who has emerged as one of the main figures of the opposition, said the overnight action had “closed off the path to compromise”.

“We had planned to have talks with Yanukovich. We understand that Yanukovich has not wish to talk to the people and only understands physical force,” he told a news conference.

The police moves energized the protests, drawing thousands of people back out into the streets to defend the camp, many wearing plastic hardhats in orange, the color that symbolized a successful popular revolt against a fraudulent election in 2004.

Police had been bussed in to the city center under darkness to shouts of “Get out criminal” – a reference to Yanukovich, who suspended plans to sign a trade pact with the European Union last month and instead embraced closer ties with Russia.

Riot police flooded roads to Independence Square, where thousands of people have maintained a vigil in bitter winter cold. Helmetted officers moved slowly into the camp, bulldozing tents and barricades with tractors mounted with shovels. Dozens of demonstrators and police were hurt in scuffles but several officers said they had orders not to use force.

*****WARNING VIDEO SHOWS*****
*****VIOLENT/GRAPHIC ACTIONS BY POLICE*****

The action stalled after day broke, with temperatures in the snowbound capital stuck at minus 8 degrees Celsius (17 Fahrenheit). Some riot police left to cheers from lines of protesters holding them back. At City Hall, demonstrators lobbed a Molotov cocktail from a window into a police truck before the officers finally withdrew.

On the square, protesters said they had feared they would be stormed. Priests intoned prayers from a stage on the square and urged police not to use violence. Ruslana, a Ukrainian pop star, called from a loud hailer: “Do not hurt us!”

Some protesters held mobile phones in the air like candles and sang the national anthem, while church bells rang out from a cathedral about 2 km (about 1 mile) away, as in times of danger centuries ago.

“He is spitting in the faces of the United States, 28 countries of Europe, 46 million Ukrainians,” another opposition leader, Arseny Yatsenyuk, said of Yanukovich overnight. “We will not forgive him this. Tomorrow there will be a million people here and his regime will fall.”

The eventual police withdrawal was greeted with euphoria.

“We are seeing that truth does exist, that it is worth fighting for. It is a small victory, but these small victories will lead to big victories,” said protester Serhiy Chorny.

 

Reuters has the full article

Russia has defeated the European Union in the latest round of the fight for Ukraine

Russia has defeated the European Union in the latest round of the fight for Ukraine

The fight for Ukraine has now become a contest between the Russian president and the German chancellor. Putin won the first round. But Merkel and her fellow Europeans are grooming professional heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko to be their new strongman. By Thursday of the week before last, it was abundantly clear that any friendship between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and… Read more →

Sweden spied on Russian leaders for US – NSA leaks

Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA spied on Russian leaders and shared the data collected with the US, local media report citing Edward Snowden leaks. Sweden’s ‘cable access’ made its position ‘unique’ in the eyes of the NSA. READ MORE:http://on.rt.com/6tf2fd

Aborted EU Deal: Massive Protests Rock Ukraine After Pull-Back

Aborted EU Deal: Massive Protests Rock Ukraine After Pull-Back

In the wake of Ukraine’s withdrawal from EU trade deal discussions, Kiev was rocked by the biggest protests since the Orange Revolution while the daughter of imprisoned former Ukrainian leader Yulia Tymoshenko pled for Germany’s help. On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Kiev to protest the Ukrainian government’s decision to call off plans for a trade… Read more →

Russian banks strengthen ties with blacklisted Syrian lenders

Russian banks strengthen ties with blacklisted Syrian lenders

(Reuters) – Intent on supplying his government with arms, oil and food, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has turned to Russian banks to access worldmarkets, and the lenders could open more doors to him, despite a risk of isolation from the U.S. banking system. U.S. sanctions aimed at forcing Assad to end the violence in Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war forbid its own banks from dealing… Read more →

Putin tops Forbes most powerful people list

Putin tops Forbes most powerful people list

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the world’s most powerful person by Forbes magazine. He has beaten US President Barack Obama into second place on the US magazine’s 2013 list. Pope Francis features at number four after Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr Obama’s “lame duck period” had started earlier than usual while Mr Putin had consolidated his control of… Read more →

As Ukraine looks west to Europe, Russia's shadow looms

As Ukraine looks west to Europe, Russia’s shadow looms

  (Reuters) – When Russia wants to get its point across, it tends not to leave room for misunderstanding. Put out by Europe’s efforts to build closer relations with six countries in east Europe and the Caucasus – former Soviet republics that Russia regards as in its sphere of influence – Moscow has been steadily turning up the heat. Armenia was the first to… Read more →

Russia, China Hold Large-Scale War Games: Test forces for “real war” conditions

Russia, China Hold Large-Scale War Games: Test forces for “real war” conditions

Pentagon intelligence agencies are closely watching Russian and Chinese war games now taking place in Europe and Asia involving tens of thousands of troops. Meanwhile, NATO military forces are set to conduct large-scale maneuvers in November that will be designed to counter growing concerns of a westward Russian military encroachment, according to U.S. officials. “The Russians are moving forces closer… Read more →