Russia

Crimean authorities to cut power, water to Ukrainian troops

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian authorities in Crimea will cut off water and electricity to Ukrainian soldiers in bases surrounded by Russian forces on Monday night, a Russian former lawmaker loyal to President Vladimir Putin said.

Sergei Markov, who held meetings with pro-Russian authorities on the Ukrainian peninsula earlier on Monday, told reporters the soldiers would also be told they would not receive their next pay packet if they did not publicly renounce their loyalty to the new provisional government in Kiev, the capital.

“If they stay here and remain loyal to Kiev and the Ukrainian government, it will become more uncomfortable for them,” said Markov, who sits in a Kremlin-backed public policy chamber. “The pressure is going to increase tonight.”

 

This is a copy of the full article discovered on Yahoo News

Video: Putin visits military drills in Russia

President Vladimir Putin on Monday observed a military exercise held in the Leningrad Region, as part of a surprise inspection to test the combat readiness of troops and ammunition of the Western and Central military districts. More than 1,800 servicemen, 30 tanks, some 20 airborne combat vehicles, five planes and 80 helicopters were involved in the exercise. It tested the military’s performance through drills in combat operations and liquidation of a presumed adversary; landing operations by paratroopers on guided parachutes and landing of tactical airborne troops for the isolation of a military operations zone; and the neutralization of an artillery unit or a logistics supply battalion.

Ukraine conflict tests Obama's credibility on the world stage

Ukraine conflict tests Obama’s credibility on the world stage

The crisis in Ukraine has brought out a fresh round of critics of President Obama’s foreign policy who see a pattern emerging: the president tries to assert his authority and direct events on the world stage with empty threats, which inevitably have no follow through. With each instance, U.S. power grows weaker as foreign powers view Mr. Obama as the president who… Read more →

Alarm in Ukraine as Putin puts Russian troops on alert

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin put Russian combat troops on high alert for war games near Ukraine on Wednesday, the Kremlin’s most powerful gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Viktor Yanukovich was toppled as president in Kiev.

Thousands of ethnic Russians, who form the majority in Ukraine’s Crimea region, demonstrated for independence for the peninsula that hosts part of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet. They scuffled with rival demonstrators, mainly from the Tatar minority, who support the new authorities in Kiev.

With the political turmoil hammering Ukraine’s economy, the hryvnia currency tumbled 4 percent on Wednesday, with ripples spreading to Russia where the rouble fell to five-year lows and bank shares took a hit.

Ukraine’s central bank, which has been rapidly spending its hard currency to protect the hryvnia, said it had abandoned a managed exchange rate in favor of a flexible currency.

Moscow denounced what it described as the rise of “nationalist and neo-fascist sentiment” in Ukraine’s mainly Ukrainian-speaking western areas, where it said Russian speakers were being deprived of rights. It has repeatedly expressed concern for the safety of Russian citizens in Ukraine.

 

Reuters has the full article

Iran proposes joint naval exercise with Russia. Meant to check U.S. warships in region

Iran proposes joint naval exercise with Russia. Meant to check U.S. warships in region

TEL AVIV — After reportedly dispatching warships to the Atlantic Ocean, Iran has now offered Russia a proposal to carry out joint naval exercises in May, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials. The officials told KleinOnline that Moscow is considering the proposal but that there was no immediate decision from Russia. The officials said the proposal was likely a response to… Read more →

‘Prepared to Die’: The Right Wing’s Role in Ukrainian Protests

Despite the bitter cold, demonstrators have been turning up on Kiev's Maidan...

(Photo: Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich appears bent on crushing the protest movement but the opposition won’t go quietly. A right-wing nationalist party is seeking to benefit from the growing violence and has begun warning of a civil war.

Dressed in jeans and a down jacket, the parliamentarian who wants to overthrow Ukraine’s president by any means necessary is standing in Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, where a struggle for power has played out over the last two months. “What can our cobblestones, Molotov cocktails and burning tires do against water cannons, bullets and armored cars?” asks Igor Myroshnychenko. “Many people here are prepared to die.”

Under his jacket Myroshnychenko wears a traditional embroidered Ukrainian shirt. He is among the leaders of the right-wing nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party, which has formed a coalition with former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko’s Udar Party, along with jailed former leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party, against President Viktor Yanukovich.

Violence is escalating and the regime of President Yanukovich seems powerless...

(Photo: AP/dpa)

Myroshnychenko tried a few days ago to prevent the passage of an amendment that limits the right to demonstrate. Soon after the president signed it, Myroshnychenko and three other Svoboda MPs marched into the printing plant where the government newspaper was being completed. New laws only take effect once they have been published. Part of the print run had already been sent off in trucks but protestors burned the remainder on Maidan Square.

Government opponents have been erecting increasing numbers of barriers in the center of Kiev in recent days, and the country is on the brink of a “partisan war,” Myroshnychenko says. “A lot of blood will flow, including the blood of innocent people. I have no hope that Yanukovich will meet even a single one of our demands.”

Flirting with the Right Wing

The Svoboda party also has excellent ties to Europe, but they are different from the ones that Klischko might prefer. It is allied with France’s right-wing Front National and with the Italian neo-fascist group Fiamma Tricolore. But when it comes to the oppression of homosexuality, representative Myroshnychenko is very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even if he does all he can to counter Moscow’s influence in his country.

“The EU is the only possibility for us to defend ourselves against Russian pressure,” he says. He and his party see the alliance with Klitschko as being purely tactical. Klitschko, after all, would like to limit the powers of the president while Svoboda dreams of a country with a strong leader.

Myroshnychenko was press spokesman for the Ukrainian national football team in the lead up to the 2008 European Championships, but he isn’t exactly cosmopolitan. He would even like to see foreign professional football players deported because they “change Ukraine’s ethnic map.”

While demonstrators would like the country to steer a more pro-European course,...

(Photo: Reuters)

There have been other, similar incidents. In a 2012 debate over the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, he said that she wasn’t Ukrainian, rather she was a “Jewess.” Indeed, anti-Semitism is part of the extremist party’s platform; until 2004, they called themselves the Social-National Party of Ukraine in an intentional reference to Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist party. Just last summer, a prominent leader of party youth was distributing texts from Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels translated into Ukrainian.

Without the nationalists’ tight organization, the revolt on Maidan Square would long since have collapsed. But Svoboda also embodies the greatest danger to the protest movement. The party’s foot soldiers, with their muddled, right wing doctrine, aren’t likely to hold back for much longer.

And that might be what the president is waiting for.

 

Spiegel.de has the full article

Ukraine borrows $2 billion from Moscow, signals bailout on track

Ukraine borrows $2 billion from Moscow, signals bailout on track

(Reuters) – Ukraine is borrowing another $2 billion from Russia on the same terms as a $3 billion Eurobond sold in December, in a sign that Moscow is pushing on with a $15 billion bailout despite concern about violence at anti-government protests in Kiev. In a geopolitical battle with the European Union after Ukraine spurned a trade pact with the… Read more →

Ukraine parliament repeals anti-protest laws after PM submits resignation

Ukraine parliament repeals anti-protest laws after PM submits resignation

Ukraine’s parliament repealed controversial laws aimed at curbing political protests Tuesday, hours after the country’s Prime Minister submitted his resignation in a pair of moves aimed at calming violent unrest across the country. In a statement that appeared on the Ukraine government’s website Mykola Azarov offered his resignation in order to encourage what he called “social-political compromise.” It was not… Read more →

Unrest in the Ukraine spreads