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Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

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Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Mazy on Sun Mar 16 2014, 01:55

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future
Mar 15th 2014 2:15PM

United Nations Ukraine
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin listens during a U.N. Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, Saturday, March 15, 2014, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution declaring Sunday's referendum on the future of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula illegal, and close ally China abstained, underlining Moscow's international isolation.

Supporters of the U.S.-sponsored resolution knew Russia would use its veto. But they put the resolution to a vote Saturday morning to show the strength of opposition to Moscow's takeover of Crimea in the U.N. Security Council and got China to abstain rather than join Russia in casting a veto, which it did on three Western-backed resolutions on Syria.

The final vote on Saturday was 13 members in favor, China's abstention, and Russia as a permanent council member using its veto.

"The resounding message from today's vote is that Russia stands isolated in this council and in the international community," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the council after the vote.

"Russia alone backs this referendum. Russia alone is prepared to violate international law, disregard the U.N. Charter and tear up its bilateral treaties," he said. "This message will be heard well beyond the walls of this chamber."

Crimea, which hosts Russia's Black Sea Fleet base, became the hotbed of tensions in Ukraine after its pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled last month following protracted anti-government protests and outbursts of violence. Russia refuses to recognize Ukraine's new government, which it says came to power in an "illegal coup d'etat" and has now effectively taken control over Crimea in what has turned into Europe's greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War.

The West says a referendum on whether to split off Crimea and make it part of Russia is illegal, violates Ukraine's constitution, and will not be recognized - and it is threatening costly sanctions against Russia if it moves to incorporate Crimea.

The resolution would have reaffirmed the Security Council's commitment to Ukraine's "sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity." It would have declared that the referendum on whether Crimea should become part of Russia "can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea."

The vetoed resolution also urged all parties to immediately pursue a peaceful resolution to the dispute over Crimea through direct political talks - something Russia refuses to do.

Before the vote, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council it was no secret that he would veto the resolution.

"We cannot go along with its assumption - that is declaring illegal the March 16 planned referendum," he said.

Churkin said the people in Crimea have a right to self-determination under the U.N. Charter and confirmed "that we will respect the will of the Crimean people during the March 16 referendum."

"We do not dispute the principle of the territorial integrity of states," he said. "It is, of course, very important. It is also understandable that enjoyment of the right of self-determination as to separation from an existing state is an extraordinary measure, applied when future coexistence within a single state becomes impossible."

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power accused Russia of violating the U.N. Charter's key principles that prohibit the use of force to acquire territory and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations - principles she said Moscow agrees with "and defends all around the world, except, it seems, in circumstances that involve Russia."

"Russia has rejected a resolution that had peace at its heart and law flowing through its veins," she said.

"Under the U.N. Charter, the Russian Federation has the power to veto a Security Council resolution, but it does not have the power to veto the truth," Power said. "Russia - isolated, alone and wrong - blocked the resolution's passage, just as it has blocked Ukrainian ships and international observers" from entering Crimea.

China is traditionally very sensitive to the issue of territorial integrity because of Tibet and other restive areas.

China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi reiterated Beijing's support for "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states."

He called for a political solution and an "international coordinating mechanism" to resolve the dispute.

The council meeting was the seventh on Ukraine in just over two weeks, but the U.N.'s most powerful body has been unable to take any action because of Russia's veto power.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Catie on Sun Mar 16 2014, 03:09

Thanks for sharing Mazy! Very informative.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Sun Mar 16 2014, 11:43

I think China is over Putin too!  Halleluiah!  

They could have stuck it to the rest of the world and vetoed with him, but they abstained.  That speaks volumes to Putin; he's on his own and it's not a good place to be, although at this point, I don't know if anyone can turn this around without a show of force and that's not going to happen.  He needs to find a way to save face and to accomplish something or he'll be tremendously weakened in Moscow.  I don't see a resolution to this coming quickly, unfortunately.  He's boxed himself in now and has to remain committed, even on this fool's errand to push forward because to turn back, he would die a slow death politically at home.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Mon Mar 17 2014, 14:06

Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938
He’s not Hitler. But we’ve got to stop him all the same.

By GARRY KASPAROV
March 16, 2014

Politico

It’s been a busy few weeks for Vladimir Putin. In the last month, the Russian president has hosted the Olympic Games, invaded a neighboring country and massed troops along its border. Back in Moscow, the Kremlin has cranked up the volume of hysterical anti-Western propaganda to a roar while cracking down on the last vestiges of the free media. All the while, he proclaims he wants peace and accuses Western leaders of hypocrisy and anti-Russian sentiment. If Putin wanted to do a better imitation of Adolf Hitler circa 1936-1938, he would have to grow a little mustache. Equally troubling is that the leaders of Europe and the United States have been doing a similarly good impersonation of the weak-kneed and risk-averse leaders who enabled Hitler’s rise in the 1930s.

I know full well that any mention of the maniacal Nazi leader is viewed as being in poor taste by many. The good news is that it took many years for the West to finally admit that Putin is a dictator and only a few weeks for respected public figures such as Hillary Clinton to acknowledge how closely he is following in Hitler’s footsteps right now. Nobody except the most naked of Kremlin apologists is debating whether Putin’s anything but a tyrant anymore. Instead, we’re searching for the right historical analogy: Is it Budapest 1956? Prague 1968? Austria 1938?

To which I say: Welcome to the club! It remains to be seen, however, if the media figures and politicians who have so quickly adopted my Anschluss rhetoric are willing and able to do what is necessary to stop repeating the past. In recent days, the United States and several European governments have bolstered their statements, which will, I hope, now be followed up with strong sanctions and other steps to ostracize and deter Putin.

Over the past nine years I have dedicated most of my life to opposing Vladimir Putin’s campaign to destroy democracy and civil liberties in Russia. My efforts have included everything from marching in the streets of Moscow to traveling to nearly every Russian province to sounding the alarm about the true nature of Putin’s regime as widely and loudly as possible. Eight years ago, my main arguments to international audiences were about the myths of Putin’s Russia. I explained over and over that no, Putin wasn’t really a democratically elected leader; our elections were a stage-managed charade. That yes, he really was a bad guy who was supporting rogue states abroad while in Russia he was persecuting dissidents, locking down the media under state control and subordinating the Russian economy to the Kremlin and his small circle of cronies. And if Putin is really so popular in Russia, I asked, why is he so afraid of fair elections and a free media? For this, many in the West dismissed me as a fringe troublemaker who might potentially usurp their narrative of how engagement with Putin’s Russia was going to bring about reform and liberalization.

Although I accurately saw Putin’s main advantage over his Soviet predecessors—open access to international markets and institutions—I never imagined he would abuse and exploit them so easily, or that Western leaders would be so cooperative in allowing him to do so. Putin’s oligarchs bank in London, party in the Alps and buy penthouses in New York and Miami, all while looting Russia under the auspices of a reborn KGB police state. It’s “rule like Stalin, live like Trump.” The West has fulfilled every cynical expectation Putin had about how easy it would be to buy his way around any nasty confrontation over human rights. Even now, with Russian troops occupying Crimea in preparation for annexation, European countries are terrified of losing any Russian oligarch money. They are afraid of using the very thing that gives them so much potential leverage over Putin—exactly as he hoped.

Of course Putin isn’t Hitler, although his potential for devastation is even greater due to a massive nuclear arsenal under the control of what appears to be a shrinking and desperate inner circle. I would never minimize the horror of the Holocaust, the millions of war dead or the heroism of those who defeated the Nazis. My goal is to scrutinize how the rest of the world did and did not respond while Hitler the popular German statesman was becoming Hitler the monster in the 1930s. Today’s dictators are not so averse to learning from their predecessors. Putin imitating Hitler’s 1936 propaganda methods and Hitler’s 1938 invasion tactics does not mean he will also declare a new Reich and head straight for Poland. But we should draw lessons from that history, too.

When I tweeted about the possibility of a “Ukrainian Anschluss” on Feb. 20, the Sochi Games were still underway. I noted that Putin’s invasion of Georgia took place during the Beijing Olympiad in 2008 and wondered what would dissuade him from similar action in Ukraine since Russian troops still occupy South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgian territories, with no visible harm to Putin’s international relations. By the way, Russia was never sanctioned by the European or the United States over Georgia, and just a few months after the brief war ended the EU restarted talks with Russia on a formal partnership and cooperation agreement. It was quite high-minded of them, but when dealing with Putin, turning the other cheek just gets you slapped again.

A week or so later, to my surprise, “Anschluss” was on the front page of a Polish newspaper and on the lips of Hillary Clinton. And yet, those who oppose taking any serious action against Putin’s invasion of Crimea still enjoy scoffing at the now-obvious parallels with Hitler’s seizure of Austria and the Czech Sudetenland. It’s a hard habit to break, apparently.

It’s one thing for academics and pundits to calmly sympathize with Putin and his “vital interests” and his “sphere of influence,” as if 50 million Ukrainians should have no say in the matter. It’s quite another thing for Barack Obama, David Cameron and Angela Merkel to fret about the “instability” and “high costs” caused by sanctions against Russia—as if that could be worse than the instability caused by the partial annexation of a European country by a nuclear dictatorship, carried out with impunity.

This debate, too, has a Nazi-era parallel, and fittingly enough it was about money and centered in London, or “Moscow on the Thames,” as many call it now due to the number of wealthy Russians who park their assets in British banks and real estate. But it begins in another favored oligarch destination: Switzerland. In my informal survey of knowledgeable friends, few had even heard of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This “bank of central banks,” still based in Basel and founded in 1930, is the sort of shadowy institution that now regularly appears as a villain in Hollywood movies. It is well worth reading up on the remarkable story of how the BIS continued to operate during the war, with a board and staff composed of representatives of both Allied and Axis nations and presided over by an American. I will limit myself to one remarkable true tale, that of 23 tons of Czech gold.

The Czechs, seeing the writing on the wall, had transferred almost all their gold reserves outside of the country for safekeeping by 1939. Some went to Basel, and 1845 bars of it, worth six million 1939 British pounds, or nearly $400 million in today’s dollars, went to the Bank of England in London. Just days after the Nazis took Prague, on March 18, two bank-transfer requests quickly went out. (Literally at gunpoint, it was later revealed.) One for the 23.1 tons of Czech gold held with the BIS at the Bank of London, to be moved to the Reichsbank’s account. The other for 26.8 tons held by the Czechoslovak National Bank in London. The second transfer did not take place, as the Bank of England followed the new law freezing Czech assets in Britain.

But the BIS emptied the Czech account of the 23.1 tons and just a few days after that, the Reichsbank moved the gold via transfers and then physically to its vaults in Berlin. It took weeks before the British and French press got wind of the story, and the outrage was far too late in coming to do anything about it. Then in June, a remarkable discussion took place in the British House of Commons, when a bill was introduced to oblige the Bank of England to consult with the government on any issue affecting national interests.

As obvious as this measure may sound, the bill went down to defeat 125-196—and this in June of 1939, only months before Hitler’s invasion of Poland! Sir Herbert Williams spoke for the No camp. “[MP Strauss, the bill’s sponsor] is merely denouncing the Government and the Bank of England and Herr Hitler and some other people, which is always pleasant to do,” he said. “[B]ut it is very foolish to allow yourself to be irritated because of a particular transaction. It might lead you into a great mess later on.” A great mess indeed. Winston Churchill was more on point, saying in the House that it would be difficult to get people to enlist in the military when the administration itself was “so butter-fingered that six million pounds of gold can be transferred to the Nazi government!”

This obscure story struck a chord with me when I first came across it in 2009 in a Russian article on the history of the morally agnostic global banking system. It reminded me of the countless deals struck by Putin and his oligarch allies all across Europe, and how the governments that could enforce their own corruption laws so often look the other way. When the oil magnate and dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed and his company Yukos dismembered and sold to Putin’s friends at the state company Rosneft, the guarantees and IPO were all underwritten and coordinated by big brand-name Western banks and agencies, giving Putin and his clique the legitimacy and hard cash they need to stay in power.

And yet today many leaders and pundits alike cry about their lack of leverage over Russia, and how unfair it is to “denounce Herr Putin” over a tiny peninsula when many billions of dollars are at stake. Staying on good terms with Russia is not important to them, but they are very concerned about staying on the most intimate terms with Russian money. They have all the leverage in the world, if only they have the courage to use it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel approached the right level of urgency on Thursday, when she rallied German business leaders for sanctions and warned of the “massive economic and political harm” that would come to Russia should Putin not abandon his ambitions in Ukraine.

Putin is no master strategist. He’s an aggressive poker player facing weak opposition from a Western world that has become so risk-averse that it would rather fold than call any bluff, no matter how good its cards are. In the end, Putin is a Russian problem, of course, and Russians must deal with how to remove him. He and his repressive regime, however, are supported directly and indirectly by the free world due to this one-way engagement policy. Putin is no Hitler, and there will never be another. But we cannot forget the harsh lessons Hitler taught us about the fatal dangers of appeasing a dictator, of disunity in the face of aggression and of greedily grabbing at an ephemeral peace while guaranteeing a lasting war.

Garry Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in New York.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Carla97 on Mon Mar 17 2014, 14:42

Someone called Clooney a hitler too, not so long ago. Remember?

Talking about specious rhetoric with no root in the real world we live in now.

Yes, things have changed dramatically. In December I or anyone here could not have even thought about this.

Sadly, Putin is merely putting his doctrines into practice. He was given this oppurtunity. The actions west have taken are incredible from the point of view of modern political practice. Russian is reacting.

People in Baltic states, Poland, Belarus, Finland...etc, how should they feel about this? He is not coming next to US, but? Are they frightened? H**l yes, Kiev is a warning to other former block countries, never upset the person or country who can drive a tank to your front door and ask you to repeat what you said.

Sanctions? If we look at the EU - we can see Germany alone would be exposed -- it has more than 6,000 companies active in Russia. If this crises spreads outside Crimea it will be a hit to Germany's economic growth, it already is but only about 0,2% if it stays like this.

I don´t know, for the sake of everything, let´s just all go home and forget about Crimea. Let Ukraine have elections in May or whenever and see from there. Other option is war. Sadly.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Mon Mar 17 2014, 20:06

Well personally I think it's a little naïve to think for one minute he's going to stop with Crimea considering he's already making excursions into eastern Ukraine as we're discussing this. And drawing comparisons and learning from history is usually a good practice. The world turned a blind eye more than once that landed us all into two world wars. Hiding your head in the sand in denial doesn't make the problems disappear it just gives them time to fester and grow. Had there been consequences when he did this in Georgia, we wouldn't be having this conversation either.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Mazy on Mon Mar 17 2014, 20:16

Lighterside that is a very informative article, which is written very well. Even I was able to follow what he was saying. Thank you so much for posting it. I have to check and see if Garry Kasparov has a newsletter or alert because I like the way he writes, thanks again.

@Carla from what the news is saying our stock market is down a bit, while I do not understand much about this, but they cannot just say go ahead Putin do as you choose just so they don't have an affect from the sanctions. Hard decisions like this do cost otherwise they wouldn't be so hard to make. However I don't think we can sit by and do nothing, do you?

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Carla97 on Tue Mar 18 2014, 11:34

Mazy, i do mainly Nyse at the moment. Up or down people can make money. Following index/indexes doesn´t tell how individual company is doing, let alone non-listed one. Same applies in Moscow.

Economic sanctions will hit hard on every country that has export (or import) relations with russia. No one can argue, it´s a huge market.

Then should we sit by and do nothing? Very good question. Right to the point. Should we? Economic sanctions won´t work, what can we do? We can go to war. Who should do that? Ukrainians alone? Impossible. Will EU help them? No, I don´t think so. Nato? Not a member, so hard to imagine that either. What is left is US.

Still back to the beginnig of this crisis a bit... we know that Kiev is old soviet city. Meaning most of the buildings are 1/3 of microphones and wires and 2/3 of building materials like concrete. You do not have a privete conversation there.

What I meant is that I do not want war.

This is kind of personal issue for me as my father didn´t have a father because russians shot him, and my grandmom didn´t have a husband but raised those kids by herself. I have a russian friend, but there is no way I can introduce him to my family to be my new boyfriend. No one will never ever approve it.

Yet to make things more complicated I´m querter russian from my mother´s side. Just like Matt Damon is quarter Finn. Smile




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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Tue Mar 18 2014, 13:05

Really good analysis by Rachael Maddow and the former American Ambassador to Russian of what the coming economic sanctions will look like as the situation progresses in Crimea/Ukraine.  Of course because the sanctions put in place yesterday have very little consequences to anyone, the markets went up slightly both here and in Russia. But we're only at the very beginning of what will eventually come.

Exxon Mobil and Rosneft signed a deal for the largest exploration of oil in the Russian Arctic back in 2011, to the tune of 500 billion and yes that's billion with a b...which is now in jeopardy and may in fact, not begin at all.  THIS is the stick that will get Putin's attention.  The sanctions imposed yesterday were only the beginning, just a shot across the bow...but it's going to be a very bumpy ride for all the corporations both Russian and EU/USA based, if Putin doesn't come to his senses soon.  

An economic war he can't win, no matter what anyone thinks...

Here's the link to the Maddow show if you are able to view in your country:

The Rachael Maddow Show

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Mazy on Tue Mar 18 2014, 14:51

Thanks Carla and Lighterside for the up-dates and explanations. I'm in the US so I will check out her show. It appears that all of this is going to come down to all citizens from the countries involved are going to be affected, time to think about tightening our belts. I feel that we do not have much choice but to move forward, it seems like the right thing to do.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Nicky80 on Tue Mar 18 2014, 17:02

Carla97 wrote:...........

Yes, things have changed dramatically. In December I or anyone here could not have even thought about this.

........

That's not really true. Everyone whow followed politics about Ukraine in the past had a guess. Ukraine was going to join Europe. The Association Agreement with the EU was expected to be signed into effect by the end of 2011, but the process has been suspended as of 2012 due to recent political developments.

One of the foreign secretary from Europe (forgot which one) met the Russian government once and informed them about the move Ukraine was going to take. The Russians didn't take that very well. And months after that when the European diplomats traveled to Ukraine again the Ukraine president didn't wanted to join anymore and not sign the contract as he said at the time Russia told him how big the cost would be if they join. It was a shock and when they wanted to meet a second time Ukraine cxl the meeting minutes before the European diplomats entered the flight to fly to Ukraine. So something was already fishy but maybe nobody wanted to say it out loud......

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Nicky80 on Tue Mar 18 2014, 17:12

Lighterside wrote:.......

Exxon Mobil and Rosneft signed a deal for the largest exploration of oil in the Russian Arctic back in 2011, to the tune of 500 billion and yes that's billion with a b...which is now in jeopardy and may in fact, not begin at all.  THIS is the stick that will get Putin's attention.  The sanctions imposed yesterday were only the beginning, just a shot across the bow...but it's going to be a very bumpy ride for all the corporations both Russian and EU/USA based, if Putin doesn't come to his senses soon.  

An economic war he can't win, no matter what anyone thinks...

......

So true....From the German Government point of few they start little because they want to give Putin the chance to back off. Of course he will not but it least the EU and US give him the chance to and if not step by step more will follow. Everyone has to be careful now as there is a chance he will try it again with east Ukraine. As Putin said a while ago in his speech "to help Russians who needs it outside Russia"...that's a clear message..

I saw a documentation not long ago where they say this "maybe" will be Russian last big move because in few years time the economy will change so much and leaves Russia behind. China won against Russia already in Africa and central Asia so he has not much left anymore to show power.....

We will see...it is very interesting what is happening......

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Carla97 on Tue Mar 18 2014, 20:32

Nicky, what is not really true? I don´t understand. Maybe we are talking about different things.

If you are talking about joining the EU, well, there is a problem. Turkey signed this same agreement in 1963, I can´t see anyway Ukraine can take a fast lane without turkey feeling bad about it. Agreenment itself doesn´t mean much.

Then there is always economic point of view like Lighterside said "An economic war he can't win, no matter what anyone thinks..." I don´t know about economic hegemony. Who is who really?

But I know that those who anticipated or even knew, RSX was a good bet, even today it was. MICEX also. Money has no motherland. Money is without patriotism. If we talk about exxon deal, that it is worth a billion, well, billion alone made 170 millions many times last week. So. I´m not sure. It´s all connected and can´t be disconnected.

I must have a flower child in me, but I hope no war.  flower 

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Fri Mar 21 2014, 15:35

Regarding that economic war that Putin can't win against the West:

Russian Economy Takes Hit As U.S., EU Impose New Sanctions For Crimea Seizure

By Jason Bush and Barbara Lewis

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, March 21 (Reuters) - Russian shares fell sharply on Friday as investors took fright at tougher than expected U.S. sanctions against President Vladimir Putin's inner circle over Moscow's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

The United States added 20 names to its sanctions blacklist, including Kremlin banker Yuri Kovalchuk and his Bank Rossiya, oil and commodities trader Gennady Timchenko and the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who are linked to big contracts on gas pipelines and the Sochi Olympics, as well as Putin's chief of staff and his deputy, the head of military intelligence and a railways chief.

In one immediate consequence, U.S. credit card companies Visa and MasterCard stopped providing services for payment transactions with Russia's SMP bank, owned by the Rotenberg brothers, the bank said.

President Barack Obama said Washington was also considering sanctions against key economic sectors including financial services, oil and gas, metals and mining and the defense industry, if Russia made military moves into eastern and southern Ukraine.

Diplomats said the mere mention of such a possibility would chill investment in Russia, charging an immediate price for Moscow's action in Crimea and serving as a potential deterrent to going further.

The EU also extended its personal sanctions to another 12 middle-ranking Russian and Crimean officials.

Though the MICEX share index lurched about 3 percent lower when trade opened, Putin mocked Obama's announcement of the visa bans and asset freezes on the money men and security officials who accompanied his rise from the mayor's office in Saint Petersburg in the 1990s.

But he said Moscow should refrain from further retaliation against the United States for now.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, made clear that Russia would step up financial pressure on Ukraine.

He said the former Soviet republic should repay Moscow $11 billion under a gas supply contact that should be scrapped because it no longer applied.

Medvedev said the Kharkiv agreements under which Russia was to provide cheap gas in return for the lease of the Sevastopol naval base in Crimea were "subject to denunciation", giving Russia a legal right to sue for money back from Ukraine.

Altogether, Kiev owed Moscow $16 billion, he added.

EU LEADERS MEETING

Russia's parliament rushed to complete ratification of the annexation of the Black Sea region while European Union leaders met in Brussels to discuss steps to reduce their long-term dependence on Russian energy.

The Federation Council upper house approved a treaty on Friday incorporating Crimea into Russia after the State Duma lower house did so a day earlier.

The 28 EU leaders underlined their support for Ukraine's new leadership, rejected as illegitimate by Moscow, by signing a political agreement with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and promising financial aid as soon as Kiev reaches a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The signing "recognizes the aspirations of the people of Ukraine to live in a country governed by values, by democracy and the rule of law, where all citizens have a stake in national prosperity," European Council President Van Rompuy said at the ceremony. The accord contained no offer of EU membership.

The IMF is to report next Tuesday on advanced talks with Ukraine on a major loan program that would be linked to far-reaching reforms of the former Soviet republic's shattered economy.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the EU leaders were discussing using their collective bargaining power to stop Russia playing off European countries against each other in gas contacts. Up to now, each EU state has negotiated its own deal with Moscow, and some refuse even to share contract details with the European Commission or EU partners.

"We are working hard to make at least one step forward in the area of making community purchases of energy," Tusk told reporters on arrival for the second day of an EU summit.

"In fact it is all about making the EU stronger as a whole versus energy exporters, so that we have a bigger bargaining power, so that we can act more as a community. In simple terms, it is about common purchases of energy."


TUG OF WAR

An East-West tug-of-war has mounted since Russia occupied Crimea, home to its Black Sea fleet and a majority of ethnic Russians, following the overthrow of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich by street protests last month.

Three months of protests were triggered by Yanukovich's refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU, the political part of which was signed on Friday.

The EU leaders agreed to impose asset freezes and visa bans on 12 more mid-ranking Russian and Crimean officials and to consider wider economic sanctions if Russia further destabilizes the situation in Ukraine.

But they said Europe did not have a legal basis to extend the personal sanctions against Putin associates without proof of their direct involvement in the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.

"Small measures in the EU are worth more than big measures in the United States," a senior European official said, noting that EU trade with Moscow was 10 times the U.S. volume.

"It's about cutting off Russia politically and diplomatically," the official said, dismissing criticism that EU sanctions looked weaker than the U.S. measures.

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said he expected no big immediate impact from western sanctions on Russia's financial sector.

He also criticized the downgrading of Russia's credit outlook by leading ratings agencies, saying there was no basis for the move. On Thursday, S&P and Fitch revised to 'negative' from 'stable' their long-term outlooks on Russia's debt.

"Our creditworthiness has not changed, of course. We're going to have a budget this year that will be better than expected," Moiseev said.

In one glimmer of diplomatic progress, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an agreement was near on sending a monitoring mission by the pan-European OSCE security watchdog. The EU had threatened to send its own monitors if Moscow continued to block a mandate at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (Additional reporting by Luke Baker, Adrian Croft, Jan Strupczewski and Martin Santa in Brussels, Oksana Kobzeva, Lidia Kelly, Elizabeth Piper and Steve Gutterman in Moscow; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Will Waterman)

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Nicky80 on Fri Mar 21 2014, 19:51

Thanks for sharing, interesting article  Thumbs up!

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Nicky80 on Fri Mar 21 2014, 19:52

I found this part very interesting:

"Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the EU leaders were discussing using their collective bargaining power to stop Russia playing off European countries against each other in gas contracts. Up to now, each EU state has negotiated its own deal with Moscow, and some refuse even to share contract details with the European Commission or EU partners."

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by LornaDoone on Fri Mar 21 2014, 22:58

Putin - if it looks like Hitler and it smells like Hitler and it acts like Hitler... it's Hitler.

JMO


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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Sat Mar 22 2014, 11:33

You can take the man out of the KGB but you can never take the KGB out of the man!

He wants to resurrect the cold war and now he's got everyone's attention...it a war he can't win but he can make us all miserable on tenterhooks, until he figures that out. Eventually even he won't be able to stand tall when the boom finally comes down like it did with Iran and they stop ALL banking with Russia...then he'll realize no man is an island!


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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Lighterside on Sat Mar 22 2014, 15:39

Another good analysis from Rachael Maddow regarding the bank sanctions and how even with the slow rollout of them, it's already taking a toll on the Kremlin for those interested:

MSNBC

Click on the Rachael Maddow show and look for the segment with the title below; for some reason I can't link directly to that segment.

Unprecedented sanctions punishing Russia

Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, talks with Rachel Maddow about the unprecedented nature of the sanctions imposed on Russia by President Barack Obama, and what reaction might be expected from Vladimir Putin.

Also Ari Melber sits in for Lawrence O'Donnell and has a very interesting segment on the excusions by Russian intelligence into Eastern and other parts of greater Ukraine: (Go to the MSNBC link and under the "Watch" tab you'll find all the shows listed and the videos)

Russian spies and saboteurs in Ukraine?

Are Russian spies behind the situation in Ukraine? Adrian Karatnycky and John Schindler join Ari Melber to discuss.


Last edited by Lighterside on Sat Mar 22 2014, 16:25; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edited to add additional info)

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

Post by Mazy on Sat Mar 22 2014, 17:31

I think this is another situation that has to get worse before it improves. Putin is a very vain man and I think that he went toooo far to back down now. I only pray that he doesn't keep this up for very much longer.

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Re: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Crimea's Future

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