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Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

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Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

Post by Mazy on Tue Apr 01 2014, 03:22

]b]Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock[/b]

Published March 30, 2014
FoxNews.com

Four hours of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart failed to break a tense East-West deadlock over how to proceed on the Ukraine crisis, though the two men agreed the situation requires a diplomatic solution.

The talks came hours after a leading Ukrainian military analyst told Fox News there are now about 50,000 Russian troops within several hours of the two nations' border, but there has been a "general decrease in tensions" since Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama on Friday.

Sitting face-to-face but not seeing eye-to-eye on any of the most critical issues, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov advanced far different proposals on how to calm tensions and de-escalate the situation, particularly as Russia continues to mass troops along its border with the former Soviet republic. As he called for Moscow to begin an immediate pullback of the troops, Kerry also ruled out discussion of Russia's demand for Ukraine to become a loose federation until-and-unless Ukrainians are at the table.

"The Russian troop buildup is creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine," Kerry told reporters at the home of the U.S. ambassador to France after the meeting, which was held at the Russian ambassador's residence and included a working dinner. "It certainly does not create the climate that we need for dialogue."

The U.S. believes the massing of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers, ostensibly for military exercises, along the border is at once an attempt to intimidate Ukraine's new leaders after Russia's annexation of the strategic Crimean peninsula and to use a bargaining chip with the United States and the European Union, which have condemned Crimea's absorption into Russia and imposed sanctions on senior Russian officials.

Kerry noted that even if the troops remain on Russian soil and do not enter Ukraine, they create a negative atmosphere.

"The question is not one of right or legality," he said. "The question is one of strategic appropriateness and whether it's smart at this moment of time to have troops massed on the border."

Of the 50,000 troops, about 10,000 are located directly at the border, but Ukrainian military analyst Dmitry Tymchuk told Fox News on Sunday he has seen some "pull-back and regrouping" of these soldiers, lessening the immediate chances of a full-scale Russian invasion.

Russia says the troops near the border are there for military exercises and that they have no plans to invade, but U.S. and European officials say the numbers and locations of the troops suggest something more than exercises.

And, despite the Russian assurances, U.S., European and Ukrainian officials are deeply concerned about the buildup, which they fear could be a prelude to an invasion or intimidation to compel Kiev to accept Moscow's demands.

U.S. officials said Kerry proposed a number of ideas on troop withdrawals from the border and that Lavrov, while making no promises, told him he would present the proposals to the Kremlin.

At a separate news conference at the Russian ambassador's house, Lavrov did not address the troop issue. Instead, he made the case for Moscow's idea of Ukraine as a federalized nation with its various regions enjoying major autonomy from the government in Kiev. Russia says it is particularly concerned about the treatment of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers who live in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Lavrov said that Ukraine can't function as a "unified state" and should be a loose federation of regions that are each allowed to choose their own economic, financial, social, linguistic and religious models.

He said every time Ukraine has elected a new president, the country has adopted a new constitution, proving that "the model of a unified state doesn't work."
Ukrainian officials are wary of decentralizing power, fearing that pro-Russia regions would hamper its Western aspirations and potentially split the country apart. However, they are exploring political reforms that could grant more authority to local governments.

The U.S. has been coy about their position on a federation. Washington has encouraged ongoing political and constitutional reform efforts that the government in Kiev is now working on but U.S. officials insist that any changes to Ukraine's governing structure must be acceptable to the Ukrainians.

Kerry said the federation idea had not been discussed in any serious way during his meeting with Lavrov "because it would have been inappropriate to do so without Ukrainian input."

"It is not up to us to make any decision or agreement regarding federalization," he said. "It is up to Ukrainians."

"We will not accept a path forward where the legitimate government of Ukraine is not at the table," Kerry said, adding that the bottom line is: "No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine."

Lavrov denied that Moscow wants to "split Ukraine."

"Federation does not mean, as some in Kiev fear, an attempt to split Ukraine," he said. "To the contrary, federation ... answers the interests of all regions of Ukraine."

Lavrov said he and Kerry did agree to work with the Ukrainian government to improve rights for Russian-speaking Ukrainians and disarm "irregular forces and provocateurs."

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that U.S. officials have been divided over whether Putin's call was indicative of a genuine desire to ease tensions between East and West or a pretext for further military action in Eastern Europe.

White House officials described the call as "frank and direct" and said Obama had urged Putin to offer a written response to a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis that the U.S. has presented. Obama also urged Moscow to scale back its troop build-up on the border with Ukraine, which has prompted concerns in Kiev and Washington about a possible Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin, on the other hand, said Putin had drawn Obama's attention to a "rampage of extremists" in Ukraine and suggested "possible steps by the international community to help stabilize the situation" in Ukraine.

Kerry has repeatedly met with Lavrov over the past month in attempts to halt Russia's annexation of Crimea. However, those talks have proven fruitless, and U.S. officials tell the Journal that Putin is likely to demand that the U.S. accept Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula earlier this month as the minimum necessary for any cooperation between the two nations.
In previous meetings, Mr. Kerry has outlined to Mr. Lavrov a common approach to resolving the Ukraine crisis, U.S. officials told the Journal. This included joint initiatives to stabilize Kiev's economy, promote the decentralization of the country's political system and demobilize pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian paramilitaries that have blossomed across the country in recent months. However, those proposed initiatives have been contingent on the unlikely event of Russia pulling back from Crimea.

White House officials described the call as "frank and direct" and said Obama had urged Putin to offer a written response to a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis that the U.S. has presented. Obama also urged Moscow to scale back its troop build-up on the border with Ukraine, which has prompted concerns in Kiev and Washington about a possible Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin, on the other hand, said Putin had drawn Obama's attention to a "rampage of extremists" in Ukraine and suggested "possible steps by the international community to help stabilize the situation" in Ukraine.
Fox News' Greg Palkot and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mazy
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Re: Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

Post by Carla97 on Tue Apr 01 2014, 11:25

It certainly isn´t looking or sounding good…

"Federation does not mean, as some in Kiev fear, an attempt to split Ukraine," he said. "To the contrary, federation ... answers the interests of all regions of Ukraine."

Yep, right. It would mean in less than 2 days these areas are part of Russia. JMHO.

Sadly even the best scenario today seems to be that nothing changes. Some oligarch will come and rule the country. Going back to old constitution didn´t remove the ultimate power the president enjoys. If russians approve him then the country follows on its old path, if not, there will be military action.




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Re: Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

Post by Mazy on Wed Apr 02 2014, 03:10

I have to say Putin seems to be a stubborn egotistic narcissist, in my opinion. It does not even seem to phase him that he has been thrown out of the G8 Summit; which is now the G7 Summit. The people in Ukraine are the ones that pay the price. Keep praying.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

Post by Carla97 on Wed Apr 02 2014, 09:42

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Well, who pays the price?

I wouldn´t be sad, that it is not Ukrainians, but US citizens who are paying, if and when the time comes (consensus is that it´ll come real soon). Sharing is caring.

It is a bit of a complex issue. First we need to understand how currency is created between the government and the Federal Reserve and then what means "a subsidized energy loan" (fully anticipated to never be paid back) and then the idea of "lending so that you can borrow more".

I agree what you say about Putin. He knows this and didn´t even say thank you. Pretty rude. Gasprom raised gas price by 43,5% to Ukraine. So more money is needed and fast.

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Ukraine Aid Bill, Congress Rushes To Pass Legislation Containing Loans, Sanctions

Post by Mazy on Wed Apr 02 2014, 19:43

FROM CARLA'S LINK SORRY CANNOT GET VIDEO TO EMBED

Ukraine Aid Bill, Congress Rushes To Pass Legislation Containing Loans, Sanctions

by  DEB RIECHMANN
Posted: 03/27/2014 4:23 am EDT Updated: 03/27/2014 1:59 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress spoke with one voice on Thursday against Russia's annexation of Crimea, passing legislation in the House and Senate giving help to cash-strapped Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia.

The Senate approved the legislation by voice vote at the same time the House was passing a different version on a 399-19 vote.
The votes were a show of solidarity with President Barack Obama, who had already announced sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and others. The president spent several days rallying U.S. allies to stand firm against Putin's aggression.

Lawmakers intended to get a final measure to the White House by day's end.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the votes were "critical for President Putin to hear."

"We are in a dangerous moment in history with global consequences and the world is watching," he said.

Menendez said the Senate bill would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize Ukraine's economy and would authorize assistance for democracy, governance and civil society programs and enhanced security cooperation. It also would provide support for the Ukrainian government to help recover assets linked to corruption by former Ukraine government officials.
The measure also would sanction those who are responsible for human rights abuses against anti-government protesters and those responsible for undermining the peace and sovereignty of the Ukraine.

Targeting Russia, the bill also would freeze assets and revoke visas of Russian officials and their associates who are complicit in or responsible for significant corruption in Ukraine.

"Putin's cronies should recognize that Putin may not be the right horse to be betting on any longer," Menendez said.

The Senate bill authorizes $50 million in assistance to Ukraine for such things as improving democratic governance and anti-corruption efforts; supporting free and fair elections in Ukraine; and bolstering democratic institutions and civil society organizations.

The bill authorizes an additional $100 million to enhance security cooperation among the United States, European Union and countries in central and eastern Europe and further authorizes the president to provide defense articles and services, and additional security assistance to Ukraine and countries in the region.

Ukraine, a nation of 46 million people, is battling to install a semblance of normalcy since Ukraine's pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in February after months of protests ignited by his decision to back away from closer relations with the EU and turn toward Russia.

During the past few weeks, an interim government has formed, Ukraine lost Crimea to Russia and further possible military incursions by Russia are feared. The country is also bracing for a turbulent political season ahead of the upcoming presidential vote.

Ukraine's Finance Ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

Asked if the $1 billion in loan guarantees that Congress was pledging was enough, Menendez noted that the U.S. was the largest contributor to the International Monetary Fund, which in a separate move on Thursday pledged up to $18 billion in loans to prop up Ukraine's teetering economy. The money is hinged on structural reforms that Ukraine has pledged to undertake.
Other donors, including the European Union and Japan, have already pledged further aid to Ukraine, conditional on the conclusion of an IMF bailout and reform package. The total amount of international assistance will be about $27 billion over the next two years.

Separately, the 28-nation EU has prepared a wider aid package including loans and grants for Ukraine expected to total more than $10 billion over the coming years.

Taken together, all the assistance is in the "ballpark of what we need," Menendez said.

Swift approval of the legislation came after Senate Democrats backed down and stripped International Monetary Fund reform language from the bill. The move signaled a retreat for Democrats and the Obama administration, which had promoted the IMF provisions.

But with tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed on Ukraine's eastern border, Senate Democrats decided it was more important to denounce Russia, codify sanctions against Putin's inner circle and support Ukraine rather than push now for the IMF changes.

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Re: Ukraine Crisis, Talks Between Us, Russia Fail To Break Deadlock

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