Ukraine : New Battle Area For Russia and Europe.

A False Flag, or Fog of War over Ukraine?


© photocredit

Kırım Tatar Türkü Bazı Hastaların Tedavilerini Türkiye Üstlendi.

BM Yüksek Sekreterliği’nin Ukrayna raporu samimiyetsiz

AB Yaptırımları Açıklandı.


Remarks With Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin After Their Meeting


Secretary Kerry:

Make sure it’s still morning. Good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here with us. It’s my pleasure to be able to welcome Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to Washington, and this is the second time that he and I have had a chance to be able to meet and thoroughly discuss the issues of Ukraine, the challenges of the region, and I deeply appreciate his making time today at a critical time in the region.

We meet today less than two weeks after Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was tragically shot out of the sky in the separatist-controlled territory of Ukraine, and the victims of that crash and their families clearly deserve a thorough international investigation that is unimpeded in any respect so that people have access to the site, so that the families can know that their loved ones are being treated with the decency that any family anywhere in the world would expect in these circumstances.

The United States supports a thorough international investigation into this heinous act, and we support the efforts of the Malaysians, Dutch, and Australians to help the Ukrainians in order to secure the site so that those investigations can take place now. They’re overdue, and it is absolutely important for the separatists to stand back and permit this access to take place.

The work of the investigators is absolutely critical. It’s been 10 days since this plane went down. And investigators have still not received full, unfettered access to the crash site. And without this access, they have no way to collect debris, no way to collect other evidence from the scene in order to be able to provide the kind of examination that is necessary. They still can’t even ensure that all of the victims’ remains have been removed, and that is an unsupportable burden for any family to have to bear, and it is an unacceptable standard for behavior, period. The site has to be cordoned off. The evidence has to be preserved. And Russia needs to use its considerable influence among the separatists in order to be able to help ensure this basic approach of common decency.

Well beyond the crash site, the fighting is continuing. And as President Poroshenko has made clear repeatedly and as Foreign Minister Klimkin reiterated to me just a few minutes ago, the Ukrainians are ready to accept a mutual cease-fire now – not in the future, now. And they have proposed a peace plan that includes serious and substantive dialogue with the Russian-backed separatists with international participation because they understand that that is the only way that this crisis is going to come to an end.

This morning, I talked with Foreign Minister Lavrov and raised these concerns and agreed that there is a way to try to put some very specific proposals on the table to try to move forward. But the Russians and their so-called volunteers are continuing to ship arms and funds and personnel across the border. We see this. There is clear evidence of it. We now have clear evidence of artillery and rocket fire from Russia into Ukraine. And while the Russians have said that they want to de-escalate the conflict, their actions have not shown a shred of evidence that they really have a legitimate desire to end the violence and end the bloodshed.

As a result, the Russian-backed separatists refuse to lay down their arms and be part of the political process. They continue to fire on Ukrainian forces, even in the area just around the crash site, and they have displayed an appalling disregard for human decency. And evidently, the separatists will continue to do so unless they can feel some pressure, something real from their Russian backers.

President Putin can make a huge difference here if he chooses to. And we and our European partners will take additional measures and impose wider sanctions on key sections of the Russian economy if that is what we must do. We hope that it will not be necessary. And if Russia continues to go down this path, however, Russia will leave the international community with no choice. What is unfolding in Ukraine has already gone on for far too long. It’s well past time for the violence to stop and for the people of Ukraine to begin the process of rebuilding their country and rebuilding it in a way that can have a relationship with Russia, with the West.

I think Foreign Minister Klimkin will affirm today that we’re not asking them to choose between the two, and I think Ukrainians understand that they have strong ties to Russia. They’re prepared to have a relationship with Russia, and they understand that the future of Ukraine depends on having a strong relationship with Russia.

So it’s well past time for this violence to stop, and that is why yesterday, Vice President Biden announced nearly $7 million in rapid assistance for humanitarian and rebuilding purposes to be deployed immediately. Specifically, these funds will go towards rebuilding eastern Ukraine, including the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, where people celebrated in the streets recently when they were liberated from separatist control.

We are also asking Congress for approval to provide financial support and mentoring to small businesses throughout Ukraine. Through mechanisms like the public-private partnerships and export promotion initiatives, we are hoping to inject additional resources into Ukraine’s economy so that together, all Ukrainians can rebuild their lives along with their cities.

Over the past few months, the Ukrainian Government has taken a number of steps to try to bring about a better future for its people and to reform the government that had failed them so much in the past, including signing an historic association agreement with the European Union and also finalizing a vital standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. We strongly urge Ukrainians to continue the process of reforming their democracy, even if not particularly during this moment of crisis, because this is a troubling time where everyone is looking for those reforms to be implemented, and they can make a huge difference in rebuilding confidence and also in providing a sense in Russia that the concerns expressed by the separatists are, in fact, being listened to and being incorporated into the political process of Ukraine.

The United States stands ready to support our Ukrainian partners in this effort, because we know that ultimately, a strong democratic government and a strong economy are the keys to providing the Ukrainian people with the stability and the prosperity that they want and that they deserve.

So again, I thank Foreign Minister Klimkin for joining me today for this meeting, and I have pledged to him that we will continue to work closely together. We’re talking about the possibility of when we could find time for a visit to continue this discussion more directly with the prime minister and with President Poroshenko. I think we share high hopes for the possibilities of what a resolution of this crisis with the separatists and with Russia could bring – a strong Ukraine, the respect for their sovereignty, and the possibilities of stability for the region.

Foreign Minister Klimkin:

Mr. Secretary of State, I would like to thank you for your commitment, for your solidarity, and for – also for your personal leadership, also in Geneva format, and for your commitment to democratic, united, and European Ukraine.

It’s my first visit since I’ve been appointed the foreign minister, and it’s, indeed, a pleasure to be here to discuss all issues of bilateral agenda, but first and foremost, the ongoing developments in Ukraine. And I’m glad we have the same vision of these developments and I am glad that I feel a real commitment, a real solidarity here. We have in Ukraine clear commitment to the settlement of the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk, and the peace plan of the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, gives peace a chance.

It includes three main dimensions. It’s firstly about de-escalation and reaching a cease-fire. Secondly, it’s about humanitarian dimension and restoring the infrastructure disrupted on the ground. And of course, it’s about political dimension, because what counts and what is critical is reaching the bilateral cease-fire with the aim of restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Of course, we need a critical progress. We need a breakthrough on hostages. We need to release hostages as soon as possible. And it’s also the issue of human dignity.

We need, of course, the OSCE. We need the OSCE observers to be present on the ground from the very first moment of cease-fire. We paid for our commitment on two unilateral cease-fire with 30 lives and more than 100 people wounded. The unilateral cease-fire was broken more than 100 times, and now it’s about bilateral cease-fire, it’s about OSCE again to be present on the ground, but it’s also about closing down the border. It’s also about stopping the inflow of money, armed persons, weapons, and heavy weaponry across the border, because it’s critical precondition for reaching stability in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Of course, it’s also about humanitarian dimension. It’s about restoration of all disrupted infrastructure, because what we’ve been doing now, we’ve been trying to restore disrupted electricity networks, water supply, gas supply. We’ve been trying to bring normal life back to the people of Donbas. And I am particularly grateful to the Secretary of State, to the United States, for urgent help, for urgent assistance to the people of Donbas, which should be aimed at restoring infrastructure. I believe it was – has symbolic, but also extremely important practical dimension.

And of course, it’s about political process. It’s about settlement. And we are ready to (inaudible) decentralization. We are ready to give more powers to the communities, to the districts, to the regions. It’s about giving people more freedom, but also more responsibility – political responsibility and economic responsibility. And it’s about not allowing to play up any sort of issues like using the Russian language, because it would be up to every community to decide what language should be spoken.

It’s about clear idea how we can de-escalate the situation on the ground, because we are ready for local elections. We are ready that the real representative of Donbas, a real representative of Donetsk and Luhansk should take responsibility over the situation on the ground, should take responsibility over de-escalation, over economic and social development on Donbas. And in this sphere, we feel solidarity by the United States and we also have clear and targeted assistance.

And also under difficult conditions on the ground, we’ve been trying – we’ve been working around the clock on securing access to the crash site, and it’s our key priority. We’ve been working on ensuring the possibility for fully transparent and effective investigation of the causes of the tragedy with the plane of Malaysian Airlines. And of course, for us, it’s about human dignity. It’s about the possibility of recovering all bodies and body fragments from the crash site. It’s about giving back the friends and the loved ones any sort of personal belongings. It’s not just the priority; it’s an absolute priority for Ukraine at the moment.

So we have the same vision on these developments and we feel continuous support by the United States. Of course we’ve touched upon also a number of issues on our bilateral agenda and we’ve been – we’ll be working on that extremely closely. And I used the chance to invite the Secretary of State to visit Kyiv and to chair the next meeting of our Strategic Partnership Commission, where we are able to discuss all the issues of bilateral interest and all the issues of bilateral agenda.


Ukraine, you said that Vladimir Putin has a choice now. Does he still have a choice? We were told that the United States, with the President’s call with the European leaders yesterday, were going to be imposing sanctions today. Are you giving him yet another chance to prove himself after everything that’s happened? Or are these sanctions actually going to finally be implemented? And can you and perhaps the minister respond to credible reports from the region, we’re told today that government forces have fired back at Russian forces – so have fired across the border. Thank you for taking all of this.

Secretary Kerry:

With respect to Ukraine, we are in the process of preparing additional sanctions with Europe. That is absolutely accurate. And what will happen will happen. But of course, President Putin still has a choice going forward with respect to his ability to be able to have an impact on the separatists. That is a choice that will be there tomorrow, the next day, and in the weeks ahead in order to resolve this. So separate the two.

Europe is working on the sanctions. We are working with them on the sanctions. We anticipate those additional sanctions, but – forthwith – but the point I’m making is that in the long road ahead here to resolve the kinds of issues of the gas deal – the gas has been cut off to Ukraine; to resolve the movement and flow of weapons and people across the border; the issue of firing from Russia into Ukraine; all of these issues – whatever happens with sanctions today or tomorrow, those issues remain and they are remaining to be the choices that President Putin has to make.

So we talked today about a political road ahead, the ways in which Ukraine can contribute to an effort to try to make it clear to President Putin that the agreements originally arrived at in Geneva about a political process are, indeed, being fully implemented. And Russia has raised on a number of occasions significant questions about whether or not that road has been sufficiently explored. And I think the foreign minister and I agree that there is more that we think can be done there, and we’re going to talk about that in the days ahead.

Foreign Minister Klimkin:

On this report, I have such a record of cases of Russian – of shelling, not just artillery fire, but also rocket-propelled grenade fire from the Russian territory; of cases of Russian helicopters intruding the Ukrainian airspace. But we never, never fired back, of course, in order not to provoke the situation, but first and foremost because we are fully committed to international law. We have our legal and political commitments, and in the sense of United Nations statute, shelling from the territory of another state constitutes an act of aggression. So we are fully committed to international law. We never fired back.

And there were also many cases when the terrorists tried to position themself exactly near the border and fire on Ukrainian forces. We also exercised an extreme restraint, trying not to fire back, not to provoke the situation, and not to break our obligation under international law. So all reports on us firing back onto Russian territory are not true.


I have a question. Putin not showing signs that he slows down. Mr. Secretary, what exactly the United States is going to do if Russia invades Ukraine, and should Ukraine expect to become an ally of the United States?

Secretary Kerry:

Well, the President has made it clear that there are many different options, but that would be taken, needless to say, as not just a violation of all notions of international law, but an exceedingly dangerous action, which would wind up with the most severe possible kinds of isolation and sanctions possible. And Germany, France, other countries in Europe would clearly join into that in ways that would have a profound, profound impact on the Russian economy. I would believe, for the very reasons that hasn’t happened yet, that President Putin understands that, that the risks are enormous.

It doesn’t – I think that alliances are a more – I mean, it depends whether you’re talking in legal terms or in other terms. We are a partner. We are a strategic ally now. And we are working very, very closely already providing advice and materials to Ukraine, as well as other countries who are doing the same thing. And we are working very, very hard to see if we can’t find the political key to be able to provide redress for the grievances that President Putin keeps talking about through the political process in a way that will recognize that Russia has a legitimate interest, which even Ukraine has acknowledged – interests about ethnic connection, historic connection, about the religious and historical foundations of Russia, all of which can be traced back to Kyiv and to many battlefields that are now in Ukraine and so forth. All of that is understood. And what Ukraine is looking for is simply respect for its sovereignty, and hopefully the political process that is unfolding now can address the concerns in a way that will strengthen that sovereignty and address the concerns that President Putin has expressed.

But we are and Europeans who have signed now an association agreement are firmly committed to the sovereignty and independence and stability of Ukraine, and we will continue to do the things that we are doing in furtherance of that policy. Full Transcript (Gaza+Israel)


EU restrictive measures in view of the situation in Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea

Economic sanctions

The Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) today reached agreement on EU restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine.

In order to restrict Russia’s access to EU capital markets, EU nationals and companies may no more buy or sell new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 90 days, issued by state-owned Russian banks, development banks, their subsidiaries and those acting on their behalf. Services related to the issuing of such financial instruments, e.g. brokering, are also prohibited.

In addition, an embargo on the import and export of arms and related material from/to Russia was agreed. It covers all items on the EU common military list.

Coreper also reached agreement on a prohibition on exports of dual use goods and technology for military use in Russia or to Russian military end-users. All items in the EU list of dual use goods are included ( see latest list in annex to regulation 428/2009).

Finally, exports of certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia will be subject to prior authorisation by competent authorities of Member States. Export licenses will be denied if products are destined for deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia.

The measures will apply to new contracts. These restrictions will now be formally adopted by the Council through a written procedure. They will apply from the day following their publication in the EU Official Journal, which is scheduled for late on 31 July.

Additional restrictions for Crimea and Sevastopol

In addition, the Coreper meeting of 28 July agreed on trade and investment restrictions for Crimea and Sevastopol, as requested by the European Council of 16 July. These comprise a ban on new investment in the following sectors in Crimea and Sevastopol: infrastructure projects in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors and in relation to the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals. Key equipment for the same six sectors may not be exported to Crimea and Sevastopol; finance and insurance services related to such transactions must not be provided.

Furthermore, Permanent Representatives agreed that 8 persons and 3 entities will be added to the list of those subject to an asset freeze and a visa ban, inter alia for providing support to or benefiting from Russian decisions makers responsible for the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. This brings the number of persons and entities under EU restrictions to 95 persons and 23 entities.
These measures will come into force after their formal adoption by the Council through written procedures and their publication in the EU Official Journal, scheduled for late on 30 July.

Restrictive measures already in force

Asset freezes and visa bans have already been imposed on 87 persons while 20 entities are subject to a freeze of their assets in the EU. This includes 87 persons and 9 entities responsible for action against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and 11 entities in Crimea and Sevastopol that were confiscated or that have benefitted from a transfer of ownership contrary to Ukrainian law.

Goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol may not be imported into the EU unless they have Ukrainian certificates.
The European Council also requested the European Investment Bank to suspend the signature of new financing operations in Russia while EU member states coordinate their positions within the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a view to suspending financing of new operations in Russia.

Diplomatic steps

Instead of the G8 summit in Sochi, a G7 meeting was held in Brussels on 4/5 June. EU countries also supported the suspension of negotiations over Russia’s joining the OECD and the International Energy Agency.
The EU-Russia summit was cancelled and EU member states decided not to hold regular bilateral summits. Bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement between the EU and Russia were suspended. In addition, a re-assessment of EU-Russia cooperation programmes is currently ongoing with a view to suspending the implementation of EU bilateral and regional cooperation programmes. Projects dealing exclusively with cross-border cooperation and civil society will be maintained.


    Statement by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission in the name of the European Union on the agreed additional restrictive measures against Russia

    Today the European Union has agreed a package of significant additional restrictive measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with the Russian Federation. These decisions will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector.

    This package reinforces the recently expanded listing of persons and entities undermining Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, including the so-called “cronies”, the suspension of EIB and EBRD financing, the restriction of investment and trade with Crimea and Sevastopol and the reassessment of the Russia EU bilateral cooperation with a view to reducing the level of the cooperation.

    The package responds to directions given by the European Council of 16 July. It is meant as a strong warning: illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st century Europe. Furthermore, when the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response. The European Union will fulfil its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbours and partners.

    Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the European Union has been calling on the Russian leadership to work towards a peaceful resolution. We have done this collectively and bilaterally. I regret to say that despite some mixed messages coming from Moscow, and exchanges in the Normandy and other formats, there has been scarce delivery on commitments. Our call has been, in practice, left unheeded. Arms and fighters continue flowing into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. Strong Russian State sponsored nationalist propaganda continues supporting the illegal actions of armed separatists. We have witnessed with anger and frustration the delays in providing international access to the site of the air crash, the tampering with the remains of the plane, and the disrespectful handling of the deceased.

    The Russian Federation and the European Union have important common interests. We will both benefit from open and frank dialogue, from increased cooperation and exchanges. But we cannot pursue this important positive agenda when Crimea is illegally annexed, when the Russian Federation supports armed revolt in Eastern Ukraine, when the violence unleashed kills innocent civilians.

    The package of new restrictive measures agreed today by the European Union constitutes a powerful signal to the leaders of the Russian Federation: destabilising Ukraine, or any other Eastern European neighbouring State, will bring heavy costs to its economy. Russia will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions. The European Union remains ready to reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. Source.



    28 July 2014 – Europe’s Eastern Partnership has developed into crisis management and the EU must develop a new strategy towards Russia and the periphery, according to a series of essays published today by the European Council on Foreign Relations. As tensions around Russia continue to grow following the shooting down of a Malaysian civilian airliner, Ukraine and its fellow Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries are increasingly exposed in areas from energy to security.

    The editor of the series of case studies on Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova, ECFR senior policy fellow Andrew Wilson, argues that European Union policy towards the Eastern Partnership is “proceeding on auto pilot” and that it needs to do “more than simply protect the status quo if it is serious about maintaining the Eastern Partnership”. Wilson warns that the EU will “have to be committed to spending a lot of blood and treasure to protect countries at the sharp end of Russian pressure.”

    All four case studies show that Russian pressure, for all its strength and breadth, is often self-defeating and they recommend three elements which the EU should adopt in its new strategy towards Russia and the periphery:
    · The EU needs to prioritise “state building” in EaP countries which lack democracy and human rights. Security must come before strengthening their economies.
    · Because of the serious weaknesses of the states involved, the EU needs to develop new ways to help the Eastern Partnership countries deal with the new types of pressure that Russia will continue to apply.
    · The EU needs a vision of how to engage with Russia in a new security framework.

    The four studies by leading experts show the Eastern Partnership countries have different vulnerabilities that require a stronger EU approach:
    · In Ukraine President Putin is trapped in a “hybrid war” which mixes regular and irregular forces and tactics, but does not want to engage in large-scale intervention. Andrew Wilson suggests the EU should keep up the pressure on Russia with sanctions and should provide non-lethal military aid and assistance for Ukrainian law enforcement bodies.
    · Armenia’s sudden U-turn away from a planned Association Agreement with the EU in favour of joining the Russian-led Customs Union deeply entrenched its dependence on Russia. Richard Giragosian suggests the EU engage Armenia in ways which recognise its fragility and vulnerability.
    · Georgia is vulnerable to Russian pressure in investment, trade, energy and remittances. Sergi Kapanadze warns “…the Georgian government’s confidence that it is stronger and more able than Ukraine to withstand Russian pressure is misguided and dangerous.”
    · Moldova, which relies on Russia for imported gas, could face further agricultural sanctions and the expulsion from Russia of Moldovan workers. Stanislav Secrieru says the EU should ease visa restrictions and support Moldovan energy co-operation with Romania and Ukraine.

    In his introduction to these case studies Andrew Wilson says that since its inception the Eastern Partnership has been a low cost exercise in ambiguity and warns that “Russia has used military force to change borders. In the new environment, countries like Ukraine will find it difficult to transform themselves and Russian will not compete on the EU’s terms. That means the EU must develop a new strategy towards Russia and the periphery. Full Report.


    Putin’s Crooked Mirror

    by Jarosław Kuisz, Karolina Wigura Monday, July 28, 2014 – That’s all very well. But the greatest threat to the European order is not Putin’s superpower politics or his rhetoric. It’s the fact that EU countries have a hard time evaluating what he says. The dictionary of Russian politics seems to have been compiled in such a way that Europeans see themselves as if looking through a crooked mirror.

    On the one hand, almost every central concept in Western European rhetoric has its equivalent in Russia. There is “fascism” and “nationalism.” There is “border protection” and “multiculturalism.” And there are condemnations of anti-Semitism.

    On the other hand, each of these concepts has been imbued with a meaning that differs from the original. That is the paradoxical, imitative innovation of contemporary Russian propaganda.
    In Putin’s statements, fascism and nationalism are threats that belong to the past as much as to the present. They belong to the past because in the twentieth century, these two diametrically opposed ideologies led to a tragic world war. They are part of the present because today’s EU is a place where the nationalist hydra is once again rearing its head.

    In the present as in the past, Russia is there to act as a shield(…) Full Analysis.


    A Battle For Russia

    by Dmitri Trenin, Monday, July 28, 2014 – The chances for accommodation between Russia and the United States now seem more remote than ever since February 22. Secretary John Kerry and Minister Sergey Lavrov may talk the talk, but they will not walk the walk. Europe will not be able, or willing, to play a mediating role. The Kremlin sees the U.S. goal as being not so much stopping the Russian support for the Donbass rebels, or even getting Moscow to withdraw from Crimea, but as the toppling of the Putin regime by means of economic pain and popular discontent wrought by the sanctions. Even if no pro-Western leader replaces a Putin in the Kremlin as a result, the narrative goes, Russia will succumb to another period of turmoil, making it to focus on itself, rather than creating problems for Washington.

    That said, expecting Putin to back off (…) Full Analysis.


    Northwoods and MH-17

    By Wayne MADSEN – Americans are fond of revering their flag, dubbed «Old Glory». However, most Americans have never heard of other «flags» common in their history, «false flags» intended to whip up public fervor and plunge the United States into a continuous cycle of warfare.

    The use of commercial passenger planes as false flag targets of opportunity for U.S. national security and intelligence planners is nothing new. The U.S. National Archives yielded an explosive formerly classified document some five months before the 9/11 attack in 2001. The document, «Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba» outlined for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a series of false flag attacks, codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS, which would be carried out by the United States on various targets but be blamed on the Fidel Castro government of Cuba. Dated March 13, 1962, the Top Secret NORTHWOODS document was prepared by America’s top covert Special Operations officer, General Edward Lansdale.

    Lansdale, who was a key leader of a Central Intelligence Agency plan, OPERATION MONGOOSE, which targeted Castro for, among other things, assassination inside Cuba, was the head of the «Cuba Project» under Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Lyman Lemnitzer. Full Story.


    US, Europe to boost sanctions on Russia

    By Peter Symonds, 29 July 2014 – The US and four major European powers—Germany, Britain, France and Italy—yesterday agreed to greatly increase co-ordinated economic sanctions against Russia in a bid to force it to bow to their demands to end any support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Details of the sanctions are yet to be finalised, but they will apply to arms sales to Russia, and to the Russian energy and finance sectors.

    In statements reeking of hypocrisy, Washington and its allies seized on the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and allegations that Moscow was supplying heavy weapons to Ukrainian rebels to justify economic penalties. The US has provided no evidence to support its deluge of propaganda blaming Russia and Russian-backed separatists for the MH17 crash.

    The sanctions were announced after US President Obama held a video-conference yesterday with his European counterparts. His deputy security adviser Anthony Blinken told the media: “They agreed on the importance of coordinated sanctions measures on Russia for its continued transfer of arms, equipment and fighters in eastern Ukraine, including since the crash, and to press Russia to end its efforts to destabilise the country.”

    In a transparent attempt to ratchet up pressure on Moscow before the video-conference, the US State Department released a four-page memo on Sunday claiming to prove that military forces inside Russia fired on Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials dismissed the evidence and branded the low-resolution satellite images in the memo as fake. Moscow also denied arming pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine.

    The sanctions are aimed at buttressing the far right Ukrainian regime, installed with US and German backing in a fascist-led coup in February. The crisis-ridden government in Kiev, whose parliamentary coalition collapsed last week, is waging major military offensives in eastern Ukraine that have already resulted in scores of civilian deaths and a stream of refugees fleeing the area. In flagrant breach of the UN Security Council resolution on MH17, the Ukrainian military is conducting operations to seize the crash site and surrounding areas. Full Article.



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