Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

“Minor incursion” by Russia allowed by Biden

January 20, 2022

It is fairly obvious that Sergei Lavrov and the Russian strategists are making a very precise calculation of what they can get away with with Joe Biden. I suspect that they have been surprised that Biden is even more risk averse than Obama and at how far they can push. They were fairly accurate with the multitude of red lines drawn by Obama in Syria which they knew could be crossed with impunity. Now that Joe Biden has confirmed that “minor incursions” by Russia into Ukraine would be acceptable, it only remains to define what a “minor” incursion is. They would have received some further proof from the German Foreign Minister recently that Europe will do little without firm backing from the US and that this backing would be very lukewarm.

It now remains to make a case for “minor” including all the clearly Russian speaking areas of Ukraine.

Line of acceptable minor incursion?

MH17: Dutch PM’s call for “independent” inquiry adds weight to Russian theory

November 5, 2014

There are two theories about the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH17 and the murder of 298 passengers and crew (where over 60% were Dutch):

  1. that the aircraft was shot down by a BUK ground-to-air missile fired by Russian separatists in Ukraine and perhaps in the mistaken belief that they were shooting at a Ukrainian military transport plane. This is the theory that is favoured by the Ukrainian government, most western countries and by NATO.
  2. that the aircraft was shot down mistakenly by a Ukrainian fighter jet using an air-to-air missile. This was followed by cannon fire perhaps because the mistake was realised and no survivors could be permitted. This theory is supported by the Russians and the Russian separatists.

The Russian theory was initially ridiculed by the Ukrainians, NATO countries and the western media. But a few weeks ago the Dutch investigators let slip the information that at least one oxygen mask had been deployed and this was much more consistent with a weaker air-to-air missile followed by cannon fire rather than the much more powerful BUK ground-to-air missile. A BUK ground-to-air missile would not have given any time for the oxygen mask to deploy. Moreover a multitude of regular holes were found in the remains of the fuselage. They were too regular to just be shrapnel and their size and regularity were consistent with high velocity cannon fire. Then the lead Dutch prosecutor in an interview with der Spiegel would not categorically rule out the Russian theory.

Now the Dutch Prime Minister has called for a “thorough, independent inquiry” into the shooting down of MH17, again insinuating that the assumed theory of a ground-to-air missile has some fundamental flaws.


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday stressed the importance of a thorough, independent investigation of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 before any decision on where those responsible should face trial.

The Dutch have the lead role in investigating the downing of theBoeing 777 aircraft, which crashed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine in July with the loss of all 298 people aboard, two thirds of them Dutch.

With the crash site too dangerous to access due to fighting, they have been relying mostly on publicly available information to carry out a remote investigation.

“What we now have to do is through the independent safety boards to exactly understand what happened and the public prosecutors have to work on the prosecution which follows from this,” Rutte said, when asked if the International Criminal Court was the right venue for any trial.

“Then it has to be decided at what court it should take place. As we see things now, it is not most likely that the International Criminal Court is most suited to this.”

Rutte was on a one-day visit to Kuala Lumpur to meet his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak. Rutte flew from Amsterdam on Flight MH19, re-named from MH17 after the disaster. …. 

Kiev blames pro-Russian separatists for the airliner’s destruction. Russia says a Ukrainian military aircraft shot it down.

A report by the Dutch safety board said in September that MH17 crashed after a “large number of high-energy objects”penetrated its fuselage.

The reluctance of the Dutch investigators, the lead prosecutor and now the Prime Minister to just accept the NATO supported theory is, I think, a clear indication that the Russian theory is a much more likely explanation than is being acknowledged.

Crimea is a fait accompli – as White House is so relieved that Putin deigned to call

March 29, 2014

The news this morning is that Vladimir Putin called Barack Obama to discuss Ukraine. But the tone from the White House is that this was a great diplomatic victory for Obama since it was Putin who initiated the call. So far it has always been Obama calling Putin to draw red lines in the air.

(Reuters)Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a U.S. diplomatic proposal for Ukraine, the White House said, adding that Obama told him that Russia must pull back its troops and not move deeper into Ukraine. It was believed to have been the first direct conversation between Obama and Putin since the United States and its European allies began imposing sanctions on Putin’s inner circle and threatened to penalize key sectors of Russia’s economy. …… The White House noted specifically that it was Putin who called Obama, who is ending a four-country trip in Saudi Arabia and had just returned to his Riyadh hotel after talks with King Abdullah.

And so another crisis is solved – until the next one. But the Kremlin account is somewhat different to the White House account

NYT: “President Obama underscored to President Putin that the United States continues to support a diplomatic path in close consultation with the government of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people with the aim of de-escalation of the crisis,” the White House said in a statement. “President Obama made clear that this remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

In its statement posted on its official website, the Kremlin said Mr. Putin “drew Barack Obama’s attention to continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents, government authorities and law enforcement agencies in various regions and in Kiev with impunity. …. In light of this,” it added, “the president of Russia suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilize the situation.”

The Crimea is a done deal. The US and the EU have to maintain some face while accepting that reality. What is also apparent is that the Russian view of  right wing extremists and neo-nazis is shared by the current “government” of the Ukraine. The EU and its “expansive but naive imperialism” bears a heavy responsibility for the rise of the Right Sector and its violent ways. And now the Ukraine is running a pogrom to disable if not wipe out the Right Sector. (Not so dissimilar to the current campaigns against Golden Dawn in Greece and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt).

BBC: A Ukrainian ultra-nationalist leader has been shot dead in what officials describe as a special forces operation. Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine, the interior ministry said. He was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests.

BBC: Ukraine’s interim President Olexander Turchynov has condemned the ultra-nationalist Right Sector, saying the group is bent on “destabilisation”. Right Sector activists blocked the parliament (Rada) building in Kiev on Thursday night and smashed windows. They blamed the interior minister for the killing of a Right Sector leader. …..

….. At a parliament session on Friday, Mr Turchynov, called the Right Sector rally outside parliament “an attempt to destabilise the situation in Ukraine, in the very heart of Ukraine – Kiev. That is precisely the task that the Russian Federation’s political leadership is giving to its special services”. Right Sector activists are furious over the death of Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, one of their leaders. The interior ministry said he died on Monday night in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine.

Transnistria (image

Transnistria (image

Putin does not seem to have discussed – or needed to discuss – the Crimea. That is now a fait accompli. Instead he has taken up the case of Moldova and Transnistria. In Moldova too, it is the EU’s expansionism which has led to some of the internal rifts. I note also that the Ukraine and Moldova have been wooed enthusiastically by the EU and had made more progress than Turkey has in its long running saga of seeking EU membership. (Turkey will never be allowed to become a member – in my opinion  – because it is a Muslim country).

NYT: While not mentioning Crimea, the Kremlin drew attention to Ukraine’s blockade of Transnistria, a breakaway, pro-Russian region of Moldova, another former Soviet republic to the south. Frozen for years in an international limbo, neither accepting Moldova’s rule nor formally part of Russia, Transnistria has relied on land access through Ukraine for crucial imports.

The Kremlin said a new blockade would “significantly complicate the living conditions for the region’s residents, impeding their movement and normal trade and economic activities,” and it urged negotiations to address the situation.

Russia has more than 1,000 troops in Transnistria, the remnants of a peacekeeping force deployed since 1992, and it has relied on overland access through Ukraine to supply them. The next talks on the conflict are scheduled for Vienna on April 10 and 11.

Some officials in the region have asked to follow Crimea and become part of Russia. Moldova has been working toward the same sweeping political and free trade agreements with the European Union that prompted Russian opposition in Ukraine.

The Crimean crisis is over. The Moldovan (Transnistria) crisis is next.

And President Obama can bask in the glory of “having forced” Vladimir Putin to call him.

Muddled EU and an indecisive US help Russia emerge from the Cold War doldrums

March 9, 2014

The Soviet Union was dissolved 23 years ago. The experiment of exporting and imposing the Russian vision of socialism on 14 other countries had collapsed in spectacular fashion. It was a resounding victory for Ronald Reagan, Rambo, Capitalism, Democracy and “Western” values – in that order. The 15 post Soviet countries were then Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Countries within their influence but not part of the Soviet Union broke free and looked to find a new place in the growing and expansionist European Union. Czechoslavakia split. Yugoslavia fractured into many pieces. And Europe picked up the pieces. On the back of their economic problems and the dissolution of their Empire, Russia had no diplomatic clout left to speak of. They did inherit the Soviet seat on the Security Council along with its veto and that kept them at the big table if rather ineffective.

But all that is beginning to change. There is a long way to go but with its wealth of resources the Russian economy is beginning to recover. There is a resurgence of Russian diplomacy. Russian diplomats are beginning to have opinions on all matters of substance. They are aided and abeted by a muddled and meddlesome EU together with an indecisive and risk-averse President in the US.

In foreign as with economic policy the EU is a place of very many voices. Some members are looking to create a successor to the Holy Roman Empire with a Holy European Empire. Others are looking to create the United States of Europe. Some want in for the benefits but want out of the costs. But rather than being a place for the dissemination of best practices it has become a hodge-podge where the lowest common denominator applies. They claim to share the same “values” of equality and freedom but none of them like dirty gypsies from Romania. The European Parliament and the European commission add layers of fairly useless politicians and bureaucrats. If only there had been a rule that every sinecure created at the European level would have been accompanied by a reduction at a country level! Radicalised youth in the EU now provide cannon fodder for many conflicts around the world. On all possible sides. The UK and France provide psychopathic young muslims to conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. French and German and Swedish skinheads travel to the Ukraine to support the neo-nazi Right Sector.

With so many countries in the EU it is not too surprising that they get confused. A referendum in the Crimea is illegal but a referendum in Scotland is OK. They have been fooled into supporting miltant islamists in Syria and have handed the opposition into the control of Al Qaida. They have tried to meddle in the Ukraine and only succeeded in building up the neo-nazi Right Sector and in provoking Russia to enter the Crimea ostensibly to support the Russian origin population. One Swedish politician today suggested implementing a fast track entry for the Ukraine into the EU “as a signal to the Russians”. Little people trying to be politicians on the world stage. With 28 member states and 8 more in the wings, with a full range of political opinions in each country, it is hardly surprising that what emerges as policy, from the attempt to be balanced, borders on idiocy. Meanwhile the US is tired of its expensive adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan which have achieved very little. President Obama is looking to disengage wherever he can. To take on new risk is anathema. In Syria, Obama kept re-drawing red lines, and kept retreating behind them. That proxy war is being won by the Assad regime supported by Russia. The US and the EU no longer know who they support – or should support –  in Syria.

Syria and the Ukraine are just examples. A confused EU together with an indecisive US are providing the Russians with opportunities to test their diplomatic skills and to test the resolve of the EU and the US.

And judging by the results so far, neither the US nor the EU has a sticking point. There is not a leader in sight.

Kerry to lead the charge of the G-7 light brigade

March 3, 2014

Washington (AFP)US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kiev this week in a show of support for the embattled leadership, as Washington and its allies slammed Moscow for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.

kerry to lead the charge on kiev

kerry to lead the charge on kiev

The Crimea has seen its full share of wars, progroms, forced displacements and ethnic cleansing. It has been “ceded” to Ukraine since 1954. And now, as the Ottomans once allied with France and the UK  against Russia,  the Neo-Nazis of Ukraine are finding allies among the US, NATO and the EU  (G-7).

But Crimea contains 60% Russians!

With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Half a step, half a brain,
 Half a plan given,
All into the valley of Fools
 Rode the G-seven.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“It’s for Democracy” he said:
Into the valley of Fools
 Rode the G-seven!

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there no one  dismayed?
Tho’ every single member knew
 He had no discretion:
Barack Obama had made reply
Kerry had his own fish to fry
Theirs not to question why,
As into the valley of Fools
 Rode the G-seven!

Nuland rant indicates heavy US advice to (or direction of) Ukraine opposition

February 7, 2014

For once it was not the NSA bugging some European leader. Presumably it was the Russians bugging US diplomats. Victoria Nuland the US diplomat for European and Eurasian affairs reportedly said ‘Fuck the EU’ while speaking of the Ukraine crisis with the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. 

Марионетки Майдана

I will not be surprised if this recording disappears from You Tube if the US applies pressure – through the horse has bolted.

The US like many others may be frustrated with the EU but what is fairly clear is that the US is very actively advising – if not directing – the Ukraine opposition.The modern version of the Great Game being played out in Syria and Ukraine.

BBC: A voice resembling that of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland refers to the EU using a graphic swear word, in a conversation apparently with to the US ambassador to Ukraine. The US said Ms Nuland had “apologised for these reported comments”.

The EU and US are involved in talks to end months of unrest in Ukraine. …. 

Russia has been widely accused of intervening in Ukraine, using its economic clout to persuade Mr Yanukovych to abandon closer ties with Brussels. Russia has itself accused Washington and the EU of meddling in Ukraine. 

The 4min 10sec video was entitled “Maidan’s puppets” in Russian – a reference to the square in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, where pro-EU protests have been held for months. A transcription of the whole conversation was also posted in Russian.

At one point, the female speaker mentions the UN and its possible role in trying to find a solution to the Ukraine stand-off.

She says: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and you know…” she then uses the graphic swear word about the EU.

The male replies: “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”

The two officials also discuss frankly the merits of the three main Ukrainian opposition leaders – Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tyahnybok.

What is Gaddafi’s connection to Norway? Galyna Kolotnytska has sought asylum there

May 6, 2011

It could be that some of Gaddafi’s wealth is hidden away in oil-rich Norway.

I have posted earlier about Galyna Koloynytska’s return to Ukraine from Libya. She remains loyal to Gaddafi and since she cannot have been politically oppressed in her home country, her sudden appearance in Norway suggests that some of his wealth is stashed here. I still have the opinion that Galyna Kolynytska has a pre-determined role in Gaddafi’s end-game and that she is still following this game plan.

Being very rich or having wealth hidden away in Norway should not – on the face of it – provide grounds for seeking asylum.

Expressen reports:

Gaddafi and Galyna: photo from Expressen

One of  Gaddafi’s private nurses, Galyna Kolotnytska has  sought asylum in Norway, reveals the Norwegian paper VG.

Galyna Kolotnytska had been  Gaddafi’s private nurse for eight years. She accompanied  him on all trips and is described as one of the people who are closest to him. Some time ago, she became world famous when she was mentioned as Mr Gaddafi’s  “buxom blonde” in the WikiLeaks documents that were leaked.

Now, say several sources that she has fled to Norway where she has sought asylum on Wednesday. The Ukrainian nurse was on Thursday night at an asylum reception centre in Oslo, the paper said after having been questioned earlier by Norwegian police.

In February this year, Kolotnytska left Libya and returned to her family in Ukraine.


The end is nigh for Gaddafi: Galyna Kolotnytska has returned to Ukraine

Gaddafi & family activate Plan B to save themselves

The end is nigh for Gaddafi: Galyna Kolotnytska has returned to Ukraine

February 27, 2011

According to Svenska DagbladetGalyna Kolotnytska who was Gaddafi’s personal nurse has landed in Ukraine along with 120 other Ukrainians.

She had announced to her daughter last Friday that she would be returning from Tripoli after 9 years in Libya.

Galyna Kolotnytska Foto: Scanpix

Galyna Kolotnytska : Photo scanpix

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