Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

Pro-Russia protest against US frigate in Sevastopol

March 25, 2009

Pro-Russia protesters cried “NATO out” Wednesday as a US naval frigate arrived in the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is also based.

The USS Klakring docked at 0630 GMT, as about 250 largely communist and far-left demonstrators also shouted “Yankee go home!”

The frigate is in port for a five-day “friendly visit” and will not take part in any exercises, a Ukrainian navy statement said.

It is feared that Sevastopol in the Crimea, where the Russian fleet has maintained a presence for over 200 years, could become a flashpoint in strained relations between Russia and the West.

Russia signed a 20-year contract with Ukraine in 1997 to station its fleet in the Black Sea and makes an annual payment of 12 million dollars (nine million euros) to Kiev for the privilege.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200903
25/wl_afp/ukrainerussiausmilitarynat
osevastopolprotest_20090325131321

Activists from the Ukrainian Communist Party and Russian Bloc ... 
Activists from the Ukrainian Communist Party and Russian Bloc protest as the USS Klakring sails into Sevastopol. The pro-Russia protesters cried “NATO out” as the US warship arrived in the Ukrainian port — where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.(AFP/Vasiliy Batanov)

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

March 9, 2009

North Korea could launch a long range missile at any time, and according to Jae-Soon Chang of the Associated Press, “Analysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama‘s attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.”

Iran tested a new missile this last weekend.

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who told the cabinet on Sunday that Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and that its attainment of  nuclear military capability was now a matter of “incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb to its strategy.”

More U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan which Evan Thomas of Newsweek has already dubbed “Obama’s War.”

CNN on North Korea:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/08/nkorea.launch/index.html

Jerusalem Post on Iran’s nuclear effort See:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid
=1236269373103&pagename=JPost%2FJP
Article%2FShowFull

And the Independent Newspaper in Britain warns that “This year both American and British officials have become increasingly open about their fear that Pakistan – which has nuclear weapons under the control of a military at least to some extent open to extremist influence – is a greater danger than Afghanistan.”

And all of this includes Russia.  Despite Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov playing nice last weekend, and an apparent plea from Mr. Obama for Russian help with the Iran problem, it is by no means certain that Russia will be helpful.

Russia cut off heating oil to Europe this winter over a dispute with Ukraine and Vladimir Putin threatened another cut-off just last week.  Just last summer saw Russian tanks and troops in South Ossetia and Georgia — just as Georgia was making noise about joining NATO.

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Time is runing out on Obama’s “Honeymoon,” and the economy is no longer the only entre on the plate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapal, Virginia

Related:
North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Pakistan: The Greatest Threat
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl
d/asia/pakistan-the-greatest-threat-16397
79.html

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Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
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Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
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Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance
Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

homewhiteningcare.org/

Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display ... 
Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display in Tehran. The Fars news agency says Iran has “successfully” tested a new air-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometres (68 miles).(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted

March 5, 2009

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

Russia has been jerking around all of Europe, showing who is boss of the gas and winter heating fuel for NATO which inludes the U.S.

Russia has even managed to withstand a threatened NATO boycott of ties as a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Georgia and South Ossetia last summer.  Today NATO members scrapped their threatened cut off of Russian ties just as Russia threatened to again stop the flow of Russian oil to Europe.

And the New York Times and other media reported that President Obama sent Russian President Medvedev a letter which may have offered to scrap U.S. missile defense plans in Europe in exchange, some believe, for Russian help in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Russian leaders are certain to be gloating at the pliability of the Obama Administration and the West.

Despite Joe Biden’s warning last October, the international “testing” of Obama is ongoing — just not as obviously and  publically as Russia tested JFK during the Cuban missile crisis.

It seems that Russian leaders may have matured and become more subtle since the 1960s.  U.S. leaders have not….

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europ
e/03/05/russia.ukraine.gas/index.html

Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

March 5, 2009

Russia got another clear signal today to verify its belief that American and the west are weak: NATO decided to renew ties with Russia despite that nation’s summer attack on Georgia and today’s announcement that Russia may again cut off gas supplies to Europe.  Russian power, it seems, is alive and well.

Related:
 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

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By Sue Pleming and Ingrid Melander, Reuters

NATO foreign ministers agreed Thursday to resume high-level formal ties with Russia, suspended last year after Moscow‘s military thrust into Georgia.

Russia immediately welcomed the move. “This decision is a step in the right direction,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced the decision after Lithuania dropped its objections to work resuming within the NATO-Russia Council, the body that directs cooperation between the two sides on security issues.

“The ministers reached agreement to formally resume the NATO-Russia Council including at ministerial level … as soon as possible after the NATO April summit,” said de Hoop Scheffer.”

“Russia is a global player. Not talking to them is not an option,” he added.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090305/
pl_nm/us_nato_russia_5

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

March 5, 2009

Prseident Obama and the United States are seen by Russia as “weak” and “naive” according to former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

That Russia view of “weakness” extends even beyond the U.S. and includes a view that Europe and Isreal are weak and easily pushed toward achieving Russian goals — without a fight.

Related:
Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

Bolton said on the Fox News Channel on Thursday (March 4), “The Russia perception of total weakness in the West seems comical to us but is a real thought in Russia with hidden dangers.”

Bolton was responding to news stories that a Russian foreign ministry “expert” predicts that the U.S. will beak up and fragnment into several independent states.

Related:
America: You Are Disintegrating, Russian Claims (California Joins China….)

On missile defense Bolton says “Russia is probing to see how the U.S. reacts” to ideas to end American missile defense efforts in Europe and elsewhere.  He called President Obama’s recent letter to Russian president Medvedev an “incredibly foolish thing to do” and a “strange was to conduct game changing diplomacy.

News reports say the Obama letter to Medvedev linked the end of the U.S. mssile defense effort in Poland and the Czech Republic to Russian efforts to end Iran’s nuclear program.

“The Obama Administration has a dangerouse naivete when it speaks about resetting the relationship with Russia,” Bolton said.

Israel says that Iran’s nuclear program poses an “existential threat to Israel.”  I wonder how Israelis feel about having their lives in the hands of Mr. Putin and Medvedev along with President Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Obama…..

Meanwhile Russia continues to bully Europe.

CNN reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine on Saturday if Ukraine fails to pay for its gas deliveries by then.

This will re-start a Russian gas cut off from earlier this winter.

The Putin/Medvedev team also orchestrated last summer’s military raid into South Ossetia and Georgia — an icursion widely believed in Moscow met only bu Western weakness.

Related from CNN:

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/eur
ope/03/05/russia.ukraine.gas/index.html

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Obama’s letter, delivered to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in mid-February, “covered a number of topics” of mutual interest to the two countries, “including the issue of missile defense and how it relates to the Iranian threat,” a senior administration official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter.

Report on the Obama letter to Medvedev:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2009/03/03/AR2009030300028.html?wprss
=rss_nation/nationalsecurity

Related:
Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia says it is ready for more arms cuts

February 7, 2009

Russia is ready for more nuclear weapons cuts and welcomes President Barack Obama‘s push for talks on an arms reduction treaty, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks broadcast Saturday.

Russia is believed to have fewer warheads than the U.S. and has indicated it wants a binding deal on further reductions, but Lavrov’s remarks were the clearest statement in the issue since Obama took office last month.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, has called on the Obama administration to abandon policies set by his predecessor George W. Bush, including plans for a missile shield based in former Soviet satellite states and the expansion of NATO into Georgia and Ukraine. Lavrov said Russia had long pressed the Bush administration in vain for a clear response to proposals for replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, when it expires in December.

By STEVE GUTTERMAN, Associated Press Writer

On Thursday, a spokesman for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a replacement treaty for START would be put on a fast track, and that the Obama administration was committed to cuts but had not decided how deep.

“We are ready to go further on the path of reductions and limitations,” Lavrov said, adding only the caveat that Russia’s overarching goal is to ensure its security.

START limited the United States and Russia to 6,000 nuclear warheads each. In 2002, Bush and Vladimir Putin, then president of Russia, agreed on a treaty that set a target of 1,700 to 2,000 deployed strategic warheads on each side by 2012.

Lavrov made no mention of specific numbers in the brief remarks. Asked about media reports claiming a reduction of up to 80 percent could be in the works, he said he had not heard them and that nothing had been confirmed officially.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090207/ap_o
n_re_eu/eu_russia_us_nuclear_arms_2

Ukraine proclaims victory after Russia gas war

January 21, 2009

Ukraine’s prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Wednesday proclaimed her country the winner in the latest natural gas dispute with Russia, even though higher gas prices are going to badly hurt the Ukrainian economy.

Tymoshenko told a Cabinet session that Ukraine has won “great conditions” under a gas deal that ended Russia’s two-week natural gas cutoff to European countries.

Associated Press

An employee at the Orlovka gas-compressor station near the Ukrainian-Romanian ... 
An employee at the Orlovka gas-compressor station near the Ukrainian-Romanian border, January 14. Russian gas deliveries reached four more central European countries along with Turkey on Wednesday following settlement of a Russia-Ukraine price and payment dispute, officials said.(AFP/File/Sergei Supinsky)

Monday’s deal doubled the price Ukraine has to pay for Russian gas in the first quarter of 2009. Gas prices are expected to fall later this year, but Ukraine is still expected to pay significantly more this year for Russian gas than it did in 2008.

As part of the deal, the fee Russia pays Ukraine for delivering gas via its pipelines remains unchanged in 2009.

The agreement was hailed by the European Union, but ran into criticism at home.

Ukraine was struggling to pay for Russian gas even at last year’s lower price as it faced a currency collapse, falling exports and a shaken banking sector.

Tymoshenko’s political rival, President Viktor Yushchenko, has assailed the deal, saying the price was too high and will cripple the country’s key metals and chemical industries. Yushchenko’s office said, however, that Ukraine is not seeking to reconsider the deal.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090121/ap_on_b
i_ge/eu_ukraine_russia_gas_291

Russia and Ukraine Reach Deal on Gas, Europe Sceptical

January 19, 2009

The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed Sunday to resolve their gas dispute, with an understanding that prices would be pegged to the price of oil, but with a discount for 2009 that means Ukraine could pay little more than it did last year.

By Andrew Kramer
The New York Times

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and his Ukrainian ... 
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko meet for talks in Moscow early January 18, 2009.(Alexander Prokopenko/Pool/Reuters)
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The deal, expected to be signed Monday, came after a din of criticism from officials in Europe, where more than 20 countries have been affected since a Jan. 6 cutoff of natural gas and at least 12 people have frozen to death in a dispute that is ostensibly over prices and transit fees, but that is also deeply entwined in post-Soviet politics.

If the agreement holds — and previous deals have not — the gas dispute would essentially end where it started in terms of prices, in what would be a baffling result considering the hardship caused by the embargo. It was unclear after the announcement when gas would start flowing back to Europe.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/w
orld/europe/19gazprom.html?em

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Europe Not Sure if Russian – Ukraine Gas Agreement Can Be Trusted

MOSCOW, (AFP) – Russia and Ukraine were set to finalise a deal on Monday to get natural gas flowing again, but the European Union remained sceptical about an imminent end to its worst-ever gas crisis.

Millions of Europeans have been left shivering without heat in winter after gas supplies were turned off due to a bitter dispute between the two ex-Soviet neighbours.

The details of an accord reached by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko on Sunday were to be worked out by the two countries’ state gas companies, Gazprom and Naftogaz.

In a joint appearance Sunday to announce their agreement after marathon late-night talks, Putin said gas flows to Europe would resume “shortly” while Tymoshenko said the two companies had until Monday to draw up the agreements.

A spokeswoman for Tymoshenko said she intended to return to Moscow on Monday for the signing ceremony.

The EU cautiously welcomed Sunday’s agreement but said the real test was whether gas would start flowing again.

“We welcome the announcement of a political accord, but we are quite cautious because there have been too many broken accords and promises not kept,” a spokesman for the Czech presidency of the EU said in a statement.

In televised comments, Czech Industry Minister Martin Riman said he was only “slightly optimistic” about the deal.

“If the deliveries don’t resume despite such strong declarations by the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers, there will be a total crash in the confidence of EU consumers, citizens and the enterprise,” he added.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090119/wl_afp/
russiaukraineeuenergygas_20090119073637

Russia, Ukraine reach gas deal; Europe still waits

January 18, 2009

Ukraine is pro-West and pro-U.S.  Russia wants its own Kremlin empire to remain in power.  The victims have been Europeans.  But maybe also Russian credibility….

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Russia and Ukraine announced a deal Sunday to end the bitter dispute that has blocked Russian natural gas from Europe for nearly two weeks and deeply shaken Europeans’ trust in the two as reliable energy suppliers.

The early morning agreement between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko came after intense negotiations.

By LYNN BERRY, Associated Press Writer

Still, relief for millions of frustrated consumers and businesses could be days away. The deal on 2009 gas prices is not likely to be finalized until at least Monday, when Tymoshenko returns to Moscow. If Russia turns on the taps immediately after the signing, it could take another day for the gas to travel hundreds of miles through Ukrainian pipelines to eastern Europe.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, greets Ukrainian ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, greets Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who is in Moscow for talks aimed at restoring Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Yulia Tymoshenko met with Vladimir Putin briefly before they both headed to the Kremlin for a broader conference. Ukrainian, Russian and European officials held talks in Moscow on Saturday in an effort to restore Russian natural gas supplies to Europe after a damaging 11-day halt in deliveries piped across Ukraine.(AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

The European Commission welcomed the announcement cautiously.

“We have seen many false dawns in this dispute, and the test in this case is whether the gas flows to Europe’s consumers,” the commission said.

Russia stopped selling gas to Ukraine for domestic use on Jan. 1 in a dispute over prices. On Jan. 7, Moscow then halted all shipments to Europe via Ukraine, alleging that Ukraine was siphoning off Europe-bound gas. Ukraine disputed this, claiming that Russia was not sending enough “technical gas” to push the rest further west.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090118/a
p_on_re_eu/eu_ukraine_russia_gas

‘Last chance’ gas talks in Moscow

January 17, 2009

The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine are to meet in Moscow in an effort to end the dispute disrupting supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

However, there are sharp divisions within Ukraine over whether to link transit supplies to supplies for Ukraine itself at the negotiations.

The EU has urged Russia and Ukraine to prove they are “credible” partners and said it was their “last chance”.

BBC

A bid to hold a Moscow gas summit on the same day appears to be floundering.

Some central and east European states have been reduced to rationing gas.

Others have been seeking alternatives to the pipelines carrying Russian gas via Ukraine.

Russia ceased supplies of gas to Ukraine on 1 January after talks on the price Kiev should pay in 2009 collapsed.

On 7 January, it stopped deliveries to Europe via Ukraine, saying it was forced to do so because Kiev was stealing the gas.

Ukrainian officials deny the allegation and accuse Russia of provoking the crisis.

Almost 20 countries in Europe have been affected by what is the worst energy crisis the EU has ever faced, the BBC’s Richard Galpin reports from Moscow.

Rival positions

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, fresh from a visit to Germany, one of Moscow’s biggest gas clients, is due to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, on Saturday afternoon.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7834796.stm