Ukraine asks for UN peacekeepers in eastern provinces

posted at 12:41 pm on April 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Call this a carrot and stick approach, but Ukraine’s problem is that neither the carrot nor the stick will mean much. Ukraine president Oleksander Turchinov threatened military action against pro-Russian forces holding government buildings in the east, while at the same time proposing a referendum to expand federalism to provide more local autonomy. Turchinov also appealed to the UN to send peacekeeping troops as a buffer against a Russian invasion, which Turchinov argued to Ban Ki-moon had already taken place with the seizures of the government buildings:

With pro-Russian militants attacking more buildings in eastern Ukraine Monday and ignoring a government deadline to disperse, Ukraine’s acting president said he would welcome United Nations peacekeepers to help establish order by conducting a “joint counterterrorist operation” with Ukrainian forces.

statement posted on his official Web site said President Oleksandr Turchynov raised the matter in a telephone call with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accusing Russia of sending “special units” to eastern Ukraine to “conduct armed seizure of the administrative buildings and threaten lives of hundreds of thousands of our citizens.” He said Russia was repeating the scenario of its takeover of Crimea least month, but he noted that the situation in eastern Ukraine is different “because the majority of people do not want to support separatists.”

Vowing to “fight back [against] terrorism and Russian aggression,” Turchynov raised the prospect of conducting a “joint operation with the U.N. peacekeeping forces” so that the world could “witness the legality” of Ukrainian forces’ actions.

“We do not object and even welcome holding of joint counterterrorist operation in the East,” Turchynov said, according to the statement. It said Ban pledged to “do everything I can for the situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible.”

Russia earlier warned Ukraine that any military action against the seizure of these buildings would be “criminal,” which is why Turchinov offered to have UN observers/peacekeepers on hand.  Of course, Russia would have to approve or abstain in that proposal, and they’re not going to do either. Turchinov knows that, but perhaps he just wants to challenge Moscow’s public stance of just wanting to seek peace in Ukraine.

Turchinov also proposed a peaceful way out of the current crisis by adding a referendum to elections scheduled for next month on an expansion of autonomy. This has about the same chance of ending the crisis as the introduction of UN peacekeepers:

A day after threatening a full-scale military operation to drive pro-Russian militants out of a string of eastern Ukrainian cities, the country’s acting president offered an apparent olive branch Monday, saying he wasn’t opposed to a countrywide referendum on possibly granting regions greater autonomy.

The move appears to signal increasing desperation from Kiev, highlighting it has few options for a real response as opponents take over further territory.

A referendum on greater independence from the central government in Kiev has been a key demand made by the militias that have commandeered government buildings in the east. Russia has also repeatedly called for Ukraine to change its constitution and switch to a federalized system that would grant greater independence to regions, particularly in the east, which are more heavily ethnic Russian and more closely tied to Moscow economically.

The military option remains on the table, Turchinov warned, but that also seems less likely as the deadlines pass:

Kyiv has grown increasingly desperate for Western support, but the Wall Street Journal reports that they’ll be disappointed — and in fact already are, as the West has mostly offered lip service on their behalf:

Russian intelligence and special forces on Saturday directed local crime bosses and thugs in coordinated attacks on police stations and other government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. These men were dressed and equipped like the elite Russian special forces (“little green men,” as Ukrainians called them) who took Crimea. Ukrainian participants got the equivalent of $500 to storm and $40 to occupy buildings, according to journalists who spoke to them. Fighting broke out on Sunday in Slovyansk, a sleepy town in the working-class Donbas region that hadn’t seen any “pro-Russia” protests. A Ukrainian security officer was killed.

Kiev is on a war footing. Radio commercials ask for donations to the defense budget by mobile-telephone texts. The government’s decision to cede Crimea without firing a shot cost the defense minister his job and wasn’t popular. Western praise for Ukrainians’ “restraint” got them nothing. The fight for Ukraine’s east will be different.

This invasion was stealthy enough to let Brussels and Washington not use the i-word in their toothless statements. The EU’s high representative, Catherine Ashton, called herself “gravely concerned” and commended Ukraine’s “measured response.” There was no mention of sanctions or blame. The U.S. State Department on Saturday said that John Kerry warned his diplomatic counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that “if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences.”

By now, the Ukrainians ought to have seen enough to know that they’re on their own. Moscow has reached the same conclusion. These perceptions of the West are shaping events.

A month ago, the EU sanctioned 21 marginal Russian officials and quickly tried to get back to business as usual. On Friday, the U.S. added to its sanctions list seven Russian citizens and one company, all in Crimea. What a relief for Moscow’s elites, who were speculating in recent days about who might end up on the list. Slovyansk fell the next day.

The sanctions situation may change soon, Josh Rogin reports:

The Obama administration is moving quickly to levy new sanctions against Russia, hoping to stop what the U.S. government now sees as a Crimea-style incursion by unmarked Russian troops in several cities in Eastern Ukraine. But so far, America and its European allies can’t agree on how to hit the Vladimir Putin regime for its latest move onto Ukrainian territory, senior Obama administration officials tell The Daily Beast. …

Behind the scenes, there’s shock and alarm inside the Obama administration about the recent actions by Russian forces. A senior administration official told The Daily Beast Sunday that the thinking inside the administration had been to wait until this Thursday before moving forward with any new sanctions. That’s the day U.S., EU, Russian, and Ukrainian governments are scheduled to meet in Geneva.

But given the new violence, the Obama administration has now moved to ready sanctions as early as Tuesday, the official said, cautioning that no final decision has been made. State Department, White House, and Treasury Department officials have been reaching out to their European counterparts over the weekend to persuade them to join a new sanctions regime. The E.U. Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels Monday.

The Obama administration is reevaluating the situation on daily basis, revising their previous assumption that Russia would not interfere so blatantly in Eastern Ukraine ahead of the upcoming diplomatic conference.

“People were very alarmed,” the official said, noting that “the people who study Russia weren’t as surprised.”

Russia may have already responded. Earlier today, a Russian fighter jet buzzed an American warship in the Black Sea:

A U.S. military official says a Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region.

The official says the fighter flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level, saying this prompted ship commanders to issue several radio warnings. The fighter appeared to be unarmed and the passes ended without incident.

It doesn’t look like a few UN peacekeepers and a referendum will keep Russia out of eastern Ukraine. If sanctions are the only message the West can send, it had better start amplifying those, and fast.


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Fore…

d1carter on April 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Very telling

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

We’re finding out that Ukraine is a poor excuse for a sovereign nation, aren’t we?

Akzed on April 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

LilliPutin has figured out the lilliputian in the WH.

He’d already been very familiar with the lilliputians in Europe and at the UN.

Putin knows that the West is hypocritical and has NO more moral authority. Putin knows that the West is devoid of any principles.

It’s entirely possible that obama called off the NV rancher incident to prevent Putin from saying “See, there is more freedom for the Russian people than for the American ones”.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Y’all remember that political ad with Ob00ba holding a telephone receiver upside down? Looks like that was a true picture of our reality. God help us all.

HomeoftheBrave on April 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

RT covered the NV freedom standoff more and in greater detail, with more freedom-action than any US establishment, for tons of shame.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Putin knows that Carney loves Russia.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Putin to Carney: Спасибо товарищ

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Beat the Drums, beat the drums…

Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Reagan’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Putin by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

oscarwilde on April 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

The official says the fighter flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level, saying this prompted ship commanders to issue several radio warnings.

Strong memo to follow….

IndieDogg on April 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

They need UN troops because their own soldiers and police units won’t obey the orders given.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Top Gun was a great movie.

antisense on April 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The U.S. State Department on Saturday said that John Kerry warned his diplomatic counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that “if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences.”

I wonder how long it took Lavrov to finish laughing.

Bitter Clinger on April 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

It doesn’t look like a few UN peacekeepers and a referendum will keep Russia out of eastern Ukraine.

Separate referendums in each region might. A single referendum across the entire country is a joke- it would be like the entire UK voting on Scottish independence instead of just Scotland. Obviously in a national referendum the Ukrainian majority will outvote the Russian minority.

Jon0815 on April 14, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Strong memo to follow….

IndieDogg on April 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Maybe we can have our commanders angrily shake their fists at the sky next time they fly over. That’ll show them!

nextgen_repub on April 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The Ukraine is toast. Next up: Moldova and the Baltics.

vnvet on April 14, 2014 at 1:03 PM

The fighter appeared to be unarmed and the passes ended without incident.

this time….

ted c on April 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

UN Peacekeepers are useless.

The Ukraine would be better off requesting a litter of new born kittens to help keep the peace. At least they’re cute and likeable which is a lot more than you can say about the UN.

BMF on April 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is receiving pleas for help from Ukrainians as a result of the events unfolding in the eastern part of the country, his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told the media in Moscow.

“He is getting a lot of appeals addressed personally to him, asking him to intervene in one way or another. He is monitoring the situation in Ukraine with great concern,” Peskov said.

Looks like they are setting the stage for military action.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Russia may have already responded. Earlier today, a Russian fighter jet buzzed an American warship in the Black Sea

“This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it!”
-Admiral Josh Painter

JusDreamin on April 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Why doesn’t the US or NATO give some tanks and planes to the Ukraine government in Kiev, and let the Ukrainians fight the Russians? After all, we’ve already sold them to Egypt, and some of them were used by the Muslim Brotherhood. Putin might think twice about invading Ukraine if he was faced with American weapons, with Ukrainians firing them.

Steve Z on April 14, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Let operation ‘Fly Swatter’ commence…

Ricard on April 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Why doesn’t the US or NATO give some tanks and planes to the Ukraine government in Kiev, and let the Ukrainians fight the Russians?

They have tanks and planes.

They don’t maintain them, and the soldiers don’t want to fight.

Putin might think twice about invading Ukraine if he was faced with American weapons, with Ukrainians firing them.

Steve Z on April 14, 2014 at 1:24 PM

The Ukrainian army has shown no inclination to want a showdown with Russia.

A lack of weapons isn’t the problem.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Are we at “Strongly Worded Letter” threat level?
or
Are we at “Extremely Disappointed” threat level?
or
Are we at “Serious Consequences” threat level?
or
Are we at “The International Community Will Not Stand For” threat level?
or
Are we at “We Will Not Accept” threat level?

Then Comes Obama and the west’s capitulation. Like I have said before, everyone that can has to get the hell out of any of the Warsaw Pact countries and fast.

jukin3 on April 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that CIA Director John Brennan visited Ukrainian capital Kiev over the weekend and met with high-ranked Ukrainian officials.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Maybe King Barack can placate the Russians by giving them something. You know, prove he’s “flexible”.

GarandFan on April 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Since the Russians have escalated what what they are doing, proportional escalation on our side is warranted. Perhaps we can persuade the Coca Cola company to donate some sodas to the Ukrainians to go with the MRE’s the government gave them. (Well it beats threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue or just yelling “Racist” or something.)

KW64 on April 14, 2014 at 2:43 PM

The only people terrified of UN troops are the local women.

Note he didn’t ask for NATO’s help, or try to form an ad hoc coalition of nations.

TexasDan on April 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM

The only response that makes sense if for the US to occupy Cuba.

HICON on April 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Ukrainian army tank being stopped by locals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-KuNWM9Zqk

This is why the Ukrainian security and military offensives go nowhere.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Ed, hate to break it to you and all the others who seemingly refuse to follow the real news from Ukraine, but as of today Kiev sent troops, second tranche really, to the East. Pretty much declaring Civil War as officially opened.

It wasn’t enough that Kiev hired Right Sektor Nazis as “National Guard” last week, this after declaring them persona non grata and killing their most visible military leader, Muzychko, just 3 weeks ago. They are “needed” by Kiev now and have been sent, a batallion strong 350, to the East, to deal with the people daring to choose their own destiny. And never you mind that Kolomojsky, an oligarch, has declared he is now forming his own military force t deal with those same pesky freedom seekers. Today Yulia Timoshenko, she of the “I am dying in weeks, you must let me leave prison” fame, has today announced her own military force to be formed by and paid for by her political party. So, officially, Ukraine has found a time machine, indeed, to transport itself about a millennia back to the time of fiefdoms, you have your army and I will raise you one.

All the while asking NATO to send in troops. Just what kind of a leader asks foreign entity to invade his country and kill his citizens? And why is it that Maidan’s JUNTA, they of military coup paid for and organized by CIA (see Brennan’s visit to Kiev just 3 days ago), all of a sudden value their lives while asking foreigners to give up theirs?

I see Russian “Tank Tour Vacations through EU” in the near future if this idiocy keeps on expanding. We should pull out CIA, stop supporting the Nazis in L’vov (sadly, the city of my birth) and let Ukraine deal with its own issues internally. Its not too late judging by the latest I read in local press there, all Kiev has to do is have ELECTIONS and allow people to vote for federalism. After all, if Kiev is so adamant that they are the people’s choice, let them prove it in election. Both times the MINORITY in Ukraine came to power was not through elections, but through coups.

As of today, as predicted back in early March, Kiev has stated that elections have to be moved to the end of the year. They cannot have elections since elections there ALWAYS favor Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine.

And once ethnic Russians are kiled by any of the “new military forces”, be it some remnants of Ukrainian army, or some law enforcement teams somehow still on the side of Kiev, or Nazi Party “National Guard”, of Kolomojsky’s military force, or one of Timoshenko, expect the place to be invaded and overrun by Russians. Its no longer a question of IF, its a question of WHEN.

And our own CIA has started all of this. And are still dead center of it.

riddick on April 14, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Tsarev beaten by “The right sector” will refuse to run for president Ukraine

The Presidential candidate of Ukraine Oleg Tsarev will withdraw the candidacy in favor of other candidate…

Smell that democratic spirit.

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Since the Russians have escalated what what they are doing…

KW64 on April 14, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Interesting take on “escalation”.

So, CIA training and funding Right Sektor Nazi radicals at our Embassy in Kiev on how to take down a government since December was not an escalation. Military coup that follows was not one, either. McCain, appearing on Maidan not once, but twice, to agitate for the military coup and then handing the Nazis another chunk of money, this time only $20 Million of our taxes, was in no way an escalation, never mind paying for having an organized mob of 40,000, a version of our own OWS, to live on Maidan and in Kiev for 4 months to the tune of who knows how many $$$ HUNDREDS of MILLIONS was in no way an escalation.

But even that was not enough (can you imagine Chavez paying OWS and training it to take over D.C. and then making personal appearances to agitate them for military coup?)

We then decided that things are way too quiet. So let’s add an extra dozen jets to bases in Poland and Romania. Then, as if that was not enough, we sent 6 more to a base in Baltic region. And seeing that even this was not enough we are now sending 1500 Marines to a Black Sea base in Romania. But I guess that’s not enough, still. No, Sir! We then send, not one, not two, but 3 Navy ships to Black Sea, along with a French one for good measure.

But, no, this is not an escalation of any sort. Its those evil Russians, having military WITHIN ITS OWN BORDERS, who are escalating. NATO even has proof of that.

Tank Tour Vacations through EU are coming up! This time all the way to Brest, France, no need to build a wall then.

Good ol’ CIA at its best! No wonder Hussein said he will be “more flexible” next time.

What news do you guys follow? CNN and MSLSD must not be doing that badly, it seems, when so many buy their leftist propaganda and rewritten history and carry their water.

Now that we covered “escalation”, make sure to look up difference between ACTION and REACTION. All actions have consequences.

riddick on April 14, 2014 at 10:23 PM

riddick on April 14, 2014 at 10:23 PM

Can you read Russian?

http://russian.rt.com/article/27711

Does this say that the 25th Ukrainian Airborne has defected to the rebels, or that they have said they are neutral?

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Is this for real?

Reports of a firefight outside Slaviansk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fiqXwYPgBw#t=34

On the outskirts Sloviansk ( Donetsk region). Going battle in the direction of moving armored vehicles , says a representative of the so-called ” urban self-defense forces .”

” By coming to us information on the edge of battle began , heard gunshots and explosions. According to our activists in the direction of moving armored vehicles ,” – said to “Interfax” on Tuesday, ” coordinator ” these forces Nikolai , who asked his last name .

sharrukin on April 14, 2014 at 10:50 PM