Five dead in Ukraine clashes as Obama warns on sanctions

posted at 8:01 am on April 24, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Clashes intensified yesterday as Ukraine’s interim government began to assert itself with so-called “pro-Russian separatists” in its eastern provinces. Yesterday, Ukraine claimed that it had received support from the US to act, and attempted to dismantle roadblocks in Slavyansk. Five people died in the violence that followed, and all sides are accusing the others of responsibility:

Ukraine’s military launched assaults to retake rebel-held eastern towns on Thursday in which up to five people were reported killed, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin warned would have “consequences”. …

In Slavyansk, a flashpoint east Ukrainian town held by rebels since mid-April, armoured military vehicles drove past an abandoned roadblock in flames to take up position, AFP reporters saw.

Shots were heard as a helicopter flew overhead, and the pro-Kremlin rebels ordered all civilians out of the town hall to take up defensive positions inside.

“During the clashes, up to five terrorists were eliminated,” and three checkpoints destroyed, the interior ministry said in a statement. Regional medical authorities confirmed one death and one person wounded.

Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian special forces seized back control of the town hall in the southeastern port city of Mariupol with no casualties, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. Separatist sources confirmed the loss of the building in the port city, whose population is 500,000.

That may prompt a response from Russia. Yesterday, Sergei Lavrov warned that Ukraine could expect the same treatment Georgia got in 2008 if it attacked ethnic Russians, a threat that the interim government in Kyiv certainly has had in mind since coming to power. Later, he made the threat even more explicit:

Lavrov didn’t say on Wednesday that any military intervention was imminent, but he didn’t rule it out, either.

“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” he said.

The US didn’t remain silent, either. Earlier today, from his tour of Asia, Barack Obama warned Russia that more sanctions will be coming. However, coming in nearly the same breath as his claim of victory on Syrian chemical weapons, it might be a little difficult for Vladimir Putin to take it too seriously:

If the sanctions talk doesn’t phase Putin, then another Obama move may. State-owned propaganda channel RT took a good, long look at the arrival of American troops in Poland in the last 24 hours — with more coming to the Baltic states that border Russia:

The first American troops arrived in Poland on Wednesday, after Washington said it was sending a force of 600 there and to the Baltic states amid rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Some 130 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade — nicknamed “Sky Soldiers” — touched down early afternoon in Swidwin, in the northwest of the country, and were welcomed by Poland’s defence minister.

“Every day we work on the defence of our country but in a world that is changing, and that is full of threats, we need strong and steadfast allies such as the United States and NATO,” Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said under a cloudy sky.

The troops, who are usually based in Vicenza, Italy, arrived at the base on two Hercules transport planes.

A further 450 US troops will be deployed in the next few days in the ex-Soviet Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, following Washington’s announcement Tuesday that it would increase its presence in the region to reassure its NATO “allies and partners”.

NATO apparently needs plenty of reassurance:

Today’s NATO, hollowed out by years of European military cuts and deployed mostly to help fight far-off battles in places like Afghanistan and Libya, is no longer as prepared to counter a newly assertive Kremlin, its own leaders acknowledge.

Western European members of NATO may regard the conflict over Ukraine as remote, an annoying threat to their business ties to Moscow, said Artis Pabriks, who was Latvia’s defense minister until he stepped down in late January. “But for us, it’s not about money, it’s existential,” he said. “You guys may remain with your freedoms, but we may not, so it’s different.”

NATO itself is awakening to the altered circumstances. Ukraine, said Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Mueller, who commands NATO’s fleet of 17 surveillance planes, “made us re-emphasize the mission we were built for.”

“We’re augmenting NATO defenses inside NATO,” he added. “We’d gotten away from that a bit with Afghanistan and Libya.”

But it will take more than a change of emphasis to re-energize a military alliance that has badly eroded since 1989. The United States is responsible for 75 percent of NATO military spending, and only a handful of European countries meet the alliance’s target of having military budgets of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

Putin has made NATO relevant again, a development he may end up regretting. The costs of this adventure are escalating for Putin, even if only incrementally. The question will be whether he takes the West seriously enough to stop before he sends troops over the Ukrainian border, or possibly that he takes the West so seriously that he feels he has no other choice but to grab eastern Ukraine.


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The Tinder-Box is getting tindery sumpins!!

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

The question will be whether he takes the West seriously enough to stop before he sends troops over the Ukrainian border, or possibly that he takes the West so seriously that he feels he has no other choice but to grab eastern Ukraine.

As I posted on the other thread- What’s the point of grabbing Crimea if you have to take a boat to get there from Mother Russia?
The “Under New Management” signs are already up in the Eastern provinces.

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

NATOSource ‏@NATOSource 6m

Putin on Ukraine military fighting separatists: “very serious crime… that will without question have consequences” http://news.sky.com/story/1248506/putin-ukraine-crime-will-have-consequences

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1h
Russian President Vladimir Putin criticizes Kiev over Ukraine crisis, says there will be consequences if it uses army against people – @Reuters, @bishopk

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
2h
Contingent of 150 US troops land in Poland for exercises, 450 more to follow in coming days – @BBCNews
read more on http://www.bbc.com

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/ukraine-protests-over-eu-agreement-delay/

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Hopey,…is on the Russian Green:

AP Politics ‏@AP_Politics 5h

Obama warns Russia more sanctions are ‘teed up’ but admits they may not stop Putin, @JPaceDC reports. http://apne.ws/1tFtP7J

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/obama-russia-more-sanctions-are-teed

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Putin has made NATO relevant again, a development he may end up regretting. The costs of this adventure are escalating for Putin, even if only incrementally.

I don’t really think so. For NATO to be relevant again, the Europeans would have to increase their military spending, and it’s clear most of them are afraid of Putin and would just prefer to submit. There would be no resistance at all to the invasion of Ukraine if the US wasn’t sluggishly prodding them.

The real question is will Obama commit troops to fire in defense of Poland, Ukraine, or the Baltic States? I remain highly dubious in spite of these 600 men that were sent out. Putin clearly has a free hand to do whatever he likes with everything east of Germany.

Doomberg on April 24, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Retweeted by NATOSource
Bosphorus Naval News ‏@Saturn5_ 12m

USS Donald Cook passed through Bosphors this morning. USS Taylor is sole US ship in the Black Sea. Photo: @YorukIsik pic.twitter.com/pCebd4RfBt

https://twitter.com/Saturn5_/status/459302467478384640/photo/1/large

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Retweeted by TDF
GrahamWPhillips ‏@GrahamWP_UK 5m

Mass shop closures in #Sloviansk and a chilling word from the street here ‘the war has started’.

https://twitter.com/TheDailyFreedom

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:22 AM

The latest on Simon Osrovsky who had been doing those great reports form Ukraine. Pro-Russian goons took him. Hopefully he’s unharmed.

forest on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Sanctions sound weak to me at this point….who knows

That mussle defense shield sounds good right about now

Crickets from the lsm on that issue

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Well,..besides sending in F-18′s,…..

Retweeted by NATOSource
Canada at NATO ‏@CanadaNATO 1h

Canada to send 500 observers to monitor #Ukraine’s elections. Learn more about Canada’s response to #Ukraine crisis: http://bit.ly/1lHXFYb

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Missile

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

That mussle defense shield sounds good right about now

Crickets from the lsm on that issue

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

cmsinaz: Poland has said,…the first and cheapest,…gits it??:0
=================================================================

Poland to Accelerate Selection of Antimissile System, Given Ukraine Events
Mar 21 2014
************

Poland on Thursday said it would speed up the process for choosing a national antimissile system amid worries about Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The decision to drastically shorten the time table for selecting a contractor bid reflects Polish government concerns that Russia could follow its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea with actions against other former Soviet satellite states, Reuters reported.

“The issues related with Poland’s air defense will be accelerated,” Defense Ministry spokesman Jacek Sonta said. “Poland plans to choose the best offer for its missile defense in the next few weeks.”

The government wants to finalize a contract for the acquisition of the missile defense system in 2014, he said.

Warsaw had previously intended to cull the number of contractor proposals by early summer. There are competing bids from four different entities: the Israeli government; a Lockheed Martin-led consortium that produces the Medium Extended Air Defense System; the U.S. company Raytheon; and a consortium of France’s Thales, the European firm MBDA and a Polish state defense group.

The contract is worth approximately $5 billion, according to the MEADS consortium. However, analysts estimate the entire cost of providing Poland an air- and missile-defense capability could be as much as $13.1 billion, when maintenance expenses are factored in.

Poland wants its missile shield operational before the end of 2022. The initial phase would consist of eight groupings of medium-range missile interceptors.
(More….)
============

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/poland-accelerates-plans-select-antimissile-system-response-ukraine-events/

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:29 AM

“ding ..ding..”

Goes the handlebar bell….

Electrongod on April 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Thanks Canopfor…..

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Retweeted by NATOSource
toomas hendrik ilves ‏@IlvesToomas 16h

Russia Warns Ukraine of Potential Military Response http://nyti.ms/1fp0R2K
View summary
============

Russia Warns Ukraine of Potential Military Response

By NEIL MacFARQUHARAPRIL 23, 2014
*********************************

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/world/europe/ukraine-russia.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

600 light infantry troops.Will they have armor,air support,and artillery?

docflash on April 24, 2014 at 8:34 AM

I don’t think the movement of troops into Poland will do anything to curtail Putin’s actions in The Ukraine. All that does is protect against further action elsewhere, which, to tell the truth, Russia would not do for quite a spell anyway. I doubt Russia would even bother meeting the arrival of US troops with an increased troop level of their own on the Polish border.

What might catch their attention is if the Former eastern bloc countries and some others in the West started increasing defense budgets and troop levels and reserves.

What would get Putin’s attention is if Obama went to Poland after his Asia trip and signed a couple of deals — one an energy deal to deliver natural gas and a deal to put that anti-missile defense system back on track and on a fast track to boot.

Dusty on April 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM

The latest on Simon Osrovsky who had been doing those great reports form Ukraine. Pro-Russian goons took him. Hopefully he’s unharmed.

forest on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

More than a few reporters have gone missing. First rule of waging war is controlling the communications. Or put another way, when the number of pro-Kremlin supporters outnumbers the local population, well that’s a problem for Russia who claims that all opposition to Kiev is organic.

But hey! Let’s focus on something important….. Obama had very expensive sushi and rubbed elbows with a Kennedy!

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Thanks Canopfor…..

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

cmsinaz: Poland must have figured out,..that Hopey tossed them
in the forest,…er,..my BAD,..under the bus!:)

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Crickets from the lsm on that issue

cmsinaz on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Hey cmsinaz! The 1980s called- they want their SDI back! ;0

The lsm is quiet on this because one of the first things the rat-eared wonder did was scrap the missile defense shield. It was a keystone in the supersmart post-Bush administration. And it is looking more and more like the stupid move that a lot of us thought it was at the time.

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 8:40 AM

For NATO to be relevant again, the Europeans would have to increase their military spending, and it’s clear most of them are afraid of Putin and would just prefer to submit. There would be no resistance at all to the invasion of Ukraine if the US wasn’t sluggishly prodding them.

The real question is will Obama commit troops to fire in defense of Poland, Ukraine, or the Baltic States? I remain highly dubious in spite of these 600 men that were sent out. Putin clearly has a free hand to do whatever he likes with everything east of Germany.

Doomberg on April 24, 2014 at 8:20 AM

I agree. Nato’s last hurrah may have been doing whatever it thought it was doing in Libya. Europe isn’t going to increase military spending and it needs Russian fuel.

Will Obama defend Poland? I don’t think it will come to that in Obama’s term. The bear can wait at the door for Hillary (or whomever) to hand over the keys. No use riling up Americans before another election. Let Americans squabble over their narcissistic “rights” to more free stuff. Putin can wait a few years while he helps to elect Obama’s successor and then move in. By then, America will be so broke, they’ll be glad to look the other way.

rhombus on April 24, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Obama would only lift a finger to help them, if only they could vote for his party. So Obama will fiddle while Europe burns.

BigGator5 on April 24, 2014 at 8:41 AM

What might catch their attention is if the Former eastern bloc countries and some others in the West started increasing defense budgets and troop levels and reserves.

What would get Putin’s attention is if Obama went to Poland after his Asia trip and signed a couple of deals — one an energy deal to deliver natural gas and a deal to put that anti-missile defense system back on track and on a fast track to boot.

Dusty on April 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM

For Putin to take US troop levels seriously, there would need to be movement of thousands of men and lots of material into Poland. A few hundred is basically just a token reassurance effort.

The best long term solution is for the former Eastern European satellites to build up their own forces, and seek energy sources that don’t come from Russia like you mentioned. If Eastern Europe is smart, they will build up like Japan is presently doing and assume no help will be coming from the US or Western Europe in the event of a Russian invasion.

Doomberg on April 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Hmmmmm????

NATOSource ‏@NATOSource 7m

The Role of Europe in American Defense Strategy by @JohnRDeni http://warontherocks.com/2014/04/the-role-of-europe-in-american-defense-strategy/ … pic.twitter.com/v4cXmtkCrD
========================================

The Role of Europe in American Defense Strategy
John R. Deni
April 23, 2014 · in Analysis
****************************

http://warontherocks.com/2014/04/the-role-of-europe-in-american-defense-strategy/

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Don’t forget Obama’s War on US Generals

How convenient for him in his flexibility…

Key West Reader on April 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Obama had very expensive sushi and rubbed elbows with a Kennedy!

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM

No expensive desert tortoise on the menu?

Oh…that’s right….

Obama is in Japan…not Las Vegas…

Electrongod on April 24, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Putin has made NATO relevant again, a development he may end up regretting.

As long as King Preezy Choom the Magnificent I occupies the imperial golf cart…I don’t see Putin being too worried about NATO….

workingclass artist on April 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Flexibility….

Electrongod on April 24, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Will Obama defend Poland? I don’t think it will come to that in Obama’s term. The bear can wait at the door for Hillary (or whomever) to hand over the keys. No use riling up Americans before another election. Let Americans squabble over their narcissistic “rights” to more free stuff. Putin can wait a few years while he helps to elect Obama’s successor and then move in. By then, America will be so broke, they’ll be glad to look the other way.

rhombus on April 24, 2014 at 8:41 AM

I think the best time for Putin to attempt to take back the old satellites would be early 2015. That would give him two years until the next US election, and a lame duck Obama. The threat is that the longer he waits, the more time Eastern Europe will have to collectively bulk up their own militaries.

I think there is still some willpower to fight in Eastern Europe, they just don’t have the men and material to do it yet. If Putin is serious about reassembling the old Soviet bloc, the time to do it will be sooner rather than later.

Doomberg on April 24, 2014 at 8:47 AM

173rd Airborne Brigade
**********************

http://www.eur.army.mil/173abct/

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1m
European Union may ban transactions with Crimean financial institutions in response to Russia annexation, document shows – @Reuters
end of alert

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Don’t forget Obama’s War on US Generals

How convenient for him in his flexibility…

Key West Reader on April 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Key West Reader: A good point:0

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM

European Union may ban transactions with Crimean financial institutions in response to Russia annexation, document shows –

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 8:54 AM

From the NYT article earlier in the week, it sounds as if this is a meaningless gesture since there are not all that many financial transactions going on the first place.

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 9:01 AM

I think there is still some willpower to fight in Eastern Europe, they just don’t have the men and material to do it yet. If Putin is serious about reassembling the old Soviet bloc, the time to do it will be sooner rather than later.

Doomberg on April 24, 2014 at 8:47 AM

MREs for them all!

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
5m
Russian defense ministry says Russia was forced to react to ‘Ukraine’s military machine,’ NATO exercises in east Europe – Interfax via @Reuters
end of alert

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Retweeted by NATOSource
Felipe Sahagún ‏@sahagunfelipe Apr 8

Russia’s militarism has caught the alliance with its guard down after years of cuts http://on.ft.com/1oK5TQP vía @FT pic.twitter.com/jT8HL0eNfd

https://twitter.com/sahagunfelipe/status/453649177910579200/photo/1/large

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:07 AM

We have ZERO, ZIP, NADA at stake in the Ukraine. Stepping into the idiocy of Ukraine/Russia is just as stupid as our moronic belief that the Afghan people can be “democratized”.

acetylene420 on April 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Newsflash! President Obama sent Russia a ‘sternly worded’ memo today, threatening more sanctions. Maybe. To show that he was serious, the President BOLDED the wording.

Sources in Russia state that Putin was so affected that he was taken to the hospital for observation. He was short of breath and could not stop laughing.

GarandFan on April 24, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1m
Editor’s note: This video, uploaded to YouTube by RafaVideoart, appears to show Ukrainian forces on the scene of a standoff outside Sloviansk, Ukraine, just a few hours ago. The images in the video match up with confirmed photos taken on the scene. – Aaron
see original on youtube.com
============================

Ukrainian army launches massive attack on blockposts of separatists in Sloviansk – Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLqz1F9PwWE

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
9m
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says Czech and Slovak governments support demand that Russia pull troops from Ukraine’s border – @Reuters
end of alert

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Newsflash! President Obama sent Russia a ‘sternly worded’ memo today, threatening more sanctions. Maybe. To show that he was serious, the President BOLDED the wording.

Sources in Russia state that Putin was so affected that he was taken to the hospital for observation. He was short of breath and could not stop laughing.

GarandFan on April 24, 2014 at 9:22 AM

GarabdFan:Lol,…and Teed Up Too:)

AP Politics ‏@AP_Politics 5h

Obama warns Russia more sanctions are ‘teed up’ but admits they may not stop Putin, @JPaceDC reports. http://apne.ws/1tFtP7J

https://twitter.com/AP_Politics

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Ugh,…thats GarandFan,..not (GarabdFan).

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:38 AM

We have ZERO, ZIP, NADA at stake in the Ukraine. Stepping into the idiocy of Ukraine/Russia is just as stupid as our moronic belief that the Afghan people can be “democratized”.

acetylene420 on April 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Let me guess, you’re a Paulbot. The absurd claim that the United States has “zero, zip, nada” stake in Ukraine is a tell. That you are comparing the situation in Ukraine to Afghanistan is weapons-grade stupid since the two situations are completely different.

First, the United States pledged assistance to Ukraine in exchange for large-scale disarmament. There is a moral obligation to do more than simply throw some MREs over the wall and call it a day. At the very least, the United States should be providing military assistance to Kiev.

Secondly, all those NATO countries that are next in the barrel, the energy supplies to our allies in Western Europe, and regional stability all refute this moronic idea that the United States doesn’t have a stake in Ukraine.

Finally, there appears to be human rights abuses against the Ukrainian people by Russian forces. Are you suggesting that the United States should just ignore what is so clearly going on- as the Russians begin rounding up Jews and otherwise start oppressing certain groups in their occupied territory? The large numbers of reporters that have gone missing? The continued Russian aggression against a soverign nation?

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says Czech and Slovak governments support demand that Russia pull troops from Ukraine’s border

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

You know, it would be really a good idea if those governments could get together to form a larger country or something. Putin ought to look into that. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 9:46 AM

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

You know, it would be really a good idea if those governments could get together to form a larger country or something. Putin ought to look into that. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Happy Nomad: I bet Puty is keeping track,..what Country said what!:)

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Happy Nomad: I bet Puty is keeping track,..what Country said what!:)

canopfor on April 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

LOL! Yeah, Obama isn’t the only world leader with a hit list.

Happy Nomad on April 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Obviously Obama is not interested in assisting Ukraine. He also will not lift a finger to aid the Baltics or Poland. Flexibility on display. Big deal, 150 troops. What a joke.

Banshee Leader on April 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Had John McCain personally bit everyone here to pass his rabid craving for military action? When Ukrainian separatists threw out a legally elected government because it didn’t represent them, we said it’s good. Now, Russian separatists try to throw out a not-so-legally elected government because it doesn’t represent them, and we itch to help fighting them – someone please tell me why!

What’s worse, I am not even sure that Putin, as bad as he is, is any worse than the other side. One of the parties that formed the new Ukrainian government is openly, unabashedly fascist – not Le Pen style radical nationalism, but actually harboring enough Hitlerian nostalgia to use Nazi symbols. WHY ARE WE HELPING THEM – WASN’T THE SYRIAN DEBACLE ENOUGH?

Rix on April 24, 2014 at 11:51 AM

The latest on Simon Osrovsky who had been doing those great reports form Ukraine. Pro-Russian goons took him. Hopefully he’s unharmed.

forest on April 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

I hope this brave man is OK, but I am fearing the worst. He was taken by lowlife Russian goons in the same area where this just happened:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/04/22/Body-of-Ukraine-Politician-Rybak-Found-Tortured-Murdered

Norwegian on April 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

As I posted on the other thread- What’s the point of grabbing Crimea if you have to take a boat to get there from Mother Russia?
The “Under New Management” signs are already up in the Eastern provinces.

Crimea is not adjacent to the three “Eastern provinces.” It can only be reached through Kherson Oblast, one of the least “Russian” provinces in that part of the country. Whether measured by Yanukovych votes, Russian language speaking, or support for making the Russian language official, there are eight oblasts (counting Crimea) more “Russian” than Kherson, so if Russia’s goal were to have a land bridge to Crimea, it’d have to go far, far further, facing far more resistance than it is now. It’d be cheaper to build a bridge, but I suppose Putin doesn’t always think in economic terms.

calbear on April 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Note to Obama: it will take a STRONGLY WORDED LETTER to get Mr. Putin’s attention!!

Khun Joe on April 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

While Obama goes “blah, blah, blah”, Russia goes *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*.

LawfulGood on April 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

The costs of this adventure are escalating for Putin, even if only incrementally.

Unless he acts sooner rather than later.

EvilMonk on April 24, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Simon Ostrovsky ‏@SimonOstrovsky 1h

I’m out and safe. Thank you all for your support. Had no idea I had so many good friends.

agmartin on April 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Crimea is not adjacent to the three “Eastern provinces.” It can only be reached through Kherson Oblast, one of the least “Russian” provinces in that part of the country. Whether measured by Yanukovych votes, Russian language speaking, or support for making the Russian language official, there are eight oblasts (counting Crimea) more “Russian” than Kherson, so if Russia’s goal were to have a land bridge to Crimea, it’d have to go far, far further, facing far more resistance than it is now. It’d be cheaper to build a bridge, but I suppose Putin doesn’t always think in economic terms.

calbear on April 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Ummm… From someone born there, take a better look at the map and then check it against maps of, say, 1917. Anything prior to 1922, to be more precise, when Lenin with one swift pen movement made the region “Ukraine”. Until 1922 “gift” the region was known as NOVOROSSIA, hopefully you understand what ROSSIA in the name stands for.

NO ONE THERE speaks “ukrainian”, RUSSIAN is THE language, as can be confirmed even today when watching local politicos speak there. And to be really precise for so many of you who are still so clueless, out of 8 presidential candidates announcing their election platforms, ALL BUT ONE SPOKE IN RUSSIAN.

When we visited cities such as Kiev and Odessa, I would not hear even a word of “ukrainian” spoken there, most didn’t even understand it.

Anyway. About that map you are looking at. Our push to destabilize the country, as Nuland already admitted (FINALLY!), was to take over Crimea and SEVASTOPOL primarily, historically whoever controls the place controls Black Sea.

On Sept 5 2013, Navy announced an RFP for a naval academy in SEVASTOPOL, along with 2 other RFPS, one for a school (for naval personnel families) and another for a hospital. BACK IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR. Closed on April 15th, for obvious reasons. Yes, I know, Nuland said that we had nothing to do with Maidan.

Russia was left no choice, but to annex their HISTORICAL LAND, which was “gifted” by Khruschiov in drunken stupor.

Look at the map again. What is another large sea port city still listed as “Ukraine”? And whicj, along with Kherson, Khar’kov, Donetsk and Lugansk, made up NOVOROSSIA until Lenin, in one of his syphilitic stupors, made “Ukraine” in 1922.

In either case, all those PREDOMINANTLY ETHNIC RUSSIANS, was even asked if its fine by them.

Anyway. Let’s get back to the map again. ODESSA. Which is the last chance NATO and we have at having a naval base on Black Sea.

Does anyone think that Russia would be so stupid to A) allow full scale NATO base, similar to one in Sevastopol, on Black Sea and B) tolerate ETHNIC CLEANSING of Russians (Orthodoxy) by Right Sektor Nazis (Baptists and Catholics) of Kiev Junta?

Look up Stepan Bandera, SS Galichina and Right Sektor.

All from L’vov, city I was born in. And the ones in charge now in Kiev. Nice Nazi uniforms and insignia, no?

SINCE WHEN DO WE SUPPORT NAZI REGIMES? Even EU is now pulling back from Ukraine, shame that the laws they established against supporting nazism somehow were overlooked when they financed and trained Right Sektor Nazis for a military coup on Maidan, along with Mccain, Nuland and Co. of course.

Oh, and look up JUNTA while you’re at it, let me know how Kiev’s so called government differs from the description. What kind of a country leader begs for foreign military to attack his citizens? And brings Greystone to do the deed. 20 of whom went “missing” 2 weeks ago, which was already confirmed by the assistant Speaker of the Duma 2 days ago on live TV when asked if Russia can confirm it. “Yes, we can demonstrate at least 20″. Question is, how many more? No wonder Brennan himself arrived in Kiev with orders for military actions in hopes they were still inside Ukraine.

Shame that so many of you know absolutely nothing about the region and yet keep yapping all sorts of idiotic crap. I dislike Putin as much as the other guy, but you should first learn about the region and only then ask yourselves a question, If the tables were turned, would we do same thing Putin does? I know I would.

Dominican Republic and Reagan ring a bell? FOR ANYONE HERE? ANYONE?

riddick on April 24, 2014 at 8:06 PM

In Slavyansk, a flashpoint east Ukrainian town held by rebels since mid-April, armoured military vehicles drove past an abandoned roadblock in flames to take up position, AFP reporters saw.

Shots were heard as a helicopter flew overhead, and the pro-Kremlin rebels ordered all civilians out of the town hall to take up defensive positions inside.

“During the clashes, up to five terrorists were eliminated,” and three checkpoints destroyed, the interior ministry said in a statement. Regional medical authorities confirmed one death and one person wounded.

Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian special forces seized back control of the town hall in the southeastern port city of Mariupol with no casualties, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. Separatist sources confirmed the loss of the building in the port city, whose population is 500,000.

And yet, ALL LIES.

As already proven by a good number of videos posted on YouTube today. Just 1, 18-year old, confirmed dead. Road blocks were not “abandoned”, but fought back. “Glorious” Nazi military pulled back when fired upon.

AP reporter somehow forgot to mention that the “glorious” nazis made sure to steal food upon retreat, they have been begging locals for food and bumming cigarettes for days now while awaiting Baiden orders.

In Mariupol, so called “control” of city administration building ended yet again with “glorious” nazis making hasty retreat.

Watch local news there, via videos posted on YouTube, instead of Baghdad Bob Nazi propaganda. Hell, Baghdad Bob was an obvious amateur, each and every time Kiev made an “official statement” it was debunked rather quickly. EACH AND EVERY TIME. WITHOUT A FAIL.

riddick on April 24, 2014 at 9:02 PM

I am originally from Russia so I follow this conflict pretty closely. While I’m completely on the side of Ukraine, most comments here in the US are kinda Hollywood like. There’s a villain, and we all watch in awe how he will try to take over the world. Reality is very different.

Putin cannot “grab” Eastern Ukraine. There’s no support there for joining Russia. Plus it’s a huge piece to swallow, and Russia is in trouble economically. However, Russia can completely destabilize the situation in Eastern Ukraine turning the whole country into an effectively failed state.

The US must find a way to support Ukraine. People should stop saying crazy stuff like “so you want a nuclear war?” even during the Cold War that wasn’t a realistic option. What’s funny is that despite Russia being a clear aggressor, it will host Soccer World Cup, etc. I remember times when lots of people disliked the US. This wasn’t unusual. What pains me is that people now laugh at the US calling it impotent.

PBH on April 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Riddick is spreading lies. The nationalist movement while visible in Ukraine is nothing compared to what it’s like in Russia. This isn’t about ethnic cleansing of Russian people. There’s no such thing in Ukraine. Please reread Riddick’s own post. All presidential candidates speak Russian, and also all Russian speaking people are “cleansed”. Confused much? Or lying on purpose? You decide.

If you’re interested in true ethnic cleansing of Russian people (not murders but mostly pushing people out of the country), look at Turkmenistan and other -stans south of Russia. Look at the change in the percentage of Russians in those countries. It has been declining fast. Did Russia care? No.

During the last “press-conference”, Putin was asked, why he sent the military to Crimea. His response was: that was the only way to ensure that the referendum was “fair”. Hmmm… It is true that people there speak Russian almost exclusively (it is a lie that they don’t understand Ukrainian). However, being culturally Russian doesn’t mean you want to severe ties with a country on which you depend economically (80%+ of water in Crimea is supplied by Ukraine, etc.) and join Putin’s Russia. Ask Quebecois about their French culture. Then ask if they consider themselves actually French.

PBH on April 24, 2014 at 10:30 PM

BIDEN: “Mark my words, within the next — first six months of this administration, if we win, they’re going to — we’re going to face a major international challenge, ’cause they’re going to want to test him, just like they did John Kennedy, they’re going to want to test him, and they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.”

I’m told that it’s a NR-40

J_Crater on April 24, 2014 at 10:45 PM

Why does he have steel in his spine? Does he have no backbone of his own?

PBH on April 24, 2014 at 11:14 PM