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New Ukraine Thread March 16 2014

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Ukraine officials pleading with US to provide military aid, lawmaker says
James Rosen
March 17, 2014

Ukrainian officials pleaded with visiting U.S. lawmakers this past weekend to provide military aid, claiming their ousted president intentionally gutted the nation's defenses so it would be vulnerable to a Russian takeover, one of those U.S. lawmakers told Fox News.

"They wanted arms," the lawmaker said, "even recognizing that it could be cited by Putin as an excuse, a provocation for further military action by him. They said Putin's goal has never been Crimea; his goal is Kiev."

 

Even before Viktor Yanukovych's tenure as president, Ukraine's military was woefully underfunded and outdated. The nation's defense force is composed of obsolete tanks and fighter planes, and thousands of low-paid soldiers.

 

But the lawmaker who spoke with Fox News claimed Yanukovych had made it a point, over the course of his administration, to "hollow out" the Ukrainian military further.

The goal, the source said, was to weaken the Ukrainian national defenses in the event Russia eventually moved to reclaim the country.

 

(Snip)

 

H/T Threat Watch1

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Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions
Kirit Radia
Mar 17, 2014 3:09pm

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

 

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

 

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.


(SniP

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Is is terrifying. Could we have had a more emasculated response? I am mortified by our President. I am afraid of his weakness. Where the HECK is he? This is humiliating and it is not going to turn out well. Sheesh.

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A blast from the past ... circa sept 11 2012....

 

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Mitt Romney’s characterization of Moscow as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” has actually helped Russia.

The Russian leader said Romney’s comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a system Russia believes will degrade its nuclear deterrent. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

 

“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

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Is is terrifying. Could we have had a more emasculated response? I am mortified by our President. I am afraid of his weakness. Where the HECK is he? This is humiliating and it is not going to turn out well. Sheesh.

 

 

He's really busy doing really important stuff

 

Stephens: How Obama 'Gets Things Done'

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Crimea: Disappeared Man Found Killed
March 18 2014

(Simferopol) – Crimean authorities should urgently conduct a thorough investigation into the enforced disappearance and subsequent killing of Reshat Ametov, a Crimean Tatar from the Simferopol region, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ametov’s relatives told Human Rights Watch that he was last seen during a protest on March 3, 2014, on Lenin Square in Simferopol, Ukraine, where three unidentified men in military-style jackets had led him away. Relatives’ efforts to locate him, including through a complaint to the police, were unsuccessful. On March 16, local police informed them that a body bearing marks of violent death had been found outside the town of Belogorsk. On March 17, the family identified the body as Ametov’s.


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Taras Kuzio @TarasKuzio Follow

Dead Crimean Tatar is Reshat Ametovyakyy went enlist Ukr forces 3 March where abducted Russian "self-defence" forces. http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/03/17/7019340/ …

2:30 PM - 17 Mar 2014

 

 

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Ryskeldi Satke @RyskeldiSatke Follow

Deceased Reshat Ametov was recorded by local TV crew protesting in front of Parliament in Simferopol.

 

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Crimea crisis: Ukraine authorises use of arms in self-defence - live updates

 

 

 

Ben Brown @BenBrownBBC Follow


#Simferopol russian troops pushing back press at scene of shooting at Ukrainian base. Bursts of automatic fire heard




10:48 AM - 18 Mar 2014

 

Shaun Walker @shaunwalker7 Follow


My Ukraine military source in Crimea confirmed to me death of a junior officer, wounding of a captain. Sounded distraught on phone.




12:03 PM - 18 Mar 2014

 

Ukraine authorizes use of weapons

 

Alexander Marquardt @MarquardtA Follow

"We're authorized to use our weapons if our servicemen are endangered," Yevpatoriya base cmmdr Col. Andrey Matvienko tells @ABC. #Crimea




1:11 PM - 18 Mar 2014

 

 

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Simon Ostrovsky @SimonOstrovsky Follow


Funeral of Crimean Tatar who's body was found badly beaten. First victim since invasion began.

 

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US ponders military exercises in Baltics in bid to reassure Russia's neighbours

Joe Biden says US exploring sending ground troops to Baltic region to try to prevent further territorial aggression by Russia

Dan Roberts in Washington

Tuesday 18 March 2014 14.43 EDT

 

The US is considering sending ground troops to the Baltic states on new military exercises as it seeks to reassure Nato allies in eastern Europe of its commitment to preventing further territorial incursion by Russia.

 

Vice president Joe Biden spoke of the plan during a meeting with the Estonian president Toomas Ilves after calls for a tougher US response to Russias attempted annexation of the Crimea.

 

It follows a Pentagon announcement of extra US F-15 jets to join Nato patrols in Poland and the Baltic on March 5, and recent requests by the Ukrainian government for possible US military assistance outside the Nato area.

 

(Snip)

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latest summary from The Gaurdian
Summary


 

A Ukrainian serviceman has died after being shot dead in the storming of a Ukrainian military base in Simferopol, Crimea, according to a military spokesman. He said a captain was also injured and taken to hospital and other Ukrainian servicemen were arrested.

 

The Ukrainian military spokesman described the attackers as “unknown forces, fully equipped”. Russia reportedly said that Crimean self-defence fighters were shot by a sniper.

 

Following the shooting, the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, accused Russia of a “war crime”. He also said the conflict had moved from the political to the military stage.

 

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Crimea on Tuesday, promising to protect all ethnic groups and criticising western western aggression and hypocrisy. He said that in the hearts and minds of Russian people, “Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia”

 

The UK foreign secretary, William Hague, speaking in parliament, announced that export licenses for military items to Russia had been suspended and that joint naval exercises with Russia had been cancelled. He said that Putin had chosen the “route of isolation”.

 

The US and European Council both said that they would not recognise the annexation of Crimea. US vice-president Joe Biden said the world had seen through Russia’s “flawed logic”.

 

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Crimean Tatars Fear Moscow May Try to Deport Them and Plan to Resist
Paul Goble
March 18 2014

Staunton, March 18 – The two most senior leaders of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Cemilev, the former leader of the Mejlis, and Refat Chubarov, the current head of that body, say that many in their nation fear that Moscow will try to deport them from their lands again and insist that they will resist any such effort.

 

 

Cemilev told Ukraine’s Fifth Channel that he and his fellow Crimean Tatars who were deported by Stalin in 1944 to Central Asia “struggled for 50 years to return to their Motherland, and [that most believe now that] it is better to die here than to be subjected again to deportation”.

 

Although he indicated that “a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Crimea is not very probable,” the longtime leader of the Crimean Tatars said that by themselves, “the Crimean Tatars do not represent a force capable of declaring war on Russia and successfully carrying it out.”

 

“We are few, and we don’t have weapons,” he said. Moreover, the Crimean Tatars are very worried about provocations against them. “But when your Motherland is occupied by foreign soldiers, it is difficult to expect that everything will be peaceful.”

 

(Snip)

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Ben Brown @BenBrownBBC Follow

Ukrainian government website naming dead officer as Kakurin and wounded as Fedun. Say base commander captured

 

 

1:36 PM - 18 Mar 2014

 

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Armed forces arrest Ukrainian army officers during an operation in Simferopol on March 18, 2014. (ALISA BOROVIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Two killed in Crimea as crisis hits 'military stage'

By Lilia BUDZHUROVA and Dmitry ZAKS in Kiev

 

Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine warned on Tuesday its conflict with Russia had entered a "military stage" and authorised its troops to shoot in self-defence after both sides suffered their first casualites since pro-Kremlin forces seized Crimea nearly three weeks ago.

 

(Snip)

 

Regional defence ministry spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told AFP the Ukrainian soldier had died after being shot in the neck when a group of gunmen stormed a military base in the northeast of Crimea's main city of Simferopol.

Seleznyov said another soldier was wounded but did not specify whether the base was stormed by Russian soldiers or pro-Kremlin militia who also patrol the peninsula.

 

(Snip)

 

Pro-Kremlin militia death -

A spokeswoman for Crimea's pro-Kremlin police department later reported that a member of the peninsula's "self-defence" force had also been killed in the same incident.

But she blamed both the death of the pro-Russian militia member and the Ukrainian soldier on shooting by unidentified assailants from a nearby location.

"They were shooting from the same location at both the self-defence forces and at the Ukrainian servicemen," Crimean police force spokeswoman Olga Kondrashova told the Interfax news agency.

 

(Snip)

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

the_first_casualty_of_war_is_the_truth_t

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Ukraine Bolsters Frontier In Wake Of Crimea Vote

Alastair Macdonald

03/18/2014 5:59 pm EDT

 

UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN FRONTIER, March 18 (Reuters) - Ukraine has strengthened frontier defenses with Russia following Moscow's seizure of Crimea but there is no sign of a major troop build-up in a region where some say they would welcome a Russian takeover.

On a day when a Ukrainian soldier became the first fatal casualty in the confrontation on the Black Sea peninsula, at the southernmost crossing between the two countries, where Ukraine dug anti-tank ditches this week, Kiev's frontier guards were keen to play down the Russian threat and hope for the best.

 

(Snip)

 

Border defenses have been strengthened by an anti-tank chicane of house-high concrete blocks, placed across the two-lane M14 highway that links the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and runs round the coast toward Crimea, 350 km (200 miles) west.

Mechanical diggers built a ditch and earthwork rampart stretching out several hundred meters on either side of the border post earlier this week. Officials have been keen to show it to media as a sign of their resolve to keep Russia out.

 

(Snip)

 

Calls for a referendum similar to that in Crimea are common. Many people stop short of seeking Crimean-style union with Russia but want more autonomy for the heavily industrialized and heavily populated eastern regions of the Donbass coalfield.

"Give us a referendum," said Gennady, 47, who runs a cafe by a border post whose very existence angers him. "There was no border here in the Soviet Union. Thank you, Mr. Gorbachev."

The collapse of the Soviet state under Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 remains a bitter memory for many in eastern Ukraine.

 

(Snip)

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