Ukraine: Crucible Of Intensifying Conflict Between West And Russia
February 21, 2014
1) White House demands Ukrainian government withdraw all security force from center of capital
2) Putin meets Russia’s Security Council members to discuss Ukraine crisis
3) European Union agrees to fast-track sanctions against Ukraine
4) Russia foreign minister slams threat of sanctions against Ukraine
5) Ukrainian Health Ministry: Kiev death toll reaches 75
6) Interior Ministry: Sixteen police officers killed
7) Belarusian president sends condolences to his Ukrainian counterpart
February 20, 2014
White House demands from Yanukovych to withdraw forces from center of Kyiv
The leadership of the USA demanded from the Ukrainian President to withdraw all security forces from the center of Kyiv and to allow opposition to hold the protest actions.
The United States calls the Ukrainian authorities to withdraw special subdivisions from the center of Kyiv and calls opposition to hold peaceful protests, Press Secretary of the President of the USA Jay Carney said this”, RIA Novosti reports.
“We call President Yanukovych to withdraw security forces immediately from the center of Kyiv and to respect a right for a peaceful protest. We call protesters to express their opinion peacefully”, – said Carney.
He also called the army of Ukraine not to interfere in the conflict, which, according to the opinion of the White House, should be solved by political means.
Voice of Russia
February 21, 2014
Putin meets Russia’s Security Council members to discuss Ukraine crisis
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a conference with the permanent members of the Russian Security Council to address the situation in Ukraine on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking officials.
The conference was also attended by Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin, presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, his deputy Rashid Nurgaliyev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Mikhail Fradkov, and Security Council permanent member Boris Gryzlov.
“The situation in Ukraine was discussed at the conference,” Peskov said.
Putin emphasizes it’s imperative to immediately stop bloodshed in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin has held telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Kremlin press service said. “The sides voiced their extreme concern over the sharp escalation of the armed confrontation in Ukraine that happened through the fault of the opposition’s radical wing,” it said.
“Putin emphasized that it is imperative to immediately stop the bloodshed and take urgent measures to stabilize the situation and suppress any extremist and terrorist sorties,” the press service said.
“The Russian president informed Merkel and Cameron that Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Vladimir Lukin was heading to Kiev for the purposes of mediation,” it said.
At Yanukovych’s request, Russia’s President Putin sending envoy to Kiev as mediator
President of Russia Vladimir Putin sends Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to Kiev, as a mediator in negotiations with the opposition, at the request of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Press-Secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, said.
“A telephone conversation between President Putin and President Yanukovych was carried out on the initiative of the Ukrainian side, during which the President of Ukraine suggested that the head of the Russian state should send a Russian representative to Kiev to participate in the negotiation process with the opposition as a mediator,” Peskov said.
The Russian leader’s Press Secretary said that “Putin has made the decision to send Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin on this mission”.
It is known, that Vladimir Petrovich (Lukin) has an abundance of experience in diplomatic service, and a considerable reputation among human rights defenders; he has headed a major opposition party,” Peskov reminded.
Sanctions threat against Ukraine looks like blackmail – Sergei Lavrov
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned Western threats of sanctions against Ukraine as blackmail and double-standard approach.
The foreign minister is on a working trip in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. He said at a press conference that Ukraine’s opposition couldn’t or simply wouldn’t “dissociate itself from extremist forces.”
“The possibility of sanctions is nothing but an attempt at bullying,” Lavrov said during a news conference in Baghdad, in remarks translated from Russian into Arabic.
Mr. Lavrov accused the United States of double standards as it piled all the blame on the Ukrainian government.
“The EU is mulling sanctions while paying uncalled-for visits to Ukraine,” he added. “This behaviour looks like blackmail [to me].”
Ukraine and western countries should stand apart from radicals – Russia
Ukraine and the West should stay apart from radicals, Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, said. “Russia thinks that Ukraine opposition as well as western countries should stay apart from extremists and other radicals,” said Lavrov during the press-conference in Bagdad on Thursday. This Tuesday, mass disorders escalated in Kiev again.
During the Verkhovna Rada meeting, the opposition insisted on return of the parliamentary-presidential form of government and on putting the Constitution of 2004 in force again.
Aggressive protestors wanted to approach the building of Ukrainian Parliament, they seized the buildings in the center of Kiev, burned tire-covers, threw stones and Molotov cocktails in the law enforcers. According to the police, the radicals use fire arms.
Russia’s Lavrov blames West for forcing Ukraine into EU
The demand to hold early elections in Ukraine is aimed at forcing Ukraine to choose Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“You probably heard more than once that the capitals of Western European countries have demanded that the people of Ukraine should be given the freedom to choose, and they added that the choice should be in favor of the European Union,” Lavrov told a press conference in Baghdad.
“Their purpose in the current initiatives is to essentially force this choice is evident to the Ukrainian administration: the demand to hold parliamentary and early presidential elections as soon as possible and to form a coalition government. That is, they are trying to decide everything for them,” Lavrov said.
West misinterprets Ukraine extremist violence, threatens to sanction gov’t – Russian FM Lavrov
The West is incorrectly interpreting the extremists’ actions in Ukraine and threatening Kiev with sanctions instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“Our Western partners in Europe and the U.S. are laying all the blame on the country’s authorities and fail to properly qualify the extremists’ actions,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Baghdad.
“We are really concerned about this, because double standards are obvious here, and instead they are threatening [the government] with sanctions, and not only threatening, but the Americans have already imposed them, thereby encouraging the opposition to dismiss any compromises,” he added.
Russian FM accuses Western media of distorting truth about Ukraine unrest
The Western mainstream media are distorting the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s foreign chief Sergei Lavrov has said.
Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Lavrov accused Western media of giving biased coverage on the Ukrainian political crisis.
The latest accounts estimate the number of casualties at 35 following clashes that have been erupting across the country. Over 500 have been injured in Kiev alone.
Moscow has accused extremist and opposition of pushing the country towards the edge, adding that the rhetoric of foreign officials was inciting radicalism and contributing to unrest.
February 20, 2014
Update: EU agrees to fast-track sanctions against Ukraine
The EU will introduce sanctions against Ukrainian authorities, a meeting of EU foreign ministers has decided, as Thursday’s death toll in Kiev reportedly reached 60.
Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino was the first to break the news on Thursday evening, after crisis talks in Brussels.
“The decision is to proceed very rapidly, in the next hours, to a visa ban and asset freeze on those who have committed the violence,” she told reporters on leaving the meeting.
The talks took place amid the worst day of violence in Kiev since protests began in November after President Viktor Yanukovych pulled out of signing an association agreement with the EU.
Xinhua News Agency
February 21, 2014
Russia FM slams threat of sanctions against Ukraine
BAGHDAD: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Thursday the West’s threat to impose sanctions on Ukraine as a blackmail and double standards.
“The opposition cannot or do not want to distance itself from extremists. The West led by Europe and the United States assume all responsibility for Ukraine situation,” Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari during his official visit to Baghdad.
“They do not blame the extremists’ acts, while threaten to impose sanctions. These are double standards,” Lavrov said, adding “these sanctions encourage rioters.”
“The EU also wants to impose sanctions and sending missions to Ukraine, such actions can be seen as blackmail,” he said.
He also said that “we are deeply concerned about the events in Ukraine and worried about the attempts of influencing the situation in the country.”
Lavrov pointed out that his country stresses on the need to discuss the situation between the Ukrainians themselves in an internal dialogue without interference from others.
Earlier in the day, Lavrov arrived in Baghdad on an official one-day visit, during which he and his accompanying delegation were received by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki in his office in Baghdad. The two sides discussed a range of “bilateral and regional issues, in particular the need for political solutions for the Syrian crisis, as well as means to fight terrorism,” said a statement by Maliki office.
Maliki stressed Iraq’s desire to cooperate with Russia to defeat terrorism, while emphasizing Iraq’s need for weapons that are “specialized in fighting and chasing terrorist groups,” as well as its interest in “exchanging security information.”
The meeting comes at a time when Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years, as militant insurgents launch nearly daily attacks and bombings on security forces and civilians.
Baghdad had signed weapons contracts with Russia worth more than 4.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, making Moscow Baghdad’s biggest arms supplier after Washington.
Lavrov’s visit to Iraq is the second for the top Russian diplomat to the country since the toppling of former president Saddam Hussein by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003. His last visit to the country was in May 2011.
February 20, 2014
Death toll of Kyiv clashes grows to 75, says Health Ministry
At least 75 people have died as a result of street clashes in Kyiv since February 18, the Ukrainian Health Ministry reported on its Web site.
According to the ministry, a total of 571 people in Kyiv sought first aid since Tuesday morning, 363 of them were hospitalized.
February 21, 2014
16 policemen killed in Kyiv unrest – Interior Ministry
MOSCOW: The number of Ukrainian police officers killed in the latest riots in Kyiv has risen to 16, the Interior Ministry said on its website on Friday.
“The number of deaths among officers of law enforcement agencies has grown to 16. A total of 130 policemen have been admitted to hospitals with gunshot wounds,” the ministry said.
As many as 565 policemen have requested medical care, it said. Of them, 410 have been hospitalized.
Belarusian Telegraph Agency
February 20, 2014
Lukashenko sends condolences to Yanukovych over Kyiv unrest victims
MINSK: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has expressed condolences to President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych over a massive loss of life caused by the unrest in Kyiv, BelTA learned from the presidential press service.
“Belarus has always condemned wrongful acts of the participants of political conflicts and unconstitutional methods of resolving domestic policy issues which inevitably lead to the escalation of violence,” the message of condolences reads.
On behalf of the Belarusian people and himself Alexander Lukashenko has also sent condolences to the families and friends of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.