A Critical Moment for Ukraine

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 28, 2014
People Gather in Kyiv's Independence Square on February 28, 2014

The United States has been clear that the Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future and that we stand for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democratic future of Ukraine. Today, President Barack Obama said, "...Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring."

The President continued, "...My Administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we've made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.  However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine.  Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe."

President Barack Obama speaks about the ongoing situation in Ukraine in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 28, 2014. [AP Photo]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also addressed the situation in Ukraine.  During a press conference after his meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin in Washington, Secretary Kerry said:

"...I talked this morning with Foreign Minister Lavrov about the reports we are getting about Russian presence and what it may be choosing to do. And we raised the issue of the airports, raised the issue of armored vehicles, raised the issue of personnel in various places. And while we were told that they are not engaging in any violation of the sovereignty and do not intend to, I nevertheless made it clear that that could be misinterpreted at this moment, and that there are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation and not to send the wrong messages.

"He reaffirmed to me that President Putin is committed and that as a matter of policy they do not intend to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine, but that there are obviously interests in Crimea, which were reflected in their local Rada yesterday where people feel a strong attachment to and affinity for Russia, obviously. This is the tension that exists within Ukraine itself. There’s an east-west tension right within Ukraine. And I emphasized to him our desire to diffuse these tensions, to work very constructively, to bring Ukraine together, keep it -- to keep the respect for its sovereignty and its territorial integrity. And he reiterated their intention not to violate it. Now at the same time as we were talking, former President Yanukovych was holding a press conference and he articulated during that that he did not want to ask Russia for assistance and that he asked for the respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting and consultations on the events unfolding in Ukraine.  Afterwards, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, "...This is a critical moment for the future of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people in determining their own destiny, their own government, their own future."

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David W.
March 6, 2014
Fact is that the CIA did not expect such a scenario , and did not have a Drawer Plan for such a case.
Maurice B.
California, USA
March 3, 2014
Since the US has recently violated the sovereignty of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, among others, this is a topic on which Secretary Kerry may speak knowledgeably. Fans of irony have reason to particularly appreciate Secretary Kerry's warnings about invading a country with bogus explanations.
Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
March 6, 2014

RE: "The head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet Aleksander Vitko set the deadline and threatened an attack "across Crimea".

He also reportedly told two warships to surrender or be attacked at 17:00 GMT on Monday.

Moscow says it is protecting civilians from "ultra-nationalist threats", but its actions have been widely condemned." -BBC excerpt 3/3/2014

If Moscow wants to protect its citizens from "ultra-nationalist threats" the Duma should impeach Putin for becoming one out of pure political stupidity, rather than voting to support its violent manifestation of ego-centric political angst.

It's one thing to get kicked out of the G8 for anexing Crimea and destabilizing an already fragile situation...but if they follow through on this threat in violation of the UN charter, then that charter membership should be revoked automaticly, and Russia's perm 5 status reduced to that of "observer" in UN fora across the board.

The UN and the Security Council will be more functional in dealing with multiple global crisis, exaccerbated by Russia's hypocritical foreign policy and veto priviledges thereby.

One may well advise the Haugue to draw up an inditement for war crimes against Mr. Putin pre-emptively to be enforced with an arrest warrant issued upon the first shot being fired.

While it's true that Democracies in the EU and including the US have moved beyond a "cold war" mentality....Mr. Putin's "ultra nationalistic" mindset has the Russian Federation stuck in the past, seeking to reclaim "empire" by the force of arms.

It would be illogical to pretend that this crisis is not about "East-West" relations when obviously Mr. Putin's actions are based upon repeating the dysfunctionality of the last century.

It's true that old habits die hard, but threatening mass murder of Ukrainian armed forces already confined to barracks, surrounded by Russian troops and Militia, goes beyond the limits of extremist behavior, and becomes then a matter of an act of terrorism, pure and simple.

I believe the Russians will do exactly what they say they'll do....despite any logical alternative proposed by cooler heads seeking peace.

If the use of force is the only thing that Mr. Putin understands or would cause him to rethink his insanity, then it is left to the international community to decide whether Russia itself should remain at peace, or face a diplomatic declaration of war being forthcoming if these threats are carried out, by all the other major powers of the world in order to restore the peace.

If Mr. Putin wants to bring the world closer to WW3, he's doing a darn good job of it. Nevermind that NATO isn't willing to entertain such a scenario, or China, or anyone else for that matter when they don't have a whole heck of a lot of choice in the matter but to use all the options on or off the table...when this gets completely beyond any diplomatic ability to contain it.

I'm not simply looking a couple weeks into the future here...once it starts it's going to eventually draw NATO in militarily regardless of what anyone wants and a whole lot of folks are going to suffer as a result of one man's geo-political ambition.


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