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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Monday 12 December. [Ukrainian sources]

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:02 am
MONDAY

Please scroll to view news items added during the day

NEWS:
Putin wants to do more than to install Trump as US president: he wants to destroy the West. McCain: "Putin is a thug and a murderer".  Terrorist leader Plotnitsky confirms he met with Savchenko.  DFaction member Savchenko does not agree her activities with Batkivshchyna, - the party comments on Savchenko's meeting with Donbas terrorists. SBU checks information on Savchenko’s meeting with "DPR"/"LPR" leaders.

WEATHER:
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Turning colder this morning; considerable cloudiness
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Putin had his cake and ate it too, thanks to Obama

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:05 am
Putin had his cake and ate it too, thanks to Obama

When President Obama accuses President-elect Trump of not taking the Russian threat or our democratic allies seriously, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Russian President Vladimir Putin is a very clever man, but he wasn't internationally powerful until the United States gave him what he wanted during the Obama administration.

Both Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry enabled and emboldened Russia, allowing Russia to bully eastern and central Europe, while harassing and threatening western Europe and NATO in ways that rival the Cold War, when Europe was divided into "spheres of influence." Similarly, in the Middle East, Russia achieved leverage and geopolitical advantage that it has not had in decades.

Let us count the ways Obama's and Clinton's policies benefitted Russia.

There was the "reset," which offered weakened Russian influence and prestige. There was the unnecessarily generous START treaty, which Russia took as a sign that it could violate the terms of even that agreement with minimal consequences. There were our cuts in military spending and neglect of military modernization, which Russia savvily countered with increases in military spending and a robust military modernization program. There was our dismantling of missile defense plans in eastern Europe. We snubbed Ukraine, Georgia and other aspirants in their attempts to join NATO. There were our requests for Russia's help in containing Iran's nuclear program, which played right into Russian and Iranian hands................

Access complete text of the editorial:  washingtonexaminer.com In English



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The Washington Post: Russia's big cheat

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:07 am
The Washington Post: Russia's big cheat

For millennia, rules have been at the core of athletic competition. Not that they haven't been broken, but the Olympics still stand for the principle of human striving on a level playing field, or the primacy of rules, according to The Washington Post.
This is why the final report of Richard H. McLaren's investigation into Russian doping of athletes, submitted Friday, is so disturbing. The report shows that more than 1,000 Russian athletes scompeting in summer, winter and paralympic sports were involved in or benefited from coverups of positive doping tests in what Mr. McLaren calls a "conspiracy" between 2011 and 2015. Doping to gain unfair advantage has been a long-standing and serious problem in sport. But the Russians' wholesale and systemic breaking of rules is on a plane of its own, the Editorial Board of The Washington Post wrote. While his previous report this past summer detailed a clandestine system of covering up doping at the Sochi Olympics in early 2014, the new document, based on additional investigation, shows that state-run doping and coverup poisoned the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2013 Universiade Games, the world track and field championships in 2013, and the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi. According to the report, 10 medalists in London already have had their prizes stripped; there were four track and field athletes in 2013 whose samples were swapped; two female ice hockey players' samples at Sochi appear to have been swapped; two athletes who won four Sochi Olympic golds and a female silver-medal winner had samples with "physiologically impossible salt readings"; 12 medal-winning athletes at Sochi had scratches and marks on the inside of urine test bottles, indicating tampering; six winners of 21 Paralympic medals had urine samples tampered with at Sochi..............

Access complete text of the editorial:  unian.info In English



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Savchenko refuses to comment on alleged meeting with militants

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:09 am
Savchenko refuses to comment on alleged meeting with militants

Ukrainian media to comment on the reports about her secret trip to Minsk, Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko said "she did not have time to waste on talks".

At the same time, Savchenko's sister Vira told Interfax-Ukraine news agency that Nadiya would make an official statement on the matter later in the day on December 12.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian media came up with information that the former Russian prisoner secretly visited Minsk on December 7 to meet with the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, which Ukraine officially considers terrorist organizations.

Liga.net editor Peter Shuklinov reported, referring to at least three sources, that the meeting was organized directly by Russia's FSB secret service and concerned the fate of Ukrainian POWs..................

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McCain: "Putin is a thug and a murderer"

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:10 am
McCain: "Putin is a thug and a murderer"

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain on Sunday said he hoped U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would not underestimate Russia's Vladimir Putin and deal with him from a position of strength.

"Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent," he said. "...Let's call Vladimir Putin for what he is. Does that mean you don't deal with him or talk to him? Of course you talk to him. But you do it the way that Ronald Reagan did, and that's from a position of strength," McCain told CBS's "Face the Nation."

Senator added that he is concerned by Trump's dismissal of the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. election...............

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Nadiya Savchenko on Shuster Live: I will become an independent candidate and lead the People’s Movement of Ukraine

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:13 am
Nadiya Savchenko on Shuster Live: I will become an independent candidate and lead the People’s Movement of Ukraine

Nadiya Savchenko, Hero of Ukraine, People’s deputy of the “Batkivshchyna/Fatherland” party, videotaped on Shuster Live by journalist and TV host Savik Shuster on independent 3S.tv
11.25.2016
Transcript and translation by Voices of Ukraine

On November 25, 2016, Nadiya Savchenko appeared on Shuster Live, to talk about her first 6 months in the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament of Ukraine] and make an announcement that she will become an independent politician and lead a movement.



Nadiya Savchenko: “Can I speak? When I first came to this studio, I was fresh out of prison. I wasn’t afraid. Parachuting the first time isn’t scary, since you don’t know what it’s like. Half a year has gone since then.

“The first thing I was frightened of, in this my political journey, was the people’s great hope for me. It was too great for any living person to live up to. People were looking at me as if tomorrow I would make the lame walk and the blind see. Only Jesus Christ can do that, I couldn’t. I had to walk my path alone. I had to make my own mistakes. I had to learn through my own bumps and falls. I did do this. Very quickly, stones started flying at me, just as I had anticipated. I wasn’t afraid of this. It was maybe two months, and rocks flew at me, followed by, um, how to say it… [“shyte” – a male voice from the audience]… Yes, ok, let’s call it that – from the government. And I began to understand what this system is like. Everything that I said – I would be told that I was making mistakes, that it was politically wrong, that I would lose my electorate. They tried to fill my head with some politico-technological ideas – what I should do, what I shouldn’t do, how I should conduct myself to come to power.

The first two months, everyone wanted to buy me, every party. They were ready to take me because they wanted me to never think, to open my mouth for the sake of speaking the slogans they wrote, and thought that I would bring them to power. You know, I saw the system from the inside, and for half a year I still don’t understand. For half a year now, I’ve been speaking all my words, carrying out all my actions while taking all these punches [against me]. I am certain of my every word and action, certain that they are right. I will never denounce them. And I will continue to speak that which is just, fair and true. And I will defend my position to the end. [Clapping from studio audience]...................

Access complete text of the editorial:  maidantranslations.com In English


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Terrorist leader Plotnitsky confirms he met with Savchenko

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:19 am
Terrorist leader Plotnitsky confirms he met with Savchenko


Leader of the terrorist organization "Luhansk People's Republic" Igor Plotnitsky said he and "Donetsk People's Republic" leader Alexander Zakharchenko had met with Ukrainian MP Nadiia Savchenko and discussed prisoners' swap under "all for all" formula.

As reported by Censor.NET citing RIA Novosti, he said this at the "operational meeting of ministers."

"Not so long ago, me and Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko met Ukraine's MP Nadiia Viktorivna Savchenko. This should be understood correctly that this entire process is taking place within the Minks talks," Plotnitsky said. According to him, it's time to solve issues peacefully, not militarily, and the ways for such solutions should be found.

"The major subject of our talks was prisoners' swap under "all for all" formula, including those missing in action, and all the matters that are related," he said.

Plotnitsky said both he and Zakharchenko believe such meetings are useful "because this issue should be covered within the Verkhovna Rada not just from one side, but they should see and hear our voice and our understanding."

"I think the solution of this issue in the near future... will be recorded at the state level, and we will take back most of our people...," Plotnitsky said.

The terrorist leader believes such meetings should not be limited to one MP, but a group of people should be involved.

"The format might be different, but at the moment we need to prod Ukraine to solving of Minsk issues," he said.

Earlier, media reported that MP Savchenko visited Minsk on Dec. 7 and met with Donbas terrorist leaders Alexander Zakharchenko ("DPR") and Igor Plotnitsky ("LPR").

Dec. 12, Ukraine's Security Service announced they didn't know of MP Savchenko's planned visit to Minsk to meet with the terrorist leaders.

ua.censor.net.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Putin wants to do more than to install Trump as US president: he wants to destroy the West

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:21 am
Putin wants to do more than to install Trump as US president: he wants to destroy the West

As evidence mounts that Vladimir Putin used a variety of covert means to promote the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, it is critically important to remember that that outcome is only part of the Kremlin leader’s agenda, one that calls for so weakening Western countries that they can’t stand up to him.

Many people assume that Putin wants to hide the role the Russian security services played in promoting Trump, but that is wrong. Since at least the times of the Cheka’s “Trust” operation in the early 1920s, Moscow repeatedly has sought not only to gain by its machinations but also planned to gain by their exposure at a time and place of the Kremlin’s choosing.

Such a time is now because Putin never viewed Trump’s election as an end in itself but rather as part of a broader effort to subvert public confidence in elections and free societies by suggesting that in the new information environment, outside powers like Russia can interfere with impunity.

Indeed, from Putin’s perspective, the best possible outcome is that Trump does take office but with an increasing number of Americans convinced that at least in part the Republican’s victory was the result of Russian actions. If a large enough group of Americans do become convinced of that, then confidence in democratic procedures will decline.....................

Access complete text of the editorial:  euromaidanpress.com In English


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Ukrainians Want to Make a Deal with Trump

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:25 am
Ukrainians Want to Make a Deal with Trump



Ukrainians trying to figure out what to expect from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may be having trouble.

His praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the recent political campaign received a lot of media attention. On the other hand, Trump also criticized President Barack Obama for "not doing what he should be doing for Ukraine," tweeting that "Russia took Crimea during the so-called Obama years."

What will Trump actually do regarding Ukraine?

Taras Berezovets, a Kyiv-based political expert, put forward what he sees as a best-case scenario: The United States will remain Ukraine's security guarantor during Trump's presidency; boost financial assistance to Kyiv; provide it with lethal weapons, military trainers and intelligence (to deter Russia from escalating violence in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region); and join the Minsk peace process, aimed at ending the conflict between Ukraine's government and separatist forces backed by Russia.

Volodymyr Horbach, a political analyst at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv, offered a worst-case scenario: "Ukraine will be treated and used as a bargaining chip in relations with Russia," he told VOA in an email response.

Broad US assistance for Kyiv

The United States has championed Western sanctions against Russia and has committed more than $1.3 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine and $2 billion in loan guarantees. A $17.5 billion financial package for Kyiv came from the International Monetary Fund, headquartered in Washington. The U.S. also plays a key role in Ukraine's anti-corruption, military and law enforcement reforms.

In addition, Ukraine has had a self-described "phone pal" in outgoing Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke in September about his routine contacts with Ukraine's leaders. "In the last four years, I am on the phone two to three hours a week with those folks," Biden said.

Such a relationship between Ukraine and the new U.S. president is unlikely, according to one high-ranking Russian official.

"Ukraine seriously complicated the work of Trump's election campaign headquarters by planting information according to which Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, allegedly accepted money from Ukrainian oligarchs," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a recent news conference.

Manafort had to step down as the manager of Trump's presidential campaign in August, following reports that he earned millions of dollars working on behalf of Ukraine's ousted pro-Russian ruler, Viktor Yanukovych, and possibly lobbied illegally on Yanukovych's behalf in the United States. Some of the damaging information came from a Ukrainian anti-corruption agency.

Contrary view from Moscow...................

Access complete text of the editorial:  voanews.com In English


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SBU checks information on Savchenko’s meeting with "DPR"/"LPR" leaders

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:28 am
SBU checks information on Savchenko’s meeting with "DPR"/"LPR" leaders

Ukrainian lawmaker Nadiia Savchenko failed to notify the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of her visit to Minsk to meet with the leaders of the so-called "Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics".

As reported by Censor.NET, adviser to the SBU chief Yurii Tandit said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.

He also noted that the SBU was actually recording all the movements and actions of Ukrainian politicians crossing the contact line or travelling abroad.

"We collect information not only about Nadiia Savchenko's visit to Belarus, but other politicians' trips abroad as well. Everything that may be connected with the liberation of the hostages is critical for us. We will check the information, including the one concerning Nadiia Savchenko, and establish the details," Tandit said.

"We use every possible way to speed up the release of our hostages. Besides the formal negotiators and officials, different people including members of NGOs, politicians, MPs, and representatives of different faiths are also involved in the negotiations. It is critical for us to liberate the guys. We are interested in grabbing every opportunity, in making every effort to return the guys. In negotiations with the "DPR"/"LPR", it is vital to remember that we are Ukrainians, remember that we have the right, that this is our territory," Tandit said.

As reported, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament Nadiia Savchenko covertly met with the leaders of the "DPR" and "LPR" in Minsk.

ua.censor.net.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Kremlin: Possible swap of Ukrainian prisoners 'on agenda' – media

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:07 am
Kremlin: Possible swap of Ukrainian prisoners 'on agenda' – media

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the possible handover of Ukrainian citizens convicted in Russia is currently on the agenda, though he gave no particular names, according to Russian news agency TASS.

"This issue has been repeatedly discussed during the contacts of working groups, it was mentioned by the Ukrainian side at the Berlin meeting of the Normandy Four group," Peskov said on Monday, TASS reported........

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Faction member Savchenko does not agree her activities with Batkivshchyna, - the party comments on Savchenko's meeting with Donbas terrorists

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:09 am
Faction member Savchenko does not agree her activities with Batkivshchyna, - the party comments on Savchenko's meeting with Donbas terrorists

Batkivshchyna political party deems talks with terrorists and their leaders unacceptable.

As reported by Censor.NET, this was announced by Batkivshchyna party in an official statement regarding its member Nadiia Savchenko, who allegedly met with Donbas self-proclaimed republics' leaders in Minsk.

"The party in general and the parliamentary faction in particular have been standing its ground since the beginning of the aggression against Ukraine that talks with terrorists are unacceptable. This stance of our political party has been recorded in numerous statements and addresses," Batkivshchyna said.

"Nadiia Savchenko recently announced her participation in a new political project. She does not agree her activities with Batkivshchyna faction and party," the statement reads.

Earlier, LIGA.net news website reported citing its own sources that MP Savchenko visited Minsk and met with Donbas terrorist leaders under the Russian FSB service.

ua.censor.net.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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European Parliament postpones consideration of visa waiver for Ukraine until Feb. 1

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:05 pm
European Parliament postpones consideration of visa waiver for Ukraine until Feb. 1

The European Parliament has postponed the consideration of granting Ukraine a visa-free regime until Feb. 1, 2017.

Censor.NET reports citing BBC.

Earlier, the consideration date, according to the European Parliament website, was Jan. 18, 2017.

On Dec. 15, the European Parliament is going to approve a visa suspension mechanism so vital for paving the way to visa liberalization for Ukraine and Georgia.

This week, the EU will also embark on an inter-institutional trialogue concerning visa waiver for Georgia, which the European Parliament plans to finally approve on Jan. 18.

According to a common procedure, after the European Parliament takes a positive decision, it must be approved by the EU Council and will take effect 21 days after this approval.

If the European Parliament approves visa waiver for Ukraine on Feb. 1, it will come into force no earlier than March 2017.

ua.censor.net.ua, In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Netherlands reaches agreement on three out of four issues on EU-Ukraine association deal

on Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:17 pm
Netherlands reaches agreement on three out of four issues on EU-Ukraine association deal

By now, three out of the four requirements have been agreed, in respect of which the Netherlands wants a legally binding declaration to be adopted to allow for the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

According to a diplomatic source, discussions over the remaining issue on ensuring that the association deal is not a step toward Ukraine's membership in the EU will take place later on Monday, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN.

"The Netherlands has already reached agreements on three of the four conditions that they want to achieve and that clearly state that the Association Agreement does not provide for any military assistance to Kyiv, that this deal will not cost the EU extra money, and that member states have the right to limit the number of Ukrainians who are allowed to work and live in the EU. The question as to whether that agreement is not a step toward [Ukraine's] membership will be discussed tonight," the source says.

As noted, it is not about changing the text but giving "a clear explanation of certain provisions of the agreement."

There is a great political will to reach these agreements, according to the diplomat.

"[Dutch Prime Minister Mark] Rutte hopes to reach final agreements on a legally binding declaration on Thursday [when the EU summit kicks off]," the source added.

As reported, Rutte offers that the EU leaders state at the summit that the deal with Ukraine must not stipulate bearing additional financial obligations to Kyiv on the part of Brussels. The Netherlands requires that the EU leaders recognize the association between the EU and Ukraine will not grant Ukrainians the right to live and work in the territory of the EU member states.

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EU foot-dragging on visas fuels sense of betrayal in Ukraine

on Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:00 am
EU foot-dragging on visas fuels sense of betrayal in Ukraine

Pro-western citizens feel let down by bloc they saw as a model and mentor

As activists gathered on an icy Kiev square this weekend to commemorate the authorities’ bloody response to the wave of protests three years ago that eventually swept the then president from power, the mood was sombre.

The country’s 2013-14 Maidan revolution was sparked by Viktor Yanukovich’s refusal, under pressure from Moscow, to sign a groundbreaking integration agreement with the EU. When dozens of demonstrators were mown down by snipers in February 2014, some held EU flags.

But many Ukrainians feel increasingly let down by the 28-nation bloc they saw as a model and mentor.

“I wish that Europeans would hold true to values which they talk about, [and] open the doors for Ukrainians,” said Ihor Luchuk, serving food and drink to the activists as the bells of Kiev’s gold-domed St Michael’s cathedral rang in the background. “If you promise to open the border, then do it. We held up to our side of the bargain. We adopted the laws expected of us.”

Mr Luchuk was referring to a long-promised agreement to grant Ukrainians visa-free travel to the EU. Kiev had hoped it would be in place by the year-end but it now looks set to be delayed for weeks, or even months.

More worryingly, the very EU integration deal that sparked the revolution is looking shaky. Mark Rutte, the Dutch premier, warned last week he would scupper the agreement after Dutch voters rejected it in a non-binding April referendum, unless the Netherlands received binding guarantees that it was not a step towards Ukraine’s eventual EU membership.

Many Ukrainians saw the agreement as precisely that. Even with Brussels officials hopeful they can find a solution before an EU summit on Thursday, the risk is that Ukrainians still see the bloc as trying to close its doors to them...............

Access complete text of the editorial:  ft.com In English


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The Kremlin is hysterical. The idea of ​​Ukraine and Romania NATO Forces presence in the Black Sea called provocation

on Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:06 am
The Kremlin is hysterical. The idea of ​​Ukraine and Romania NATO Forces presence in the Black Sea called provocation

Lavrov said that Ukraine ideas "causes fatigue in partners"



Russia considers the provocative idea of ​​a permanent "group of NATO" in the Black Sea.

This was stated by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"The Ukrainian side many initiatives, they are already beginning to cause some fatigue in our partners", - he said, commenting on the statement of the need to Ukraine NATO presence in the Black Sea.

"We believe that the Black Sea should take all decisions riparian countries, especially in regard to security - said Lavrov. - Because the idea of ​​Ukraine as well as the idea of ​​Romanian neighbors about how to create here standing NATO groups, see as provocative. I hope that the situation will calm down, our Romanian partners also make for a correct conclusion ", - said the head of the Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov drew attention to attempts to "creeping breach of terms of" Black Sea of ​​the US Navy. "But every time we firmly demand that our American colleagues are not doing as they like, blurring the clear and unambiguous provisions of international law", - said the head of the Foreign Ministry.

Previously, the US Navy did not exclude the possibility of increasing the term of patrolling US ships in the Black Sea for four months.

glavcom.ua , In Ukrainian / на українській мові


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