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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Tuesday 18 April. [Ukrainian sources]

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:50 am
TUESDAY

Scroll to view news added during the day.

NEWS:
US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails.  Poroshenko, Putin, Hollande, Merkel talked Donbas settlement, - Kremlin.  US taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine for other reasons than economic, - Ann Applebaum responded to Tillerson.  France made a new attack on Le Pen, was video. Georgia accused Russia of attempting another assault on its sovereignty.

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US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:53 am
US conservatives keep faith with Putin despite Trump travails

Some see Russian president as natural ally on social issues

The Trump administration’s ties to Russia may be in flux, but Vladimir Putin can still boast strong support from one part of US society: the conservative movement.

While US President Donald Trump has appeared to cool on hopes of improved ties with Moscow — warning last week that relations “may be at an all-time low” — many US conservatives see Russia as a natural ally on the social issues that are their greatest concern.

“Of course there is a huge area of co-operation. We’ve been working with Russian friends for quite a long time,” says Brian Brown, president for the National Organisation for Marriage, a conservative group that campaigns for traditional family values and opposes same-sex marriage.

For religious conservatives who feel they are on the losing end of America’s “culture wars”, such issues outweigh the geopolitical anxieties of Republicans hawks, who worry about Russia’s role in Syria and Ukraine.

Mr Putin is a strident opponent of gay marriage, an issue that has animated American social conservatives who fear their values are falling out of the US mainstream. By contrast, the twice-divorced Mr Trump — who says the issue of gay marriage is “settled” — has always been an unlikely spiritual ally for evangelicals......................

Access complete text of the editorial:   ft.com


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Georgia accused Russia of attempting another assault on its sovereignty

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:55 am
Georgia accused Russia of attempting another assault on its sovereignty

The forthcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sukhumi is ignoring international principles and laws.

As the Tsenzor.NET citing TASS , the special representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze evaluated the forthcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Sukhumi as a "violation of Georgia's sovereignty."

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Jalagania, in turn, told reporters that "Lavrov's visit is a disregard for international principles and laws."

"This is another attempt of encroachment on the sovereignty of Georgia", - he stressed.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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Poroshenko, Putin, Hollande, Merkel talked Donbas settlement, - Kremlin

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:56 am
Poroshenko, Putin, Hollande, Merkel talked Donbas settlement, - Kremlin

Leaders of the "Normandy Four" countries (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France) held phone talks on the settlement of the Donbas situation.
Censor.NET reports citing the press service of the Kremlin.

"Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of France Francois Hollande, and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. The leaders of the Normandy Four counties reiterated their committal to fulfillment of the Minsk agreements in security and political parts," the message says.

"They congratulated the renewal of the Easter cease-fire agreement that was reached by the Contact Group on March 29, and stressed the importance of strict adherence to it. The leaders called to get more active in solving the problem of detained persons by all-for-all exchange formula. They also voiced regrets regarding the threats to OSCE SMM," the press service of the Kremlin said.

ua.censor.net.ua, Original in Ukrainian / на українській мові


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US taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine for other reasons than economic, - Ann Applebaum responded to Tillerson

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:00 am
US taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine for other reasons than economic, - Ann Applebaum responded to Tillerson

The 'rhetoric' question by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on why U.S. taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine continues provoking reaction by diplomats and journalists.

The Straits Times has published a 'response' by journalist Anne Applebaum, Censor.NET reports.

"If Mr Tillerson were a different person and this were a different historical moment, we could forget about this odd dropped comment and move on. But Mr Tillerson has an unusual background for a secretary of state. Unlike everyone who has held the job for at least the past century, he has no experience in diplomacy, politics or the military; instead he has spent his life extracting oil and selling it for profit. At that he was successful. But no one knows whether he can change his value system to focus instead on the very different task of selling something intangible - American values - to maximise something even more intangible: American influence," Applebaum wrote.

"The switch is harder than it seems: Values and influence cannot be measured like money. They cannot be achieved through cost-cutting or efficiency; they cannot be promoted using the tactics of corporate PR. ...

"Mr Tillerson's question, rhetorical or otherwise, therefore deserves a response. For the answer is yes: U.S. taxpayers should be interested in Ukraine. But not necessarily for reasons that would make sense to an oil company's CEO.

"Why? It's an explanation that cannot be boiled down to bullet points or a chart, or even reflected in numbers at all. I'm not even sure it can be done in a few paragraphs, but here goes. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014 were an open attack on the principle of border security in Europe....

"U.S. companies do billions of dollars of business in Europe; U.S. leaders have long been able to count on European support all over the world, in matters economic, political, scientific and more. It's not a perfect alliance but it is an unusual alliance, one that is held together by shared values as well as common interests. If Ukraine, a country of about 43 million people, were permanently affiliated with Europe, it too might become part of this zone of peace, trade and commerce," the author argues.

"Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an aggressive, emboldened Russia increasingly threatens European security and prosperity, as well as Europe's alliance with the US. Russia supports anti-American, anti-Nato and indeed anti-democratic political candidates all across the continent; Russia seeks business and political allies who will help promote its companies and turn a blind eye to its corrupt practices. Over the long term, these policies threaten US business interests and US political interests all across the continent and around the world.

"But I must concede: There is no calculation, no balance sheet that can prove any of this. There is nothing that would appeal to a CEO or his shareholders. Whatever we have "invested" in Ukraine - loans, via the International Monetary Fund, or aid - will not show an immediate profit. To see the value of a secure, pro-Western Ukraine, you have to see the value of an alliance going back 70 years. And to preserve this alliance, you have to advocate it, work on it, invest time and maybe even money in it, too," Applebaum says.

censor.net.ua, Original in Russian / На русском


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Senior Russian Lawmaker Calls RFE/RL, VOA, And CNN Part Of U.S. ‘Pressure System’, targeting Russia

on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:27 pm
Senior Russian Lawmaker Calls RFE/RL, VOA, And CNN Part Of U.S. ‘Pressure System’, targeting Russia

A senior Russian lawmaker has called RFE/RL, Voice Of America, and CNN part of an “American system of pressure” targeting Russia.

Leonid Levin, chairman of the committee on information policy in Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, made the remarks during an April 18 committee hearing examining whether the three U.S. media outlets are in compliance with Russian laws.

The hearing comes amid heightening tensions in already frayed relations between Moscow and Washington following the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election and an escalating standoff over the civil war in Syria.

Russian lawmakers ordered the probe last month after U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat-New Hampshire) introduced a bill that would empower federal authorities to investigate RT, Russia’s state-backed international news network, for possible violations of U.S. law.

Levin called RFE/RL, VOA, and CNN “part of a broader, wide-reaching American system of pressure on our country.”...................

rferl.org


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Re: Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Tuesday 18 April. [Ukrainian sources]

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