Russians intensifies threats against Ukraine

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In the resort of Yalta, in Crimea.

In what mean more Russian military attacks against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered naval war games in the Black Sea after he accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs into Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukrainian and other observers fear that Russia may plan to ramp up fighting in the war between  Ukraine and pro-Russian and Russian armed separatists.

Reuters speculated: “Such an escalation could be used by Putin to demand better terms in the Ukraine peace process, or to inflame nationalist passions at home ahead of Russian parliamentary elections next month.”

To read the Reuters story, please hit this link.

Ukraine war puts many weapons in hands of criminals

 

The Russian-backed attack on eastern Ukraine has   taken vast numbers of weapons  out of the hands of irregular military units and put them into the criminal  international arms business, which is selling the weapons far beyond the conflict zone.

“Interviews by Reuters with security officials and rebels, as well as study of law enforcement data and court documents have shown that weapons are being channeled out of the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine in significant numbers, in some cases as part of an organized underground trade,” Reuters reported.

“Of course, they have moved arms across, and they’re moving them across now,” Igor, a fighter with a pro-Russian rebel unit in eastern Ukraine told Reuters. “Mainly they take Kalashnikovs,” he said.

To read the entire Reuters story, please hit this link.

Lucian Kim: The endless lies of Putin’s Russia

 

Lucian Kim writes in a Reuters opinion piece that the Russian athletes’  “doping scandal is a symptom of a much larger problem: the casual disregard for the truth that has become a hallmark of {Russian President Vladimir} Putin’s rule. In a country where elections are rigged, lawsuits are fabricated, and state TV spews lies around the clock, it’s hard to know what ordinary citizens are to believe anymore. Beyond politics, corruption has not only gnawed away at Russia’s reputation as a sports powerhouse, but cheapened the prestige of its once-vaunted institutions of higher education.

“Putin’s initial denial of Russia’s 2014 military intervention in Crimea — followed by a later admission of it — was the clearest demonstration of the Kremlin’s belief that the ends justify the means. Many Russians seem to agree.

“In a poll taken by the independent Levada Center in April 2015, 37 percent of respondents said they believed their government that Russia wasn’t militarily involved in eastern Ukraine. An almost equal portion, 38 percent, said that ‘even if there are Russian soldiers and military equipment in Ukraine, it’s the correct policy for Russia to deny these facts in the current global situation.’ ”

To read Mr. Kim’s essay, please hit this link.

U.S. emphasizes it will keep Black Sea military presence

 

U.S.  Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that the  United States will maintain its  military presence in the Black Sea despite, in Reuters’s words, “a Russian warning that a U.S. destroyer patrolling there undermined regional security.”

The USS Porter entered the Black Sea this month, drawing heavy criticism from Moscow. Turkey and Romania are expected to seek  a bigger NATO presence in the  sea at the NATO summit in Warsaw next month.

Mr. Mabus told Reuters that it was the U.S. Navy’s job to deter aggression, presumably meaning Russian aggression,  and keep international sea lanes open.

Relations between Russia and NATO have been very strained over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine and military  support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

For more details, hit this link.

 

Merkel: Implementing Minsk Agreement would end sanctions against Russia

(June 13th, 2016) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on June 10 that implementing the Minsk Agreement to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would end sanctions imposed against Russia  for  its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and its ongoing attacks on the latter nation’s east.

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Mrs. Merkel also said that in the long term, the European Union should aim for a vast common economic zone with Russia extending from Russia’s Pacific coast to Portugal.

“We should move gradually towards this goal,” she said.

The Boston Global Forum last December named Chancellor Merkel a “World Leader for Peace, Security and Development’’.

Hit this link for more details.

Will G7 pushback against Chinese, Russian aggression work?

Do the actions of the G7 nations meeting at their May 26-27 summit in Japan suggest that Russian aggression against Ukraine and Chinese aggression in the South China Sea will not succeed in the long run because of pushback from the G7 industrialized democracies? Joshua W. Walker of the German Marshall Fund discusses this in The National Interest.

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He concludes:

“The significance of this year’s G7 in Japan in advance of the G20 in China in September will be judged by which summit ultimately sets the tone for either the enduring nature of the liberal international order or sweeping tide of revisionist authoritarianism. Obama’s historic Hiroshima and Vietnam visits were symbolic of the legacy he hopes to leave. Yet, symbolism risks complacency without action. The G7’s latest initiative for global infrastructure development confirmed the member countries’ internationalist commitment but whether they can remain unified in the face of Chinese and Russian revisionist alternatives such as OBOR {One Belt, One Road} or the {Russiian-led} Eurasian Economic Union will have to be seen. As Japan passes the G7 baton to Italy next year, the world anxiously expects the world’s seven most advanced democracies and economies to lead toward the triumph of internationalism over revisionism.’’

To read the article, hit this link.

Merkel warns Russia that sanctions will continue

(May 30th, 2016) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 26 that the Group of Seven will not end sanctions on Russia over its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea.

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“For me it’s too early to give the all clear,” Ms. Merkel said in Japan, where she was attending the G7 Summit.

“There is no change of position to be expected” from the G7, she said. Earlier that day European Council President Donald Tusk, also at the summit, said that the G7 needed to take a “clear and tough stance” toward Russia for its moves in Ukraine — as well as toward China for its controversial claims and militarization in the South China Sea.

“The test of our credibility at the G7 is our ability to defend the common values that we share,” he told reporters at the Japan talks. “This test will only pass if we take a clear and tough stance on every topic of our discussions here.”

Ukraine and its Western allies believe that Russia seized and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and fomented an insurgency in the country’s east to keep a grip over the former member of the Soviet Union, and especially to prevent it from seeking membership in the European Union and NATO.