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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vladimir Putin’s full speech on the Results of the Crimean Referendum



Video Source: RT YouTube
http://youtu.be/PDLwu4E35us

Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book


Source: Russia Today
http://on.rt.com/0e4qji

Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was just like Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, and any arguments otherwise are just attempts to bend the West-advocated rules that were applied to the Kosovo case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The statements came as Putin was addressing the Russian parliament to convince lawmakers to ratify a treaty, which would make Crimea part of the Russian Federation.

In the speech he challenged Washington’s position, which says that Kosovo was a unique case and could not justify any other move towards independence in the world.

“Our western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary,” Putin reminded, adding that the UN International Court of Justice agreed to those arguments.

“That’s what they wrote, that what they trumpeted all over the world, coerced everyone into it – and now they are complaining. Why is that?” he asked.

Putin dismissed the argument that Kosovo was unique due to the large number of victims during the Balkan wars and the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

“It’s beyond double standards,” Putin said. “It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit his interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”

The president dismissed the allegations that Russia is violating international law with its actions in Ukraine.

“Well’ it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law. Thank you very much. Better late than never,” Putin said adding that in fact nothing of this kind happened.

‘In Ukraine the West crossed the red line’


In fact, it was Russia that defended international law and its institutions, while western countries have been diminishing them. The situation in Crimea is just a reflection of this broader process, which has been happening for decades now.

In the practical application of policies, our western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right,” Putin charged.

This disregard to rule of law was evident in Yugoslavia in 1999, when NATO bombed the country without a UN Security Council mandate, the Russian president said. There was Afghanistan, Iraq and the perversion of the UNSC resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing a no-fly zone NATO bombed the country into submission.

There were also orchestrated “colored revolutions” in Europe and the Arab World, which cynically used the feelings of people tired with corruption and poverty. The latest Ukrainian events are just the latest of such actions, and Russia’s willingness to seek dialogue and compromise was stonewalled again, Putin said.

“They were cheating us once more, took decisions behind our back, presented us with a fait accompli,” he said, adding that the patter is identical to that which accompanied NATO’s expansion to the east, the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, visa restrictions and numerous other issues.

“They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical,” Putin accused. “Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line. They acted brutally, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”

Putin said the West must stop being hysterical, restrain from the Cold War rhetoric and admit the obvious: “Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”

As for the Ukrainian red line, the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia, Putin said.

“We stand against having a military organization meddling in our backyard, next to our homeland or in the territories that are historically ours. I just cannot imagine visiting NATO sailors in Sevastopol,” he stressed. “Most of them are fine lads, by the way. But rather let them visit us in Sevastopol than the other way around.”

At the end of his speech, Putin announced the submission to parliament of a draft federal law which would incorporate Crimea and the City of Sevastopol into Russian territory, as well as a request to ratify an international treaty with the government of Crimea to make this happen. He said he was sure of the legislature’s support for both documents.

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News Updates on the unfolding events in Ukraine



 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

95% of Crimeans vote to join Russia through national referendum

UPDATED: March 16th, 6:00 PM est
 
 
People celebrate as they wait for the announcement of preliminary results of today's referendum on Lenin Square in the Crimean capital of Simferopol March 16, 2014 (Reuters / Thomas Peter

Source: Russia Today
http://rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/

Around 95 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and less than 5 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to preliminary results.

With around 50 percent of the votes already counted, preliminary result show that 95.5 percent of voters said 'yes' to the reunion of the republic with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. In Sevastopol, the number of those who voted ‘yes’ stands at 93 percent, according to the head of the Sevastopol commission, Valery Medvedev.

The preliminary results of the popular vote were announced during a meeting in the center of Sevastopol, the city that hosts Russia's Black Sea fleet.

The overall voter turnout in the referendum on the status of Crimea is 81,37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.

Over a half of the Tatars living in the port city took part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining Russia, reports Itar-Tass citing a representative of the Tatar community Lenur Usmanov.

About 40% of Crimean Tatars went to polling stations on Sunday, the republic’s prime minister Sergey Aksyonov said.



In Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 have gathered to celebrate the referendum in central Lenin square and people reportedly keep arriving. Demonstrators, waving Russian and Crimean flags, were watching a live concert while waiting for the announcement of preliminary results of the voting.

International observers are planning to present their final declaration on the Crimean referendum on March 17, the head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateush Piskorski told journalists. He added that the voting was held in line with international norms and standards.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Aksyonov told Interfax. In his words, the dual currency will be in place for about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the Prime Minister said, adding that it could be done faster. However, they want to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

Moscow is closely monitoring the vote count in Crimea, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin.

The results of the referendum will be considered once they are drawn up,” he told Itar-Tass.

The decision to hold a referendum was made after the bloody uprising in Kiev which ousted President Vladimir Yanukovich from power. Crimea - which is home to an ethnic Russian majority population - refused to recognize the coup-appointed government as legitimate. Crimeans feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect rights. Crimeans were particularly unhappy over parliament's decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages – including Russian – as official along with the Ukrainian tongue. Crimeans staged mass anti-Maidan protests and asked Russia to protect them.



Officials count votes of today's referendum in the Crimean capital of Simferopol March 16, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Friday, March 14, 2014

US caught planning terror attacks in Ukraine


 
This map, which was attached to a terror plan email, shows where the plane wreckage of a terror attack is to be found

Article By: Gordon Duff

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03/14/354594/us-planning-terror-attacks-in-ukraine/

In a series of hacked emails received from “Anonymous Ukraine” it is clear that Pentagon officials working in concert with extremist elements in the Ukraine have carried out and are planning more attacks in Ukraine.

What is also clear is that these attacks are to be blamed on Russia including blowing up planes at an airport. Other attacks may well include mass civilian casualties.

The long series of emails include several that are frighteningly incriminating. This is first of the “worst,” three “smoking gun” false flag planning documents:

Ihor,
Events are moving rapidly in Crimea. Our friends in Washington expect more decisive actions from your network.
I think it's time to implement the plan we discussed lately. Your job is to cause some problems to the transport hubs in the south-east in order to frame-up the neighbor.
It will create favorable conditions for Pentagon and the Company to act.
Do not waste time, my friend.
Respectfully,
JP
Jason P. Gresh
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Assistant Army Attaché
U.S. Embassy, Kyiv
Tankova 4, Kyiv, Ukraine 04112
(380-44) 521 - 5444 | Fax (380-44) 521 – 5636

“Framing up the neighbor” as Lt. Col. Gresh states so inelegantly defines false flag terrorism. Other documents including a White Paper done by the International Centre for Policy Studies in Kiev dated March 4, 2014 warns of Russian “conspiracy theories.”

The Centre’s White Paper provides what intelligence experts call “deception and cover” for terror attacks planned, as we learn, by the US Army working with Ukrainian military officials and terrorist groups.

The email below, copied to COL Igor PROTSYK, Chief, Bilateral Military Cooperation Division, Main Directorate for Military Cooperation and PKO, General Staff, Armed Forces of Ukraine, not only outlines a terror attack to be blamed on Russian Special Forces, it actually includes a map of where the wreckage is to be found:

Oleg, an urgent need poshumity (sic) on behalf of Russians at the airport in Melitopol. This should be done by March 15 . Sam understands why.
First of all you must contact Pasha Tarasenko. You must know him , he is a local Liberty and has a theme.
Before you arrive 10-12 boys from the Centre. Top fighters Trident. Chief Mike there, you should know it too . Details will know him. We need people to meet and provide everything you need.
Proceed with caution. Speak only Russian. 25 team is executing combat missions, so do not do them much damage to aircraft . There is a lot of scrap metal, with it you can do anything. Damaged aircraft you specify. It is essential that all was as real attack neighbor's Special Forces. But without corpses.
Give me again your account. The money will come in time, do not worry.
See the appendix . This is an example of action. Decisions are made in person.

Will publication of this hacked email actually stop the upcoming attack on Melitopol? When they specify that corpses aren’t needed, does this mean that they are planning on getting them elsewhere?

When they say “the money will come in time,” are they aware of sequestration and how the US has been paying its bills less quickly than before?

We quickly found Pasha Tarasenko through his “My Space” account. Prominently featured is a photograph in a Ukrainian Army officers dress uniform.

In this final email about the upcoming terror attack on Melitopol airport, Colonel Protsyk takes clear control of the operation:

Basil , you must quickly carry out proactive in Melitopol. There's 25 aviation brigade . Must zamaraty our sworn friends and good neighbors. I think you understand me.
Just proceed carefully and cautiously. 25 brigade combat mission out , so do not do them much damage to aircraft . There is already damaged aircraft , that He can do everything. Yihny board numbers you give. Remember , you need everything to be as real attack of the Russian Special Forces.
Brigade commander there is a reasonable man . Details of know he will not, but in extreme cases it can turn to. We did come.
COL Igor PROTSYK
Chief, Bilateral Military Cooperation Division
Main Directorate for Military Cooperation and PKO
General Staff, Armed Forces of Ukraine
tel +38044 481-5407
Cell +38067 407 97 40
e-mail: i.v.protsyk@mil.gov.ua
e-mail: protsyk@ukr.net

It began with terrorist snipers hired by the “new” Ukrainian government, killing their own supporters. The US involvement was long proven through the infamous Victoria Nuland phone conversation, America “anointing” their chosen terrorists to stage a confrontation with Russia.

The second call, between the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet and EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ahston gave us that “smoking gun,” that the current cabal in Kiev are terrorists and criminals.

We now have Americans hiring terrorists, planning attacks, working with the Ukrainian Army and Neo-Nazi groups to blow up planes, attack airports and clearly do so in order to blame Russia and inflame the world to the point of war.

Many of the other documents show planning and logistic support through Bulgaria with PowerPoints in English. Mixed in with the documents are a selection of NATO unclassified news reports.

What can be safely assumed? The US government, certainly the State Department and US Army are involved. NATO involvement is a given.

The current rulers in Kiev are proven to be the criminal element predicted by Catherine Ashton of the EU and so many others.

What we do have is a clear smoking gun, not just names but personal email addresses, mobile phone numbers and language that can never be mistaken.

Gladio based false flag terrorism is alive and well, there can be no question.
-------------------------

Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic representative for UN humanitarian and economic development efforts. Gordon Duff has traveled to over 80 nations. His articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest.

 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kiev snipers shooting from bldg controlled by Maidan forces – Ex-Ukraine security chief

 

 
Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin

Source: Russia Today

Former chief of Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.

Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine’s capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.

Furthermore the former security chief believes that Parubiy has been in contact with US Special Forces that could have coordinated the assault.

“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall. Maidan Commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building. Snipers and people with automatic weapons were ‘working’ from this building on February 20. They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and have, in fact, fled,” Yakimenko said in an interview with Russian television.

The police officers were chased by a group of rioters armed with various weapons and at that point, Yakimenko says snipers fired at pursuers themselves.

“When the first wave of shootings ended, many have witnessed 20 people leaving the building,” former chief says, noting that they were well-equipped and were carrying military style bag for carrying sniper and assault rifles with optical sights. Not only the law enforcers, but people from the opposition’s Freedom, Right Sector, Fatherland, and Klitschko’s UDAR party have also seen this, Yakimenko claims.

The former security head also said that according to the intelligence those snipers could be foreigners, including mercenaries from former Yugoslavia as well former Special Forces employees from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

Yakimenko claims that Parubiy was part of a group that was heavily influenced by the people associated with the US secret services. “These were the forces that carried out everything that they were told by their leadership – the United States,” Yakimenko explained, claiming that Maidan leaders practically lived in the US embassy.
 
 
Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko

According to Yakimenko, during the massacre the opposition leaders contacted him and asked him to deploy special force unit to scoop out the snipers from buildings in central Kiev, but Parubiy made sure that won’t happen.

“The Right Sector and Freedom Party have requested me to use the Alpha group to cleanse these buildings, stripping them from snipers,” Yakimenko said. According to him Ukrainian troops were ready to move in and eliminate the shooters.

“I was ready to do it, but in order to go inside Maidan I had to get the sanction from Parubiy. Otherwise the ‘self-defense’ would attack me in the back. Parubiy did not give such consent,” Yakimenko said noting that the Maidan leader had full authority over the access to weapons on Maidan, and not a single gun including a sniper rifle could get in or out of the square.

Aleksandr Yakimenko’s account supports previously voiced concerns over unknown snipers shooting both protesters and the police indiscriminately – who were the topic of the recently leaked phone conversation between EU’s Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

In a leaked phone conversation that took place February 26 Ashton and Paet discussed rumors that snipers were hired by some of the opposition leaders.

“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation. “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

)

Almost 100 people were killed and another 900 injured during the violent standoff near Maidan Square in Kiev last month that forced president Yanukovich out of the country and installed a new government. Ukrainian self-proclaimed authorities maintain that the shooting was authorized by Yanukovich.

On Wednesday Moscow suggested setting up a probe to investigate the crimes perpetrated by extremist and armed elements of the opposition over the past three months. The proposal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also seeks to examine the legitimacy of the post-coup Ukrainian government.
 
Detailed Analysis of Shooting at Maidan Activists

)


News Updates on the unfolding events in Ukraine




 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crimean parliament votes to join Russia, hold referendum in 10 days on ratifying


 
AFP Photo/Vasily Batanov

Source: Russia Today
http://rt.com/news/crimea-referendum-status-ukraine-154/

A referendum on the status of Crimea will be held March 16, the region’s deputy prime minister announced. Crimeans will be asked to decide if the autonomous republic stays part of Ukraine or joins Russia.

"The referendum will take place March 16," said the autonomous region’s First Deputy-Premier Rustam Temirgaliev, according to ITAR-TASS.

The new date is two weeks earlier than the one announced last week.


There will be two questions on the ballots.

“The first one: Are you in favor of Crimea becoming a constituent territory of the Russian Federation. The second one: Are you in favor of restoring Crimea’s 1992 constitution,”Temirgaliev said.


According to the 1992 constitution, the autonomous republic is part of Ukraine but has relations with Kiev, defined on the basis of mutual agreements.

Sevastopol residents will take part in the referendum, despite the city enjoying a special status and not officially being a part of Crimea, according to Sergey Shuvainikov, a Crimean MP.

“We will give Sevastopol an opportunity to have its say,” he said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile the Crimean MPs have unanimously voted for the region to become a part of Russia.

"To become part of the Russian Federation as its constituent territory,” says the text of the Crimean parliament’s statement, obtained by RIA Novosti.

When the decision was announced to the people outside the parliament building, they welcomed the news with cheers and screams of “Russia!”

There are currently several thousand people in front of the parliament building, according to ITAR-TASS.

The parliament has also made a decision to ask the Russian leadership to “launch the procedure of Crimea becoming part of Russia.”


The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, explained that the parliament’s decision on the region joining Russia still has to be approved at a referendum.

Russia’s State Duma (parliament) could possibly debate the bill on Crimea joining Russia next week, said leader of the ‘Fair Russia’ party, Sergey Mironov.

“I think that taking into consideration the date of the referendum – March 16 – we have time to consider the bill as part of normal business. The Bill is going to be debated next week,” Mironov said as cited by RIA Novosti.

More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication.

Crimean authorities denounced the self-proclaimed government in Kiev and declared that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The majority of troops in Crimea switched sides in favor of the local authorities.
-----------------------------------------

Crimea: Unmasking Revolution


An RT Short Documentary


------------------------------------

News Updates on the unfolding events in Ukraine




 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Proof Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders - leaked EU's Ashton phone tape

Update: 2014 March 05 4:30 PM est
 


News Source: Russia Today

The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.

Full Phone Conversation Between Urmas Paet & Catherine Ashton



Video Source
“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation.

“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.

Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.

“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”

“So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.

The Estonian FM has described the whole sniper issue as “disturbing” and added, “it already discredits from the very beginning” the new Ukrainian power.

His overall impressions of what he saw during his one-day trip to Kiev are
“sad,” Paet said during the conversation.

He stressed that the Ukrainian people don’t trust the Maidan leaders, with all the opposition politicians slated to join the new government
“having dirty past.”

The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.
 
-------------------------------------------

Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked call on Kiev snipers

 
Source: Russia Today
Estonian foreign ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.
 
Paet told RIA-Novosti news agency that he talked to Catherine Ashton last week right after retiring from Kiev, but refrained from further comments, saying that he has to “listen to the tape first.”
 
“It’s very disappointing that such surveillance took place altogether. It’s not a coincidence that this conversation was uploaded [to the web] today,” he stressed.
 
“My conversation with Ashton took place last week right after I returned from Kiev. At that time I was already in Estonia,” Paet added.
 
Paet also gave a press conference about the leaked tape on Wednesday, saying that the dramatic events in Kiev, which resulted in people being killed, must become the subject of an independent investigation.
 
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on its website, saying that the recording of the leaked telephone conversation between Paet and Ashton is “authentic.”
 
 

The phone call took place on February 26 after Estonia’s FM returned from his visit to Ukraine, which took place soon after the end of street violence in Kiev, the ministry added.

“We reject the claim that Paet was giving an assessment of the opposition’s involvement in the violence," the statement stressed, adding that the FM was only providing an overview of what he had heard during his Kiev visit.
 
RT has contacted Ashton’s spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, who said “we don’t comment on leaked phone conversations.”
 
The US government declined to comment on the leaked phone conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign affairs minister.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she had nothing to say on the issue, ITAR-TASS reported. However, she did accuse Russia of leaking the tape, stating that “this was another example of how the Russians work.”
 
The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25, following the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.
 
 
 
Anti-government protesters take cover as they are under fire reportedly of police sniper during clashes police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

It was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.

During the conversation, Paet stressed that “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

According to the Estonian FM, “all the evidence shows”that the “same snipers” at Maidan were shooting at people from both sides – the police and the protesters.

Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible,” adding that the matter is worth investigating.
 
94 people were killed and another 900 injured during the standoff between police and protesters at Maidan Saquare in Kiev last month.

News Updates on the unfolding events in Ukraine

 

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Deploying military force is last resort, but we reserve right - Putin

 
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Nokolskiy)

Source: Russia Today

Russia will not go to war with the people of Ukraine, but will use its troops to protect citizens, if radicals with clout in Kiev now try to use violence against Ukrainian civilians, particularly ethnic Russians, Putin told the media.

Putin, who was given a mandate by the Russian senate to use military force to protect civilians in Ukraine, said there is no need for such an action yet.

Putin cited the actions of radical activists in Ukraine, including the chaining of a governor to a stage as public humiliation and the killing of a technician during an opposition siege of the Party of Regions HQ, as justification for Russia to be concerned for the lives and well-being of people in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Incidents like those are why Russia reserves the option of troop deployment on the table.

“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens. And we consider it quite legitimate,” he said.

Russia is not planning to go to war with the Ukrainian people, Putin stressed, when a journalist asked if he was afraid of war. But Russian troops would prevent any attempts to target Ukrainian civilians, should they be deployed.

“We are not going to a war against the Ukrainian people,” he said. “I want you to understand it unambiguously. If we do take a decision, it would only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. Let anybody in the military dare, and they’d be shooting their own people, who would stand up in front of us. Shoot at women and children. I’d like to see anyone try and order such a thing in Ukraine.”

Putin dismissed the notion that the uniformed armed people without insignia who are currently present in Crimea are Russian soldiers. He said they are members of the Crimean self-defense forces and that they are no better equipped and trained than some radical fighters who took part in the ousting of Yanukovich.

He assured that the surprise military drills in Russia’s west which ended on Tuesday had nothing to do with the Ukrainian situation.

Sanction threats are counterproductive

Asked about criticism of Russia over its stance on Ukraine, Putin dismissed the accusations that Russia is acting illegitimately. He stated that even if Russia does use force in Ukraine, it would not violate international law.

At the same time he accused the United States and its allies of having no regard to legitimacy when they use military force in pursuit of their own national interests.

“When I ask them ‘Do you believe you do everything legitimately,’ they say ‘Yes.’ And I have to remind them about the US actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where they acted either without any UN Security Council mandate or through perverting a mandate, as was the case in Libya,” Putin said.

“Our partners, especially in the United States, always clearly and formulate for themselves their geopolitical and national interests, pursue them relentlessly and then drag the rest of the world in, using the principle ‘You are either with us or against us’. And harass those refuse to be dragged in,”he added.

As for the sanctions Russia faces over Ukraine, Putin said those threatening them should think of the consequences to themselves if they follow that path. In an interconnected world a country may hurt another country if it wishes, but it would be damaged too.

Threats are counterproductive in this situation, Putin warned. He added that if G8 members choose not to go to Sochi for a planned G8 summit, that would be up to them.

 

(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

Putin sympathies with Maidan protesters, rejects coup

Putin stressed that the Ukrainian people had a legitimate reason to protest against Yanukovich’s power, considering the overwhelming corruption and other faults of his presidency.

But he objected to the illegitimate way his ouster took place, because it undermined the political stability in the country.

He said that while he personally was not fond of months-long streets protests as a means to pressure the government, he sympathized with the Maidan demonstration members, who were genuinely outraged with the situation in Ukraine.

But at the same time he warned that what happens in Ukraine now may be a replacement of one group of crooks with another, citing the appointments of certain wealthy businessmen with questionable reputations.

Asked about the presence of snipers during the violent confrontation in Kiev last month, Putin said he was not aware of any order from the Yanukovich government to use firearms against the protesters. He alleged that the shooters could have been provocateurs from one of the opposition forces. He added that what he was sure of is the fact that police officers were shot at with lethal arms during the confrontation.

Yanukovich is certainly powerless in Ukraine, but legally speaking he is the legitimate president of the country, Putin said. The way the new authorities in Kiev replaced him did not enhance their credibility.

At the same time Putin does not see any political future for Yanukovich, which he told the ousted Ukrainian president himself. He added that Russia allowed him to come to its territory for humanitarian reasons, because if he remained in Ukraine he could have been summarily executed.

 
Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych arrives for his press-conference in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, on February 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Andrey Kronberg)

Equal participation in Ukraine's future for all Ukrainians

The Russian government is currently engaging with the self-proclaimed govern of Ukraine with the goal of preserving economic ties between the two countries. However, any normal relations would only be possible after Ukraine has fully legitimate branches of government, Putin said. He considers that he has no counterpart in Kiev now, so he personally has no partner to communicate with.

The Russian president stressed that Russia wants to see equal participation of all citizens of Ukraine in defining the future of the country. The resistance to the authorities in Kiev, which is evident currently in the eastern and southern Ukraine, shows clearly that currently Kiev does not have a nationwide mandate to govern the country.

Russia will be watching the planned presidential election in Ukraine, Putin said. If it is conducted in an atmosphere of terror, Russia will consider it unfair and will not recognize its results, he warned.

Putin commented on the issue of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which Russia committed to preserve. He said that Western powers reject Russia’s assessment of the events in Ukraine as a coup and insist on calling it a revolution.

Some Russian experts, Putin warned that if Ukraine had undergone a revolution, then the nation that came out of it is not the same that it was before, similarly to how Russia transformed after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

If this is the case, Moscow may consider itself no longer bound by any treaties it has with Ukraine, Putin warned.
 

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