Tag Archives: Ukraine

UK Petition: Lift EU/US sanctions on Russia to increase trade now the UK is leaving the EU

As the UK has chosen to exit the EU, we will be no longer bound by US-influenced, EU sanctions on Russia. We should lift sanctions on Russia as an independent country to regain the millions of pounds of trade we have lost with Russia. We don’t need to participate in EU/US sanctions against Russia.

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The EU and the US introduced sanctions on Russia over the democratic decision of the people of Crimea to reunify with Russia and Russia’s alleged backing of separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The UK had to participate in this as an EU member. Now the UK is leaving the EU, we need not be dictated to by it. Lost trade with Russia costs the UK many millions of pounds. This is trade that we are now at liberty to get back. Russia is a market of 140m consumers British business needs. Continue reading

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A new Swiss humanitarian convoy for the city of Donetsk

On 22 May 2016, two humanitarian convoys Confederation carrying chemicals for treating water and medical supplies left for Ukraine in the conflict zone.

Part of the convoy with medical equipment and medicine was awarded to the Kurakhove hospital this morning.

The products have been transported by road but also, for the first time by rail .

Sunday morning, a train ferrying chemicals for water treatment left Switzerland to Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

The cargo is for waterworks of Donbass, which supply the population with drinking water on both sides of the line of contact.

Other goods, including medical supplies, including spare parts for X-ray machine, are transported by road to Donetsk on trucks.

A second convoy of fourteen trucks, is designed to transport some 245 tons of chemicals to the waterworks of Donbass, in the city of Krasnoarmiynsk placed under government control.

A load of medical equipment and medicines by truck was delivered this morning at the hospital Kurakhove.

Convoys benefit from the guidance and support of seven members of the Humanitarian Aid of the Confederation, which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and as collaborators of the embassy and the Kiev cooperation Office.

This convoy is the fourth Swiss humanitarian convoy for this area of ​​conflict since the spring of 2015.

The SDC is so far the only state actor to organize humanitarian convoys crossing the contact line in eastern Ukraine. Continue reading

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War Returns to Ukraine

Whilst all eyes are on Syria there has been a steady deterioration of the situation in Ukraine.

In violation of the ceasefire shelling of the territories of the two people’s republics has resumed, and the OSCE has confirmed that the Ukrainian military has moved heavy weapons back to the contact line.

The Ukrainians meanwhile have extended their ban of commercial flights to and from Russia by banning also transit flights.

Ukraine has placed Crimea under food blockade. To the intense embarrassment of its Western backers (see this editorial in the Financial Times, headlined “Kiev should act to end the blockade of Crimea”) it has enlarged this to an energy blockade.

Ukraine claims the power lines to Crimea were destroyed by Crimean Tatar “activists” backed by Right Sector.

Even if this were true, the Ukrainian authorities have done little or nothing to take control of the situation, arrest and punish those responsible for what was after all an act of criminal damage, or carry out the necessary repairs.

Characteristically most Western governments have said nothing, save that there has been some muted criticism from Germany.

Contrast this silence with the furious – and wrong – accusations regularly made in the West against Russia for its supposed use of energy as a political weapon.

All of this is happening to a drumbeat of demands in the Ukrainian media for the country to renounce the Minsk II agreement.

The Russians for their part have responded by stopping coal supplies to Ukraine. Since Ukraine is again failing to pay for its gas, it seems the Russians intend to stop supplying Ukraine with gas on Tuesday.

The two people’s republics have also announced they are stopping their own coal deliveries to Ukraine.

These steps increase the prospects of severe power shortages in Ukraine during what is predicted to be a harsh winter.

The Russians are also due in January to impose sanctions on Ukrainian food imports to Russia. This is in retaliation to Ukraine joining EU sanctions against Russia, and imposing sanctions of its own.

Bizarrely, this systematic severing of trade links with Russia is being hailed in parts of the Western media as proof Ukraine is “successfully reorienting” its trade to the EU and away from Russia, and is becoming “less dependent” on Russia. This of course takes no account of the damage these actions are doing to Ukraine’s economy.

There has also been an orchestrated attempt in recent weeks on the part of some sections of the Western media to talk up Ukraine’s economic situation, with claims that it is “stabilising”. The US credit agency Moody’s has joined in the game by upgrading Ukraine’s credit rating.

To the very limited extent this is true, it is wholly the consequence of the August ceasefire, which stopped the drain of fighting the war on the civilian economy.

The actions the Ukrainian government and “activists” have been taking over the last few weeks puts this in jeopardy.

What is causing this sudden deterioration in the situation?

At its simplest, it is growing alarm in Ukraine that Western – especially European – support for Ukraine is flagging.

It is now widely accepted that Merkel and Obama are becoming increasingly isolated in their insistence that the sanctions against Russia be extended.

In France Nicholas Sarkozy, Hollande’s likely conservative opponent at the Presidential election, has clearly signalled his opposition to sanctions, aligning himself on this issue with Marine Le Pen.

More to the point in Germany Merkel’s coalition partners – the SPD and the CSU – are both becoming openly critical of a sanctions policy with which one senses they both privately always disagreed.

Russia Insider has already discussed the increasingly rebellious line being taken by Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD’s leader and Germany’s Vice Chancellor.

Possibly even more important is the call from Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU – the CDU’s right wing coalition partner in Merkel’s coalition – for a rapprochement with Russia.

Whilst Seehofer’s comments seem to have been specifically triggered by the migrant crisis and the conflict in Syria, their tone suggests a wider rapprochement.

Interestingly, Seehofer has been forging increasingly close links in recent weeks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – a bete noir in Washington – who is known to be a strong advocate of good relations between Europe Russia.

Back in September – as the migrant crisis was starting to spiral out of control – Orban made another call for a new relationship between Europe and Russia. Significantly he did this straight after a meeting with Seehofer.

The mounting opposition in Europe to the sanctions is being picked up by the “realists” in the US.

Russia Insider recently republished an article in The National Interest – the main publication in which the US foreign policy “realists” express their views – which should be read as a call to the Obama administration to take the lead in diplomatic discussions with Moscow before the sanctions regime collapses, leaving the US looking isolated and humiliated.

A number our readers misunderstood this article, taking literally its ritual claims about the sanctions’ effectiveness and Putin’s supposedly “desperate situation”.

The sad truth about policy debate in the US today is that it cannot admit defeat, so that even when it retreats it has to claim “victory”.

The key point about the article in The National Interest is not what it says about Putin and Russia.

It is its call for the US to initiate diplomatic negotiations with Moscow to find a face-saving way to end the sanctions before Europe splits away and they fall apart.

The gradual shift towards an improvement in relations with Russia began before Russia’s intervention in Syria.

In fact it has been underway ever since the Minsk II agreement was reached in February. We have discussed the process at length in various articles here on Russia Insider.

However the Russian intervention in Syria and the Paris attacks have markedly accelerated the process, with Western public opinion showing increasing signs of backing Russia.

All of this is causing in Ukraine growing alarm. The Ukrainians must be seething as international attention is refocusing away from them, and as Russia shows signs of winning over Western public opinion to its side.

The consistent response of the Maidan movement whenever it senses it is losing is to double down and escalate and that is what we are now seeing.

A way to rationalise it would be to say that the Ukrainians are trying to provoke Russia into an overreaction, so as to reignite the conflict in order to shore up Western support and get the sanctions – due for renewal in December – extended.

Though this is at a certain level true, it seriously underestimates the purely visceral aspect in Ukrainian behaviour.

For the Maidan movement any sign Russia is gaining credit with the Western public is like a red rag to a bull. There is no need to look for calculation in Ukrainian behaviour in order to understand it.

The underlying problem – as we have said many times – is that the Maidan movement is inherently incapable of the sort of compromise that Minsk II envisages.

To see how that is so, consider what has happened since the October summit in Paris where the Europeans in effect ordered Poroshenko to implement Minsk II within a revised timetable.

The Ukrainians have done nothing of the sort, and the new timetable for carrying out the terms of Minsk II is already slipping.

Any discussion of the internal aspect of the Ukrainian conflict – as opposed to its external aspect – has to proceed from the fact that the present Ukrainian government is simply incapable of compromise unless overwhelming external pressure is brought upon it.

The Russians long ago grasped this. Over the last few weeks there are clear signs the Europeans belatedly are starting to grasp it as well.

The question that remains is for how much longer the Europeans will be prepared to go on making their relations with Russia hostage to the ideological obsessions of the Maidan movement and its neocon supporters.

The mounting evidence – judging from comments by people like Sigmar Gabriel and Horst Seehofer in Germany, Sarkozy in France, and from what happened during the summit in Paris – is that European patience is wearing thin. Continue reading

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America Is Using Bulgaria to Supply Arms to Ukraine

The United States is delivering arms to Ukraine via Bulgaria, an article on RIA Novosti reads.

Bulgaria is also “producing ammunition for the Ukrainian army” with US money, and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are ready to take part in similar schemes, the text argues further.

Washington is doing so “despite official declarations” and has so far transferred about 200 sniper rifles and 400 assault rifles and 200 grenade launchers, the author, Aleksandr Hrolenko, notes [RU], arguing this “transit country” has been used for not less than 20 years “when necessary to hide traces”.

Reports about the latter role of Bulgaria emerged for the first time in December.

In his words, the aim might be to embroil Russia in a long-term military conflict.

While until recently Bulgaria and Ukraine were both partners and rivals on the international arms market, with Ukraine profiting more, this relationship changed with the developments in the Donbass region in the spring of 2014.

Reports by the press office of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom concern are cited according to which a contract was signed last year between US arms manufacturer Barrett Firearms and a firm exporting equipment for Ukroboronprom.

Details about the arms, which were designated for the security services and the National Guard of Ukraine, have only recently emerged, RIA writes.

A US company called AMI Global Security, registered in Portland, Oregon, exported equipment at a total price of USD 7.5 M.

The name of a Bulgarian company, Bulcomers KS Ltd (previously referred to as Bulkomers in the December reports about weapons deliveries via Bulgaria) is pointed to as the “official broker” in the deal.

The arms sold to Ukraine were designed for fighting against lightly armored equipment, damaging radars and defusing ammunition and mines from a safe distance.

Part of the equipment might also be transported from Bulgaria to Ukraine in the form of “auto parts”, which the Balkan nation has traditionally been exporting.

An announcement by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in February 2015, containing a list of items Kiev received as lethal assistance, is cited to confirm the weapons were supplied.

Reference is made to an incident this summer when a US citizen and two Bulgarians died at the Anevo military ground. Reports emerged subsequently the development had occurred during a test of arms manufactured for Syrian opposition forces fighting Islamic State.

(Back then Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said Bulgaria was not exporting arms to Syria.)

The text also reads that Ukraine turned to the US and other states “more than once” to buy weapons. Continue reading

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Ukraine and Putin: How the West May Walk into War

This is a long story. That should then but, for once, because it is a matter of life and death, war and peace. The story is about the conflict in Ukraine, and about how “we” – the West – a … Continue reading

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Russian Ukrainian Adventures Forum Newsletter – Summer 2015

The Forum Has Changed Direction a Little to Include More Travel, Culture, News and Politics.

The site was stuck in what is a dying and declining niche. When the site first started back in the mid naughties, it was firmly aimed at what some termed the “mail-order bride” niche. The FSU dating scene was then – although slowing down – still a vibrant industry. It was mostly centred on Ukraine the last decade or so, and most of those travelling there to meet women were from the US.

However, as you will know, a year and a half ago, there was a western-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw the overthrow of the elected president and the installation of a new regime in Kiev. Subsequently, Crimea reunified with Russia and the east of Ukraine broke away into independent regions. Since then, civil war has raged in Ukraine while the new borders are being defined.

Against a backdrop of significantly reduced dating-related travel to the region, Crimea reunifying with Russia, increased American aggression against Russia, US/EU sanctions against Russia, counter sanctions from Russia, civil war in Ukraine and the MH17 crash, it isn’t hard to see why the forum became quickly dominated by these topics of discussion. So we decided to roll with it and reorganise the site somewhat.

If you take a fresh look at the placement of the forum rooms, you will find the dating and marriage sections have been condensed and moved further down the page. Up closer to the top you will find Cyrillic & Language, FSU News & Politics, Visas, Travel Discussion, Travel Reports, Culinary, Culture, Russian/Ukrainian Media and Expat Chat closer to the top. While we still have a lot of chat pertaining to dating in the former Soviet Union, you will find it isn’t as dominant as it once was.

Guys, if you are already married and haven’t visited us in a while, you can tell your wife it is a political, news and travel forum more than a dating forum nowadays. We know we lost a few of the married guys as their wives objected to them participating in what they saw as a ‘dating forum’. Yes, we still have some dating ads along with other types of ads, but like any site, we have to pay the bills. There is a topic on that here: Site Funding. Supporting Members. Q&A.

We would like to give you a few links to, and a little background about some of the recent popular topics. Continue reading

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Russian “Threat” Proves American Ignorance, Arrogance and Hypocrisy

The current situation in Ukraine was instigated by the United States. The collapse of the government, the civil war and the installation of a pro-American government, all the consequence of American meddling in the affairs of a country bordering Russia. As usual, the American media played its usual role, selling the government’s version of reality, thus making it easy to cast Putin and the Russians as the bad guys.

The Russian response, the annexation of the Crimea, moving troops near the border, whatever, would all seem reasonable to Americans if a similar crisis was happening in Mexico. Imagine the Russians deciding they didn’t like a Mexican government they claimed was too pro-American and took measures to cause its collapse, then taking an active part to ensure a government friendly to Moscow took its place. That’s what the United States has effectively done in Ukraine.

Too many Americans just don’t understand how the world works and how their own government is the instigator of so much strife in the world. If they can think they sure don’t demonstrate an ability or willingness to do so. If they did they would honestly and rationally conclude that their own government is provoking Russian near intrusions into U.S. airspace.

But since coming to that conclusion would require reading (sorry, no pictures, no tracing your finger slowly across the page, and absolutely no mouthing the words as you read them) and thinking about information more than a few minutes into the past, that’s not gonna happen. So when Americans read about Russian military aircraft flying near U.S. airspace they’re outraged because that’s the easiest reaction.

Maybe that’s exactly what the U.S. government wants. As the article points out, U.S. military surveillance can track Russian military aircraft before they leave Russian airspace. Let them get close and then intercept. Feign outrage and foster fears of Russian aggression. The terrorist bogeyman is getting old so why not return to an old favorite. All governments need a bad guy; if one’s not readily available then fabricate one. As history has demonstrated, the U.S. government is hands down, best at that.

Reaction to these Russian flights just proves what critics of American policy have been saying since the Bush administration cherry-picked “intelligence” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, taking the United States down a permanent path of financial destruction through stupid, unnecessary and unwinnable military operations.

If another country acted similarly the American government would be ablaze with self-righteous outrage. The media would perform like the trained seal that it is and toot the government’s propaganda horn, riling the American people into an irrational, frothing patriotic fervor. Among the political class there would be calls for economic sanctions and, if the country was small and weak, threats of imminent military action.

And we do that for non-existent threats. General Joseph Dunford, nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Russia an “existential threat” to the United States. No doubt many Americans would, like zombies, nod in agreement, all because of what the media told them about outdated Russian aircraft flying close to U.S. airspace.

Ignoring tangible and ongoing threats to Russian security instigated by the United States over the last quarter century demonstrates that when it comes to American foreign policy and assessing its real consequences, ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy remains the order of the day. Continue reading

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Poroshenko Is Wondering When He WIll Be Deposed by Coup.

Kiev’s dreams of retaking Crimea and the independent regions of Donbass have finally been recognised in Washington and Brussels as the pipe dream they always were .

Russia has made it very clear that it wont accept continued American hegemony, indeed, Russia is a party to the very necessary managed decline of America as a world superpower.

America has now opened up what it calls a ‘direct channel of communication with Russia’ on the Ukraine crisis. One reason Kerry was recently in Sochi and Nuland in Moscow.

Meanwhile, Poroshenko has fired the head of the Security Service, a chap called Nalivaichenko who was rumoured to be an American operative.

The US has realised it needs to get out of Ukraine while saving face. Responsibility will be quietly passed to Russia to help bring the Ukraine crisis to an end (better late than never I suppose).

This means it is time for Poroshenko to go. But where? Putin wont rescue him as he did with his predecessor. Or if he does, it will have more strings attached than he will like.

Poroshenko is pulling up the drawbridges and trying to surround himself with his own men.

A futile attempt in my opinion. The writing is on the wall. Continue reading

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NATO is using Ukraine crisis to advance towards Russian borders

NATO is using the situation in Ukraine to push closer to Russia’s border, according to the Russian deputy defense minister. He says the Alliance’s activities have expanded considerably over the past years. In their push, Anatoly Antonov says Allied forces … Continue reading

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The Cabinet of Ukraine plans to nationalize bank deposits of Ukrainians

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine intends to take a decision allowing wartime involvement in the country’s budget, bank deposits of citizens of more than 200 thousand. UAH ($8000 US). It is reported by Ukrainian edition ZN.UA citing its own … Continue reading

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