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Tag Archives: western 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
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
Ukraine is a disaster, a bankrupt nation run by crooks and hoodlums, in hock to another set of villains in the EU. It’s little reported in the West, but now there are major ructions in the West of the country. The problem is Right Sector, which is basically a private army of Nazis who wield crippling power, attended by gangsterism, racketeering and violence. It was they who were in the vanguard of ousting Yanukovich in 2014 (a legally elected president), and now Right Sector is pushing to eject the current band of knaves and cutthroats holding court in Kiev. It’s a real comedy of errors, except there is nothing much to laugh about. Any country that has a private army rampaging about is in for big trouble. If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, as the saying goes. Poroshenko and his ilk could well find themselves dragged out into the streets and shot without so much as a by your leave. Mr Poroshenko, an oligarch with a somewhat dubious and shady past, had better have his private jet standing by for a quick getaway.
However, it might then be shot down and doubtless the blame would be laid on another ‘Putin’s missile’ (headline courtesy of that bastion of balanced journalism – the Sun). In case you were unaware, according to the Sun it was ‘Putin’s missile’ that shot down flight MH17 last July over Ukraine!
The West has encouraged and in fact orchestrated the mayhem and madness in Ukraine. Millions of dollars were pumped in to fund NGOs, whose ulterior motive was to bring about regime change and create chaos on Russia’s borders. And for their henchman they selected or at least condoned Nazi thugs such as Right Sector to do the dirty work. I find it ironic and sad in the extreme that our fathers and grandfathers fought a long and bitter WWII to rid the world of Nazism (helped out a great deal by Russia who lost something like 25 million souls in the effort), while today the West is turning a blind eye to its menace in Ukraine. And all in a sick and twisted geopolitical game.
The good news is that NATO has blown Mission Ukraine. Despite all the sanctions and hoo-ha, it’s hard to lend credence to the assertion that Russia is a threat and has designs on sweeping west to cut a red swathe through the heartlands of Europe. Nobody is really buying that particular brand of baloney. ‘The Russians are coming’ was always a rather empty and silly jest, anyway. On the other hand, NATO has swept east, despite the promise of Bush Sr to the Russians in the early 90s that they wouldn’t. For heaven’s sake, Russia is the biggest country in the world; it doesn’t need to go rampaging about like a bear in a glass factory.
The Baltic States and their pathetic whining about the ‘Russian threat’ are frankly a laughing stock. NATO generals and Western politicians maunder on about this ad nauseam too, but anyone with half a brain should be able to shred this tissue of lies into fragments and see it for what it is: a desperate and ill-judged move to demonize and ultimately unseat Putin in the old game of let’s change the regime. Judging by opinion polls in Russia, the plan has backfired spectacularly. An overwhelming majority of the population approves of Vladimir Putin, and the chances of ousting him appear about as likely as installing a Communist Commander-in-Chief in the White House. Incidentally, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, enjoys similar popularity at home. Continue reading
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
Russia suspends alcohol imports from Ukraine – consumer rights watchdog
Russia has decided to suspend alcohol imports from Ukraine on August 15. On Wednesday the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said there had been a number of breaches in consumer legislation.
The restrictions apply to beer produced by Obolon and SUN Inbev Ukraine, and alcohol from the Ukrainian Distribution Company.
“When scrutinizing imports of vodka, beer and other beverages from Ukraine a number of breaches in consumer protection legislation were discovered,” the watchdog’s statement said.
Rospotrebnadzor said Ukrainian beer doesn’t meet the nutritional value written on the bottles, and its branding broke the rules as it doesn’t have the right alcohol content.
The watchdog cited “numerous violations of the law on protection of consumer rights” as the reason.
Rospotrebnadzor added that the state monitoring of alimentary goods, in particular of vodka and beer, found numerous violations of consumer rights.
Following WTO rules, the information has been sent to the relevant body, the Federal Customs Service and to offices of Rospotrebnadzor across the Russian Federation.
Earlier this month, the watchdog found dangerous substances in Bourbon, a US-made whiskey.
According to the sanitary authority, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by Barton 1792 Distillery Company did not comply with Customs Union technical regulations, although the whiskey label has the Eurasian Conformity, or EAC, mark, used for products on Customs Union member state markets, on it.
Falsified products were found in supplies from Germany, the Czech Republic and France.
On July 29 the watchdog banned the import of Ukrainian fruit and vegetables and canned fish claiming they also broke consumer legislation.
Join the discussion on Russian/Ukrainian sanctions using the comment box below or you can also join in the conversation about the retaliatory sanctions Russia placed on imports on the >>Russian Forums<<. Continue reading
The British media and especially the BBC are anti-Russian.
The language they use is always purposely misleading. The Russian point of view is never considered. The western media on the whole start from an assumed point that Russia is always in the wrong, always the aggressor, and every item reported is in the same vein. British media is like a mouthpiece for America.
The BBC even has its own propoganda channel in Russian: http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/
Take turning the gas off to Ukraine: That has always been framed as nasty Russia spitefully turning the gas off on poor little helpless Ukraine. Very little is mentioned of the debts owed, that Ukraine steals the gas and prefers not to pay for it. “Corrupt country doesn’t pay its gas bill” is not a headline. “Evil Putin makes Ukrainian pensioners freeze in winter” is. You see?
What kind of unbiased media runs headlines like this?
Each week the Sunday Times, without fail, runs an anti-Russia story and has done for years. Sometimes two or three. Always the key is in the language.
For example: “Russia builds up troops on the border” – they don’t mention that these troops are inside Russia so are there quite legitimately.
“Russia turns off Ukraine’s gas” – well, they wouldn’t if they got paid for it.
“Kremlin-backed separatists” – well, how do we define “backed”? Morally? In spirit? Financially? They don’t say.
The western media declines to report on the Ukrainian government killing civilians. That is always glossed over. They will however gleefully repeat numbers killed by “Kremlin-backed separatists” or “pro-Russian gunmen”. Not “pro-independence gunmen” you will note.
I am all in favour of balance, but very few in the western media are balanced. Russia is always assumed to be in the wrong and the aggressor in the majority of the British media at least. When they start from that assumption, its not hard to see why balanced journalism becomes harder.
When a journalist takes his own prejudices and writes from that standpoint (which most of us do, but journos are supposedly trained to avoid doing so) what he writes will always contain the slant that his opinion dictates.
Remember, many of these people filing copy for the media have never been to Eastern Europe, let alone Russia. They are simply recycling and rewording stuff they find elsewhere. We saw silliness written about Putin “wanting to invade Poland” as evidence of that.
In recent days, I have noticed an overall change of tone in the American media, actually. Some of what I am reading in the American media is reasonably balanced. More so than I see over here. I am sensing a gradual shift in standpoint in the American media. Perhaps that is indicative of the administration taking a step back for a change and not wanting to become too deeply embroiled?
Over here in the UK, some of the weekend broadsheet editorials especially [that middle England reads to get a synopsis], are pretty mind blowing in that it shines through that the writer has a zero grasp of the history and the politics of the region. When one looks at the writers who understand the region, and who have spent time there, blokes like Peter Hitchens writes content that is hard to argue with for example, one gets a clearer picture.
Instead of reading and believing how the media chooses to demonise Putin unquestioningly, if people took the trouble (as I have) to actually go to the Kremlin’s website and read what the bloke actually says, rather than read an interpretation of it through media spin, he makes many valid points that the media never address; he has been requesting talks with anyone and everyone for months, but that is never reported.
What some call Russian propaganda is actually needed in order to balance out what everyone else writes in order that those who might form an opinion on their own, can do so having read both sides rather than several regurgitated versions of the same thing they *think* are different sources. Continue reading
What is the real story with Ukraine, Russia, the EU and America?
Anyone who reads Western media might feel that they have a handle on what is going on in Ukraine.
You have been misled by the Western media to hold one, and only one view: There is ‘terrorism’ perpetrated by ‘pro-Russian separatists’, armed by Russia, and Vladimir Putin is the main culprit. Especially with flight MH17.
End of story. Anyone who believes differently is a Russian propaganda merchant.
Vladimir Putin is the evil bogeyman (white cat optional). America wants to spread democracy across the world. The EU wants to ‘help’ Ukraine, etc.
The British newspapers are rather good at fooling you in this regard. Look at the headlines.
Yeah, not so much……..
Want the real story with Ukraine? Here it is. This is the big picture that very few in the media will tell you.
America together with the EU sought to bring Ukraine into their orbit. There were many ultimate aims to this, but one was the missile defence shield and NATO creeping ever closer to Russia, and that would have ultimately led to Russia being evicted from Crimea.
By doing so, Russia’s military capability would be decreased and Russia would be hemmed in. This can be seen as America trying to cut off Russia’s balls. Not gonna happen. Putin isn’t that dumb.
The ultimate aim of America, and maybe the EU, is to unseat Putin, as they would seek to unseat anybody that goes against the New World Order (for want of a better phrase – others might call it American world domination).
America is well known to fund regime changes. They tried it in Moscow, it was slapped down quickly. This time it worked in Ukraine. The elected president was ousted for not agreeing with the US/EU. Pliable US puppets (ie the junta) were installed in his place.
At this point is where the innocent people of Ukraine start to suffer, because the decisions from that point lie not with them. By now, elections are useless; elections will say whatever the puppet master makes them say, as will the media. At that point Ukraine became a chess board where the EU and the US together against Russia play for power and influence in what is a geographically important spot.
Interspersed with this is some local oligarchs, would-be politicians and others with their own interests all seeking to position themselves in a place where they can earn a slew of cash when this has played out. At this point, nobody is fighting on behalf of the people, but the duped people feel they are fighting for something. In this case EU membership and ultimately a better life.
They can wave EU flags all they like, EU membership is a very, very long way off for these people. Just that nobody told them. The people are victims. Their home is a battleground for foreign powers. Ukraine and its people dont get much of a say beyond this point. The future is pretty much out of their hands.
Once the dice are thrown, the game has to play out. This is what we have seen since Maidan. Russia moved quickly to secure Crimea so it doesn’t lose its naval port, then it needs land access to it, cheaper and faster than a bridge from Kerch.
The logical next thing to do is to encourage the eastern regions to break away; Russia supports that and the new puppet masters support the western regions remaining um…. independent. But that isn’t enough for the new Western overlords, so they support Ukraine keeping the east too – gotta try to castrate Putin. In so doing, it turns the people of Ukraine on each other, and many civilians die.
Even American politicians are not dumb enough to start WW3 by taking Russia on in a full frontal attack, so as usual, they do it by covert means, sly funding, and of course silly sanctions to punish Russia for daring to express an opinion about what goes on in its backyard.
The same political machine that made America insolvent seeks to do the same to Russia. But that is slowly backfiring. Russia will fight back with its own sanctions, and nobody will win the sanction game.
The end game is still up for grabs. It may be the separatists in the east are thwarted in the short term. But if so, I suspect that wont be the end of it. They will come back.
As for flight MH17, there is strong evidence that Ukraine shot that plane down. The hope might have been that it crashed in Russia, the west could blame Putin, call him a war criminal, and that would have been a game changer. But it crashed in Ukraine. Russia is holding intelligence on this. Unlike America, it didn’t get it from Youtube and Twitter.
So what of the Ukrainian people? I feel most of them are unfortunate victims of a power struggle; a power struggle that was started by an expansionist America/NATO and the country-gobbling EU seeking to push their influence right up to Russia’s borders in any place they can.
Few in the Western media get it. Or those that do won’t write it. One that will write it and DOES get it is Peter Hitchens. Read his blog >>here<<. Others in the western media are slowly catching on too, as these articles show: The Huffington Post: >>Let Eastern Ukraine Go<< The Washington Post: >>Why the sanctions against Russia probably won’t work<< Russia has the backing of China, much of Asia and many Muslim countries. The United States hasn't quite got the hang of world domination yet. Don't be a sheeple. Learn that western controlled media on the whole, can no longer be trusted to tell the truth. Continue reading
About 400 elite commandos from a notorious US private security firm, Academi, are involved in a punitive operation mounted by Ukraine’s new government against federalization supporters in eastern Ukraine, the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, Academi mercenaries participate in attacks against federalization supporters near Slavyansk. So far, it’s unclear who hired them.
Media reports claiming that the Ukrainian leadership wants to recruit personnel from private foreign military companies “to maintain law and order” may suggest that the Kiev regime wants to suppress civil protest and discontent, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Anyway, one can state that in the absence of support from the Ukrainian population, the Maidan government has only one option if it wants to remain in power – to mobilize any support possible from foreign sponsors, including foreign mercenaries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary.
Contractors from private security companies are supposed to do what NATO cannot do openly, they train terrorists who destabilize situation in Ukraine, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
“Those organizations (private security companies) will do what NATO cannot do openly. They can train people to be terrorists,” Chossudovsky said, adding that in Syria private contractors were training al-Qaeda.
“We are talking about the continuation of US policy of military intervention in Ukraine and a preparatory stage for a massacre in southeastern Ukraine,” Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense monthly Russian-language magazine said, adding that the deployment of mercenaries from a private company Greystone Ltd. may be financed by Ukrainian oligarchs and organized in coordination with the US State Department.
Michel Chossudovsky told RIA Novosti that mercenaries are normally hired by governments, but options are numerous as they operate covertly and do not identify themselves. Continue reading
Unlike most westerners, I do not blindly believe western media, I do not subscribe to the “America good – Russia bad” media hysteria being shamelessly stage-managed by our governments. Perhaps having a Russian-born wife makes me take a more balanced … Continue reading