Tag Archives: EU

Inquisitive Pskov Lawmaker Beaten Unconscious #Russia #Pskov

 Alexey Eremenko.Lev ShlosbergLev Shlosberg.

A Pskov region lawmaker was found stumbling through the streets covered in blood on Friday, after having called attention to reports that local paratroopers may have been deployed to war-torn Ukraine.

Lev Shlosberg sustained temporary amnesia, head injuries, a broken nose and numerous bruises, Igor Yakovlev, an associate in the social-democratic party Yabloko, said on his Facebook page Saturday.

The lawmaker eventually recovered enough to claim he had been attacked from behind by three thugs who beat him unconscious, Yabloko head Sergei Mitrokhin said.

“The rascals tracked Shlosberg to his house, assaulted him without a word … beat him up for several minutes and only fled when witnesses appeared,” Mitrokhin said on Yabloko’s website.

Local police launched a case based on charges of “hooliganism resulting in minor bodily harm,” which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Mitrokhin’s call to append the case to include the more serious charge of “attack on a state or public figure,” which carries up to a life sentence, had gone unheeded as of Sunday.

Pskov authorities assigned hospital guards to Shlosberg, who is well known in Russia for his crisp and balanced criticism of Kremlin policies.

Shlosberg, 51, spearheaded an investigation into the troops from the elite Pskov-based 76th Airborne Division who were buried in the region earlier this month under mysterious circumstances amid persistent rumors that they died in Ukrainian infighting.

The lawmaker, who directly linked the attack to the investigation in a brief interview with Flashnord.ru on Saturday, is not the first person who was allegedly attacked after looking into the paratroopers’ fate.

Reporters with independent media outlets Dozhd and Fontanka claim to have been assaulted by unidentified thugs in the Pskov cemetery last week while looking for the paratroopers’ graves. They drove away, allegedly before any serious harm could be inflicted.

Official Kiev, NATO, the EU and the U.S. all claimed last week, with varying degrees of certainty, that Russia had sent its troops to aid the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

The insurgents have launched a surprising counteroffensive in recent days after appearing to have teetered on the brink of defeat for weeks.

Ukrainian officials blamed the separatists’ victories on an influx of heavy military equipment from Russia, complete with troops to operate them.

A senior NATO official estimated on Thursday that Russia had deployed about 1,000 soldiers. Russian NGO Soldiers’ Mothers Committee estimated that there had been about 400 Russian military casualties in Ukraine, and Shlosberg claimed on Ekho Moskvy radio hours before the attack on him that the 76th Airborne alone had lost at least 100 troops in Ukraine so far.

President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia had provided any military help to the rebels, and so did the Defense Ministry, which said the allegations “aren’t even funny anymore.”

Putin, however, called in an interview aired by Channel One television on Sunday to end hostilities and begin talks on “eastern Ukraine’s statehood.”

The call echoes the pro-separatist sentiment promoted by Channel One and other pro-Kremlin state media since the civil war’s outbreak last spring. Official Kiev has so far been refusing to discuss the “statehood” of the breakaway eastern provinces.

via Inquisitive Pskov Lawmaker Beaten Unconscious | News | The Moscow Times.

Putin Warns on Ukraine Pursuing Closer Ties With West #Minsk

By ANDREY OSTROUKH in Minsk, Belarus & ALAN CULLISON in MoscowRussian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met Tuesday for the first time in two months at talks in Minsk, Belarus. Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met Tuesday for the first time in two months at talks in Minsk, Belarus. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on trade at the start of talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Tuesday, sidestepping mounting concern over the pro-Russia insurrection in eastern Ukraine that has claimed an estimated 2,000 lives this year.

At their first meeting in two months, Mr. Putin threatened to scrap trade preferences with Ukraine if President Petro Poroshenko follows through on plans for closer relations with the European Union.

The two were joined in the Belarusian capital of Minsk by officials from the EU, Belarus and Kazakhstan. They stressed the need to end the bloodshed in Ukraine, which has flared into the biggest East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War.

“Today in Minsk, without any question, the fate of the world and the fate of Europe are being decided,” Mr. Poroshenko said.

Mr. Putin, however, stressed trade issues, highlighting the dangers he said Russia faces if Ukraine pursues closer ties to the West. Since the onset of the crisis, Mr. Putin has accused the West of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and trying to spoil its relations with Moscow by luring it into an association agreement.

Mr. Putin said that a trade agreement between Kiev and Europe will flood the Ukrainian market with European goods, which may then find their way into Russia.

“In this situation Russia can not stand idle. And we will be prompted, I want to highlight this, will be prompted to take retaliatory measures, to protect our market,” Mr. Putin said.

Ukraine’s latest political crisis began after Ukraine’s last president, Viktor Yanukovych, abruptly moved late last year to sign a trade agreement with Russia instead of the EU. Mr. Yanukovych was toppled in February after months of street protests. Mr. Poroshenko, elected in May, has since revived the agreement with Europe.

At the same time, Ukraine is battling an insurgency in the east that began in April. Kiev accuses Russia of funneling men and arms across the border to support the separatists, a charge Russia denies.

Just ahead of the talks in Minsk, Ukraine released videotaped interrogations of Russian soldiers it said had been captured in Ukraine. Kiev said they were part of a column of Russian infantry vehicles that its forces had attacked on Monday.

Russian Army in Ukraine: Video evidence released of Russian soldiers captured in east Ukraine. © http://www.youtube.com/channel/UkraineToday.

Moscow confirmed to Russian news agencies that the soldiers were Russian. “These servicemen did indeed participate in patrolling a section of Russian-Ukrainian border, and crossed it probably by accident at an unequipped and unmarked section,” the Defense Ministry told the Interfax news agency. “They showed no resistance to Ukraine’s armed forces when they were detained.”

Russia on Monday said that it wants to send another convoy of humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine. The last convoy, which was delivered to rebels without Ukrainian approval last week, was condemned by the U.S. and the EU.

From left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesFrom left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

In the videotapes, the soldiers said they were part of a paratroop unit based in Kostroma, 340 kilometers (210 miles) northeast of Moscow. They said they had been ordered to the Ukrainian border for military exercises, and had been given uniforms stripped of any indications that they were Russian military units.

One of the soldiers said they knew they were heading into Ukraine, but another said they thought they were on an exercise inside the Russian border. “They started shooting at us, and my vehicle blew up,” said one. “Then I knew this wasn’t an exercise; it wasn’t just a march.”

The Wall Street Journal.

#EU and #NATO leaders condemn #Russia’s aid convoy entering #Ukraine

by Ian Bateson.
A local resident holds a Russian national flag as lorries, part of a Russian humanitarian convoy cross the Ukrainian border at the Izvarino custom control checkpoint, on Aug. 22, 2014. © AFPA local resident holds a Russian national flag as lorries, part of a Russian humanitarian convoy cross the Ukrainian border at the Izvarino custom control checkpoint, on Aug. 22, 2014. © AFP

Hours after a convoy of Russian military trucks crossed the border without approval from Ukrainian authorities, the move was slammed by key international organizations.

Leaders have criticized the breach in international law and called for Russia to halt the movement of the convoy, which is allegedly carrying humanitarian aid.

“This is a blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments, including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “Instead of de-escalating the situation, Russia continues to escalate it.”

Rasmussen’s statement, however, fell short of calling the sending of the convoy into Ukraine an act of aggression, which would imply a military response.

The European Union has also begun to criticize the move while praising Ukraine for showing restraint in its own response.

“The EU deplores Russia’s decision to enter humanitarian consignment into Ukrainian territory without an ICRC escort or consent of the Ukrainian government,” said European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton via her spokesperson on Twitter.

Neither announcement contained a call for further action against Russia or aid for Ukraine.

By mid-afternoon Andrew Roth of the New York Times, reporting from the border crossing in Izvaryne, said via Twitter that all of the convoy trucks had crossed over from Russia into Ukraine.

Photos and video circulating on social media later showed the convoy splitting up and arriving in the separatist held cities of Krasnodon and Luhansk.

Follow Ian Bateson on Twitter @ianbateson

Kyiv Post.

On August 26, meeting in the format #Ukraine – #EU – “#Eurasian trio” to be held

Ukraine – EU – Eurasian trioOn August 18-19, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had phone consultations with President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Petro Poroshenko informed José Manuel Barroso on the development of the situation in the Donbas and continuing provocations of the Russian Federation aimed at escalation of the security situation in the region. He informed that terrorists had shelled the convoy of civilians leaving Luhansk under white flags.

The President of the European Commission condemned that terrible crime and called for immediate objective investigation into the tragedy. He emphasized the necessity of ensuring the protection of civilians. The Ukrainian President assured of the beginning of the investigation and bringing the perpetrators to liability.

The President of the European Commission supported the initiative of the Ukrainian President on inviting the EU to take part in the high level meeting. On August 26, in Minsk, meeting in the format Ukraine – EU – “Eurasian trio” (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia) will take place. The participants will discuss the issues related to the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, energy security and stabilization of the situation in the Donbas. Petro Poroshenko expressed gratitude to Jose Manuel Barroso for the readiness to send three members of the European Commission simultaneously (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the European Commission – European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger and European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht). Such an unprecedented step proves solidarity and support of the European Union to Ukraine, the President noted.

The parties also discussed the issue of providing the third wave of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine by the EU.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko accepted the invitation of President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso to make a working visit to Brussels on August 30.

Official web-site of President of Ukraine.

#Russia May Ban Car Imports If West Imposes New #Sanctions, Sources Say

By Reuters.Ilya Naymushin / ReutersRussian mechanics work on an Arctic Trucks all-terrain vehicle, based on the Lexus LX570 car, at an assembly shop of the Arctic Trucks Russia plant in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

Russia may tighten retaliatory sanctions against Western nations to include a ban on imports of cars, among other things, if the U.S. and the EU impose additional sanctions on Moscow, business daily Vedomosti said Monday.

Following Russia’s standoff over Ukraine, Western nations imposed sanctions on Moscow including on its financial and energy sectors, and put dozens of Russians close to President Vladimir Putin on a sanctions list.

Imported vehicles accounted for 27 percent of sales of passenger cars in the first half of 2014, for trucks imports accounted for 46 percent, and 13 percent for buses, according to Vedomosti.

Russia, which denies allegations it is arming separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, may fully or partly ban imports of cars, Vedomosti reported, citing sources.

The new ban would not apply to foreign automakers’ production inside Russia, the paper said. Ford, Volkswagen, Ford Renault, Toyota and Hyundai Motor Co all have production facilities inside Russia.

The paper added that proposals for new measures had already been sent to Putin for consideration but that no decision had been taken to prepare any new sanctions yet.

New trade restrictions are possible in the event Western nations impose additional sanctions on Moscow, the paper added.

Russia has imposed a ban on certain agricultural imports from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

It has also said the government could introduce protective measures in aircraft, shipbuilding and automotive industries

The Moscow Times.

Editors Note: Is it just me or do you also think that Putin is digging his own grave? Russia’s sanctions on the west may cause a little sting to the wests economies but it is the russian people who will suffer the most, empty supermarket shelves, food shortages and now automobiles. The west on the otherhand are targeting Putin’s cronies where it hurts them most, in their wallets.