Russia ready to recognize Ukraine parliament election – Lavrov

Counting ballots during election to Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)

Counting ballots during election to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)

Russia is ready to recognize parliament elections in Ukraine, but is very concerned with two radical parties getting into the Ukrainian parliament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with LifeNews channel.

“Elections did indeed take place, even though not across all of Ukrainian territory,” Lavrov told Life News and Izvestiya newspaper. “I think Russia will recognize the election results — it is very important to us that Ukraine will finally get a government, which is not focused on internal conflict or ‘dragging’ the country towards east or west divide, but instead work on how to facilitate unity in the country.”

However, promotion of certain radical elements into Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada), such as the Svoboda Party and Radical Party, remains a serious concern, Lavrov said.

The Svoboda Party’s platform is based on principles that stand in solidarity with Hitler’s ideology in Europe, he said, adding that EU has turned away from the party due to its radicalism in the past.

“The EU protested against the Svoboda Party joining the ranks of Rada back in 2012, rightly referring to it as ultranationalist … Brussels called on other political forces not to cooperate precisely because of the party’s views.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

 

In terms of future cooperation with Ukraine, Russia is optimistic that it will have partners in the Ukrainian Parliament who will be open to conversation, Lavrov noted.

“I am confident that we will have someone to talk to in the Verkhovna Rada and in the government itself, primarily because the driving force of the Ukrainian parliament will be President’s Petro Poroshenko Bloc, which is Russia’s partner, according to the Minsk agreement.”

He added that Poroshenko has repeatedly confirmed his commitments to the Minsk treaty and firmly declared that he will not allow the military scenario to repeat. Avoiding another outbreak of violence is the top priority right now, Lavrov said.

Lavrov also highlighted that upcoming elections on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk self-proclaimed republics will prove to be very important in terms of legitimizing the Ukrainian government, as they were outlined in the Minsk protocol.

“We believe that this is one of the most important Minsk agreements. We are assuming that the elections will be carried out as discussed and we will of course recognize the results,” Lavrov said.

A woman puts a ballot into a ballot box at a polling station in Kiev during the Ukrainian early parliamentary election. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)

A woman puts a ballot into a ballot box at a polling station in Kiev during the Ukrainian early parliamentary election. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)

Following the signing of the Minsk protocol, which established the ceasefire between Kiev and self-defence forces in eastern Ukraine, various violations have been reported on both sides.

“This is largely due to the fact that the Ukrainian security officials and self-defense forces could not finalize the borderline from which to withdraw heavy weapons,” Foreign Minister Lavrov argued.

Russia is currently helping out in the negotiations to determine the separation line between the Ukrainian forces and the local militia, which might take another two or three days. “After that it will be possible to withdraw heavy weapons, which, will be the deciding factor in calming the situation.”

Russia continues to support a nationwide dialogue, which would involve all regions and political forces in Ukraine. Kiev’s government promised to start such a dialogue back in April, but nothing has come to pass. “Russia is calling for this process to begin as soon as possible.”

Incumbent PM Zakharchenko leads in Donetsk elections – early results

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RT news

Incumbent PM Aleksandr Zakharchenko is leading in Sunday’s elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, taking over 70 percent of the votes, early results showed after half the ballots had been counted.

Zakharchenko is ahead of his rivals with over 70 percent of votes, the head of the Central Election Commission of the DPR, Roman Lyagin, said on Sunday evening.

He was trailed by Aleksandr Kofman, deputy speaker of the Novorossiya Union parliament, and Yury Sivokonenko, an MP from the local Supreme Council.

Meanwhile, the lead in the parliamentary elections – also held on Sunday – is being claimed by Zakharchenko’s Donetsk Republic party, which has 65.11 percent, the head of the Election Commission added citing exit poll. The rival Svobodniy Donbass party is collecting 34.89 percent of the votes.

Members of the self-defense forces cast their votes during the elections for the leader and the People's Council of the Donetsk People's Republic (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

Members of the self-defense forces cast their votes during the elections for the leader and the People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

 

The self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk took to polling stations to vote for their leaders and MPs on Sunday. Over 360 polling stations were open in Donetsk for three million potential voters. Meanwhile, 102 polling stations for approximately 1.5 million voters were open in Lugansk.

In Lugansk, the overall turnout exceeded 60 percent, according to the head of the Central Election Commission in the LPR, Sergey Kozyakov. He added that by 8p.m. local time, nearly 630,000 residents had come to cast their votes.

Kiev has said it will not recognize the elections, as they contradict Ukrainian legislation. Ukraine’s Security Service has opened a criminal case against the organizers of the elections in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned the elections as illegitimate on Sunday and called on Russia not to recognize the results.

“I count on Russia not to recognize the so-called elections because they are a clear violation of the September 5 Minsk protocol, which was also signed by Russia’s representative,” he said in a statement.

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People’s Council of the Luhansk People’s Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People's Council of the Luhansk People's Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

Luhansk residents cast their votes at a polling station during the elections for the head and the People’s Council of the Luhansk People’s Republic (Reuters / Valery Melnikov)

 

However, Moscow earlier pointed out that according to the Minsk peace agreements, elections in both Ukraine and the self-proclaimed republics should be conducted between October 19 and November 3.

Thus Poroshenko’s order from October 16, which set the date of elections in the self-proclaimed republics for December 7, “contradicts the Minsk agreements,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Ukraine conducted parliamentary elections on October 26.

No serious violations of public order were reported during the Sunday elections in the DPR. “We have no reports about incidents at polling stations,” a DPR Interior Ministry spokesman told TASS news agency. Minor incidents included a false bomb threat.

International observers said the elections in the self-proclaimed republics followed international standards, adding that they saw no violations during the process.

An MP from the Upper Chamber of Italy’s Parliament, Lucio Malan, acting as an observer at the elections in Donetsk, told RT that people “were not influenced in any way” during the vote.

The prevention of double or triple voting appeared to be good, up to international standards” he added.

What was possible for us to see and what we witnessed is that they fit completely into generally accepted democratic electoral standards,” Manuel Ochsenreiter, a German observer in Lugansk, told RT. “What was really impressing – the masses of people at the polling stations, standing sometimes for hours just to put their vote, to express their political will.”

“First I believe the elections followed international standards of democratic elections. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and the vigor with which the people went to the polls to express their opinion,” US Senior Attorney Frank Abernathy, an observer in Lugansk, told RT.

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The Caliph fit to join OPEC – By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES

THE ROVING EYE
The Caliph fit to join OPEC
By Pepe Escobar

 

Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim – aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – never ceases to amaze us – and most of all his powerful petrodollar-stuffed backers. The Caliph is for all practical purposes now an oil major worth of membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). His takfiri/mercenary goons – in theory – have for some time been extracting, refining, shipping and/or smuggling and clinching juicy deals involving vast quantities of oil, reaping profits of roughly US$2 million a day.

The Caliph’s oil prices are to die (be beheaded?) for; after all, he’s implementing the same low-price strategy concocted by the people he wants to dethrone in Mecca, the House of Saud. The caliphate’s GDP across “Syraq” has only one way to go: up.

And oh, the irony Top customers for The Caliph’s cheap oil happen to be “Sultan” Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Earthly paradise, aka Turkey – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally – and that King “Playstation” Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein’s domain impersonating a country, aka Jordan.

Meanwhile, the awesome, immensely sophisticated military apparatus/intel agency acronym fest deployed by “free” US/NATO somehow is simply unable to register/intercept this racket.

Not surprising, when they somehow had not previously registered/intercepted The Caliph’s goons taking over large swaths of “Syraq” this summer with their cross-desert version of rolling thunder – that gleaming white Toyota promo ad.

As for the Empire of Chaos “solution” to intercept The Caliph’s oil profits, the only decision so far has been to bomb oil pipelines that belong to the Syrian Arab Republic, that is, ultimately, the Syrian people.

Never underestimate the capacity of US President Barack Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine to soar towards unreachable stupidity heights.

Yo sheikh, talk to the hand
Then there’s that fateful Secretary of State John Kerry/House of Saud capo hand-kissing fest that took place in Riyadh last month.

In this masterful piece, William Engdahl goes no-holds-barred on the supposed Saudi-US cheap oil/bomb Bashar al-Assad/undermine Russia deal. Yet there may not have been a direct deal; more like Washington and Riyadh working in tandem towards common objectives: regime change in Syria in the long term, and undermining both Iran and Russia in the short term.

As for that crucial Pipelineistan gambit central to the Syrian riddle – a gas pipeline running from Qatar to regime-changed Syria, instead of Iran-Iraq-Syria – that’s not exactly a Saudi, but a rival Qatari priority.

What Kerry did give was the Master’s Voice seal of approval to the Saudi strategy of low oil prices, thinking short-term about US oil consumers at the pump, and medium-term on putting pressure on the revenues of both Iran and Russia. Yet he obviously played down the blow to the US shale gas industry.

The Saudis, for their part, have other key considerations, not least how to recover their market share across Asia – where their biggest customers are located. They are losing market share because of discounted crude sold by both Iran and Iraq. Thus, both must be “punished”, on top of the House of Saud’s pathological aversion to all things Shi’ite.

As for the big picture in Syria, Obama’s capo for dealing with The Caliph, General John Allen, laid down the law to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awasat. He said, “[T]here is not going to be a military solution here [in Syria]”. And he also said, “The intent is not to create a field force to liberate Damascus.”

Short translation: those old goons of the previously “winning against Assad” Free Syrian Army (FSA) are now six feet under. And the new FSA goons to be trained in – of all places – Saudi Arabia are not exactly being regarded as holy saviors. For all practical purposes, the medium-term scenario spells out more US bombing (of infrastructure belonging to the Syrian nation); no regime change in Damascus; and The Caliph steadily consolidating his wins.

And finally, the Hollywood factor
Imagine if shabby “historical” al-Qaeda had these ultra-slick PR skills. Bearded has-beens with old Kalashnikovs in Afghan caves is so passe. The Caliph not only smuggles tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day undetected, but he also deploys a British hostage turned foreign correspondent (and who may have converted to the Salafi version of Islam) reporting from a hollowed out Kobani about to be totally captured by a bunch of takfiris and mercenaries (they certainly are not mujahideen).

One’s gotta marvel at the production values. The Caliph’s special report opens with drone footage of Kobani. Is it an American drone? Was it captured in Iraq? Is it an Israeli drone? Turkish? Brit? The “mujahideen” certainly are not on Lockheed Martin’s speed dial – yet.

Meanwhile, on the ground, only now has Ankara allowed roughly 200 peshmergas from Iraqi Kurdistan – whose slippery leaders do business with Turkey – to cross the border to, in theory, help Kobani. No soldiers, weapons or supplies are allowed for the Kurdish PKK/PYD forces which have been actually defending Kobani all along. Sultan Erdogan’s endless procrastination will be judged by any independent investigation as the key element in allowing the possible fall of Kobani.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu once again has laid down the “conditions” for his country to help with the – so far spectacularly innocuous – US campaign against The Caliph; the possible liberators of Kobani must only be Iraqi peshmergas, and remaining FSA goons, not “terrorists” (as in PKK/PYD).

In the end, Kobani – precisely on the border between southeast Anatolia and northern Syria – is highly strategic. The situation on the ground is dire. There may be a little over 1,000 residents left, barricaded in their houses. Protecting them, a little over 2,000 Syrian Kurd fighters, including the female Ishtar brigade. Only 200 peshmergas coming from Iraqi Kurdistan are not going to make a huge difference against a few thousand heavily weaponized caliph goons deploying as many as 20 tanks. It does not look good, even though, unlike in the Caliph-approved Brit hostage report, the fake “mujahideen” are not in total control.

The Caliph, anyway, is bound to remain on a roll. Absolutely none of the above would be remotely possible without US/Western overt/covert complicity, proving once and for all that The Caliph is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving in the eternal GWOT (Global War On Terra). How come the Dick Cheney regime never thought about that?

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

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