US leads ‘largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine’ – Follows Pentagon’s Advice to Conquer the World?

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Ukrainian soldiers and servicemen of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team take part in a joint military exercise called “Fearless Guardian 2015” at the military training area in Yavoriv, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 12, 2015.Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters

Troops from the US, UK, Germany and 14 other countries are set to conduct what officials are calling the “largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine” in the west of the country over the coming weeks.

The exercises will be conducted in Lviv region, in western Ukraine, far from the conflict zone in the east, with as many as 1,800 servicemen from 18 countries taking part from today until the end of the month.

The Saber Guardian and Rapid Trident exercises are conducted annually between the US army in Europe and European states which agree to participate. Last year they included 1,300 defence staff from 15 militaries, including Ukraine. However last year, only Rapid Trident took place on Ukrainian soil, with Saber Guardian being organised in Bulgaria.

Beside the US military and their Ukrainian hosts, personnel from other Nato allied nations joining the exercise include the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while non-members Serbia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan are also set to participate.

“Multinational exercises have been conducted in Ukraine since 1995, however it is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” Don Wrenn public affairs public affairs specialist for US Army Europe, who is at the site of the exercises says.

Despite the heightening tension in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed rebels have intensified fire towards Kiev-held positions since May, Wrenn says the exercise has no relation to the specific conflict.

“It is not anything to do with the political situation,” Wrenn says “This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on. Rapid Trident has been going for years in Ukraine.”

“Part of why this is larger this year is that there are two exercises going ahead at the same time in the same place,” Wrenn explains. The Saber Guardian exercise rotates between host nations, it just so happens that this year it was Ukraine’s turn to host it, coinciding with Rapid Trident

“The two were held together and integrated with each other,” Wrenn says. Training will begin tomorrow, after the end of today’s opening ceremony.

“We will be looking at practicing skills such as casualty evacuation and first aid, reacting to being ambushed in both an offensive posture or in defensive mode, we are conducting training in how to identify and react to improvised explosives and devices and there will be some simulated outpost operations.”

“These are all skills that are to be used either in combat or peacekeeping. Some Ukrainian armored vehicles will be included but most of the vehicles being used are just US humvees and wheeled vehicles,” he adds. Contrary to some media reports, no air operations are scheduled as part of the exercise.

Although a period of relative calm followed in the east after a ceasefire agreement was signed by the rebel leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in February, clashes increase along the contact lines in May and by June the rebels launched the largest offensive since the battle for the strategic town of Debaltseve on the eve of the ceasefire deal.

Rebel leader Alexander Zaharchenko once again publically set target towns which the rebels plan to “take” in May and Reuters, Nato and the Ukrainian government have all reported an increasing military build up on the Russian side of the border.

Since the start of the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east, Ukraine has led a series of reforms to its military in a bid to strengthen its efficiency in the short and long term. Eastern regions have obtained physical reinforcement bases and Ukraine has also pursued stronger ties with western neighbours such as the joint battalion it formed last year with Poland and Lithuania,

President Petro Poroshenko pledged yesterday to increase Ukraine’s security spending power, adding a further 5 billion hryvna (over €200m) to the defence budget, according to a statement released on his official website. Independent Russian news site Slon reported that the last Ukrainian budget allotted 90 billion hryvna to defence spending, which, together with Poroshenko’s latest pledge equals around €4bn.

However,  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s claim that the Ukraine will take over Donbass by the end of the year seems to be one more of his tricks. 

According to Forbes, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has offered Russian counterpart Vldimir Putin to ”include Donbass” in the territory of the federation. The announcement was released to Forbes magazine through an anonymous source.

It was stated that the proposal had been extended during the Normandy Four talks held in Minsk on February 11 and 12.

”Poroshenko directly told me, ”Take Donbass”, and I responded, ”Have you gone mad ? I don’t need Donbass. If you don’t need it, announce its independence”, was the statement Vladimir Putin made at his meeting with Russian industrialists and businessmen on March 19, as quoted by Forbes.

In the words of the Russian President, Poroshenko then stated that Ukrainian authorities are not able to take the step, ” Then, let Ukrainian authorities pay the pensions and social care to the population of Donbass and let them restore the banking system,” Putin allegedly insisted.

The ceasefire deal included 14 points connected to the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners, the providing of humanitarian aid for the severely affected regions of Ukraine, as well as establishing of special statute for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Republics.

According to the source released information to Forbes, Putin himself is skeptical regarding the peace deal and believes that Ukrainian authorities are attempting to win the fight with rebel forces and to destroy Donbass in economic terms.

Allegedly, Putin said that EU leaders are well aware of the Ukrainian intentions, but the strengthening of the conflict is said to be in favor of US foreign polices. He also informed business leaders that the EU sanctions against Russia are unlikely to be removed in the upcoming years.

On the other hand, Poroshenko’s relations with Poland have deteriorated.

A scheduled meeting of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the winner of the Polish presidential elections Andrzej Duda in Warsaw will not now take place, Polish news agency PAP reported on Wednesday, with reference to its own sources close to the newly-elected head of state.

At home, Poroshenko is facing serious problems with the nationalist “Right Sector” paramilitary group.  The popular assembly is dubbed ‘Away With Traitors in Power!’

The popular assembly dubbed “Away With Traitors in Power!”organized by Ukraine’s far-right paramilitary group, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) has started on Independence Square (Maidan).

Here’s the scene on ‘s Maidan right now. 1000+ now gathered for far-right nationalist rally:

WATCH LIVE STREAMING VIDEO  HERE

The rally follows a recent shootout involving members of ‘Right Sector’, security teams close to Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Lanyo and local police officers which took place in the town of Mukacheve in Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region on July 11. Four people were killed and up to 14 were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

‘Right Sector’ is one of a number of militarised groups that emerged during violent protests that toppled former Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

The militias went on to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the east against Russian-backed militants, but concerns have risen over whether they could pose a challenge to President Poroshenko and the government or threaten public security.

‘Right Sector’ and police have accused each other of initiating the violence in Mukacheve, but on Tuesday a spokesman for the group said two of its members had surrendered to the SBU security service. 

 

Wave of assassinations in Ukraine targets critics of Kiev regime

POTROLAND

POTROLAND

 

In the lead-up to the May 9 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, there has been an accelerating wave of political assassinations targeting critics of the Western-backed, far-right regime in Kiev.

Yesterday evening, a group calling itself the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—the name of a Ukrainian fascist militia that collaborated with Nazi forces in carrying out ethnic genocides of Jews and Poles during World War II—claimed responsibility for the killings. In a statement emailed to opposition legislators and political commentators, it also gave “anti-Ukrainian” persons 72 hours to leave the country or be killed if they stayed behind.

It pledged to carry out the “complete extermination” of enemies of Ukraine and a “merciless insurrectionary struggle against the anti-Ukrainian regime of traitors and Moscow toadies,” according to a report in Der Spiegel .

The killing spree began this week with the murder of journalist Sergey Sukhobok. On Wednesday evening, Oleg Kalashnykov was found dead in his home in Kiev. He was a former parliamentarian from the Party of Regions and a close ally of President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician ousted in a NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in February of 2014 that installed the current regime in Kiev.

According to Interior Ministry advisor Anton Heraschenko, killers were waiting for Kalashnykov outside his residence and shot him when he returned.

Before his death, Kalashnykov indicated that he had received death threats over his call to commemorate May 9. He addressed a letter to his friends warning that “open genocide on dissent, death threats, and constant dirty insults” had become the “norm” since he publicly raised the issue. He reportedly added in the letter that Ukraine was under Nazi occupation.

On Thursday, pro-Russian journalist Oles Buzyna was shot and killed near his house in Kiev by two unidentified masked gunmen firing from a car. Buzyna had edited the Segodnya newspaper, a pro-Russian publication financed by Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, a multi-billionaire who was also one of the leading sponsors of Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions. Also killed on Thursday was Neteshinskiy Vestnik editor Olga Moroz.

The killings were the latest in a spate of deaths of high-profile opponents of the Kiev regime. The victims have largely been political and media associates of the faction of the post-Soviet Ukrainian business oligarchy tied to Akhmetov, Yanukovych and the Kremlin oligarchy in Russia. Other deaths include:

* Aleksey Kolesnik, former chairman of the Kharkov regional government, found hanged on January 29;

*Stanislav Melnik, a Party of Regions member reportedly close to Akhmetov, found shot in the bathroom of his Kiev apartment on February 24;

*Sergey Valter, the mayor of Melitopol, found hanged before his trial on February 25, leaving no suicide note;

*Aleksandr Bordyuga, the deputy chief of Melitopol police, found dead the next day, in his garage;

*Mikhail Chechetov, a former member of the Party of Regions, who jumped from the window of his 17th floor apartment in Kiev on February 28, leaving a suicide note;

*Sergey Melnichuk, a prosecutor who fell from a 9th floor apartment in Odessa on March 14.

Russian and Ukrainian officials have traded accusations of responsibility for the killings. Speaking on a call-in television show, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said of Buzyna’s killing, “It is not the first political assassination, we have seen a series of such killings in Ukraine.”

Officials in Kiev offered up dubious arguments to blame the killings on Russia. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the killings “a deliberate provocation which plays into the hands of our enemies, destabilizing the political situation in Ukraine.”

In the meantime, officials and far-right parliamentarians in Kiev have openly endorsed and celebrated the murders. While lawmaker Borys Filatov rejoiced that “one more piece of sh*t” had been eliminated,” Irina Farion, a lawmaker of the fascist Svoboda Party, attacked Buzyna as a “degenerate” and hoped that his “death will somehow neutralize the dirt this [expletive] has spilled… Such ones go to history’s sewers.”

Political responsibility for the killings rests with the imperialist powers that oversaw and backed the Kiev putsch. They have encouraged Kiev to wage a bloody civil war against pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine and covered up its reliance on fascistic, anti-Russian forces. In the resulting political atmosphere, opponents of the Kiev states can be murdered without investigation and with political impunity.

What is occurring in Ukraine is a warning to the international working class. With the support of Washington and its European allies, which are moving to train the neo-Nazi militias that make up much of the Ukrainian regime’s National Guard, an ultra-right regime has emerged in a major European country.

With Ukraine’s economy disintegrating and its population resisting Kiev’s attempts to reinstate the draft to wage war against eastern Ukraine, Kiev is seeking to crush domestic dissent and relying ever more directly on the far right. Terrified that mass opposition might coalesce around the May 9 holiday, it has banned public discussion of communism. It also rehabilitated the UPA and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

This is the culmination of a series of police state measures by the Kiev regime that have enjoyed the full support of its NATO backers. During last year’s Ukrainian legislative elections, opposition candidates, including Pyotr Symonenko, the Stalinist Communist Party of Ukraine’s (KPU) former presidential candidate, were physically attacked by fascist thugs.

Even before the murder of Buzyna, Kiev regime officials and sympathizers were demanding draconian punishments of journalists who oppose the regime. Last month, Ukrainian Minister of Information Policy Yuri Stets demanded that journalists in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian Donbass region serve prison terms of eight to 15 years.

In an account on Facebook of a speech he had given at Harvard University, pro-Kiev regime commentator and political analyst Yuri Romanenko boasted that he had argued for murdering pro-Russian journalists and summarized his arguments.

“The Ukrainian army must selectively and carefully eliminate Russian journalists covering the situation in Donbass. We need to direct Ukrainian army snipers to shoot people wearing PRESS helmets, making them priority targets,” Romanenko wrote. “Since the media represent a destructive weapon and allow Russia to operate not only in the war zone but across Ukraine, taking out several dozen journalists in the conflict zone will reduce the quality of the picture presented in the Russian media and, therefore, reduce the effectiveness of their propaganda.”

The murder of Kalashnykov, Buzyna and their political associates emerges directly from the foul political atmosphere produced by such ranting. It is an indictment of the NATO powers backing the regime in Ukraine and the illusions peddled by the Western media and corrupt pseudo-left groups that the right-wing protests on the Maidan and the February 2014 putsch were part of a democratic revolution.

While these forces insisted, without any proof, that the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was a crime carried out by the Russian government, they are maintaining a hypocritical silence as the Kiev regime’s internal opponents are gunned down in the streets.

EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

December 17, 2014

The EU General Court has ordered that the Palestinian militant group Hamas be removed from the bloc’s terror blacklist. The move comes over four years after Hamas appealed its terror designation before the EU.

The European Union first banned Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in 2002, though the organization’s social and political divisions were not put on the terror list. Following a series of Hamas suicide bombings during the second intifada or uprising in September 2003, the EU extended the ban to include the organization as a whole.

On September 12, 2010, Hamas appealed the ban, largely on procedural grounds. In its complaint, the group cited a lack of due process, specifically, that it had not been properly informed the act was being implemented. It further asserted that as a “legitimately-elected government,” it cannot be labeled as a terrorist organization, saying such a designation flies in the face of “the principle of non-interference in the internal matters of a State.”

READ MORE: ‘Amnesty are victims of Hamas propaganda’ – Israeli FM spokesman

The court accepted the organization’s argument, saying that the decision to remove Hamas from the list was not based on an examination of Hamas’ activities, but rather on an examination of the procedures used to institute the 2003 ban in the first place. Unless an appeal brings closure, however, a funding freeze against the group and sanctions against its members will remain in place for three more months.

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)

The lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was “satisfied with the decision.”

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq lauded the decision, saying the court had righted an injustice done to the organization, which he said is a “national freedom movement,” and not a terrorist organization, the Jerusalem Post reports.

But a deputy from Israel’s major right-wing Likud party, Danny Danon, said, “The Europeans must believe that there blood is more sacred than the blood of the Jews which they see as unimportant. That is the only way to explain the EU court’s decision to remove Hamas from the terror blacklist.”

“In Europe they must have forgotten that Hamas kidnapped three boys and fired thousands of rockets last summer at Israeli citizens,” he added.

Shortly after the ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the EU to keep Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations.

“We expect them to immediately put Hamas back on the list,” Reuters cites Netanyahu as saying in a statement. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization which in its charter states its goal is to destroy Israel.”

The EU and Israel have attempted to downplay the ruling, saying that groups standing within Europe as terror organizations will not change. Israeli and European officials say the court will be given a few months to rebuild its file against Hamas with evidence of the group’s activities, which will enable it to be placed back on the list of terror organizations, the Israeli news portal Ynet reports.

According to RT’s Paula Slier, Israeli politicians “across the political spectrum” have unanimously condemned what they call a “temporary” removal.

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#Israeli politicians across the political spectrum have unanimously condemned this ‘temporary’ removal.
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According to Slier, EU officials have given Israel assurances that Brussels’ position has not changed, saying Wednesday’s ruling was a “technical” mistake. Officials from the 28-member bloc further said the court did not have sufficient authority to affect the entire EU’s position.

In the interim, however, EU member states will be empowered to establish diplomatic ties with Hamas.

A Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas's armed wing sits on the shoulders of his father during a rally ahead of the 27th anniversary of Hamas founding, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

A Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas’s armed wing sits on the shoulders of his father during a rally ahead of the 27th anniversary of Hamas founding, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

The EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, will meet with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, on Wednesday to discuss the matter, Israeli daily Haaretz reports. Faaborg-Andersen is expected to reiterate that the EU’s position on Hamas remains unchanged, and that a future decision to reclassify Hamas as a terror organization is forthcoming.

During the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas defeated the PLO-affiliated Fatah party and has governed the Gaza Strip for the past seven years. Some countries have treated Hamas as a terrorist organization, while others have not. While Australia, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, the US and the UK all treat Hamas or its military wing as a terrorist organization, other states, including China, Iran, Russia and Turkey, do not.

Hamas leaders have made several diplomatic trips to Russia to discuss a range of issues, from Palestinian reconciliation to economic relations.

‘How Ukraine was turned into a failed state in a year’

A Ukrainian anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police in central Kiev early on January 25, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dmitry Serebryakov)

A Ukrainian anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police in central Kiev early on January 25, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dmitry Serebryakov)

As a country with few socio-economic and political problems Ukraine has turned into a failed state torn by civil war and sectarian violence, with a lack of constitutional order and a destroyed economy, foreign affairs expert Nebojsa Malic told RT.

Malic added that there has been a lot of talk about financial assistance for Ukraine but none of that has actually materialized.

“The only people that the US is actually funding are activists and all sorts of interested organizations that are at the business of perpetuating outrage but not really helping the society or the state get better,” he said.

RT: American and European officials have made numerous trips to Ukraine over the past year, making tempting promises regarding the bright future for the country alongside the Western states. Were they fulfilled?

Nebojsa Malic: None of the promises were fulfilled. In fact, Ukraine is far worse off than a year ago in unimaginable ways. From a country that was having problems financially, socially and politically, it has basically transited to a failed state torn apart by a civil war, sectarian violence, oligarchs, private armies, Nazis, a coup government, complete lack of constitutional order, and on top economic problems that get much worse.

RT: Mr. Biden, who’s visiting Kiev today, has promised to deliver a “strong message” supporting the Ukrainian government and people. Will he be heard and/or believed?

NM: I’m sure that the people in power in Kiev will believe anything that they are told because their entire rule rests on perception management, that they are a legitimate government backed by the West which they equate with the entire world. As for the people, I’m not sure that Biden’s words will keep anybody warm or fed this winter. Biden, wherever he goes, things don’t turn out particularly well. Likewise these biscuits that Victoria Nuland handed out last December are the thing of the past at this point. Press people are wondering where the next meal is going to come from. Essentially the entire message from the US is “You people go on and do your thing, we will back you up,” and the backup is never there. There has been no financial support for Ukraine’s debts or economic recovery. There has been a lot of talk of assistance but none of that has actually materialized. The only people that the US is actually funding are activists and all sorts of interested organizations that are at the business of perpetuating outrage but not really helping the society or the state get better.

RT: Victoria Nuland is set to join Mr. Biden. We remember the famous leaked remark of hers when speaking of Europe’s hesitant policy towards the protests on Maidan, showing how strongly the US controls the decision-making in terms of the Ukrainian crisis. Do you think Washington is happy with the results?

NM: It depends on what actual objectives of the intervention were. If the objective was to create intractable hostility between Kiev and Moscow, then yes, Washington has every right to be happy. If the objective is to create a normal functioning European-civilized Ukrainian state then no that has been a complete disaster from day one. Personally I think the objective was to create the conflict, to create the chaos, to create disorder, suffering and misery, so that the US government and the EU could bow in as liberators or knights in shining arms rescuing people, except there hasn’t been any rescue as they are neither capable of it, nor do they actually intend to perform it. If I was in charge of US foreign policy, I would chalk it up as a massive failure, if the objectives were, as officially stated, to create order and stability. But I’m not in charge and the objectives are not what they were officially stated.

Protesters carry a wounded protester during clashes with poliсe, after gaining new positions near the Independence square in Kiev on February 20, 2014. (AFP PHhoto / Louisa Gouliamaki)

Protesters carry a wounded protester during clashes with poliсe, after gaining new positions near the Independence square in Kiev on February 20, 2014. (AFP PHhoto / Louisa Gouliamaki)

RT: According to the UN figures, over 4,300 people were killed in the conflict in Ukraine. Where do you believe it is heading?

NM: Right now there is a ceasefire that is holding on paper and is not holding in practice. People are still dying every day; we have the President of Ukraine declaring that children of the rebels will be hunkering down in basements forever. There was hope in September when the Minsk accord was signed that it might create preconditions for a dialogue and a possible political solution. Unfortunately, so long as Kiev believes that it has unconditional support of the West to do whatever it wants, including what it rightly classified as war crimes, they will continue being aggressive and belligerent, refusing any sort of compromise or dialogue. They believe their rights are absolute, they believe they can do whatever they want and they will continue behaving accordingly. This is not a prescription for peace; this is a prescription for further conflict. I don’t know whether the war will continue throughout the winter, what sort of intensity, depending on how bad the winter is, but I’m certain that there are people in Kiev who have said so that they will resume hostilities at the first possible opportunity with the goal of taking the rebel regions and expelling the population that refuses to accept the current government.

Security analyst Charles Shoebridge on Ukraine: “It has been a disastrous year of very little progress. Different people have different perspectives. For example, some people in the west of Ukraine are very happy that the government of Yanukovich was overthrown by the street protests that took place in Kiev. If one looks at the eastern regions, it’s a disaster time – we are talking about some 4,500 deaths, many of those, if not the majority, are civilians. And also Ukraine forces and rebel fighters themselves are suffering terrible causalities. Maybe 450,000 have fled Ukraine to go to Russia, some another 400,000 people are internally displaced. The country continues to stagnate if not decline economically as a result of this.”

Security analyst Charles Shoebridge on Ukraine: “I think that the influence of external players is also important because until now it doesn’t appear that there has been a lot of pressure placed on the Poroshenko government and Poroshenko himself by his Western supporters, particularly NATO, the EU and the US, to seek out peace instead of seeking out victory. That peace, even as a Minsk agreement itself implicitly recognized a few weeks ago, does need some form of compromise and negotiation between the parties. That simply isn’t taking place in any meaningful way at the moment.”

Security analyst Charles Shoebridge on Ukraine: “There is a division in Ukraine society, not just between those of Russian-speaking or ethnically Russian descent, but even within those communities. The same in the west of Ukraine – you have Ukrainians, some are sick of the war, but there are also a strong nationalist and far-right elements that are prevalent in much of the west of Ukraine who are really not even in any mood to negotiate or give any way to what they describe as terrorists in the east, the rebel fighters, and who want this war prosecuted to a victory rather to any form of compromise.”

German foreign minister speaks out against Ukraine joining NATO

AFP Photo / Yurko Dyachyshyn

AFP Photo / Yurko Dyachyshyn

 

November 23, 2014

Germany’s FM, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said he is against Ukraine joining NATO. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he said he considers “that it is possible for NATO to have a partnership with Ukraine, but not membership.”

He also added that he does not believe it is realistic for Ukraine to join the European Union in the foreseeable future, as the economic and political modernization of Ukraine is a “project for a few generations.”

He also urged Kiev to introduce reforms to fight corruption and mismanagement of the economy, saying they had to start immediately and that there was no time to lose.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.(AFP Photo / Odd Andersen)

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.(AFP Photo / Odd Andersen)

Meanwhile, Russia President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said one of the means of changing the balance of power in the world to eventually subdue Russia was NATO’s gradual approach toward its borders, which made Russia “nervous”, he said, speaking to the BBC.

Russia needs a “100 percent guarantee that no one would think about Ukraine joining NATO,” Peskov said.

On Friday, Jeff Rathke, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that Washington supported Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, but the final decision should of course be made by Kiev.

Rathke also said that lethal assistance to Ukraine was not yet “off the table.”

“Our position on lethal aid hasn’t changed. Nothing is off the table, and we continue to believe there’s no military solution. But we, in light of Russia’s actions, as the nominee mentioned yesterday in his testimony, this is – as he indicated, this is something that we should be looking at,” Rathke said.

 

 

 

 

 

Kissinger warns of West’s ‘fatal mistake’ that may lead to new Cold War

 Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Reuters / Gero Breloer / Pool)


Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Reuters / Gero Breloer / Pool)

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has given a chilling assessment of a new geopolitical situation taking shape amid the Ukrainian crisis, warning of a possible new Cold War and calling the West’s approach to the crisis a “fatal mistake.”

The 91-year-old diplomat characterized the tense relations as exhibiting the danger of “another Cold War.”

“This danger does exist and we can’t ignore it,” Kissinger said. He warned that ignoring this danger any further may result in a “tragedy,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel.

If the West wants to be “honest,” it should recognize, that it made a “mistake,” he said of the course of action the US and the EU adopted in the Ukrainian conflict. Europe and the US did not understand the “significance of events” that started with the Ukraine-EU economic negotiations that initially brought about the demonstrations in Kiev last year. Those tensions should have served as a starting point to include Russia in the discussion, he believes.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

“At the same time, I do not want to say that the Russian response was proportionate,” the Cold War veteran added, saying that Ukraine has always had a “special significance” for Russia and failure to understand that “was a fatal mistake.”

Calling the sanctions against Moscow “counterproductive,” the diplomat said that they set a dangerous precedent. Such actions, he believes, may result in other big states trying to take “protective measures” and strictly regulate their own markets in future.

When introducing some sanctions or publishing lists of people whose accounts were frozen one should wonder “what will happen next?” the former Secretary of State said rhetorically, because when something begins you cannot lose sight of where it is going to end.

Kissinger also said he would expect more action from Berlin on matter. As the most “important” country in Europe it should be more “proactive” rather than reactive, he said.