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BBC: Ukraine sanctions imposed amid Kiev clashes


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I am originally from Ukraine :( This is surreal.

It's hard to understand, but this is good. Not the sanctions, but what is going on. People are still willing to work and die for their rights.


In the US, on the other hand, . . . oh look, The Voice is on!!!!

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It's hard to understand, but this is good. Not the sanctions, but what is going on. People are still willing to work and die for their rights.


In the US, on the other hand, . . . oh look, The Voice is on!!!!

We were 250 years ahead of the curve

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Ukraine Turmoil Rattles Moscow


Viktor Yanukovych's allies in Moscow reacted bitterly Saturday to his ouster as president of Ukraine, saying the country had been taken over by "terrorists" and "extremists."


Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly backed Yanukovych, who set off turmoil in the country three months ago by spurning the European Union in favor of closer relations with Russia.


Yanukovych's whereabouts remained unclear Sunday morning. Widespread but unconfirmed reports said he was trying to flee to Russia.


Russia's state-controlled news media covered Saturday's events around the clock, characterizing them as an illegal palace coup led by hooligans, thugs and terrorists.


The Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday to urge the U.S. to "use all resources to prevent illegal activities by radicals and bring the situation back into the constitutional framework."


The U.S. didn't comment on the reported call, but in a statement, the State Department welcomed the release of opposition leader Yulia Tymochenko and said Saturday's events "move us closer" to "constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections."



Ukraine's president calls efforts to push him from office a 'coup'


Freed from prison, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko returned Saturday to the battleground capital the same day the country's president said he left Kiev because of a "coup."


Tymoshenko's release was the latest in a day of dramatic, fast-paced developments that saw Parliament vote to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office and call for new elections.


"Today, Ukraine has finished with this terrible dictator, Mr. Yanukovych," Tymoshenko told a cheering crowd of thousands in Kiev's Independence Square, the scene of deadly demonstrations.


Just hours after her release from a prison hospital, Tymoshenko called for justice for protesters killed in demonstrations sparked by the President's decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union in favor of one with Russia.

But Yanukovych took to television airwaves, saying he had been forced to leave Kiev because of "vandalism, crime and a coup."


"I don't plan to leave the country. I don't plan to resign. I am the legitimate president," he said in an interview from Kharkiv, a pro-Russian stronghold near Ukraine's border with that nation.


"...What I am going to do next is to protect my country from the split, to stop the bloodshed. I don't know how to do it yet. I am in Kharkiv and I don't know what I am going to do next."


He did not address reports that he attempted to leave the country by airplane.


According to the head of Ukraine's Border Guard Service, Sergei Astakov, Yanukovych and his entourage attempted to board a charter flight without proper documentation in the eastern city of Donetsk. He was on the tarmac when he was turned back by security forces, Astakov told CNN, confirming an account he gave to Ukraine's Interfax news agency.



I think the most interesting things about the past day's events are:


1. Everything was very civil and calm in Kiev after Yanukovych and his goons disappeared.  There was no rioting or looting or chaos, and everyone worked together to preserve order and make sure evidence left behind at his villa was kept intact (despite the tons of media and people touring it now). 


2. There was an utter lack of support for the president from those who were supposed to back him, from the people in his regional strongholds to the military, police, and security serves. (the mayor and the governor of the area he's been hiding in reportedly fled to Russia).



By the way, anyone seen pictures of the petting zoo, golf course, etc. in the president's villa?  Fascinating stuff.






Behind Gates, Bizarre Vision Of Opulence


An eerie calm and a light mist shrouded President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s sprawling residential compound just outside the capital on Saturday morning as street fighters from the center of Kiev made their way inside, gingerly passing a wrought-iron gate and cautioning one another about booby traps and snipers.


They found none of either but discovered instead a world surely just as surreal as the charred wasteland of barricades and debris on the occupied central plaza that has been their home for months. It was a vista of bizarre and whimsical attractions on a grand scale, a panorama of waste and inexplicable taste.


They saw about a half-dozen large residences of various styles, a private zoo with rare breeds of goats, a coop for pheasants from Asia, a golf course, a garage filled with classic cars and a private restaurant in the form of a pirate ship, with the name “Galleon” on the stern.

Whether it was the toppling of Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines or of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, the breaching of the presidential palace gates is a milestone of a revolution.


But Kiev on Saturday was unusual in one sense. There was no sacking. The opposition unit that took control of the president’s complex, called Mezhigorye, kept it intact, at least for now. On Saturday, the president fled, and the presidential guard melted away. But members of the Lviv-based “hundred,” who had repeatedly confronted Mr. Yanukovych’s security forces on the streets, posted guards around his residential compound and prevented looting even as swarms of gawking Kiev residents strolled through its grounds.

Autocrats seem to have a propensity for private zoos, and Mr. Yanukovych’s palace complex contained multiple enclosures for exotic animals. Rare pheasants with magnificent, iridescent red tails scratched about in their cages, nervous from the crowds walking past and snapping pictures. The labels on the cages identified them as “Diamond pheasant” and “Japanese long-tailed pheasant.”


Other cages held dogs, and there were pens for goats and what appeared to be rare breeds of pigs.


The street fighters also found a heap of ash from burned documents, and used a raft to fish others from where they had been thrown into the river, laying them out carefully to dry.


The complex extended well over a mile along the river and was immaculately landscaped with hedges, lawns and birch trees, and a golf course of graceful swales, sand traps and pools of crystalline water.


Even as the crowds grew, there was no sign of looting. By evening, a vast traffic jam formed on the highway from the capital, and crowds walked along the road’s shoulder to see the open palace. The grounds filled with Ukrainian citizens, awed by what they saw. “I’ve never seen luxury like this,” said one man.

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Merkel, Putin Agree on Preserving Ukraine Unity, U.S. Says Split in Nobody's Interest


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Sunday that Ukraine's "territorial integrity" must be ensured, the German government spokesman said, as the U.S. said it was in no one's interest to see Ukraine break apart.


Merkel spoke by phone with Putin and "both agreed that Ukraine must quickly get a government capable of acting and its territorial integrity must be preserved," Steffen Seibert said.


A day after Ukraine's three-month crisis culminated in parliament ousting the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as president and calling new elections, Merkel and Putin also stressed the need for stability in Ukraine.


"They underline their common interest in the stability of the country in political and economic respects," Seibert said in a statement.


He said Merkel and Putin had agreed to remain in close contact.


Merkel also spoke to freed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Sunday and called on her to work to hold the country together as well as to approach the country's pro-Russian east, German government sources said.



Susan Rice says Russia should not involve troops in Ukraine


National security adviser Susan E. Rice said Sunday that Russian troop intervention in Ukraine would be a “grave mistake,” arguing that a return to a Cold War posture would not reflect modern realities.


“This is not about the U.S. and Russia,” Rice said Sunday during a wide-ranging interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is about whether the people of Ukraine have the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations and be democratic and be part of Europe, which they choose to be.”


On Saturday, the Ukraine parliament voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych, who defiantly vowed to stay in power in a taped message that day. The exact whereabouts of the former leader have been unknown since Friday evening, but Rice said he has fled the Ukraine capital and appears unlikely to return soon.


“He left Kiev, packed up in an orderly fashion — took his stuff, his furniture, with him,” she said. “This was not fleeing in a very disorderly fashion.”





Journalists, investigators pore through trove of Mezhyhirya documents Yanukovych left behind


When ex-President Viktor Yanukovych left his luxurious Mezhyhirya in a hurry on Feb. 22, he left a lot behind – including enough financial documents to keep criminal investigators and investigative journalists busy for months to come.


Now the 140-hectare complex north of Kyiv is public property once again, thanks to a unanimous vote in parliament on Feb. 23.


Journalists who arrived at the estate over the weekend found thousands of documents floating in the Kyiv Sea or at its bottom near shore. Some of them were burned around the edges in a failed attempt to destroy them. Others were still packed tightly in files and folders. A diver recovered some 160 folders of invoices, contracts, insurance policies, cash payment orders and the like.


Many of the seized items shed light on how Yanukovych acquired and paid for Mezhyhirya through shell companies that officially own Mezhyhirya.


Privatized in 2007 through a dubious scheme and occupied by the former president since 2002, the estate is officially owned by Tantalit, a previously murky firm whose activities are now better known thanks to the documents Yanukovych left behind.


They appear to add up to a complex tale of corruption and greed – possibly enough to send many people to prison if the allegations are properly investigated and proven in court. Yanukovych, the beneficiary of the schemes, emerges as an ugly man who ran both his home and his nation like a medieval fiefdom.




 A walking tour of Mezhyhirya, formerly Yanukovych's opulent estate (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)










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I don't think it's as simple as Putin trying to bring back the old USSR - it's more about his fear/ dislike of unrest and instability right on Russia's borders. He does not want anyone in Russia getting any ideas and he also does not want an unstable regime right on his border.

I highly doubt he would send in Russian troops though.

What is a worry is if there is an East/West split with Ukraine and civil war breaks out. It looks so far though as if there is not huge support for the current regime even in the East of Ukraine.


It's not the fear of unrest which drives Putin..  Putin is a classic oligarch.   He's all about power as a means to an end and accumulating personal wealth.    That is the real tradition of political authority in Russia.   Screw everybody,  what's in it for me.

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I think the most interesting things about the past day's events are:


1. Everything was very civil and calm in Kiev after Yanukovych and his goons disappeared.  There was no rioting or looting or chaos, and everyone worked together to preserve order and make sure evidence left behind at his villa was kept intact (despite the tons of media and people touring it now). 


2. There was an utter lack of support for the president from those who were supposed to back him, from the people in his regional strongholds to the military, police, and security serves. (the mayor and the governor of the area he's been hiding in reportedly fled to Russia).



By the way, anyone seen pictures of the petting zoo, golf course, etc. in the president's villa?  Fascinating stuff.




Kiev is in the center of the more ethnically Ukrainian part of Ukraine.    That doesn't mean anything because ethnically Russians dominate roughly the other half of the country...


Ukraine is incredible vulnerable to splitting in two,  or being pushed one way or the other depending upon who is doing the pushing...


There is a large motivated group of people on both side of the pro western position and the pro Russian opinion inside Ukraine.   And Putin may very well commit troops to see that scale tip in his direction.   It's kind of like a Russian tradition, and it's not like we haven't had our own Monroe Doctrine in the US for 190 years now.





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From the various reports going coming from the east there isn't much interest in separation or a civil war. 

People are scared of losing their cultural heritage, but not looking to go to war.

There does seem to be a huge segment down south however, in Sevestopol specifically who are extremely pro-Russian and roaring for a fight from the looks of it. 


Not sure they can do much about it though. 


Russia would have to be incredibly foolish to think they could invade and occupy most of if not all of Ukraine right now.





Putin takes losses on Ukraine, but Russia still has leverage and the will to use it


Russian President Vladimir Putin had a plan for Ukraine, but it all fell apart Friday.

So he went to Plan B: a mediated gradual transition of power, which came undone on Saturday.


Big setbacks for the Kremlin? Yes, especially given the way they intruded upon the intended public relations triumph of the Sochi Winter Olympics. But a rout? Not if Putin can help it.

Putin’s primary goal has been to enfold Ukraine in his new Eurasian Economic Union. Ukraine is vital to its success, and Putin knows it. Kiev’s defection from the Soviet Union in the fall of 1991 was the fatal blow to the U.S.S.R., and if Ukraine remains outside the Eurasian union, that grouping will never be the economic power Putin wants it to be.


Russia continues to have a powerful tool: It supplies virtually all of Ukraine’s natural gas, and Kiev is already deeply in debt. The Kremlin could also choose to move forward on its currently suspended $15 billion loan program to Ukraine, signed a long two months ago with Yanukovych.


For now, Putin’s plan to bring Ukraine on board is on ice. But in the throes of the Maidan revolution, the European Union isn’t likely to come rushing in to preempt the Kremlin. Moscow can wait.




European integration “a priority” says Ukraine acting president


Euronews correspondent Angelina Kariakina reports from Kyiv and says: “While Ukrainian politicians negotiate the coalition and candidates for the post of prime minister the Maidan protest movement which has spread far beyond Kyiv wants a change in the political system and new faces in state administrations.”


Some placards carried by protesters called for Yulia Tymoshenko to retire from politics. She has said she will not stand for prime minister, coded language believe some indicating she wants to be candidate in the presidential election.


“Ukraine doesn’t want a new chief, Ukraine wants a new future. We don’t want to change one bunch of bandits for another. I personally want a cleansing of the system. I want the opposition to go through a major review so every person understands for whom we are voting so that we know everything about those whom we are electing,” said one protester.


“We don’t want to see old politicians in the government. For how long should we put up with them. We remember the lessons of 2004,” added another.


“Yes, we want to see new faces – of those who were making this revolution happen. People gave their lives not for the politicians, but for their own freedom. Yulia has been prime minister but she didn’t change anything,” stressed a third protester.


Acting President Oleksander Turchinov said on Sunday he was ready to talk to the leadership of Russia to try and improve relations.



Canada ready to launch sanctions if Russia interferes in Ukraine, says immigration minister


Canada is prepared to enact sanctions against Russia if it moves to rekindle violence in Ukraine, Canada’s immigration minister said Sunday.


In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, Chris Alexander said Canada is watching the situation in Ukraine closely for evidence of cross-border influence from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it won’t hesitate to act if necessary.


“If someone from outside, including Russia, including Vladimir Putin, tries to introduce violence back to the equation that’s … going to be a very dangerous development,” he said. “But it’s going to be unacceptable to Ukrainians and all of their allies around the world.”


Canada and other Ukrainian allies have many tools at their disposal, including economic sanctions and travel restrictions, to dissuade outside countries from attempting to disrupt the tenuous peace achieved after a week that saw dozens of Ukrainians killed in violent antigovernment protests and the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.



Russian state TV host accuses Ukraine's Yanukovich of 'betrayal'

A prominent Russian state TV host said on Sunday that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich had betrayed his people when he fled Kiev, an uncompromising verdict on a leader President Vladimir Putin had hoped would bring Ukraine closer to Moscow's orbit.


The remarks by Dmitry Kiselyov on Russia's main state channel indicate Moscow is unlikely to seek to restore Yanukovich to power despite its calls for implementation of a peace deal that, at least on paper, would keep him as president until a new election.


Kiselyov, who is known for elaborate, acid diatribes against the West, criticized the United States and European Union over their roles in the upheaval in Ukraine but then set his sights on Yanukovich, saying he was ultimately to blame.

"Yanukovich turned out to be incapable not only of working out a state strategy, but even of formulating the real national interests of the country," said Kiselyov, to whom Putin awarded a medal this month and whose program is watched for clues to Kremlin policy and signs of how the government wants Russians to perceive events.


"Yanukovich only seemed amorphous; in reality he was taking action. The result: the real betrayal of the Ukrainian people, his partners and even - and this is completely low - his own police.


"The consequences are irreversible. Ukraine is one step from a split and probably already beyond the threshold of civil war," he said. "Now there is no such political factor in Ukraine as Yanukovich. He left behind ... anarchy."


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From the various reports going coming from the east there isn't much interest in separation or a civil war. 

People are scared of losing their cultural heritage, but not looking to go to war.

There does seem to be a huge segment down south however, in Sevestopol specifically who are extremely pro-Russian and roaring for a fight from the looks of it. 


Not sure they can do much about it though. 


Russia would have to be incredibly foolish to think they could invade and occupy most of if not all of Ukraine right now.

I've just been eyeballing it and I haven't really been following it nearly as closely as I should be.. But here is my current unsubstantiated opinionated opinion.

(1) Even the half of Ukraine which remains ethnically Ukrainian after what 500 years of Russian occupation is split down the middle into Orthodox (Russian Orthodox?) and Catholic.. They don't agree on anything..

So even the nationalist Ukrainians are split or at least significantly divided. The other half of the country speaks Russian or is ethnically Russian.

(2) Yeah, nobody wants a civil war... Russia doesn't want it because they want the entire pie... Europe doesn't want it because they don't want to deal with the refugee or a war on their boarders.. Nobody inside of Ukraine wants it except when the country moves closer to Russia, or closer to Western Europe.

Then you have tens of thousands in the street and scores of folks killed etc.... Weak link, Western Europe motivation is just to avoid trouble. Russia's motivation is stronger.

(3) Do you really think Putin is going to let the Ukraine move closer to western Europe? The old bread basket of the soviet union in the EU? Not going to happen if Vladamir has anything to say about it. He's been working since "elected" the first time to bring the Ukraine back into Russia's orbit. It's a very very important piece to Russia's future.

(4) The United States is about half way into it's Pacific pivot... We don't have a million troops in Western Europe like we did in the 1980's. We don't have jack... And Europe/NATO less the United States is pretty close to nothing... I mean France and Britain could field troops and they're pretty good. But are they going to go toe to toe with Russia over Ukraine without US backing? I don't think so. That's Putin's neighborhood... If France and Britain got involved it could be another 1939, yes we would get involved before it came to that, but how long would it take us to mass troops in Europe? Took us about a year to staff up for Gulf War I.... No time soon. Russia has a common boarder with Ukraine.. that means a huge advantage for Russia in the event of any trouble.

I think Ukraine means a lot more to Russia than it does to anybody else in Western Europe or North America..

I don't see Obama starting a tussle with Russia given our last two wars are just ending now...

Anyway if Russia can avoid Ukraine joining the EU... that might be enough for her right now. Problem is the folks doing the protesting want to join the EU..

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Why Russia Won't Interfere


Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine and the Ukrainian opposition leaders signed an agreement on Friday that ended the deadly protests in Kiev by promising a new constitution and early elections. But the Russian president’s envoy to Kiev refused to co-sign it. While Moscow welcomed an end to the violence, it basically viewed the agreement as a diktat by the Western-backed Ukrainian opposition. The opposition has seized power in Kiev, and Moscow is wary that the crisis will not end anytime soon. Some radical groups remain well-armed; there are deep political, cultural and regional cleavages in Ukrainian society; the country’s elites are in disarray; and its economic situation is rapidly deteriorating. The mess is very much Ukraine’s own, and Russia has far less influence on it than is commonly appreciated.


The most popular myth about Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian crisis is that Mr. Yanukovych has been but a puppet of President Vladimir V. Putin. In reality, Mr. Putin has been very frustrated with his Ukrainian counterpart. To Mr. Putin, Mr. Yanukovych is unreliable, forever vacillating between the European Union and Russia; and now, a totally spent force, he has fled from Kiev to Kharkiv, a Russian-speaking city in eastern Ukraine. Moscow knows that the Ukrainian oligarchs, most of whom used to support Mr. Yanukovych, are largely anti-Russian. Though they in effect rule Ukraine, they fear being taken over by the richer business giants next door. Even those who made their money in Russia, like the protest-funder Petro Poroshenko, prefer to keep it in the West.

Ukraine’s “February Revolution” may be a blessing in disguise for Moscow, as it could help debunk the notion that Russia cannot be a great power without Ukraine as its junior partner. Moscow does not need to govern more people; it needs to raise the health, education and work standards in its own people’s lives.


Despite what some Ukrainians suspect, Moscow is unlikely to try bringing about the breakup of Ukraine in order to annex its southern and eastern parts. That would mean civil war next door, and Russia abhors the idea. Moscow’s best option at this point is to stand back and wait, while quietly favoring decentralization in Ukraine. Although federalization is seen in Kiev and western Ukraine as a step toward ultimate partition, it could in fact help hold Ukraine together. With more financial and cultural autonomy, the country’s diverse regions could more easily live and let live, and keep one another in check. Promoting decentralization in Ukraine would be a realistic long-term strategy for Russia, something Moscow has lacked so far.



What the West Must Do for Ukraine


Thanks in part to the coordinated efforts of Germany, Poland, France and the United States, irrevocable change has finally come to Ukraine, with President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s flight from Kiev and Parliament’s vote to call for new elections in May.


But the powers still have urgent work to do. Ukraine could either descend into chaos or right itself on a path toward a new democratic stability. The European powers and the United States must offer the country all possible support to move toward the latter.


The first and most urgent step for Western leaders is to send unequivocal messages to Moscow that any support by Russia for the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine to break away from the rest of the country would be met harshly, and result in a general reconsideration of relations with Russia on all levels.


In parallel, they must make sure that their own resources, and those of the European Union institutions in Brussels, are available to political leaders in Kiev to assist them in their transition to a new regime.


Moreover, Ukraine’s crisis isn’t just political: The country faces economic default without support. It had been relying on Russia for that help, and now Europeans and Americans must quickly work with the International Monetary Fund to provide a financial lifeline to Kiev and to prepare longer-term economic-assistance programs; they must also be ready to give direct emergency aid by themselves, if needed.

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Not one American dollar should be spent in Ukraine.  We are 18 trillion in debt and climbing; let the Europeans spend their money.

It could take more than money to ensure Ukraine's independence. And we are the only country among NATO with a military which would give Russia pause.

18 Trillion in debt is also kind of a joke. It's not that the United States doesn't have the largest, strongest and most diverse economy in the world. The 18 Trillion in debt is more a factor of America deciding to finance the operating cost of our government at 1% interest rather than pay for it, than an indication we are financially unsound.

It's what happens when you decide to have historically low taxes for a few decades: while dramatically increasing defense costs, going to war a few times, and recovering from global economic drops...

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Your articles are great... I just think, in the old soviet economic model they would / could isolate their economy from the west and make themselves entirely insular. The Ukraine's food production was a huge part of Russia's ability to do that. Without the Ukraine, Russia will never be able to impose it's will on anybody. They will always be tied to the west. When Russia invaded Georgia Russia's stock market had to cease trading because of all the western investors pulling out of the east. Russia's economy was crippled. If Russia is ever to regain the ability it once had to stand up to the west and bend the west to it's own will; it requires Ukraine and her food stuffs.

Not to mention Russia having to put up with a pro western country right on it's boarder. Russia has long endured invasions from the west in her history. She had long sought what Stalin gained for her after WWII, a block of bufferstates between herself and any potential western enemy. Russia won't easily concede Ukraine for that point either.

I think Russia would fight to avoid both of those things...I just don't think they would fight us however; so it all comes down to whether Putin thinks Obama would have the stones to resist him as he sends tanks over the boarder. Putin's considering.... Obama is politically neutered, our country is politically bifurcated. Hell half our leaders are OK with us defaulting on our debt and allowing the governemnt to shut it's doors rather than cooperate with Obama. Even if Obama would oppose Putin, It's not clear Obama could given the state of our union, the political opposition, and the political skills Obama has shown thus far. That's the calculation running through Putin's mind. It's less about reality than Putin's impression of reality. That to my mind is the danger of this situation.

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More footage of the main president villa (1 of 6 or so he has/had around the country).





Ukraine wants fugitive president to face Hague court


Ukraine's parliament voted on Tuesday to send fugitive President Viktor Yanukovich to the International Criminal Court, while his acting successor expressed concern about "signs of separatism" in Russian-speaking Crimea.


A resolution, overwhelmingly supported by parliament, linked Yanukovich, who was ousted by the legislature on Saturday and is now on the run, to police violence against protesters which it said had led to the deaths of more than 100 citizens of Ukraine and other states.


The Hague-based court said it would need a request from the government of Ukraine giving it jurisdiction over the deaths.


With an early presidential election set for May 25, one of Ukraine's most prominent opposition figures, retired world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, confirmed he would run.

Yanukovich was indicted by the new authorities for "mass murder" on Monday over the shooting of demonstrators in Kiev and is now on the wanted list, having last been seen at Balaclava in Crimea, near Russia's Sevastopol naval base.


The resolution said former interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former prosecutor-general Viktor Pshonka, who are also being sought by the authorities, should also be sent for trial at the ICC.




Ukraine's President Yanukovych Planned Crackdown As He Fled, Documents Show


Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych was planning a massive crackdown involving thousands of army troops, according to documents leaked to the Financial Times.


The papers, which the Financial Times said were verified by senior Ukrainian officials, refer to plans to move security forces from the southern regions of Ukraine into the capital, Kiev, for an "antiterrorist" operation that involved warrantless searches and authorized the use of weapons on protesters. The newspaper adds that another document, posted to Facebook by a former interior minister who claimed to have received it from "patriotic law enforcement officials," details plans for an operation aimed at regaining control of Kiev's city center.


The orders for these possible movements were never carried out and what might have developed into an all-out war between demonstrators and the military was avoided. Instead Yanukovych fled the capital for the eastern city of Kharkiv, near the border with Russia, leaving behind thousands of files such as these at his offices. As journalists and opposition officials combed through the piles of documents in recent days, a grim picture emerged of mass corruption and desperation.


It appears Yanukovych and his allies tried to destroy much of the evidence ahead of their departure from the capital. The Guardian reports CCTV footage shows "trucks being loaded with boxes before Yanukovych jumps into a helicopter and flees his palatial compound." Many of the documents left behind are charred and burned, while others were thrown en masse into a water reservoir only to be foiled by the floating plastic binders they were housed in.

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1702 GMT: AFP correspondent Maria Antonova has caught out the Kremlin in a lie.


In a statement on its web site today, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed alarm about alleged “relentless rioting of extremists…convinced of their own impunity” who were ostensibly continuing to “impose their will and instill their orders” in Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry claimed that after “destabilization of the political situation” rioters had now supposedly turned their sights on a “fragile inter-church and interfaith peace which had been preserved until recently.”


The Kremlin claimed “threats of physical reprisals and destruction of churches had increased” and that in recent days “attempts at a forceful seizure of Orthodox sites, sacred not only for Ukraine but for the whole Russian World” had been made on the Kiev Monastery of the Caves and the Holy Dormition, famous for its saints’ tombs.


The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Ukrainian activists of “provoking an even greater schism in Ukrainian society” and called on “sane forces” in Ukraine not to allow “further degradation of the situation.”


But according to the Ukrainian Monastery itself, in a statement published on its website three days ago, “the information appearing in many media outlets about the storming of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves on the night of 23 February does not correspond to reality.”


In fact, “EuroMaidan activists came to the Monastery due to provocative rumors that ‘sacred relics were being removed from the monastery site’ and stood peacefully by the entrance” to the building.

Clergy report that worship services are proceeding on schedule, including prayers for peace and for those killed in the unrest.



Rivals brawl in Ukraine's Crimea as Putin orders drills


Brawls erupted between rival factions on Ukraine's volatile Crimean peninsula Wednesday as the former Soviet nation's new leaders prepared to unveil a unity cabinet and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills near the border.


The untested pro-Western interim team in Kiev is grappling with the dual threats of separatism and default as it tries to recover from three months of protests that triggered pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych's ouster following a week of carnage in which nearly 100 people died.


The wave of secessionist sentiment that gripped the Russified southeastern parts of Ukraine following the fall of the pro-Kremlin regime boiled over in Crimea as an angry crowd of a few thousand led by pro-Russian Cossacks squared off against a force of a similar size spearheaded by Muslim Tatars.


Local health authorities said one man died of a heart attack during the mayhem in the port town of Simferopol. Ambulances were also called in to treat several people who suffered head contusions during scuffles that involved pepper spray and saw several bottles being hurled.


Tensions were ratchet up still further when Putin ordered the military to undergo snap readiness drills -- one of several announced in recent months -- across a western swathe of Russia that borders the northeast corner of Ukraine.





yanukovych seen in hotel ukraina in moscow last night, his former prosecutor general pshonka there today, RBK http://top.rbc.ru/politics/26/02/2014/907430.shtml

12:38 PM
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Gunmen Seize Government Buildings in Crimea Region


Armed men seized government buildings in Ukraine’s Crimea region on Thursday, barricading themselves inside and raising the Russian flag, according to wire service reports.


Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s acting interior minister, said on Thursday morning that an unknown group armed with automatic weapons had seized the Crimean Parliament building in Simferopol.


“Measures are being taken to counter the extremist actions and prevent an escalation of an armed conflict in the center of the city,” Mr. Avakov wrote in a posting on his Facebook page. “Provocateurs are on the march,” he added. “It’s a time for cool heads, the healthy consolidation of forces, and careful action.”


The events came a day after thousands of protesters in Simferopol, the capital of Ukraine’s Crimea region and a tinderbox of ethnic, religious and political divisions, clashed in the tumultuous struggle for Ukraine that drove the president from power last weekend and that has pushed Russia and the West into a face-off reminiscent of the Cold War.



Crimean Prime Minister Negotiates With Armed Men Who Seized Government Buildings   

The Moscow Times

A group of armed men seized the Crimean Parliament and Council of Ministers buildings in Simferopol on Wednesday night.


Russian flags are hoisted on top of the buildings, Interfax reported, adding that local sources told them that the men are part of a spontaneously "self-defense" unit formed by the region's Russian-speaking population .


The invaders have not yet issued any demands since seizing the building around 4 a.m., though Crimean Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilev said that he would conduct negotiations with the unknown men. The surrounding area has been sealed off by police, and a work holiday has been declared in the city.


"We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol ... we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window," ethnic Russian Leonid Khazanov told Reuters.


No one was injured in the building takeover, Mogilev's press secretary said.


 A representative of the armed men said that the parliament's speaker and deputies would be let into the building, a correspondent for Russian state-run television channel Rossia 24 in Crimea reported.   





BREAKING: Ukraine's acting president calls on Russian forces in Crimea not to leave naval base.  

3:25 AM


Ukraine: APCs seen on many photos en route to Crimea's parliament occupied by sup. Russia separatist could be from Ukraine State Security

3:56 AM
Lots of rumors flying around right now about APCs in the area possibly being Russian.




Pro-Russian activist confirms that his guys occupied Crimea parliament. They have 'a few guns' he said. Demand referendum on independence. 

3:36 AM

It's Russian speakers people from Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta, he says, belonging to newly formed self-defence groups.

3:39 AM


Men inside Crimean parliament: heavily armed, not authorized to negotiate > waiting for something to happen elsewhere

4:02 AM
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4:18 AM

https://twitter.com/AndersFoghR (head of NATO)

I'm concerned about developments in Crimea. I urge Russia not to take any action that can escalate tension or create misunderstanding

4:22 AM


Ukraine's new interior minister posts article saying Ukr police turned back Russian APCs near Simferopol: http://on.fb.me/1gDZeiE 




The Ukrainian cop at 0:40 says that the soldiers 'are not Ukrainian' -'who are they?' cop- 'They wont say'





Buildings of Crimean parliament, government seized by 120 professionally trained individuals - MP Kunitsyn


The buildings of the Crimean Council of Ministers and the Crimean parliament have been seized by 120 unknown professionally trained individuals with automatic weapons, former Crimean Prime Minister and UDAR MP Serhiy Kunitsyn has said.


"Tonight - I'm on the phone with Crimea all night - more than 120 armed men entered the Crimean Supreme Council and the Crimean government. These professionally trained people are armed. They brought weapons - automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and machine guns," he said, while speaking from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday.


Kunitsyn said that these people were professionally trained and each of them knew what to do during the seizure of government buildings.


"They have enough weapons to defend [the buildings] for a month," he said.




Report: Ukraine's Yanukovych in Moscow


A respected Russian news organization is reporting that Ukraine's fugitive president is staying in a Kremlin sanatorium just outside Moscow.


Viktor Yanukovych has not been seen publicly since Saturday. While the West has recognized the new Ukrainian government, whose forces drove Yanukovych from the capital, Russia still considers him the legitimate president.


RBK reports that Yanukovych is staying at the Barvikha sanatorium, which is run by the presidential administration's property department. The spokesman for this department, Viktor Khrekov, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he has no information about this.


RBK says the information came from one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen and was confirmed by a government official, neither of whom was identified. The article was under the byline of respected journalists, including RBK's editor in chief.




Prosecutor General of Crimea starts terrorism investigation for seizure of parliament, government building in Simferopol. Ukraine

4:58 AM


BREAKING: Yanukovych still considers himself Ukraine's president, asks Russia to protect him - Interfax

5:06 AM

BREAKING Yanukovych says he still considers himself president, that decisions by Ukraine parliament are illegitimate: Russian news agencies

5:07 AM



Ukrainian MFA handed note to Russian Chargé d'affaires calling for immediate consultations.


Following the recent developments in Crimea, Ukrainian foreign ministry handed note to Russian Chargé d'affaires calling for immediate consultations under the Article 7 of Ukraine-Russia Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership of 31 May 1997. A separate note called Russia to refrain from redeploying its troops outside zones settled by respective international agreements on Russian Black Sea fleet stationing in Crimea. Ukrainian foreign ministry, moreover, reiterated Russian obligations to guarantee Ukrainian territorial integrity under the Budapest memorandum of 1994. 




Leader of pro-Russian self-defense Semenyuk says they did not occupy gov't buildings. It was heavily armed people in spetnats uniforms.

5:29 AM


42% of Crimeans support unification with Russia, vs 10-15% in rest of Ukraine says think-tank: http://on.ft.com/NyW1YU  pic.twitter.com/OtC2rQ6UAN

5:27 AM




Crimean lawmakers to vote on effective succession from Ukraine as building held by armed men, Yanukovych declares legitimacy. Inauspicious 

5:58 AM
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Poland warns against 'very dangerous game' in Crimea


Poland on Thursday warned against the eruption of a regional conflict in Crimea, after pro-Russian gunmen seized government buildings in the peninsula's capital of Simferopol.


"I warn those who have done this (seized buildings) and those who have facilitated it, that regional conflicts begin this way," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters in Warsaw.


"This is a very dangerous game," added Sikorski, who along with his French and German counterparts, brokered a roadmap to end bloodshed on Friday in Kiev.


Sikorski's warning came as dozens of pro-Russian gunmen in combat fatigues took control of Ukrainian parliament and government buildings on the Crimea peninsula.


As a result, Ukraine told Russian troops from Moscow's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastapol to remain in their bases.


Sikorski had already warned on Wednesday that a break-up of Ukraine into a pro-Russian east and a pro-European west is an "imaginable catastrophe, but a highly undesirable one".


"The position on Ukraine's (territorial) integrity, towards the entire Ukrainian state, is the basic test for the credibility of each state, which is participating in these historic events," Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk also told reporters in Warsaw Thursday.


He was backed by Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius who, on Thursday, termed the events in Crimea a "provocation" as he arrived in Kiev to meet with the new government.


"The seizure of Crimea parliament and government buildings and the raising of Russian flags in principle is a provocation," the minister told AFP in a telephone interview from Kiev.

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Russia isn't invading, it seems Yanukovych invited them in.


That, IMO, is more dangerous than an outright invasion.


Noone can claim sovereignty was violated, if the president asks them to help.


Noone has grounds to defend a nation against those asked to defend.


Slimy, slimy, slimy.

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