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Ukraine crisis timeline

Ukraine's president fled Kiev after three months of protests and a

new government has taken over
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's decision in November to
pull out of an association deal with the EU sparked huge street
protests that eventually led to his downfall.

In March, Russia reacted by annexing the Ukrainian region of

Crimea and unrest is growing in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian
sentiment is strong. Meanwhile, relations between the West and
Moscow have soured dramatically.

May 2014
8 May: Pro-Moscow activists in eastern regions ignore a call by
Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone referendums on
independence due on 11 May.
7 May: In an apparent shift in Russian policy, President Putin calls
for referendums in eastern Ukraine to be postponed to encourage
dialogue. He also describes Ukraine's presidential elections
scheduled for 25 May as a move "in the right direction".
4 May: Pro-Russian protesters attack the police headquarters in
Odessa, prompting police to release dozens of people arrested over
the earlier unrest. Interim PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk says "inefficient"
police failed to prevent the fire two days earlier.
3 May: Seven international military observers held for a week by
pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Sloviansk are released..
2 May: Acting President Olexander Turchynov says many pro-Russia
rebels are killed, injured and arrested in a government offensive in
the eastern city of Sloviansk. Pro-Russians shoot down two Ukrainian
military helicopters, killing a pilot and serviceman. Clashes in the
Black Sea city of Odessa leave at least 42 people dead, most of
them pro-Russian activists killed when a building they had
barricaded themselves inside caught fire.
1 May: Acting President Olexander Turchynov reinstates
conscription, warning Ukraine is on "full combat alert". Pro-Russians
take over the regional prosecutor's office in eastern Donetsk.

April 2014

27 April: Eight detained OSCE observers are shown to the media as

negotiations continue to secure their freedom. One, a Swede, is
later released on medical grounds.
25 April: Eight OSCE international military observers are detained
by pro-Russian separatists near Sloviansk, accused of being spies.
23 April: Tony Blair warns Western leaders they must put aside
their differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on the threat of
Islamic extremism.
22 April: Ukraine's acting president orders relaunch of military
operations against pro-Russian militants in the east after two men,
one a local politician, are found "tortured to death" in Donetsk
21 April: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses Kiev of
breaking the Geneva agreement. Kiev releases photos as "proof" of
Russian soldiers operating in eastern Ukraine - what the photos say.
20 April: The shooting of three people manning a pro-Russian
checkpoint near Sloviansk outrages Russia, which blames it on
Ukrainian nationalists.
19 April: The appearance of threatening anti-Semitic leaflets in
Donetsk spreads alarm among Jews though pro-Russian forces
dismiss them as a hoax to discredit them.
17 April: Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU say they have agreed
at talks in Geneva on steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in eastern
Ukraine. Three people are killed when Ukrainian security forces fend
off a raid on a base in Mariupol. In Moscow, Russian President
Vladimir Putin warns Ukraine is heading into an "abyss" by
confronting pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. He
also dismisses claims that Russian agents are acting in eastern
16 April: Anti-terrorist operation quickly stalls: pro-Russian
militants in eastern Ukraine seize six armoured vehicles after they
are blockaded by civilians and gunmen in the town of Kramatorsk.
There is also an angry confrontation between civilians and soldiers
in a village nearby.
15 April: Ukraine's acting President, Olexander Turchynov,
announces start of "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian
12 April: In eastern Ukraine, occupations of official buildings by
pro-Russian protesters and militants multiply.

11 April: Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk offers

to devolve more powers to the eastern regions, as pro-Russia
occupations in Donetsk and Luhansk continue.
10 April: Russian President Vladimir Putin says that gas supplies to
Ukraine could be cut if Kiev does not pay off its debts, and warns
this could affect gas deliveries to Europe.
10 April: Russia says that satellite images released by Nato, which
purportedly show Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border in
recent weeks, are from August 2013. Nato defends the accuracy of
the images.
7 April: Protesters occupy government buildings in the eastern
cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, calling for a referendum on
independence. Ukraine authorities regain control of Kharkiv
government buildings the next day.
2 April: Ukraine's deposed President Viktor Yanukovych says
Russia's annexation of Crimea is "a tragedy", expressing hope that
the region will become part of Ukraine again.
1 April: Nato foreign ministers suspend all practical civilian and
military co-operation with Russia at a meeting in Brussels. The
military alliance also says it sees no sign of a Russian troop pullout
from Ukraine's border.

March 2014
31 March: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders a "partial
withdrawal" of troops from the border with Ukraine, the German
government announces.
31 March: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev becomes the
country's highest-ranking official to visit Crimea - a move
condemned by Kiev as a "crude violation" of international rules.
28 March: Amid signs of a big build-up of Russian forces on
Ukraine's eastern border, US President Barack Obama urges Moscow
to "move back its troops" and lower tensions.
24 March: Ukrainian troops leave Crimea, following emotional
farewells to wives and family members left behind. The pullout
follows an order by Ukraine's acting President Olexander Turchynov.
20 March: EU leaders gathered in Brussels condemn Russia's
"annexation" of Crimea and extend the list of individuals targeted
for sanctions. The US also extends sanctions.
18 March: Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses parliament,
defending Moscow's actions on Crimea, then signs a bill to absorb

the peninsula into the Russian Federation. Later, Ukraine says an

officer has been killed as a military base is stormed in Simferopol,
Crimea, the first such death in the region since pro-Russian forces
took over in late February.
17 March: The EU and US impose travel bans and asset freezes on
several officials from Russia and Ukraine over the Crimea
16 March: Official results from Crimea's secession referendum say
97% of voters back a proposal to join Russia.
15 March: Moscow vetoes a draft UN resolution criticising Crimea's
secession referendum in Crimea.
13 March: Ukraine's parliament votes to create a 60,000-strong
National Guard to defend the country.
12 March: Barack Obama pledges to stand with Ukraine during a
meeting with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the White
11 March: The European Commission offers Ukraine trade
incentives worth nearly 500m euros ($694m; 417m). Ukrainian MPs
ask the US and UK to use all measures, including military, to stop
Russia's aggression.
10 March: Armed men seize a military hospital in Simferopol.
8 March: The US and France warn of "new measures" against
Russia if it does not withdraw its forces from Ukraine. Warning shots
are fired at international monitors trying to enter Crimea.
7 March: Russia says it will support Crimea if the region votes to
leave Ukraine. Russia's state gas company Gazprom warns Kiev that
its gas supply might be cut off. Ukraine sends just one athlete to the
opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi.
6 March: Crimea's parliament votes to join Russia and schedules a
referendum for 16 March.
4 March: Vladimir Putin breaks his silence, saying the armed men
besieging Ukrainian forces in Crimea are not Russian troops but are
self-defence forces.
3 March: "Black Monday" on Russian stock markets as reports
suggest Russia's military had issued a deadline for Ukrainian forces
in Crimea to surrender. The reports are later denied. Russia's UN
envoy says toppled President Yanukovych had asked the Russian
president in writing for use of force.
2 March: Ukraine's interim PM Yatsenyuk says Russia has
effectively declared war. US says Russia is in control of Crimea.

1 March: Russia's parliament approves Vladimir Putin's request to

use force in Ukraine to protect Russian interests. Pro-Russian rallies
are held in several Ukrainian cities outside Crimea, including the
second-biggest city Kharkiv. Barack Obama tells Mr Putin to pull
forces back to bases.
February 2014
27-28 February: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in the
Crimean capital, Simferopol. Unidentified gunmen in combat
uniforms appear outside Crimea's main airports. At his first news
conference since fleeing to Russia, Mr Yanukovych insists he remains
23-26 February: Parliament names speaker Olexander Turchynov
as interim president. An arrest warrant is issued for Mr Yanukovych,
and the acting president warns of the dangers of separatism.
Members of the proposed new government appear before
demonstrators, with Arseniy Yatsenyuk nominated prime minister.
The elite Berkut police unit, blamed for deaths of protesters, is
22 February:

President Yanukovych disappears

Protesters take control of presidential administration buildings

Parliament votes to remove president from power with

elections set for 25 May

Mr Yanukovych appears on TV to denounce "coup"

His arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko is freed from jail

21 February: President Yanukovych signs compromise deal with

opposition leaders.
20 February: Kiev sees its worst day of violence for almost 70
years. At least 88 people are killed in 48 hours. Video shows
uniformed snipers firing at protesters holding makeshift shields.
Images of Independence Square, before and after the clashes
18 February: Clashes erupt, with reasons unclear: 18 dead,
including seven police, and hundreds more wounded. Some 25,000
protesters are encircled in Independence Square.
14-16 February: All 234 protesters arrested since December are
released. Kiev city hall, occupied since 1 December, is abandoned
by demonstrators, along with other public buildings in regions.

January 2014
28-29 January: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns and
parliament annuls the anti-protest law. Parliament passes amnesty
bill promising to drop charges against all those arrested in unrest if
protesters leave government buildings. Opposition rejects
16-23 January: Parliament passes restrictive anti-protest laws,
Days later two people die of gunshot wounds as clashes turn deadly
for first time. Third death reported as the body of high-profile
activist Yuriy Verbytsky is found. Protesters begin storming regional
government offices in western Ukraine.

December 2013
17 December: Vladimir Putin throws President Yanukovych an
economic lifeline, agreeing to buy $15bn of Ukrainian debt and
reduce the price of Russian gas supplies by about a third.
Early December: Protesters occupy Kiev city hall and
Independence Square in dramatic style, turning it into a tent city.
Biggest demonstration yet sees 800,000 people attend
demonstration in Kiev.

November 2013
Late November: Protests gather pace, as 100,000 people attend a
demonstration in Kiev, the largest in Ukraine since the Orange
Revolution. Police launch first raid on protesters, arresting 35.
Images of injured demonstrators raise international profile of the
David Stern describes first raid by police on protesters on 30
21 November: President Yanukovych's cabinet abandons an
agreement on closer trade ties with EU, instead seeking closer cooperation with Russia. Ukrainian MPs also reject a bill to allow Yulia
Tymoshenko to leave the country. Small protests start and
comparisons with the Orange Revolution begin.

February: Viktor Yanukovych is declared winner in presidential
election, judged free and fair by observers. His main rival, Prime

Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is arrested for abuse of powers and

eventually jailed in October 2011.

Opposition leaders Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko led the
2004 mass protests
December: Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko tops poll in
election re-run. Rival candidate Viktor Yanukovych challenges result
but resigns as prime minister.
November: Orange Revolution begins after reports of widespread
vote-rigging in presidential election nominally won by pro-Russian
candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Opposition candidate Viktor
Yushchenko leads mass street protests and civil disobedience.
Supreme Court annuls result of poll.

August: Ukrainian parliament declares independence from USSR
following attempted coup in Moscow. In a nationwide referendum in
December, 90% vote for independence.

Trip Down Memory Lane: The Full Ukraine Crisis Timeline

by Tyler Durden on 03/10/2014 16:33 -0400
For those who have been following every twist and turn of the
Ukrainian political crisis ever since its start in November of last year,

the following post is likely a recap of familiar facts and dates. For
everyone else, or those who just wish to plug the occasional hole in
their memory, here is a full timeline of events that led to the coup
that replaced the elected president Yanukovich - despite the signing
of an agreement memorandum which was endorsed by Europe and
the West keeping him in power and calling for presidential elections
- with an acting president who has been classified as illegitimate by
Russia, in exchange for which, as well as for numerous other
reasons, Moscow has completely occupied the Crimea and
increasingly more cities in east Ukraine are telegraphing their
alliance with Putin.
Via Reuters, and yes, this timeline too is biased to fit the "Western"
narrative of events:
The crisis began in November when Ukraine's then president, Viktor
Yanukovich, under Russian pressure, turned his back on a trade deal
with the EU and accepted a $15 billion bailout from Moscow. That
prompted three months of street protests, leading to the overthrow
of Yanukovich on February 22.
Moscow denounced the events as an illegitimate coup and refused
to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities. In late February, Russian
troops seized the Crimean peninsula in a bloodless military takeover.
* Nov 21: Kiev suddenly announces suspension of trade and
association talks with the EU and opts to revive economic ties with
Moscow. Several hundred Ukrainians gather on the capital's central
Independence Square to protest.
* Nov 22: Jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko urges Ukrainians
to protest against the switch away from the EU.
* Nov 24: Some 100,000 people rally in Kiev against spurning the
* Nov 25: Ukrainian police fire tear gas at demonstrators.
* Nov 29: At the EU summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius,
Yanukovich fails to sign the association agreement.
* Nov 30: Riot police try to break up the Kiev demonstration by
force. Protest turns against Yanukovich and his government.
* Dec 1: Some 350,000 people protest in Kiev and clash with police.
Crowds turn Independence Square into a protest tent city.
Opposition leaders call on Yanukovich to resign.
* Dec 4: Senior EU officials and ministers start visiting the protest
* Dec 6: Yanukovich holds previously unannounced talks in Sochi
with Putin on "strategic partnership".
* Dec 8: Some 800,000 people rally in Kiev. A statue of Lenin is
* Dec 13: Yanukovich's first face-to-face talks with opposition bring
no breakthrough in crisis.
* Dec 15: EU suspends talks with Ukraine on the pact. Some
200,000 people rally in Kiev.

* Dec 17: Yanukovich and Putin meet for second time since crisis
began. Putin agrees to buy $15 billion of Ukrainian debt and to slash
by a third the price of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine.
* Dec 18: Tens of thousands of protesters gather in Kiev, calling for
Yanukovich to resign over bailout.
* Dec 20: About 100,000 take to square in central Kiev, opposition
forms bloc called Maidan.
Dec 24: Ukraine receives first $3 billion tranche of Russian bailout.
* Jan 12: At least 50,000 protesters march in Kiev, reviving the
movement after a Christmas and New Year lull.
* Jan 15: Ukraine court bans protests in central Kiev.
* Jan 17: Yanukovich signs new laws banning anti-government
* Jan 19: Thousands protest in Kiev defying ban, some clashing with
riot police.
* Jan 22: Three people die during protests and EU threatens action
over handling of crisis. Talks between opposition and Yanukovich fail.
* Jan 23: Washington threatens sanctions if violence continues.
* Jan 26: Police clash with protesters in Kiev. Unrest spreads to
traditionally pro-Yanukovich east. Yanukovich offers important
government posts to opposition, who say they will press for more
concessions, including early elections.
* Jan 27: Yanukovich and opposition agree to scrap some of the antiprotest laws. Protesters try to storm Kiev cultural centre.
* Jan 28: Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns. Deputies
loyal to Yanukovich overturn anti-protest laws in a bid to restore
* Jan 30: Yanukovich goes on sick leave, announcing that he is
suffering from an acute respiratory ailment.
* Jan 31: Still on sick leave, Yanukovich signs into law a conditional
amnesty for those detained in the unrest.
* Feb 2: Yanukovich returns to work after four days' sick leave,
protesters fill Kiev's main square.
* Feb 7: Moscow accuses the United States of trying to foment a
coup in Ukraine. Washington says Russia leaked a recording of U.S.
diplomats discussing how to shape a new government in Kiev.
* Feb 9: Pressure on Yanukovich grows as protests against him
continue and Russia links disbursement of next tranche of a $15
billion aid package to repayment of hefty gas bill.
* Feb 14: Russia accuses EU of seeking Ukraine "sphere of
influence". Protesters released under amnesty but streets still tense.
* Feb 17: Russia boosts Yanukovich with $2 billion fresh cash
injection to Ukraine.
* Feb 18: At least 14 people die as protesters clash with police in
worst violence since demonstrations began.
* Feb 19: West threatens sanctions after death toll rises to 26.
Yanukovich denounces bloodshed as an attempted coup.

* Feb 20: At least 39 die in clashes in Kiev. Foreign ministers of

Germany, France and Poland meet with Yanukovich, extend stay to
put a political roadmap to opposition leaders.
* Feb 21: Opposition leaders sign EU-mediated peace pact
Yanukovich to end violence that killed at least 77 people.
* Feb 22: Ukraine's parliament votes to remove Yanukovich, who
flees his Kiev office, denouncing what he says is a coup. His archrival Yulia Tymoshenko is released from jail.
* Feb 24: Fugitive Yanukovich indicted for "mass murder" over
demonstrator deaths. Moscow says it will not deal with leaders of
"armed mutiny" against Yanukovich.
* Feb 26: Ukraine names ministers for new government. Angry
Russia puts 150,000 troops on high alert. Washington warns Moscow
against military intervention.
* Feb 27: Armed men seize Crimea parliament, raise Russian flag.
Kiev's new rulers warn Moscow to keep troops within its naval base
on the peninsula. Hryvnia falls to record low.
* Feb 28: Armed men take control of two airports in Crimea,
described by Ukrainian minister as invasion by Moscow's forces.
Ousted Yanukovich surfaces in Russia after a week on the run.
* March 1: Putin wins parliamentary approval to invade Ukraine. In
Kiev, new government warns of war, puts troops on high alert and
appeals to NATO for help. White House warns Russia of economic,
political isolation. Russian forces fan out in Crimea. Pro-Moscow
demonstrations erupt across Ukraine's south and east in what Kiev
calls an attempt to repeat Crimea scenario.
* March 2: Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea. Ukraine announces
call-up of reserves. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemns
Russia for "incredible act of aggression", threatening "very serious
* March 3: Markets open for first time since Kremlin announcement
of right to invade. Russian share prices and ruble plummet.
* March 4: Putin announces end to war games in Western Russia,
orders troops near frontier back to barracks. Ukraine says Russian
navy has blocked strait between Crimea and Russia. Putin says
military force in Ukraine would only be "last resort". Kerry in Kiev.
U.S. official says Washington working on sanctions against Russia.
* March 5: Russia rebuffs calls to withdraw troops from Crimea,
saying "self-defense" forces are not under its command. European
Union pledges 11 billion euros in aid to Kiev.
* March 6: Crimea's pro-Russian leadership votes to join Russia and
sets referendum for March 16, escalating crisis. U.S. President
Barack Obama says referendum would violate international law and
orders sanctions on those responsible for Moscow's military
intervention in Ukraine.
EU leaders hold an emergency summit to try to find ways to
pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation. Military
monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe barred from entering Crimea.

* March 7: After hour-long phone call with Obama, Putin says they
are still far apart.
* March 8: Warning shots are fired to prevent an unarmed
international military observer mission from entering Crimea.
Russian forces become increasingly aggressive towards Ukrainian
troops trapped in bases.


The Moscow Times

May. 04 2014 15:58

Last edited 15:59

Marko Djurica / ReutersA woman holds a banner saying "The Kiev

junta carries out the U.S. scenario" outside a town administration
building in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.
Dozens of U.S. intelligence agents are involved in the Ukrainian
government's struggle against pro-Russian separatists in the
country's embattled southeast, Germany's best-selling newspaper
In a report published Sunday, German tabloid Bild said Central
Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials are
advising the interim Kiev government on how to stifle the growing
unrest in the country.
Citing German security officials, the Bild report said there are
currently dozens of U.S. secret services agents who have been
tasked with helping the interim government of acting acting
President Oleksandr Turchynov counter separatist rebellions in the
country's east, set up a security system and fight organized crime.
U.S. analysts have also reportedly been assigned with the specific
task of tracking down the fortune of ousted Ukrainian president
Viktor Yanukovych, Bild said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the U.S. was
determined to help Ukraine find billions of dollars it says were stolen
by Yanukovych and his aides.
All U.S. agents in Ukraine are working from Kiev, with none of them
on the ground in the eastern Ukrainian cities that have seen recent
outbreaks of violence, Bild said.

The report was prominently cited by Russia's main news outlets, as

apparent confirmation of U.S. involvement in Ukraine, allegations
that gained forced in mid April when CIA director John Brennan
traveled to Kiev. The White House said at the time Brennan's trip
had been a routine visit.
Russia and the U.S. have been embroiled in back and forth
accusations of having a hand in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine
between pro-Russian and government forces, with Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov openly blaming recent clashes in the
Black Sea port city of Odessa on Kiev and the West.
"Kiev and its Western sponsors are practically provoking
the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it," RIA Novosti
quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters.
The Bild article appeared hours after a team of OSCE observers,
among them four Germans, returned home after being held hostage
for more than a week by separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city
of Slovyansk.

Perspectives On The Ukrainian Protests

1/28/2014 @ 12:17PM |1,360 views
By George Friedman
A few months ago, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was
expected to sign some agreements that could eventually integrate
Ukraine with the European Union economically. Ultimately,
Yanukovich refused to sign the agreements, a decision thousands of
his countrymen immediately protested. The demonstrations later
evolved, as they often do. Protesters started calling for political
change, and when Yanukovich resisted their calls, they demanded
new elections.
Some protesters wanted Ukraine to have a European orientation
rather than a Russian one. Others felt that the government was
corrupt and should thus be replaced. These kinds of demonstrations
occur in many countries. Sometimes theyre successful; sometimes
theyre not. In most cases, the outcome matters only to the
countrys citizens or to the citizens of neighboring states. But
Ukraine is exceptional because it is enormously important. Since the
breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has had to pursue a delicate
balance between the tenuous promises of a liberal, wealthy and
somewhat aloof Europe and the fact that its very existence and
independence can be a source of strategic vulnerability for Russia.
Ukraines Importance
Ukraine provides two things: strategic position and agricultural and
mineral products. The latter are frequently important, but the former
is universally important. Ukraine is central to Russias defensibility.
The two countries share a long border, and Moscow is located only
some 480 kilometers (about 300 miles) from Ukrainian territory a
stretch of land that is flat, easily traversed and thus difficult to
defend. If some power were to block the Ukraine-Kazakh gap, Russia
would be cut off from the Caucasus, its defensible southern border.
Moreover, Ukraine is home to two critical ports, Odessa and
Sevastopol, which are even more important to Russia than the port
of Novorossiysk. Losing commercial and military access to those
ports would completely undermine Russias influence in the Black
Sea and cut off its access to the Mediterranean. Russias only
remaining ports would be blocked by the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. gap
to the west, by ice to the northeast, by Denmark on the Baltic Sea,
and by Japan in the east.
This explains why in 1917, when the Bolsheviks took power and
sued for peace, the Germans demanded that Russia relinquish its
control of most of Ukraine. The Germans wanted the food Ukraine

produced and knew that if they had a presence there they could
threaten Russia in perpetuity. In the end, it didnt matter: Germany
lost Word War I, and Russia reclaimed Ukraine. During World War II,
the Germans seized Ukraine in the first year of their attack on the
Soviet Union, exploited its agriculture and used it as the base to
attack Stalingrad, trying to sever Russia from its supply lines in
Baku. Between the wars, Stalin had to build up his industrial plant.
He sold Ukrainian food overseas and used it to feed factory workers
in Russia. The Ukrainians were left to starve, but the industry they
built eventually helped the Soviets defeat Hitler. After the Soviets
drove the Germans back, they seized Romania and Hungary and
drove to Vienna, using Ukraine as their base.
From the perspective of Europe, and particularly from the
perspectives of former Soviet satellites, a Ukraine dominated by
Russia would represent a potential threat from southern Poland to
Romania. These countries already depend on Russian energy, fully
aware that the Russians may eventually use that dependence as a
lever to gain control over them. Russias ability not simply to project
military power but also to cause unrest along the border or use
commercial initiatives to undermine autonomy is a real fear.
Thinking in military terms may seem more archaic to Westerners
than it does to Russians and Central Europeans. For many Eastern
Europeans, the Soviet withdrawal is a relatively recent memory, and
they know that the Russians are capable of returning as suddenly as
they left. For their part, the Russians know that NATO has no will to
invade Russia, and war would be the last thing on the Germans
minds even if they were capable of waging one. The Russians also
remember that for all the economic and military malaise in Germany
in 1932, the Germans became the dominant power in Europe by
1939. By 1941, they were driving into the Russian heartland. The
farther you move away from a borderland, the more fantastic the
fears appear. But inside the borderland, the fears seem far less
preposterous for both sides.
Russian Perspectives
From the Russian point of view, therefore, tighter Ukrainian-EU
integration represented a potentially mortal threat to Russian
national security. After the Orange Revolution, which brought a
short-lived pro-EU administration to power in the mid-2000s,
Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear that he regarded
Ukraine as essential to Russian security, alleging that the
nongovernmental organizations that were fomenting unrest there
were fronts for the U.S. State Department, the CIA and MI6. Whether
the charges were true or not, Putin believed the course in which
Ukraine was headed would be disastrous for Russia, and so he used
economic pressure and state intelligence services to prevent
Ukraine from taking that course.

In my view, the 2008 Russo-Georgian War had as much to do with

demonstrating to Kiev that Western guarantees were worthless, that
the United States could not aid Georgia and that Russia had a
capable military force as it did with Georgia itself. At the time,
Georgia and Ukraine were seeking NATO and EU membership, and
through its intervention in Georgia, Moscow succeeded in steering
Ukraine away from these organizations. Today, the strategic threat
to Russia is no less dire than it was 10 years ago, at least not in
minds of the Russians, who would prefer a neutral Ukraine if not a
pro-Russia Ukraine.
Notably, Putins strategy toward the Russian periphery differs from
those of his Soviet and czarist predecessors, who took direct
responsibility for the various territories subordinate to them. Putin
considers this a flawed strategy. It drained Moscows resources,
even as the government could not hold the territories together.
Putins strategy toward Ukraine, and indeed most of the former
Soviet Union, entails less direct influence. He is not interested in
governing Ukraine. He is not even all that interested in its foreign
relationships. His goal is to have negative control, to prevent
Ukraine from doing the things Russia doesnt want it to do. Ukraine
can be sovereign except in matters of fundamental importance to
Russia. As far as Russia was concerned, the Ukrainian regime is free
to be as liberal and democratic as it wants to be. But even the idea
of further EU integration was a clear provocation. It was the actions
of the European Union and the Germans supporting opponents of
Yanukovich openly, apart from interfering in the internal affairs of
another country that were detrimental to Russian national
European Perspectives
Ukraine is not quite as strategically significant to Europe as it is to
Russia. Europe never wanted to add Ukraine to its ranks; it merely
wanted to open the door to the possibility. The European Union is in
shambles. Given the horrific economic problems of Southern Europe,
the idea of adding a country as weak and disorganized as Ukraine to
the bloc is preposterous. The European Union has a cultural
imperative among its elite toward expansion, an imperative that led
them to include countries such as Cyprus. Cultural imperatives are
hard to change, and so an invitation went out with no serious
intentions behind it.
For the Europeans, what the invitation really meant was that
Ukraine could become European. It could have the constitutional
democracy, liberalism and prosperity that every EU state is
supposed to have. This is what appealed to most of the early
demonstrators. However improbable full membership might be, the
idea of becoming a modern European society is overwhelmingly
appealing. Yanukovichs rejection made some protesters feel that

their great opportunity had slipped away hence the initial

The Germans are playing a complex game. They understood that
Ukrainian membership in the European Union was unlikely to
happen anytime soon. They also had important dealings with Russia,
with which they had mutual energy and investment interests. It was
odd that Berlin would support the demonstrators so publicly.
However, the Germans were also managing coalitions within the
European Union. The Baltic states and Poland were eager to see
Ukraine drawn out of the Russian camp, since that would provide a
needed, if incomplete, buffer between them and Russia (Belarus is
still inside Russias sphere of influence). Therefore, the Germans had
to choose between European partners, who cared about Ukraine,
and Russia.
The Russians have remained relatively calm and quiet
throughout Ukraines protests. They understood that their power in
Ukraine rested on more than simply one man or his party, so they
allowed the crisis to stew. Given Russias current strategy in
Ukraine, the Russians didnt need to act, at least not publicly. Any
government in Ukraine would face the same constraints as
Yanukovich: little real hope of EU inclusion, a dependence on
Moscow for energy and an integrated economy with Russia.
Certainly, the Russians didnt want a confrontation just before Sochi.
The Russians also knew that the more tightly pro-Western forces
controlled Kiev, the more fractious Ukraine could become. In
general, eastern Ukraine is more oriented toward Russia: Its
residents speak Russian, are Russian Orthodox and are loyal to the
Moscow Patriarchy. Western Ukraine is oriented more toward Europe;
its residents are Catholic or are loyal to the Kiev Patriarchy. These
generalities belie a much more complex situation, of course. There
are Moscow Orthodox members and Russian speakers in the west
and Catholics and Kiev Orthodox in the east. Nevertheless, the
tension between the regions is real, and heavy pro-EU pressure
could split the country. If that were to happen, the bloc would find
itself operating in chaos, but then the European Union did not have
the wherewithal to operate meaningfully in Ukraine in the first
place. The pro-EU government would encounter conflict and
paralysis. For the time being that would suit the Russians, as
unlikely as such a scenario might be.
U.S. Perspectives
As in most matters, it is important to understand where the United
States fits in, if at all. Washington strongly supported the Orange
Revolution, creating a major rift with Russia. The current policy of
avoiding unnecessary involvement in Eurasian conflicts would
suggest that the United States would stay out of Ukraine.

But Russian behavior in the Snowden affair has angered Washington

and opened the possibility that the United States might be happy to
create some problems for Moscow ahead of the Sochi Olympics. The
U.S. government may not be supporting nongovernmental
organizations as much as its counterparts in Europe are, but it is still
involved somewhat. In fact, Washington may even have enjoyed
putting Russia on the defensive after having been put on the
defensive by Russia in recent months.
In any case, the stakes are high in Ukraine. The Russians are
involved in a game they cannot afford to lose. There are several
ways for them to win it. They only need to make the EU opening
untenable for the Ukrainians, something Ukraines economic and
social conditions facilitate. The Europeans are not going to be
surging into Ukraine anytime soon, and while Poland would prefer
that Ukraine remain neutral, Warsaw does not necessarily need a
pro-Western Ukraine. The United States is interested in Ukraine as
an irritant to Russia but is unwilling to take serious risks.
A lot of countries have an interest in Ukraine, none more so than
Russia. But for all the noise in Kiev and other cities, the outcome is
unlikely to generate a definitive geopolitical shift in Ukraine. It does,
however, provide an excellent example of how political unrest in a
strategically critical country can affect the international system as a
In most countries, the events in Kiev would not have generated
global interest. When you are a country like Ukraine, even nominal
instability generates not only interest but also pressure and even
intervention from all directions. This has been the historical problem
of Ukraine. It is a country in an important location, and the
pressures on it tend to magnify any internal conflicts until they
destabilize the country in excess of the significance of the internal
issues. Germany and the United States may continue to pursue
goals that will further irritate Russia, but as Stratfor indicated in
our 2014 annual forecast, they will avoid actions that would risk
harming Moscows ties with Washington and Berlin. Russian
influence in Ukraine is currently being limited by the proximity of the
Olympics and the escalation in protests on the ground, but the
fundamental geopolitical reality is that no country has a higher
stake in Ukraine than Russia, nor a better ability to shape its fate.

Crisis in Ukraine - Snipers for US regime change in Ukraine

Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:34AM GMT by Finian Cunningha
West in no position to threaten Russia
The irony could not be more bitter - or sickening. US
Secretary of State John was photographed laying wreaths in
Kiev this week and offering "heartfelt" condolences for
those killed during recent violent street clashes in the
Ukrainian capital.
It now turns out that the killing of protesters and police officers was
carried out by covert snipers working for the new Western-backed
junta that seized power in Kiev. Kerry was thus laying flowers in
memory of victims who were shot on the orders of the very people
whom the West has been sponsoring.
Dozens of people were fatally wounded in Kiev's Maidan Square last
month during clashes between security forces loyal to the then
incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych. Western media uncritically,
or worst knowingly, heightened claims by the organizers of the
demonstrations against Yanukovych that the casualties were
inflicted by police officers shooting into the crowds.
At the time there were grounds for suspicion that all was not what it
seemed. The surge in killings was not in keeping with the relatively
restrained conduct of security forces in Kiev during nearly three
months of unprecedented street violence. But the outpouring of
condemnation from Western politicians amplified by Western news
media against the Ukrainian authorities had the effect of piling the
political pressure on the Yanukoyvch government to capitulate.
The new administration in Kiev, led by so-called interim Prime
Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has now been dubbed the legitimate
government of Ukraine by Washington and the European Union.
Revelations about the covert snipers have since been disclosed in a
leaked phone call between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
and Estonia's foreign minister Usmar Paet.
In the phone conversation dated February 25, and reported by
Russia Today this week, Paet is heard to say: "There is now stronger
and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not
Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new [Western-backed]
Ashton replies: "I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn't
pick that up, that's interesting. Gosh."

This is by no means the first such evidence that violence in Kiev was
orchestrated. There is already ample proof that the US and EU were
covertly working to agitate protests against the Ukrainian
government. For three months, Western politicians have been
issuing statements to whip up demonstrations. Western officials
have paraded in Kiev with fascist elements and given the
provocateurs legitimacy to carry out outrageous acts of violence
against government people and property that would not be
tolerated for a second back in their own countries.
The involvement of the American CIA and its various offshoots, such
as the National Endowment for Democracy, has also been well
documented in Ukraine going back to at least the early 1990s.
The precipitous deployment of organized violence by "protesters"
from late November onwards, allegedly as a result of the
Yanukovych government rejecting an EU trade pact, also bears the
hallmark of an externally driven regime change operation.
A decisive tipping point was reached against Yanukovych with the
surge in killings among protesters - apparently by police gunfire
during the last week of February. Yanukovych had already signed a
"national unity deal" on February 21 with opponents promising
constitutional reforms. But that deal was not enough for his
opponents who wanted Yanukovych out of office altogether.
In the wake of the street violence, US vice president Joe Biden
reportedly phoned Yanukovych to tell him that it was game over. His
efforts at cutting a deal were "a day late and a dollar short," said the
voice from the White House. Yanukovych then fled to Russia within
days of Biden's phone call.
The latest evidence of orchestrated violence in Kiev for political
ends - the definition of terrorism - adds to Russia's claims that what
the West has championed as "a people's revolution" is in actuality
nothing but a Western-backed coup d'tat by terrorism.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin this week said that the new regime
occupying the government offices in Kiev is not legitimate. It
represents an illegal seizure of power by violence.
That is why Russia is right to not recognize the usurpers in Kiev and
to take security measures to protect ethnic Russians living in
Ukraine and to defend its vital interests in the Crimean Peninsula.
The unelected Western-backed regime, which Western media
propagandize as "the fledgling government of Ukraine", comprises
neo-Nazis who detest Russians and who have publicly stated their
intention to commit the worst kind of violence against ethnic
Russians and any other people whom they deem to obstruct their
fascistic program of governance.

None of this vile demagoguery has deterred Western so-called

democratic leaders from embracing the regime in Kiev. Far from it;
this week saw British foreign secretary William Hague in Kiev
shaking hands with Yatsenyuk, followed by US top diplomat John
Kerry laying his grotesque commemorative wreaths to the dead.
Kerry also announced that he was bearing $1 billion in loan
guarantees to support the junta in Kiev. The austerity-racked EU is
somehow finding the coffers to offer $15 billion. These "loans" are
being welcomed with open arms by the Western-backed junta in
Kiev. They will enrich Western capitalists and the Ukrainian elite, like
Yatsenyuk and the leaders of the Kiev storm troopers, while throwing
the majority of Ukrainians into American and EU-style poverty.
Another condition for the Western financial bribery, as disclosed this
week by the new Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus, Mykhailo Yeshel,
is that Ukraine will allow US ballistic missiles on to its territory - right
on the border with Russia.
What we are witnessing in Ukraine is an imperialist conquest by
Washington and its European stooge governments - hand in fist with
fascist boot boys.
Russia has every right to be concerned and to take action. Yet,
ironically, this week Western media are falling over themselves to
tell us that Russia has invaded Ukraine in "a brazen act of
No wonder the world seems chaotic when such barefaced Western
lies and deception about reality are being churned out. Western
"churnalism" at its best.