Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book
Published time: March 18, 2014 11:08*Edited time: March 18, 2014 21:29
Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was just like Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, and any arguments otherwise are just attempts to bend the West-advocated rules that were applied to the Kosovo case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.The statements came as Putin was addressing the Russian parliament to convince lawmakers to ratify a treaty, which would make Crimea part of the Russian Federation.In the speech he challenged Washington’s position, which says that Kosovo was a unique case and could not justify any other move towards independence in the world.“Our western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary,”*Putin reminded, adding that the UN International Court of Justice agreed to those arguments.“That’s what they wrote, that what they trumpeted all over the world, coerced everyone into it – and now they are complaining. Why is that?”he asked.
Putin dismissed the argument that Kosovo was unique due to the large number of victims during the Balkan wars and the dissolution of Yugoslavia.“It’s beyond double standards,”Putin said.*“It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit his interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”The president dismissed the allegations that Russia is violating international law with its actions in Ukraine.“Well’ it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law. Thank you very much. Better late than never,”*Putin said adding that in fact nothing of this kind happened.
‘In Ukraine the West crossed the red line’
In fact, it was Russia that defended international law and its institutions, while western countries have been diminishing them. The situation in Crimea is just a reflection of this broader process, which has been happening for decades now.“In the practical application of policies, our western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right,”Putin charged.This disregard to rule of law was evident in Yugoslavia in 1999, when NATO bombed the country without a UN Security Council mandate, the Russian president said. There was Afghanistan, Iraq and the perversion of the UNSC resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing a no-fly zone NATO bombed the country into submission.There were also orchestrated “colored revolutions” in Europe and the Arab World, which cynically used the feelings of people tired with corruption and poverty. The latest Ukrainian events are just the latest of such actions, and Russia’s willingness to seek dialogue and compromise was stonewalled again, Putin said.
“They were cheating us once more, took decisions behind our back, presented us with a fait accompli,”he said, adding that the patter is identical to that which accompanied NATO’s expansion to the east, the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, visa restrictions and numerous other issues.“They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical,”*Putin accused.“Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line. They acted brutally, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”Putin said the West must stop being hysterical, restrain from the Cold War rhetoric and admit the obvious:“Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”As for the Ukrainian red line, the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia, Putin said.“We stand against having a military organization meddling in our backyard, next to our homeland or in the territories that are historically ours. I just cannot imagine visiting NATO sailors in Sevastopol,”*he stressed.*“Most of them are fine lads, by the way. But rather let them visit us in Sevastopol than the other way around.”At the end of his speech, Putinannounced*the submission to parliament of a draft federal law which would incorporate Crimea and the City of Sevastopol into Russian territory, as well as a request to ratify an international treaty with the government of Crimea to make this happen. He said he was sure of the legislature’s support for both documents.
West Is Ruled 'By The Gun,' Putin Says As He Annexes Crimea
by*MARK MEMMOTTMarch 18, 2014*6:45 AM
Wasting no time and showing no sign that he's concerned about Western objections or economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea on Tuesday.Making the case that Russia is responding to the will of the Crimean people, Putin argued that it is the U.S. and its Western allies who seek to rule by the will of "the gun." His military forces in Crimea, Putin argued, are there only to create "peaceful conditions" as that region's ethnic-Russian majority exercises its right to self-determination.As NPR's Michele Kelemen notes, Putin said cities in Crimea are sacred to many Russians and are symbols of his nation's past military glory. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he said, millions of Russians went to bed as citizens of one country and ended up in another. Those included many ethnic Russians in Crimea.President Obama and leaders from the European Union vehemently disagree with Putin. They say Russia has violated international law by interfering in Ukraine's affairs. In response, the U.S. and EU have slapped economic and travel sanctions on some Russian officials.After Putin's address, the White House announced that Obama will meet with other leaders next week in the Netherlands to discuss the next steps they'll take. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday that "Russia will face more serious consequences and I will push European leaders to agree further EU measures." (Update at 11 a.m. ET.)
We began this post just before 7 a.m. ET with word that Putin had "notified Russia's parliament of his intention to make Crimea a part of the Russian Federation, defying the United States and Europe just hours after they imposed their first financial sanctions against Moscow since the crisis in Ukraine began," The New York Times writes.Then we monitored the news from Putin's speech and updated with highlights.
Kremlin says Crimea is now officially part of Russia after treaty signing, Putin speech
MOSCOW — Invoking the suffering of the Russian people and a narrative of constant betrayals by the West, President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Russia was within its rights to reclaim Crimea, then signed a treaty that did just that.Putin, defiant in the face of U.S. and European pressure, dispensed with legal deliberation and announced a swift annexation of Crimea, as if to put Europe’s most serious crisis in decades beyond the point where the results could be turned back.In a speech to a joint session of the Russian parliament, he compared the move to the independence declaration of Kosovo in 2008 and the reunification of Germany in 1990 — but, in reality, this is the first time that one European nation has seized territory from another since the end of World War II.
Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama Sanctions
Kirit Radia (@kiritradia)Mar 17, 2014, 3:09 PMMOSCOW - Russia's deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama's sanction against him today asking "Comrade @BarackObama" if "some prankster" came up with the list.
The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia's support of Crimea's referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn't appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal, took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting he thinks "some prankster" came up with the sanctions listIn a later tweet addressed to "Comrade @BarackObama," he asked, "what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn't think about it?"Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.Surkov, a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin's grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, "It's a big honor for me. I don't have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don't need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing."Here's who gets hit with the sanctions:U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the "key ideologists and architects" of Russia's Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing "human rights and liberties" in Russia.The sanctions freeze any assets under American jurisdiction and prevent American banks from doing business with the named individual, essentially freezing them out of the international banking system. The sanctions also impose a ban on their travel to the United States. Separately, but in coordination with the White House, the European Union announced sanctions today on 21 individuals that it plans to name later. U.S. officials told reporters that the American and European lists "overlapped" in some area, but declined to say how.While some of the sanctioned officials are bold faced names, the White House move is unlikely to affect Russia's decision making with regard to Crimea's bid to join the Russian Federation. Russia's stock market actually improved on the news that so few officials were included on the list. U.S. officials warned that, if Russia does go ahead with annexation of Crimea, additional penalties will follow, with more, harsher measures to come if Russia attempts to enter eastern Ukraine.
Kremlin aidesVladislav Surkov*- An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia's most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin's "gray cardinal" for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He's also credited the architect of Russia's political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.
Sergei Glazyev*- An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.
Top government officialDmitry Rogozin*- An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he's known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev's government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.
Russian lawmakers Elena Mizulina*- A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin's morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year's homosexual "propaganda" law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.
Leonid Slutsky*- A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday's referendum in Crimea.
Andrei Klishas*- A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society.
Valentina Matviyenko*- The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.
Sergey Aksyonov*- Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.
Vladimir Konstantinov*- The newly declared speaker of Crimea's parliament.
Ukrainian officialsViktor Medvedchuk*- A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having "materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support" to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine's opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.
Viktor Yanukovich*- The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month.
Putin says U.S. guided by "the rule of the gun" in foreign policy
MOSCOW, MARCH 18*|*Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:42am EDT
MOSCOW, March 18 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Monday of being guided in its foreign policy not by international law but by the "rule of the gun.""Our Western partners headed by the United States prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun," he told a joint session of parliament."They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones. That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right."