Rioters have seized the administration building in Lvov and forced the governor to resign. It is not known who is currently in power in this region, but a puppet government formed by ‘opposition forces’ may soon be set up. Demands for ‘autonomy’, or quite possibly, explicit separatist flirtations, may give Klitschko and his thugs added bargaining power to use against the democratically elected government during ‘negotiations’. It is likely that even more extremist activity will occur, led by Klischko, as he proclaimed on 22 January that, “If I have to go (on to the streets) under bullets, I shall go there under bullets.” Batkivshchyna Party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk seconded this provocative threat to delve Ukraine into de-facto civil warfare, as he similarly stated on 22 January that “Tomorrow [23 January] we will go forward together. And if it’s a bullet in the forehead, then it’s a bullet in the forehead, but in an honest, fair and brave way.”
Saakashvili: Ukraine is 'first geopolitical revolution of the 21st century' (+video)
Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and antagonist of Vladimir Putin, told the Monitor that the streets of Kiev are a battleground between East and West.
President Vladimir Putin raised the pressure on Ukraine on Wednesday, saying Russia would wait until it forms a new government before fully implementing a $15 billion bailout deal that Kiev urgently needs. Putin repeated a promise to honor the lifeline agreement with Ukraine in full, but left open the timing of the next aid installment as Kiev struggles to calm more than two months of turmoil since President Viktor Yanukovich walked away from a treaty with the European Union. A day after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday, hoping to appease the opposition and street protesters, Russia tightened border checks on imports from Ukraine in what looked like a reminder to Yanukovich not to install a government that tilts policy back towards the West.
As violent scenes play out on the streets of Kiev, we look at the major role extremist right-wing movements have played in Ukraine's "pro-democracy" movement.
Ukraine's*far-right is gaining support and confidence through its role in the street protests, with the Svoboda party assuming a leading role in the movement and paramilitary groups leading the street fighting.In December US senator*John McCain travelled to Ukraine*to offer his support to the opposition, appearing on stage with leaders of the three opposition parties leading the protests - including the far-right Svoboda party.Svoboda is currently Ukraine's fourth biggest party and holds 36 seats in parliament. It is also part of the Alliance of European National Movements, along with the BNP and Hungary's Jobbik.Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok is one of the faces of the protests, appearing regularly along with opposition leader and former boxer Vitali Klitschko*(see picture right)*voicing opposition to Putin's influence over the region.However, Tyahnybok has provoked controversy in the past with his anti-Semitic claims that a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" controls Ukraine.
Victoria Jane Nuland (born 1961) is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.
Nuland is the daughter of Yale bioethics and medicine professor Sherwin B. Nuland, the family's original surname being Nudelman. She graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1979 and has a B.A. from Brown University. Nuland is married to historian Robert Kagan, with whom she has two children. Nuland speaks Russian, French, and some Chinese.
Nuland has had a long career in the Foreign Service and has worked for both Democratic and Republican administrations. During the Bill Clinton administration, Nuland was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott before moving on to serve as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs. During the George W. Bush administration, she served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO. During the Barack Obama administration, she was special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe before assuming the position of State Department spokesperson in summer 2011, which she held until February 2013.
She was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in May 2013 and sworn in to fill that role in September 2013.
2014 Ukraine/EU conversation
On 6 February 2014[nb 1] Nuland became part of a diplomatic scandal, when one of her January 2014 conversations with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, was apparently intercepted and uploaded to YouTube.[nb 2] In discussion about how to handle crises in Ukraine, Nuland remarked, "Fuck the E.U." and Pyatt responded, "Oh, exactly,...".[nb 3][nb 4] A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated (the same day) that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation.[nb 5] The next day a spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Nuland's remark "absolutely unacceptable."
Jennifer Rene "Jen" Psaki (pronounced /sɑːkiː/) (born 1978) is the spokesperson for the United States Department of State and a former spokesperson for U.S. President Barack Obama
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, Psaki graduated from Greenwich High School in 1996 and the College of William & Mary in 2000 and is a member of the Chi Omega sorority. At William & Mary, Psaki was a backstroke swimmer for the William & Mary Tribe for two years.
Psaki began her career in 2001 with the re-election campaigns of Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack. Psaki then became deputy press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. From 2005 to 2006, Psaki served as communications director to U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley and regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Psaki served as traveling press secretary. After Obama won the election, Psaki followed Obama to the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and was promoted to Deputy Communications Director on December 19, 2009. Psaki left that position on September 22, 2011 to become senior vice president and managing director at the Washington, D. C. office of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.
In 2012, Psaki returned to political communications as press secretary for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. On February 11, 2013, Psaki became spokesperson for the United States Department of State. Her hiring at the Department of State has fueled speculation that she is likely to replace White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when he leaves the White House.
US embarrassed by apparent hacked phone call dismissing EU on Ukraine
What appears to be a hacked phone conversation between top US officials about Ukraine, in which the EU is dismissed in crude terms, has been posted on the Internet.
The comments are attributed to the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland – who met President Yanukovych and opposition leaders separately in Kyiv on Thursday.
The date and precise context of the recording are not known.
In the video, posted on YouTube, Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discuss which of the country’s opposition leaders they would like to see in government – and refer to getting the UN involved in the process to resolve the political crisis.
In the recording the conversation is then as follows:
Victoria Nuland: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and you know…” At this point she uses a swear word to dismiss the EU.
Geoffrey Pyatt: “Exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”
The video, entitled “Maidan’s Puppets” in Russian, also has a transcript in Russian.
The US State Department said it did not know where the recording came from. But it criticised Moscow for publicising it – while being suitably contrite towards the European Union.
“We work incredibly closely with the EU and with representatives of the EU and Assistant Secretary Nuland certainly does as it relates to Ukraine. And she’s been in close contact with EU High Representative Ashton. Also let me convey that she has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course has apologised,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
A spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief told euronews that Brussels would not comment on a “leaked alleged phone conversation”.
The video clearly aims to embarrass the US, echoing Moscow’s accusations that the West is meddling in Ukraine.
Ukrainian rioters are reigniting street clashes with police in the capital Kiev, with opposition MPs attempting to paralyze the work of the parliament. Protesters are stoning police, with law enforcement responding with tear gas and stun grenades.Follow RT’s*LIVE UPDATESSecurity forces have started an anti-terrorist operation at Independence Square in Kiev. The Berkut police forces and three water cannon have gathered at the scene, while armored troop carriers have reportedly surrounded the square. Protesters are calling for women and children to leave the area immediately, while stun grenades are exploding at the scene.Three police officers have been killed in the clashes on Tuesday, according to the Interior Ministry. One died from a gunshot wound to the neck while being transported in an ambulance, the other died from a gunshot wound later in hospital.At least 157 police officers have have sought medical help, the ministry added in a statement on its website.Five soldiers from internal security troops have been shot in central Kiev. A pistol bullet was extracted from one soldier’s wound.Seven civilians died in the unrest on Tuesday, said the police, including one who died in the office of the Party of Regions, three in the House of the Officers, one from a gunshot wound on Mazepa street, two died of heart attacks at Institutskaya street, according to Interfax.One hundred and eighty five protesters have asked for medial help, Kiev’s health department estimated at 8 p.m. local time.
1. The United States is not Ukraine, so, I hope, we don’t find ourselves living in interesting times.1.**Somewhat educated young people with no opportunities are a revolutionary class.* Between 1990 and 2006, as Ukraine’s population declined, the number of students entering colleges shot up an unbelievable*60%.* According to another source, ” The number of students enrolled in Ukrainian universities grew from 1.5 million in 2001, to*2.5 million in 2009-2011.”* Towards the end of this period the student population consisted primarily of those born in the 1990′s when fertility went through the*floor.At the same time, the quality of education continued to decline.* Ukrainian universities are not highly ranked, and that grades and diplomas are bought and sold is an*open secret.* In 2006, 32% of recent college graduates were unemployed.* Overall youth unemployment (ages 15-24) is18.6%.* That the students and young people in general and are very active in protests is not surprising, but it helps to know their circumstances.
2. Bilingual nations are inherently unstable.* From its inception in 1991, Ukraine has been bilingual.* Roughly speaking, those in the south and east of the country speak Russian and cherish cultural continuity and economic ties with their eastern neighbor.* They pride themselves on being Slavic people who heroically fought Nazism in World War II.* The west speaks Ukrainian and is fiercely nationalistic.* They remember Holodomor and the three Western-most regions, historically called eastern Galicia, build monuments toNazi*collaborationist*Stepan*Bandera.The South-east, with its agriculture, industry, mining and ports is the economic engine of the country — such as it is.* The west struggles with unemployment; with radical politics now resurgent in Galicia.* In the 2012 elections, chauvinistic Svoboda (“Freedom”) party received over 30% of votes in these three regions.
The west rebelled in response to the pro-Russian policies of Yanukovich who was elected by a slim majority.* That the restive west and the center toppled corrupt local governments is just as important as the demonstrations in Kyiv.* Activists are attempting to spread the revolution to the south-east, but the locals are prone to see them as invaders.* The English-speaking public got the impression that Maidan is a popular uprising, but*half of the country doesn’t support it.* The South-east is generally passive, but a modest amount of political activity is registered there, too. *In the southern port city of Odessa, Russian nationalists took credit for running Ukrainian nationalists*out of town, cars with western license plates are torched in Kyiv and the east and maidan offices are*bombed*in Kharkiv.While the western press marveled at the “stunning” fireworks of molotov cocktails in Kyiv, I heard a different sentiment from eastern Ukraine.* They see boys from Lviv who, once infected with revolutionary fever, refuse to go home to their miserly jobs.* Sample this comment from a Kharkiv portal of the Russian social site Odnoklassniki, where pictures of babies and animals doing things are increasingly frequently sprinkled with Soviet nostalgia videos and political talk:They bombed out downtown Kiev like fascists.* Shcherbitsky [Soviet-era Premier of Ukrainian * SSR -- ed.], god bless his memory, truly loved Kiev and after the war raised that city out of ruins. *Today neo-fascists are destroying, annihilating the city. I don’t understand, why can’t they stage “maidan” in the west? If they want destruction, let them destroy Lvov, Rovno, Ternopol.* Go at it.* Why do they need to go elsewhere? *Go to a city square BAZAR — and burn tires, no need to board a train. Kiev — it’s Kievan RUS.* Kiev was never a capital of Western Ukraine.* Don’t like it, for god’s sake, demand separation.* But they don’t like that solution because pensions and subsidies come from the east, from people who work instead of striking and pay taxes that are equally distributed between the regions. We break our backs, but* these scumbacks kill innocent Berkut boys who with their bodies protect ordinary people in Kiev. [...]* Berkut guys are set on fire, but they are forbidden from using arms because it will displease America that will bomb us like Yugoslavia, Syria, Lebanon and so forth and will install “Democracy” here.* We have to stomp out fascism in embryo, otherwise it will be 1933 all over again.Others weighed in with comments like “Where is Stalin when you need him?” or “I know Russia is not perfect, but I prefer it to what’s going on here.” or “I’d rather to live next to monument to grandpa Lenin than fascist Bandera.”* 1933, you say?Right now Putin is dormant, his hands are tied with the Olympics.* A reliable, conservative way to peel away the eastern part of the country is to create a*Ukrainian federation.3.*It’s easier to lose freedom than to gain it.* Prior to the 1775 destruction of Zaporozhian Sich, Cossacks had an autonomous, republican government.* Today Ukraine is a post-colony ruled by wave after wave of crooks.* In 2004, Ukraine went through a stage of mass delusion when citizens believed that a glorious future awaits them if only they support their honestly elected Yushchenko.* Today they are disappointed and apolitical.* Another lady on Odnoclassniki opined:There are masochists out there aching to go onward, to Maidan, for those craving money and * power!According to one poll, only 51% of Ukrainians say that they want democracy, 20.5% prefer an authoritarian form of government, and the later number is significantly*higher in the east.* This is now, but what kind of results can we expect if the protests linger?I’m not convinced of the democratic tendencies of the west either.**Svoboda, for instance, proposes ban on anti-Ukrainian sentiment* and return of the Soviet practice of including ethnic origin in passports. Its economic program is approved by*The Nation.* Svoboda is only the dominant party in three western regions of the country, but in as much as it provides much of the cannon fodder for*Maidan*(along with Fatherland volunteers, including the ultra-nationalistPravyy Sektor), it wields outsize influence.* They, too, will probably like the idea of federalizing Ukraine.Ukrainians say that they want transparency, but they are kind of cheating at their own revolution.* Yes, many protesters are sincere, but Russian channel 24 filmed a short documentary exposing*mercenary protestersorganized in groups of 5 and paid by the day. This fact is a common knowledge among Russians and Ukrainians, including the Maidan supporters.Russian-speaking pro-regime politicians are a little slow on the uptake, but they organized their own mercenary protests.* According to our friends in Kharkiv, such events were part Soviet-style, with government-employees rounded up for the occasion, part new model, with students and pensioners paid for attendance.* Plus, the authorities bused in people from Donetsk.* Our friend joked that in the morning the out-of-towners attended the anti-Maidan meeting, but in the evening cashed in on the pro-Maidan one.* Or maybe she was serious.The United States has a long and proud tradition of self-rule and free market economy.* We didn’t fight we didn’t live through Stalinism and Nazi occupation.* But we are pumping money into dubious college degrees and are on the verge of passing amnesty.* Our bureaucracy is expanding and crony capitalism is on the march.* We might find ourselves living in interesting times.A bonus lesson for Russian liberals: Don’t ally yourselves with Nazis.* Moderate pro-EU Fatherland and Udar parties entered alliance with Svoboda when two years ago it showed that it was able to turn out 10% of the population.* They allowed Svoboda and their Banderista signage in their protests, which antagonized half the country.* Likewise Russia’s liberals are allied with the radical nationalists, and it’s probably not going to end well.* Easy for me to dispense this advise, sitting here in the US.
Rival groups clash in Ukraine's Crimea, 20 injuredFebruary 26, 2014, 05:00 AM The*Associated PressSIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Fistfights broke out between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine's strategic Crimea region on Wednesday as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered major military exercises just across the border.The tests of military readiness involve most of the units in central and western Russia, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a televised statement. He said the exercise would "check the troops' readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation's military security."In Kiev, opposition leaders who took charge after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled were working on forming a new government to chart a path forward for the country and its ailing economy. Parliament has delayed the announcement of the new administration, which was originally set for Tuesday, reflecting the political divisions among the various factions of the opposition.When announcing Russia's military exercises, Shoigu didn't specifically mention the turmoil in Ukraine, which is bitterly divided between pro-European western regions and pro-Russian areas in the east and south.Three months of protests forced Yanukovych to go into hiding over the weekend as his foes set up an interim government following violent clashes between protesters and police that left more than 80 people dead.In Crimea's regional capital of Simferopol, about 20,000 Muslim Tatars who rallied in support of the interim government clashed with a smaller pro-Russian rally. One health official said at least 20 people were injured, while the local health ministry said one person died from an apparent heart attack.The protesters shouted and attacked each other with stones, bottles and punches, as police and leaders of both rallies struggled to keep the two groups apart.They started to disperse after the speaker of the regional legislature announced it would postpone a crisis session, which many Tatars feared would have taken steps toward seceding from Ukraine."The threat of separatism has been eliminated," Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Tatar community in Crimea, told the crowd.Crimean Tatars are a Turkic Muslim ethnic group who have lived in Crimea for centuries. They were brutally deported in 1944 by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, but returned after Ukraine's independence.The tensions in Crimea — a peninsula in southern Ukraine that is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet — highlight the divisions that run through this country of 46 million, and underscore fears the country's mainly Russian-speaking east and south won't recognize the interim authorities' legitimacy."Only Russia can defend us from fascists in Kiev and from Islamic radicals in Crimea," said Anton Lyakhov, a 52-year-old pro-Russian protester.According to the Russian defense minister, the military will be on high alert for two days as some troops deploy to shooting ranges. The actual maneuvers will start Friday and will last four days, he said. The exercise will involve ships of the Baltic and the Northern Fleets, and the air force.The order came a day after a Russian lawmaker visiting Crimea said Moscow would protect the region's Russian-speaking residents, raising concerns that Russia might make a military move into Ukraine."We take it for granted that all nations respect the sovereignty and independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and this is a message that we have also conveyed to whom it may concern," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.On Wednesday, Yanukovych's three predecessors as president issued a statement accusing Russia of "direct interference in the political life of Crimea."Russian officials denied any plans to move militarily on Ukraine."That scenario is impossible," said Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the upper chamber of Russia's parliament, known as the Federation Council. She is a close Putin ally and was born in western Ukraine."Russia has been stating and reiterating its stance that we have no right and cannot interfere in domestic affairs of a sovereign state," she said. "We are for Ukraine as a united state, and there should be no basis for separatist sentiments."In Kiev, the capital, protesters who have demanded that the new government be close to the people, cut down a fence surrounding the Parliament building.Ukraine's acting interior minister ordered the disbandment of a feared riot police force known as Berkut, which protesters blamed for violent attacks against peaceful demonstrators.The force, whose name means "golden eagle," consisted of about 5,000 officers. It was unclear Wednesday whether its members would be dismissed or reassigned to other units.Protesters took to the streets after Yanukovych's decision in November to reject an agreement that would strengthen ties with the EU and instead seek closer cooperation with Moscow.Anti-Yanukovych protesters set up a camp on Kiev's Independence Square, known as the Maidan, demonstrating against corruption and human rights abuses and calling for the president's resignation.Under an EU-mediated plan, Yanukovych and protest leaders agreed to form a new government and hold an early election, but Parliament later voted to remove him from the presidency. The protesters took control of Kiev and seized the president's office as Yanukovych fled the capital. His whereabouts are unknown.In Lviv, a major city in the European-leaning west of Ukraine, leading cultural figures tried to defuse the tensions between the Russian-speaking east and the Ukrainian-speaking west, calling on residents to speak only Russian on Wednesday in a symbolic show of solidarity.The call appeared to have had some effect."You can really hear a lot of Russian spoken on the streets of Lviv today," said Konstantin Beglov, one of the campaign's promoters, "although it often leads to funny situations because Lviv residents hardly ever speak Russian."