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White House Leaving Ukraine Crisis Up to Biden

The last noted conversation between President Obama and President Yanukovych happened nearly two years ago.

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 18, 2014 - 4:34 pm
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WASHINGTON — Ukraine took a steep step toward total chaos Tuesday as the government attempted to forcefully clear Kiev’s main square of a three-month-long protest, resulting in at least 19 reported deaths.

Twitter was bursting with live reports of the mayhem and pictures of protesters’ bloodied faces. Heavyweight boxing champ and parliamentary opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged foes of the Viktor Yanukovych regime to stay in the square, and the numbers not only stayed consistent but swelled. Though Klitschko urged women and children to leave the square when it became apparent that Yanukovych was orchestrating an offensive against the demonstrators, reports from the scene included elderly women calling police “killers” and challenging them to shoot. Protesters erected a fire barricade to help keep the police at bay as anthems filled the smoky air in a scene reminiscent of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Government snipers aiming at protesters from the rooftops were supplied by Russia, said the opposition, while Yanukovych forces claimed they were sent by NATO.

Eyes turned toward Washington for statements on the events, forceful words for Yanukovych or perhaps even a threat of sanctions. But throughout the months-long ordeal, those communications have not been coming from the commander in chief.

The White House handed off the crisis to Vice President Joe Biden some time ago, with the last discussion released by the press office between President Obama and Yanukovych happening on March 27, 2012. There’s no indication of the two leaders speaking since.

That 2012 discussion was at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. According to a readout from the White House, Obama “raised U.S. concerns about selective prosecutions of the political opposition.”

Since then, Ukraine’s president has dealt with America’s No. 2. In November 2012, Biden thanked Yanukovych for his congratulations on their ticket’s re-election and “urged Ukraine to live up to its democratic commitments and end selective prosecutions.” In November 2013, Biden called Yanukovych to express “his disappointment in the Ukrainian government’s decision to delay preparations for signature of an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU,” a decision to pull back from Europe and toward Moscow that sparked the protests.

In a Dec. 9 phone call with Yanukovych, Biden “expressed his deep concern about the situation in Ukraine and the growing potential for violence,” according to the White House readout. “The Vice President underscored the need to immediately de-escalate the situation and begin a dialogue with opposition leaders on developing a consensus way forward for Ukraine. He noted that violence has no place in a democratic society and is incompatible with our strategic relationship.”

“The Vice President reaffirmed the strong support of the United States for Ukraine’s European aspirations and welcomed President Yanukovych’s commitment to maintaining this path. He underscored the close alignment of the United States and the European Union, and welcomed the upcoming visits of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland to Kyiv.”

A recent Nuland visit put the U.S. in a less than favorable light as an arbiter of peace in the region. In a leaked conversation, the U.S. diplomat said “f*ck the EU” and opined that Klitshcko, a fervent anti-communist and party leader elected to parliament in 2012, shouldn’t be a major figure in a new government. The Obama administration blamed Russia for making sure that private conversation went viral.

Secretary of State John Kerry jumped in on Dec. 10 with remarks expressing the “disgust” of the U.S. at Yanukovych’s violent response to the protests, referencing Biden’s call to Yanukovych. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Ukrainian counterpart on Dec. 11 to warn him “not to use the Armed Forces of Ukraine against the civilian population in any fashion.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Obama put Joe Biden in charge of the Ukraine mess??

I guess Daffy Duck wasn't available.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
But does he speak Austrian?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
the u.s. ambassador to the Ukraine is taking time away from fund raising and has indicated his/her support for peace in the region; and, will be traveling there to help as soon as someone finds out just where in south America it is located.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
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my roomate's mother makes $85 hourly on the laptop . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her income was $12072 just working on the laptop for a few hours. take a look at the site here............. www.works12.com
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
What a bunch of clowns!

“I don’t have an update on the fairly regular conversations that the vice president, in particular, has been having with President Yanukovych and others in Ukraine,” he said. (Then how does he KNOW they are "fairly regular"?)

I guess Mr. Carney is, in fact, President Obama's PERSONAL spokesman vice representing the entire White House. Funny, I thought Jay was the "White House press secretary" (the ticker under his name says he is as well as this article). Jay never seems able to speak about ANYTHING going on in the White House or the Obama Administration and constantly refers reporters to other agencies.

Does Valerie Jarret have a spokesman? Perhaps THAT'S who should be holding a daily press conference. I hear SHE has visibility / control over what's going on in the White House.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
If in fact Joe Biden is 'in charge', and exercising his vast influence on all things Ukraine...I feel really sorry for everyone involved. Bide is a fool and Tool for his Progressive/socialist 'masters'. He couldn't find his way out of a room with one door and no windows. Putin must love American politics.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leaving it up to Biden? That joker can't untwist his tongue.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Poor Ukraine.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ironically, having a prosperous Ukraine next door with strong trading ties with the EU would only help the Russian economy.

Lots of photos of the battle on twitter. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Kiev&src=hash
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I don't suppose the Court Jester could do much worse than Obama's Secretary of State.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why would Obama do anything? He's planning the same for us should Americans resist his oppression and tyranny. For what else would all the DHS ammunition, dispersed around the US, along with armored cars, be intended?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the job of the VP of the US is to:
1. Be first in line of succession to the POTUS
2. President of the US Senate
3. Break ties in Senate

and now:

Be the face and voice of the US towards the Ukraine. The Elmer Fudd of the Administration...."Forcefully" acknowledging our standing towards Ukraine...

Any wonder no one is listening to us anymore.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to a readout from the White House, Obama “raised U.S. concerns about selective prosecutions of the political opposition.”

That seems like a pretty clear signal that Obama wants to see Yanukovych persecute ALL of the opposition, not just part of it. Given that Yanukovych is pro-Putin and pro-Russia while the opposition wants closer ties with Europe, it would be consistent with Obama's hostility toward freedom and warm feelings for tyrants.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
“He [VP Biden] strongly encouraged President Yanukovych to continue to work with the opposition to find compromises critical to a peaceful solution,” the White House said in its readout.

Wonder why VP Biden does not "strongly encouraged President Obama to continue to work with the opposition to find compromises critical to a functional government for the United States of America".

Physician! Heal thyself!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
How long before Russian tanks and troops, roll into the Ukraine? Just as they did in Czechoslovakia.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
How long?
When are the closing ceremonies in Sochi?
NLT 24-hrs after the fire goes out.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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