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The Rosett Report

Talking While Ukraine ‘Teeters on the Brink’

April 14th, 2014 - 2:01 am

But the debate was illuminating, not only for the abundance of the usual gibberish in the face of genuine crisis, but also for the lack of any serious threat, from any quarter, that might compel Russia to back away from Ukraine (Crimea, which Russia is now digesting, figured less as a point of current contention than as an example of behavior Russia is urged not to repeat). Here was the supreme conclave of the “international community,” and for about two hours, the Security Council debated.  There was a briefing from a UN assistant secretary-general, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who warned that Ukraine “teeters on the brink.” Luxembourg’s envoy pronounced his government “deeply concerned.” China produced a heap of potted language about the need for “constructive dialogue.” Nigeria said that the world has graduated from the adventures of past centuries, deplored “spheres of influence” and called for a “diplomatic solution.” There was plenty of praise for Ukraine’s “restraint” — which, as the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens noted a few weeks ago, is less a function of being restrained than of being outgunned.

America’s UN ambassador, Samantha Powers, went a step beyond the State Department’s implied accusations of the day, spelling out that the “instability” in Ukraine “was written and choreographed in and by Russia.” Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, went beyond that, to the real point, describing the armed provocations not as “instability,” but as “a war which Russia is waging against Ukraine.”

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, dismissed it all. He described as “terrorists” the Ukrainians whose protests ousted former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. He accused the U.S. of making false accusations about Russia. With Ukraine threatening military operations to stop the armed takeovers within its own borders, Churkin threatened that Russia would regard any such action by Ukraine as a provocation encouraged by the U.S., involving “criminal use of force.”

The Security Council adjourned. Ukraine is no safer for that meeting. This week will bring more talking, in Geneva. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has pronounced herself “gravely concerned,” reiterated the EU’s “strong support for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity” (or what’s left of it) and called upon Russia to do the same.  Next week, Vice-President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Ukraine, a prospect that Russia’s ambassador mocked at the Security Council meeting — suggesting Biden phone ahead and tell the Ukrainian government to refrain from using force. Shades of the Cold War, which may be over at the White House, but in too many other venues is rising from the grave — with the difference that while Washington is mobilizing the talking shops of the “international community,” Russia is mobilizing its troops.

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All Comments   (16)
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If YOU were a member of our military, want of resources would NOT be a false claim!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The resident broken record here... (me)
Obama is powerless, why? Think about it: Snowden has obviously given Russia the capability to listen in on communications. Which means they must have the goods on Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood/al Qaeda. That's quite an ace in the hole.
What's Russia up to? They're partying like it's 1939!
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/04/russias-secessionist-strategy-exposed/
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin prepares to move 10 tank divisions through the border.

Obama prepares to give a speech.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ireland was more wracked by violence than Ukraine. Let's have some perspective. The southern U.S. border is wracked by seperatist and drug cartel violence. More persepective. Let them work out their problems. I sense there's not much we can do nor should we. It's not on our beat.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kiev today, Vienna tomorrow.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that's party true, but only if the conflict there is contained. Only if the Russians pull back or the efforts to recreate a Greater (greater than now) Russia fail. If Putin continues to lay claim to additional former parts of the USSR, then it is a direct threat to American security.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Larry, the biggest threat to American security is sitting in the Oval Office. He is now being "flexible" as he promised to "Vladimir" some time ago.
Flexible as a rubber doormat.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, well, sometimes I prefer to forget about that... :)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the Ukraine and Russia might have a go. Exactly why should I care?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are seeing the results of the "Orate loudly and carry no stick" foreign policy. If the only weapon in your quiver is sanctions, that is all you can do.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin will chop off pieces of eastern Ukraine if he wants to, at this point. Absent something beyond verbal posturing from Samantha Power and Obama, he will disregard threats and light sanctions. The tough counter-measures by the Ukrainians will probably do more to dissuade him than all of Obama's words. At the same time, the challenge to his ego and to Russia's condescending attitude regarding the very existence of Ukraine may prove an irresistible prod, and lead to an actual Russian invasion. Alternately, he may employ KGB tactics and attempt to assassinate key leaders of the gov't in Kiev.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm just wondering how the visit by Mr Brennan - CIA director - can be described ...
Of course, since he's not Russian or sent by Putin, it can't be called meddling. Perhaps he took a short city-break over the weekend to gape at the glorious Maidan?
The screams of the Ukrainian interim PM about using military force to disperse protesters - sorry, 'terrorists', because protestors were only those who ousted Janukovich - in the Eastern Ukrainian regions that same weekend are of course pure coincidence ...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The original protesters that "ousted" Janukovich did not take over buildings in multiple cities with military precision. Those protesters did not capture military bases. The actions between the protesters and the campaigns in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are not remotely similar. You need to judge a group of people by their actions, not by propaganda labels. It is the difference between free speech and military occupation.

Incidentally, the protesters did not "oust" Janukovich. That was other members of the Ukraine government.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to thank you Claudia and many more like you who are paying attention to the situation in Ukraine. This is very important, especially in the midst of raging information war that Russia had unleashed against Ukraine in parallel with the actual warfare.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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