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by
Bridget Johnson

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February 24, 2014 - 1:10 pm

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today that the U.S. government still doesn’t know where deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice admitted the same thing on Meet the Press on Sunday.

This apparent lack of intelligence comes days after President Obama protested that the crisis in Kiev wasn’t “some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.”

“As you know, Mr. Yanukovych has left Kiev in an orderly fashion, packed up his things and left. And his whereabouts are not known to us in a confirmable way. And certainly, while he was a democratically elected leader, his actions have undermined his legitimacy. And he is not actively leading the country at present,” Carney responded when asked who Washington considers the legitimate leader right now.

“We do believe that Parliament has lawfully elected its new speaker and we support getting the situation under control in terms of law and order, and in ensuring that the institutions of government are working. We note that recent parliamentary votes have been passed by overwhelming majorities that include members of Yanukovych’s own party,” he continued.

“We believe that working pursuant to Ukraine’s constitution and through its institutions of government is the most promising path towards the de-escalation of violence, a multiparty coalition government, and early elections — all things that we have long supported. And it will be critical, in our view, in the coming days for Ukraine’s leadership to focus on its pressing financial challenges and we stand ready to support them as they make needed reforms.”

Reports have indicated Yanukovych is in the pro-Moscow south of the country and was refused a charter flight out of the nation.

So does the U.S. consider Yanukovych deposed and recognize chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Oleksandr Turchynov as the interim president?

“Well, we believe he is the lawfully elected speaker of parliament. The — Mr. Yanukovych had left Kiev and packed up his belongings and left, and his whereabouts are not known. So, he’s certainly not actively leading the country at present. And we encourage the Ukrainian parliament and others to take actions that help continue a path towards de-escalation of violence, embrace constitutional change, and move toward a coalition government — a multiparty coalition government, as well as early elections,” Carney responded.

It was clear why Washington was so hesitant to proclaim Yanukovych officially ousted: Russia.

“Russia and the United States have a shared interest in restoring Ukraine to stability, in de-escalating violence, and supporting the formation of a technical government with broad-based support across Ukraine. And, you know, it’s certainly not in Russia’s interest to have tens of thousands of people in the street deeply discontented with the government that they were closely backing, and instability and violence in Ukraine is certainly not — and it should not be seen as in Russia’s interest,” Carney said.

“…It was our view that President Putin and Russia generally agrees with the proposition that we need to see a Ukraine that is — where there is not violence and where stability is returned, because that’s in Russia’s interests. It’s in Ukraine’s interest and it’s in Europe’s and the United States’ interest.”

Russia recalled its ambassador and dismissed the Euromaidan protests as “armed clashes between violent roughnecks and militants from far-right nationalist organizations with security forces who were defending the safety of the peaceful population and the interests of the government.” The Kremlin also blamed the West for stoking the uprising.

On the arrest warrant issued to bring Yanukovych in on charges of murder, Carney said “these aren’t positions for us to take.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Then -- there is the other story floating around -- the CIA got him out. That would be the Obama regime's CIA.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
How will it play out in the American Spring when Obama flees the country?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it the US government's job to keep track of Yanukovych? We can barely police our own country.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama's administration is purely amateur hour bumbling.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The White House is speaking warily here. They don't want to set any verbal precedents for approving a domestic change of management if the security organs of the State open fire on the citizens. That, and in foreign policy matters they have a 100% pure record of supporting tyrants over both the people and their elected representatives.

Subotai Bahadur
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Carney, one of those verbally stumbling lefties that uses a lot of words to say nothing.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did they check between the seat cushions of the couch?…a lot of times when I can’t find something it’s because it slipped between the seat cushions of the couch.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
As an outsider citizen-voter who used to think that this Carney NewSpeak [pun alert] guy was a well meaning, rather nice guy, wholesome, very earnest and looked like he belonged in 11th grade somewhere, or leading cheers for the local basketball team on Friday nights. Who was simply someone living up the street over there on Melrose Place who filled out a summer job application and then ....all of a sudden found himself self consciously and very ill at ease standing at a podium inside the White House, of all places.....the White House? ....really?

Now, just take a closer look at this amateurish fill-in.....re-read his stumbling comments. I'm old enough to remember the long serving, authoritative and staid and very dignified Stephen Early as the Press Secretary for Franklin Roosevelt, another Democrat Administration, another America altogether; and now I just shake my head and wonder sadly, "What's become of us?"

[Carney, Susan Rice, Kerry, Hillary, Obama, that smug Attorney General, then mix in Michelle (compare with Eleanor Roosevelt, whatever one may think of her) add that Valerie Jarrett-the-horse-whisperer, on and on - what a roster.]

We're certainly in one helluva mess. And, no one seems to be doing anything about it.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jay Carney=Obama's Baghdad Bob
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought Obama and his National Security Advisor had everything under control in the Ukraine. Perhaps initial reports were incorrect.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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