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Bridget Johnson

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March 5, 2014 - 3:25 pm

In a somewhat unusual move, the State Department issued a fact sheet titled “President Putin’s Fiction: 10 False Claims about Ukraine” Wednesday evening.

The fact sheet was released after Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that talks with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Paris today didn’t get anywhere.

“As Russia spins a false narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine, the world has not seen such startling Russian fiction since Dostoyevsky wrote, ‘The formula “two plus two equals five” is not without its attractions,’” the fact sheet begins.

It then breaks down things that the Russian president has claimed to justify aggression in the Crimean Peninsula:

1. Mr. Putin says:  Russian forces in Crimea are only acting to protect Russian military assets. It is “citizens’ defense groups,” not Russian forces, who have seized infrastructure and military facilities in Crimea.

The Facts:  Strong evidence suggests that members of Russian security services are at the heart of the highly organized anti-Ukraine forces in Crimea. While these units wear uniforms without insignia, they drive vehicles with Russian military license plates and freely identify themselves as Russian security forces when asked by the international media and the Ukrainian military. Moreover, these individuals are armed with weapons not generally available to civilians.

2. Mr. Putin says:  Russia’s actions fall within the scope of the 1997 Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Facts:  The 1997 agreement requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, which have given them operational control of Crimea, are in clear violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

3. Mr. Putin says:  The opposition failed to implement the February 21 agreement with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Facts:  The February 21 agreement laid out a plan in which the Rada, or Parliament, would pass a bill to return Ukraine to its 2004 Constitution, thus returning the country to a constitutional system centered around its parliament. Under the terms of the agreement, Yanukovych was to sign the enacting legislation within 24 hours and bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion. Yanukovych refused to keep his end of the bargain. Instead, he packed up his home and fled, leaving behind evidence of wide-scale corruption.

4. Mr. Putin says:  Ukraine’s government is illegitimate. Yanukovych is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

The Facts:  On March 4, President Putin himself acknowledged the reality that Yanukovych “has no political future.” After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, even his own Party of Regions turned against him, voting to confirm his withdrawal from office and to support the new government. Ukraine’s new government was approved by the democratically elected Ukrainian Parliament, with 371 votes – more than an 82% majority. The interim government of Ukraine is a government of the people, which will shepherd the country toward democratic elections on May 25th – elections that will allow all Ukrainians to have a voice in the future of their country.

5. Mr. Putin says:  There is a humanitarian crisis and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Ukraine to Russia and seeking asylum.

The Facts:  To date, there is absolutely no evidence of a humanitarian crisis. Nor is there evidence of a flood of asylum-seekers fleeing Ukraine for Russia. International organizations on the ground have investigated by talking with Ukrainian border guards, who also refuted these claims. Independent journalists observing the border have also reported no such flood of refugees.

6. Mr. Putin says:  Ethnic Russians are under threat.

The Facts:  Outside of Russian press and Russian state television, there are no credible reports of any ethnic Russians being under threat. The new Ukrainian government placed a priority on peace and reconciliation from the outset. President Oleksandr Turchynov refused to sign legislation limiting the use of the Russian language at regional level. Ethnic Russians and Russian speakers have filed petitions attesting that their communities have not experienced threats. Furthermore, since the new government was established, calm has returned to Kyiv. There has been no surge in crime, no looting, and no retribution against political opponents.

7. Mr. Putin says:  Russian bases are under threat.

The Facts:  Russian military facilities were and remain secure, and the new Ukrainian government has pledged to abide by all existing international agreements, including those covering Russian bases. It is Ukrainian bases in Crimea that are under threat from Russian military action.

8. Mr. Putin says:  There have been mass attacks on churches and synagogues in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Facts:  Religious leaders in the country and international religious freedom advocates active in Ukraine have said there have been no incidents of attacks on churches. All of Ukraine’s church leaders, including representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, have expressed support for the new political leadership, calling for national unity and a period of healing. Jewish groups in southern and eastern Ukraine report that they have not seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

9. Mr. Putin says:  Kyiv is trying to destabilize Crimea.

The Facts:  Ukraine’s interim government has acted with restraint and sought dialogue. Russian troops, on the other hand, have moved beyond their bases to seize political objectives and infrastructure in Crimea. The government in Kyiv immediately sent the former Chief of Defense to defuse the situation. Petro Poroshenko, the latest government emissary to pursue dialogue in Crimea, was prevented from entering the Crimean Rada.

10. Mr. Putin says:  The Rada is under the influence of extremists or terrorists.

The Facts:  The Rada is the most representative institution in Ukraine. Recent legislation has passed with large majorities, including from representatives of eastern Ukraine. Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada. There is no indication that the Ukrainian government would pursue discriminatory policies; on the contrary, they have publicly stated exactly the opposite.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran 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 is an NPR contributor and 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   (11)
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On what page and date will Pravda publish its "Full Apology and General Message of Correction?" Anyone? The first correct answer will win a slightly used copy of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Obama Administration doesn't like competition.

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the most shameless liar of them all?"
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I just want to remind about two leaked conversations, the Nuland conversation and the conversation between EUs spokeswoman in foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, and Estonian foreign minister Paet. You can read about the last one in this mornings Zero Hedge, "Behind Kiev snipers it was somebody from the new coalition". It´s dynamite, really. And to this clear evidence of an orchestrated coup with many dead , add that Svoboda is involved in the new coalition. It´s dangerous, it´s a disgrace.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Evidently the State department lacks a sense of irony.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would the be the same State Department that is bossed by John "Christmas in Cambodia" Kerry, whose boss is President Barack "Pinocchio" Obama?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Damn, I wish some one in the media would fact check Lord Obama as thoroughly on any one of a number of subjects.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know...when chattering is the only American power you're willing to assert on the global stage, someone in the regime must have thought this would show the world what a tough, strong response looks like.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pot meet kettle.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridget the State Dept. are lying liars:

10. Mr. Putin says: The Rada is under the influence of extremists or terrorists.

Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)#Criticism
Svoboda party won 37 out of 450 seats in the Rada in 2012. Here's their leader ranting at the funeral for a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator in 2004 about 'K*kes' --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleh_Tyahnybok#Political_career

Oh and Bridget here's your hero John McCain with Mr. Tyahnybok:

https://www.google.com/search?q=John+McCain+Tyahnybok&noj=1&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=T-gXU9LEFcng0gG4voD4CQ&ved=0CCYQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=899#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=cimCE1vSlV4_tM%253A%3BoZmbKuAoksRJXM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fstatic2.businessinsider.com%252Fimage%252F52af483beab8ea070b43dd72%252Fjohn-mccain-went-to-ukraine-and-stood-on-stage-with-a-man-accused-of-being-an-anti-semitic-neo-nazi.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.businessinsider.com%252Fjohn-mccain-meets-oleh-tyahnybok-in-ukraine-2013-12%3B4360%3B2919

Here's the new 'oh but he's Jewish!' (actually he denied it) PM of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk or somebody who looks a lot like him standing next to the Svoboda Party's leader giving the Hitler salute:

http://themadjewess.com/2014/03/03/ukraine-arseniy-yatsenyuk-caught-with-nazi-salute/

You neocons really think everyone is stupid, don't you? That conservatives are mindless sheeple -- just keep showing them Red Dawn reruns and they'll believe anything you or Obama's State Department says.

https://www.google.com/search?q=tyahnybok+nazi&noj=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qegXU6-wC4nK0wH6n4GgBg&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg&biw=1280&bih=899#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=-YHCKgwiL7oZMM%253A%3Bh5XAtonMtY16YM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fd56amtpp2y9sx.cloudfront.net%252Fsites%252Fdefault%252Ffiles%252Fimagecache%252Ffull_page_image%252Finline_image_uploads%252FVictoria-Nulland-meets-with-Svoboda-neo-nazis.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.4thmedia.org%252F2014%252F02%252F26%252Fthe-brown-revolution-of-the-ukraine%252F%3B620%3B361

PS I don't support Russian troops roaming the Crimea and think they should return to base. But that's a far cry from getting in bed with neo-Nazis as many neocons including Jewish neocons are happy to do.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
BTW I think Putin is lying about there being no Russian Army troops in the Crimea, and for Russia to invade even the E. Ukraine much less the whole country would destroy its economy, for the obvious reason that the Ukrainians could blow up Gazprom's export trunk line through the middle of Ukraine as Sen. Rand Paul is pointing out (so much for all Pauls being 'soft on Russia' or 'libertarian foreign policy must stop at the water's edge').
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
At a fundraiser at a Boys & Girls Club in Long Bearch ealier today, Hillary compared what Putin is doing now with what Hitler did in the 1930s.

“She compared issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians with ties to Russia with early actions by Nazi Germany before Hitler began invading neighboring countries,” Saltzgaver said. “She said, however, that while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II.”

“She talked about how what Putin is doing now is similar to what Hitler did, essentially providing these ethnic Russians in the Crimea region access back to Russia,” said the second attendee. “And that it was destabilizing.”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/hillary-clinton-compares-russia-moves-to-nazi-aggression

And, we announced today that we're sending more fighter jets to Poland.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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