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by
Rick Moran

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April 26, 2014 - 1:51 pm

Pro-Russian separatists have kidnapped 8 military observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and say they will exchange them for prisoners being held by Ukraine.

The separatists claim that the OSCE observers are “NATO spies.” Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, de facto mayor of Slaviansk, said “They were soldiers on our territory without our permission, of course they are prisoners.”

The observer mission had been sent to Eastern Ukraine in March.

Reuters:

Ukraine’s state security service said the OSCE observers – part of a German-led military verification mission deployed since early March at Kiev’s request – were being held “in inhuman conditions” and that one needed medical help.

A spokeswoman for the Vienna-based organisation, of which Russia is a member, said the OSCE had been in contact with “all sides” since late on Friday but had had no direct contact with the observers.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was working to resolve the crisis, but blamed Kiev for failing to ensure the OSCE mission’s safety in “areas where the authorities do not control the situation and where a military operation against residents of their own country has been unleashed”.

Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper released a video interview with a man it identified as Ivan Strelkov, a militia leader in Slaviansk, accused by Ukraine’s security services of being an employee of Russian intelligence.

He suggested the monitors might have been using their diplomatic status “to carry out reconnaissance of the resistance positions, for the benefit of the Ukrainian army”.

It is standard practice for serving military officers to be seconded to OSCE missions.

Meanwhile, the G-7 announced it has agreed to further sanctions against Russia. No specifics were given but it is believed that they will target Putin cronies, banning travel and other restrictions:

In a joint statement, G7 leaders said Russia had not taken any concrete steps to implement an accord, signed earlier this month in Geneva, intended to rein in illegal armed groups.

“Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military maneuvers on Ukraine’s border,” it said.

“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia.”

But it added: “We underscore that the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis.”

Senior EU diplomats will meet on Monday to discuss the next steps and are expected to add 15 more names to a list of Russians subject to asset freezes and a travel ban.

Putin acknowledged for the first time this week that sanctions were causing difficulties for Russia, though he said the impact was not “critical”.

Standard & Poor’s cut Russia’s sovereign long-term debt rating on Friday, making it more expensive for the government to borrow money. That forced the central bank to raise its key interest rate to limit a fall in the rouble.

Russian banks have been moving funds out of foreign accounts in anticipation of sanctions.

Putin has broken off communications with the White House, while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel can’t raise anyone in the Russian government. Russian troops on the border with Ukraine continue to “pulse” – drive toward the border and then stop. Russian fighter planes have violated Ukrainian air space. And the BBC is reporting that both sides in Eastern Ukraine think a Russian invasion “inevitable.”

Sanctions don’t appear to be having much of an effect on Putin’s plans — whatever they are.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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The tyrants are in Kiev as well, and one can see the locals making the choice for the one across the border. The stretch is political, especially if we get Russian grandmas surrounding our paratroopers asking "why are you here?"
Woops, meant as reply to Jeff.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
So...the pro Russian 'rebels' are 'rebels' because they've 'rebelled' against the neo-NAZI Svoboda party that was installed by an American organized, financed and supported coup. (Oh, and a US ally - Poland - helped to train them for that coup.)

...and Russia is the bad guy???
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
In other news/narratives -- Ukrainian military maintains blockade of Slavyansk where the NATO guys are held -- Donetsk separatists are sending a convoy of humanitarian help (open to inspection, they say) to slavyansk -- Russia claims to have satellite evidence of huge ukrainian miltary buildup near slavyansk.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin's plans are to become the world's antipole of western cultural Marxism.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. I think of it as the sequel to WWII - only this time we get to play the Axis Powers while Russia, et al, are playing the Allies.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, if we had adults in charge this would provide a perfect opening to put an end to the show-down. The Ukrainian President holds an early morning press conference and announces that the Russian foreign ministry was correct, that Ukrainian forces were unable to provide adequate security for the OSCE observers. Which is why the Ukrainian government was asking NATO for help. Drop the 173rd Airborne BCT into the area to liberate the hostages and provide security in the border regions. I guarantee the Russians would want to talk to Hagel.

The Russians need eastern Ukraine. They need to avoid war with NATO even more.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing like a little brinkmanship eh. Putin doesn't need eastern Ukraine but he enjoys stretching the US resources. You think the locals will welcome your airborne on another peacekeeping mission?
Perhaps you'll also keep peace in Transnistriya, Transcarpathia, and the gagauz country (south Moldova)?
And then china moves on some slice of Philippines or japan.
Is anyone going to notice when Israel bombs Iran?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
This isn't a stretch of resources, we've already got the troops, and they're already being deployed for exercises, this is nearly cost-free for us. The locals are mostly not going to care, except for the Russian agents, and I think US paratroopers can deal with them quite handily. It has nothing to do with China, PACCOM has that covered and isn't going to be asking EURCOM for paratroopers anytime soon.

Putin needs eastern Ukraine, it provides the only secure lines of communication with Crimea. He can't be sure of keeping the peninsula without it. And brinksmanship is how you stop expansionist tyrants.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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