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We should not be fooled by the faux outrage of Russia and its calling of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council today, Sunday, April 13.
Everyone knows who the fox in the chicken coop is, and no one is fooled by the fox’s loud complaints that it is being attacked by the chickens.
While the statements made tonight in the Security Council were informative, they should not distract our attention from what is taking place on the ground, and the actions we need to take to effectively counter ongoing Russian aggression.
Latest News Reports
For news on the latest devopments in and relating to the Ukraine, see:
(1) U.N.Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Ukraine, U.N. News Centre, Webcast, April 13, 2014. The video of the webcast is found here.
U.N. Security Council Press Release, 7154th Meeting, u.N. Doc. SC/11351, April 13, 2013.
UKRAINE SITUATION ‘MORE COMBUSTIBLE THAN EVER’, ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS SECURITY COUNCIL, CALLING FOR ACTION TO DE-ESCALATE CRISIS
The press release, which summarizes the meeting including the comments of different delegations, if found here (English).
(2) News Reports and Opinion
Agencias/Donetsk/Moscú, “Kiev lanza una operación antiterrorista a gran escala para desalojar a los rebeldes; El presidente ucranio exige a los prorrusos que se rindan antes de las ocho de la mañana del lunes; Moscú endosa a Occidente la responsabilidad de evitar una guerra civil en el país,” El Pais, 13 Abril 2014 (20:25 CET).
Pilar Bonet (Slaviansk), “Kiev moviliza al Ejército para aplastar la rebelión prorrusa en el este; El presidente ucranio exige a los rebeldes que se rindan antes de las ocho de la mañana del lunes; “Depende de Occidente evitar una guerra civil en el país”, dice el Ministerio de Exteriores ruso,” El Pais, 13 Abril 2014 (22:13 CET).
Matthew Kaminski (Opinion), “The West Leaves Ukraine to Putin; As Russian special forces invade the country’s east, Kiev’s leaders feel betrayed by the EU and America, Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2014 (7:00 p.m. ET).
Commentary by The Observer
The U.S. and Europe continue to issue threats to Russia of further sanctions if it doesn’t stop its bad behavior.
These threats, which have not been backed by meaningful actions–real, hard-hitting sanctions, have had no effect on Russian leaders, and in fact seem to goad them on to further bad deeds, precisely because they are viewed as signs of weakness, as empty threats that will not be backed up, like Barck Obama’s red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Washington is deliberating and speaking to itself, but also to Europe, NATO and Russia, in a language of fine intellectual distinctions and reasoned discourse. As in Syria, the strongest actions it is taking amount to little more than words.
Meanwhile, Russia is speaking the language of military force and actions on the ground.
Threats of future sanctions will only gain credibility if heavy sanctions are imposed, now, for Russia’s past and on-going behavior.
The specific actions that should be heavily sanctioned, today, are:
1) Russian military aggression, invasion and takeover of the Crimea, territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine;
2) Russian annexation of the Crimea;
2) Russian infiltration of “black” military forces and other agents into the eastern Ukraine, where they have provoked and indeed directly instigated civil strife including the armed takeover of government buildings; and
4) Russia’s ongoing threat of the further use of force against the Ukraine, having mobilized 40,000-80,000 troops for an invasion, with some 40,000 poised on the border ready for an immediate strike.
For these actions the United States should immediately impose broad and deep sanctions against Russia itself, not merely 38 targeted individuals and two companies (a Russian bank, and the seized gas company of the Crimea). As soon as they can reach agreement, the 28 states of the EU should adopt similar sanctions.
A good start would be an immediate ban on all financial transactions involving the Crimea or companies doing business in the Crimea, and all financial transactions or doing buiness with any companies that are engaged in such activities.
In the forthcoming meeting in Geneva on April 17 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the U.S., the EU, and the Ukraine should begin the discussions with an absolute demand for Russia to undo the annexation of the Ukraine and to return the situation to the status quo ante existing prior to the Russian invasion.
Second, the U.S. and the EU should inform Russia of the stiff sanctions it will have put into effect this week in response to the acts of aggression described above.
Third, the U.S. and the EU should announce the curtailment of high-level discussions with Russia pending the withdrawal of Russian forces from the border and Russian “covert” intervention in the eastern Ukraine. Instead, the West should focus on developing and implementing actions that respond to and are aimed at halting and undoing the effects of Russian aggression.
Are the leaders of the West up to these tasks?
We shall see.
The Trenchant Observer
Der Scharfsinniger Beobachter
El Observador Incisivo