Tag Archives: Ukraine

Biden Tells Ukraine To Get Its Act Together

Joe Biden is on a trip to the Ukraine where he stopped to deliver a lecture in his own inimitable style. The country has been in constant turmoil during the past several months as politicians squabble over issues of power. He told politicians “Ukraine, in my humble opinion, must heed the lesson of history. Effective, accountable government is the only way to provide a stable, predictable and transparent environment that attracts investment.” Of course, Joe Biden in his life has rarely expressed anything in a “humble” manner, but he is right on target in telling the Ukraine it is time to focus on creating a government that can rule in such a manner that economic development ensues.

During the Bush administration, the Ukrainians were placated as part of the “get tough” approach to Russia. Obama is attempting to reach out to Russia and develop bonds of friendship and that means ensuring the Ukraine works cooperatively with its neighbor. Biden also made clear the Ukraine makes the decision as to whether it seeks membership in NATO and the United States would not exert any pressure for or against that action.

Hitler’s 120th Birthday Celebrated In Ukraine?

Monday, marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler and Kyiv in the Ukraine will witness a “National Socialism” march by kooks who think Hitler did something right. The American Embassy issued a warning to Americans to avoid areas where people will be marching and arguing and possible fighting. Of course, the real issue is why are ANY UKRAINIANS celebrating the birth of a man who killed millions of Ukrainians and laid waste vast areas of the region. For some who love the man with the small moustache, he did rid the premises of those nasty Jews.

Any Ukrainian who is waving a flag and sieg heiling on Monday should get a history book and learn what this man of evil did to your ancestors!

Blame It On The Bush Man!

The administration of George Bush was marked by such incompetence that it is rather easy to blame just about every problem on planet earth at the doorstep of the bumbler from Texas. Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin charges it was Bush who is responsible for the current crisis over supplies of gas and his nation’s dispute with the Ukraine. He believes the Bush administration created tension in the region by pushing for construction of missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Reports that Obama has no commitment to the Bush plan have led Putin to be “cautiously optimistic” concerning establishing positive relations with the United States.

The Russian government is still angry at attempts to push NATO eastward and include the Ukraine in the organization. Putin regards such efforts as deliberately provocative and this is a major factor in creating tension in the region. Talks between Russia and the Ukraine over gas broke down in December.

Step one for President Obama is to end any further efforts to construct missile bases. Step two is sitting down with Putin and dealing with a variety of issues including the gas dispute with the Ukraine.

Russia’s Gas Tanks Out For Europe

President Medvedev made clear that Russia would impose its will on the gas front by cutting supplies to Europe in order to force the Ukraine to pay market prices for the gas from his nation. He told Ukrainian leader Yushchenko that he was prepared to negotiate at any time, but insisted, “the price for the gas needs to be the market rate corresponding to the European price levels.” Russia cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine and several nations in order to compel compliance with their demands. Russia is facing an economic crisis since the price of oil and gas has plunged which results in a loss of billions for the Russian government.

The current oil crisis is impacting those nations who were making billions out of the ever increasing price of gas and oil. The Russian nightmare is a shift in Europe from reliance on gas to alternative forms of energy. Putin operates on the assumption that gas and oil will remain dominant into the future, but there is always the possibility that nations of the world will shift and move away from traditional sources of energy. What then, Mr. Putin?

Ukraine And Russia Eye One Another In Black Sea

Over forty years ago during the Khruschev era, the Russian leader made a slight change in how the Soviet Union was organized by transferring the Crimea area to become part of the Ukraine. The Crimea had the Soviet Union’s only seaport in the Black Sea but no one at the time could forsee that decision would create problems in 2008. Today, Russian and Ukrainian ships share the seaport of Sevastopol. During the recent war in Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian navy played an active role in dealing with Georgian ships. Russian Admiral Andrei Baranov, pointed out his ships played an important role during events in Georgia to protect the rights of Russian citizens, an interesting way of describing those living in South Ossetia.

Rumors are circulating in the Crimea that Russia is issuing Russian passports to thousands of Crimeans in order to create the impression Russians dominate the region. Many Russian political leaders want the 1954 decision to be reversed so Russia can once again claim ownership of the Crimea. Pro-Russia leaders in Sevastopol are furious that the Ukraine has invited NATO ships to dock in the harbor.

Now, is the time to deal with this issue rather than wait until some situation erupts that could have deadly consequences for Europe and the world.

Ukraine– What’s In A Name?

The European Union declared yesterday it regards the Ukraine as a European nation which is a clear expression of support for the entry of that country into the EU. President Sarkozy, who currently leads the EU, said, “we say solemnly that Ukraine is a European country that shares a common history and values with European Union countries. It’s the first time that the European Union has expressed itself so clearly about Ukraine’s European role.”At the same time, EU leaders urge avoiding a new Cold War and acting in a calm manner.

There is no question the Ukraine is a European country, but it also has been part of Russia for hundreds of years which certainly gives it a Russian flavor. A key issue is the attempt by the European Union and the United States to revive the Cold War, not to avoid it from once again cropping up. The provocative establishment of missile bases on the border of Russia is certainly not an example of avoiding confrontation and conflict. Why are there missile bases in Poland? Please, let’s not hear the Bush rhetoric they are in place to guard against Iranian or North Korean missiles. Why would those nations be directing missiles at Europe?

Putin Says Differing Things Concerning Ukraine

Prime Minister Putin of Russia has been sending mixed signals to the Ukraine regarding his views about that nation. Several months ago, while in a conversation with President Bush, the Russian leader was overheard saying, “You understand George, Ukraine isn’t even a state! What is Ukraine? One part of its territory is in Eastern europe, and the other party, the significant portion was a gift from us.” On the other hand, he was recently said his nation respects the boundaries of Ukraine, including the disputed area of the Crimea which Khrushchev turned over to the Ukraine in the fifties. “Russia has recognized the present day borders of Ukraine long ago” he said in an interview with a German radio station.

A major issue between Russia and the Ukraine is fear on the part of Russian leaders that a Ukraine which is a member of NATO could pose a military threat to its security. Perhaps, it is time to put aside talk of NATO membership and work toward creating a sense of stability and security for all nations of eastern Europe.

Ukraine In Political Crisis Over Georgia

The Ukraine is a nation caught between pressure from Russia and the United States regarding its future in Europe. America and some European nations want the Ukraine to enter NATO and become an important political and military base for the west. Russia is concerned that the Ukraine could be used by potential aggressors to launch attacks. President Victor Yushchenko has been cautious in his approach to recent events in Georgia which has resulted in a clash with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The president’s own chief of staff, Victor Baloha denounced his boss for failing to take a more aggressive stand in defense of Georgia against Russia. Within days charges and counter charges were expressed by various members of parliament and the ruling coalition.

There never has been a solid majority government in the Ukraine which allows issues of control and power between the president and prime minister to become the center of conflict. A reality is that the Ukraine must walk gently in dealing with the large bear on its border.

Is Ukraine Next Target Of Russia?

Russia’s military response to actions of Georgia have sent a shiver of fear down the backs of most Ukranians. There is confusion and concern as to the extent to which Russia would go in preventing the Ukraine from becoming part of NATO. However, unlike Georgia, the Ukraine is a nation of 46 million people with a well developed industrial base. Analyst Geoffrey Smith at the Renaissance Bank in Kiev, argues “there is no way on earth that these two countries will go to war” since they have mutual economic relationships. Russia transports its oil through the Ukraine and the Ukraine needs that oil for its own economic development. A main issue is the old Soviet Union province of Crimea which contains important sea ports for the Russian navy. During the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev the province was shifted and made part of the Ukraine which resulted in Russia still being able to use the sea ports, but only under permission of the Ukraine.

There is no question Russia has its eyes set on some form of control over the Crimea. Members of the Russian parliament have made threats that if the Ukraine doesn’t watch its step, the Russian government will have to take action in the Crimea.

Russia seeks close relations with China, but if it invaded the Crimea this would frighten the Chinese who oppose armed action to seize former provinces since such behavior sets a poor example to Tibetans or Muslims in western China.

Germany Moves Toward Russia Diplomatically

Germany’s increasingly close relations with Russia may well damage efforts by the Ukraine to enter the European Union. Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Yeliseyev warned that two or three members of the EU are not strong supporters for having the Ukraine enter the body, and he is particularly concerned about the attitude of Germany toward his nation’s quest for membership. Germany is interested in working with Russia to construct a new gap pipeline that will meet the needs of Germany for the coming years. Thus, it is in their self interest not to antagonize Russia at this critical juncture when many nations are furious at what happened in Georgia. The Ukraine is also seeking membership in NATO, an action that will antagonize Russia.

On one hand, Ukraine officials are arguing anything less than its membership in the EU or NATO will send a message to Russia that bullying behavior will be rewarded. However, there is a prior question– how best can the EU work with Russia to allay fears the outside world harbors aggressive actions against its territorial boundaries.? Perhaps, the dialogue with Russia should begin with assurances there will be no membership in NATO for any nation that formerly was a part of the old Soviet Union.

Or, NATO might formally request Russia to enter the body and thus end fears of aggressive actions by NATO against Russia.