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  • Hoping For Peace, Reforms
    Dec. 11, 2014, 11:18 p.m. | Ukraine — by Oksana Grytsenko

    Ukraine's new Cabinet of Ministers has a year to perform. It received this generous time allowance when parliament gave a green light to the plan of action presented by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Dec. 11. Its approval means that the ministers may stay untouchable for 365 days.

    But the act was political and left many people fuming. Critics say some parts of the new government program are simply appalling while others are too little, too late.

    One of the most common criticisms is that the government’s plan of action has little correlation with the coalition agreement, a 66-page detailed plan with 17 reforms that was approved after more than a month of debates.

    “The government program is very sketchy and it doesn’t take into account entire paragraphs of the coalition agreement including infrastructure, transport, public utilities, environment. There is nothing about these sectors in government program,” Oleksandr Chernenko, a lawmaker from President Petro Poroshenko‘s Bloc told the Kyiv Post.

    After talking to ruling coalition members for 30 minutes, Yatsenyuk agreed to include the coalition agreement as part of his program, which allowed him to get 269 votes of support. Next, Yatsenyuk said he ordered his ministers to detail an implementation plan.

    There is certainly a lot that needs detailing. The reform of law enforcement, for example, is condensed to three sentences. One of them says that police need to serve rather than punish. The next one promises a new law on police and the third brags that an investigation bureau will be created.

    Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister and current lawmaker, said he was outraged by this part. “Is it all? What can be done with this sector? How is the structure of the Interior Ministry going to be changed? Where are the concrete terms and responsible people necessary for every program?” he wrote on his Facebook page. Despite his emotions, Lutsenko voted in favor.

    The program has clear and concrete parts, too, especially in the areas where the non-governmental sector has been heavily involved over the past months.

    Some parts that stem from a trio of Ukraine’s foreign-born ministers have also received praise. According to the plan, the government wants to reduce the number of supervisory bodies that oversees businesses and move towards full adoption of European regulatory standards.

    The number of taxes will be cut down from 22 to 9, and more than 1,000 state-owned companies will be privatized. At the same time, the management of strategic state-owned businesses will be changed.
    The government promises to ban inspections on small and medium business for two years, and to move forward with an energy saving program and a comprehensive reform of Naftogaz, the state energy behemoth that will require Hr 110 billion in subsidies this year.

    Yatsenyuk wants to spend 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product on defense and security next year, and move the army in line with NATO standards, presumably in hopes of one day joining the 28-nation military alliance. At the same time, other public expenses will be cut by 10 percent, and so will the number of civil servants.

    There are also fears that some parts of the program won‘t have the intended effect. Vasyl Yurchyshyn of the Razumkov Center, said that while Yatsenyuk announced a decrease in the tax burden, the government program will do the opposite.

    The program envisages new taxation of foreign currency purchases and a new military tax. At the same time, the program postpones the plans to decrease taxation of salaries while promising to up responsibility for violators. “There is some ambiguity on how the government plans to balance the economy,” Yurchyshyn says.

    He also said that there is no legal mechanism to control the government’s implementation of the program, except control by foreign donors.

    Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research for Standard Bank in London, said the government plans of cost cutting in public administration would probably get an intense opposition inside of state apparatus. “The fight against crucial reforms from within the state beaurocracy is likely to be intense, especially as for the past 20 years it has provided “jobs for the boys” and has been the main agent for corruption and graft,” he wrote in his note to investors.

    Lawmakers of all affiliations also slammed Yatsenyuk for failing to even mention decentralization in his new program. After months of debates about the need to grant the more powers to local communities, Yatsenyuk only briefly mentioned power redistribution in his speech in parliament.

    “When the entire country speaks about decentralization of power, I didn’t hear anything about it here,” said Volodymyr Parasiuk, a former EuroMaidan Revolution activist turned independent lawmaker.
    Opposition Bloc leader Yuriy Boyko said the new government program was “a blueprint” provided by the International Monetary Fund, and Yatsenyuk made no secret in his speech that the nation needs another $15 billion in financing on top of the existing $17 billion package.

    “It would be impossible to do this without our international partners,” he said.
    Hoping For Peace, Reforms

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    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • Peace In Ukraine By Appeasing Putin? Refuting The Ill-Informed Proposal
      World Affairs 12/11/2014 Paul Roderick Gregory FORBES MAGAZINE

      Two Washington policy wonks propose an appeasement policy that would doom Ukraine and give Putin a huge victory over the West, while offering no tangible benefits. Their “win-win-win” policy is based on a fundamental lack of understanding of the Kremlin.

      Two highly credentialed scholars—Michael O’Hanlon and Jeremy Shapiro—from the prestigious Brookings Institution, no less, propose in the Washington Post a “win-win-win” diplomatic solution to Russia’s War On Ukraine. They offer a “compromise” that concedes Crimea to Russia, deprives Ukraine of its sovereign choice of economic and security arrangements, refuses to arm Ukraine, and weakens NATO in return for Russian “promises” of good behavior. O’Hanlon and Shapiro admit that “many Western voices will view any such effort as rewarding Russia and Putin,” but their approach is “designed not as a reward but to protect Ukraine’s security—and our own.” I agree their proposal rewards Putin, but I contend it weakens both our security and Ukraine’s.

      I suspect that this article reflects the thinking of segments of Washington’s foreign policy establishment and of Berlin’s Putin Versteher community. Note that both authors specialize in international affairs with no apparent expertise on Russia or Vladimir Putin. Fortunately, this “appease Putin” proposal drew immediate fire from a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a former staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, whose views I describe as I go through the elements of the O’Hanlon-Shapiro plan.

      No arms for Ukraine

      O’Hanlon and Shapiro: “Even with weapon deliveries, Ukraine’s army is no match for Russia’s….The most likely outcome is escalation of the military crisis and a dramatic increase in death and destruction in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian propaganda would continue to vilify the West and sow the seeds of future crises elsewhere in Russia’s neighborhood.”

      Rebuttal: The nine-month war in southeast Ukraine has shown that Ukraine can defeat separatist forces even when they are amply armed by Russia. To prevent Ukraine’s retaking of the Donbass in August, Russia invaded southeastern Ukraine with regular troops. True, the Russian army would defeat Ukraine’s in a full-fledged invasion, but Russian losses would be politically and socially unacceptable and would likely spell the end of the Putin regime as we know it. So Russia’s aggression will remain limited to hybrid warfare in Putin’s Novorossiya bailiwick. An armed Ukraine means more Russian casualties and a weakened Putin. An unarmed and defenseless Ukraine means Putin can conduct his aggression at a very low cost. Also I would like to ask the authors: Why worry about Russian propaganda? It has been vilifying the United States, NATO, and Europe for more than a decade irrespective of what we do.

      Weakening and restructuring NATO

      O’Hanlon and Shapiro: “Before taking such actions, and before adding permanent NATO deployments to the Baltic states…NATO leaders should attempt to work with Moscow to create a new European security order acceptable to both sides…(namely) a new pan-European security structure…with an eye toward upholding the territorial integrity of European states writ large. This association should give Moscow some sense of equal partnership and could include NATO members and former Soviet states.” The authors add that NATO should limit itself to operations outside of Europe, for a total redefinition of NATO’s reason for being.

      Rebuttal: Putin has made it clear that NATO is responsible for bringing down the Soviet Union and is Russia’s number one enemy. Russia, in the Ukraine conflict, has shown the impotence of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—one of the key players in the proposed European “security structure.” Putin would, of course, interpret “equal partnership” as an open invitation for Russian peace keeping forces or “neutral” election observers wherever he wants them. The only “new security order” acceptable to Russia is the total emasculation of NATO or its dismemberment. It seems that O’Hanlon and Shapiro offer Putin the potential destruction of NATO as we know it. He would jump at that opportunity if given the chance.

      NATO membership for Ukraine

      O’Hanlon and Shapiro: “NATO, as currently constituted could continue, but there would be no further enlargement… Ukraine and the United States would agree that Ukraine would not be a candidate for NATO membership, now or in the future.”

      Rebuttal: The Ukrainian people, after suffering thousands of casualties from Russian aggression, are growing more receptive to NATO membership, if not now, then as an option for the future. To rule out NATO membership to please a hostile power violates the NATO “principle that each and every country has the right to decide [its foreign and security policy] for itself without interference from the outside.” Agreeing to exclude Ukraine sets the precedent that NATO would have to seek Russia’s permission for any new member. But no worry: O’Hanlon and Shapiro want to freeze NATO at its current membership.

      We are stuck with Putin so work with him before someone worse comes along

      O’Hanlon and Shapiro: “…the Russian leader enjoys 85 percent popularity at home, where many see his actions as reasonable retribution against a supposedly triumphalist NATO….At this point, Putin is a moderate on the Russian political spectrum.” The authors have concluded that Putin, like themselves, is a fellow Realpolitiker. Putin knows when to accept a good offer—and we are handing him a victory in a bright Christmas package.

      Rebuttal: As William Taylor, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, writes: “As sanctions bite ever more painfully in Russia, inflation rises, oil prices fall and the mothers of soldiers killed in Ukraine demonstrate, President Vladi­mir Putin’s support is falling among the Russian people. (Eighty five percent today, thirty percent tomorrow?) Now is not the time for appeasement.” I regret to say that O’Hanlon and Shapiro seem have bought the Russian propaganda line that Putin’s successor could be worse. I would ask them: How could anyone be worse than Putin, who, among other things, turned Russia into a kleptocratic state (See Karen Dawisha’s Putin’s Kleptocracy), annexed territory by force, attacked sovereign neighbors, closed down opposition media, jailed ordinary protesters, and does not hesitate to lie to foreign leaders? Kremlinology is a tough business for the most experienced scholars. I recommend that O’Hanlon and Shapiro not try to play the game of determining who is moderate and who is extreme.

      continue read - page 2
      Peace In Ukraine By Appeasing Putin? Refuting The Ill-Informed Proposal - Forbes

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      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • Agence France-Presse: The guns fall silent in eastern Ukraine
        Dec. 12, 2014, 4:30 p.m. | Ukraine abroad — by Agence France-Presse

        UKRAINIAN President Petro Poroshenko yesterday said a “real” ceasefire was in place in Ukraine after the first 24 hours in seven months without a military casualty, although he admitted the truce was fragile.

        “I have positive news. Today is the first 24 hours for seven months ... when we have a real ceasefire in Ukraine,” he said in Sydney. “You simply can’t imagine how important it is for me. This is the first night when I don’t have either a lost or wounded Ukrainian soldier.”

        The ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels was introduced on Tuesday in the hope of ending a conflict that has claimed at least 4300 lives and displaced close to one million people, according to UN figures.

        The silencing of the guns in eastern Ukraine came as Sweden cited “Russian rearmament” for bringing back the option of using reservists to boost its military force and Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said he was concerned by the extent of Russia’s military activity over the Baltic Sea.

        “We see how the world around us has changed in a negative way: partly the Russian rearmament, partly Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in Ukraine,” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told broadcaster SVT.

        The government decision reversed a 2010 vote by parliament that ended compulsory military service and suspended the possibility of calling up former conscripts and volunteers for compulsory retraining.

        Now the Swedish armed forces can oblige 7500 Swedes — who received military training between 2004 and 2011 — to participate in training exercises from the end of next year.

        “With this decision, the armed forces can carry out exercises with fully manned military units, which will mean an increase in operational capacity,” he said.

        The decision does not require a new parliamentary vote and will apply for 10 years.

        Sweden, with a long tradition of neutrality and outside NATO, has had an intense security debate after a decade of military cutbacks and an uptick in Russian air force activity near its Baltic Sea airspace.

        Since the end of military service in 2010, the Swedish armed forces have struggled to attract recruits. When Russia staged a simulated bomber attack on Stockholm in early 2013, the air force failed to respond, prompting the chief of the armed forces to say Sweden lacked the ability to defend itself for more than a week.

        A week-long hunt for a suspected Russian submarine in October led to an increased commitment to the military from the Social Democrat-led government that took power in September.

        On Monday, Dutch F-16 fighters intercepted two Russian bombers over the Baltic as part of their participation in NATO’s Baltic air policing mission.

        All told, more than 30 Russian aircraft were intercepted in international airspace “over the Baltic Sea and off the coast of Norway” on Monday, a NATO spokesman said.

        “For a few days now, there has been unprecedented Russian activity, from its Baltic fleet to flights over the Baltic Sea,” Mr Siemoniak told Polish broadcaster TVN24. “We’re concerned by this. NATO is working on preparing some kind of response.” Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

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        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • 16:49 12.12.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
          OSCE has no evidence of heavy weaponry removal from east Ukraine

          The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) cannot confirm reports about the removal of heavy weaponry from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine and does not rule out possible escalation in light of Moscow's failure to comply with agreements.

          Over the past 48 hours there have been reports about removal of heavy vehicles but this cannot be confirmed by OSCE monitors, SMM deputy chief Alexander Hug told a press conference in Kyiv on Friday.

          The OSCE and drones confirm that the security zone, which was agreed upon in Minsk, is still unsafe, he said.

          The risk of escalation will remain high unless all parties stick to the rules, Hug said.

          At the same time he admitted that the shelling has abated somewhat in the past five days.

          Asked which monitoring systems are being used, Hug said that the OSCE has a contract with a firm which has supplied four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), one of which is flying in eastern Ukraine and supplies data for the Mission's daily reports.

          As regards the Cougar armored vehicles provided by the Ukrainian authorities, the SMM has received them but is not using them yet as they are undergoing technical formalities, Hug said.
          Over the past 48 hours there have been reports about removal of heavy vehicles but this cannot be confirmed by OSCE monitors, SMM deputy chief Alexander Hug told a press conference in Kyiv on Friday.

          The OSCE and drones confirm that the security zone, which was agreed upon in Minsk, is still unsafe, he said.

          The risk of escalation will remain high unless all parties stick to the rules, Hug said.

          At the same time he admitted that the shelling has abated somewhat in the past five days.

          Asked which monitoring systems are being used, Hug said that the OSCE has a contract with a firm which has supplied four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), one of which is flying in eastern Ukraine and supplies data for the Mission's daily reports.

          As regards the Cougar armored vehicles provided by the Ukrainian authorities, the SMM has received them but is not using them yet as they are undergoing technical formalities, Hug said.
          OSCE has no evidence of heavy weaponry removal from east Ukraine

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          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • Russian tanks again videoed in Ukraine
            12.12.2014 | 17:05 UNIAN

            Fresh video emerged on Friday showing Russian T-72 tanks on the move in eastern Ukraine, even as Ukraine said a shaky ceasefire in the east was starting to firm up.

            The video, posted on the YouTube account (Slava Ukrainye) and tweeted on Friday by @djp3tros of the Ukraine@war blog, shows a large column of tanks, APCs and army trucks, some towing artillery pieces, moving along a highway.

            The location of the video is not given, but the video appears to have been shot recently in southeastern Ukraine. It was posted on December 11, and the opening of the video itself bears that date. The vehicles are similar to others videoed earlier in militant-held territory in southeastern Ukraine, moving south.

            Some of the tanks have flags of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, while other vehicles have military unit markings. Several of the vehicles have “To Mariupol” daubed on their sides in Russian.

            Mariupol, a major port city in southeastern Ukraine, has been named several times by militant leaders as a top target as they aim to consolidate and widen their control over the southeastern portion of Ukraine.

            Other vehicles have “Oplot” written on them – the name of one of the militant groups that have seized control in parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

            The T-72 tanks seen in the video are of a type that is not used by the Ukrainian military. Russia denies sending tanks and troops to help the militants in the east of Ukraine wage their insurgency in Ukraine, but mounting video and photographic evidence indicates that Moscow has indeed been sending military hardware to the insurgents.

            Both NATO and the Ukrainian authorities have claimed Russia is continuing to send tanks, troops and military equipment into Ukraine, in violation of the Minsk peace agreements Russia signed on September 5. Russian tanks again videoed in Ukraine : UNIAN news

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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


            • US Congress approves bill offering defensive weapons and more for Ukraine
              Dec. 12, 2014, 6:26 p.m. | Kyiv Post+ — by Kyiv Post+, Oksana Grytsenko

              In a blitzkrieg vote on Dec. 11, both chambers of the U.S. ​Congress ​passed a landmark bill known as the Ukraine Freedom Support Act 2014 that offer​s Kyiv defense weapons worth $350 million and ​the ​status of a U.S. non-NATO ally.

              Now it’s up to the U.S. President Bara​ck Obama to enact this bill by signing​. In the next few days​, Obama will get it on his table. But if he fails to sign by the end of the year, the bill will have to go through a new cycle in the U.S. Congress.

              “Now we are rallying to ask Obama to sign the bill,” said C​onstantin Kostenko one of the leaders of ​the Pass2828 campaign that was launched by the Ukrainian diaspora.​ ​The campaign asked Americans to call their representatives and ask them to support the bill.​

              "​Throughout more than three decades of my professional work, I have occasionally seen strong advocacy efforts on behalf of various Ukraine-related legislation, but never have I seen such intense, concentrated advocacy by the Ukrainian-American community and other numerous friends of Ukraine as yesterday afternoon and evening to ensure House passage of S. 2828,” said Orest Deychakiwsky, ​s​enior ​p​olicy ​a​dvis​e​r​ of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

              The bill 2828 was introduced by ​U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez ​(Democrat-New Jersey) ​and its equivalent in House of Representatives, number 5859, -- by Rep. Jim Gerlach ​(Republican-Pennsylvania).

              There was one more bill in the House of Representatives previously number​ed​ 5782, but it was replaced by an identical bill, 5859, Kostenko said.

              These bills say that Ukraine will receive from the U.S. the newest anti-tank and anti-armor weapons, counter-artillery radars, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and some communications equipment. These weapons would reinforce the military ​capacity of Ukraine’s troops fighting Russian-backed separatists and Russian regular troops in the east of the country.

              “There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2015, $125,000,000 for fiscal year 2016, and $125,000,000 for fiscal year 2017 to carry out activities under this section,” says the bill 2828 regarding financing of the U.S. military assistance.

              The bills also pledges $50 million in cash for Ukraine for energy solutions, promises further sanctions against Russian defense and energy sectors, and expands Russian-language broadcasting in post-Soviet countries to counter Russian propaganda.

              During his visit to the U.S. in September, President Petro Poroshenko asked to supply Ukraine with arms and grant it the status of a special partner of NATO in the military sphere. But he didn’t get it at the time.

              The sudden success of pro-Ukrainian legislation at the U.S. Congress was hailed by many in Ukraine. “It’s hard to stop the flow of thoughts regarding victory in the USA… and thanks to thousands of people, who worked for the result,” Hanna Hopko, head of Committee on Foreign Affairs in Ukrainian parliament, wrote on her Facebook.

              But it’s a little too early to uncork the champagne.

              Steven Pifer, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and now director of the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, said there is still a debate in the U.S. government on whether America should arm Ukraine. “Thus far the policy remains on to provide only non-lethal military assistance,” he said.

              Adrian Karatnycky, ​s​enior ​f​ellow​ a​t the Atlantic Council, said ​that ​even when the bill becomes law, it w​ill ​be up to​ the ​ Obama ​a​dministration to decide when and how exactly the weapons could be sent to Ukraine.

              “This ​is anchored with President Poroshenko’s promise that such weapons would not be used to take back territory but purely the western assistance to be used for defense of currently held Ukrainian territory,” he added.

              Kostenko said that the bill would normally become law ​automatically ​in 10 days​,​ but because the current Congress is ​convening in ​its last few days, ​Obama ​actually has to sign it. If he does not do it, imposing a so-called pocket veto, the entire project would have to be re​-​launched in the new Congress from scratch.

              So now friends of Ukraine and the country's diaspora have a new challenge to encourage people to pressure Obama to sign the bill by calling to White House or using other means of lobbying.

              “This is a chance for if not stop the war but to deter the war from continuing. This is much more important than fundraisers that raised a couple of thousand dollars, this is much more important than rallies, waving the flags, this is very serious,” Kostenko said.
              US Congress approves bill offering defensive weapons and more for Ukraine
              Last edited by Hannia; 12th December 2014, 18:38.

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              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


              • Anders Aslund: A new reformist offensive in Ukraine
                Dec. 11, 2014, 12:50 a.m. | Op-ed — by Anders Aslund KYIV POST

                Ukraine is on the brink of a financial meltdown, but its newly formed government appears to be prepared to do what it takes to turn the situation around. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s speech to parliament on Dec. 9 laid out one the boldest and most impressive reform agendas that Ukraine has seen in its recent history.

                The events leading up to the speech are important to understand first. On Oct. 26, Ukraine held parliamentary elections. Five democratic and pro-Western parties formed a coalition with two-thirds majority. They produced a 66-page coalition agreement, which was a laundry list of good proposals without a clear policy declaration.

                On Dec. 2, a new government was appointed under Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. In stark contrast to previous Ukrainian governments, the new government consists of young professionals, the cream of Kyiv’s financial professionals, with an average age of 43. Only five of the 20 ministers have been ministers before and have been members of Yatsenyuk’s previous government since February. Apart from the prime minister, they are the ministers of interior, defense, foreign affairs and education.

                Most remarkably, the government contains three foreign nationals, who were awarded Ukrainian citizenship the same day they became ministers. Natalia Jaresko, a U.S. citizen, became finance minister, Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius economy minister, and Aleksandre Kvitashvili of Georgia minister of health care.

                All but two of the 20 ministers speak English, while only two ministers spoke English in President Viktor Yanukovych’s last government. The ability to speak English is an important indicator of education and modernity.

                In his speech on Dec. 9, Yatsenyuk offered nearly everything a reformer could have asked for, and he backed it up with a strong narrative to appeal to Ukrainians. He presented Europe as the anchor, aim, and means of Ukraine’s reforms: “Our basic course is a European course…. Our final aim is Ukraine’s membership of the European Union. But to achieve that goal it is necessary to go through a serious test, to carry out radical changes and to make Ukraine European.” He justified his radical course with the external threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and the “internal aggression” that corruption has created. To meet the security threat in 2015, Ukraine will raise its military expenditures to five percent of gross domestic product.

                Yatsenyuk’s key slogans were “decentralization, deregulation, and de-bureaucratization.”

                The old Soviet technical standards are to be abandoned for European standards in line with the Association Agreement with the European Union. The state administration has been cut by 10 percent this year, and another 10 percent will be cut next year. Anticorruption policy is a major emphasis. Finally, Ukraine is to adopt a public register of all property and all enterprises with their beneficiary owners named. The entire law enforcement system will be reformed, and all judges examined. All changes are supposed to take place in the course of two years, 2015–16. How much is to be done each year is mostly not specified.

                On economic policy, three points stand out as a litmus test of Ukraine’s intentions. First, public expenditures are to be cut by 10 percent of GDP. Second, “we will raise all energy prices and tariffs to the market level at the same time as we offer benefits and subsidies to those who should receive them, that is, all poor people in Ukraine.” The main source of corruption, through buying and selling of energy at regulated prices, would finally be eliminated. Third, Yatsenyuk has promised to adopt a law on the agricultural land market.

                The speech contains dozens of other reform proposals. The number of enterprises that cannot be privatized will be reduced from 1,500 to 300. The others will be sold off as the market allows. All state corporations will be subject to international audit. The labor market will be liberalized. All medicines that are certified in Western countries will be allowed in Ukraine without the current cumbersome certifications. Ukraine intends to introduce comprehensive health care insurance. Education financing will be based on achievements. Wherever possible, EU standards or assistance are being called for.

                The Ukrainian government is rushing to avoid the precipice, but time is running out. The nation’s international reserves are likely to fall to merely $7 billion at the end of 2014, corresponding to about one month of imports. The government needs to cut public expenditures fast, offering the nation an austerity budget as a Christmas gift. The International Monetary Fund mission is visiting Ukraine for the next week, and it might stay longer. The IMF warns that to avoid default Ukraine needs $15 billion in the next year on top of the IMF funding.

                Yet, Ukraine can still escape a financial meltdown. The government took a giant step forward through Yatsenyuk’s speech. Now it needs to turn its pronouncements into actions to impress potential Western donors so that Ukraine can raise the extra $15 billion that it needs for next year.
                Anders Aslund: A new reformist offensive in Ukraine

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                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                • Russia and Ukraine - Putin’s people
                  The president remains popular for his Ukrainian adventure, but that could change faster than many
                  Dec 13th 2014 | MOSCOW | ECONOMIST

                  A GOVERNMENT television channel dubbed Vladimir Putin’s latest state of the nation address “A Message from Above”. Dmitry Kiselev, Mr Putin’s chief propagandist, even likened it to speeches by Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle.

                  Mr Putin’s sermon had both messianic and defensive overtones. He called Crimea a sacred place, rather like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Rus…this allows us to say that Crimea and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacred importance for Russia. And this is how we will think of it—from now and forever.” Andrei Kuraev, a Russian Orthodox deacon, noted in his blog that, although Mr Putin’s statement had little basis in religion, it resembled Mussolini’s 1930s assertion that “Ethiopia, from now and forever, belongs to Italy which has become what it was during the time of Julius Caesar.”

                  In fact, remarkably few Russians are even aware of Vladimir’s baptism in Crimea. For them the peninsula is linked to hedonism rather than spirituality. It was a place for holidays, summer romances, state sanatoriums and dachas. It is also at the heart of Russia’s post-imperial nostalgia, and it was to this that Mr Putin was appealing. Soviet ideology proclaimed a Utopian future; modern Russian ideology focuses on the past. But the key ingredient of confrontation with America remains the same. In his speech Mr Putin cast it as part of an existential struggle for Russia’s survival as a sovereign state, likening the West to Hitler who “set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals”.

                  Western sanctions, Mr Putin insisted, were a result not of his meddling in Ukraine, but of America’s desire to weaken Russia: “If none of that [ie, Ukraine] had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities.” He blamed the West for supporting Chechen insurgents who launched an attack on Grozny on the eve of his speech. Russia, in this narrative, is not an aggressor but a victim and defender of its interests and values against America, which staged a coup in Ukraine in hopes of placing missile defences there. Had Russia not moved into Crimea, it would have become a military base for America.

                  The main reason why people believe propaganda is because it resonates with their own feelings. As Mikhail Yampolsky, a cultural historian, argues, the dominant feeling, exploited and fuelled by the Kremlin, is of resentment: a sense of jealousy and hostility. People who are deprived of any say in their own fate turn their resentment on an imagined enemy, be it Ukrainian “fascists” or American imperialists.

                  Yet, just as with Soviet propaganda, which blamed outside enemies for the country’s failures, resentment is vulnerable to reality. When television pictures contradict people’s personal experience, they stop working. “You can’t really ‘sell’ anything to people, that they don’t wish to buy,” says one television boss. As the ratings show, Russians are tiring of news about Western aggression. “People now want to watch melodramas and fairy tales,” says the TV boss.

                  What most Russians really need is news about the unfolding economic crisis that Mr Putin’s message from above largely ignored. The continuing fall in the rouble, eroding living standards and a sharp rise in food prices are worrying people far more than the fate of separatists in Ukraine. Now that sanctions are starting to bite, enthusiasm for war and isolation is diminishing fast. “Cognitive consonance between propaganda and people’s self-feel does not withstand external shocks,” says Mikhail Dmitriev, head of New Economic Growth, a think-tank.

                  Over the past nine months opinion polls find that support for the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine have fallen from 74% to 23%. Many who dismissed Western sanctions as irrelevant now fret over Russia’s isolation. “The sanctions are working,” says Lev Gudkov, head of the Levada Centre, an independent pollster. The consumers who have emerged in Russia’s big cities in the past decade are “not prepared to tighten their belts,” he adds. This does not mean that such people are prepared to sacrifice their consumption for civic freedoms, either.

                  Despite growing anxiety about living standards, Mr Putin’s popularity rating remains at record levels. Yet, as the street protests in 2011 showed, this could change quickly. Polls show that the overall view of the state as corrupt and uninterested in the people remains as strong as ever. Mr Putin is aware of the dangers. To sustain his position, he needs the West to start lifting sanctions so as to induce more economic growth in Russia, but he also has to keep up the appearance of an enemy both within and outside. To achieve this Mr Putin might yet surrender the east of Ukraine while keeping Crimea. Novorossiya, an historic term that Mr Putin invoked to justify Russia’s intervention in south-east Ukraine, was notably absent from his state of the nation speech. He is also hoping that he can entice businesses to invest more in Russia without any political liberalisation.

                  Less than a week after his speech, in which Mr Putin proclaimed “freedom” as a necessary condition for the country’s growth, Russian civil institutions came under renewed pressure. The Moscow School of Civic Education, one of Russia’s oldest NGOs, which campaigns for the rule of law, was added to the list of foreign agents. Memorial, a noted human-rights group, is under threat. And Andrei Sakharov’s centre is being harassed. Yet while this will further undermine civil society, it is unlikely to compensate most Russians for their declining incomes.

                  So far, it seems, Mr Putin’s preferred method of dealing with Russia’s crisis is to talk the country out of it. His message from above was meant to persuade the people and the elite that nothing terrible is happening and that Russia can weather both the West’s sanctions and falling oil prices. Yet Mr Putin looked tired and anxious, betraying a lack of confidence. It was a sharp contrast with his question and answer session of four year ago, when a young Russian from Tyumen, an oil town in Siberia, asked him: “Is it true you are blessed with luck?” “Yes,” Mr Putin answered confidently at the time.
                  Russia and Ukraine: Putin’s people | The Economist

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                  • Donetsk Snapshot: The Frightening Rise Of Denunciations
                    Ilya Trebor December 13, 2014 RADIO FREE EUROPE

                    DONETSK, Ukraine -- The website of the pro-Kyiv authorities in the eastern city of Donetsk features the photographs of dozens of local residents that have disappeared and are believed to be in the custody of the pro-Russian separatists that control parts of southeastern Ukraine around both Donetsk and Luhansk.

                    There are many ways to end up in a separatist jail -- being caught outside after curfew, failure to produce acceptable documents, or simply arousing the suspicion of one of the many masked men patrolling the streets with automatic weapons.

                    And, increasingly, one can end up there as a result of the old Soviet-style method of denunciation. More and more cases of people detained "under the testimony of neighbors" are being uncovered.

                    In October, a document appeared on social media that purported to be a denunciation form from the separatist authorities of Donetsk that people could use to report about "a citizen who is not worthy of occupying the honored position of a citizen of the DNR [Donetsk Peoples Republic] and needs to be isolated" and who "carried out illegal activities not in correspondence with the general policies of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and the interests of our country."

                    The photographed document accused a local whose name was obscured of insulting two DNR functionaries, calling for the "physical destruction" of the DNR leadership, and "offending those who support the idea of the DNR."

                    At around the same time, another denunciation raised eyebrows in Luhansk. In this instance, it came from the separatist, self-proclaimed "culture minister," Irina Filatova.

                    "I ask you to take measures to detain and punish according to martial law Yelena Vladimirovna Krasnovskaya…," Filatova says in a letter. She goes on to claim that Krasnovsksaya "performed rituals" at a city cemetery that were intended to "weaken the statehood of the Luhansk People's Republic [LNR] and bring harm to the health of its citizens."

                    "According to the testimony of neighbors, she supports the Kyiv junta and is set against the LNR and Donbas," the denunciation continues. "I request that you investigate the incendiary activity of Ye. V. Krasnovoskaya and determine a just means of punishment, including execution by shooting according to the regime of martial law."

                    Last month, a businesswoman from Donetsk named Svitlana Matushko told RFE/RL that she spent one week in captivity in Donetsk after a man she had been dating denounced her for allegedly reporting on separatist militia positions to the Ukrainian military.

                    Ukraine's Interior Ministry recently released a statement from a Donetsk resident identified only as Dmytro, who told of a 27-year-old neighbor who got into a dispute with another neighbor over some money that she borrowed.

                    The conflict led to a loud argument in front of the building one day in July, Dmytro claims, in which the woman's father sided with the neighbor and asked his daughter to repay the debt.

                    "On the next day, two cars without license plates pulled up to our building," Dmytro's

                    Dmytro adds in his statement that he supports the DNR, although the incident in his building disturbed him.

                    Such occurrences appear to have eerie echoes of the Stalinist era of terror in the former Soviet Union, where pre-emptive accusations were commonplace.

                    Wendy Goldman, a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University and author of "Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin's Russia," argues that the tactic played a major role in intensifying and spreading fear and repression under Stalin.

                    In a 2011 interview about her book, Goldman argued that "ordinary Soviet citizens participated widely and actively in the Terror."

                    "These behaviors were motivated by genuine belief in alleged enemies, by fear of exposure or attack, and in many cases by both," Goldman said. "Faith in and fear of the state operated at the same time and often were intertwined in the responses of the same person. Many of the strategies that people used to protect themselves increased the risk to others and help spread the terror."

                    Donetsk Snapshot: The Frightening Rise Of Denunciations

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                    • Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (full text)
                      December 13, 2014 by chervonaruta VOICES OF UKRAINE


                      Yesterday was an extremely significant day for Ukraine in the US Congress. Below you will find the final version of S. 2828 – the Sens. Menendez and Corker bill (with Helsinki Commission Chair Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Ed Markey as the original cosponsors). It differs a bit from the introduced version because compromises had to be made in order to ensure Senate passage yesterday early afternoon. That’s just the nature of the legislative process. It’s still an extremely important bill. Also, late last night, S. 2828 passed the House as H.R. 5859, a Reps. Gerlach and Kaptur bill. The House bill is exactly the same as S. 2828 as passed yesterday afternoon, so don’t worry about why bill numbers are different etc. – these are technical/procedural matters; not substantive. One final note –throughout more than three decades of my professional work, I have occasionally seen strong advocacy efforts on behalf of various Ukraine-related legislation, but never have I seen such intense, concentrated advocacy by the Ukrainian-American community and other numerous friends of Ukraine as yesterday afternoon and evening to ensure House passage of S. 2828. Kudos! Now the bill goes to the President. (And also keep in mind that with yesterday’s passage of the overall spending bill, Ukraine receives significant funding for various programs to help counter Russian aggression and to strengthen its economy and democracy.)
                      –Orest Deychakiwsky, CSCE [Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe]

                      full read:Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (full text) | Voices of Ukraine

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                      • Russia vows retaliation for any new U.S. sanctions
                        ‘We will not be able to leave that without an answer’
                        By Kellan Howell - The Washington Times - December 13, 2014

                        Russia will fight back against any new U.S. sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Saturday.

                        Congress is set to levy new sanctions on Russian weapons companies and investors in high-tech oil projects, but President Obama has yet to sign a corresponding bill into law, Reuters reported Saturday.

                        We will not be able to leave that without an answer,” Mr. Ryabkov said, Reuters reported. He did not make clear what actions Russia would take against new sanctions.

                        Tensions are high between the U.S. and Russia after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and the country’s support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

                        Russia continues to deny that it has armed rebels in Ukraine, but the U.S. together with the European Union imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russian individuals and large companies.

                        The Kremlin retaliated to some of the earlier sanctions by restricting food imports from western countries, but the sanctions have taken a toll on the country’s economy while the ruble tumbled to a record low this week. Russia's Sergei Ryabkov vows retaliation for any new U.S. sanctions - Washington Times

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                        • Former commander urges Nato to send arms to Ukraine
                          James Stavridis, ex-Nato supreme allied commander in Europe, says non-lethal aid insufficient in fight against separatists
                          Julian Borger, diplomatic editor 12 December 2014 THE GUARDIAN

                          A former commander of Nato in Europe has called for the alliance to send arms and military advisers to Ukraine to help it fight Moscow-backed separatists.

                          James Stavridis said during a visit to London: “I think we should provide significant military assistance to the Ukrainian military. I don’t think we should limit ourselves to, non-lethal aid. I think we should provide ammunition, fuel, logistics. I think cyber-assistance would be very significant and helpful, as well as advice and potentially advisers.

                          “I don’t think there needs to be huge numbers of Nato troops on the ground. The Ukrainian military can resist what’s happening, but they need some assistance in order to do that.”

                          Ukraine announced on Friday that it would conscript 40,000 more soldiers next year and double its military budget, in an attempt to counter the separatist threat in the east.

                          The US and European states have offered only non-lethal assistance, despite Kiev’s appeals for weapons to help it reassert control over areas in eastern Ukraine currently under the sway of pro-Russia separatists. However, on Thursday the US Senate passed a bill authorising Barack Obama to provide military training and arms including anti-tank and anti-armour weapons.

                          Bob Corker, the senior Republican member of the Senate foreign relations committee, said: “The hesitant US response to Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine threatens to escalate this conflict even further. Unanimous support for our bill demonstrates a firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and to making sure [Vladimir] Putin pays for his assault on freedom and security in Europe.”

                          This month Nato established trust funds to help finance assistance to Ukraine in reforming its armed forces, but that too was limited to non-lethal help.

                          Stavridis, a retired US Navy admiral who was Nato supreme allied commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013, and is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the US, also expressed concern about Putin’s recent rhetoric emphasising Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

                          In August Putin told a group of young supporters that Russia was one of the world’s leading nuclear powers, adding: “Russia’s partners … should understand it’s best not to mess with us.”

                          Stavridis said: “I’m hard-pressed to recall any nation that possesses nuclear weapons, rattling those nuclear weapons. Even during the cold war I don’t recall Nikita Kruschev rattling nuclear weapons, even at the height of the 62 [Cuban missile] crisis, because words have power.”

                          In his newly published memoir, The Accidental Admiral, Stavridis writes that Putin’s annexation of Crimea “brings back every bitter taste of the cold war like a bad vodka hangover”. On Friday he said: “The fact that President Putin chooses to rattle his nuclear sword should not cause us to draw back from assisting the Ukraine.”

                          However, Stavridis said the west should seek some form of “modus vivendi” with Russia emphasising areas of common interest, such as the Arctic, Afghanistan, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy as well as imposing limits on Iran’s nuclear programme, rather than stumbling backwards into another cold war. Former commander urges Nato to send arms to Ukraine | World news | The Guardian

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                          • Don't Shout, Don't Push, Eat Blini: Russian Orthodox Church's Manual For Migrants
                            Tom Balmforth December 11, 2014 RADIO FREE EUROPE

                            MOSCOW -- Don't speak too loudly in public. Don't wave your arms and hands on public transportation. And don't push.

                            These are just a few of the helpful hints the Russian Orthodox Church is offering foreign migrant workers, according to media reports.

                            The recommendations are included in a textbook the church published to help migrants -- most of whom hail from former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the South Caucasus -- pass Russian language, history, and civics. The exams are required under legislation that goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

                            Titled "Russian Language, History and the Foundations of Russian Law," the textbook contains material instructing migrants on "how to behave in public and how to resolve conflicts with the native population," the pro-Kremlin daily "Izvestia" reports.

                            On public transportation, "the most important rules are: Don’t talk loudly, don't wave your hands, and don't push," "Izvestia" writes, describing the textbook.

                            And in the event of a conflict, do not "threaten or use force." Instead, "resolve conflicts peacefully through the use of dialogue, or else people will come to see you as an enemy with whom it is necessary not to speak, but to fight."

                            And keep the music down! "Loud music and noisy groups are bad because they stop other people working and relaxing," the textbook advises, according to "Izvestia."

                            The book also warns migrants to be chivalrous toward women: "In Russia, there are many unhappy families and single women because many men die early or perish in wars and conflicts. But Russian women regard themselves highly and require respect. If someone offends them, then their male relatives and the state will defend them."

                            The textbook was edited by Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, who made headlines this week when he argued that an art installation of the "Eye of Sauron" advertising the upcoming film "The Hobbit" was a "demonic symbol."

                            Chaplin told "Izvestia" the textbook was necessary because it is "important that foreigners understand Russians."

                            In addition to all the advice on etiquette, the textbook also offers a culinary crash course in which it recommends migrants sample pancakes with "meat, farmer's cheese, jam, caviar, and salted fish" during their stay. It itemizes the ingredients that go into Russian dishes like "okroshka" and "shchi" soups. It lists borshcht, kvas, a fermented beverage, and “kasha” porridge as national dishes.

                            The first 1,700 copies of the textbook have already been distributed to civic organizations working with migrants and to centers that are preparing them to pass the language, history, and civics exam.

                            Migrants who pass the exam will be given a certificate necessary to obtain a work permit.

                            The Orthodox Church's attempts to teach etiquette to migrants is reminiscent of the "Muscovite Guide," a pamphlet Moscow city authorities issued in 2010 informing foreigners how to behave in the Russian capital.

                            Russia's Federal Migration Service estimates that approximately 12.4 million migrant laborers entered the country in 2013.Don't Shout, Don't Push, Eat Blini: Russian Orthodox Church's Manual For Migrants

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                            • December 14, 2014 RADIO FREE EUROPE Luke Johnson
                              Ukraine Aid Bill Heads To Obama

                              WASHINGTON -- A bill authorizing lethal aid for Ukraine and new sanctions against Russia unanimously passed the U.S. Senate late on December 13, sending it to U.S. President Barack Obama to sign or veto the measure.

                              The White House had no immediate comment on the legislation.

                              The swift and unanimous passage of the bill could set up a battle between Congress and the president. While the president can waive most of the provisions, the bill is a more robust answer to Russia's aggression in Ukraine than the administration has undertaken thus far.

                              While the White House has declined to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, the bill authorizes -- but does not technically require -- $350 million of defense articles for Ukraine's military, including antitank and antiarmor weapons, ammunition and surveillance drones. According to the administration, the U.S. government has committed over $118 million in equipment and training for Ukraine's security forces.

                              More than 4,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since March, and the conflict has persisted despite a September 5 cease-fire.

                              The bill also authorizes sanctions against Russia's defense and energy industries, including the arms exporter Rosoboronexport. The president may waive them for national security reasons.

                              It also allows Obama to sanction Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, if he determines that it is withholding gas from a NATO state or Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

                              Identical texts of the bill passed the U.S. Senate and House on December 11, but because of a loan guarantee provision, the U.S. Senate had to vote on it again.

                              The legislation has been harshly criticized by Russian government officials. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the bill was another "manifestation of anti-Russian sentiments." He warned that Russia "will not be able to leave this without a response."

                              A provision granting major non-NATO ally status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine was removed from the bill.

                              The bill also authorizes $50 million for three years to address Ukraine's energy shortage. The bill grants an additional $10 million per year for Voice of America and RFE/RL to expand broadcasting in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to counter Russian "propaganda." $20 million per year for three years is allotted for Russian democracy and civil society organizations. Ukraine Aid Bill Heads To Obama

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                              • Pressuring Putin
                                Congress Sends Obama Measure Pushing for More Russia Sanctions
                                Dec 14, 2014 12:02 PM EST BLOOMBERG byIndira Lakshmanan

                                The president has not yet decided whether he will sign the legislation.

                                The U.S. Congress has sent President Barack Obama legislation setting out tougher sanctions to punish Russia for its intervention in Ukraine, while giving him leeway in applying most of the provisions.

                                The Senate gave final approval by unanimous consent late last night to the measure that authorizes -- but doesn’t require -- providing lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military as well as sweeping sanctions on Russia’s energy sector. Those steps go beyond what the White House and European Union have been willing to do so far.

                                White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Dec. 12 that the administration hadn’t finished reviewing the language and wasn’t ready to say whether Obama would sign it. He said the administration wants to ensure that the U.S. and its European allies are working together, that any sanctions are effective and that they minimize harm to U.S. and European companies.

                                “This is delicate work,” Earnest said.

                                The resolution was softened from its original text, which would have required sanctions on the Russian energy industry and made Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia “major non-NATO allies,” a designation that would facilitate arms transfers and greater military cooperation with the former Soviet republics.

                                Privately, one U.S. official said the amended text was much improved and provides tools the president can use at his discretion without tying his hands. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to be identified, called the new resolution more useful and less polemical than the initial version, and said it showed Congress listened to the administration’s concerns.
                                ‘Deeply Confrontational’

                                Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich last week condemned the legislation as anti-Russian and “deeply confrontational.” It will “destroy cooperation,” he said, adding that Russia “won’t succumb to blackmail, won’t compromise its national interests and won’t allow interference in its internal affairs.”

                                The measure, HR 5859, which won unanimous initial approval in both the Senate and House last week, would mandate U.S. sanctions against Rosoboronexport, the state agency that promotes Russia’s defense exports and arms trade. It also would require sanctions on OAO Gazprom, the world’s largest extractor of natural gas, if the state-controlled company withholds supplies to other European nations.
                                ‘Hesitant Response’

                                “The hesitant U.S. response to Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine threatens to escalate this conflict even further,” said Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and co-author of the measure in the Senate, along with Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

                                “Unanimous support for our bill demonstrates a firm commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty and to making sure Putin pays for his assault on freedom and security in Europe,” Corker said of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

                                The Obama administration and the business community opposed the bill’s original language on the grounds that the measures would have harmed U.S. and European energy companies. The White House was most concerned about undermining its united front with the European Union, arguing that to keep sanctions against Russia effective, the U.S. must move in tandem with its allies, whose trade with and economic leverage over Russia far outstrips the U.S.’s.
                                Obama’s Comments

                                “The notion that we can simply ratchet up sanctions further and further and further, and then ultimately, Putin changes his mind I think is a miscalculation,” Obama told chief executive officers on Dec. 11 at a meeting of his export council. “What will ultimately lead to Russia making a strategic decision is if they recognize that Europe is standing with us and will be in it for the long haul and we are, in fact, patient. And if they see that there aren’t any cracks in the coalition, then over time, you could see them saying that the costs to their economy outweigh whatever strategic benefits that they get.”

                                The required sanctions on the Russian defense export agency won’t affect the U.S. Defense Department, which last year ended a contract to purchase Russian helicopters for the Afghan military.

                                The most recent U.S. sanctions on Russia were imposed Sept. 12. The administration so far has resisted providing lethal assistance to Ukraine, arguing that doing so could escalate the conflict.

                                Aiding Ukraine

                                The measure would provide $510 million in assistance to the Ukrainian government, including $160 million for military aid. The rest would go to promoting energy efficiency, civil society and broadcasting to counter Russian propaganda.

                                The bill requires that any sanctions imposed remain in place until the president can certify that Russia has ceased trying to destabilize Ukraine. The original draft would have kept those provisions in place until Russia also abandoned interfering in Georgia and Moldova, conflicts that have dragged on for years.

                                A European diplomat involved in sanctions policy said the current mood in the EU is against imposing more sanctions unless Russia escalates its military interference in Ukraine. The EU wants to avoid any divisions with the U.S. but is unlikely to mirror the congressional measure’s provisions now, according to the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private consultations.
                                Congress Sends Obama Measure Pushing for More Russia Sanctions - Bloomberg Politics

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