Under arrest, Ukraine Rear Admiral Sergei Gaiduk leaves Ukraine

Naval headquarters in Sevastopol, after it was taken over by

Crimean militiamen. He was detained for using arms on civilians.




Between Russia and the West: Ukraine's Insurmountable Task (Rzeczpospolita, Poland)


"Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he needs to retain the loyalty of the Maidan protesters. On the other, he must maintain the unity of the country. It is an acrobatic mission. ... The West will in no way risk a military conflict with Russia. No one should count on that."


-- Stefan Meister of the European Council on Foreign Relations


By Jędrzej Bielecki


Transated By Halszka Czarnocka


March 20, 2014


Poland – Rzeczpospolita – Original Article (Polish)

Into the frying pan: Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has the odds stacked against him. With a weak military, deeply in debt, and a country of argumentative factions, he is essentially left to confront the Russian army alone.


FRANCE 24 NEWS VIDEO: Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy calls Russian Actions 'Armed Robbery', Mar. 20. 00:14:06RealVideo

It was supposed to be a suicide mission. After three weeks of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government, it's even worse. For the head of state, the most difficult decision was to cede Crimea to Russia with practically no resistance.


"Yatsenyuk learned from the experience of Georgia, where president Mikheil Saakashvili gave in to Russian provocations in 2008, which caused the West to see him as largely responsible for the loss of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” explains Olaf Osica, director of the Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich [Center for Eastern Studies].


However, Yatsenyuk's strategy also has risks. Residents of the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine consider the new government in Kiev to be weak, which is an incentive to rebellion.


Yatsenyuk is in control of the situation in Odessa, Lugansk and Dnepropetrovsk, but the situation in Donetsk remains very unstable,” admits Osica.


The prime minister is also unable to effectively control the border between Ukraine and Russia. The Kremlin is taking advantage of this by sending “tourists” who foment protests among the Russian-speaking population.


Especially critical of Yatsenyuk’s strategy are radical organizations created during the protests at Maidan Square [in Kiev's Independence Square].


Spilna Sprava (Common Cause) has issued a call for a general mobilization in defense of the country. Pravyi Sector (Right Sector), whose leader Dmytro Yarosh is deputy secretary of the National Security Council, has a similar view of the situation. This may bring not only open conflict with Russia, but could lead to a dissolution of the current government,” Kiev-Mohyla Academy expert Andreas Umland tells Rzeczpospolita.


[Editor's Note: Andreas Umland denies ever having made this statement to Rzeczpospolita. He writes in: "This entire sentence is plainly untrue. The journalist seems to have mixed up his interview with me with somebody else's. It is very discomforting to have such a strange statement published under my name."]


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Yatsenyuk bases his legitimacy on the support of the Maidan protesters, since he wasn't chosen in a free election. At Kiev’s central square, where protesters are still encamped, the mood is turning increasingly radical. Many people are irritated by the fact that the prime minister, despite the humiliating grab of Crimea, is making yet more conciliatory gestures toward the Russian-speaking minority and Moscow itself.


Ukraine will not become a NATO member


"He (Yatsenyuk) is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he needs to retain the loyalty of Maidan. On the other, he must maintain the unity of the country. It is an acrobatic mission," Stefan Meister of Berlin's European Council on Foreign Relations admits to Rzeczpospolita.


On Mar. 18, the prime minister announced far-reaching state decentralization, which is a move demanded by Moscow. He promised that Ukraine would not join NATO, and spoke against a prohibition of the Region's Party [of toppled Prime Minister Yanukovitch], which many people at Maidan were demanding. Yatsenyuk also announced that all people carrying firearms must be compelled to relinquish them.


The prime minister's strategy is made even riskier because he and his key collaborators are associated with the Batkivshchyna, the party founded by Yulia Tymoshenko, which is so often tied to disappointed hopes for change after the Orange Revolution.


“Ukrainians were never enthusiastic about Yatsenyuk. At the most, they think his technocratic team is essential to Ukraine in these difficult times. Their support, however, may quickly evaporate,” writes Britain’s Guardian.


To maintain control of the east and south of the country, Yatsenyuk agreed to an even more difficult compromise: he made oligarchs like Ihor Kolomyskyi of Dnepropetrovsk and Sergei Taruta of Donetsk heads of provincial authorities. This, however, puts in doubt the achievement of the Maidan protesters’ primary purpose: ending corruption. This mission was entrusted to famed investigative journalist Tetyana Chornovol, who in December was nearly beaten to death by thugs sent by former President Viktor Yanukovych. This fearless woman has so far been completely loyal to Yatsenyuk.



Likewise, relations with the West are not at all easy for the new prime minister. The Wall Street Journal revealed a few days ago that the Ukrainian chief executive had asked the United States for limited military assistance, and was refused.

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“The West will in no way risk a military conflict with Russia. No one should count on that,” says Stefan Meister.


That means, however, that Yatsenyuk will have to face any further aggression from Russia alone. He decided to mobilize 40,000 volunteers, half of which will form the new National Guard, with the rest strengthening the army.


IMF conditions


Valentin Badrak, director of the Center for Army and Disarmament Studies in Kiev, warns that the Ukrainian army has been neglected by the authorities for years, has obsolete equipment, is not always led by loyal officers, and has no chance whatsoever of mounting an effective resistance against the Russians.


Vitali Klitschko, leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform or UDAR ["udar" also means "a blow"] refused to participate in Yatsenyuk’s government. In this way he hopes to boost his chances in the presidential election, which is set for May 25. The presidential campaign, however, is another problem.


“It's not at all certain that an election will be held, since Russia will do everything possible to prevent it,” opines Osica.


Neither has Yulia Tymoshenko, whose relationship with Yatsenyuk has not always been good, revealed her political plans. It isn't unthinkable that she, too, might play at postponing the election, since that would increase her chances of victory.


Crimean militiamen nicknamed the 'Sevastopol Bay Musketeers' by the

locals, seized two Ukrainian warships for mother Russian, in Sevastopol,

Mar. 19.



For now, Yatsenyuk has pushed back the risk of his country’s bankruptcy. On Friday, the International Monetary Fund will have ended its mission to Kiev.


“The Fund is putting three conditions on its $15 billion loan: a gradual rise in energy prices to levels consistent with reality; a devaluation of the hryvnia and a reorganization of the banking sector. Yatsenyuk agreed to everything. I'm an optimist,” said Erik Bergloef, chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Fulfilling these conditions will, however, mean much higher utility fees for millions of Ukrainians, as well as higher prices for imported goods. In other words, a temporary lowering of living standards. Another reef against which Arseniy Yatsenyuk's team may crash.



Huanqiu, China: Crisis Over Ukraine Could Spell 'Disaster' for China

Asia Times, Hong Kong: Beijing to Kiev to Taipei: Why China Worries About Ukraine

Neatkariga Rita Avize, Latvia: Putin Clears Western Minds of Intelligence, Media 'Delusions'

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: Germans Must Now Back Sanctions - Even if they Hurt Us

Diena, Latvia: President Tells Lithuanians: Show Russia No Fear and be 'Ready to Shoot'

Izvestia, Russia: Crimea: 'We Will Never Give Up What We've Won'

de Volkskrant, The Netherlands: Recognize Russia's Legitimate Interests or Ukraine is Doomed

de Volkskrant, The Netherlands: Most Crimeans Don't want Ukraine Split

Gazeta, Russia: Annexing Crimea 'Too Costly for Russia to Bear'

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: Finding the Win-Win Scenario With Vladimir Putin

Sol, Portugal: Ukraine May Awaken 'Ghosts of the Great War'

de Morgan, Belgium: Putin Knows: No One in West is Willing to Die for Sebastopol

Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia: Crimea: the Next Puerto Rico?

Russia Today, Russia: VIDEOS: Roundup of Russian Reaction from Russia Today

European Press Agencies: European Reaction to Developments in Ukraine

Moskovskii Komsomolets, Russia: Report: U.S. to Help 'Oust' Black Sea Fleet from Crimea

Novosti, Russia: Looking Toward the West, Ukraine 'Lies' to the East

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia: Ossified Kremlin Misreads Biden Visit to Georgia, Ukraine

Rceczpospolita, Poland: Banish All 'Magical Thinking' Regarding the Russian Bear

Kommersant, Russia: The Kremlin Offers 'an Ultimatum' to America

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: 'Enormous Error' of Bush's 'Georgian Protege'
Cotidianul, Romania:
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Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: Before Georgia - It is Europe that Needs Mediation
Rue 89, France: East Europe Best Not Depend on 'Obsolete' NATO
Liberation, France: Russian President 'Dictates His Peace' to Hapless Europe
Le Figaro, France: Between America and Russia, the E.U. is On the Front Line
Le Figaro, France: War in the Caucasus: Georgia 'Doesn’t Stand a Chance'
Le Figaro, France: A Way Out of the Georgia Crisis for Russia and the West
Le Figaro, France: A Way Out of the Georgia Crisis for Russia and the West
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: Did Russia 'Win' the Georgia Crisis? Not By a Long Shot




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Posted By Worldmeets.US Mar. 20, 2014, 7:44pm