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Friday, October 21, 2016

Washington (AFP) – The United States is watching with deepening concern events unfolding in Ukraine, urging Moscow to stay out of the fray and telling ousted president Viktor Yanukovych he has lost all claim to power.

In a sign of the growing alarm in Washington at the fast-moving crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the fourth time in seven days early Friday to raise reports that Moscow might be moving men and materiel to intervene in the former Soviet satellite.

The call came after Ukrainian authorities said they had regained control of two airports in southern Crimea which they said were seized during an “armed invasion” by Russian forces.

The move prompted Ukraine’s new pro-EU leaders to appeal for protection, citing a 1994 pact between the U.S. and Russia that guarantees the country’s sovereignty in return for Kiev giving up its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal.

Kerry told reporters that Lavrov had again renewed a pledge, already made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Moscow did “not intend to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine.”

“We raised the issue of the airports, raised the issue of armored vehicles, raised the issue of personnel in various places,” the top U.S. diplomat said.

Despite Lavrov’s assurances “I nevertheless made it clear that that could be misinterpreted at this moment and that there are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation and not to send the wrong messages,” Kerry added.

Concerns about Russian intervention in Soviet-era neighboring states are not without precedent. Georgian officials who met Kerry this week renewed their anger at Russia’s “occupation” of two breakaway regions in their country.

The White House meanwhile also voiced its “deep concern” about the reported events in southern Crimea, as Washington tried to evaluate what was happening.

“We call on Russia to respect its international obligations made under the UN charter to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchynov later appealed to Putin to stop Russia’s “naked aggression” and withdraw from the flashpoint Crimea peninsula, where Moscow has for years maintained a military base.

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • FredAppell

    I don’t trust nor like Putin. He has made a conscience effort to disagree with NATO and the US at every turn…if they all say up, he’ll say down just to disagree. Putin has tried to keep Russia a major world power and I believe he is exactly the type of leader who would use the Ukraine crisis as a valid reason to invade them. The western half of Ukraine wants to be a part of the EU while the eastern half view themselves as Russian and desire strong ties with Russia. This is starting to resemble Hitler’s excuse to annex the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Hitler claimed that 800,000 ethnic Germans were being mistreated, as they were a minority in Czechoslovakia,
    he also claimed the Czech’s had no legitimate claim to the Sudetenland and he planned to annex the land and liberate it’s people from the Czechs. I sincerely hope that history isn’t repeating itself but I fear that the parallels
    are too close to ignore.

  • lemstoll

    Nothing to do with Hitler..

    It is about money and strategic resources for the military:

    “The top U.S. diplomat revealed earlier this week that Washington is preparing to offer Kiev a $1 billion loan guarantee, and an as yet undecided amount of direct aid.

    The EU is also mulling a similar loan guarantee. Ukraine owes $13 billion in state debt payments this year — a massive sum in a country where state reserves have shrunk to less than $18 billion.”