Archive for Ukraine
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has called for the immediate release of Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian helicopter pilot currently being held in a Russian detention facility on suspicion of having abetted the killings of two Russian journalists. Savchenko was captured by separatists in Luhansk in June. She is now being held in the southern Russian city of Voronezh. Ukrainian officials maintain that she was illegally trafficked across the border by Russian intelligence officers, while Russia maintains that she crossed the border voluntarily under the guise of a refugee. Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Wednesday that Savchenko was believed to have provided crucial information that led to the deaths of journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin of Russian public broadcaster VGTRK, who were killed by shelling in Luhansk on June 17. Citing court orders, Markin said that Savchenko would remain behind bars until the end of August as an investigation runs its course. The U.S. Embassy condemned Savchenko’s “kidnapping by separatists, her illegal transfer to Russian authorities and her prolonged detention,” U.S. Embassy Press Secretary Joseph Kruzich told Kommersant. The embassy’s condemnation echoed that of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s, which described Savchenko’s transfer to Russia as “illegal trafficking” in a statement.
In an incident that may be a first in diplomatic history, Kiev’s top diplomat publicly ‘effed’ the head of another state. Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchitsa chanted “Putin’s a f**ker” with a cheering crowd that earlier vandalized the Russian embassy. Deshchitsa arrived at the scene of the heated protest – which involved overturning cars belonging to embassy staff, the desecration of a Russian flag and pelting the building with firecrackers and paint – in an apparent attempt to defuse the crowd. He confronted some of the protesters – or rather sided with them. Footage of the encounter shows the minister saying he is all for the protest and its goals. “I would stand up here with you can say, Russia, get out of Ukraine,” he said. “Putin’s a f**ker, right!” This treasure of Kiev-style diplomatic language was met with a joyous cheer among the crowd, which erupted in a concerted chant. The profane phrase comes from a chant of Ukrainian radical football fans and is very popular among anti-Russian-minded Ukrainians at the moment. The minister looks a bit astounded by the overwhelmingly welcoming response and even sings a bit along with the protesters.
Four young men have been arrested in Moscow for intending to throw a pyrotechnical item at the embassy of Ukraine at 10 a.m. on Monday. The offenders were arrested by the police and taken to a department of the interior ministry for punishment according to the law. On June 14th the Russian embassy was attacked in Kiev.
Moscow has angrily condemned a violent protest outside its embassy in Kyiv, which saw windows smashed, cars overturned and the Russian flag being torn down. A crowd of around a 100 demonstrators gathered outside calling on Russia to go home. The protest followed the shooting down, earlier on Saturday, of a Ukrainian military aircraft, killing 40 paratroopers and nine crew. Russia has accused Ukraine’s police of doing nothing to stop the embassy attack. Representatives of the protesters were later allowed inside the embassy, along with some media, including euronews. During the meeting they called for Russia, among other things, to officially acknowledge its undeclared war in Ukraine. The US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki on Saturday condemned the attack on the Russian Embassy in Kiev.
Russia’s top diplomat acknowledged Wednesday for the first time an official relationship with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the same day one of their top leaders made a surprise appearance in Moscow to whip up support for his cause. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that, after Ukrainian leaders declined Moscow’s request in late May to allow Russian humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine, Russia started to send it in anyway – via pro-Russian separatist forces who earlier this month punched gaping holes into the border between eastern Ukraine and Russia. “We are trying to provide humanitarian aid to those who have not left the conflict zone yet,” Lavrov told Lamberto Zannier, the secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, at a meeting in Moscow. “We applied to the Ukrainian authorities with a request in late May for permission to deliver such aid. We were refused with an official note, so we are providing aid with the support of self-defense forces, who are worried about their fathers, mothers, wives, and children.” Lavrov did not give details, and a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Two diplomatic messages from the WikiLeaks Public Library on U.S. Diplomacy indicate that newly elected President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko was an agent for United States State Department. A confidential message from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev on April 29, 2006 mentions the newly elected Ukraine president twice. Mentions of Poroshenko made it clear that the State Department saw the future value of Poroshenko’s insider role. Poroshenko is a Ukrainian oligarch, one of the fifty or so wealthiest citizens who run the country. Amidst the chaos and ruin visited upon Ukraine, Poroshenko’s recent election may mean a full synchronization of U.S. – Ukraine policies regarding the eastern regions where citizens of Ukraine are subject to bombardment by land an air in their towns and cities.
Czech diplomacy has no information on alleged Czech mercenaries taken hostage by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Johana Grohová said in reaction to a Ukrainian separatist leader quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine press agency today. Pro-Russian separatist leader Myroslav Rudenko told the agency his units captured many foreign mercenaries, including a number of Polish and Czech citizens. “This is the first time I have heard something like this. I can neither confirm it nor comment on it,” Grohová told the Czech News Agency (ČTK). The Czech embassy in Kiev also said it had no information on captured Czech soldiers. “We will not comment on the statements by Mr Rudenko,” the embassy’s spokeswoman Zdeňka Caisová said.