Putin says Russia may invade Ukraine to protect locals

Moscow: Russia may invade south-east Ukraine to protect the local population, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Speaking live at his annual call-in show in a Moscow television studio, Mr Putin implied he reserved the right to move Russian troops into the neighbouring country on behalf of pro-Russian residents.

“We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate, and we will struggle for that,” he said. “I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia [the upper house of parliament] empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.” Continue reading

Washington and Moscow pulling strings to hold Ukraine combatants back from brink of civil war

The US and Russia, while trading the blame for pushing Ukraine to the brink of civil war, are nonetheless tugging at the leashes of the two players in the field, each jockeying for advantage in the quadrilateral meeting of senior US, Russian, European, Ukrainian and UN officials scheduled to take place in Geneva Thursday, April 17, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report.

Expectations of fruitful results from the meeting are low. But the fact that all the parties are talking offers Ukraine its last hope of escaping a bloody civil war. To this end, too, late-night phone calls are being exchanged among Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel. Continue reading

Ukraine pushes tanks and troops into separatist east

IZYUM (Ukraine) (AFP) – Ukraine pushed tanks toward a flashpoint eastern city on Tuesday to quash a separatist surge backed by Moscow — a high-risk operation that was sharply condemned by the Kremlin but won Washington’s support.

The 20 tanks and armoured personnel carriers were the most forceful response yet by the Western-backed government in Kiev to the pro-Kremlin militants’ occupation of state buildings in nearly 10 cities across Ukraine’s rust belt.

Ukrainian forces set up a cement road barrier and began checking traffic leading to Slavyansk while fighters and attack helicopters circled overhead. Continue reading

Russia Tests Multi-Warhead ICBM

Russia’s military carried out a flight test of a new multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile on Monday amid growing tensions with the United States over the crisis in Ukraine.

The SS-27 Mod 2 road-mobile ICBM was launched around 2:40 a.m. EST from Russia’s Plesetsk launch facility, located about 500 miles north of Moscow.

“The main purpose of the launch is to validate the reliability of a batch of this class of missiles made at the Votkinsk Plant,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run Interfax-AVN.

An unspecified number of simulated nuclear warheads landed at an impact range on the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, Yegorov said. The distance is around 3,500 miles.

The SS-27 Mod 2 is Russia’s newest ICBM and has been touted by Russian officials as designed specifically to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Continue reading

Beijing set to seal Russian natural gas deal amid Ukraine crisis

Beijing’s refusal to stand against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine could result in a lucrative natural gas deal with Russia next month, reports the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao.

Following more than a decade of false starts, sources say Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will make a final decision next month on the multibillion dollar deal that will see Russia supply pipeline gas to China for 30 years. The deal is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. Continue reading

Administration Urged to Lift Restrictions on Non-Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine

The Obama administration is withholding urgently needed non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine under restrictions that view body armor, night vision goggles, radios, and fuel as destabilizing “force multipliers,” according to a bipartisan assessment of Ukraine’s military needs.

“Independent of American high-level policy, implementation of U.S. non-lethal military aid is seriously flawed and needs immediate correction,” states a report by retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former arms control official Phillip A. Karber following a visit to military units in Ukraine. Continue reading

Ukraine unrest will be resolved by force or talks in 48 hours, minister says

Kiev (CNN) — Ukrainian acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Wednesday that the separatist protests in Ukraine’s eastern region would be resolved within 48 hours — either through negotiations or the use of force.

At the same time, Russia insisted that the presence of its troops just over the border was no reason to worry.

Using classified and commercial satellite imagery, the United States estimates there are up to 40,000 Russian troops on the border with eastern Ukraine. NATO has also warned of a major troop buildup. Continue reading

Russia prepares to attack the petrodollar

The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency.

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward. Continue reading

Obama is reversing Reagan’s Cold War victory, inviting new hot wars

President Obama is on the verge of an historic triumph.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the American Left has been bitter about America’s victory in the Cold War. For decades, they preached moral equivalence between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Without firing a shot, Reagan achieved the unthinkable — the U.S.S.R was swept into the dustbin of history. Moreover, the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower. Its military might was unrivaled. Its economic prosperity was unmatched. Its democratic system was the envy of the world. Continue reading

In echo of Crimea, eastern Ukraine declares independence

DONETSK, Ukraine – Pro-Russian activists barricaded inside a government building in eastern Ukraine proclaimed the region independent Monday and called for a referendum on seceding from Ukraine – an ominous echo of the events that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The Ukrainian government vowed to quell the unrest, while Russia, which has tens of thousands of troops stationed along their joint border, warned Ukraine of more “difficulties and crises” if its leaders failed to heed Moscow’s demands. Continue reading

Putin urges FSB to develop Arctic border

Speaking to the expanded collegium of FSB in Moscow on Monday, Vladimir Putin outlined the designated priorities for the future work. FSB is in charge of guarding Russia’s external borders, including the land-border to neighboring Norway and Finland in the northwest as well as coastline borders to the Arctic Ocean.

“As a priority, we must continue the development of border infrastructure in the Arctic region, as well as on the southern strategic direction,” Vladimir Putin told the audience of FSB officers. Continue reading

Gas prices in Europe to rise 50%, if it abandons Russia’s supplies – Energy Minister

Domestic prices in Europe will go up by at least 50 percent, if it cuts supplies from Russia, according to Russia’s Energy Minister Alexandre Novak.

“Moving away from pipeline transportation of natural gas, construction of terminals and deliveries of liquefied natural gas will lead to an increase in gas prices in Europe from the current $380 per 1,000 cubic metres to at least $550,” Novak said in an interview to the Russia 24 TV Channel.

“And the question arises: are the economies of European countries ready to supply and consume gas at such a price?” the Minister asked. Continue reading