It Figures – Obama’s Press Secretary Hangs Soviet Propaganda Posters On His Living Room Walls

White House Spokesman Jay Carney Hangs Communist Propaganda On His Living Room Walls – Universal Free Press

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Washingtonian MOM magazine’s spring issue has a profile of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, by ABC News contributor Claire Shipman, that features a picture taken inside their home. In the background of the photo, you can see two framed Soviet-era propaganda posters.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/soviet-propaganda-posters-jay-carney-2014-4#ixzz2yoIlFtkb

One of Carney’s posters is a version of this iconic design by artist Dmitry Moor with a soldier pointing his finger alongside text that says “Have YOU Enlisted?” in Russian.

The other poster features a female factory worker. According to this eBay seller, who is offering one for $1,660, the poster was printed on June 26, 1941, days after Russia began fighting the Axis powers in World War II. It encourages women take jobs vacated by men who have gone to fight. The woman in the poster is switching out a tag with a man’s name to one with hers and the text says: “Women! Learn production, replace workers who went to the front! The stronger the hinterland – the stronger the front!”

It’s interesting that a propagandist for the most radical, collectivist, left-wing President in history has radical, collectivist, left-wing propaganda from another period proudly displayed on his living room for all to see and “admire.” Can you imagine a prominent member of the Bush administration being caught with Goebbels approved Nazi recruitment posters on his living room wall and the howling firestorm of outrage and media circus that would have erupted immediately? Yet where is the outrage here? The double standard is glaring and at minimum such questionable home decorating tastes should raise a few eyebrows. And it’s not like these were displayed in an office or den somewhere surrounded by all types of historical memorabilia. That I could understand. But this, I’m not so sure about. Kind of creepy if you ask me.

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If you believe these are acceptable wall hangings in the living room of a well known member of the white house staff, how would feel if they were prominently displaying the following? Would that be ‘no big deal’ as well? What do you think, Comrade?

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Considering the fact that the Soviet Empire murdered millions upon millions of people, was routinely brutal and oppressive towards free expression, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war and serves as a black mark on the history of human civilization, it seems inappropriate to adorn one’s home with vestiges of totalitarian brutality.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*VIDEOS* AFP Freedom Summit: Featuring Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Laura Ingraham And Newt Gingrich


TED CRUZ

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STEVE KING

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LAURA INGRAHAM

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MIKE HUCKABEE

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RAND PAUL

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ARTHUR BROOKS

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MIKE LEE

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MARSHA BLACKBURN

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LOUIE GOHMERT

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NEWT GINGRICH

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ENTIRE EVENT

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Click HERE to visit the official Freedom Summit website sponsored by Citizens United and Americans For Prosperity.

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7 Blockbuster Obamacare Charts That The White House Doesn’t Want America To See (Kyle Becker)

7 Blockbuster Obamacare Charts That The White House Doesn’t Want America To See – Kyle Becker

Remember all those promises that were made to sell Obamacare? Like lowering premiums for a family of 4 by $2,500 a year, allowing people to keep their plans and their doctors, not adding a dime to the deficit, and all of that?

Well, let’s just see how much of a striking success “Obamacare” is based on the numbers so far. The Heritage Foundation created these charts based on the HHS’ own numbers, the CBO’s, and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s.

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If you’re a young person, you’re pretty much screwed. Not only will you be paying higher premiums to subsidize your elders, you will be paying more taxes over your lifetime to pay back the loans we’re accruing just to pay for this boondoggle. You’re welcome, right?

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So… Mr. Smooth was going to save a family of four $2,500 a year in premiums, as promised so many times it’s laughable. About that… a family of four is likely to get an increase in premiums, and in addition, basically anyone who wants to work and live the American Dream will be penalized with higher taxes.

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Speaking of taxes, check out these bad boys. Not just one, but 18 new taxes lumped into one giant bill that should be called “Obamatax.” Hey, it’s not a tax! Oh yeah, well, now it is.

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You would think from all the hysteria nowadays about Medicaid expansion to the states that this was the main purpose of Obamacare – to spread a huge soviet-style welfare program to as many homes as possible (and let those who are on it tell ya about the amazin’ service while they’re at it!) Anyway, let’s frame some of that left-wing hypocrisy by pointing out Obamacare’s massive cuts to another government program – Medicare.

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Now, show him the deductibles, Bob! Average deductibles on the “Catastrophic,” “Bronze,” and “Silver” plans are going through the roof. (No worries if you live in Colorado or Washington, just light up a joint and forget you read this.)

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Now here comes the biggie – cost. If you were one of the supporters of this law who thought it wouldn’t “add a dime” to the deficit, I want you to turn to your (theoretical) children and grandchildren and apologize. We’ll wait.

No, tell them the part how you’ll be sticking your kids with your generation’s bills, and how debt is the unpaid portion of the federal budget that gets passed on to someone else.

Still don’t feel guilty? How about realizing that all those taxes coming out of the private sector to pay for this disaster will limit your children’s future, as being evidenced in part by the half of college graduates who can’t find jobs in their fields? Oh, now you feel guilty.

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And lo and behold, this healthcare “reform” boondoggle passed through procedural gimmickry with no bipartisan support whatsoever loaded with nonsense and unread in full by most of the nation’s “representation” in Washington still has very little support – beyond those Democrats who would support anything the party told them to.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Amazing: Electrical Stimulator Allows Paralyzed Men To Move Again (Video)

‘The Wind On My Legs’: Stimulator Helps Paralyzed Men Move Again – NBC News

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Four men paralyzed after bad spinal cord injuries can all move their legs again, thanks to an electrical stimulator.

Astonished researchers say they’d hoped for some result, but nothing like what they got. They think the stimulator is retraining the mens’ nerves to work with the brain again, despite the terrible damage.

“This is wonderful news. Spinal cord injury need no longer be a lifelong sentence of paralysis,” said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, one of the National Institutes of Health. “It is just downright marvelous.”

Rob Summers, now 28, was the first patient implanted and his case made international headlines in 2011 when he was first able to stand using the stimulator. Summers now exercises for three hours a day and says his life has been transformed.

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“It has changed my life on a day-to-day basis,” said Summers, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a hit-and-run driver plowed into him as he stood in his own driveway. “It’s given me the ability to travel alone and come and go as I please.”

Summers says he does an hour of abdominal exercises daily, reversing the gradual wasting of muscles that normally comes with paralysis.

“I can now feel soft touch, hard touch. I can feel pinpricks,” Summers, who lives in Portland, Ore., told NBC News. “I can feel the wind on my legs.”

None of the four men can walk again, but researchers believe the stimulator is retraining the damaged nerves in their spinal columns to communicate once again with the brain. They’re not sure why – it may be some connection remained after their injuries or it is slightly possible the nerves are re-growing.

“We have uncovered a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can dramatically affect recovery of voluntary movement in individuals with complete paralysis even years after injury,” the researchers, led by Dr. Susan Harkema of the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Louisville, write in their report, published in the journal Brain on Tuesday.

Because all four men tested have regained movement, including two who were completely paralyzed, it’s likely that many people who believed they were permanently paralyzed may be able to move again, says Reggie Edgerton, distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who developed the approach.

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“It tells us that the information from the brain is getting to the right place in the spinal cord, so that the person can control, with fairly impressive accuracy, the nature of the movement,” said Edgerton. “We don’t have to necessarily rely on regrowth of nerves in order to regain function. The fact that we’ve observed this in all four patients suggests that this is actually a common phenomenon in those with complete paralysis.”

The stimulator was originally developed by Medtronic to treat chronic pain. It’s a pacemaker-sized device implanted under the skin of the abdomen, connecting to electrodes placed near the spinal cord. When turned on, it delivers a low pulse of electricity.

For patients with chronic pain, the electricity interrupts the pain signal before it can reach the brain. The researchers adapted it to try on patients with paralysis.

“The next generation will be more precisely controlled and noninvasive,” says NIBIB’s Pettigrew, whose institute helped pay for the research, along with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Pettigrew says the results are no flash breakthough. They are based on decades of work. He says researchers are already working with a fresh batch of volunteers and will report new findings soon.

“It is why we come to work every day,” Pettigrew said.

The next step is to try and make the approach work without having to implant electrodes, Pettigrew said. The hope would be for an external device, with electrodes simply stuck onto the skin to stimulate the nerves.

“The implications of this study for the entire field are quite profound and we can now envision a day where epidural stimulation might be part of a cocktail of therapies used to treat paralysis,” said Susan Howley, executive vice president for research at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

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The accident cost Summers a promising possible career in baseball. He’d been a top pitcher for Oregon State University and he was struck a month after his team won the college world series.

But he’s happy now that going out to dinner is no longer an ordeal that required hours of preparation. He’s strong enough now to hop into his wheelchair and just go.

“Not only has this benefited me with the confidence to go out and do what I want to do… I can continue to live my life as I choose and not be restricted or limited,” Summers said. His doctors say he has regained continence, sexual function and even the lost ability to sweat.

“I truly believe this is the greatest thing out there,” Summers said.

Summers says he can feel the device working. “The best way to describe it is like a strong tingling sensation,” he says, almost like a limb feels after it’s “fallen asleep.” “It almost feels like pins and needles.”

The three other men whose cases are described in the report are all in their 20s and 30s now and, like Summers, had been paralyzed for years before trying the device.

Kent Stephenson of Mount Pleasant, Texas, was 21 when he was paralyzed in a motocross accident in 2009. He cannot move his leg without the stimulator, but with it on can pull his leg up to his chest, straighten it, and slowly lower it again.

Andrew Meas of Louisville was injured when his motorcycle and a car collided in 2007, while Dustin Shillcox of Green River, Wyo. was 26 when a company van he was driving blew out a tire and wrecked. Stephenson and Meas both have resumed outdoor activities such as snow machining and fishing.

Each has a little different level of function with the device. “I have mentored all the other guys using it,” Summers says. “We have been like a brotherhood bonding on this.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Anti-Obama Picture O’ The Day


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America’s Next Space Shuttle – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s ‘Dream Chaser’ (Pictures / Video)

Meet Dream Chaser, America’s Next Space Shuttle – Giant Freakin Robot

As you probably know, President Obama announced his decision to end NASA’s space shuttle program Constellation back in 2010. Since then, the US has been paying to transport astronauts to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz capsules. NASA designed the four-person Space Launch System, a heavy launch vehicle, to replace the retired shuttles. So I’ve just been waiting patiently for that to come to fruition, somehow unaware of the Dream Chaser spacecraft, a commercial spaceflight transport system that will be able to take a crew of seven astronauts to the ISS, despite being about 1/3rd the size of a conventional shuttle.

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The Dream Chaser will ride aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, which will propel the craft into low Earth orbit, potentially ferrying astronauts to the ISS. Service – or some kind of crewed mission – is expected to begin in 2017, with the first orbital crewless flight in late 2016. Dream Chaser’s first unmanned flight occurred in 2013, when it flew successfully but crashed due to a malfunction in its landing gear. Actually, the vehicle flipped over at the very end, coming to rest in an upright position, after which the malfunctioning left landing gear deployed. I like a spacecraft with a sense of humor. Despite the rocky ending, the flight was regarded as an overall success.

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Dream Chaser was built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation, and it’s one of three potential commercial transport systems that are part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Development process. NASA is expected to choose one or two of the these systems to take astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX’s Dragon is one, and Boeing’s CST-100 is the other, and so far all three have met target milestones. The teams are vying for the privilege of becoming NASA’s main mode of near-Earth orbit transit, kicking off the era of private commercial spaceflight for both crews and cargo.

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That shift will also usher in another change, with the privatization of spaceflight beyond near-Earth orbit, to places such as Mars and asteroids. SpaceX, after all, is planning on taking people to colonize the Red Planet, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are still more milestones to meet, and lots of fun to be had watching it happen.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*PICTURE* Need We Say More?



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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day From The Daley Gator!


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Who Is St. Patrick?

People all over the world celebrate on the 17th day of March in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Some cities have parades, most revelers wear green, and a few families commemorate the day with traditional Irish fare for their meal. However, not everyone may know who St. Patrick is.

Born in Britain during the 4th century, St. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish raiders when he was a teenager. Although he was able to escape after six years and become a priest in Britain, he later chose to return to Ireland as a missionary, in order to help spread the teachings of Christianity to pagans. According to Irish folklore, he also used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of Trinity to the Irish. In spite of continuous opposition from pagan leaders, he continued to evangelize for thirty years while baptizing newly converted Christians and establishing monasteries, churches, and schools. He died on March 17th and was canonized by the local church.

St. Patrick’s Day was first publicly celebrated in Boston in 1737 where a large population of Irish immigrants resided. Nearly 200 years later, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931. During the mid 90′s, the Irish government also began a campaign to promote tourism in Ireland on March 17th.

While many Catholics still quietly celebrate this day of religious observance by going to mass, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved to become a celebration of Irish heritage. Through the years many symbols have been included in festivities that are reflective of Ireland’s folklore, culture, and national identity (think leprechauns, shamrocks and wearing green). Other places that join in on this celebration include Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, and Canada, along with many cities across the United States.

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SAINT PATRICK’S DAY 2014 – DUBLIN IRELAND (PART 1)

PART 2
PART 3
PART 4
PART 5
PART 6
PART 7
PART 8
PART 9
PART 10
PART 11
PART 12
PART 13
PART 14
PART 15
PART 16
PART 17
PART 18
PART 19
PART 20
PART 21

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Two Killed, 17 Injured As East Harlem Buildings Collapse (Pictures / Video)

Two Dead, 17 Injured As NY Buildings Collapse – Breitbart

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Two residential buildings in Manhattan collapsed in an explosion on Wednesday, killing two women and injuring at least 17 other people as a serious fire spewed out thick smoke, officials said.

The explosion struck a building at 116th Street and Park Avenue in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, where witnesses said they were jolted awake by what sounded like an earthquake.

Police told AFP two residential buildings next door to each other had collapsed in the incident, killing two women and injuring 17 other people who were transferred to local hospitals.

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Mainline train services in and out of Grand Central terminal were suspended as a result of the incident next to its tracks.

Hundreds of police and firefighters were on site with emergency vans and fire trucks, as a dense column of smoke spewed into the sky over the Metro-North railway line, an AFP reporter said.

There was no official confirmation of the cause of the blast but indications pointed towards a gas leak.

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Energy company Con Edison told AFP it got a call alerting crews to a possible gas leak at 9:13 am, just minutes before the blast.

“A resident reported smelling gas inside the apartment building at 1652 Park Avenue but indicated the odor may have been coming from outside the building,” company spokesman Bob McGee said.

“Two Con Edison crews were dispatched at 9:15 am and arrived just after the explosion occurred,” he added.

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The company said it was working closely with the New York Fire Department to make the area safe but said it could not yet confirm that the blast was caused by gas.

“Our crews are checking our gas lines and working to isolate any leaks that they find and they’re working closely with the FDNY to make the area safe,” McGee said.

Local residents also spoke of smelling gas in the area.

A spokesman for New York Police Department told AFP that it received an emergency call at 9:34 am.

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The Fire Department told AFP that more than 168 fire fighters and 44 different units had responded to the explosion.

Witnesses compared the sound of the explosion to an earthquake and what they saw to a war zone, after the blast ripped through their bustling city routine.

Jazzmen Arzuaga, 30, told AFP she was at work at a hospital when her wife rang to tell her what had happened.

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“She called me and told me ‘Oh my God, you need to come home now, it’s like World War II, people are dying, there was an explosion.’ I just literally ran,” she said.

The couple live across the street from the blast.

Arzuaga’s wife Jay Virgo, also 30, said she was lying in bed when the blast blew her onto the floor.

“I jumped up and I just put my coat on and I ran out of the door,” she said at the scene.

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“I ran out of the building and I looked across the street and there were couple of people lying on the floor. There were glass everwhere, huge pieces of glass. It just looked crazy.”

Witness Robert Santiago told CBS that he was sleeping when suddenly the explosion shook his bed and the floor.

“It smells very bad out here. It smells like rubble,” he said.

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“I thought the world was coming to an end, an earthquake or something like that. Terrible,” he added.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Metro-North trains had been suspended indefinitely in and out of Grand Central because of the building explosion and collapse.

“Southbound trains are being held at stations to await further instructions. Northbound trains are being held in Grand Central,” said an emergency notice published on its website.

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Anti-Obamacare Picture O’ The Day


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Your Daley Gator Anti-Obama Picture O’ The Day


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Flashback: Obama Pushed Bill That Helped Destroy Tons Of Ukrainian Ammunition, Small Arms And Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Flashback: Senator Obama Pushed Bill That Helped Destroy More Than 15,000 Tons Of Ammunition, 400,000 Small Arms And 1,000 Anti-Aircraft Missiles In Ukraine – Daily Mail

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

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Photographs from the trip show Obama inspecting a plant where Soviet-era artillery shells and shoulder-fired missiles were collecting dust, leftovers dumped in Ukraine after the USSR withdrew from Eastern bloc nations after the once-mighty communist nation fell apart.

The United Nations had already identified some 7 million small arms and light weapons, and 2 million tons of conventional ammunition, warehoused in more than 80 weapons depots spread across the country.

Many of the artillery shells shown in photographs from Donetsk, multiple weapons experts told MailOnline, would be the same types of ammunition required to repel advancing Russian divisions as they advanced to the west, had they not been destroyed.

Two experts said the ammunition, particularly small-arms rounds, would have been useful to train Ukraine’s armed forces and million-strong reserves.

‘Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine,’ Obama said in am August 30, 2005 statement from Donetsk. ‘Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland.’

‘We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.’

More than a year later, President George W. Bush signed into law a proposal authored by Obama and Lugar.

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Obama said then that the existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program ‘has effectively disposed of thousands of weapons of mass destruction, but we must do far more to keep deadly conventional weapons like anti-aircraft missiles out of the hands of terrorists.’

Much of the Ukrainian small-arms supply was ultimately exported, not scrapped, by a Yushchenko regime that chose revenue from arms dealing over the cost of melting down metal.

In 2008 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that between 2004 and 2007, the Ukrainian Export Control Service told the UN that it sent 721,777 small arms and light weapons to 27 different countries.

The United States was the top recipient, with more than 260,000 of those weapons, followed by the UK and Libya, which each imported more than 101,000.

That flood of weapons exports has continued, with annual export records showing hundreds of thousands of new exports each year, covering everything from pistols and carbine rifles to heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons.

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But while today’s 130,000-strong standing Ukrainian military isn’t short on AK-47s, Russian troops have met little to no large-scale resistance from armored divisions or heavy artillery as they steamrolled their way into Crimea.

Some of that was Ukraine’s own doing – it sold 320 tanks to Pakistan in the 1990s, for instance – but Obama and Lugar accelerated the pace of the country’s arms liquidation.

While the Ukrainian army seems to have been careful to avoid provoking an even larger conflict, it’s impossible to know whether Putin would have behaved differently in the face of columns of heavy weapons that once belonged to the Soviet Union in whose KGB he held a high-ranking position.

Sky News video broadcast on Tuesday showed Russian troops firing automatic weapons over the heads of apparently unarmed Ukrainian Air Force personnel near a contested airfield in Crimea.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Your Daley Gator Anti-Leftist Picture O’ The Day


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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Putin Mocks The West And Threatens To Turn Off Gas Supplies – The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin has mocked diplomatic efforts to end the Ukraine crisis as Russia threatened to disrupt European gas supplies by cutting off sales to Kiev over its unpaid debts.

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The Russian president said through his official spokesman that, despite deep disagreements with the West, he did not want a confrontation over Ukraine to spiral into a “new cold war”.

Nevertheless Dmitry Peskov ridiculed Western demands for direct talks between the Kremlin and the new Kiev government, claiming that the loss of credibility involved “puts a smile on our face”.

The remarks were broadcast during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, where the Ukrainian athlete carrying his national flag was given a loud cheer.

Earlier, Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, said it would start to reduce deliveries to Kiev, a move that would disrupt supplies to Europe. Gazprom said Ukraine had failed to make payments on its £1.2 billion debts.

Ukraine is one of the main transit routes for the continent’s gas and the suspension of Gazprom exports in freezing temperatures in 2006 and in 2009 endangered national grids and caused sharp rises in prices. “We can’t supply gas for free,” Alexey Miller, the head of Gazprom, said. “Either Ukraine settles its debt and pays for current deliveries or the risk arises of a return to the situation we saw at the start of 2009.”

Energy experts said Russia had the power to cause problems in markets across Europe, even though peak winter demand was past. “Europe still relies heavily – in some cases 100 per cent – on Russian gas. And if that was interrupted very suddenly, there would be difficulties all round,” said Lord Howell, the former energy secretary.

But the White House brushed off the Russian announcement as less of a blow for EU economies than in previous years. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said reduced Russian exports would not have an immediate effect since stocks in Europe were above normal levels because of a mild winter. Structural changes in the industry also mean that less of Europe’s gas went through Ukraine.

Russian foreign ministry officials issued the tit-for-tat warnings a day after an EU summit suspended talks on visa-free access for Russians to Europe and threatened sanctions if Moscow did not change course. “Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Two potential Ukrainian presidential contenders demanded a single, tough Western stance against Russia. Vitali Klitschko, the former boxer, and Petro Poroshenko, a businessman, both of whom are seen as likely candidates in presidential elections in May, used a visit to Paris to shore up European resolve.

Moscow displayed no signs of pulling back in the flashpoint region of Crimea despite the summit outcome and a subsequent telephone conversation between Mr Putin and President Barack Obama.

Russia’s parliament made preparations to endorse next week’s referendum in Crimea on joining the Russian Federation as a group of Crimean MPs were accorded a hero’s welcome in Moscow.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said the outcome would be accepted “unquestionably”. Officials in Kiev retorted that no country in the “civilised world” would recognise a vote for merging with Russia.

Checkpoints manned by Russian soldiers and Crimea militias blocked efforts by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to enter the peninsula.

The OSCE convoy, led by a police car and followed by two buses carrying the observers, returned to the southern city of Kherson to decide if the unarmed monitoring mission can go ahead at all.

Russia said the mission was blocked because it had begun without seeking the traditional consensus support from all the organisation’s members.

Russia also scuttled a third ship in the Crimean harbour of Donuzlav to tighten its blockade on the doggedly loyal Ukrainian navy vessels trapped behind Russian lines.

The only bright point of the day came when Ukraine’s Paralympic team announced it would participate in the Winter Games in Sochi.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine prime minister, said his government was still pressing for direct talks with Russia to resolve the crisis. He demanded that Russia pull back its forces and stop supporting “separatist” activities inside Ukraine.

“We are ready to build relations with Russia,” he said. “But Ukraine will never be a subordinate or branch of Russia.”

Mr Yasenyuk also revealed the Kiev and the EU would soon sign an agreement on the political aspects of a strategic accord that fell through late last year.

The collapse of the EU association agreement provoked the mass pro-Western demonstration movement that led to the collapse of the former government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“It is the matter of weeks now,” Mr Yatsenyuk said. “This is the most important decision that the whole country has been waiting for. This is what people were going to the streets for.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related articles:

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Tension In Ukraine Builds As Convoy Of 60 Unmarked Military Trucks Carrying Hundreds Of Soldiers Heads For Crimea As Pro-Russian Troops Fire Warning Shots At Peace Monitors – Daily Mail

A convoy of 60 unmarked military trucks carrying hundreds of soldiers was today spotted snaking its way from eastern Ukraine into Crimea, with the country appearing more divided than ever.

Warning shots were also fired inside Crimea as a foreign military mission was barred from entering the Ukrainian province by pro-Russian troops.

The mission, made up of soldiers of different nationalities from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had automatic weapons fired over their heads.

The soldiers were told they had no authorisation to enter the peninsula. No injuries were reported.

Earlier this morning Russian foreign secretary Sergei Lavrov said that the crisis had been ‘artificially created’ for ‘geopolitical reasons’, though stopped short of accusing the West of creating tensions.

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He confirmed that Russia was open to further talks with the West as long as they remained ‘honest and partner-like’, and said he was in contact with the Ukrainian interim government, though he accused them of being right-wing extremists.

In a telephone call he also warned US secretary of state John Kerry that any sanctions would have a ‘boomerang effect’ on America.

Meanwhile pro and anti-Putin protesters have taken to the streets of Ukraine today as the country appears more divided than ever.

In the Crimean city of Simferopol hundreds of demonstrators waving Ukrainian flags marched to a military base surrounded by Russian troops while chanting ‘Russian Soldiers Out Of Crimea’.

Many of the activists waved Crimean Tartar flags. The Tartars were persecuted by Russian during the world wars and driven to Crimea, and so are strongly opposed to closer ties with the Kremlin.

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In another city, Bakhisaray, more Tartars gathered urging Ukraine to stay united after the regional government said Crimea was officially part of Russia and announced a public referendum on March 16 to confirm it.

Meanwhile in the city of Donetsk, former stronghold of ousted president Viktor Yanokovych, thousands gathered to wave banners reading ‘I Love Putin’.

Today is not the first time shots have been fired in the region, but it is the first time bullets have been directed at international troops.

Last week a Russian soldier fired above the head of Ukrainian air force troops as they marched unarmed to their base which had been occupied by Putin’s troops.

Late last night pro-Russia soldiers tried to take over a Ukrainian base in a tense stand-off that lasted for several hours.

Lt. Col. Vitaly Onishchenko, deputy commander of the base, said three dozen men wearing unmarked camouflage uniforms arrived late Friday.

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While one group climbed over a wall on one side of the base, another crashed a heavy military truck through the gates, Mr Onishchenko said.

He said that they turned off power, cut telephone lines and demanded that about 100 Ukrainian troops, who barricaded themselves into one of the base buildings, surrender their weapons and swear allegiance to Russia. The invaders left at about midnight.

No shots were fired in the stand-off, and no injuries were reported, but the incident reflected tensions running high on the Black Sea peninsula.

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In the week since Russia seized control of Crimea, Russian troops have been neutralising and disarming Ukrainian military bases there.

Some Ukrainian units, however, have refused to give up.

Crimea’s new leader has said pro-Russian forces numbering more than 11,000 now control all access to the region and have blockaded all military bases that have not yet surrendered.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has also confirmed that Ukraine owes $1.89billion and has threatened to turn off the gas supply, which could affect the rest of Europe as several important pipelines run through the country.

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Cyber Snake Plagues Ukraine Networks – Financial Times

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An aggressive cyber weapon called Snake has infected dozens of Ukrainian computer networks including government systems in one of the most sophisticated attacks of recent years.

Also known as Ouroboros, after the serpent of Greek mythology that swallowed its own tail, experts say it is comparable in its complexity with Stuxnet, the malware that was found to have disrupted Iran’s uranium enrichment programme in 2010.

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The cyber weapon has been deployed most aggressively since the start of last year ahead of protests that climaxed two weeks ago with the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich’s government.

Ouroboros gives its operators unfettered access to networks for surveillance purposes. But it can also act as a highly advanced “digital beachhead” that could destroy computer networks with wide-ranging repercussions for the public.

Cyber warfare experts have long warned that digital weapons could shut off civilian power or water supplies, cripple banks or even blow up industrial sites that depend on computer-controlled safety programmes.

The origins of Ouroboros remain unclear, but its programmers appear to have developed it in a GMT+4 timezone – which encompasses Moscow – according to clues left in the code, parts of which also contain fragments of Russian text. It is believed to be an upgrade of the Agent.BTZ attack that penetrated US military systems in 2008.

The malware has infected networks run by the Kiev government and systemically important organisations. Lithuanian systems have also been disproportionately hit by it.

Ouroboros has been in development for nearly a decade and is too sophisticated to have been programmed by an individual or a non-state organisation, according to the applied intelligence unit at BAE Systems, which was the first to identify and analyse the malware.

The Financial Times has corroborated the existence of Snake with security and military analysts.

BAE has identified 56 apparent infections by Snake globally since 2010, almost all in the past 14 months. Ukraine is the primary target, with 32 recorded instances, 22 of which have occurred since January 2013.

“Ukraine is top of the list [of infections] and increasing,” said Dave Garfield, managing director for cyber security at BAE, who added that the instances were almost certainly “the tip of the iceberg”.

“Whoever made it really is a very professional outfit,” Mr Garfield added. “It has a very high level of sophistication. It is a complex architecture with 50 sub-modules designed to give it extreme flexibility and the ability to evolve. It has neat and novel technical features.”

“You never get beyond reasonable doubt levels of proof in this area but if you look at it in probabilistic terms – who benefits and who has the resources – then the list of suspects boils down to one,” said Nigel Inkster, until 2006 director of operations and intelligence for MI6 and now director of transnational threats at the think tank IISS.

“Until recently the Russians have kept a low profile, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they can do the full scope of cyber attacks, from denial of service to the very, very sophisticated.”

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Journalists Beaten During Russian Storming Of Ukrainian Military Base, Then Live TV Crew Harassed When They Report On It – Weasel Zippers

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Another view:

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Mellunmäki
@mrzff

Это Костас, его пиздят второй раз уже. pic.twitter.com/09RbLJT6nE

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Patrick Jackson
@patrickgjackson

Journalists beaten up in #Crimea: photo by @mrzff pic.twitter.com/Y9cpbHDOiv
6:05 PM – 7 Mar 2014

38 Retweets 9 favorites
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Via KPHG:

Ukrainian journalists are reported to have been brutally beaten during the seizure by Russian soldiers of a Ukrainian military unit on Friday evening, while in Simferopol STB journalists were attacked during a live news broadcast.

Budzhurova, head of the Crimean Association of Free Journalists stated on the Savik Shuster talk show on Friday that she had received two calls from Olena Myekhanik, a journalist from TV Inter. Myekhanik first told her that the Ukrainian military unit was under attack, that a KAMAZ truck had rammed the gates and 12 individuals had crossed onto the unit’s land. She asked for a journalist team from TV ATR to be sent. Later she rang in distress saying that the Ukrainian journalists present, including women, had been assaulted, and their video recorders smashed. The journalists were all at Unit 2355 where there is an air force command point in charge of overseeing air safety. The journalists also included a TV STB firlm crew and a Georgian national.

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Keeping It Classy… Bill Clinton Poses With Hookers At Humanitarian Gala

Bill Clinton Poses With Prostitutes Barbie Girl And Ava Adora At Humanitarian Gala – New York Daily News

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What would Hillary say?

Former President Bill Clinton raised eyebrows on Friday night when he paused to snap a photo with two prostitutes at the star-studded charity ball Unite4Charity.

Clinton, 67, was working the crowd at the fancy LA gala when he paused to take a picture with two young fans, Ava Adora and Barbie Girl, two sex workers from the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel in Moundhouse, Nevada.

The working girls were the invited guests of Dennis Hof, the 68-year-old proprietor of the brothel made famous by HBO’s series “Cathouse.”

“These two girls are just incredible fans of Bill Clinton,” Hof told the Daily News. “They kept saying, ‘Please take me, Daddy.’”

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Hof brought 23-year-old Adora and 22-year-old Barbie to the event along with longtime pal, porn superstar Ron Jeremy.

On her website, Adora describes herself as a “passionate lover.” Barbie Girl’s bio boasts that she specializes in “devirginizing parties.

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Clinton gave the event’s keynote address, and also received the gala’s Unity Award from Forest Whitaker.

“Clinton was going through there pretty fast, and the girls happened to get up front. They told Clinton that they were big fans and they took the photo,” Hof continued.

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Clinton, Hoff confirmed, was busily snapping photos with well-wishers, and didn’t realize that he had posed for a picture with ladies of the evening.

“He didn’t know they were hookers,” Hof said. “But I guess when you’re a President, you like pretty girls too.”

Hof also contradicted a previous TMZ report that the girls had snuck in and were thrown out after snapping the picture.

“There’s no truth to that,” Hof said. “They stayed for the entire event and enjoyed it. The girls were enthusiastic about the event, and thrilled to meet Clinton. It was a great night for a great cause.”

The ex-commander-in-chief was one of the honored guests at the charity event, which also featured Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. But Ava Adora and Barbie Girl only had eyes for Clinton.

“They didn’t have any interest in Sean Penn or Robert DeNiro,” Hof said. “But Clinton they loved meeting.”

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Russia Refers To Crimea As ‘Autonomous Region’; Sets Up Puppet State – Gateway Pundit

Russia declared Crimea an “autonomous” region on Monday. Five top pro-Russian military and security commanders took an oath to Crimea.

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov appealed to Russia for assistance.

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Breitbart reported:

It appears that Russia has taken control of Crimea without firing a shot and is referring to it as the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” presumably with the intention of making it a puppet state of Moscow.

Ukraine’s government in Kiev is only a few days old and seems to be in disarray. So far, it’s avoiding any strong military overreaction that would provide Russia with an excuse for a further military invasion, perhaps into eastern Ukraine beyond Crimea. However, the government warned Sunday it was on the brink of disaster and called up military reservists to counter Russia’s threat to Ukraine.

Russia has appointed Sergey Aksyonov to prime minister of Crimea, and on Sunday he announced:

I believe that this day will go down in history of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy. We will prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.

Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an independent, integral public authority. I am sure that all of us will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can give Crimeans what they expect from us.

We will never see ‘Maidan’ with their black smoke and burned tires here. I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm, quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here happily.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the decision to send in troops was only to protect human rights.

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Ukraine: Russia Delivers ‘Assault Storm’ Deadline – Sky News

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Russia has reportedly given Ukrainian forces in Crimea a deadline of 3am on Tuesday to surrender or face military action after troops seized key strategic sites in the peninsula.

The ultimatum came from Alexander Vitko, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea where Russian forces are now in control.

According to Russia’s Interfax agency, it reads: “If they do not surrender before 5am (3am UK time) tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea.”

But in a conflicting report, Interfax quoted an official representative for the Russian Ministry of Defence as saying the ultimatum was “total nonsense”.

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The US said any threat by Russia to Ukraine forces would represent a “dangerous escalation” in the crisis, and Moscow would be responsible.

It came as Russian President Vladimir Putin watched tanks and armoured vehicles taking part in military exercises at a training ground in north-west Russia.

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Mr Putin attended the final day of war games he ordered on February 26 to test the combat-readiness of his armed forces in western and central parts of Russia, regions adjacent to Ukraine, a spokesman said.

The Russian foreign ministry said Nato’s criticism of its actions in Crimea “will not help stabilise” the situation in Ukraine.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russia will face “diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures” to send a “clear message” about its actions in the Ukraine.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev discussed the escalating crisis in Ukraine with US Vice President Joe Biden by telephone on Monday.

Mr Medvedev “declared that it is necessary to protect the interests of all Ukrainian citizens, including residents of Crimea, and citizens of Russia who are located in Ukraine,” according to Interfax.

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He added that Russia would press ahead with plans to build a bridge linking Russia directly with the Crimea region – providing a vital transport link to the Black Sea peninsula.

Mr Medvedev told deputies the two countries had signed “documents related to a project for construction of a transport corridor across the Kerch Strait” in December, when now-ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was still in power.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers have surrounded a military base in Crimea, preventing Ukrainian soldiers from going in or out.

The convoy blockading the site, near the Crimean capital Simferopol, includes at least 17 military vehicles.

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Russian troops have also reportedly taken control of a ferry terminal in the city of Kerch, on the eastern tip of Crimea, which has a majority Russian-speaking population.

Ukraine’s defence ministry said two Russian fighter jets violated the country’s air space in the Black Sea on Sunday night and that it had scrambled an interceptor aircraft to prevent the “provocative actions”.

Elsewhere, pro-Russian protesters have taken over a floor of the regional government building in Donetsk, say reports. The 11-storey building has been flying the Russian flag for the last three days.

The crisis has had a huge effect on global stock markets, with Moscow’s stock exchange plunging more than 10% on Monday.

Russia’s central bank raised its rate to 7% from 5.5% as the ruble hit an historic low against the dollar and the euro.

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‘Weak’ Obama Is Blasted For His ‘Laughable’ Response To Putin As Both Parties Say President Is Letting Russia Push Him Around – Daily Mail

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Senior US politicians from both parties criticized President Barack Obama’s threats to Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for immediate sanctions if troops are not immediately withdrawn from Ukraine

Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Marco Rubio (FL) and Bob Corker (TN) and others, as well as some Democrats, reached across the aisle to call for immediate sanctions against Russia and aid to Ukraine before Putin becomes even more emboldened.

McCain was quick to criticize the president’s threats in an interview with the Daily Beast, calling them ‘laughable’ and partly blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for thinking she and Obama could ‘reset’ relations with Russia back in 2009.

‘She believed that somehow there would be a reset with a guy who was a KGB colonel who always had ambitions to restore the Russian empire,’ said McCain. ‘That’s what this is all about.’

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The Senator called for the Obama administration to more liberally enforce the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act, which has allowed the US government to sanction Russian officials for human rights violations since being signed into law in 2009.

On Sunday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine ‘an incredible act of aggression’ and said President Vladimir Putin has made ‘a stunning, willful’ choice to invade another country.

Kerry says Russia should respect the democratic process through which the Ukrainian people ousted their pro-Russian president and assembled a new government.

Kerry is raising the possibility of boycotting the June meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Sochi, Russia.

He’s also discussing visa bans, asset freezes, and trade and investment penalties.

Kerry said he spoke with foreign ministers for G-8 and other nations on Saturday, and says everyone is prepared ‘to go to the hilt’ to isolate Russia.

Any Russian officials, Putin included, involved in sending troops to Ukraine should be sanctioned, McCain argued – such action would result in asset freezing, visa bans and a wagging of the collective international finger, Daily Beast noted.

‘We must consider legislation to respond to this,’ McCain continued. ‘The Magnitsky bill can be expanded for holding people responsible for these acts of aggression.’

The longtime Senator also called for economic sanctions and other actions against Russia.

Corker also hammered away at the situation, calling Russia ‘a nation still smarting from the breakup of the Soviet Union with a leader who is nothing but an autocrat’ and called for immediate sanctions during a CNN interview.

‘We need to do everything we can to isolate them,’ Corker continued. ‘We’ve got to work with [Europe] to do the necessary things… to mitigate conduct.’

He later said in a statement ‘Vladimir Putin is seizing a neighboring territory – again – so President Obama must lead a meaningful, unified response.’

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Rubio called for Obama to deploy Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the Ukrainian capital, according to USA Today.

He also called for a prohibition of Russian officials traveling to the US, and to convene an emergency meeting of NATO to allow Georgia into the fold.

Kerry, in a statement, said the ‘United States condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory… we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases [and] refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine.’

Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound,’ Kerry threatened.

The president also informed Putin that the US has pulled out of preparatory meetings for an upcoming G-8 summit in Sochi, as the UN mulled over possible sanctions and Ukraine warned that it’s troops are ‘at the ready,’ a government official told CNN.

‘The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory,’ a White House statement said.

New York Democratic Rep Eliot Engel called for a ‘robust international economic assistance package’ including loan guarantees for Ukraine in a statement released Saturday.

Arkansas Republican Rep Tom Cotton demanded the president recall the US Ambassador to Russia from Moscow and revoke visas and freeze the assets of Putin’s cronies, provide military assistance to Ukraine and sack Russia from the G-8 group of nations, according to USA Today.

Russia has military bases in Crimea, but those personnel are in violation of international law by entering Ukraine despite Russia’s Duma willfully granting Putin permission to deploy troops into Ukraine as the country grows further divided.

It appears further liberties were already being taken by Russian troops early Sunday morning, they took weapons from a Ukraine radar facility near Crimea and urged people there to side with ‘legitimate leaders,’ iTV reported, citing Interfax.

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax only hours earlier that ‘there’s not a whole lot the United States can do’ to bring Putin and Russia in line.

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Putin expressed his concern for the Russian citizens in Russia and said that the deployment of troops into the country was to protect them, according to a Kremlin statement.

‘Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,’ the statement said.

Obama strongly urged Putin to immediately de-escalate and to use peaceful means to address concerns including through talks with the new Ukrainian government or through the US of international observers sent under the UN umbrella, the White House countered.

The president also offered to broker talks between Russian and the Ukraine to prevent the countries from war as the former Soviet bloc country’s new government warned it is being ‘provoked’ by Russia’s actions.

A Ukraine government spokesperson told CNN there are an estimated 15,000 troops in Crimea, a small country separating mainland Ukraine from Sevastopol.

‘The troops are already there, and their number is increasing every hour,’ the spokesperson explained.

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Russia has also maintained a naval base in Sevastopol per a 1997 treaty signed shortly after Ukraine gained independence.

The Ukrainian city sits on a small peninsula that is not connected to the rest country, making it particularly vulnerable to the kind of military action undertaken by Russia.

Putin further blamed ultra-nationalists in the Ukraine for Russia’s further encroachment into Ukrainian sovereign territory, according to the Kremlin.

Eastern Ukraine leans more heavily towards Russia than the western part of the country, whee the capital Kiev is located. Many international observers fear the country will plunge into a civil war that might break it up into two or more countries if conditions further deteriorate.

The dramatic eleventh-hour call came as the United Nations Security Council met in an emergency session less than a week after the Sochi Olympics to mull over possible economic sanctions to enact against the rogue permanet Security Council member.

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After meeting behind closed doors, the council agreed to hold the open, televised meeting despite objections from permanent member Russia. Ukraine has accused Russia of ‘a military invasion and occupation’ of strategic points in the Crimean peninsula.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin scoffed at the notion, saying the US and other European nations are overreacting and that his country cannot agree to end all military actions.

Some reports have suggested Russia may even recall its ambassador to the US in protest of western involvement in the crisis.

Ukraine has asked the other four permanent council members – the U.S., Britain, France and China – for help in stopping Russia’s ‘aggression.’

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev said Russia has rejected Ukraine’s proposal to hold immediate bilateral consultations, and vowed his country would not be drawn into military conflict.

‘Ukraine will not be provoked, we will not use force, we demand that the government of the Russian Federation immediately withdraw its troops and return to their home bases,’ he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Saturday that he is ‘gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation’ in Ukraine. He spoke later by telephone with Putin.

‘I am gravely concerned by some of the recent events in particular those that could in any way compromise the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the [Ukraine],’ Ban said in a statement about the call.

‘It is crucial to restore calm and proceed to an immediate de-escalation of the situation,’ Ban continued. ‘Cool heads must prevail and dialogue must be the only tool in ending this crisis.’

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A Ban spokesman delivered the statement Saturday afternoon as members of the Security Council met in an emergency closed-door session for the second straight day on the rapidly developing events in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Obama later spoke with President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House announced.

All three ‘leaders agreed that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and expressed their grave concern over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine,’ said a separate White House statement.

‘The leaders affirmed the importance of unity within the international community in support of international law, and the future of Ukraine and its democracy.’

The Security Council decided to hold the open meeting after struggling behind closed doors to reach agreement on how to meet. Some members wanted open, or public consultations, on Ukraine, which Russia initially opposed.

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Ban’s statement called for ‘full respect for and preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine’ and demanded the ‘immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned.’

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the meeting is to determine ‘what justification Russia claims to have’ for its de facto military takeover of the strategic Crimea region.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia has veto power and can block the U.N.’s most powerful body from adopting any resolution criticizing or sanctioning Moscow.

Outside the council chamber, Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador called on countries to do everything possible to stop Russia’s “aggression.”

‘The Russian Federation brutally violated the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations,’ Sergeyev told reporters..

During a break, an exasperated Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters, ‘We are ready for serious discussions.’

Ban was flying to Geneva on Saturday where he planned to meet the following day with his special envoy Robert Serry, the Netherlands’ first ambassador to Ukraine.

After Friday’s closed-door Security Council consultations, Ban asked Serry to go to Crimea as part of a fact-finding mission. However, after consulting with authorities in the autonomous region, Serry decided that a visit to Crimea was not possible and headed to Geneva.

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Kerry: ‘I Don’t Know What You Mean By The Reset’ – Washington Free Beacon

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NBC’s David Gregory pressed Secretary of State John Kerry on the status of the U.S.-Russia “reset” during an interview Sunday on Meet the Press.

“Well, I don’t know what you mean by the reset,” Kerry oddly responded.

The question was asked as Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) among others have argued U.S.-Russia relations are deteriorating and have asked the administration to publicly acknowledge this.

“The Obama administration must publicly acknowledge that its “reset” with Russia is dead. The president must now accept that the only way to deal with tyrants like Vladimir Putin is with a clear understanding that they can’t be trusted and that only decisive action will deter their provocative moves,” Rubio wrote in Politico Magazine.

When pressed further by Gregory, Kerry weakly responded, “We’ve entered into a different phase with Russia. I don’t think this is a moment to be proclaiming one thing or the other.”

The full exchange is available below:

DAVID GREGORY: Before I get to my final question on Israel with a big meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, coming to meet with President Obama, Marco Rubio is on this program in just a few minutes saying it’s time for the administration to publicly acknowledge that the reset with Russia is dead. Do you acknowledge that?

JOHN KERRY: Well, I don’t know what you mean by the reset.

GREGORY: The reset in relations that this administration called for.

KERRY: I know, but long ago, we’ve entered into a different phase with Russia. I don’t think this is a moment to be proclaiming one thing or the other. We’ve had difficulties with Russia with respect to certain issues, and even as we have, we’ve managed to do the Start treaty. They’ve cooperated on Afghanistan, they’ve cooperated on Iran. So, it’s not a zero-sum, dead-alive. It’s a question of differences, very profound differences on certain issues and certain approaches, and we’ve made those very clear over the course of the last months.

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Ukraine Illustrates The Danger Of Entrusting Foreign Policy To Top Men – The Federalist

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The past two days have revealed the dangerous ramifications of the narrow-minded foreign policy elite in Washington, and a media establishment that has for so much of President Obama’s tenure accepted the statements of the administration as gospel. Just as we learned the dangers of the lack of a questioning element – a healthy, serious, skeptical voice in the room – within the administration of George W. Bush, so too we see the consequences of a narrow viewpoint on global affairs which now exists within the Obama administration.

As Eli Lake outlines, the decision of Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine came as a sudden shock to a Washington that less than a day earlier had dismissed such possibilities:

On Thursday night, the best assessment from the U.S. intelligence community – and for that matter most experts observing events in Ukraine – was that Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine. Less than 24 hours later, however, there are reports from the ground of Russian troops pushing into the Ukrainian province of Crimea; the newly-installed Crimean prime minister has appealed to Putin to help him secure the country; Putin, in turn, is officially asking for parliament’s permission to send Russian forces into Ukraine. It’s not a full-blown invasion – at least, not yet. But it’s not the picture U.S. analysts were painting just a day before, either… U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence on the fast moving situation in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast that analytic products from the intelligence community this week did not discount the prospect of Russian provocations and even light incursions in the Russian majority province of Crimea, the home of Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea. Nonetheless, until Friday, no one anticipated a Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.

These officials were not alone. At Foreign Affairs, the headline was “Why Russia Won’t Invade Ukraine”; at The New York Times, “Why Russia Won’t Interfere”; and at Time, “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine”. Joshua Tucker at The Washington Post has already had to change the now-ludicrous title of his post, explaining:

Those who have already read this post (including the first 15 commentators below) will know that I originally posted with the title “5 reasons for everyone to calm down about Crimea”. Developments in the ensuing hours have shown how poor a title that turned out to be.

It’s no surprise that, given the echo chamber of the media, the administration itself gives all the signs of being caught flat-footed, unable to adjust to the situation that runs against their preconceived notions and those of the chattering class:

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu on March 1, telling him that there was ‘no change’ in the U.S.’s military posture toward Ukraine in the hours after Russia’s parliament approved a Russian military presence in Ukraine.

If this is the sort of foreign policy anticipation that the establishment delivers, it’s little surprise that no one trusts America’s self-styled policy elites any more. They are too used to judging the world according to the patterns toward which they are already biased, as opposed to seeing it as it is.

As for the situation in Crimea itself: while the 1994 Budapest Memorandum does not require that the United States enter into this current conflict, as it is not a formal treaty, it does make the situation for the Obama administration a great deal more complicated than, say, the 2008 situation in Georgia. The Ukrainian situation has a nuclear subtext which matters in the broader context: because Ukraine had to surrender its nuclear arsenal as part of the 1994 agreement, U.S. inaction now sends a signal that nations ought to maintain their nuclear arsenal as opposed to trusting the Americans to defend their legitimacy. The mix of Polish, Turkish, and Russian interests here make for an all the more dangerous situation given the spillover potential of a major crisis.

What ought to be a first priority in this context is the administration’s opportunity to position itself as ready to use the leverage of international economic policy and energy policy to dissuade the Russians from their current trajectory or, at least, loosen Putin’s stranglehold on European energy markets. U.S. law currently prevents American energy producers from freely exporting natural gas or crude oil to anywhere even remotely near Europe. To remedy this glaring economic and geopolitical mistake, the president (who has shown no qualms about using sweeping definitions of executive power in other areas) could issue blanket executive orders declaring all US natural gas exports to be in the “public interest” and all crude oil exports to be in the “national interest”, the applicable legal standards for both commodities.

While immediate gas exports directly to Europe would be limited by a lack of U.S. export facilities (thanks, again, to glacial government policy), crude exports could begin instantly and US gas could be exported thru Canada and Mexico. At the very least, these moves would serve as a significant signal to global energy markets and to the Russians that the United States fully intends to use its newfound energy abundance to stabilize global markets and counterbalance Russian influence across the Atlantic. At best, they might actually help to weaken Russian energy oligarchs and, by extension, Putin himself.

Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who have both recently expressed support for US energy export liberalization (Cruz especially), should take up this message at once. It represents an opportunity to use expanded trade freedom and American economic might to prevent further loss of life and signal the United States’ seriousness on the matter, without firing a single American bullet. And, unlike the United Nations or the World Trade Organization, it is a step that can be done unilaterally with, quite literally, the stroke of the President’s pen.

In the meantime, at least the president himself is taking it seriously.

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Zeke Miller
@ZekeJMiller

Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team.
3:34 PM – 1 Mar 2014

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Smart power, indeed.

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Russian Stocks Crash As Central Bank Scrambles, Hikes Rates Most Since 1998 Default – Zero Hedge

Following a 150bps rate hike by the central bank – the largest since the 1998 default -desperate to halt capital outflows and a collapsing currency, Russian stocks have crashed 11% led by some of the country’s largest banks. USDRUB rose to just shy of 37 – the weakest RUB rate on record – but rallied back a little on the rate hike but the MICEX stock index tumbled 11% to almost 2-year lows with Sberbank (Russia’s largest bank) down 17% and VTB (2nd largest bank) down 20%. Between the threat of economic sanctions from the West and simple risk-aversion-based capital flight, as one analyst noted, “uncertainty risks a further escalation in domestic capital outflow.”

MICEX is down 11% today alone…

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Ruble at record lows against the USD…

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It was the biggest increase in a Russian benchmark rate since June 1998, less than two months before Russia defaulted on domestic sovereign bonds and devalued the currency. The refinancing rate used to be the central bank’s main reference.

The Banks have been battered…

* Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, drops 17%, loses most since 2008
* VTB, Russia’s second-bigest lender, tumbles 20%
* Bank St. Petersburg falls 16%
* Bank Vozrozhdenie declines 10%
* Nomos Bank slides 12%

European and U.S. leaders have threatened sanctions against Russia, creating risks that economic growth will stall, demand for the country’s assets will dry up and a selloff in the currency will deepen. “There is a risk of international backlash against Russia at a time when the economy faces an increasing need for foreign capital inflows… This uncertainty risks a further escalation in domestic capital outflow.”

Around the world, stock markets are tumbling with Europe down around 2% – almost its largest drop in 7 months; and Japan down 600 from Friday’s highs.

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Perhaps They Should Have Held On To Them: Hundreds Of Rusting Tanks Abandoned In Secret Ukrainian Depot Unveiled As Russia’s Armoured Vehicles Line Its Streets – Daily Mail

These incredible photographs show a huge tank graveyard in the Ukraine – home to hundreds of the abandoned vehicles which the country may desperately need it tensions with Russia continue to escalate.

Filled with rows upon rows of slowly rusting relics, the once deadly war machines now lie dormant in a secret depot in the town of Kharkov in the Slobozhanshchyna region of eastern Ukraine – just 20 miles from the border with Russia.

After hearing about the strange Soviet-era tank cemetery from a friend, photographer Patvel Itkin, 18, spent months trying find its whereabouts.

Despite the disused area being heavily monitored by guards, Mr Itkin managed to sneak in and spend several hours taking dozens of photographs.

Once a thriving tank repair plant, the depot has since become redundant, meaning all the vehicles are now abandoned.

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution Update (Pictures / Videos)

Putin Seeks Military Action In Ukraine; 6,000 Russian Troops Already Sent To Crimea – Gateway Pundit

Russian President Vladamir Putin asked parliament for permission to send troops to Ukraine on Saturday. The Kremlin already has 6,000 troops in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Security cameras captured the moment Russian soldiers seized the Crimea parliament building yesterday.

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The AP reported:

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea.

Putin’s motion loosely refers to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev.

President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Friday “there will be costs” if Russia intervenes militarily.

“I’m submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

He said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. Putin sent the request to the Russian legislature’s upper house, which has to approve the motion, according to the constitution. The rubber-stamp parliament is certain to approve it in a vote expected Saturday.

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Russian Parliament Cheers After Voting 87-0 To Invade Ukraine – Gateway Pundit

87 votes in favor – 0 votes against

Unanimous response to send Russian troops to Ukraine.

The Russian lawmakers cheered after the vote passed.

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Pro-Russian mob stormed the city administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine today. Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine located in the pro-Russian northeast region.

The thugs beat the opposition and forced them to kneel.

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Krauthammer’s Take: Obama Tells The World We Aren’t Going To Do Anything About Invasion Of Ukraine – National Review

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As reports are coming in that Russia has placed 2,000 troops in Crimea, within the borders of Ukraine, President Obama said that “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

Charles Krauthammer responded on Special Report tonight saying, “The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.”

Krauthammer thinks Obama’s statement is about “three levels removed” from actual action. He explained: Obama said “we will stand with the international community – meaning we are going to negotiate with a dozen other countries who will water down the statement – in affirming that there will be costs – meaning in making a statement not even imposing a cost, but in making a statement about imposing a cost – for any military intervention.”

“What he’s saying is we’re not really going to do anything and we’re telling the world,” Krauthammer said.

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“Stupid” “Insipid” Sarah Palin Predicted Russian Invasion Of Ukraine – Gateway Pundit

Back in 2008, Republican candidate Sarah Palin predicted Barack Obama’s weak response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

She nailed it.

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This was after Barack Obama failed to react to Russia’s invasion of American ally Georgia.

Today Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook – “I Told You So.”

Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as “an extremely far-fetched scenario” by the “high-brow” Foreign Policy magazine. Here’s what this “stupid” “insipid woman” predicted back in 2008: “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

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Flashback: Mitt Romney Was Right About Russia And Putin, And Barack Obama Was Wrong – Freedom’s Lighthouse

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Remember this from the third Presidential Debate during the 2012 Election?

Barack Obama had mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia and Vladimir Putin a U.S. Foreign Policy threat. Mitt Romney responded that it is indeed a threat, and told Obama “I have clear eyes on this, and I’m certainly not going to wear rose-colored glasses about Russia or Mr. Putin.”

Once again, Mitt Romney was right, and Barack Obama is proven to be terribly wrong.

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Stranger Than Fiction: Russian Bikers Among Those Blocking Some Of The Roads In Crimea… Update: Bikers Special Buddies Of Putin – Weasel Zippers

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Alan Cullison
@AlanCullison

Russian bikers take lead at block posts in Crimea. Pic here of commander of post blocking east-west highway. #ukraine
10:29 AM – 28 Feb 2014 from Ukraine, Ukraine

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Some kind of war. Biker dudes and military without insignia.

Update:

Here’s more on the bikers.

Via ABC:

While a group of camouflaged, armed militiamen patrolled Crimea’s main airport today, there was a second gang of tough-looking men who showed up to join the pro-Russia side to take control of this mostly Russian enclave of southern Ukraine.

The tattooed and bejewelled crew was decked out in leather, black jeans and heavy boots, with patches of a wolf and flame stitched onto their vests. They were the Russian biker gang, the “Night Wolves.” They’ve modeled themselves on the Hell’s Angels, and President Putin has been known to don a leather jacket and ride with them.

Its president, Hirurg, had just landed from Moscow and the local Simferopol chapter was there to pick him up (alas, in a car, not on Harleys). Burly and broad-shouldered, Hirurg sported a goatee, sideburns and a friendly – if intimidating – demeanour. “Hirurg” means surgeon in Russian and he said he was an actual surgeon (having watched every season of “Sons of Anarchy,” I was disappointed the name wasn’t for something more dramatic).

Keep reading

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Alexander Marquardt
@MarquardtA

President of biker gang “Night Wolves” arrived at Simferopol airport from Moscow, says here to ask what locals need.
7:50 AM – 28 Feb 2014

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Update:

Just any old biker group, their aim is to “spread Russian influence around the world”.

Let’s look at pictures from the past few years, with leader receiving medal from Putin for restoring a Soviet monument, and Putin riding with them:

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Communist Regime In Venezuela Shells Peaceful Rally With Tear Gas; Opposition Beheads Chavez Statue

Violence In Venezuela: Regime Shells Peaceful Rally With Tear Gas; Opposition Beheads Chavez Statue – Gateway Pundit

Opposition protesters in Venezuela today decapitated a statue of the former Marxist leader Hugo Chavez.

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The National Guard shelled the Francisco Fajardo Highway with tear gas cannisters.

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The opposition continued to confront the Maduro regime today.

Breitbart reported:

Venezuela is aflame with the fires of rebellion after President Nicolás Maduro arrested opposition leader Leopoldo López and sent communist Cuban forces to assault young, unarmed protesters. Nowhere has there been more rebellion than the western state of Táchira, however, where protesters beheaded a statue of Chávez today.

Táchira, located on the border with Colombia and home to nine universities, is the first state in which the governor, himself a Chavista, turned on Maduro. Governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora said in a speech earlier this week that he disagreed with the arrest of Popular Will Party leader López and that he was “not a part of the regime,” though he later tried to make amends on Twitter with the Chavistas his comments upset.

His comments came after a series of human rights abuses in the capital city of San Cristóbal, where Maduro shut off electricity and the internet temporarily, asserting martial law in the region, leading to some of the most violent images of National Guard attacks on civilians surfacing there. The oversized population of students, proximity to the free and prosperous nation of Colombia, and excessive use of force has made Táchira the heart of the opposition movement in Venezuela.

The civilians, it seems, have had enough. The giant bust of Hugo Chávez that made its home in the state was found decapitated by students today, with the moving images distributed throughout Twitter. The students deliberately decided to cut off its head, rather than topple it completely, and spread the image through social media. “The statues of Chávez are beginning to fall,” posted the first; it is unknown who committed the deed. The image was first published by the media in Argentine website Infobae.

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Suppressing protesters in Las Mercedes in Caracas with water and teargas (Gabriel Bastidas)

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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of ‘Armed Invasion’ After Crimea Airports Blockaded

Ukraine Accuses Russia Of ‘Armed Invasion’ After Crimea Airports Blockaded – The Telegraph

Ukraine accused Russia of staging an “armed invasion” of Crimea on Friday as the ex-Soviet state’s ousted leader prepared to emerge defiant from five days of hiding after winning protection from Moscow.

Unidentified armed men were patrolling outside of Crimea’s main airport early Friday while gunmen were also reported to have seized another airfield on the southwest of the peninsula where ethnic Russians are a majority and where pro-Moscow sentiment runs high.

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Western governments have been watching with increasing worry as Kiev’s new pro-EU rulers grapple with dual threats of economic collapse and cession from Russified southern and eastern regions of the divided nation, which had backed fugitive ex-president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week stoked concerns that Moscow might use its military might to sway the outcome of Ukraine’s three-month standoff by ordering snap combat drills near its border involving 150,000 troops and nearly 900 tanks.

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Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchynov responded on Thursday by declaring that any movement of Russian troops out of their Black Sea bases in Crimea “will be considered as military aggression“.

US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to relieve diplomatic pressure that has increasingly assumed Cold War overtones by announcing that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured him that Moscow “will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Putin also appeared to take a more conciliatory approach late on Thursday by vowing to work on improving trade ties with Ukraine and promising to support international efforts to provide Kiev with funds that could keep it from declaring a debt default as early as next week.

Yet tensions continued to soar by the hour in the Russian-speaking Crimea – a scenic Black Sea peninsula that has housed Kremlin navies for nearly 250 years and was handed to Ukraine as a symbolic gift by a Soviet leader in 1954.

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Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov accused the Russian armed forces of being directly involved in armed dawn raids on an airport in Crimea’s main city of Simferopol as well as an airfield on the southwestern coast.

AFP reporters saw dozens of men armed with Kalashnikovs encircle the Simferopol airport on Friday morning after reports suggested that they had briefly seized control of its runway.

An administrator told AFP the “airport was operating normally” on Friday morning despite the presence of the armed men in battle fatigues.

Several supporters of the apparently pro-Russian gunmen said the armed men arrived after reports that members of the country’s new pro-EU government were planning to fly to Simferopol.

Unconfirmed reports by Ukrainian media said armed men had also seized the Belbek airfield near the city of Sevastopol, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

Avakov accused the Russian armed forces of being behind both incidents.

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He said gunmen at the Simferopol airport “are not even hiding the fact that they belong to the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”

The interior minister added that the Belbek airfield was “blockaded by military units of the Russian navy.”

“I consider what is happening to be an armed invasion and an occupation,” Avakov said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

But Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying that the Belbek air field was under the control of local pro-Russian self-defence units who had no links to the Black Sea fleet.

The peninsula of nearly two million people has been in crisis since dozens of pro-Kremlin gunmen seized and raised the Russian flag over Crimea’s parliament and government buildings on Wednesday.

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Crimean lawmakers appointed Russian Unity party member Sergiy Aksyonov as regional premier in place of Kiev-allied Anatoliy Mohilyov in a vote held late on Thursday under the watchful eye of the pro-Kremlin militia.

Aksyonov said on Friday that he still recognised Yanukovych as Ukraine’s legitimate head of state.

The fugitive leader had not been seen since making a brief taped television appearance last Saturday that was aired only hours before parliament stripped him of power for a week of carnage in Kiev that claimed nearly 100 lives.

Ukraine’s bloodiest crisis since its 1991 independence erupted in November when Yanukovych made the shock decision to ditch an EU trade pact in favour of closer ties with old master Russia.

The 63-year-old fugitive issued a statement to Russian news agencies from an undisclosed location on Thursday announcing that he was “compelled to ask the Russian Federation to ensure (his) personal security.”

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A source later told the same agencies that Yanukovych’s request for protection “was satisfied on Russian territory.”

The ousted leader is now expected to appear before the media at 1300 GMT in Rostov-on-Don – a Russian city less than two hours’ drive from the Ukrainian border.

Yet his personal problems do not appear to be over even if Yanukovych pronounces himself to be the head of a Ukrainian government in exile.

Switzerland said on Thursday said it was prepared to freeze any funds the Yanukovych family might have in the Alpine country’s banks.

It is unclear whether Yanukovych himself has funds in Switzerland. But his 40-year-old son Olexandr opened a branch of his Management Assets Company (MAKO) in Geneva in late 2011.

The Swiss weekly L’Hebdo estimates that Olexandr had amassed a personal fortune of around half a billion dollars (365 million euros) in the past three years alone.

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Ukraine’s new leaders meanwhile are suffering from Moscow’s decision to freeze a $15-billion bailout package Putin promised to Yanukovych.

The leadership in Kiev won some reprieve when Kerry promised quick delivery of $1 billion in loan guarantees “with some other pieces” to follow.

Kerry said the EU was looking at loan guarantees worth some $1.5 billion for the nation of 46 million people.

Any aid would probably be funnelled through a mechanism overseen by the International Monetary Fund which had frozen its assistance programme because of Yanukovych’s refusal to make painful structural changes.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde promised Thursday to send a fact-finding mission to Kiev in the coming days to launch a “preliminary dialogue with the authorities”.

But Fitch Ratings warned on Friday that Ukraine’s new leaders “may struggle to regain confidence and meet policy conditions attached to IMF lending.”

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Pro-Russian Forces Seize Crimean Parliament Building – Hot Air

Tensions have rapidly increased in Crimea, where ethnic Russians look east toward Moscow rather that north toward Kyiv for their heritage, and perhaps destiny. After several days of unrest in which the Crimean regional parliament declined to seek separation from the new government of Ukraine, several armed men seized the building and hoisted the Russian flag onto the roof. The new government in Kyiv warned Russia to keep its military forces in its Crimean base within the confines of the facility:

Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.

“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression.”

In response, Russian military jets began patrols near the Ukraine border, in addition to keeping its ground forces on alert status:

- Russian fighter jets were patrolling the airspace on their side of the border with Ukraine, and Russia’s military remained on alert. “Constant air patrols are being carried out by fighter jets in the border regions,” Interfax reported, quoting a Russian ministry statement. “From the moment they received the signal to be on high alert, the air force in the western military region left for the… air bases.” (Reuters)

- Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, “warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea ‘will be considered a military aggression.’ ” (AP)

Also according to the AP, the now-deposed Viktor Yanukovich has surfaced in Moscow after disappearing from Kyiv. Yanukovich reportedly tried to get across the border almost immediately after fleeing the capital, but was prevented from flying out of Kharkiv by border guards. An arrest warrant for mass murder was issued shortly afterward, but Yanukovich had gone underground by that time. The AP update briefly notes that a Russian official announced that Yanukovich had asked for protection from Moscow and gotten it.

Yanukovich also declared himself the rightful head of state for Ukraine:

Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still president of Ukraine and warned its “illegitimate” rulers that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept mob rule.

In a statement sent to Russian news agencies from an unknown location, Yanukovich railed against the “extremists” who had stolen power in Ukraine, threatened violence against himself and his closest aides and passed “illegal” laws…

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said he had no information and could not comment on Yanukovich’s statement.

Put this together and it looks like a pretext for action on Putin’s part. For the moment, he’s still playing his cards close to the vest; he’s agreed to sit down for IMF discussions on a Ukraine bailout to take the place of the one Putin suspended, for instance. Yanukovich is simply a clown show, though, as his credibility in Ukraine is shot, and Putin knows it. The Crimean peninsula will be the flashpoint for any action, and it’s not long odds on Ukraine losing it, either diplomatically or otherwise. The new government in Kyiv can’t sustain a war against Russia, and the EU won’t attack Putin on their behalf. They could well isolate Putin economically, though, and he knows it, especially if they begin buying natural gas from the US or developing their own through expanded fracking.

Update: The Ukrainian parliament has officially chosen its new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who received 371 out of 450 votes. Yatsenyuk declared that Ukraine’s future is in the EU, but we’ll see what Russia has to say about that.

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Your Daley Gator Ukrainian Revolution News Roundup (Pictures)

House Fit For A Tyrant: Protestors Storm The Sprawling, Luxury Estate Of Ukraine’s Fugitive President Which Has Its Own Private Zoo, Golf Course And Is Half The Size Of Monaco – Daily Mail

A beautiful forested estate of graceful waterways, summer houses and exotic gardens.

This is the home of Ukraine’s fugitive president, who was dramatically ousted from power after one of the worst periods of violence in the country’s history.

Ukraniains streamed to see Viktor Yanukovich’s luxury estate, which has been closed off to the world for nearly a decade, and rubbed their eyes in disbelief when they were confronted by the scale of the opulence he built around him.

The property in Mezhyhirya, an hours drive from Kiev, has a golf course, helicopter pad and is situated in a country where the average salary is less than £300 a month.

Below the house, a garage is filled with classic sports cars worth millions, while in the exotic gardens Australian and African ostriches stretch their legs.

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Yanukovich, 63, who fled into hiding on Saturday as the turmoil of three months confrontation with his people caught up with him, relaxed at weekends in luxury behind high walls patrolled by scores of security guards.

When the dream ended and Yanukovich’s staff fled the Gatsby-like mansion in the early hours of Saturday, the Kiev protest movement that had opposed him invited Ukrainians to go to see the opulence Yanukovich lived in.

As they poured in their thousands, by foot and by car, onto the 140-hectare grounds for a first glimpse at a luxury they could only suspect, Ukrainians gawped in wonderment at the fairytale surroundings.

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What they saw reflected more the inflated dreams of a Middle East potentate – with all the attendant obsessions with security – rather than a rough-hewn man from the gritty eastern Ukraine who got to the top the hard way.

Yanukovich bought a small house on the plot at the start of his presidency in 2010. Subsequently, according to local media, he acquired control of the full estate which exists today through a chain of companies with which he had close interests.

Beyond a five-floor Russian-style house – some said it was his guest house – a stone staircase opened up to a landscaped vista of water features, arboreal walkways and tree-lined avenues stretching into the distance.

Few people – apart from Yanukovich’s chosen few and family – have visited a secret place which has been charted by satellite images that show a helicopter pad and a golf course.

With Yanukovich obsessed by security and fear of attack, they had to leave their mobile phones at the entrance to the grounds and pick them up only on leaving, locals said.

‘This is a monument to a tyrant which we want to show the people,’ said Eduard Leonov, a parliamentary deputy from the far-right nationalist Svoboda party.

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Graeco-Roman statues – a Goddess covering her modesty with her hair, lovers intertwined – decorated the lawns. Ornate ponds – half frozen on Saturday – nonetheless bubbled with water being pumped through them. Love-seats and colonnaded meeting places dot the estate.

There is a Russian bath-house – closed to the public on Saturday with an opposition protester’s helmet on a chair across the door. On a hilltop, looking down on the Dnipro river through trees, was a plaza for a barbecue.

Families and lovers out for a different sort of Sunday afternoon excursion, posed for family album snaps at a once-in-a lifetime occasion.

Most shook their heads in wonderment at the ambitions of a president who had always proclaimed that he was on the side of the poor people of Ukraine.

‘We did not expect anything like this. It is really extensive and all done with our money, the money of ordinary people. It really is too much for one person. It’s very emotional when you see something like this,’ said Serhiy Remezovsky, who had brought his wife and nine-month old son.

Ukrainian opposition icon and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko spoke to supporters at a Kiev protest camp just hours after being released from a hospital where she was incarcerated.

She arrived on stage in Kiev in a wheelchair and looked frail as she addressed thousands of demonstrators who had packed into Independence Square.

Tymoshenko, heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, is the chief rival of President Viktor Yanukovych.

His rule is crumbling after protesters took control of the capital Saturday and parliament voted to remove him from power.

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You are heroes, you are the best thing in Ukraine’ she said of those killed in the violence, looking tired and speaking from a wheelchair as she addressed the euphoric crowd.

She also congratulated the protestors for ‘removing the cancer from Ukraine’ and demanded the ousted President Yanukovych be brought to Independence Square.

‘This is your victory, no politicians could do what you have done,’ she said.

‘This country is now free, you have given this country its freedom.

‘You have removed this cancer from our country. I am convinced that any bullet shot through the heart of the people went through the heart of each Ukrainian.

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Upon her release, Tymoshenko promised to run for president and immediately went to Kiev’s Independence Square.

‘When I came to Kiev the first thing I wanted to do was come to the barricades,’ she added.

‘I wanted to feel the feelings that had all these boys and girls on the barricades had been through.

‘All the people responsible will be brought to justice.’

The appearance brought Tymoshenko back to the square where she attracted world attention in the 2004 Orange Revolution protests, a riveting figure then for her rhetoric, her elaborate blond peasant braid and her fashionable clothing.

The square has been the nucleus of a three-month protest movement that pushed Yanukovych to major concessions this week.

Parliament arranged the release of the current President Viktor Yanukovych’s arch-rival, who has been imprisoned since 2011, but the president said he would not recognize any of the lawmakers’ decisions as valid.

Her release will send shockwaves through Ukrainian politics, at a moment of deep turmoil following the worst unrest in the sprawling country since the days of the Soviet Union.

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Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation’s three-month political crisis.

They were seen demanding the resignation of their president and attacking politicians, a move which President Victor Yanukovych branded ‘a coup’ and likened it to the rise of Nazis in the 1930s.

Viktor Yanukovych also says he has no intention of resigning or leaving the country. Hours after he and opposition leaders signed an agreement aimed at resolving the country’s turmoil yesterday, Mr Yanukovych went to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, the heartland of his support.

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On Saturday, he made the coup accusation in a televised statement.

The opposition has demanded a new election be held by May 25, as the pro-Russian leader’s grip on power rapidly eroded following bloodshed in the capital.

The nation’s embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, reportedly had fled the capital for his support base in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning east.

Ukraine’s border guard service said that a leading governor and a mayor from the president’s eastern base have fled to Russia.

A spokesman for the border guard service, Oleh Slobodyan, said Kharkiv regional governor Mikhaylo Dobkin and Kharkiv Mayor Hennady Kernes left Ukraine across the nearby Russian border.

Both are top allies of President Viktor Yanukovych, whose rule appeared increasingly under question after protesters took over the capital and parliament voted to remove him.

There are fears that Ukraine might split in two, creating a Russian-leaning east and Europe-leaning west.

Police abandoned posts around the capital, and protesters took up positions around the presidential office and residence.

Parliament discussed voting on impeaching Yanukovych and setting a quick date for new elections to end a crisis over Ukraine’s identity and future direction.

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Yanukovych’s whereabouts were unclear Saturday morning. Media outlets reported that he left Kiev for his native eastern Ukraine after surrendering much of his powers and agreeing to early elections by the end of the year.

But despite the promise of an election and significant concessions, protesters blame him for police violence and amassing too many powers and want him ousted immediately.

At a special parliament session on Saturday, Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party, called for discussion of impeachment.

The parliament speaker – Yanukovych ally Volodymyr Rybak – announced resignation, citing ill health as the reason.

The president’s representative in parliament warned against splitting the country in two, an outcome that worries many but is increasingly seeming a possibility.

The country’s western regions want to be closer to the EU and have rejected Yanukovych’s authority in many cities, while eastern Ukraine – which accounts for the bulk of the nation’s economic output – favors closer ties with Russia.

The president’s concessions came as part of a deal intended to end violence that killed scores and left hundreds wounded in Kiev this week as snipers opened fire on protesters. It was the worst violence in Ukraine’s modern history.

Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the protest camp on Independence Square, known as the Maidan, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Yanukovych fled for Kharkiv, the center of Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Kharkiv was the capital of Soviet Ukraine from 1919-1934.

The claims of the president’s departure could not be immediately confirmed, however.

A group of protesters in helmets and shields stood guard at the president’s office, with few police in sight.

Protesters booed opposition figures who took to a stage last night to present their deal with the president, which cuts Yanukovych’s powers.

‘Death to the criminal!’ some chanted, referring to Yanukovych.

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Ukraine Parliament Votes To Remove President – USA Today

Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday, even as the embattled leader remained defiant, calling the country’s political crisis a “coup” and saying he has no intention of resigning or leaving the country.

“They are trying to scare me. I have no intention to leave the country. I am not going to resign, I’m the legitimately elected president,” Yanukovych said in a televised statement. “What we see today is a coup – I did everything to prevent the bloodshed. We adopted two amnesty laws. We did everything to stabilize the political situation.”

“I will do everything to protect my country from breakup, to stop bloodshed,” he added.

In the vote, parliament also moved to have early elections on May 25. In a deal brokered Friday to stop the violence, early elections were set for December.

Lawmakers said the move to impeach was necessary. “Yanukovych is not capable of fulfilling his presidential duties,” said opposition lawmaker Oleh Lyashko. Lawmakers will also consider banning the president from running in upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, imprisoned opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released Saturday after spending 2 1/2 years in prison.

Hours after her release, the 53-year-old Tymoshenko spoke to a crowd gathered at Independence Square.

“No one could do what you have done, eliminate a tumor,” she said “A dictator is gone and you are the heroes, you are the best of Ukraine. But you may not leave here until you finish the job and we go all the way.”

“And now every person in our country must get the kind of life that these people died for,” she added, referring to the dozens of protesters killed over the past week by government forces. “I believe in Ukraine.”

On Saturday, the Health Ministry said the death toll in clashes between protesters and police had reached 82. Earlier, as many as 100 were reported killed.

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Ukraine’s New Leaders Order Arrest Of Former President Yanukovych – Fox News

Ukraine’s acting government announced Monday that an arrest warrant has been issued for the country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown.

In a statement on his official Facebook page, acting interior minister Arsen Avakhov wrote that Yanukovych and several other officials were wanted on charges of “mass killing of civilians” in violence that engulfed Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, earlier this week. At least 82 people, most of them protesters, were killed in clashes with members of the police and security forces. Some of the dead were shot by snipers in strategic positions overlooking the main protest camp in Kiev’s Independence Square.

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and cracked down on protesters.

Avakhov said Yanukovych arrived in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea on Sunday and relinquished his official security detail before driving off to an unknown location.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said earlier Monday that they have no information about the whereabouts of Yanukovych, who reportedly was seen in the port city of Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

After signing an agreement with the opposition to end a conflict that turned deadly, Yanukovych fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s border service said he tried to fly out of the country Saturday from Donetsk but was stopped by their officials.

Opposition lawmaker Volodym Kurennoy said on his Facebook page that he had unconfirmed information that the president had been arrested in Crimea. Ukrainain news portal Liga.net also reported that Sevastopol residents saw Yanukovych in the company of Russian marines.

But the claims could not be independently verified, and spokespersons for the regional and national Interior Ministry and Security Service said Monday they had no such information.

Avakhov published a letter that he said was from Yanukovych, dated Monday, in which he gives up his security guard. Yanukovych’s aides and spokespeople could not be reached Monday to verify the reported letter – they have been rapidly distancing themselves from him as his hold on power disintegrates.

Yanukovych set off a wave of protests by shelving an agreement with the EU in November and turning toward Russia, and the movement quickly expanded its grievances to corruption, human rights abuses and calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.

“We must find Yanukovych and put him on trial,” said protester Leonid Shovtak, a 50-year-old farmer from the western Ivano-Frankivsk region who came to Kiev’s Independence Square to take part in the three-month protest movement. “All the criminals with him should be in prison.”

The acting finance minister said Monday that the country needs $35 billion (25.5 billion euros) to finance government needs this year and next and expressed hope that Europe or the United States would help.

“The state treasury has been torn apart, the country has been brought to bankruptcy,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a protest leader and prominent lawmaker whose name is being floated as a possibility for prime minister, said in parliament Monday.

The speaker of parliament, Oleksandr Turchinov, assumed the president’s powers Sunday, but a presidential aide told the AP on Sunday that Yanukovych plans to stay in power. Turchinov said Monday that he hopes to form a coalition government by Tuesday.

But emotions are running high among the country’s rival parties. When a leading member of Yanukovych’s party, Oleksandr Efremov, told parliament Monday that he was crossing over to the opposition, an opposition lawmaker got up and waved his fist in Efremov’s face, showering him with insults.

Russia’s prime minister said the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities is questionable.

Dmitry Medvedev said Monday, according to Russian news agencies, that the new authorities have come to power as a result of “armed mutiny,” so their legitimacy is causing “big doubts.”

He said that Russia doesn’t know with whom to communicate in Ukraine, and criticized the West for recognizing the new authorities following the ouster of Yanukovych.

Tensions have also been mounting in Crimea, where pro-Russian protesters gathered in front of city hall in the port of Sevastopol on Monday chanting “Russia! Russia!” Russia maintains a big naval base in Sevastopol that has tangled relations between the countries for two decades. The head of the city administration in Sevastopol quit Monday.

Turchinov has said that top priorities include saving the economy and “returning to the path of European integration,” according to news agencies. The latter phrase is certain to displease Moscow, which wants Ukraine to be part of a customs union that would rival the EU and bolster Russia’s influence. Russia granted Ukraine a $15 billion bailout after Yanukovych backed away from the EU deal.

U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said the U.S. is ready to help Ukraine get aid from the International Monetary Fund.

The European Union, meanwhile, is reviving efforts to strike a deal with Ukraine that could involve billions of euros in economic perks. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is visiting Kiev on Monday and Tuesday.

The protest movement has been in large part a fight for the country’s economic future – for better jobs and prosperity.

Ukraine has struggled with corruption, bad government and short-sighted reliance on cheap gas from Russia. Political unrest has pushed up the deficit and sent exchange rates bouncing, and may have pushed the economy back into a recession.

Per capita economic output is only around $7,300, even adjusted for the lower cost of living there, compared to $22,200 in Poland and around $51,700 in the United States. Ukraine ranks 137th worldwide, behind El Salvador, Namibia, and Guyana.

Ukraine has a large potential consumer market, with 46 million people, an educated workforce, and a rich potential export market next door in the EU. It has a significant industrial base and good natural resources, in particular rich farmland.

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Why A New Ukraine Is The Kremlin’s Worst Nightmare – The Independent

The details still need to be decided, but the revolutionaries have won in Ukraine. Some elements of the old regime may survive, but that is precisely why the protesters on the “Maidan” (Kiev’s main square) don’t trust the mainstream politicians who claim to be negotiating on their behalf.

The politicians in suits can do the donkey work – writing a new constitution to improve on the old one they have just restored, and trying to save the collapsing economy. But the Maidan leaders in the fatigues and helmets will set the agenda on justice – dismantling the militia and reworking the corrupt legal system, so that the many guilty end up behind bars. And there are credible reports that the snipers who killed more than 70 on Thursday were based in the government buildings that are already being occupied by protesters combing for evidence. Once the world knows who gave the deadly orders, justice will decapitate the old regime. And the “official” opposition will be radicalised by the need to compete with the moral authority of the Maidan.

All of which is the Kremlin’s worst nightmare. When the protests started back in November they were about a trade deal with the EU. Russia was ecstatic that it had persuaded Ukraine to walk away from that deal, and was picking off the other states in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” programme (Armenia caved in September, Georgia and Moldova were expected to come under enormous pressure in 2014). Russia hoped to drag them into its alternative Eurasian Union instead, which is due to be launched in January 2015.

But this is 10 times worse than Brussels expanding its bureaucracy to Russia’s borders. A real democracy in Ukraine is an existential threat to the entire system that Vladimir Putin has built since 2000. Ironically because Putin is right – most Russians regard Ukraine as a kin state, or not really a different state at all. They are used to stepping in tandem; so if something changes in Ukraine, why not in Russia too? And now the dominoes might fall in the other direction. Other Maidans might appear in other neighbouring states – maybe first in Moldova where the Russia-backed Communist Party was hoping to return to power in elections due in November.

Putin marginalised his own protest movement after the last Russian election cycle. He does not want to see that flare up again. So far, the Russian opposition has been quiet. Few have supported the Ukrainian Maidan, even fewer sound inspired to copy it – for now. But Putin will need to come up with something more convincing than the scattergun propaganda the Russian media has pumped out to date.

None of the favourite Russian myths – the protesters are all crazy nationalists, which is why they are also backed by the Americans, the young guys throwing rocks are really only interested in promoting gay rights – make much sense in the long run.

So the new government in Ukraine, however it’s made up, will be given the briefest of ritualistic honeymoons before Russia uses every instrument at its disposal to try to make it fail. Unfortunately, Russia holds most of the economic cards. Ukraine’s coffers are almost empty, and the old guard is busy looting what is left. It has less than $18bn (£10.9bn) in hard currency reserves, its currency is dropping and immediate debt-repayment needs are more than $10bn.

Russia tied Ukraine to a $15bn bailout deal in December, which is parcelled out by the month to maximise leverage, and periodically suspended whenever the opposition looked like getting the upper hand. But Russia’s real aim was to provide just enough money to support the old semi-authoritarian system (helping Viktor Yanukovych pay the police) and keep Ukrainian society post-Soviet, that is, still dependent on government. So Ukraine’s new leaders will have to be honest and say their aim is to dismantle both. They cannot declare victory now, but will have to plead for popular support during what will be two or three difficult years.

And if the West is serious about an alternative deal, Ukraine needs a lot of money fast. Fortunately, the West would no longer be throwing it down the black hole created by the old regime. Instead the money would support the kind of kamikaze leader Ukraine has never had in the past. Politicians were reluctant to make difficult choices and lose elections, because they’d never get back into power. Now Russia and the old regime will back any populist who promises to keep government subsidies flowing; but an honest kamikaze might just win the long-term credit and at least write his place in the history books.

Russia has talked a lot about its “soft power” in recent years. It isn’t particularly soft. The new Ukraine will pay more for gas, which will be regularly cut off for “technical reasons”. Russia’s crazy “food safety” agency will declare that everything that comes out of Ukraine is radioactive. Ukrainian migrant workers will be sent home now they have finished helping to rebuild Sochi.

Worst of all, Russia will work hard to try to re-corrupt the political system. The Kremlin used to boast that it could exploit Ukraine’s old-style “democracy” – meaning that, just like Yanukovych, they could launch their own puppet parties and buy agents of influence in the honest ones. The Ukrainian Front, a bizarre alliance of hooligans and bikers with a vaguely pan-Slavist ideology that appeared in the eastern city of Kharkiv two weeks ago, was backed by the Russians. Skinheads and sportsmen with the money to spend on propaganda are not a natural combination. Similar groups may pop up in Crimea and elsewhere, where the last elements of the old regime may try and regroup.

But Russia’s ultimate problem is the same as Yanukovych faced. The Kremlin simply can’t understand that protesters would be motivated by ideology rather than by money or foreign support. The Russians were good at manipulating the old system, but dealing with real revolutionaries is a different matter. Ukraine is starting a very bumpy ride.

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