Monday, November 24, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: Hybrid Warfare And Russia's New 'Great Game'

Armed pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic pledge an oath during a ceremony in Donetsk on June 21.
Armed pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic pledge an oath during a ceremony in Donetsk on June 21.

An invasion that's not quite an invasion. Operatives who aren't quite troops. Aggression no doubt, albeit aggression with plausible deniability.

We've been in this place before, although it didn't always make international headlines. We were here in the conflicts in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the early 1990s.

We were here in the conflict in Moldova's separatist Transdniester province. We were here dramatically in the run-up to Russia's August 2008 war with Georgia.

And here we are again today, in Ukraine.

It's been called hybrid warfare, asymmetrical warfare, and ambiguous warfare. But warfare it is, and Russia appears to have perfected using it to achieve its geopolitical aims.

The Little Green Men are probably here to stay. Is there any way to counter them?

In the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss this phenomenon and its implications. Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows" and Merhat Sharipzhan, a senior correspondent and analyst with RFE/RL's Central Newsroom.

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast -- June 27, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- June 27, 2014i
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Ukraine,Russia,Power Vertical podcast,Hybrid Warfare

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by: George from: uk
June 27, 2014 17:27
Ref. Yanukovych and Crimea, what of the Crimea medals manufactured before he fled, check the dates imprinted on them, what was behind this?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 27, 2014 17:39
Well, the "Great Game" is much bigger of course than suggested above. What is happening right now is the formation of two global alliances. On the one hand, the traditional but decadent NATO states and their friends (US, UK, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel etc), who are losing influence globally and are hectically trying to save the remnants of the latter by trying to destabilize the states where they do not have influence (such as Venezuela, Libya, Syria or Ukraine).
On the other hand, you have the alliance between Russia and China with a number of smaller states who resist the attmepts of the US to impose their domination on them (such states as Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Ecuador, Cuba, the DPRK, Argentina and many other ones).
So, all in all, pretty much the same trend that one could have observed 100 years ago on the eve of WWI. And the armed conflicts in such failed states as Libya, Iraq or Ukraine are to be understood exactly through the prism of the confrontation between the two mentioned camps: the US desperately tries to achieve at least something in the Middle East and for this reason finances sunni islamic terror in such countries as Iraq and Syria. Russia (and China) do not want to allow the US achieve anything in this region and support the govts who fight against the sunni islamic terror.
In this context, starting the war in Ukraine serves the only US purpose: creating an area of permanent instability on the border to Russia to tie Russia's hand up in this specific area, and then to use the US ability to keep the conflict going (thus creating problems for Russia, obviously) and use it as a bargaining chip. For example, a US argument a couple of months from now may go, "we will stop supporting the Kiew junta in exchange for you (Russia) stopping to support the govt of Bashar in Syria".
So, this is the "Great Game". Transdnistria or Abkhazia are just peanuts in this context really...
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 27, 2014 19:59
Thank you rferl for using my name for your brilliant post.
In Response

by: The False Evgeniy Wiensky
June 29, 2014 20:31
Now we have pretenders? Soon we will have our "time of troubles" here on the comment forum.
In Response

by: America NOT NWO Firster from: USA
June 30, 2014 00:48
Initially peaceful protesters backed by violent activists trained in Baltic states and Poland, with the Poles denying that Svoboda and Right Sector street fighters were trained at their top police academy outside Warsaw well before EuroMaidan:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38297.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDPJ-ucnyPU

Snipers (according to German TV) shooting both sides at Maidan including Berkut riot police who conveniently get away it all, according to Parubiy and Avakov who say they fled to Russia.

Red armband wearing 'pro-Russian provocateurs' who also conveniently escape on May 2, without a single Odessa rioter who fired or hurled a Molotov cocktail into the Trades Union Building getting arrested or indicted. Naturally pro-Maidan PR outlets forget all about the 'red armband wearers' since none of them got arrested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4dJRnI-X8Q

Anglophone Greystone mercs who aren't there despite Russia insisting it has intel that they're America's plausible deniability boots on the ground in Ukraine -- despite footage of Ukrainian National Guardsmen speaking perfect Italian or who can't speak Russian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOw8O0JvW_I

Ads for English-speaking translators with Donbass Battalion that disappear:

https://twitter.com/NinaByzantina/status/483292841138225152

The Erik Prince aka the top military mercenary paymaster of Poland caught in a photograph with Turchinov outside Slovyiansk. Ukrainian aircraft/chopper losses over the Donbass to MANPADS that would likely be impossible to sustain without Polish, Lithuanian or other NATO operating country ground crews and even pilots. A Swedish speaking neo-Nazi named 'Mike' who 'volunteers' with the Azov Battalion. But of course there is no ratline for European fascists to fight on Kiev's side:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKfIn6iOh-E

There is only one way left to fluster the 'little green men' or have a chance in hell of Kiev retaining the Donbass within a federated state. But that would require the ability to unscramble the egg known as a Galicianized or Banderized Ukraine based on an eternal victimhood complex towards Russia and utopian views of what 'Europe' can offer Ukraine after it mercilessly looted and pillaged the PIIGS with no sane basis in economics. Both of which NATO and the US can't accept since they're out to hurt Russia not to save a completely broke, failed Ukraine.

I'm probably wasting my time trying to publish this comment, since RFE/RL will delete whatever doesn't fit the Narrative.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 02, 2014 08:46
Eugenio did it in 2012, for couple of month, when Russian
and Belorussian assassins were poisoning and infecting my
mother and I didn't pay attention to this forums, he put such
comments that one would accuse him for being enemy and
a terrorist, which tried assassinate Putin and Obama and
destroy USA.
After each of such comments, he added another comment,
saying it is not him but I, Konstantin, wrote it under his
name - till my mother was bestially murdered 7/7/2012.
For two weeks I tried save her life in Prosvetarian Hospital,
being threatened my mother be killed as enemies of USA,
wile one of the spies, looking like big British skinhead,
always showing to some German-looking spy something on
internet monitor, as a prove that I was an enemy and my mother and we must be killed. Only after her murder by
nurses and doctors, all of Russian or Russian-Armenian extraction, I found what Eugenio and his accomplices did!
_______________________________________________
Whose mother Eugenio and his partners are going to murder
this time?
He and his partners likely doing it for restoration of Russian,
Austrian, German and British colonial empires.
I am against it, as they assassinating me since I was 4 years
old, in 1947, or at least since secret pact in 1954 among Prussians from Russia, Brits and Bechtel, in which this guys took part.
________________________________________________
By the way, Jewish Levite Lubavich took place in organizing
blackmail and murder of my mother and covering it up.
Just after that Queen of Brits gave them honorary medal!
Got Eugenio medal too, at least from Vienna imperial resurrect?
_______________________________________________
Long live the Queen!
I hope, if all around and under her say she is about to die,
from what I see as normal health elements of age and not too healthy diet and exercise, she would take my advise and with help of modern health science will outlive my mother far beyond 100!
Long live the Queen!
In Response

by: Mark brown from: USA
June 28, 2014 11:53
What a load of nonsense.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 01, 2014 14:19
Let start from Eugenio’s cacophony of “possible deny-ability”.
I heard it since 1950-th on streets from criminal ethnic Russians, melting with other Russian occupiers in non-Russian republics.
______________________________________________
He said "Great Game is much bigger”, as “formation of two global alliances”.
Russia would wish so, divide and rule!
However, game is even bigger than "much bigger"!
In 1954, in little place “Vaduluy Vody”, I happened to be an unwilling witness of pact, of guys like Eugenio, with British and Bechtel, whose son was kidnapped and exchanged for technology make a lot of small A-bombs, personally for ethnic Russia – bomb non-Russian nations - as conquering them to restore Russian colonial empire and repopulation, than divide World with Germany-Austria and Britain.
IT IS THE “GRAET GAME” OF ETHNIC RUSSIA AND GUYS LIKE EUGENIO ARE PLAYING, WITH BAG OF LIES FROM MOSCOW, VIENNA, BERLIN AND LONDON.
______________________________________________
He said “NATO states and their friends (US, UK, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel)” are “losing influence globally” and “destabilize the states (Venezuela, Libya, Syria or Ukraine).
JUST OPPOSTE IS TRUE!
RUSSIA, WITH WAITING FOR RUSSIAN SUCCES AUSTRIA, GERMANY AND BRITAIN, SEE USA AS BICON OF LIGHT THAT PREVENT THEM TO CONQUER THE WORLD, RESTORE SERFS AND REPOPULATE IT BY VARAG, PRUSSAK, NORMAN AND SATRAPS, BABILONIAN SNAKES.
_______________________________________
He said “alliance between Russia and China” and some
“smaller states” resist “US domination on them (Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe, Belarus, Ecuador, Cuba, the DPRK, Argentina).
JUST OPPOSITE IS TRUE!
ALL THIS ALLIES OF RUSSIA ACCEPTED RESTORATION OF EMPIRES, OR JUST USEFULL TO RUSSIAN AGGRESSION, OR PROPAGANDA, OR BOTH.
China encouraged by Russia.
See movie about an emperor that united China, where all other kings with their provinces killed themselves, for one united
Great Empire – it is what Russia wants, all nations kill themselves - so that Great Russia breed in their place!
____________________________________________
USA MAKES ERRORS, BECAUSE RUSSIAN PROXIES,
PROMOTED BY BRITISH, GERMANS AND AUSTRIANS,
CONTROLL USA MEDIA, PRESS, THINK-TANKS AND MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICES WITH APARATUS OF VIOLANCE.
THEY MADE USA START IRAK WAR, KILL HUNDREDS
OF THOUSANDS OF MUSLIM, OPEN THEMSELVES FOR
JIHAD, CHANGE IT BY SUPPORTING "MOSLEM SPRING",
TURNING ON STABLE COUNTRIES OR ONE RACE
DESTROYING ANOTHER, LIKE CAUCASIANS IN SYRIA,
OR SUNNY IN IRAK, OR PUSHTUN IN AFGHANISTAN...
THEY STILL MAKING ERRORS, AS MANIPULATING THEM
IMPERIAL RESURRECTION TRASHING THE WORLD...

(will continue)


by: PermReader
June 28, 2014 17:04
These permanent talkings remind me the anecdote about the theorist who have easily explained the one experimental curve but casually turned it over.When he was told about the mistake he have easily explained the turned over curve agan.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 29, 2014 15:58
Iraq takes delivery of Russian fighter jets - http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraq-takes-delivery-russian-fighter-jets-201462944837214478.html
Just as I was saying: In Iraq the US promotes sunni islamic terrorism with the purpose of removing the pro-Iranian govt of Nuri al-Maliki. Whereas Russia (and Iran) supplies the shia govt of al-Maliki with weapons in order to successfully resist the US-Saudi destabilization attempt. This is the Great Game and the US is going to lose it...
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 02, 2014 09:19
What an march of cannibals-termites-lies of Eugenio!

USA overslept Chaldean South Iraq expanding new empire,
being misguided by Russian controlled USA think-tanks
and propaganda of imperial resurrection, forgetting about
Sunny Arabs in Iraq.
That become a good soil for the "Halifat" army, that started in
1990-th in South Russia, as policy of Russia expanding terror;
Later used by Russian-German-British imperial resurrecting
"archeologists" and rewriting origins of nations "race-war"
Russia against genuine Caucasian majority in Syria;
Than after "Muslem Spring" stumble into Russian base interests and USA understood that the Russians turned the tables again and cooled down, "Halifatists" ran into trouble.
So they moved to Iraq, where injustice for Sunny Arabs presented an opportunity to apply themselves.
Probably Russian, German and British imperial resurrect knew
about it.
The sale by double-face "Starviatnik", Russia, to Iraq of planes
prove not her position - they are hooligans of "gadit'" to everybody, than move through may-ham, like in hokey, driving with their behinds washer into opponent gate -
usually it is USA gate - last hope to save the World from races of imperial Neanderthals, lead by Russia-"naipodleisha",
and their mechanics, like Eugenio.



In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 02, 2014 15:02
Consti, your insightful comment has been too short this time. Please explain your thought at some more length :-)).

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 29, 2014 16:44
Very frankly, judging by today's (Sunday) rally on the Maidan in Kiew, it does look like "Ukraine" is moving at full speed in the direction of an armed confrontation - and this time in Kiew itself. Por - as apparently an adequate person - realizes that "Ukraine" stands no chance of winning the war against the people of Donbass (supported by Russia). And this is the major reason for which he announced the current truce.
But the Right Sector smart guys seem to be completely out of their minds and absolutely want to (judging by their speeches on the Maidan today) continue dragging "Ukraine" into more military confrontation in which it can only lose.
So, at the end of the day - and as long as Por seems to keen on continuing with the ceasefire - the Right Sector will end up trying to depose him the same way they did with Yanek, which will turn Kiew into another Beyrouth, after which the rump "Ukraine" will desintegrate into a conglomerate of de facto independent regions.

by: Mamuka
June 29, 2014 20:30
If the oligarchs and industrialists in Russia were not firmly under the control of Putin (or at least in collusion with him), they might object to these neo-imperialist adventures which could cost them money. In the West, the wealthy power brokers enjoy influence over their goverments, so the situation is reversed: Berlin, Paris, and the mysterious "City of London" prevent decisive action against Moscow for fear of losing money.

Speaking of money, I think that as soon as Putin recoups his losses from Sochi (or as soon as his co-oligarchs are made whole), the expenditures will resume again. Look how much Misha got out of a much smaller pool of oligarchs in Georgia. I do not think that money is a problem for the Kremlin, not when they have decided at the highest levels to pursue a policy. Instead of "managed democracy," perhaps we should call this "managed capitalism."

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 01, 2014 06:53
An addition to your "article" on "desenchanted Russians" who move to Somalia, Iraq, Ukraine and other failed states: it appears that some 400 Russian marines were so desenchanted with the situation that they moved to the French shipyard of Saint-Nazaire with the purpose of getting trained there by French military instructors in order to learn how to use the French-made large troop-transporting ships (Mistral) that France is about to deliver to Russia this year already. Guess in which direction these ships will be transporting the Russian troops :-)).
VIDEO: http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/06/30/actualidad/1404128492_250951.html
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 01, 2014 09:26
VIDEO: 'US fighting alongside ISIS': Direct American role in strengthening jihadists? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jElMqi2AFD8&feature=youtube_gdata_player
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 01, 2014 16:16
PHOTO: here you will find a picture of the French Mistral ship that will be delivered to Russia by France this coming October - http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/russen-sollen-wladiwostok-in-saint-nazaire-kennenlernen-13021031.html
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 02, 2014 15:07
VIDEO: RAW: Russian Sukhoi jets land in Baghdad to boost fight against ISIS - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnXPQsUn8Ak&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The Power Vertical Feed

In this space, I will regularly comment on events in Russia, repost content and tweets I find interesting and informative, and shamelessly promote myself (and others, whose work I like). The traditional Power Vertical Blog remains for larger and more developed items. The Podcast, of course, will continue to appear every Friday. I hope you find the new Power Vertical Feed to be a useful resource and welcome your feedback. More

19:16 November 21, 2014

POWER VERTICAL PODCAST: A YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we use the one-year anniversary of the Euromaidan uprising to look at how it changed both Ukraine and Russia. My guests are Sean Guillory and Alexander Motyl.

09:14 November 21, 2014
09:11 November 21, 2014

AND AS TENSIONS RISE IN THE BALTICS...

09:09 November 21, 2014

MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

UKRAINE MARKS START OF EUROMAIDAN PROTESTS WITH NEW HOLIDAY
By RFE/RL
Ukrainians are marking a new national holiday on November 21 -- the anniversary of the start of Kyiv’s Euromaidan protests that led to the ouster of the country’s former pro-Kremlin regime.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed decree on November 13 that declared the holiday for annual “Day of Dignity and Freedom” celebrations.
The protests began with a few hundred people who met spontaneously on a vast square in central Kyiv of November 21, 2013 – disappointed by then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of a landmark deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
After that first night, as the protests quickly swelled to tens of thousands of demonstrators, brutal police efforts to disperse the crowds with batons and teargas backfired.
As the crowds got bigger, the protesters began to call for Yanukovych’s ouster – which came in February 2014 after more than 100 people were killed in clashes with police that failed to end the demonstrations.

BIDEN TO MEET UKRAINIAN LEADERS, ANNOUNCE NONLETHAL U.S. AID
By RFE/RL
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was expected to announce an increase in nonlethal U.S. military assistance to Ukraine on November 21 as he meets in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The talks come on the first anniversary of the start of the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv that toppled Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin regime.
As Biden arrived in Kyiv on the evening of November 20, U.S. officials told reporters that he will announce the delivery of Humvee transport vehicles that are now in the Pentagon’s inventory of excess supplies.
They said Biden also would announce the delivery of previously promised radar units that can detect the location of enemy mortars.
The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not specify a dollar value for the assistance. 
Russia on November 20 warned the United States not to supply weapons to Ukrainian forces.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich cautioned against "a major change in policy of the (U.S.) administration in regard to the conflict" in Ukraine. 
He was commenting on remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama's choice to fill the number two spot at the State Department, Anthony Blinken, who told a congressional hearing on November 19 that lethal assistance "remains on the table. It's something that we're looking at."
The U.S. State Department's Director of Press Relations Jeffrey Rathke on November 20 told reporters that "our position on lethal aid hasn't changed. Nothing is off the table and we continue to believe there's no military solution."
He added, "But, in light of Russia's actions as the nominee mentioned [on November 19] in his testimony, as he indicated, this is something that we should be looking at."
The aid expected to be announced by Biden on November 20 falls short of what the Ukrainian president requested during a visit to Washington in September when he appealed for lethal aid - a request echoed by some U.S. lawmakers in response to what NATO allies say is Russia's movement of tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine.
In September, Washington promised Ukraine $53 million in aid for military gear that includes the mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars, small boats, and other nonlethal equipment for Ukrainian security forces and border guards in the east.
The United States and its European allies have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia for its seizure of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine.
(With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and TASS)

RUSSIAN OLYMPIAN CHARGED WITH SPOUSAL ABUSE IN UNITED STATES
Russian Olympian hockey player Slava Voynov – who plays with the Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey team – has been charged with felony domestic violence against his wife.
Voynov faces one felony count of spouse abuse with a maximum penalty of nine years in prison. If convicted, he also could be deported.
Prosecutors say Voynov “caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, check, and neck” during an argument at their home in October.
Voynov has been suspended from the NHL since his arrest early on October 20 at a California hospital where he took his wife for treatment.
Voynov’s attorney, Craig Renetzky, says his client didn’t hit his wife.
Renetzky blames the charges on a misunderstanding between police and Voynov’s wife, who speaks very little English.
Voynov – who played on Russia’s team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics -- faces arraignment on December 1.
(Based on reporting by AP and Reuters)

NATO: RUSSIAN ACTIVITY IN BALTICS POSES RISK
NATO says Russia's growing military presence in the skies above the Baltic region is unjustified and poses a risk to civil aviation.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Tallinn on November 20 that the aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers and also fly with their transponders off.
Speaking at the Amari air base, he said alliance fighters have intercepted planes more than 100 times in the Baltic region alone so far this year, a threefold increase over 2013. 
He did not say how many of the intercepted aircraft were Russian.
Stoltenberg also said that, overall, NATO aircraft have conducted 400 intercepts to protect the airspace of its European alliance members in 2014 -- an increase of 50 percent over last year.
(Based on reporting by AP and AFP)

 

16:55 November 19, 2014

MORE ON THE SOURCES OF RUSSIAN ANTI-AMERICANISM

Konstantin Eggert has a commentary in "Kommersant" on Russia's anti-Americanism. He opens like this:

"Sometimes I have this feeling that there are only two countries in the world - Russia and the United States. Of course, there is Ukraine, but it either to join us or the Americas. Russian politicians and state television are constantly in search of the 'American hand' in all spheres of our life. In Soviet times, the United States was formally considered to be our number one military and ideological enemy. But even then it didn't occupy such a large space in the minds of the political leadership and citizens. And the paradox is that, on one hand, officials and the media regularly talk about the decline of America as a great power, and on the other declare it to be the source of all evil in the world. This contradiction does not seem to disturb anybody."

And closes like this:

We still have not been able to use the opportunity that we were given with the collapse of the communist regime - to arrange our lives based on liberty and civic virtue. And today, we, as a people, want to go back to the starting point, to beat everyone. And the Soviet Union, with its absence of sausage and freedom, again suddenly seems sweet and dear. But it won't happen. I will put it banally: you can't go into the same river twice.

Read the whole thing here (in Russian, with audio)

15:53 November 19, 2014

UNDERSTANDING THE INFORMATION WAR

MIchael Weiss, editor-in-chief of The Interpreter magazine, appearing on Hromadske TV to talk about Russia's information war.

Michael and Peter Pomarantsev recently co-authored an excellent report "The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money." Both also appeared recently on The Power Vertical Podcast to discuss the report.

15:42 November 19, 2014

WHY IS PUTIN PICKING A FIGHT WITH THE U.S.?

Oleg Kosyrev has a snarky and clever blog post on the subject up on the Ekho Moskvy website. 

1) The United States is the ideal opponent. "It is big and strong and your self-esteem increases when you fight somebody really influential."

2) The United States is not fighting with Russia. "They aren't really interested. They have enough of their own problems and dreams. It's nice to fight somebody who is not fighting you."

3) It is a substitute for the authorities' inability to benefit Russians. "How convenient. Who is to blame for rising food and gas prices? The U.S.A.. Who is to blame for the fact that Russian has political prisoners? The U.S.A. Who is to blame for people demonstrating on the streets? The U.S.A. Who is to blame for the fact that independent international courts denounce the Russian court system? The U.S.A. You can even blame the U.S. for the fact that the light doesn't work in the entrance to your apartment building."

Read it all (in Russian) here.

15:23 November 19, 2014

UKRAINE SAYS MHI7 SHOT DOWN BY RUSSIAN CREW

14:47 November 19, 2014

AFTERNOON NEWS ROUNDUP: THE SEQUEL

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

KYIV, WEST SAY RUSSIA CANNOT BAR UKRAINE FROM NATO

Ukraine says it will not tolerate pressure from any other country over whether or not it seeks to join NATO.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyynis spoke made the remark to reporters in Kyiv on November 19, after the BBC quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying in an interview that Moscow wants "a 100 percent guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO."

Hitting back with a reference to Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Perebyynis said Kyiv would like guarantees that Moscow will not interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs, send in troops, or annex Ukrainian territories. 

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, told journalists on November 19 that any decision on seeking to join NATO could be made only by the Ukrainian people, not by Russia, Europe, ar the United States.

The Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Roman Waschuk, made a similar statement on November 19.

(Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax)

PUTIN TELLS U.S. ENVOY TIES MUST BE BASED ON EQUALITY

President Vladimir Putin says that Russia is ready for cooperation with the United States as long as Washington treats Moscow as an equal, respect its interests, and refrains from interfering in its affairs.

Putin spoke November 19 at a Kremlin ceremony during which he received the credentials of foreign envoys including John Tefft, the new U.S. Ambassador to Moscow.

Putin said, "We are ready for practical cooperation with our American partners in various fields, based on the principles of respect for each other's interests, equal rights and non-interference in internal matters." 

The remark echoed a formula Putin set out in a foreign policy decree at the start of his third term in 2012.

Tefft, 64, is a career diplomat who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania. 

His posting starts at a time when ties are badly strained over the Ukraine crisis. 

Tefft replaces Michael McFaul, who was ambassador from January 2012 until February 2014. 

(Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS)

RUSSIA SAYS 2010 NUCLEAR ARMS PACT STILL IN RUSSIA'S INTERESTS

By RFE/RL

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has signaled that a landmark nuclear arms treaty with the United States is not in jeopardy despite severe tension over Ukraine.

Speaking to Russian lawmakers on November 19, Lavrov said the 2010 New START treaty "meets our basic strategic interests and, on condition of its observance by the United States, we are interested in its full implementation."

The treaty, one of the main products of President Barack Obama's first-term "reset" of ties with Russia, requires Russia and the United States to have their long-range nuclear arsenals under specific ceilings by 2018.

But Lavrov said the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which President Vladimir Putin suspended in 2007, is "dead" for Moscow. 

NATO has refused to ratify a revised version of the CFE treaty without a full withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova and Georgia.

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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It covers emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or