Sunday, November 23, 2014


Russia

Kerry Wants Russia To Do More; Putin, Poroshenko Talk

Luhansk Rebels Defiant After Putin Revokes Right To Use Forcei
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June 25, 2014
In Ukraine's restive Luhansk region, separatist rebels said they would continue their fight with Kyiv, with or without Russian help. President Vladimir Putin on June 24 asked Russia's upper house of parliament to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine. (Reuters)
WATCH: In Ukraine's restive Luhansk region, separatist rebels said they would continue their fight with Kyiv, with or without Russian help.
By RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia must do more to end the crisis in Ukraine.

Kerry said he welcomed the move by Russia's upper house of parliament to cancel the authorization for military intervention in Ukraine, but said that it "can be reversed in 10 minutes and everyone knows that."

Kerry said Russia must take "concrete" steps to resolve the Ukraine crisis

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin must publicly call for pro-Russian separatist rebels to give up their weapons, end Moscow's support for them, and help secure the release of hostages.

Kerry said the shooting down of a Ukrainian helicopter on June 24 was possible because the separatists had Russian weapons.

He said if Putin failed to make real commitments on the ground in Ukraine in the "next days and weeks" will mean tougher sanctions against Russia.

The White House said it was "delighted" with the decision by Russia's upper house.

Senators in the Federation Council voted 153 to 1 on June 25 to revoke the resolution -- adopted in March -- that provided for Russia to use its military forces in Ukraine if needed.

There was no debate on the proposal before the vote.

Putin announced that he had asked the council to withdraw the authorization before going into talks with officials in Austria on June 24, saying the move was meant to support the peace process in Ukraine.

The vote enters into force immediately.

The Federation Council's deputy speaker, Ilyas Umakhanov, said the March 1 resolution allowing Russia to send military forces into Ukraine was the correct move at the correct time.

"Russia confirmed its status as a great power, which independently defines its foreign-policy course, acting out of its national interests," Umakhanov said.

He added that Russian senators were not correcting a mistake by revoking the right to use military force in Ukraine but were "giving our [foreign] colleagues an opportunity to save face and return to a normal working relationship with the Russian parliament."

WATCH: Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference in Vienna on June 24 that his earlier decision to renounce a mandate to send troops into Ukraine did not mean Moscow would stop defending ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.

Putin Vows To 'Always Protect Russians' In Ukrainei
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June 25, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference in Vienna on June 24 that his earlier decision to renounce a mandate to send troops into Ukraine did not mean Moscow would stop defending ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. Putin said Russia would also protect Ukrainians who feel "inseparably connected" to a "broader Russian world." (Reuters)

Meanwhile, Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande held talks via phone in which they discussed Poroshenko's peace plan.

Poroshenko reportedly told the other leaders about the "serious violations" by pro-Russian separatist forces since a unilateral cease-fire by Ukrainian forces began on June 20.

Poroshenko said there had been 52 violations, including the downing of the helicopter that killed all nine people onboard.

Poroshenko had threatened on June 24 to end the cease-fire before it is due to expire on June 27.

Merkel proposed a series of steps to ensure that observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could monitor the cease-fire and the situation along the border.

Russian officials said the four-way conversation among the leaders would continue on June 26.

On June 24, Poroshenko welcomed Putin's move as the "first practical step" taken by Russia to resolve the crisis.

Poroshenko's cease-fire had already been broken by sporadic clashes.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Mykhaylo Koval said on June 25 that Ukraine had lost 142 troops since hostilities with pro-Russian rebels in the east intensified in March.

 

With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP and Reuters

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