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Live Blog: Ukraine In Crisis

October 23, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi on October 24.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi on October 24.

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Final Summary

 

-- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow helped former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee from violent protests in February. It's the first time that Putin has said openly that he helped Yanukovych to escape.

 

-- Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating conflicts around the world by imposing what he called a "unilateral diktat."

 

-- NATO commander U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove says that while there's been "a pretty good withdrawal...make no mistake, there remain Russian forces inside eastern Ukraine."

 

-- The UN says the Ukrainian conflict has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes.

 

-- Sweden says its naval forces have ended their search for "foreign underwater activity" off their coast but insist that "at least one" submarine may have intruded into the waters off Stockholm.

 

-- The Russian ruble slid below 53 to the euro for the first time in history and was approaching 42 to the dollar despite the Russian central bank spending billions to intervene.

 

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv


21:13
October 24, 2014
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Barring any major developments, that ends the live blogging for today.

20:18
October 24, 2014
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From "End Of The Orange-Blue Divide: Ukraine Vote May Produce New Political Landscape" by RFE/RL's Robert Coalson:

When Ukrainians go to the polls on October 26, they seem poised to introduce a new political configuration for the country. And, at the same time, to shatter the old paradigm of a country hopelessly divided between a pro-European west and a Russia-leaning east.

The end of the old Orange-Blue divide is largely the result of the violent separatist conflict raging in Ukraine's east.

"These divisions have been diminished by this war and by the perception among many Russian-speaking Ukrainians, who would have had a positive opinion of [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin a year ago, that this war is actually directed and supported by Russia," says Andreas Umland, a professor at Kyiv's Mohyla Academy. "Even many ethnic Russians who are Ukrainian citizens are now becoming Ukrainian patriots in the full sense of the word."

Read the full article here.

18:57
October 24, 2014
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Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych makes a statement during a news conference in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don on March 11.
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych makes a statement during a news conference in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don on March 11.

Interesting read from Interfax headlined: "Putin Slams Yanukovych's Behavior Before Ouster": 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has slammed the conduct of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych after the  latter signed  a landmark  European Union-brokered  agreement with the then opposition on February 21. 

Speaking at a conference of the Valdai international discussion club, Putin said he had a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama after the signature of the pact, which had guarantees from the foreign ministers of three EU countries behind it. 

"We discussed those matters. We mentioned ways in which we  would help implement that  agreement. Russia made certain commitments, and  I heard my American  counterpart say he was  ready to make certain commitments as well," the Russian president said. 

The same day, Putin said, he had a phone call from Yanukovych,  who said "he believed the situation had stabilized and he was going to go to a conference in Kharkiv." 

"I must admit that I expressed some concern, I asked whether it was a good idea to leave the capital  in such a situation. He  answered that he believed that it was safe  because there was a signed document.  I'll tell you more: I answered him, saying that I doubted it would all be  so well but that  it was his own responsibility -- he was the  president, after all," Putin said. 

He said he had advised Yanukovych not to withdraw security  forces from Kyiv for a while. "He said yes, of course, I realize that. He then went away and ordered all the law enforcement forces  to  be withdrawn from Kyiv. Great performance!" Putin said. 

After that armed  men seized  the headquarters  of the president's office in Kyiv and government and opened fire  on a motorcade in which the prosecutor general was traveling, the Russian leader said. 

Yanukovych then asked to meet with Putin in Rostov-on-Don in Russia because he claimed he didn't want to  be too far from Ukraine.  But then it turned out that Yanukovych wouldn't be able to get to Rostov  because "they started aiming their rifles at him," Putin said. 

As a result, Yanukovych was taken to Crimea and was then helped to flee to Russia, according to Putin.
 

 

18:51
October 24, 2014
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From the German news agency dpa:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused Ukraine of lacking political will to solve the bloody conflict with pro-Russian separatists - just hours after he pleaded for new peace talks.

"We do not see a desire of our partners in Kiev to solve the problem of its relations with the south-east of Ukraine by a peaceful political process," Putin told a conference of international Russia experts in Sochi that was broadcast on television.

The Russian leader warned that any attempt of a forceful solution
will create an impasse. If Ukraine wants to retain its territorial
integrity, it needs to end the war immediately, he said.

18:27
October 24, 2014
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18:27
October 24, 2014
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17:37
October 24, 2014
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Putin has claimed that Crimea being annexed to Russia does not mean that it disrespects Ukraine's sovereignty. "As a result of a government coup supported by our Western partners, the people of Crimea got scared and decided to take care of the future, their own and of their children as well, and used the right to self-determination international law provides for," he said at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, according to Tass. "That does not mean that we disrespect the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state on the whole."

17:24
October 24, 2014
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Putin has responded to a quote attributed to First Deputy Head of The Presidential Administration Vyacheslav Volodin, "If there's Putin, there's Russia, if there's no Putin, there is no Russia."

Putin said,  "Russia fills my whole life and I can't imagine myself without it for a second," according to Tass. "I feel an inner connection with the Russian land and the Russian people and I wouldn't be able to live outside of Russia."

"Russia, of course, can do without someone like me," he said, according to Dozhd.

17:19
October 24, 2014
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Ukraine's Prime Minister has said that Russia's falling economy could harm Ukraine. It is clear that with the [ruble] falling, the Russians will try to sell their goods in Ukraine because there are competitive advantages," said Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Friday.

17:05
October 24, 2014
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"I will not hide, that we helped Yaunkovych move to Crimea," Putin said, according to "Ukrainskaya Pravda."

 

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