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A woman carries a baby as she passes destroyed houses following what locals say was overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces in the eastern town of Slovyansk on June 9.
A woman carries a baby as she passes destroyed houses following what locals say was overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces in the eastern town of Slovyansk on June 9.

Live Blog: Crisis In Ukraine (Archive)

Summary for June 9

-- Ukraine's Foreign Ministry says that Moscow and Kyiv have reached a "mutual understanding" on key parts of a plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko for ending violence in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

-- Reports say up to 20 armed gunmen were trying to seize property from a factory (Topaz) that makes communications and electronic-warfare equipment in the Donetsk region.

-- A deputy foreign minister says Russia will consider any expansion of NATO forces near its borders a "demonstration of hostile intentions" and "take the necessary political and military-technological measures to support our security."

-- A two-man crew for Russian Zvezda TV arrived in Moscow after being released from detention in Ukraine.

-- Serbian officials say their own work on the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline will have to be suspended after Bulgaria stopped construction of its portion based on EU and U.S. concerns.

-- Ukrainian security forces are reportedly still battling pro-Russian separatists in the east near Slovyansk and Donetsk.

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv
08:55 13.5.2014
Good morning. We're starting up the live blog for another day. See the summary above for a quick rundown of the latest news. Or to see how yesterday unfolded, the day after the widely disputed referendums in eastern Ukraine, check out the previous live blog.
09:26 13.5.2014
Crimea's de facto prosecutor-general, Natalya Poklonskaya, who became an Internet sensation/meme, is one of those targeted by new EU sanctions.
09:54 13.5.2014
11:53 13.5.2014
Meet the Donetsk election commission:
11:59 13.5.2014
12:00 13.5.2014
12:03 13.5.2014
12:04 13.5.2014
Power Vertical Podcast regular Mark Geleotti has been looking at how much influence Moscow is wielding over the unrest in the east:
...this is certainly not a campaign carefully planned in the bowels of the General Staff building on Znamenka Street in Moscow. We saw that with the kidnap of OSCE observers in Kramatorsk, south of Slovyansk, in April. Kremlin special envoy Vladimir Lukin was able to secure their release, but Moscow was taken aback and embarrassed by the incident — and it took over a week for them to be freed.

At the time, the Kremlin tried to play down its control over the rebels. Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said that, "Russia essentially has lost its influence over these people" because he claimed they were fighting for their lives. However, a more dramatic example of this lack of traction came with Putin's unexpected call for the rebels to postpone their referenda on secession from Ukraine.

Local anti-Kyiv leaderships in Donetsk, Lugansk and Slovyansk rejected his appeal and went ahead with their shambolic and illegitimate polls on May 11. Needless to say, overwhelming support for secession was reported.

So what does this mean? The Machiavellian explanation is that this is the kind of shadow play so beloved of the Kremlin's once-and-maybe-future political technologist, Vyacheslav Surkov; a staged maneuver to support Moscow's claims not to be running the rebellion.

There is much to commend this line, but it does overlook one thing: it requires Putin to be willing to make himself look weak, even irrelevant. This is not something he is generally inclined to do, especially in recent times.

So should one accept the Kremlin's narrative at face value, that it is an honest broker trying to bring peace to Ukraine despite the actions of, in Putin's words, "the people who carried out an anti-constitutional seizure of power [in Kyiv], a coup d'état"? Of course not. The Kremlin annexed Crimea and has stirred up trouble from Odessa to Kharkiv.

The truth is, as ever, somewhere in between.

Read the entire article here
12:05 13.5.2014
12:05 13.5.2014

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