Olduvaiblog: Musings on the coming collapse

Home » 2014 » March » 07 (Page 3)

Daily Archives: March 7, 2014

China Sides With Russia On Sanctions; Ambassador Warns “Western Nations Would Be Hurting Themselves” | Zero Hedge

China Sides With Russia On Sanctions; Ambassador Warns “Western Nations Would Be Hurting Themselves” | Zero Hedge.

Amid a Russian spokesperson “hoping” tensions do not escalate into a new cold war with the US, China has come out (perhaps unsurprisingly) on Russia’s side strongly condemning any sanctions:

“China has consistently opposed the easy use of sanctions in international relations, or using sanctions as a threat.”

The comments from China’s Foreign Ministry reflect the country’s close ties with Russia and confirm what Russia’s ambassador to Canada noted, we “can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions,” adding that “Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions.”


Some cryptic words this morning:

  • WESTERN STATEMENTS ON UKRAINE MAKE US THINK OF TASKS, MEANS AND SACRIFICE THEY ARE WILLING TO MAKE – RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
  • *PESKOV HOPING FOR COMMON GROUND WITH WEST ON UKRAINE: RIA
  • *PUTIN SPOKESMAN DOESN’T SEE NEW COLD WAR, RIA SAYS

Furthermore, as The Globe and Mail reports, it is clear the Russians have a plan…

Russia’s ambassador to Canada says he was surprised no one bothered to speak with him about the crisis in Ukraine before he received a diplomatic dressing-down last Saturday, and added his country can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Globe and Mail, Georgiy Mamedov insisted Russia wants to see the crisis in Ukraine resolved peacefully.

And he said Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions or make good on warnings that they could boot Russia out of the G8.

Vladimir Putin Ignores Ukraine Warnings From Obama

Vladimir Putin Ignores Ukraine Warnings From Obama.

WASHINGTON – One by one, President Barack Obama’s warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be speeding up efforts to formally stake his claim to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

In the week since Obama first declared there would be “costs” if Putin pressed into Crimea, Russian forces have taken control of the region and a referendum has been scheduled to decide its future. Obama declared the March 16 vote a violation of international law, but in a region where ethnic Russians are the majority, the referendum seems likely to become another barrier to White House efforts to compel Putin to pull his forces from Crimea.

“The referendum vote is going to serve for Putin, in his mind, as the credibility and legitimacy of Russia’s presence there,” said Andrew Kuchins, the director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

If Crimea votes to join Russia, the referendum could also put Obama in the awkward position of opposing the outcome of a popular vote.

The White House has tried to match Russia’s assertive posture by moving quickly to impose financial sanctions and travel bans on Russians and other opponents of Ukraine’s new central government. U.S. officials have also urgently tried to rally the international community around the notion that Russia’s military maneuvers in Crimea are illegal, even seeking support from China, Moscow’s frequent ally against the West.

“I am confident that we are moving forward together, united in our determination to oppose actions that violate international law and to support the government and people of Ukraine,” Obama said Thursday.

The European Union also announced Thursday that it was suspending talks with Putin’s government on a wide-ranging economic agreement and on granting Russian citizens visa-free travel within the 28-nation bloc — a long-standing Russian objective.

The White House says it still believes a diplomatic solution to the dispute with Russia is possible. Obama spoke with Putin for more than an hour Thursday, outlining a potential resolution that would include Russia pulling its forces back in Crimea and direct talks between the Kremlin and Ukraine.

But the fast-moving developments in Crimea may mean that the ultimate question facing Obama is not be what the U.S. can do to stop Russia from taking control of Crimea, but what kind of relationship Washington can have with Moscow should that occur.

White House advisers insist the U.S. could not go back to a business as usual approach with Russia if Moscow were to annex Crimea or recognize its independence. But that may be seen as empty threat to the Kremlin after the U.S., as well as Europe, did just that in 2008 after Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway territories of Georgia. Russia also continues to keep military forces in both territories.

Privately, U.S. officials say Russia is running a similar playbook as it seeks to increase its influence in Crimea. And regional experts say Putin also appears to have a larger goal: influencing central government lawmakers in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as they prepare for elections later this spring.

“It says to the Ukrainians, Don’t mess with me or I’ll slice off a finger,” said Matthew Rojansky, a Russia analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The months-long political crisis in Ukraine bubbled over late last month when protesters in Kyiv ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Amid the chaos, thousands of Russian forces took control of Crimea, a strategically important outpost in the Black Sea where Moscow has a military base.

The outcome of the Crimea referendum is not guaranteed, but there are clear indications the region will choose to side with Russia. About 60 per cent of Crimea’s population already identifies itself as Russian. And Crimea’s 100-seat parliament voted unanimously Thursday in favour of joining Russia.

The referendum had been scheduled for March 30, but was pushed up two weeks. And while the original vote was only on whether Crimea should get enhanced local powers, the peninsula’s residents will now also vote on whether to join Russia.

U.S. officials say they believe Putin was involved in orchestrating the referendum, though the Russian leader made no public statements about the planned vote. Earlier in the week, Putin said Russia had no intention of annexing Crimea, while insisting its population has the right to determine the region’s status in a referendum.

U.S. officials say they also see an unlikely ally emerging in China, which has frequently sided with Russia at the United Nations Security Council in blocking Western actions. While China has not condemned Russia’s actions outright, Beijing’s ambassador to the U.N. this week said it supported “noninterference” and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, spoke this week with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi. The White House said the officials agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution to the dispute that “upholds Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

It appears unlikely China would actually take punitive actions against Russia. U.S. officials say Beijing is largely acting out of self-interest and appears to view the developments in Crimea through the prism of a nation that also has ethnic minorities who live in border regions and identify more closely with neighbouring countries.

US Guided-Missile Destroyer Truxton Has Entered The Black Sea | Zero Hedge

US Guided-Missile Destroyer Truxton Has Entered The Black Sea | Zero Hedge.

As we reported yesterday, after getting permission to cross the Bosphorus, the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxton departed the Greek port of Souda Bay on its way to the Black Sea. As of a few hours ago, it is already there. Sky News reports that the USS Truxtun passed the Dardanelles strait earlier today on its way to the Black Sea amid heightened tension over the crisis in Ukraine and reports that Russia has now 30,000 troops in Crimea.

The naval escalation is not the only arms build up in proximity to the Ukraine: the Pentagon said six US F-15 fighter jets have arrived in Lithuania to bolster air patrols over the Baltics. The fighter jets and 60 US military personnel landed at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, adding to the four F-15s and 150 troops already there to do the air patrol mission.

As for the pretext for the Truxton’s move, it is only 300 miles away from Sevastopol for one simple reason: naval exercises.

Joint naval exercises with Bulgarian, Romanian and US vessels are to take place in the Black Sea on March 11.

 

The naval forces of all three nations have stated no connection between the upcoming drill and the tensions on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based, the Bulgarian National Radio has reported.

 

Vessels participating in the event include a Bulgarian frigate, three Romanian ships and US destroyer USS Truxtun. The US military described the joint military maneuvers as a “routine” deployment scheduled last year, long before the standoff in Ukraine.

 

Crimea, however, is some 500 km to the north-east of the location where the drill is to be carried out.

 

According to a statement by the US Navy, the Truxtun left Greece on Thursday after it was granted passage through the Black Sea Straits by Turkey, which controls their traffic.

 

The USS Truxtun will be at the Bulgarian city of Varna’s port from March 12 to March 14

And the Russian ICBM launch was just part of a “routine” drill too.

 

US Guided-Missile Destroyer Truxton Has Entered The Black Sea | Zero Hedge

US Guided-Missile Destroyer Truxton Has Entered The Black Sea | Zero Hedge.

As we reported yesterday, after getting permission to cross the Bosphorus, the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxton departed the Greek port of Souda Bay on its way to the Black Sea. As of a few hours ago, it is already there. Sky News reports that the USS Truxtun passed the Dardanelles strait earlier today on its way to the Black Sea amid heightened tension over the crisis in Ukraine and reports that Russia has now 30,000 troops in Crimea.

The naval escalation is not the only arms build up in proximity to the Ukraine: the Pentagon said six US F-15 fighter jets have arrived in Lithuania to bolster air patrols over the Baltics. The fighter jets and 60 US military personnel landed at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, adding to the four F-15s and 150 troops already there to do the air patrol mission.

As for the pretext for the Truxton’s move, it is only 300 miles away from Sevastopol for one simple reason: naval exercises.

Joint naval exercises with Bulgarian, Romanian and US vessels are to take place in the Black Sea on March 11.

 

The naval forces of all three nations have stated no connection between the upcoming drill and the tensions on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based, the Bulgarian National Radio has reported.

 

Vessels participating in the event include a Bulgarian frigate, three Romanian ships and US destroyer USS Truxtun. The US military described the joint military maneuvers as a “routine” deployment scheduled last year, long before the standoff in Ukraine.

 

Crimea, however, is some 500 km to the north-east of the location where the drill is to be carried out.

 

According to a statement by the US Navy, the Truxtun left Greece on Thursday after it was granted passage through the Black Sea Straits by Turkey, which controls their traffic.

 

The USS Truxtun will be at the Bulgarian city of Varna’s port from March 12 to March 14

And the Russian ICBM launch was just part of a “routine” drill too.

 

Russian soldiers ordered to leave Canada by end of day – Politics – CBC News

Russian soldiers ordered to leave Canada by end of day – Politics – CBC News.

9 soldiers participating in military exercises ejected as Canada denounces occupation of Crimea

By Trinh Theresa Do, CBC News Posted: Mar 07, 2014 9:45 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 07, 2014 11:03 AM ET

A Russian soldier guards a pier where two Ukrainian naval vessels are moored, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The Canadian government has ordered nine Russian soldiers participating in military exercises to leave Canada by end of day Friday. A Russian soldier guards a pier where two Ukrainian naval vessels are moored, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The Canadian government has ordered nine Russian soldiers participating in military exercises to leave Canada by end of day Friday. (Ivan Sekretarev/The Associated Press)

Nine Russians soldiers participating in military exercises have been ordered to leave Canada by the end of today, as Canada continues to denounce the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula.

According to a government source, the soldiers were given notice on Thursday, just days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced he was suspending all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation.

There are six soldiers in Saint-Jean, Que., two at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, and one soldier in Gatineau, Que.

The government has also temporarily withdrawn Canada’s ambassador to Russia.

The Russian ambassador, Georgiy Mamedov, remains in Ottawa.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will be in Montreal Friday afternoon to meet with leaders of the city’s Ukrainian community. He will be discussing the situation in Ukraine and the escalating tensions in Crimea.

The government has said it will also be suspending Canada’s participation in the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission, established to promote economic relations between Canada and Russia.

Referendum March 16

Canada has sent two military observers, part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, to monitor the Russian military situation in Ukraine.

But the OSCE said Friday morning they have been refused access to Crimea.

“Military assessment visitors from OSCE States denied entry into Crimea on Friday, heading back to Kherson to plan next steps,” the organization announced in a tweet.

The Crimean parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted Thursday in favour of the region joining Russia. They have set a referendum date for March 16, on which day citizens are able to vote whether or not Crimea will secede from Ukraine.

Western leaders have condemned the move.

“We will not accept, nor should anyone accept as legitimate, a referendum be called on 10 days’ notice while the state is under military occupation,” Baird told reporters on Parliament Hill Thursday afternoon.

“Russia has invaded Crimea. They’re occupying it with military force. No referendum can have any validity while that is taking place. ”

Obama To Putin: Russia Action Violates Ukraine's Sovereignty

Obama To Putin: Russia Action Violates Ukraine’s Sovereignty.

Posted: 03/06/2014 6:39 pm EST Updated: 03/07/2014 11:18 am EST


MORE:

BY BRADLEY KLAPPER & LARA JAKES, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama ordered the West’s first sanctions in response to Russia’s military takeover of Crimea on Thursday, declaring his determination not to let the Kremlin carve up Ukraine. He asserted that a hastily scheduled referendum on Crimea seceding and becoming part of Russia would violate international law.

European leaders announced their own measures but split over how forcefully to follow America’s lead. Obama threatened further steps if Russia persists.

After announcing his sanctions at midday, Obama emphasized his resolve in a personal telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin later Thursday, the White House said. In a one-hour discussion, Obama affirmed his contention that Russia’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The U.S. president told Putin there was still a way to resolve the dispute diplomatically, the White House said — with Russian forces moving back to their base in Crimea, the governments of Ukraine and Russia holding direct talks and international monitors arriving.

The U.S. is also calling on Russia to recognize the legitimacy of Ukrainian plans for elections in May, not the Crimean referendum a week from Sunday.

In all, signs still pointed to a continuing diplomatic battle over Ukraine and what could prove a broader fault line in Europe’s post-Cold War order.

While East and West no longer threaten nuclear war and have vastly expanded commercial ties, Russia is determined to dominate the future of the former Soviet republics along its borders. Washington, its NATO partners and others across the continent are striving to pull these nations out of Moscow’s orbit.

Underscoring his position, Obama issued an executive action slapping new visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of Ukraine’s government in Kiev and authorizing wider financial penalties against those involved in the military intervention or in stealing state assets. None of the measures appeared aimed at the Russian president personally.

“Today the world can see that the United States is united with our allies and partners in upholding international law and pursuing a just outcome that advances global security and the future that the Ukrainian people deserve,” Obama said at the White House. “That’s what we’re going to continue to do in the days to come until we have seen a resolution to this crisis.”

Obama hailed U.S. cooperation with the European Union, which imposed its own sanctions on Russia on Thursday. In an emergency meeting in Brussels, EU leaders decided to suspend talks with Putin’s government on a wide-ranging economic agreement and on granting Russian citizens visa-free travel within the 28-nation bloc — a long-standing Russian objective. Yet at the same time, Europe’s presidents and prime ministers were divided on more drastic steps such as freezing assets and issuing travel bans on Russian officials.

European hesitancy reflected the reality that targeting influential Russian businessmen or major Russian companies would also harm Europe’s economic interests. Russian investors hold assets worth billions in European banks, particularly in Britain and Cyprus, and major exporters such as Germany and the Netherlands have far more at stake than the United States in Russia’s consumer economy. Many other European countries depend on Russia for oil and gas supplies.

Russian troops have seized control of much of Crimea, where ethnic Russians are the majority. Moscow doesn’t recognize the Ukrainian government that came to power after protesters ousted the country’s pro-Russian president last month. Putin and other officials have cited strategic interests as well as the protection of ethnic Russians in making the case for intervention. Russia leases a major navy base there.

The Western debate over how strongly to penalize Russia is important given that neither the U.S. nor Europe is advocating the use of force. The U.S. military has stepped up joint aviation training with Polish forces and American participation in NATO’s air-policing mission in its Baltic countries. But the Pentagon, like its NATO partners, has strictly ruled out military options.

In the latest threatening move Thursday, Crimean lawmakers voted 78-0 to schedule a referendum on March 16 on whether the region should secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Obama said such a vote would “violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.” Because Ukraine is a member of the United Nations, any action that is unconstitutional in Ukraine would be considered illegitimate in international law.

But the West supported Kosovo’s independence six years ago, which included no consent by Serbia’s government and occurred despite Russian objections, Obama might have been trying to differentiate Ukraine’s situation by arguing that borders shouldn’t be “redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

The U.S. sanctions push has prompted a rare case of broad agreement among the Obama administration and most Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The House of Representatives voted 385-23 on Thursday in favor of the first U.S. aid bill for Ukraine’s fledgling government, following on an Obama administration promise of $1 billion in loan guarantees. The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved a separate resolution condemning Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea and urging visa, financial and trade sanctions. Senators are at work on a larger bill putting together all elements of a U.S. response and hope to introduce the legislation next week.

The EU offered $15 billion in aid to help Ukraine’s cash-depleted economy on Wednesday, still far short of the $35 billion that Ukraine’s government says it needs in bailout loans through next year. The U.S., EU and others are trying to work out a package with the International Monetary Fund.

Showing greater caution than Obama on sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European penalties against Russia depend “on how the diplomatic process progresses.” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of an EU-Russia summit could still come. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk acknowledged “no enthusiasm” in Europe for economic sanctions.

Western leaders fear Russia is becoming entrenched in Crimea and could turn its focus to Ukraine’s industrial heart in the east, where Russian speakers similarly are a majority. Central and Eastern European countries that lived for decades under the Soviet Union’s domination are especially sensitive to the threat. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite warned, “After Ukraine will be Moldova, and after Moldova will be different countries.”

For the U.S. and its allies, the specter of Georgia’s 2008 schism looms large. After a nine-day war between Russia and Georgia’s then pro-Western government, the Kremlin supported two regions in breaking away from Georgia. Most of the world doesn’t recognize their independence, but Russia protects their autonomy. Then, as now, the U.S. and EU reaction was limited in scope and included no military moves. In the United States, Obama initiated a “reset” of ties with Russia less than a year later.

With Ukraine at risk of a similar fate, the U.S. has suspended talks on an investment treaty with Russia. NATO has halted military cooperation with Russia and has decided to review all aspects of the relationship with Moscow. The U.S. and European countries have halted preparations for a planned June summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

But so far Putin hasn’t budged. His government claims that Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president, remains the leader of Ukraine. The pro-Russian Yanukovych fled to a location near Moscow for protection.

Also Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry met again with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Kerry stressed a need for a direct Russian-Ukrainian dialogue and the importance of allowing international monitors into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Diplomatic progress appeared elusive.

___

Lara Jakes reported from Rome. AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace and AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington and AP writers Juergen Baetz and Mike Corder in Brussels and Yuras Karmanau in Simferopol, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

Obama To Putin: Russia Action Violates Ukraine’s Sovereignty

Obama To Putin: Russia Action Violates Ukraine’s Sovereignty.

Posted: 03/06/2014 6:39 pm EST Updated: 03/07/2014 11:18 am EST


MORE:

BY BRADLEY KLAPPER & LARA JAKES, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama ordered the West’s first sanctions in response to Russia’s military takeover of Crimea on Thursday, declaring his determination not to let the Kremlin carve up Ukraine. He asserted that a hastily scheduled referendum on Crimea seceding and becoming part of Russia would violate international law.

European leaders announced their own measures but split over how forcefully to follow America’s lead. Obama threatened further steps if Russia persists.

After announcing his sanctions at midday, Obama emphasized his resolve in a personal telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin later Thursday, the White House said. In a one-hour discussion, Obama affirmed his contention that Russia’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The U.S. president told Putin there was still a way to resolve the dispute diplomatically, the White House said — with Russian forces moving back to their base in Crimea, the governments of Ukraine and Russia holding direct talks and international monitors arriving.

The U.S. is also calling on Russia to recognize the legitimacy of Ukrainian plans for elections in May, not the Crimean referendum a week from Sunday.

In all, signs still pointed to a continuing diplomatic battle over Ukraine and what could prove a broader fault line in Europe’s post-Cold War order.

While East and West no longer threaten nuclear war and have vastly expanded commercial ties, Russia is determined to dominate the future of the former Soviet republics along its borders. Washington, its NATO partners and others across the continent are striving to pull these nations out of Moscow’s orbit.

Underscoring his position, Obama issued an executive action slapping new visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of Ukraine’s government in Kiev and authorizing wider financial penalties against those involved in the military intervention or in stealing state assets. None of the measures appeared aimed at the Russian president personally.

“Today the world can see that the United States is united with our allies and partners in upholding international law and pursuing a just outcome that advances global security and the future that the Ukrainian people deserve,” Obama said at the White House. “That’s what we’re going to continue to do in the days to come until we have seen a resolution to this crisis.”

Obama hailed U.S. cooperation with the European Union, which imposed its own sanctions on Russia on Thursday. In an emergency meeting in Brussels, EU leaders decided to suspend talks with Putin’s government on a wide-ranging economic agreement and on granting Russian citizens visa-free travel within the 28-nation bloc — a long-standing Russian objective. Yet at the same time, Europe’s presidents and prime ministers were divided on more drastic steps such as freezing assets and issuing travel bans on Russian officials.

European hesitancy reflected the reality that targeting influential Russian businessmen or major Russian companies would also harm Europe’s economic interests. Russian investors hold assets worth billions in European banks, particularly in Britain and Cyprus, and major exporters such as Germany and the Netherlands have far more at stake than the United States in Russia’s consumer economy. Many other European countries depend on Russia for oil and gas supplies.

Russian troops have seized control of much of Crimea, where ethnic Russians are the majority. Moscow doesn’t recognize the Ukrainian government that came to power after protesters ousted the country’s pro-Russian president last month. Putin and other officials have cited strategic interests as well as the protection of ethnic Russians in making the case for intervention. Russia leases a major navy base there.

The Western debate over how strongly to penalize Russia is important given that neither the U.S. nor Europe is advocating the use of force. The U.S. military has stepped up joint aviation training with Polish forces and American participation in NATO’s air-policing mission in its Baltic countries. But the Pentagon, like its NATO partners, has strictly ruled out military options.

In the latest threatening move Thursday, Crimean lawmakers voted 78-0 to schedule a referendum on March 16 on whether the region should secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Obama said such a vote would “violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.” Because Ukraine is a member of the United Nations, any action that is unconstitutional in Ukraine would be considered illegitimate in international law.

But the West supported Kosovo’s independence six years ago, which included no consent by Serbia’s government and occurred despite Russian objections, Obama might have been trying to differentiate Ukraine’s situation by arguing that borders shouldn’t be “redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”

The U.S. sanctions push has prompted a rare case of broad agreement among the Obama administration and most Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The House of Representatives voted 385-23 on Thursday in favor of the first U.S. aid bill for Ukraine’s fledgling government, following on an Obama administration promise of $1 billion in loan guarantees. The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved a separate resolution condemning Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea and urging visa, financial and trade sanctions. Senators are at work on a larger bill putting together all elements of a U.S. response and hope to introduce the legislation next week.

The EU offered $15 billion in aid to help Ukraine’s cash-depleted economy on Wednesday, still far short of the $35 billion that Ukraine’s government says it needs in bailout loans through next year. The U.S., EU and others are trying to work out a package with the International Monetary Fund.

Showing greater caution than Obama on sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European penalties against Russia depend “on how the diplomatic process progresses.” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of an EU-Russia summit could still come. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk acknowledged “no enthusiasm” in Europe for economic sanctions.

Western leaders fear Russia is becoming entrenched in Crimea and could turn its focus to Ukraine’s industrial heart in the east, where Russian speakers similarly are a majority. Central and Eastern European countries that lived for decades under the Soviet Union’s domination are especially sensitive to the threat. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite warned, “After Ukraine will be Moldova, and after Moldova will be different countries.”

For the U.S. and its allies, the specter of Georgia’s 2008 schism looms large. After a nine-day war between Russia and Georgia’s then pro-Western government, the Kremlin supported two regions in breaking away from Georgia. Most of the world doesn’t recognize their independence, but Russia protects their autonomy. Then, as now, the U.S. and EU reaction was limited in scope and included no military moves. In the United States, Obama initiated a “reset” of ties with Russia less than a year later.

With Ukraine at risk of a similar fate, the U.S. has suspended talks on an investment treaty with Russia. NATO has halted military cooperation with Russia and has decided to review all aspects of the relationship with Moscow. The U.S. and European countries have halted preparations for a planned June summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

But so far Putin hasn’t budged. His government claims that Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president, remains the leader of Ukraine. The pro-Russian Yanukovych fled to a location near Moscow for protection.

Also Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry met again with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Kerry stressed a need for a direct Russian-Ukrainian dialogue and the importance of allowing international monitors into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Diplomatic progress appeared elusive.

___

Lara Jakes reported from Rome. AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace and AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington and AP writers Juergen Baetz and Mike Corder in Brussels and Yuras Karmanau in Simferopol, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

Activist Post: Major Insurance Firm Warns of Losses Due to Health Effects of EMFs

Activist Post: Major Insurance Firm Warns of Losses Due to Health Effects of EMFs.

Activist Post

Specialists from the Emerging Risks team at leading global reinsurance firm, Swiss Re, are warning the insurance industry that “unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields” could lead to a raft of claims and significant product liability losses in the next 10 years.

In its Swiss Re SONAR Emerging Risks report, 2013, which covers risks that could “impact the insurance industry in the future”, the company categorises the impact of health claims related to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) as ‘high’.

It acknowledges recent reports of courts ruling in favour of claimants who have experienced health damage from mobile phones, and also says that anxiety over risks related to EMFs is “on the rise”.

“Studies are difficult to conduct, since time trend studies are inconsistent due to the still rather recent proliferation of wireless technology”, the Risk team writes.  “The WHO has classified extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and radio frequency electronagnetic fields [including those emitted by Smart Meters – Ed.] as potentially carcinogenic to humans (Class 2B carcinogen).”

The document states that whilst the majority of the topics covered in its pages were of “medium impact”, health issues associated with EMFs sit in the highest impact category.  Other topics discussed include the dangers of cyber attacks, power blackouts, workplace safety and Big Data – all of which are exacerbated and/or added to by the UK’s ill-conceived Smart Metering program.

Swiss Re, the reinsurance firm behind the report, defines Emerging Risks as “newly developing or changing risks that are difficult to quantify and could have a major impact on society and insurance industry”.  By placing  EMFs in the “High” potential impact-zone, it is suggesting that there may be potentially “high financial, reputational and/or regulatory impacts or significant stakeholder concern” in the next 10 years or more.

“If a direct link between EMF and human health problems were established, it would open doors for new claims and could ultimately lead to large losses under product liability covers.  Liability rates would like rise.”

Read the report here:  Swiss Re SONAR – SONAR_+Emerging_risk_insights_from_Swiss_Re.pdf.

Original link to this story:
http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/insurance-firm-swiss-re-warns-of-large-losses-from-unforeseen-health-claims-due-to-wireless-technologies/

More on this:

Russia Threatens Retaliation To Sanctions, Announces Support For Crimean Referendum | Zero Hedge

Russia Threatens Retaliation To Sanctions, Announces Support For Crimean Referendum | Zero Hedge.

It appears Obama’s latest “one hour” conversation with Putin has just made things downshift from bad to worse.

Moments ago Russia accused the European Union of taking an “extremely unconstructive position” by freezing talks on easing visa barriers that complicate travel between Russia and the EU over Ukraine.

Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats” and will retaliate if sanctions are imposed, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement about agreements reached at an emergency EU summit on Thursday.

And assuring that the imminent Crimean referendum due in just over a week will rapidly deteriorate the current detente was overnight news that Russia’s upper house of parliament will support Crimea in its bid to join the Russian Federation, the speaker of the upper house of parliament said Friday. “If the people of Crimea decide to join Russia in the referendum, we, as the upper house, will certainly support this decision,” Valentina Matvienko said at a meeting with Vladimir Konstantinov, his counterpart in the Crimean parliament.

WSJ reports that a delegation from the Crimean peninsula were in Moscow to meet parliamentarians who warmly welcomed the guests and signaled their willingness to support the neighboring region.

Shortly thereafter, the western inspectors learned they are not exactly welcome in the Crimea later on Friday when a group of military and civilian personnel from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be making another attempt to enter the Crimean peninsula, after being stopped at two border checkpoints the day before, a spokesman for the organization said.

“The group is on their way from Kherson, where they spent the night, and is heading to a checkpoint in the area of a village called Chungar,” Shiv Sharma said, adding that the group of about 40 people is scheduled to arrive around 1330 local time (1130 GMT).

But while the OSCE inspectors will hardly receive a warm welcome anywhere in the pro-Russian parts of the Ukraine, one thing is certain: while for the next week the world is stuck listening to more hollow rhetoric, once the Crimea formally splits from the Ukraine and joins Russia as per the will of the parliament and the people, that’s when things get rough, as that will be the formal expansion of Russia into a region of the Ukraine which everyone in the west has called an unconstitutional process, while Russia itself calls the coup that overthrew Yanukovich just as unconstitutional.

So enjoy the downtime: in mid-March things get hot again. Or, if you live in the Ukraine, quite cold:

  • GAZPROM SAYS TODAY IS DEADLINE FOR NAFTOGAZ TO PAY FOR FEB. GAS
  • NAFTOGAZ OVERDUE PAYMENTS AT $1.89B FOR GAS SUPPLIES

Leverage.

Russia Threatens Retaliation To Sanctions, Announces Support For Crimean Referendum | Zero Hedge

Russia Threatens Retaliation To Sanctions, Announces Support For Crimean Referendum | Zero Hedge.

It appears Obama’s latest “one hour” conversation with Putin has just made things downshift from bad to worse.

Moments ago Russia accused the European Union of taking an “extremely unconstructive position” by freezing talks on easing visa barriers that complicate travel between Russia and the EU over Ukraine.

Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats” and will retaliate if sanctions are imposed, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement about agreements reached at an emergency EU summit on Thursday.

And assuring that the imminent Crimean referendum due in just over a week will rapidly deteriorate the current detente was overnight news that Russia’s upper house of parliament will support Crimea in its bid to join the Russian Federation, the speaker of the upper house of parliament said Friday. “If the people of Crimea decide to join Russia in the referendum, we, as the upper house, will certainly support this decision,” Valentina Matvienko said at a meeting with Vladimir Konstantinov, his counterpart in the Crimean parliament.

WSJ reports that a delegation from the Crimean peninsula were in Moscow to meet parliamentarians who warmly welcomed the guests and signaled their willingness to support the neighboring region.

Shortly thereafter, the western inspectors learned they are not exactly welcome in the Crimea later on Friday when a group of military and civilian personnel from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be making another attempt to enter the Crimean peninsula, after being stopped at two border checkpoints the day before, a spokesman for the organization said.

“The group is on their way from Kherson, where they spent the night, and is heading to a checkpoint in the area of a village called Chungar,” Shiv Sharma said, adding that the group of about 40 people is scheduled to arrive around 1330 local time (1130 GMT).

But while the OSCE inspectors will hardly receive a warm welcome anywhere in the pro-Russian parts of the Ukraine, one thing is certain: while for the next week the world is stuck listening to more hollow rhetoric, once the Crimea formally splits from the Ukraine and joins Russia as per the will of the parliament and the people, that’s when things get rough, as that will be the formal expansion of Russia into a region of the Ukraine which everyone in the west has called an unconstitutional process, while Russia itself calls the coup that overthrew Yanukovich just as unconstitutional.

So enjoy the downtime: in mid-March things get hot again. Or, if you live in the Ukraine, quite cold:

  • GAZPROM SAYS TODAY IS DEADLINE FOR NAFTOGAZ TO PAY FOR FEB. GAS
  • NAFTOGAZ OVERDUE PAYMENTS AT $1.89B FOR GAS SUPPLIES

Leverage.

%d bloggers like this: