Author Topic: Ukraine civil unrest and the subsequent Russian invasions/annexations/Lebensraum  (Read 715064 times)

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Offline MilEME09

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A good article that sums up some of the reforms in Ukraine

Quote
Ukraine is making progress against tough odds. It deserves US support.

Building a democracy isn’t easy, even in the best of circumstances. As a diplomat for over 40 years, I have seen firsthand how difficult it has been for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to overcome the legacy of Soviet authoritarianism, root out corruption, and establish free societies and market economies based on the rule of law.

No country in this region has faced more formidable challenges than Ukraine.

In the 25 years after achieving independence in 1991, Ukraine squandered many opportunities for reform, disappointing the aspirations of its people for a European future based on justice, prosperity and accountable leaders and institutions. When former President Viktor Yanukovych, yielding to Russian pressure, suspended Ukraine's negotiations on partnership with the European Union in late 2013, the Ukrainian people made it clear that they had had enough.

Their frustration led to the Revolution of Dignity on Kyiv's Maidan square, Yanukovych's flight to Russia and, a few months later, the election of new, reformist leaders led by current President Petro Poroshenko.

Since that time, however, Ukraine has had to continue the reform process with a gun to its head, both literally and figuratively.

It has not been easy for Ukraine to start a reform process from the ground up, especially while it has been fighting to protect its freedom and independence from Russian aggression.

Russia has worked to undermine Ukraine through its illegal annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of an armed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, coupled with economic intimidation and misinformation campaigns. Russia's actions are designed to portray Ukraine as a failed state that doesn't deserve support from the larger international community.

 

Yet, remarkably, Ukraine has persevered and is on the right track. Ukraine has embarked on a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign to dismantle the institutional roadblocks that have thwarted reform in the past. With a focus on law enforcement, the civil service, public procurement and the energy sector, more institutions have been reformed in the last two years then in the preceding 23.

Addressing one of the most troublesome aspects of its own government, a new Ukraine National Police was formed in an effort to completely restructure an institution previously known for its corruption. The new police force has been launched in 32 cities thus far, and includes over 12,000 new officers.

Coupled with legal reforms, Ukraine has established new professional and ethical requirements, requiring evaluations of the performance of judges and consistent and secure handling of judicial files. Ukraine has also established several new institutions designed to investigate cases of corruption.

And to ensure its National Anti-Corruption Bureau, National Anti-Corruption Policy Council and National Agency for Prevention of Corruption serve the public interest, the country has conducted an open hiring process meant to give priority to true reformers.

Ukraine has also worked to hold its own politicians accountable to their constituents by instituting a mandatory online assets declaration. Officials from Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman down to lower-level civil servants are now required to publicly declare and describe all assets they possess inside and outside of the country, as well as assets officially registered in the name of relatives. Attempts to conceal finances over the equivalent of $14,000 carry criminal liability.

The country has also cut its bloated civil servant corps, reducing its ranks by 16 percent, which in turn has increased efficiency, curbed graft and reined in government procurement, saving the country $1.2 billion to date.

Equally important as government reforms is Ukraine's effort to strengthen its economy through energy independence. By establishing an independent regulator, Ukraine has adjusted its utility rates to market levels, and slashed energy subsidies by 10 percent of its gross domestic product.

Not only has this saved the country billions and closed loopholes previously used for corruption; it has also ended Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia.

While collectively, these reforms have brought a much higher level of transparency and scrutiny to the country, democracy in Ukraine is still a work in progress, with more still to accomplish. Decentralization of power to the regions must still be carried out, and inter-institutional scuffles and remnants of the old guard must still be overcome.

But with continued encouragement and engagement by the international community, Ukraine can succeed.

It is of paramount importance that Ukraine be given the support it needs to foster democracy and overcome its post-Soviet legacy. The United States has been a leader in this regard, thanks to strong bipartisan support for Ukraine within Congress. Ukraine deserves continued political, economic and military support, including the possibility of lethal military assistance should Russia and its separatist proxies continue their aggression in Eastern Ukraine — a conflict that has claimed the lives of 10,000 Ukrainian citizens.

A sovereign, democratic Ukraine finds itself undermined at every turn by a provocative Russian neighbor desperate to see it fail, yet Ukraine is moving forward against all odds.

The Ukrainian people know firsthand how hard it is to build a democracy. They deserve our reassurance they are not in this alone.

Alexander Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and an adviser to Rasmussen Global. He was NATO deputy secretary general from 2012 to 2016, and previously assistant secretary of Defense and U.S. ambassador to NATO, Russia and South Korea.
http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/319863-ukraine-is-making-progress-against-tough-odds-it-deserves-us


slashing the energy dependence on russia, and saving billions from efficiency and anti-corruption measures, that said Ukraine did just declare a state of emergency due to energy consumption, and word that coal is being important from eastern Ukraine. Protestors are now blocking rail lines used to transport that coal and calling it criminal that the government is buying coal from the separatist regions.
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slashing the energy dependence on russia, and saving billions from efficiency and anti-corruption measures, that said Ukraine did just declare a state of emergency due to energy consumption, and word that coal is being important from eastern Ukraine. Protestors are now blocking rail lines used to transport that coal and calling it criminal that the government is buying coal from the separatist regions.
And when the President says "Participants of “blockade” in the east (keeping coal from separatist areas out of western Ukraine) first of all cause damage to the state," you know it's a ... complex situation.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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A few tidbits ...
  • Eastern UKR separatists:  we're good to go to take ground from Ukrainian forces.
  • Russia"... "Of course, such statements are not in line with the Minsk agreements," Russian Presidential Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Friday. "On the other hand, unfortunately, this could be the emotional background, which accompanies the tensions we can see along the separation line and which emerged after the aggressive actions by the Ukrainian armed forces and individual units."..."
  • UKR separatists:  By the way, if Ukraine won't give you an amnesty for what you've done during the war, we'll be happy to oblige you (links to statement in Russian).
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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And when the President says "Participants of “blockade” in the east (keeping coal from separatist areas out of western Ukraine) first of all cause damage to the state," you know it's a ... complex situation.
More on the complexity that is the "UKR has to buy coal (and iron ore) from occupied areas to survive, but there's a blockade right now" story ...
A short think-tank (Jamestown Foundation) summary on the forces at play in the "coal/iron ore from occupied areas" fracas here.

“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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More offers of help from the separatists to Ukrainian-held areas ...
Rejigging the narrative further, this from separatist media:
"United Donbass Foundation, An Organization To Help Our Compatriots Living In The Occupied Part Of Donbass, “You Are Not Forgotten” "

Also, more of those pesky foreign (including Canadian) mercenaries mentioned in Russian army media (screen capture of photo of alleged mercs attached) -- one translation (pro-RUS source) here ...
Quote
Several hundreds of foreign mercenaries arrived to the contact line in Donbass, stated the official representative of People's militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) Andrey Marochko to journalists at a briefing.

"According to available information, several hundred mercenaries from Canada, the Baltics, Poland, and Georgia arrived at the settlements located near the contact line, armed with small arms and light armored vehicles" reported the representative of the People's militia.

According to him, field camps were placed in various settlements where foreign military instructors train fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are armed with small arms corresponding to those used by NATO.  Marochko specified that the mercenaries train snipers, and carry out training for sweeping in urban conditions, and also train sabotage groups, which are planned to subsequently be sent to Donbass.
... with a Google Translate version of the Russian mil article here:
Quote
LNR has declared arrival of hundreds foreign mercenaries to a contact line in Donbass

Several hundred foreign mercenaries arrived to the contact line in the Donbass, an official representative of the People's Militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) Andrei Marochko told reporters at a briefing.

"According to available information, several hundred mercenaries from Canada, the Baltic states, Poland and Georgia, armed with small arms and lightly armored vehicles, arrived in the settlements near the line of contact, " the representative of the People's Militia said.

According to him, field camps are located in various localities, where foreign military instructors train fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are armed with small arms that match the NATO models.

Marochko said that the mercenaries are training snipers, are trained in sweep operations in urban conditions, and also train sabotage groups, which are later planned to be sent to the Donbass.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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Rejigging the narrative further, this from separatist media:
"United Donbass Foundation, An Organization To Help Our Compatriots Living In The Occupied Part Of Donbass, “You Are Not Forgotten” "

More from the separatists on their "come on over, Ukrainians - we have money/aid/education/health care for you if Kiev's not giving it to you" plan:

Meanwhile, riots break out in UKR over police arresting protesters trying to block the UKR government's purchase of coal et. al. from Donbass/Novorossia/occupied territories/liberated zones ...

* - I wonder if this includes UKR veterans of the current fight?
** - This compares with an average UKR pension payment of US $70-85 (~CDN $100-115) a month (source, source).
*** - I'm guessing they can only spend it on the separatist side.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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As we get closer to the anniversary of Russia annexing/invading/getting back Crimea, a reminder of the narrative progression ... (source)
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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Canada's take on the Crimea anniversary ...
Quote
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Today we mark three years since Russia’s illegal annexation and invasion of Crimea. We condemn unreservedly this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Since the occupation of Crimea, there has been a severe suppression of human rights, including freedom of expression and association.

“Canada is deeply troubled by the politically motivated application of ‘anti-terrorist’ and ‘anti-extremist’ legislation; ongoing harassment of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers; arbitrary detentions; disappearances; and the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities. We denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and have called on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.

“It is shameful that Russia impedes access to Crimea for international human rights groups, including the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The importance of this access was endorsed on December 19, 2016, in a UN General Assembly resolution co-sponsored by Canada.

“Canada is steadfast in its support for the people of Ukraine. Together, the international community must maintain its pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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Huge ammo depot explosion in eastern Ukraine near Kharkiv, leading to evacuations and what appears to be a fair bit of UXO lying about -- UKR President says NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is helping out.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
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Offline Chris Pook

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Aaaaaaaaand it appears the separatist info-machine's narrative has been ... further refined ...

“No Plans to Hold Referendum on LPR Joining Russia in Near Future – Head — The head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, said that a referendum in LPR on joining Russia would be done “in proper time.”…” (RUS state media)

Referenda?  We don't need no stinking referenda! Because 2017. 
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]