Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged the U.S. to present its proof of Russian intervention in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged the U.S. to present its proof of Russian intervention in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged the United States’ claim of possessing proof of Russian intervention in Ukraine.

During an interview with Radio Europe 1 news and TF1 TV channel, Mr. Putin was asked about claims by the U.S. that they had proof of Russian intervention in Ukraine. President Putin’s response was: “Proof?  Why don’t they show it?”

He went on to discredit the the alleged proof by recalling the United States’ claim of evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, only to find out after U.S. troops invaded Iraq and Saddam Hussein was hung that there was, in fact, no WMDs.

“The entire world remembers the U.S. Secretary of State demonstrating the evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, waving around some test tube with washing powder in the U.N. Security Council,” Mr. Putin said.  “You know, it’s one thing to say things and another to actually have evidence,” he added.

The Ukrainian Government and Western leaders have repeatedly accused Russia of supporting the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine that are fighting for independence, a claim which Moscow denies.

When asked about Russian troops annexing Crimea in March, Mr. Putin clarified the soldiers’ roles, saying that they didn’t annex the region.

“It’s a delusion that Russian troops annexed Crimea,” he said.  “Russian troops were in Crimea under the international treaty on the deployment of the Russian military bases.  It’s true that Russian troops helped Crimeans hold a referendum on their (a) independence and (b) desire to join the Russian Federation.  No one can prevent these people from exercising a right that is stipulated in Article 1 of the U.N. Charter, the right of nations to self-determination.”

The contents of Article 1 of the U.N. Charter:

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Mr. Putin has repeatedly stressed that Ukrainian citizens have “certain rights, political, humanitarian rights, and they must have a chance to exercise those rights.”

NATO and Kiev have refused to recognize the annexation as legitimate and have stressed that Crimea is still part of Ukraine.   NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday that “NATO allies do not, and will not, recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.”

When asked if Russia will return Crimea to Ukraine, Mr. Putin said that “In accordance with the expression of the will of people who live there, Crimea is part of the Russian Federation and its constituent entity.”

President Putin stated that with the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, Moscow “could not allow a historical part of the Russian territory with a predominantly ethnic Russian population to be incorporated into an international military alliance, especially because Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia.  I’m sorry, but we couldn’t act differently.”

Known as “little green men” these Russian troops abruptly began appearing in Crimea following the ousting of Ukraine’s former president. Photo by AP.

Following the annexation, pro-Russian activists in eastern and southern Ukraine took up arms against the Kiev authorities, leading to clashes with the Ukrainian military that have resulted in scores of deaths in recent months.  The Ukrainian government has accused Moscow of supporting and supplying the separatists, a claim which the Kremlin denies.

Mr. Putin and other top ranking Russian officials have criticized Ukraine for allegedly attacking its own citizens and denying its people their rights.

It is “vital” to hold talks with the separatists “instead of sending tanks” to deal with them and “firing missiles at civilians from the air and bombing non-military targets,” the president said, adding that the Kiev authorities must hold talks with the militants to deescalate the crisis.

Fighting in recent weeks has resulted in dozens of deaths.  Clashes between the Ukrainian military and armed separatists at the Donetsk International Airport last week left over 50 militants dead, separatists leader said.  On Monday, an estimated 500 separatists began a three-day attack on a border center near the city of Luhansk. Today, the guards left the center.  Also on Monday, a Ukrainian fighter jet bombed Luhansk’s main regional building, resulting in the deaths and injuries of several citizens.

lugansk-3

Russia has demanded that Kiev bring an immediate end to its military operations against the separatists, and expressed its will to work with the Ukrainian government to deescalate the crisis.

In response to Westerners’ claims of Russia wishing to restore the Soviet Union and destroy Ukraine, Mr. Putin said that Moscow recognizes Ukraine as sovereign state and respects the country’s choices, but wishes that it would not join NATO because it would mean “NATO’s infrastructure will move directly towards the Russian border, which cannot leave us indifferent.”

President Putin also responded to accusation against the Kremlin by U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton that Russia’s recent actions resembles Hitler’s during the 1930’s: “when I hear such extreme statements, to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments.”

He also said that the U.S. takes the “most aggressive and toughest policy to defend their own interests… and they do it persistently.”

Mr. Putin concluded his statement by scoffing the United States’ disapproval of Russia’s recent “aggressive” actions, saying:  “There are basically no Russian troops abroad while U.S. troops are everywhere.  There are U.S. military bases everywhere around the world and they are always involved in the fate of other countries even though they are thousands of kilometers away from U.S. borders.”

 

 

 

 

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Results from the pro-Russian separatist referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk show an overwhelming “yes” for self-rule and have declared themselves to be independent countries.

Ninety percent voted for independence from Ukraine according to results from the referendum.

There was roughly a 70% turnout.

In Luhansk and Dontesk, 96% and 90% respectively voted for autonomy from the Ukraine.

Kiev and the West claimed that the referendum was illegal and that they would not recognize it as legitimate.  The Ukrainian government stated that the vote was “fascist”.

“These attempts at referendums have zero credibility in the eyes of the world; they are illegal by anybody’s standards–they don’t meet any standard, not a single standard of objectivity, transparency, fairness, or being properly conducted,” British MP William Hague told reporters.

Russia, on the other hand, stated that the will of the people must be respected.

“We respect the will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hope the practical implantation of the outcome of the referendums will proceed along civilized lines without further outbreaks of violence, and through dialogue,” Russian Diplomat Sergei Lavrov said.

Just two hours after the voting ended, the newly formed nation, the “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, asked to join Russia.

Russian MP Vyacheslav Nikonov stated that Moscow would have to contemplate the “economic, political, and military risks” before deciding whether or not to annex Donetsk and Luhansk.

It does seem though that he supports the regions’ population, saying that “the residents of Luhansk and Donetsk deserve no less support from us, indeed they deserve much more support from us than the residents of Crimea.”

Roman Lyagin, head of the de facto central election committee in Donetsk, stated that the region’s population would be the ones to decide whether they would stay with Ukraine, or join Russia, or become an independent nation.

In Luhansk, Vasily Nikitin, deputy head of the separatist movement in the region, congratulated the beginning of the “Luhansk republic” and said: “We are now preparing an appeal to the U.N. and international community asking them to recognize us.”

But it seems that some people in Luhansk don’t just want to be an independent nation, they want also want to be apart of Russia.

Eighty year old Anatoly Sukharev, a resident of Luhansk, asked Mr. Nikitin on Monday: “What is next?  When are we going to have this referendum [to join Russia]?”

Vasily replied, saying that the “republic” needs to “organize as a country” before asking to join Russia.

He also said that the new country’s constitution is nearly finished, and that the people of Luhansk would not participate in Ukraine’s presidential election on May 25.

Donetsk authorities also stated they will not allow voting in the election.

The situation in Ukraine has steadily worsened ever since the ousting of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March.

The West and Kiev have repeatedly accused Russia of sending Russian special forces into eastern Ukraine to provoke pro-Russian activist to strike out against the Ukrainian government.

The U.S. and Ukrainian interim government have also claimed that Russia has been supplying the pro-Russian militants with weapons and supplies.

Moscow has continued to deny these claims, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true.

Journalist in Ukraine have found at least partial evidence of Russia Moscow pro-Russian militants with weapons and equipment.

For example, in Vice’s documentation of the crisis, Russian Roulette in Ukraine, U.S. journalist Simon Ostrovsky found supplies owned by pro-Russian activist that apparently was from Russia.

He also interviewed Russian military veterans who had come to eastern Ukraine to help the Russian speaking population there.

The “little green men”, as some called them, that invaded Crimea back in March turned out to really be Russian soldiers.

Those “little green men” are the most Russian looking “militants” I’ve ever seen. Maybe, it’s because they’re actually Russian soldiers! Surprise! Surprise!

 

While we’re on the topic of Russian invasion, let’s discuss the possibility of Russia sending in special forces to provoke the pro-Russian activist to lash out against Kiev and cry for independence.

If these accusations by the West are true, then Moscow did a great job pulling it off.  They already gained Crimea and it looks like they may very well gain Donetsk and Luhansk too.

As you can see, Donetsk and Luhansk are right next to Russia. Crimea, however, is not.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request for pro-Russian activist to postpone their referendum and conduct dialogue with the Ukrainian government may have just been a political move by him to cover up what his real plans to slowly take over Ukraine by annexing pro-Russian regions one at a time.

Now that is just a conspiracy theory of mine that has no proof, but it seems like a great plan.  After all, with all those sanctions being thrown at his inner circle, it would make sense that he would want to appear as if he backed off from his aggressive attitude in Ukraine.

But what do I know?  I’m just some American highschooler writing up facts and opinions on a blog that no one reads.  (No, that is not a gripe, it is a fact).

Moving on to legality of a referendum, after doing a bit of research I managed to find thisthe written law of referendums in Ukraine.

It is fairly long so here are the highlights:

  • An all-Ukrainian referendum is a supreme form of direct democracy, and an expression of free will of Ukrainian citizens.
  • Any issue may become subject of an all-Ukrainian referendum with an exception of those prohibited by the Constitution of Ukraine.
  •  An all-Ukrainian referendum called by the public initiative is a way of citizens to adopt decisions on all issues with the exception of those stipulated by the Article 74 of the Constitution of Ukraine (in reference to draft laws on taxing policies, budget and amnesty).
  • An all-Ukrainian referendum on changing the territory of Ukraine is a way for citizens to approve/disapprove a draft law on international agreement ratification on changing the territory of Ukraine. The president is to conclude an international agreement ratification, and then to submit this document to review at the Verkhovna Rada.
  • The Verkhovna Rada is to declare an all-Ukrainian referendum on the territorial changes of Ukraine.
But I think it’s this part that is most important in determining if the referendum held by the pro-Russian separatist was illegal or not.
  • The decision to appoint an all-Ukrainian referendum on changing the territory of Ukraine is approved by the decree of Verkhovna Rada.

That pretty much speaks for itself.  The Verkhovna Rada, A.K.A. the Supreme Council of Ukraine, legally decides whether or not to hold a referendum on the changing of Ukrainian territory.

(Interesting note: The Verkhovna Rada declared Ukraine’s Independence in 1991.)

But the laws of a country don’t mean jack when its people refuse to obey them.  And no matter how much Kiev and the West cry out that the referendum by pro-Russian activist is illegal and illegitimate, it isn’t going to stop them from continuing with their independence from Ukraine.

Everyday it looks more and more like the country is heading towards a civil-war.

I think Maxim, a 28 year-old citizen of Andreevka, a small village outside of Slovyansk, summed up what a lot of Ukrainian are feeling right now: “I am ready to accept any government, just to make it calm again.”

Maxim holding his bald kitties. Photo by Harriet Salem, Vice News.

Checkout my old blog at http://huntergates98.blogspot.com/ where I have more information on the Ukraine crisis!

 

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