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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Putin backs down on Ukraine crisis

How many people in the Ukraine are pro-Russian and how many want to reach out to the West?  We don't know, and the answer could make a difference to the way Putin thinks.

Yesterday President Putin said he saw no reason for Russian forces to intervene in eastern Ukraine at the moment, but is ready to protect Russian speaking supporters in the east and south of the country, if they are in danger.  "I want you to understand me clearly" he said.  "If we make such a decision, it will only be for the protection of Ukrainian citizens."  That's the crux of his argument.

Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit and promise of $1 billion in emergency aid to the Ukraine has only deepened Putin's hatred of the US. "They have interfered from across the pond in America as if they were sitting in a laboratory and running experiments on rats, without any understand of the consequences."

A Ukrainian sniper is forced to kneel at a memorial to those killed by the likes of him during the recent protests.

But then he was caught out in a lie and there's video footage to prove it. He said that President Yanukovych did not order snipers to shoot protesters and suggested the snipers were in fact from opposition political parties.

Then another lie.  He warned the ousted President not to withdraw security forces from the protest site, but he ignored his advice and Russia only stepped in to save him from being killed.

President Obama said "I know President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don't think that's fooling anybody."  He added that Ukranians should have the right to determine their own fate in elections now scheduled for May.  

"Mr Putin can throw a lot of words out there but the facts on the ground indicate that right now, he's not abiding by that principle" the President said.  "There is still the opportunity for Russia to do so, working with the international community to help stabilize the situation."