Quantcast
Connect with us

Ukraine takes historic step toward joining NATO

Published

on

Ukraine took a historic step toward NATO on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote certain to stoke Russia’s anger ahead of talks on ending the ex-Soviet state’s separatist war.

Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine’s non-aligned status — a classification given to states such as Switzerland which refuse to join military alliances and thus play no part in wars.

President Petro Poroshenko had vowed to put Ukraine under Western military protection after winning an election called following the February ouster in Kiev of a Moscow-backed president.

“Ukraine’s fight for its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty has turned into a decisive factor in our relations with the world,” Poroshenko told foreign embassadors in Kiev on Monday night.

Ukraine assumed neutrality under strong Russian pressure in 2010. It had sought NATO membership in the early post-Soviet era but — its once-mighty army in ruins and riven by corruption — was never viewed as a serious candidate.

Last winter’s revolution in Kiev upset Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to enlist Ukraine in a new, Kremlin-led bloc that could rival both NATO and the European Union.

ADVERTISEMENT

And Moscow had set Kiev’s exclusion from all military blocs as a condition for any deal on ending the pro-Russian uprising that has killed 4,700 in the eastern Ukrainian rustbelt in the past eight months.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to the announcement by saying Ukraine’s adoption of the bill was “absolutely counterproductive”.

The move “creates an illusion that through this bill, through an aspiration to drop non-aligned status and join NATO — which Ukrainian politicians openly talk about — one can settle a deep crisis of the Ukrainian state,” Lavrov said in televised remarks.

Putin’s view of NATO as modern Russia’s biggest threat has only been reinforced by this year’s dramatic spike in East-West tensions over Ukraine.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In essence, an application for NATO membership will turn Ukraine into a potential military opponent for Russia,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned in a Facebook post Monday.

He said that Ukraine’s rejection of neutrality and a new Russian sanctions law that US President Barack Obama signed on Friday “will both have very negative consequences.”

“And our country will have to respond to them,” Medvedev added.

Perhaps the most immediate threat will be to delicate peace talks this week in the Belarussian capital Minsk that Poroshenko announced on Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Poroshenko said the deal for Kiev and rebel negotiators to meet in the presence of Russian and European envoys on Wednesday and Friday was struck during a joint call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande — the West’s top mediators on Ukraine.

– Rebels noncommittal –

The last two rounds of Minsk consultations in September produced a truce and the outlines of a broader peace agreement that gave the two separatist regions partial self-rule for three years within a united Ukraine.

But the deals were followed by more fighting that killed at least 1,300 people. The insurgents’ decision to stage their own leadership polls in violation of the Minsk rules effectively ended political talks between the two sides.

ADVERTISEMENT

A new meeting in Minsk had been hung up by Kiev’s refusal to discuss ending the suspension of social security and other benefit payments to the rebel-run districts, which Poroshenko announced last month.

Ukraine’s leaders suspect the money is being stolen by militias in the Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk regions and used to finance their war.

Donetsk negotiator Denis Pushilin stressed that Kiev’s continuing refusal to budge on the issue could still prevent talks from going ahead.

“We have no information about the date of any meeting in Minsk,” Pushilin told AFP by telephone.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are ready to meet, or we could conduct a videoconference,” said the rebel envoy.

“But only along the lines of the agenda that we discussed before,” he said in reference to the suspended payments.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

Published

on

On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘This American dream’: Pain overwhelms family of drowned migrants

Published

on

"They had this American dream," sobbed Rosa Ramirez after images of her drowned son and granddaughter, discovered face-down on the banks of the Rio Grande between Mexico and the United States, shocked the world on Wednesday.

The poignant pictures of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his toddler daughter Valeria -- not yet two years old -- has sparked outrage back home in El Salvador, where around 200 migrants like them leave for the United States daily, preparing to take similar risks.

"The pain has been immense. I still can't believe that my boy and my little granddaughter are dead, they only wanted to get to the United States.... they had this American dream -- to achieve a better life," Oscar's mother told AFP.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Venezuela government says thwarted attempted ‘coup’

Published

on

Venezuela's socialist government said Wednesday it had derailed an attempted coup, claiming the United States, Colombia and Chile colluded in a military plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and install a general and former defense minister in his place.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the plan involved active and retired army officers and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend.

"We were in all the meetings to plan the coup d'Etat. We were in all the conferences," Rodriguez said, suggesting that government informers had infiltrated the alleged plotters during planning meetings.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

The 2020 election needs you. There are 18 months until the election, and the Supreme Court is on the line. I'm trying to add journalists to do more exclusive reports. Let me get rid of the ads for you, and put your support toward 100% progressive reporting. Want to ensure your voice is heard? Join me and restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

HELP TAKE BACK AMERICA
close-link