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Thread: French, German Leaders Push New Peace Plan for East Ukraine

  1. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    I look at her and I see a person that doesn't seem to be motivated by power, lust, fame, fear, ego, or, a stupid and/or extremist ideology.
    I think that is true as well. Perhaps a bit of ego and a piece of (Christian) ideology, but not enough to significantly impact her judgment. She is an actual moderate, neither hot (obviously) nor really cold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    She might avoid being controversial, but when the situation really calls for it (e.g. Ukraine crysis), she raises up to the challenge. I have never seem Merkel giving in to demagogy, at least from an external perspective.
    Well, she is the German chancellor. Our last attempt to take over the world is not (yet) sufficiently forgotten to allow another demagogue to take that office. I think if another person had been chancellor in Merkel's time, he or she would not have behaved that differently with regards to actual challenges in foreign policy. Peer Steinbrück, her opponent in the last election, might have. I voted for him. He is more controversial, tough-minded, and seems like a mover (ENTJ, I think).

    I am fine with Merkel, though. She is just working for the wrong party.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post

    yikes. she's the opposite of Merkel in pretty much every (good) regard.
    I have heard many nice things about her during the World Cup. Perhaps you too need a world war to get your democracy in shape. It is rumored you might still have our Hitler somewhere on your continent. Maybe you can use him.

  2. #22
    across the universe Array Olm the Water King's Avatar
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    Ukraine Fighting Persists as Countdown to Cease-Fire Starts - Bloomberg Business
    Ukraine Fighting Persists as Countdown to Cease-Fire Starts

    (Bloomberg) -- Fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine as the clock ticked down to a cease-fire that’s supposed to go into effect at midnight.

    Pro-Russian separatists and government forces made the last push to maximize territory under their control, with the government in Kiev saying rebels are attacking along the entire front line, from the strategic transport hub of Debaltseve to the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol. The insurgents blamed the Ukrainian army for striking their positions and towns across the breakaway Donetsk region.

    A rebel offensive centered on Debaltseve is threatening to wreck the deal brokered by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France during all-night negotiations in the Belarus capita, Minsk. Similar agreements have previously failed to defuse the almost one-year crisis that’s killed more than 5,400 people. The cease-fire is set to start overnight Saturday to Sunday at midnight Kiev time.

    “The first volatility point is whether or not the cease-fire materializes this weekend,” Sebastien Barbe, head of emerging markets research and strategy at Credit Agricole CIB, said in a report. “Next, there remain plenty of uncertainties in the agreement that need to be clarified and which will likely fuel political volatility. The process will likely be bumpy, at best.”

    Market Unease

    The mounting doubts over the viability of the truce were reflected in Ukrainian dollar bonds. Government notes maturing in July 2017 ended a seven-day rally, falling 2.4 cents to 54.21 cents. Russian markets showed signs of optimism that the country will be able to avert tougher sanctions, with stocks and bonds extending a second week of gains and the ruble strengthening.

    Separatist forces, backed by Russian regular troops, were on an offensive to secure more territory before midnight, Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian military spokesman, said Saturday. Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 23 wounded in the past 24 hours, he said, accusing the rebels of failing to comply with the Minsk accord.

    Four civilians were killed during the past day in rebel-controlled areas as towns and separatist positions came under dozens of attacks by Ukrainian forces, according to Eduard Basurin, a Defense Ministry official from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

    Debaltseve, a rail hub on the road that links Luhansk and Donetsk, remained in the crosshairs of overnight rebel assaults, according to Ukraine’s military. The town and its environs came under repeated attacks using artillery and tanks, with separatists also shelling areas near Mariupol, the National Security and Defense Council said Saturday. Fourteen civilians were killed in the conflict zone on Friday, it said.
    Broader Attack

    “After what we achieved in Minsk, this isn’t only an attack on Ukrainian civilians but an attack on the Minsk results,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said of the strikes carried out Friday during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    In the absence a bilateral cease-fire overnight to Sunday, Ukraine will demand an emergency meeting of the European Council, according to Poroshenko.

    The insurgents are committed to respecting the truce, though they reserve the right to respond to any “aggressive actions” by government forces, Basurin said, according to the separatist-run DAN news service. The rebels also demanded the surrender of Ukrainian forces in Debaltseve.

    ‘Our Enemy’

    “Why should we let them out? We are giving them the chance to stay alive -- this is our enemy, who came onto our land,” Basurin said. “Yes, we will carry out our commitments, but if the enemy advances in our direction, they will be repulsed as needed.”

    Another rebel official, Denis Pushilin, who was one of the negotiators at the Minsk peace talks, called for a new meeting of the contact group that includes Russia, Ukraine, the separatists and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, DAN reported.

    The meeting, which could be held in Minsk, Astana or Novoazovsk, should focus on the implementation of political steps negotiated in Minsk, including a special status for rebel-held areas, Pushilin said.

    As tensions persisted on the ground, European Union leaders started to draw up further sanctions to prod Russia to enforce the truce, while the U.S. accused Russia of continuing to funnel weapons to insurgents this week.

    More than 10,000 Russian troops are in the country, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mekhed told reporters in Kiev. Fighting will probably escalate further before the truce comes into effect, he said.

    Trading Blame

    Ukraine, the U.S., the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization say Russia is supporting the separatists with hardware, cash and troops, accusations the Kremlin denies. Russia says Ukraine is waging war on its own citizens and discriminates against Russian speakers, a majority in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

    German Chancellor Angel Merkel, one of the brokers of the Minsk deal that she called a “glimmer of hope,” said that she doesn’t rule out additional sanctions against Russia if a truce doesn’t take hold. EU leaders called on the European Commission to get measures ready, she said in Brussels Thursday.

    The EU response reflected concern that the cease-fire will only mark a pause in the war that has devastated eastern Ukraine. The accord announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin envisages a truce and reaffirms some commitments from a failed September bid to end the conflict.

    The U.S. is “very concerned” about the continued fighting, particularly in light of additional Russian military assistance to separatists “in the past few days,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday. Russia’s military also has air-defense systems stationed near Debaltseve, she said.

    Economic Damage

    Underscoring the toll taken by the conflict, Ukraine’s sovereign credit grade was cut by Fitch Ratings, which said a debt restructuring is “increasingly probable” after the country agreed on a $17.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Fitch on Friday reduced Ukraine by one step to CC, leaving it as the lowest-grade sovereign that isn’t in default. The country is rated Caa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and CCC- by Standard & Poor’s

    Fitch estimates that the economy will contract 5 percent this year.

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the government is worsening its forecasts for this year’s inflation and the hryvnia exchange rate as a result of the crisis.

    “Russia’s military aggression and escalation of the conflict remain key challenges,” he said Saturday at a meeting in Kiev. “It’s important that Russia fulfill its obligations, which it’s undertaken for a second time. It’s important that Minsk 2 does not repeat the history of Minsk 1.”

  3. #23
    across the universe Array Olm the Water King's Avatar
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    Ukraine Cease-Fire At Risk As Government, Russia-Backed Rebels Accuse Each Other Of Violations

    Ukraine Cease-Fire At Risk As Government, Russia-Backed Rebels Accuse Each Other Of Violations

    LUHANSKE, Ukraine (AP) — Intense artillery exchanges between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists around a strategic town in the east persisted Monday in fighting that threatens to dash a cease-fire deal brokered last week.

    The warring sides are under an agreement negotiated by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France to begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line Tuesday. That plan already looks at risk with the rebels saying they are not satisfied the conditions are in place for the process to go ahead.

    Associated Press reporters in Luhanske, a government-held town about 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the bitterly contested railway hub in Debaltseve, heard sounds of sustained and regular shelling. Some of the artillery appeared to be outgoing, suggesting it was being fired by Ukrainian troops.

    A loaded Grad rocket launcher was seen pointing in the direction of Debaltseve, but it was not fired while AP journalists were present.

    Despite the cease-fire, Debaltseve still remains in contention as rebels insist the town should automatically revert to their control as it has been encircled by their fighters.

    Observers from the Organization from Security and Cooperation in Europe, who have been tasked with monitoring implementation of the peace deal, said Sunday that separatists have denied them access to Debaltseve.

    In New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern in a statement late on Sunday over continued hostilities around Debaltseve and reiterated his call "for all parties to abide by the cease-fire without exception."

    The cease-fire that went into effect at one minute after midnight Sunday had raised cautious hopes for an end to the 10-month-old conflict, which has already claimed more than 5,300 lives.

    But Ukraine and rebel officials have already traded multiple accusations of attacks since then.

    Separatist military official Eduard Basurin said in a televised news conference on Monday that the government overnight lobbed artillery at Horlivka, a town under rebel control.

    Ukraine blamed the attack on the rebels. The government-appointed police chief of the Donetsk region, Vyacheslav Abroskin, said the separatists shelled the town in order to derail the truce.

    Both the separatists and the Ukrainian government insist they are committed to the cease-fire negotiated in 16-hour talks that ended Thursday morning and involved Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French leader Francois Hollande.

    In line with the truce, both parties are due to begin withdrawing heavy weaponry from their positions early Tuesday.

    Russian news agency Interfax quoted Basurin as saying Monday that the conditions are not yet in place for that pullback to happen.

    "We will begin pulling back equipment from the line of contact if we receive a certain signal, which is if the Ukrainians also do the same thing," Basurin was quoted as saying.

    Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of arming and supplying manpower to the separatists and have imposed a range of economic sanctions in a bid to pressure Moscow into changing course. Russia denies all suggestions it is directly involved in the war in Ukraine.

    On Monday, the European Union added 19 more people and nine organizations to its list of sanctioned Russian entities. Those included two Russian deputy defense ministers, eastern Ukraine-born Russian crooner Iosif Kobzon, who sang to the rebel leaders in Donetsk late last year, as well as several separatist commanders.


    Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow and Balint Szlanko in Artemivsk, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

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