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  1. #1
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    Default French, German Leaders Push New Peace Plan for East Ukraine

    French, German Leaders Push New Peace Plan for East Ukraine - ABC News

    French, German Leaders Push New Peace Plan for East Ukraine

    KIEV, Ukraine — Feb 5, 2015, 10:38 AM ET
    By MATTHEW LEE and SYLVIE CORBET Associated Press

    In a new push for peace, the leaders of France and Germany headed Thursday to Kiev and Moscow with a proposal to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The surprise move appeared aimed at heading off U.S. considerations of giving Ukraine lethal weapons, something Europeans fear could spark even wider hostilities.

    The flurry of high-level diplomacy comes as resurgent fighting in eastern Ukraine is threatening Europe's overall security.

    In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin's aide welcomed the new European initiative and said the Kremlin was ready for a constructive discussion. NATO defense ministers in Brussels, however, were ready to boost the military alliance's forces in response to the fighting in Ukraine and Russia's increased military forcefulness.

    Russia has vehemently denied backing the rebels with troops and weapons, while acknowledging that some Russians are fighting with the separatists. Western military experts scoff at the Russian denial. The top NATO commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, said Thursday that Russia continues to supply the separatists with heavy, state-of-the-art weapons, air defenses and fighters.

    Calling it a "very critical moment in our history," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday warmly welcomed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

    In a joint news conference after their talks, Kerry urged Russia to show its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine by ceasing its military support for the separatists and bringing them to the negotiation table.

    "Our choice is diplomacy," Kerry said, making no mention of providing Ukraine with lethal military aid.

    Fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine surged in January, raising the death toll to over 5,300 people killed since April.

    At least three people were killed in overnight shelling in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, local officials said, and a Ukrainian military spokesman reported five servicemen killed and 29 others wounded in the east in the last 24 hours.

    France and Germany were hoping this time they can come up with a peace deal that both Ukraine and Russia can agree to. In a sign of the importance of the initiative, this will be Merkel's first trip to Moscow since Ukraine's conflict broke out a year ago.

    French President Francois Hollande said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would travel to Kiev on Thursday and then to Moscow the following day with a proposal "based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

    "It will not be said that France and Germany together have not tried everything, undertaken everything, to preserve the peace," Hollande said.

    The French leader did not mention the U.S. in any context, saying the two European nations have special historic, cultural and economic ties with Russia. A senior French government official said the two leaders decided Wednesday night on the trip and did not consult American officials about it. The official was not authorized to be named, according to French policy.

    Kerry, however, sought to cast the new European initiative as part of unified Western efforts to support Ukraine.

    He said the visit to Kiev by Merkel and Hollande "underscores that, together, the United States, France, Germany and the rest of our international partners stand united with Ukraine in calling on Russia to take the steps that I just outlined."

    In Moscow, Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov said Russia was "ready for a constructive conversation" aimed at stabilizing the situation, establishing a dialogue between the Ukrainian government and the rebels and rebuilding economic ties between eastern Ukraine and Kiev. He said the Kremlin expects that Merkel and Hollande had taken Putin's own peace proposals into account, but wouldn't offer any details.

    Western diplomats said Putin gave the French and Germans a nine-page peace plan, and that Hollande and Merkel are taking a repackaged version of that with them. The diplomats said the European version drops the most objectionable elements of the Russian plan and adapts it to fit what Ukraine and the Europeans want, such as some autonomy for eastern Ukraine with special protections for language, culture and local taxes.

    Kerry brought $16.4 million in new humanitarian aid to Ukraine as the Obama administration weighed sending arms to help the beleaguered Kiev government fight the heavily armed, Russian-backed separatists. President Barack Obama has opposed sending weapons but sources in his administration say that position could change.

    Germany and other European nations remain fiercely opposed to sending arms to Ukraine, with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others reiterating that stance Thursday.

    "By throwing more weapons on the bonfire, I don't believe, unfortunately, that we will solve the problems in Ukraine," Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said in Copenhagen, urging more sanctions against Russia to force the rebels back into peace talks.

    European Union foreign ministers will be talking Monday about increasing EU sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

    Breedlove, the top NATO commander, warned Thursday that any move to give Ukraine lethal defensive weapons must take into account a possible angry reaction from Russia.

    "(That) could trigger a more strident reaction from Russia," he said.

    Breedlove also emphasized it was important to make sure that Moscow and the separatists don't once again use a cease-fire to build up their forces and prepare for a new offensive to gain more territory.

    Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, backed the French-German peace effort, saying "there is no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine."

    In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the group's defense ministers are expected to boost the size of the alliance's Response Force from 13,000 to 30,000, in reaction to Russian actions in Ukraine.

    Hollande, however, appeared to offer an olive branch to Putin on the Russian leader's key demand: that Ukraine stay out of NATO.

    "France is not favorable to Ukraine's entry into NATO, let us be clear," Hollande said Thursday. "For the Russians who are worried ... we have to settle this problem among Europeans. We are on the same continent."

    Ushakov, Putin's aide, praised Hollande's comment, saying it reflects "a pragmatic approach, which the Kremlin welcomes."

    Ukraine's economy, meanwhile, has been devastated by the crisis in the east. Its currency, the hryvnia, slid 46 percent Thursday against the U.S. dollar, prompting the government to raise a key interest rate by a whopping 5.5 percentage points to 19.5 percent. The move eased some pressure on the currency.

    According to Poroshenko, Ukraine is spending up to $8 million a day fighting the rebels.

    ———

    Corbet reported from Paris. David Rising in Berlin, Yura Karmanau in Kiev, John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, Lynn Berry and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Jan Olsen in Copenhagen and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

  2. #2
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    I find this news funny because today i read news about NATO making 6 new command centers to eastern europe, along with forming some fast attack troops(not sure what its in english) of 5000 men.

    Kinda makes your news look like some propaganda shit..
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think there's a prospect of NATO and Russia fighting and Ukraine and eastern europe being the battlefield.

    It makes sense to me because I think a lot of the engineering of politics and culture in the UK to make it more and more nationalistic, less and less Europhile and meaner, much meaner than I've ever known it, could be part of a UK plan to disengage from Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think there's a prospect of NATO and Russia fighting and Ukraine and eastern europe being the battlefield.

    It makes sense to me because I think a lot of the engineering of politics and culture in the UK to make it more and more nationalistic, less and less Europhile and meaner, much meaner than I've ever known it, could be part of a UK plan to disengage from Europe.
    Do you seriously think the US government encourages English nationalism?!? They have both economic and ideological motivations to be strongly Europhilic, and consider British membership 'in the American interest'

    US publicly voices concerns over Britain leaving EU - Telegraph

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    Do you seriously think the US government encourages English nationalism?!? They have both economic and ideological motivations to be strongly Europhilic, and consider British membership 'in the American interest'

    US publicly voices concerns over Britain leaving EU - Telegraph
    I dont believe that for a second, not a second, that the US is Europhilic.

    At the time Iraq was invaded there were two stories which stood out in my mind, one was the bombing along a route of a planned pipe line for a global energy company which saved the company millions in demolitions. Providing competitive advantage over other energy firms, mainly European.

    The other story was that Saddam had abandoned his chemical weapons and WMD projects, which he had only ever used domestically or on the Kurds, but was getting more interested in other things, such as economic warfare, which could disrupt or annoy the US, North Korea was making moves at that time and were supposedly the biggest meth dealers in the US and counterfeiters of US currency in the world (remember the axis of evil? Also Lenin said that to defeat any nation all you had to do was adulterate its currency, the libertarians quote that all the time because it chimes with their crazy theories that fiat currencies are socialism and big government).

    Anyway Saddam was interested in adopting the Euro as the Petro Dollar and if he had there was a good chance others would too, which would really have effected the power of the US government in the international money system.

    The thing about ethno-nationalism, which was the big string in the UK New Right, ie Thatcherism, probably the same goes for Reaganism in the US, is that language is considered of paramount importance in shaping culture and culture is almost synonymous with race. Churchill and all the repeated mindless talk about Churchillian decisions being made by Britain was big into this kind of thing, he wrote lots of books about how he felt that the US was the only hope for the future because it was an english speaking nation which was not, in his opinion, "socialist" (Churchill felt that pensions for anyone other than veterans was socialism, let along national insurance, unemployment benefits, disbaility benefits, national health services, social services, public education etc. etc.).

    I would also expect the US to be aggrieved with the EU because at key times during the Bush-Blair administrations when they signalled that they wanted the EU to militarise (in particular Germany of all places!), abandon its ideas about soft power, Tobin financial transfers and futures speculation taxes, a social Europe and income equality to spend on militarism instead, the EU repeatedly ignored them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I dont believe that for a second, not a second, that the US is Europhilic.
    Heard of geopolitics? The American interest in other, smaller countries is often pretty simple, they're worried that if they don't step in another world power will (in this case Russia). It is this kind of fearful attitude that has driven many of the last half century's imperialistic projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    At the time Iraq was invaded there were two stories which stood out in my mind, one was the bombing along a route of a planned pipe line for a global energy company which saved the company millions in demolitions. Providing competitive advantage over other energy firms, mainly European.

    The other story was that Saddam had abandoned his chemical weapons and WMD projects, which he had only ever used domestically or on the Kurds, but was getting more interested in other things, such as economic warfare, which could disrupt or annoy the US, North Korea was making moves at that time and were supposedly the biggest meth dealers in the US and counterfeiters of US currency in the world (remember the axis of evil? Also Lenin said that to defeat any nation all you had to do was adulterate its currency, the libertarians quote that all the time because it chimes with their crazy theories that fiat currencies are socialism and big government).

    Anyway Saddam was interested in adopting the Euro as the Petro Dollar and if he had there was a good chance others would too, which would really have effected the power of the US government in the international money system.
    I don't see how this is that relevant to American interests in the region, Lark. Iraq would not have changed the overall strategy for Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The thing about ethno-nationalism, which was the big string in the UK New Right, ie Thatcherism, probably the same goes for Reaganism in the US, is that language is considered of paramount importance in shaping culture and culture is almost synonymous with race. Churchill and all the repeated mindless talk about Churchillian decisions being made by Britain was big into this kind of thing, he wrote lots of books about how he felt that the US was the only hope for the future because it was an english speaking nation which was not, in his opinion, "socialist" (Churchill felt that pensions for anyone other than veterans was socialism, let along national insurance, unemployment benefits, disbaility benefits, national health services, social services, public education etc. etc.).
    Churchill, Thatcher and their ilk were without doubt opposed to communism, but Churchill nonetheless was happy to go to war against nationalistic NS Germany and burnt their country to the ground, while Thatcher is most (in)famous for her economic reforms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I would also expect the US to be aggrieved with the EU because at key times during the Bush-Blair administrations when they signalled that they wanted the EU to militarise (in particular Germany of all places!), abandon its ideas about soft power, Tobin financial transfers and futures speculation taxes, a social Europe and income equality to spend on militarism instead, the EU repeatedly ignored them.
    The winds are changing now that Russia has invaded Ukraine and the Eurozone is looking rather patchy. I do not think the Americans will allow the EU to fragment into a patchwork of states ruled by communists in the south and nationalists in the north. While i believe it would be possible to make such an arrangement work, it would seriously endanger the US' political interests in Europe. If an additional motivation to act is even required, American politicians of all stripes receive a large amount of money from Jewish lobby groups. I can't imagine that they'd be enthralled with the idea of a nationalist revival. Breed 'em out.

  7. #7
    across the universe Olm the Water King's Avatar
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    German-French Ukraine Peace Bid: A Crossroads for Europe - Bloomberg Business
    German-French Ukraine Peace Bid: A Crossroads for Europe

    by Patrick DonahueSangwon YoonHenry Meyer
    10:51 PM CET February 6, 2015

    (Bloomberg) -- Leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed to push ahead with talks on a possible settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, including a tentative peace summit within days.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande discussed the initiative during a “detailed” conference call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in an e-mailed statement. Talks will resume Monday in Berlin aimed at preparing a summit of the four leaders in Minsk, Belarus, on Feb. 11, he said.

    The diplomacy may determine whether a tenuous peace takes hold or a wider war breaks out, potentially with the U.S. and some European allies supplying arms to Ukraine’s government. A breakdown would also strain trans-Atlantic unity in dealing with Russia, as Europe’s consensus on economic sanctions shows signs of fraying.

    “Aren’t we already close to the point of no return?” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at the Munich Security Conference earlier Sunday. “I’m convinced it would be irresponsible to fail to grasp what may be the final chances to solve the conflict.”

    Merkel and Hollande, who lead the euro area’s biggest economies, stepped up peace efforts over the past week after fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists escalated, prompting concern that the rebellion will widen into a broader conflict.

    Demilitarized Zone?

    “We are united in our diplomacy,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the Munich conference. “But the longer that it takes, or the off ramps are avoided, the more we will be forced to raise the costs on Russia and its proxies.”

    The plan being discussed by German, French and Russian officials foresees a demilitarized zone of 50 to 70 kilometers and greater autonomy for eastern Ukraine, Hollande told France 2 television Saturday. More than 5,400 people have died in the fighting since April, according to the United Nations.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking at the Munich meeting, warned against letting the fighting slide into a “raging war.”

    Looming over the negotiations is the prospect of deeper sanctions on Russia, an economic collapse in Ukraine and the risk that the conflict descends into a proxy war. In Ukraine, government forces destroyed 14 units of rebel military equipment, including tanks and rocket launchers, the Defense Ministry said on Facebook on Sunday.

    Ruble Collapse

    For Russia, a breakdown in the talks could mean further strictures on an economy faced with a 46 percent plunge of the ruble against the dollar. At the same time, there are no signs that Putin, whose approval ratings are still at 85 percent, will change tack.

    After Merkel and Hollande met Putin in Moscow on Friday, German and French officials kept working with Russian counterparts Saturday on the draft peace plan, the French embassy in Moscow said in a Twitter posting.

    “It is uncertain whether this will be successful,” Merkel said on Saturday in Munich.

    Fabius said both sides’ demands are “reasonably clear.” Ukraine wants to “feel safe from military threats” by Russia and control its borders, while Russia says it wants “real decentralization or autonomy” for eastern Ukraine, he said.

    With some U.S. officials and senators advocating weapons shipments to Ukrainian forces, Merkel stiffened her opposition to military aid as she prepares to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

    Merkel Firm

    “The progress Ukraine needs won’t be achieved with more weapons,” she said. “There’s no way to win this militarily -- that’s the bitter truth. The international community has to think of a different approach.”

    Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and NATO 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 Donetsk and Luhansk.

    Russia won’t tolerate the post-Cold War global system dominated by a single leader, Putin said Saturday at a meeting with the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Sochi.

    “That type of world order has never been acceptable for Russia,” Putin said. “Maybe someone likes it and wants to live under a pseudo-occupation, but we won’t put up with it.”

  8. #8
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    I didn't read the article and I am not following what is happening in there closely.

    But I got a message for Russia - a message that I hope they wouldn't take it too seriously, hunt me down and kill me for it - Fuck you Putin and the Russian government for starting a civil war in another country.

    Yes there are two sides to every story, but starting a civil war isn't justifiable.
    .

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    Default Putin and Asperger's

    How interesting to discover on a site devoted to psychology that President Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, is likely to suffer from Asperger's Syndrome.

    Click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgXw...c&spfreload=10

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    I'm scared at the prospect of NATO going to war with Russia, I'm concerned that Putin hasnt the capacity to draw back or compromise for whatever reason.

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