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Ukraine protests

Ukraine Riots 2014 European Union

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#21 Raijin

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 08:16 AM

View PostFnlPrblm, on 28 February 2014 - 06:55 AM, said:

Raijin, (not to pry), but are you in Russia right now?  What and how is the situation in Ukraine being described there (or if you're not there, from a Russian point of view, if you're reading their news pages)?  Are they reporting on the unknown military presence who've shown up, blocking off the airports, but residing in silence as to who they are or why they've blocked things off?

I'm not in Russia but I read Russian internet and news.

- The military presense is reported as "unknown gunmen" or "Crimean defense force". But no one has any illusions about who they really are.
- The situation in Ukraine is reported as lawlessness and the west Ukrainian nationalistic angle (which is present) is heavily pushed. The main message is that the "revolutionaries" in Kiev don't represent the entire country.
- The role of "Right Sector", a Ukrainian ultra nationalist organization, is emphasized. As well as the worries in the east of what it would mean for them if these guys make it into government. It's often said that Right Sector has de facto official power.
- The views towards Crimean protests against Kiev not surprisingly sympathetic.
- Also a lot of saber rattling idiots are allowed to speak on TV unfortunately.

#22 Nonny

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 05:53 PM

http://www.zerohedge...y-russian-plane
Ukraine Acting President Says Russia Has Invaded Ukraine, As 2000 Russian Troops, Military Jets Arrive

Quote

More from Interpretermag.com:
“Under the guise of military exercises, Russia has brought troops into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. And not only have they seized the parliament of the Crimea, the Council of Ministers of the Crimea, they are trying to take civilian buildings under control, communications, and trying to block places where Ukrainian soldiers are based,” he said in an appeal to the nation.
“They are provoking us to military conflict. According to information from our intelligence, they are working out scenarios that are completely analogous to Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they began annexation of territory,” the acting president emphasized.
I also heard on NPR news that Russian troops have removed their insignia and license plates.
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#23 Nonny

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 05:56 PM

http://www.interpret...ts-seized/#1752
Ukraine Liveblog Day 11: Airports Seized

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Unmarked soldiers have seized both Sevastopol and Simferopol airports, and have established roadblocks at key locations in the Crimea. The deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, who still maintains he is the legitimate head of state, is due to give a press conference shortly in Rostov-on-Don in Russia. While Russia continues to vow that it will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine, it appears ever more likely that a Russian intervention in Crimea is already under way.

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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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#24 Spectacles

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:23 AM

Decided to put this here, which seems more a fact-finding thread on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Russia really does have all the power and probably easily re-annex the Ukraine or set up a puppet government. The question is, what sort of blowback will Russia get from disgruntled Ukrainians.

It's interesting to factor control of oil and gas in this:

http://www.huffingto..._n_4876832.html

Edited by Spectacles, 02 March 2014 - 07:24 AM.

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#25 Spectacles

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:15 AM

This is a mighty complicated game of chess between Russia and the West--and Russia is positioned in such a way that it's impossible to checkmate it.

Here's a really informative piece on the options and recent history. Looks like an inevitable win for Putin and Russia--if by "win" one means taking over a country at least half of which does not want to be under your control. That seldom works out well in the long run. But Putin thinks muscle matters most.

http://www.nytimes.c...h_20140302&_r=0


Quote

Making Russia Pay? It’s Not So Simple
By PETER BAKERMARCH 1, 2014


WASHINGTON — President Obama has warned Russia that “there will be costs” for a military intervention in Ukraine. But the United States has few palatable options for imposing such costs, and recent history has shown that when it considers its interests at stake, Russia has been willing to pay the price.

Even before President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday publicly declared his intent to send Russian troops into the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, Mr. Obama and his team were already discussing how to respond. They talked about canceling the president’s trip to a summit meeting in Russia in June, shelving a possible trade agreement, kicking Moscow out of the Group of 8 or moving American warships to the region.

That is the same menu of actions that was offered to President George W. Bush in 2008, when Russia went to war with Georgia, another balky former Soviet republic. Yet the costs imposed at that time proved only marginally effective and short-lived. Russia stopped its advance but nearly six years later has never fully lived up to the terms of the cease-fire it signed. And whatever penalty it paid at the time evidently has not deterred it from again muscling a neighbor.


Quote

“What can we do?” asked Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar who was the government’s top intelligence officer on Russia during the Georgia war when Mr. Putin deflected Western agitation. “We’ll talk about sanctions. We’ll talk about red lines. We’ll basically drive ourselves into a frenzy. And he’ll stand back and just watch it. He just knows that none of the rest of us want a war.”

James F. Jeffrey was Mr. Bush’s deputy national security adviser in August 2008, the first to inform him that Russian troops were moving into Georgia in response to what the Kremlin called Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. As it happened, the clash also took place at Olympic time; Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin were both in Beijing for the Summer Games.
Mr. Bush confronted Mr. Putin to no avail, then ordered American ships to the region and provided a military transport to return home Georgian troops on duty in Iraq. He sent humanitarian aid on a military aircraft, assuming that Russia would be loath to attack the capital of Tbilisi with American military personnel present. Mr. Bush also suspended a pending civilian nuclear agreement, and NATO suspended military contacts.

“We did a lot but in the end there was not that much that you could do,” Mr. Jeffrey recalled.
Inside the Bush administration, there was discussion of more robust action, like bombing the Roki Tunnel to block Russian troops or providing Georgia with Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bristled at what she called the “chest beating,” and the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, urged the president to poll his team to see if anyone recommended sending American troops.

None did, and Mr. Bush was not willing to risk escalation.

Quote


Mr. Jeffrey, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Mr. Obama should now respond assertively by suggesting that NATO deploy forces to the Polish-Ukrainian border to draw a line. “There’s nothing we can do to save Ukraine at this point,” he said. “All we can do is save the alliance.”

Others like Mr. Ryan warn that military movements could backfire by misleading Ukrainians into thinking the West might come to their rescue and so inadvertently encourage them to be more provocative with Russia.

Ms. Hill said the Russian leader might simply wait. “Time,” she said, “is on his side.”

Edited by Spectacles, 02 March 2014 - 09:15 AM.

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"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#26 BklnScott

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 10:03 AM

Yes, Gazprom is a big part of this - I believe they supply much of Western Europe, too, which means prices could be ratcheted up there in retaliation, too.

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#27 ilexx

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 11:25 AM

View PostSpectacles, on 02 March 2014 - 09:15 AM, said:

This is a mighty complicated game of chess between Russia and the West--and Russia is positioned in such a way that it's impossible to checkmate it.

Here's a really informative piece on the options and recent history. Looks like an inevitable win for Putin and Russia--if by "win" one means taking over a country at least half of which does not want to be under your control. That seldom works out well in the long run. But Putin thinks muscle matters most.

http://www.nytimes.c...h_20140302&_r=0


Quote

Making Russia Pay? It’s Not So Simple
By PETER BAKERMARCH 1, 2014


WASHINGTON — President Obama has warned Russia that “there will be costs” for a military intervention in Ukraine. But the United States has few palatable options for imposing such costs, and recent history has shown that when it considers its interests at stake, Russia has been willing to pay the price.

Even before President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday publicly declared his intent to send Russian troops into the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, Mr. Obama and his team were already discussing how to respond. They talked about canceling the president’s trip to a summit meeting in Russia in June, shelving a possible trade agreement, kicking Moscow out of the Group of 8 or moving American warships to the region.

That is the same menu of actions that was offered to President George W. Bush in 2008, when Russia went to war with Georgia, another balky former Soviet republic. Yet the costs imposed at that time proved only marginally effective and short-lived. Russia stopped its advance but nearly six years later has never fully lived up to the terms of the cease-fire it signed. And whatever penalty it paid at the time evidently has not deterred it from again muscling a neighbor.


Quote

“What can we do?” asked Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar who was the government’s top intelligence officer on Russia during the Georgia war when Mr. Putin deflected Western agitation. “We’ll talk about sanctions. We’ll talk about red lines. We’ll basically drive ourselves into a frenzy. And he’ll stand back and just watch it. He just knows that none of the rest of us want a war.”

James F. Jeffrey was Mr. Bush’s deputy national security adviser in August 2008, the first to inform him that Russian troops were moving into Georgia in response to what the Kremlin called Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. As it happened, the clash also took place at Olympic time; Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin were both in Beijing for the Summer Games.
Mr. Bush confronted Mr. Putin to no avail, then ordered American ships to the region and provided a military transport to return home Georgian troops on duty in Iraq. He sent humanitarian aid on a military aircraft, assuming that Russia would be loath to attack the capital of Tbilisi with American military personnel present. Mr. Bush also suspended a pending civilian nuclear agreement, and NATO suspended military contacts.

“We did a lot but in the end there was not that much that you could do,” Mr. Jeffrey recalled.
Inside the Bush administration, there was discussion of more robust action, like bombing the Roki Tunnel to block Russian troops or providing Georgia with Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bristled at what she called the “chest beating,” and the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, urged the president to poll his team to see if anyone recommended sending American troops.

None did, and Mr. Bush was not willing to risk escalation.

Quote


Mr. Jeffrey, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Mr. Obama should now respond assertively by suggesting that NATO deploy forces to the Polish-Ukrainian border to draw a line. “There’s nothing we can do to save Ukraine at this point,” he said. “All we can do is save the alliance.”

Others like Mr. Ryan warn that military movements could backfire by misleading Ukrainians into thinking the West might come to their rescue and so inadvertently encourage them to be more provocative with Russia.

Ms. Hill said the Russian leader might simply wait. “Time,” she said, “is on his side.”

One additional problem in comparison to the situation in Georgia back in 2008: at that time, France was holding the EU presidency - and had not rejoined NATO. It gave Sarkozy a very powerful position from which he could negotiate his Six-Point-Plan for the cease-fire between Russia and Georgia, that - however faulty it may have been - prevented the conflict to escalate and expand beyond the region.Today, France is not longer holding the EU-presidency and once more an integral part of NATO - and thus a lot less likely to act independently. That leaves the West with a lot less options, because Putin is very likely to know that an EU led by Greece is a lot more maleable than one led by France, and that with NATO-membership the possibility of France's unilateral military response is a lot less likely.

#28 Spectacles

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 04:07 PM

^Interesting--and in a not-good way....

Looks like the U.S., France and UK are refusing to play with Putin until he behaves:

http://www.huffingto..._n_4884811.html

Quote

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Britain will suspend its participation in preparations for a G8 meeting in Sochi after Russia violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, British Foreign Minister William Hague said on Sunday.

The United States has already said it will not take part in the meetings, and a source in President Francois Hollande's office said France has also pulled out.

Western countries are scrambling to respond to developments in Ukraine's Crimea, where Putin has claimed the authority to send Russian troops in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

If Russia didn't have oil and gas, things would be much simpler. But god forbid the West pool its resources and have a Manhattan Project to develop alternative fuels and get us online ASAP so that we were no longer blackmailed by authoritarian despots.
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#29 ilexx

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:55 PM

View PostSpectacles, on 02 March 2014 - 04:07 PM, said:


Looks like the U.S., France and UK are refusing to play with Putin until he behaves:

http://www.huffingto..._n_4884811.html

Quote

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Britain will suspend its participation in preparations for a G8 meeting in Sochi after Russia violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, British Foreign Minister William Hague said on Sunday.

The United States has already said it will not take part in the meetings, and a source in President Francois Hollande's office said France has also pulled out.

Western countries are scrambling to respond to developments in Ukraine's Crimea, where Putin has claimed the authority to send Russian troops in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

If Russia didn't have oil and gas, things would be much simpler. But god forbid the West pool its resources and have a Manhattan Project to develop alternative fuels and get us online ASAP so that we were no longer blackmailed by authoritarian despots.

Meanwhile though Germany is against it (predictably so: Merkel is always opposed to any kind of action as long as there is still a chance to sit things out): http://www.dw.de/put...rkel/a-17468591

Not sure what the "fact-finding mission" Merkel proposes instead is supposed to achieve - and where she hopes to get the time needed to do so. Especially since Ukraine already called out of help.

And while they aren't NATO-members and can thus not refer to the mutual defense pact NATO-membership provides the allies with (Art. 5 of the NATO-charter), there is apparently a treaty signed back in 1994 between Russia, Ukraine, the UK and the US. The so-called Budapest-memorandum signed by Yeltsin, Kuchma, Clinton and Blair guarantees the integrity of the Ukrainian territory in exchange for its nuclear weapons.

http://www.dailymail...-going-war.html

Since Ukraine gave up its nuclear warheads as a result of this treaty, it very probably is legally binding. Which means that as soon as the Ukraine says they are at war, so are the US and UK. And then Art. 5 of the NATO-charter goes into effect and NATO is at war with Russia.

I wonder if the Russians remembered the treaty. UK and US certainly seem to have forgotten all about it until Ukraine brought it up.

#30 Omega

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

The problem is that the Budapest Memorandum isn't a treaty. Apparently the name makes a difference. And even if it was called a treaty, it was never ratified by the US Senate. So it's not legally binding. Further, it's not a defense pact. It says that if Ukraine is invaded, the US and UK will consult with Russia.

https://en.wikipedia...rity_Assurances

Quote

According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:
  • Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  • Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  • Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  • Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  • Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.



#31 ilexx

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:22 PM

View PostOmega, on 02 March 2014 - 08:53 PM, said:

The problem is that the Budapest Memorandum isn't a treaty. Apparently the name makes a difference. And even if it was called a treaty, it was never ratified by the US Senate. So it's not legally binding. Further, it's not a defense pact. It says that if Ukraine is invaded, the US and UK will consult with Russia.

https://en.wikipedia...rity_Assurances

Quote

According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:
  • Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.

  • Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.

  • Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.

  • Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.

  • Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.

  • Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.



LOL You mean the US screwed the Ukrainians just like Russia does? Oh well, with friends like these...

Anyway, thanks for the link. I read up on it, and apparently it is part of Ukraine's accession-procedure to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; subsequently, the Ukraine joined the Treaty and gave up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal; the UK did ratify it; France and China later-on joined with individual statements of assurance; the Assemblée nationale ratified it also. No idea about the Chinese, but to me it very much looks as if with Ukraine fulfilling the obligations and UK and France ratifying it, it doesn't really matter how they call it. So how the hell is this not legally binding?

Also: how do they define "security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan" other than by defending said countries when they get threatened?

Anyway, it seems as if at least the UK and France will have to intervene.

(They keep saying all over the place how similar this is to the outbreak of WW I. Only: it isn't. What it resembles most is the outbreak of WW II - especially when remembering that the concerted invasion from West and East and subsequent division of Poland between Germany and the USSR was the most crucial agreement of the Hitler-Stalin-Pact. It only just so happened that the Russians were late to the party... Looks like they're making up for it by being early now. At least this time the Germans aren't a  part of it. Small mercies, I suppose...)

#32 Omega

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:26 PM

The down-side is that we can't just wait for Russia to throw the entire war away by invading Russia.

#33 Spectacles

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:13 AM

Quote

ilexx: What it resembles most is the outbreak of WW II - especially when remembering that the concerted invasion from West and East and subsequent division of Poland between Germany and the USSR was the most crucial agreement of the Hitler-Stalin-Pact.

Yep. I'm having WWII flashbacks, too--well, from what I know of the history, not personal experience. I was born ten years after it ended....Anyway, several parallels--even the aggressor nation having recently hosted the Olympics.
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"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#34 BklnScott

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:32 AM

The shall we say "stage setting" is decidedly similar, yeah.  Deeply disconcerting.

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#35 ilexx

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 01:54 AM

View PostBklnScott, on 03 March 2014 - 09:32 AM, said:

The shall we say "stage setting" is decidedly similar, yeah.  Deeply disconcerting.

Including the amount of disinformation going on on the part of the agressor. This is a rather good example of it:

http://edition.cnn.c...d-opinion-irpt/

Along with this:

http://www.thedailyb...ue-attacks.html

#36 Spectacles

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:24 AM

Interesting. Thanks, ilexx. It's a damned shame that war has to erupt before I learn much about the societies in other countries. What a fascinating region....

Didn't know much about the Tatars, either:  http://www.slate.com...e_great_to.html

And I'd forgotten this bit of history--that Hitler began taking territory because, in his Hitlerish mind, it was the thing to do to protect the ethnic Germans in other countries.

http://www.presstele...in-nazi-germany

Apparently, Putin has a pretty Hitlerish mind.

Whatever his motives, he wraps himself in the same kind of pernicious nationalism. And like Hitler, he is the leader of a nation that has suffered defeat and humiliation and is longing to re-assert itself on the world stage as a superpower. He's behaving like a classic over-compensator, someone who bullies to make himself feel better.

Granted, we've had a few of those here, too, in recent memory. And the ideology on the right really appeals to authoritarians here as well as abroad. There's something gratifying about the simplicity of Us vs. Them and a chest-thumping leader. It goes back to our days in the caves....

But it seems that, while we've worked to implement ideals of democracy and universal human rights for the past few centuries, it's easy to back-slide under the right conditions in a society.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#37 tennyson

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:21 PM

Nationalism unites a country when other ideaology fails. Putin's efforts with the nations with sizeable ethnic Russian minorities were never in any doubt. Ever since the second Chechnen War he's been about keeping Russia united at all costs. This is using existing conditions to further longer term plans that would return even more former Soviet republics to Russian domination.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

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#38 Orpheus

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:17 AM

Whoa! An all-too-rare tennyson sighting (or do I read the wrong forums?) Good to see you again, buddy!

And Raijin, you're total awesomesauce (sorry if that's too idiomatic. It's a positive remark). That was exactly my impression of that region, in my misspent youth (1980 +/- 1.5 years) when I was doing intelligence analyses of the USSR.

#39 BklnScott

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:19 AM

A colleague who hails originally from Bulgaria told me yesterday, "Don't feel bad for Ukrainians.  They had it coming.  They tried to make Ukrainian the official language of Ukraine."  I was at a loss for how to respond in an office-appropriate way, but then luckily the other attendees at the meeting arrived.

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#40 ilexx

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:52 AM

^ Ukrainian is Ukraine's official language. I suppose what your colleague meant was that the nationalist factions within the new Ukrainian parliament tried to abolish the law that allows the country's autonomous regions to adopt other languages as second official languages.The attempt failed and the law was rejected, so this whole "ban on the Russian languages" the Russian media is colportating is yet another red herring.

Having said that, however: Ukraine's record regarding the treatment of its minorities isn't exactly spotless and there are various reasons for concern. But this isn't a topic to solve while the country is under massive attack from Russia (whose record on the matter is even further away from anything resembling minority rights).



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