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Russia Today reports that police in Kiev have the Right Sector headquarters surrounded after one of its members instigated a shootout that injured three people.

Kiev’s ‘Dnepr’ hotel, which serves as headquarters for the Right Sector movement, has been surrounded by police after members of the group retreated there following a shootout in the center of Ukraine’s capital, not far from the landmark Maidan (Independence Square).

Earlier, a Right Sector member opened fire by the ‘Mafia’ restaurant on the Kreschatyk Street, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov stated on his Facebook page. All of the injured have been transferred to hospital, two of them sustained serious wounds. The suspect has been detained.

Kiev city administration confirmed that deputy mayor Dubas was injured, adding that he just happened to be passing by in the area at the moment of the shootout. The other injured were members of Maidan self-defense force.

This is a welcome sign that the government is doing its job and cracking down on its extremists. Russia has complained all along that Ukraine is infested with Neo-Nazis and extremists and that Ukraine does not have a legitimate government. Putin went so far as to tell George W. Bush in 2008 that Ukraine is not a country. The challenge for Ukraine now is to prove Putin wrong. It seems that they are doing so by cracking down on its extremists.

Now, it's Russia's turn. Russia, over the past couple of days, has taken some welcome steps in easing the tensions between the two countries. But they have not done enough. They must do more -- they must live by the same standards that they expect Ukraine to follow. They must reign in their own extremists.

Ukraine detained a Russian extremist who had been planning to wreak havoc in Kiev.

The Security Service of Ukraine said on March 31 that it had stopped a Russian man who investigators believe was planning to forcibly take over government buildings in Kyiv in an effort to destabilize the country.

Ukraine's security service, known by the acronym SBU, said in a statement on its website that it had detained Oleg Bakhtiyarov, a leader of the extremist Eurasian Youth Union of Russia, for allegedly planning to storm the country's parliament and Cabinet of Ministers buildings in Kyiv by force.

The Eurasian Youth Union, a Russian political organization and youth wing of the radical Eurasia Party, has been banned from Ukraine for carrying out acts of vandalism reported to be anti-Ukrainian.

The SBU said that Bakhtiyarov, working under the guise of a civil society activist in Kyiv, had recruited some 200 people to assist in storming the buildings and had stockpiled Molotov cocktails and various tools to carry out the provocation. He was also in possession of an undisclosed amount of cash.

"O.Bahtiyarov promised participants of the assault a cash reward up to $500 each," reads the SBU statement.

The Russian government is responsible for the actions of its own extremists. Russia has already committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to the present conflict. Now, they must follow through with these promises by reigning in extremists like this whose goal is to create conflict between the two countries. Most people on both sides do not want war between Russia and Ukraine. But if the Russian government gets hijacked by extremists like the man who was arrested, or Ukraine allows far-right elements to become Prime Minister in the next election, then the worst-case scenario will develop -- a state of perpetual warfare in which neither side can win.

The longer that Ukraine buys itself time to build up its forces and clamps down on its extremists, the less likely that Russia can wrest any more territory away from Ukraine or invade and occupy it. Alexander Motyl, writing in World Affairs Journal, writes:

Attali appears to be blithely unaware of the consequences of such land grabs. Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, and Kazakhs will resist. There will be war in much of Eurasia, along with tens of thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees. And every country on Russia’s borders will promptly engage in a military buildup.
If Russia invades at some point in the future, not only will Ukraine resist, other countries will arm themselves so that a Russian invasion would become even more difficult. On Friday, before he called President Obama, Putin met with his generals (there were pictures of him shaking hands with them). Bear in mind that Russia's defense minister told our Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that Russia would not be attacking Ukraine. I suggest that these generals told Putin that an invasion and occupation of the rest of Ukraine would be a costly proposition. And Putin listened -- unlike Hitler, he is one of those people who never engages in battles unless he knows he can win easily. For Putin, a lifelong KGB man, the battle is won before the shots are ever fired. Sending in the troops is simply a matter of sealing the final victory.

Putin's problem is that he may have won a province, but he lost a country.

When Vladimir Putin seized Crimea, he lost Ukraine. He had slandered the Ukrainian protest movement as variously fascist, decadent, and gay. Then he went beyond that, to claim that the interim government that the protesters had helped bring into being was planning to persecute Russian speakers in Crimea and elsewhere. Finally he insulted a neighbouring country that had no way of defending itself by seizing its land.

He thereby confirmed the alienation of people in the western part of the country from their historic Russian connection. He enraged the liberals, both Ukrainian and Russian in background, who valued the relative freedoms that Ukraine had raggedly preserved even as those freedoms dwindled in the Russian Federation.

He divided and confused people in the centre and east who preferred the ambiguity, and the sophistication, on the issue of identity that enabled them to live together. When Crimea was separated from Ukraine, Ukraine was separated from Russia, not for ever, because certain deep links remain, but for the foreseeable future. This is the dominant fact that the United States and European countries must keep in mind as they shape their policies on the crisis that the Russian leader created by his action on Crimea.

In other words, he may have won Crimea, but he has forfeited any further influence with Ukraine. And he has forfeited influence around the world as well.
Russia's role in international affairs is diminished, at least temporarily. Moscow has been de facto excluded from the Group of Eight industrialized powers. Its bids to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy Agency are frozen. Western summits with Moscow are canceled until further notice.

President Vladimir Putin's attempt to use the BRICS group of emerging powers to mitigate isolation by the West faltered over Chinese and Indian unease at the Crimean precedent for disputes about Tibet and Kashmir. A joint BRICS statement condemned sanctions but made no mention of Crimea or Ukraine.

Just when it looked to be losing relevance as its mission in Afghanistan limps to a close, the U.S.-led military alliance is back in business. An increase in allied air patrols and war games showing the flag in Poland and the Baltic states is on the agenda, and Warsaw wants faster deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in central Europe.

Under U.S. pressure, some European countries may rethink cuts in defense spending. Neutral Sweden and Finland, perceiving Russia anew as a potential threat, may increase security efforts and cooperate more closely with NATO.

If Putin wishes to regain it, he must live by the same standards that he set for the rest of the world and respect international law and human rights.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 1-)

    "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

    by Eternal Hope on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 09:02:51 PM PDT

  •  Losing a Country (3+ / 0-)

    As if Ukraine was not lost to Russia by the coup in Kiev or by the Brussels-centric passion of Ukraine's anti-Russian politicians.

    Ukraine was not Putin's to lose.

  •  meh (7+ / 0-)

    Guaranteeing access to the Black Sea, no matter what the USA or IMF or EU or NATO or whomever says: Priceless.

    Putin did what any Russian leader would do. If anyone is shocked, well... that says something about the shockee.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 09:37:50 PM PDT

    •  Well, he certainly did what any brilliant (6+ / 0-)

      …American strategist would have done.

      Bravo to the neurons involved.

    •  Russia already has access to the Black Sea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature, mookins

      in Socci and Novorossiysk. The idea that they 'needed' to invade Crimea to 'protect' their Black Sea bases is nonsense.

      Check the map:

      Ukraine never posed a military threat to Russian bases or Russian residents in Crimea.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:00:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Novorossiysk is not a full all weather port as is (0+ / 0-)

        Sevastopol. They are working at improving it.

        There are two types of weather in Novorossiysk Bay:
        Anticyclonic type is distinguished by N'ly winds in summer, force 7m/s = 40%. In wintertime N-E'ly "Bora" 15-30% and sometimes the wind force is 35-40m/s. Precipitation is very seldom.

        Cyclonic type of weather is distinguished by winds 7-15m/s from S and W directions in summertime with low cloud, medium highs and thunderstorms, in wintertime, heavy rains.

        In wintertime, vessels lying at Berths No 5, 6, 10-12, 18, 19 and 27, during NE winds and after receiving a storm warning, must be secured to shore bollards by the necessary number of mooring lines with sufficient strength to keep them tight. While S, SE and SW winds blow, vessels lying at berths subject to sea swell, namely Berths No 5, 6, 8 and 10 must be secured to shore bollards by a sufficient number of mooring lines ensuring that all lines are tight and have equal pressure when vessels move along the berths under sea swell. Mooring to Berths No 4, 9 and 17 is prohibited while S winds blow with force over 8m/s or in unfavourable weather forecast. Vessels, lying at these berths, on receiving a storm warning or when the wind starts to blow or sea swell comes from the S, must immediately leave the port and sail for the roads. For urgent sailing from the port, there must be a Master or chief mate, chief or first engineer and sufficient number of crew members to keep the engine in constant readiness. Visibility is usually good throughout the year.

    •  I keep on wondering (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      why "access to the Black Sea" is so incredibly important.  It's a glorified lake.

    •  Odd logic. (0+ / 0-)

      This sounds like the same logic that those who defend the NSA use.

      "Guaranteeing access to your private information, no matter what the USA or IMF or EU or NATO or whomever says: Priceless."

      Its one thing to say, "sure it makes sense at a Machiavellian level." Its something else to say it is right.

  •  Let's see: (9+ / 0-)

    Russia gets to keep Crimea, thereby safeguarding its Black Sea naval base.

    According to Yatsenyuk Ukraine will not be joining Nato, thereby guaranteeing Ukraine as a buffer zone.

    Ukraine seems to be in the course of eliminating (or at least reining in) its most radically anti-Russian elements such as Right Sector, thereby assuring the well being of linguistic/ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

    All this in exchange for the withdrawl of one motorized batallion from the Ukraine border, a batallion which formed part of an "invasion force" which seems to have been such only in the hype of Western media.

    Not bad going for Russia...

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 09:50:56 PM PDT

    •  I believe that battalion was backup insurance (3+ / 0-)

      for when Putin made his move in Crimea in case the Ukrainians had sent some forces into Crimea.

      Basically, the US paid $5 billion so Putin could get permanent jurisdiction of Sevastopol.

    •  A good move from Ukraine even without threats (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature, native, mookins

      First of all, Ukraine could not join NATO under any circumstances because of the presence of the Russian naval bases on Ukrainian territory at Sevastopol.  To join NATO, Ukraine must renounce its claims to the Crimean Peninsula, and if it did that it would face an angry nationalist reaction.

      Praviy Sector (Right Sector) has been making itself obnoxious in Kyiv, at least according to the Euromaidan activists that I've been following.  They have commandeered Ukranian House and are even rumored to have set up extragovernmental torture chambers.  The Interior Ministry also found links between elements of Praviy Sector and the Russian FSB.  These links includes APs who wanted Praviy Sector to storm the Ukrainian Parliament.  

      The ethnic reality in Ukraine is that it has a substantial but small (17%) ethnic Russian minority.  The linguistic reality is that there are cities like Odessa where most residents consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian.  

      Another bit of "ethnic" reality that is disconcerting to Ukrainian bigots is that Ukraine, appears to be trying to decouple "race" from nationhood.  Below is a commercial from its 20th anniversary independence celebrations.  It appears to be a gathering of stars and national stereotypes...the tall lady with red hair in the headscarf on the right-hand side of the choir is Natalya Falion, whose Lisapetniy Battalion won "Ukraine's Got Talent".  The gentleman at the table with the knife is slicing salo, cured pork fat.  I think the Afro-Ukrainians in the photo include Gaitana (who beat out 20 other performers to represent Ukraine at Eurovision 2012) and members of Marigold, a popular Jamaican-influenced pop group.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 11:22:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or (0+ / 0-)

        They could have cancelled Russia lease in Sevastopol which was certainly up for discussion.  If Russia ends up having to surrender Ukraine (extremely unlikely) the Black Sea Fleet will most assuredly have to move down the coast to a base in Russia

        •  How so? (0+ / 0-)

          Don't you think Cuba would have canceled Gitmo if they could? They have only cashed the first check.

          •  I am not sure (0+ / 0-)

            Of the legal issues, but the lease was an election issue in the last Presidential election.  Timoschenko wanted to have the lease end in 2015 I beleive.  Whether the president has that kind of authority I don't know.   I don't practice that kind of law

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            Cuba maintains the lease is illegal and cancelled but isn't about to try to attack the base to oust the US.  

            So insofar as Sevasotopol is now the subject of an illegal occupation maintained through military force that the victim doesn't want to start a wider war over, that's not a bad analogy.

            The predicate of my comment was a hypothetical withdrawal after sanctions start to bite Russia

    •  None of these things (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is worth anything.

      On the one hand, Yatsenyuk is decried as an illegitimate head of state.  On the other, here it is proposed that his promise that Ukraine won't join NATO is binding in some fashion.  Trust me, if Yulia Timoshenko wins the election in May NATO membership is about the first thing she'll ask for.  Putin couldn't instigate the ethnic Russian uprisings he so desired in Kharkov, Luhansk, Donetsk, and the bits of land connecting Donetsk to Crimea.  NATO in Kiev and Odessa, Russia in Kharkov/Donetsk/Crimea...I'd like to imagine this crisis and partitioning process over, but the election result might well drive it further.

      Cracking down on Right Sector is a politically useful thing to do.  Those people are not going to change their minds or votes or anti-Russian efforts, though.  It does give the Kiev government some standing as enforcing law and order, and it probably cuts down on worse violent provocations.  It won't stop the Russia propaganda machine from continuing to claim the rebellion to consist of a conspiracy of Nazis, Jews, and gays, though.

      I've never gotten any non-imperialistic explanation for why Russia's 'access' to the Black Sea is of any importance.  There's a big Russian colony on Crimea whose legitimacy is never questioned and somehow it's wonderful when Russia (a classical land power) has a small navy with which to annoy NATO members on the far side of the Sea but primarily serves to menace the nearby coastal bits of Georgia and Ukraine.  

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Thule Air Base
    Il-76MD military cargo transport (sporting Ukraine's colors)

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 11:12:58 PM PDT

  •  Worth reading (4+ / 0-)

    Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names


    Tromsø, Norway.

    Events in Ukraine are moving fast and faster.  Dangers of economic paralysis in Ukraine and of wider war with Russia are very real.  This essay will argue that we all need to notice our historical biases in perceiving and misperceiving events.  My own bias is anti-war.  Now is not the time in human history for geopolitical power plays and military alliances.  Now is the time for coordinated international actions on climate and economy.  I am a professor of social and community psychology at the University of Tromsø in Arctic Norway, near the Russian border.  I have no special knowledge of Russia other than conventional sources (Google Scholar, Wikipedia, JSTOR).  My surname is Lithuanian, from my grandfather’s emigration in 1897 when Lithuania was controlled by Russia.

    James Joyce’s famous statement that “history is a nightmare” from which we should try to awake, aptly describes current events in the Ukraine.  All nations involved in these events are biased by the remembered, misremembered, forgotten, and mythologized history they carry in their heads.  Chaos in Maidan Square, neo-fascists in positions of  power in Kiev, Russia annexing Crimea, these are inkblots that everyone sees differently depending on the historical visions that dominate their minds.  Our national memories have the passion and power to drive us blindly to hatreds and to war.  The histories we believe set us up for easy manipulations and disastrous actions.


    Americans also “Remember the Alamo”.  In 1835, American settlers in the Mexican territory of Texas felt threatened by the government of Santa Anna in Mexico City, which had come to power by coup.  In1836, the American settlers in Texas declared independence, and later negotiated annexation by the United States.  Thus, Americans can, if they wish, appreciate that Crimeans felt threatened by the government in Kiev, which came to power by coup, and that Crimeans also declared independence, and also then negotiated annexation by the nation of their origin.  However, unlike Texas, Crimea had previously been part of Russia for 170 years.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 11:43:34 PM PDT

  •  and this is not surprising (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fran1, native, unfangus
    (CNN) -- Russian energy giant Gazprom announced a sharp increase Tuesday in the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

    Starting Tuesday, Ukraine will be charged $385.50 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, up from the previous rate of $268.50, Gazprom's deputy chairman Aleksey Miller is quoted as saying.

    The move ends a discount which was agreed before Ukraine's Moscow-leaning President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in February following months of street protests.

    In fact Ukraine is in arrears with its payments for Russian gas which it received at a discount. Now Russia will be charging Ukraine the same as it charges the EU.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 12:49:38 AM PDT

    •  That is to be expected (0+ / 0-)

      It might turn out to be a good thing in the long run if Ukraine can survive economically long enough to develop alternatives.

      Still I have seen no talk yet of reparations for the occupation of Crimea.  I will be interested to see how Ukraine handles this debt as Russia uses up more and more of its leverage

  •  Another interesting reading from NBC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Claudius Bombarnac

    Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup - NBC

    We went to look for ourselves. Cameraman Dmitry Solovyov, sound engineer Alexei Gordienko and I packed our bags, devices and news-gathering gadgets into the back of our grey, nondescript bureau minivan and began a journey along the 1,200 mile border between Russia and Ukraine – many segments of which give no indication that it’s an actual border between two countries.

    Sudzha, a small town in the region of Kursk, site of the biggest tank battle of World War II, was our first destination. A tank column had been spotted there, 5 miles from the border, about a week before. But as we drove around the quaint town – equally proud of its freshly painted Orthodox Church and its bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin – we saw no tanks, or even armored personnel carriers. We did see ATM machines on almost every block. All was quiet. There was no tension in the air. Outside town, farmers were planting winter wheat.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 02:17:57 AM PDT

    •  How old is this story? (0+ / 0-)

      "Outside town, farmers were planting winter wheat."

      This strikes me as odd. Winter wheat is typically planted in the early fall. Maybe the reporter didn't know what he or she was looking at...

      •  Probably spring planting of barley or wheat if (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        winter wheat planting failed.

        The NBC reporters were correct in noting spring planting was underway in the region. It did not appear to be disrupted.
        Mar 3, 2014

        Planting of cereal crops in Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest corn exporter, may be disrupted as tensions rise in the Black Sea region of Crimea, the nation’s grain association said.
        Spring Planting

        The three-week spring planting season in Crimea has just started, where about 1.5 million metric tons of wheat was exported last year, Klimenko said.
        China Loan

        The increased tensions also raise concern that Ukraine may have difficulty fulfilling a loan it signed with China in 2012, which was to be repaid in grain. State Food & Grain Corp. of Ukraine received $1.5 billion of initial funds, the company said in a statement on its website Feb. 26.

  •  It would be helpful if Ukraine's provisional (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    government were able to rein in Praviy Sektor before the elections. These arrests are a step in that direction, and hopefully Putin will reciprocate.

    It would be even more helpful if the new government (whatever that turns out to be) were able to rein in the oligarchs that have been robbing the place blind for decades. Ukraine might shake itself free of Moscow's steely grip, only to find itself enmeshed in the IMF's questionable version of economic stability.

  •  diary is full of rubbish (0+ / 0-)

    like this:

    Russian government is responsible for the actions of its own extremists
    blah, blah, blah

    how about Obama's administration responsible for 1500 homophobic crimes committed in US every year?

    or other such nonsense.

    What, diarist working for CIA propaganda wing to disinform DKossaks?

    How much such cozy job is paid?

    •  What do you expect? (0+ / 0-)

      This is an American blog, so of course you're going to hear stuff from an American perspective sometimes. If Russia wants to preach at Ukraine about how it needs to clean up its extremists, then Russia needs to crack down on their own extremists who are sneaking into Ukraine and trying to start a war between Russia and Ukraine.

      "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

      by Eternal Hope on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:41:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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