Monday, November 17, 2014

Ukraine 'Ready For Total War', Putin Snubbed At G20

Ukraine 'Ready For Total War', Says Petro Poroshenko

UKRAINE is ready for “total war,” President Petro Poroshenko has said, as fighting grew more intense around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk amid a build up of separatist troops.
After a week in which Kiev said several unmarked armoured convoys of troops crossed the Russian border to reinforce rebels in the east, Mr Poroshenko toughened his rhetoric, telling the German daily Bild: “I am not afraid of a war with Russian troops.”
He added, in an interview to be published today: “We are prepared for a scenario of total war ... We don’t want war, we want peace and we are fighting for European values. But Russia does not respect any agreement.”
Mr Poroshenko’s claim came as Russian President Vladimir Putin left the G20 summit in Brisbane early after being confronted by a number of other leaders over the Ukraine crisis.
US President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Russia would remain isolated by the international community if Mr Putin failed to end Russian backing for the separatist rebels in Ukraine.
The most acrimonious exchange was with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the leaders gathered for the traditional summit photo.
“I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Mr Harper told the Russian president, according to an account provided by the Canadian leader.
“I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Mr Harper told the Russian president, according to an account provided by the Canadian leader.
It has since emerged that the rest of the conversation was even blunter. “Putin replied, I’m not in Ukraine, to which Harper said, ‘That’s why I don’t want to have a meeting with you, you’ll just lie to me’,” a source at the summit told The Times of London.
The latest clashes come amid a nominal ceasefire that has halted fighting along much of the frontline but not stopped regular artillery bombardments at strategic hot spots.
But with an apparent growing military build-up, the UN said it feared “a return to total war”.
On a visit to Bratislava on Sunday, Poroshenko told reporters the conflict would “end within two weeks” if the peace plan signed in Minsk in September was implemented.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has cut his attendance at the G20 Summit in Australia short
  • Departed shortly before President Obama and European leaders opened their talks on Ukraine, where Russia is backing separatist rebels
  • Putin, the first leader to fly out of Brisbane, claimed he left early because he wanted to be rested before returning to work on Monday
  • The weekend saw a series of diplomatic snubs from Western leaders who demanded accountability from the Russian President for the MH17 flight disaster
  • Mr Putin was put in 'social Siberia' in the G20 leaders 'family photo' and ate dinner alone
  • Canadian PM Stephen Harper allegedly told Mr Putin to 'get out of the Ukraine' while other leaders including President Obama publicly condemned Russia's involvement in the embattled nation
  • On the potential for increasing sanctions against Russia, Obama said the U.S. and European allies are always looking at more penalties but the existing sanctions are 'biting plenty good'

It has been a tumultuous weekend at the G20 Summit for Vladimir Putin, as the Russian President's presence sparked hostility from political leaders and protesters alike.
Putin's trip was marred by a series of diplomatic snubs and frostiness from Western leaders, sparking an early exit for the Russian leader who flew out on Sunday afternoon, cutting his intended stay short. 
He also departed Australia shortly before President Barack Obama and European leaders opened their talks on Ukraine, where Russia is backing separatist rebels in the east of the country after annexing Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula in March.

Arriving in Brisbane on Friday evening, Mr Putin's plane was snubbed at the airport by major political figures, as he was greeted by the Governor of Queensland, Paul de Jersey and Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Roberts.
Less than five minutes later Attorney-General George Brandis and Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney rushed to greet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his wife met Chinese President Xi Jinping's aircraft as it landed.
Mr Abbott was cordial when he greeted the Russian Prime Minister at the beginning of Saturday's formalities, but some wondered about a two-fingered hand gesture Mr Putin made during the encounter.
The odd encounter left Mr Abbott making a hand gesture of his own, and left some speculating as to the meaning of the interaction, as Mr Putin appeared unengaged and was seen visibly yawning during the Summit's proceedings on Saturday. 
The political atmosphere continued to be uncomfortable, with commentators joking that Mr Putin had been relegated to 'Siberia' in the leader's 'family photo', far from the central players Barack Obama, Chinese president Xi Jinping and host Tony Abbott.
Mr Putin was snapped looking questioningly at the other delegates, who were laughing and engaging in friendly and familiar discussions.
He was also subjected to a particularly lonely lunch, digging into a meal at a table all by himself.
Outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre where the Summit was held, the Russian President faced a hoard of protesters.
Gathered in their thousands to rally against many of the issues being discussed, some of the most vocal were those calling for Putin to be expelled from the country.
Activists created 'coffins' during the anti-Putin rally by placing national flags of the MH17 victims over the bodies of protesters, demanding that Putin join in the effort to bring closure to the victim's families, reported The ABC.
'People are devastated by what happened,' said demonstrator Andriy Rymovskyy. 'It's just one of those things that needs to be brought up and not ignored,' he said.  

As Kiev continues to amass its forces in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire and use radical nationalist groups as armed battalions, Moscow is concerned about possible ethnic cleansing there, Russian President Vladimir Putin told ARD in an interview.

Speaking with Hubert Seipel of the German channel ARD ahead of the G20 summit, Putin warned of catastrophic consequences for Ukraine if the Kiev government continues to nurture radical nationalism and Russophobia, including in the ranks of its military and National Guard units that are still being sent as reinforcements to the country’s troubled east.

“Frankly speaking, we are very concerned about any possible ethnic cleansings and Ukraine ending up as a neo-Nazi state. What are we supposed to think if people are bearing swastikas on their sleeves? Or what about the SS emblems that we see on the helmets of some military units now fighting in eastern Ukraine? If it is a civilized state, where are the authorities looking? At least they could get rid of this uniform, they could make the nationalists remove these emblems,” Putin said

Pointing at some difficulties in implementing the Minsk agreements aimed at ensuring the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine holds, Putin said the local militias have one clear reason not to leave the cities they occupy, which is the fear of reprisals. Moscow has been urging both sides of the conflict to adhere to the agreements. 

EU foreign ministers will meet Monday to review the situation in the Middle East, amid a growing sense of exasperation in the bloc over Israel’s continued building of new homes in East Jerusalem.

Diplomats at the high-level meeting in Brussels will also be under pressure Monday to hit Russia with fresh Ukraine sanctions after a fraught G20 summit on top of bidding to get the peace plan back on track.

New European Union external affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who visited Israel and the Palestinian territories earlier this month, has condemned plans for new housing in East Jerusalem as undercutting a two-state peace deal and as raising questions about Israel’s commitment to a settlement.

“I think that the calls that have been coming from European countries, from European parliaments, to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state pushed peace backwards,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference in Jerusalem with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier late Sunday.

Since taking office, Mogherini has made her position on the need for a Palestinian state clear. Speaking to five European newspaper earlier this month, she said she wanted to see Palestinian statehood by the time her term ran out in five years.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told his German counterpart Sunday that Israel will not put restrictions on building in East Jerusalem and criticized attempts to link Israel-EU relations with the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

“We will never accept the definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as settlement activity,” he said, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry. “We will not accept any restrictions on construction in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.”

Referring to an upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers scheduled for later this week, Liberman warned that linking Israel-EU relations with the peace process “does not contribute to stability, normalization or strengthening ties between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John has threatened to bring slaughter to the streets of Britain and the West in a new video announcing the murder of an American aid worker.
The video, featuring the masked militant, marks the group’s most explicit threats yet to attack the UK and America and dismisses David Cameron as a puppet of Barack Obama.

It endorses the Prime Minister’s earlier warnings of terrorist attacks in the UK and says the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) will soon begin attacks against the West.
The graphic footage shows what it claims to be the severed head of Peter Kassig, a US special forces soldier turned aid worker, and the beheading of at least 18 Syrian military prisoners.
Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, called for a national debate in Britain about what action should be taken against the militants.
Western leaders may now have to "think the unthinkable" and send in troops if the combination of air strikes and local forces was unable to counter menace for the jihadists.
He told Sky News more had to be done to attack Isil from the air and by backing Iraqi and Kurdish troops fighting on the ground.
"If that is not enough then we might have to think the unthinkable and possibly engage Western forces on the ground. I don't see that happening in a great rush, there's no appetite for it, there's no political appetite for it.
He went on: "The evidence is showing us that this is not going to go away and that more action is going to have to be taken.

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