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The real reason behind Ukraine’s sudden martial law (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 25.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at the real reason behind Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko’s Kerch Strait provocation, and how it has less to do with conflict towards Russia and more to do with self preservation, as Ukraine’s ‘8% approval rating’ President.

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Via Zerohedge


Seemingly out of nowhere, a diplomatic crisis has erupted between Ukraine and Russia after Russia detained three Ukrainian ships which it said had been “maneuvering dangerously” near the Kerch Strait – a crucial choke point controlled by Russia which separates the Sea of Azov From the Black Sea. In response to what he decried as unprovoked Russian aggression, increasingly unpopular Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a declaration on Monday to declare martial law for 60 days through Jan. 26. He also started mobilizing the Ukrainian army despite the martial law order still needing approval by the country’s Parliament, according to RT.

Ratcheting up the anxieties of NATO commanders, who are probably fearful of being drawn into a potential military conflict with Russia, Ukraine has put its troops on full combat alert (though it isn’t a member of NATO, Ukraine has become closely allied with the defense alliance after shelving plans for membership a decade ago). Poroshenko met with the country’s military leaders Sunday night to discuss imposing martial law.

As the UN calls an emergency meeting of the Security Council (of which Russia is a permanent member) to be held on Monday, Russia is resisting international demands to release the two Ukrainian artillery boats and the tugboat, which it seized after firing on the ships and ramming one of them. A spokeswoman for the Kremlin said Russia is opening a criminal case into what it claimed was the ships’ illegal entry into Russian waters surrounding the narrow Kerch Strait, according to Reuters.

Russian newswire Interfax reported that Russian border guards had detained 24 Ukrainian sailors accused of taking part in the border provocations.

Kiev has maintained that Russia was notified ahead of time that the ships were approaching the strait, and denied its ships had done anything wrong. Russia says the ships disobeyed orders to halt.

Moscow has accused Ukraine of staging the armed provocation, presumably to allow Poroshenko to impose martial law and possibly delay a March election that the president, who is reeling from corruption scandals and failed economic policies, is widely expected to lose.

Fortunately for Ukraine, declaring martial law won’t jeopardize its $1 billion IMF bailout.

“The Fund has no formal legal prohibitions that prevent continued cooperation in such conditions,” a source close to the fund reportedly told UNIAN.

A bilateral treaty allows both Russia and Ukraine to use the Sea of Azov, access to which is tightly controlled by Russia, which built a land bridge over the Kerch Strait, the only egress from the sea, after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Ukraine is still bitter over the annexation, and has accused Russia of supporting a pro-Russian insurgency in the country’s east. After briefly closing the strait following the incident, Russia has again opened it to traffic. Meanwhile, Russian security agency the FSB has said three Ukrainian sailors had been wounded when Russian ships fired on and rammed their Ukrainian counterparts, though none of these injuries were said to be life threatening. Men dressed in Russian navy uniforms could be seen guarding the ships on Monday as they were being held at a Russian port near Crimea, not far from where Russia’s mighty Black Sea fleet is stationed.

Regardless of what happens, the incident could provoke more western sanctions against Russia, which will only further dampen relations between Russia and the West at a time when Russia is building its own financial infrastructure to challenge the dollar-dominated global trade system.

And while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine. While it appears a shooting war has been averted – for now, at least – the mobilization of Ukrainian troops on its border with Russia certainly doesn’t bode well for peace. The incident has sent the Russian ruble sliding against the dollar, as the sanction fears join concerns about the recent dramatic slump in global oil prices.

That would be quite an escalation for an incident that began with the ramming of a tugboat.

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Raymond ComeauCudwieserTheCelotajsYou can call me ALManintheMoon Recent comment authors
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Walter Dublanica
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It is time for Ukrainians to get rid of Poroshenko & his gang of non-Ukrainians who are ruling & ruining the country.

Vince Dhimos
Guest

This is not about war, it is about politics and a futile attempt to involve NATO and US in Poroshenko’s desperate bid to save his political life (he is already dead).
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/poroshenko-desperate-to-save-his-political-life-spins-tale-of-imminent-invasion

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

I wonder if it’s not the West calling the shots and not Poroshenko himself? The Uk’s pipsqueak of a “Defence” minister whomI think answers to the name of Williamson, has recently been boasting about British military involvement in Ukraine. After the Skripal affair and faked Douma gas attack, there seems to be a desperate attempt to provoke Russia. Sooner or later The Uk government’s involvement in the infamous Steele dossier, is going to come out, and one gets the impression that they are desperately doubling down, to avod Trump’s ire. Poroshenko comes out of the same stable as the powerful… Read more »

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

I totally agree with you. I think Trump has had enough of us now (UK), even putting doubt on a free trade agreement due to May’s fascicle handling of it.

I would note however that the UK and US have been very quiet (apart from the odd fool spewing the rhetoric) on both the Chemical attack in Syria and this incident, which of course could be the calm before the storm or from the realisation that they are losing control of the vermin they have previously backed and funded.

TheCelotajs
Guest
TheCelotajs

This is just another Ukrainian ploy by the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko since he wants to stay in power so he can become the second coming of Germany’s Adolf Hitler since the Ukrainians fought on the German Nazi side during World War II.

All your going to see is a lot of Ukrainian bombed cities and lots of body bags if Petro Poroshenko drags in the US and NATO countries.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

to say this is political suicide is an understatement of lethal proportions. Not only picking a fight with a superior enemy that has the political and military savvy not to react when provoked, but when is reasonable and effective, but to put your people under the cosh and on a tight leash. If Ukraines antics in Donbass weren’t fractious enough, pissing on those not directly involved just to hold onto power for no reason other than cock waving will not only result in humiliation in the eyes of Russia, but also in the eyss of the wider world, and that… Read more »

Raymond Comeau
Guest
Raymond Comeau

Good riddance to USA Puppet Poroshenko. Too bad that the USA Orange Revolution Enablers who put Poroshenko in power are not ferreted out and imprisoned as they should be!

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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