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Why the 1997 Russia-Ukraine Friendship Treaty was a mistake

The so-called Ukrainian Friendship treaty put unilateral responsibility on Moscow, mocking Russia’s generosity, better described as her nativity.

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Recently Valery Rashkin, Communist member of the Russian State Duma, wrote to the Foreign Ministry requesting that they consider nullifying the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation of 1997.

This is somewhat ironic given the support that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation threw at the treaty in the 1990s. Not only should treaty be withdrawn, it should have never been signed in the first place.

Here’s why:

Like many internal and external documents signed by Russia in the 1990s, the so-called Ukrainian Friendship treaty put unilateral responsibility on Moscow, mocking Russia’s generosity, better described as her nativity.

The treaty was signed in the spirit of Alexander Yakovlev who instead of delivering serious economic reforms, went around the world apologising for Soviet patriotism, thus demoralising and confusing proud Soviet citizens. It was this same self-hating spirit that Lenin embodied when he called Russia ‘a prison of nations’ and when derided patriotism as ‘Russian chauvinism’.

Worst of all, it was Lenin’s pathological hatred of Russian traditions and history that allowed him to draw the idiotic map of Soviet republics which has created a trail of blood and injustice in its wake.

The treaty was a one way street whereby Russia granted privileges to Kiev, without requiring any responsibility let alone loyalty in return. The genesis of the treaty was not necessarily ill intentioned. When in 1991, Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich illegally and undemocratically dissolved the Soviet Union in Belavezha forest, millions of people found themselves outside of their homeland.

I have written previously about how this created the largest and still unsolved refugee crisis in contemporary history. Specifically turning to what became the Republic of Ukraine, millions of Russian’s found themselves governed by a state they did not recognise, by a government in Kiev increasingly unresponsive to their needs and dismissive of their heritage.

When Leonid Kuchma replaced Kravchuk as Ukrainian President in 1994, he promised to be more responsive to these problems. The result was the Friendship-Treaty signed by Kuchma and Yeltsin in 1997.

The treaty allowed for free movement between the two countries, allowed for mutual cooperation over security and trade and set the tone for Ukraine being able to receive essential Russian goods such as gas and other natural resource, medicine and military hardware at a rate far below market value.

Russia received little in return. The treaty affirmed the ‘territorial integrity’ of Lenin’s borders of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in spite of the fact that these borders lumped together regions with very different histories and demographic makeup.

The people were given no choice. The mantra read: Lenin’s’ borders were sacred and to hell with democracy. This was reality under Yeltsin’s presidency. The treaty also put in question the value of the Helsinki Agreement of 1975, wherein the west at long last agreed to respect the borders of the Soviet Union under the ancient principle of uti possidetis (as you possess).

By 1991 borders of the Soviet Union were allowed to be dissolved extra-judicially but Lenin’s internal borders would form the basis of new states. The injustice was surreal. Russia gave up more in this instance, due to internal treachery, than even the most pugnacious western opponent could dream of.

So whilst Russia continued to feed gas and medicine to ‘fraternal Ukraine’, successive governments in Kiev, beginning with Kuchma’s started to grant observer status to western organisations and import American advisors into government. Russian schools were closed, the Russian language was increasingly spat on in Kiev, Russian churches were closed and Russian clergy left out in the lurch. Kiev was allowed to be courted by an EU which never seriously wanted or needed an association agreement with Ukraine.

This eventually led to the election of the openly anti-Russian Victor Yushchenko in 2005 and eventually to the Maidan coup in 2014. Moreover it has led to the slaughter, rape and torture of civilians in Donbass and the treat of terror against Crimea. This is the result of a one sided friendship. Some friendship indeed!

The treaty was a mistake in the first place. It set the stage for Kiev to abuse Russia’s good will, deprive self-identified Russian’s of liberty and self-determination and emboldened rightist forces in Kiev to gradually and later violently take power, whilst the country continued to receive the privilege of Russian material generosity.
Due to the ongoing war in Donbass, most parts of the treaty are no longer being implemented anyway. Yet Russia still refuses to formally suspend, renounce or disown the treaty. I do understand that the Russian government are looking to the long term, when hopefully the fascist forces will fall from power in Kiev and be brought to justice in a court of law for their crimes against humanity.

Once this happens perhaps the mistakes of history can be corrected and genuine friendship and fraternal relations can be re-established. But it cannot be done on the basis of a treaty which self-evidently puts Russian in a position to give everything and receive nothing.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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