May 9th Updates on Ukraine

Kiev Keeps Up Military Provocations, Jeopardizing Diplomacy

Thanks to the ongoing military provocations being carried out on behalf of the British Empire’s war policy by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and the illegitimate government, the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have decided to go ahead with their referenda for autonomy on May 11. Kiev has “essentially jeopardized” the OSCE deal, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.

“Putting an immediate stop to the use of force, primarily of the regular army, and practical steps to disarm illegal armed groups are an obligatory condition,” the Foreign Ministry stressed.

On the contrary, Kiev is pressing its military assault, surrounding Slavyansk with heavy equipment, storming government buildings such as that of the city council of Mariupol in the Donetsk Region, and sending in what observers say are armed men dressed in black, to be prepositioned for action.
Read more here.

The Kiev government’s top security official, the founder of the Social-Nationalist Party (now Svoboda) Andrei Parubiy, has declared that Kiev will continue the offensive. In addition to countering the anti-Kiev forces in the cities, Kiev has deployed 15,000 troops to its border with Russia, according to a statement by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov Thursday.

One potential confrontation point may be Victory (over Nazism) Day celebrations on May 9, which the Ukraine government will not celebrate. In Sevastopol and Kerch, in Crimea, the celebrations will honor the 70th anniversary of liberation. Reports that President Putin will attend the Sevastopol festivities have not be confirmed by Moscow.

Burkhalter Presented Putin With His Peace Plan for Ukraine

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter has presented Russian President Vladimir Putin with his four-point plan to solve Ukraine crisis. At a joint press conference with Putin May 7, Burkhalter said, “There is no reason for a conflict between East and West,” according to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The four-point plan accordingly comprises the following stages: ceasefire, disarmament, dialogue, and elections, with the OSCE playing a key role as mediator and observer. He had already detailed this plan in his speech at the Council of Europe meeting on May 6 in Vienna. (The Strasbourg-based human rights organization Council of Europe has 47 member nations, 28 of which are members of the European Union; the two groups are unrelated.) Burkhalter by this time has submitted this plan to the signatories of the Geneva Convention. Following his meeting the Putin, he flew directly to Brussels for talks with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in an effort to further this plan.
Read more here.

He also called for the disarmament of “all illegal armed groups” in Ukraine. He suggested the creation of an OSCE fund to finance these disarmaments. According to Interfax German Chancellor Angela Merkel would back a dialogue with pro-Russian Ukrainians. Putin is calling for roundtable discussion.

Following his meeting with Burkhalter, Van Rompuy gave a rather equivocal statement saying, “I take note of President Putin’s recent statements signaling a willingness to de-escalate the situation, including his call to refrain from holding a referendum in the Eastern part of Ukraine and the stated withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine.” This was followed by praising the Ukrainian government’s progress in implementing the Geneva Joint Statement and its efforts to reach out to all parts of Ukrainian society, which is pure fantasy. He went on to say, “I reconfirmed the European Union’s support to the work of the OSCE in Ukraine, including the Special Monitoring Mission.”

Following a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, Putin referred to his talks with Burkhalter saying, “yesterday I had productive talks with President of the Swiss Confederation and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter. We intend to act within the framework of these agreements and we have established specific measures to activate OSCE’s efforts to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine. Primarily this needs to be done through establishing a direct and equal dialogue between the current authorities in Kiev and representatives of the southeastern regions of Ukraine,”

Putin had been meeting the above leaders on the occasion of Victory Day, commemorating the victory over Nazism in World War II.

Steinmeier Welcomes Putin’s Proposal

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Vladimir Putin’s “constructive tone” on Ukraine today, after the Russian President told rebels to halt plans for independence votes and said his troops have pulled back from the border.

“I welcome the constructive tone that President Putin used after his meeting with the OSCE President Didier Burkhalter,” Steinmeier said in a statement, calling for “what was discussed in Moscow” to be implemented immediately. “The situation is critical, but there is still a chance that we can avoid a fresh escalation in violence and the total loss of control in eastern Ukraine by diplomatic means,” he said.
Read more here.

Also in a hearing at the foreign relations committee of the Bundestag, yesterday, Steinmeier very much endorsed the OSCE as the only venue for de-escalating diplomacy that was accepted by Russia at this critical moment. From within the German government, it was meanwhile leaked that there is concern that the elections cannot be properly held in larger parts of Ukraine, because of the ongoing armed clashes between pro- and contra-Kiev forces. Holding elections in embattled zones is viewed as impossible, is the German assessment—which is also addressed in a memorandum recently presented to the government by the SWP think-tank in Berlin.

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