• China and Russia in New Strategic Energy Deals | New Eastern Outlook

    ❝Taken as a totality, along with other measures by Russia’s Putin to deepen political, economic and military ties with China and the other nations of Eurasia, the latest energy agreements have the potential to transform the global geopolitical map, something Washington’s war faction will not greet willingly.

    The world, as I’ve noted before, is in the midst of one of a fundamental transformation, such as occurs only every few centuries. An epoch is ending. The once-unchallenged global hegemony of the Atlantic alliance countries of the USA and EU is crumbling rapidly.

    Washington and the powerful very rich families behind the power of Washington are clearly becoming frantic as to how to stop or reverse the deterioration of their global power. Even EU states, most especially German elite circles, are becoming fed up with the US neo-conservatives’ wars, fake disease scares around such things as Ebola, the Ukraine destruction that harms the EU but leaves Washington and Wall Street untouched. The coming months will be fateful beyond what most of us can imagine, with once-powerful institutions crumbling in power and other new institutions rising to replace their abusive power. The array of recent economic agreements between China and Russia is shaping this epochal shift.

  • The Opposition Must Think and Act Politically: An Interview with Louay Hussein - The Syrian Observer

    The Syrian regime needs renewed international recognition, and it has now found an opportunity to get that through communication with Washington about striking IS. The regime has agreed to these strikes, if Washington coordinates with it. It will try – with Russia on its side – to pressure Washington to communicate with it on this matter. It will not make any effort to discuss how powerful IS is, how much territory it controls, or suggest that its threat to the international community is limited to its activities and presence in Iraq. The regime hopes to force Washington to assign it the task of striking IS and, moreover, to regain its legitimacy. But this will certainly not happen. All of Washington’s strategy toward IS is based around getting Russia to give up its last outpost in the region – the Syrian regime.

  • Russian-Iranian ties: the Caspian basin is where cooperation begins | Al Akhbar English

    nternational politics and direct economic and security interests are not the only thing that brings Russia and Iran closer together. Geographically, both nations are Caspian riparian states. Hidden under the waters of the Caspian is immense natural wealth, which is one of the pillars of potential cooperation between Moscow and Tehran in the context of international conflict. Today, a new round of talks will be held focusing on the Caspian in the framework of broader cooperation.

  • Ukraine opens criminal proceedings against Russian Investigative Committee officials

    The Prosecutor General’s Office has opened criminal proceedings against officials of the Russian Investigative Committee due to crimes they committed under Article 258-3 (assistance to a terrorist organization), Article 343 (interference with the activity of a law enforcement officer) and Article 344 (interference with the activity of a statesman) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office has reported.

    (intégralité de la brève)

    Investigative Committee of Russia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Investigative Committee of Russian Federation (Russian: Следственный комитет Российской Федерации) is the main federal investigating authority in Russia, formed in place of the Investigative Committee of Prosecutor General of Russia. it began to operate on January 15, 2011. The Committee is subordinate to the President of Russia. Sometimes this service is described as the “Russian FBI”.

  • Russia Submits Questions on #MH17 Crash to UN Security Council | World | RIA Novosti

    Russia submitted to the United Nation’s Security Council a list of questions that it demands to clarify during the investigation of the Malaysian MH17 flight crash in southeastern Ukraine, the letter released on the UN’s website on Monday said.
    According to the letter dated 19 September 2014, the first priority is to “lay out the pieces of the aircraft structure and analyze the damage to the pieces and possible causes of that damage,” which is a “customary and mandatory” part of the investigation.
    Another urgent issues, listed in the letter, include searching for projectiles at the crash site, conducting post-mortem examination of the flight’s crew and passengers, “including for the purpose of detecting any projectiles and other foreign objects or substances,” and examining data from Ukrainian ground radar.
    Russia also insists on examining the communication between the crew, captured by on-board microphones, as well as examining the communication between air traffic controllers at the Dnipropetrovsk Air Traffic Control Center and Kiev’s military authorities. The data from the countries and organizations involved in the investigation concerning the radar situation in the region, including the United States, NATO and Russia should also be requested and studied.

  • EUobserver / Ukraine wary of EU’s Russia gas deal

    Ukraine wary of EU’s Russia gas deal
    29.09.14 @ 18:12
    RELATED EU says No to Russia on rewriting Ukraine pact Russia threatens EU states with gas cut-offs
    BRUSSELS - The EU is keen for Ukraine to accept a winter deal on Russian gas, but Ukraine is wary of the terms and of broader EU-Russia energy ties.

    The deal - put forward by the European Commission in talks in Berlin last Friday (26 September) - currently exists as three sheets of paper with no legal status or signatures.

    It is being discussed in Kiev and Moscow. Brussels hopes they will agree to it by the end of the week and turn into a “binding protocol” by the end of next week.

    #Ukraine #Russia #Russia_gas_deal #Kiev

  • NATO’s planned Balkan expansion a ’provocation’ - Russia’s Lavrov | World | Reuters

    Asked about the integration of the three into NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz: "With regards to the expansion of NATO, I see it as a mistake, even a provocation in a way.

    This is, in a way, an irresponsible policy that undermines the determination to build a system of equal and shared security in Europe, equal for everyone regardless of whether a country is a member of this or that bloc.
    Only Serbia, perhaps Russia’s closest ally in the region, is not actively pursuing membership of NATO given political sensitivities lingering since the alliance’s 1999 air war against then-strongman Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to halt a wave of atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

    Lavrov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Serbia in mid-October to mark the 70th anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from Nazi occupation by Yugoslav Partisan fighters and the Soviet army.

  • Pritzker calls sanctions against Russia already ‘quite severe,’ does not foresee tougher action or big aid program for Ukraine soon

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the billionaire Hyatt hotel chain heiress who has the ear of President Barack Obama, said in Kyiv that she will tell her boss that Ukraine’s leaders are committed to change, but need more help.

    In a brief interview with the Kyiv Post on Sept. 27, Pritzker said that some more aid may be forthcoming – but more of a “granular” nature than any grand-scale program.  

    Pritzker is making her first trip to Ukraine, the ancestral homeland of her great-grandfather Nicholas, who emigrated 133 years ago. Her family is now among America’s wealthiest. “My family has been blessed to live in a country that allowed us to start business and fulfill our dreams,” she said, tying in her personal situation with Ukraine’s need to become more attractive to foreign investment.
    But Ukraine should not expect more sanctions soon against Russia.

    I think the sanctions have been quite severe and frankly are having a significant impact,” Pritzker told the Kyiv Post.

    However, sentiment for stronger sanctions against the Kremlin appears to be building.

    Some favor blocking Russian access to the international SWIFT money transfer system – thereby crippling its financial system – and taking other strong steps to drive down the price of Russian oil and natural gas, which finance Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

    Also, some in the West believe the aim of sanctions should be to drive Putin out of power. But this is not a view that Pritzker shares.

    The aim of sanctions is to get Russia out of Ukraine and to get Ukraine on its own two feet. The latter requires peace and requires Ukraine to do the tough work we’ve talked about on the economic front,” she said.

  • Ukrainians Still Don’t Want To Join NATO

    Alexey Navalny, the head of what remains of Russia’s opposition movement, recently commissioned a fascinating poll on the political attitudes of Ukrainians living in Kharkov and Odessa oblasts. For those unfamiliar with the finer points of Ukrainian geography, Kharkov and Odessa oblasts contain, respectively, the country’s second and third largest cities and are known as regions with significant numbers of Russian speakers. More relevant to recent events, both regions are technically part of “Novorossia,” an 18th century name southeastern Ukraine that was dusted off by the Russian leadership in the early stages of the recent conflict (which is currently paused but which could re-ignite at any moment).

    The general idea of the poll was to get an idea about what the residents of Novorossia, who in Russian state-run media are frequently presented as desperate for “protection” from the “fascist junta” in Kiev, actually think. Many of the results are pretty much the opposite of what the Russians have been claiming. Few respondents had any understanding of what Novorossia even was (43% didn’t know or refused to comment, only 4% correctly recognized it as a historical term), a huge majority (87%) wanted their regions to remain part of Ukraine, a smaller majority (56%) had a negative impression of Vladimir Putin, and a slightly smaller majority (52%) said that Russian troops were directly engaged in the recent fighting.

    As noted previously, these results are all direct contradictions of the Russian government position, which holds that “Novorossia” has broad popular support, that many people want to separate from Kiev entirely, that Russian troops aren’t doing any fighting, and that Russian-speakers look to Putin as a strong, reliable leader. These positions have some popular support, of course, but in most cases it’s a rump minority of somewhere between 15 and 20%. Put simply, a huge majority of the population supports the political status quo.
    The complicating factor is that the residents of Odessa and Kharkov have very little interest: a mere 26% of the respondents think that Ukraine should join NATO versus 48% who think that it shouldn’t.

    Additional questions in the poll also cast doubt on the idea that Ukrainians are suddenly unified in pro-Western sentiments. Only 41% of the respondents reacted positively to the demands of the “Maidan” movement, and 43% of respondents said that their attitude towards the Ukrainian government had actually gotten worse over the past year. There is still, of course, a substantial level of support for the anti-Yanukovych uprising, but the poll hardly shows the tidal wave of pro-Western feeling that has often been presented in the media. Indeed the residents of both Odessa and Kharkov seem to be decidedly wary of virtually all political forces currently competing for power: when asked which party they would vote for in the parliamentary elections that are little more than a month away, 72% indicated that they hadn’t yet decided.
    Polls like Navalny’s are why I think it’s so important to push back against the idea that “Ukraine is more united than ever:” virtually every poll that has come out over the past 6 months has shown that the huge cleavages that have characterized Ukrainian public opinion ever since its independence from the Soviet Union remain in place. For comparison’s sake, support for NATO membership in the Western parts of Ukraine runs as high as 65 or 70%, a forty point gap compared to Odessa and Kharkov which are, as the poll very clearly demonstrates, hardly hotbeds of pro-Russian sentiment. Ukrainians agree that their country should remain independent and that it shouldn’t forfeit any of its territory. Outside of that, though, consensus on other political issues remains persistently elusive.

    D’après vous, l’Ukraine, devrait-elle adhérer ou ne pas adhérer à l’OTAN ?
    • 17% adhérer
    • 9% plutôt adhérer que ne pas adhérer
    • 7% plutôt ne pas adhérer qu’adhérer
    • 41% ne pas adhérer
    • 26% ce n’est pas nécessaire

  • NATO : Russia Has Withdrawn Many Troops From Ukraine - WSJ

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said that Russia had withdrawn a sizable number of troops from eastern Ukraine—though some remained. Meanwhile Russia-backed rebels in the region said they had begun pulling back their heavy artillery, after Ukrainian troops did the same.

    Si même l’OTAN le dit,…

    Mais la prudence reste de mise.

    There does seem to be, for the first time in several months, a set of indicators that seem to point in one direction, which is de-escalation,” one senior NATO diplomat said.

    Still, he added, “we’ve seen any number of occasions in the last six or eight months where indicators pointed one direction, and we wake up some random Wednesday and they start pointing the other direction.
    On Tuesday, defense spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko said that while some Russian units had been seen crossing the border back into Russia, others had entered Ukraine. “A rotation of units is taking place,” he told a daily briefing.

    He also accused Russia of continuing to operate training camps for separatist fighters on its territory as well.

    • He also accused Russia of continuing to operate training camps for separatist fighters on its territory as well.

      On rappellera…

      The commander of the Donbas volunteer territorial defense battalion, Semen Semenchenko, has said that he has signed a contract on arranging the training of the battalion’s soldiers and officers by mobile teams of U.S. instructors who are currently inactive military servicemen.

       "They will work under a traditional training system, as well as the system on training Navy SEALs and Delta Force," he wrote on his page on Facebook on Sept. 22.

      Semenchenko said that the training would start within ten days.

      Semenchenko says US instructors to train Donbas battalion soldiers
      (intégralité de la brève)

      Pourtant, ça ne faisait pas partie des objectifs déclarés de sa visite à Washington la semaine dernière.

      Q&A : Ukraine’s Donbas Battalion Commander Seeks US Support

      Semenchenko: "I have three goals. First, to see what kinds of dual-use technologies – those not prohibited from export to Ukraine – that we can purchase.
      "Secondly, we would like to help strengthen our political leaders, to present the real situation in Ukraine to the U.S. officials, including members of Congress and the president, [since] the situation there endangers the entire world.
      Third, I want to deepen ties with the Ukrainian diaspora [in order to] organize international support, in particular, financial assistance. For example, we are buying remotely-piloted surveillance drones which can be put to [immediate] use.

      (déjà pointé la semaine dernière )

  • Un bateau de croisière affrété par un tour opérateur allemand fait escale à Yalta en #Crimée

    Germans ignore international embargo against Russian-occupied Crimea ::

    On Sept 17 ‘Ocean Majesty’, a Greek luxury cruise liner operated by the German tourist agency Hansa Touristik GmbH flouted the international embargo and sailed from Sochi in Russia into the Crimea, arriving in Yalta at around 8.30 Kyiv time.  While the FSB carried out an 11-hour search of the Mejlis and men with machine guns raided a Mejlis member’s home, a major Crimean Tatar charity and the Mejlis’s newspaper Avdet, 500 German tourists basked in the Yalta sunshine.
    Ukraine issued a directive on July 15 whereby it closed the ports in Yevpatoria; Kerch; Feodosia; Yalta and Sevastopol to international shipping. That information was passed to the International Maritime Organization and its members, as well as to representatives of foreign companies with IMO accreditation

    Ukraine is entitled to demand that ships which have illegally docked in Crimean ports are arrested in any port in the world. According to Oleg Alyoshin, partner in the law firm Vasyl Kisil and Partners, this is in full accordance with the International Ship and Port Security Code. Alyoshin explained to Interfax Ukraine that Ukraine has a wide range of legal means for defending its interests including arrest of ships which enter Crimean ports while the Crimea is under Russian occupation. It can also seek a ban on their entry into the Crimea by citing the same code.

    L’affaire vue par RIA-Novosti,…

  • Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and Russia vs. the US-led anti-ISIS alliance: Cooperation or confrontation? | Al Akhbar English

    The answer might be a combination of both. The White House must measure things very carefully to appease conflicting interests within the alliance. US military officials want the White House to provide answers about air corridors that would not be possible without coordination with the Syrians, Russians, and Iranians.

    According to sources, there are signs that contacts have already been made between Syrians and Americans through the Norwegian embassy in Damascus. Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad, according to the same sources, visited President Assad as an “American” rather than an Iraqi envoy. Recent Syrian air sorties and precise strikes against ISIS positions also indicate there has been coordination with the Americans, even if through a third party.

  • Ukraine and Russia : Win some, lose more | The Economist

    But that does not make defeat any less real. After six months of fighting, Ukraine has lost at least 3,000 men and control over a swathe of territory in the east, as well as being forced by Russia to delay the full implementation of its association agreement with the European Union.

    Après le constat de la « victoire » russe, l’Economist pose quelques « vraies » questions :

    On the same day the Rada ratified the association agreement, it passed a law granting special status to the part of the Donbas controlled by Russian-backed separatists, including the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. The law gives these territories broad autonomy for three years, guarantees Russian-language rights and self-governance, and allows them to establish deeper ties with Russia—although it does not give the region a say in foreign or defence policy. Another law offers an amnesty to rebel fighters. Mr Poroshenko’s aides say this was the only way to save lives, but it poses uncomfortable questions. “What did our boys die for? Why did we not hold peace talks back in May?” asked Sergei Taruta, the Kiev-appointed governor of the Donetsk region.
    Both Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko have reasons to want a truce: Mr Putin to avoid more sanctions and questions from relatives of dead soldiers, and Mr Poroshenko ahead of a parliamentary election on October 26th. But this does not mean the end of Ukraine’s troubles and Russia’s adventurism. The Kremlin’s goal is not just to control two cities in eastern Ukraine, but to stop all of Ukraine from moving westward. Further violence in the east is possible as rebels try to capture more territory.

    The biggest danger, however, is that the fragile truce will be followed by the usual political wrangling in Kiev and renewed Ukraine fatigue in the West. The only way Ukraine can realise its European aspirations is over many years, by building an economically and politically coherent state. That will take patience, money and time from the West and perseverance from Ukraine. But not to try would mean the ultimate defeat and betrayal of those who died for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

    <fin de l’article>

    Le plus grand danger ? les querelles politiciennes à Kiev…

    Quant à une politique économique cohérente, l’article cite plus haut les urgences qui n’ont pas été mises en œuvre par le gouvernement provisoire sous prétexte du conflit oriental :

    but it is unclear why the government could not have begun to remove wasteful energy subsidies, deregulate the economy or curb corruption.

    Mesures éminemment propres, surtout la première, à obtenir un soutien massif de la population…

  • Important accord du Groupe de contact à Minsk, le 19/09/14

    BBC News - Ukraine deal with pro-Russian rebels at Minsk talks

    Ukraine’s government and pro-Russia rebels have agreed a memorandum on a peace plan for the eastern conflict.

    The nine-point deal includes setting up a 30km (19-mile) buffer zone, a ban on overflights of part of eastern Ukraine by military aircraft and the withdrawal of “foreign mercenaries” on both sides.

    L’OSCE serait d’accord pour envoyer ses observateurs dans la zone tampon.

    Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, representing Kiev at the talks, said that all sides had agreed to move back some of their heavy weapons.

    Heavy artillery will be moved 15km away from the front line” he said.

    He added that the deal would be implemented within 24 hours and monitors from the OSCE would travel to the buffer zone to check for compliance.

  • Kremlin to consider plans which could remove Russia from global Internet ’in an emergency’ - Europe - World - The Independent

    Russia may remove itself from the global Internet to protect itself against perceived threats from the West, a Kremlin spokesman suggested on Friday.

    The Krelmin dismissed accusations it aims to isolate the Russian Internet, and insists it is merely concerned with protecting its national security – particularly as relations with the West have reached their lowest since the Cold War.

    However, the country has recently passed several laws targeting Internet use, which include making popular bloggers register as media outlets, and forcing websites to store the personal data of Russian users.

    En France, la conservation des données d’identification par les FAI est obligatoire depuis mars 2011, application (tardive) de la LCEN de juin 2004 !

  • Support For Ukraine’s Pro-War Parties Keeps Plunging - Business Insider

    Polling of Ukrainian voters since the ceasefire in the civil war was negotiated on September 5 reveals that large, growing majorities of Ukrainians throughout the country are in favour of keeping to the ceasefire terms and stopping hostilities. The only political party Ukrainian voters say they support to do this is President Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity bloc, an alliance with Vitaily Klitschko, Yury Lutsenko and Olga Bogomolets.

    Ukrainian politicians, including the current Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, are losing support, the voters say, because they favour war in the Donbass, sanctions against Russia, and military intervention of NATO on Ukrainian territory. Yatseniuk and Timoshenko are leading blocs they are calling Patriots of Ukraine and Fatherland in the campaign for parliamentary seats to be decided on October 26. On current polling trends, their voters across the country will number less than 5%, the threshold for winning party seats in the new Verkhovna Rada.

    Also tested in last week’s polling are figures from western Ukraine, who have dominated the military and police ministries in Kiev until recently, and who are calling for NATO arms and US sanctions to fight Russia until President Vladimir Putin is toppled. They include Oleg Lyashko and his Radical Party; Oleg Tyagnibok’s Svoboda (“Freedom”), and Dmitry Yarosh’s Pravy Sektor (“Right Sector”).

    The new poll results show that voter support for them is evaporating since the ceasefire – in the case of Tyagnibok and Yarosh (Svoboda, Pravy Sektor) dwindling to single-digit numbers not larger than the pollster’s measure of statistical error. More than three-quarters of Ukrainian voters, including those who condemn the separatist movement in the Donbass, want a negotiated peace and end to war.
    la première colonne donne le pourcentage des répondants, la seconde en pourcentage des opinions exprimées (sans les sans-opinions et indécis)

    Rappel : il y a autour de 200 partis… la moitié des députés est élue au scrutin uninominal à un tour, l’autre à la proportionnelle, avec un seuil de 5% (des suffrages exprimés, je crois, mais n’arrive pas à en trouver confirmation)

    Évolution dans le temps
    Se reporter au tableau précédent pour la légende de l’image, les courbes des listes étant présentées par résultats décroissants.

    La dynamique actuelle est massivement pro-Porochenko. Son discours très belliciste de Washington est destiné à l’exportation : c’est ce que les « alliés » attendent de lui, mais va clairement à l’encontre de ses intérêts électoraux.

    Pour les circonscriptions locales et vu le système, difficile d’imaginer qu’il n’en sortent pas un bon nombre de potentats locaux ou leurs affidés plutôt représentatifs donc de la politique « à l’ancienne »…

    source : sondage SOCIS du 5 au 10 septembre

  • Crimean Tatar Scholar Attacked, Library Shut As Pressure Mounts

    A Crimean Tatar scholar says masked assailants dragged him from his car and took his passport in an attack meant to prevent him from attending a UN conference in New York.

    The attack on Nadir Bekir late on September 18 came hours after Russian authorities moved to seize the Crimean Tatar assembly, the Mejlis, piling pressure on the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority group that largely opposed Moscow’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

    On September 19, the main Crimean Tatar library in the regional capital, Simferopol, announced that it is being shut down in accordance with an August government resolution to replace libraries on the peninsula with Russian state entities. 

    Bekir, an expert on indigenous peoples, told RFE/RL he was attacked on his way from Simferopol to the city of Dzhankoi, where he planned to board a train for Kyiv and then fly to New York.

    He said a white minibus abruptly blocked his car on the highway. Four masked men emerged, pulled him from his car, forced him to the ground, and took his Ukrainian passport and mobile phone. He said one of the attackers opened his passport and told the others: “Yes, that ’s him!

    Without his passport, Bekir said he cannot leave Crimea. He believes the attack was meant to prevent him from participating in the September 22-23 UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, part of the UN General Assembly.

  • Ukrainian president delivers bellicose speech to the US Congress - World Socialist Web Site

    Ukrainian president delivers bellicose speech to the US Congress
    By Niles Williamson
    19 September 2014

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint session of the United States Congress on Thursday morning, calling for increased military assistance from the United States to defeat the pro-Russian separatist movement in the east, and for closer trade relations with the West to limit the economic and political influence of Russia in the country.

    Poroshenko, a billionaire oligarch dubbed the Chocolate King for his wealth derived from the confectionery business, spoke as the representative of a thin layer of Ukrainian society that has enriched itself in the wake of the restoration of capitalism amidst the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Poroshenko is seeking to build closer economic and military ties with the United States, the European Union, and the other Western imperialist powers to the benefit of this corrupt layer of oligarchs.


  • Ukrainian President Poroshenko will visit White House, Congress to seek more aid - The Washington Post

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will arrive in Washington on Thursday with a simple request: more economic and military aid for a nation that is reeling from an insurgency in the east.

    But amid concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to anti-corruption efforts and Western caution about escalating a military conflict with Russia, it remained far from clear that Ukraine’s leader would leave Washington with a substantial new pledge of support. The Ukrainian candy-magnate-turned-politician plans to talk with President Obama at the White House and will address a joint meeting of Congress.

    Après s’être adressé au parlement canadien hier, P. Porochenko rencontrera B. Obama et s’adressera au Congrès. À Ottawa, il a remporté de vifs applaudissements de la part des honorables parlementaires et peut-être (?) d’autres résultats plus concrets.

    With Poroshenko seeking more aid in Washington, some Ukrainians have questioned whether the country is ready to receive it, given long-running problems with corruption that have plagued Ukraine since it broke from the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Those concerns with corruption were a key focus of the winter pro-European protests in Kiev, but there are increasing worries that little has been done to combat it in the seven months since the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych was deposed as president.

    The slow pace of anti-corruption measures has frustrated some activists. Protesters burned tires in front of the Ukrainian parliament this week to demand that it pass legislation to strengthen scrutiny of officials who served under Ukraine’s previous leadership. A version of the measure eventually was approved after several cycles of votes.

    Other attempts at anti-corruption legislation have been rejected, and an ombudsman who was tasked with spearheading a fight against graft resigned in frustration in August.

    The general sense is that corruption is just as bad as before,” said Anders Aslund, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who has advised Ukrainian leaders on economic issues.

    La corruption en Ukraine ne fait guère de doute, avant, comme maintenant et, probablement après… La lutte contre la corruption est un thème plutôt consensuel, du moins dans les déclarations…, mais aussi un cheval de bataille de l’extrême droite.

    Certes, some activists. Protesters burned tires in front of the Ukrainian parliament this week to demand that it pass legislation to strengthen scrutiny et ont mis à la poubelle un député (triomphe médiatique dans les médias occidentaux). Il faut peut être préciser que le thème de la #lustration est actuellement LE grand thème de #Svoboda et que les « activistes » en question sont des membres de ce parti d’extrême droite.

    Cf. l’article du Kyiv Post sur cette manifestation, le 16 septembre
    Svoboda lawmaker Ihor Miroshnychenko (R) during a rally to support the lustration law in front of the parliament building in Kyiv on Sept. 16.
    © Volodymyr Petrov

    Ukrainians rally to support lustration law in parliament

    About 250 people under the Rada require a law on lustration in Kyiv, on Sept. 16. In front of the Verkhovna Rada activists held a picket demanding passage of the law. There were flags of Ukraine, flags with symbols of the Svoboda party, Right Sector and placards with slogans: “We demand lustration”.

  • Sanctions on Russia could affect Israel, Finland FM says
    Erkki Tuomioja said that after offering Israel mainly ’carrots’ to bring about peace with the Palestinians, the EU may have to use ’sticks.’
    By Amira Hass | Sep. 15, 2014Haaretz

    The European Union’s sanctions against Russia in response to the situation in Ukraine will affect the organization’s policy on Israel, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said in an interview with Haaretz in Helsinki last week.

    Tuomioja said that after offering Israel mainly “carrots” in an effort to bring about peace with the Palestinians, Brussels may have to use “sticks” as well, in order to show that foot-dragging carries a cost.

    On Thursday, a day before the EU announced it was broadening sanctions against Russia, Tuomioja told Haaretz: “If a country invades and occupies and annexes part of another country this is clearly illegal and being followed by sanctions of the EU and other countries. So the question that many people are asking, this is fine and we accept it, but how come the Palestinian territories have been occupied for 47 years and there are no sanctions? Nobody has proposed, but we are aware that there is a link with the Ukraine Crimea crisis. So this will come up in the discussions,” he said.

    He added that “One of the countries that did not vote on the resolution condemning the annexation of Crimea was Israel.”

    Tuomioja said there was consensus in the EU that it and the other members of the Quartet on the Middle East – the United Nations, the United States and Russia – “have to be more actively engaged” in Israeli-Palestinian matters, after a prolonged period of conscious disengagement when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took the lead in the negotiations.

    The talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that ended earlier this year “did not lead anywhere,” Tuomioja said, adding: “We of course recognize that without the Americans nothing can be achieved but it is not enough; we also need EU engagement.”

    “So far the EU has offered carrots,” the Finnish foreign minister said, in the event the two-state solution is implemented “support and aid to the PA state and new possibilities of Israeli-European trade and other relations. But it also seems that it needs the possibility of sticks. If there is no progress, it has to be shown that there are costs involved in the stalling,” Tuomioja said.

    Tuomioja is considered the leftmost member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, which is in a coalition government with four other parties, all of them to its right. Tuomioja has been foreign minister since 2011, a position he served in from 2000 to 2007.

    Policy gap

    He has made statements critical of Israel in the past. One, in 2001, was interpreted as comparing Israel’s actions with those of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, an interpretation rejected by Finland’s Foreign Ministry.

    When asked about the gap between his personal opinions on the Israeli occupation and Finnish policy, Tuomioja said that Finnish policy on the ground is dependent on the governing coalition in Helsinki and the member of the EU. He is personally against continuing to buy arms from Israel, for example, but in Finland the defense minister (Carl Haglund, of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland) has sole authority over arms imports, whereas the entire cabinet must approve arms sales.

    Tuomioja said Finland was among the states that influenced the formulation of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council’s Conclusions on the Middle East Process, issued on July 22, during the war in the Gaza Strip. Because the statement recognized Israel’s right to defend itself and demanded that all terrorist groups in the Strip must disarm, it was interpreted as especially positive toward Israel.

    But Tuomioja also said that at the request of Finland and other EU members it also included the EU position regarding a peace agreement in the region. He noted that the statement also said the EU condemns the loss of hundreds of civilian lives as a result of the Israeli military operation. In the past, Tuomioja said, the EU used “regrets” rather than “condemns” in regard to Israeli actions, and he implied that the decision over which words to use was not taken lightly.

  • Mise aux enchères prochaine des licences 3G en Ukraine. Que faire des opérateurs russes, les deux principaux détenant 80% de la téléphonie mobile…

    Ukraine’s Threat To Shun Russian Telecoms Hard To Fulfill - Business Insider (Reuters)

    Russian mobile firms face being squeezed out of Ukraine after Kiev signaled it would favor European companies in future airwave auctions to curb Moscow’s influence in the country.

    It’s the latest move in a concerted effort by Kiev, Europe and the United States, to push Russian companies out of international markets until Moscow halts its involvement in territorial fighting in eastern Ukraine. The United States and the EU have imposed sanctions; Kiev and Moscow are engaged in tit for tat action to hurt each other’s businesses.

    Yet Ukraine’s government - which has yet to publish the terms of future airwave auctions - may struggle to sideline Russia’s top mobile operators: One has already said it may seek legal redress if necessary and the other may follow.

    And with Kiev needing billions in cash to cover funding gaps - the crisis has drained its already shaky economy - it seems unlikely that Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk will follow through his threat to sell a data-focused third-generation (3G) telecom license to an EU operator for 1 hryvnia ($0.0771) “with the only purpose of not having the Russian monopoly here.

    Around 80 percent of Ukraine’s mobile market is controlled by Russia’s top mobile firm MTS and Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom, in which Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa-Group is the biggest shareholder.

  • Russia delivers more aid; Ukraine repels rebel siege | The Journal Gazette (Associated Press)
    Pro-Russian armoured vehicles drive down the road leading to the destroyed Luhansk International Airport, eastern Ukraine, on September 11, 2014.
    © AFP

    A convoy of more than 200 white trucks crossed the Russian border to deliver humanitarian aid to a battered Ukrainian city Saturday, a move made without Kiev’s consent yet met with silence by Ukraine’s top leaders.

    Early in the morning, we entered Ukraine to bring aid to Luhansk,” said Yury Stepanov, a Russian who was overseeing the convoy. “We came in around 215 vehicles,” he added, as workers unloaded boxes into a local warehouse.

    The much-needed aid arrived as fighting flared again between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, further imperiling an already fragile cease-fire in the region.

    On Saturday, Ukraine’s military operation in the east said it had repelled a rebel attack on the government-held airport of Donetsk, which came under artillery fire from rebel positions late Friday. Ukrainian authorities also admitted for the first time since the cease-fire started last week that they have inflicted casualties on the rebel side.

  • Guerre anti-Daech : Dix pays arabes suivent les Etats-Unis, Damas met en garde

    Les Etats-Unis ont obtenu jeudi de dix pays arabes leur l’engagement, y compris éventuellement militaire, dans l’offensive annoncée par le président Barack Obama pour « éradiquer » les jihadistes de l’Etat islamique (EI) en Irak et en Syrie.

    Le régime syrien, appuyé par la Russie, a toutefois mis en garde Washington contre d’éventuelles frappes sur son territoire sans son accord.


      Isis air strikes: Obama’s plan condemned by Syria, Russia and Iran
      Russia said it would not support any military action without a UN resolution authorising it. “The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” said a spokesman. “This step, in the absence of a UN security council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.” China said that the world should fight terror but that national sovereignty must be respected.

      In Damascus, the Assad government warned against US raids. “Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” said the national reconciliation minister, Ali Haidar. Analysts believe, however, that Assad would be likely to ignore strikes on Isis targets – and even seek to quietly cooperate with western efforts.