Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ukraine fights back

It’s time for Vladimir Putin to put up or shut up. Or is it going to be the endless summer of military drills.
Russia’s reaction to reports that Ukraine had committed what Putin said would be a “serious crime” resulted in a Moscow announcement of more drills on the Ukrainian frontier.
Of course it is not exactly clear what happened overnight and on Thursday, any more than it has been clear what is going on in the eastern Ukraine.
Making it even less clear were reports from Kiev that the anti-terror operation had been suspended because of Russian troops on its border. Cat and tiger.
Some reports say five people died at a Russian-rebel roadblock.
Do activists normally come with automatic weapons? Perhaps they do on Nevada ranches.
But Putin is going to have use some of the “special forces” from Washington’s digital library or lose face.
The imposition of even more draconian laws barring demonstrations, and the effective castration of the Russian media won’t be effective without some Kremlin action.
Russian Beyond the Headlines reported: “Pavel Durov, the founder of the “Russian Facebook,” has allegedly been fired for incorrectly revoking the resignation he tendered on April 1. Durov found out about his ouster from the newspapers. In his opinion, the company is now controlled by structures with ties to the Kremlin.”
In fact, Putin may have to tone down Ria Novosti and Russian TV who were leading the charge for action with dramatic accounts of the killings in eastern Ukraine.
The alternative is for Putin’s support to disappear faster than the crew of a South Korean or Italian tourist boat.
Sanctions that were laughed off have economists saying Russia may tumble into the recession the US and Europe are just exiting. President Obama threatened new sanctions.
Amnesty International called on Russian separatists to release journalists it is holding, including Simon Ostrovsky of New York-based Vice News.

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