Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Several reception facilities built in Serbia – minister

"When you help migrants, it is the biggest service to the local population. When you, as in Presevo, manage to extract people from a non-humane space, you give people the chance to use the city center. When you do the same in Belgrade, you will place people where they have every protection, and at the same time enable Belgraders to use their parks," said Vulin.

He added that 100,000 migrants have expressed their intention to obtain asylum in Serbia, but that "only a dozen sought asylum and have been granted it."

2 More Officers Die in Violent Protest Over Autonomy for East Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine — The results of a fiercely contested parliamentary vote over autonomy for eastern Ukraine were counted on Monday, partly in blood: 265 in favor, three major parties opposed and one dead policeman.

About 130 other officers were wounded, the authorities said Tuesday, in an attack during a protest that intensified after Parliament approved a measure on constitutional changes that could grant autonomy to parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Russian security chief says hotbeds of tension emerge near Russia's border — official

ST. PETERSBURG, September 1. /TASS/. Hotbeds of military tension are being created and US and NATO military presence is increasing near Russia's border, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Tuesday.
"The United States and NATO are increasing their military presence in European states neighbouring Russia. Hotbeds of military tension are being created near our border. There have been continuous attempts at bringing anti-Russian political regimes to power in former Soviet states," Patrushev said, delivering a lecture at the State Marine Technical University of St. Petersburg (SMTU).

Most Western powers were actively upgrading their armed forces inventory and the offensive capability of North Atlantic alliance armed services was growing, he added.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ukraine move to cede powers to pro-Russia rebels sparks deadly melee

(LA Times)  A bill granting autonomy to Ukraine's restive eastern regions cleared its first parliamentary hurdle on Monday but sparked a violent right-wing protest that left a national guardsman dead and more than 120 people injured.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko denounced the measure as a capitulation to Putin's sowing of separatist unrest in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Yatsenyuk went on live television to denounce the protesters as "worse" than the separatists for the internal discord they are sowing among political forces aligned with the Kiev government.

"The cynicism of this crime lies in the fact that while the Russian federation and its bandits are trying and failing to destroy the Ukrainian state on the eastern front, the so-called pro-Ukrainian political forces are trying to open another front in the country's midst," the prime minister lamented.

Putin flexes his muscles

Not sure what this is supposed to represent, but Vlad seems to feel the need to show off his personal gym with Dmitry, and enjoy a good BBQ and tea afterward.    Medvedev even posted pictures afterward on twitter, making himself the fodder of op-ed opinions like this one.  It just amazes me how Twitter has become the medium of choice for political leaders around the world, even inspiring twitter wars.  I suppose we can be thankful to some degree because it seems the only thing twitter wars bruise are egos.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Europe's cheese industry is hurting - and it's Russia's fault

(Mashable) Putin announced a ban on food imports from the E.U. and other Western countries last year in retaliation for Western economic sanctions on Russian. Under the sanction, meat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products are banned.

Out of all of the industries, one of the hardest hit has been the cheese industry. The numbers show the E.U. lost about $950 million in the value of cheese exports to Russia. Overall, the E.U. has been able to mitigate this loss in exports somewhat to $550 million by increasing its sales in other markets.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The walls Europe is building to keep people out

(Washington Post)  After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, for a while it seemed like border fences and barriers were a thing of the past in Europe. Many on the continent hoped for a new era of integration and receptivity. It didn't happen. Instead, various pressures have led Europe to adopt wall-building projects that would make Donald Trump proud.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Left Wing Economic Views Are Alive And Well In Ukraine

(Forbes)  Does that look to you like a country that is ready to embrace liberalizing shock-therapy? Roughly half of the population doesn’t want there to be any liberalization at all! They want the state to continue owning and running a significant chunk of the economy.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Russia, China Launch Largest Joint Naval Exercise In History

(Moscow Times)  Russia and China on Thursday launched the second phase of their largest joint naval exercise to date against the backdrop of increasingly frequent and large-scale military exercises conducted by NATO and Russia, which some say are escalating tensions.

The exercise features 22 warships, submarines and assorted support ships, 20 aircraft, over 500 marines and 40 units of armored vehicles, Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov, the deputy chief of the Russian Navy, was quoted by news agency TASS as saying Thursday.
Last week, the London-based European Leadership Network (ELN), a think tank, released a report warning that the increasing size and frequency of Russian and NATO war games — which appear to be training to fight each other — could drive the two sides into an actual war.

ELN director Ian Kearns told The Associated Press last week that the exercises were responsible for some of the closest encounters between Russian and NATO militaries at a time when both sides were preparing for possible conflict with the other.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Henry Kissinger about foreign policy

Quote: Kissinger: The issue is not to extricate the United States from the Ukrainian impasse but to solve it in a way conducive to international order. A number of things need to be recognized. One, the relationship between Ukraine and Russia will always have a special character in the Russian mind. It can never be limited to a relationship of two traditional sovereign states, not from the Russian point of view, maybe not even from Ukraine’s. So, what happens in Ukraine cannot be put into a simple formula of applying principles that worked in Western Europe, not that close to Stalingrad and Moscow. In that context, one has to analyze how the Ukraine crisis occurred. It is not conceivable that Putin spends sixty billion euros on turning a summer resort into a winter Olympic village in order to start a military crisis the week after a concluding ceremony that depicted Russia as a part of Western civilization. So then, one has to ask: How did that happen? I saw Putin at the end of November 2013. He raised a lot of issues; Ukraine he listed at the end as an economic problem that Russia would handle via tariffs and oil prices. The first mistake was the inadvertent conduct of the European Union. They did not understand the implications of some of their own conditions. Ukrainian domestic politics made it look impossible for Yanukovych to accept the EU terms and be reelected or for Russia to view them as purely economic. So the Ukrainian president rejected the EU terms. The Europeans panicked, and Putin became overconfident. He perceived the deadlock as a great opportunity to implement immediately what had heretofore been his long-range goal. He offered fifteen billion dollars to draw Ukraine into his Eurasian Union. In all of this, America was passive. There was no significant political discussion with Russia or the EU of what was in the making. Each side acted sort of rationally based on its misconception of the other, while Ukraine slid into the Maidan uprising right in the middle of what Putin had spent ten years building as a recognition of Russia’s status. No doubt in Moscow this looked as if the West was exploiting what had been conceived as a Russian festival to move Ukraine out of the Russian orbit. Then Putin started acting like a Russian czar—like Nicholas I over a century ago. I am not excusing the tactics, only setting them in context.
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