Archive for Ukraine

A New Russian Threat To Ukraine?

Posted in America, Britain, Europe, Insanity, News, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Relationships, Russia with tags , , , , on 12/08/2016 by floroy1942
S-400 Missiles

S-400 Missiles

Once again the threat level in Ukraine has been raised by Russia moving  more S-400 Triumph missiles into the Crimea. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and sowed the seeds of revolution in eastern Ukraine, the problems have been slowly escalating. Will it lead to war, no-one knows.

Bit by bit both the Americans and the Russians have been sending in troops and war equipment along the eastern border. A few months ago NATO and the Americans moved battalions of troops into Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to ‘bolster defences’.

This was answered by Russia who now have 40,000 troops stationed along the Crimea/Ukraine border, and to my mind, it would take a only a spark to ignite a war. There can be little doubt that both sides need to tread very carefully so as to avoid a major confrontation.

Yevhen Panov Shown In Custody

Yevhen Panov Shown In Custody

Recently Russia accused Kiev of sending saboteurs across the border into the Crimea, and reported the deaths of a soldier and a secret police officer in an operation to foil the alleged plot. The Russians are holding a man, Yevhen Panov,  who they claim is a saboteur working for the Ukraine government, this of course Ukraine has denied.

Ukrainian Tanks

Ukrainian Tanks

Kiev has placed all their troops on high alert along its de facto border with Crimea, and along its front line with Russian-backed rebels holding parts of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east after the claim. They have also moved a great number of tanks close to the border with Crimea.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow might be forced to cut diplomatic ties with Ukraine if the crisis worsened.

It is situations like this, where lies and deceit are rife, that ends up starting wars. As the situation escalates in Ukraine and Crimea we could be heading for a whole load of trouble. I for one hope that the politicians get their heads together and solve this before it does escalate into war.

Roy.

How About This For A Ukraine Peace Plan

Posted in America, Britain, European Union, Government, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Politics, Russia, United Nations with tags , , , , on 08/02/2015 by floroy1942

Ever since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis politicians have argued over how to solve the problem and prevent an all-out war between Russia and the West, but none of it is going anywhere. Each time someone opens their mouth we edge a little closer to war without a proper solution in sight. As I see it, and I am by no means an expert, it would seem that a little basic common sense would solve the issue.

Let us first take a look at the Russian side of things. It is clear that Russia first of all wants to retain and protect its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Russian Naval Base Sevastopol

Russian Naval Base Sevastopol

The land and port have been leased by Russia since 1997, but in 2008 the Ukrainian government informed Russia that when the lease expired in 2017 it would not be renewed. Russia then threatened to increase the price of natural gas upon which the country depended, and finally the government relented, extending the lease to 2042.

Murmansk Naval Base

Murmansk Naval Base

The base is important to Russia because it is the only ‘warm-water’ port for their naval fleet, the other major bases being Murmansk in northern Russia in the Arctic Circle, and Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Russia. Strategically speaking, Sevastopol is the only base within easy striking distance of European, Middle East and African countries, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic. It is vitally important  to the Russians for this reason. It would however make things extremely difficult for Russia if the Ukraine were to become a member of the E.U. and NATO.

Secondly, I believe that Russia does not want another country on its border with Europe to be occupied by NATO Forces, which is what the Western politicians, and in particular the USA want.

NATO Expansion

NATO Expansion

Currently the only three countries that are full members of NATO bordering Russia are the very small Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania and a part of Poland, but if Ukraine joins, as it wishes to, this will then put a very large swathe of Russian territory within easy reach of NATO forces. In the event of future conflict this will mean Russia will no longer have the advantage of a buffer state.

Finally, it is clear that eastern Ukraine, or at least some element of it, wishes to retain its ties with Russia and does not wish to become part of NATO or the European Union.

Ukraine Ethnicities

Ukraine Ethnicities

After the fall of the Berlin wall the and Russian domination of Eastern Europe, the east of Ukraine has retained its close ties with Russia. In the current battles it is certain that Russia has exerted a lot of influence in the eastern provinces and Russia has assisted the rebels.

So far as the USA and Europe are concerned, I believe their main aim is to expand territory that comes under their control through NATO and the European Union. It is known that the President of Ukraine has requested membership of both organizations but I have to ask if this is absolutely necessary for the country. There can be little doubt that trade agreements can be made with many countries without having to join NATO or the E.U. An agreement can also be drawn up to protect the country from invasion without it becoming a part of any Alliance.

So, in a nutshell this is the situation. I understand that it is grossly simplified but I believe it covers the main arguments for and against. The big problem is what to do to reach an agreement that will satisfy all parties.

Ukraine Trade Balance

Ukraine Trade Balance

Looking at these facts it comes to mind that first of all Ukraine should be recognized as a neutral country much the same as Switzerland and Sweden. This will remove any tension in Russia regarding the presence of western forces on their border.  With such a position, eastern Ukraine will still be able to trade with Russia if they wish while the rest of the country can trade with whomsoever they please. Naturally such an agreement would mean them not becoming a full member of the European Union, but negotiations could still be agreed with regard to trade.

It is essential that the USA and Europe back off from their plans to make Ukraine a NATO member, even though the government there have requested it. This action would give assurance to Russia that rival troops and bases would not be on their doorstep.

A written agreement should be signed assuring the continued presence of the Black Sea Fleet in the base at Sevastopol which would go a long way to reducing tension. This base provides thousands of jobs in the east of the country and is without doubt a benefit to the economy.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

One immediate step forward would be to see an end to inflammatory remarks such as those made recently by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who accused Vladimir Putin of acting like a “mid-20th century tyrant” over Ukraine. Secondly all talk about sending arms to Ukraine by the USA and some European countries only inflames the situation.

If the leaders of Russia, the USA, Britain, Germany and France as the leading nations can sit around a table and discuss the measures I have laid out I believe the crisis would be over quickly.

It is not a question of any country ‘backing down’, but more one of respectable leaders ending a situation that could theoretically escalate into a third world war.

What Continued Escalation Can Lead To!

What Continued Escalation Can Lead To!

When crisis of this nature arise common sense must prevail, for this is not just a case of East versus West or the future of just one country. When tempers are frayed and rhetoric gets tough, eventually someone will press the button and it could mean the end of humanity on this planet.

Roy.

Ukraine – Things Are Getting Out of Hand!

Posted in America, Britain, David Cameron, England, European Union, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Russia with tags , , , , on 31/08/2014 by floroy1942
Ukraine

Ukraine

The question comes to mind – Are we heading for a third world war over Ukraine? The rhetoric from all sides is getting tougher by the minute, and no sensible plan has been put forward to solve the crisis by either side. There seems to be endless mud-slinging, charge and counter-charge over what is happening there, and of course the West with its sanctions against Russia. But you have to ask yourself, what is all this accomplishing? Well, to my mind – nothing!

Push It At Your Peril

Push It At Your Peril

Tensions are getting higher and higher because neither side is (a) willing to tell the truth, and (b) no-one wants to back down. So we have a war of words between West and East and so far as I can see, temperatures are rising.  This is not good for anybody and solves nothing. Eventually some hot-head somewhere will have had enough and push The Button! If that happens it will mean the end of mankind on this planet, mind you, the way we have been carrying on for the last century we probably deserve it!

I am just an ordinary citizen but even I can see a way out of this chaos.

Russia does not wish to have NATO on its doorstep stretching all the way from the Adriatic to the Black Sea, which would happen if Ukraine joins. Militarily it is always better to have another country between you and your protagonist, a buffer zone if you like especially in light of their Naval Base in Sevastopol.

Russian Naval Fleet In Sevastopol Harbour

Russian Naval Fleet In Sevastopol Harbour

Putin is afraid of losing Sevastopol, the only warm water harbour Russia has for it’s Navy. That is the reason the Russians took over the Crimea at the start of the crisis. Should he lose Sevastopol, his Navy would be forced to retreat to the port of Murmansk above the Arctic Circle, or Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Eastern Russia. For Russia this would be a strategic disaster in the event of hostilities.

Fighting In Ukraine

Fighting In Ukraine

In the meantime, accusations are flying back and forth about Russian troops coming into Ukraine to support the Russian sympathizers, and Government troops have been fighting them for several weeks. Only the other day during his annual visit to  a camp for boys outside Moscow, Putin felt it necessary to remind the West that Russia was a nuclear nation with a large arsenal of weapons.

Russian Gas

Russian Gas

But despite all the sanctions against it, Russia has a large card it can play too in the form of the gas supplies to Europe. Much of Europe now depends on gas pumped from Russia, and should they decide to close the tap this winter, it may not be catastrophic,  but it would certainly cause problems, and tensions would rise yet again.

One thing people need to remember is that all the sanctions in the world may hurt, but they alone will never bring a country like Russia to its knees. But, there can come a time when someone in the hierarchy says, “Enough” and pushes the fatal button.

Conference Table

Conference Table

It is for this reason that I feel all the participants need to sit around one table and find a solution. I mentioned at the beginning that I have a solution that should please everybody. Let Ukraine be neutral in world affairs just like Switzerland.

NATO Symbol

NATO Symbol

If the country were to take a neutral stance, but continue to trade with the E.U. and Russia there would be no problem. Russia would have its buffer-zone, as would NATO, and there would be no harm in Russia retaining its Sevastopol harbour facilities in a trade agreement with the Ukraine government.

I am aware that it all seems simple when sitting behind the computer at home for there would be an awful lot to sort out politically, but is such a thing impossible?

Ukraine wants to join the EU, but being neutral would not stop her trading with EU countries, it certainly doesn’t stop the Swiss. There is also no reason for the country to stop trading with Russia, and in fact, anyone else they choose.

I am sure the government would be happy to receive a steady income from the Russian’s for their use of Sevastopol, and the Russians would be happy to keep using it.

So far as NATO goes, I can see no reason why they would not be happy with such a solution, for an agreement such as this is surely better than a war that would annihilate all of us.

In The Words Of John Lennon...

In The Words Of John Lennon…

I sincerely hope that all sides, and by this I mean Putin, the USA, the Ukrainian leaders of both sides, and responsible people from Europe, can eventually come to the table and discuss this properly without any preconditions, and look to making Ukraine a neutral country spanning East and West.

For that sake of world peace I hope cool heads rule.

Roy.

 

 

 

Ukraine – A Simple Solution

Posted in America, Britain, England, European Union, News, Politics, Russia, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , on 05/03/2014 by floroy1942

I believe Vladimir Putin has only one thing on his mind when it comes to the Ukraine, and all western nations, including Ukraine, could defuse the whole problem with one simple move.

With almost every nation except China condemning the Russian occupation of Crimea, no-one seems capable of asking why. All we hear from politicians and the Press on both sides of the Atlantic is about Russian aggression.

Russian Bases In The Crimea

Russian Bases In The Crimea

Stand-off

Stand-off

The Russian forces have occupied only the island of Crimea on the pretext of ‘protecting Russian speakers from the new government in Kiev’. But why only Crimea? Much of the eastern part of the country has Russian speakers but they are making no moves to ‘protect’ them.

As I said in my last post, the real reason for the ‘invasion’ is that Putin does not wish to lose his Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol. This base, and the small harbour in Tartus Syria, which is also under threat, are the only outlets for the Russian navy into the Mediterranean and the belly of Europe. Should Russia lose these two bases, the navy will be forced to move to either Murmansk in the Arctic Circle, or Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast. For the Russians this would be a strategic nightmare in the event of trouble on the European continent.

Sevastopol Navy Base

Sevastopol Navy Base

Instead of throwing insults and the threat of sanctions at each other, the western nations involved, Ukraine, the USA, Britain, France and Germany, would be far better off negotiating international guarantees about the continuation of the Soviet naval base in Sevastopol.

This one act would take the wind out of Putin’s sails and guarantee the integrity of Ukraine.

Roy.

The Ukraine Crisis And What It’s All About

Posted in America, Britain, England, European Union, Germany, News, Politics, Russia, UK, USA with tags , , , on 01/03/2014 by floroy1942

The crisis in Ukraine has been hitting the headlines for several weeks and sadly many have died. Now we have the Russian’s being accused of ‘occupying’ parts of the Crimea, in particular around Simferopol. Ukraine is a divided nation, with a significant portion of the population in the eastern parts being of Russian origin. This fact alone has raised tensions, as they would rather be allied with Russia than the EU as you would expect.

Yanukovich Balancing Act

The trouble began when politicians started making overtures to Europe to join the Union, which naturally most western countries were for, in particular the United States, Britain, France and Germany. It was no doubt foreseen by many that once a member of the European Union, Ukraine would also join NATO, which would put western forces on the very border of Russia. This would be a strategic advantage for the west, but a nightmare for Russia.

A Man With A Dilemma

The Ukraine politicians, such as they are, are now issuing warnings to Russia and Vladimir Putin not to interfere in Ukrainian affairs. This warning is being echoed by the United States and others. Those currently in power in Ukraine are worried that the country will be split along ethnic lines, and the eastern part will become part of, or at least align, with its eastern neighbour.

Russian Black Sea Fleet

But why is Russia stepping into the game? I believe the answer lies in one thing, their huge naval base in Sevastopol. This Crimea city on the shores of the Black Sea is home to a large Russian fleet, and is their outlet into the Mediterranean Sea. They have only one other much smaller naval base within reach of the Med and that is in Syria, which is now also under threat.

Murmansk Northern Russia

Murmansk Northern Russia

Should Russia lose these two bases, which is likely if (a) Assad is crushed, and (b) the whole of Ukraine joins the EU, the Russian fleets will be banished to ports like Murmansk in the far north, or Vladivostok on the Pacific coast in the Russian Far East. Strategically, this would be a nightmare for Russia in the event of a flare-up of hostilities in the European theater.

In effect, this means that the Soviet Union has a lot riding on the outcome of the political battle being waged within Ukraine. The fact that 6,000 Russian troops are openly reported on the streets of Simferopol means they are not likely to give up trying to get the Crimea at least to join them.

Russia’s Two Navy Bases

This leaves politicians in a dilemma, for while no-one wants to see the country divided, there does seem little choice. Despite all the sabre-rattling, I doubt if any nation, east or west, will risk going to war over this issue and it seems that a political agreement is the only way forward. Of one thing we can be sure, the pro-Russian sector of the country will not want to align itself with Europe and vice versa, so everyone will be forced to accept the compromise of partition in the Ukraine.

Yanukovitch Ousted For Siding With Russia

The whole exercise is however fraught with danger, for tensions are high and it could take only a single shot to plunge the country into chaos and maybe even civil war. Whoever is responsible for negotiating a deal will have to tread very carefully, and both sides will have to be ready to compromise. Let us hope that ‘cool heads’ rule the day.

Roy.

The Strange Case of the Exploding Chewing Gum

Posted in Modern World, Teens with tags , , , , , , on 09/12/2009 by floroy1942

Exploding chewing gum? What nonsense I hear you say, but believe it or not it’s true. Late Saturday night a student living with his parents in Konotop, Northern Ukraine, died when his chewing gum exploded.

The twenty-five year old, who studied at Kiev Polytechnic Institute, was at his computer on Saturday night when the incident happened. Downstairs his parents heard a loud pop, and when they went to his room to investigate found him on the floor with half his face blown off.

Police forensic experts later found the chewing gum contained traces of an unidentified substance thought to be explosive in nature. According to a local news agency, the student had the strange habit of dipping his chewing gum in citric acid, a mild substance found naturally in citrus fruit (lemons/Limes) and used in the food and drinks (including beer – Oooops!) industry to introduce a sour taste.

The Police found packets of citric acid, and a similar looking unidentified substance thought to be explosive in nature in the room, and have concluded the student confused the two and put the explosive concoction on his gum instead of the citric acid. Experts from Kiev have been called to remove the unknown substance for fear it may explode if moved.

One of the more bizarre stories from around the world. Nothing like going out with a bang!

Roy.


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