Ukraine’s Poroshenko says rebel elections threaten peace deal, extends sanctions

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on Wednesday to extend sanctions on over 400 individuals and 90 legal entities in response to a decision by separatist rebels to set a date for what Kiev sees as “illegal elections”.

Violence is at its lowest ebb since the Minsk ceasefire agreement was signed seven months ago, but the latest altercation highlights how far the two sides are from finding common ground and a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

PM Zakharchenko says local elections to proceed in DPR on Oct 18

Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko gave a press conference on September 12, 2015 to explain the plans of the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic to hold district and municipal elections on October 18…according to Zakharchenko “Local elections are planned in accordance with the Constitution and legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic. These totally and completely comply with the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements.”

NYT asks: Are Western values losing their sway?

Steven Erlanger in the New York Times, asks: Are Western Values Losing Their Sway? Here’s my two cents:

The problem with our “Western values” is not the values in themselves, although some are certainly questionable. The real problem is the triumphalism that came with them after the West’s ‘victory’ at the end of the Cold War, a dangerous triumphalism that continues today. We have utterly convinced ourselves that everyone else wants what we have and we will use any methods, from the most bloody and overt, to the most quiet and covert, to pass them on.

BREAKING: US to Begin Training Ukraine’s Active-Duty Military

U.S. paratroops will soon begin training members of Ukraine’s active-duty military, expanding a program in western Ukraine that began by providing support for the country’s newly formed national guard.

Troops with the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade will train up to five battalions of Ukrainian soldiers as operation Fearless Guardian enters a second phase in November, U.S. Army Europe said.

Russia’s Nabiullina named central bank governor of 2015 by Euromoney

Russia’s Elvira Nabiullina was named central bank governor of 2015 by Euromoney magazine on Wednesday for helping stabilise her country’s economy at a time of collapsing oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Under her leadership, the central bank rolled out a series of emergency measures late last year to deal with turmoil on Russian financial markets, including an overnight interest rate hike and refinancing tools to help out dollar-starved banks.

Why Russia’s Actions in Syria Are No Shocker

A recent New York Times editorial castigated Russia for arming the embattled Assad regime and deploying military personnel to Syria. It’s increasingly evident that the Kremlin is deepening its military presence in Syria to prop up a Syrian government that hovers near collapse and has lost control of large parts of its domain.

Yet the editorial’s assessment of Russian conduct in Syria is suffused with naiveté and conceit.

Washington’s “group think” blames Russia’s Putin for the Syrian crisis

Sen. Lindsey Graham may have been wrong about pretty much everything related to the Middle East, but at least he has the honesty to tell Americans that the current trajectory of the wars in Syria and Iraq will require a U.S. re-invasion of the region and an open-ended military occupation of Syria, draining American wealth, killing countless Syrians and Iraqis, and dooming thousands, if not tens of thousands, of U.S. troops.

The Obama Administration Rejects Russia’s Offer to Form a New Military Coalition vs. ISIS in Syria

Nation contributing editor and ACEWA Founding Board Member Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. Pointing to the torrent of American political and media denunciations of Russian President Putin’s increasing of Moscow’s longstanding military support of the Assad regime in Syria, along with Putin’s dramatic offer to join the US-led air war against ISIS in Syria, Cohen concludes that Washington seems to prefer an Islamic State takeover of Damascus to any cooperation with Putin’s Russia.

Russia’s Syria Surprise (And What America Should Do about It)

Russia’s ongoing military buildup in Syria poses a serious challenge to American policy in the region. What response will best advance American interests in Syria and, more broadly, in the Middle East? That depends in large part on what Russia hopes to achieve.

Putin Said to Explore Sidelining Assad Even as He Arms Him

Russia is sending signals to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that it may allow Syria’s embattled leader Bashar al-Assad to be eased out of power as it seeks to forge a united front against Islamic State and retain influence in the region, officials and Syrian opposition leaders said.

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