Confronting Russia Holds Peril for U.S.

It could have been President Obama issuing a firm warning — measured, devoid of bellicose threats — to President Vladimir V. Putin that the West would keep the pressure on as long as Russia interfered with Ukraine’s sovereignty. Instead, it was Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and a leading 2016 Republican presidential aspirant, speaking at a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

Sanctions new normal proves workable for business in Russia

When executives from hundreds of Russian and foreign companies came together in St Petersburg a year ago for the International Economic Forum, most participants were in a state of shock. The US and Europe had just slapped visa bans and asset freezes on a number of Russian officials and companies over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, and threatened much broader sanctions. One question dominated every conversation: How bad were things going to get?

IMF Managing Director Issues Statement on Ukraine

In the statement below, released June 12, Ms. Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), announces IMF policy on Ukraine: “Ukraine’s debt repayment capacity is limited by its fiscal capacity. Since Ukraine lacks the resources under the program to fully service its debts…in the event that a negotiated settlement with private creditors is not reached and the country determines that it cannot service its debt, the Fund can lend to Ukraine.”

Bill Bradley: 5 Steps for Peace in Ukraine

As the West pursues renewed negotiations with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, these negotiations should not be expected to produce simply a series of Russian concessions. To this suggestion hard-liners in the West will inevitably characterize such thinking as “appeasement.” But compromise is not the same thing as appeasement, especially considering that Putin appears more a tactical opportunist than a strategic warmonger. Providing Russia a sense of territorial security by promising not to expand NATO to Ukraine or Georgia will eliminate the major excuse for expansionist aggression that Putin offers to his people.

UKRAINE SITUATION: UNHCR OPERATIONAL UPDATE, 22 May – 8 June 2015

As of 3 June there were 1,325,200 IDPs [Internally Displaced People] registered by the Ministry of Social Policy, representing an increase of 41,500 since 21 May. This increase in the number of registrations reflects the deteriorating situation in the conflict area.

Whereas previously there were reports of limited numbers of people returning their homes in non-government controlled areas to maintain property or take care of relatives who remained behind, lately there have been no such reports.

BREAKING: U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe – NY TIMES

 In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries, American and allied officials say.

The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine as of 11 June 2015

The level of violence in and around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk) remained high.  From the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at the Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), over a five hour period, the SMM heard over 250 bursts of small arms and light weapons fire, heavy machinegun, automatic grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns as well as 134 explosions, both incoming and outgoing at one to eight kilometres north, north-west, north-east and west of its location.

Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Won’t Get U.S. Money

The House of Representatives has unanimously approved an amendment to the U.S. military budget, proposed by Conyers and Florida Republican Ted Yoho, banning support and training for “the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary militia ‘Azov Battalion.'” Azov was set up in May 2014 to fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine

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