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MH17

MH17taggedPerhaps one day we will know the truth and have closure, perhaps we will not.

One thing is certain now though, this war will not be ignored much longer.

Petro Poroshenko “Willy Wonka” New Ukraine president

Petro Prorshenko; Ukraine's Chocolate and sweets Billionaire is elected president of Ukraine.

“But that is how things work in eastern Europe”  Petro Poroshenko; Ukraine’s Chocolate and sweets Billionaire is elected president of Ukraine.

We might think it strange to vote a chocolate factory billionaire as president of the country, we voted for a man with red Speedo’s  (aka underpants) to run our nation.

Poroshenko_2014(PR)

Even in the east where he was least popular, at least 1 in 3 people voted for him. With such a large primary vote a run off was not required.

So now there is talk of corruption, How Poroshenko got his billions, his connection to Euromaidan via his TV channels etc.

Curiously much of his wealth come from Russians enjoying the old Soviet era chocolates and sweets that his factories produce. Could the tensions over Ukraine and Crimea be solved by the taste buds of Russians?

Stranger things have happened.

So what does he actually look like?

Petro-Poroshenko_2866795b

 

 

Saratov Russia protest in support of Ukraine

BiFcfAbCYAE_DgwApproximately 10,000 people protest in support of Ukraine in the Russian city of Saratov

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPR/status/441735926213926912/photo/1

Saratov RUSSaratov: Home to significant arts institutions and significant Ukrainian and German populations

Russia begins to lose support for the war despite all the propaganda. Could this be the start of Maiden style protests in Russia. More and more evidence of  Yukanovich’s dirty deals with Russia and the oligarchs are emerging. Russia has had a similar history of oligarch control, so are Russians beginning to wake up to the possibility that change is achievable, and that freedom is a spreading contagion. Can Russians overthrow their own oligarchy like the Ukrainians have done? The first step is to see through all the lies, propaganda and fear-mongering.

This great article shows the bravery to confront force with peace and deescalate a volatile situation, an the propaganda creating the conflict where none existed.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10679161/Ukraines-hero-colonel-insists-he-was-just-doing-his-duty.html?fb

Mrs Mamchur, who is herself half Russian, blamed a ceaseless barrage of Kremlin propaganda for creating and stoking artificial tensions between ethnic Russians and others, especially Ukrainians and Tatars, on the peninsula.

Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are really one slavic people,” said the Colonel. “The divisions are only formalities. Whoever gave the order for this operation set brother against brother. It’s a crazy situation.

Colonel Yuri Mamchur on the Russian military occupation of Ukrainian  Crimea.

Ukraine Chess: Russia’s first moves

Russian pawn Yukanovych to Rostov, Russian military to Crimea. Ukraine forces unknown in strength and location, fear Dnipropetrovsk under threat.

Russian pawn Yukanovych to Rostov, Russian military to Crimea.
Ukraine forces unknown in strength and location, fear Dnipropetrovsk under threat.

 

In Russia first moves of geopolitical chess they have secured their pawn in their major trading port of Rostov-on-Don, and moved forces to the Russian sympathetic region (oblast) of Crimea. Apparently minimal violence has occurred and the Russian are questioning legitimacy of the ousting of Yukanovych. Ukraine is concerned that Dnipropetrovsk (home to nuclear weapons, missile and defense industries) will be the next target for Russian occupation. Its difficult o determine whether Russia is acting with outright aggression/conquest of simply making sure things don’t get too out of control, perhaps both are true. The distance between Kiev and Moscow is similar to the distance between Melbourne and Sydney, so no one want things to get too crazy.

The Ukrainian upheaval: Some geopolitical perspectives

The Ukraine is becoming a complex and fast moving conflict with multiple factions having multiple agendas.

For the latest updates: https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPR

It seems that this conflict started as a proxy war between Russia/CIS  vs  EU/US, but additional home-grown factions soon saw their chance to enter the power vacuum. The Crimea has talked of independence so what you have is at least four factions.

Some might argue Russia is simply suffering from a bruised ego, but the conflict goes deeper than this. The former USSR states are attempting to for a new USSR called the CIS, a copy of the EU incorporating many of the former USSR states.  You might be wondering why Ukraine is so important to Russia and the CIS in this plan. The answer is of course petrochemicals, not oil per se this time, but rather gas pipelines.

The Gas

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The Ukraine is strategically important have the majority of Russian gas pipelines to Europe, Without the Ukraine Russia has only one pipeline going  through  Belarus to deliver is gas to Europe. Giving Belarus a monopoly on gas delivery to Europe would make Belarus far too powerful for Russia’s liking, and far too powerful in a proposed CIS.

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Russia is of course building other pipe lines to be less dependent on the Ukraine and Belarus, but these are massive projects and take significant time and resources to complete.

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The gas deals are of course very controversial, Yukanovych and Tymoshenko were both implicated in dirty deals and skimming money off gas deals with Russia, and most recently (2010) the controversial Ukrainian decision to allow Russian to keep its black sea fleet in port of Sevastapol, on the Crimean peninsula until 2042.

The Crimea

Crimea has wanted Independence from both Russia and the Ukraine for at least a decade. The Crimean Economy is largely based on the two navies stationed there, (the Ukrainian and Russian) the industries that support the Navies.  Tourism Is economically significant being a temperate ( and Russian speaking)  beach side resort for many people of the CIS. The Crimean does not want to risk bad relations with Russia and the CIS, as the tourism money would disappear.

While Russia has other land that borders the Black sea, they have had their navy stationed In Sevastopol since 1783, briefly forced out by the Germans in WW2, so naturally feel they belong there. Sevastapol is part of the Ukraine so the Ukrainian navy feel it should belong there. As a deep water port the Crimean has some interesting advantages, because of its island/peninsula arrangement the Navy can quite easily surround and defend its port from land based attack, This makes it a natural stronghold, not something any navy would want to give up. The black sea flows through the Dardanelles past Gallipoli (which we all should know about) into the Mediterranean (of importance to the EU) and then to the rest of the world’s oceans.

This of course leads to somewhat strange situation of two navies both being stationed in the same place, almost a naval cold war.

So what this is about is the politics of the middle man.

For the Gas pipelines Ukraine and particularly Kiev are able to set the price (and quantity) of Russian gas entering the EU. Controlling this flow of energy and money between two powerful economic blocs makes for significant political power and significant risk of corruption.

For whoever controls the Crimea and Sevastopol controls the black sea and its ability to deploy naval and military force in the region. Controlling a geopolitically significant deep water seaport is an extremely powerful tool in diplomacy. Russia wants to build a gas pipeline under the black sea so will need to control the black sea to assure the project and hardly want the additional expense of building a new naval port as well.

An independent Crimea would be unlikely to create a naval fleet of its own and would likely take the highest bid to station any interested party, which could be almost anyone, Turkey, US, EU, Iran… This could become a geopolitical lottery, or just Russian Roulette.

It’s not easy being an honest middle man.

Ukraine protesters shot, Oligarchs flee

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Army marching to Kiev allegiance uncertain, political turmoil, EU and US sanctions on senior politicians.

Russian military implicated in ‘berkut’ armed crackdown.

Euromajdan protesters retake independence square, at least 13 protesters killed by sniper fire, possibly up to 100 dead. 67 police taken prisoner by protesters.

Many oligarchs and senior political officials are attempting to fee the country, even taking armoured cars full of loot to the airports.

Titushki (government paid vandals/thugs) wandering city destroying property and attacking people.

Hard to say if this civil war at this stage or exactly what it could be defined as, but it is certainly happening.

Ukraine: violent clashes, revolution likely

ukraine ustream channel pic

Links to live stream channels.

http://channel9000.net/euromajdan2/

Some English commentary from:

http://channel9000.net/spilno3/

protesters defeat armoured personnel carrier

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6Eaqfi6gZg

protesters using guns and attacking riot cops

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=34e_1392746107#qMxuguTeJ7T5irHc.99

Ukraine pro democracy protest

ukraine protst 2

ukraine protest 1

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On the day Victorian government was debating laws to effectively criminalize protest , protestors for Ukraine democracy met at the exact place where Robert Doyle’s Melbourne City Council brutally crushed a democracy Movement called Occupy Melbourne.

This may actually be Victoria’s last protest where protest is legal.

Yet another irony is the Ukrainian situation protest was also made illegal recently.

So I’m sure we’d love for you to have democracy Ukraine, but we don’t have it our selves.

Playing Kiev Chicken: Ukraine poised for revolution

After anti protest laws were enacted already alarmed and protesting citizens stepped up their resistance to the increasingly authoritarian out of touch government.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/01/ukraine-president-calls-calm-amid-clashes-201412016214424945.html

Government has made illegal; shields, armor, helmets and gas masks for protests.

This all makes occupy look very sedate, Afghanistan veterans, barricades, guards with bats and people flouting the new ‘no armor’ laws dressed in medieval style protection, some even getting actual medieval helmets.

ukraine_protest_sign_contentfullwidthHacktivists have shut down many government websites

Ethnolingusitic_map_of_ukraineOne of the possible futures for Ukraine is a breakup into two or more states based on ethnic/linguistic lines.

AC8I7747_aShields: aluminum cladding (?), borrowed from police, 44 gallon drum, reinforced sign, plywood.

Recent laws made gas masks illegal, so all the more reason to wear one.

024838-562ee988-824c-11e3-993a-e0590e98e9fbThis guy really does not care if you know where money comes from or not, it’s beyond that for now.

ukraine-14Hey Molotov, look at those poor policemen, they have been standing in the cold for hours with no Vodka,

throw them one of your cocktails, here I’ll light it so they can see it coming.

Protesters try to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in KievDimitri, this not in police manual.

https://occupymelbourne.net/2014/02/21/ukraine-protesters-shot-oligarchs-flee/

https://occupymelbourne.net/2013/12/02/ukraine-unrest-soars/

Ukraine unrest soars

Ukraine having greater social unrest just 10 years after the orange revolution now faced with joining The new EU or the old USSR

Ukraine having greater social unrest just 10 years after the orange revolution now faced with joining The new EU or the old USSR

 

https://occupymelbourne.net/2014/01/23/playing-kiev-chicken-ukraine-poised-for-revolution/

 

 

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