As a violent opposition launches full-scale street warfare in Ukraine, a chorus of warnings emanated from Washington and Brussels, on Wednesday, telling the Yanukovich government in Ukraine not to use military forces in the current crisis. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters that if the military were used, "that would have consequences for our defense relationship." In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that, "If the military intervenes against the opposition, Ukraine's ties with NATO will be seriously damaged." And, NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove tweeted, "I am calling upon the new military leadership in Ukraine to open a dialogue with us to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution."
These remarks follow similar warnings from Obama himself, during his press conference in Mexico Feb. 19: "Meanwhile, I've urged the military in Ukraine to show restraint and to let civilians pursue the dialogue necessary for progress."
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby's statements, is quoted today saying: "The reports we are receiving right now from our embassy personnel in Kiev indicate that the armed forces are being used at this time to protect military facilities, including weapons and ammunition storage facilities, and are not involved in the violence against protesters," he said. "We certainly hope that remains the case."
White House Demands that Ukraine Government Withdraw Security Forces from Kiev
Following up on statements made by the President Wednesday and Thursday, White House officials, and State Department officials, which called for the new military leadership in Ukraine to remain defenseless in front of the ongoing Nazi violence in that country, issued a press release on Thursday titled "Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine." The full text follows:
"We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people. We urge President Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully. We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means. The use of force will not resolve the crisis — clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people. The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future."
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt made a 54-minute video, in which he made the following threatening declaration: "So, for those of you who are elected members of the Rada, if you're not there tonight working to forge a political solution, you're part of the problem. You're not part of the solution!"
EU Ministers Vote Up Sanctions on Ukraine; Loud Demands Came from London
In Brussels yesterday, an emergency meeting of the 28-member European Union's ministers agreed to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian government. According to media reports, specific measures and targeted individuals have yet to be enumerated. The sanctions are to include freezing assets and banning visas, and placing restrictions on certain exports to Ukraine, such as anti-riot gear. The EU action backs the neo-Nazi, lawless anti-government operations, perpetrating bloodshed, and bringing the world to the brink of thermonuclear war.
The vote came amid a cacophony of demands from such London-based, empire-serving sources as the Financial Times, the BBC, and The Economist.
BBC Radio 4 ran an interview Feb. 19 with Edward Lucas, international editor of The Economist, calling for targeting Russia, regarding Ukraine, and in particular, President Putin. Lucas, who has written a book attacking Putin's Russia, demanded freezing assets, denying visas, and starting up money-laundering investigations.
The Financial Times of London has repeatedly shrieked for sanctions and blood in Ukraine. For example, in its Feb. 2 editorial, "Ukraine Faces Moment of Truth; West Must Be Prepared As Crisis Enters Critical Phase," The FT wrote, that, "there are steps the US and EU must now take as events enter a climactic phase... Washington and Brussels should draw up a list of visa and financial sanctions that would be imposed on top Ukrainian figures..."