Ukraine developments, May 15th
May 15, 2014 • 12:14PM

Here are some of the developing stories from Ukraine, from recent days.

Obama's Democracy in Action:Kiev Government Seeking To Expel Communist Party

Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, a presidential candidate, denounced the coup-imposed regime at the Parliament's conciliatory council on May 12, for mass murder of civilians. "In Mariupol there was a slaughter of civilians, a mass murder. The number of those killed, first of all among peaceful civilians, is being concealed. A peaceful demonstration was shot at on May 9 and it was a show murder carried out by the current regime. There was a shooting of peaceful civilians, there was no one with weapons there. When you, using armored personnel carrier guns, killed a family of three, shot in their kitchen, this is what you must be held accountable for; there is blood on your hands today. In Mariupol [you] killed and shot down police department personnel only for refusal to comply with the criminal order to disperse protesters during the May 9 demonstration."

Putin Didn't Want Ukraine Crisis, Says U.S. Russia Expert

"Putin didn't want this Ukrainian crisis," said Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and at Princeton University, in an interview Tuesday on Democracy Now. "He (Putin) didn't begin it. But he is Mr. Pushback. When you meddle with Putin, you're asking for a fight," Cohen continued, stressing that Putin wants the situation in Ukraine to be de-escalated and stabilized. "He believes that the main factor of destabilization is Kiev sending armed forces to (eastern) Ukraine and firing on civilians. He's calling on the United States to stop that. He believes that once that stops, it is relatively easy to find negotiations to demilitarize the crisis."

For the full interview, click here.

Ukrainian Parliamentary Commission Clears Berkut of Feb. 20 Killings

On May 13, Ukrainian MP Hennadi Moskal, the head of the Parliamentary commission investigating the sniper shootings in Kiev on February 20, which led to the overthrow of President Victor Yanukovych, reported in a press conference: "There is no forensic evidence linking the victims of mass killings in Kiev on Feb. 20 with officers from the Berkut police unit."

Moskal stated that despite the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's office having arrested 12 Berkut officers on allegations of committing the mass killings, forensic evidence suggests their innocence.

William Burns 2008 Memo Warned of Current Crisis In Ukraine

On May 13, Wikileaks released a secret cable written by then-U.S. Ambassador to Moscow and currently U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, which revealed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Washington in 2008 that the policy followed since then by the Obama administration, the EU and NATO in regard to Ukraine could split the country in two.

"Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine's intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat," said the 2008 cable classified by Burns.