Con­struc­tive ap­proach

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

The Krem­lin never ceases to amaze with its heavy-handed tac­tics, as well as tor­pedo Western ef­forts to bro­ker a com­pro­mise to Ukraine’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis. Which side of­fers the more con­struc­tive ap­proach? On the United States side, Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph Bi­den has called Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych four times in the last month, ask­ing him to pull back riot troops, re­lease Euro­Maidan de­tainees and prose­cu­tor vi­o­lent of­fend­ers as con­fi­dence-build­ing mea­sures. Good ad­vice. U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama called on Yanukovych to en­ter into a real power-shar­ing agree­ment with the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, and U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said in Mu­nich that Yanukovych hadn’t com­pro­mised enough. We agree.

Now com­pare this in­ter­ven­tion with the Krem­lin’s hys­ter­i­cal warn­ings against U.S. in­ter­fer­ence while Rus­sia’s lead­ers are work­ing over­time to do just that – in­ter­fere – but in a way that desta­bi­lizes Ukraine and di­lutes, if not de­stroys, its na­tional sovereignt­y. Putin’s por­trayal of his $15 bil­lion bailout pack­age/gas dis­count as sim­ply that of a “Slavic big brother” help­ing the lit­tle one out is a myth that keeps get­ting punc­tured. This time, Putin’s men­da­cious in­tent be­came clear af­ter Rus­sian-friendly Prime Min­is­ter Mykola Azarov re­signed on Jan. 28. Putin re­sponded by hold­ing up the loan (af­ter an ini­tial $3 bil­lion tranche) and stop­ping Ukrainian goods on the Rus­sian bor­der.

Then Putin sends his pro­pa­ganda war­rior, Sergey Glazyev, on the PR of­fen­sive to call for a vi­o­lent po­lice crack­down on demon­stra­tors. He also spread ru­mors that the United States is spend­ing $20 mil­lion a week to fund Ukraine’s po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and the “rebels, in­clud­ing weapons.” Then, with­out any proof what­so­ever, he goes on to make the ridicu­lous claim: “There is in­for­ma­tion that armed mil­i­tants are trained on the ter­ri­tory of the U.S. Em­bassy.”

Glazyev goes on in the Kom­m­er­sant in­ter­view to do what he’s done on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions – sug­gest that Ukraine is break­ing up as a na­tion, and that such an event would not be such a bad thing.

In many ways, the Krem­lin pro­pa­ganda ma­chine is work­ing in tan­dem with Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in dis­cred­it­ing and smear­ing Euro­Maidan pro­test­ers. For­eign Min­is­ter Leonid Kozhara shot his cred­i­bil­ity to shreds in Mu­nich ear­lier this month by dis­miss­ing the kid­napped and tor­tured Euro­Maidan ac­tivist Dmytro Bu­la­tov’s in­juries as a mere scratch on the cheek and doubt­ing his story of be­ing ab­ducted. This is one of just dozens of lies, un­truths and ex­ag­ger­a­tions gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are en­gaged in to smear a gen­uine up­ris­ing by Ukraini­ans to fight for democ­racy and against cor­rup­tion.

And now record­ings are be­ing leaked of high-rank­ing U.S. and Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials talk­ing with each other, a black op­er­a­tion that has all the signs of a Rus­sian KGB op­er­a­tion. Aside from undiplo­matic lan­guage, the leaked ex­cerpts of U.S. Am­bas­sador to Ukraine Ge­of­frey R. Py­att’s talk with U.S. As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nu­land show that both are try­ing to find a con­struc­tive so­lu­tion to end Ukraine’s cri­sis, a con­trast to the Krem­lin’s ap­proach.

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