July 21, 2011 By

Ukraine Face-off: Tension Scales Up in the Border

3,_0Tension and fear of war surges up amidst the deteriorating relations between Ukraine and Russia after Russian president, Vladimir Putin ordered the military troops near the Ukrainian border to be on high alert. Ukraine has also called up the Defence Ministry to mobilize the reserves. According to reports, Moscow has put 150, 000 troops near the country’s border. Ukraine’s representatives to the United Nations said that Kiev would ask for international military support if Russia expanded its military action in his country.

Thousands had demonstrated against the Russian military action at Kiev’s Independence Square, the main scene of anti government protests with electrifying sermons and placards reading “Putin, hands off Ukraine!” Few hundreds of protestors also waved banners showing “No War” near Red Square and the Defence Ministry in Moscow on Sunday. Several of them were detained.

The world leaders, meanwhile, are striving for a diplomatic solution urging Putin not to use any force. The corrupt and inefficient government of Ukraine has turned the country into bankrupt nation with thirty five million dollars debt. But the world powers, including US, are reluctant to dole out help urging Ukraine to turn to the International Monitory Fund (IMF). A statement from the G7 said it was suspending preparations for June’s G8 summit in the Russian resort of Sochi because of the “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and called on Moscow to “address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations”. It also extended its support to Ukraine’s economic assistance and revival as long as Kiev agreed to pursue economic reforms sought by the IMF.

Putin, however, is ready to apportion fifteen billion dollars to the economically struggling Ukraine, provided the next leader would be in his favour, suspending the financial assistance for the time being. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said that the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to use military force in Ukraine. “Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence,” Churkin quoted the letter from Yanukovich to Putin in the third emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

The US has suspended forthcoming trade and investment talks with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, according to a US official. Earlier on Monday evening, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby announced in a statement that US-Russia “military engagements,” such as military exercises and port visits, were on hold for now. Obama and Britain’s Prime Minster, David Cameron had warned Russia that it would face “significant costs” if it does not change course after deploying troops in Ukraine.

Obama spoke to Putin for ninety minutes on telephone on Saturday after the Russian leader declared he had the right to intervene and quickly secured unanimous approval from his Parliament. Putin said that Russia had the right to protect its interests and that Russian speakers were facing threats from Ukraine’s new leaders, who took over after Yanukovich fled huge protests against his repression and rejection of a trade deal with the European Union. John Kerry, the United States Secretary of The State, had condemned Russia for what he called an “incredible act of aggression”.

The EU has condemned Russia’s “acts of aggression”, calling on Moscow to recall its troops to their bases in Crimea. EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton would be meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday afternoon in Madrid for talks on the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

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