-High-level diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine made little apparent headway at talks in Paris on Wednesday with Moscow and Washington at odds and Russia's foreign minister refusing to recognize his Ukrainian counterpart.
-Russia had earlier rebuffed Western demands that its forces that have seized control of Ukraine's Crimea region should return to their bases.
-NATO, at a meeting in Brussels, announced it was cutting back on cooperation with Russia to try to pressure it into backing down on Ukraine and suspended planning for a joint mission linked to Syrian chemical weapons.
-The alliance said it would step up engagement with Ukraine's new leadership.
-The European Union offered Ukraine's new pro-Western government 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in financial aid in the next couple of years provided Kiev reaches a deal with the International Monetary Fund.
-Ukraine says Russia has occupied Crimea. (Not credible, Ukraine's unelected regime change government is surely aware of that)
- Lavrov said discussions on Ukraine would continue, but he did not talk to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchitsya, whose new government is regarded as illegitimate by Moscow.
- Lavrov was asked if he had met his Ukrainian counterpart. "Who is that?" the Russian minister asked.Who is that?! Hilarious. Persona non grata
A senior U.S. State Department official denied Russian reports that Moscow and the Western powers had agreed that the Ukrainian government and opposition should to stick to a European Union-brokered peace deal.
Interesting? Russian media is reporting that but the US denies that?
Asked whether Moscow would order forces in Crimea back to their bases, Lavrov said in Madrid: "If you mean the self-defense units created by the inhabitants of Crimea, we give them no orders, they take no orders from us."
The West is pushing for Russia to return troops to barracks, accept international monitors in Crimea and Ukraine and negotiate a solution to the crisis through a "contact group" probably under the auspices of a pan-European security body.
Why would Crimea require international monitors. Judging by the reports out of Kiev, it seems some sort of monitors are needed there.
France said EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday could decide on sanctions against Russia if there is no "de-escalation" by then. Other EU countries, including Germany, are more reticent about sanctions.We will talk more about sanctions. I will just finish up with this article provided for fair use by Reuters
Sanctions!!! Is the EU leadership collectively insane. Nevermind. Is Germany's leadership off it's meds. Sanctions will crush the EU. Are the leaders of the EU prepared to cut off their collective noses to spite their stupid faces? My fellow humans in the EU...don't let them do this to you all.The Pentagon will more than double the number of U.S. fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics and do more training with Poland's air force as it strives to reassure allies alarmed by the crisis in Ukraine, officials in Washington said on Wednesday.
Russia preparing sanctions in response to EU insanity
|The Federation Council's chamber.|
The Federation Council is drawing up a bill that would allow the government to confiscate the property of U.S. and European companies in the event of Western sanctions
The possible bill, a reaction to threats of economic sanctions following Russia's military presence in Ukraine, is designed to help "the president and government protect our sovereignty from attack," the head of the Federation Council's Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Andrei Klishas, told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
Klishas said that lawyers are currently looking at the constitutionality of confiscating property and accounts from foreigners, including private companies and individuals.
He also said that the confiscation would clearly meet European standards, pointing to the fact that assets were confiscated during the Cypriot banking crisis.
While Klishas did not see legal problems with confiscating companies' assets, an expert in foreign law with Khrenov and Partners law office, Vasily Vasilyev, said by phone that both foreign and Russian law allow the confiscation of private property only by a court ruling in cases where its owner is suspected of a crime. Confiscation is also allowed “for state needs” if owners are given compensation for the property's market value.Ukraine crisis: Splits emerge in west’s stance on Russia
The west’s diplomatic efforts to counter Russia’s takeover of Crimea faced setbacks on multiple fronts on Wednesday as the Kremlin refused to engage with the new Ukrainian government and allies themselves were at loggerheads over how tough a line to take with Moscow
“They’re afraid if we do something the Russians will hit back,” said a senior EU official involved in summit planning.Israel breaks silence on Ukraine; We hope the conflict is resolved peacefully
European countries most resistant to Russian sanctions, which included Italy and the Netherlands, were those with the biggest economic ties to Moscow, which for the first time hinted that economic retaliation may be in the works.
George Galloway- US approach to Ukraine, ludicrous and ridiculous
The heat is being turned up under Syria and by all appearances NATO looks to be upping the tension