Ukraine: 'This Is War,' Says Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia


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"This is real. This is war…. The last 24 hours was a major escalation," former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul assessed of the fighting in Ukraine on Friday. This crisis situation persisted throughout the weekend and has spilled into today.

The Kyiv Post has a live timeline (local time) of the latest violence. Here are some highlights from today:

1:45 p.m. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has announced that Ukrainian soldiers were killed in fighting with pro-Russian separatists on the outskirts of Sloviansk in northern Donetsk Oblast…. Avakov said that Ukrainian troops battled as many as 800 heavily armed separatists.

3:16 p.m. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry is reporting that four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 30 more were wounded in fighting on the outskirts of Sloviansk on May 5.

5:01 p.m. Igor Strelkov, one of the separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine, told the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti that "We lost around 10, including peaceful residents, and 20-25 were wounded."

5:33 p.m. Ukrainian counterterrorism forces disabled a coal train cars that Kremlin-backed rebels were trying to convert into an armored train by cutting slits to their sides adapted for firing.

Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov maintains that separatists are Russian-backed and that Russia "is at war" with Ukraine. His administration says that additional insurgent forces are sneaking into the country through Crimea, where the new Russian-leaning government is currently cracking down on the pro-Ukrainian political opposition.

Over the weekend, Ukraine's intelligence agency discovered sniper nests in the eastern city of Donetsk and "potentially radioactive" material possibly intended for a "dirty bomb" in a western city. Forty-two people, many pro-Russian protesters, were killed in clashes with counter-protesters in favor of Ukrainian unity in Odessa on Friday. The government declared that a new 400-man law enforcement arm will begin operating in the city following the failure of local police to quell fighting.

The Obama administration hasn't announced any progress since Saturday on its commitment to de-escalate the situation. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia's foreign minister on May 3 about the successful release of seven foreign hostages held by separatists in Donetsk (though there are still 24 Ukrainian citizens being held hostage). The day before, President Obama had threatened more sanctions against Russia.

A German tabloid with a mixed reputation, Bild, reports that it "learned… from German security circles" that "dozens of specialists" from the CIA and FBI are in Kiev helping the acting government investigate financial corruption from organized criminals and the previous administration, though the U.S. agents aren't involved in the fighting.

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  1. What’s in it for us?

    1. The question you should ask is: “What’s in it for Goldman Sachs & PIMCO?”


        (shifty eyes)

        That’s just what they *want* you to think.

    2. What’s in it for us?

      Our tax money gets to be spent on some crazy civil war on the other side of the world.

      Europe will keep getting more Nato bucks so they can spend their military budgets on their welfare states.

      We get a new cold war.

      We get to arm extremists who will probably use those arms on us one day.

      We get the opportunity to shed more American blood on European soil.

    3. A break from Donald Sterling coverage.


  3. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov maintains that separatists are Russian-backed and that Russia “is at war” with Ukraine.

    Its about time somebody said it out loud.

    1. Not like anyone believes well-armed separatists just sprang out of nowhere.

      1. You idiot. It proves how dangerous private gun ownership is.

        1. Ah, I see. Assault rifles?

          1. Surprisingly new, well-maintained ones.

            1. I see. 3-D printed ones?

              1. Almost like they were fresh out of a Russian armory.

                1. Wow, I had no idea Ukrainian separatists had such cutting-edge industrial capacity.

        2. Clearly Ukraine didn’t do enough to curtail bullying in schools.

          1. That’s it. Both Ukraine and Russia are suspended indefinitely. ZERO TOLERANCE!

            1. Well. That was easy.

              America World CopWorld Nanny.


                1. American Foreign Policy: The Musical.

                  1. Oh, does it include “Springtime for Hitler”?

                  2. One shitty administration
                    Every little step they take.
                    One huge Obamanation
                    Every move that he makes.
                    They keep saying that nobody else will do;
                    You know who’ll never be competent – it’s you know who.
                    One moment in his presence
                    And you would probably want to puke.
                    For the guy is a real dook.
                    He’s none, Son.

                    NBC Sighs, and give him their attention.
                    Do…I…really have to mention?
                    To him, he’s the One?
                    They walk into the room
                    And you know

                    He’s commonly boring, and not unique,
                    Very pathetic, emetic and weak.

                    He walks into a room
                    And you know from him
                    Maddening prose, effortless spin,
                    He’s the guy with the dumb grin.

                    1. *peers over opera glasses and begins slow clap*

      2. Not like anyone believes well-armed separatists just sprang out of nowhere.

        Where did the old well armed separatists who are now assaulting the new well armed separatists come from?

    2. Its about time somebody said it out loud.

      Should also say Europe and the US are at war with the Ukraine as well.

      1. Care to clarify on that point?

        1. Sure European jets are flying over, drones are being used by Nato and CIA and FBI are advising Ukrainians on the ground.

          Don’t tell me you don’t know about this?

          If you don’t then let me welcome you to the suck.

          We are at war…ain’t it fun?

          1. I don’t know about this. Links?

          2. Sure European jets are flying over, drones are being used by Nato and CIA

            Citation needed.

      2. Yes, what the EU and US is doing is totally equivalent to what Russia is doing in the Ukraine.


    3. War was declared when the Ukrainian naval bases in Crimea were blockaded.

      That was months ago.

  4. “Ukraine: ‘This Is War,’ Says Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia”

    Tell it to France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Finland, the Czechs and the Slovaks, and let us know how it works out.

    1. Well, clearly they want to emulate Japan, then.

      Also, French was on the winning side against the Russians in the Crimean War. (Though really, to concede the point, no one won.)

  5. I thought it was the “New Democracy” sort of like New Coke.

    Instead of boring old voting, one side gets a bunch of armed guys with their faces covered, take over buildings, towns, cities while waving the EU flag

    Russia sees this and gets their own armed guys with faces covered and start taking over buildings, towns, cities while waving the Russian flag.

    If they could organize a few more rules they could get rid of elections all together. Sort of like rugby, they get two, three, four or more teams, drop a ball called President in the middle and whoever gets across the goal line wins until the next game. Much more exciting then elections.

  6. “Ukraine is war to you?!?”

    1. Do you know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting
      duck. A road apple. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s
      time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.

      1. It’s Ukraine, not the Ukraine.

        Do you say the France or the Greece? No? Then why do you say the Ukraine?

        /end rant

        1. I’ll put my definite articles where I want!

          1. Fine then. Look like an idiot. Can’t say nobody told you.

            1. There are many other country names that are habitually referred to with “the”, such as Congo, Gambia, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Netherlands, Philippines and Bahamas.

              1. The United States?

                1. At least it’s “the” United States and not “The” United States.

              2. The Ohio State University?

                1. Now you’re just being silly.

              3. There are many other country names that are habitually referred to with “the”

                That is true. And for those you mention the the is proper. Not so with Ukraine. It’s not “The Republic of” or “The Kingdom of.” No. It’s simply Ukraine.

                1. Or simply, a Russian province.

                2. “The Lebanon” and “the Yemen” at least seem about as silly as “The Ukraine”.

                  1. I’m going to start saying the Canada.

            2. It has fallen out of favor, but the recent conventional folk explanation that the “The Ukraine” usage dates to the Soviet Union is untrue as well, as the usages is amply demonstrated in English sources from the mid 18th century.

              I suspect that it does have its origin in the fact that the Ukraine, Belarus, and the western part of Russia (around the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Republic of Novgorod, etc.) all were founded by the Rus’ people. They were originally ruled from Kiev, in the Kievan Rus’, but since Moscow eventually designated itself as the heir/ruler of all the Russian people, the Big, Little (Ukraine), and White (Belarus) after overthrowing the “Tatar yoke,” (after a few centuries of being the closest ally among the Russian states with the Tatar, so as to sacrifice others while building their own power), the “the Ukraine” usage was intended to indicate Ukraine’s status historically as part of the Rus’ people, in Moscow’s view part of the great Russian people ruled by Moscow as part of a sort of Manifest Destiny.

              1. One does tend to say, the Vikings.

                  1. Arrakis, not the Arrakis.

                    1. The Zaphod Beeblebrox?”
                      “No, just a Zaphod Beeblebrox, didn’t you hear I come in six packs?”

        2. It’s fairly common usage, even though there is no good reason for it, so it doesn’t make you look like too much of an idiot. And French people say “the France”.

          But as far as I know Ukrainian doesn’t even have a definite article, so it is weird.

          1. The first time I heard “It’s not the Ukraine” was in reading Michener’s Poland many years ago.

            1. My understanding is that the ukraine is a region, while Ukraine is a country.

              1. One common theory is that it means “Borderland,” because the area was the borderland of the territory inhabited by the Rus’ people, who were originally ruled from Kiev before splitting into many states and being conquered/paying homage to the Mongols under the Khans and then later the descendant of the Mongols who stayed in the area, the Tatar. However, some people dispute the “borderland” theory as well.

                1. One can certainly make a case based on history that the reason that a separate Ukrainian identity surfaced is because, rather than being unified with the rest of the Rus’ people after the Grand Duchy of Moscow played the game of thrones well in weakening rival Rus’ states as well as leading the revolt against the Tatars, it was mostly part of Grand Duchy of Lithuania and then the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom.

          2. French people are idiots.

            1. *The French people

            2. Be that as it may, what’s correct is determined by common usage and not the degree of idiocy of those using a language.

          3. Depends on vagaries of the language you’re speaking. In German, Switzerland is “die Schweiz”, Turkey is “die Turkei”, but France is merely “Frankreich”, bereft of a definite article.

            1. I thought France in German was Der Limpenwristenpasies

            2. Well, that’s clearly because “Die Frankreich” refers to the Maryland / Bufallo Bills QB. Or something to do with grammatical gender and being neuter, one of those.

        3. It’s Ukraine, not the Ukraine.

          How about we call it the shit hole civil war land that the US should stay as far away from as possible?

        4. It’s Ukraine, not the Ukraine.

          I think we should call this one The WW3.

          The Great War got a “The” we should get one also.

  7. I just hope Groovus is somewhere safe

  8. Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
    They leave the West behind
    And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
    That Georgia’s always on my mind

  9. Ukraine: ‘This Is War,’ Says Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia

    The expression is: Of course you realize, this means war. Get it right next time bub.

  10. McFaul? McFaulty? McFail? McFoul? McFawlty?

    I do not envy him his childhood.

  11. This is all Snowden’s fault.

    1. I can’t help but recall Obama whispering to Putin “After the election, I’ll have more flexibility.”

      1. The greater flexibility comes from all that bowing to 3rd world dictators.

      2. Yeah, so what was that “flexibility” all about?

        1. Yoga as a foreign policy?

      3. That was actually to Putin’s meat puppet, Dmitry Medvedev.

        “Tell Vladimir I can be more flexible after the election.”

        Funny, it is Ukraine that is bending over, not the Lightworker.

      4. Actually, he whispered it to Medvedyev who replied “I will inform Vladimir”.

        This sort of dialog between an American president and a Russian official would have been hooted out of the script of a cheesy 1950s spy movie as too preposterous.

  12. Are we expected to keep calling the ‘terrorists’ protestors now, even though Obama thinks this is completely inappropriate? (irony intended)

    1. Who says they can’t be both terrorists and protesters?

      1. I suppose you could say ‘terrorism’ is a form of protest… just one that ‘protests’ random people ‘being alive’ at a certain place and time.

        The distinction between ‘terror’ and ‘protest’ usually = ‘killing people’

        1. I think “protesters” properly covers both the non-violent and the violent types.
          And I think the word “terrorist” is completely useless at this point. Just tell me what the people did and I’ll make up my own mind about it.

          1. So you’re saying my distinction isn’t a good enough distinction?

            by that token, you’d justify a ‘war on protests’, perhaps?

            Protests are a legitimate form of expression in a country that protects free speech.

            Terrorism is not. Terrorism is the use of force behind the veil of anonymity against random people to attempt to achieve political ends through violence.

            Attempting to obfuscate this distinction serves no purpose, unless you happen to have some particular partisan support for people who engage in terrorism.

      2. You need a youtube video for that.

  13. Ukraine has 45 million people, just 2 million less than Britain at the start of WWII. And their military is so feeble it cannot defeat a couple thousand separatists? Hey, they aren’t Canada which has a pretty damn good reason to think the U.S. military will defend it.
    So, man up Ukraine and defend yourself if this is really an existential threat.

    1. To be sure, some countries strongly encouraged them to give up the means to forestall any Russian invasion.

      1. +1 Grand Budapest Protocol

    2. They do seem to be defeating the separatists at an agonizingly slow pace.

  14. In Russia you do not go to war, war goes to you

  15. If we are to do anything about this (not that we necessarily should), the best solution is to give Ukraine back the nukes they’d given up in exchange for Russian non-agression. After all, the deal’s obviously off.

  16. “potentially radioactive” material possibly intended for a “dirty bomb”

    I’m suspicious of that, but if it is true, it casts doubt on how much control Russia actually has over some of these resistance fighters. I can’t see Russia giving the green light to anyone under its command to build a dirty bomb.

  17. Cracking a few books on Russian History would help a lot in understanding what is going on in the Ukraine. Regrettably, most Americans regard history (any history) with contempt. (Henry Ford helped a lot to promote this deadly attitude). In any event Russia will rebuild its “lost” empire no matter what. And by the way folks, the Russian Empire was not Communist. The Bolsheviks inherited it, and it fell apart with the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it will be “resurrected” as a Russian Empire as it was up to World War I. After the Ukraine, Big Russia will probably “reincorporate” White Russia. All will be blessed by the Russian Orthodox Church and the ghosts of Peter The Great and Catherine The Great. The United States will “benefit” in that our Hawks at Home will be able to have Cold War II which should make a lot of profit for them if no one else.

    1. Regrettably, most Americans regard history (any history) with contempt.

      That isn’t true.

      Americans per capita consume more history books then any other country in the world…

      Though it might not be any help…Britain consumes more cook books then any other country in the world and it sure as hell has not helped British food.

      1. Oh no. He spoke to it.

        T-minus 5 mins to screaming histrionic vituperation…

      2. Britain consumes more cook books then any other country in the world and it sure as hell has not helped British food.

        I love this Mexican cooking, but they never tell you how long you’re supposed to boil the tacos for! Fuckit! Boiled meat and tubers it is!

      3. “Britain consumes more cook books then any other country in the world”

        This might explain why their cooking is so bad.

        They ate all the books.

  18. Looks like Russia is doing what it can to radicalize Crimean Tatars. Chechnya 2: With Western Support. Great job Russkies! You manage to fuck everything up!

    1. Chechnya 2: With Western Support.

      Cuz western support turned Syria and Afghanistan into utopias.

      1. Syria has barely received western support, Afghanistan’s troubles have nothing to do with western support.

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