Ukraine

Obama, Putin Talk Ukraine; Russia to Revoke Own Authority to Intervene

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President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone yesterday regarding the war going on between Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists in the country's eastern regions. Today, Putin made the surprising announcement that he will strip himself of the authority to intervene in the conflict. It's a move that will likely be met with cautious optimism.

The White House issued a statement on yesterday's talk:

President Obama welcomed [Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko's peace plan and urged that Russia and separatist leaders work closely with the Ukrainian government to take concrete steps to implement it.  The President called upon President Putin to press the separatists to recognize and abide by the ceasefire and to halt the flow of weapons and materiel across its border into Ukraine. The President emphasized that words must be accompanied by actions and that the United States remains prepared to impose additional sanctions should circumstances warrant, in coordination with our allies and partners.

Indeed, just this past Friday the U.S. again expanded its list of individuals under economic sanctions for destabilizing Ukraine. Whether sanctions are having a meaningful impact is up for debate, though Russia's economy hasn't been so hot since the invasion and annexation of Crimea in March.

For his part, "Putin stressed that priority must be given to halting military operations and to the start of direct negotiations between the opposing sides," the Kremlin stated.

Today the Russian president made a request to the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, that they revoke his right to stage a military intervention in Ukraine. Tomorrow they will undoubtedly approve his request, just as they approved his request for that questionable authority several months ago.

Although Ukraine's president welcomes Putin's move as a "first practical step," skepticism remains with good reason. After all, Russia last week began to regroup thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border, less than a month after promising to remove troops. And, the separatists, some of whom claim to be Chechen mercenaries on official orders, have an uncanny ability to get their hands on tanks, rocket launchers, and other military equipment, and earlier today they broke a ceasefire they agreed to several days ago.

Putin's former chief economic adviser and current Cato Institute fellow Andrei Illarionov argued yesterday that Putin is, in fact, sending militants into even more regions of the nation as part of "a new stage to undermine the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

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  1. President Putin vs. President Put-upon.

    1. President Putin pretends he’s now President Pull-Out.

      1. I learned that pulling out isn’t very reliable.

        1. Though, surprisingly, it has the same effectiveness rate as “actual use” of condoms, as opposed to theoretical use, if you look at a box of condoms. Which, I think, means that lots of people that claim that condoms are their method of birth control just go ahead and have sex without when they run out.

  2. Putin made the surprising announcement that he will strip himself of the authority to intervene in the conflict.

    Did he challenge Obama to do the same?

  3. It’s a move that will likely be met with cautious optimism.

    I think you misspelled “incredulity”. Or possibly “uncontrollable laughter”.

    1. Still puts him ahead of us in the lip-service department.

      1. I think Obama has been giving Putin plenty of “lip service”.

        And I think you know what I mean. Since he now has all that “flexibility” that he promised Putin before he was re-elected.

  4. “the separatists, some of whom claim to be Chechen mercenaries on official orders”

    Ain’t nobody here but us Chechens…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TseuPf76gvc

    1. So the Ukrainian separatists aren’t even Ukrainian?

      I’m absolutely slobberknocked. I mean, the Narrative has been that this was just a bunch of Ukrainians who wanted to secede and be independent. No Russians, no other foreigners around, nope, nuh-uh.

  5. Tomorrow they will undoubtedly approve his request, just as they approved his request for that questionable authority several months ago.

    When you own your own legislature, you can make whatever promices into law that you want without ever having to keep them, as they’ll just change the law back later, when you’ve changed your mind.

    1. They’ll just decide that they didn’t have the authority to revoke his authority. Kinda like Obama saying he was in favor of rescheduling marijuana before determining he doesn’t have the authority to reschedule marijuana.

      1. If the negotiations between the Ukrainians and the totally-autonomous separatists don’t lead to the desired results, then Putin will have the revocation revoked.

        More specifically, if he wants to discard his already-risible pretense of nonintervention, he’ll get a new resolution telling him to go in and “protect the Russian minority.”

  6. Putin really does enjoy trolling, huh? I wonder if he decided to do this after seeing a few amendments to repeal the AUMF fail in the House.

  7. A wide-eyed naif like Obama must just be an irresistible temptation for a sadist like Putin. Like a case of whiskey showing up on the doorstep of an alcoholic.

  8. Please fix the picture.

  9. In Soviet Russia, authority revokes YOU!

    (Sorry.)

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