Russia holds war games near Ukraine; Merkel warns of catastrophe
Russia holds war games near Ukraine; Merkel warns of
By Stephen Brown and Timothy Heritage
BERLIN/MOSCOW Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:01pm EDT
1 involving 13. Ukrainian border guards stand with a checkpoint in the border using Moldova
breakaway Transnistria region, close to Odessa March 13, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin
BERLIN/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia launched new military workouts close to its border along with
Ukraine upon Thursday, showing no manifestation of backing recorded on promises to annex its
neighbor's Crimea region despite a stronger when compared with expected drive regarding
sanctions in the EU and also United States.
In an unusually robust along with mental speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned
associated with "catastrophe" unless Russia changes course, whilst throughout Ukraine a man died
in fighting between rival protesters in the mainly Russian-speaking city.
In Berlin, Merkel removed virtually any suspicion that she may well make an effort to avoid a new
confrontation together with Russian President Vladimir Putin,
"We wouldn't normally merely see it, in addition as neighbors of Russia, as becoming a threat. And
Also it could not just affect the European Union's relationship using Russia," she told parliament.
"No, this would furthermore cause enormous injury to Russia, economically and also politically."
U.S. Secretary involving State John Kerry said significant steps will be imposed about Monday by the
Usa and Europe if your referendum on Crimea joining Russia takes location about Sunday as
Merkel, a new fluent Russian speaker whom grew up throughout Communist East Germany, offers
emerged in latest times as a leading figure inside threatening tough measures against Moscow.
Her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said European states would draw up a list over the
weekend of Russians who will face visa restrictions and also asset freezes.
Putin declared Russia's correct to invade its neighbor about March 1, as Russian troops were
already seizing power over Crimea, any Black Sea peninsula having a narrow ethnic Russian vast
majority along along with a Russian naval linked webpage base.
Events possess moved rapidly, maybe signaling an Click Link effort through Moscow to show the
particular annexation right into a fait accompli prior in order to the West could coordinate any
In your Ukrainian capital involving scotland- Donetsk, a new child was stabbed to become able to
death and also greater than the dozen individuals were inside hospital after pro-Russian and pro-
European demonstrators clashed. the violence had been the particular worst since final month's
overthrow associated with Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich.
But in an apparently conciliatory move, Russia backed deployment involving an OSCE monitoring
mission in Ukraine, including Crimea, the actual Swiss chairman in the European legal rights
The leader involving pro-Moscow separatist politicians, whom took power throughout Crimea right
after armed men seized your regional parliament in February 27, predicted a strong vote in support
of union with Russia inside Sunday's referendum.
"We possess a survey by renowned Ukrainian and Crimean polling experts showing clearly as well as
plainly in which a lot more than eighty percent of people within Crimea are generally ready to turn
out to be listed on the actual Russian Federation," Crimean prime minister Sergei Aksyonov told
Aksyonov, whose election inside a closed session of the regional parliament is not acknowledged by
Kiev, dismissed opponents' accusations he will fix the particular referendum about Moscow's orders.
"We guarantee that aspects of European law will be followed, such as security for voters," he
explained throughout an interview.
Western countries dismiss the particular vote as illegal. "The referendum about Sunday will haven't
any legitimacy, zero legal effect, it may haven't any moral effect. The idea is a piece of political
theatre which is becoming perpetrated at the barrel of a gun," Daniel Baer, the particular U.S.
ambassador for the OSCE, advised reporters within Vienna.
Russia has taken territory via its former Soviet neighbors inside the past without any serious
consequences - within 2008 it invaded Georgia and also seized 2 breakaway regions. Nevertheless if
Putin had been hoping for any similarly tepid reaction this time, he could possess misjudged.
In particular, he seems to get alienated Merkel, the actual Western leader with whom Putin - any
German speaker who was as quickly as a new KGB spy inside East Germany - has had the actual
Merkel ended up being initially a lot more cautious as compared to various other Western leaders
about the Crimean crisis, but in current times she's got pushed the European Union to complement
U.S. sanctions. EU motion is important simply because Europe really does ten times as much trade
along with Russia because the United States, purchasing the majority of its gas and also oil exports.
The prospect which EU measures might be implemented as quickly as Monday features weighed
down the Russian economy.
STASHING MONEY ABROAD
Goldman Sachs revised its prediction regarding Russian economic growth this season as a result of
one percent through 3 percent, blaming your tension more than Ukraine pertaining to capital flight
that might cripple investment. It stated $45 billion had already left Russia this year, mostly Russians
stashing cash abroad.
The Russian stock trading game hit the four-and-a-half-year have less Thursday and can be also
down 20 percent since mid-February. The Actual expense involving insuring Moscow's credit card
debt against default rose to its highest degree within nearly two years.
The crisis has recently forced a number of Russian firms to place plans on hold with regard to public
offerings in order to raise cash abroad.
Yet none of the appears to get slowed down Putin, that informed officials with the Winter Paralympic
Video Games he could be hosting inside Sochi that Russia has been "not the initiator" of the crisis.
The Russian Defence Ministry stated 8,500 troops were engaging inside new military workouts close
for you to the Ukrainian border, testing artillery along with rocket launchers.
It was the 2nd huge exercise Moscow offers ordered since the crisis began; your first, involving
150,000 troops, began a couple of days just before Russian forces seized Crimea.
In any gesture regarding support with regard to NATO's eastern members, U.S. F-16 fighter jets
landed from Poland's Lask air base in Thursday.
Among efforts from the West for you to isolate Russia politically, the actual Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, a new 34-member rich nations' club, announced it was
suspending membership talks with Russia, below approach since 2007.
RESPOND IN KIND
Moscow offers pledged in order to react in kind to just about any Western sanctions. The Particular
prime minister of Lithuania - any former Soviet republic that's now an EU member state, stated
Russia had suspended food product imports through its port associated with Klaipeda.
But European leaders appear to become calculating that the damage to Russia will be far a whole lot
worse rather than Europe. EU-Russian trade tends for you to make up 15 % regarding Russia's
economy and simply 1 % associated with Europe's. Although EU countries rely on Russian gasoline
about his imports, storage tanks are full after getting a mild winter season.
Diplomatic lines have been open up between Russia and the West all through your crisis: U.S.
Secretary of State Kerry and also Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke on Thursday while
they possess almost each and every day. they are generally due to fulfill in London on Friday.
Russia's top general discussed Ukraine using the chairman associated with NATO's Military
Committee by telephone in Thursday, your Interfax news agency said.
The crisis over Crimea began after Yanukovich fled Kiev along with pro-European politicians took
charge, subsequent 90 days of demonstrations.
In Strasbourg, the actual European Court regarding Human rights warned Russia and Ukraine that
will any military motion which harmed civilians would violate an international convention signed by
simply both countries.
(Additional reporting by Lina Kushch in Donetsk, Aleksandar Vasovic in Simferopolm, Fredrik Dahl
in Vienna, Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, Gilbert Reilac and Alexandria Sage within Paris; Creating simply
by Peter Graff; Editing through Giles Elgood along with David Stamp)