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article imageOp-Ed: West hits Russia with major new sanctions

By Robert Weller     Sep 3, 2014 in Politics
Kiev - France announced it was suspending the sale of two warships worth $1.6 billion to Russia and Australia said it would stop the sale of uranium to Moscow.
“The recent actions by Russia in eastern Ukraine are contrary to the basic notions of security in Europe,” a French statement said.
Russia could even be stripped of the right to host the 2018 football World Cup, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The announcement of a ceasefire between Ukrainian and Russian-backed rebels broke down within a couple of hours of its announcement. Official Russian media, which reflects the government’s views, made it appear that President Vladimir Putin did not want anything in writing that made his regime responsible for the actions of the rebels.
The lead story on Russian TV said: Kiev retracts 'permanent' ceasefire statement…”
Many mainstream media publications reported that a ceasefire agreement was reached.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov “underlined that this wording is not applicable because Russia isn’t a party to the violence,” Russian TV said.
The New York Times changed its lead story to make clear no ceasefire was in place.
Putin has been involved in a series of telephone calls with leaders of Ukraine, Germany, the EU and the United States which have been followed by Moscow choosing to ignore agreements.
It appear Russia was playing a new version of “Chicken Kiev.” NATO officials, including President Barack Obama, meet later this week and will consider a Ukrainian request for fast-track approval of its membership in the defense organization.
Ukrainian officials were cheered by Obama stopping in nearby Estonia, a former Soviet Republic, and saying NATO would not leave them to deal with the brazen assaults of Putin alone
“It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent European nation,” Obama said in a speech at a concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia, the Times reported.
“It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system — that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future. ... Now, Ukraine needs more than words. NATO needs to make concrete commitments to help Ukraine modernize and strengthen its security forces.
The Russian media now is reporting Putin has a peace plan. It would require the Ukrainian military to leave areas where Russian rebels are active.
Comments from Putin about his ability to capture Kiev within two weeks stepped up pressure on NATO and the European Union to pressure Russia to back off in efforts to make all or a portion of Ukraine “New Russia.”
Russia Refuses Ceasefire Against Ukraine | FindTheBest
The Ukrainian government, wounded by the advance of Russian soldiers and tanks, appeared to have decided it had nothing to lose by joining NATO. Kiev also was publicly calling for the delivery of guns and planes, and there was talk of NATO soldiers coming to Ukraine to train its soldiers.
Kiev was picturing itself as a modern day “300 Spartans,” fighting a Xerxes in the form of a power-hungry Putin in a new Battle of Thermopylae.
Although the Spartans were annihilated, they held the Persians up long enough for the Greek navy to get into position to inflict a decisive defeat on Xerxes and force him to flee.
Putin is counting on the EU and NATO declining to intervene. Given Ukraine’s history of being blooded by the Nazis, Stalin and now Putin, Russia could find itself in the same kind of situation Israel faced and faces in Gaza. Never-ending conflict.
The Guardian reported: " NATO generals and officials have good reason to be grateful to Vladimir Putin. Struggling to find a role for the 28-member alliance since the end of the cold war, Russia's actions in Ukraine have provided the moribund and unwieldy organisation with an opportunity to reinvent itself.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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