Ukraine Crisis Bringing World Tensions to a Head

Diplomats leaked conversation over Ukraine togeather

The Ukraine remains in turmoil as outside forces quarrel over the country’s fate. A Cold-War-esque bout of back and forth began Tuesday when a leaked phone call between Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, surfaced. The conversation seemed to be regarding tensions over who would become the new head of Ukraine in its post-crisis state, or more specifically, who would decide to whom power was given.

During the conversation, Nuland condemned EU involvement in the process and stated hopes that the decision would be initiated by the UN. The two spoke freely; Nuland went as far as to say “… f*** the EU.” In response to Nuland’s criticisms, Pyatt suggested that if they did managed to keep the fate of Ukraine in UN hands, Russia would make attempts in secret to sabotage the deal.

US officials have blamed Moscow for the leaked phone call which, apparently, was bugged. No US politicians have attempted to deny the recording’s authenticity, and Nuland has apologized to her EU colleagues for the slur.

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has labeled the leaked conversation totally unacceptable. Merkel, who was already tense with Washington over accusations of monitoring her communication, has gone on to praise Catherine Ashton, head of EU foreign policy, for her handling of the Ukraine crisis. Ashton was also the victim of leaked recordings. An aide to the diplomat was caught complaining about the manner in which the United States has handled its relations to the Ukrainian government’s opposition. US diplomats told the opposition members that Brussels, another supporter of demonstrators, has been too soft on the Ukrainian government.

Russia has accused the US of shamelessly meddling in Ukrainian affairs in hopes of ousting or heavily modifying the pro-Russian government led by President Viktor F. Yanukovych. Russian-Ukrainian relations were fully set in stone back in November when Moscow approved a $15 billion loan to the Ukraine. The meddling seems to refer to a tense situation in which Yanukovych has offered to bring two opposition leaders into the government as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime minister; Nuland stated in the leaked conversation that one of these two was not an appropriate candidate.  This opposition leader, Vitali Klitschkois, is a former heavyweight boxer.

Sergei Glazyev, a Kremlin advisor, posed accusations that the United States had funded and armed Ukrainian opposition. Glazyev also notes that this would be an obvious breaking of a 1994 treaty that specifically prohibits this type of intervention in the area. His remarks do hold some sway with President Vladimir Putin as he is the Russian advisor to Ukraine and seemed to threaten Russian military intervention if this type of mischief continues.

World tensions over the crisis only grew when a protest figurehead emerged this week to accuse the Ukrainian government of his kidnapping and torture with Russian help. The protest leader, Dmytro Bulatov, stated that the events were so frightening and painful that he requested they kill him. Bulatov described his torturers as professionals and Russian. Tensions will surely continue to rise as more comes to light about the Ukrainian situation.

By Spencer Lowe

Nytimes.com

Reuters.com

BBC.co.uk

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