On final Ukraine trip, Biden urges Trump administration to keep Russia sanctions, as McCain and Rubio want more sanctions

From The Guardian

January 16, 2017

Comments while meeting with Ukraine’s president came after Trump indicated he could end Crimea-related sanctions in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal

Vice-president Joe Biden, on a last foreign trip before leaving office, met Ukraine’s president on Monday and called on the incoming Donald Trump administration to retain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia.

Biden’s comments at a briefing with President Petro Poroshenko came after Trump indicated in an interview with The Times and Bild that he could end sanctions imposed in the aftermath Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.

Trump’s attitude to Russia and praise for President Vladimir Putin has been a consistently controversial feature of his rise to the White House, which will be completed with his inauguration in Washington on Friday.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to covertly influence the US election in Trump’s favour and against the Democratic nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has recently admitted that he believes Russia did orchestrate such hacks, but has nonetheless fuelled a bitter feud with intelligence officials over the issue.

“The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression,” Biden told reporters, standing alongside Poroshenko, in remarks which did not include reference to Trump by name.

“The Crimea-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until Russia returns full control to the people of Ukraine.”

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Other US sanctions are connected to Russia’s involvement in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

 

“Together with our EU and G7 partners,” Biden said, “we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, implements its commitments under the Minsk agreement.”

Poroshenko said Ukraine believed in good cooperation with the new US administration and urged sanctions to stay, without mentioning Trump’s remarks on a deal with Russia.

Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev on 16 January.
Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev on 16 January. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Andy Hunder, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, said Kiev would have to put much time and resources into dealing with the new US administration.

“On 20 January Ukraine will be waking up to a new reality,” he told Reuters. “There is a concern in Kiev about how the new relationship will develop. It will require building new bridges to the influencers, the gatekeepers and decision-makers.”

Kiev has taken steps to win the good favour of the those calling the shots in the Trump administration. Days after the election in November, Poroshenko’s office started planning an official visit to Washington in early 2017.

A bipartisan group of US senators, including the Republicans John McCain and Marco Rubio, said last week they wanted to slap a wide range of sanctions on Russia over its cyber activities and actions in Ukraine and Syria. A sanctions bill with similar provisions is being written in the House of Representatives.

“Our job is to make sure this attention on Ukraine does not wane,” Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly said on Wednesday.

As Biden left the room on Monday, a journalist asked if he thought the Trump administration would give Ukraine the same priority as he had. Biden gave a thumbs up.

“Hope springs eternal,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/16/joe-biden-ukraine-visit-russia-sanctions

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

 

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“Stand up to Russia” — VP Joe Biden makes final trip to Ukraine; what will be the fallout?

From Washington Examiner

Joe Biden to jet over to Switzerland and Ukraine his last week in office

By Alex Pappas
January 12, 2017

Vice President Joe Biden is spending his last few days in office by taking Air Force Two over to Switzerland and Ukraine, the White House said Thursday.

Biden will be out of the country in Kyiv, Ukraine and Davos, Switzerland from Sunday to Wednesday. President-elect Trump will be sworn in on Friday.

According to the White House, “In Ukraine, the vice president will participate in bilateral meetings with President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Groysman. The vice president’s trip to Ukraine will underscore U.S. support — and highlight his personal involvement in providing support — for Ukrainian independence, democratic development, prosperity and security. The trip will also celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations, and look forward to a steadfast partnership over the next 25 years.”

“While in Switzerland, the vice president will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos,” the White House said. “The vice president will deliver remarks on the cancer moonshot and deliver an address on foreign policy. The Vice President will also participate in several bilateral meetings.”

From VOA News

January 12, 2017

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will fly to Kyiv on Sunday on a farewell visit by one of Ukraine’s strongest political supporters, as the country looks forward with apprehension to the new administration of Donald Trump.

Biden, whose visit was announced by the office of President Petro Poroshenko, has been the front man for U.S. policy towards Ukraine since street protests in 2013-2014 forced a Russian-backed leader to flee and the pro-Western opposition took over, promising sweeping reforms whose delivery has been patchy.

The United States has invested heavily in the reform process, providing over $3 billion in economic assistance. It has imposed sanctions against Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and backing separatists in a conflict in the east of the country.

Biden has been closely involved, visiting Ukraine four times since the change in power and maintaining regular telephone contact with Poroshenko and the prime minister.

Officials in Ukraine have expressed concern that U.S. support could wane following the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, who has voiced admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a desire to improve ties with Moscow.

Biden, who last year promised the “unwavering support” of the United States for Ukraine, has nevertheless chastised officials for lacklustre reform efforts, warning that endemic corruption risks undermining international will to maintain sanctions on Russia.

During Biden’s last visit to Kyiv in December 2015, he made an impassioned speech to the Ukrainian parliament, saying lawmakers needed to do more in “a historic battle against corruption.”

From IBTimes

By Brendan Cole
January 16, 2017

The US vice-president was on his sixth visit to Ukraine since the Euromaidan protests.

In his final official visit to a foreign government, US Vice-President Joe Biden has told reporters in Kiev that the “international community” must resist Russian aggression and issued a plea to the incoming US administration to help Ukraine tackle the threat it faces from its neighbour.

Standing next to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, Biden said: “You’re fighting both the cancer of corruption… and the unrelenting aggression of the Kremlin.”

Since the Euromaidan protests in 2013 and 2014 that led to the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych from the presidency, Biden has visited Kiev six times, and he said that sanctions against Russia for seizing Crimea must stay in place until Moscow follows the terms of the Minsk accords peace deal.

President-elect Donald Trump suggested that the US should end its sanctions against Russia if Moscow were to agree to a deal to cut nuclear weapons and that he wanted the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia to be “reduced very substantially”.

Biden said, according to Reuters: “The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression. It is Ukraine’s best hope to move forward as a united country.”

The conflict in the eastern Donbas region has claimed 10,000 lives and there are daily reports of shelling and mortar fire on both sides.

Meanwhile, a debate has been raging in the country after Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk called on Kiev to accept the annexation of Crimea as part of a series of “painful compromises” for peace with Russia. He also said Kiev should also abandon, in the medium-term, any chance of joining the European Union or Nato if it wants to see peace in Donbas.

“We should also make clear that we are ready to accept an incremental rollback of sanctions on Russia as we move toward a solution for a free, united, peaceful and secure Ukraine,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“The Ukrainian lives that will be saved are worth the painful compromises I have proposed,” he added.

However Euromaidan Press described that there was a “concerted media campaign” to make Ukrainians accept their country without Crimea and the Donbas “which might bring painful consequences to Ukraine and the West alike”.

It said that appeasing Russia would further embolden Moscow, spark protests in Ukraine and “provoke a spillover effect of illegal annexations and interventions in many other parts of the world”.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/joe-biden-to-jet-over-to-switzerland-and-ukraine-his-last-week-in-office/article/2611707

http://www.voanews.com/a/biden-ukraine/3673341.html

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/stand-russia-joe-biden-tells-ukraine-last-international-visit-1601271

From behind Ukrainian front lines – Part 1: Poroshenko’s Blood Money

From Fort Russ
January 11, 2017 – Fort Russ Exclusive –
Translated by Jafe Arnold (J. Arnoldski)

***
The following exclusive material was sent to Fort Russ by a self-declared representative of the anti-fascist movement in Ukraine from Kharkov, whom for safety reasons we have agreed to call “Andrey Anon.” Andrey has been living and working behind Ukrainian lines since the war began and has come into close contact with numerous personalities ranging from Poroshenko’s former business associates to Ukrainian officers and conscripts. In this astonishing tell-all, Andrey shares his knowledge of the dirty underbelly of the Poroshenko regime, the seething sentiments of conscript soldiers and civilians in occupied Donbass, and his impressions of the future of the Kiev junta and the war. Fort Russ is gratified to have been confided in with this material which the author wishes to have spread as far and wide as possible to reveal the truth of the horrific corruption and war that have gripped his country since February 2014. Andrey and Fort Russ have left out and changed certain names to protect sources and the people involved. – J. Arnoldski 
 
***
I am a resident of Kharkov, the first capital of Soviet Ukraine. Although this city has lost the status of the political capital of Ukraine, it is still considered the scientific and industrial capital of the country. Kharkov was founded and settled in the 17th century and belonged to the Russian (Muscovite) Tsars. It was the administrative center of the vast region of Slobozhanshchina (“Sloboda Ukraine”) where the Cossacks from Ukraine fled after being defeated by Polish troops during the Khmelnitsky uprising (the rebellion of Ukrainian cossacks and peasants in the mid-17th century). The descendants of the Cossack families of Sloboda Ukraine served the Russian Tsars, while the Cossack leaders became part of the Russian nobility. This brief historical digression will allow the reader to understand that Kharkov, by virtue of its origin and identity, is a Russian city, not a Ukrainian one.

 

The overwhelming majority of Kharkovians, even those with Ukrainian surnames, feel themselves to be Russians. The mentality of the people of Kharkov is much closer to that of the neighboring Russian regional centers of Belgorod and Kursk than to that of the cities of Western or even Central Ukraine. Bandera and Skhukhevych, the leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army which is “famous” for its genocide against the Polish population of Volhynia, are national heroes for Galicia and Volhynia. But Kharkov’s heroes are the Russian Tsars, Empress Catherine the Great, and the legendary partisan of the Second World War who fought against the Hitlerite fascists and their Ukrainian henchmen, Sydir Kovpak. 
February 21st, 2014 was a black day for Kharkov and all of Ukraine. On this day, the coup d’etat took place which was backed from the beginning by the governments of Germany, France, Poland, as well as the Democratic administration of the US. The current Ukrainian authorities are none other than those conspirators and criminals who overthrew the country’s legal president, Viktor Yanukovych. It is a fact that “President” Poroshenko was one of the founders of the Party of Regions of which Yanukovych was the leader. Poroshenko was also a minister in Yanukovych’s government. Immediately after the coup d’etat, the Party of Regions was declared illegal and disbanded. When has Poroshenko ever been honest? When he created a party that was then declared criminal? When he served Yanukovych? Or when he financed the coup d’etat in Ukraine?
I’ve had the opportunity to talk with people who were once Petro Poroshenko’s business associates. According to them, he is a genuinely intelligent and experienced businessmen who indeed established a successful business. His business acumen and capabilities are undoubtable. But these same people also asserted that Poroshenko’s main, distinguishing feature is his unbridled love for money. Poroshenko can make money literally out of thin air. 
Now a number of Western publications are publishing revelatory exposés on corruption under Poroshenko. Poroshenko’s former business partner and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament), Alexander Onishchenko, has fled to England and given a number of interviews on the illegal financial and political schemes of President Poroshenko. One of Onishchenko’s revelations is that Poroshenko has extracted major financial benefits from secretly trading with the “separatists” of Donbass. In Ukraine, it is a kind of open secret that “gray” trading schemes exist between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. This trade is covered by the Ukrainian Army (UAF) or the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary battalions. However, they are just the cogs in someone else’s game. The main customer and patron of this shadow trade are the Ukrainian authorities and specifically President Poroshenko.
When Time magazine published Onishchenko’s revelations, including his story of the shadow trade with “separatists” from which Poroshenko extracts profits, I remembered what my friends, who were in contact with Poroshenko the businessmen long before he became president and a simple politician, said: for Poroshenko, the main and only goal is money. 

Continue reading

Kiev has amassed 238 tanks, 101 ceasefire violations over the past week — Basurin (Video)

From Fort Russ

7th December, 2015

With Joe Biden and Victoria Nuland visiting Ukraine this week, it would seem they have brought some gifts with them – death and destruction. Towns such as Gorlovka are a 24/7 hot spot of action, with Pisky, Spartak and the New airport Terminal also receiving a daily barrage. The concern is that the UAF has regrouped since the Minsk II ceasefire agreement and has many new recruits and new toys from Washington. The map below shows how the UAF are approaching the contact line:
Maps courtesy of DONi News Agency

Russia bombs terrorists, USA bombs hospitals

Global Research, October 05, 2015
Pravda.ru 4 October 3015

It goes against every fiber of human decency to use a tragedy involving the murder of civilians by a terrorist in an aircraft to score political points. This is about murder, not politics. One day after warning Russia for its airstrikes in Syria, what happens? The USA precision-bombs a MSF hospital in Kunduz. Whoosh-BANG! God Bless America!

The bombing went on for half an hour yesterday after the alert was given that there was a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in the area where the US air force was operating, in bombing raids to remove the Taliban from Kunduz. Nine of the medical staff were murdered outright and scores of patients were injured.

It is difficult to imagine how this atrocity happened, but then again after the callous disregard for civilian human life demonstrated by the United States of America since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after the strafing of civilians with napalm in Vietnam, after the fifty-plus overthrows of democratically elected governments around the globe, after the myriad of invasions of countries, after Afghanistan, after Iraq, after Libya, after Syria, maybe it is time for the USA to rethink policy. It could be argued that those pursuing the current approach which gets Americans hated around the world are not patriots, but traitors.

Let us take a look at the world around us and what do we see? In the year 2015 of the third millennium, we see poverty, ignorance, violence and the new phenomenon, international terrorism, which walks hand in hand with the West. It started in Afghanistan, where the Mujaheddin was used as a tool to attack the southern flank of the Soviet Union, it continued in Chechnya where external forces backed Wahhibist terrorist elements, it continued in Libya, where NATO, ably led by the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US), sided with terrorists on their own lists of proscribed groups.

Whoosh-BANG! God Bless America

As the United States of America and its Poodles in Europe go globe-trotting, self-proclaiming themselves the global policemen, imposing their wonderful version of democracy (Parliamentary oligarchies which pander to the whims of the Lobbies, their puppet-masters) from thirty thousand feet, imposing their “whoosh-BANG! God Bless America” diplomacy, is the world a better place?

No, it is not. The Middle East continues to be a mess because the USA and its Poodles refuse to engage all the players involved, namely HAMAS and Hezbollah. Obviously, a global solution has to take into account all the positions, including Iran, including Syria, including Egypt. And including HAMAS and Hezbollah. Only when the British government engaged the IRA was peace achieved in Ulster/UK. The same approach has brought stability to numerous regions of Africa.

Today, Humankind spends thousands of billions of dollars on weapons systems to kill one another, with the excuse that arms sales is good for economies, Humankind spends more on weapons than on books. Hatred is spread with the aim of creating two warring sides, proxy-puppets doing the dirty work while those watching rub their hands in glee, and could not care less if a child gets in the way of a bullet.

And no wonder the world is in the mess it is in, with “no go” labels stuck to a growing number of countries as Washington interferes, like in Ukraine where a Putsch ousted the democratically elected President because he saw more advantage in a deal with Russia and Whoosh-BANG! God Bless America, Hunter Biden is appointed special advisor to the Ukrainian energy lobby. Well, surprise, surprise. And Ukrainian Fascists perpetrated massacres while the West looked the other way. Look at Libya – close to being a failed State, where Western intervention brought chaos and misery to a once prosperous and peaceful society. Look at Iraq, where Western intervention caused the collapse of the Ba’athist State and Islamic State sprang up under their noses.

And the West dares to express concern that Russia has bombed the Free Syrian Army? What is the Free Syrian Army, if not a bunch of terrorists and murderers? If you take up arms against the authorities, and murder soldiers and policemen, you are a terrorist, it is as simple as that. What the West means is “Please don’t bomb our terrorists”.

Perhaps Messrs. Obama and his friends would like to take their families to Syria and stand back watching as they allow the Free Syrian Army to do to them what they have done to Syrian Government troops and security officers. And then compare the way they were treated by the authorities and by their darlings, the Free Syrian Army.

A tissue of lies from the West

Anyway, after the serial lies told by the West, if Russia states that it was bombing terrorists, I believe Moscow’s word. Moscow has not lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Moscow did not perform a mission creep and breach UN Resolutions in Libya and in Syria, Russia did not strafe fields of cereals in Iraq to starve people to death, Russia did not drop Depleted Uranium on huge swathes of territory (war crime), Russia is supporting a democratically elected Government (last year) against terrorists.

Perhaps the West might stand back and allow Moscow to be the global policeman. After all, Russia’s track record is far better, far less intrusive, far more inclusive. Failing that, suppose the West butted out for a change, stopped interfering and tried an approach which puts development before deployment? And let us remember, Islamic State has chemical warfare weapons and is pursuing biological weapons, right now, as I write and you read. Think about it.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist and editor in online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru. (timothy.hinchey@gmail.com)

 

Vice President Biden at Brookings Institution speaks about Russia-Ukraine Conflict

C-SPAN, May 27, 2015
http://www.c-span.org/video/?326251-1/vice-president-biden-remarks-russiaukraine-conflict#Video of speech and transcript

Vice President Joe Biden
Strobe Talbott, President of Brookings Institution

Uncorrected transcript:
I have highlighted a few sections, but there is a great deal here.

HOST
00:00:13
Unidentified Speaker

MR. VICE PRESIDENT, ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US HERE, PARTICULARLY THE INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, WE WELCOME YOU HERE TO BROOKINGS

00:00:27
Unidentified Speaker

TODAY. WE KNOW YOU WILL BE ADDRESSING US ON ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL ISSUES OF OUR TIME , THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT. THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN A FRIEND OF THIS INSTITUTION FOR MANY YEARS. WELCOME BACK, MR. VICE PRESIDENT. VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: THANK YOU. FOLKS, LET ME BEGIN BY — AS I WALKED THROUGH THE ROOM HERE, REMINDING ME OF A STORY THEY TELL ABOUT CALVIN COOLIDGE. HE WAS AT A WHISTLE STOP TOUR, COMING BACK HOME, AND EVERY TIME THEY WOULD GET IN, HE WOULD STEP IN THE CABOOSE, HOW ARE YOU, MAN? STEP BACK IN HIS CABOOSE AND MAKE A SPEECH. THIS ONE-STOP THEY MADE SOMEWHERE IN OHIO, HE WALKED OUT, STOOD IN THE BACK OF THE CABOOSE, THE FLAG DRAPED SPARES, AND HE WALKED BACK IN AND THEY SAID, WHAT IS THE MATTER? AND HE SAID, WELL, THE AUDIENCE IS TOO BIG FOR CONVERSATION AND TOO SMALL FOR ORATION. I THINK WE ARE IN THAT PLACE. I WILL TRY TO DO NEITHER. [LAUGHTER] I WILL TRY TO FIND SOMETHING IN BETWEEN HERE. LET ME BEGIN BY THANKING YOU, NOT ONLY FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP BUT YOUR ADVICE OVER ALL THESE YEARS, PARTICULARLY ON THE SUBJECT. I HAVE TRIED TO KEEP CLOSE CONTACT WITH STROBE BECAUSE I FIND HIM TO BE ONE OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ON ISSUES THAT I HAVE A GREAT INTEREST IN AND, UNFORTUNATELY, ARE VERY MUCH CENTER STAGE THESE DAYS. I WANT TO THANK YOU ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU AND STEVE CAME OVER TO MY HOME TO DO A DEEP DIVE WITH ME TO BE MY REALITY CHECK ON THE ISSUE I AM GOING TO SPEAK ABOUT TODAY IN UKRAINE. AND MARTIN, IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU, MAN. I AM NOT SURE YOU SHOULD HAVE ACCEPTED THE VICE PRESIDENCY, BUT — [LAUGHTER] — BUT YOU HAVE BEEN A GREAT, GREAT ASSET. I HOPE YOU HAVE AS MUCH ASSET — ACCESS AS I DO. >> [LAUGHTER] VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: [LAUGHTER] SOMETIMES I WISH YOU DIDN’T HAVE

00:02:32
Unidentified Speaker

ALL THE ACCESS. YOU KNOW, IT HAS BEEN 14 MONTHS SINCE RUSSIAN AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE. AND IT HAS LITERALLY TRANSFORMED THE LANDSCAPE OF EUROPEAN SECURITY. EVERYBODY WANTS THIS CONFLICT TO END AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE QUESTION IS, ON WHOSE TERMS AND HOW WILL IT END? BECAUSE IT IS NOT A REMOTE CONFLICT BETWEEN NEIGHBORS ARE GOING OVER WHO GETS WHAT. WHAT IS HAPPENING IN UKRAINE IS MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE THAN THAT. IT IS ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF NATION TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN FUTURES. IT IS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF NATO, OUR COLLECTIVE SELF-DEFENSE, AND OUR UNITY, OUR STRENGTH, OUR ABILITY TO DETER AGGRESSION TOGETHER. I THINK IT IS THAT BASIC. IT IS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA ITSELF, I WOULD ARGUE, BECAUSE IF THE KREMLIN IS ABLE TO ESTABLISH ITS OWN FIEFDOM IN EASTERN UKRAINE, IT WILL ONLY FLAM — FAN THE FLAMES. BELIEVE ME, HELPING UKRAINE IN ITS DEFENSE AND DETERRENCE AGAINST RUSSIAN AGGRESSION IS CRITICAL, CRITICAL TO CHECKING FURTHER AGGRESSION DOWN THE ROAD. I KEEP SAYING, AND THE PRESIDENT REMINDS ME, IT IS EITHER PAY ME NOW OR PAY ME LATER, BUT THERE IS A PRICE TAKE YOUR. WHAT HAPPEN IN UKRAINE AND HOW THE WORLD RESPONDED HAS, I THINK, CONSEQUENTIAL IN LOCATIONS — IMPLICATIONS FOR THEIR INTERNATIONAL ORDER. IN PARTICULAR, THE BEDROCK PRINCIPLES OF SECURITY, TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, AND THE AND VOLATILITY OF BORDERS. CHINA AND MANY OTHER NATIONS ARE WATCHING VERY CLOSELY HOW THE WORLD RESPONSE. THEY WILL LEARN FROM THIS CONFLICT, REGARDLESS OF HOW IT PLAYS OUT, IN MY VIEW. BEFORE I TURN TO TODAY’S CRISIS, I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO SPEAK ABOUT OUR BROADER POLICY, THE OBAMA-BIDEN ADMINISTRATION POLICY WITH REGARD TO RUSSIA. I DON’T THINK ANYONE CAN LEGITIMATELY ACCUSE OUR ADMINISTRATION OF FAILING TO EXPLORE IN GOOD FAITH, IN GOOD FAITH THE PROGRESS — PROSPECT OF ESTABLISHING A CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA. SIX YEARS AGO IN THE FIRST SPEECH OF OUR ADMINISTRATION, I BELIEVE YOU THERE MR. SECRETARY, AT THE MUNICH SECURITY CONTEST — CONFERENCE, I ANNOUNCE YOU DID ARE PERNICIOUS — ANNOUNCED OUR POSITION. TO REVIEW MANY AREAS WHERE WE CAN AND SHOULD BE WORKING TOGETHER WITH RUSSIA, AND WHERE RUSSIA INDICATED THAT THEY WANTED TO WORK WITH US AS WELL. BUT EVEN THEN, I MADE CLEAR, I MADE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR, THAT, QUOTE, “WE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE ANY NATION HAVING INFLUENCE COULD WILL REMAIN ARGUE THAT SOVEREIGN STATES HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS AND CHOOSE THEIR OWN ALLIANCES.” I MEANT IT THEN, AND WE MEAN IT NOW. IN 2009, WHEN WE CAME TO OFFICE, PRESIDENT MANDELA — WAS IN POWER. AND HE TALKED ABOUT THE NEED TO COMBAT RUSSIA’S — WHAT HE CALLED NIHILISM TO STRENGTHEN THE RULE OF LAW. WITHOUT BEING NAIVE, WE DECIDED TO TEST THE PROCESS THAT RUSSIA WOULD STRENGTHEN THE RULE OF LAW AND GRADUALLY EMBRACE THE PATH OF MODERN — ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION AND PATTERNS WHICH COULD HELP INTEGRATE RUSSIA INTO THE WORLD OF RESPONSIBLE NATIONS. AND IT WAS — IT WAS IN THAT SAME SPIRIT OVER SEVERAL ADMINISTRATIONS, THE UNITED STATES SUPPORTED RUSSIA’S MEMBERSHIP IN COUNTLESS INTERNODE — INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. WE ALSO WELCOME HIS POLITICAL REFORMS, LIKE THE DIRECT ELECTION OF GOVERNORS IN RUSSIA AND DECRIMINALIZATION OF — FROM 2009 2 2012, WE ACHIEVED A GREAT DEAL TOGETHER. A GREAT DEAL OF COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA TO ADVANCE OUR MUTUAL INTERESTS, RUSSIAN AND OURS. A NEW TREATY THAT REDUCED STRATEGIC NUCLEAR ARSENALS BY ONE THIRD. A VITAL SUPPLY ROUTE FOR COALITION TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN. AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL, RESOLUTIONS THAT PRESSURED BOTH NORTH KOREA AS WELL AS IRAN, AND BROUGHT THE WORLD WITHIN REACH OF AN HISTORIC DEAL WITH TORONTO — TEHRAN. YET TO BE DETERMINED, BUT WE ARE OPTIMISTIC. BUT WHEN PRIME MINISTER PUTIN RETURN TO THE KREMLIN IN 2012 AS PRESIDENT PUTIN, HE SAID RUSSIA ON A VERY DIFFERENT COURSE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. RE-CRIMINALIZING LIABLE, CALLING OFF DIRECT ELECTIONS FOR GOVERNORS, AND MAKING IT HARDER FOR POLITICAL PARTIES TO REGISTER. AGGRESSIVE REPRESSION AT HOME, INCLUDING SILENCING OF THE MOTHERS OF SOLDIERS DEPLOYED IN UKRAINE. CONTEMPT, CONTEMPT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF RUSSIA’S NEIGHBOR, BUT ALSO IN GEORGIA AND MOLDOVA. DISREGARD FOR RUSSIA’S OWN COMMITMENT MADE IN HELSINKI, PARIS, AND BUDAPEST. AND SO, THE WORLD LOOKS DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IT DID BEFORE HE BECAME — WE ASSUMED THE PRESIDENCY. AND PRESIDENT PUTIN MUST UNDERSTAND, AS HE HAS CHANGED, SO HAS OUR FOCUS. THAT IS WHY AT THIS YEARS SECURITY CONFERENCE IN MUNICH, I SPOKE TO REASSERT THE FUNDAMENTAL, BEDROCK PRINCIPLES OF A EUROPE WHOLE AND FREE. OF INFLUENCE. AND SOVEREIGN RIGHT TO CHOOSE OUR OWN ALLIES. IN PARTICULARLY, WITH VOLATILE BORDERS. AT THE CENTER OF RUSSIA’S FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE OVER WHAT TYPE OF PATH IT WILL PURSUE, IS THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE, IN MY VIEW. I HAVE NOT VISITED UKRAINE THREE TIMES SINCE THE CURRENT CONFLICT BEGAN. AND IT IS HARD TO FATHOM, UNLESS YOU GO THERE, AND MANY OF YOU HAVE, HOW MUCH THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED FOR THEMSELVES UNDER ENORMOUS PRESSURE. CORRELATING PEOPLE POWER TO RALLY AGAINST CORRUPTION, DEFENDING THEIR COUNTRY AGAINST BRUTAL RUSSIAN AGGRESSION WITH THE ODDS AGAINST THEM, STAYING UNIFIED, PUTTING PATRIOTISM BEFORE PERSONAL AMBITION, AND HOLDING IN THE FAIREST AND FREEST AND MOST WIDELY MONITORED ELECTIONS IN UKRAINIAN HISTORY. OF COURSE, PAINSTAKING WORK LIES AHEAD. TRANSITIONS ARE HARD, AS YOU ALL KNOW, THIS INTERNATIONAL GROUP, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS EVEN HARDER WHEN A POWERFUL NEIGHBOR IS ACTIVELY UNDERMINING EVERYTHING YOU DO. PRESIDENT POROSHENKO’S RIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT THE NECESSITY AND URGENCY TO UKRAINE TO ACT ON THE FOUR D’S — THE REGULARIZATION, D BUREAUCRATIC AS ASIAN — IT IS HARD TO EVEN SAY THE PHRASE — THE OLIGARCH AS ASIAN — DE OLIGARCHIZATION, AND DECENTRALIZATION. 268, UKRAINE NEEDS USE THE NEW LOSS IN THE BOOKS TO COMBAT CORRUPTION ON ALL LEVELS. I SPEAK WITH THEM ON AVERAGE ONCE A WEEK. IF YOU’RE EVER DID OUT OVER THE LAST YEAR. — IF YOU AVERAGE IT OUT OVER THE LAST YEAR. TO PASS LAWS, NOT HAVE TO IN FACT IMPLEMENT THE LAWS THAT THE PAST. UKRAINE NEEDS TO USE ALL THE TOOLS AT ITS DISPOSAL TO LIMIT THE ABILITY OF OLIGARCHS TO ABUSE THEIR MARKET POSITION OR EXERT PRESSURE ON GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. BY THE WAY, THERE IS A LONG HISTORY OF THAT. WE ALL KNOW SINCE THE REVOLUTION, IT HAS NEVER BEEN ON THE LEVEL IN TERMS OF THE INFLUENCE OF OLIGARCHS AND CORRUPTION. BUT THEY ARE TRYING. THEY NEED TO KEEP WORKING TOWARDS DECENTRALIZATION TO ENSURE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS REALLY REPRESENTATIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE. AND ABOVE ALL, IT NEEDS TO KEEP LISTENING TO ITS PEOPLE AND TO UKRAINE CIVIL SOCIETY. EVERY TIME I HAVE MET, I HAVE SPENT’S — SPENT SIGNIFICANT TIME WITH CIVIL SOCIETY. SO LONG AS UKRAINE LEADERS KEEP FAITH, THE UNITED STATES WILL CONTINUE TO STAND WITH THEM. IN TOTAL, WE HAVE PROVIDED OVER $470 MILLION IN ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE. IN ADDITION, A $1 BILLION LOAN GUARANTEE LAST YEAR. ANOTHER $1 BILLION LOAN GUARANTEE SIGNED THIS MONTH. ANY POTENTIAL FURTHER $1 BILLION THIS YEAR IF UKRAINE CONTINUES ON THE PATH OF REFORM. THAT $470 MILLION INCLUDES NEARLY $200 MILLION TO THE ARMED FORCES, NATIONAL GUARD, AND BORDER SERVICES. MUCH OF THE DEBATE HAS BEEN FOCUSED ON WHETHER WE SHOULD PROVIDE ADDITIONAL DEFENSE OF LETHAL WEAPONS TO UKRAINE. THAT IS DEBATE WITH HAVING AND IT CONTINUES. MY VIEWS ARE SOMEWHAT KNOWN ON THAT. BUT LET ME NOT — LET US NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT UKRAINE ALSO NEEDS BASIC MILITARY AGREEMENT AND TRAINING, WHICH WE ARE ALSO PROVIDING ON THE GROUND. AND OUR ALLIES, OUR NATO ALLIES, HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE UKRAINE TRUST FUND. BUT MORE IS NEEDED TO BE DONE. AND THE PRESIDENT AND I SPOKE ABOUT THIS YESTERDAY WITH THE NATO SECRETARY GENERAL. AND IT IS ON NATO’S AGENDA IN WARSAW. FINALLY, OUR ASSISTANCE HAS BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE DIRECTLY ADDRESSING THE HUMANITARIAN TRAGEDY CREATED BY RUSSIAN AGGRESSION. IT IS PROFOUNDLY IN OUR SELF INTEREST, AND I WOULD ARGUE THE SELF-INTEREST OF THE WORLD, THAT THIS NEW UKRAINE EMERGES A PROSPEROUS, DEMOCRATIC, INDEPENDENT REFORM ORIENTED COUNTRY THAT CANNOT BE BRIBED, COERCED, OR INTIMIDATED. THAT IS WHAT THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE ARE DEVOTING THEIR LIVES TO. GIVING THEIR LIVES FOR. AND ONE DAY, IT WILL SERVE AS AN EXAMPLE FOR RUSSIANS ACROSS THE BORDER WHO WILL SEE WHAT IS POSSIBLE WHEN A COUNTRY EMBARKS ON REAL REFORM. THE CONFLICT OVER UKRAINE, I THINK, IS A TEST FOR THE WEST. A TEST FOR THE EU. A TEST FOR NATO. A TEST FOR US. PRESIDENT PUTIN IS WAGERING THAT HE HAS GREATER STAYING POWER THAN ALL THE PARTIES I JUST MENTIONED HAVE. AND UKRAINE, HE IS BETTING THAT HE CAN OUTLAST THE CURRENT REFORMIST PRO-EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT AND UNDERMINE IT ECONOMICALLY. PRESIDENT PUTIN IS ALSO TRYING TO SCARE ALLIES AND PARTNERS WITH THE THREAT OF NEW AND AGGRESSIVE RUSSIA. TERMS WE HAVEN’T HEARD IN A LONG TIME. IN TERMS RELATING TO NUCLEAR POWER, NUCLEAR ARMS. AS IT TRIES TO RATTLE THE CAGE, THE KREMLIN IS WORKING HARD TO BUY OFF AND CORRUPT EUROPEAN POLITICAL FORCES, FUNDING BOTH RIGHT-WING AND LEFT-WING ANTI-SYSTEMIC PARTIES THROUGHOUT EUROPE. PRESIDENT PUTIN SEES SUCH POLITICAL FORCE AS — AS — AS USEFUL TOOLS TO BE MANIPULATED, TO CREATE CRACKS IN THE EUROPEAN BODY OF POLITICS, WHICH YOU CAN THEN EXPLOIT. I REMEMBER WORKING WITH — WHICH I WILL SPEAK TO AND A MOMENT ABOUT — EUROPEAN ENERGY SECURITY. I FOUND IT FASCINATING THAT RUSSIA IS FUNDING THE GREEN PARTY. [LAUGHTER] THEIR NEWFOUND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN HAS REALLY IMPRESSED ME. BUT THESE ACTIONS ARE EMBEDDED BY HYPER AGGRESSIVE STATE-SPONSORED RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA MACHINE THAT ACTIVELY SPREADS MISINFORMATION, AND DOES IT VERY WELL, I MIGHT ADD. BUT ON THE WHOLE, EUROPEAN UNITY IS HELD. EUROPE IS HUNG TOGETHER. EUROPEAN LEADERS LAST MET ON MARCH 25, AND THEY SPOKE CLEARLY. AND WE HAVE ALSO MADE OUR POSITION CLEAR. THE UNITED STATES’ SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA MUST REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL THE NEGOTIATIONS ARE FULLY IMPLEMENTED. IT IS MY HOPE AND EXPECTATION THAT WHEN EUROPEAN LEADERS MEET AGAIN AT THE END OF JUNE, THEY RENEW EXISTING SANCTIONS UNTIL IT IS FULLY IMPLEMENTED. THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW THAT UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT RUSSIA’S ACTIONS TO THE WORLD, AND COORDINATE CLOSELY WITH OUR PARTNERS AND ALLIES TO ENSURE THAT FURTHER AGGRESSION ON RUSSIA’S PART IS MET WITH FURTHER COSTS. IF RUSSIA AGAIN MOVES BEYOND THE LINE OF CONTACT. THIS IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR STRATEGY. TAKEN TOGETHER, IT IS CLEAR. RUSSIA IS TAKING ACTIONS WE CAN UNDERMINE AS EUROPEAN NEIGHBORS. AND REASSERT ITS — HEGEMONIC AMBITIONS. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND. IT IS NOT JUST UKRAINE. CRITICAL OF THIS EFFORT IS AN AFFIRMATIVE VISION TO STRENGTHEN THE TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION AND EUROPE ITSELF TO BE ABLE TO RESIST RUSSIAN COERCION AND LEAVE NO DAYLIGHT AND THE TACTICS OF DIVIDE AND CONQUER. UKRAINE IS INTEGRAL TO THAT. BUT THE ACTS OF RUSSIAN OPPORTUNISM AND AGGRESSION REQUIRES US TO ALSO ADDRESS MORE BROADLY AND SYSTEMATICALLY EUROPEAN POINT OF VULNERABILITY. REINVIGORATING AND WE TOOLING NATO TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO NEW HYBRID WARFARE THREATS THAT WE ARE SEEING TODAY. FINALLY GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT EUROPE’S ENERGY SECURITY, SO WE TAKE AWAY RUSSIA’S ABILITY TO USE ENERGY AS A POLITICAL WEAPON. AND PROMOTING EUROPE’S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ECONOMIC SECURITY. IT STARTS WITH NATO, THOUGH. REINFORCING OUR ALLIANCE AND HONING THE TOOLS AT OUR DISPOSAL. THE STEPS WE ARE TAKING TO MAKE CLEAR THAT OUR ALLIES IN ARTICLE FIVE OF THE NATO CHILI — TREATY REPRESENT A SACRED COMMITMENT ON OUR PART AND EVERY OTHER NATO MEMBER. NATO’S READINESS ACTION PLAN IS AN IMPORTANT START, ALLOWING US TO STEP UP OUR MILITARY PRESENCE IN THE AIR AND THE SEA AND THE LAND, FROM THE BALTICS AND POLAND TO ROMANIA AND BULGARIA. AND WE ARE PLEASED THAT SOME OF OUR NATO ALLIES HAVE MADE SIMILAR CONTRIBUTIONS. BUT AT THIS TIME OF CRISIS, TOO MANY OF OUR ALLIES ARE STILL FAILING TO MEET MAYOR — THEIR COMMITMENT THEY MADE AT THE WHEEL SUMMIT — WALES SUMMIT. THE SITUATION IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. COLLECTIVE DEFENSE MUST BE SHARED, A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. NOT JUST IN RHETORIC, BUT IN RESOURCES AS WELL. WHEN IT COMES TO ENERGY, WE NEED TO WORK ACROSS THE ATLANTIC TO DENY RUSSIA THE ABILITY TO USE RESOURCES AS A POLITICAL WEAPON AGAINST THEIR NEIGHBORS. AS I SAID ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS BEFORE, IT IS TIME TO MAKE ENERGY SECURITY THE NEXT CHAPTER IN THE EUROPEAN PROJECT OF INTEGRATION AND MARKET EXPANSION. IT IS TIME TO REPLACE COUNTRY BY COUNTRY STRATEGIES WITH A COHERENT, COLLECTIVE EFFORT. FOCUSED ON DIVERSIFYING FUEL TYPES, SUPPLY SOURCES, AND ROUTES. IMPROVING EFFICIENCY, MAKING INVESTMENTS AND MARKET REFORMS, INCLUDING GREATER FLEXIBILITY OF INFRASTRUCTURE TO TRANSPORT NATIONAL GAS. — NATURAL GAS. WE HAVE ALREADY MADE SOME SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS. IN THE FACE OF RUSSIAN CUTOFF OF GAS SUPPLIES TO UKRAINE LAST YEAR, WE SUPPORTED A GAS DEAL. WE WORKED WITH UKRAINE’S NEIGHBORS TO INCREASE RIVERS FLOWS OF GAS SHIPMENTS TO UKRAINE. — RIVERS — FLOWS OF REVERSE. — — — — RIVERS — RIVERSE FLOWS OF GAS SHIPMENTS TO UKRAINE. THAT WILL HELP FOSTER COMPETITION IN EUROPE, RATHER THAN DOMINANCE OF ONE SUPPLIER. WE APPLAUD AND ENCOURAGE EUROPE’S EFFORTS TO TAKE MORE REGIONAL APPROACH IS BECAUSE A MORE STABLE EUROPEAN SUPPLY OF ENERGY MEANS A MORE SECURE WORLD. AND WE ARE READY TO DO OUR PART, AS OUR EUROPEAN FRIENDS KNOW. AND FINALLY, WE NEED TO REBUILD AND IN SOME PLACES BILL FOR THE FIRST TIME THE ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS OF EUROPEAN SECURITY. IN THAT SPIRIT, WE SUPPORT EUROPEAN INITIATIVES TO RESPOND, AS WE HAVE, FROM THE GREAT DEPRESSION THAT BEGAN IN THE LAST DECADE. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE NOW KNOW THE TYPES OF POLICIES THAT EFFICIENTLY SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND BOOST EMPLOYMENT. INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND HUMAN CAPITAL. LOWERING BARRIERS TO TRADE AND INVESTMENT. MAKING REFORMS TO IMPROVE THE BUSINESS CLIMATE AND A REGULATORY PROCESS. WE ARE PURSUING THE TRANSATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE GROWTH AND JOBS AND STRENGTHEN THE GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM. AND WE HAVE ESPECIALLY FOCUSED ON FIGHTING CORRUPTION. CORRUPTION IS THE NEW TOOL TO FOREIGN POLICY. IT HAS NEVER BEEN AS HANDY AND IS USEFUL AT THE HANDS OF NATIONS THAT WANT TO DISRUPT AND OLIGARCHS THAT RESPOND TO THEM. IT IS LIKE THE KRYPTONITE OF A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY. IT SIPHON’S AWAY RESOURCES, IT DESTROYS — SIPHONS AWAY RESOURCES, IT DESTROYS — AND CONFRONT PEOPLE’S DIGNITY. AND THE STAKES ARE STRATEGIC, AS WELL AS ECONOMIC, BECAUSE RUSSIA AND OTHERS ARE USING CORRUPTION AND OLIGARCHS AS TOOLS OF COERCION. WE NEED TO HELP SOME OF THE NEWER EU NATIONS AND THOSE ASPIRING TO JOIN THEM TO SHORE UP THEIR INSTITUTIONS, PUT IN PLACE THE MECHANISMS REQUIRED TO AVOID BECOMING VULNERABLE TO THIS NEW — EXCUSE ME — TO THIS NEW FOREIGN-POLICY WEAPON. WE TAKE THESE DEVELOPMENTS TOGETHER, AND IT IS CLEAR, IN MY VIEW, THAT WE HAVE REACHED ANOTHER MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP THAT CALLS OUT FOR LEADERSHIP. THE KIND OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS DELIVERED. I THINK IT IS THAT BASIC. I THINK IT IS SIMILAR. I BELIEVE THE TERRAIN, THOUGH, IS FUNDAMENTALLY IN OUR FAVOR. NOT BECAUSE OF THE INEVITABILITY OF ANY KIND OF TRAJECTORY TOWARDS UNIFICATION OR INTEGRATION WITH DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS, EVERY GENERATION HAS ITS DEMAGOGUES AND REVISIONS AND TRANSITIONS ARE FULL OF PAROL — PERIL. WHAT MAKES ME OPTIMISTIC IS PRESIDENT CLINTON’S VISION — HAS VERY LITTLE — PRESIDENT PUTIN’S VISION OFFERS VERY LITTLE OTHER THAN MYTHS AND ILLUSIONS. THE FALSE PROMISE OF RETURNING TO A PAST WHEN THAT PASSED WAS NOT TOO GOOD OF A PAST. THE SLEIGHT-OF-HAND THAT PRESENTS THE BULLYING OF CIVIL SOCIETIES, DISSIDENTS ENGAGED AS SUBSTITUTES FOR STRONG LEADERSHIP. THE PROPAGANDA THAT CONFLATES AGGRESSION. IT IS THAT EASY FOR GOVERNMENTS — IT IS NOT EASY FOR GOVERNMENTS TO PROVIDE FOR PEOPLE IN THE 20% THREE. BUT — IN THE 21ST CENTURY. IT IS LIKE PHYSICS THESE DAYS. YOU NEED POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC OPENNESS, RESPECT FOR LAW, STRONG FUNCTIONING INSTITUTION AND MARKETS. WITHOUT ALL THOSE IN PLACE, ECONOMIC GROWTH DOES NOT OCCUR AND WILL NOT OCCUR. AND TOGETHER, WE, THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE, CAN REASSERT AND STICK TO OUR PRINCIPLES, DELIVER ON OUR COMMITMENTS, AND HELP MAKE UKRAINE AND EUROPE KEEP DOING WHAT WORKS. THEN I HAVE EVERY CONFIDENCE THAT WE WILL LEAVE THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP STRONGER, AND EUROPE EVEN MORE SECURE AND FREE. I THINK YOU FOR INDULGENCE OF LISTENING TO ME. AND IT HAS BEEN A GREAT PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU. THANK YOU. >> [APPLAUSE] VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: THANK YOU. >> [APPLAUSE]

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VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED BY STROKE TO MAKE —

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STORBE TO MAKE MYSELF — STROBE TO MAKE MYSELF AVAILABLE FOR QUESTIONS. I’M SURE THE PRESIDENT WILL UNDERSTAND IF I SPEND A LITTLE BIT OF TIME, TAKING A FEW QUESTIONS. IF YOU HAVE ANY. >> [INDISCERNIBLE] VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: GOOD TO SEE YOU, JAVIER. GREAT TO BE HERE WITH YOU,

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MAN. COME TO THE MICROPHONE. >> [INDISCERNIBLE] — WHAT

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I THINK IS THAT WE ARE IN THE SAME BOAT, THE EUROPEANS AND THE AMERICANS. IN PARTICULAR, WHAT YOU HAVE SAID AND UNDERLINED VERY MUCH, THE AGREEMENTS HAVE TO BE RESPECTED. IT IS TRUE, WE WILL NOT KNOW IF THEY ARE RESPECTED UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR. AND I THINK WE CAN KEEP ON WORKING TOGETHER AND WE WIN THIS BATTLE. VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I THINK SO, TOO. AND THE OTHER THING I THINK, BY THE WAY, IS THAT I HAVE SPENT SO MUCH TIME WITH UKRAINIAN LEADERSHIP. THEY ARE PREPARED TO MAKE GENUINE CONCESSIONS ON DECENTRALIZATION. THEY ARE PREPARED TO MAKE GENUINE COMMITMENTS TO LOCAL CONTROL IN THE EAST AND — AND SO — BUT IT IS — IT IS KIND OF DIFFICULT TO DO THIS. THE ONE THING ABOUT — IT IS AWFUL HARD TO HOLD FREE ELECTIONS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LINE OF CONTROL WE DON’T CONTROL THE BORDER. AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I’M HOPING THAT US AND OUR EUROPEAN COLLEAGUES ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO WORK OUT BECAUSE THERE HAS TO BE — PART OF THE DEAL IS FREE ELECTIONS. IN THE EAST AND THAT’S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT. >> MR. VICE PRESIDENT, THANK YOU FOR COMING TO BROOKINGS. WHY ISN’T IT OBVIOUS THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE EXPORTING ENERGY TO EUROPE? VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: WELL, IT IS OBVIOUS.

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AND WE ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THAT. THE PROBLEM IS, UNDER OUR SYSTEM, THE WAY IT WORKS IS THAT — THAT COMPANIES CONTRACT TO GET THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO — TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE NATURAL GAS THAT IS EXPORTABLE. AND UNDER OUR LAW, WE CANNOT DIRECT A PARTICULAR COMPANY TO SEND THE GAS TO A PARTICULAR PLACE. NOW, THERE HAS BEEN SOME DISCUSSION IN MANY CORNERS, PROBABLY HERE AT BROOKINGS, ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE SHOULD BE SOME EXCEPTION MADE AS TO BEING ABLE TO DIRECTLY DIRECT IT, BUT UNDER OUR SYSTEM, ALL THE COUNTRIES IN QUESTION ARE ABLE TO CONTACT WITH THE FOLKS — I FORGET HOW MANY CONTRACTS, I THINK 13 OR SOMETHING — ANYWAY, ALL THE CONTRACTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE FOR ACCESS TO THAT NATURAL GAS. BUT WHAT HAPPENS IS, YOU KNOW, IT IS AT MARKET PRICES. AND — AND — BUT IT IS THE THING I HAVE THE HARDEST TIME EXPLAINING IN EUROPE. BECAUSE UNDER THEIR SYSTEM, MOST OF THEM COME WITH IT SAYS, WELL, THE PRESIDENT DECIDES. WE WROTE A POLICY, WE ARE GOING TO EXPORT X TRILLIONS, YOU KNOW, UNITS OF GAS TO SUCH AND SUCH A COUNTRY. IT IS NOT — LEGALLY, WE CANNOT DO THAT. >> I DON’T WANT YOU TO GET IN TROUBLE WITH THE PRESIDENT — VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I AM HAPPY TO TAKE ANOTHER ONE, IF YOU WANT. >> OK.

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I WOULD BE IN TROUBLE WITH YOUR STAFF, WHICH IS REALLY SERIOUS. [LAUGHTER] VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. >> —

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HOW WORRIED ARE YOU ABOUT THE REPUBLICS OF THE LARGE RUSSIAN MINORITIES? VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: WELL, I AM

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WORRIED — OH, I HAVE TO GET BACK TO THE MICROPHONE. [LAUGHTER] SORRY, SORRY. I AM USED TO BEING TOO FAMILIAR WITH THIS CROWD. AND I APOLOGIZE. THAT IS WHAT I WAS REFERENCING BY THE ASYMMETRY I’M TALKING ABOUT. AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE A MAJOR TOPIC AT — IN WARSAW AT THE NEXT NATO MEETING. BUT IT IS ALREADY ENTRAINED IN SOME OF THE ACTIONS WE HAVE TAKEN, RELATIVE TO THE ROTATION OF FORCES AND SO ON. BUT IT IS A CONCERN. IT IS A CONCERN, USING THE FALSE ASSERTION THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE IS A RUSSIAN MINORITY, OR IN SOME PLACES, CLOSE TO A COLOR REALITY — CLOSE TO A PLURALITY THAT IS BEING PERSECUTED. IT IS — IT IS A DIFFICULT SITUATION, BUT WE ARE RESOLVED TO STAND WITH THE BALTIC STATES AS THAT OCCURS. BUT THAT PLANNING IS ENTRAINED AND HAS BEEN AS WE SPEAK. BUT IT IS A CONCERN. I WOULD BE LYING TO YOU IF I SAID IT WASN’T. MARTIN, DID YOU HAVE A QUESTION? I CANNOT LEAVE — >> I CANNOT LEAVE WITHOUT TAKING THE VICE PRESIDENT’S QUESTION. [LAUGHTER] >> [INDISCERNIBLE] >> [LAUGHTER] VICE PRESIDENT

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BIDEN: GO AHEAD. >> THE — SPEECH THAT YOU JUST GAVE WAS A VERY TOUGH ONE. ADMIRABLY TOUGH. AT THE SAME TIME, WITH THE U.S. STANDING UP TO

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MR. PUTIN IN A WAY THAT YOU HAVE DESCRIBED, WE ARE ALSO COOPERATING WITH HIM ON WHAT YOU CALL GLOBAL ISSUES — NONPROLIFERATION, TERRORISM, EVEN IN A PLACE LIKE SYRIA. HOW DO YOU HANDLE THAT KIND OF TENSION BETWEEN COOPERATION AND COMPETITION? VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: LOOK, HUMAN NATURE IS HUMAN NATURE. IT DOESN’T CHANGE BASED UPON WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE READING THE MOTIVES AND ACTIONS OF A HEAD OF STATE, OR YOUR BROTHER, OR YOUR PARTNER IN YOUR ENTERPRISE. AND THAT IS LIFE. THE COOPERATION — THE ONE THING I’M COUNTING ON WITH — WITH PRESIDENT PUTIN — I HAVE HAD AN OCCASION TO SPEND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT TIME WITH — IS THAT AT HIS CORE, HE IS PRACTICAL. AT HIS CORE, HE WILL PUSH AS FAR AS HE CAN, IN MY VIEW, UNTIL HE REACHES A RESISTANCE THAT, IN FACT, SAYS THERE IS A BIG PRICE TO PAY. AND HE MAY MAKE A MISTAKE AND CONTINUE, BUT IS A CALCULATION, I BELIEVE, HE WILL ASSUME. I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT HIS BEHAVIOR OVER HIS CAREER, HE IS A PRACTICAL GUIDE. — GUY. AND IT SEEMS TO ME, AND IT HAS BEEN THE HISTORY OF SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN POLICY GOING BACK 100 YEARS, THAT IT MAKES SENSE TO COOPERATE, WHETHER THERE IS A CAREER — MUTUAL INTEREST, MATTERS OF PRINCIPLE THAT MATTER TO THE SECURITY AND WELL-BEING OF YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR ALLIES AND YOUR FRIEND. QUITE FRANKLY, I SEE IT’S BEING OVERWHELMINGLY IN OUR INTEREST TO CONTINUE TO COOPERATE IN IRAN. I WOULD ARGUE THAT — LET ME CHOOSE MY WORDS A LITTLE BIT HERE — THERE HAS BEEN A LOT WRITTEN BY SOME VERY BRIGHT PEOPLE HERE AND IN OTHER THINK TANKS AROUND THE WORLD THAT PUTIN WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO RESPOND IN A NEGATIVE WAY AND COST US — RAISE THE COSTS FOR THE UNITED STATES FOR BEING THE LEADER OF IMPOSING SANCTIONS ON HIM. AND THERE ARE A LOT OF SPECULATION THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HE WOULD DO RIGHT OFF THE BAT WOULD BE PULLOUT OF THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH IRAN. WHICH OVERWHELMINGLY IS IN HIS INTEREST NOT TO DO THAT. IT IS OVERWHELMINGLY IN HIS INTEREST, AND WOULD BE INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS TO BOTH THE AND I RON, — IRAN, THAT ABSENT SOME KIND OF NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT, THEY ARE REAPING A WHIRLWIND AS WE ARE. SO I ALWAYS COUNT ON SELF INTEREST. BEING A MOTIVATING FACTOR FOR, MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, YOU HAVE HEARD ME SAY, MARTIN, ALL POLITICS IS PERSONAL. AND I MEAN THAT. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE OTHER GUY IS LOOKING FOR, OR THE OTHER WOMAN IS LOOKING FOR, WHAT THEY PERCEIVE TO BE THEIR INTERESTS. IT IS CLEARLY IN THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES, AS WELL AS RUSSIA, THAT — TO EXAGGERATE THE POINT — THAT YOU DON’T END UP WITH ISIL CONTROLLING ALL OF SYRIA. IT IS CLEARLY WITHIN THE INTERESTS OF RUSSIA, AND I WOULD ARGUE CHINA, THAT IRAN NOT BECOME A NUCLEAR POWER. AND THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT ARE OF MUTUAL INTEREST. SO IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IF YOU ARE NATIONAL AND TOUGH, — RATIONAL AND TOUGH, YOU WOULD LOOK TO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE CLEARLY IN YOUR BENEFIT, AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE A CONCESSION ON SOMETHING THAT IS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE AND VALUE TO YOU. AND THUS FAR, WE HAVE NOT REACHED THAT POINT. THERE HAS BEEN NO DISCUSSION OF WE WILL NOT STAY — THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL — THERE HAS BEEN NO DISCUSSION OF WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE PART OF THE P5 PLUS ONE, ONLY IF YOU DO THE FOLLOWING. SO THESE ARE TWO MATURE NATIONS, TWO TOP LEADERS WHO KNOW WHAT INTERESTS ARE FOR THEIR COUNTRY. AND I WOULD ARGUE, MARTIN, THAT THERE IS NO — THAT PRESIDENT PUTIN DID NOT START OFF WITH A BROAD STRATEGY, AS TO HOW HE WAS GOING TO RESPOND OR DEAL WITH — WITH RUSSIA OR EASTERN EUROPEAN STATES. I THINK HE STARTED OFF WITH A STRATEGY THAT HE WAS DETERMINED TO BUILD UP THE RUSSIAN MILITARY FROM THE PLACE HE FOUND IT. BUT I THINK IT WAS MORE OPPORTUNISM THEN ANY STRATEGY. — THAN ANY STRATEGY. AND WE CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR, WHAT WE SAY, OFF RAMPS FOR PRESIDENT PUTIN. WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO REPAIR SAME. WE ARE NOT FOR REGIME CHANGE. WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR ANY FUNDAMENTAL ALTERATION OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES INSIDE OF RUSSIA. WE ARE LOOKING FOR HIM TO, AND ARGUE, ACT MORE RATIONALLY — — — IN OUR VIEW, ACT MORE RATIONALLY. THANK YOU ALSO MUCH FOR LISTENING. >> [APPLAUSE] >> [INDISTINCT

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CHATTER] >> THANK YOU VERY MUCH. — [INDISCERNIBLE] >> [LAUGHTER] >> [INDISTINCT CHATTER] >>

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THANK YOU.

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THANK YOU ALL VERY, VERY MUCH. >> [APPLAUSE] >> [INDISTINCT

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CHATTER] [CAPTIONS

00:37:11
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COPYRIGHT NATIONAL CABLE SATELLITE CORP. 2015] [CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY THE NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE,

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WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CAPTION CONTENT AND ACCURACY. VISIT NCICAP.ORG] >> YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE ENTIRE EVENT — SEE THE VICE PRESIDENT’S COMMENT IN THEIR ENTIRETY SHORTLY ON C-SPAN.ORG.

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THE HILL WRITES, QUOTE, HE HAS ASKED THE PRESIDENT TO START OVER IN DRAFT ANOTHER AUTHORIZATION BECAUSE IT IS, QUOTE, THE PRESIDENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO WAGE THIS BATTLE. — THAT EXPLICITLY DELEGATES WAR POWERS TO CONGRESS. A LETTER FROM WALTER JONES AND MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRAT JAMES —

The key man behind the Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre: his many connections to the White House

This was written just after the Odessa massacre last year.

By Eric Zuesse
Op Ed News, May 18, 2014

The key person behind the May 2nd massacre inside Odessa’s Trade Unions Building appears to have been Ihor Kolomoyskyi [pictured here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Ihor_Kolomoyskyi2.jpg ], who was appointed to be the regional governor in that area by Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian Presidential candidate that the Obama Administration has apparently been hoping will win the May 25th election to take over the Ukrainian Government, from the junta that the Obama Administration imposed in Ukraine on February 22nd. Just weeks before this coup, on February 4th, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Asia, Victoria Nuland, chose Tymoshenko’s ally Arseni Yatsenyuk to head the post-coup interim government, which appointed Kolomoyskyi. Only a few months before this coup, Nuland had asserted that U.S. taxpayers had already invested more than $5 billion, in order to bring “democracy” to Ukraine, by which she was referring to the U.S. effort to oust the Russian-oriented, democratically elected, leader of Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych, who had prosecuted and imprisoned Tymoshenko for embezzlement and abuse of governmental office. Tymoshenko was then on 11 October 2011 sentenced to seven years in prison, and was ordered to pay the government restitution of $188 million. She was released from prison less than three years later, two days after the coup, on 24 February 2014. The Ukrainian criminal code was immediately changed, in order to legalize the actions for which Tymoshenko had been imprisoned. This allowed Tymoshenko to run for the Ukrainian Presidency. She had been Prime Minister 2007-2010. Both she and her husband, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, and his father, all three of whom were on the board of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (and thus Ms. Tymoshenko was called “the gas princess”) have been legally prosecuted as embezzling state funds, but so have most of Ukraine’s oligarchs and political leaders (and there’s a lot of crossover between those two categories).

Kolomoyskyi, who lives in Geneva Switzerland, is generally regarded as the second-richest man in Ukraine, with a fortune estimated at about $6 billion. Tymoshenko used to be called “the Eleven Billion Dollar Woman,” but, like all of Ukraine’s oligarchs (including Kolomoyskyi), nobody really knows precisely how wealthy she is, nor even whether she is more, or perhaps less, wealthy than Kolomoyskyi. Almost all of the oligarchs’ money is hidden offshore; so, is invisible.

Most of Ukraine’s oligarchs live in Geneva (like Kolomoyskyi), London (like the Tymoshenkos’ daughter, Yevhenia), NYC, Rome, and other Western cities, and they tend to stash their money in secret bank accounts in tax-haven countries, not only in order to avoid paying taxes, but also in order to make more difficult their being successfully sued by each other, for violating handshake business deals that had helped them to become so rich. After all, illegal contracts cannot be enforced by any legal government (since they’re illegal, and have secret illegal terms). Thus, other means than written contracts — handshake deals — are resorted to between these aristocrats.

For example, in one such case, a Ukrainian oligarch who lives in London, Victor Pinchuk (whose fortune is around $4 billion), is suing Kolomoyskyi by alleging him to have sold him a company, “KZhRK,” for $143 million, and then to have re-seized it from him by force of arms. As is usual (since virtually all of Ukraine’s oligarchs had become oligarchs from the privatizations, or sell-offs of government assets, which accompanied Ukraine’s abandonment of communism), this case hinges on verbal testimony, and the various parties to the case contradict each other. Kolomoyskyi is well known for taking over corporations through his team entering with guns drawn. Pinchuk claims that when Kolomoyskyi did that here, Pinchuk nonetheless, somehow, managed to get Kolomoyskyi to restore Pinchuk to control, but that Pinchuk later discovered “it appears that they may have sold approximately 50% of KZhRK to a third party in 2007”; so, Pinchuk filed suit against Kolomoyskyi, in London, on this murky case.

According to a summary by wikipedia of several news reports: “Kolomyski has used [his banking company] Privat’s ‘quasi-military forces’ to enforce hostile takeovers of companies, sending a team of ‘hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws’ to forcibly take over a Kremenchuk steel plant in 2006,[17] and has used ‘a mix of phony court orders (often involving corrupt judges and/or registrars) and strong-arm tactics’ to replace directors on the boards of companies he purchases stakes in.[18] Kolomyski was criticized by Mr Justice Mann in a court case in London involving an attempted hostile takeover of an oil company, with the judge stating that Kolomyski had ‘a reputation of having sought to take control of a company at gunpoint in Ukraine’.”

Consequently, the reports of Kolomoyskyi’s tactics against the Ukrainians who refuse to be ruled by the Obama-installed government in Kiev seem to be consistent with this oligarch’s violent norm. Oriental Review headlined on 14 May 2014, “Bloodbath in Odessa guided by interim rulers of Ukraine,” and reported that, “The information provided below was obtained from an insider in one of Ukraine’s law-enforcement agencies, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.” The account there is a more detailed one than has ever before appeared, and it’s consistent with those others (such as this and this). It alleges that:

“Ten days before the tragedy a secret meeting was held in Kiev, chaired by the incumbent president Olexander Turchinov [a long-time political ally and business-partner of Tymoshenko; he had destroyed crucial documents in the government’s case against Tymoshenko], to prepare a special operation in Odessa. Present were minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov [a gangster who was placed on Interpol’s ‘Wanted’ list on 21 March 2012], the head of the Ukrainian Security Service Valentin Nalivaychenko [a long-time NATO agent], and the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy [co-founder of Ukraine’s National Socialist, or Nazi, Party]. Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskiy, the Kiev-appointed head of regional administration of the Dnepropetrovsk region, was consulted in regard to the operation [he being well-experienced in violent operations].

“During that meeting Arsen Avakov … reportedly came up with the idea of using football [soccer] hooligans, known as ‘ultras,’ in the operation. Ever since his time as the head of the Kharkov regional administration he [Avakov] has worked closely with the fans’ leaders, whom he continued to sponsor even from his new home in Italy.

Kolomoisky temporarily delivered his private ‘Dnieper-1’ Battalion under the command of law-enforcement officials in Odessa and also authorized a cash payment of $5,000 for ‘each pro-Russian separatist’ killed during the special operation. [That would be over $500,000, lent by his bank to the Ukrainian Government, to pay for the estimated 116 corpses thus produced.]

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