John Dalli would empathise: Viktor Yanukovych insists he is still leader of Ukraine

Published: March 2, 2014 at 7:01pm

CBN News

CBN News, yesterday:

Deposed Ukraine Leader Makes Defiant TV Appearance

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – Ukraine’s deposed president appeared on television for the first time Friday since fleeing the country.

Speaking from neighboring Russia, Viktor Yanukovych insisted he is still the elected leader of Ukraine and wasn’t giving up his power.

Even though he’s in Russia, the ousted leader said he has not spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has no plans to ask for military help in Ukraine.

Despite that statement, there are new concerns over a Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops now control an airport near their naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is calling the siege a “military invasion and occupation.”

“It is in violation of all international treaties and norms,” he charged. “This is a direct provocation to armed bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state.”

Meanwhile, a standoff with about 50 pro-Russian gunmen occupying the Crimean parliament in Simferopol is well into its second day.

The gunmen are reportedly armed with automatic weapons, explosives, and enough ammunition to last a month.

The country’s new interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has ordered the military to use whatever means necessary to retake the building.


53 Comments Comment

  1. A VELLA says:

    Mr Putin has made his case and he will likely stick to it: that a legitimately-elected president has been overthrown and Russian citizens are under threat.

    And there are ever-increasing numbers of them to protect. An estimated 143,000 Ukrainians have been issued with Russian passports in the last two weeks, including members of the Berkut riot police.

    The old Kremlin tactic of passport politics seems to be alive and flourishing in Ukraine.

    • La Redoute says:

      Passport politics are flourishing here too.

      • ciccio says:

        Using Putin’s logic, had Joseph Muscat sold enough Maltese passports to the Ukrainian citizens by now, Muscat would feel an entitlement, like Putin, to invade the Ukraine “to protect Maltese interests”. Wow. Great idea, selling Maltese passports.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Ciccio, let’s not get polarised over this. But really, you, of all people, should know better. If those Ukrainians spoke Maltese, ate pastizzi, were called Mario and Ritienne, and watched Xarabank, then there would be an entitlement of sorts.

        Beware apples and oranges.

    • Another John says:

      forA. Vella, don’t you think that 143,000 Ukrainians applying for Russian passports is a manifestation in itself of where they feel they belong? And it is apparently with Russia and not the current fascist government. Or you believe that those passports were imposed on them by Putin forcefully?

      • La Redoute says:

        What makes the current government fascist in a way that Yanukovych is not?

      • Another John says:

        In answer to your question as to what makes the current self-proclaimed government in Kiev Fascist, it is their own declarations. They declared that their hero and ideological leader is Stepan Bandera, a long-dead Ukrainian fascist and Hitler’s collaborator. Bandera aimed to make Ukraine a fascist dictatorship without national minorities, and his followers were killing hundreds of thousands Russians, Jews and Poles during WWII and after it until he was liquidated. Current neo-Nazi government rehabilitated his figure, and during protests in Kiev the portraits of Stepan Bandera and Nazi swastika could be seen everywhere. Those protestors demonstrate carrying the maroon flag with two black stripes, it’s a bandera flag.
        The first law this new neo-Nazi government passed was a law banning Russian language, making it criminal offence to speak in Russian. Half of Ukrainian population speaks Russian over there, by the way, and cannot speak any other language. In the past two weeks 675,000 refuges asked asylum in Russia, people are scared for their lives, because they know who Stepan Bandera is and what is going to happen to them. One of his signature killings during WWII, for instance, was cutting pregnant woman’s tummy, taking out a fetus and putting a rabbit instead.

      • Jozef says:

        And here comes the RT brigade.

        Simply because there’s extremists in the mix doesn’t give Putin the excuse to invade sovereign territory, if anything he should have gone to the UN, which he didn’t and involve the international community, which he won’t.

        Russian citizens under threat eh? Of course, footage of innocent Russian speaking mobs lynching anyone suspected of being pro-Ukraine hasn’t yet made it to your screen.

        The blame lies squarely with a president who plundered the country with oligarchs reducing the country to default and a Kremlin which couldn’t care less, pouring money into that corrupt system, until Russian military bases came to risk.

        And the thousands filling Kiev don’t exist, simply American agents sent to provoke unrest.

      • ken il malti says:

        Sounds like it is an other Vatican-Anglo-American coalition to destabilize the Ukraine and to get the Russians upset in their backyard. This same V-A-A group along with Germany pushed and paid for and stirred the pot that caused all that nasty former Yugoslavia slaughter of the 1990s.

        Their old Ustase cohorts of WW2 where seemingly resurrected in the 1990s to do their old job again with their muslim allies to get rid of as many Orthodox Christians as possible for the Vatican.

        Some thing never change, even decades later.

      • ciccio says:

        @Another John.

        Not sure where you read that the new government has made the figure of Bandera as the government’s inspiration. Let us not exaggerate about this nationalistic movement. In the last parliamentary elections, they received the support of around 10% of the electorate – not out of the normal for an extremist party anywhere in Europe.

        It is a fact that the Ukraine is a highly divided country. I personally find that the situation of the Ukraine very painful, and I call for the respect of Russians in the Ukraine like I call for the respect of all the Ukrainians.

        It is a country that is internally torn apart by ethnic differences. It is not the only one. The former Yugoslavia comes to mind, and we all know how that ended.

        The redrawing of European national borders has created many issues along the years. Some of those issues have subsided in the democratic countries. There are such situations between Hungary and Romania. Even between Italy, France and Austria.

        This is where the EU can help. It can help guarantee the commitments of national governments to democracy and the respect for human rights.

        Now back to John Dalli. In his case, President Barroso had a political decision to make, which he was entitled to make. Did Dalli respect Barroso’s right for his political decision?

      • A VELLA says:

        Thanks for helping me understand why those rich Chinese are applying for a Maltese passport. The only question remains, what does the Chinese government has to say to these ungrateful Chinese citizens who are showing their lack of love towards their country?

      • Claudine Borg says:

        @cicco and @Jozef
        Here is a good reading explaining who came in power in Kiev:

        The author is former adviser on foreign affairs to Reagan administration. He is criticizing current Obama’s administration for bringing nazi to power in Ukraine.

        Also, turns out that CNN had footage of those fascists mobs in Kiev square during coup d’etat. It’s being aired today only in Germany in the news, created quite an uproar

  2. canon says:

    Was it pressure from Henley & Partners that forced Joseph Muscat to replace former deputy leader, Anglu Farrugia, before the last general elections? I am just asking.

  3. Bubu says:

    Difficult to see an easy way out of the impasse.

    This is an extremely ugly situation, reminiscent of the Nazi Germany/Sudetenland dispute that led to world war 2.

    Given the far right tendencies that Putin’s Russia has been developing these last few years, the comparison is even more chilling.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Far right tendencies. You people never cease to amaze me. What would you say of your own country then? That it developed Sino-Fascist tendencies? At least in our case there’s real proof.

      • Bubu says:

        Real proof? One only needs to use one’s own eyes.

        To be honest I can’t make heads or tails of what you want to say in this comment.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        That the Maltese can’t see the beam in their own eye.

      • Bubu says:

        Really Baxxter?

        Given that I’ve been calling Labour the National Socialist party of Malta for well nigh on three years at least, I find your comment slightly … out of place.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Is it out of place to question a cliché? Give me a few example of these far right tendencies that you say have developed in Putin’s Russia? Racial segregation? Hasn’t happened. Anti-Semitism? Hasn’t happened. Dictatorship? Hasn’t happened.

        On the other hand, to many Ukrainians and Russians, deposing an elected president by force would seem to be a prime example of a far right tendency.

        You see, it’s not as simple as Catherine Ashton and everyone else is making it out to be. Putin and Yanukovych bad, their opponents good. No.

        Incidentally, even Putin’s opponents back home in Russia, including the liberals, are supporting the deployment of Russian troops to Crimea. When Nato sent grounds troops into Kosovo to prevent further violence, did we call it a far right tactic? I think not. One man’s invasion force is another man’s peacekeepers.

      • Bubu says:

        “Racial segregation? Hasn’t happened. Anti-Semitism? Hasn’t happened. Dictatorship? Hasn’t happened”

        You’re kidding me, right? Today’s Russia is a hotbed of racism and anti-semitism. You will get beaten up by skinheads at the drop of a dime and there is little help that you will get from the authorities. Same thing if you’re gay, except that the anti-gay attitude has now been officially sanctioned by the state.

        Putin’s Russia is steadily moving towards National Bolshevism, complete with the one prime ingredient for a typical right-wing regime – the cult of personality, and if you’re going to tell me that Putin doesn’t cultivate that – well…don’t expect me to take that seriously.

        As for deposing a president by force, perhaps if the president hadn’t decided to unilaterally strong-arm anti-democratic resolutions into force in order to quell the widespread dissent, perhaps Maidan would not have happened the way it did. The fact is that the ethnic Russian Ukrainians are the minority, and this fact seems to have been conveniently forgotten all of a sudden.

        Russia’s deployment of troops, for all that they may be welcomed in the ethnic Russian Crimea, still constitutes a unilateral military breach of a sovereign state. Hitler was welcomed with wreathes of flowers when he invaded Poland, but, well, let’s just leave it at that.

      • Harry Purdie says:

        Baxxter, totally agree with your March, 3, 1:23 AM comment. Putin is probably the least authoritarian Russian President, excluding Gorbachev, over the last 70 years.

  4. Another John says:

    There are only 3 ways the president of Ukraine could have been removed from office:

    1. resignation
    2. being voted out
    3. impeachment by parliament

    None of these occurred. I prefer facts to sensation.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      No. 3 did more or less occur.

      However, I agree with your general position. We understand jack shit and yet we wade in with our postmodernist Eurocondescension.

      Let us not fall into the trap of wagging our fingers at Johnny Foreigner when our own nation is in shambles. The subject here is that corrupt liar John Dalli, who still declares himself to be EU Commissioner.

      Rather than raise barricades and face rubber and real bullets, my countrymen prefer to smile amiably and defer to him as if he were a completely normal, completely honest, decent person. Seddaq ir-raqda tal-Maltin u l-hmieg.

      • Another John says:

        I would prefer if John Dalli’s story would not be mixed with Ukrainian President Yanukovich, as drawn parallels are completely wrong since they do not have anything in common.
        The impeachment of Yanukovich never occurred.
        If you had to equate deposition by Parliament to impeachement, you would be wrong, because it is not the same thing. The impeachment procedure entails forming a committee for investigating the charges, following which, Parliament can then proceed only on the committee’s report. And it is a lengthy process, and it has to be proven that the alleged crimes have been committed by President. We all know what impeachment procedure is all about, as currently in Malta our own parliament cannot successfully even impeach a judge.
        The procedure of impeachment of Ukrainian president Yanukovich has not even been instigated. This makes the current self-elected government illegal, plain and simple. However, instead of going into the detail of it, Western media prefers to be sensational (why?) and takes the easier route and screams ‘invasion’ at every opportunity instead.

      • La Redoute says:

        John Dalli believes he is still an EU Commissioner.
        Yanukovych believes he is still a President.

        They both have atrocious taste.

        That’s a parallel.

      • Another John says:

        Without defending any Yanukovich’s wrong doings, he doesn’t just believe he is a president, but in fact he IS a president. The only legitimate, lawfully elected president of Ukraine at this moment. And just because US and EU and most western media portals say otherwise, it doesn’t make him less so. Therefore, any parallels with John Dalli are wrong.

      • ciccio says:

        @Another John.

        According to your argument, Adolf Hitler is still the Chancellor of Germany. He was ‘lawfully’ elected, and I do not remember seeing his letter of resignation.

        With his enormous majority in government, Hitler could, and I believe he did, make his government ‘lawful’ under any circumstance.

        If Yanukovych is still the president of the Ukraine, why did he escape from the country?

        Maybe he was a ‘lawfully-elected’ president under the laws which he could influence – and we may have to ask Anglu Farrugia if the last Ukrainian presidential elections were free and fair like those in Azerbaijan – but now the same people who elected Yanukovych do not want him anymore as their president.

        Democracy is not just a majority in the elections according to some existing law. Democracy is a whole system of checks and balances that respects human rights. When are we going to get this into our head?

      • Calculator says:

        There is something called the ‘responsibility to protect’, you know, which, first and foremost, lies in a government’s hands. Once Yanukovych decided to fire on protesters who had a legitimate grievance, there are grounds on which to question his ‘democratic’ legitimacy.

      • Claudine Borg says:

        @ciccio Adolf Hitler was announced dead, equals to resignation. So, you can sleep peacefully, he is not acting Chancelor of Germany, although it seems there is another one in the making: Adolf Merkel

  5. P Sant says:

    Given that China and Russia seem intent on invading neighbouring countries, shouldn’t at least one journalist ask Muscat whether these invasions are acceptable to him?

    We wouldn’t have even felt the need to put such questions to the leaders of the previous government, but given the current scenario, I have doubts as to how Muscat would reply.

  6. Another John says:

    Russia didn’t invade Ukraine.There was an appeal by the Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, who requested Russia to provide military protection and help cope with the crisis and ensure “peace and calm” in the region.
    If to ignore all current western anti-Russian media propaganda and start thinking with your own brain based on facts, Russia is protecting Ukrainian sovereignty and territory against illegal self-proclaimed fascist government occupying Kiev and threatening invasion into other Ukrainian territories. Why US and EU prefers to recognize illegal fascist government in Kiev and doesn’t want to recognize government in Crimea, it’s another good question, the question that we as the European citizens want to be answered.

    • rbrimmer says:

      Equating a national parliament (as in Kiev) with a regional one (as in Crimea) is disingenous.

      Respect of a country’s territorial integrity is a simple and universally accepted, if imperfect, political arrangement. It is imperfect because it often ignores geographical, religious, ethnic, demographic and other aspects – many of which change over time. Nonetheless, blatant disregard of territorial integrity, however, is a recipe for disaster – history being replete with instances ending in war.

      The majority in western Ukraine had to push for political reforms for years, with civilians finally being shot dead in the streets (in full view of the international press) before achieving their political aims. The russians, on the other hand, instead of waiting for civil movements in Crimea to argue for independence (from Ukraine, of which Crimea is officially a part), saw fit to mobilize their armed forces and invade Ukraine within hours!

      Russia is a superpower; furthermore, it need not even use its military might to bring Ukraine to heel – as it can instead simply turn off its gas supplies thereto. Any Crimean-independence civil movement (which would have russian backing) would thus not have suffered anything like those in Kiev did.

      At best, Putin is thus criminally irresponsible for escalating a civil and domestic political dispute into a military, international incident so as to pander to populist sentiment in Russia. At worst, this is a Sudetenland in the making.

      • Claudine Borg says:

        I agree with you that equating a parliament in Kiev with the one in Crimea is disingenuous. Because the one in Kiev operates with MPs being kept hostages, they vote with the guns to their heads:

        You are very right saying that Russia is a superpower and didn’t even need to use its military might, to turn off the gas would be enough.

        And in fact, Russia hasn’t deployed its military troops in Ukraine as yet. All there was is Russian parliament’s approval to use military force in Ukraine only if there is any threats to the life of Russians there. But between approval and actual deployment there is some difference.

        All those armed people in Crimea shown in the news are self-defense groups of locals, they don’t even wear a Russian military uniform.

        And to correct a bit your chronology, Putin approved possible military deployment three days AFTER the Crimean parliament announced referendum on Crimean independence, yes they are going to have referendum on 30th March.

      • rbrimmer says:

        I trust the ample video footage these past hours – showing Russian tanks, troop carriers, helicopter gunships and warships moving into Crimea and Ukrainian territorial waters – have dispelled any illusions of Russian non-interference.

        As regards to ‘politicians held hostage’, were the McCarthy communist witch-hunts proof that Western democracy was as bad as Soviet communism? Hardly. Is the undue political pressure in western Ukraine, resulting from the handful of neo-nazi and islamist extremists, comparable to that exerted by the Russian army in Crimea? Of course not.

        The majority in Crimea would probably have voted for secession, in a free vote. The provocative vote against the Russian language probably provides sufficient motivation to do so – even though this was an understandable gesture at a human level (as it was basically a knee-jerk FU directed at Putin and his unconditional support for a corrupt and ultimately murderous regime). However the Russian army occupation will now compromise any ballot.

        By invading Ukraine, for blatant domestic political purposes, Putin, has dangerously raised the political and military stakes just for domestic politics.

      • rbrimmer says:

        The last sentences should have read as follows:

        “However the Russian army occupation will now taint the result of any ballot.

        By invading Ukraine, for blatant domestic political purposes, Putin has needlessly and dangerously increased political, economic and military tensions in the region – indeed globally. Soft power projection is unfortunately not an approach favoured by ex-KGB personnel..”

    • Jozef says:

      Yes it did, 2,000 Spetsnatz Friday evening, followed by another 6,000 regulars across the border this afternoon.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Let me help clarify the real meaning of the words being bandied about by the English-language media.

        “Spetsnaz”, in Russian terminology, can be anything from special forces to specialised troops, to rapid reaction forces, down to professional soldiers (which constitute an elite when the army consists of conscripts). So it doesn’t mean that Russia is sending its special forces into Ukraine.

        “Troops pouring into” (read this in many news reports). Why not use the neutral term “deploying”? Yes, Russia has increased troop numbers in Ukraine, but it under the terms of a bilateral treaty with Ukraine, which still holds, it is allowed to station up to 25,000 troops in Crimea. At the moment it has less than 16,000.

        “Heavily armed”. The BBC keeps using this to comment on footage of Russian troops. I see troops carrying standard-issue rifles. What constitutes a “heavily armed” soldier?

        The words are skewing our judgement of the situation. Now if it were only you and me, it would be bad enough. But our political leaders too are getting their facts through these emotionally-charged news reports, and that’s a recipe for disaster.

        One fact about Stepan Bandera and the whole Facists/neo-Nazis thing: he was given (posthumously, of course) the nation’s highest award by none other than Yanukovych himself. See why things are blurred over there? Then it was overruled by parliament, and in the end the honour was withdrawn. In Poland, you’ll find monuments to Bandera’s Polish victims. The very first law enacted by the new Ukrainian government was a ban on Russian as an official language. And this in a country where half the people speak Russian as their mother tongue. This is what Putin means when he speaks of “Nationalist Fascists”. The situation is not helped by the fact that news outlets have to translate a rapidly-evolving situation that’s being acted out in Russian and Ukrainian into English.

        One thing I’ll say about Ukraine and Russia: at least their people are alive and active. In my country, the government is putting up a statue to a vile tyrant and the most evil man ever to rule Malta, and everyone is nodding in approval.

  7. David says:

    Are you going to watch the film Son of God (see picture in your screen shot)?

    • La Redoute says:

      It’s not a good idea to cite Russia Today. I wouldn’t expect RT to take a critical stance on Russia’s actions, any more than I’d expect CNN to do the same about the US.

      • Claudine Borg says:

        Obviously, RT (Russia Today) is a Kremlin’s channel, and as you said, it’s not expected to have a critical stance on Russia’s actions. But it provides good political and economic analysis of western affairs, something that no other western official media provides, I am not talking about private blogs. Personally, I perceive RT channel as an only source of truthful overview on current matters. Besides, to form an informed opinion one needs to hear both sides of the story, not just CNN, BBC and Euronews alike.

      • Harry Purdie says:

        I enjoy RT. Makes me chuckle, as does CNN, Fox, CCTV, Al Jazeera, and BBC. Super One probably would also.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        RT is the equivalent of Kevin Ellul Bonici, down to the sarcasm and puerile style of language.

        For an articulate, credible and professional news source giving all views including Russia’s, the best place is Ria Novosti.

  8. Bob says:

    Who voted for the new leaders? The people? The fact that the EU is supporting neo nazis and playing the part of the yankee bitch, yet again, is shameful. Returning to the original issue, who offered the Ukrainians the better deal, the EU or Russia. The rest is superfluous. Talk of independence while still sucking on your mama’s tit is nonsense.

  9. Bob says:

    Unlike with the Iraqis, the people from Crimea (Ukrainians) called for Russian military help.

    How is it that when Libyans defect it is a valid pretext but not when it is a Ukrainian? Also DCG, can you give us a logical reason why you think the EU would want a bankrupt nation to join its fold?

    After countless bail outs, were we not given an apology from the EU about letting nations join without checking their finances. I smell a rat. And it ain’t Russian.

    [Daphne – 1. It is extremely bad manners to address somebody directly by their initials. 2. The EU would not want a bankrupt nation to join its fold, as you put it, but it would certainly consider Ukraine as a member state to be a much safer option than Ukraine as a non-member state, and the reasons why are unfolding before your very eyes.]

    • Claudine Borg says:

      Daphne, I didn’t understand your answer. Are you implying that EU wants to have Ukraine as its member because all of a sudden EU decided to position itself as a charitable institution?
      Or maybe all those squabbles for Ukrainian territory started, because Washington wants to materialize one of its wet dreams to kick out Russian military base from Sevastopol in Crimea and instal their own NATO base their? And US simply is using EU as proxy to do a dirty job with someone else’s hands, like they have done in Libya and other countries?

      Also, with regards to your notion that EU ‘would certainly consider Ukraine as a member state’, I don’t know where you get such information from. Neither before the Kiev crisis, let alone now did EU give some promises that Ukraine can become a member state. Yes, EU is Washington’s lackey, but it is not suicidal. All talks were only about signing of Association Trade Agreement between Ukraine and EU, the same type of agreement that EU has with some African countries like Algeria, Tunis, even with Canada. Get your facts straight please.

    • ken il malti says:

      Fiat currency transfer is the least of the EU’s problem.

      When money can be generated out of thin air by those in control, bankrupting or enriching a nation can be accomplished with ease so it is not a problem.

      It is only a problem if these same ones in control want to make it a problem for their own nefarious reasons.

  10. rbrimmer says:

    What is there to understand? It’s worth temporarily subsidising a neighbouring country in order to avoid it becoming a failed or mafia-led state.

    Why do think Italy subsidised Malta for over two decades via the financial protocols, għax aħna gustużi?

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