We should have bothered to ask why Malta had such high-level meetings with Ukraine

Published: March 5, 2014 at 12:35am

Muscat Yanukovych

From the Ukrainian press service: photographs of the Maltese high level delegation, led by the prime minister and including the foreign minister and the prime minister’s best friend, Chris Cardona’s underling Edward Zammit Lewis.

Did we even ask what they were doing meeting Yanukovych and inviting him back to be decorated with a Gieh ir-Repubblika?

Watch this Ukrainian news report, from 3.30 onwards:

Well, that’s one Shiv Nair (“I never met him,” said the prime minister) engineered contact that has now gone up in smoke. Not that it matters – no doubt our government will see the troubles in Ukraine in terms of gains to be made from something or other, though not tourism this time.

39 Comments Comment

  1. Jozef says:

    The situation requires clarity and this government’s stand on Ukraine. The Opposition to demand the prime minister to refer all details to parliament immediately.

    Putin ordered test firing an ICBM this afternoon, ffs.

    • Kevin says:

      The test firing of the missile was a scheduled one and the US had been informed about it. Not that this changes the volatility of the situation. Indeed it might reinforce the idea that there had been Russian plans for escalating the matter all along.

      Our government should be very clear about its position. However it seems that it cannot given the shady deals that the MLP participated in to gain power.

      Little by little a worrying pattern is emerging: the MLP are ready to trade anything and everything including democratic ideals, ethics and morals for money. The leadership cares less. Most Maltese see this as progress because they too are motivated by nothing more than personal gain.

      I do not want my kids to grow up in such an amoral environment – Malta is no longer a safe haven.

  2. Gahan says:


    One in three women in Malta repeatedly harassed!

    How many times was the woman in the front page harassed, until she succumbed?

  3. Anthony says:

    To qualify for Gieh ir-Repubblika under Labour one has to be either a pariah or a scoundrel or, preferably, both.

    Meritocracy on an international level.


    • J. Borg says:

      No doubt for services rendered. Probably to the Labour Party. And now that it’s in government, it can make the people of Malta pay back the debt.

  4. Volley says:

    That’s why Joey is tight-lipped about Ukraine, because his friend Yanukovych is in trouble.

  5. Mr Meritocracy says:

    Off topic, but…


    “Times of Malta yesterday reported Henley Estates managing partner, Andrew Taylor, saying that much of the estate agents’ reaction – they described the proposed charges as “outrageous” – stemmed from the fact that “it is being overlooked” that the two companies operated separately.

    Henley Estates, which is independent of its sister company, Henley & Partners…”

    If the estate agencies believed that these two companies were not a sham and were separate from the start, then they deserve to have been conned and taken down this route.

    Anyone with two brain cells would have been able to read into this.

    Alas, money – or the lack thereof, in this situation – talks.

  6. Manuel says:

    No wonder his government did not release any statements about Ukraine.

    If people think that the next election is going to be a smooth ride for the PN, they are mistaken.

    Who knows what Football-Crazy-Joey has in mind? He managed to deceive the electorate about the Passport-Shame-Scheme, so what is going to stop him to secretly plan strategies to be deceitful in the process of the next general elections.

    After all, his friends Putin, Yanukovych and the Azerbaijan Despot are experts in this field.

    • albona says:

      Muscat managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate on many issues, not just the passport scam.

      Their whole modus operandi runs like a river of deceipt right through the PL.

    • Jozef says:

      Erm, getting this thing in for maintenance.

      And how, pray, does this it fit into any hangar we have on the island?

      i mean it could, with hindsight, pack gensna and take us elsewhere.


      Think big, think Labour.

  7. pablo says:

    After the first year of his premiership, Muscat is slowly emerging from the darkness into the light of day. The striking feature is his adversity to anything long term. An accomplished opportunist, he tries to take advantage of the moment. His infamous call as leader of the opposition for us to soak up the tourist market lost to the unrest and human suffering in Egypt and North Africa was an early manifestation of his view on the world.

    The European Union served him well both personally in his life and now as premier, and yet, that part of national policy has been traded for a quick buck and loss of national prestige and reputation in the long run. He has learnt to network across the globe using totalitarian leaders introduced to him by Shiv Nair and on the advice of Dalli, he has reached out with both hands to the millionaire oligarchs club using a notoriously predatory offshore firm in Henley & Partners.

    At home, he won an election on the promise of cheaper bills and new style of governance. He will deliver on the first even if he has to subsidise Enemalta to the hilt out of taxpayers money and this regardless of the risk to life and limb down in Marsascala. That risk is too far into the future for him to care about. As for good governance, it is clear that the man has no intention of being any less corrupt than the worst of his predecessors.

    The short term magician is only seeing the success of the Labour Party at the next MEP election. He knows that the money will keep pouring in to the Labour Party as long as he looks like being there for ten years, but in reality, he is not yet concerned with a second term. The opportunist is not a carer of the land. He is a hunter gatherer and when the land is finally laid bare, he simply moves on to another place. This is essential in understanding him. When he comes out with words like “globalisation” he means it in the context of this innate opportunism that directs him to immediate rewards and to hell with the consequences.

    The self-styled “economist” is also a master of hype that he picked up during his years as a party hack reporter. His political morality is based upon the old adage of a week being a long time. His downfall is his inability to see himself as others see him. His repetitive and predictable language is starting to wear thin. We are now starting to realise that most of the time his words amount to nothing and that on some occasions do not even convey any understandable point. They are words played out to confuse the listener and to impress those who are already impressed.

  8. Nik says:

    Who’s the large man next to George Vella? Presumably Malta’s ambassador? Certainly not a career man.

  9. Tabatha White says:

    One would need to ask what the common product between GNC and Russia could be that is also of bi-lateral interest and possibly providing the nature of cargo on these planes.

    Is the Malta government and it’s special now-invisible envoy Nair also into arms provision and supply?

    Do the profit margins justify the end-objective?

    Were such dealings, via Putin’s contacts, with the deposed Yanukovitch registered or lateral if not bi-lateral dealings?

  10. tania says:

    I know I am out of subject but I need to voice my opinion somewhere about the PM’s sexist attitude to the President- elect simply because she is a woman. It seems that all he wants of Mrs Coleiro Preca is to act as a glorified social worker and fundraiser.

    What about state visits and her constitutional role as President? Is this the prerogative of men? Or will she be acting as First Lady whilst Mr Preca will be representing our country in a reversal of roles. How is Mrs Coleiro Preca standing for this?

  11. kev says:

    Answer: Because it was the legitimate government, democratically elected in 2010, unlike the current EU-IMF-US appointed oligarchs that act as a post-coup, interim puppet-government led by the former IMF-appointed central banker.

    But worry not, the US zombie stooge that goes by the name of Kerry has promised a legitimate government after new elections are held in 90 days. These elections will no doubt be free and fair.

    Sadly for the West, the lie that Russia invaded Ukraine failed to impress. You see, those thousands of Russian troops are stationed in Ukraine by treaty. Other thousands changed allegiance because they did not want to serve the devil, while the autonomous republic of Crimea declared itself, well, autonomous.

    • rbrimmer says:

      Did the treaty provide for the Russians troops to surround Ukrainian bases in Crimea? Will referenda/elections in Crimea, under the ‘protection’ of Russian troops, be more free than those in the rest of Ukraine, which is monitored by many more international observers (press and otherwise)?

      Everyone is aware there are few black and white scenarios, but unfortunately too many are incapable of distinguishing between very different of shades of grey. Yet others, like yourself, mistake being contrarian for originality and/or insight.

      • Claudine Borg says:

        Considering that fact that 80% of citizens in Crimea are Russians, it’s not difficult to predict with whom they want to belong (obviously with Russia), and it is a given fact even without a Referendum. So, your doubts whether referendum in Crimea would be fair or not are completely irrelevant.

  12. Natalie2 says:

    always on the wrong side of the fence with Labour

  13. Cikku says:

    Ilu jberren f’moħħi l-ħsieb li sa elezzjoni oħra, lanqas elezzjoni ma nagħmlu għax inkunu twikkejna b’dittatorjat għal dejjem.

    Nittama li dan li qed naħseb (il-Bambin jilliberana) ma jiġrix…. imma mhux jekk se nibqgħu niċċassaw u nħallu kollox għaddej qisu mhux xejn.

    Kieku mhux għal din il-blog ħafna affarijiet qed jibqgħu mistura. Għaliex? x’inhu jaħmi l-gvern minn wara dahar il-poplu? Kemm ġejna sew. F’darna u lanqas nafu x’inhu għaddej.. fejn sejrin u fejn se nispiċċaw.

  14. Jozef says:


    ‘…Għal darb’oħra, filwaqt li fil-maġġoranza kbira tal-pajjiżi tal-Unjoni Ewropea u taż-Żona Ewro l-bejgħ mill-ħwienet żdied, sfortunatament Malta hi waħda mill-ftit fejn kien reġistrat tnaqqis. Dan jgħodd kemm meta mqabbel ma’ Diċembru 2013, kif ukoll meta t-tqabbil isir ma’ Jannar 2013. Skont l-istatistika tal-Eurostat, il-bejgħ f’Jannar 2014 fl-UE żdied b’0.9%, filwaqt li fiż-Żona Ewro żdied b’1.6% fil-mija meta mqabbel ma’ Diċembru 2013. Madankollu, f’Malta dan naqas b’1%. Malta kellha t-tieni l-akbar tnaqqis fil-kummerċ minn fost l-istati membri kollha…..’

    An open economy registers trust, or lack of, in its government before matters even crystallise.

    Democracy in the form of a tested social pact and economic data go hand in hand.

  15. kev says:

    Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape


    • Harry Purdie says:

      Always RT, Kevvy? I genuinely wish you would launch your own TV network. ‘Kevvy TV’.
      Would be a regular viewer. Need the laughs.

      • kev says:

        The Estonian foreign minister is heard telling the EU foreign commissioner that evidence suggests the Maidan snipers were hired by the US-EU backed opposition and all Purdie can say is he needs ‘Kevvy TV’ to have a laugh.

        The mainstream media had been quick to blame the atrocities on Yanukovych, but it turns out to be yet another unearthed false-flag operation, Gladio style.

        Still, Purdie needs his laugh so here’s a Jester’s take on the leak: http://www.infowars.com/leaked-phone-call-kiev-snipers-hired-by-us-backed-opposition/

      • Claudine Borg says:

        You are wondering why Always RT, Harry Purdie?

        Maybe because no other news media have reported a news about leaked tapes of Catherine Ashton? This kind of news should form head lines of all respectful news papers at the moment and should create an effect of nuclear bomb. Instead, the western media pretends they didn’t hear it!

        Even local media, such as Times of Malta is blocking my comments every time I try to say anything about this particular leaked tapes or provide a link to rt.com. So much for freedom of speech!

  16. kev says:

    Russia’s 25,000-troop allowance & other facts you may not know about Crimea


  17. Jozef says:


    ‘…Case officer Michelle Piccinino is recommending the approval of the application which includes a 30-metre high, 285-metre long and 44-metre wide storage vessel known as a Floating Storage Unit anchored to an eight-metre high jetty platform.

    It also includes three new 75-metre high and three 30-metre high chimneys.

    Gas tankers will supply the FSU eight to 12 times a year. According to the report, the Transport Authority has concluded that there is sufficient room within the port for these operations.

    The report fails to point the exact distance between the gas storage vessel and the existing power station, but states that it will be located at “the farthest possible distance from the plant”…..’

    ‘…The report reveals that the option of locating both the regasification plant and the storage vessel 12 km offshore was discarded because the mooring of this vessel outside Marsaxlokk Bay would represent an obstacle to shipping. It also warns that severe sea situations outside Marsaxlokk Bay would reduce the ability of the vessel to receive fuel from supply carriers and thus threaten the stability of supply…’

    When Bush and Gorbachev came to Malta, the sea was so rough INSIDE the bay that both ships moored outside the bay.

    ‘….While excluding the offshore location favoured by 91% of Marsaxlokk residents interviewed in the social impact assessment, the case officer claims that this option is not being completely set aside. The report claims that technological developments could make the offshore option a viable one in the future.

    It also claims that the government still actively pursuing the possibility of having a gas pipeline link to mainland. In such cases, the FSU can be shipped away to make way for the long-term solution….’

    Really, how come EU funding is simply at standstill then? as for the option not completely set aside, ok, die now, save later.

    Maltatoday then carries on about survivability in thousands of years, when what they’re quoting is what’s been allowed to the general public in the OHSA report still under wraps.

    Look at this gem of a doublespeak.

    ‘…The case officer report refers to the conclusions of a report by Dr George Papadakis, commissioned by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority, which identifies three zones where the development of the energy facilities will not pose a danger to neighbouring residences and other developments.

    The risk of an accident in first zone can occur between once in 100,000 years and once every 200,000 years. In another zone the risk of an accident occurring is between once in 200,000 years and once in a million years. Beyond the contours of this zone the risk falls to less than once in a million years.

    But the same report advices against locating hospitals, homes for elderly and dense development within the contours of these three zones.

    On the other hand, the OHSA report advises against the development of energy facilities in an area where an accident is likely to occur once in every 10,000 years or more…..’

    Note that the zones aren’t specified, nor are;

    1. the risk in having that ship, well past its service life, and definitely not designed to the function they intend,

    2. external factors, (how does one expect that tanker to beat the swell without major strain on its hull?) ignored, perversely used, ironically, to justify the decisions, (the sea’s rough both outside and inside the bay if there’s no real protection),

    quantified or qualified as risks themselves. Perhaps the only risk here is not being able to carry out this thing on time. I see major panic in the design taking shape.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Jozef, may I assume that you’re being polite, and are really describing a floating time bomb?

      • Jozef says:

        Trying to be moderate and progressive Harry, not negative and isolated.

        Meantime, I’m shopping for a portable generator.

  18. mc says:

    On another subject. From the Times: “The planning authority has not taken into consideration a proposal to have the controversial LNG tanker located outside Marsaxlokk Bay despite the suggestion having been made out of deep safety concerns during public consultation.”


    Environmental Impact Assessments are required to consider alternative sites. I stand to be corrected but this is a requirement not only of Maltese legislation but also of the EU’s EIA Directive. This requirement was always rigorously applied by MEPA.

    By not considering alternatives sites, MEPA is cutting corners. The quality of the eventual decision will be compromised. More crucially, failure to consider alternative sites may be in breach of EU’s Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment.

  19. Claudine Borg says:

    News of the day: Leaked phone conversation of Catherine Ashton (EU foreign affairs chief).
    From this conversations it appears that snipers that were killing peaceful protestors and police force in Kiev were hired by opposition leaders and not by president Yanukovich. The same opposition leaders that EU/US brought to power in Kiev. What a scandal!


    [Daphne – What Catherine Ashton actually says to the suggestion is “Gosh, that’s interesting.” I have no time or appetite for a mini-class in idiomatic British English and the meaning of ‘that’s interesting’. Look it up. Oh, and you’re quoting Russia Today.]

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Daphne, watched that session on RT. It really is enjoyable how they use American correspondents. Reminds me of ‘The Manchrian Candidate’.
      Today one of them bolted and dumped on the Ruskies. She has beeen send to Crimera. Figures.

      • albona says:

        RT and Al Jazeera claim to be so groundbreaking in their neutrality but really they are worse than CNN and BBC.

        Yesterday I saw a ‘discussion’ on Al Jazeera which left me perplexed. Regardless of your views on the matter the format of the programme was interesting. It was a discussion about laws that they are trying to introduce in some states of the US where conscientious objection will no longer be allowed.

        Under current laws a photographer who refuses to be contracted at a same-sex wedding can be prosecuted for example – this has already happened and the law is applied to various situations.

        The discussion consisted of 3 homosexual pastors versus one heterosexual pastor. The programme moderator muzzled the latter pastor and even forbade him from quoting the Bible. They gave most of the speaking time to the former three and ‘Alla jbierek’ all the comments they received on Twitter and other social media were all one-sided stacked against the conservative pastor. I doubt they’d have done the same if he had quoted the Koran.

        Listen to the accents. Most of them are has-been journalists, South Africans obviously doing it tough in SA and accepting positions with the channel; people wanting to kickstart their careers; anti-semites and anti-Americans.

      • albona says:


        It was a discussion about laws that they are trying to introduce in some states of the US where conscientious objection will now be allowed, whereas under current laws this is not permitted.

    • Another John says:

      Albona: why put Al Jazeera into the mix? We are talking about the goings on in Ukraine. These goings-on are being scrutinised daily by major western media organizations as well as by Russia Today in English.

      Everyone has a right to listen to different views/lies. It is a media/info war out there and every media organization has its own agenda. Then we draw our conclusions.

  20. Another John says:

    The US/EU has backed the coup d’état in Ukraine and the consequent removal of Yanukovich based on the premise that Yanukovich ordered the police to shoot upon peaceful protesters.

    If there is proof that this was not so, one does not expect that the EU just says ‘Gosh, that’s interesting’, and then brushes it aside. Should a proper investigation be started by the EU because this is a war crime?

    But instead the EU big heads are calling for an urgent meeting tomorrow in Brussels to ask each member state to contribute towards a bail-out package for this criminal government in Kiev.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Well, what can I say?

      If I were to start a protest and camp out in Castille Square tomorrow morning, and then build barricades and get violent and get my MPs to declare that Joseph Muscat is no longer prime minister, then name one of my friends as interim PM, what would Catherine Ashton say?

      The point which the EU and the US seem to be missing, and which Russia hasn’t been explaining properly (possibly because of the fog of translation) is that a peace agreement, which included a return to the 2004 constitution, was signed by Yanukovych, three EU foreign ministers (Poland, France and Germany), and the Ukrainian opposition on 21st February. It never said anything about the removal of Yanukovych.

      Russia isn’t making this point clearly enough, and is now confusing the issue with this Crimea business. And the EU has conveniently disregarded this agreement signed by three of its own envoys.

      If we can learn anything from this, it’s that EU foreign policy is a shambles, and that Catherine Ashton should be replaced.

      In addition, the EU needs to establish a separate department, with its own Commissioner, for relations with Russia. And I mean at all levels, starting with cultural awareness. Because if we don’t understand our neighbours, we’ll be at war two or three years down the line. This isn’t about surrendering to Russia. It’s about learning to coexist. I find it insulting that the EU spends more on building cultural bridges and establishing proper relations with North Africa, the Gulf and the Middle East, and then just dusts off the Cold War instruction booklet when it comes to Russia.

      Why not start by having a Russian-speaking EU envoy to Russia and Eastern Europe? There’s plenty of professionals with the right credentials in the Baltic states.

      • Another John says:

        Good ideas and reasoning. The only drawback: is the EU’s ‘foreign policy’ dictated by someone else?

  21. Another John says:

    @H.P. Baxxter. It’s not exactly that Russia hasn’t been explaining properly that EU (Germany, France and Poland representatives) has broken agreement of 21 February signed by Yanukovich, and whereas he agreed to all demands of opposition for the sake of keeping peace in his country and preventing it from breaking into pieces. In fact Russia is shouting about it at every corner, at each UN council, at each official press conference, even at his last press conference the other day Putin stressed the matter. Another thing is that EU tries to ignore and not to answer those questions and our mass media are blocking all information about this matter.
    As for the need to establish closer ties with Russia, I totally agree with you. But it is not going to happen in the near future at least. Our un-elected EU ruling elite is an American puppet, and the American interest is to prevent EU forming closer ties (political and economic) with Russia at all costs. One of the reasons the whole Ukrainian crisis was instigated by US is to create confrontation between Russia and EU, especially Germany, whose politicians were making attempts to break free from American dictatorship and seeking closer ties with Russia. Joined Russia and Germany/EU is an American nightmare

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