Ukraine tells Russia to recognize new president
Ukraine tells Russia to recognize new president
The United States for its part acknowledged a “fundamental disagreement” with Russia and said President Barack Obama would extend his support to Petro Poroshenko when he meets the winner of the May 25 presidential election in Warsaw on Wednesday.
The months-long fight for future of the ex-Soviet nation — splintered between a more nationalist west and a heavily Russified southeast — has killed more than 300 people and resurrected the geopolitical barriers of the Cold War.
Ukraine’s separatist insurgency only intensified after 48-year-old billionaire chocolate maker Poroshenko won 54.7 percent of a ballot that was disrupted across swathes of the eastern rust belt.
Government forces reported suffering no casualties on Saturday while repelling two rebel attempts to recapture an airport in the eastern hub of Donetsk they had seized a day after the election at the cost of 40 fighters — most of them Russian nationals.
Ukraine’s acting foreign minister said Russia was now using every means at its disposal to unsettle the new Kiev leaders and regain control over its historic domain.
“Five days since elections, there has been no official recognition yet. Obviously, the Russian Federation doesn’t have legal grounds to question the election’s legitimacy,” Andriy Deshchytsya wrote in an opinion piece published in Saturday’s edition of the English-language Kyiv Post.
“The massive... information campaign Kremlin has launched these days, with an avalanche of doubletalk and fake news, signals one thing — this is Russia’s last chance to try shifting the balance of international public opinion,” he wrote.
Russia on Friday accused Ukraine of breaching the 1949 Geneva Conventions protecting civilians in wartime by killing and wounding peaceful citizens during its seven-week “anti-terrorist operation” in the separatist industrial regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.
And a furious information campaign unleashed by Moscow media portrays Kiev protesters as “fascists” and accuses the army of waging a “punitive operation” — the term once used to portray Nazi atrocities during World War II.
But Washington praised Ukraine for showing utmost “restraint” and accused the pro-Russian militias of “murder, kidnapping, and looting.” “We have a fundamental disagreement with the Russians about what the Ukrainian government is doing and the validity of their own right to maintain calm and order in their own country,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday voiced alarm over the sudden appearance of fighters from Russia’s war-ravaged region of Chechnya among the insurgents.
Psaki told reporters that “we do feel that there’s a Russian hand involved” in the Chechen gunmen’s entry into the fray.
But Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov said such charges were “absolutely untrue.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticized a suggestion by an official that an international monitoring body could withdraw its observer mission from Ukraine because of safety concerns, as shooting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels continued in the region on Saturday.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it lost contact on Thursday with a group of five monitors in separatist eastern Ukraine. Another four-member team has been held by eastern rebels since Monday.
Wolfgang Ischinger, the OSCE’s negotiator on national dialogue in Ukraine, told German broadcaster ZDF this week that the monitor mission might have to withdraw if the organization fears for its employees’ lives.
India, Pakistan foreign ministers to hold rare meeting
NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of arch-rivals India and Pakistan will hold a rare meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly underway in New York, officials in New Delhi said Thursday.
The announcement comes after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for a resumption of talks between the nuclear-armed foes.
High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare. Indian media described the slated meeting as the first in nearly three years.
India has long accused Pakistan of arming rebel groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both.
India also blames Pakistan for financing the deadly 2008 militant attacks in Mumbai.
A spokesman for India’s external affairs ministry said the New York tete-a-tete between Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi did not represent a shift in New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad.
“This does not indicate any change in our policy on cross-border terrorism,” spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters in the Indian capital.
The announcement comes as the already-fraught relationship between the rivals hit fresh roadblocks this week.
The death of an Indian border guard Wednesday in Kashmir provoked outrage, with New Delhi accusing Pakistani forces of mutilating his corpse.
“It was a barbaric incident that defies logic and civilized behavior. We will take it up with Pakistan in an appropriate manner,” Kumar said.
Navjot Sidhu, an Indian cricketer-turned-politician, earlier came under fire after returning from Pakistan where he was filmed hugging the country’s army chief.