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RIA Novosti: Yushchenko slams Crimea NATO decision as "political speculation"


KIEV, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - A decision by regional lawmakers to declare Ukraine's Crimea region on the Black Sea a "NATO-free zone" is nothing but political speculation, the country's president said Tuesday.

Crimean legislators earlier Tuesday declared the peninsula a NATO-free zone after a U.S. cargo ship, Advantage, called at the Black Sea port of Feodosia on May 27 ahead of a NATO exercise, Sea Breeze 2006, sparking mass protests in the largely Russian-speaking area.

"This decision is yet more political speculation," Viktor Yushchenko said at a meeting with media executives. "It does not introduce any dramatic changes in Ukraine-NATO relations."

Yushchenko said Ukraine had a plan of cooperation with NATO, like Russia and other former Soviet republics.

"Implementation of the plan falls directly within the competence of the central authorities, government, parliament and president," he said.

In February, the previous Ukrainian parliament banned foreign troops from entering the country to take part in military exercises on Ukrainian soil. But Ukrainian prosecutors said the Advantage had not violated Ukrainian legislation.

"The Advantage, which delivered hardware and arms for a military exercise, is not a warship," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said. He also said that the troops on board the vessel had crossed into Ukraine unarmed and could not therefore be classified as a foreign military unit.

by blackhawk on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 07:37:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blackhawk, what is going on with the local authorities in Easter Ukraine? This come on the heels of their declaration of Russian as a "regional language".

Do these regions have the means to enforce these resolutions in any meaningful way, or are they just posturing?

How long before they declare themselves independent, like the Transdniester, or South Ossetia?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 07:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eastern, not Easter.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 07:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's not a first region declared NATO-free territory (at least Kharkov had done so).

They have constituency that does not support many of the current policies of the central government, and central government is not keen to listening or any sort of compromise. Those decisions at the moment are mostly a nuisance, but at the same time the push and desire for federalisation seems to be growing. Also at this moment central government is mostly disfunctional: massive purges after Orange revolution, the current cabinet is going to be reshuffled shortly, no coalition yet in the parliament and no constitutional court.

In this case, the central government itself seems to violate the laws and the constitution by admitting foreign troops. The previous parliament explicitly denied the conduct of the current NATO maneuveres, but the government allowed them to unload anyway (see a CYA passage in the story how arms/equipment and troops were separated and how supposedly it makes them civilians).

Any declaration of independence is impossible legally under current constitution and will be met with force, and I don't think any region will risk it at the moment. It's mostly protests now: in Crimea people are trying to block movements of US troops, businesses denying service to them, etc.

by blackhawk on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 08:44:10 AM EST
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You talk of a push to federalism and a dysfunctional central government. What level of self-government and what authority does a Ukrainian Oblast have, and how about the Crimean Autonomous Region and the cities of Kiev and Sebastopol?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 08:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

In general, for Oblast self-government is limited, and financing is coming mostly from Kiev. Whenever Oblast steps on state authority, state wins. The head of the Oblast is appointed by the President, and Rada (regional parliament) is elected. Kiev has an elected major presiding over elected Rada, Sebastpol has an appointed by the President major (if I'm not mistaken) and elected Rada.

Crimea is a parliamentary Republic with a Cabinet elected by the Supreme Rada (the parliament). Its laws can not contradict the laws of Ukraine.

by blackhawk on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 10:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do these regions have the means to enforce these resolutions in any meaningful way, or are they just posturing?
IMH(but educated)O, the biggest part of this is in reality pre-coalition posturing. The president's party, according to many sources, was ready to establish an "orange-blue" coalition, which would have incorporated Party of Regions (actual winner of the elections) into power in a meaningful way. It is said the plans were shelved at the US insistence. Therefore, the Party of Regions is trying to show to the president that marginalizing it would be painful: All of the regions which declared Russian the regional languages, plus Crimea, got Party of Regions as the dominant force in regional legislatures.

I guess that if PoR gets into the coalition, next year's NATO-Ukraine military games will happen quietly and nicely, as they did previously. Russian as a regional language might be the "fact on the ground" which would be hard to uproot de-facto, but equally impossible to make legal.

by Sargon on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 09:09:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! This old comment of yours makes more sense now.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 09:25:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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