The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and uncertainty associated with the actions and 'propaganda' of Vladimir Putin and pro-Russian separatists have forced the diplomatic hands of the United States, Ukraine, Russia, and the European Union.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine is "on the verge of civil war." The Kremlin said Putin made the comment in a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the situation there.
Despite much diplomatic effort, the situation in Ukraine worsens. A coordinated Russian campaign, including an invasion threat, special operations destabilization in eastern Ukraine patterned on the Crimea model, and warnings of gas cutoffs document ever more clearly Vladimir Putin’s aim to cripple the Ukrainian government and control much or even all of this strategically vital European country.
Immigration policy was the first weapon used to punish Vladimir Putin and his cronies following their Crimean consumption. Travel sanctions were imposed and U.S. visas denied to a handful of Putin colleagues with the intended message being: You are criminals and unwelcome in the United States.
Pro-Russian protesters have stormed government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities. In Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv they clashed with police, hung Russian flags from the buildings and called for a referendum on independence. Ukraine's acting president called an emergency security meeting in response.
Bush’s first art exhibition, titled "The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy," opens tomorrow at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas and features 30 oil-on-gesso-board portraits of foreign leaders painted by the president over the span of a year.
Halfway through an otherwise coherent conversation with a Georgian lawyer last week—the topics included judges, the court system, the police—I was startled by a comment he made about his country’s former government, led by ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. “They were LGBT,” he said, conspiratorially.
Moscow has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. His comments came after the US and Russian presidents discussed a possible diplomatic solution to the crisis. The US-backed plan calls for Russia to halt to its military build-up on the border with Ukraine and withdraw its troops in Crimea to their bases.