Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Kiev with $1 billion in guaranteed American loans and the pledge of technical assistance according to a senior State Department official protocol briefing Tuesday morning.
The loan will help Ukraine’s efforts to integrate into the EU and the West. Since the Ukraine’s temporary government until elections are held May 25 will not have Russian subsidies for transport of natural gas through the Ukraine to EU countries in the West of Europe, it is in need of money. Russia supplies around 30% of Europe’s gas.
When President Viktor F. Yanukovych was ousted from power at the end of February he fled to Russia. It is alleged that there are ‘stolen assets’ in the billions that he has taken out of the country.
Since Yanukovych’s ouster Russia has placed its troops inside Crimea. According to Putin he claims that any Russian troops in in Crimea are for ‘self-defense’. At this point Russia has ‘de facto’ control of Crimea with 16,000 troops in the area.
‘My assessment is that it's unconstitutional overthrow and armed seizure of power,’ Putin told the press, according to the translation on Russia Today. ‘No one has challenged that.’
Tensions are high as early today warning shots were fired into the air at Belbek airbase near Sevastopol, the port city which is the base of Russia's Black Sea Fleetand. Ukrainian troops later marched away from the base.
The BBC reports this morning that two Ukrainian warships are reported to be blocked by a Russian ship in the port of Sevastopol.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton in the Spanish capital, Madrid, Tuesday morning.
The EU Energy Commissioner Guenther says that the EU is considering paying the $2 billion amount that Ukraine owes to Russia in order to end the situation, according to the BBC this morning.
Kerry plans to meet with the acting prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, and the acting president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, as well as leaders of the Rada, or Ukrainian parliament today.
Discussions will be support from The United States in loans and technical advice so that Ukraine might lodge complaints with the World Trade Organization if Russia would use trade as a political weapon.
Economic sanctions on Russia for its military intervention in Crimea will be discussed as it is imminent according to senior State Dept. official protocol briefing to reporters this morning of Kerry’s meeting agenda.
Obama’s administration has offered Putin a way out by suggesting that ‘international monitors’ be sent that to Ukraine to ensure that the rights of the Russian-speaking population are protected while Russian troops returned to their barracks. The plan has not been met with acceptance by Putin.
The issue still remains of the natural gas that flows to the EU countries from Russia through Ukraine and money owed to Russia.
As Kerry works with the Ukraine leaders today a senior American official states that, ‘the Russians are major holders of Ukrainian debt.’ ‘So in any scenario in which Ukraine is getting financial assistance, some of the money very likely is going to end up in the hands of Russian institutions. I think there is probably no way of avoiding that.’
To find more about the Ukraine situation see the list below in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article of Kerry's arrival in Ukraine and his visit to Independence Square with comments on the situation.
Twitter: Victoria Wagner@victoriaross888