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Top 5 Myths About U.S. Meddling in Ukraine

Published: May 17, 2014 (Issue # 1810)




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Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left many people scratching their heads when, during a Moscow news conference last month, he insisted that Russia is not meddling in Ukraine in any way. Meanwhile, Russian leaders and the state-controlled media have repeatedly criticized the U.S. for meddling in Ukraine and destabilizing the country.

Here are the top five Russian myths about U.S. meddling in Ukraine and why they hold no water:

1. The U.S. has no legitimate national interests in Ukraine.

First, the U.S. was a co-signer, along with Russia and Britain, of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for its giving up nuclear weapons. This alone provides Washington a legal, if not moral, imperative to support Kiev after its territorial integrity was violated during the Russian invasion of Crimea.

Russian troops had the legal right to be located at the Sevastopol naval base it rented from Ukraine, but they had no right to leave the base, tear off their insignias and assist the pro-Russian “local self-defense groups” across the entire Crimean peninsula when they seized government and military installations and installed a Kremlin-loyal prime minister.

Any referendum held in what was essentially a territory occupied by foreign troops is considered illegal and illegitimate by all international norms. This would be like U.S. troops leaving their base in Guantanamo Bay, seizing an adjacent Cuban province of 2 million people, taking over Cuban government buildings, installing a pro-U.S. leader there, and holding a referendum allowing the U.S. to annex the Cuban province. Any attempt to justify this annexation as “returning Cuban territory to the U.S. that was rightfully gained in the Spanish-­American war in 1898” would be dismissed as an absurd throwback to 19th-century colonialism.

Second, Ukraine is the sixth-largest European country by population and borders four NATO allies. The U.S. has a legitimate security obligation to help its NATO allies maintain stability in its own backyard. Any military conflict in Ukraine would have direct security implications for these four neighboring countries — and other NATO allies as well. The Baltic states, which were forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, and Poland, which has a long history of being a vassal of Moscow, have a particularly compelling interest in obtaining U.S. security guarantees if Russia further violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Romania, another NATO ally, will also look for U.S. support if the Ukrainian conflict spreads to the self-proclaimed Transdnestr republic.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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