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Putin and Poroshenko Square Off Over Ukraine

Published: June 11, 2014 (Issue # 1815)


President Vladimir Putin has not shied away from expressing his preferences about the future of Ukraine, suggesting the country should refrain from federalization and joining Western political and military alliances in order to give more power to the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine and normalize relations with Russia.

These hopes appear to have been quickly dispelled last week following inconclusive meetings with Western leaders in Normandy and a strongly worded inaugural address by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in which he rejected the Kremlins informal conditions for stabilizing relations with Kiev.

Poroshenko said on Saturday that Ukraine will not compromise on Crimea, [the countrys] European choice and state structure, expressing resistance on issues of importance to Moscow.

Yesterday, in the course of our meeting in Normandy, I told President Putin, Crimea is Ukrainian soil. Period! Poroshenko added.

Putin also came away empty-handed from his exchanges with U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande on June 6, having received no reassurances that Russias informal demands would be considered.

Meanwhile on Monday, Ukrainian security forces and pro-Russian separatists exchanged fire in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, which has been at the heart of confrontations in the region. Russian media outlets reported that two civilians were killed on Monday morning by Ukrainian military strikes.

While Russian officials continue to vehemently deny involvement in the clashes in eastern Ukraine, Russian state-run television has unleashed a vilifying campaign against Poroshenko on its news and analytical programs.

Russias state-owned Channel One featured a physiognomist and psychologist on its Sunday broadcast who claimed Poroshenkos facial expressions suggested he becomes different when speaking with U.S. President Barack Obama and that he is selective, capricious and calculating. A news report published on the channels website on Sunday said that everyone knows Poroshenko is cynically lying.

The views expressed on Russias state-owned television networks have seemingly taken hold of the population.

A poll published by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center on Monday found that 43 percent of Russians think Poroshenko represents the interests of the U.S. and the European Union. The survey, based on the opinions of a representative sample of 1,600 adults across 42 Russian regions, showed that one in every five Russians believes the new Ukrainian leader represents the interests of fascists, nationalists and banderites. A mere 6 percent said Poroshenko represented the interests of western and central Ukraine.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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