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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Liveblog Day 213

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Jets Violate Swedish Airspace, 2 Bombers Escorted Away From Latvia
Just moments ago we reported that two Russian Su-24 bombers crossed into Swedish airspace. Now Latvia is reporting that they had to scramble jets to escort two Su-24s back into Russian territory:

Latvian Public Broadcasting reports:

NATO Baltic Air Police (BAP) jets took to the skies Thursday to intercept two Russian Sukhoi SU-24 bombers near the boundary of Latvia's territorial waters in the Baltic Sea, the National Armed Forces (NBS) reported in a tweet.


It is not known whether these were the same Su-24s, or a different pair of Russian aircraft.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Aircraft Reportedly Violate Swedish And Ukrainian Airspace
Another escalation over the skies of eastern Euorpe:

The report says that two Russian Su-24s entered Swedish airspace at noon today. According to the source in the armed forces, the aircraft made a deliberate turn into Swedish airspace, flew several miles, then made a deliberate turn out of Swedish airspace, which has given the source in the Swedish military the impression that this was a deliberate act.

The meeting happened while the Swedish military and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt were discussing Sweden's response to Russian aggression and their larger strategy in the region. This is likely not a coincidence. Bildt has been a vocal critic of Russian interference in Ukraine, has been a strong proponent of a more robust response from the West, and has become one of the favorite targets for pro-Kremlin media and trolls.

The Ukrainian government is also reporting Russian aircraft, drones, violating Ukraine's airspace today, though this is much less unusual -- reports of Russian drones operating in Ukraine are a daily occurrence. 


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Poroshenko Warns Of Discrimination Against Tatars In Crimea

While Poroshenko called upon the US to take specific actions, particularly the arming of the Ukrainian military and the designation of Ukraine as a highest-level non-NATO ally, Poroshenko also spoke at length about the plight of the Crimean Tatars. Ukraine, Poroshenko explained, could not simply allow Russia to take Ukraine. While Poroshenko said that there was clearly no military solution to the "Crimean problem," he said that it was vital that Crimea be reunited with Ukraine:

"Allow me to also say this: there is no way, at no price, and under no condition, that we will ever put up with Crimea’s occupation.

Ending the occupation and annulling the annexation is not only an integral precondition to a full normalization of relations between Ukraine and Russia.

It is also an integral precondition to Crimea’s prosperity and modernization!"

See the entire video here:

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Poroshenko Asks US For Arms, Highest Level of Non-NATO Alliance
Poroshenko began his talk to a joint session of US Congress with a a note of gratitude and humility. He said that the symbolism of the unification of the houses of Congress was the symbol of America's support for Ukraine.

But Poroshenko then turned to the Maidan revolution in February. He said that the ultimatly Washington, and of the Maidan revolution, are symbols of freedom. He spoke about the bravery of the protesters who stood up to the well armed and well trained riot police belonging to the the previous government (police, many of whom were trained in Russia).

Poroshenko continued with his timeline of the conflict. The spirit of Imperial Russia is back, he said, as Russia has annexed Crimea and has invaded eastern Ukraine.

"The International system of checks and balances has been effectively ruined," Poroshenko said, returning it to the state of uncertainty that hasn't existed since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

"We need your support."

This is not just Ukraine's war, Poroshenko said. "This is Europe and America's war, too. This is a war for the free world. For. The. Free. World."

To hold back Russia, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are fighting. 70 have died since the ceasefire started, Poroshenko says.

Then Ukraine's president said that his soldiers "urgently need" military supplies, "lethal and non-lethal."

"We cannot win a war with blankets. Even more importantly, we cannot keep the peace with blankets."

Poroshenko says that Ukraine's struggle now is like America's historical struggle. "Ukraine's choice was the same as America's. Freedom. Democracy. And the rule of law."

Then Poroshenko asked for something interesting, special status which would give Ukraine the highest level of military support open to a non-NATO ally.

Poroshenko also asked for stronger sanctions. Sanctions are symbolicly important as well as important tools. Then Poroshenko admitted that he understood the toll that wars have taken on Western economies, but he stressed the need to continue to guard against threats to the security of the world, like Russia's aggression.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko Speaks To US Congress
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is in Washington, D.C., and is speaking to a joint session of both houses of the United States Congress (watch the live stream here):

But not only is Poroshenko fighting a war, he's also trying to reform his government and revitilize his nation's economy, two major demands of the revolution that toppled that last president, and the war in the east is diverting much of that energy. Brian Dooley reports for The Hill:

The crisis in Ukraine presents the greatest threat to European stability since the end of the Cold War and ranks as a major priority for Washington. Poroshenko needs to hear this week in Washington that the U.S. government both understands the difficulties of the shooting war and expects democratic reform. A Ukraine that promotes human rights and the rule of law is in in the best interests of both the region and the United States. A Ukraine that doesn’t make space for new politics to breathe is more likely to be volatile.

Human rights activists in Ukraine kept telling me that now is the country’s best, and maybe last, chance to get things right. Ukraine can’t afford to win the war in the east but lose its shot at democracy.

But The Interpreter's editors have recently traveled to Kiev and spoken to members of the Ukrainian government. Reform efforts are largely under way. Ukraine is meeting its obligations to the IMF, and has hired top-level administrators who are developing and implementing strategies to combat corruption.

But there are two fundamental problems. The first problem is that much of Ukraine's corruption was legal corruption -- a system of kickbacks and top-skimming which was written right into the law. This means that each instance of corruption needs to be combated by rewriting the laws and replacing them with functional systems. The second key problem is that the government is filled with people who have either never been part of government before or who were actually part of the former government, and there's no fast way to continue to operate the country while simultaneously getting rid of the "bad apples." Reform, therefore, is a slow and surgical process, but many experts do believe that Ukraine, despite all of its significant problems, is largely on track.

Time will tell, of course, whether that remains the case.
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