March 8, 2014
10.10 In their telephone conversation, Russian foreign secretary Sergei Lavrov warned US Secretary of State John Kerry against taking “hasty and unthought-through steps capable of causing harm to Russian-US relations”.
09.55 Digging their heels in, Andriy Deshchytsia, Ukraine’s acting foreign minister has said his country would not give up Crimea and would do all in its power to resolve the crisis over the Black Sea peninsula peacefully. Earlier in the week, Crimea’s parliament voted unanimously to be part of Russia, bringing forward to March 16 a referendum on whether to leave the Ukraine.
09.42 A Pentagon research team is studying the body language of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other foreign leaders to better predict their behaviour, officials said yesterday. The project, previously conducted under the State Department, is now backed by the Defence Department’s Office of Net Assessment. Putin’s psychological profile was last updated in 2012. Advocates of such studies argue that it could help US officials anticipate the Russian leader’s actions after he ordered troops into neighboring Ukraine, taking control of the semi-autonomous Crimean Peninsula, which has led to tensions with the West reaching levels not seen since the Cold War. Pentagon analysts have studied about 15 foreign leaders including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
09.36 Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said in a press conference this morning that the Ukrainian government was taking orders from extremists while continuing to deny Moscow had any direct role in the crisis in Crimea.
“The interim government… is not independent. It depends, unfortunately, on radical nationalists who carried out an armed coup.”
09.30 Damien McElroy, our correspondent in Donetsk, says numbers are growing at a pro-Russia rally in Leninin Square. It is an attempt to revive support after the demonstrators leader, Pavel Gubarev, was arrested and taken in custody to Kiev. He can hear the crowd chanting “Freedom for Gubarev”.
09.22 Nick Clegg has given an interview to the Guardian today, in which he says Putin has seemingly been in the “deep freeze” since the Cold War and is applying its outdated KGB mentality in Ukraine. He said Putin was applying “yesterday’s divisions and arguments to today’s problems” and urged the Russian leader to engage in a “civilised discussion” with the new government in Kiev.
“Putin’s reaction is very revealing. It’s as if he’s been in a sort of deep freeze since the Cold War and hasn’t moved with the times. He gives every appearance of applying a KGB mentality rooted in the Cold War to new realities in 21st-century Europe.”