The unfolding crisis in Ukraine and the chances of a Republican takeover of the Senate this November will dominate discussion on the Sunday network talk shows. With pro-Russian militants occupying government buildings in Eastern Ukraine, the tensions between Russia and the West are on the rise.
Posters and leaflets have appeared in Donetsk, Eastern Ukrainian, demanding Jews register, pay a new tax or leave, because of 'their support for the Kiev government'.
Since the Ukrainian army is not proving very effective against pro-Russian commandos in the East of the country, a prominent oligarch has adopted a strategy from the Wild West. He’s putting out “wanted” notices and offering cash rewards, hoping to inspire more effective action against those uniformed Russian-speaking soldiers without insignia, now known as “little green men,” who’ve been taking over government buildings and scoffing at government orders.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which has been given the job of helping end the unrest in eastern Ukraine, will need an extra 350 monitors on top of the 150 already in the country to accomplish the task, as well as Russian help in getting through roadblocks, the head of the organisation said on Friday.
A hundred years ago, World War I moved warfare into the skies. Today no nation regards its security as complete without an air force, and no serious future conflict will lack a cyber aspect, either. Russia and Ukraine apparently traded cyber attacks during the referendum on Crimea.
The fate of eastern Ukraine is being decided at gunpoint in this city, as pro-Russian separatists seize control with political cover from Moscow. But many of the locals are sticking their heads in the sand, having never grappled with the questions of identity this crisis raises.
Ukraine suspended the "active stage" of its "anti-terrorist operation" in the eastern part of its country today, citing the Easter holidays and Geneva Agreement as the reason, according to its Ministry of Defense.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Russia’s demand for Ukraine to settle gas debts is unconnected to the political situation in Ukraine, adding that he expects relations to improve with the West following the Geneva meeting.
The Ukrainian government said it will not attack pro-Russian separatists over the Easter weekend as its U.S. ally threatened Moscow with new sanctions if it fails to persuade the militants to surrender. The Kremlin denies having control over gunmen who want their eastern regions to follow Crimea in being annexed by Russia.
The extra Russian military forces at the border have been deployed in response to instability in Ukraine, the Kremlin has said. "We ... have forces in the region of the Ukrainian border. Some of these forces are based there permanently, others are there to reinforce, against the backdrop of what is happening in Ukraine itself," Dmitry Peskov, spokesman to Russian President Vladimir Putin told Rossiya 1 television.
Pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine on Saturday prepared to celebrate Orthodox Easter at barricades outside government offices seized in nearly a dozen cities, despite an international agreement to disarm and free the premises.
Speaking in an interview with state-run Rossiya television on Saturday, the Russian president said he hoped that relations between the Kremlin and the West would normalize by the end of this year. "I believe there is nothing preventing us from improving relations and from normal cooperation," Putin said. "This does not depend on us. Or not on us only. This depends on our counterparts," the president added.
A senior European Union official says he opposes cutting back gas ties with Russia in the next few years but the bloc should work on diversifying supplies. Russia is a major European gas supplier, and mounting tensions over Ukraine have raised concerns about possible disruption.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of being biased for failing to criticize Ukraine's ban on most Russian men from entering the country. The ministry said in a statement that it is "outrageous" that ODIHR has not reacted to the Ukrainian government's ban on most men aged 16-60 from entering Ukraine.
A majority of inhabitants in Ukraine's pro-Russian protest hub Donetsk do not want to join Russia but consider the government in Kyiv to be illegitimate, according to a poll published on Saturday. 52.2 percent of people questioned in the region, the focal point of separatist unrest that has seen pro-Moscow militants seize a string of towns, said they were against joining Russia while 27.5 percent favoured rule from Ukraine's former Soviet master Moscow.
Europe is warning Russian president Vladimir Putin of reputational harm if he shuts off the natural gas flow to the West, but judging by the behavior of western oil chiefs, he is secure if he dismisses the admonishment as so much noise.
Thursday's agreement to calm the crisis in eastern Ukraine already appears tenuous, as Washington and Moscow promptly began bickering over the deal's meaning. "We're looking at all of this skeptically," a senior administration official tells TIME.
Russia's foreign ministry on Saturday promised it would offer strong assistance to Ukraine to overcome its crisis, but emphasized that the ultimate responsibility for reducing tensions lies with Ukrainians rather than outsiders.
Ukraine's foreign minister has said that operations against pro-Russian militants in the east of the country have been suspended over Easter. Andriy Deshchytsia told the BBC the security services would resume military action if the separatists continued to occupy government offices.
The barricades that mark the entrance to the "Donetsk People's Republic" are plastered with anti-fascist posters, including an American flag with a swastika in place of the stars. The pro-Russian protestors who have set up their own government in the occupied administration building see the new Kyiv regime as dominated by intolerant Ukrainian nationalists, which is why it was more than a little ironic when an antisemitic flyer appeared on Wednesday ordering Jews to register with these new authorities.