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April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the US-Ukraine Observer:
Former U.S. Admiral and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet has observed that the Obama administration must strengthen ties with
Ukraine to prevent
Moscow from dragging
Ukraine into a "revised quasi-USSR relationship."
In his regular column in
The Washington Times, Admiral
James A. Lyons writes: "
Moscow is taking every opportunity to strong-arm
Ukraine back into its geopolitical and economic camp. The [recent] Black Sea maneuvers and economic pressures on
Kiev are from the same playbook. Rest assured, this is not a result of any provocation or unfriendliness from
Ukraine, which has gone out of its way to accommodate its larger neighbor. Predictably, the
Obama administration's response to
Moscow's strategic initiative has been one of passivity. With President Obama's recent cancellation of ballistic-missile defenses for
NATOEurope, could this be another indication of the 'flexibility' he promised to Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev in the fall of 2012? Instead of focusing on
Moscow's efforts to reabsorb
Ukraine in fact, if not in name, the U.S. State Department has given priority to pressuring
Kiev on issues relating to democracy, human rights and the rule of law areas in which problems exist, but where
Ukraine still stands head and shoulders over
Russia. Top among these is the demand that
Kiev release former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko, sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for negotiating the disadvantageous gas deal with the Russians in the first place."
Admiral Lyons concedes that
Ukraine's domestic shortcomings are a "valid concern," but urges the Obama administration to "reorder its priorities" so as to prevent any further
Moscow muscling of Kiev. "
Moscow's recent assertiveness took an alarming turn with the unannounced launch of significant naval operations by the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which took the militaries of other countries in the region completely by surprise," writes Admiral Lyons. "With no advance notice or apparent detection by our intelligence community, the
Obama administration was unaware of
Moscow's intentions until warships of the Black Sea Fleet suddenly sailed from their home port in Sevastopol. According to Russian media sources, naval forces taking part included more than 30 ships, more than 7,000 personnel, some 250 armored vehicles, around 50 artillery pieces and up to 20 fighter jets and helicopters," Admiral Lyons continues.
Washington Timescolumn, Admiral Lyons contends that energy remains
Moscow's greatest bargaining chip to exert policy pressure on Kiev. Admiral Lyons writes: "One of
Mr. Yanukovych's first moves as president was to extend for 25 years
Moscow's lease on
Sevastopol, in exchange for price concessions on Russian natural gas, on which
Ukraine depends. Even with that reduction, however,
Ukraine pays an unusually high price for Russian gas, which is looking even more unattractive in light of
Kiev's plans to exploit domestic shale-gas reserves in cooperation with Western companies using "fracking" technology.
James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
The Washington Times: "Russia Hungers for
Contact: US-Ukraine Observer,
Frank Abernathy, 615-290-5662,
SOURCE US-Ukraine Observer