Hagel, Ukrainian Counterpart Reestablish Contact in Wake of Peace Deal

Officials said earlier this week that U.S. phone calls to top security officials weren’t being answered.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens to a speaker before testifying on Syria to the House Armed Services Committee on September 10, 2013.
National Journal
Feb. 21, 2014, 1:59 p.m.

Ukrain­i­an De­fense Min­is­ter Pavlo Lebedev prom­ised De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel on Fri­day that the coun­try’s mil­it­ary won’t be used against pro­test­ers — a key con­cern for U.S. of­fi­cials as ten­sions es­cal­ated over the past week.

The phone call came after U.S. State and De­fense de­part­ment of­fi­cials said earli­er this week that they had been un­able to reach seni­or se­cur­ity-force lead­ers, in­clud­ing Lebedev. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press sec­ret­ary, said Thursday that Hagel had been try­ing to con­tact Lebedev dir­ectly.

A seni­or State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day that they were “par­tic­u­larly con­cerned “¦ by the chan­ging of the guard” at the mil­it­ary bar­racks.

But Lebedev said the de­ploy­ment of the coun­try’s armed forces “has been fo­cused on pro­tect­ing de­fense fa­cil­it­ies and equip­ment, and that his forces would not use arms against the Ukrain­i­an people,” ac­cord­ing to a readout from Kirby.

The con­ver­sa­tion fol­lows an an­nounce­ment from Ukrain­i­an Pres­id­ent Vikt­or Ya­nukovych that a peace agree­ment has been reached with op­pos­i­tion forces. The peace deal in­cludes a res­tor­a­tion of the 2004 con­sti­tu­tion, which the par­lia­ment has already en­acted; the form­a­tion of a na­tion­al unity gov­ern­ment; and con­sti­tu­tion­al re­forms, in­clud­ing a new con­sti­tu­tion, to be com­pleted by Septem­ber, the State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said.

Though the deal marks a sharp turn from the vi­ol­ence this week that left ap­prox­im­ately 77 people dead, the of­fi­cial ad­ded that it “is a very, very fra­gile agree­ment des­pite the pro­cess.” The two sides had called for a truce on Wed­nes­day, but that was quickly dis­rup­ted by an­oth­er wave of fight­ing.

Pres­id­ent Obama also spoke with Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin on Fri­day. Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, a bulk of the call was on the Ukraine and was “con­struct­ive,” with both sides agree­ing that the deal needs to be im­ple­men­ted quickly and pledging to stay en­gaged.

White House spokes­man Jay Car­ney praised the deal, say­ing, “We sup­port the ef­forts of all those who ne­go­ti­ated this agree­ment, com­mend the cour­ageous op­pos­i­tion lead­ers who re­cog­nized the need for com­prom­ise, and of­fer the sup­port of the United States in its im­ple­ment­a­tion.”

But Car­ney warned that the United States re­mains “pre­pared to im­pose ad­di­tion­al sanc­tions as ne­ces­sary.”

A bi­par­tis­an group of sen­at­ors called earli­er this week for sanc­tions against Ukra­ni­an of­fi­cials tied to the re­cent crack­down, and For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Bob Cork­er said Fri­day that the United States “should have sanc­tions ready in case there is re­newed vi­ol­ence or Ya­nukovych’s gov­ern­ment fails to pro­ceed in good faith.”

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion on Wed­nes­day blocked ap­prox­im­ately 20 Ukrain­i­an of­fi­cials, who it says are tied to the gov­ern­ment’s re­cent crack­down, from ob­tain­ing a visa to travel to the United States.

What We're Following See More »
BUT NOT SUBMITTED THEM
Trump Says He's Completed Answers to Mueller's Questions
1 days ago
THE LATEST
BUT DESANTIS APPEARS TO HAVE LOCKED UP GOVERNOR'S RACE
Florida Senate Race Heads to Hand Recount
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Following a five-day machine recount of the more than 8.3 million votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered hand recounts Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott." Meanwhile, the "race for governor, which also went through a machine recount, was outside the margins that trigger a manual recount as new tallies came in, making Republican former congressman Ron DeSantis the governor-elect a full nine days after Democrat Andrew Gillum first conceded."

Source:
ORANGE COUNTY IS NOW TOTALLY BLUE
Mimi Walters Is the Latest GOP Incumbent to Go Down
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"In another blow to California Republicans reeling from defeats in the Nov. 6 election, Democrat Katie Porter has ousted GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in an upscale Orange County congressional district that was a longtime conservative bastion." Every district within the county is now held by a Democrat.

Source:
POLIQUIN STILL CHALLENGING RANKED-CHOICE VOTING
Poliquin Loses in Maine's 2nd District
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Democrat Jared Golden has defeated Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting for a congressional race, according to state election officials. The Democrat won just over 50 percent of the vote in round one of ranked-choice voting, meaning he’ll be the next congressman from the 2nd District unless Poliquin’s legal challenges to the voting system prevail. A Golden win in the 2nd District, which President Donald Trump carried in 2016, mean Democrats have picked up 35 seats in the House."

Source:
IF SHE AGREES TO RULES REFORMS
Republicans Could Back Pelosi in Speaker Vote
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said he and some other Republicans are committed to backing Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker if she agrees to enact a package of rule reforms. Reed, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said the growing frustration with gridlock, polarization and a top-heavy leadership approach in Congress are the reasons why several members in his party are willing to supply Pelosi with some Speaker votes in exchange for extracting an overhaul of the House rules." The caucus wants to fast-track any legislation with support of two-thirds of members, and require a supermajority to pass any legislation brought up under a closed rule.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login