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Andrei Akulov

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Victoria Nuland: The Bride At Every Wedding

Nuland Cookies

The United States increases pressure on Ukraine while preparing sanctions against the country. It sends a high-level State Department official to visit the country only a month after her previous visit. US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is going to Kiev on Thursday, February 6. The event is coordinated with the European partners. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will also visit Ukraine on February 5.

According to US State Department’s statement, in Kiev the Assistant Secretary will meet with government officials, opposition leaders, civil society and business leaders "to encourage agreement on a new government and plan of action that can put Ukraine back on track toward fulfilling the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for democracy, respect for human rights, European integration and economic growth." It means the US is to lend a helping hand only to the Ukrainians who want to associate with the EU. Those who don’t should be looking for support somewhere else. No taking sides and meddling, of course. That’s how democracy and impartiality are interpreted by the State Department.

The visit is taking place against the background of announcements from the White House that the US is reportedly readying financial sanctions that could be levied against Ukrainian government officials and opposition leaders. U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden has made at least three phone calls in recent weeks to press Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to accept forming a government akin to Western interests.
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US Expands Missile Defense Plans in Romania

NATO Russia

On October 28 Romanian President Traian Basesku, Romania's Minister of Defense Mircea Dusa, US Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, James Syring, director of the US Missile Defence Agency, and NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow attended the groundbreaking ceremony held on the territory of Deveselu military facility, a former air base located at 180 kilometers east of Bucharest, the Romania's capital. 

The move confirms that Romania has become one of Washington’s main security partners in Europe. "This is an historic occasion", Mr. Vershbow noted. 

A disused airfield is to be revamped and converted into a missile defence base which will remain under Romanian command to host an average of 200 US troops (up to a maximum of 500). The facility will be manned by U.S. Navy and civilian personnel with the Romanian military providing security.
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CIA Activities in Syria: Stepped Up Aid to Islamists

Syria Rebels

According to the Washington Post (CIA Ramping up Covert Training Program for Moderate Syrian Rebels, Oct.3), the CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria, as U.S. officials said. The newspaper reports the CIA’s mission has been defined by the White House’s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor.

As a result of this policy, US officials said, limits on the agency’s authorities enable it to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don’t lose but, not enough for them to win.

The Washington Post informs that US officials spoke on the condition of anonymity and said the agency has sent additional paramilitary teams to secret bases in Jordan in recent weeks in a push to double the number of rebel fighters getting CIA instruction and weapons before being sent back to Syria. The effort led by the CIA was described as an urgent bid to bolster moderate Syrian militias, which have been unable to mount a serious challenge to Assad. The CIA is “ramping up and expanding its effort”, said a U.S. official familiar with operations in Syria, because “it was clear that the opposition was losing, and not only losing tactically but on a more strategic level”…
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