Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

“Moscow is taking every opportunity to strong-arm Ukraine back into its geopolitical and economic camp” says Retired U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief

April 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, 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

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 NATO Europe, 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 Mr. Putin‘s 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.

In his Washington Times column, 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 Ukraine” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/12/russia-hungers-for-ukraine/#ixzz2ROB9LATd

Contact: US-Ukraine Observer, Frank Abernathy, 615-290-5662, usukraineobserver@gmail.com

SOURCE US-Ukraine Observer

Source: PR Newswire