A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests Obama Was Plotting Coup

A short-lived truce has broken down in Ukraine as street battles have erupted between anti-government protesters and police. Last night the country’s embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis. But hours later, armed protesters attempted to retake Independence Square, sparking another day of deadly violence. At least 50 people have died since Tuesday in the bloodiest period of Ukraine’s 22-year post-Soviet history.

While President Obama has vowed to “continue to engage all sides,” a recently leaked audio recording between two top U.S. officials reveal the Obama administration has been secretly plotting with the opposition. We speak to Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. His most recent book, “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War,” is out in paperback. His latest Nation article is “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine.

This is a major international scandal, and the implications of this clear evidence of direct US involvement in civil unrest in Ukraine are much more serious than most in the US and EU realize. As is to be expected, however, the US mainstream press is focused not on this evidence of extreme US recklessness and deception, but rather on whether the Russians leaked the call or not. They are ignoring the real core of the scandal to focus on salacious aspects, real or imagined.

Caught red-handed actively planning and manipulating internal politics and acting as if Ukrainian opposition politicians were literally US agents to be ordered into this position or that in a new government, the US State Department behaved as a child with his hand discovered in the cookie jar.

This is more than discussions, this was two top U.S. officials that are on the ground discussing a plan that they have

to broker a future government and bringing officials from the U.N. to kind of seal the deal. This is more than the U.S. trying to make suggestions. This is the U.S. midwifing the process.

Sergei Glazyev, advisor to Russian president Putin claimed today that the US was spending $20 million per week on the Ukrainian opposition, including supplying opposition with training and weapons. It is clear from recent photographs that street gangs are more organized and better equipped each day.

Direct US involvement would be in violation of the Memorandum on Security Assurances, signed by both Russia and the United States in 1994. In the document, both sides agreed “to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A short-lived truce has broken down in Ukraine as street battles have erupted between anti-government protesters and police. Last night, the country’s embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis. But the truce only lasted a few hours. The last three days have been the bloodiest period of Ukraine’s 22-year post-Soviet history. Over 50 people have died, including at least 21 today. The truce ended today when armed protesters attempted to retake Independence Square. Both sides have accused the other of using live ammunition. A Ukrainian paramedic described the chaotic scene.

UKRAINIAN PARAMEDIC: [translated] Some bodies are at the concert hall. Some are at the barricades. Now there are maybe around 15 or 20 dead. It is hard to count, as some are carried away, others are resuscitated. Now, as far as I know, three dead people are at the city hall, and two more dead are at the main post office. There are so many at the concert hall that we didn’t even take them.

AMY GOODMAN: The Ukrainian parliament, Rada, and Cabinet buildings have reportedly been evacuated because of fears they could be stormed by protesters. The street clashes are occurring while the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, is meeting with the foreign ministers from Germany, Poland and France.

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