Ukrainian coup-imposed authorities have their hands full with various problems. The country’s eastern regions remain in turmoil, with protesters demanding autonomy from the capital, and economic perils are aggravated by an imminent gas debt crisis.
British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to provide an extra $1.7 million for the OSCE's special monitoring mission in Ukraine, following his conversations with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and later US President Barack Obama. Cameron added that in the meantime, the EU should not stop its preparations for potential additional sanctions against Russia.
Obama and Cameron "agreed that the outcome of the Geneva meeting represented a positive step forward, but that it was essential that the agreements reached were rapidly implemented in order to reduce tensions and create space for political dialogue in Ukraine,” said Cameron’s press office.
"They agreed that the United States and European Union should do all they could to help implement these agreements, in particular through providing additional support to the OSCE special monitoring mission."
Both the introduction of a global ban on the entry of Russian men into Ukraine and “filtering” procedures against Crimean women show a complete lack of democratic principles, Russia’s deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, Sergey Zheleznyak, told RIA Novosti.
Ukraine’s Party of Regions MP, Anna German, said Ukraine's ban on the entry of Russian men, as well as the introduction of “filtering” the entrance of women from Crimea, will not benefit Ukrainian-Russian relations, and will only exacerbate the situation, RIA Novosti quoted German as saying in an interview.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Geneva talks on Ukraine and expressed encouragement at steps taken by all parties to de-escalate the situation. He added that the situation in Ukraine remains very volatile and says he hopes that all sides are committed to their expressed intentions.
Canada is contributing an additional six CF-18 planes and 20 officers to NATO’s efforts to contain Russia.
"This is in response to the situation that's developing there, and frankly, more generally to the concern that we have on what really is expansionism and militarism on the part of Russia under the presidency of Mr. Putin," Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced during a meeting with top military officials in Ottawa.
Sources indicated to local CBC news that the officers will serve at the NATO headquarters in Belgium, while the war planes will be stationed in the Polish city of Lask – the focal point of increased NATO presence in the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin discussed the status of Tatars and energy cooperation during an official phone conversation, the Kremlin press service reports.
There are more than 200,000 Tatars in Crimea, and they have close cultural and ethnic relations with Turks. Earlier on Thursday, Putin said he was on the verge of issuing an act that would historically rehabilitate the peninsula’s ethnic majority, which was persecuted by Joseph Stalin in the middle of the last century.
NATO is sending part of its rapid reaction fleet to the Baltic “for the foreseeable future” to reassure allies during “a period of tension,” according to a statement published by the organization.
The group includes four minesweepers and a support ship, and it will engage in a mine-hunting exercise over the next month.
On Wednesday, the alliance also said it would be reinforcing its naval strength in eastern Europe.
Kiev has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate large-scale crimes during the stand-off between deposed President Viktor Yanukovich and demonstrators in Independence Square in Kiev between November 2013 and February 2014.
The coup-appointed regime insists that the Yanukovich government ordered special forces troops to fire upon peaceful protesters to put an end to the showdown. Yanukovich-era officials deny this, and say the deaths were the work of provocateurs hired by Maidan leaders.
The ICC has previously handled crimes concerning ousted politicians, but has no responsibility to take on the case. Kiev has requested that any investigation does not concern events following Yanukovich’s toppling.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that would scupper the South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to the EU over events in Ukraine with 437 MEPs voting for the resolution, with 49 voting against, and 85 abstaining. The MEPs accused Moscow of "supporting violent separatists and armed militias, led by Russian special forces" in southeast Ukraine and demanded that Russia "removes its troops from the eastern border of Ukraine."
The measures against Moscow may affect not only the long-gestating gas project that would deliver energy to southern Europe, but also Russian firms and their EU assets, though the document did not outline specific sanctions.
One EU country opposing this move is Bulgaria, which depends entirely on Russian gas, and through which the South Stream pipeline was to pass.
"The South Stream is a long-term infrastructure project of strategic importance. Now they [the European Parliament] want to stop the South Stream. How are we to develop? This crisis at the moment shows that we do not have security of natural gas supplies for Bulgaria," the country’s energy minister, Dragomir Stoynev, said during a press conference in Sofia.
Washington has approved additional “non-lethal support” to Ukraine, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced. The aid includes “medical supplies and shelters,” Reuter quotes.