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Uganda sucked into US,Russia row over Ukraine

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By TABU BUTAGIRA

Posted  Thursday, March 13   2014 at  20:43
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KAMPALA.

Uganda yesterday sucked itself into ongoing sabre-rattling between the West and Kremlin over the crisis in Ukraine, by circulating to local media a Russia government statement highly critical of the US government.

Mr Jerome Kansiime, an official of Uganda Media Centre, the government’s communications clearing house in Kampala, sent out the statement in which Russia’s Foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accuses Washington of hypocrisy for challenging their intervention in Crimea, a breakaway region of Ukraine.

The US and European allies supported the ouster of Kremlin-allied Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych in February, and have since been at loggerheads with Putin’s administration re-asserting itself over the neighbouring former Soviet state.
“It is evident that Washington is still not able to adequately perceive the development of events, if they go against American templates,” Mr Lukashevich said in a strongly-worded statement.

“They cannot overcome themselves, accept that it is not possible to always dictate their own will everywhere and play their usual role of an ‘infallible judge’, who has the last word.”

The US government yesterday said it stood by its Statement of Fact on the Ukrainian political crisis, published on March 5, which point-by-point rebuts, as not backed by evidence, all of President Vladimir Putin’s 10 reasons justifying Russia’s actions.

The grounds are fictitious, according to President Obama’s administration.
It said there is no evidence that lives of ethnic Russians in Crimea region are at risk and, that Kremlin violated the sovereignty of Ukraine by marching troops into Crimea and planning its secession referendum on Sunday, this week.

Mr Daniel Travis, the Spokesman of the US embassy in Kampala, said: “The Russian government’s actions in Ukraine are illegal. In addition, I am surprised to see this statement coming via the Uganda Media Centre, which I had understood to be the venue for official views and pronouncements of the Ugandan government.”

The centre’s executive director, Ofwono Opondo, said they have an understanding to help foreign embassies on publicity request, but “that does not show we have interests or have taken sides.”

In Kampala, strategic security analyst Simon Mulongo said the super-powers are unlikely to go to war in spite of intensified military activity - troop-build ups and Nato reconnaissance flights over neighbouring Poland and Romania.

“Their national interests supersede. Russia will have its way and the US-led criticism won’t translate into warfare because US has no moral authority to condemn Russia [over invasion of sovereign countries],” he said.

In yesterday’s statement, Russian officials said they can find many examples of military interventions by the United States in places, which were located far away from their national borders, when there was no real threat to the security of the United States.

“The Vietnam War took the lives of two million of the local population, without mentioning the totally destroyed country and poisoned environment. Under the pretext of protecting their nationals, who were in areas of conflict, the United States intruded into Lebanon in 1958, into the Dominican Republic, in 1965, attacked tiny Grenada in 1983, bombed Libya in 1986, and occupied Panama three years later.”

“Nevertheless they dare to rebuke Russia for ‘armed aggression’, when it intervenes on behalf of its compatriots, who make up the majority of the Crimean population,” the statement said.

‘The US has no and cannot have any moral right to moral preaching with regard to observation of international laws and respect for other countries sovereignty,’ Mr Alexander Lukashevich, Russia Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Stern warning
German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday warned Russia of “massive damage”, politically and financially, if it stays the course of belligerence.