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U.S.: Russia’s ‘actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis’

July 23rd, 2014
03:21 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Far from the moderating role Russian President Putin says he is seeking, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine on Wednesday said that Russia is “escalating the military confrontation.”

“The fact is, we have worked through every diplomatic channel available to us. We have exercised economic leverage,” Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said.

“But so far, and sadly – although there have been occasional positive statement from Moscow – the actions are going in the wrong direction at this point. The actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis.”

The Netherlands on Wednesday paid solemn respects to the first of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 to be flown to Holland.

In Ukraine, where so many of the victims remain – some not even yet found – the conflict rages on. Two Ukrainian military jets were shot down in areas controlled by pro-Russian rebels, the Ukrainian government says.

“It’s simply incredible, but it’s an established fact that even after the shootdown of the Malaysian Airlines flight you still have heavy weapons, tanks, rocket systems moving across the border from Russia, enflaming the conflict, escalating the military confrontation, at a time when President Poroshenko has made very clear his desire to find a political solution,” Ambassador Pyatt said.

Indeed, he said, “most of the leaders of the Donetsk republic today are Russian citizens; they’re Russian passport holders. Several of them are Russian intelligence operatives.”

And Russia’s influence is not only being felt by its physical presence, Pyatt told Amanpour.

“One of the most striking characteristics of this crisis to me has been how the Kremlin has weaponized information. How the Kremlin has used this information warfare to sow fear.”

As European leaders in Brussels discuss how far they are willing to go in tightening the economic screw on Russia, Pyatt vowed that the United States would make sure Moscow is punished.

“We certainly, the United States, have made clear that if this direction does not change, we are prepared to further raise the costs that Russia and the Kremlin pays for its aggression.”

Michael McFaul, who very recently stepped down as the American envoy to Moscow, has been weighing in on the conflict in a way he could not when he was held to the diplomatic protocol befitting an ambassador.

“West has to stop trying to change Putin's mind, and focus more on helping Ukraine succeed, including on the battlefield,” McFaul tweeted. “If Putin can arm rebels, why can't we arm Ukraine?”

“It’s great that Mike continues to focus on this set of issues,” Pyatt responded. “Our view at this point is that there is no real military solution to this crisis. It has to be solved through political means.”

“Ukraine cannot change its geography. It needs to find a modus vivendi with Russia. We’re going to continue to provide military support to Ukraine with a view to helping this country to defend itself.”

“But it can’t defeat Russia, and frankly it won’t be able to achieve the political solution that President Poroshenko seeks as long as the Russian military is maintaining training camps in Rostov and sending tanks and rocket launchers across the border every night.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Western Propaganda

    War Criminal and US puppet Poroshenko is murdering civilians in the east of the country that doesn't want to live in his hell hole as you are reading this.

    From the owner of the video:
    "7/23/14, near my house after ukrainian shelling, the man on the ground is my neighbor"

    July 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Alexander

      So impartial, are you not? Check this out –
      Doesn't look like they plan on living their.

      July 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  2. MAO Tse

    What about bombing the weapons transport as they cross the Russian/ Ucrainian frontier toward the terrorists ?
    Didn't thought about it, or are you unable to do it ?

    July 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • Western Propaganda

      There is not a single credible evidence that weapons used traveled across the border and were not captured from ukrainian army bases.

      July 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Reply
      • Western Propaganda

        In fact, this is what the ukrainian nazi regime wants you to think, that they are not killing their own civilians and defected army soldiers who took up arms against the regime after the coup toppled an elected president.

        Like in Syria.

        July 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm |


        July 24, 2014 at 1:27 am |
      • Mr.USA

        I say fuk you Russian pansies I put my boot in your azz!!!

        July 24, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
  3. MAO Tse

    Putin is a puppet of the russian oligarchs mafia.

    July 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  4. Western Propaganda

    Civilians murdered by Kiev's US installed junta

    Their blood is on western hands.

    July 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  5. arik

    How much does the kremlin pay you clowns who post nonsense?

    July 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  6. Alex Horolskyi

    Why don't they say that currenly russians using heavy artillery from their borders? WE HAVE REAL WAR STARTING NOW HERE! If you want profs, you can see this blog: Here is just some of them.
    Do you hear? Ukraine have more than hundred soldires killed by DIRECT FIRE from Russia!

    July 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  7. The Big New Brazinsky

    If we find ourselves lamenting in about 20 years time the horrible cost of WWIII make no mistake whose fault it was – Putin.

    July 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • Western Propaganda

      Nazis always lament when they get owned by Russians

      July 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Reply
      • Cat

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        July 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  8. Western Propaganda

    Graham W Phillips, the journalist working in what was formerly east ukraine was kidnapped for a second time by US puppet regime of Poroshenko. Not a word on CNN. Pathetic.

    July 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  9. MVLazySusan

    This is so funny!
    While Russia has not armed the anti-junta forces, they would have as much right to do so as America thinks it has to arm the jihadists invading Syria from both the Turkish and Jordanian borders.

    The British are selling Russia $200 Million in sniper rifles, the French are handing over the Mistral warships, Turkey is joining Russias trade Union and China is publicly saying "What is Americas problem"!
    How is that "internationally isolated"?

    This is all about Wall St. and the banksters uptight about the BRICS kicking the US Dollar to the curb.

    July 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Susan, thank you very much for your post.

      Long live the US-Russia friendship! the politics!

      July 24, 2014 at 2:48 am | Reply
  10. AndreiFromRussia

    Monsterous perception illusions are what govern the minds of Russians and Ukrainians since the very beginning of 2014. And of Americans to some extent too.
    This is how 21th century information wars work.

    A whole lot of Ukrainians see nothing but fighting with Putin and his muppets. Smash enemies, get bonus points and swing to the next level. Refusing to look a step ahead at what to do with this restive region and it's long lasting allergy on tutorings by white-collars in Kyev on how to love the mother Ukraine.

    Many Russians see nothing but fake geopolitical wrestling America (Seriously. No kidding). Refusing to accept that tiny fact that Crimea is not a candy handed by Santa Claus but a very sensitive and non-forgettable insult towards the young Ukrainian nation. And that these are now Ukrainians (not Obama or CIA) who are engaged in a real (not virtual) bloody fight with the rebels and their Russian reinforcements.

    Real is messed up with virtual in it's various ugly and one-sided forms.
    People are not able to talk to each other because their virtual worlds do not intersect.

    This is the most dangerous form and consequence of this war. Although I'm sure there are many redneck ideologists very happy with that.
    This should be calmed down if we're not about hate served with emotions but about the long term security and cooperation framework in Europe and in the world as a whole.
    It has stepped just too far beyond the little irresponsibles of Putin and Poroshenko.

    God save Russia. God save Ukraine.

    July 24, 2014 at 1:02 am | Reply
  11. guest

    Freedom and Democracy have been attacked.
    Ukrainians have lost their lives from the start of this conflict in Ukraine for Freedom and Democracy.
    Putin had authorized the use of weapons in Ukraine from Moscow, air on National TV.
    Russian armed men with Helicopters, enter Ukrainian air space, air on National TV, while U.S. and The World watches.
    Green Men from space enter Crimea, and send Ukrainian Soldiers packing. Crimea became part of Russia now, Putin Style, when Ukrainian presidential election pending.
    Putin had indirectly and directly attacked Freedom and Democracy, as he campaign worldwide, and his action in Ukraine, with a double standard, meanwhile.
    Obama, is waiting for proof in The White House Oval Office, and confirmation, that Russian, are involved in Ukraine then what, as Putin laugh.
    While Ukrainians, weak, politically, financially and military, trying to defend Freedom and Democracy. The world including myself bleeds for the innocent victims from, MH17 as Russia claims no involvement.
    Russian TV, Kept airing lies to its citizen, and fabrication, which I watch daily.
    N.A.T.O. unresponsive Military, action against Putin had put us all in danger as Putin campaign against Freedom and Democracy, testing The World unity.
    Putin will from his action continued his assault on Freedom and Democracy, so far in Ukraine hasn't stop.
    Putin's continued action, helped escalation in Ukraine, lead the way for the downing of MH17.

    Ambassador Samantha Power heavenly spoken words, are words to resurrect you from hell Putin, however she cannot get through your thick skull, defiant ways, she is your savior, make her a deal because not every day she try to save the devil from hell.
    Now for those who thinks I dislike Russian, one of my favorite artist is Nikolai Baskov.
    Hope someday Russian can have a true Democratic leader and understand the meaning of Freedom.

    July 24, 2014 at 1:14 am | Reply
  12. guest

    Alexander Borodai is trying to be the fall guy for Putin or Putin will have him sitting at the end of a Buk missile.

    July 24, 2014 at 2:27 am | Reply
  13. Samapal

    i hope that Russia will receive independent from federal reserve system , and will have own financial system. Then Russia can win at war with usa.

    July 24, 2014 at 2:45 am | Reply
  14. Andrew

    Dear Mick Krever,
    thank you for another piece of ... propaganda.
    But without the proof, sorry, all you say is lies!

    All you try to do is – generate a reason to do something bad to Russia.
    I know – there are many smart and normal people in the USA, so only idiots will trust your lies.

    July 24, 2014 at 2:47 am | Reply
  15. Erm...

    This is why the Resistance will win:

    July 24, 2014 at 5:04 am | Reply
  16. Conor

    Why do we have this problem in Ukraine? It is simple – NATO. Russians are fearful of further NATO expansion to its borders. We in the West can say they have no reason to be afraid but the fact remains they are. This is why they took Crimea. They want the navy base there. If we want resolve this problem in Ukraine we must talk to the Russians to come to an agreement regarding NATO expansion. Russians are a proud nation just like the Americans are. Sanction will not make them change course if anything it will only make them believe the West is indeed hostile to them. Their country's security and their pride is more important to them than financial sanctions. Talking to them and addressing their concerns are key to resolving this problem. Just ask Bill Clinton and George J Mitchell who helped solve the problem in my country Ireland with the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

    July 24, 2014 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • Cat

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      July 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  17. Наталья

    Причем тут Россия?
    Мы забрали Крым,т.к он был наш,еще с давних пор. Мы его вернули!!!
    А то что твориться на Украине. мы то здесь причем?
    Да мы были против вхождения Украины в ЕС, но майдан устраивали не мы! Луганск и Донецк бомбим не мы!!!
    Все дело рук своих же нацистов и европейских солдат! Мы то здесь с какого бока?
    То что те земли бомбят,это понятно для кого они чистят территорию.....
    Залетают на нашу территорию и пытаются в вязать нас в войну, бомбят нашу границу,ближайшие дома,а потом говорят что это мы придумываем,с хуя нам это надо?!!
    А этот случай с Малайзийским рейсом...Это вообще как можно быть такой тварью?
    Летит большой самолет,ты на хер не знаешь кто там находится и при этом даешь команду пустить ракету в самолет!!!Как ты тварь спать то после этого будешь!! Зная что погибло 300 человек!!
    А ваши санкции засуньте в ж......
    Нам и в России живется хорошо!!

    July 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  18. Gisa iz Nisa

    MH17 tragedy! Responsible to court.
    Directly, may be rebels, may be Ukrainians or Russia. ... BUT, BUT, all we remember WHO FABRICATED 1. Baby killing in Kuwait, 2. Weapon for mass destruction in Iraq, Markale in Bosnia, Racak in Kosovo, and ... All this fabricated cases had been followed by media tsunami (CNN, BBC, ... real weapons of mass destruction) repeating minute by minute (well known pattern, author is known) until they brainwash public opinion.
    So, don't be surprised if the truth about MH17 tragedy never comes to us. It will not be allowed. By whom?? What do you think.
    BUT please think about whose interest is to 1. Keep Europe unstable, 2. To break connections Germany, France, Italy – Russia (specially), 3. Demonize Russia, ....
    Who IS THIS (some democratic "icon", isn't it).
    Seems they would like to get next 15.000 billion for nothing. They like to spend it for ... who knows, it could be next exports of bomb, tank, drone, ... democracy.

    July 25, 2014 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Rentner

      You are wrongly instructed about Yugoslavia, probably, by Comrade Kisilev from your TV. Since 1991 Serbia tried to seize the naighbouring countries (1991 war with Slovenia, 1991-1995 war with Croatia, war with Bosnia...) All these bloody wars lead by Milosevich resulted in the deaths of civilans, massacres, mass rapes, violence, destructions, ethnic genocide.. War criminals were tried by the Hague tribunal. Only intervention had managed to put an end to this nightmare.

      July 26, 2014 at 8:36 am | Reply
  19. M.V.

    So, we're headed into the WW3 and no one seems to care? This is the beginning of the end for the US hegemony, and like all dying empires it will go down with a bang. Live long BRICS and the countries that will join them in time!

    July 25, 2014 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Rentner

      Let us hope there will be no WWlll. The empire is already dead and is decomposing.

      July 26, 2014 at 10:12 am | Reply
  20. Alexander

    MH17 looting. A girl from Torez brags about new cosmetics "from the fields" –

    July 26, 2014 at 5:30 am | Reply
  21. iyke

    Christiane Amanpour I think its time you influential journalists got behind the helpless masses. Can you not see they're dieing everyday from avoidable sensless conflicts? Occasioned by ill will of egotistical obstinate leaders. What is Russia waiting for? They should move in if not for anything and stop these senseless killing of innocent people on both divide of the conflict.they shouldn't remain passive because passive or no passive, they will always get the blame, and sanctions too. Its a shame that in a supposedly civilised society Human life means nothing to us anymore. Over 200 innocent died and we're playing politics with it. BIG SHAME.

    July 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  22. truegrit1

    The political leaders would be well advised to review Wolfsohn's speech to Student's @ Stanford in 2011.
    A seismic shift is underway in global finance & political power. Within 35 years India & China will account for 45-50% of global GDP. The implications of that and what BRICS are doing now should not be underestimated. New York & London will become a junior partner to New Delhi & Shanghai as global financial centres. The USD will lose importance as a global currency and the IMF, World Bank will shift to Asia from the West. With that shift will come a shift in geopolitical power. EU leaders, if wise, will consider that BRICS are a rising power while London & Washington & Brussels are declining powers in the world. 35 years is not a long time to adapt. Russia will need Europe less and less as it pivots toward the markets of BRICS. BRICS is the future, not Washington & London. The story about Putin's ambitions doesn't sell.

    July 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  23. ashok

    At some stage, a further, orderly division – Crimea is done and forgotten – of Ukraine may become inevitable. That may be preferable to the country being torn apart by proxy conflict.

    July 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Reply
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