Russia: President Putin emphasized on Thursday that the upper chamber of Parliament had authorized him to use military force if necessary in eastern Ukraine, and he asserted Russia's historical claim to the territory in language not often used before. Mr. Putin repeatedly referred to eastern Ukraine as 'New Russia' - as the area north of the Black Sea was known after it was conquered by the Russian Empire in the late 1700s.
Comment: Putin's timing relative to the Geneva negotiations is exquisite. His statement serves as the backdrop to the Russian negotiating position. He made it clear that nothing done in Geneva restricts his right and responsibility to protect Russians in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine: Kiev regime President Oleksandr Turchynov directed the Defense Ministry to disestablish the 25th Airborne Brigade. He accused its personnel of showing cowardice and of surrendering their weapons, according to the Ukrainian News Agency.
Comment: The 25th Airborne surrendered its armored vehicles and weapons because it's colonel would not direct the unit to fire on Ukrainian civilians. He said he was told the unit's mission was to fight terrorists.Turchynov has invited a revolt by the Ukrainian army.
The regime in Kiev also issued orders to its border guards that all Russian men between 16 and 60 were banned from entering Ukraine. A letter to this effect was also sent to the Russian airline Aeroflot. All Crimeans also are banned from entering Ukraine. The justification is that the Kiev regime wants to keep out "undesirable individuals" and to reduce the risk of terrorist acts.
Russia has called the policy racist and discriminatory.
Comment: This is the latest manifestation of the Kiev regime's compulsion to annoy the Russians and shorten its time in office by its own hands.
Russia-US-Ukraine-European Union (EU): Special Comment. International media proclaimed the news that the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union reached an agreement in Geneva on Thursday evening. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov called it the 17 April statement which he described as a compromise of sorts.
A comparison of official statements, official remarks at press conferences and six mainstream news service accounts shows that the diplomats agreed that the situation needs to be defused and buildings needed to be vacated. Beyond that, it seems the diplomats agreed on a number of vague actions that only the Kiev regime, the weakest party, has the authority to execute.