Ukraine Expels Defense Minister

The resignation of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Igor Tenyukh was accepted in the wake of the Ukrainian Military’s complete withdrawal from Crimea. The ouster of Tenyukh comes as no surprise given the tumultuous state of Ukrainian military affairs that was exemplified by the inability of the military to resist Russian when it moved to usurp Ukrainian military installations and expel what limited military personnel remained in the country. Andriy Parubiy, Secretar of the National Security and Defense Council and one of most vocal opponents of Vladimir Putin’s regime, spoke openly about Tenyukh’s resignation, which he qualified as a move to strengthen military resolve and resist attempts by the Russian president to “delegitimize the government.”

The resignation comes as the Ukrainian parliament was taking steps to forcibly impeach the minister, suggesting that he was left with little choice in the matter. Accusations of indecision and sloth characterized Tenyukh’s last days in power, although it is unclear whether or not Tenyukh was merely chosen as a scapegoat as a result of Ukraine’s inability to rapidly counter Russian aggression on its own territory.

General Mykhailo Koval has been appointed to succeed Tenyuk, though statements made regarding Ukrainian military left in Crimea have already been placed in jeopardy. Koval has sought to reassure the Ukrainian populace that has called for the return of Ukrainian military personnel that they will return peacefully and with their weapons, a claim that has been negated by the Russian administration.

News Briefs:

  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in another display of brazen disregard for Western opinion, declared his support for the Crimean referendum election that, according to the Russians, legitimizes their annexation of the peninsula. Citing the “free will of the Crimean people,” Spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters on Monday that the annexation was a “legitimate move.” This announcement comestellingly after last week’s visit to Kabul by a delegation from the US Congress, which was led by Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
  • Crimea’s organized militias, which have been participating in evicting the Ukrainian military from their installations around the peninsula, have considered organizing into an official National Guard. The self defense forces claim their role is to “safeguard public order and prevent provocations.” Meanwhile, the Western-backed Kiev government has appealed to the United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm their country’s unity and territorial integrity by declaring the annexation of Crimea illegal. They have not settled with merely symbolic gestures, either – Kiev has been blamed by officials in Simferopol for rolling blackouts and turning off water supplies, as most of these resources come from the rest of mainland Ukraine.
  • Negotiations have continued between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on their contentious border zone that caused a shootout this year between government troops from both nations. The delegations have begun to discuss exchangingterritory to resolve the longstanding disputes, which mostly revolve around clan rivalries in the Fergana Valley. The commission is discussing the possibility ofrelocating residents of Kyrgyz villages of Maseit, Aryk-Asty, and Tash-Tumsuk. Despite the promising diplomacy on this matter, the border remains closed between the two countries.
  • Swedish prosecutors have publicly declared that they are investigating Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan on bribery charges. It is suspected that she took payment to let Nordic telecommunication company TeliaSonera enter the country’s extremely restrictive market. The investigation hinges on new evidence of a payment of approximately $358 millionto a company called Takilant in 2007, which is suspected to have been a shell corporation for Karimova’s personal wealth.
  • Uzbekistan’s Cabinet of Ministers passed a new bill that restricts capital outflows in a country already infamous for its restrictive economy. It specifically allowsUzbek legal entities to open foreign accounts only after obtaining written permission from the Central Bank of Uzbekistan.
  • It is estimated that over 11 percent of the population in the northwestern Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) uses heroin, according to a new article in the Diplomat. Pakistan’s standalone drug trade generates $2 billion a year, making it the most heroin-addicted country per capita in the entire world. Peshawar is the distribution point, as its proximity to the poppy fields of Badkhshan, Kunar, and Nangarhar make it the first stop in the so-called Golden Crescent drug highway.
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