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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Russia-Ukraine: Whose side is law on?

March 12th, 2014
02:49 PM ET

Ahead of the scheduled Sunday referendum in Crimea, Becky discovered more about the legal issues surrounding the Ukrainian crisis by speaking to Marc Weller, Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge. 

Weller told her that one significant fact was that Russia has formally confirmed in the past that it has no territorial claims towards Ukraine.

According to Weller, the upcoming Crimean referendum would not be recognised under international law.  "You cannot hold a referendum ever under circumstances of use of force of a neighbouring state."  Weller also said that a referendum should be the “final step” in a long process towards independence – a process which would normally include investigating whether they have a claim to self-determination, and the subsequent necessary negotiations with the Ukrainian government.

On the ousting of ex-president Yanukovych and the increased Russian presence in Crimea, Weller says that "if he cannot be president then certainly he cannot invite a foreign armed force into the country, and that's the key issue. Even if you say that formally he should still be regarded as president, if you lose control over the country to an extent that the majority of the population of parliament disowns you, you no longer have the right to ask foreign armed forces to come in."

Text: Ignoring West, Crimea readies vote on joining Russia

Text: Pro-Russians tighten security as Crimea heads for vote on joining Russia

Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Russia • Ukraine

Barroso: "Peace and stability" are paramount

March 7th, 2014
05:30 PM ET

European Union leaders issued a joint statement addressing the Ukrainian crisis on Thursday. Becky was in Brussels and spoke to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, to find out how the talks went.

He said that the EU is ready to sign a political association agreement with Ukraine, along with a package of around €11 billion in financial support. In addition, the EU is seeking "unilateral measures of trade giving [Ukraine] access to our markets even before the ratification of all the agreements."

Asked about public opinion in Crimea, Barroso said, "We want the international law to be respected and today I can tell you there was a unanimous position by the 28 heads of state and government of the European Union reaffirming these principles."

He said the most important thing was respecting "the opinion of the people of Ukraine," and supporting "peace and stability.”

He added: "We want to have a constructive relationship with Russia but of course we cannot accept the kind of behaviour that we have seen."


Filed under:  Europe • Russia • Ukraine

Swedish PM: Russian aggression is unacceptable

March 7th, 2014
03:27 PM ET

EU leaders met in Brussels on Thursday for an emergency summit aimed at addressing the Ukrainian crisis.

Becky spoke to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to find out how the talks went.

Reinfeldt said that Russia's "unacceptable aggression", is threatening European Union members and that a shift in Russian policy in the region is "potentially dangerous."

He also reiterated the importance of a coordinated response by the EU and the U.S. towards Russia.

The EU has called on direct negotiations between the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation to start within the next few days. Failing to do so will lead to sanctions including "travel bans and asset freezes” and the cancellation of an upcoming EU-Russia summit.

Text: U.S. paves way for sanctions over Ukraine, Europe threatens to do same

Filed under:  Europe • Russia • Ukraine

Ukrainian politics remain in flux

February 26th, 2014
01:32 PM ET

While the world waits to see how the political uncertainty in Ukraine will play out, Becky spoke with Ian Bremmer about the possible outcomes.  Bremmer is the President of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.

Becky asked Bremmer about the ongoing influence of Russia in determining Ukraine's future.  He said it remains strong, despite the recent ouster of Kremlin-friendly leader Viktor Yanukovych.

"You and I are talking about Ukraine today," Bremmer said.  "In six months, we won't be, but the Russians will still be there and their ability to close this place down to everybody but Russia is pretty significant."

With unrest festering in eastern regions of Ukraine, Becky and Bremmer also discussed the possibility of separation within the country.  He said it's not very plausible in the near term, but could be a concern in the medium term – especially as international actors are likely to grow weary of Ukraine's new leadership.

"There's a reason why the Europeans and the Americans didn't bother to give these guys any money until after a hundred Ukrainians were dead," Bremmer said.  "And it's because they were saying 'we don't want to work with these folks, they're not going to reform, they're not going to engage.'  That doesn't change miraculously just because they've been in the news for a week."

Filed under:  Analysis • Becky's Interviews • Economy • Europe • London • Ukraine • Video

What happens next in Ukraine?

February 25th, 2014
04:39 PM ET

After last week's political upheaval, and the terrible scenes of violence that accompanied it, the big question in regards to Ukraine is what happens next.

Becky spoke to Anne Applebaum, author and columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, to get her opinion on where the country is headed.  She says Ukraine’s problem isn’t just one of finances.

“It’s not just about money.  The money was on offer before,” Applebaum says.  “The problem has been that the Ukrainians haven’t been willing to do the very profound economic reforms, in some cases of a kind that ought to have been done twenty years ago.”

Applebaum says political change within Ukraine is a certainty, but that the country’s future leaders may not be the big names we’re used to seeing in the headlines.

"The Ukrainians no longer have any appetite for these big personalities, these charismatic people who have a lot to say but then aren't able to do anything," Applebaum says.

Text: With ousted President on the run, Ukraine delays forming new government

Text: 'We were trapped': Eyewitness to the massacre in Kiev


Filed under:  Europe • Ukraine
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