International Current Affairs

Latest International Current Affairs 2019 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2019.

2014 Ukraine crisis: Crimean MPs’ vote to join Russian Federation sparks outrage

ukraine-russia-crimeaThe Parliament of Crimea asked Moscow to allow the region to accede to Russia and move forwards the date of a referendum on the region’s status from March 30 to March 16, 2014. In other words, Crimean Parliament requested to Moscow to make Crimea the part of Russia.

  • The authorities in Crimea voted to accelerate secession from Ukraine, unanimously backing a law that declared the territory to be part of the Russian Federation.
  • Voters in Crimea had to choose between two options: Stay in Ukraine or join Russia. (Previously, the Parliament planned to seek greater autonomy for Crimea within Ukraine).
  • Ukraine’s interim prime minister opposed the referendum of Crimean parliament to join Russia. (The current Crimean constitution came into effect in 1999 and Article 135 of the Ukrainian constitution provides that the Crimean Constitution must be approved by the Ukrainian parliament).
  • Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin stated that Russia had no plans to annex Crimea.

Note: Crimea is an autonomous republic in the south-eastern region of Ukraine and has its own constitution. Crimea’s people are 58 % ethnic Russians, 24% Ukrainians, and 12 % Tatars, descendants of the Turkic people that ruled the peninsula until the Russian Tsars annexed it in 1783. (Capital: Simferopol).

What is the cause of public protest against the President Viktor Yanukovych?

  • The immediate cause of anti-government protests started over President Mr. Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to abandon a deal with the European Union in favour of aid and natural gas agreements with Russia.
  • Causes of protest: Opposition to the Euromaidan movement, Opposition to the Yatsenyuk Government and the Verkhovna Rada’s vote to repeal language law that protected minority languages.
  • Effect of Protest: The anti-government protests led to the downfall of the government of President Viktor Yanukovych and set the new government.
  • In brief, the 2014 Ukrainian revolution was anti-Yanukovych who is pro-Russia. Those who protested wanted close Ukraine-EU relations and not Ukraine-Russia partnership.

USA’s move on Ukraine crisis:- The U.S. has suspended military engagement with Russia and opined to expel Russia from G-8 but Germanydidn’t favour the expulsion. Western leaders have shown consensus on suspending the G8 summit to be held at Sochi this year, if Russia doesn’t stop its interference.

What the Ukraine government did to resolve Ukraine crisis?

In order to resolve the political crisis in Ukraine, Ukraine Prime Minister Mr. Mykola Azarov resigned and the deputy Prime Minister Mr. Serhiy Arbuzov became the acting Prime minister of Ukraine.

  • To ease the two month long protest, the parliament repealed a set of anti-protest laws and a mass amnesty was granted to all the demonstrators in the streets, even the ones who have seized government buildings by force.
  • In the crisis talks between the President and opposition leaders, it was agreed that Parliament would hold a vote of no-confidence in the government, and to work towards potentially reinstating a constitution that boosted parliamentary powers and curtailed those of the President.

About Ukraine

  • Capital: Kiev.
  • Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.
  • Prime minister: Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
  • National anthem: Shche ne vmerla Ukraina.
  • After its independence in 1991 from the former Soviet Union, Ukraine has swung between its desire for integration into the European Union and keeping friendly ties with Russia that continues to be its largest single trading partner that it depends on for cheap energy resources.
  • In 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on the division of the Black Sea Fleet, with 81 % going to Russia along with Sevastopol and other military installations in the Crimea. In return, Moscow compensated Kiev with a large sum of money as well as writing off a large amount of Ukrainian debt. Russia also pays Ukraine an annual fee. 

Note: Euromaidan – Protest which attracted around 300,000 people on Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, the largest since the 2004 Orange Revolution. Activists seized Kiev City Hall.

3rd BIMSTEC summit 2014 held in Myanmar

Screenshot_4The 3rd BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit held at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

About BIMSTEC summit 2014

  • Theme: “Partnership for Harmony and Prosperity”.
  • Attended by:Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • Chaired by:Myanmar.
  • Objective: To create an enabling environment for rapid economic development through identification and implementation of specific cooperation projects and the sectors of trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communication, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, cultural cooperation, environment and disaster management, public health, people-to-people contact, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism and transnational crime and climate change.
  • Next Summit will be chaired by Kathmandu, Nepal.( The Bimstec summit takes place every four years). 

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed by countries on the establishment of the BIMSTEC’s:

  1. Permanent Secretariat
  2. Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO)
  3. Centre for Weather and Climate

Resolutions taken by BIMSTEC members to

  • Enhance cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development.
  • Enhance cooperation in the field of agriculture, including crops, livestock and horticulture besides fisheries.
  • Finalize an agreement on trade in goods by 2014 with intent to promote regional commerce
  • Conclude the Agreement on Services and Investments
  • Work on agreements on dispute settlement and cooperation in customs matters under the Free Trade Area framework.
  • Devise a framework for establishment of the BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility.
  • Increase cooperation in expanding the skill and technology base of member countries. 

Note: BIMSTEC is an international organization comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal as member countries.