World News Brief, Thursday March 6

EU offers Ukraine $15 billion aid package over seven years; China warns Japan it will "safeguard victory of World War II"; 814 million people registered to vote in Indian election -- world record; UN estimates 3.2 million in South Sudan need humanitarian aid; and more 

Top of the Agenda

EU Offers Ukraine $15 Billion in Aid

The European Union proposed a $15 billion aid package over seven years for Ukraine, with $2.2 billion in emergency funds to help the Ukrainian government avert a default (Bloomberg). U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov plan to meet in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, while NATO and Russia will hold parallel talks in Brussels (Reuters). Former U.S. officials say that Moscow is unlikely to withdraw from Crimea, leaving the United States and Europe with a more limited strategy of preventing further Russian advances in Ukraine (AP). Meanwhile, Ukrainian men in Kiev are rushing to enlist in the army, eager to take up arms if war breaks out with Russia (AFP).


"Moscow's intervention is testing several fundamental norms of world politics: It challenges established principles of sovereignty and nonintervention, it raises the specter of a return to great power spheres of influence, and it elevates the principle of nationality over citizenship. Moreover, it has already exposed, yet again, the weakness of collective security in the face of destabilizing action by a great power," writes CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick.

"Consider the irony that, while Putin's officials justified the invasion by citing the need to 'protect Russians in Ukraine,' Putin's police forces were arresting and beating Russians on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg for protesting against war. More than 300 people were arrested Sunday alone," writes Vladimir V. Kara-Murza in the Washington Post.

"Russia has a strong interest in nominally retaining Crimea as part of Ukraine. From the disintegration of the Soviet Union onward, Crimea, with its traditionally separatist leanings, was always a destabilizing factor. It served as a direct avenue of Russian pressure on Ukraine, and also guaranteed almost a million 'pro-Russian' votes in Ukrainian elections, ensuring the dominance of the pro-Russian eastern half of the country over the nationalist western half," writes Ruslan Pukhov in the New York Times.


Pacific Rim

China Ups the Rhetoric Battle with Japan

Chinese premier Li Keqiang, addressing the opening session of parliament, warned Japan that China would "safeguard the victory of World War II" as the countries remain locked in a dispute over islands in the East China Sea (FT).

This CFR InfoGuide explains the maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

CHINA: A senior U.S. defense official expressed doubt that a leaner military budget would allow for the so-called Asia pivot, but later clarified her statement to say the Obama administration was still committed to a stronger presence in Asia (AP).


India's election world's biggest with 814 million voters

UN estimates 3.2 million in South Sudan need humanitarian aid

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