Beltway Insider: Ukraine Russia Standoff Continues; G7, European Leaders Issue Statement; U.S. Homelessness Hits High

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President Barack Obama continued to globally make his case to leaders of the G7 for unified and sectoral sanctions in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's sustained violations of Ukraine territorial sovereignty and threats of prolonged aggression.


According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week rose two percentage points to 45% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose one percentage point to 50%. 

Ukraine Russia Standoff Remains Tense

Ukraine and Russia remained poised for violence as the upcoming May presidential elections, which the international community expects to produce a democratic government geared toward westernization of the Russian neighbor, inch closer

The April 17 Geneva Accord, of which Russia, the Ukraine, the United States and the European Union were party to, called for peace as the Ukraine moved ahead to allow the people of the Eastern European nation to guide their future and political destiny and is loosely binding Russia to its agreement and avoiding further escalation of violence.  

Russia, which has been accused of inciting riot, planting protestors, and escalating aggression for the purpose of the destabilizing the Ukraine government, has refused to pull back troop buildup from the Eastern Ukraine borders, and has refused to consider relinquishing the Crimean peninsula.

"No nation should threaten its neighbors by massing troops along the border.  We call on Russia to pull back these forces.  No nation should stoke instability in its neighbor's country.  We call on Russia to stop supporting men hiding behind masks in unmarked uniforms, sowing unrest in Eastern Ukraine.  And we have been clear that more provocative behavior by Russia will lead to more costs and to greater isolation.  The United States has demonstrated, as Ukraine has, that it supports diplomatic efforts to deescalate the situation," said Vice President Joseph Biden in a joint Ukraine U.S. statement.

The territorial violation of the Ukraine sovereignty by Russia has left the world attempting, through every diplomatic channel, to encourage the former G8 member to exhibit restraint and restore Crimea to the Ukraine.

President Obama has led the battle rallying the G7 leaders to create solidarity of sanctions which should economically shake the embattled Kremlin. Vice President Joseph Biden has remained vigilant in diplomatically dealing with the Ukraine and vehemently standing on a united Ukraine.

"The United States is prepared to impose targeted sanctions to respond to Russia's latest actions. The G7 leaders have agreed to work closely together, and through the G7 and European Union, to coordinate additional steps to impose costs on Russia. The leaders underscored that Russia could still choose a peaceful resolution to the crisis, including by implementing the Geneva accord," the President said in a released statement.

G7, European Leaders Issue Statement

President Obama engaged in continued conversation with G7 leaders this week, meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Abe and holding a conference call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minster David Cameron, President Hollande of France and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy.

Over the past weeks, the United States has announced repeatedly the preparation of sanctions geared to cripple the determination of Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to carve out a new future for Russia which includes specific territories of the Ukraine.

"The United States, as we've said, has prepared sanctions over the last several days and weeks.  The European Union will make its own determinations in the coming days, but with this sequence that was agreed to in the leaders' call last night, which was, again, that the G7 would express its support for targeted sanctions on Russia and then, of course, the United States, the EU, others will move out on their own sanctions, "said Ben Rhodes, Deputy Chief National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

The targeted sanctions, which the United States has strongly reiterated were strategically designed to cripple the resolve of the Soviet Union, have yet to be announced. It was also understood, as the White House remained clear, the G7, partners and allies were unified in this action.

Unfortunately, as the implementation of these sanctions near, the G7, partners and allies are somewhat hesitant, as each have economic relations with Russia on individual terms.

The White House has announced the need for sectoral sanctions in addition to diplomatic and economic which will address entire sectors of the economy.

" I think that everybody understands that if we see Russians troops that are massed on the border invade Ukraine, that sectoral sanctions will be a necessary response -- even though they will carry with it uncertainty for the global economy, difficulty for each of the countries of the G7 in its own way, given their various commercial relationships with Russia.  But the G7 has resolved that that has to be available and exercised as a cost on Russia if we see further escalation," Rhodes said.

G7 Statement

The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, issued in part the following statement expressing the deep concern over the continued actions of Russia's President Putin.

"We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize.  We will now follow through on the full legal and practical consequences of this illegal annexation, including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas."

"We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia.  Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine's presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia's actions."

The statement was issued from the Office of the White House Press Secretary.

U.S. Homeless Population Hits High

The U.S. Homeless population has risen steadily over the past decade recently topping 750,000 traceable individuals who are classified through government services as homeless.

According to the Center for Diseases Control, in 2009, on any given night 643,000 were homeless and the majority hungry.  Diseases, from AIDS and HIV to simple treatable infections, plague the homeless community and through prostitution, intravenous drug use and shared sleeping arrangements are spread outside the community.

Homelessnss and hunger are social issues that go hand in hand and are often approached separately to avoid the distressing issues and lack of high profile interest in alleviating the former.

Categorized as a unit, the Homeless population consists of the working homeless, those employed and unable to afford housing. This demographic, part of President Obama's Action Year Plan agenda, are the focus of hopeful opportunities to erase this statistic.

Homelessness continues on a sliding scale to include unemployed receiving government subsidy, street homeless, those who remain out and do not avail themselves to the services available and the mentally ill or silent violent.

Homelessness, of course, also includes those who by choice inhabit cardboard caves, grate cities, and in more rural areas, underpass communities.

Homeless is no longer the effects of mental illness or other medical conditions. Homelessness, a byproduct of the recession, lost wages, and long term unemployment, has moved up reaching into the educated ranks of those who invested in the American dream, have some college level education, and made the right decisions and who through a series of setbacks find themselves homeless.

Society's mental conditioning does not classify those who do not avail themselves of the services as homeless, simple definition does.

In larger metropolitan areas homeless, as long as they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, have the choice of reaching out to local Human Resources services. 

In New York City, the general consensus is the system is worse than the situation. HRA workers are overwhelmed, desensitized after years of exposure which, for someone hoping to receive assistance simply creates an additional obstacle as workers appear immune to genuine seriousness of the situations.

Homelessness, without high profile interest, will continue to rise. The social issue crosses all educational boundaries. Homelessness continues to be an issue highlighted only when the deranged or violent act out and make the headlines.

Until the system recognizes the need for change, the new homeless, an egregious blot on our society, will either suffer through the system or the situation.


Sources:,, Center for Diseases Control

For more information on President Obama:   

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