US leads ‘largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine’ – Follows Pentagon’s Advice to Conquer the World?

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Ukrainian soldiers and servicemen of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team take part in a joint military exercise called “Fearless Guardian 2015” at the military training area in Yavoriv, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 12, 2015.Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters

Troops from the US, UK, Germany and 14 other countries are set to conduct what officials are calling the “largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine” in the west of the country over the coming weeks.

The exercises will be conducted in Lviv region, in western Ukraine, far from the conflict zone in the east, with as many as 1,800 servicemen from 18 countries taking part from today until the end of the month.

The Saber Guardian and Rapid Trident exercises are conducted annually between the US army in Europe and European states which agree to participate. Last year they included 1,300 defence staff from 15 militaries, including Ukraine. However last year, only Rapid Trident took place on Ukrainian soil, with Saber Guardian being organised in Bulgaria.

Beside the US military and their Ukrainian hosts, personnel from other Nato allied nations joining the exercise include the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while non-members Serbia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan are also set to participate.

“Multinational exercises have been conducted in Ukraine since 1995, however it is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” Don Wrenn public affairs public affairs specialist for US Army Europe, who is at the site of the exercises says.

Despite the heightening tension in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed rebels have intensified fire towards Kiev-held positions since May, Wrenn says the exercise has no relation to the specific conflict.

“It is not anything to do with the political situation,” Wrenn says “This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on. Rapid Trident has been going for years in Ukraine.”

“Part of why this is larger this year is that there are two exercises going ahead at the same time in the same place,” Wrenn explains. The Saber Guardian exercise rotates between host nations, it just so happens that this year it was Ukraine’s turn to host it, coinciding with Rapid Trident

“The two were held together and integrated with each other,” Wrenn says. Training will begin tomorrow, after the end of today’s opening ceremony.

“We will be looking at practicing skills such as casualty evacuation and first aid, reacting to being ambushed in both an offensive posture or in defensive mode, we are conducting training in how to identify and react to improvised explosives and devices and there will be some simulated outpost operations.”

“These are all skills that are to be used either in combat or peacekeeping. Some Ukrainian armored vehicles will be included but most of the vehicles being used are just US humvees and wheeled vehicles,” he adds. Contrary to some media reports, no air operations are scheduled as part of the exercise.

Although a period of relative calm followed in the east after a ceasefire agreement was signed by the rebel leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in February, clashes increase along the contact lines in May and by June the rebels launched the largest offensive since the battle for the strategic town of Debaltseve on the eve of the ceasefire deal.

Rebel leader Alexander Zaharchenko once again publically set target towns which the rebels plan to “take” in May and Reuters, Nato and the Ukrainian government have all reported an increasing military build up on the Russian side of the border.

Since the start of the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east, Ukraine has led a series of reforms to its military in a bid to strengthen its efficiency in the short and long term. Eastern regions have obtained physical reinforcement bases and Ukraine has also pursued stronger ties with western neighbours such as the joint battalion it formed last year with Poland and Lithuania,

President Petro Poroshenko pledged yesterday to increase Ukraine’s security spending power, adding a further 5 billion hryvna (over €200m) to the defence budget, according to a statement released on his official website. Independent Russian news site Slon reported that the last Ukrainian budget allotted 90 billion hryvna to defence spending, which, together with Poroshenko’s latest pledge equals around €4bn.

However,  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s claim that the Ukraine will take over Donbass by the end of the year seems to be one more of his tricks. 

According to Forbes, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has offered Russian counterpart Vldimir Putin to ”include Donbass” in the territory of the federation. The announcement was released to Forbes magazine through an anonymous source.

It was stated that the proposal had been extended during the Normandy Four talks held in Minsk on February 11 and 12.

”Poroshenko directly told me, ”Take Donbass”, and I responded, ”Have you gone mad ? I don’t need Donbass. If you don’t need it, announce its independence”, was the statement Vladimir Putin made at his meeting with Russian industrialists and businessmen on March 19, as quoted by Forbes.

In the words of the Russian President, Poroshenko then stated that Ukrainian authorities are not able to take the step, ” Then, let Ukrainian authorities pay the pensions and social care to the population of Donbass and let them restore the banking system,” Putin allegedly insisted.

The ceasefire deal included 14 points connected to the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners, the providing of humanitarian aid for the severely affected regions of Ukraine, as well as establishing of special statute for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Republics.

According to the source released information to Forbes, Putin himself is skeptical regarding the peace deal and believes that Ukrainian authorities are attempting to win the fight with rebel forces and to destroy Donbass in economic terms.

Allegedly, Putin said that EU leaders are well aware of the Ukrainian intentions, but the strengthening of the conflict is said to be in favor of US foreign polices. He also informed business leaders that the EU sanctions against Russia are unlikely to be removed in the upcoming years.

On the other hand, Poroshenko’s relations with Poland have deteriorated.

A scheduled meeting of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the winner of the Polish presidential elections Andrzej Duda in Warsaw will not now take place, Polish news agency PAP reported on Wednesday, with reference to its own sources close to the newly-elected head of state.

At home, Poroshenko is facing serious problems with the nationalist “Right Sector” paramilitary group.  The popular assembly is dubbed ‘Away With Traitors in Power!’

The popular assembly dubbed “Away With Traitors in Power!”organized by Ukraine’s far-right paramilitary group, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) has started on Independence Square (Maidan).

Here’s the scene on ‘s Maidan right now. 1000+ now gathered for far-right nationalist rally:

WATCH LIVE STREAMING VIDEO  HERE

The rally follows a recent shootout involving members of ‘Right Sector’, security teams close to Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Lanyo and local police officers which took place in the town of Mukacheve in Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region on July 11. Four people were killed and up to 14 were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

‘Right Sector’ is one of a number of militarised groups that emerged during violent protests that toppled former Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

The militias went on to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the east against Russian-backed militants, but concerns have risen over whether they could pose a challenge to President Poroshenko and the government or threaten public security.

‘Right Sector’ and police have accused each other of initiating the violence in Mukacheve, but on Tuesday a spokesman for the group said two of its members had surrendered to the SBU security service. 

 

NEWS FROM NOVOROSSIYA – jUNE 15, 2015

 

News from Novorossiya

Monday, June 15, 2015
(More updates to come)

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Rally in Donetsk Downtown — People Demand Protection From Ukrainian Army / mediapulse.ru / June 15. 2015 / A rally is going on right now in Donetsk downtown, most of the participants are the residents of the constantly shelled Oktyabrskiy settlement. It has been reported that the protesters have cordoned off Artyoma street (on of the central street in Donetsk downtown). “There are different demands: some ask to start onset, the other ask to stop shelling in any possible way,” commented Andery Borodulin, the journalist witnessing the rally. Some people passing by ask the protesters to let the cars pass, the answer is “Let us live without everyday shellings!” There are about 200 protesters rights now, so far there were no conflicts and clashes. Andery Borodulin tells about Oktyabrskiy settlement in his Twitter account: 10 wounded there over the last 24 hours, at least 2 dead over the last week. People have been living like this since summer 2014. Oktyabrskiy settlement is in the North-West of the city, in Kuybishvskiy district, this part of the city and the outskirts suffer from artillery strikes daily.

DPR PM Alexander Zakharchenko

Editor’s Note: Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, despite illness apparently due to a knee wound sustained some weeks ago, came to the streets to talk with five representatives of the district, other sources report.

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TWITTER update: Harald Doornbos tweeted the following message today: “Small demo now in Donetsk. Ppl of Oktyabrskiy-area asking DNR gov ‘to do something against daily Ukraine shelling.’” Harald included this photo.

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Zakharchenko: DPR Is An Independent Country, Will Never Be Part of Ukraine / Ria Novosti / Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / June 15, 2015 / Whatever happens in Minsk, the DPR is an independent state and will not be under Ukraine, said the head of the [DPR] Republic Alexander Zakharchenko. He noted that “there was blood” between Ukraine and the DPR.

Zakharchenko visits Gorlovka (--Sputnik/ Sergey Averin)

DONETSK / “The Donetsk People’s Republic is an independent state and never will be a part of Ukraine,” said the head of the self-proclaimed republic Alexander Zakharchenko. “Whatever happens in Minsk, the DPR is an independent state that will never be under Ukraine. We have blood between us,” Zakharchenko state at a meeting with residents of the village of Oktyabrsky, which is often shelled by [Ukrainian] security forces.

The Ukrainian authorities, in April of last year in Donbass, started a military operation against the residents of the region, who were disgruntled with the coup. According to the latest UN data, there have been 6,500 victims of the conflict. The settlement of the situation in Donbass has been discussed, during meetings in Minsk, by the contact group, which since last September has adopted three documents governing steps to de-escalate the conflict. The last document, signed on February 12, which specified in addition to the cease-fire the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the establishment of a security zone, obliges the Ukrainian authorities to conduct a direct dialogue with the representatives of the DPR and LPR [Lugansk People’s Repbulic], in particular on the issue of local elections in the region, making changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, involving decentralization of power, as well as on legislative consolidation of the special status “of individual regions of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts.”

The situation worsens in Donbass: On June 3 near Maryinka there were serious fights, of which 34 people became victims, according to the UN. [Ukraine] Security officials have accused the [Donbass] militias in the offensive, the same statement called “speculation” in Kiev. Representatives of the self-proclaimed republics reported that Ukrainian security officials continue to bring heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems to the contact line, and the intensity of attacks is growing. The authorities of the DPR and LPR insist that security forces remove heavy weapons to a safe distance, in accordance with the Minsk agreements. Editor’s update: A similar translation may be found at Sputnik News.

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slavyanskjun15qNew Russia Press Monday Situation Report. Today the Ukrainian Army violated the ceasefire somee 200 times near Donetsk. Meanwhile, at least 5 Ukrainian SUV’s have been operating over the city. For more see Fights In Donbass 15.06.2015 (June 15), by George.

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Miroshnichenko, Lugansk Information Center

Two High-ranking Ukraine Representatives Went Over to the Militia / ren.tv / edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / June 15, 2015 / Two high-ranking representatives of the Ukrainian side, one an employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service and other an employee of the Embassy of Ukraine in France, have defected over to the side of the [Donbass] militias. Natives of Lugansk, they are the brothers Alex and Yuri Miroshnichenko. Why did they do this? The brothers themselves have explained their reasons in a meeting with journalists: “We can no longer tolerate it,” said the former employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine Alexey Miroshnichenko. He confirmed that at the front, on the side of the [Ukraine] security forces, there are mercenaries from abroad, most of all from Poland, Lithuania and Romania. According to the brothers, many of their former colleagues believe the Ukrainian authorities themselves are criminal, but people do not resign from the service often because of banal fear for themselves and loved ones, either due to lack of motivation, or simply not having enough willpower.

Miroshnichenko brothers defect to Lugansk

Defector Alexey Miroshnichenko: Ukraine Traitors Exterminate Donbass People. During a press conference with two employees of the foreign intelligence Service of Ukraine, brothers Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, who defected from Ukraine over to the side of the Donbass militias, the former said, “Our desire to return to Lugansk is associated only with the dominance, in the government of Ukraine, of traitors, agents of foreign intelligence services and clear nationalists, who systematically exterminate the people of your country and lead to the collapse of Ukraine.” On a question by journalists about what the real situation in the ATO zone is, Alex told reporters, “Ukraine is now being strengthened, building fortifications for fear of attack, though they are constantly provoking.” For more, see LPR Today article Ukrainian scouts – we know real loss (video) (June 15), by Andrey Moiseenko.

Sputnik: Brothers Defect from Ukraine to Lugansk. This report from Sputnik adds detail about the statements of Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, the two brothers who defected from Ukraine to the Lugansk People’s Republic. “Commenting on who is responsible for what they call genocide, the brothers noted that ‘the crimes against civilians are being committed mainly by representatives of the territorial battalions. This includes Aidar, Azov and Tornado. Innocent people are summarily shot, demeaned, and have their property taken from them. Women are raped en masse, including minors. There have been instances reported of conscripts who fled the battlefield being shot. Local branches of the ‘Nova Poshta’ [a Ukrainian delivery service] are crammed with property stolen from civilians.’” For more see Brothers in Arms: Two Kiev Officials Defect to Fight for Lugansk (June 15).

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ukrainian troops deploy weapon at beach on Azov Sea in Shirokino (--Sputnik/AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Pushilin: Donbass on Brink of Major War. Donetsk People’s Republic Contact Group envoy Denis Pushilin said today, June 14, that the situation in Ukraine is unpredictable, and war could break out at any time, in a matter of hours, due the smallest decision on the part of anyone involved. “We are actually on the brink of a major war right now. Our conflict is not an internal Ukrainian one, it is fully in line with what is happening in Syria, Yemen, the uprising in Macedonia,… and could lead to very tragic consequences and, as a result, things can escalate in a matter of hours,” said Pushilin. For more, see Sputnik article Donbass on Brink of Major War, Conflict May Escalate Any Time – DPR (June 14).

Eduard Basurin

MoD DPR recorded 185 instances of the ceasefire regime violation by the Ukrainian side in the last 24 hours / Novorossiya Today /June 14, 2015 / Donetsk People’s Republic, Novorossiya / Situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic remains tense and complicated, the DPR Defense Ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin told a briefing today. “Over the past 24 hours, we have recorded 185 instances of the ceasefire regime violation by the Ukrainian side, including 30 cases of tank fire and 142 – of mortars of 82-mm and 120-mm caliber use upon the territory of the Republic. Ukrainian forces shelled Donetsk, Gorlovka, Dokuchaevsk, Spartak, Shirokino, Zhabunki, Yasnoye, Krasniy Partizan, Staromikhailovskaya, Veseloye, and the Donetsk airport. Three DPR fighters were wounded. One civilian woman was wounded in Kievsky district of Donetsk. She came under fire by the 93rd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces commanded by Colonel Oleg Mikats,” – Basurin said.

slavyanskjun14xUkraine Shells Donetsk, Wounds AFP Reporter. British journalist Graham Phillips tweeted at 06:00 UTC June 14: “Today in Donetsk – Alexei is lucky to be alive after Ukrainian shelling hit, destroyed, his flat yesterday.” Twitter source News of Donbas tweeted at 22:00 UTC June 14: “AFP freelancer was wounded as result of shelling Donetsk, ‘DPR’ informs.” In a further clarification, Twitter source Leonid tweets at 22:30 UTC June 14: “Alexander Gayuk an AFP journalist wounded in Donetsk today.”

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Sunday’s UAF Donetsk Shelling Wounds Eight. A Donetsk administration spokesman reports, “Ukrainian shells hit one house in Luzina Street and two houses – in Kremlevsky Avenue in the Kuibyshevsky district, five people were wounded. One house was hit in Baikalskaya Street in Petrivsky district and one house was hit in Shevchenko Street in the settlement of Alexandrovka, three people were wounded,” adding that one more house was damaged in Donetsk’s Kalininsky district. Source: TASS: 8 people wounded in shelling of Donetsk by Ukrainian army (June 14).

Strategic Culture Foundation: Britain’s Hammond Suggests Hosting US Nukes. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has put forth the possibility of the UK placing American nuclear weapons on its soil to counteract the “Russian threat”.  Columnist Finian Cunningham, slamming the insanity of Anglo-American attitudes, comments, “This slanderous attitude toward Russia is doubly contemptible, because not only is it calumnious, the deception also serves as a political and moral cover that allows the Anglo-American rulers to take outrageous steps toward jeopardising international peace, with the unprecedented deployment of nuclear weapons.” For full analysis see The Anglo-American Insanity (June 14) by Finian Cunningham. Quemado Institute comments: On the subject of American insanity, the United States government has become sick in many ways, and their behavior has grown abhorrent to reasoning people. Among the atrocities they sponsor, in addition to fomenting coups, unrest, and the bombing of civilians across the Euro-Middle East, are the spraying of skies over NATO countries with so-called “chemtrails”, whose contents are consistent with that of coal ash, filling the air on many days with a streaky overcast of toxins, which are believed to inhibit rainfall and have resulted in drastic fires, destroying many mountain forests across the US southwest, as well as severe and possibly irreparable drought in California, all the while euphemizing their actions under the catch-all term of “climate change”, as if it were not their fault, their reckless and misguided intent apparently to stop global warming.

Merkel: Minsk Process Extremely Fragile. Chancellor Angela Merkel feels that she, as well as Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Francois Hollande are responsible for the Normandy format talks seeking to find a peaceful resolution to the deadly Ukraine war with Donbass. “The system of security built thanks to the Minsk process in eastern Ukraine remains ‘extremely fragile,’ according to Merkel,” reports Sputnik News. For more see Germany, France Responsible for Minsk Peace Process in Ukraine – Merkel (June 12).

Minsk 2.0 participants (--Sputnik/Alexey Druzhinin)

US War Party Seeks to Kill Minsk 2.0. American weekly The Nation reported that US Hawks are seeking to destroy the Minsk 2.0 peace process. The war party is “ginning up the anti-Russian hysteria in both Kiev and Washington” in pursuit of this goal, the Nation explained. “Another goal is to force the European Union to extend the anti-Russian sanctions, imposed under the false pretext (albeit very popular in the West) that Moscow is involved in the Ukrainian civil war,” reports Sputnik. The issue will be discussed at the upcoming European Council summit. For more see US Hawks Want to ‘Drive a Stake Through the Heart of Minsk II’ (June 12).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Petro Poroshenko, Mariupol, 2015 (--The Independent)

Poroshenko Promises Constitutional Amendments. Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko, in a speech in Mariupol on Thursday, said that amendments to the Ukraine Constitution should be voted on by the Verkhovna Rada in a few weeks. “People should be able to exercise a lion’s share of their powers in their native cities,” vowed Poroshenko. “But, the questions of foreign policy, defense, the state’s integrity and the status of a unitary state will also be the key elements of our constitution.” For TASS report see Ukrainian parliament to adopt constitutional amendments in weeks to come — Poroshenko (June 11). Editor’s note: Poroshenko’s vow need not be taken too seriously. In fact, according to the Minsk 2.0 agreements, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine parliament) does not have the authority to determine the final amendments. The amendments in their finished form must be approved by the DPR/LPR Minsk Contact Group representatives, who have indicated they will accept nothing less than de facto independence. The amendments proposed by the Verkhovna Rada will carry no more weight that those proposed by the DPR/LPR on June 8. Minsk 2.0, it should be noted, confers no authority on Kiev that it does not also confer on the DPR/LPR. Control is the hands of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Click to enlarge. (--Voice of Sevastopol)

Intensive Ukrainian Shelling in Donetsk. The Kiyevskiy and Kuybyshevskiy districts of Donetsk have been subject to intensive shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in the last 24 hours, damaging a kindergarten, a hospital, residential buildings and power lines. Casualties have not been specified. See Novorossia Today report A hospital, a kindergarten and “Tochmash” works in Donetsk were subjected to shelling by Ukrainian military (June 11). Editor’s note: Kiyevskiy and Kuybyshevskiy are located just left of and above Donetsk at bottom center of map.

Two Children Survive Gorlovka Shelling. A 7-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, originally reported dead, are found to be alive but injured. At least 3 women were killed in the Ukrainian shelling of Gorlovka June 10. See Novorossia Today report Two children in Gorlovka that had been reported dead are actually wounded, but alive (June 11).

Franklin Templeton Headquarters (--powerpolitics.ro)

Strategic Culture Foundation: Ukraine’s $15.5 Billion Debt Restructuring in Rothschild Death Grip. The June 15 deadline is approaching for restructuring Ukraine’s massive debt among wolfish lenders not likely to compromise, including Franklin Templeton. A related SCF article says, “Ukraine … has sold its securities to Franklin Templton. According to a recent Bloomberg report, the investment fund acts under US jurisdiction and is controlled by Rothschilds, the family known for its death grip.” Analyst Valentin Katasonov investigates the various IMF and private loans, most of them from “financial vultures”, and offers gloomy predictions for the monetary status of the post-coup regime in Kiev. See commentary Kiev Holds Talks With International Money Lenders: This Month is Decisive (June 12), by Valentin Katasonov. Editor’s Note: We regret the bad name such financial institutions give to the natural vultures of the sky, who soar in beautiful sweeping flight and never kill living creatures.

George Soros (--theblaze.com)

Ron Paul: Soros Urges US to Weaponize Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko’s close friend, billionaire George Soros, says in an email to the Kiev regime leader, “‘the US should provide Ukraine ‘with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.’ In other words,” Ron Paul comments in his weekly column, “despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.” He adds, “Soros assured Poroshenko: ‘I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.’ So George Soros will use his influence in the US government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine — forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.” For more see Ron Paul Institute editorial Soros Pushes US Bailouts and Weapons for Ukraine (June 7), by Ron Paul.

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University of Geneva (--iun.ch)

Swiss Corruption Investigators Predict Unacceptable Future for Ukraine. Strategic Culture Foundation columnist Alexander Donetsky quotes experts from the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva from their 185-page document on prospects for the future of Ukraine. “We believe that future cannot be acceptable for Ukraine. Even if the country shall split in two different countries, the situation and challenges will remain the same: how to ensure a viable prosperity framework for the populations,” the Swiss report concludes. For more see commentary Swiss corruption investigators have pronounced their verdict on Ukraine (II) (June 12), by Alexander Donetsky. Editor’s note: It is significant the Swiss investigators consider the breaking of Ukraine into two countries a viable scenario. We certainly agree, and optimistically predict the independent DPR/LPR will provide “a viable prosperity for the population,” even if Kiev fails to do so.

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Angela Merkel plays center stage at 2015 G7 summit, Krun, Germany (--Sputnik/AP)

G7 Accuses Russia. In this substantial analysis by political commentator Finian Cunningham, the roles of the G7 leaders in blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for circumstances in Ukraine beyond his control are examined in detail. “The United States and its Western allies are trying to ensnare Russia in an audacious disinformation trap over the Ukraine conflict,” notes Cunningham. “That trap involves imposing an insoluble conundrum on Vladimir Putin’s government.” He adds, “But how can Russia implement a peace deal in Ukraine if the Western-backed Kiev regime is the one that is the aggressor, not Russia? As Putin told Italian media in an interview last week, it is up to Washington and its European allies to influence the regime in Kiev to fulfil the terms of Minsk.” Cunningham points out astutely, “There is no evidence to substantiate the claims of Russian troops inside Ukraine, even though these accusations have been flying around the Western media for more than a year now. Surely, a US or NATO satellite must have a credible image of such Russian presence by now?” For more of this definitive analysis see Sputnik editorial Trapping Russia to Prove a Negative (June 10) by Finian Cunningham. Quemado Institute comments: We agree and have maintained consistently that Russia has no regular troops in Ukraine. There are rumors that Igor Strelkov, former Novorssiya volunteer commander who had actually never fought in the Russian armed forces and has become something of a loose cannon plagued with the sour grapes affliction of a has-been, recently said, “Anyone who believes Russia is not involved in Ukraine is an idiot.” We have no proof he made this statement, but if true, Strelkov is either calling his hero Putin an idiot or a liar. Strelkov apparently makes a pretense of knowing what goes on in Russian government inner circles. However, when he famously led the defensive battles in Slavyansk, 2014, he did not even know that Russian forces were never coming. Expecting their arrival any day, he overextended his position, and was forced to retreat from Slavyansk when the truth became evident. Given this gross miscalculation, how much can Strelkov really know about Putin’s intentions?

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(--Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Shell Oil Exits Donbass. Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will abandon it plans for fracking operations in the Kharkov and Donetsk regions. In December 2014, Chevron also withdrew. For more see Voice of Sevastopol report Shell to Withdraw From Shale Gas Project in Eastern Ukraine (June 11). Editor’s note: the fewer the foreign corporate financial projects in Ukraine, the weaker will be Western support for Kiev.

Andrei Sokolov

Political Prisoner Sokolov May Face 15 Years. Andrei Sokolov has been jailed by the Ukraine Security Service (SBU) in Zaporozhye (Volnyansk) for “promoting the terrorist organization Donetsk People’s Republic.” His court hearing is to take place on June 19. According to author Victor Shapinov, Sokolov “faces 8 to 15 years in prison for volunteer work in Donetsk in December 2014. He is accused by the Security Service of Ukraine of providing information to assist the Defense Ministry of the DNR (advice on production issues at the Topaz plant in Donetsk). He is charged with neither terrorist attacks nor participating in hostilities.” Shapinov adds, “Solidarity and publicity is urgently needed.” See Red Star Over Donbass article Communist Andrei Sokolov faces trial in Ukraine (June 12), by Victor Shapinov. [If article does not appear, scroll to title.] Editor’s note: The charges are a violation of the Minsk 2.0 Agreements, which guarantee universal amnesty for any acts connected with the Donbass war.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

DPR PM Alexander Zakharchenko

Zakharchenko on DPR Independence. With the Minsk Agreements as fragile as they are, Dontesk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko is thinking beyond this measure of peaceful reconciliation to a scenario of independence for the DPR. “The future of the DPR for me personally is a free independent state that can talk as an equal with Ukraine,” states Zakharchenko in his exclusive commentary to LifeNews agency. See Novorossia Today report Zakharchenko: I do not see the future of DPR in composition of Ukraine (June 10).

(--Sputnik/AFP/Sergey Polezhaka)

Pushilin: Kiev’s Rule Akin to Suicide. In a succinct summation of DPR policy, Donetsk People’s Republic Minsk contact group envoy Denis Pushilin told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Wednesday that “Donbass is not ready to be ‘under Kiev’s rule,’ which would be ‘akin to suicide’ for Donetsk and Lugansk that were subject to Kiev’s special military operation in April 2014 in response to local residents’ refusal to recognize the new coup-installed government.” He added, “But contractual relations within the framework of international processes are possible and are not excluded.” For more see Sputnik report Donbass Offers Constitutional Reform Amid Increased Tensions in Ukraine (June 10).

slavyanskjun11z.

Voice of Sevastopol Wednesday Situation Report. For accounts of Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk and Lugansk on June 9 and 10, including maps, photos and videos, see The war in Novorossia Online 06.10.2015 Chronicle (June 10).

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Pavlo Zhebrivsky (--Unian)

Zhebrivskyi Appointed New Donetsk Governor. Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko has appointed Pavlo Zhebrivskyi the new Governor of the Ukraine-held region of the Donetsk Oblast, replacing Oleksandr Kikhtenko, who was dismissed on the grounds of “inappropriate fulfillment of his duties.” Source: Ukraine Today report Ukraine’s president appoints new governor to conflict-hit Donetsk region (June 11).

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Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol

Poroshenko and Zhebrivskyi Inspect Fortifications Near Mariupol / en.censor.net.ua / edited by Quemado Institute / June 11, 2015 / President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has arrived in Mariupol. He is accompanied by the incumbent head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration Oleksandr Kikhtenko and [recently appointed] future Governor of the Donetsk region Pavlo Zhebrivskyi. The itinerary of Poroshenko’s travel has not been disclosed. Activities are scheduled to be held at several strongpoints.

Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol

It is known that the president has already inspected a fortification structure, the strong point #3, Censor.NET reports citing Mariupol news outlet 0629. The motorcade of the president of Ukraine is moving without a stop so the city traffic lights are not working. “The president inspects the fortifications near Mariupol,” president’s spokesman Sviatoslav Tseholko wrote on Twitter. Quemado Institute comments: The Governer of the Kiev-held part of the Donetsk Oblast Oleksandr Kikhtenko has been dismissed, with Pavlo Zhebrivskyi appointed as his replacement. Reports were that Kikhtenko was not adequately meeting Poroshenko’s goals in the area. Twitter source Victoria sheds some light on this, tweeting at 15:00 UTC June 11: “Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, new head of Donetsk region, fought in Debaltsevo (commander of intelligence), former MP of Ukraine.” One can infer that Zhebrivskyi will act as more of a “yes man” to the authoritarian leader of the Kiev regime.

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Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol (--Mikhail Palinchak/TASS)

Poroshenko Decries Fortifications. While visiting so-called strongpoints in Mariupol Thursday June 11, post-coup Ukraine “president” Petro Poroshenko said that fortifications to be built on the contact line must be ready by mid-July. He informed a news conference on June 5 that he was dissatisfied with the state of fortifications in the Kiev-held part of the Donetsk region, which is the area of responsibility of Alexander Kikhtenko, the recently dismissed Governor. “He will be held accountable for it,” Poroshenko added ominously. The fortifications will comprise “about 1,500 kilometers of trenches and connecting trenches; more than 8,000 dug-in emplacements for military hardware and more than 4,000 trench shelters; and the creation of a 60-kilometer [barrier] of non-explosive entanglements.” See TASS report Poroshenko orders to complete fortifications on disengagement line in Donbas by mid-July (June 11). Quemado Institute comments: fortifications this massive constitute a military offensive action insofar as they enhance Ukrainian Army assault capabilities. We are seeking a map of these offensive fortifications and ask readers to submit information.

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Donetsk Shelling on June 11 by Ukrainian Army. This sad description of loss of homes and human lives is presented by the Kharkov News Agency. “Today around 16 hours was again shelled a residential district October in Donetsk. The shells brought considerable destruction to peaceful homes. Also in the shelling killed a man, local resident Vladimir Kartashov…” See Peaceful areas of Donetsk on fire “Minsk agreements” (June 11).

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DPR Commander Motorola

Commander Motorola Interview. Dimtry Yevtushenko talks with Donetsk People’s Republic militia commander Motorola, the well-known hero of battles at the Donetsk airport. “Motorola: At the beginning of the war in Slavyansk, the Ukrainian army slowly tried to use artillery, they realized that it goes unpunished. Now they have nothing to fear, they do not care. All world community, all this blah-blah, all these peace talks. What is needed is concrete action. While the Nazis don’t stop, nothing good is expected. Yevtushenko: Why aren’t they afraid of? Motorola: Because no retaliatory action against them from the world community does not arrive. Acroaria quietly and with impunity, killing civilians, and with them nothing happens, they don’t.” See full interview at the Niqnaq website It would not be fitting for a true star to travel in anything less (June 10). Editor’s note: We are glad to learn that Motorola drives a safe and dependable Mercedes SUV.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein greets Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Vatican, June 10, 2015. (--Bohumil Petrik/CNA)

Pope Francis Gives Putin Medal of the Angel of Peace. The second meeting of Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin was held on Wednesday, June 10, at the Vatican. “The private encounter lasted 50 minutes … Although the two looked at each other once they sat down in the meeting room, they remained silent until the door was closed. Pope Francis was described as being ‘very serious’ from the moment the two greeted each other, although he began to warm up a bit during the group photo.” Putin gave the Pope a golden embroidery of the church of San Salvatore, while Pope Francis gave the president a large medal of the Angel of Peace crafted by artist Guido Veroi as well as a copy of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. See Catholic News Agency article Ukraine crisis the focal point in Pope’s discussion with Putin (June 10), by Elise Harris.

More to come.

Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy

 

Eric Zuesse

On May 21st, I headlined “Secretary of State John Kerry v. His Subordinate Victoria Nuland, Regarding Ukraine,” and quoted John Kerry’s May 12th warning to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to cease his repeated threats to invade Crimea and re-invade Donbass, two former regions of Ukraine, which had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new regime that was imposed on Ukraine in violent clashes during February 2014. (These were regions that had voted overwhelmingly for the Ukrainian President who had just been overthrown. They didn’t like him being violently tossed out and replaced by his enemies.) Kerry said then that, regarding Poroshenko, “we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.” Also quoted there was Kerry’s subordinate, Victoria Nuland, three days later, saying the exact opposite, that we “reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.” I noted, then that, “The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama.” However, Obama instead has sided with Nuland on this.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, bannered, on June 5th, “Poroshenko: Ukraine Will ‘Do Everything’ To Retake Crimea’,” and reported that, “President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to seek Crimea’s return to Ukrainian rule. … Speaking at a news conference on June 5, … Poroshenko said that ‘every day and every moment, we will do everything to return Crimea to Ukraine.’” Poroshenko was also quoted there as saying, “It is important not to give Russia a chance to break the world’s pro-Ukrainian coalition,” which indirectly insulted Kerry for his having criticized Poroshenko’s warnings that he intended to invade Crimea and Donbass.

Right now, the Minsk II ceasefire has broken down and there are accusations on both sides that the other is to blame. What cannot be denied is that at least three times, on April 30th, then on May 11th, and then on June 5th, Poroshenko has repeatedly promised to invade Crimea, which wasn’t even mentioned in the Minsk II agreement; and that he was also promising to re-invade Donbass, something that is explicitly prohibited in this agreement. Furthermore, America’s President, Barack Obama, did not fire Kerry’s subordinate, Nuland, for her contradicting her boss on this important matter.

How will that be taken in European capitals? Kerry was reaffirming the position of Merkel and Hollande, the key shapers of the Minsk II agreement; and Nuland was nullifying them. Obama now has sided with Nuland on this; it’s a slap in the face to the EU: Poroshenko can continue ignoring Kerry and can blatantly ignore the Minsk II agreement; and Obama tacitly sides with Poroshenko and Nuland, against Kerry. 

The personalities here are important: On 4 February 2014, in the very same phone-conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, in which Nuland had instructed Pyatt to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to lead Ukraine after the coup (which then occured 18 days later), she also famously said “F—k  the EU!” Obama is now seconding that statement of hers.

In effect, Obama is telling the EU that they can get anything they want signed, but that he would still move forward with his own policy, regardless of whether or not they like it.

Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit — which would force the EU’s hand regarding whether to continue with U.S. policy there — or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate on a key issue of U.S. foreign policy. If he stays on while Nuland also does, then, in effect, Kerry is being cut out of policymaking on Europe and Asia (Nuland’s territory), altogether, and the EU needs to communicate directly with Obama on everything, or else to communicate with Nuland as if she and not Kerry were the actual U.S. Secretary of State. But if Kerry instead quits, then the pressure would be placed on EU officials: whether to continue with the U.S., or to reject U.S. anti-Russia policy, and to move forward by leaving NATO, and all that that entails?

If they then decide to stay with the U.S., after that “F—k the EU!” and then this; then, the European countries are clearly just U.S. colonies. This would be far more embarrassing to those leaders than John Kerry would be embarrassed by his simply resigning from the U.S. State Department. It might even turn the tide and force the Ukrainian Government to follow through with all of its commitments under the Minsk II accords.

It would be the most effective thing for Kerry to do at this stage. But, it would lose him his position as a (now merely nominal) member of Obama’s Cabinet.

The way this turns out will show a lot, about John Kerry. The nations of Europe already know everything they need to know about Barack Obama. If Kerry quits, he’ll have respect around the world. If he stays, he’ll be just another Colin Powell.

The ball is in Kerry’s court, and everyone will see how he plays it — and what type of man he is (and isn’t).

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

The War in Ukraine: Editorial in The New York Times Suggests US Is Looking for a Face-Saving Way Out

The New York Times recommends a diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian conflict based on the Russian proposal of a year ago for Ukraine’s federalisation.

In-depth Report:

putin-nato-russia-ukraine_si-400x224The editorial in the New York Times we attach below is the first belated acknowledgement that the only way of saving Ukraine and ending the war is by conceding federalisation to Ukraine’s eastern regions.

We do not know for sure  whether this editorial reflects official US thinking. However, the probability is that it does.

Firstly, it is not unheard of for the US government to float ideas in this way through editorials in the New York Times. The New York Times is regularly chosen to do this because of its reputation and because it is widely read abroad.  The British government used to use the Times of London in the same way.

We have previously reported the concerns of some officials within the US government at the way in which the Ukrainian crisis is leading US relations with Russia into an impasse.

It is at least possible that with the war going disastrously wrong for Kiev and with the US administration looking increasingly short of options, the US administration is now trying to find a face-saving way out by finally embracing the federalisation solution that the Russians proposed last spring.  If so then this editorial, which will surely be read in Moscow, is intended as as an olive-branch.

The following words give the clear impression that a concrete offer has been made to Moscow through diplomatic back-channels. The carefully chosen words clearly convey the sense that the authority of the US government lies behind them:

“Russian officials have suggested that Moscow has no interest in annexing eastern Ukraine, the way it grabbed Crimea, but rather seeks a Ukrainian federation in which the pro-Russian provinces would have relative autonomy, along with assurances that Ukraine will not move to join NATO.

There is definitely potential for negotiations there……..

Tempting as it is to focus on punishing Mr. Putin, the greater objective must be to end the fighting so that Ukraine can finally undertake the arduous task of reforming and reviving its economy. Toward that end, the West must make clear to Mr. Putin that if a federation is his goal, the United States and its allies will actively use their good offices with Kiev to seek a workable arrangement.”

Poroshenko has just issued another statement ruling out federalisation.  This also suggests we are looking at an actual behind-the-scenes offer.  We have already explained why for Maidan talk of federalisation is anathema.  Poroshenko’s words suggest he knows of the US initiative and is trying to scotch it and to make his opposition to the idea clear before Secretary Kerry flies to Kiev as he is due shortly to do.

Moscow and the rebels are however unlikely to take up the offer.

The Russians pushed strongly for federalisation of Ukraine’s eastern regions following the February coup.  On 17th April 2014 a Statement was agreed by the US and Russian foreign ministers, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva, and was signed by the EU and the Ukrainian government, that called for constitutional negotiations between the various Ukrainian parties. These were obviously intended to lead to a constitutional settlement that would have led to federalisation. Many people in the Donbass at the time of the independence referendum of 11th May 2014 appeared to support the idea.

What was offered (and declined) in Spring 2014 may however no longer be on the table in Winter 2015.

Since the federalisation idea was floated last Spring there has been a murderous war in the Donbass causing massive devastation and loss of life. Russia has been subjected to two rounds of sectoral sanctions. There has been a relentless propaganda campaign against Russia, the rebels and Putin himself. It is difficult to believe that all of this has not caused views to harden since the spring.

Promises of constitutional negotiations like the ones made in Geneva on 17th April 2014 and in Minsk on 5th September 2014 have come and gone. No negotiations have however taken place. Given that Kiev is dead against them, after all that has happened it is very doubrtful the rebels or the Russians now believe they ever will. Nor are the Russians likely to be in any sort of mood to believe in US assurances that “if federation is the goal, the United States and its allies will actively use their good offices with Kiev to seek a workable arrangement”.

What made sense in the Spring, when it was proposed to prevent a war, may anyway no longer make sense in the Winter, after the war has already happened. After so much violence it is barely conceivable that the rebels or the people of the Donbass who support them would now agree to be part of a federation that left them within Ukraine, especially now when they are on the brink of victory.

If this is correct, then it looks like the US and its allies have missed the bus.


The text of the editorial that appeared in The New York Times on February 2nd, 2015:

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has flared up again, putting an end to any myth about the cease-fire that was supposed to be in force since September.

Though the Russian economy is staggering under the twinned onslaught of low oil prices and sanctions — or, conceivably, as a result of that onslaught — President Vladimir Putin has sharply cranked up his direct support for the rebels in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, while continuing to baldly deny it and to blame all the violence on the United States.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is broke, and without the military means to move against the Russian-backed rebels. Most of the victims are civilians who struggle with hunger and dislocation in the rubble of the combat zones and die in the constant exchanges of shells and rockets.

The eruption of fighting in recent weeks, which was not supposed to happen until spring, has given new force to pleas to the Obama administration to give Ukraine the means to resist Mr. Putin — in money and in arms.

Certainly the United States and Europe should increase their aid to Ukraine and explore ways to expand existing sanctions against Russia. NATO’s commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, is said to support providing weapons and equipment to Kiev. And Secretary of State John Kerry is said to be open to discussing the idea. But lethal assistance could open a dangerous new chapter in the struggle — a chapter Mr. Putin would quite possibly welcome, as it would “confirm” his propaganda claims of Western aggression.

So far, President Obama has cautiously pledged to help Ukraine in every way “short of military confrontation.” Yet with sanctions and diplomacy making no headway against Russian aggression, it is imperative that the United States and its allies take a new look at what would bring Russia to a serious negotiation.

The first question is, to negotiate what? Along with denying the direct involvement of his troops in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Putin has not made clear what he is trying to achieve. Russian officials have suggested that Moscow has no interest in annexing eastern Ukraine, the way it grabbed Crimea, but rather seeks a Ukrainian federation in which the pro-Russian provinces would have relative autonomy, along with assurances that Ukraine will not move to join NATO.

There is definitely potential for negotiations there. Yet the latest rebel attacks have focused on Mariupol, an important port on the Black Sea, and on expanding the rebels’ control to areas that would give their self-proclaimed “republics” greater military and economic cohesion. And that speaks to long-term rebel occupation.

Tempting as it is to focus on punishing Mr. Putin, the greater objective must be to end the fighting so that Ukraine can finally undertake the arduous task of reforming and reviving its economy. Toward that end, the West must make clear to Mr. Putin that if a federation is his goal, the United States and its allies will actively use their good offices with Kiev to seek a workable arrangement.

But if the evidence continues to accumulate that Mr. Putin and the rebels are carving out a permanent rebel-held enclave in eastern Ukraine, à la Transdniestria, Abkhazia or South Ossetia, he must know that the United States and Europe will be compelled to increase the cost.

NATO Meeting in Brussels Heightens Danger of War with Russia

 

In-depth Report:

11039-400x287NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels today to consolidate the military alliance against Russia, increasing the risk of a direct military confrontation between nuclear-armed powers.

NATO sources have revealed plans to establish a long-term presence in Eastern Europe, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS). So-called NATO “Force Integration Units” will be established in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. There are also plans to deploy such a unit in Hungary at a later time.

The units will consist of 40 soldiers each. They will be tasked with preparing exercises for a new NATO rapid response force and coordinating military activities in emergencies. Germany, which is spearheading the operation this year, intends to deploy a total of 25 soldiers within the units.

The ground troops of the rapid response force are to consist of a brigade of some 5,000 soldiers. The goal is for their most flexible units to have the capability to move to a new location within 48 hours. The entire brigade will be trained and equipped to be able to move to a new location within a week. The leadership of the operation will rotate yearly between NATO member countries.

According to the FAS, NATO defense ministers have already decided on the equipment to be provided during the “test phase,” which is to last until the beginning of next year. Starting in April, a company of German paratroopers will supplement American units that have been stationed in the Baltic States and Poland since last year.

Two weeks ago, the FAS revealed that NATO defense ministers will convene the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) at the beginning of today’s meeting to discuss “the nuclear threat scenario from Russia in the past few months.”

Unlike previous years, according to the FAS, this will not merely be a routine meeting. An analysis of threat scenarios worked out at NATO headquarters will be presented to the defense ministers. Afterwards, the ministers “will for the first time discuss the consequences for the nuclear strategy of the alliance.” A separate consultation session is planned with France, which is not a member of the NPG.

NATO’s nuclear simulations underscore the fact that the imperialist powers are ready to risk nuclear war in order to force Russia to its knees. In the past week, a number of prominent figures, including former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev, have warned of the danger of a Third World War if NATO, led by the United States, continues to take aggressive measures against Russia.

Under conditions of escalating fighting between troops of the Western-backed Kiev regime and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Gorbachev warned of a “hot war” that “could well inevitably turn into an atomic war.”

On Sunday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted the Russian military expert Yevgeny Buchinsky, who warned that, in response to an offensive against the Donbass by Kiev,

“Russia will have to intervene, and then, bluntly speaking, to take Kiev. Then NATO would be in a difficult situation. Then you would have to start World War III, which no one wants.”

In spite of such warnings, the imperialist powers and their proxies in Kiev are escalating the conflict. On Monday, the New York Times revealed that the Obama administration is considering sending advanced weapons to Kiev. The newspaper listed high-ranking current and former administration officials and military officers who are pushing for such a move.

The Times report triggered opposition among sections of the European elite. The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that a decision by Washington to arm the Kiev regime with offensive weapons would be taken by Russia as the equivalent of a declaration of war. Russian officials and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke against any such move during a visit to Hungary.

Washington intends to use today’s NATO meeting to bring the member states into line behind its provocative and reckless course. At the beginning of the week, Alexander Vershbow, a former US ambassador to Russia and currently the deputy secretary general of NATO, referred to “Russian aggression” in Ukraine as a “game changer in European security.”

He emphasized the necessity of deploying rapid response troops in Eastern Europe, extending NATO’s reach in the east, and arming the Ukrainian military. Referring to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, all former Soviet republics, he said,

“The more stable they are, the more secure we are. So helping Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova—to strengthen their military forces, reform their institutions and modernize their economies—is not an act of generosity, it is in our fundamental strategic interest.”

He added,

“NATO is doing its part. To help Ukraine to modernize and reform its armed forces, we have launched five trust funds to assist in areas like command and control, logistics, cyber defense and military medicine. We are sending more advisors to Kiev and will be carrying out exercises with Ukraine’s armed forces. And we are helping Moldova and Georgia to strengthen their defense capacity in similar ways, and, in Georgia’s case, to help it prepare for future membership in the Alliance.”

At the end of his speech, Vershbow warned:

“This time around, having chosen our course, we must stick to it. We must stay united, stay firm and increase the costs to Russia of its aggression.”

Meanwhile, voices in favor of arming Ukraine are growing louder. Michael Gahler (Germany’s Christian Democratic Union—CDU), who is the spokesman on security policy for the European People’s Party in the European Union parliament, spoke in favor of sending weapons to Ukraine in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio.

Wolfgang Ischinger, leader of the Munich Security Conference, which takes place this weekend, has adopted the same line. On ZDF Television he spoke in favor of the “announcement of possible weapons shipments” to Ukraine. “Sometimes one needs to use pressure to enforce peace,” he declared. While he cautioned that Germany should not send weapons, he said he could “imagine that other members of the alliance would want to do this.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whose regime was brought to power nearly a year ago by a fascist-led putsch backed by the US and Germany, and has since waged a brutal war against the population of eastern Ukraine, made an appearance yesterday in Kharkiv, which is near the border with Russia and the contested areas. He said that “we will need lethal weapons, and I am sure that foreign weapons will be sent to Ukraine.” He continued: “I don’t have any doubt that the US and other partners will provide help with lethal weapons so that Ukraine will be able to defend itself.”

Poroshenko will take part in the Munich Security Conference along with 20 other heads of state and 60 foreign and defense ministers. He is meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Kiev today.

Crowd of Several Hundred Tries to Storm Ukrainian Presidential Administration Office

 

In-depth Report:

Ukraine-anniversary-Maidan-coup-4-400x270A crowd of several hundred people has begun storming the Ukrainian presidential administration’s office, a TASS correspondent reports from the scene.

Protest demonstrators have penetrated the first cordon of the National Guards and are trying to make their way to the conference hall. Police forces are being moved in. National guards in full riot gear entered a brawl with the demonstrators, who are demanding access to TV cameras for a statement.

Earlier, demonstrators demanded the introduction of martial law and resignation of all top law enforcement officials, including the defense minister and prosecutor-general.

Also, one of their demands is the removal of the 25th Kievan Rus battalion of the Ukrainian armed forces from the area of Debaltsevo. Women from the Mothers’ Union have told TASS their sons could not have been contacted for the past several days.

The Guardian Finally Starts to Report the Truth about Ukraine’s War

By Eric Zuesse
Global Research, January 09, 2015

Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: Media Disinformation

Ukraine-USA-drapeaux-400x2701On January 7th, Britain’s Guardian, which used to be a fine newspaper but isn’t now, started what will necessarily be a long road back to reality, after nearly a year of their intermittent inattention and Western propaganda on Ukraine — finally realistically reporting the war there as being what it is and always was: an attempt by the post-coup Ukrainian Government to destroy the area in Ukraine where the residents had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President who was overthrown in the February 2014 coup.

Oleg Orlov headlined “Ukraine’s Forgotten City Destroyed by War,” and he described a city in ruins from the intensive bombings during July and August.

Though most of his article avoided the key question as to which side was to blame for this, no one can deny that the invaders here were the Ukrainian Air Force and Army, and that the defenders were troops of irregular fighters who lived in the invaded region. So, anyone with an IQ above 50 would have no difficulty figuring out that the Ukrainian Air Force and Army were to blame for bombing this city — that the Government was bombing and trying to exterminate the residents there while claiming to be their rightful Government (and which Government still remains supported by the West in that war against the former Ukrainians who live, and have always lived, there).

Here is the way that Orlov reported it:

“Towards the end of July, Ukrainian troops approached Pervomaisk but ran into stiff resistance and could not take it. A massive artillery bombardment began that would continue into August. Most people fled.”

He described the damage he viewed:

“Some blocks of this city, situated 50 kilometres west of Luhansk, have been practically wiped off the face of the earth by Ukrainian artillery barrages. Hardly any houses have escaped unscathed. We had seen such complete devastation in eastern Ukraine only [once before], in the villages of Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka, a few kilometres southeast of Luhansk. On that occasion, though, it was LNR (Luhansk People’s Republic) and possibly Russian artillery that opened fire in August [in order to] dislodge Ukrainian troops from the villages.”

Ultimately, he acknowledged that the Government were the invaders:

“The ‘Commandant’ of Pervomaisk (the mayor, appointed by the armed men who control the city) has a grisly collection of photos on his computer that were taken at that time. The rebels, though, had set up camp not only on the outskirts of the city but also smack in the centre, goading the Ukrainian forces into firing on Pervomaisk. But that in no way justifies strikes against populated areas by multiple launch rocket systems.”

However, again, only a fool would think otherwise. The situation is hard for propagandists such as the Obama Administration to even refer to.

It should also be pointed out that when Orlov asserted that, the rebels’ having “set up camp not only on the outskirts of the city but also smack in the centre” was “goading the Ukrainian forces into firing on Pervomaisk,” he was saying that even merely defending the City constituted shared responsibility, along with the attackers, for the City’s having been destroyed. This is like saying that a woman’s attractiveness constitutes her shared responsibility for her having been raped by her attacker.

Orlov then goes on to say:

“In November, strikes on the city resumed, although they were less intense than in the summer. We talked to the staff of a maternity hospital that had been hit by a bomb on 15 November, with a further five bombs exploding next to the building. A baby girl born two months premature was in the hospital at the time: it was a miracle that she survived, the doctors say.”

Then:

“When, the following morning, a ‘repair brigade’ went to [clear away the rubble], a new barrage began and one worker was killed. They showed us some one-storey houses that were destroyed on 23 November by strikes from a Grad rocket launcher. People crowd tightly into the bomb shelters when they are under fire [but] there were no bombardments during our visit and the huddled figures were those of permanent residents who no longer have anywhere else to live.”

He describes the desperate condition of the people that the Ukrainian Govenment’s bombings (which are financed by the West) has produced:

“The worst thing is the acute shortage of food in Pervomaisk. Although there are several shops in town, many people have no money left to buy anything. The city authorities – the Commandant, mayor and Cossack, Yevgeny Ishchenko and his comrades-in-arms – are trying to keep people alive somehow.”

Perhaps because of the requirement in the West to blame Russia for these things, the article closes:

“When we were in Pervomaisk, an eighth humanitarian aid convoy crossed over from Russia into eastern Ukraine. On our way back to Moscow, we discovered that no [food or supplies] from this convoy found their way to Pervomaisk. We appealed to the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Presidential Human Rights Council. We hope that the Russian government will wield its influence and convince the LNR authorities to send some of the humanitarian aid they receive from Russia to those who need it most – the people of Pervomaisk.”

He ignores this reality: The Ukrainian Government was blocking aid convoys. The Government is trying to starve the residents there to death. To blame Russia for any of that failure of food to reach the starving is obscene. But at least this article by Orlov is a start. That’s more than one can yet say for such newspapers as The New York Times, and Washington Post — or any in America.

After all: It was Obama who installed the current Ukrainian Government. David Cameron did not. If the business of journalism is to cover-up for one’s own Government’s international crimes, then newspapers such as The New York Times, and Washington Post are authentic journalistic institutions, not mere propaganda-organs. But the Guardian is making a step away from that type of ‘journalism’ — at least to the extent that Britain is partly responsible for the February 2014 Ukrainian coup, which is a very small extent. Perhaps that’s why the ‘news’ media in Britain are a bit freer to report the truth of that war than ours are.

Only in America is the lying by media about Ukraine’s war so pervasive. That’s because it’s basically America’s war, even though the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to it. The American Government serves the American aristocracy — no longer the public.

Maybe the British aristocracy don’t hate Russians as much as America’s do; but, for whatever reason, they’re not so committed to the destruction of Russia as Obama and the American aristocracy he represents are. That American aristocracy control America’s ‘news’ media, but they fortunately do not also control Britain’s.

If one reads the American press about Ukraine now, after the coup, then one is reading lies, distortions, and propaganda: myths, not history.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.