Wave of assassinations in Ukraine targets critics of Kiev regime

POTROLAND

POTROLAND

 

In the lead-up to the May 9 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, there has been an accelerating wave of political assassinations targeting critics of the Western-backed, far-right regime in Kiev.

Yesterday evening, a group calling itself the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—the name of a Ukrainian fascist militia that collaborated with Nazi forces in carrying out ethnic genocides of Jews and Poles during World War II—claimed responsibility for the killings. In a statement emailed to opposition legislators and political commentators, it also gave “anti-Ukrainian” persons 72 hours to leave the country or be killed if they stayed behind.

It pledged to carry out the “complete extermination” of enemies of Ukraine and a “merciless insurrectionary struggle against the anti-Ukrainian regime of traitors and Moscow toadies,” according to a report in Der Spiegel .

The killing spree began this week with the murder of journalist Sergey Sukhobok. On Wednesday evening, Oleg Kalashnykov was found dead in his home in Kiev. He was a former parliamentarian from the Party of Regions and a close ally of President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician ousted in a NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in February of 2014 that installed the current regime in Kiev.

According to Interior Ministry advisor Anton Heraschenko, killers were waiting for Kalashnykov outside his residence and shot him when he returned.

Before his death, Kalashnykov indicated that he had received death threats over his call to commemorate May 9. He addressed a letter to his friends warning that “open genocide on dissent, death threats, and constant dirty insults” had become the “norm” since he publicly raised the issue. He reportedly added in the letter that Ukraine was under Nazi occupation.

On Thursday, pro-Russian journalist Oles Buzyna was shot and killed near his house in Kiev by two unidentified masked gunmen firing from a car. Buzyna had edited the Segodnya newspaper, a pro-Russian publication financed by Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, a multi-billionaire who was also one of the leading sponsors of Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions. Also killed on Thursday was Neteshinskiy Vestnik editor Olga Moroz.

The killings were the latest in a spate of deaths of high-profile opponents of the Kiev regime. The victims have largely been political and media associates of the faction of the post-Soviet Ukrainian business oligarchy tied to Akhmetov, Yanukovych and the Kremlin oligarchy in Russia. Other deaths include:

* Aleksey Kolesnik, former chairman of the Kharkov regional government, found hanged on January 29;

*Stanislav Melnik, a Party of Regions member reportedly close to Akhmetov, found shot in the bathroom of his Kiev apartment on February 24;

*Sergey Valter, the mayor of Melitopol, found hanged before his trial on February 25, leaving no suicide note;

*Aleksandr Bordyuga, the deputy chief of Melitopol police, found dead the next day, in his garage;

*Mikhail Chechetov, a former member of the Party of Regions, who jumped from the window of his 17th floor apartment in Kiev on February 28, leaving a suicide note;

*Sergey Melnichuk, a prosecutor who fell from a 9th floor apartment in Odessa on March 14.

Russian and Ukrainian officials have traded accusations of responsibility for the killings. Speaking on a call-in television show, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said of Buzyna’s killing, “It is not the first political assassination, we have seen a series of such killings in Ukraine.”

Officials in Kiev offered up dubious arguments to blame the killings on Russia. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the killings “a deliberate provocation which plays into the hands of our enemies, destabilizing the political situation in Ukraine.”

In the meantime, officials and far-right parliamentarians in Kiev have openly endorsed and celebrated the murders. While lawmaker Borys Filatov rejoiced that “one more piece of sh*t” had been eliminated,” Irina Farion, a lawmaker of the fascist Svoboda Party, attacked Buzyna as a “degenerate” and hoped that his “death will somehow neutralize the dirt this [expletive] has spilled… Such ones go to history’s sewers.”

Political responsibility for the killings rests with the imperialist powers that oversaw and backed the Kiev putsch. They have encouraged Kiev to wage a bloody civil war against pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine and covered up its reliance on fascistic, anti-Russian forces. In the resulting political atmosphere, opponents of the Kiev states can be murdered without investigation and with political impunity.

What is occurring in Ukraine is a warning to the international working class. With the support of Washington and its European allies, which are moving to train the neo-Nazi militias that make up much of the Ukrainian regime’s National Guard, an ultra-right regime has emerged in a major European country.

With Ukraine’s economy disintegrating and its population resisting Kiev’s attempts to reinstate the draft to wage war against eastern Ukraine, Kiev is seeking to crush domestic dissent and relying ever more directly on the far right. Terrified that mass opposition might coalesce around the May 9 holiday, it has banned public discussion of communism. It also rehabilitated the UPA and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

This is the culmination of a series of police state measures by the Kiev regime that have enjoyed the full support of its NATO backers. During last year’s Ukrainian legislative elections, opposition candidates, including Pyotr Symonenko, the Stalinist Communist Party of Ukraine’s (KPU) former presidential candidate, were physically attacked by fascist thugs.

Even before the murder of Buzyna, Kiev regime officials and sympathizers were demanding draconian punishments of journalists who oppose the regime. Last month, Ukrainian Minister of Information Policy Yuri Stets demanded that journalists in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian Donbass region serve prison terms of eight to 15 years.

In an account on Facebook of a speech he had given at Harvard University, pro-Kiev regime commentator and political analyst Yuri Romanenko boasted that he had argued for murdering pro-Russian journalists and summarized his arguments.

“The Ukrainian army must selectively and carefully eliminate Russian journalists covering the situation in Donbass. We need to direct Ukrainian army snipers to shoot people wearing PRESS helmets, making them priority targets,” Romanenko wrote. “Since the media represent a destructive weapon and allow Russia to operate not only in the war zone but across Ukraine, taking out several dozen journalists in the conflict zone will reduce the quality of the picture presented in the Russian media and, therefore, reduce the effectiveness of their propaganda.”

The murder of Kalashnykov, Buzyna and their political associates emerges directly from the foul political atmosphere produced by such ranting. It is an indictment of the NATO powers backing the regime in Ukraine and the illusions peddled by the Western media and corrupt pseudo-left groups that the right-wing protests on the Maidan and the February 2014 putsch were part of a democratic revolution.

While these forces insisted, without any proof, that the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was a crime carried out by the Russian government, they are maintaining a hypocritical silence as the Kiev regime’s internal opponents are gunned down in the streets.

Poroshenko launches Bloody Assault on Eastern Ukraine

By Chris Marsden
Global Research, July 02, 2014
World Socialist Web Site

Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: Militarization and WMD, Police State & Civil Rights, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT

petro-poroshenko-209x300Ukrainian forces have launched a series of bloody attacks in the eastern regions following the declared end Monday of a ten-day ceasefire by President Petro Poroshenko. The nominal ceasefire was never truly operational.

Heavy fighting and artillery bombardments were reported around the rebel-controlled cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, beginning at 19:30 Monday. Grad rockets were also fired at the city of Karlovka.

Igor Strelkov, the Russian commander of rebels in Slavyansk, said that many civilians had been wounded when government forces shelled several villages around the city.

At least four people were killed and five more wounded after a passenger bus came under fire in Ukraine’s Donetsk region Tuesday morning.

Russia protested the death Monday night of a Russian journalist, Anatoly Klyan, a cameraman for state-owned Channel One, who was shot in the stomach by Ukrainian forces on a bus carrying journalists and soldiers’ mothers.

Yesterday, Ukraine’s parliament speaker, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, declared, “The active phase of the counterterrorism operation resumed in the morning… Our armed forces are striking the bases and strongholds of the terrorists.”

Parliament was prepared to consider a request by Poroshenko for the imposition of a state of emergency in the east after he declared in a televised address midnight that Ukrainian forces would “attack and liberate our land… Termination of ceasefire is our response to terrorists, insurgents, marauders… Armed Forces, the National Guard, the State Border Service, the Security Service received appropriate orders.”

Poroshenko blamed the pro-Russian rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for failing to honour the ceasefire and denounced the government of Vladimir Putin in Moscow for allegedly failing to rein them in.

Militants had failed to take up a “unique opportunity” to support his peace plan, Poroshenko said, and had violated the ceasefire more than 100 times.

Later, in chilling, fascistic language on his Facebook page, Poroshenko declared that “we must be united, because we are fighting to free our land from dirt and parasites.”

In reply to Poroshenko’s claims, Kostyantyn Knyrik, a spokesman for the Donetsk People’s Republic, told the Interfax news agency that government forces had never adhered to a truce. “After Kiev declared its so-called ceasefire, strikes conducted by Ukrainian servicemen against Slovyansk and Semenivka did not stop for a day,” he said, adding that officials of the self-proclaimed republic had documented 200 violations.

“As a matter of fact, there was no ceasefire there,” he said. “The decision not to extend the ceasefire will not significantly impact military operations.”

Russia has demanded an investigation into claims that chemical and phosphorus weapons have been used by Ukrainian troops. People showing symptoms of chlorine poisoning were admitted to hospital following an alleged attack carried out by Ukrainian Special Forces near Slavyansk, according to separatist forces. Earlier, there were accusations of phosphorus firebombs being dropped on villages in southeastern Ukraine, accompanied by video footage.

Poroshenko’s assertion that Putin had not done enough to prove he was ready to support a ceasefire came despite the Russian parliament’s cancellation of an order allowing him to send troops to Ukraine to defend Russian citizens.

More significant still was the proposal made during teleconference negotiations Monday that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande for border checkpoints on the Russian side to be monitored by representatives of the Ukrainian Border Service as well as observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) so as to ensure that no crossing points were being used for illegal purposes.

That day, Hollande’s office announced agreement between Putin and Poroshenko on the proposal, which was a key element of the Ukrainian president’s “peace plan.” The two had also agreed to work on the liberation of more hostages and prisoners and the organisation of “substantial tripartite negotiations,” Hollande’s office said.

Poroshenko then rang US Secretary of State John Kerry, who likely told him the ruse of a ceasefire should no longer be maintained—especially given the reluctance of the European powers to impose new sanctions on Russia.

Putin has now pledged that Russia will “energetically defend the right of ethnic Russians, our compatriots abroad, using the entire arsenal of available means”, including “the right to self-defence.”

Moscow has been taking pains to identify the Obama administration as the major force stirring up tensions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. This is, in part, an attempt to exploit divisions between Washington and the European powers over the economic and political impact of a full-scale conflict with Russia.

But there is no doubt that the US is prepared to go much further and faster than its European allies.

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave a televised interview in which he said that “our American colleagues still prefer to push the Ukrainian leadership toward a confrontational path,” and that the chances of settling the crisis would have been better if they depended only on Russia and Europe.

Putin struck a similar note Tuesday. Addressing Russian diplomats in Moscow, he said: “We failed–when I say ‘we,’ I mean my colleagues in Europe and myself–we failed to convince [Poroshenko] that the road to a secure, stable and inviolable peace cannot lie through war.”

He added, “Our relationship with the United States is not the best at the moment. We have always tried to be predictable partners, handle business on an equal basis, but in return our legal interests were partially ignored and are still ignored.”

Russia was obliged to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region in March to prevent NATO forces entering, which would have created “a completely different alignment of forces,” he said. “I would like to stress that what happened in Ukraine was the climax of the negative tendencies in international affairs that had been building up for years.”

On Monday, US Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of US European Command, issued another bellicose denunciation of Russia. “Russian irregular forces are very active inside eastern Ukraine and Russian financing is very active inside eastern Ukraine,” Breedlove said.

Offering no evidence, he continued, “We see in training on the [Russian] side of the border is big equipment, tanks, anti-aircraft capability, and now we see those capabilities being used on the [Ukrainian] side of the border.”

Asked how many Russian troops have massed on the Ukraine border, Breedlove responded that there are “seven-plus battalion task groups on the east side of that border,” equivalent to 50,000 troops.

Breedlove’s anti-Russian rhetoric framed his announcement that troops will be dispatched from the US to Europe, starting in October, to buttress forces that have already been moved from Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe to mount additional ground and air patrols in the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as in Poland and Romania.

Breedlove urged Congress to reconsider any reductions in the number of troops in Europe and to approve $1 billion in additional military funding, because the US “may need to add additional rotational troops to cover the sustained, persistent presence that we are now envisioning.”

The US is urging all 28 NATO member states to reverse their own defence cuts and honour the military alliance’s commitment to spend a minimum of two percent of gross domestic product on defence—which presently is only met by the US, Britain, Greece and Estonia.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/poroshenko-launches-bloody-assault-on-eastern-ukraine/5389474″ data-title=”Poroshenko launches Bloody Assault on Eastern Ukraine”>

Articles by: Chris Marsden
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