Is this really one of the purposes for America’s takeover of Ukraine? So that it can be a port, supply depot, and jumping off point for its Middle East terrorist operations?
Posted on Fort Russ:
in Parti de Gauche, April 22, 2015
April 25, 2015
For another French political party that does not have blinders on, see http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/04/french-party-cries-shame-on-supporting.html
Lviv is a hotbed of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism.
By Greg Butterfield
March 16, 2015
International Action Center
As activists, students and workers gather in Washington, D.C., for the “Spring Rising” anti-war mobilization March 18-21, many are probably unaware that 300 U.S. troops arrived in Ukraine this month, with another 300 expected to join them shortly.
The U.S. soldiers are stationed at the Yavoriv Training Area in Lviv, near the Polish border in western Ukraine. Their mission, according to the Pentagon, is to train divisions of the Ukrainian National Guard.
But their presence also establishes a provocative U.S. military “footprint” in this key agricultural and industrial country on the Russian Federation’s western border.
The first open and public U.S. military presence on Ukrainian soil comes amid a civil war raging in former southeastern Ukraine, now the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, also called Novorossiya. It’s accompanied by unprecedented NATO war games and military buildup threatening Russia.
All this despite a ceasefire agreement, negotiated by Russia, Germany and France, which went into effect Feb. 15. As happened during previous ceasefires, the U.S.-backed government in Kiev routinely violates the terms and is using the “breathing spell” to rebuild its military forces to assault the embattled Donbass mining region.
“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus … to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” the U.S.’s 173rd Airborne Brigade commander, Michael Foster, told a meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington on March 3. (Global Research, March 3)
U.S. forces are scheduled to stay six months. But discussions are underway about “how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission,” Foster said, echoing remarks made in January by former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Derek Chollet.
Meanwhile, in London, Prime Minister David Cameron told a House of Commons committee on Feb. 24 that up to 75 British soldiers would be sent to Ukraine to develop “an infantry training program with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces,” the BBC reported.
“Today’s announcement builds upon the work that we have already undertaken through NATO and bilaterally,” added British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. (Sputnik, Feb. 24)
Poland, too, plans to send military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers, Boguslaw Pacek, advisor to the country’s defense minister, told Reuters on Feb. 26.
What is the Ukrainian National Guard?
When most people in the U.S. hear the term “National Guard,” they think of the recruiting commercials touting “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” of training to “serve your country.” The Pentagon is playing on this association to make their mission sound benign.
Of course, the National Guard in the U.S. has a long history of being employed to put down rebellions and strikes in the U.S., often with the most brutal methods. And in the last 15 years, since the start of Washington’s “war on terror,” many National Guard soldiers have been required to serve long stretches in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the Ukrainian National Guard is something else altogether. The brainchild of far-right Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, it came into being one year ago, shortly after the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president.
The National Guard is based on neo-Nazi street-gangs and fascist political organizations that formed the power base of the Euromaidan protest movement which carried out the February 2014 coup in Kiev. It answers to Avakov, not the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which the coup makers considered unreliable, and which has continued to disintegrate during the war in the southeast.
The National Guard, in fact, has been the backbone of Kiev’s brutal “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against Novorossiya. This operation has targeted civilians throughout the Donbass mining region since April 2014. It is nearly as ruthless as the “volunteer” fascist battalions affiliated with the openly fascist Right Sector.
While the Ukrainian Armed Forces today are a meat grinder for workers, unemployed people and youth forcibly drafted, and who frequently desert at the first opportunity, the National Guard comprise the forces most loyal to the junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists in Kiev.
This is the force the U.S. wants to train and strengthen.
But there’s much more to the story.
Throughout Europe, the Baltic and Central Asian states bordering Russia, and even on U.S. soil, an unprecedented volume of provocative war games are underway, all clearly threatening Moscow.
Why? Because the real aim of the U.S. power play in Ukraine is to establish NATO military power on Russia’s border, with the aim of fomenting regime change aimed at breaking up the Russian Federation into pliable, profitable pieces that can be easily dominated by Wall Street and its European junior partners.
That’s why since day one of the Ukrainian crisis, Democrats, Republicans and the corporate media have united to turn reality on its head by portraying Russia as the aggressor — a Big Lie to cover up their own role.
Here’s a sampling of the provocative moves in the past month, culled from U.S. military sources, Ukrainian and Russian media, as well as anti-war sites like StopNATO.org and Global Research:
- On Feb. 10 — as ceasefire talks were underway in Minsk, Belarus — the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to authorize $1 billion for training, equipping and providing “lethal aid” to Kiev through September 2017.
- On Feb. 24, U.S. military vehicles took part in a NATO parade in the Estonian town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. It included 140 armored vehicles and nearly 1,500 troops, including U.S. soldiers.
- The same day, in Alaska, paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team performed the largest U.S. airborne mission north of the Arctic Circle in more than a decade as part of Exercise Spartan Pegasus. “This exercise demonstrated their unique ability to rapidly mass power on an objective in extremely cold and austere environments,” said an Army press release.
- U.S. Marines and soldiers from the Republic of Georgia staged a “pre-deployment training” during Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, on Feb. 27.
- NATO Supreme Commander in Europe and Chief of the U.S. European Command Philip Breedlove told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on March 3 that it is “essential” for Washington to provide “military support” to “U.S. partners Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine [which] face a different security challenge from Russia than those facing NATO allies.”
- On March 6, U.S. and Canadian soldiers carried out drills “in winter conditions” with their Latvian counterparts, while live-fire training exercises were conducted at Drawsko Pomorskie in northern Poland.
- Some 450 U.S. soldiers and 25 Black Hawk helicopters will be deployed to Illesheim, Germany, in March “in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a multinational training mission to reassure Poland and the Baltic countries of NATO’s commitment in the face of Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine.” The deployment is to last nine months.
- The European Union needs its own army to confront Russia, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on March 8.
- Latvia received more than 120 armored units, including tanks, from the U.S. on March 9. U.S. Army Gen. John O’Connor, who witnessed the tanks’ arrival, declared that “Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended.”
- A major NATO naval force is amassing in the Black Sea, including U.S., Canadian, German, Italian, Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian warships.
Washington’s unreal ‘debate’ over arming Ukraine
“Watch what they do, not what they say” — the old adage is always good advice when dealing with U.S. imperialism. And nowhere is that more apparent than in Washington’s current “debate” over arming Ukraine.
The media depict a dispute over whether the U.S. should provide “lethal weapons,” heavy weapons and offensive weapons to Ukraine for its war against “pro-Russian separatists,” as the anti-fascist resistance in Donbass is usually labeled.
For example, on March 6, leading congressional Republicans and Democrats, headed by John Boehner, urged President Obama to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to Kiev due to Russia’s “grotesque violation of international law.”
The White House states that it is still “considering” whether to provide so-called lethal aid. However, top administration officials, from Secretary of State John Kerry on down, have voiced their support.
All of this amounts to smokescreen and posturing for political gain. In fact, the Obama administration and Congress have colluded all along to arm the fascist junta, which they collaborated with in bringing to power. In December, Congress overwhelmingly approved and Obama signed the “Ukrainian Freedom Support Act,” in fact authorizing “lethal aid.”
Airfields in eastern Ukraine immediately shut down as U.S. military cargo planes flew in massive amounts of old and new NATO weaponry. Much of this war materiel was captured and put on public display by the Novorossiyan people’s militias following the defeat of Ukraine’s January 2015 military offensive.
In February, Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko inked an arms agreement with the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. client state that frequently serves as a hub to funnel advanced weaponry to right-wing regimes and counterrevolutionary movements supported by Washington.
On March 11, Obama approved $75 million in additional “nonlethal” military aid to Ukraine, including secure communications equipment, drones, counter-mortar radars, night-vision goggles and military ambulances, to be delivered in the next six to nine months. He also approved the provision of 30 armored and 200 unarmored Humvees, Sputnik reported.
The same day, the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund approved a new $17.5 billion financial aid package for Ukraine in exchange for additional painful austerity measures. (RT.com, March 11) This is meant to ensure that Kiev will remain solvent enough to continue its proxy war in the coming months, despite its collapsing economy.
Whether or not the U.S. openly arms Ukraine with offensive weapons, or continues to do so covertly and through third countries, is far less significant that the blatant war moves of U.S. and NATO forces in the region.
Every day, it grows more urgent for the anti-war forces in the U.S. to stand up and demand: Stop the weapons, stop sanctions, stop provocations against Russia! Stand with the people of Donetsk and Lugansk resisting austerity and genocide!
Posted on Novorossiya Today
Genocide by Non-payment of Retirement Pensions
by Konstantin Dolgov
Ukraine wants to improve the state of its economy at the expense of a million of lives of the retired people in Donbass.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly secured the key rights that all the people should possess. The regime that was established in Kiev after the coup of 2014 had de facto abolished the implementation of this document in regard to a group of citizens of Ukraine.
As we know, Kiev keeps on considering the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s Republics as part of Ukraine. Hypocritically declaring “the unity of the country” and “the anti-terrorist operation” in order to please the West, in reality Kiev authorities are engaged in the genocide of the population of the region with the aim of improvement of Ukraine’ s economy at the expense of human lives.
Only in accordance with the official data, in the territories of Donbass not controlled by Kiev government more than a million of Ukrainian citizens live, who are living exclusively off the retirement pensions and other social payments. They are the elderly, the WWII veterans, who defeated Hitler or went through Buchenwald or Oswensim. They are the disabled people. They are the people, who have the credit of Ukraine. They had worked for the Ukrainian state all their lives long and paid taxes in Ukraine. Social payment is the natural obligation of the state to these people — they are the only means of livelihood for many of them. Nevertheless since the summer of 2014 Ukraine terminated all social payments to the citizens living in these territories.
In autumn it became a real problem. A million (!) of the elderly and disabled people were forced to travel to the distance of hundreds kilometers for their homes to the territories controlled by Ukraine in order to receive deserved by them payments. However, eventually the Ukrainian government went even further. Since January 1, 2014 Yatsenyuk’s Cabinet terminated social payments to the people living on these territories. Millions of people were faced with a choice: to leave homes and move for good to the territories controlled by Ukraine (then the payments, although hilariously meager, are resumed), or lose the only source of livelihood and starve. Article 13 of the above mentioned Declaration says that “every person has the right to move freely and chose his/her residence within the limits of each state”. However, the “democratic” Kiev government is not going to pay attention to such trifle as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its strive to reach its goals.
Moreover, the first mentioned option is unrealistic in principle. The average retirement pension in Ukraine amounts to 1600 Hryvnya now (about 65 Euro) per month. The average cost of a bedsitter rent in Ukraine is about 2500 Hryvnya per month (a bit less than 100 Euro). A retired person cannot afford to leave his apartment in Donetsk, Lugansk, Snezhnoye, Ilovaysk and rent an apartment in a city under Ukrainian control. Kiev regime deliberately made such a decision in order to free itself from the obligations in regard to social payments – at the expense of the lives of a million of Donetsk retired people.
On March 12 the International Monetary Fund demanded that Ukraine should resume the payments, but the memorandum adopted implies the settlement of this issue toll the end of 2015, and a million of people have not been receiving the routine payments for half a year already.
Notably, this resolution of Kiev government contradicts Ukrainian laws as well. Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine states responsibility for the non-payment of pensions and other legally asserted payments. Predictably, the retired dwellers of Donbass started to sue the social bodies of Ukraine. Nevertheless the lawsuits proceeded in accordance with the predictable scenario.
The most well-known precedent is the cases handled by human right activists Kirill Beloshytskiy, Tatyana Volkova and Irina Khyzhnyak. 15 inhabitants of Donbass sued Ukrainian government for the refusal in payment of envisaged by the law pensions with the support of these layers. Surprisingly, the court verdict was just, and the first lawsuit was won by the appellants. On February11, 2015 Kiev District Administrative Court ruled the relevant government statement illegal and ordered to resume social payments to the dwellers of Donbass. However it was just the beginning of the epic.
At once after this court ruling the Ukrainian government submitted an appeal, the consideration of which is still being delayed deliberately. Although Kiev did not stop at that and decided to repress the judges who dared to defend the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ukraine living in Donbass.
As early as on February 16 search was carried out in the building of Kiev District Administrative Court. The search was conducted by the inevitable armed people in face masks, and only later the Prosecutor of Kiev Yuldashev informed the public that the search was sanctioned by him. Moreover, one of the judges concerned, Valeriy Kuzmenko, received an enlistment note soon after that. Sending of disagreeable people to war has long been viewed by Kiev as the repressive means, but it was the first time it had been used as the method of squeeze on court.
The Convention of Prevention of Genocide Crime and Punishment for It, recognized by the entire civilized world, defines genocide as “actions committed with the aim of extermination, complete or partial, of some national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such”, including by way of “deliberate creation for such group of such living conditions, which are aimed at total or partial physical elimination of it”.
If Kiev’s deprivation of a million of the Donbass aged people of all means of livelihood does not suit this definition, then in reality the Convention is not worth of the paper it is written on.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Co-Chairman of the Peoples’ Front of Novorossia, specially for “Russkaya vesna”.
By Eric Zuesse
Posted on RINF.com, March 18, 2015
On Wednesday, March 18th, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine — who was selected for that post by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department on 4 February 2014, 18 days before the U.S. coup that installed him into this office — told his cabinet meeting, “Our goal is to regain control of Donetsk and Lugansk.” Those are the two districts comprising Donbass, the self-proclaimed independent region of Ukraine, which now calls itself “The People’s Republic“ and sometimes “Novorossiya,” and which rejects the coup and its coup-imposed Government.
That Government of Ukraine is run by Yatsenyuk and the people whom he selected. Ukraine also has a President, who is elected by voters in the northwest of Ukraine, where the coup-government is accepted; but, since the coup, the Government has actually been run by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, who is entirely dependent upon the United States Government and its subordinates (such as the IMF and NATO, in both of which the U.S. has veto-power) in order to obtain the financial and military support necessary to keep him in office
Yatsenyuk announced there: “Adequate financial resources are available,” to retake Donbass. Those “resources” came largely from the IMF, and from the United States, all with loans to the bankrupt Ukrainian Government. So that the investors will be paid the principal plus the extremely high interest on these junk-loans that are backed by their governments, Western taxpayers will ultimately be, basically, donating to Franklin Templeton, and to George Soros, and to the other financiers who are buying the Ukrainian Government bonds that purchase those weapons and military trainers to conquer the residents of Donbass. The Ukrainian Government officially calls these residents ‘Terrorists,’ and the military operation to conquer them they call the ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ or “ATO” for short. They call their troops who are doing the killing there, “punishers,” which the residents of northwestern Ukraine take to mean punishers of terrorists. The residents in northwestern Ukraine see only television that is broadcast on stations that are owned by Ukrainian, European, and American, oligarchs. For example, one of these stations is Hromadske TV, which was founded with money from the Dutch Government, the U.S. Government, and George Soros’s International Renaissance Foundation. It has, on occasion, presented ‘experts’ who call for exterminating at least 1.5 million of the residents in Donbass. So, this is how the support of the residents in Ukraine’s northwest for the “ATO” is being maintained. The residents in Donbass have also been called “subhumans” by Yatsenyuk himself.
At this cabinet meeting, Yatsenyuk additionally announced that resumption of the war would be rushed: “We need to move the funding for the purchase of new equipment and weapons from the third and fourth quarter to the first and second quarter,” he told his cabinet.
At this same cabinet meeting, the Minister of Defense, Stepan Poltorak, announced that, to date, 100 contracts for military equipment have been signed, and soon there will be 160. He also said: “Just in the last week alone, factories brought in about a thousand pieces of equipment for repair.”
Yatsenyuk told his cabinet that, “We will fight using all methods and techniques for the resumption of peace and regaining control of Donetsk and Luhansk region.” By ‘resumption of peace,’ he meant resumption of control over Donbass. “Peace” is the term he uses to mean control. In other words: until the Yatsenyuk Government wins, there will continue to be war in Donbass, “using all methods and techniques” to achieve his (that is, America’s) victory in subduing the residents there. This subduing means exterminating some, and driving the others out; so that, in either case, they won’t become voters in future Ukrainian elections. The last time that these people voted in a Ukrainian election was 2010, when they voted 90% for Viktor Yanukovych, the man whom Obama overthrew. Without that 90% vote, Yanukovych wouldn’t have been elected. Obama consequently doesn’t want them voting in any future Ukrainian election. That’s the reason why they’re being bombed — to get rid of them.
On March 17th, Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, voted to declare Donbass to be “temporarily occupied territory,” until the residents there are conquered. The day before that, the figurehead President of Ukraine had presented to the Rada a draft resolution proposing to solve the problem of the resistant Donbass with a resolution he published on his website on March 14th saying that the region has “special status,” and temporary self-government, but this proposal wasn’t the one the Rada passed. The President nonetheless declared that his terminology was somehow law from the moment it had been published on his website.
U.S. President Obama wants the war resumed as quickly as possible, but Angela Merkel and other European leaders have urged that it not be resumed at all. Consequently, there is a split in the Western alliance about this matter. Apparently, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has determined that he now has enough weapons and loans to be able to resume the war very soon, until final victory.
Obama, evidently, is determined to finish the job that he started with his coup. It was bloody, but the follow-through will need to be far more so. And he has the full support of the U.S. Congress, and of the major think tanks, to continue this until victory. EU nations that don’t like it — well, Obama’s agent controlling Ukraine said famously, on 4 February 2014, “F—k the EU.”
Many European leaders don’t want to be involved in a war against Russia. However, on March 12th, Yatsenyuk said “Ukraine is in a state of war with … the Russian Federation.” That is the service he is providing to Barack Obama, and to the 98%+ of the members of the U.S. Congress who likewise want this war: Ukraine has become the proxy state for America’s war against Russia.
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.
From Fort Russ
By Eric Zuesse, February 17, 2015