“Horror, darkness, fire, and death”–the agony of Debaltsevo Cauldron

From Fort Russ

2/18/2015
The Mopping Up of Debaltsevo
By Yurasumy

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

The cauldron will cease to exist in a few hours, a day at the most. Novorossia’s army has taken most of Debaltsevo. UAF and volunteer battalions have lost their HQ, therefore are acting in an uncoordinated, chaotic fashion, in order to save themselves. Many of the soldiers who have nothing to fear (draftees and reservists) are laying down their arms. DPR/LPR is mentioning hundreds of POWs. But that is only the beginning.

Most of the prisoners will likely be captured today or tomorrow, and here’s why.

Up to yesterday UAF troops could still hope they’d be rescued. The yesterday’s assault on Debaltsevo by Republican forces [a reference to the Spanish Civil War? Because the other side is fascist, after all…] which went very well, showed that the cauldron can quickly turn into a graveyard unless they do something fast.

They can do only two things: either surrender or break out. Surrendering is not the best option for the volunteers. The draftees and reservists it means a new lease on life. It means getting out of the war which feels alien to many of them. Moreover, the experience from last summer means that captivity equals life and…freedom. Many UAF prisoners prefer not to return to Ukraine but rather to sit out the mess in Russia—that’s the reality of the civil war.

But one has to keep in mind that these brigades are not merely reservists. Many territorial battalions have been incorporated into their organization (the 128th Brigade has three of them). So far from all 128th Brigade soldiers will be wiling to surrender. Nevertheless, already last evening we were seeing reports that the soldiers of the 40th “Krivbass” Battalion were surrendering. This was reported by the battalion commander himself.

Already yesterday we say several units withdraw toward Debaltsevo, which could have meant preparations for a break-out. Indeed, it began yesterday morning. It’s hard to tell how successful it was (it’s chaos out there), but it’s clear that they suffered enormous losses in the attempt. Semenchenko writes the following on facebook:

“The situation at Debaltsevo is growing more tense. I received a report from a commander who is holding positions on the “road of life” closer to Debaltsevo. The column exiting Debaltsevo was without tank support for part of the way. Terrorist [sic] tanks came out and shot it to pieces. Our artillery and Grads are firing against enemy tanks. We are evacuating the killed and wounded. We are holding the road. The information is being verified.”

At the same time, Poroshenko announced earlier today that UAF units are leaving Debaltsevo in practically a parade formation (and with only 30 wounded). But Porky has certain credibility issues. It’s already clear that the break-out attempts led to huge personnel losses and a near total loss of heavy equipment. We’ll know how much only in several days. We’ll also find out how many UAF soldiers made the rational decision to surrender to avoid death during the break out. To be sure, DPR/LPR authorities said they are not going to announce the identities of these soldiers if they don’t wish them to be revealed, and will release the captives to their relatives.

In the meantime the situation in Debaltsevo is this: HORROR, DARKNESS, FIRE, and DEATH. One thing is for sure: the comparison between Debaltsevo and Ilovaysk is not only appropriate but obvious.

P.S. The Debaltsevo recriminations will play themselves out against the background of the first anniversary of the coup. Hang on, Porky.

 

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/02/horror-darkness-fire-and-death-agony-of.html

Financial Times: Kiev is the aggressor

From Russia Insider, February 14, 2015

Even those in Donetsk who originally supported Kiev have come to realize that Ukraine is waging a war against its own people.

Although this article tries to make the people of Donetsk appear gullible and indoctrinated, it does make one incredible admission: Kiev is waging a vicious war against its own people—something that East Ukrainians will never forget, and probably never forgive. This article originally appeared in Financial Times


As world leaders convened in Minsk this week to decide the fate of east Ukraine, Tatiana Prussova, a teacher at Khartsysk school number 23, stood in front of her class, a map on the wall behind her.

For 10 minutes, she led a group of 15 and 16-year-old students through the day’s lesson: a review of the recent developments in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). She explained a new local holiday — February 8: Day of the Young Anti-Fascist Heroes — and recounted a pivotal week in which the US was considering arming Kiev while the rebel army had gained ground around the crucial rail hub of Debaltseve.

“Thanks to the gains of our Donetsk People’s Republic rebels, the road to Debaltseve has been closed and the town has been encircled,” Ms Prussova told the students, gesturing at the map in the same way other history teachers might point to the battle lines in Flanders or the Napoleonic War.

The class is one of dozens of so-called political information lessons now being taught at schools across rebel-controlled east Ukraine. It is a Soviet tradition that was disbanded following the fall of the USSR but has been revived by the pro-Russian DPR’s education ministry.

“We decided to inform the children from an objective point of view about the current developments of what’s happening inside the Donetsk People’s Republic,” said Lidiya Aksyonova, the school’s principal. “The beliefs that we form here in school will in 10 years become the political views of our government.”

While some may see this week’s Minsk memorandum, which calls for a ceasefire in east Ukraine and the eventual re-establishment of national borders, as the first step towards the DPR’s disbandment, there are few signs in the region of a rebel leadership preparing to relinquish control — or a society that wants them to.

After a months-long siege that has destroyed local infrastructure, and left the population under the near-constant percussion of artillery, a new sense of regional identity has taken hold in Donetsk. Though some of it is being transmitted through top-down initiatives such as Ms Prussova’s class, much of it has come through the Ukrainian army’s shelling, which has turned many formerly pro-Ukrainian locals against Kiev.

Another source of anger for many was an October speech by President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, in which he declared that the region’s citizens would suffer for the rebel leaders’ actions. “Our children will go to school and nursery school, and theirs will sit in basement!” he declared, waving a finger.

“As a student, as the future generation, I was for a united Ukraine. We really believed in Poroshenko,” said Yekaterina, a 20-year-old student at Donetsk National University. While her family fled to the Ukrainian side during the summer, they were forced to return to Donetsk in September after they ran out of money. It was then that her feelings changed.

“We thought [Mr Poroshenko] would come to Donetsk, but he didn’t come once,” she said. She dismissed claims that Donetsk locals were being brainwashed by the rebel leadership and Russian television. “You don’t need to be a soldier to understand from what direction artillery fire is coming,” she said. “We have access to the internet. We’re not in the stone age. We’re not zombies.”

In Donetsk’s Kievsky district, one of the most heavily bombed parts of the city, a middle-aged worker named Svetlana said she had been living underground in a cold war-era bomb shelter with 50 of her neighbours since the bombing began in May. While she refused to take part in the separatists’ referendum and appeal to join Russia in May — “I could tell that something smelt funny,” she explained — her views changed during the months underground.

“How can I be for a united Ukraine when Kiev has spent the past six months bombing us?” she asked. “They came to power and destroyed the entire infrastructure of southeast Ukraine.”

Enrique Menendez, a Ukrainian-born businessman with Spanish roots, said one of Kiev’s biggest mistakes was to vilify the people of southeastern Ukrainian rather than open a dialogue.

“At the beginning, a lot of journalists, bloggers, opinion leaders — most of them pro-Ukrainian — left Donetsk. But when they got to Kiev, the rhetoric [about southeast Ukraine] was very negative,” said Mr Menendez. “This aggression and lack of understanding of what was going on here really offended the people that stayed behind.”

One of a dozen organisers of a March rally for a united Ukraine, Mr Menendez eventually decided to stay in Donetsk to set up an organisation that delivers humanitarian aid.

In August, there were only five people left in his apartment building. They would crowd into the corridor during the worst of the shelling. Now, nearly all the 80 or so former residents have returned.

“The wartime mentality has changed us,” he explained. “We’ve stopped valuing the superficial things in life. We’ve lost everything: our savings, our prospects, our businesses. Some people lost their relatives. But we’ve become more pure.”

Even though the rumble of artillery fire could still be heard in central Donetsk this week, much of city life felt normal. A ghost town for much of last year, most of the city’s residents have now returned. Restaurants and shops are reopening, and most local schools are in session.

Igor Kostenok, the DPR’s education minister, appears determined to use his post to encourage a lasting regional identity. In addition to the new political information classes, Mr Kostenok said schools would also teach students about the experience of youngsters who fought for the rebels during the summer.

“Our story of the Great Patriotic War [second world war] tells us that many children who were forced to grow up early because of the war took up arms and defended their home. History is doomed to repeat itself,” he said.

One such youngster is Alexander Vasin, a 16-year-old student from the Donetsk suburbs who fought at Donetsk airport over the summer in a rebel battalion called the 15th International Brigade, despite his parents’ objections. He returned when school resumed in September, but said he would go back to the battalion later this year if the war had not ended. Of the fighting, he said: “It’s difficult at the beginning, but you get used to it.”

A video of the fighting he shot on his mobile phone won a prize from the DPR education ministry and is now being shown at schools across the region.

 

http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/02/14/3489

Reprinted under Fair Use Rules.

The Paet-Ashton transcript and the snipers at Maidan

Excerpt from annotated transcript below:

It is, and actually the only politician the people from civilian society mentioned positively was Poroshenko, so that he had some so to say trust among all these Maidan people and civilian society; and  second, what was quite disturbing, the same oligarch [Poroshenko] told that well, all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides.
Well, that’s yes, …
So that and then she [Dr. Olga Bolgomets] also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can, you know, say that it’s the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition that they don’t want to investigate, what exactly happened; so that now there is stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.
I think that we do want to investigate.  I mean I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh?
So that it was in this instance disturbing that if it’s us now to live its own life very powerfully, then it already discreditates from the very beginning also this new coalition.

Posted on Fort Russ
By Eric Zuesse, 3 Feb. 2015

Here is a complete transcript of the extraordinarily revealing phone conversation, that occurred on 26 February 2014, in which the foreign-affairs chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, was informed by her investigator, Urmas Paet, into his findings regarding what had been the cause of the violence that brought down the Ukrainian Government of President Viktor Yanukovych — whether it was Yanukovych himself, or the people who had opposed Yanukovych and who had supported Ukraine’s joining the EU (which Yanukovych had finally decided not to do). 
This conversation makes absolutely clear that the EU had not participated in bringing down Yanukovych and was shocked to learn that Yanukovych had not been behind the violence on that historic occasion, which had occurred only days prior.
This conversation goes by so fast so that a transcript of it is really necessary, in order for one to be able to absorb the full import of what’s happening and being revealed in it. Consequently, what now follows will be the transcript of this entire astounding phone call, with explanatory notes added in brackets by myself, for the reader’s comprehension of what was being referred to by these officials, in this phone-call that shows the truly astonishing extent of U.S. President Barack Obama’s depravity — a depravity that clearly shocked these EU officials, even while they seemed to have been resigned to it. (Subsequently, they went along with it, with only weak ongoing resistance to it.)
Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet phones the EU’s foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton, to report on the findings of his February 25th inquiry for the EU, into the situation in Ukraine right after the coup that had just overthrown Ukraine’s democratically elected (in 2010) President Viktor Yanukovych:

Continue reading

Vladimir Putin’s remarks following adoption of declaration on Ukraine, February 12

“Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.”

From The Kremlin, February 12, 2015

Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Petro Poroshenko took part in the talks on a settlement to the situation in Ukraine. At the final stage, they were joined by Heidi Tagliavini, OSCE Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Participants from the Russian side included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Following the Normandy format talks, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany adopted a declaration in support of the Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements adopted on February 12 by the Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Vladimir Putin also made a statement for the press.

* * *

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good morning,

This was not the best night of my life, but the morning, I believe, is good. This is because, despite the difficult negotiations, we finally managed to agree on the key issues.

Incidentally, you might wonder why the negotiations took so long. In my opinion, this was because unfortunately the Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.

We operated under the existing conditions and, in my view, have managed to agree on many things. The first is that we agreed on a ceasefire to begin at midnight on February 15. The second item that I find extremely important is the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the current line of confrontation for Ukrainian troops and from the line established on September 19, 2014 in Minsk for the Donbass self-defence forces.

Then comes a set of matters dealing with a long-term political settlement. This includes several items, the first being a constitutional reform that should take into consideration the lawful interests of the people residing on the territory of Donbass.

This is followed by matters dealing with a solution to border issues upon agreement with the Donbass militia, humanitarian issues, and the implementation of the earlier adopted law on the special status of the Donetsk and Lugansk territories.

Finally, there is a set of economic and humanitarian items.

We proceed from the notion that all the parties will show restraint until the complete ceasefire. The problem here was that representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics claimed that in response to the aggressive actions of the Kiev authorities they not only held back the Kiev forces but also managed to mount an offensive and surrounded a group of 6,000 to 8,000 servicemen. They, of course, proceed from the idea that this group will lay down arms and stop its resistance.

We nevertheless call on both sides to show restraint and in order to avoid unnecessary excessive bloodshed and casualties they should do everything possible to ensure that the separation of forces, mainly the heavy equipment, is conducted without unnecessary bloodshed.

Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities believe their troops have not been surrounded and therefore think this process will go sufficiently smoothly. I had some initial doubts that I can share with you. If the troops really had been surrounded, then, logically, they will try to break free, while those who are on the outside will try to arrange for a corridor for their trapped servicemen.

Eventually, we agreed with President Poroshenko that we will instruct our experts – I am ready to do so – to establish what is actually going on there. In addition, I will repeat, we will try to develop a set of measures to verify the implementation of our decisions by both sides.

I would like to call on both conflicting parties once again to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible and proceed to a truly political process of a long-term settlement.

Thank you for your attention.

<…>

(Answering a question from a Russian journalist.)

One document has just been signed by the Minsk Contact Group, it is called Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements.

The other document does not require signing: it is a statement by the President of France, the President of Ukraine, yours truly and the Federal Chancellor of Germany to the effect that we support the process.

Thank you.

 

http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23594

“All is lost”– Poroshenko after Minsk-2

From Fort Russ

2/12/2015

On the Outcome of the Minsk Negotiations: Kiev was given the opportunity to save face before dying.

By Ivan Lizan

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Imagine yourself as Petro Poroshenko for a minute: you fly in for a meeting, and you discover everyone is against you, the Europeans, the Russians, even the clever Belorussian with his little smile. The ally and patron is somewhere far away, behind an ocean. You have to run to make a phone call and get instructions. People are openly chuckling when you tell them there is no encirclement at Debaltsevo. They even ask you to leave the room so that Putin, Merkel, and Hollande can speak. You can’t believe in the outcome of the negotiations, and even tell the media that “all is lost.” A disaster.

But you still remember that your victory can easily be transformed into treachery, and you yourself can be deprived of power and even life. You have to save face, since you are not independent and don’t have any genuine power. Your competitor in Dnepropetrovsk already opened a parallel General Staff, and the efforts to disperse the Aidar failed completely. You even destroyed the coalition when you tried to make your friend/godfather the Prosecutor General.

So it’s better not to return at all without an agreement. It’s even more important not to return without an advantageous agreement. But there isn’t one. Because they put in front of you a compromise, and you had to sign on.

Holland and Merkel are beaming, because the plan worked and they believe in its implementation.

But only Lukashenko and Putin, and the DPR/LPR representatives understand what’s really going on.

Can you imagine how Poroshenko is supposed to issue orders to the Debaltsevo group after many of its officers had fled? If even Poltorak says that there is no encirclement. How are the Ukrainian soldiers to return to the demarcation line if they are encircled? Breaking out – means violating the ceasefire, staying put means death and capitulation.

You break the ceasefire and Minsk-2 collapses. But try to imagine how these measures are to be implemented.

First. Are the radicals going to agree to pay salaries to the “supporters of terrorism” on Donbass? For them salary non-payment is a victory over Putin.

Second. How do you intend to resurrect the Donbass special status law, after it was voided by the radicals in the Rada?

Third. How is Poroshenko going to command the territorial battalions and volunteer battalions, which are not under his control?

Fourth. How is he going to force his artillerymen to stop shelling Donbass cities?

Fifth. How is Poroshenko going to explain the troop withdrawal?

The answer is simple. He won’t. The provisions of the Minsk agreement are impossible to fulfill.

Incidentally, neither Kiev nor the republics plan to cancel their mobilizations. Units will be brought back to strength, and the republics’ mobilization is going somewhat better than Kiev’s. The war will inevitably continue, but the republics are in a better starting position than Kiev.

Therefore the outcome will be as follows: the ceasefire is temporary and will be violated. It only extends the death throes of the Kiev regime and of Ukraine as a state.

J.Hawk’s Comments: Lizan outlines Poroshenko’s quandary quite well, but in fact the situation is even worse for him.

For starters, Poroshenko clearly expected that the Minsk meeting would consist of The Leaders of the Free World (Poroshenko included) bringing “Putler’s aggression” to heel.

Instead it turned out to be Vlad and Friends putting the hurt on Poroshenko. From just observing the facial expressions and the body language, it was clear that he was on the receiving end of some serious pressure. Lavrov’s comment that the negotiations were going “better than super” was an early indication that Poroshenko walked into an ambush. What was the ambush intended to accomplish?

It would appear that Vlad’s Friends want Poroshenko to deal firmly with the Party of War in Kiev. It must have dawned on Merkel and Hollande (though the latter probably suspected this already) that the Kiev junta’s survival plan consists solely of hoping to provoke a large-scale conflict with Russia that would trigger a new Cold War on the European continent, and result in Ukraine being an “advanced forpost of the Western civilization”, an Israel of Eastern Europe of sorts, which in turn would mean billions and billions of dollars of economic and military aid. And the junta has no other plan. It never had any other plan. Its objective from the start was to provoke Russia (starting with “FSB snipers on the Maidan” and the moves to transfer the Sevastopol naval base to the US Navy) into doing something.

Well, they succeeded. Russia “did something”. It was only then that they discovered their miscalculation—the West does not have billions laying around to spend on cleptocratic Ukrainians with delusions of grandeur. Undaunted, they continued to escalate the situation, until the Europeans finally decided to step in, lest a full-scale great power war erupt on the European continent. First they apparently successfully convinced the Biden administration to kindly butt out by categorically ruling out deliveries of weapons to Ukraine. Then they pulled the plug on Kiev.

Poroshenko’s “mission impossible,” as it was evidently communicated to him by Hollande and Merkel, is to rein in the “war party” in Kiev by any means possible and then get on with destroying, excuse me, reforming the Ukrainian economy, Greece-style. It’s no longer self-evident that any violation of the ceasefire will be automatically blamed on Novorossia or Russia, as it was in the past. It is totally self-evident that no IMF credits will be forthcoming unless Poroshenko finally starts acting in a responsible manner. Moreover, considering what conditions are invariably attached to IMF credits, Ukraine’s ability to wage war will likely quickly decline due to the draconian budget cuts. Whatever Yatsenyuk had planned for this year will likely be significantly reduced if Yaresko is to convince Western donors Ukraine is serious about cutting government spending, and at the moment defense is where most of the money is.

So yes, by all means, try to put yourself into Poroshenko’s shoes at this point. His best chance is to convince the “war party” that their best chance is to help him stay in power. This line of argument has the benefit of having considerable merit to it, because should the Right Sector/Turchinov/whoever topple Poroshenko, would the new junta count on any support from the West?

Probably not, but do Yarosh and Turchinov realize it? The assumption Poroshenko and other sponsors of the Maidan made in unleashing the neo-Nazis on Ukraine’s political scene was that billions of dollars of Western aid would improve the situation in the country to such an extent that these movements would be starved of popular support. Instead, due to the deteriorating situation and the two lost military campaigns, they are gaining in strength, and their main enemy no longer is located in Donbass.

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/02/all-is-lost-poroshenko-after-minsk-2.html

 

 

February 6 NATO meeting heightens danger of war with Russa

NATO leaders continue to lie about Russian aggression when even the Ukrainian military says there are no Russian troops in Ukraine. It is NATO aggression, pushing against Russian borders, arming neighboring countries, conducting constant military exercises in those countries, and arming and equipping the Ukrainian military to conduct genocidal operations against the Ukrainian people.

By Johannes Stern, February 5, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

NATO 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.

Source:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/05/nato-f05.html

Re-posted on
http://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-meeting-in-brussels-heightens-danger-of-war-with-russia/5429695

Czech President says ‘only poorly informed people’ don’t know about Ukraine coup

Eric Zuesse, January 4, 2015
Posted on Washington’s Blog

The Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman said, in an interview, in the January 3rd edition of Prague’s daily newspaper Pravo, that Czechs who think of the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, on 22 February 2014, as having been like Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic “Velvet Revolution” are seeing it in a profoundly false light, because, (as Russian Television translated his statement into English) “Maidan was not a democratic revolution.” He said that this is the reason why Ukraine now is in a condition of “civil war,” in which the residents of the Donbass region in Ukraine’s southeast have broken away from the Ukrainian Government.

He furthermore said that, “Judging by some of the statements of [Ukrainian] Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, I think that he is rather a prime minister of war because he does not want a peaceful solution, as recommended by the European Union (EU), but instead prefers to use force.” (By contrast, George Soros, who has invested in Ukrainian bonds, and whose International Renaissance Foundation — also called The International Renaissance Fund — helped finance the overthrow of Yanukovych, as well as the hate-mongering Hromadske TV in Ukraine, is proud of it, and has repeatedly said that the EU must invest whatever is necessary for Ukraine to win its war against the residents of Donbass, and carry the war to victory against Russia. His alleged passion for ‘democracy’ has evidently been actually a hatred of Russians; it wasn’t an opposition to communism, after all; he hates Russians even after they have abandoned communism. Today’s Czech President is instead committed to democracy, not to hatred and bigotry of any sort. He’s a real democrat.)

Zeman added, by way of contrast to Yatsenyuk, the possibility that Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko “might be a man of peace.” So: though Zeman held out no such hope regarding Yatsenyuk (who was Obama’s choice to lead Ukraine), he did for Poroshenko (who wasn’t Obama’s choice, but who became Ukraine’s President despite Obama’s having wanted Yatsenyuk’s sponsor, the hyper-aggressive Yulia Tymoshenko, to win the May 25th Presidential election, which was held only in Ukraine’s pro-coup northwest, but claimed to possess authority over the entire country).[Editor: Further events have confirmed that Poroshenko is not at all a man of peace, including his lie at Davos that 9000 Russian troops had invaded Ukraine.]

What this statement from Zeman indicates is that the European Union is trying to deal with Poroshenko, as the “good cop” in a “good cop, bad cop” routine, with Yatsenyuk playing the bad cop; and, so, the EU’s policies regarding Ukraine will depend upon what comes forth from Poroshenko, not at all upon what comes from the more clearly pro-war, anti-peace, Yatsenyuk.

Furthermore, Zeman’s now publicly asserting that the overthrow of Yanukovych was a coup instead of having merely expressed the democratic intentions of most of the Maidan demonstrators, constitutes a sharp break away from U.S. President Barack Obama, who was behind that Ukrainian coup and who endorses its current leaders. Continue reading