imagine a ‘nuclear war’ of information

Russia vs. US: Total War is the Obliteration of Reality

fort russ blog
By: Joaquin Flores
When the methods of Information War in Fourth Generation Warfare are used in Total War, it results in a war upon the psyche, a war upon cognition, a war upon our very conception and understanding of reality.  This will be an increasing feature of our relationship with reality.
As global conflict increases qualitatively and quantitatively, it is important to understand the new methods of warfare in which the conflict in Ukraine serves as an excellent case study.  Understanding these methods, in combination with a syncretic approach to various competing schools and across several otherwise or previously unrelated fields, has been the key to our ability to accurately forecast any number of events and dynamics in the situation in Ukraine.
The struggle between the Atlanticist and Eurasianist spheres not only acquires forms in the traditional areas of diplomacy, trade, intelligence, and military strength – but also in the increasingly dominating realm of synthetic, manufactured hyper-reality.  These are important elements of fourth generation warfare (4GW) in the realm of information war and also what is termed ‘hybrid warfare’ – a feature of 4GW which blurs the lines between civilian and military groups, and allows power groups to dissemble the reality of their role in support.  This creates the element of plausible deniability, that power groups are not involved when in fact they are.
Following the various media reports and statements from the various official spokespeople of the groups involved in the Ukrainian conflict, it is problematic to take these at face value and equate statements about their role or position as being the actual role or position.
In a manner similar to ISIS or Al Qaeda – which are largely US-Saudi-Israeli joint projects, it is typical to hear statements from the Pravy Sektor that they oppose NATO, imperialism (whether US or Russian), and propose instead other elements of platform which confuse the discourse and disguise their actual supporters.  Of course, like with ISIS and the like, most all of the commanders and all of the rank and file supporters and fighters completely believe they are opposed to the very power groups which support them.  It only requires one or two decision makers at the very top to align the actual activities with US control or influence.
Naturally like ISIS, Pravy Sektor and similar are also developed to be self-sustaining projects to a large extent, can subsist for long periods of time using the standard methods of apparent self-funding, including organized crime or the seizure of businesses and enterprises. They can also, as we have written previously, be used and swayed by other actors not including the US, and in certain moments may act – willingly or unwillingly – against the US’s actual interests (not just stated interests).  This may occur for reasons which are complex but imaginable.
US and Russian approaches to the conflict in Ukraine are based in discernible desired positions, but the strategies change in various stages based upon real-world changes and results, push-back, and the actions of the other players. Thus, strategies are employed in relation to changes, and tactics evolve in real-time.   This is why many contingency plans are built into general planning.  Indeed, the various and even contradictory contingencies themselves should be considered ‘the plan’.
The US exerts degrees of control and influence upon several distinct power groups in Ukraine, such as various volunteer battalions, the government itself, mainstreamed opposition to that government, and Pravy Sektor related groups up to and including Yarosh himself.  These wane and wax in relation either to the US’s need or to the US’s ability to exert its power.  These are not unidirectional; US attempts to exert influence or control do not necessarily result in a success in that endeavor: the targets of influence and control may be compelled to act – either in an instance or in a general pivot – contrary to the needs of the US for reasons of their own survival, and/or as a result of Russian successes to exert influence and control.
Difficulties in assessing the situation then arise from this: an established method in 4GW as it works through media and new-media (information war) is to dissemble actual reality, and to manufacture a new reality.  The US can exert fluctuating degrees of influence and control over its proxies.
It is difficult to use language to describe reality because words have definitions which often exclude that which they are contrasted with. Reality on the other hand is fluid and real situations can be simultaneously described by more than one word, even if such words when counterpoised to each other may seem to have opposite meanings.  Reality can morph into conditions that are better described by some words, only to shift at any time later into a condition which is better described otherwise.  Thus, without special care, a syllogistic or axiomatic approach will usually fail.
**
In October of 2014, we wrote:
“From the syncretic work we have produced on this subject, drawing from numerous schools such as Baudrillard’s post-structuralism and Kuhn’s theory of the structure of scientific revolutions […] we have attempted to explain both some features of the information war and how the present schema or paradigm is constructed, and how that construct contains certain features which can be manipulated and exploited through the use of simulacrum and hyper-reality.”
“More to the point, we have based much of our understanding on the premise that societies composed of managers and the managed must create a paradigm which has exploitable features for the purpose of social control.  The Ukraine civil war is the first war in history in which both actual sides (US and Russia) struggle for supremacy using similarly derived theories of new media and their connection to 4GW.  While the use of proxies has long been a feature of war, that both sides use proxies in the sense of 4GW doctrines, and that the ‘stories’ being told extend from new media, is a new phenomenon.”
“There are some problems, however, for both the US and Russian information and reality managers.  Being able to create hyper-reality does not, in the first place, require having a solid footing in the actual reality.  In many ways, ‘actual reality’ may be an ever-elusive thing which can never fully be grasped.  We are, as human beings, a species which is already born into a reality comprised of the previous generation’s interwoven combination of actual reality and hyper-reality.”
“Our society, a social construct, is an outgrowth of our genetic potential.  The creation of various primitive forms of hyper-reality is as natural to humanity as the bird constructing its nest.  But just as the invention of the train or automobile changed forever our relationship with distance, and even the relative size of the earth, the invention of new media has changed our relationship with actual reality and the kinds of reality and hyper-reality we construct. “
“It is not difficult, then, for even the agent of social control, working at the think tank, to lose sight of reality itself.  What was that individual’s origin point?  Everyone working today on these projects was already born into a world of machines, production of the means of creation and destruction, automated wars, electricity, and mass media.”
“From an analytic point of view, this creates a conundrum.  Analysis, discourse, map-drawing etc. are themselves a form of hyper-reality creation.  Analysis is done in the mind of the analyst, and is drawn from, at best primary sources, but are generally not the primary source itself.  It must go through the medium of language and contrived/presented imagery (photos, etc.) before it gets to the analyst.  Additionally, even when the analyst is the witness percipient, their interpretations and written or spoken analysis reflect their prior biases, beliefs, prejudices, and thought processes; which in short can be described as defective by way of their subjectivity.”
“Thus from the analyst:  all words, language; things signifying and signified; which pertain to actual reality, are themselves indistinguishable from hyper-reality.  Analysis based on interpreting actual reality and analysis based in interpreting the simulacrum are both, in many ways, hyper-real presentations.  The map is not the terrain.”
“To problematize ‘objective’ reporting and analysis, is really to lay-out the problems with the concept of objectivity, which leaves us with only a remaining intersubjective agreement [20].  Therefore we can see the power of new-media (which is based on the echoing of information through many subjects, peer to peer), and the transformation of the simulacrum from being a distinct hyper-reality unto itself, into a totalizing entity which subsumes, devours, and overtakes reality into itself.  It becomes, then, within the liberal, emotional state, of the Popperian ‘critical rationalist’ paradigm, most appropriate and ‘reasonable’ to uphold the hyper-reality as the actual reality [21]. “
**
In conclusion, we might imagine a ‘nuclear war’ of information. The fall-out also contaminates information managers and builders.  In an increasing way, even the reality and information managers themselves are suffering from the ‘radiation poisoning’ of information war; they can no longer distinguish between the reality they are creating, or that was created by their opponent, from the reality which they began to work from.  It increasingly becomes one and the same.
If this is true for them, who have access to much more real information than we do, then it is even more true for us; we who have all along been working largely with information which by definition is manufactured and itself is a social construct.
Understanding the world then becomes increasingly difficult and creates very real epistemic problems.
Liberalism and its sub-ideology of pragmatism is steeped in anti-intellectualism and a misuse of Ockham’s razor or lex parsimoniae (law of parsimony).  It is wrongly used as an arbiter between two theories, in which the simplest theory is viewed as more accurate even when not accounting for all the information, as opposed to a heuristic technique in the development of a model.
It is an attractive idea that the complexities of war and strategy can be explained away as being the product of random accidents; that the divergence between stated aims and actual results are a product of blunder and incompetence and not intrigue and dissemblance.
Analyzing the motives of conscious actors is not like observing other phenomena in a few important ways; conscious actors may have a strong motivation to conceal their real aims or methods, whereas basic physical, chemical, or biological processes can be observed empirically and claims made about these are falsifiable.
Rather, we must look at circumstantial and other non-physical evidence; known theories, past practice, the body of scholarly work on the subject, and instead approach the questions from a prosecutorial perspective.
To understand one epistemic dilemma in the use of Ockham’s Razor to describe phenomena, let us look at these well known quotes about this heuristic tool.
“Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” (William of Ockham)
“Nature operates in the shortest way possible.” (Aristotle)
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (Albert Einstein)
Warfare does not generally operate on the basis of ‘nature’ in the sense that Aristotle describes – as there are consciously acting players being observed who do not want to be accurately observed, nor upon the economy of modeling that Ockham proposes.
In warfare, most entities should be multiplied and made as complex as possible for a number of reasons.  One radar tower may cover an entire area, but many radar towers for a single area are preferable because then radar coverage is not lost when the opponent successfully neutralizes one of them.
Likewise in strategy:  a simple strategy may at first seem preferable in terms of viability and execution,  but in the context of a conscious opponent, the complexity of a strategy will aid tremendously in keeping it from being understood and unraveled.  In that sense, as with the radar example, more layers are better.
The science of economy and efficiency takes on entirely different applications in the context of a struggle between strategic players.  One aspect of victory in a war is production, but not only physical production of soldiers and hardware, but in the production of complex strategy, relying on more virtual resources, theories, etc.  The side which can afford more inefficiencies has a strategic advantage in any number of scenarios.
We must not approach reality at face value, but as a consciously created illusion itself which is constructed specifically with the aim of pursuing a long-term strategic objective, one that includes both the accidental and intentional creation of a false, distorted, manufactured hyper-reality built upon layers of both real and hyper-real foundations.
**
Joaquin Flores is a Mexican-American expat based in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst and director at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank and consultancy firm, as well as the co-editor of Fort Russ news service, and President of the Berlin based Independent Journalist Association for Peace. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and he has a strong proficiency in Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing ideology and the role of mass psychology, as well as the methods of the information war in the context of 4GW and New Media. He is a political scientist educated at California State University. In the US, he worked for a number of years as a labor union organizer, chief negotiator, and strategist for a major trade union federation.

Modi, Obama’s Snake Charmer, Tries Seduction In Central Asia

[SEE:  Obama Trying To Make Rape Look Like Seduction]

[Indian military writers always rely upon what I call “strategic hopefulness.” They always seek to explain how the current American paradigm in east Asia can be worked-out, as long as India continues to play the leading role that Pentagon planners have cut-out for her. even doubling-down upon that. The current paradigm is a formula for failure and no amount of twisting and spinning will change that.

Mr. Gokhale is correct that Russia will never return in force to Afghanistan. India thinks that Pakistan can be replaced and a deal worked out with the Taliban to enable TAPI to proceed. There will be NO TAPI, until Pakistan exerts pressure on Taliban, or Pakistani troops are brought-in to protect the pipeline. Anyone who thinks that Pakistan does not maintain ultimate control over the Taliban should consider where the relatives of the Taliban are. Most are in Pak. Afghan refugee camps. The rest live in known locations. Control the families to control the fighters who fight for them.]

India, Central Asia and Afghanistan

abp live

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now set his eyes on recalibrating New Delhi’s outreach to the resource-rich Central Asian Republics (CARs) in an attempt to limit if not match China’s dominant presence in those countries. His current sojourn to the five  countries in Central Asia is clearly designed to build upon last 25 years of India’s diplomatic  investment in the region.

In the 1990s, when the CAR countries had just broken away from the Soviet Union, New Delhi had made it a point to immediately establish diplomatic relations with them. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, architect of India’s economic liberalisation, realised the importance of charting out a relationship with the newly-independent republics and was first off the block to visit a couple of them in the mid-1990s.Since then Central Asia has been part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood.’ Although India has had ancient civilisational links with some those countries (because of the famous Silk Route which linked India to the vast expanse of what is now Central Asia), contemporary relations with them are largely driven by two major factors: security and counter-terrorism cooperation on one hand and economic ties and connectivity on the other.

Since then, New Delhi has steadily engaged with the CARs, offering them assistance in Information Technology, education, health care and infrastructure and supplying them with tea, garments, drugs and pharmaceuticals.

In return, these republics have been a major source of supply of uranium, non-ferrous metals,isotopes, radioactive chemical elements, oil and petroleum products.  And yet, India’s overall trade with the Central Asian Republics has remained at a paltry 500 million dollars, mainly constrained by the lack of direct land connectivity.

However, of late many new factors have entered the equation. The breakthrough in nuclear talks between the big powers and Iran has allowed India a little more manoeuvring space in its dealing with Tehran. India has promptly re-activated its assistance to improving the Chabahar port in eastern Iran which serves as a crucial link between Iran and Afghanistan and further into Central Asia. The port, when fully developed, will give India a crucial sea-land link into Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. Iran has already constructed a number of smaller roads to the Afghanistan border where it can be linked to the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, constructed by India. The Zaranj-Delaram Highway is connected to the Garland Highway that leads into Central Asia.

Chabahar is not the only port though that will enable India to connect to Central Asia and Eurasia. Bandar Abbas, Iran’s other important port that is likely to emerge as a key link in a major north-south  corridor.

At the moment New Delhi cannot match China’s economic clout and its ability to pour in money into smaller countries but by undertaking the proposed connectivity projects more vigorously, it can provide an alternative to the Central Asian Republics in order to lessen their dependence on ‘big brother’ China.

Which brings us to the situation in Afghanistan and India’s diminishing role in Kabul. As long as President Hamid Karzai was in power in Kabul, India was assured of a firm foothold in that country. New Delhi’s 2 billion dollar worth of assistance to Afghanistan for non-security sectors has earned a lot of goodwill but all that benevolence is in danger of being lost after President Abdul Ghani has taken over the reins of power.

Decidedly cold towards India and friendlier to Pakistan than Karzai, Ghani has introduced an element of uncertainty in the India-Afghanistan relations as well India’s foray into Central Asia since New Delhi was hoping to use Afghanistan as a springboard for its outreach into CARs. Afghanistan is also crucial for the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline. It was bad enough that India-Pakistan relations are fraught, now even Afghanistan may not be India’s friend.

So despite optimism expressed by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), there is a major question mark over the operationalisation of TAPI gas project in the near future.

So what should India do to remain relevant in Afghanistan and step up its involvement in CAR? Three essential aspects stand out. One, to keep its foothold in Kabul intact, India must work with Washington, Beijing and Moscow to limit the Pakistani Army’s role in Afghanistan. India, China and Russia in fact agreed to back a “broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, as well as to help Afghanistan’s integration into the region through its expanded trade and transport networks and regional connectivity.”

Two, India, must realise that it has–more than Russia and China–a larger stake in Afghanistan simply because any instability in Kabul and the return of Taliban would spell trouble for India’s security environment. China, in the Indian policymakers’ eyes, is using the minor unrest in Xianjiang province as an excuse to remain relevant in any Afghan solution but is unwilling to do much beyond paying lip service while Moscow, it feels, will not like to return to Kabul in any significant role given its past bitter experience in Afghanistan. And three, at the moment Ashraf Ghani may have put all his eggs in the Pakistani basket but he will sooner than later realise that Islamabad’s narrow objective of gaining a ‘strategic depth’ against India in the form of Afghanistan, is not compatible with what Kabul wants, i.e, peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

In the near and long term, India and to a lesser extent Washington, must do all it can, to help the Afghan people. India’s cultural and civilisational ties with the majority Afghan people are strong and notwithstanding the temporary setback India has suffered in Kabul, it will eventually prevail. India must therefore continue with its development programmes in Afghanistan and think of helping Kabul in capacity building of its human resource as well as that of its armed forces.

Have Russian Researchers Eliminated US Edge In Advanced Weaponry?

[SEE: Russian Advances In Electronic Warfare and Encryption Have NATO Worried]

Russia developing system capable of ‘switching off’ foreign military satellites

tass russian news

“The system will be used against cruise missiles and will suppress satellite-based radio location systems. It will actually switch off enemy weapons”, Russia’s KRET Deputy CEO said.

© TASS/Vitaliy Nevar 

MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET) is developing a fundamentally new electronic warfare system capable of suppressing cruise missile and other high-precision weaponry guidance systems and satellite radio-electronic equipment, KRET Deputy CEO Yuri Mayevsky told TASS on Thursday.

“The system will target the enemy’s deck-based, tactical, long-range and strategic aircraft, electronic means and suppress foreign military satellites’ radio-electronic equipment,” Mayevsky said.

The system will be mounted on ground-based, air-and seaborne carriers, he added.

“It will not be based on satellites as this is prohibited by international rules and we comply with this rule,” he said.

Adviser to the KRET first deputy CEO Vladimir Mikheyev told TASS the integrated multifunctional electronic warfare system designed to target enemy aerospace vehicles would operate within the air defense and missile shield control contour.

“It will fully suppress communications, navigation and target location and the use of high-precision weapons,” Mikheyev said.

“The system will be used against cruise missiles and will suppress satellite-based radio location systems. It will actually switch off enemy weapons.”

The system’s ground component will be tested soon, hec said. “Ground tests are now going on in workshops. At the end of the year, the system’s component will leave the factory gates for trials at testing ranges,” he said.

Kremlin Kicks-Out Soros/NED NGOs Fomenting Revolution

George Soros | Photo by EPA

Russia to bar Soros, other foreign NGOs

politico

 

Kremlin threatens anyone working with a dozen pro-democracy NGOs with up to six years in prison.

By Karen Shainyan

 

MOSCOW — Russia is moving to ban the MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute and 10 other foreign groups under a law on “unwelcome organizations” adopted this spring.

The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, on Tuesday unveiled the initial names on what the Kremlin and its allies call a “Patriotic STOP-list.”

President Vladimir Putin in May signed the law, the latest step by the Kremlin to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations in Russia.

The others on the ban list are Freedom House, a U.S. democracy advocacy group; the U.S.-government backed National Endowment for Democracy; two arms of the main American political parties that help parties abroad, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute; the Michigan-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the Education for Democracy Foundation and the East European Democratic Center, which are both in Warsaw; the Toronto-based Ukrainian World Congress; the International Ukrainian Coordination Union in Kiev; and the Crimean field mission for human rights, which is overseen by the Ukrainian parliament.

The list, which is to be voted on Wednesday, would be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office and the foreign ministry for inclusion on the official “unwelcome” register.

Under the law, anyone in Russia who works for or collaborates with these banned groups faces financial penalties as well as up to six years in prison.

Since the 2011 mass protests in Moscow against fraudulent elections for parliament, the Kremlin has steadily moved to crack down on dissent. The Russian parliament has passed laws that require any Russian NGO or charity that gets funding from abroad register as a “foreign agent” and that bloggers register with the state.

Authors:

Karen Shainyan

NATO “Blind” In Eastern Ukraine, Reliant Upon Social Media for Intel

US NATO envoy: ‘I get most info on Ukraine conflict from social networks’

Russia-Today
Douglas Luteimages

US Perm. Rep. to NATO, Douglas Lute, or Herman Munster?

The US Permanent Representative to NATO, Douglas Lute, has admitted that his knowledge about the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine comes mostly from social networks rather than intelligence reports.

“We should all ask ourselves: why is it that we know so little really about what is going on in Donbass,” the US ambassador to NATO told “Friends of Europe” forum in Brussels.

“I mean, frankly, I read more on social media about what is going on in the Donbass than I get from formal intelligence networks. This is because the networks don’t exist today,” Lute said.

READ MORE: Busted: Kiev MPs try to fool US senator with ‘proof’ of Russian tanks in Ukraine

The US envoy to NATO then backtracked, reacting to a comment made by Elena Donova, a member of the Russian delegation to NATO.

“I didn’t say that we ignored our intelligence sources. I just said that compared to the Cold War the systems that we once had twenty years ago have atrophied,” he said, adding that the “things have fundamentally changed.”

The reliability of social media as a source of information has been questioned throughout the conflict in Ukraine.
The latest example is an April tweet by US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt claiming that Russia’s military were continuing to expand their presence in eastern Ukraine. As for proof, Pyatt posted a two-year-old picture of an air defense system from an air show near Moscow.

Last July, Russia’s Defense Ministry questioned the authenticity of the satellite images of alleged shelling of Ukraine from Russian territory. It said the images were “created by US counselors” and posted by Pyatt on his Twitter microblog in an “informational merry-go-round” of fake pictures.

In August, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov ridiculed another so-called NATO proof, saying: “If earlier, someone would at least put their names on those images, be it Breedlove, Rasmussen, or even Lungescu, now, they are hesitant. It makes no sense to seriously comment on this,” he said.

Yet, this February, Ukrainian MPs followed the line, presenting a US senator with photos of what they said were Russian military hardware columns on Ukrainian territory. However, it turned out that the photos had been taken during Russia’s conflict with Georgia in South Ossetia back in 2008.

 

The Ukrainian conflict erupted in April 2014 after Kiev sent troops to the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions after civilians there refused to recognize the new coup-imposed authorities in the capital. The Minsk accords, brokered by Russia, Germany and France in February of this year, brought several weeks of calm to the region, but ceasefire violations by both sides have been growing, hampering the peace process.

According to the UN human rights office, at least 6,116 people have been killed and 15,474 have been wounded during a year of fighting. Many fear that the true numbers could be much higher, however.

“Soldiers for Peace” (Soldaten für den Frieden)–Text

heinz-kessler-y-fritz-streletzHeinz Kessler y Fritz Streletz

Theodor Hoffmann
Admiral Theodor Hoffmann (Photo: SRK)

Horst Stechbarth2
Horst Stechbarth

cosmonaut Sigmund Jena
Cosmonaut Sigmund Jena

“Experience shows that Russians better friend than enemy.”

Soldiers for Peace

jung welt

Documented: The leadership of the former East German Forces warns of war and calls for cooperation rather than confrontation with Russia

As military personnel who were employed in responsible positions in the GDR, we turn seriously concerned for the preservation of peace and the survival of civilization in Europe to the German public.

In the years of the Cold War, in which we experienced a long period of confrontation and militarization under the threshold of open conflict, we have used our military knowledge and skills for the maintenance of peace and the protection of our socialist state GDR. The National People’s Army has been involved in a single day armed conflicts, and it has played a leading part in the events in 1989-90 that no weapons were used. Peace has always been the most important maxim of our actions. That is why we are firmly opposed to the military factor is again the determining instrument of policy. It is a secure experience, that the burning questions of our time can not be solved by military means.

It should be recalled here that the Soviet Army has borne the brunt during the crackdown of fascism in World War II. Only 27 million Soviet citizens gave their lives for this historic victory. You as well as the Allies, applicable on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of our thanks.

Now we note that the war has once again become a constant companion of mankind. Run by the US and its allies reorganization of the world has led in recent years to wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan, Libya and Somalia. Nearly two million people were victims of these wars, and millions are fleeing.

Now the war events, in turn, reached Europe. Obviously, the US strategy aims to eliminate Russia as a competitor and to weaken the European Union. In recent years, NATO has approached ever closer to Russia’s borders. With an attempt to make the Ukraine in the EU and in NATO, the cordon sanitaire should be concluded by the Baltic states to the Black Sea in order to isolate Russia from the rest of Europe. Under American calculus also a German-Russian alliance would be difficult or impossible.

In order to influence the public in this sense, takes place an unprecedented media campaign in the incorrigible politicians and corrupt journalists stir the drums of war. In this heated atmosphere, the Federal Republic of Germany should play a supportive role for peace. The areas both its geopolitical situation and the historical experiences of Germany and the objective interests of its people. This is contradicted by the requirements of the Federal President for more military responsibility and stirred up in the media war hysteria and Russophobia.

The accelerated militarization of Eastern Europe is not playing with fire – it is a game of war!

Being aware of the destructive forces of modern wars and in discharge our responsibilities as citizens we say in all clarity: Here already a crime against humanity begins.

Are the many dead of World War II, the vast destruction throughout Europe, the refugees and the endless suffering of the people already forgotten? Have the recent wars the United States and NATO have not already brought enough misery and demanded many lives?

Understand you do not, which would mean a military conflict on the densely populated continent of Europe?

Hundreds warplanes and armed drones, equipped with bombs and missiles, thousands of tanks and armored vehicles, artillery systems would be used. In the North and Baltic Sea, the Black Sea träfen another modern combat ships and in the background stands the nuclear weapons in readiness. The boundaries between front and hinterland would blur. Million mothers and children would order their men to cry their fathers and brothers. Millions of victims would be the result. From Europe a ruined desert landscape would be.

Can we get here? No, no!

Therefore, we turn to the German public:
Such a scenario must be prevented.
We do not need war rhetoric, but Friedenspolemik.
We do not need Bundeswehr missions abroad and also no army of the European Union.
We do not need more funds for military purposes, but more funds for humanitarian and social needs.
We do not need war agitation against Russia but more mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
We do not need military dependence on the US, but the ownership of the peace. Instead of a “Rapid Reaction Force of NATO” on the eastern borders, we need more tourism, youth exchange and peace meetings with our Eastern neighbors.
We need a peaceful Germany in a peaceful Europe.
May recall in this sense, our generation, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Because we know very well what war means, we raise our voices against the war, for peace.

Army retired general. Heinz Kessler

Retired Admiral Theodor Hoffmann

The Supreme General aD Horst Stechbarth; Fritz Streletz; Fritz Peter

The Lieutenant Generals retired. Klaus Baarß; Ulrich Bethmann; Max Butzlaff; Manfred Gehmert; Manfred Gratz; Wolfgang Kaiser; Gerhard Kunze; Gerhard Link; Wolfgang Neidhardt; Walter Paduch; Werner Rothe; Artur Seefeldt; Horst Skerra; Wolfgang Steger; Horst Sylla; Ehrenfried Ullmann; Alfred Vogel; Manfred Volland; Horst Zander

Vice Admiral retired. Hans Hofmann

The major generals retired Olivier Anders; Heinz Bilan; Bernhard Beyer; Günter Brodowsky; Kurt Brunner; Heinz Calvelage; Sebald thumb; Willi Dörnbrack; Alfred Dziewulski; John Fritzsche; Egon Gleau; Otto Gereit; Roland Large; Peter Herrich; Karl-Heinz Hess; Günter Hiemann; Lothar Hübner; Siegmund Jähn; Günter year; Manfred Jonischkies; Günter Kaekow; John Kaden; Helmut Klabunde; Klaus Klenner; Raimund Kokott; Kurt Kronig; Manfred Lange; Bernd Leistner; Hans Leopold; Klaus Listemann; Heinz Lipski; Hans Georg Löffler; Rudi Mädler; Manfred Merkel; Günter Moeckel; Dieter Nagler; John Oreschko; Rolf Pitschel; Hans Christian kingdoms; Fritz Rothe; Günter Sarge; Dieter Schmidt; Horst Schmieder; Gerhard Schoenherr; Gerhard Seifert; Kurt summer; Erich Stach; Manfred Thieme; Wolfgang Thonke; Henry Thunemann; Walter Tzschoppe; Günter Voigt; Gerd Weber; Dieter Wendt; Klaus Wiegand; Henry Winkler; Heinz-Günther Wittek; Erich Wöllner; Werner Zaroba; Manfred Zeh; Alois Zieris

The retired Rear Admirals. Herbert Bernig; Eberhard Grießbach; Hans Hess; Werner Henninger; Klaus Kahnt; Werner Kotte; Helmut Milzow; Gerhard Müller; Joachim Münch

Name a large number of colonels and captains at sea aD Volker Bednara; Frithjof Banisch; Bernd Biedermann; Karl Dlugosch; Thomas Förster; Günter Gnauck; Günter Leo; Friedemann Munkelt; Werner Murzynowski; Gerhard Matthes; Lothar Matthäus; Friedrich Peters; Helmut Schmidt; Fritz Schneider; Heinz Schubert; Helmar Tietze; Wilfried Wernecke; Rolf Zander; Lieutenant Colonel Günter Ganßauge

Other members of the NVA from the ranks of officers, ensigns, sergeants and soldiers express their consent.

The Odessa Trade Union House Fire Tragedy/Massacre

A work-up with many open questions.

lauffeuer

Release:
There are already a number of meeting and demonstration appointments planned. Initiatives, groups and cinemas can continue to report. A list of the Terminin is published as soon as possible.
In mid-March, the film appear online free for all (also with English. Subtitles). Until then, it’s there already for download Veranstalter_innen.

The film:
On May 2, a group of anti-government activists to flee after violent clashes with supporters of Euro-Maidan in the Trade Union House in Odessa. They barricade windows and doors with everything they find in the house to protect themselves from the outside standing attackers. When they start throwing Moltow cocktails at the building, the location is beyond redemption. The building catches fire, 48 people coming on that day killed. Half a year later: Relatives of the victims hold regular vigils in front of the house from. Hundreds flock to the house on the large square. They bring flowers and signs to commemorate their loved ones. May 2, was for many people in Odessa a traumatic experience. But what exactly happened that day and how could it happen?

The government seems to care little for education and the major European media are hardly gone in their reporting in depth. It remains a tragedy, a key event at the beginning of the Ukrainian civil war and a turning point in the recent East European history at the now the ghosts. Why the police did not intervene? Why the fire department came only after 40 minutes? Even after 2 May Why disappeared still many people who had survived May 2? Were there any organizers, which have brought about this trend conscious?

This documentary approaches cautiously this difficult subject and tried to take eyewitness seriously. 16 interviews helped to sort the day and the large amounts of Youtube videos and left ultimately a fairly complete picture of the events. The role of police and politics is critically examined – the film goes more tracks to and must still leave some questions unanswered.

Ultimately, show up at the events in Odessa several aspects that allow a better understanding of the divisions in this country. A town in the middle of the country, with a colorful ethnic composition, was like no other for a pluralistic Ukraine – until it was torn apart by the political developments of the past year and the tragedy of 2 May. Also revealing are the reactions of politicians, experts and citizens of the city that allow the viewer to see the whole thing in a larger political context.

Wildfire – is a film that will go from 2 May in Odessa on the ground – to better understand and to all subsequent developments.

 

Eine Aufarbeitung mit vielen offenen Fragen.

lauffeuer

Veröffentlichung:
Es sind bereits eine Reihe von Veranstaltungs- und Vorführungsterminen in Planung. Initiativen, Gruppen und Kinos können sich weiterhin melden. Eine Liste mit den Terminin wird sobald wie möglich veröffentlicht.
 Mitte März wird der Film online für alle kostenlos erscheinen (auch mit engl. Untertiteln). Bis dahin gibt es ihn bereits zum Download für Veranstalter_innen.
 
Der Film:
Am 2. Mai flüchtet sich eine Gruppe von regierungskritischen Aktivisten nach heftigen Auseinandersetzungen mit Anhängern des Euro-Maidan in das Gewerkschaftshaus in Odessa. Sie verbarrikadieren Fenster und Türen mit Allem, was sie in dem Haus finden, um sich vor den draussen stehenden Angreifern zu schützen. Als diese anfangen, Moltow-Cocktails auf das Gebäude zu werfen, ist die Lage nicht mehr zu retten. Das Gebäude fängt Feuer, über 48 Menschen kommen an diesem Tag ums Leben. Ein halbes Jahr später: Angehörige der Opfer halten regelmäßig Mahnwachen vor dem Haus ab. Hunderte strömen zu dem Haus auf dem großen Platz. Sie bringen Blumen und Schilder, um ihre Angehörigen zu gedenken. Der 2. Mai war für vielen Menschen in Odessa eine traumatische Erfahrung. Doch was genau geschah an diesem Tag und wie konnte es dazu kommen?
Die Regierung scheint sich für eine Aufklärung wenig zu interessieren und auch die großen europäischen Medien sind bei ihrer Berichterstattung kaum in die Tiefe gegangen. Es bleibt eine Tragödie, ein Schlüsselereignis zu Beginn des ukrainischen Bürgerkrieges und eine Zäsur in der jüngeren osteuropäischen Geschichte an der sich nun die Geister scheiden. Warum schritt die Polizei nicht ein? Warum kam die Feuerwehr erst nach 40 Minuten? Warum verschwanden auch nach dem 2. Mai noch viele Menschen, die den 2. Mai überlebt hatten? Gab es Organisatoren, welche diese Entwicklung bewusst herbeigeführt haben?
Dieser Dokumentarfilm nähert sich behutsam diesem schwierigen Thema und versucht Augenzeugen ernst zu nehmen. 16 Interviews halfen dabei den Tag und die großen Mengen an Youtube-Videos zu sortieren und hinterlassen letztlich ein recht vollständiges Bild der Ereignisse. Auch die Rolle von Polizei und Politik wird kritisch untersucht – der Film geht mehreren Spuren nach und muss doch einige Fragen offen lassen.
Letztlich zeigen sich an den Ereignissen in Odessa mehrere Aspekte, die ein besseres Verständnis für die Spaltungen in diesem Land ermöglichen. Eine Stadt in der Mitte des Landes, mit einer bunten ethnischen Zusammensetzung, stand wie keine zweite für eine plurale Ukraine – bis sie durch die politischen Entwicklungen des letzten Jahres und die Tragödie vom 2. Mai zerrissen wurde. Ebenfalls aufschlussreich sind die Reaktionen von Politikern, Experten und Bürgern der Stadt, die dem Zuschauer ermöglichen, das Ganze in einem größeren politischen Kontext zu sehen.
Lauffeuer – ist ein Film, der dem 2. Mai in Odessa auf den Grund gehen will – auch um alle darauf folgenden Entwicklungen besser verstehen zu können.

 

lauffeuer2014@gmail.com

West Wants Ukraine as ‘Anti-Russia’

West Wants Ukraine as ‘Anti-Russia’

russia insider

That’s what it wants Ukraine to be and is helping it to become

But there are Ukrainian citizens who did not sign up for that sort of Ukraine

This article is a recent one from Nikolai Starikov. It was extremely well received among Russian readers.

This article originally appeared at ВЗГЛЯД-Internet Gazette. It was translated by ‘Val from Osa’ at The Vineyard of the Saker


It is possible to understand what is happening in Ukraine, it is much more difficult to evaluate and forecast the development of events.

Whatever the case, it is necessary to consistently follow one rule: set emotions aside. Blood, death and destruction are the most serious emotional blows, but if you follow your emotions, neither proper assessment nor correct forecast will result.

Therefore, as hard it can be, set emotions aside. To assess the geopolitical game (and this is what we are looking at) we need only the head. Only conscious manipulators want you to think with your heart (and vote with your heart – as for Yeltsin in 1996).

The United States and the West are facing of the strongest crises in its history. The strength and depth of the problem are compounded by the fact that … the West has won. It incorporated practically all of Europe, crushed, to varying degrees, the whole world with a few exceptions.

Therein lies the problem – all its life the West lived by robbery. Now those who can be robbed are fewer and fewer, and those with whom it is necessary to share the “stolen goods”, that is the standard of living that rests on unrestricted dollar emissions, are more and more.

Hence the huge national debt. In the United States it is 18 trillion dollars, but such debts, and even worse ratios of the national debt to GDP, exist in all so-called developed countries.

What solution the US and its closest allies are looking for in this situation? It is now evident to everyone. The solution is war. Chaos. But this chaos and this war must lead to a “controlled collapse”.

As a result the US must eliminate two threats to its power – China and Russia. Ideally, make them clash with each other. To do this the US need to change regime in one of these countries. Obviously, the Americans think that the regime change in Russia is an easier task.

The question is how to achieve this? Orange technologies did not work in 2011, Putin became president again.

What the West does when it loses in any territory is most important for understanding the events in Ukraine.

When we talk about a Western loss we mean the failure of its plans and loss of control over a certain area, full or partial.

What do the Western strategists do in such a situation?

1949. Britain is “kicked out” of India. Before leaving the British set up the Anti-India – a new state of Pakistan. Tensions, military conflicts between the new states ensue. In short, many opportunities for the Anglo-Saxons.

Again in 1949. As a result of the civil war in China, pro-Soviet Mao Zedong wins. The US lose control over China. What do they do? Create the Anti-China -Taiwan. Evacuate there the army of Chiang Kai-shek under the protection of the US Navy.

Tensions, the permanent possibility of war between China and the Anti-China ensue. Tiananmen Square, 1989, Beijing – who can tell the “desperate” mainland Chinese from the agents of the Taiwanese special services?

Attention please. In the geopolitical game to grant a diplomatic recognition is to follow the current ‘national’ interests, and nothing more. First, the United States recognizes Taiwan as China.

For those who do not know: until 1973 the representative of Taiwan at the United Nations was seated as the representative of China. But later Washington changes its position, recognizes Beijing and ceases to recognize Taipei. At the same time it strongly supports Taiwan and prevents the reunification of the two “Chinas”

Let’s not stray far into history. The rule of the permanent Anglo-Saxon Western strategy states: lost control over the territory – create Antithesis.

In 2011 the West loses control of Russia – not completely yet, but its plans to deny Putin another presidential term fail. The dismantling of the fifth column begins, Russia strongly defends its interests in the world.

What is the West to do? Create Antithesis. That is the Anti-Russia.

And the Anglo-Saxons start creating it, the soil is prepared in Ukraine. Propaganda starts in 1991 and even earlier, militants are trained, money is allocated, the elite is bought and well fed.

According to the US plans, Yanukovych should be removed during the elections in 2015. Remove him in such a way as to launch anti-Russian hysteria and begin to create the Anti-Russia from Ukraine. Circumstances force an earlier start, but according to the main rule: not the peaceful departure of Yanukovych is required, but a bloody overthrow in order to blame Russia.

What is happening today in Ukraine is nothing more than the creation of the Anti-Russia. Propaganda, hate, readiness to destroy and kill on the part of the nationalists and some deceived common citizens.

Where do the US go with that? To war between Ukraine and Russia. On the “initiative” of Ukraine. When? When they pump up the Ukrainian army, equip it, create it, and prepare it. It will take about five years. After that the US will try to pit the two parts of the same nation against each other, set Ukraine against Russia. Occasion – Crimea.

Were the Crimea not reunited with Russia, it would still remain an excuse. Basing the Russian army in Crimea, pro-Russian population living there would give a lot of opportunities for the organization of conflicts and provocations. Therefore, regardless of the actions of Putin and the people of Crimea the Western plan would remain the same.

What can stop the development of this terrible scenario of sliding into a major war between brothers?

Support of those in Ukraine itself who do not agree with this turn of events.

The West creates the Anti-Russia, Russia must help and support the Anti-anti-Russia.

When in the Southeast of Ukraine the people who do not agree with the Kiev’s coup rose up, few had a clear idea that they were “blocking the road” of such a terrible scenario. The presence of the Anti-anti-Russia as a part of a federalized Ukraine, refusing either to arm for the West, nor to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for it, blocked the Western plans to unleash the Ukrainian-Russian war. Remember the end of the spring of 2014?

Moscow’s insistent calls for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, for federalization, for negotiations. Moscow needs a unified Ukraine, where the pro-Russian part of the society will “tie” the hands of the militants and bought politicians, and will not allow to draw the whole Ukrainian people into the war.

The West needs not the peace, not the prosperity of Ukraine. It needs a militarized state with an aggressive ideology in the form of hatred directed against Russia.

Kiev begins aggressive actions against Donbass. Immediately the propaganda about the “terrorists” and the Russian military starts. Military actions, conducted with cruelty to civilians, give the West two possibilities:

  • To win by military means and then start the planned collapse of the economy of Ukraine as the beginning of its preparation for war with Russia. The well fed do not want to fight. The West can blame Russia for the difficulties and hardships, whereas the military service provides an income, albeit a tiny one;
  • To draw Russia into war, forcing her to send troops into Ukraine. The defeat of the Ukrainian armed forces does not matter for the West. It wants not the victory but the war itself.

And the more Ukrainian citizens will die in the fratricidal war, the better for the West – the rebellious Slavic nation eliminates itself. As a result of the war in Ukraine the West will try to repeat 1917 and “overthrow the bloody Kremlin regime.” All of it in order to take the course toward preparation of the war between Russia and China.

And then a problem happened. Neither military success nor the military invasion by Russia and its participation in the civil conflict was achieved.

And then what? That’s what.

The existence of the DNR and LNR as Anti-anti-Russia is the key to inability of the West to start a war between Ukraine and Russia.

The cannonball on its leg does not let the United States to push Kiev toward this Great War with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of victims.

That is why Moscow is helping Donbass in every way possible that is why Sergei Lavrov says that we are for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

That is why Russia does not recognize the DNR and LNR as independent states. To recognize them, to let them secede means to launch countdown for war with Ukraine. In this scenario the Western plan kicks in: there is Russia, there is Anti-Russia, and there is Novorossia. Anti-anti-Russia is no more.

In case of incorporation of Donbass into Russia, those in Washington will stand up and give a standing ovation. This is it: the war becomes practically inevitable. The image of Russia as the enemy is created by Russia itself.

In today’s situation the Russian tactics in Ukraine are the only correct ones. US must pay to support 40 million people, Russia must help 3 million people in the Donbass and 1.5 million refugees. Moscow constantly insists on negotiations, not allowing the aggressor being shaped by the west to “remove the weight” from its leg, not allowing DNR and LNR to be defeated militarily.

How long will the West be willing to pay for the crumbling economy of Ukraine without guarantees to begin its war with Russia? These guys do nothing without a reason, they do not throw money away. Even to the militants in Chechnya in the 90’s they gave no dollars, instead they gave them clichés for printing fake dollars.

Self-financing – is the principle of the Anglo-Saxon politics, in extreme cases a refund within a short period of time. A striking example: the Bolsheviks paying with Russia’s gold through Swedish banks and the subsequent concessions, today’s Libyan “freedom fighters” with the oil dollars leaving Libya for unknown destinations.

Time is of great importance today. The bet of the West – to organize a new Maidan in Russia, now that the path to war in Ukraine was blocked by the courage and determination of the DNR and LNR militia fighters. The bet of Russia – wait till the West loses its interest in Ukraine because of high costs without any tangible benefits.

Washington’s desire to get “at least something” leads to the pressure on Europe and the paradoxical desire of the Europeans not to allow the construction of the “South Stream”.

Paradox? No paradox. Washington wants to use the instability of Ukraine at least for a possibility of gas blackmail of Moscow. And Europe.

That is the essence of current and past events in Ukraine.

And the last thing I want to say in this regard.

Few in today’s Ukraine understand what a tremendous role the courage of the Donbass residents plays in today’s world politics. They are rescuing the entire Russian world today. And the paradox, they save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens.

The same children that today are “jumping” in Ukrainian schools, whose parents collect money for ATO, support the Kiev authorities, in case of defeat Donbass, in a very short period of time they will become gun fodder, according to the US plan.

That’s what all of us need to remember, regardless of our current citizenship.

Oligarch Akhmetov Forces Ukrainian Miners To Strike, To Blackmail Govt

MP reveals Akhmetov’s involvement in organizing miners’ protests

unian

Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov is defending the interests of his companies by blackmailing the government through staging protests by miners, MP from the Bloc of Poroshenko party Mustafa Nayyem wrote in his blog in Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda on Friday.

REUTERS

Nayyem posted a document as evidence for his claims. Entitled “Krepost” (or “Fortress” in English), it is alleged to detail plans by one of the companies Akhmetov owns to retain its monopoly on the energy market by organizing public protests and influencing the country’s media, politicians, unions, and judges.

“I have reason to believe that the events of recent days in Kyiv, including the miners’ strike, the [holding of the] Congress of the miners’ union, the demands for the resignation of the energy minister and the attack on the government and the president allegedly from the industry is a part of a plan to protect the interests of Akhmetov’s companies on the energy market,” Nayyem wrote.

“And to be precise, these are attempts by a businessman to suspend any actions to reform the electricity market and to maintain the status quo of a monopolist.”

According to Nayyem, the directors of DTEK, under the leadership of Maxim Timchenko, drew up a detailed description of all the activities that are planned to be realized by the management of Akhmetov’s companies in the coming months.

“The internal name of the document is ‘Fortress’… The document consists of four modules, which describe a strategy to protect the interests of DTEK and tactical steps in the period from January to May of this year. Deadlines of some of the activities listed in the document are scheduled for July and August. Meanwhile, most of the events should already have been carried out,” Nayyem said.

According to Nayyem, the fact that the company DTEK is an absolute monopoly on coal market needed to generate electricity is known to experts and officials over the years.

Coal makes up 70% of the cost of electricity produced by thermal power plants. DTEK supplies approximately 67% of the volume of the required type of coal.

“Taking advantage of its monopoly position, Rinat Akhmetov may dictate almost any price [his company’s] products, which affects the final price of electricity. [But] Akhmetov has large foreign currency loans. The dollar exchange rate is growing. It is growing not only for DTEK, but for the miners who extract coal in the mines of DTEK,” Nayyem said.

“Seeing the approach of default, the managers of Akhmetov include losses on loans into the cost of coal and imposed on the state a new price, without a moment’s thought about the salaries of the miners. And when the state refuses to accept the new price, DTEK brings thousands of miners onto the streets protesting against the bankruptcy industry and demanding the resignation of the energy minister,” he said.

According to Nayyem, at the moment Akhmetov has two goals.

“The first goal is short-term – to buy time to restructure the debts of DTEK, including at state expense. The second one is more important – to maintain a monopoly position in the energy market and to prevent the revision of the tariff for energy,” he said.

The MP also said that he had already sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Security Service of Ukraine and the Interior Ministry appropriate requests to verify the involvement of management of DTEK in the organization and financing of protests, interference in the activities of public authorities, and attempts to exert an improper influence on officials in order to protect commercial interests.
Read more on UNIAN: http://www.unian.info/politics/1071041-mp-reveals-akhmetovs-involvement-in-organizing-miners-protests.html

Multiple Murders of Both Pro-Russian and Anti-Russian Ukrainian leaders

Ukraine conflict: Pro-Russia journalist Oles Buzyna killed

16 April 2015

Ukraine ally of ex-President Yanukovych (Oleg Kalashnikov) found dead

15 April 2015

Son of former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych dies in accident in Russia

22 March 2015

Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead

28 February 2015

‘Batman’ (Alexandr Bednov) Killed By Ukrainian Security Forces

04 January 2015

 

 

US-Sponsored “Coup” In Kyiv Triggered Russian Reaction In Eastern Ukraine

Russia blames U.S. for security crises, turmoil in Ukraine

Reuters

(Reuters) – Top Russian officials accused the United States on Thursday of seeking political and military dominance in the world and sought to put blame on the West for international security crises, including the conflict in east Ukraine.

Evoking Cold War-style rhetoric, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said a drive by the United States and its allies to bring Kiev closer to the West was a threat to Moscow and had forced it to react.

“The United States and its allies have crossed all possible lines in their drive to bring Kiev into their orbit. That could not have failed to trigger our reaction,” he told an annual security conference in Moscow.

Echoing his comments, General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told the meeting: “Considering themselves the winners of the Cold War, the United States decided to reshape the world to fit its needs.

“Aiming at complete dominance, Washington stopped taking into account the interests of other countries and respect international law.”

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last March following what it says was an “unconstitutional coup” in which street protests toppled a Moscow-allied Ukrainian president in Kiev after he ditched a deal to move closer to the European Union.

Separatist unrest then spread to eastern, Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine where fighting between Kiev’s troops and pro-Russian rebels killed more than 6,000 people. The West says Moscow drives the rebellion, sends serving Russian troops there and provides the rebels with arms, training and intelligence.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday repeated Moscow’s denial, saying Russian military forces were not in Ukraine and denying that it was providing troops and support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Shoigu blamed the violence on Kiev and sought to dismiss Western criticism that Russia was forcibly remaking European borders, pointing to Western military involvement in Serbia, Iraq and Libya.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the conference, attended by envoys from China, Iran, Pakistan and some of Russia’s allies, that Kiev had to deliver on its obligations under peace agreements reached in Minsk to “safeguard unity of the Ukrainian state”.

Both said Moscow saw the development of the U.S.-led missile shield in Europe as tilting the post-war balance of power and a threat to its strategic nuclear deterrent capability. Shoigu said Moscow was taking steps to counteract that.

Gerasimov told delegates the eastward expansion of NATO posed another major threat to Russia and criticized the alliance for boosting military exercises involving eastern members.

NATO says intensified drills are aimed at reassuring eastern members worried by Moscow.

“It’s clear that measures taken by NATO to strengthen the bloc and increase its military capabilities are far from being defensive,” he said.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

 

Ukrainian Ambassador To US Fired (Scapegoated) Over Porky’s Push For Peace In Donbass

[Why would Porky fire his own ambassador for following the orders that he had given him?   Answer…He wouldn’t.  Therefore Porky was following the boss’ orders (Obama).  Ukraine is slated to become the 51st US State, no doubt.]

“Ukrainian President Poroshenko has once again called on the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine – a repeated appeal that has previously been slammed as meaningless by analysts and seen as hopeless by the West.

But this time around, Poroshenko hinted, there is more support for the move – and it could be decisive in resolving the country’s ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east.

A statement posted on the president’s website on April 4 suggested that progress had already been made on the matter, with foreign ministers of the so-called “Normandy 4″ said to have reacted positively to the idea after previously being skeptical in light of Russia’s reluctance and veto power in the UN Security Council.”–Kyiv Post

Motsyk_OlexanderOlexander Motsyk   

Ukrainian President Recalls Ambassador to US After Peacekeepers Request

Sputnik

Petro Poroshenko recalled Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States after he called on Russia to support a resolution on peacekeepers in Donbass.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recalled the country’s Ambassador to the United States Olexander Motsyk, according to the Ukrainian Presidency’s website.

Motsyk previously called on Russia to support a resolution which would deploy peacekeepers to the Donbass region.

(UPDATED)Brits Now On the Ground Preparing Ukrainians To Kill Russians, Pentagon Troops To Follow

[A funny thing happened on the way to this article’s posting yesterday…NOT REALLY…I was cyber-attacked while on the Russia Today site obtaining this post.  My new computer (courtesy of my computer guru) seized-up and became inoperable.  After the second try at a “hard boot,” I managed to get things working well enough to post the post.  The rest of the day, was marked by several more seizures, before retiring.  Today, the computer will not boot-up, period.  My daughter guru managed to get it functioning somewhat after a complete restart and wipe of the computer.  It is trying to recompile itself now, standing at 15%, after an hour at it.  Whoever planted the virus or trojan, wanted to disable my computer completely and they did that…but this is not the first time that this has happened, nor is it the same computer…computer #3 for this scenario.  Two older XPs could not be recovered.  This latest one is Vista 8.1.

Considering the article subject, UK TROOPS, then I can only assume that this latest breech of my right to occupy Internet space was by the British Government, or by their CIA masters.

FUCK THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.]

UK troops start training Ukraine’s army, US confirms own mission

Russia-Today
British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

UK military personnel have arrived in Ukraine and are beginning their training mission there, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has announced. Meanwhile the US will send nearly 300 paratroopers to start training the country’s national guard next month.

The deployment of foreign troops has started amid a barely holding cease-fire in the country’s east.

With the aim of helping Kiev’s army to fight anti-government forces, according to the UK MoD, its training mission is now operating in Ukraine, with the numbers of involved personnel “depending on the schedule.”

“The first elements of the training package began in March…we have got troops out there training,” a ministry spokeswoman told AP. According to the BBC, 35 personnel are now in the country’s south, deployed as part of a two-month mission.

Last month, British ministers announced that up to 75 troops at a time would be involved in a six-month-long mission, training Kiev’s military “to strengthen the defensive capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and build the resilience that they need.”

The UK also announced plans to send a “gift” of non-lethal equipment to support president Poroshenko’s forces, but has ruled out any lethal aid supplies to the country.

Russia has expressed its concerns over the military training missions, saying such actions do not support the conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine.

“[The move] certainly does not contribute neither to strengthening of trust, nor to de-escalation of tensions in the conflict,” Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

US training mission to begin ‘late April’

The US also plans to launch military training mission in Ukraine soon. American vice-president Joe Biden has spoken to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko over the phone and informed him about the start of such a mission in the near future, the Ukrainian presidential press service announced. According to the statement, Biden informed Poroshenko of President Obama’s decision to train 780 Ukrainian military by US specialists.

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed on Thursday that US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy, will travel to western Ukraine sometime in late April.

“This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” Lainez said as quoted by the Hill. An exact date for the US training mission initially announced last year has not yet been finalized.

After a final review of the mission, it now includes 290 American military trainers, according to Lainez. The training will take place in the western town of Yavoriv, near the Polish border.

The training will include six Ukrainian national guard units, “with a focus on internal security and territorial defense,” Lainez added, according to AFP.

Last week Washington announced an additional $75 million worth of non-lethal military aid which includes armored and unarmored Humvees, Raven drones, anti-mortar radars and night vision goggles.

Pushing Putin Into An Existential Confrontation

Putin

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends the World Health Organisation meeting on healthy lifestyle in Moscow, April 28, 2011.

Vladimir Putin sees Russia and the West as being locked in “an existential struggle,” reports USNI News, citing an expert at a Heritage Foundation event on Tuesday.

Eugene Rumer, the director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Russia and Eurasia Program, told the audience at the event that the rising tensions between Russia and the NATO-orientated West was a cause for concern. Particularly at stake in any ramping up of hostilities are the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

Both Latvia and Estonia have large ethnic Russian populations which Rumer believes Putin “is not adverse to using … to make domestic trouble.”

If Putin starts using ethnic Russians to stir up trouble in those countries as he has done in Ukraine, then war just may be NATO’s only possible response, predicted Rumer. As Moscow becomes more assertive, this likelihood increases.

Russia “is more prone than before to look less kindly on engagement with the West,” Rumer said at the event.

This is especially true given the Russian military’s new doctrine. Signed into practice on December 26, 2014, it lists the expansion of NATO as the main external threat facing the stability and territorial integrity of Russia.

In a translation of the doctrine by Defence News, Russia states that NATO is “undermining global stability and violating the balance of power in the nuclear-missile sphere.”

To counter NATO’s influence, Russia’s military doctrine envisions the expansion of bilateral alliances between Moscow and potentially friendly countries such as China and Brazil, as well as the military reinforcement of three areas that Russia sees as geopolitical front lines — the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the Crimean peninsula, and the Arctic.

Russian soldiers in CrimeaA Russian soldier hold his weapon at Belbek airport in the Crimea region March 4, 2014.

Each of these regions can serve as a buffer against what Russia portrays as NATO’s aggressive expansion, while also functioning as a potential launching pad for Moscow-directed military excursions. NATO’s supreme commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned at the beginning of March that Russia was already in the process of turning Crimea into a forward operating base against the alliance.

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, Russia has been holding snap military drills along its borders with the Baltic States at an increasing pace raising concerns that the exercises could one day be used as a cover to launch a quick invasion of the Baltics.

The Telegraph reported on February 20 that General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of NATO forces in Europe and one of Britain’s most senior generals, warned that Russian snap exercises could lead to a possible invasion of NATO territory.

Bradshaw warned that the drills could be used “not only for intimidation and coercion but potentially to seize NATO territory, after which the threat of escalation might be used to prevent re-establishment of territorial integrity.”

If such an invasion were to occur, NATO would either be forced to respond — leading to an unpredictable military conflict in Europe — or the alliance would not respond and NATO would cease to function as a treaty-bound entity.

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

russia insider

Leading Russian intellectual Starikov believes the unsustainable nature of amoral finance capitalism is driving western countries to a catastrophic war, which he sees as an existential threat to peace for Russia and the rest of the world

To Russian eyes the west is on a war footing
In the course of life today, we’ve grown accustomed to using terms whose meaning we might not fully understand. We throw them around casually, not realizing that they lose their meaning and sometimes even come around to stand for their exact opposite. This is precisely why the sense has arisen today in society that there is a need to determine in a clear and understandable manner exactly what is happening on the global chessboard in front of all of our eyes – the Big Story, written online.

Even those people the very furthest from politics are feeling the need for understanding and explaining to themselves the reasons for the things they encounter even just moving through their own lives. Why have prices in stores started to go up? What’s the reason for the fact that, quietly and nearly unnoticed, belief in a brighter tomorrow is slipping? When and why did talk about a possible war stop being speculative and distant? These and dozens of other questions have driven millions of yesterday-apolitical citizens to seek answers. They feel the need to find those answers and to construct a new worldview in which what-comes-tomorrow is not simply a lottery ticket, but a predictable and logical continuation of today. Predictable and, hopefully, not frightening.

This atmosphere, unfortunately, is a breeding grounds for attempts to brainwash our citizens and to stuff their heads with ideas which will be devastating to them personally. But this devastation will come hidden within banal attempts stubbornly do good. So let’s try to dissect the methods and means of manipulating the people’s conscience which we have already started to encounter. And, which will grow in direct proportion to the problems being encountered by our geopolitical opponents.

1. THE ROOTS AND SOURCE OF TODAY’S ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS.

Today, the world is in a situation that can be characterized as a dead end that the liberal financial-oriented world economy drove itself into after remaining the dominant economic system following the collapse of the USSR. Not going into much more detail on that theme, since doing so would require a whole other in-depth discussion, I will simply point out that, as historical experience and logical consideration confirm, this economic system cannot work without theft. On its own, without infusions from outside, it is not able to sustain itself, therefore a long period in which no one goes to war and no one is robbed, for countries sitting at the top of the liberal “food chain”, will always mean a crisis of the economic system itself. The need for war or theft is a matter of life and death for many (if not for all) countries of the West. The danger for the West today is that “potential victims” are nowhere to be found. In the world of today, the approximate parity of strength is like it was before two world wars, which itself increases many times over the risk of a new world conflict. A classical conflict, as during the previous two world wars, or as a hybrid, hidden beneath a large number of local conflicts (the main goal of which will be not to allow the nuclear weapons deterrent to be used!) together with informational and economic aggression.

What goals are the wars’ organizers aiming for? 

First and foremost is a breaking of established economic ties, a deepening everywhere of the economic slide, except for in agreed-upon “economic growth spots”. In the First and Second World Wars this zone was the USA and once again they are trying to repeat this scenario. In addition, a goal of starting wars is the nullification or depreciation of “pre-war” debts and a restart of the world economy. An analysis of the upcoming conflict’s probable zones of destruction and (or) thievery which will permit the world economy to be restarted while preserving the existing economic model and the currently-constituted “economic food chain” for the existing financial elites shows that the level of accumulated contradictions can only be resolved at the expense of Russia and her demolition. The situation in the disparate and ailing enclaves of Europe and Asia, surrounded by the raging chaos that will come from the destruction of our country, will allow the United States to retain for itself the role of regulator of the world’s economy, island of stability, and the source point for new growth. Growth for itself, for Europe, and for Asia under the USAs security guarantees, paid for by the robbery of our country and our people.

How do the interests balance in the quadrilateral: USA, Europe, Russia, and China? 

The USA and Russia in this are antagonists. Why? Because retaining the privileged role of the USA is only possible at the expense of Russia, and under the circumstances of a weakened China and Europe. That being the case, such aspirations make it very unlikely that there will be an “amicable” consensus between Russia and the USA without a change (or a solidifying via Russia’s defeat) in the established order of things. That means that in the absence of a “Neo-Gorbachevism” we will inevitably be forced to stand against the States — just to be able to survive and retain ourselves. This is unavoidable. Europe in this case is the sole ally of the United States. Today’s “European submissiveness” to the will of the USA is the result of deeper causes, and unlikely solely due to “bought and blackmailed” leadership. Europe, lacking its own combat-capable armed forces and its own independent financial system capable of providing a sufficient level of financial sovereignty, is forced to follow in America’s wake. Which, for better or worse, is providing her both the first and the second.

Is this situation final and irrevocable? It seems to me that it isn’t. Europe will cry, but will eat the cactuses like the mice in the joke, for just as long as the USA is able to guarantee her safety and economic stability (though maybe in lesser amounts). The threat of losing all of this can flip Europe from the USA’s side in search of new guarantors of its separate and privileged position. In the event of a “fall of Russia”, Europe will become “frontline” territory at whose borders there will be aggressive instability. Europe will be most satisfied with Russia in a “USSR variant”, where the state, in “Gorbachev’s manner”, withdraws and enthusiastically permits itself to be robbed like a masochist. But the variant where Russia resists, and from this the country springs up as, not a “zone of robbery”, but a “zone exporting aggressive instability” (like today in the former Ukraine) will not please Europe. In sum, we will have a situation where Europe supported the USA in its attempted “blitzkrieg” against Russia as the better of its available courses. However, continuing Russian resistance changes the situation and in the future will inevitably lead to Europe, though with numerous reservations and attempts to negotiate preferential treatment, having to distance itself from the American policies directed towards the destruction of Russia. China in this quadrilateral (USA-Europe-Russia-China) is our natural and situational ally in its own opposition to the collective West. After all, today it is becoming a competitor to China in the economic as well as the political sphere. Any kind of strengthening of Russia will automatically result in a weakening of the West as a competitor to China. Therefore, so long as China can trust that it will no longer have to run up against Khrushchev-Gorbachev-Yeltsin-type “wiggly” unpredictable policies from Moscow, we can count on the economic and political support of China. Let’s sum it up. We are dealing with opposition between the USA and Russia, in which Europe and China play the part of tactical (within certain bounds) allies of the battling sides as they pursue their own goals in the confrontation. Therefore, neither Europe nor China is interested – unlike the USA – in the total destruction of Russia. After all, in that event both Europe and China would be weakened and would stand alone against a strengthened USA, as well as surrounded territorially by Eurasian chaos.

The USA needs Russia to die quickly. Europe was ready for a blitzkrieg under the management of the USA, but Europe is not ready for a drawn-out, long, and “expensive” conflict. China is prepared for a “game of debts” and is prepared to weaken both the USA and Europe in economical and political support of Russia, but is not prepared in this conflict to “take the bit between their teeth”, since it is still not ready to throw its entire weight into opposition, burdened as it is with its own problems and a worries due to the “Gorbachev effect”.

Given the shortage of time, the only path to survival for the USA is to demolish Russia from within and have her collapse. Either that, or a radical change of power in Russia which would abruptly turn the country’s ship of state around and permit the subsequent chaos and war. This would, in turn, give the States the necessary conditions for breaking the financial and economic channels of interaction in Eurasia and the weakening of both Europe and China, but at the “fault” of the new Russian government. We have a situation where the organization of an internal explosion in Russia displacing the legal government is for the USA a question of its own survival.

2. INFORMATION WARFARE IN RUSSIA – A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL FOR THE USA.

In the beginning of the article I mentioned that the current situation is forcing Russian citizens to actively seek answers to many questions. This pursuit of information, this struggle between various points of view, opinions and ideas opens a “window of opportunity” for those attempting to influence foreign policies of the country by influencing internal political situation. Chaos and war are once again becoming the one and only weapon of choice for the dollar. Russia, despite being subject to Western economic and information aggression, still:

  • continues to strengthen its economy;
  • continues its shift towards East;
  • retains the role of an economic and political bridge between Europe and Asia;
  • preserves its leading military and political position on the continent;
  • possesses decisive energy, scientific and manufacturing potential;
  • continues to adapt to hostile economic and political relations with a certain part of the world;

Such Russia is not in the interests of the USA. Stronger Russia will play a stronger stabilizing role in the world. Not only it is not going to become the source of chaos and war in Eurasia, it also has a high potential to distance Europe from the “leading and directing” role of the USA, which is totally unacceptable for America. Hence the question – what can US do in this situation?

First, US needs to instill chaos and war in the minds of Russian citizens, to have this chaos reach the “critical mass” needed to enable them to either influence the actions of the government on international stage or, which would be even “better”, tear down the government altogether, similar to how it was done in February of 1917 or August of 1991. Today, citizens of Russia have many questions, which is a great opportunity to provide answers which will lead them to actions that would ultimately be in US interests.

And such “answers” have already been prepared by the all-knowing well-wishers…

3. CAUTION: MANIPULATION!

Let’s reiterate that this is very important. In order to survive and preserve its leading role on international stage, US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, to cut economic ties between Europe and APR (Asia-Pacific Region). The States need to turn the territory that lies between them (Russia, Central Asia, Middle East) into a zone with local armed conflicts, falling economies, deficient governments and general instability. Middle East is already very close to a state of total chaos, US-created ISIL is working to further complicate the situation in that region. Central Asia is a potentially very unstable region and it has been “farmed out” to the revived Taliban, but so far it has kept the appearance of stability. Russia is the only territory within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance, shifting its foreign policy – is a vitally important task for America.

How can this be achieved given that the will of the President of Russia can be clearly defined as anti-American and the ability to realize this will is as strong as ever, thanks to the stability of the ruling establishment? The only way to achieve this is to drag the leadership of the country into a long and debilitating stand-off with its own people.

Liberal scenario (ineffective) 

In the long term, the unity of Russian people and their leadership can be broken by providing liberal answers to questions that are important for the apolitical majority. To achieve this, long forgotten “weathered soldiers” of ideological battles, who were not part of the events of 2011-12, have been brought out of nonexistence (Stankevich, Nadezhin and others). They are working to convince the Russian society that today’s Russia is “in over its head”. In other words, Russia, by protecting its geopolitical interests and by breaking every imaginable international rule, is behaving in a way that is unacceptable for a “gas station” country. Therefore, not having the required economic potential and sufficient international weight, Russia is bound to end up in international economic and political isolation. This will impact the lives of average citizens by significantly lowering their standard of living, the government will lose control over the state affairs and, ultimately, the state itself will be torn apart. Of course the proposed remedy for all these ailments is this: “fold” to US, recognize the leading role of US in the world and generally follow in the footsteps of American policies. This means that Russia must give up its national geopolitical interests, return Crimea, take on the burden of supporting Ukraine and then, just like in the 90’s, follow directions of Western advisors who will determine the path of political and economic development of the country.

Today, the level of “immunity” of Russian society against this liberal scenario is quite high. The nineties and the “liberal shift” attempt in 2011-12 served well to create a stable “anti-liberal” sentiment within Russian society. That’s why realization of this scenario is not possible in the short term, but our Anglo-Saxon enemies always plan well ahead. This liberal point of view will be kept alive and will be cultivated among a certain type of urban intellectuals who are traditionally aligned with Western values. And, in case society becomes fed up with patriotism, these intellectuals will be the ones to present Russian society with a point of view that will be in line with Western interests.

Patriotic scenario (main) 

The States don’t really care what particular scenario will sink the territory of Eurasia (Russia – Customs Union) into chaos or what will cut the strong economic ties along the EU-Russia-Customs Union-China line. Whether Russia follows the liberal scenario described above, dissolves the way USSR did or willingly plunges into chaos and localized armed conflicts – makes no difference to US. If Russia starts throwing its weight around and using force to assert its own views and interpretations of international rules of co-existence, the US will just as well reach its intended goals. The important expression here is “using force”. That will result in chaos and war in Eurasia, which is all US needs.

Russian society has overcome the virus of liberalism and is not ready to become infected with it again, and that is exactly why instead of the “liberal scenario of voluntary dissolution” they are being offered the “patriotic scenario” that instills in their minds an arrogant faith in success. In practice, this translates into certain public figures, who are consistently viewed as being patriotic, persistently offering… scenarios which require use of force in future developments in Eurasia. They are also interpreting past events using assumptions that every event was dealt with from the position of force, position of power. These interpretations are exactly what US needs. As a matter of fact, these interpretations, and the part of Russian society that is behind them, are so closely aligned with US interests that Western political and public figures have been focusing solely on this particular part of Russian society, using them in propaganda and diplomatic efforts directed against the current leadership of the President in the Russian Federation. It is possible to assert that a certain part of those who consider themselves to be patriots of Russia willingly or unwillingly are working in the interests of Western aggressors. Interpreting the events of 2014 as “Russia using force to apply pressure on Ukraine”, calling for a wider and more profound use of force in Ukraine in the future and accusing Russian leadership of not providing sufficient military and technical support for Donbass militia, they are allowing Western diplomats to interpret all their statements as “proof of Russian aggression”. And a very valuable proof at that, because, according to Western views and practice of legal precedents, a witness account of Russian use of force in Ukraine, coming from those who took part in the events (Strelkov-Girkin), is an indisputable and necessary proof that the USA and the collective West are acting appropriately against “aggressor Russia”. This is a case of remedy being more dangerous than the ailment. This “proof of Russian aggression” is allowing Washington to justify sanctions and cutting relations with Moscow. The logic of confrontation with Russia includes mechanisms designed to rupture Eurasian economic ties, which will inevitably lead to chaos across the entire Eurasian continent. And that is exactly what the US is trying to achieve.

Russian “patriots”, who are, in reality, defending US interests (regardless of what they themselves think), in fact… are probing the Russian society to figure out just how possible it is to organize mass protests in the country. With today’s strong leadership that is stirring Russia towards absolute sovereignty, this task seems nearly impossible. But if their point of view starts affecting the mindset of the majority of Russian citizens, an attempt to use “street democracy” to push Russia towards “use of force” scenario in Ukraine can be made. And that will be a 100% American victory over Europe and China. Therefore, we can safely conclude that “street democracy” using popular “patriotic” slogans instead of the unpopular liberal ones is the most desired development within Russia for the USA. So desirable that the States will nurture and support (financially, using media and PR) those “patriotic” Russian figures who, willingly or unwillingly, are acting in line with American interests. Impartial analysis of information and media shows that this is exactly how events are unfolding in Russia.

How can this be fought and how can the ill-fated path of 1914-style “destructive patriotism” be averted? The victory over the minds and hearts of Russian citizens can only be achieved by spreading the truth and disclosing the methods of manipulation used by Russian “patriots” who are currently helping our eternal enemies in their information war against Russia.

Some Examples of Manipulation. 

The mass manipulation of consciousness, in the first-order is the implicit substitution of desires from genuine goals to manufactured goals. Any conscious ‘exposure’ of this process, even though it identifies these first-order manufactured goals, is itself manufactured (‘second order’) on the very basis of this ‘exposure’. The methodolical manufacture of this second order phenomenon logically enables a pure inversion of genuine desires and thus by direct implication, reality.

For example, those ‘ultra-patriotic’ chaps working, doubtlessly part-time, for the U.S. State Department will state that ‘We should militarily intervene in the Ukraine. Working on an emotional level (the most commonly applied method of ‘softening up’ for manipulation) they will tell us of the unspeakable ordeals endured by the people of the Donbass. It is surely the healthy reaction of any human being to wish to give assistance and support. An example would be the incursion of Russian troops into the Ukraine with the aim of averting a humanitarian catastrophe and putting a halt to the genocide of the Russian population. Moreover, we can confirm that this incursion cannot be dangerous for Russia insofar as Russia is already under the most onerous sanction regime imaginable which the Russian people bear unjustly. Simultaneously the public is ‘calmed’ by the belief that NATO will under no circumstances allow itself to be drawn into armed conflict with Russia, in possession of nuclear weapons which can be used as a ‘trump card’ in any negotiations. Strelkov-Girkin has developed the knack of projecting a statesmanly wisdom. He endlessly affirms that those speaking of peace are in denial about the ongoing war scares Russians with the spectre of NATO forces. These self-same NATO forces, in turn, simply swallow any half-baked statements and perceive any movement of Russian forces as having the goal of overthrowing the regime in Kiev. Why? Because it allegedly can’t directly oppose Russia because of her well supplied army and her nuclear forces.

So how do we apply, to the current situation, the concept of the implicit substitution of desires to manufactured goals? Well the point is that instead of the actual escalating Hybrid war, being fought with the aim of exhausting the enemy, using the full spectrum of potential threats with the exception of Nuclear weapons, we see that the public is presented with the traditional threat of a second world war confrontation (replete with Nazis and Swastikas).

Such wars can be characterized by opponents openly trying to destroy each other mainly by military confrontation. In such conflicts, the aim is simply to destroy or take control of the opposition center of political decision making by military means. This was sufficient as it destroyed the ‘brain’ of the enemy. In modern hybrid war the political decisions will be taken in the Western Centers remote from the military conflict (Brussels, Washington). The military conflicts will be delegated to peripheral centers (the Kievan ‘Junta’; the Donbass ‘Novorossiya’; ISIS (Islamic State) active in the North Caucasus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, perpetrating terrorist activities in the Volga region; the Taliban active in Central Asia, the Urals and the far east of Russia). Correspondingly, economic aggression will be applied from the financial bloc controlled by the West. Engaging militarily in the Donbass, Russia in the short term will be on the receiving end of a series of strikes in the above regions and in its urban centers. Countering these blows (dependent on the scale of the territory destabilized) will demand the dramatic strengthening of the Russian military including the special services and the transformation of the economy as well as everyday life onto a war footing, which of course is neglected in the patriotic narrative projected by the ‘manipulators’. Such ‘surprises’ for the Russian society, who are simply geared up for a “small victorious war in the Donbas” under the current patriotic narrative will incline public opinion towards direction the liberal activists, those supporters of the “peaceful dissolution” of Russia. Such appeals will sound repeatedly to “rest under the wing” under the American world order and the popularity of such ideas will dramatically grow. In summary, we witness the re-emergence of the provocateurs of the sort we had in 1914, these ‘Hurray Patriots’ who paved the way for the provocateurs of February 1917.

These same liberal capitalists are ready for the widest possible cooperation with the West on its terms in the ordering of Russian life. However, even if against the odds, Russia will pull off another “Russian miracle” and be able resolve, through military means, the numerous military conflicts both along its borders and within its territory, even this great victory will not destroy the Western center of decision-making. Washington and Brussels will remain out of reach of the Russian army, as they are not directly participating in any of these conflicts.

While Russia will face outside the military and terrorist aggression forming an existential threat to the state, Europe without an efficient army, dogged by controversy and lack of a single center of decision-making will be in no better straites. Europe will be forced, against the background of a Russia “which is on fire,” to simply forget about their own geopolitical interests and stand in line with the Americans. At the same time, Europeans will be forced to acquiesce to a significant decline in their living standards, and be subordinated to all the other American adventures. As a direct consequence, economic cooperation through Europe – Russia – Trans-Siberian will decline to an absolute minimum, if it survives at all.

China, similarly faced with instability in its own underbelly in Central Asia and facing growing aggression from NATO allies in Taiwan and Japan, will be forced to limit its military, political and economic support to Russia, awaiting the outcome of the confrontation and eventually breaking its ties with the United States. As a result, we see the realization of the US plan: economic cooperation between Europe – Russia – TC – China, minimized or neutralized, and the existence between China and Europe of zone of global instability and local wars. Russia will have to exert all its strength to survive, which will eliminate its opportunities for political maneuver and peace-building and economic development.

4. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

Firstly, we need to look objectively, without emotions at the root cause of the issue. Collectively, the West enslaved by its ineffective liberal, finance oriented economic model, will inevitably be forced to engage in local or planetary plunder to fulfil its own dynamic requirements for existence. A suitable metaphor would be a car running out of fuel with the engine running. Any delay will dramatically increase the chances of the engine ‘seizing up’ which will render further motion impossible. The driver of the car facing such threats is prone to panic and make mistaken decisions when trying to refuel. Assuming that one is not inclined to help the driver the natural course of action would be to let the driver make all these mistakes and for the engine to be allowed to seize up.

Russia’s actions in the contemporary situation should be based on several principles: 

First, we must understand that every day we delay the onset of full scale hybrid war strengthens us and weaken our enemies. Each day of delay – allows us to establish economic ties to the Eurasian space, making Russia less vulnerable. Each day of delay – it is an additional burden on the “western car” and its fuel consumption.

Today, the West and the United States are incurring significant costs maintaining its hybrid “War Infrastructure” (the junta in Kiev, Islamic State, the Taliban, 5th Columns inside China and Russia), but it is still investing without accruing dividends. Each day of delay signifies a new weapon for the Russian army, new production in Russia and an increase in readiness for difficult times.

Secondly, using the tactics of “viscous defense” when every new step on the occupied territory carries obvious loss for the occupier, Russia increases the chance of a split in the “Euro-Atlantic Coalition” The weak point of the West is that it is not monolithic. I.e. the “slaves” are always ready to betray the “masters” if the cost / risk associated with coalition leads to an unjustified increase in the level of risk. Today, the West is stuck in Ukraine. “Blitzkrieg” failed. The original plan to separate the Ukraine from Russia, reorientation its markets to Europe, while maintaining the previous level of Russian economic support for Ukraine, is now firmly in the past. For the US the Ukraine forms and outstanding catalyst for Eurasian Chaos. However for Europe, Ukraine is a “White Elephant” with severe and infectious behavioral issues which has kindly donated by the Americans to them. For the sake of countering “Russian Aggression” Europe is ready to consolidate and bear hardships, but to preserver Poroshenko and Co., still less, for the sake of geopolitical dispute between Russia and the United States, the willingness to bear hardships becomes a lot less.

Thirdly, we must remember that the advantage in war is to those who choose their time and terrain. This is critical. Start a war when we see the result will not be to win these peripheral conflicts i.e. the Kievan ‘Junta’, the Islamic state or the Taliban, but rather to achieve victory over the “center of real political decision making” in Washington. A war should be fought for this goal and none other.

On the basis of the above, we can see that every victory of Assad in Syria, and every victory of the militia of the Donbass and Lugansk Republics saves lives of Russian soldiers and Russian territory from ruin. We see a unique situation, the first time in Russian history, when the forces of aggression against Russia are based on the distant outskirts of our country. Russia is obliged, according to her own interests, to furnish every assistance and support, to weaken the Western Coalition, thus expanding the cracks of various interests in the allegedly monolithic Euro-American unity.

5. CONCERNING “PATRIOTIC” MANIPULATORS.

On January 28, 2015 in St. Petersburg, the Russian party “Great Society” organized a cultural gathering with the writer, essayist and translator Dmitry Y. Puchkov as keynote speaker. Dmitry Y. was predictably humble, consumed by his own thoughts and interests, which were genuinely, without excessive sophistication, quite profound. I was unfortunately unable to attend this meeting, as due to a business trip in Nizhny Novgorod.

However, when I watched recordings of the proceedings, I was immediately struck by the savage accuracy of the metaphor of the Russian intelligentsia, worshiping the West, with the liberal intelligencia playing the role of “Evil Shepherds”, leading their flock of sheep to the slaughter. The allegory is devastatingly accurate. The West have maintained their dominance by the means of murder and robbery on a planetary scale. They “manufacture their image” in the eyes of future victims, using these “evil shepherds” from the intelligentsia. Without these “Evil Shepherds”, any potential victim from the Soviet Union to Ukraine today, could be saved from plunder and mobilize their own self-preservation instinct. It is only the conscious and pro-active manipulation that these, “intellectuals” practice, performing the role of administrators of “spiritual chloroform”, which has allowed public opinion to be so manipulated.

Events of the last year and especially the last few months have unfortunately led me to be convinced that that the existence of the “Evil Shepherds” may not only be among those enthralled by the west, but also among those administrating “patriotic” rhetoric to the public.

However, I am deeply convinced that our Russian society, representatives of all the peoples of our country have a sufficient high level of consciousness to counter this pseudo-patriotic manipulation which works for the benefit of the United States. After all, our people were able to emerge from the liberal manipulation of a few years earlier. The memory “of Greeks bearing gifts” battered us in the 90s, battered us until our pores wept sweat and blood.  As for me, I will, to the best of my ability, resist these new attempts to deceive our society under the renewed and pseudo-patriotic slogans.

 

Nikolai Starikov is Russian writer, political activist and influential public intellectual. For a wider introduction see here.

Right or wrong, he is an indicator of what thousands or millions of Russians believe.

This article originally appeared at the author’s blog. It was translated by: DzhMM, Mikhael and Gideon at The Vineyard of the Saker 

Kerry Denies Obvious US Destabilization/Civil War Agenda

Kerry Re-writes History of U.S. Support for Color Revolutions

strategic culture foundation

Wayne MADSEN | 06.03.2015 | 00:00

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry either has a blind spot when it comes to the last 15 years of U.S. foreign policy or he told a big whopping lie in Geneva. Kerry, in defining U.S. action in Ukraine, said that «We [the United States] are not involved in multiple color revolutions». Someone in Kerry’s position should know better. After all, he is not only the chief foreign policy officer of the United States but he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the committee from the very outset of America’s «themed» or «color» revolutions, beginning with the October 5th Revolution, which overthrew Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

The chief of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, correctly said that the United States is funding Russian opposition groups and using sanctions over Ukraine to promote civil society discontent leading to a color revolution in Russia. The alarming record of U.S. support for color revolutions around the world speaks for itself.

What is even more galling about Kerry’s denial of U.S. operations aimed at overthrowing various governments is that it was he who chaired a series of hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1989 on the covert Central Intelligence Agency war to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. In 25 years, Kerry has gone from a firebrand opponent of CIA coup d’état and destabilization operations to a consummate cover-up artist for these activities.

After the overthrow of Milosevic in 2000 in a street protest-turned-revolution that followed the Gene Sharp/CIA manual to the tee and which was backed by the granddaddy of all NGO protest groups, OTPOR!, there were some 20 themed revolutions in rapid succession. These were followed by the «Arab Spring» themed revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Soros and his NGOs’ fingerprints were found on smaller attempted revolutions from Honduras to Maldives. OTPOR personnel were even dispatched to some of these countries, courtesy of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to assist in the fomenting of rebellion.

 

Mr. Kerry says Washington was not involved in «multiple color revolutions». Why did he use the term «multiple color revolutions?» Because there has been repeated U.S. support for multiple color revolutions as the following list attests:

The United States supported the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Olive Tree Revolution in Palestine (that saw Hamas come to power and effectively split the Palestinian independence movement), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Purple Revolution in Iraq (that saw a Shi’a-dominated government friendly to Iran come to power, spelling the end of the unified Iraqi state), Blue Revolution in Kuwait, Saffron Revolution in Burma (one that was crushed by the military) and the Crimson Revolution in Tibet (put down by the Chinese security forces), and the abortive Green Revolution in Iran. There were also attempted themed revolutions in Moldova (the Grape Revolution), Mongolia (the Yellow Revolution, which was partially successful), Uzbekistan (the Cotton Revolution), the autonomous Russian Republic of Bashkortostan (Orange Revolution), Ecuador (the Police Revolution), Bolivia (the Gas Revolution in the four secessionist natural gas-producing provinces), and Belarus (the Denim Revolution).

Not to be omitted is the Orange Democratic Movement’s uprising in Kenya, one that saw thousands murdered before the Orange movement’s leader Raila Odinga became Prime Minister in a power-sharing government. These color revolutions were followed by the U.S. – and Soros – supported Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, the Lotus Revolution in Egypt, the Twitter Revolution in Syria, and the uprising in Yemen. From the Middle East, the revolution engineers set out to attempt themed coups in Maldives (Yellow Revolution), Indonesia (the ill-fated «Sandal Revolution»), and the «Pots and Pans Revolution in Venezuela. Soros’s “Yellow Revolution” government in Maldives was ousted in a counter-coup by the vice president and police.

After the CIA-engineered coup against the democratically-elected president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya in 2009, the military-backed junta received the support of the wealthy elites who marched in the streets in support of the junta and adopted the color white in support of the military-installed president Roberto Micheletti. What did then-Senator Kerry say about that themed coup, the first carried out by the Obama administration? Kerry supported Zelaya’s goal of returning to power because Zelaya was the democratically-elected president of Honduras. Today, Kerry does not support the return of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to power in Kiev even though he too was democratically-elected and forced out unconstitutionally. When the Law Library of the U.S. Congress concluded that Zelaya’s removal was unconstitutional, it was Senator Kerry who demanded that the finding be reversed. Surely, Mr. Kerry learned the meaning of the word «hypocrite» while attending Yale and Boston College.

The history of U.S. support for themed revolutions continued well after the Arab Spring. After the second Ukrainian themed revolution against the Yanukovych presidency, the so-called «Euromaidan Revolution,» there were also attempted themed uprisings in Russia (the «Blue Bucket Revolution») and Macedonia.

There is no way on earth that Kerry can deny the themed color nature of U.S.-funded uprisings. As first seen with the Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004, which was most definitely a Soros- and CIA-funded revolution that denied presidential winner Yanukovych the presidency and installed pro-U.S. Viktor Yushchenko and the corrupt Yulia Tymoshenko into power, flags and orange banners were ubiquitous on Kiev’s Central Square. In the most recent Ukrainian «Euromaidan» revolution, revealed by America’s bread-distributing maven of European affairs, Victoria Nuland, to have cost the U.S. taxpayers $5 billion, factory fresh red and black Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) flags appeared on Kiev’s Central Square, renamed Maidan Square, and throughout Kiev.

In the NED- and USAID-financed themed revolutions in Libya and Syria, factory-fresh flags of the former regimes, the King Idris regime of Libya and post-colonial and pro-French «Syrian Republic,» respectively, appeared practically overnight on the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli, as well as Aleppo, Homs, and Damascus. The old Kingdom of Libya standard is now the national flag of the dysfunctional “Republic of Libya,” which is split between rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk. In the case of Syria, the pre-Assad flag is now used by the Salafist-allied Free Syrian Army and is recognized as the flag of Syria by the United States, NATO, and the European Union.

China has not been immune to the American color revolutions. China’s defenses against such operations were tested first in Tibet and most recently in Hong Kong. Soros’s daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel, is the founder and president of the Trace Foundation and the co-founder, along with her husband, of the Tsadra Foundation. Both organizations directly support the Tibetan government-in-exile and their fingerprints were on the 2008 bloody rebellion in Tibet. Soros’s OSI Burma Project/Southeast Asia also had its fingerprints on the 2007 Buddhist monks’ rebellion in Burma, the so-called Saffron Revolution, the same theme applied to the Tibetan uprising in 2008. In 2011, a call went out for a Jasmine Revolution from the U.S.-based Chinese-language website Boxun.com.

The color revolution concept was on display in Calgary, Alberta where Conservative Naheed Nenshi, a Shi’a Ismaili, rode into the mayor’s office in a so-called «Purple Revolution». While not a coup, the elevation of Nenshi was heralded as a great «multicultural» success for an otherwise xenophobic and racist political party. Nenshi made no secret of his support for the Keystone XL pipeline and his disdain for the First Nation treaties that govern Ottawa’s relations with native tribal territories. Nenshi and his Conservatives are now trying to abrogate treaties with the First Nations and seize their hydrocarbon resources, something that is akin to a coup d’état against tribal sovereignty.

Kerry’s entire State Department top echelon has supported color revolutions under the Obama administration’s R2P (Responsibility to Protect) rubric since 2009. Many of the interventionists, including Nuland, her human rights point man Thomas Melia, and Jeffrey Feltman (now the Political Undersecretary General under UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after having served as the chief point man for the Arab Spring at the State Department) are either holdovers from the discredited George W. Bush administration or well-known neo-conservative political hacks. They are joined by the «neo-liberal» R2P architects, most notably national security adviser Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power.

John Kerry claims there has been no U.S. support for multiple color revolutions. Mr. Kerry should be sent Crayola’s 64 crayon pack as a reminder that there has been at least that number of color revolutions either hatched or planned by the United States since the October 5th Revolution in Belgrade.

2009 German Analysis Documenting US Plan To Unleash Civil War In Ukraine

Imperial Geopolitics: Ukraine, Georgia and the New Cold War between NATO and Russia

IMI german

von: Martin Hantke | Veröffentlicht am:

1. Januar 2009

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand current and future U.S., EU and NATO policy. Over ten years ago the former National Security Advisor gave a graphic description of the imperatives of imperial geopolitics. He argued that the U.S.A.’s position of supremacy should be preserved under all circumstances. To this end NATO, acting as a “bridgehead” of the U.S.A., should expand into Eurasia and take control of geostrategically important regions so as to prevent Russia’s resurgence as a powerful political force.

Brzezinski had in mind two countries or regions in particular: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians, who would then be supported by their fellow Islamic states to the south.” […] “However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”1 Brzezinski argued further that there was an imperative need to gain control of the southern Caucasus, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, on Russia’s southern flank. The past master of U.S. geopolitics set out the aim and purpose of NATO policy with impressive clarity: “The United States and the NATO countries – while sparing Russia’s self-esteem to the extent possible, but nevertheless firmly and consistently – are destroying the geopolitical foundations which could, at least in theory, allow Russia to hope to acquire the status as the number two power in world politics that belonged to the Soviet Union.”2

In the years that followed, these words were systematically put into political practice with NATO taking its eastward expansion right up to Moscow’s borders. Furthermore, active Western support for the “colourful revolutions” in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004) led to the sitting pro-Russian or neutral governments and presidents being ousted by pro-Western candidates.3 Russia regarded NATO’s policy as crossing the “red line”. As the war between Russia and Georgia in the summer of 2008 showed, Russia is no longer prepared to stand idly by in the face of further attempts at expansion. Nevertheless, the Western military alliance is doggedly pursuing its escalation policy, in which Ukraine and Georgia are now being offered NATO membership as a means of safeguarding the “successes” that have been scored. U.S. President Barack Obama is also in favour of these two countries joining NATO.4 The announcement that Michael McFaul, a hardliner on policy towards Moscow, is to be appointed senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council gives little cause for hope that Washington under its new president will abandon its aggressive, anti-Russian policy. This amounts to tacit acceptance that the New Cold War between NATO and Russia, invoked so frequently of late, will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ukraine: “On someone else’s arse”

Even now, the approach to Ukraine is evidently still determined by Brzezinski’s recipes from the devil’s workshop of geopolitics. NATO accession and Europe’s energy supply are issues that are closely intertwined. Writing in Handelsblatt, Peter Zeihan from Strategic Forecast, the think-tank often referred to as the “shadow CIA”, described the complex geopolitical situation as follows: “On the one hand, the ‘orange’ revolution of 2004 led to the installation of a Ukrainian government hostile to Russia’s objectives. President Viktor Yushchenko would like to integrate his country into the European Union and NATO. For Russia that would be the kiss of death. Most of the infrastructure linking Russia with Europe – from pipelines to railway lines and high-voltage cables – is located in Ukraine. Industry and agriculture in both countries are closely interlinked. There are more Russians living in eastern Ukraine than anywhere else in the world outside Russia. The Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol because there are no reasonable alternatives. Ukraine stretches so far into southern Russia that a hostile power in the country could pose a threat to Moscow. Moreover, the country stretches so far eastwards that an antagonistic government there could even threaten Russia’s connections with the Caucasus. In a nutshell, if Ukraine slips out of Russia’s sphere of influence Russia will be forced completely onto the defensive in strategic terms. Vice versa, if Russia regains control in Kiev, the country could set itself up as a regional – and perhaps even a global – power.”5 It was to obviate such a scenario that Washington engaged in a further round of frenzied activity shortly before the end of U.S. President George W. Bush’s period in office. This activity was aimed at advancing Ukraine’s future membership of NATO. Martin Luther’s words to the effect that “Riding through a fire is easy on someone else’s arse” might perhaps have flashed through the mind of the then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as she walked up with Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko, to sign the United States-Ukraine Charta on Strategic Partnership on 19 December 2008. Rice said: “The United States supports Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures. And in that regard, I want to assure you that the declaration at Bucharest which foresees that Ukraine will be a member of NATO when it can meet those standards is very much at the center of our policy.” The Ukrainian Foreign Minister set great store by a strengthening of the presence of the United States in Ukraine, in particular through a diplomatic mission on the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.6

In addition to a programme of enhanced security cooperation intended to strengthen Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO membership, agreement was reached on close collaboration on energy issues. It was resolved inter alia that “In recognition of the importance of a well functioning energy sector, the parties intend to work closely together on rehabilitating and modernizing the capacity of Ukraine’s gas transit infrastructure.”7 This Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed against the backdrop of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Given Ukraine’s failure to pay its debts and the lack of any new agreement on deliveries of gas to Ukraine, supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine were stopped as of 1 January 2009. Within a few days the dispute began to have an effect on energy supplies throughout Europe. On 6 January 2009, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia reported that deliveries through the Ukrainian transit pipelines had come to a halt. Supplies to Austria fell by 90%. There are a number of indications that Ukraine’s actions can only be explained by reference to the support it received from the U.S.A. That was the Russian view too: “The Russian gas company Gazprom has pinned responsibility for the gas dispute with Ukraine on the U.S.A. Gazprom declared on Tuesday that Ukraine’s actions are being directed by the U.S. government. Despite the deployment of EU observers the Ukraine is again removing gas from the transit pipelines. Russia is therefore unable to deliver supplies to the EU countries. Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Russian energy giant, has accused the U.S.A. of fuelling the conflict.”8

In the case of both Georgia and Ukraine there is a close link between the gas dispute and support for their admission to NATO. In April 2008 the Bertelsmann Foundation concluded that Ukraine and Georgia were already closely integrated into “NATO’s working processes”. “Ever since it was founded in 1994, both countries have been part of the Partnership for Peace programme of the North Atlantic Alliance which is intended to promote individual cooperation between NATO and non-NATO countries. Cooperation has subsequently been extended. […] In their bilateral cooperation agreements with NATO both countries see far-reaching domestic reforms as a means of moving closer to the defence alliance. Such reforms principally concern the consolidation of internal democratic structures, but priority is also given to the fight against global terrorism and support for the operations and missions of the North Atlantic Alliance. The latter was one reason why U.S. President George W. Bush emphasized his efforts to have Ukraine and Georgia included in the Membership Action Plan. The progress made in integration into NATO’s defence structures puts into perspective the question that arose at the Bucharest summit about the steps Ukraine and Georgia will take after the provisional ‘no’ to their admission to the Membership Action Plan. Their path will inevitably take them into NATO.”9

Germany is playing a double role here. On the one hand it has joined France in rejecting an accelerated accession procedure for Ukraine, which the U.S.A. favoured; on the other hand it is playing a risky game by not placing any obstacles in the path of fundamental approval of Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The German Foreign Office has itself provided an apt description of this double role: “At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 Ukraine was in principle given the prospect of membership (‘We agreed today that these countries (i.e. Ukraine and Georgia) will become members of NATO’). Ukraine was not granted a Membership Action Plan (MAP); instead, a comprehensive review process was initiated.”10 This granting of prospective membership to Ukraine for the first time, combined with Georgia’s aggression shortly afterwards against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, proved the last straw for Moscow.

Georgia: a geopolitical prize

A look at the map quickly makes it clear why the Southern Caucasus is so important. Georgia provides the only opportunity of supplying Europe with gas and oil from the resource-rich countries of Central Asia and of transporting goods and products to Europe by land from China and Kazakhstan. The Nabucco pipeline project is intended to help reduce Europe’s “dependence” on Russian gas imports, which currently account for 40% of its supplies and are expected to climb to even higher levels. According to the European press service EurActiv, “The US has long been pushing for the construction of oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian basin that would bypass Russia, especially via Georgia.”11 The project is a top priority for the European Union, too. During his period as representative of the EU Council President in 2006 the Austrian Minister of Economics Martin Bartenstein said: “[The] Nabucco pipeline is Europe’s most important energy project.”12

For both the EU Member States and the NATO countries Georgia provides the geographical terrain that is essential to cutting Russia off from the purchasers of its energy exports. Russia’s countermeasures include three pipeline projects – Nord Stream (Baltic Sea pipeline), South Stream (Russian-Italian gas pipeline through the Black Sea via Varna in Bulgaria) and Blue Stream (from Russia through the Black Sea into Turkey) – as well as the building of direct energy lines to western and southern Europe to ensure the unobstructed export of energy free from any checks or controls by former Eastern Bloc states very favourably disposed to the U.S.A. This was why the U.S.A., in particular, played the Georgian card in the hope of containing Russia’s political influence in Europe and preventing its rise to the status of an industrial power.

Western support for the war

Germany continues to play a significant part in the arming of Georgia. The Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) mostly train Georgian officers as part of the general staff training course which includes participants from other countries. Over the past few years the Bundeswehr has been host to a steady stream of high-ranking military delegations from Georgia. In addition, G 36 rifles manufactured by Heckler & Koch have been delivered to Georgia. The bulk of the training has been carried out by the U.S.A., however. The U.S. Army has trained Georgian soldiers “to bring the armed forces of Georgia, a loyal ally of Washington, up to NATO standards as an outpost in the Caucasus.”13 In 2006 alone, says the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the U.S.A. supported Georgia to the tune of 80 million U.S. dollars, 13 million of which went on the payment of “military supplies and services” as well as the training of soldiers. In addition the U.S.A. has helped Georgia by regularly modernising its fleet and delivering helicopters free of charge.14 The considerable extent of U.S. military assistance, which has “enabled the Pentagon to overhaul Georgia’s forces from bottom to top”, is described by the New York Times as follows: “At senior levels, the United States helped rewrite Georgian military doctrine and train its commanders and staff officers. At the squad level, American marines and soldiers trained Georgian soldiers in the fundamentals of battle.”15
All told, therefore, the Georgian armed forces have over five infantry brigades each numbering 2,000 men. In addition there are the reservist units whose level of training is far inferior. The Georgian government talks officially of 37,000 soldiers and 100,000 reservists. Since Mikhail Saakashvili took office, Georgia’s military spending has increased significantly: “In 2003 it amounted to 52 million lari (24 million U.S. dollars), whereas in 2006 that figure had tripled to 139 million lari (78 million U.S. dollars). Real expenditure is much higher, however. Anyone liable to be called up for military service, for example, can buy themselves out of the army – four-fifths of the money goes straight to the ministry.”16

There is also brisk cooperation between Georgia and NATO. In July 2008, a joint manoeuvre was held as part of the Partnership for Peace Programme in which a total of 1,630 military personnel, including 1,000 Americans and 600 Georgians, took part.17 In addition, the Georgian army has been – and still is – prominently involved in the war in Iraq, which is in contravention of international law, as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 2008, Georgia had 2,000 solders in Iraq, the third-largest contingent of the “Coalition of the Willing”. However, after the Georgian army had been repulsed in South Ossetia in August 2008, the U.S. Air Force flew the Georgian units stationed in Iraq back to the home front to provide help while the fighting was still in progress. Given the massive campaign undertaken by the U.S.A. and its allies to build up the country’s military, it is barely credible that, while the U.S.A. might not actually have given the green light, it was not fully informed of the pending attack and subsequently kept silent about it.

At any rate, the Russians are certain that the attack took place with support from Washington. The Russian ambassador to NATO, Dimitri Rogozin, made a statement to the effect that Saakashvili agreed the attack with his “backers”. It is clear to whom he was referring.18 Vladimir Vasilyev, Chairman of the Duma Security Committee, summed up the Russian point of view as follows: “The longer the matter goes on, the better the world will come to understand that Georgia would never have been capable of it [the attack on South Ossetia] without the United States”.19 In an interview for the German TV station ARD the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his views of the U.S.A.’s behaviour perfectly clear: “One cannot help thinking that the American leadership knew of the planned action and, indeed, participated in it […] in order to organise a small-scale but successful war. And, if things went wrong, to force Russia into the role of the enemy.”20

Russia’s counter-attack

It is, indeed, hard to believe that the Georgian attack took place without any prior consultation with the U.S.A. Yet it must have been clear to the U.S. government that the Georgian army would be crushed in battle, which was precisely what happened. The question arises, therefore, as to Washington’s motives. Did it simply miscalculate in assuming that Russia would quietly accept the Georgian advance? It is hard to imagine but conceivable nonetheless. The other explanation is that the primary objective was to stir up a conflict with Russia so as to make the European Union toe an even more anti-Russian line and that Saakashvili came in handy here in the role of useful idiot, albeit at the expense of the people in the region. The matter cannot be clarified with any degree of certainty, although the latter explanation would appear more plausible.

At all events, the calculation backfired, because Russia seized the opportunity provided by the Georgian attack to improve its own position in the Caucasus. It is also very hard to imagine that Moscow was not informed of Georgia’s invasion plans. It was evidently well prepared for such an eventuality. In July, 8,000 Russian soldiers carried out an exercise simulating the repulsion of a Georgian attack. That might also explain why the Georgian troops were halted within 24 hours and the Russian troops gained the upper hand relatively quickly. Hence to describe Georgia’s war of aggression as the result of President Saakashvili stumbling into a Russian trap is not very convincing. Whether the Russians were well prepared or not, the fact of the matter is that Georgia engaged in a war of aggression.

In the course of the conflict Russia succeeded in shattering confidence in Georgia’s reliability as a transit country for future Caspian energy supplies. Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili himself said that “one of the main reasons for the Russian attack was that Georgia already has the Baku-Tblissi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), which has been laid one metre underground from end to end. This is intended to circumvent Russia.”21 That suspicion is not as mistaken as it might seem. After all, the opening of the BTC pipeline in May 2006, over which Washington and Moscow had wrangled bitterly for almost a decade, was one of the biggest geopolitical successes in the U.S.A.’s plans to roll back Russian influence in the region. “The Georgian security adviser, Alexander Lomaia, says that the Russians dropped six bombs but failed to hit the pipeline. If that is true, it would indicate that Russia’s military action was conducted in pursuit of other, more far-reaching strategic goals than merely preventing a humanitarian crisis in South Ossetia.”22

The Nabucco project was also dealt a heavy blow. According to Ed Chow from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Russia has raised serious doubts in the minds of Western lenders and investors […] as to whether a pipeline through Georgia is safe from attacks or beyond the control of the Kremlin.”23 Nevertheless, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attempted to give an assurance that the EU was sticking to its plan to build the Nabucco pipeline through Georgia despite the Caucasus conflict: “This infrastructure is needed”, Piebalgs said.24

For the first time since the end of the (old) Cold War Russia has thus ended a Western attempt at expansion by military means. That alone is sufficient to underline the dimensions of the Russian-Georgian war. At the same time the invasion of Georgia is a clear signal to the West that in future Russia will once again have to be taken into account in international power politics. A Strategic Forecast analysis says: “Russia has demonstrated three things with its operation in South Ossetia. Firstly, its army can carry out successful operations, which foreign observers have doubted. Secondly, the Russians can defeat forces trained by U.S. military instructors. Thirdly, Russia has shown that the U.S.A. and NATO are not in a position that would enable them to intervene militarily in this conflict.”25

Astonishing one-sidedness

It is hardly surprising that the Russian response to the Georgian invasion was fiercely criticised by the U.S., which almost unreservedly took Georgia’s side. Zbigniew Brzezinski was vociferous in his response, comparing Putin’s actions with those of Hitler. He went on to say that Moscow’s behaviour “can lead to exclusion and economic and financial sanctions. If Russia continues down this road it must ultimately be isolated within the community of states.”26
The European Union adopted an equally one-sided stance: “The European Council is gravely concerned by the open conflict which has broken out in Georgia, by the resulting violence and by the disproportionate reaction of Russia.”27 These were the words used by the European heads of state and government on 1 September in commenting on the events in the Caucasus. They failed to mention, let alone criticise, the fact that Georgia’s aggression was clearly what had unleashed the war. The statement continues by severely criticising Russia alone. Thus the heads of state and government “strongly condemn Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” In stark contrast to the policy of recognizing Kosovo that was pursued by the vast majority of EU Member States, the European Council “recalls that a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia must be based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognised by international law, the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and United Nations Security Council resolutions.”27

There were occasional vehement demands for even more drastic action against Russia. The Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP), advocated an EU position that is “tougher than that of NATO.”28 The fact that the hardliners were not able to have their way entirely has to do with the specific constellation of interests that have made this appear inopportune, particularly from a German perspective. On the one hand there is a desire to show Moscow who is in charge in Europe but, on the other, there is a wish not to spoil things completely with Russia, because business there is simply too profitable.29 Nevertheless, Germany is in almost full accord with NATO’s escalation policy.

(Energy) NATO is put into position

In November 2006 U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, a leading NATO strategist, literally went on the offensive. On the fringes of the NATO summit in Riga he criticised Moscow for its attempts to use oil as a “weapon” against the West and proposed the setting up of an “Energy NATO”. The underlying idea is that in future NATO should treat any interruption of oil and gas supplies as it would a military attack (see article by Tobias Pflüger).

In January 2008, five high-ranking NATO generals published a position paper that was specifically introduced into the debate in the form of a catalogue of requirements for the forthcoming updating of NATO’s strategic concept, the idea being that it could serve as a blueprint for the NATO summit on 3/4 April 2009: “ There will be an increase in global competition for scarce resources, and this will certainly be the case for fossil fuel, which will swell the possibility of suppliers abusing their position and their leverage.. […]Dependency on oil and gas is a vulnerability that some governments will seek to exploit – the Gazprom crisis demonstrated how easily demand can be manipulated. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is – and is likely to remain – a mechanism for keeping the price of oil artificially high, and recently Russia and the United Arab Emirates have been exploring the idea of setting up a ‘Gas OPEC’. […] For this reason, it might well be worth considering using NATO as an instrument of energy security.”30

Shortly afterwards, in June 2008, Richard Lugar, who for a time was under discussion as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State for Defense, repeated his threats against Russia at a hearing of the Senate and vigorously advocated the building of the Nabucco pipeline.31 At the same hearing the new U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden expressly praised Lugar’s work on energy policy and emphasised the importance of the conflicts in the Caspian region: “The stakes involve hundreds of billions of dollars in oil and infrastructure, the resurgence of Russia, and the energy security of Europe.. […] Russians love chess. Our strategic response on the chess board of Central Asia must be to establish a presence on parts of the board they do not yet control. That means laying down new pipelines that add alternatives […] to the monopoly Russia has enjoyed.”32

Biden is therefore likely to have welcomed one of the last major security policy initiatives launched by the Bush administration which aimed at drawing Georgia further into the Western orbit by means of a joint declaration on partnership: “The United States and Georgia officially became “strategic partners” under a charter signed by the two governments on January 9 [2009]. […] Few details have been publicized about the charter, which was signed four months after Georgia’s disastrous war with Russia. It has been widely reported, however, that the Georgian pact resembles a strategic partnership charter signed by the United States and Ukraine in December.”33 Like the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership the agreement with Georgia is likely to comprise intensified military cooperation and measures to expedite Ukraine’s membership of NATO. On 15 September 2008 NATO resolved to set up a commission to deepen relations with Georgia. This is intended “to coordinate Alliance efforts to assist Georgia in recovering from the recent conflict”.34

Cold War as a self-fulfilling prophecy

The aim of the policy pursued by the U.S.A. in Ukraine and Georgia is to wage a new Cold War against Russia. Russia is to be challenged by a policy of pinpricks involving “colourful revolutions”, energy blockades, NATO expansion and the stationing of missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. By disrupting economic relations with Western Europe Washington aims to contain Russia’s global political influence and thwart its advance as a new industrial power. Should this scenario turn out to be a success, it would simultaneously ensure that the NATO allies in Western Europe are tied into a joint strategy of escalation and have to become even more heavily involved in projects designed to secure energy supplies.
Since this strategy has thus far proved successful and it cannot, unfortunately, be assumed that there will be a move away from a policy of U.S. confrontation under President Obama, there is a renewed threat of bloc confrontation. At the height of the Georgian war Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sent out a clear message to the West: “We are not afraid of anything, not even the prospect of a Cold War.”35 The anti-war movement will have to adjust to the realities of the New Cold War. The strategy of imperialism pursued by NATO and the EU must be opposed here and now in a calm and collected fashion.

Endnotes

1 Brzezinski, Zbigniew: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York 1997, p. 24 (Seitenangabe in der englischen Fassung unsicher)
2 ibid., p.27 (s.o.)
3 On Western support for the “colourful revolutions” cf. Chauvier, Jean-Marc: Westlich werden und östlich bleiben, Le Monde diplomatique, 14 January 2005
4 Carpenter, Ted: Worse than Bush? National Interest Online, 11 July 2008
5 Zeihan, Peter: Moskau wird Kiew nie dem Westen überlassen [Moscow will never leave Kiev to the West], Handelsblatt, 20 January 2009
6 United States, Ukraine Sign Security Charter, America.gov, 19 December 2008
7 United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, 22 December 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/agqc4k
8 Befeuern die USA den Gasstreit? [Is the U.S. fuelling the gas dispute?], heute.de, 13 January 2009
9 Isic, Mirela: Ein „Vielleicht” für die Ukraine und Georgien [A “maybe” for Ukraine and Georgia], Center for Applied Policy Research, CAP News, 10 April 2008
10 Auswärtiges Amt [German Foreign Office]: Ukraine, Stand: Oktober 2008 [Ukraine, status as of October 2008], URL: http://tinyurl.com/b3gvbg
11 Nabucco: ‘Pie in the sky’ after Georgia crisis?, EurActiv, 25 August 2008
12 ibid.
13 Friedmann, Matti: Sie waren nicht bereit für den Krieg mit Russland [They weren’t prepared for war with Russia], AP, 19 August 2008
14 Schröder gibt Saakaschwili die Schuld [Schröder puts the blame on Saakashvili], Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
15 Grey, Barry: Bush escalates confrontation with Russia over Georgia, World Socialist Web Site, 13 August 2008
16 Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
17 Georgien stockt Armee mit Blick auf NATO-Beitritt deutlich auf [Georgia boosts its army with a view to NATO membership], russland.ru, 16 July 2008
18 Nuclear Nightmares: The Return of M.A.D., Huffington Post, 19 August 2008
19 Chin, Larry: South Ossetia: superpower oil war, Online Journal, 13 August 2008
20 This and many other critical remarks made by Putin were cut out of the ARD broadcast. A full transcript of the interview can be found at http://www.spiegelfechter.com/wordpress/392/das-interview
21 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
22 Rosenbaum, Kaspar: Südossetien: Der Westen in der Propagandaschlacht [South Ossetia: The West in a propaganda battle], ef-online, 11 August 2008
23 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
24 Energie-Agentur sagt wachsende EU-Abhängigkeit von Importen voraus [Energy agency predicts growing EU dependence on imports], Yahoo News Finanzen, 4 September 2008
25 Stratfor: Russland hat Stärke gezeigt und wird nur auf Stärke hören [Russia has shown its strength and will only respond to strength], RIA Novosti, 11 August 2008
26 “Russlands Vorgehen ähnelt dem von Hitler” [Russia’s actions resemble those of Hitler], Die Welt, 11 August 2008
27 Extraordinary European Council, Brussels, 1 September 2008, 12594/08
28 Pflüger, Tobias: EU eskaliert den Konflikt mit Russland weiter [EU escalates the conflict with Russia], IMI-Standpunkt 2008/052
29 On Germany’s role cf. Hantke, Martin: The Georgian War and Imperial Geopolitics, in: AUSDRUCK (October 2008).
30 Naumann, Klaus et al.: Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, URL: http://tinyurl. com/5buj19, p. 47 et seq.
31 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Richard G. Lugar Opening Statement for Hearing on Oil, Oligarchs and Opportunity: Energy from Central Asia to Europe, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/df7tg8
32 BIDEN: We Need to Confront Russia’s Oil Dominance with Aggressive, High Level Diplomacy, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/crjhol
33 Corso, Molly: Georgia: Washington and Tbilisi sign Strategic Pact sure to irk the Kremlin, Eurasia Insight, 9 January 2009
34 Framework document on the establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission, Tbilisi, 15 September 2008
35 Dimitri Medvedev raises spectre of new Cold War, The Times Online, 26 August 2008

Iran’s New Cruise Missile Originally Came From Ukraine Arms Black Market–updated 9/15/19

[SEE:  Facts About Kh-55 Cruise Missile Sale to Iran and China ; Obama and the Intelligence CabalBypassing the National Missile Defence System – The Cruise Missile Proliferation Problem ]

new iranian missile

According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian current TRDD-30 engine or the original R95, produced in the Ukraine, the missile could be able to carry a warhead of 410 kg to hit targets beyond 2,000 km. The strategic version of the missile (Kh55) used by the Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian current TRDD-30 engine or the original R95, produced in the Ukraine, the missile could be able to carry a warhead of 410 kg to hit targets beyond 2,000 km. The strategic version of the missile (Kh55) used by the Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

Iran unveiled yesterday a new, long range surface-launched land attack cruise missile. The new missile called ‘Soumar’ was presented yesterday to the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier general Hossein Dehqan. Unveiling the missile developed by Iranian scientists Dehqan said the new weapon ‘will increase Iran’s deterrence might’.

raduga_kh555
Radug Kh555 cruise missile loaded onto a Tu-95 bomber.

No details about the weapon’s specifications, performance or payload were provided but according to the Iranian media, Tehran plans to introduce an enhanced model of the missile this year, that will increase the range, accuracy and warhead capability of the current version.

The missile seems to be one of the variants of the ‘Meshkat’ cruise missile, announced by the director of the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Organization, Brigadier General Mehdi Farahi three years ago. “Meshkat cruise missile, which God willing will be unveiled soon, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers.” Farahi told the Iranian media in 2012, “it will be the upper hand of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

A line of completed Soumar cruise missiles displayed to Defense Minister Brig. General  yesterday at the A line of completed Soumar cruise missiles displayed to Defense Minister Brig. General Hossein Dehqan yesterday by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). Photo: Mehr News Agency

As mentioned above, most of the Iranian coastal and naval attack missiles are based on Chinese C-series (C-701, 704, and 802). Unlike these, Soumar do not resemble any Chinese weapon, but bears close similarity to the Russian Kh55SM cruise missile. Iran acquired 12 such missiles from the Ukraine in 2001. These missiles were also sold to China in 2000 and more were delivered to an undisclosed customer, presumably North Korea.

TRDD-50_450
The Saturn TRDD-50 miniature turbofan engine was designed specifically for cruise missiles.

One of the factors determining the missile’s range is likely to be the miniature turbofan. The original weapon delivered to Iran was powered by the Russian designed, Ukraine made R95-300 mini-turbofan, but in the mid 2000s, as Russia transferred the production of critical systems to its industry, equipping its new production missiles Kh55 with TRDD-50 turbofans made by the Russian Saturn company. According to expert assessments, if the Iranians had access to the Russian engine or the original R95-300 produced in the Ukraine, the missile could reach an operational range of 2,000 km, carrying a warhead of 410kg weight. The strategic version used by Russian Air Force carries 200-250 Kt nuclear warhead.

This small, fuel efficient turbofan delivers the thrust and size class required to power cruise missiles, standoff missiles and UAVs. The cited thrust rating is 400 to 500 kp (880 to 1,000 lbf), with a dry mass of 95 kg (210 lb), a Specific Fuel Consumption of 0.65, a length of 0.85 m (33.5 in) and diameter of 0.33 m (13 in).

Russia is not likely to allow the export of such engines to equip foreign weapons programs, since it will be considered a violation of the MTCR regime. But Moscow agreed to supply such engines to power the Indian target drone ‘Lakshya’. However, the mini turbofans are believed to have also powered the Indian cruise missile Nirbhay on its maiden flight in October 2014.

soumar_with_general_Dehqan725Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier general Hossein Dehqan (right) with IRGC’s aerospace commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh at the new missile. “It will be the upper hand of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran”

Launched from land-based or naval surface based platform, Soumar uses a booster to accelerate for cruising speed. The folded lattice tail controls are used to stabilize it as it accelerates from zero to the cruising speed, when the missile gain enough speed to enable efficient use of conventional control surfaces.                                       Launched from land-based or naval surface based platforms, Soumar uses a booster for the initial acceleration. The folded lattice tail controls are used to stabilize it as it accelerates from zero to cruising speed, when the missile gain enough speed to enable efficient use of conventional control surfaces.

As a variant of the Kh55, the Iranians could also pursue the course the Russian designers paved, turning their cruise missile into a versatile strike weapon launched from submarines, surface ships and ground based launchers. Unlike the fixed engine configuration of the Kh55, the 3R-54 ‘Club’ uses a ‘drop down’ engine, thus packing the cylindrical missile more efficiently in storage canisters, ensuring unobstructed launch procedure, particularly from the confined space of submarine launchers.

An interesting capability introduced by the missile manufacturer ‘AGAT’ is the containerized version – Club K, enabling the launching of cruise missiles from ‘innocent looking’ cargo ships, rail cars or trucks, a practice the Iranians, Syrians and their Hezbollah proxy have practiced many times in the past.

 

Latvian Parade March 16, To Honor Soldiers Who Served In Third Reich

Minister warns of potential for March 16 flashpoint

LSM.LV. Latvian Nat. News


Photo: Jogita Cinkus / Latvijas Radio A huge police presence has guaranteed order in recent years  

Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said Monday that he expects Latvia to be targeted by a concerted disinformation campaign in the run-up to the controversial March 16 unofficial parade commemorating Latvian soldiers who fought on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Speaking on LTV’s morning news program, Kozlovskis said he believed Latvia could be targeted for propaganda purposes even more than in previous years.

The usual allegations that Latvia has seen a “revival of fascism” could be expected, Kozlovskis said, but with the background of the war in Ukraine and nationalist hysteria being whipped up by Russian media, they could be even more aggressive than usual.

“Four different organizations have applied to stage public events on March 16. So far the scenario is similar to previous years.”

“However, given the geopolitical situation and the fact we hold the Presidency of the European Union I would say there are concerns we will see a enhanced disinformation campaign accusing us of reviving fascism and so on.”

“We need to make sure that as in previous years, the end result of the event is just verbal confrontation and nothing more serious.”

Kozolvskis said he hoped clashes between people taking part in the parade and self-styled “anti-fascist” groups protesting against the even would not amount to more than “verbal confrontation.”

March 16, known unofficially as ‘Legionnaires’ Day’ is – along with Soviet Victory Day on May 9 – one of the most contentious dates on the calendar.

Caught between the superpowers during World War II and occupied in turn by Soviets and Nazis, similar numbers of Latvians fought on both sides.

The Latvian Legion comprised two combat divisions that were part of the Waffen-SS under the control of Heinrich Himmler rather than the regular German Army or Wehrmacht.

The parade, from the central Dom Cathedral to the Freedom Monument, has in recent years been contained by a massive police presence, while demonstrators have also been given the opportunity to have their voice heard via a loudspeaker system.

Last year, Environment Minister Einars Cilinskis lost his job after he defied Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma’s order that no ministers should participate in the parade.

No such ban was placed on coalition members of parliament and a large contingent from the National Alliance political party which is one of the three parties in government, is guaranteed along with a few thousand participants.

Kozlovskis also used his interview to say that around 100 organizations were currently operating in Latvia that had ties to Russian government funding.

Zbig, the Polish Defector Pushes Congress To Fight Russia In Eastern Europe

satanski

The ‘Democrat’ Brzezinski Says Russia’s Putin Wants to Invade NATO

rinf news

 

Eric Zuesse

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. President Obama’s friend and advisor on Russia, is a born Polish aristocrat who has hated Russia his whole life but who hid that hatred until after the communist Soviet Union collapsed and he then publicly came out as hating and fearing specifically Russia — the nation, its people, and their culture. In 1998, he wrote The Grand Chessboard, arguing for an unchallengeable U.S. empire over the whole world, and for the defeat of Russia as the prerequisite to enabling that stand-alone global American empire to reign over the planet.

He now has told the U.S. Congress (on February 6th but not reported until March 6th, when the German Economic News found the clip) that Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin “seized” Crimea and that Putin will probably try to do the same to Estonia and Latvia, unless the U.S. immediately supplies weapons and troops to those countries and to Ukraine. Here is his stunning testimony (click on the link under it, to hear it, but the key part is quoted in print below):

“I wonder how many people in this room or this very important senatorial committee really anticipated that one day Putin would land military personnel in Crimea and seize it. I think if anybody said that’s what he is going to do, he or she would be labeled as a warmonger. He did it. And he got away with it. I think he’s also drawing lessons from that. And I’ll tell you what my horror, night-dream, is: that one day, I literally mean one day, he just seizes Riga, and Talinn. Latvia and Estonia. It would literally take him one day. There is no way they could resist. And then we will say, how horrible, how shocking, how outrageous, but of course we can’t do anything about it. It’s happened. We aren’t going to assemble a fleet in the Baltic, and then engage in amphibious landings, and then storm ashore, like in Normandy, to take it back. We have to respond in some larger fashion perhaps, but then there will be voices that this will plunge us into a nuclear war.”

He continues there by saying that we must pour weapons and troops into the nations that surround Russia, in order to avoid a nuclear conflict: deterrence, he argues, is the way to peace; anything else than our sending in troops and weapons now would be weakness and would invite World War III. 

He says that American troops must be prepositioned in these countries immediately, because otherwise Putin will think that America won’t respond to a Russian attack against those countries.

The most serious falsehoods in his remarkable testimony are three, and they’ll be taken up here in succession:

(1) The crucial background for what Brzezinski there calls the “seizure” of Crimea by Russia on 16 March 2014 was an extremely aggressive action by the United States, a violent coup in Kiev that climaxed prior, during February 2014, which used the “Maidan” demonstrations there as a cover in order to take over Ukraine’s Government, a violent coup which the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor subsequently (and correctly) referred to as “the most blatant coup in history,” and which the President of the Czech Republic says should not be compared at all to Czechoslovakia’s 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and that only “ignorant” people don’t know that it was a coup instead of a revolution. But not only was it an incredibly bloody coup, but the leader of the post-coup Government who became officially designated on 26 February 2014 turned out to be exactly the same person whom Obama’s controlling agent on the entire matter had explicitly selected and informed her underling on 4 February 2014 to get appointed to become the new leader; so, she not only knew that the coup would soon be occurring, but she had already selected by no later than 18 days beforehand the person who would replace the then sitting, democratically elected, President of Ukraine. Furthermore, Ukraine is a country bordering Russia, and so this coup was far worse for Russia than even the 1959 communist takeover of Cuba was for the United States. The U.S. many times tried to overthrow Castro — so, how much gall does the United States have today for its refusing even to acknowledge that our extremely violent takeover of Ukraine, on Russia’s very border, constitutes an existential threat against Russia? (And even the top EU leadership knows that this was a U.S. coup, not any authentic revolution.) For Brzezinski to say nothing at all about any of this is simply scandalous (an obvious intention by him to deceive), but for the U.S. Senate to invite such a man to address it is even worse: it is as if the U.S. Congress in 1933 had invited Hitler to lecture it about “the Jewish threat.” It’s worse than insane; it is bloody dangerous in a nuclear-armed world.

(2) As I recently documented with links to the direct sources, headlining “The Entire Case for Sanctions Against Russia Is Pure Lies,” Gallup polls in Crimea both before and after the 16 March 2014 plebiscite on whether to stay within Ukraine, which Crimea had been part of since 1954, or instead to rejoin with Russia, which Crimea had been part of between 1783 and 1954, showed that by more than 90%, Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia and held both the U.S. and EU in extremely low esteem. Furthermore, because Russia’s key Black Sea Fleet had been stationed there since 1783, Russia always had troops there and didn’t need to “land military personnel in Crimea and seize it.” There was no invasion, no “seizure” at all. The plebiscite was entirely peaceful, because the public craved it (on account of the recent bloody coup in Ukraine) and because the already-existing presence of Russian troops to protect them to have it so that Ukraine wouldn’t send in their army to prevent it, enabled it to be carried out peacefully. There is no military base of any sort from Russia anywhere in Latvia nor in Estonia, nor in any other NATO country. The very idea put forth by Brzezinski, that the two situations are at all analogous, is insane and can be understood only within the context of the bizarre hatred held by this born aristocrat who learned his hatred since birth and who is now obsessed with it in his old age. The very fact that U.S. Senators would invite such a person to testify is scandalous, and is an indication of their ignorance or else of their sharing Brzezinski’s rabidly counterfactual and extremely dangerous beliefs. Russia should take that as being a clear indication of hostile intent from the U.S. Congress, because Brzezinski’s statements are entirely out of line and an irrational outburst that’s based on nothing but hatred and a distorted portrayal of the clearly documented realities to the contrary of Brzezinski’s selective and false description of Russia, Ukraine, Putin, and NATO.

(3) The basis of the NATO Treaty is its mutual-defense provision: that all members are committed to the defense of each member. How crazy does Brzezinski have to be to think that in order to prevent Putin from invading NATO, the U.S. must now send weapons and troops in to each one of the 12 NATO member-nations that were formerly Russia’s allies? Brzezinski’s alarmist and sensationalistic lies and distortions go well beyond standard propaganda into the realm of the insane: propaganda that’s directed at fools and yet that’s being presented to U.S. Senators. Are they crazy, too?

Russia has every reason to believe that the U.S. Government is set upon surrounding it by armed and dangerous hostile nations and taking it over by force. This isn’t at all about Putin; it is about U.S. President Barack Obama, and the U.S. Congress.

For whatever democratic nations that still exist in the EU and NATO not to quit those organizations is for them to consent to being ruled by the U.S. dictatorship, which means that they themselves are dictatorships serving the American aristocracy. This is a dictarorship by America’s aristocracy, the very same people who are ruining the United States and who are now determined to take over every other aristocracy in the entire world — determined to reign over the entire planet.

Testimony such as Brzezinski presented to the U.S. Senate yesterday is shocking and damning against the Senate itself. Brzezinski accuses Russia of planning to invade NATO when instead the United States has been surrounding Russia by formerly-Russian-allied nations, which are new members of America’s anti-Russian military club, NATO. The preparations for an all-out nuclear war have begun. The U.S. aristocracy definitely started this incipient war; for them, it’s a war of choice. It’s not a war of choice for anyone in Russia. (Ukraine’s oligarchs, especially the White-House-connected Ihor Kolomoysky, are ripping off everything they can from it.) The significance of the Ukrainian conflict is that it’s the beachhead to take over Russia. And the Ukrainian post-coup leadership have stated proudly, many times, that this is their ultimate aim. It clearly is Obama’s.

Why are Americans not marching by the millions against this rogue government in Washington? How much longer will the American people continue to tolerate it — an affront against not only the American people but the entire world?

Brzezinski’s testimony to Congress on February 6th was so brazen because he’s like he describes Putin as being: he does what he can get away with doing. It’s way over the line. If there is no public revulsion expressed against it, then we are all heading into danger that’s unprecedented since 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis, when the shoe was on the other foot and the United States was the country facing the existential threat.

Russia has already let things go too far, with 12 former Warsaw-Pact allies already being members of the NATO alliance against Russia. If Putin doesn’t draw the line at Ukraine, as being over the line, then he might as well do everything that America’s President demands him to do. But America’s Presidency no longer represents the American people; it now represents the American aristocracy. So: for the welfare of everyone except America’s aristocrats, Putin should stand firm. But the danger of America to the world exists no matter what he does.

—————

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.

US Expected To Unleash Mass Protests In Russia With Punitive Sanctions

Nikolay Patrushev

Nikolay Patrushev  © Ilya Pitalev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. When imposing sanctions on Russia, the United States hoped they will affect the life quality of Russians, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said Wednesday.

“It is evident that the White House hoped for a sharp deterioration of the Russians’ quality of life and mass protests,” Patrushev said.

“[But] Russia has accumulated a sufficient reserve of economic, financial and – the main thing – political strength, it has solidarity and support on the part of foreign partners, including in the framework of most multilateral formats,” he said.

Commenting on the results of his working trips to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Patrushev said “attempts to influence our states from outside do not stop.” He said the US itself calls such attempts “efforts to improve the democratic situation.”

“China and many other countries… use the term ‘color revolutions’,” the official said, adding that Washington’s methods have not changed over the past few decades.

“They have been tested on the post-Soviet space, in Middle East and North African countries and other regions of the world,” Patrushev said.

He said that “practically, financing of opposition forces continues under the pretext of human rights protection and the necessity to form civil society institutions.”

“Simultaneously, unilateral economic sanctions are imposed. This is well seen from the example of the anti-Russian campaign launched by the United States under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine,” he said.

Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July 2014, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s southeast.

In response, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

New large-scale punitive measures against Russia followed in September and December 2014.

Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of “annexing” Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.

writing off postcommunist reforms as a failure would be a mistake

The eastern question

khaleej times-logo-s

Jonathan Power (Power’s World) / 26 February 2015

East Europeans are nostalgic as Ukraine slumps into anarchy

 

Economically Ukraine continues to go down the chute. No other East European has messed up its economic potential, as has Ukraine. During Soviet times Ukraine with its industrial prowess and wonderful fertile soil, making it the Soviet Union’s breadbasket, was a success (by communist standards). Now 25 years of political upheaval, economic mismanagement and greed by the oligarchs have taken a dreadful tool on living standards. The stoicism of ordinary people is to be wondered at. One reason why many easterners want to return to Russia is because they think they will have higher living standards.

In “Normal Countries,” in the December, 2014, issue of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Shleifer, a professor of economics at Harvard and Daniel Treisman, a professor of political science at the University of California, presented an analysis of what went right in the other East European countries, and, a for a time, in Russia under President Vladimir Putin. They write: “The East European countries have transformed their militarised, over industrialised and state-dominated systems into service-orientated market economies based on private ownership and integrated into global commercial networks.

No longer distorted to fit Marxist blueprints, their economic institutions, trade, and regulatory environments today look much like those of other countries at similar income levels. These changes notwithstanding, observers often blame post-communist reforms for poor economic performance, Two common charges are that the reforms were fundamentally misconceived and that they were implemented in too radical a fashion. Such criticism raises two questions: first whether the states’ economic performance has indeed been poor, and second, whether more radical strategies resulted in worse outcomes than more gradual approaches. The short answer to both questions is no.”

There was well-publicised economic slump after communist rule was ended but half of it reflected cuts in fictitious output or worthless investments. And it didn’t take more than a handful of years for economic growth to buzz. For example, between 1990 and 2011, the median income in Uzbekistan expanded slightly more than the median income elsewhere in the world. Bosnia had the third-highest growth rate in the world — its national income increased by 450 per cent. Poland, Albania, as well as Bosnia, outpaced the traditional growth engines of Hong Kong and Singapore.

The rise in consumption took off. From 1990 to 2011 household consumption per capita in the region grew on average by 88 per cent, compared with the average increase elsewhere in the world of 56 per cent. In Poland, it was 146 per cent, the same as South Korea’s. In Russia the increase was 100 per cent.

Between 1993 and 2011 car ownership in Eastern Europe climbed from one for every ten people to one for every four.

Mobile phone subscriptions per head are today greater than those in Western countries. Living space — mainly larger apartments — has increased per person, expanding by 100 per cent in the Czech Republic, 85 per cent in Armenia and 40 per cent in Russia. University enrolments have increased significantly.

Poverty and income equality did increase in the immediate post-communist years but today the rates are now lower than in those countries with similar income levels.

Infant mortality has fallen faster than any other region in the world. While it is true that the alcohol consumption rates are too high in Russia and the Baltic states they are not as high as in France, Austria, Germany and Ireland.

When it comes to demilitarisation, the Soviet Union in Cold War years spent 25 per cent of its GDP on armaments. The successor states are spending no more than five per cent — and that includes Russia.

A note of caution about the statistics above. Some are averages and don’t show, for example, that while Poland has doubled its income Tajikistan remains war-scarred and is a very poor dictatorship.

It is true that the aggressive reforms that put an end to Soviet-style economic management did result in falling incomes and rising unemployment. But by the mid 1990s countries that had fully embraced serious reforms were doing much better than those who were more cautious (and perhaps, we shouldn’t forget, more caring of the poor- the communists were good at providing universal health services).

Most of this grand achievement is not well known in Western Europe and North America but there it is — the honest truth.

 

Jonathan Power is a veteran foreign affairs analyst

 

Kyiv Cuts-Off Gas To Donbass…Gazprom Prepared To Restore Gas Supply

PM Medvedev orders commencement of gas deliveries to embattled Donbass

Russia-Today
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)

Russia’s prime minister has ordered the Energy Ministry and state-owned corporation Gazprom to prepare for natural gas deliveries to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Republics after the Kiev regime stopped selling fuel to the regions.

There is a problem related to natural gas deliveries, caused by the decision of Ukrainian authorities that has not yet been canceled. The situation is that natural gas is not delivered to a number of settlements,” Dmitry Medvedev told ministers at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

I would like the Energy Ministry and Gazprom to prepare their suggestions on rendering aid to these regions in the form of natural gas supplies. Of course this will be needed only if Kiev does not take urgent measures to resume gas supplies under the usual scheme.”

In any case, people must not freeze there. Prepare the necessary suggestions and report on what is done,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev’s press secretary Natalya Timakova told Interfax that Gazprom would send natural gas to Donetsk and Lugansk “on a commercial basis,” but noted that the sources of financing were yet to be determined. The agency also quoted an unnamed source “acquainted with the situation” as saying that the possible scheme could include a bank credit.

Earlier, representatives from Donetsk and Lugansk told reporters that the natural gas supplies to the regions had been stopped without warning and that existing reserves would only last for less than a day in subzero temperatures.

Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk announced an energy blockade to the southeastern regions in a press statement on Wednesday. He ordered the cessation of deliveries of natural gas and electricity in a unilateral step.

The prime minister of the unrecognized Lugansk People’s Republic, Gennady Tsipkalov, told Interfax that since the Ukrainian side was not commenting on the gas cutoff there was little hope that supplies would be resumed anytime soon.

They deliberately aggravate the situation, step up the political and economic pressure. They did it now, when outdoor temperatures dropped and gas consumption in our regions increased,” he added.

Tsipkalov also noted that Lugansk authorities could potentially cut off the natural gas flow to the districts of the republics that are currently controlled by the pro-Kiev military, but chose not to do so in order not to adversely affect civilians.

We will not do the same out of malice and hatred. We have had enough of all this.”

Also on Thursday, head of Russian Emergencies Ministry Vladimir Puchkov told reporters that another convoy of trucks with humanitarian aid was starting for the southeast of Ukraine in the nearest hours. The deliveries include medical supplies and food.

Playing Nuclear Chicken in Kiev

Playing Nuclear Chicken in Kiev

pacificfreepress

by Robert Parry – Consortium News

Ready for Nuclear War over Ukraine?

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of 

Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a 
Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV.)
A senior Ukrainian official is urging the West to risk a nuclear conflagration in support of a “full-scale war” with Russia that he says authorities in Kiev are now seeking, another sign of the extremism that pervades the year-old, U.S.-backed regime in Kiev.
During a recent visit to Canada, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told CBC Radio that “Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore, in Ukraine — we’ve lost so many people of ours, we’ve lost so much of our territory.”
Prystaiko added, “However dangerous it sounds, we have to stop [Russian President Vladimir Putin] somehow. For the sake of the Russian nation as well, not just for the Ukrainians and Europe.” The deputy foreign minister announced that Kiev is preparing for “full-scale war” against Russia and wants the West to supply lethal weapons and training so the fight can be taken to Russia.
“What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little,” Prystaiko said.
Yet, what is perhaps most remarkable about Prystaiko’s “Dr. Strangelove” moment is that it produced almost no reaction in the West. You have a senior Ukrainian official saying that the world should risk nuclear war over a civil conflict in Ukraine between its west, which favors closer ties to Europe, and its east, which wants to maintain its historic relationship with Russia.
Why should such a pedestrian dispute justify the possibility of vaporizing millions of human beings and conceivably ending life on the planet? Yet, instead of working out a plan for a federalized structure in Ukraine or even allowing people in the east to vote on whether they want to remain under the control of the Kiev regime, the world is supposed to risk nuclear annihilation.
But therein lies one of the under-reported stories of the Ukraine crisis: There is a madness to the Kiev regime that the West doesn’t want to recognize because to do so would upend the dominant narrative of “our” good guys vs. Russia’s bad guys. If we begin to notice that the right-wing regime in Kiev is crazy and brutal, we might also start questioning the “Russian aggression” mantra.
According to the Western “group think,” the post-coup Ukrainian government “shares our values” by favoring democracy and modernity, while the rebellious ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are “Moscow’s minions” representing dark forces of backwardness and violence, personified by Russia’s “irrational” President Putin. In this view, the conflict is a clash between the forces of good and evil where there is no space for compromise.
Yet, there is a craziness to this “group think” that is highlighted by Prystaiko’s comments. Not only does the Kiev regime display a cavalier attitude about dragging the world into a nuclear catastrophe but it also has deployed armed neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists to wage a dirty war in the east that has involved torture and death-squad activities.

Not Since Adolf Hitler

No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet, across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality, even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have spearheaded this journalistic malfeasance by putting on blinders so as not to see Ukraine’s neo-Nazis, such as when describing the key role played by the Azov battalion in the war against ethnic Russians in the east.
On Feb. 20, in a report from Mariupol, the Post cited the Azov battalion’s importance in defending the port city against a possible rebel offensive. Correspondent Karoun Demirjian wrote:
“Petro Guk, the commander of the Azov battalion’s reinforcement operations in Mariupol, said in an interview that the battalion is ‘getting ready for’ street-to-street combat in the city. The Azov battalion, now a regiment in the Ukrainian army, is known as one of the fiercest fighting forces­ in the pro-Kiev operation.
“But … it has pulled away from the front lines on a scheduled rest-and-retraining rotation, Guk said, leaving the Ukrainian army — a less capable force, in his opinion — in its place. His advice to residents of Mariupol is to get ready for the worst.
“‘If it is your home, you should be ready to fight for it, and accept that if the fight is for your home, you must defend it,’ he said, when asked whether residents should prepare to leave. Some are ready to heed that call, as a matter of patriotic duty.”
The Post’s stirring words fit with the Western media’s insistent narrative and its refusal to include meaningful background about the Azov battalion, which is known for marching under Nazi banners, displaying the Swastika and painting SS symbols on its helmets.
The New York Times filed a similarly disingenuous article from Mariupol on Feb. 11, depicting the ethnic Russian rebels as barbarians at the gate with the Azov battalion defending civilization. Though providing much color and detail – and quoting an Azov leader prominently – the Times left out the salient and well-known fact that the Azov battalion is composed of neo-Nazis.
But this inconvenient truth – that neo-Nazis have been central to Kiev’s “self-defense forces” from last February’s coup to the present – would disrupt the desired propaganda message to American readers. So the New York Times just ignores the Nazism and refers to Azov as a “volunteer unit.”
Yet, this glaring omission is prima facie proof of journalistic bias. There’s no way that the editors of the Post and Times don’t know that the presence of neo-Nazis is newsworthy. Indeed, there’s a powerful irony in this portrayal of Nazis as the bulwark of Western civilization against the Russian hordes from the East. It was, after all, the Russians who broke the back of Nazism in World War II as Hitler sought to subjugate Europe and destroy Western civilization as we know it.
That the Nazis are now being depicted as defenders of Western ideals has to be the ultimate man-bites-dog story. But it goes essentially unreported in the New York Times and Washington Post as does the inconvenient presence of other Nazis holding prominent positions in the post-coup regime, including Andriy Parubiy, who was the military commander of the Maidan protests and served as the first national security chief of the Kiev regime. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass.”]

The Nazi Reality

Regarding the Azov battalion, the Post and Times have sought to bury the Nazi reality, but both have also acknowledged it in passing. For instance, on Aug. 10, 2014, a Times’ article mentioned the neo-Nazi nature of the Azov battalion in the last three paragraphs of a lengthy story on another topic.

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat,” the Times reported.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Whites Out Ukraine’s Brownshirts.”]Similarly, the Post published a lead story last Sept. 12 describing the Azov battalion in flattering terms, saving for the last three paragraphs the problematic reality that the fighters are fond of displaying the Swastika:

“In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt [a platoon leader] … dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers — many of them still teenagers — embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of ‘romantic’ idea.”
Other news organizations have been more forthright about this Nazi reality. For instance, the conservative London Telegraph published an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiver down Europe’s spine.
“Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”
Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight.
Azov fighters even emblazon the Swastika and the SS insignia on their helmets. NBC News reported: “Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past … when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast.”
But it’s now clear that far-right extremism is not limited to the militias sent to kill ethnic Russians in the east or to the presence of a few neo-Nazi officials who were rewarded for their roles in last February’s coup. The fanaticism is present at the center of the Kiev regime, including its deputy foreign minister who speaks casually about a “full-scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.

An Orwellian World

In a “normal world,” U.S. and European journalists would explain to their readers how insane all this is; how a dispute over the pace for implementing a European association agreement while also maintaining some economic ties with Russia could have been worked out within the Ukrainian political system, that it was not grounds for a U.S.-backed “regime change” last February, let alone a civil war, and surely not nuclear war.

But these are clearly not normal times. To a degree that I have not seen in my 37 years covering Washington, there is a totalitarian quality to the West’s current “group think” about Ukraine with virtually no one who “matters” deviating from the black-and-white depiction of good guys in Kiev vs. bad guys in Donetsk and Moscow.
And, if you want to see how the “objective” New York Times dealt with demonstrations in Moscow and other Russian cities protesting last year’s coup against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, read Sunday’s dispatch by the Times’ neocon national security correspondent Michael R. Gordon, best known as the lead writer with Judith Miller on the infamous “aluminum tube” story in 2002, helping to set the stage for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Here’s how Gordon explained the weekend’s anti-coup protests: “The official narrative as reported by state-run television in Russia, and thus accepted by most Russians, is that the uprising in Ukraine last year was an American-engineered coup, aided by Ukrainian Nazis, and fomented to overthrow Mr. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian president.”
In other words, the Russians are being brainwashed while the readers of the New York Times are getting their information from an independent news source that would never be caught uncritically distributing government propaganda, another example of the upside-down Orwellian world that Americans now live in. [See, for example, “NYT Retracts Russian Photo Scoop.”]
In our land of the free, there is no “official narrative” and the U.S. government would never stoop to propaganda. Everyone just happily marches in lockstep behind the conventional wisdom of a faultless Kiev regime that “shares our values” and can do no wrong — while ignoring the brutality and madness of coup leaders who deploy Nazis and invite a nuclear holocaust for the world.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Obama Dancing On Reagan’s Grave, Running Tanks Up To Putin’s Doorstep

Cross-Eyed-Bill-Clinton--58648

[SEE:  BILL CLINTON: FIRST NEOCON PRESIDENT ]

Bill Clinton’s Epic Double-Cross: How “Not An Inch” Brought NATO To Russia’s Border

zero hedge

“It began as a pledge by the first Bush Administration to Gorbachev that in return for German unification and liberation of the “captive nations” there would be “not an inch” of NATO expansion. It ended up its opposite, and for no plausible reason of American security whatsoever. In fact, NATO went on to draft nearly the entire former “Warsaw Pact”, expanding its membership by 12 nations. So doing, it encroached thousands of kilometers from its old Cold War boundaries to the very doorstep of Russia.”

“Bill Clinton used NATO enlargement to advertise his assertiveness in foreign policy and America’s status as the “world’s indispensable nation.” Clinton bragged about proposing NATO enlargement at his first NATO summit in 1994, saying it “should enlarge steadily, deliberately, openly.” He never explained why.”

“Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”–George Kennan, father of the “containment” doctrine and Truman’s aggressive anti-Soviet policy,

US armor paraded 300m from Russian border

Russia-Today

U.S. soldiers attend military parade celebrating Estonia's Independence Day near border crossing with Russia in Narva February 24, 2015. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

U.S. soldiers attend military parade celebrating Estonia’s Independence Day near border crossing with Russia in Narva February 24, 2015. (Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

NATO member Estonia has held a military parade in border town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. Tallinn is a long-time critic of Moscow, which it accuses of having an aggressive policy towards the Baltic nation.

Tuesday’s military parade was dedicated to Estonia’s Independence Day. Chief military commander Lt. Gen. Riho Terras headed the troops as President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reviewed them.

Over 140 pieces of NATO military hardware took part in the parade, including four US armored personnel carriers M1126 Stryker flying stars-and-stripes. Another foreign nation, the Netherlands, provided four Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 tracked combat vehicles (designated CV9035NL Mk III by the Dutch).

Estonia also showed off its own howitzers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and other hardware. Over 1,400 troops also marched the streets of Narva.

The parade is an obvious snub at Estonia’s eastern neighbor Russia, whom it accuses of pushing aggressive policies in Eastern Europe. The Estonian government is among several vocally accusing Russia of waging a secret war against Ukraine by supplying arms and troops to anti-Kiev forces in the east.

Moscow denies the accusations, insisting that the post-coup government in Kiev alienated its own people in the east and started a civil war instead of resolving the differences through dialogue.

NATO seized the Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to argue for a military build-up in Eastern Europe, supposedly to deter a Russian aggression. The three Baltic States are among the most vocal proponents of this policy.

Russia sees it as yet another proof that NATO is an anti-Russian military bloc that had been enlarging towards Russia’s border and compromised its national security.

The Estonian government defended its right to hold whatever military maneuvers it wants in its territory.

“Narva is a part of NATO no less than New York or Istanbul, and NATO defends every square meter of its territory,” Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said in a speech in capital, Tallinn.

Historically Narva was a point of centuries of confrontation between Russia and Sweden, when the two nations fought for dominance in the region. The city changed hands several times and ended up under Russian control in 1704, serving as a military outpost for decades.

The city was again contested in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the dissolution of the Russian Empire it triggered. Narva took turns between being governed by the self-proclaimed Estonian Republic, occupying German troops and the Red Army until eventually becoming Estonian again under a peace treaty between Estonia and Russia.

It then changed hands between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the Baltics during World War II and went on to be part of an independent Estonia in 1991.

The city has a large number of ethnic Russians and a strong pro-autonomy movement, with some Estonian politicians fearing that it could be exploited now by Russia to saw dissent. Commenting on the issue in an interview with Washington Post, President Ilves said seeing Narva as a potentially separatist region “is stupid.”

The Empire’s Ants Mistake Russia For the AntEater

Georgia victim of Russia imperialist ambitions, appreciates Croatia support

dalje croatia

David Usupashvili

Georgia is a victim of Russia’s imperialist ambitions and it appreciates Croatia’s support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Georgian Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili said after talks with Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko in Zagreb on Monday.Concurrently with the horrible developments in Ukraine, Georgia too has become a victim of the imperialist ambitions of its big neighbour, Usupashvili said, adding that while openly violating international law in Eastern Europe, Russia had taken another step in Georgia’s case, by concluding agreements on integration with the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which he said in reality constituted the annexation of the occupied territory.

The Georgian official, who was on an official visit to Croatia, said the problem could be solved only peacefully and not through war, which was why Georgia was interested in joining the EU and NATO, which he said protected stability in Europe.

Usupashvili said that he came to Zagreb to convey to the Croatian people the Georgian people’s appreciation of their strong support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Leko told reporters that he and his Georgian counterpart discussed the Geneva talks on Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Leko said they agreed on the continuation of parliamentary cooperation and closer cooperation in the transfer of Croatia’s experience relating to the process of its integration with the EU and NATO.

Usupashvili was interested in the process of development of democratic standards in Croatia, from the judicial authorities to human rights and freedoms and minority rights.

The two officials agreed that there was great potential for enhancing overall bilateral cooperation, notably in the economic sector.

Ukraine President Drags Poland and Lithuania Into His Quagmire

[SEE:  Poland to move thousands of troops to border with Ukraine]

Ukrainian President ratifies joint 4,500-strong military unit with Poland and Lithuania

Russia-Today
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko.(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law ratifying the creation of a joint military unit with Poland and Lithuania. The unit is set to carry out tasks which have been given a UN Security Council mandate.

“The Agreement provides for the establishment of joint Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian military unit and determines the general purpose, principles of activity, decision-making process, security guarantees and other organizational measures related to the activity of the brigade,” the Ukrainian president’s official website says.

The brigade is to become a UN and EU peacekeeping force. Other states can join it under joint invitation from the three states.

The Ukrainian commitment is planned at 545 soldiers, according to the country’s defense ministry. Poland and Lithuania were expected to contribute up to 3,800 and 350 servicemen respectively. The funding will be separate for each country’s contingent and it will be provided by the governments of the participants. The HQ is going to be situated in Lublin in Eastern Poland.

The defense ministers of the three countries agreed to form the unit last September in Warsaw, and plan to conduct the first joint military drill in 2015. Ukraine’s parliament ratified it on February 4.

The idea to create a joint Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian brigade was first put forward in 2007, when the three states decided to establish a joint battalion.

A year later, a more ambitious plan of assembling an entire brigade of Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Polish troops was put forward.

Georgian Prosecutor’s Office–‘Ukraine Refuses to Extradite Saakashvili’

Georgian Prosecutor’s Office: ‘Ukraine Refuses to Extradite Saakashvili’

civil.ge

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi

Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on February 17 that despite its request, Ukraine has “not cooperated” with Georgia and refuses to extradite ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-justice minister Zurab Adeishvili.

On February 13 Saakashvili, wanted by the Georgian authorities, was appointed by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko as his adviser and head of International Advisory Council on Reforms. The Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukrainian ambassador in Tbilisi over Saakashvili’s appointment.

Although ex-justice minister of Georgia Zurab Adeishvili, who is also wanted by Tbilisi, has no official post in the Ukrainian government, he is informally advising Ukrainian authorities, according to former Georgian officials now working in Ukraine.

A close ally of Saakashvili and Adeishvili, Georgian MP from UNM party, Davit Sakvarelidze was appointed as Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine on February 16, joining several other former Georgian officials who took senior government posts in Ukraine, among them Eka Zguladze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister; Gia Getsadze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Justice Minister, and Alexander Kvitashvili, who is Ukraine’s Healthcare Minister.

“Extradition of wanted persons between Ukraine and Georgia is carried out according to the European Convention on Extradition of 1957, Minsk Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters of 1993, Bilateral Agreement signed between Georgia and Ukraine in 1995. Based on the aforementioned international treaties, parties undertake to review and extradite wanted persons to the other country in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement,” the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said in the written statement on February 17.

“Therefore, since charges have been filed against Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Adeishvili, they are wanted in Georgia, and Adeishvili is further wanted under [Interpol’s] Red Notice… Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia has addressed the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine with petitions on the identification, detention and extradition of the aforementioned persons,” the Georgian prosecutor’s office said.

“Notwithstanding the above obligations between the two countries in the field of extradition, the Ukrainian side has not cooperated with the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia in the matter of the extradition of Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Adeishvili to Georgia, and has refused to extradite the abovementioned persons,” it said.

INTERPOL

ADEISHVILI, ZURAB

ADEISHVILI, ZURAB

Wanted by the judicial authorities of Georgia for prosecution / to serve a sentence

Identity particulars

Present family name: ADEISHVILI
Forename: ZURAB
Sex: Male
Date of birth: 27/07/1972 (42 years old)
Place of birth: Georgia
Language spoken: Georgian, English, Russian
Nationality: Georgia

Charges Published as provided by requesting entity

Charges:

1. Organizing the abuse of official power by a state political official against the public interest, with the intent to obtain benefit for oneself and others that resulted in the substantial violation of rights of natural and legal persons and the legitimate interests of the public and state, committed with the use of violence and in the manner of humiliating the personal dignity of the victim; 2. Organizing the degrading and inhuman treatment of inmates revealed in their humiliation, intimidation inhuman treatment and putting them in a position degrading human dignity and honour, which caused strong physical, mental pain and moral suffering, committed by a public official, with the abuse of official power, against two or more persons, by a group, against detainee and by a hired offender; 3. Organizing the falsification of evidences regarding the criminal case of a grave crime; 4. Organizing the provocation of crimes.

Russia Would See U.S. Moves to Arm Ukraine as Declaration of War

Russia Would See U.S. Moves to Arm Ukraine as Declaration of War

Moscow Times

U.S. provision of military aid to Ukraine would be seen by Moscow as a declaration of war and spark a global escalation of Ukraine’s separatist conflict, Russian defense analysts said.

With Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine seizing new territory from the Ukrainian army, voices in Washington are demanding that Kiev be given defensive weapons and hardware — including lethal equipment — to hold the line.

But if such aid were sent, “Russia would reasonably consider the U.S. to be a direct participant in the conflict,” said Evgeny Buzhinsky, a military expert at the Moscow-based PIR Center.

Speaking to The Moscow Times on a condition of anonymity, a member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s public advisory board warned that Moscow would not only up the ante in eastern Ukraine, “but also respond asymmetrically against Washington or its allies on other fronts.”

Crossroads

Ukraine is at a crossroads. With rebel forces reportedly massing for a renewed assault on the strategically valuable railroad hub of Debaltseve and the port city of Mariupol, the West is racing to find the best means to bring a swift end to the conflict.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande traveled to Moscow last week to attempt to hash out a peace proposal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The proposal is set to be discussed with all parties in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on Wednesday, but some consider peace talks hopeless, and advocate military measures.

The U.S.-led NATO military alliance says Moscow has sent troops and arms to aid pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine — which Russia denies. Calls to arm Ukraine are seen as a way to even the odds for the Ukrainian army, enabling Kiev to halt rebel advances and force them — and the Kremlin — to negotiate.

U.S. think tank the Atlantic Council called last month for Washington to give $3 billion in lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine over the next three years.

But Russian defense analysts polled by The Moscow Times said unanimously that U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine would be interpreted in Moscow as a declaration of open proxy war with Russia and inevitably lead to escalation of the conflict.

“It would become tit-for-tat,” said Maxim Shepovalenko, an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategy and Technology (CAST).

“Moscow will not just sit by calmly and see what happens, it will counteract,” he said.

Asymmetric Response

The Russian counterstrike could take the conflict far beyond Ukraine, according to the source on the Defense Ministry’s public advisory board.

Pointing to one possible avenue of asymmetrical retaliation, the source said Moscow could give in to long-standing Chinese requests for sensitive defense technologies that would aid in its development of high-tech weapons capable of doing serious damage to U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific.

Moscow has so far declined China’s requests on “politically correct pretenses,” the source said.

“That’s just one example. We can also encourage Iran, or even back Iran in a fight — a military operation — with Saudi Arabia, so then the prices for oil will skyrocket,” the source said, explaining that these were just two possible responses.

Who Are We Giving This to?

The U.S. has already given a modest amount of non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, such as the delivery of three counter-battery radar systems to help identify the point of origin of pro-Russian rebel artillery fire.

The CAST think tank wrote on its Russian-language blog last week that two of the three radars had already been destroyed, citing the outfit’s sources on the ground in eastern Ukraine.

Only one of the units was reportedly destroyed by rebel fire. The other was reportedly dropped by Ukrainian soldiers — underscoring the difficulty of providing aid and ensuring it gets put to good use.

“You might give aid to the regular armed forces, not the volunteer battalions, but you still need trained operators. Training takes time, additional money, and more than anything else — it takes practical experience,” said Shepovalenko.

U.S. deployment of trainers to Ukraine would mean sending U.S. military personnel into Ukraine — which could easily be construed by Moscow as U.S. involvement in the war.

Beyond training, there is no guarantee that weapons and hardware will not fall into enemy hands or wet the beaks of corrupt Ukrainian army personnel.

Corruption in the ranks cannot be discounted, according to the PIR Center’s Buzhinsky: “It is absolutely certain that at least fifty percent of what is delivered will be stolen and then sold on the side,” he said.

Contact the author at m.bodner@imedia.ru

See also:

Report: Possible Russian Gov’t Hackers Attacked U.S. Financial System

U.S. Pledges Millions More in Aid to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia

With Ukraine, Russia Drives Wedge Between EU, U.S.

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Russia’s Monroe Doctrine

Russia’s Monroe Doctrine

HuffingtonPost

2015-02-05-russia.jpgThere is no question that President Barack Obama is in a tough spot when it comes to foreign policy. The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is, at best, progressing slowly; the war in Syria shows no signs of abating; Houthi rebels in Yemen have gained serious ground; the war in Ukraine has raised tensions with Russia significantly. I could go on. This is not to say that these crises are Obama’s fault. Far from it. The United States does not have nearly as much control over world events as Americans like to believe.

Still, American foreign policy decisions do have long-term consequences that are often overlooked in favor of quick fixes. Washington’s discussions to provide lethal aid to Ukraine may seem like a quick fix to stand up to big, bad Russia, but sending off American arms rarely ends well. The most prominent example of this type of misadventure was the Reagan administration’s arming of mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, only to watch our former rebel “friends” evolve into the Taliban, and some into al Qaeda.

But aside from the obvious “weapons falling into the wrong hands” dilemma, there is another problem with developing U.S. policy toward Ukraine. Russia’s rationale for the annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine came as a response to the expansion of NATO onto Russia’s doorstep, Western attempts to pull Ukraine into its sphere of influence, and immediate recognition (and encouragement) of Ukraine’s new, anti-Russian government that came to power via dubious channels. Arming Ukraine against Russia is only going to further concern and provoke Russia as the West isolates the former Eastern European power. Sending arms will only escalate the crisis and further alienate a country that is critical in dealing with more pressing issues in places like Syria or Iran.

Seeing Russia’s perspective is critical to resolving the problem. In the early 19th century, American concerns over European encroachment into the Western hemisphere resulted in the development of the Monroe Doctrine. It was a policy that considered any foreign interference in Latin America as an act of aggression that would warrant an American military response. Or think back to America’s response to Cuba’s “fall” to communism in 1959. Before Khrushchev really took Castro under his wing, the U.S. attempted to overthrow the regime via the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, and followed up with dozens of assassination attempts. If this seems like old history, imagine if tomorrow Russia were to expand its sphere of influence and security agreements into Latin America and Mexico, support the seizure of power by anti-American Mexican rebels, then fund and arm that new government. This isn’t a colonial or Cold War problem; it’s a perpetual problem. Feeling isolated in your own region is not something that any government readily accepts — especially a great power — and there is no question that the U.S. government and Americans more broadly would express the same concern that Russia has in Ukraine. The Monroe Doctrine largely continues to stand today, and maintaining an American sphere of influence over Latin America is a far more sprawling dictum than keeping Ukraine pro-Russian.

Hence, Russia’s concern. No sanctions, condemnation, or weapons will convince Russia that it should accept regional isolation and Western interference in Ukraine, the country that was really the last bastion of Russian influence in Eastern Europe. Russia’s own limited version of the Monroe Doctrine should come as no surprise to the United States and should be well understood given our own history.

Kyiv Drafts 200,000 Boys and Men, NovoRussia Calls-Out 100,000

[SEE:  Forced Conscription: Ukraine to Mobilize 200,000 Armed Forces; Hyperinflation on the Way?]

Ukraine rebels vow to raise army of 100,000 troops to fight government forces

the independent

Alexander Zakharchenko

The US is reportedly considering providing military assistance to Ukraine

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have vowed to muster another 10,000 men to boost their ranks to 100,000 as fighting continues.

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), claimed a “general mobilisation” would achieve the target but did not elaborate on details.

“A general mobilisation is planned in the DNR in 10 days. Ten thousand men will be called up,” the Russian RIA news agency quoted him saying.

“The joint army of the DNR and the LNR [Luhansk People’s Republic] will be 100,000 men strong.

“Mobilisation is the first stage; there will be volunteers first and we will see what to do next.”

Mr Zakharchenko, who was elected in a vote in November that was not recognised by the Ukrainian government or the West, did not say how many separatists were currently fighting.

The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko (on left) next to kneeling captive Ukrainian soldiers at a bus stop where 13 people were killed
The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko (on left) next to kneeling captive Ukrainian soldiers at a bus stop where 13 people were killed

Critics have said it was unlikely that the rebels could mobilise such a high number of troops, suggesting the announcement could be a guise to bring in more Russian volunteers.

Kiev, Nato and Western governments have presented evidence they say proves Russia has sent troops and weapons to support the rebels but Moscow denies this. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko put the number of Russian troops in the east last month at 9,000.

Read more:  Peace talks collapse as civilians flee rebel bombs
Government and rebels blame each other for civilian shelling
13 people killed by shell at Donetsk bus station

Fighting has increased in eastern Ukraine in the past few weeks and hopes of easing the situation faded after peace talks collapsed yet again on Saturday.

Ukrainian forces have also mobilised more troops because of the surge in fighting, lessening further the hopes for a peaceful revolution in the near future.

A rebel comforts a wife of a killed civilian in shelling in Donetsk
A rebel comforts a wife of a killed civilian in shelling in Donetsk
The US could be on the brink of sending military assistance to Ukraine’s floundering military, a source in Washington has said.

The anonymous official claimed that Barack Obama continues to have concerns about the move, including the risks of starting a proxy war with Russia and the Ukrainian military’s capacity for using US-supplied weaponry.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States on Monday of supporting efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine with force after media reports that Washington is taking a new look at providing Kiev’s forces with “lethal aid”.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

On hearing the reports, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said: “The rhetoric shows Washington’s intention to continue doing everything possible to unconditionally support Ukraine’s authorities who have apparently taken a course towards a military solution to the conflict.”

Prospects for a truce looked worse than ever after a new set of negotiations collapsed on Saturday in Minsk, Belarus, where the long-shattered peace treaty was drawn up between rebels and the government in September.

Dozens of civilians have been among those killed in recent days as shells rained on the rebel stronghold of Donetsk city and the besieged towns of Debaltseve and Vuhlehirsk.

Civilians in Debaltseve board an evacuation bus on Saturday (AP)
Civilians in Debaltseve board an evacuation bus on Saturday (AP)

Debaltseve, a strategic railway hub, has been almost completely surrounded by rebel forces and the one road still open for families to escape has been targeted by artillery fire.

Ukraine’s government said on Sunday that 13 of its troops were killed and another 20 wounded in a day of fighting across the region.

More than 5,100 people have so far been killed in the conflict and more than 900,000 have been displaced since it began in April, according to UN estimates.

EU Follows Obama’s Lead Voting To Open the Armories of Europe for Ukraine

[SEE:  Obama’s Russian War Resolution Passes By 411 to 23]

Russia accuses European parliament of gunning for war

kyiv post

President Petro Poroshenko gives a speech as he hands over new military equipment to the Ukrainian forces near the city of Zhytomyr, some 140 km from Kiev, on January 5, 2015.
© SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Russian officials have accused the European Union of “militancy” in a bitter response to the Jan. 15 European parliament resolution giving member states carte blanche to supply arms to Ukraine.

The head of the Russian Federation Council committee on international affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, denounced the resolution as “especially militant.”

“The European parliamentarians discourage those who are trying to look for dialogue with Russia, not confrontation,” he said.

The European parliament condemned Russia’s “aggressive and expansionist policy, which constitutes a threat to the unity and independence of Ukraine and poses a potential threat to the EU itself.”

In its resolution, parliament urged the European Council to keep in place tough sanctions against Russia and even proposed broadening them into the nuclear and international financial sectors if Putin’s government continues to destabilize Ukraine.

The resolution went on to state that “there are now no objections or legal restrictions to prevent Member States from providing defensive arms to Ukraine” and that “the EU should explore ways to support the Ukrainian government in enhancing its defence capabilities and the protection of Ukraine’s external borders.”

Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs Committee of the Russian Duma, called the resolution “banal and dangerous.”

“By calling to maintain and even enhance sanctions against Russia the European Parliament is supporting tension in Europe,” Pushkov added.

The European Parliament resolved to support the EU’s existing policy of refusing to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and welcomed recently adopted additional sanctions on investment, services and trade relating to Crimea and Sevastopol.

It also highlighted Russia’s “information war” in Europe and called on the EU officials to develop a plan to counter Russian propaganda with their own Russian language programming.

Yet Ukraine was also disappointed with the resolution, which fell short of describing the Russian-backed separatists as terrorists.

President Petro Poroshenko had claimed on Jan. 13 that the European Parliament was preparing to call on the leaders of European Union to place the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic on their list of terrorist organizations.

But European MPs instead condemned “acts of terrorism and criminal behavior of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine,” adding that “according to credible sources, Russia continues to support the separatist militias through a steady flow of military equipment, mercenaries and regular Russian units, including main battle tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and artillery.”

The Russian war — using proxies and, when needed, Russian regular army troops — in eastern Ukraine has already taken more than 4,700 lives, according to United Nations estimates. On Dec. 18, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law allowing for economic and military support to Ukraine, but the current American policy remains not to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons.

Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at grytsenko@kyivpost.com

Innocuous-Sounding UN “Resilience” Campaign Back-Door For Machinery of Control

[Part of the risk reduction regime (MANAGING DISASTERS AND CONFLICTS IN OIC COUNTRIES–Organization of Islamic Cooperation)]

Cities in Central Asia, Caucasus sign up to UN campaign to become more resilient

un news

Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo: Radmilla Suleymanova

12 January 2015 – Eight cities in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including capitals Tbilisi and Bishkek, have signed on to strengthen community resilience by integrating disaster risk reduction into their national and local policy, representing a big boost for the United Nations initiative which already has over 2,400 participants worldwide.

The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!, launched in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015, is promoted by the Geneva-based UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

“The campaign helps participants to become better organized and to identify key priorities for action for risk reduction. They can also benefit from the shared experience of other participants facing similar challenges. It is a very dynamic and interactive campaign,” said Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu, UNISDR regional coordinator.

UNISDR’s initiative, now in partnership with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), is titled “Strengthened Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia and the Caucasus through greater fostering of the Hyogo Framework for Action priorities.”

The eight cities to sign up are Noyemberyan and Berd in Armenia; Tbilisi and Gori in Georgia; Oskemen and Ridder in Kazakhstan; and Bishkek and Kara-Kol in Kyrgyzstan.

“These cities and towns are committing to a ten-point checklist of actions which help them to become resilient to disasters and to manage their growth in a sustainable way,” said Ms. Ariyabandu.

The worldwide campaign is based on 10 essentials for developing local resilience, which in turn build on the five priorities for action of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), endorsed by UN Member States for the period 2005-2015.

Central Asia and the Caucasus are exposed to a range of natural and technological hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, mud and debris flows, avalanches, floods, drought and extreme temperatures inflicting serious human and economic losses. Risks and exposure to risk are exacerbated by the rapid growth of urban population and climate change.

Over the 30-year period from 1980, 14 million people were affected by 131 major disaster events with economic losses of $3.8 billion. The destructive earthquake in Spitak, Armenia in 1988 and the extreme cold spell across Central Asia in 2008, prove the importance of strengthening communities.

To address these challenges, the campaign will aim to build local capacity to assess risks of natural hazards, update action plans which are disaster risk inclusive, increase accessibility of international expertise in disaster risk reduction, and foster exchange of experiences between municipalities and local governments.

A post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is expected to be approved at a world conference, in March 2015, in Sendai, Japan, emphasizing the need to continue to work to strengthen community resilience, particularly in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN-backed disaster resilience campaign tops 2,000 participating cities

5. Further, a confluence of risk drivers are compounding losses and need to be
both better understood and better addressed. Development that fails to assess risk, environmental degradation, climate change, poverty and inequality, weak
governance mechanisms and rapid urbanization in highly exposed areas are fueling losses and exacerbating both the vulnerability and exposure of societies to disaster losses
6. Urbanization in hazard-prone areas demands risk assessment and planning
with foresight…Given that 60 per cent of the area expected to be urban in 2030 remains to be built, the opportunity to proactively shape and plan the cities of tomorrow must be seized.

.

8.  Risks need to be understood and proactively managed at the community level. An evidence-based and integrated approach by both the public and private sectors needs to be institutionalized, so that investments are made more resilient.
10.  Methodologies and tools for assessing the “na-tech” risk, as the combined risk posed by the natural and technological is sometimes referred to, are limited and need to be invested in. Several factors need to be taken into consideration in establishing integrated strategies for reducing the risk of potential nuclear,
technological, biological, chemical or radiological events, given the wide-ranging implications they can have on health, agriculture, the wider environment and the safety of people and communities in general.

Slippery Soros Slides Into Kiev…Where Is His $50 Billion Bailout?

[SEE:  Soros urges giving Ukraine $50 billion of aid to foil Russia ]

George Soros arrived in Kiev

CypLive cyprus

In Kiev flew American billionaire investor George Soros, who supports the new government of Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian «5 channel,” Soros stopped in one of the 5-star hotels of the Ukrainian capital.

Information about the visit of an American also confirms the head of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs Anna Gopko. In his Facebook, she said that Soros, who “always original thoughts on the role and mission to Ukraine in the world”, arrived in Kiev in the head of the PACE Anne Brasseur.

Gopko noted that an important issue for the Ukrainian side is to extend sanctions on the participation of the Russian delegation to PACE, as well as the situation with the Ukrainian aviatrix Hope Savchenko.

Anna Gopko: “Among the issues to be discussed: how to promote real reform, financial support of Ukraine, east problem, how to provide a real fight against corruption (taxpayers’ money to the EU or the United States were not stolen).”

NED (National Endowment for Revolution) NGOs In Ukraine

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AHALAR Center for Humane Technologies
NGO Strengthening
$35,230
Furthering Ukraine’s Democratic Transition
To increase civil society’s influence on Ukraine’s democratic transition by facilitating cooperation between NGOs and the media. AHALAR will organize three training seminars for 60 representatives from the media and civil society, a four-day study trip to Warsaw for 12 participants focusing on successful examples and best practices of cooperation between civil society and the media in the Polish context, a small grants competition and an online networking platform at http://www.activarte.org.ua.

Alliance Center
Accountability
$24,758
Promoting Accountability in Eastern Ukraine
To increase the accountability of local governments in eastern Ukraine. The Donetsk-based Alliance will conduct four workshops and convene eight working groups to strengthen the capacity of newly formed local civic councils. The events will focus on using tools and strategies for networking, monitoring and advocacy campaigns to help the councils be more effective in engaging and influencing local government activities. Alliance will also develop and maintain a resource library to disseminate information and best practices and hold a three-day final conference for 30 council members.

Association of Ukrainian Law Enforcement Monitors
Human Rights
$38,334
Monitoring Human Rights Compliance by Law Enforcement Agencies
To promote Ukraine’s adherence to international human rights standards. The Association will conduct three trainings in Ukraine’s regions for a total of 60 NGO activists, monitor human rights violations by the police, and publish the results in its annual report, as well as develop recommendations to prevent future abuses. The Association will also print and distribute 300 copies of the report in Ukrainian and English.

Center for International Private Enterprise
Developing Market Economy
$357,707
Building Advocacy Momentum
To build the capacity of Ukrainian business associations and improve the entrepreneurial climate through coalition-based advocacy. CIPE will build the skills of reform-minded business leaders through training seminars, workshops and small grants designed to stimulate advocacy on targeted issues. CIPE will also support partner business associations to advocate for improvements in the entrepreneurial environment with a focus on reducing corruption and improving public-private dialogue.

Center for Research on Social Perspectives in the Donbas
Freedom of Information
$34,995
Supporting Independent Regional Media
To continue disseminating independent information about and for Ukraine’s regions. The Center will maintain its popular news website, OstriV (www.ostro.org). NED support will cover the costs of three correspondents, including two in the Donetsk region and one in Kyiv, who will produce more than 100 analytical and 5,000 informational items for the website. Assistance will also be used to cover a portion of the Center’s basic operating costs.

Center for Society Research
Human Rights
$24,850
Promoting Freedom of Assembly
To promote greater awareness of the freedom of assembly. As part of a larger, national advocacy campaign, the Center will monitor freedom of assembly throughout the country, including the reaction of the authorities, and disseminate the results of its monitoring via a website.

Center UA
Accountability
$22,600
Promoting the Accountability of Public Officials
To increase the accountability of public figures in Ukraine. The Center UA will continue to operate its unique interactive website, Vladometr.org (Powermeter), which monitors, documents and assesses promises made by politicians, officials and prominent public figures.

Cherkasy Regional Organization of Committee Voters of Ukraine
Accountability
$22,000
Promoting Civic Activism and Government Accountability in Central Ukraine
To promote civic activism and government accountability in the Cherkasy region. The Cherkasy CVU will hold five workshops for activists and local councilors on increasing cross-sectoral communication, improving interaction between voters, civil society and local government, and working with the public to solve pressing local issues. The CVU will also conduct a campaign to monitor local councilors, MPs and mayors of major cities from the region that will analyze pre-election platforms of those elected officials and assess their performance since the elections. Results will be posted on a special section of the CVU’s website, deputat.ck.ua.

Chernihiv City Youth Organization Educational Center “Initiative”
NGO Strengthening
$28,270
Promoting Local Activism in Chernihiv Region
To strengthen civil society in the northern Ukrainian region of Chernihiv. The Initiative will organize a series of nine workshops and trainings for NGO representatives, journalists and members of district councils from seven districts in the Chernihiv region to resolve local problems through inter-sectoral cooperation. Following the trainings, six teams of participants will receive small grants to address local challenges. The Initiative will also publish seven issues of its newspaper and convene a final conference.

Chernivtsi Committee of Voters of Ukraine
Accountability
$33,650
Promoting Accountability in Southwestern Ukraine
To foster government accountability and transparency in southwestern Ukraine. The Chernivtsi CVU will monitor the activities of city council deputies in the Chernivtsi and Khmelnytsky regions, produce four monitoring reports and publish them in its Krok Zakhid newspaper with a print run of 1,600 copies. It will hold seven roundtables to advocate for creating legal norms on public participation in self-governing bodies and to foster relations between deputies and the public. The CVU will also convene seven training seminars and produce 600 copies of an advocacy manual for deputies, and launch an information campaign to promote public participation in local communities. During the campaign, the CVU will survey 2,000 people and disseminate 1,500 copies of a “how to” booklet on civic activism.

Chernivtsi Society “Ukrainian People’s House in Chernivtsi”
NGO Strengthening
$25,020
Enhancing Civic Journalism and NGO Cooperation
To develop the communication skills of youth activists and enhance cooperation of NGOs in the Chernivtsi and Kirovohrad regions. The Society will organize a four-month course in civic journalism and a media competition for 70 youth leaders, as well as produce a website, guidebook and two issues of its Toloka (Community) newspaper. The NGO will also organize a study tour for the eight most promising participants and bring together 100 activists for a final conference.

Coalition of Cherkassy Youth NGOs “Moloda Cherkaschyna”
NGO Strengthening
$31,855
Promoting Youth Activism in Central Ukraine
To strengthen youth involvement in civil society by enhancing a network of activists and organizations in central Ukraine. The Coalition will organize two networking seminars and a six-day training for approximately 50 youth activists in four regions of central Ukraine: Kremenchug, Cherkassy, Kirovohrad and Poltava. The Coalition will also conduct an information and monitoring campaign on youth policy in the four regions, along with four civic actions developed by participating young activists

Dniprovsky Center for Social Research
Freedom of Information
$23,830
Promoting Freedom of Information and Accountability in Dnipropetrovsk
To increase access to independent news and information in Ukraine’s eastern region of Dnipropetrovsk. The Center will continue producing its online newspaper Novyi Format (www.nf.dp.ua), which features regional news and analysis in Ukrainian and Russian. The Center will monitor the activities of elected officials, conduct an opinion poll, and convene three roundtables to strengthen the professionalism of 20 journalists and NGO representatives. The Center will also maintain and update its website on NGO developments in the region at http://www.dcsi.dp.ua.13-880

Donetsk Press Club
Freedom of Information
$38,000
Fostering Freedom of Information in Eastern Ukraine
To increase the capacity of journalists and improve the professionalism of media in eastern Ukraine. The Press Club will organize 20 meetings covering important national and regional issues for journalists and media outlets throughout the Donetsk region. It will also convene six online workshops on solving pertinent local problems for 60 representatives of Donetsk-based NGOs, media, local authorities and experts.  All activities will be publicized on the Club’s website at http://pclub.dn.ua.

Donetsk “Committee of Voters of Ukraine”
Freedom of Information
$49,440
Promoting Civic Journalism in Eastern Ukraine
To promote civic journalism in the eastern Donetsk region. The Donetsk CVU will develop an online platform for civic journalism by holding a new media barcamp for bloggers and conducting a four-month school of multimedia journalism for 20 civic journalists. Twelve of the most promising participants will be selected to intern for six months at the CVU’s portal, NGO.donetsk.ua. The CVU will also hold a public competition for reporting by civic journalists and bloggers on the “Unexpected Donbass.”

Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF)
Democratic Ideas and Values
$41,298
Stimulating Dialogue on Transition Processes
To stimulate informed debate and dialogue among civil society, government and the general public on issues relating to Ukraine’s transition to democracy. Through three national polls, eight expert surveys, 10 roundtables, monthly bulletins and a quarterly scholarly journal, DIF will help ensure that Ukraine’s leaders are informed about public opinion, while at the same time making the public aware about important policy debates.

Independent Association of Broadcasters
Human Rights
$44,875
Promoting Youth Human Rights Awareness
To raise awareness of human rights, protect freedom of speech, and educate youth about the role of media in democratic society. The Association will organize its fourth annual Kinomedia Festival, which will include film screenings and public lectures at universities in nine Ukrainian cities. The Association will also conduct a short film contest, focusing on media freedom, democracy and human rights, for students and young professionals from throughout Ukraine.

Institute of Mass Information
Freedom of Information
$36,450
Monitoring Freedom of the Media in Ukraine
To analyze current and pending legislation on the media and monitor violations of press freedom and attacks on journalists in Ukraine. The Institute will conduct independent field investigations into cases of extreme pressure or intimidation against journalists, publish an annual report on its monitoring, and disseminate the findings to media outlets and the public though three press conferences and its website, http://imi.org.ua.

Institute of Political Education
Accountability
$38,500
Strengthening Local Democracy
To foster democratic local and regional government in Ukraine. The Institute will conduct three-day training seminars in the Lviv, Chernihiv, Donetsk and Kyiv regions for 125 newly elected local and regional councilors. The trainings will promote a better understanding of the role and responsibilities of an elected official and how to best address local needs.

Institute of the Republic
Human Rights
$32,609
Promoting Freedom of Assembly
To promote of freedom of assembly. As part of a larger, national advocacy campaign to defend and advance this human right following the 2012 parliamentary elections, the Institute will conduct two training sessions for 24 campaign activists, organize six roundtables and six lectures in the regions on proposed legislation regulating freedom of assembly in Ukraine and the country’s international commitments, convene three press conferences in Kyiv, and print and distribute 15,000 leaflets publicizing campaign events.

International Republican Institute
Accountability
$275,000
Fostering Good Governance
To promote democratic governance practices in Ukraine. IRI will expand an innovative project model that has increased the capacity of the Cherkasy municipality to implement best practices in good governance. IRI will expose new municipalities to the innovative reform ideas currently being implemented in Cherkasy, and mentor the administrations in Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk during the reform process, bolstering existing demand for democratic reform amongst the citizenry, and developing the advocacy capacity of civil society to channel that demand.

Journal Krytyka Ltd.
Freedom of Information
$33,304
Promoting Media Sustainability
To strengthen independent media and democratic ideas and values. The Journal will launch an online version of its prominent intellectual publication, which contains analytical pieces on important political, economic and social issues related to Ukraine’s democratic transition. The new website, Krytyka Online, will also serve as a networking platform, attracting a new generation of readers and contributing to the journal’s sustainability strategy. Endowment funds will be used to support the re-design and re-launch of the Krytyka website and networking platform at http://krytyka.com.

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHRPG)
Human Rights
$32,717
Providing Information and Analysis on Human Rights Issues
To promote and safeguard human rights. During a year in which Ukraine’s human rights behavior will come under scrutiny while it holds the OSCE chairmanship, the KHRPG will produce a series of publications on human rights in Ukrainian, Russian, and English; maintain a virtual human rights library on its website http://www.khpg.org; and operate a separate website documenting and assisting victims of human rights abuses. It will also continue monitoring draft legislation and providing recommendations to lawmakers. Finally, the KHRPG will organize a School for Human Rights Leaders, enabling 40 activists from human rights organizations to develop management and financial skills.

Kherson City Association of Journalists “South”
Human Rights
$31,195
Promoting Human Rights through a Documentary Film Festival
To cover the partial costs of its 10th annual human rights film festival, Docudays UA. The theme of this year’s anniversary festival is ‘Vybor – Yest!’ (There is a Choice!). The unique event will again feature domestic and international human rights documentary films and will include public discussions and debates led by human-rights NGO representatives and experts. Endowment support will be used to cover part of the festivals’ seven-day inauguration in Kyiv in March 2013.

Kherson City Association of Journalists “South”
Human Rights
$42,429
Promoting Human Rights through a Traveling Film Festival
To raise public awareness of human rights. The Association will organize the traveling version of its 10th annual human rights film festival, Docudays UA, in 24 regions of Ukraine. The traveling festival will feature 25 domestic and international human rights documentary films and will include over 260 public discussions, seminars, performances and debates led by human rights activists and NGO representatives.

Kherson Committee of Voters of Ukraine
Accountability
$40,310
Promoting Government Accountability in Southern Ukraine
To monitor the work of local and regional councils in southern Ukraine. The Kherson CVU will track the implementation of local election platforms and promises in the Kherson region. Focus groups in Kherson, Novokakhovsk, Kakhovsk, Tsurupynsk and Skadovsk will inform local citizens and officials about the monitoring program. The CVU will produce an analytical report, online postings, two special editions of a newspaper, and a summary booklet for distribution during four seminars, a roundtable and press conference.

Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation
Accountability
$24,540
Fostering Accountability and Transparency in Southern Ukraine
To increase the accountability of local and regional authorities in the southern region of Kherson. The Foundation, which publishes the popular regional newspaper Vgoru, will increase citizens’ access to information about the activities of local and regional governments by conducting and publishing a bimonthly newspaper supplement titled ‘People and the Authorities.’ The supplement will include columns focusing on different aspects of government performance and the activities of elected officials, as well as four in-depth investigative journalism pieces on pressing issues in the region’s rural areas. All materials will be available online on the newspaper’s website, http://www.vgoru.org.

Lion Society
NGO Strengthening
$48,084
Promoting Local Activism
To continue promoting cooperation and local activism in central, southern and eastern Ukraine. The Society will organize 14 seminars for up to 220 local activists and representatives of local authorities to promote best practices in engaging local governments to resolve local issues, Sixteen promising participants from NGOs will take part in two, four-day study tours in western Ukraine, including two seminars in Lviv. The Society will also publish three brochures containing the seminar materials in print runs of 300 copies each and distribute them to local activists, community leaders, local government representatives and the media.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
NGO Strengthening
$371,000
Building Capacity for Domestic Election Monitoring
To build the capacity of an indigenous monitoring initiative in Ukraine and promote a freer and fairer May 2014 presidential election. NDI will assist Opora in improving the governance, management, communications, strategic planning, and technical aspects of its election observation work by implementing a series of recommendations from an NDI-administered assessment.-020GG

New Generation Youth Organization
NGO Strengthening
$33,879
Strengthening Local Civil Society in Rural Communities
To increase the capacity of civic initiatives in rural regions of southern Ukraine. The organization will hold two, three-day trainings, one in each of the neighboring Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, for 25 representatives of local NGOs. New Generation will work with 10 of the best participants to carry out work plans to strengthen their local organizations. To assist local groups with solving problems in their communities, New Generation will award eight mini-grants of up to $700. A conference, bringing together all 50 participants, will be convened at the end of the project to facilitate an exchange of lessons learned and further collaboration.

Odesa Committee of Voters of Ukraine
Political Processes
$44,085
Monitoring Local Government in Southern Ukraine
To monitor the work of local elected officials in southern Ukraine. The Odesa CVU will conduct two training seminars on monitoring for 10 activists. It will continue to monitor regional and local councils in Odessa, Kotovsk, Rozdilnya, Bilhorod-Dnistrovsk, Izmail, Pozdilnya Izmail, and Reni. To disseminate its findings, the CVU will produce and distribute 6,000 copies of the preliminary monitoring results and 12,000 copies of the final monitoring results in its bulletin IzbirKom, regularly publish related articles through local online and print media, including its website at http://www.izbirkom.od.ua, and convene three roundtable discussions.

Open Society Foundation (OSF) – Ukraine
Accountability
$33,980
Promoting Legislative Accountability
To continue monitoring and publicizing the activities of deputies and political parties represented in the Ukrainian parliament. The OSF will publish quarterly monitoring reports, prepare two versions of its annual monitoring report, and a series of regionally-focused quarterly reports all of which focus on the performance of elected officials. All the reports will be available online at the OSF’s website, http://www.deputat.org.ua, and distributed electronically to parliamentarians, NGOs and the media. It will also conduct nine regional public roundtables on the program for elected officials and NGO  representatives.

Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Research
Accountability
$20,000
Improving the Accountability Skills of Journalists
To increase the analytical skills of journalists so they can hold accountable deputies in the Chernihiv region. Polissya will conduct three trainings focusing on new media and analytical journalism for 12 local journalists. Each journalist will create a blog to monitor the fulfillment of electoral promises by local deputies. In addition, Polissya will produce and distribute an analytical report and convene two press conferences on the project.

Public Organization Telekritika
Freedom of Information
$58,250
Promoting a Pluralistic and Balanced Media Environment in Ukraine
To foster transparency and promote the professionalism of the media sector. While serving as an independent resource to assist journalists, Telekritika will continue to monitor Ukraine’s media outlets for censorship, restrictions on freedom of the press, and harassment and physical attacks against journalists. The monitoring results will be published on Telekritika’s website (www.telekritika.kiev.ua) and in its print journal, Telekritika.

Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI)
Accountability
$50,000
Promoting Government Transparency
To promote government transparency and accountability by improving the quality and responsiveness of government-run websites and e-governance initiatives. RPDI will monitor the effectiveness of 56 government websites, disseminate the findings of its monitoring, and work with government bodies on improving the sites’ contents and performance. To mark the end of the three-year project, RPDI will produce a comprehensive analytical report and present it at a press conference in Kyiv.

School for Policy Analysis of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
Democratic Ideas and Values
$52,650
Promoting Constitutional Reform
To promote constitutional reform. Building on previous NED-supported projects, which developed a series of proposals for constitutional reform, the organization will deepen public engagement and broaden debate on the issue by conducting a nation-wide poll, publishing a set of online informational resources, producing 1,500 copies of a brochure and a series of monthly articles, and convening a roundtable with 30 experts, government officials and NGO representatives.

Sumy Regional Committee of Youth Organizations
NGO Strengthening
$49,866
Promoting Civic Activism in Northeastern Ukraine
To foster the development of civil society in rural areas of northeastern Ukraine. The Committee will work with its network of over 30 NGOs to increase civil society initiatives in the Sumy and Kharkiv regions. It will hold three trainings for 60 NGO activists, maintain its website at http://www.molod.sumy.ua, publish seven issues of its bulletin Spalakh, support five local initiatives through a mini-grants competition, and convene a regional conference for 30 activists. 2013-88

Ukrainian Catholic University
Human Rights
$32,740
Promoting Religious Freedom
To promote freedom of conscience through an informed analysis of religious rights and obstructions to religious freedom. The Ukrainian Catholic University will continue to operate its Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), an online news agency (www.risu.org.ua) that covers issues of church-state relations, religious rights, and conflicts between Ukraine’s various faith-based communities. NED support will cover the costs of staff salaries, website development and maintenance, news correspondents, and two roundtables. The unique website will publish more than 2,000 articles and analyses during the coming year.

Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Research Named After Oleksandr Razumkov
Democratic Ideas and Values
$26,660
Analyzing Ukraine’s Democratic Development
To continue publishing National Security and Defense, one of the most widely read policy journals in Ukraine. NED support will be used to produce two issues in 2013. Each issue, to be published in an edition of 3,000 copies in Ukrainian and 800 copies in English, will provide a thorough examination of issues of particular importance to Ukraine’s democratic transition.

Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
Political Processes
$79,250
Promoting Transparency in Political Processes
To promote public discussion on democracy-related topics in Ukraine. UCIPR will conduct nine research projects on various aspects of democratic development. The think tank will organize four focus groups bringing together representatives of civil society and the authorities, three roundtables, two in the country’s regions and one in Kyiv, and a conference. This year, UCIPR will focus on political party transparency and reform as well as examine the state of local democracy. Two studies, on local democracy and political party communications, will be published in 500 copies each.

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Human Rights
$49,960
Promoting Human Rights
To raise awareness about human rights in Ukraine. The Union will produce the 2012 edition of its annual report on the country’s human rights situation, publish 1,500 copies in Ukrainian and 300 copies in English, prepare 300 copies on compact disc, and make the document available on its website at http://www.helsinki.org.ua. The Union will also organize a press conference and a roundtable to highlight the report’s findings.

Ukrainian Youth Association of Ukraine (SUM)
NGO Strengthening
$40,070
Strengthening Civil Society in Central and Eastern Ukraine
To strengthen youth civil society organizations in the Chernihiv, Donetsk, Zaporizha and Kirovohrad regions of Ukraine. SUM will conduct three training seminars for 30 potential civic leaders in the Zaporizha region as well as one seminar for 30 NGO leaders from all four regions; organize four working meetings for 35 NGO leaders and a two-day conference for 40 participants and hold a mini-grant competition that will provide funding for six local civic initiatives.

Vinnytsia Regional Committee of Youth Organizations
NGO Strengthening
$33,170
Mobilizing Communities in the Vinnytsia Region
To develop the skills of local civil society leaders to more effectively mobilize communities and engage them in solving pertinent local problems. The program will include four trainings and three study visits for local activists, as well as a mini-grant program that will provide support to five community activism projects. The Committee will produce five video clips and three interviews about successfully implemented projects and publicize them through local websites, radio and TV stations and a press conference.

Youth Alternative
Democratic Ideas and Values
$68,170
Preparing Ukraine’s Future Leaders
To promote youth activism and engagement in government processes. Youth Alternative will continue and expand its government internship program. The organization will select 35 students from leading Kyiv universities to serve eight-month fellowships in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s national legislature. In addition, it will select 140 students to serve five-month fellowships at local councils in 20 regions. Interns will participate in 47 related events, including orientation, training seminars and roundtables. They will also produce educational booklets, with a total print run of 500 copies.

Zhytomyr Youth Civic Organization “Modern Format”
Democratic Ideas and Values
$39,962
Promoting Civic Engagement Among Youth in Northern Ukraine
To engage youth in the process of strengthening and implementing democratic ideas and values in their communities. Modern Format will organize two, parallel, year-long schools that will present the core ideas and values of democracy and human rights through two different perspectives. One school will target journalists; the other will be for civic activists. A total of 100 youth people in the Zhytomyr region will take part in the program.

Accountability
$31,293
Strengthening Transparency in Northeastern Ukraine
To promote transparency and accountability in the use of public funds in northeastern Ukraine. The organization will train civic activists to identify corruption in local governments. It will also produce a final report to be disseminated through press conferences.

Freedom of Information
$21,139
Strengthening Investigative Journalism and Intersectoral Cooperation
To boost the capacity for investigative journalism and increase cooperation between journalists and civil society. The organization will hold basic trainings and advanced workshops for journalists and support a series of investigative pieces. It will also work with local community councils to monitor the impact of the investigative articles and produce a final report on best practices and lessons learned from the program.

$36,882
Analyzing Regional Security
To stimulate public discussion on and policy responses to threats to democracy in Ukraine’s regions. The organization will identify and foster debate on key issues while developing and advocating for policy responses. It will organize roundtables, print and distribute its bulletin, and publish articles in regional newspapers.

$13,674
Promoting Civic Journalism
To stimulate civic journalism among youth. The organization will trainings in for youth activists from local communities and NGOs. Young people will learn how to develop and create content focusing on issues that affect the lives of citizens for social media. The most active participants will be selected to take part in a master class with a well-known Ukrainian journalist.

Human Rights
$20,287
Defending Human Rights
To educate and inform youth about defending their basic civil rights. The organization will conduct seminars and trainings on recognizing, addressing and resolving day-to-day civic rights violations. To inform and educate a wider audience, the organization will produce and post a series of online training videos and informational materials, as well as publish 1,000 copies of a legal handbook.

$40,892
Promoting Awareness of Rights and Freedoms in Southern Ukraine
To raise awareness of legal and human rights in southern Ukraine. The organization will maintain a legal clinic providing free legal aid to the public and organize a series of events drawing attention to rights abuses, including roundtables for representatives of the local authorities, roundtables for the NGO community, and public lectures on legal rights. It will also conduct an extensive advertising campaign on rights issues, including leaflets and other materials, billboards, banners and TV spots. It will also publish bimonthly columns in local newspapers and disseminate a monthly e-bulletin on legal and human rights.

$30,000
Fostering Human Rights Networks
To strengthen a network of human rights organizations. The organization will convene a training for representatives of human rights NGOs and initiative groups, conduct trainings in towns and villages, and operate and publicize a human rights hotline and reception centers that will provide free legal assistance to citizens.

$21,790
Promoting Human Rights
To promote human rights. The organization will conduct a training for regional activists to improve human rights monitoring. Following the training, the organization will organize volunteer groups of training participants, lawyers, elected officials and other activists to monitor human rights abuses. These groups will track reported cases and utilize the information for broader advocacy campaigns.

NGO Strengthening
$29,469
Fostering Intersectoral Cooperation in Central Ukraine
To inform, educate and activate civil society. The organization will organize trainings on proposal writing, project development, and community and civil society development projects, as well as on project implementation, to foster civil society.

$19,920
Promoting Community Activism in Southern Ukraine
To stimulate civic activism in southern Ukraine. The organization will conduct trainings in villages and towns to facilitate the implementation of local projects targeting community problems, and convene a roundtable webinar with community representatives to present project outcomes and lessons learned for representatives from Ukrainian and international NGOs.

$19,507
Strengthening the Capacity of Youth NGOs
To strengthen youth activism. The organization will support a network of youth organizations and initiative groups through a series of trainings to increase members’ capacity and professionalism. It will provide informational and technical support for the youth organizations’ events and activities. The organization will promote the network by holding a press conference and disseminating a booklet highlighting the organizations’ activities to local government offices, media, schools, and other NGOs.

Grant descriptions are from the 2013 NED Annual Report.

National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004 / (202) 378-9700
info@ned.org

Gazprom Buys-Out Ill-Fated South Stream Partners, After EU Cuts Its Own Throat

“’Bulgaria was strong-armed or attempts were made to discourage it from making certain decisions or giving certain permissions,’ Germany’s former chancellor Gerhardt Schroder…said at a closed-door meeting of Russian and European business circles in Moscow.” (Germany’s ex-chancellor names two reasons for South Stream termination)

© AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel

Russia’s Gazprom buys 50% stake in South Stream Transport BV to become its 100% owner

itar tass

South Stream Transport B.V. was set up to do the planning and construction works and to operate the seabed South Stream pipeline that was supposed to be laid across the Black Sea

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russia’s gas giant Gazprom said in a release on Monday it had signed a deal with Eni, Wintershall and EDF on the purchase of 50% of shares in South Stream Transport BV.

Thus, Gazprom will be a 100% owner of the company.

Commenting on the decision to sell its stake in South Stream Transport BV, Wintershall said participants in the project had decided to close it since there were no guarantee permits for the South Stream further construction could be issued soon whereas economic impacts of delays in the project implementation could hardly be calculated.

South Stream Transport B.V. is an international joint venture set up to do the planning and construction works and to operate the seabed South Stream pipeline that was supposed to be laid across the Black Sea. Gazprom’s share in the company was 50%, Italy’s Eni held a 20% stake, France’s EDF – 15% and Germany’s Wintershall Holding GmbH – also 15%

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the decision on Russia’s withdrawal from the project on December 1 while on visit to Turkey. South Stream was Gazprom’s global infrastructural project of a gas pipeline system with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters across the Black Sea stretching from Russia to Bulgaria and through Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia further to Austria. Vladimir Putin blamed  the EU and Bulgarian authorities for lack of cooperation.  According to the South Stream Transport Company, European companies will suffer direct losses valued at no less than €2.5 billion due to the termination of the project.

Instead of South Stream, Gazprom will build a gas hub on the Turkey-Greece border under a new 63 billion cubic meter pipeline project. Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said the construction of a gas pipeline to Turkey will make it possible to reduce the risks linked with natural gas transit through Ukraine.  Russia’s steel pipe manufacturers hope that all their products originally meant for the South Stream project will be redirected to the new gas pipeline project.

EU Leadership Still Self-Blind To US Evil Intentions for Europe and Russia

[SEE:  West wants to end confrontation with Russia over Ukraine – EU foreign policy chief ]
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini…rejected the idea that the EU’s position on the crisis differs from that of the US.
“It is not true that there is a soft Europe stance, which opposes the US hardline position.”
Mogherini said that Washington’s views on Russia match those of Europe…“everyone wants to get out of the logic of confrontation.”

‘F**k the EU’

Victoria Nuland: US-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Geoffrey R. Pyatt: United States Ambassador to Ukraine

Biden says US ’embarrassed’ EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

Russia-Today
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed during a speech at Harvard.

“We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on Thursday.

The consequences were the sanctions which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic sectors.

“It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden admitted.

“It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US vice president declared.

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

Those costs deemed behind the ruble’s historic plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU.

Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the most affected by the loss of the Russian market.

For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and meat.

At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions, as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.

Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).

Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to eight food banks across Holland.

Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US, Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion worth of agricultural exports to Russia.

With European countries now at a loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian markets after the one-year ban expires.

However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland remarked on Thursday.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in their memory.

The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an anonymous user to YouTube.

Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels.

The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the “reported comments.”

Another Fistfight In Georgia Parliament Over “Enemy of the State” Saakashvili and His Goons In Ukraine

[SEE:  Georgian PM Declares Saakashvili Enemy of State ]


Dec. 26 Fistfight in Georgia Parliament over troops seduced by Saakashvili’s snake tongue into resigning from Georgian Army to enlist in Ukraine Fascist forces fighting in the east.


Last year’s brawl in Georgia Parliament (Dec 11, 2013) over sending troops to fight in Ukraine.

“Green Men” Without Insignias Multiplying In Belarus–Locals Getting Nervous

GREEN MEN BELARUS “Yesterday I saw soldiers while I was walking around the station. I drew attention to the fact that they were wearing the uniform differing from the one of our soldiers. They were wearing green winter caps without insignia or chevrons. I walked up to them to ask who they were and whether it was a Belarusian uniform. I got the answer: “We are Russians”. They said they were from Bryansk. Then I asked about possible military exercises to take place but they replied: “No, there will be a war, so we have rotation and trainings”, he said.

Rumours in Bryansk about invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine

CHARTER 97

Rumours in Bryansk about invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine

Trains going to Ukraine through Bryansk will be cancelled from December 14.

The Russian Monitor website learnt it from a reader.

“We received a letter from Marina Nikolayevna from Bryansk. We cannot that the information is true, but we think we should publish it,” the website writes.

Journalists quote the letter.

“Very interesting things happened: all trains going to Ukraine via Bryansk will be cancelled from December 14,” the reader writes. “A wave of Ukraine-phobia can be noticed in the city. For example, Chernigov Hotel, the oldest one in the city, was renamed as Central.

Governor is reported by the press to fear provocations organized by Ukrainian terrorists. The media stir up a sort of patriotic psychosis. Bad rumours are circulating that a provocation, almost an invasion, can be expected on the border in the nearest days.

People say everywhere they are ready for guerilla warfare. It seems new, because people haven’t been enthusiastic about “patriotism” in the last few months and got tired of refugees.

The sixth Ruslan aircraft flew to Seshcha, the biggest aerodrome in European Russia. I am frightened. Bryansk is only 200 kilometres from Chernihiv.”

Charter97.org reported yesterday that “green men” were noticed in Homel. Soldiers in unmarked uniform claim they are Russian soldiers from Bryansk who arrived for rotation and training. They say “war will begin soon”.

One Good Reason For Moscow To Put the Screws To Georgia

Mamuka Mamulashvili“Through fighting in Ukraine Georgians are protecting their homeland from Russian aggression.”Mamuka Mamulashvili , commander “Georgian Legion” to Ukraine

The body of Georgian fighter killed in Ukraine returns to Georgia

agenda.ge

The body of Georgian Aleksandre Grigolashvili, who has been killed in Ukraine while fighting against pro-Russian rebels, is already at his home in Kutaisi.

The plane which carried Grigolashvili landed in Tbilisi International Airport at 08:30 in the morning. Georgian volunteer fighter was brought to his homeland by his two Ukrainian allies.

The arrival ceremony at the airport was attended by Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze and Council of Ukraine, as well as family members and friends of deceased Grigolashvili. After the ceremony, Grigolashvili’s body was taken to his home in Kutaisi.

“The whole Government, people are in solidarity with this family and our presence at the airport is the expression of it. We want to show support to Grigolashvili’s family,” Vladimer Gurgenidze said at the Airport.

Ukrainian Consul to Georgia also commented at the airport and thanked Georgian people for standing with Ukraine.

“I want to console the family of Aleksandre and thank Georgian society on behalf of Ukrainian people. Thank you for standing with us in the most difficult moment for our country,” he said.

The plane carrying the body of Grigolashvili should have arrived in Tbilisi yesterday by midnight, however due to heavy fog in Georgia it landed in Yerevan.

Aleksandre Grrigolashvili died on December 18. He was 32 years old. According to his family members, he went to Ukraine two months ago. In 2007-2008 years Grigolashvili served in the Georgian army and fought in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region and in Afghanistan.

A farewell ceremony to honor fallen Georgian fighter took place at Maidan, Kiev yesterday. Georgia’s Consul to Ukraine Konstantine Sabiashvili has stated that the ceremony was attended by Georgia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Mikheil Ukleba and Georgian Diaspora representatives.

Another Humanitarian Convoy Heading for Russian Enclave In Moldova

Russian ‘Humanitarian Convoy’ Heads for Separatist Moldovan Region

Newsweek-logo

A Russian NGO with close ties to the Kremlin plans to send a 60-lorry ‘humanitarian convoy’ into Moldova’s pro-Russian separatist region, amidst growing tension in the small former Soviet state after pro-EU parties defeated  the pro-Russian Socialist party in last week’s parliamentary elections.

The first three lorries had arrived in Moldova’s self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic by Wednesday, with more to follow according to Alexander Argunov, director of the Moscow-based organisation in charge of the convoy, Eurasian Integration.

“We do not know how the situation in Pridnestrovie will develop, which is why we prefer to send equipment immediately,” Argunov told Moldovan news agency PMR.

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No violence has been reported in Moldova since the election, however tension between the pro-Russian and pro-EU blocs in the country has increased since a three party pro-EU coalition joined forces to form a government instead of the pro-Russian socialist party, which won the most votes.

Eurasian Integration were not available to comment on why the east Moldavian region required humanitarian help when major fighting in the region ceased in 1992.

Argunov did say, however that the convoy has been and will continue to be delivered through Ukraine, as Moldova has no direct border with Russia.

“Initially we sent the simplest cargo – furniture. Using the furniture as an example we wanted to see how the convoy would cross through Ukraine, what requirements the Ukrainian authorities would make of us.”

Although Ukraine has closed all but its eastern, separatist-held borders with Russia, Argunov says the piecemeal delivery of the cargo has encountered “no major difficulties”.

“We tried and assessed what happened there and then we began sending more expensive medical equipment,” Argunov said.

The Moldavian separatist government’s customs committee has confirmed Argunov’s account and said it will make “every effort to ensure continuity of the process and to facilitate Eurasian integration”.

Russia caused consternation from Kiev and the West in August when it sent a convoy of 260 white trucks carrying what it said were humanitarian supplies across its border and into separatist-held areas of Ukraine. The Kiev government called the convoy’s arrival a “direct invasion”.

Speaking to Newsweek a NATO official said the alliance had no knowledge of the convoy and insisted its plans to further its partnership with the newly elected Moldovan authorities will go on undeterred.

“The Moldovan people made their choice and everyone must respect it,” NATO’s general secretary Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this week.

Russia complained of “gross violations” after the pro-Russian party Patria was excluded from running in the last minute.

After Crimea’s ascension into the Russian federation in March, the unrecognized separatist government in Moldova’s east voted to do the same.

Putin Cancels South Stream/Netanyahu Peddles His Hot Gas To Europe

[When the Noble Energy company first discovered the massive Tamar and Leviathan gas fields off the shore of Israel, there was no foreseeable buyer of the “gas bonanza.”  It didn’t take long after for the PTB (powers that be) to destroy Russia’s energy franchise to Europe, by disrupting principle flow lines, running mainly through Ukraine.  Due to EU anti-Russian sanctions making the South Stream pipeline impossible, Putin cancelled the project.  In steps Israel (SEE:  Gazprom Signs 20-Year LNG Purchase Deal with Israel).  This is the first, concrete example of the EU cutting its own throat, to bow to Imperialist-Zionist directives.  Stoking the fires in Ukraine has always been the key to US Imperialist war plans for Russia.  If Israel captures the southern European gas market, beating-out both NABUCCO and SOUTH STREAM, then rest assured, that there will be no opposition to them running a four-foot diameter undersea gas line through the eastern Mediterranean war zone. 

It is logical to suspect, at this point, to label the Ukrainian civil war as a Mossad operation.  After all, key elements of the Maidan movement are composed of Jewish militants, some even forming their own brigades (SEE:  In Kiev, an Israeli army vet led a street-fighting unit).]

Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel to meet Energy Union Commissioner

Cyprus mail

Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel to meet Energy Union Commissioner

Energy Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel will meet next Monday with EU Commissioner on Energy Union Maros Sefcovic to promote a joint project on a pipeline to transfer natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean offshore fields to Europe.

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus News Agency that the three Ministers had signed a letter requesting a meeting with Sefcovic.
The three Ministers will promote a planned pipeline connecting Israel Cyprus, Greece with Europe in view of the new call by the European Commission for projects of common interest in the first quarter of 2015.
Sources told CNA that the ministers would request the approval of the project which emerged after a merger of two separate projects (Cyprus Trans Med pipeline and Greece`s East Med pipeline) to be implemented by the Greek Gas Corporation (DEPA as a project of common interest (PCI)  that will give access to EU funding for technical and feasibility studies.
Projects that will be considered as PCI’s will be entitled to request funding from the Connecting Europe Facility with a budget of €5.85 billion.
The same sources made clear that only new reserves would be channeled through the pipeline, as Cyprus is in consultations with Egypt for a possible sale of the Aphrodite reservoir (estimated at 4.5 trillion cubic feet) located in block 12 of Cyprus` EEZ. Egyptian Minister Serif Ismail said during a Cyprus, Greece and Egypt Energy Ministers meeting that his country could absorb Cyprus` natural gas reserves.
Italy`s ENI is carrying out an exploratory drilling in block 9 with the results expected by January the latest. ENI also has been granted concessions for exploratory drilling in blocs 2 and 3. French TOTAL which has concessions over blocks 10 and 11 will begin exploratory drilling in the second half of 2015.

The Importance Of The Cancellation Of South Stream—(Vinyard of the Saker)

[SEE:  Turkey Gets 63 Billion Cubic Meter Gas Line That Europe No Longer Wanted]

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov [SEE: Hungary Begins Laying Pipe for South Stream System ]

The Importance Of The Cancellation Of South Stream

vinyard of the saker
by Alexander Mercouris

The reaction to the cancellation of the Sound Stream project has been a wonder to behold and needs to be explained very carefully.

In order to understand what has happened it is first necessary to go back to the way Russian-European relations were developing in the 1990s.

Briefly, at that period, the assumption was that Russia would become the great supplier of energy and raw materials to Europe. This was the period of Europe’s great “rush for gas” as the Europeans looked forward to unlimited and unending Russian supplies. It was the increase in the role of Russian gas in the European energy mix which made it possible for Europe to run down its coal industry and cut its carbon emissions and bully and lecture everyone else to do the same.

However the Europeans did not envisage that Russia would just supply them with energy. Rather they always supposed this energy would be extracted for them in Russia by Western energy companies. This after all is the pattern in most of the developing world. The EU calls this “energy security” – a euphemism for the extraction of energy in other countries by its own companies under its own control.

It never happened that way. Though the Russian oil industry was privatised it mostly remained in Russian hands. After Putin came to power in 2000 the trend towards privatisation in the oil industry was reversed. One of the major reasons for western anger at the arrest of Khodorkovsky and the closure of Yukos and the transfer of its assets to the state oil company Rosneft was precisely because is reversed this trend of privatisation in the oil industry.

In the gas industry the process of privatisation never really got started. Gas export continued to be controlled by Gazprom, maintaining its position as a state owned monopoly gas exporter. Since Putin came to power Gazprom’s position as a state owned Russian monopoly has been made fully secure.

Much of the anger that exists in the west towards Putin can be explained by European and western resentment at his refusal and that of the Russian government to the break up of Russia’s energy monopolies and to the “opening up” (as it is euphemistically called) of the Russian energy industry to the advantage of western companies. Many of the allegations of corruption that are routinely made against Putin personally are intended to insinuate that he opposes the “opening up” of the Russian energy industry and the break up and privatisation of Gazprom and Rosneft because he has a personal stake in them (in the case of Gazprom, that he is actually its owner). If one examines in detail the specific allegations of corruption made against Putin (as I have done) this quickly becomes obvious.

His agenda of forcing Russia to privatise and break up its energy monopolies has never gone away. This is why Gazprom, despite the vital and reliable service it provides to its European customers, comes in for so much criticism. When Europeans complain about Europe’s energy dependence upon Russia, they express their resentment at having to buy gas from a single Russian state owned company (Gazprom) as opposed to their own western companies operating in Russia.

This resentment exists simultaneously with a belief, very entrenched in Europe, that Russia is somehow dependent upon Europe as a customer for its gas and as a supplier of finance and technology.

This combination of resentment and overconfidence is what lies behind the repeated European attempts to legislate in Europe on energy questions in a way that is intended to force Russia to “open up” its the energy industry there.

The first attempt was the so-called Energy Charter, which Russia signed but ultimately refused to ratify. The latest attempt is the EU’s so-called Third Energy Package.

This is presented as a development of EU anti-competition and anti-monopoly law. In reality, as everyone knows, it is targeted at Gazprom, which is a monopoly, though obviously not a European one.

This is the background to the conflict over South Stream. The EU authorities have insisted that South Stream must comply with the Third Energy Package even though the Third Energy Package came into existence only after the outline agreements for South Stream had been already reached.

Compliance with the Third Energy Package would have meant that though Gazprom supplied the gas it could not own or control the pipeline through which gas was supplied.

Were Gazprom to agree to this, it would acknowledge the EU’s authority over its operations. It would in that case undoubtedly face down the line more demands for more changes to its operating methods. Ultimately this would lead to demands for changes in the structure of the energy industry in Russia itself.

What has just happened is that the Russians have said no. Rather than proceed with the project by submitting to European demands, which is what the Europeans expected, the Russians have to everyone’s astonishment instead pulled out of the whole project.

This decision was completely unexpected. As I write this, the air is of full of angry complaints from south-eastern Europe that they were not consulted or informed of this decision in advance. Several politicians in south-eastern Europe (Bulgaria especially) are desperately clinging to the idea that the Russian announcement is a bluff (it isn’t) and that the project can still be saved. Since the Europeans cling to the belief that the Russians have no alternative to them as a customer, they were unable to anticipate and cannot now explain this decision.

Here it is important to explain why South Stream is important to the countries of south-eastern Europe and to the European economy as a whole.

All the south eastern European economies are in bad shape. For these countries South Stream was a vital investment and infrastructure project, securing their energy future. Moreover the transit fees that it promised would have been a major foreign currency earner.

For the EU, the essential point is that it depends on Russian gas. There has been a vast amount of talk in Europe about seeking alternative supplies. Progress in that direction had been to put it mildly small. Quite simply alternative supplies do not exist in anything like the quantity needed to replace the gas Europe gets from Russia.

There has been some brave talk of supplies of US liquefied natural gas replacing gas supplied by pipeline from Russia. Not only is such US gas inherently more expensive than Russian pipeline gas, hitting European consumers hard and hurting European competitiveness. It is unlikely to be available in anything like the necessary quantity. Quite apart from the probable dampening effects of the recent oil price fall on the US shale industry, on past record the US as a voracious consumer of energy will consume most or all of the energy from shales it produces. It is unlikely to be in a position to export much to Europe. The facilities to do this anyway do not exist, and are unlikely to exist for some time if ever.

Other possible sources of gas are problematic to say the least. Production of North Sea gas is falling. Imports of gas from north Africa and the Arabian Gulf are unlikely to be available in anything like the necessary quantity. Gas from Iran is not available for political reasons. Whilst that might eventually change, the probability is when it does that the Iranians (like the Russians) will decide to direct their energy flow eastwards, towards India and China, rather than to Europe.

For obvious reasons of geography Russia is the logical and most economic source of Europe’s gas. All alternatives come with economic and political costs that make them in the end unattractive.

The EU’s difficulties in finding alternative sources of gas were cruelly exposed by the debacle of the so-called another Nabucco pipeline project to bring Europe gas from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Though talked about for years in the end it never got off the ground because it never made economic sense.

Meanwhile, whilst Europe talks about diversifying its supplies, it is Russia which is actually cutting the deals.

Russia has sealed a key deal with Iran to swap Iranian oil for Russian industrial goods. Russia has also agreed to invest heavily in the Iranian nuclear industry. If and when sanctions on Iran are lifted the Europeans will find the Russians already there. Russia has just agreed a massive deal to supply gas to Turkey (about which more below). Overshadowing these deals are the two huge deals Russia has made this year to supply gas to China.

Russia’s energy resources are enormous but they are not infinite. The second deal done with China and the deal just done with Turkey redirect to these two countries gas that had previously been earmarked for Europe. The gas volumes involved in the Turkish deal almost exactly match those previously intended for South Stream. The Turkish deal replaces South Stream.

These deals show that Russia had made a strategic decision this year to redirect its energy flow away from Europe. Though it will take time for the full effect to become clear, the consequences of that for Europe are grim. Europe is looking at a serious energy shortfall, which it will only be able to make up by buying energy at a much higher price.

These Russian deals with China and Turkey have been criticised or even ridiculed for providing Russia with a lower price for its gas than that paid by Europe.

The actual difference in price is not as great as some allege. Such criticism anyway overlooks the fact that price is only one part in a business relationship.

By redirecting gas to China, Russia cements economic links with the country that it now considers its key strategic ally and which has (or which soon will have) the world’s biggest and fastest growing economy. By redirecting gas to Turkey, Russia consolidates a burgeoning relationship with Turkey of which it is now the biggest trading partner.

Turkey is a key potential ally for Russia, consolidating Russia’s position in the Caucasus and the Black Sea. It is also a country of 76 million people with a $1.5 trillion rapidly growing economy, which over the last two decades has become increasingly alienated and distanced from the EU and the West.

By redirecting gas away from Europe, Russia by contrast leaves behind a market for its gas which is economically stagnant and which (as the events of this year have shown) is irremediably hostile. No one should be surprised that Russia has given up on a relationship from which it gets from its erstwhile partner an endless stream of threats and abuse, combined with moralising lectures, political meddling and now sanctions. No relationship, business or otherwise, can work that way and the one between Russia and Europe is no exception.

I have said nothing about the Ukraine since in my opinion this has little bearing on this issue.

South Stream was first conceived because of the Ukraine’s continuous abuse of its position as a transit state – something which is likely to continue. It is important to say that this fact was acknowledged in Europe as much as in Russia. It was because the Ukraine perennially abuses its position as a transit state that the South Stream project had the grudging formal endorsement of the EU. Basically, the EU needs to circumvent the Ukraine to secure its energy supplies every bit as much as Russia wanted a route around the Ukraine to avoid it.

The Ukraine’s friends in Washington and Brussels have never been happy about this, and have constantly lobbied against South Stream.

The point is it was Russia which pulled the plug on South Stream when it had the option of going ahead with it by accepting the Europeans’ conditions. In other words the Russians consider the problems posed by the Ukraine as a transit state to be a lesser evil than the conditions the EU was attaching to South Stream .

South Stream would take years to build and its cancellation therefore has no bearing on the current Ukrainian crisis. The Russians decided they could afford to cancel it is because they have decided Russia’s future is in selling its energy to China and Turkey and other states in Asia (more gas deals are pending with Korea and Japan and possibly also with Pakistan and India) than to Europe. Given that this is so, for Russia South Stream has lost its point. That is why in their characteristically direct way, rather than accept the Europeans’ conditions, the Russians pulled the plug on it.

In doing so the Russians have called the Europeans’ bluff. So far from Russia being dependent on Europe as its energy customer, it is Europe which has antagonised, probably irreparably, its key economic partner and energy supplier.

Before finishing I would however first say something about those who have come out worst of all from this affair. These are the corrupt and incompetent political pygmies who pretend to be the government of Bulgaria. Had these people had a modicum of dignity and self respect they would have told the EU Commission when it brought up the Third Energy Package to take a running jump. If Bulgaria had made clear its intention to press ahead with the South Stream project, there is no doubt it would have been built. There would of course have been an almighty row within the EU as Bulgaria openly flouted the Third Energy Package, but Bulgaria would have been acting in its national interests and would have had within the EU no shortage of friends. In the end it would have won through.

Instead, under pressure from individuals like Senator John McCain, the Bulgarian leadership behaved like the provincial politicians they are, and tried to run at the same time with both the EU hare and the Russian hounds. The result of this imbecile policy is to offend Russia, Bulgaria’s historic ally, whilst ensuring that the Russian gas which might have flown to Bulgaria and transformed the country, will instead flow to Turkey, Bulgaria’s historic enemy.

The Bulgarians are not the only ones to have acted in this craven fashion. All the EU countries, even those with historic ties to Russia, have supported the EU’s various sanctions packages against Russia notwithstanding the doubts they have expressed about the policy. Last year Greece, another country with strong ties to Russia, pulled out of a deal to sell its natural gas company to Gazprom because the EU disapproved of it, even though it was Gazprom that offered the best price.

This points to a larger moral. Whenever the Russians act in the way they have just done, the Europeans respond bafflement and anger, of which there is plenty around at the moment. The EU politicians who make the decisions that provoke these Russian actions seem to have this strange assumption that whilst it is fine for the EU to sanction Russia as much as it wishes, Russia will never do the same to the EU. When Russia does, there is astonishment, accompanied always by a flood of mendacious commentary about how Russia is behaving “aggressively” or “contrary to its interests” or has “suffered a defeat”. None of this is true as the rage and recriminations currently sweeping through the EU’s corridors (of which I am well informed) bear witness.

In July the EU sought to cripple Russia’s oil industry by sanctioning the export of oil drilling technology to Russia. That attempt will certainly fail as Russia and the countries it trades with (including China and South Korea) are certainly capable of producing this technology themselves.

By contrast through the deals it has made this year with China, Turkey and Iran, Russia has dealt a devastating blow to the energy future of the EU. A few years down the line Europeans will start to discover that moralising and bluff comes with a price. Regardless, by cancelling South Stream, Russia has imposed upon Europe the most effective of the sanctions we have seen this year. .

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Min For Affairs

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, 22 November 2014

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I’m happy to be at this annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russian abbreviation SVOP). It is always a great pleasure for me to meet people and feel the intellectual potential, which enables the Council, its leaders and representatives to respond to global developments and analyse them. Their analysis is always free from any hysteria, and its members offer well-grounded and solid arguments, taking a step back, since those caught in the midst of events can hardly adopt an unbiased perspective. We are inevitably influenced by the developments, which makes your observations, analysis, discourse and suggestions even more valuable to us.

As far as I know, this year’s Assembly will focus on prospects for accelerating domestic growth in Russia. There is no doubt that concerted efforts by our society as a whole to bring about comprehensive economic, social and spiritual development are a prerequisite for making Russia’s future sustainable. That said, by virtue of my professional duties, I have to focus on foreign policy issues, which are still relevant for the Assembly’s agenda, since in this interconnected, globalised world, isolating internal development from the outside world is impossible.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin provided a detailed analysis of the international developments at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi, as well as in his interviews during his trip to Asia. For this reason, I won’t offer any conceptual observations, as everything has already been said. Nevertheless, I would like to share with you some considerations based on our day-to-day foreign policy efforts. It is not my intention to deliver a comprehensive or clear outlook, since at this stage all forecasts are provisional, no matter who makes them. Moreover, diplomats seek to influence developments as they unfold, not contemplate them.

Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.

Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.

President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War.

The plus of today’s situation is that everything has clicked into its place and the calculus behind the West’s actions has been revealed despite its professed readiness to build a security community, a common European home. To quote (singer/song-writer) Bulat Okudzhava, “The past is getting clearer and clearer.” The clarity is becoming more tangible. Today our task is not only to sort out the past (although that must be done), but most importantly, to think about the future.

Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime — and practically nobody denies this.

President Vladimir Putin, speaking with journalists recently, said that today’s Western leaders have a limited planning horizon. Indeed, it is dangerous when decisions on key problems of the development of the world and humankind as a whole are taken on the basis of short electoral cycles: in the United States the cycle is two years and each time one has to think of or do something to win votes. This is the negative side of the democratic process, but we cannot afford to ignore it. We cannot accept the logic when we are told to resign, relax and take it as a given that everyone has to suffer because there are elections in the United States every two years. This is just not right. We will not resign ourselves to this because the stakes are too high in the fight against terror, the threats of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and many bloody conflicts whose negative impact goes far beyond the framework of the corresponding states and regions. The wish to do something to gain unilateral advantages or to endear oneself to the electorate ahead of another election leads to chaos and confusion in international relations.

We hear the daily repeated mantra that Washington is aware of its own exclusiveness and its duty to bear this burden, to lead the rest of the world. Rudyard Kipling spoke about “the white man’s burden.” I hope that this is not what drives Americans. The world today is not white or black, but multi-coloured and heterogeneous. Leadership in this world can be assured not by persuading oneself of one’ exclusiveness and God-given duty to be responsible for everyone, but only by the ability and craft in forming a consensus. If the US partners committed their power to this goal, this would be priceless, and Russia would be actively helping them.

However, so far, US administrative resources still work only in the NATO framework, and then with substantial reservations, and its writ does not reach beyond the North Atlantic Alliance. One proof of this is the results of US attempts to make the world community follow its line in connection with the anti-Russian sanctions and principles. I have spoken about it more than once and we have ample proof of the fact that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences. This is done with regard to all countries, including our closest allies (this speaks volumes about the kind of analysts Washington has). An overwhelming majority of the states with which we have a continuing dialogue without any restrictions and isolation, as you see, value Russia’s independent role in the international arena. Not because they like it when somebody challenges the Americans, but because they realise that the world order will not be stable if nobody is allowed to speak his mind (although privately the overwhelming majority do express their opinion, but they do not want to do so publicly for fear of Washington’s reprisals).

Many reasonable analysts understand that there is a widening gap between the global ambitions of the US Administration and the country’s real potential. The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities. The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7. One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one’s own grandeur.

It has become fashionable to argue that Russia is waging a kind of “hybrid war” in Crimea and in Ukraine. It is an interesting term, but I would apply it above all to the United States and its war strategy – it is truly a hybrid war aimed not so much at defeating the enemy militarily as at changing the regimes in the states that pursue a policy Washington does not like. It is using financial and economic pressure, information attacks, using others on the perimeter of a corresponding state as proxies and of course information and ideological pressure through externally financed non-governmental organisations. Is it not a hybrid process and not what we call war? It would be interesting to discuss the concept of the hybrid war to see who is waging it and is it only about “little green men.”

Apparently the toolkit of our US partners, who have become adept at using it, is much larger.

In attempting to establish their pre-eminence at a time when new economic, financial and political power centres are emerging, the Americans provoke counteraction in keeping with Newton’s third law and contribute to the emergence of structures, mechanisms, and movements that seek alternatives to the American recipes for solving the pressing problems. I am not referring to anti-Americanism, still less about forming coalitions spearheaded against the United States, but only about the natural wish of a growing number of countries to secure their vital interests and do it the way they think right, and not what they are told “from across the pond.” Nobody is going to play anti-US games just to spite the United States. We face attempts and facts of extra-territorial use of US legislation, the kidnapping of our citizens in spite of existing treaties with Washington whereby these issues are to be resolved through law enforcement and judicial bodies.

According to its doctrine of national security, the United States has the right to use force anywhere, anytime without necessarily asking the UN Security Council for approval. A coalition against the Islamic State was formed unbeknownst to the Security Council. I asked Secretary of State John Kerry why have not they gone to the UN Security Council for this.

He told me that if they did, they would have to somehow designate the status of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Of course, they had to because Syria is a sovereign state and still a member of the UN (no one excluded it from UN membership). The secretary of state said it was wrong because the United States is combating terrorism and the al-Assad regime is the most important factor that galvanises terrorists from around the world and acts as a magnet attracting them to this region in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian regime.

I believe this is perverse logic. If we are talking about precedents (the United States adheres to case law), it is worth remembering the chemical disarmament in Syria when the Assad regime was a completely legitimate partner of the United States, Russia, the OPCW and others. The Americans maintain talks with the Taliban as well. Whenever the United States has an opportunity to benefit from something, it acts quite pragmatically. I’m not sure why the ideologically-driven position took the upper hand this time and the United States chose to believe that Assad cannot be a partner. Perhaps, this is not so much an operation against the Islamic State as paving the way for toppling al-Assad under the guise of a counter-terrorist operation.

Francis Fukuyama recently wrote the book, Political Order and Political Decay, in which he argues that the efficiency of public administration in the United States is declining and the traditions of democratic governance are gradually being replaced with feudal fiefdom ruling methods. This is part of the discussion about someone who lives in a glass house and throws stones.

All of this is happening amid the mounting challenges and problems of the modern world. We are seeing a continued “tug of war” in Ukraine. Trouble is brewing on the south border of the EU. I don’t think the Middle Eastern and North African problems will go away all by themselves. The EU has formed a new commission. New foreign actors have emerged, who will face a serious fight for where to send their basic resources: either for the continuation of reckless schemes in Ukraine, Moldova, etc., within the Eastern Partnership (as advocated by an aggressive minority in the EU), or they will listen to the Southern European countries and focus on what’s happening on the other side of the Mediterranean.

This is a major issue for the EU.

So far, those who are not guided by real problems, but rather by a desire to quickly grab things from freshly turned up ground. It is deplorable. Exporting revolutions – be they democratic, communist or others – never brings any good.

State, public and civilisational structures are actually disintegrating in the MENA region. The destructive energy released in the process can scorch states that are located far beyond this region. Terrorists (including the Islamic State) are claiming a national status. Moreover, they are already beginning to create quasi-governmental bodies there that engage in the administrative work.

On this backdrop, minorities, including Christians, are banished. In Europe, these issues are deemed not politically correct. They are ashamed when we invite them to do something about it together at the OSCE. They wonder why would we focus specifically on Christians? How is that special? The OSCE has held a series of events dedicated to keeping memories about the Holocaust and its victims alive. A few years ago, the OSCE started holding events against Islamophobia. We will be offering an analysis of the processes leading to Christianophobia.

On 4-5 December, OSCE ministerial meetings will be held in Basel, where we will present this proposal. The majority of EU member states elude this topic, because they are ashamed to talk about it. Just as they were ashamed to include in what was then the EU constitution drafted by Valery Giscard d’Estaing a phrase that Europe has Christian roots.

If you don’t remember or respect your own roots and traditions, how would you respect the traditions and values of other people? This is straightforward logic. Comparing what’s happening now in the Middle East to a period of religious wars in Europe, Israeli political scientist Avineri said that the current turmoil is unlikely to end with what the West means when it says “democratic reforms.”

The Arab-Israeli conflict is dead in the water. It’s hard to play on several boards at a time. The Americans are trying to accomplish this, but it doesn’t work for them. In 2013, they took nine months to sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I will not go into the reasons, they are known, but they failed at this as well. Now, they asked for more time to try to achieve some progress before the end of 2014, so that the Palestinians wouldn’t go to the UN and sign the Statute of the International Criminal Court, etc. Suddenly, it transpired that negotiations on Iran are underway. The US State Department dumped Palestine to focus on Iran.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and I agreed to talk on this subject some time soon. It’s important to understand that you can’t keep the problem of the Palestinian state deeply frozen forever. Failure to resolve it for nearly 70 years has been a major argument of those who recruit extremists in their ranks, “there’s no justice: it was promised to create two states; the Jewish one was created, but they will never create an Arab state.” Used on a hungry Arab street, these arguments sound quite plausible, and they start calling for a fight for justice using other methods.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi that we need a new version of interdependence. This was a very topical statement. The leading powers must return to the negotiating table and agree on a new framework that takes into account the basic legitimate interests of all the key parties (I can’t tell you what it should be called, but it should be based on the UN Charter), to agree on reasonable self-imposed restrictions and collective risk management in a system of international relations underpinned by democratic values. Our Western partners promote respect for the rule of law, democracy and minority opinion within countries, while failing to stand up for the same values in international affairs. This leaves Russia as a pioneer in promoting democracy, justice and rule of international law. A new world order can only be polycentric and should reflect the diversity of cultures and civilisations in today’s world.

You are aware of Russia’s commitment to ensuring indivisibility of security in international affairs and holding it in international law. I won’t elaborate on this.

I would like to support the point the SVOP has been making that Russia won’t succeed in becoming a major, successful and confident power of the 21st century without developing its eastern regions. Sergei Karaganov was among the first to conceptualise this idea, and I fully agree. Taking Russia’s relations with the Asia Pacific countries to a new level is an absolute priority. Russia worked along these lines at the Beijing APEC meeting and the G20 forum. We will continue moving in this direction in the new environment created by the upcoming launch of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on 1 January 2015.

We have been treated as “subhumans.” For over a decade, Russia has been trying to establish partnership ties with NATO through CSTO. These efforts were not just about putting NATO and CSTO “in the same league.” As a matter of fact, CSTO is focused on catching drug dealers and illegal migrants around the Afghan border, and the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the backbone of the international security forces, which, among other things, were tasked with fighting the terrorist threat and eliminating its financing schemes, which involve drug trafficking. We tried everything: we pleaded and then demanded real-time contact, so that once NATO detects a caravan transporting drugs and is unable to stop it, it alerts us across the border, so that this caravan could be intercepted by CSTO forces. They simply refused to talk to us. In private conversations, our NATO well-wishers (and I actually mean this in the positive way) told us that the alliance can’t view CSTO as an equal partner for ideological reasons. Until recently, we saw the same condescending and arrogant attitude with respect to the Eurasian economic integration. And that despite the fact that countries intending to join the EAEU have much more in common in terms of their economies, history and culture than many EU members. This union is not about creating barriers with anyone. We always stress how open this union is expected to be. I strongly believe that it will make a significant contribution to building a bridge between Europe and Asia Pacific.

I can’t fail to mention Russia’s comprehensive partnership with China. Important bilateral decisions have been taken, paving the way to an energy alliance between Russia and China. But there’s more to it. We can now even talk about the emerging technology alliance between the two countries. Russia’s tandem with Beijing is a crucial factor for ensuring international stability and at least some balance in international affairs, as well as ensuring the rule of international law. We will make full use of our relations with India and Vietnam, Russia’s strategic partners, as well as the ASEAN countries. We are also open to expanding cooperation with Japan, if our Japanese neighbours can look at their national interests and stop looking back at some overseas powers.

There is no doubt that the European Union is our largest collective partner. No one intends to “shoot himself in the foot” by renouncing cooperation with Europe, although it is now clear that business as usual is no longer an option. This is what our European partners are telling us, but neither do we want to operate the old way. They believed that Russia owed them something, while we want to be on an equal footing. For this reason, things will never be the same again. That said, I’m confident that we will be able to overcome this period, lessons will be learned and a new foundation for our relations will emerge.

The idea of creating a single economic and humanitarian space from Lisbon to Vladivostok can now be heard here and there and is gaining traction. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said publicly (while we have been saying it for a long time) that the EU and the EAEU should engage in dialogue. The statement President Vladimir Putin made in Brussels in January 2014, when he proposed the first step by launching negotiations on a free-trade zone between the EU and the Customs Union with an eye on 2020, is no longer viewed as something exotic. All of this has already become part of diplomacy and real politics. Although this is so far only a matter of discussion, I strongly believe that we will one day achieve what is called “the integration of integrations.” This is one of the key topics we want to promote within the OSCE at the Ministerial Council in Basel.

Russia is about to assume BRICS and SCO presidency. The two organisations will hold their summits in Ufa. These are very promising organisations for the new age. They are not blocks (especially BRICS), but groups where members share the same interests, representing countries from all continents that share common approaches regarding the future of the global economy, finance and politics.

Bulgarian Islamic State “Witch Hunt” Pissing Innocent Muslims Off and Propagating Dangerous Ideas

[Here is a perfect example of how following the American “war on terror” formula, other misled nations are actually fomenting Islamist radicalism and helping to give it widespread media coverage.]

Bulgarian Authorities Popularizing Radical Islam – Expert

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photo_big_165045 [A TV and VCR with a drawing of an IS taped over top of the set’s controls?  Pretty damning stuff, huh?–ed.] 
Photo by BGNES

Everything around the anti-terrorist operation conducted in Bulgaria this week is helping radical Islam to rise to popularity, a former security official says.

Nikolay Radulov, a former Chief Secretary at the Interior Ministry, believes the operation shows lack of understanding of this phenomenon.

“Radical Islamists seek publicity, this is why they release photos, footage. From this point of view they have achieved their goal. For some reason the prosecution and DANS [State Agency for National Security] are helping them promote it,” Radulov told private national channel NOVA TV.

He asserted there were no “sleeping cells” of Islamic State (IS), since that would be a conspiring terror organization and would neither appear on the Internet nor promote itself on Facebook.

Services are trying to make themselves stand out at a time when the budget is being drafted, and also when “various people” are reportedly eyeing the position of DANS head Vladimir Pisanchev, Radulov claimed, adding this might be another explanation as to why the operation was conducted amid media fuss.

In his words, Imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed “gained much more popularity with this operation than the one he had had until now.”

With such activities the security forces run the risk of creating “martyrs”.

– See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/165045/Bulgarian+Authorities+Popularizing+Radical+Islam+-+Expert#sthash.sMAo1qPp.dpuf

Ukraine Nationalizes Russia-to-Europe Diesel Pipeline, Russia Promises To Shut It Down

Ukraine court upholds nationalization of Russian pipeline

Russia-Today

RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko
RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko

The Ukrainian Supreme Commercial Court of Appeal has upheld the nationalization of 1,433 kilometers of pipeline through the country which it says was illegally registered in the name of a subsidiary of Russia’s Transneft.

A spokesman for Transneft, Igor Demin, told TASS that the company intends to appeal the decision, and added that it will lead to a decline in the transit of product, and “the pipeline asset will turn into a pile of iron.”

The nationalization primarily concerns the Samara of westerly direction pipeline, which is owned by part of Southwest Transnefteprodukt, a subsidiary of Transneft. The company also owns a part of the Grozny-Armavir-Trudovaya pipeline which is currently out of service.

Ukraine and EU countries get Russian diesel fuel through these pipelines.

In October, the President of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev said the company wouldn’t pump oil through Ukraine towards Hungary if the government went through with the nationalization of the pipelines. He said if that were the case Transneft would pump preservative solution into the pipes.

If Obama Pushes Putin Into WWIII, Then We Will Lose

Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO

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On September 1, 2014 the US State Department published a report, in which it was stated that for first time since the collapse of the USSR, Russia reached parity with the US in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. Thus, Washington admitted that Moscow regained the status that the Soviet Union had obtained by mid-70’s of the XX century and then lost.

According to the report from the State Department, Russia has 528 carriers of strategic nuclear weapons that carry 1,643 warheads. The United States has 794 vehicles and 1,652 nuclear warheads.

It just so happens that today, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces (SNF) are even more advanced in comparison with those of the US, as they ensure parity on warheads with a significantly smaller number of carriers of strategic nuclear weapons. This gap between Russia and the United States may only grow in the future, given the fact that Russian defense officials promised to rearm Russia’s SNF with new generation missiles.

The progress was made possible thanks to the treaty on the limitation of nuclear weapons, also known as START-3. The treaty was signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama on 8 April 2010 in Prague (came into force on 5 February 2011). In accordance with the document, nuclear warheads of the parties are to be reduced to 1,550 by 2021. The number of carriers (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers) is supposed to be cut to 700 units.

It was the first strategic agreement, after the treacherous policy of democrats, in which Russia managed to win significant advantages. In the treaty, the Americans, for the first time in history, undertook to reduce their strategic nuclear potential, while Russia won an opportunity to increase it. Furthermore, the new treaty removed important limitations that existed in the previous START 1 and START 2 treaties. It goes about the size of areas for the deployment of mobile ICBMs, the number of multi charge ICBMs, and the possibility to build railway-based ICBMs. Russia did not make any concessions.

Having written off Moscow as a serious geopolitical rival, flying on the wings of inaccessible military and technological superiority, Washington drove itself into a trap, from which it does not see a way out even in a medium-term perspective.

Recently, a lot has been said about so-called “sixth-generation wars” and high-precision long-range weapons that should ensure victory over enemy without coming into direct contact with its armed forces. This concept is highly questionable (The US failed to achieve victory in such a way both in Iraq and Afghanistan). Yet, this is the point, where Russia enters the parity line as well. The proof is long-range cruise missiles of a new generation that will soon be deployed on submarines of the Black Sea Fleet and missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla.

In today’s Russia, many find this hard to believe. This is a common belief for many of those, who still enthusiastically remain in captivity of the myths about the absolute “weakness” of Russia and the absolute “superiority” of the West. The myth was made up in the 90’s under the influence of Boris Yeltsin and his betrayal of Russian national interests. One has to admit that during that time, the myth was real, if one may say so.

Times have changed. One can easily understand the new state of affairs.

For example, let’s consider the potential of conventional weapons of Russia and the West in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). In this area, it is generally believed that NATO is a lot stronger than Russia. Yet, a first encounter with reality smashes this misbelief into pieces.

As is known, the main striking force, the core of combat power of the ground forces is tanks. By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Armed Forces had about 20,000 tanks in the ETO.

The Americans, in turn, deployed 6,000 heavy Abrams tanks on the territory of the allied group. Despite this, the combined potential of NATO forces in Europe was still significantly inferior to the Soviet potential. To compensate this imbalance, NATO strategists were forced to resort to tactical nuclear weapons (TNW).

In the first half of the 1950s, NATO conducted a research about what kind of forces the bloc should have to show reliable resistance to large-scale ground offensive of superior forces of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries. The calculations showed then that one required at least 96 full-fledged divisions for the purpose. Yet, the cost of armament for one of such divisions exceeded $1 billion. Plus, one required two or three more billion to maintain such a large group of troops and build appropriate infrastructure. This burden was clearly beyond the power of the economy of the West.

The solution was found in a move to deploy a group of US tactical nuclear weapons on the continent, and that was done soon. By early 1970s, the US arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons counted about 7,000 units of ammunition. The highest achievement in the area was the creation of weapons of selective action – neutron warheads (for guns of 203-mm and 155-mm caliber, and for Lance missiles) with a capacity from 1 to 10 kilotons. The warheads were seen as the key in combating land forces personnel, particularly Soviet tank crews.

Given the nuclear factor, to reflect “Soviet aggression,” NATO required to deploy only 30, rather than 96 divisions, and so they were deployed.

How do things work in this area now? In early 2013, the Americans withdrew the last group of heavy Abrams tanks from Europe. In NATO countries, over the last 20 years, one new tank would replace 10-15 old, yet still capable, tanks. At the same time, Russia was not decommissioning its tanks.

As a result, today Russia is the absolute leader in this regard. In mid-2014, the balance of the Defense Ministry had as many as 18,177 tanks (T-90 – 400 pcs., T-72B – 7,144 pcs., T-80 – 4,744 pcs, T-64 – 4,000 pcs, T-62 – 689 pcs, and T-55 – 1200 pcs.).

Of course, only a few thousand tanks are deployed in permanent readiness units, and most of them remain at storage bases. Yet, NATO has the same picture. Therefore, the decisive superiority of Russian tanks has not gone anywhere since the times of the USSR.

Here is another surprise. As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over NATO is even stronger.

The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.

To date, NATO countries have only 260 tactical nuclear weapons in the ETO. The United States has 200 bombs with a total capacity of 18 megatons. They are located on six air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 more atomic bombs. That is pretty much it. Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes of TNW – from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads! The US has 300 tactical B-61 bombs on its own territory, but this does not change the situation against the backdrop of such imbalance. The US is unable to improve it either, as it has destroyed the “Cold War legacy” – tactical nuclear missiles, land-based missiles and nuclear warheads of sea-based Tomahawk cruise missiles.


Top 5 Russian arms NATO is afraid of

How can Russia – the country that lost the Cold War – be ahead of NATO in terms of military power? One should look into the history of the problem to try to understand.

It is believed that by the beginning of 1991, the USSR had about 20-22,000 units of tactical nuclear weapons. They are nuclear warheads of air bombs, warheads for tactical missiles “Luna”, “Tochka”, “Oka”, nuclear warheads of antisubmarine weapons of the fleet, special warheads of air defense system missiles, nuclear mines and nuclear artillery shells of the Ground Forces.

This impressive arsenal was the result of forty years of an intensive arms race. Noteworthy, it was not the “totalitarian” USSR that started the arms race, but the liberal and democratic USA, which began developing and testing various types of tactical nuclear weapons in the early 1950s. The first example of a warhead of this class was the warhead for a 280-mm gun with the capacity of 15 kilotons. The warhead was tested in May 1953. Afterwards, nuclear warheads would be produced smaller in size, thus leading to the creation of warheads for self-propelled howitzers of 203-mm and 155-mm caliber that had a capacity from one to ten kilotons. Until recently, they were remaining in the arsenal of US troops in Europe.

Afterwards, the US Armed Forces received the following tactical missiles outfitted with nuclear warheads: Redstone (range 370 km), Corporal (125 kilometers), Sergeant (140 kilometers), Lance (130 kilometers) and several others. In the middle of the 1960s, the USA finalized the development of tactical missiles Pershing-1 (740 kilometers).

In turn, the Soviet military and political leadership decided that the equipment of American forces in Europe with TNW was creating a fundamentally new balance of forces. The USSR took decisive steps to create and deploy multiple types of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons. Already in the early 1960s, tactical missiles T-5, T-7, “Luna” were passed into service. Later, the non-strategic nuclear arsenal was expanded with medium-range missiles RSD-10, P-12, P-14 medium-range bombers Tu-22 and Tu-16, as well as tactical missiles OTR-22, OTR-23 and  tactical ones – P-17, “Tochka”, nuclear artillery of 152 mm, 203 mm and 240 mm caliber, tactical aviation aircraft Su-17, Su-24, MiG-21, MiG-23.

Noteworthy, the Soviet leadership had repeatedly offered Western leaders to start negotiations on the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons. Yet, NATO would persistently reject all Soviet proposals on this subject. The situation changed considerably only when the Union started shattering as a result of Gorbachev’s “perestroika”. It was the time, when Washington decided to take advantage of the moment to weaken and disarm its main geopolitical rival.

In September 1991, US President George H. Bush launched an initiative on the reduction and even elimination of certain types of tactical nuclear weapons. Gorbachev, in turn, also announced plans to radically reduce similar weapons in the USSR. Subsequently, the plans received development in the statement from Russian President Boris Yeltsin “On Russia’s policy in the field of arms limitation and reduction” from January 29, 1992. The statement pointed out that Russia stopped producing nuclear artillery shells and warheads for land-based missiles and undertook to destroy a stockpile of such weapons. Russia promised to remove tactical nuclear weapons from surface ships, attack submarines and eliminate one-third of those weapons. A half of warheads for anti-aircraft missiles and aircraft munitions was to be destroyed too.

After such reductions, the arsenals of tactical nuclear weapons of Russia and the United States were to keep 2,500-3,000 tactical nuclear warheads.

However, it turned out otherwise. The illusion of world supremacy played a cruel joke on Washington.

American strategists wrote off the “democratic” Russia after the collapse of the USSR. At the same time, during the Gulf War, US high-precision weapons successfully completed several large-scale combat tasks that had been previously planned for TNW. This prompted Washington to putting all stakes on a technological breakthrough. This led to the creation of “smart” weapons that were  becoming more and more expensive. The USA was gradually cutting the production of such weapons, and NATO’s high-tech arms proved to be completely inadequate for conducting large-scale combat actions with an enemy that would be at least approximately equal to the West from the point of view of its technological level.

Meanwhile in Russia, experts were quick to agree that against the backdrop of the post-Soviet geostrategic situation, reducing and eliminating tactical nuclear weapons was unacceptable. After all, it is tactical nuclear weapons that serve as a universal equalizer of forces, depriving NATO of its military advantage. In these circumstances, Russia simply borrowed NATO’s thesis of the need to compensate enemy superiority in conventional weapons by deploying tactical nuclear arsenal on the European Theater of Operations.

The situation had been developing according to the above-mentioned scenario for over two decades. The West, having discarded Russia, had been cutting its tanks and destroying tactical nuclear weapons. Russia, feeling its own weakness, kept all tanks and tactical nuclear weapons.

As a result, Russia overcome the inertia of collapse and started reviving its power, while the West, being lulled by sweet day-dreams of the liberal “end of history,” castrated its armed forces to the point, when they could be good for leading colonial wars with weak and technically backward enemies. The balance of forces in Europe has thus changed in Russia’s favor.

When the Americans realized that, it was too late. In December 2010, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, sounded the alarm. The Russians had more tactical nuclear systems than the USA, she said.  According to her, the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons was to be the next step.

In 2010, the Europeans, in the face of foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden, insolently demanded Russia should single-handedly establish two nuclear-free zones – the Kaliningrad region (enclave) and the Kola Peninsula – the territories of priority deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. The regions serve as the main bases for the Baltic and Northern Fleets. In case of the Northern Fleet, the region is a base for most of Russian SNF.

Since then, the Americans have repeatedly offered Russia to follow the flawed way of solving the “problem of tactical nuclear weapons.” They stubbornly insist on reaching an agreement to eliminate disparities on stocks of tactical nuclear weapons. They even tried to stipulate a condition for the effect of the START-3 Treaty. Thus, in accordance with Senator Lemieux’s amendment (Amendment 4/S.AMDN.4908), the START-3 was to come into force after the Russian side agreed to start negotiations on the so-called liquidation of imbalance of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia and the US.

On February 3, 2011, Barack Obama wrote in a letter to several key senators saying that the United States was going to start negotiations with Russia to address disparity between tactical nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation and the United States to reduce the number of tactical nuclear warheads in a verifiable way.  Alas, in 2012, Putin returned to the Kremlin, and the hopes of the West to deceive Russia though unilateral disarmament failed.


Russia won’t cut nuclear arsenal

Keeping Ukraine Alive Long Enough for Civil War To Begin

Client states, near and far

philly com

James Howard Kunstler

MY COUNTRY can cry all it likes about the referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that U.S. authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of Central Asian misadventures: When you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat.

And, so, now they’ve had the referendum vote and the result is about 87 percent of the voters in eastern Ukraine would prefer to align politically with Russia rather than the failing Ukraine state governed out of Kiev. It’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the ethnic divide at the Dnieper River: majority Russian-speakers to the east. Second, the Kiev government, as per above, shows all the signs of a failing state – that is, a state that can’t manage any basic responsibilities, starting with covering the costs of maintaining infrastructure and institutions. The Kiev government is broke. Of course, so are most other nations these days, but unlike, say, the U.S. or France, Ukraine doesn’t have an important enough currency or powerful enough central bank to play the kind of accounting games that allow bigger nations to pretend they’re solvent.

Kiev owes $3.5 billion to Russia for past-due gas bills and Moscow has asked Kiev to pre-pay for June deliveries. This is about the same thing that any local gas company in the U.S. would demand from a deadbeat customer. The International Monetary Fund has offered to advance a loan of $3 billion, of which Kiev claims it could afford to fork over $2.6 billion to Russia (presumably needing the rest to run the country, pay police salaries, etc.).

Ukraine is in a sad and desperate situation for sure, but is Russia just supposed to supply it with free gas indefinitely? As wonderful as life is in the U.S., the last time I checked most of us are expected to pay our heating bills. How long, exactly, does the IMF propose to pay Ukraine’s monthly gas bill? In September, the question is liable to get more urgent – but by then the current situation could degenerate into civil war.

The U.S. and its NATO allies would apparently like to have Ukraine become a client state, but they’re not altogether willing to pay for it. This kind of raises the basic question: If Russia ultimately has to foot the bill for Ukraine, whose client state is it? And who is geographically next door to Ukraine? And whose national histories are intimately mingled?

I’m not persuaded that Russia and its president, Mr. Vladimir Putin, are thrilled about the dissolution of Ukraine. Conceivably, they would have been satisfied with a politically stable, independent Ukraine and reliable long-term leases on the Black Sea ports. Russia is barely scraping by financially on an oil-, gas- and mineral-based economy that allows them to import the bulk of their manufactured goods. They don’t need the aggravation of a basket-case neighbor to support, but it has pretty much come to that. At least, it appears that Russia will support the Russian-speaking region east of the Dnieper.

My guess is that the Kiev-centered western Ukraine can’t support itself as a modern state, that is, with the high living standards of a techno-industrial culture. It just doesn’t have the fossil-fuel juice. It’s at the mercies of others for that. In recent years, Ukraine has even maintained an independent space program (which is more than one can say of the U.S.). It will be looked back on with nostalgic amazement. Like other regions of the world, Ukraine’s destiny is to go medieval, to become a truly post-industrial, agriculture-based society with a lower population and lower living standards. It is one of the world’s leading grain-growing regions, a huge advantage for the kind of future that the whole world faces – if it can avoid becoming a stomping ground in the elephant’s graveyard of collapsing industrial anachronisms.

Ukraine can pretend to be a ward of the West for only a little while longer. The juice and the money just isn’t there, though. Probably sooner than later, the IMF will stop paying its gas bills. Within the same time frame, the IMF may have to turn its attention to the floundering states of Western Europe. That floundering will worsen rapidly if those nations can’t get gas from Russia. You can bet that Europe will think twice before tagging along with America on anymore cockamamie sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is passing up the chance to care for a more appropriate client state: itself. Why on Earth should the U.S. be lending billions of dollars to Ukraine when we don’t have decent train service between New York City and Chicago?

 

 

 

MY COUNTRY can cry all it likes about the referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that U.S. authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of Central Asian misadventures: When you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat.

And, so, now they’ve had the referendum vote and the result is about 87 percent of the voters in eastern Ukraine would prefer to align politically with Russia rather than the failing Ukraine state governed out of Kiev. It’s easy to understand why. First, there’s the ethnic divide at the Dnieper River: majority Russian-speakers to the east. Second, the Kiev government, as per above, shows all the signs of a failing state – that is, a state that can’t manage any basic responsibilities, starting with covering the costs of maintaining infrastructure and institutions. The Kiev government is broke. Of course, so are most other nations these days, but unlike, say, the U.S. or France, Ukraine doesn’t have an important enough currency or powerful enough central bank to play the kind of accounting games that allow bigger nations to pretend they’re solvent.

Kiev owes $3.5 billion to Russia for past-due gas bills and Moscow has asked Kiev to pre-pay for June deliveries. This is about the same thing that any local gas company in the U.S. would demand from a deadbeat customer. The International Monetary Fund has offered to advance a loan of $3 billion, of which Kiev claims it could afford to fork over $2.6 billion to Russia (presumably needing the rest to run the country, pay police salaries, etc.).

Ukraine is in a sad and desperate situation for sure, but is Russia just supposed to supply it with free gas indefinitely? As wonderful as life is in the U.S., the last time I checked most of us are expected to pay our heating bills. How long, exactly, does the IMF propose to pay Ukraine’s monthly gas bill? In September, the question is liable to get more urgent – but by then the current situation could degenerate into civil war.

The U.S. and its NATO allies would apparently like to have Ukraine become a client state, but they’re not altogether willing to pay for it. This kind of raises the basic question: If Russia ultimately has to foot the bill for Ukraine, whose client state is it? And who is geographically next door to Ukraine? And whose national histories are intimately mingled?

I’m not persuaded that Russia and its president, Mr. Vladimir Putin, are thrilled about the dissolution of Ukraine. Conceivably, they would have been satisfied with a politically stable, independent Ukraine and reliable long-term leases on the Black Sea ports. Russia is barely scraping by financially on an oil-, gas- and mineral-based economy that allows them to import the bulk of their manufactured goods. They don’t need the aggravation of a basket-case neighbor to support, but it has pretty much come to that. At least, it appears that Russia will support the Russian-speaking region east of the Dnieper.

My guess is that the Kiev-centered western Ukraine can’t support itself as a modern state, that is, with the high living standards of a techno-industrial culture. It just doesn’t have the fossil-fuel juice. It’s at the mercies of others for that. In recent years, Ukraine has even maintained an independent space program (which is more than one can say of the U.S.). It will be looked back on with nostalgic amazement. Like other regions of the world, Ukraine’s destiny is to go medieval, to become a truly post-industrial, agriculture-based society with a lower population and lower living standards. It is one of the world’s leading grain-growing regions, a huge advantage for the kind of future that the whole world faces – if it can avoid becoming a stomping ground in the elephant’s graveyard of collapsing industrial anachronisms.

Ukraine can pretend to be a ward of the West for only a little while longer. The juice and the money just isn’t there, though. Probably sooner than later, the IMF will stop paying its gas bills. Within the same time frame, the IMF may have to turn its attention to the floundering states of Western Europe. That floundering will worsen rapidly if those nations can’t get gas from Russia. You can bet that Europe will think twice before tagging along with America on anymore cockamamie sanctions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is passing up the chance to care for a more appropriate client state: itself. Why on Earth should the U.S. be lending billions of dollars to Ukraine when we don’t have decent train service between New York City and Chicago?
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20140516_Client_states__near_and_far.html#lgVEIRHuD1MSSXQX.99

Son of Biden Joins Cyprus-Based Corp. with Ukrainian “Fracking” Contract In Crimea and Dneper-Donetsk Basin

[Son of Biden joins Burisma Holdings, with a trustee of the Heinz family fortune, who was senior adviser to John Kerry’s campaign, along with a lifelong executive from Sberbank of Russia, in a former shell company, which used to manage a scheme that provided a 90/10 split between Shell Oil and Ukr. Pres. Yanukovych, for the profits expected from the Dneper-Donetsk Basin “fracking” wells. Burisma also owns the oil and gas rights to Crimea and the offshore Black Sea assets.  No matter which Dem. big shot runs against Hillary next time, Kerry or Biden, he will have all of the inside info on the fight for Eastern Ukraine.]

Video of Shell operations in Kharkov area:

Son of U.S. Vice President Biden Joins Ukraine Gas Company

Moscow Times

In a statement published Monday on its website, Burisma Holdings announced Hunter Biden would join its board of directors and head the company’s legal unit.

“As a new member of the board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine,” Hunter Biden said in the statement.

Burisma owns several Ukrainian oil and gas companies, including Esko Pivnich and Pari, Lenta.ru reported Tuesday.

MAP

The company also has assets in Ukraine’s Dnepr-Donetsk, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuvan basins.  [Dneper-Donetsk is the primary area being developed by “fracking” in Ukraine.  Before now, Shell Oil had the contract for this basin sewed-up, in a 90/10 contractual arrangement with “Nadra Yuzivska LLC,” an alleged front for President Viktor Yanukovych.  “Shell has a permit to drill for shale gas in an area of nearly 8,000 square kilometers between the cities of Kharkov and Donetsk,” ]

ukrainemap-non-premiumMap of Shale Gas Basins in the Ukraine

Burisma produced 11,600 barrels of oil equivalent, or boe, in 2013 and was planning to increase its production in Ukraine by 35-40 percent in 2014, U.S. financier and member of the board of directors Devon Archer told newspaper Capital in late April.

Hunter’s father, as U.S. Vice President, has repeatedly rebuked Russia for its reported involvement in Ukraine and has pledged to support efforts to reduce its dependency on Russian energy.

Alan Apter chair Alan Apter, Chairman appointed as Non-Executive Chairman and a Director of the Company in May 2013. 

Mr. Apter joins Burisma after a 27 year career in investment banking, including spending time at Merrill Lynch, Renaissance Capital, Troika Dialog and Morgan Stanley.  (Troika Dialog is headquartered in Moscow, a subsidiary of Sberbank…the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the third largest in Europe…50+% owned by The Bank of Russia.)

Devon Archer dir Devon Archer, Director was appointed as a Director of the Company in April 2014.

Mr. Archer served as a senior advisor to John Kerry during his 2004 Presidential Campaign and co-chaired the National Finance Committee…and is a Trustee for the Heinz Family Office.

Hunter Biden dir Hunter Biden, Director was appointed a Director of the Company in April, 2014.

Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute…served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Pro-Russian Coal Miners—UKRAINIAN WILD CARD

[Ukrainian coal miners have nothing to lose.  They lose either way, whether dying in their blackened burrows, or from manning the anti-Maidan barricades.  Nothing could be harder or more dangerous than the work that these men do every day, much of the time, without getting paid, often waiting  months for paychecks.  Look into the steely eyes of the Ukrainian coal miner in the photo below.  Pissing him off, and the hundred-thousand or so of his fellow workers, would be a very bad mistake for Kyiv.]

UKR MINER

Miners join ranks of anti-Kiev separatists

independent IE

‘It’s hard to a them – but if you do, there will be trouble’

A member of Ukraine's now-defunct riot police officers stand in their uniforms, as they guard in front of regional police building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, April 12, 2014. Men in the uniforms of Ukraine's now-defunct riot police on Saturday occupied police headquarters in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave of pro-Russia protests, hours after armed men seized local police headquarters and local branch of the Security Service in a nearby city.(AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
A member of Ukraine’s now-defunct riot police officers stand in their uniforms, as they guard in front of regional police building in Donetsk, Ukraine

WORD spread quickly through the few hundred pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine: “The miners are coming!”

The crowd parted as a group of a dozen or so burly men in orange work helmets marched past barbed-wire and tyre barricades into the 11-storey administration building, which protesters seized last weekend as they demanded greater independence from Kiev.

“Glory to the miners!” the crowd began chanting. “Glory to Donbass!”they shouted, much as protesters at Kiev’s Euromaidan demonstrations had shouted “Glory to Ukraine!” before they ousted the president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February.

Donetsk is the heart of eastern Ukraine’s coalmining country, historically known as the Donbass, and its football club is called the Miners. Cultural and economic ties to Russia – about three-quarters of people in the Donetsk region speak Russian as their native language – have put the Donbass on a collision course with the new government in Kiev, which plans to sign an association agreement with the EU.

Mr Yanukovych is from Donetsk and many here still call him the legitimate president.

The hundreds of supporters who have gathered at the Donetsk occupation each day are a small number of the city’s nearly one million residents. But if the 100,000-plus employees of coalmining enterprises were to rise en masse, that would change the political picture drastically, in a similar fashion to the Donbass miners’ strikes that helped bring about the break-up of the Soviet Union.

“It’s hard to arouse the miners, but when you do, there will be trouble,” said Artyom, a former miner who was guarding the administration building on Friday night.

“If the miners all rise up, it will be an economic, physical and moral blow. It will be hard for everyone.”

In the neighbouring coalmining region of Luhansk, the “army of the south-east”, a group of armed men including former Berkut riot police who fought protesters in Kiev, has occupied the security service headquarters and demanded a referendum. The protesters want economic and political independence from Kiev and many support a federalisation of the country.

But they have also called on Russia to send in peacekeeping forces.

Yesterday, armed men seized a police station in the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region and demanded a local referendum, reportedly firing shots and throwing stun grenades. In the morning, men, armed mainly with clubs, briefly took over a regional prosecutor’s office in Donetsk.

A local miner who identified himself as Andrei said: “We need to fight for our rights and protect the Donbass from Bandera supporters,” he said, referring to Stepan Bandera, a second world war nationalist leader who is commemorated with dozens of monuments in western Ukraine but widely reviled as a Nazi collaborator in the east. Many protesters see the new Kiev government as dominated by nationalists from western Ukraine, which has a largely agrarian economy.

A tenth of Ukraine’s coal production is sold to Russia, the country’s largest trading partner. Another third goes to power metalworking plants, which also sell much of their product to Russia. But as the new Kiev regime has turned towards Europe, Russia has disrupted trade at the border, and orders from Russian companies have fallen off, miners reported.

Oleg Obolents, a retired miner said many in the industry had not come out to support the protests, for fear of losing their jobs. “When they haven’t received their pay for two or three months, they’ll come out, or if there is a storming [of the occupied building],” he added. “The hungry have nothing to lose.”

© Observer

Sunday Independent

Langley Orders Reverse Rhetoric In Ukraine…Calling Putin Obama

Ukraine PM: Russia Wants to Start World War III 

voa

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk chairs a meeting in Kyiv, Apr. 25, 2014.

VOA News
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is accusing Russia of wanting to occupy Ukraine “militarily and politically,” as both Kyiv and Moscow mass troops close to their mutual border.

Yatsenyuk warned Friday that Russia’s actions could lead to a wider military conflict in Europe. He told an interim Cabinet meeting that Moscow “wants to start World War III.”

U.S. President Barack Obama also criticized what he called Russia’s “further meddling” in eastern Ukraine, where armed, pro-Russian separatists have occupied government buildings.

Speaking in Seoul, Obama said he would talk to “key European leaders” later Friday about implementing wider sanctions in the event Russia further escalates the situation.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin must decide whether he wants to see his country’s already fragile economy weakened further because he failed to act diplomatically in Ukraine.

His comments echoed that of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Thursday that Moscow is making “an expensive mistake” by failing to restrain the separatists.

Underscoring the threat to Moscow’s economy, credit agency Standard and Poor’s cut Russia’s credit rating to BBB- . The agency said it is concerned about increased capital outflows from Russia, and said the rating could be cut further if sanctions are tightened.

Both Obama and Kerry have accused Russia of failing to uphold the four-party deal it signed last week calling for all parties in Ukraine to lay down their weapons and vacate public buildings. Kerry said Moscow has not taken “a single step” to de-escalate tensions since the deal was signed in Geneva.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday blamed the West for raising tensions, saying the Pro-Russian militants would only lay down their weapons if the Ukrainian government first clears out its own protesters in the capital.

Lavrov also denounced Kyiv’s security operation to clear the pro-Russian militants, calling it a “bloody crime.” Ukrainian officials on Thursday said the crackdown killed up to five people.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is vowing the operation will continue. On his Facebook page, Avakov said “terrorists should be on guard 24 hours a day,” but that civilians have nothing to fear.

The flurry of diplomatic exchanges come amid rising tensions along the Ukraine-Russian border, where a huge Russian military force is gathered. A Ukrainian diplomat at the United Nations told VOA that Moscow has doubled its military presence on the border to about 80,000 troops.

The Republic of Donetsk Flag

The Republic of Donetsk Flag

itar tass

flag of the self proclaimed donetsk peoples republic

Flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Donetsk    © EPA/PHOTOMIG

New flag of the latest self-proclaimed republic, the Donetsk Republic.  The process of Nation fragmentation, works both ways.   Even though this corrosive virus was set into motion by the opportunists in Washington, it is still very dangerous to Obama’s allies.  The plague referred to as “Balkanization” threatens all nations, both the guilty and the innocent.

“Blackwater” Shock Troops In Direct Confrontation With Putin’s Proxies In Donetsk

[SEE:  Pro-Russian Protestors Seize Buildings After Ukrainian Officer Killed by Protesters;

Moscow warns Kiev against using military, mercenaries in southeastern Ukraine ;

Ukraine says it retakes building seized by protesters

Greystone Limited mercenaries operating in Ukraine

phantom report

by stratagem

 

Мобилизация на Украине провалена. В стране орудуют Blackwater и другие наёмные организации

Source: Soha

Source: politikus.ru

 

Website politikus.ru reported, on the night of 2-3, the flight landed at the airport Borispol and Zhuliany , Ukraine carrying many men in civilian clothes but carrying large bags (similar to type bag that the U.S. military used to store equipment).

All these people were identified as employees of private security companies Greystone Limited. It is a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC (which is a private security company Blackwater USA’s notorious was renamed in 2009). Currently, the number of employees of this company in Ukraine is said to be up to 300 people.

The presence of the security personnel are specially trained in Ukraine this will enhance protection for the new administration in the area east and southeast, where the anti-government protests erupted powerful new .

The only question now is how many private security personnel of foreign countries in Ukraine real and who is paying them (the cost to hire a private company like that is very expensive and government Ukraine’s new budget clearly not sufficient to cover these costs).

While the number 300 is not a large army and these employees do not carry heavy weapons, but with the highly trained and mastered many fighting skills, then this may be staff conduct minor damage as a sniper or cause explosions, … similar to what they used to do in Africa and elsewhere.

Some suggested that there was a collusion between the new government of Kiev and the U.S. Embassy in the use of private security companies in Ukraine. In the near future, they may become subject to destabilize the situation in the country.

Image Credit: GreyStone Limited

В Донецке появились неизвестные наемники

 

Ukraine eyes coal after Russian gas price hike

Ukraine scrambled on Friday to find new sources of energy after Russia hiked its gas price by 80 percent.
© http://teeic.anl.gov/

Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan called the new rate “political” and vowed to explore solutions that included a heavier reliance on coal – a polluting resource whose consumption has imperilled the air quality of nations such as China. “We are now reviewing our electricity and fuel balance for 2014 with a view of using as much domestic coal as possible at the expense of natural gas,” Prodan told a cabinet meeting in comments posted on the government website.

Ukraine has relied on coal throughout much of the past century despite efforts by global institutions such as the World Bank to help Kiev phase out its use following independence from Moscow. The International Energy Agency estimates that coal accounts for about 30 percent of Ukraine”s total energy supply compared to the 40 percent of the balance assumed by natural gas.

The nation of 46 million on the EU”s eastern frontier is rich in resources but still imports about 30 percent of its needs due to inefficiencies and heavy state subsidies to both households and industries. Ukraine consumed about 50 billion cubic metres of gas last year of which it imported 28 billion cubic metres from Russia – a figure it would like to reduce despite the penalties this might incur under the terms of its contract with Russia”s state energy giant Gazprom.

“There is a probability of Ukraine reducing gas purchases from Russia,” Moscow”s VTB Capital investment bank wrote in a research note. The hike in Russia”s gas price to what Ukraine believes is now the highest in Europe is unlikely to hit consumers with full force because of Kiev”s continued state subsidies programme.

However Ukraine has promised to raise the price households pay for gas by 50 percent in May – and for heating by 40 percent in July – under the terms of an IMF-backed austerity programme that could lead to the release of up to $27 billion in global assistance over the coming two years.

Russia”s new rate is certain to put Ukraine”s cash-strapped state energy firm Naftogaz deeper into debt and force the government to use a part of its foreign assistance on meeting payments to Gazprom. “There are very few gas companies in the world that actually makes losses,” said the World Bank”s country director Qimiao Fan. “Unfortunately, the Ukrainian one is one of them.” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday that Ukraine could receive $13.5 billion in IMF and other aid this year should it quickly pass and implement the required economic restructuring measures.

But Yatsenyuk added that Ukraine”s economy would still probably shrink by three percent this year – a figure that also features in the World Bank”s updated country outlook. Ukraine”s decision to refocus its attention on coal is being accompanied by increasingly urgent efforts to secure alternative supplies of gas.

The energy minister said he was negotiating with traders in Poland and Hungary that could use Ukraine”s existing pipeline network to ship in limited quantities from the west. “These gas traders are ready to supply gas that corresponds to European market rates,” Prodan said. Yatsenyuk added that similar talks were also underway with Slovakia. But Ukraine”s decision to reverse the flow of some of its pipelines could further complicate its relations with Russia because Gazprom uses the network to transmit gas to its clients in southern and western Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

NATO Pushing Russia Into Pre-Invasion Scenario

[In keeping with established Pentagon policy, the Western powers will do everything within their power to ensure that their worst-case scenarios come true.  Just like every other aspect of the terror war, where every Pentagon strategy is tailored to shaping policies which multiply the terrorists (think of assassination drones), we know for a certainty that the US will force Russia to invade Ukraine by its rushing of men and equipment to the Russia/Ukraine “front” (SEE:  US Arranges New War Games In Ukraine, Along Border With Crimea; Germany Set To Help Militarize the Political Situation In Eastern Europe ).  When the degree of the Western militarization of Eastern Ukraine becomes too obvious to ignore, Putin will have no choice left to him but to enter Ukraine and to fulfill the West’s worst nightmares, or greatest expectations.]

Russia has all the forces it needs on Ukraine’s border if it were to decide to carry out an “incursion” into the country and it could achieve its objective in three to five days, NATO’s top military commander said Wednesday.

Calling the situation on the border “incredibly concerning,” U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove – who is both NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the head of the U.S. Military’s European Command – said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but there was no indication that it was returning to barracks.

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have asked him to draw up by April 15 a package to reassure nervous NATO allies in eastern Europe that would include reinforcements by land, air and sea, he said in an interview with Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia on Tuesday in protest at its annexation of Crimea, and ordered military planners to draft measures to strengthen its defenses and reassure nervous Eastern European countries.

Foreign ministers from the 28-nation, U.S.-led alliance were meeting for the first time since the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region touched off the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

US Arranges New War Games In Ukraine, Along Border With Crimea

[SEE: Germany Set To Help Militarize the Political Situation In Eastern Europe ]

Ukraine Agrees to Host NATO War Games

naharnet

W460

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put U.S. troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.

“This is a good opportunity to develop our armed forces,” acting defense minister Mykhailo Koval told Verkhovna Rada lawmakers ahead of the 235-0 vote.

The decision came as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels for a two-day meeting dominated by concern over the recent buildup of Russian forces near Crimea that U.S. officials estimate had at one point reached about 40,000 troops.

NATO has sought to reinforce its eastern frontier after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula and amid concerns about Kremlin’s emboldened foreign policy.

Russia on Monday reported pulling back a battalion of about 500 to 700 soldiers from the border region in a move that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called “a small sign that the situation is becoming less tense”.

Ukraine is not a NATO member and its new Western-backed leaders have vowed not to push for closer relations with the Brussels-based military alliance — a bloc that has been viewed with deep mistrust by Moscow since the Cold War.

But the ex-Soviet nation did form a “distinctive partnership” with the Alliance in 1997 and has been staging joint exercises with its state members ever since.

The exercises approved on Tuesday would see Ukraine conduct two sets of military exercises with the United States this summer — Rapid Trident and Sea Breeze — that have prompted disquiet in Russia in previous years.

Ukraine is planning two additional maneuvers with NATO member Poland as well as joint ground operations with Moldova and Romania.

The Sea Breeze exercises have particularly irritated Moscow because they had on occasion been staged in Crimea — the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Those maneuvers have in more recent years been moved to the Black Sea port of Odessa where Ukraine also has a naval base.

An explanatory note accompanying the Tuesday bill says that the naval section of Sea Breeze would this time be conducted over a 25-day span between July and October out of two Odessa ports and “along the waters of the Black Sea”.

The MPs met a key demand posed by both the West and Russia by voting unanimously to disarm all self-defense groups that sprang up across the country during its political crisis.

“The Ukrainian people are demanding order,” acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said ahead of the 256-0 vote. “Those who carry arms — besides the police, the security services and the national guard — are saboteurs who are working against the country.”

Russia seizes 51 Ukrainian ships in Crimea

In military rout, Russia seizes 51 Ukrainian ships in Crimea

kyiv post

Christopher J. Miller

Ukrainian naval officers raise the Ukrainian navy flag on the Slavutych ship docked in Sevastopol’s Kurrenaya Bay on March 13.
© Anastasia Vlasova

In its invasion and annexation of Crimea, Russia has seized 51 vessels belonging to the Ukrainian navy, according to information compiled by Dmitry Tymchuk, director of the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv.

Among the Ukrainian vessels reportedly captured by the Russians are submarine Zaporizhia, management ship Slavutych, landing ship Konstantin Olshansky, landing ship Kirovohrad, minesweeper Chernihiv and minesweeper Cherkasy.

The Cherkasy was the last of the ships to have been overtaken following weeks of threats and ultimatums to surrender. It was finally chased down and overtaken by the Russian navy on March 25 after failing to slip past a blockade of two ships intentionally sunk by the Russians to trap it and other vessels in a narrow gulf, keeping them from escaping into the Black Sea.

Russia has captured 51 vessels belonging to Ukraine’s navy, according to information gathere by the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv. (Infographic: Rusudan Tsiskreli)

As of March 26, just 10 Ukrainian vessels remained in its navy’s possession, including frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy, gunboat Skadovsk, intelligence ship Pereyaslav and diving vessel Netishin.

Kyiv Post editor Christopher J. Miller can be reached at millerjchristopher@gmail.com, and on Twitter at @ChristopherJM.

Notorious “Right Sector” Terrorist Gunned-Down While Resisting Arrest

Notorious Ukrainian nationalist militant shot dead in police raid (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

Russia-Today
Aleksandr Muzychko

Aleksandr Muzychko

 

Muzychko was killed in Rovno, western Ukraine, where he coordinated actions of local groups belonging to the nationalist Right Sector movement, a national Ukrainian news media outlet reported.

At a press conference dedicated to Muzychko‘s death, First Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov announced that charges of hooliganism and obstructing law enforcement agencies had been filed against Muzychko March 8, and on March 12 Muzychko was put on the Ukrainian police’s wanted list.

Yevdokimov provided a dramatic version of the events leading up to Muzychko’s death.

The operation to arrest him took place in a village near Rovno, where the militant leader and three of his bodyguards, all of them armed, were in a local restaurant, called “The Three Crucians.”

An assault group from the Sokol special police task force stormed the restaurant to detain Muzychko and his henchmen. The militant leader made an attempt to flee through a window. He opened fire, and two of his bullets wounded a police officer, who returned fire and shot Muzychko in the leg. Other police officers shot in the air, Yevdokimov said.

Even after Muzychko fell to the ground, he continued shooting.

“When [the police] attempted to detain him, they found out he was wounded. The medics who arrived at the scene proclaimed Muzychko dead,” Yevdokimov said.

The three bodyguards, who were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and Makarov pistols, were detained by police.

There are differing accounts as to how Muzychko died.

A Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada MP, Aleksandr Doniy, was among the first to write about Muzychko’s death.

His car was cut off by two other cars. He was dragged out and placed in one of those cars. Then he was thrown on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back and [he received] two shots in his heart,” Doniy wrote on Facebook.

Right Sector activist Yaroslav Granitny told uapress.info he saw the dead body and was sure it was Muzychko. He added that five people were kidnapped by those who killed the ultra-right leader – three militants from Right Sector and two civilians.

Muzychko himself earlier said he believed he could be killed. In a video address recently posted on YouTube he said that the leadership of “the Prosecutor General’s office and the Interior Ministry of Ukraine made a decision to either eliminate me or to capture me and hand me over to Russia, to then blame it all on the Russian intelligence.”

The man was known for his radicalism, attacks on local officials during the coup in Kiev, and refusing to give up arms after the new authorities were imposed.

Under the name Sashko Bilyi, he took an active part in the First Chechen War in 1994-1995, when he headed a group of Ukrainian nationalists fighting against Russian troops.

Russia’s Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Aleksandr Muzychko in early March. The Ukrainian was accused of torturing and murdering at least 20 captured Russian soldiers as he fought alongside Chechen militants.

Aleksandr Muzychko came under the spotlight of the Russian authorities after a series of scandals in Ukraine, when the radical nationalist leader went on with the rampage against regional authorities, lashing out at a local prosecutor, threatening local authorities with an AK-47 and making openly anti-Semitic statements

Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians – Tymoshenko in leaked tape

Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians – Tymoshenko in leaked tape

Russia-Today

Yulia Tymoshenko (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)

Ukrainians must take up arms against Russians so that not even scorched earth will be left where Russia stands; an example of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko’s vitriol in phone call leaked online.

Tymoshenko confirmed the authenticity of the conversation on Twitter, while pointing out that a section where she is heard to call for the nuclear slaughter of the eight million Russians who remain on Ukrainian territory was edited.

She tweeted “The conversation took place, but the ‘8 million Russians in Ukraine’ piece is an edit. In fact, I said Russians in Ukraine – are Ukrainians. Hello FSB :) Sorry for the obscene language.”

The former Ukrainian PM has not clarified who exactly she wants to nuke.

Shufrych’s press service flatly contradicted Tymoshenko, slamming the tape as fake. The press release reads “The conversation didn’t take place,” as quoted by korrespondent.net.The phone conversation with Nestor Shufrych, former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, was uploaded on YouTube on Monday by user Sergiy Vechirko.

The leaked phone call took placed on March 18, hours after the Crimea & Sevastopol accession treaty was signed in the Kremlin.

While Shufrych was “just shocked,” Tymoshenko was enraged by the results of the Crimean referendum .

“This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians together with their leader,” Tymoshenko said.

The ex-pm declared if she was in charge “there would be no f***ing way that they would get Crimea then.”

Shufrych made the valid point that Ukraine “didn’t have any force potential” to keep Crimea.

But Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found “a way to kill those a*****es.”

“I hope I will be able to get all my connections involved. And I will use all of my means to make the entire world raise up, so that there wouldn’t be even a scorched field left in Russia,” she promised.

Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun and shoot that m*********er in the head.”

Tymoshenko rose to power as a key figure in the pro-European Orange Revolution in 2004, becoming Ukrainian prime minister 2007-2010.

She was imprisoned in 2012, under president Viktor Yanukovich, after being found guilty of exceeding her authority by signing a gas supply and transit deal with Russia.

The deal is claimed to have cost Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, Naftogaz, around US$170 million.

Tymoshenko served part of her seven-year sentence in prison before being relocated to a Kharkov hospital.

She was released immediately after the Kiev coup which ousted Yanukovich.

This is not the first telephone leak scandal since the Ukrainian turmoil began last November.

In February, a tape was revealed, in which US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe,

Victoria Nuland, said “F**k the EU” as she was discussing the formation of the future Ukrainian government with the US ambassador to the country, Geoffrey Pyatt.

And at the beginning of March a phone conversation between EU Foreign Affairs Сhief, Catherine Ashton, and Estonian foreign affairs minister, Urmas Paet, was made public.

Speaking with Ashton, Paet stressed that there was suspicion that the snipers in Kiev, who shot at protesters and police in Kiev might have been hired by Maidan leaders.