Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

Novorossiya: Putin calculates that Obama will bark and show his teeth but will not bite

August 31, 2014

Putin did not cause the descent of Ukraine into anarchy. That was the EU and the US respectively trying to expand the boundaries of Europe and NATO. The EU sold the “benefits” of joining Europe very hard and raised expectations in the country which no President could live up to. In the process they supported the opposition to the elected (but disliked) President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. That included substantial support for Ukraine’s neo-Nazi, nationalist Right Sector. The EU bureaucrats in Brussels were elated at the potential for expanding the EU. Catherine Ashton and John Kerry were so full of themselves and their “success” in spreading democracy that they miscalculated the consequences. Yanukovych was toppled in February 2014 and the EU and the US celebrated. But the Right Sector lost no time in “pushing” and pressurising the Russian speakers especially in Eastern Ukraine. The push-back started and Crimea “voted” to join Russia. Russia ratified the decision and effected the transition on the ground. The EU and the US responded with sanctions. A missile fired by Russian separatists – perhaps aimed at a Ukraine military aircraft flying in the shadow of a commercial jet – brought down Malaysian flight 17. Sanctions were extended. The EU made noises. Obama demonstrated his risk aversion when even the atrocities by ISIS did not lead to any action by the US beyond a few drone attacks.

And so Putin has probably made his calculation that while Obama is by no means toothless, he will bark and show his teeth and foam at the mouth, but he will not bite. NATO will not start a war in Europe except as the tail of a belligerent US. The EU has 28 members and 28 strategies and no real leadership.

The US and EU have now established that regime-change of a government they disapprove of is a legitimate justification for the use of force. Vladimir Putin and Russia and China have taken notice. And the regime-change started by the US and the EU in February 2014 will probably be brought to some kind of conclusion (for the time being) as Putin establishes Novorossiya.

Novorossiya - graphic Washington Post

Novorossiya – graphic Washington Post

Whatever is left of Ukraine will be land-locked and Putin will again have control of the Black Sea.

“My goal is a white Ukraine” – Swedish neo-Nazi

July 24, 2014

Whether they admit it or not, the European Union and the United States have helped the growth of the far-right, neo-Nazi Right Sector in Ukraine. My belief is that this was more due to incompetence in applying foreign policy (what else would one expect with John Kerry, William Hague and Catherine Ashton in charge?) than due to any well analysed implementation of foreign policy. The growth of the Right Sector – which makes no secret of its fascist, anti-semitic, anti-black views –  was probably not intended, just as the growth of ISIS and Al Qaida related groups was not intended in Syria. Just as the growth of ISIS in Iraq or the rebirth and growth of the Taliban in Afghanistan were not intended.

Ukraine and the Right Sector have also provided the idiot, neo-Nazi, white supremacists of western Europe with a cause to rally behind and an opportunity to exercise their yearnings for violence. Just as Syria and ISIS have provided young, radicalised, idiot Muslims of western Europe with a cause and an opportunity. (That this was not foreseen by the governments of Europe and the EU is another indicator of incompetence and also that the “common” EU foreign policy is just a “dumbing-down” of the policies of its member countries).

In Ukraine the Azov Batallion  was formed by, and operates under, the authority of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. It is, ostensibly, a volunteer force, about 300 strong and has provided a home for the more violent, far-right Ukrainian hooligans. It has also provided a home for neo-Nazi “volunteers” from at least Sweden, Finland, Norway and Italy.

Svenska Dagbaldet:“My goal is a white Ukraine. I am a nationalist and I want that white Europeans will remain in Europe” , says Mikael Skillt from Sundsvall. SvD reached him by telephone with the Azov Batallion somewhere outside Donetsk.  

Skillt is a member of the Swedish neo-Nazi, Swedish Party. Since February, he is in Ukraine. Now, he is in the Azov batallion and leads a search party outside Donetsk.

Skillt has also been talking to the BBC:

The appearance of far-right activists, both foreign and home-grown, among the Ukrainian volunteers fighting in east Ukraine is causing unease. Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He is known to be dangerous to the rebels: reportedly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a telephone conversation from an undisclosed location, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.”

…… Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism”.

Italians and Finns and Norwegians are also in the Azov Batallion.

YLE

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a demand on Monday for Finland, Sweden, the Baltic countries and France to investigate claims published in Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper that citizens from these countries have voluntarily left to fight alongside government troops in east Ukraine.

The article in Il Giornale, published over the weekend, said the international fighters had joined the armed volunteer group the Azov Brigade, said to be made up of around 300 far-right extremists fighting against pro-Russian separatists.

Il Giornale featured an interview with one Italian volunteer who had joined the brigade, who says he and his colleagues are there of their own will and for their own ideological reasons.

“Many have joined us from the Nordic countries, like Sweden, Finland and Norway,” the fighter says.

It would seem that the Azov Batallion is the unregulated military arm of the Ukrainian government.

 

Russian maps already include Crimea

May 1, 2014

The Russian language site of the Ministry of Defense has not wasted much time in including Crimea as part of the Southern Defence Region. The English language website does not – yet – include the change.

Gen. Sergei Shoigu - Minister of Defense

Gen. Sergei Shoigu – Minister of Defense

It seems to be just a matter of time before parts of Eastern Ukraine also are included. I see that many US and European sources are seeing this “annexation”  of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine as Russian aggression. The Russians have certainly been opportunistic but I believe it has been aggressive EU expansionism and fairly incompetent EU Foreign Policy formulation and implementation which has initiated the violent reaction from the local Russian-speaking population. As the WSJ put it:

The seeds of EU policy disarray were sown in the divisions among the EU’s 28 member states—as well as the disinclination of most European countries to view Ukraine as a test of geopolitical importance. There was a yawning difference between the efforts of Vladimir Putin’s Russia to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence and what Europe was prepared to do to tempt what many regard as a country of major strategic significance into the Western fold. …….. Much criticism of Europe’s policy disarray has been directed to the EU institutions in Brussels, the bloc’s foreign-policy head Catherine Ashton and its enlargement chief, Stefan Füle. But it is difficult for Brussels to get out ahead of its biggest member states on foreign-policy issues—and many governments were cautious.

The fact that the EU turned a blind eye to the the growth of the neo-Nazi, right-wing fanatics only fuelled the fears of the ethnic Russians. The de facto EU support – with US acquiesence – for openly corrupt “opposition” politicians in Ukraine did not much help either. It should not have required much deep analysis to conclude that Russia would not stand idly by when the ethnic Russians felt threatened. But the multiple and fractured views of the 28 EU states does not allow much rational analysis.

Russian Ministry of Defence Maps - Russian version already includes Crimea

Russian Ministry of Defence Maps – Russian version already includes Crimea (image SvD)

Image comparison: Svenska Dagbladet.

A story in 3 maps: EU and NATO push and Russia pushes back

March 19, 2014

It is the play of simple geopolitical forces which itself is based on the drawing of lines on maps. The creeping expansion eastwards of the EU and NATO has given little thought to the response it must inevitably invite. I put much of the Ukrainian crisis down to the thoughtless behaviour of the EU. That behaviour itself is inevitable given that foreign policy in the EU is driven by a confused mix of 28 countries and by the insatiable bureaucratic hunger in Brussels for an ever-increasing bureaucracy by including ever-more countries into the pot (providing that they are non-muslim). The rush to expansion is – in part – the reason why the EU is mired for so long in the financial crisis. With 28 countries involved policy is often clumsy and heavy-handed with little place for nuance and diplomatic skill.

The current breaking point was reached when the EU (aiding and abeting the US in the expansion of NATO) clumsily encouraged internal dissent in the Ukraine and activated the far-right, neo-Nazi forces. Did they really expect no response? And does the EU really want to be associated with the neo- Nazis of Ukraine who are carrying on their traditions from the 1940’s? I think it was the rise of the neo-Nazis as the final straw which Russia found unacceptable. I find the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU a travesty and only confirms that the Peace Prize tarnishes the Nobel brand.

Today the response is in the Crimea. Logically, the EU and NATO expansion pressure will invite Russia to exercise even more control over the Eastern Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan.

1. Expansion of the EU.

2. Expansion of Nato

nato expansion (image mike faille)

nato expansion (image mike faille)

3. Where will Russia push-back?

where next for Russia

where next for Russia

Crimea: Hypocrisy when the US and the West attack a democratic referendum

March 17, 2014

Personally I do not believe in referenda as a sustainable democratic method. If all decisions were taken to referenda we would essentially have an anarchy. But the use of referenda – occasionally but often not with great circumspection – has become a common practice in so-called democratic countries whenever an administration finds itself at odds with the great unwashed electorate and at risk of losing an election.

The Crimea has no great tradition or history as a part of Ukraine. It was merely attached to Ukraine in 1954 for administrative and prestige purposes during Khrushchev’s time. I find the developments in the Crimea are now showing up the double standards that always apply in international “diplomacy” in a very clear and sharp light. It is always a case of “do as I say” and never of “do as I do”.

There is little doubt that the Crimean referendum yesterday reflects the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of that autonomous territory. The Tartars and the Ukrainians living in the Crimea largely boycotted the vote. But it was a direct vote on a simple question. It is being criticised for being illegal and unconstitutional by Obama and the EU and the “West”. But it cannot be criticised for being undemocratic. The claim that it was unconstitutional is a little weird since the current administration in Kiev can hardly be called constitutional. At best one could say that neither the acting government in Kiev (which is not an elected government any more) nor the referendum are in line with the currently suspended Ukrainian constitution.

EU Ministers are rushing to condemn the referendum – but they are careful to quote issues of legality and constitutional impropriety. They are careful not to call the referendum undemocratic. Hague and Cameron particularly show up as being triple-tongued and double-faced. The Crimea – under the Ukrainian constitution – had more autonomy than Scotland has in the UK. How then is a referendum in Scotland on independence acceptable but a referendum in the Crimea is not?  Hague claims that the referendum makes a “mockery of democracy” but that is an intellectually bankrupt statement. He might as well call for all of the UK to vote in Scotland’s referendum for that referendum not also to be a mockery of Democracy. David Cameron is struggling to balance between offering a referendum on EU membership and yet making it a vote which has no possibility of the UK leaving the EU. Democracy will not apply if the vote is “No” to membership. The electorate wants a referendum, so he offers them one. But the UK Parliament – which has surrendered many of its powers to Europe – is loth to allow the unwashed electorate any such power.

The reality today is that almost all “democratic” countries use voting systems which are nowhere near as direct or as represntative of an electorate’s wishes as a refrendum. The US Presidential elections with its electoral college is a case in point. Party democracies in Europe are extremely indirect reflections of the wishes of the electorate. It is political parties which control the names on the party lists. The broad electorate only chooses a Party, and the Party hierarchy and membership usually choose the representatives. The manner in which names enter the Party lists is hardly democratic. European countries which practice proportional representation have a quite “undemocratic” representation in their Parliaments. Extreme minorities have a disproportionately large presence in Parliaments.

There is a lot of noise and bluster from Obama and Kerry and all the EU politicians. But it is the imprudent wooing of Ukraine by the EU and US meddling which has created the current crisis in Ukraine. It is their indiscriminate support of any opposition (just as in Syria) which has allowed the advance of the violent far-right neo Nazis.

I also note that while Obama’s popularity is at an all-time low of 41%, Vladimir Putin’s popularity is at an all-time high of over 70%. And democracy, after all, is just a popularity contest. But the simple fact is that most of the Crimea would prefer to be with Russia than with Ukraine. Obama and his friends may call it illegal and unconstitutional but the Crimean vote yesterday was totally democratic.

Obama’s “promotion of democracy” leads to de facto support for Al Qaida in Syria and Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

March 1, 2014

Obama will go down in history as a follower rather than a leader, let alone the “leader of the free world”.

I have a theory that Obama’s indecision, his dithering and his aversion to risk of any kind has led to his actually supporting Al Qaida in Syria and is now leading him to help Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. All in the name of promoting “democracy”. A quick strike in Syria was never on the cards in spite of all Obama’s bluster. He is incapable of taking any actions with such associated risk. Instead he supported the arming of rebel groups which are now being dominated by Al Qaida. His best option now – paradoxically – is that Assad manages to keep Al Qaida at bay. Remarkably the best chances for a real  “democracy” – eventually –  is now with Assad in power such that Al Qaida does not prevail. (And the example of “democracy promotion” leading to the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt should not be so soon forgotten. The Egypt with Sissi is not so different from Mubarak’s Egypt).

After Helping Arm Al Qaeda In Syria, US Government Says Al Qaeda In Syria A Threat To US

….. The Syrian Civil War is the epitome of a conflict that has no US national interest involved – neither side is allied with the United States nor is likely to ever be nor is there any vital security or even economic interest at stake.

But despite this total lack of relevance to the American people and country, the Obama Administration tried to enter the war. First there was an attempt to pretend the Assad government was a threat to the United States because it had chemical weapons, but then Assad agreed to remove the weapons. So then President Obama bypassed an American law to prevent arming terrorists to arm the “moderate” rebels within Syria.

Not long after Obama dodged the anti-terrorist law, the Al Qaeda faction of the Syrian rebels was in possession of the weapons Obama sent to Syria. So yes, after refusing to follow a law that was supposed to prevent arming terrorists, Obama ended up arming terrorists. Abysmally stupid does not even begin to describe this policy.

Now the supposedly “democratic” movement in Ukraine is being taken over by the Neo-Nazis. Obama is blustering again against Russia and the inevitable Russian intervention in the Crimea. He threatens that any Russian intervention will have “costs” – whatever that means. It is in part the US meddling in the Ukraine – ostensibly to promote “democracy” which has advantaged the Neo-Nazis and brought the Ukraine to where it is.

The Neo-Nazis of Ukraine

Reality on the ground in Ukraine contradicts the incompetent and immoral Obama regime’s portrait of Ukrainian democracy on the march.

To the extent that government exists in post-coup Ukraine, it is laws dictated by gun and threat wielding thugs of the neo-Nazi, Russophobic, ultra-nationalist, right-wing parties. Watch the video of the armed thug, Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in  Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno regional parliament a grant of apartments to families of protesters.

Read about the neo-nazis intimidating the Central Election Commission in order to secure rule and personnel changes in order to favor the ultra-right in the forthcoming elections.  Thug Aleksandr Shevchenko informed the CEC that armed activists will remain in CEC offices in order to make certain that the election is not rigged against the neo-nazis.  What he means, of course, is the armed thugs will make sure the neo-nazis win.  If the neo-nazis don’t win, the chances are high that they will take power regardless.

The Russians are already talking about another battle against the Nazis. It seems inevitable that Russia will now ensure its own influence in the Crimea with troops on the ground (even if they bear no Russian insignia). With 60% of the Crimean population being Russian (with 24% being Ukrainian and 12% being Tartars) there is little doubt that Russia will “respond” to calls for help from the Russian population and are already doing so. And once again – paradoxically – it could be Russian intervention in the Crimea which turns out to be the best defense against Neo-nazis exploting the US and Obama’s “promotion of democracy”.

NewsInfo: The newly-chosen prime minister of the Ukrainian southern region of Crimea on Saturday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to help restore “peace and calm” to the Black Sea peninsula, amid a standoff with the new authorities in Kiev.

Crimea (Google Maps)

Crimea (Google Maps)

Nuland rant indicates heavy US advice to (or direction of) Ukraine opposition

February 7, 2014

For once it was not the NSA bugging some European leader. Presumably it was the Russians bugging US diplomats. Victoria Nuland the US diplomat for European and Eurasian affairs reportedly said ‘Fuck the EU’ while speaking of the Ukraine crisis with the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. 

Марионетки Майдана

I will not be surprised if this recording disappears from You Tube if the US applies pressure – through the horse has bolted.

The US like many others may be frustrated with the EU but what is fairly clear is that the US is very actively advising – if not directing – the Ukraine opposition.The modern version of the Great Game being played out in Syria and Ukraine.

BBC: A voice resembling that of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland refers to the EU using a graphic swear word, in a conversation apparently with to the US ambassador to Ukraine. The US said Ms Nuland had “apologised for these reported comments”.

The EU and US are involved in talks to end months of unrest in Ukraine. …. 

Russia has been widely accused of intervening in Ukraine, using its economic clout to persuade Mr Yanukovych to abandon closer ties with Brussels. Russia has itself accused Washington and the EU of meddling in Ukraine. 

The 4min 10sec video was entitled “Maidan’s puppets” in Russian – a reference to the square in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, where pro-EU protests have been held for months. A transcription of the whole conversation was also posted in Russian.

At one point, the female speaker mentions the UN and its possible role in trying to find a solution to the Ukraine stand-off.

She says: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and you know…” she then uses the graphic swear word about the EU.

The male replies: “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”

The two officials also discuss frankly the merits of the three main Ukrainian opposition leaders – Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tyahnybok.


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