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Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake News

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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 24, 2024 4:50 pm

Plane downed by Ukraine act of terrorism

A military transport plane has crashed in the Belgorod region of Russia, with Moscow saying 65 prisoners of war and nine others were on board and accusing Ukraine of shooting it down

    New statement from Ukraine does not rule out shooting down plane
Ukraine's military intelligence service has just issued a statement, which says it has no reliable information about who was on board the crashed plane.

Ukraine says it carried out all agreements for a prisoner exchange due to happen today, the statement confirms. But it says it was up to Russia to ensure the safety of our defenders under the agreements that had been reached

The statement also says that Kyiv had not been asked to ensure the "safety of airspace near the city of Belgorod" at the agreed time - stating this was "something that had happened on numerous occasions before" in previous swaps.

So - although it doesn't accept responsibility for the crash - this could be seen as Ukraine accepting it was possible that the plane was downed by a Ukrainian missile.

For their part, Russia suggested on Wednesday that Ukraine had been provided with all the details of the prisoner exchange as UKRAINE ADMITS to expecting a prisoner exchange to happen today,
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:31 pm

Aircraft with Ukrainian Prisoners Shot Down

On Wednesday, a Russian Il-76 transport aircraft with 65 Ukrainian prisoners on board crashed in the Belgorod region

"At about 11:00 Moscow time, an IL-76 plane crashed in Belgorod during a scheduled flight. There were 65 captured servicemen of the Ukraine armed forces on board.".

Others onboard included six aircraft crew members and three accompanying persons. A Russian air forces commission flew to the crash site to establish the cause of the disaster.

The Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said he believes the Ukrainian military shot down the plane.

He instructed lawmakers to prepare an appeal to the U.S. Congress and Germany's Bundestag in connection with the plane crash to show foreign governments how Kiev is using their military assistance.

"There is a proposal to investigate what missiles and launchers were used. Let's prepare an appeal to the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag so that lawmakers can finally see who they are funding and helping," Volodin said.

"They shot their own soldiers in the air. Their mothers, wives and children were waiting. The pilots of our military transport aircraft, who were carrying out a humanitarian mission, were shot at...with U.S. and German missiles," he added.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Rus ... -0003.html
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jan 29, 2024 12:10 pm

Reduced US aid to Ukraine

Concerned about the potential decrease in US aid, President Zelensky urges Germany to use its economic influence to rally EU partners for increased support to Kiev in its fight against Russia

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned on Sunday that a reduction in aid from the United States to Kiev would convey a "negative message", highlighting the challenges faced by US President Joe Biden amid a Republican blockade on additional support.

Keeping in mind the possibility of reduced US aid, Zelensky called on Germany to leverage its economic influence to encourage EU partners to provide more support to Kiev in its struggle against Russia.

In response to a question about whether he expected Berlin to assume a greater role in the event of reduced assistance from the United States, he remarked, "Germany can manage to consolidate the EU."

"Many countries have important economic relationships with Germany and their economy is dependent on Germany's decisions because Germany has a strong economy," he said.

In a different interview on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on European nations to increase their commitments to provide weapons to Ukraine, indicating the possibility that assistance from the US, the largest contributor, might cease.

"Europe must do more to support Ukraine in the defence of its own country," Scholz said, as quoted by Die Zeit weekly, stressing that the contributions that European nations have earmarked for 2024 so far are "not big enough."

The big picture

US aid has played a vital role in supporting the pro-Western nation in its war against Russia. However, opposition Republicans have spearheaded an effort to cease this support, insisting on withholding approval for new budget allocations unless Democrats consent to comprehensive and stringent measures addressing illegal migration.

Amid an election year where Joe Biden may face Donald Trump again, Zelensky has cautioned that a potential return of Trump to the White House could lead to a "different policy" regarding the ongoing war.

On this note, former US President Donald Trump on Sunday emphasized his doubts that NATO would come to the United States' rescue were it to come under attack in further criticism of the alliance that he has always shown disdain for.

Trump is essentially casting doubt on Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which stipulates collective defense in the event of an armed attack on a member state, saying he did not think the alliance would commit and help his country out.

"We're paying for NATO, and we don't get so much out of it. If we ever needed their help, let's say we were attacked, I don't believe they'd be there. I know the people," he said, addressing a large crowd of supporters.

The former US President has long been at odds with NATO, going as far as calling it "obsolete" during his first year in office and criticizing key US-allied NATO members, particularly Germany, for not spending more on defense. According to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, the US was ready to exit the alliance in 2018.

As part of his rant about NATO, Trump went on to criticize US President Joe Biden's decision to provide military aid to Ukraine in the ongoing war. "We don't have ammunition for ourselves, [yet] we're giving away so much," he argued.

He went on to pledge that he would put an end to the ongoing Ukraine war within "24 hours" were he to be re-elected, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky dismissed earlier as unrealistic.

Trump is echoing a similar statement he made last year when he claimed that he could have influenced a cessation of the war in Ukraine within 24 hours by negotiation if he were still president, adding that the war would not have happened if he were still in his position.

This comes at a time when Trump is leading the Republican polls, making recent victories in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, which gave him momentum against his only remaining foe, former US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, who is still in the race after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis withdrew from it last week.

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/pol ... s-zelensky
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Feb 02, 2024 4:05 pm

ICJ does not recognize Russia as aggressor state

The International Court of Justice dismissed Ukraine's demand to designate Russia as an aggressor state

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected Kiev's claim to recognize Russia as an "aggressor state" and the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) as "terrorist organizations."

Earlier in the day, the ICJ rejected most of the claims raised by Ukraine against Russia under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Crimea, Court President Joan Donoghue said.

"The International Court of Justice did not follow Kiev's whim and refused to recognize Russia as an 'aggressor state.' The court also rejected Ukrainian insinuations that the DPR and LPR are allegedly 'terrorist organizations,'" the statement said.

The ministry's statement added that Kiev aimed to use the court claim to support its demands for the transfer of Russian assets frozen in the West and the introduction of international restrictions against Russia.

Ukraine filed the lawsuit with the ICJ in 2017, accusing Russia of violating international conventions on anti-terrorism and racial discrimination over actions in the Donbass and Crimea.

What did the court conclude?

The ICJ determined that "Russia violated the anti-discrimination treaty" through its implementation of the educational system in Crimea post-2014, specifically regarding school education in the Ukrainian language. The court dismissed all other allegations.

Concerning the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the court concluded that Russia neglected to implement measures for investigating facts related to individuals who were purportedly involved in an offense. The court rejected all other contentions put forth by Ukraine under this treaty.

The Hague-based court also determined that Russia had diligently met its responsibilities to collaborate in the efforts against terrorism financing. This included fulfilling obligations to identify and obstruct funds utilized for financing terrorism.

Moreover, the ICJ opted not to pass judgment on Kiev's allegations regarding Russia being responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/pol ... gressor-st
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Feb 02, 2024 10:58 pm

Patriot Missile Fragments at Il-76 Crash Site

On Thursday, Russian investigators said that fragments of the MIM-104A anti-aircraft guided missile of the U.S. Patriot air defense system were detected at the crash site of the Il-76 transport aircraft

"According to the conclusions made during the investigation, fragments seized from the crash site... are design elements of the MIM-104A anti-aircraft guided missile of the U.S. Patriot complex," the investigative committee said.

A total of 116 fragments of two anti-aircraft missiles with inscriptions in English were found near the crash site of the plane. The probe also discovered at the crash site body fragments and some partially preserved personal documents.

"Markings found on the seized fragments include: “Raytheon”, “Confidential classified by Patriot Security Classification Guide Dated: 9/22/83," Sputnik reported.

    ⚡️ Ukrainian forces used an MIM-104A anti-aircraft guided missile fired from a Patriot missile system to shoot down the Il-76 plane near Belgorod - Russian Investigative Committee

    ⚡️ In the area of the plane crash, 116 fragments of two anti-aircraft missiles with inscriptions in… pic.twitter.com/ARlwXINHZn
    — War Reports (@cheguwera) February 1, 2024
"It was established that traces of the explosive hexogen with impurities of up to 10 percent octogen were found in washouts from the objects, which is typical for foreign-made explosives," it added.

Genetic tests have confirmed that the body fragments belonged to the 65 Ukrainian military personnel, six crew members, and three military police officers who died as a result of the crash.

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow has openly called for an international investigation into the incident. However, the West seems to be disinterested.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Jan. 24 that Ukraine had launched two missiles at a Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft, killing all 74 people on board.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Rus ... -0005.html
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Feb 03, 2024 9:24 pm

Ukrainian shelling of a popular bakery

Russian authorities on Saturday announced that a Ukrainian terror attack on the city of Lysychansk resulted in the killing of at least 11 individuals

As search and rescue operations are ongoing, there is the possibility of finding more people that are trapped under the rubble, they added.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, a HIMARS rocket system provided by the US appears to have been used to launch the attack.

When the structure fell, roughly forty persons were buried beneath the rubble.

Twenty more persons are thought to remain under the debris, in addition to the at least twelve hospitalized. The local emergency authorities stated that the rescue effort would go on all night.

The Ukrainian shelling targeted a building housing a popular bakery.

"Unfortunately, 11 people died," Russia's emergency situations ministry said on Telegram.

Rescuers managed to save 10 people and hand them over to doctors, the ministry added, noting that rescue operations will continue overnight.

Governor of Lugansk Leonid Pasechnik earlier confirmed that Kiev shelled a bakery that was known to bake fresh bread on weekends.

    Up to 40 people may be trapped under the rubble of the bakery in Lisichansk, Lugansk People's Republic, which was shelled by the US-backed Kiev terrorist regime. pic.twitter.com/CND5JF8fRQ
    — DD Geopolitics (@DD_Geopolitics) February 3, 2024
Authorities reported that a man in "serious condition" with injuries was transported to a hospital in the city of Lugansk, and three other injured individuals were set to be taken there as well.

Pasechnik mentioned that police and emergency services are using special equipment in an effort to rescue the victims.

Russian MFA Accuses Ukraine of ‘Terrorism’ for striking bakery

The Ukrainian government, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was accused by the Russian Foreign Ministry of terrorism on Saturday following an attack by the Ukrainian military on a crowded bakery in Lysychansk that resulted in the deaths of at least eleven civilians.

"Russia will inform international organizations about the latest act of terrorism by Zelenskyy’s gang. We expect the relevant international organizations to issue a swift and firm rebuke for Kiev’s crime," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Terror attacks amplified

As Ukraine struggled to achieve its counter-offensive objectives and encountered diminishing Western support in recent months, the operations conducted by Kiev seem to shift more closely to acts of terrorism.

On January 25, Ukraine shot down a Russian military transport plane that was carrying 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers to a prisoner exchange. Russia labeled the incident as a barbaric act of terrorism, resulting in the death of a total of 74 people.

Just four days earlier, a Ukrainian shelling in a busy market in Donetsk resulted in the deaths of 25 civilians, including two children.

On December 30, 2023, Ukraine executed an indiscriminate strike on the Russian city of Belgorod, utilizing cluster-mounted Vilkha missiles and shells from a Czech-made RM-70 Vampire multiple-launch rocket system.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 12 adults and two children, with 108 others wounded.

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/pol ... lysychansk
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Feb 10, 2024 10:29 am

Peaceful Solution to Ukraine

On Thursday night, former FOX host Tucker Carlson published a two-hour interview with President Vladimir Putin in which the Russian leader addressed issues related to the Ukrainian conflict, the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO), and the explosion of the Nord Stream pipeline.

NATO expansion

Putin recounted the main moments of NATO's expansion through the countries of Eastern Europe. In 2008, the U.S.-controlled military alliance began a more aggressive approach to Ukraine, promising that the country could be admitted to the group.

This circumstance began to gradually change Russia's relations with Ukraine, which had developed with a positive attitude until that moment.

"In 2008 they opened the doors of NATO to Ukraine. In 2014 they carried out a coup d'état and began to persecute those who did not recognize the coup d'état," Putin said.

He also explained that the 2014 coup in Ukraine created an imminent threat, which forced Russia to take Crimea under its protection

The Ukrainian conflict

"We repeatedly, repeatedly offered to seek a solution to the problems that arose in Ukraine after the coup in 2014 by peaceful means. But no one listened to us," Putin stressed.

"And what's more, the Ukrainian leadership, which was under full control of the U.S., suddenly declared that it would not fulfill the Minsk agreements, they did not like anything there, and continued military activity in this territory," he added.

Meanwhile, the development of this territory by NATO military structures took place under the guise of various training and retraining centers for personnel, the Russian President said, adding that they had actually built bases there.

He recalled that the Ukrainian authorities adopted laws that restricted the rights of Russians. "In Ukraine, they declared that Russians are -- they passed a law -- a non-titular nation, and at the same time they adopted laws that restrict the rights of non-titular nations."

"This all together caused the decision to end the war that was started by neo-Nazis in Ukraine in 2014 by armed means," Putin said.

Nord Stream explosion

When asked about who were the authors of the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, the Russian leader attributed what happened to the United States, a country that was interested in sabotaging that energy project and that had the means to do so.

"In this case, we must look not only for someone who is interested, but also for someone who can do it. Many might be interested but not everyone can reach the bottom of the Baltic Sea and carry out this explosion," Putin said.

Carlson then asked why Russia does not present the evidence obtained about sabotage in the gas pipelines to win this propaganda war.

Putin indicated that it is difficult to win in the dispute over the meaning of events given that the United States "controls all the media in the world and many in Europe."

Regarding Germany's silence about NATO's involvement in the Nord Stream explosion, Putin noted that the German authorities "are not guided by national interests, but by the interests of the collective West. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the logic of their actions or inaction."

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Rus ... -0002.html

I strongly recommend everyone to watch the entire, extremely informative, 2 hour interview
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 13, 2024 2:31 pm

Ukraine violates international law, CWC

It is not surprising that now when the Ukrainian military is being trained under the guidance of US military instructors, cases of the use of chemical substances have emerged

Over the past decade, the number of local conflicts and the range of weapons have significantly increased. The diversity of UAVs has become a distinctive feature of the current military conflicts. This type of warfare is most heavily used in Ukraine. The use of UAV tactics in combination with conventional arms, including prohibited, reached its peak.

A striking example of this war crime is the numerous reports of the use of chemical agents by the Kiev regime from the very beginning of the conflict. Numerous evidences are documented in the material. At the same time, representatives of various international organizations are so unwilling to pay attention to the issue and are actually trying to justify the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian side.

Usage of chloropicrin

There is a lot of evidence of chemical weapons usage by the Ukrainian forces, and it has been documented by officials, investigative authorities, and war correspondents.

For example, in May 2022, during a regular briefing of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, Chief of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, announced the discovery of three UAVs equipped with containers and hardware for spraying agents in the Kherson region near Kakhovka.

It is also known that the Ukrainian government sent a request to the Turkish company Baykar, specifying the possibility of setting up special equipment for spraying chemicals. Such devices can be applied not only in the agricultural sector but for military purposes.

In November 2022, the media reported on the usage of chloropicrin by the Ukrainian Army. Journalists also discovered that the bodies of Ukrainian UAVs were additionally treated with potassium cyanide to cause more damage.

Then, in May 2023, Telegram channels published evidence of TEREN-6 gas grenade usage dropped from drones on Russian positions. At the time, a video published by the Ukrainian source Supernova+ was actively circulated in the media. The authors of the video shamelessly boasted about "the use of chemical weapons by the Ukrainian armed forces against the Moscow boys" in Pervomayskoye in the Donetsk region.

The presence of this kind of ammunition was proved by the Izvestia news agency. A journalist, while inspecting former Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk region, detected the same TEREN-6 gas grenades, whose plastic casing was easily refitted with other chemicals.

In June 2023, Russian war correspondent Matyushin reported on the use of chloropicrin by the Ukrainian military in the Zaporizhzhia area. In addition, in September 2023, a video from a forest zone near Horlivka was published. The footage shows a certain aerosol cloud of yellowish color, literally enveloping the trees. The operator reports that the enemy has covered the positions with an unknown substance that greatly impairs visibility and makes breathing difficult.

The active use of chloropicrin by the Ukrainian side was repeatedly reported by the advisor to the head of the DPR, Yan Gagin. According to him, the AFU fighters receive orders on the use of this type of ammunition from NATO instructors. As a result, the Russian servicemen were experiencing attacks of suffocation, nausea, lacrimation, and other symptoms.

Is using tear gas a crime?

Although tear gas is not lethal in its effect, it is still a chemical weapon and its use in combat is illegal. However, the US army possesses the greatest experience in its use during the conflict in South Vietnam.

This rule has been in effect since 1993. It was then that the lengthy debate within the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention allowed the international community to agree on the inclusion of chloropicrin in the list of banned substances, along with phosgene and cyanogen chloride.

It is not surprising that now when the Ukrainian military is being trained under the guidance of US military instructors, cases of the use of chemical substances have emerged.

Chemical weapons in the hands of foreign mercenaries

Information on Ukraine's use of chemical weapons elements is also confirmed by foreign mercenaries. In January 2023, a video of the AFU serviceman and blogger Robert Brovdi, better known as Madyar, who is the founder of the AFU aerial reconnaissance unit Madyar Birds ,appeared on Ukrainian Telegram channels.

Video footage shows Ukrainian servicemen preparing small drones that are designed to drop some kind of red plastic containers. The containers are homemade cylinders of 700 grams.

The fuse mounted on the ammunition also attracts attention. It is completely different from the standard incandescent mechanism designed for detonation, and more resembles devices for mixing or spraying chemicals.

Another indirect sign confirming the aerosol nature of the contents is that the grenades are stored in the refrigerator. Chemical munitions that are vulnerable to thermal expansion and breach of the tightness of the shell require such treatment.

Moreover, Russian troops who participated in clashes around Soledar reported on the use of certain aerosol products by the AFU that caused burns to the upper respiratory tracts.

Transportation of chemical weapons from Germany

So, how do such substances and munitions get to Ukraine? In theory, Ukraine should not have its stockpiles of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, there is a fact of delivering chemical weapons components to Ukraine from abroad. In October 2023, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine alongside the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) purchased several barrels of a substance called triethanolamine through the company "Realab", which is one of the largest Ukrainian distributors of chemical reagents.

The above-mentioned substance, despite its widespread use in industry, is listed in Schedule No. 3 of the Annex to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Triethanolamine is a precursor for the synthesis of the skin-explosive agent nitrogen mustard gas.

Later, in December 2023, some details of the SSU operation were outlined by General Kirillov. He noted that those chemicals can be used by the SSU to produce a chemical warfare agent to carry out a provocation to slow down the Russian offensive.

Russian military personnel have repeatedly witnessed the use of chemical weapons by the Ukrainian army. But why should Ukraine admit to violating the International Armaments Treaty? After all, by announcing the forthcoming action, Kiev has declared to the world that it does not adhere to the prohibitions of the CWC. Moreover, on the issue of the use of chemical weapons by Moscow, Kiev has strong support from its Western patrons. Was this just a test to assess the effectiveness of using toxic or nerve agents on the battlefield?

It is highly likely that this approach is related to probing the ground as to whether the international community will condemn Ukraine for violating the CWC.

On the other hand, if the international community "turns a blind eye" to AFU actions in violation of the CWC, this indicates tacit approval of the use of chemical munitions, and Ukraine will further continue to violate the laws of warfare and international conventions. At the same time, European countries will continue to supply Kiev with various chemical precursors for the production of dangerous substances, ignoring the evidence base collected by the Russian side, as was the case in Syria.

However, Ukraine is unlikely to stop. The hyped counter-offensive has finally collapsed, some states intend to stop arms supplies, a new political crisis is growing in the US, and a new Maidan is brewing because of Zaluzhny's possible resignation. In these circumstances, the use of chemical weapon elements is a logical move, especially against the background of dubious "successes on the battlefield."

https://english.almayadeen.net/articles ... s-of-inter
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:32 pm

How the CIA secretly helps Ukraine

The CIA and other US intelligence organizations gather intelligence for targeted missile attacks, monitor Russian army movements, and assist espionage networks

    For more than a decade, the United States has maintained a secret intelligence collaboration with Ukraine, which is now essential to both nations' efforts to confront Russia, The New York Times reported.

    Adam Entous and Michael Schwirtz held interviews with numerous sources from Ukraine, Europe, and the US, which led them to discover that the CIA funds and equips hidden bases where Ukrainian troops keep tabs on Russian spy satellites and listen in on discussions between Russian commanders.
The intelligence collaboration between Washington and Kiev is critical to Ukraine's capacity to fight, the authors note. The CIA and other US American intelligence organizations gather intelligence for targeted missile attacks, monitor Russian army movements, and assist espionage networks.

However, this cooperation was not formed during the war, and not only Ukraine benefited from it.

The listening station in a dense Ukrainian forest is part of a CIA-supported network of spy sites built over the last eight years, which includes 12 covert outposts near the Russian border.

Around 2016, the CIA started training an elite Ukrainian commando squad known as Unit 2245, which captured Russian drones and communications equipment so that CIA experts could reverse-engineer them and break Moscow's encryption protocols. (One officer in the regiment was Kyrylo Budanov, who is now the general.)

The CIA also assisted in the training of a new generation of Ukrainian spies who worked in Russia, Europe, Cuba, and other Russian-controlled areas.

The relationship is so strong that CIA officials stayed in a distant location in western Ukraine when the Biden administration evacuated US soldiers in the weeks leading up to the war in February 2022. During the war, the officers conveyed important intelligence, such as where Russia planned to strike and which weapons systems they would deploy.

Ivan Bakanov, who was then head of Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, the SBU, expressed that “without them, there would have been no way for us to resist the Russians, or to beat them."

Secret CIA training program helped Ukraine prepare for Russia special op.

In March 2022, Yahoo News reported that a secret CIA-run training program in Ukraine helped Kiev prepare for Russia's special military operation in the country

    The US Central Intelligence Agency's program kicked off in 2014 when the illegal coup took place leading to conflict in Donbass, but the Biden administration pulled out all its CIA personnel from Ukraine before Russia started its military operation in the country, the report added, citing former officials
Washington ran its covert CIA training program from Ukraine's eastern frontlines, and it was made possible through previously existing assets for the agency, which made them illegible to stay without new legal determination, according to Yahoo News.

The report also revealed that the CIA sent a very small number of its paramilitary officers, which did not exceed a dozen, to eastern Ukraine as part of its training program.

The CIA's personnel taught the Ukrainians certain sniper techniques, how to use Javelin anti-tank missiles, means of evading digital tracking used by Moscow to locate troops, and how to use covert communication tools, to name a few, the report revealed.

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/pol ... d-by-the-c
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 02, 2024 1:02 am

Two years of Russian military operation
    Ten years since illegal coup started it all
Russia's military intervention into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, is a direct consequence of the illegal and violent coup in Kiev in February 2014 and the far-right, war-making regime that the coup-installed

The end of February 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of the pro-Western coup in Kiev, Ukraine that overthrew the country's elected president and legislature. It is also the second anniversary of Russia's entry into the civil conflict in Ukraine that has raged ever since the 2014 coup. Russia's 'Special Military Operation', as the Russian government and people call it, is a direct consequence of the coup and the deep divisions in Ukrainian society that the coup brought to the fore and deepened.

The main trigger of the coup was the violent overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine and, shortly after, its elected legislature. The coup touched off a violent and unrelenting ideological and institutional drive to suppress the multinational character of Ukraine, as inherited from the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the decades of progress and development during Soviet Ukraine before and after World War Two. All things 'Russian' were henceforth targets for elimination by an emboldened Ukrainian ultranationalism on the march.

Since 2014, television and media outlets in the Russian language have been banned. Political parties that opposed the 2014 coup have been banned. Writers and activists have been driven underground or abroad. Some have been massacred, as in the city of Odessa on May 4, 2014. Monuments and place names honoring Soviet Ukraine's past have been dismantled, in many cases replaced by monuments honoring the Nazi collaborators of the World War Two era. Glorification of, and monuments to, Ukrainian Nazi collaborators from those years is now common.

Ten years ago, days before the actual coup, unknown snipers began shooting both protesters and police officers in the battleground of Kiev's central square, commonly called 'Maidan' Square'. (The name 'Maidan' came to describe the pro-coup movement as a whole.) According to victims' testimonies, some of which were voiced at the flawed and drawn-out trials in which few of the trigger-pullers were charged and none convicted, the deadly fire came from the roofs of buildings seized and controlled by the coup's far-right, paramilitary shock troops.

The 'Maidan Massacre' on February 20, 2014 was a key moment in justifying the coup before the populations of the Western countries because Western media and governments immediately blamed anti-coup forces (so-called 'pro-Russians') for the deaths that occurred. They waged a frenetic propaganda drive to turn the tide of public opinion and convince it that supporters of the president and legislature being targeted by the coup were responsible for the more than 100 shooting deaths that occurred that day.

    Radical ultranationalists were the strike force of the new, pro-U.S., and pro-European Union government that came to power. Resistance against them was concentrated in Crimea, in the industrial working-class regions of Donbass in the east of the country, and in the city and surroundings of Odessa in the country's southwest
Resistance to the coup and to the far-right paramilitaries took some months to develop in Donbass because there were no governing structures there to which the population could turn for protection in the highly centralized, post-1991 Ukraine.

    In the city of Odessa, resistance to the coup was tragically suppressed in a massacre of protesters in the city center on May 4 that killed more than 40
Crimea resisted and survived the coup thanks to the existence of an autonomous, regional government to which the population could turn for protection. Crimea was the only region of Ukraine to have such an autonomous government. This was and remains a legacy of the self-determination policies of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The 'Autonomous Republic of Crimea' survived the secession of Ukraine from the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1990-91 and became a thorn in the side of the nationalist government in Kiev that oversaw the transition of Ukraine's planned economy under Soviet rule to today's disastrous capitalist economy. Today, Ukraine's economy is utterly subordinate and beholden to the United States, Britain, and the large powers of the European Union.

Over the past ten years, millions of former citizens of Ukraine have migrated to Russia from eastern and central Ukraine for safety and for better social and economic opportunities. On the western side of the country, millions have migrated to countries of the European Union, continuing and accelerating the trend of Ukrainians escaping the disaster of the country's post-Soviet, capitalist economy and social system.

Some estimates place Ukraine's current population at 28 million, down from some 45 million at the time of its 1991 secession from the USSR. But no one knows for sure because, conveniently for the coup leaders and their Western sponsors, the last census conducted by the Ukraine government was more than 20 years ago, in 2001.

The betrayal by the Western powers of the Minsk-2 peace agreement of 2015

    In February 2015, a major ceasefire and peace agreement was agreed to by Ukraine, following a major military defeat it suffered in Donbass, in and around the small city of Debaltsevo. The 'Minsk 2' agreement was a political settlement that would grant autonomy to the two Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. It could have served as a model for other regions of Ukraine with large populations of Russian language and culture or with smaller populations of national minorities, such as the restive people of Hungarian origin living for centuries in what became western Ukraine in the 20th century
The autonomy provisions of Minsk 2 resembled the powers exercised by states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada. Co-signing the agreement as guarantors were Russia, France and Germany. It was endorsed by no less than the UN Security Council five days later, on February 17.

But the Kiev regime never lived up to Minsk 2. It was encouraged by 'co-guarantors' France and Germany to ignore it. The regime spent the years following 2015 refusing to implement the agreement while militarily reinforcing the Donbass territory it continued to occupy, all in anticipation of relaunching a war against all those Ukrainians resisting the 2014 coup regime and its far-right ideology. As it did this, the regime received more and more financial and weapons support from the West. Today's destruction of cities such as Mariupol and Bahmut (Artyomovsk to Russians) and of districts on the western edges of Donetsk city, such as Adviivka, are precisely a consequence of double-dealing over Minsk 2, by the Kiev regime and its Western backers.

On the two-year anniversary of Russia's 2022 intervention, President Vladimir Putin explained how the Russian Federation waited patiently for the implementation of Minsk 2 and felt deeply betrayed by the failure of Kiev and the Western powers to do so. He said, "The Russian Federation did not know that European partners were not going to fulfill the Minsk agreements. We tried hard to implement them."

A world in which treaties are coming to mean nothing

The events of the last decade have shown that in today's world of Western powers feeling omnipotent, signed treaties may be disregarded, in violation of long-established principles of international diplomacy. Russian writer Ivan Lizan argued on Telegram on February 19: "Treaties must be honored, Pacta sunt servanda ('Agreements must be kept'). So sounds like the cornerstone principle of civil and international law. But the period from 2014 to 2022 has shown that treaties are no longer necessarily respected by the Western powers, in the belief that the promised, binding pledge to fulfill them is nothing more than mental inertia amidst a tendency to preserve the existing status quo and refuse to revise them."

In the Russian Federation, entire teams of lawyers continue to work diligently to comply de jure with every letter of a treaty signed by the country. But Western ideologues, including the liberal variant, are increasingly manipulating the moral and ethical dimensions of diplomacy in order to revise existing or future agreements in their favor.

Indeed, the Ukraine coup ten years ago took place one day after then-President Viktor Yanukovych had signed an agreement to resolve the political crisis in the country that burst into the open in November 2013. At that time, it seemed that Ukraine was in the final stage of an agreement for 'economic association' with the European Union, but Yanukovych and his government wanted time to further consider the negative, long-term consequences for economic relations with the Russian Federation. Additionally, Russia was offering better financial assistance, including improvements to then-existing financial agreements, in order to avoid painful and very disruptive reductions of economic ties between the two countries.

A political agreement to resolve the exploding crisis in Ukraine in February 2014 was mediated by the foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Poland. It envisioned presidential elections in the fall of 2014, one year before they were constitutionally due. Yanukovych pledged he would not take any forceful action against the pro-Western and pro-coup protesters that were violently disrupting Kiev and cities in western Ukraine. But the coup's rightist paramilitaries simply proceeded to storm and occupy central Kiev and force Yanukovych to flee for his life, all in violation of the agreement reached one day earlier!

Ukraine's not-so-subtle threat in early 2022 to acquire ire nuclear weapons

At the annual Munich Security Conference in February 2022, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, voiced the possibility that his government may scrap its commitment to relinquish nuclear weapons, as agreed in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum (which was subsequently implemented by Ukraine). He said, "If we do receive the security guarantees we seek, then we reserve the right to withdraw from the Budapest Memorandum." This set off alarm bells at the highest levels in an already apprehensive Moscow. The following day, the leaders of the autonomous governments of Donetsk and Lugansk (soon to become fully constituent republics of the Russian Federation, as per the long-held wishes of the populations there, announced the beginning of mass evacuations eastward of their citizens, away from the lines of military contact between the two republics and Ukraine. Five days later, Russia launched its military operation.

This year, at the same conference in Munich, Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko pointedly asked U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken whether Ukraine could expect an invitation to join NATO within a reasonable duration of time. He wrote on Telegram on February 18, "A nuclear state is fighting against us, so we either become NATO members, allied with nuclear-armed states, or we have to work on restoring our nuclear potential." His Telegram message noted that Blinken failed to answer his direct query. Honcharenko is an ally of former president Poroshenko (2014-19, defeated in the 2019 election.)

According to the Financial Times, the overall sentiment of conference attendees in Munich this year was changed compared to the previous year's conference. "Twelve months ago, delegates at the Munich Security Conference radiated optimism about the prospects for Ukraine, as the West vowed to back Kiev for 'as long as it takes' in its war with Russia. This year, with the conflict tilting in Russia's favor and with faith in Western support ebbing away, that optimism has flipped into unremitting gloom."

The retaking of Avdiivka and the flight of Ukrainian troops

At the end of February 2024, while Zelensky was expounding at the Munich Conference about Ukraine's vital role in "defending Europe", the Russian armed forces, including large detachments from the former self-defense forces of Donetsk and Lugansk, were raising a red flag with a hammer and sickle over the newly retaken Avdiivka, on the very spot where Zelensky had issued public relations statements only days earlier.

In 2014-2015, Avdiivka, close enough to Donetsk city to qualify as a suburb and with an estimated pre-war population of 30,000, was one of the centers of popular resistance to the Ukrainian ultranationalists and paramilitaries. In 2015, there were regular mass rallies against the presence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the city and region. At the time, the AFU was undergoing a fundamental transformation, with rightist paramilitaries taking over important, leading positions and with their units acquiring semi-formal status. Soldiers and officers of the soon-to-be transformed AFU who were reluctant to open fire on their fellow citizens and enter into civil war were being purged.

By February 2024, only some several hundred residents were still surviving, somehow, in the city, perhaps as many as 1,000. For almost two years, they had been hiding in basements, evading mandatory evacuation orders by Ukraine, and suffering the shelling by Russia needed to suppress the AFU's constant shelling of Donetsk city and districts.

Tatyana, one of the residents of Avdiivka who stubbornly refused to leave, spoke about her ordeal, as reported by the Russian Ministry of Defense and cited in the February 20 edition of the Russian weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty. "It was a very scary time. We lived in basements, we could only go out to gather water when there was a calm, but even then we always had to duck down... "

"The day before yesterday when we went out, we saw military people but didn't understand right away who it was. And then I saw red ribbons! [Russian soldiers wear red ribbons on their sleeves while Ukrainian soldiers wear blue or yellow ribbons]. We couldn't believe our eyes! We told them how happy we were to see them."

Since 2015, the AFU has turned Avdiivka into a large, underground, fortified bunker. Ukrainian political scientist and historian Konstantin Bondarenko was cited on the Telegram messenger service on February 19 explaining, "Avdiivka is the settlement that allowed us to shell Donetsk [city] for ten years."

On the eve of the loss of Avdiivka, in anticipation of its loss, Zelensky changed the commander-in-chief of the AFU. General Valeriy Zaluzhny was out, replaced by General Oleksandr Syrskyy. The new commander-in-chief has long been called 'The Butcher' by Ukrainian soldiers due to his record of sacrificing thousands and thousands of their lives in order to hold positions. In the spring of 2023, he commanded the Ukrainian troops tasked with holding the city of Bakhmut (called Artyomovsk in Donbass and Russia, located some 70 km north of Donetsk city, prewar population of 70,000) and the nearby town of Soledar. Both were lost.

In 2015, Syrskyy commanded the Ukraine's military operation around the small city of Debaltsevo, which ended in a stinging defeat for Ukraine and which set the stage for Kiev to grudgingly sign the Minsk 2 agreement.

The retreat of the AFU from Avdiivka took on the character of a panic flight in its closing days. Russian war correspondent Alexei Zhivov reported on Telegram, "There is a big difference between an organized withdrawal of troops to pre-prepared positions, and a disorderly flight. Avdiivka is the first time we have seen a panic flight of Ukraine’s troops. This phenomenon is not so much military as sociological. It is connected with a rising panic among the Ukrainian population as a whole."

There are about 460,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, according to calculations by Ukrainian experts. Zelensky says Ukraine still has an army of "one million". The ratio of drones in Ukraine today is three to one in favor of Russia, according to Ukrainian military officials, while the ratio of artillery fire is ten to one in favor of Russia. Russia has complete air superiority, though Western-supplied missiles remain a serious threat.

Racism to please Western creditors

The mobilization of Russian society in support of its war effort has been greatly boosted by the racist and anti-Russia ideology that has become dominant in the governing circles of Ukraine since 2014. That ideology is all too well known in Russia, says Ukrainian economist Oleksiy Kushch. He writes in a lengthy entry on Telegram: "Our government propaganda and public mainstream have given to Putin a truly royal gift through their dehumanization of all things Russian: racist theories about the 'inferiority of Russia' as a nation; negative and racist language describing Russians as a 'Finno-Uralic' people (the languages of Finland and Hungary have distant, common origins in the 'Uralic' family of languages); and terms such as 'hordes' and 'Asiatic' to describe Russians. People in Finland, Hungary, and Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Asia obviously take offense."

He continues, "Even those Russians who sympathized with Ukraine could not understand why they were seeing the demolition of Pushkin monuments in that country." (Alexander Pushkin is a celebrated and revered poet of the 19th century in today's Russia and neighboring republics; his great-grandfather was African.)

Ukrainian millionaires profiting from war

The head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy, Daniil Getmantsev of Zelensky's 'Servant of the People' political party apparatus recently said half the Ukrainian economy operates in black market conditions, including trade in goods and gambling.

A small number of wealthy Ukrainians continue to benefit from the conflict with Russia. Ukraine's economy has declined sharply since Russia's military intervention, and this was preceded by the emigration of millions of economic migrants to Western Europe in 2014. Thousands of enterprises have closed, and thousands of square kilometers of precious agricultural land have been mined or are otherwise unusable. Yet the number of millionaires in Ukraine grew by 16 percent in 2023, as reported by the Ukrainian edition of Forbes Magazine in late February 2024, citing the aforementioned Getmantsev. Forbes says the information is drawn from official tax returns and adds that many wealthy Ukrainians avoid submitting tax returns altogether.

A significant part of Ukrainian business has realized that it is more profitable to produce anti-Russian rhetoric and take control of Western aid supplies than to produce locomotives and tractors or raise chickens in commercial henhouses. But for this to happen, workers 'freed' from working and earning incomes must be herded into the trenches of war. An old Russian and Ukrainian proverb says: "To some, war is hell. To others, it is a kindly mother".

Russia's special military operation in Ukraine will end sooner or later. However, we can already say that part of Russia's goals have been achieved. Ukraine has already been 'demilitarized and denazified' to some degree, having lost a significant part of its territory, military arsenal, and neo-Nazi shock troops. Western military arsenals are gradually being emptied as well.

At some point, Kiev will be abandoned, just as the former pro-American government in Afghanistan was abandoned in 2021. Before that happens, many Ukrainian officials will have escaped untouched to the West, along with their ill-gotten wealth and valuables.

https://english.almayadeen.net/articles ... aine-and-t
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 08, 2024 8:36 pm

Zelensky in Turkey
    Erdogan to press for end of war
Ukraine's President Zelensky was in Istanbul on Friday for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose NATO-member country has sought to balance its close relations with both Kyiv and Moscow and repeatedly offered to act as a peace-broker between them

During the talks in Istanbul, Erdogan was expected to press for negotiations to end Russia's war in Ukraine, now in its third year, a Turkish government official said.

Talks would also focus on a possible new measure that would guarantee navigational safety of commercial vessels in the Black Sea, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government protocol.

The visit comes as Zelensky continues to press other nations for more munitions and weaponry to halt the advance of Russian troops trying to make deeper gains into the Ukraine-held western part of the Donetsk region and also penetrating into the Kharkiv region north of it.

Shortly after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the outbreak of the war, Turkey hosted a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers as well as unsuccessful talks between the two countries’ negotiating teams aimed at ending the hostilities.

Later in 2022, Turkey, along with the United Nations, also brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine that allowed the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. Russia however, pulled out of the deal last year, citing obstacles to its export of food and fertilizers.

In Istanbul, Zelensky was also to visit shipyards where Turkish companies are building two corvettes for the Ukrainian navy, according to his office.

Zelenskyy last visited Turkey last July, when he returned back to Ukraine together with a group of Ukrainian commanders who were in Turkey following a prison exchange deal, and were to remain on Turkish territory until the end of the war. There was no explanation from Ankara or Kyiv about why they were allowed to return to Ukraine.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... Russia-war

Remember each time a peace deal has almost been reached, UK's Boris Johnson (at the behest of the US) has gone to Turkey to prevent the peace plan taking place

Boris Johnson is a MURDER and should be help responsible for ALL the deaths that have occurred since he prevented the peace taking place
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 14, 2024 2:20 am

Ukraine Can’t Win The War

French Military’s Report Praises Russia, Questions Zelensky’s Goals

Some French classified documents over Ukraine have been reportedly leaked. The documents have criticised Ukraine's military, it's performance in the war, and has also judged the West's assistance to Ukraine amid the conflict. The documents have also suggested better strategies to handle the war. Watch the full video to know more below:

https://youtu.be/oYlJa-RmzRg?si=Fy9ZJkSzrfzCd2E1
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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 19, 2024 7:39 pm

Ukraine's economic elite grows richer
By Dmitri Kovalevich

Dmitri Kovalevich is the special correspondent in Ukraine for Al Mayadeen English. He writes situation reports regarding the political, economic, and military situation of the country and the conflict

Ukraine's armed forces are degrading while its economic elite grows richer

The flow of Western aid may not be helping soldiers in the trenches very much, but the smuggling and illegal sale of military supplies have enriched many times over the Ukrainian elites close to Zelensky.

March 2024 marks the beginning of the third year of war provoked by the member countries of the NATO military alliance and their Ukraine proxy against Russia. The past number of months have seen a slow and steady retreat by Ukraine's armed forces. Its defense lines supposedly established along the front lines east and south of the Dnieper River in past months were either not adequately constructed or were not built at all.

Missing and stolen defense fortifications

People's deputy in the Ukraine legislature Serhiy Rakhmanin wrote on March 6 that Ukrainian authorities cannot decide who should finance the construction of defensive fortifications: the central government, local authorities, or specific military units? In reality, there are too few funding sources to pay for fortifications and too few support workers to build them.

People's deputy Oleksandr Dubynskyy, a former associate of current president Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Telegram on March 5 that fortifications have only now begun to be built in front lie areas, citing the example of the Sumy region. The city of Sumy (pop. 275,000) is app. 200 km north and west of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. Kharkiv is located less than 50 km from the Russian border.

Dubynskyy writes that although Zelensky gave an order as early as February 1, 2023 to construct new fortification lines in the defense-contested eastern regions of coup Ukraine, that was more than one year ago and it was all a show. Everything was said and done on television in order to convince the Ukraine population and Western allies that the defensive works were being carried out. He writes, "During the past year, fortifications were being built only on the airwaves of the president's daily 'telethon' broadcast [situation update]. Similarly, hundreds of enemy airplanes, thousands of enemy tanks and hundreds of thousands of enemy infantry were being destroyed. It is therefore entirely unclear how Russia could attack anywhere on the eastern front. If the enemy were watching the 'telethon', they would have abandoned their positions a long time ago and taken flight."

Another deputy from Zelensky's party, Maryana Bezuglaya, wrote last month in the self-described 'anti-corruption' media outlet Antikor that there were almost no fortifications constructed in and around the cities of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Bakhmut and or Avdeevka recently lost to Russian forces by Ukraine. She notes wryly that such fortification did exist there, but only on paper. "The generals did not plan or control events, although, of course, the official reports say otherwise."

According to Bezuglaya, if any fortifications were built, it was for the purpose of pleasing superiors, not particularly for military needs. She writes that in the city of Bakhmut, taken by Russian forces in May 2023, pillboxes were placed at "the western entrance to the city, so that the bosses could see them." But, as she explained, the Russians forces that eventually recaptured the city did so from the east.

'Fortification projects' cited by military and political officials in Ukraine have often seen their funding disappear into private hands.
How to squeeze more money out of Ukrainians for war

The head of the legislature ('Rada') committee on finance, tax and customs policy, Danylo Hetmantsev, announced in early March that Ukraine plans to introduce an additional military tax (levy) on entrepreneurs. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine says it needs some 44 billion hryvnias (US$1.5 billion) of additional revenues to patch a large hole in their budget.

Ukrainian economist Oleksiy Kushch writes that additional funds could be found by introducing a tax on the owners of large tracts of land and special taxes on luxury items such as yachts and mansions. According to him, additional royalties on mining are also possible, primarily on the mining of iron ore. In his opinion, it would be possible to collect some 100 billion hryvnias from such sources; in other words, twice what financial officials in the Ukraine government say they are seeking. But the Ukrainian elite will never go for this.

The economist summarizes, "My gut reaction tells me that government officials will instead create additional taxes on everyone, for example, a special levy on salaries in the amount of five percent. This was already done in 2015 when they introduced a military levy of 1.5 percent on everyone instead of taxing the economic gains of the elites who rode the wave of the Maidan protests."

In Kusch's opinion, additional fees and taxes by the Ukraine government will only strengthen the trend seeing more and more Ukrainians withdraw from the country's official economy into its shadow economy. Real revenues for the government budget are unlikely to increase significantly. He jokes, "It's like trying to shear a pig; there is a lot of squealing that goes on, but not a lot of wool is produced."

More than half of the Ukrainian economy operates in the shadows

Ironically, five years ago, Zelesnky and his 'Servant of the People' political machine presented themselves to the Ukraine electorate as being libertarians, supporting tax cuts or even tax abolition. But once the state apparatus was in their hands, their tune changed.

The plight of the internally displaced

At the request of Western creditors, beginning in March, the Ukrainian state will continue to reduce already meager, monthly benefits paid to internally displaced persons (IDPs). Benefit payments are currently set at US$26 equivalent per month.

Earlier, the minister of social policy claimed that the reduction of social benefits was necessary to 'motivate' recipients to look for work.

A report on the Ukrainian Telegram channel ZeRada explains, "It's a strange policy, of course, to deprive benefit payments to IDPs as a means to incentivize them to find employment when, at the same time, no new jobs are being created and the authorities themselves are causing an increase in the flow of refugees from Ukraine to other countries."

ZeRada, which is published by several writers in Ukraine, explains there are some 4.9 million internally displaced people in Ukraine but only some 2.5 million receive benefits.

Military conscription woes

Ukrainian officials are urgently seeking funds to strengthen the country's military conscription program. Economist Oleh Pendzin claims that an additional UAH 0.5 trillion (US$131 billion) is needed to run the conscription program. "The issue is that we don't have the funds for the additional conscription being talked about. Much more money is needed to reach the stated goal of an additional 450,000 personnel."

He writes further, "The prime minister says his government is preparing a bill providing for employers to pay a retainment tax ('reservation fee') to retain employees who would otherwise be taken by conscription. This would apply to all tax-paying enterprises. The president is supporting this, and so the question is not 'if' but 'when'. Any outstanding questions concern the amounts to be paid and the conditions," says Pendzin.

However, the problem with any plans to increase military conscription is the diminishing number of people who are willing or available to serve in the armed forces. Ukraine soldiers are already claiming that people who are visibly ill are being drafted into the army.

In early March, Ukrainian journalist and serviceman Stanislav Aseyev frankly described to the U.S.-funded Radio Sovoboda (Radio Liberty') the growing problems in the AFU training centers that he witnessed in two Ukraine military units in the Donetsk region. He wrote that new recruits have included "epileptics, ex-prisoners, deserters, and a lot of random people with no relation to any particular brigade, waiting to be assigned". He gave an account of a homeless man who had been conscripted. "At the enlistment office, they offered him a 'winter in warmth', gave him a bath and some clothing bought in a second-hand shop, and delivered him to our camp in the forest. But they forgot to wash his legs, which were oozing with sores. The man was taken to hospital after his arrival and then returned the next day 'fully fit' for duty.

Aseyev claims he saw no motivated servicemen in the units he witnessed. In combat conditions, personnel scatter, arms, and equipment is abandoned, including that supplied by the West. He said he received the impression that most of the people being conscripted are from "the hinterlands of different regions, not the urban centers there". He also said the 'elite' units he witnessed were those known to expound neo-Nazi ideology, such as the 'Azov' and 'Carpathian Sich' brigades.

A sharp rise in luxury cars as a sign of elite enrichment

The flow of Western aid may not be helping soldiers in the trenches very much, but the smuggling and illegal sale of military supplies have enriched many times over the Ukrainian elites close to Zelensky. The Strana media outlet in Ukraine recently reported that the year 2023 saw record sales of luxury foreign cars in Ukraine. Some luxury brands entered the 'top 10' of best-selling cars. This had never happened in peacetime Ukraine. Sales of Tesla electric vehicles have increased tenfold compared to 2021.

Strana notes that at the Ukrainian-Polish border, the sight of truckloads of Mercedes and BMWs lined up to enter Ukraine frankly surprises the Poles who are watching. They wonder aloud who can buy such expensive vehicles in a country at war. Strana asked the same question in its report and found several explanations. The main explanation, it writes, is the "emergence of a new category of applicants to buy luxury cars," namely, "people whose well-being has increased significantly since the beginning of the war".

The publication cites a man who drove a modest Volkswagen prior to the war. "Then he got into the flow of new money appearing and decided to upgrade his car. He bought a Range Rover, many of which are newly appearing on Ukraine roads."

"According to the employees of one car dealership in Kiev, expensive cars are mainly being bought by law enforcement officers. In addition, the country has a number of people newly enriched by the war. That includes people profiting from corrupt schemes to supply the army. One luxury watch dealer explained that his sales during the past year broke all-time records."

A new but 'wrong' Maidan protest movement

To keep the flow of Western aid flowing, it is important for the Ukrainian elite to hold on to power. In late February, the Intelligence Committee of the Office of the President issued a statement warning about plans for a new 'Maidan' uprising, this one to question Zelensky's electoral legitimacy. His five-year term limit expires at the end of March and scheduled elections to coincide with the end of the term have been canceled.

Zelensky's office is now warning that protests and an uprising are being prepared by the 'Russians' to take place in March-May 2024. Its Intelligence Committee alleges in its statement that the main directions and goals of the 'Russians' in their planned campaign is "disrupting Ukrainian mobilization, spreading disinformation about Ukraine's ability to win a military victory, and creating and spreading fake news about 'Ukraine fatigue' among our partners and allies in the world."

It is ironic that a warning of "fake news of Ukraine fatigue" being spread among Ukraine's Western partners should be issued. The 'partners' can surely see matters with their own eyes and require no reminder.

The Intelligence Committee report is reviving a story concocted by Zelensky's predecessor Petro Poroshenko in 2016. That was termed by Poroshenko et al as the 'Shatin Plan'. This public relations exercise some eight years ago was an attempt by Poroshenko to discredit his then-political rivals, including a rumored candidacy by Zelensky.

Any real political opposition in Ukraine has been completely suppressed and silenced first by Poroshenko, then followed by Zelensky. This leaves on the formal, political terrain little more than a competition between two competing cliques as led by Zelensky and Poroshenko. The Poroshenko clique presents itself as 'the opposition' in Ukraine. The latest warnings over 'Russian disruption tactics' are in large part a move by the Zelensky regime to block a return to the presidency by Poroshenko.

No surveys of the real attitudes of Ukrainians are available. Those surveys that have been published cannot be trusted at all because few people will tell pollsters they truly think, fearing arrest or rushed conscription. Several surveys by sociologists, for what they are worth, have shown that most Ukrainians 'trust' Zelensky, consider the country to be moving in the right direction, and believe that Russia will be defeated.

Ukrainian political scientist Mykhailo Chaplyga writes in Telegram that the Intelligence Committee's statement shows weakness and fear in the Office of the President. "Firstly, such statements are inherently useless. Secondly, they only increase suspicion; this latest statement stems from weakness and fear. The foreign press will ignore it because it sounds like something produced by a kindergarten class. Opposition politicians will clearly see it as a sign of panic and weakness. "

The 'Legitimate' Telegram channel in Ukraine writes, "The declared 'crisis' over accusations that the Kremlin is preparing 'Maidan' style protests is a blatant hatchet job by functionaries from the Office of the President. Another Maidan, like the past one, could only be organized only by Western clientele. The messaging by the Office of the President is an attempt to stigmatize all protests in advance in order to disperse them more easily."

Notable, here, is that Ukrainian authorities recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Maidan coup, which brought the current anti-Russia and pro-Western elite to power. But any new Maidan, any new wave of protests, is perceived as something terrible and is declared in advance to be 'pro-Russian'. This is part of the vast effort to prolong and perpetuate the widespread corruption and profiting taking place from the war, all thanks to the Western aid that is fueling it.

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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:53 pm

The Russian SMO

In this article, Tim Anderson completely scrutinizes Russia's Special Military Operation and analyzes it: what led to the Russian SMO? was it justified as a measure of self-defence? and, most importantly, was Russia’s SMO an imperial intervention?

“Many experts call [the SMO of Feb 24, 2022] a turning point in world history, and some saw it as Russia becoming the military spearhead of the ‘Global South’ in the fight against the fading world order based on the destructive hegemony of the West” (Sadygzade 2024).

A remarkable consequence of the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in South East Ukraine was that, while it initially attracted very little international approval (UN 2022), within quite a short time, most of the world – and virtually all the global south – rallied to Russia and to BRICS, marking the beginnings of a major turnaround in global relations.

How was this possible when it is precisely the global south which has been the strongest anti-intervention group, opposing breaches of state sovereignty after a long history of Western invasions, coups and other interventions? If the Russian SMO were just another imperial intervention, like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, would this not undermine the promise of any new supposedly counter-hegemonic world order which included Russia?

To address that question we need a background which examines some distinct though inter-related questions: what led to the Russian SMO? was it justified as a measure of self-defence? and, most importantly, was Russia’s SMO an imperial intervention?

After examining those three questions in this article I will return to the turnaround issue, in a second part. This article is structured in these sections:

    NATO expansion,
    the Kiev coup, Crimea and the Donbass,
    the Question of Self-Defence and
    An Imperial Intervention, as in Iraq?
1. NATO Expansion

To properly understand the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in SE Ukraine we should have regard to NATO expansion, the 2014 coup in Kiev, the subsequent war against the mostly Russian people of the Donbass region, the status of Crimea, attempts to resolve the conflict through the Minsk Peace Treaties, and then the character of the 2022 invasion.

Only the very naïve imagined that this war began in February 2022. Even parts of the pro-NATO media reflected on that group’s responsibility for the conflict. Galen Carpenter (2022) wrote in the British Guardian:

“NATO’s arrogant, tone deaf policy towards Russia had contributed heavily to the Ukraine war ... Analysts committed to a US foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well” (Galen Carpenter 2022).

Despite Washington’s repeated mantra that Russia’s intervention was an “unprovoked war of aggression” (VOA 2023) even mild-mannered Pope Francis observed, more than once, that NATO had “somehow provoked” Moscow’s intervention (Albanese 2022).

The Ukrainian government in Kiev turned seriously anti-Russian after the US-backed 2014 coup and, after several massacres, there was a serious alienation from Kiev of the Russian speaking people in Crimea and much of south and eastern Ukraine. The formerly autonomous republic of Crimea quickly voted for secession from Ukraine and union with the Russian Federation, while two of the Donbass provinces (Donetsk and Luhansk) declared their own independence. There followed eight years of assaults by Kiev forces on the breakaway peoples of the Donbass.

Washington trained and armed Ukrainian troops for an attempt to reincorporate the alienated Donbass region and perhaps even to retake Crimea. There were talks and agreements for Kiev to properly address the autonomy concerns of the Donbass region. However former German leader Angela Merkel would later admit that these Minsk Accords were merely a ploy to gain time to build up the Ukraine military (Novaya Gazeta Europe 2023), while several in Washington soon announced their broader aim of weakening and eventually dismantling the Russian Federation, affirming Russia’s worst fears.

As the Soviet Union collapsed, over 1989-1991, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev – looking to dismantle the Warsaw Pact alliance – sought assurances from NATO leaders that the Western bloc would not expand eastwards. The most famous assurance was that of US Secretary of State James Baker: “not one inch eastward”, to Gorbachev on 9 February 1990; but that was “only part of a cascade of similar assurances”, from “Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major and Woerner” (NATOWatch 2018; NSA 2017).

It was all deceit. There have even been denials (including under the guise of ‘fact checking’) that such assurances were ever made (Pifer 2014; McCarthy 2022), or that Russia was even the target of a NATO ‘missile shield’ placement, which was said to be “purely defensive” (Reuters 2007; CNN 2008). A pretence was made there was some threat other than Russia, perhaps Iran (Sankaran 2024), but Russia did not take this seriously.

Faced with a wall of obfuscation, Russia had to assess the threat from NATO by actions, not just words. Yet Moscow was cautious, and continued for many years to speak of cooperation with “our Western partners” (Wheatley 2015), even as BRICS was created and as Russia entered Syria to fight Western-backed terrorist groups (Anderson 2019; Ch 7); yet in Syria, Russia shared the same stated objectives as the USA of ‘fighting terrorism’. In practice the two were engaged in a phony war, with Washington relying mainly on those same terrorists as its proxy militia. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the basis for an ideological war was gone.

In the 1990s, while recognising that it could “alienate” Russia, US official Richard Haas summed up the arguments for NATO expansion as to “lock in the dividends of the Cold War’s end and greatly diminish the odds that this region will again become a battlefield … provide a reassuring anchor to these newly independent democracies … [and] help eliminate a potentially destabilizing power vacuum in Europe” (Haas 1997). In practice, NATO expanded from 12 member states in 1948 to 31 by 2022. This was through what is described as an “open door policy”, where European states (in some supposedly liberal manner) could voluntarily “choose” to join the military bloc (NATO 2023).

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO “invited Czechia, Hungary and Poland to begin accession talks” in 1997. These three became “the first former members of the Warsaw Pact to join NATO in 1999.” (NATO 2023). After that “Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia were invited and actually joined NATO in 2004.” Albania and Croatia joined NATO in 2009; Montenegro in June 2017; and the Republic of North Macedonia in March 2020 (NATO 2023).

The problems from Russia’s point of view became more acute when it came to the border countries of Georgia and Ukraine. The last “friendly warning from Russia” that NATO “needed to back off” came in March 2007, when Putin addressed the Munich Security Conference. “NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders”, Putin complained, and that “represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust … against whom is this expansion intended? and what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?” (Galen Carpenter 2022). As recently as 2021, Russia demanded that NATO retract its pledge to admit Ukraine and Georgia” (FT 2021). Georgia and Ukraine could provide a border base for nuclear missiles aimed at Russia, something the US itself did not tolerate in 1962 when Soviet nuclear missiles were placed in Cuba to defend the independent island from a second invasion.

Even Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defence under Bush (the Second) and Obama said relations with Russia had been “mismanaged ... US agreements with the Romanian and Bulgarian governments to rotate troops through bases in those countries was a needless provocation … trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching … recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital interests” (Galen Carpenter 2022). One Western observer said “It was entirely predictable that NATO expansion would ultimately lead to a tragic, perhaps violent, breach of relations with Moscow. We are now paying the price for the US foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance” (Galen Carpenter 2022).

After the SMO, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recognised that President Putin “went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. [yet] He has got the exact opposite” (Stoltenberg 2023). It is very clear then that Russia felt threatened by NATO expansion and acted to avert that threat.

2. The Kiev coup, Crimea and the Donbass

In 2014, Washington backed a bloody coup in the capital. As key Washington official Victoria Nuland said, just months before the coup, “We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine” (Nuland 2013).

In its customary fashion, Washington denied responsibility for the coup. But the new regime sharply reoriented Ukraine from the East to the West. The Ukrainian state was radically changed after a bloody insurrection in the capital, driving elected President Yanukovych into exile and mobilising neo-Nazi groups which were violently anti-Russian. As the pro-NATO media reported, the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade fighters “are Ukraine's greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat” (Walker 2014), due to their extremism.

Massacres of left and pro-Russian Ukrainians began, including the infamous and horrific Odessa massacre of May 2014, where dozens of leftists were slaughtered in and around Odessa’s House of Trade Unions (Azərbaycan24 2022), and which Wikipedia (2023) now misleadingly calls “Odessa clashes’. A good overview of this period is provided by the 2016 documentary ‘Ukraine on Fire’ (Lopatonok and Stone 2016). The extreme right factions successfully urged rehabilitation (in street names and statues) of Stepan Bandera, (Portnov 2016), the notorious ultra-nationalist and Nazi collaborator who had helped lead the mass murders of Russian, Polish, Roma and Jewish people in Ukraine, in the 1940s (Glöckner 2021).

In reaction to the coup and the neo-Nazi-led massacres, the Russian speaking peoples of SE Ukraine (the Donbass) began to defend themselves by excluding Kiev regime officials and military from as much of the region as they could. Autonomous administrations were set up which received support from Russia and, after that, Kiev declared war. In November 2014, referring to the siege of the Donbass, former President Poroshenko infamously said:

“We will have jobs – they will not. We will have our pensions – they will not. We will have care for children, for people and retirees - they will not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens - theirs will hole up in basements … that is exactly how we will win this war” (Slavyangrad 2014).

By late 2014, Kiev regarded itself at war with the self-declared autonomous republics of the Donbass (the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics). There was bombardment of these regions, and defence by the DPR and LPR militia, with some logistical support from Russia.

    The UN in Ukraine (OHCHR 2022) estimates that, in this Donbass war (between the 2014 Kiev coup and the Feb 2022 Russian SMO), more than 14,200 were killed and 37-39,000 injured, more than two thirds of those comprising Donbass militia and civilians
The people of Crimea, who had an autonomous status under Ukraine, similarly could not tolerate the post-coup regime. Popular feeling coincided with Russia’s wish to not lose its main Black Sea port, which it had maintained under an agreement with pre-2014 Kiev. The last thing Russia wanted was to lose Sevastopol, which it had defended from Nazi Germany, and let it fall into the hands of a neo-Nazi linked regime embedded with NATO. As it happened, the population of autonomous Crimea also preferred Russian status.

As Russian Foreign Affairs put it, Crimea was “reunited with the Motherland by popular vote in 2014” (MFA 2022). The 16 March 2014 vote was extremely high for incorporation: “97% of voters in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol voted for the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. The Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol became parts of Russia on March 18, 2014.” (BBC 2014a). Western politicians tried to dismiss the official poll as coerced, but subsequent Western polls reproduced similar figures. A June 2014 Gallup poll “asked Crimeans if the results in the March 16, 2014 referendum to secede from Ukraine reflected the views of the people”. A total of 82.8% said yes. When broken down by ethnicity, 93.6% of Crimean Russians said they believed the vote to secede was legitimate, while 68.4% of Crimean Ukrainians felt so (Rapoza 2015). There is a long and complicated story behind the shuffling of the “autonomous republic” of Crimea between Russia and Ukraine within the Soviet Union (see Lavrenin 2022; Kramer 2014); this included the fight of the Crimean Tartars to return to the land from which they were deported in 1944 (Wydra 2003: 111). For the purpose of this article, it is sufficient to recognise the strong popular support in Crimea for union with Russia.

Relatively early in the Donbass war, peace talks were brokered in Minsk, the Belarus capital. These talks sought to establish a ceasefire between Kiev forces and the self-proclaimed Donbass republics, a prisoner exchange and a military withdrawal, combined with a commitment by the Ukrainian government to restore control over its eastern border and hold local elections in the occupied territories; some sort of autonomous Donbass would then be reintegrated as part of Ukraine (Peacemaker 2015). France and Germany signed onto specific measures to implement this agreement, and the “Minsk 2” agreement was counter signed in February 2015 by representatives from the Russia, Ukraine, the DPR and LPR (Allen 2020).

However, most of this agreement was not implemented, while some NATO linked writers (e.g. Allen 2020) denounced the agreement as a violation of Ukraine sovereignty, even though it had been signed by Ukrainian president Poroshenko. Much later, former German chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that, while initiating the NATO membership of Ukraine and Georgia in 2008 was wrong, the Minsk agreements were “an attempt to give Ukraine time to develop” (Novaya Gazeta Europe 2023); an expression which Russia immediately interpreted as giving Ukraine time to build up its military and then seize the Donbass by force (TASS 2023).

Indeed, after 2014, US and NATO officials were busily building up the military capacity of Kiev forces, specifically to fight Russia. John McCain and Lindsey Graham – US senators who had previously helped arm proxy militia to be used against Libya and Syria (Sink 2012) – urged US President Obama to “provide arms to Ukrainian forces, who are trying to ward off a renewed invasion threat by Russian forces” (Wong 2014). By 2016 there was a US-led “Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine [JMTGU] ... to help build the training capacity of the Ukrainian land forces” (Tarr 2016). Less than two years later, Graham and McCain visited the frontline in Ukraine, “to pay tribute to the Ukrainian soldiers who are standing up to Russian aggression” and to urge coercive economic measures against Russia (Interpreter 2016).

This JMGTU, led by the US 7th Army Command, set up in 2015, was at first based in Lavoriv, western Ukraine, but later moved to Grafenwoehr, Germany. Its stated roles were to “Mentor and Advise Armed Forces of Ukraine Trainers” and to “Enable Combat Training Center Capability and Capacity” (7ATC 2022).

NATO think tank The Atlantic Council backed heavy weapons sales to Ukraine to modernise its military (Hasik 2014). In 2014, even before the Minsk agreements, NATO members had begun sending weapons to Ukraine, according to Kiev (BBC 2014b). In 2015, when US President Obama was claiming to send only non-lethal aid to Ukraine, even his defence secretary and other military leaders openly supported the idea of arms sales (Herb 2015). By 2017 and 2019, the Trump administration was selling Kiev heavy weapons, including anti-tank missiles (Martinez, Finnegan and McLaughlin 2019). So, well before 2022, the US military was directly training and arming Kiev’s military forces, not only to further the Donbass war but also to fight Russia.

Former UK military adviser Jamie Read, who said he had “fought in this war for more than three years”, spoke of ‘Operation Hammer and Sickle,’ where NATO-backed Ukraine forces aimed to “retake the Donbass” region (Read 2019). From inside the autonomous zone, officials regarded a major attack from Ukraine as a very real threat, adding that they hoped “that the threat of Russian intervention in the event of an attack on Donbass by Ukraine will prevent Kiev from going through with this bloody plan” (Donbass Insider 2020).
3. The question of self defence

As it happened, with large military mobilisations on both sides of the border, Russia launched a pre-emptive strike through its ‘Special Military Operation’ of 24 February 2022. Russian President Putin wrote an open letter to the United Nations (Putin 2022; Schmitt 2022), stressing the threat to Russia from NATO expansion, plus the threat to the Russian people of SE Ukraine, saying that one “cannot look without compassion at what is happening there. It became impossible to tolerate it. We had to stop that atrocity, that genocide of millions of people who lived there and who pinned their hopes on Russia, on all of us. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help” (Putin 2022). It was an argument for self-defence and humanitarian intervention. Western media characterised the speech as a ‘declaration of war on Ukraine’.

The Russian President saw an ongoing threat. “They will undoubtedly try to bring war to Crimea just as they have done in Donbass, to kill innocent people just as members of the punitive units of Ukrainian nationalist and Hitler’s accomplices did during the great patriotic war. They have openly laid claim to several other Russian regions. They did not leave us any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today” (Putin 2022).

That brings us to the question of self-defence. Was the SMO, breaching the UN-recognised sovereign borders of Ukraine, carried out in self-defence? To put it another way, if the constant expansion of NATO and the war on Russian people of the Donbass represented a provocation, was there also an imminent threat to Russia from Ukraine?

Article 51 of the UN Charter says nothing “shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council”. This Article was cited by the US-UK, in very different circumstances, for their 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Russia made a claim of anticipatory or pre-emptive self-defence, such as was used by the US and the UK for their invasion of Iraq. The operative phrase used to pre-emptively invade Iraq was that there was an “imminent threat” from weapons of mass destruction (Reynolds 2003; Rendall 2004), including from nuclear weapons.

At the same time as the SMO, Putin recognized the independence of two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, signing a decree recognizing the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ (DPR) and the ‘Luhansk People's Republic’ (LPR) as independent, prior to their accession to the Russian Federation (DW 2022). Russian troops were thus sent into the territories for “the function of peacekeeping”.

Of course, US- and NATO-aligned analysts objected. Some had argued that the ‘pre-emptive strike’ doctrine had been thoroughly discredited by the spurious rationales for the 2003 Iraq Invasion (Daalder and Lindsay 2004). Nevertheless, citing Washington’s 2002 ‘National Security Strategy’, British Professor of Public International Law Michael Schmitt (2023) felt “obliged” to take anticipatory self-defence seriously, but claimed such doctrine could not apply to the Russian intervention because (a) there was “no indication that NATO, or even Ukraine, had decided to mount an attack to retake Crimea” or Russia, and did not have “the forces in place to do so effectively”; and (b) the claim for Article 51 was “limited to states” and therefore did not apply to the Donbass region.

The former claim was wrong in fact, and the latter is an artificial distinction; indeed Schmitt recognises that intervention in cases of decolonization (i.e. for peoples and not states) has been legally recognised (Crawford 2007). Schmitt (2023) finally argues that the Russian intervention was also illegal because it does not meet the self-defence criteria of necessity and proportionality (e.g. as there were Russian attacks on Kiev). The question of proportionality is a distinct matter, which should be considered in the actual character of the SMO and its escalation, especially after greater NATO participation in the war.

The eight years of war waged by Kiev against the mostly Russian peoples of the Donbass was seen by Moscow as a real and present danger from a neighbour converted into the agent of an outside power. A key stated aim of the SMO, to defend the Russian people of the Donbass, cannot be lightly dismissed, even while the Russian state itself was said to be under attack from an expansion of NATO and the associated build-up of foreign backed forces near the borders of the Donbas.

By about April 2022 Russia controlled most of the Donbass region, plus a land bridge to Crimea (ISW 2022). Much of the war after that time – other than Russian attempts to secure remaining parts of western Donetsk, attacks on Ukrainian military centres and arms depots – had settled into a war of positions. By mid-2023, Kiev's supposed 'counter-offensive' was attacking (with little success) a multi-layered defensive line created to protect the peoples of the Donbass.

The NATO states supporting Kiev did not want a settlement if that might be to Moscow’s advantage, so they sabotaged the peace talks. In 2023, Russian President Putin revealed that both sides had signed a document in Istanbul in which Ukraine would agree to place “permanent neutrality” in its Constitution, plus provisions limiting the size of Ukraine’s standing army during peacetime. Yet, as Ukrainian media Ukrayinska Pravda reported, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used a visit to Kiev to pressure Ukraine President Zelensky to cut off peace talks with Russia, even after the two sides appeared to have come to some agreement to end the war (Johnson 2022). It is clear that Johnson was acting on behalf of Washington, which has consistently maintained that Ukraine should fight to the end, or, as some have put it, “to the last Ukrainian” (Bandow 2022). This was seen as ideal by many in Washington, having a subordinate fight their wars for them; as senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said, “I like the structural path we are on, as long as we help Ukraine with the weapons they need and the economic support, they will fight to the last person” (Graham 2022).

President Zelensky later maintained that “negotiations can commence only after Moscow surrenders Crimea”, which voted to join Russia in 2014. He also dropped any idea of possible neutrality, and has formally applied to join NATO (Intel-drop 2023). NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg said Ukraine should join NATO but only after the war (Ward and Bayer 2023). Given what Stoltenberg has said about the imperative of defeating Russia (Telesur 2022), that means after a supposed defeat of Russia.

Russia saw the war from NATO, via Ukraine, as an “existential threat,” which might even force Russian resort to nuclear weapons (Stoner 2022). Indeed, there have been many US and NATO arguments on the wish to not just “defeat” Russia but to “dismantle” it as a nation (Butler 2022). Evidence confirming those Russian fears kept emerging during the SMO. Discussions on the NATO side, assuming a necessary military victory against Russia, also argued the desirability of breaking up the Russian Federation (Tetrais 2023; Motyl 2023). This validated the Russian sense of deep threat and lent further weight to its claims of acting in self-defence.

That this self-defence was not widely recognised was probably due to several factors: deep adherence to the principle of inviolable UN-recognised sovereign borders, especially after the many US invasions; cynicism about big power claims of self-defence (and pre-emptive self-defence) after the fraudulent claims behind the US-UK invasion of Iraq; a very powerful propaganda campaign by the Anglo-Americans, asserting repeatedly that the invasion was “unprovoked”; and a reluctance to unnecessarily contradict the US-led bloc, for fear of retribution. Given the current domination of international agencies by the Anglo-Americans, it seems unlikely that any genuinely independent tribunal will ever be constituted to assess Russia’s self-defence claim. It will remain a historical consideration.
4. An imperial intervention, as in Iraq?

A related but distinct and wider question is, was the SMO an imperial intervention? Imperial invasions typically involve attempts to (1) impose foreign rule on an independent people, (2) appropriate resources without the consent of the indigenous or intervened population, and (3) deny the indigenous or intervened people a full say in their own governance.

All three criteria were met in the US-led 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. While many Iraqi people did not like President Saddam Hussein, they also did not invite the brutal ‘shock and awe’ bombing, indiscriminate slaughter and occupation regime. For fourteen months after the invasion, Iraq was subject to direct foreign governance through a Washington-appointed Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and then to a heavily compromised political process created by that same CPA (Dobbins et al 2009; Bremer 2023). The CPA disbanded the Iraqi army and banned the Baath Party (pan-Arab and socialist, but also the country’s main unified nationalist party) and its leading members, while emphasising constitutional division of the nation along sectarian lines, including through a federal system (Taras 2006; Dobbins et al 2009; Jawad 2013). Under these compromised structures US energy, construction, finance and military interests were embedded in the Iraqi system (Juhasz 2013; Mousa 2023; Beelman et al 2012).

Those compromises weakened the nation so much that the new state was almost destroyed by a second wave of ISIS warfare (Anderson 2019: Chapter 13). That terrorism was only really destroyed in Iraq by the nation’s own Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), with assistance from Iran’s Commander Soleimani (Chaudhury 2020; Younes 2020).

The US occupation falsely claimed credit for fighting ISIS. Despite its professed aims, the US military occupation (invited back into the country in 2014 by a weakened and US-dependent Iraqi administration) actually hindered the fight against ISIS (Cradle 2023). After all, as US Vice-President Joe Biden and then head of the US Army General Martin Dempsey admitted in 2014, Washington’s close allies armed and financed ISIS, and other terror groups, with the common aim of overthrowing the Syrian Government (CCHS 2021).

In Iraq the destabilisation was to prevent the re-emergence of a strong, independent state with close relations to Iran (Hersh 2007; Anderson 2019: 296-305). These US admissions stopped short of admitting direct US involvement with ISIS. Yet the January 2020 murder of Soleimani and PMF commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis by the US military was called “divine intervention” by ISIS (Bowen 2020).

The Russian SMO in SE Ukraine had quite different features. It was said to be aimed at dismantling the Kiev-backed ultra-nationalist (Banderist and neo-Nazi) domination of the Russian speaking people of that region, and to avert a direct threat to Russia. Protection had been requested for some time by the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

After the SMO, the Russian people of the Donbass region were not subject to foreign rule, but were rather invited to join the Russian federation as full citizens. The 2014 vote for Crimea to join Russia had been overwhelming and convincing; and that vote was soon confirmed by Western polls (BBC 2014a). The 2023 votes in the Donbass provinces were held in poor, war-torn conditions, but nevertheless reflected an indicative wish of many for Russian protection.

Groups in the Donbass had asked to join Russia as early as May 2014 (Walker and Grytsenko 2014). This “annexation”, as the Western powers called it, was in any case not a matter of imposing foreign rule, but rather the incorporation of Russian speaking people into a broader Russian body politic, where they would have full citizenship rights. Indeed, most of the older generations had lived under a Russian Centred Soviet system; most had also voted in 1991 against the dissolution of the Soviet Union, though they were persuaded later that same year to vote for an independent Ukraine, on the basis that it would be joined as an equal partner with its Russian neighbour and that the new Ukraine would open “wide opportunities for the development of languages and cultures of all nations” (Lavrenin 2022). The Kiev regime that emerged after the 2014 coup negated that multicultural promise.

Much was made, initially, about the distinction between an invasion and a Special Military Operation, but such terms do not define matters. Can there be non-imperial invasions? Yes indeed. The best recent examples have been the Tanzanian invasion of Uganda and the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia (Chanda 2018), both in 1979. The Khmer Rouge-ruled Cambodian state was not only massacring Cambodian people, but also targeting and killing many ethnic Vietnamese (IRIN 2015). In short, Cambodia had become a failed state in the sense of one whose violence spilled across the borders, posing a serious threat to its neighbours. The Tanzanian invasion of Uganda followed Ugandan incursions and aggression against Tanzania (Avirgan and Honey 1982). In the cases of Vietnam, Tanzania and Russia, the invading party, a neighbour, was motivated by both direct aggression and the threat of cross border violence in such a way that put the neighbour and linked ethnic populations at serious risk.

The Anglo-American aims in Iraq were very different to those of the Russian SMO. Both claimed to act in the name of local people, but only the former imposed foreign rule. The ‘Shock and Awe’ approach in Iraq, and the devastation of the cities of Baghdad and Fallujah, were acts aimed at achieving “rapid dominance” through “massive and therefore indiscriminate bombing” (Ullman and Wade 1996). Both invasions breached UN-recognised sovereign boundaries, but the Russian claim of self-defence had substance, while that of the Anglo-Americans in Iraq did not.

Further, the culturally Russian residents of neighbouring SE Ukraine had called for intervention, and were very rapidly offered full citizenship. No such process existed in Iraq, where hatred of the foreign intervention and occupation grew over time. At the time of writing this article (early 2024), the US occupation of Iraq is still maintained against the very clearly expressed will of the Iraqi people and their institutions (Mitchell 2024).

It is unlikely that the Russian SMO in Ukraine will ever be judged by an independent tribunal, for reasons of power politics. That will remain a matter for historians. However the charge that the Russian intervention was an imperial operation fails because: (1) it did not aim to impose foreign rule, being rather a pre-emptive response to NATO expansion, plus a response to calls for protection from the mostly Russian people of SE Ukraine, suffering siege and aggression from the Kiev regime; (2) while there are significant natural resources in the Donbass region, it is plain that seizure of resources was not the key motivation of Russia, a country with massive natural resources; and (3) far from denying the intervened peoples a full say in their own governance, the Russian Federation moved to make them full citizens. There might be criticism of the mode and tactics of this SMO, but its rationale was quite clear. In any event, Russia clearly decided to redraw the post-USSR 1991 boundaries, and no one was able to stop her. The SMO was in many respects resolution of a war against Russia begun by the US through the 2014 Kiev coup.

In a second article, I will turn to the global impact question: how did the Russian SMO in Ukraine catalyse a turnaround in global alignments?
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Anderson, Tim (2019) Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East, Clarity Press, Atlanta

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Re: Ukraine: US Lies, Provocation, Broken Promises, Fake New

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:46 pm

Russian POWs tortured in Ukraine

Between December 2023 and February 2024, OHCHR staff visited 44 Russian prisoners of war who "provided credible accounts of torture or ill-treatment

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that Russian prisoners of war were tortured in Ukraine between December 2023 and February 2024.

Between December 2023 and February 2024, OHCHR staff visited 44 Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Vinnytsia, and Zaporizhia areas.

According to the Tuesday report, the OHCHR stated that the POW "provided credible accounts of torture or ill-treatment in transit places after their immediate evacuation from the battlefield."

The OHCHR stated that Ukrainian authorities do not properly punish those guilty of torture and brutality against civilians and prisoners of war.

The report detailed that the OHCHR documented arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and the use of torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, by Ukrainian authorities during the detention of conflict-related civilian detainees and Russian POWs, as well as the summary execution of at least 25 Russian servicemen hors de combat (all in 2022 and early 2023)."

Furthermore, the report indicates that "Ukrainian authorities have launched at least five criminal investigations into allegations of violations committed by their own security forces, involving 22 victims," which the OHCHR believes indicates there has been little progress in the investigation and punishment of such abuses.

Read more: Russian plane with 65 Ukrainian POWs on board crashes in Belgorod
Russia slams international orgs for silence over Ukraine POW execution

The Ukrainian armed forces executed in a video that was circulated on social media last year a Russian prisoner of war, with further reports suggesting that a second was executed off camera.

The execution of Russian prisoners of war is down to Ukraine's Western patrons and the silence of international organizations is shameful, the Russian Foreign Ministry said at the time.

According to the ministry, Moscow repeatedly attracted the attention of the international community and relevant organizations to the war crimes being committed by Kiev's forces, stressing that the Ukrainian authorities had not observed international humanitarian law.

"The next execution of Russian prisoners of war is largely down to the Western patrons of Kiev," the ministry said in a statement.

The West silencing such crimes is making all killings of the sorts possible, Moscow added.

"A shameful fact is the silence of relevant international organizations that have traded professionalism and objectivity for the desire to curry favor with the United States and other Western countries," the statement said.

The ministry noted that Russia's Investigative Committee had already said it began investigating new video evidence of Kiev's forces committing war crimes, emphasizing that they would not go unpunished.

Kiev's forces have long been facing accusations from Moscow of committing war crimes against Russian and allied troops, including the execution and torture of prisoners of war.

Russian Commissioner for Human Rights, Ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova, urged last January her Ukrainian counterpart, the United Nations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to demand that Ukraine stop using torture against prisoners of war.

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