Aletho News


Dialogue between Kiev & people in eastern Ukraine needed to resolve conflict – Putin

RT | December 19, 2019

Kiev’s reluctance to engage in direct dialogue with the people living in Ukraine’s eastern regions, collectively known as Donbass, is still the biggest obstacle to resolving the long-standing crisis, Vladimir Putin has said.

Putin was asked about crisis resolution in Ukraine and the future of the Normandy Four talks between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany. The president said that some progress has been made in resolving the crisis, but it is direct dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and the people of Ukraine living in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics that could really help the cause. Yet, this is precisely what is lacking.

“A direct dialogue with Donbass is needed. Yet, there is no dialogue.”

Any move related to the status of the rebellious eastern Ukrainian regions should be coordinated with those regions, Putin said, adding that Kiev should not unilaterally take decisions on any “decentralization” issues that go beyond the framework of the Minsk Agreements which still remain the only plausible way to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.

Some positive steps have been made, the president admitted, such as troop withdrawal from several areas in eastern Ukraine, and the extension of the law on the special status of Donbass. Some new areas along the line of contact were further designated for troop withdrawal in 2020, during the latest Normandy Four meeting.

Yet, it is not enough, Putin added, questioning in particular Kiev’s reluctance to pull its forces out from the entire line of contact in Donbass. “It was Kiev that cut the Donbass off by imposing a blockade of this territory,” Putin told the media conference.

After the eastern regions of Ukraine declared their independence from Kiev in 2014 following the coup against then-President Viktor Yanukovich, the post-coup Ukrainian authorities reacted by launching a military campaign against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The violent conflict has since claimed the lives of 13,000 people, according to the UN. Former President Petro Poroshenko also imposed an economic blockade against Donbass.

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

The Donbass Dilemma

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 16.11.2018

The November 11th elections of the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics along with the members of their People’s Councils has again underlined the dilemma facing Ukraine, its NATO masters, and Russia for, as Tass reported, the result makes it very clear that there is a high level of support among the peoples of the Donbass for integration with Russia.

It is a dilemma for the NATO puppet regime in Kiev since the political solidity of the Republics remains even in the face of the assassinations of Donbass leaders that have taken place since 2014 including that of Donetsk leader Alexander Zakharchenko in August of this year and in the face of the constant state of siege under which the peoples of the republics live as they resist the attempts to break them. The regime in Kiev is once again forced to recognise that it rules a divided country that is a direct result of the NATO backed putsch that put them in power and the attempts to suppress the Russian language, culture and influence in Ukraine that immediately followed that putsch.

The Russian government on Tuesday the 13th stated as much, ever hopeful, at the OSCE in Vienna,

Russia believes that Sunday’s elections … represent a major step towards dialogue between Donbass and Kiev on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

That belief can only be based on the fact that the elections confirm the political integrity and will of the peoples of the Donbass republics and confirm the failure of the Kiev state of siege to break them. This should, hope the Russians, force NATO and Kiev back to the Minsk agreements and a compromise political solution. But there is little chance of that when the immediate response of the US government was to condemn the elections.

Their State Department spokesperson said on the 12th,

The United States joins our European Allies and partners in condemning the November 11th, sham elections in Russia controlled eastern Ukraine. Yesterday’s illegitimate processes were an attempt by Moscow to institutionalise its Donbass proxies, the so-called …Republics. These entities have no place within the Minsk agreements or within Ukraine’s constitutional government, and they should be dismantled along with their armed formations.

It is in fact a declaration of war, founded on lies. One of them is that Russia has already annexed the territories of the republics when it has not, the other that the peoples governments are just Russian stage sets when they have proven that they are truly representative of the peoples of the Donbass and often have conflicting views with Russia on how to move forward. The third lie is that the Republics have no place in the agreements when in fact the agreements were all about the special status of the republics, or “regions” and the nature of their “interim self-government.”

The Americans finished by stating they regard the elections as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that they will continue their illegal economic warfare against Russia, under the quasi-legal guise of “sanctions,” adding in for good measure, until Russia surrenders “its control of Crimea to Ukraine”.

The fact that this is the same United States that, as it spoke, was in illegal occupation of Afghanistan, and Syria, had bombed and occupied Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, set up the illegal status of the Serbian province of Kosovo as its puppet state under a confessed war criminal, Hashim Thaci, constantly violates the territorial integrity of China and threatens the DPRK and Iran with imminent attack. This is the same government that was involved in the overthrow of the legitimate government of Ukraine in 2014, revealing the other lie in the American statement because Ukraine does not have a legitimate, constitutional government representative of the people but one riddled with Nazis and ultra reactionary forces willing to sell their country to the Americans and Germans. The evidence of members of the present Kiev regime being involved, along with foreign snipers, including US Army snipers, in the killings in the Maidan in Kiev in 2014 is strong evidence that the shootings, chaos and final putsch were an organised NATO operation to install a puppet regime.

It is a dilemma for NATO because with the putsch they had hoped to secure control of the big naval base at Sevastopol and place their battle formations directly on Russia’s border. Russia’s quick action of acceding to the request of the Crimean people to have a referendum on Crimea’s integration with Russia saved both the Russians living there from the nightmare of rule by the Nazi infected regime of Poroshenko and saved their strategic base from falling into NATO’s hands. Instead of the quick victory they had hoped for NATO are faced with a determined opposition from two buffer states that are closely allied to and supported by Russia while stuck with a corrupt and incompetent cabal in Kiev that cannot deliver what they want, complete control of Ukraine.

For Russia the dilemma is whether to absorb the republics into Russia or maintain the very messy status quo of stalemate and siege and the danger of being dragged into a larger war in Ukraine. Integration would have a number of advantages, including bringing under Russian control the mining and industrial strength of those republics, the loyalty of their people, their military experience and resources, and a resolution of the stalemate. On the other hand the Russian leadership fears that integration will be deemed by the NATO gang as an “invasion and annexation” of Ukraine and would be used as a pretext for a wider war against Russia. A wider war can lead to a nuclear war something that Russia, unlike the United States, wants to avoid. But as we see they are already accused of annexing those territories, and that propaganda narrative is not going to change.

And so, the stalemate remains. The dilemma remains. The peoples of the Donbass have expressed their wish. They have shown their courage and their determination, their resilience. They cannot be ignored. But neither can the real concerns of the Russian government. The Minsk Accords of 2015 provide a workable framework for a political resolution that requires compromises to be made. The Donbass republics and Russia have tried to adhere to the agreements consistently while Kiev and NATO violate them at every turn and maintain a state of siege against civilian populations and cities, with daily bombardments, small but deadly engagements, always the threat of larger ones, assassinations, committing war crimes on a daily basis, all supported by the NATO democracies who, as they spent November commemorating the war dead of the past, at the same time celebrated the large scale military exercises they are holding in Norway; practice for an attack on Russia.

The United States, unpleasant as it is to tell you, seizes every opportunity for bloodshed, like a raven flying to the stink of carrion. One day its unbounded greed will deliver the fate it deserves, but its leadership is not interested in political solutions that involve compromise. They want everything. In the case of Ukraine it is clear with the assassination of Zakharchenko that their intention is to resolve the problem with war. Their reaction to the elections confirms it.

Everything the American government does points to war. Not that the world is not already at war. When has it not been, and when has the United States and it allies not been behind them? But the very quick build up of economic warfare on Iran, China, Russia, the DPRK, the rejection of nuclear arms treaties under pretexts, the continuous series of military exercises surrounding Russia, Iran, China, the occupation of Afghanistan, the reactivation of the US 2nd Fleet, the ever hysterical anti Russian, and now beginning to build, anti-Chinese propaganda, are signs they have a military solution in mind in order to solve their problems.

For Russia and the Republics the way out of the dilemma is good will, negotiations and a peaceful resolution. For the US and its allies the way out is more hostility, diktats and violence. Is there an answer?

Clausewitz gives us a clue when he says,

“Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of the object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.”

Russia is saying simply, “your war, your siege, your assassinations, your “sanctions” have failed. The elections are a statement of strength and determination to resist. You cannot subdue them. You must abandon the effort and restore the peace. To continue is illogical, an act of stupidity, a danger to the world. The risks are not worth the object.”

Unfortunately, we all know the NATO leadership is locked into their self created fantasies and delusions and so cannot perceive reality or comprehend it when they do, any more than the captain and officers of the NATO Norwegian frigate that, despite all its high tech gear, were unable to see what was right in front of them and collided with a slow moving oil tanker and then sank after returning from the NATO exercise in the area; because they believed in their own infallibility. But this is how all wars start, with delusions, with insanity.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

LPR Leader Favors Referendum in Donbass on Joining Russia

Sputnik – 17.03.2017

The leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, said Friday he was in favor of holding a referendum in Donbass on joining Russia.

“We do not just assume, we are sure that such a referendum will certainly take place. Of course, we will initiate it, but everything should be done at the proper time,” Plotnitsky told Sputnik.

Earlier Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no “written scenarios” in Russia regarding the possibility to make the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and LPR part of Russia.

Plotnisky also told reporters Friday that the DPR and LPR considered introduction by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of Donbass blockade as actual recognition of the self-proclaimed republics’ independence.

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Ukraine legacy is in dangerous drift


By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | February 28, 2017

Moscow refused to join issue with the US State Department’s strident statement on Sunday blaming Russia for the renewed violence in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Washington had stressed that it was “imperative” that the “combined-Russian separatist forces” in Donbass halted their attacks and “immediately” observe the ceasefire.

The Russian reaction came on Monday at the level of the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov who was dismissive of the US allegation but wouldn’t be drawn into the blame game, either, and instead would call on Washington to be “more attentive in judging the situation.” Peskov said he’s reiterating for “a hundredth time” that Russia is not party to the conflict in Ukraine. It was a restrained reaction, albeit a rebuttal of the US charge – and just stopped short of offering Russia’s helping hand.

This puts Washington in a quandary: What next? The point is, the Donald Trump administration is still to put on track a Russia policy. Ukraine is a potential crisis on Europe’s doorstep which demands that Trump has a one-on-one with President Vladimir Putin as early as possible. But then, the Trump administration must also know what to discuss with Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Donbass situation is developing in a way that Washington needs to contend with newer and newer facts on the ground. Moscow announced a week ago its “humanitarian” move to recognize identity documents issued in the separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine. This followed a blunt statement by Moscow that “We’re not returning our territory, Crimea is part of Russian Federation” (which in turn was provoked by a remark by the White House press secretary that Trump had been taking a tough line on Russia and that he expected Moscow to withdraw from Crimea, which it occupied after a “full-scale invasion” in 2014.)

Putin ordered last week that the Russian government will temporarily recognize identification, education and qualification documents and other certificates as well as car licence plates issued in the self-declared “people’s republics”, ie., parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are not under the control of Kiev.

Europe is unsure whether or not see the Russian move as a warning shot by the Kremlin – although it will be a rush to judgment that Moscow is heading in the direction of granting recognition to the self-declared “people’s republics” in Donbass. Moscow maintains with a straight face that the move aims at facilitating travel and allowing Donbass residents to work and study in Russia and that it has a “strict temporary limit – until the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

On Monday, Russian media reported that another new fact on the ground is struggling to be born in Donbass. This time around, the Lugansk “People’s Republic” has reportedly announced that from March 1, Russian Ruble will become the region’s official currency. Now, things are becoming serious, aren’t they?

And all this is unfolding against the backdrop of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist groups imposing a blockade for the past month on the movement of coal from Donbass to western Ukraine, which threatens serious economic dislocation. These “neo-Nazi” elements also captured a water purification plant with the intent to cut off water supplies to the Donetsk region under separatist control. The authorities in Kiev cannot or will not crack down on the far-right groups.

Pressure is mounting on Kiev from multiple sides. Importantly, President Petro Poroshenko doesn’t know where exactly he stands in the US foreign policy calculus in the Trump era. The popular mood in Ukraine is increasingly disenchanted with all that happened in the country through the 3-year period since the regime change following the ouster of the elected president Viktor Yanukovych in a “colour revolution” in February 2014.

A recent poll by the Kiev International Sociology Institute shows that in retrospect, a majority of people now see the 2014 “colour revolution” as more of a western coup d’etat and blame Kiev (rather than Moscow) for the lackadaisical implementation of the Minsk agreements. Evidently, the ground is shifting beneath the feet of the “pro-US” set-up installed in power in Kiev by the Barack Obama administration. Popular discontent is cascading with three-quarters Ukrainians estimating that living conditions have only worsened. The most worrisome factor is of course the ascendancy of the far-right groups – and they happen to be well-armed and include ex-servicemen.

With Europe preoccupied with own problems and the US caught up in a civil war – Trump told Fox News last night that he saw Obama’s hidden hand behind the media leaks and protests against him – the West is not paying attention to the dangerous drift in Ukraine. The point is, the Ukrainian political process is steadily becoming violent, threatening the country’s stability. Russia’s cooperation becomes a must to salvage the situation.

However, engagement with Russia is possible only if the Trump administration musters the steam to override the formidable resistance from the US foreign-policy and security establishment (and the US Congress), which is not going to be easy. What Obama visualized as his finest foreign-policy legacy in “post-Soviet” Eurasia is turning out to be a can of worms for the West. Read an overview of the developing crisis featured in The Duran.

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yanukovych Calls for Donbass Status Referendum if Kiev Fails Minsk Deal

Sputnik – February 22, 2017

1047630299Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as the heads of European bodies.

Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych calls for a referendum on the status of the southeast Ukrainian region known as Donbass if Kiev does not comply with a set of ceasefire agreements.

“In the event of current Ukrainian authorities failing to observe the Minsk agreements, it is needed to initiate a referendum on the status of Donbass,” Yanukovych wrote in a letter to world leaders obtained by Sputnik.

He offered to include the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the reconciliation format comprising Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.

Yanukovych also calls on world leaders to “initiate the creation of a special commission of the Council of Europe to monitor the investigation of crimes committed on the Maidan.”

The letter was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as the heads of European bodies.

The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


Why Kiev’s Shelling Raids on Donbass Coincide With Poroshenko’s Foreign Tours

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Stalls in Implementing Minsk Agreements

Sputnik – February 13, 2016

Paris and Berlin are seriously concerned about Kiev’s unwillingness to adhere to the Minsk peace agreements on eastern Ukraine, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

Kiev has failed to take steps to implement the Minsk peace agreements on eastern Ukraine, which continues to alarm Paris and Berlin. The countries’ leaders remain doubtful regarding the implementation of the accords, the French newspaper Le Monde said, citing a senior French official.According to the newspaper, this skepticism stems from the behavior of Ukrainian politicians, who had earlier played the role of “good students.” Le Monde quoted the official as saying that the situation remains the EU’s main concern, and “in the short term there is no reason for optimism in the matter.”

Donetsk units have delivered nine 82mm-caliber mortars to the site of their further storage in the neighborhood of Illovaisk. Under the Minsk accords, the Donetsk People’s Republic has accomplished its under-100mm-caliber artillery withdrawal from the contact line.

The official said that the past few years have seen an ever-increasing number of supporters of the normalization of relations with Russia in Europe, something that he said comes amid the Ukrainian side’s visible reluctance to comply with the Minsk agreements.

“Fatigue from the Ukrainian issue can quickly turn into fatigue from the Ukrainian partner, who has proven to be unreliable,” the official said, adding that “in this vein, the question of anti-Russian sanctions is seen in a different perspective.”

One of the main problems pertaining to the Minsk agreements is Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko‘s inability to approve the special status of eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. The initiative is being blocked by many Ukrainian lawmakers, according to the Le Monde.

“Poroshenko’s hopes to gain a constitutional majority by getting two-thirds of the votes are already seen as unrealistic,” the newspaper said.

Another serious problem is related to the “vague wording on the implementation of some stages of the Minsk agreements,” Le Monde said. For example, restoring control of the region’s border with Russia to the Ukrainian government within the conflict zone after local elections. This has yet to be fulfilled because Kiev continues to insist that holding such elections in Donbass is impossible.In April 2014, Ukrainian authorities kicked off a military operation against supporters of Donbass independence in eastern Ukraine. The settlement of the conflict is still being discussed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine in the Belarusian capital Minsk, which has already adopted three documents which establish guidelines for taking the necessary steps to de-escalate the conflict. The group includes representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

February 13, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine resorts to creating fake DPR websites as “sources”

“Ukraine is trying to discredit DPR media by creating false sites of the republic”

Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski – December 23, 2015

Novorossiya – Ukrainian media, feeling powerless in the information war, is resorting to new tricks. This time false websites allegedly belonging to the republics have been created which are spreading false information. This was reported by the technical service team of Donetsk News Agency.

“They [these fake sites] are registered in the Ukrainian domain zone and their names sometimes refer to the DPR or to a city controlled by the republic’s forces. ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ is written without quotation marks, thus attracting the attention of gullible supporters of the DPR. However, the content of the publications is false and sometimes of an absurd character. A number of extremely ‘yellow’ Ukrainian media outlets are using new data resources referring to ‘separatist’ publications,” the information agency noted.

The deputy director of state information policies of the Ministry of Information of the DPR, Natalya Pershina, commented on this move by Ukraine in the information war:

“Those who are associated with this project are mired in their own lies and are harming Ukraine’s media, not the republic’s,” she said.

The authorities of the DPR have repeatedly urged a cautious approach to Ukrainian media, especially information which is posted about Donbass. There are no Ukrainian journalists in the DPR and they do not have access to documents of the republic. In addition, Ukrainian media and journalism have little in common.

December 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

‘Ukrainian PM should be tried for war crimes’ – Russian investigators


RT | November 23, 2015

Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk is responsible for numerous war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military and law enforcement and sooner or later will face a trial, the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee has said.

“Yatsenyuk was among many well-known persons, including top military officers, who personally issued orders to fire upon the civilian population of Donbass,” Vladimir Markin said in an interview with Zvezda television.

The Russian official also said that he hoped people from southeast regions of Ukraine would sooner or later put those responsible for war crimes on trial, noting that the trials should take place in the same places where the crimes had been committed. “The very just trial is where the crimes took place,” he said.

Markin added that PM Yatsenyuk must share responsibility with other Ukrainian politicians and businessmen who helped to unleash and wage the war in Donbass. He named the former head of Ukrainian Security Service, Valentin Nalivaychenko, and oligarch Igor Kolomoisky as prime candidates for the war crimes tribunal.

The Russian official also reminded the reporters that the Investigative Committee had already begun a criminal investigation into the Donbass events, charging the yet-unnamed suspects with the genocide of Russian-speaking residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. “The events in Donbass cannot be described by any other term than genocide. This was the reason why we started our probe, including into the genocide which is a crime under Russian criminal law. International law and the Russian criminal code allow us to instigate and investigate criminal cases, to bring to justice people who commit such crimes,” Markin said.

In September this year, the head of the Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, said in an interview to the media that his agency had started a criminal case into Yatsenyuk’s alleged participation in the war in Chechnya on the side of terrorists, as well as in tortures and executions of Russian prisoners.

In March last year, the Investigative Committee began a criminal investigation into Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Ukrainian extreme nationalist movement Right Sector, which was one of the main driving forces behind the Maidan unrest and the subsequent war in Donbass. In Russia, Yarosh faces charges of publicly calling for extremist activities.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Luhansk Leader Says Ready to Sign Donbas Weapons Pullout Agreement

Sputnik – 29.09.2015

Leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky said Tuesday he was ready to sign an agreement on weapons pullout in Donbass on September 30.

On Tuesday participants of the Contact Group on Ukraine initialed an agreement on the withdrawal of weaponry with caliber under 100-mm and tanks from a separation line between Kiev-led forces and Donbass militia in eastern Ukraine.

“This is a much-anticipated news for people who live along the contact line,” the Lugansk Information Center quoted Plotnitsky as saying.

“I hope that this document, which we will sign tomorrow, will open the way for further implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

Weapons Pullout in Donbass to Consist of Two Stages, Take 41 Days

The withdrawal of weaponry under 100-mm and tanks from a separation line between conflicting sides in eastern Ukraine will be carried out in two stages over 41 days, tanks will be pulled out first, OSCE envoy to Ukraine reconciliation talks Martin Sajdik said Tuesday.

Sadjik said that the agreement envisions the withdrawal of tanks, artillery of caliber under 100-mm and mortars with caliber under 120-mm to a distance of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the separation line within a period of 41 days.

The diplomat added that the pullout would start on the territory of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic two days after a full ceasefire regime had been established.

Tanks will be withdrawn first, followed by artillery and mortars, Sajdik explained.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Contact Group on Ukraine Signs Donbass Weapons Pullout Agreement

Sputnik – 29.09.2015

Participants of the Contact Group on Ukraine signed on Tuesday an agreement on the withdrawal of tanks and weaponry with a caliber of under 100-mm from a separation line between Kiev-led forces and Donbass militia in eastern Ukraine.

A source close to the talks told RIA Novosti that the new arms pullout deal will be added to the package of Minsk peace accords, agreed on February 12 between Russian, Ukrainian, French and German leaders.

“An agreement on the pullout of weaponry with caliber under 100-mm and tanks from the contact line in Donbass has been initialed.”

The report was later confirmed by Donetsk envoy to Contact Group talks in Minsk Denis Pushilin.

Dariia Olifer, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian government representative at the peace talks and ex-president Leonid Kuchma, posted to her Facebook page that the document was signed by Kuchma, OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine Martin Sajdik and Russian envoy to the talks Azamat Kulmukhametov.

Olifer added that the agreement had not yet been signed by leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, who would sign them “through OSCE channels” by Thursday.

September 29, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

South-East Ukraine Is the Real Target of Kiev’s Donbass Blockade

Unable to reconquer Donbass Kiev wants it as an economic basket case to dampen secessionist feeling in the rest of South-East Ukraine

Government army keeps the groceries at bay
By Marko Marjanović | Russia Insider | August 21, 2015

In a process that begun in July 2014 and was completed November later that year the Ukrainian government in Kiev severed all links to rebel-held Donbass in east Ukraine. This meant it stopped making social payments to citizens and de-funded all state institutions: courts, registries, hospitals, banks, post offices and state-owned enterprises.

Strategically this was a mistake.

Nothing would have underscored the legitimacy of Kiev’s rule in east Ukraine more, but for it to continue to perform many of the functions of the state there. Likewise, the people in east Ukraine could not have helped but notice it was Kiev which continued to supply them with services the rebels were incapable, and Russia unwilling, to provide.

As it was the Kiev government became a solely negative factor in their lives – what with its offensive military operations and the arming up of neo-Nazis.

Instead, it was the rebels which were forced to pick up the slack and which now – along with the prestige of being the people who keep the neo-Nazis at bay – enjoy also the legitimacy of being the people who provide the electricity, water, heating, pensions and medical care to Donbass people.

In fact, initially the two rebel statelets – the DPR and LPR – were reluctant and slow to take responsibility for many of these tasks so they should really thank Kiev for forcing them to take their state-building of rival, secessionist republics seriously.

Nonetheless, the argument laid above is a sophisticated one. As such it is understandable that Kiev did not appreciate it, but instead pulled out following the crude logic that dumping social responsibilities in the lap of the rebels would serve to decrease the amount of resources they could dedicate to building up their military capacities.

It is much less understandable why Kiev followed up its pullout from Donbass with a fully-fledged economic blockade.

The two most clear-cut consequences the blockade has had was to enable Poroshenko to act the hardliner, as well as to definitely win the hearts and minds of Donbass residents for the rebels.

Research conducted in March of this year showed the blockade helped an astounding 93% of people in rebel-held east Ukraine to transfer their loyalties away from Kiev.

This is scarcely surprising since Poroshenko very much openly proclaimed the blockade was intended as continuation of war by means of collective reprisals against the civilians of Donbass:

“We will have our 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 the basements. Because they are not able to do a thing.

This is exactly how we will win this war!”

Exactly how Poroshenko thought this would win the war for Kiev is a mystery. The idea unarmed civilians would rise against armed rebels originating from their midst – and then for the benefit of their Maidan-affiliated tormentors was always bizarre.

Likewise the idea that Donbass – which controlled a stretch of border with Russia – could actually be brought to its knees and forced to beg for mercy.

Dreadfully enough, during the winter of 2014-15 the blockade indeed contributed to a major humanitarian crisis. There was little food to buy and severe shortages of many types of medicine. There were even reports of individual deaths – usually of socially isolated pensioners, now without pensions. No doubt things would have been even worse without humanitarian assistance from Russia.

This situation, however, has now been long superseded. Between commerce with Russiasmuggling across front lines, and transit from government-held Ukraine via Russia conditions in Donbass, as regards supplies, are now livable enough. – And there are no signs that Donbass is ready to fall on its knees before the government in Kiev as Poroshenko predicted in November.

If anything we must assume that many eastern Ukrainians in rebel-held territories feel a measure of pride at having withstood Kiev’s attempted strangulation of their region.

In other words, aside from being morally repugnant the blockade has proven an utter failure in its stated goal of bringing Donbass back under central control – but has instead made this goal more distant than ever.

Familiar lines (in this case from the 2004 election)

It is more likely that the politicians in Kiev regarded Donbass lost from the onset and the blockade was instead enacted for their own political purposes. – That is merely to show they were still “doing something” to bring it back even after they called off large-scale military operations in face of losses and defeats. (And even as the blockade was having the exact opposite effect.)

It is true, however, that the war and the blockade has meant that material quality of life in rebel-held territories is even worse than in areas under government control.

This must come as a disappointment to many since we can recall that hope for a better economic situation was perhaps the main mobilizing force behind the pro-Russian rallies in eastern Ukraine in the wake of Maidan.

By and large the masses of people who came out for counter-Maidan rallies in February, March and April 2014 across eastern Ukraine were not signing up for adventure and armed uprising (that came much later as reaction to heavy-handedness and intransigence of Maidan-controlled Kiev).

What they were calling for instead was for the relatively more orderly and economically prosperous Russia to swiftly take them under their wing – as it had just done with Crimea (thrilling its inhabitants).

Of course, the disappointment that Russia did not take over responsibility for Donbass is unlikely to translate into desire by its inhabitants to be taken over by the Maidan-affiliated forces that are shelling, blockading and demonizing them daily.

What the blockade may do, however, is demonstrate to other anti-Maidan Ukrainians that no matter the debt of economic abyss that Ukraine is facing an eventual separation from Maidan-controlled Kiev would not bring material relief.

Educated by the example of blockaded Donbass (and the likewise blockaded Transnistria) South-East Ukrainians now can have no doubt that no matter how dreadful the material situation in Ukraine – an attempted secession can only result in things getting worse yet.

Nikolai Holmov (‘OdessaBlogger’), a pro-Maidan commentator from Ukraine, explains the calculation leaders and people from heavily anti-Maidan areas like Kharkov, Mariupol and southern Odessa region must consider:

Anton Cisse [leader of ethnic Bulgarians in southern Odessa region] is no political ally of President Poroshenko, and therefore by extension is no political ally of Governor Saakashvili – however he is not stupid either. Indeed he is nobody’s fool.

Mr Cisse is quite capable of looking across the border to Transnistria and seeing what a basket case it is, particularly economically.

As a businessman first and foremost (and a politician secondly) there is simply no gain for him in any form of separatist movement within his stronghold that would move his patch toward an economic disaster area whilst also eschewing it from Odessa, its infrastructure, and its wealth.

Neither would he take kindly to his small fiefdom becoming a second devastated Donbas for the sake of an illusionary Bessarabia.

Thus, no matter what sympathies Mr Cisse may have (or not) for the Kremlin inspired “Bessarabia project” Mr Cisse, and his very loyal ethic Bulgarian constituents, are not about to sanction, encourage, give any meaningful support to, or lead the charge for, an independent/autonomous Bessarabia any time soon.

This, along with heavy policing – formal and informal – has to be a reason why we’ve seen very little evidence of secessionist feeling even in parts of South-East Ukraine where this sentiment was very visible last year before the war begun.

In other words, even if Maidan regime is not be able to inspire real enthusiasm and loyalty in the South-East it has conclusively demonstrated the ability to make lives fairly miserable in the material sense for those who try to break free – even in the event that they succeed.

It’s classic terrorist logic: Donbass is subject to collective reprisals, not in the hope it will surrender or be re-educated, but to be made into a lesson for those who might be tempted to follow in its footsteps.

August 21, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

OSCE Shamed for Not Reporting Kiev’s Atrocities in Donbass

Sputnik – 06.08.2015

Hundreds of people gathered outside the OSCE office in Donetsk, demanding unbiased monitoring of the humanitarian situation in the region.

1021833304“Your silence is killing children”, read one of the many posters held by the protesters.

Several OSCE representatives came out to meet the protesters but refrained from making any comments.

“If only the OSCE had monitored the situation more objectively, we would have had peace here a long time ago… The OSCE monitors are telling us nothing, saying only that they will make protocols, nothing else,” Donetsk News Agency quoted one of the protesters as saying.

Another protester, from the nearby town of Gorlovka, shamed the monitors for keeping mum while the Ukrainian military was reducing his town to rubble.

The demonstrators then left, leaving behind a collection of dolls, teddy bears and other children’s toys, which they had smeared with red paint to symbolize the blood of children in the Donbass region who had been killed by Ukrainian troops.

August 6, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment