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How the war will end…

By Gilbert Doctorow | June 3, 2022 

It has been my rule not to join the vast majority of my fellow political commentators at the scrimmage line in sterile debates of the one subject of the day, week, month that has attracted their full attention. Their debates are sterile because they ignore all but a few parameters of reality in Russia, in Ukraine. For them, ignorance is bliss. They do not stir from their armchairs nor do they switch channels to get information from the other side of the barricades, meaning from Russia.

I will violate this overriding rule and just this once join the debate over how Russia’s ‘special military operation’ will end. Nearly all of my peers in Western media and academia give you read-outs based on their shared certainty over Russia’s military and political ambition from the start of the ‘operation,’ how Russia failed by underestimating Ukrainian resilience and professionalism, how Putin must now save face by capturing and holding some part of Ukraine. The subject of disagreement is whether at the end of the campaign the borders will revert to the status quo before 24 February in exchange for Ukrainian neutrality or whether the Russians will have to entirely give up claims on Donbas and possibly even on Crimea.

As for commentators in the European Union, there is exaggerated outrage over alleged Russian aggression, over any possible revision of European borders as enshrined in the Helsinki Act of 1975 and subsequent recommitments by all parties to territorial inviolability of the signatory States. There is the stench of hypocrisy from this crowd as they overlook what they wrought in the deconstruction of Yugoslavia and, in particular, the hiving off of Kosovo from the state of Serbia.

I mention all of the foregoing as background to what I see now going on in Russian political life, namely open and lively discussion of whether the country should annex the territories of Ukraine newly ‘liberated’ by forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics with decisive assistance of the Russian military. By admission of President Zelensky yesterday, these territories now amount to 20% of the Ukrainian state as it was configured in 2014.

In the past several weeks, when Russia concentrated its men and materiel on the Donbas and began to score decisive victories, most notably following the taking of Mariupol and capitulation of the nationalist fighters in the Azovstal complex, leading public officials in the DPR, the LPR and the Kherson oblast have called for quick accession of their lands to the Russian Federation with or without referendums. In Moscow, politicians, including Duma members, have called for the same, claiming that a fait accompli could be achieved already in July.

However, as I see and hear on political talk shows and even in simple political reportage on mainstream Russian radio like Business FM, a counter argument has raised its head. Those on this side ask whether the populations of the potential new constituent parts of the RF are likely to be loyal to Russia. They ask if there is truly a pro-Russian majority in the population should a referendum be organized.

This is all very interesting. It surely is a continuation of the internal debate in Moscow back in 2014 when the decision was taken to grant Crimea immediate entry into the RF while denying the requests for similar treatment from the political leaders of the Donbas oblasts.

However, there surely are other considerations weighing in on the Kremlin that I have not seen aired so far. They may be likened to the considerations of France following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when the possible reunification of Germany was the talk of the day. Sharp witted observers said at the time that President Mitterand liked Germany so much that he wanted to continue to see two of them. Today Vladimir Putin may like Ukraine and its brethren Slavs so much that he wants to see three or four of them.

To be specific, from the very beginning the number one issue for Moscow as it entered upon its military adventure in Ukraine was geopolitical: to ensure that Ukraine will never again be used as a platform to threaten Russian state security, that Ukraine will never become a NATO member. We may safely assume that internationally guaranteed and supervised neutrality of Ukraine will be part of any peace settlement. It would be nicely supported by a new reality on the ground: namely by carving out several Russia-friendly and Russia-dependent mini-states on the former territory of East and South Ukraine. At the same time this solution removes from the international political agenda many of the accusations that have been made against Russia which support the vicious sanctions now being applied to the RF at great cost to Europe and to the world at large: there will be no territorial acquisitions.

If Kiev is compelled to acknowledge the independence of these two, three or more former oblasts as demanded by their populations, that is a situation fully compatible with the United Nations Charter. In a word, a decision by the Kremlin not to annex parts of Ukraine beyond the Crimea, which has long been quietly accepted by many in Europe, would prepare the way for a gradual return of civilized relations within Europe and even, eventually, with the United States

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Another confusing and misleading human rights report by United Nations observers in Ukraine

Aftermath-of-shelling-of-neighbourhood-in-eastern-Ukraine-shelled-by-Ukrainian-armed-forces-UNHCR-photo-300x200

Eastern Ukraine neighbourhood shelled by Ukraine armed forces (UNHCR photo)
By Roger Annis | New Cold War | July 19, 2016

Five days ago, the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released another in a long line of reports purporting to provide an overview of the human rights situation in Ukraine. This latest report is titled “Accountability for killings in Ukraine from January 2014 to May 2016”.

The report is 20 pages long with 31 additional pages of appendix examining “Cases of violations or abuses of the right to life in Ukraine from January 2014 to May 2016”. A press release by the UN body summarizes the content of the report.

The OHCHR report is another outlandish collection of selected facts making a strong inference that a large part of the “abuses to the right to life” it examines are the fault of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and their self-defense forces.

As with past reports, the OHCHR makes an equivalency between, on the one hand, the governing regime in Kyiv which is bound by all of the international conventions on human rights which previous Ukrainian governments signed onto and, on the other hand, the people’s republics and armed forces of Donetsk and Lugansk which are not so bound. The Donetsk and Lugansk republics cannot sign on to international human rights conventions because they are shunned and unrecognized by most international bodies… including the OHCHR!

At last check, it is not the republics of the former eastern Ukraine which have invaded Ukraine, but Ukraine that has invaded and imposed an ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ against the people there. Yet the UN report describes Kyiv’s civil war as a “separatist conflict”.

Adding insult to injury, the UN press release says, “According to the report, the killings are being “fueled by the inflow of foreign fighters and weapons from the Russian Federation”.

The UN report fails to mention that even if such  a patently false description of the conflict as being a “separatist conflict” were true, Ukraine is nonetheless duty bound by international convention to protect its nominal citizens and not wage war against them.

The UN report speaks of shadowy “armed groups” in Donetsk and Lugansk who it says are responsible for extra-judicial killings as well as prisoner abuse, torture and killings. Yet when it comes to the extremist and neo-Nazi paramilitaries who are joined with Ukraine’s armed forces in waging civil war, they are given the polite description of “volunteer battalions”. Sounds downright patriotic and heroic!

When it comes to the Kyiv regime itself, the UN report language is all kid glove. For example, in professing concern about the Odessa Massacre of 48 people on May 2, 2014, UN press release writes:

The report also highlighted the violence that took place on 2 May 2014, in Odesa, during which 48 people died as a result of clashes between “pro-unity” and “pro-federalism” groups. OHCHR “remains concerned that the authorities have still not taken appropriate measures to ensure effective investigations into the 2 May 2014 events, nor to protect the independence of the judiciary,” the report said.

On that day in Odessa, nearly all of the victims were peacefully protesting against the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 which deposed the country’s elected president. They were targeted for killing when the trade union building in the center of the city where they had taken refuge from a right-wing mob was set on fire.

Further in the press release we read:

Furthermore, the report found that the lack of accountability remains widespread in Ukraine, despite efforts by the Government [sic] to bring perpetrators from its own ranks to justice and the pre-trial investigations by the Office of the Chief Military Prosecutor into cases of killing, torture and ill-treatment by members of the armed groups of the self-proclaimed [sic] “Donetsk people’s republic” and self-proclaimed “Luhansk people’s republic.”

While acknowledging the challenges faced by the authorities in ensuring justice, including the lack of access to the territories where many of the alleged acts took place, the report noted “an apparent lack of motivation to investigate some cases … especially when it concerns acts allegedly committed by Ukrainian forces.”

What about the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement, signed by Ukraine on February 12, 2015 and endorsed by no less that the UN Security Council several days later? Not a word of it in the OHCHR press release. In the 20 pages of the report, one finds several references to the need to implement what is called the “Minsk Agreements”, but no detailed description of the content and import of the agreement is provided.

How bad is the official state of human rights in Ukraine? Two months ago, the UN’s Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture took the unprecedented step of cancelling in mid-visit an official visit looking into reported cases of torture by Ukrainian government forces and by rebel authorities in the east. The reason for the cancellation was that Kyiv refused to live up to its obligations under Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, an international convention to which a previous Ukrainian government signed on. It requires signators to provide unfettered access to prisons and other places of detention. The subcommittee was intending to investigate reports of secret prisons operated by Ukraine’s police and military services.

Oh, don’t look for information in this latest UN report on the telling experience of the UN’s Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture two months ago. Blank. Apparently, that would be unrelated to “Cases of violations or abuses of the right to life in Ukraine from January 2014 to May 2016”.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | 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

Constitutional maneuvering in Ukraine to deny recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk republics and sabotage Minsk-2

New Cold War | July 6, 2015

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have announced they will hold local elections on October 18 and November 1, respectively. The two dates surround announced local elections to take place in Ukraine on October 25.

Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko made his announcement on July 2. According to UNIAN News, heads of cities and districts will be elected. No decision on the election of members of local councils has been made yet.

Lugansk People’s Republic Prime Minister Igor Plotnitsky announced on July 6 that similar local elections will take place there on November 1.

Interfax reports Zakharchenko as explaining, “In today’s situation, which emerged through Kyiv’s fault, the Donetsk People’s Republic has to independently start to implement the Minsk agreements in order to rescue them.

“We will begin acting immediately, without waiting for Kyiv to come to its senses and return to real, not fake, talks, because any further procrastination and delays will benefit only the Ukrainian party of war.”

Plotnitsky’s statement said, “Recently, we concluded that Ukraine doesn’t intend to abide by its commitments. Kiev either breaks or pretends to execute the provisions of the Minsk Agreement. The Verkhovna Rada issues bills not consistent with our draft documents on matters affecting the Donbass. To date, they’ve refused to define the special status of the LPR, nor have they even begun to write the laws embodying that special status. Besides that, with each passing day, Kiev intensifies its blockade of the LPR.”

“From such a perspective, we decided to begin a unilateral implementation of the Minsk Agreement regarding local elections in the LPR.”

The two prime ministers are referring to the failure of the Kyiv government to respect clauses of the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement of Feb. 12, 2015 requiring dialogue with the rebel regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as a decentralization of powers to them.

The announcements by the two people’s republics administrations are in response to an elaborate scheme by the government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to dodge the key provisions of Minsk-2 requiring talks and constitutional change.

Back in May, at the eighth Kiev Security Forum, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s prime minister made it clear they will not engage in talks. “We will hold a dialogue with Donbass, but with the other Donbass, a Ukrainian one,” Poroshenko said. He went on, “We must ensure fair elections.”

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his government would never talk to the current representatives in Donbas. “We will communicate only with the legitimate representatives of this region, we want to hold legitimate elections there.”

Yatsenyuk provocatively said his government would talk to leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics “only when they are behind bars”. He added, “By the way, we have got enough empty prison cells.”

Instead of talks, the Ukraine government convened a Constitutional Commission in April. That body is set to deliver its draft report to the Verkhovna Rada this week. It will propose some cosmetic decentralization changes, but crucially, the changes will deny any present or future recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The constitutional changes will be sold to international public opinion as proof of compliance with Minsk-2.

Poroshenko earlier announced local elections for October 25 as part of the scheme. Donetsk and Lugansk republics will, of course, refuse to allow a government in Kyiv waging war on them to conduct elections on their territories. This will be sold as proof of their intransigence and impossibility of dialogue with them.

TASS reports Zakharchenko saying in his July 2 announcement that Kiev’s unilateral actions on adopting amendments to Ukraine’s constitution serve as evidence that “the Kiev regime has de facto exited the Minsk peace process”.

“Under the circumstances,” he said, “the Donetsk People’s Republic has to start implementing the Minsk agreements itself in order to save them.”

The following day, the DPR head responded to an orchestrated statement by U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden criticizing the Oct. 18 election decision. Zakharchenko said, reports TASS, “The U.S. Vice President has most likely not studied the issue thoroughly. I doubt that he has even read the Minsk package of measures. And Poroshenko is distorting facts as usual.”

He continued, “If Biden is really concerned about the future of the Minsk accords, than he should make Poroshenko and Groysman [Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada] implement them.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a statement on July 3 saying his government is deeply disappointed with what it calls the failure of the Ukrainian government to respect provisions of Minsk-2. He said, “Russia is deeply concerned about Kiev’s inability and unwillingness to fulfill its commitments to coordinate with Donetsk and Lugansk modalities of conducting local elections and its inability to attract representatives of the self-proclaimed republics to drawing up a new constitution.”

Lavrov said that Poroshenko’s and Yatsenyuk’s government has written a new, draft constitution without participation of Donetsk and Lugansk representatives. This “does not fulfill any of the requirements of the Minsk agreements with regard to this document.”

The draft “does not reflect the tasks of ensuring a special status for these territories on a permanent basis and does not reflect the tasks of decentralization of power,” as envisaged in the peace deal reached in the Belorussian capital in February.

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics form ‘Novorossiya’ union

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Representatives from eight south-eastern regions voting at the people’s congress in Donetsk
RT | May 24, 2014

Self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics which recently held referenda on independence from Ukraine have declared the creation of Novorossiya union.

“We have signed a memorandum on the union,” Denis Pushilin, co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, told the media.

The new union will be called Novorossiya, said the people’s governor of the Donetsk Region, Pavel Gubarev.

He added that the document was signed in the city of Donetsk by Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Aleksandr Borodai and the head of Lugansk People’s Republic Aleksey Karyakin.

People’s representatives from eight Ukrainian regions gathered for a congress in Donetsk on Saturday, a day ahead of scheduled countrywide presidential elections.

As a result of the congress, the south-eastern regions of Ukraine, where anti-government protests gained momentum, have announced the creation of a pro-federalization Popular Front socio-political coalition. The movement accepted a manifesto vowing self-determination and protection of people from “Nazi gangs’ terror.”

The coalition involves Odessa, Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.

At the congress, all 145 delegates accepted the manifesto, which stresses that the Popular Front will consist of “everybody, who is ready to resist self-appointed Kiev authority, which started war against the people.”

The coalition vowed to protect innocent civilians from the “terror of Nazi gangs, financed by oligarchs and foreign security services.” It also pledges “a joint fight for people’s rights to a decent life.”

It says it has launched an investigative commission that will probe “crimes of Nazi-terrorists and their Kiev patrons”.

The coalition is calling for a boycott of the presidential election, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, because “all major candidates” are “oligarchs, whom we have already seen in top positions, hence, robbery and terror would continue,” the manifesto said.

When it comes to a new Ukrainian constitution, the Popular Front demands that it guarantees “neutrality” and non-participation in military blocks as well as “political independence”, “mechanisms to stop corruption and massive poverty.”

The coalition also demands that the parliament consists of two chambers. At the same time, regions must be given “a right to autonomy” and “independent foreign-economic activity”.

In addition to that, regional governments must be given a right to “announce its territory de-militarized zones and also “ban political, social and religious organizations on its territory” in case they are considered a “threat” to the people.

The Popular Front wants two official languages in Ukraine – Ukrainian and Russian.

Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics earlier announced they will not participate in Ukraine’s presidential elections scheduled for May 25.

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukrainian ultranationalist leader calls for guerilla war against pro-federalists

RT | May 18, 2014

Television debates with three nationalist presidential candidates ended up in calls to pursue a guerilla war against federalist Ukrainian citizens and conduct targeted assassinations of their leaders.

The leader of the radical Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh, and his no less nationalist opponents, former chief of foreign intelligence service, Nikolay Malomuzh, and chairman of People’s Rukh nationalist party, Vasily Skubiyda, presented their vision of Ukraine on Saturday after the presidential election set for May 25.

Because their positions are really close, they represent the far-right body of electors. The extremist views of Dmitry Yarosh stood out against a background of total antagonism towards everything non-Ukrainian, in the first place the Russian-speaking citizens of the country’s southeast who are demanding federalization.

The leader of the militants, who now make up the backbone of the newly created National Guards, currently conducting military operations against federalization activists in eastern Ukraine, has called for “extensive guerilla war” against the protesting federalist forces in Donetsk and Lugansk.

The Right Sector, which last month formed a special detachment, Donbass-1, for waging war against the federalists in eastern Ukraine, is now busy forming the Donbass-2 unit and plans to recruit militants for a third one, said Yarosh.

The ultranationalist leader categorically denied that the autonomous republic of Crimea had the right to disengage with Ukraine through a popular referendum and reunite with Russia. Crimea “has always been, and remains” a Ukrainian territory, stated Yarosh and called to start a guerilla war in the peninsula get the region back.

The Right Sector leader also shared new tactics to be used against federalists in the East, saying that there should be no more attempts to storm the rebel cities, but rather “knock out” the activist leaders. It means that they should be physically eliminated, he specified.

The federalization of Ukraine should never be allowed as it would destroy the Ukrainian state, stressed Yarosh, and promised in case of victory in the presidential race to form future authorities out of Maidan activists who have proven their loyalty.

There is no secret that several Ukrainian oligarchs, who were appointed governors of several eastern regions of the country by the new Kiev authorities, are financing paramilitary units that actually make up private armies of their own.

As for and the Right Sector, its leader Dmitry Yarosh stated that he is “against oligarchs.” The new politician claimed that once he becomes president, he would “redirect Ukrainian economy and tax system from supporting monopolies owned by oligarchs to support small and medium business.”

However, the Right Sector leader never explained what happened to the valuables that were reported missing after Right Sector members occupied certain premises, such as the recreational center ‘Bear oak grove’, or the lavish residence of the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich soon after the ousted president fled the country.

During the debates, all three candidates agreed that there should be only one official language in Ukraine to maintain the integrity of the country. The presidential candidates expressed a readiness to ensure the rights of the ‘national minorities,’ but offered no solution to the historically Russian-speaking majority of the 20 million-strong population of the South and East of Ukraine, who do not speak Ukrainian.

Towards the end of the debates, Dmitry Yarosh made a controversial statement, addressing the electorate.

“I would like to assure all citizens in the East and South of Ukraine that neither me as a person, nor the Right Sector, bear any ill will to peaceful Ukrainian citizens. Yes, we’re ready to carry out our constitutional duty to protect territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine, and we’re already doing so. We will protect our country with arms if necessary,” said Yarosh.

In fact, Ukrainian citizens of the protesting regions have every right to fear Yarosh and his Right Sector union as they are acting as the spearhead of punitive actions against the protesters in the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov and Odessa regions.

So far there have been 23 registered presidential candidates in Ukraine, but five of them have called off their candidacies for various reasons.

Developments over the last several months have revealed that the coup-imposed government in Kiev has little, if any authority over the Right Sector’s actions.

After a notorious Right Sector radical militant, Aleksandr Muzychko, was shot dead in a police raid in late March, Dmitry Yarosh demanded the immediate resignation of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and punishment for those law enforcement officers who took part in the operation. Right Sector militants besieged the Ukrainian parliament headquarters, forcing the coup-imposed government to consider banning the radical organization, but it never dared to do so.

In Russia Dmitry Yarosh has been put on the wanted list for taking part in killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya in 1994-1995. Moscow also requested Interpol to put the ultranationalist on the international wanted list.

May 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donetsk self-defense forces give Kiev troops 24 hours to withdraw

RT | May 15, 2014

Donetsk self-defense forces set an ultimatum for the Kiev military, warning that if troops do not withdraw from block posts in the Donetsk region within 24 hours, they will be taken by force, RIA Novosti reported.

The pro-autonomy militia of Donbass region in eastern Ukraine made the statement on Wednesday.

“If the armored vehicles are not pulled back, the roadblocks of the so-called legitimate authorities are not removed, I will have enough power and means – the commander supported me today – to destroy and burn everything. Reconnaissance and sabotage groups are ready to move and some are steady,” deputy commander of the pro-autonomy militia of Donbass, Sergey Zdrilyuk, told RIA Novosti.

“I give 24 hours for them to withdraw all troops, all forces,” he added.

The statement follows referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which showed that the majority of voters support self-rule amid an intensified military operation by Kiev.

Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk region have endorsed political independence from Kiev, the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Roman Lyagin, previously announced.

In Lugansk region, 96.2 percent of voters supported the region’s self-rule, according to final figures announced by the local election commission.

After the referendum, the Donetsk People’s Republic proclaimed itself a sovereign state and asked Moscow to consider its accession into Russia.

May 15, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Lugansk and Donetsk regions vote for self-determination

RT | May 11, 2014

​The referendum is in full swing in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions, seeking independence from the central government. Local self-defense forces boosted security, fearing that Kiev could stage provocations to disrupt the self-determination vote.

Turnout at the referendum is exceptionally high, the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” Roman Lyagin, told Interfax.

“The turnout is not just high, it’s off the charts,” Lyagin said. “People are queuing up at polling stations, and election commissions are working at full capacity.”

In Lugansk, 22 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots two hours after the polls opened, a leader of the city’s self-defense forces, Vasily Nikitin, told RIA Novosti.

In Mariupol, recovering from Friday’s deadly clashes, only eight polling stations have been opened, according to the coordinator of the central election commission of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Boris Litvinov. Those willing to vote have to wait for their turn in huge queues.

Almost simultaneously with the opening of polling stations, sounds of shooting and artillery fire were heard on the outskirts of Slavyansk, in southeast Ukraine’s Donetsk region, RIA Novosti reported, citing its correspondent in the area.

Slavyansk already witnessed mortar shelling of its outskirts by Ukrainian forces on the eve of the referendum. In the embattled city the stations will close at 15:00 GMT for security reasons.

Some 1,471 polling stations in Lugansk region and around 1,500 in Donetsk region opened their doors for voters at 8:00 local time (5:00 GMT) and will close at 22:00 (19:00 GMT). Security has been tightened around them.

“We sent additional self-defense units to polling stations and also to the most important social institutions,” a Lugansk self-defense leader, Aleksey Chmilenko, told Interfax. “So far everything is normal, there are no incidents.”

RT’s Paula Slier, currently in Donetsk, reports that Roman Lyagin, chair of the central election commission in the region, believes that a provocation has been planned and says that anti-government activists are ready for it.

An attempt at provocation was registered in Lugansk, where a group of people tried to take away ballot papers from voters, a representative of the city’s self-defense forces, Vasily Nikitin, told RIA Novosti. He said the attempt to disrupt voting was foiled and the incident is being investigated.

Citizens of the two southeastern regions of Ukraine are being asked if they “support the Act of state self-rule” of Donetsk People’s Republic or Lugansk People’s Republic. The election commission officials explained that the people are not choosing between staying within Ukraine and joining Russia, as widely reported, but instead are asked to support regions’ right for political self-determination.

Over 3 million ballot papers were printed for Donetsk region. All in all, the organizers spent about 20,000 hryvnas preparing for the vote in Ukraine’s industrial region, the heart of the country’s coal-mining. “The referendum will be considered valid whatever voter turnout will be,” Roman Lyagin, the head Donetsk election commission told reporters on Saturday.

In Donetsk, western observers are not present at the polling stations, commission officials said, as nobody expressed willingness to oversee the vote in the turbulent region. “We did not refuse anyone, there were no applications,” Lyagin said, adding though that over 470 international journalists are accredited in Donetsk.

Some 30 international observers are monitoring the voting in Lugansk region, where some 1.8 million are expected to take part in the referendum. “According to a survey, 83% of Lugansk residents are ready to support the Act of state self-rule of the People’s Republic of Lugansk,” said Igor Shakhov, the head of the local election commission.

Security measures have been increased on the day of the historic vote with self-defense units in both regions preparing to thwart any attempt by Kiev’s military and paramilitary forces to disrupt the vote and prevent provocations by radicals at the polling stations.

The referendums, announced back in March, are going ahead as planned despite Russian President Putin’s call on pro-federalization activists to postpone them due to the deteriorating and unpredictable security situation in Ukraine.

The Kiev government as well as many western countries, including the US, France and Germany are calling the referendums “illegal” and urge dialogue between all conflicting parties in Ukraine, at the same time showing no readiness to stop the punitive military operation in the east of the country.

If a majority of voters answer “yes” on Sunday the regions will gain full moral right to officially state they do not accept what is happening in the country, anti-coup protesters say. The combined population of Donetsk and Lugansk industrial regions, rejecting the legitimacy of the coup-installed Kiev authorities, stands at about 6.7 million in a country of 45 million.

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May 11, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Donetsk activists proclaim region’s independence from Ukraine

RT | April 7, 2014

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a group of activists have declared their region independent from Kiev. This comes after protesters stormed a local government building last night.

Mass demonstrations against the country’s new leadership started peacefully on Sunday, but the situation quickly escalated.

Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk have seized the local power building, including the headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine and proclaimed the creation of a People’s Republic of Donetsk.

Ukraine’s police and security services have not interfered, although officials in Kiev are threatening punishment for the rioters.

Protesters have erected barricades around the Council building.

Today at 12:20 local time, a session of the people’s Council of Donbass (Donetsk region) took place in the main hall of the Regional Council and unanimously voted on a declaration to form a new independent state: the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

The Council proclaimed itself the only legitimate body in the region until the regions in southeast Ukraine conduct a general referendum, set to take place no later than May 11.

“The Donetsk Republic is to be created within the administrative borders of the Donetsk region. This decision will come into effect after the referendum,” the statement said.

The Council in Donetsk issued an address to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for deployment of a temporary peacekeeping force to the region.

“Without support it will be hard for us to stand against the junta in Kiev,” said the address.

“We are addressing Russian President Putin because we can only entrust our security to Russia,” the statement said.

Rallies in support of the federalization of Ukraine continue in a number of cities in southeast Ukraine. Thousands of citizens have joined the protests, demanding the earliest possible federalization of the country.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior said that last night unknown persons stormed the Security Service of Ukraine building in the city of Lugansk and seized a weapons warehouse there. During the night’s clashes, nine people were reportedly injured.

In the city of Kharkov protesters erected barricades around the buildings of the city and the regional administrations and the regional headquarters of Security Service of Ukraine.

There were brief clashes between supporters of the federalization of Ukraine and pro-EU demonstrators in downtown Kharkov. Protesters on both sides used fire crackers and stun grenades.

A demonstration against political repression in Ukraine has also been held in the southern regional center of Odessa.

The chiefs of security agencies of Ukraine are reportedly heading to the cities engulfed in protests.

The interim secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Andrey Parubiy, together with acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentin Nalivaichenko, are set to visit Lugansk. Interim Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema will visit Donetsk and acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has reportedly already arrived in Kharkov.

The coup-appointed acting president, Aleksandr Turchinov, has threatened that counter-terrorist measures could be taken against those who take up arms against the Kiev authorities, RIA news agency reported. On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament will tighten laws regarding separatism and could possibly ban certain parties and organizations , Turchinov warned.

“What happened yesterday is the second stage of the special operation of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” announced Turchinov in an address televised on Monday, sharing that an “anti-crisis command was set up last night” to deal with the crisis, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

Ukraine’s interim Foreign Minister Andrey Deschitsa announced on Monday that if the situation in the eastern regions escalates, the coup-appointed government in Kiev will take “much harsher” measures than those on the reunion of the Crimea with Russia. Deschitsa gave an assurance that members of the government are already working with local authorities.

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Rule by oligarchs: Kiev appoints billionaires to govern east

RT | March 3, 2014

The self-proclaimed government in Kiev has appointed two of Ukraine’s richest men to govern large industrial regions in the defiant east. One of the reasons for the Maidan protest was the influence the rich have on politics in the country.

The appointments of new governors of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk Regions are among 18 made on Sunday by Kiev, which is struggling to consolidate power after the coup which ousted President Yanukovich last month.

The newly-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor is Igor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. He co-owns the informal commercial group Privat, which includes Ukraine’s largest bank Privatbank, which Kolomoysky heads, as well as assets in the oil, ferroalloys and food industries, agriculture and transport.

A former ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, Kolomoysky reportedly had a falling out with her and refused to finance her election campaign in 2010, which the ex-prime minister subsequently lost to Yanukovich. Kolomoysky was reported to be a principal sponsor of the UDAR party, which is one of the three fueling the street campaign to oust Yanukovich. Kolomoysky has a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship and controls his business empire from Switzerland.

The new governor of Donetsk Region is Sergey Taruta, who is estimated to worth around $2 billion, putting him among the top-10 wealthiest people in Ukraine. He heads ISD, one of the biggest mining and smelting companies in the world, and also own Donetsk-based Metallurg Football Club.

Not a stranger to politics, he used to sponsor Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004. Among his personal habits is a reputed love for luxurious jewelry and ostentatious gold statues, reports RT’s Peter Oliver.

The appointments will have “a positive effect on the regional aspect,” believes Vladimir Groisman, who was appointed vice-president for regional development in the self-installed government.

“They are well-known and wealthy people. They had a choice – they could buy a plane ticket or fly their own plane and go to another country and wait for the developments there. Or they could take responsibility. I respect their choice,” he said.

Among the accusations mounted on Yanukovich by protesting crowds in Kiev was the charge that he used his presidential power to take over assets of Ukrainian businessmen and make an illegal fortune for himself and his allies. Some Ukraine observers suggested that the oligarchs, threatened by presidential greed, financed the Maidan protests, seeing them as leverage on the government.

After his ouster, photos from Yanukovich’s opulent residence of gilded furniture and a private zoo in suburban Kiev made headlines worldwide. There is little doubt that many of those who sought to topple him for being corruptly enriched would eye the appointment of affluent businessmen to offices of power with a deal of suspicion.

The feeling is palpable in many comments in Ukrainian media.

“That’s good news. I’m tired of those businessmen in power,” said one sarcastic commenter at the site of the Ukrainskaya Pravda a leading online news service.

“It’s OK. The oligarchs have been controlling the regions anyway. I think they will provide order, because only they have the authority, unlike some middle-rank appointees,” soothes another one.

“Are they handing out fiefs? I’m sick of it. Is that what the people died for at the Maidan?” another commenter says.

There is also the regional aspect, which Groisman mentioned. The better-developed industrial east of Ukraine depends on business ties with Russia and would be hurt badly by the EU association agreement, which the new government wants to sign as soon as possible. Mistrust towards Kiev is growing in the east, with several regions already declaring they would not be taking orders from the capital.

The defiant regions seek greater autonomy from the central authorities. Having the right to elect their own governors, as opposed to have them appointed in Kiev, is one of the demands regularly voiced at the protest rallies in eastern and southern Ukraine.

March 3, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment