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FCO promoting intervention in Belarus via OSCE

Press TV – August 17, 2020

After days of posturing and pugilistic rhetoric the UK has upped the ante on Belarus by calling the result of the recent presidential election in the pro-Russian country “fraudulent”.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, tweeted that not only the UK does not recognize the election result but it is also calling for an “urgent investigation” by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), an inter-governmental organization focused on European security.

Raab’s hardline position is reinforced by a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) statement whereby the UK appears to call for an intervention in Belarusian politics via the OSCE.

Belarus has experienced political unrest since a disputed presidential election on August 09 in which the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, reportedly secured 80 percent of the vote.

However, opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, refuses to accept the result and has instead declared herself the winner.

Tsikhanouskaya has since fled to Lithuania, whose government is openly calling for the overthrow of the Lukashenko administration.

Strongly aligned to Russia, Belarus has long been targeted by Nato states as part of a broader destabilization program focused on Russia’s immediate neighborhood.

In recent years the UK has stepped up diplomatic and intelligence activity related to Belarus.

In March the UK even sent 30 Royal Marines to Belarus as part of a plan to foster ties with the Belarusian armed forces, which have traditionally looked to Moscow for training and support.

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s UN Peacekeeper Plan Anticipates US-Backed Kiev Offensive

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.09.2017

Russia’s proposed deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in eastern Ukraine makes sense in the light of recent reports that the US is stepping up its supply of lethal weaponry to the Kiev regime. The war is set to explode.

It is therefore prudent to deploy international monitors to try to restrain the violence, or at least offset the undoubted propaganda war which will ensue. The move to involve the UN is also a damning reflection of how ineffective the already-in-place monitors from the OSCE have been.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has stationed hundreds of international members in eastern Ukraine since March 2014, yet the OSCE has done little to restrain the offensive actions by the Kiev-controlled Ukrainian Armed Forces against the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The lack of restraint stems from the OSCE being evidently biased towards the Kiev regime and its reluctance to issue public criticism of Kiev’s daily violations of the Minsk Accord. In other words, despite claims of impartiality, the OSCE serves as a propaganda tool for the US-backed regime.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that increased American military support to the Kiev regime will result in an escalation of violence. When US defense secretary James Mattis was in Kiev last month, he said Washington was «considering» sending lethal weapons to the regime’s forces. As part of the public relations exercise, Mattis called the weapons «defensive» lethal weapons. Those «defensive» arms include Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Reliable reports say that lethal US weaponry has already begun arriving, including grenade launchers and the high-powered Barrett M-82 sniper rifles with a range of 1.8 kilometers. According to sources in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the American military supplies are being delivered through private US firms, which obscures Washington’s official involvement.

Over the past week, DPR military chief Eduard Basurin has cited as many as 200 violations of the ceasefire supposedly in place under the 2015 Minsk Accord. Those violations were carried with heavy artillery and mortars, hitting 25 locations in the Donetsk province. The DPR also claims that Kiev forces are moving up heavy weapons, including Howitzers, to the Contact Line, in another breach of Minsk.

Meanwhile, a check on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s latest reporting on the ground indicates «fewer ceasefire violations». Typical of the OSCE reporting, those violations that are noted are worded in vague fashion in such a way that it is not clear which party is committing the attacks. The OSCE reports cite explosions and artillery fire, but rarely assign blame or details that might allow readers to ascertain who is firing at who. The lack of details strongly suggests a deliberate effort by the OSCE authorities to obfuscate. Yet, it claims to be a frontline source for journalists to file reports on what is happening in Ukraine. No wonder Western media in particular are so vacant about the conflict, if this is their source.

Given the Pentagon’s move to openly step up lethal weapons to the Kiev regime, the implications for worsening violence in eastern Ukraine are ominous. Kiev’s forces, which include Neo-Nazi battalions, have been waging an «Anti-Terror Operation» (ATO) on the ethnic Russian population of Donetsk and Luhansk since April 2014. Up to 10,000 have died in the conflict. The ATO was originally launched at the same time that then CIA chief John Brennan visited the Kiev regime – two months after the CIA backed the coup that brought the regime to power.

The violence has continued despite the signing by Kiev and the separatists of the two-year-old Minsk Accord – brokered by Russia, France and Germany. The Kiev regime headed up by President Petro Poroshenko claims that the separatists are «terrorists» supported by Russian «aggression». The separatists view the Kiev regime as illegitimate having violently and illegally seized power from an elected government in February 2014.

Washington backs the illogical position of Kiev and its evident repudiation of the Minsk Accord in spite of its signature. Yet, perversely, the US imposes sanctions on Russia for allegedly not implementing the Minsk deal.

This week, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel gave his support to the proposal announced by Vladimir Putin for a UN peacekeeping force. The Donetsk and Luhansk separatists have also voiced their support for the initiative. Russia is putting the matter before the United Nations Security Council. But it is not clear if the US will scupper the proposal.

The Kiev regime and US government-owned Radio Free Europe quickly poured scorn on Russia’s proposal. Cynically, it is claimed that the deployment of UN peacekeepers on the Contact Line would bolster the separatists’ territorial claims. Instead, Kiev wants UN troops to be deployed all across the breakaway republics and on the border with Russia.

But this is the point. The Kiev regime cannot be trusted to uphold any ceasefire agreement or commitments to recognize autonomy in Donetsk and Luhansk, as it is obligated to do under Minsk. Having UN blue helmets stationed all over the breakaway republics would most likely give Kiev a cover to infiltrate its forces. Just a quick indicator of bad faith was the routine breaching of the so-called «schools truce» called on August 25 by Poroshenko. That truce was called at the same time that Pentagon chief James Mattis was visiting Kiev, suggesting it was a public relations stunt to ease the announced supply of «defensive» lethal weapons by Washington.

Thus, the Russian proposal for UN monitors at the interface between Kiev troops and the separatists is a reasonable move. It may not be effective in stemming the violence especially in light of US stepping up weapons supplies. But, at least, it is worth giving a chance. The other potentially positive effect is that the UN peacekeepers might be able to account more accurately on which side is stoking the violence. This is all the more important since the OSCE has shown itself to be totally ineffectual, or worse, complicit in giving the Kiev regime a cover for its depredations.

The OSCE comprises 57 participating nations, including the US, Russia and European states. But its membership is dominated by 29 countries belonging to the US-led NATO military alliance. Russia has long complained that the OSCE needs reforming to allow for more balanced representation.

In his 2007 landmark speech to the Munich Security Conference, Putin warned, among many global issues, that Washington and its NATO allies were «trying to transform the OSCE into a vulgar instrument to promote Western foreign policy interests».

Like many other multilateral institutions, including the UN, the European Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the OSCE has demonstrated a subservience to Washington’s geopolitical dominance.

This is clearly the case in Ukraine. The OSCE has never issued an unequivocal condemnation of Kiev forces, even though the latter have carried out countless violations and are the main obstacle to implementing a peaceful settlement.

In a must-read revealing interview, one former American member of the OSCE said that the organization routinely distorts the nature of the conflict in Ukraine and is «highly biased in favor of the Kiev regime». He said that field reports from rank-and-file OSCE officers were often suppressed by their superiors based in Kiev.

Alexander Hug, the ex-Swiss army chief of the OSCE operation in Ukraine, has in the past written opinion articles for the Kyiv Post, a news outlet that is stridently pro-regime and openly anti-Russian. In one of Hug’s articles, it bore the tagline «Russia’s war against Ukraine». Ironically, the OSCE chief introduced that article with the words: «The first casualty of war is the truth». For the OSCE chief to show such flagrant bias is contemptible and brings the so-called monitor into disrepute.

All the signs indicate that the war in Ukraine is set to escalate – especially given the increased supply of American weaponry to Kiev regime forces. Washington is acting recklessly. It is tacitly declaring war in Ukraine, with grave implications for US-Russia relations.

The deployment of UN peacekeepers to the conflict zone may not be sufficient to prevent the US-backed regime going on the offensive. But at least the presence of more international monitors might allow for more critical information on which side is pushing the violence.

Certainly, the OSCE monitors already in place are totally unreliable despite their claims of impartiality. Indeed, the OSCE as presently formulated and deployed is part of the problem for why a peaceful settlement in Ukraine is continually confounded.

Russia’s proposal for UN peacekeepers is being viewed cynically in the West as a hollow gesture. Such Western views are contorted and laced with their usual Russophobia instead of being objective.

The Russian proposal is simply due to the fact of the OSCE being hopelessly derelict in its duties, and in need of being sidelined by some other more effective monitoring mechanism. The war-footing of the US-backed Kiev regime amid OSCE silence is testament to its dereliction.

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia Calls the West’s Bluff over Real Elections, At Long Last

By Seth Ferris – New Eastern Outlook – 01.02.2017

The world continues to turn upside down. Think the Western democracies are still the authorities on the one thing they are supposed to know about? Think again.

For generations the OSCE, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has been monitoring elections in various countries to ensure they meet Western democratic standards. After each one it publishes a report, which sometimes bears little relation to what people on the ground have seen, and each one of these mysteriously reflects the current political position of the Western powers – if they like a country and its government, they have conducted free and fair elections, if not, the elections are declared wholly or partially invalid.

This practice has often raised criticism, but still the OSCE is being called in to monitor elections all over the globe. Why? Because it is the institution representing countries with a long democratic tradition, and those these have since chosen as their friends. That’s it. It does not have to do anything to justify the vast sums given to it to be the authority on elections, simply be there.

Theoretically the OSCE is the product of a partnership between East and West. But in effect the OSCE is run by Western democracies and those countries it now believes have adopted Western standards since the Cold War. These nations, we are told, understand democracy and can therefore recognise it when they see it.

On 19 January the Head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, Ella Pamfilova, recommended to the OSCE’s Michael Link that it should adopt a common set of standards for election monitoring. This would enable it to compare one country’s performance with another’s and see whether countries are improving or regressing compared to previous elections. “I consider it very important that the standards of elections monitoring in all OSCE member countries be unified,” she reportedly said.

This statement opened mouths all over the world. So let’s get this straight – the OSCE has been monitoring all these elections without any set standards of what democracy is, what is free and fair, what are the acceptable and unacceptable variables, what are the irreducible minimums or what the rights and responsibilities of governments, election commissions and political parties are? It has continued being regarded as the authority on these questions in spite of this? And now the Russians – the RUSSIANS – have to call for a common set of standards to give the monitors some idea what they are supposed to be doing?

You think, therefore we are

This isn’t about elections. It is about how long you can get away with a con. Since the end of World War Two The West’s policy has been based on lies – it is supposed to believe in certain values, such as democracy and human rights, but goes round depriving the rest of the world of the same values it says are paramount.

Everyone has seen this happen, but the West is still supposed to know more about these values than anyone else. So if other countries want democracy and human rights they automatically turn to the West. If they end up with governments which claim to respect democracy and human rights but do exactly the opposite, and Western monitors telling them that rigged elections are substantially free and fair, is that their own fault or that of the Westerners they asked to prevent these things happening? But still they feel they have nowhere else to turn, because Western democracies must somehow know best, and they won’t be better off any other way.

Russia’s request makes one simple point. If you believe in democracy, you will have developed a sophisticated definition of what it is and why it is so important after such long experience of it. If you have such a definition, every observer who monitors elections will know it and be able to assess the elections against it. Of course there will be some local variations in practice between democratic countries, and some of these might raise the concern of some countries. But there will be a common set of standards already in place against which these too can be judged, and thus everyone sent as a monitor will be able to cite these to acquire credentials as a democrat, even if they’ve played little or no part in actual elections.

This is indeed perfectly logical. If it hasn’t happened, this cannot be because the conditions don’t exist. It is because no one wants to be bound by any definition of what democracy is. The West wants to use the term how it wants, when it wants, and make everything up to fit whatever broader political goals it has. The West pronouncing on whether elections are free and fair is about as credible as Australia saying it is in the northern hemisphere because the cover of the North-South report said so and that was written by Western European politicians.

Power to some other people

Does this process actually achieve anything? It enables selected people to enjoy all-expenses-paid junkets to different countries, where they go around with badges on which technically say “Election Observer” but in reality say “You can’t say anything about me, I’m the expert”. How many of these junkets they get depend on how well they fit the evidence to the pre-existing script about that election. Many observers arrive before polling day and stay afterwards: maybe this is to do with monitoring the pre- and post-election situations, or maybe it is to give them time in various places of ill repute as a payoff for going along with the official script.

Lots of historic examples of election monitoring fraud are available. When India decided it wanted to annex the independent Kingdom of Sikkim in 1975 it persuaded its parliament to abolish the monarchy and then hold a referendum on joining India. Obviously, as Sikkim was already an Indian protectorate, it monitored that referendum to ensure it was free and fair. Very few others were able to find out anything about the referendum until the results came in, which showed 97% support for joining India, despite the fact the alleged number of people could not have physically voted on the day due to the terrain, most of the voters had been imported from India and the observers were also armed troops in many cases.

Similarly, when Viktor Yanukovych was up against Yulia Tymoshenko in the 2010 presidential runoff in Ukraine Mikheil Sakkashvili’s Georgia sent hundreds of observers, as a neighbouring, friendly country. The trouble was, most of these were actually martial artists, or simply thugs, with no experience of organising elections. Saakashvili openly supported Tymoshenko in these elections and had already been happy to use force on his own citizens in Georgia. It would have interesting to quiz these observers about what a “free and fair” election is supposed to mean.

Indeed, the May 2008 Georgian Parliamentary Election had already provided a classic example of vote rigging and fraud which was obvious to anyone from a democratic country. The international observers looked on and saw nothing, and the OSCE rubber stamped the results, with the existence of various spying platforms in Georgia at stake.

What OSCE monitors do has nothing to do with the welfare of the people whose country they are pronouncing upon. It is about exerting control. If the outcome of an election is what the West desires, it is free and fair, and no one can complain because they have no other set of standards to refer to. They can’t call on some other organisation to review the OSCE’s judgment because, although such organisations exist and can act independently, their credibility can be easily exploded.

If someone disagrees with the conclusions of the mighty OSCE, however farcical those conclusions may be, they must have some political motive or be unaware of the full facts. This sort of common thinking, however baseless, is what has enabled the West to get away with this for so long. How it responds to Russia’s request for it to adopt standards it can be held to, which it should have done itself long ago, remains to be seen.

Velvet fist in an iron glove

This sort of control is familiar to anyone who has worked with aid agencies, which, like democratic systems, are designed to help people. Whether these are international or internal to a specific country, the principle is the same: we know everything; you know nothing, so you have to accept whatever we say so we can prevent you ever achieving what you want to achieve.

Eastern Europe is full of aid agencies from Western countries, regardless of the political orientation of that country. Each one brings money to conduct programmes which are supposed to bring greater democracy, rule of law, industrial or agricultural efficiency, human rights etcetera. The process is supposedly simple: benchmarks are set, and if prospective beneficiaries achieve these benchmarks they get the funding to take part in the programme, which involves meeting further benchmarks as they go along.

This results in situations such as the National Democratic Institute in Georgia insisting that the principles of democracy and fairness are “very clear” because it says so, without explaining what these principles actually are, why it therefore produces wildly inaccurate opinion polls at each election for pay and why it never says a word about a president who was democratically elected with 87% of the vote being overthrown in a coup and the state being built ever since on supporting that coup. It results in situations where people who’ve never set foot in a country before try to tell local farmers, with all their accumulated experience, that they have to do things differently, rather than better, to enter shiny Western markets whilst also supporting the rigging of those markets against them to suit other clients elsewhere, who pay better or are more politically reliable.

But the worst aspect is that the pump soon runs dry. The further people get involved in these programmes the more paperwork they have to do. That in itself is onerous, but it comes with strings attached. To keep receiving support they have to become increasingly politically acceptable to the donor, as the aid is not designed to improve the situation on the ground but to serve the broader political objectives of the donor governments. Georgia provides another disgusting example of this: during Saakashvili’s time even staff of the International Red Cross, most of who didn’t support him, had to be seen canvassing for him and his party, flags waving, trumpeting Western progress, when that same government wouldn’t let them rescue people stranded in South Ossetia during the 2008 war.

Internal aid organisations are no different. They also tell prospective clients, which are usually local welfare organisations with their own remit, that they have to adopt all kinds of quality standards to be eligible for any funding, because everyone else has trustworthy quality standards and they don’t. These standards are usually drawn up by people who have never worked in a similar organisation, and the standards themselves are often irrelevant to the organisations which are told to get them.

But the more money they get as a result, the more games they have to play to retain those funds and keep providing services, even though what they do has increasingly less to do with the welfare of their clients. Who is creating the problems their clients face? The same government whose various arms are telling them they have to adopt these systems to function. It is therefore rather obvious which such systems are invented, by whom, and what they are ultimately designed to achieve.

It’s not going to go away

It would be a positive thing if a country like Russia, which has always been told it has to learn from the West because it is deficient, was able to make Western countries adopt better standards. People in Eastern Europe know perfectly well what democracy actually means, which is why they cry out for it and object when they don’t get it. At every election in every Western country there are some offences committed, and no one has ever been able to demonstrate that people, who were originally from “young democracies” or no democracy at all, commit more of these than anyone else.

However it is likely that “Missionary Syndrome” will still hold sway. Whatever fine words the OSCE might come out with about listening to experts; it all depends on where those experts come from. In the 1980s there was a craze for Protestant countries which had formerly been British or German colonies to send missionaries to “the Old Country” to try and get local people going to church again. The common response was, “we sent our missionaries to you, what do you have to teach us?” Even those who agreed with every point being made wouldn’t accept it coming from the mouth of an ex-colonial, because natives of the former imperial power must automatically know more.

Nevertheless, this latest move is yet another example of Russia taking on the mantle the US used to have – Russia is increasingly the power of legality and international agreements, the US increasingly the rogue operator. Everything Russia does which the West objects to was done by the West long before, in defiance of its professed principles, and that is exactly why Russia is doing it. The way to change the game is for all sides to behave legally and properly, but it is Russia, not the US, which is seeking to bring that about.

All this is very alarming to the millions of people brought up with the opposite assumption, which at one time really was justified. Realising this is what is happening is like suddenly discovering you’re the opposite of what you thought you were.

Now that Donald Trump, allegedly a Russian stooge, has taken power in the US there is much cry over the threat Russia poses. That “threat” exists because Western hypocrisy and criminality put it there – and only by doing what it was always supposed to do, with or without Russian prompting, is that “threat” ever going to go away.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

The West Suppresses Report on Ukraine’s Suppression of Journalists

OSCE Squelches Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights Speaker

By Eric Zuesse | Aletho News | September 23, 2015

At a 21 September 2015 meeting of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which is run by the Western powers and which is the leading organization concerning security and cooperation in Europe, a courageous speech against Ukraine’s imprisonment and killing of independent journalists was made by Alexey Tarasov, the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights. Nearly halfway through the prepared text of his intended 6-minute summary description of the main cases, his speech was terminated by the Chairperson. It was cut off at 2:31 in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=malosUt-9jc

However, in this video of it, the termination is at 2:38:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=161&v=RxeCM_EBZdE

Here, then, is the complete printed text, as it was posted at Fort Russ on September 22. I have additionally placed a mark at the point where Tarasov’s speech was cut short:

Dear colleagues,

Please allow me to welcome this meeting.

Probably everyone knows that today’s Ukraine is the most problematic European country in terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Especially where it concerns the tragic situation with the freedom of speech and freedom of expression, the situation of access to information, limitation of journalists’ activity and the mass media in general.

According to information by the Institute of Mass Media, since the beginning of 2015 in Ukraine, there has been recorded 224 violations of the rights of journalists. According to the Institute’s reports, almost every day journalists in Ukraine are beaten or intimidated.

The worst thing is the continuation of journalists’ murders. For example, last year the talented journalist Oles’ Buzina was killed right near the entrance of his house. He was a consistent supporter of the Ukraine’s unity, at the same time fundamentally opposing to the war in the Donbass, which contradicted the official doctrine. The suspects of the murder of Buzina were arrested. They are under investigation. Human rights defenders are very concerned with the political pressure on the investigation and law enforcement agencies. They are afraid that the real killers will escape  punishment.

In Kiev this year, journalists Sergei Sukhobok and Margarita Valenko, were killed in Cherkassy region – Vasily Sergienko.

In Ukraine there is political pressure on opposition media, harassment, illegal criminal searches and arrests of journalists became a reality. There are varied forms of violence against dissent in the Ukrainian media.

State officials are trying to illegally shut the license of the popular opposition 112 TV channel and of the metropolitan newspaper Vesti. There were a great number of provocations, criminal searches, etc. Ukrainian authorities are forcibly trying to substitute owners of the mass media. Employees of the Odessa opposition website “Timer” for “prevention” were summoned for questioning at the office of the Ukrainian security service (SBU). There were some searches in journalists’ houses.

Ukrainian authorities always have standard charges on “separatism” with following arrests for those media professionals who are disagree with the state policy. The Chief Editor of the Internet newspaper “Vzapravdu” Artem Buzila, for the last five months has been imprisoned in Odessa on such fabricated accusations.

The Editor of the newspaper “Rabochiy class”, Alexander Bondarchuk has been illegally jailed for the last six months in the Kiev prison. And I can continue this list. There are dozens of journalists who are jailed or are in the wanted list of the SBU for their opposition publications.

Also, I want to draw your attention to the problem with the freedom of expression and regulation of the rights of conscientious objectors (COs) in Ukraine. They are individuals who have claimed their right to refuse to take military service, who have special ideological and moral convictions. …

[CUT SHORT HERE BY CHAIRMAN]

… This is a normal practice for the European countries to protect rights of conscientious objectors, but not for the Ukraine. Nowadays the position of Ukrainian COs, who are not members of any religious organization, violates the law of the country. Authorities criminally prosecute even those journalists who are COs.

A striking confirmation of this problem is the prosecution of journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, who is CO. For his public conscientious objection, Ruslan Kotsaba has been jailed and his case has been considered for several months by the Ivano-Frankivsk City Court. The authorities consider the open position of the honest journalist as “obstruction of the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations during the special period.” Such behavior of the authorities is difficult to imagine in a normal democratic society. Now, according to the information of Ukrainian prosecutors thousands of COs have been prosecuted, and hundreds of them have been jailed. Therefore, in our country there is a total process of transformation of ideological Ukrainian COs into real prisoners of conscience.

In addition, there is another issue. Between Ukraine and the European Union the Association Agreement was signed, which was simultaneously ratified in September 16, 2014 by the European Parliament and the Parliament of Ukraine. According to the Agreement, particular attention is paid to the observation of human rights. Article II (two) states: “Respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as defined in particular in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1975) and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (1990) …”.

This Agreement has not yet entered into force, and the Parliament of Ukraine on May 21, 2015 has adopted a resolution “On the withdrawal from certain obligations, certain International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.” This resolution also violates Helsinki Final Act obligations. Ukrainian Deputies motivated their decision to adopt the resolution by the tragic events in Donbass.

By the way, our Ukrainian Human Rights Commission issued a report “Undeclared war at the center of Europe”. It concerns the observance of human rights during the so called «anti-terrorist operation» in Donbass by Ukraine’s state officials. You can see and have it near the conference hall.

So, the Ukrainian state instead of focusing on the implementation of international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians during the armed conflict in Donbass, has substituted these concepts and instead withdrew itself from the obligations of the state to respect international human rights, to protect them, and the exercising of  rights of millions of inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

By the adoption of such a decision, the Ukrainian state has applied to a part of its citizens discriminatory measures based on their residence, and has restricted their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including their right to liberty and security, freedom of residence and movement, the right to fair trial and effective means of legal protection, social protection etc.

There is a question to the EU countries, who ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the main elements of which are based on international and European standards of human rights without any exceptions:

Will these countries suspend the entry into force of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU before the termination of the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of millions of citizens in Ukraine? Or will they want to support Ukraine’s position of double standards, and not to extend the requirements of this Agreement to particular regions of Donetsk and Lugansk?

We hope that the international community will stop the ignorance of massive and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Ukraine, first of all, in matters of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists, and will put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities in order to force them into complying with their international obligations in the field of human rights.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 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

Kiev in violation of heavy weaponry clause in E. Ukraine – OSCE

RT | July 4, 2015

The OSCE has warned that a growing presence of heavy weaponry on the government controlled side of Donbass territory has put Ukrainian security forces in violation of the terms of the demarcation line, according to OSCE Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug.

“We can highlight that the security situation has gotten worse in the Donbass over the past few weeks,” Hug said at a briefing in Mariupol.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) stressed the growing presence of heavy weaponry, and the increased movement and use of military equipment along the demarcation line in the area controlled by Kiev forces.

“In the last few weeks, our observers as well as drones recorded the presence of heavy weapons in areas controlled by the government, which is a violation of the demarcation line terms regarding the withdrawal of heavy weaponry,” Hug said.

At the same time, he noted that there has been an uptick in military equipment around Komsomolskoe, which is controlled by the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk (DNR).

Hug added that one of the remaining challenges is the difficulty observers face when moving around Ukraine on their monitoring mission. “Our observers are still having trouble with freedom of movement, which makes it difficult to monitor certain areas, in particular the border between Ukraine and Russia.”

OSCE has also documented shelling of the buffer-zone areas in eastern Ukraine. The organization’s latest report, published on Friday, said artillery was coming from the west, which is government controlled territory.

“In the south-eastern part of the village [of Shyrokyne], the SMM saw a crater of 12m (over 39 feet) diameter and 4m (over 13 meters) deep, many 82mm mortar shells, the remnants of ammunition crates and numerous impacts of 152mm artillery strikes, which based on their location, the SMM assessed to have been fired from the west,” the report said.

The report added that “SMM did not observe any DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] presence in Shyrokino,” referring to the village that DPR demilitarized on July 1. OSCE observers visited the area to confirm that claim, which was part of the Minsk withdrawal terms.

The OSCE monitoring mission’s goal is to observe the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements reached by Kiev and pro-independence forces of Donbass in September 2014 and February 2015. The February ceasefire deal called for the creation of a buffer zone and the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the line of contact.

The Ukrainian conflict began last April, when Kiev deployed military and volunteer battalions to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine to crackdown on local militia, who refused to recognize the country’s coup-imposed authorities.

Over 6,400 people have been killed since the start of Kiev’s “anti-terror operation.” A total of 1.35 million Ukrainians are now designated as internally displaced persons, according to UN estimates.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia won’t go to OSCE parliamentary session in Helsinki – Duma speaker

RT | July 1, 2015

Sergey Naryshkin says the refusal to participate in the forthcoming OSCE session was meant as a protest against arbitrariness and violations of main principles of democracy and parliamentary politics.

The State Duma chairman announced the decision to skip the Helsinki session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe soon after the Finnish Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that it had turned down a request to temporarily waive the travel ban and allow Naryshkin and five more State Duma MPs to enter their country. In order to participate in the event that begins on Sunday.

Earlier, Naryshkin submitted a draft resolution to the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE denouncing the very practice of sanctions against parliamentarians. In this document he also stated that obstructing contacts between lawmakers from different nations was against the basic principles of democracy.

On Wednesday Naryshkin said that the whole of the Russian delegation would not participate in the OSCE session “in protest against arbitrariness, against violation of the principles of democracy.” He added that Russia still planned to take part in the next session of the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly that will take place in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Earlier in the day Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov called Finland’s decision to deny entry to the Duma speaker “outrageous and unacceptable,” especially considering the fact that the visit was within the framework of an international event. Peskov added that he expected the Russian Foreign Ministry to give a qualified appraisal of this step.

In March 2014, the USA and the EU introduced personal sanctions, such as visa bans and asset freezes, on a number of senior Russian officials and leading politicians whom they accused of being “key ideologists and architects” of the policy towards Ukraine. As the relations between the West and Russia continued to deteriorate, more names were added to the blacklists.

Russia replied with its own blacklist of about 200 people known for their anti-Russian positions and actions. The Russian Foreign Ministry did not initially disclose their names, but they were published by Finnish press earlier this year after Russia presented the list to European nations for the convenience of foreign officials who did not want to apply for visas if they were to be refused anyway.

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment in this disclosure, calling it a threat to mutual trust.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

OSCE neglects its mandate in Ukraine – Moscow

RT | February 25, 2015

The OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine is not fulfilling its mandate to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire, Moscow charges. The monitors complain that they can’t verify withdrawal of weapons without additional data.

In its latest report, the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said its monitors are unable to verify the withdrawal until both Kiev and the rebels provide comprehensive “inventories, withdrawal routes and concentration points” for their respective arsenals.

The rebels say they have sent an inventory to the OSCE and that the observers are rejecting invitations to witness the actual movements of the weapons.

“Every day they have new conditions to put forward. For instance, [on Thursday] they demanded a concrete route for the artillery. Well, that heavy hardware doesn’t travel on the roads, but OSCE monitors wouldn’t care to go into the fields,” complained Eduard Basurin, a rebel spokesman.

The official added that the anti-government forces are not rejecting the OSCE’s role in tackling the withdrawal and that they want an increased presence of the monitors on the ground.

“We believe the OSCE’s role is crucial. Once again we confirm that we are interested in OSCE presence at all weapons-withdrawal events. The OSCE must be present to monitor the withdrawal of the weapons by both sides,” Basurin said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow regretted that the monitoring mission “showed a lack of proper effort to execute the functions entrusted to it” and avoids monitoring the withdrawal of weapons.

The OSCE confirmed that the number of reported violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has decreased. It added that a joint group of military monitors, which includes representatives from Ukraine, the rebel forces and Russia, provided a map of the conflict zone with “a definite line of contact agreed upon by all,” which can be viewed as a step forward in ending the violence.

Most complaints filed lately came from villages near Donetsk airport and the town of Shyrokoye, some 25km east of Mariupol, said the report.

The continued violence close to Mariupol, a large port under government control, is arguably the greatest danger to the fragile truce in Ukraine. Kiev accuses its opponents of preparing a full-scale invasion of the city, an accusation the rebels deny.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned on Wednesday that an attack on Mariupol would derail the entire peace process and demanded that Moscow prevent it.

“We’ve told the Russians clearly that if there was a separatist attack in the direction of Mariupol things would be drastically altered, including in terms of sanctions,” Fabius said in an interview with France Info radio station.

He also commented on UK’s plan to send military instructors to train Ukrainian troops, a step that’s escalating tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

“The Britons, who are not part of the discussions, have taken a hardline stance on the situation,” Fabius said in reference to British PM David Cameron’s Tuesday announcement. “We have also taken a firm position, but are pushing for the de-escalation of the conflict.”

France, along with Germany, was a major driving European power involved in brokering the Minsk peace deal in mid-February. Meanwhile in Britain and the US a large number of officials advocate for providing military aid to Kiev, which they say would serve as deterrent to Russia.

Moscow says the proposed inflow of weapons and the unwillingness of Kiev’s foreign sponsors to put pressure on them and make them hold fire only aggravates the situation.

Britain’s decision to send troops to Ukraine was hailed on Wednesday by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, who said it was a step in the right direction and that Poland is keeping its own options open to help Kiev.

Germany said it is not planning to send troops or sell weapons to Kiev.

Read mor:

US arming Kiev would ‘explode’ situation in E. Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

E. Ukraine artillery withdrawal focus of FMs meeting – as Poroshenko buys UAE weapons

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s new military doctrine lists NATO, US as major foreign threats

RT | December 26, 2014

Russia has adopted an updated version of its military doctrine, which reflects the emergence of new threats against its national security. NATO military buildup and American Prompt Global Strike concept are listed among them.

The new doctrine was approved on Friday by President Vladimir Putin. Its core remains unchanged from the previous version. The Russian military remains a defensive tool which the country pledges to use only as a last resort.

Also unchanged are the principles of the use of nuclear weapons which Russia adheres to. Their primary goal is to deter potential enemies from attacking Russia, but it would use them to protect itself from a military attack – either nuclear or conventional – threatening its existence.

The new sections of the doctrine outline the threat Russia sees in NATO’s expansion and military buildup and the fact that the alliance is taking upon itself “global functions realized with violation of international law.”

The doctrine lists among major foreign military threats “the creation and deployment of global strategic anti-ballistic missile systems that undermine the established global stability and balance of power in nuclear missile capabilities, the implementation of the ‘prompt strike’ concept, intent to deploy weapons in space and deployment of strategic conventional precision weapons.”

Another new point in the doctrine is that one of the Russian military’s goals is to protect national interests in the Arctic region.

The document also points to the threat of destabilization of countries bordering Russia or its allies and deployment of foreign troops in such nations as a threat to national security.

Domestically, Russia faces threats of “actions aimed at violent change of the Russian constitutional order, destabilization of the political and social environment, disorganization of the functioning of governmental bodies, crucial civilian and military facilities and informational infrastructure of Russia,” the doctrine says.

Moscow sees international cooperation with countries sharing its effort to increase security, particularly members of BRICS, the OSCE, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and others as the key to preventing military conflicts, the doctrine states.

Traditional threats that Russia must deal with mentioned in the doctrine include extremism and terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and rocket technology and actions of foreign intelligence services.

The document notes that modern threats are increasingly drifting from a military nature to informational, and states that the likelihood of anyone launching a fully-fledged war against Russia is decreasing.

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

OSCE: No Russian violations on Ukrainian border

RT | August 7, 2014

The OSCE monitoring mission on the Russian-Ukrainian border has registered no violations of international law by the Russian side during its week-long stay at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints, mission head Paul Picard said.

During his press conference, Picard was asked to comment on Western claims that Russia is shelling Ukrainian territory and has starting deployment troops to the country.

“In these two border crossings we haven’t seen such happenings,” he replied.

The observers were assessing two checkpoints – Gukovo and Donetsk – on the border with Ukraine’s Lugansk Region, which are separated from each other by around 30km.

Gukovo checkpoint is currently closed from the Ukrainian side, but traffic at the Donetsk border crossing is “high,” Picard stressed.

“About 80 percent of traffic comes from Ukraine to Russia. We heard from people that there’s a queue of hundreds of car and a kilometer of people standing in line to the checkpoint,” he said.

According to Picard, the people – who are trying to cross the Russian border from Ukraine – have their children and huge bags with them, and don’t look remotely like tourists.

The observer also confirmed that several Ukrainian shells have landed on the Russian territory during the last week.

“There was fighting on Ukrainian side south of [Gukovo] border crossing point and… two shells fell on the territory of the border crossing and two fell in the field,” he said.

Picard thanked the Russian border guards for “providing required security measures” for the OSCE mission.

He said there are currently eight OSCE employees working at Gukovo and Donetsk, but the arrival of the rest of the group is expected on Friday.

In all, there’ll be 15 observers, a head observer and three administrative staff, which will allow the mission “to work 24/7,” Picard said.

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

OSCE monitors and journalists come under shelling from Ukraine at Russian border

RT | August 3, 2014

The Russian border checkpoint at the Gukovo crossing was shelled from the Ukrainian side twice on Sunday. OSCE observers and journalists were working at the checkpoint when it was attacked.

The first shell exploded at Gukovo at around 0955 GMT, Russian border guard spokesman Vasily Malaev told Itar-Tass news agency.

“During this time, there were not only customs officers and border guards, but also representatives of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission present at the crossing,” Malaev stressed, adding that no one was hurt as a result of the incident.

Gukovo was hit by a mortar shell, which left a “the crater with the diameter of 40 centimeters and depth of 20 centimeters,” said local customs spokesman Rayan Farukshin.

This spot is most likely “sighted” by those, who are executing fire, as Russian border guards went under gun fire there on Friday as they tried to document the damage done by an earlier shelling, he stressed.

The OSCE has confirmed that Gukovo checkpoint in Russia’s southern Rostov Region was shelled on Saturday.

“It’s true,” Shiv Sharma, OSCE spokesman, told Itar-Tass news agency. “Our staff heard the sound of artillery fire or something like that. The incident didn’t interrupt the work of our representatives, who remain at the crossing.”

OSCE Permanent Council decided to send a monitoring mission to the Russian-Ukrainian border on July 24.

In accordance with the mandate, civilian observers are to be placed at Gukovo and Donetsk crossings during the next three months.

Gukovo checkpoint was shelled again later on Sunday, with the second incident occurring several hours later.

“At Around 1330 GMT, another projectile exploded at the crossing,” Malaev said. “As a result, the border guard HQ was damaged. The nature of the damage will be established later.”

Journalists from Russia’s Zvezda channel, who were at the crossing during the second incident, said that it was “very scary.”

“At first, explosions were heard in the distance,” Vasily Kuchushev said as he appeared on air at Zvezda channel. “But then we heard a huge blast and saw a flash in the sky, with debris flying in all directions.”

Russian border checkpoints in the Rostov Region were repeatedly shelled from the Ukrainian side during summer.

In mid-July, explosive shells were also fired at the Russian town of Donetsk – a namesake of the militia-held city of Donetsk in Ukraine. Back then, two shells hit residential areas, killing one person.

The Rostov Region is the main hub for Ukrainian refugees, who are fleeing for Russia in order to escape the bloody conflict in the country.

The government’s crackdown on the south-east started in mid-April, after people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and demanded federalization.

The Ukrainian military and National Guard resorted to airstrikes and shelling in their struggle against the self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Some 1,129 people have been killed and nearly 3,500 wounded in eastern Ukrainian violence, the UN announced in late July.

August 3, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Kiev’s Use of Heavy Weapons in Crackdown Violates International Law – Russia

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RIA Novosti – 05/06/2014

VIENNA – Moscow has raised the issue of Kiev using heavy armaments in its special operations against independence supporters in eastern Ukraine at OSCE session, Russia’s envoy Andrei Kelin said on Wednesday.

“The punitive operation led by Ukrainian forces reflects signs of an international human rights violation, in particular, of the Geneva convention of 1949,” Kelin said.

“We drew attention to the tragic outcome of an operation in the Donbas [in eastern Ukraine], a barbaric shelling of a building of the Luhansk local administration,” he added.

He referred to reports claiming the Ukrainian military had used exploding bullets, cluster bombs and artillery.

190371151“There are reports on the use of inhumane weapons – exploding bullets, cluster bombs – and the shelling of civilian targets in Ukraine. If they are confirmed, such acts have to be treated as war crimes. If it is proven that Right Sector killed the wounded in a Krasnyi Lyman hospital, there are no words to justify such an action,” Kelin said.

The envoy added that the latest report from the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine confirmed pro-Kiev forces had been using tanks, artillery and aircraft in its special operations.

“We asked a lot of questions, but Ukraine’s permanent representative [to the OSCE] gave no answers, aside from the usual attempts to shift responsibility to Russia,” Kelin added.

The town of Krasnyi Lyman, located to the southeast of Slaviansk in Donetsk Region, was heavily shelled by the Ukrainian army during Kiev’s military operation Tuesday. Ukrainian armed forces allegedly killed more than 25 wounded people in a local hospital, as the National Guard seized the town from the local defense forces following the shelling.

In mid-April, Ukraine’s interim government launched a special operation to crack down on the independence movements, but failed to gain control over the self-proclaimed independent republics in the eastern part of country. The operation has led to violent clashes and dozens of casualties in Slaviansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol. Moscow has described the operation as a punitive act and urged Kiev to end the violence.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment