Yatsenyuk blames the killing of 10,000 Eastern Ukrainians on Putin’s ‘far-right nationalist policies’.
Below is the response I received to the email I sent to my MP – David Hamilton, Labour – regarding David Cameron’s decision to send 75 military “advisers” to Ukraine, despite a new ceasefire having just been negotiated in the Normandy Four format (ie. between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine). The text from my email can be found here. I have heard that France has distanced itself from Cameron’s plan, and that Hollande’s administration is still committed to reaching a diplomatic settlement. Yesterday President Putin met with Gérard Larcher – the President of the French Senate – in Moscow, further highlighting the conciliatory tone between the two nations. Read details from their meeting here.
Dear Ms Stephenson
Thank you for your email with your concerns on David Cameron’s position on Ukraine.
I am aware that David Cameron announced that UK military trainers are to be deployed to help Ukraine forces stave off further Russian backed incursions into its sovereign territory.
This decision has been under consideration by the UK national security council since late last year and it would be the first deployment of British troops to the country since the near civil war in eastern Ukraine began more than a year ago.
This is part of a training mission providing advice on medical training, logistics, intelligence analysis and infantry training. I understand that this is an action meant to alert the Russians that Britain does not approve of further large scale occupations of towns in Ukraine
David Cameron has also argued for tougher sanctions against Moscow if Russia backed militias in eastern Ukraine and failed to observe the provisions of a ceasefire agreement.
This is indeed a worrying situation and it may of course fuel Russia’s wrath with the EU and needs to be handled delicately.
I like you, agree it is not as black and white as it seems. We need to take a more even handed approach to what is happening. I was extremely disappointed that we were not there along with the Germans and the French at the summit that was held with Russia and the Ukraine.
I am also deeply concerned about the state of the other countries in the region. However for my part and my Party I will be keeping a very close eye on the situation.
Thank you for sharing your views.
DAVID HAMILTON MP
Member of Parliament for Midlothian
I was disappointed that Hamilton did not address my concerns regarding the contradiction between sending British soldiers and supporting the Minsk agreement, which requires all foreign troops to leave the country. It is also discouraging to see references to ‘Russian backed incursions’ and ‘Russia’s wrath with the EU’, but no mention of the will of the people of Eastern Ukraine, who have been living under constant shelling for almost a year now. It seems like there is little difference between Hamilton’s view of the situation and that of the PM. However, another member of the Labour Party – I’ve forgotten who – said in an interview to RT this week that there was a great deal of disapproval to Cameron’s maneuver in Parliament. This was due to its inflammatory nature, and because the announcement was made having only been decided by a few members of Cameron’s Cabinet – rather than following a debate in the House of Commons and with widespread support.
While John Kerry and Joe Biden insist that there’s been no split within the US/EU/NATO countries on how to approach the situation and ‘deal with’ Russia, it seems like this honeymoon phase of the coalition may truly be at an end now. While most of Europe seems to favour a rapprochement with Russia; the US, UK, Canada, Poland and the Baltic states are clamoring for more sanctions and won’t rule out sending weapons. Since Cameron’s announcement, Poland has declared that it will now send 100 trainers, with Canada likely to follow. At this rate Putin doesn’t need to do anything in retaliation, he can merely sit back and watch as the EU caves in on itself once and for all.
I am writing to you to express my concern with the Prime Minister’s decision to send military advisers to Ukraine. Mr Cameron seemed to imply this afternoon that he supports the Minsk 2.0 agreement to bring about an end to the war, yet the peace deal explicitly calls for the removal of all foreign troops from the conflict zone. Therefore, deploying British forces runs counter to the protocols laid out at Minsk, whilst also giving the impression that Britain seeks an escalation of the war rather than a peaceful settlement. That the UK and United States were missing from the meetings in Moscow and Minsk made clear that such confrontational posturing is not viewed as helpful by mainland Europe. Thus, my first concern regarding the PM’s decision is that he seems to be unaware that taking such an action breaches the ceasefire deal. By pouring fuel on the fire Mr Cameron may end up encouraging an escalation in the fighting, and so far it is not clear that this is not actually his intention.
Secondly, I would like to make you aware of my dismay that this plan has been decided upon with no debate or vote in parliament. By sending these troops, the UK is involving itself in a civil war – and one in which the other side is supported by a country with nuclear weapons. The conflict itself is not nearly as black and white as Mr Cameron is making it out to be, and myself and many others in this country find what the new Ukrainian government is doing to its citizens in the East to be utterly abhorrent. If action must be taken, let us work alongside both Ukraine and Russia to reach a settlement that takes into consideration all parties involved, rather than pursuing reckless warmongering policies that continue to erode our credibility on the world stage.
Must watch speech by woman from the town of Velikaya Znamenka, who grabs the microphone from officers who have arrived to hand out conscription notices.
An armed American in military uniform was caught on camera yesterday by the The Mariupol News Service. It is so far unknown as to whether he is working as a private contractor or is there officially as a member of the U.S. military. It was announced on Thursday that the U.S. will soon deploy soldiers to Western Ukraine in order to train the National Guard, meaning the far-right battalions such as Azov that have been terrorizing the citizens of Eastern Ukraine for the last several months. It is reported that the Obama administration will spend $19 million on this training, and will also finance the production of the Ukrainian-made SRM-1 Kozak Light Armored Vehicle, with a price tag of $189,000 each.
The last couple of weeks has witnessed intense fighting in the East of the country, leaving scores of civilians dead. These moves from Washington suggest that the Kiev regime and its sponsors have little interest in implementing a meaningful ceasefire.
To hear the American caught on camera, skip to 2.30, or click on the above link.
The following text is an open letter by former Ukrainian MP Elena Bondarenko, detailing her experiences in parliament. Written a few months ago, it’s an insightful reflection of the current political situation in the country. The grim reality is being covered up and glossed over by the Ukrainian press and the establishment media in the US and Europe, therefore it is vital that this information be disseminated widely via alternative sources.
My friends, here is my declaration. I ask that you share it to the extent possible. If you can translate it into other languages, please do!
I, Elena Bondarenko, People’s Deputy from the Party of Regions, finding myself in opposition to the current power in Ukraine, wish to declare that this administration has resorted to direct threats of physical elimination of the opposition in Ukraine; has resorted to suspending the right of freedom of speech, in parliament and out, and is implicated in complicity in crimes not just against politicians, but even against their children. The everyday life of an opposition deputy is this: constant threats, unofficial ban from the airwaves, targeted persecution. Everyone who calls for peace is immediately branded as an enemy of the people, just as in 1930’s Germany, or in McCarthyite US.
A few days ago, Arseniy Avakov, the Minister of the Interior, an ardent adherent of the so-called Party of War of the Ukraine, said the following: “When Elena Bondarenko comes to the podium to speak, my hand automatically reaches for my gun.” This, I emphasize, are the words of a man entrusted with the supreme police power of the country. Further: exactly one week ago, Alexander Turchinov the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, deprived me of the right to speak from the podium as a member of the opposition Party of Regions, only for this: I declared “Any power that commissions its army to bomb its peaceful cities, is criminal.” After which, he magnanimously gave the radical parliamentarians the option to call for shooting the opposition. Considering that my car was shot at last year, when the extremists were already arming with weapons, [a fact on record with the police, on my complaint] such threats aimed at me must be taken seriously.
Further, I will inform everyone, who does not already know it, that the current leadership is covering up those who dared to raise a hand against the son of another opposition politician, Vladimir Oleinik. Ruslan Oleinik, performing his duties as regional prosecutor, was beaten up at his office, endangering his health, and even his life. Did they investigate the beating of a prosecutor performing his duty? No. Did they investigate the monstrous pressure on the leader of the opposition? No. Instead, this administration fired the prosecutor! Every day, from his colleagues I learn of beatings of their aides, of attacks on their companies, of threats, yes, even attacks, on their lives, their health, their property.
The Ukrainian media is completely sanitized from this information, and the typical Ukrainian has no idea that a criminal struggle is taking place against the opposition, and that the constitutional right of free speech is suppressed in every way. The journalists who overcome their fear and work honestly are subject to attack by nationalist mobs, but the organizers and participants of these pogroms are not punished, even when they are recorded on videos and photographs.
I call upon those international organizations that proclaim their support of democratic principles not just to notice this declaration, but to get involved in this struggle for the preservation and respect for the democratic rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine.
The methods of the junta in their struggle for power, or rather, for the establishment of a Ukrainian dictatorship, have nothing to do with any concept of “democracy.” If the international community does nothing in the face of these egregious acts, it will look like complicity and silent approbation of all these crimes which are being committed in Ukraine. The free world will lose an outpost, Ukraine. All who fight for democracy, rule of law, and the rights of man, together, can achieve a lot. But only together can we stop the junta and the fratricidal war in Ukraine.
With my respect,
People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Elena Bondarenko.
Translated by Thomas Winter