Response from my MP regarding the government’s plan to send military “advisers” to Ukraine

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.

Regards

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.

Letter to my MP regarding David Cameron’s decision to send “military advisers” to Ukraine:

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.

Best wishes,
Sophie Stephenson

Armed American Filmed in Mariupol

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.

Ukrainian PM’s Historical Revisionism

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I will write thoughts on this later, but for now I just want to post the astonishing remarks that Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk made whilst in Berlin on Thursday for a joint press conference with Angela Merkel. While speaking to Germany’s state broadcaster ARD, Yatsenyuk said:

“All of us still clearly remember the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany, we need to avoid [a repeat of] it.”

“Nobody has the right to rewrite the results of the Second World War,” he also added. “Russia’s President Putin is trying to do exactly this.”

This is obviously an exceedingly tone-deaf statement to make to the German people, who definitely do not view their WWII defeat in a negative light.

I’m unsure if Merkel was present when he said this, but having just read that she is no longer attending the peace talks due to take place on the 15th and that Moscow has asked Berlin for a clarification of Yats’ statement, might it be possible that Kiev’s latest assault on the Donbass is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the negotiations? However, as Merkel has laid the blame for the current breaking of the ceasefire on Russia, it doesn’t seem like she will be ready to see the light anytime soon.

Ukrainian Parliamentarian Publishes Essay on ‘Social-Nationalism’

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The following excerpts are from an article written by Andriy Biletsky – the leader of the ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ party and commander of Azov battalion. Both the party and battalion are part of Ukraine’s Social-National Assembly: a coalition of neo-Nazi groups. Wikipedia says: “Both the “Patriot of Ukraine” and the S.N.A. engage in political violence against minorities and their political opponents.” You know who else had paramilitary wings for such purposes? Hitler. Biletsky was recently awarded a medal by President Poroshenko for the role he has played in the uprising in the East of the country. The volunteer battalions have been accused by Amnesty International of starving civilians by preventing access to aid, as well as “ISIS style” atrocities, such as beheadings.

Biletsky’s essay explaining his ideology first appeared at WotanJugend (The Hammer of National-Socialism).

 

Social Nationalism is based on a set of principles that clearly distinguish it from other right-wing movements. This is a peculiar triad: sociality, racialism, and great-powerness.
Sociality

The principle of sociality implies our complete negation of democracy and liberalism, which fractionize the nation into isolated units and result in power of the gray crowd over the outstanding personalities (ochlocracy, mob rule).

Instead, we put forward the idea of ​​national solidarity, natural hierarchy and discipline, as the basis of our new society.

Not “democratic vote” of the crowd that can not cope with its own life, not mentioning life of the state, but natural selection of the best representatives of the nation – born chiefs-leaders.

Anyone who believes that such a system of government is unacceptable, should think whether modern system of government is acceptable, in which a prostitute and an academician have equal voting rights, where a degraded addict or a pederast are valued in the elections the same as the commander of a tank division.
People by nature are born with different abilities and capabilities, that’s why it is a great fortune for every person to find his place in the national hierarchy and conscientiously fulfill his vital tasks.
Racialism

If Ukrainian spirituality, culture and language are unique, it is only because our racial nature is unique. If Ukraine is a paradise on earth, it is only because our race turned her into it.

Accordingly, treatment of our national body should start with a racial cleaning of the nation. And then in the healthy racial body will revive the healthy national spirit, and with it culture, language and everything else.

Apart from the question of purity, we must also pay attention to the question of the value of race. Ukrainians are a part (and one of the largest and the most qualitative) of European white race.

Race-creator of a great civilization, the biggest human achievements. The historical mission of our nation in this critical time is to head and lead the white peoples of the whole world in the last crusade for their existence. Crusade against Semite-led subhumanity.
Great-Powerness

Thousands of times we heard moanings of pseudo-nationalists about the oppression of us by Poles and Moscow, their curses against empires.

Social Nationalism is not such, it claims – if we are strong, we will take all that is rightfully ours, and even a little more, we will build our superpower-empire – Great Ukraine, which will be a legitimate successor of the Scythian and Kyivan-Ruthenian empires.

If we are weak, then our place is among the conquered dying peoples. Because that is nature! The choice is ours!

Thus, Social Nationalism raises on a shield all the ancient Ukrainian Aryan values ​​forgotten in today’s society.

Only their revival and bringing to life by a group of fanatical fighters may lead to the final victory of European civilization in the world struggle.

Here we stand and we cannot do otherwise!

Translation found at Russia-Insider.

Pro-Kiev Militias Block Aid from Entering Eastern Ukraine

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Amnesty International has disclosed that battalions fighting for the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine are blocking humanitarian aid from entering the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Amnesty reports:

“As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need. It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.

“These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control. Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”

Battalions such as Dnipro-1, Aidar, and the Pravyi Sector militia are said to have blocked 11 roads leading to the DNR-controlled territory, as they do not feel they should be feeding the same people that they are fighting. However more than half the population of the breakaway republics are now entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, as the Kiev government have closed all banks, hospitals and other social services in these areas. Amnesty continues:

An aid worker from the Luhansk Region has informed Amnesty International that Aidar battalion is also stopping and searching cars that travel from Starobil’sk to Luhansk and vice versa. Members of the battalion, which was previously implicated in arbitrary detention and torture, are reportedly stopping food and medicines getting through to the region.

The aid worker recalled a particular case when medicines for four elderly people in Krasnodon, who are suffering from heart and blood pressure conditions, were snatched from a bus at a checkpoint.

“Checking the content of humanitarian convoys crossing frontline is one thing. Preventing it is another. Attempting to create unbearable conditions of life is a whole new ballgame. Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime,” said Denis Krivosheev.

While Krivosheev – acting Director of Europe and Central Asia – says that the dire humanitarian situation in the east is no secret, it is clear that Kiev and its allies are doing their best to cover up what’s going on. With Ukraine about to enforce strict austerity measures on the rest of the country, it probably won’t be long before the new government faces an even larger backlash.

Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked

Western Media’s Ukraine Narrative Continuing to Strain Credibility

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It seems that there are no lengths the Western press will not go to in order to wage their propaganda war against Putin’s Russia. The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, is suggesting that Russia’s current economic woes may result in a ‘palace coup’ – as the country’s elites see their fortunes decline. Walker says:

Falling oil prices have combined with western sanctions to create the worst economic crisis of Putin’s 15 years in power. With oil revenues tailing off sharply, on the one hand it will expose how little has been done to diversify the Russian economy during the boom years, while on the other the amount of money to share among the group of billionaires around Putin will shrink dramatically.

Part of the rationale behind western sanctions against people in Putin’s inner circle was to harm them and prompt them to pressure the leader. If the economic situation continues to deteriorate, and the political turmoil continues, one school of thought suggests Putin could be in trouble from within his own inner circle.

Most Russian officials feel the west is to blame for apparently “instigating” the Maidan protests in Kiev, but many are privately uneasy at the way Putin responded. For those in the inner circle, sanctions have in some cases meant losing business, property and travel opportunities in the west. Those affected have been falling over themselves to insist publicly that their personal pain is a small price to pay for the revival of a Great Russia, but what they think in private may be another matter. Even among those ideologically in tandem with Putin, if their vast wealth begins to be threatened their loyalty may waver.

Why the Russian oil crash could threaten Putin with a palace coup

Basically his entire premise is based upon what Russia’s oligarchs *might* be thinking; that while they publicly profess their loyalty to the Kremlin, secretly they may think something completely different. Pretty poor journalism for a Pulitzer Prize winning publication.

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Most shameless however, is the continued insistence that ‘the west’ did not instigate the Maidan protests and subsequent coup. It is quite insane, that these so-called journalists act as though the mere idea that the Kiev colour revolution was planned from the American embassy is something to be ridiculed; that such thoughts can only derive from the minds of paranoid conspiracy theorists. So hard are the media trying to push this narrative, that op-eds are published stating that anyone who dares to say otherwise, has to be receiving payment to do so. This editorial by Nick Cohen is a good example:

Vladimir Putin is the world’s corrupt policeman. He finds the seediness in every country and nurtures it. On some occasions, he exploits cynicism and paranoia at once; on others, he banks it for later use. Often he appears to fan corruption for the hell of it because that is all he knows how to do.

The posters appearing on British advertising hoardings promoting his propaganda channel give a notion of the scale of his effort. His underlings have rebranded his Russia Today station “RT” – in the hope that its dumb viewers will not realise that they are watching a channel whose political line follows the Kremlin line with puppyish eagerness.

While reputable news organisations from the BBC to the New York Times fire news reporters who try, however inadequately, to tell the truth, Russia Today has extended its reach. Putin is about to increase its $300m budget by 40%. Its resources will soon compare with Fox News. But while Fox serves the peculiar tastes of the American right, Russia Today has global ambitions. The channel broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish and can reach 600 million people. It claims to have surpassed a billion hits on YouTube, and will add German- and French-language channels. For the supposedly pariah leader of a country whose population is collapsing and mafia economy stagnating, Putin has the best publicity money can buy.

Anyone who writes critically about him soon learns the price of lese majeste. BuzzFeed revealed that state-sponsored Russian trolls maintain a Stakhanovite regime of tweeting and commenting on hostile news pieces as they spread the Kremlin’s message across the web. (Hello down there in the comments, by the way. Hope the sanctions aren’t hurting the pay cheques.)

Russia Today: why western cynics lap up Putin’s TV poison

Such pompous commentary reads like an act of frustration, and insulting your readership in this manner will only turn people away. However this is the absurd level that the British press are sinking to, in a desperate attempt to win the information war over Ukraine. Unfortunately, they are tying themselves in knots in the process, as a piece from ten years ago on Kiev’s Orange Revolution could easily be mistaken for a description of the 2013-14 Maidan.

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia.

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev *

Incidentally, Moldova’s pro-Russian party was barred from taking part in the election that took place a few weeks ago, on account of receiving money from a foreign country – a bizarre turn of events considering all the above mentioned US-funded parties in Eastern Europe over the last decade. However this outcome was considered a resounding success for the EU. It is also worth mentioning that the US Congress’s Ukraine Freedom bill includes clauses that essentially threaten to impose sanctions if Russia dares to make closer economic ties with countries in central Asia; these nations are likely to be next in line for a dose of Washington’s regime change.

Returning to the Guardian: the difference in approach between 2004 and 2014 leads one to wonder what exactly has changed in this period, and why the huge cover-up? How does Shawn Walker sleep at night, knowing that he’s complicit in the mass-murder of ethnic Russians by neo-nazi battalions?

* Credit to Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer for finding the 2004 article. Read his essay ‘The Impending “Russian Maidan”‘  here.

Former MP Exposes Coercive Measures Employed by Ukrainian Government to Stifle Dissent

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.
The criminal Kiev junta, hand-picked by Washington neocon Victoria Nuland.
The criminal Kiev junta, hand-picked by Washington neocon Victoria Nuland.

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