Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia


The Living Force
Ukraine seizes Russian tanker, frees crew after Moscow threat
Officers of the Ukrainian security services surround a crew member (L) of the Russian tanker, now called Nika Spirit and formerly named Neyma, which was detained in the port of Izmail, Ukraine in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on July 25, 2019. Military Prosecutor's Office of the Southern Region of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine on Thursday seized a Russian tanker for its alleged involvement in the capture of three Ukrainian navy vessels by Russia, prompting Moscow to warn of consequences if any Russian citizens were "taken hostage".

Ukraine says interrogated 10 crew members of detained Russian tanker
Ukraine has interrogated ten crew members of a detained Russian tanker as witnesses, the spokesman of the general prosecutor's said by phone on Thursday. Asked whether the crew members would be released, he declined to comment.

Russia warns Ukraine of consequences if crew of detained tanker held: RIA
Russia's Foreign Ministry warned Ukraine on Thursday that there would be consequences if any Russian members of the crew of a Russian tanker detained in Ukraine were held in custody, RIA news agency reported.

Russian lawmaker calls detention of tanker by Ukraine 'illegal': RIA
Senior Russian lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov on Thursday described the detention of a Russian tanker by Ukraine as "absolutely illegal" and said it was detrimental to relations between the two countries, RIA news agency reported.

Ukraine detains Russian tanker allegedly involved in Kerch Strait incident
© State Border Guard Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

The Ukrainian Security Service claims that it was the Neyma tanker that had blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships during the Kerch Strait incident.

KIEV, July 25, 2019 - The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has detained Russia’s Nika Spirit tanker at the port of Izmail, claiming that it was the Neyma tanker that had blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships during the Kerch Strait incident, the SBU said in a statement.

"The Ukrainian Security Service and Military Prosecutor’s Office have detained Russia’s Neyma tanker that blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait," the statement reads. "A pre-trial investigation made it clear that Russian FSB border guards had carried out an act of armed aggression against Ukraine’s Nikopol and Berdyansk warships and the Yany Kapu tugboat in the Kerch Strait at the direct order of senior FSB officials," the SBU added.

According to Ukrainian border guards, the Nika Spirit tanker flying the Russian flag was identified at the port of Izmail through its IMO number and the Equasis information system as the Neyma tanker that had been used to shut the Kerch Strait.

The SBU added that a group of investigators and military prosecutors had searched the tanker with court permission, seizing documents, radio communication recordings made during the incident and logbooks. The tanker’s crew members were questioned.

The tanker "has been recognized as real evidence, investigators plan to request a court to arrest it," the SBU noted.

Kerch Strait incident
On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian naval ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet, and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters.

A criminal investigation was opened into the border incident. The Ukrainian ships’ crew members were put into custody. They are charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code and may face up to six years in prison if found guilty.

Moscow studying details of Ukraine’s detention of Russian tanker
Senior MP slamed detention of Russian tanker by Ukraine as an 'act of state piracy,' another MP stated the move doesn’t bode well for Moscow-Kiev relations.

MOSCOW, July 25, 2019 - Moscow is investigating into the circumstances of Ukraine’s decision to detain a Russian tanker to take appropriate steps, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday.

We are studying the details of what has happened to take appropriate measures," the Russian diplomatic agency stressed. "If the Russians were taken hostage, this will be qualified as a brazen violation of the international law and consequences will ensue quickly."
As for media reports claiming that the crew of the Russian tanker detained in the Ukrainian port of Izmail are about to return home, the Russian embassy in Kiev could not confirm them in an interview with TASS.

"We can neither confirm nor deny these reports. The embassy and the consulate in Odessa are trying to figure out the circumstances of the incident and ways to resolve the situation," it stressed.

Interaction of the human rights advocates
Meanwhile Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova has asked her Ukrainian counterpart, Lyudmila Denisova, to clarify the circumstances of the detention of the Russian tanker at the port of Izmail and provide information about the Russian crew.

"On July 25, Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova had a telephone conversation with human rights ombudswoman of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada [parliament — TASS] Lyudmila Denisova. Moskalkova asked Denisova to find out the circumstances of the vessel’s detention and the composition of the crew: how many Russian nationals are aboard, whether they receive consular support and their rights are observed, whether they are provided with food and drinking water and whether some of them need medical assistance," Moskalkova’s office issued a press statement on its website on Thursday.

"Denisova, in turn, promised to clarify the situation with the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service — TASS]. The ombudswomen agreed to continue their humanitarian dialogue," the statement added.

Stance of senior Russian MPs
Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house) Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky characterized Ukraine's actions as "state piracy." In his vision, the Ukrainian authorities are trying to exert pressure on the investigation into the case the Ukrainian sailors arrested for illegally crossing Russia’s state border in the Kerch Strait.

"Ukraine responded to its own provocation [in the Kerch Strait area] with an act of state piracy. [That’s] illegal pressure on the investigation," he wrote in a Twitter post.

Later he told journalists that such Kiev’s actions give away its unpreparedness to normalize "relations with Russia, in particular, in what concerns navigation in the Kerch Strait."

"It gives an impression that the new Kiev authorities’ hints at establishing cooperation with Russia have nothing to do with their real plans. The anti-Russian hysteria that was whipped up under Pyotr Poroshenko keeps rolling on," he said.

"Nevertheless, we continue to call for the normalization of Russian-Ukrainian relations. We will work with those who are ready for a constructive dialogue with Moscow. Many in the Kiev 'establishment' want to resume relations as soon as possible. And in terms of history, our peoples are destined to be good neighbors," Slutsky stressed.

Another high-ranking MP, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev also issued a comment. In his view, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky needs to clarify his position on the detention of the Russian tanker by Ukraine’s Security Service but such a provocation doesn’t bode well for relations between Moscow and Kiev. "The circumstances of the incident need to be clarified, as well as Zelensky’s position. When does Ukraine show its true face, when it rattles sabers or speaks about peace? The moment of truth has come," he wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

He supposed that the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) might be acting upon the order of the country’s president, "then Vladimir Zelensky is actually picking up a provocation initiated by his predecessor Pyotr Poroshenko who sought to achieve his campaign goals." "It is a very bad thing for Ukraine, its relations with Russia and all of those people who expected Zelensky to determine a different policy course. Another possibility is that Ukraine’s SBU is acting on its own, seeking to drag the president into a provocation," the Russian senator noted.

Kosachev added that the second possibility meant nothing good "because in this case, Zelensky is only a tool in the hands of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies formed by the previous authorities."

The Russian ship's detention
Earlier on Thursday, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) detained Russia’s Nika Spirit tanker at the port of Izmail, claiming that it was the Neyma tanker that had blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships during the Kerch Strait incident of last November. According to the SBU, Ukrainian border guards identified the Russian-flagged Nika Spirit tanker that had entered the port of Izmail under its IMO number registered with the EQUASIS international database as the Neyma, the tanker that had been used to block Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait. The SBU reported it was issuing a motion with a court to arrest the vessel as a physical evidence.

At least 7 Russian sailors aboard tanker detained by Ukraine

© State Border Guard Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

A photo posted on the Facebook account of Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor features seven Russian passports seized from the sailors.

KIEV, July 27, 2019 - At least seven Russian sailors are aboard the Russian tanked detained by Ukraine’s Security Service at the port of Ismail.

A photo posted on the Facebook account of Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, features seven Russian passports seized from the sailors.

Crew of detained tanker are returning home from Ukraine — Russian embassy
The blocked passage under the Crimean Bridge arch Alexei Pavlishak//TASS

The blocked passage under the Crimean Bridge arch © Alexei Pavlishak//TASS

KIEV, July 25, 2019 - The crew of the Russian tanker detained in the Ukrainian port of Izmail are returning home but the vessel will remain in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Kiev told TASS on Thursday.

"The crew members are heading home but the vessel remains in Izmail," he noted.

Moscow court extends arrest of all 24 Ukrainian sailors detained in Kerch Strait

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 17, 2019 - Moscow’s Lefortovo Court has remanded in custody all of the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained last November for illegally entering Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"[They shall] remand in custody for the next three months," the court ruling read with regard to each accused sailor.

The investigation has ended and the defendants and their lawyers have begun studying the case files.

Before the hearing, the prosecutor and major cases detective filed a request with the court to hold a closed-door hearing into the motion of the FSB (Federal Security Service) to extend the arrest, as an open hearing "might lead to a disclosure of official secrets and the secrecy of investigation."

The defendants’ lawyers insisted on holding an open hearing, referring to the fact that the investigation had ended and the evidence had been collected. The court met the prosecution’s motion. The sailors were laconic while answering the judge’s questions and seized a chance to talk with their friends and relatives before the hearing.

Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova, representatives of the Ukrainian and European consulates came to the courtroom to support the sailors.


The Living Force
Assailant jumps on ex-Ukraine president's car after he leaves questioning
Opponents of Ukraine's former President and leader of the European Solidarity party Petro Poroshenko attack his bodyguard and block a motorcade shortly after Poroshenko left the office of Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations in Kiev, Ukraine July 25, 2019. Mikhail Palinchak/Press Service of Petro Poroshenko/Handout via REUTERS

Opponents of Ukraine's former President and leader of the European Solidarity party Petro Poroshenko attack his bodyguard and block a motorcade shortly after Poroshenko left the office of Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations in Kiev, Ukraine July 25, 2019. Mikhail Palinchak/Press Service of Petro Poroshenko/Handout via REUTERS

KIEV (Reuters) - A man jumped on the car of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as he was driven away from being questioned as a witness on Thursday over the sale of his shipbuilding plant to another businessman.

TV footage also showed the man spraying gas into the face of one of Poroshenko’s bodyguards who had rushed to intervene, before being hit with an umbrella by another bodyguard. No one was hurt.

“This is a provocation by the pro-Russian gangsters who raised their heads after the change of power in Ukraine,” said Svyatoslav Tsegolko, Poroshenko’s spokesman, in a text message, about the attack, without giving further details.

Poroshenko, who campaigned on a strong anti-Russia ticket, lost April’s presidential election by a landslide to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who has promised to tackle entrenched corruption and low living standards.

Known as the “chocolate king”, Poroshenko become one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men through his confectionery company Roshen, but also owns other businesses.

The State Bureau of Investigation has not revealed the details of its investigation into the shipbuilding plant’s sale last year.

Poroshenko said he had given explanations verbally and in writing about the sale of the shipbuilding plant, which he says was done transparently and without his direct participation.

He said several of his businesses are being investigated, including his TV channel.

Poroshenko remained in politics since his election defeat and his party won seats at Sunday’s parliamentary election.


The Living Force
Ukraine to launch Russian-language TV channel in battle for hearts and minds
Ukraine plans to launch a worldwide Russian-language TV channel, as part of an effort to win the hearts and minds of people living in the eastern Donbass region and Russia, a senior presidential official was quoted as saying on Monday.

Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won a landslide election victory this year promising to end the Donbass conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatist forces that has killed 13,000 people in the past five years.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow plummeted after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and role in the Donbass conflict.

“It must be admitted that Ukraine practically lost the information war for the minds of people in the occupied territories of Donbass and in occupied Crimea,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff, told Interfax Ukraine news agency in an interview.

“But there is still a chance to turn the situation around.” “We have developed the option to launch a Ukrainian Russian-language channel, with which we will be able to cover the Russian-speaking population throughout the world,” he said.

The channel should be state-run but source some content from private Ukrainian television channels, he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown down an early challenge to Zelenskiy by speeding up procedures for Donbass residents to obtain Russian passports. Zelenskiy retaliated with his own measures but also extended an offer to meet Putin face to face in the Belarus capital Minsk.


The Living Force
Ukraine court approves seizure of detained Russian tanker: Ifax
A Ukrainian court ruled on Tuesday to formally approve the seizure of a Russian tanker that was detained by Ukrainian authorities at the Danube river port of Izmail last week, the Interfax news agency reported.

Ukraine pundit who predicted Zelenskiy's rise now forecasts his fall
Ukrainian analyst Viktor Bobyrenko speaks during an interview with Reuters in front of the Presidential Administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, July 29, 2019. Picture taken July 29, 2019.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian analyst Viktor Bobyrenko speaks during an interview with Reuters in front of the Presidential Administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, July 29, 2019. Picture taken July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A once-obscure Ukrainian regional pundit who gained national attention for predicting the unlikely rise of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is now predicting the new leader’s popularity will swiftly evaporate.

Zelenskiy, who played a schoolteacher who becomes president on a TV sitcom, repeated the trick in real life with a landslide victory in April. This month his new party also won control of parliament in a snap election.

Viktor Bobyrenko, a former local councilor who heads a think tank on local governance in the northern city of Sumy, was quite possibly the first person to predict Zelenskiy’s rise in print, in a newspaper editorial published in Dec. 2015.

But today he says he believes Zelenskiy will be voted out of office in five years with his popularity in single digits.

If previously Zelenskiy, 41, “was just an artist playing a role, now he is turning ... from a boy into someone who realized what kind of power he has,” Bobyrenko told Reuters.

“And this power lies in the Ukrainian people believing in a miracle. We do not go to church; we go to the TV. On TV they saw an idol to which they now pray,” he said.

Zelenskiy won the presidency with 73% of the vote and his party won a 43% vote share last week, but “Zelenskiy in two or three years’ time ... will have a rating of 8-10% , not 73 or 43 or even 20,” Bobyrenko said.

Bobyrenko had earlier success predicting the careers of Ukrainian leaders. A few months into the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich in 2010, he said the Kremlin-friendly leader could meet a similar fate to that of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was toppled in a revolution in 1989. Yanukovich fled to Russia after a popular revolt in February 2014.

Bobyrenko said Zelenskiy will face the same conundrums as his predecessors. Many voters expect Zelenskiy to sharply cut their household heating bills and raise their wages and pensions, he said. Such largesse would likely run counter to Ukraine’s reform commitments to foreign donors.

Zelenskiy may also struggle to deliver on a promise to end the Donbass conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists that has killed 13,000 over five years.

In his 2015 piece in the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper, Bobyrenko said Zelenskiy’s political project would be financed by Ihor Kolomoisky, whose TV channel broadcast his show. The two have business ties but both have repeatedly denied suggestions that Zelenskiy is beholden to Kolomoisky.
Russian Union of Journalists puzzled by Kiev’s plans to launch TV channel targeting Crimea
MOSCOW, July 30, 2019 - The Russian Union of Journalists is puzzled by Kiev’s plans to launch a worldwide Russian-language TV channel targeting people in Crimea and Donbass, the Union’s Secretary Timur Shafir told TASS on Tuesday.

The decision to launch a worldwide Russian-language TV channel to win the hearts and minds of people in Crimea and Donbass is puzzling, given the restrictions against the Russian language in Ukraine," he commented. "The same goes for plans to launch a propaganda TV channel amid attempts to expose ‘Russian propaganda’," Shafir added.

According to him, Ukrainian tax payers should think about whether this plan is appropriate, particularly from the economic standpoint.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s administration earlier announced plans to launch a worldwide Russian-language TV channel in order to win the hearts and minds of Ukrainians living all around the world, including in Crimea and Donbass.

Soviet spy who helped sound Ebola alarm in 1970s dies in Ukraine aged 86
Anatoly Baronin Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine

Anatoly Baronin © Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine

While on a foreign assignment in Nigeria he was the first to have obtained crucial information about the newly-discovered deadly disease.

KIEV, July 30, 2019 - Soviet spy Colonel Anatoly Baronin, retired, has died in Ukraine. He was 86, the press-service of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence said.

While on a foreign assignment in Nigeria in the 1970s he was the first to have obtained crucial information about the newly-discovered deadly disease - the Ebola virus fever.

"Test tubes containing samples of infected blood were urgently delivered to the Soviet Union by a special Aeroflot flight. Germany’s Stern magazine in the 1970 described Baronin as an outstanding spy master," the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence said.

Baronin was born in Moscow in 1932. He served as the Soviet intelligence’s station chief in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia. His career in the KGB’s First Main Directorate lasted 25 years. Upon completion of his foreign assignments he worked at the central office of the Soviet intelligence in Moscow. During his last five years in service he was first deputy chief of the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence. After retirement in 1991 Baronin started lecturing trainees at Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Institute.

The Ebola virus was detected in the delta of the Zaire river in 1976. Outbreaks of the disease occurred in a number of African countries, such as Sudan, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and Angola. The worst epidemic occurred in 2014-2016, when 28,600 were infected.

Russia ready to start shipping revolutionary Ebola vaccine to DR Congo

© AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh

According to the Russian virology specialist, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country that needs the vaccine now.

NOVOSIBIRSK, July 16, 2019 - A groundbreaking vaccine developed at the Novosibirsk-based VECTOR State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology is likely to be shipped to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where an ongoing Ebola outbreak has already claimed 1,700 lives, VECTOR Director General Rinat Maksyutov told TASS, adding that talks were underway.

"The issue [of the vaccine’s deliveries to the DRC] is under consideration. Currently, the Ebola fever outbreak is raging across the DR Congo. At the moment, it is the only country which needs this vaccine and the issue is being negotiated," Maksyutov said, declining to comment further.

In late June, a Russian delegation, which included VECTOR specialists, visited Kinshasa to discuss the issue of Ebola vaccination in the DR Congo. At the meeting, the vaccine was presented to Congolese representatives. The Russian delegation offered their help in eradicating the disease.

Later, Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, met with Marit van Lenthe, president of Doctors Without Borders’ branch in the Netherlands (MSF Holland), on the sidelines of the Moscow Urban Health Forum. They discussed how the vaccine could be used to immunize the scientists and doctors working in the epicenter of the outbreak.

The VECTOR center has developed and certified the Ebola vaccine that is believed to be the safest among its analogues. It has been put on the official list of medicines permitted in Russia for specific immunization against the diseases caused by the Ebola virus. The peptide vaccine differs greatly from its Western analogues as highly safe, effective, lacking any side effects, easily storable and transportable.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo saw Ebola outbreak in late July — early August, 2018. On July 28, healthcare agencies of the DRC’s North Kivu province informed the healthcare ministry about suspicious cases and deaths. Further research confirmed that it was the particularly dangerous Zaire ebola virus. A mortality rate ranging between 25% and 90% was documented during previous Ebola outbreaks.

The World Health Organization describes the Ebola virus disease (EVD, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) as "a severe, often fatal illness in humans. EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%." Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, a headache and a sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids and the tissues of infected animals or people. The incubation period lasts from two to 21 days.

The virus was first registered in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976, with outbreaks reported in Sudan, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Cote d’Ivoire. The latest Ebola epidemics in West Africa in 2014-2016 took more than 11,300 lives, with more than 28,600 people contracting the disease. The most lethal outcomes were reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.


The Living Force
Nothing like blindly setting yourself up for a fall?

December 16, 2018 - Ukraine President hopes anti-corruption Court formed by February
Ukraine president hopes anti-corruption court formed by February | Reuters

A special Ukrainian court to try corruption cases will hopefully be formed by February, President Petro Poroshenko told a news conference on Sunday.

Ukraine has agreed to set up such a court as a condition for loans from the International Monetary Fund.
In Saakashvili’s shoes? Poroshenko asks US lobbyists to shield him from criminal charges
According to Vesti Ukraine, the ex-president sought help from the BGR Group, whose senior adviser is US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker.

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko © AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, August 1, 2019 - Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has asked US lobbyist companies to provide assistance with criminal cases launched against him in Ukraine, Vesti Ukraine newspaper reported on Thursday, citing its sources.

"The ex-president is contacting lobbyists from the US [on assistance in criminal cases, which were opened against him in his home country]," the report said. Poroshenko has sought the assistance of the BGR Group, where US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is a senior adviser.

According to the report, Washington is expected to offer support in case of attempts to arrest Poroshenko. Besides, the so-called ‘Saakashvili scenario’ is also possible, when a former leader leaves the country after accusations have been announced.

"For example, he will go for treatment or to London, where some of his allies have gained a foothold," political scientist Alexei Yakubin told the paper. However, this model complicates public protection of business assets in the country, which may be arrested.

According to the report, Poroshenko understands the gravity of accusations made by the National Bureau of Investigation, which has opened 13 cases against the former president and his allies.

On July 28, Poroshenko and his family went abroad on vacation. Before his departure, he was summoned for questioning on August 12. Poroshenko was interrogated for the first time last week as a witness. Later he assured that there was no criminal case against him. The ex-president said he gave written explanations regarding the sale of his company, Kuznitsa na Rybalskom, claiming the deal was completed without his participation.

Poroshenko is also suspected in Ukraine of high treason, abuse of office, money laundering, tax evasion, an attempt to usurp judicial power, and illegal appointment of ministers in 2016 when there was no coalition in the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

One of the cases involves a ship building and armament company in Kiev, Kuznitsa na Rybalskom, one of Poroshenko’s major assets. According to unofficial data, the former head of state signed a fake contract on selling it to Ukrainian businessman Sergey Tigipko. A criminal case was launched into tax evasion and money laundering.


FOTCM Member
This by Paul Robinson:

Paul Robinson
is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.

His blog Irrussianality focuses on two subjects: the relationship between Russia and the West; and the apparently irrational decision making processes that dominate much of international relations (IR). The two are, of course, connected: relations between Russia and the West are marred by prejudice, misunderstanding, and misperceptions. His hope is that this blog will contribute in some small way to rational foreign policy.
And he aims to unpack the issues since 2014 in the Donbass region (featured in New Cold War), however I can't agree with everything he says and find it curious that he refers to the ICG report (Brussels Crises Group) being much of the focus in its findings, and those funding it - in the 'imaginary' realm of being a "Kremlin Proxy" (Soros Foundation and Canada is mentioned):

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on a military vehicle near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 16, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

To bring peace to Ukraine, you need to develop a proper understanding of how the war in Donbass began and the exact dynamics between the various players, including the government in Kiev, the Russian Federation, and the rebel movement…

By Paul Robinson
Published on the author’s website Irrussianality, July 18, 2019
I’ve long said that if you want to bring peace to Ukraine, you need to develop a proper understanding of how the war in Donbass began and of the exact dynamics between the various players, including the government in Kiev, the Russian Federation, and the rebel movement. Attempts to view the conflict purely in terms of ‘Russian aggression’, ignoring its internal dimensions, are bound to point towards policies which see the solution as lying solely in pressuring Moscow. Such policies will fail because they ignore the local nature of the rebel movement and the genuine fears and grievances of the people of Donbass. At a minimum a peace settlement will require autonomy for Donbass, an amnesty, and a change in various Ukrainian policies such as those connected with language.
To make this argument, I have provided evidence in this blog and in various academic and other publications that the initial uprising in Donbass was local in nature; that the overwhelming majority of rebels have always been Ukrainian citizens; that the Russian government only slowly and reluctantly became involved (in large part to gain control of a process over which it originally had little control); that Moscow’s preference has always been for Donbass to be reintegrated within Ukraine with some sort of autonomy, a preference which has put it at odds with the rebel leadership; and finally that patron-client relations are complicated and do not give patrons complete ability to manipulate their clients (indeed the patron may even become something of a captive of the client). All this means that the wishes of the people of Donbass and of the leadership of the rebel republics cannot be ignored. Instead of blindly supporting Kiev as it does its best to alienate eastern Ukraine, Western states should be pressuring it to live up to its commitments in the Minsk accords.
This argument is, of course, entirely at odds with the prevalent narrative coming out of Kiev and Western capitals. It is satisfying, therefore, to read a report which pretty much confirms everything I’ve been saying these past five years. Entitled Rebels without a Cause: Russia’s Proxies in Eastern Ukraine, the report was published yesterday by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG gets a lot of its funding from governments, notably Qatar, Australia, Canada, France, Finland, Norway and Sweden, as well as from foundations such as Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination a ‘Kremlin proxy’. That makes its conclusions all the more striking.
The ICG’s report is based on interview with ‘rebels, Russian fighters, former and current Russian officials, and de facto republic officials, as well as analysis of public statements and other open sources.’ It is very clear about the origins of the war in Donbass, telling readers that:
The conflict in eastern Ukraine started as a grassroots movement. … demonstrations were led by local citizens claiming to represent the region’s Russian-speaking majority. They were concerned both about the political and economic ramifications of the new Kyiv government and about moves, later aborted, by that government to curtail the official use of Russian language throughout the country.
This is, of course, in direct opposition to the line peddled by Kiev and its Western allies, like Samantha Power who told the press in April 2014 that, ‘It’s professional, coordinated. Nothing grassroots about it’. Power was talking nonsense. So too were those who argued that Moscow had a clearly conceived plan of aggression from the get-go. On the contrary, says the ICG (echoing what I wrote in my 2016 article ‘Russia’s Role in the War in Donbass’), ‘the Kremlin’s policy toward eastern Ukraine proved neither coherent nor consistent.’ The Kremlin didn’t support separatism in Donbass, but it also felt sympathy for those expressing pro-Russian views there. It couldn’t decide what to do. Thus, concludes the report:
Russian leaders officially said nothing. Absent clear guidance, government advisers and businessmen appear to have acted on their own initiative, without much effort to work together.
In short, the likes of Strelkov and his backers were acting on their own, not at the Kremlin’s behest. In fact, after initially boosting the idea of ‘Novorossiya’, Russian leaders rapidly peddled backwards. But the rebels in Donbass weren’t inclined to do what Moscow wanted. The ICG comments:
A Ukrainian rebel in Strelkov’s regiment described a shift in the message from Moscow as early as late April [2014]. It was then that he began hearing calls for restraint in rebel efforts to take control of eastern Ukrainian towns and cities. … But the separatist movement in Donbas was determined to move ahead, choosing to ignore or creatively interpret Putin’s comments.
In other words, Moscow wasn’t in control in Donbass in spring 2014. In time, though, it decided that it needed to start exercising some control. It therefore set about changing the rebel leadership. According to the ICG,
a former Kremlin official suggested that Moscow had grown frustrated with Strelkov’s activities and his increasingly strident calls for more intervention from Moscow. “He went over there and started this mess … and now we are cleaning it up”. A fellow Russian combatant told Crisis Group that the Kremlin pressured Strelkov to leave Donbas in exchange for a promise that Moscow would reinforce and resupply the DPR forces. The D/LPR leadership also changed hands as Moscow sought to establish more order.
This is exactly what I wrote in an August 2014 article in The American Conservative. Back then, I was speculating. It’s interesting to see my speculations confirmed.
Having changed the rebel leadership, Moscow then strong-armed it into accepting the two Minsk agreements, in September 2014 and February 2015. According to the ICG,
For Moscow, the Minsk stipulation of special status for Donbas was a victory. …
But even as it abandoned the Novorossiya cause, it would find it difficult to abandon that cause’s local and Russian standard bearers, who had shed blood fighting for it in Donbas, without risking backlash at home. By allowing freelancers and enthusiasts to shape its policy in Donbas to the extent that it did, the Kremlin wound up beholden to the de facto governments, as well as their Russian supporters, just as D/LPR figures were beholden to the Kremlin, and entrenched in a conflict with no exit strategy.
To put it another way, the patron can’t abandon the client any more than the client can abandon the patron. Moscow can’t just impose any terms it wants on the rebel leadership. Any peace settlement will have to take the wishes of the later into account.
So where are we now? The ICG report says that Moscow’s ‘betrayal’ of the Novorossiya cause and its efforts to impose its own chosen leaders on the rebel republics has created a divide between those leaders and the rebellions’ grassroots supporters. The ICG notes that,
absent an amnesty or relocation to Russia (which some may reject), they see no option but to keep fighting. “What do you do with 40,000 people who believe that, once they put down their arms, they will all be shot or arrested?”, said a former Luhansk activist and politician close to the LPR. “Of course, they are going to fight to the death”. …
These sentiments in effect limit what Moscow can and cannot force the separatists to do. For example, Moscow can demand a ceasefire, but it may well find that its proxies lack sufficient control over the militias to stop the shooting.
Again, Moscow is not in full control, even now. It can’t force the rebels to commit suicide. Any peace settlement will have to give them something they can support. This, of course, has long been blindingly obvious, but it’s good to see somebody lay it out so clearly.
The ICG notes, however, that there’s a third group in Donbass as well as the rebel leaders and the ‘betrayed’ grassroots: the mass of the population. The ICG claims that for the most part ordinary people in Donbass want nothing more than an end to the war and a return to normal life. They cite the response of a typical interviewee:
“I’d be happy to be part of Russia, and I wasn’t unhappy in Ukraine”, a pensioner from Donetsk remarked. “But you know where I really want to live? The Soviet Union”.
If Ukraine is to have any chance of reintegrating Donbass, the ICG argues, it has to win over this ‘silent majority’. However, Ukrainian policy – economic blockade, language laws, and the like – have had the opposite effect. To succeed, Kiev will have to make a dramatic shift in policy, the ICG argues. As the report says,
In the end, there is no question that Kyiv will have to find a way forward with Moscow, either through both sides implementing their commitments in the Minsk agreements (in whatever order they can agree to) or some new deal that covers much of the same ground. Any plausible settlement will involve the withdrawal of Russian troops, some level of autonomy for eastern Ukraine and the reunification of Ukraine with its east (Crimea would need to be subject to other deals and discussions).

Although Moscow remains the main address for peace talks, there nonetheless are good reasons for Kyiv to do more to rebuild relations with its eastern population. First, it needs to do so if it ever hopes to reintegrate those areas into the Ukrainian body politic. Secondly, the growing divides among Moscow, the original separatists and Donbas’s population mean that Moscow’s ability to negotiate on behalf of any of these other groups is limited. Russia’s proxies now in power in the D/LPR would likely have to agree to whatever Russia promised on their behalf, but they might face substantial discontent from an already suspicious population, including among separatists who might hesitate to lay down their arms, undermining any deal.

In other words, if a deal with the Kremlin is essential for peace in Donbas, in itself it may not be enough. Improved relations between Kyiv and the Donbas population might not bring along the most hardened separatists, but they will make armed resistance to reintegration less likely. And the more supportive the local population is of reintegration, the more likely they are to influence separatist neighbours.
To this end, the ICG recommends that Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, lifts the economic blockade of Donbass, makes it easier for Donbass residents to receive their Ukrainian pensions, and softens Ukraine’s language laws. ‘Such steps would signal to the local population that Kyiv is ready to engage and that it values them as citizens, a prerequisite for any constructive political dialogue.’ Overall,
The situation in Donbas ought not to be narrowly defined as a matter of Russian occupation. In this sense, Kyiv’s tendency to conflate Moscow and the de facto leadership has complicated efforts to reintegrate separatist-held areas. If the Ukrainian government wants to peacefully reunify with the rebel-held territories, it cannot avoid engaging the alienated east.
This isn’t rocket science. I’ve been saying it for years. Let’s hope that someone will listen. I fear, though, that it may already be far too late.


FOTCM Member
{from article, Zakharova's statement}

"Nothing good will come out of this policy. Any anti-Russian steps of Canada’s authorities will not be left without an appropriate response."

"We are warning again that following an increased pressure on us and proceeding from the principle of reciprocity, we will be symmetrically adding to the lists new names of Canadian dignitaries who are banned entry to Russia..."
For the record, here was the;

Statement of the Russian Congress of Canada regarding the announced adoption of the so-called Magnitsky Act, Bill S-226

Posted By editor on October 3, 2017

June 15th, 2017 – Toronto



The Living Force
Eight die in fire at hotel in Ukraine
A view shows a corridor of the Tokyo Star hotel that was hit by a heavy fire, in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine August 17, 2019. National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

A view shows a corridor of the Tokyo Star hotel that was hit by a heavy fire, in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine August 17, 2019. National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Eight people died and 10 more were injured in a fire early on Saturday in a private hotel in the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa, Ukraine's emergencies service said.

The fire occurred shortly after midnight, the service said in its statement, which gave no cause for the incident and did not say how many people had been staying at the hotel.

The hotel Tokyo Star has 273 rooms.

It took firefighters about three hours to extinguish the fire, which had raged over an area of about 1,000 square meters, the service said.

Eight die in fire at hotel in Ukraine's Odesa – media

Drug lord set to be extradited to Israel escapes from Boryspil Airport
Photo from UNIAN

Photo from UNIAN

The SBU security service did not request police assistance in the extradition procedure, police press service says.

Founder of a mass cannabis distribution network, an Israeli national Amos Dov Silver remains at large after he fled from the Boryspil Airport's sterile zone, escaping extradition to Israel.

The press service of Kyiv police has confirmed the reports in Israeli and Ukrainian media claiming that the suspect bolted from the Boryspil Airport after an e-bracelet was unlocked and before boarding the plane bound for Tel Aviv as he was being extradited to Israel.

The press service noted that the SBU had not sought assistance in the extradition procedure.

Ukrainian security forces were scouring the airport for Silver using a photograph of him taken moments before he vanished, according to The Times of Israel. Local police officials were quoted as saying they believed that Silver would be apprehended soon.

The Haaretz daily reported that Israel intended to send a law enforcement official to accompany Silver on the journey to Israel, but failed to send one in time for his Friday morning flight.

Israeli police said they were in contact with their Ukrainian counterparts and following the efforts to apprehend him.


The Living Force
Ukraine catches suspected Israeli online dope dealer after escape

Israel has approved the export of medical cannabis but the drug’s’ production and sale for recreational purposes remain criminal offenses.

In 2017, the public security ministry partially decriminalized recreational marijuana use.

KIEV: Ukraine said Saturday it had captured an Israeli-American suspected of leading a major online-drug dealing network a day after he escaped while being extradited to the Jewish state.

Ukraine’s SBU security service said it had found Amos Dov Silver in “one of the regions of our country” and said he would be extradited to Israel “in the near future.”

The SBU also said it had detained three of its own employees suspected of helping Silver escape Kiev’s Boryspil airport during the process of his extradition.

On Friday, Israeli police said Kiev informed it that Silver had “escaped his Ukrainian escorts.”

Kiev prosecutor’s office said that he was at the city’s Boryspil airport bound for Israel on Thursday when he escaped from his security service guards and “disappeared.”

Silver was arrested in March accused of running a network with connections in the United States, Ukraine, Israel and Germany, using the popular encrypted messaging app Telegram.

Israeli police said at the time that the ring had a turnover of “hundreds of millions” of Israeli shekels (tens of millions of dollars/euros).

Silver founded the Israeli online drug marketplace Telegrass.

Israel has approved the export of medical cannabis but the drug’s’ production and sale for recreational purposes remain criminal offenses.

In 2017, the public security ministry partially decriminalized recreational marijuana use, setting fines and treatment for initial offenders instead of criminal procedures.

Israeli police have said that Silver and his alleged accomplices dealt not only in marijuana but also ecstasy, LSD, cocaine and other dangerous substances.


FOTCM Member
Nothing new here other than it is a bit of an exposé - of Canada's role.

Had remembered reading when the Canadian Government back during the Mulroney era set upon a commission looking at Nazi's who immigrated to Canada (it is explained below further), and recalled how there was frustration, even in government circles at the roadblocks put up - obviously from the enablers who are always there in the background.

During this time, or just after (as written by Eric Walberg in one of his books), there was a team of Polish Intelligence investigators who came to Canada to further help. They were stonewalled as recalled.

What to do about any of it?

Most of these collaborators are dead and gone and generational roots are laid down and integrated in society, so there is no point other than to face the historical past. This is what Israel Shahak discussed in his book Jewish History Jewish Religion - discussed that even Jewish people must face their own past. The PTB do not want that to happen 🧹 , and really it has to happen in a broad acknowledging scale to heal any of these wounds - and therein lies a chance at readjusting our political courses. I'll not hold my breath.

How Canada emerged as a haven for Ukrainian Nazi collaborators

By Roger Jordan | WSWS

World Socialist Web Site

Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

In July, Canada hosted the third Ukraine Reform Conference, a gathering of diplomats and officials from over 100 countries aimed at bringing Kiev even more directly under the geopolitical and economic domination of the western imperialist powers.

After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the conference sidelines, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed “to stand with Ukraine against Russian interference and aggression,” and to support it in the struggle to end Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Crimea.

Trudeau’s portrayal of Russia as the aggressor in Ukraine and Eastern Europe turns reality on its head. It conceals the fact that Canada played a major supporting role in the US-orchestrated, fascist-spearheaded February 2014 coup that chased Ukraine's elected president from power and brought a far-right, pro-western regime to power in Kiev; and that the 2014 coup was the continuation of a longstanding US-led, Canadian-backed drive to expand NATO to Russia's borders and harness Ukraine to the West.

Moreover, Canadian imperialism has been playing a leading role in the subsequent US-NATO war drive against Russia. This includes supporting Washington's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; taking command and providing the bulk of the troops for one of NATO's four new “forward deployed” battalions in Poland and the three Baltic states; and deploying 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine since 2015 to help prepare its army and National Guard to, in Trudeau's words, “liberate” Ukrainian territory.

But Canada’s intimate alliance with far-right Ukrainian nationalists did not begin in 2014, or even Dec. 1991, when Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine as a sovereign state. In the decades following World War II, Canada became a haven for far-right Ukrainian nationalists, many of whom had collaborated with the Nazis both in their drive to find “lebensraum” (living space) through the conquest of the Soviet Union and their genocidal “final solution to the Jewish problem.”

Under conditions of the postwar US-led military-strategic offensive against the Soviet Union—what euphemistically came to be known as the Cold War—these ultra-reactionary political forces came to be seen as useful allies due to their virulent anticommunism and hostility to anything and anyone associated with the Soviet Union.

In the immediate postwar period, Canada’s then Liberal government, working in close cahoots with US and British intelligence, opened Canada's doors to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. These included members of the infamous 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS, also known as the Galicia Division.

Among the beneficiaries of this policy was Mikhail Chomiak, the grandfather of current Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Chomiak served as editor of a pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist newspaper during the war, Krakivs ’ ki Visti, which used publishing equipment commandeered by the Nazis from a Jewish newspaper they had shut down. Chomiak emigrated to northern Alberta after fleeing to Vienna in late 1944 in the face of the advancing Red Army.

The scale of the influx of Nazi collaborators only became public knowledge in the 1980s. A comprehensive study carried out by Alti Rodal on behalf of the federal government-appointed Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada uncovered records proving that US intelligence agents in Europe had funneled Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe through the Canadian immigration system using false papers. Rodal revealed that large numbers of identically typed applications were received by Canada's immigration department from one address in West Germany. On closer inspection, this address turned out to be a US military base.

The Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney established the Deschênes Commission in 1985, in response to a mounting public outcry over exposures of Nazis and Nazi accomplices who had found a safe haven in Canada and tasked the inquiry with identifying Nazi war criminals residing in Canada.

Around the same time, the Simon Wiesenthal Center estimated that upwards of 2,000 Nazis and Nazi collaborators emigrated to Canada in the years after the war. A quarter-century later, in 2011, it would give Canada an “F minus” in its annual report ranking countries on their efforts to prosecute war criminals. This placed Canada on a par with Ukraine and the former Baltic republics, i.e. countries where the right-wing, nationalist regimes that have emerged since the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union openly venerate the ultranationalists who aligned with the Nazis when they invaded the USSR.

War criminals in Canada

A significant number of those who made their way to Canada were members of the Nazi SS’s Galicia Division, which was made up of Ukrainian nationalist volunteers who fought on the side of the Wehrmacht against the Red Army during the Nazis’ war of annihilation against the Soviet Union. This preplanned onslaught—launched in June 1941 when a 3 million-strong force comprised of German troops, their Axis allies and fascist volunteers invaded the Soviet Union—led to the deaths of 27 million Soviet citizens and the Holocaust.

In waging war, suppressing the population, and pursuing the annihilation of the Jews, across Eastern Europe and above all in the USSR, Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS shock troops relied on the loyal collaboration of ultraright-wing, anti-Semitic forces. Among the Ukrainian nationalists, in both occupied Poland and the USSR, the Nazis found eager collaborators. The Galicia Division was formed in 1943 out of a faction of the Stepan Bandera-led Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists Bandera (OUN-B) and fought with the Nazis against the Red Army throughout 1944.

Massacres perpetrated by the division against Polish and Jewish civilians have been well documented, including at Huta Pieniacka, Podkamien, and Palikrowy. At Podkamien, 100 Polish civilians were massacred in a hilltop monastery, and at least a further 500 in surrounding villages as the Red Army approached the German-occupied area in March 1944.

Members of the Galicia Division were initially prohibited from entering Canada due to their membership in the SS. But in 1950, Britain made an appeal to the Commonwealth for volunteers to accept a total of 9,000 division members who were at that time residing in the UK after being disarmed by British troops at the war’s end.

When Canada’s External Affairs Department, prompted by complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), raised concerns about the division's ties to the Nazis and role in Nazi atrocities, the British government insisted that it had carried out background checks. “While in Italy these men were screened by Soviet and British missions and neither then nor subsequently has any evidence been brought to light which would suggest that any of them fought against the Western Allies or engaged in crimes against humanity,” claimed the British Foreign Office. “Their behaviour since they came to this country,” added London, “has been good and they have never indicated in any way that they are infected with any trace of Nazi ideology.”

With this letter serving as political cover, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and his cabinet declared that Galicia Division members would be permitted to immigrate to Canada unless it could be proved that they had personally committed atrocities against civilian populations based on “race, religion or national origins.” Simply having been a Galicia Division member would not be considered a valid reason to prevent entry, even though after the war all Waffen-SS members had been deemed complicit in war crimes.

The immigration of Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals continued for more than a decade after the war and was a significant factor in Canada's emergence during the Cold War as a political-ideological centre of far-right Ukrainian nationalism.

Speaking to a CBS “60 Minutes” programme in 1997, Canadian historian Irving Abella, who is currently Professor for Canadian Jewish history at York University, bluntly summed up the political climate of the time. “One way of getting into postwar Canada,” he said “was by showing the SS tattoo. This proved that you were an anti-Communist.”

Ottawa carried out this policy in close collaboration with US authorities, who similarly permitted ex-Nazis to settle in the US and recruited hundreds to act as spies against the Soviet Union and the Soviet-allied regimes in Eastern Europe. According to investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, up to 1,000 former Nazis were made use of by the CIA in Europe, within the US itself, the Middle East, and in Latin America.

The open-door policy towards Nazi collaborators stood in stark contrast to the cold shoulder given by Canada to Jews desperately fleeing persecution. Abella coauthored a well-known book, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, which was published in 1983 just prior to the establishment of the Deschênes Commission. Abella and Harold Troper detailed how Canada accepted a mere 5,000 Jewish refugees between 1936 and 1945. Most infamously, Canada was among the countries to refuse to provide asylum to the 900 Jewish refugees on the ship the MS St Louis, which sailed from Hamburg for the Americas in April 1939. Canada’s refusal to accept any of the refugees forced the St. Louis to return to Europe, where over 200 of its passengers later died in the Holocaust.

Exoneration of the Galicia Division

Due to the continued high-level protection members of the Galicia Division enjoyed from the government and other establishment circles, the Deschênes commission granted the Brotherhood of Veterans of the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army (Galicia Division) special intervener status in its hearings. This meant it was able to cross-examine testimony from witnesses, as well as make use of the standard right to submit legal documents and provide its own testimony.

The Nazi War Criminals commission also refused Soviet offers to gather testimony in the USSR, on the purported grounds that Moscow had refused to allow Canadian officials to interrogate witnesses in accordance with Canadian rules of evidence.

Outrageously, the Deschênes commission exonerated the Galicia Division of any wrongdoing in its December 1986 final report. Its most important findings in this connection read: “The Galicia Division (14 Waffengrenadierdivision der SS [gal. Nr. 1]) should not be indicted as a group,” and “Charges of war crimes against members of the Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission.”

The commission also summarily dismissed the charge that hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals had immigrated to Canada, declaring these figures to be “grossly exaggerated.”
Another Ukrainian nationalist outfit given special representation rights before the Deschênes commission was the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (UCC), which has since renamed itself the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. In 1950, the UCC had successfully campaigned for the lifting of the ban on Galicia Division veterans entering the country.

The UCC continues to uphold the legacy of the Galicia Division. On Remembrance Day in 2010, the organisation saluted Ukrainian veterans of the Waffen SS as fighters for “freedom of their ancestral Ukrainian homeland.” The press release came from Paul Grod, the current head of the UCC. Grod has accompanied both Trudeau and his predecessor, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on their trips to the Ukraine.

The case of Vladimir Katriuk

Nobody should believe that the Canadian ruling elite’s defence of pro-Nazi war criminals is a thing of the past.

In 2015, Vladimir Katriuk, a Ukrainian and member of the SS during World War II, died in Quebec at the age of 93. His personal fate exemplifies how the Canadian state actively connived to ensure Nazi war criminals escaped justice.

Katriuk, who came to Canada under a false name in 1951, was accused of war crimes, the most documented of which was his participation in a the Khatyn massacre, carried out in what is now Belarus, in early 1943. In the last years of Katriuk’s life, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre placed his name near the top of its list of the ten most-wanted war criminals.

Katriuk’s case first came to prominence in 1999, when a federal court ruled that he had gained Canadian citizenship on false pretenses, because he had neglected to inform Canadian immigration officials about his Nazi past. After a lengthy period of deliberation, the Conservative government decided in 2007 that it would not revoke Katriuk’s citizenship and claimed there was insufficient evidence for him to be charged with war crimes.

Katriuk, who later joined the SS, was identified by multiple sources as being a machine gunner at the Khatyn massacre, which occurred on 22 March 1943. A total of 149 villagers were either burnt alive or shot by members of Battalion 118, a volunteer auxiliary police battalion of which Katriuk was a member, with the support of a Waffen SS unit. Evidence of his participation in other lesser known crimes has also been documented, as mentioned in a 2012 article by Swedish academic Per Anders Rudling.

Even in the last weeks of his life, when a Russian extradition request was submitted for the Ukrainian-born Katriuk, a spokeswoman for the Conservative government justified Canada’s refusal to allow Katriuk’s extradition to face trial on the basis of the political situation in Russia and its alleged “aggression” against Ukraine. “While I cannot comment on any specific extradition request, to be clear, we will never accept or recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea or the illegal occupation of any sovereign Ukrainian territory,” a spokeswoman for then Justice Minister Peter McKay declared.

Nothing has changed under Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Anxious to cover up the ultraright-wing character of the forces Ottawa and Washington have allied with in their drive to harness Ukraine to western imperialism and these forces’ ties to the Ukrainian nationalist collaborators with the Nazis, Foreign Minister Freeland has denounced the revelations of her grandfather's ties to the Nazis as Russian-orchestrated “disinformation.”

When Trudeau visited Ukraine in 2016, he was accompanied by a strong UCC delegation and members of the Army SOS group, set up to procure military equipment for the pro-Kiev volunteer militias, which are drawn overwhelmingly from far-right, fascistic groups.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member

AUGUST 13, 2019 15:30

Donetsk, Aug 13 – DAN. Ukrainian forces on Tuesday afternoon used tanks to shell Yasinovataya, the Donetsk People’s Republic Office at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination reported after looking into the incident.
“At 14: 10, Ukrainian armed formations fired six tank gun rounds on the Avdeyevka-Yasinovataya axis; large calibre machine guns and small arms were also used,” the report said.
Later on, at 14:30, Ukrainian forces fired ten 120mm mortar rounds at the Kominternovo village in southern DPR, the JCCC said.
Reports on Monday said the first case of use of 122mm artillery by Kiev had been recorded since the parties resumed their commitments to comprehensive, lasting and indefinite ceasefire on July 21. *jk
On the page of the above media there is a row of headlines to give an indication:
From The West Will Stop Ukraine's Extinction: Technology Is Being Tested in Germany • Stalker Zone
Ukraine is not one of those countries where crowds of migrants aspire to be. It is rather on the contrary: the main problem for the officially poorest state of Europe is the mass fleeing of human resources abroad. But talk about western sponsors possibly imposing on Kiev an open door policy for the reception of illegal immigrants has been going on for a long time. But recently it became frequent. And if the pages of the Atlantic Council website started talking about it, then it is possible to assume that the pressure being put on Ukraine will soon amplify.
And this is sick!
The Crew of the A321 That Crash-Landed in the Moscow Region Were Added to the “Mirotvorets” Database
August 16, 2019Stalker Zone

Seven crew members of the Airbus A321 airplane that on August 15th made an emergency landing in the Moscow regionwere entered into the database of the Ukrainian “Mirotvorets” website.
The data of the commander of the airplane Damir Yusupov, the second pilot Georgy Murzin, and the five steward(es)s were placed in the “Purgatory” section.
On the website it is said that the crew members of the A321 allegedly “repeatedly consciously violated the border of Ukraine”. Also they were accused of complicity in the “illegal movement of people and goods from the occupied territory”.
Nataliya Makeyeva, deputy director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise and columnist for the Federal News Agency commented on the actions of the scandalous website on Sputnik radio.
“In this situation (an emergency landing) the whole world was just glad that everything ended successfully. It would seem that there is no politics in this story, such incidents happen can happen anywhere, in any country, and you can simply rejoice at the magnificent actions of the crew , the skill of the pilots, and the fact that the people were saved. However, after the names of the crew members were published, they immediately appeared on the Mirotvorets website – because the flight was to Simferopol. And this only shows the complete inadequacy of the staff of this resource, thanks to which Ukraine looks like an evil clown from the movie ‘It’,” said Nataliya Makeyeva.


The Living Force
France says hopes to have Ukraine leaders' summit in coming weeks
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron pose with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, at the French President's summer retreat of the Bregancon fortress on the Mediterranean coast, near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, on August 19, 2019. Gerard Julien/Pool via REUTERS

French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday would lead to a leaders' summit on the crisis in Ukraine over the coming weeks.

Macron to push Putin to take advantage of recent peace gestures by Ukraine – media
Putin is unlikely to agree to much on Ukraine.

France isn't playing the role of go-between with Russia and other world powers, Macron's office says, after being stung by a tweet from President Donald Trump earlier in August that suggested Paris was trying to mediate between Iran and the U.S., Bloomberg wrote.
Nor does Putin's visit to the medieval seaside fortress at Bregançon signal a Russian return to the G-8, they say, even if it comes just a week before the Group of Seven nations meet in another French resort for their annual summit. Instead, the meeting with Macron is evidence France is pursuing its own independent foreign policy, officials argue.

Putin may see things differently, said Vladimir Frolov, a foreign-policy analyst in Moscow. Russia was expelled from the G-8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. While French officials say they don't favor Russia's return until those issues are resolved, amid continued international sanctions on Moscow, the Kremlin will regard the invitation to the South of France as a victory, he said.

"It's a no-lose visit for Putin, it completely eliminates the idea that he was isolated," said Frolov. "Putin will be focusing on Trump in the dialogue with Macron, whom he looks down on as an upstart," Frolov said. "or Putin, Trump is more important than Macron."

Netanyahu reveals agenda of Ukraine visit

He recalled the fact that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who came from Ukraine remain a living link between the two countries.

Before departing to Kyiv, Netanyahu spoke with reporters, calling the visit important given the fact that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who came from Ukraine remain a living link between the two countries, and this connection needs to be strengthened, RBC-Ukraine reported referring to the Israeli media.

"I intend to discuss with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky the establishment of a free trade zone, a pension agreement, and other issues that will further strengthen the excellent relations between our states," added the Israeli prime minister.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu will be on a state visit to Ukraine on Aug 18-19. This will be the Israeli PM's first visit to Kyiv in the past 20 years.

The talks with President Zelensky are scheduled for Aug 19.

It is also planned that Zelensky and Netanyahu will jointly commemorate the victims of the WW2 Babyn Yar tragedy.


The Living Force
Leaders dismiss Sara Netanyahu's Ukrainian bread blunder
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, attends a ceremony to unveil a sign for a new community named after U.S. President Donald Trump, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, attends a ceremony to unveil a sign for a new community named after U.S. President Donald Trump, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

Israeli and Ukrainian leaders have come to the defense of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara after she appeared to toss away a piece of bread offered to her at an official Ukrainian welcoming ceremony.

Netanyahu and his wife, on a two-day official trip to Ukraine, were greeted at the airport upon their arrival overnight between Sunday and Monday.

Footage showed Netanyahu and Sara disembarking the plane and being greeted by woman in traditional Ukrainian embroidered dress holding out a tray with bread on it.

A smiling Netanyahu then breaks off a piece of bread and eats it. He then breaks off what appears to be a very small piece for Sara and hands it to her. Sara takes it, looks at it and discards it.

The incident was widely reported in Ukraine, where it drew mixed reactions, some angry by what was seen as Sara Netanyahu’s disrespect and others calling for the apparent misunderstanding not to be blown out of proportion.

Bread has an almost sacred status for many Ukrainians who see it as a symbol of life and use it in traditional ceremonies.

In Israel, local media described the incident as a gaff that had angered the prime minister’s Ukrainian hosts.

Netanyahu posted a video to his Facebook page, in which he dismissed the incident. “I am here on a historic visit to Ukraine. But it’s doubtful this visit would have gotten such a boost in media attention had there been no bread incident.

“The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff ... said it is clear that Mrs. Netanyahu had no intention to disrespect Ukraine. He said ‘It’s complete nonsense’,” said Netanyahu.

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman, on the delegation to Kiev, told Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday that Sara Netanyahu did not toss the bread, but rather, that it had simply crumbled away in her hand.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokeswoman, Iuliia Mendel told the Interfax Ukraine news agency on Monday: “This was done inadvertently and is in no way a manifestation of disrespect for Ukraine.”

Netanyahu and his wife have a stormy relationship with the Israeli media, which they have both accused of providing unfair and negative coverage of them.


The Living Force
Pundits on Zelensky’s 100 days: "successful for him but not for Ukraine"
The next 100 days will be more complicated, as Zelensky "will have to make decisions, including unpopular one," a political scientist said.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky The Presidential Office of Ukraine/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky © The Presidential Office of Ukraine/Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

KIEV, August 27, 2019 - Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who has been in office for 100 days, has managed to retain high credibility with the public at large and preserve popular trust towards the political force he represents. Ukrainian political scientist, director of the Third Sector center Andrei Zolotaryov, has told TASS the head of state has spent most of the time tightening his grip on power and placing personnel.

"From the sociological viewpoint Zelensky has been rather successful in keeping in touch with the audience. After 100 days in office his credibility rating is as high as last spring. Except for the question of power not a single issue has been resolved, though," he said. Zolotaryov believes it is too early to say the "system is changing", because only some officials have been replaced. "For the time being nothing is being said about popular government. Zelensky promised a referendum, a local referendum, but most often he tries to steer clear of this subject. He speaks about the sale of land far more eagerly," Zolotaryov said.

One has an impression, he went on to say, that "the Zelensky team is in the trap of illusions complex problems may have simple solutions."

"The next 100 days will be far more complicated, because he will have to make decisions, including unpopular one. There will be no chance for him to manoeuver," Zolotaryov said.

He described Zelensky’s first 100 days in office as "successful for him but not for the country."

"There have been signs of a warmup in relations between Kiev, on the one hand, and Donetsk and Lugansk, on the other. The deadlock over the exchange of prisoners held on either side has been broken, but it is too early to say some irreversible changes have begun," Zolotaryov said.

U.S. advisor Bolton arrives in Ukraine for talks
FILE PHOTO - U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives for a meeting with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid  at Downing Street in London, Britain, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, traveled to Kiev on Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy said, the first visit to Ukraine by a top U.S. official since the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

U.S. adviser Bolton visits Ukraine, touts Trump meeting with Zelenskiy
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affairs William Taylor attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial for soldiers killed in a recent conflict in eastern Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine August 27, 2019.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton flew into Kiev on Tuesday for talks to gauge Ukraine's new authorities and touted a possible meeting between comic-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President Donald Trump.


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Trump adviser Bolton tells Ukraine: Beware Chinese influence
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shakes hands with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton during a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine August 28, 2019. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser told Ukraine on Wednesday to avoid being lured into China's orbit by what he called Beijing's "debt diplomacy" amid a Chinese move to buy a Ukrainian aerospace giant.

Asked if Washington would want to join in Normandy format talks, Bolton did not answer directly, but said there is "significant American interest" in existing issues between Kyiv and Moscow.
Bolton says no need for Zelensky to "rush" into action on Donbas – RFE/RL

U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton says there is no need for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "rush" into any course of action regarding Russia’s involvement with Russia-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.

"I think, from the perspective of a new government in Ukraine, President Zelensky would be well-advised to look at how to unfold a strategy of dealing with the Russians very carefully," Bolton told RFE/RL in a wide-ranging interview on August 27 in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.

“I don't think there is any reason to rush it into one course of action or another…. I think working this through over a period of time makes sense for the new government in Ukraine."

"I don't suppose that the Europeans are going to have a solution that is readily apparent," he added in reference to the so-called Normandy format of negotiations aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine frees jailed Russian journalist amid prisoner swap talks
FILE PHOTO - Kirill Vyshinsky, director of the Ukrainian office of the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, who was detained by Security Service of Ukraine on treason charges in 2018, speaks during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A court in Ukraine ordered jailed Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky to be freed on bail and released from custody, as Moscow and Kiev hold behind-the-scenes talks on a possible prisoner swap.

The man, who is being charged with high treason and involvement in information warfare against Ukraine, has been released on personal recognizance.
Ukrainian court releases from custody RIA Novosti's Kyiv office ex-chief Vyshinsky
Photo from UNIAN

Photo from UNIAN

"Today, on August 28, 2019, the Kyiv Court of Appeals has revoked the Podilsky district court's ruling of July 19, 2019, on the extension of remand term for head of the unregistered 'RIA Novosti Ukraine' organization and, accordingly, changed the preventive measure to personal recognizance," the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea said on Facebook on August 28.

As UNIAN reported, Vyshinsky, who was detained on May 15, 2018, in Kyiv, is being accused of high treason and involvement in information warfare against Ukraine.

On April 4, 2019, Kyiv's Podilsky district court started hearings on the case merits.

On July 19, the court extended Vyshinsky's custody for another 60 days, until September 19.

On August 13 and August 20, Kyiv's Court of Appeals postponed consideration of defense team's appeal of the extension of their client's remand term.

Earlier, Vyshinsky said he would not submit an appeal to be exchaged as part of an ongoing swap of held persons with Russia.

At least one killed in gas explosion in Ukraine
Members of emergency services work at the site of a partially collapsed apartment block after a gas explosion in the town of Drohobych in Lviv region, Ukraine August 28, 2019. State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Members of emergency services work at the site of a partially collapsed apartment block after a gas explosion in the town of Drohobych in Lviv region, Ukraine August 28, 2019. State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

At least one person died and seven were injured after part of an apartment building collapsed in the western Ukrainian town of Drohobych, Ukrainian state emergencies service said on Wednesday.

A gas explosion was the reason for the incident, the service said in a statement, adding that rescuers were searching for survivors.

The 399-strong response team is working on the scene.
Casualties as gas explosion rocks apartment block in Ukraine's Drohobych (Photo)

Gas explosion in a four-storey apartment building killed two and injured seven residents of the Ukrainian town of Drohobych, Lviv region, according to an updated report. Three of those injured are children.

The State Emergencies Service says the rescue team has so far managed to recover from under the rubble five residents, including a child.

The blast hit the building on 101 Hrushevskoho Street at 02:46. All four storeys of one of the house sections collapsed as a result of the incident.

The response team of 399 rescuers is working on the scene. Rescue dogs have also been involved. CSI experts are working to establish all circumstances of the blast.

Поліція Львівської області

Поліція Львівської області
13 hrs ·
Одна особа загинула, семеро госпіталізовані внаслідок обвалу житлового будинку у місті Дрогобич
Серед постраждалих троє дітей.
Внаслідок обвалу частини житлового будинку на вулиці Грушевського, 101 у місті Дрогобич, який стався сьогодні, 28 серпня, близько третьої ночі, загинула одна особа, ще семеро госпіталізовані. Серед постраждалих 6-річний хлопчик, двоє дівчаток віком 9 та 12 років, 17-річна дівчина, 19-річний хлопець, а також дві жінки віком 39 та 41 рік. Особа загиб...лого встановлюється.
Тривають пошуково-рятувальні роботи. Інформація щодо кількості постраждалих та загиблих уточнюється.
Національна поліція України МВС України Дрогобицький відділ поліції
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