War in Ukraine Over Christmas

War in Ukraine Over Christmas
by Stephen Lendman
On Wednesday, Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine members met in Minsk. Discussing ongoing onbas conflict conditions. Ways to end them.
Attended by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Donetsk People’s Republic Vice Chairman Denis Pushilin.
Lugansk People’s Republic representative Vladislav Deinego. Russia’s ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov. OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini.
Nothing so far was accomplished. Except agreement on exchanging prisoners. Talks will continue. 
A date yet to be announced. While conflict persists in Donbas. Kiev bears full responsibility. Virtually ignored in the West. Ukraine’s defense ministry lied.
Claiming heavy artillery will be withdrawn from Donbas after December 26. Allegedly creating a 30-kilometer security zone.
Ukraine’s armed forces general staff representative Alexander Rozmaznin saying:
“We are trying to unconditionally implement the Minsk memorandum. The first stage is to observe ‘silence regime.’ “
“We will get over to the next stage after December 26. We will start withdrawing 100-mm and over 100-mm artillery guns to the established distances.” 
“That is how a 30-kilometer security zone will be created.” In April, Kiev agreed to four-party Geneva terms. Involving America, Russia, the EU and Ukraine.
Agreeing to end hostilities. Disarm and restore peace. Violating terms agreed on straightaway. Again after agreeing to Minsk protocol terms.
Kiev’s word isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Conflict never ended. Continuing now. During illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko’s declared “regime of silence.”
Nothing in prospect suggests peaceful conflict resolution soon. Kiev wants Donbas democracy destroyed. Hardline rule instituted nationwide. 
IMF-demanded austerity imposed. Benefitting Western corporate predators. At the expense of impoverished Ukrainians.
While increasing military spending. Police state crackdowns. Renouncing Ukraine’s nonaligned status. Seeking NATO membership. Despite strong Russian opposition.
On Christmas day, Stop NATO reported Kiev’s “night of the long knives.” Poroshenko sacking 77 district administration heads.
In 18 regions. Including Kiev, Lugansk, Lvov, Poltava, Rovno, Kharkov and Kherson. With no explanation. Perhaps on orders from Washington.
On Christmas day, legislators expanded national security and defense council (NSDC) powers. Supposedly in line with constitutional and Ukrainian statute laws. The kind commonplace in police states. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov oftenstresses the urgency of fundamental Ukrainian constitutional reform. Promised but not delivered.
Legislation adopted lets NSDC authorities act independently. Without head of state or legislative approval. Under whatever they call emergency conditions.
Permitting martial law. Poroshenko appointing former parliament speaker/neo-Nazi Oleksandr Turchynov NSDC secretary. Succeeding Andriy Parubiy. 
One fascist extremist replacing another. While Kiev’s dirty war on Donbas continues. Including on Christmas day.
Voice of Sevastopol reported artillery fire on Petrovsky district. Other militia held areas attacked. Using “cannon artillery.” “(I)ncenriary shells.” “(M)ortars.” (S)mall arms.”
“In the area of the settlement Peski, there was a shooting battle at night of December 25.” 
“It began around midnight and gradually gained strength, but in the morning the battle subsided.” 
“Around 20:52, it was again uneasy…(T)he sounds of small and barreled weapons were heard.”
A tank battle between Mayorsk and Shumy settlements began. Militia forces fought it off.
Fighting in various areas continued until around midnight. Before subsiding. Ready to resume at Kiev’s discretion.
“At Zholtoye, Ukrainian security forces attempted to cross the river Seversky Donets by 15 floating AFVs and infantry on several rafts,” said Voice of Sevastopol.
Militia forces blocked them. Lugansk explosions were heard. Ukrainian artillery fire targeted various other Donbas areas.
Deaths and injuries were reported. On both sides. During Christmas day, “a battle began in the settlement Valuiskoye at Stanitsa Luganskaya” was reported.
Kiev advanced troops “and up to five tanks with the strong support of artillery.” 
Militia forces repulsed them. “(F)ive houses of local residents were destroyed.”
On Christmas day, Itar Tass reported an “unidentified attacker fir(ing) a hand grenade at (Kiev) lawmakers…”
Standing outside a central Kiev hotel. A Ukrainian press service statement saying:
“A young man threw an explosive device at members of Ukraine’s parliament. Experts are to establish whether it was a hand grenade RGD-5 or a flash bang grenade.”
The same individual fired another grenade at policemen chasing him. One injury was reported. A criminal case was opened. On hooliganism charges.
Ukraine is a hotbed of fascist extremism. On Christmas day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich addressed Moscow’s concerns.
Including categorical opposition to Ukraine’s NATO membership. “Our fundamental position…is well known,” said Lukashevich.
“The alliance’s further advance to the east will imminently lead to a serious military and political shift in Europe and the world, affect Russia’s national security interests and compel our country to retaliate appropriately.”
“The impression is that the Ukrainian authorities today regard rapprochement with NATO as an alternative to the development of normal relations with Russia.” 
“This can further worsen Russian-Ukrainian bilateral ties and impede the resolution of important issues pertaining to collaboration in various fields, including the economy and the energy sector.”
“(T)he Ukrainian leadership’s NATO ambitions will further impede the Ukrainian state in tackling the major challenge it is facing: a search for national accord.”
Russia urges mutual cooperation among all nations. Putin and Sergey Lavrov stress it. So did Lukashevich. In an “atmosphere of trust,” he said.
Conditions today call for “non-confrontational formulas in interstate interaction.”
Ukrainian and NATO officials say all nations have the right choose methods for ensuring their own security. True enough, said Lukashevich.
But they forgot a key OSCE/Russian-NATO Council principle. “(N)amely that in choosing the forms of ensuring national security it is essential to take into account the threats this can create for other states.”
“(N)ational security must not be ensured at the expense of the security of others.”
Doing so is longtime US policy. Pursuing its imperial agenda. Heading for direct confrontation with Russia. Perhaps in the new year.
Obama governs recklessly. Waging multiple direct and proxy wars. Threatening world peace. A previous article calling impeaching him a national imperative.
Removing him from office. Holding him accountable for high crimes against peace. For governing under a police state apparatus. 
Destroying fundamental freedoms in plain sight. Letting Big Brother watch everyone. Risking the unthinkable. Direct confrontation with Russia.
Mission creep heads in this direction. Imposing sanctions. Perhaps more to come. Deploying US combat troops close to Russia’s border.
Flying thousands of sorties close to its airspace. Sailing US warships in Black Sea waters. 
Pressuring NATO members to support its rogue agenda. It bears repeating. Risking the unthinkable. 
Possible war with Russia no one can win. Assuring mass casualties. America’s homeland perhaps attacked for the first time since mid-19th century civil war.
A catastrophic conflict killing the equivalent of millions of Americans today. Lunatics influencing policy in Washington make anything possible. Stopping them before it’s too late matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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