the tragedy is that russia will continue to skulk, sulk, and lurk, but will eventually get attacked head on by the yankee mad dogs anyway

Kiev intensifies military op in Eastern Ukraine LIVE UPDATES
RT.com, May 2 2014

Friday May 2
16:48 GMT: At least three people were killed and 15 others wounded in clashes between pro- and anti-Kiev activists in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, according to local police.
16:37 GMT: In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Medvedev has urged Ukrainian authorities to “stop killing their own citizens” and start a peaceful dialogue. Medvedev wrote:

Those in power in the Ukrainian capital must come to their senses and stop killing their own citizens, otherwise the country’s fate might be very sad. Instead of taking effort to begin a normal dialogue in the spirit of the Geneva accords, to make parties to the conflict sit down at a negotiating table, to discuss compromise solutions, they launched a punitive operation using landing troops and helicopters.

The use of force in the southeast of Ukraine shows the “criminal weakness” of Kiev authorities, the prime minister said, stressing that the responsibility for the war “rests on those who take criminal decisions in Kiev.”
16:11 GMT: Junta authorities in Odessa are holding an emergency meeting over Friday’s mass clashes between pro-autonomy activists and their opponents, including football fans and nationalists, which reportedly left one person dead. Vladimir Nemirovsky, chair of the Odessa regional administration, wrote on his Facebook page:

Unrest in Odessa is unacceptable. Police and prosecutor’s office leadership are already in my office. We are taking maximally intensive measures to restore order and the rule of law. The organizers, executors, accomplices and instigators of the clashes will all be found.

16:02 GMT:

15:38 GMT:

14:58 GMT:

14:02 GMT: Moscow has called the UNSC for an emergency session on Friday over the Ukrainian army’s “punitive” operation in the eastern town of Slavyansk, Russia’s press attaché in the UN told RIA Novosti.
13:45 GMT: A civilian in Slavyansk has been run down by a Ukrainian army APC. A representative of the People’s mayor says the man was one of those who tried to stop the military vehicles and did not have time to step aside, when one of the APCs moved in his direction.


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13:37 GMT: Gunfire has been heard in Sobornaya Square in Odessa, as clashes between pro- and anti-federalization activists continue there. Rally participants from both sides are throwing stones at each other and at police, who are trying to stop the violence.

13:26 GMT: The junta categorically denies Russian attempts to blame it for breaking a deal agreed in Geneva last month, saying on Friday that Moscow had failed to take any steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine’s east. The junta Foreign Ministry said, as cited by Reuters:

Instead Russia is supporting in many ways terrorist groups that are operating in the eastern regions of Ukraine, who are putting civilians in danger, seizing hostages and creating an atmosphere of terror and violence.

In a statement, the ministry also added that Ukraine was ready to negotiate with a Russian envoy to try to find a way out of the crisis, but that Kiev had not been informed of his arrival in eastern Ukraine.
13:01 GMT: Massive clashes have erupted in Odessa’s Grecheskaya Street, Interfax reports. Several thousand Kiev supporters gathered in the city center, accompanied by fans of the local football team, Chernomorets. They were confronted by several hundred anti-government protesters with baseball bats and shields.

12:53 GMT: The military operation in Slavyansk has hampered negotiations on the release of foreign observers captured by self-defense forces, a representative of the People’s mayor of Slavyansk told RIA Novosti. He refused to say where the observers are being kept, but said they were “safe and sound.”
12:22 GMT: The representatives of the Western states have succeeded in establishing contact with the detained OSCE observers in the southeast of Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported, quoting a representative of the German Foreign Ministry, who refused to provide further details.
12:18 GMT: Three members of the self-defense forces and two civilians died during the military operation in Slavyansk, according to the city’s People’s mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev, who voiced the figures while on air at the Russian Dozhd TV channel.
12:18 GMT: Pro-autonomy activists in Lugansk have left the building of the regional prosecution office after reported negotiations. The protesters took control of the building three days ago.
12:13 GMT: The residents of a village near Slavyansk are trying to block the Ukrainian army forces from going further.


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11:53 GMT: Russia’s federal air traffic agency Rosaviatsia says on its website that Ukrainian aviation authorities have unilaterally banned Russian airlines from flying to Donetsk and Kharkov. The agency describes the situation as an “unprecedented violation of international agreements on air traffic,” which infringes passengers’ rights. Rosaviatsia nevertheless says it won’t respond to the move by closing Russia’s air for Ukrainian airlines and is calling on Ukrainian authorities to lift the “transport blockade” on Kharkov and Donetsk.
11:27 GMT: Russian airline Aeroflot has announced it has canceled flights to the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, because it doesn’t have permission to enter Ukrainian airspace, according to the company’s website. Transaero, another Russian airline, has canceled a flight to Donetsk, according to RIA Novosti.
10:59 GMT:Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Ukraine “to immediately end the punitive operation and any violence against its own people, to release political prisoners and to ensure journalists can carry out their work freely.” The Ministry’s statement also urges foreign countries to refrain from interfering in events in Ukraine.
10:35 GMT:Around 15 APCs have been blocked by locals in the village of Andreevka, near Slavyansk, a RIA Novosti correspondent on the ground reports. The vehicles were at the bridge near a checkpoint, which has been taken under the control of Ukrainian troops. Approximately 150 unarmed local residents gathered around the APCs. A heated debate is under way between them and the troops.

https://twitter.com/varioshkina/statuses/462169651720355840

10:31 GMT: The EU (Fuck the EU – RB) said on Friday it was watching events in eastern Ukraine with growing concern, calling on pro-autonomy activists to leave occupied buildings and release people they were holding. “We are following with growing concern the events in eastern Ukraine,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told reporters. The EU called for an end to all “illegal actions” by armed separatist groups. “Occupied buildings need to be vacated, all persons illegally detained need to be released, including the OSCE military observers,” she said. (Reuters)
10:26 GMT:

09:52 GMT: A helicopter carrying militants from the Right Sector has landed on the outskirts of Slavyansk, RIA Novosti reports.
09:42 GMT: Junta Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has demands that the self-defense forces in south eastern Ukraine lay down their arms, free all detainees and leave administrative buildings, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry press service. Avakov declared:

We are ready to negotiate with the protesters and their representatives. There will be inevitable retribution on those who continue to engage in terrorism.

09:40 GMT: Despite a warning from junta Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, urging people in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk to stay indoors during the military operation, a crowd has gathered in the center of Slavyansk, with people demanding the operation stop, as shown in this video. A woman in the video says:

We ask to stop these crimes against us, against our south-east. How long will we sit and tremble, being afraid to go out? Our children, our elderly citizens … What have they driven the elderly to? They’ve seen war. Now they are ready to take their crutches and go protect their children. This is the real crime. The whole world is watching and no one can help us.


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09:05 GMT: Pres Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

By unleashing a ‘punitive operation’ in eastern Ukraine, Kiev has destroyed the last vestige of hope for implementing the Geneva agreement on de-escalating the Ukrainian crisis. While Russia is making efforts to de-escalate and resolve the conflict, the Kiev regime has chosen military aviation strikes on peaceful residential areas and started a punitive operation, literally destroying the last hope for the viability of the Geneva accords.

09:03 GMT: English-speaking foreigners are participating in the “special operation” being carried out by the Ukrainian Army in Slavyansk, the head of the city’s self-defense force has RIA Novosti. He said:

Self-defense troops using walkie-talkies have picked up English speech. This is direct evidence of the participation of foreign citizens in the punitive operation being carried out in Slavyansk.

08:15 GMT: The Prosecutor’s Office in Donetsk is still occupied by protesters, who took control of the building following fierce clashes with police on Thursday.
08:00 GMT:

07:59 GMT: Russia is demanding that the OSCE takes measures to stop the military operation the authorities in Kiev are conducting in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s permanent representative at the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, told ITAR-TASS.
07:54 GMT: Anti-government protesters have left the regional Prosecutor’s Office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk, ITAR-TASS says, citing local media. The building was occupied by protesters on Apr 29.
07:50 GMT:

07:42 GMT: The injured pilot from the Ukrainian helicopter damaged by Slavyansk self-defense forces is Ukrainian army Capt Savuylov, RIA Novosti reports. The pilot is currently being operated on in a hospital in Slavyansk. One of the self-defense members said the pilot was abandoned by the troops who had the opportunity to help the injured man. He said:

His own people left him. I thought they would take him but they only took his gun, boarded their helicopter and were gone.

07:09 GMT: Two Mi-24 helicopters have been downed in Slavyansk, while one Mi-8 helicopter was damaged and forced to land, the junta Defense Ministry says, as cited by RIA Novosti. The Ministry adds that two Ukrainian military personnel have been killed and several others injured.
07:03 GMT: The junta Interior Minister says troops have taken 10 checkpoints in Slavyansk under control, and some self-defense members have been captured, RIA Novosti reports.
06:59 GMT: Ohe special operation in Slavyansk has resulted in two casualties. One Ukrainian air-force pilot and a member of the self-defense forces have been killed, ITAR-TASS reports. Stella Khorosheva, a representative of the self-defense forces in Slavyansk, said:

On the self-defense side, one person is dead and one is injured.

06:49 GMT:
RT video shows Slavyansk self-defense forces on high alert in the center of the city, readying for attack.


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06:45 GMT:

06:29 GMT: A third Ukrainian helicopter, a Mil Mi-24, was downed at a checkpoint in Slavyansk, Rossiya-24 TV reports, adding that the helicopter “literally exploded in the air.”
06:20 GMT: RT’s Paula Slier says the situation is tense in Kramatorsk with local self-defense forces preparing for an attack.

06:15 GMT: Pictures have emerged in social media of a wounded helicopter pilot being helped into an ambulance by self-defense forces.

06:13 GMT: Junta Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has confirmed one pilot is dead and said there were injured among the troops. Avakov also said on Facebook that nine checkpoints around Slavyansk were under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces. The Minister has urged the residents of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk to stay at home while the special operation is under way.
05:39 GMT: A leader of the self-defense forces in Slavyansk, known as Balu, has confirmed to RT’s video news agency, Ruptly, that two helicopters were downed by protesters. However, he would not h confirm any casualties. He said:

The Right Sector, the troops and god knows who else are trying to get to the center of the city. We are going to hold back the enemy. That’s it. No fighting so far.

05:12 GMT:

05:07 GMT: There’s a temporary ceasefire in Slavyansk, according to self-defense forces cited by Interfax.
05:02 GMT: Slavyansk is completely surrounded by Ukrainian troops, the leader of the self-defense forces, Igor Strelkov, said at a briefing, according to RIA Novosti. “We estimate there are around 20 helicopters hovering above the city,” he added.
04:50 GMT:

04:48 GMT: Three Ukrainian army APCs have been damaged by self-defense forces in Slavyansk, a representative of the local administration told RIA Novosti. He added that one of the pilots of the two downed helicopters was dead and another taken hostage. The Ukrainian army has meanwhile been setting up artillery positions around the city’s TV tower, which junta troops had earlier taken control of. Local authorities in Slavyansk say the troops have taken over one the checkpoints around the city.
04:34 GMT: Amateur footage from a resident in Slavansk shows a plume of smoke rising from the city on Friday morning.

04:30 GMT:

02:38 GMT: Air raid sirens went off for a few minutes in Slavyansk and gunshots were heard, RIA Novosti reports, adding that the area is calm at the moment. There are reports of helicopters flying around the town. This comes amid reports that the Ukrainian army may begin a crackdown against pro-autonomy activists in the east of the country on Friday.

Human chains block Kiev troops, APCs near Slavyansk
RT.com, May 2 2014

Amid Kiev’s info war branding Slavyansk civilians “hostages of the terrorists,” the residents of Slavyansk speak out against the military campaign in eastern Ukraine and go out to block troops and APCs, as self-defense vows to “stand to the last.” Expecting a fresh wave of assaults from armed forces loyal to Kiev to start at any moment, the defiant anti-government stronghold of Slavyansk has become eerily quiet, with the streets, dotted with checkpoints, practically devoid of passersby. These are the impressions of RT’s Paula Slier reporting on the spot.

Slier, who witnessed the scenes in the city amid Friday’s ongoing military offensive on its outskirts, reported that some locals had gathered in central Slavyansk, determined to defend the city,while others were stationed on roads and bridges leading into Slavyansk to prevent military hardware from entering the city. All this was going on while the Ukrainian Interior Ministry kept urging people to stay at home so as not to become shields for terrorists. In the nearby village of Andreevka, at least 15 armored vehicles were blocked by the locals at a time when other units loyal to Kiev were storming the outermost self-defense checkpoints. A YouTube video from Yasnogorka showed a man, who was reportedly run over by an APC while fruitlessly trying to block its way.


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For those living in Slavyansk, Friday morning began with the sound of a warning siren and fears of army assaults and shelling of the city. Several Ukrainian army helicopters, supporting ground troops with missile fire, were reportedly shot down near Slavyansk by armed self-defense units. Footage showed an injured helicopter pilot who survived crashing, but was left to die by the retreating Ukrainian troops, according to Slavyansk activists. The man was then helped by his own “adversaries” as they brought him to the city for medical treatment.


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RT’s stringer Graham Phillips reported hectic scenes from the streets of Slavyansk as local self-defense rushed to prepare for an anticipated assault, setting up and reinforcing barricades and taking positions. Plenty of conflicting reports arose concerning the time of possible attacks, allegedly being prepared not only by the Ukrainian armed forces and “National Guard,” but also by Right Sector units relocated to the Donetsk Region from Dnepropetrovsk.

Many of the people gathering in central Slavyansk told Phillips that they are frightened for their lives and do not want any Ukrainian military sent by the Kiev junta in their city. One woman interviewed by Phillips appealed to Russia and personally to Pres Putin for help, saying the people are getting desperate.

The others had a message for Obama, whom they blame for the chaotic developments in Ukraine. A woman told Phillips on camera in an emotional statement:
<blockquote<Obama is meddling with war everywhere. USAia long ago stopped being a guarantor of peace in the world. They call themselves peacekeepers, but show me just one country where the US has brought peace and prosperity. Syria, Libya, Egypt, revolutions are being organized everywhere. The US presidents have for a long time been bringing only death.

The protesters frequently called on world leaders to come to Slavyansk and see for themselves what sort of terrorists or separatists they are. The others, standing on the barricades with the city’s self-defense, said they are determined to fight for Slavyansk to the last. An activist told RIA Novosti:

What has come down on us, this is not life. I am prepared that I may be killed, but I am sure that together we will defend our native city to the last.

Another said:

We want neither nationalists, nor oligarchs here. All those bandits and thieves, let them bypass our region … My grandfather fought his way to Berlin, and I cannot betray him, betray what he was fighting for.

Kiev’s ‘punitive op’ in East Ukraine irreparably severs Geneva accord: Kremlin
RT.com, May 2 2014

Pres Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

By unleashing a punitive operation in eastern Ukraine, Kiev has destroyed the last vestige of hope for implementing the Geneva agreement on de-escalating the Ukrainian crisis. While Russia is making efforts to de-escalate and resolve the conflict, the Kiev regime has chosen military airstrikes on peaceful residential areas and started a punitive operation, literally destroying the last hope for the viability of the Geneva accords. The president is closely following the events in eastern Ukraine. He had earlier described the possibility of any such operation as a criminal action and unfortunately, the latest developments prove the assessment was right. Pres Putin’s special representative Vladimir Lukin was earlier sent to eastern Ukraine to help conduct negotiations on the release of the foreign observers held hostage by anti-government protesters, but following the start of the punitive operation, the Russian side has lost all contact with Lukin. Pres Putin is also extremely worried by the fact that Russian and foreign journalists ae in the zone of the punitive operation. We of course demand measures to be taken for ensuring their security,

RIA Novosti later managed to get through to Lukin’s assistant Natalia Mirze, who reassured that everything was fine with the special representative. The Ukrainian army began a special operation against anti-government activists in Slavyansk on Friday morning. The city was blockaded by the Ukrainian military, with 20 helicopters reportedly deployed to crack down on self-defense forces. The military operation has resulted in three casualties. Two Ukrainian pilots died, after their helicopters were shot down, according to the Defense Ministry. The self-defense forces in Slavyansk say one of their members has been killed.

At least two Ukrainian army helicopters shot down over Slavyansk
RT.com, May 2 2014

Self-defense squads have reportedly taken down at least two Ukrainian army helicopters, with one pilot confirmed dead. Another pilot is being operated on, and the fate of the others is currently unknown. However, conflicting reports about the pilots have emerged, with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry stating that two pilots were killed during the operation. The photo below reportedly shows one of the wounded helicopter pilots being taken to hospital:

Unconfirmed reports suggest the pilot is Captain Savuilov. Doctors said that he suffered a wound in his upper leg and a large blood vessel got injured. A member of the self-defense forces in Slavyansk told RIA Novosti:

His troops abandoned him. I thought they would take him away in another helicopter, but they just took his pistol from him and flew away.


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The Ukrainian army helicopters carried out air strikes on Slavyansk, according to eyewitnesses. One of the residents told RIA Novosti that the strikes were conducted in the open terrain near the checkpoints area.


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This information has been confirmed by the self-defense forces who reported that the attack started out with all the checkpoints massively targeted, with the use of helicopter support. The squads sounded a special siren in the city to alert residents. The loss of the helicopters forced Kiev to halt the crackdown on the eastern city, which already saw at least three deaths since its launch in the early morning: two Ukrainian troops and one member of the self-defense forces.

Ukrainian troops begin special operation in Slavyansk
RT.com, May 2 2014


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The Ukrainian army has begun a special operation against pro-autonomy activists in the eastern town of Slavyansk. The city is now blockaded by the Ukrainian military, with 20 helicopters reportedly deployed to crack down on self-defense forces. Two more helicopters have been shot down by self-defense forces, according to reports. Earlier, two helicopters were reportedly shot down, with one pilot dead and another one captured, RIA Novosti news agency reported. This information was confirmed by Ukraine’s coup-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has also stated that they control ten checkpoints in Slavyansk. Reports have emerged that the Kiev forces are also going to attack Kramatorsk, is 19 km away. One protester was killed, and another one injured during the attack on the city, say self-defense forces. Also, a journalist’s car has reportedly been fired on, according to RT’s Paula Slier who is trying to reach the scene, but the Ukrainian army seems to be blocking all entrances to both Slabyansk and Kramatorsk.

The Slavyansk self-defense leader said that helicopters were firing on the city with missiles, but that there have been no reports of damage, Interfax stated. Slavyansk self-defense forces told RIA Novosti that the Ukrainian military had attacked several positions. RIA Novosti quoted the press secretary of the Slavyansk self-defense units as saying:

The attack is targeting a few checkpoints at the same time. A few armored vehicles and airborne combat vehicles arrived and airborne troops descended from the helicopters and attacked the checkpoints. Some forces were dropped off around the train station, where we didn’t have anyone.

Early on Friday morning, a city siren which is designed to warn local residents of a Ukrainian military attack went off and shots were heard. A few minutes later, the siren stopped and everything calmed down, according to reports. A few of the activists were injured during the attack, Interfax cited the city’s self-defense unit as saying. A commander at one of the checkpoints told RIA Novosti that the Ukrainian army had taken control of one of the roadblocks on the outskirts of Slavyansk, as well as the city’s TV broadcasting center. The Ukrainian army was mounting artillery positions around the captured TV station in Slavyansk, a city administration spokesman said, as cited by RIA Novosti. A police station was reportedly seized, while the city center remains quiet, RT’s Paula Slier reported from Ukraine. Several armored vehicles have been seen outside Slavyansk, she added. Thick smoke was spotted on the outskirts of the city, where the roadblocks are located. A video posted on YouTube reportedly shows the start of the special operation in Slavyansk:


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Protesters in eastern Ukraine see Kiev govt as a gang of oligarchs
RT.com, May 2 2014

The Ukrainian government in Kiev has lost control of vast parts of its own country, with the east moving further and further apart, investigative journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter told RT, warning that a real civil war is possible.
RT: We’ve heard repeated calls from Russia and the West for there to be nationwide dialogue from Kiev, but given what has happened today, another administrative building has been taken over by protesters, how likely do you think it is that protesters will actually be willing to negotiate or talk?
MO: It’s very unlikely that the protesters in eastern and southern Ukraine would talk on the same level with the putsch government in Kiev, because we have to realize that in the eyes of those protesters, the government in Kiev is a sort of gang of oligarchs, of organized crime, of terrorists, and of course hooligans, and when we see who is right now governing in Kiev, they are not so wrong. So who can expect or who can blame those people that they are not willing to talk with that government and that they want to take the fate of their people, the self determination of the Russians there, to take it in their own hands.
RT: So do we have a stalemate here? How do you see things playing out?
MO: We see now the violence has become more, but we also saw that the Kiev government doesn’t have control of its own country. The Ukrainian state, what we saw now on the map, when we put the map on the table, is not existing anymore. It is a failed state, an empty entity, which is in the west governed by a putsch gang of people who were imposed by the West, by NATO, as well as the EU, not with the support of their people but with the support of foreign powers, with the support of the West, while the people in the east and in the south are spreading away from Kiev and they want to merge with Russia in any form. So if there is no opportunity for that, that both parts of Ukraine can talk with each other and that they will find a solution that pleases both sides, there will be much more violence and it can be very likely that a real civil war might break out. And this would not be not a civil war like in Syria, far away from Europe. This would be a civil war inside Europe.
RT: The protesters in east Ukraine are saying they want to hold a referendum. They want to do it before the election at the end of this month. Presumably this is not advisable. How do you see best to deal with this issue of the referendum?
MO: When you ask me if this is advisable, it depends on who you ask. First of all, it is not the West, it is not Brussels, it is not Washington, it is not Berlin, it is not Paris, and it is not London, who decides what is advisable for the eastern Ukrainians. If they want to hold a referendum and they want to give themselves a decision where to go, the fate of the future, they should do that. It is always the wrong image that we have that people should ask in Washington or in Brussels if they are allowed to do a thing like a referendum. We had that already with Crimea, when the West was protesting, but thank God we have to say that we enter now a new period of history where a geopolitical earthquake takes place, and we see that we don’t have anymore the situation that the term “international community” is a camouflage word for the West. The international community means there are multiple levels. There are a lot of states. And of course, if they want to do a referendum and they want to do a decision, it is also important what Moscow says, it is important what China says, what the BRICS states are saying. It is not just anymore important what NATO is saying and what Washington is saying. And that is why this is a very good development.
RT: But there is a big difference between the referendum that took place in Crimea, and just geographically speaking, the one that will take place in eastern Ukraine. There are two very different problems, but presumably the one in east Ukraine could be a lot worse in terms of what could happen, what the consequences could be.
MO: Absolutely. The situation of the referendum is very much different. In Crimea it was very calm, almost like a typical election day somewhere in a little sleepy European city. But what we expect now, of course, in eastern Ukraine is something else. And we will see there a lot of violence, we will see there maybe bomb attacks. We know that there are terrorists working for the Kiev government. I mean we have the Right Sector group, which is nothing else than a hooligan and a terrorist group. There are people of the Right Sector fighting with Chechnya’s Islamists against Russia. They were fighting in the Georgian war in 2008. So we have to expect of course, when we look at the border, that it is very easy to infiltrate eastern Ukraine. Much more easy to infiltrate eastern Ukraine from Kiev than it was to infiltrate for example Crimea. Of course the situation is different, but at the end of the day it is still a referendum. And maybe somebody can tell me a more basic democratic act than a referendum, when the people have the right to show their voice for what they want to do in the future.
RT: Just last night, we saw military drills taking place in Kiev. The Kiev authorities deny they had anything to do with this. What is your interpretation of what went on?
MO: The Kiev government, if we can call that a government, they have two problems. Problem number one: they lost complete control of vast areas of their own country, what I said, that the country just exists on the map. And on the other side, they are working with many dirty tricks because they desperately want to have military and economic support of the West, mainly NATO and the EU. For any provocation they do, they want to provoke the Russians to show military action. We know that Poland is very much putting fuel into that fire, the Baltic states as well. They are already promising Ukraine their support. So there is something going on, and of course the Kiev government is desperately trying to get that support.

Who’s the Propagandist: US or RT?
Robert Parry, Consortium News, May 1 2014

The US State Dept, which has been caught promoting a series of false or dubious stories about Ukraine, is trying to give some substance to Jackass Kerry’s counter-complaint that RT.com is a propaganda bullhorn promoting Putin’s fantasy. In a “Dipnote” of Apr 29, Richard Stengel, Under-Sec State for public diplomacy, made some broad-brush criticisms of RT’s content, accusing the network of painting “a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government” by citing examples of fascism, anti-Semitism and terrorism surrounding the Kiev regime. Stengel claims he knows the difference between news and propaganda because he spent seven years as managing editor of Time. He defines propaganda as “the deliberate dissemination of information that you know to be false or misleading in order to influence an audience,” and asserts: “RT is a distortion machine, not a news organization.” But Stengel offers no specific citations of the supposedly propagandistic stories done by RT, making it impossible to ascertain the precise wording or context of the RT content that he is criticizing. One basic rule of journalism is “show, don’t tell,” but Stengel apparently didn’t learn that during his seven years in the top echelon of Time magazine. Nevertheless, Stengel accuses RT of “disinformation” ranging from “assertions that peaceful protesters hired snipers to repeated allegations that Kiev is beset by violence, fascism and anti-Semitism, these are lies falsely presented as news.” Though it’s impossible to fully assess Stengel’s complaint, because he doesn’t specify the offending stories, the first complaint is an apparent reference to the mystery surrounding the identity of snipers who opened fire on protesters and police during the Maidan protests in Kiev on Feb 20. The US government, the US press and the Maidan protesters were quick to blame Yanukovych, although he denied giving an order to fire on the protests and suggested the shootings may have been a provocation. That suspicion of “false-flag” violence as a way to spur on the coup against Yanukovych was also expressed by some neutral observers on the ground in Kiev. Two EU officials, Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, were revealed discussing in a phone call their suspicions that elements of the protesters were responsible for the shootings. Paet told Ashton, as reported by the Graun:

So, there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers, it was not Yanukovych. It was somebody from the new coalition.

In other words, if Stengel is referring to RT’s reporting about the sniper attacks, his assumption that RT was knowingly lying when it referenced a possible role of the Maidan protesters in the sniper shootings is itself false. Further, Stengel must have known that not all the Maidan protesters were “peaceful.” Although the State Dept has tried to hide the crucial role of neo-Nazi militias in overthrowing Yanukovych’s elected government, it was well known at the time and acknowledged by the Maidan protesters themselves that far-right groups had organized 100-man brigades to carry out the final attacks. There was also widely-broadcast news footage of these Maidan protesters hurling Molotov cocktails at police, more than a dozen who died in the clashes. Is Stengel really unaware of the involvement in the coup by neo-Nazi stormtroopers from the Right Sektor and the Svoboda party, which both lionize WW2 Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera? Does Stengel really not know about the prevalence of banners honoring Bandera, Nazi insignias at rallies and even the appearance of the Confederate battle flag unfurled at the Kiev City Hall as the universal symbol of white supremacy?

Just because virtually the entire US press corps has joined in the US government’s propagandized version of what happened during and after the violent overthrow of Yanukovych doesn’t mean that RT and other news organizations have to shut their eyes, too. For instance, the BBC, which is funded by the British government much as RT is funded by the Russian government, had the courage to run a segment on the Maidan’s neo-Nazis, noting that the far-right groups were given four ministries in the new government in recognition of their important contribution. Most significantly, the new chief of national security, Andriy Parubyi, was one of those neo-Nazis. He founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to Bandera, whose paramilitary forces joined with the Nazis in exterminating Poles and Jews during WW2. During the months of protests aimed at overthrowing Yanukovych, Parubyi became the commandant of Euromaidan” the name for the Kiev uprising. Then, in mid-April as the new regime’s national security chief and facing growing resistance in eastern Ukraine, Paubiy warned that he was siccing some of his paramilitary veterans, now incorporated in the National Guard, on the anti-regime protesters. On Twitter, he wrote:

Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.

Some leading neo-Nazis have been brazen in their assertion of Ukrainian racial superiority over other ethnic groups in Ukraine, including the ethnic Russians in the east. Like their hero Bandera, these modern-day storm troopers would prefer an ethnically pure Ukraine. Though it is true that most of the Maidan protesters were there in support of closer European ties and anger over government corruption, it is also true that the neo-Nazi militias surged to the front of the protests for the final clashes on Feb 20-22 (See here). And, as for Stengel’s insistence that RT’s reporting that “Kiev is beset by violence” is further proof of RT’s “propaganda,” there’s the inconvenient reality that far-right forces have been clashing with other Maidan protesters over the past few days. Some of these ultra-nationalists want more rewards for their role in Yanukovych’s ouster and some want a harsher crackdown on the uprising in the ethnic Russian east. In his unspecified litany of other purported RT offenses, Stengel also cites “the constant reference to any Ukrainian opposed to a Russian takeover of the country as a ‘terrorist.’ Or the unquestioning repetition of the ludicrous assertion last week that the US has invested $5b in regime change in Ukraine. These are not facts, and they are not opinions. They are false claims, and when propaganda poses as news it creates real dangers and gives a green light to violence.”

However, regarding the use of the word “terrorist,” which Stengel finds so offensive, it has actually been applied promiscuously not by RT but by the Kiev regime and the US State Dept against the anti-regime protesters in eastern Ukraine, though they have not engaged in behavior that is traditionally considered terrorism. The Russian ethnic protesters in the east have engaged in no indiscriminate killing of civilians for political purposes, the classic definition of terrorism. Yet the post-coup regime in Kiev has repeatedly announced plans for an “anti-terrorism” campaign against the east. In other words, Stengel’s side is guilty of what he accuses RT of doing. As for RT’s “ludicrous assertion” about the US investing $5 billion, that is a clear reference to a public speech by Asst Sec State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to US and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec 13, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5b” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” Nuland also was a leading proponent of regime change in Ukraine who personally cheered on the Maidan demonstrators, even passing out cookies. In an intercepted, obscenity-laced phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland said her choice to replace Yanukovych was Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who ended up as Prime Minister after the coup. If Stengel wants to quibble about whether Nuland’s $5b remark was a reference to regime change or not, although the European association was a key issue in Yanukovych’s ouster, he can make his argument. But to ignore the obvious context of Nuland’s $5b reference is again either a sign of stunning ignorance or willful deception.

As for Stengel’s office of “public diplomacy,” it is a segment of the State Dept that I have personally dealt with since the 1980s, during my days covering the Reagan administration’s Central America policies for the AP and Newsweek. Back then, some of us referred to the “PD” office as “the office of propaganda and disinformation” because of the endless distortions and lies generated in support of US-backed death squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and for Ronald Reagan’s beloved Nicaraguan Contra rebels, who fairly could be called terrorists, given their proclivity for slaughtering and raping Nicaraguan civilians and for collaborating with cocaine traffickers to make money on the side. Ironically, in those days, a younger version of Jackass Kerry was a US senator who bravely investigated these Reagan-affiliated crimes and faced attacks from the State Dept’s public diplomacy operatives. Part of Kerry’s punishment for being early in his investigation of White House skullduggery in Central America was to be excluded from the Iran-Contra investigation when some of Reagan’s crimes and lies surfaced dramatically in late 1986. Because Kerry had been ahead of the curve, he was judged “biased” on the issue of Reagan’s guilt, and thus passed over for the “select committee” investigation. Only Democratic senators who had been fooled by the lies or were asleep at the switch were deemed “objective” enough for the high-profile inquiry (See here).

Another irony of Stengel’s defense of Jackass’s anti-RT outburst is that one of the senior “public diplomacy” operatives on Central America back in the 1980s was a young neocon named Robert Kagan, whose State Dept team developed propaganda themes to undercut Jackass and various journalists like myself who would not toe the line. At one point, when Kagan realized that I would not play ball with the administration’s propaganda, he informed me that I would have to be “controversialized,” that is become the focus of public attacks from pro-Reagan attack groups and thus have my journalistic career damaged, a process that was subsequently carried out. The irony in this is that Robert Kagan went on to become a leading light in the neocon movement, a WaPo columnist, a co-founder of PNAC, a star proponent of Iraqi regime change, and the husband of Asst Sec State Victoria Nuland, the recent cheerleader for regime change in Ukraine. That Stengel, the current master of the State Dept’s “public diplomacy” operation, is now offended by what he considers “propaganda” by RT, has to be considered one of the purest expressions of hypocrisy in the long history of US government hypocrisy (See also here).

5 Comments

  1. lobro
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    rowan, your assessment will prove correct if there are civilian deaths without russian intervention, just lavrov’s diplomatic bellyaching as usual.

    on the other hand, it could be just the trigger they are waiting for and they are keeping their powder dry.

    the real nice thing would be to be forced into action and end up nabbing a bunch of idf and blackwater trophies for their hunting lodge.
    i’ll bet anything that they are monitoring everything very carefully, while pretending disinterest.
    just like with georgia (abhkazia) and krym (i like it better than “crimea”).

  2. niqnaq
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Here’s a great prediction from someone on Saker:

    In this May of 2014 AD things will change big time.
    2nd of May: EU, UKR and RU will meet in Poland to talk about paying the gas bill. My best guess: For the time being no money to RU. Germany’s RWE will sell its stored gas and the EU will pay for it.
    11th of May: Many cities in the east will become independent or part of RU or their own states or maybe vote for Captain Kirk for president.
    25th of May: What is left of UKR will vote for … I really don’t care and it will not matter.

    So at the end of May we will have total and complete chaos in the Ukraine:
    1. Russia will stop selling gas to the UKR or maybe stop gas to the EU too
    2. We now have the Ukraine, 5 new countries (nobody acknowledges), 4 independent cities and maybe Darth Vader as a major in one city
    3. A new “president” in the Ukraine and only elected by the western part of the country. Neither Russia nor the new eastern former Ukrainian-based countries will recognize.

  3. p2o2smw
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Mr. Putin waits results Ma’am Merkel with Mr. Obama talks. What concerns me is the force/power of the punch from Russian side. It should leave Ukrainian Army untouched and erased the Right Sector’s and NatGuard’s thugs from Earth.

  4. p2o2smw
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Still forget to add the “Crazy Ivan says…” header from the Saker’s comments. 🙂

  5. lobro
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    i think there is a valuable hint here:
    Kiev has destroyed the last vestige of hope for implementing the Geneva agreement on de-escalating the Ukrainian crisis.

    so they can wash their hands of this stupid agreement that needlessly hogtied them to kumbaya policy – thank kievan jus for that.

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