Monday, June 22, 2015
(Updated throughout the day)
Lisitsa Plays Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Bach in Donetsk. “Valentina Lisitsa, the world-famous Ukrainian-born American classical pianist who has faced censure over her strong opposition to Kiev’s war in Donbass, gave a concert Monday evening in Donetsk, dedicated to the 74th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War.” See Sputnik report, with video, World-Famous Pianist Lisitsa Gives Concert in Donetsk Despite Pressure (June 22).
Zakharchenko Attends Lisitsa Concert. British journalsit Graham W Phillips tweets at 21:30 UTC June 22: “In Donetsk, a crowd of several thousand remembered heroes, and listened to breathtaking talent!” Phillips attaches the photo shown of Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko on stage with world-renowned concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa at her outdoor performance in Donetsk on June 22. Update: See also rt.com’s excellent report on the concert with photos ‘Real patriotism’: World-famous pianist Lisitsa performs for people of Donbass (June 23).
Ukraine Defense Official Defects to Donetsk People’s Republic. On the heels of two Ukrainian intelligence officers defecting to Novorossiya, now a Ukrainian major-general has gone over the DPR side. “I am Aleksandr Kolomiyets, a major-general of the Ukrainian Armed Force, and my latest position was that of a chief military analyst and aide to the Ukrainian defense minister,” Kolomiyets told a press-conference in Donetsk. He added that he had been the regional military commissar of the Donetsk Region for the last 19 years. Kolomiyets also said that he had to evacuate his family from Kiev for fear of persecution by the Ukrainian authorities. Many of his former fellow servicemen, too, were ready and willing to join the republics, he said. For full LiveLeak report with video see Ukrainian Defense Ministry official and major-general has defected to the Donetsk (DPR) armed forces (June 22). Fort Russ Update on Kolomiyets Defection: Further details on the defection from Ukraine of Alexander Kolomiyets give increased hope for more such events. “The potential of the Ukrainian army at a very low level,” says Kolomiyets. “From a moral point of view, all the generals and officers who understand that the government’s actions are criminal, don’t want to fight. Only volunteers from nationalist troops are fighting. In the near future the Armed forces of Ukraine will be rocked by uprisings. Officers do not understand the commands to kill civilians. We will see it sometime in the fall. Everything will change very soon.” See Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine joined the militia (June 22). Update: Opinion on Kolomiyets Defection. “The US is making the same strategic mistake the Nazis did, thinking that well-trained and well-equipped soldiers win battles. The historical truth is that soldiers win battles only when they are well-motivated. That is why the Nazis ultimately lost, despite their clear technology advantage. That is why the US lost in Vietnam, and is stuck in the quagmires of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libra, Yemen, etc. despite a clear technology advantage. The Kiev forces are not motivated to make war on their own countrymen. Neither are the Iraqis, for that matter. And this plan to build a new US Army from illegal immigrants is doomed to fail for the exact same reason.” — whatreallyhappened.com.
Yanukovich BBC Interview Summarized. We make an exception to our policy of not citing Western media sources, but an interview with Ukraine President-in-exile Viktor Yanukovich is a rare event. Is he right or wrong? It seems clear had he not been illegally ousted, Donbass would still be peacefully integrated with Ukraine, and Crimea would not have gone to Russia. See Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych regrets bloodshed in Kiev (June 22) by Gabriel Gatehouse.
Slavyangrad: French Volunteers in Donbass. This transcript of an interview with Novorossiya Armed Forces French volunteers Erwan Castel and Tonio De Pedro, both of whom fought in Mariinka June 3, reveals opinions about the United States and the Ukraine war shared among people worldwide. “[What brought me to this war was] a strong belief that what happened in Ukraine last year is, in fact, a historical clash that concerns all Europeans,” explains Castel. “Since the end of the Soviet Union, we have seen an evolving American strategy that aims at encircling Russia once more. And, in parallel to this strategy, there is also, on the part of what is usually referred to as the ‘New World Order,’ a systematic enslavement of the other European countries.” For more see Interview with French Volunteers (June 22).
Normandy Four Paris Meeting Scheduled Tomorrow. The foreign minister of the Normandy Four countries France, Germany, Russia and Kiev-held Ukraine will be meeting on Tuesday, June 23, in Paris to discuss further implementation of the Minsk 2.0 Agreements, which were signed in February in an effort to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine-Novorossiya war. Also, in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin yet again stressed the need for the Ukrainian Army to stop shelling civilians in Donbass, a violation of Minsk. The brief TASS report is at Putin stresses need to stop Kiev’s bombing of east Ukraine talking with Hollande, Merkel (June 22).
New OSCE Envoy Martin Sajdik to Attend Minsk Meeting June 23. The next Minsk 2.0 Trilateral Contact meeting will take place tomorrow, June 23, in Minsk. Austrian diplomat Martin Sajdik will attend as the replacement for former OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini, who resigned last week. See brief report at joinfo.com, Date of next meeting in Minsk regarding Donbas announced (June 22).
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Ukrainian Punishers Test Donetsk City Limits. The Ukrainian Armed Forces has tried to press into the city limits of Donetsk since Friday. “In the course of the artillery duel Ukrainian forces suffered losses and were rebuffed. Ukrainian castigators do not hide the intentions to encircle the positions of the People’s Militia and totally exterminate them in this area with the aim of further advance to the city limits,” reports war correspondent Steppe to Novorossia Today. “Deterioration of the situation in the town of Yasinovataya under DPR control also suits the scenario of carrying out pinpoint strikes and causing maximum destruction of the militia positions and residential areas bordering on the hostilities zone.” For more see Donetsk under the crossfire of the enemy (June 21).
Donetsk Celebration: Three Thousand Show Loyalty. Some three thousand residents of Donetsk joined in a celebration today to take an oath of loyalty to the Donetsk People’s Republic. “The ceremony was attended by Vice-Speaker of the People’s Council of the DPR Denis Pushilin, representatives of public movement “The Donetsk Republic”, sportsmen, volunteers, Donetsk dwellers and guests of the capital.” See Novorossia Today report More than three thousand people gave an oath of loyalty to the Republic in Donetsk (June 21).
Facts About Ukraine’s Aggressive War on Donbass. Farewell to Arms: Over 10,000 Soldiers Desert Ukrainian Army / Sputnik / June 21, 2015 / Desertion galore: Ukrainian men understand the absurdity of the war their government is waging. More than 10,000 cases of desertion have been registered in the Ukrainian Army since the outbreak of the Donbass war in April 2014, Ukrainian Vesti reported. In 2014 the army suffered heavy desertion and nearly 30 percent of the servicemen called up in the first wave of mobilization (March 17) abandoned their positions, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said. Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada has announced six waves of mobilization so far. By the end of 2014 the strength of Ukrainian Armed Forces grew from 130,000 to 232,000. Ukrainians have been protesting against the mobilization. They travel to work abroad or simply reside at their relatives’ in other countries. Almost 1,3 million Ukrainian draftees live in Russia. Since April 7, 2014 the Kiev authorities have been waging war against Donbass self-defense forces who rejected the legitimacy of the coup-imposed Ukrainian government and declared the independent republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Official figures estimate the number of victims to near 6,500. But the German intelligence reported of 50,000 victims in February 2015. Quemado Insitute comments: The figure 50,000 was reported in a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article Sicherheitskreise: Bis zu 50.000 Tote, published Feb 8, 2015. It therefore does not include the several thousand killed in the Debaltsevo pocket during mid-February.
America’s Oldest Magazine Challenges US Policy in Ukraine. In this surprisingly unbiased and fact-oriented editorial, Alexander Reed Kelly explains why current Western policy toward Ukraine is bound to fail, how it will accelerate the Ukrainian economic crisis and escalate tensions at the risk of World War III. Kelly analyzes the roles of the US and Russia, saying, “[W]hat is the evidence that Putin instigated the conflict? Western leaders claim he fired the first shot, so to speak, when he sent Russian soldiers into the Crimean peninsula after the change of government in Kiev. What they don’t mention is that the United States has been meddling in the affairs of eastern Europe for decades.” Kelly manages to present the Russian point of view on Western aggression, noting, “This interference has taken two forms: The steady expansion of NATO military bases eastward into former allies and members of the Soviet Union (a development that violates a promise made by US President George H.W. Bush to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev) and the funding of ‘pro-democracy’ initiatives in former Soviet allies and members like Ukraine, where, since the end of the Cold War, the United States spent $5 billion on efforts to turn the country’s politics in its favor. During the height of the Maidan protests, just before the fall of Yanukovych, top US State Department officials Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt were caught on tape deliberating which potential replacement would best serve US interests. Less than two weeks after Ukraine’s old government was driven from power, Nuland and Pyatt’s pick—Arseniy Yatsenyuk—was seated in the prime minister’s chair.” Kelly defends Russia’s position in a further statement: “American officials want the world to believe that Ukrainians are locked in a battle for liberation from Putin, that Russian military activity in east Ukraine is part of a plan to recover Ukraine for the benefit of Russia, and that Europe and the United States are offering Ukrainians freedom, democracy, and a shot at life in a ‘free market.’ They do not add … that the Russians who inherited the collapsed Soviet Union also hoped Russia and the United States would become economic partners.” For full commentary at The Nation, see Ukraine Is In Crisis. Here’s Why the West Can’t Save It (June 9, 2015), by Alexander Reed Kelly. Editor’s note: The Nation is America’s oldest continuously published magazine, dating to 1865. The author’s relative lack of bias is both unusual and encouraging. Certain data in the article, however, should be read with caution. For example, Kelly states the number killed in the Ukraine war as 6,200, as do many sources worldwide. This is an outdated figure based on UN data from the fall of 2014, and the low number Petro Poroshenko’s regime wants the world to hear. Since then, the UN has stopped updating its estimates. Scholars put the true death toll at 25,000 to 50,000 or more, due to failure of Kiev to fully report its militarary casualties, the UAF’s crematoria in the fields, and so forth.
McCain in Kiev Vows US Natural Gas to Ukraine. US Senator John McCain, infamous for bold pronouncements, has promised the United States will be supplying Ukraine with natural gas in two years. “McCain headed the Senate’s delegation to Ukraine, which he visited together with Senator Tom Cotton and Senator John Barras. The delegation met with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and visited headquarters of Dnipro-1 territorial defense battalion in Dnepropetrovsk,” reports rt.com. “In early June, McCain criticized the Obama administration for not sending lethal arms to Kiev, describing this kind of situation as ‘shameful.'” For more, see McCain: US will supply gas to Ukraine, Europe in 2 yrs (June 21).
Patrushev: Main Threats to Russian Security Include Syria, Iraq, Ukraine War. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is interviewed by Kammersant’s Helen Chernekno about his vision of the causes of sprawling hotbeds of instability in the world, blaming much of it on American intervention. He discusses as well the Ukraine conflict and the attitude of Russian authorities toward Russian citizens volunteering in Donbass. At one point in this extensive dialogue, Patrushev says, “No less dangerous is … destabilization, … Russia often uses the term ‘color revolution.’ The latest example [is] what is happening in Ukraine. It is clear that [in the] project for the destabilization of the country lies an attempt to create a tool for the radical weakening of Russia. With this purpose in Ukraine, [there were] created the preconditions to maintain a constant tension, the further development of extreme forms of nationalism, [and] sabotage of the Minsk agreements.” This week Ulan-Ude, the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, will host an international meeting of representatives in charge of security issues, organized by the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Delegates of some 70 countries are expected to attend. When asked which European countries will be represented, Patrushev declined to answer, saying the United States would attempt to prevent their participation. For an unedited auto-translation of the full Patrushev interview, see Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on the Main Threats to Russia’s Security (June 22). Editors note: Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev (born 11 July 1951) is a Russian political and security figure. He was Director of the Russian FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, from 1999 to 2008, and he has been Secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008 [–Wikipedia].
Right Sector Rejects Minsk, Demands Military Offensive. Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Right Sector again rejects the Minsk 2.0 Agreements and calls for Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko to renew the UAF offensive on Donbass. Right Sector leader Dmitri Yarosh denounced the Minsk Agreements as soon as they were signed, saying that the Minsk deal is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, so Ukrainian citizens are not obliged to abide by it. For more see rt.com report Ukraine’s Right Sector rejects Minsk deal, calls for renewed offensive in E. Ukraine (June 21). Editor’s note: Yarosh apparently does not realize that, constitution or no constitution, the Minsk Agreements are legally binding on none of the signatories.
Putin On Russian Missile Deployment, EU Seizure of Russian Assets. At a side conference during the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured the world that Russia’s deployment of 40 additional nuclear ballistic missiles near the border does not signify a greater threat to Europe. He adds that lawyers will attack the European seizure of Russian assets that took place last week. See rt.com report World no closer to Cold War-style nuclear standoff, Putin tells global media chiefs (June 20).
Eric Zeusse of Global Research: Russia Did Not Invade Crimea. Renowned political commentator Eric Zeusse presents detailed factual arguments that NATO General Ben Hodges lied to National Public Radio about Russia allegedly invading Crimea. “Who organized all of this violence for the U.S. — violence that the U.S. and EU subsequently blamed on Yanukovych, and then on Putin; and, for which Obama established and the EU accepted the economic sanctions against Russia?” asks Zeusse, answering, “Here, then, is the man, Andriy Parubiy, who had planned and led that violence.” This weighty opinion piece provides a chronology of events surrounding Putin’s adoption of Crimea that is valuable for the record for any serious researcher of the recent history of Crimea. See NATO General Ben Hodges Lies to National Public Radio (June 19), by Eric Zeusse.
DPR Fuel Stations Nationalized? Stéphane Siohan tweeted at 17:20 UTC June 21: “Donetsk People’s Republic just nationalized Rinat Akmetov’s Parallel petrol stations network. New logo, new name. / New names of the DPR petrol stations state company: State Company of Energy of the Republic Donetsk.” Editor’s note: we are looking for independent confirmation.