Ukraine – Update 1March 9, 2014
New informations about the Sniper killings
As reported in earlier blog posts, on February 20, just as President Viktor Yanukovych met with an EU delegation, 21 protesters were killed by snipers. The victims were shot in the head, the neck or the heart. None were shot anywhere else like in the legs.
The gunmen didn’t only target protesters. 16 police officers were killed in the same way and another 130 were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
The commander of special purpose “Omega” interior troops Anatoly Strelchenko said: “We have killed no one …. We were only allowed to shoot at activists who used weapons. And we were only allowed to shoot on their limbs.”
Colonel Sergei Asavelyuk, head of the Office of Coordination of special-purpose combat, said that a “third party” shot at people during the Maidan protests and that shots were fired from the roof of the hotel Ukraine and from a bridge. “We did not shoot because there was strong smoke. We were just watching.”
Former chief of intelligence Alexander Skipalsky also told in an interview that on Maidan Square a “third force” was trying to provoke both sides.
Ukraine officials accused NATO agents of killing protesters during the disturbances. Member of Parliament Evgeniy Balitskiy: “This operation was thoroughly planned by professionals disguised in civilian clothes.”
There are several YouTube videos showing masked snipers with no uniform. A video made on February 18 shows Fatherland MP Sergey Pashinsky (who is jewish btw) with a sniper rifle in his car.
There exist various YouTube videos of gunmen in Maidan with Dragunov rifles. The Dragunov is an old model from the 60s, but as a weapons expert on a blog explained: A good Dragunov with high quality barrel and proper ammunition, equipped with a bipod, should be sufficient for city jobs, in particular when a guaranteed hit of the “immediate kill point” (a certain part of the brain) isn’t required.
A phone call between Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and EU high representative Catherine Ashton was intercepted and leaked on the web by SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) officers loyal to the old authorities.
Paets main information source was Dr. Olga Bogomolets, a medical doctor, who treated wounded people on Maidan square. Paet in the phone conversation:
“What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.”
“So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.”
“So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”
According to veteran US intelligence sources the snipers were members of the UNA-UNSO, which not just another one of the various Ukraine nationalist groups as portrayed in Western media. but part of the secret NATO Gladio organization.
The fiercely anti-Russian UNA (Ukrainian National Assembly) was created in 1990 and its paramilitary wing UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense Organization) in 1991.
The UNA-UNSO became instantly active in the 1991 during the Soviet coup d’état attempt and in Lithuania’s Winter War 1991.
UNA-UNSO members are proud about their participation in the Chechen wars, where they fought alongside Islamist rebels, about their involvement in the Balkan wars, and in Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia. Dozens were killed fighting alongside Georgian troops, and then Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze decorated one of the organization’s leaders, Ihor Mazur, for bravery.
The UNA-UNSO provided security for Viktor Yushchenko and Julia Tymoshenko during the 2003/2004 Orange Revolution and UNA-UNSO leader Andriy Shki was an adviser to Julia Tymoshenko.
The UNA-UNSO maintains training camps in the western Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains where its members practice guerrilla-warfare skills such as hand-to-hand combat and survival training. Its web site includes a statement of solidarity with Chile’s ex-dictator Pinochet and a report about a treaty of “friendship and cooperation” with representatives of German neo-Nazis.
The UNA-UNSO fighters have combat experience, they are battle hardened, and they are the black ops specialists of the neo-Nazi movement. If any Ukrainians were involved in the sniper killings it is likely that they were members of UNA-UNSO.
The neo-Nazis gain power
The Svoboda (Freedom) party holds key leadership positions in parliament, government, and law enforcement, several appointed governors are Svoboda members.
Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, is the People’s Deputy of the Ukrainian government. The Svoboda Party has six major cabinet ministries.
Oleksandr Sych, Svoboda’s chief ideologue, is deputy prime minister. He is an anti-abortion activist and has attracted criticism from women’s and human rights groups.
Svoboda MP Oleg Makhnitski has become general prosecutor.
Andriy Parubiy, co-founder of Svoboda, has been appointed Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee. Parubiy is also a key figure in the Pravy Sektor. His friend and political partner Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Pravy Sektor delegation to the parliament, was designated as Parubiy’s deputy. Yarosh declined, because the position was not prestigious enough, and he will be running for president instead.
Yarosh appealed to Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov for acting against Russia on Pravy Sektor’s page in VKontakte. The posting said: “many Ukrainians with arms in their hands supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and it is time to support Ukraine now.”
The new Defense Minister is Ihor Tenyukh, former head of the Ukrainian navy and member of Svoboda.
Boris Filatov, Ukraines newly-appointed deputy head of south-eastern Ukraine, is an oligarch in the Dnepropetrovsk region and an admirer of Nazi icon Stepan Bandera. He wrote on his Facebook page: “I am proud of Bandera. He is my hero. Particularly, as I see that people are ready to die under red-and-black flags.”
He also wrote about Russian supporters in Crimea: “This scum should be given promises, guarantees, and any concessions…And hung…They should be hung later.”
Of nineteen ministerial appointments, only two hail from the east and none from the south.
The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) now rules without any constraints on its power.
One of its first acts was to repeal the 2012 law allowing Russian and other minority languages to be used locally. Beside the Russian-majority regions affected by this law, Hungarian, Moldovan, and Romanian also lost their status as official languages.
The Rada introduced a resolution to outlaw the Communist Party, which received 13 percent of the vote in 2012, and is, after the collapse of the Party of Regions, the country’s only opposition party. Both the Party of Regions and the Communist Party have already been declared illegal in several western regions by local legislatures that were taken over by Maidan activists and continue to function independently.
The Rada consolidated the powers of speaker of parliament and president in one man, amassing greater powers in a single individual than is allowed under Ukrainian constitution. It dismissed several justices of the Constitutional Court and asked the newly appointed prosecutor general Oleg Makhnitski of the Svoboda Party, to bring charges against them.
The Rada created a new Lustration Committee to prevent those who supported the previous government from ever assuming political office again (Lustration, from the Latin term for purification, refers to mass disqualification of those who served under previous communist or Nazi regimes).
Preparing the ground
On Maidan square meanwhile, the Pravy Sektor holds on and wields authority, ignoring calls by the interim government to disband. The Maidan activists answer to no one and continue to view the National Revolution as incomplete. As described on the Bandera OUN-B website, its members are critical of party politics and skeptical of the imperial ambitions of both Moscow and the West.
Activists wearing black ski masks, bullet-proof vests and military fatigues still hold several buildings close to Maidan Square. Inside the central hall of Kiev’s city council (an activist base of operations) hangs a giant banner with a Celtic cross, which is a symbol of “white power,” and an American confederate flag. Over the doorway is an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian partisan leader who was allied with the Nazis.
The Pravy Sektor and associated radical groups like Spilna Sprava (Common Cause) and Afgantsy (Afghanistan veterans) can be regarded as the storm troops or the military wing of Swoboda. While Svoboda tries to get a foothold in the institutions, The Pravy Sektor does the dirty work and prepares the ground for a takeover.
Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet spoke during his intercepted phone conversation with Catherine Ashton not only about the sniper killings, but also told, that
> there is no trust of the people in the new government (2:35)
> all of them in the new government have a dirty past (2:50)
> there is enormous pressure against (party of the region) members of parliament (3:40)
> “uninvited visitors” enter in the night the homes of party members (3:50)
> journalists told him that a parlamentarian was just beaten in front of the parliament (4:00)
A Russian who accompanied Pravy Sektor activists for three days, reported that the activists are conducting organized searches in homes of former government officials and are handing over all documents to US and German agents. He told that they also take valuables to be sold and that this money is used for buying weapons on the black market.
The Pravy Sektor still occupies government headquarters in more than a dozen cities.
There is a video of high ranking Pravy Sektor leader Aleksandr Muzychko, who boosts of killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya, dictating to the Rovno/Rivne regional parliament a grant of apartments to families of protesters.
He also threatened and punched a clerk in the regional prosecutor’s office. There is a criminal case pending against him, but the authorities are afraid of apprehending Muzychko because he usually carries an AK-47.
Ukraine’s Hungarian minority in western Transcarpathia has become increasingly nervous as stick-wielding members of the Pravy Sektor stormed the town hall in Berehove, a majority-hungarian town of around 24,000 people. A government building in the regional capital of Uzhhorod has been occupied since mid-February, Pravy Sektor activists with red and black armbands are standing guard outside.
“Chaos reigns here, police are invisible, people are afraid,” said Zoltan Babjak, mayor of Berehove.
The German magazine Tagesspiegel reported, that “People’s Committees” tried to enter at least two German companies, threatening management and employees. One was a plant of the Quarzwerke Gruppe in the Vinnytsia region southwest of Kiev, which received a letter from an “Ukrainian Self-defense Committee,” in which the company was accused of corruption and mistreatment of workers. The letter demanded, that a representative of the Self-defense Committee should be co-opted into the management.
When this demand was rejected, the pressumed originators of the letter tried a few days later to storm the company, but were successfully repelled by the stuff. German authorities confirmed that members of a Peoples Committee also tried to storm another factory in the neighboring Zhitomir region.
Rainer Lindner, Managing Director of the Eastern Committee of German Economy, told the magazine, that there were several attempts to expropriate businesses and that the uncertainty among German companies has increased considerably. Some companies, especially banks, have temporarily closed. Lindner: “Although one meets genuine sympathizers of an alignment with Western Europe, there are also nationalists and hooligans around.”
Lindner voiced the impression, that the government in Kiev has lost control over some regions.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who has been repeatedly insulted by right wing politicians because of his Jewish ancestry, has in 2012 together with Vitaliy Klichko brought Svoboda into the opposition coalition.
Oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, newly appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor, has dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship. He owns the TV channel Jewish News One and heads the European Council of Jewish Communities, which describes itself as the “the pan-European umbrella body for Jewish communities and organizations across the continent, representing Jewish community life across West, Central, and Eastern Europe in around 40 countries.”
Oligarch Victor Pinchuk, a key supporter of the interim government, has also Jewish ancestors.
Five former Israeli soldiers, called “the Blue Helmets of Maidan,” fought alongside with known neo-Nazi militants. One of them with the codename Delta, told that he takes orders from activists connected to Svoboda. “They know I’m Israeli, Jewish, and an ex-IDF soldier. They call me brother,” he said.
ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Director Abraham H. Foxman wrote: The Ukrainian Jewish community is nervous. The ultra-nationalist Svoboda party, with its history of anti-Semitism and platform of ethnic nationalism, won more than 10 percent of the vote in October 2012, shared the political leadership of the Maidan revolution over the past months, and just this week received ministries in the new Ukrainian government.
Foxman also said: “Anti-Semitic rhetoric has been a mainstay of Svoboda’s leaders and campaign slogans.”
The ADL has gone quiet since then.
The USA never had problems with supporting fascist dictators like Pinochet in Chile, Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, and military juntas al around the world (Greece, Argentina, Guatemala, Egypt) were not only tolerated but actively supported by the USA.
NATO will not shy away from including a Nazi led Ukraine.
The oligarchs are back in play
The USA never had problems to befriend fascist dictators and the industrialists of the world never had a problem collaborating with fascists. In Hitler’s Germany Siemens, Thyssen, Krupp, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler-Benz (Mercedes), the I.G. Farben (now Agfa, Bayer, BASF), Deutsche Bank, all used slave labor and were arms suppliers of the Nazis.
Bertelsmann, which now owns Random House, published training manuals for Hitlers military officers and was the biggest producer of Nazi propaganda.
J.P. Morgan and Chase opened branches in France under Nazi occupation. The Swiss National Bank bought gold the Nazis stole from European banks and concentration camp prisoners and financed Nazi Germany’s war efforts.
The US companies ITT, General Electric, Kodak, Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP), IBM cooperated with Hitler as well.
Ford produced trucks and Jeeps for Hitler. In the 1920s Henry Ford wrote the “The International Jew,” an anti-Semitic book inspiring Hitler. Henry Ford received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle.
In this tradition: The Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party of Oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko always maintained friendly relations and closely cooperated with Ukrainean neo-Nazis.
An estimated 100 Oligarchs (0.00003 percent of the total population) control between 80 and 84 percent of Ukraine’s GDP/wealth.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is one of the oligarchs, and she wants to run for office again. In 2011 she was convicted for embezzlement and abuse of power, sentenced to seven years in prison, and ordered to pay 188 million US$. Her business partner, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, was convicted in the US for money laundering, corruption, and fraud, the magnitude of which was in the billions of dollars.
Since 2011 Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating whether Tymoshenko and Lazarenko were involved in the murder of Yehven Shcherban and his wife. Shcherban was a member of Parliament and also an oligarch, he was one of the richest people in the Ukraine. In January 2013, Tymoshenko was notified that she is a suspect in the murder of Shcherban, his wife and two other people in 1996.
Yulia Tymoshenko was released on February 22 after parliament changed the criminal code, effectively decriminalized the actions for which she was convicted.
Her fellow oligarchs will love that!
The newly-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor is Igor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. He co-owns the informal commercial group Privat, which includes Ukraine’s largest bank Privatbank (which Kolomoysky heads) as well as assets in the oil, ferroalloys and food industries, agriculture and transport.
A former ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, Kolomoysky reportedly had a falling out with her and refused to finance her election campaign in 2010. He became then a sponsor of Klitschko’s UDAR. Kolomoysky has dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship and controls his business empire from Switzerland.
In 2012 it was revealed that Kolomoysky’s PrivatBank (the biggest Ukrainian bank) had transferred 3 billion 863 million US$ to Cyprus and the Virgin Islands during a two month period.
The new governor of Donetsk Region is Sergey Taruta, who’s wealth is estimated 2 billion US$. He heads ISD, one of the biggest mining and smelting companies in the world, and also owns the Donetsk-based Metallurg Football Club.
Taruta used to sponsor Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power after the Orange Revolution of 2004. Among his personal habits is a reputed love for luxurious jewelry and ostentatious gold statues,
Rinat Akhmetov is Nr. 88 on Forbes. Though he has seen his fortune tumble this year with both his main steel and iron ore assets suffering from weak demand and slumping prices, he is still worth 12,6 billion US$.
Akhmetov lives at One Hyde Park in a three-storey penthouse for which he paid 228 million US$. He is a former parliamentarian and is said to control a bloc of forty members of the parliament. After the Maidan coup he was losing no time to switch sides and he pledged to defend his homeland in the event of a Russian invasion.
Victor Pinchuk is the second wealthiest oligarch behind Akhmetov and worth 3.2 billion US$. He is a media magnat and founder of EastOne LLC investment, which holds all his assets and investments from a safe distance in London. He is friends with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and George Soros. Like Akhmetov he is a former parliamentarian.
The Pinchuk Foundation is associated with the Open Ukraine Foundation of interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Pinchuk headed the Front for Change party, which merged into Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party in 2013.
Pinchuk reportedly declined to become governor of an eastern region.
Dmitry Firtash (2 billion US$) is one of the leading investors in the power sector and chemical industry in Central and Eastern Europe. His plants and companies are present in Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Tajikistan, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, and Estonia. He also owns Ukraine’s most watched TV channel Inter.
He is an enemy of Yulia Tymoshenko but has allegedly sponsored Klitschkos UDAR. He also controls a sizable faction of the Ukrainian parliament. He had close ties with Viktor Yanukovych but hedged his bets and switched sides after the coup.
Petro Poroshenko (1 billion US$) owns confectioneries, car plants, and also a TV channel. He is a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Trade and Economic Development. From the onset he threw his full support behind the protesters.
One Ukrainian newscaster framed the appointments of oligarchs to high positions this way: “It’s okay, the oligarchs have been controlling the regions anyway. I think they will provide order, because only they have the authority, unlike some middle-rank appointees.”
Crimea goes to Russia
Store and road signs in Crimea are almost exclusively in Russian and Russian flags are flown from rooftops. School classes are taught in Russian, and it is the language most commonly spoken in public. Many residents say that they do not understand Ukrainian.
The Crimean regional government has set a vote for March 16 to determine whether or not it will remain part of Ukraine. Deputy prime minister Rustam Temirgaliev said, that the referendum was held to ratify the decision of the Crimean parliament to join the Russian Federation, and the parliament has appealed to Russia to assist with the process. Temirgalie also stated, that the only legal troops on Crimean soil were the Russian army. “Any troops of a third country will be treated as illegal band formations, with all the consequences that entails.”
The regional parliament plans to nationalize Ukrainian state industries and starts setting up Crimean government ministries.
Russia’s parliament, the Duma, begins debating bills aimed at simplifying legislation to allow Crimea’s accession to Russia after the referendum and a decision by Russia’s leadership on the matter.
The Mejlis (a parallel parliament) of the Tatar minority in Crimea urged people to boycott the referendum, regardless of their ethnicity, but the Tartars constitute only 10 to 12 percent of the population. The Tatars are economically marginalized, with constant tensions over land disputes and irregular construction. They have close links to Turkey.
There is a substancial number of pro-Russian Crimean Tatars, called the “Kazany”, because they are insisting that living standards are better for the Volga Tatars in Kazan, capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.
Wester hypocracy and saber rattling
The Turkish Aydinlik Daily reports, that a unit of Turkey’s intelligence service MIT has headed to Crimea with the mission of provoking Tatars and Turks to act against ethnic Russians and that the deployment of the MIT unit has been coordinated with the USA and EU.
The USA issued visa travel restrictions against an unidentified number of people and entities accused of threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial borders and President Obama signed an executive order authorizing the Treasury Department to levy financial sanctions against individuals and entities deemed responsible for Russia’s military takeover in Crimea.
The European Union suspended talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic pact and on a visa deal. The NATO Council suspended all meetings within the framework of practical cooperation with Russia.
The US guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun departed Greece and will join the missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG-61) and the flagship of the US Sixth Fleet Mount Whitney, who are already in the Black Sea, moving towards Crimea.
The US House of Representatives passed an aid bill for Ukraine’s fledgling government, consisting of a 1 billion US$ loan guarantee.
Nice, but the Ukraine needs 35 billion US$ to stay afloat and total external debt of the Ukraine is about 140 billion US$. The Ukraine owes Gazprom alone 1.89 billion US$ for Russian natural gas and Gazprom has already threatened to stop delivery.
The unrest has pushed Ukraine’s economy to the breaking point. The currency hit a ten-year low against the dollar last week, its financial institutions are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and inflation is rising. 30 to 40 percent unemployment are forecast and capital is steadily evacuated to safe havens.
While the US may want the Ukraine to become a European Union member to hurt Russia, it is not in the EUs interests. Integrating the Ukraine into the EU and introducing EU standards there would be at least twice as expensive and take twice as long as German reunification.
At present the EU simply has not the money to absorb another East European country and it is more likely to shrink or break apart than to expand. As the next bailout for Greece looms, an additional bailout for the Ukraine is completely out of the question.
Any IMF loans will only be granted under the condition of stringent austerity measures which in the current volatile political climate could lead to further unrest and bloodshed.
In negotiations last October, the IMF demanded that the Ukraine doubles the price of gas and electricity to industry and homes, lifts a ban on private sales of Ukraine’s rich agriculture lands, overhauls economic holdings, devalues the currency, and slashes state funds for school children and the elderly to balance the budget. In return the IMF offered a meager 4 billion US$.
Europe’s political leaders know that they will be the main losers in any prolonged standoff, but they nevertheless play along with the USA like servile, obsequious drudges. Don’t they realize that they are just stooges, fall guys, pawns?
Put your nose to the grindstone, so they say….
It seems that Europe hopes for some miraculous salvation from outer space. Or from Russia, which is the only player who could rescue the Ukraine from default and economic collapse. Russia could do it because it can provide discounted natural gas and because Ukraine’s economy is already closely intertwined with Russia.
One indispensable requirement though would be to reign in the oligarchs, which pillage the Ukraine to a degree which is unrivaled in Europe.
Putin did this in Russia, and though he had to make compromises and there is much left to desired (Russia is still home to some 100 billionaires) he could at least stop the most excessive looting and salvage the economy.
If Putin would have a Ukrainian counterpart of his statue, the two together slowly and systematically could turn things around, but there is no one in sight among the Ukrainian political caste.
Until now Putin is the only world leader who has acted logically, appropriately, and without excess, quietly taking steps to secure the Crimea which is of immense strategic importance and has an overwhelmingly Russian population.
He didn’t threat the takeover of eastern Ukrainian provinces with a Russian majority, though one can be sure, that he closely follows the developments and particular autonomy pursuits will be quietly but decisively aided.
He knows that the EU cannot afford to take Ukraine into its fold and that he just needs to wait till the hollow rhetoric of European leaders is debunked by the harsh reality on the ground. When the time comes he will take methodic steps to quell or contain the chaos.
Western media outlets are barking like mad dogs, comparing him with Hitler and Stalin, but in the blogger scene he has many admirers.
Information Clearing House writes:
“Putin is the most competent Russian leader since perhaps Peter the Great, enjoys greater popularity among his own people than Bush and Obama ever did put together, and is a respected statesman around the world.”
“Add to that his economic successes (Russians’ incomes have doubled repeatedly while US incomes have stagnated) and his foreign policy successes (his government recently prevented a major conflict in Syria, then engineered a rapprochement between the West and Iran) and you can begin to see why he makes US State Department apparatchiks and assorted US neocons absolutely livid with rage.”
“Putin’s prompt and low-key action stands in sharp contrast to the shrill, hypocritical voices coming from Washington and being echoed in Paris and London. We all know that Washington’s readiness to threaten or bomb those who disagree with it is exceeded only by the monstrousness of its hypocrisy when speaking about law or rights or democratic values.”
As the bloggers and independent journalists point out, Putin acts responsible and like a true statesman, he has many admirers in the developing nations as well as in the West (though his Western admirers often are afraid to openly admit it), and if he is not assassinated by CIA agents he could well become the defining figure of the 21st century.