Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War 1383


No matter how hard we try to be dispassionate and logical, our thinking is affected by our own experiences, by the background knowledge we have and by the assumptions they generate. In discussing Ukraine – which arouses understandably high passions – I want to explain to you some of the experiences which affect my own thinking.

I will start with childhood, when my world view was pretty firmly set. I spent much of my young life at my grandparents’ on my mother’s side, in Norfolk. In the spare room in which I would sleep, under the bed there were cardboard boxes full of periodicals that I, as an avid ten year old reader, devoured completely. They included large sets of The War Illustrated and The Boy’s Own Paper.

The War Illustrated was a weekly magazine produced in both the first and second world war, detailing the week’s key events with stories, photos and drawings. This was the second world war collection. It was sometimes remarkably stark – I still recall the report of the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and a companion ship by Japanese aircraft, of which the magazine somehow had aerial photos.

But in the early part of the war, known as the “phony war“, when not a great deal was happening to fill the magazine, it concentrated very heavily on the heroic Finnish resistance against Stalin’s Russia in the Winter War. There were, every week, photos of heroic Finns in white hooded winter gear, against a white snowy background, and stories of how they had skied up and down Soviet armoured convoys, destroying them, and were holding back a massively superior opponent amidst lakes and woods. After reading though many weeks of the periodicals, I felt intimately acquainted with the Mannerheim line and those big brave Finns, whose individual tales of great daring I lapped (no pun intended) up.

Incidentally, after writing that paragraph I read this article in the Guardian about Ukrainian quad bike patrols in the snows and the forests, knocking out Russian tanks with drones. It really is identical in content and purpose to the Finnish ski patrol stories, only updated for modern technology.

Then suddenly, from one issue to the next, the Finns were no longer heroes but were evil Nazis, and the Mannerheim Line was now definitely as German as it sounds. What is more, if marginally more gradually, the evil Communist tyrant Stalin, who had sent army after army unsuccessfully against the Finns and been executing his own commanders, was suddenly genial, wise Stalin. As a ten year old, I found the transition very hard to fathom, and being now romantically fully committed to the Finnish cause, I rather went off the magazines.

I tried to ask my grandfather to explain it to me, but whenever we mentioned “the war”, his eyes filled with silent tears. You see, those magazines had belonged to his only son, my mother’s only brother, who was to die aged 19 in a Mosquito bomber over Italy. That is why those magazines were still under his bed and had never been thrown away. Jack’s absence hung over my childhood, and I often felt myself a very inadequate substitute. Jack had been a very talented footballer, who had signed apprentice forms for Sheffield Wednesday, then perhaps the best team in the country. He had been a very talented musician, like my grandfather. Whereas I failed to excel at, well, anything.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I was fortunate to be loved unconditionally. But I grew up with a real sense of the terrible loss, the waste, the void of war, of young lives lost that can never be replaced. I grew up with a hatred of war and of militarism. And of distrust of the official narrative of who are the goodies and who the baddies in war, when that official narrative can turn on its head in a week, as the magazines did with the Finns.

Well, it is now over 50 years later, and those are still exactly my sentiments today. And that parable of the noble/evil Finns is still relevant today. Because much of what is happening in Ukraine still reflects the failure to resolve who was on which side during World War II, and some pretty unpleasant underlying narratives.

You can see the line of thinking by which nations which had been suppressed, or risked suppression, by the Soviet Union, or by Russia before it, might see an alliance with Nazi Germany as an opportunity. Remember that the second world war was taking place only 20 years after the dissolution of the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern Empires. Even a nation like Poland had only enjoyed 20 years of freedom in the past 150, and that with some fairly dodgy governance.

That the Finns effectively allied with the Nazis has never been fully worked through in Finnish national dialogue, even in that most introspective of nations. Sweden hid from itself the extent of its elite collusion and fundamental integration into the Nazi military industrial complex for, well, forever. Probably no country advanced its comparative economic position more out of World War II than Sweden, that epicentre of smug, condescending European liberalism.

So in this mess you can see how a figure like Bandera, fighting for Ukraine’s freedom, can become a national hero to many of his countrymen for fighting the Soviets, despite fighting alongside the Nazis. The key questions in re-evaluation today, across those nationalities which fought the Soviets at the same time as the Nazis did, ought to be these – how much coordination with the Nazis was there, and to what extent did they participate in, or mirror, Nazi atrocities, doctrines of racial purity and genocide?

This is where Bandera and the Ukrainian freedom fighters must attract unreserved condemnation. They were heavily involved in genocidal attacks on Jews, on Poles in Ukraine and on other ethnic and religious minorities. Ukraine was by no means alone. Lithuania was very similar, and to only slightly lesser extent, so were Estonia and Latvia. In none of these countries has there been a systematic attempt to address the darknesses of the nationalist past. Ukraine and Lithuania are the worst for actual glorification of genocidal anti-semite and racist figures, but the problem is widespread in Eastern Europe.

Even Poland is not immune. Poles are proud of their history, and are very touchy at the fact that the millions of Poles who died in Auschwitz and the other Nazi death camps are often overlooked in a narrative that focuses, in Polish nationalist eyes, too exclusively on the Jewish victims. But the Poles are themselves in denial about the very substantial local collaboration between Poles and Nazis specifically against Jews, often with an eye to obtaining their land in rural areas.

This is where the story gets still more difficult. The neo-Nazi nationalists of Ukraine are an extreme manifestation of a problem across the whole of Eastern Europe, where ancient atavistic social views have not been abolished. I say this as someone who loves Eastern Europe, and who has spoken both Polish and Russian fluently (or at least has managed to pass the Foreign Office exams designed to test whether I could). Viktor Orban in Hungary, the religious right government of Poland, and yes, the far right voting electorate of Austria, are all on the same continuum of dark belief as the Nazi worshipping nationalists in Ukraine and Lithuania.

Let me tell you another story from my past, from twenty five years ago. I was First Secretary in the British Embassy in Warsaw. A highly respected elderly Polish lady, from an old family in the city, was our most senior member of local staff. I had asked her to set up a lunch for me with an official from the Polish Foreign Ministry, to discuss eventual EU accession. I made a remark about the lunch being enjoyable as the lady was both very smart and very pretty. Drawing me aside, our most senior member of local staff gave me a warning: “You do realise she’s Jewish, don’t you?”.

You could have knocked me down with a feather. But in four years in Poland I was to become used to bumping into matter of fact anti-semitism, on a regular basis, from the most “respectable” people, and particularly from precisely the forces and institutions that now bolster the current Polish government; not least the Catholic church.

These are highly sensitive issues and I know from experience I will receive furious feedback from all kinds of nationalities. But what I state is my experience. I should add that from my experience of Russia, society there is at least as bad for racial prejudice, especially against Asians, for homophobia, and for neo-Nazi groups. It is a problem across Eastern Europe, which is insufficiently appreciated in Western Europe.

I know Russia too well to have a romanticised view of it. I have lived there, worked there and visited often. I have very frequently expressed my frustration that many of those in the West who understand the ruthless nature of Western leaders, lose their clear sight when looking at Russia and believe it is different in that regard. In fact Russia is even less democratic, has an even less diverse media, even worse restrictions on free expression, and an even poorer working class. The percentage of Russian GDP lost in capital flight to the benefit of oligarchs and Western financial institutions is hideous.

As the West has entered more and more extreme stages of neo-liberalism, the general trend is that the West has become more and more like modern Russia. The massive and ever burgeoning inequality of wealth has seen western oligarchs now overtake their Russian counterparts in terms of the proportion of national GDP represented by their personal fortunes. In the West, multiplying limitations on free speech and assembly, the reduction in diversity of the mainstream media landscape, internet suppression of views through corporate gateways like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, increased direct or indirect reproduction of security service initiated content in the media, these are all making the West more Russia-like. To me, it feels like Western leaders are learning from Putin’s book.

Security service fronts multiply – the Integrity Initiative, Quilliam Foundation, Bellingcat are all examples, as now is the entire Guardian newspaper. Increasingly “journalists” merely copy and paste security service press releases. This is absolutely an echo of Putin’s Russia. In this war in Ukraine, the propaganda from the BBC is as absolutely biased, selective of facts and lacking in nuance as the propaganda from Russian state TV. One is the mirror of the other. Russia pioneered kataskopocracy in this era – the West is catching up fast.

To recount another particular experience, I was very interested two years ago in the arrest for treason of a Russian space official and former journalist, Ivan Safronov. The accusations refer to his time as a journalist, before he joined the space agency, and are that he passed classified information to Czech, German and Swiss recipients. There are parallels between the Russian espionage charges against Safronov and the US espionage charges against Assange.

I am particularly interested because in 2007 I investigated in Moscow the death of Safronov’s father, also called Ivan Safronov, and also a journalist. I believe Safronov was one of a great many journalists killed by various levels of the Putin regime, of which deaths the vast majority have passed completely unnoticed in the West.

Safronov worked for Kommersant, broadly the Russian equivalent to the Financial Times or Wall street Journal. He was defence correspondent and had published a series of investigations into procurement corruption in the Ministry of Defence and the real state of the Russian armed forces (you might see where I am heading with regard to the war in Ukraine).

Kommersant’s general independence had become a great irritant to Putin, and he had arranged for his close adviser Alisher Usmanov to buy up the title on an “offer you can’t refuse” basis. The editorial team was swiftly replaced. The dogged and highly regarded Safronov was more of a problem.

This is from my 2007 report:

Two months ago, 51 year old Ivan Safronov, defence correspondent of the authoritative Kommersant newspaper in Moscow, came home from work. He had bought a few groceries on the way, apparently for the evening meal. On the street where he lived, as he passed the chemist’s shop in front of the cluster of grim Soviet era apartment blocks, he met his neighbour, Olga Petrovna. She tells me that he smiled from under his hat and nodded to her. After a mild winter, Moscow had turned cold in March and Safronov held his carrier bag of groceries in one hand while the other clutched the lapels of his coat closed against the snow. Fifty yards further on he arrived at the entrance to his block, and punched in the code – 6 and 7 together, then 2 which opened the mechanical lock of the rough, grey metal door at the entrance to the concrete hallway. He passed on into the gloomy dank corridor.

So far this is a perfectly normal Moscow scene. But then – and this is the official version of events – Ivan Safronov did something extraordinary. He walked up the communal concrete stairs with their stark iron rail, until he reached his apartment. It is, in British terms, on the second floor. Instead of going in, he carried on walking, past his own door. He continued up another flight and a half of steps, to the top landing, between the third and fourth floors. Then, placing his groceries on the floor, he opened the landing window, climbed on to the sill, and stepped out to his death, still wearing his hat and coat.

Ivan Safronov thus became about the one hundred and sixtieth – nobody can be certain of precise numbers – journalist to meet a violent end in post-communist Russia. In the West, the cases of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinienko hit the headlines. But in Russia, there was nothing exceptional about those killings. It has long been understood that if you publish material which embarrasses or annoys those in power, you are likely to come to a very sticky end…

Safronov had a reputation as a highly professional journalist, meticulous about checking his facts. He was by no means a sensationalist, but had over the years published articles which embarrassed the Kremlin, about bullying, prostitution and suicide among Russia’s conscript armed forces, and about high level corruption which deprives the troops of adequate clothing, rations and equipment.

He had recently returned from a large trade fair in Dubai, attended by senior representatives of Russia’s armed forces and defence industries. He told colleagues at Kommersant that he had learnt something there about corruption in major arms contracts, involving exports to Syria, Iran and other destinations. He had told his editor he had come back with a ‘Big story’. But, as usual, he was carefully checking up on his facts first.

Now his story will never be published.

I walk through the dirty Moscow drizzle to a police station in the foot of the apartment block opposite Safronov’s. The officer in charge is brusque. There are no suspicious circumstances and the case is closed. Why am I wasting his time, and trying to cause trouble? He threatens to arrest me, so I beat a hasty retreat to find Safronov’s flat, past the chemist’s shop, in the footsteps of his last walk. In the muddy yard between the blocks, unkempt drunks squat for shelter at the foot of scrubby trees, drinking cheap vodka from the bottle.

I look up at the top landing window from which Safronov fell. It doesn’t look terribly high. Outside the block entrance, I stop and look down at the patch of ground on which he landed. The surface is an uneven patchwork of brick, concrete, asphalt and mud. Here a passing group of young men found Safronov, writhing on the ground, conscious but unable to speak. It took almost three hours for an ambulance to come. According to Kommersant Deputy Editor Ilya Bilyanov, although plainly alive when finally taken away, he was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

A stout old lady beating her rugs in the rain gives me the combination to go in to the apartment building. Once through the heavy metal door, I am overwhelmed by the smell of fresh paint. . Everything in the stairway – walls, ceilings, rails, doors, window frames – has been covered in lashings of thick oozing paint, as though to cover over any trace of recent events. The paint has been slapped on so thick that, even after several days, it remains tacky.

I pass the door of Safranov’s flat and continue up to the top landing. At the cost of some paint damage to my coat, I pose in the window from which he allegedly threw himself. It is certainly quite easy to open and clamber out, but it is a bad choice for a suicide. Soviet flats are low-ceilinged, and I calculate the window is a maximum height of 26 feet above the ground. I don’t know about you, but if I was to kill myself by jumping, I would choose somewhere high enough to make death instant… As I peer down from the window I realise that, jumping from here, you are almost certain to hit the porch roof jutting out below. That is only about twenty feet down. The Moscow police claim that marks in the snow on the porch roof were the firm evidence that Safranov jumped.

Two middle aged ladies pass with their shopping. I explain that I am investigating Safranov’s death; it seems an improbable suicide. ‘Very strange,’ they agree, ‘Very, very strange.’ They go on to volunteer that Safranov was a pleasant man, had a very good wife, did not drink excessively and was much looking forward to the imminent birth of a grandchild. Plainly, everything they say is questioning the official version, but they do not wish to do so openly. They conclude by shaking their heads and repeating their mantra ‘Very, very strange,’ as they scuttle on into their flats.

Ilya Bilyanov, Safronov’s boss, is more categorical. Safronov was a devoted family man, very protective of his wife and daughter and proud of his son, about to start University. Bilyanov says: ‘He could not have killed himself. He loved his family too much to abandon them.’

For full disclosure, the report was commissioned by the Mail on Sunday. I make no apologies for that, any more than I apologise for appearing on Russia Today. Telling the truth is what matters, irrespective of platform. On the same trip I investigated the killings of half a dozen other individual journalists who had crossed the authorities.

I am fairly sure that today I would not be permitted to go around doing this; walking in to a Moscow police station to ask about such a death, or interviewing passersby in the street and work colleagues, would get me arrested fairly quickly.

I wrote recently about NATO, the western military and the arms industry’s continued interest in exaggerating the strength of the Russian military, and how at the end of the Cold War the new access of British defence attachés led them to find the real capabilities of the Soviet army had been exaggerated on a massive scale. I have repeatedly stated that Russia, with the economy of Italy and Spain, is not a military superpower.

The Safronov case further reinforced my personal knowledge that the Russian military is undermined by massive corruption. I have therefore not been in the least surprised that Russia has had a much harder time subjugating Ukraine than many expected. Some commentators have particularly amused me by claiming that you cannot compare defence spending levels because Russian defence expenditure is more efficient than American. They cited all the corruption in US defence expenditure, such as the famous US$800 toilet seats; as though Russia were not itself spectacularly corrupt.

At just the time of Safronov’s death, Russia brought in as Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdiukov, who made genuine attempts at radical reform and eliminating corruption. This brought him so many enemies he had to be replaced by current defence minister Shoygu, now in power for ten years. Shoygu has adopted a policy of showcasing new weapons systems while not rocking the boat on corruption.

Do not confuse the apparently dazzling achievements at the shiny end of the vast sums of money Russia has pumped in to weapons development, with the day to day business of defence procurement and military supply. Russian hypersonic ballistic missiles may or may not perform as advertised, but more relevant to Ukraine are the creaking vehicles which have not been maintained, the inoperable tyres, the lack of rations, the old fashioned tank armour.

One of the truths about the Ukraine war which western media is suppressing is that, if Russia cannot take on Ukraine without serious embarrassment, then Russia could not possibly take on NATO. It is a ludicrous proposition, outwith full scale nuclear war. It is fascinating to watch the western militarist establishment in full cry, simultaneously crowing over Russian military inadequacies while claiming that the West needs massively to increase the money it pumps in to the military industrial complex because of the Russian threat. The self-evidently fatuous nature of this dual assertion is never pointed out by mainstream media journalists, who currently operate in full propaganda mode.

Another Russian asset has proved as unreliable as its military: Putin’s brain. On 16 December 2021 Ukraine and its US sponsor were not just diplomatically isolated, but diplomatically humiliated. At a vote at the UN General Assembly, the United States and Ukraine were the only two countries to vote against a resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. They lost by 130 votes to 2, on a motion sponsored by Russia.

The United States, crucially, was split from its European allies and, almost uniquely, from Israel on this vote. Everyone knew that the vote was about Nazis in Ukraine, not least because the United States and Ukraine both said so in their explanation of vote. The entire world was prepared to acknowledge that the neo-Nazis in positions of power and authority in Ukraine, including the anti-semites of the Svoboda party in ministerial office, were a real problem. There was also a general understanding that Ukraine had reneged on the Minsk agreements and that the banning of the Russian language in official, media and educational use was a serious problem.

(I pause to note the US explanation of vote stated that the US constitution prevented it from voting for a motion calling for the banning of pro-Nazi speech, because of US commitment to free speech and the first amendment. It is worth noting that free speech in Biden administration eyes protects Nazis but does not protect Julian Assange. It is also worth contrasting the protection of free speech for Nazis with the de facto banning of Russia Today in the United States.)

The EU abstained on the vote, but all of the above problems were rehearsed in ministerial discussions that reached that decision. You can add to the above that it was universally acknowledged in diplomatic circles that there was no chance of Ukraine (ditto Georgia) being admitted to NATO while Russia occupied parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. Given NATO’s mutual defence obligations, to admit Ukraine would be tantamount to entering armed conflict with Russia and it was simply not open to serious consideration.

How Russia might have progressed from this strong diplomatic position we shall never know. There can seldom have been a more catastrophic diplomatic move than Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It can be measured very simply. From winning the proxy vote on Ukraine at the UN General Assembly by 130 votes to 2 on 19 December, Russia plummeted to losing the vote in the same General Assembly demanding immediate Russian withdrawal from Ukraine by 141 votes to 5 on 2 March.

This diplomatic disaster has been matched by military humiliation. Russia is a far larger country than Ukraine and it is pointless to pretend that Russia did not expect the military campaign to proceed better than it has. To claim now post facto that the attack on Kiev was purely a massive diversion never intended to succeed, is a nonsense. Elsewhere achievements are shaky. Capturing cities is different to holding them, and the myth that Russian speaking populations in Eastern Ukraine were eager to join Russia has been plainly exploded by the lack of popular support in occupied areas.

Putin’s heavy handedness has alienated what potential support for Russia existed outside the Russian controlled areas of Donbass. It is hard now to recall that prior to the coup of 2014, political support in Ukraine was balanced for two decades fairly evenly between pro-Western and pro-Russian camps. Both Russia and the West interfered from 1992 to 2014 outrageously in Ukrainian internal politics, each using the full panoply of “soft power” – propaganda, sponsorship, corrupt payments, occasional proxy violence.

Matters were brought to a head in Ukraine when Yanukovich was flown to Moscow and persuaded by Putin to renounce the EU Association Agreement which Ukraine was entering, in favour of a new trade deal with Russia. This evidently was a key moment of political choice, and Putin overplayed his hand as he lost out in the crisis that ensued. That Russian defeat in 2014 may not have been terminal if Putin had not responded militarily by annexing parts of Ukraine. In doing so, he alienated the large majority of Ukrainians of all ethnicities forever – as I stated at the time.

So now Putin can stride the stage as the macho guy who outfoxed the west and used his military to win Crimea for Mother Russia. But it is an extremely hollow victory. He has gained Crimea, but lost the other 95% of the Ukraine, over which one month ago he exercised a massive political influence.

The current invasion of Ukraine has differed from previous incidents like South Ossetia, Abkhazia or even Crimea in that it has been much more extensive, and entailed an attack on the capital, rather than simply occupation of the targeted areas. If Putin had simply massively reinforced Russian forces in the areas controlled by his breakaway “republics”, there would not be anything like the international reaction which has resulted.

One particularly unsavoury aspect of all this – and here we come back to Finland/Russia and the goodies/baddies narrative – is that all the massive problems of Ukraine are now utterly whitewashed by the western political and media class. There was general acceptance previously, albeit reluctantly, that the “Nazi problem” exists. It is now almost universally reviled as a Russian fiction, even though it is undoubtedly true.

Just a year ago, even the Guardian was prepared to admit that President Zelensky is linked to $41 million in dodgy offshore cash holdings and effectively a front for corrupt oligarch Kolomoisky, who looted $5.5 billion from Privatbank. Now, thanks entirely to Putin, Zelensky is viewed universally as a combination of Churchill and St Francis of Assisi, and any criticism of him whatsoever in the West will get you online lynched.

That the United States is becoming a kataskopocracy is witnessed by the willingness of the Biden administration to rip up the First Amendment in order to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act, because the CIA and FBI demand it. It is also witnessed by the role of the security agencies in suppressing the truth about Hunter Biden and his corrupt links to Ukraine. The Biden laptop was, as I stated at the time and is now admitted even by the New York Times, an entirely genuine inadvertent leak.

You will recall that from when his father was Vice President, Hunter Biden was paid $85,000 a month by Burisma, a Ukrainian power company which Hunter never once visited and for which he did no discernible work. When his laptop was given to the New York Post, revealing salacious sex and drugs evidence and more importantly, blatant peddling of his father’s influence, the entire “respectable” mainstream media rubbished it as a fraud and, remarkably, Twitter and Facebook both suppressed any mention of it as “fake news”. This suppression was advocated by the US security services, contacting the media and the internet gatekeepers at top level, and conducting a public campaign through activating retired agents.

This was the CNN headline:

The Biden laptop was leaked on 14 October 2020, three weeks before voting day in the Presidential election. Its suppression by the mainstream media, Twitter and Facebook, at the behest of the security services, is the biggest illegitimate interference in an election in modern western history.

That the Ukraine is the scene of so much of the corruption of Biden and son, but no criticism of the Ukraine is currently considered legitimate, has made now a very good time for the approved media to admit the banned stories were in fact true, while nobody is listening. We are also even seeing credulous articles on why Nazis are not really bad at all.

A Ukrainian oligarch was the biggest single donor to the Clinton Foundation, and the murky links between the American political establishment and Ukraine are still surfacing; it has plainly been a major honeypot for US politicians. The recent Credit Suisse leak, again sadly curated and censored by mainstream media, revealed Ukrainians as the largest European nationality involved, but the media gave us virtually no details – and those confined to two “coincidentally” pro-Russian Ukrainians out of 1,000 Ukrainian accounts. Whatever information on Ukrainian government linked oligarchs was contained in the Credit Suisse documents is suppressed by those who control them, which in the UK includes the Guardian newspaper and James O’Brien of LBC. In Ukraine the material was shared only with pro-government journalists.

I have been criticised severely on Twitter by those who believe that now, in wartime, it is wrong to say anything bad about Ukraine and we must solely concentrate on Russia’s defeat. To be clear, I hold Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to be not only stupid and vicious but also illegal, and to constitute the war crime of aggression. But we come back precisely to the angels and devils simplicity of looking for “goodies” and “baddies”. The Azov Battalion have not suddenly become less racist or brutal or Nazi-worshipping because they are fighting the Russians.

The real danger is that the heroic resistance to Putin’s invasion – and be in no doubt, it is heroic – will be a massive boost to the right in Ukraine, and the cult of “Glory to the heroes!” will be massively reinforced. The far right had more influence than Zelensky wished before this current invasion, and his ability to control them is limited. His personal standing is much enhanced. He may be a deeply fallible human being, but as a war leader he has been brilliant. He has exploited media to boost the morale of his armed forces and to rally his people, and been very effective in using international public pressure to rally practical support from foreign powers. Those are key skills for a war leader, and if “acting” is one of the skill sets needed, that makes it none the less true.

But I very much doubt the enhanced standing of Zelensky will enable him to counter the right wing nationalist wave that will sweep Ukraine, especially if resistance continues to be effective in containing Russian advances. Certainly measures that were previously decried by liberals, like the Russian language ban, now have wide support. I shall be very surprised if, once the dust has settled, we do not see much worse repression of ethnic Russians under the guise of action against “collaborators”. Far from denazifying Ukraine, Putin has boosted its Nazi problem.

Having damaged my own reputation for sagacity by my over-confidence that Putin would not be foolish enough to launch a full scale invasion, I am reluctant to venture any predictions as to outcome, but the most likely must be a frozen conflict, with Russia in control of rather more territory than before the conflict started. The Kremlin has appeared to backtrack its aims to securing the territory of its newly recognised republics, and still appears intent on seizing as much coastline as possible. Without a credible threat to Kiev, Zelensky has little motive formally to agree a ceasefire on this basis. Eventually we will reach some form of de facto stasis.

Now is a good moment to correct the myth that the population of Donbass is ethnic Russian and wishes to be united with Russia. I will make three points.

The first is that there is a difference between Russian speaking and ethnic Russian, and repeated census returns in Ukraine showed the majority in Donbass to identify as ethnic Ukrainian, though Russian speaking.

Secondly, the ethnic Russians were heavily concentrated in the urban centres and thus much more politically visible than the rural Ukrainian majority, and far quicker politically mobilised. This is precisely what happened in 2014 (and failed with tragic loss of life in Odessa).

The third is that many ethnic Russians have resisted the current invasion, and even Russian media has struggled to find evidence of mass enthusiasm in newly “liberated” areas.

In the western world, Russia has served as not only the evil empire that “justifies” massive arms expenditure, but as the evil genius behind all political developments that threaten the smooth course of neoliberalism.

This was brought to its highest pitch by Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous claims that it was Russian hacking that cost her the 2016 election. It was actually the fact that she was an appalling and arrogant candidate, whom the electorate disliked and black voters did not bother to turn out for in their usual numbers, and that she ignored the voters of rustbelt states and their concerns.

The security services were shocked by Trump’s aversion to starting new wars abroad, his maverick inclination to have his own take on relations with Russia and the Middle East, and his general lack of docility in the face of security service advice. (Much of Trump’s foreign policy was terrible, I am not attempting to say otherwise. But he was not the kind of docile, Obama-like tool the security services were used to).

The security services therefore worked against Trump his entire time in office, from boosting the Russiagate election hacking narrative, despite there being no evidence for it whatsoever, to quiet briefings giving credence to the appalling charlatan Steele’s discredited “peegate” dossier, right through to the suppression of the Biden laptop story. The Mueller inquiry failed to come up with any evidence of collusion between Russia and Wikileaks in hacking the DNC emails, because there was no such collusion.

Neither was there collusion between Wikileaks and Trump. The story the UK security services placed in their house journal the Guardian, on secret meetings between Manafort and Assange, was simply a lie. Throughout his Presidency Trump was subjected to a continual drip, drip, drip of briefings to the media from his own security services that he was, in some way, a secret Russian asset, Putin’s puppet.

The CIA commissioned from UC Global 24 hour secret taping of Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy, including in the bedroom, toilet and kitchen. This included meetings with his lawyers, but also many hours of private conversation with myself, with Kristin Hrafnsson and others. This too came up entirely empty on evidence of Russian collusion. Because there was never any such collusion.

Just as “Russiagate” was an utter nonsense, attempting to use Putin to explain the advent of Trump, so in the UK liberals comforted themselves by attempting to use Putin to explain Brexit. Like Trump, Nigel Farage and Arron Banks “must” be secret Russian agents too. The high priestess of this particular cult belief is Carole Cadwalladr. From having done good work in exposing Cambridge Analytica, which targeted political ads to Tory benefit using personal data which Facebook was greatly at fault in making available on its customers, Cadwalladr allowed the subsequent accolades to go to her head and became the security services’ tool in making ever wilder claims of Russian influence.

Cadwalladr’s task was easy because the UK’s liberal middle class simply could not come to terms with Brexit having happened. They could not understand that vast swathes of the working class were so alienated from society by the effects of unconstrained neo-liberalism, that they were led to grasp at Brexit as a possible remedy. That is not a comforting thought. Instead, Cadwalladr offered the much more digestible notion of Putin as an evil exterior cause.

With right thinking liberals on both sides of the Atlantic appalled by the advent of Trump and Brexit, there was no depth of Russophobe fantasy which figures like Cadwalladr and Steele could not plumb as an explanation and still find a willing audience, without being questioned too hard on actual evidence.

Again, I should be plain. Nations do interfere in each other’s democratic processes to try to get results favourable to themselves. It is a fundamental part of the job of spy services and of diplomats. It is what they are paid to do. I did it myself in Poland, and with quite spectacular success in Ghana in 2000 (read my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo).

No nation interferes in other nation’s elections and political processes on the scale that the United States does, every single day. Today it is trying to get rid of Imran Khan in Pakistan as well as continuing its work against the government in Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and elsewhere. That there was marginal Russian activity I do not doubt, but not on any grand or unusual scale or with any particularly striking effect. And not involving Wikileaks.

One consequence of the invasion of Ukraine is that every mad Russophobe narrative of the past decade is now, in the public mind, vindicated. Including the remarkably unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Skripal and Navalny. It is now impossible to claim that there is any evil for which Russia is not responsible, without suffering a deluge of online hostility and ridicule. The western military industrial complex, NATO and the Western security services have all been enormously strengthened in their domestic position and control of popular opinion by Putin’s mad invasion.

There are aspects of Putin’s foreign policy which I have supported, and still do. Having inadvertently installed a pro-Iranian Shia regime in Iraq, the West sought to appease its Gulf and Israeli allies and “restore the balance” by replacing the Shia-friendly Assad regime by hardline ISIS and Al-Qaida linked jihadists. This may have been the most stupid foreign policy move in recent history, and thank goodness Putin sent troops into Syria to thwart it. On a more standard diplomatic level, Russia has played a pivotal and entirely commendable role in trying to end the isolation of Iran in nuclear agreement talks.

But I have always consistently opposed Putin’s invasions in the post-Soviet space, including the brutal destruction of Chechnya that brought Putin to power. I support Dagestani and Chechen independence, and have written consistent articles pointing out that Russia remains an Empire, with most of its territory not ethnic Russian and acquired contemporaneously with the conquests of the British Empire. I have consistently called for stronger and more effective sanctions, in response to the occupation of South Ossetia in 2008 and of Crimea in 2014. In 2008 I warned explicitly that the lack of a firm sanctions response to Putin’s aggression would lead eventually to war in Eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s actions are illegal but the US and UK, who launched an equally illegal and much more devastating invasion of Iraq, are ill-placed to be outraged. A de facto Russia annexation of South Ossetia must not be permitted, unless we eventually want a war of Eastern Ukraine.
NATO is part of the cause of the problem, not the solution. By encircling and humiliating Russia, NATO has created the climate in Russia so favourable to Putin.

That last sentence remains a key observation. It is the West’s unremitting hostility to Russia which has caused a Russian nationalist reaction and sustained Putin in power. The West’s military industrial complex needed an enemy, and had Russia developed in a more liberal direction it would have been a disaster for the militarists. So instead of working to plot a path for Russia into the European Union, it was forced to sit in the corner with a hat on saying “designated enemy”, while NATO continually expanded. That is the tragedy of the last three decades.

All of which ignores the fact that China is now the most dominant economic force in the world, and is probably the most dominant military force in the world, although Chinese wisdom in not recently deploying its military might on imperial adventures contrasts sharply with the United States. I am not sure when I last bought anything which was not made in China – including, to my amazement, our second hand Volvo. All this Russia/NATO antagonism will scarcely rate a footnote by mid-century.

I want to conclude with a plea for complex thought. I want to go back to the Finns and Russians at the start of this story, and the truth that “goodies” and “baddies” is not a helpful diagnostic tool for international relations. These things can be true at the same time:

a) The Russian invasion of Ukraine is illegal: Putin is a war criminal
b) The US led invasion of Iraq was illegal: Blair and Bush are war criminals

a) Russian troops are looting, raping and shelling civilian areas
b) Ukraine has Nazis entrenched in the military and in government and commits atrocities against Russians

a) Zelensky is an excellent war leader
b) Zelensky is corrupt and an oligarch puppet

a) Russian subjugation of Chechnya was brutal and a disproportionate response to an Independence movement
b) Russian intervention in Syria saved the Middle East from an ISIS controlled jihadist state

a) Russia is extremely corrupt with a very poor human rights record
b) Western security service narratives such as “Russiagate” and “Skripals” are highly suspect, politically motivated and unevidenced.

a) NATO expansion is unnecessary, threatening to Russia and benefits nobody but the military industrial complex
b) The Russian military industrial complex is equally powerful in its own polity as is Russian nationalism

I could go on, but you get the point. I hold all those points to be true. The media and political class in the UK will trumpet a) and vehemently deny b). Many in the anti-war movement will trumpet b) and vehemently deny a). None of these people have any actual principles. They are simply choosing a side, choosing their “goodies” and “baddies”, their black hats and white hats. It is no more an ethical choice than supporting a football team.

One final thought on the tone of the coverage of the war both of the media and of supporters of the official western line on social media. Though affecting to be sickened by the atrocities of war, their tone is not of sorrow or devastation, it is triumphalist and jubilant. The amount of war porn and glorying in war is worrying. The mood of the British nation is atavistic. Russians living here are forced on a daily basis to declare antagonism to their own people and homeland.

I have had great difficulty in writing this piece – I have worked on it some three weeks, and the reason is a deep sadness which this unnecessary war has caused me. In the course of my typing any paragraph, somebody has probably been killed or seriously injured in Ukraine, of whatever background. They had a mother and others who loved them. There is no triumph in violent death.

————————————————-

 
 
Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations



 

Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
MURRAY CJ
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
BIC NWBKGB2L
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9
Ethereum/ERC-20: 0x764a6054783e86C321Cb8208442477d24834861a

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.


Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1,383 thoughts on “Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War

1 6 7 8
  • Jack

    Great segment below from a US msm source about the shelling of Donbas just before russian invasion and Zelensky’s efforts before the war in trying to take Crimea back and also about the media response in the west and that neo-nazi fighters are considerable part of the ukrainian army and much more. The segment is based on an article of a former Nato military analyst Jacques Baud.

    Kim Iversen: Former NATO Analyst & Top UN Official Says THIS Is The REAL Reason For War In Ukraine
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEIFwLKlq1Q

    • Pears Morgaine

      I thought that the MSM was government controlled and just broadcast propaganda and lies? Different when you think it supports your point of view. Iversen can’t be considered MSM and she describes herself as ‘non-mainstream’. Banned by Facebook in 2021 and recently suspended by Youtube over Covid misinformation.

      Just another link to Baud’s laughable analysis of 1st April of which we’ve had several times before.

      • Jack

        Pears

        If you look at the link you see that she is on the Thehill platform at youtube, Thehill is a mainstream source.
        Yes please read Baud’s analysis, you can learn a thing or two.

        • Pears Morgaine

          https://wikispooks.com/wiki/The_Hill

          I have read Baud’s analysis. It’s largely waffle and much of it is contradictory or just downright wrong. Do you really believe Russia hasn’t been arming the separatists in Donbas?

          Although the Russian government often denies direct involvement, saying their soldiers were there voluntarily and not under orders, some of them have been captured with documents that said otherwise. The separatists have admitted receiving supplies from Russia and being trained there. BBC reported that separatist ranks are composed of thousands of Russian citizens. Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation are also supporting the separatists. DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko claimed in August 2014 that there were around 3,000 to 4,000 Russian volunteers fighting for his militia, which included serving and retired Russian Army servicemen. It is alleged that since September 2015, the separatist units, at the battalion level and up, are acting under direct command of Russian Army officers, with former local commanders sometimes serving as their deputies.

          • Giyane

            Pears Morgaine

            It what you say is true, then Putin is better than I thought, matching Western lies in exactly the same way as them, and supporting innocent civilians in the same way Nato has supported Nazi proxy genociders.

            You make Putin ‘ s case perfectly. He has had to protect Russian speakers in Eastern Ukraine, according to you., from Nato backed Nazis since 2015.
            Thank you so much. My admiration for Putin increases exponentially.

            BTW, my policy with all liars is to reverse what they say , and to lie back to them , to give them a taste of their own medicine.

          • Jack

            Pears

            Hilarious, you know, I copy and pasted your comment and googled it and I see that you have just copy and pasted a segment of text from Wikipedia!
            That is the thing, you do not know anything about Russia nor Ukraine I do not even know what you are doing on this blog at all. Anyhow, now you are on my ignore list.

          • ET

            “It’s largely waffle and much of it is contradictory or just downright wrong.”

            Please give us the benefit of your insight by citing which parts are waffle, contradictory or just downright wrong and explaining why you think so rather than just saying so without so much as a reference. Thanks in anticipation.

        • Giyane

          SA

          It is true that Baud’s analysis has been quoted before. It is curious that a US outfit has used it.
          Like standing in a queue where the more you stand firm against the pushers behind you, the more they use you as a fulcrum to lever themselves forward in front of you.

          It seems as though by producing the evidence of long term genocide, they can insinuate that Russia has been covering up the appalling crimes, instead of negotiating with Nato about them.

  • Harry Law

    Wimbledon Officially Bans Russian And Belarusian Tennis Pros Over Ukraine Conflict
    In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
    It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.

    Nigel Huddleston, the British sports minister, told a parliamentary hearing in March that Russians should show their ideological conformity to the current narrative surrounding the war to be able to compete. https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/wimbledon-set-announce-ban-russian-and-belarusian-players
    The anti Russian racism is nauseating here, I am beside myself that these disgusting officials can come up with crap like this.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Harry Law,

      The politics of it is totally corrupt.

      I am a London University graduate who competed as an athlete in the 1970s and I am fully aware of the ‘politics of athletics’.

      I well recall the 1968 Mexico Olympics protest by way of the Black power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos when there was the world record run in the 200 metres and then the very courageous protest on the medal podium. Not many people will even know and/or consider that the White Peter Norman from Australian who also medaled was a subtle protester in the cause of Black people saying – we don’t like how Whites have treated ‘the other’. For that principled stand where he rolled up his track suit and subtly lowered his head on the podium in solidarity with Tommie Smith and John Carlos – he was condemned by the majority of White Australia. He was made under White Australasia a pariah and himself became a drunkard and it was his African-American friends who attended his funeral. White Australians – are you happy with what you – the White establishment – did to him – a good man?

    • Tom Welsh

      Since 1945 US and allied forces have killed well over 10 million people (mostly civilians) in foreign countries none of which had done anything to deserve being attacked by Washington.

      Moreover, US coaches and managers pioneered the systematic use of hard-to-detect drugs for enhancing sports performance. Many of the most famous US sports people boasted for years of their innocence and their moral superiority – before being found using drugs themselves.

      US sports people have not been excluded from any event.

      • kashmiri

        Why manipulate? Let’s change the census date from 1945 to 1920 – and then Russia has killed more civilians on its own territory alone than all the Allies combined across the world.

        Re. sports, doping is not a state-sanctioned activity in the US, unlike in Russia.

    • DunGroanin

      Ah well they can join the meerkat puppets which has destroyed that comparison sites brand. Just as Smirnoff is being cancelled killing that brand – ironically owned by a Canadian corporation!

      The obvious reason for the Collective Waste to keep pumping $billions, weapons and greater death and suffering on their proxie, to keep lingering on, is not to actually hang out for a prospective collapse of Russia and any miraculous reversal by the elensky Regime, but to work on the western peoples minds a bit longer – the plan is to re-create the Russian bogeyman.

      The hope will be that the next generation will believe that German Nazis were good and Russia Commies bad. The debt to the 20millions that died in resisting Hitlers Regime and came all the way back to storm Berlin and the rest of the allies took full credit afterwards with some cheap high profile casualties.

      Cancelled. Even if it isn’t Russian now but from hundreds of years ago when they were good royalists. Or in the case of the loveable drunken puppets not even Russian.

      It seems we are replacing the Second World War villains with anything that may be construed as even remotely Russian.

  • Joanna Bull

    You make a lot of sense to me; that is to say, I agree with most of what you say, had already figured out a lot of it.

    But I have trouble understanding how Zelensky can be “corrupt and an oligarch puppet”.
    Wasn’t he just a couple of years ago a comedian who is said to have played the piano with his penis?
    I wonder what is your evidence.

    Thanks!

    • mark golding

      Indeed no saviors for the families in Baghdad 19th March 2003 Blitzkrieg; and no basement… so they burned alive from the intense heat of Bush’s ‘Shock & Awe’ cruise missiles while their toddlers cooked black and charred while eating their early morning cornflakes and jabbering to their dolls and teddies sat with them on the floor..

      • Neil

        Mark, I’m struggling to understand why you completely changed the subject. Is it because Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova was only a Holocaust survivor (perhaps you are a Nazi and don’t care about Holocaust survivors), was it because she was old and didn’t have many years left anyway, was it because she was Ukrainian and therefore a Nazi who deserved to die, was it because her life was unimportant and expendable when compared with the great Mr Putin’s grand plans for the arc of history, was it because her death was reported in the guardian and therefore she never existed and her daughter lamenting her death is clearly a paid actress reading a script written by Zelensky the cocaine addict … or what? What was the reason for your completely passing over her death without considering it worth a single remark?

          • Pears Morgaine

            You have to understand Neil that ‘whataboutery’ is all the Putinoids have left. The war is indefensible and evidence of Russian atrocities too loud to ignore or brush aside so the only thing they can do is point the finger at the US or the west in general as if that makes what’s happening acceptable or unimportant. (See post by Tom Welsh above).

          • SA

            Neil and Pears
            International law has been constantly thwarted and mainly by the west since 1945. This has given the US and followers a sense of immunity that is also tainted with an amazing degree of self reightiousness. The wars started by the west were not even defensive. Moreover some of the wars started or supported by US and followers have been accompanied by wanton and wilful policies of sanctions and blockades leading to starvation. It is not even that the Russian action is defensive and provoked by the west, but the hypocrisy that accompanies the comments on Russian actions and the false propaganda. This is not whataboutery.

          • Squeeth

            “Whataboutery” is a euphemism for hypocrisy, only casuists use it. How many survvivors of the nazi genocides are amongst the 14,000 Ukrainians mudered by the Ukrainian (US-Ukronazi state) since 2014?

        • Xavi

          SA
          Whataboutery was Neil’s immediate port of call when Zelensky’s corruption was raised above. I would not heed too seriously anyone going under the side splittinģ moniker Pears Morgaine.

    • mark golding

      Today President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to cancel plans to storm a Mariupol steelworks, and declared the port city ‘liberated’.

      Instead of launching a final assault on the Azovstal steel plant in the coastal city, he said he wanted his forces to continue to securely blockade the complex instead.

      https://india.timesofnews.com/city/mumbai/russian-prez-vladimir-putin-orders-his-forces-to-not-storm-mariupol-steel-plant-says-he-is-content-with-blockade.html

    • Giyane

      Neil

      Jesus pbuh was asked why a building had fallen on some people. His answer was that they should worry about a worse thing happening to them, if they were heedless of God’s day of judgement.

      A mad superpower has created racist Nazis in Ukraine who will kill indiscriminately on ground of race, having no fear of either human or divine justice,

      I don’t know why you are not terrified of being counted as a supporter of USUK Nazi racism. We as human beings have to oppose the mindset of this reckless superpower which continually bombs the weakest on this planet in order to steal their hydrocarbons or lithium, or funds terrorists to destroy communities who own those assets.

      There is something so psychopathic about USUK holding onto Russophobia for centuries, renewing their brainless fears about Russia attacking them generation after generation with no justification.

      It is as if , having invaded by land and sea as far as they physically can, they realise that have missed Russia, and they feel an intense sense of waste that they never fought with them .

      Now we all have to witness USUK macho daring by taking on a country they haven’t got any medals for beating. It’s mad. Anybody who cheers them on .in this mad egotistical plan is mad. Like watching people getting hanged. Why don’t you go and watch wrestling?

      Russia has a right to defend itself against this tiny core of anglo- saxon wild men and women, whos egos demand the challenge of an even more dangerous victim, armed with nuclear bombs.

      • Neil

        Giyane, Ukraine has a nazi problem, so does the US, so does Russia. You exaggerate the problem because you want to win an argument. You want to win the argument because you hate the West so much. You hate the West so much that your hatred blinds you to the vices of Putin’s Russia.

        Nothing justifies the tens of thousands of innocent (not nazi) lives that this war has already destroyed (including Russian soldiers), not to mention the millions of lives of innocent (not Nazi) refugees whose lives have been torn apart. The fact that you sit comfortably at home unable to grasp the horror because of a failure of imagination doesn’t make it all right.

        • Giyane

          Neil

          Zelensky refused to negotiate and find a peaceful solution to the Usuk aggression against Russian people. Usuk refused to negotiate for years before that. Always an easy way and a hard way to solve every problem.

          • Neil

            Giyane, Always an easy way and a hard way to solve every problem.”

            How would you characterise Putin’s invasion that has already killed … what … 30,000(?), injured 100,000 (?) and created over 4 million refugees? Easy way or hard way?

          • Giyane

            Neil

            Very terrible, hard way. Unforgiveable stupidity by Zelensky and Biden BoJo.
            These people are not leaders. They have no principles. Just they wallow in triumphal imperialism and brutal murder.

          • Neil

            A very terrible hard way, chosen by Putin, because safe in his bunker in Moscow, he doesn’t care about the consequences for the people on the ground. His priority is not Nazis (plenty Nazis in Russia), not the Donbass (he could have simply opened his borders to the”genocide” victims and offered them sanctuary in Russia) … No, his priority is to strut about looking tough and stealing some more land through murder.

          • Giyane

            Neil

            “Open his borders to the genocide victims.”

            Appeasing Nazis has been tried before by a gentleman called Neville Chamberlain

          • Neil

            Giyane, opening your borders to refugees from genocide is not appeasing Nazis. In fact, when the floods of Ukrainians fled to Russia to escape the evil Ukrainian government, that would have been a very good look for Putin, don’t you think? Hmmm. What could be the flaw in such a plan?

        • Natasha

          Neil you too exaggerate your claim(s). Let me use your arguments against you:-

          You want to win the argument because you hate Russia so much. You hate Russia so much that your hatred blinds you to the vices of the west.

          Consider what the West’s 1990-2003 sanctions did to Iraq: By 1997, 500,000 children had died from malnutrition. Sewage spilled into rivers, causing typhoid and dysentery epidemics. Tens of thousands of Iraqis and their livestock died from lack of medicine. Crime soared. Families drank contaminated water and ate bread of flour and wood dust in homes without electricity. And the killing of more than 300,000 Mid-Eastern civilians and more than 250,000 Mid-Eastern opposition forces in post-9/11 US war zones.

          • Neil

            Natasha,

            “You want to win the argument because you hate Russia so much. You hate Russia so much that your hatred blinds you to the vices of the west. “

            The problem is that I’m not framing one side as good and one side as evil. I acknowledge the west’s crimes. And I don’t hate Russia. I hate those, like Putin, who throw away the lives of others to satisfy their esoteric obsessions regarding national interests and destiny.

            It is commenters like mark, sa, jack, etc who always frame Putin as blameless in this war, a white-hatted cowboy who only wants to help the poor and the innocent victims of the evil Nazi Ukrainians.

            Biden seems senile, Johnson is a comedian pretending to be a statesman, Zelensky is no saint, and Putin is a murdering psychopath.

            As for Russians, if I hate them, why do I repeatedly condemn Putin for throwing away the lives of Russian soldiers? I’d say there’s more evidence that Putin hates Russians. I would never treat their lives with such contempt that he treats them

          • Natasha

            Neil, The problem is that you ARE framing one side as good and one side as evil, for example writing that:

            “Biden seems senile, Johnson is a comedian pretending to be a statesman, Zelensky is no saint, and Putin is a murdering psychopath.”

            NATO the US and UK have FAR more psychopaths in elected and other offices of government and have murdered dozens of times MORE people in its wars of aggression since the Warsaw Pact dissolved, than Russia and its politicians, which spends less than a tenth on its military than NATO. These facts are NOT reflected in your comments, indeed you seek to paint an opposite picture in your quote:

            “Putin is a murdering psychopath” whilst the Western leaders are “senile […] comedians”.

            Fool your self if you must, but such blatant infant playground propaganda doesn’t fool everyone.

        • Squeeth

          The US and Russia do not have a problem of nazis being infiltrated into every part of the government by their American overlords, that is a problem limited to Ukraine.

          • Neil

            “infiltrated into every part of the government”

            So Zelensky is a Nazi?

            Either he is or you too are exaggerating to try to win an argument.

            Which is it?

          • Bramble

            It is possible that the upper echelons of the US Establishment have already been infiltrated by Nazis, a process that started the minute WW2 ended and the fight against the USSR/Communism started. Just as the British Government has been infiltrated by UKIP quasi Nazis. You won’t see them arrive because they are already here.

          • Neil

            One of the defining characteristics of nazism is distain for liberal democracy. Does that sound like Ukraine or Putin’s Russia? Scientific racism. Can someone give me some examples of Ukrainian scientific racism? Eugenics? anti-Semitism? Zelensky is Jewish. What kind of Nazis elect a Jew as their president?

            In what sense of the word “Nazi” do you keep describing Ukraine as controlled by Nazis? Because it certainly isn’t the one in the dictionary.

          • Pooh

            “What kind of Nazis elect a Jew as their president?”

            Perhaps the kind good at subterfuge and deceit?

          • kashmiri

            @Squeeth: Bullshit. The highest support that the Ukrainian alt right has received in elections was… 1.5%! The “Neo-Nazi problem” in Ukraine has been created (yes, created!) by Russian propaganda in exactly the same way as the “WMD problem” in Iraq has been created by the US, and for a nearly identical purpose. Except that Russia knew that foreign attacks on (any country’s) nationalists only strengthen them, thus feeding the Russian propaganda machine. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            There is no “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine. There is hardly anybody in Ukraine who would believe in the core tenets of Nazism – that the German “race” is superior to Slavic “race” (Untermensch), that the German “race” needs a “space to live” (Lebensraum) in eastern Europe, and that the Jews, Romas, etc., should be exterminated. Yes there is ugly nationalism in Ukraine, there is the extreme right, there is reference to historical symbols of the first Ukrainian state of a century ago, and there is also a Russian attack that only makes all Ukrainian nationalist ideologies stronger.

            Those who keep arguing that the Ukraine invasion is about a bunch of alt rights – are either complete idiots or, worse, paid trolls.

          • Greg Park

            Kashmiri the latest using Craig’s site to try and normalize Nazism. Unfortunately it’s a phenomenon no longer confined to anonymous keyboard warriors. At a major rally in Manhattan this weekend the crowd broke out into chants praising Azov. Disturbing times.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            There are plenty of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, kashmiri – many of them fighting with paramilitary units: Azov, Aidar Battalion (now part of the Ukrainian Army), Dnipro-1 Battalion, Dnipro-2 Battalion, C14 – to name but some. So what if not all of them believe in every core Nazi tenet – does every Catholic literally believe in transubstantiation? This informative (and in places quite amusing) article about Azov from 2014 in the Graun (hardly a bastion of Putin propaganda in latter years) explains more:

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/10/azov-far-right-fighters-ukraine-neo-nazis

            I suspect the reason that far-right parties get few votes in Ukraine is that many Ukrainians with far-right / neo-Nazi views don’t believe that elections are the best means of achieving their political objectives. They may have good reason to think this: you only have to look at Afghanistan, where by 2020 over $10 billion a year was being spent on the Afghan armed forces (mostly from Western aid and, until recently, twice that of Ukraine) but this still didn’t prevent a Taliban takeover in 2021, despite them having less than 5% public support in polls. A significant reason for this was the Taliban gradually acquiring better weaponry (e.g thermal optics) which gave them a decisive advantage, and is a major reason why I’m critical of the West arming and training Azov etc.

            Anyway, having said all that, if Putin really wants to create a Nazi-free world, I think he should start a bit closer to home, beginning with this character:

            https://www.romea.cz/en/news/world/the-times-putin-has-sent-mercenaries-to-kyiv-led-by-an-admirer-of-the-nazis-to-murder-zelenskyy-and-the-klitschko-brothers

  • Harry Law

    Professor Sands in his book ‘Lawless world’ omits some crucial facts, David Morrison points them out In this article.

    “One main purpose of this book then is to shed some light on international law, to explain in a little more detail what the rules are, how they are made, and how they are argued when contentious issues come up.” (page xviii)

    However, the preface begins:

    “In the 1940s the United States and Britain led efforts to replace a world of chaos and conflict with a new, rules-based system.” (page xi)

    There, Professor Sands omits to mention that Roosevelt and Churchill built into the architecture of the United Nations the principle that the US and UK are above the rules for all time. They accorded themselves permanent seats on the Security Council, the only United Nations body with any authority, and gave themselves a veto on decisions of the Council. The result is that they can engage in aggression against other states, as and when they like, without fear of a slap on the wrist by the Council, let alone being subject to economic sanctions or military action mandated by the Council. (Stalin agreed that the Soviet Union would participate in the United Nations once Churchill explained to him that the Soviet Union would have a veto as well. Nationalist China was added to the list at the insistence of Roosevelt, and Churchill insisted that France be added as a counterweight to China

    http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/iraq/ags-legal-advice.pdf

    • ET

      Didn’t Putin defend the permanent 5 veto powers stating:

      “If we remove the veto right of the permanent members, the UN would die the very same day – it would turn into the League of Nations. It would simply become a discussion platform, the Valdai Club 2.0”

      I think he also made a more formal speech defending veto powers of the five permanent members of the security council and asserting that it was that that had kept the peace for so long. I am struggling to find it though.

  • Jack

    Yes this is what the war is all about, this could drag out for months, years until west realize that peace is something to value and thus give green light to their puppet Mr Zelensky for real peace talks with Russia.

    Turkey: NATO allies want longer Ukraine war to weaken Moscow:

    “Turkey on Wednesday accused some of its NATO allies of wanting the war in Ukraine to last longer in order to weaken Russia.”

    https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/464992.aspx

    • Pears Morgaine

      Well then the best way for Russia to foil NATO’s cunning plan would be to stop their illegal invasion.

      I suspect Putin will want some kind of ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment to coincide with the victory celebrations on 9th May so might well try and dress up whatever his de-moralised rabble might have accomplished by then as satisfying his war goals.

    • mark golding

      Neil – Agreed – We observe the remark by NC viz

      “sanctions against Washington would have been appropriate when it invaded Iraq, or Afghanistan, or many other cases. Of course, that’s unthinkable given U.S. power and, in fact, the first few times it has been done — the one time it has been done — the U.S. simply shrugged its shoulders and escalated the conflict. That was in Nicaragua ,when the U.S. was brought to the World Court, condemned for unlawful use of force or to pay reparations, responded by escalating the conflict. So it’s unthinkable in the case of the U.S., but it would be appropriate.”

      Unthinkable yet certainly not impossible when one is mindful of this worlds financial system. Unplugging the Russian economy opens a new chapter in the history of economic conflict. In a world that relies on the financial system’s plumbing—clearing banks, settlement systems, messaging protocols and cross-border letters of credit—a few concerted moves can flatten a major economy and further a steel-tipped boot used to steal foreign reserves,

      I believe it is judicious to remind ourselves that conflict, pandemic, social engineering and a kaleidoscope of measures can and are used by the plutocraps to divert and mislead folk. If money is worthless, and citizens use barter, physical metals, cryptocurrency and promissory notes etc to conduct transactions, and no longer use central bank currency, simply because it has been hyper-inflated, the US/UK regime authority, control and power disappears including financial war and regime theft, because all control comes from the powerful flow of central bank currency.

      An economic crash that may well befall Russia will interpolate the call by China (and Russia) for a world currency disconnected from State in effect adding up to a global financial reset.

      The totalitarian Black-shirt has shown itself to us in the Ukraine theater and I am certain eugenics and controlled die-offs ‘proxified’ by the capitalist magnates are a reality one must not ignore or discount. At the very least keep hold of the pitch-fork.

      • Neil

        Mark, do you also agree with the beginning of Chomsky’s sentence you quoted, i.e.

        “I think that support for Ukraine’s effort to defend itself is legitimate […] against the aggressor?

        How about (Chomsky again):

        “the overwhelming mass of the war crimes, the ones that we should be considering, are carried out by the Russians. That’s not in dispute. And they are major war crimes.”?

        By the way, you don’t need to tell me that the Iraq invasion was bad. I agree with you. But it’s not 2003 now, it’s 2022, and there’s another illegal invasion happening. If you (rightly) condemn the Americans for Iraq, why not condemn Putin for Ukraine?

        • mark golding

          Neil – As anticipated 2003 is as 2022 where superpower countries and their allies respect or adhere to no international law thus illegal and ratified may well or have degraded to an oxymoron.

          Rather what comes into view for dominant countries such as Israel, the US and the UK, are unilateral decisions to wage war taken without consideration, respect or judgement of the United Nations or international laws which it seems do not apply to powerful countries and… without any kindness, love and gratitude for the innocent folk trying hard to better their future.

          This means that the world will remain systematized and ordered by an international institution acting as an impotent façade, a veneer, a front of legitimacy and authority such as the United Nations, which cannot enforce the law and compel governments to respect it. Please start to live in the real Neil

          • Neil

            Are you writing in an approving way? Do you mean to say that if your neighbor on one side is a serial killer, your neighbor on the other side is a serial killer, then laws no longer apply and it’s OK for you to be a serial killer too? Or do you think laws still apply and Russia should be condemned for its illegal aggression?

        • SA

          Neil
          The occupation of Iraq is ongoing. The war against poor Yemenis continues unabated, the occupation of Palestine is entrenched. Afghanistan took twenty years to achieve nothing.

          • Neil

            SA yes, yes, I know, it’s terrible. Can you turn your attention to Ukraine for one second? Is that terrible too or is Ukraine unique among all these conflicts in being a wonderful war? The deaths simply marvelous? The aggressor, in this case unlike all the others, being a great guy spreading love through the world?

          • Giyane

            Neil

            However many times you or Craig or BoJo
            or Chomsky say that Russia is the aggressor, it only makes sense to me if you discount the years of passive aggression in which in Iraq the US and US recruited young men in the ’80s in Kurdistan to poke Saddam and in Ukraine it has been doing the same for rhe same duration, say 20 years.

            There was nobody to protect the Libyans from terrorists USUK put in power in Libya .
            Those London groomed terrorists have reverted Libya to mass slavery, mass prejudice against black Africans, mass discrimination against women and children.

            Praise be to God, although USUK planned to do the same to Syria and Iraq, Vladimir Putin prevented it eventually in an ongoing struggle of good over evil.

            If you don’t know what passive aggression is, you have probably never been divorced. It starts at the beginning of a relationship 20 years before the divorce. One person puts up with passive aggression and eventually that person in desperation chooses bankruptcy and divorce.

            The British state in its infinite wisdom fails to take into account passive aggression in marriage or in geopolitics. You agree with them. So really there is nothing further to discuss.

            Britain is finger in mouth sweetness and light, in Yemen, in Somalia, in Northern Ireland, in Scotland… everywhere. Their sweetness and light exudes like rays of inspiration to the whole world. Their amor vincit omnia.

        • Natasha

          Neil asks: “If you (rightly) condemn the Americans for Iraq, why not condemn Putin for Ukraine?” Because the US bombed Iraq to rubble for oil. Whereas Russia is protecting itself from a slow NATO invasion begun in the early 1990s for long term US access to Russia’s oil, minerals and agricultural resources. Also, why do you frame your thinking as Putin vs American(s)? Why not US vs Russia? Or Bush and Blair vs Putin?

          • Neil

            Natasha, frame it any way you want, there has been no “slow invasion of Russia by NATO”. No NATO troops have crossed the Russian border, no missiles fired. Even now, NATO is reluctant to get directly involved for fear of provoking Putin to use nukes. Don’t play with words. There is an invasion, whatever Putin wants to call it, and it’s a real invasion, being carried out by Russia. There is only one cause of that invasion: Putin’s contempt for the lives of those being destroyed by his war, both Ukrainian and Russian lives.

          • Giyane

            Neil

            You seem to have used Natasha as a human shield in order to avoid addressing my points about long term passive aggression by USUK against Russia.

            My first father in law was a picture restorer whose father died before he was born fighting another British colonial war. Maybe In the Boer War. He was working on a painting of a battlefront and said to me, ‘there’s far too much blood in this picture ‘and was painting over it in grey paint.

            You are painting over the legal and moral arguments with red blood. The fact is that USUK pointing missiles at Moscow is much more than passive aggression because computers can make mistakes , and humans, and missiles could accidentally be fired at Moscow any time of day or night.

            If you were conducting an inquest, you’d be saying that it was a mistake, no blame on the West. Which is callous, dishonest and biased support for USUK continual active aggression against Russia. You can’t deny it. Frame it how you like.

          • Neil

            Giyane, I’m using Natasha as a human shield? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

            Your recent comments argue (as far as I can make out) that the West did something bad in Iraq, therefore we can excuse what Putin is doing in Ukraine. I didn’t respond because that’s such an obviously weak argument. If using violence on a weaker adversary in order to get what you demand is wrong, it’s wrong for everyone. It can’t be wrong for the US but OK for Russia.

          • Natasha

            Neil, You appear to have been ‘gaslighted’ by war porn and media delivered ‘intelligence service’ produced propaganda. Instead try critical thinking: there are always 2 sides to a conflict, but you refuse to see this, thus exposing you are impossible to reason with, so I shan’t bother any more, except to offer this evidence of the very real “slow invasion of Russia by NATO” (no of course there are no NATO boots on the ground in Russia – yet – but to suggest I meant boot are there, further evidence you are not looking for genuine engagement and /or learning here).
            https://duckduckgo.com/?q=map+of+NATO+bases+Europe&t=ffsb&ia=web

          • Neil

            “of course there are no NATO boots on the ground in Russia”

            So why use the word “invasion”. Are you trying to look at things dispassionately or simply win an argument through exaggeration?

    • Pooh

      Neil

      Good link. Thank you.

      Do you agree with everything Chomsky says in the interview? If not, what do you disagree with? If you had an opportunity, having seen the interview, to put just one more question to Chomsky, what would your question be?

      The pretext for going to Iraq was false.

      In the circumstances he found himself in, Putin had no choice as seems to be clear from the interview. True to his word, he’s been doing what he said he might do depending on the situation.

      “the overwhelming mass of the war crimes, the ones that we should be considering, are carried out by the Russians. That’s not in dispute. And they are major war crimes.”

      Would you doubt that the Russians would dispute it?

      • Neil

        I agree with a lot of the Chomsky interview, but I don’t think you’re right about Putin having no choice. He made the decision freely, out of ignorance, bravado, cowardice (we all know he wouldn’t have gone to war if he’d had to drive the armoured car at the head of the first battalion). and a desire to look tough and grab some land. No one was threatening to invade Russia so the self defence reason is patently false. If someone threatened Russia, he has his nukes. He knows the power of nuclear threat. He knows full well NATO doesn’t want to be an aggressor against Russia because of those nukes. His claim that Russia is fighting defensively is patently a lie.

        But what leaves me cold about the interview and about Putin’s reasons and pretty much everyone’s response is the comfortable, distant, considered tone compared to the visceral horror of seeing your daughter’s legs blown off, your old father shot in the head while riding his bicycle, your family burning alive in some basement, your unborn child murdered in your womb. We all know that people like Putin, Chomsky, Baud, the Putin war cheerleaders on these boards etc would not be saying what they’re saying if they were cowering in a burning basement with the disfigured corpses of their children. They would be screaming for the bombs to stop. What disgusts me about the warmongerers is their failure of imagination for what it’s like for the people in the middle of it, for the indescribable horror they must endure, to look down and see your guts sliding down your trouser legs and plopping onto the ground. Most of the people cheering on the war probably think indescribable horror is having their computer mouse battery go flat in the middle of writing a comment, or running out of coffee. As far as Putin goes, it takes a special kind of psychopathy to put your own esoteric obsessions with historical events above the suffering of those who don’t give a shit about your obsessions, who are entirely innocent, who have never harmed and will never harm you or anyone else, who just wanted to get on with their lives. Not a single one of those victim’s will should be subsumed to Putin’s will, and certainly not several millions.

        • Shaun Onimus

          I do wonder if you yourself would be still shilling for the Nazis if you were one of their current hostages. Or locked up awaiting extradition for revealing their ‘defensive’ war crimes. Just cus your MSM overlords allowed you to have empathy in this war doesn’t suddenly make you a saint for your shilling.

          Emotional appeal seems to override any common sense for too many screen viewers. I wanna blame MCU/Star Wars and their black+white ideologies for these current affected populations. It’s been in the making for longer I assume but I doubt you’ve existed for that long, since it’s only $current_thing on your mind.

          • Neil

            Shaun, I know, how dare somebody bring emotion into a discussion involving the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. Please ignore little old emotional, simple minded, Nazi-shilling me, doing the bidding of my msm overlords. Oh, and thanks for your sophisticated critique.

        • Pooh

          Thank you for your reply, Neil.

          “we all know he wouldn’t have gone to war if he’d had to drive the armoured car at the head of the first battalion”

          I don’t know that. I suppose neither Zelensky nor Biden would.

          • Neil

            Pooh, well, Putin was free to do so but chose to stay in his bunker in the Kremlin and send 18-year-old conscripts to die instead, whereas Zelensky was offered a ride out but asked for ammunition instead. I think that’s suggestive of the relative moral fibre of these two men.

          • Pooh

            Well, Neil, one could say Zelensky is also free to do so but chooses to stay in his bunker and let the lesser mortals to do the fighting.

            As far as I know, there are no Russian conscripts taking part in the special operation in Ukraine.

            “Zelensky was offered a ride out but asked for ammunition instead. I think that’s suggestive of the relative moral fibre of these two men.”

            I agree. It suggests that Zelensky has a safe retreat waiting, while Putin will stand put with his Motherland.

          • Neil

            Pooh, most of your comment just confused me. But re conscripts, Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor KonashenkovI already admitted that they have sent conscripts to Ukraine. Is the Russian Defense Ministry now part of the web of msm lies too?

          • Pooh

            Neil

            I’m sorry to hear most of my comment confused you. I guess the fault is entirely mine. Please let me try to clarify..

            You:

            “we all know he wouldn’t have gone to war if he’d had to drive the armoured car at the head of the first battalion”

            Pooh:

            “I don’t know that”

            You:

            “Pooh, well, Putin was free to do so but chose to stay in his bunker in the Kremlin and send 18-year-old conscripts to die instead”

            Pooh:

            “Zelensky is also free to do so but chooses to stay in his bunker and let the lesser mortals to (sic) do the fighting.”

            ——

            I remember it being reported in the beginning of March that Igor Konashenkov admitted that Russian conscripts had taken part in the special operation in Ukraine, not as combatants. At about the same time it was also reported that an order had been issued forbidding sending conscripts to Ukraine. This is why I said “As far as I know, there are no Russian conscripts taking part in the special operation in Ukraine.” (Present tense.) Goes without saying that if I’m wrong, my apology will be forthcoming.
            —–

            You:

            “Zelensky was offered a ride out but asked for ammunition instead. I think that’s suggestive of the relative moral fibre of these two men.”

            Pooh:

            “I agree. It suggests that Zelensky has a safe retreat waiting, while Putin will stand put with his Motherland.”

            Zelensky has been quoted as replying “I need ammunition not a ride.” to an American offer of evacuation. I think it’s reasonable to surmise that such an offer will not be withdrawn, and that “a ride” will be to a place of safety. I’m certain that Putin will not leave Russia under any circumstances.
            —–

            Moral fibre… of a man who plays piano with his wife’s best friend, plays a politician, and becomes a politician with a gang of Nazis at his disposal financed by an oligarch of dubious past who happens to be the politician’s (ex?) benefactor… Call me old-fashioned, but how would I begin to comment? Neil, you really got me now, you got me so I can’t sleep at night. But thank you anyway.
            —–

            “Is the Russian Defense Ministry now part of the web of msm lies too?”

            I shouldn’t think so. Why would you ask me this of all people? You wouldn’t be paying me back with trying to confuse me for my having unwittingly confused you, my old china, would you?

          • Neil

            When a city is surrounded and being bombarded by an enemy, and the leader in the city is offered a safe ride out, and he refuses, for me that shows bravery, for you that’s proof of corruption and cowardice.

            And if something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a … toothbrush?

          • Pooh

            Neil

            “When a city is surrounded”

            Kiev , if that’s what you are talking about, wasn’t surrounded on 26 February when Zel refused ‘a ride’. You seem to be making things up as you go, letting your argument for Zel’s bravery boil down to nothing in the process.

            Futhermore, you said that, for me, Zel’s refusal of ‘a ride’’ is “proof of [Zel’s] corruption and cowardice”, that’s a calumny, Neal, a CA-LUM-NY, ‘cause I’d said nothing of the kind. You made it up, mein lieber.

            Pooh Esq

    • Bruce_H

      Very interesting indeed, a pity that you and your sidekick aren’t a little more selective in your quotes from it.

      It’s a shock to see just how old he is now, the years really flash by, my vision of him is perhaps 20 years out of date, but his mind is still working, he seems to be just a little too resigned, it’s partly humour but some may take it at face value. A good link though all the same.

      I wonder if you listened as far as his remark about “whataboutery” right at the end?

  • Beware the Leopard

    So on 20 March the “excellent war leader” announces the banning of 11 political parties, including the legislature’s largest opposition party.

    It seems the ban was actually imposed by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, a government agency whose membership is determined by the president.

    In Western press, this apparently got some attention in the form of short, spare articles for a day afterward. Such articles uncritically included details like how the ban was supposed to be “temporary”. (I saw not a single article interrogate in what practical sense such a ban could prove to be “temporary” in reality.)

    And then, absolute silence, as far as I can tell.

    Are such measures commonly taken by “excellent war leaders”, in the peculiar sense that Mr Zelensky is supposed to be one?

    • Pears Morgaine

      The Opposition Platform for Life, Ukraine’s biggest opposition party, is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Moscow oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin. It held 44 seats out of 450. The British Union of Fascists was banned on the outbreak of war and its leaders imprisoned. Difficult to see how it could’ve been otherwise.

      • Wikikettle

        Murad Gazdiev of RT, reports from the front can be seen on Enema of the State on YouTube. Also Brian, a US Marine, has his own blog The New Atlas on YouTube.

        • Wikikettle

          The fact that Ukrain is the poorest most corrupt country in Europe with many having a violent racist ideology is a portent of things to infect other European countries as their economies collapse and the corrupt political and media class lead their populations over the cliff. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Vichy France fall to Fascists again. History repeating itself.

          • Neil

            Wikikettle,

            “…violent racist ideology is a portent of things to infect other European countries…”

            Unlike most Eastern European countries, electoral support for far-right parties in Ukraine has only rarely exceeded 3% of the popular vote.

            In the 2019 Ukrainian election, extreme-right political parties won only 2.15% of the vote and failed to pass the 5% threshold.

            The far-right is however heavily represented among the pro-Russian separatists with several past or current leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk linked to various neo-Nazi, white supremacists and ultra nationalists groups.

            Meanwhile in Russia, pro-Putin nationalist and far-right groups remain largely tolerated by the Kremlin. Ruskii Obraz, a neo-Nazi group with links to the far-right terror group BORN, received official government support as part of Putin’s policy of ‘managed nationalism’.

          • Jack

            Neil

            Nazi groups are banned in russia, in Ukraine they are hailed, supported, armed.

            There are no “ruskii obraz”, defunct a long time ago and the leader was even jailed for murdering a anti-fascist. Stop copy and paste names and terms from articles you stumble upon lol.

          • Jack

            Neil

            Nazi parties, groups are forbidden in Russia, in Ukraine they are hailed, supported armed.

            There are no “ruskii obraz”, defunct long time ago, the leader even jailed a couple of years ago for murdering amongst other an anti-fascist.

          • Pooh

            Jack

            The leader of RO and his girlfriend were jailed .in 2011 if I remember correctly.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Russkii Obraz Still exists despite the jailing of its leader. As the link explains it worked hand in glove with Putin to suppress opposition.

          • Giyane

            Neil

            You open another can of worms by talking of electoral support. One of the Barzani stooges from Kurdistan came to see BoJo this week presumably to be ordered to step up gas and oil production , none of whose revenues go to the Kurdish people.

            His car was covered in broken eggs by demonstrators. It is absolutely impossible that these Western Stooges could ever be elected. Elections are merely a stamp of respectability on a totally fraudulent , rigged system. So spare us the statistics of fraud.

            Also, since you like referring to the Kremlin, can I remind you that Mr Corbyn was fraudulently denied his position of leader of the Labour Party by slanderous accusations by the same MSM that is now providing you with biassed propaganda about Ukraine.

            The criminals are not in the Kremlin. The criminals are the propagandist political.machinery of London and Washington., who have found a new use for the algorithms they use to print QE to print votes for the Democrat and Tory Parties.

          • Neil

            Giyane,

            “The criminals are not in the Kremlin. The criminals are …in London and Washington.”

            I think you’ll find they’re in all three.

          • Pooh

            Pears Morgaine
            April 22, 2022 at 04:03

            “Russkii Obraz Still exists”

            Cite, please?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Do you have any source for your claim that the Kurdistani people are not receiving any money from the sale of oil, Giyane? I’m not sure that’s the case since the Kurdistan Regional Government is currently charging tax of 40% per barrel on all oil exports from the region (which per barrel is far more tax than the UK government has been getting from North Sea producers recently) and Kurdistan has a rate of people living below the poverty line far lower than in Iraq generally.

            https://shafaq.com/en/economy/krg-imposes-taxes-on-oil-and-gas-companies

  • Jacomo

    Craig, this is an illuminating and thought-provoking piece.

    I do not agree with all you say, but your essential point is true: we need to come to terms with the complexity of the world as it is if we are to have a better future. Political adversaries may well speak essential truths; our ‘own side’ will peddle utter fiction to further political ambitions.

    Your insight on Ukraine and the far right in Eastern Europe is fascinating but I know this: Putin is a fascist. His botched invasion is further proof: fascists are seldom good generals. This covid-isolated autocrat has fatally misjudged the situation.

    I feel for the many good Russians who are having their lives turned upside down by this war, and those who have been so blinded by the propaganda war waged on them. Ultimately, we can only build a better world if we can hold our leaders to account, and Russians cannot do that.

    My hope for Ukraine is that it survives and embraces a positive kind of nationalism, the kind that Scottish independence aspires to: an open, welcoming country that seeks to engage with the world in a collaborative, positive way.

    As for NATO, you can bet that the Baltic states don’t regret joining, nor do they regret their EU membership. UK has inexplicably given up its membership of the latter. Surely it is now the EU’s monumental task to forge some kind of brighter outcome for Eastern Europe?

  • Beware the Leopard

    The Origins of Ukraine’s Fascists and why it Matters; interview with historian Tarik Cyril Amar (5 April 2022, 1 hour 44 min)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C7DE2KFJHs

    The interview touches on many topics, and I learned something new from the discussion of each. There are already chapter headings in the description on the video’s youtube page, but I have amended those for accuracy and completeness below, according to my own taste:

    0:00 Intro
    2:01 Origins of right wing Ukrainian nationalism
    :4:25 Ukraine during soviet times
    7:54 Ukrainian collaboration with nazis in WWII
    14:00 Ukraine after the soviet collapse
    16:00 Post-soviet right-wing nationalisms and historical revisionism
    21:04 Understanding Ukraine’s far right factions
    26:56 Is the US arming neo-nazis in Ukraine?
    33:21 Azov battalion infiltration of military
    37:33 Whitewashing of Ukrainian nazis by Western institutions
    49:30 2014’s contribution to rise of far right
    57:27 Far right threats against Zelensky
    1:06:02 Russian invasion: Boon to the global far right?
    1:10:49 Broken NATO promises to Russia
    1:14:00 “NATO is a defensive alliance” and Russian due diligence
    1:16:00 Pernicious NATO open door policy, and its predictable consequences
    1:19:30 What alternatives to invasion did Putin have?
    1:25:20 Threat of a more militarised Germany and Europe
    1:39:30 Remarks on writing for RT, and general remarks on censorship

    I am glad the interviewer thought to ask Amar (1:19:30) what alternatives he thought the Russian leadership had discarded, when they chose to pursue instead the present military operation.

    It is the obvious question to ask anyone who takes the position that this invasion is an illegal war of choice and a poor (even foolish) decision given the alternatives. It would be interesting to see Craig’s substantial answer to the same question, given his extensive domain-specific expertise.

    My own (entirely amateur) view is that Western powers’ achievement of regime change in Russia would be the eventual likely outcome of Russia continuing diplomacy to the exclusion of military force. To my eye, it did not look like time was on Russian leadership’s side. Put crudely, I saw NATO piling up manure on Russia’s doorstep, saturating it with gasoline, and transparently preparing to light it on fire.

    It seems Amar leans in the contrary direction, namely that time (plus diplomacy) was —or may have been— on the side of Russia.

    If Russian leadership held in fact a more pessimistic view (one more like my own), then the question becomes not whether, but when to use military force, provided such measures stand a reasonable chance of averting that outcome (Western powers-engineered regime change). (As Gandalf said to the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring: “It is wisdom to recognise necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope.”)

    I especially appreciated the intellectual honesty of Amar’s answer to the question of what alternatives Putin discarded. I expect someone taking his position would be tempted to overstate the likely promise of their imagined alternatives, but I detected no sign of this in his reply.

    • Crispa

      The assessment seems spot on. I have been reading the UK Home Office “Country Reports” which it produces to help make decisions about asylum seekers. Its report on Ukraine has been recently withdrawn but it is clear from the previous versions that this country has been fully aware all along of the extremely dodgy political and human rights situation in Ukraine and the extent of the of the extreme nationalist influences on the political process and on the ground in Donbass. We aver that we do not tolerate these forms of extremism in this country, but with USA are cynically prepared to back them in other countries’ back yards if we think it serves our interests and gets one up over the pesky Russians, who seem to have been our enemies form time immemorial. (World War 2 cooperation was the exception born out of necessity) not the rule.

    • mark golding

      Neville – The silence is deafening – In a pinned tweet, Gonzalo listed journalists that he claimed were victims of the “Zelensky regime” and wrote, “If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list…” PBUH

    • Jack

      Yes the silence by the west politicians and MSM is sickening but the regime in Ukraine that most likely have either kidnapped or killed Lira thanks the west for their compliance in their efforts to silence journalists critical of Zelensky.

      A post Lira made back in march:

      “You want to learn the truth about the Zelensky regime? Google these names:
      Vlodymyr Struk
      Denis Kireev
      Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
      Nestor Shufrych
      Yan Taksyur
      Dmitri Djangirov
      Elena Berezhnaya

      If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.
      GL”

      https://twitter.com/realGonzaloLira/status/1507644195212824582

      • Neil

        “You want to learn the truth about the Zelensky regime? Google these names:
        Vlodymyr Struk
        Denis Kireev
        Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
        Nestor Shufrych
        Yan Taksyur
        Dmitri Djangirov
        Elena Berezhnaya”

        Googling those names would be little trouble, Jack. If you want to learn the truth about the Putin regime, googling the names of the >30,000 innocent civilians who have already died in the war might take a little longer.

        • Jack

          Neil

          And counting the hundreds of thousands killed because of UK and US wars past decades will take even longer.
          Just to make it clear. Do you condemn these killing of journalists by Zelensky forces? It is not obvious from your comment.

      • Wikikettle

        Excellent and welcome good news he was picked up by SBU, held and then released. Meanwhile in UK Jullian Assange was “picked “up by our SBU from within an Embassy and still held/tortured according to UN in a prison.

        • Wikikettle

          Scott Ritter is posting on YouTube channel ” U.S. Tour of Duty ” since being cancelled on Twitter. His latest on Nato and Finland. Gonzalo is live chat on Duran just now with both Alex and Alexander. He can’t talk about his arrest detention and situation in his location for obvious reasons. Very fortunate to be picked up by the people who did. Still could be picked up by the wrong people!? He cannot leave. He’s asking what the news has been since his arrest.

  • Stevie Boy
    • UK issues D notice to hide the fact that they ARE training Ukrainian military forces [1].
    • Now we find that Ukrainian Military are also actually in the UK being trained [2].
    • “SAS have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, as have American Deltas” [3].

    I wonder how many Ukrainian people (and Russians) have, or will, die because of this type of support ?
    Diplomacy is another obvious casualty of the UK Government’s incompetence, lies and corruption.

    [1] https://socialistworker.co.uk/news/cover-up-as-british-army-fuels-war-drive-in-ukraine/

    [2] https://www.rt.com/news/554305-uk-ukrainian-troops-johnson/

    [3] https://www.indianarrative.com/world-news/elite-us-uk-forces-in-ukraine-since-beginning-of-conflict-with-russia-says-french-daily-163587.html

    • Neil

      Stevie,

      “I wonder how many Ukrainian people … will die because of this type of support?”

      Stevie, you have it back to front. It’s not the UK troops who are killing Ukrainians. It’s Russians who are killing Ukrainians. I can’t believe I’m having to spell out such an obvious point to you.

      • Peter

        Neil,

        If you watched/listened to the Chomsky interview all the way through (thanks for the link btw) you will have seen him make it clear that the US (supported by their lackeys the UK) will not allow Ukraine/Zelensky to negotiate a peace deal – because they want to use the situation to inflict maximum damage on Russia and see Putin removed.

        As Chomsky put it (6m40s), quoting Chas Freeman, the American policy is “… let’s fight to the last Ukrainian …“

        A peace deal was on the table before this war began, it will almost certainly be very close to what will be agreed when this war is over – some approximation of Minsk ll. Indeed had Minsk ll been implemented it is entirely possible, likely even, that there would have been no war.

        But America wouldn’t/won’t allow it.

        Nobody believes Ukraine can win this war. Maximum effort should be directed to negotiating a peace deal, that is the way to minimise death and destruction. Instead maximum effort is going into escalating the war, ie sending in more and more weapons, which can only maximise the amount of death and destruction.

        Pumping in more and more weapons will help nobody but merely serves America’s aims of weakening and marginalising Russia.

        “Fighting to the last Ukrainian” is America’s policy not Russia’s.

        This is not an imperial war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine, it is an imperial war of regime change by America against Russia – sadly with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people used as the weapon and the cannon fodder to further that end.

        • Neil

          Peter, I admire Chomsky but his analysis is not all encompassing. For example, what’s the alternative here? That Ukrainians should have immediately surrendered and bowed to Putin’s demands instead of fight to defend their country from a bullying aggressor?

          What would you do in such a situation? Salute a foreign Invader and say “aye aye sir!” because he’s threatening you and your family with death and destruction? Would you expect Russians to immediately surrender if invaded by Ukraine, under any circumstances? No, I figured not. So why vice versa?

          • Giyane

            Neil

            ‘ I do not accept the premise of your argument ‘is a useful phrase when being bullied .

            All ,zelensky had to say, but for some reason was unable to say, I wonder why, is that he stood by his Nazis and he stood by US threats against Russia.

            In democracies nobody ever tell the truth because nobody would vote for them. This is a little bit wearing for statesmen like Putin and Lavrov who hold themselves accountable to their peers in the international community who are fully aware of USUK Nato belligerence.

            Democracy has become a farce of lies and broken promises. You call the Russian forces Conscripts, but you can’t see how every MP and commentator in the Western world is invisibly conscripted by their salaries and jobs, to sing from the US hymn sheet.

            It would be sad to be a conscript without any kind of choice. Would it not?

          • Peter

            Neil,

            The situation in Ukraine is truly diabolical but the means by which the war could have been avoided, which will most likely be very similar to the way that it will be ended, are basically pretty simple.

            What would I do in such a situation? Perhaps it’s more a question of what would I have done in that situation.

            First and foremost I would have done everything to avoid conflict in the first. All other things being equal (which clearly they weren’t) that should not have been so difficult. What Russia was seeking, and had been seeking throughout the Minsk negotiations and agreements at least since 2015, were security guarantees. Minsk ll was agreed and signed by Russia, Ukraine, Donbas and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who, along with the leaders of Germany and France, helped negotiate and oversaw the deal.

            Unfortunately although Ukraine signed the deal they never implemented it – almost certainly directed so by the US and under threats from their neo-Nazis. Their military assault on Donbas therefore continued. That was back in 2015.

            Even so, efforts continued for a peace settlement, and an agreement on mutually acceptable defence and security arrangements should not have been that difficult to achieve, unless, of course, you’re under the thumb of America and under threats from neo-Nazis (whom America is supporting and arming).

            Neutrality is not such a bad deal at all if you have defence and security guarantees along side it.

            If Mexico formed a partnership with China and invited it to place military bases and nuclear missiles pointed at the US along its border with America do you think America would just say ‘it’s a sovereign country, it can do what it wants’? Of course not.

            Mexico remains neutral at no great cost to it’s self.

            The basis for a defence and security arrangement was there before the war, will almost certainly be the basis upon which the war will end, and should be the basis on which urgent peace negotiations should now be taking place.

            The fact that there has already been so much death and destruction, of course, now makes that agreement so much harder, but the fact that so much death and destruction will only multiply under the current circumstances makes it so much more urgent, pressing and necessary.

            That is to the good of everybody – except, of course, an America seeking world domination.

          • Johnny Conspiranoid

            “what’s the alternative here? That Ukrainians should have immediately surrendered and bowed to Putin’s demands instead of fight to defend their country from a bullying aggressor?”

            They could have talked to the people in the Donbass and done a deal which guaranteed their safety and democratic rights, then talked to Russia and promised not to put nuclear weapons on their borders which pointed at Russia and only had a few minutes flight time to Moscow. Of course it is their right to have nuclear weapons and to point them anywhere they like but its not the kind of thing which inspires trust in your neighbours.
            Whataboutery is necessary and important because past behaviour is the best guide to future behaviour. So, if we want to decide if Russia was justified in invading The Ukraine we have to consider the consequences of invasion versus non-invasion.

        • mark cutts

          Can’t disagree with a word you said.

          The idea seems to be to create a new Afghanistan and bog down Russia in a futile and long war.

          That way the Russians cannot link up economically/militarily and in energy supply terms with the real
          aim of the whole process China whilst they are otherwise occupied with war matters.

          I do have to have a wry smile at The West moaning about the effects of sanctions they have put on Russia.

          Russia sanctions back and they go all American saying it’s not fair.

          I do think that if Germany refuses gas ( they could just be cut off – but that’s unlikely) then Biden will have to come up with the LNG goods.

          I suspect the US won’t be able to supply enough.

          Others might supply some but Germany uses a lot I hear.

          So far from a German recession it could cause a lot of damage beyond that.

          A lot of trust is being put in the terrible Western leaders and the Germans ( as should Zelensky ) should not just accept
          the words of thse leaders as good coin.

        • Neil

          Peter, the problem with the Mexico analogy is that Mexico doesn’t have any interest in joining a defensive military alliance with China because Mexico knows that US troops will not be crossing the Mexican border any time soon to annex bits of Mexican territory. Ukraine wanted to join NATO because it feared Russian aggression. Tell me, do you think Ukraine had any reason to fear Russian aggression? Simple question, yes or no. (My prediction is you will not answer. Follow up question: Why won’t you answer?) And now we have Finland and Sweden planning to join NATO. Why? Not because the US is pulling their strings but because they too are afraid of Russian aggression. Do you think Sweden and Finland are justified in fearing Russian aggression?

          Yes, yes, I know America has done bad things. I know Ukraine isn’t blameless. But this war? No, sorry, f#@k Putin.

          • Peter

            Neil,

            The Mexico analogy is entirely appropriate for the reasons I, Noam Chomsky, and countless others have already given.

            Prior to the illegal coup, Ukraine did not only not fear Russia but was on the verge of signing a trade and partnership deal with it.

            Even post the coup, Ukraine had the option of negotiating a defence and security arrangement with Russia, with international guarantees, that would have ended any such fears of Russia. Unfortunately for Ukraine and its people, America had absolutely no intention of allowing such a deal. Just as they had no intention of allowing Ukraine to form a partnership with Russia in 2014 and so orchestrated the illegal coup, which is in itself a kind of invasion.

            I’m not aware (I stand to be corrected) that, before the current situation arose, Russia has ever threatened Sweden or Finland.

            The number one threat to world peace, without any doubt whatsoever, as we have seen time and again this century, is the USA. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria all lie in dust and chaos with the deaths piled up and counted in the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands, all thanks to the good old US of A. Currently the worst, and worsening, humanitarian disaster on planet Earth is the ongoing war in Yemen where, with the military support of America (if not actual ‘boots on the ground’ – very similar to the Ukrainian situation) over 300,000 have died.

            The American establishment has no care at all for the numbers of people that have to be killed and the countries that have to be destroyed in order to maintain its global supremacy.

            And now, so it is in Ukraine.

        • Neil

          Peter, why was 2014 an “illegal coup”? Why not a popular uprising? Has the US been meddling in Mexican affairs since 2014, sending arms to Mexican government adversaries, sending its army across the Mexican border, annexing Mexican territory? You’re the one who said you’d do all you could to avoid war in the first place. Has Russia been doing all it could to avoid war in Ukraine? Sending an invading army to annex Ukraine’s territory doesn’t sound like doing all it could to avoid war. But of course you only meant that comment to apply to Ukraine, didn’t you? Russia always gets a free pass.

      • Squeeth

        Come on Neill, the US-Ukronazi regime have had a head start on the Russians since 2014 in killing Urainians but the US-Ukronazi regime only attacked civilians.

    • Wikikettle

      Stevie Boy. Indeed we are very good at showing US how to do things ” properly ” with our SAS and have a history of engineering the US to join WW1 and WW2. We even used SAS to train Pol Pot. We trained Jihadists and now actual Nazis. No longer the World power we once were, we can show our US cousins that we can help them with Russia Gate against Trump, Chemical Weapons attacks via Jihadists blaming Assad and dream up a Naval Relief of Oddessa now ! ” Who Dares Wins ” ! With young Liberal Humanities graduates in political power, going into well paid think tanks and European Parliaments, telling people to have less showers and “work from home” – while the majority of the world actually manufacture things, we speculate and have ” services ” FFS. I love listening to Martyanov having yet another rant and agree at the BS he points out.

    • Pears Morgaine

      I wonder how many lives will be saved if these weapons can hinder Russian aggression. Not just in Ukraine but across Europe.

      • Wikikettle

        US Nato UK France is not able to militarily intervene in Ukraine. It can however mobilise a mother of all media propoganda campaign, cancel debate, collectively punish all Russians, dehumanise them as it did Muslims. All the weapons its sending into Ukraine are being destroyed before they get to the front, being sold on the Black Market, ending up all over the world, some totally useless and about to pass their ” kill by date” and in total a huge money laundering scam, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ukrain no longer a functioning state, millions going to Europe, all because we wouldn’t say they can’t join Nato from the get go and support a minority of thugs who intimidate the silent majority who voted for a comedian who promised them good relations with their neighbour. US and Nato can invade poor countries and kill millions when those countries are not an existential threat to them. Nato in Ukraine would have been an existential threat to Russia. Russia acted as a last resort. Its tragic, but we we engineerd it and have to take responsibility for the misery and death. The world sees us as bullies and as cowards when it comes to fighting Russia.

        • Pears Morgaine

          “All the weapons its sending into Ukraine are being destroyed before they get to the front, being sold on the Black Market, ending up all over the world, some totally useless and about to pass their ” kill by date” and in total a huge money laundering scam”

          Be a waste of time asking for proof of this of course.

          • Tom Welsh

            This whole thread is a great waste of time. Each side rejects the trustworthiness of the other side’s sources. There is thus no basis for reasoned, civilised debate.

          • Neil

            Tom, it’s not so much not trusting the source, often no source is given. And if it is, it’s from Russia, where independent media is banned and criticising the war is a prisonable offence. How can such a source be trusted? The other problem is, you ask a question (such as “How can Russian source be trusted?) and you don’t get an answer, except some whataboutery such as “How can Western source be trusted?” which is simply avoiding the question.

            Having said that, I personally have found this thread useful. I disagree with the invasion supporters here, but I understand better how people attempt to justify this war to themselves. It seems to stem from hatred of the West, understandable given the many bad things the West has done, but ultimately is inconsistent. If you’re going to criticise the West for waging illegal wars, Russia should be judged by the same standards, not constantly excused.

          • ET

            “And if it is, it’s from Russia,……….”

            Utter nonsense. Are you suggesting John Mearsheimer, Scott Ritter, Jacques Baud are propagandising Russian disinformation or are Russian sources?

            “In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out.”
            — Jacques Baud in his already referenced post.

            Such conditions for the break out of a conflict were predicted and warned against by Henry Kissinger and George Kennan, both stalwart architects of USA foreign policy and both referenced in this thread. Are you claiming those sources to be Russian disinformation?

            Do you remember the coverage of the second Iraq war, a war based on false assumptions? The glorification of “shock and awe,” the technical prowess and righteousness of precision missiles, the gleeful toppling of a Saddam statue, the deck of cards of wanted former Iraqi key figures? Were there pictures in the newspapers of small Iraqi children maimed with their blood stained soft toys nearby? Whatever your thoughts on the rights and wrongs of that war surely the fact that governments, aided and abetted by media, lied us into it. Does that not give you pause for thought, a reason to question the integrity of what’s being reported now? Are we being shown photographs of the starving children in Yemen, an ongoing conflict where the very same maiming of people by bombs is happening? Are you simply going to ignore the hypocrisy in the contrasting media coverage? Where are the outright condemnations of the Saudi war and its consequences in Yemen?

            “If you’re going to criticise the West for waging illegal wars, Russia should be judged by the same standards, not constantly excused.”

            Similarly, you’re going to criticise the Russia for waging illegal wars, the West, Saudi Arabia, USA, France, UK should be judged by the same standards, not constantly excused.”

          • Tom Welsh

            Neil, you wrote,

            “Tom, it’s not so much not trusting the source, often no source is given. And if it is, it’s from Russia, where independent media is banned and criticising the war is a prisonable offence. How can such a source be trusted?”

            How can you not have noticed that that was exactly what I meant when I wrote (in the comment to which you were replying), “Each side rejects the trustworthiness of the other side’s sources”?

            You have just explicitly and sweepingly rejected all Russian sources. Similarly, I distrust all official Western sources, including governments, corporations, and the mainstream media.

            My personal belief is that some, at least, of the Russian sources are quite trustworthy. Such as Russian government statements and Dmitry Orlov. Then there are bloggers of Russian extraction who live in the West, like The Saker and Andrei Martyanov; and a few objective commentators such as John Helmer.

  • vin_ot

    I do not think that winning this war is the point for the Americans and their acolytes*. Prolonging it is. That’s where the money is made and it’s what the fog of propaganda (#StandwithUkraine) is meant to obscure. That is bad news for Ukrainians, who would benefit from a negotiated settlement, but they are the least concern of western politicians and their financial backers in the weapons industry.

    * Losing a war is no longer the stigma it once was for a self-serving US elite. They haven’t won a major war since nuking Japan. They have lost two — Vietnam and Afghanistan– and fought to bloody stalemates in two others, Iraq and Korea. The primary function of these holy fights for democracy or whatever is to further enrich the bomb makers, which is also why NATO was not disbanded in 1991 despite serving no obvious purpose.

    • Wikikettle

      Russia, the biggest land mass country in the world with a small population has no need to acquire more land. Its hand was forced in Ukraine and it will now support economically the areas it has occupied. When it comes to Finland and Sweden, it will not have to invade to protect a large Russian speaking civilian minority under shelling for eight years. It will simply ask Sweden and Finland to not allow foreign troops, bases and missiles to be stationed there and stay neutral, as it asked Ukraine. The majority of Swedes and Fins, I would have thought, would agree, but I doubt they will be asked.

      • Pears Morgaine

        “Russia ….. has no need to acquire more land.”

        So why the annexation of Crimea and ongoing attempt to occupy Donbas region?

      • Stevie Boy

        It’s quite obvious that the overriding USA agenda is ‘divide and conquer’. It will aim to achieve this by first, totally surrounding Russia with NATO forces and nuclear arms; Secondly, foment colour revolutions within Russia by supporting insurrections amongst different ethnic groups; Third, aim for independence of the different groups, thus splitting Russia into many tiny statelets. This will effectively neuter Russia and make it impossible to prevent a USA takeover of the economy and industry. Then onto China and India.
        This approach has been successful in the Middle East and has neutered the Persians and the Ottomans.
        A stripped down version of this approach has also been successful in neutering the UK, and let’s not forget who the biggest political and financial supporter of ‘the troubles’ in Ireland was.
        This is why Russia’s pushback in the Ukraine is very much a good thing for the world.

    • Wikikettle

      Wrong, its thought it “might” if you read even the title from a capitalist financial media outlet. Russia does not need China. China needs Russia. Russia is self sufficient, while China is embedded in world trade.

      • Pears Morgaine

        Russia imports $220 billions worth of goods and raw materials every year. Biggest exporters to Russia are China and Germany with road vehicles, vehicle components, medicines and computers being amongst the top imports. Russia is the world’s largest importer of aluminium oxide.

        Whilst Russians will still be able to use UnionPay internally they may not be able to use it for purchases from outside Russia.

        • Wikikettle

          Germany will lose the Russian Market for cars and car parts. Culturally Russians looked to the high end Western consumer goods : BMW cars and all the brand names. Increase in living standards, increase in the middle class wishing to have luxury things. Now nearly all Russians have stopped believing that they can join the West, trade with it and have good relations. They have given up on us. They want to stay independent and won’t bend to our globalisation neo Liberal take over. Michael Hudson is the guy to read. Our economics are that of fantasy and conjuring something from nothing. Russian economics is real, something with the backing of commodities, gold, energy and food. A flash beemer on the never never and a huge mortgage for landlordism is now no longer desired by Russians. They have a huge trade surplus. India will supply pharmaceutical and China computers and not in dollars. Apoplexy……..

          • Pears Morgaine

            “Germany will lose the Russian Market for cars and car parts.”

            Who to? I can’t see the Russian middle classes giving up their Mercs and Beemers for Ladas anytime soon besides it’ll include the more downmarket VW brands as well.

            India is the main producer of counterfeit drugs, 75% of the global total. Good luck buying your medicines from them.

    • ET

      It appears to be a little more complicated that that.

      https://www.intellinews.com/chinese-unionpay-payment-system-backs-away-from-russian-banks-on-secondary-sanctions-fears-242072/

      Union Pay is concerned they may be subject to secondary sanctions if they are dealing with sanctioned Russian banks. However the above article states that only 7 of Russia’s over 370 banks are actually subject to SWIFT sanctions (so far, anyway).

      “UnionPay cards that are accepted in 180 countries are still issued by Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank), Gazprombank, Bank St Petersburg, Solidarnost, Zenit, Post Bank, Primsotsbank, Primorye and Russian Standard Bank.”

  • Michael K

    Craig has a soft spot for Poland. I do too, as part of my large and extended family lives there, but has roots in Ukraine. Put bluntly, Polish nationalism is just as dangerous as the even more extreme Ukrainian variety. Even more bluntly, Poland only seems to have two modes; either it’s occupied by its more powerful neighbours, or Poland is attacking them, usually with disastrous results to follow. In many ways Poland has always been in delicate relationship to its neighbours. Historically, looking at the map, Poland had the mighty Austrian Empire to the South, an even more powerful Russian Empire to the East, and Germany to the West. Realistically, Poland’s best policy would be to establish positive and normal relations with its neighbours, instead Poland has chosen the opposite approach; and sadly it’s doing the same thing today in relation to Russia over events in Ukraine.

    • Wikikettle

      Michael K. Indeed, Russia is surrounded by former Soviet Union countries, nearly all now in Nato and with a political class of neo Liberals doing the US bidding. Their economies however are shot, in debt and now having to cope with literally millions of Ukrainians and Zelensky demanding the EU today for seven billion every month in aid. Europeans, who are not used to food shortages, energy insecurity, hyper inflation and mass unrest are seeing their hedge funds leaving to the US and the outcome of French elections which I think will bring in Le Pen, a bigger shock than when Trump beat La Clinton. Instead of leaders working to serve the needs of their people, they will carry on regardless with distraction and blaming the other.

      • Wikikettle

        Not well publicsed is the the fact the Ukrainian gangsters sold off/ privatised huge amounts of farm land to American companies. Globalised, neo Liberal, Rapacious and un patriotic Zelensky. I hope India doesn’t go the same way. Europe however is f____d.

  • Jack

    There is still some sanity left in Germany.

    “Germany should stop sending weapons to Ukraine – public figures
    Military aid to Kiev prolongs the suffering and makes Western nations parties to the conflict”

    “If the conflict is not stopped quickly, it will end up in “another big war” similar to Word War I, the letter warns, adding that this time nuclear weapons might be used, bringing “widespread devastation and the end of human civilization.”destruction and escalation should be an “absolute priority,” it adds.”

    https://www.rt.com/news/554384-german-politicians-stop-aid-ukraine/

    • Pears Morgaine

      “battlefield for the conflict between NATO and Russia over the security order in Europe”

      Well they got bit right. All the more reason for supplying Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself. Naturally Russian state mouthpiece RT has a vested interest in trying to leave Ukraine undefended and helpless but there can be no negotiated resolution if one side is forced into unconditional surrender.

  • Goose

    It’s reported that Russian Olympic swimming champion Evgeny Rylov is to be suspended for nine months for attending that recent Putin rally.

    We are seeing lots of these arbitrary decisions based on the moral outrage. They are understandable, but without consistent application, completely wrong and objectively unfair.

    The world has many hideous regimes led by dictators & despots, leaders who’ll jail and torture political activists. Many of these leaders have stood alongside Olympic medal winners to bolster their own image. Many of these brutal regimes are quietly backed by the US and UK.

    It puts athletes in an invidious position. Do they reject association and denounce the country’s leadership, potentially at great risk to themselves and their families. Or go along with it for a peaceful existence?

    The people making these decisions need to pull their heads out of their backsides, and think how they’d feel living in the country, put in a similar position. Would they choose a fight?

    • Stevie Boy

      If I remember rightly, it was the UK that supported saudi’s bid to head the human rights commission ?
      Go figure.

        • Wikikettle

          The world is splitting up. The brand names “Wimbledon” who would never even think of banning an Israeli, “Eurovision” song contest which Israel enters despite not being in Europe, demonstrate once again to the vast majority of the world’s population the Rank Hypocrisy and open Racism of the Collective West. Tomorrow will be a shock to Nato and US if Le Pen does a Trump.

          • Wikikettle

            Pears Morgan demonstrates the Collective Wests superior colonial attitude by his assertion that India makes 75% of the worlds “counterfeit drugs”. The fact that Western Pharmaceutical Co’s use long Patents, denying poor countries the ability to make their own medicine is no Moral Concern to him and his breterin. India is on the edge of jumping off the fence. On one hand the US threatens sanctions, NGO’S if it doesn’t behave. Thats what the coup in Pakistan was all about. US will use military of Pakistan to keep India busy. For the sake of poor people of India I hope it stays non aligned and Independent, makes peace with China and does not use religious devision of the ruling BJP. All the cards seem to be with the war mongers, in the constant battle to have peace and development. Going back to Pharmaceutical PATENTS, they should be a very short licence time if any.

          • Jack

            Exactly! It is indeed racism, note how few people that protest against this discrimination in the west, the racism against russians are so deep by these same anti-russian liberals, meanwhile they can condemn Le Pen all day for her views!

      • Squeeth

        @Stevie Boy

        If I remember rightly, it was the UK that supported Saudi’s bid to head the human rights commission ?

        Shouldn’t that be “behead”….?

  • DiggerUK

    Two articles in Peter Hitchens regular Mail on Sunday commentary will be of interest to visitors here.

    The first is a denunciation of the moves to extradite Julian to the USA. He provides the address for Home Secretary Pritti Patel to write to:-
    The Rt Hon Priti Patel, Home Secretary, The Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.

    As to the war in Ukraine he gives his opinion that a lot of players welcome this war, a war he describes with “no serious effort to make peace, from any direction” He gives as support comments from one Leon Pannetta, who was “Secretary of Defence in the US government from 2011 to 2013. He was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011” I see such a person as a credible voice.

    For me the main point he raises is the total absence of any peace effort from any direction or source.
    Even on this comment stream there remains no overwhelming noise for peace negotiations. We all have our prejudices with the main combatants, our main focus should be to raise a ruckus demanding a ceasefire and negotiations…_

    • Giyane

      Digger UK

      Peace comes after Divorce, but the West cannot bring itself to cut itself off from China because China makes all its stuff. The penny will drop eventually that neither Russia nor China mind leaving the West to stew in its own juice. The West will lose its addiction to shopping , borrowing, and debt, because they can no longer get their slaves to work while putting their knee on their neck. Non Western Lives Matter. Love it.

    • Wikikettle

      Martyanov in his latest blog gives the example of Douglas Feith who was in charge of policy at the Pentagon in early 2000’s and described by General Tommy Frank’s as a clueless idiot. Martyanov gives context to today that the clueless idiots are still in charge and a tactical nuke false flag is well within their “capability ” and hopefully there will be someone anyone in Pentagon to stop this evil plan. The narrative in media is however floating this madness- that Russia ( while about to win ) is going to use a tactical nuke ! Is there nothing that these psychopaths are not capable of ?

        • Wikikettle

          Giyane. I don’t know where to sail to escape this madness. I did live on a broad beam narrow boat on the Thames, now on a sailing boat, still on the south coast. We are all stuck in this sick world whatever our circumstances, family, work and health. What is positive is that despite the censorship, there are so many young people following in the steps of Fisk and our host Craig. There is actually more detail emerging about the sick world we inhabit despite the presstitutes. That doesn’t help the state of spirit and mental being of those who want to know and change our course to oblivion.

    • Shaun Onimus

      I assumed peacetalks were tried post-2014’s coup. Wasn’t that what the Minsk agreement(s) were about? It feels the West only sees dead Ruskis as their preferred form of peacetalk.. The special operation is the response to failed peacetalks IMO. Maybe once it finishes, they can try again. Hopefully the West actually responds with talks and not more shipment of arms. Kinda hard to talk over all the loud shelling of the Donbass region(which we weren’t tuned into then for some reason, and our emotional appealers chose to ignore).

      • Wikikettle

        Talking about Oblivion, Scott Ritter gives more details about what happened to him at the hands of Biden and FBI when he went beyond his pay grade. On “usefulidiots” with Katie Halper and Aaron Maté

    • Tatyana

      Leon Panetta was one of those intelligence people, who lied about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
      If you remember the story appeared right before the latest US presidential elections. The story was announced ‘Russian disinformation’, ‘Kremlin lie’, ‘wild conspiracy theory’ and similar labels.
      Today, we learn that the Biden’s laptop story was true, and every person involved in covering it up simply was telling lies.
      Including Mr. Panetta, among 51 intelligence officials, who left their signatures under the letter.

      • DiggerUK

        Leon Panetta cannot be accused of deceiving about there being nobody showing the slightest interest in negotiating peace. It’s patently true.

        On March 17 he said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics: ‘It’s a proxy war with Russia whether we say so or not. That effectively is what’s going on”
        I’m damned sure he’s also quite happy with the situation.
        Arms industries everywhere are pleased as punch over this tragedy as well.

        Hunter Biden’s laptop isn’t killing people, the war is. An immediate cease fire must be demanded to allow meaningful peace negotiations to start. Anything else is an abomination…_

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

        Tatyana,

        “Article 51
        “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

        So – when you say:-

        “Leon Panetta was one of those intelligence people, who lied about Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

        So read this then get back to me:-

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/what-law-who-breached-us-iran-west/5689912

  • Goose

    For me the nagging questions are :

    • Could this war have been averted had Zelensky implemented the terms of the Minsk accords?
    • Did US meddling in Ukraine embolden Zelensky into taking those hardline rejectionist positions; positions that meant Macron and Scholz’s late diplomatic efforts stood no chance of success?
    • The US and UK did little to support those diplomatic efforts, dismissing them, why?
    • The US trained Ukraine’s army in guerrilla warfare and insurgency tactics as if preparing for this exact war of attrition. Insight as to what was to come?

    None of this excuses Russia’s actions and the brutal way they’ve conducted the war. Ukraine shouldn’t have been invaded. But the risks of Minsk rejectionism were obvious and Ukraine appears to be stuck fighting and possibly losing, someone else’s proxy war.

    And the most absurd aspect to this is that if Ukraine somehow do prevail, they’ll need another Minsk type set of proposals to prevent civil war. Unless the West wants to support retaliatory ethnic cleansing?

    • Andrew H

      Looks more like civil war brewing in Russia with those fires at Bryansk. (and the other recent unexplained fires). Someone is seriously unhappy with Putin. Could it be powerless oligarchs unhappy about losing their yachts and villas and seeing their wealth and mining businesses going down the tubes? (Putin owns all the oil wealth – so looks a bit like a drug cartel turf war). I could speculate about other people that are also none to happy about this war – returning soldiers with PTSD, the military itself….

      • Shaun Onimus

        Interesting take. I assume secret agents working overtime. Also strange all the food processing plant fires in the US this past month. I can’t attribute it to enemies yet and no one will ever admit, wattya think, civil war? Unhinged billionaires? Silent enemies?

        • Wikikettle

          Yes, Google is helping Ukraine by bringing into focus sattelite images of Russian sensitive sites. Usually it has out of focus all military sites of all countries. Once again we are setting precedents and breaking convention, only to receive an equally forceful return of service.

          • Tom Welsh

            Google is not part of the picture. The Pentagon has far more and far better pictures and other intelligence that is never revealed to the public. Russia is fighting a war of a very different kind. On one hand it is striving to liberate a fraternal country largely populated by ethnic Russians many of whom identify with Russia, and hence to do as little damage as possible. On the other hand, it has to deal with the enemy being helped in every conceivable way other than actual forces on the ground. It seems quite possible that “Moskva” was sunk by direct NATO action.

          • Wikikettle

            I agree Tom, I speculated that Moskva was sunk by US/UK navy divers on mini subs or submarine drone. We will never know. That highlights the feasibility of large ” Capital ” ships vulnerability. The most obvious – aircraft carriers and all their jets, up to 80. Not to mention the thousands of people onboard. I saw a documentary filmed on board a US carrier. There were men and women representing the wide section of American society onboard, stuck in the steel windowless holds doing a job thousands of miles from their loved ones to make a living. Ordinary folk in close proximity to nuclear reactors and bombs. What a waste of unproductive war work. Not defending US but used of Imperial Empire.

    • Tatyana

      Ze was the second president to sign up the Minsk agreement. It should have been implemented by Poroshenko. Instead, he decided to force Donbass to accept the central authority of Kyiv. This is the main mistake.

      The population of Ukraine, like a patchwork quilt, consists of many ethnicities, each having its own cultural and religious characteristics. This is not much different from other countries in Europe (with the possible exception of Poland, which is remarkably mono-ethnic.)
      If you look at the map, Ukraine is larger in area than France, Germany and Great Britain. At the same time, the population of Ukraine is smaller than in Germany, France or Great Britain. No one lives in crowded places, there is enough space for everyone.

      However, Germany is made up of federal states, France is made up of provinces, and the United Kingdom is a union of several states under one crown. But Kyiv decided that they are exceptional, and that giving part of the power to the regions is a bad idea, and the entire vast Ukrainian land should be subject to the will of only a few people in the capital.
      They started fighting the Eastern parts of Ukraine back then in 2015 and called it a fight for democracy (haha, what hypocrisy! the whole point of this attack is to prevent the population from choosing their own local authority)

      Mr. Murray says there was no concentration of Ukrainian troops near the borders with Russia, but they were. Moreover, now, when they are retreating deep into Ukraine, fortified structures, concrete bunkers, underground utilities and huge arsenals are visible in the vacated territory. All this cannot be built in a few days, this military infrastructure has been created over the years.
      Also Mr. Murray to talk about the illegality of the Russian invasion. I will be extremely careful in my choice of words, because 1. I’m not an expert in this field; 2. English is not my native language; 3. I can’t put together in my head how it is possible to assess the legality of the war. However, I will try.

      Donbass and Luhansk from the very beginning wanted more rights AS A PART OF UKRAINE. I think it’s a legal right. This is what the Minsk agreements are talking about, the federalization of Ukraine. Kyiv responded to this desire of the people with military coercion. The international community has also failed to help with the implementation of the Minsk protocols.
      In the February, the DPR and LPR turned to Russia with a request to recognize their independence. Many of you will remember poor Naryshkin answering this question to Putin 🙂
      I’m sure that Russia has a legal right to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR, even if other countries are not happy with this decision. If I’m wrong, if the law does not give such a right, then please correct me.
      Further, an agreement on collective security was signed with these republics. I’m sure it’s also perfectly legal. And then, on the basis of these legal acts, troops were sent to Ukraine.

      If we evaluate the larger circumstances of this conflict, then, of course, assistance to the Donbass is seen as a pretext. Because Russia has a threat to its own security, which comes from the territory of Ukraine – NATO infrastructure; hostile activity; covert hostile programs; oppression of ethnic Russians; revival, whitewashing, and even glorification of Nazism, which this time is targeted against ethnic Russians.

      Thus, Russia’s military intervention solves several problems at once. And yes, I believe that this could have been prevented 1. by implementing the Minsk agreements, and 2. by obtaining clearly formulated, legally significant guarantees of Russia’s security from NATO’s activities in Ukraine.

      Once again, I cannot turn my tongue to say that the war is justified. This simply cannot be and it’s impossible to ever justify any war. How can one say that killing people is a … something necessary? I’m a woman, and I’m a mother, and I’m a human being. I can only talk about the reasons that led to this, and only express regret that the conflict has escalated to such extremes.

      • Stevie Boy

        Tatyana. Good to hear from you again.
        The legal position, in my unqualified and confused opinion, with regards to Ukraine and Russia is very similar to the positions taken by the west in regards to Bosnia and Serbia. So, if what happened to Serbia was legal then what is happening to Ukraine must also be legal.

        • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

          Stevie Boy,

          The US/West has time and again breached International Law – so to argue similarities in illegal conduct gets you in a trap. Two wrongs do not make legal right in point of International Law.

          • Stevie Boy

            You’re quite right !
            However, in the real world it’s might that is right and international law is just an @rse for the little people to cling to. The USA does what it wants, Russia says we’ll have some of that, thank you. Meanwhile in Yemen, Gaza, Syria, etc. people die and International Law is ignored with NO consequences. The UN doesn’t recognise Croatia but the UN Courts do ! Go figure.
            We, the little people, just have to accept that currently International Law is a fantasy construct.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

        Tatyana,

        I quote you:-

        ” Mr. Murray says there was no concentration of Ukrainian troops near the borders with Russia, but they were. Moreover, now, when they are retreating deep into Ukraine, fortified structures, concrete bunkers, underground utilities and huge arsenals are visible in the vacated territory. All this cannot be built in a few days, this military infrastructure has been created over the years.
        Also Mr. Murray to talk about the illegality of the Russian invasion. I will be extremely careful in my choice of words, because 1. I’m not an expert in this field..”

        Well, who am I? I live and work in the Caribbean having been born in Jamaica and moved for my further education to England and have travelled extensively (and expensively) and am a lawyer in active practice of law for over forty years – soon to retire. So, I answer you in two ways.

        1. On the concentration of troops – simply share the imagery in a credible way.
        2. As regards the law – the answer comes in two ways:-

          i) Read the UN Charter Article 2 (4) – that is the answer.

          ii) UN Secretary General Guterres on his recent visit to Russia ably and skillfully stated – there are no Ukrainian troops in Russia – there are Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

        For what it is worth – I respect your views – as a Russian with a sound analytical mind – and am happy to exchange views.

        For my part – I want this war to end as soon as possible.

        • Bruce_H

          What about the recognised right of a country to make a pre emptive attack when it’s vital interests are at stake?
          In his recent meeting between Putin and the UN chief in Moscow the precedent of Kosovo was brought up by Putin, does this seem valid?
          PS. I’m no lawyer, just asking questions
          PPS. It’s a pity the meeting didn’t stay up long on YouTube, it was an RT video, gone now.

    • Jack

      Goose

      Good points, on number #2, definately. Zelensky now know that he do not have to make any peace with Russia since he is backed by west just to push on with the war trying to crush Russia on the battlefield and thus the talks between Russia/Ukraine have broken down.
      In sum: There are no criticism against Zelensky by western media nor western politicians, he can do anything he want and that is why the war is still rages on.
      Also today I read that even more military aid by the west is coming which just will prolong the war even more:

      US to allocate $713 million on military aid for Ukraine, 15 other countries — AP
      https://tass.com/world/1442327

      I also read that there was an explosion in Russia at an oil depot on the border with Ukraine. If Ukraine/west is behind that, it tells us once again that Russia is not really prepared for this war and it will also embolden Ukraine/west that they can strike Russia and do not have to sign any peace agreement in talks, they will try to swamp Russia.

    • DunGroanin

      That is escalation I see. It may be related to the hits on the shipments and warehouse in Odessa? Let’s remember that there are units which have tried to get at the Russian border and there may well be successful ‘guerrilla’ type cells in Russia.

      Only one bunch of people I know of who would do such a Raid.

      We’ll soon see.

      As we celebrate the day that saw the Red Army meet their ‘Allies’ that brought the Nazi’s and their Axis war of conquest to an end 80 years ago, through the survival and sacrifice of over 20 millions of the Soviet peoples. Let us not forget that War upon Russia -surely the primary aim of all the backers of the fascists- turned not just on the survival of Stalingrad, but the greatest Tank battle ever in1943 at Kursk, in the Steppes, in the same part of that continent as now!

      Of course with stand-off weapons, drones, satellites and radar and even deadlier explosives, its different now.

      But it is just as important as then.

      The Germans of all peoples will know and tremble at yet again paying the price of the folly of attempting at ‘winning Russia’ as yet again the proxy canon fodder (Economic suicide this time – I bet gas will be freely flowing to Germany through NS2 by the beginning of winter no matter what the Frackers want).

      The French had their taste a century earlier as did us Brits in between with our Victorian hubris; as have most of the other usual suspects of European Monarchies, owned by the same powers. Now that Manny has once again stolen the French presidency with barely 15% of the voters with their absurd ‘system’ I expect him to go ‘full tonto’ on Putins arse and stop pretending. As both Justin and Jacinda did. He knows the tables are turned and it’s existential for his Owners now. So once more will the petite roi aim to destroy the Republic.

      I’ll raise a glass of vodka even if it isn’t made in Russia, to these many millions dead who saved the world then and are having to so again from the same ideological stormtroopers and their ‘charismatic great leader’.

      What fate awaits him? Benito’s or the Bunker annihilation and ashes? Or he may take ‘the ride’ but probably not Florida just some desert palace in Saudi , like Idi Amin when he was pensioned off

      Cheers!
      За встречу! [za fstryé-tchoo] To our meeting!
      За нашу дружбу! [za ná-shoo dróo-zhboo] To our friendship!

      • Wikikettle

        DunGroanin. On leaving primary school I was presented with a book by my teacher on famous battles of world history. In which was the siege of Stalingrad. Then watching the World at War series. Today watching the biggest battle taking place since WW2 in Donbass. Our populations in the West totally ignorant of history and the scale of suffering both Russia (at the hands of Germany) and China (at the hands of Japan) suffered in WW2. We are about to witness the Russians re defeat in the same location the Ukrainian forces as you mention. The cowardly fantasists and wishful neo cons/neo Liberals won’t fight Russia directly. The Russians more united than ever will celebrate Victory Day in May with the greatest pride since the one in 1945.

    • Bramble

      All wars are brutal. Ask anyone at the receiving end of American offensives, which are far more deadly and ruthless. It is madness to treat this conflict as exceptional. It makes negotiating peace well-nigh impossible.

      • Wikikettle

        Bramble. Russia won’t allow US nukes in Ukraine or Poland or any country near its borders. We didn’t listen to Russia before and won’t listen now. Expect any bases in Poland or Romania to be annihilated if they station nukes.

    • Peter

      Goose,

      The question is would America allow Zelensky to do anything of which they did not approve.

      Here’s Gonzalo Lira’s take:

      “No, the peace talks failed when Zelensky’s master—Victoria Nuland—ordered the Ukrainians to disavow the small concessions they had made in Turkey.

      That’s when the Russians realized there would be no negotiated resolution to this conflict—it’s become a winner-take-all situation.”

      Ukraine is not run by a Ukrainian government. It’s run by an American one. With regards to the conflict, much like the UK.

      https://twitter.com/GonzaloLira1968/status/1518461387227471873

    • Goose

      The risk of ‘retributive justice’ is probably a better description of the future risks.

      Ukraine seems beset with distrust and suspicion already. The Grayzone’s report titled : “One less traitor”: Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition – is worth a view.

      Images of opposition figures who’ve been accused of treasonous behaviour and roughed up. The MSM likes to present Ukraine as some ‘normal ‘ western European democracy, but many will recall the punch-ups in Ukraine’s parliament before measures were taken to ban and/or exclude parties.

      https://thegrayzone.com/2022/04/17/traitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition/

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    I was reflecting on the war in Ukraine and a few thoughts flashed across my mind.
    By the time Russia invaded Ukraine was already at war – a long eight year civil war. It seems to me that the Russian Speaking Ukrainians want a fair degree of autonomy ( if not full independence). The Government in Kyiv was not having that and thus the war. Ultimately if the Kyiv Government wanted to take back full control in the east then it would mean an all out invasion by them.
    I am saying that whatever angle one considers this crisis from it spells war.
    So, view in a certain light the question becomes not whether there was a be an on-going smaller war or a larger Russian invasion of Ukraine – but war for how long either way.
    Any thoughts?

  • Harry Law

    All 5 veto wielding powers and their friends are above law for all time because the US and UK accorded themselves permanent seats on the Security Council, the only United Nations body with any authority, and gave themselves a veto on decisions of the Council. The result is that they can engage in aggression against other states, as and when they like, without fear of a slap on the wrist by the Council, let alone being subject to economic sanctions or military action mandated by the Council.
    (Stalin agreed that the Soviet Union would participate in the United Nations once Churchill explained to him that the Soviet Union would have a veto as well.
    Nationalist China was added to the list at the insistence of Roosevelt, and Churchill insisted that France be added as a counterweight to China
    http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/iraq/ags-legal-advice.pdf
    So it is futile to argue International law against any of the veto powers, any resolution without all 5 veto wielding members approving it, gets condemned to the memory hole. End of.

1 6 7 8