US Assistant Secretary Nuland Visits Ukraine – Some Thoughts to Share (II)

US Assistant Secretary Nuland Visits Ukraine – Some Thoughts to Share (II)

Part I

West - outright and flagrant interference mixed with facts twisting

In his annual State of the Union speech in the U.S. Congress President Obama said «In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and to have a say in their country's future». The US urges Ukraine not to clamp down on peaceful protests. The officials deliberately use the word peaceful perfectly realizing any resemblance to anything «peaceful» is no more. The protests ceased to be peaceful a long time ago, especially since January 19 turning extremely violent with extremists getting a free hand in broad daylight. At the Munich security conference John Kerry met the leaders of Ukraine’s opposition parties and said that the US is «fully behind» them, that is behind the forces seeking to overthrow the democratically-elected government by all means, including force, «Nowhere is the fight for a democratic, European future more important today than in Ukraine», Kerry told the conference participants, «The United States and EU stand with the people of Ukraine in that fight». At the same time the US says it wants any outside powers to keep away from interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs! Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed concern by «attempts to involve the military in the crisis». What would he say if someone expressed concern over using force against European protesters, or those who were involved in mass riots in the Tottenham district in London in 2011, or the Occupy movement? 

There was a flurry of top EU officials visiting Kiev in December 2013, including European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Guido Westerwelle, at the time Germany's foreign minister, openly giving one-sided support to the opposition. At that Brussels had the chutzpah to accuse Moscow of what the European Union itself has been engaged in Ukraine. The European Parliament drafted a resolution earlier this week, claiming that Russia is bringing unacceptable pressure to bear on Kiev. The resolution urges the EU countries to speak with Russia with a single voice and think up moves to counter it. Instead of unequivocally condemning the rise of violent Ukrainian nationalism, which could turn Ukraine into a war-torn country, the West is only threatening President Yanukovych with sanctions, while turning a blind eye to the real danger coming from radicals. To achieve their aims they are planning substantial short-term financial assistance for Ukraine, as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reported. The Commissioner explained these plans to the Wall Street Journal, which wrote of «the West’s most significant move to date to reopen the geopolitical struggle for Kiev since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned his back on an EU economic pact and, instead, signed a deal with Russia for $15 billion in aid».

Speaking at the conference European Council President Herman Van Rompuy admitted that Ukraine is currently a common concern of European countries. «Ukraine is on all our minds», he said. It is a sign that the EU has not given up its mind to woo Ukraine. «The offer is still there», Van Rompuy said, «And we know time is on our side. The future of Ukraine belongs with the European Union», he said never minding to ask Ukrainians if they thought alike. 

As mentioned above, EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton is heading to Kiev to talk with political leaders on February 5. «The more intermediaries there are, the more problems there are,» Russian President Putin commented the news at the January 28 Russia-EU summit. 

Situation creep sends shivers down the spine

Since the mid-January the Ukrainian traditional opposition parties went out of focus in favor of Pravy Sector or Right Sector, the organization few had ever heard before. It is made of the activists of radical groups, including UNA-UNSO and the ‘Svoboda’ (Freedom) ultra-right party, «Trizub» and ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ openly announcing their plans to launch a guerilla war against the government. Para-military trained neo-Nazi rightists have taken over the protests and launched a tough fight against police. Andrei Tarasenko, Pravy Sektor’s coordinator warned, «If they attack and try to carry out a bloody crackdown, I think there will be a massacre. Guerilla warfare will begin in Ukraine». The stated goal is to oust the current government and «build a nation state». Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at riot police from the top of the Dynamo Kiev football stadium in central Kiev beginning January 19. Police responded by using stun grenades and tear gas against the mobs. More than sixty police were hospitalized from barrages of rocks, stones and Molotov cocktails.

The hard core of the protest movement is made up of neo-Nazi groups, characterized by vicious xenophobia, anti-Semitism and revisionism. Since January 19 the average ‘protester’ is not a pro-European hipster, but a violent, xenophobe glorifying Ukrainian Nazis who fought in World War II. Their published Manifesto states «All those who at this point would try to tame the revolutionary energy of the masses should be proclaimed traitors and punished in the most severe way. The time of peaceful singing and dancing at Maidan is over. This is waste of time. There can be no negotiations, no compromise with the ruling gang. We will carry high the fire of national revolution». Ambassadors of the US, Canada and some EU member states have gone to Maidan to meet Pravy Sektor activists. Instead of unequivocally condemning the rise of violent Ukrainian nationalism, which could turn Ukraine into another failed state like Somalia, the West is only threatening the incumbent government with sanctions, while turning a blind eye to the danger emanating from the right wing extremists and nationalists.

Russia stands for non-interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged European governments on January 21 not to interfere in Ukraine’s political crisis and expressed concern that events in Kiev could be spinning out of control. «We would prefer that some of our European colleagues refrained from acting unceremoniously over the Ukrainian crisis, when, without any kind of invitation, members of certain European governments rush to the Maidan (central square in Kiev), take part in anti-government demonstrations in a country with which they have diplomatic relations,» Lavrov told a news conference. «It is just distasteful».

On January 25 Lavrov cautioned the U.S. against meddling in Ukrainian affairs and making inflammatory comments. «I told [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry that is very important now not to interfere in the process and to avoid any statements that will only heat up the situation,» Lavrov said in an interview with state television news program Vesti v Subbotu. (14) «I hoped he heard me», Lavrov added. 

At a gathering of the world’s top diplomats and defense officials at the Munich annual security conference (January31-February 2), Sergey Lavrov took issue with what he said were «prominent European politicians actually encouraging such actions». «What does incitement of increasingly violent street protests have to do with promoting democracy?» Lavrov said. «Why don’t we hear condemnations of those who seize and hold government buildings, burn, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?» The Russian foreign policy chief suggested that a possible solution to tensions such as those over Ukraine was a free trade zone including the European Union and the Customs Union of former Soviet states, «It is unlikely that any European nation would face the ‘either-or’ choice today if we were already on the track to a common European home», he said. «Unfortunately, what still prevails is the logic of preserving the dividing lines according to the principle of ‘he who is not for us is against us».

Russia considers external interference into Ukraine’s domestic affairs inadmissible, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on January 23. «It is absolutely inadmissible for us to interfere into domestic affairs. We are confident that the Ukrainian authorities know what to do and will find best solutions to bring the situation back to normal, onto a legal and peaceful track», he said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. He added, «We absolutely cannot understand when foreign states’ ambassadors working in Kiev say what the Ukrainian authorities should do, from where they should withdraw interior troops, from where withdraw police forces and so on. In other words, we cannot understand when such instructions from outside on what to do are given. Of course, this is an absolutely inconceivable story. And of course, we cannot approve this and more likely this situation evokes our indignation».

Ukraine's political crisis dominated the summit between the European Union and Russia on January 28, with Russian President Vladimir Putin assuring Ukrainians that Russia would honor a loan deal whatever government emerges in Kiev. «I think that the Ukrainian people are able to sort it all out themselves. Anyway, Russia will never interfere», he said speaking at a press conference after the summit. The Russian President also promised not to revise the recently signed agreement on assistance to Ukraine, whatever government comes to power in Ukraine. «We believe that both the loan and the phased reduction in energy prices on gas, are associated with the need and desire to support not any particular government, but the Ukrainian people». «Are we going to revise our arrangements on loans and energy if opposition comes to power? No, we are not», said Putin.

Gist of the matter and wrong persons at wrong time in wrong places

Russia has urged the European Union not to interfere in the situation in Ukraine on the belief that the Ukrainians should themselves decide on the path they want to follow in the future. The appearance of European and US politicians at the Kiev-held rallies amounts to heavy-handed interference in the affairs of the sovereign state. But the West just cannot reconcile with the fact that Ukraine has chosen not to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Looks like it is ready to go to any length (ethics and diplomacy forgotten) to reverse the situation, for instance, portraying the extremists and hoodlums as fighters for democracy when they behave like Nazis. The West is openly trying to destabilize the country. 

On January 31 President Obama spoke about his vision of events in Ukraine. He said the United States hopes that negotiations with Ukraine’s officials and political opposition will lead to «some sort of democratic process that creates a government with greater legitimacy and unity». «We have been actively engaged in what’s been happening in the Ukraine. Not only has our embassy and our folks who are over there been talking to the opposition as well as the government, but folks like Vice President (Joseph) Biden have spoken directly to President (Viktor) Yanukovych about our belief that, No. 1, rules that restrict protests and free speech are ultimately counterproductive and we are very much against it». He added, «over the long term, part of what’s happened here is that the people of Ukraine are clearly looking to Europe and the West as a partner in a more free, more free-market based economy». So the democratically elected government of Ukraine somehow lacks legitimacy and the US sends «folks» to rectify the situation. State Department’s Victoria Nuland, the leader of «folks», is at the head of the process. She is openly supporting the opposition. She has visited the protesters’ headquarters and held rousing speeches in front of the excited crowds. The Assistant Secretary openly admitted that the US spent billions of dollars on ‘democratizing’ Ukraine. There is also a reason to believe that if worst comes to worst and the situation would make the US and Russia join efforts like they do in Syria, Mrs. Assistant Secretary will be a wrong person in the wrong position and at the wrong time. Because then there will be a need for constructive approach instead of brazen behavior unworthy of someone who is a career diplomat. Otherwise what career diplomats are for?