World
Andrei Akulov
May 13, 2014
© Photo: Public domain

Mariupol is a steel town right above the Sea of Azov in the vicinity of Donetsk. The regime in Kiev is now extending its reign of terror against all popular resistance in Ukraine and the city became a target and a place of shocking tragedy that ended up with terrible death toll. The events that took place on May 9 significantly changed the situation in the conflict-torn country. 

Ukraine’s bloody Friday

Rally participants came to the defence of police officers who were barricaded inside the local Interior Ministry building after refusing to fire on civilians. They got an order to disperse the rally on Victory day and arrest the most active citizens. Then APCs, national guards and Right Sector militants promptly arrived to surround the police department and open fire with machine guns and RPGs. Policemen shot back. In the end the police department was set ablaze. Some of the policemen were burnt alive. Local residents tried to defend them but the National Guard soldiers started shooting at the people in the streets. No matter that, people were able to block and then push them away. Retreating government forces shot indiscriminately on unarmed civilians who gathered near the burning police station. There are conflicting reports about the losses, but at least 100 people are reported to be killed. Many video footages testify to the atrocities committed by Kiev-based interim government forces. For instance, ITV provided on the ground video footage showing the people of Mariupol in large numbers attempting to stop the new Ukrainian military from taking over their town and killing them.

US and OSCE respond differently to the event

Washington voiced support for the bloody crackdown on anti-coup activists in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, blaming Russia for inciting the violence there. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, «Well, we condemn the outbreak of violence caused by pro-Russia separatists this morning in Mariupol, which has resulted in multiple deaths».

Despite the fact that the Kiev-based interim government used armor against civilians on the Victory day, which is considered holy by Ukrainians and other peoples of the former Soviet Union, the US State Department blamed local pro-federalization militias for the massacre. 

Responding to a reporter’s question about the «worrying escalation of the violence» witnessed in Mariupol at press briefing, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki blamed opponents of the Kiev regime, «We continue to call for groups who have jeopardized public order by taking up arms and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukrainian law to disarm and leave the buildings they have seized. So certainly, we are aware of that. We’re watching it very closely», she said. Psaki also referred to President Putin’s recent call for a direct dialogue between Kiev and protesters in southeast Ukraine as a key step to be taken to end the crisis, saying, «Any steps Russia would be willing to take to defuse tensions in accordance with its Geneva commitments. We’ve seen their words before. What we’re waiting for is actions, and if this crisis is going to end, we need their words to be made real». At the briefing, Psaki actually revealed that the US is overseeing and directing the crimes being carried out in Ukraine by its puppet regime in Kiev. For instance she mentioned the fact that Secretary of State John Kerry held a phone call with acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk just as the events in Mariupol were unfolding. According to Psaki, «Prime Minister Yatsenyuk provided an update on the security situation on the ground, efforts to maintain calm, and preparations for the election».

It is important to emphasize that the time the Western reaction to the tragedy was not unanimous. The West did not speak with one voice. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe condemned the actions of Ukrainian military using force against pro-federalization activists and civilians in the city of Mariupol. «I strongly condemn the violence, and call upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate steps to de-escalate a situation which has caused the loss of many lives, and created a climate of fear and anxiety», said Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan.

Kiev frustrates hopes for peace

Russia and the West have expressed a desire for the OSCE to play a greater role in defusing the tensions in Ukraine. On May 7 Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Didier Burkhalter, the Swiss President and current Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to make peaceful suggestions on Ukraine. According to him, the Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election as a move «in the right direction». «We believe that the most important thing is to create direct, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine». Putin added that Russia had withdrawn its armed forces from the Ukrainian border. The talks resulted in a roadmap for Ukraine containing concrete steps aimed at finding a peaceful solution including ceasefire, de-escalation of tension, establishment of a dialogue and elections. A gleam of hope for peace loomed at the horizon. «There are no grounds for a conflict between East and West», Mr. Burkhalter said. But there was an important prerequisite for the implementation of the plan. President Putin called on Ukraine's military to halt all operations against pro-Russia activists who have seized government buildings and police stations in at least a dozen towns in eastern Ukraine. Instead of seizing the emerged opportunity, Ukraine launched a government offensive (which it calls an anti-terrorist operation) to frustrate the chances for progress. 

The Ukrainian caretaker government is clearly responsible for trying to do away with still flickering hopes of finding the way to peaceful settlement of the crisis by launching a punitive action against civilians on the most revered date – the commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany. The interim rulers go on threatening further punitive actions. The bloody clashes in Donetsk, the Odessa massacre and the Mariupol bloody events have ultimately divided the country. Under the conditions the idea of holding a presidential election on May 25 has to large extent lost sense. No matter what the result is, the events will unfold along the escalation path. Mariupol shows that the Kier rulers turn a deaf ear to any peace initiatives. A troubled but intact nation six months ago, Ukraine has come full circle to get to the brink of being pulled into pieces amid raging civil war…

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Mariupol: Bloody Tragedy Making Hopes for Peace Fade Away

Mariupol is a steel town right above the Sea of Azov in the vicinity of Donetsk. The regime in Kiev is now extending its reign of terror against all popular resistance in Ukraine and the city became a target and a place of shocking tragedy that ended up with terrible death toll. The events that took place on May 9 significantly changed the situation in the conflict-torn country. 

Ukraine’s bloody Friday

Rally participants came to the defence of police officers who were barricaded inside the local Interior Ministry building after refusing to fire on civilians. They got an order to disperse the rally on Victory day and arrest the most active citizens. Then APCs, national guards and Right Sector militants promptly arrived to surround the police department and open fire with machine guns and RPGs. Policemen shot back. In the end the police department was set ablaze. Some of the policemen were burnt alive. Local residents tried to defend them but the National Guard soldiers started shooting at the people in the streets. No matter that, people were able to block and then push them away. Retreating government forces shot indiscriminately on unarmed civilians who gathered near the burning police station. There are conflicting reports about the losses, but at least 100 people are reported to be killed. Many video footages testify to the atrocities committed by Kiev-based interim government forces. For instance, ITV provided on the ground video footage showing the people of Mariupol in large numbers attempting to stop the new Ukrainian military from taking over their town and killing them.

US and OSCE respond differently to the event

Washington voiced support for the bloody crackdown on anti-coup activists in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, blaming Russia for inciting the violence there. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, «Well, we condemn the outbreak of violence caused by pro-Russia separatists this morning in Mariupol, which has resulted in multiple deaths».

Despite the fact that the Kiev-based interim government used armor against civilians on the Victory day, which is considered holy by Ukrainians and other peoples of the former Soviet Union, the US State Department blamed local pro-federalization militias for the massacre. 

Responding to a reporter’s question about the «worrying escalation of the violence» witnessed in Mariupol at press briefing, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki blamed opponents of the Kiev regime, «We continue to call for groups who have jeopardized public order by taking up arms and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukrainian law to disarm and leave the buildings they have seized. So certainly, we are aware of that. We’re watching it very closely», she said. Psaki also referred to President Putin’s recent call for a direct dialogue between Kiev and protesters in southeast Ukraine as a key step to be taken to end the crisis, saying, «Any steps Russia would be willing to take to defuse tensions in accordance with its Geneva commitments. We’ve seen their words before. What we’re waiting for is actions, and if this crisis is going to end, we need their words to be made real». At the briefing, Psaki actually revealed that the US is overseeing and directing the crimes being carried out in Ukraine by its puppet regime in Kiev. For instance she mentioned the fact that Secretary of State John Kerry held a phone call with acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk just as the events in Mariupol were unfolding. According to Psaki, «Prime Minister Yatsenyuk provided an update on the security situation on the ground, efforts to maintain calm, and preparations for the election».

It is important to emphasize that the time the Western reaction to the tragedy was not unanimous. The West did not speak with one voice. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe condemned the actions of Ukrainian military using force against pro-federalization activists and civilians in the city of Mariupol. «I strongly condemn the violence, and call upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate steps to de-escalate a situation which has caused the loss of many lives, and created a climate of fear and anxiety», said Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan.

Kiev frustrates hopes for peace

Russia and the West have expressed a desire for the OSCE to play a greater role in defusing the tensions in Ukraine. On May 7 Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Didier Burkhalter, the Swiss President and current Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to make peaceful suggestions on Ukraine. According to him, the Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election as a move «in the right direction». «We believe that the most important thing is to create direct, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine». Putin added that Russia had withdrawn its armed forces from the Ukrainian border. The talks resulted in a roadmap for Ukraine containing concrete steps aimed at finding a peaceful solution including ceasefire, de-escalation of tension, establishment of a dialogue and elections. A gleam of hope for peace loomed at the horizon. «There are no grounds for a conflict between East and West», Mr. Burkhalter said. But there was an important prerequisite for the implementation of the plan. President Putin called on Ukraine's military to halt all operations against pro-Russia activists who have seized government buildings and police stations in at least a dozen towns in eastern Ukraine. Instead of seizing the emerged opportunity, Ukraine launched a government offensive (which it calls an anti-terrorist operation) to frustrate the chances for progress. 

The Ukrainian caretaker government is clearly responsible for trying to do away with still flickering hopes of finding the way to peaceful settlement of the crisis by launching a punitive action against civilians on the most revered date – the commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany. The interim rulers go on threatening further punitive actions. The bloody clashes in Donetsk, the Odessa massacre and the Mariupol bloody events have ultimately divided the country. Under the conditions the idea of holding a presidential election on May 25 has to large extent lost sense. No matter what the result is, the events will unfold along the escalation path. Mariupol shows that the Kier rulers turn a deaf ear to any peace initiatives. A troubled but intact nation six months ago, Ukraine has come full circle to get to the brink of being pulled into pieces amid raging civil war…