A few days had to pass before it became clear what the Ukrainian President meant talking about the need to cease fire. No, he was not talking about withdrawing chasteners away from Donbass or truce. He meant the use of force to quell the resistance of those who opposed the spread of fascism on Ukrainian soil. The military and the National Guard units predominantly manned by Pravy Sector acting under the orders of Supreme Commander Petro Poroshenko have failed to carry out the mission of putting down the unrest in a week. They had no chance to succeed. No go. So they have started to search for more extraordinary things than just firing conventional weapons…
For instance they used incendiary munitions or phosphorus bombs on June 12 in Slavyansk. It happened right after the vibrant discussions on the possibility of US assistance, including lethal aid. It did not take long for Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, to come up with the conjecture that the bombs were used by «Russians». She is not aware the Russian army does not participate in the conflict. Russia respects its commitments as a party to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. Protocol 3 restricts the use of incendiary weapons. It prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians (effectively a reaffirmation of the general prohibition on attacks against civilians in Additional Protocol Conventions) as well as the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons against military targets located within concentrations of civilians and loosely regulates the use of other types of incendiary weapons in such circumstances. The US is not a party to this Protocol. In 2004 the United States used incendiary weapons in Iraq. Americans used such bombs in Vietnam before. In 2009 the US informed the UN Secretary General that its consent to observe article 2 of the abovementioned protocol was subject to some reservations. This approach to the use of weapons prohibited internationally on humanitarian grounds could have influenced the approach of American advisors who told their Ukrainian dependents to use incendiary bombs. On November 29, 2005, speaking at a press conference General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that white phosphorus «is a legitimate tool of the military,» and can be used for illumination, smoke, and incendiary purposes. Incredibly, the Department of Defense released an addendum to the press conference clarifying that white phosphorus was not used as an incendiary weapon. According to General Pace, «it was well within the law of war to use white phosphorus… for marking and screening». (1)
Hardly anybody in the United States could be concerned over the use of such weapons so far away from CONUS. The US believes the use of weapons forbidden for humanitarian reasons is legal. But quite often Europeans get stunned by the US interpretation of the rules to be observed in contemporary war. The current commander of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Karl Müllner has slammed the use of drones by the United States as air-to-ground weapons because it contradicts major humanitarian and ethical norms. (2)
What should European politicians do? How can they explain to their people the fact that the Ukrainian President welcomed so warmly in Europe uses incendiary weapons against his own people? It’s not something happening far away. The EU-German border is almost a thousand and a half kilometers long. They say President Poroshenko wants peace and democratic reforms. But singing praises only emphasized the dubious and shaky position of the Ukrainian head of state.
The real information on the events in Ukraine infiltrates to the people of Germany through fine sieve. Everything «unneeded» that contradicts the artificially created image of new democratic Ukraine which is a victim to the Russian aggression simply gets cut out. Nothing is reported about Russian journalists taken prisoners, or OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier booed by the Ukrainian refugees in the Rostov region who had run away from artillery bombings in Donbass as he told them Poroshenko wants Ukraine to be prosperous and spares no effort to achieve this goal.
Hans-Georg Maasen, the President of the Germany Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the agency counters espionage), expressed discontent over Russia’s efforts to influence public opinion in Germany. That’s how he counters spying efforts. They do their best to cut people off from «negative influence» to prevent them from the attempts to independently make head or tail of what is going on in Ukraine.
A Spiegel reader says in his post, «Why did we hear today about the combat actions raging in Ukraine? Thousands of people have become refugees, vast areas bombed, combats have been raging for a few weeks, the civilian death toll in measured in dozens, but the situation is described in such a way as nothing has happened. Poroshenko promises a cease-fire but nothing’s done to reach it». (3)
A Handelsblatt post says «I’m fed up with all these on-sided reports. But people do die. Here is funny news about Russia starting a war against Ukraine with three hopelessly obsolete rusted tanks. Meanwhile there are great civilian casualties among civilians who became victims as peaceful Kiev-led troops opened fire using cluster bombs» (4). The readers of these posts are not surprised the only thing they feel is bitter irony.