US vice president Joe Biden flew into Kiev this week to celebrate the anniversary of the Maidan protests that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s government.
With arms waving and his wife in tow, as he stepped off Air Force One, the spectacle was tantamount to an unctuous victory lap for American regime change in the former Soviet republic.
The fact that Biden’s son, Hunter, was also appointed as a board member of Ukrainian gas company Burisma since the regime took over adds a certain personal dimension to the American celebrations of this coup.
The next US planes to follow Biden’s will be loaded with weapons and other non-lethal munitions, as earlier this week Washington announced for the first time that it is to start supplying the Kiev regime with military hardware. Those weapons are to include anti-tank and air defence systems, sniper rifles and machine-guns.
Up to now, the US has been maintaining the fiction that it is only sending «non-lethal aid» – although unofficially it is understood that military materiel and private American «security» contractors have already been flowing to prop up the ultra rightwing regime that the American CIA helped seize power earlier this year.
Russia this week condemned the dangerous escalation of US military involvement in Ukraine. Moscow’s foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the arms announcement «broke all agreements» and that it would further destabilise the country and make a political resolution of the conflict less likely.
Biden’s celebratory arrival in Kiev could hardly be more provocative.
The Kiev regime, headed up by president Petro Poroshenko and his prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is preparing to scale up its military offensive in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Last week it announced that it was cutting off vital public services, including hospitals and energy, to the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. That move can be seen as a form of collective punishment paving the way for military attack.
The largely ethnic Russian people of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions have refused to recognise the Western-backed junta in Kiev that came to power in an illegal coup last February. For the past seven months, the Kiev regime has been conducting a blitzkrieg in the dissident east, which has resulted in more than 4,300 deaths – mostly civilians – and up to one million people displaced from their homes.
That lethal military onslaught has been fully backed by the US and its European allies, even though it has been carried out by neo-Nazi paramilitaries and battalions working alongside regular armed forces. A ceasefire called on September 5 has been largely ignored by Kiev’s military units, which have continued laying siege to cities and towns with indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas. Up to 1,000 people have been killed over the past two months since the ceasefire brokered in Minsk was officially declared, according to the latest figures from the United Nations.
Biden was instrumental in pushing the regime-change operation in Ukraine. He led international calls for the elected government of Victor Yanukovych to stand down, and it was Biden and State Department officials who whipped up the Maidan anti-government protests that began last November. The protests were ostensibly sparked by Yanukovych rejecting a proposed European Union association agreement in favour of maintaining historic trade ties with Russia.
No doubt many of the protesters who flocked to Kiev’s Maidan Square had genuine aspirations for their country to embark on a process of EU integration and they felt disgruntled by Yanukovych’s spurning of the association agreement. But, more importantly, there is ample evidence that Washington had laid the groundwork to hijack the protests with a «colour revolution» involving rightwing extremists. Paramilitaries belonging to the neo-Nazi Right Sector and Svoboda (Freedom) organisations, who had been trained in Poland months before the Maidan rallies touched off, followed the script for regime change. Their use of street violence and forcible occupations of government buildings culminated in the February 20 sniper shootings in which more than 80 people, including police and protesters, were killed. With the help of Western media, the massacre was blamed on the Ukrainian government. But forensic and medical evidence shows that the snipers were operated by the CIA-backed paramilitaries.
In the final hours of Yanukovych’s presidency – before he was routed by the Right Sector and Svoboda shock-troops – Biden phoned the doomed Ukrainian leader and told him that belated reform efforts «were a day late and a dollar too short», as reported in the New York Times. Yanukovych fled his office on February 22 and the regime took over. The cynical indifference of German, French and Polish governments in the face of this coup also make them complicit in the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s constitution and the withering violence that has ensued in that country.
To be sure, Moscow is rightly alarmed by the brazen regime change in a neighbouring country, which has centuries of close cultural, political and economic ties. Ukraine was a member of the Soviet Union until the latter’s dissolution in the early 1990s.
The ongoing violence of the Kiev regime, which adulates the Second World War Nazi collaborators from the western Ukrainian regions, is motivated by a visceral hatred of Russian-speaking people in the east and of Russia. It openly uses Nazi terminology of «sub-humans» and «cleansing» when referring to the Slavic east.
Washington’s script for regime change did not stop with the usurpation of the Ukrainian government. The conflict that the US-backed regime has fuelled in the eastern regions is aimed at destabilising Russia itself. This is part of a long-term geopolitical game that US planners have been working on since the early 1990s, as set out by such strategists as Zbigniew Brzezinski and like-minded imperialists in the US State Department. For them the Cold War did not end; it was merely a change in tactics to subdue Russia and gain access to that country’s awesome natural resources, in particular Russian oil and gas.
The plan to turn Ukraine into a political, economic and military penetration point into Russia’s heartland is a very real existential threat to Moscow. It follows two decades of encroachment on Russia’s borders by the US-led NATO military alliance in contravention of previous American legally binding agreements not to do so.
The propaganda war has involved turning reality on its head by accusing Russia of stoking violence in Ukraine, when it should be glaringly obvious that the past year of deadly unrest has resulted from Washington and Europe’s intervention in that country.
Earlier this week, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in Moscow to hold discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on how to end the violence in Ukraine. Steinmeier appeared to be nonplussed by Russia’s position that the conflict stems from the illegal overthrow of the Ukrainian government by a hostile regime. The German diplomat reiterated the Western trope that Russian subversion is to blame. What bubble has Steinmeier been living in for the past year?
Even US government-owned broadcaster Voice of America inadvertently acknowledged this week that Russia is not supplying weapons or troops into eastern Ukraine to help the anti-Kiev militia there. In a report based on interviews with militia members, the VOA noted that «most arms used by the separatist fighters were looted from Ukrainian weapons stores». If Russia were sponsoring the rebels, then where are Russian-supplied weapons?
Similar inadvertent admissions of Russia’s non-involvement have been reported previously by the New York Times and CIA-linked Radio Free Europe.
Yet, in spite of a dearth of evidence, Western governments, NATO and the Western mainstream media continue to assert that Moscow is the guilty party for the conflict in Ukraine.
Joe Biden’s victory lap of honour this week in Kiev, bearing news of a US weapons bonanza, is proof – if ever proof was needed – of Washington’s regime change in Ukraine and its hostile anti-Russian agenda.
Washington and to a lesser extent its European allies are to blame for the conflict in that country and now its anticipated escalation.