Thoughts And Ideas
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Thoughts And Ideas

Ukraine: The Other Side of the Story

Russian invasion as of 7 March 2022. Source: Readovka

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” ― Winston S. Churchill

It’s difficult to divert my attention from this sea of blue and yellow color that’s been appearing on all social media and news platforms. Never had I seen such an immense wave of sympathy towards other countries whose existence is still being threatened by ongoing conflicts and wars. Ukraine, a country in the eastern Europe which holds no significant economic nor political influence on Europe, quickly became the center of attention. Putin apparently has ended the pandemic with his invasion.

War does not begin in a vacuum. It begins when a country intends to expand or to defend its territory. The invention of nuclear weapon has brought a balance of power between superpower countries. It has guarded us from World War III for almost a century. However, with the advancement of military weapons, we are now faced with the industrial-military complex whose supplies need to be marketed. This lucrative yet immoral business has been keeping us in perpetual wars, and mainstream media is being the sales representative.

“If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.” ― Julian Assange

When I was 11 years old, I was expelled from my hometown and stranded at the port on another island while the entire city was burning behind me. It happened because some guys in the West had decided that I had to leave. The last thing I would like international community to do was to put the flag of my country on social media — which fortunately was far from existence — and to donate money to dubious fundraisers. Now that I’m older and wiser, I know what I would like to hear from them: demand transparency and objectivity in journalism.

In journalism, a reporter is obliged to answer all the essential 5W1H questions to report objectively. Sadly, that’s not the case in modern reporting. In the face of war, the first question to ask is: Why is X invading Y? Why is Russia invading Ukraine?

So far, I have not yet seen any western media covers the background of Russian invasion. The thing they want me to believe — instead of knowing, for there’s no need to prove to believe in something — is that Putin’s highly aggressive, and he’s responsible for this crisis in Ukraine. The media have been bombarding us with the idea that Putin has interest in creating a greater Russia or a reincarnation of the Soviet Union, yet there’s no evidence to prove that.

On the contrary, the United States has been violating an agreement between NATO and Soviet Union that was made during the 1990 negotiations over German unification, in which Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not expand eastward. The agreement is considered as a myth, yet hundreds of memos, meeting minutes and transcripts from U.S. archives indicate otherwise. US Secretary of State James Baker admitted to Gorbachev that NATO is the mechanism for maintaining the US military presence in Europe:

“If you abolish NATO, there will be no more US presence. We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.”

NATO’s members
US Troops presence oversea map as of 30 Sept 2021

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States has integrated plenty of Warsaw Pact states and ex-Soviet republics into NATO membership. The Russians were too weak to derail NATO’s expansion. They could only watch bitterly as the West expanded to their front yard. During NATO’s 1995 bombing campaign in Bosnia, President Boris Yeltsin said, “This is the first sign of what could happen when NATO comes right up to the Russian Federation’s borders… The flame of war could burst out across the whole of Europe.”

After Putin came in, the line was drawn at Georgia and Ukraine. The alliance considered admitting the two countries in April 2008. Alexander Grushko, then Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said, “Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in the alliance is a huge strategic mistake which would have most serious consequences for pan-European security.”

Ukraine and Georgia’s strategic position

What the West failed to understand is that Putin views Ukraine’s pursuit for NATO membership and any effort to turn neighbouring countries against Russia as an existential threat. It takes only 750km to cross the land between Black Sea and Caspian Sea. By allowing NATO’s naval base in Ukraine and Georgia, the integrity of Russia’s sovereignty will be easily weakened. Yet, the West continued to pressure by backing the Orange Revolution in 2004 and illegally overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president in 2014 in the event called “Euromaidan”. That was the final straw for Putin. He responded by taking over Crimea through a referendum where 97% respondents voted to rejoin Russia.

UKRAINE: A DIVIDED NATION

Ethno-linguistic map of Ukraine by Yerevanci

Under pro-West regime, Ukraine is far from peace. It’s governed by a far right-wing government who has been discriminating Russian minority in Ukraine. A bill was proposed to remove Russian as an official language which angered Russian speakers in the eastern Ukraine. In April 2014 the mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk broke away from Ukraine and proclaimed themselves as separate Republics. Ukrainian government could not accept it and waged a war in the eastern region, Donbas. A massacre also took place in Odessa on 2 May 2014 where 48 anti-Maidan protesters were tortured and burned alive inside a building by pro-Maiden protesters.The war has been going on for eight years straight even though ceasefire agreements, Minsk agreements, were signed. Around 13,000 Ukrainians died from daily shelling by Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Far-right militias that have been integrated as units of Ukraine’s National Guard stand accused in the United Nations and Human Rights Watch reports of committing war crimes against pro-Russian separatists during the ongoing civil war in the eastern Donbas region, including torture, sexual violence and targeting of civilian homes. Dean O’Brien and other western freelance journalists have been providing photo-essays throughout this eight years conflict to document the damage that’s being done in their region. One should ponder, “Who’s funding them? Why does the West let it happen?”

ZELENSKY AND HIS PUPPET MASTER, IGOR KOLOMOISKY

“Zelensky is a puppet, and he is putting huge numbers of his own population at unnecessary risk,” US Colonel Douglas MacGregor said on FoxNews

Zelensky is a professional actor-comedian who became famous after starring in the hit television series Servant of the People. He played the role of a high-school history teacher who won the presidential election after a viral video showed him ranting against government corruption in Ukraine. The series ran from October 2015 until March 2019. Zelensky and his producers founded a party in December 2017 under the same name as the tv series and registered it in March 2018. In May 2019 he was inaugurated as president. From a celebrity to Head of State in a year is quite an achievement. Who would have guessed that running a show for almost four years straight could be an efficient political campaign?

Although media currently portrays Zelensky as a democratic and a heroic leader, in reality he’s far from that. He banned three opposition television stations and imprisoned political opposition.

Tulsi Gabbard raised her voice over Zelensky via her Instagram account,

Now here’s something you are not going to hear on the mainstream media. What you do here is warmongers arguing that we must protect Ukraine because it is a “democracy”. But they’re lying.

Ukraine isn’t actually a democracy. For example, to hold onto power, Ukraine’s president shut down the three tv stations that were openly criticising him and his policies, imprisoned the head of the opposition political party that had come in second place in elections and went and arrested and jailed that party’s leaders. This is exactly what Putin has been accused of doing. But Ukraine did this all with the support of the United States.

On 22 February 2022, Illia Kyva, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Opposition Platform For Life (OPPL) party, posted on his Telegram that Zelensky has accumulated more than $1.2 billion US dollars during the first two and half years of his presidency, stored in multiple accounts at Dresdner Bank Lateinamerika in Costa Rica. Kyva is now to be placed on international wanted list by Ukrainian government for his statement. Zelensky was also accused of owning multiple properties worth multimillion-dollar as revealed through Panama and Pandora Papers.

One should ask, “How is it possible that a celebrity-turned-president from a developing country owns that amount of money?”

Who is Igor Kolomoisky?

He is a banker, the former Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the man who funded the television series where Zelensky played as a president, and the owner of the television channel. He is accused of stealing $5.5 billion from his own bank and funneling it offshore in concert with his partner, Hennadiy Boholiubov.

As reported by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in 2019:

“The central mechanism in the scheme was a series of insider loans to companies Kolomoisky and Boholiubov controlled. In most instances, financial records show Ukrainian shell companies borrowed money from PrivatBank in Ukraine, then transferred it to Cyprus branch accounts held by offshore businesses, many of which were registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).”

Kolomoisky has a triple Ukraine-Israel-Cyprus citizenship. As weird as it sounds, he founded and funded neo-Nazi battalions such as Azov, Aidar, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, Dnipro 1, Dnipro 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions. They are infamous Ukraine-based neo-Nazi military regiment. They played a significant role in ousting the former president and establishing a new Euromaiden-led government. In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.

Quoted from parliamentary questions session in European Parliament October 2014:

“In September 2014 Ukrainian militias discovered a series of clandestine mass graves on the outskirts of Donetsk, containing the bodies of dozens of people who had been tortured and executed, including women, militia members and even Ukrainian soldiers. It is suspected that the perpetrators belong to the Aidar Battalion — which is funded by the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky — and the regular forces which occupying the Donetsk region.”

It’s quite extraordinary that Kolomoisky is still able to walk freely even though he’s proven to be responsible for the death and suffering of thousands of people in Ukraine.

WHO HAVE BEEN FUNDING AND SUPPORTING NEO-NAZISM IN UKRAINE?

Neo-Nazi movements in Ukraine had actually garnered international attention but its existence in the media is being dimmed due to current event. USA Today reported in 2015 that volunteer Ukrainian unit includes Nazis. The Guardian published a photo-essay in 2019 featuring ultranationalism in Ukraine which involved children and a report on neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. BBC made a short documentary video describing neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine. There’s also a video showing how Nazi training in Ukraine starts from early childhood. The children would sing “Hang Russians” and stomp Russian flag.

Far right-wing militias in Ukraine apparently have been receiving substantial supports from foreign governments. Despite being widely regarded as a threat to international security and human civilisation, these militias were found to have ties not only with the Ukraine authorities but also with the foreign governments.

In December 2015 the US Congress removed a ban on funding neo-Nazi groups from its year-end spending bill. Since February 2014 Euromaidan coup, Ukraine has received $2 billion in loan guarantees and nearly $760 million in “security, programmatic, and technical assistance” to combat “Russian aggression” even though reports published by Amnesty International in 2014 and 2015 gave evidence of widespread torture and executions in Ukraine.

Asa Winstanley made a feature in The Electronic Intifade July 2018 which describes Israel’s involvement in arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine. In the article it was reported that Ukrainian armed forces use rifles made in Israel and are trained by Israelis. As featured in The Guardian, one Azov soldier explained that he fights Russia because “Putin’s a Jew.”

Ukraine was known to be Nazi collaborator during World War II and massacred the Jews in the event called Babi Yar Massacre. Soviet Union lost around 26 million people to defeat Nazi. By arming neo-Nazi in Ukraine, Israel has made history something to ponder upon. Well, apparently the reality is stranger than fiction.

UKRAINE VIEWED AS AN OBJECT WHO CAN’T DECIDE FOR ITSELF

Now, one might ask, “Is Russian invasion justified?”

I read an article on The Guardian a few days ago in which the writer complained that Russia and the West view Ukraine as an object instead of a subject. It can only function as a buffer state to reduce tension between the two superpowers. Why is it not allowed to choose its own fate?

Although it was only for a short time, I had the chance to experience living in a conflict zone. What I still remember is that the civilians just wanted to be able to work, to feed their families — to live. Prosperity and peace are the basic need for a society. Unfortunately, in a centralised governance, there are individuals in power who have personal political ambitions that prevent this from happening.

John Mearsheimer, an American political scientist, who has been opposing United States interference in Ukraine, explained:

In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if the Ukrainians were free to choose their own political system and to choose their own foreign policy.

But in the real world, that is not feasible. The Ukrainians have a vested interest in paying serious attention to what the Russians want from them. They run a grave risk if they alienate the Russians in a fundamental way. If Russia thinks that Ukraine presents an existential threat to Russia because it is aligning with the United States and its West European allies, this is going to cause an enormous amount of damage to Ukraine. That of course is exactly what’s happening now. So my argument is: the strategically wise strategy for Ukraine is to break off its close relations with the West, especially with the United States, and try to accommodate the Russians. If there had been no decision to move NATO eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and Donbas would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war in Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine can’t be resolved without diplomatic relation with both parties. Ukraine could have become a prosperous state in that region by using its strategic location as a basis to get proper funding both from Russia and western Europe. The only road to a peaceful Ukraine is by becoming a neutral country, a buffer state between NATO and Russia, and guaranteeing minority rights. Alas, Ukraine chose otherwise and it’s now paying its price.

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