Ukraine

As tensions heat up on the Ukraine-Russia border, Vijay Prashad looks at the factors and interests behind what is happening.

It is official: solidarity and activism are, according to the Ukrainian government, criminal acts. It seems paradoxical, but it is true.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko has demanded the Italian government extradite members of the so-called Anti-Fascist Caravan (AFC), a group of activists who recently visited the separatist region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, "Where is that?" If I offer a clue by referring to "Bikini", they say, "You mean the swimsuit." Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 -- the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.
Russia's initiation of air strikes in Syria on September 30, a year after a US-led coalition began air strikes in Syria — both officially targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — began the latest round of speculation of a “new Cold War” with Russia and its allies pitted against the US and other Western imperialist powers.
The Dutch Safety Board released its long-awaited report on October 13 into the downing of flight MH17 at the Gilze-Rijen military airbase. It came 15 months after the disaster that killed 298 people, said the next day. Board chairperson Tjibbe Joustra criticised the Kiev government for allowing civilian aircraft to fly through a dangerous war zone.
Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France emerged from negotiations in Minsk, Belarus on the morning of February 12, after 16 hours of talks, and announced that agreement had been reached for a ceasefire in Ukraine's civil war. The conflict has divided Ukraine since the overthrow of the unpopular, but democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovich in February last year.

The statement below was released by the Party of the European Left (EL) on November 17. The EL is a Europe-wide political party that formed in 2004. It is composed of 26 member parties and seven observer parties. Visit www.european-left.org for more information. *** A delegation of the Party of the European Left (EL), headed by two of its vice presidents, Margarita Mileva and Maite Mola, returned on November 16 after a four-day visit to Kiev.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is determined to blame the Russian government for the tragic deaths of 298 civilians, including 38 Australians, when Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Abbott went as far as to threaten to “shirtfront” Russian President Vladimir Putin during the November 15 and 16 G20 Summit in Brisbane.
“There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel. Only when this truth is out can any of us be free.” For many people, the truth is out now. At last, they know. Those once intimidated into silence can't look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop and phone is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the US, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.
If you were in Newport and Cardiff in south-east Wales during the first week of September, you might have thought you’d entered a warzone. Instead, it was simply the September 4 and 5 NATO Summit. As NATO warships drifted ominously into the harbour and US Osprey and Nighthawk helicopters thundered in the sky, above mile after mile of steel fencing, disgruntled residents were left taking to Twitter to complain about their desks shaking at work. “The amount of helicopters I have heard today makes it sound like we’re at war,” one said.
For the West's masters of war, it's a good time to be in Wales. A military alliance that has struggled for years to explain why it still exists, NATO has got a packed agenda for its September 4 and 5 Newport summit. NATO may not be at the centre of US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to ramp up intervention in the Middle East and wipe the so-called Islamic state “out of existence”. But after 13 years of bloody occupation of Afghanistan and a calamitous intervention in Libya, the Western alliance has got an enemy that at last seems to fit its bill.
The barriers are going up across south Wales. Huge steel fences block off buildings, including Cardiff castle. Roads are closed. Children are promised a shorter school day or maybe no school at all. Rail services are disrupted. All so that a group of politicians and military men can meet in a country hotel outside Newport for a September 4 and 5 NATO summit to plan more of the military interventions that have contributed to a world now more seriously threatened by major wars than at any time since 1945.
“This political force should be liquidated,” said Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, quoted in the July 9 edition of Capital (Kiev’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review). Petrenko was referring to the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). For a time in the 1990s, it was the most supported party in Ukraine and it still won 13% of the vote at the 2012 parliamentary poll.
There had been “constant and heavy shelling” by the Ukraine army, Susan Ormiston of CBC News reported from Donetsk on July 28, during the past two days on the towns and villages in the Donetsk region surrounding the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The site was turned over to international investigators four days ago by Donetsk self-defence fighters, but the investigators have not been able to access it due to military operations by the Ukraine army. Donetsk fighters say the army controls the area surrounding the site. There are no observers present.
Malaysian Airlines lost its second Boeing 777 this year on July 17, when flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was apparently hit by a missile over war-torn Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The incident happened while the Ukrainian army was carrying out a huge land and air offensive to crush breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine, over whose territory the plane was shot down. Most passengers were Dutch, but 38 Australians were also killed.
The statement below was issued as a “declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks” at an anti-war conference in Yalta, Crimea on July 7. The text is reprinted from Canadian socialist , who attended the conference and signed the statement. You can read the full list of signatories to the statement. * * *

Pages

Subscribe to Ukraine