The Kiev government of President Petro Poroshenko has suddenly agreed to, of all things, a ceasefire proposal based almost identically on a proposal unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ceasefire, which seems to be more or less holding after several days, has caught Washington completely by surprise and forced the Obama Administration hawks to pressure the EU at their recent summit to agree new sanctions on Russia anyway. It all underscores the hypocritical nature of the war in Ukraine as a move by Washington warhawks to split Russia from the EU, especially from Germany and make a new Cold War with Russia again the “Empire of Evil.” It’s not working out as planned, however.
Some weeks earlier Poroshenko and the regime in Kiev announced with great bravado launching of its “Anti-Terrorist Action” to ostensibly put down armed rebellions in various parts of eastern Ukraine demanding autonomy and rights including rights to continue speaking and writing Russian. Now, some four months into what has become a civil war, as one well-informed blogger put it:
The (Ukrainian Army) is not retreating on one, two or even three directions, it is retreating everywhere (except north of Lugansk). Entire battalions are leaving the front under orders of their battalion commanders and without the approval of the Junta leaders. At least one such battalion commander is already being judged for desertion. The entire Ukie leadership seems to be in a panic mode, especially Yatsenuk and Kolomoisky, while the Nazis are mad as hell at the Poroshenko administration. There are constant rumors of an anti-Poroshenko coup by outraged Nazi nationalists…
As of September 4, according to Ukrainian reports, the following units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had been destroyed:
* 1st Armoured Brigade–50 T-64 Bulat tanks and other armored vehicles. The only Ukrainian unit to host the modernized T-64BM “Bulat” variant. (76 units as of October 2011). Served in the northern Lugansk front.
* 24th Mechanized Brigade–Yavoriv, Lviv oblast. One battalion destroyed in Southern Cauldron. The other two battalions destroyed 12-14 August in battles in Saur Mogila. Remnants of the brigade have been declared “deserters,” and are waiting judgment in Melitopol.
* 30th Mechanized Brigade– Novohrad-Volynskyi, Zhytomyr oblast. 1st and 3rd battalions were been beaten in Krasny Luts region in the first half of August. 2nd battalion was destroyed in Stepanovka August 12th-14th. Out of 4000 soldiers only 83 survive. Other units withdrew from the territory on August 27.
* 51st Mechanized Brigade– Vladimir-Volyn in Volyn region. Partially destroyed in Southern Cauldron at the beginning of August. Third battalion destroyed in Ilovaisk in late August. Remnants, 500 men teamed up with the 92nd Brigade, but were destroyed in the Amvrosievka pocket by August 30th.
* 72nd Mechanized Brigade–Bila Tserkva, Kyiv region. Destroyed completely in Southern Cauldron at the beginning of August. Approximately 400 men remaining have been declared “deserters” and placed in different locations.
* 79th Airmobile Brigade–Nikolayev and Bolgrad, Odessa region. Destroyed in Southern Cauldron, beginning of August. The remaining 400 men have been returned to their base.
* 92nd Mechanized Brigade–Klugie-Maskirovka, Kharkov region at the Lugansk front. One battalion in the area of Kharkov. A supply convoy was ambushed by partisans on August 29, destroying several vehicles and killing two soldiers. A tactical group of 2,500 men, 16 tanks, self-propelled artillery, armored personnel carriers and trucks – about a hundred pieces of equipment in total was sent to the Ilovaisk front on August 23rd. All were destroyed in the Amvrosievka pocket by August 30th.
Then the following units suffered large losses in recent battles:
* 25th Airborne Brigade– in Dnepropetrovsk region. In April six BMD tanks with crew deserted to Slavyansk. Whole unit was “disbanded” on orders of acting president Oleksandr Turchynov. IL-76 was shot down above Lugansk airport, resulting in 49 KIA. One battalion destroyed in Shakhtersk battles in the beginning of August. Another battalion destroyed a few days ago in Marinovka-Koževni area.
* 95th Airmobile Brigade—Zhytomyr.Participated in the battles from the beginning, currently the most experienced and efficient Ukrainian ground forces unit. Trapped in Amvrosievka pocket on August 24th.
* 17th Tank Brigade–Kryvyi Rih. Large number of tanks destroyed or captured. Some units eliminated in Ilovaisk.
* 128th Mechanized Brigade–Mukachevo, Zakarpattia region (mountain infantry). Served at the Lugansk front. Lost all its equipment in the Southern Cauldron. One battalion was transferred back to Transcarpathia to quell the uprising there. More dead than alive.
This list begins to make clear why Ukraine’s oligarch President Poroshenko agreed to a ceasefire. Whatever the ousted President Janukovich may have done with his police at the start of the Maidan Square and other anti-regime protests in November 2013, he never ordered such a massive military force to put down occupation by citizens of government buildings. The government buildings were occupied, it is important to recall, after the newly-installed Kiev coup regime, with openly avowed neo-nazis in key posts as Interior and Defense ministers and a US-chosen Prime Minister, Yatsenyuk, as head of government, debated banning the Russian language and other measures restricting those ethnic Russians in the east.
Once the citizens of Crimea voted in a March 16 referendum, with more than 93% approval, to apply to become part of the Russian Federation and the Russian Parliament accepted, ethnic Russians and others fearful of the new regime in Kiev began a protest to demand a federal system within Ukraine that would guarantee freedom of language and other rights. The response of the gangster US-backed Kiev regime of Yatsensyuk was brute military force.
Kiev’s War of Ethnic Cleansing
The Kiev coup regime proceeded after February 22, 2014 to wage a war of extermination and ethnic cleansing in eastern Ukraine, led to a large degree by a private army of neo-nazis from Pravy Sektor, the ones who ran security in Maidan Square and launched a reign of terror against Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Battalions were formed of such neo-nazi and other mercenaries. They were given state status as “Ukrainian National Guard” soldiers, financed by Ukrainian mafia boss and billionaire oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky, in part by billionaire oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, or by Oleh Lyashko, a convicted embezzler and Kiev politician.
Those private mercenaries have waged a savage war inside Ukraine since March 2014, killing Ukrainians indiscriminately, shelling villages to drive the population out, and ultimately, to try to provoke Washington’s ultimate agenda—a Russian military invasion that could be used as a pretext for a NATO mobilization that would transform the political map of Europe, Russia, China and the world.
Since the beginning of what Kiev provocatively calls their “Anti-Terror Operation” (ATO), against the rebels in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, 2,593 people have died in fighting in the east of the country, while over 6,033 have been wounded. According to the UN, the number of internally displaced Ukrainians has reached 260,000, with another 814,000 finding refuge in Russia. The war has raged in and around rebel strongholds in Luhansk, Slovayansk, Donetsk and Mariupol on the Sea of Azor.
NATO is real issue
The deeper issue in this war has been systematically blocked out of all mainstream media in Germany, across the EU and in the United States. The real issue is the threat of the eastward expansion of NATO, a US-led military alliance that by all rights should have slowly dissolved twenty some years ago after the Soviet Union ended the Warsaw Pact. Instead of reducing the NATO profile, in violation of solemn pledges Washington made to Russia, US neo-conservative warhawks, beginning during the Clinton years, began expanding NATO eastwards to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and beyond. In 2004 Washington initiated successful Color Revolution regime changes in Ukraine and neighboring Georgia, installing presidents in each pledged to bring those two Russian border states into NATO.
The increasing NATO expansion threats to Russian sovereignty crossed the point of reason, as seen in Moscow, when in early 2007 the Administration of President George W. Bush announced that the US was, in effect, going for what the Pentagon called Nuclear Primacy, the ability to launch a nuclear First Strike against Russia with impunity. Bush had ordered a US installation of ballistic missile bases and special phased-array radar stations in Poland and the Czech Republic that would allow the US to destroy any projected Russian nuclear response to a US nuclear first strike against Russian missile silos and defense bases. Bush officials openly lied that it was aimed at a non-existent “rogue” missile attack from Iran. It was aimed squarely at Russia.
Back in February 2007, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addressed the annual Munich, Germany International Conference on Security, formerly the Wehrkunde Conference. Delivering a keynote speech that was extraordinary by any standards, Putin declared:
NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders…It is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?
Speaking at NATO headquarters in March 2007, US Ballistic Missile Defense head, General Henry Obering, said that Washington also wanted to base an anti-missile radar systems in the Caucasus, most likely in the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine.
Notably, one of the few Western leaders at the time to voice alarm over the US announcement of its plans to build missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic was former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder had earned the status of de facto ‘enemy’ of the Bush Administration after his vocal opposition to the Iraq war in 2003. Speaking in Dresden on March 11, 2007, several days after President Putin’s Munich remarks, Schroeder declared that the efforts of the United States to establish its anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe were part of an
attempt to pursue “an insane encirclement policy against Russia.” Schroeder warned that it risked a new global arms race.
Schroeder’s concerns were all too accurate, as subsequent events have now proven. Failing their first Color Revolution attempt to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, Washington covertly prepared the Maidan Square “revolution” of February 2014, installing a regime of overt psychopaths. Their ruthless war against their own people along the Russian border in eastern Ukraine as well as threats to cut Russian gas pipeline deliveries to western Europe were carefully designed to try to provoke Russia into a blunder that could give the pretext for NATO to act.
We should all thank God it has not happened, and that Russia has acted with remarkable restraint in the situation. Instead, a rag-tag citizens’ militia across eastern Ukraine, fighting for their homes, their lands, for their families and friends, whether or not in part helped by Russians, have fought an incredible battle. It has been a battle to stop the insanity put in power in Kiev that US State Department neo-conservative Assistant Secretary Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland and CIA Director John Brennan and others in the Obama Administration have brought.
The Washington war faction’s aim was and still is to advance a neo-conservative new war agenda, splitting Russia and Eurasia from the EU, especially from Germany, encircling and ultimately destroying the emerging threat of the Russia-China alliance that is called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the related BRICS organization. Finally with the declaration by Ukraine’s Poroshenko of a ceasefire, it is time to recognize the debt of gratitude all lovers of world peace and civilized people everywhere owe to the citizens of eastern Ukraine whose refusal to allow the destruction of their lives by a criminal band of US-financed barbarians in Kiev just might have helped avoid a world war.
The most alarming facet of the crisis in Ukraine today is the near utter ignorance in Western Europe, because of a de facto NATO press censorship, of the true stakes of the war in Ukraine. It is the nothing less than the question of possible thermonuclear obliteration, not of Washington–whose warhawks initiated the expansion of NATO and the threat of nuclear First Strike–but of Western Europe. Such a war will turn western Europe, from Poland to the Czech Republic and beyond, into the nuclear battlefield of what will ultimately become a new world war. This is something which at least ought to deserve a sober and open debate in mainstream media.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”