Ukraine’s Kiev-based regime has deployed OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missiles also known as SS-21 “Scarabs,” against the people of eastern Ukraine. The missiles measure 6.4 meters in length and carry warheads of up to 454 kg, making them without a doubt a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Their use was revealed by a CNN report released just as US President Barack Obama announced that the US and EU would be issuing more sanctions against Russia.
CNN revealed that, “there were reports that Ukraine’s government in the past 48 hours used short-range ballistic missiles against the rebels, three U.S. officials told CNN. The weapons have a range of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) and pack up to 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) warheads.”
CNN would also claim, “another of the U.S. officials said using the missiles is “an escalation, but Ukraine has a right to defend itself.”
In a separate CNN video report, retired Major General James A. Marks also asserted that Ukraine had the right to defend itself, before admitting that the ballistic missiles were not “precise weapon systems” and are generally used for offensive, not defensive maneuvers. In the same report it was admitted that the US had knowledge of where the missiles were being fired but would not disclose the information publicly out of fear it would undermine the image of the regime in Kiev.
Certainly the US has nothing to gain by disclosing the details of Kiev’s use of WMDs against its own people. It was similar allegations the United States used itself as a pretext to invade and occupy Iraq for nearly a decade, and attempted to do so again in Syria. In Libya, merely using warplanes against militants was deemed a crime against humanity by NATO paving way for a devastating air campaign coupled with heavily armed militants backed by NATO cash and logistics on the ground. Regime change in each case was the primary objective.
With the pro-Western regime in Kiev turning tanks, artillery, warplanes, and now imprecise but devastating ballistic missiles on its own people, it would again be incumbent upon NATO to likewise intervene under its own contrived pretense (and with multiple precedents) of responsibility to protect to stop Kiev’s assault on the people of eastern Ukraine. That NATO has elected to turn a blind eye to Kiev’s tactics is an explicit indicator of the absolute lack of legitimacy or consistency behind both Western values and the international institutions, laws, and “norms” supposedly built upon them.
By CNN and the military officials it interviewed’s own admissions, the US is not only waging a full-spectrum propaganda war against Russia and eastern Ukrainians as well as providing material support for the regime in Kiev, but now actively covering up crimes against humanity the regime is committing on Ukrainian soil and may commit beyond its borders as the conflict continues to escalate. While Kiev’s forces are for the time being firing ballistic missiles at their own people, with a range of between 75-185 km depending on the missiles Kiev has in its possession, in a bid to draw Russia into the conflict and provoke a more robust NATO response, these weapons of mass destruction may end up targeting populated areas beyond Ukrainian borders.
With the US openly covering up evidence of the weapons’ use, the truth behind any future incident is sure to be similarly obstructed, spun, and otherwise manipulated.
Systematic Punitive Annihilation
The conflict in eastern Ukraine is not taking place on an open battlefield but within the populated areas the resistance lives and had worked before the conflict began. By resorting to ballistic missiles with half-ton warheads launched imprecisely at populated centers in eastern Ukraine, Kiev has unofficially announced its intentions to pursue a campaign of systematic, punitive annihilation. The weapons are hardly likely to hit legitimate military targets, and instead, like Nazi V2 rockets during World War 2, are deployed to shock entire populations causing psychological trauma as much as indiscriminate physical devastation.
The use of ballistic missiles comes after similar tactics of strafing cities with warplanes, shelling populated centers with artillery, and driving tanks into villages, towns, and cities to “tank shock” the population have been tried and have apparently failed. Without a large number of professional, properly equipped (or even properly fed) soldiers to draw from, the regime in Kiev is left to compensate with increasingly brutal and inhumane tactics leaning disproportionately on the use of heavy weapons and the terror they induce.
Kiev pursues its strategy in direct violation of all the international laws and “norms” the West itself has defined and posed as unilateral international enforcers of. The West’s silence over Kiev’s current conduct introduces a dangerous double standard. While the West attempts to gain control over Ukraine by punishing militarily those that resist Kiev, and undermining economically those in Russia who voice opposition over the treatment of eastern Ukrainians, what the West has lost is anything resembling a moral imperative.
And despite what would have long ago given NATO and the UN the green light to proceed with a “humanitarian intervention” in any other nation opposing Western interests, Russia has shown maximum restraint in the face of yet another provocation carried out at the expense of the eastern Ukrainian people. While Russia is framed as the aggressor in Ukraine, it is clear that those conducting themselves outside of international law and at the cost of lives and the stability of Ukraine, are Kiev and NATO themselves.
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.