Since 2014, the US has been accusing Russia of having ‘invaded’ Ukraine. Yet the latest story being repeated by the news media transforms an interesting proposal by a Ukrainian national to bring peace to that country into a devious attempt to have sanctions on Russia removed!
It was months ago that Rachel Maddow first mentioned the name of Konstantin Kilimnik, without mentioning why, specifically, that he had a plan to bring back Ukraine’s ousted President Yanukovich to head the Donbas. Merely quoting Kilimnik as saying ‘This is about my country’ Maddow implied he was a Russian, in what was to become a long series of misinterpretations and obfuscations.
A youngish Ukrainian who worked for Paul Manafort’s PR firm, Konstantin Kilimnik figured the Russian-speaking Donbas’s refusal to recognize the Kiev government could be ended by installing the country’s former pro-Russian President, whom the US deposed, in the breakaway province, the Minsk Agreements (I and II) laboriously crafted by the West having failed to heal the rift.
If he were an American, Kilimnik would be referred to as a patriot, but instead his only moniker is ‘having ties to the GRU’, that is being assumed because of the fact that he received language training in Russia’s Military University of the Ministry of Defense. Having become proficient in English, Kilimnik got a job working with the American Paul Manafort, who was trying to teach that President, Viktor Yanukovich to become a public figure. When, in 2014, Hillary Clinton, as Obama’s Secretary of State replaced Yanukovich with a government that relies on virulent anti-Russian fascist militias (among other things, they burned 200 opponents live), the Russian-speaking Donbas refused to recognize the new government and President Putin looked the other way when ‘volunteers’ crossed the border to help them repulse Kiev’s attacks.
(This policy is consistently referred to by the US media as Russia ‘invading’ Ukraine, hence US sanctions…). When Donald Trump ran for President, Kilimnik’s boss, Manafort, became the head of his campaign, and managed to scotch a Republican Party plan to deliver arms to Kiev for use against the Donbas.)
While the press endlessly details accusations against Manafort (known as a high-flyer wearing exotic clothes), it never mentions his protege’s goal: to secure American backing for a plan that would bring peace to Ukraine. Recently, for the first time, the BBC’s Katy Kay mentioned that plan on MSNBC. But without spelling it out, she allowed her colleagues to remark that it could result in the sanctions the US imposed on Russia being lifted. The US is not interested in bringing peace to Ukraine after five years of strife, but only in pursuing its goal of replacing Vladimir Putin with a more compliant Russian President, among other things, via sanctions for its ‘behavior’ vis a vis Ukraine.
When President Trump rightly points out that the majority Russian-speaking population of Crimea voted by 90% to rejoin Russia in a referendum, the media comments that he knows nothing about foreign affairs. Five years after the events, the American public is unlikely to remember — if it ever knew — that 90% of Crimeans are Russian. Not one in a hundred thousand knows that Catherine the Great wrested Crimea from the Ottoman Turks in the seventeenth century, building a big naval base in Sebastopol to give Russia a warm water port. (In the US it would be an impeachable offense if the president were to allow a hostile government to lay its hands on such a crucial asset.)
The latest chapter in the federal case against Manafort involves the ‘revelation’ that he met with Kilimnik in a New York bar during the campaign, providing him with polling data about the up-coming election, Trump having probably indicated to Russians in or around the government that he would be open to relaxing the sanctions imposed by Obama.
The laudable desire to bring peace to Ukraine has been turned into a crime in order to prove that Trump is appeasing Russia — either in return for money-laundering facilities or a future tower in Moscow. Washington cares not a whit that Ukraine — whose Western aspirations it supposedly backs — will continue in a state of low-level civil war for the foreseeable future.
P.S. Just in: Ukraine’s US installed president Petro Poroshenko just had an article added to the constitution stating that it is the duty of the government to ensure that Ukraine simultaneously enters the EU and NATO, so that NATO can not only camp on Russia’s European border, but in neighboring Ukraine as well.
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years. She can be reached at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.