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Devil’s deal: Did Turkey outmaneuver Russia with Idlib Agreement? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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Syrian jihadist groups in Idlib are rejecting the Turkish-Russian Idlib deal.

The jihadist faction, Huras al-Din has already rejected the agreement that requires radical terrorist insurgents in Idlib to withdraw from a demilitarized zone. Huras al-Din urged other jihadist factions to launch new military operations.

Huras al-Din is not the main Islamist militant group in Idlib, but its statement points to objections that may complicate the implementation of the agreement signed last week by Russia and Turkey.

The most powerful jihadist terrorist group in the northwest, Tahrir al-Sham (aka Al Nusra, aka Al Qaeda), has yet to declare its stance on the Idlib deal, under which terrorist jihadist groups must vacate the demilitarized zone by October 15th.

Tahrir al-Sham said on Monday that it will announce its position on the Idlib agreement in the next few days, with its acceptance or rejection vital to the success of efforts to contain the war.

According to Reuters, Tahrir al-Sham’s stance will be critical to last week’s deal which has, for now, averted a full-scale Syrian government offensive in Idlib, which along with adjacent areas of the northwest is the rebels’ last major foothold.

“An official statement will be issued soon,” after the group held internal consultation on the deal, said Emad al-Din, media officer for Tahrir al-Sham. He clarified that “soon” meant within a few days.

Tahrir al-Sham was formed in early 2017 as an alliance of jihadist factions including the former al Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front and it has a large armed presence throughout Idlib, including along the Turkish border.

A smaller, harder line jihadist faction in Idlib, Huras al-Din, has rejected the agreement and urged rebels to launch new military operations.

An alliance of Turkey-allied rebel groups, the National Front for Liberation, has declared its “complete cooperation” with the Turkish effort, but has also ruled out disarming or yielding territory.

The demilitarized zone agreed by Turkey and Russia will be 15 to 20 km (10 to 12 miles) deep and run along the contact line between rebel and government fighters. It will be patrolled by Turkish and Russian forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that all opposition heavy weapons, mortars, tanks and rocket systems are to be removed from the zone by October 10th.

Close to 3 million people live in Idlib, around half of them Syrians displaced by the war from other parts of Syria, and the United Nations has warned that an offensive would cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss the Idlib Agreement between Russia and Turkey. The deal averts a bloody conflict in Idlib for now, but in the long run, northwest Syria, under Turkish control, may end up being a permanent breeding and training ground for Al Qaeda forces…with all the blowback that entails, not only for the Syrian state, but for Europe and the United States of America.

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Via PressTV

Turkish military vehicles have entered Idlib after militants snubbed an agreement between Turkey and Russia for the creation of a buffer zone in the northwestern Syrian province, the last major militant stronghold in the Arab country.

The 30-strong convoy of vehicles entered the province “overnight,” AFP reported Monday, describing the vehicles as those used for transporting troops.

The agreement over the buffer zone was reached during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Under the deal, a demilitarized zone of 15-20 kilometers will have to be created in Idlib along the contact line between the militants and Syrian government troops by October 15.

The deal also involves the withdrawal of “radically-minded” militants, including the al-Qaeda-linked ones, from the region.

Erdogan said both Turkey and Russia would carry out coordinated military patrols on the borders of the buffer zone in a bid to detect and prevent “provocation by third parties and violations of the agreement.”

On Sunday, however, Turkish-backed militants rejected to either lay down their arms or surrender the territory under their control.

“We will not abandon our weapons, our land or our revolution” against Syrian government forces, said the so-called National Liberation Front (NLF).

Turkey, along with Iran and Russia, has been serving as a mediator in talks between the Syrian government and the opposition since 2017, negotiating on the militants’ side.

Idlib is considered to be the last theater of war in Syria. Government troops have liberated the militant-held provinces one by one with the help of Syria’s allies Iran and Russia.

The Russo-Turkish agreement has suspended a concerted Syrian army operation against the militants in the province.

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Raymond Comeau
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Raymond Comeau

It would not be a surprise if Turkey has been in Cahoots with the USA and its coalition of useful idiots who want to kill Assad and take over Syria. I think Putin has to put up or shut up otherwise he will be dumped by his own people.

Meanwhile, Trump is keeping himself in the spotlight at the UN chairing the Security meeting.

Shahna
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Shahna

…. And I think you underestimate Mr Putin.

Cheryl Brandon
Guest
Cheryl Brandon

I hope to god you are right cause, nobody should have to live in fear for their lives/ their children’s l and their safety from Wahabhist criminals?

Ian
Guest
Ian

I don’t think so. It’s been reported that Erdogan’s body language to Trump while at the UN wasn’t friendly.

john mason
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john mason

Mistake to transfer the terrorists to Idlib, they should have gone to Raqqa and that would have saved the city from destruction; US wouldn’t fight their own proxies, stay to protect or leave and let the SAA lose on them.

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

I don’t see why – That turkey has until the 10th October of get his militants to agree and move their backsides accordingly…… It was pretty much a done deal that they wouldn’t agree or go and I guess by then those Syrians who went south to do some housecleaning will be back and …. well – let’s just say terrorists go visit with other dinosaurs. And just look at all the interesting things Russia’s bringing in – with some electronic “dead zone” in the Med… In retaliation for Israeli negligence – or in preparation for NATO-stated intervention in an… Read more »

Cheryl Brandon
Guest
Cheryl Brandon

It should be with immediate effect!

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

This follows Putin’s preferred strategy of giving his opponents enough rope to hang themselves, as Israel just did. What is going to happen next, as Putin and Assad must have known, is that Erdogan will be unable to get his terrorists to evacuate. It will then become Turkey’s responsibility to evict them, meaning Turkish lives, instead of Syrian lives, in the fighting. If Erdogan does not or will not, then Syria will do so, with the full backing of Russia, whether Erdogan likes it or not. What that may mean is that Turkey will be fighting both Syria and Russia,… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

“According to Reuters, Tahrir al-Sham’s stance will be critical to last week’s deal”
So says Reuters .As if they are in control of what is going on in Idlib.
If the terrorists insist on staying in the demilitarized zone, they will slowly get neutralized .If it takes more time , so be it , but they will get neutralized.And the zionists and the zionist controlled governments of the NATO block can go suck wind.

Cheryl Brandon
Guest
Cheryl Brandon

President Vladimir Putin has enabled Erdagoon by giving him time; Cause, Erdagoon has no plans of kicking out the Wahabhist; He is going to change their uniform; I think SAA soldiers might have to carry out this liberation on their own . if Russia is no longer in clearing up Syria; Or give the job to Hezbollah! Their only allegiance is to JUSTICE

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Nothing of that!

This is just Russia doing the same to Turkey as she did to IsRaEl!

We just need to wait for the Turks to mess up… and voilà!

S-300 anyone?

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Never trust them two-faced terrorist-abetting resource-thieving civilian-murdering Turks – they are still sneakily in with their illegal-invader Zio-liar pro-terror political-meddling anti-democracy Yank and ISISraeli war criminals (as well as false-flagging F-UK-US). Have been all along – still are now. FSA are slyly remorphed sicko terrorist mercenaries and so are all the pretend ‘rebel’ groups.

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

That is a fitting acroniym, F.UK.US., which is the plan to do just that to all sane, humane people, as BIG MUMMA, who really pulls all the strings, in these power games, estabishes her end time, one world government, one world church, one world economic system and she definitely F.UK.US all who will not submit to her religious take over.

boggij
Guest
boggij

Unfortunately I think the US has reached its goal in Syria. Those S 400 are not going to change anything at all. Syria is now divided in three parts forever,and in total ruins. The Assad part, that will be poor because the US have cut all oilfields from that area. The Part controlled by the US ,that has all the oil and will be used to terrorize the Assad part,paid by the oil so it is not going to cost the US much. The third part is Idlib,that is now totally controlled by Turkey. There Erdogan can foster his terrorist… Read more »

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

I have disagreements with Mark Sleboda that Putin has been out maneuvered by Turkey. I think that Putin is in the midst of a wrestling match not a boxing match in the middle east and particularly in Syria. In a wrestling match you can be in a situation where you have a good hold and you seek to incrementally increase your hold’s position until your opponent is forced into a weaker position. At some point the opponent’s resistance collapses. You don’t need to risk a good position for some grandiose maneuver that could blow up in your face. But Mark… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Nicely stated.

maja
Guest
maja

Daaaaa!

TEP
Guest
TEP

No. No they didn’t.

Latest

Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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