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5 reasons the Malorossiya declaration is a modest proposal that the EU, Russia and US should support

Today’s Malorossiya declaration gives most international parties who are observing the conflict in Donbass, most of what they have wanted for years. On inspection, the proposals are the opposite of radical, they are entirely reasonable. They do not require the Russian Federation to absorb new territory and it would restore human rights in Ukraine/Malorossiya to pre-2014 levels or better.

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Predictable condemnation of the declaration of the state of Malorossiya has come from EU states, the Kiev regime and even Russian officials. But on closer inspection, Malorossiya could be a win-win situation for Europe, Russia, the United States and for the people of Malorossiya.

Here’s why.

1. Malorossiya to remain sovereign from the Russian Federation 

For those who have been following measures that many politicians in Donbass and The Russian Federation have taken to integrate the bureaucratic, financial and logistical ties between Donbass and Russia, today’s announcement does not call for Malorossiya to become part of the Russian Federation.

According to the statement released from Donetsk, Malorossiya is defined in the following way,

“Malorossiya is an INDEPENDENT, SOVEREIGN state with a new name, a new flag, a new constitution, a new state structure, new principles of social and economic development, and new historical prospects. But this is NOT A REVOLUTION! This is a return to history. This is a novelty that restores, not destroys”.

Thus, for those in Russia worried (however inappropriately) about international repercussions from the west about absorbing new territories, the Malorossiya plan, if fully implemented and accepted honestly, would put these questions to rest for the foreseeable future.

While the western powers are resolutely opposed to Russia re-uniting in a formal sense with Donbass or the broader historic territories of Malorossiya and Novorossiya and with the Russian government making no moves to advocate for a larger Russian Federation, such vexed are rendered irrelevant under the new plans from Donetsk.

2. MINSK II Without The Impossible Provisions 

Many of the key elements of the MINSK II agreement that Russia, the EU and US still favour as a settlement to the war in Donbass are actually retained in the Malorossiya declaration.

a. MINSK II calls for a cessation of violence and so does the Malorossiya declaration.

b. MINSK II calls for local control and accountability throughout the present territory of Ukraine and so too would such a thing happen according to the Malorossiya declaration.

c. MINSK II calls for all languages spoken in the territories in question to be respected and so too does the Malorossiya declaration call for full legal status to both Russian and Malorossiyan (aka Ukrainian).

d. MINSK II calls for respect for self-determination in accordance with international law and of course so does the Malorossiya declaration.

The biggest stumbling bloc to the MINSK II agreements is that the current Kiev regime simply does not want to attempt to implement the protocols. There has been no ceasefire, no withdrawal of weapons, no full prison exchange and no movement on laws for local-autonomy, human rights, so-called inter-ethnic rights or language rights. Quite the opposite has happened, regime officials have called for total war and the killing of civilians continues to escalate.

The problem with MINSK II is not that it asks the impossible, the problem is that it asks the rational from a totally irrational regime. It is a problem of personalities and their ideology, not a problem of the content itself. Much of the content of MINSK II which stresses peace and local rule is not only preserved in the Malorossiya declaration but it is actually enhanced. 

3. It accounts for the so-called ‘territorial integrity of Ukraine’

The Malorossiya declaration would see most areas which currently comprise Ukraine remain united or in some cases (Donetsk and Lugansk) become re-united into a single indivisible state. All that would change would be the style of government, the constitution and name of the state. It would literally be a successor state with virtually the same borders.

Even the most ardent Russophobes in the EU often hold their collective noses or look the other way when faced with the fact that the current regime in Kiev is one which promulgates fascist ideology, that which is illegal in many EU states. This the current regime is popular in many EU quarters less because of what it stands for than for what it stands against: good relations with Russia. This is a position which was always financially untenable for both Brussels and Kiev and is increasingly becoming a political headache for the EU which now has its own major crisis of integrity, namely, Brexit.

Likewise, countries have the right to change their name both in war time and in peace time. This for example is why the country still commonly referred to as The Czech Republic prefers to be called Czechia. Sticking with Czechia, this is why when Czechoslovakia spit in 1993, it was called a Velvet Divorce, both countries retain an open border, have good relations and are both part of the European Union.

Without advocating for a position of joining Russia, the Malorossiya declaration allows for the current borders of the state now called Ukraine to be essentially preserved while allowing for the possibility of regions, ostensibly those who reject the Russian heritage of the most of Ukraine, to remain as part of a separate sovereign entity.

This would most likely manifest itself with regions formerly belonging to Poland/Austria and Hungary/Czechoslovakia to remain sovereign states who pursue a different geo-political path from Malorossiya.

If this is what people want and if this is what people vote for, it is called self-determination and this is also part of the MINSK II agreements as well as more importantly, a recognised protocol of international law.

4. A Belorussian Solution (with a bit of pre-coup Ukraine thrown in)

Statements made in support of the Malorossiya declaration specifically mention the Union-State which since 1996 has existed between Russia and Belarus. Under these provisions the states have open borders, a common customs area and cooperate intensively in crucial matters of trade, economics and security.

Both states remain sovereign according to this agreement and both states are entitled to disagreements, a privilege that Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko has frequently invoked throughout the years.

Had Ukraine’s last legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych not been overthrown, a similar agreement could have well been on the table between Ukraine and Russia. In many ways, as mutual members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, many of the aforementioned realities already existed in respect of Kiev’s pre-2014 relationship with Moscow.

For those concerned about normalcy returning to the region, this is far from a radical proposal in this respect, it is actually simply going back to the last time Ukraine was a semi-stable state prior to 2014.

5. Everything Tolerated Except Fascism 

The Malorossiya declaration tolerates everything that all observers to the conflict could genuinely and reasonably expect from a post-conflict settlement including a commitment to human rights, language rights, the right to an education, the right to democratic self-determination and the right to live in a country with much needed constitutional reforms.

Surely changing a country’s name is less severe than disenfranchising a large portion of the country’s citizens? But in harassing Russian language schools and teachers, in shutting down Orthodox Churches which are part of the Moscow Patriarchate and seizing their property, by prohibiting the use of the Russian language and by shutting down Russian language television, radio and websites (including social media), the current regime is acting in a manner incompatible with normal, modern human rights requirements.

Frankly, if the proposals didn’t come from Donetsk and one read them to a middle-level EU politician, many might find such a politician saying, “It sounds like a revised Ukraine with an acknowledgement of the region’s history without the fascist elements”.

Indeed that is all it is. 

As the declaration says itself,

“…this is NOT A REVOLUTION! This is a return to history. This is a novelty that restores, not destroys”.

One would be hard pressed for a more accurate description of what is being proposed. There will certainly be growing pains along the way, but better to grow in a spirit of refreshed and revitalised peace than to descend into the childish anarchy that is the current Kiev regime.

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Larchmonter445
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Larchmonter445

The proposal is a solution. There are no other solutions.
All it takes is for the US to cease paying for the war.
Will Trump go for this?
It removes the lunatics from the new entity. It will be less corrupt.
However, the American project has been 26 years in process, and it has many authors and many nurturers along the way.

Putin will have to sell it. It didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s the perceptual Gestalt of the present Ukraine. Now a small Donbass embraces most of Ukraine, leaving a small Banderstan for the nazis and NATO.

http://bobbyrettew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/gestalt-theory.jpg

Punisher 1
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Punisher 1

There are a couple of problems with this solution. I like it myself,and think it should be implemented. But see problems with that implementation. First,The Kiev regime and their Western supporters proclivity for murder. They are sure to try and kill the leaders of this movement. And the fact they have succeeded several times recently to murder officials in Donbass makes me worry they will keep to that path. Had they failed,or suffered harsh reprisals for those killings they would have been deterred from continuing with that policy. But they succeeded,and didn’t face any reprisals because of their crimes. So… Read more »

K Pomeroy
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K Pomeroy

“The problem with MINSK II is not that it asks the impossible, the
problem is that it asks the rational from a totally irrational regime.” Great quote, Adam Garrie!

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

Can someone clear up for me, please, where the Donbass and Lughansk thing fits in here. I see “Donbass” being used to cover both, and then sometimes only part of the region with Lughansk being referred to separately. I’ve been unable to see where they fit with each other for a while now – and am currently no wiser. The map gives me no help as – at least on my pc – it is too blurred to be read.
Assistance anyone??

Peter Hallam
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Peter Hallam

I too would like comment on this. I appreciate that there are two separate regions who are both fighting against what is effectively a NAZI aggressor, but: a) Why are they not cooperating more? b) Why does the Donbass seem to be speaking for Lughansk without them commenting? I’ve read that this declaration was not coordinated with Lughansk? Is this true? Is there any reason that either region would not want to be affiliated with the other even though they are ‘supporting’ each other in the fight against Fascism? FWIW: I really hope this plan works and that the majority… Read more »

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

AGree with you Peter. The Galicians should re-instate the country of Galicia, a sort of enclave of Polish Banderites with some vaguely Ukrainian leanings. They seem to be a bunch of people who feed off hate – they should all get together in a walled off community and left to get on with it.
I remember Dmitry Orlov saying an old Russian curse was ” Go to hell – and take Galicia with you”.

Ivan Grozny
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Ivan Grozny

While I understand there is some confusion – it’s a BIG surprise for most of us – there was some 19 representatives from all over the ‘former’ Ukraine present, when the declaration was made – curious, LPR members was absent (why?? The issue of corruption is larger in Lugansk??). God forbid, this is the start of a ‘two-state solution’ like we see in ‘former’ Palestina. [I mean constant negotiations and no results]

Is this the answer??
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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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