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5 reasons why Ukraine is a bigger threat to peace and safety than North Korea

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The Korean Peninsula is often thought of as a volatile region, a dangerous region, an unpredictable ‘weaponised’ region. In particular, the United States has accused North Korea of being a threat to regional peace and stability.

Objectively, there is some truth to all of this, but the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Korean states is far less unstable than the Syria/Iraq border which is currently controlled by ISIS.

But when it comes to threatening regional instability and causing bloodshed, there is one place that is vastly more deadly and volatile than the Korean Peninsula: the battle-zone between Kiev controlled Ukraine and the Donbass Republics.

Despite the fact that the North and South Korea are technically still at war, the region has been remarkably stable and calm since the ceasefire which ended the hot conflict on the peninsula in 1953.

Despite occasional worrying movements on the DMZ (demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas), since 1953, life in North Korea and South Korea has been allowed to develop in such a way that all Koreans live their daily lives in a normal way according to the standards that each unique Korean state has set for its citizens over the decades since the hot period of the Korean War.

For all of its rhetorical bluster, North Korea remains technically committed not a ‘no first strike’ policy in respect of nuclear weapons. Because of this, letting a sleeping dog lie would be good advice for the more hawkish forces in Washington.

READ MORE: The US should accept China’s proposal and talk to North Korea. Here’s why.

Compare this to the Ukraine/Donbass conflict. 

1. Duration and Nature of the Conflicts 

Ukraine, a country which between 1991 and 2014 was united, but with deep political divisions, has split. The Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were proclaimed after the fascist coup in Kiev and since then, the regular forces, mercenaries and terrorists loyal to Kiev have been invading and attacking the two Donbass Republics, almost without cessation and in total violation of the Minsk II ceasefire agreement, which unlike the successful Korean War ceasefire, was dead on arrival.

The Ukrainian war of aggression against the Donbass Republics which started in February of 2014 and still rages, has all ready gone on for longer than the 3 year and 1 month hot period of Korean War which lasted between June of 1950 and July of 1953, before the ceasefire took effect.

Augmenting this have been attempted terrorist attacks on neighbouring Russia, attacks which were thankfully thwarted by the Russian security services.

READ MORE: Shootout in Crimea: Russia’s FSB vs Ukrainian Saboteurs

By contrast, the last time any North Koreans violated the ceasefire with the South was in 1975 when North Korean soldiers committed an ‘axe murder’ of two American soldiers chopping down a tree in the DMZ.

When all was said and done, America reacted by chopping down the rest of the tree as a ‘show of force’.

2. Chemical Weapons 

Whilst no heavy weapons have been fired from one Korean state to another since 1953, Ukraine is guilty of using illegal chemical weapons on civilian targets in Donbass. The Russian Investigative Committee came to the conclusion that white phosphorus was Kiev’s chemical weapon of choice when attacking Donbass.

READ MORE: When Ukraine dropped chemical weapons on Donbass, the west didn’t care (VIDEO)

3. Deaths

While death has not been a daily feature of Korean life since 1953, the same cannot be said for Donbass. As of December 2016, the UN reports that nearly 10,000 people, including women and children were killed in the Donbass conflict and many suggest the UN figure is low compared to the even grimmer realities on the ground. Many more, including civilians have been killed since then.

Beyond the deaths, torture and rape, including child rape has been a feature of Kiev’s war of aggression. No such analogue exists in the Korean states.

READ MORE: The war in Eastern Ukraine and child rape

4. Political Maturity 

Although both Koreas have a goal of uniting the peninsula under their respective flags and in turn do not acknowledge the political legitimacy of the other state, in reality, both accept the fact that for the foreseeable future they’ll have to live side by side.

Not even the most radical anti-communists in the South plan to storm across the border in a ‘liberation war’ nor will North Korea turn Seoul into a ‘sea of flame’ unless provoked. It’s all bombastic rhetoric and has been since the 1950s.

Just as East and West Germany lived side by side without engaging in war, a similar ‘cold peace’ exists between North and South Korea.

By contrast, Ukraine is totally confused about its own position on the Donbass Republics. On the one hand, they claim that the territory is part of a unitary Ukrainian state, but on the other, they cut off water, electricity and other vital supplies to the Republics. Ukraine has legally removed the rights of Russian speakers throughout the country and has purged Russian from Ukrainian media.

The Kiev regime refuses to allow trains from Donbass into Kiev controlled regions and they do not issue passports and birth certificates in Donbass, which has led Russia to now fully accept legal ID issued in the Donbass Republics as legitimate documents. Ukraine calls the Donbass people terrorists, ‘Russian agents’ and everything else to make them as distant as possible. By contrast, neither Pyongyang and Seoul  challenge the ‘Koreaness’ for those on the other side of the DMZ.

Vladimir Putin said just yesterday, that it isn’t Moscow which somehow lured the Donbass Republics into its realm but rather, Kiev simply cut them off, isolated them, alienated them and pushed them away. One could add historical inevitability to this list. 

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin blasts western hypocrisy while standing next to Angela Merkel

5. The Nuclear Question 

While there are no longer nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory, there are many nuclear power facilities and most are in a state of total disrepair. Ukraine’s nuclear sector is among the least safe in the world. The combination of lack of funds and a disorganised central government has allowed a situation to develop that could result in another Chernobyl style disaster.

The Energy Post describes the Ukrainian nuclear sector as being plagued by “persistent safety problems”.

In an article from 2016, the Energy Post describes how Ukraine’s neighbours live in fear of another nuclear meltdown on Ukrainian territory,

“Ukraine’s neighbours are also concerned. Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria have sent multiple questions for clarification and requests for participation in trans-boundary consultations. But Kiev, in response, denied its obligation to conduct any.

One might think that this experience, or perhaps civil society’s repeated warnings, would make decision makers reconsider this reckless adventure. But not the Ukrainian government”.

While ‘nuclear war’ is a  better headline than ‘nuclear safety concerns’, the fact is that since 1945, the world’s biggest nuclear disasters have been the result of poorly managed nuclear power facilities and not nuclear weapons.

In this sense, Ukraine’s ‘nuclear problem’ is a graver danger to global safety than North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme which thus far has never fired a missile in anger.

Between 2014 and the present day, Ukraine has killed more innocent civilians than either Korean state has even attempted to do since 1953. Ukraine has broken ceasefire agreements on a daily basis while the Korean states have not. Ukraine has deployed chemical weapons on civilians while neither Korean state has done so and unlike the quiet Korean political conflict, Kiev’s war of aggression is going on at this very moment.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s silent nuclear problem is manifestly more worrying than North Korea’s weapons programme.

Objectively, no one could argue that either Korean state is as dangerous or as volatile as post-coup Ukraine.

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Shahna
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What is happening in Donbas is quite simply one of the greatest crimes and atrocities of modern times.
That it is being instigated, encouraged and even perpetrated by the peoples of the world who regard themselves a morally superior and “civilised” should have every one of them deep ashamed of themselves and their countries.

Perhaps one day they will be – but that won’t bring back the murdered or refund them their lost future.

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Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

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Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

RT

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Via RT…


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

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When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.

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Via Zerohedge


In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

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