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Ukraine After Martial Law: Neither Peace, Nor War

Local observers note that Poroshenko looks set to receive the support of the West, and that increases his chances of winning the election, even if some tampering with the vote takes place.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


In Ukraine, the electoral campaign preceding the presidential elections scheduled for March 31, 2019, officially kicked off on December 31, 2018. Meanwhile, the martial law imposed on 10 of the country’s regions (with more than half of Ukraine’s population living in them) was lifted days before the campaign started – on December 26. The martial law, which continued for one month, granted Ukraine’s unpopular president Petro Poroshenko dictatorial powers. He could shut down any media outlets, cancel and postpone any elections, arrest any people suspected of “collaboration” with Russia for an indefinite period of time. Protest rallies and political activities, such as party conventions and parliamentary investigations, were also put on hold.

The question is: can the elections, due to be held 3 months after the ending of the martial law, be considered free and fair? And can president Poroshenko be tempted to impose the martial law again before the elections? In any democratic country, Poroshenko would have rather slim chances with his low voter approval rating at 11.6 percent (the data from the latest poll conducted by the Kiev-based International Sociology Institute). The strongest candidate, the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is 10 points ahead of him with 21.6 percent.

Poroshenko imposed the martial law on November 26 because of the arrest of three Ukrainian military vessels near the Kerch straits in the Black Sea, where both Ukraine and Russia have big ports and military bases. The Russian side claimed that the Ukrainian vessels illegally entered the Russian territorial waters before trying (unsuccessfully) to enter the Kerch Strait – a narrow water pass connecting the Black Sea with the Azov Sea. That sea is a shallow water reservoir, most of it unfit even for medium-sized military ships. Just a few years ago no one could imagine the Azov Sea being unimportant strategically, since Russia controlled Azov since the 17th century and almost all the population living on its shores was Russian-speaking. The biggest Ukrainian port on the Azov Sea, Mariupol, with its Russian population, was part of the anti-Maidan rebellion in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine in 2014. The city also took part in the unrecognized referendum on federalization of Ukraine that same year, but in a few weeks, in May 2014, Mariupol was seized by the Ukrainian army, which was already advancing against the rebellion on Donetsk and Lugansk, using tanks, aviation and artillery.

Now the Azov Sea suddenly became hugely important in the eyes of both the EU and the US. After the two Ukrainian small navy ships and a tug boat (with 24 people on board) were arrested by Russians for entering the waters which even before Crimea’s reunification with Russia were considered Russian waters, both the US and the EU suddenly started taking the problems of the Kerch Strait close to heart. President Trump cancelled his scheduled meeting with president Putin in Argentina in the end of 2018, saying the two leaders would meet when the Ukrainian seamen and ships are returned to Ukraine. France’s and Germany’s leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel on the eve of the New Year suddenly developed a strong desire “to see the Ukrainian seamen celebrating the holidays with their families,” making a special strong-worded statement against Russia on the subject.

“It is interesting to note that, when the Ukrainian border guards in March 2018 arrested 10 seamen aboard a fishing vessel Nord in March 2018 inside the Azov Sea, Merkel and Macron did not make any protesting statements,” comments Bogdan Bezpalko, the head of the Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies at the Moscow State University. “That fishing boat was operating from Crimea, the seamen were the residents of a fishing village there. So, formally, they were Ukrainian citizens for the Ukrainian authorities. (Ukraine still considers Crimea its territory, despite the region’s voting for reunification with Russia in 2014 – D.B.). But the fishermen were still arrested for pursuing economic activity from Crimea, which is “an occupied territory” in the eyes of Kiev. The sailors spent several months in Ukraine against their will, and the captain is still detained there. And these people were not military, they did not try to pass under the strategically important Crimean Bridge with arms and without permissions. Similar situations happened to other Russian vessels, but the EU did not react. Now it does.”

The hypocrisy of the American and European leaders with their numerous “concerns about the state of democracy” became especially evident, when no one in the US and the EU protested against Poroshenko’s decision to impose the martial law after the incident near Kerch Strait, which was no match to the tragic peak of the civil war in 2014-2015. According to Ukrainian opinion polls, no less than 60 percent of Ukrainians did not approve of Poroshenko’s decision, seeing in it only an attempt to stay in power, having nothing to do with defense of the country.

“If Poroshenko needed additional powers to use arms against a possible Russian aggression, he did not have to impose a martial law,” said Mikhail Pogrebinsky, head of the Kiev-based Center for Conflict Studies. “In 2014 Poroshenko used aviation, artillery and tanks against the rebellion in Donbass, without any martial laws. He just called it an “anti-terrorist operation” and used the most destructive weapons, without any consequences from the West. So, people in Ukraine don’t trust the president now, they see in the martial law just another trick aimed at cancelling elections or winning them dishonestly.”

Macron’s and Merkel’s demand to Russia “to provide a secure, speedy and unhampered” passage of all international vessels through the Kerch Strait (something Russia has never refused to do) also smacks of hypocrisy. The Russian foreign ministry pointed to the fact that Ukraine’s military vessels passed through the Kerch Strait weeks before the incident of November 25. Nevertheless, American state department’s chief negotiator on the issues of Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Kurt Volker, threatened Russia with additional sanctions from both the US and Europe for “hampering international navigation.”

“We are used to sanctions and do not expect justice from the West,” explained Vladimir Zharikhin, the head of the Ukrainian department at the Moscow-based Institute for CIS Studies. “What is sad, it is the consequences of the confrontation for the Ukrainian election. A chance to change Ukraine’s disastrous policy line is being missed.”

On December 28 Poroshenko convened a special closed meeting of the country’s top generals and security officials to discuss the outcome of the martial law. Poroshenko said he actually would have preferred to keep the martial law, but the requirement to have a three months long electoral campaign made this variant impossible. However, Poroshenko’s chances of winning increased – even without an increase in his ratings, he saw his enemies demoralized. Despite the fact that Yulia Tymoshenko warned about Poroshenko’s plans to cancel the elections by an imposition of the martial law as early as in July this year, her faction did not put up much of a resistance to Poroshenko’s idea (the vote in the Rada was 270 against 60 in favor of the martial law). Tymoshenko’s faction avoided a fight. And a fighter which does not fight – this fighter has lost already.

Local observers note that Poroshenko looks set to receive the support of the West, and that increases his chances of winning the election, even if some tampering with the vote takes place. As for a new “series” of martial law, there are lots of enthusiasts for this kind of solution in Ukraine.

For example, a Rada deputy named Vitaly Kupryi registered in the Ukrainian parliament a draft law, which requires the president to declare Ukraine “in the state of war with Russian Federation,” cutting all transit of Russian oil and gas through Ukraine (an idea not likely to receive support from the EU).

So, the likeliest outcome will be a state of tension, “neither peace nor war,” which would allow people not to see a dramatic worsening of their situation while allowing Poroshenko to stay in power.

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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

‘But the fishermen were still arrested for pursuing economic activity from Crimea, which is “an occupied territory” in the eyes of Kiev’. “Occupied territory”… that’s rich. Of course Crimea (all of it) has been Russian territory since 1783 or thereabouts. Whereas until 1991 there had never been such a nation as “Ukraine” through all recorded history. (And personally I find the declaration of Ukrainian independence legally rather fishy – after all, the area was part of Russia for over a century before the 1917 Revolution, so when the USSR dissolved itself Ukraine should simplay have reverted to Russia). But talking… Read more »

Veth
Guest
Veth

Crimea is Ukraine, occupied by a Nazzi-Junta in Moscow does not change that.

Joe
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Joe

Ukronazi moron! Idiots like you have brought the Ukraine to its present state of a failed, bankrupt hell-hole, that will never recover. All by yourselves: you are the most stupid people in Europe, if not the whole world.

ruca
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ruca

Ok if you think Crimea is Ukraine, go try to take it back.

fred
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fred

people like you live in a fact free universe where brains are replaced with rotting excrement
or in a for profit prison the cheapest place for CIA trolls to operate

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Ukraine is Russia; the sooner it will join the motherland again, the better.

Veth
Guest
Veth

Spoken like a Nazzi. Russian troops invaded Ukraine, started the Holy war!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Moron!

Olivia Kroth
Guest

He always shows up here when Ukraine is discussed. He must be some sort of Ukrainian agent/troll.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

Troll, yes. Agent, no. Even Kiev has standards for their propaganda. Veth is little more than a useful idiot and antagonist. He has no teeth and his bark is getting more distant every day.

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Lying thieving corrupt murderous Kiev and its sicko ZioWestern backers are a joint basket case.

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

The Duran

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

RT

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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