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Russia: Waging Peace in Ukraine
Russia: Waging Peace in Ukraine
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout months of conflict in Southeastern Ukraine, Russia has gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically.
Yet Putin bashing never quits. He's viciously demonized. Truth is buried. Facts are conveniently twisted.
He's wrongfully accused of supplying weapons and fighters to aid Southeastern Ukrainian anti-government forces' liberating struggle.
His spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, categorically denies Russia's involvement. "We have said repeatedly that no equipment is being supplied there," he said. No Russian troops are involved.
Moscow wants conflict ended. It wants diplomatic efforts to do it. On Sunday, Russian, German, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers met at a villa outside Berlin.
Doing so was called a prelude to ceasefire talks while fierce fighting rages.
The Atlantic Council is a right-wing/hawkish Washington-based think tank. Adrian Karatnycky is a senior fellow.
"The Ukrainians have been making so many gains that their incentive is to keep at this as much as possible," he said.
"A ceasefire is not viable for Ukraine." It would let anti-government forces regroup and rearm.
At the same time, oligarch president Poroshenko is pressured to crush opposition elements as soon as possible and solidify hardline rule.
According to Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, "(t)he most important thing is to stop the flow of weapons and mercenaries from Russia."
Big Lies about Moscow aiding Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters repeat ad nauseam. Corroborating evidence is absent.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed a dire situation saying "(t)he news from today shows us that things can get even worse."
"If we don't pay very close attention and concern ourselves with the process, we can slide further and further into a direct confrontation between Ukrainian and Russian forces."
"We urgently need new political impetus. Otherwise we run the risk of treading water, or of going backward and re-entering an intensified spiral of escalation."
Sunday talks lasted about five hours. No breakthrough was achieved. None was expected.
Washington wants conflict continued. So does Kiev. They want freedom fighters crushed. They want unconditional surrender.
They want democracy prevented. They want hardline rule solidified. They want Russia blamed for Washington-caused crisis conditions.
Putting a brave face on failure, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said:
"The ministers of foreign affairs from Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held a meeting in Berlin on 17 August to discuss issues related to the international effort to assist Ukraine in settling its internal crisis."
"The ministers reviewed all aspects of the situation in Ukraine, with a focus on the earliest possible termination of the hostilities, border control, humanitarian aid delivery to Southeastern Ukraine, and creating the conditions for the earliest beginning of the process of political settlement."
"Some progress was made on all these issues. Arrangements have been made to continue the dialogue in the same format, whereupon specific proposals can be submitted to the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for consideration."
War without mercy continues full force. Dozens die daily. Many others are injured.
Food, drinking water, medical supplies, electricity and other essentials are absent or in short supply.
Lugansk and Donetsk banks are closed. Residents have no access to their money. Wages and pensions aren't paid. Hundreds of thousands fled. Many struggle daily to survive.
Vitally needed Russian-supplied humanitarian aid remains stuck on Ukraine's border. Kiev agreed to permit inspections.
It hasn't yet guaranteed safety once trucks cross Russia's border. ICRC personnel will distribute it once permission is granted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes Washington and key EU allies have more influence on various paramilitary groups, neo-Nazi Right Sector fighters, and other extremist elements comprising Ukraine's National Guard.
"The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard," he said.
"The demarche of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself."
He referred to their elements threatening action against Kiev unless authorities release all their members and end all criminal investigations.
Right Sector leader Dmitro Yarosh and its volunteer battalion commander, Andrey Stempitsky, accused deputy interior minister Vladimir Yevdokimov of heading "a criminal police group of separatist stooges and (being) a Moscow puppet."
Other interior ministry accusations included "unlawful detentions, arrests, beatings, and confiscation of arms taken in battle."
"Unless our demands are met within 48 hours, we will be forced to call off all our units on the front line, start a general mobilization of reserve battalions and launch a march on Kiev to enact a ‘swift reform’ of the Interior Ministry," the statement said.
"The columns of the Right Sector will march in full gear," it added. Other paramilitary groups were asked to support their demands and oust "the helpers of the terrorists in police uniforms from the Ukrainian land."
Lavrov said Ukrainian oligarch-sponsored armed groups pose a great security threat.
"We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don't answer to the central government in Kiev," he explained.
At the same time, he welcomed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deploying drones to control the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Moscow wants more transparency. It's concerned about how often Kiev wrongfully accuses Russia of border violations.
The bogus Friday claim about destroying a column of Russian armor is the latest example.
"What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the rout of a potential humanitarian aid delivery," said Lavrov.
"That column was destroyed by the militia. If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don't accuse us of anything."
Lavrov criticized Kiev's request for NATO aid against Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters.
It "goes against all the agreements we had reached on stopping the hostilities and initiating negotiations."
"As long as the authorities in Kiev bet on the use of force and consider a military victory over their own people a necessary condition for keeping themselves in power, I don't think any good will come from what we are trying to achieve."
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said fighting triggers increasing numbers of iinternal and external displacements.
As of August 13, displaced Ukrainians number around 155,800 while over 188,000 sought refuge in Russia, it said.
On August 5, the UN said 730,000 refugees fled to Russia since April. Many don't register with the Federal Migration Service or other authorities.
In the past five days through August 15, 22,000 people fled Lugansk and Donetsk compared to 6,200 from August 1 - 8.
Kiev's dirty war includes chemical weapons use, according to RIA Novosti.
Donetsk freedom fighter Miroslav Rudenko said "(a)ccording to our soldiers' information, the Ukrainian forces are using chemical ammunition on DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) territory."
"Once a shell bursts, a gas affecting sense organs is emitted. We have this information."
On August 6, the Russian Investigative Committee claimed "irrefutable evidence" of illegal white phosphorous bombs use against civilians.
Israel uses them and other terror weapons against defenseless Palestinians. Washington knows what's ongoing.
It approves by turning a blind eye to what demands condemnation. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. Ceasefire is nowhere in sight.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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