Ukrainian Chronicles

На српском, ФБРепортер

Yesterday, I was watching Obama’s speech in Tallinn about the civil war in Ukraine, and I was not at all impressed. I’m afraid our Western politicians are going to start world war III. Alternative voices and new politicians are needed.

In this article, I will give some links to good perspectives and videos giving an alternative to western warmongering against Russia, and I hope this is a page people would want to bookmark to find good information about the war in Ukraine and NATO’s approach to Russia.

Eastern Ukraine, the area where over 2600 civilians, not counting 298 victims from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, have been killed the last months.

Eastern Ukraine, the area where over 2600 civilians, not counting 298 victims from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, have been killed the last months.

There is a lot of good information out there, but one of the most important article for Western politicians to reflect about it Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault, written my Dr. John Mearsheimer, professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. The article was published in Foreign Affairs, an American journal of international relations and U.S. foreign policy, one of the most prestigious periodicals of its kind in the world.

Another article that should be on the curriculum of all Western politicians who deal with security policy is The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities. The author of this article is another top academic scholar, Dr. Stephen F. Cohen, a professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin.

In this article, Cohen writes about the heavy artillery shelling and air bombardment from the Ukrainian government causing humanitarian catastrophes and almost no reaction from Western governments because they view the government in Kiev as an ally against “Russian aggression”.

To watch both Dr. Mearsheimer and Dr. Cohen together, CrossTalk: Containment 2.0? (ft. Stephen Cohen & John Mearsheimer) on Russia Today is to watch and learn more about the background to the conflict.

Democracy Now!

Anther good news source about this topic is Democracy Now! Although they have a too strong leftist agenda, or what they call progressive themselves, they have good and balanced coverage of Ukraine and Russia, and they often have very interesting guests. Let me go through some of their videos:

Update: Ukraine Ceasefire Takes Hold, but an Expanding NATO on Russia’s Borders Raises Threat of Nuclear War

On Sept 5, 2014, Dr. Stephen Cohen visited Democracy Now!, and he gave some chilling analysis about the risk to start a new war against Russia and NATO if NATO continues with their aggressive actions to encircle Russia with NATO presence and bases. He also said that the government in Ukraine has no democratic legitimacy and the claim that the US promotes democracy in Ukraine is not only a half truth but a lie.

Video description from Democracy Now!:The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels are reportedly set to sign a ceasefire today aimed at ending over six months of fighting that has killed at least 2,600 people and displaced over a million. The deal is expected this morning in the Belarusian capital of Minsk as President Obama and European leaders meet in Wales for a major NATO summit. The ceasefire comes at a time when the Ukrainian military has suffered a number of defeats at the hands of the Russian-backed rebels. In the hours leading up to the reported ceasefire, pro-Russian rebels launched another offensive to take the port city of Mariupol, which stands about halfway between Russia and the Crimea region. The Ukrainian government and NATO have accused Russia of sending forces into Ukraine, a claim Moscow denies. The new developments in Ukraine come as NATO has announced plans to create a new rapid reaction force in response to the Ukraine crisis. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, and the author of numerous books on Russia and the Soviet Union.
Fmr. U.S. Ambassador: To Resolve Ukraine Crisis, Address Internal Divisions & Russian Fears of NATO

Video description: Ukraine has retracted an earlier claim to have reached a ceasefire with Russia. The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko initially said he agreed with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on steps toward a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. But the Kremlin then denied a ceasefire agreement, saying it is in no position to make a deal because it is not a party to the fighting. Ukraine has accused Russia of direct involvement in the violence amidst a recent escalation. The confusion comes as President Obama visits the former Soviet republic of Estonia ahead of a major NATO summit in Wales. On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest outlined NATO’s plans to expand its presence in eastern Europe. Ukraine and NATO have accused Russia of sending armored columns of troops into Ukraine, but Russia has denied its troops are involved in fighting on the ground. We are joined by Jack Matlock, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.


Jack Matlock offers very good analysis, and he is also the author many books and scholarly articles. His latest book is Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray–And How to Return to Reality.  In the next video from Democracy Now!, Behind Heated Rhetoric, Eastern Ukraine Faces Grave Humanitarian Crisis as Over 1 Million Displaced, we also see Ambassador Matlock in addition to the Norwegian crisis investigator for Human Rights Watch (HRW) who has documented war crimes on both sides in the Ukrainian civil war in addition to some good field work in Syria. Solvang says Ukrainian government forces are most likely most responsible for civilian deaths in cities like Lugansk and Donetsk, although Russian backed rebels also use heavy artillery. Also see the HRW report Ukraine: Rebel Forces Detain, Torture Civilians.

Video description: We continue our coverage of Ukraine by looking at the humanitarian crisis on the ground. According to the United Nations, more than one million people have been displaced by the fighting. Some 800,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia, another 260,000 are displaced inside Ukraine. We speak to Ole Solvang, senior emergency researcher for Human Rights Watch. He returned recently returned from eastern Ukraine and is the lead author of the new HRW report, “Ukraine: Rising Civilian Toll in Luhansk.” The report details how both Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels are contributing to the rising death toll in the besieged city where many residents have not had electricity, gas and running water for weeks. Food and fuel are running low.

The HRW report Ukraine: Rising Civilian Toll in Luhansk is something that should be carefully considered when Western politicians use very aggressive rhetoric supporting the government in Kiev unconditionally.

The next video from Democracy Now! is Ukraine Crisis Escalates as Russian Forces Cross Border, NATO Moves to Expand in Region.

Video description: The United States and NATO are openly accusing Russia of sending combat forces into Ukraine as tensions continue to mount. According to the United Nations, nearly 2,600 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since April in fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatist rebels sympathetic to Russia. On Thursday, at least 15 civilians were killed when Ukrainian forces shelled the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Meanwhile, a new Human Rights Watch report accuses the rebels of arbitrarily detaining civilians and subjecting them to torture, degrading treatment, and forced labor. On Thursday, NATO released satellite images that it says show Russian artillery, vehicles and troops in and around eastern Ukraine. We are joined from London by the Guardian’s Jonathan Steele, the organization’s former Moscow correspondent and author of many books, including “Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, and the Mirage of Democracy.”


Jonathan Steele has very sensible viewpoints, and you would learn a lot from watching this video.

Vice News

VICE news is a news source more critical to Russia, but they still have a fair balance, and it is also an important source to know what is going on on the ground in Ukraine. Here are some of their videos:

Donetsk Morgue Overrun with Civilian Casualties: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 74)

Video description: As the Donetsk People’s Republic opened up a new front to the south of Donetsk, Ukrainian forces continued their artillery bombardment of the city. With the pro-Russia rebels also using artillery to push back the military, civilians are often caught in the deadly crossfire.
VICE News headed to the Donetsk train station to see the destructive aftermath of the shelling, and later spoke with the chief coroner of the city’s central morgue to hear how he and his staff are struggling to manage the influx of bodies.


Allegiances Shift as Conflict Intensifies: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 73)

Video description: As the conflict between pro-Russia rebels and the Ukrainian military intensifies, civilians continue to suffer across eastern Ukraine. Amid the fighting, 
VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky visited the cities of Mariupol, Komsomolsk, and Novoazovsk to gauge the situation on the ground. In Mariupol, residents are protesting against pro-Russia militias, while in Komsomolsk, citizens reported they were robbed by the Ukrainian National Guard, and are now waiting with open arms for pro-Russia forces to infiltrate. And in Novoazovsk, an abandoned armored personnel carrier and destroyed column led us to a string of charred bodies — with few answers as to what transpired.


The New Rebel Offensive: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 72)

Video description: For three weeks, the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the capital of the so-called Donetsk Peoples Republic, has faced a near-constant barrage of deadly shellfire. Hundreds of civilians have been killed as the Ukrainian army slowly encircled Donetsk and pro-Russia forces fought for control of what is strategically the most important city.

With the Ukrainian army having made sweeping gains since late June, the rebels announced a counter offensive to relieve the siege of Donetsk and other cities under their control. On August 25, rebel forces brought over a number of armored vehicles and tanks from the Russian border on the southern coastline. They quickly made a push towards the coastal city of Mariupol, but were stopped at the town of Novoazovsk after a skirmish with Ukrainian troops and volunteer forces. 

VICE News headed to Novoazovsk to investigate claims of Russian involvement, and found terrified civilians trapped in the shelling, along with desperate Ukrainian forces angry at their lack of reinforcement from their leaders in Kiev.


Kiev Independence Day Parade Flaunts Artillery and Armor: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 71)

Video description: On August 23, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss Ukraine’s place in the context of Europe. She also offered 500 million euros for the reconstruction of the Donbas region. The following day, a military parade was held in Kiev, in which high profile armor and artillery was displayed to crowds. Meanwhile, rebels in Donetsk held a counter march in Donetsk where they paraded their prisoners of war, as onlookers threw trash at the captives. 
Despite the high spirits at the Kiev parade, the display of equipment and artillery was perceived as a slap in the face to those fighting for Ukraine on the frontline — many of who are dying because they don’t have the artillery and military equipment they need to put up a fight.
VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky attended the parade and interviewed members of volunteer battalions, who recounted their experiences on the frontline.


Fallen Rebel Fighters Treated in Russia: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 70)

Video description: Last week, a VICE News crew traveled to the Rostov Region in Russia, which is on the border of Ukraine, to investigate Moscow’s involvement in the conflict. We visit a hospital where injured rebel fighters were brought by Russian forces to be treated for their injuries, and speak to them about their take on the current crises in Eastern Ukraine. Recently, Russia has engaged in a campaign of sending over humanitarian convoys over to Ukraine by day. But under the darkness of night, it is rumored that Russia has been sending weaponized columns over the border to aid the rebels.

Donetsk Residents Sift Through the Rubble: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 69)

Video description: In VICE News’ latest dispatch from eastern Ukraine, we visit the rebel-held town of Donetsk to speak with locals about the damage done to their homes and property. The locals refer to the indiscriminate nature of the Ukrainian army’s shelling, as well as the separatists seeming inability to protect them.


Missing Civilian Bodies found in Mass Graves: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 63)

In a Facebook status from August 1, I wrote the following: Previously, I have criticized the Kiev government for war crimes, but let me be very clear that war crimes from the Russian rebels in Ukraine are also inexcusable. In the city of Sloviansk, a mass grave with 14 bodies was discovered, and it appears that four protestant Christians were kidnapped right after the church service and executed because the rebels wanted their car. Some very strong images in this video:

Video description: On July 24, 14 bodies were exhumed from a burial site in Sloviansk. The victims were civilians, all of whom are believed to have been killed by pro-Russia separatists when they were occupying the area. According to Ukrainian officials, there are roughly 300 people missing in Sloviansk, and mass and individual graves are consistently being found.

VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky investigated what may have been behind these murders, traveling to the mass grave site near Sloviansk as the bodies were being unearthed. He also met up with journalist Chris Miller, who found signed death warrants and proof that the separatists were operating under their own form of martial law while controlling Sloviansk.

Human Rights Watch was also covered this in the report Dispatches: Mass Grave Found in Eastern Ukraine.

In addition to this, we see worrying reports that Evangelical Christians are being mistreated by the Russian rebels. Although Pastor Sergey Rakhuba from Russian Ministries is completely on the Ukrainian side in the conflict, there is no excuse for the way Evangelical Christians are being treated by Russian rebels.  The report on on the Christian Broadcasting Network is very worrying.

Although VICE news correspondent is not always very popular among those allied and friends with the Russian rebels, he is a brave reporter, and he in the video Simon Ostrovsky Describes His Kidnapping: Russian Roulette In Ukraine (Dispatch 31), he gives his account of what happened.

Video description: On Monday April 21st, VICE News reporters Simon Ostrovsky and Freddie Paxton were stopped at a checkpoint by armed pro-Russia forces loyal to the self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev. They were pulled from their car, along with three other journalists they were traveling with. After a thorough search and questioning, Paxton and the three other journalists were released. Ostrovsky was held in a basement cell where he was blindfolded, beaten, and accused of being a spy. For days, his whereabouts were unknown, which sparked a furor among journalists in the region and people from around the world who have been following his work. On Thursday, April 24 Simon was suddenly released onto the streets of Sloviansk with little explanation.

Graham Philips

The British freelance journalist Graham Phillips does not hide from anyone that he is covering news from the Russian side exclusively, but his reports are close and personal portrays of the civilian suffering in East Ukraine. He was also kidnapped by Ukrainian authorities, but he is now back on the ground in Lugansk. Recently he got over 10 million visits to his YouTube channel.

Sergey Belous

We're still fighting for Sergey Belous

We’re still fighting for Sergey Belous

Those who have followed my updates on SorrySerbia,com would know that the Ukrainian government is also heavily involved in kidnappings of journalists. My good friend Sergey Belous is now a free man, but there is no doubt that the Ukrainian government is responsible for the kidnapping of Sergey and his two colleagues.

Russia should be an ally, not a foe

The Arabic letter N, in solidarity with the suffering Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.

The Arabic letter N, in solidarity with the suffering Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.

Finally, my heart is bleeding for those who are suffering under the Islamic terror in Iraq and Syria, and that is also the reason for changing my profile picture on Facebook to the the Arabic letter N or Nun, referring to the word Nazarene. Islamic fanatics in the so-called Islamic State mark houses of Iraqi Christians with this letter because these brothers and sisters of us are marked for execution. This profile pictures is my expression of solidarity and a reminder that we all need pray for the Iraqi Christians and other minorities living under the threat of Islamic many countries. Normally, I am careful about calling to war, but in this case, we need to support all forces that can totally destroy these fanatics. ISIL is the pure manifestation of the Devil.

In this terrible conflict in the Middle East, the West should attempt to make Russia an ally instead of a foe. We could have solved the conflict in Syria and prevented the rise of ISIL a long time ago if we would have had a common approach.

There is a lot of talk that Russia should respect national sovereignty of smaller countries, but the US and the West have a very selective understanding of this. The US and the West have not respected the national sovereignty of Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 (NATO’s article 5 was stretched) Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 (mission creep, not only protecting civilians) and almost Syria in 2013 if Russia had not saved them. So don’t come here trying to give Russia a lesson in meddling in other countries’ affairs.

Christians were living decent lives in Iraq before the war in 2003, but these days we reap the benefits. In 2007, the US started the surge, and they employed the Sons of Iraq, Sunni tribes to do a lot of the fighting for them. When Nouri al-Maliki refused to incorporate them in the Iraqi army, they became an important backbone of ISIS.

Then you have the Christian warmongers failing their brothers and sisters in the Middle East, one of them is Alistair Burt, who is normally going to the National Prayer Breakfast praising Jesus while calling for war against Bashar al-Assad, the best protection Christians have in Syria. Going to war against Assad would mean that you would help ISIS. Of course I am not naive, and Assad’s government is responsible for terrible war crimes and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, but all this talk that it is time for Assad to go from Western politicians only deteriorates the situation.

Read my open letter to brother Alistair, Blessed are the Peacemakers. This weekend senator Ted Cruz, a very possible next president and an Evangelical said that the US should bomb ISIS back to the stone age. Of course, I have no sympathy for ISIS, but US politicians should look at their role in creating these savages.