Last Thursday morning we all awoke to the news that Russia had launched a “specialised military operation” in Ukraine. I must admit, like most others I was shocked at the news. I have followed the political and military situation in Ukraine since 2012 and I knew that tensions were at an historical high, but I did not expect the Russian government to initiate such a wide-ranging assault, an attack aimed at neutralising Ukraine’s military capabilities and as Russian President Vladimir Putin said himself, “de-nazifying” Ukraine.
Since Thursday morning a heavy fog of war has descended on the situation, as it does with all military conflict. It is almost impossible to clarify any facts on the ground with total confidence. Images from older conflicts are being shared as having occurred today or yesterday, images from one side of the conflict are being reported as from the other and so on. Attacks on civilian infrastructure is reported but cannot be confirmed and is countered. This is the fog of war.
As per usual, it is mainstream media, the likes of RTE in Ireland, the BBC in the UK and the plethora of corporate news channels that are the biggest culprits in terms of amplifying misinformation. It is impossible to locate a balanced, reliable source in mainstream media that places the conflict in it’s geopolitical context.
Indeed, state broadcasters such as RTE appear determined that the Irish people only hear one side and little to no history of the situation.
Yesterday the Irish state Broadcaster RTE conducted an interview with the Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov. David McCullough was the interviewer, or should I say in this instance, the grand propagandist.
With a vindictiveness that was not hidden, McCullough spitting with faux-pas rage on behalf of the state broadcaster, refused to allow the Russian Ambassador answer questions nor give any history or context to the Russian Offensive.
McCullough, red-turning-blue with vehemence, did his job well in ensuring that the Irish people would not hear the two sides. The result was as planned I believe, to foment hate towards Russia, to nourish pro-NATO sentiment and to herd the Irish people towards the abandonment of our gasping-for-breathe neutrality and membership of an EU army (that we are already paying billions for).
Whether RTE and David McCullough likes it or not, this crisis did not just drop out of the sky yesterday. It wasn’t just found at the side of the road last Thursday morning, it has a history and origins.
That history ought to make western leaders, and indeed everyone in the collective ‘West’ blush with shame. Shame at their ignorance of the facts, and shame that we have collectively choreographed and created this crisis.
In 2013 the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, decided not to advance with the process of EU membership and to develop closer ties with Russia. Well that was the end of him. ‘Civil Society’ groups that were being funded by British, US and EU secret services via on-the-face-of-it kindly NGOs began a civil war, what became known as the “Maidan Revolution” or “Orange Revolution”, a revolution that introduced a ‘Western backed government’ that outlawed political parties and media stations that questioned the events at “Maidan”.
Those ‘civil society’ organisations included and still include pro-fascist groups that are real-life, authentic admirers of the Nazis of 1930/40s Germany.
Today, there are 35 fully armed paramilitary Nazi-sympathising battalions, sanctioned by the Ukraine government, and that have been attacking the people of East Ukraine since 2014 with over 14,000 dead.
There was no attempt to hide US involvement in the so-called Maidan revolution as Senator John McCain and Secretary Victoria Nuland paraded through Maidan square having their pictures taken with the most dubious of characters. The Russian government saw and understood the situation for what it was, a coup organised by the United states and her NATO allies to expand to the East and eventually destabilise Russia itself.
In 2014, the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of East Ukraine, Russian speaking and cultured, voted to break away from Ukraine due to the anti-Russian sentiment that was now prevalent in Ukraine’s government, including a strong section in government that spoke of cleansing Ukraine of Russians. They formed the Independent Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Since forming in 2014, they have been under attack not only from Ukraine’s formal military, but from it’s shadow military, pro-Nazi battalions such as the Azov battalion. In the last number of weeks state broadcasters have been unashamedly sharing images praising such battalions but failing to make clear to the public who they actually are and what they represent. 14,000 people have been killed in Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014, but RTE and David McCullough have never mentioned it.
In the last month, Ukraine and the pro-Nazi battalions in east Ukraine have escalated their attacks on Donetsk and Luhansk dramatically, with clear evidence, confirmed by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), that the mass majority of mortar and rocket fire was coming from Ukraine’s military positions and was being fired into civilian areas. At the same time the US was announcing an Imminent Russian invasion. This was clearly an orchestrated attempt to force Russia into taking action as President Putin had committed to defending the people of Donetsk and Luhansk.
This crisis, carefully planned I believe by the United States and her NATO allies, is perceived by Russia as an existential moment in history in which the future of Russia as a sovereign state is in question.
Contrary to mainstream media reports, sober and balanced analysis indicates that the Russian military plan is one of minimum aggression, the avoidance of damage to civilian infrastructure, and a speedy end to hostilities. The internet, television and telephone systems have not been taken out although this would be a usual preliminary step to any invasion. It is reported that President Putin paused the military operation in Ukraine for a number of hours yesterday (Saturday) when it appeared President Zelensky of Ukraine was ready for peace talks.
Here in Ireland, the war-hysteria continues to mount. In my own village of Blackrock in County Louth the ‘Tidy Towns’ group have been at it again, politicising the village with carefully chosen flags. This time the Ukrainian flag flies alongside an EU flag. I wonder if they are conscious of the origins of this conflict, how the EU and NATO are at the heart of it, have stoked it.
No flag has ever flown in Blackrock village for the people of Donetsk and Luhansk hiding in their basements for eight years as we collectively pummelled them with mortars. No Palestinian flag has ever flown in my village, nor a flag for the people of Yemen.
Whilst mainstream media like the Irish state broadcaster RTE and excuses for Journalists like David McCullough, continue to foment anti-Russian sentiment and deny the public the right to hear both sides, then this crisis will continue. Until Russian concerns and grievances are allowed to be aired and are acknowledged, it will be working class people who suffer, are maimed and die in the warzone. It will be our money that will go to paying for the weapons and the guns and the bombs, but it won’t be us visiting the graves every week with flowers and tears.