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How the U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine: A Compendium

Most of mainstream American media echo the official U.S. position that Russia is the only aggressor in Ukraine. Here is a collection of articles and quotations from senior U.S. diplomats, academics, military personnel, think tanks, and journalists that explain U.S. responsibility for provoking the crisis.

I hope the collection is useful as a resource for the peace movement.

To be clear, it is not at all my intention to claim that Putin is innocent. He is a brutal autocrat. [And after I compiled the first version of this article, Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine — a stupid and heinous crime. It was unjustified but was provoked.] Rather, my aim is to quote experts and articles explaining the extent to which U.S. actions have provoked Russia to act defensively, including by supporting Russia’s enemies in the 2014 Maidan Revolution in Ukraine.

If you are aware of other articles I should add to this list, please email me at ThinkerFeeler@gmail.com.


Former U.S. Ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock says in Ukraine: Tragedy of a Nation Divided

Interference by the United States and its NATO allies in Ukraine’s civil struggle has exacerbated the crisis within Ukraine, undermined the possibility of bringing the two easternmost provinces back under Kyiv’s control, and raised the specter of possible conflict between nuclear-armed powers. Furthermore, in denying that Russia has a “right” to oppose extension of a hostile military alliance to its national borders, the United States ignores its own history of declaring and enforcing for two centuries a sphere of influence in the Western hemisphere.

For a critical response to Matlock, see this piece by Robin Knight.

Matlock also wrote Today’s Crisis Over Ukraine

What President Putin is demanding, an end to NATO expansion and creation of a security structure in Europe that insures Russia’s security along with that of others is eminently reasonable. He is not demanding the exit of any NATO member and he is threatening none. By any pragmatic, common sense standard it is in the interest of the United States to promote peace, not conflict. To try to detach Ukraine from Russian influence—the avowed aim of those who agitated for the “color revolutions”—was a fool’s errand, and a dangerous one. Have we so soon forgotten the lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis?


Thomas Friedman in the New York Times wrote This Is Putin’s War. But America and NATO Aren’t Innocent Bystanders.

The mystery was why the U.S. — which throughout the Cold War dreamed that Russia might one day have a democratic revolution and a leader who, however haltingly, would try to make Russia into a democracy and join the West — would choose to quickly push NATO into Russia’s face when it was weak.

A very small group of officials and policy wonks at that time, myself included, asked that same question, but we were drowned out.

Friedman quotes George Kennan, senior U.S. diplomat during the Cold War, as saying, “I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves.”


The 2019 RAND Corporation study Overextending and Unbalancing Russia “examines nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue across economic, political, and military areas to stress —- overextend and unbalance — Russia’s economy and armed forces and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. ” It includes the paragraph

Providing lethal aid to Ukraine would exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability. But any increase in U.S. military arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia of sustaining its existing commitment without provoking a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages.

The highlighted words indicate that the authors were quite aware that U.S. provocations would cause Russia to respond militarily.

Likewise, the similar RAND study Extending Russia — Competing from Advantageous Ground shows a chess board and includes the words

The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both.


From Truthout: Claims Over Broken Promises About NATO Simmer at the Heart of the Ukraine Crisis

The U.S. expansion of NATO reflected an attitude of recklessness and hubris. According to former Defense Secretary William Perry, the predominant view of Russia in the Clinton administration was: “Who cares what they think? They’re a third-rate power.”

At least some senior figures were alarmed by the U.S.’s arrogance. Former CIA Director Robert Gates later criticized NATO’s eastward expansion, arguing that it was a bad move since Gorbachev was “led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”

In 1995, 20 former U.S. officials wrote an open letter stating that NATO’s planned expansion risked “convincing most Russians that the United States and the West are attempting to isolate, encircle, and subordinate them.” The letter also stated that the Russians “pose no threat to any state to the west, nor is there any evidence of an imperialistic surge among the Russian people.” Even Paul Nitze — an architect of the Cold War and a longstanding anti-Soviet hardliner — signed the letter. Then in 1997, veteran Soviet expert George F. Kennan declared, “Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era.” U.S. policymakers were warned about the likely consequences of their actions.


The United States withdrew from the following arms treaties:


The book Not One Inch by M.E. Sarotte, Professor of Historical Studies at Johns Hopkins University, says that the U.S. missed an opportunity to work more collaboratively with Russia by expanding NATO eastward. The phrase “Not One Inch” refers to  promises given to Russian leaders by U.S. and NATO allies about NATO expansion towards Russia.


The December 24, 2021 email newsletter from the New York Times reports that no written or even verbal agreement was made with Russian leaders about NATO refraining from moving east towards Russia:

Soviet forces would fully withdraw from East Germany, allowing Germany to reunify under NATO-allied West German control, in exchange for significant financial support from the West. The Soviet Union was in dire economic straits at the time, and Mr. Gorbachev under intense domestic political pressure.

Mr. Gorbachev understood, and according to his own notes conveyed, that this meant accepting NATO eastward expansion.

“I told Baker: We are aware of your favorable attitude toward the intention expressed by a number of representatives of East European countries to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact in order to join NATO later,” he wrote in his notes from a May 1990 meeting, according to Dr. Sarotte’s translation.

Almost the same argument is made in this New Yorker piece.


But This 2009 NY Times opinion piece by Sarotte says that “there were mixed messages and diplomatic ambiguities.” Specifically, Secretary of State James Baker and Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany

journeyed to Moscow within a day of each other. On Feb. 9, 1990, Mr. Baker asked Mr. Gorbachev, “Would you prefer to see a unified Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position?” Mr. Gorbachev, according to Mr. Baker, answered that “any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.”

Kohl of Germany assured Mr. Gorbachev, as Mr. Baker had done, that “naturally NATO could not expand its territory” into East Germany. … Mr. Kohl’s foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, visiting the Kremlin as well, assured his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, that “for us, it stands firm: NATO will not expand itself to the East.”

But the U.S. soon pushed back on such promises.


George Washington University’s National Security Archive reports NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard. “Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner.”

Vladimir Putin swears that Washington betrayed a promise that NATO would move “not one inch” eastward and justifies renewed confrontation as a necessary response to the alliance’s illegitimate “deployment of military infrastructure to our borders.” But the United States insists that neither President George H.W. Bush nor any other leader made such a promise.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmaakY-PIAc&t=82s

Surrounded by Ukrainian soldiers in U.S.-style Army fatigues, and with  Senator Amy Klobuchar watching, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain promise to help Ukraine stop Putin. After each statement, a Ukrainian translates for the Ukrainians.

Lindsey Graham: “2017 will be the year of offense. All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. Enough of Russian aggression. It is time for them to pay a heavier price. Our fight is not with the Russian people but with Putin. Our promise to you is to take your calls to Washington, inform the American people of your bravery, and make the case against Putin to the world.”

McCain: “I believe we will win, I am convinced we will win, and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win, We have succeeded not because of equipment but because of your courage. So, I thank you, and the world is watching, and the world is watching because we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to succeed here, because if he succeeds here he will succeed in other countries.”

They stand for a photo and applaud.


Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, wrote (and he confirmed by email):

Under basic principles of international law, high level government officials acting within the scope of their official authority can bind a state under international law. It does not have to be in writing. Over the years I have dealt with some of the top Soviet/Russian international lawyers. They know these rules as well as I do. Clearly, these commitments would preclude the concerned NATO dtates from admitting Ukraine as a NATO member. It is time for them to put this binding commitment into writing as Russia has demanded in order to solve this matter.

I point out, by the way, that just because Gorbachev didn’t get in writing the promise not to extend NATO eastward, that doesn’t mean that it’s smart and wise to extend NATO eastward.


Chris Hedges’ Chronicle of a War Foretold; also says that the U.S. broke multiple promises to the Soviets about NATO expansion.

There was a near universal understanding among diplomats and political leaders at the time that any attempt to expand NATO was foolish, an unwarranted provocation against Russia that would obliterate the ties and bonds that happily emerged at the end of the Cold War.

How naive we were. The war industry did not intend to shrink its power or its profits. It set out almost immediately to recruit the former Communist Bloc countries into the European Union and NATO. ….

There would be no peace dividend. ….

Once NATO expanded into Eastern Europe, the Clinton administration promised Moscow that NATO combat troops would not be stationed in Eastern Europe, the defining issue of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations. This promise again turned out to be a lie. Then in 2014 the U.S. backed a coup against the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who sought to build an economic alliance with Russia rather than the European Union.


Eighty page document listing the so-called National Endowment for Democracy’s funding for projects in Ukraine, referenced in Washington rushes to hide its ‘octopus’ NED funding in Ukraine.

For example, the list shows us that a Ukraine group ‘InformNapalm’, set up “to debunk myths and expose secrets of the Russian hybrid war” and which claims to be “a purely volunteer endeavor which does not have any financial support from any government or donor”, is actually US Government funded. The group publishes anti-Russian propaganda on its website in 31 languages.

Other sources show us that the U.S. Government funds Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi linked Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (the KVPU), through its NED funded partner the AFL-CIO’s ‘Solidarity Center’. There are few sectors which the NED has not penetrated….

As the New York Times pointed out in 1997, the NED was set up under the Reagan administration in the 1980s “to do in the open what the Central Intelligence Agency has done surreptitiously for decades”. Since WW2 Washington, “usually acting covertly through the CIA, has installed or toppled leaders on every continent, secretly supported political parties of close allies like Japan, fomented coups, spread false rumors, bribed political figures and spent countless billions of dollars to sway public opinion.”


MSNBC: Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable
The U.S. refused to reconsider Ukraine’s NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake.

The U.S. may want to be the only great power in the world, free to expand its hegemony with impunity, but it is not. Refusing to see this is dangerous for us all.


According to the LA Times’ Russia feels threatened by NATO. There’s history behind that, “some of Russia’s security concerns are real. Offering to discuss them doesn’t qualify as appeasement… Thirty years ago, Russia had a buffer zone of satellite states to its west. Now it has only the unimpressive presence of Belarus.” The essay quotes Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine: “There are some concerns on the Russian side that are legitimate.”


An email from the pacifist Quincy Institute (funded by Charles Koch and George Soros) to subscribers said:

“In a recent article for Responsible Statecraft, American Committee for US-Russia Accord (ACURA) Board Members Katrina vanden Heuvel and James Carden write that such a course “simply requires that the President and his national security team ask themselves: How might they [U.S. leadership] react if the military and economic pressure the U.S. routinely applies against designated adversaries was aimed in our direction?”

The highlighted part at the end shows that the authors knew that U.S. actions in Ukraine would provoke a military response on the part of Russia.


Yahoo News: CIA-trained Ukrainian paramilitaries may take central role if Russia invades

The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials.

Likewise, Yahoo News (March 16, 2022): Exclusive: Secret CIA training program in Ukraine helped Kyiv prepare for Russian invasion

As part of the Ukraine-based training program, CIA paramilitaries taught their Ukrainian counterparts sniper techniques; how to operate U.S.-supplied Javelin anti-tank missiles and other equipment; how to evade digital tracking the Russians used to pinpoint the location of Ukrainian troops, which had left them vulnerable to attacks by artillery; how to use covert communications tools; and how to remain undetected in the war zone while also drawing out Russian and insurgent forces from their positions, among other skills, according to former officials.

After Russia’s 2014 incursion, the U.S. military also helped run a long-standing, publicly acknowledged training program for Ukrainian troops in the country’s western region, far from the frontlines. That program also included instruction in how to use Javelin anti-tank missiles and sniper training.


Douglas Valentine, author of The CIA as Organized Crime, describes some of the history of CIA meddling in Ukraine in this video: The CIA — 70 years in Ukraine.


In the Consortium News article 2022 — Year of Major Power Conflict Over Ukraine former Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott blames the U.S. for provoking Russia in Ukraine and says that Russia may respond by stationing advanced hyper-sonic missiles in Eastern Europe or off the coast of the U.S.


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published the excellent What You Should Really Know About Ukraine. I’ll quote at length.

The West Wants Investor-Friendly Policies in Ukraine
The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations.

A key tool for this has been the International Monetary Fund….

In Ukraine, the IMF had long planned to implement a series of economic reforms to make the country more attractive to investors.

In 2013, after early steps to integrate with the West, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned against these changes and ended trade integration talks with the European Union. Months before his overthrow, he restarted economic negotiations with Russia, in a major snub to the Western economic sphere.

The US Helped Overthrow Ukraine’s Elected President

During the tug of war between the US and Russia, the Americans were engaged in a destabilization campaign against the Yanukovych government. The campaign culminated with the overthrow of the elected president in the Maidan Revolution—also known as the Maidan Coup—named for the Kiev square that hosted the bulk of the protests.

As political turmoil engulfed the country in the leadup to 2014, the US was fueling anti-government sentiment through mechanisms like USAID and National Endowment for Democracy (NED), just as they had done in 2004. In December 2013, Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European affairs and a long-time regime change advocate, said that the US government had spent $5 billion promoting “democracy” in Ukraine since 1991. The money went toward supporting “senior officials in the Ukraine government…[members of] the business community as well as opposition civil society” who agree with US goals.

The NED board of directors includes Elliott Abrams, whose sordid record runs from the Iran/Contra affair in the ’80s to the Trump administration’s effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government. In 2013, NED president Carl Gershman wrote a piece in the Washington Post (9/26/13) that described Ukraine as the “biggest prize” in the East/West rivalry. After the Obama administration, Nuland joined the NED board of directors before returning to the State Department in the Biden administration as undersecretary of state for political affairs.

One of the many recipients of NED money for projects in Ukraine was the International Republican Institute. The IRI, once chaired by Sen. John McCain, has long had a hand in US regime change operations. During the protests that eventually brought down the government, McCain and other US officials personally flew into Ukraine to encourage protesters.

US Officials Were Caught Picking the New Government
The Washington Post (2/6/14) acknowledged that the call showed “a deep degree of US involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine’s to resolve,” but that fact rarely factored into future coverage of the US/Ukraine/Russia relationship.

Washington Used Nazis to Help Overthrow the Government

There’s a Lot More to the Crimean Annexation
The facts above give more context to Russian actions following the coup, and ought to counter the caricature of a Russian Empire bent on expansion. From Russia’s point of view, a longtime adversary had successfully overthrown a neighboring government using violent far-right extremists.

The Crimean peninsula, which was part of Russia until it was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954, is home to one of two Russian naval bases with access to the Black and Mediterranean seas, one of history’s most important maritime theaters. A Crimea controlled by a US-backed Ukrainian government was a major threat to Russian naval access.

The peninsula—82% of whose households speak Russian, and only 2% mainly Ukrainian—held a plebiscite in March 2014 on whether or not they should join Russia, or remain under the new Ukrainian government. The Pro-Russia camp won with 95% of the vote. The UN General Assembly, led by the US, voted to ignore the referendum results on the grounds that it was contrary to Ukraine’s constitution. This same constitution had been set aside to oust President Yanukovych a month earlier.

All of this is dropped from Western coverage.

The US Wants to Expand NATO

The US Wouldn’t Tolerate What Russia Is Expected to Accept

Calling Russia’s Attack ‘Unprovoked’ Lets US Off The Hook by the same author is similar.


FAIR’s Hawkish Pundits Downplay Threat Of War, Ukraine’s Nazi Ties says:

In 2014, the US supported anti-government protests in Ukraine that led to the ouster of democratically elected, Russia-aligned Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych (Foreign Policy, 3/4/14).

Last summer, the US and Ukraine led multinational naval maneuvers held in the Black Sea, an annual undertaking called Sea Breeze. The US-financed exercises were the largest in decades, involving 32 ships, 40 aircraft and helicopters, and 5,000 soldiers from 24 countries (Deutsche Welle, 6/29/21).

The US has given Ukraine $2.5 billion in military aid, including Javelin anti-tank missiles (Politico, 6/18/21).

It also quotes The Nation (5/6/21) as reporting

Shortly after the Maidan uprising of 2013 to 2014 brought in a new government, Ukraine began whitewashing Nazi collaborators on a statewide level. In 2015, Kyiv passed legislation declaring two WWII-era paramilitaries—the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—heroes and freedom fighters, and threatening legal action against anyone denying their status. The OUN was allied with the Nazis and participated in the Holocaust; the UPA murdered thousands of Jews and 70,000–100,000 Poles on their own accord.

Every January 1, Kyiv hosts a torchlight march in which thousands honor Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, who headed an OUN faction; in 2017, chants of “Jews Out!” rang out during the march. Such processions (often redolent with antisemitism) are a staple in Ukraine….

Ukraine’s total number of monuments to Third Reich collaborators who served in auxiliary police battalions and other units responsible for the Holocaust number in the several hundred. The whitewashing also extends to official book Bans and citywide veneration of collaborators.

The typical reaction to this in the West is that Ukraine can’t be celebrating Nazi collaborators because it elected [Volodymyr] Zelensky, a Jewish president. Zelensky, however, has alternated between appeasing and ignoring the whitewashing: In 2018, he stated, “To some Ukrainians, [Nazi collaborator] Bandera is a hero, and that’s cool!”

The USSR suffered about 20 million deaths in WWII from Nazi invaders. It is not surprising that Russians would feel threatened by right wing opponents on its borders.


Rand Report Prescribed US Provocations Against Russia

For these same reasons of geography and history, Ukraine is a major component of a US/NATO effort to undermine Russia.  Current Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland,  said that over 20 years the US invested $5 billion in the project to turn Ukraine. The culmination was a violent coup in February 2014.  Since 2015, the US has been training ultra nationalist and Neo-Nazi  militias. This has been documented in articles such as “U.S. House admits Nazi role in Ukraine” (Robert Parry, 2015),  “The US is arming and assisting neo-nazis in Ukraine while the House debates prohibition.”(Max Blumenthal, 2018),  “Neo Nazis and the far right are on the march in Ukraine” (Lev Golinken in 2019) and “The CIA may be breeding Nazi terror in Ukraine” (Branko Marcetic Jan. 2022).


Univ of Chicago youtube video: Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? Featuring John Mearsheimer.

Watch: John Mearsheimer & Ex-CIA Ray McGovern Discuss Why “Ukraine Is Going To Get Wrecked”

Presented by the Committee for the Republic in Washington, the discussion features University of Chicago professor and international relations analyst John Mearsheimer, as well as ex-CIA Russia specialist Ray McGovern. It should be noted that McGovern’s CIA career spanned 27 years, which in the latter part included serving as the agency’s presidential briefer at the White House.

Also part of the discussion is Jack Matlock, last US ambassador to the Soviet Union, as well as Ted Postol, MIT professor of technology and international security. Additionally, Susan Eisenhower, grand-daughter of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, was part of the panel.

The video describes U.S. provocations toward Russia, including withdrawal from treaties, expansion of NATO, and aiding in the 2014 revolution in Ukraine.


The Cato Institute (not a radical marxist oufit!) wrote America’s Ukraine Hypocrisy which includes:

The extent of the Obama administration’s meddling in Ukraine’s politics was breathtaking. Russian intelligence intercepted and leaked to the international media a Nuland telephone call in which she and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffey Pyatt discussed in detail their preferences for specific personnel in a post‐Yanukovych government. The U.S‑favored candidates included Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the man who became prime minister once Yanukovych was ousted from power. During the telephone call, Nuland stated enthusiastically that “Yats is the guy” who would do the best job.

Nuland and Pyatt were engaged in such planning at a time when Yanukovych was still Ukraine’s lawful president. It was startling to have diplomatic representatives of a foreign country—and a country that routinely touts the need to respect democratic processes and the sovereignty of other nations—to be scheming about removing an elected government and replacing it with officials meriting U.S. approval.

Washington’s conduct not only constituted meddling, it bordered on micromanagement. At one point, Pyatt mentioned the complex dynamic among the three principal opposition leaders, Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok, and Vitali Klitschko. Both Pyatt and Nuland wanted to keep Tyahnybok and Klitschko out of an interim government. In the former case, they worried about his extremist ties; in the latter, they seemed to want him to wait and make a bid for office on a longer‐term basis. Nuland stated that “I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary.” She added that what Yatseniuk needed “is Klitsch and Tyanhybok on the outside.”

The two diplomats also were prepared to escalate the already extensive U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s political turbulence. Pyatt stated bluntly that “we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing [the political transition].” Nuland clearly had Vice President Joe Biden in mind for that role. Noting that the vice president’s national security adviser was in direct contact with her, Nuland related that she told him “probably tomorrow for an atta‐boy and to get the details to stick. So Biden’s willing.”

Both the Obama administration and most of the American news media portrayed the Euromaidan Revolution as a spontaneous, popular uprising against a corrupt and brutal government.

A February 24, 2014, Washington Post editorial celebrated the Maidan demonstrators and their successful campaign to overthrow Yanukovych. The “moves were democratic,” the Washington Post concluded, and “Kiev is now controlled by pro‐Western parties.”

It was a grotesque distortion to portray the events in Ukraine as a purely indigenous, popular uprising. The Nuland‐Pyatt telephone conversation and other actions confirm that the United States was considerably more than a passive observer to the turbulence. Instead, U.S. officials were blatantly meddling in Ukraine. Such conduct was utterly improper. The United States had no right to try to orchestrate political outcomes in another country—especially one on the border of another great power. It is no wonder that Russia reacted badly to the unconstitutional ouster of an elected, pro‐Russian government—an ouster that occurred not only with Washington’s blessing, but apparently with its assistance.


Vladimir Golstein, former associate professor at Yale University and chair of the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University wrote in What Is the Difference Between Kosovo & Donbass?:

In 2014, after the U.S.-backed violent coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically-elected president, the coup regime outlawed the Russian language and neo-Nazi gangs began attacking Russian speakers, including burning dozens of people alive in a building in Odessa. Twelve days after that incident, the largely ethnic-Russian oblasts of Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence from Ukraine.

Like in Kosovo, both provinces held referendums that returned overwhelming majorities for independence. Kiev responded by launching a war against these Russian speakers who the regime called “terrorists.”

The U.S. supported the separatists in Kosovo but not the separatists in Ukraine.


Modern Diplomacy’s US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev says, “Incontrovertible proofs will be presented here not only that it was a coup, but that this coup was organized by the U.S. Government — that the U.S. Government initiated the ‘new Cold War’.” I don’t know the nature of that publication. It might be socialist.


The Guardian’s US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev from 2004 accuses the U.S. of supporting the opposition.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.


This academic paper Taking the risk out of civil society: harnessing social movements and regulating revolutions from a conference says

[S]ince 19 83, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been ‘promoting democracy’ globally, in many ways, doing overtly that which had been previously carried out covertly. … What explained the sudden interest of the western media in this contested election? And why, when millions of Yanukovich’s supporters marched throughout the Donetsk region in late November, did the media ‘miss’ them? It seems that the answer to these questions is intimately tied in with the interests of foreign (or more specifically US) ‘democracy promoters’, who provided the opposition with around US $65 million in the two years running up to the election (Kelley 2004). Indeed, visual evidence of this aid was apparent at the massive Kiev protests, where food, clothing, medication and local accommodation was provided for free (Mulvey 2004)


Bill Clinton’s Role in the Crisis Over Ukraine


ABC News: Ukraine nationalists march to honor wartime partisan leader
Jan 1, 2022.
Hundreds of Ukrainian nationalists held a torchlight march in the capital of Kyiv to mark the birthday of Stepan Bandera, the leader of a rebel militia that fought alongside Nazi soldiers in World War II.


Reuters: Commentary: Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem “As Ukraine’s struggle against Russia and its proxies continues, Kiev must also contend with a growing problem behind the front lines: far-right vigilantes who are willing to use intimidation and even violence to advance their agendas, and who often do so with the tacit approval of law enforcement agencies.”


From The Nation: America’s Collusion With Neo-Nazis by former Princeton Professor Stephen F. Cohen. “Neo-fascists play an important official or tolerated role in US-backed Ukraine.”

The pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa… reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War II. … [Today] stormtroop-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other ‘impure’ citizens are widespread throughout Kyiv-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s…

“The police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neo-fascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kyiv has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms…, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.


The Irish Sun: Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi militia preparing to ‘fight to the death’ in Russia war with guerrilla forces & ‘Mad Max’ tanks


From 2014, Counterpunch’s Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine says:

NATO leaders are currently acting out a deliberate charade in Europe, designed to reconstruct an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West.

With astonishing unanimity, NATO leaders feign surprise at events they planned months in advance. Events that they deliberately triggered are being misrepresented as sudden, astonishing, unjustified “Russian aggression”. The United States and the European Union undertook an aggressive provocation in Ukraine that they knew would force Russia to react defensively, one way or another.

They could not be sure exactly how Russian president Vladimir Putin would react when he saw that the United States was manipulating political conflict in Ukraine to install a pro-Western government intent on joining NATO. This was not a mere matter of a “sphere of influence” in Russia’s “near abroad”, but a matter of life and death to the Russian Navy, as well as a grave national security threat on Russia’s border.

A trap was thereby set for Putin. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t. He could underreact, and betray Russia’s basic national interests, allowing NATO to advance its hostile forces to an ideal attack position.

Or he could overreact, by sending Russian forces to invade Ukraine. The West was ready for this, prepared to scream that Putin was “the new Hitler”, poised to overrun poor, helpless Europe, which could only be saved (again) by the generous Americans.


How the US Started a New Cold War with Russia and Left Ukraine to Fight It

President Biden has called the Russian invasion “unprovoked,” but that is far from the truth. In the four days leading up to the invasion, ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) documented a dangerous increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine, with 5,667 violations and 4,093 explosions.

Most were inside the de facto borders of the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, consistent with incoming shell-fire by Ukraine government forces. With nearly 700 OSCE ceasefire monitors on the ground, it is not credible that these were all “false flag” incidents staged by separatist forces, as U.S. and British officials claimed.

In the larger context though, Ukraine has become an unwitting victim and proxy in the resurgent U.S. Cold War against Russia and China, in which the United States has surrounded both countries with military forces and offensive weapons, withdrawn from a whole series of arms control treaties, and refused to negotiate resolutions to rational security concerns raised by Russia.


Excellent analysis: This MintPress Study Reveals That Ninety Percent Of Recent Opinion Articles In The New York Times, The Washington Post And The Wall Street Journal Have Taken A Hawkish View On The Ukraine Conflict.

Written By Pundits Tied To The National Security State Promoting NATO As A Defender Of The Free World and Describe Putin As Hitler Incarnate.

Washington – Amid tough talk from European and American leaders, a new MintPress study of our nation’s most influential media outlets reveals that it is the press that is driving the charge towards war with Russia over Ukraine. Ninety percent of recent opinion articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have taken a hawkish view on conflict, with anti-war voices few and far between. Opinion columns have overwhelmingly expressed support for sending U.S. weapons and troops to the region. Russia has universally been presented as the aggressor in this dispute, with media glossing over NATO’s role in amping tensions while barely mentioning the U.S. collaboration with Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian ruling coalition.

According to the above article, a big part of what’s going on is trying to prevent Russia from exporting gas:

The United States has repeatedly demanded Europe cancel this [Nord Stream 2] project, insisting that Europe service its energy needs from Middle Eastern dictatorships under U.S. control or directly from the U.S., at around four times the price of Russian gas.


Max Blumenthal in the GrayZone: The US is arming and assisting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, while Congress debates prohibition


Neo-Nazis Not Top of Mind for Senate Democrats Pushing Weapons for Ukraine

Last month, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., introduced legislation to give Ukraine $500 million for arms purchases … But it makes no mention of reports to oversee whether U.S weapons go to white supremacists like the Azov Battalion, a unit in the Ukrainian National Guard with ties to the country’s far-right, ultranationalist National Corps party and Azov movement. Last year, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to label the Azov Battalion a foreign terrorist organization, saying it “uses the internet to recruit new members and then radicalizes them to use violence to pursue its white identity political agenda.”


Why The Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault, written by John J. Mearsheimer, appears in Foreign Affairs (2014). It says the “United States and its allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement …At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too.”
Why the Crisis in Ukraine is the West's fault


In 2008, Bill Bradley gave a speech to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in which he is harshly critical of, and saddened by, NATO’a decision to expand eastward. “We kicked them when they were down.” It encouraged authoritarianism in Russia. “It was a blunder of monumental proportions.” “If we had really done a strategic partnership [with Russia] … imagine how Iran would be different today. Imagine how Central Asia would be different.” “We’ve created a problem that could have easily been avoided. We’ve lost a partner that could have been enormously important over the long term and particular with regard to the issues that most threaten us today.”


The Nation’s Russia, Ukraine, and The New York Times says

The root cause of the crisis, as Mearsheimer argues in detail, was the decision to fortify Ukraine as a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. This began with the expansion of the European Union and NATO, was heated up by the US-sponsored Orange Revolution, and finally ignited with the US-backed Ukraine coup of 2014.


In Consortium News’ How Not to Explain the Ukraine Crisis, author Mike Madden says that the U.S. is the aggressor, having orchestrated the overthrow of a democratically elected pro-Russian leader of Ukraine. Madden says the U.S. allied itself with neo-Nazi insurrectionists. The article criticizes PBS reporter Nick Schifrin for not challenging Victoria Nuland over U.S. aggression in Ukraine.

Schifrin could have reminded Nuland that the United States promised Russia in 1991 that NATO would not expand east of the newly reunified East and West Germany, but he didn’t. He also could have asked her if stationing missiles on the island of Cuba in 1962 was a sovereign decision to be made by Cuba and the Soviet Union, but he did not.


Two Jewish journalists, Max Blumenthal and Alexander Rubenstein wrote

How Ukraine’s Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries on front lines of war with Russia

While Western media deploys Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish heritage to refute accusations of Nazi influence in Ukraine, the president has ceded to neo-Nazi forces and now depends on them as front line fighters.

    • The president’s Jewishness as Western media PR device
    • Backed by Zelensky’s top financier, neo-Nazi militants unleash a wave of intimidation
    • Zelensky failed to rein in neo-Nazis, wound up collaborating with them
    • After Prime Minister attends neo-Nazi concert, Zelensky honors Right Sector leader
    • Ukrainian state-backed neo-Nazi leader flaunts influence on the eve of war with Russia
    • “If we get killed…we died fighting a holy war”
    • Besides authorizing the release of hardcore criminals to join the battle against Russia, Zelensky has ordered all males of fighting age to remain in the country. Azov militants have proceeded to enforce the policy by brutalizing civilians attempting to flee from the fighting around Mariupol.

Media Are Now Whitewashing Nazis They Had Previously Condemned lists scores of mainstream news articles documenting neo-Nazis in Ukraine:

Amnesty International has documented some of the crimes committed by fascist groups in Ukraine:


Black Agenda Report says:

The presence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine was widely known then, not only by the media, but also, obviously, by US lawmakers. As a result, Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Ted Yoho of Florida drew up an amendment to the House Defense Appropriations bill (HR 2685) that was to “limit arms, training, and other assistance to the neo-Nazi Ukrainian militia, the Azov Battalion.” The bill passed unanimously in the House and the Senate but was ultimately removed from the final appropriations bill …..

The Atlantic Council even admitted to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem as early as 2018 in an article titled, Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (And No, (RT) Didn’t Write This Headline).


Salon: In the rapidly worsening Ukraine fiasco, the U.S. is reaping exactly what it sowed

U.S. media spins a one-sided narrative of Russian aggression — but decades of U.S. meddling is what got us here

The U.S. coup was calculated to put Russia in an impossible position. If Russia did nothing, post-coup Ukraine would sooner or later join NATO, as NATO members had already agreed in principle in 2008. NATO forces would advance right up to Russia’s border and Russia’s important naval base at Sevastopol in the Crimea would fall under NATO control.

If Russia had responded to the coup by invading Ukraine, on the other hand, there would have been no turning back from a disastrous new Cold War with the West. To Washington’s frustration, Russia found a middle path out of this dilemma, by accepting the result of Crimea’s referendum to rejoin Russia, but only giving covert support to the separatists in the East.

In 2021, with Nuland once again installed in a corner office at the State Department, the Biden administration quickly cooked up a plan to put Russia in a new pickle. The U.S. had already given Ukraine $2 billion in military aid since 2014, and Biden has added another $650 million to that, along with deployments of U.S. and NATO military trainers.

Ukraine has still not implemented the constitutional changes called for in the Minsk agreements [limited autonomy for Russia-allied regions in the east], and the unconditional military support the U.S. and NATO have provided has encouraged Ukraine’s leaders to effectively abandon the Minsk-Normandy process and simply reassert sovereignty over all of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea.

In October, Ukraine launched new attacks in Donbass. Russia, which still had about 100,000 troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, responded with new troop movements and military exercises. U.S. officials launched an information warfare campaign to frame Russia’s troop movements as an unprovoked threat to invade Ukraine, concealing their own role in fueling the threatened Ukrainian escalation to which Russia is responding. U.S. propaganda has even preemptively dismissed any actual new Ukrainian assault in the east as a Russian false-flag operation.


Commondreams: There Is No Wisdom in Pretending That Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Don’t Exist:

Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and its founders Oleh Tyahnybok and Andriy Parubiy played leading roles in the U.S-backed coup in February 2014. Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt mentioned Tyahnybok as one of the leaders they were working with on their infamous leaked phone call before the coup, even as they tried to exclude him from an official position in the post-coup government.

….
After the coup, Right Sector helped to consolidate the new order by attacking and breaking up anti-coup protests, in what their leader Yarosh described to Newsweek as a “war” to “cleanse the country” of pro-Russian protesters. This campaign climaxed on May 2nd with the massacre of 42 anti-coup protesters in a fiery inferno, after they took shelter from Right Sector attackers in the Trades Unions House in Odessa.

After anti-coup protests evolved into declarations of independence in Donetsk and Luhansk, the extreme right in Ukraine shifted gear to full-scale armed combat. The Ukrainian military had little enthusiasm for fighting its own people, so the government formed new National Guard units to do so.

Right Sector formed a battalion, and neo-Nazis also dominated the Azov Battalion, which was founded by Andriy Biletsky, an avowed white supremacist who claimed that Ukraine’s national purpose was to rid the country of Jews and other inferior races. It was the Azov battalion that led the post-coup government’s assault on the self-declared republics and retook the city of Mariupol from separatist forces.
….

After the coup, Right Sector helped to consolidate the new order by attacking and breaking up anti-coup protests, in what their leader Yarosh described to Newsweek as a “war” to “cleanse the country” of pro-Russian protesters. This campaign climaxed on May 2nd with the massacre of 42 anti-coup protesters in a fiery inferno, after they took shelter from Right Sector attackers in the Trades Unions House in Odessa.

After anti-coup protests evolved into declarations of independence in Donetsk and Luhansk, the extreme right in Ukraine shifted gear to full-scale armed combat. The Ukrainian military had little enthusiasm for fighting its own people, so the government formed new National Guard units to do so.

Right Sector formed a battalion, and neo-Nazis also dominated the Azov Battalion, which was founded by Andriy Biletsky, an avowed white supremacist who claimed that Ukraine’s national purpose was to rid the country of Jews and other inferior races. It was the Azov battalion that led the post-coup government’s assault on the self-declared republics and retook the city of Mariupol from separatist forces


On March 5, 2022, NBC News reported

Ukraine’s Nazi problem is real, even if Putin’s ‘denazification’ claim isn’t.
Not acknowledging this threat means that little is being done to guard against it.

…Just as disturbing, neo-Nazis are part of some of Ukraine’s growing ranks of volunteer battalions. They are battle-hardened after waging some of the toughest street fighting against Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine following Putin’s Crimean invasion in 2014. One is the Azov Battalion, founded by an avowed white supremacist who claimed Ukraine’s national purpose was to rid the country of Jews and other inferior races. In 2018, the U.S. Congress stipulated that its aid to Ukraine couldn’t be used “to provide arms, training or other assistance to the Azov Battalion.” Even so, Azov is now an official member of the Ukraine National Guard.


Hareetz (Israel): Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Human rights activists petition the court to cease Israeli arms exports to Ukraine since some of these weapons reach neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine’s security forces

The Azov militia was established in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The militia’s emblems are well-known national socialist ones. Its members use the Nazi salute and carry swastikas and SS insignias.

Moreover, some of them openly admit they have neo-Nazi sentiments and that they are Holocaust deniers. One militia member said in an interview that he was fighting Russia since Putin was a Jew. An Azov sergeant said that he was a national socialist, although he was not in favor of genocide, and as long as minorities in Ukraine did not demand special rights he would have no problem with them.

Even if these weapons are currently directed at Russians, one should take into account the reasonable possibility that in the future they will be used to achieve other goals, perhaps aimed at minority groups in the country.


Michael Brenner (Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS-Johns Hopkins), wrote in an email list, “The American strategy is now crystal clear. Arrange a provocative incidence around the Donbass that sparks a Russian reaction that could be used to confirm the specious claims of a Russian plans for invasion. That means doing exactly what we are accusing Moscow of planning – clever ‘projection’ tactic. Then, force the West Europeans to go along with economic sanctions (including NORD Stream II’s annulment) that would make them more dependent on the U.S. – confirming their vassal status as conferred 75 years ago.”


David Lindorff wrote, in The US’s Aggressive Expansion of NATO Created This Horror; The US Can and Should End It

It was the US, after all, which helped foment and orchestrate the 2014 Maidan Coup in Kiev that ousted the elected leader of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych because, while popularly elected, he was steering the country towards an economic pact with Russia instead of with the European Union.


From Quincy Institute’s Ukrainian Lobbyists Mounted Unprecedented Campaign on U.S. Lawmakers in 2021:

As tensions with Russia reach a boiling point, lobbyists from Ukraine are working feverishly to shape the U.S. response. Firms working for Ukrainian interests have inundated congressional offices, think tanks, and journalists with more than 10,000 messages and meetings in 2021, according to an analysis of Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, filings for a forthcoming report from the Quincy Institute.

More specifically, the far-reaching campaign has been focused on stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Ukrainian officials argue is as much of a threat to their security as Russian troops. If completed, the pipeline would allow Russia to export natural gas directly to Germany and the rest of Europe, jeopardizing the billions Ukraine currently earns from transiting Russian gas to Europe.

The Ukraine lobby amplifies the voices of those pushing for more aggressive U.S. responses to the current crisis, but Ukrainian interests are far from the only players in this behind-the-scenes lobbying battle. The U.S. defense sector, for example, spent more than $117 million on lobbying in 2021. With U.S. weapons manufacturers making billions in arms sales to Ukraine, their CEOs see the turmoil there as a good business opportunity.


In this YouTube video you can hear Tulsi Gabbard saying, four days before Russia’s invasion,

They actually want Russia to invade Ukraine. Why would they? Because it gives the Biden administration a clear excuse to levy draconian sanctions… against Russia and the Russian people and number two, it cements this cold war in place. The military industrial complex is the one who benefits from this. They clearly control the Biden administration. Warmongers on both sides in Washington who have been drumming up these tensions. If they get Russia to invade Ukraine it locks in this new cold war, the military industrial complex starts to make a ton more money …. Who pays the price? The American people … the Ukrainian people … the Russian people pay the price. It undermines our own national security but the military industrial complex which controls so many of our elected officials wins and they run to the bank.


Ukraine Is A Pawn On The Grand Chessboard relates the war in Ukraine to the foreign policy notions expressed in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard” from 25 years ago.


The Crisis in Ukraine Is Not About Ukraine. It’s About Germany, from the Unz Review. presents the plausible view that a main purpose of the U.S. actions in Ukraine is to set up an excuse for canceling the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, whose operations would otherwise cause Germany to develop closer ties with Russia.


Similar, plausible claims are made in CounterPunch’s America’s Real Adversaries are Its European and Other Allies, which describes U.S. military belligerence towards China and Russia as desperate actions of a failing state, no longer able to maintain its empire and its economic hegemony.

The success of China’s industrial policy with a mixed economy and state control of the monetary and credit system has led U.S. strategists to fear that Western European and Asian economies may find their advantage to lie in integrating more closely with China and Russia. The U.S. seems to have no response to such a global rapprochement with China and Russia except economic sanctions and military belligerence. That New Cold War stance is expensive, and other countries are balking at bearing the cost of a conflict that has no benefit for themselves and indeed, threatens to destabilize their own economic growth and political independence.

Without subsidy from these countries, especially as China, Russia and their neighbors de-dollarize their economies, how can the United States maintain the balance-of-payments costs of its overseas military spending? Cutting back that spending, and indeed recovering industrial self-reliance and competitive economic power, would require a transformation of American politics. Such a change seems unlikely, but without it, how long can America’s post-industrial rentier economy manage to force other countries to provide it with the economic affluence (literally a flowing-in) that it is no longer producing at home?


History Matters: Peter Kuznick on US/NATO Tensions, Russia/Ukraine, and Avoiding Catastrophic War

Mickey Huff, the third director of Project Censored, interviews American University historian Peter Kuznick, co-author with Oliver Stone of The Untold History of the United States. They discuss the current U.S. and NATO confrontation with Russia over Ukraine; summarize the recent history of Ukraine and U.S. relations, while placing current affairs in Cold War context; and emphasize the urgency of settling the crisis peacefully. Here is my summary.


The Nation’s 2019 article Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine says, “Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant.”

Likewise: Volunteer Ukrainian Unit Includes Nazis.”—USA Today, March 10, 2015, A neo-Nazi battalion in the heart of Europe

This 2021 piece in Common Dreams Will the Senate Confirm Coup Plotter Victoria Nuland? presents plausible background on the situation in Ukraine. The article discusses Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, who supported the government overthrow in Ukraine and imfamously said

“Fuck the EU” during a 2014 phone call with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

During the infamous call on which Nuland and Pyatt plotted to replace the elected Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, Nuland expressed her not-so-diplomatic disgust with the European Union for grooming former heavyweight boxer and austerity champ Vitali Klitschko instead of U.S. puppet and NATO booklicker Artseniy Yatseniuk to replace Russia-friendly Yanukovych.

The “Fuck the EU” call went viral, as an embarrassed State Department, never denying the call’s authenticity, blamed the Russians for tapping the phone, much as the NSA has tapped the phones of European allies.

Despite outrage from German Chancellor Angela Markel, no one fired Nuland, but her potty mouth upstaged the more serious story: the U.S. plot to overthrow Ukraine’s elected government and America’s responsibility for a civil war that has killed at least 13,000 people and left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe.


Council on Foreign Relations: Global Conflict Tracker: Conflict in Ukraine says

Violence in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian military has by conservative estimates killed more than 10,300 people and injured nearly 24,000 since April 2014. Although Moscow has denied its involvement, Ukraine and NATO have reported the buildup of Russian troops and military equipment near Donetsk and Russian cross-border shelling.


ABC News reports that Trump approved the sale of 210 Javelin missiles to Ukraine in March 2018: What are Javelin missiles and why they’re being mentioned repeatedly during the impeachment hearings


Al Jazeera reports Profile: Who are Ukraine’s far-right Azov regiment?
The far-right neo-Nazi group has expanded to become part of Ukraine’s armed forces, a street militia and a political party.


Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft: “By casually meddling in Ukrainian politics in recent years, the United States has effectively incited Russia to undertake its reckless invasion.” (source: Boston Globe’s US can’t absolve itself of responsibility for Putin’s Ukraine invasion).


Gary Leupp, Professor of History at Tufts University, wrote in Counterpunch’s Putin, Lenin, Imperialism and the (Real) History of Ukraine:

In 2010 an anti-NATO president was democratically elected; the U.S. State Department oversaw a massive regime change effort to depict him as corrupt, anti-EU, impeding “Ukrainian’s European aspirations.” It succeeded in ousting him, and to some extent also succeeded in portraying the Maidan putsch, to the people of this country, as a democratic mass movement against a corrupt Russian puppet.

Leupp condemns Putin and compares says his actions as follows: “Rather like the U.S. would be hell-bent on preventing the Warsaw Pact, when there was such a thing, from expanding to include Mexico and Canada. If you are looking for truly appropriate analogies, linger on that one.”


Journalist Aaron Maté wrote the detailed essay By using Ukraine to fight Russia, the US provoked Putin’s war.
After backing a far-right coup in 2014, the US has fueled a proxy war in eastern Ukraine that has left 14,000 dead. Russia’s invasion is an illegal and catastrophic response.
An excerpt:

While hailed by the US as an expression of Ukraine’s democratic aspirations, the post-coup Ukrainian government was dominated by the right-wing forces that had brought it to power. At least five key cabinet posts went to members of the far-right Svoboda and another right-wing party, Right Sector, including the national security, defense, and legal ministries. Andriy Parubiy, the far-right co-founder of Svoboda’s origin party, was appointed the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. During the Maidan protests, Parubiy had served as the Maidan encampment’s “commandant” and head of its security.

In the fall of 2014, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was formally incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard, making post-Maidan Ukraine “the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces,” the Ukrainian-American journalist Lev Golinkin later observed.

Yatsenyuk, the Nuland-chosen technocrat, meanwhile presided over what NPR dubbed Ukraine’s “Spring Of Austerity” and what the prime minister himself described as a “kamikaze mission“, imposing the pension and heating subsidy cuts that the ousted Yanukovych had resisted.

While placating the “IMF Austerity Regime,” the coup government also set its sights on Ukraine’s ethnic Russian population, a major base of Yanukovych’s support. One of the post-coup parliament’s first votes was to rescind a law, long bitterly opposed by the far-right, granting regions the authority to declare a second official language.

The coup government’s anti-Russian sentiment culminated in a gruesome massacre in the city of Odessa….

The Odessa massacre helped accelerate the then-growing insurgency in the Donbas region, the eastern Ukrainian region dominated by ethnic Russians. Unwilling to live under a US-installed coup government led by far-right nationalists, rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk took up arms in the spring of 2014 with Russia’s limited support.

The US-backed government responded with both economic warfare and a Nazi-infused “Anti-Terrorist Operation.” The US-backed Yatsenyuk, by then well-versed in Washington-friendly neoliberal austerity, decreed that all residents of rebel-held Donbas would lose their public sector payments and pensions. Among those fighting the rebels, the New York Times quietly acknowledged in July 2015, were the “openly neo-Nazi” Azov battalion, as well as “an assortment of right-wing and Islamic militias” summoned from Chechnya. According to Ukraine’s interior ministry, Azov was among the first battalions to receive US military training for the war.


Summaries of U.S. hypocrisy, due to U.S. crimes comparable to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine:

Andrew Bacevich: The ‘end of history’ … again?

Yet however distressing to admit, crimes committed by the United States in recent years, usually justified under the guise of liberating the oppressed and spreading democracy, have inflicted more damage on the international order than anything done by Russia. Moscow never promulgated a patently illegal doctrine of preventive war. We did. And the death toll resulting from U.S. campaigns undertaken subsequent to 9/11 — more than 900,000 killed according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project — exceeds by several orders of magnitude the number of Ukrainians killed (or likely to be killed) in the present conflict.

Hedges: The Lie of American Innocence

William D. Hartung, Nick Cleveland-Stout, and Taylor Giorno: Washington Should Think Twice Before Launching a New Cold War

Caitlin Johnstone’s Sure, Ukraine Is The First War The US Hasn’t Lied About

Joe Luria’s Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War

That essay covers similar ground to the current one you’re reading.


Evidence that the U.S. has hindered diplomatic solutions to the crisis in Ukraine.

Ukraine – A Beginners’ Guide. Covers some of the same ground as this compendium, from a perspective further to the left.


Aaron Maté: Siding with Ukraine’s far-right, US sabotaged Zelensky’s historic mandate for peace

“Zelensky ran as a peace candidate,” [late Princeton professor Stephen F.] Cohen explained. “He won an enormous mandate to make peace. So, that means he has to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.” But there was a major obstacle. Ukrainian fascists, Cohen warned, “have said that they will remove and kill Zelensky if he continues along this line of negotiating with Putin… His life is being threatened literally by a quasi-fascist movement in Ukraine.”

Peace could only come, Cohen stressed, on one condition. “[Zelensky] can’t go forward with full peace negotiations with Russia, with Putin, unless America has his back,” he said. “Maybe that won’t be enough, but unless the White House encourages this diplomacy, Zelensky has no chance of negotiating an end to the war. So the stakes are enormously high.”

The subsequent impeachment trial, and bipartisan US policy since, has made clear that Washington has had no interest in having Zelensky’s back, and every interest in fueling the Donbas war that he had been elected to end.


Editorial

According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project , the United States spent $8 trillion and killed 900,000 people in wars since 9/11. If you include the Vietnam War, the U.S. has killed millions of people. Almost without exception, these were corrupt, disastrous wars and proxy wars — Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America, Libya, and elsewhere. We overthrew democratically elected governments and installed autocratic regimes with death squads. Our wars created enemies. Our wars displaced tens of millions of refugees, causing mass migrations that destabilized politics in Europe and the Americas.

We did this in the name of defending “democracy” and our strategic interests.

Those wars, proxy wars, and overthrows do not excuse Russian actions in Ukraine, but they should lead us to give pause to the mad rush to fight Russia. Don’t you think the C.I.A. and other groups might have done some things to provoke Russia?

Is it any surprise that Russia feels threatened when the U.S. surrounds Russia with bases and weapons, helps install client states along its borders and expands NATO closer and closer to Russia? Putin is an evil autocrat, but the U.S. needs to stop meddling.

If you back a bear in the corner, throw rocks at him, and poke him with sticks, don’t act surprised when he lashes out.

The Military-industrial complex — a self-licking ice cream cone — needed an enemy to justify its existence. Putin was a good choice.

Putin’s undeniable authoritarianism and brutality make it difficult to argue against U.S. efforts to weaken him. We can point out how the U.S. provoked him, how NATO expansion was unnecessary, how Putin wanted to integrate with the West, how U.S. wars and proxy wars were immoral, how we often supported brutal authoritarian governments, and how U.S. efforts to be policeman of the world often (or usually) fail and cause even worse blowback. And we can point out the risks and (opportunity) costs of our militarized foreign policy and of sanctions, including higher energy costs and possible nuclear annihilation. But we can’t pretend Putin is a good guy.

The U.S. could have made peace with Russia after the breakup of the USSR. We chose war. U.S. brinkmanship might succeed in weakening Russia; or it could result in disaster, for not just Ukraine and Europe, but also for the world. It will be costly in any case. The U.S. is willing to risk destroying Ukraine and sacrificing Europe’s energy needs to further its strategic interests. Our duty is to denounce both Putin and U.S. militarized and aggressive foreign policy.

There’s no contradiction between denouncing Putin’s invasion and being honest about the hypocrisy, aggressive militarism, election interference and other provocations of the U.S. and NATO.


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