The situation in Ukraine is a fluid one and changing by the hour. Although it had appeared that there was a resolution to the protests that had broken out after the government of Ukraine had made the sovereign decision of sticking with Russia and saying no to closer European Union integration, excessive violence from the western backed opposition has spread like a wave throughout the country.
The so called Ukrainian “opposition” now resembles something more akin to armed insurgents in Syria involved in a coup d’état than opposition protestors.
The situation in Ukraine once again underlines US hypocrisy. The US, which prides itself on protecting its police, supports an “opposition” which is threatening, attacking, kidnapping and setting young police officers on fire. The scene currently playing out in Ukraine has all of the signs of a foreign engineered regime change operation and with the taking of government buildings, has unarguably moved into a scenario where the continuity of the state is in question.
Voice of Russia regular and NATO expert Rick Rozoff discussed all of these issues and more as the situation threatens to spin out of control.
Robles: Thanks a lot. I was wondering if we can get your views on what is going on in Maidan or Independence Square in Ukraine. It seems like the level of violence is escalating with … looks like no end in sight, I don’t know. What do you think?
Rozoff: No, you are absolutely correct. Ukraine has become, you know, the center of attention I think , globally, right now, the cynosure. People are focused on it with good reason. In a way it’s replaced Syria as the, how would I put it, proxy conflict between the East and West with the West once again on the offensive. That is, in an attempt to do something, nothing short of toppling an elected government of a nation that has close state-to-state relationships with Russia.
And what is happening is fluid, of course, but it is also tense and it is also fraught with not only dangerous but potentially catastrophic consequences if the violence that exists in Kiev in and around Independence Square and now by recent reports spreading into parts of Western Ukraine where the hotbeds of nationalist and even fascistic extremism are…
So I think what you are seeing is well-coordinated series of activities that began in Kiev and may very well spread to the Western part of Ukraine.
Robles: I see. What are your views on who is behind all this, and the reasons for it? Now at first they came up with that there was the EU integration, then they were protesting the government, and then they were calling for early elections, then they were protesting against Russia.
Now one of the objects of the protesters&# 39; actions is something about some students that were beat several weeks ago. It just seems like they are finding any reason whatsoever to keep escalating and continuing their violence.
During the night there were negotiations and the opposition said they had agreed to the conditions set by the government to stop their violent activities, and then they went out and announced this to their supporters. Their supporters weren’t happy about it and they went back on their word, they said: ‘No, we are not going to agree to any cease in our violence’ .
And they are continuing with their violence which, they’re throwing Molotov cocktails at Police. All of the Police and the security forces they are suffering severe burns and the violence against the police is escalating.
And of we look at who the leaders are, it brings a lot of questions to my mind – as who is actually running all of this? I mean they’ve got this ex-boxer, he is promoting all this violence.
Can you give us some comments on him and on the resolution by the Russian State Duma yesterday, if you could, regarding the violence?
Rozoff: Yes, the opposition, and again we have to keep in mind in a fluid situation like this, and what we are looking at is really not only a destabilization but ultimately a regime change technique or scenario. But what we see is the boxer, the heavyweight boxer Vitali Klichko, and two other nationalists emerging as what is a typical color revolution scenario where there is a triumvirate or triad of political leaders.
This was true by the way during the Orange Revolution, so-called, in 2004 and 2005. We had Viktor Yanukovich (Yushchenko) , Yulia Tymoshenko and Alexander Moroz as being the triumvirate, modeled after that in Georgia, incidentally, the preceding year, in 2003.
So, the question is begged of course, about whether the public or nominal leadership is really anything more than figureheads, or are anything more than figureheads, and whether in fact there is not something more substantive behind it both internally and of course externally.
So what we are looking at is a degree of violence against police officers that would not be tolerated in any other European country, I can assure you, certainly not in the West. But being cheered on and supported unequivocally by Western political leaders in the European Union, in the United States, in NATO I might add.
Yesterday Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said, “Violence can never be used for political means.” You know, a lightening bolt should come from the heavens and strike anyone making a statement like that when they’re the head of NATO which has used violence for political means uninterruptedly since 1995 in several countries on three continents.
Robles: Well that’s their only tactic. How could you say that?
Rozoff: But of course. But I mean there is a difference between official use of force by a government to maintain peace in a country – there could be abuses, there could be excessive use of that force, but at least it is legally sanctioned – as opposed to people who are a little bit better than gangsters at times, hitting police officers with hammers or throwing petrol bombs at them.
You don’t see much of it here in the West, but luckily with the Internet we can see a television broadcasts around the world. And we’ve seen the horrifying pictures of the results of the use of so-called Molotov cocktails in Kiev. Seeing your young police officers’ heads and arms are on fire and so forth and you can only imagine the degree of, third-degree I’m sure, of burns that they suffer as a result of gasoline bombs.
But I think rather than focusing on the mechanics of what is going on, which will be debated ad nauseam in the Western press of course, what is important to again come back to you, and you and I have had occasion to talk about this before, John, is the regional and ultimately the global context within which the battle for Ukraine, and I would term it exactly that the battle for Ukraine, is occurring.
One factor which is very significant but didnot receive the attention it certainly warranted was in the middle of last month, the middle of December, now former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, he had served in the US House of Representatives for eight terms, for 16 years- he is a native of my home state of Ohio, incidentally – wrote a very revealing article stating that the so-called European Union Association Agreement with – initiative rather – with Ukraine was simply NATO’s Trojan Horse in Ukraine. This is precisely how former Congressman Kucinich put it. And what he did indicate and he shows a fairly good degree of familiarity with how all these things are done that Ukraine would first to join NATO and then join the European Union because traditionally that is how it has occurred, with the newer members, with the exception of tiny island nations of Cyprus and Malta.
So that what we are looking at is Ukraine is a geo-strategically pivotal nation; it clearly is that nation that separates what geopoliticians or -strategists would talk about from East to the West. It borders, of course, Poland and other nations that are now considered to be in Central Europe for that matter and Russia to its East which of course is in Eastern Europe and even in Eurasia. I mean, in fact, the greater part of Russia being in Asia itself.
What we are seeing is something almost evocative of formal struggles, and there is a history of Ukraine being pivotal in that sense. Many of your listeners may be acquainted either with the 19th century novel Taras Bulba, by the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol, who is from Ukraine, or the movie adaptation at the end of the last century, more people might know.
It is a fact that Ukraine is a bone of contention between the Westernized Slavic part of Europe, if you will, those with the Latin alphabet and the Roman Catholic religion and those with the Cyrillic alphabet and the Orthodox religion which Ukraine for the most part is. And that we’ve seen similar situations after World War 1, during World War 2.
In World War 1 Germany, in the first instance, tried to wean Ukraine away from Russia; in World War 2 Stepan Bandera and other Nazi collaborators, who are heroes incidentally to the modern nationalists in Ukraine, who under the Yushchenko government rehabilitated members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and others who had collaborated with the Nazi Germany, so we are looking at very extremist elements..
Probably the most visible and prominent of the so-called youth activista are members of the so-called Svoboda or Freedom party, which up until a few years ago had as its logo a variant of the Nazi swastika. So let’s be very clear about what we are dealing with. There are may be any number of innocent youth who want, going out for a dare, much as Orange Revolution in 2004-2005, but behind it there are some very hardcore nationalists, and Russo-phobic extremists, who whether be known to themselves or not are serving the purpose of turning yet another country into a battle zone in a renewed post-Cold War East-West conflict.
Robles: Can you give us your views on the statement by the Crimean parliament and by the Russian Duma yesterday? The Russian Duma is calling for foreign actors, foreign players -we know who we are talking about: the West, the US – to refrain from interfering in Ukraine.
The Crimean parliament, they adopted a statement with a vote of 78-81 deputies in favor of it. The statement reads: ‘The political crisis, the formal pretext for which was a pause in Ukraine’ s European integration has developed into armed resistance and street fights. Hundreds of people have been hurt and, unfortunately, some people have been killed. The price for the power ambitions of a bunch of political saboteurs – Klichko, Yatsenyuk and Tyagnibok- is too high. They have crossed the line by provoking bloodshed using the interests of the people of Ukraine as cover and pretending to act on their own behalf.’
And they finish up by saying:’ The people of Crimea will never engage in illegitimate elections, will never recognize their results. And will not live in Bandera Ukraine.’ – they say. So, can you comment on that and on the Russian resolution, if you would?
Rozoff: First of all I want to commend you, as of I think yesterday or perhaps today, of compiling a list of I think significant statements by the Russian State Duma, the duma or the parliament in Crimea and others and putting them into a very condensed form that has been very useful to me.
A couple of things: the trio of opposition figures is exactly the triumvirate I alluded to earlier with Vitali Klichko playing what could only be described as a sort of Rocky Balboa-meets- Rambo Sylvester Stallone compilation of pseudo-populist, right-wing, dangerous and ultimately violent sort of activity.
The Bandera allusion we’ve talked about earlier; he was a leader during World War 2 of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and fought against the legitimate political authorities in what was then Nazi-occupied Soviet Union, but often times in conjunction with the Third Reich, with the Nazis. So they are using the same language you and I had used.
Now, what we are talking about here in Crimea is of the upmost importance. The US has for several years now been waging, in conjunction with its NATO allies, annual fairly large-scale naval war games called Sea Breeze, and they are conducted in the Crimea dangerously close to where the Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed at Sevastopol. And even though a public outcry led to, or resulted in, a Sea Breeze exercise I think three years ago, perhaps four, being called off, they have been resumed and what has happened over the last two or three years, this is very significant, and I hope your listeners pick up on this, the US as a matter of course has been sending missile cruisers into the Black Sea to go to Crimea, to dock there.
These are what are called the Ticonderoga- class guided missile cruisers, of the sort that are part of the US international missile, so-called missile shield, that is they are to be equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles, and these ships are visiting Ukraine on a regular basis.
As the US continues its military takeover of the Black Sea, they’ve already done this with Bulgaria and Rumania, where they’ve acquired eight major military basses in those two countries. Turkey of course is a NATO ally and Ukraine then becomes a very significant factor in the US military takeover of the Black Sea largely through NATO expansion. But what is even I think of more concern, a WikiLeaks document of in the last couple of years revealed that in 2006 the then-head of the US Missile Defense Agency, he’s now retired, General Henry, or Trey, Obering, met with Ukrainian officials, this was during the Yushchenko [administration] , to recruit Ukraine into the European missile shield.
And in the subsequent year, 2007, General Obering, head the Missile Defense Agency, visited to Ukraine during the Yushchenko years, administration years, and met with the defense minister and other key officials in Ukraine in an effort to bring Ukraine into that. If Ukraine were to join, along with Poland, Romania, Turkey and other countries, the beginning stages of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach for the interceptor missile system, this would be extremely dangerous. This would be such an open provocation to Russia that I don’t see how Russia could not take some fairly dramatic action in response to it.
So when we talk about the factors that are involved we have to keep several significant ones in mind.
First of all, Ukraine is strategically vital, it is indispensable. In the energy wars that the US and its European Union allies, which is to say NATO allies, have been waging over the past decade to try to curtail Russian exports of natural gas and oil to Europe, ultimately perhaps to cut them off altogether in favor of natural gas and oil projects bringing Caspian Sea energy into Europe via the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia, but of course from there to Ukraine, from Ukraine into the Western Europe. So Ukraine is significant in that sense.
Ukraine is also one of four countries that NATO has announced, four non-NATO countries, that are to join the NATO Response Force, that is the international strike force that NATO has developed. The other three are Georgia, Finland and Sweden. Of course three of those four countries, all except Sweden, have lengthy borders with Russia.
And that Ukraine has been gradually, I think unbeknownst to most people in Ukraine, and certainly outside, has been dragged into the NATO net deeper and deeper and deeper.
Ukraine is, and these are significant facts, so I hope you don’t mind my emphasizing them. Ukrainet became the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a naval vessel to what is now NATO’s permanent surveillance and interdiction naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea – Operation Active Endeavor. Ukraine’s second to that became the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a ship to NATO’s Arabian Sea – Operation Ocean Shield. Ukraine, during the Kuchma government, supplied 2,000 troops to the United States, NATO in Iraq. They have a small contingent of troops serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Part 1 of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at http://voiceofrussia. com.