Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 10, 2014

Alastair Crooke On Ukraine

Nothing by me but Alastair Crooke, a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, is just back from Moscow and has some interesting thoughts on the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine. As for current expectations in Moscow he elaborates:

In gist, the dynamics towards some sort of secession of East Ukraine (either in part, or in successive increments) is thought [in Moscow] to be the almost inevitable outcome. The question most informed commentators in Moscow ask themselves is whether this will occur with relatively less orrelatively more violence – and whether that violence will reach such a level (massacres of ethnic Russians or of the pro-Russian community) that President Putin will feel that he has no option but to intervene.
And this the point, most of those with whom we spoke suspect that it is the interest of certain components of the American foreign policy establishment (but not necessarily that of the US President) to provoke just such a situation: a forced Russian intervention in East Ukraine (in order to protect its nationals there from violence or disorder or both). It is also thought that Russian intervention could be seen to hold political advantage to the beleaguered and fading acting government in Kiev. And further, it is believed that some former Soviet Republics, now lying at the frontline of the EU’s interface with Russia, will see poking Moscow in the eye as a settling of past scores, as well as underscoring their standing in Brussels and Washington for having brought ‘democracy’ to eastern Europe.

There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine (and this is common to all shades of political opinion).

More, including some deeper history, at the link.

Posted by b on May 10, 2014 at 15:49 UTC | Permalink

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There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine (and this is common to all shades of political opinion).

Certainly not intervene directly for all shades (as I've said all along and I'm the only one who's been right about it…every one else is doing an about face trying to understand and rationalize Putin's latest actions. Not me. It's exactly as I've described all along), but for some shades there is a voracious appetite to meddle indirectly and covertly per the plan.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | May 10 2014 16:32 utc | 1

Putin must not lose sight of what the US is trying to achieve. The US wants to stop the flow of oil and gas to Europe Russia's biggest trading partner. Big oil (Cheney and Co) have been working on this scheme for controlling Caspian resources etc for more than 20 years, but Putin proved to be the better businessman. He cannot throw it all away by being reckless now. He needs to use public relations to get his message out to the people in the EU. and convince them that Washington is at the heart of all the trouble.

He needs to act fast.

Posted by: plantman | May 10 2014 16:40 utc | 2

I hope the Russians are aware that the cowardly EU governments are not acting with the full consent of their populace. Many of us would prefer to have good (business and other) relations with Russia, and deplore the foolish and offensive "sanctions".

The majority is not even aware of the folly of our governments, especially now that the media are burying the Ukraine dossier headlines under the tritest domestic news, and censoring disapproving comments. A casual or less informed reader/viewer (the vast majority) most likely has no idea of how our politicians are playing with fire and supporting the new Nazis, or that the Ukraine story is more important than all the other news items.

As an Austrian I find this situation particularly infuriating. For all my five decades I've had to listen to reproaches that my people did not stand up to the Nazis' takeover of Austria, and now that Nazis are once again marching in Europe with swastikas and all, who is supporting them? The very countries that were acting oh-so-disdainful and morally superior (as well as our own clueless politicians), and the most supposedly "liberal" media.

Another thing - there has been so much fake crying of "wolf" in calling populist right parties Nazis (I vividly remember the "sanctions" on Austria in 2000), that now the real thing has apparently emerged, nobody is taking the danger seriously any more. And suddenly, it's Russia that has to be sanctioned, not the real-life fascists.

The hypocrisy of all this is breathtaking in its audacity and scope.

On the other hand, we now have a better idea how long and patiently the USUK must have worked to get all the important media and politicians suborned, blackmailed or paid off - a huge number of ducks must have been put into a row for this moment, and they are probably furious that the propaganda is still not getting enough traction internationally.

I can just imagine the secret briefings to new US Presidents where they get handed a list of US "assets" including many of the "free" world's leading politicians, and told that all these are firmly "under our control". This would explain much of the hubris and arrogance we have all observed.

Posted by: Austrian | May 10 2014 17:13 utc | 3

thanks for the post and link b.. i agree with what you've highlighted from the link.

Posted by: james | May 10 2014 17:13 utc | 4

I agree that Russia has stepped up their game. So far they have avoided a new NATO state on their border and a hot war. But, the Kremlin better not gloat because the Civil War next door will spill over into Russia.

I worked for the US government for 42 years. I dealt with representatives of Swiss, German, French, UK, Japanese, and American companies until they were all consolidated into a few giant multinationals. Just before I retired, one American company ignored the law and regulations and just did what they wanted. When caught they paid a couple million dollar fine but no one was jailed; “The costs of doing business”. Since 2008 corporations and the wealthy have had a free ticket to do whatever they want. The result is Austerity, War, and Superyachts.

The United States and European Union are like Ukraine before the start of the Color Revolutions. Each country is run by and for the Oligarchs not the people. Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Portugal are on the edge. If rich eastern plutocrats had funded democracy movements in these States like Westerners did in Ukraine, they would already have had their revolutions.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 10 2014 17:20 utc | 5

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 10, 2014 1:20:05 PM | 5

Thank You and very true

Thanks b for the link

Posted by: jo6pac | May 10 2014 17:32 utc | 6

I believe the Russians can wait for as long as it takes, short of NATO troops being stationed in the Ukraine at the 'invitation' of the new government to be elected in two weeks. This would cross to fat a red line. As to provocations, it would require something bigger than the Maidan regime can pull off without significant foreign assistance. As Russia has its own people there, it would be impossible to pull off without the perpetrators being unmasked. As b and others here have observed, any serious repression of the Russophone population would provoke serious indigenous resistance that the regime would be unable to contain. So far, it's checkmate.

Posted by: Knut | May 10 2014 17:34 utc | 7

The referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk is on track for tomorrow

“The referendum will be considered valid whatever voter turnout will be,” [Roman Lyagin, the head of the self-proclaimed republic’s election commission] added, according to Itar-Tass. […]

“It would not mean that the Donetsk region would become part of Russia, or remain within Ukraine or become an independent state. It means only one thins – that we would win the support of the majority of the population of the region and gain a moral right to state that were are not happy with what is happening in the region and demand changes,” Lyagin said.

So I guess the main purpose of the referendum at this point is to counter the Western propaganda claiming that most people in the two regions want the regions to remain in the Ukraine, even if it is ruled by a Western puppet fascist regime.

Posted by: Demian | May 10 2014 17:58 utc | 8

If they dont get the votes needed, kiev, nato warmongers will win alot..
That would be very bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 18:22 utc | 9

"...a Cold War is not inevitable. Russia has made, for example, no antagonistic moves in Iran, in Syria or in Afghanistan. Putin has been at some pains to underline that whereas – from now – Russia will pursue its vital interests unhesitatingly, and in the face of any western pressures, on other non-existential issues, it is still open to diplomatic business as usual....

Crooke contradicts himself: a Cold War is inevitable.

"...the era of Gorbachevian hope of some sort of parity of esteem (even partnership) emerging between Russia and the western powers, in the wake of the conclusion to the Cold War, has imploded – with finality..."
That is, the Cold War continues. It never ended.

The problem is that Russia has no appetite to recognise it. It refuses to face up to the awful reality of imperialism. Russia hopes that, after a few more Olympic Games and all manner of cultural contacts, the Cold Warriors in the West will just fade away. And capitalism will revert to the existence it has never had anywhere but in the textbooks of its propagandists, and drop the plundering and destruction and make friends of bosses everywhere, including in Russia.

They won't: warmongering is not a prejudice born of misunderstanding and slavophobia but a way of life. Without a Cold War the US economy and the state have no purpose: they exist to pursue hegemony, not to achieve it, but to maintain the thrill, and the profits, of the chase.

The thrill of a trillion dollar military budget.

The thrill of having the entire population's personal details at their fingertips. A blackmailer's nirvana.

The thrill of running a gulag system without parallel in its extent, brutality and profitability in modern history.

The thrill of having agents wandering the streets of Sa'ana and Karachi shooting whomsoever they fancy. The thrill of using drone strikes to wipe out wedding parties "pour encourager les autres."

The thrill of looting the domestic economy, impoverishing the masses on the excuse that there is an emergency, a war on terror, that necessitates the postponement of non-military responsibilities. BUt never mind "There will be pie in the sky. When you die." Lots of pie. And death comes earlier every year.

Russia has made "no antagonistic moves in Iran, in Syria or in Afghanistan." And what has it gained by assisting the US in Afghanistan? Or by refusing to honour its defense contracts to Iran?
What did it gain by watching Saddam being crushed? Or Ghadaffi?

On the whole little more than contempt and disdain.
Its restraint has been interpreted as weakness, which in turn has been interpreted as an invitation to escalated aggression. Thus do the Kagans see the world.

What we have seen since Gorbachev's day is an assault on Russia, a full spectrum assault, to which Russia has made no reply, sitting there paralysed like a serpent's victim as it has been torn apart and devoured by enemies at whom it smiles beatifically, like an ikon or a sub-Dostoevskyan protagonist. Like an impotent Oblomov. Patience on a monument to 25 million martyrs.

Still, "...the atmosphere in Moscow is hardening, and hardening visibly. Even the ‘pro-Atlanticist’ component in Russia senses that Europe will not prove able to de-escalate the situation. They are both disappointed, and bitter at their political eclipse in the new mood that is contemporary Russia, where the ‘recovery of sovereignty’ current prevails."

It could be that in the eastern Ukraine, where massacres such as those we have seen in the past week are taken to heart a little more easily than they are in Moscow, will force Russia's hand. And Kiev's too. One side's provocations and the other's pacifism make for good Chess but bad politics. Another Odessa incident and not only the Donbas but Russia could explode.

Then Putin will have to respond. And the only reasonable response must be to insist that the US get its pit bulls back under control, end the killings and call a halt to a process that must lead to war if continued. Real war, not proxy terrorism, death squads and drones but an immediate expansion of the battlefield from south eastern Ukraine to the whole of Europe.

War not because the General Staffs want it, or the Kaisers or the Diplomats but because the logic of Odessa and Maryupol leads only to war. The shooting of one maverick Grand Duke was nothing compared to what we saw in Odessa. And the links between Gavrilo Princip and Belgrade were incomparably vaguer than those between the criminals in Odessa and Barack Obama.

Posted by: bevin | May 10 2014 18:35 utc | 10

Take a look back to recent years. At the beginning there were the uprisings in northern africa, deleting partners and outposts of russia. then the war in syria began. in assad, another allie have to fight against all sorts of enemies. Iran faced tough sanctions made by the US and the EU. Coincidently Russia is going to get the same sanctions out of nothing. At the same time NATO placed troops in the baltic countries. Finally. If this is not a kind of cold war, what else?

Posted by: muskat | May 10 2014 18:58 utc | 11

re bevin 10. I wouldn't have thought that Putin was ignorant of the possibility of a new Cold War. It is simply, as Crooke says, that the Russians don't want it.

Putin's actions seem to me reasonable, in order to defend their interests, and to avoid war. Ukraine will collapse of its own accord, if the present road continues. Actually, I quite admire Putin's policy. He has avoided fighting and killing. That should not be taken for weakness, rather a degree of subtlety rare in the modern day. And certainly unknown to the US.

The danger is that the "hardening atmosphere" in Moscow may demand more robust action. As Putin is in a position to be relatively autocratic, I wouldn't have thought that would eventuate.

Posted by: Alexno | May 10 2014 19:20 utc | 12

@12 It's very important to see all Kiev's actions as provocation. They don't have a lot else to work with.

Posted by: dh | May 10 2014 19:40 utc | 13

To add to 12. Putin is also aware that Europe can't avoid its dependence on Russian gas. The West is split. The US doesn't suffer, so it can be as bellicose as it wants. But there's no alternative to Russian gas for Europe. All the stories of American LNG for Europe are pie in the sky. No surplus is available, and even if it were, it would take several years to put it in action. No European leader can face the thought of Europe freezing in the winter. Even Britain who theoretically doesn't consume much Russian gas is affected, as the gas sharing system implies that Britain will lose if Russian gas goes down.

No doubt measures will be taken, including the release of Germany's reserve. But some will be cold, including me. That problem will surface before Russia runs out of money.

Putin doesn't have to act. He is much better to wait and see how the Western alliance splits.

Posted by: Alexno | May 10 2014 19:54 utc | 14

Whether there's going to be another cold war or not is not an interesting question. One could say that even using the term "Cold War" here is anti-Russian propaganda, as it suggests that treating today's Russia as the enemy is morally equivalent to treating the USSR as the enemy.

The really interesting question is whether the USG will succeed in its plan for driving a wedge between Russia and western Europe (to speak of driving a wedge between "Russia and Europe" is also anti-Russian propaganda, since Russia is part of Europe), or whether Russia will drive a wedge between the US and Europe, aided by USG's stupidity, mendacity, and rapacity.

Posted by: Demian | May 10 2014 19:54 utc | 15

The trouble is that the people of SE Ukraine even now are rather apathetic to the whole happenings. The brave men fighting the junta are but a few thousand - pathetically few for one of the most populous regions of the country. I believe Russia is not going to intervene until the people of the SE clearly state what they want, because to this day they even if the moods are obvious no clear declaration was made. Do they want to be indeoendent? Do they want reunification? Hell, what do they want then? Federalization? Great, but one has to say it out loud and not just think about it before going to bed. So until there are tens of thousands of people in the street demanding something or if the referendum yield some concrete results, which is doubtful in the present circumstances, my bet is that the Russian will stay on the outside of the Ukrainian border where it doesn't smell so bad, no matter how many innocents are butchered by the putchist maniacs.

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 10 2014 19:59 utc | 16

Anyone want to take a guess why Putin is against referendum?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 20:18 utc | 17


I wasn't aware that Putin is against referendum... explain your question please.

Posted by: crone | May 10 2014 20:25 utc | 18


Putin have said referendum shouldnt be held at this time. So my question is why do you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 20:37 utc | 19

re 16

The trouble is that the people of SE Ukraine even now are rather apathetic to the whole happenings.
Too true. Another reason for no action.

I suppose that when the results of the referendum have come out, and the results of the election of 25 May, an effort will have to be made to bring SE Ukraine under control. That is the point where action is likely, unless the Ukrainian state collapses entirely.

Posted by: Alexno | May 10 2014 20:42 utc | 20

@Anonymous #19:

Because he wanted to sound like he wants the Ukraine to stay whole, and suspected that the pro-federation activists wouldn't heed his call in any case?

Part of the art of war is to keep your enemies off balance. News media had to speculate for several days why Putin called for a delay of the referendum, instead of just going on with their usual demonization of all things Russian.

Posted by: Demian | May 10 2014 20:42 utc | 21


I dont think thats likely imo, because that hurts the image of Russia in these parts in Ukraine, we have already seen people condemning Russia for this.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 20:49 utc | 22

About the referendum.. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!! the good guys in Donetsk (Tsarev, Gubarev, etc..) have been usurped by Akhmetov the Oligarch who stands to lose a hell of a lot. Pushilin is his bitch and if you pay careful attention to the guys sitting around Pushilin, you will notice that they are NOT Russian.. they are Tatars.

Where the hell is Tsarev? He's the only one capable of cementing everyone together. Most of the residents WANT Russia and the more outspoken ones are being disappeared.

BTW, I have this Intel on very good authority and I hope you guys can dig a little deeper

Posted by: Canada | May 10 2014 20:55 utc | 23

@23 interesting..

Posted by: james | May 10 2014 21:18 utc | 24

I think we're mistaken to characterize Russia's actions as "fighting back" if it chooses military action, but "not fighting back" if it chooses, for example, diplomatic action.

I see Russia as fully engaged with its enemy, whom it has studied for decades and whom it understands extremely well. Its choice of diplomacy and impeccable lawful protocols is itself a way of fighting. In the psychiatric field, manifesting sanity in the presence of the insane is the recommended way to help the situation, I believe.

To my eyes, Russia is indeed fighting, every day, every hour, very seriously in a fight to the death.

The conservation of resources and the elegance of Russia's moves during all this skirmishing leaves me profoundly impressed. Russia has not wasted one heartbeat of action, not one grain of power or material resource, and look at what it has gained already. And it has barely begun in the long battle it faces of watching the US destroy itself without itself suffering damage or loss of force.

Posted by: Grieved | May 10 2014 21:22 utc | 25

I don't think its very helpful to dismiss Pushilin as "Akhmetov's bitch". I wouldn't call it "intel", I'd call it a smear. Equally the claim that all the people around him are Tatars sounds like a smear to me. And saying. where oh where is Tsarev, sounds like the sort of hypocritical thing a disinformationalist would say, to make himself sound like he was on "our side", not the other. The interview where Pushilin supposedly admits to having made money from pyramid selling of shares for MMM when it was legal to do so, ie in the Yeltsin era, looks extremely fake to me:
It comes from, which I assume is a junta rag. I ran it through Google Translate and got rubbish. I ran it through Yandex and got quite a good translation. So this was a good object lesson that indeed, Yandex is better. Just about everybody on this board and on all the others that are up to date on Ukraine seems to come from Canada. But that doesn't mean that a certain number of them aren't disinformationalists.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 10 2014 21:25 utc | 26

Sounds like Ahmetov has asked for the "Anti Terror Operation" to stop and is setting up a security force from Metinvest employees to police Mariupol - as of tomorrow.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2014 21:50 utc | 27

Zapped by eurovision contest and saw once again how Russia is booed at. Ugly racist morons!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 21:54 utc | 28

@26 - thanks rowan. i try to keep an open mind and let things develop to discover the personality behind the name tag.. we'll see how it develops or not with whoever wants to label themselves 'canada' here.. weird pseudonym to use if you as me.

Posted by: james | May 10 2014 22:01 utc | 29

There is nothing on the Metinvest page to justify that claim (#27). There is an interesting statement by Akhmetov at a general meeting of oligarchs with yatseniuk, in which Akhmetov says he's pro Donbass but also anti the idea that any part of Ukraine should break away (no mention of Crimea, but what he means is that he doesn't want any more Crimeas).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 10 2014 22:02 utc | 30

New attacks by the military.

Will tommorows vote be paused? Will tommorow become one of the bloodiest days?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 22:50 utc | 31


I could not agree more, Austrian. Thanks for posting.

Posted by: James Patrick | May 10 2014 23:31 utc | 32

Germany: Pro-Russian protesters rally against fascism in Ukraine

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10 2014 23:35 utc | 33

By the way, the German-speakers here might be interested in checking out the 'Gegenmeinung' blog maintained by Mowitz, assuming you haven't heard of it already:

He's doing a lot of Ukraine stuff now, although he covers others issues too--usually from a left-wing perspective. The only downside to his blog is that it has no comments section.

Posted by: James Patrick | May 10 2014 23:54 utc | 34

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 10, 2014 5:25:47 PM | 26

"Just about everybody on this board and on all the others that are up to date on Ukraine seems to come from Canada."

Yeah, those Canadians, pure as the driven snow...

Link to Карточка вида на жительство в Канаде Надежды Толоконниковой.

Most people here probably wont recognize that name, though they will recognize the person in the photo on the Canadian Permanent Resident Card document pictured. Her hubby, Peter/Pyotr/Petr Verzilov (commonly known as "Peter-Beater", since video and photos of him masturbating publicly in the Moscow Biological Museum became infamous back 2008), I believe has Canadian citizenship.

Link to Canada govt spying on social media to be reviewed over privacy breach concerns

I don't expect anything worthwhile to come from that. Canada is as ZPC occupied as the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand, and suffers from all the same sort of official and "unofficial" corruptions such influence inflicts.

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 2:03 utc | 35

A remarkable scene from Kiev, where Victory Day parades were banned. One elderly veteran, carrying the red flag, applauded on the streets in the capital of the Bandera junta:

"There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine"

There may be no appetite for war, but everything I've read shows that the Russian people are declaring that they are ready for their country to go to war if left no other option. The west should get it through their thick skulls that if they push too hard they will get war. And if they were smart, they'd see that these stupid, aggressive moves are revitalizing Russia - we have seen the economic and military revival, but now we are witnessing a spiritual revival from the degradation of the 1990s.


There is this rather stupid Guardian piece about NATOs commitment to "protect the Baltic States", but it did carry one real piece of information. It appears that the NATO military officials (presumably dominated by US) have by passed the main decision making body in making aggressive plans over the Baltic states - in spite of the wishes of German politicians:

Attempts by Stavridis's predecessor, General John Craddock, to push through defence planning for the Baltic were stymied by German-led opposition in western Europe, anxious to avoid upsetting the Kremlin.The policy shift was decided by senior military officials rather than Nato's top decision-taking body, the North Atlantic Council, in order to avoid repeating the splits and disputes on the issue over the past five years. The plan entails grouping the Baltic states with Poland in a new regional defence scheme that has been worked on in recent months and is codenamed Eagle Guardian.

Yes - "to avoid repeating the splits and disputes". You know, all democratic like. When there is a dispute, just move the decision making to a venue more amenable to your point of view.

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 2:46 utc | 36

There are "Grad" launchers set up outside Kramatorsk, Slavyansk and Mariupol. Do the bandera nazis intend to use them on these population centers during Sunday's vote or after should they vote for independence, or is this one of their psychwar schemes to intimidate people from voting for independence?

Link to Ополчение: Нацгвардия обещает уничтожить Мариуполь "Градом"

Translation by Yandex.

"Militia: the national guard under promises to destroy with Mariupol with "Hail"

"According to the activists of self-defense, law-enforcers gave 72 hours on "transmission of the city in their hands."

An activist of the people's militia Mariupol Vladimir K. (he hides his name because he fears for the lives of people close to it - Approx. Ed.) reported live LifeNews that the self-defense forces of South-East contacted nazvanii and in the categorical form has demanded to leave the city.

- We were given 72 hours. If we don't turn the city into their hands, they use a system of "Grad", - said Vladimir K. - On the outskirts of Mariupol landed. There are more than a thousand fighters. In the aerodrome heard gunshots. According to our data, on approaching the town is set about 40 Grad.

The representative of the headquarters of the defense noted that the referendum will be carried out in any case.

- On the referendum want to go all. Everybody wants to go to Russia. Polling stations will be working in the traditional areas, which are usually held elections, i.e. in schools, districts and so on.

That law-enforcers are ready to use against the population "Grad", became known on may 6. When under Slavonic correspondent LifeNews told it live, is located not far from the proposed host systems of volley fire, a few dozen meters started to break the shells. Journalists were under mortar fire.

People's militia reported that the chosen place so that the shells were covered Slavyansk, and they themselves were not seen.

- The atmosphere is tense white-hot in the city were seen militants "Right sector," says local resident named Valery. - "Grad" is located on the border of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. If they used artillery, from the city there would be nothing left. They will destroy it from the face of the earth. From our new authorities such can be expected.

Grad - Soviet jet system, multiple rocket systems (MLRS) 122-mm is Designed to destroy the open or in manpower, soft-skinned vehicles and armored vehicles in an area with a concentration of artillery and mortar batteries, command posts and other targets, other tasks in various conditions of combat conditions."

Eastern Europe has seen many massacres over the last couple of decades during the civil wars. The bandera nazis are the sort to do this. People in the southeast have very valid reasons to worry that the west could opt for total destruction of the southeast if it looks like they wont get their way there. What Georgia did to South Ossetia is an example everybody there remembers.

As for the main goal of the western fascists in pushing Moscow to invade the Ukraine, a mass slaughter, like the west had their Georgian puppet do to South Ossetia, would be the sort of thing to expect from these fascists. Especially since their incrementally stepped up attempts so far to draw russia in have failed.

The bandera nazis have already used mortar and artillery fire.

Link to Восемь человек ранены при обстреле блокпостов под Славянском

Yandex partial translation.

"Eight people were wounded during the shelling of the posts under Slavonic"

"Residents reported that on the outskirts of the city of fire are of heavy artillery. There are sounds of a fierce battle, intensive fire from automatic weapons. According to preliminary information, eight people were injured. Two of them hospitalized, six rendered medical aid on the spot.

According to representatives of the self-defense forces of the city, the armed conflict is near the village of andreevki, where previously correspondents Life News came under mortar fire. There, according to information from different sources, were hidden "Grad" of the Ukrainian army."

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 2:53 utc | 37

Link to Odessa massacre 9 days on: Dozens still missing, residents commemorate the dead

"Forty two of those killed in the massacre have been identified by local and social media. Odessa news portal published an unofficial list of the victims and the reasons of death: for a majority of victims it allegedly was “gas poisoning”. However, several victims reportedly died of gunshots, while others burnt alive or crashed on the ground after jumping out of windows trying to escape the deadly flames. Their ages vary from about 20 to 70.

Up to 48 people according to various sources are still considered missing. Over 60 remain in hospitals, including 26 in a grave condition."

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 3:03 utc | 38

Is this US/NATO vs Russia game of chicken really a " good cop, bad cop " scenario, as the oligarchs make deals behind the scenes, and divide the globe? I wonder. All I see ahead, is more pain and austerity for the workers of the world, ending in a " Global Plantation ".

@ 10: Another good post bevin.

Posted by: ben | May 11 2014 3:16 utc | 39

Here is a list of some interesting forums in the East of Ukraine from a Russian political site.

Appears to be a lot of primary source info here. Include Mariupol, Donetsk, and Lugansk.

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 3:18 utc | 40

@40 Meh - I'm not so sure this is much worth it there. It all seems censored and there are many sticky posts such as:

For instance, from Odessa:

Due to the difficult political situation in the country, the administration forced the forum to reiterate the need for strict compliance with the forum rules and laws of Ukraine. Unacceptable in our forum posts, calls, agitation and propaganda violates the law and the Constitution of Ukraine. Calls for aggression, violence or other illegal activities will result in blocking access to the forum.


Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 3:27 utc | 41

Link to Donetsk Republic's election committee denies ahead-of-schedule start of referendum

Information on ahead-of-schedule start of referendum on the region’s status of the Donetsk People's Republic is not consistent with reality, the Donetsk Republic’s spokesman Vitaly Ivanov told TASS by phone today.

"Representatives of Donetsk People’s Republic haven’t carried out preliminary referendum anywhere; it is completely illogical and makes no sense. Provocateurs who are interested in the referendum’s obstruction are obviously doing such things," he said.

"It is absolutely not in the interests of the Donetsk People’s Republic as with any turnout the result is predictable: most residents of Donetsk region, according to preliminary surveys, intend to support the independence of Donetsk People's Republic."

Ivanov also said that those who spread false information are allegedly a group from Dnepropetrovsk acting professionally and supported by a number of Ukrainian journalists directed by Mr. Kolomoysky [Israeli citizen, one of the organizers of the Odessa massacre, right sector/svoboda funder]. Still, he said that no one has been seized by the arm yet.

Today a number of Ukrainian TV channels showed polling stations in the Donetsk Region where the referendum allegedly started ahead of time.
Read more:

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 3:30 utc | 42

There's a string of tweets right now from Slavyansk, or rather from Paula Slier observing events in Slavyansk from a convenient distance, and they are reporting a 'hail' all right, but of 'light rockets' (slier) or 'medium sized grenades' (her boss:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 3:41 utc | 43

Correction: Marcel Sardo not her boss (unfortunately) - I was taken in by his bosslike tone!

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 3:43 utc | 44

@guest77 #36:

That Guardian report must be erroneous, because as somebody keeps reminding us, Germany is not a colony of the United States, so Germany would never have meekly submitted in response to such a contemptuous slap in the face by USG.

Posted by: Demian | May 11 2014 3:46 utc | 45

Don't know if this has posted before

Ukraine's new leaders, same oligarchs

The people of eastern Ukraine might have joined those of western Ukraine in a single opposition movement against the oligarchs and corruption. But over-enthusiastic Ukrainian nationalism has turned off Russian-speakers in the east, and supporters of the former president talk of “the fascist threat”. In just a few weeks, the manipulation of these fears and identity issues has brought the country to the verge of civil war.

As these civil war sides are paid for, supported by oligarchs and outside powers, and a mix of a few radicals and professional mercenary fighters, the pressure/military might of outside powers and an al Jazeera media strategy are enough to create facts on the ground, people in Ukraine know why they remain passive.

It is just not their fight.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 3:49 utc | 46

Useful Idiots of Pussy Riot - Meet the Useless Idiots of the US Congress.... Pussy Riot is doing PR posing with the crooked slobs in the US Congress - real punk rock street cred right there.

Is there anyone on this planet stupid enough to imagine that anyone actually interested in doing anything even remotely righteous would publicly meet with this litter of corrupt swine?

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 4:04 utc | 47

@guest77 #47:

Well, now we know that Pussy Riot isn't even meant to be propaganda directed at the American people, since as I recall, colonoscopies are more popular with the American people than is the US Congress. So I guess their purpose is to fool American oligarchs into thinking that the US is still winning the global propaganda war.

Posted by: Demian | May 11 2014 4:18 utc | 48

This tells us what the shelling actually is: 120 mm mortars:

Militia security checkpoint near Slavyansk being shelled from mortars
ITAR-TASS, May 11 2014, 00:32 UTC

SLAVYANSK – A security checkpoint near the city of Slavyansk is being shelled from 120-mm mortars, an ITAR-TASS correspondent reported from the scene on Sunday. Militia representatives say Kiev troops may start a storm after the shelling, which is accompanied by frequent sounds of explosions. There are no data on victims yet. The militia security checkpoint is situated in the vicinity of the village of Andreyevka near a TV tower. Problems with communications have already started. The checkpoint under fire is at a railroad crossing, where militiamen mounted a few freight cars blocking the road to the city.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 4:24 utc | 49

So, there it is - Russian media claims that according to witnesses there was a police mutiny in Mariupol against the local police chief that was put down by the National Guard, that the National Guard had come to attack the police and yes, that there are close to a hundred killed in the police building and in the interior ministry.

If this turns out to be true - and Russia will have witnesses if it is the case - Western journalists can pack up and go.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 4:39 utc | 50

Vice News Report on Mariupol


Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 4:55 utc | 51

Oh, and Human Rights Watch has to recant now

So it is obvious.

Cheers to Graham W Phillips talking to people and trusting what they say.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 5:04 utc | 52

That HRW thing doesn't even qualify as an apology. And it doesn't admit that the police station (a sub-station, not the city's main police station, IIUC), was occupied by mutinous policemen, not by the famous "pro-Russian" little green men from Mars.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 5:25 utc | 53

Link to Stuck in rogue airspace: Moldova seizes Transnistria petitions from Russian delegation jet

"Moldova has seized thousands of petitions from the citizens of Transnistria seeking “reunification with Russia” from a Russian delegation’s plane, as politicians had a hard time leaving the breakaway state with all neighboring airspaces closed for them.

“Moldovan secret services on-board our plane are confiscating boxes with Transdniestrians’ signatures for reunification with Russia,” Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin tweeted.

These documents, according to Rogozin, were transferred to him by activists during his visit to Tiraspol for Victory Day celebrations.

“Yesterday we received signatures that were handed to us by activists of the Union of Russian Communities,” the Deputy Prime Minister added.

The politician's assistant has also confirmed that “special forces” have seized the boxes with signatures and have driven them away. Another member of the Russian delegation that visited Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria, Russian MP Aleksey Zhuravlev said there were more than 30,000 signatures.

The Moldovan authorizes were able to seize the documents after the plane carrying Russian politicians was forced to land in Chisinau after both Ukraine and Romania restricted its airspace to the Russian Rusjet Yak 42.

On Saturday, Rogozin tweeted that Romania closed its airspace “at the request of the US.” Ukraine also banned the plane from flying over its territory."

Are all the western "leaders" over promoted teenage "New York waiters"?

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 5:27 utc | 54

Polls are now open.

Link to Lugansk and Donetsk regions vote for self-determination

"Polling stations have opened in Donetsk and Lugansk regions seeking independence from central government in Ukraine. Local self-defense forces boosted security measures, fearing that Kiev could stage provocations to disrupt the self-determination vote.

Some 1,471 polling stations in Lugansk region and around 1,500 in Donetsk region opened their doors for voters at 8:00 local time (5:00 GMT) and will close at 22:00 (19:00 GMT).

Almost simultaneously with the opening of polling stations, sounds of shooting and artillery fire were heard on the outskirts of Slavyansk, in southeast Ukraine’s Donetsk region, RIA Novosti reported, citing its correspondent in the area.

Slavyansk already witnessed mortar shelling of its outskirts by Ukrainian forces on the eve of the referendum. In the embattled city the stations will close at 15:00 GMT for security reasons.

Citizens of the two southeastern regions of Ukraine are being asked if they “support the Act of state self-rule” of Donetsk People's Republic or Lugansk People's Republic. The election commission officials explained that the people are not choosing between staying within Ukraine and joining Russia, as widely reported, but instead are asked to support regions’ right for political self-determination.

Over 3 million ballot papers were printed for Donetsk region. All in all, the organizers spent about 20,000 hryvnas (US$ 2,000) preparing for the vote in Ukraine’s industrial region, the heart of the country’s coal-mining. “The referendum will be considered valid whatever voter turnout will be,” Roman Lyagin, the head Donetsk election commission told reporters on Saturday."


Link to Heads of industrial enterprises to form people's patrols to ensure order in Mariupol

Industrialists will help put things right and restore the operation of metallurgical combines in the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine. The Metinvest Group announced on Saturday its decision to "create, jointly with municipal police, people's patrols from among smelters' workers". From Sunday, they will "start patrolling the city and protecting civilians," says a joint statement by the heads of Metinvest, Ilyich Iron & Steel Works and Azovstal Iron & Steel Works - Yury Ryzhenkov, Yury Zinchenko and Enver Tkitishvili.

"Blood was shed in the city. This happened on Victory Day on May 9, a day that is holy for us," they recalled. In their assessment, "the life of Mariupol is paralyzed, the city economy is being destroyed, and normal operation of metallurgical combines, which means not only work and salaries for city dwellers but the economic foundation of the Donetsk Region and entire Ukraine, has been disrupted."

The heads of the industrial enterprises called "to reject the practice of conducting large-scale battles in peaceful cities of Donbas with participation of the armed forces, the use of hardware and armaments", noting that "Ukrainian military must immediately leave the city".

"The authorities still can and must hear the voice of Donbas residents. The authorities should ensure peace and quiet in cities for people to be able to quietly live and work," the statement says.

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 5:37 utc | 55

Main Stream Media surrenders - it has become too obvious - Daily Telegraph - and no, they are decidedly anti-Putin

The West in general, and the EU in particular, chose to intervene directly in domestic Ukrainian politics, backing opponents of the thuggish but none the less freely-elected President Yanukovych. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that they were thereby inviting others to intervene. Ukraine was always going to matter more to Moscow than to Brussels, yet EU diplomats seemed genuinely nonplussed when, after they had sponsored undemocratic regime change in Kiev, Putin did the same in Crimea.


European and other Western diplomats might reasonably have pursued one of two strategies vis-à-vis Russia. They could have decided to overlook Putin’s authoritarianism and treat him, albeit guardedly, as a partner. They could have taken the view that, in the long term, the main strategic threats to the West were likely to come from further afield than Russia, and drawn Moscow into an entente cordiale. This would have meant accepting Putin’s offer of a Lisbon-to-Vladivostok free trade zone, and so sparing Ukraine from having to choose between the EU and Putin’s customs union.

Alternatively, Washington and Brussels might have taken the view that the Kremlin’s values were incompatible with theirs, that Russia’s readiness to resort to force put it beyond the comity of nations, and that the freedom of action of former Soviet states was too high a price to pay for Moscow’s goodwill. It could have encouraged these republics to join the West, and guaranteed their sovereignty by placing Nato bases on their eastern or northern marches.

Both these approaches would have had their drawbacks; but the milk-and-water diplomacy pursued instead has been nothing short of calamitous.

Let me take a bet - it will be the Lisbon to Vladivostock free trade zone.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 6:42 utc | 56

Putin's authoritarianism, huh. I get a sort of vision of this versus Cloven Bundy's libertarianism, backed by worldwide sweeps of Obama's black uniformed goons in triangular black stealth jets.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 6:52 utc | 57

Scalawag's cite from VoR (2nd item in his #55) proves somebody's claim in #27 that I challenged in my #30, that Metinvest is setting up a private militia. Thanks for that. Also good on Rogozin's jet having contained all those Transdnistria petitions, which I didn't see in the initial reporting.

Overwhelmingly more important is Scalawag's #37: 'Grads at Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol', but it still seems a bit anecdotal. It's all coming from one source,, and has been doing so for 5 days, and no one else has picked it up. That suggests it may just be a propaganda meme. You're doing so well, Scalawag, can you get something a bit more solid than just hearsay?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 7:04 utc | 58

This thread is getting a little on the technical side in the military hardware department. What is the difference between 120 mm mortars rounds and Katyshka rockets? Also, what are “Grad” missile systems"? They all seem like self propelled munitions but I have no idea what the differences are.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 11 2014 7:23 utc | 59

It is official now: Der Spiegel - quoting BILD - BND Source - Ukrainian army is supported by 400 Blackwater/Academi Mercenaries

Laut "Bild am Sonntag" werden die ukrainischen Sicherheitskräfte von 400 Academi-Elitesoldaten unterstützt. Sie sollen Einsätze gegen prorussische Rebellen rund um die ostukrainische Stadt Slowjansk geführt haben. Demnach setzte der Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) die Bundesregierung am 29. April darüber in Kenntnis. Wer die Söldner beauftragt habe, sei noch unklar.

Die Informationen sollen vom US-Geheimdienst stammen und seien während der sogenannten Nachrichtendienstlichen Lage, einer regelmäßigen Besprechung unter Leitung von Kanzleramtschef Peter Altmaier (CDU), vorgetragen worden. An dem Treffen hätten auch die Präsidenten der Nachrichtendienste und des Bundeskriminalamts, der Geheimdienstkoordinator des Kanzleramts und hochrangige Ministeriumsbeamte teilgenommen.

Translation: German Secret Service informed the German government on April 29, that operations around Sloviansk were led by 400 Academi/Blackwater mercenaries, high ranking German government and and administration officials took part in the meeting where this was revealed. It is not clear who has contracted the mercenaries.

BILD is the tabloid read by most people in Germany. Its editorial policy is considered to be politically decisive.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 7:30 utc | 60

How does the destructive power of 120 mm mortars (VoR's description of the incoming fire at Slavyansk) compare to that of Grads, which are 122 mm rockets? well, at least on this sort of dry technical data, Wikipedia ought to be reliable enough. Let's see. I think the shell from a Soviet-era 12 0mm mortar weights 16 kg (35 lb), whereas the payload of the Grad rocket is 20 kg (44 lb). But the rocket itself is 9 ft long, which gives one an idea of the scale involved. And a Grad battery can fire all 40 of its rockets in 20 seconds, ie 2 per second, which is a lot faster than a mortar barrage.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 7:36 utc | 61

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11, 2014 3:04:52 AM | 58

Overwhelmingly more important is Scalawag's #37: 'Grads at Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol', but it still seems a bit anecdotal. It's all coming from one source,, and has been doing so for 5 days, and no one else has picked it up. That suggests it may just be a propaganda meme. You're doing so well, Scalawag, can you get something a bit more solid than just hearsay?

You could try this source:

Link to Восток и Запад

Partial Yandex translation.

"East and West"

"Preparation for the referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk regions were conducted in the complex, often combat conditions. On Saturday evening it became known that the Ukrainian military has begun to pull together to Lugansk heavy equipment.

As activist of the national militia of Mariupol Vladimir K. informed live LifeNews that the self-defense forces contacted nazvanii and in the categorical form has demanded to leave the city within 72 hours. Otherwise, it threatened to use rocket systems "Grad", 40 installations which are placed around the city.


Link to «Народный мэр» Славянска сообщил об установке украинскими военными системы «Град»

Partial Yandex translation.

"People's Mayor" Sloviansk informed about installing Ukrainian military systems "Grad"

By Slavic Donetsk region contracted Ukrainian military artillery, installed "Grad", said the city's "People's Mayor" Vyacheslav Ponomarev.

"There is a new accumulation units Ukrainian Army National Guard fighters, special forces SBU mercenaries. There is evidence of the approach of heavy artillery, set "Grad" in the area of our city, "- said Ponomarev, reports "Interfax"

The site has also mentioned the deployment. The junta denies the Grad units are there. There is a story going around that self-defense forces have also claimed to have captured 2 units of this equipment, though I have doubts on that, since I have not seen photos or video confirming that claim.

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 7:45 utc | 62

Der Spiegel cites Bild am Sonntag, who claims to have information from the "Secret Service" - that there are 400 US Academi mercenaries fighting in the Eastern Ukraine. I know it is Bild, but as the Spiegel picks it up, there might be something to it. If I recollect correctly, this has been also mentioned by the Russian media a while ago.

Einsatz gegen Separatisten: Ukrainische Armee bekommt offenbar Unterstützung von US-Söldnern

Posted by: Fran | May 11 2014 7:53 utc | 63

@somebody #60:

BILD is the tabloid read by most people in Germany.

You seem to be saying that most Germans read Bild. I find that hard to believe.

As far as I can understand, Bild is the contemporary equivalent of der Völkischer Beobachter. So in effect, when you say that most Germans read Bild, you are saying that most Germans are still Nazis.

Do you really mean to say that?

Posted by: Demian | May 11 2014 7:55 utc | 64

Ooops, sorry to somebody@60 - didn't see, that you already posted the same story.

Posted by: Fran | May 11 2014 7:59 utc | 65

somebody 60

Disgusting, bet there are cia, nato soldiers there too.
CAnt be that bright americans since kiev-regime have completely failed with their action in the east.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11 2014 7:59 utc | 66

Red Cross vehicles used to transport Right Sektor terrorists?
22:01 GMT:
Several cars from the Red Cross organization were used to transport activists of the Right Sector radical movement, Donetsk city self-defense told RIA Novosti.

“They were driving the Right Sector activists in those cars all across the region,” a self-defense spokesman told journalists on Saturday.

Anti-government activists have been tracking the cars since April 14, gathering evidence that the vehicles were used for disguise by the radicals. The Right Sector group was using the cars at night, changing drivers, they said. Portable radio transmitters and spare Ukrainian number plates have been found inside the vehicles, when they were seized by the self-defense forces.

The detained people posing as Red Cross members had only printed out badges as IDs and could not answer basic question on medicine, the self-defense spokesman said. The ICRC volunteers had already been released on Saturday, unharmed, he added.

Posted by: brian | May 11 2014 8:03 utc | 67

'The West in general, and the EU in particular, chose to intervene directly in domestic Ukrainian politics, backing opponents of the thuggish but none the less freely-elected President Yanukovych. ';

who is thuggish?

Posted by: brian | May 11 2014 8:04 utc | 68

Thanks, Scalawag. I think this is a really important story. Here's the story about the captured Grad launchers, from the previous day. Check the source to see if I have taken undue liberties translating. And tell me, if this is true, why the hell haven't they put these things on show? That would be devastating PR:

Militia seized two Ukrainian Grad launchers, May 9 2014 (Yandex plus my tweaks - RB)

Militia detained a major by the name of Roman Koti, who was to deliver the launchers to the village of Markovka in the Lugansk region. According to him, he did not know what the next orders would be. The major presented his identity card, which listed his military unit as A-1302 in Dnepropetrovsk. He said:

The installation was sent to town to Markovka. I was supposed to be there by 5 am (Saturday May 10, presumably - RB). My briefing was conducted by Colonel Melnik.

According to militia reports, one of the launchers was to be targeted on the Slavyansk Valley, the second on Mount Karachun. Activists of self-defense claim they intercepted radio traffic between Ukrainian forces indicating that they had planned to use the Grads in the near future.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 8:06 utc | 69

Posted by: Demian | May 11, 2014 3:55:35 AM | 64

Yep, they do. Especially if it is "Bild am Sonntag" which is the only tabloid that appears on Sundays.

It got huge letters and you just need to read the titles to get worked up on some scandal or other.

German management types are famous for reading FAZ - and Bild.

This here is Bild München - one issue likely to be read by several people

This here is Bild Hamburg

And this is Bild Berlin Brandenburg

and so on - google yourself through German cities and type in "Bild Reichweite"

Small interesting tidbit on the Blackwater/Academi information - the source of it is supposed to be the CIA - so who contracted Blackwater/Academi?

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 8:11 utc | 70


I read this comment on another site:

Today a more informative article emerged on Der Spiegel.......seems ACADEMI-mercs formerly known as Blackwater are operating in specialpolice SOKOL-uniforms since some time know.......remember the SOKOL-Snipers from Maidan!

You know the article? Or is it the same that you linked?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11 2014 8:38 utc | 71

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11, 2014 4:06:02 AM | 69

"And tell me, if this is true, why the hell haven't they put these things on show?"

That's why I have my doubts they actually captured any. The anti-junta folk usually show off their feats.

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 8:39 utc | 72

Right. But before you pointed that story out, I had already suggested that this whole meme was a dubious one, because Lifenews were the only source for it, and their own source was unnamed, and most decisively because (I think) they said somewhere that they had been following it since May 5, but as of today, May 11, no one else is reporting it except them. I assume they had been reporting on it since May 5, though my own Russian-language site search ability is (shall we say) limited. I would put this forward as a principle for evaluating stories in general. I know I rather often dismiss other people's stories as 'disinfo' and this is a chance for me to illustrate that I do have some principles to go by.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 8:55 utc | 73

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2014 4:38:04 AM | 71

Der Spiegel article I linked to quotes a Russian source on the SOKOL uniforms but says it is unconfirmed.

This article here in RT quoting German business research institute director Sinn in the Wall Street Journal is interesting

As Hans Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute for Economy Research in Germany, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on May 2: “It must be borne in mind that the present crisis was triggered by the West… after killing millions of Russians in World War II and enjoying the good fortune of a peaceful reunification thanks also to Russia's support, it is the duty of Germany in particular to de-escalate the conflict with Russia.”

The article is written by two people from American University in Moscow which is a very interesting institution in itself.

After remembering the Second World Alliance of the US, the Soviet Union, Britain and France against Nazi Germany they come to this conclusion

We live in Alice’s Wonderland: Reason and common sense have fled and the bitterly won lessons of history have been thrown overboard. Who can save us from our own ignorance and stupidity?

So far the only things we hear from President Obama are demands for sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions against Russia. It sounds more like an invitation to dance on the brink of a very frightening precipice.

Wouldn’t it be the greatest historical irony if it turns out to be German Chancellor Angela Merkel who can do it? At least her first name sounds like an invitation to peace.

As Germans overwhelmingly are against sanctions despite a dislike for Putin this is the direction where Merkel will go.

"Alice's Wonderland" is a very good description of US foreign policy.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 9:01 utc | 74

Posted at this neocon propaganda site:

What is wrong with having a democratic referendum on autonomy, on a federal rather than 'Kiev controls all' governmental structure for Ukraine? Why are pro-federalists called 'pro-Russians'?

Why is it that the sponsors of the Kiev coup, we heard Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on the phone choosing the after-coup prime minister, aren't subject to sanctions? Why aren't we discussing sanctions for those providing massive economic and on-the-ground military support for the illegally installed junta?

What is wrong with opposing a government that openly employs armed fascists and neo-Nazis (Right Sector and Svoboda) in its National Guard? That employs tanks and heavy weapons against unarmed civilians (as anyone who can watch a youtube video can see)?

Why is the government that is explicitly and excruciatingly not involved in Ukraine unrest being subject to sanctions and asked to back its military 100s of miles away from its own border?

Posted by: fairleft | May 11 2014 9:08 utc | 75

Also posted here.

Posted by: fairleft | May 11 2014 9:29 utc | 76

Nazis on the move.

Link to Kiev’s armored vehicles attack village nr Ukraine’s Lugansk – self-defense forces

The village of Novoaydar in the Lugansk region is being attacked by Ukrainian troops, according to the local self-defense leader.

“Around 15 APCs have come near Novoaydar,” Aleksey Chmilenko said. “Our self-defense guards are trying to stop the attack and prevent the vehicles moving farther in the direction of Lugansk.”

Meanwhile, representatives of another Lugansk region self-defense group, based in Krasny Luch, told RT that they have seen APCs in the region, but have not heard any fighting yet.

Earlier in the day, shooting and artillery fire was heard on the outskirts of Slavyansk, in southeast Ukraine’s Donetsk region, RIA Novosti reported, citing its correspondent in the area.

On Sunday, Donetsk and Lugansk regions opened polling stations for a referendum seeking autonomy from the central government. Local self-defense forces boosted security, fearing that Kiev could stage provocations to disrupt the self-determination vote.

Voting in four towns across Lugansk region has been disrupted, as military vehicles block passage to polling stations, representatives of referendum coordination council told Interfax.

“In four districts – Belokurakinsky, Svatovsky, Troitsky and Melovsky – APCs of the Ukrainian National Guard do not let residents pass to the referendum polling stations,” the sources said.

In total, two helicopters, 10 APCs and 100 National Guard troops are currently engaged in attempts at disrupting the referendum in Lugansk region, according to deputy head of the Krasnoluchsky district referendum commission, Elena Khryapina. She says that turn-out is being high despite tense situation.


Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 9:34 utc | 77

voting in Donbass:
In Kostyantynivka Ugledar and the turnout was 44% and 52% respectively
At the moment, these are the highest figures

Posted by: brian | May 11 2014 9:40 utc | 78

Posted by: somebody | May 11, 2014 4:11:34 AM | 70

"Small interesting tidbit on the Blackwater/Academi information - the source of it is supposed to be the CIA - so who contracted Blackwater/Academi?"

Link to 400 US commandos help Kiev in its military offensive in east Ukraine - reports

"He informed that the initiative to attract mercenaries belongs to oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Sergei Taruta, appointed governors of Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk regions.

Not so long ago, during a meeting with Turchinov, a plan to stop the protest movements in the eastern regions was discussed. Kolomoysky noted: "why reinvent the wheel if there are real people who understand how and how much to pay," said the source."

There are 5 different articles on the page, the quote actually comes from "Ukrainian leadership to hire US mercenaries to suppress eastern regions - source".

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 9:45 utc | 79

* According to referendum rules, it is almost impossible to lose - there is no lower limit on participation, and anybody who comes to vote, is almost certain to vote For; those Against are denying the referendum legitimacy and would not come. Having said this, there are large queues everywhere voting happens. Observers say public opinion hardened to almost Crimean levels of uniformity.

* News that rebels captured two Grad launchers capture is fake - it was bouncing all over internet on 9th, but was finally denied by Streltsov. Nobody is denying that Ukrainian army has Grads deployed. They were never used, and now hopefully would not be.

* mortars are shorter range and precise; they are useful in small scale fights, and were used several times by both sides. Grad can only be used to bombard large areas, which in the context of this conflict can only mean cities. This is why everybody was so scared by Grad deployments. Apparently sanity prevailed

Lots of referendum photos (text in russian, pictures of people voting, people in queues)

Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | May 11 2014 9:45 utc | 80

This Die Welt article (same publishing house as Bild)

makes the Blackwater/Academi information a lot spicier.

Wie der BND in der nachrichtendienstlichen Lage des Kanzleramts weiter berichtete, operieren aufseiten der ukrainischen Armee und Polizei 400 Elitekämpfer der privaten US-Sicherheitsfirma Academi (vormals Blackwater). Auch diese Information basiert auf US-Geheimdienstquellen.

Das Weiße Haus wollte sich nicht konkret zu den Informationen äußern. Caitlin Hayden, Sprecherin des Nationalen Sicherheitsrats, sagte der Zeitung: "Ich kommentiere keine Details unserer Geheimdienst-Kooperation mit Deutschland."

Translation: The information (400 Academi formerly Blackwater elite fighters in Ukraine) is based on US Secret Service Sources.

The White House declined to comment. Caitlin Hayden, speaker of the National Security Council told this paper that she would not comment on details of the US security cooperation with Germany.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 9:51 utc | 81

Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | May 11, 2014 5:45:47 AM | 80

Yep, the "Kyiv government" has clearly lost this now media wise.

David Blair ‏@davidblairdt May 9

The #Donetsk "People's Republic" has accredited 425 foreign journalists. Not bad for a place that officially doesn't exist.

a) Donetsk People's Republic will be covered by all Western ( and other) media

b) with huge crowds therefore equal if not more "legitimacy" than Maidan.

c) the double voting argument is hard to get traction

John Angier @johnangier ·

Two stage process. First register, then join crush for hours to vote inside. Multiple voting fraudsters will need real stamina #Mariupol

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 10:02 utc | 82

Citizens of the two southeastern regions of Ukraine are being asked if they “support the Act of state self-rule” of Donetsk People's Republic or Lugansk People's Republic. The election commission officials explained that the people are not choosing between staying within Ukraine and joining Russia, as widely reported, but instead are asked to support regions’ right for political self-determination.

Over 3 million ballot papers were printed for Donetsk region. All in all, the organizers spent about 20,000 hryvnas (US$ 2,000) preparing for the vote in Ukraine’s industrial region, the heart of the country’s coal-mining. “The referendum will be considered valid whatever voter turnout will be,” Roman Lyagin, the head Donetsk election commission told reporters on Saturday.

In Donetsk, western observers are not present at the polling stations, commission officials said, as nobody expressed willingness to oversee the vote in the turbulent region. “We did not refuse anyone, there were no applications,” Lyagin said, adding though that over 470 international journalists are accredited in Donetsk.

Posted by: brian | May 11 2014 10:02 utc | 83

Link to Eastern Ukraine holds referendum on region's status. LIVE UPDATES

As at noon local time on Sunday the turnout in the referendum on the self-determination of Lugansk region reached 65%, head of the region's central elections commission Oleksandr Malykhin announced, Interfax reports."

Acting head of the Ukrainian presidential administration Serhiy Pashinski has announced that the military operation conducted by Ukrainian law enforcers and military in the area of Krasny Liman, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, has entered its final stage, Interfax reports."

At the moment there is no connection with two territorial commissions in Krasny Liman, where, according to preliminary information, Ukrainian security forces are fighting with self-defense forces, TASS reports.

RT also has a live update page:

Link to Kiev intensifies military op in Eastern Ukraine LIVE UPDATES

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 10:06 utc | 84

* News that rebels captured two Grad launchers capture is fake - it was bouncing all over internet on 9th, but was finally denied by Streltsov. Nobody is denying that Ukrainian army has Grads deployed. They were never used, and now hopefully would not be.
* mortars are shorter range and precise; they are useful in small scale fights, and were used several times by both sides. Grad can only be used to bombard large areas, which in the context of this conflict can only mean cities. This is why everybody was so scared by Grad deployments. Apparently sanity prevailed.
Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | May 11, 2014 5:45:47 AM | 80

- Would it be beneath your august dignity to offer some links?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 10:10 utc | 85

Link to Донецкие ополченцы отбили атаку на Красный Лиман

Yandex translation.

"Donetsk militias repelled the attack on Krasniy Liman"

Communication with the city of Krasnyi Lyman, Donetsk region restored, the referendum held there, said on Sunday the member of the election Commission declared the Donetsk national Republic Sergey Tretyakov.

"The survey in the city of danger, although there were attempts of the Ukrainian security agencies to prevent the referendum," he said, reports ITAR-TASS.

According to Tretyakov, the security forces after a shootout with representatives DND "were forced to retreat". He also said that in Krasnyy Liman there are victims.

The CEC reported Donetsk Republic, in the region turnout overcame the threshold of 30% of voters.

According to the latest data of the CEC Lugansk Republic, the turnout in the region amounted to 65%.

The voting on the referendum on self-determination have earned on Sunday at 8 : 00 local time (9.00 GMT).

In Donetsk region the question, submitted to a referendum, is: "do you Support the Act of independence of Donetsk national Republic?" It is printed in Ukrainian and Russian languages, as in question provides answers - "Yes" and "no".

Residents of Luhansk region will have to answer the question "do you Support the act on the state independence of the Lugansk national Republic?"

The Kyiv authorities are trying to hinder the conduct of the referendum. Faithful minions of euromayday troops operate in Donetsk (mainly under Slavonic), and Luhansk oblasts.

Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 10:15 utc | 86

The penultimate and final paragraphs in the 'deeper' link that b ends his post with are required reading.

If true, it's as I suspect. Obama isn't running the show; a criminal zio/neocon faction are, and they are destroying the country from within. Full stop.

Posted by: MRW | May 11 2014 10:23 utc | 87

brian 83

The election commission officials explained that the people are not choosing between staying within Ukraine and joining Russia, as widely reported, but instead are asked to support regions’ right for political self-determination.

Ohhh nooo how will west approach this!? We all know that these are spetnaz terrorists that want to take Ukraine to be part of Russia!1!!!!1!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11 2014 10:28 utc | 88

Now we talk - German BND beginning to spill the beans on Germany's gladio network

2000 former Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS officers planned for a 40 000 strong secret troop from 1949 onwards, chancellor Adenauer was in the know from 1951 onwards and ordered the official Secret Service to administer and observe ...

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2014 10:39 utc | 89

Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | May 11, 2014 5:45:47 AM | 80

Lots of referendum photos (text in russian, pictures of people voting, people in queues)

Thanks for posting his site.

Link to Активнее всего на референдуме голосуют Славянск и Мариуполь, — Царев

Yandex translation.

"Most actively in the referendum vote Slavyansk and Mariupol - Tsarev"

"Mariupol - Slavyansk, May 11 (Navigator, Victoria Litovchenko) - the most Active in the Donetsk region on the referendum on self-determination region vote residents Slavyansk and Mariupol.

About it on his page on Facebook posted the Verkhovna Rada Oleg Tsarev.

"The highest turnout - in Slavyansk and Mariupol. Inhabitants of the cities of Kyiv authorities tried to intimidate, but nothing happened. The opposite happened. In Mariupol bury the dead - and there the longest queues of those wishing to vote. Such people cannot be intimidated, to defeat the Donetsk, Luhansk cannot, on their knees will not put!" - the Deputy believes.

"The morning began voting on the referendum in Lugansk and Donetsk republics, all areas are open. At a polling station in the Building College of Lugansk voting is very active. All peacefully, calmly, people are going to vote on a holiday, come with their families. Come older people who simply difficult to move", - shared his observations Tsarev."


Posted by: scalawag | May 11 2014 10:49 utc | 90

Rowan Berkeley @85
This is a tweet of a correspondent of major russian newspaper who was in Slovensk for the last 3 weeks. On 9 may he tweeted

По поводу якобы отжатых Градов сегодня спросил лично у Стрелкова: никаких Градов, как он сказал к сожалению, они не отжимали
I personally asked Streltsov (commander of Slovensk defense) about allegedly captured Grads, he said that unfortunately they didn't capture any

Since he said he heard it himself, it is pretty much definitive for me. YMMV of course.

Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | May 11 2014 11:08 utc | 91

Live coverage from the voting,

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11 2014 11:16 utc | 92

Ok, thanks for that Andrei. I shall try to trace those links through and yandexify the contents. I have been trying to keep track of the Mad Emperor's War dance across the planet for over a decade, and every episode there are always people from the target zone, or people whose names merely suggest ethnic affiliation thereto, who drop in sounding like big shots, because somehow (bog only knows how) they have formed the idea that we western leftists are fan boys who will be awestruck by the real men from the scene. Because I have this sharp tongue (at least on my own blog), I usually manage to offend them and they disappear, so I never find out whether they had any lead in their pencils or not, so to speak. And since this is not my blog, I shouldn't do it here.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 11:21 utc | 93

Got your tweeter, Andrei: Alexander Kots of Komsomolskaya Pravda, here is a story concerning him:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 11 2014 11:26 utc | 94

Posted by: fairleft | May 11, 2014 5:08:48 AM | 75

Wow, that comment has more than doubled my previous 'best' at the Guardian: 109 recommends and counting. Never been a 'Guardian Pick' though, I have a clean record in that regard.

Get out into the mainstream and keep commenting, peacenik and anti-imperial comrades!

Posted by: fairleft | May 11 2014 11:47 utc | 95

Headline on RT now:

Kiev troops seize 4 polling stations in Krasnoarmeysk, Donetsk Region – activists
kiev is nothing but a dictatorship.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11 2014 13:18 utc | 96

According to BBC, it's Ukraine Rebels holding "elections" today.

(Hi! My comments have been disappearing for weeks now..???)

Posted by: Tea | May 11 2014 14:38 utc | 97

@97 - very nice.

Immediately under the headline 'Total collapse' Across eastern Ukraine we find this information:

An official at a Sloviansk polling station told the BBC voting was going well. Pro-Russia militiamen in fatigues and balaclavas are voting alongside grandmothers

But one pro-Ukrainian head teacher said she received death threats after refusing to let rebels use her school as a polling station

In Donetsk, the BBC's Piers Schofield says the process appears haphazard. Although there are voters' lists in polling stations, one can vote at any station

BBC reporters say only a handful of polling stations are serving Mariupol, a city of half a million.

"voting was going well", "one...teacher said she received death threats", "the process appears haphazard", "only a handful of polling stations are serving Mariupol" - hmm. I can't quite find the "total collapse" part...

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 14:55 utc | 98

Real horrors of war and genocide - what NATO would like to bring again to Ukraine:

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2014 15:03 utc | 99

So-Called National Guard captures Polling Stations

Posted by: Tea | May 11 2014 15:07 utc | 100

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