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Ukraine - Whose Spin Are We Caught Up In Here?

Politics / Ukraine Civil War Aug 17, 2014 - 03:26 PM GMT

By: Raul_I_Meijer

Politics

Let’s assume for the moment that the two Guardian and Telegraph journalists who reported seeing 23 Russian army vehicles cross the border into Ukraine on Thursday were duped. Because if we don’t assume that, we must conclude they are accomplices, in a strange plot.

On Friday the Ukraine government, first through military spokesman Andriy Lysenko, and then through President Poroshenko, sent out a claim into the world that its army had destroyed a number of Russian vehicles on Ukraine territory.


It did, however, it’s an established pattern by now, not produce any evidence of that, no photos, no video, no satellite images and no parts from the allegedly destroyed tanks and armored personnel carriers, though “the majority of the machines” were said to have been destroyed.

Even the White House stated it had no evidence of the “attack”. And then went on to claim that Russia has vehicles and soldiers inside Ukraine all the time, something we’ve never seen any proof of either. Later, Germany’s Merkel told Putin to get his people and equipment out of Ukraine. Putin denied, as always, that there were any. This is what the UN said on July 31:

UN: ‘No Hard Evidence’ of Russia Supporting Ukraine Insurgency

The United Nations has not received any hard evidence that Russia supplied pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine with weapons, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Thursday. “We were unable to get hard evidence of the supply of weapons,” Pillay said. Washington and Kiev have both claimed they possess proof that Russia had been supporting the Ukrainian insurgency through the provision of military equipment.

If we assume that the two UK journalists didn’t make up the whole thing, but actually witnessed the vehicles cross the border, what did they really see? They reported recognizing Russian plates, and therefore assumed these were Russian vehicles. But they may as well have been someone else’s vehicles carrying Russian plates. We don’t know.

The part of Ukraine the vehicles supposedly entered is under rebel control. That begs the question: how did the Ukraine army get into rebel territory, unseen, destroy the vehicles, and get back into government controlled territory again, also unseen?

The Ukrainian army destroys Russian tanks in separatist-held territory. That’s quite a story. Only, it probably never happened. Which makes the Ukraine government a bunch of liars. But that’s nothing new.

What’s more troublesome is the role of NATO. Its new secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who’s looked trigger happy ever since he took the job, said that NATO had detected an “incursion” of vehicles from Russia on Thursday, and that “what we have seen last night is the continuation of what we have seen for some time.” Mr. Rasmussen doesn’t do evidence either.

So what happened and why did it happen? My best guess is that the Ukraine government saw the reports from the British journalists and decided to turn it into a story they thought would be good for their sake. Knowing western media would be eager to copy it and run it. And NATO. They never expected the US to state there was no evidence, because that didn’t matter much regarding earlier stories.

It could be a set-up, in which the journalists were guided to the place where the vehicles crossed the border, intended to make them write the story. Or they could be in on it.

Interfax has yet another twist, for which we have no proof either. The rebels suggest that Ukraine destroyed 100 of its own vehicles. That could have been an accident, like the downing of MH17 could have been, but don’t forget that we don’t know what or who ‘the Ukraine army’ really is. There are plenty reports of it being broke, poorly trained, poorly equipped, but on the other hand there are mercenaries, Blackwater and others, and there are Americans involved, CIA, who knows who else. Interfax:

The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has dismissed the Ukrainian government’s statement on destroying a convoy of what appeared to be Russian armored vehicles in eastern Ukraine. “We haven’t received any armored vehicles from Russia. No Russian units, including Russian armored vehicles, have crossed the border. Hence, no Russian armored vehicles could have been destroyed,” DPR First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin told Interfax on Friday evening. Purgin claimed that, on the contrary, the militias destroyed about 100 Ukrainian armored vehicles.”A lot of Ukrainian armored vehicles were destroyed today, 7 at one place, 12 at another. And the same all over the DPR territory. A total of about 100 of them.”

Another development in Ukraine is not quite as mysterious, but it still leaves a lot of questions. Only 3 weeks after voting it down, in the wake of which PM Yatsenyuk resigned, the Ukraine parliament (Rada) voted on Thursday for selling a 49% interest in the gas pipelines under its soil to western companies. On July 24, 221 members were for, this time, with Yats reinstated and proposing the bill, the tally rose to 228, a narrow victory.

US, EU Now Allowed To Buy Ukraine’s Gas Pipelines

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a law that will allow foreign companies from the US and EU to co-manage Ukraine’s national gas transportation system (GTS) which has a value of around $25-35 billion, one of the largest in the world. The motion, proposed by PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was only supported by 228 parliament members, just two more than the required 226 to adopt the bill. The first reading of the bill was approved on July 4. Ukraine will control 51% and foreign partners will be offered 49% in the venture, which seeks to “strengthen” Ukraine’s position as a transit state, according to the bill’s advocates.

Overshadowed by all the fighting, and hardly mentioned in the western media, this is a major development. And not everybody even inside Ukraine is happy about it.

Buy Firewood, Coal, Ukraine MP Warns After US, EU Get Access To Gas Pipes

The decision by the Ukrainian parliament to allow companies from the US and EU to co-manage the country’s gas pipelines could lead to the country being left with no gas supplies in the coming winter, an MP has warned in an emotional online address. Nikolay Rudkovsky, an independent MP in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, believes the law allowing 49% of Ukraine’s national gas transportation system to be managed by foreign companies is a big mistake.

What’s more, in the same session the Rada also voted for sanctions on Russia.

Ukraine Approves Law On Sanctions Against Russia

The Ukrainian parliament approved a law on Thursday to impose sanctions on Russian companies and individuals supporting and financing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The government has already prepared a list of 172 citizens of Russia and other countries, and of 65 Russian companies, including gas export giant Gazprom, on whom they could impose sanctions “for financing terrorism”. Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told parliament that Ukraine had taken a historic step. “By approving the law on sanctions, we showed that the country is able to protect itself,” he said. “The law should give a clear answer to any aggressor or terrorist who threatens our national security, our government and our citizens.” Ukraine said on Monday that European energy companies will have to agree major contract revisions when purchasing Russian natural gas if parliament approved sanctions on Gazprom.

Excuse me, Yats, but I don’t believe “the country is able to protect itself”. Not with an army reportedly still underpaid and undertrained. We all know that without questionable swastika brandishing storm troops alongside foreign mercenaries, all financed by US and EU support, there wouldn’t be much of an army. Whether that would be a good thing is another matter altogether, but don’t tell me you can protect yourself.

The dual measures of the sanctions against Russia and the sell-off of the gas pipeline system are the next steps in the western conquest of Ukraine. And they may not go as smoothly as Yats and Obama and Merkel seem to think and hope.

Slovakia reportedly prepares for “reverse flow” gas delivery to Ukraine, but that puts a serious risk on Slovakia’s own gas. And that is without even going into the actual process of reverse flow, or of the legal implications involved.

When the Ukraine government states that “European energy companies will have to agree major contract revisions when purchasing Russian natural gas“, that is at least as much of a threat to Europe as it is to Russia. And the bosses in Brussels may think that they are successful in their eastward conquest of everything right up to the Russian border, but Russians are not a stupid people.

Why would European nations want to renegotiate contracts with Russia’s Gazprom? And more importantly, why would Gazprom want to do that? Large swaths of Europe have no other possible gas source than Russia, and it would take years to change that. Of course people like Juncker and Barroso can dream of leaving millions of Europeans in the cold, and then blame Putin for that, but the PR war will stop somewhere.

In fact, while Slovakia says it’s preparing that reverse gas flow to Ukraine, its PM also had something else to say (he was whistled back on that by his president, who’s a ‘hard-liner’):

Slovak PM Warns “Meaningless” Russia Sanctions Will Hurt EU Economy

Slovakia’s prime minister criticized the European Union’s sanctions against Russia over Ukraine on Thursday, saying they would only threaten economic growth in the 28-member bloc. “Why should we jeopardize the EU economy that is beginning to grow?” Robert Fico told a news conference. “If there is a crisis situation, it should be solved by other means than meaningless sanctions. Who profits from the EU economy decreasing, Russia’s economy having troubles and Ukraine economically on its knees?” Fico also questioned Ukraine’s sanctions against Russia and said Slovakia must be prepared for a potential disruption of Russian natural gas supplies via Ukraine.

Other EU nations, Germany, Czech Republic, Greece, also signal they think things have gone too far. From the financial world comes Danish Danske Bank, which issued a report that views things from its own angle:

EU-Russia ‘Trade War’ To Finish Within 3 Months – Danish Biggest Lender

Reciprocal trade sanctions by Russia and the EU should not last longer than 3 months, as both economies will feel they can’t afford that, according to experts from Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank. “We believe an escalating trade war would be unbearable for both Russia and the EU, and that the EU will revoke the sanctions within one to three months, with Russia abolishing its own sanctions,” said the bank’s report called ‘The Ukrainian Crisis: the Nordic angle’. The report focuses on Nordic markets and said that should energy become involved in the dispute, the losses for both Russia and the EU would be sky-high.

3 months? Russia has 3 months. Does Europe? What if sanctions are lifted, but Russia still, in the negotiations needed after Ukraine’s sanctions, demands a premium because of damages it suffered from EU sanctions, which were based on unsubstantiated allegations against it? Or does anyone still think the evidence will suddenly pop up out of some dark corner?

But matters could get much worse for Europe. If the so-called “Ukraine army” keeps shelling and killing Russian speaking east Ukrainians, Putin may have no choice but to take a much harder stance on the diplomatic front, and perhaps the military as well. How long can he watch from a distance as what Russia considers fellow Russians are slaughtered? If California were to secede from America, what would the US do in such a situation?

In the meantime, that same “Ukraine army” has reportedly started heavy attacks on Lugansk, so the much maligned Russian aid convoy won’t be getting anywhere anytime soon.

One final point: while the Russian aid is being held up at the border, swamped by more allegations from the proven liars (yes, we do have proof of one thing here) in Kiev, how much aid for the people in east Ukraine has come from the US, EU and the Ukraine to date? It’s not as if they’re not suffering, we know that, it’s not as if they don’t desperately need supplies.

Why do US and EU send tons of supplies for the Yazidi in Iraq (who mostly weren’t even where the supplies were dropped), and none for Lugansk and Donetsk? Exactly whose PR spin machine are we caught up in here?

By Raul Ilargi Meijer
Website: http://theautomaticearth.com (provides unique analysis of economics, finance, politics and social dynamics in the context of Complexity Theory)

© 2014 Copyright Raul I Meijer - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.
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