By Halya Coynash
The EU has invited Russia to join talks on the EU-Ukraine trade agreement This radical climbdown from previous refusals to engage in trilateral negotiations is reportedly called “significant” by EU officials who claim it reflects a “new climate” at the talks. What kind of ‘climate’ the EU has in mind remains a mystery. The invitation was announced one day after Russian tanks crossed into Ukraine at a border crossing by Kremlin-backed militants, and less than 24 hours before militants used advanced missiles to shoot down a military plane, killing 49 Ukrainian soldiers and the crew of the plane.
On June 14 EU President Herman Van Rompuy stated that there is “no doubt that the armed fighters that are terrorising and disrupting the lives of citizens in Ukraine are enjoying external support, including arms supply and reinforcement through foreign fighters. As a neighbouring state, Russia bears a primary responsibility in ensuring that any such traffic and external support through its borders is immediately stopped.”
Why such circumspect language when the many ‘foreign fighters’ have so far all been Russian nationals and the militants themselves openly acknowledge Russian ‘support’?
On May 2 when similar surface to air missiles were used to down helicopters, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted “Some elderly ladies bought some RPG’s or missiles at the local grocery store, I assume.” Kyryl Savin from the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Kyiv office points out that “these are advanced weapons that can’t simply be bought anywhere on the market, not even on the Russian black market. Every expert knows that. They should just stop with the lies and speak plainly: This is a war, and Russia is a party in this military conflict.
With respect to the military tanks, the US State Department stated clearly on June 13 that they “assess that separatists in eastern Ukraine have acquired heavy weapons and military equipment from Russia, including Russian tanks and multiple rocket launchers”.
On Saturday, NATO even provided images backing the conclusion that the tanks and armoured vehicles are Russian. “The tanks do not bear markings or camouflage paint like those used by the Ukrainian military. In fact, they do not have markings at all, which is reminiscent of tactics used by Russian elements that were involved in destabilizing Crimea.”
These images raise significant questions concerning Russia’s role in facilitating instability in eastern Ukraine and its involvement in the movement of military equipment from Russian territory into Ukraine. If these latest reports are confirmed, this would mark a grave escalation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine in violation of Russia’s Geneva commitments.”
The message is blunt albeit with a slightly perplexing opt-out clause. How are these ‘reports’ to be confirmed if the images and expert assessments are not enough?
It was a month after Russia’s invasion of the Crimea before Russian President Vladimir Putin finally admitted the use of Russian troops in the Crimea. He is continuing to deny them against all evidence in eastern Ukraine.
Shortly after Putin announced Russia’s effective annexation of the Crimea, western countries were weak on sanctions, but apparently strong on commitment. On March 21 both the EU and US added candidates for individual sanctions; cancelled the EU-Russia summit in June and promised that “any steps by Russia to destabilize Ukraine will have far-reaching consequences on relations in a broad range of economic areas.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the EU’s “”clear, strong and consistent message.”
All threats since then of serious consequences “if” Russia destabilized Ukraine have remained bafflingly in the future tense despite ample evidence that Russia is waging an undeclared war against its neighbour now. The message has certainly been clear and consistently understood as such by Moscow who is scarcely even trying to concern Russian involvement.
Back on March 21 the European Council indicated that the EU would sign the political elements of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and that it was committed to signing the remainder.
The EU has now reversed its position on three-way talks and is prepared to treat Russia as an interested party to the agreement. What this means in real terms can only be guessed. As Barroso put it, “I want to reiterate our willingness, as European Union, to pursue talks with Russia, to discuss the concrete implementation of these agreements, in case there are any concerns on the Russian side.”
“So our message, as European Union, is a message of dialogue and cooperation, not a message of confrontation. At the same time we have to be firm in the respect of the sovereign right of any country to decide its own future.”
Over the last three months, Russia has actively fuelled bloody confrontation in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. The EU has threatened far-reaching consequences, but come up with next to none. If it is now to treat Russia as a stakeholder in Ukraine’s affairs and confine itself to calls for dialogue, the consequences for European security and EU credibility will be devastating.
• The Destabilizing effect of empty sanction threats
• Russian tanks and Ukrainian orphans in Moscow’s unabated offensive
• Check your sources, Mr Lavrov
• Russian media claims ‘genocide’ in Semenivka [Donbas]
• Innocent civilian or terrorist: Russian TV caught using old footage
• No holds barred in Russia’s propaganda war
• Neo-Nazis in Moscow’s Service
• Pro-Russian separatists start their own anti-Semitic TV channel
• Pro-Russian, anti-Roma, anti-Semitic and hunting out Ukrainian speakers
• The Donetsk anti-Semitic leaflets – what should not be overlooked
• East Ukraine crisis and the ’fascist’ matrix
Source: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Reprinted with permissions.
Reblogged this on Euromaidan PR and commented:
EU’s Clear and Consistent Capitulation?
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Halya…are you sending your articles to NYTimes, Washington Post, Washington politicians, European papers as opinion. We need people on the internet pointing out Russian lies with facts. Why isn’t the UN there. Why isn’t someone organizations from the UN or European Union on the Eastern front to verify your articles. We need help from credible sources in USA as well as in Europe commenting against Putin lies. I’m on Euromaiden PR but I don’t notice much commentary….Can you get your stuff onto Huffington Post or AOL or other internet sites that reach the entire world. We need more commentators and we need more of your and other articles on Euromaiden PR to get onto more sites. CNN needs to be hit hard with opinions and information. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t very interested in getting involved in another war. I believe the left and right in this country are playing games both pro and anti-obama and neither party here gives a shit about Ukraine. Get some of the Ukrainian billinaires to contribute to their re-election campaign that will change the entire situation . Set up Ukainian organizations all over the world get the ukrianian billionaires to support them and organizations contribute to campaigns of both repub’s and democrat’s. It’s the only chance Ukraine has of getting help from other countries.
What I would like would be an unbiased investigation into the snipers. Your darn right I’m not interested in a WW, or spreading a NATO EU line of thinking without a proper investigation into the snipers. My grandfather was a Ukrainian Jew that left after WWI for Cuba, then for the US. He signed with the US Army and died in the Battle of the Buldge fighting Nazis. I will not support that type of amorality, not there or in Israel or anywhere, and no convincing can change that. I will accept any and all critics, but I will not accept slander or the trolls that I’ve already encountered. I want unequivocal and UNBIASED evidence that the new party in Kiev is not associated with Nazis, I will not support Nazis no matter what country them claim to be from or what flag they may wave. Further, this report seems to be one sided as it does not take an unbiased view at international intervention from many countries in this economic ideological multifaceted proxy war. The leaders should all be ashamed to be foisting the flags of war in the face of global warming. In closing, I am not Pro Russian ~ I am anti and condemn the actions of Senator McCain and his march for war as most recently evidenced by the pipeline in Bulgaria.
The evidence is all there, it’s been being printed and posted all along, it is necessary only to look at it and read it with an open heart, to seek it out instead of demanding it with an attitude that nothing will ever be enough to satisfy. We are here to convince you of nothing. And you will always find what you seek. With deep respect for your journey and where it leads you.
I have asked for unbiased investigations countless times now, from your name and the links you’ve offered, I can’t trust that you are actually unbiased either. the links you offer do not constitute a legitimate investigation by an objective source. sorry
further, this reply in no way addresses the issue of Nazis, no matter what flag they fly.
“On May 2 when similar surface to air missiles were used to down helicopters, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted “Some elderly ladies bought some RPG’s or missiles at the local grocery store, I assume.” Kyryl Savin from the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Kyiv office points out that “these are advanced weapons that can’t simply be bought anywhere on the market, not even on the Russian black market. Every expert knows that. They should just stop with the lies and speak plainly: This is a war, and Russia is a party in this military conflict.” A) Carl Bildt is a schmuck, and i Rarely use names-the fact that you quoted him does the piece no justice- nor does not supplying unbiased evidence regarding the snipers knowing full well it is still a very important issue.
and on a side note “@wikileaks: Debate: Is Human Rights Watch Too Close to U.S. Gov’t to Criticize Its Foreign Policy? http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/11/debate_is_human_rights_watch_too …” #hellyes
You must think that I think Fascists only come from one country, just like Nazi ideology, it can claim to be from anywhere and can be found everywhere.
What I think does not matter. Neither this article that we did not write, nor this volunteer project is able to respond to global nazi and far right movement information, there are specific experts for that. Please read Anton Shekhovtsov for this information, for example.
I am not alone btw. Dispatches: Where is the Truth Behind Ukraine’s Maidan Sniper Attacks?
April 3, 2014
Everybody would like to see the truth on that and some absolute transparency about it. Unfortunately the Party of Regions members who knew what was going on destroyed many of those files, burned them, when Yanukovych fled and fled themselves. Apparently, some FBI forensic specialists are now looking over the information and part of the investigation; their expertise is of course badly needed, but who knows, because they are American anything they say will of course be highly suspect as well.