Protests in Ukraine

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Shorty
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May 11 2014 18:54
Steven. wrote:
that article is pretty good. Unfortunately the website it is on is run by the author, Tash, and Martin Smith, the SWP rapist.

Oof! Well good to know for future reference.

Yeah, I should have read it before but from the context of those who were sharing it, it seemed okay.

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May 12 2014 17:28

US mercenaries in Ukraine, German intelligence says

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Some 400 mercenaries from the US firm Academi 9formerly known as Blackwater) are active in Ukraine against pro-Russian separatists, German intelligence sources told Bild am Sonntag, citing US intelligence. Asked if they will discuss this at the foreign affairs council on Monday, German foreign minister Steinmeier said "No, not yet."
baboon
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May 13 2014 12:08

Der Spiegal reports that the German intelligence service, BND, reported to Chancellor Merkel and the German government on April 29 that 400 Blackwater (now Academi/Greystoke) were active in easstern Ukraine including Slavyansk. They are involved in the Right Sector Militia, the Ukrainian National Guard and groups of football thugs. It is inconceivable that they are acting alone without the support of the CIA. There is no apparant mention of this at all in the British and American media, including Blackwater's officially stated denial that it is involved.

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May 15 2014 15:04

http://avtonomia.net/2014/05/14/regime-kyiv-junta-east-awu-kyiv-statement-conflict-eastern-regions/ Very good statement.

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May 16 2014 02:38

From the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/16/world/europe/ukraine-workers-take-to-streets-to-calm-Mariupol.html?ref=europe&_r=0

It doesn't hurt to see the pro-Russian nationalists get a little pushback, but this episode unfortunately demonstrates further how class identity continues to be confounded and obfuscated in the midst of a nationalist crisis:

Quote:
The workers who took to the streets on Thursday were among the hundreds of thousands in the east who are employed in metals and mining by Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, who only recently went beyond paying lip service to Ukrainian unity and on Wednesday issued a statement rejecting separatism.

Critics say Mr. Akhmetov could have prevented much of the bloodshed in the east if he had taken a strong stance sooner. But his lieutenants say he decided to confront the separatists out of a deep belief that independence, or even quasi-autonomy, would be disastrous for eastern Ukraine. Mr. Akhmetov urged his employees, whose jobs were at risk, to take over the city.

Quote:
Metinvest and DTEK, the metals and mining subsidiaries of Mr. Akhmetov’s company, System Capital Management, together employ 280,000 people in eastern Ukraine, forming an important and possibly decisive force in the region. They have a history of political activism stretching back to miner strikes that helped bring down the Soviet Union. In this conflict, they had not previously signaled their allegiance to one side or the other.
Quote:
The chief executive of Ilyich Steel Works, Yuri Zinchenko, is leading the steelworker patrols in the city. He said the company had remained on the sidelines as long as possible, while tacitly supporting unity with Ukraine by conveying to workers that a separatist victory would close export markets in Europe, devastating the factory and the town.

Though the workers had differing views of the new government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, on the whole they supported the patrols to restore order, employees and managers said. “Everybody can have their own opinion, but not at work,” Sergei Istratov, a shift boss at the factory, said. “At work, you have to do what the factory demands.”

What do people make of this? Is it the nucleus of genuine workers' self-organization, merely dressed up in the self-serving rhetoric of its instigators, or is it no more than the rallying of workers to one side of the nationalist struggle by appeal to economistic concerns?

teh
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May 16 2014 07:33

Ukranian newspaper Korrespondent implies this is a fabrication here and here (poor Google translate). The local authorities and capitalists signed an agreement with separatists to jointly clean up the barricades (as the city is completely under separatist control) and patrol the city. NYT isn't a credible source on much of anything.

RebelRising wrote:
Quote:

Critics say Mr. Akhmetov could have prevented much of the bloodshed in the east if he had taken a strong stance sooner. But his lieutenants say he decided to confront the separatists out of a deep belief that independence, or even quasi-autonomy, would be disastrous for eastern Ukraine. Mr. Akhmetov urged his employees, whose jobs were at risk, to take over the city.

Taking into account the broader coverage of the crisis the first sentence here is racist. Like people give a shit what this thief thinks. Fits the press's whole narrative of people there being simpletons who value "factory discipline" (The New Republic site). They "helped bring down the Soviet Union" to be ruled by their natural leader.

Quote:
Metinvest and DTEK, the metals and mining subsidiaries of Mr. Akhmetov’s company, System Capital Management, together employ 280,000 people in eastern Ukraine, forming an important and possibly decisive force in the region. They have a history of political activism stretching back to miner strikes that helped bring down the Soviet Union. In this conflict, they had not previously signaled their allegiance to one side or the other.

Or by helped bring down the Soviet Union is the NYT referring to "System Capital Management"? The neutrality of his employees seems contradicted by reports of his factories being occupied by separatist employees

What the cretins at the NYT don't emphasize is that Akhmetov is openly advocating the position of the Russian government. Federalization so that local elite run their turf and NATO capital can't colonize the country.

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May 16 2014 09:56

FT (paywalled): Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov seeks more power for Ukraine regions

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Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, has called for changes to the country’s constitution to give much more power to its regions.
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It was the multibillionaire’s most forceful intervention in a crisis that threatens to tear Ukraine apart.
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Mr Akhmetov, who sits atop an industrial empire of coal mines, steel works and power stations, rejected attempts by separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine, known as Donbass, to break away and either become independent entities or join Russia. “I strongly believe that Donbass can be happy only in [a] united Ukraine,” he said.
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His comments, made in a televised address, were his most detailed yet on the conflict gripping eastern Ukraine and suggest that the country’s elite could be inching towards a settlement that could de-escalate the crisis.
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They came just hours after Sergei Naryshkin, the Speaker of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, backed the idea of holding presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25 – an idea the rebels in the east reject.
[...]
Mr Akhmetov said Ukraine faced four options: the first would leave everything as it is, with Kiev in charge – a model he said had “run out of steam and is not right for the future”.
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The second was for Donetsk to become independent, which he also rejected. “Nobody in the world will recognise it,” he said, adding that the region, one of the most heavily industrialised in Ukraine, would be slapped with huge sanctions and “will not be able to sell or produce”.
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A similar fate would await the region if it was annexed by Russia, he said.
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Under the fourth scenario – which he described as “the only right way, in my view” – Ukraine would amend its constitution and decentralise its government. Regional governments would, according to this model, be elected and not appointed, and local authorities would be “responsible to the people for the present and future”.
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His call comes at a time when much of Ukraine’s political elite is coming around to the idea that decentralisation could help end the country’s political crisis. Ministers are already in the process of drawing up proposals to increase the power of the regions.

Agree with teh that the current Russian strategy looks to be an attempt to put the separatist genie back in the bottle and cut a deal for a federalist constitution (with federal regions having a veto on things like NATO membership, a primary aim) in return for allowing presidential elections to go ahead. Russia don't want NATO on their SW border, but they don't particularly want a messy civil war there, either.

Of course whether they can actually get the genie back in the bottle, is another question altogether.

baboon
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May 16 2014 12:06

"Very good statement" from the AWU says anarchistsolidarity above. It's certainly more careful to avoid explicitly supporting nationalism and imperialism under slogans about the working class but it's essence is still the same. Both sides in the conflict are denounced by the AWU, Kiev for the "incompetence" of its troops (blame the poor, bloody soldiers) and the Russian-supporting fighters of the south-east for their "depravity". Typical imperialist crap - demonise the enemy and it makes it easier to mobilise and fight it.

The AWU makes out that the Kiev "Right Sector" is some sort of ephemeral entity that is "in a state of undercover war against Kiev". There are certainly tensions between different elements of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, just as there are elsewhere. But it looks to me that the Right Sector is an integral part of the Kiev regime in general and its Interior MInistry in particular. According to Wedenesday's Guardian, the former boss of the Maiden fighting wing, Andrly Parubly, "is now at the heart of Kiev's attempts to counter the rebellion of the east." He is now the boss of Ukraines security forces. The Guardian continues, "Parubly is spearheading atempts to co-opt Maidan activists (into) fighting alongside police, the army and special forces in the east" (including, as we've seen from German intelligence, US forces).. This strategy is risky as the Guaardian suggests: "Some volunteer groups under the official jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry have been accused of leading the deadly violence in Mariupol and Krasnoarmeisk last week that helped to push local people into the arms of the rebels".

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May 16 2014 13:03

An analysis from communisation perspective:

Notes on the “Fascist” state of Ukraine and many more

Quote:
Ukraine does not need an anti-fascist critique but an anticapitalist one:The Ukrainian example shows how vile and barbaric forms can take the bourgeois democracy in order to protect the capital relation,it shows that democracy is no stranger to nationalism or fascism, it shows that democracy is nothing other but the physical capital community and that has no value in itself.
Quote:
The Ukrainian state is attacking and treats the eastern provinces in the most brutal way, while inside the west and center of Ukraine is prevailing bourgeois normality(more or less…). Why is that? Why also the Ukrainian state characterizes the eastern provinces as “terrorists” (sic)? The question must be answered as to bourgeois democracy as the natural political form of state of bourgeois society. Fascism and the loss of democracy come as a historically reply of Capital to a strong working class within one bourgeois csociety, which tends to break or spoil the plans of capital accumulation.In Ukraine we do not have something like that. On the other hand, the eastern Ukraine does not belong to the same bourgeois society(this was and the main contradiction of the Ukrainian state) with the rest of the country-the west- and for this the reason, why as to this “western” government, eastern Ukraine is something else, an externality that must be dealt with. This can be done within a democratic form (with frontline fascist security forces, where else can you find such good killers….) as well as Kiev and the separatists not consider themselves part or component of this one bourgeois society but of another (Russian) and they even raise the flag, they ask for a referendum etc. Thus we see Kiev treats those who resist in the east, as elsewhere are treated the marginalized (those who no longer participating in bourgeois social roles but live in their margin as externalities of circulation of value), the insurgents immigrants or the “foreigners invaders “, the treatment is completely hostile. The democratic state has the “obligation” (although this form of state now it is in crisis in the context of financial capitalism) to be consistent in its own bourgeois society, not the externalities of its. The term “counter-terrorism operations” used by Kiev is quite enlightening to see how the movement of antiMaidan is viewed by the West.
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May 16 2014 13:47

Michael Hudson: The New Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit

diger2
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May 16 2014 16:58

My guess is that, like many others (e.g. John Pilger, Seamus Milne etc..), the 'old left' is exaggerating the US's influence in the Ukraine.

Of course the US would love to be manipulating everything there, but they're are many other very powerful forces in the Ukraine. For more 'balanced' accounts see these articles:

GABRIEL LEVY: http://europe.redpepper.org.uk/why-youre-wrong-about-ukraine/ and:
http://peopleandnature.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/to-citizens-of-ukraine-and-the-world-no-war-in-ukraine/#comments

IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN: http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/archive-2014/377en.htm

HILLEL TICKTIN: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/1010/failed-transition-and-crisis

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May 16 2014 17:47
Quote:
[...] the 'old left' is exaggerating the US's influence in the Ukraine.

...says the guy who registered two hours ago.

Loren Goldner:

Quote:
The phony made-in-USA orange, etc. ‘revolutions' in Ukraine, Georgia and Serbia were part of the same strategy. The US embassy in Kiev, after all, has 700 employees, and they're not all anthropologists studying Ukrainian folklore.

Spikymike
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May 18 2014 17:30

The Michael Hudson text referred to above is certainly worth a read, and some guesswork aside, does a reasonable job of exposing the US/EU strategy in relation to the ex-Soviet client states but I can't help feeling it ends up politically advancing the cause of the Russian state as the lesser and weaker imperialism. Perhaps worth reading together with the short Hillel Tickten article which seems to make some valid observations without our having to agree with his particular classification of the old Soviet Union or other of his 'neo-trotskyist' ? analysis. Will get round to the Loren Goldner piece later.

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May 19 2014 04:16

The 3rd Way?? Perhaps as another blog-post from the website seems to suggest - NEITHER KIEV NOR MOSCOW but perhaps a trip to this protest might clarify their position:-

SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINIAN MINERS
FRIDAY 23 MAY, 4:30 pm
EVRAZ PLC,
6 ST. ANDREW STREET
LONDON
EC4A 3AE
(TUBE: CHANCERY LANE)

The miners of Kryviy Rih, members of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine, are appealing for solidarity to the workers of Europe. Whilst attention has been focused on the conflict in Ukraine the social-economic crisis is being overlooked.

· Workers real wages have fallen by up to 50% as the cost of living has risen,
· Miners have received only 15% of their actual pay rates,
· A promised pay rise for miners of 20% turned into a £25 hand-out,

The mining company EVRAZ they work for is based in London. It is owned by the Russian Oligarch Abramov, he is worth $7.5 billion. These oligarchs who helped cause the crisis in Ukraine, pay slave wages whilst making vast profits. They pay almost no tax, putting their wealth abroad in the City of London.

The Miners of Kryviy Rih are fighting back and are setting an example to all workers in Ukraine. The miners defence brigades have ensured peace and workers unity in Kryviy Rih and prevented any violence.

The miners are organising strike action to demand their wages are doubled and are calling for help to win their demands. Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity is a campaign set up by socialists and trade unionists in England.

Show your support for the mineworkers of Ukraine. Come to the emergency demo, bring union banners and flags.
Send messages of solidarity to the Kryviy Rih miners at: profikr@i.ua

VIA

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/05/18/miners-of-kryviy-rih-show-the-way-forward-in-ukraine/

ajjohnstone
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May 19 2014 06:50

On further investigation i note that the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity is another usual suspect front of the SP/SWP/WL and some of the rest of the Trot left.

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May 19 2014 07:35
ajjohnstone wrote:
On further investigation i note that the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity is another usual suspect front of the SP/SWP/WL and some of the rest of the Trot left.

Wasn't it the Ukrainian left who ran a scam a few years back pretending to sign up to every 'international' going as the local section?

Devrim

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May 19 2014 08:00
Devrim wrote:
ajjohnstone wrote:
On further investigation i note that the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity is another usual suspect front of the SP/SWP/WL and some of the rest of the Trot left.

Wasn't it the Ukrainian left who ran a scam a few years back pretending to sign up to every 'international' going as the local section?

Devrim

Yup

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May 19 2014 11:54

From the worst type of social democrats...

Quote:
Appeal of the Kryviy Rih Basin miners to the workers of Europe

[...]

As a result we have no option but to demand an immediate doubling of the real wage in the interests of preserving social peace in this country.

[...]

At the same time we are demanding that the authorities officially recognise the miners’ self defense and the arming of miners’ brigades. Organised workers and workers’ self defense are precisely that stabilising factor which can effectively prevent the escalation of violence in Ukraine. In those places where organised workers are controlling the situation mass actions never turn into mass killings. The workers defended the Maidan in kryviy Rih. The workers did not allow any violence when they took under their control the situation in the city of Krasnodon during the recent general strike there.

[...]


http://observerukraine.net/2014/05/12/appeal-of-the-kryviy-rih-basin-miners-to-the-workers-of-europe/

baboon
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May 19 2014 21:04

I don't think that identifying Russia as the weaker imperialism and describing a Ukrainian-based US assault against Russian interests means that one supports Russia at all. Both are facts. I think that earlier in the year a diplomatic and foreign policy initiative (imperialism) by the Russian state precipitated this particular crisis and provoked the western response. The postion of the AWU, for example, is to totally deny the US offensive while denying the specific role of Ukrainian imperialism (as weak as it is) within it.

Things have changed of course since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. But imperialism hasn't - or only in appearances as in the New Great Game. NATO was ending the 1980's with a strategy of "Forward Defence" - its aim was the complete encirclement of Russia, the placement of missiles and the deployment of troops in sensitive areas and the use of fighter jets and bomber sorties right up and occasionally across its borders. Essentially I think a similar strategy from NATO is at work in Ukraine and other local states today.

Anyone can say "Neither Kiev or Moscow"; the AWU, the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity. The SWP had on its masthead the slogan: "Neither Washington nor Moscow" which, more accurately should have been "Either Washington or Moscow" because they always, sometimes "critically", came down in support one or the imperialist blocs in moments of tension or war.

There was an official on TV last night, I think he was talking on behalf of the EU, saying that 3 questions needed to be answered about the tragedy in Odessa. From memory they were: how did the people get into the building? What were they doing there? Why didn't the police stop them? Notice the missing question? That's the sort of shit news we're getting on mainstream British TV. One day after the snipers shot and killed several people in Kiev, a whole team of British agents were at work on the streets measuring trajectories, determining distances and finding out where the shots were fired from.

anarchistsolidarity
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May 20 2014 01:11

New AWU statement- spot on as usual (althoutgh of course I am waiting for intevitable accusations of "supporting ukrainian nationalism" etc.) http://avtonomia.net/2014/05/14/regime-kyiv-junta-east-awu-kyiv-statement-conflict-eastern-regions/

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May 20 2014 15:17

As a parrot of AWU "anarchistsolidarity" should have noticed that he already posted this text here 5 days ago and there has been a reply: http://libcom.org/forums/news/protests-ukraine-02122013?page=7#comment-538280

ajjohnstone
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May 20 2014 11:48

Followed sub-prole's link and found all sort of confused ideas there. I once mentioned on the thread the German experience of the National Bolsheviks ...i didn't expect to read about the National Communists sad

http://observerukraine.net/2014/05/19/behind-the-lines-ukrainian-leftists-in-the-donbas/

Quote:
We are national communists because we are at one and the same time left nationalists and anti-authoritarian communists.
We are nationalists because the main value for us is the nation, because we are fighting for the national liberation of the peoples of the world from imperialism and globalisation.
We are communists because our social and political ideal is communism – the classless and stateless society of free people.
At the same time we oppose chauvinist and bourgeois pseudo-nationalist theories, and we don’t lean towards the Soviet practice of building a state capitalist empire under the flag of communist ideas.
We are convinced that only in a free communist society can we gain independence for the Ukrainian nation and for other nations. We believe that only in a sovereign Ukrainian republic will we be able to consolidate the gains of the Social Revolution.

I also see why some left nationalists in Scotland would be sympathetic to that contradictory rhetoric.

And the naivity in this interview was astounding

Quote:
How should socialists and communists in the West respond to Ukraine, how can we support Ukrainian workers?
There are many ways. Assistance in training for street fighting, and with funds…. And the readiness of the left in Europe to rise up for socialism in their own countries.
ajjohnstone
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May 20 2014 11:59

And not only that , but one of the actual instigators of the spam was brought to the UK to address a meeting in Parliament.

Quote:
Monday 10th March 6pm, Committee Room 6 House of Commons A discussion on the unfolding crises in Ukraine, with expert eye-witness reports from Mr Zakhar Popovych of the left opposition and Volodymr Ischenko of the Commons Journal of Social Criticism

Zakhar Popovych was one of the key figures of the notorious scandal around the Ukrainian branch of the CWI "Workers Resistance" in 2003.

John McDonnell, the Labour MP who sponsored the Ukraine meeting in the House of Commons, was alerted about this Popovitch character but i'm not sure what happened in the end

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May 20 2014 12:10
Quote:
Followed sub-prole's link and found all sort of confused ideas there. [...] ...i didn't expect to read about the National Communists

Just to clarify one thing: this is a pro-Maidan website and these "national communists" also fully support the nationalist Maidan movement as they openly said themselves in this interview.

baboon
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May 20 2014 17:26

Anarchistsolidarity can keep posting the same "spot-on" text from the AWU but it won't get any better. In the link provided by subprole in post 247, we've already shown, contrary to the AWU, that the Right Sector is no ephemeral force, a factor among many. The head of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Parubiy (former commander of the Maidan protest fighting wing), was the founder of the neo-fascist Social National Party of Ukraine with the leader of the far-right Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok in the early 1990's. This is not an ephemeral individual but the boss of Ukraine's security forces and he could only be such with the approval of the US. It's chaotic and there are all sorts of warlords involved (I believe that the political set up in Kiev is somewhat akin to a second-rate African republic), but Parubiy and his interior ministry is recruitiing and sending fighting forces from Kiev to the east: "Parubiy is spearheading attempts to co-opt Maidan volunteers to ... fight in the east" (Guardian, May 14). In one incident a week ago, a volunteer battalion arrived and opened fire on an unarmed crowd in Krasnoarmeisk killing two civilians (Guardian, May 16). The article further describes a senior military official from Kiev as describing civilians as "pigs" and dismisses their casualties. This sort of language is similar to that used by the AWU with its description of "depravity" in the east.

In the meantime the UN has complained to the Kiev regime about its use of UN marked helicopter gunships in sorties in the east. At least 3 Mi-24 strike helicopters have been used as well as one Mi-8. The Russian journalists who took the pictures and broke the story have been arrested by the Kiev authorities for "aiding terrorist groups". Over a week ago the New York Times was reporting that the Ukrainian army had used heavy machine guns, 120mm mortars and tanks against towns in the east.

.The Guardian above (16th) also reports a senior element in the Kiev state as moaning about the uselessness of regular Ukrainian troops saying that they only joined the army "to get a flat". This sort of criticism, of troops not wanting to fight, is clearly echoed by the AWU in its description of the Ukrainian army as "incompetent" (see above). A "spot-on " observation that shows the AWU support for an efficient Ukrainian military machine.

Press TV - the Iranian BBC - reports today that attacks have intensified on Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, with fighter jets buzzing the towns all night.

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Steven.
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May 20 2014 17:36
baboon wrote:
This sort of criticism, of troops not wanting to fight, is clearly echoed by the AWU in its description of the Ukrainian army as "incompetent" (see above). A "spot-on " observation that shows the AWU support for an efficient Ukrainian military machine.

By what logic do you deduce that?

If you say something is "incompetent" it means you support the institution, but want it to be better? Because I have previously described the Labour Party as incompetent, so by your logic does that mean I want the Labour Party to be an "efficient machine"?

baboon
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May 20 2014 20:52

The context in the text was "Army incompetence on one side and the combatant's depravity on the other add to the losses". The "combatants" of course end up being a majority of civilians, some of who have already been killed, along with some Ukrainian forces, and now many in the south east are living in fear from the "anti-terrorist operation". . I don't think it tenuous to link this idea of the "combatants" to the AWU's somewhat abrupt dismissal of the Odessa murders in which ordinary people were killed.

But that's a minor point I think.

baboon
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May 20 2014 21:08

Just a thought or two on the question of the "competence" of the Ukrainian army. It clearly doesn't want to fight for the "cause" in any great way. This factor, without overestimating it, can only be a "good thing" in that this unwillingness to be mobilised in numbers has so far kept the death toll down and the slaughter from spreading. It was evident in the early days of the Crimean annexation that ordinary Ukrainian soldiers did not want to fight.I would think that there was a number of desertions. There's a move in Kiev to bring conscription back but in the meantime the US is backing the Kiev security ministry for its actions in the east.

teh
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May 21 2014 03:25

Terrorists of DPR decide to take away Akhmetov’s factories
_

Google translate of Russian tabloid with statement:

Quote:
We further can not and do not intend to restrain the aspirations of the people of Donetsk - said Pushilin. - We are starting the process of nationalization of enterprises in the territory of the republic. All these years the local oligarchs robbed the laboring population of Donbass
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May 21 2014 14:42

Leftists orgasming in 3... 2... 1...