Victor Medvedchuk to RT : Ukraine is a colony of the West and ruled by foreign governments/ US Options in the Ukraine: Trigger a Religious War? “Blow Up Ukraine”?/ Signing a Deal with Moscow? Obama Wants to Wrap up The “Ukraine Project” by November/ Ex-UFC fighter Monson visits Ukraine conflict zone, blasts US for calling locals ‘terrorists’
Victor Medvedchuk: Kiev has done all it could to leave Crimea to Russia
Translated by Scott Humor
Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the”Ukrainian Choice” political organization, Kiev’s special envoy for humanitarian issues. He has been instrumental in prisoner exchanges between Russia and the Kiev regime. Russian president Vladimir Putin is a godfather to Medvedchuk’s daughter Darina (born in 2004). He is also the best candidate to become a president of the liberated Ukraine.
28 June 2016
The leader of the popular political movement “Ukrainian Choice“, the representative of Kiev for the prisoners exchange of the humanitarian sub-group on Donbass Viktor Medvedchuk candidly talks in his interview to RT about the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Ukraine’s actions against Crimea, as well as the possibility of accession to the EU.
Ukraine and Minsk Agreement
Commenting on the allegations that Russia was allegedly to blame for the fact that the Minsk agreements are not being implemented, Medvedchuk said:
“I strongly disagree with this notion. I have always said so publicly. We can’t blame just one side out of all those who signed the Minsk agreement for its violations. We have to admit honestly and frankly that until today, the Minsk agreement has not materialized. Objectively speaking, we have made some progress only in terms of human rights, namely, in exchange and release of detained persons in Donetsk and Lugansk, and Kiev.
Everything else got stuck on the level of discussion: discussions in the political sub-groups, the discussions in the subgroup on safety in relation to the establishment of the ceasefire, a discussion in the economic sub-group in relations to the economic blockade, and so on, and so forth… I think that blaming one side is more typical for the Ukrainian authorities. They always say that Russia has to be the first one to implement the Minsk Agreements. I would have assumed that the most important, the foundation of the Minsk agreements, is the political transformation (in Ukraine).”
“The party of war tries to talk to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics with the language of ultimatums, only. They want to return them under the jurisdiction of Ukraine. However, the question remains about the desire of people in those independent republics to come back under the jurisdiction of Ukraine, and the Kiev’s rule. Ukraine doesn’t fully comprehend that peace can be achieved only through negotiations. Another method, which is by force, has been discarded as ineffective by everyone with the exemption of radicals, including the Ukrainian radicals. Since the use of force against the Republics is unreal, we have to negotiate. Kiev authorities have to initiate negotiations.”
According to the leader of the movement “the Ukrainian choice,” Kiev lacks the political mechanisms to implement the clauses of the Minsk agreements.
“President Poroshenko has the political will to implement the Minsk Agreements, but he has no political resource. Any political transformations can only be accomplished by the powers of the Parliament of Ukraine. However, Ukraine’ Parliament today is composed of radical nationalists. They do not recognize the necessity to implement the Minsk agreement in terms of the Amnesty law, the law on the federal status (of the republics) and the law on elections, and even more so they disagree on the matter of amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, the situation is extremely negative when it comes to attempts be mobilize and direct political resources towards implementation of the Minsk agreements”, — said the politician.
In his interview, Medvedchuk gives an assessment to Kiev actions towards Crimea. In his opinion, the intentions and concrete actions of the Ukrainian authorities differ.
“Beside making many populist statements about the return of Crimea, its territory or its people, the Kiev government has done nothing in two years to achieve that. Maybe to say that they did nothing wouldn’t be quite correct, because they actually did everything for that not to happen. If they had any intention to return Crimea, it probably wasn’t necessary to block water, it wasn’t necessary to cutoff electricity, and to block the road freight transportation, it wasn’t necessary to block the rail transportation, freight and passenger services. The fact is that today Ukraine has imposed a blockade of Crimean territories and, therefore, imposed blockade on people there. That’s why every time the Kiev authorities make a declaration that they will “return Crimea,” it not only casts doubts, but sounds simply absurd. Their statements is one thing, and their actions is another. That makes the Kiev regime’s statements in regard to Crimea a pure political PR,” — said Viktor Medvedchuk.
We are not expected to become an EU member for the next 20 years
Speaking on the issue of Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, Medvedchuk gave as an example the statements made by the European politicians concerning Ukraine’s membership in the EU as being expected not earlier than in 20 years.
“I will refer to the authoritative opinion on this issue: over the past several years the EU leaders repeatedly expressed the view that the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the EU is unlikely to be considered sooner than in 20-25 years. Or rather, they say it will not. Well, after recent events, referendums in the Netherlands and Britain, I think that even the biggest optimists diminished their hopes in terms of eventual membership of Ukraine in the European Union. What’s really bad is that the free trade agreement with the European Union, which Ukraine has signed, is now brings detrimental effect on the economy.
We have taken upon ourselves multiple commitments to the EU, but we have not been granted any rights. We are promised implementation of the European laws and other benefits, when Ukraine will become an EU member, but we are not in danger of this happening. And I am one of those who believes that it is fortunate. We cannot today follow the path of accession to the EU because it is destroying our economy, it makes it impossible to raise income levels of the population, this may not be a remedy to stop the growth of unemployment, prices, and utility tariffs. We can’t solve our economic problems, while being restricted by the demands of the Association agreement with the EU, and we won’t be able to do so if tomorrow we will be restricted by the demands of the EU membership.”
“In recent years Ukraine has come under external management, and Kiev does everything what’s required by Washington and by the European capitals,” said Medvedchuk.
“In 2014-2015, Ukraine, unfortunately, has come under external administration, which it never experienced in all the years of its “independence” since 1991. This level of external control, which Ukraine is subjected right now, is really unprecedented. We live today by the commands from Washington, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. We coordinate everything with them. We act in order to earn their favors. This, of course, cannot characterize the state of Ukraine as being sovereign and independent. Back in 2005, during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, that Ukraine has ceased to be the subject of foreign relations, and became the object of such. She continues to remain in this capability today,” said the politician.
Medvedchuk in an interview with RT replied to the Ukrainian media’s accusations that he has a “Pro-Russian” stance.
“When I say that I am a pro-Russian politician, I apply to this completely different meaning (than Ukrainian and the Western media). I am a politician who represents interests of those people who want to see Russia and the Russian people as friends and brothers. People who see Russia as a country, which is not just a neighbor, but a Slavic state, which has always been and always will be with the Ukrainian people. If this means to be a pro-Russian or a pro-Russian politician, I am for this assessment, and I can only embrace such attitude. It’s true.”
Listening to the imperial media one might be excused for thinking that nothing dramatic is happening in the Ukraine and that the crisis has basically leveled off in some way. Well, why not? They just had recent elections and, apparently, that went well, Russia is still showing her usual bad will and threatening behavior towards Europe, but at least Putin was forced to release the Ukrainian Jeanne d’Arc (aka Nadezhda Savchenko), and there is hope that the united front of the EU and NATO will eventually force Putin to stop his aggression against the Ukraine and to comply with the Minsk Agreements. Oh, and the Ukrainian National Bank has announced, I kid you not, a return to growth (by 0.1%) for the first quarter of the year.
Alas, the disconnect between this kind of nonsense and reality is total. Yes, elections did take place, but they were anything but free, the neo-Nazis are now more influential than ever and the fact that Putin did agree to exchange Savchenko for 2 Russian citizens accused of being, I kid you not, GRU Spetsnaz operators, was just a slick way for him to stop Savchenko from being his problem while making her Poroshenko’s (and even Timoshenko’s).
As for the Minsk Agreements, Russia is not party to them at all, she just is a guarantor along with Germany and France. But yes, Poroshenko is still in power, people are still finding goods in stores and no new “Maidan” has taken place. So, externally, things are not too bad.
The problem with that rosy image is that nobody at Langley really believes it.
The folks at Langley know that the Ukrainian economy is basically dead and coasting to its inevitable breakdown on inertia. They know that the government services are barely kept alive by western aid and that even that is not enough to maintain the authority of the central government which is gradually becoming irrelevant and replaced by local ‘authorities’ (oligarchs and mobsters).
Even more importantly, they now have lost any hope of drawing Russia into this conflict and they are seeing clear signs that the “European front” is cracking: France, Italy and others are already showing signs of discontent with the current situation, as has Germany (all these countries have their own “Langleys” who are making exactly the same dire predictions). So the big question for the USA is what to do next?
The initial plan was to make the Ukraine a sort of “black hole” which would suck in all the economic, political, and military resources of Russia, ideally by having Russia occupying the Donbass. But now that the Russians have declined to get sucked in, it is Europe which is now threatened with the Ukrainian black hole.
The Americans probably realize by now that it is too late to put Humpty Dumpty together again and they are right. While, in theory, a join effort of the USA, EU and Russia could, at a huge cost, try to rebuild the Ukraine, political realities make such a joint action impossible, at least for the foreseeable future. They also realize that, courtesy of Mrs Nuland’s candid words, the blame for the disastrous outcome in the Ukraine will be put on the USA (which is not quite fair, the Europeans are also guilty as hell, but such is life). And if “losing Syria” was bad enough, then “losing the Ukraine” will do irreparable damage to the USA simply by debunking the myth of the USA’s omnipotence. This is very serious, especially for an Empire which has basically given up on negotiations or diplomacy and which now only delivers ultimatums.
So what are the US options here?
It is hard to predict at this time what the US might try to do. The normal US practice in such a situation is to simply declare victory and leave. That would work in Africa or Asia, but smack in the middle of the European continent that is hardly an option as it would result in a PR disaster.
The second option could be to basically blame the Ukrainians themselves for everything and try to protect Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova from the inevitable consequences of the spreading chaos. The risk here, at least from the US point of view, is that Russia and her Novorussian allies would be more or less free to move in the created vacuum and that is something the USA absolutely cannot accept. The Americans would have visions of Zakharchenko in Kiev or pro-Russian riots in Odessa and that is simply beyond unacceptable.
Which leaves option three: to deliberately blow up Ukraine.
Rostislav Ishchenko, in my opinion the best specialist of the Ukraine on the planet, has recently began warning that such a mechanism is already in place: to turn the civil war into a religious war pitting not Latins (“Roman Catholics”) against the Orthodox, but various Orthodox group against each other. Let me explain.
Like everything else in the Ukraine, the history of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the Ukraine is very complex and goes far back for centuries. I cannot go into a detailed discussion of this very interesting topic here, but I want to offer some key pointers.
There are three main groups which all call themselves the “true” or “canonical” Ukrainian Orthodox Church: the biggest one is the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, followed by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and, finally, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Of course, all three of these churches claim to be the true representative of the legitimate Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
[Full disclosure: I personally don’t consider any of them to be legitimate or truly Orthodox so I don’t have a personal stake in this one].
The AUOC-MP is the biggest of the three. It is self-governing, but not fully independent. It is probably the biggest of the three churches and it is in full communion with all of the other “official” (read: “state approved”) Orthodox Churches out there. The AUOC-MP is viewed as the “hand of the Kremlin” by the nationalists.
The UOC-KP was founded by a former Bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, Filaret Denisenko who created a “schism” (a unilateral separation in contradiction to the Canons of the Church) from the Moscow Patriarchate (which is ironic since Filaret was a former “deputy” (locum tenens) to Patriarch Pimen I of the Moscow Patriarchate and even considered a front-runner to succeed him). Even by Soviet standards Filaret was always known to be an exceptionally immoral, corrupt and unprincipled man, but the Moscow Patriarchate only excommunicated him when he broke-off from the MP to create his own “church”.
The UAOC is basically a 1921 creation of the Ukrainian National Republic of 1917 (just as the Moscow Patriarchate is a 1937 creation of the Bolshevik state of 1917) and it represents the “non-Soviet” version of Ukrainian Christianity, with several of its clergymen have been persecuted by the Soviet state.
What makes this situation truly unique are two factors:
- Historically, the territory which is today known as the Ukraine has mostly been part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople between the 10th and 17th century (this is a gross simplification, but basically correct).
- The modern Patriarchate of Constantinople is in a desperate quest for relevance (by itself it is tiny and subject to the Turkish authorities) and has extremely bad relations with Moscow
There is, therefore, at very real risk that the authorities in Kiev will decide to declare the AUOC-MP as an “aggressor country Church” and that they will order all the parishes, monasteries and other building currently owned by the clergy of the AUOC-MP to be forcibly transferred to either the UOC-KP and/or the UAOC.
There is also a possibility that the Patriarch of Constantinople might decide to “heed the cries of the faithful” and recognize either the UOC-KP and/or the UAOC as an autonomous part of the Constantinople Patriarchate thus basically taking the entire Ukraine under his control. And even if the authorities in Kiev don’t formally declare the AUOC-MP as a fair game for pogroms and illegal expropriations, they can just look away and let the neo-Nazi death-squads (like the infamous “Aidar”) do the dirty job for them.
How big is this risk?
I would assess it as high. To create civil disturbances is the ideal way for the regime in Kiev to blame the “hand of Moscow” for all the problems.
The spineless Europeans would have to follow the (US) party line and blame Putin for “stirring up the Russian-speakers” in the Ukraine and “using the pro-Moscow Russian minority initiate a new phase in the hybrid war against the sovereign Ukraine”. Such a confrontation would also allow the oligarch controlled political factions to unite with the real neo-Nazis who are currently in a “moderate opposition” mode. For the oligarchs, this would be the perfect opportunity to murder their neo-Nazi opposition (Savchenko for example) and blame it on “Moscow’s agents”. Last but not least, the eruption of intra-Orthodox clashes would be the perfect pretext to further unleash the SBU (Ukie KGB) against any opposition party.
Just as in the war against the Donbass, Putin would be put under tremendous pressure inside Russia to “do something about this” and some will not shy away form demanding that Russian tanks be sent to Kiev. Of course, Putin would never agree to such a folly, but that refusal would most definitely hurt him in the Russian public opinion, yet another good result from such an intra-Orthodox conflict in the Ukraine.
For the time being, the Empire is limiting its anti-Russian informational war to petty actions like the banning of Russian athletes from the Olympics in Brazil, focusing solely on Russian hooligans in France and giving the Eurovision to a political singer against all Eurovision rules. These are annoying for sure, but they are very limited in their effects: yes, it makes Russia look like the “uncivilized bad guy” in the eyes of the TV-watching idiots in the West, but a lot of people are not buying into this and see straight through it all, and it just serves to consolidate the support of the Russian people for Vladimir Putin. At the end of the day, turning Western public opinion against Putin is useless. What the Empire would really want is to turn the Russian public opinion against Putin – that is The Prize, at least for the folks in Langley.
So what better way would there be to set Ukraine (further) ablaze while giving the Russian people the impression that “Putin has betrayed the Orthodox people”, than to trigger a religious war ?
We all know the famous words of a US officer in Viet-Nam “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it”. There is now a real risk that the US might decide to destroy the Ukraine in order to “save it”, especially if the Neocons re-take full control of the Executive under Hillary.
There have been recent reports that the US administration is quite determined to “wash its hands” of the problem of Ukraine before the presidential election in November. Clearly President Obama is reluctant to pass on to his successor the conflicts that began on his watch and which Washington provoked at least in part. He also wants to make things easier for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and her campaign. Thus, for all practical purposes, the US is no longer encouraging Kiev to sabotage the Minsk agreements, instead racheting up its demands that the agreements be honored, since there is no other way to bring the Ukrainian issue to a close.
It was interesting that during Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s three-day US visit, which ended June 17, Barack Obama could not find the time to meet with him. But during that period he did hold a heavyweight meeting in the Oval Office with the Saudi Arabian defense minister, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That’s quite natural: such are Washington’s foreign-policy priorities. Ukraine lags far behind Saudi Arabia on the scale of precedence.
Groysman’s biggest meeting was with Vice President Joe Biden, the administration’s point man on Ukraine. If one believes the official reports from Kiev, that meeting, like every other engagement the Ukrainian PM has had in America, boiled down to two issues – a discussion of the fight against “Russian aggression”, including “within the context of the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, and also support for “the ongoing successful reforms in Ukraine”. In his conversations with Samantha Power – the US ambassador to the UN who among senior US diplomats is perhaps the staunchest supporter of taking a hard line against Moscow – Groysman has listed ”Russia, corruption, and populism” as the biggest threats facing Ukraine. The Ukrainians are once again circulating the fairy tale that Washington is fully supportive of Ukraine’s modi operandi and is on the verge of awarding Kiev a multi-billion-dollar bailout.
However, the US has a markedly different interpretation of Groysman’s negotiations. The White House has stated that Biden actually promised $220 million to help Ukraine pursue its reforms. But discussions about this modest sum have been held numerous times since the beginning of the year. It’s odd that the cash hasn’t shown up yet. Apparently, these promises, just like the other strategies to fuel Kiev financially, such as guarantees of credit, IMF loans, and the like, all hinge on political commitments from Ukraine’s leaders to resolve the situation in the eastern part of the country. Biden was blunt about Washington’s concern over ”the worsening situation in eastern Ukraine” and stressed “the importance of a speedy implementation of the Minsk agreements”. However, Biden made no mention of either the “separatists” or Russia, which means that Kiev is simply expected to uphold its part of the bargain.
One sign that the mood now emerging in Washington might not be to the liking of Ukraine’s leaders can be seen in the statement made by National Security Advisor Susan Rice on the eve of Groysman’s visit. In an interview with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, she mentioned that the White House believes that the conflict in Ukraine can be resolved by the end of the year and is making every effort to ensure that the peace agreement is being honored by the time Barack Obama leaves office. Rice also noted that US authorities are stepping up cooperation with their French and German counterparts in order to implement the Minsk agreements, but that dialog with Russia on this issue remains a top priority. “We are hopeful if the Russians want to resolve this – and we have some reason to believe they might – we have the time and the wherewithal and the tools to do so”,stated Rice. However, she refused to prognosticate and stressed the impossibility of guaranteeing that the electoral reforms stipulated by the agreement would be ratified by the Ukrainian parliament.
Faced with the intransigence of the Ukrainian authorities, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, added an additional arrow to his arsenal of reasons why Kiev should be committed to the Minsk agreements. Pifer noted that the very existence of those agreements makes it possible for Chancellor Merkel to show the EU why the sanctions against Russia should be continued.
According to Geopolitical Futures, a new online publication managed by George Friedman, the founder and former chairman of Stratfor, a private intelligence publishing and consulting firm, there are three explanations for the Obama administration’s rush to “wash its hands” of Ukraine.
The first is the disagreement in Europe about whether to continue the sanctions against Russia. The West would have to form a united front in order to win concessions from Moscow and that’s not happening. Plus, the Kremlin continues to draw certain European governments and parties over to its side, thus weakening the West’s negotiating position. Therefore, the terms for resolving the Ukrainian issue could eventually become even less favorable for the US than they are now.
The second reason for Washington’s urgency regarding Ukraine is its concern over another foreign-policy issue – the Islamic State (IS). To drive IS out of Syria, the US needs Russia’s assistance both on the battlefield as well as at the negotiating table. The third reason is the Obama administration’s fear that the next US president may take a different stance toward the parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict. This obviously means Donald Trump, whose victory Democrats are trying to prevent at all costs, but which cannot yet be ruled out.
Yet Geopolitical Futures suggests that the current administration’s efforts might not meet with success, due to the fact that foreign leaders, including those in Ukraine and Russia, will take a wait-and-see attitude, given the uncertain outcome of the US presidential election. The White House is in a race against time, and the prospects for signing a deal with Moscow over Ukraine that is in America’s interests will gradually dwindle away. At the same time, the authors of that analytical report believe that successful cooperation with Russia over Ukraine could facilitate progress on US goals in Syria.
Monson arrived in Lugansk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, on Monday.
He visited a local martial arts school where he gave a master-class to children in kickboxing, taekwondo, Muay Thai and aikido.
The US-born mixed martial artist said that the aim of his visit was to try to break the global information blockade of Donbass.
“I came here not only to see everything with my own eyes, but to tell the world about everything that happens here. So that the people here won’t feel forgotten and ignored,” he said.
He also visited a local orphanage, where he had a chance to meet with children who have suffered most from the conflict.
The 45-year-old said he was stunned by the drawings of the local children, who “should draw the sky, houses and flowers, but they draw war instead.”
Monson, who competed in the UFC, PRIDE and other MMA organizations, stressed that he has no fear of possible sanctions from the US authorities that could result from his visit.
“I have no loyalty towards this country [the US]. Receiving those sanctions would even be an honor for me because I disagree with the US policies,” he explained.
The fighter slammed the American authorities for backing the Kiev government in the conflict and meddling with other countries around the globe.
Monson began his professional career back in 1997, winning 60 out of his 87 professional MMA bouts.
He has recently become actively involved in Russian politics, and joined the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) in April.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April 2014 when Kiev sent its military to the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, which refused to recognize the new coup-imposed government in the capital.
Two years of fighting have led to deaths of over 9,000 people in eastern Ukraine, according to UN estimates.
The peace deal signed by the sides in February 2015 has led to a decrease in violence, but the conflict is still far from being settled.