The massive artillery bombardment of the peoples of the Donbass, that has been raining down shells and fire on them since Christmas, is a war crime of horrific proportions designed to terrorise the people and bring their refusal to be subject to the NATO-installed regime in Kiev to an end. It is also becoming clear that it has a political purpose, which is to increase anti-Russian, pro-NATO propaganda among the Ukrainian people to influence them to vote to join NATO in a referendum, the consequences of which will be dramatic because a vote for NATO will be a vote for war.
On Thursday, February 9, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, of the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain, reported that the claimed president of Ukraine, Mr. Poroshenko, intends to hold a referendum on NATO membership. Poroshenko referred to recent opinion polls that indicate 54 per cent of Ukrainians now want to join NATO as opposed to 16 per cent before the NATO-backed coup put his puppet regime in power. This change in opinion is a direct result of the aggression of the Kiev regime against the peoples of eastern Ukraine that refuse to accept the legitimacy or anti-Russian policies of that regime and its fascist allies, which resistance is turned upside down by the western propagandists and described as Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The continuous violations of the Minsk ceasefire accords and the refusal by Kiev to adhere to the steps to be taken to grant the Donbass republics autonomy and protect the rights of their peoples as stipulated in the Minsk agreements, including the right not to be attacked, are shrugged off as irrelevant in the face of the supposed aggression from the east.
In line with this propaganda, the NATO powers lay all the blame on Russia and portray Ukraine as a helpless victim. The minds of Ukrainians are manipulated to induce them to vote to join NATO; create the circumstances of war, falsely identify the attacked as the attackers, raise fears of “aggression” from Russia, drive the people into seeking the protection of the NATO war alliance.
“As President, I am guided by the views of my people and I will hold a referendum on the issue of NATO membership.”
What he really meant to say of course is that “I and my NATO masters have successfully frightened the Ukrainian people with this war, suppressed the opposition, turned Russia into the bogey-man and made the people prisoners of the scenario we created.”
The consequences of such a vote, and of Ukraine being accepted into NATO, would be immediate and disastrous for the Donbass republics and for Russia. For once Ukraine is a member of the NATO alliance logic dictates that the alleged ‘Russian aggression” against Ukraine and the “rebellion” of the Donbass republics will lead to a final offensive to crush the republics once and for all. NATO will not tolerate one of its members facing such an internal war on NATO borders or tolerate an “aggressor” state which it accuses of instigating the “rebellion.” Once Ukraine is part of NATO, Russian “aggression” against Ukraine will be deemed to be “aggression against NATO.”
An offensive will follow and the Donbass republics will either face the fight alone and be crushed by the combined forces of NATO in Ukraine, or they will be supported by Russia leading to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. If Russia stays out of the fight, as it has tried to do since 2014, the defeat of the republics and the establishment of large NATO military formations in Ukraine will then constitute a direct and immediate threat against Russia itself that could not be tolerated.
Of course the people of Ukraine will not be informed that this is the logical outcome of a pro-NATO vote, that it will be a vote not for peace but for war. They will be bombarded with cheap American slogans now being used against the American people by the new Trump regime in Washington, that “peace comes through strength,” and will be led like lemmings to their doom.
In line with this strategy we can expect the military pressure on the Donbass republics to increase as spring approaches. We can expect more assassinations of its leadership as we have seen take place with the recent assassination of Mikhail Tolstykh, known as Givi, leader of the Somali battalion of the Donetsk Republic forces, the assassination of the chief of staff of the People’s Army of Lugansk, Colonel Oleg Anaschenko, and the assassination of Colonel Arsen Pavlov of the Donetsk forces, on October 16 of 2016.
And this is exactly what the Kiev minister responsible for the “temporarily occupied territories stated,” Yuri Grymchak,
“We believe that in the near future, a year and a half, we will return this territory when its maintenance becomes too expensive for the Russian Federation.”
In Washington the Trump administration continues to apply the same strategies as the administrations before it, to threaten retaliation against any nation that refuses to kowtow and Russia is no exception. Despite Trump’s words of supposed moderation towards Russia it is clear from the statements of his ambassador at the UN that the illegal “sanctions” against Russia will continue indefinitely since the American position under Trump remains the same as under Obama; no lifting of “sanctions” unless Crimea is retuned to Ukraine. This will never happen and the Americans know it will never happen. So, essentially the Americans are stating that Crimea is just an excuse to inflict economic damage on Russia until Russia agrees to become just another one of America’s satellite states.
One has only to take note of the flurry of phone calls made by the new American minster of defence, General “Mad Dog” Mattis to a series of flunkies around the world to see what the situation really is. In quick succession General Mattis called, on January 26, the Israeli Defence Minister, then the German minister of Defence and the French Minister of Defence, on January 30th met with King Abdullah of Jordan, called the Korean minister of defence and the Italian minister of defence, on the 31st called the minister of defence of Saudi Arabia, on February 3nd, called the Korean national security adviser and met with the Japanese prime minister in Tokyo, on February 6th called the Canadian minister of defence, on the 7th the President of Afghanistan, and the minister of defence of Mexico, on the 8th the ministers of defence of India and Iraq, on the 9th the minister of defence of Pakistan, and on the 10th met with the German minister of defence at the Pentagon; a very busy agenda.
In every call and meeting, echoing the sycophantic visit by British Prime Minister May to the US earlier, the theme was the same, the NATO alliance is strong, cooperation will continue. In the case of Germany and Japan, Mattis, as the Americans like to do from time to time, reminded the Germans and Japanese of their status as occupied countries by thanking them for “hosting” the American occupation forces.
These calls follow the biggest deployment of US troops in Europe since the end of the so-called Cold War. Russia has branded these forces, which are arriving now arrived in Poland, Ukraine and Romania, a threat to its national security. President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated,
“We perceive it as a threat. These actions threaten our interests, our security especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. The US is not a European state.”
A few days later snap air force drills were conducted in Russia and new anti-aircraft and antimissile defence systems were deployed around Moscow.
On the 9th of February Poroshenko signed the document permitting large-scale manoeuvres in Ukraine. On social media a video taken by a Slovak citizen shows a long train transporting NATO armoured personnel carries, tanks, and transport vehicles near the town of Sabinov 100 kilometres west of the Ukraine border heading towards Ukraine, and the Slovaks report that they have seen many of these trains transporting armoured vehicles over the past days, as well as military truck convoys. The local government stated that 6 military trains and 22 military truck convoys will have passed through that one location by Saturday 12 February and that they are to be used in large scale manoeuvres by the Ukrainian army, the Americans and other NATO forces including German, British and Canadian elements. These are part of larger elements that have been fanning out from the Baltic to Romania threatening Russia along its entire western flank the past few months. If I were the Russian General Staff I would be very edgy. But they have cooler heads than mine and in the lead President Putin. There lies a hope.
Meanwhile, in the west, the anti-war movement is lost in the swamp of the anti-Trump movement that has adopted the anti-Russian rhetoric of the NATO war machine and seems not to notice that Trump is proving just as aggressive as their alternative candidate for power, or worse, does all it can to push him further down the road to war, and seems to be unaware that Trump, who has adopted Reagan’s “peace through strength” rhetoric, does not need pushing.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”