Archive for Ukraine, Crimea, Russia: articles by Roger Annis

Parliament election in Ukraine confirms right wing government and its civil war course

By Roger Annis, first published on Truthout, November 10, 2014

Seat in Kyiv of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council) of Ukraine

Seat in Kyiv of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council) of Ukraine

The general election to Ukraine’s parliament (the Verkhovna Rada–Supreme Council) on Oct 26 was another step by the country’s wealthy power brokers to consolidate their pro-Europe, pro-austerity economic course and related war against the rebellious population in the east of the country. A large, neo-conservative and far-right majority now controls the Rada.

The election outcome continues the political course begun last February with the overthrow of President Victor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. That course was affirmed in the May presidential election that saw Petro Poroshenko win a solid electoral majority from the minority of Ukrainians who took part. » Read more..

Scholars conference in Ottawa examines the crisis in Ukraine

By Roger Annis, Nov 6, 2014

The tenth annual, Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine took place from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at the University of Ottawa, Canada. It was hosted by the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the university and featured 47 invited scholars, journalists and diplomats (presenters) from Europe and North America. This writer attended the event. » Read more..

Rabkor editorial: Economic sanctions have Russia seeking compromise with West over Ukraine

Will Russian President Vladimir Putin abandon eastern Ukraine’s rebels?

Guest editorial by Vasily Koltashov and Boris Kagarlitsky, from Rabkor (Worker Correspondent), Oct 10, 2014, translated from the original Russian by Gaither Stewart

President Vladimir Putin speaks in Sochi, Russia on Oct 24 to the 11th conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, photo Office of President Putin

President Vladimir Putin speaks in Sochi, Russia on Oct 24 to the 11th conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, photo Office of President Putin

It seems that Russian authorities have found a way towards accommodation with the West. Liberals have become more powerful and are leading the talks.[1] They are ready to make concessions and see no problem in the sacrifice of Novorossiya, and, if necessary, even Russia’s own interests. There’s just one remaining question: who will remove the Russian president’s head and present it on a platter to the USA?

Negotiations between Russia and the West about ending the “sanctions war” and resolving the crisis in Ukraine are moving full speed ahead. This was spoken of in October at the G20 finance ministers’ talks in the USA. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the subject with Secretary of State John Kerry. The Ukrainian question will be a major subject for many participants at the G20 summit in Australia next month. Although Russian authorities deny they will ask for revocation of the sanctions, talks are underway about this issue. » Read more..

Difficult talks over winter gas supply and price to Ukraine from Russia

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 23, 2014

Two rounds of talks involving Russia, Ukraine and the European Union over the pricing and supply of natural gas to Ukraine this coming winter took place in Milan and Brussels on May 18 and 21, resp. In Milan, a price framework was announced in which Ukraine would pay $385 per 1,000 m3 of gas. That’s roughly an average price of Russian gas sold in Europe. There is no agreement announced from Brussels. The enclosed article from RIA Novosti news agency explains the background to Ukraine’s dispute with Russia over gas supply and pricing.

Latest news: Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an accord on gas supplies for the coming winter in EU-brokered talks on Oct 21 but agreed to meet again in Brussels in a week in the hope of ironing out problems over Kiev’s ability to pay.–Reuters, Oct 21, 2014

» Read more..

New York Times and Human Rights Watch: Ukraine using cluster bombs in its war in the east

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 22, 2014

Cluster munition in an unexploded Uragan rocket in a field in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government near Novomykhailivka on October 14, 2014; photo by Ole Solvang, Human Rights Watch

Cluster munition in an unexploded Uragan rocket in a field in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government near Novomykhailivka on October 14, 2014; photo by Ole Solvang, Human Rights Watch

The New York Times and Human Rights Watch are each reporting findings that Ukraine has used cluster bombs against the civilian population in the east of the country during the recent war. Below is the introduction and link to the Times article. The nine-page Human Rights Watch report is here.

Human Rights Watch says:

During a week-long investigation in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in more than a dozen urban and rural locations. While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk. An employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was killed on October 2 in an attack on Donetsk that included use of cluster munition rockets.

“It is shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine,” said Mark Hiznay, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch…

Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC, has declined to report this story on its news website. The New York Times article was posted to the Globe and Mail online on Oct 21. The same day, the Toronto Star published a wire service video report giving prominence to Ukraine government denials. Their print editions of Oct. 22 contained the first print reports on the story, consisting of wireservice reports by Reuters (in the Globe and Mail) and LA Times (in the Toronto Star). Each print report features denials by Ukraine government officials that its armed forces use cluster bombs. 

The same Reuters report as in the Globe and Mail appeared in The Guardian online on Oct 21 and in print on Oct 22.

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Ukraine used cluster bombs, evidence indicates

By Andrew Roth, New York Times, Oct 20, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims. » Read more..

Hundreds have been killed in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire was declared on Sept 5, and other news

By Roger Annis, Oct. 14, 2014

A press release on October 8 by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights explains that despite the ceasefire signed in Minsk, Belarus on September 5, at least 331 people have been killed in ongoing shelling and clashes between September 6 and October 6 in eastern Ukraine. That’s about ten people dying per day. » Read more..

Video: The war in eastern Ukraine and the New Cold War

Presentation by Roger Annis in Vancouver, Canada on Sept 29, 2014

On September 29, 2014, The Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University hosted a talk by Roger Annis on the war in eastern Ukraine and the accompanying political and military threats by NATO and the Kyiv government against Russia. Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer and antiwar activist who has written extensively on Ukraine. He attended the antiwar conference held in Yalta, Crimea on July 6, 7, 2014. (Introduction continues below).

» Read more..

To Lenin, in Kharkiv

By Sergei Kirichuk, published in English on, Sept 30, 2014. The following is a slightly revised translation from the original translation from Russian, with permission of the author.

Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv, Ukraine, destroyed by rightists on Sept 28, 2014

Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv, Ukraine, destroyed by rightists on Sept 28, 2014

In the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, second largest city of the country, the monument to Vladimir Lenin was recently torn down by a rightist and fascist mob. The organizers of this operation did not conceal that it was revenge for an attempt by Communist Party activists to hold a peace march the day before, on Sept 27. That march was broken up by the police in conjunction with neo-Nazi gangs. » Read more..

Ukraine’s collapsing economy

By Anthony T. Salvia, Director, American Institute in Ukraine, September 30, 2014

With the ceasefire now in its fourth week, Ukraine commentators are shifting their attention from the military state of affairs to the economic. If the battlefield is largely quiescent, the same cannot be said for the economy, which is in a tailspin.

Sergei Kirichuk

Sergei Kirichuk

Leading member of the Ukrainian socialist movement Borotba (Struggle) and harsh critic of Viktor Yanukovich, Sergei Kirichuk does not mince words: “…the worsening economic crisis of the last number of days points to a convulsive, system-wide failure of the country’s financial system.”

The National Bank, which before Euromaidan routinely propped up the hryvnia, has been forbidden by the IMF from using foreign currency reserves and proceeds from gold sales for this purpose. As a result, the national currency has plummeted below the 1dollar/14 hryvnia threshold – alarmingly, with no discernible boost to exports, which are also plummeting. » Read more..

Russian Union of Engineers report concludes Ukraine airforce likely responsible for Malaysian Airlines downing

By Roger Annis, Sept. 22, 2014

The website Vineyard Saker has translated and published a 16-page study into the July 17, 2014 crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that was conducted by the Russian Union of Engineers. (Also find the report online here.) The Russian engineers conclude that the flight was brought down by a fighter aircraft operating in the vicinity of the passenger plane and that the only likely candidate for such an attack was an Su-25 or MiG-29 aircraft of the Ukraine armed forces.

MH 17 destroyed cockpit panel image superimposed on aircraft image

MH 17 destroyed cockpit panel image superimposed on aircraft image

The report noted pro-autonomy rebels in east Ukraine do not possess or operate a fighter aircraft. The doomed passenger flight had 298 people on board.

The engineers’ report said the commercial aircraft left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur and was flying 10,100 metres in Ukrainian airspace near Donetsk, likely on auto pilot, when it was attacked by a combat aircraft with 30 mm caliber cannon. The cockpit area of the Malaysia Airlines jet was struck, likely killing its crew and depressurizing the aircraft.

Since the plane was on auto pilot, it continued to fly but began to lose altitude. The attacking aircraft flew to the » Read more..