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

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

Some among Ukraine’s ruling elite are balking at signing an agreement at such a price. At the same time, the EU is pressuring Russia for a lower price because whatever agreement is reached, Ukraine’s financially bankrupt government will depend on EU loans and grants to pay the bills.

Ukraine has an unpaid bill to Russia for gas which it says is app. $3 billion and Russia says is app. $5 billion.

Ukraine-Russia gas crisis looms because Europe refuses to face reality

Alexander Mercouris, RIA Novosti, Oct 22, 2014

LONDON – Predictions of a written agreement in the Russia-Ukraine-EU gas dispute from the talks held on 21st October 2014 have so far failed to materialise. This was predictable because of the vast gulf of understanding that exists between the three parties. Though some temporary agreement may eventually emerge this gulf is so wide that it is likely to unravel quickly. » 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..

Thousands march in Moscow for ‘peace’ and against autonomy movement in eastern Ukraine

Introduction by Roger Annis, Sept 22, 2014

Several tens of thousands of people marched in Moscow and other Russian cities on September 21 condemning the Russian government’s actions over the course of the Ukraine government military offensive in eastern Ukraine this

March for 'peace' in Moscow, Sept 21, 2014. Lead banner read 'No war with Ukraine'

March for ‘peace’ in Moscow, Sept 21, 2014. Lead banner read ‘No war with Ukraine’

year. Billed as “peace” marches, the protests opposed the pro-autonomy and self defense forces in eastern Ukraine that resisted the military attacks by Kyiv and the fascist militias with which it is allied.

According to news reports and photos of the Moscow action, none of the marchers expressed concern about the economic sanctions and aggressive military threats by NATO countries in eastern Europe this year. In other words, the ‘peace’ that the actions advocated was a very selective one.

Enclosed are two news reports of the protest march in Moscow on Sept. 21. » Read more..

NATO’s new cold war redraws left and liberal views on imperialism and war

By Roger Annis, first published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Sept 19, 2014

Petro Poroshenko speaks to US Congress on Sept 18, 2014

Petro Poroshenko speaks to US Congress on Sept 18, 2014

Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalized economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

A generation later, the world finds itself at the outset of a new cold war. It is directed by the same, NATO military powers and its aim is similar–to stop any advance of anti-capitalist social revolution and to constrict and contain Russia. » Read more..

In Winnipeg and Vancouver, public forums on the war in Ukraine

The war in eastern Ukraine and the New Cold War

In Winnipeg on Sept 25, in Vancouver on Sept 29. With speaker Roger Annis

In Winnipeg: » Read more..