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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment .
Introduction: As the Ukraine crisis lurches forward, the beginnings of the episode during sniper fire  in Kiev during the Maidan coup have come back into view. Although much of the media coverage remains locked in to the “group think” now affecting Ukraine, some rays of light have penetrated the deliberately created journalistic darkness.
In addition to the disintegrating story of a one-handed sniper firing on demonstrators in the coup, we note demonstrators’ stories of being recruited to wield rifles in the Maidan riots. The security in the areas in which the snipers operated was supervised by Andriy Parubiy , the former defense minister from the fascist Svoboda party. Parubiy is now the deputy speaker of the parliament. (The “investigation” into the alleged shooter with one hand was overseen by Oleh Makhnitskiy –the former justice minister from Svoboda and now an adviser to Petro Poroshenko.)
In the U.S. and elsewhere in the West, the Orwellian journalistic coverage of the Ukraine crisis continues unabated, with misinfomation and disimformation carrying the day. Officers , as well as founders of , the Nazi Azov Battalion are presented uncritically in U.S. media, while the American ambassador to Ukraine–Geoffrey Pyatt–cites material  provided by DigitalGlobe as credible proof of direct Russian involvement in Ukraine. (For more about DigitalGlobe, see FTR #811 .)
Ukrainian veterans  of the punisher battalions have deliberately misled  GOP Senator James Inhofe (Oklahoma), giving him  photographs purporting to show a Russian invasion of Ukraine, when the pictures are actually from other operations.
We note, again, that Michael Boriurkiw , head of the OSCE’s contingent in Ukraine, is networked with the OUN/B heirs , as well as with a Malaysian Muslim Brotherhood milieu  that overlaps elements figuring in the disappearance of MH 370. Boriurkiw’s pronouncements have done much to shape Western public opinion about Ukraine.
In spite of rigid state censorship, some Ukrainian media have actually let slip  the fact that there are no Russian military units in Ukraine.
The recruitment of foreigners to work in the Ukrainian government continues unabated. In addition to Jaanika Merilo , who will be “attracting foreign investment” (when she isn’t trying to “one-up” Miley Cyrus), former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili  will be heading to Kiev.
A wanted criminal  in his native country, Saakashvili will be in charge of procuring arms for Ukraine, one of whose top officials has reiterated a common theme of Ukrainian propaganda–the U.S. and other Western countris should risk nuclear war  to aid Ukraine.
The program includes with a frightening look at Pravy Sektor (“Right Sector”) chapters  in the United States and their apparent involvement in disruption of political activities they deem to be “pro-Russian.”
Previous programs covering the Ukraine crisis are: FTR #‘s 777 , 778 , 779 , 780 , 781 , 782 , 783 , 784 , 794 , 800 , 803 , 804 , 808 , 811 , 817 , 818 , 824 , 826 , 829 , 832 , 833 .
Program Highlights Include: The economic and ethnic factors  that are motivating the insurgents in Eastern Ukraine; comparison of the ginning up of information about the Balkans’ wars  with the dissemination of lies to justify our involvement in Ukraine; a plan by the Ukrainian government to shoot deserters from the military ; review of previous elements of our analysis on Ukraine.
1. The BBC has an update on the “investigation” into the Maidan square sniper mystery and the differing accounts of Andre Parubiy , then the head of security for the Maidan protestors. Parubiy is the former defense minister and a member of Svoboda.
He was in charge of “security” for the Maidan protesters and is now the deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.
A day of bloodshed on Kiev’s main square, nearly a year ago, marked the end of a winter of protest against the government of president Viktor Yanukovych, who soon afterwards fled the country. More than 50 protesters and three policemen died. But how did the shooting begin? Protest organisers have always denied any involvement — but one man told the BBC a different story.
It’s early in the morning, 20 February, 2014. Kiev’s Maidan square is divided — on one side the riot police, the protesters on the other.
This has been going on for more than two months now. But events are about to come to a head. By the end of the day, more than 50 people will be dead, many of them gunned down in the street by security forces.
The violence will lead to the downfall of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Moscow will call 20 February an armed coup, and use it to justify the annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
The protest leaders, some of whom now hold positions of power in the new Ukraine, insist full responsibility for the shootings lies with the security forces, acting on behalf of the previous government.
But one year on, some witnesses are beginning to paint a different picture.
“I didn’t shoot to kill”
“I was shooting downwards at their feet,” says a man we will call Sergei, who tells me he took up position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy on the south-west corner of the square.
“Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn’t shoot to kill.”
Sergei says he had been a regular protester on the Maidan for more than a month, and that his shots at police on the square and on the roof of an underground shopping mall, caused them to retreat.
There had been shooting two days earlier, on 18 February. The 19th, a Wednesday, had been quieter, but in the evening, Sergei says, he was put in contact with a man who offered him two guns: one a 12-gauge shotgun, the other a hunting rifle, a Saiga that fired high-velocity rounds.
He chose the latter, he says, and stashed it in the Post Office building, a few yards from the Conservatory. Both buildings were under the control of the protesters.
When the shooting started early on the morning of the 20th, Sergei says, he was escorted to the Conservatory, and spent some 20 minutes before 07:00 firing on police, alongside a second gunman.
His account is partially corroborated by other witnesses. That morning, Andriy Shevchenko, then an opposition MP and part of the Maidan movement, had received a phone call from the head of the riot police on the square.
“He calls me and says, ‘Andriy, somebody is shooting at my guys.’ And he said that the shooting was from the Conservatory.”
Shevchenko contacted the man in charge of security for the protesters, Andriy Parubiy, known as the Commandant of the Maidan.
“I sent a group of my best men to go through the entire Conservatory building and determine whether there were any firing positions,” Parubiy says.
Meanwhile the MP, Andriy Shevchenko, was getting increasingly panicked phone calls.
“I kept getting calls from the police officer, who said: ‘I have three people wounded, I have five people wounded, I have one person dead.’ And at some point he says, ‘I am pulling out.’ And he says, ‘Andriy I do not know what will be next.’ But I clearly felt that something really bad was about to happen.”
Andriy Parubiy, now deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, says his men found no gunmen in the Conservatory building.
But a photographer who gained access to the Conservatory later in the morning — shortly after 08:00 — took pictures there of men with guns, although he did not see them fire.
What happened in Maidan Square: A photographer’s story
Sergei’s account also differs from Parubiy’s.
“I was just reloading,” he told me. “They ran up to me and one put his foot on top of me, and said, ‘They want a word with you, everything is OK, but stop doing what you’re doing.’”
Sergei says he is convinced the men who dragged him away were from Parubiy’s security unit, though he didn’t recognise their faces. He was escorted out of the Conservatory building, taken out of Kiev by car, and left to make his own way home.
By that time three policemen had been fatally wounded and the mass killings of protesters had begun.
Kiev’s official investigation has focused on what happened afterwards — after the riot police began to retreat from the square. In video footage, they are clearly seen firing towards protesters as they pull back.
Only three people have been arrested, all of them members of a special unit of riot police. And of these three, only two — the lower-ranking officers — remain in custody. The unit’s commanding officer, Dmitry Sadovnik, was granted bail and has now disappeared.
Some of the dead were almost certainly shot by snipers, who seemed to be shooting from some of the taller buildings surrounding the square.
Lawyers for the victims and sources in the general prosecutor’s office have told the BBC that when it comes to investigating deaths that could not have been caused by the riot police, they have found their efforts blocked by the courts.
“If you think of Yanukovych’s time, it was like a Bermuda triangle: the prosecutor’s office, the police and the courts,” says Andriy Shevchenko. “Everyone knew that they co-operated, they covered each other and that was the basis of the massive corruption in the country. Those connections still exists.”
Conspiracy theories abound
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Vitaly Yarema, was dismissed this week, amid harsh criticism of his handling of the investigation.
The leaders of the Maidan have always maintained they did their best to keep guns away from the square.
“We knew that our strength was not to use force, and our weakness would be if we start shooting,” says Andriy Shevchenko.
Parubiy says it is possible that a handful of protesters with weapons may have come to the Maidan as part of a spontaneous, unorganised response to violence from the security forces in the days running up to 20 February.
“I did hear that, after the shootings on 18 February, there were guys who came to Maidan with hunting rifles. I was told that sometimes they were the relatives or parents of those people who were killed on the 18th. So I concede that it’s possible there were people with hunting rifles on Maidan. When the snipers began to kill our guys, one after another, I can imagine that those with the hunting rifles returned fire.”
Sergei, again, tells a different story. He says he was recruited as a potential shooter in late-January, by a man he describes only as a retired military officer. Sergei himself was a former soldier.
“We got chatting, and he took me under his wing. He saw something in me that he liked. Officers are like psychologists, they can see who is capable. He kept me close.”
The former officer dissuaded him from joining any of the more militant groups active on the Maidan.
“‘Your time will come,’ he said.”
Was he being prepared, psychologically, to take up arms?
“Not that we sat down and worked out a plan. But we talked about it privately and he prepared me for it.”
It is not clear who the man who apparently recruited Sergei was, or whether he belonged to any of the recognised groups active on the Maidan.
And there is much else that we still do not know, such as who fired the first shots on 20 February.
As for conspiracy theories, it is possible that Sergei was manipulated, played like a pawn in a bigger game. But that is not the way he sees it. He was a simple protester, he says, who took up arms in self-defence.
“I didn’t want to shoot anyone or kill anyone. But that was the situation. I don’t feel like some kind of hero. The opposite: I have trouble sleeping, bad premonitions. I’m trying to control myself. But I just get nervous all the time. I have nothing to be proud of. It’s easy to shoot. Living afterwards, that’s the hard thing. But you have to defend your country.”
2a. In FTR #779 . we noted the dominant presence of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor ministers in the interim government in Ukraine. This may well have affected the investigation of the sniper deaths that take place during the demonstrations that brought about the fall of Viktor Yanukovych.
Oleh Makhnitsky is from Svoboda and has been central to the “investigation” of the sniper attacks. He is now an adviser to Petro Poroshenko.
Evidence has been destroyed, investigators have made prejudicial public statements about the accused, the deaths of the policemen have not been investigated and at least one photograph of the accused has obviously been doctored.
For millions of Ukrainians, it was a crime against humanity. In February, more than 100 protesters were gunned down in the Maidan uprising that toppled the president, Viktor Yanukovich. The victims are now known as “the Heavenly Hundred.”
In April, prosecutors arrested three suspects, members of an elite unit within the “Berkut” riot police. Senior among them was Dmytro Sadovnyk, 38, a decorated commander, who was accused of ordering his men to fire on the crowds on the morning of Feb. 20. The three stand accused of massacring 39 unarmed protesters.
On Sept. 19, the case took a turn when a judge released Sadovnyk into house arrest – and, two weeks later, he went missing.
Maidan activists were outraged, convinced that a corrupt system had let a killer escape. The judge was placed under investigation. The prosecutor said in a statement: “D. Sadovnyk, suspected of committing an extremely grievous crime, aiming to avoid punishment, disappeared from his place of permanent residence.”
But in a country where justice often isn’t blind, there’s another possibility: Sadovnyk was being framed, and saw flight as his best option. In court last month, he called the case against him “a political lynching.” In the days before he vanished, his wife and his lawyer say, Sadovnyk and his family received death threats.
A Reuters examination of Ukraine’s probes into the Maidan shootings — based on interviews with prosecutors, defence attorneys, protesters, police officers and legal experts – has uncovered serious flaws in the case against Sadovnyk and the other two Berkut officers.
Among the evidence presented against Sadovnyk was a photograph. Prosecutors say it shows him near Kiev’s Independence Square on Feb. 20, wearing a mask and holding a rifle with two hands, his fingers clearly visible.
The problem: Sadovnyk doesn’t have two hands. His right hand, his wife told Reuters, was blown off by a grenade in a training accident six years ago. As prosecutors introduced the image at a hearing in April, said Yuliya Sadovnyk, her husband removed a glove and displayed his stump to the courtroom.
“He can’t really shoot,” said Serhiy Vilkov, Sadovnyk’s lawyer. “To blame him for the crime is a political game.”
The probes into the killings have been hindered by missing evidence. Many guns allegedly used to shoot protesters have vanished; many of the bullets fired were taken home as souvenirs. Barricades, bullet-pierced trees and other items of forensic evidence were removed, lawyers say.
A former Berkut commander told Reuters that Berkut officers destroyed documentary evidence that potentially could identify fellow officers. They did so, he said, because they feared the Berkut’s headquarters would be attacked by a mob of revenge-seeking protesters after Yanukovich fled to Russia.
The former president isn’t the only key figure missing. In an interview before Sadovnyk vanished, Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Vitaly Yarema, said investigators had identified 17 Berkut officers as alleged participants in the protester shootings, based on surveillance camera videos and mobile-phone location data. Of the 17, he said, 14 had fled to Russia or Crimea, including the Berkut’s top commander in Kiev. Sadovnyk and his two co-defendants were the only identified suspects who had remained behind.
Independence Square was the rallying point in Kiev where the anti-Yanukovich revolution largely unfolded between November and February. (The word Maidan means “square” in Ukrainian.) The killings there quickly were recognised as a milestone in modern Ukrainian history, part of a chain of events that set off a separatist conflict and Russian incursions that have shaken the country to its core.
Videos and photographs appear to show how Berkut officers shot at protesters and beat them with sticks. In one video, the Berkut are seen making a man stand naked in the snow.
The public is demanding answers and justice. But the investigations are testing Ukraine’s ability to rise above the kinds of failings that have hobbled the country ever since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
In contrast to, say, Poland, Ukraine has never gelled into a robust state. Kiev has had two revolutions since independence. A host of endemic problems — political corruption, racketeering, a divide between speakers of Ukrainian and Russian — have left it feeble and fractious. Another of the state’s chief failings, outside observers say, is a broken justice system.
Under Yanukovich and his rivals before him, courts and cops were political instruments. Yulia Tymoshenko, runner-up to Yanukovich in the 2010 presidential election, later was jailed in a case widely criticised as political.
In its 2013 report on human rights, the U.S. State Department cited the Tymoshenko conviction in observing that Ukraine’s courts “remained vulnerable to political pressure and corruption, were inefficient, and lacked public confidence. In certain cases the outcome of trials appeared to be predetermined.”
The post-Yanukovich government acknowledged as much this July, in a report it prepared with the International Monetary Fund. “The tax administration, the police, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the State Enforcement Service, and the judiciary were noted as having traditionally been viewed as among the most corrupt public institutions,” the report found.
The past shows signs of repeating itself.
The two prosecutors and a government minister who have led the Maidan shooting probes all played roles in supporting the uprising. One of these officials told Reuters that the investigators gathering the evidence are completely independent.
Another gap in the prosecution: To date, no one has been apprehended in the shooting of policemen. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, between Feb. 18 and 20, 189 police officers suffered gunshot wounds. Thirteen died.
In addition, the former acting general prosecutor who oversaw the arrests of the three Berkut officers declared on television that they “have already been shown to be guilty.” That statement, said legal experts, could prejudice the cases. Ukraine is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“A public statement by a prosecutor that directly challenges that presumption is a denial of due process,” said Richard Harvey, a British barrister who specialises in international criminal law.
Even some of the bereaved families question the fairness of the proceedings. Serhiy Bondarchuk, a physics teacher, died of a gunshot wound to the back on the morning of Feb. 20. His son, Volodymyr Bondarchuk, said the killing is one of the 39 in which Sadovnyk and his two colleagues are suspected. Volodymyr said that based on his own inquiries, he doubts the three were responsible for his father’s death.
“They are trying to close the case because their bosses and the community just want to have someone to punish,” he said. “The investigation does not have enough evidence to prove the guilt of these three people.”
Volodymyr Bondarchuk recently helped organise an association of about 70 families of dead protesters. “The main aim for us,” he said, “is an objective and accurate investigation.”
February 20 was the bloodiest day of the Maidan uprising. Scores of protesters and police officers were shot and killed. A day later, opposition leaders signed a European Union-mediated peace pact.
Public pressure mounted to prosecute the perpetrators. Within a week, Yanukovich, by then a fugitive, was indicted for the mass murder of protesters. An interim government disbanded the Berkut, a force of several thousand whose name means “golden eagle.”
On April 3, Ukrainian authorities announced the arrests of several members of an elite special unit within the Berkut. One was Sadovnyk, the unit’s commander. A father of three, he first joined the Berkut in 1996 after serving in the Ukrainian army. He later won numerous commendations for his police service.
Also detained were two younger officers: Serhiy Zinchenko, 23, and Pavel Abroskin, 24.
An internal prosecution document, reviewed by Reuters, sketches out investigators’ version of events. It is a “Notice of Suspicion” for Zinchenko, dated April 3.
The document alleges that on Feb. 18, the Berkut’s top commander, Serhiy Kusiuk, gave an oral order to Sadovnyk to deliver automatic rifles to his unit. Kusiuk is among the Berkut officers who fled to Russia, prosecutors say. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
On the morning of Feb. 20, several members of Sadovnyk’s unit were shot. At around 9 a.m., the document alleges, Sadovnyk ordered his men to fire in the direction of unarmed protesters walking up Instytutska Street in downtown Kiev. The shooting lasted nearly two hours, and more than nine protesters were killed, the document states.
Sadovnyk’s order to shoot was an abuse of power, “given that there was no immediate threat to the lives of the police officers,” the document alleges.
Vilkov, Sadovnyk’s lawyer, disputes that account. Although the document indicates Sadovnyk was at the scene, Vilkov said his client was not on Instytutska Street when the protesters were killed the morning of Feb. 20. Vilkov declined to discuss Sadovnyk’s whereabouts.
In a telephone interview on Sept. 30, Sadovnyk told Reuters he was at a meeting on the morning of Feb. 20 at Kiev police headquarters. It began sometime between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., he said. The purpose, he said, was to deal with reports that many armed protesters would be arriving in Kiev after a call by protest leaders to mobilise.
Sadovnyk said about seven police officials and officers were present, and he named three of them. Reuters was unable to locate the three for comment.
At the meeting, Sadovnyk said, the attendees heard gunshots and screams over police radios. The radios carried reports of the death of a Berkut officer and of other police wounded on Instytutska Street.
Sadovnyk said at that point, he left and drove to the scene, taking about 15 minutes to get there. He said he does not remember what time he arrived, but that investigators could figure it out by tracking his mobile phone. He said he brought a gun and protective equipment.
When he arrived, he said, he found a nearly empty scene, with police officers running and the sound of ricocheting bullets. He said he neither received nor gave any order for his unit’s members to shoot at protesters, nor did he fire at anyone himself.
“I deny killing,” he said.
Vadim Ostanin, an attorney for the Berkut’s Kiev branch, gave a similar account to Reuters. He said there is a video showing that Sadovnyk attended the meeting at police headquarters. Ostanin said that when Sadovnyk arrived at the scene of the shooting, his unit’s men already were retreating.
The general prosecutor’s office declined to discuss the defence’s account. In a statement, the office said it has plenty of evidence against Sadovnyk. This includes videos of a protester being shot by a gunman. The office believes the gunman is Sadovnyk, based on the “special way” the shooter is holding the weapon. In a previous statement, the office said: “The question of guilt or, conversely, innocence of mentioned persons will be resolved by the court.”
Oleh Makhnitsky was Ukraine’s acting general prosecutor until June. In an interview, Reuters asked him about the purported photograph of a two-handed Sadovnyk, which was cited at a hearing in April.
The purpose of that hearing, Makhnitsky said, was not to judge the reliability of the evidence but to determine whether Sadovnyk was a flight risk. He said the evidence against Sadovnyk would be presented at a future trial.
Makhnitsky, now an adviser to President Petro Poroshenko, said he was a leader of a lawyers’ group that provided legal assistance to anti-Yanukovich protesters during the Maidan demonstrations. He said politics played no role in the prosecution of the three Berkut officers. . . .
2b. German-Foreign-Policy.com features a comparison with the “cooking” of journalistic information about Ukraine with what took place in the former Yugoslavia , the NATO operation against Kosovo, in particular. (German-Foreign-Policy.com feeds along the lower right-hand side of the front page of this website.)
A year after Berlin helped instigate the putsch in Ukraine, new information is coming to light about the February 20, 2014 Kiev Massacre. That bloodbath, of more than 50 people killed, accelerated the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych and was also used — even in Germany — to justify the putsch. As has now been confirmed by witnesses, armed demonstrators were the first to open fire on police, and only then, did repressive forces return fire, when they were caught in a hail of bullets while retreating. If this proves to be true, it could not have been a government-planned massacre. Furthermore, evidence indicates that also the snipers, who had shot to kill, were on the side of the government’s opponents. Today, the responsibility for that bloodbath is as unsolved as that for the deaths of more than 40 Kosovo Albanians in Račak in mid-January 1999, which the West labeled a mass execution — in spite of all contradicting evidence. Račak served as a decisive justification for the military aggression on Yugoslavia. The political and media establishments’ other forgeries and lies preceding and during the war on Yugoslavia demonstrate that manipulations, such as the ones we are currently seeing in the Ukraine conflict, are nothing new. They are rather consistent props in the German establishment’s standard repertoire for escalating conflicts.
The Massacre of February 20, 2014
A year after the putsch in Ukraine, two reports in leading western news organs are — independently from one another — shedding a new light on the fatal shots in Kiev on February 20, 2014. That day more than 50 people were shot to death in downtown Kiev. This bloodbath accelerated the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych. In Berlin this was also used as a justification for the putsch: a president, who deliberately orders the massacre of demonstrators, has forfeited his right to office.
The First Shots
Since a few days, new witness testimonies on the massacre have been made available. According to witnesses, on February 20, armed government opponents continued the deadly escalation strategy, they had started just a few days earlier. Already February 18, violent fascists had broken away from a “peace offensive” protest demonstration attacking police with Molotov cocktails, and stormed the office of President Viktor Yanukovych’s “Regions Party,” killing a guard and two party members. The police retaliated brutally. On the evening of the same day — February 18 — there were reports of around 25 people killed, one third of the casualties were police officers, of whom several had died of gunshot wounds. February 19, preparations were made to escalate the conflict. A Maidan demonstrator just confirmed to the BBC that he was given a Saiga hunting rifle on the evening of February 19 and had gone to Kiev’s Conservatory, adjacent to the Maidan, on February 20, which was under the control of the demonstrators. From there, as photos suggest, and as the demonstrator and an opposition politician’s report confirm, shots were fired at police, killing the first three police officers.
In a Hail of Bullets
A former “Dnipro” Battalion combatant, the current parliamentarian, Volodymyr Parasyuk, has recounted what happened next to Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Parasyuk, at the time, was a commander of one of the “Hundertschaften” [a military formation of 100 men, approx. the size of a U.S. military company] at the Maidan. He describes how, after the first police were killed, they began to retreat — “going along Institutska Street, up the Pechersk hill crossing the Maidan,” according to the daily. Parasyuk then recounts that his Hunderschaft pursued the police immediately: “Everyone, who had been at the barricades, began to storm Institutska Street.” “Many,” by this time, were already armed; and they “used” their rifles, “as they made the assault.” Police in more secure positions provided cover fire for their colleagues, withdrawing in a hail of bullets, killing a number of the attacking demonstrators. If this version of events is true, it could not have been President Yanukovych, who had planned a massacre of the opposition.
Under Opposition Control
It is still not clear, under whose command the obviously professional snipers had then proceeded to gun down numerous people at the Maidan. Back in the spring of 2014, research made by a German television team had revealed that the snipers were firing from the upper floors of the “Ukraina” Hotel at the Maidan. A BBC correspondent, who was an eyewitness to the events of February 20, had spotted a sniper in a window high up in the building. At the time in question, the hotel was under the control of the opposition, who strictly regulated entry onto the premises. The suspicion “that Yanukovych was not behind the snipers, but rather someone from the new coalition,” had also been expressed by the Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet to the head of the EU’s foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, already in early March. He quoted Yanukovych’s opponents as his source. The objective would have been to escalate the violence to provoke the ultimate overthrow of the government. Attorneys for the victims are still complaining that an official investigation of the massacre has been stagnating and not seriously pursued. Initially, an investigation of the bloodbath by international experts had been demanded, however that also never materialized.
That, in spite of all the unsolved mysteries surrounding it, this massacre is still today used to justify Yanukovych’s overthrow, brings to mind similar methods used in earlier conflicts — for example to justify the military aggression against Yugoslavia. At the time, the “Račak Massacre” was given the most attention. On January 16, 1999, more than 40 Kosovo-Albanian bodies were discovered in that south Serbian village. At the time, the claims by western politicians and the media that Serbian forces of repression had executed them have never been followed up with tangible evidence. Numerous indications point to the possibility that they had been killed in combat between Yugoslav government units and the UÇK terrorist militia. The Finnish forensics specialist, Helena Ranta, later complained, she had been put under pressure, and was given “instructions” by Germany’s “special emissary” for Kosovo, Christian Pauls: It had been clear “that a whole group of governments had an interest in a version of what had happened in Račak,” which “placed responsibility on the Serbian side.” Like the deadly sniper fire at the Maidan on February 20, 2014, the causes of these deaths have never been solved.
Other incidents prior to and during the war on Yugoslavia also demonstrate how, long before the Ukraine conflict, news reporting in the “free West” was being massively manipulated. For example, one can see this from the account furnished by German military experts, who, on behalf of the OSCE and an EU mission, had observed the situation in the south Serbian province at the turn of the year 1998/1999. Brig. Gen. Heinz Loquai, was stationed at the German OSCE representation in Vienna, in early 1999. In his conversation with german-foreign-policy.com, he recalls that on March 18/19 he had read in an OSCE report on Kosovo, “the situation throughout the province remains tense, but quiet.” Even experts at the Ministry of Defense had drawn the conclusion on March 23, “still no trends toward ethnic cleansing are discernible.” This was “the situation,” says Loquai, that Rudolf Scharping, Defense Minister at the time, and his colleague, Foreign Minister Josef Fischer had “compared to the Holocaust, with its murder of six million Jews,” to justify the aggression on March 24, 1999.
Nothing to do with Reality
Dietmar Hartwig, a former Bundeswehr officer, who had been stationed in Kosovo as an observer for the EU, in 1999 up until the war, made similar observations. Hartwig explains, he had had no knowledge of “large-scale, or even state-ordered crimes against the population” — “neither from the reports of his fellow observers, nor from his conversations with leading Kosovo Albanian politicians.” Yet the media was constantly claiming that Serbian security forces were using senseless brutality on the population.” Hartwig notes that “media information that I encountered during and since I was in Kosovo, gave a picture that had nothing to do with the reality.” This is also the case of the alleged “Operation Horseshoe,” cobbled together from dubious, intelligence service files and panhandled by the German Defense Minister, Rudolf Scharping (SPD) and the German government as a Yugoslav government plan. According to what SPD Whip, at the time, Peter Struck, told the Bundestag April 15, 1999, the paper supposedly depicted the plan “to depopulate Kosovo of ethnic Albanians.” This allegation was then trumpeted, without hesitation, by all the leading media organs in Germany, seriously weakening opposition to the war.
With this in mind, the current anti-Russian reporting in German media and recurring proof of media forgeries can be considered a normalcy in times of conflict escalation. Most recently, the Second German Public TV Channel (ZDF) had to admit that its news report alleging that more than 50 Russian tanks had entered Ukraine, had been illustrated with the photo of a Georgian tank from 2009. A graphic designer had “inadvertently transformed 2009 Georgian tanks into dateless Russian tanks.” “The ‘Heute.de’ program editor in charge” had been incapable of “recognizing ... the mistake,” explained ZDF. Last year, similar “mistakes” had harvested massive criticism. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) From the experience during the war on Yugoslavia, it seems unlikely that before an — at the moment unforeseeable — end of the conflict, there will be no change in the news reporting of major media organs nor in the lack of serious investigations of who was really responsible for those conflict-justifying massacres.
 Gabriel Gatehouse: The untold story of the Maidan massacre. www.bbc.co.uk 12.02.2015.
 Konrad Schuller: Die Hundertschaften und die dritte Kraft. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 07.02.2014.
 “Monitor” vom 11.04.2014. S. auch Legitimationskrise .
 S. dazu Die Kiewer Eskalationsstrategie .
 Markus Bickel: Kein Interesse an gefallenen Serben. www.berliner-zeitung.de 17.01.2004.
 S. dazu Interview mit Heinz Loquai .
 Cathrin Schütz: “Medienbild hatte mit der Realität nichts zu tun”. junge Welt 26.02.2008.
 Deutscher Bundestag: Plenarprotokoll 14/32, 15.04.1999.
 Marvin Schade: Immer wieder Panzer-Probleme: ZDFheute.de zeigt falsche Russenpanzer zu Ukraine-Ticker. meedia.de 16.02.2015.
 See Moskaus Drang nach Westen .
3. In keeping with its Orwellian coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, the New York Times sourced the Azov Battalion for an account of the fighting in, and around, Mariupol without mentioning the Azov’s Nazi affiliation and heraldry.
. . . . On Wednesday, the Times published a long article  by Rick Lyman that presented the situation in the port city of Mariupol as if the advance by ethnic Russian rebels amounted to the arrival of barbarians at the gate while the inhabitants were being bravely defended by the forces of civilization. But then the article cites the key role in that defense played by the Azov battalion.
Though the article provides much color and detail – and quotes an Azov leader prominently – it leaves out one salient and well-known fact about the Azov battalion, that it is composed of neo-Nazis who display the Swastika, SS markings and other Nazi symbols.
But this inconvenient truth – that neo-Nazis have been central to Kiev’s “self-defense forces” from last February’s coup to the present – would presumably disrupt the desired propaganda message. So the New York Times just ignores it and refers to Azov as simply a “volunteer unit.” . . . .
4. In similar fashion, “The Gray Lady,” as the Times is known, accessed Oleh (“Oleg”) Lyashko, the Ukrainian parliamentarian and one of the founders of the Azov Battalion. Note that Lyashko is part of the majority coalition in the Ukraine parliament.
. . . . Oleg Lyashko, the leader of the Radical Party, which is part of the majority coalition in Ukraine’s Parliament, said that Mr. Poroshenko had made overly steep concessions to Mr. Putin that he described as a ticking “time bomb” that would give Russia a premise for resuming hostilities in the east. . . .
5a. Republican Senator James Inhofe presented photographs of “Russian military equipment” in Ukraine that were quickly debunked. The men are members of the “punisher” battalions , as discussed in FTR #826 .
Note that one of the members of the list , Anatolli Pinchuk, is listed as “president of the UPA”. Is that a reference to the UPA ? Because, if so, that adds and extra level of ‘yikes ’ to the whole situation.
A delegation consisting of Ukrainian members of parliament, a paramilitary leader, and one Georgetown professor gave a senator’s office photos purportedly of the Russian military invading Ukraine that were later debunked.Several photos allegedly showing  the Russian military in eastern Ukraine that ran on the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday were quickly shown  to actually be photos from other conflicts, some from years earlier. A spokesperson for Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Free Beacon that the office had procured the photos from a “Ukrainian delegation” in December.
Inhofe’s office provided BuzzFeed News the list of names of the people who provided the misleading photos:
[see list ]
None of the Ukrainians on the list are particularly well-known to Westerners and the list does not include high-level government officials.
A spokesperson for Inhofe said that the delegation had provided the images in print form when Inhofe was the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and that Karber, who led the delegation, had recently said that the photos were authentic when staff reached out to him.
“Prior to using these photos this week, staff reached out to the Georgetown professor who said he could confirm that these photos were taken between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5 in Eastern Ukraine,” Inhofe spokesperson Donelle Harder said. “We scanned them in to provide to the Free Beacon. Since they were in print form and we had other sources confirm that these photos match the scenario on the ground, we failed to Google image search them.” Harder said that the office had learned that one of the photos is an AP photo from the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, and the office was able to find two others online here  and here. .
“The Ukrainian parliament members who gave us these photos in print form as if it came directly from a camera really did themselves a disservice,” Inhofe said in a statement. “We felt confident to release these photos because the images match the reporting of what is going on in the region. I was furious to learn one of the photos provided now appears to be falsified from an AP photo taken in 2008. . . . .”
5b. Note that one of the members of the list, Anatolli Pinchuk, is listed as “president of the UPA”. Is that a reference to the UPA? Because, if so, that adds an extra level of ‘yikes’ to the whole situation.
5c. In previous programs dealing with the Ukraine crisis, we have noted the role of the Ukrainian diaspora  in the generation , perpetuation and accession  of fascism in Ukraine. It comes as no surprise to see that there are apparently Pravy Sektor (“Right Sector”) cells in the U.S.
It is impossible, under the circumstances, to encapsulate our ongoing analysis of the Ukraine crisis. Please utilize the extensive archive of material presented in the programs recorded to date.
Last week the New York City stop of the Material Evidence photo exhibition, spotlighting the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, was attacked . The curator was maced, the exhibit was vandalized, and fascist propaganda was left behind. As unlikely as an attack on a well-heeled art gallery may seem, it’s only the latest in a number of similar events in the city, which are tied to expatriate fascist organizing. . . .
. . . . Although the identities of the alleged assailants are unknown, the New York Material Evidence show has been the focus of  some ire from some Ukrainian nationalists since its opening, who claim it is a pro-Russia propaganda vehicle. The flyers left behind, among other things, apparently promoted the Azov Battalion, an anti-separatist Ukraine volunteer military group with links  to the ultranationalist Right Sector party, and considered by some to be fascists. (The Battalion is also the favored place  for foreign Far Right volunteers.) In Chicago this past  Spring, a group of 40 Ukrainian nationalists attempted to disrupt an anti-fascist meeting about the Ukraine situation; they left behind Right Sector literature.
In 2014, Right Sector has had chapter meetings in New York and New Jersey. They have participated in at least two public demonstrations at the Russian consulate in New York, and have been active in fundraising for non-military supplies for the Ukrainian military.
This kind of expatriate (and particularly Ukrainian) organizing by Far Right and neo-fascists in the United States is nothing new. Russ Bellant documented it for Political Research Associates in the 1980s in his book  Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party: Domestic Fascist Networks and Their Effect on U.S. Cold War Politics (PRA/South End Press, 1991). Among the various Far Right and fascist groups with ties to Nazi collaborationist governments that Bellant documented include the OUN‑B (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Bandera), which was a collaborator with the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. During the Cold War, their leadership was in exile in the United States, where they were able to exercise influence on the Reagan administration. The OUN‑B is seen by some as the ideological predecessor of the Right Sector. . . .
6. Although The Ministry of Truth will never admit it, occasional cracks in the disinformation wall surrounding the Ukraine crisis have appeared. “On the ground” in Ukraine, George Eliason informs us of a couple of slip-ups on Channel 5, owned (ironically) by president Petro Poroshenko.
Both a Ukrainian general and one of that country’s intelligence officers let slip that there has been no “Russian invasion,” as we have been told.
Throughout this conflict every once in a while Ukrainian government officials have come clean about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
To the chagrin of the Obama Administration and NATO Russia has not invaded. This latest admission came twice today. Once by inference and the other a direct admission from Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Victor Muzhenko.
During a briefing with General Muzenko  he announced that “To date, we have only the involvement of some members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Russian citizens that are part of illegal armed groups involved in the fighting. We are not fighting with the regular Russian Army. We have enough forces and means in order to inflict a final defeat even with illegal armed formation present. “- he said.
If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Poroshenko regime which has consistently stated Russia had invaded and that Ukraine is fighting the Russian Army, it was Petro Poroshenko’s own TV station Channel 5 news that broke the story!
Earlier in the day Ukrainian Military spokesman Lusenko said he was worried if a provocation happened Russia would justify bringing in the Russian army.
This was perfectly in line with General Muzenko’s statements which fully destroy western propaganda and agree the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a hoax. . . .
7. Once again we are being treated to photographs purporting to show: Russian military units “invading” Ukraine and/or Russian military equipment being “given to the rebels” by the Russian military.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine–Geoffrey Pyatt–Tweeted what are supposed to be pictures “proving” direct Russian military assistance to Ukraine after the “Minsk II” cease fire.
Apart from the lack of coordinates on the photographs and the dubious nature of the images presented, these pictures come to us courtesy of DigitalGlobe, discussed at length in FTR #811 .
DigitalGlobe is neither a credible, nor a disinterested party in this.
. . . . The group responsible for monitoring the ceasefire said it remained hopeful, despite there being “quite serious live fire” in several areas.
“We feel that the Minsk agreements are really the only available roadmap to a sustainable ceasefire,” Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE, told the BBC. . . .
8. Kiev has a solution to its military desertion problem: shoot the deserters :
The Ukrainian parliament has approved a motion  to allow commanders in the armed forces to fire at army deserters and use force against servicemen for “negligence” or “drinking alcohol” while on duty.
The motion was discussed in a session yesterday afternoon, with 260 MPs passing it out of a total 320, according to Ukrainian news agency Unian — surpassing the necessary 226 votes needed to pass the bill. It will now be added as an amendment to the current Ukrainian legislation on the regulations imposed on commanders’ actions toward their charges.
The act will allow commanders to “utilise drastic measures” — defined by the UN  as the use of force and firearms — towards officers caught acting “negligently” or in violation to the code of conduct during combat duty or while they are on border patrol. The new act adds “drinking alcoholic or low-alcoholic beverages” while on duty as an offence punishable by force.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international watchdog documenting violations of human rights, has spoken out against the move. “Using force to harm or kill when someone is ‘negligent, deserts or drinks alcohol while on duty’ is unlawful under international law,” Yulia Gorbunova, a HRW researcher in Ukraine says.
“It is a disproportionate response which could constitute punishment in violation of international standards,” she adds. “Force in the army can only be used in self defense or where the person is posing an imminent threat to others. Shoot to kill would be an extrajudicial execution and is unlawful,” Gorbunova concludes.
When asked if there was a serious problem with discipline and desertion within the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian armed forces did not comment.
Balázs Jarábik, a researcher for the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, specialising in central and eastern Europe, believes the new law is not as surprising as it seems, but rather “an old Soviet practice.” Asked if the new law indicates a lack of commitment in Ukrainian troops he replied “Not at all.”
“The armed forces are very committed — look at the battle for Donetsk airport or the fierce fight for Debaltsevo. Kiev could not even order those folks to withdraw,” he said referring to the fierce battle for Donetsk’s airport which has been ongoing since September, and the Ukrainian forces defence of the small town of Debaltsevo in the face of advancing rebel militants.
According to Jarábik, Kiev’s major military challenges are to do with its administration, and issues regarding recruitment and allegations of corrupt leadership are particularly problematic.
“Crucially, Ukraine failed to ensure the necessary quantity of soldiers altogether in the standard four mobilization rounds during the last annual cycle,” Jarábik adds. According to a statement  made by the deputy commander of Ukraine’s armed forces Vladimir Talaylay, 78,000 people had been called up for duty by last month, but only 46,000 new recruits were enlisted into the military as a result.
The Ukrainian armed forces announced earlier this week  they may resort to call up women aged over 20 in the next recruitment cycle to make up the numbers.
Along with Ukraine’s troops a series of volunteer battalions have formed with the backing of wealthy businessmen, the most famous of whom is Igor Kolomoyski, who reportedly funds the volunteer Aidar, Azov, Dnepr‑1, Dnepr‑2 and Donbas battalions.
The existence of such units has remained a controversial topic as there are no universal rules about who regulates their practices.
“Many of the volunteer battalions partially assimilated in the army are paid for by oligarchs,” Jarabik says. “Ukrainians increased their military spending this year but indeed corruption remains a big issue,” Jarábik adds.
9. Robert Parry of Consortium News is one of the few noting the economic, as well as ethnic considerations in the civil war.
. . . . step back for a minute and look at the crisis through the eyes of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
A year ago, they saw what looked to them like a U.S.-organized coup, relying on both propaganda and violence to overthrow their constitutionally elected government. They also detected a strong anti-ethnic-Russian bias in the new regime with its efforts to strip away Russian as an official language. And they witnessed brutal killings of ethnic Russians – at the hands of neo-Nazis – in Odessa and elsewhere.
Their economic interests, too, were threatened since they worked at companies that did substantial business with Russia. If those historic ties to Russia were cut in favor of special economic relations with the European Union, the eastern Ukrainians would be among the worst losers.
Remember, that before backing away from the proposed association agreement with the EU in November 2013, Yanukovych received a report from economic experts in Kiev that Ukraine stood to lose $160 billion if it broke with Russia, as Der Spiegel reported . Much of that economic pain would have fallen on eastern Ukraine.
On the rare occasions when American journalists have actually talked with eastern Ukrainians, this fear of the economic consequences has been a core concern, along with worries about the harsh austerity plan that the International Monetary Fund prescribed as a prerequisite for access to Western loans.
For instance, in April 2014, Washington Post correspondent Anthony Faiola reported  from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom he interviewed said their resistance to the new Kiev regime was driven by fear over “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder. . . .
Joining Ukrainian-American Natalie Jaresko (Minister of Finance) will be Jaanika Merilo, an Estonian of Ukrainian heritage. Merilo’s designated task will be to attract foreign investment.
Merilo has demonstrated a penchant for suggestive photographs and quasi‑b & d and s & m staging. Ms. Merilo has not displayed what would be considered professional conduct for a businesswoman. She has also been a member of the Estonian parliament!
If she were, say, Miley Cyrus, we would expect such behavior.
It is strikingly inappropriate, under the circumstances.
Examining the pictures Ms. Merilo has posted of herself, we cannot help but wonder just WHAT type of “investment” she is trying to “attract,” and WHERE, exactly, it is going to be “invested?”
Good grief, Charlie Brown!
- The case for foreign investment in Ukraine is to be made by a specialist in sado-masochism, cosmetic surgery, and undress. Jaanika Merilo (above), 35, a member of the Estonian parliament of Ukrainian origin with US and UK training, was appointed the government advisor on foreign investment in Kiev on January 5. She will report to Aivaras Abromavičius, a Lithuanian and Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade since December. In a press campaign this month which Merilo has authorized, she likens herself to the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie .
In London and Brussels, Merrilo has promoted  herself as the executive head of the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), which is backed by Horizon Capital, the US Government-funded operation of Natalie Jaresko , who became the Ukrainian Finance Minister on December 3. The Warsaw Stock Exchange and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are backers of Merilo’s association, through which she also claims to be a protégé of Sir Richard Branson (below, left), and a “Facebook friend ” of Edward Lucas (right). Lucas is the first e‑citizen of Estonia, and is basing his media promotion business there . . . .
11. Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili–a fugitive from the country he once governed–is another or Poroshenko’s new “advisers.” Saakashvili’s criminal record doesn’t seem to have been an object to his assumption of office.
Saakashvili’s appointment calls to mind the deep political connections underlying more than a century and a half of anti-Russian/anti-Soviet maneuvering in the Earth Island. Georgia  was part of the Promethean League , sort of a pre-WACL  WACL .
Saakashvili gave open recognition to the historical importance of the Prometheans by unveiling a statue of Prmethes in Georgia .
Note than Saakashvili is a wanted criminal in the country he once governed.
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was Friday officially confirmed as adviser to the Ukrainian president, despite being wanted for crimes in his home country.
Saakashvili will be head of the Advisory International Council of Reforms, a body subordinate to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.
“The Advisory International Council of Reforms is a consultative body the main task of which is to elaborate proposals and recommendations on the implementation of reforms in Ukraine taking into account the best international experience,” a statement  published on the official website of Poroshenko reads.
Prosecutors in Georgia have charged Saakashvili in four different criminal cases, which include covering up the murder  of a 28 year old bank employee in 2006.
Toward the end of his nearly ten years term – the last year in a fragile power-sharing agreement with a hostile coalition – his rule became increasingly unpopular. The coalition, called Georgian Dream, won a landslide victory in 2012 on a promise to ‘restore justice’, and proceeded to put former officials on trial and free over half of all prisoners in the country based on the perception that there were too many miscarriages of justice to go through each case individually.
Last year also Saakashvili personally was charged. He is currently wanted for covering up the murder  of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani in 2006, for ordering the beating  of a parliamentarian in 2005, embezzlement  of more than four million dollars, and for ordering  the violent dispersal of an opposition rally and storming of a TV studio in 2008. . . .
12. It is less than comforting to contemplate that a criminal like Saakashvili will be handling arms purchases for Ukraine.
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was appointed Friday as the chairman of Ukraine’s international consultative reform council, has said he will coordinate the issue of arms supplies to Kiev, TASS reported.
“Now it is most important to help Ukraine with weapons. Over the next several days, I will be coordinating this,” Saakashvili told a Ukrainian TV channel.
US Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday the arms supplies to the war-torn Ukraine are still on the table even after this week’s signing of the new Minsk agreements.
In comments to his appointment to the post, Saakashvili, who earlier refused to obtain the Ukrainian citizenship, said: “I am a free politician and a Georgian citizen, all other proposals on getting Ukraine’s citizenship were not fitted in a whole strategy, and of course, I should return to my country,” he said.
The decree published on Friday says that the council will be a consultative agency under the Ukrainian president tasked to provide proposals and recommendations on reforms in Ukraine on the basis of the best international experience.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saakashvili, who has unique knowledge and experience and has in fact worked as a free-lance advisor on Ukrainian reforms, has finally received his official status.
President Poroshenko said Saakashvili would become “Ukraine’s representative abroad and at the same time the representative of the international community in Ukraine.”
Earlier reports said Saakashvili could head the country’s newly created Anti-Corruption Bureau. However, he was not included on the published list of candidates for the post.
Saakashvili was the president of Georgia for two consecutive terms from January 2004 to November 2013. In his home country, Saakashvili is accused of embezzling state funds. In September, the property of the ex-president and his family members was arrested. Saakashvili’s personal bank accounts in Georgia were also arrested.
13. Exemplifying the extremism at the foundation of the government in Ukraine is a call by Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister for the West to risk nuclear war in order to fulfill the Kiev regime’s goals.
A senior Ukrainian official is urging the West to risk a nuclear conflagration in support of a “full-scale war” with Russia that he says authorities in Kiev are now seeking, another sign of the extremism that pervades the year-old, U.S.-backed regime in Kiev.
In a recent interview with Canada’s CBC Radio , Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said, “Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore, in Ukraine — we’ve lost so many people of ours, we’ve lost so much of our territory.”
Prystaiko added, “However dangerous it sounds, we have to stop [Russian President Vladimir Putin] somehow. For the sake of the Russian nation as well, not just for the Ukrainians and Europe.” The deputy foreign minister announced that Kiev is preparing for “full-scale war” against Russia and wants the West to supply lethal weapons and training so the fight can be taken to Russia.
“What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little,” Prystaiko said.
Yet, what is perhaps most remarkable about Prystaiko’s “Dr. Strangelove” moment is that it produced almost no reaction in the West. You have a senior Ukrainian official saying that the world should risk nuclear war over a civil conflict in Ukraine between its west, which favors closer ties to Europe, and its east, which wants to maintain its historic relationship with Russia.
Why should such a pedestrian dispute justify the possibility of vaporizing millions of human beings and conceivably ending life on the planet? Yet, instead of working out a plan for a federalized structure in Ukraine or even allowing people in the east to vote on whether they want to remain under the control of the Kiev regime, the world is supposed to risk nuclear annihilation.
But therein lies one of the under-reported stories of the Ukraine crisis: There is a madness to the Kiev regime that the West doesn’t want to recognize because to do so would upend the dominant narrative of “our” good guys vs. Russia’s bad guys. If we begin to notice that the right-wing regime in Kiev is crazy and brutal, we might also start questioning the “Russian aggression” mantra. . . .
. . . . But it’s now clear that far-right extremism is not limited to the militias sent to kill ethnic Russians in the east or to the presence of a few neo-Nazi officials who were rewarded for their roles in last February’s coup. The fanaticism is present at the center of the Kiev regime, including its deputy foreign minister who speaks casually about a “full-scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia. . . .
. . . . To a degree that I have not seen in my 37 years covering Washington, there is a totalitarian quality to the West’s current “group think” about Ukraine with virtually no one who “matters” deviating from the black-and-white depiction of good guys in Kiev vs. bad guys in Donetsk and Moscow. . . .