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Ukraine will have more Days of Mourning until West stands up to Putin


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya (L) argues with protesters during rally against Russian President Vladimir Putin in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014.Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya (L) argues with protesters during rally against Russian President Vladimir Putin in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014. Some 300 people overturned vehicles of the embassy staff, tore down the Russian flag from the flagpole and threw eggs at the building in protest after pro-Russian rebels killed 49 Ukrainian troops by downing a military plane in the deadliest attack against federal forces in the two-month insurgency. AFP PHOTO/ YURIY KIRNICHNY © AFP

By all means, let’s condemn the vandals’  attack on the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on June 14. Let’s criticize Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “dickhead” as he tried to quell those June 14 protests in Kyiv. Although, in fairness to Deshchytsia, “dickhead” is really one of the mildest terms that could apply to the Kremlin murderer-in-chief.

But, for goodness sake, these two offenses are not the moral equivalent of shooting down a plane filled with 49 men and killing them all. It’s nothing compared to launching a violent campaign of destabilization in two eastern Ukrainian provinces home to 15 percent of the nation’s population, or taking at gunpoint the Crimean peninsula, home to another 5 percent of the nation.

Putin’s separatists gave Ukraine yet another national Day of Mourning. How many have we had in the last year? I am losing count. I do know that the murders bring to 115 the number of Ukrainian servicemen killed, slightly more than the number of EuroMaidan Revolution demonstrators killed, allegedly on the orders of overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych.

But while vandalizing cars and calling someone a bad name does not equate to mass murder, you’d hardly know it by the similar wordings of statements that applied to all three incidents. In fact, some Westerners merely expressed great concern about the murders of Ukrainians while strongly condemning the vandalism outside the Russian Embassy in Kyiv.

No wonder Ukrainians — and anybody else who understands what is happening — are frustrated beyond words.

So, as much as I hope to be proven wrong, there will be more Days of Mourning in Ukraine, meaning more people killed, until Russia gives up its military campaign and returns Crimea to Ukraine. There will be more violence until the West stops issuing statements of great concern and starts isolating and sanctioning Putin’s Russia for the outlaw regime that it has become.

I am coming to the conclusion that Western government and business leaders will deny any amount of evidence or reality of Russia’s war against Ukraine simply because they cowardly want to keep making money from energy deals and other trade with the Kremlin.

The West has overlooked: Russia’s forcible annexation of Crimea; the attacks killing nearly 300 and leaving thousands of internal refugees in Ukraine’s eastern oblasts; the harboring of Ukraine’s fugitive former government, including alleged mass murderers and thieves; the denigration of Ukraine’s leaders and the entity known as the Ukrainian nation.

The price for Putin has been so laughably small that he will keep waging his war because he knows the West — and the Ukrainian army — are not going to stand in his way. Diplomats who tell you that Putin is feeling the pressure should be told they are living in a fantasy world.

Ukraine will pay the biggest price again in all of this, just as it has done through the centuries, because of its unfortunate geographic proximity to Russia.

But the West will also suffer a lot, soon and for a long time, more so until it finally discovers that the evil intentions of Putin and the hatred that he is stirring up against democratic nations in the world must be stopped.


Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner can be reached at bribonner@gmail.com

Brian Bonner: Kyiv Post

Diplomatic community condemns protests outside Russian Embassy


A demonstrator with his face covered holds up the license plate from a flipped car during a rally against the Russian president in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014.A demonstrator with his face covered holds up the license plate from a flipped car during a rally against the Russian president in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014. Some 300 people overturned vehicles of the embassy staff, teared down the Russian flag from the flagpole and threw eggs at the building in protest after pro-Russian rebels killed 49 Ukrainian troops by downing a military plane in the deadliest attack against federal forces in the two-month insurgency. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY © AFP

Protests outside the Russian Embassy on Povitroflotsky avenue in Kyiv, that took place on June 14 as a reaction to shooting down the Ukrainian air carrier with 49 people near Luhansk, spurred a new wave of emotional statements. No major violence occurred during the protest action involving some 200 people, many of them masked, however it is seen as an excessive aggression by many.

“Protesters’ indignation was used for attempts to conduct provocative actions that do not respond to conventional norms of diplomatic relations and protection of diplomatic institutions,” said Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.

It adds that some of the protesters have been detained, while the Foreign Ministry does as much as it can to guarantee the security of Russian Embassy. Ukraine’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia, along with Interior Minister Arsen Avakov arrived to the embassy late at night on June 14 to calm down the situation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov officially asked Didier Burkhalter, chairman of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to help in preventing the provocations near Russia’s Embassy in Kyiv. Moreover, Russian representative to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin is going to raise the issue at a United Nations Security Council meeting.

“Lavrov is out of his mind. He demands Ukraine to fulfill the security guarantees of the diplomatic mission according to 1961 Vienna Convention. It would be better for him to recall Russia trampling its guarantees to Ukraine under 1994 Budapest memorandum,” replied Taras Berezovets, head of Kyiv-based Berta Communications political consultancy, on his Facebook page.

Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov has not released any public comments on the recent events.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department official Twitter account spread the following statement: “US condemns attack on Russia’s Embassy in Kyiv, calls on Ukrainian authorities to provide adequate security.”

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the UN, came up with a condemnation of the protests near the Russian Embassy too. “Urge Ukrainian authorities to meet their Vienna convention obligations to provide security,” she wrote in a post on Twitter.

Another prominent American diplomat – Steven Pifer, who served as country’s ambassador to Ukraine in 1998-2000 – wrote: “Fully understand Ukraine’s anger at Russia, but trashing Russian embassy is not a good idea. (Will) likely lead to trashing of Ukraine’s embassy in Moscow.”

Pifer was right. Around 200 people gathered around Ukrainian Embassy on Leontievskiy Pereulok in Moscow on June 14 to demonstrate their readiness to reply to protests in Kyiv. They were holding the banners saying “Fascism will not be allowed!”, “Bastards, hands off the Russian diplomats”, “We won’t leave ours!”, “No more spilling of Russian blood!”. Local police arrived to control the ongoing protest.

“Hooligans in Kyiv, who organized a riot near the Russian Embassy, helped (Russian President Vladimir) Putin a lot. As well as a lack of action on Ukrainian police’s side,” said Boris Nemtsov, leader of Parnas, Russian political party that actively opposes Putin’s policy.

“Picture of overturned, crashed cars and explosive packages thrown on the territory of embassy – that’s just what Kremlin lacked to justify its aggression towards Ukraine,” he added. “(Ukrainian President Petro) Poroshenko must bring the order and punish those who are guilty in organizing the provocations.”

Storming the Russian Embassy in Kyiv is a sign for those who do not take a radical stance on Ukraine and try to negotiate with the Poroshenko’s government, wrote Kirill Frolov of Institute of CIS Countries, Moscow-based think tank that strongly supports Putin and his political decisions.

Kyiv Post

Sorrow and anger as Ukraine mourns military crash victims


People stand in front of half-mast Ukrainian flags in front of the Ukrainian President's presidential residence during a demonstration rally in Kiev on June 15, 2014.People stand in front of half-mast Ukrainian flags in front of the Ukrainian President’s presidential residence during a demonstration rally in Kiev on June 15, 2014. The flags were flown at half-mast to pay hommage to the 49 Ukrainian troops killed when pro-Kremlin rebels downed their military plane on June 14. Flags were lowered across the crisis-hit nation while television stations inserted an image of a burning candle into their frames after Ukrainian forces suffered the single biggest loss of life in their escalating two-month push to reclaim control of separatist areas of the industrial east. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY © AFP

As Ukraine observed a national day of mourning Sunday, June 15 after the deaths of 49 servicemen, two strong emotions washed over its capital: sorrow, and anger.

At midday Sunday, the nation observed a minute of silence in mourning for 49 soldiers who were killed Saturday when pro-Russian fighters shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane.

President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to punish those responsible. He said in a statement the perpetrators will meet with “an adequate response.”  (more…)

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