Saturday, May 03, 2014

Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine! (Part 2)

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Reviving the Cold War
   The Ukraine, Russia and the US
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F. William Engdahl on the Ukraine
Brass check TV
The US has targeted Russia ever since the Communists threw out the Czar.
With the UK's prompting, it even sent in an army after World Word I to try to destabilize the country.
After World War II came the long, protracted and very expensive Cold War.
When the Soviet Union, that was supposed to be the end of it. (Remember the 'peace dividend?')
 For a time, fake terrorists in caves kept the dollars flowing to the Pentagon, but now that everyone over the mental age of five years old has figured that out, a new and improved enemy is needed.
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Ukraine, Russia and the WWIII Threat with Helga Zepp-LaRouche
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Ukraine: Stupidity in Action
April 16, 2014
It’s all too easy to imagine the high-level meeting in Kiev where the Ukrainian government decided on its next move. It probably sounded a bit like this: "Very well, gentlemen, we are agreed on our strategy for dealing with the Russians. First we will figure out exactly what they are trying to force us to do. And then we’ll do it."
Of course, it sounds stupid when you put it like that, but this does appear to be the Ukrainian strategy in a nutshell. Or as Ukrainian Security Service General Vasyl Krutov put it, "They [separatists] must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed."
As I write this, the first reports are coming in of Ukrainian troops trying to take back control of occupied government buildings in the east of the country by force. This cannot be done without killing people. And that is exactly what the Russians want.
The provisional government of Ukraine does have a serious problem in the east, of course. It is trying to organise a national election in less than six weeks’ time that will produce a government whose legitimacy nobody can question. There may be a referendum on constitutional reform at the same time. It will be harder to do that credibly if government buildings in half a dozen eastern cities are occupied by armed men.
On the other hand, if Russia’s President Vladimir Putin really wants to seize control of eastern Ukraine, or even all the parts of Ukraine where there are significant numbers of Russian-speakers, what he needs is a pretext. It’s already clear from Russian official statements what that pretext would be: that the "fascist puppet government" in Kiev is "killing its own citizens" just because they are Russians or Russian-speakers.
It is doubtful that all or even most of the heavily armed men in the occupied buildings are actually Ukrainian citizens. There was no separatist political organisation in the east before the revolution that was capable of producing hundreds of volunteers with military training, wearing identical uniforms and carrying identical Russian-made weapons, and using them to seize multiple targets in different cities simultaneously.
It looks like Crimea all over again: a lot of the "local militia" there were also really Spetsnaz (Russian special forces). But there is a big difference: the Donbas, the region where Donetsk and the other affected cities are located, does not contain a civilian majority that actually wants to be ruled by Russia. If it did, the pro-Russians could just come out in non-violent crowds, like the protesters did in Kiev, and take control of the region peacefully.
The Crimean tactics won’t work in the Donbas, because most people there see themselves as Ukrainian even though they speak Russian on a daily basis. So there are no peaceful mass protests demanding "unification" with Russia, and the small groups of armed men who have seized buildings in various cities will only provide a usable pretext for a Russian invasion if some of them are killed by Ukrainian government forces.
The truth, mercifully withheld from the soldiers in the occupied buildings, is that they are there to provide some martyrs – and when they die, Spetsnaz or not, they will be portrayed as local people killed by the government in Kiev. Then the Russian forces will move, to "save" the oppressed Russian-speakers of eastern Ukraine from the fascists in Kiev.
So why is the Ukrainian government going to provide Putin with exactly that pretext by attacking the buildings in question? It would be inconvenient, but quite possible, just to blockade them, leave them in Russian hands and carry on the election around them. Or, if the authorities in Kiev find that too embarrassing, then just cut off the water and wait for the occupiers to come out peacefully. A week or two should be enough.
You would think that the government in Kiev, which came to power itself by mainly non-violent means, and finally won when the Yanukovych government discredited itself by the massive use of force, would understand the importance of not killing people. You would, it appears, be wrong to think that.
Maybe this conclusion is premature. Maybe, when the "volunteers" occupying the government buildings don’t flee at the first shots – and they won’t; these guys are professionals – the Ukrainian troops will be ordered to stop. Common sense could yet prevail. But the Kiev government has been doing the wrong things in the east for so long that a last-minute change of heart seems unlikely.
And by the way, could somebody please explain to the Central Intelligence Agency why the optics of sending John Brennan, the director of the CIA, to Kiev last Sunday were so bad? And why swatting the critics away by saying that it was just a "routine" visit made matters worse?
Governments that are "routinely" visited by the head of the CIA are usually puppet governments. Though to be fair, in this case it’s not so much a puppet government as a very stupid government.
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The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

Global Research, May 07, 2014

Not since the US and EU took over Eastern Europe, including the Baltic countries, East Germany, Poland and the Balkans and converted them into military outposts of NATO and economic vassals, have the Western powers moved so aggressively to seize a strategic country, such as the Ukraine, posing an existential threat to Russia.
Up until 2013 the Ukraine was a ‘buffer state’, basically a non-aligned country, with economic ties to both the EU and Russia. Ruled by a regime closely tied to local, European, Israeli and Russian based oligarchs, the political elite was a product of a political upheaval in 2004, (the so-called "Orange Revolution") funded by the US. Subsequently, for the better part of a decade the Ukraine underwent a failed experiment in Western backed ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies. After nearly two decades of political penetration, the US and EU were deeply entrenched in the political system via long-standing funding of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), political parties and paramilitary groups.
The strategy of the US and EU was to install a pliant regime which would bring Ukraine into the European Common Market and NATO as a subordinate client state. Negotiations between the EU and the Ukraine government proceeded slowly. They eventually faltered because of the onerous conditions demanded by the EU and the more favorable economic concessions and subsidies offered by Russia. Having failed to negotiate the annexation of the Ukraine to the EU, and not willing to await scheduled constitutional elections, the NATO powers activated their well-financed and organized NGOs, client political leaders and armed paramilitary groups to violently overthrow the elected government. The violent putsch succeeded and a US-appointed civilian-military junta took power.
The junta was composed of pliant neo-liberal and chauvinist neo-fascist ‘ministers’. The former were hand-picked by the US, to administer and enforce a new political and economic order, including privatization of public firms and resources, breaking trade and investment ties with Russia, eliminating a treaty allowing the Russian naval base in Crimea and ending military-industrial exports to Russia. The neo-fascists and sectors of the military and police were appointed to ministerial positions in order to violently repress any pro-democracy opposition in the West and East. They oversaw the repression of bilingual speakers (Russian-Ukrainian), institutions and practices – turning the opposition to the US-NATO imposed coup regime into an ethnic opposition. They purged all elected opposition office holders in the West and East and appointed local governors by fiat – essentially creating a martial law regime.
The Strategic Targets of the NATO-Junta

NATOs violent, high-risk seizure of the Ukraine was driven by several strategic military objectives. These included:
1.) The ousting of Russia from its military bases in Crimea – turning them into NATO bases facing Russia.
2.) The conversion of the Ukraine into a springboard for penetrating Southern Russia and the Caucasus; a forward position to politically manage and support liberal pro-NATO parties and NGOs within Russia.
3.) The disruption of key sectors of the Russian military defense industry, linked to the Ukrainian factories, by ending the export of critical engines and parts to Russia.
The Ukraine had long been an important part of the Soviet Union’s military industrial complex. NATO planners behind the putsch were keenly aware that one-third of the Soviet defense industry had remained in the Ukraine after the break-up of the USSR and that forty percent of the Ukraine’s exports to Russia, until recently, consisted of armaments and related machinery. More specifically, the Motor-Sikh plant in Eastern Ukraine manufactured most of the engines for Russian military helicopters including a current contract to supply engines for one thousand attack helicopters. NATO strategists immediately directed their political stooges in Kiev to suspend all military deliveries to Russia, including medium-range air-to air-missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles, transport planes and space rockets (Financial Times, 4/21/14, p3). US and EU military strategists viewed the Kiev putsch as a way to undermine Russian air, sea and border defenses. President Putin has acknowledged the blow but insists that Russia will be able to substitute domestic production for the critical parts within two years. This means the loss of thousands of skilled factory jobs in Eastern Ukraine.
4.) The military encirclement of Russia with forward NATO bases in the Ukraine matching those from the Baltic to the Balkans, from Turkey to the Caucasus and then onward from Georgia into the autonomous Russian Federation.
The US-EU encirclement of Russia is designed to end Russian access to the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. By encircling and confining Russia to an isolated landmass without ‘outlets to the sea’, US-EU empire builders seek to limit Russia’s role as a rival power center and possible counter-weight to its imperial ambitions in the Middle East, North Africa, Southwest Asia and the North Atlantic.
Ukraine Putsch: Integral to Imperial Expansion

The US and EU are intent on destroying independent, nationalist and non-aligned governments throughout the world and converting them into imperial satellites by whatever means are effective. For example, the current NATO-armed mercenary invasion of Syria is directed at overthrowing the nationalist, secular Assad government and establishing a pro-NATO vassal state, regardless of the bloody consequences to the diverse Syrian people. The attack on Syria serves multiple purposes: Eliminating a Russian ally and its Mediterranean naval base; undermining a supporter of Palestine and adversary of Israel; encircling the Islamic Republic of Iran and the powerful militant Hezbollah Party in Lebanon and establishing new military bases on Syrian soil.
The NATO seizure of the Ukraine has a multiplier effect that reaches ‘upward’ toward Russia and ‘downward’ toward the Middle East and consolidates control over its vast oil wealth.
The recent NATO wars against Russian allies or trading partners confirm this prognosis. In Libya, the independent, non-aligned policies of the Gadhafi regime stood out in stark contrast to the servile Western satellites like Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Gadhafi was overthrown and Libya destroyed via a massive NATO air assault. Egypt’s mass popular anti-Mubarak rebellion and emerging democracy were subverted by a military coup and eventually returned the country to the US-Israeli-NATO orbit – under a brutal dictator. Armed incursions by NATO proxy, Israel, against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the US-EU sanctions against Iran are all directed against potential allies or trading partners of Russia.
The US has moved forcefully from encircling Russia via ‘elections and free markets’ in Eastern Europe to relying on military force, death squads, terror and economic sanctions in the Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Asia.
Regime Change in Russia: from Global Power to Vassal State

Washington’s strategic objective is to isolate Russia from without, undermine its military capability and erode its economy, in order to strengthen NATO’s political and economic collaborators inside Russia – leading to its further fragmentation and return to the semi-vassal status.
The imperial strategic goal is to place neo-liberal political proxies in power in Moscow, just like the ones who oversaw the pillage and destruction of Russia during the infamous Yeltsin decade. The US-EU power grab in the Ukraine is a big step in that direction.
Evaluating the Encirclement and Conquest Strategy

So far NATO’s seizure of the Ukraine has not moved forward as planned. First of all, the violent seizure of power by overtly pro-NATO elites openly reneging on military treaty agreements with Russia over bases in Crimea, had forced Russia to intervene in support of the local, overwhelmingly ethnic Russian population. Following a free and open referendum, Russia annexed the region and secured its strategic military presence.
While Russia retained its naval presence on the Black Sea ... the NATO junta in Kiev unleashed a large-scale military offensive against the pro-democracy, anti-coup Russian-speaking majority in the eastern half of the Ukraine who have been demanding a federal form of government reflecting Ukraine’s cultural diversity. The US-EU promoted a "military response" to mass popular dissent and encouraged the coup-regime to eliminate the civil rights of the Russian speaking majority through neo-Nazi terror and to force the population to accept junta-appointed regional rulers in place of their elected leaders. In response to this repression, popular self-defense committees and local militias quickly sprang up and the Ukrainian army was initially forced back with thousands of soldiers refusing to shoot their own compatriots on behalf of the Western –installed regime in Kiev. For a while, the NATO-backed neo-liberal-neo-fascist coalition junta had to contend with the disintegration of its ‘power base’. At the same time, ‘aid’ from the EU, IMF and the US failed to compensate for the cut-off of Russian trade and energy subsidies. Under the advise of visiting US CIA Director, Brenner, the Kiev Junta then dispatched its elite "special forces" trained by the CIA and FBI to carry out massacres against pro-democracy civilians and popular militias. They bussed in armed thugs to the diverse city of Odessa who staged an ‘exemplary’ massacre: Burning the city’s major trade union headquarters and slaughtering 41, mostly unarmed civilians who were trapped in the building with its exits blocked by neo-Nazis. The dead included many women and teenagers who had sought shelter from the rampaging neo-Nazis. The survivors were brutally beaten and imprisoned by the ‘police’ who had passively watched while the building burned.
The Coming Collapse of the Putsch-Junta

Obama’s Ukraine power grab and his efforts to isolate Russia have provoked some opposition in the EU. Clearly US sanctions prejudice major European multi-nationals with deep ties in Russia. The US military build-up in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea raises tensions and threatens a large-scale military conflagration, disrupting major economic contracts. US-EU threats on Russia’s border have increased popular support for President Putin and strengthened the Russian leadership. The strategic power grab in the Ukraine has radicalized and deepened the polarization of Ukrainian politics-between neo-fascist and pro-democracy forces.
While the imperial strategists are extending and escalating their military build-up in Estonia and Poland and pouring arms into the Ukraine, the entire power grab rests on very precarious political and economic foundations- which could collapse within the year – amidst a bloody civil war/ inter-ethnic slaughter.
The Ukraine junta has already lost political control of over a third of the country to pro-democracy, anti-coup movements and self-defense militias. By cutting off strategic exports to Russia to serve US military interests, the Ukraine lost one of its most important markets, which cannot be replaced. Under NATO control, Ukraine will have to buy NATO-specified military hardware leading to the closure of its factories geared to the Russian market. The loss of Russian trade is already leading to mass unemployment, especially among skilled industrial workers in the East who may be forced to immigrate to Russia. Ballooning trade deficits and the erosion of state revenues will bring a total economic collapse. Thirdly, as a result of the Kiev junta’s submission to NATO, the Ukraine has lost billions of dollars in subsidized energy from Russia. High energy costs make Ukrainian industries non-competitive in global markets. Fourthly, in order to secure loans from the IMF and the EU, the junta has agreed to eliminate food and energy price subsidies, severely depressing household incomes and plunging pensioners into destitution. Bankruptcies are on the rise, as imports from the EU and elsewhere displace formerly protected local industries.
No new investments are flowing in because of the violence, instability and conflicts between neo-fascists and neo-liberals within he junta. Just to stabilize the day-to-day operations of government, the junta needs a no-interest $30 billion dollar handout – from its NATO patrons, an amount, which is not forthcoming now or in the immediate future.
It is clear that NATO ‘strategists’ who planned the putsch were only thinking about weakening Russia militarily and gave no thought to the political, economic and social costs of sustaining a puppet regime in Kiev when Ukraine had been so dependent on Russian markets, loans and subsidized energy. Moreover, they appear to have overlooked the political, industrial and agricultural dynamics of the predictably hostile Eastern regions of the country. Alternately, Washington strategists may have based their calculations on instigating a Yugoslavia-style break-up accompanied by massive ethnic cleansing amidst population transfers and slaughter. Undeterred by the millions of civilian casualties, Washington considers its policy of dismantling Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya to have been great political-military successes.
Ukraine most certainly will enter a prolonged and deep depression, including a precipitous decline in its exports, employment and output. Possibly, economic collapse will lead to nationwide protests and social unrest: spreading from East to West, from South to North. Social upheavals and mass misery may further undermine the morale of the Ukrainian armed forces. Even now, Kiev can barely afford to feed its soldiers and has to rely on neo-Fascist volunteer militias who may be hard to control. The US-EU are not likely to intervene directly with an Libya-style bombing campaign since they would face a prolonged war on Russia’s border at a time when public opinion in the US is suffering from imperial war exhaustion, and European business interests with links to Russian resource companies are resisting consequential sanctions.
The US-EU putsch has produced a failing regime and a society riven by violent conflicts – spinning into open ethnic violence. What, in fact, has ensued is a system of dual power with contenders cutting across regional boundaries. The Kiev junta lacks the coherence and stability to serve as a reliable NATO military link in the encirclement of Russia. On the contrary, US-EU sanctions, military threats and bellicose rhetoric are forcing Russians to quickly rethink their ‘openness’ to the West. The strategic threats to its national security are leading Russia to review its ties to Western banks and corporations. Russia may have to resort to a policy of expanded industrialization via public investments and import substitution. Russian oligarchs, having lost their overseas holdings, may become less central to Russian economic policy.
What is clear is that the power grab in Kiev will not result in a ‘knife pointed at the heartland of Russia’. The ultimate defeat and overthrow of the Kiev junta can lead to a radicalized self-governing Ukraine, based on the burgeoning democratic movements and rising working class consciousness. This will have to emerge from their struggle against IMF austerity programs and Western asset stripping of Ukraine’s resources and enterprises. The industrial workers of Ukraine who succeed in throwing off the yoke of the western vassals in Kiev have no intention of submitting themselves to the yoke of the Russian oligarchs. Their struggle is for a democratic state, capable of developing an independent economic policy, free of imperial military alliances.
Epilogue: May Day 2014: Dual Popular Power in the East, Fascism Rising in the West

The predictable falling out between the neo-fascists and neo-liberal partners in the Kiev junta was evidenced by large-scale riots, between rival street gangs and police on May Day. The US-EU strategy envisioned using the neo-fascists as ‘shock troops’ and street fighters in overthrowing the elected regime of Yankovich and later discarding them. As exemplified by the notorious taped conversation between Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Kiev, the EU-US strategists promote their own handpicked neoliberal proxies to represent foreign capital, impose austerity policies and sign treaties for foreign military bases. In contrast, the neo-fascist militias and parties would favor nationalist economic policies, retaining state enterprises and are likely to be hostile to oligarchs, especially those with ‘dual Israeli-Ukraine’ citizenship.
The Kiev junta’s inability to develop an economic strategy, its violent seizure of power and repression of pro-democracy dissidents in the East has led to a situation of ‘dual power’. In many cases, troops sent to repress the pro-democracy movements have abandoned their weapons, abandoned the Kiev junta and joined the self-governing movements in the East.
Apart from its outside backers-the White House, Brussels and IMF – the Kiev junta has been abandoned by its rightwing allies in Kiev for being too subservient to NATO and resisted by the pro-democracy movement in the East for being authoritarian and centralist. The Kiev junta has fallen between two chairs: it lacks legitimacy among most Ukrainians and has lost control of all but a small patch of land occupied by government offices in Kiev and even those are under siege by the neo-fascist rightand increasingly from its own disenchanted former supporters.
Let us be absolutely clear, the struggle in the Ukraine is not between the US and Russia, it is between a NATO-imposed junta composed of neo-liberal oligarchs and fascists on one side and the industrial workers and their local militias and democratic councils on the other. The former defends and obeys the IMF and Washington; the latter relies on the productive capacity of local industry and rules by responding to the majority.
Copyright © 2014 Global Research
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Ukraine crisis: at least 42 killed in Odesa violence
Other cities see more clashes
Thomson Reuters
May 03, 2014
Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators clash during a rally outside a trade union building, where a deadly fire occurred, in Odesa, (Yevgeny Volokin/Reuters)
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At least 42 people were killed in a street battle between supporters and opponents of Russia in southern Ukraine that ended with dozens of pro-Russian protesters incinerated in a burning building, bringing the country closer to war.
Pro-Russian rebels in the east freed seven European military observers on Saturday after holding them hostage for eight days, while Kiev pressed on with its biggest military operation so far to reclaim rebel-held territory in the area.
The riot in the Black Sea port of Odesa, ending in a deadly blaze in a besieged trade union building, was by far the worst incident in Ukraine since a February uprising that ended with a pro-Russian president fleeing the country..
A couple of hundred pro-Russian protesters in the eastern city of Donetsk stormed the governor's business premises and the state security headquarters, ransacking files and smashing windows. The attack reflected growing disorder in the area, targeting as it did a security building that had already been brought under rebel control.

"This is for yesterday!" said Tatiana Kamniva outside the governor's office. "They're monsters, worse than monsters."

The Odesa clashes spread the violence from the eastern separatist heartland to an area far from the Russian frontier, raising the prospect of unrest sweeping more broadly across a country of around 45 million people the size of France.
The Kremlin, which has massed tens of thousands of soldiers on Ukraine's eastern border and proclaims the right to invade to protect Russian speakers, said the government in Kyiv and its Western backers were responsible for the deaths.
Kyiv said the violence was provoked by foreign demonstrators sent in from Transdniestria, a nearby breakaway pro-Russian region of Moldova where Moscow has a military garrison. It said most of the dead who had been identified so far were from there.
On Saturday morning, people placed flowers near the burnt-out doors of the trade union building, lighting candles and putting up the yellow, white and red flag of the city. About 2,000 pro-Russian protesters outside the burnt-out building chanted "Odesa is a Russian city".
Soccer fans clash with men in black
Events took a violent turn on Friday when a column of soccer supporters, chanting support for Ukraine's leaders, clashed with men in black, some firing pistols. Television pictures showed police caught between the two sides.
Clashes then spread along the streets until rebels moved into a large trade union building. Petrol bombs were thrown and shots were heard though the exact sequence and detail of events remained unclear on Saturday.
Oleg Konstantinov, a journalist covering the events for a local Internet site, said bullets had flown in the melee before the blaze: "I was hit in the arm, then I started crawling, and then got hit in the back and leg."
The Odesa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometres away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a "People's Republic of Donetsk".
The rebels there aim to hold a referendum on May 11 on secession from Ukraine, similar to one staged in March in Ukraine's Crimea region, which was seized and annexed by Russia in a move that overturned the post-Cold War diplomatic order.
'Not stopping'
On Saturday the government said it was pressing on with the offensive in the area for a second day, and had recaptured a television tower and a security services building from rebels in Kramatorsk, a town near the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk. Health authorities said six people were killed in fighting.
"We are not stopping," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a post on Facebook.
The Donetsk region administration said snipers were shooting from rooftops in Kramatorsk, shops were closing and there was an atmosphere of panic. A Reuters correspondent reported in late afternoon, however, that the town was quiet.
Vasyl Krutov, head of a government "anti-terrorist centre" behind the operation in the east, told a news conference: "What we are facing in the Donetsk region and in the eastern regions is not just some kind of short-lived uprising, it is in fact a war."
The military operation in the east was overshadowed by the unprecedented violence in Odesa, a vibrant multi-ethnic port city that has seen some support for separatists but nothing like the riots that erupted on Friday.
Police said four people were killed, at least three shot dead, and dozens wounded in running battles between people backing Kiev and pro-Russian activists. The clashes ended with separatists holed up in the trade union building.
At least 37 people died in the blaze. On Saturday, police raised the death toll in the city to 42, easily the biggest toll since about 100 people were killed in Kiev protests that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich in February.
"Kyiv and its Western sponsors are practically provoking the bloodshed and bear direct responsibility for it," RIA Novosti quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters.
Kyiv's Interior Ministry blamed the pro-Russian protesters, saying they had attacked the pro-Ukrainians before retreating to the trade union headquarters, from where they opened fire on the crowd and threw out the petrol bombs that caused the blaze.
Odesa is located in the southwest of Ukraine, far from the eastern areas held by the rebels and far from the Russian frontier where Moscow has amassed forces. But it is close to Moldova's Transdniestria region, where Russia also has troops.
The spread of violence to Odesa expands the zone of unrest across the breadth of southern and eastern Ukraine.
"Today we Ukrainians are constantly being pushed into confrontation, into civil conflict, toward the destruction of our country to its heart. We cannot allow this to happen," said acting President Oleksander Turchinov.
Regional police chief Petro Lutsiuk said on Saturday more than 130 people had been detained and could face charges ranging from participating in riots to premeditated murder.
Birthday guests
The release of the military monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe resolves a major diplomatic issue for the West.
Moscow said the release showed the "bravery and humanism" of the rebels defending Slovyansk. Western officials, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, welcomed the release but said Russia should still do more to help de-escalate the crisis.
Kerry spoke to Russian Foreign Mininster Sergei Lavrov by telephone. Both sides said they agreed that the OSCE should play a bigger role in helping to reduce tension.
Russia's presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, left, and members of the foreign observer mission, including German Col. Axel Schneider, second from left, watch as other members hug at each other following their release in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)
The separatists had captured the monitor team on April 25 and described them as prisoners of war. One Swede was freed earlier on health grounds while four Germans, a Czech, a Dane and a Pole were still being held until Saturday.
The separatist leader in Slovyansk, self-proclaimed "people's mayor" Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said they were freed along with five Ukrainian captives, with no conditions.
"As I promised them, we celebrated my birthday yesterday and they left. As I said, they were my guests."
The OSCE team's leader, German Colonel Axel Schneider, speaking on the road out of Slaviansk after being freed, said: "You can imagine, it's a big relief. The situation was really tough. The last two nights when you see what was going on, every minute gets longer."
He praised his captor Ponomaryov as "a man whose word counts a lot. He's a man who listens".
Western countries accuse Russia of stoking the separatism and fear Moscow could be planning to repeat its annexation of Crimea in other parts of Ukraine.
Russia denies it has such plans, while saying it could intervene if necessary to protect Russian speakers, a new doctrine unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in March that overturned decades of post-Soviet diplomacy.

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 Joel Skousen Anayizes the Geopolitics of the Revolution in the Ukraine
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Ukraine: Secretive Neo-Nazi Military Organization Involved in Euromaidan Sniper Shootings
Global Research, March 03, 2014
21st Century Wire and Global Research
The events in Ukraine since November 2013 are so astonishing as almost to defy belief. An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition.
His "crime" according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe.
A secretive neo-nazi military organization reported linked to NATO played a decisive role in targeted sniper attacks and violence that led to the collapse of the elected government.
But the West is not finished with destroying Ukraine. Now comes the IMF with severe conditionalities as prerequisite to any Western financial help.
After the famous leaked phone call of US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (photo, left) with the US Ambassador in Kiev, where she discussed the details of who she wanted in a new coalition government in Kiev, and where she rejected the EU solutions with her "Fuck the EU" comment,[1] the EU went it alone. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier proposed that he and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, fly to Kiev and try to reach a resolution of the violence before escalation. Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski was asked to join. The talks in Kiev included the EU delegation, Yanukovich, the three opposition leaders and a Russian representative. The USA was not invited.[2]
The EU intervention without Washington was extraordinary and reveals the deeping division between the two in recent months. In effect it was the EU saying to the US State Department, "F*** the US," we will end this ourselves.
After hard talks, all major parties including the majority of protesters, agreed to new presidential elections in December, return to the 2004 Constitution and release of Julia Tymoshenko from prison. The compromise appeared to end the months long chaos and give a way out for all major players.
The diplomatic compromise lasted less than twelve hours. Then all hell broke loose.
Snipers began shooting into the crowd on February 22 in Maidan or Independence Square. Panic ensued and riot police retreated in panic according to eyewitnesses. The opposition leader Vitali Klitschko withdrew from the deal, no reason given. Yanukovich fled Kiev.[3]
The question unanswered until now is who deployed the snipers? According to veteran US intelligence sources, the snipers came from an ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO).
IMAGE: Members of UNA-UNSO marching in Lviv.
Strange Ukraine ‘Nationalists’
The leader of UNA-UNSO, Andriy Shkil, ten years ago became an adviser to Julia Tymoshenko. UNA-UNSO, during the US-instigated 2003-2004 "Orange Revolution", backed pro-NATO candidate Viktor Yushchenko against his pro-Russian opponent, Yanukovich. UNA-UNSO members provided security for the supporters of Yushchenko and Julia Tymoshenko on Independence Square in Kiev in 2003-4.[4]
UNA-UNSO is also reported to have close ties to the German National Democratic Party (NDP). [5]
Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO "GLADIO" organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media. [6]
According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. "These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles," these sources insist. [7]
If true that UNA-UNSO is not "Ukrainian" opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department.[8] Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCain have had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head.[9] The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the "Social National Party of Ukraine" and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.[10]
One further indication that Nuland’s hand is shaping latest Ukraine events is the fact that the new Ukrainian Parliament is expected to nominate Nuland’s choice, Arseny Yatsenyuk, from Tymoshenko’s party, to be interim head of the new Cabinet.
Whatever the final truth, clear is that Washington has prepared a new economic rape of Ukraine using its control over the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
IMF plunder of Ukraine Crown Jewels
Now that the "opposition" has driven a duly-elected president into exile somewhere unknown, and dissolved the national riot police, Berkut, Washington has demanded that Ukraine submit to onerous IMF conditionalities.
In negotiations last October, the IMF demanded that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, that they lift a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agriculture lands, make a major overhaul of their economic holdings, devalue the currency, slash state funds for school children and the elderly to "balance the budget." In return Ukraine would get a paltry $4 billion.
Before the ouster of the Moscow-leaning Yanukovich government last week, Moscow was prepared to buy some $15 billion of Ukraine debt and to slash its gas prices by fully one-third. Now, understandably, Russia is unlikely to give that support. The economic cooperation between Ukraine and Moscow was something Washington was determined to sabotage at all costs.
This drama is far from over. The stakes involve the very future of Russia, the EU-Russian relations, and the global power of Washington, or at least that faction in Washington that sees further wars as the prime instrument of policy.
Writer F. William Engdahl is a geopolitical analyst and the author of "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order".
notes
[1] F. William Engdahl, US-Außenministerium in flagranti über Regimewechsel in der Ukraine ertappt, Kopp Online.de, February 8, 2014, accessed in http://info.kopp-verlag.de/hintergruende/enthuellungen/f-william-engdahl/us-aussenministerium-in-flagranti-ueber-regimewechsel-in-der-ukraine-ertappt.html
[2] Bertrand Benoit, Laurence Norman and Stephen Fidler , European Ministers Brokered Ukraine Political Compromise: German, French, Polish Foreign Ministers Flew to Kiev, The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2014, accessed in http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303636404579397351862903542?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303636404579397351862903542.html
[3] Jessica Best, Ukraine protests Snipers firing live rounds at demonstrators as fresh violence erupts despite truce, The Mirror UK, February 20, 2014, accessed in http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ukraine-protests-snipers-firing-live-3164828
[4] Aleksandar Vasovic , Far right group flexes during Ukraine revolution, Associated Press, January 3, 2005, Accessed in http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20050103&slug=ukraine03

[5] Wikipedia, Ukrainian National Assembly Ukrainian National Self Defence, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, accessed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_National_Assembly_%E2%80%93_Ukrainian_National_Self_Defence

[6] Source report, Who Has Ukraine Weapons, February 27, 2014, private to author.

[7] Ibid.
[8] Max Blumenthal, Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?, AlterNet February 25, 2014, accessed in

[9] Channel 4 News, Far right group at heart of Ukraine protests meet US senator, 16 December 2013, accessed in

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Also See:
Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine!
(Part 1)
03 March 2014
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