With the one-year anniversary of Russia’s Feb.24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine just around the corner, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg this week issued some surprising words regarding the history and origin of the conflict. In essence he finally admitted an important truth, which is of course extremely rare among top Western officials these days.
Whereas prior to these fresh remarks by Stoltenberg, US and NATO officials including major media, have framed the invasion exclusively as merely one man’s (Putin) ‘unprovoked’ naked aggression bent on enlarging an ‘expansionist Russia’, Stoltenberg now much belatedly admits “the war didn’t start in February last year. The war started in 2014.“
Here’s what the NATO chief said during a briefing to reporters, and in front of cameras, as also transcribed and published to NATO’s official website…
“The other thing I will say is that the war didn’t start in February last year. The war started in 2014. And since 2014, NATO Allies have provided support to Ukraine, with training, with equipment, so the Ukrainian Armed Forces were much stronger in 2022, than they were in 2020, and 2014. And of course, that made a huge difference when President Putin decided to attack Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
And of course, a central reason for the war articulated by President Putin both in the lead-up to the invasion and after has consistently been that the West was waging an anti-Russia proxy war right at its doorstep, namely in the war-torn Donbass.
It also bears recalling that throughout last year, and especially in the opening months of the major Russian invasion, any independent voice daring to point out that the conflict in fact originated in 2014 – and that the current fighting is an extension and escalation of the ‘long war’ – was denounced as somehow ‘pro-Kremlin’ or else a ‘Putin puppet’ in mainstream discourse.
Below are some essential facts and a much-needed trip down memory lane concerning the lead-up to Feb 2022 to understand what we and other independent voices have been saying for years, and what Stoltenberg has just now very belatedly and reluctantly admitted:
- The current Ukrainian government was created in 2014 after a violent, American-backed coup against the elected President Viktor Yanukovich. The so-called “Maidan Revolution” painted itself as pro-EU and liberal, but relied on ultranationalist terror militias such as Right Sector for its muscle.
- Ukraine’s new government has banned the Russian language in schools and businesses, even though it is spoken by most of the residents in the Donbas region as their first language (and throughout other parts of the country as well):
- Pre-February 2022, Ukraine had already lost about 14,000 lives fighting to prevent the ethnically Russian provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk from permanently seceding (the 14,000 figure includes deaths from both sides of the civil war in eastern Ukraine). The unpopular war has been going on since 2014.
- Few Western journalists are willing to show the misery this conflict has brought to the residents of the Donbas, or the war crimes that have been inflicted upon them. Patrick Lancaster has been one of the few reporting on this:
- The Ukrainian government has frequently shut off water to the disputed territories, including Crimea, even while they claim sovereignty over them.
- It’s now ok to praise Nazis on Facebook– as long as they’re “our Nazis”:
- Ukrainian President Zelensky suggested last year that if the country could not join NATO, he would pursue re-arming the country with nuclear weapons.
- UAWire – Zelensky: Ukraine may reconsider its nuclear status
- The New York Times calls this “Putin’s conspiracy theory”, as if the words didn’t come straight from the Ukrainian President’s mouth on multiple occasions.
In the Russian view, the United States has the ability and willingness to unilaterally destroy or overthrow any government that does not do its bidding. The experience of Serbia (1999), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and most recently Ukraine (2014) and the attempt in Belarus (2021) seem to support their perspective.
Those who are going on about Russia’s “imperial ambitions” under “Communist dictator Vladimir Putin” have little knowledge about any of this, or why the Russians might feel legitimately threatened by having a US-sponsored and NATO-aligned regime for a neighbor.
Below: a rare past instance of what real journalism looks like, often completely missing in the administration’s press briefing rooms…
Consider: for over two hundred years, the American “Monroe Doctrine” has stated that no foreign power will be allowed to form a military alliance with any nation in the entire Western Hemisphere. This is the bedrock principle of American foreign policy.
Compare this to Europe. Kiev and Moscow are separated by a mere 470 miles of flat land. What Russian leader in their right mind would allow an “anti-Russia” to be created and then armed in its own back yard?
It’s not like any of this is a new concern. The Russians have been straight forward about this concern for thirty years, right up to the last ditch public appeal they delivered in December. Recall that ideological fanatics occupying our foreign service responded by sending massive shipments full of weapons into Ukraine, and then tweeted out photos of the cargo aircraft flying them in.
Well, as the last year of horrific death and destruction in Ukraine has shown, the necons and wokesters finally got their war. Now they’re making sure it gets fought down to the last Ukrainian, resulting in very sad and tragic spectacles like the following…This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Rand Paul Issues Ultimatum: Withdraw Ukraine Billions Or Face Government Shutdown
“If leadership insists on funding another country’s government at the expense of our own government, all blame rests with their intransigence”
Senator Rand Paul declared that he will hold up a spending bill in the Senate and push toward a government shutdown unless $6 billion in aid to Ukraine is removed from the legislation.
Paul took to Twitter noting that he will only allow a vote on the spending stopgap before the Sept. 30 deadline for funding government if Senate leaders get rid of the massive amount of money earmarked for the war.
“If leadership insists on funding another country’s government at the expense of our own government, all blame rests with their intransigence,” Paul wrote.
Last week, Paul slammed the Ukrainian leadership as “corrupt” and blasting the visiting President Zelensky as “begging for more money.”
In the Senate, Paul asked “When will the aid requests end? When will the war end? Can someone explain what victory looks like?”
Paul also noted that Zelensky has cancelled Democracy in the country.
“They’ve cancelled the elections. What kind of democracy has no election?” he noted, adding “next year, Zelensky said he’s not going to have an election because it would be inconvenient during the war and would be expensive.”
He continued, “if you don’t have elections, who in the world will be supporting a country that’s not a democracy? They’ve banned the political parties, they’ve invaded churches, they’ve arrested priests. So, no, it isn’t a democracy. It’s a corrupt regime.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warned on Thursday that the “next step of Ukraine War escalation” is stationing United States military advisers on the ground.
“Have they forgotten how we got embroiled in Vietnam?” RFK Jr. noted, linking to a recent article in Foreign Affairs calling for on-the-ground training:
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Kremlin Reacts To US M1 Abrams Tanks Entering Ukraine: “They Too Will Burn”
The Kremlin has responded to widespread reports from Ukraine that Kiev has received its first deliveries of American M1 Abrams battle tanks. Ukrainian officials have hailed that the tanks will help their forces punch through stalemated front lines.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “they too will burn” – in reference to prior instances of Western tanks being taken out, such as German Leopards and UK Challenger 2 tanks.
“All this can in no way affect the essence of the special military operation, its outcome,” Peskov explained. “There is no panacea, no single weapon that can change the balance of power on the battlefield.”
Beginning this year, Washington had pledged 31 Abrams tanks to the Ukrainians. It’s believed the first ten were transferred to Ukrainian forces as of Saturday. More are expected this fall.
According to more from Peskov, via Reuters:
“Abrams tanks are serious weapons, but remember what the president said about other tanks made in another country,” Peskov said, referring to other Western tanks supplied to Kyiv, which include German-made Leopards and British Challengers.
The White House has also this month for the first time announced it will supply a “limited” amount of long-range ATACMS missile systems, with a range of up to 190 miles.
In early September, The Guardian wrote, “A battlefield video circulating on social media overnight appears to show the destruction of a British Challenger 2 in Ukraine, which would be the first time one of the tanks has been destroyed in combat,.”
UK media subsequently made it clear that up to that point no Challenger 2 tank had ever been lost in battle due to enemy forces since it entered production and was first deployed in 1994 (the exception was a friendly fire incident in Iraq in 2003).
Very controversially, the UK has been sending depleted uranium armor-piercing rounds to Kiev, in order to fire them from the Challenger II tanks. The UK Defense Ministry last spring admitted that it “does not monitor the locations from where DU rounds are fired by the AFU in Ukraine.”This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Senator Shocked By Classified Briefing On Ukraine: Warhawks Want Blank Check With No Victory In Sight
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), known for his efforts to force the Biden Administration to declassify information related to covid’s possible lab origins at Wuhan, exited a classified briefing this week on the situation in Ukraine and expressed a feeling of shock.
“If there is some path to victory in Ukraine, I didn’t hear it today. I also heard that there’s going to be no end to the funding requests…”
Hawley went on to indicate that Americans will be asked to spend hundreds of billions more dollars in the region with an indefinite blank check in place to protect “US standing” on the world stage. Zelensky asked Biden and Congress for another $24 billion during his latest visit, stating that if Ukraine doesn’t get the aid, they will lose the war. The information at hand suggests that Ukraine is going to lose the war anyway.
Hawley also revealed that the public is being lied to about the war footing in the region and that Ukraine is definitely ‘not winning.’ This information confirms what many Americans already suspected, with 55% of the public now in opposition to more aid according to recent polls.
The corporate media blitzkrieg bombarding the populace with tales of imminent Ukrainian victory against Russian forces has lost its momentum and reality is starting to set in. Though, this did not stop journalists from trying to insert their list of debunked talking points into the interview as they seemed to debate Hawley more than ask him questions.
These debate points have long been a part of the media’s narrative but none of them have held water so far. Assertions of an inevitable “domino effect” leading to a Russian invasion of Europe should Ukraine fall are reminiscent of the same false claims made during the Vietnam War. There is no evidence to indicate Russia has plans to attack Poland or any other NATO member, with Putin obviously aware of the danger of nuclear conflict. As Hawley points out, the warhawks can’t have it both ways – They can’t claim that arming Ukraine has led to the degradation of Russian forces “on the cheap”, and at the same time claim that Russia is strong enough to then overrun Europe should Ukraine lose.
Another disturbing takeaway from this argument is the notion that Ukrainian citizens need to be used as cost effective human shields to prevent a wider war between Russia and NATO. It is the same claim that Zelensky has been making for the past year in order to frighten the western populace into throwing billions more dollars into Ukrainian coffers – “$100 billion and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives will buy you the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Russians. A proxy war is lot cheaper than engaging in a direct war with them…”
But why entertain a war with Russia at all? A false choice has been presented – Either Americans support a proxy war against Russia, or be forced to fight a direct war.
So far, there has been no quantifiable benefits for the western public. It is clear, however, that there are elements of the establishment that desire an ongoing conflict with Russia. The anti-Russian rhetoric began in 2016 well before the war in Ukraine. Propaganda surrounding Donald Trump and “Russiagate” has been thoroughly debunked. Most of the “evidence” presented to prove that the 2016 election was manipulated by Russia was in fact fabricated by groups under the watch of Democrat operatives and some Neo-cons. Of course, the aftermath of the propaganda convinced a large portion of the public (most of them on the political left) that Russia was a predator lurking at their door waiting to strike.
Hawley also notes that while public attentions have been directed at Russia, China is a much more viable threat and any effort to prevent them from invading Taiwan would at this stage be futile. The truth is, neither war is a winnable prospect for the US or NATO given the economic instability at play; a conflagration between East and West would be disastrous for both sides, but western populations have the furthest to fall. Clearly there are people within our government that see this as a good thing as they continue to press geopolitical tensions closer and closer to WWIII.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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