Saturday, December 31, 2016

Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-17 Continues
As Russia’s crimes mount faster than world leaders can track them, I’d like to return to the raging Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-17.
Except for Ukrainian and x-captive nations’ news media, very few western traditional or cyber media are still conscientiously reporting on Russia’s military advances against Ukraine and the defending troops’ valiant retaliations. Stories from the front have been supplanted by Russian prevarications about its invasion of Ukraine, occupation of Crimea, bombardment of Aleppo, hacking of America’s cyber infrastructure, and other visible and invisible crimes. Some of the accounts even seem to absolve Russia of any culpability for its obvious wrongdoings.
Well-intentioned, mortified and angry US officials and lawmakers are incessantly and justly demanding sanctions against Russia and its tyrant leader for hacking US political parties’ computers.
Get in line. The Russian leadership has been committing a long list of crimes for which it must be held accountable.
But back to the war that Russia launched against Ukraine in February 2014 by invading and occupying Crimea and then invading eastern Ukraine. Intense fighting is continuing, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are being killed by regular Russian troops, mercenaries and traitors in Ukraine. Russia is still pulling military weapons across the border and positioning them for bloody shelling of Ukrainian military and non-military targets.
While the Ukrainian government has not yet adequately replied to Russia’s invasion by declaring war against Russia and expelling and arresting its diplomats in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN have been doing what they can to mobilize global support for Ukraine and keep Russian feet to the coals until Moscow withdraws its military from all occupied regions of Ukraine.
The Permanent Mission, on December 14, 2016, the 42nd anniversary of the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution on the definition of aggression, reminded UN member-states of Russia’s unending belligerence.
“Having illegally occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and carried out further military intervention in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Russian Federation initiated an unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine. The Russian Federation thus has blatantly violated its international obligations and commitments as envisaged by the UN Charter, the 1975 CSCE Helsinki Final Act, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.”
Furthermore, the Ukrainian diplomats stated that Russia has not only violated the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine – which is a significant global crime in itself, Moscow “has threatened international peace and security at large. The third year of Russia’s military aggression continues to bring pain and suffering to the people of Ukraine of all ethnic backgrounds. The total number of victims of this undeclared war in the heart of Europe exceeds 10,000.”
The Kremlin’s crimes enumerated by Ukraine at the UN are severe enough to elicit global condemnation of Russia and its leadership as well as sanctions that would ban it from the global table and isolate it from all partnerships. It is the height of folly to invite Russia, a global lawbreaker, to partner in anti-ISIS coalitions.
Ukraine’s statement noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “continues to affirm, in clear and unequivocal terms, that the occupation and subsequent attempt to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as Russia’s illegal actions in eastern Ukraine, fall squarely under the United Nations’ definition of an act of aggression.
“Such actions constitute the most serious crime against international peace, which entails international responsibility of the Russian Federation as a state and international criminal responsibility of its senior leadership,” the Permanent Mission declared.
Indeed, while many people of goodwill belittle the goings on of the UN, nonetheless, the respected global body has a definition of aggression, which Russia has violated. And this is in addition to the UN’s official condemnation of Russia, a member of the UN Security Council, as an “occupier” of foreign lands just like Nazi Germany and other tyrannical empires were. (Read my previous blog of December 20, 2016.)
The Ukrainian statement also said the political and military leaderships of Russia bear full responsibility for the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of this aggression, “as well as responsibility for numerous human casualties, material damage and destruction.”
Indeed, Russian war reparations are well within the bounds of reasonable Ukrainian demands after Russians withdraw back to its country.
“No political, economic or military considerations can justify the treacherous Russian aggression against Ukraine. War cannot be a means of doing politics in the twenty-first century,” the statement went on to say.
The Ukrainian delegation expressed its gratefulness to the member-states of the United Nations, notably the United States, Great Britain and Canada, for their “consistent and strong support in countering Russian aggression and overcoming its consequences.”
Ukraine also called for increasing international pressure on Russia in order to stop the aggression and bring about complete withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine of “the Russian armed forces, Russia-controlled illegal armed groups and mercenaries, along with weapons and military equipment deployed in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) or illegally transferred to the terrorist organizations "DNR" and "LNR", as well as to revoke all acts aimed at legitimizing the attempted annexation of the Crimean peninsula and to undertake its further de-occupation.”
Only Ukraine’s full control over the entire length of its state border and firm guarantees of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence can safeguard international peace and security,” the statement concluded.
This is also the only way that the borders of the former captive nations, Europe, Canada and the United States can be secured in the face of expanding Russian threats.
The free world is maintaining sanctions against Moscow amid calls for new sanctions but Russia is not budging. In addition to ongoing transgressions against the Minsk Accords, Russia has even violated a three-day Christmas truce by escalating attacks against Ukrainian positions.
According to a report on December 27 by Col. Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ministry of Defense spokesperson, “The past 24 hours have shown that the adversary is not going to respect agreements on complete and comprehensive ceasefire. Since December 24, militants have continued firing on Ukrainian positions.”
Two days later at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, Motuzyanyk said hostilities intensified in the vicinity of Krymske in the Luhansk region. “The most active combat actions took place in far outskirts of Krymske. The enemy fired on our positions three times from weapons of armored fighting vehicles and machine guns. One armed provocation, involving the use of grenade launchers, took place in Krymske,” he said.
The Russia-backed terrorists also violated the ceasefire in Stanytsia Luhanska and to the north from Stanytsia Luhanska. All told, they violated the ceasefire six times in the Luhansk sector.
Russian mercenaries are also pulling up heavy arms. They deployed the Grad multiple-launch missile systems (truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher) near the so-called Svitlodarsk rim at the Donbas frontline, reported UNIAN. 
“The Svitlodarsk rim remains to be a zone with never-ending shelling against our positions, and they increase and decrease in number ever and again," ATO spokesperson Col. Andriy Lysenko said.
The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine that was supposed to go into effect during this holiday season has failed, and the Ukrainian military said they are not the reason for its failure.
Motuzyanyk said Russian-backed terrorists continue to violate ceasefire in the ATO zone.
“The past 24 hours proved that the enemy does not comply with the agreements reached previously on the full and comprehensive ceasefire, starting December 24. The enemy continues to shell Ukrainian positions, which have traditionally been the hottest spots in the past weeks,” said Motuzyanyk.
“As we've been reporting, the newest ceasefire, which was supposed to go into effect on December 24, never took hold. Though fighting has been less intense this week than last, there have been significant casualties.”
By mid-February 2017, Russia will be waging war against Ukraine for three full years. Will there continue to be no end in sight? If the free world continues to interact with Russia on many levels as if nothing is happening and refrain from designating it as a pariah, criminal state, then the Russian war and Russia’s acts of terrorism will continue.
If Ukraine refuses to declare war against Russia and sever diplomatic relations with it, the free world will continue to be confused by Ukraine’s response to Russia’s aggression and the war and acts of terrorism will continue across the country.
The free nations’ 2017 New Year’s resolution must be to bring this to the attention of world leaders in order to end Russia’s criminal bloodletting in Ukraine.