Dhaka July 26 2022 :
Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on July 26 2022.
Grain deal won’t affect offensive in Ukraine – Moscow
Russia says there is nothing in the UN-backed agreement that restricts striking military targets
The recently signed deal to unblock grain exports from Ukraine doesn’t forbid Moscow from destroying military infrastructure in the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
“Under the grain deal, Russia did not assume any obligations that would prevent the continuation of the special military operation and the destruction of military infrastructure,” Lavrov said, referring to the missile strike conducted by Russian forces on Saturday in the port city of Odessa.
“The grain terminal in Odessa is located at a considerable distance from military facilities,” the top diplomat noted, adding that Russia did not create any obstacles for the export of grain.
He also mentioned that, as a result of Russia’s strike, US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship systems located in the city no longer posed a threat to Russian forces.
On Friday, representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the UN, and Turkey signed a deal to unblock exports of grain, food, and fertilizers from Ukrainian ports. The deal also included a memorandum providing for the UN’s involvement in lifting international sanctions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets.
One day after the agreement was signed, Kiev claimed that Russia had launched at least four cruise missiles, allegedly targeting grain silos in the port of Odessa. Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky described the strike as “barbarism” and insisted “Russian Kalibr missiles destroyed the very possibility of statements” on the need for dialogue and any agreements with Moscow.
Moscow has denied targeting port infrastructure and insists that the strike was carried out against a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Russian Defense Ministry officials also reported that the strike crippled a Ukrainian navy repair facility.
Ukrainian plot to hijack Russian warplanes exposed by Moscow
According to information shared with RT, Kiev’s spies offered Russian pilots money and EU citizenship as a reward
Russian intelligence has claimed that it foiled a sophisticated plot from Ukrainian spies to hijack several military jets. A security official official and a pilot, who is said to have been targeted by Kiev’s agents, have shared details of the operation with RT.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) has sensationally added that a leading figure from the US-government funded investigative organization Bellingcat – which presents itself as a journalistic grouping – was also involved in the scheme, which it believes was “supervised by NATO intelligence agencies.” The FSB specifically pointed the finger at British operatives.
It explained that Russian pilots were promised passports from EU members states, and substantial cash rewards in order to participate in the plot.
Early in the ongoing conflict, the Ukrainians compiled a list of Russian military hardware, using publicly available information. They promised monetary rewards for potential defectors who managed to bring the equipment with them. The more elaborate the weapons were, the better the rewards that were promised, with warplanes, helicopters and tanks fetching the top payment of up to $1 million.
When the public call for defectors fell flat, Ukraine’s security service targeted individual Russian servicemen – pilots in particular – directly. They apparently traced and identified the airmen through the digital trail they left online, an operative with the Russian Security Service (the FSB) told RT TV reporter Maria Finoshina. Kiev appeared to be specifically interested in Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers and Tu-22M3 strategic aircraft, according to the source.
A Su-34 pilot targeted in the plot told RT that he was initially reluctant to speak with the Ukrainian spies, believing the promise of $1 million for stealing warplanes and defecting to Kiev to be a prank. After realizing his interlocutors were serious about the proposal, he tipped off Russian intelligence, which then monitored subsequent conversations.
“Initially, of course, I took it as a joke, but after a period of talking it became clear that I was dealing with representatives of the Ukrainian intelligence service and their Western partners,” the pilot said. “Also, I was supposed to get passports of European states and a comfortable life abroad was promised.”
Kiev’s intelligence operatives apparently believed the Russian pilots who they contacted were ready to commit treason and hijack their own warplanes, putting them in touch with a Ukrainian pilot to discuss technical details.
“They believed so much in the possibility of organizing the hijacking that they revealed the layout of their defense systems, altitude maps, and lots of other useful information to us,” the Russian airman said, adding that the information obtained from the Ukrainians was used during the military operation.
To prove that the pilots were actually able to pull off the hijacking and had access to the specific warplanes, Ukrainian intelligence demanded video proof from them. The pilots were paid between $4,000 and $7,000 per video, which showed them getting into the planes while holding pieces of paper with specific numbers.
Since most financial transactions between Russia and foreign countries has been heavily restricted under Western sanctions, the pilots were to be paid in cash through an elaborate network of couriers. The FSB says it has detained the man who had allegedly hired the couriers to deliver the money, and the suspect made a rather unexpected revelation.
The middleman claimed he had received orders directly from Christo Grozev, the Bulgarian ‘lead Russia investigator’ with Bellingcat, a controversial Western state-funded organization that was labeled “undesirable” in Russia earlier in July. Moscow has repeatedly questioned the independence of the investigative group, citing its close ties with intelligence agencies.
“Grozev… did not actually explain anything to me, he just told me the name of the courier who would deliver the money by train,” the suspect claimed.
The alleged involvement of Grozev is not the only suggestion of Western influence in hijacking the planes. During the negotiations with the pilots, Ukrainian intelligence was able to procure two legitimate EU passports – one Slovakian and one Romanian – for wives of the pilots, as a guarantee for the would-be ‘defectors’.
Leaving Russia with such documents would have immediately turned the pilots’ families into “hostages” of Ukrainian intelligence, the FSB operative told RT, as “methods of blackmail, threats and pressure on relatives” have long been standard practice for them.
“Obviously, the operation itself was carried out with the support of Western and, primarily, British intelligence services. We know about Grozev’s involvement and MI6 not only from these statements,” he added, claiming that Ukrainian intelligence had recently “ceased hiding” its ties with foreign spies.
The plot also described an even a darker element, as the would-be-defectors were supposed to somehow deal with their fellow crew members, it was revealed. While the Su-34 has two crew members, the Tu-22M3 has four.
Ukrainian intelligence reportedly suggested that Russian pilots should drug their comrades with Clophelin (Clonidine), a medication used to treat high blood pressure and other ailments. In high doses, however, it has a strong sedative effect, which makes the drug ‘popular’ among criminals wishing to knock out their victims to rob them. Very high doses can also be lethal.
Since the medication is not easy to come by in Russia, Ukrainian intelligence is said to have arranged a dead drop involving the substance. The FSB says it later recovered a stash of the product.
“As the pilot, I was asked to knock out my co-pilot, and what would happen to him after that is not clear – even whether he would be kept alive,” the Russian serviceman said.
According to the FSB’s information, the Ukrainian side insisted the betrayed crew members would be safe and exchanged as POWs later on. The Russian pilot, however, expressed strong doubts about that.
Russia reveals Western attempts to censor photo-ops
Western countries have tried to bar Arab officials from photo opportunities with Russian counterparts, the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a visit to Egypt on Sunday.
Lavrov revealed that before heading to Cairo he was shown a document from the Arab League, which has its HQ in the Egyptian capital, speaking about “an initiative … by a group of ambassadors from the US, France, Germany, the UK and a representative of the EU.”
“It demanded our Arab friends, firstly condemn, secondly, reject certain actions by Russia. And this initiative especially stressed that they shouldn’t sign any documents with us and take pictures with us,” the Russian FM pointed out after talks with his Egyptian colleague, Sameh Shoukry.
He also recalled how German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recently described a photo of Turkish Presidet Recep Tayyip Erdogan with his Russian and Iranian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi as a “challenge.” Baerbock added that such an image was “incomprehensible” to her.
“They have an obsession with those photos,” Lavrov said of the West. “This is not an issue from the sphere of diplomacy; it’s a different branch of studying the human nature,” he added.
Later in the day, the Russian FM met with the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, telling photographers: “Guys, I’ve heard you shouldn’t take pictures of me.”
The remark prompted laughter in the room, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, who shared the moment on her Telegram channel.
Zakharova advised the photographers to send their pictures straight to the US State Department, which she said is especially concerned that Moscow could use the images for propaganda purposes. “They may use them themselves,” she added.
Russia’s Gazprom to disable second pipeline turbine
Russian energy major Gazprom will stop the operation of second Siemens turbine, the company announced on Monday. As a result supply through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will not exceed 33 million cubic meters per day from July 27, business daily Kommersant has reported, corresponding to 20% of the pipeline’s capacity.
Gazprom says the decision to switch off the turbine was made based on its technical condition and the fact that it’s due for an overhaul.
A spokesperson for Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs has reportedly said that there are no technical reasons to reduce gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
According to an earlier report by Kommersant, several of the nine turbines at the Portovaya compressor station are in need of repair. The paper notes that Gazprom has not yet authorised further repairs, and that one turbine took about three months to overhaul. The current licensing agreement allows Siemens Energy to accept five more turbines for repair before the end of 2024.
This follows a dispute between Russia, Canada and Germany over a Siemens turbine that had been sent to Montreal for repairs and was not returned on time due to Ottawa’s sanctions against Moscow. Gazprom cited the delay as the reason for a 60% reduction in gas flow to Germany last month. Canada eventually sent the part to Germany, where it is currently awaiting shipment to Russia. Gazprom said earlier on Monday that the paperwork it had received from Canada and Siemens regarding the shipment of the turbine did not clear up sanctions-related questions.
Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suggested that Berlin could no longer rely on Moscow when it came to gas supplies and said he wasn’t convinced by Russia’s statements that the repaired Siemens turbine that had been delayed was necessary for the full functioning of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Moscow rejected the claim on Monday, with the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov saying that a decrease in the volume of supplies was due to technical problems resulting from Western sanctions.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section
Russia’s top tech giant launches major recruitment drive
Russia’s tech giant Yandex has resumed hiring personnel, the company announced on Monday.
“Yandex is removing all restrictions on hiring of new employees. At the moment the company has about 2,000 job openings, and new ones will appear in the near future,” the company said in a statement.
Restrictions were introduced shortly following the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, when the company suspended any new recruitment. A month later the restrictions were partially lifted, allowing the hiring of lead developers.
According to Yandex, the company is hiring office employees and remote workers, and is also welcoming interns. According to the firm’s press service, there are over 800 openings in the search-engine team and in the advertising technologies department. The business group that includes services such as taxi, food delivery and shopping is offering more than 600 vacancies. The jobs are located in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, as well as in Yandex offices abroad, the company said.
Yandex is a technology company that states that its goal is to help consumers and businesses better navigate the online and offline world. It offers locally relevant search and information services, such as delivery, maps and navigation, among others.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section
North Korea Accuses US of ‘Biological Terrorism’ – Reports
SEOUL (Sputnik) – North Korea has accused the United States of “biological terrorism,” which includes conducting experiments using dangerous pathogens on the territory of Ukraine and spreading infectious diseases, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“The US is a biological terrorist state… it has set up many biological labs in tens of countries and regions, including Ukraine,” KCNA said on Sunday, accusing Washington of speeding up the development of biochemical weapons that threaten the life and security of mankind.
KCNA said that the distribution of US biolabs around the world corresponds to where outbreaks of various diseases have been registered in the past years. These locations are mostly clustered around anti-American states, KCNA specified.
“It is by no means fortuitous that assertions are made that the US is behind the malignant [coronavirus] epidemic crisis confusing the international community,” KCNA said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an article for the Izvestia newspaper last week that Washington is trying to justify itself by claiming that US biological activities in Ukraine were peaceful, but there is still no evidence of this. According to Lavrov, certain “findings” at military biolabs in Donbas point to direct violations of the Biological Weapons Convention.
On June 9, the US Defense Department said that the United States had helped provide support to 46 biological laboratories in Ukraine in order to improve biological security and monitor diseases.
In February, the Russian Defense Ministry discovered the existence of 30 US-funded military biological laboratories in Ukraine. According to Moscow, Washington has spent over $200 million to develop biological weapons at the facilities. Russia also said that the labs revealed in Ukraine constitute only a small part of a global network of over 300 similar facilities.
UN comments on Ukraine grain export deal
All parties to the deal have reaffirmed their commitments, with the grain expected to start flowing ‘within a few days’
The UN expects cargo vessels carrying grain from Ukraine to be moving within days, Farhan Haq, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday. All parties to the UN-backed deal, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, have reaffirmed their commitments to the agreement designed to unblock grain exports, he told a regular news briefing.
“We can tell you that since the signing of the agreement, parties to the Initiative, and the UN, have been in frequent contact, including yesterday. All parties have reconfirmed their commitment to the Initiative,” Haq said. “By tomorrow, all parties and the UN will have a presence in the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.”
The first ships carrying Ukrainian grain are expected to begin moving “within a few days,” the spokesman said, without providing a more precise timeframe. “The Joint Coordination Center will be liaising with the shipping industry and publishing detailed procedures for ships in the very near future,” Haq added.
The landmark deal to enable exports of Ukrainian fertilizers, grain and other foodstuffs was signed last week in Istanbul by representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the UN, and Turkey.
One day after the agreement was inked, however, Kiev accused Russia of targeting grain silos located at the major trade port of Odessa with at least four cruise missiles. Moscow has denied targeting port infrastructure, reiterating its stance that it hits exclusively military targets. In Odessa, Russia said it hit a moored Ukrainian navy vessel and a warehouse of Western-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the grain deal was not tied by any means to the ongoing military operation against the country. “Under the grain deal, Russia did not assume any obligations that would prevent the continuation of the special military operation and the destruction of military infrastructure,” Lavrov said.
The top diplomat noted that the “grain terminal in Odessa is located at a considerable distance from military facilities” and Moscow has not created any obstacles for the export of grain with its actions.
Chinese consul offers West advice on Ukraine
The diplomat posted a helpful meme contrasting China’s approach to Ukraine with that of the West
A Chinese consular official in Northern Ireland on Monday contrasted the approach of Beijing to the crisis in Ukraine with that of the US and its allies, in particular those in Western Europe facing energy shortages due to the effects of their anti-Russian embargoes. Zhang Meifang has previously served in the US and Canada, and is one of many Chinese diplomats that have come to use memes and cartoons to communicate with the West.
While China has been advocating for a negotiated end to the hostilities in Ukraine, the West’s answer is to shower less as that would somehow annoy Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a meme Zhang posted on Twitter.
Currently the Chinese consul-general in Belfast, Zhang has previously held the post of deputy consul-general in New York and Toronto, according to her official biography.
She had posted another meme with the same punchline on Saturday, this time telling Europeans that “Americans won’t pay for your gas bills.”
Zhang’s memes were a reference to the German government’s campaign of urging their population to shower less, in order to save energy, water, and gas – most of which was being imported from Russia. Berlin pitched the change in behavior as being more green and healthier as well. A poll made public last week indicated that over 60% of Germans had followed the government’s advice.
The “wash only four body parts” meme wasn’t the only zinger Zhang chose to tweet on Monday. She also shared a political cartoon from China Daily, depicting NATO as a Swiss army knife of US manufacture, with its many implements bloodied from interventions in the name of “freedom, democracy and human rights.”
Commenting on the recent launch of a new module for the Chinese space station, Zhang retweeted a NPC meme posted by Yi Cao, her colleague in Lebanon and another outspoken Chinese “wolf warrior” diplomat.
Beijing officials have experimented with a more pointed approach in communicating with the West in recent years. The most prominent voice in this effort has been Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, best known for aggressively pushing back on US accusations about the origin of Covid-19.
Earlier this month, Zhao needled the US with photos comparing the American evacuation from Kabul to China sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. In April, when Washington sought to pressure China to denounce Russia over the Ukraine conflict, Zhao responded by sharing a cartoon depicting a hand in the colors of the US flag holding a gun to someone’s head, with the caption “Take (my) Side!”
US needs to advance peace in Ukraine, not label Russia as terrorist state, says China
BEIJING, July 25. /TASS/. Washington should assist in promoting a Russian-Ukrainian dialogue for peace instead of working towards including Russia in its list of state sponsors of terrorism, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday.
“The US should create favorable conditions to advance Russian-Ukrainian peace talks. Washington should take steps to facilitate a political settlement to the crisis in Ukraine,” he said at a briefing replying to a question by TASS as to how officials in Beijing view the US government’s intention of labeling Russia as a sponsor of terrorism.
The Chinese diplomat specified that Beijing sees a peace deal as the only effective way to de-escalate in Ukraine. “Washington should take more steps which will positively impact a political settlement,” he emphasized.
Earlier, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, California) during a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted that if the Department of State did not declare Russia a sponsor of terrorism over the situation in Ukraine, the legislative branch would do so. According to the Politico newspaper, the two politicians deliberated over this issue last week. In his turn, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin frowned upon these plans. “However, on the other hand, it is very difficult to do something that can make relations between Russia and the US even worse,” he insisted.
SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE
Russian Defence Ministry report on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine (July 25)
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation in Ukraine.
High-precision sea-based long-range weapons near Bogdanovtsy, Khmelnitskyi region, have destroyed transshipment base with US-supplied ammunition for HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems and shells for US M777 large-calibre howitzer.
An attempt of Ukrainian sabotage group to advance and land from fast landing boats on the territory of Kherson Region has been discovered in Dneprovskyi estuary. Two Ukrainian landing boats with saboteurs on board were destroyed as a result of strike.
High-precision weapons attack of the Russian Aerospace Forces on temporary deployment point of 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of AFU has eliminated over 100 nationalists and foreign mercenaries in Kostantinovka, Donetsk People’s Republic.
Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery strikes continue against military facilities in Ukraine.
6 command and observation posts have been neutralised, including units of 60th Infantry Brigade near Orekhov in Zaporozhye Region and 113th Territorial Defence Brigade near Klugino-Bashkirovka and Chuguyev in Kharkov Region. 4 missile and artillery weapons and ammunition depotsnear Lyubimovka, Dnepropetrovsk Region, Stepnoye, Zaporozhye Region, and Artemovsk, Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as 1 radar of S-300 missile system near Nekremennoye, Donetsk People’s Republic, have been destroyed.
As part of counter-battery warfare, 4 platoons of Grad multiple-launch rocket systems near Uspenovka, Markovo, Minkovka and Semenovka, 2 artillery platoons of D-20 howitzers, 3 artillery platoons of Gvozdika self-propelled artillery systems, as well as 8 Ukrainian platoons of D-30 guns at firing positions near Dzerzhinsk, Georgiyevka, Vodyanoye, Novomikhailovka, Kurakhovo and Kamyshevka in Donetsk People’s Republic have been suppressed.
Russian air defence means have shot down 6 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Kamenka, Brazhkovka, Malaya Kamyshevakha in Kharkov Region and Khartsyzsk in Donetsk People’s Republic.
In addition, 6 rockets of Uragan multiple-launch rocket system have been intercepted near Stakhanov in Lugansk People’s Republic and Popasnaya in Donetsk People’s Republic.
In total, 260 Ukrainian airplanes and 144 helicopters, 1,611 unmanned aerial vehicles, 357 anti-aircraft missile systems, 4,161 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 763 multiple launch rocket systems, 3,198 field artillery and mortars, as well as 4,459 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.
Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation: Emergency Statement of the Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Kiev regime in Slavyansk has completed preparations for a monstrous provocation using highly toxic substances. In the next few days, SSU officers plan to blow up tanks with more than 120 tonnes of the chemically hazardous substance, hexane, at the oil and fats plant.
Explosion of the hexane tanks would create a toxic cloud that would spread more than 10 kilometres away. All residential areas of Slavyansk and nearby settlements will be in the chemical attack zone.
The specific cynicism of such inhuman actions by the Ukrainian authorities is that they are prepared to sacrifice tens of thousands of their own citizens living in Slavyansk, as well as servicemen of the Ukrainian armed formations stationed in the city, to achieve their criminal goals.
Hexane is a powerful neurotoxin and carcinogen. Irritating to skin, affects lungs if inhaled, acts as a strong narcotic, causes drowsiness, dizziness, peripheral nervous system damage, numbness of legs, central nervous system depression and eye irritation. Prolonged inhalation of hexane causes chronic poisoning, leading to serious nervous system disorders, manifested by decreased sensitivity, rapid fatigue, decreased muscle tone and headaches. However, because hexane is capable of igniting spontaneously at ambient temperatures of plus 23-38ºC (followed by intense combustion and high heat release), an explosion could also occur due to the abnormally high ambient air temperature currently prevailing in Slavyansk district. The most effective emergency measures for protection against hexane vapour are to take cover indoors and to close windows and doors tightly. In case of poisoning, ensure fresh air supply to the victim and protect the respiratory system and skin.
We recommend that the residents of Slavyansk and neighbouring localities take the necessary protective measures immediately.
The purpose of this provocation is to accuse the Russian Armed Forces and Donetsk People’s Republic formations of allegedly indiscriminate strikes against potentially dangerous objects, using a well-established scenario, followed by extensive coverage in the Ukrainian and Western media.
We once again emphasize that during the special military operation, the Russian armed forces and military formations of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics are not targeting civilian infrastructure.
We call on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to immediately influence the Ukrainian authorities and take effective measures to prevent this provocation.
Western Media: How to Keep Silent and Write About Ukrainian Nazism
Western media generally took a pro-Ukrainian stance during the eight-year Donbass conflict. However, there were journalists who spoke openly about the rampant neo-Nazism, the genocide against civilians, and the Ukrainian military’s slaughtering of the elderly, women, and children.
British journalist Peter Hitchens wrote in his May 21, 2022 column for the Mail on Sunday:
“Not since the wild frenzy after the death of Princess Diana have I ever met such a wave of ignorant sentiment. Nobody knows anything about Ukraine. Everyone has ferocious opinions about it. The other night I shocked a distinguished Oxford academic by informing her that the lovely, angelic, saintly, perfect Ukrainians had blocked off the water supply to Crimea in 2014. She was rightly shocked by this nasty, uncivilized act of spite, but it was far more shocking that this highly educated person did not know this important fact.”
The reason for this ignorance is the information vacuum that virtually the entire western audience has found itself in since 2014.
In the winter of 2013-2014, the Euromaidan took place in Ukraine, and the country began to descend into civil war. Western press greeted the news from Kiev with enthusiasm.
One of those who did not support the Ukrainian coup and its radicals from the outset was British journalist Graham Phillips. He collected evidence about the genocide of civilians in Donbass and war crimes by the Ukrainian Army and the National Security Forces.
“Ukrainians quite often ask me why I do not support Euromaidan. The answer is simple: my grandfathers fought against fascism during World War II. If you support Euromaidan, you support those against whom they fought. Fascism was deeply rooted in Euromaidan, and it is clear where it grew from. Under the influence of radical right parties, moderate supporters of the All-Ukrainian Union ‘Fatherland’ and UDAR (the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform) turned to ‘superviolence,’ which became the hallmark of Euromaidan,” Phillips shared with Ukraina.ru.
Some western outlets did write that post-Maidan Ukraine was awash with rightwing radicals, from the government to the army.
In May 2018, US weekly opinion journal The Nation published an op-ed by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus in Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, on the role of neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian crisis and US collusion with the radicals:
“No less important, however, is the highly selective nature of the mainstream narrative of the new Cold War, what it chooses to feature and what it virtually omits. Among the omissions, few realities are more important than the role played by neo-fascist forces in US-backed, Kiev-governed Ukraine since 2014. Not even many Americans who follow international news know the following, for example:
That the snipers who killed scores of protestors and policemen on Kiev’s Maidan Square in February 2014, thereby triggering a “democratic revolution” that overthrew the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and brought to power a virulent anti-Russian, pro-American regime—it was neither democratic nor a revolution, but a violent coup unfolding in the streets with high-level support—were sent not by Yanukovych, as is still widely reported, but instead almost certainly by the neo-fascist organization Right Sector (an organization outlawed in Russia. – ed. note Sputnik) and its co-conspirators.
That the pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa shortly later in 2014 reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War II has been all but deleted from the American mainstream narrative even though it remains a painful and revelatory experience for many Ukrainians.
That the Azov Battalion of some 3,000 well-armed fighters, which has played a major combat role in the Ukrainian civil war and now is an official component of Kiev’s armed forces, is avowedly “partially” pro-Nazi, as evidenced by its regalia, slogans, and programmatic statements, and well-documented as such by several international monitoring organizations. Congressional legislation recently banned Azov from receiving any US military aid, but it is likely to obtain some of the new weapons recently sent to Kiev by the Trump Administration due to the country’s rampant network of corruption and black markets.”
In the photo, fighters from the Azov Battalion take the oath of allegiance to Ukraine on St. Sophia Square in Kiev before being sent to Donbass in 2014. The Azov Battalion has become a symbol of neo-Nazism, brutality, impunity, and lawlessness in the Donbass.
“That stormtroop-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other ‘impure’ citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neo-fascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.
Or that Israel’s official annual report on anti-Semitism around the world in 2017 concluded that such incidents had doubled in Ukraine and the number “surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined.” By the region, the report meant the total in all of Eastern Europe and all former territories of the Soviet Union.
Americans cannot be faulted for not knowing these facts. They are very rarely reported and still less debated in the mainstream media, whether in newspapers or on television.”
Another “touch to the portrait” of the Ukrainian Army. In September 2018, a Ukrainian internet-based television channel Hromadske told about the Norwegian Joachim Furholm.
“Joachim Furholm, a Norwegian national, came to Ukraine at the end of spring this year. He signed a contract with the Armed Forces and went to fight in the Donbas. But a month later, the military suddenly and without explanation terminated the agreement, expelling him from the zone of military operations. Furholm is convinced that this was done at the request of Norway since from the age of 15 he has been on the register of their special services for his ultra-right nationalistic views. Furholm has been accused of Nazism, has a criminal record, and says that he “respects” Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik who committed the brutal 2011 attacks that killed 77 people in Norway.”
The TV channel cited one of his quotes in which he, a mercenary “born to fight”, admitted that war gives him joy, speaking enthusiastically about the clashes in the village of Novgorodsky in the Donetsk region:
“Before that, I had never been to war, more than that – I had never served in the army. But I always felt, I was born to fight. War is not for everyone, but neither is civilian life. To be honest, I thought it would be worse in Donbass. But when I arrived at the front, and the shelling began, I felt happy. They are shooting at us with artillery, everything around us is exploding, there’s screaming, blood, commotion… and I’m smiling! It was there, in the trench, that I finally felt at home. Friends called me Jarl – that’s a title of the Vikings. The company there loved me. Probably because I’m a foreigner,” Furholm said.
In November 2020, British daily The Guardian directly called the Azov Battalion a neo-Nazi group:
“Azov Battalion and Misanthropic Division appear to be trying to export their ideology to the west, with reports of links between the latter and ‘like-minded’ groups, such as the proscribed UK terror organisation National Action. The Soufan Center, an anti-terrorism thinktank, estimates that 10 ‘foreign fighters’ from the UK have served with Ukrainian militia like Azov Battalion, which uses slick propaganda videos in the manner of extremist groups such as Islamic State (an organization outlawed in Russia. – ed. note Sputnik)”.
Earlier, US journalist and blogger Max Blumenthal wrote about Azov neo-Nazis encouraged by the United States. In 2018, he published a study about Azov’s contacts with the US military. According to the author, overseas military inspectors visited the Azov Battalion, “known as a bastion of neo-Nazism in the ranks of the UAF”, in November 2017 to discuss “logistics and deepening cooperation”. An Azov fighter cited by Blumenthal, told US journalists that American instructors and volunteers worked closely with his battalion. US officers met with Azov commanders for two months to “train and provide other assistance”.
In 2021, the US newsmagazine VICE World News published the testimony of a far-right extremist from Sweden, Mikael Skillt, about Maidan-era Ukraine.
Skillt arrived in Kiev in February 2014, just days after President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power during Ukraine’s uprising.
“Skillt, at the time a notorious neo-Nazi with a 20-year history in the extreme-right scene, had been drawn to the revolution out of the desire to be part of something bigger than his life at home. Like many far-right radicals across the world, he’d been inspired by the prominent role that Ukrainian ultranationalists and far-right hooligans had played at the sharp end of the Euromaidan protests, and wanted to support their cause.
‘I saw history in the making. Who doesn’t want to be a part of history?’
That decision would eventually result in Skillt becoming part of a wave of far-right foreign fighters – numbering in the thousands, according to estimates – that would join the subsequent war in Ukraine, and who fought on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides of the conflict.
They came for various reasons, seeking adventure, status, or military training – and would leave with combat experience and international ties that make them a concerning extremist threat, according to experts. This flow of far-right fighters, they say, has made Ukraine a hub of transnational white supremacist networks, with a strident fascist underground that continues to attract and inspire radicals from around the world.”
In May 2021, the Portuguese Publico also wrote about Ukrainian neo-Nazis. The newspaper cited a US expert, professor of practice and director at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and senior advisor at The Soufan Center, Jason Blazakis.
“I see Ukraine as a place where the ultra-right can get training, receive military and ideological support. In many ways, Ukraine for the ultra-right is the same as Syria was for ISIS* (a terrorist organization banned in Russia – ed. note Sputnik). Ukraine is a backdoor to the EU, which the far-right has taken notice of, and the threat is undeniable. The militants train on the battlefields of Ukraine and then return to their home countries”.
And this is what the Polish Myśl Polska published in the same 2021:
“Today, one need not convince anyone that hopes for the formation of a normal state in Ukraine have not been fulfilled, and that nationalism has been able to strengthen and begin to spread in those state institutions and in those regions where it did not exist before. Bandera slogans and marches have already become part of official ceremonies in the Ukrainian army.
Those who condoned the revival of the Bandera ideology, or even approved of it, apparently thought that they would be able to control it and use it for one purpose – mobilization against Russia.”
The facts of the genocide that Ukraine is carrying out against the civilian population of Donbass have hardly ever reached the pages of the foreign media. One can gather the exceptions in bits and pieces.
One example is an interview with Olga Sidorenko, a resident of the village of Oktyabrsky, a gray zone in Donbass published in the Czech newspaper Haló noviny. This is how Olga recalls the first Ukrainian shelling:
“I will never forget that day, May 26, 2014. We were excused from work early, at 11 a.m. Another batch of medication was not expected, and I was let go. Little Arina was in daycare, so I decided to pick her up early and bought some strawberries. It was a warm, sunny day that I wanted to spend with the kids. I picked up my daughter, took her home, and then all hell broke loose. There were planes flying, fighter jets, helicopters, shooting. My son hadn’t come home from school yet, and our school wasn’t far from home. All his classmates had long since gone home. The last bell of the elementary school was over. And he still wasn’t there. He knew I was at work, so he took his time. He stopped by to visit his godmother, and that’s on the other end [of the city]. I didn’t know it at the time. I was running between school and home, not knowing where he was. Meanwhile, a war was breaking out all around me. Suddenly I saw him, and together we quickly ran toward the house. A Ukrainian helicopter appeared above us and started shooting at our feet. I didn’t see anyone fall, but they were shooting at the feet of the fleeing civilians. My child was running with eyes full of terror: ‘Mom, is this war?’ I dragged him home, and at that very moment one of the helicopters was shot down. We came home and my daughter, who had just turned two, was screaming with fear in such a heartbreaking way that I will never forget it in my life. She had never screamed like that. It was terrifying. After those events, my son Fyodor, who was barely ten years old at the time, contracted the most severe form of psoriasis because of the stress he endured. He will have this disease for the rest of his life.”
Even before the announcement of the de-Nazification of Ukraine, some global media and independent journalists had written about what had really been going on all these years. However, these publications did not provoke any logical reaction from the world community concerning the revival of the misanthropic ideology and genocide against the Russian-speaking population. It turned out to be just the opposite. The western community conveniently ignored neo-Nazis as long as possible. Now, it is more and more difficult to do so every day.
Bangladesh Beyond is an online version of Fortnightly Apon Bichitra
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