AUDIO: Breaking Developments Between U.S. & Russia
EIR’s Jeff Steinberg gave a up to the minute briefing Thursday, April 24, 2014 on the LPAC Activist Call on the breaking developments around Ukraine.
Lavrov: U.S. Puts the Entire Onus on Russia for the Crisis in Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov granted an extensive interview to Russia Today Thursday, in which he made the point, repeatedly, that the U.S. continually makes demands on Russia without fulfilling its own obligations. Lavrov not only made this point with respect to Ukraine, but to Syria and Iran as well. Lavrov noted that he talks to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry almost every day about Ukraine.
“And frankly the American colleagues chose to put all the blame on Russia, including the origin of the conflict and including the steps which must be taken. They accuse us of having Russian troops, Russian agents in the East and South of Ukraine. They say that it is for the Russians only to give orders and the buildings illegally occupied would be liberated and that it is for the Russians to make sure that the East and South of Ukraine stops putting forward the demands for the federalization and the referendum and so on and so forth. This is absolute — you know — switching the goal post, if you wish.”
The Kiev regime announced a pause in its so-called anti-terrorist operations after the Geneva agreement on April 17, but then Vice President Joe Biden arrived and the operations were resumed. “Well, it’s quite telling that they chose a moment of [the] vice-president of the United States’ visit to announce the resumption of this operation, because the launching of this operation happened immediately after John Brennan’s visit to Kiev. So I don’t have any reasons not to believe that the Americans are running the show in a very close way,” Lavrov said.
When the interviewer asked Lavrov if he thought that the American influence on Ukraine was decisive, he said, “I think this is absolutely the case. Not on the country. On the regime which took power in Kiev. They have, I think, overwhelming influence.” Then he pointed to the obvious American role in the anti-government protests in the Maidan. He noted the “numerous reports which were revived recently on what was the role of the American embassy during the events in Maidan — direct interaction and communication with the activists who were armed and who were planning the actions like storming the buildings and other illegal acts.”
“All this has not been denied in the way which would be persuasive,” Lavrov said. “And, yes, when you get daily phone calls from John Kerry telling you: ‘You must, you must, you must’ and when you understand how many thousand kilometers the United States is away from Ukraine and then you see how agitated they are about seeing their sponsored people not really delivering on the things which are obvious, then you cannot avoid the impression that they are running the show very much.”
As for the anti-regime protests in the east and south of Ukraine, Lavrov said, “[W]e are in solidarity with them, we insist politically that their interests must be taken into account. That’s why we went to Geneva, that’s why we negotiated the paper which demands an equal treatment of who[m]ever is engaged in illegal activities on the understanding that the government, the interim government, whatever they call themselves, must set the example and they must stop the illegal things which continue to happen in Kiev and in other parts of the country, not other than east and south.”
With respect to Russian troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, Lavrov said: “If we are attacked, we would certainly respond. If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia [in 2008], for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law. Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation. The only thing I would like to highlight at this stage is that the Russian troops are on the Russian territory.” He pointed out that representatives from the U.S. and some European countries participated in inspections of Russian territory under the Open Skies treaty and other similar agreements, and found no indication that Russia was engaged in “dangerous military activity,” or any activity in violation of international agreements to which Russia is a party.
Lavrov charged that the U.S. takes the same approach to Russia, no matter what the issue at hand is, whether Syria, Iran, or, as the case is now, Ukraine. Kerry may speak about a partnership, but “in fact whatever issue we discuss, they try to put the onus on us completely. And by the way, had it not been Ukraine, then it would have been something else, like it was Iran, originally, when the Americans were saying ‘you must… you must… you must’.” This is as if, were Russia to fulfill the U.S. demands then everything would be solved. “I would say, it is an absolute ‘egoistic’ and ‘unrealistic’ approach and an attempt to hide your own responsibility,” he said.
Putin Slams Ukraine Fascists’ Crime Against the People
Speaking today at a Media Forum of Independent Regional and Local Media organized by the Russian Popular Front, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said:
“If this is indeed happening, and strange as it may seem, I have found out about it from the media, just like you—I only just got this information when I arrived here. As far as I know our media were not reporting anything this morning, and now we have these reports,” according to the Kremlin website.
“If the current regime in Kiev really did use armed force against the country’s population, this is undoubtedly a serious crime against the people.
“I would like to remind you that even the legitimate President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, did not use armed force in the conflict in Kiev; he did not resort to force even though he had been elected and had the national mandate to rule the country, even though he was Commander in Chief.
“If the current rulers in Kiev have done it, this turns them into a sort of junta, a clique. First of all, they do not have a national mandate to do it. At best, they have some elements of legitimacy, and only in parliament. All the other authorities are illegitimate for one reason or another.
“If these people have moved on to a so-called acute phase, this is no acute phase, this is a punitive operation, and it will undoubtedly lead to consequences for the people who make such decisions, including repercussions in relations between our states.
“As for what the further developments will be, we will see. We will make decisions based on the actual events.”
Five Ukrainians Killed by the Army Near Slavyansk
Five people were killed Thursday morning as Ukrainian Army units attacked at least three checkpoints on roads leading into the city of Slavyansk, in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine. Supporters of the Donetsk People’s Republic movement said that the victims were civilians, at least two of them activists manning checkpoints. They told Russian TV reporters that some of the checkpoints were abandoned, and the barricades set on fire, by militia members in the face of the heavily armed Army forces. At one checkpoint there were more journalists than activists.
TV news showed helicopters hovering over the ground operation. Eyewitness reports posted on the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) website said that there had been “sniper fire” from the choppers against people on the ground. As of evening news reports, there were no clashes going on inside the city (pop. ~125,000), but parents had pulled their children out of school, as leaflets were dropped, warning people to stay off the streets.
The coup-installed Kiev regime continued to call the supporters of a referendum on federalization of Ukraine “separatists” and terrorists.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) issued a terse announcement that the five people killed in the “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) had been “liquidated.” The MVD also reported that 100 members of the new National Guard, recruited from Right Sector and other components of the Maidan Self-Defense Forces in the February coup, had surrounded the city council building in another eastern city, Mariupol, “to prevent an outbreak of separatist violence.” But pro-federalization militias had been within the building for a week, even as the government institutions continued to function; what happened early this morning is that the 30-some activists staying there overnight were attacked by what Russian TV called “unidentified men” — evidently the National Guard contingent. Interviewed on TV, one said they had been herded into a room and beaten.
In the afternoon, acting president Alexander Turchynov issued a foaming attack on Russia for “supporting terrorist murderers” in eastern Ukraine. He accused Moscow of “supporting terrorism at the state level.” Later in the evening, Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) Victoria Syumar said that Turchynov was holding a meeting on the regime’s next actions. “The ATO will continue,” she said. “It will take place in several stages. We cannot announce the stages. Today was an active stage. It succeeded.”
Opponents of the Kiev regime spared little in their reactions to the attack on Slavyansk. Oleh Tsaryov, a Party of Regions MP and Presidential candidate, called the Kiev government’s moves “a crime against the citizens of Ukraine.” PSPU leader and former MP Natalia Vitrenko issued a statement, denouncing “the slaughter unleashed by the Kiev putschists in Slavyansk, using the Army and combat helicopters against civilians” as an act of savagery committed by “unbridled Nazis.” In violating Article 17 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which forbids the use of the Armed Forces against civilians, and tearing up last week’s Geneva Statement on refraining from the use of force, she wrote, “you are placing yourselves outside of civilized humanity.”
Deputy head of the PSPU Volodymyr Marchenko, also an MP for three sessions, issued a separate statement, as a native of Slavyansk. He demanded “immediate cessation of murders of my fellow countrymen in the Donbass, which has been launched in this punitive operation by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, illegally using the Army.” The people of the Donbass (Donetsk River Basin) “will not be cannon fodder in a U.S. war against Russia,” said Marchenko. He demanded of Barack Obama, “Stop your Banderites!” — referring to the Kiev regime’s adopted ideology of 20th-century fascist Stepan Bandera — and “answer for the murder of my countrymen!”
Right Sector Accelerates War Provocations
The Banderist Right Sector group has relocated its headquarters to southeastern Ukraine, in coordination with the rump government in Kiev, thus deepening the provocations and further wrecking last week’s Geneva agreement, aimed at de-escalating the crisis. Russia Today reported, “Ukrainian radical neo-fascist Right Sector group has moved its main headquarters from Kiev to Dnepropetrovsk to ‘closely monitor’ the developments in the east, its leader said, announcing the formation of yet another paramilitary squadron in Ukraine.”
Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh announced at a press conference this week in Dnepropetrovsk that the move aimed to “prevent the spread of the Kremlin infection.” In announcing the formation of a new squadristi formation in the east, Yarosh proclaimed “We coordinate all of our actions with the leadership of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Service of Ukraine.” According to Ukrainian media, the new military formation will have 800 fighters, and exists in parallel with a similar unit established by the Kiev-appointed governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region, the oligarch Igor Kolomoysky. Following the Yarosh announcement, the Mayor of Slovyansk, which had been the scene of Sunday’s Easter assault on an unarmed checkpoint, warned that the formation of these new paramilitary forces “could lead to a fratricidal war.”
Russian Foreign Ministry Holds U.S. Accountable for Actions of Ukraine Government
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the following statement April 24, 11:00 p.m. Moscow time. It speaks for itself:
The unpredictable development of the situation in Ukraine’s southeastern regions, where regular Army units, special forces, and ultranationalist militarized groups have been sent against the population, requires urgent actions to compel the Kiev powers, who are looked after by the USA, to exercise restraint and not use force.
Telephone contracts between [Lavrov and Kerry], planned for April 23 and 24, unfortunately did not take place, for reasons beyond Moscow’s control. Ahead of [their] discussion, set for April 25, Russia again insistently calls on Washington to use all its influence on the interim government in Kiev, to bring it to reason and convince it to refrain from rash steps, plunging Ukraine ever more deeply into the maelstrom of crisis.