CEASEFIRE BREAKS DOWN! REFUGEES FLOOD INTO RUSSIA
By Stephen Wilson
(Moscow, Russia) - The ceasefire appears to have 'finished,' if it really began in the first place.
The peace was like a train jolting back and thro, unsure of whether to go back or forward, or on which track to change on as all the diplomats working at the signal box were sending conflicting signals. This is why it is too simplistic to blame the insurgents for the prolonged conflict, for it is not too far-fetched to assume that European and Ukrainian officials have never made a sincere commitment to support the peace -process in the first place.
Another problem is, 'How can you negotiate peace when you don't acknowledge there is a war in the first place? So the first step is to readily acknowledge a real war situation exists in the first place! This is a real war and not 'a simple criminal conspiracy', 'terrorist acts' or 'bandits getting above themselves.' Yet the Ukrainian government often speaks as if there is no war as do American officials. It reminds me of the British attitude to northern Ireland. Instead of recognizing a war existed, they just understated the situation by calling it 'the Troubles'. If the solution to the problem lies in simply arresting terrorists, then the whole complexity of the situation is reduced to a 'law and order ' problem.
The American government policy betrays an utter ignorance which must embarrass its own citizens, especially highly educated, cultural and spiritual people who loathe war. They either don't grasp the situation in the Ukraine and live in a world of their own, or they are aggressively belligerent and indifferent to the loss of human lives. One wonders if they have hearts of stone or they are Walter Mitty characters. At least Walter Mitty tried to save the jobs of workers!
Even from a cynical real political point of view the statement of American officials indicate an almost amateurish and childish level of irresponsibility and ineptitude. According to Mary Garf, there are no refugees.
She states, 'They could be visiting their grandmothers and returning back'. 'The Ukrainain government is not carrying out acts of war, but only carrying out anti-terrorist operations'. Those are Alice in Wonderland statements! One thing is certain and that is the American government is not supporting peace but condoning a callous and inexcusable war while the European statesmen are not even challenging them on this. In deed, we don't now whether the European Union is for either war or peace. For they are sending out confusing, contradictory and inconsistent statements.
We are for war and peace! We are for peace and if we don't get it, we will increase economic sanctions. A writer called David Wanborough stated, 'Economic sanctions is a form of war against Russia. It is declaring a trade war against Russia'. Since the European Union represents 28 countries, you can potentially hear 28 different policies.
For example, France tends to act like a dove while Germany seems to act more aggressively, like a falcon. It is clearly self evident that the European policy towards Ukraine is not fully worked out, or even fully agreed upon if they in deed have one!
The problem is that the European Union forgets it is not a superpower; the Americans are attempting to prove they are still the main superpower and the Russians have already declared they are now a superpower which is the equal of America. The balance of power has tilted the other way, and recent events in Ukraine demonstrate this stark truth.
THE WAR GOES ON!
The war, in all its unfolding frightening horror is going on. The Ukrainian forces have been launching air-raids, artillery barrages and sniping at the Russians who are trapped in a siege situation where they are often cut off from basic utilities such as water, electricity, food and medical supplies. Then there is the constant terror of hiding in cellars from air-raids, not knowing whether a rocket or bomb will hit them. Already many peaceful civilians have been killed by either stray or intentionally aimed bullets or shells. The recent air-strike on Luganskaya railway station reduced it to a heap of smoldering rubble and ash reminiscent of old war footage of Stalingrad. Ten people were reported to have died in this senseless strike. The panic of a poor fear stricken women fleeing a burning building ought to waken people up! A five-year-old boy perished in this attack. For what purpose was this illogical 'anti-terrorist operation'? Do American officials regard five-year-old children and fleeing women terrorists?
I spoke to Russians about the American policy. Most told me that they thought the Americans were mostly ignorant or plain stupid.
In fact, there is a prevailing belief in Russian that Americans are stupid. This is a common stereotype which took the American English teacher Daniel Ogan aback! Yesterday a Russian student asked me, 'Why do the Americans and Europeans dislike Russians?' I retorted, 'They don't dislike Russians,' but I was not sure my answer convinced him.
It is difficult to say how many people have died from 'anti-terrorist' operations. One figure states that 279 people have died and that from this figure, 160 represented peaceful civilians. This suggests that the main casualties of this war are civilians.
It is worth observing that the incompetence or indiscriminate attacks on innocent people have a precedent. A military expert Rusten Klupov stated, 'The professionalism of Ukrainians was indicated by some stupid incidents. In 2000 a missile 'Tuchka' fell into a high story building over Kiev and in 2001, in a training exercise, a rocket which was launched destroyed a plane on the flight from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk with the loss of 77 passengers' lives. You can be certain that those incidents led to the end of further military training exercises!'
Those tragic events happened in peacetime! Experiencing a bombing raid is traumatic. One woman in Ukraine reported, 'They would attack 5 times, 20 times, every 35 seconds. Afterwards, there was an interval for 5-10 minutes, then again, bombing for almost an hour. How we prayed during this time. We thought that our very rescue could only be ensured by a miracle from God. Later, there was a leak and smoke was coming from somewhere. In fear, we went to look, and we were relieved there was an interval in the bombing which left us alive'.
Many of the victims of war can't understand why they are being targeted by their own government. 'Why are they attacking us? We don't want to go to war against anyone .'
There is a great sense of disbelief, shock and amazement. Some insensitive people might rebuke those civilians for being naive. They are not naive! On the contrary, they retain a sober sane sensibility, much more perceptive than naive American officials. They correctly perceive evil as absurd, abnormal and beyond all the laws of logic as well as human nature.
They intuitively grasp the intensity of suffering!
At one Moscow metro Taganskaya, you can't avoid seeing a huge mural looming up declaring 'Crimea is Russia'. Not far from here, a tent has been pitched by charity volunteers who are appealing for donations to aid the people on Donbass. Already, some refugees have trickled into Moscow. One female refugee said, 'I can't get used to how quiet life in Moscow is!' This is despite the fact Moscow is one of the noisiest and busiest cities in Europe!
I spoke to one hairdresser, who I'll call' Olga', whose husband has recently gone off to volunteer to defend Donbass'. I asked Olga how she felt about this, as well as the situation in Ukraine. She answered, 'I could kill him! He has left me to look after two children! He told me that, 'It is my patriotic duty to defend my motherland'. I told him that he would only be killing his neighbours. I hate this war and think it is only being fought over money and control of the resources, which the Donbass holds. The war is being fought so some politicians and officials can make money from it. What I hate is when so many innocent people are suffering, especially children . ..I don't know how some refugees will get work in some parts of Russian, such as Smolensk. I'm from there and I know the area very well. There is alot of mass poverty and unemployment there. It is so bad that in some villages near there, half the people are just drinking. Life is very difficult here. So how the government will manage to provide the refugees with work when they can't support local people amazes me!'
'I have many friends from Ukraine and don't want to go to war against them'.
What will become of Olga's husband is anyone's guess. Hopefully, peace will prevail to grant people a desperately needed break!