An agreement with Putin is an agreement with the devil – Ukraine’s vice-PM on European integration



Featured, Op-ed

Article by: Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s vice-prime minister on European integration

On February 10, the German newspaper Die Welt published an article of the Ukrainian vice-prime minister on European integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze about the West’s policy regarding Ukraine and the dangers that this brings.

Euromaidan Press,  with the permission of the office of the vice-prime minister, is publishing the English version of the article.

It has been mostly bad news for Ukraine lately. Thousands of civilians found themselves caught between frost and fire under Putin’s fierce onslaught in Donbas – the worst since early 2015. The Kremlin rubs its blood-smeared hands in anticipation of a new division of the world  anticipating that Ukraine is soon to be theirs.

Meanwhile, many in the West seem to be contemplating “all options” to make a deal with Putin.

They don’t believe in the “rise of the West” combined with the “rise of the rest.”

When did things become so bad? It didn’t start the last week or the last year. Partly, it started much earlier. And partly – in February 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine. We all remember those days. Ukraine pleaded with Russia to stop. The West pleaded with Ukraine not to respond militarily. And only Russia pleaded with no one – they just did their thing: disrupting, manipulating and occupying the land that wasn’t theirs.

We choked back then.

It took Ukraine three long months in 2014 – March, April, May – to overcome the shock and to start fighting back. Sadly, many in the West still seem choked. Russia messes with your elections, corrupts you, plays you – and you still plead. You still appeal to the good will of someone who made a habit of carving up his neighbors.

Some of you probably think if you give Russia what they want, this nightmare will go away. You just can’t figure out what they want.

Well here is a newsflash for you: they don’t believe in the “rise of the West” combined with the “rise of the rest.”

All they know is this: it’s their time to rise and the West’s time to go down.

Yes, this goes against logic. However – so does Moscow’s whole zero-sum world picture. Yes, this goes against everything we learned in the last 25 years. However – rolling back these 25 years stands atop their to-do-list.

Don’t fool yourselves – this didn’t happen because Russia misunderstood you. It happened because we all misunderstood Russia. We thought the Soviet Union was dead all these years – but it wasn’t. It was re-grouping. It was getting ready for a revanche.

“Houston, we have a problem.” And the problem is the USSR 2.0, an FSB-run state, capable of things that USSR 1.0 could only dream of: get inside your political discourse and mess with it, de-value your values, corrupt your elites, disrupt your unions.

No, Russia’s rulers are no big thinkers.

They are just ordinary ex-KGB operatives with unlimited money and no scruples whatsoever. They have no grand ideas of their own, but they are good at undermining yours: EU, NATO, American dream, European home.

So, why indeed not give Russia what it wants? Well, for one thing – because above all it wants Ukraine. And Ukraine won’t play along. It’s a basic contradiction: Ukraine wants to be free, whereas Putin wants Ukraine to be on his leash. What kind of a deal can come out of it, other than at a cost of Ukraine’s core and legitimate interests?

A deal with Putin can be like a deal with the devil: he gives you something – and you give him your whole belief system in return. He gives you something – and you put up with a new division of the world. He gives you something – and you look away when he destroys his neighbors.

Ten thousand Ukrainians didn’t give their lives so that Putin would get in the end what he wanted.

We made our choice as a free nation. Now you in the West must make yours.

If you are tempted to strike a deal with Putin – we can’t change it. But don’t make a deal at the cost of the freedom of others. It would be a sleazy thing to do, a sin that would haunt you forever. Freedom cannot be a part of geopolitical game. NATO, EU, democracy, international law cannot be for sale.

There can’t be any honest deal between the West and Russia without an honest deal between Ukraine and Russia. And the only honest deal between Ukraine and Russia can be based on restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory. Not under Russia’s conditions, but under the conditions of international law. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Russia is ready for that at this particular point.

It’s time to stand your ground. Not a long time ago the West considered the whole world its “ground” – simply because it thought democracy was essential to all human beings. This concept is being challenged now by someone who doesn’t think much of democracy. He suggests dividing the world anew – between those who live in democracy and those who can do without.

If the West succumbs to it, the time would be rolled back to the pre-Reagan era. The free world would become smaller. And smaller. And smaller. In the end, it will be smaller, than the world of tyranny and on retreat. Keep in mind: if freedom dies in Syria, if it dies in Ukraine – a part of it dies in the West too. So, try to do the seemingly impossible: stay strong in this time of trial. The history will measure you by that.

Author: Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s vice-prime minister on European integration

Source: Originally published in German in Die Welt
Source: Also available in Ukrainian on Yevropeiska Pravda

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  • Randolph Carter

    The only difference is that the devil keeps his side of the bargain (although not in the way you wanted) and also doesn’t kill his own minions. I wanted to find a Slavic god of death and destruction, but the closest I could find was Jarilo, who snatched from the cradle and taken to the underworld. He came back and married his sister Morena (incest is best!). Later, he is unfaithful to her and she vengefully slays him (we can only hope).

    Hopefully, Putin will return to the underworld with his minions (Despicable Me?) soon.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Pedo Putolini closely resembles Kali, the Hindu goddess of Death and Destruction. He’s just an “operation” away from becoming a perfect match, only needing to become female. Nothing a surgeon’s scalpel can’t achieve, and bonus is that he won’t be able to abuse little boys any longer.

  • Xeroi Ato

    If your “European values” can be undermined by facebook and twitter bots, then you need reconsider your values.

    • Kruton

      Stalin was a bank robber and shot his wife in the face,LOL!!!! I hear Putler likes the little boys!

    • Andrew Chmil

      ” then you need reconsider your” — BAD ANGLISH!!! :))

      You are IGNORANT & UNEDUCATED!!!

    • Alex George

      No, we need to reconsider our commitment to those values. And we are doing so.

      The West is learning, as Ukraine did, that we need to be seriously committed to those values.

  • veth

    Putin is lower life than the Devil!

  • albertphd

    An excellent no-nonsense article which captures as a snap-shot in time the perilous predicament Ukraine finds itself in! There should be no illusion as to the fact that Ukraine has been left to itself, to defend itself alone against a greater bully nation, with little real hope to succeed. But Ukraine has some very good options right now, if only it can act more effectively. As in the animal world, even the Russian ‘Bear’ will not wish to tangle with the Ukrainian ‘Porcupine’– if Ukraine can simply use the real options it has. Let me explain:

    #1. Regardless whether Ukraine receives lethal military weaponry from the West (it needs more than ‘blankets’ as Poroshenko pointed out to the US Congress to defend itself), and regardless whether Crimea is ever returned to Ukraine (as Western Media and the purpose of current sanctions proposes!), Ukraine can end this war in the Donbas (in the East under ORDLO) if it chooses to take this ATO action as a genuine WAR by invading barbarians.

    #2. The first thing Ukraine needs to do is to announce Martial Law (perhaps limited only in Eastern Ukraine, at first) in order to wake up both Eastern Ukrainians and the Western World at large as to the dire situation Ukraine now faces. With Martial Law, the death sentence needs to be reinstated (despite the pompous protests of Western Liberals and Democrats who clearly live in La-La Land!). Ukrainian war munitions and factories must be financed and directed to produce LETHAL military weapons around the clock without delay: tanks, S-400 Missile Launchers, military jets, etc.

    #3. All Ukrainians still living in the Donbas area need to be urgently reminded that they must seek asylum outside that area –for their own safety– as Martial Law is to prevail immediately. The tenets of the Minsk II Agreement no longer hold as they have never been respected nor observed by the Russian side. All Pension checks to the Donbas, all water, all power (electricity), all supplies given by Ukraine to keep the Donbas terrorists alive and well must immediately be terminated, winter or no winter. All trade with the Donbas terrorists (and with the Crimea) must be halted during this Military action. All Ukrainian Embassies and businesses in Russia must halt and be withdrawn. A state of War should exist between Ukraine and these pro-Russian mercenaries who have waged non-stop war against Ukraine for 3 years now!

    #4. All internal corruption (militarily, politically, economically–through the Ukrainian Oligarchs, and Russian citizens living in Ukraine, in particular) must be seen as an act of treason (an act of war!) against Ukraine, to be met with the death sentence, as is normal in times of times of war, in times of national survival). All properties by these 5th columnists must be confiscated and turned into State Property to be used for the war effort.

    #5. A military Alliance should be signed with neighboring countries such as the Baltic States, Belarus, Poland and others if at all possible, to the effect that they will militarily support Ukraine should Russia declare War against the Ukraine. A War Petition should be sought with the USA as well to the extent that the USA would finally release the lethal military weapons that Ukraine desperately needs right now to more properly defend itself. An Agreement (perhaps a Trade Agreement, Open Skies Agreement, Military Armament Agreement, or the like) can be signed between the USA and Ukraine to make business with Ukraine very lucrative for the West. No US military need set a boot on Ukrainian soil to fight with Ukraine. Ukraine can do it’s own fighting now but requires the modern military weaponry to defend itself that Russia has given to the 40,000 troops now in the Eastern Donbas!

    #6. A War Measures Act needs to be passed by the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament) to suspend all habeas corpus rights (individual rights) to focus groups (largely created by Russia) within Ukraine that may resist these measures of Martial Law. The Ukrainian Government needs to be properly protected in its military laws in order to arrest (without due course of civilian law) all suspects and criminals who oppose the Government in it’s discharge of these military matters. Ukraine, the world needs to realize, is not fighting for its very survival, and so a state of WAR must exist against all enemies internal and otherwise who do not share the best interests of the Ukrainian State.

    #7. To fail to properly implement the above REAL options which Ukraine does have (despite the pampered protesters of the EU and the Liberal West!), will result in converting Ukraine (as we now know it) into another Crimea: with a Russian Judiciary, Russian Government, Russian Administration throughout all Ukraine! Ukrainian culture as an identity for the Ukrainian People, including the Ukrainian language, will be replaced by Russian Rule, short and simple! Ukraine will simply cease to be! The Dictatorship Laws that ex-President Victor Yanukovich wished to impose upon the Ukrainian peoples in February 2014 will be re-instated! Freedom as Ukraine now experiences it, will be over! There will be a lot of blood-letting, no doubt, as was experienced in the Fall of Saigon when the Viet Cong overthrew the American-based regime, thereby changing the name of Saigon to Ho Chi Ming City!

    #8. Although option #7 (to sue for PEACE from a superior enemy) may be the option of Last Resort, it may be the only viable option should the moral will and backbone of the Ukrainian people, in particular: it’s Government, it’s Military, it’s Business or Economic Infrastructure is simply too corrupt or too lax or too underfunded to realistically defend itself. The choice to make a pact with this ‘Devil without horns’ (the smiling Putin) will be a pact made in Hell, one to be sure, that the Ukrainian people will suffer underground, as they outwardly assimilate with the Russian State but inwardly seek a future date of full retaliation. Ukraine must accept either Martial Law today, or Russian Law tomorrow.

    • Murf

      Great idea!
      Become that which they abhorre (a Dictatorship) or Surrender.
      It might have escaped your notice but:
      1)The Ukraine has very successfully contained the Russians to a small part of Donbas and are in fact retaking ground.
      2) International support for Ukraine is not wavering nor has the West altered it’s position by so much as a coma.The EU will be providing Ukraine with a 600 billion dollar low interest loan in the coming weeks. The US has approved a 1 billion dollar loan and allocated 350 million in direct military aid, the US Britain,Canada, Poland and the Baltic countries are providing training to the Ukraine army. This training has helped improve their performance on the battle field, most recently at Avediikva were US trained troops show great initiative in seizing enemy positions and holding against blistering counterattacks.
      3) The Ukraine economy is in recovery and grew by 2% last year and 4.5% in the 4th quarter. Industrial production is up, The Agriculture Sector is booming so much they are going to have to expand the transportation infrastructure to handle it. Industrial production is up. The Exchange rate is improving. Inflation continues to drop. The interest rate is only 4 pts higher than Russia’s.
      Ukraine’s score on the Transparency International has improved 2pts to 29, which is the same as Russia’s, their Ease of Doing business has improved 2 pts.

      So the question is; why should Ukraine turn into the Russia they are opposing or bow to an enemy they defeating?

      • Alex George

        Excellent post – on so many points!

      • Vol Ya

        Murf you are 100 percent correct in your reply. There is no reason for Ukraine to destroy itself in order to defeat putin. All we have to do is build up Ukraine economically and militarily and wait it out. putin is well on his way to destroying Russia. Russia’s decline is irreversible at this point in time.

      • albertphd

        Hi, Murf! I appreciate your concerns! Certainly, we do not wish to encourage a Russian-style dictatorship (or any dictatorship for that matter)! That is why Maidan occurred in Kiev in February 2014: to oppose the Russian dictatorship laws that Victor Yanukovich wished to impose, remember?!

        As to the confusion between a permanent dictatorship (which Yanukovich and Putin favor for Ukraine) and a temporary imposition of Martial Law (in order to root out internal and external enemies to the State), there is a world of a difference.

        Martial law is a temporary suspension of civil rights in order to prevent a total collapse of law and order; whereas, a dictatorship (such as that in the Russian Federation currently) is the ‘Triumph of the Will’ of a dictator over the well-being of the people.

        Under a dictatorship, the preservation of those in power in the State (as in Syria) is primary over the General Good of the people they rule; whereas under the edict of Martial Law, the preservation of the Greater Good of the people is paramount over that of the law-breakers, invaders, moles, or Fifth-Columnists, as the case may be.

        Let me explain: in 1970, in Canada, Martial Law was (temporarily) instituted in Quebec during the FLQ crisis (the Front for the Liberation of Quebec) after a prominent Quebec politician was murdered by this Terrorist group. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau introduced a “War Measures Act” to temporarily suspend the civil rights of all and any suspects. Martial Law was introduced via the Armed Forces of Canada and thousands of suspects were jailed without ‘habeas corpus’ (the civil right for legal protection against false arrest). In a short time, the FLQ movement was squashed, the leaders imprisoned, and civil law was restored. Canada as a Democracy was able to impose Martial Law to abort a potential (internal) revolution. There was no dictatorship here.

        Also, in the USA, the National Guard have the right to shoot to kill anyone who is within a restricted zone as determined in a National Emergency or Disaster! This version of a temporary Martial Law is quite effective. Looters, and criminals violate these curfew and movement restrictions at their own peril! But the USA does not lose it’s status as a Democratic Republic because Martial Law (in restricted areas) has been imposed! There is no dictatorship here!

        I re-assert my claim that (temporary) Martial Law needs to be imposed in Ukraine (at least in the Eastern war zone bordering ORDLO, where the pro-Russian mercenaries have become entrenched for 3 years now!)! Military curfews need to be imposed to restrict movement of insurgents or terrorists who seek to harm the peaceful citizens of Ukraine. Once this area is freed of all terrorists, civil law can be restored. There is really no other way if (as all readers are agreed), Russia has apparently no intent or little will for a peaceful resolution.

        To imagine that it is possible to fight a war with white kid gloves, is as absurd as sheep who vote for vegetarianism when the wolves at their door are of a different opinion. I agree that the best way to prepare for peace is to arm oneself militarily (which Ukraine has begun to do); but as we know over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers (and who knows how many civilians?) have already given their lives to delay the full Russian invasion.

        To pat ourselves on the back as if to say that Ukraine is adequately prepared to continue to keep back the 40,000+ invaders in the Donbas area is unwise to say the least. All indicators currently show that Russia has lost all patience: forced evacuations of residents by the Russian mercenaries is occurring as we speak, the death and injury toll of Ukrainian troops is at an all-time high, the number of attacks along the demarcation lines is virtually non-stop at the highest rate in three years,

        Russia apparently has no fear of reprisals, or increased sanctions, or USA or NATO intervention. In fact, Russia has stopped supplying Ukraine with any more coal or gas! The RF clearly wishes to greatly escalate this conflict in order to break through the Ukrainian lines.

        To claim that Ukraine (which without on-going monetary support from the EU and other countries is actually bankrupt!) has a strong currency belies the fact that prior to this ATO action, one US dollar in 2013 was equal to 8 UAH; but today (in 2017) one US Dollar is equal to 27 UAH! How is this progress?

        In addition, as of the 1st March 2017, all utility costs in Ukraine will increase by 40%! How is this progress?!

        When I last visited East Ukraine (in Zaporozhye) in April 2016, I saw double line-ups of beggars (with missing arms and legs) sitting for three blocks long holding out empty tin cans! There were no Church soup kitchens, no Red Cross bread trucks, no UN emergency food intervention, only emaciated and starving people! Is this progress?! (I have not seen such poverty in all the previous years I’ve visited East Ukraine since 2010!).

        A point to ponder: In the worst case scenario, Should Russia hypothetically decide to attack Ukraine simultaneously from Crimea, from the Donbas, from the Azov Sea, and from Belarus–can Ukraine count on the EU, NATO, the Baltic countries, Poland, or any other country to come to their rescue?!

        Let’s be realistic! If our friends in the West still do not trust Ukraine with lethal military weapons even at this late date, there can be only one conclusion: They apparently all fear to antagonize the Russian Bear.

        Putin sees all of these things very clearly, no doubt!

        So, as I contend: Ukraine has been left to defend itself alone, to choose
        either Martial Law or Russian Law, for, there can be no middle ground with the Devil (with or without horns!)!

        • Alex George

          “I re-assert my claim that (temporary) Martial Law needs to be imposed in Ukraine (at least in the Eastern war zone ”
          – But why? What good would it achieve? You never actually explain this.

          “Once this area is freed of all terrorists, civil law can be restored.”
          – It already is largely free of terrorists. Most of them get picked up, and there is no evidence that imposing martial law would do anything to catch more.

          “as we know over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers (and who knows how many civilians?) have already given their lives to delay the full Russian invasion”
          Ummm, no we don’t know that at all. They didn’t delay the full Russian invasion, they stopped it in its tracks. And there weren’t over 10,000, probably about 3,500.

          • albertphd

            Hi Alex George!, I’m referring to “the Eastern War Zone” (to include ORDLO, the area of Eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian terrorists!)! As ORDLO is still part of Ukraine, Ukraine can declare that entire area under Martial Law (which allows the Ukrainian Armed Forces to arrest without warrant, as well as to shoot to kill anyone violating the curfew and terms of this Martial Law).

            By definition, this area (held under control by the Terrorists in East Ukraine) is not “largely free of terrorists”. Martial Law is imperative in order to rid the area of these invaders. That is the good that would be achieved! Then Civil Law (law and order) can be restored to that region.

            As to the number of dead Ukrainian soldiers simply look to the UN Security Council stats as well as to the original source: the Ukrainian military command, in their annual report (released last month).

            The number of dead Ukrainian civilians is uncertain simply because many of these civilians have been raped, mutilated, and then murdered by the Russian barbarians (as witnessed by Ukrainian POWs released in prisoner exchanges in the past 3 years). The rape and killing of Ukrainian civilians, including children! (held as hostages at the whim of these Russian mercenaries) has been captured on the cell phone cameras of several of these barbarians who did not delete their contents before capture by the Ukrainian military.

            Already, over 10,000 cases of human rights violations have been submitted by Ukraine to the Hague last Summer 2016, which International Tribunal at the Hague acknowledged these crimes of genocide before Christmas last year and sent a copy to Moscow for a rebuttal. We’re waiting for the reply.

            We cannot say that we’ve permanently ‘stopped’ the Russian invasion ‘in its tracks’ as we keep yielding more territory to the invader (despite the Minsk II Agreement) as witnessed to the loss of the Donetsk Airport, last year. As much as I would like to agree with you that things appear to be rosy and that the ORDLO invaders have ceased fighting, the point still remains that there has NOT been a FULL Russian invasion by any stretch of the imagination. Putin is simply toying with Ukraine the way a cat toys with a ball of string. When he thinks the time is right (that the USA will not intervene), he will strike. But will Ukraine be ready and prepared for a FULL Russian invasion, if there still is this reluctance to even consider Martial Law –as a possible defense?!

          • Alex George

            If you are talking about clearing occupied Donbass of terrorists, then that makes no sense at all. And it is irrelevant whether Ukraine declares Martial law there.

            Adn yes, I am aware of the stats -that’s why I wrote what it did .

            “as we keep yielding more territory to the invader ” – You don’t know what you are talking about .

            “the loss of the Donetsk Airport, last year.” – You don’t know what you are talking about.

            And no declaring martial law now is not a defence to anything. Your argument is nonsensical.

          • albertphd

            Ad hominem rebuttals are unproductive, Mr. George. Anyone can say: “you don’t know what you’re talking about!” or “Your argument is nonsensical”. Such statements say nothing more than: “I don’t agree with you”! But that’s not an argument! It’s merely a point of view.

            The stats you claim to be aware of are over a year old. To the best of my memory, As of February of 2015, it was noted that approximately 3500 to 4000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action. The reason for the uncertainty then had to do with the slaughter at Illyiosk (in which Putin had sneaked in an estimated 15,000 Russian regular troops temporarily across the border to lie in wait) as the retreating 3500 Ukrainian military troops were slaughtered along a path of retreat mutually-agreed upon by both the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents. Poroshenko was understandably infuriated by this betrayal of trust by Putin, and so did not disclose the full extent of the KIAs (Killed In Action). The official Kiev estimate was only in the hundreds (later, revised to 1100) but those few in the battle field who survived stated that it was virtually the entire command that was wiped out. (So, I understand your preference to quote old stats.)

            Since that battle, there were several other battles involving loss of life. The estimate of 10,000 dead is likely a conservative one even if supplied by the Ukrainian Pravda website. As with most battles, we tend to underestimate our losses and over-estimate those of the other side, right?! Perfectly natural. But stats are stubborn things.

            The loss of the Donetsk Airport? and other land grabs by the terrorists?! you appear to be unaware of them? Look at the maps of ORDLO in 2014, then in 2015, then in 2016! End of argument.

            The Russian barbarians have not only taken hundreds of miles of the Ukraine-Russian border entirely under their control, but 3 Ukrainian railway lines, and virtually all of the major Ukrainian coal mines in Donetsk. They have confiscated the key factories and storage facilities in the area, transported virtually all the best of the machinery and electronic equipment to Russia (via Rail) as well as brought in numerous tanks and anti-aircraft rocket launchers (S-300s and S-400s) which Ukraine cannot match (as of yet). Their equipment is modernized and is growing in numbers weekly. Where is the lethal weaponry that Ukraine has been pleading with America and the West to sell to them?! Still no dice?!

            As a counter to my claim to better arm Ukraine through out-right Martial Law (to thereby replace the ATO action with a full military response!), your strategy appears to be: wait and see?! Like teh ostrich with it’s head in the sand, or to quote history: As Poland before the Nazis in 1939?! A dangerous precedent, wouldn’t you say?!

            I do not wish to argue for the sake of arguing. As one wise sage once said; “Blessed is the man who has nothing to say, and cannot be persuaded to say it!” . I see that you have nothing to retort except to say (that): ‘your argument is nonsensical”?!

            Let me add one final point of reflection: Just as the US Marshall or Texas Ranger in the times of the Wild West had to declare a form of Martial Law in a town where lawlessness ran rampant, so in the Ukrainian ORDLO (currently controlled by Russian-led terrorists), Ukraine needs to declare that zone and the territory immediately surrounding it (on the Ukrainian side, of course) as subject to Martial Law. That is the first step!

            You state: “it is irrelevant whether Ukraine declares Martial Law there”, and on the face of it you are technically right, if by ‘irrelevant’ you mean “that the simple declaration by itself cannot clean out the area of terrorists”!

            But you miss the whole point, Sir! The first step to ensure that curfews can be enforced is to declare the curfews, to announce Martial Law! Then, after it is clearly understood by all that Martial Law is in force, one goes about —like the good Sheriff or U.S. Marshall– to enforce that law. Plain and simple. And it’s perfectly legal! No genocide! No war crimes to be announced! It’s Martial Law: disobey it at your own peril. Hence. all terrorists must flee or be forcibly eliminated.

          • Alex George

            My point in writing “you don;t know what you are talking about” is because your assumptions are so obviously wrong that there is nothing more to be said. This is not ad hominem – I am just accurately describing you.

            Your latest effort just gets worse:

            “better arm Ukraine through out-right Martial Law” That is a complete non-sequitur – martial law has nothing to do with arming.

            “to thereby replace the ATO action with a full military response!”. The ATO is a full military response. The Ukrainian army is defending against tens of thousands of extremely well-equipped Russian soldiers, not to mention further tens of thousands of “separatists” i.e. Russian mercenaries. Other the the absence of close air support (for political reasons and because both sides are well supplied with AA) all types of modern weapons are available, and often used. Russia tries to avoid being too obvious to OSCE, but it stlll fires thousands of shells etc each week.

            “your strategy appears to be: wait and see?!…” – I suggest you learn what Ukraine’s strategy is (not mine) because your foolish language indicates that you do not understand it in the least.

            “The first step to ensure that curfews can be enforced is to declare the curfews, to announce Martial Law! ” – Curfews – in occupied Donbass? Nonsensical.

            “one goes about —like the good Sheriff or U.S. Marshall– to enforce that law.” – In occupied Donbass? Nonsensical.

            “It’s Martial Law: disobey it at your own peril.” – 50,000 Russian soldiers do no give a flying f*ck about Martial Law.

          • albertphd

            Not sure that you have grasped even the general concept of Martial Law (as I am portraying it!)! I am not talking about converting Ukraine into a military dictatorship (which I think, hope?, you have understood).

            You’re right 50,000 Russian soldiers (or even all of the RF, right?) do not care at all about International Law, the terms of the Minsk II Agreement, or Ukrainian Martial Law, right?! Of course you’re right, and I’m right! We both agree on that point, right?!

            But you do understand that Ukraine cannot do as Russia does, right?! Ukraine must observe International Law, and the Minsk II Agreement (even if Russia does not, right?!), and all civil liberties, etc. Upon this point, I think you agree with me as well, right?!

            Okay, to speak in basic plain language: Ukraine must have the right to arrest suspects without proper habeas corpus, or due process of civil law, if it wishes to impose immediate and effective law and order. Ukraine needs to be able to impose restrictions on movement in order to control the ‘out-of-control’ ORDLO area (that is, the part of the Donbas illegally held by the pro-Russian mercenaries). To impose these restrictions would involve the death sentence upon all violators: typically, enemy agents posing as Ukrainian civilians, Ukrainians aiding and abetting the enemy as traitors, and so on (which action is currently, banned by the EU, and imposed upon Ukraine as a condition of financial aid, right?!).

            So, to avoid violating this condition by the EU, Ukraine can set the terms of Martial Law as I’ve briefly sketched and outlined throughout our conversation(s)! The means for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to swiftly and firmly re-assert itself throughout Ukraine are legion (and beyond the scope of our little bantering back and forth, to say the least!).

            To be sure: This action is the identical measure that any democratic nation (including the USA) would immediately impose upon ‘the ENTIRE war zone’ should they too be (hypothetically) invaded as Ukraine now is. The only real difference today is that the USA would not have waited as long as Ukraine has to impose Martial Law!

          • Alex George

            “Ukraine needs to be able to impose restrictions on movement in order to control the ‘out-of-control’ ORDLO area (that is, the part of the Donbas illegally held by the pro-Russian mercenaries).”

            You are still talking nonsense. The reason Ukraine cannot restrict enemy movement in the occupied Donbass has nothing to do with Martial Law or lack thereof, and everything to do with it not having the capacity to do so.

            And try using less words – you could have said everything in your last post in a single paragraph;.

          • albertphd

            The old adage, “If I had MORE time, I would write LESS,” still applies. Sorry about the attempt to explain Martial Law 101 to you. You certainly have a rather limited view of Ukraine’s military options. As I recall, you simply say: more of the same and let’s wait and see! Such views are typical of the Liberal West who live in La-La Land (in my view!). They really think that a war (such as the dirty undeclared ‘war’ in East Ukraine) can be fought like a video game–with ‘white kid gloves’?! Give me a break!

            Yes, I agree that Ukraine does not have the (legal) capacity to restrict enemy movement in the ORDLO (‘occupied Donbas’) but that is where a formal declaration of Marital Law (as the FIRST step would be extremely beneficial!). But I’m talking to someone who’s cup is full–no room for alternate perspectives, is there? Whenever children do not understand something, they tend to throw it away as nonsensical, does not fit into their familiar world of play things. It’s a pity that your own retort is to mock the argument of the opposing view as “nonsense”. To me, it shows a serious lack of mature understanding. (or even an effort to attempt to do so?!).

            Perhaps I still cannot explain myself clearly enough. But I think the problem is much greater than that: like trying to explain Calculus to someone in Grade 3?! Too bad, so sad that I’ve failed to enlighten you as to the dangers of procrastinating the (temporary and limited) imposition of Martial Law in the (unofficial) ‘war zone’ in East Ukraine. It’ seems like the ostrich, you simply cannot take your head out of the sand?! History repeating itself big time!

          • Alex George

            You haven’t “attempted to explain Martial Law 101” at all. You have simply failed to grasp what a declaration of Martial Law can do and what it cannot. And no, I don’t have a “limited view of Ukraine’s military options” – I have a realistic view, and also of how she will succeed in achieving her aims.

            “They really think that a war (such as the dirty undeclared ‘war’ in East Ukraine) can be fought like a video game–with ‘white kid gloves’?!”

            Comments like this show that you have no idea how this war is being fought, nor why, nor of the view that the Ukrainian military have of it.

            “It legally allows the Armed Forces of Ukraine to behave as a military force without the legal restrictions that Ukraine is currently obeying”

            Rubbish. The Ukrainian military is not carrying out operations deep in occupied Donbass because it is not able to do so. Nothing to do with legal restrictions and nothing to do with “EU conditions” – there is no such thing. On the rare occasions that the Ukrainian military does carry out such operations, there is no indication that it is constrained in the way you indicate.

            If you are attempting to refer to the Minsk Accords (and if so, you are doing it incorrectly), no, they have no relationship to Martial Law either.

            “It’s a pity that your own retort is to mock the argument of the opposing view as “nonsense” without any attempt to see the bigger picture.”

            On the contrary, I do see the bigger picture, hence why I wrote what I did. You are dogmatically asserting positions that are obvious rubbish to anyone who knows the basics about the situation in eastern Ukraine.

            “I am proposing only a possible scenario as a contingency plan should Russia decide to up the ante”

            No, that is not what you have proposed. Re-read your posts above and look at what you called for. You have repeatedly said that this is something that Ukraine should do now, nothing about it being contingent on Russia taking a particular action.

          • albertphd

            My dear ‘devil’s Advocate’, I am surprised that if (as you say) what I say is pure rubbish, why do you even bother to comment on what I’ve outlined as a possible and more effective way for Ukraine to end this Eastern border dispute with Russia?!

            Let’s be clear (if that’s possible?) on a few points, okay?

            #1: President Poroshenko and the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament) have already voted into law Martial Law for Ukraine (a long time ago!). They simply have not enacted it because of EU restrictions. For example, Turkey decided to re-introduce capital punishment when a military coup attempted to assassinate their President (recall that event?). The EU warned Turkey that if they introduce the death penalty, they would stand to lose their status with the EU. Turkey said should the EU do that, they can deal with the 1+ million Syrian refugees that Turkey currently hosts. The EU backed off.
            Ukraine could do the same thing but in a revised and limited format with Martial Law. But is there the political or military will to do so?! That’s the question of the hour?

            #2: Every country that wishes to protect it’s own citizenry imposes or introduces Martial Law as a dragnet over the region of an invading enemy. Russia would do it. The USA has done it with respect to the National Guard and national catastrophes (massive earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.). Do I need to explain this point, or is it self-evident?

            #3: Russia actually fears the imposition of Martial Law in the ORDLO (pro-Russian controlled portion of the Donbas). Hence, they continually create media frenzies that Ukraine is resorting to Nazi-like tactics and threatening to impose Martial Law (such as a recent article in the to which I see you responded). Any reasonable person must think to himself: why does Russia fear Martial Law in the Donbas?

            #4: Ukraine’s vice PM for European Integration who wrote the above article (“An Agreement with Putin is an Agreement with the Devil”) comments that “Ten thousand Ukrainians didn’t give their lives [for nothing] so that Putin would in the end get what he wanted”! Good point! (You dispute the number of Ukrainian dead as only “3500”; Wikipedia puts the number as 3300 –but their stats are most likely out-dated; and Russian military puts the number as 10,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers, not including civilians: who is right? who knows? but it’s interesting that you’ve disputed that number?!).

            Regardless of the actual (non-confirmed) dead in Ukraine as a direct result of this Eastern Border dispute, the point remains that Putin has not decreased the violence and killing in that area, but if my sources are right, he has instead increased the ante. And he will continue to do so, unless Martial Law is declared throughout that region (and along the entire Eastern Border between Ukraine and Russia).

            #5: You have repeatedly expressed incredulity that Martial Law would achieve anything worthwhile. At every hint of Martial Law, you have come down super hard with comments of: rubbish, nonsense, foolish idea, etc. I’m beginning to think that you prefer the pro-Russian position (to denounce Martial Law) as it would likely end this conflict a lot sooner than Russia would like?! I know that the Pro-Russians follow the ribbons of St. George and that Alex Jones follows a pro-Russian position, so I’m beginning to wonder whether the combination of “Alex” and “George” falls into the similar category?! (I’m not accusing you of being a Russian troll, simply that your name and your extremely intolerant view of Martial Law as a valid premise smacks 100% of a pro-Russian stance?!).

            #6: But coincidences aside, allow me to say that Martial Law is not to be confused with military intervention (which you keep reminding me oddly enough that the Ukrainian Military is fighting in the Donbas?). Martial Law is typically a temporary measure in which ALL civil liberties are suspended and in which the death penalty is imposed upon violators at the discretion of the ruling regime. These are not war crimes. This is not genocide. This is martial law, which every country on earth has a right to enact should they feel especially vulnerable (as during an Act of God, or catastrophic natural disaster), or during an invasion by an enemy force. [The recent case of the Syrian President executing mass numbers of his own citizens to retain power for himself constitutes war crimes and genocide, on the other hand, as no Martial Law was declared, and the opportunity for the unarmed peoples to clear the streets was not given, nor could the mass slaughter of children and innocent (non-violent) protesters be construed as expedient for the GREATER good of the people of Syria. It was merely a power grab, a means for an evil and murderous dictator to remain in power. But then that’s simply my opinion: President Assad has not been formally tried for his crimes.]

            #7: The effectiveness of Martial Law in the Donbas cannot be denied. Once adequate notice is given (which may take weeks to fully implement?!), the first step of Martial Law (to impose law and order through the death sentence) begins. Now, I do not mean that the verbal declaration of Martial Law in the Donbas may cause the pro-Russian mercenaries to retreat within 24 hours, but things begin to take shape.

            Recall that several heads of the illegal ORDLO leaders have been assassinated in the past 2 years, which caused Russia to claim that Ukrainian secret service agents were behind all of this–to which Ukraine denied?! Under Martial Law, more of these incidents may occur, and simply because there would be martial law, the criminal elements in the Donbas would never know if their turn is next?!

            If movement restriction is imposed, such as 19:00 hr. to 07:00 hours 7 days a week, the criminal spies and Russian agents in the Donbas would not feel comfortable dressed even as civilians because Martial Law states that they can be shot if on the streets during the curfew hours. The uncertainty of knowing whether Ukrainian secret service troops have infiltrated the Russian-held Donbas during those 12 hours of each day will even in itself cause a heightened sense of stress and uncertainty for not only the Russian agents but for the pro-Russian Ukrainian citizens who seek to leak information to the enemy.

            #8: Now, admittedly, these first few phases of Martial Law may be waived aside as immaterial and ineffective (as the sanctions against Russia were at first, remember?).No, I am not saying that Ukraine need follow the extreme imposition of Martial Law that the Vietnamese did against the Viet Cong. Recall when the Vietnamese General (in front of American soldiers and the US Media) assassinated a Viet Cong POW back during the Viet Nam War! I recall seeing that event live as it happened on TV.

            #9: Today, we have a severe censorship of all such actions. But one thing is certain that even with the simple verbal and official declaration of Martial Law in the Donbas, there will be no more talk of amnesty, nor any more scenarios of hardened Russian criminal agents who upon capture are simply given light prison sentences, or in the case of some Ukrainian military officers who had given sensitive military information to the Russians, were simply released upon a light bail of $20,000 USD?! If you’re familiar with the war in Ukraine (as you claim), you know precisely what I’m taking about, right?! Martial Law will create a definite deterrent to those fifth columnists who betray Ukraine.

            #10: Now, we have a serious problem with pro-Russian Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas who prefer to continue to receive Ukrainian Pension cheques, free power, free gas, free water, and so on while they pass on sensitive Ukrainian military information to the Russian side. I’ve seen the videos (admittedly by RT media and other questionable sources?) as well as read the articles in the Ukrainian news media which affirm that many (though not all, of course!) of those Ukrainian citizens in the occupied Donbas refuse to leave their homes.

            I could be wrong statistically, but some sources I’ve read (quite some time ago!) have suggested that many if not most of the Ukrainian citizens in that occupied ORDLO area have escaped to be with ‘free Ukraine’. With Martial Law imposed upon all in that area, there would certainly be a greater incentive to leave the war zone, before things become much uglier and more uncertain as well as unsafe?!

            Of course, I could go on and on, as you know, but if you still have a misunderstanding as to the effectiveness of Martial Law imposed upon the Ukrainian Donbas, please be more specific in your questions, instead of a double-barrel gunshot approach stating that my position is all rubbish! If you continue in this nutty response to my intelligent propositions, I shall conclude that you are favoring the Russian side (i.e. which is petrified of any possibility that Ukraine should legally impose Martial Law in the Donbas!)!

          • albertphd

            Opppss! I goofed! sorry about that, Alex George! I was relying on old notes. Yes, the 10,000 dead Ukrainian troops I see came from a Russian-sourced stat as of June 2015; whereas the Ukrainian stats claim that up to 15,000 Russian insurgents were killed in that same period! (check with Wikipedia, if it’s accurate?!).

            The UN claims that as of this month Feb 2017, 9800 people AT LEAST have been confirmed dead in the Donbas (East Ukraine) conflict, of which 3300 were Ukrainian soldiers. So, it appears your stat is more recognized as factual. (My error!).

            As to the yielding of the Donetsk Airport, it appears that it goes back and forth in the fight with the insurgents. Not sure where it stands today, as it’s just one mass graveyard, apparently. Nothing left of the airport to speak of, according to the photos I’ve seen. But the maps of the ORDLO area do show a significant increase of territorial gains by the insurgents over the past 3 years.

            As to Martial Law being “a defense to anything” that’s arguable. Martial Law for example is declared between North and South Korea (in the zone still controlled the the USA since the 1950s!). It is a no-man’s land. Neither the south Koreans nor the north Koreans can claim it as their own. In that sense the barrier or zone between ORDLO and ‘free’ Ukraine can likewise become a no-man’s land, under Martial Law. That’s the first step to freezing the fighting that still on-going in East Ukraine.

          • Alex George

            Yes, my casualty figures were correct.

            “But the maps of the ORDLO area do show a significant increase of territorial gains by the insurgents over the past 3 years.”

            Of course they are – three years ago is January 2014. That gives zero assistance to your assertion that the terrorists have made significant gains since Minsk II in February 2015. They haven’t.

            As for Martial Law, you are now trying to change the goal posts yet again, by changing it to a border zone only, instead of your earlier nonsensical assertion about Ukraine trying to impose martial law in the whole of occupied Donbass. Either way, you are yet to make a valid argument for why a declaration of martial law anywhere would assist Ukraine at the present time .

        • Alex George

          Your arguments are not convincing, but rather indicate that the Ukrainian government is on the right track:

          “but today (in 2017) one US Dollar is equal to 27 UAH! How is this progress?”
          – What does a devalued currency have to do with progress or lack of it?

          “all utility costs in Ukraine will increase by 40%! How is this progress?!”
          – How is it not? Do you really think that artificially deflated utility prices represents progress? Particularly when subsidies are available to the less well off.

          “When I last visited East Ukraine (in Zaporozhye) in April 2016, I saw double line-ups of beggars (with missing arms and legs) sitting for three blocks long holding out empty tin cans! ”
          – Really. Precisely where was this in Zhaporizhia?

          “Should Russia hypothetically decide to attack Ukraine simultaneously from Crimea, from the Donbas, from the Azov Sea, and from Belarus…”
          – Then the Russians might get somewhere, but its more likely they will take very heavy casualties yet again, which Putin cannot sustain. Which is no doubt why he hasn’t done it.

          • albertphd

            Sorry, Alex George, but I was actually responding to Murf’s 3rd point above in which he seemed to suggest that Ukraine is doing BETTER today than yesterday?! AS to the beggars lining the streets in Zaporozhye, I have dozens of photos of this event (but I don’t know how to download them onto this reply?! Any suggestions?).
            As to the hypothetical I supposed, it’s simply that: should Russia decide that the USA and the West will not intervene (as they have not until now, right?!) in fighting alongside Ukraine, then if Ukraine is not adequately supplied and prepared to handle a ‘blitzkrieg’ style of warfare (as they arguably are not under a mere ATO action), then what happens to Ukraine becomes a mere academic point. Recall how Hitler so easily defeated the French in 1940 when he merely by-passed their ‘impregnable’ Maginot line! The Ukrainian defense system (this ATO action I referred to) is strikingly similar. Ukrainian Armed Forces are spread along the defense line opposing the pro-Russian mercenaries of Luhansk and Donetsk (ORDLO). Putin needs to simply bypass this (Ukrainian Maginot) line (via Belarus, or even South of Belarus near Kharkiv along the Russian border) and there you have it: History repeating itself! The alternative (to the ATO action) that I think would be wiser would be to declare that entire area (alongside the Eastern Ukraine-Russia border as Martial Law, build fortifications accordingly, as well as plan several default strategies should the Russians decide to merely bypass this Ukraine defense line. Under Ukrainian Martial law over the entire area (including ORDLO, which –let’s not forget!– is still part of Urkaine!) a curfew could be cast over the entire area, effectively stopping infiltration back and forth across enemy lines (as currently exists). Spies and traitors could more easily be weeded out as well all enemy troop movement can be clearly detected (as all civilians must be indoors during the curfew, on pain of arrest)!

            This procedure would be the exact same procedure free democratic nations (such as the USA) would immediately follow should they be invaded by an army of mercenaries (as Ukraine has been!)!

          • Alex George

            “in which he seemed to suggest that Ukraine is doing BETTER today than yesterday?!”

            Any knowledgeable person would suggest that.

            If you’ve got the photos then upload them, state when and where they were taken and explain what it is all about. I would like to check with friends in in Zaporozhye.

            Your suggestions about Martial law and fighting a mass russian attack do not make sense. You also don’t appear to be aware of the defences that are already in place, and being extended, nor how Ukraine uses its reserves.

          • albertphd

            ‘Any knowledgeable person would suggest that’?! Really! I think you misunderstand the point: I am not saying that Ukraine is not doing BETTER today than yesterday politically; but that (back to Murf’s “Third Point” regarding the economics of Ukraine) that Ukraine is NOT doing better ECONOMICALLY today than yesterday. (I’ve cited my supporting examples, no need to be redundant and repeat them again, right?!).

            As to the defenses of Ukraine, France in 1939 believed it’s ‘impregnable’ defenses (the Maginot Line) were adequate against Nazi Germany. As I stated earlier, History may well repeat itself as to Ukraine. I’ve seen the defenses in Zaporizhzhya (Zaporozhye) and in Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) as of April 2016. There were a few sand bag entrenchments and a dozen or so out-dated helicopters and war planes.

            I realize that well over 1 million land mines have been planted as a buffer zone between ORDLO and the Ukrainian defense line, a line of anti-tank entrenchments and several encampments of military ‘forts’ but to imagine that this defense is sufficient is to revert back to the Poles fighting on horseback against the Armored Divisions of the Nazi Tanks.

            Unless Ukraine can equip itself with modern military lethal weapons, I argue, there will be a bloodbath (should a full Russian invasion occur). Think of the battle at Ilovaisk on 29 August 2014, and the other one at Debaltseve (16 January 2015 to 18 February 2015) in which Ukrainian ATO action went on the attack mode in an attempt to push back the pro-Russian invaders. Ukrainian troops (admittedly, without proper military and artillery backup) were virtually slaughtered. Hence, the current strategy to be reactive rather than proactive.

            As useless as Minsk II Agreement appears to be, it is essential to continue to buy more time for Ukraine to better equip and prepare itself for a greater Russian onslaught.

            But is that what Ukraine is doing? Hmmm?! What I hear you say, Alex George, is that the status quo and laissez-faire approach is best: the ‘let’s wait and see’ game?! That’s like playing Russian roulette, in my view, with the freedom of Ukraine.

            [As to the 2,000 photos I’ve taken in Zaporizhzhya last April 2016, I appear to have forgotten to upload them onto my laptop. It’s only a question of time (which I don’t have right now–yes, I know, that sounds like a lame excuse, except that it’s true. They’re somewhere in one of a myriad boxes in storage.). Let me see what I can recall off-hand: I had strolled along Via Lenin (perhaps it’s a different name by now? like the Lenin statue which was taken down by then: I have photos of it still erected back in March 2015). Do you know where the Holodomar Peace Memorial site is? I walked South along that Street, over the bridge (covered with blue & yellow Ukraine signs) for about a kilometer. There’s a rather large Church in the vicinity where beggars tend to congregate. In April 2016, as I say, the queue of beggars extended for 3 blocks on both sides of the street. They appeared to be quite emaciated, in ragged dirty clothes (although many of the men oddly enough still wore worn out neck ties? I noticed that their limbs in many cases were missing: here an arm gone, there a leg absent. They held out empty soup cans as they sat in the dust of the sidewalk.( I could not stop taking photos which annoyed them but they simply bowed their heads and quietly wept). I gave them the little Ukrainian currency I had: about twenty ‘5-UAH notes’ and all the coins in my pockets. I marveled that no one appeared to take an interest or to be abhorred by their plight?

            Sorry, for this long rambling account but I truthfully did not expect my true-life encounter to be questioned. Fair, you do not know me; and true, I suppose anyone on this site can say anything they wish, true or false, but I have no reason to invent this tale (as you may suppose) as I am still in shock at what my eyes did in fact see. Now, in the midst of winter, who knows what became of these abject creatures: social misfits, or outcasts?! When I return this September, I will be sure to preserve these photos, as I expect things likely have not improved?! Although I hope to be wrong!

            My point remains (whether you believe me or not!): I saw such abject poverty that I have never before seen in Ukraine in all the previous 6 years! So, whatever the stats may show belies the cold hard facts! Or put another way: Figures cannot lie, but liars sure can figure!]

          • Alex George

            1. I know you meant economically – so did I. Ukraine is better off economically now than it was before.
            2. Your point about defences contradicts itself – first you complain about a Maginot mentality, then you claim the defences really aren’t that strong. Whatever.
            3. You appear to have veered off the martial law point, which is good, because it wasn’t sustainable.
            4. I don’t find your attempts to analyse Ukraine’s military situation at all useful, but I do not see the point of entering into a “long rambling discussion”.
            5. I note that you still have zero information about these beggars in Zaporozhye so I am not going to waste further time on it.

          • albertphd

            Sir, I agree that our discussion is a waste of time, as the basic premise is whether or not military action (Martial law) is useful is an academic point. I simply presented it as one of several possibilities. Your position, however, has not been disclosed except to oppose mine. (or is it simply: Let it Be?! the laissez-faire approach?!).

            I haven’t ‘veered off the martial law point’ as you claim, but have explained myself adequately for those who have a knowledge of military strategy. As to the Maginot argument, you do not seem to know what I’m talking about. The Maginot Line was a tightly knit string of ‘impregnable’ fortifications that the French spent all their money (and hopes) on to reassure themselves that they were safe behind these defenses. But the Nazis simply skirted around the lines and attacked the rather helpless French Republic. The similarity to the Ukraine position is strikingly similar. Russia needs to merely skirt around these Ukrainian defenses and attack the virtually defenseless cities in the rear. Point made! Understood? Accepted? (perhaps not?)

            As to Ukraine being better off today than in 2010 or 2011 or 2012? Really?! Perhaps the well-to-do in the West? but in East Ukraine (which part of Ukraine I am somewhat familiar with) the story is exceedingly bleak if not starkly contrasted. (Reminds me of East vs. West Germany during the Cold War! What a contrast in life style!). But one point I think you will find hard to contradict (without losing all credibility): If the West would completely halt all financial aid to Ukraine (which is the difference between 2010 and 2016 for example?!), where would Ukraine be?

            With 40% of its productivity spent on this War Effort per year, how could it possibly support itself in that scenario?! Ukraine is bankrupt. The only financial prop it now receives to avoid totally succumbing to that bankruptcy is direct OUTSIDE economical aid. So, how is it better?

          • Alex George

            You are tying yourself in knots. Ukraine is better off now than it was in 2014, and it is on the way to being far better off than it ever has been before, because much of its trade relationship with Russia, which held it back, has been or is in process of being dismantled.

            And no, its recovery is not due just to western aid. Plus the idea of western aid being cut off is fanciful.

            Yes, you did present martial law as a single proposition, and it was a nonsensical one.

            Your understanding of the maginot line is deficient and in any case you are just deflecting – you tried to argue that Ukraine had no real defences, and yet that it had a maginot mentality. Either way, you are wrong. And no sensible person looks at defences independently of the strategy of which they form part.

          • albertphd

            Wow! talk about tying an argument in knots! your deflection of my argument (solid that it is!) into: either way you are wrong, no sensible person would try to argue as you do, your understanding is deficient, you are just deflecting, your position is a nonsensical one–is simply that: A DEFLECTION!

            Sir, you have tied yourself into so many knots that it’s no use trying to untie them! Your counter-position is non-existent, except to say: “let it be!” “keep the status quo!” “our defenses are adequate”!

            So, my question is: why for the love of truth do you bother to read articles such as “An Agreement with Putin Is An Agreement With the Devil” if you have nothing NEW to contribute, nothing positive to say (except the same-old same-old laissez-faire of the Democrat position)?! Wow, before you think to pluck the mote from your brother’s eye, do look at the beam in your own?!

            To begin with (once again, as a constructive and accurate retort to your latest comments): I did not say that Ukraine is worse off in 2016 than in 2014, as you misquote me!

            I am saying that from a strictly economic viewpoint it is clear that (without Western Aid in this picture) Ukraine is certainly not better off in 2016 than it was in 2010! Of course, even though figures do not lie, liars sure can figure?!

            To include Western Aid to Ukraine, is to put one’s thumb on the scale of comparisons! It is not a fair and well-balanced comparison. Actually, there is truthfully NOTHING to compare. Everyone and his dog knows that Victor Yanukovych wiped out the Ukrainian public purse when he absconded from Kiev to Rostov-on-Don in February 2014. So, 2014 was the year that Ukraine began with zero money in the budget; hence, ANY year compared to 2014 is better economically!

            As to the Maginot Line, your lack of knowledge of the basic warfare that occurred in WWII is apparent to all who read this post! It’s precisely this cocksure approach that you have in hiding behind the ‘Ukrainian (Maginot) line of defenses” that strikes me as: “History repeating itself!” The French in 1939 were contemptuously smug in their self-assured certainty that no one (and they meant: the Nazis!) could ever penetrate their ‘impregnable’ Maginot line (as they called it!)! Hitler simply skirted around it and then took all of France. That’s a fact! An unpleasant bit of history trivia perhaps, but a stubborn fact nonetheless!

            [For the record I would to God that I were wrong, or put another way: that Russia would never seriously implement an all-out rear-action assault (from the Azov Sea & Crimea on the one side, and from Belarus and through Kharkiv on the other side, thereby effectively bypassing all current Ukrainian defenses along the ORDLO line, as Hitler did with the French Maginot line! But if Putin were to do this bold move, for Ukraine to implement Martial Law at that time of confusion and chaos would be too little too late!].

            The only real defense to counter this move (in my view) is to declare the entire Eastern Border (within a radius of at least 25 kilometers to include all of the ORDLO zone), as subject to Martial Law right NOW! The advantage of this approach is that all civil liberties in this area are subject to the terms spelled out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine until such time that PEACE and stability can be restored to this troubled area.

            As it stands today, the ATO is in such a no-win position (under the terms of the Minsk II Agreement which arguably only Ukraine observes!) that it cannot even be proactive in defending the peoples and lands of Ukraine captured by the pro-Russian mercenaries. Cut off all means for these militants to support themselves (which can be done through Martial Law imposed upon all persons in the war zone), and these mercenaries will wither away like hoarfrost before the hot sun! Peace will then become possible (not according to the terms of Russia but to those of Ukraine!)!

          • Alex George

            “I am saying that from a strictly economic viewpoint it is clear that (without Western Aid in this picture) Ukraine is certainly not better off in 2016 than it was in 2010!”

            You have actually said a number of self-contradictory things, but let’s suppose this is correct – so what? Ukraine has been damaged by Russia’s aggression against it on many levels, – military, political, trade, economic etc. But most of those are things that Russia can only do once. It has shot its bolt, and Ukraine is far better off having broken various ties with Russia and is now forging ahead. It will soon surpass 2010. So what is your point?

            “As to the Maginot Line… etc etc”

            Sorry, but now you are just deflecting. As I wrote above, you tried to argue both that Ukraine had no real defences, and yet that it had a maginot mentality. Either way, you are wrong.

            “For the record I would to God that I were wrong, or put another way: that Russia would never seriously implement an all-out rear-action assault (from the Azov Sea & Crimea on the one side, and from Belarus and through Kharkiv on the other side…etc etc”

            Yes, you have already said, and I have already pointed out that the Russians might get somewhere, but its more likely they will take very heavy casualties yet again, which Putin cannot sustain. Which is no doubt why he hasn’t done it.

            “But if Putin were to do this bold move, for Ukraine to implement Martial Law at that time of confusion and chaos would be too little too late!.”

            Its not a bold move, it’s a very risky one. In warfare you never get something for nothing and trying an attack from all sides just means that your opponent can fight on interior lines. It also makes the attackers logistics far more difficult than the defenders.

            Furthermore, Putin doesn’t have the troops unless he orders a general mobilisation, and there are very good political reasons why doesn’t want to do that.

            And finally, martial law is of little relevance. What would be important is a general mobilisation in Ukraine. So far the signs indicate they are well prepared.

            “The only real defense to counter this move (in my view) is to declare the entire Eastern Border (within a radius of at least 25 kilometers to include all of the ORDLO zone), as subject to Martial Law right NOW!”

            Rubbish. You are talking about attacks from all directions – the ORDLO is of limited relevance.

            “As it stands today, the ATO is in such a no-win position (under the terms of the Minsk II Agreement which arguably only Ukraine observes!) that it cannot even be proactive in defending the peoples and lands of Ukraine captured by the pro-Russian mercenaries.”

            No, and its not going to. That very small sliver of Ukraine is in the hands of Putin’s people until this war is won. Get over it.

            “Cut off all means for these militants to support themselves (which can be done through Martial Law imposed upon all persons in the war zone)”

            Utter rubbish. A declaration of martial law will have zero effect on that.

        • Murf

          Your confidence in the Ukrainian elites far exceeds mine.
          I love the Ukrainian people and their struggle to better their country but the people in charge of Martial Law are not very enlightened.
          Let’s state the obvious; Ukraine is not Canada.
          Canada a century of democratic governance and a cultural tradition of respect for human rights.
          They also have a well managed economy and neighbor they can be. confident won’t exploit their political vulnerability.
          Ukraine has had none of that.
          When you give someone a weapon you be sure which way they will point it.

          • albertphd

            Yes, Murf, I agree: we need to know on which side our bread is buttered as well as ‘which way they will point’ the weapons we give them! [As an aside, it is estimated that approximately 1/3 of the US Officers in Viet Nam that were killed there, were killed by their own men! So, your point is well-taken!].

            The bottom line is trust! If a people cannot trust their own Government that rules over them, and if the military cannot trust their own officers, or the small business owners the Ukrainian Oligarchs with whom they trade, what a sorry state the Republic of Ukraine is in?!

            I too love Ukraine: I have been there every year since 2009 and have seen in particular the transformation of East Ukraine into a state of desperate survival. But no where do I see or hear East Ukrainians complain. They simply suffer in silence.

            When I talk to them, they tell me exactly what they think: they want no part of Russia, nor do they want any part of the EU or the (so-called) Western values (to include LGBT rights, etc.). They simply wish to be left alone, to live a normal life with the mere basics: a job, food, shelter, and a chance to raise a few children in a happy well-adjusted family. In this respect, they are perhaps more enlightened than some of the elites in Canada?!

          • Murf

            “As an aside, it is estimated that approximately 1/3 of the US Officers in Viet Nam that were killed there, were killed by their own men! So, your point is well-taken!].”
            Estimated by whom?
            While no reliable date is available due to the conditions of the war, it is estimated that there were 1000 “fragging” incidents over the course of the war that resulted in 86 deaths.
            there were some 4500 total officers killed during war.
            Not seeing your 1/3 statistic yet.

            I remember a quote from one easterner at the beginning of the war; “We don’t protest, we go to work.”
            And go to work they did as Yanukovich stole billions, As Girkin and co. assaulted government buildings, tearing down and desecrating the Ukraine flag. They didn’t stand up for their country’s honor. They-just-went-to-work.
            If an oligarch takes the food out of their mouths they are ok with it as long as they have enough crumbs to survive.
            They always remind me of the saying from the movie ‘the Magnificent Seven”;
            “If God had not meant for them to be sheared, he wouldn’t have made them sheep.”
            Thankfully for Ukraine the westerners (and many easterners) decided to try and become more than sheep.

          • albertphd

            Estimated in “Vietnam–A TV History” a PBS production, as I recall. I am not referring to ‘friendly fire’ although no doubt the, etc. will disavow deaths by subordinate soldiers during combat as nothing other than accidental death by “friendly fire”. I haven’t seen this production for decades (and I certainly don’t have time to research this stat) but for some reason that figure still stuck in my memory banks, right or wrong.

            It’s similar to the 2 million Vietnamese that were killed by the Americans during that insane war. Some stats will quote only 500,000 killed, some 1 million, some over 2 million; but the 2 million killed (again?!) still sticks in my mind as the amount agreed upon.

            Again, we see this with the 1933 Holomodor famine, some sources say that only a few hundred thousand Ukrainians died in that Stalinist ‘artificial famine’; other sources that up to 12 million perished. Some say that it was the result of a world-wide famine, where food was scarce; others, that Stalin wished to decimate or perhaps even exterminate the Ukrainian peoples with a ‘forced famine.’?! Who do you choose to believe?

            But other stats appear too reliable to dispute: such as the more recent ‘estimate’ made that the number of US Vietnam war veterans who survived the Vietnam War committed suicide (due to post-stress syndrome) than were killed throughout the war! Or again, it’s oft quoted that more US citizens are killed in auto accidents in one year than all the US Marines killed in the entire Vietnam War! I’ve read and seen these sort of stats cited in magazines or various articles but (I blush!) I really haven’t researched them to see if they are accurate! Perhaps it all hearsay? Or perhaps (to coin a 2017 buzzword): it’s ‘fake news’?!

          • Alex George

            Thanks for the standard Kremlin propaganda, but nobody with any credibility suggests that only “a few hundred thousand” died in the holodomor. Ten million is a far more likely number.

          • albertphd

            Thanks Alex George for your agreement with me in this technical matter! Yes, I agree that (from the Ukrainian point of view and based upon the limited sources available) the number of Ukrainians who died in Stalin’s 1932-33 artificially created famine should be upwards of 10 million (or more!)!.

            My point is that we do not have a generally agreed upon consensus on this stat or on the death of US Officers killed by their own men during the Vietnam war! But differing stats are held by differing factions, it is logical to assume, right?!

            Paul A. Goble (whose academic views I respect, though not always agree with–such as his stance against the current US President?!) has written an excellent article on this subject, entitled: “It’s Long Past Time to Identify and Shame Holodomor Deniers”! (see, 2016/11/29, EuroMaidanpress article). But even in his rather well-balanced view, he concludes that most likely ONLY 4 million Ukrainians died in this horrific genocide!

            So, what can we say? Simply that regardless of the stats, Mass murder did take place during the 1932-33 ‘forced famine’ upon the defenseless and helpless Ukrainian peoples which likely involved many millions of victims! And regardless of the stats, a goodly number of US Officers killed in the Vietnam war (as evidenced by those who were there, as interviewed by war correspondents–voiced in “VietNam–A TV History”) were unfortunately killed by their own men?!

            Although the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust as a statistic can be by and large enumerated (ironically, thanks to accurate records kept by the Nazis!), I would argue that history should acknowledge the similar horrors of the Ukrainian Holodomor –even if the Russians refused to keep (or even to acknowledge) those records (that survived!)!

          • Alex George

            “and helpless Ukrainian peoples which likely involved many millions of victims! ”

            Thank you. As I wrote above, nobody with any credibility suggests that only “a few hundred thousand” died in the holodomor.

  • zorbatheturk

    There will not be any deals with the Putin. No way, no how. Putin only knows how to steal, not how to deal. The only deal Mr Putin should get is a free bullet. A one-time deal.

  • zorbatheturk

    There will not be any deals with the Putin. No way, no how. Putin only knows how to steal, not how to deal. The only deal Mr Putin should get is a free bullet in the head. A one-time deal.