Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 19.07.2018
The central campaign of Putin’s War against Western civilization is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea and part of Donbas. Other war efforts of Muscovy – such as the falsification of the US presidential election to put compromised asset of Russian intelligence services Trump in the White House – are supporting campaigns of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The now-fascist regime of Putin depends on destroying the democracy and independence that the Ukrainian people won for themselves in the Revolution of Dignity.
Americans and other people of the West are in deep dismay at the result of the Helsinki summit on July 16. Trump openly took the side of Putin against the US intelligence community. For years it has been obvious to followers of Russian aggression against Ukraine that Trump is a Russian agent. Nothing that Trump says about Ukraine or Russia or the status of Crimea is what a loyal American would say – and Trump has been mouthing Kremlin words since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and before. For most Americans, the blinkers have been removed. Unfortunately, it is a year and a half too late for them, as Russia had already falsified the election and reaped the reward at the Appeasement Summit in Helsinki.
While the US is in complete political disarray, the European Union keeps a steady hand. This is contrary to massive Kremlin propaganda that the EU is in chaos. Being a successful international organization, the EU’s very existence depends on the rules-based international order. The EU has quietly voted to extend existing sanctions on Russia and to introduce new ones, reminding the world that the overwhelming threat to the rules-based international order is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The European Council met on June 18 and decided to extend existing sanctions on Russian individuals and entities in response to the illegal so-called ‘annexation’ of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. Members of the EU Council are the heads of state or government of the 28 EU member states, the European Council President (Donald Tusk), and the President of the European Commission (Jean-Claude Juncker; non-voting). The extension of existing sanctions will last until 23 June 2019.
After the EU Council decision to extend sanctions on aggressor Russia, five non-EU countries chose to adhere to the same policy. Montenegro and Albania (candidates to join the EU), Norway (a member of the European Economic Area), and Ukraine and Georgia (countries invaded and partially occupied by Russia) all decided to abide by the sanctions and their extension for a year. Despite Muscovy divide-and-conquer hybrid war, Europe is united on sanctions.
The EU Council will add new sanctions. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, said the the EU envoys supported the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiative to sanction six individuals responsible for the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge. Russia built an international bridge from Russia’s Krasnodar Krai region to Ukraine’s Crimea region, across the Kerch Strait, without the permission of Ukraine. On July 18, President Poroshenko wrote on social media: “This testifies to the inevitability of the punishment for any individuals or legal entities that had, have or will have to do with actions related to the attempt of annexation and temporary occupation of Ukrainian Crimea.”
Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, had also appealed to the EU to sanction individuals responsible for the conduct of the illegal conduct of a Russian presidential ‘election’ on the territory of Ukraine, in Crimea, on March 18. On May 14, the EU sanctioned five Russians who organized the sham voting in Russian-occupied Ukrainian Crimea. Pavlo Klimkin has also appealed for sanctions against corrupt Russian officials who are responsible for the abduction and hostage-keeping of many Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars who are loyal to Ukraine and who refuse to submit to foreign occupation from Muscovy.
“Magnitsky” law countries (the US, Canada, the UK, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) should impose sanctions on the torturers of Oleg Sentsov and Volodymyr Balukh and Pavlo Hryb and Roman Sushchenko and Emir-Usein Kuku and about 70 other Ukrainian citizens who are political prisoners of war. But they have not. Canada and the US should join the EU and sanction the corrupt Russian officials involved in the construction of the illegal Kerch bridge. But they have not. Canada and the US should join the EU and sanction the corrupt Russian officials who organized the illegal Russian presidential ‘election’ that was held on Ukrainian territory of Crimea that is temporarily occupied by Russia. It is very strange that the North American countries have not been united with Europe on the 18 March 2018 presidential ‘election’ in Crimea sanctions, because they were solidly united over the 18 September 2016 parliamentary ‘election’ in Crimea sanctions.
Political disarray in the US over Trump’s service to Putin explains American inaction. There is no excuse for Canada’s silence and inaction and refusal to abide by its own laws, such as the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law). Although too timid when it comes to confronting Russian aggression, the EU has been remarkably united and consistent in its application of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas is the great war of our times. The EU will slap sanctions on six people because they helped build the illegal Kerch bridge. That’s a grave threat to Europe’s peace and security. These sanctions are a very small step. But they are a positive step and an essential step if the West is to begin to win victory over Russia and liberate Crimea and Donbas.