Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 12.09.2017
A “school year ceasefire” in the Russo-Ukrainian War was declared to have begun August 26 on the battlefront in eastern Ukraine. Russia violated the ceasefire within minutes, firing at positions of Ukrainian defenders near the village of Talakivka with small arms and heavy machine guns, and shooting at the houses of civilians in the village of Zaitseve. The Ukrainian defenders did not shoot back and respected the ceasefire for their part. For the umpteenth time, a ceasefire-in-name-only had taken hold in Donbas, where only the Ukrainians kept the “silent mode.”
Since this inauspicious start to the “school year ceasefire” Russia has attacked Ukraine an astonishing 514 times. This is tracked carefully by the Anti-Terrorist Operation headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces. Russia has organized its invasion and occupation army in Donbas into two corps of the Russian armed forces: the 1st Army Corps (so-called “DPR” or Donetsk) and the 2nd Army Corps (so-called “LPR” or Luhansk). In its over 500 attacks since the the latest declared ceasefire, the 1st and 2nd Army Corps have used mortars, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, small arms, and occasionally they’ve used anti-aircraft guns, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks. The Ukrainian armed forces report that since August 26 two soldiers have been killed in action and eight have been wounded in action. Russia suffered an unknown number of casualties, although Ukrainian military intelligence reports the number to be much higher. The “school year ceasefire” does not exist. It never did.
Russia does not respect ceasefires or the rules of war. The Putin regime says as much when it proclaims that Russia is not a party to the conflict (although that conflict only exists because Russia is invading Ukraine). The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) invented front organizations called “Donetsk Peoples Republic” and “Luhansk Peoples Republic” and picked little-known local gangsters to nominally head them. Russia then pushed these figureheads forward as “separatist leaders” and said that these men were the parties to the conflict – not Putin. Weak-willed Western leaders play along with this flimsy lie, occasionally pleading with Putin to “use his influence” over the so-called “DPR” and “LPR.” Meanwhile, Putin mans, arms, supplies, pays, and guides his invasion/occupation army – which is a mix of regular and irregular soldiers – to violate any and every ceasefire that comes along. Ukraine ceases; Russia fires.
The Western press is “all talk and no action” when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mainstream media is an uncritical mouthpiece for what Putin says and does no reportage on what Putin does, such as the relentless bombardment of civilians and defenders in Donbas by the Russian army. The press reported that the “school year ceasefire” had begun; they did this simply because the date August 26 had come around. Inattentiveness meant that the failure of the ceasefire to ever take effect was not reported. The Western press ignores the attacks by Russia’s armed forces on Ukraine with a stubbornness and a completeness that can only be deliberate. There is a narrative to stick to, which is that the Minsk Agreements and their associated ceasefire deals “ended” the phase of active fighting in eastern Ukraine. The fact that this is not true and that the press has a solemn duty to report events does not overwhelm the prejudice to this narrative. The Western press will stick to reciting the words of Putin, and ignore the actions.
Appeasement of Russia by Western leaders and Western media is wrong. Appeasing politicians fail in their duty to defend the sovereignty of their nations; appeasing media fail in their duty to be fair witnesses to events. Russia is invading Europe in Ukraine. Russian armed forces attack Ukrainian defenders and civilians in eastern Ukraine every day. Putin will not stop until he is stopped. The words of Putin must be ignored, and the practice of reacting to them must end. When the West has a plan of action to defeat Russia and liberate Crimea and Donbas, then we will have recovered the spirit of our great civilization.