Thursday, 31 August 2017 14:14


Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 31.08.2017 


Anatoly Antonov was Deputy Minister of Defence when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2014. He took active part in Russia’s aggression in Ukraine’s southern peninsula, in the so-called “annexation” of Crimea, and in the invasion of the Donbas region of Ukraine which started in the summer of 2014. Canada recognized Antonov’s culpability right away, and sanctioned him on March 17, 2014 because his actions “constitute a grave breach of international peace and security that has resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis.” The 28 nation European Union joined Canada in sanctioning Anatoly Antonov on February 16, 2015 for his participation in shaping policies of the Russian government which “threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.” 


This month, Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Antonov to be Russia’s ambassador to the United States and Donald Trump did not exercise his right to deny the appointment. A man who is near as can be to an accused war criminal is going to Washington. 


Putin has put forward an individual who is unacceptable to 29 Western allies and made one Western ally accept him. Trump has shown, once again, that he cannot say “no” to Putin under any circumstances. 


Russia was up to this kind of mischief earlier this year, when it chose a contestant for the Eurovision song contest, Yulia Samoilova, who was known to be ineligible. She had made an illegal entry to Ukraine by going to temporarily Russia-occupied Crimea. Russia succeeded in opening up a rift between Ukraine and the European Broadcasting Union. 


Now, Russia has opened up a rift between the United States on one side, and Canada and the EU on the other. A week after Canada sanctioned Anatoly Antonov, Russia retaliated by sanctioning Chrystia Freeland, who is now Canada’s foreign minister. By appointing the Canada-sanctioned Antonov as Russia’s ambassador to the US and refusing to lift the sanctions on Foreign Minister Freeland, Putin is painting a bull’s-eye on Canada. 


With blood on his hands, Anatoly Antonov hides behind his newly-granted diplomatic immunity. Donald Trump displays his loyalty to Russia and his animus to Ukraine, Canada and the EU. Meanwhile, Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain illegally occupied by Russia, Putin’s War grinds on, and the suffering of Ukrainians is unrelieved.

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