24 February 2022

The Blame for the Conflict in Ukraine Belongs Entirely with NATO and the United States

Only Starmer Could Find Himself to the Right of Boris Johnson with his call to Ban RT


As is to be expected Israel is taking advantage of the situation in Ukraine to step up its repression. I have just received these photos from Jenin refugee camp

At this point in time it is impossible to know exactly what is happening in Ukraine and the Republics of Lugansk and Donbass. However it appears that Russian troops are confining their presence to the 2 breakaway republics of Donbass and Lugansk with its aircraft taking out Ukraine’s NATO supplied weaponry and air defences. However one thing is crystal clear. The blame for any conflict and armed hostilities lies firmly at the feet of NATO.

For weeks we have speculation about a Russian invasion and false flag operations. A month ago we had a fake story, which the BBC naturally reported on without the slightest query, that Russia was planning to install a pro-Russian regime in Kiev.

It was less than a month ago that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized the U.S., saying it was damaging his country’s economy by stoking panic that Russia may be planning an invasion. Biden’s reaction was to increase the war rhetoric. From the very start the United States has wanted a war as part of its global project to impose US hegemony in the world.

The United States economy is geared to war. That is not to excuse Russia’s President Putin who is a right-wing nationalist but it is or should be abundantly clear that Russia’s actions in Ukraine is a response to NATO threats.  It is defensive not offensive.

What is happening now with Russian military intervention in the Donbass and bombing of Ukrainian military positions is a consequence of the determination of the United States and Biden to encircle Russia with NATO bases and NATO aligned countries.

Labour Left Alliance Discussion on the situation in Ukraine

According to the National Security Archive

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

The idea that Ukraine had some ‘right’ to join NATO, as if joining an anti-Russian military pact is a ‘right’ is absurd. Ukraine has the right to peaceful and secure borders but it has no right to threaten Russia’s security.

Likewise if Ukraine has the right to self-determination then so do the people of the Donbass and Lugansk. After the European Union and United States sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014, which deposed the elected President Yanukovych, they installed a far-Right regime which immediately attacked the Russian language rights of the Russian speaking people of the Donbass and Lugansk. In 2021 new regulations were introduced mandating the use of Ukrainian. France 24 reported that:

Galyna Lekunova, a veterinarian in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, was left fuming by a new law in January mandating the use of Ukrainian in the service industry....

"If I work, pay my employees' salaries and my taxes, it's none of your damn business which language I do it in," Lekunova, wearing a floral-patterned apron, told AFP.

Mariupol, which is outside the present breakaway republic of Donbass is a heavily Russian city. It is quite likely, given its situation, that it will be the focus of Russian military action in order to unite it with the Donbass.

As John Pilger wrote in 2015 The rise of fascism is again the issue. He described the absorption of Crimea back into Russia after an overwhelming and free referendum of the people of Odessa.

The Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions.

More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion". The Nato commander, General Breedlove - whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove - announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.

These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine - a third of the population - have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.

On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).

The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims - "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint". And as Pilger presciently predicted:

If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine.

It is that which is happening now. There is no invasion of Ukraine as such and there is unlikely to be such an invasion. The people of Donbass and Lugans have long lobbied Russia to incorporate their states into Russia.  When people are oppressed they have the right to secede from the states they are part of.

In 2014 fascists of the Right Sector attacked a trade union building in Odessa burning to death and killing 41 trade unions. Attacks on trade unions are the hallmark of fascists. Dmitry Rogovsky of the Right Sector was clear: "The aim is to completely clear Odessa [of pro-Russians]. They are all paid Russian separatists."

Today we have the neo-Nazi Azov battalion integrated into the Ukrainian national guard and armed and trained by the United States and British military as well as Israel. See Why is Israel arming Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militias?

You might not believe it but it was less than 2 years ago, when Starmer became leader, that he pledged that there would be

No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.

Today this liar and his shadow cabinet calls for the closing down on RT, Russia Today, because it is a propaganda station. Even were this true then at least it offers British people an alternative to the BBC, which is the British state’s propaganda arm with its endless series of ‘experts’, all of whom just happen to adopt the US narrative.

Indeed Starmer has managed the feat of being to the right of Boris Johnson who in his response to Sturmer talked about ‘free speech’.  Of course Starmer, having abolished free speech in the Labour Party is intent on abolishing it in the rest of society.

Despite wrapping himself in the Union Jack like the pathetic jingoist that he is, I do not detect much enthusiasm amongst British people for the war in Ukraine. That is why Starmer wants to close down another avenue of information.  Read John Pilger’s article below.

Tony Greenstein

War in Europe and the rise of raw propaganda

By John Pilger | 18 February 2022, 11:00am

Propaganda against Vladimir Putin has given Russia a bad name in the press (Screenshot via YouTube)

Marshall McLuhan’s prophecy that “the successor to politics will be propaganda” has happened.

Raw propaganda is now the rule in Western democracies, especially the U.S. and Britain.

On matters of war and peace, ministerial deceit is reported as news. Inconvenient facts are censored, demons are nurtured. The model is corporate spin, the currency of the age. In 1964, McLuhan famously declared: “The medium is the message”. The lie is the message now.

But is this new? It is more than a century since Edward Bernays, the father of spin, invented “public relations” as a cover for war propaganda. What is new is the virtual elimination of dissent in the mainstream.

The great editor David Bowman, author of The Captive Press, called this “a defenestration of all who refuse to follow a line and to swallow the unpalatable and are brave”. He was referring to independent journalists and whistleblowers, the honest mavericks to whom media organisations once gave space, often with pride. The space has been abolished.

The war hysteria that has rolled in like a tidal wave in recent weeks and months is the most striking example. Known by its jargon, “shaping the narrative”, much, if not most, of it is pure propaganda.

The Russians are coming. Russia is worse than bad. Russian President Vladimir Putin is evil, a Nazi like Hitler, salivated the Labour MP Chris Bryant. Ukraine is about to be invaded by Russia — tonight, this week, next week. The sources include an ex-CIA propagandist who now speaks for the U.S. State Department and offers no evidence of his claims about Russian actions because “it comes from the U.S. Government”.

The no-evidence rule also applies in London. The British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, who spent £500,000 (AU$947,767) of public money flying to Australia in a private plane to warn the Canberra Government that both Russia and China were about to pounce,  offered no evidence. Antipodean heads nodded; the “narrative” is unchallenged there. One rare exception, former Prime Minister Paul Keating, called Truss’s warmongering demented.

Truss has blithely confused the countries of the Baltic and the Black Sea. In Moscow, she told the Russian Foreign Minister that Britain would never accept Russian sovereignty over Rostov and Voronezh — until it was pointed out to her that these places were not part of Ukraine but in Russia. Read the Russian press about the buffoonery of this pretender to 10 Downing Street and cringe.

This entire farce, recently starring UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Moscow playing a clownish version of his hero, Churchill, might be enjoyed as satire were it not for its wilful abuse of facts and historical understanding and the real danger of war.

Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 – orchestrated by Barack Obama’s “point person” in Kyiv, Victoria Nuland – the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis, launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbas, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.

Overseen by CIA director Moscow, Barack Obama’s Victoria NulandJohn Brennan in Kyiv, “special security units” coordinated savage attacks on the people of Donbas, who opposed the coup. Video and eyewitness reports show bussed fascist thugs burning the trade union headquarters in the city of Odessa, killing 41 people trapped inside. The police are standing by. Obama congratulated the “duly elected” coup regime for its ‘remarkable restraint’.

In the U.S. media, the Odessa atrocity was played down as "murky" and a "tragedy" in which "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) attacked "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal damned the victims — ‘Deadly Ukraine fire likely sparked by rebels, Government says’.

Professor Stephen Cohen, acclaimed as America’s leading authority on Russia, wrote:

...the pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa... reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War Two. [Today] storm-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kyiv-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s...

...the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neo-fascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kyiv has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorialising Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms, renaming streets in their honour, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.

Today, neo-Nazi Ukraine is seldom mentioned. That the British are training the Ukrainian National Guard, which includes neo-Nazis, is not news. (See Matt Kennard’s Declassified report in Consortium, 15 February). The return of violent, endorsed fascism to 21st-Century Europe, to quote Harold Pinter, “never happened... even while it was happening”.

The economic crisis of capitalism and the return to the doctrine of great power rivalry has seen Cold War rhetoric return.

On 16 December, the United Nations tabled a resolution that called for ‘combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism’. The only nations to vote against it were the United States and Ukraine.

Almost every Russian knows that it was across the plains of Ukraine’s “borderland” that Hitler’s divisions swept from the west in 1941, bolstered by Ukraine’s Nazi cultists and collaborators. The result was more than 20 million Russians dead.

Setting aside the manoeuvres and cynicism of geopolitics, whomever the players, this historical memory is the driving force behind Russia’s respect-seeking, self-protective security proposals, which were published in Moscow in the week the UN voted 130-2 to outlaw Nazism.

They are:

·                     NATO guarantees that it will not deploy missiles in nations bordering Russia. (They are already in place from Slovenia to Romania, with Poland to follow);

·                     NATO to stop military and naval exercises in nations and seas bordering Russia;

·                     Ukraine will not become a member of NATO;

·                     the West and Russia to sign a binding East-West security pact; and

·                     the landmark treaty between the U.S. and Russia covering intermediate-range nuclear weapons to be restored. (The U.S. abandoned it in 2019.)

These amount to a comprehensive draft of a peace plan for all of post-war Europe and ought to be welcomed in the West. But who understands their significance in Britain? What they are told is that Putin is a pariah and a threat to Christendom.

Russian-speaking Ukrainians, under economic blockade by Kyiv for seven years, are fighting for their survival. The “massing” army we seldom hear about is the 13 Ukrainian army brigades laying siege to Donbas: an estimated 150,000 troops. If they attack, the provocation to Russia will almost certainly mean war.

In 2015, brokered by the Germans and French, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Minsk and signed an interim peace deal. Ukraine agreed to offer autonomy to Donbas, now the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The Minsk agreement has never been given a chance. In Britain, the line, amplified by Boris Johnson, is that Ukraine is being “dictated to” by world leaders. For its part, Britain is arming Ukraine and training its army.

Since the first Cold War, NATO has effectively marched right up to Russia’s most sensitive border having demonstrated its bloody aggression in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and broken solemn promises to pull back. Having dragged European “allies” into American wars that do not concern them, the great unspoken is that NATO itself is the real threat to European security.

In Britain, a state and media xenophobia is triggered at the very mention of “Russia”. Mark the knee-jerk hostility with which the BBC reports Russia. Why? Is it because the restoration of imperial mythology demands, above all, a permanent enemy? Certainly, we deserve better.

John Pilger is a regular contributor to Independent Australia and a distinguished journalist and filmmaker. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnPilger.

Putin's Russia, the facts and the Sydney Morning Herald

James O'Neill critiques the Sydney Morning Herald's recent portrayal of Putin's Russia. 


  1. according to Tony "it appears that Russian troops are confining their presence to the 2 breakaway republics of Donbass and Lugansk"

    Not according to the Ukrainian military authorities:


    Russian convoy crosses into southern Ukraine

    Ukraine's border guard service, the DPSU, has released photos of what it says is a Russian military convoy crossing into southern Ukraine from the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

    The DPSU says Russian troops fired artillery shells before sending their military vehicles across.

    Ukraine says Russian military columns have also crossed in the north from Belarus and from Russia in the east.
    A photo by Ukraine's border guard service purportedly showing a Russian military convoy crossing into southern Ukraine from the Russia-annexed Crimea peninsula. Photo: 24 February 2022

    Nor is Donbass / Lugansk the main aim of the war, according to this Russian political analyst


    from a few weeks ago - the constraints

    If an anti-war movement opens up inside Russia, defying military repression, will Tony ignore it or denounce it as US-inspired?

    1. Greg,
      Just a couple of points:
      You lead with '... according to Tony "it appears that ..."'. He does preface this with 'At this point it is impossible to know ... '.
      I think Tony's headline would read better if he inserted Main before Blame and deleted Entirely.
      These geopolitical disputes are always nuanced and we will never understand the current conflict without some historical knowledge of the rise of nationalism, Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, Zaporozhian Cossacks, British Empire, Russophobia, World War one, Versailles and notions of national self-determination, revolution, Soviet Union, rise of Nazism, World War Two, Potsdam and 'spheres of influence', Cold War and bipolar world, collapse of communism ....... rise of China - ultimately, this is possibly more about China? Geopolitics remains dynamic. Even if it proves true that Russia seeks to 'install a pro-Russian government in Kiev/Kyiv', has the US never imposed regime change? Personally, I'm never optimistic about international relations as I know that nationalism is always the dominant ideology and that the hegemon will always utilise relevant nationalisms in the interests of its geopolitical objectives.

    2. you ask would I support a Russian anti-war movement. Yes. In such a situation the main enemy is at home but I don't think this is an inter imperialist war. Yes it would appear that the aim is to conquer Donbass district beyond the existing boundaries of the existing republics.

      My article simply refutes the MSM idea that this is an unprovoked war of aggression

    3. I love it! Greg uses the BBC and Open Democracy o try to counter Tony! Extraordinary! Priceless!

  2. Tony: In that case, how about pointing people to anti-war opinion inside Russia, where people appear to know that putting a minus sign in front of NATO and US imperialism is not a sufficient explanation of Putin's actions or his motives.



    Harvey: we are all familiar with the history of US inspired coups and military interventions and have all done a fair amount of opposition down the years. But the enemy of my enemy is not automatically my friend.

  3. In general of course I support an anti-war movement in Russia which directs its fire at the corrupt repressive regime of Putin. But it hasn't arisen yet. At the moment the question is whether we go along with the NATO propaganda

    1. Tony,
      It is so obviously not an unprovoked war of aggression. Do the MSM and western establishment genuinely believe that it is? If so, why not a squeak about expansionist wars of aggression against Palestine?
      They are not my friend either. My real point is about comprehending relevant areas of evolving historical context vis-a-vis strategic geopolitics and perceived national interest at any given time. Possible future scenario ------- neutralise Russia and expand NATO, with a view towards China?

    2. Mass arrests of anti-war protestors in 53 Russian cities

  4. Harvey,

    Yes I just received photos from Jenin refugee camp where Israel is taking full advantage of what is happening to make raids and increase repression. Not a squeak out of Sturmer and co about this of course

  5. Sullivanfelixcreator complains that I cited a BBC report for the sole purpose of quoting Ukranian military sources to show the Russian attack was not confined to the Donbass / Lukansk or indeed focused on them. Surely the evidence by now is overwhelming on that point - the attack is all over Ukraine - unless you think these are all fake news:

    I quoted Open Democracy articles to show there is dissent inside Russia with an analysis of Putin that goes beyond a minus sign in front of NATO.

    I'm sorry if you consider that taboo, or think that we should fall at Tony's feet regardless of any other evidence. To his credit, Tony's responses took my comments for what they were.

  6. I agree Greg. The evidence clearly shows that Putin's attack has gone beyond the two breakaway republics and it is to be condemned for that. However the blame for what has happened is firmly at the feet at NATO which deliberately provoked such an invasion. Even when the Ukrainian President was calling for calm, the US put its foot on the pedal.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Ukrainians are pawns in the US's attack on Russia. Completely disposable. Putin's bluff could have been called by a simple statement that Ukraine will never be part of NATO. The Ukrainians could have said that they have no desire to apply for membership of NATO and will never have nuclear missiles on their soil.

    As I said at the beginning of the article Putin is a right-wing nationalist, like Boris Johnson and Biden. That is the problem. War is now going to be used to whip up nationalist fervour in the West too.

    1. Instability and conflict always emerge when the balance of power is upset. Things get worse when the big hitters start working on their own longer term projections. The short term solution to this particular conflict was for the US to avoid persuading Ukraine towards NATO.
      Ukrainian nationalism is a pretty nasty beast, but then my perspective hasn't been shaped by centuries of interaction with Polish/Lithuanian, Ottoman, Russian and German empires.
      In the light of this short discussion, I thought it was high time to check out Chomsky. Once again, it's the perspicacious perspicuity that smacks you on the head, but part of the secret is decades of hard work, which allows us idlers to check out the evolving big picture from time to time. Just a pity that he isn't forty years younger, although the accumulated wisdom might be a bit less acute.

  7. The Ukrainians are the new Kurds. To be used and then abandoned by the West.


Please submit your comments below