US Announces Plans to Deploy Military Advisers to Ukraine: Is US Directing Kiev's War?
January 26, 2015
Niles Williamson / World Socialist Web Site & Stephen Lendman / Global Research
The military option is out, President Barack Obama said during his visit to India, but the US will be looking at all other options to "ratchet up the pressure on Russia." Washington relies heavily on allies and proxies to advance its imperial agenda. It actively supports and encourages Kiev's aggression on Donbass. In a "highly provocative" move, the Pentagon plans to dispatch a contingent of US soldiers to Ukraine in the spring to undertake the training of Ukrainian National Guard troops.
US Announces Plans to Deploy Military Advisers to Ukraine
Niles Williamson / World Socialist Web Site
(January 23, 2015) -- The head of the United States Army Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, announced on Wednesday that a contingent of US soldiers will be dispatched to Ukraine in the spring to undertake the training of four companies of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). The exact number of American soldiers who will be stationed at the Yavoriv Training Area outside the western city of Lvov has yet to be determined.
The highly provocative move, which follows the positioning of US and NATO forces in Poland and the Baltic states and escalating threats of a military confrontation with Russia, came as the Kiev government steps up its war against pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.
Lt. Gen. Hodges made his announcement on his first visit to Kiev where he met with the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushnyakov and the acting commander of the NGU Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Kryvyenko. Hodges told reporters after the meeting he was "impressed by the readiness of both military and civil leadership to change and reform."
Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News the training mission was part of a State Department effort "to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law." The Obama administration has so far committed $19 million from the Global Security Contingency Fund to help build up and train the NGU.
Disbanded in 2000, the National Guard was reestablished in March of last year in the aftermath of the US and EU-supported and fascist-backed coup that ousted democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych. The new National Guard is being developed as a light infantry, rapid response force aimed at assisting the suppression of the anti-Kiev, Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region.
In addition to the deployment of advisers, the US has also been supplying Ukraine with heavy military equipment necessary to fight the separatists. On Monday, the US Embassy in Kiev announced the delivery of an armored Kozak mine-resistant personnel carrier to the State Border Guard Service (SBGS).
The US also recently delivered 35 smaller armored trucks as well as personal protective gear for use by the SBGS along the eastern border with Russia and against separatist held areas. SBGS spokesman Andriy Demchenko told the Southeast European Times the armored vehicles will "depart to the eastern border area for patrolling between checkpoints. Armored vehicles are not required for peaceful areas, we need it [in the east] to increase the efficiency of border monitoring and to protect the State Border Guard Service staff."
In a confrontational move at the end of last year, US President Barack Obama signed into law the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. The bill, which passed unanimously in both houses of Congress, authorizes the president to deliver a cache of over $350 million in military equipment to the Kiev regime over the next three years. This potential aid includes anti-tank and anti-armor weaponry, grenade launchers, mortars, machine guns and surveillance drones.
The intensification of US support for the Kiev regime and its operation against pro-Russia separatists comes as intense fighting and shelling has erupted in the east, particularly in and around the city of Donetsk.
While fighting continued over the strategically and symbolically important Donetsk International Airport, Ukrainian officials acknowledged control over the main terminal had been ceded to the separatists. Despite admitting this loss Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko insisted that Ukrainian armed forces remained in control of the airport runway and control tower.
At least nine civilians were reported killed and another 20 injured Thursday morning when mortar shells struck a public transit stop, destroying a trolley bus and a nearby car. Both sides blamed the other for the deadly attack. Representative of the Donetsk People's Republic accused a covert unit backed by the regime in Kiev, which, they said, had set up inside the city and fired the mortar from the back of a pickup truck.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov released a statement denouncing the attack as a "crime against humanity . . . aimed at disruption of efforts to regulate the Ukrainian crisis peacefully."
Meanwhile at Unity Day Rally in Kiev, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk blamed Russia for the bus attack, stating, "Today Russian terrorists again committed a terrible act against humanity. Russia bears responsibility for this."
Speaking to reporters on Thursday Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov stated that six soldiers had been killed and another 16 taken captive before they decided to pull back. Other social media reports indicate that at least 37 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the fighting.
Social media posts by George Tuka, head of the nationalist volunteer aid group People's Home Front, stated that a number of soldiers were killed when a portion of the terminal's second floor ceiling collapsed in on them. After months of fighting, the main airport terminal has been laid waste by bombardment from mortar shells and Grad rockets.
On Wednesday, Dymtro Yarosh, head of the fascist Right Sector organization and a member of the Ukrainian parliament, was wounded by shrapnel from a grad rocket in the course of fighting near the airport. Yarosh was leading a volunteer battalion formed by Right Sector, which has been at the forefront of military operations against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region.
Fighting also flared up this week near the eastern city of Luhansk. The Ukrainian military claimed that Check Point 31 on the border with Russia came under attack on Wednesday by highly trained Russian soldiers who routed the troops and subsequently took over the post.
In a speech given Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made the unsubstantiated claim that 9,000 Russian soldiers were currently fighting with the separatists in the east and appealed for more military aid from Europe and the United States.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, refused to confirm the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine insisting instead that there had been "an increase in Russian equipment inside eastern Ukraine." As it has in the past, Russia denied the accusations that its soldiers are fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Is the Pentagon Directing Kiev's War on Donbass?
Stephen Lendman / Global Research
(January 24, 2015) -- Washington relies heavily on allies and proxies to advance its imperial agenda. It actively supports and encourages Kiev's aggression on Donbass. Funding and arming its military. Supplying heavy weapons and munitions covertly. Assuming a local guerrilla force could easily be defeated.
Hoped-for victory became rout. Earlier last spring and summer. Again a few days after Kiev launched its new offensive last Sunday. More on this below.
A previous article discussed Pentagon plans to deploy US combat troops to Ukraine. For a so-called "training operation." A "first step." Mission creep suggests much more to come.
On January 23, Rick Rozoff's Stop NATO web site reported US Army Europe commanding Lt. General Ben Hodges in Ukraine meeting with its military/defense officials. "(A)head of a robust schedule of bilateral and multilateral military partnership exercises and training missions planned for 2015."
Perhaps part of Washington's plan for direct US involvement in Kiev's war on Donbas. Maybe controlling it entirely going forward. "Everything that happens in this part of the world the US Army in Europe is part of that," said Hodges.
"Its exercises, its relationships, its capabilities, networks and allies, and it is what enables our president to assure allies and deter potential threats." Hodges called US Army Europe "uniquely positioned . . . to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia."
Code language for advancing America's imperium. Through coups and wars of aggression. Pentagon officials lied, claiming Russia directly supports Donbas "separatists."
Air Force spokesman Col. Ed Thomas said Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey is "closely following" reports of (nonexistent) Russian involvement. "Among the most pressing issues for the group is NATO's planning and readiness to secure its eastern flank," said Thomas. "It's been a dominant factor for the alliance since Russian forces entered Crimea."
"Since the September 5th Minsk ceasefire, Russia has funneled hundreds of pieces of Russian military equipment and materiel to Russia-backed separatists, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and heavy artillery pieces," Thomas claimed. Despite no evidence whatever proving it. Plenty showing US supplied lethal aid for Ukraine.
"Russian military forces still operate in eastern Ukraine, where they play a coordinating role and provide command and control support to pro-Russian separatists," Thomas added.
Again citing no verifiable evidence. None exists. At the same time, US-dominated NATO heads precariously closer to direct confrontation with Russia.
NATO's Readiness Action Plan is worrisome. So is its Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Increased US-dominated NATO's Eastern European land, air and sea presence. Inventing threats to justify increased aggressiveness. With considerable scoundrel media support. The New York Times lied claiming "increasing evidence that Russian troops and Russian equipment have been pouring into the region again."
Propaganda substituting for hard evidence. The Times wrongfully blamed Putin for US-instigated Kiev crimes. Accusing him of "doubling down rather than backing down."
" . . . Russian troops in unmarked uniforms apparently join(ed) the separatists in the assaults on Ukrainian positions," claimed The Times. Citing Kiev and NATO as its source. Known serial liars.
Washington Post editors repeated America's Big Lie. Accusing "Russian forces (of) launch(ing) a new offensive in eastern Ukraine." Ignoring hard evidence of Kiev's aggression. Donbas freedom fighters respond in self-defense. Nothing suggests Moscow's involvement.
Post editors cited Kiev and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt claiming "fresh Russian army units were crossing the border and attacking Ukrainian positions north of the city of Luhansk and at the Donetsk airport."
Big Lies substitute for hard truths. Post editors irresponsibly bashed Putin. Calling his agenda "fundamentally at odds with Europe's security interests and its values."
Ignored are his all out peace and stability efforts throughout months of conflict. Proposals to end fighting. Resolve things diplomatically.
America and rogue EU allies prioritize naked aggression. Mass slaughter and destruction. Against one country after another.
Ukraine very much in the eye of the storm. Washington bears full responsibility for ongoing conflict. So does what Sergey Lavrov calls Kiev's "party of war." Putin gets no credit for trying to resolve things diplomatically. Irresponsible bashing substitutes.
Wall Street Journal editors irresponsibly accused him of "aggression" in Donbas. Citing "a Ukrainian military spokesman" falsely claiming "Russian forces . . . opened fire on Ukrainian positions in the rebel-controlled Luhansk region . . . "
An unnamed OSCE official accused Russia of supplying Donbas self-defense forces with "sophisticated logistic support."
Journal editors ludicrously claimed Putin "wants to re-create Kremlin dominance over Russia's near abroad . . . " No evidence whatever suggests it. Repeating Big Lies often enough gets most people to believe them.
Are Pentagon officials directing Kiev's aggression? Is America calling the shots? Will US forces be involved? Fort Russ cited a source close to Ukraine's general staff reporting "chaos in Kiev and the turmoil in the country's administration and the army."
Donbas self-defense forces consistently rout Kiev's military. Decisively since last Sunday.
Despite Ukraine's military mobilizing 1,500 tanks and other armored vehicles. Over 50 warplanes and attack helicopters.
Artillery, radar, communications equipment and other supplies. Much of it US-dominated NATO supplied.
Deploying its war machine along the entire front line over the past few months.
In preparation for full-scale premeditated naked aggression. Using the false flag Volnovakha bus attack as pretext to launch it.
Putin accused Kiev of issuing:
"criminal orders . . . to start large-scale military operations practically throughout the whole line of contact."
"The results of this are many people have died and have been wounded."
"This has happened not only amongst soldiers from both sides, but even more tragically, amongst innocent civilians, which includes children, pensioners and women."
Peace talks and "political will" alone can end conflict, he stressed. Impossible given Washington's rage for war.
Fort Russ said Ukraine's Colonel-General Muzhenko Muzhenko general staff chief directs ongoing operations. Calling him a "certified dimwit."
Ignoring expert military advice. Relying "on the whims and views" of Ukraine's security service (SBU) head Valentin Nalyvaychenko and others around him. Under Muzhenko's direction, Kiev forces were routed. Sustaining heavy losses. Men and equipment.
Fort Russ reported Kiev in "full-fledged panic." Suggesting a possible desperation declaration of war on Russia to enlist NATO support.
Novorossiya armed forces (NAF) are "advancing simultaneously in a dozen directions, and control of many parts of the UAF (Ukrainian armed forces) is already lost."
Fort Russ suggests a Kiev "military disaster in the making. The question is not whether or not (its) front will collapse . . . (it's) where it will happen first."
SBU head Nalyvaychenko suggested Washington "is preparing to take strategic control of UAF divisions . . . ." National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine secretary Aleksandr Turchynov said war with Russia is inevitable.
Warned about declaring martial law. Doing so would end any pretense of rule of law governance. None whatever exists. Ruling fascists tolerate none. Former defense minister Valeriy Geletey promised an attack on Russia. Followed by a Ukrainian "victory parade" in Crimea and Sevastopol. Political analyst Yuri Solozobov called these threats propaganda. Bluffs.
Saying "(m)artial law cannot be applied to a part of a country. (Only) across the entire country . . . ." Automatically dissolving parliament if instituted, he added. Military power replacing it. Civil authority entirely abolished.
Attacking Russia is madness. Even through false-flag deception. Putin will be free to respond full-force. Defending Russia responsibly against aggression.
Will US-dominated NATO intervene? Washington is already heavily involved. Perhaps preparing to take charge of Ukraine's military.
Suggesting greater escalation of fighting than already. Will America risk war with Russia? Doing so risks nuclear confrontation. Obama wants new congressional Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Ostensibly to combat IS. De facto US allies. Armed, funded, trained and directed proxy forces. Used against Assad's Syria.
Does Obama want more expansive AUMF authority? Congress hasn't yet acted.Awaiting White House direction. Draft legislative language. Outlining its intentions.
Will Obama seek authority for direct US intervention in Ukraine? Congressional permission to respond to alleged Russian aggression? Perhaps intending a major false[-flag] as justification to act. A modern-day Gulf of Tonkin. A Ukrainian 9/11.
A mass atrocity greater than recent Volnovakha and Donetsk bus attacks. Something major enough to enlist widespread popular support.
Obama wants authority to wage war on any nation or group opposing America's imperial agenda. Will he dangerously escalate Kiev's aggression on Donbass? Will he involve US forces? Will he risk war with Russia? It bears repeating what other articles stressed: Lunatics in Washington make anything possible. Even WW III.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
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