If you have paid attention to what various polls and officials in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West have been doing and saying about Ukraine lately, you know the look and sound of desperation. You would be desperate, too, if you were making a case for a war Ukrainians are on the brink of losing and will never, brink or back-from-the-brink, have any chance of winning. Atop this, you want people who know better, including 70 percent of Americans according to a recent poll, to keep investing extravagant sums in this ruinous folly.
In November 2023, NATO’s “Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats” published a disturbing ‘working paper,’ “Humour in online information warfare: Case study on Russia’s war on Ukraine.” It received no mainstream attention. Yet, the contents offer unprecedented insight into the military alliance’s insidious weaponization of social media to distort public perceptions and manufacture consent for war. They also raise grave questions about online “trolling” of dissident voices over the past decade and beyond.
The New York Times on February 25 published an explosive story of what purports to be the history of the CIA in Ukraine from the Maidan coup of 2014 to the present. The story, “The Spy War: How the CIA Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin,” is one of initial bilateral distrust, but a mutual fear and hatred of Russia, that progresses to a relationship so intimate that Ukraine is now one of the CIA’s closest intelligence partners in the world. At the same time, the Times’ publication of the piece, which reporters claimed relied on more than 200 interviews in Ukraine, the US, and “several European countries,” raises multiple questions.
“This week, February 24, 2024 marks the beginning of the third year of the war in Ukraine. Hundreds, if not thousands, of assessments of the first two years of the war will be published, heard, or viewed. As the war now enters its third year, Russia recently announced victory in a major regional battle for the strategic city of Avdeyevka in the Donetsk region of east Ukraine. Avdeyevka was the lynchpin for Ukrainian defenses throughout the region which, by some indications, are beginning to fracture. After similar Russian strategic victories in the strategic cities of Bakhmut in 2023, and Mariupol in 2022, Russia lacked sufficient numerical forces to capitalize on those victories and launch new offensives to further expand its area of control.
Tucker Carlson began his interview of President Vladimir Putin with the words, “On February 24, 2022, you addressed your country in your nationwide address when the conflict in Ukraine started….” Clearly the war in Ukraine was the motivation and central topic for the interview. But precisely what Mr. Putin had to say about the Ukraine war and its bearing on the future has been lost amidst frantic cries that Carlson is a “traitor” or “useful idiot” for so much as speaking with the Russian President. The interview comes at a time when near apocalyptic warnings are being issued by the foreign policy establishment.
Europe’s top diplomat has acknowledged that the “era of Western dominance has indeed definitively ended”. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, wrote this in a blog post on the official website of the EU’s diplomatic service on February 25. “If the current global geopolitical tensions continue to evolve in the direction of ‘the West against the Rest’, Europe’s future risks to be bleak”, he warned. The wars in Ukraine and Gaza, along with the anti-colonial uprisings in Africa’s Sahel region, have “significantly increased this risk” of Europe becoming geopolitically irrelevant, Borrell said, lamenting that “Russia has managed to take advantage of the situation”.
On February 6, the Verkhovna Rada (national legislature) of Ukraine voted to endorse the decree issued by President Volodomyr Zelensky to extend martial law for another 90 days. The new decree prolongs martial law until May 13, 2024. This definitively settles that there will be no presidential election in Ukraine by March 31, 2024, the anniversary date of Zelensky’s election in 2019 on a five-year mandate. The Rada likely faces a similar extension of its five-year mandate, which is supposed to expire in July 2024. The election law of Ukraine (English translation here) prohibits holding elections during martial law, and the latter can be prolonged indefinitely provided some semblance of threat can be found and cited.
The genocide in Gaza – or more precisely the major NATO powers’ active and practical support for the genocide in Gaza – has forced me to re-evaluate my views on Ukraine in a manner more sympathetic to the Russian narrative. In particular, I was complacent in my dismissive attitude to the argument that the Western powers would back ethnic cleansing and massacre in the Donbass by forces including some motivated by Nazi ideology. The same powers who are funding and arming Ukraine are funding and arming a genocide by racial supremacist Israeli forces in Gaza.
The so-called “Heavenly Hundred” are individuals allegedly killed by law enforcement officers during the 2013-14 Euromaidan anti-government protests. More recent data shows that among the Heavenly Hundred were people who had nothing to do with snipers – or even the protests, who died, for example, of pneumonia, heart attack, or even allergy-related complications. Euromaidan, the wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, began on November 21, 2013 on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kiev over President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to prioritize accords with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union instead of signing the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement.
As U.S. House members grapple with whether to give $60 billion more to Ukraine, they must also grapple with the checkered nature of the intelligence they’ve been fed. On July 13, 2023, President Joe Biden announced Russian President Vladimir Putin “has already lost the war.” That was six days after C.I.A. Director William Burns, normally a sane voice, had called the war a “strategic failure” for Russia with its “military weaknesses laid bare.” Earlier, in December 2022, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines reported that the Russians were experiencing “shortages of ammunition” and were “not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending.”
There couldn’t be a better metaphor than what a Chinese analyst used to characterize the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) while commenting on its secretary general Jens Stoltenberg’s recent remark that the West does not seek war with Russia but should still “prepare ourselves for a confrontation that could last decades.” The Chinese commentator compared Stoltenberg with an in-charge of a firm of undertakers, “a store owner of coffin and casket, which makes no money in peacetime. As an undertaker, NATO needs conflict, bloodshed for earnings. So it spreads fear and panic in order to ensure its member countries continue to contribute military funding.”
During my recent vertiginous journey in Donbass tracking Orthodox Christian battalions defending their land, Novorossiya, it became starkly evident that the resistance in these newly liberated Russian republics is fighting much the same battle as their counterparts in West Asia. Nearly 10 years after Maidan in Kiev, and two years after the start of Russia's Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, the resolve of the resistance has only deepened. It’s impossible to do full justice to the strength, resilience, and faith of the people of Donbass, who stand on the front line of a US proxy war against Russia.
Two years ago, on 24 February 2022, Russian forces entered Ukraine. This act was not the start of the war in Ukraine. Rather, it was the acceleration of a conflict that dates back to at least 2014. That year, at the behest of the United States, a new government was imposed on Ukraine, aiming to bring the country closer to the European Union. This initiated the sustained persecution of the country’s Russian-speaking population. The conflict moved swiftly, with Crimea de facto becoming part of Russia once again and the Donbass region of Ukraine becoming a frontline in the conflict between Ukrainian far-right nationalists and Russian speakers. I
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William J. Burns, published an article in which he referred to “the United States’ principal rivals—China and Russia”, while emphasizing that “China is the bigger long-term threat”. Strongly implying that we are in the early stages of a new cold war, he wrote that “China and Russia consume much of the CIA’s attention”. Burns revealed that “the CIA has been reorganizing itself” in order to counter China. The notorious US spy agency has created a special “mission center” focusing exclusively on Beijing, and has doubled its budget for anti-China operations.
The commencement of political upheavals in world affairs sometimes lies with a seemingly obscure event. This is not to say that the shooting down of a Russian Ilyushin-76 military transport plane carrying dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war over the territory of Belgorod Region by two missiles fired from the area of Liptsy, in Kharkov Region (Ukraine) on January 24 is anything like the spark that set off World War I when a Serbian patriot shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the city of Sarajevo in 1914 and within a month, the Austrian army invaded Serbia.