Role of the Ukrainian Fascists

By Barry Sheppard

During the Maiden demonstrations in 2014, named for the square in front of the Kyiv city hall in Ukraine’s capital where they were staged, there was a brief shot on a U.S. TV station of an armed fascist group that appeared on the balcony overlooking the square.

Since that brief shot, the U.S. media has avoided describing the role of these armed fascist organizations in Ukraine, from their spearheading the Ukrainian war against the largely Russian speaking east of the country beginning in 2015, up to the present — until an inside article in the New York Times on February 11.

Activists of the Svoboda (Freedom) Ukrainian nationalist party hold torches as they take part in a rally to mark the 105th year since the birth of Stepan Bandera, one of the founders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), in Kiev on January 1st, 2014. Photograph: Gleb Garanich / Reuters

The article admitted that these forces “represent a potent political force in Ukraine”, while carefully avoiding the word “fascism”.

The article begins, “The Ukrainian political activist and militia member sat before his party’s flag leaving little doubt about his readiness for action. The flag depicted two axes crossed against a field of red.

“Yes, Yuri Hudymenko said, he is ready to take up arms, but not necessarily against Russia. As the leader of Democratic Ax — one of dozens of right-wing or nationalist groups [under the name of the Right Sector] that represent a potent political force in Ukraine and are fiercely opposed to any compromise with Moscow — his anger will be directed at Ukraine’s government if it grants too many concessions in exchange for peace.

“‘We’ll deal with Russia one way or another later,’ Mr. Hudymenko said. With a flair for the dramatic, he added: ‘If anybody from the Ukrainian government tries to sign such a document, a million people will take to the streets and that government will cease being the government.’“

The main “such document” being discussed is the Minsk accords of 2015, name for the city where they were negotiated. The main point of the accord, which Germany and France helped negotiate, was to solve the question of the Donbas by bringing the two Peoples Republics there, supported by Russia, into a federated Ukraine.

On that basis, there would be guarantees of equal rights, etc.

Ukrainian nationalists, backed by the U.S., rejected the accords.

Putin has now proposed they should be the basis of a settlement.

“The French government said in its readout of [French President] Macron’s call with Mr. Putin that the two leaders had discussed ‘ways of moving forward’ with implementing a 2015 peace plan for eastern Ukraine and had continued talks over the “conditions of security and stability in Europe”, the Times reported.

Another “document” that France has raised, according to the Times, would be the neutralization of Ukraine between NATO and Russia.

The U.S. rejects both proposals out of hand.

Because of the threats from the armed far right groups, “Analysts say that [Ukrainian President] Zelensky would be taking extreme political risks even to entertain a peace deal, which is why he is so careful not to talk about possible avenues for negotiation,” the Times reported.

“Macron wants to sacrifice Ukraine’s sovereignty to calm Russia down, but doesn’t understand that it will not work,” said Oleksandr Ivonov, director of Movement Against Capitulation, the Times reported.

“Diplomats do not understand Ukraine,” Ivanov said. “Civil society here has a bigger influence on politics than actual political parties… For Mr. Zelensky the threat of war is only a threat, while signing compromises is guaranteed to bring protests.”

The February 11 Times article ended: “Mr. Zelensky and his government may be under pressure from both Ukrainians and Russia, Mr. Hudymenko said, but in the final analysis ‘they fear the Ukrainian people more than they fear the Russian army.’”

Ivanov’s group staged a demonstration in Kyiv of “thousands” February 12 against any compromise with Russia.

Washington has stepped up supplying arms to these very Right Sector groups, under the cover of saying they will be the “civilian resistance” to a Russian invasion.

Meanwhile, also on February 11, the White House issued a new hysterical report that it was convinced that Russia would soon invade, in hours, a day, two days, maybe during the Olympic Games. But soon.

This is a repetition of many such claims of the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine Washington has made since last November, without disclosing “in the interests of national security” what facts supported these claims.

CNN and the other pro-war media have gone into a frenzy.

Biden’s greatest fear is that Russia just sits pat — does not invade but keeps its troops at its own borders (and perhaps in Belarus within its borders) — while divisions within NATO grow, and the world goes weary of claims of imminent invasion.

 This could lead the White House to do something dangerous in desperation. The “false flag” provocation that  Washington says Moscow will take to justify an invasion may very well be imitated by the Pentagon to impose massive sanctions against Russia, for example.

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