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Update: The West Signals Support for Ethnic Cleansing in Crimea
NATO and Ukraine seek control of Crimea; however, the locals want to remain with Russia. There won't be negotiations. So, the issue will be decided on the battlefield.
No central government will ever come out and say, “We’re planning to ethnically cleanse our separatist region”. That’s just not going to happen. So we must look carefully at statements by government officials and analyze them in the context of their strategic goals.
First, some background regarding the separatist region of Crimea. The basic facts: 1) Ukraine and NATO openly say they want to conquer Crimea. 2) According to Russian law, Crimea is part of the Russian Federation, though the West won’t recognize that status. 3) Crimea’s population overwhelmingly wants to remain a part of Russia. 4) Many journalists and researchers have corroborated the pro-Russian mood among the vast majority of Crimeans; the evidence is overwhelming.
On Dec 21, I published the article Will there be Ethnic Cleansing in Donbass and Crimea if Kiev and NATO win? I analyzed the possible fate of the contested Black Sea peninsula in the unlikely case that NATO/ Ukrainian forces seize it.
Now, I have an update — yesterday, a former top U.S. and NATO general and a former Ukrainian defense minister gave strong indication of their sinister vision for the people of Crimea. Their comments came at a forum that’s widely indicative of the general mood among the NATO elite. So their words need to be taken seriously.
Speaking at a webinar about NATO and Ukrainian plans for Crimea that was sponsored by the Atlantic Council, U.S. General (Ret.) Wesley Clark falsely claimed: “Crimea has been ethnically cleansed [by the Russians]; the residents who were there in 2013 are not there today. The Tatars have been run out and the Russians have moved in. This is typical of how the Russians work. There needs to be a plan for the reintegration of Crimea into Ukraine. And I’m convinced that many Russians living there will welcome living in Ukraine, rather than an isolated, dictatorial Russia.”
That’s a bold example of disinformation. Fact-check: the Tatars still live in Crimea; and the vast majority of current residents have long been living in Crimea. The Russians of Crimea won’t welcome “living in Ukraine” because the country is ruled by a brutal far-right nationalist regime that has been slaughtering ethnic Russians in Donbass for almost 9 years and trying to destroy their cultural identity.
This highly influential former U.S. and NATO general, who is now CEO of the investment firm Enverra, is either deceiving the American people and policymakers in Washington, or he is ignorant of the topic. Or perhaps he’s an agent of influence for Ukraine’s far-right regime and hoping to land nice investment deals? (I’d love to hear an answer from the General; please feel free to reach out to me).
General Clark was Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO (1997-2000), which, by the way, were the years when NATO annexed Kosovo and carried out a brutal 75-day bombing campaign of Serbia that killed thousands of innocent civilians. How odd that General Clark supported Kosovan separatists, but he won’t support Crimean and Donbass separatists who want their freedom from the brutal regime in Kiev.
Ever since the collapse of the USSR in late 1991, when ethnic Russians of Crimea first pushed for independence from newly-born Ukraine, it was well-known in academic and journalist circles that Crimea is pro-Russian and would eventually make a bid to rejoin Russia.
Since 2014, however, NATO and the far-right regime in Kiev have peddled the false narrative that Crimea was “seized" and “occupied” by Russia. In fact, what happened is that Crimea exercised its right to self-determination and broke from Ukraine, rejoining Russia in spring 2014 in the wake of the violent insurrection in Kiev that toppled Ukraine’s president.
Crimea’s choice was made in a referendum, with overwhelming support from the local population. Why does Crimea want to be with Russia? Because the people of the region are closely tied to Russia by language, culture, history, and religion.
Unfortunately, however, the Western world has crossed the proverbial Rubicon between Sanity and Madness, between Truth and Lies. We now exist in a “Bizarro world” where any government narrative can be fabricated and thrusted on an unsuspecting, poorly-informed, naive and almost infantile society.
Thus, we are told that far-right Ukrainian radicals are “freedom fighters”; Big Pharma and the medical industry are “heroes” while earning tens of billions of dollars in scams; and highly experimental injections are “safe and effective” even though they’ve never been tested properly and the data proves they don’t work.
Another speaker at yesterday’s Atlantic Council webinar was Andrei Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister. Here’s what he had to say:
“Crimea is under totalitarian occupation, there’s no freedom, no rule of law,”… there’s “massive pressure on small businesses, and de facto genocide of Crimean Tatars. A lot of people are waiting for the deoccupation. We need to address all issues and there needs to be a full campaign for reintegration and deoccupation.”
Fact-check: Crimean Tatars are about 15% of the peninsula’s population and there’s absolutely no evidence of a “genocide”. Also, I was recently on the phone with friends in Crimea, and no one was complaining about a lack of freedom. But they were complaining about Ukrainian threats and attempted bombings.
“We believe that a military solution is possible [in Crimea]… We need assault weapons and support from the international community,” added Zagorodnyuk.
In short, both Zagorodnyuk and General Clark are calling for a bloodbath in Crimea and the destruction of millions of lives. “Reintegration and deoccupation” are their euphemisms for “ethnic cleansing”; for the massive repression and slaughter of the Russians of Crimea.
Post Scriptum: “Fortress Crimea”
The far-right U.S. Lt. General (Ret.) Ben Hodges is another hawk among former Pentagon officers. Most of his forecasts and analyses are wrong, but still major American media continue to go to him for comments. In November, he told Politico that Ukraine would launch a campaign to conquer Crimea at the end of January. Not surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Still, he predicts that Ukraine will “fight across the isthmus when the conditions are right”. Well, look at the map above. Crimea is connected to the mainland by two narrow slivers of land. Crimea is an impenetrable fortress that can only be taken by a massive amphibious landing, a capability that Ukraine doesn’t have.
Either General Hodges doesn’t understand Crimean geography and battlefield tactics, or he’s eager to see tens of thousands more Ukrainian soldiers senselessly slaughtered in the Democratic Party’s mad crusade against Russia.
Considering the devastating and embarrassing defeat that Ukraine suffered in Donbass this week — in the city of Soledar and around the city of Bakhmut — it’s questionable if the Ukrainian lines will hold much longer. Indeed, a seismic collapse of their lines is possible as demoralization and heavy losses take their toll. Earlier in the war, Ukrainian friends told me that their “hospitals were overflowing”. Now they tell me “our cemeteries are overflowing”.
And with Russian and Belarusian troops mobilized, if Ukraine tries to make a lunge at Crimea, then Moscow will respond with a powerful attack on Kiev and Lviv, to cut off NATO supply lines from Poland. I’m surprised that General Hodges doesn’t understand this; it makes me doubt the level of competency among our generals.
The history of Ukraine has often been one of tragedy. And now, as a zealous and naive pawn of NATO, Ukraine is sadly poised to add one more ruinous and calamitous chapter to its national history.
(The full Atlantic Council webinar on Crimea can be found here).
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