The other war – in the Ukraine – needs some media attention

 

I have no time for Russia arming the rebels or assisting them to intensify the conflict in the Ukraine. I do , however, have worries about the continuing high level of deaths and injuries in the intense fighting that has been going on there. I note that the UN says both sides – including  the Ukrainian government – have been shelling areas where civilians are at risk. The UN thinks 1129 people have died in the fighting between mid April and late July. There are unconfirmed reports of children being killed, of an attack on a retirement home and other atrocities.

We do know that the inspectors who need to retrieve the final casualties from the Malaysian airliner and start to investigate the cause of the crash are often blocked by military action from getting to the site. Can’t the government  and rebels at least agree a protected zone around the crash that can be free from fighting so the work can proceed? Does the Ukrainian government have no authority, no moral stance that can command respect in the east of its country?

I find it almost unbelievable that in 2014 in a part of Europe armed rebels fire against the government and local population, and that the government shells and bombs them. Why can’t the newly elected President exercise some political skills and sit down and talk through the problems? In the end this has to be solved by political means. You cannot shell people into accepting  democracy. It has to be built from both sides by active discussion and painful agreement.

I also find it curious that the media, who give us such graphic reports of the bombs, shells and deaths in Gaza, give us so little about the same problems in the Ukraine where the EU is heavily involved on the side of the Ukrainian government.

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76 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Another thoughtful post. It seems that you ‘brief’ holiday has revitalized you.

    John Redwood MP said;
    “I note that the UN says both sides – including the Ukrainian government – have been shelling areas where civilians are at risk.”

    I think in the light of recent events, it is worth pointing out that this ‘small matter’ was not deemed worthy by the former Minister of State for Faith and Communities, in her resignation speech. Curious omission for someone who claimed to be resigning ,due to government policy when it comes to the slaughter of innocents.

    As to the subject of this article. Like the Palestinians and the Israeli’s, I think the first question is; “Do the protagonists (neither are entitled to their positions) want peace enough, for them to sit down and talk ?”

    If they do, you have grounds. Otherwise, I think it prudent to back away. We have few interests if any in that region, yet, we are both prepared to spend vast monies and lose much international respect over it. I think our policies in this part of the world are muddled. Perhaps this is a result of too many interests via the EEAS and others having and undue ‘influence’ on us ???

    • Posted August 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      If anyone wants to create a Minister for Lack of Faith and an end to Communalism, I’m a volunteer.

  2. They Work for Us?
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Laudable questions but are you not in danger of promoting the big government socialist “someone ought do something” .
    All of us can contribute to appropriate charities if they want to. Govt should do nothing that involves blood and treasure but should let the rest of the EU dig themselves out of it. One for Mr Junker I think, clearly yet something else for Angela Merkel to fund to maintain Germany’s “good European’ credentials.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    The BBC and news media in general are highly selective in the topics they choose to cover, the time they give to them and the often absurd slant they give to them. There is a sort of group think amongst the media, charities, academia, bureaucrats and governments that deems some news to be important (perhaps to further an agenda or merely distract) while others are simply ignored.

    The BBC can hardly go for more than 15 minutes without mentioning climate change, glass ceilings, bikes, wind farms, the consensus, EU and immigration always in a positive light or enforced “equality”.

    They also usually just swallow the spin put on the issue by government or others press releases – rather than doing any real questioning. Often acting just as a conduit/megaphone for the state sector, certain charities or vested interests.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      It is worrying how many (and even the brighter students) can come out of school with the usual half baked “BBC think” beliefs, without ever questioning or challenging them. On, for example: Israel, the EU, climate change, ever more government, more “progressive” tax for “the rich”, bikes and trains good cars, planes always bad, discrimination and government enforced equality and “fairness”, the free at the point of non delivery NHS.

      They seem to be taught what to think rather than how to think, reason or question.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Its becoming more difficult to get on in life if you show or express opinions which differ from the politically correct, Lifelogic.
        With over half of all jobs either in the state sector or in companies dependent on the patronage of the state, you have to keep your opinions to yourself.
        The cultural marxists are slowly winning.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          True, but they actually seem to believe it all unquestioningly. If you put questions to them like “do you think it is likely that we can predict and control the temperature of the earth in 100 years by just controlling the one variable co2, yet we cannot predict the weather next month, nor the volcanos next year, nor new technology, nor genetic variation in plants nor ………..?”. They seem never to have even thought about it and these are ones set for top grades & good universities.

          Similarly on the benefits of having lower taxes and fewer state sector parasites. They just never seem to have considered the matter.

          They are all in favour of renewables but non have a clue about the huge costs and costly intermittent nature of them.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            The idea that individuals usually spent their own money far more efficiently than governments do (knowing as they do their individual needs and desires and it being their money) seems not to have occurred to many either. They almost all, needless to say, think the NHS should be free at the point of use (or rather rationing).

          • Bazman
            Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Road tolls? Now you have stopped talking!

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic is totally correct once again! The Biased BBC hates Israel, so delivers us the totally slanted ‘news’ from the middle east. Ignoring for example, that countries like Saudi Arabia are deploring the death of civilians, but notably NOT blaming Israel for them. Hamas is hated by all the world, it seems, except Iran and the B-BBC.

        At the same time, they keep telling us that the EU will ensure peace in Europe. So what happens when the EU deliberately causes friction between Ukraine and Russia, resulting in armed violence and the death of over 1,000 civilians? The BBC completely ignores the issue, while simultaneously showing us videos of Gaza for up to 10 minutes per broadcast.

        Almost every other democracy manages very well without a national broadcaster, the obvious countries that still invest in this area include Cuba, N. Korea, China, and other autocracies.

        It is way past time to end the TV tax.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          You do not even watch TV so do not persue this agenda. If it where FOX News you would like the ‘facts’ Facts that you and the BBC do not own. The devistation of Gaza speaks volumes should the BBC not show these pictures. Toodle pip lojolondon and whato!

      • M Davis
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        I had thought that the BBC was a public service broadcaster, constructed to provide impartial public service broadcasting to the UK, but on reflection, I believe that the BBC is now a totalitarian Socialist construct, with Common Purpose running through and throughout.

        Common Purpose is a Government sponsered so-called education Charity. In other words, the Government has stitched us up!

      • Bazman
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        How come it is possible to predict the number of road accidents per year quite accurately when they are ‘accidents’. You assume that that random events and their frequency cannot be predicted and the science does not exist. As a simple one if you had a million nut and bolt do you think there is not mathematical techniques as to tell how many are defective and to what degree that prediction as accurate? Its called sampling. How else would you check? As I point out to you consistently. You do not own the facts and pretending that science is just silly except when you what to ‘prove’ something is the land of the deluded religious bigot or a fool.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

          Predictions are fine and can easily be made about many different things in science and engineering.
          Its just that the ones made about global warming have not come true.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 8, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

            Rising sea levels and extreme weather have come true and a real problems for some areas. You seem to think that any science you do not like is flawed and then lean towards quack science to bolster right wing religious conservative views that whatever happens we will be OK, whilst denying this is religious. Creationism being a prime example.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 8, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            Rising sea levels have been well below alarmists original predictions, with Gores islands still above water.
            Linking any extreme weather events to warming is a new claim not originally predicted in IPCC early reports with even yhe Met Office saying this claim is unproven.
            I like science.
            Looking back at predictions and seeing them to have been either alarmist or not to have happened is very scientific.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            In the main the predictions have been accurate if a little slow in their progress. You have no credible sources to say otherwise. Head in the sand propagandists funded by right wing individuals do not count.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 9, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            I dont need experts who usually are just making subjective conclusions about the raw data.
            I just read the predictions made by the IPCC and experts like Al Gore many years ago and then compare them to the actual current raw data which is available from reputable sites such as the Met Office.
            Its simple.
            There is a good site called wood for the trees or something similar which just compiles the actual data and graphs from all the main climate research organisations.
            It does not seek to make any political points.
            I suggest you have a look.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 9, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            The met office graph shows that though global warming has slowed it is still rising and the same graph show an upward trend since the industrial revolution sometime stalling but non the less a straight line can be drawn upwards.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

            Rising by perhaps a tenth of one degree as a globally measured average since 2000.
            Depending on what graphs you look at.
            Almost within statistical error the rise is so small.

            This compared to predictions of rapidly increasing rises from 2000 by the IPCC, Al Gore and other alarmists.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      The – unelected – BBC are able to set the political agenda.

  4. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether Ukraine would now be tearing itself apart if that great eurosceptic Hague had not deliberately written a blanket exemption for all accession treaties into his “referendum lock” law. Perhaps if it had been known that Ukraine would not be allowed to join the EU without the direct approval of the British people in a referendum, approval which would almost certainly not be given, then certain EU politicians would not have been so ready to stir up trouble by dangling the prospect of EU membership before the eyes of the more europhile sections of the Ukrainian population. Which they are still doing even now, even as the fighting intensifies and more blood is being shed.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I believe that the French have decided that accession by Turkey will have to be put to the French voters in a referendum. Accession is one of the few things that can be vetoed.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Then there will be no referendum in the UK. If Bozo is leader his stated aim is for Turkey to join the EU (and an amnesty for illegals) in line with Stanley’s views.
        Our referendum lock specifically rules out enlargement as a referendum trigger albeit the biggest threat to our wellbeing.
        It will be interesting to watch CMD and Bozo out sceptic each other in the run up to the GE. I don’t think the public will be fooled.
        Vive la Bullington.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        A law was passed about it in 2005 but then repealed in 2008:

        http://www.euractiv.com/enlargement/france-scraps-referendum-turkeys-news-220068

        Hollande has promised that there would be a referendum but of course that is only his promise.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph tells us all we need to know;
    It was overtures to Ukraine by the EU that started the conflict. Now the EU hides away.

  6. Peter Richmond
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    It is also strange that there is a noticeable absence of news from Iraq and Syria where Christians and other minorities are being murdered in the most gruesome way.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. The displacement of ancient Christian populations is barely reported and seems not to interest governments.

      • cheshire girl
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        If you want to help the Christians in Iraq you can go to this web site:
        http://frrme.org/get-involved/donate/

        They are very grateful for the support they have received so far and are thankful that their plight is now receiving some attention.

    • Mark
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed so, and in genocidal numbers far larger than either the Gaza or Ukraine conflicts. The potential threat to surrounding countries is great – and not only there. The respected journalist Patrick Cockburn (ex FT) has written a very informative piece about ISIS at the London Book Review. In his view:

      The birth of the new state is the most radical change to the political geography of the Middle East since the Sykes-Picot Agreement was implemented in the aftermath of the First World War.

      Sine the BBC is so reluctant to keep us properly informed, I would ask JR to allow the link to the article, which has much background and detail beyond what is easily summarised here:

      http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/patrick-cockburn/isis-consolidates

      The article is dated 1 Aug, since when fresh atrocities with daily tolls greater than that in Gaza to date have been committed, particularly against the Yazidi community (which has perhaps the most ancient surviving religion on earth). Some 50,000 them await death by starvation having taken flight to the barren Sinjar mountain.

      The real problem for us is that ISIS have attracted jihadists and propagandists from many Western countries, including the UK. Once infected with the zeal and bloodlust of a conquering ideological force, they become a very real threat. ISIS would not be content merely with eradicating Israel, but aim to conquer the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (including parts of Ukraine), Spain, Turkey, all of Africa North of the Congo, the Arabian Peninsula, and Islamic parts of Asia, including Western China – by 2020

      Reply Yes a worrying and sobering piece, which extends the criticisms some of us have been making of US,EU and UK policy towards Iraq and Syria this century.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Seems to have 2 dates 21st and 1st ..Do you think ISIS would consider taking over ground which wasn’t rich in oil or potentially rich in other ways?

        • Mark
          Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          They seem to be militarily astute, aiming for strategic economic and military targets, and then terrorising the population rendered powerless to resist as they accumulate military hardware and control water and energy supply. There is no doubting that they have much wider goals based on their ideology and a plan to achieve them. They have not been shy about proclaiming their aims. They should be taken seriously.

          The 21st date refers to the nominal date of publication of the printed magazine: the article is datelined 1st.

          • margaret
            Posted August 8, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Yes I realised that was the publicatin date ,BUT published 20 days before! Is it published some plcaes before others . Would the people who read it the first time have any influence over the people reading it at publication date . Worth a thought!

      • Mark B
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Mark

        That was a great read. And yes, I too would like to know where those 140 helicopters went ?

        And thank you Mr. Redwood MP sir, for allowing it.

      • zorro
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Funny how the US/UK axis hasn’t taken any military action to stop ‘ISIS’ yet was so gung ho to try and take out Assad…. Funny how ‘ISIS’ is now taking the oilfields having got their hands on lots of US dollars lying in bank vaults and finding themselves in possession of US weaponry…. Yes funny indeed.

        zorro

  7. Gary
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    read Mackinder and Brzezinski. It’s all there, no mystery.

    • zorro
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      ‘The Grand Chessboard’ explains the geo-political strategy.

      zorro

  8. Alan Wheatley
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    While I agree with what you say as to the way things should be done, I shall be pleasantly surprised if that is what ever happens. I suppose there have been occasions when the fighters have fought each other, away and apart from the civilian population, but the more I learn about the history of the human race, or indeed the history of all living things, the cleared it becomes that it truly has been the survival of the fittest.

    You CAN “shell people into accepting democracy”, just as you can shell them into accepting anything: those with the objective of democracy tend not to use indiscriminate shelling as a means of seeking their objective.

    Fair and reasonable people rightly bemoan the actions of those who use violent means to achieve their ends. Those with a sword in their hand, especially those driven by an ideological zeal, when confronted by others wielding the power of words usually think they have the best means of winning the argument.

    Perhaps the best hope for the future would be a demonstration of how it should be done, coupled with the modern, current widespread access to international media. The House of Commons may still choose to retain the separation of the debating parties at two swords length, but in a way that is exactly the point – the principle is maintained by agreement not by force. So, for me, it is particularly sad that so many Scotts want to break up the Union when we have so much to show the World from which others can benefit.

  9. alan jutson,
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Ah, the BBC will go and pursue news where it suits them to do so.

    A very long time ago the BBC would just report the facts as they were seen, not any more, there always seems to be an angle or an agenda now.

    Talk, Talk, yes they will have to in the end, but at the moment the people with guns, and there are enough of them, will keep the conflict going with help from whoever keeps giving them arms or money or both.
    We have done our fair share of supporting so called democracy fighters of late elsewhere in the World, so we are not blameless either.

  10. mickc
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Russia is simply doing exactly the same as “the West” is doing, arming and assisting those it supports.
    It would have been better if the USA had left Ukraine to seek its own destiny, rather than foment the violent overthrow of a democratically elected President and his replacement by one of its puppets.
    The US empire is dying, and dying empires cause huge damage seeking to prolong their fading power.

    • zorro
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      All true, except that with the USA potentially declining, it’s going to take the rest of us with it….

      zorro

  11. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Well said, but did you need to use the phrase ‘unconfirmed reports’, the language of journalists; which is intended to cast doubt of course? The word ‘reports’ alone would do better, surely, we know what it means, and we can make up our own minds. If something is of genuinely doubtful authenticity, it should not be mentioned. I too watch Russia Today to find out what is going on in Ukraine. I know what I am doing, and I can form judgements, but they are covering it and reporting what the BBC refuses or mentions only in part, and doesn’t like, and we see more illuminating images.

    When Russia announced the embargo on US and some EU fresh foodstuffs yesterday in response to sanctions, one of the newsreaders, said something along the lines of ‘…..and what does Russia do, it simply ratchets up the tension again’. This is not the attitude of an impartial organisation, which it constantly claims to be.

    As for Gaza I learn the BBC along with Sky, who have been equally hysterical and one-sided in their anti-Israeli stance are to help promote the collection of charity money for food and other reconstruction assistance. I wonder who will control that when it gets there? What are the chances some will get diverted underground? They announced this on their news, so they are clearly campaigning. Their reporting should be the subject of an investigation, but I know that any report would be a whitewash as usual.

    And there are also the horrors in the Middle-East perpetrated by ISIS, the persecution and wholesale murder of Christians and any others who do not conform. When is this to be properly covered, when is the BBC going to admit the full truth of this and the links with the religious politics of Gaza. They are of course too frightened to attempt it. And it seems Israel now may have fanatical murderers on their northern border. Whose side will they be on if Israel is attacked from the north too and defends itself? Jews, with Christians and Christianity in general as a faith and belief, in the politically correct eyes of BBC news are not worth worrying about. They prefer to give their allegiance and sympathies to another.

    • Mark
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      I am starting to suspect that Israeli firmness in dealing with Hamas is partly aimed at conveying a message to the extremists in ISIS who may be at its borders before too long.

      • zorro
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Do you think that the Israelis are worried by ISIS? I doubt it somehow…. Funny isn’t it how ISIS has not launched itself in any way, shape or form against Israel. I wonder why?

        zorro

        • Mark
          Posted August 8, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Look at a map of the area currently occupied by ISIS. They are consolidating their position, which is still quite some way from Israel. Read the article I linked: Patrick Cockburn expects them to expand to fill between the Iranian border and the Mediterranean. Frankly, it would not be a surprise if once the had consolidated in Iraq/Syria, they chose to absorb Jordan next. I do not think the Israelis will be underestimating the threat in the way that the Iraqi Shia government and the West appear to have done.

          • zorro
            Posted August 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            I doubt that the Israelis underestimate ‘ISIS’ at all. I am sure that they are quite intimate with whatever ‘ISIS’s’ startegy might involve…..

            zorro

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Good post TPW.

      Tad

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Very noble sentiment and of course one that any decent person would endorse. However sentiment and reality in these circumstances clash. Conflicts between armed bodies of men/women who have opposing views is always going to be bloody not just to the combatants but also to innocent people old and young who happen to be caught up in the area that is being fought over. So the sentiment that the innocent should be fully protected and fighting should give way to dialogue can only happen if both sides see advantage in doing so or all the peoples of the world disavow violence in favour of negotiation and arbitration. This is not going to happen any time soon as too many are are either aggressive or are resisting aggression. All sides in a conflict naturally believe in the cause they are fighting for and know that to negotiate may well lead to their views not prevailing so will not. In conflict there is always going to be collateral damage which of course should be minimised and to do that combatants should not deliberately put non combatants in harms way by either deliberately targeting them or using them as shields. Both of these tactic are being employed in the myriad of conflicts that are happening around the world currently much to every decent persons disgust. Alas wars, terrorism and other conflicts are not being fought by decent people even though at one time the majority might have been. So until humans propensity to to do harm to one another is reversed then what you wish for will not happen although striving that it should should also go on.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Most of the British media has degenerated into mere propaganda machines. Gone is any objectivity or search for the facts. Instead there is always an agenda to be pursued, an unsubstantiated opinion to be expressed and a loss of interest when reality conflicts with the fiction that they have been encouraged to promulgate. With the internet it is possible to expand our understanding of events beyond those barriers erected before us. Regarding Ukraine, we are to accept, without question, that Russia is evil and a threat, whilst the EU and the US have no involvement save to secure the democracy which they connived to undermine in the first place. Behind all this are other considerations which have little or nothing to do with the welfare of the people of Ukraine or their “democracy”.

    • zorro
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      We are in an age where we have the world’s information at our fingertips if we know how to use it. That is true freedom – freedom not to subscribe to the media agenda but research the facts for youself. You just have to look at the hidden BBC reports from the Dutch investigators and the OSCE reports to know that the media spin lies and more lies….. Remember the headlines along the lines of Putin killed my son, yet now we see the USA stating that there is no evidence to implicate Russia in the downing of the plane….

      zorro

  14. Edward2
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    There was little protest when the USSR killed and imprisoned many thousands of its own citizens just as there is no protest today at even worse behaviour by North Korea that is continuing every day.
    No protests at thousands of ordinary people dying in the conflicts of the Middle East as different factions of the ” religion of peace” fight each other every day either.
    The media is very selective at what it deems newsworthy.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      The media is very selective at what it deems newsworthy. For sure. Especially when it comes to missing children.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Baz
        I’m at a loss to understand your comment about “missing children”.

        • zorro
          Posted August 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps the thousands of children which go missing from care homes each year….

          zorro

  15. Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Ukraine will not be a “united” country no matter what the outcome of the present conflict . Imposing the will of Kiev or Moscow is not the way to go – and certainly not the outside intervention of the EU or the USA . Regionally the Ukraine is split ethnically and politically and this factor has to be built into the equation . Only the votes of the people arranged on a regional basis can decide and , if those in the East of the Ukraine want to separate , so be it ; they cannot be made to live under the rule of Kiev if they don’t want it . Russia ought to stand aside and be big enough to accept the outcome , equally the EU and the USA should do the same . Imposing will by force will simply prolong the issue for many years to come .

  16. Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Have we not had enough of pious platitudes? It is not enough to say “I am against cruelty”. All right-thinking people are against cruelty, since it is only psychopaths who enjoy it and consistently practise it.

    Unless those engaged in the fighting are psychopaths, they have reasons to be fighting. In Ukraine, the reasons are obvious.

    Those who are afraid that Russia is under threat are fighting to protect Russia.

    Those who want to join the E.U. for the offered benefits are fighting to get them.

    Forget weaselly words about democracy. Ukraine has not, is not and will not be a democratically-governed nation, whichever side prevails.

    In the real world, effective diplomacy comes from good fences and talking softly while carrying a big stick.

    While idiots in the Western world, in the U.S., Britain, NATO and the E.U., by aggressive tactics and bribes to poor people, are seen to be trying to undermine Russia’s fences and are justifying their actions by strutting about shouting about democracy while holding a twig, they encourage the violence which they claim to abhor.

    John Wrake.

  17. NickW
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Russia has a legitimate interest in stabilising a country with which it shares a long border.
    the USA has no legitimate interest in a country 7000 miles away, what it has is its own self interest which is as inimical to the Ukrainians as the US “Interest” in Iraq was to the Iraqis.

    The Kiev Government appears to be even more corrupt and unsavoury than its predecessors; in supporting it the EU and the USA are announcing to the world that freedom, democracy, self determination and doing what is “right” have been abandoned, and as a result the respect of the peoples of the world is being lost forever.

    US sanctions are no longer about pressurising other countries do what is right, they are motivated entirely by the self interest of those who pull Obama’s strings.

    As a consumer I no longer desire American products, why should I help provide the money for the USA to spy on me, my country, and my country’s allies?

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Farage was 100% correct when he said that Putin put Russian interests first. When are we going to get a similar leader???

      • Bazman
        Posted August 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know anything about Russian politics. It’s not about putting Russian interests first. Its all about sharing and if you do not share enough you go to jail!

  18. BobE
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Keiv was the first capital of the Russian state. They will never give it up. If you try to take it you will start a war.

  19. ian
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Not even member of parliament know what”s going on, they know as much or as less as you do. usa is using nato so they can use all of are country arms and men without a vote in parliament. usa did not like the way the vote in parliament went last time. The government has all ready said that all growth this year will be spent on arms. look like a 9 11 moment to me but with nato.

  20. ian
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    usa policy pushing draghi into QE to keep eu afloat because of trade war with russa. USA get it way, they stop QE in oct 2014 and draghi might have to start up, This might push the Germany people over the top with call to leave the eu.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Good. The sooner the better.

  21. Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I may be able to shed some light on your final comment:- “I also find it curious that the media, who give us such graphic reports of the bombs, shells and deaths in Gaza, give us so little about the same problems in the Ukraine where the EU is heavily involved on the side of the Ukrainian government.”

    There are many images and videos purporting to be of the conflict in the East of Ukraine but I suspect that the media chooses not to broadcast them because their provenance cannot be established. I have seen examples of photographs allegedly showing bombing and shelling by the Ukrainian army but which have subsequently been shown to be from earlier conflicts such as in Chechnya. This is the work of the many trolls working on behalf of the Russians who are seeking to distract attention from their own misdeeds. For example, I have seen on either Sky or the BBC photographs of so-called separatists at the site of the MH17 crash; one where a man in Russian uniform is stealing the ring of the finger of a corpse and another of a man proudly holding a child’s doll as a trophy, he also had Russian insignia on his uniform.

    I also recall seeing details online of the kidnap and subsequent murder of a City Councillor from Horlivka. He had been tortured by burning, stabbing and evisceration before being drowned in the river. (I am not going to post a link to the site where gruesome images of the corpse are shown) All this happened after the city was taken over by ‘separatists’ under the command of one Igor Bezler who in a video boasts that he is a Lt. Col. (подполковник), in the Russian Army. There is also a video of the same person conducting a mock-execution.

  22. Posted August 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that you are so surprised that you are so surprised at what is happening in Eastern Ukraine. Do you not remember events in Northern Ireland?

    The Russian speaking rebels are the counterpart to the IRA and the Russian speaking population in the Eastern Ukrainian cities supporting the rebels is analagous to the Republican population of Northern Ireland. The Russian government is comparable to the government of the Irish Republic, supplying arms and propaganda to the rebels but being unwilling to go to war.

    In the end, the IRA was successful because the ENGLISH government sued for peace, terrified as it was by the assassination of Airey Neave and the Brighton bomb. In the early eighties Enoch Powell, Jim Molyneaux and much of our armed forces were convinced that we could defeat the IRA by making no concessions at all to Republicanism and denying the Republicans hope. When Margaret Thatcher and Dr Garrett Fitzgerald concluded the original Anglo-Irish agreement, it was clear that the English government was not prepared to do this.

    It will be interesting to see if the Ukrainian government is made of sterner stuff.

  23. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    ‘Can’t the government and rebels at least agree a protected zone around the crash that can be free from fighting so the work can proceed’.
    Are you joking? In the middle of a war zone in a foreign country you are asking the two sides to do their fighting somewhere else so that you can calmly examine a wrecked aircraft and search for its occupants; a wreck that is of minimal or no interest to either side in their struggle for supremacy.
    The idea is impractical. Apart from a necessary exclusion zone, how do you propose to gain safe access to the site and also maintain a no-fly zone in the area?

    Reply I am asking the UKrainian democratic government to talk to its people near the crash site and find a way of working together – there’s a radical idea

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: If you could depend on the integrity and reliability of both the Ukrainian government and the separatists then it might be feasible but this is not the case. The risk of injury or death to investigators outweighs the upset and grief of the unaccounted for victims’ relatives.
      How large would the protected zone need to be and how would you police it? How far can an artillery round or a rocket projectile travel? 30 miles perhaps? That is one very big exclusion zone, and its approaches.

  24. Atlas
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    RE: The Ukraine, ditto for the reporting of events in Iraq and Syria.

  25. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Solution – not available.

    Apart from all the hand wringing, blurred images and MSM yadder plus a piece of resignation because someone (or a few) don’t have the strength to hold a senior gov post. Just how much are we as UK and/or EU hosing into Gaza…I mean before Israel needed to clean up again?

    Any Arab countries helping much……not the sponsored terrorism help stuff.

    If there were to be a battle with Russia would it be advisable to do that in winter?

  26. Rods
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The first thing you need to understand about the war in Ukraine is that this is not a civil war, this is a war between Russia and Ukraine. When Russia started this it was about using “plausibly deniable” irregular forces and equipment, so all equipment supplied by Russia was used by the Ukrainian armed forces. The big miscalculation by Putin was that with the large Russian contingent in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, that this would produce a popular uprising, it has not. The Russian terrorist’s military leader Strelkov has complained that out of the over 1 million people in Donetsk all he has been able to recruit is 1100 people to join the terrorists.

    The result is that Russia is now openly supporting the terrorist with daily military columns of up to 150 vehicles containing more terrorists, tanks, APCs, artillery and SAM systems (just no longer Buks) after MH17. Russia is also daily firing artillery and Grad rockets over the border from Russia into Ukraine (confirmed by US satellites and geo-located social media videos) . There are also unconfirmed reports that the Russian 23 Airborne Brigade are directly involved in the fighting, where Russia is getting desperate in propping up the terrorists.

    The Ukrainian government is not interested in peace talks because Russia will only talk on the terms of federalization of East Ukraine, which will then probably through a bogus vote be annexed by them. Also, Ukraine is currently winning against the Russian terrorists, to the point that Russian put a proposal to the UN Security Council to send in ‘peace keepers’ which is part of their doctrine of invasion by other means. This invasion may well happen over the next few days with the 20,000+ troops that Russian has now amassed on the border with Ukraine. Many of their military vehicles near the border have their peace keeping light-blue circles on them. This has nothing to do with ‘peace keeping’ but part of Russia’s 21st century military doctrine of using force by other means.

    (unchecked sources removed ed)
    This war has wide strategic implications for the security of Eastern Europe particularly the Baltics where Russia had an easy victory in Crimea which is why they have carried on with their expansionism into East Ukraine. The fact that the Ukrainian army has managed to transform itself into an effective fighting force in a very short time (with the help of US and Polish advisers) has given Putin a bloody nose and led to him making much deeper commitments to this war than was intended (and the resistance will hopefully stop rampant expansionism into other Eastern European countries. President Obama is aware from a statement that he made yesterday that if Russia invades with their ‘peace keeping’ forces they may need to change from supplying only much welcome non-lethal equipment to lethal equipment. This war may well continue to escalate and become a full East-West confrontation by proxy, much like Russia-US wars in many parts of the world in the 1970’s, 80’s 90’s where the battle Communism v Free Market democracy. If Putin wins in East Ukraine then we will have a European Afghanistan on our doorstep.

    Putin is currently fighting from a position of weakness for his long term political survival, much like Galtiery over the Falklands, which in my opinion makes him and this war currently by far the most dangerous situation on the planet.

    Sorry, this comment has got so long, but sometimes it is necessary to explain a situation.

    Reply There is another side to this conflict, making it difficult for people of independent mind to know the truth behind the violence.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      “Reply There is another side to this conflict, making it difficult for people of independent mind to know the truth behind the violence.”

      It does not help when Western media fabricates news in order show the ‘rebels’ in the worst possible light; e.g. Councillor Robert Barnard who obviously regards Sky and the BBC as reliable news sources refers to a photo of a man stealing a child’s doll from the MH17 crash site as a trophy, whereas it is clear from the news clip, that he holds it up for assembled photographers, puts it back, and then removes his hat and crosses himself.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLdRBaL4-wU#t=86

      1.00 minute in.

      We should all be very concerned when there is no reliable news source for this conflict. It is entirely unacceptable that the Western news media is being used to manufacture consent for a policy which is not in our interests. etc ed

  27. Stephen Berry
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    We have to remember that the present crisis stems from the coup d’etat in February when the lawfully elected President, Victor Yanukovych, was deposed by the Euromaidan protesters, egged on by the U.S. state department and a certain Baroness working for the EU. Much of Yanukovych’s support came from the south east of the Ukraine, so the people there felt cheated. Imagine if the present coalition were deposed next week and a Labour government installed. Would not many counties in the south of England feel cheated? Would people in these counties feel obliged to observe constitutional niceties in their relations with the new government?

    A small comment on the Malaysian airliner, with the assumption, perhaps correct, that it was shot down by the separatists. The Ukrainian air force has been bombing the Donbas region now for months. They have killed numerous civilians. In my opinion, people who are being bombed have a perfect right to try to prevent this and shoot down the planes which are dropping the bombs.

    I suppose you could argue that the separatists should make the attempt to distinguish between civilian and military aircraft, but this is not always easy when the planes are flying thousands of feet up. How would Londoners in the 1940 Blitz have reacted if their air defences had shot down a civilian airliner? Surely they would have been sorry, but wondered why an airliner was flying over a war zone. Did the lack of coverage of this war in the Western media so confuse the airlines that they thought nothing was going on in the south east of the Ukraine?

    The real puzzle then, is why a commercial airliner was flying over this area at all. I assume that airliners are not flying over Gaza at the moment, any more than they flew over Vietnam in the 1960s.

  28. ian
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Greece in full revolt threatening to leave eu over trade war with russa. Blames usa.

  29. formula57
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    The parallels between Ukraine and similar situations elsewhere do indeed suggest that the mainstream media ought to provide comparable coverage at the least.

    Yet as for the situation there being a matter for the UK particularly (ignoring, as I would wish to, the obligations that come from our UN Security Council place), it is hard to see what we can usefully do nor what resources we could appropriately commit. In short, it is not a matter for us primarily. (It is especially not a matter for us once somehow it is decided that all the people in some distressed part of Ukraine would be best off coming to live here to avoid the shelling etc., as is the way of the modern world.)

    In that light, the answers to your entirely proper and apposite questions are easy: –

    “Can’t the government and rebels at least agree a protected zone around the crash that can be free from fighting so the work can proceed?” – why should they? One side at least has no interest in seeing that work done, perhaps neither.

    “Does the Ukrainian government have no authority, no moral stance that can command respect in the east of its country?” – seemingly not, which was the problem in the first place! Given that, external parties should beware of intervention.

    “I find it almost unbelievable that in 2014 in a part of Europe armed rebels fire against the government and local population, and that the government shells and bombs them.” – we will get used to it again in time, I expect.

  30. ian
    Posted August 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Russian nuclear bombers flying high. Canada sending military equipment to ukraine. Things are warming up.

  31. Posted August 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    It is not only the events in Ukraine which is being ignored by the media but also the events in Iraq where those belonging to minority religions are being killed by ISIS. The fate of Christians in northern Iraq is being totally ignored, whilst the number of people being killed by ISIS far exceeds those killed in Gaza or Ukraine.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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