Typical Russian pseudo-science combined with the typical Russian obsession: “we are strong! we are strong! we are strong!”
“Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munition megaton class to initiate an eruption. The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States, a country just disappears,” he said, according to a translation by Sydney Morning Herald. . . .
Another option would be to drop a nuclear bomb near California’s San Andreas Fault. “A detonation of a nuclear weapon there can trigger catastrophic events like a coast-scale tsunami which can completely destroy the infrastructure of the United States,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s translation.
Offering introductory remarks was Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who, over the course of a three-decade career in Washington, has made the improbable journey from Cold Warrior to slavish defender of the Russian regime. Rohrabacher, who came to Washington as speechwriter for the Reagan White House, is now doing the same sort of legwork for his old nemeses in the Kremlin, who, in his view, are worthy allies in our shared struggle against militant Islam. . . .
Next up was the redoubtable Stephen Cohen, America’s most notorious Kremlin apologist. Falsely labeling the conflict in Ukraine a “civil war,” Cohen called for a “new détente” between Russia and the United States. This would suit Cohen well, as the old détente effectively conceded Soviet mastery over Eastern Europe, which is exactly what Cohen wants the West to do today. Cohen lamented how, not long ago, “both sides had legitimate spheres of influence,” (or what he prefers to call “zones of national security”) yet after the collapse of the Soviet Union, America and its allies disregarded the “conception of parity” and “treated Russia as a defeated nation.” Washington’s relationship to Moscow has since been characterized by “constant meddling in Russia’s internal affairs,” and the problem has only gotten worse. “This vilification of a Russian leader is unprecedented,” constituting nothing less than “an illness.” . . .
Vanden Heuvel introduced a panel of has-bens, “formers” all around: former AP reporter Robert Parry, former UPI editor Martin Sieff, former International Herald Tribune Asia bureau chief Patrick Smith, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, now the proprietor of the internationally renowned news source RayMcGovern.com. Like all regular guests of RT, the men channeled embitterment over their flailing careers into critiques of the “mainstream media.” Parry, who accused the U.S. government of withholding information about the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, complained about how no one in the State Department returns his calls. McGovern spoke of Russia’s “so-called aggression” in Ukraine before asking, “How can Russia trust a serial liar? And by that I mean John Kerry.” It was at some point in the midst of Sieff’s spiel about how the Western powers were leading us back to the carnage of World War that I decided I had better things to do.
St. Petersburg native Dmitry Sapozhnikov, who went to Ukraine in October to fight alongside the rebels, told the BBC Russian service in a candid interview from Donetsk that Russian military units have played a decisive role in rebel advances, including the operations in February that led to the capture of the transport hub of Debaltseve. Russian officers directly command large military operations in eastern Ukraine, he noted.
. . . .
Asked why the Kremlin has continued to deny the presence of its soldiers in Ukraine, Sapozhnikov said that he thought there might be a “secret agreement” between Russia, the European Union, and the United States to look the other way. He expressed that Putin was likely using the same strategy that he employed with the annexation of Crimea in March: initially denying the deployment of Russian troops, then admitting it once the territory had been won.
“If the EU and the USA wanted to prove that Russia’s forces are located here, I think it would be easy to do,” Sapozhnikov said. “They would just go and photograph the armor and everything. But they’re not doing that, they’re closing their eyes. And the Russians for their part close their eyes to the presence of American and European soldiers on the Ukrainian side.”
He claimed that 300 foreign soldiers, including Americans and Europeans, had been captured in Debaltseve, and that “most of them were snipers” — although he admitted that he hadn’t seen any of them himself.
Mazur: What happened in captivity?
Stepanov: Knowing how they treat other POWs, we landed in presidential apartments. We lived in a building which was heated, we slept on mattresses. Since I was wounded, I got the VIP spot — I was on the bed.
Mazur: Did they give you medical treatment?
Stepanov: Yes. Once every two or three days. They fed us morning and evening. That is, the conditions were more than sufficient.
Mazur: Do you know anything about the conditions in which others were detained?
Stepanov: As far as I know, the guys who end up with the “Cossacks” and the Chechens are kept in a regular pit outdoors, they give them a loaf of bread for 10 people a day. Plus, they abuse them physically and mentally. We had only mental abuse. Each one would come up to us and say there “Ukropy, ukri [lit. “dill weeds,” pejorative name for Ukrainians—The Interpreter]…I won’t continue with what other interesting words were said about what we were, and what they thought about us.
Mazur: Did they threaten you?
Stepanov: Well, they didn’t threaten us that badly, but they did mock us. Like, “we’re come to your house, if you do the same thing.” That sort of thing. That is, they psychologically pressured us.
Mazur: Who was there?
Stepanov: I won’t say. They were all dressed essentially almost alike. They didn’t have written on their foreheads whether they were Russian or not Russian. I didn’t look at their faces in particular and I didn’t particularly listen to their conversation. It wasn’t the place or the conditions to do so.
I know one medic came to visit me who was totally in a Russian uniform. And his accent was far from Ukrainian. Even the Ukrainian Russian language was very different from his accent. It was obvious that the man was from Russia. I won’t be surprised if it turns out that he is from somewhere outside of Moscow, because his speech was very similar.
I didn’t see Buryats, for example. Understandably, information gets around. I had a friend who was laying in the next ward, he told me: they were ambushed, they took fire, and lost some men. But in fact, they took a small number, 20 Russian soldiers, into captivity.
. . . .
Mazur: What functions does their “zampolit” perform?
Stepanov: At first he came to visit us, he was just interested in how we felt, whether we were abused mentally or physically. We ourselves began to ask him what news there were, so as to somehow orient ourselves in space. Because you’re sitting inside the four walls. Yes, you seem to have your own guys with you, but each one is thinking to himself how he acted, correctly or incorrectly, well, you understand.
So we began to ask him, and he began to bring some information. Usually, the news was just from one side — just theirs. The only important thing that he said — it was possible that soon there would be an exchange, that only the wounded would be exchanged, but he warned us that he didn’t want us to get our hopes up yet.
Mazur: Maybe you can recall what he said at the very end, when he left?
Stepanov: Usually, they just kept pulling him away. That is, he would come visit us, bring some sort of news, tell some sort of stories of his own, that he was a civilian or something, that he couldn’t stand the outrage of the Ukrainian junta, and that he went and became a fighter. Like, he would tell us his life story. At the end of each visit someone would call him and he would supposedly have to get somewhere right away.
Mazur: That is, it was purely informational influence — he would come, he would ask how you were, then he would say, I’m so-and-so, how are you, and then load up on information?
Stepanov: Yes, yes, yes!
There were manipulations of sorts. “Look who you’re fighting against, everyone here are civilians, there are no fighters here.” He would say things like, “When you get out of captivity, the SBU will work you over.” the hint was, “Guys, it’s not worth fighting any more.”
All of those who came to visit us would ask the standard questions, and say the standard slogans. I don’t know how to say it correctly — whether it was an incubator or not, where he was a clown or not.
Mazur: What questions? What slogans?
Stepanov: I can’t reproduce them exactly. It was like, “Why did you come here, who are you fighting against? This is the civilian population here, women, children. You’re shooting at Donetsk.” It was like we were the first to take up arms, and we were the first to start killing people.
Mazur: How did you answer these questions?
Stepanov: Well, how could we answer? We were mobilized, we were given a command, and we are military people — they gave us a command and we moved out.
Mazur: How did they react?
Stepanov: Each one in a different way. Some of them started to get mad. Some of them were understanding, because a soldier is a soldier.
I can say that they have expressed aggression toward such battalions as Right Sector and Aidar.
Mazur: That is, to the volunteers?
Stepanov: Yes. They tried to push this information on us ,that the guys from there had started to rape girls, to cut off their nipples, to blow foam…I don’t believe it.
There were foul balls, that we shelled Donetsk…I personally saw, when we were at Maryinka, how they shelled the center of Donetsk from Petrovsky District. I personally saw how two separatist Grads fired a whole cassette in the direction of the city. Their location was not visible — it was behind the slag heaps, but I saw how a Grad was firing at the center of Donetsk. And then the news would go out that Ukrainian forces were shelling the city, and civilians and so on.
Mazur: Can you already analyze now to what extent the news that the zampolit was bringing you was true?
Stepanov: I didn’t gotten involved in analysis yet. For now, I’m trying to forget everything that happened in Krasny Partizan, in captivity.
But it was apparent that they were all working “from a textbook”. That was what really made me sick — the same questions over and over, sometimes you didn’t even feel like answering. This was in order to convince a person that he really was wrong, that he was fighting for some sort of incomprehensible junta, for fascism, for America…And convince him once again that really he was killing the civilian population. If a person was mentally weak, then it would eat away at him inside, and fester, and finally it would turn out that he would get home and he would start fooling around with alcohol or something even worse — he would start abusing his wife or his kid. That is, they work a person over so that when he gets out to civilian life, he will no longer be functional.
Mazur: What can you do? How can you resist this?
Stepanov: I don’t know. I’m the kind of person, for example, that doesn’t absorb a lot. I saw it, I was there. I will work all this over inside and then forget it. I discard excess information. Yes, for some people it is hard to talk about this, it is hard to remember. I can remember it and talk about it. At this point, I am dealing with it easily.
War is of course awful, but when you have to defend your family, your country your city — whether you like it or not, you have to. I am an opponent of war, an opponent of deciding issues by fists. It is easier for me to just talk with a person. You can punch somebody in the face at any time, but to talk with a person, understand why something is going on — that’s more interesting.
“An OCHA report from the end of last month said that 500 bodies had been found in houses and basements at the end of the siege – 500 bodies. Homes and basements where people took shelter from the endless barrage of Russian-made mortars and rockets as they rained down on the city’s residents – residents who could not escape,” she said.
Budapest has announced that it has handed out Hungarian citizenship papers to 94,000 people in Transcarpathia in Western Ukraine in expedited fashion, an action that creates yet another challenge for Kyiv and may very well have been coordinated with Moscow.
During the first years of Soviet power, a Moscow newspaper published an article telling its readers how easy and potentially profitable it would be for them to form a national republic. According to the paper, they didn’t need a nation or anything like a set of institutions: they needed only paper on which to make a declaration.
The Russian government seems to have dusted off that old guidance and is now promoting the formation of republics not within the Russian Federation – there it is doing its best to destroy them – but rather inside a neighboring country – Ukraine – in the hopes that such republics will help Moscow destroy it.
(I need to research this.)
Putin loves to rely on irregular and extra judicial forces. He’s probably balancing all the security forces against each other. He has the FSB, Kaidarov, the Night Wolves, and probably criminal organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Here’s an article about the Night Wolves making an appearance in Eastern Ukraine:
Good because it’s probably anti-oligarch.
Bad because Kolomoisky was very anti-Russian and this creates a power vacuum.
Last month, Kolomoisky’s people armed themselves and seized some offices of Ukrnaftogas which owes money to Kolomoisky’s gigantic bank — Privat Bank.
See the Bloomberg article for details.
Poroshenko assumes responsibility for Dnipropetrovsk region after Kolomoiskiy’s resignation
As I keep saying, for Russian civilization, words are just sounds to distract enemies. Their leaders are not worth listening to. Nevertheless, here’s more evidence of their hypocrisy:
What a difference a few years makes. Back in 2008, in an interview on German television, Russian President Vladimir Putin upbraided his host for asking whether Moscow had any designs on Ukraine and its Crimean Peninsula.
Sad, but funny.
What’s up with Ukraininans loving to steal gas? First Yulia Tymoshenko, now the Hrynenko family (landlord seemingly responsible for E. Village explosion, fire and collapse of 3 buildings due to illegal gas rig.)
As reported by the press center of the State Border Service of Ukraine today, two “DNR” mercenaries surrendered to Ukrainian border guards because their “army” stopped paying their salaries and beat them.
The militants were detained at a checkpoint “Zolota” (Golden). They came from the territory occupied by Russia. One of them had obvious signs of beating.
During questioning, they stated that they “served” in an illegal armed group and produced corresponding IDs. Also, the detainees said that they want to live in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, because they recently have been subjected to physical assaults and have not been paid their salaries.