The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Canuncil, José Manuel Barroso President of the Commission (seated, from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Services, 27/06/2014).

Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso President of the Commission (seated, from left to right). (EC Audiovisual Services, 27/06/2014).

The anthropoid beast that pressed the button to release the missile which brought down the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight, killing all the 298 people aboard must be held responsible before humanity. Probably though, it will never be clarified for sure who was behind this hideous crime. The search for the culpable party may start from any existing clue about which side is to profit politically from the carnage.

Nevertheless, the undeniable fact remains that this atrocity took place in the clear skies above the rebel held areas of the East Ukrainian province of Donetsk, with the apparent assumption that somebody from the ground fired a missile and brought down the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight. In any case, apart from the exchanges of accusations between the pro-Russian insurgents and the Kiev government about who fired the deadly missile, the real clashes continue on the ground of this God forsaken area.

The EU punishes Russia

Only one day before the tragedy, the 28 EU leaders who had gathered in Brussels on Wednesday 16 July decided to enforce the second and more severe package of sanctions on Russia, for its alleged implication in the Ukrainian civil war, by organizing and arming the insurgents. Certainly these measures are expected to further deepen the division between Russia and the West. The Russian president Vladimir Putin reacted to this decision by saying he regrets the fact that Europe to its impairment succumbed to the American pressures and applied Washington’s strategy in confronting Russia. He added solemnly that this time Moscow’s countermeasures will prove devastating for the US interests. Obviously, he will target the American oil giants and other Western multinationals operating in Russia.

The 28 EU leaders

The interesting thing is that reading the Press release issued last week by the European Council, an impartial observer will be once more astonished about the one-sided character of EU’s judgment. According to Brussels, whatever the Kiev government does is right, while the insurgents are mutineers, separatists and murderers. Not a word about the subject matter of the civil war. The demands of the Russian speaking populations of Eastern Ukraine, which are administrative autonomy from Kiev and the right to use their own language in courts and civic affairs, are not mentioned anywhere. The EU bureaucrats, being always susceptible to Washington’s options, use the term ‘terrorists’ not only to identify the armed rebels, but they leave it to hang above every activist in East Ukraine demanding administrative autonomy from Kiev and the right to use their own language.

Putin’s ‘democracy’

Even the almost totalitarian Putin’s Russia is a bit less one-sided, recognizing that there are two politically autonomous entities in the Ukrainian civil war. Brussels on the other side, keeps talking about legality in relation to this vicious armed conflict, in which both sides have proved to be equally brutal. The downing of the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight stands as a terrible proof of that.

The relevant passage of the Press release issued by the assembly of EU’s 28 leaders imposing the new package of sanctions on Russia goes like this: “As a result, the European Council agrees to expand the restrictive measures, with a view to targeting entities, including from the Russian Federation, that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. It tasks the Council to adopt the necessary legal instruments and to decide by the end of July on a first list of entities and persons, including from the Russian Federation, to be listed under the enhanced criteria…. The European Council requests the European Investment Bank (EIB) to suspend the signature of new financing operations in the Russian Federation. European Union Member States will coordinate their positions within the EBRD Board of Directors with a view to also suspending financing of new operations. Finally, the European Council invites the Commission to re-assess EU-Russia cooperation programs with a view to taking a decision, on a case by case basis, on the suspension of the implementation of EU bilateral and regional cooperation programs”.

There are two far-fetched assumptions in this text. First it assumes that there are solid proofs Russia has been organising and arming the autonomy movement in Donetsk and Sevastopol, and secondly, that the EU has a legitimate right to block EIB and EBRD programs related to Russia. In any case, the European Union appears now ready to push the clash with Russia to uncharted before areas.

This prospect, seen in the aftermath of the downing of the Boeing 777 with 298 souls aboard, is a menacing omen of a new partitioning of the Old Continent in two hostile parts. The West cannot leave the disaster in the Ukrainian air unanswered. Already the fumes from the airplane debris on the ground are casting their shadow on the pro-Russian side. There will certainly be repercussions of unseen dimensions, making the EU sanctions look like children’s play.

Solidly impoverished

Then Europe will be cut in two. Russia and its Eurasian Union will be on the one side with the EU on the other. Evidently, Europe is again heading towards a new treacherous era of a declared cold war. This division planned for or accidental will have devastating results for everybody. For one thing Ukraine, solidly positioned on the Western side of the fence, will undergo the much needed but highly unpopular economic consolidation program. This will be engineered and applied by the EU and the IMF, under ‘frozen’ international political conditions. No matter for whom the Ukrainians will be voting for, the unpopular economic measures will continue. A Kiev’s change of camp would be out of the question. Already in the internal Ukrainian political front the prospect of severe austere economic measures has given rise to some peculiar political formations, which will be favoured politically by their anti-austerity rhetoric but in reality they will undertake to ‘handle’ the social unrest.

Unquestionably the flight MH17 crash with its 298 victims and what is to follow will definitively shape the outcome of the civil war in Ukraine. The suspicion or probably later on the proofs, that the rebels pressed the button to launch the lethal missile, will arm the Kiev government and the West with the determination to end the conflict with whatever it takes.

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