Today the government of Ukraine moved with force against the separatists, evoking a Specter of Civil War.

Ukraine unleashed an offensive to dislodge militants from towns in its eastern Donetsk region as the authorities in Kiev said elements of Russian special forces were identified among the anti-government forces.

Four militants were killed and two wounded when Ukrainian troops stormed an airport in Kramatorsk, taking it under control, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news service reported. Ukrainian units backed by armored personnel carriers blocked all approaches to the town of Slovyansk, RIA said, citing an a pro-Russian activist, Sergey Tsyplakov. Part of Russia’s 45th Airborne Regiment was spotted in both of the towns, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema said on Channel 5.

The U.S. and EU states say Russia is behind the turmoil that has fueled their worst standoff since the Cold War. Russia, which NATO says has 40,000 troops massed on Ukraine’s border, denies involvement and says the government in Kiev isn’t protecting Russian-speaking citizens. In warnings similar to those that preceded its annexation of Crimea last month, it insists it has the right to protect them with force if needed.

40,000 Troops – Where Are They?

Countless times over the past few weeks the US, NATO, and EU spoke of mass buildup of Russian forces on the Ukraine border. OK so where are the troops?

Pater Tenebrarum at Acting Man notes Putin’s Army Still Hiding – Not Even CNN Can Find It

While it certainly appears possible that Russian special forces are lending a helping hand to the separatist movements in the Eastern Ukraine, we can continue to be quite sure that NATO is telling tall tales about the alleged ‘massing of Russian troops’ at the border with the Ukraine. Shortly after we noted that a UK journalist was unable to find Putin’s army anywhere near the border, NATO published satellite pictures that seemed to prove the opposite.

The Russians averred that while these pictures were quite real, they were also outdated, showing the situation at the time drills were taking place last August. It seems they were telling the truth. CNN has sent a team of reporters to the areas where NATO asserted the troops are stationed, and couldn’t find them either.

If you repeat lies often enough, do people believe them, or do the liars lose credibility (or both)?

All the major news outlets repeat lies that are easily disproved, and they keep on doing it.

Who is the Bully?

In terms of reneging on promises, the US has treated Russia like dirt. There is a very nice article in the Washington Post on that very subject.

If you want to see who is really behind the provocation in Ukraine, please read The U.S. has treated Russia like a loser since the end of the Cold War by Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991.

Matlock is the author of “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended.”

Hypocritical Cry For Democracy

Yesterday, at a UN Meeting on Ukraine Russia reiterated their narrative that the conflict has been pushed all along by terrorists waging a war against their own country.

“The international committee must require that henchmen of Maidan stop war with their own people,” the Russian Federation’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, according to NBC. “Western sponsors of Maidan including USA should stop this.”

“Apparently Maidan was a cry for democracy but apparently in Crimea or East Ukraine it’s an act of defiance, what is the difference? U.S. is going to encourage the criminal use of force? It makes no sense!”

Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine where the former president was ousted.

Self Determination

Note the blatant US hypocrisy. The US is all for “self determination” provided it is the “self-determination” that we want.

Without a doubt the US fomented the Maidan uprising, but now is unhappy with the result.

Easy Solution

There is an easy way to end the crisis. Let the regions vote on what they want to do.

I proposed just that in US Treasury Signs $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee.

Mr Turchynov on Monday said in a meeting with MPs that the authorities were “not against holding a referendum” to determine the country’s fate.

That would be excellent news, if it were true. Unfortunately, both statements are a lie.  Turchynov is only in favor of a rigged vote. Why should Kiev get to vote on what is best for Donetsk?

I propose letting each Ukrainian area vote for itself.

Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave. By the way, why shouldn’t the people decide?

Reader Krzysztof Kajetanowicz sarcastically responded …

Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave.” And what is that assertion based on, exactly? Might as well say that “Northern Belgian [Dutch-speaking, or Flemish] areas would likely vote to leave and join the Netherlands“.

I can easily explain my basis via a map of areas in Ukraine that speak Russian.

Russian Speaking Areas of Ukraine

Wikipedia notes Russophones make a majority of the population in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine

  • Crimea — 97%
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast — 72%
  • Donetsk Oblast — 93%
  • Zaporizhia Oblast — 81%
  • Luhansk Oblast — 89%
  • Mykolaiv Oblast — 66%
  • Odessa Oblast — 85%
  • Kharkiv Oblast — 74%

In the absence of polling data on a vote for affiliation with Russia, I will stick with my assertion “Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave.

While it may be impractical to allow each city to decide independently, it is not impractical to allow each region its say. And I propose just that.

None of Our Business

Quite frankly it’s none of our business what they decide.

Of what importance is Ukraine to a farmer in Iowa or an auto worker in Ohio?Anyone but the warmongers?

The answer is none.

And by the way, the same setup exists in Spain. In December Spain’s Catalonia Region Announced “Independence Referendum” for November 2014

Of course Madrid promptly vowed to block vote on “Independencia!

Like Ukraine, Spain would be willing to have a “national vote”. And also like Spain, Catalonia would fail to win majority approval in a national vote given Catalonia is one of the richest regions, and the other regions want Catalonia tax revenues.

But why should anyone but those in Catalonia have a say?

The answer is they shouldn’t. Either way, it’s simply none of our business.

Mish Pro-Russia?

Finally, I have been accused of being pro-Russia. I’m not.

Rather, I am against blatant US interference where we do not belong. I am against US hypocrisy on self determination only when it suits us. I am against all the lies by the Ukraine, NATO, US, and all the media outlets on easily disproved troop movements (and God only knows what else).

If the media outlets all trump up easily disproved lies, what else are they lying about?

This crisis would be over in a flash if Ukraine would put it to a vote. The warmongers don’t want that. The hypocrites don’t want that. They do want an escalation of tension, US missiles in Eastern Europe, and a host of other things that cannot possibly lead to anything good.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock