I haven't seen the latest update, but as of last night, a ceasefire had been brokered between the pathetic and barbarous Ukrainian "army" and the resistance fighters in the rebel oblasts in the south and east.
Comprehensive peace has not been brokered, far from it, and with recent resistance advances including an offensive to take Mariupol, combined with crippling Kiev losses (the Saker says upwords of 40,000 Kiev recruits and draftees have "died" -- exactly how is a matter of conjecture) the likelihood is that the resistance will press whatever advantage it has and hold on to whatever territory it controls. This is how these sorts of things tend to go, no?
Reports in Western media -- to the extent there have been any during the Ukrainian civil war -- have tended to glorify the mighty-mighty Kiev junta forces battling bravely against the combined hordes of Genghis Khan and Stalin. Of course the visuals, to the extent there were any, proved the lie of the propaganda. The blasted cities and the ruined villages were implied to have been the result of rebel bombardments of innocent Ukrainian sites, massacres were implied to have been committed by the rebels, and any territory was being recovered from the Russian-backed rebels, or from the Russians or from Putin himself.
It was all nonsense and lies, as was made clear by the few intrepid reporters on the ground who managed to keep their wits and heads and told the truth in something close to real time.
The Odessa Massacre on May 2 was an eye-opener, to say the least. Dozens were burned alive in the Trade Union House, many others shot on sight by rampaging Right Sektor thugs, and others still succumbed to toxic smoke inhalation when the building was burning after being set alight by the Molotov cocktails thrown from the crowd of "patriots" outside. A few were likely beaten to death by thugs in the crowd when they tried to escape the building, and some few succumbed to mortal injuries they sustained when they jumped from windows in that stairwell where the fire burned most fiercely.
I watched what was happening on the livestream as it was taking place, and though the viewpoint with the livestreams is always narrow, what I saw was obviously at variance with Kiev's and the Western media's efforts to portray the Odessa Massacre as the fault of the victims alone.
The civil war got under way in earnest after that, the Kiev junta realizing that if the truth were to will out over the propaganda, the junta likely could not be sustained. Defensive positions were taken up by the resistance to the junta in the Donbass, troops marshaled by Kiev were assembled, and the fight was on.
Cities, towns and villages were shelled and burned -- by Kiev, not the Resistance -- and a million or more civilians were made refugees. It was like multiple Sieges of Sarajevo during the civil war in the Former Yugoslavia. Monstrous. But we got little real news once Graham Phillips stopped reporting from the area and the VICE News squad appeared to become embedded with the Kiev forces.
The MH-17 passenger jet was apparently shot down somehow, with the loss of nearly three hundred souls, and of course, "Putin" (the Devil) was blamed for it, though even at the earliest stages of reporting about it, the likelihood was that Kiev was behind the tragedy -- somehow.
The confusion surrounding what happened to the plane has been magnified by the relentless anti-Putin propaganda from Kiev and the West, and by the adamant refusal of the Western governments involved in the "investigation" to share or release data from the flight recorders and air traffic controllers. It's an obvious cover-up. If the plane was shot down by fighter planes tailing it, as some eyewitnesses assert, then the reasons for a cover up are plain to see.
But we don't know, and we may not know for a year or more of continued obfuscation. If then.
Meanwhile, the propaganda out of Kiev and Western media celebrated victory after victory by the Glorious and Manly Troops of Kiev in their furious and relentless battles against the Putin-driven slaves of the East.
The Glory never stopped -- until it did, last week. Word came that hundreds, maybe even thousands of Kiev's Glory Troops had been wiped out, many others deserted and ran away, huge volumes of equipment had been abandoned and seized by the rebels and the jig was up. Kiev could not resupply the remnant troopers, and there was nowhere for the Glory Troops to go, even if they could retreat or advance. They were surrounded, their equipment was used up or destroyed, there would be no more Victory.
Even the Freaks in Kiev understood what had happened. There was no more Ukrainian Army, and the National Guard (Nazi Storm Troopers) had been decimated. Resupply was impossible. The Rebels had -- apparently -- won.
Putin issued a roadmap for a ceasefire, and in Minsk, the Kiev junta broke bread with the Rebel leaders, the plan was discussed, modified, and agreed.
The guns, at least most of them, fell silent for the first time in months.
People breathed, for a moment, a sigh of relief.
Of course, the competing Sides in this proxy civil war have an interest in keeping it going for as long as needs be. The Sides being US-EU-NATO vs Russia. The people of Ukraine matter not at all to the Sides. The people of Ukraine can be sacrificed with no loss to the Sides. In fact, the destruction of the physical plant of the Donbass and the displacement of a significant portion of the population seems to be in the interests of both Sides, and it's been accomplished to a surprisingly efficient degree. Thousands have died -- possibly tens of thousands, it's hard to say -- and cities, towns and villages have been laid waste. More than a million have been sent scrambling as refugees.
The political objectives of the Rebels seem to have been agreed to -- something that could have happened to stave off the civil war in the first place -- and the remnant Kiev troops appear to be able to return home unmolested.
It's as if the civil war didn't have to take place at all if this was to be the outcome.
Except that it seemed to me from very early on that physical destruction and depopulation of the Donbass was the point of the exercise, and once that was accomplished -- as it apparently has been -- there was no point in going on with it. Ceasefire!
Well, we'll see. NATO and Washington are hinting darkly that they are preparing for another round sooner rather than later, and Putin-the-Devil has been known to rattle a few sabers himself suggesting in passing that if he wanted he could "take Kiev" in two weeks; oh, and don't forget, Russia still has nukes.
So it goes. For the people of the Ukraine, I hope this is the end of the military campaign against a portion of the population, but you never know when freaks are in charge -- as they certainly are in the West.
We shall see.
Stephen Cohen was on Democracy Now! yesterday before the ceasefire was agreed-to. Here is what he had to say:
Seems pretty obvious to me...