The release of Nadia Savchenkko is to be welcomed. She was put through a trial in Russia which had no legal basis. She was kidnapped in the Ukraine by pro-Russian militias and brought across the border illegally. Therefore he trial was illegal. She was charged with crossing a border unlawfully which means she was charged with being kidnapped. In Russia being a victim of a crime is now a crime!
Ms Savchenko was released in exchange for two Russians who had illegally crossed into the Ukraine to fight in pro Moscow militias. They have not been charged in Russia with crossing this same frontier illegally. This demonstrates the blatant hypocrisy of Moscow. La Savchenko’s legal team could have entered a tu quoque defence. Even if Miss Savchenko had crossed the said border of her own free will it was wrong to charge her with this offence. That is because Moscow’s minions have also crossed this same border unlawfully it is wrong for Moscow to charge someone else with doing the same whilst disregarding its own wrongdoing. Tu quoque was found to be a valid defence at Nuremberg.
The fact that two Russians were released in return for her freedom brings home the fact that Russians are fighting illegally in another country. Moscow has often denied that Russians are fighting in the Ukraine. The Kremlin’s Lie Machine maintained that it was an internal conflict. Yet Russia knew that thousands of its people were illegally crossing into another country start a civil war. It is not an internal conflict. Russia has weighed in on one side in the civil war. Moreover, there is an abundance of evidence that Russian soldiers are given leave to go to the Ukraine and fight.
Some Russians maintain that the pro Moscow paramilitary groups are exclusively using Soviet era weaponry. This does not stand a moment’s scrutiny. Much of the equipment is of post 1991 manufacture. Have the pro Russian forces not run out of ammunition in almost 3 years of conflict? They have been supplied with their arms and ammunition by Russia. The Russian public is very willingly credulous. They will swallow any lies from their government.
One Russian pal of mine said foreign volunteers are also fighting for ISIS. I pointed out that she was putting pro Russian militias on the same plane as ISIS. She was stumped.
The Russian media show destroyed civilian houses in the Eastern Ukraine and claim these are destroyed by the Ukrainian Army. This could have been blown up by the Ukrainian Army or by the rebels. It could be a mistake or deliberate. The message is relentless – that the Ukrainian military is purposefully targeting civilians. This makes no sense since it does not further the Ukrainian nationalist cause. It is inhumane and apart from that it a waste of ammunition. The Russian media very seldom reports any casualties on the side of the insurgents of the Russians fighting there. Nor does it report many casualties among the Ukrainian Army. The idea is to spread the notion that civilians in eastern Ukraine are being killed for no good reason by the barbaric Kiev regime. There is no context. The Russian public are given to believe that pro Moscow forces are hardly fighting. Moreover, no fighters on their side are being killed. There is nothing that might demoralise the Russian public nor are they allowed to see this in the context of a civil war. The Russian media is very partisan. There is blatant news management. No probing questions are asked of government ministers, pro Moscow rebels or Russian fighters in the Ukraine. Civilian reports of attacks by the Ukrainian Army are accepted uncritically. The Russia press is extremely pliant. There is no dissent from the Kremlin’s narrative. The Ukrainian Army is misportrayed as fascist and savage. No wrongdoing on the part of those who are fighting illegally is ever reported.
The Ukrainian Army no doubt does destroy civilian buildings sometimes. This always happens in modern warfare. There is legal collateral damage. There is very little evidence that the Ukrainian military purposefully kills civilians knowing them to be civilians.
Russians may answer that NATO countries are supporting the other side. This is perfectly true. NATO countries have long told the truth about this. In the US Congress funding for the Ukraine is announced. NATO forces train Ukrainian troops in Romania. One sovereign state is allowed to help another. One sovereign state is not permitted to sponsor a revolt in another state.
The UN Charter forbids aggressive war. This is defined as a war against the territorial integrity or political independence of another state.
This article is honest enough to admit that many people – maybe most – in some eastern districts of the Ukraine wish to join Russia. Russia has a reasonable historic claim to Crimea. The Ukrainian Government is of questionable legitimacy. It does at least have free elections and a free media. Moscow claims that the Syrian tyranny is legitimate despite the fact that the Ba’athists have held thousands of political prisoners for years, do not allow free expression, have sham elections, massacre civilians by the tens of thousand and use torture on a massive scale.
Russians may claim that the US and other NATO countries have done wrong themselves sometimes. This is so.
Obama set the reset button with Russia when he moved into the White House. He scrapped the missile systems in Poland. This has not led to an improvement in Putin’s conduct. Therefore Obama is right to place missiles in Romania and other countries. Putin is attacking his neighbour. He shall not desist unless costs are made very high.