Batchelor and Cohen Kick Off 2018

John Batchelor began our 2018 discussions with this: "It is a new year but it is the same New Cold War". And now, with the US now agreeing to send offensive arms to Ukraine, the situation is poised to get much, much worse.

John and Steve begin 2018 by recounting for everyone the events of early 2014 that brought about this crisis...and began our practice of posting these weekly interviews every Wednesday. From John's podcast page via Wikipedia:

A period of relative calm in the anti-government demonstrations in Kiev ended abruptly on 18 February 2014, when protesters and police clashed. At least 82 people were killed over the next few days, including 13 policemen; more than 1,100 people were injured.

Crowds of protesters at a mass rally on Independence Square in Kiev.

A line of riot police in Kiev on 12 February. On 18 February, some 20,000 Euromaidan protesters advanced on Ukraine's parliament in support of restoring the Constitution of Ukraine to its 2004 form, which had been repealed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine shortly after Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. The police blocked their path. The confrontation turned violent; the BBC, citing correspondents, reported that each side blamed the other. The police fired guns with both rubber bullets and, later, live ammunition (including automatic weapons and sniper rifles), while also using tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to repel thousands of demonstrators. The protesters fought with crude weapons (such as large rocks and bats), firearms, and improvised explosives (Molotov cocktails) and broke into the headquarters of the Party of Regions. Police officers stormed the main protest camp on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and overran parts of the square. The Trade Unions Building, which served as the Euromaidan headquarters, was burned down. Political commentators suggested that Ukraine was on the brink of a civil war. Some areas, including Lviv Oblast, declared themselves politically independent of the central government.

On 19 February, the authorities instituted police checkpoints, restrictions on public transportation, and school closures in Kiev, which the media referred to as a de facto state of emergency.

On 20 February, Internal Affairs Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko announced that he had signed a decree authorising the use of live ammunition against protesters. Central Kiev saw the worst violence yet, and the death toll in 48 hours of clashes rose to at least 77. In response, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Volodymyr Rybak, announced the next day that he had signed a parliamentary decree condemning the use of force and urging all institutions (the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Cabinet of Ministers, etc.) to cease immediately all military actions against protesters. Parliament also suspended Zakharchenko from his duties.

On 21 February, President Yanukovych signed a compromise deal with opposition leaders. It promised constitutional changes to restore certain powers to Parliament and called for early elections to be held by December.

Despite the agreement, thousands continued to protest in central Kiev, and the demonstrators took full control of the city's government district: the parliament building, the president's administration quarters, the cabinet, and the Interior Ministry. On 21 February, an impeachment bill was introduced in Parliament.  On the same day, Yanukovych left for Kharkiv to attend a summit of southeastern regions, according to media reports.

On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, and Yanukovych was said to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. The parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May.

The threat of hot war remains high and, sadly, seemingly more likely than ever. This latest effort by the US to arm the Kiev forces only serves to make matters worse, thus, it is more important than ever that you tune in each and every week. We thank John and Steve for their diligence in providing this ongoing commentary and we pray that we can peacefully navigate 2018.

TF

6 Comments

Turd Ferguson's picture

This is a great quote from The Professor

MODERATOR

"If we don't know the history of most anything, we're going to get everything contemporary wrong".

Spoken like the history professor that he is...

AngryCitizen's picture

GOLD!

The motherload!

I'm gonna try to make time to listen to this guy more. He's smart, and I learn stuff from him about history.

Joseph Warren's picture

State of the American Nation

A nation only is as great as her people. -

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48499.htm

AngryCitizen's picture

Bronze?

Rats! "Missed it by that much!"

(Yes, a twofer. Gotta catch up here.)

ancientmoney's picture

State of the Nation...

"A nation only is as great as her people. -"

No wonder America is not doing so "greatly."

chrtoo's picture

Thanks Craig.

Can't wait to hear this one. Sure hope this stays under control. Part of the key to that is to shine light on the history of this issue. Share widely, week after week.

Who has an inside line to the President? I wonder where he is getting his foreign policy (or more importantly, his feed of the 'truth') from? Who/what is pushing him on this front?

CHR.

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