Monday, September 25, 2017

Lies, Damned Lies and Russian Lies
Updating Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain’s three types of lies: There are lies, damned lies and Russian lies.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his address to the 72nd UN General Assembly on September 21, presented his country’s view of global affairs, which did not have any resemblance to reality. The events Lavrov cited took place but his spin turned them into fiction. With fabrications, twists and misrepresentations, Lavrov kept his fellow diplomats spellbound and wondering what he’s talking about.
There were no reports of anyone walking out on Lavrov like the Russian delegation did before Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who caustically denounced Russia for its unbridled aggression, took the floor; or like UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam who left the General Assembly Hall before President Trump arrived to speak.
A day earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Vice President Mike Pence did leave the UN Security Council meeting before Lavrov’s speech. According to media reports, “Pence and Poroshenko held their speeches, and then the President of Ukraine left the room. Pence exited a few minutes later.”
But on Thursday, when Lavrov addressed the 192 other member-states, everyone remained seated.
Lavrov immediately began with his fantasies by reminding his colleagues that in December 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order,” which stipulated that interference into internal affairs of sovereign states, non-recognition of coups d'état as a method of change of power and the need to exclude from the international communication the attempts of unlawful pressure of certain States on others, including exterritorial application of national jurisdiction are all unacceptable.
That was his opening paragraph. A list of what Moscow had committed against other countries.
He also reminded the audience that member-states shouldn’t impose their will on other nations.
“Sovereignty, refraining from interference into internal affairs, equality of people and mutual respect – Russia has always adhered to these principles and will continue to uphold them,” Lavrov declared brazenly.
It is difficult to respond to such straightforward lies because there are so many examples of Russian interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries to choose from. Without reaching into tsarist or Soviet communist history, just take any contemporary newspaper and read about Ukraine, Chechnya, Georgia and Syria. All of them have suffered from Russia’s imposition of its will on them.
As I was finishing this blog, true news media reported that Russian Gen. Valery Asapov, who commanded the Russian army in temporarily occupied Donbas as well as in Syria, was killed in action in the Syrian town of Dayr Az zawr. This became the latest evidence of the widespread nature of Russia’s terrorist tentacles.
Some three years ago, President Vladimir Putin thought his governor in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, would succeed in keeping Russia’s reigns on Ukraine. But he failed and it took a national Revolution of Dignity – the Ukrainian nation’s latest in a long line of rebellions against foreign occupiers – to begin to shed the shackles of Russian subjugation. Russia’s interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine then quickly evolved in the invasion and occupation of Crimea and two eastern Ukrainian regions.
Lavrov complained that the West adopted a policy of “who’s not with us is against us” and is moving NATO toward the Russian border “provoking instability in the post-Soviet space and encouraging anti-Russian sentiments.” He failed to point out that in the case of the former captive nations, they sought membership in NATO and integration in the European Union as the only means to protect themselves against Russian colonialism. Some have reached that goal. Others, like Ukraine, are still waiting for accession.
As for peace talks regarding Russia’s war with Ukraine, Kyiv is not the party inventing lies and tricks to bog down implementation of the Minsk Accords, as Lavrov claimed. The newest example of Russian’s ceasefire violations came at the start of the latest academic year. After agreeing to a truce so that kids could start their schooling, Russian soldiers and terrorists immediately violated the ceasefire and resumed attacking Ukrainian military positions.
Surprisingly, Lavrov did not attempt to disparage the United Nations for declaring Russia to be an aggressor state and occupying power because of its invasion of Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula. The nearly three-year-old Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-17 has claimed more than 12,000 civilian and military lives and created some 1.25 million refugees.
Lavrov bemoaned the demolition of monuments to so-called Russian liberators of Europe at the end of World War II, noticeably omitting references to their raping and pillaging of native populations from Ukraine to the former West German border. He said terrorists, extremists and nationalists destroy and desecrate objects of historic, religious and cultural value with their hatred and intolerance. Indeed, Russia’s colonial administration and occupying army in Crimea have harassed, persecuted, arrested, imprisoned and killed Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians on the peninsula for opposing Russian domination, fostering Crimean Tatar culture and religion, and favoring their return to Ukrainian sovereignty.
Statues of Lenin and Stalin have been toppled by freedom-loving people throughout Ukraine and the former captive nations. However, it would be appropriate if one, just one, monument to Lenin or Stalin should remain somewhere with the inscription “Remember.”
Turning to modern technology, Lavrov continued whitewashing Russia’s crimes by bragging to the audience that Moscow drafted a universal convention on countering cybercrime, including hacking. “We propose to open its discussion as early as during the current session,” the Russian minister suggested.
This he said with a straight face after Russia was caught red-handed hacking into America’s electoral process as well as the elections of several other western democracies.
Lavrov called for global mutual trust without which the world could not implement the important Sustainable Development Goals or the Paris Climate Agreement but Russia’s low level of credibility on any international issue coupled with crimes against humanity are enough to ostracize it from all multilateral events.
Toward the end of his address, Lavrov called on world leaders to educate youth in the spirit of cultural and spiritual diversity, lessons which it surely cannot seriously mentor because of its well-documented examples of hatred of non-Russian, non-Orthodox and non-heterosexual peoples. In this vein, Lavrov mentioned the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students that Russia will host next month. The Government of Ukraine and Ukrainian youth and student organizations in Ukraine and the diaspora are urging governments and young people around the world to boycott the event because of Russia’s chronic litany of lies and crimes.

Recidivist liars do not deserve a break.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ukraine’s Poroshenko Calls for Int’l Group to De-Occupy Crimea
In his address to the 72nd UN General Assembly today, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko combined a series of strong denunciations against Russia for being an aggressor-nation and recidivist violator of the UN Charter with a global call for the creation of an international group of friends of Ukrainian Crimea that would de-occupy or liberate the Ukrainian peninsula from Russian subjugation.
“The international community has to keep a close eye on Crimea to prevent a new genocide inspired by modern proponents of Stalin’s totalitarian ideology against the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.
“I rely on support of your delegations for Ukraine’s initiatives to ensure observance of human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea, in particular a further respective UN GA resolution. 
“We need to strengthen the international regime of de-occupation of Crimea.
“The fact that at the highest international level – UN General Assembly – Russia was recognized as an occupying power, proves that we are on the right track.
“The time has come to establish an international group of friends of Ukrainian Crimea to coordinate our common steps,” Poroshenko declared, joining colleagues from x-captive nations Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland in chastising Moscow for invading and occupying Crimea and Donbas.
Poroshenko, echoing his ideas expressed earlier at the 17th Yalta European Strategy meeting, developed his thoughts for the global community in a way that sharply delineated good from evil, freedom from oppression, and peace from war. He urged the international community to join Ukraine in opposing Russia’s record of crimes and human rights abuses.
Citing numerous examples of Russia’s violations of international accords and norms, the Ukrainian leader ironically said the principle of sovereignty that the UN was established to uphold is being desecrated by Moscow, a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
“When the UN was set up, it was designed to maintain peace and security in the world based on principles of respect for sovereignty and integrity of borders. The founding nations, among those was Ukraine as well, aimed at securing the world where the sovereign right of free choice to be respected,” he said.
“So was this principle to be guarded by P5 (5 permanent members of the UN Security Council – TC) in the name of sustainable peace and security. That was the principle that happened to be so blatantly violated against my own country by one of the P5.”
Poroshenko said millions of Ukrainians have struggled to invest in this “noble endeavor” in the name of sustainable peace and security since the Russian invasion of Donbas and Crimea three years ago.
The Ukrainian president accused Russia of turning Crimea and Donbas into a wasteland of freedom, arresting and incarcerating anyone who even slightly expresses support for Ukraine.
“A three-year-long war with Russia has resulted in 10 thousand people killed, 7 percent of Ukrainian territory occupied, 20 percent of Ukrainian economy and industrial output is seized, destroyed or simply stolen.
“However, the most horrific thing in this situation is that the Kremlin has consciously chosen the tactics of increasing human sufferings.
“The occupied Crimean peninsula, according to the human rights activists, has turned into a territory of repressions. Anyone disagreeing with Kremlin risks their freedom and even life,” he said.
Continuing with his litany of accusations against Moscow, Poroshenko said Russia “blatantly violates” the UN General Assembly Resolution 71/205 on the “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” that was adopted during the 71st GA session. Russia also ignores all requests of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure proper and full access of the international human rights monitoring missions to Crimea.
Calling for worldwide monitoring of Russia’s belligerent behavior, Poroshenko said “Such disregard of Russia’s international obligations must receive proper response of the international community. The international community has to keep a close eye on Crimea to prevent a new genocide inspired by modern proponents of Stalin’s totalitarian ideology against the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.”
Poroshenko said Crimea is also threatened by Russian militarization, which would affect Southern and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He added that Ukraine “strongly condemns” military exercises in occupied Crimea and close to Ukraine’s borders, especially the massive Zapad 2017.
The security and human rights situation in war-torn Donbas is also critical, he said.
“This year Ukraine initiated three major ceasefire attempts: Easter, Harvest and Back-to-School ceasefires. Yet again, Russian occupation troops and their proxies violated them almost immediately.
In breach of the Minsk agreements, Russia keeps its regular military and continues to supply heavy weapons and ammunition to the occupation troops in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It flatly denies the establishment of the OSCE permanent control over Ukraine-Russia border,” Poroshenko said, adding demands for the release of military and civilian hostages and prisoners.
“Stealing other nations’ land… kidnapping people… conducting a hidden war…downing a civilian aircraft… spreading lies globally – is this the kind of behavior we expect from a permanent Security Council member? Russia is not a contributor to international security, but its biggest threat. Today Russia is, perhaps, the only country in the world that has conflicts – hot, frozen or potential – with almost all its neighbors,” he stated.
Attempting an explanation for the war in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko opined that Ukraine and Russia strive for completely different things.
“Ukraine wants peace and restoration of sovereignty over its territory. Russia wants control over Ukraine and undermines every effort to restore our sovereign control within Ukraine’s borders,” he said.
Poroshenko elaborated on his support for UN peacekeepers to be stationed in the war zone, noting that their mandate must also include the national border between Ukraine and Russia. “As long as the border is used as the main supply route for manpower and weapons to Donbas, there will be no peace in my country,” he added.
Poroshenko believes that “robust international presence” can also help Ukraine cope with the increase of terrorist activities in eastern Ukraine since Russian terrorism is visible in the daily lives of the region’s residents.
Poroshenko labeled the greatest civilian catastrophe of the Russo-Ukraine war of 2014-17, the destruction of flight MH17 with 298 people on board, a “horrible crime” because the missile that destroyed the civilian airliner was launched from Russia.
“The death of the MH17 victims is on Russia’s conscience,” he charged.
Turning to global issues, Poroshenko said Ukraine, which voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weapons, favors a nuclear test ban and condemns North Korean belligerence. He said huge numbers of Russian military assets are deployed to Syria by ships based in Crimea.
Accentuating Ukraine’s commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, Poroshenko said Ukraine’s economy has turned around enough to commit sufficient funds to the campaign.
“Despite heavy defense expenses more than 5 percent of its GDP, Ukraine keeps going through fundamental transformations – fighting corruption, promoting judicial reforms, implementing decentralization, improving business opportunities,” he said. “A year and a half ago the economic situation in Ukraine was so dire that we could only dream about macroeconomic stabilization. Now we have all grounds to say that economic recovery is in place.”
Poroshenko concluded his address with an appeal to the UN member-states, reminding them that the 72nd GA session coincides with the 85th anniversary of one of the deadliest crimes of the 20th century – the crime of Holodomor – the famine-murder of 7-10 million Ukrainian men, women and children.
“Dr. Raphael Lemkin, the author of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, described that destruction of the Ukrainian nation as ‘the classic example of genocide,’” he said. “I appeal to all UN member-states to make their own historic judgment and to make decision by recognizing Holodomor as an act of genocide.”
With a look at the future, Poroshenko described a contemporary world that is divided between those who “believe that freedom is indispensable and those who believe freedom is expendable.”
The Ukrainian leader challenged those who believe in freedom to unite – “It’s time for freedom to be strong, convincing and convinced.”

Scroll down to read Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė’s address at the 72nd UNGA and other posts about President Poroshenko policies and observations about a global bloc to protect liberty and democracy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė Equates Russia with Global Evil
Taking a strong position in support of neighboring Ukraine, President Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania denounced Russia as being as dangerous as North Korea and Syria for bullying and invading Ukraine three years ago.
Speaking at the 72nd UN General Assembly on Tuesday, September 19, Grybauskaitė issued a global warning against Russian aggression because of its Zapad 2017 military exercises in regions adjacent to the x-captive nations.
“As we speak, around 100,000 Russian troops are engaged in offensive military exercises Zapad 2017 on the borders of Baltic States, Poland and even in the Arctic. The Kremlin is rehearsing aggressive scenarios against its neighbors, training its army to attack the West. The exercise is also part of information warfare aimed at spreading uncertainty and fear. Even more disturbingly, Zapad exercise is just one symptom of Kremlin’s inability to finally end its hatred towards the West.” she declared, reinforcing the common bond among former subjugated nations of Russia’s imperial prison.
Grybauskaitė repeated a theme raised by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the 17th Annual Yalta European Strategy annual meeting. (See previous blogpost.)
The Lithuanian leader further chastised Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for violating the UN Charter by attacking Georgia, illegally annexing Crimea and directly participating in the war in Eastern Ukraine.
“The Kremlin’s arsenal does not stop at conventional weapons. Russia continues to meddle in elections, conducts cyber-attacks and uses its sputniks to spread fake news and destabilizing propaganda,” she said in the course of an unusually short delegate’s address at the General Assembly.
Noting that energy blackmail has been a longtime weapon of choice for Russia, Grybauskaitė said Moscow is building in Belarus, just 40 kilometers from Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, the unsafe Astravets nuclear power plant “as a geopolitical weapon that fails to comply with basic international nuclear standards.”
In her remarks, she cast an accusatory stone at the international community for allowing Russian and other abuses of basic international norms to continue. She decried this state of affairs is the result of the world’s collective failure to condemn and properly react to violations. International organizations do not have the courage to enforce the rules that they create while drawing boundaries that they pretend don’t exist, she said.
“This has to change. Bullies are aggressive precisely because they are weak and insecure. That is why we must stop being passive observers and start calling things by their own names,” she said. “Aggression cannot make anyone stronger. It can never earn anyone even a drop of respect. The only thing the aggression will bring is contempt, shame and condemnation.”
Grybauskaitė said member-states must assume their share of the responsibility and not let fear close their eyes to violators because criminal states will be encouraged to increase acts of terror and abuses.
“We must learn to read the warning signs, because abuse of human rights, nationalistic rhetoric and suppression of free speech explode into violence if ignored,” she said.
Turning to the UN, she reminded her fellow delegates that the global body was formed to save the world from wars, however, “it has failed to fulfill this promise.”
“Now we face the choice: either we give this organization the voice to rise against the abuse or we will make it irrelevant,” she said.

The Lithuanian president’s firm advocacy on behalf of the former captive nations will hopefully give rise to a new coalition in support of freedom, liberty and democracy in the face of ongoing, virulent Russian belligerence.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ahead of 72 UNGA: Ukraine in NATO & EU will Ensure its Sovereignty
In a strongly worded address at the 17th Annual Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, President Poroshenko of Ukraine denounced Russia for its endless wars against Ukraine and other countries while setting out his country’s rightful claim to membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance.
Ukraine’s full-fledged membership in NATO, Poroshenko emphasized, would be the “genuine guarantee of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, welfare and prosperity.”
In his presentation, Poroshenko detailed Russia’s step-by-step plan to destabilize the free world and re-subjugate Ukraine. He also reminded the free world that today Ukraine is the only country on Earth that is fighting against Russian imperialism and simultaneously defending Europe and the free world with its blood and steel. The Ukrainian leader also pointed out that in the midst of the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-17 Ukraine has managed to turn itself around and chart of steady course to economic and democratic stability.
This year’s session, held September 15, a week before the General Debate at the 72nd UN General Assembly, discussed “Is this a New World.” Poroshenko said many of last year’s calamities still exist but the greatest global catastrophe, Russia’s war with Ukraine, persists with Russian invaders and their mercenary-terrorist allies escalating the battle while violating numerous ceasefire agreements.
The Ukrainian president said it would be the height of naiveté to believe that an end to the hostilities would quickly return the world to its pre-war status.
“If anybody thinks that when the war finally comes to an end in Ukraine (God, let it be so), everything will be as it used to be, then he is absolutely wrong,” he lamented. “You can’t bring tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians back to life. You can’t stick together broken contracts.”
Citing the Budapest Memorandum that Ukraine signed in 1994 with Great Britain and Russia thereby voluntarily surrendering its nuclear weapons, Poroshenko seemed to regret that decision by saying that it did not live up to its expectations. Indeed, in February 2014 Russia invaded Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas with no one standing up in its defense except for expected speeches and sanctions.
Poroshenko said the new political reality that the world is facing means that “dozens of Budapest Memoranda provide less security than one nuclear charge.”
Realistically, the future world order, he continued, depends on everyone today. “It depends on our firm, consistent and uncompromising response to those who want to send the world back into the Middle Ages.”
Poroshenko said the Revolution of Dignity that ousted Russia’s governor in Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych was “a wake-up call” for the democratic world. Russia had intended to move against the free world at the time but Ukrainians’ successful three-month standoff against Moscow forced it to delay its plans. Unfortunately, Russia then quickly turned its army and military might against Ukraine.
“Military machine built by Russia on the Western border is already capable, if tasked, to implement any barbaric aggressive plans of the Kremlin. But the Revolution of Dignity spoiled these plans,” Poroshenko said.
Providing money and other financial assistance to Russia in order to help its widespread, needy population was another example of Western naiveté. Feeding the beast so it will not eat us does not work with Russia, Poroshenko warned.
“Few took into account that purpose of that money was not well-being of the ordinary Russians or reclaiming endless but unpopulated Russian territories but were used to build up modern aggressive army,” he said.
The Maidan Revolution forced Russia to reveal its diabolical global intentions.
“For Russia, Ukraine is not just a part of the past empire. It is a symbol. It is an integral part of the imperial grandeur that the Kremlin cannot imagine this empire without. It is ‘our Jerusalem’ as Moscow Patriarch Kirill claims.
“That is why Putin had to go all-in, ‘tear off masks’ and show his true predatory face to the entire world.
“Unfortunately, in this situation, neither neutrality, nor non-bloc status helped Ukraine. Now it is clear that these ideas were merely fairy-tales used by the aggressor to neutralize its potential victim.
“The Budapest Memorandum security guarantees didn’t help either,” he elaborated.
Perhaps adjusting concepts of hybrid war and war, Poroshenko indicated that the former pertains to the free world and the latter to Ukraine.
“The Kremlin started its hybrid offensive on the democratic world, started its war for its own world order. The world order, which is based on the rule of strength and the will of the Tsar, not on the rule of law and the people’s will,” he said, adding caustically “History teaches us that Russia cannot be trusted. Under any circumstances.”
By making reference to the Russian tsar, the Ukrainian president seemed to note that Russia’s aggressive mentality does not change. Tsarist Russia, Soviet Communist Russia and today’s Russia are the same. It is one treacherous, deceitful and dangerous country in which only the leaders change, not the policies.
“With Moscow, one should always be prepared for the worst. You can hear it from tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who are persecuted in the Crimea and Donbas. Hundreds of them have perished at the hands of the killers and torturers only for the Ukrainian language, the Ukrainian flag or the Ukrainian passport,” he said.
With sanctions being the free world’s only weapon against Russian invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territories, Poroshenko said they must remain in force until full implementation of Minsk accords and restoration Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Crimea and Donbas. He thanked the United States for its leadership in strengthening the sanctions against the aggressor.
“The price for aggression must keep rising. It must be unbearably hard to keep what was unlawfully taken, or, more bluntly, cynically stolen,” he declared.
Poroshenko thwarted any discussion about Ukraine’s abandonment of Crimea for the greater good, saying “only shortsighted politicians could give such advice.” Such a foolhardy decision would set a bad precedent for peaceful countries around the world and allow aggressors to seize any territory with the tips of their bayonets. Furthermore, it would surrender to Russian persecution and repression tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars and others Ukrainian citizens.
Turning to his idea about a mechanism for pushing Russia out of the Crimea, Poroshenko noted that the 71st UN General Assembly has already declared Russia an occupying power in Crimea. As a demonstration of their independence of Russian control, UN member-states must reaffirm this position about Crimea’s subjugated status during the 72nd UN General Assembly.
Poroshenko said: “Today, I would like to suggest the idea of creating an international group of friends of de-occupation of Crimea to coordinate common steps and actions. I plan to discuss this initiative in detail in New York at the UN General Assembly.”
I have frequently quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin who said a few years ago that the need for such a coalition is urgent.  Outraged by the Russian invasion of his homeland, Klimkin had suggested the creation of a Coalition of Freedom – an updated Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations – to defend democracy and Western values in a troubled world.
This idea is certainly a contemporary Presidential call to action to all Ukrainian NGOs recognized by the United Nations. In response to Poroshenko’s appeal, their mission is to create a coalition with other x-captive nations and supportive stakeholders to take this message of liberation, freedom and de-occupation of Crimea up and down the hallways of the United Nations.
Indeed, Russia will threaten Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence until it is shown that the free world understands that it too needs Ukraine for its survival. It’s time for Europe, the United States and the free world to payback Ukraine for the favor of defending their freedom with its nation’s blood.
“Our vocation is to become the Eastern border of the European civilization, a contributor to European and international security, an engine of the continental economy.
“We will be fulfilling this vocation together with you, dear friends of Ukraine.
“We will move to a full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO.
“As the events of the recent years have demonstrated, this is the genuine guarantee of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, welfare and prosperity,” Poroshenko concluded.
You can watch the General Debate at the UN General Assembly at this website:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Russia Dons Lamb’s Wool to Dupe Global Youth
Leave it up to the Kremlin to use every dirty trick in the book to create the image of a respectable leadership. Its latest deceitful ploy involves innocent youth and students.
Moscow is planning to hold a World Festival of Youth and Students in Russia next month that will surely portray the country and regime as a paradise on Earth. Remember Russia’s Potemkin villages in 18th century Crimea?
The participating youth and students will not be exposed to Russia’s crimes against humanity, violations of human and religious rights of non-Russians in the country, and its aggression against neighboring independent countries. Organizers will shield the blood and destruction of its war in Ukraine from the participants’ impressionable eyes.
The greatest display of Russia’s arrogance will be the tours to occupied Crimea and Donbas. Three years ago Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine and violently seized these Ukrainian territories and with bayonets established its own dictatorships, disrupting regional and global peace, security and development.
The irony of this sham is that while Russia is glad handing youth from around the world, it is forcing its own youngsters to act as whistleblowers against their parents as hapless Pavlyk Morozov did under Stalin. Russian authorities also kidnap, persecute and imprison young people and minors in the occupied regions on a range of trumped up charges.
Not surprisingly, the websites of the Communist Party USA and People’s World are promoting this propaganda trap.
The glitz, glamor and excitement of this deceitful circus must not be allowed to poison the minds of the world’s young people. The Ukrainian government and the global Ukrainian diaspora are calling on Ukrainians around the world, the former captive nations, and their free world advocates to condemn this latest ruse by Russia and boycott it.
The Kremlin’s bloody war against Ukraine, human rights abuses at home, and obnoxious disregard for international opinion and condemnation must ostracize Russia from the global table.
Following are statements by Ukrainian organizations and URLs to additional information.

National Youth Council of Ukraine
Appeal of National Youth Council of Ukraine to civil society institutions around the world and the European Youth Forum
On October 14-22, 2017, the Russian Federation will hold the World Festival of Youth and Students, and young people from around the world are invited to participate in it.
The schedule of festival events includes a visit to temporarily occupied territories – the cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol – by foreign delegates. Moreover, organizers of the festival list these Ukrainian cities as parts of Russian regions.
Declared goals of the World Festival of Youth and Students to preserve the value of peace and democratic principles stand in sharp contrast to the activities of the organizers of this event and manifest conscious disregard of key principles of international law, specifically sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent state and approval of criminal policies of the aggressor country.
Crossing the border of the part of Ukrainian territory which was annexed by the Russian Federation is one of the scheduled activities, and it represents a gross violation of sovereignty of Ukraine, laws of Ukraine, fundamental principles of international law, including the UN Charter, United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 68/262 “Territorial integrity of Ukraine,” adopted on March 27, 2014, and A/RES/71/205 "Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol”, adopted on December 19, 2016, the Baku Declaration, the resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other multilateral international agreements where Ukraine and Russia act as parties.
According to Article 10 of the Law of Ukraine “On Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine,” entry of foreigners to the temporarily occupied territory and exit from it is allowed only with the special permission via entry-exit control points. Breach of the above-mentioned procedure entails responsibility stipulated by the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
In view of the above mentioned information, we urge you to refrain from participation in the above-mentioned events on the Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation and World Youth Festival in the aggressor country that is organized by individuals that grossly disregard the state sovereignty of Ukraine, fundamental principles of international law and laws of Ukraine.

Ukrainian World Congress
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is calling upon the international community, specifically youth and student organizations, and governments worldwide to boycott the World Festival of Youth and Students being hosted by the Russian Federation October 14-22, 2017.
Supporting the call of the Government of Ukraine, the UWC draws attention to the blatant violation by the Russian Federation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity with this event which takes place on the temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation Ukrainian territory, specifically the cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol.
Foreign delegations will be traveling freely across borders in violation of the UN Charter, Resolutions of the UN General Assembly and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, as well as other multilateral international treaties to which Ukraine and the Russian Federation are signatories.
The organization of this festival crudely mocks the international community which has resolutely condemned the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, including the illegal occupation of Crimea, and imposed sanctions in response to these actions.
The World Festival of Youth and Students is yet another example of the tactics of the Russian Federation in its hybrid war involving, in this instance, young people to undermine the territorial integrity of a sovereign state.
“The Ukrainian World Congress calls upon governments to ensure that their youth and students are not used to promote the disinformation being spread by the Russian Federation by issuing a boycott of the World Festival of Youth and Students,” said UWC President Eugene Czolij.

Additional information and updates:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Nuclear Disarmament at Time of War and Occupation
Every year, in the weeks leading up to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, member-states, anti-nuclear advocates, civil society and other stakeholders intensify the clarion call for global nuclear disarmament.
This year the discussion has taken on ominous overtones with North Korea’s intensified nuclear tests and ICBM launches. Kim Jong-un taunts the United States while President Trump warns of fire and fury raining down on North Korea.
Add to that ISIS’s arbitrary terrorist attacks and threats against peaceful communities around the world and it’s easy to see that peace on Earth is not yet a done deal.
Ukraine, a former nuclear state that voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weapons, views nuclear disarmament and terrorism from the unique vantage point of being located next door to Russia, a nuclear power that had agreed to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence but instead invaded the country more than three years ago. In the ensuing months and weeks, despite denials and pledges, Russia’s undeclared war has left thousands dead and more than a million internally displaced men, women and children. The Russian army has occupied Crimea and Donbas and in many cases its artillery explosions have polluted the soil.
Indeed, it’s difficult to speak with Ukrainians about the need for global nuclear disarmament. And who can blame them?
On August 29, the UN observed the International Day against Nuclear Tests at which the Permanent Representative of Ukraine, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, offered Ukraine’s point of view on this timely topic.
Yelchenko reminded the member states that Ukraine rightfully supported the adoption of the International Day against Nuclear Tests resolution, noting that “efforts should be made to end nuclear tests in order to achieve the global goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” He added that entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty “without further delay” would be a major contribution to this process.
Yelchenko pointed out that Ukraine, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, strongly condemns the North Korea’s “continuous illegal activities” in developing nuclear missile capabilities. The Ukrainian ambassador emphasized the potential beneficial consequences of “collective efforts” in curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. He further issued a call to all UN member-states to fully implement sanctions against the North Korean regime that were imposed by respective UN Security Council resolutions.
Then Yelchenko presented a caustic prelude to casting Russia in the same light as North Korea and other rogue states. “Disrespect for international law and attempts to undermine or change the established world order are becoming more systematic nowadays. The North Korean actions are a testament to this trend, but not the only one.”
The other one, obviously, is Russia.
“As a country that voluntarily renounced its nuclear arsenal, Ukraine continues to face the military aggression from one nuclear state. The brutal violation of the international obligations, including under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, by the Russian Federation, who put its signature under the assurances of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, contravenes the whole UN-based security system created after World War II,” Yelchenko declared.
Three years after declaring its independence, Ukraine was arm twisted by the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia, to give up its nuclear weapons for all intents and purposes leaving it defenseless. As insane as it sounds, the apparently rational fathers of independent Ukraine had voluntarily agreed to turn over its nuclear arsenal to its biggest enemy.
Today the Ukrainian nation is reaping the lethal harvest of that ill-fated decision. Ukrainians have been heard saying that they’d rather have even one nuclear bomb rather than a dozen Budapest memoranda.
Yelchenko reminded his diplomatic colleagues that “the first obligation of three nuclear states under the Budapest Memorandum is “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” The next paragraph obliged the three mentioned states “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”
Sadly, even the two so-called friendly states – the United States and Great Britain – haven’t lived up to their end of the deal and now are struggling to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s aggression.
For Russia, the Budapest Memorandum is another in a long line of accords, including the Minsk truce treaty, that it promised to observe but very soon thereafter changed its mind.
“Taking into account the aforementioned, we would like to stress again that full compliance with existing international obligations by all states is the main precondition of achieving the world free of nuclear weapons,” Yelchenko stated.
Fortunately, Ukraine is not yet a victim of a Russian nuclear attack but its regular soldiers and terrorist mercenaries have been successful in killing thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.
Nuclear disarmament, nuclear test ban treaties, treaties on conventional weapons and even the Sustainable Development Goals, as hopeful as they sound, are meaningless when Russia’s signature is included. The fault is not with these needed agreements, which can benefit humanity, but rather with Russia. Once the Kremlin’s signature appears on a document, it is doomed to failure. Violations and transgressions will appear.

UN member-states, anti-nuclear advocates, civil society and other stakeholders must find a way to force Russia to abandon its criminal behavior or else face ostracism.

Friday, August 18, 2017

72 UNGA Offers X-Captive Nations NGOs Ideas
For United Liberation Activism in UN
With the general debates at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly set to begin in about a month, member-states, NGOs and staff members are busy planning their workloads, meetings and projects for the good of humanity.
As a former staff member of UN DPI/NGO, I can attest that the thousands of bureaucrats with “P” and “S” grounds passes would rather be somewhere else than on the hectic eastside of Manhattan during the three weeks of speeches by presidents, kings, prime ministers and other national leaders. However, non-governmental organizations, one of the main pillars of the UN system along with member-states and staff, are primed to pick up their respectable projects where they left off last spring.
Nonetheless, it’ll be a time for planning, strategizing and coalition building for the next 12 months.
The thousands of NGOs around the world in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), associated with the Department of Public Information, or any other UN agency or program have their own favorite issues that they’ll be promoting as they ply the UN passageways. I’d like to return to a topic that I have addressed in the past: the role of Ukrainian NGOs at the UN.
Representatives of civil society from Ukraine and those from the Ukrainian diaspora have one moral task at the United Nations today: to continually expose Russia as a murderous, belligerent and deceitful member-state of the UN until all discussions throughout UN headquarters are abuzz with the thought that Russia does not deserve to have a seat on the Security Council and to walk the hallways of the UN.
The task will be difficult because Russian NGOs outnumber all Ukrainian NGOs by about 3-to-1 but not impossible. Ukrainian NGOs, with the help of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine, should mobilize a coalition of civil society representatives from the former captive nations as well as their Permanent Missions to champion this righteous cause.
To be sure, this coalition must be clever in how it addresses its mission. Fortunately, the United Nations Charter, resolutions and other documents are replete with references that can help this cause.
The Preamble to the UN Charter, for one, addresses the vital work of “we, the peoples” of the world in championing the four pillar causes of the UN: peace and security, human rights, rule of law and development. The Kremlin is violating with impunity these pillars as it wages war against Ukraine, with its belligerence around the world and transgressions inside its own country.
The Preamble also states that we, the peoples, are determined:
  • ·         to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • ·         to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • ·         to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • ·         to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

Russia’s bloodstained footprints are visible in these four points.
If these ideas aren’t enough, review the maiden address by Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák as President of the upcoming 72nd UN General Assembly, in which he outlined six priorities for his one-year tenure: people, peace and prevention, migration, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action, and human rights – they guide his work as an overarching principle.
“My fifth focus will be on human rights as an overarching principle guiding my work. There is no peace and development without respect for dignity and fundamental rights. Continued support to equality, including equal opportunities for genders will remain high in my activities,” Lajčák said.
Russia’s violations of a broad list of human rights in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere are well documented and should be highlighted throughout the United Nations with appropriate references to the PGA’s comments.
The vaunted Sustainable Development Goals – 2030 Agenda: another resource of actionable ideas for NGOs with which to raise awareness about Russian crimes against humanity and hypocrisy.
The monumental and optimistic 2030 Agenda is not only about climate abuse and its expected deleterious effect on future generations. As with the previous Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda focuses on a wide range of climate, sustainability, education, gender, health, environment and human rights issues. Embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s 17 principles and 140-plus subsidiary points are many references to the urgency of protecting human rights. Human rights include national rights and the fulfillment of the latter usually guarantees the former. Conventional wisdom states that this hopeful, comprehensive package will make life easier and better for future generations.
Among the numerous references to human rights, we find the following two salient passages that Russia hypocritically approved:
“We envisage a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination; of respect for race, ethnicity and cultural diversity; and of equal opportunity permitting the full realization of human potential and contributing to shared prosperity. A world which invests in its children and in which every child grows up free from violence and exploitation. A world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed. A just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.”
“We reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international instruments relating to human rights and international law. We emphasize the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status.”
But with wars and sanctioned national malice, led by Russia, still plaguing the world, the obvious lack of global emphasis on these painful issues raises the question “what are the UN and global community thinking about?”
Will it benefit sustainable development to sweep national and ethnic prejudice, violence and wars under the carpet? Should Russia’s war against Ukraine and human rights violations against Ukrainians and minority groups be overlooked for the sake of implementing the 2030 Agenda, the UN Charter and UN resolutions? If Russia wages war and violates human rights with impunity, will it voluntarily abide by new climate regulations?
Of course not. That’s why Ukrainian and other former captive nations’ NGOs, as well as their Permanent Missions to the United Nations along with indigenous Crimean people, and relevant human rights, disarmament, women’s and youth groups have an opportunity to compel the UN and global community to remain focused on freedom, democracy, peace and stability by recognizing and punishing recidivist international aggressors like Russia.
President Poroshenko of Ukraine, speaking at the United Nations on the eve of the ratification of the 2030 Agenda in the fall of 2015, declared Ukraine’s support for the UN Development Agenda but poignantly said, “There will be no sustainable development without peace and freedom.” This deserves to serve as the appropriate mojo of this NGO movement.
Indeed, how can the global community be expected to evolve sustainably for the benefit of future generations when one outlaw member of the international community wages war against a neighboring state and violates human rights of its citizens?
Ukrainian and other former captive nations’ NGOs should take the initiative to build coalitions around these concepts, huddle outside conference rooms with other NGOs, pursue member-states, meet with UN correspondents, and organize frequent and regular conferences.
Issues advocated by the UN give freedom-loving NGOs in the UN system and beyond, the Permanent Missions of the former captive nations, and concurring stakeholders the opportunity to initiate a conversation about creating a global partnership that would foster and preserve sustainable freedom, liberty, democracy, human rights, stability and peace for future generations while sanctioning Russia for its ongoing criminal belligerence.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin had also alluded to the urgency for such a far-reaching coalition. Outraged by the Russian invasion of his homeland, Klimkin had suggested the creation of a Coalition of Freedom – an updated Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations – to defend democracy and Western values in a troubled world.
“It is about security for everyone,” said Klimkin during an exclusive Fox News interview on the eve of the 69th UN General Assembly in 2014. “If someone in this interchangeable and intertwined world cannot feel secure, how can US citizens here feel secure?”
Klimkin explained that Ukraine is confronting a threat any nation can face, adding “we need a network of security.” His Coalition of Freedom would consist of “countries which are committed to freedom, to democratic values, where we are not talking about spheres of influence, but the values and real interests of democratic countries.”

I applauded his decision in my blog at the time. It should now serve as a call to action for Ukrainian and other x-captive nations NGOs at the UN to raise the political battle against Russia to a unified, global level.