Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Paul Craig Roberts on Syria, Europe and the economy

Freedom, Where Are You? Not in America or Europe

Paul Craig Roberts

The European Central Bank (ECN) chief Mario Draghi, who is a former Goldman Sachs executive, is running the printing press to print 720 Billion euros to make the stock-owning One Percent more rich. War, War, War, that is all Washington wants. It enriches the military/security complex, the largest component of the US GNP and the largest contributor, along with Wall Street and the Israel Lobby, to US political campaigns.

The writer of the article Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy during President Ronald Reagan and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week.

When Mario Draghi who runs the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that he was going to print 720 billion euros annually with which to purchase bad debts from the politically connected big banks, the euro sank and the stock market and Swiss franc shot up. As in the US, quantitative easing (QE) serves to enrich the already rich. It has no other purpose.

The well-heeled financial institutions that bought up the troubled sovereign debt of Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain at low prices will now sell the bonds to the ECB for high prices. And despite depression level unemployment in most of Europe and austerity imposed on citizens, the stock market rose in anticipation that much of the 60 billion new euros that will be created each month will find its way into equity prices. Liquidity fuels the stock market.

It goes to the rich One Percent

Where else can the money to go? Some will go into Swiss francs and some into gold while gold is still available, but for the most part the ECB is running the printing press in order to boost the wealth of the stock-owning One Percent. The Federal Reserve and the ECB have taken the West back to the days when a handful of aristocrats owned everything.

The stock markets are bubbles blown by central bank money creation. On the basis of traditional reasoning there is no sound reason to be in equities, and sound investors have avoided them. But there is no return anywhere else, and as the central banks are run by the rich for the rich, sound reasoning has proved to be a mistake for the past six years. This shows that corruption can prevail for an indeterminable period over fundamentals.

Goldman Sachs deceived Greece and robbed the people

As I demonstrated in my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, first Goldman Sachs deceived lenders into over-lending to the Greek government. Then Goldman Sachs former executives took over Greece’s financial affairs and forced austerity upon the population in order to prevent losses to the foreign lenders.

This established a new principle in Europe, one that the IMF has relentlessly applied to Latin American and Third World debtors. The principle is that when foreign lenders make mistakes and over-lend to foreign governments, loading them up with debt, the bankers’ mistakes are rectified by robbing the poor populations. Pensions, social services, and public employment are cut, valuable resources are sold off to foreigners for pennies on the dollar, and the government is forced to support US foreign policy. John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man describes the process perfectly. If you haven’t read Perkins book, you have little idea how corrupt and vicious the United States is. Indeed, Perkins shows that over-lending is intentional in order to set up the country for looting.

This is what Goldman Sachs did to Greece, intentionally or unintentionally.

Greece should go out from EU

It took the Greeks a long time to realize it. Apparently, 36.5 percent of the population was awoken by rising poverty, unemployment, and suicide rates. That figure, a little over one-third of the vote, was enough to put Syriza in power in the just concluded Greek election, throwing out the corrupt New Democracy party that has consistently sold out the Greek people to the foreign banks. Nevertheless, 27.7 percent of the Greeks, if the vote reporting is correct, voted for the party that has sacrificed the Greek people to the banksters. Even in Greece, a country accustomed to outpourings of people into the streets, a significant percentage of the population is sufficiently brainwashed to vote against their own interests.

Can Syriza do anything? It remains to be seen, but probably not. If the political party had received 55% or 65% or 75% of the vote, yes. But the largest vote at 36.5% does not show a unified country aware of its plight and its looting at the hands of rich banksters. The vote shows that a significant percentage of the Greek population supports foreign looting of Greece.

Syriza against banks and USA and EU

Moreover, Syriza is up against the heavies: the German and Netherlands banks who hold Greece’s loans and the governments that back the banks, the European Union which is using the sovereign debt crisis to destroy the sovereignty of the individual countries that comprise the European Union, Washington which backs EU sovereign power over the individual countries as it is easier to control one government than a couple of dozen.

Already the Western financial presstitutes are warning Syriza not to endanger its membership in the common currency by diverting from the austerity model imposed from abroad on Greek citizens with the complicity of New Democracy.

Apparently, there is a lack of formal means of exiting the EU and the euro, but nevertheless Greece can be threatened with being thrown out. Greece should welcome being thrown out.

EU and the euro are deception and trickery

Exiting the EU and the euro is the best thing that can happen to Greece. A country without its own currency is not a sovereign country. It is a vassal state of another power. A country without its own currency cannot finance its own needs. Although the UK is a member of the EU, the UK kept its own currency and is not subject to control by the ECB. A country without its own money is powerless. It is a non-entty.

If the US did not have its own dollar, the US would be of no consequence whatsoever on the world scene.

The EU and the euro were deception and trickery. Countries lost their sovereignty. So much for Western “self-rule,” “freedom,” “democracy,” all slogans without content. In the entire West there is nothing but the looting of people by the One Percent who control the governments.

No "New Economy" in America

In America, the looting does not rely on indebtedness, because the US dollar is the reserve currency and the US can print all the money needed in order to pay its bills and redeem its debt. In America the looting of labor has been through jobs offshoring.

American corporations discovered, and if they did not they were informed by Wall Street to move offshore or be taken over, that they could raise profits by moving their manufacturing operations abroad. The lower labor cost resulted in higher profits, higher share prices, huge managerial bonuses based on “performance,” and shareholder capital gains. Offshoring greatly increased the inequality in income and wealth in the US. Capital succeeded in looting labor.

The displaced well-paid manufacturing workers, if they were able to find replacement jobs, worked part-time minimum wage jobs at Walmart and Home Depot.

Economists, if they are entitled to the designation, such as Michael Porter and Matthew Slaughter, promised Americans that the fictional “New Economy” would produce better, higher-paying, and cleaner jobs for Americans than the “dirty fingernail” jobs that we were fortunate our corporations were moving offshore.

Years later, as I have proven conclusively, there is no sign of these “New Economy” jobs. What we have instead is a sharp decline in the labor force participation rate as the unemployed cannot find jobs. The replacement jobs for the manufacturing jobs are mainly part-time domestic service jobs.

People have to hold 2 or 3 of these jobs to make ends meet. These part time jobs offer no medical or pension benefits.

Now that this fact, once controversial believe it or not, has proven completely true, the same bought-and-paid-for spokespersons for robbing labor and destroying unions claim, without a shred of evidence, that the offshored jobs are coming home.

According to these propagandists, we now have what is called “reshoring.” A “reshoring” propagandist claims that the growth of “reshoring” over the past four years is 1,775 percent, an 18 times increase. http://www.manufacturingnews.com/…/A.T.Kearny-No-Data-Suppo…

There is no sign whatsoever of these alleged “reshoring” jobs in the monthly BLS payroll jobs statistics.

What reshoring is all about is propaganda to counteract the belated realization that “free trade” agreements and job offshoring were not beneficial to the American economy or its work force, but were beneficial only to the super-rich.

US people fully manipulated by media

Like people throughout history, the American people are being turned into serfs and slaves because the fools believe the lies that are fed to them. They sit in front of Fox News, CNN, and whatever. They read the New York Times. If you want to learn how badly Americans have been served by the so-called media, read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of the United States.

The media helps the government, and the private interests that profit from their control of government, control the brainwashed public. We have to invade Afghanistan because a faction there fighting for political control of the country is protecting Osama bin Laden, whom the US accuses without any proof of embarrassing the mighty US with the 9/11 attack. We have to invade Iraq because Saddam has “weapons of mass destruction” that he surely has despite the reports to the contrary by the weapons inspectors. We have to overthrow Gaddafi because of a slate of lies that have best been forgotten. We have to overthrow Assad because he used chemical weapons even though all evidence is to the contrary. Russia is responsible for Ukraine problems, not because the US overthrew the elected democratic government but because Russia accepted a 97.6% vote of Crimeans to rejoin Russia where the province had resided for hundreds of years before a Ukrainian Soviet leader, Khrushchev, stuck Crimea into Ukraine, at the time a part of the Soviet Union along with Russia.

War, War, War, that is all Washington wants. It enriches the military/security complex, the largest component of the US GNP and the largest contributor, along with Wall Street and the Israel Lobby, to US political campaigns.

Anyone or any organization that offers truth to the lies is demonized. Last week the new chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andrew Lack, listed the Russian TV Internet service Russia Today as the equivalent of Boko Haram and the Islamic State terrorist groups. This absurd accusation is a prelude to closing down RT in the US just as Washington’s puppet UK government closed down Iran’s Press TV. http://rt.com/usa/225819-rt-isis-point-view-competition/

In other words, Anglo-Americans are not permitted any different news than what is served to them by “their” governments.

That is the state of “freedom” in the West today.

Brakdown in Ukraine - 01/26/2015

Right Sector prepares to seize power in Kiev

By Yurasumy

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

The terrorist organization Right Sector is building up its armed presence in Ukraine: it is forming a reserve volunteer battalion in Kiev. This move was announced by Right Sector press service.

I am ordering to create a reserve battalion in Kiev with the designation of ‘13th Reserve Battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps ‘Right Sector’,” says the order issued by the battalion commander, Andrey Strempitskiy.

The new battalion will be led by a fighter with the call-sign Khorvat [Croatian] and his deputy will be “Byes” [Devil].

There are a number of interesting aspects to this announcement.

No. 1. This is already the Thirteenth battalion. Considering that each battalion has approximately 300-350 members, one can imagine how many militants the Right Sector will have at its disposal in the near future.

No. 2. The term “Reserve”. This implies the battalion will represent a Right Sector “garrison” in Kiev. I’m sure similar battalions will be issued in other big cities. The purpose is self-evident, namely influence over Ukraine’s internal politics. Naturally this implies reliance on relatively youthful “ultras), who will be used under Right Sector flag to “reformat” Ukraine’s internal political system.

The preparation for reformatting the junta (which we could call an overthrow) has entered a new phase. Local military formations are being openly formed (their status implies at the very least the possession of automatic weapons) in order to strengthen their positions in the regions. The mass media is already creating a wave of “it’s all Poroshenko’s fault”, officials loyal to him (minister of defense, general staff chief, prosecutor general) are being dismissed. But the most important thing is that Poroshenko alone is being blamed for everything that had gone wrong on the Donbass (granted, not by all media, but by the hawkish ones). Interesting that the fight against “murderization” [i.o.w., mobilization] was framed, thanks to the timely statements by Katsaba, in terms of “sure, we’ll fight, but only if martial law is introduced, so it should be introduced,” “we are being called up because the security forces—police, prosecutor’s office, tax police, internal affairs, children of the elite—do not want to fight.” Therefore the circle of enemies has been personified.

Conclusion: The pro-US junta is doing everything to solve all problems simultaneously. One has to somehow deal with the popular discontent and deprive Poroshenko of any actual power. The simplest way is to head a protest movement and organize an overthrow. Not important whether political or military. It is important to be ready for any turn of events. That’s why the Right Sector is forming reserve battalions.

Kiev Bulldogs Are Fighting Under the Capet

 By ua_katarsis

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Everyone knows that the Kiev ruling elite has never been monolithic. Now, after yet another failure of Donetsk “pacification”, it’s time for another round of under-the-surface dogfights whose results we can only guess at.

Here’s the interesting thing: Poroshenko is the only one who has not blamed Russia for shelling Mariupol. By comparison, here are Turchinov’s words: “The blood of the people killed there, and of many other Ukrainians, is on the hands of the Russian President Putin, whose orders are being implemented by the criminals.” And here’s Yatsenyuk: “The world must stop the aggressor that is posing a threat to Ukraine, Europe, and world security. The problem is not in Donetsk, not in Lugansk, but in the hero-city Moscow. Moscow, Kremlin, Vladimir Putin.” Poroshenko, on the other hand, said the following: “The so-called DPR and LPR ought to be classified as terrorist organizations. It’s time to name their sponsors as well.”

Today, on 1/26/2015, at the Defense and Security Committee meeting, a decision was made to file a suit with the Hague Tribunal, and also to request the Council of Europe to declare LPR/DPR terrorist organizations.

Then there are the personnel changes: Poroshenko gave a preliminary agreement to dismiss Prosecutor General Yarema (Kolomoyskiy succeeded in gathering 120 Rada deputy signatures out of 120 needed) and discuss the matter of dismissing General Staff chief Muzhenko.

Yatsenyuk’s positions are growing stronger. The Ministry of Justice (under the control of his man Petrenko) acquires the functions of the eliminated executive and registrative services. Considering that now private enterprises may implement court decisions, it will be interesting who will get the collection services market (which is where former bandits gravitate).

And the most unexpected development: the newly appointed “Varangian” [reference to his foreign citizenship] Ayvaras Abromavichus signed the Ministry of Economic Development Decree No. 39/27 from 1/22/2015 that prohibits enterprises owned by Kolomoyskiy and Firtash to participate in bidding for government properties/services beign privatized. We’ll soon see who will fatten themselves here…

A whole village in Odessa region kicks out the military recruiters in protest of mobilization

January 26, 2015
Alexander Ignatiev - Politnavigator
Translated by Kristina Rus

In the village of Kulich, Odessa region, locals rebelled against mobilization and expelled military officials from the village.
According to local residents, they learned in advance, that 240 army summons are coming to the village, and in a few minutes about 500 people gathered in the center. Six representatives from the military showed up to give out the mobilization papers, but were not met with understanding from the local population, writes the newspaper "Timer".
In response to the statement that refusal from mobilization shall be punished by law, the people began to shout "No to war!" and "We are for peace!", recalling that the country has not yet declared a martial law, and that the Minsk agreements have not been canceled. In this regard, the people refused to accept the summons, called the new wave of mobilization illegal and forcible, and kicked out of the military reps from their village.
People wrote an official address to the local authorities, calling mobilization illegal. They declared that they refuse to join the army, and any attempt to pick up their loved ones by force will be sabotaged by the entire village.

Ukraine civil war update 01/26/2015

Update from the Saker

Ukraine SITREP 26th January

26 January, 2015

I have been trying to wait as long as possible to get some facts confirmed, but at this point in time I am confident enough to say that there are numerous and convergent signs that things are going extremely badly for the Kiev junta. Just look at the following recent headlines:
Clearly, things are not going well *at all* for the Junta.

Concerning Debaltsevo and the rumors that the Junta forces were encircled in another "cauldron", they are probably a little premature.  However, even if the Junta forces have not been fully encircled *yet*, there is strong evidence that they are indeed in the process of being encircled and many reports even speak of panic.  However, the Junta has kept numerically large forces north of Donetsk and we should not dismiss them.  By all accounts, the Junta forces are trying hard to break the Novorussian noose around Debaltsevo and they are also trying to recapture the Donetsk airport.

Here are two SITREPS translated by the great Kazzura which I find interesting:

Prime Minister Zakharchenko

Corps commander Eduard Basurin

I am generally weary of triumphalism and I always get nervous when I see somebody underestimating the enemy. Most importantly, we should remember that while the Junta seems to be suffering major military losses, it still has two options available a false flag operation and declare war with Russia.

Option one: false flag

The worse the Junta's military defeats, the higher the risk of a major false flag. Keep in mind that the Nazi Junta despises the east Ukrainian which it considers as "bugs", "insects" and "subhumans" which should be barbecued and that it will have no pity for its own forces if they are defeated or, worse, disloyal. And remember the Nazi slogan about Crimea: "the Crimea will be Ukrainian or empty". We have to assume that the Nazi freaks in Kiev are capable of anything and, having already shot down a civilian airliner, I would not put it past them to sabotage a nuclear plant or some other very high risk target.

Option two: declare with with Russia

Notice, I did not say war "on Russia" because that would make the Junta the aggressor. But the Rada is quite capable tomorrow of declaring Russia an "aggressor state". And if that is not enough, Kiev is absolutely capable of striking (at least a few times) anywhere along the Russian-Ukrainian border (including in Crimea) in order to pull Russia in. Even if Russia does not take the bait and simply rides out the strikes, or if Russia responds with a very minimal amount of force, Kiev will continue to declare the "thousands" of Russian troops have invaded and that Russian "tactical battalion groups" are operating all along the line of contact. There is no way that Kiev will ever admit that its forces have been defeated by local Novorussian resistance fighters. In other words, any defeat of the Junta forces will always be presented as a "Russian aggression against the European choice of the free Ukrainian nation".

Folks like Yatseniuk or Turchinov will never just flee like Yanukovich did - before they do that, they will make darn sure to destroy as much of the Ukraine as possible and that happens to be exactly the US plan to: if Uncle Sam cannot have it, neither will anybody else.

This one is far from over

I therefore caution everybody against any premature triumphalism. It ain't over and it won't be over anytime soon. Even if the Novorussians comprehensively defeat the Junta forces (again!), this will not push their attack very far beyond the current frontlines (they just don't have the manpower for that). So don't expect the Novorussians to free Kiev and overthrown the Junta. That is something only the Ukrainian people themselves can do, and right now they are nowhere near that kind of outcome.

Things to look very, very bad for Kiev and the current tactical difficulties faced by the Junta might well result in an operational level collapse. At which point we can expect all sides except the Novorussians to try to revive some kind of stale and futile "peace process" which the Novorussians will have to accept, except that this time around Russia will probably make more demands then the first time around. Now that Putin has declared that the Junta's army what just "NATO's legion" the mood in Moscow is rather dark and the disgust with Poroshenko and all his lies very wide-spread. So even if Russia accepts another cease-fire, the Junta will have to pay a price for its failed assault. I think that the loss of Mariupol might be one of the conditions demanded by Russia (at least I hope so).

What about the imperial "Axis of Kindness"?

The Empire is in full combat mode. After George Soros, the US Commander of NATO ground forces has visited Kiev and the western credit rating agencies have further downgraded Russia even though every single objective economic indicator says otherwise. Things are a tad more complicated in Europe were the victory of Syriza in Greece will create a major risk for the future of the EU. Sure, Merkel is more then willing to do the USA's bidding, but her popularity suffers from it and tensions between the EU plutocrats and the European people are only on the rise. In France the entire Charlie Hebdo psyop has resulted in a chaotic and most volatile situation, the Polish nonsense about Auschwitz being liberated by Ukrainians has damaged the credibility of the russophobic camp and the awareness that the Kiev Junta and its supporters are bona fide Nazis is slowly but inexorably growing everywhere.

As Lincoln is supposed to have said "you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time". Time is running out for the Nazi freaks in Kiev.

The Saker

26.01.2015 Military Report of Novorossia

Putin offers shelter to Ukrainian men

President Vladimir Putin believes that the length of stay of the citizens of Ukraine, first of all, of military age, in Russia can be increased.


"By the way, many people already avoid mobilization, try to move to Russia, to wait it out here for a while. And rightly so, because they are just being pushed there as cannon fodder, under the bullets," - said Putin during a meeting with students at National Mineral Resources University.

However, the head of the state noted that the length of stay of the citizens of Ukraine on the territory of Russia is restricted by law, according to RIA Novosti.

"In accordance with the new law, citizens of Ukraine can not stay on the territory of the Russian Federation for more than 30 days. They go back, and they are grabbed! And again, sent there, under the bullets. So we will probably change something here, " - said Putin. "In the framework of the law we can increase the length of stay of certain categories of persons, primarily of military age".

Translators Note:

This idea has been floated in the Russian media, and looks like Putin took notice. This is an excellent peaceful measure which can cool the Ukrainian war effort, and a step towards peace. Not to mention, it would save the lives of these young men. And although Ukraine may replace these men with American or NATO contractors, it is the right decision.

Russians and Ukrainians are one people. Their ties go beyond business, a great number of residents of both countries are family. This has been a great resource for both Donbass refugees, Ukrainian men running from mobilization, and even residents of Central and Western Ukraine hit by the economic crisis. No matter how hard America tries, it will not succeed in the long run in splitting up Russia and Ukraine, tied by common destiny. 

"And then everything will go in accordance with the plan. The plan, of course, is a military secret."--Zakharchenko


Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Combat operations are continuing practically on the entire DPR territory. We are attempting to unite our forces with LPR, hoping this will happen in the near future. By doing so we will even out the frontline. And then everything will go in accordance with the plan. The plan, of course, is a military secret. Enemy’s losses only on the southern sector included 4 tanks, 2 BMPs, and up to one infantry company. It is difficult to estimate enemy personnel losses, because we were conducting an artillery duel and the enemy was able to evacuate the corpses and the wounded. But three burned out KamAZ trucks means, at a minimum, 60 killed. Our data indicates the Ukrainian army lost on DPR territory between 13 and 19 February 962 killed, over 1200 wounded, 456 missing. These numbers were obtained through radio intercepts.”

UAF generals are escaping the "Donbass ship", ATO command "is not available"

Yesterday the only UAF lifeline to Debaltsevo was already under NAF fire, today more reports confirm it's over

Translated by Kristina Rus

Mothers of Ukraine, save your sons: UAF generals are running from Donbass, leaving the soldiers behind

The field headquarters of the Ukrainian security forces, formed in the area of the ATO, are escaping and abandoning their troops, according to the Committee of the Military Mothers of Ukraine as of January 25, 2015.
"Due to the threat of further advance of the militants, UAF Operational Headquarters deployed in Kramatorsk is urgently preparing for evacuation. In addition, operational groups of the General staff hastily left the combat area in Debaltsevo. Commanders complain that they can not get in touch with the command in Kiev and personally with the commander [of the ATO] Muzhenko. To prevent the escape of soldiers from the battlefield in Debaltsevo cauldron, "zagradotriady" [ideologically filtered army police] from the volunteer battalions, arrived to the area."

UAF generals are going to throw ordinary soldiers to slaughter. For the pictures in the Western media. Mothers of Ukraine, save your sons!
Debaltsevo cauldron is a reality [with 7,500 Ukrainian soldiers].
It will be worse then the Ilovaisk cauldron. It will be an invisible death from the sky - "grads", artillery and fire. The Army of Novorossia has THREE times more artillery systems than in the summer of 2014.

Even now the losses of UAF are terrifying. 
After Ukrainian army killed civilians, women and children in Donetsk, Gorlovka, the Army of Novorossia will not have mercy.
For Vanya [#jesuisVanya]!

Vania before with his brother Tima, killed by Ukrainian shelling, and after without two eyes, two legs and one arm

P.S. Moms of Ukraine, save your sons. Death came for them in Debaltsevo!

P. P. S. Asking for maximum repost.

26.01.2015 Ukrainian crisis news. Latest news of Ukraine, DPR, Kiev, Mariupol

Right now the main news is the Debaltsevo pocket. The offensive is continuing."--Strelkov Update

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Right now the main news is the Debaltsevo pocket. The offensive is continuing. This thought is animating everyone. Heavy fighting on the Bakhmutka, our forces launched an attack here after repelling a Ukrainian attack yesterday. We launched an attack on Nizhnee from Novotoshkovka, and Krymskoye from the 29th and 31st checkpoints. We have cleared Zhelobok, took many prisoners. We are fighting for every meter of Popasnaya, the fighting is in its second day. Ukrainians stopped receiving reinforcements, while we  were able to conduct a rotation which means the fighting has regained its intensity. Ukrainians tried to use their reserves to retake Krasnyy Pakhar but the attack failed. Militia in Novogriorevka (north of Debaltsevo) attacked Ukrainian forces in Logvinovo, but the Ukrainian positions held. The capture of Logvinovo, which sits on the road between Debaltsevo and Artemovsk, will cut off Ukrainian forces from its supplies, and divide the pocket into two parts which will greatly worsen their situation.”

Ukraine civil war in English-language Russian media

Putin: Ukraine army is NATO legion aimed at restraining Russia
The Ukrainian army is essentially a ‘NATO legion’ which doesn’t pursue the national interests of Ukraine, but persists to restrict Russia, President Vladimir Putin says

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces drive armored vehicles in the town of Volnovakha, eastern Ukraine (Reuters / Alexander Ermochenko)

26 January, 2015

We often say: Ukrainian Army, Ukrainian Army. But who is really fighting there? There are, indeed, partially official units of armed forces, but largely there are the so-called ‘volunteer nationalist battalions’,” said Putin.

He added that the intention of Ukrainian troops is connected with achieving the geopolitical goals of restraining Russia.” Putin was addressing students in the city of St. Petersburg.

According to Putin, the Ukrainian army is not an army, but a foreign legion, in this case a foreign NATO legion, which, of course, doesn’t pursue the national interests of Ukraine.”

Kiev has been reluctant to find political solutions to the crisis in eastern Ukraine and only used the ceasefire to regroup its forces, the president stressed.
Unfortunately official Kiev authorities refuse to follow the path of a peaceful solution. They don’t want to resolve [the crisis] using political tools,” Putin said, adding that first Kiev authorities had first used law enforcement, then security services and then the army in the region.

It is essentially a civil war [in Ukraine]. In my view, many in Ukraine already understand this,” Putin dded.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reacted to President Putin’s words, calling his statementnonsense.”

"The statement that there is a NATO legion in Ukraine is nonsense. There is no NATO legion,"Stoltenberg told reporters.

Already tense situation in eastern Ukraine gone downhill in past 2 weeks. The escalation of violence came after a controversial incident at a Kiev-controlled checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha, where 12 passengers were killed on January 13.
Local residents inspect their home, which was damaged by shelling in the village of Sartan, near Mariupol (Reuters / Nikolay Ryabchenko)
Local residents inspect their home, which was damaged by shelling in the village of Sartan, near Mariupol (Reuters / Nikolay Ryabchenko)

READ MORE: 12 killed, 13 injured as shell hits bus near Donetsk, E. Ukraine

Kiev and the militia blamed each other for the incident.
Following escalation, Kiev ordered massive fire" on militia-held regions on January 18. The self-proclaimed Donetsk republic’s leader accused Kiev of trying to restart the war.

Violent confrontation between Ukrainian army troops and rebels reached its climax last week, when Mariupol in the
Donetsk Region was shelled. At least 30 people were killed and over 100 wounded.
Kiev and militia troops traded blame, with rebels insisting they didn’t’ have weapons close enough to the city to carry out such a deadly attack.
People remove debris near the building damaged by shelling on Saturday in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 25, 2015 (Reuters / Nikolay Ryabchenko)
People remove debris near the building damaged by shelling on Saturday in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 25, 2015 (Reuters / Nikolay Ryabchenko)

READ MORE: New sanctions against Russia are economic blackmail – Kremlin

Western countries reiterated accusations of Russia backing the rebel forces, and so being partly responsible for violations of the Minsk agreement. They called for more sanctions against Moscow.
On Monday, US President Barack Obama promised the United States would examine options to "ratchet up the pressure on Russia" on the Ukraine issue.
At the same time, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Washington has "more tools" available to increase pressure on Russia.

"I think we have seen that the sanctions work to create real stress in the economy. We have more tools. I am not today going to enumerate what the tools are but we have more tools," Lew told a news conference in Brussels.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski also called on the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Moscow, saying: "The response of the Western world should be very firm.”

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also hinted at further restrictions, adding that "an attack or a broad offensive on Mariupol would be a qualitative change in the situation to which we would have to react.”

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov called fresh threats of anti-Russian sanctions an absolutely destructive and unjustified course that would eventually prove to be shortsighted.”

Instead of stepping up the pressure on those who refuse to start a dialogue and to solve the conflict in a peaceful way, we hear they want to resume this economic blackmail against Russia,” Peskov noted in his statement.

Mariupol spotter ‘confession’ another fake by Kiev – Russian Defense Ministry
An internet video reportedly showing the confession of a man saying he was a spotter in the deadly shelling of Mariupol is just another low-quality fake created by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Russian Defense Ministry said.

26 January, 2015

The ministry also hinted that closer examination of the footage actually points to the fact that Ukraine forces were responsible for the bombardment.
The video was published on the internet on Sunday, one day after shelling in the eastern Ukrainian port city killed at least 30 people and left another 100 injured.
The SBU needed 24 hours to force this story out of a man, which – as we see in the clip – is read by the detainee from a piece of paper located left to the screen,” the statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said.

In the video, the person – identified by the SBU as Valery Kirsanov – says he has been working as a spotter for the self-defense forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic since being contacted by a rebel unit commander nicknamed Pepel (“Ash”) two weeks ago.

During this period, the man in the video said that several checkpoints of the Ukrainian military were shelled after he sent their coordinates via text messages to the rebels.
A car burns following a shelling in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 24, 2015. (Reuters/Nikolai Ryabchenko)
A car burns following a shelling in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, January 24, 2015. (Reuters/Nikolai Ryabchenko)

According to Kirsanov, Saturday’s shelling was also performed according to his sighting, but the militia’s artillery missed the checkpoint on Taganrogskay Street, which they were aiming for.

They were supposed to ‘do the work’ during the night, but they did it in the morning, at around 8:00 AM. I went to see how things were there and told Pepel that they were a kilometer off the mark,” he said in the video.

There is also a cut closer to the end of the footage, after which the detainee adds that Pepel is actually“an officer of the Russian army in charge of an artillery battalion” which shelled Mariupol, located in the Donetsk region, on Saturday.

The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that “the knowledge of the nicknames of his contacts (Pepel and another rebel commander he mentioned), their passport details, citizenship, and the composition of their subordinate forces and weaponry makes Kirsanov at least a resident agent, not some appointed spotter.”
This whole story would be more in place in a spy novel,” the statement said.

The ministry also pointed out “a notable inconsistency, which the SBU...neglected for some reason” while crafting its video.
At 1:42 of his ‘confession’ video, Kirsanov said that he sent his contacts the coordinates of a stationary checkpoint of Ukrainian troops in Vinogradnoe village...At 2:22 of the clip, when answering the question: ‘From where did the fire come?’ Kirsanov said with confidence: ‘From the direction of Vinogradnoe.’ In other words, from the direction where the Ukrainian military checkpoint was stationed,” the statement said.

The Defense Ministry also pointed out that Vinogradnoe is located 3.5 kilometers away from the shelled residential areas in Mariupol, which is just about the minimum range of Grad missile launchers, which were allegedly used in Saturday’s bombardment.

Further comments on this fake – or as one may call it a 'self-disclosure session' – by the SBU would be excessive,” the statement concluded.

Kiev’s troops and Donbass militia forces are locked in renewed hostilities in southeastern Ukraine after a shaky ceasefire reached by the sides in September utterly collapsed.

The Ukrainian military launched a massive offensive in mid-January, but failed to gain ground despite employing tanks, artillery, and aviation.

The Ukrainian conflict began last April when Kiev launched a military operation in the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after the regions refused to recognize the country’s new coup-imposed authorities.

The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000 have been injured, according to UN estimates.

Jen Psaki lies for a living

Psaki Calls Allegations About US Private Army in Ukraine 'False'
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called allegations over US troops or mercenaries operating in Ukraine false.

27 January 2015

WASHINGTON, January 27 (Sputnik) — Allegations that US private army or mercenaries operate with the Kiev government are incorrect, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Monday during a press briefing.

There have been rumors, which my understanding they are false,” Psaki told journalists when asked about US private army operating in Ukraine, referring to recent videos depicting English native speakers patrolling streets of Mariupol, a city in the southeast of Ukraine.

The first uniformed armed man speaking English was accidently recorded on the video by the Mariupol News Service. He refused to comment on the correspondent’s question and quickly went away with the words “Out of my face, out of my face, please.”

Ukrainian servicemen get inside armoured personnel carriers (APC) during a ceremony to hand over weapons, military equipment and aircraft to the army at a firing range outside Zhytomyr January 5, 2015

The other video depicts a uniformed man scouting the area for unexploded ordnance, following Saturday’s heavy shelling attack, which claimed at least 30 lives. The videos raised questions about the alleged involvement of foreign military contractors in the Ukrainian conflict.

There are no [US] troops operating [in Ukraine], there was also an accusation that there is a NATO legion in Ukraine…there have been a range of rumors out there which are inaccurate,” Psaki underscored.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday called Ukraine’s army “a NATO-controlled foreign legion, which is not serving to protect Ukraine’s national interests.”

Currently, the US officials are claiming that they are providing exclusively non-lethal support to Ukraine, as well as military advice. Last Tuesday the US Ambassador to Ukraine announced that the US Congress allocated $75 million to support Ukrainian defense sector in 2015, in addition to $119 million it had already provided in 2014

It is not the first time that Ukraine’s nationalist forces are attacking religious holy sites with full appeasement on the part of the Kiev authorities, the Foreign Ministry says

A channel’s representative has suddenly blamed the Crimean authorities for standing behind the search raid," Dmitry Polonsky, Crimea’s vice-premier, said

As a military political organization, NATO will not supply lethal weapons to Ukraine