Nearly all the 5,000 or more people who have died in the civil war have been killed in eastern Ukraine with ethnic Russian civilians bearing the brunt of those fatalities, many killed by artillery barrages from the Ukrainian army firing into populated centers and using cluster-bomb munitions.
Even Human Rights Watch, which is largely financed by pro-coup billionaire George Soros, reported that "Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city" despite the fact that "the use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes."
Neo-Nazi and other "volunteer" brigades, dispatched by the Kiev regime, have also engaged in human rights violations, including death squad operations pulling people from their homes and executing them. Amnesty International, another human rights group that Soros helps fund and that has generally promoted Western interests in Eastern Europe, issued a report noting abuses committed by the pro-Kiev Aidar militia.
"Members of the Aidar territorial defense battalion, operating in the north Luhansk region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions," the Amnesty International report said.
The Aidar battalion commander told an Amnesty International researcher: "There is a war here. The law has changed, procedures have been simplified. " If I choose to, I can have you arrested right now, put a bag over your head and lock you up in a cellar for 30 days on suspicion of aiding separatists."
Amnesty International wrote: "Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law."
And the Aidar battalion is not even the worst of the so-called "volunteer" brigades. Others carry Nazi banners and espouse racist contempt for the ethnic Russians who have become the target of something close to "ethnic cleansing" in the areas under control of the Kiev regime. Many eastern Ukrainians fear falling into the hands of these militia members who have been witnessed leading captives to open graves and executing them.
As the conservative London Telegraph described in an article last August by correspondent Tom Parfitt:
"Kiev's use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk 'people's republics' should send a shiver down Europe's spine.
"Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf's Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites."
Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, "is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly," according to the Telegraph article which quoted a commentary by Biletsky as declaring: "The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen."
The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Ignoring Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers."]
So, the current wave of U.S. propaganda condemning a rebel offensive for violating a shaky cease-fire might look different if seen through the eyes of a population under siege, being cut off from banking services, left to starve and facing "death squad" purges by out-of-control neo-Nazis.
Through those eyes, it would make sense to reclaim territory currently occupied by the Kiev forces, to protect fellow ethnic Russians from depredations, and to establish borders for what you might hope to make into a sustainable autonomous zone.
And, if you put yourself in the Russian position, you might feel empathy for people who were your fellow citizens less than a quarter century ago and who saw their elected leader ousted in a U.S.-backed coup. You also might be alarmed at the presence of Nazi storm troopers (considering the history of Hitler's invasion) and the prospects of NATO moving up to your border with a possible deployment of nuclear weapons. You might even recall how agitated Americans got over nuclear missiles in Cuba.
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