Saturday, 3 May 2014

The murder of Volodymyr Rybak

This morning I have been much affected by reading this excellent piece by Jaime Dettmer at the Daily Beast, which I heartily recommend to all; especially anyone who even vaguely doubts the brutal and murderous nature of the "pro-Russian" militias currently in the process of taking over East Ukraine.

Rybak was a rather brave city councillor and former policeman who had angered the local militia and subsequently disappeared on 17 April. His mutilated body was found in a river four days later; he is thought to have been very seriously injured, but not yet dead, when his body was dumped.

In particular, the role of the militia leader in Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, is chillingly clear:
'The SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] has released portions of intercepted calls in which on April 17 alleged Russian agent Igor Bezler orders underlings to capture Rybak.
Bezler’s boss Igor Strelkov, a Muscovite whose real name is Igor Girkin, is heard in another subsequent intercepted conversation instructing the thuggish separatist leader in Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, to dispose of the body, which is “lying here and stinking.”
In the audio recording, Strelkov is heard to say: “Slava, please, settle the matter with the stiff, so that he is quickly dragged away from us today.” 
Ponomarev responds: “I will go quickly and settle the issue of burying this bitch.”
According to the SBU, Strelkov and Bezler are colonels in Russia’s GRU military service and were in Crimea previously, helping with the annexation.'
I remain profoundly irritated by the stupidity of some on the British left, such as the Guardian's resident useful idiot Seumas Milne (read this piece on how it's all the warmongering West's fault), in parroting the transparent propaganda of the Putin administration. 

For example, the ridiculous insistence that Kiev is governed by a quasi-fascist regime, when the far right holds a paltry few per cent of the parliamentary vote, as it does in such scurrilous countries as, er, France.

By the way, latest news reports seem to indicate that the long-feared direct intervention of the Russian troops is imminent, on the spurious grounds of "peacekeeping" (no, irony is not the Kremlin's strong point).

The obvious proposal from the US and EU would seem to be that if there is any peacekeeping to be done, it should be carried out by the UN, because it then would actually be peacekeeping, as opposed to - call me old-fashioned - an invasion of a sovereign country.

However, on previous form, I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE 06 May:

The superb Interpreter website reports that the above-mentioned Strelkov has also been caught on tape seeking approval from Putin's envoy, Vladimir Lukin, apparently for involvement in the kidnapping of the OSCE envoys who were recently released by the Donetsk de facto "government". The transparency of the whole thing and its direction by Moscow is amazing.

UPDATE 26 July:
Photographic evidence emerges linking Strelkov to Bosnian ethnic cleansing during the 1990s. Wow.

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