As the east Ukraine rebels announced their agreement to a ceasefire with the humanitarian crisis in Donetsk and Luhansk surpassing a deterioration of public utilities and the indiscriminate carnage of an unarmed civilian population, the ongoing attacks by the US-supported Ukrainian army continues.
And just as the Obama Administration displayed no, nada, zero, zilch compassion for the Palestinian people suffering under a heavy artillery assault and massive invasion by the IDF, so too the Obama Administration which historically wraps itself in the self-delusion of being the good guys, have turned a cold shoulder to the people of east Ukraine.
It may still strike some Americans as a surprising shock that a Democratic Presidential Administration would display such a cruel and grotesquely inhumane response to the obvious human devastation taking place in Ukraine. The willingness of the Obama Administration to inflict extreme suffering on Ukraine citizens with no mercy, not a shred of charity, intent only on a big fat payback to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the expense of precious human life may be judged by a universal force greater than the American voter as an unforgiveable sin against humanity.
As the Donetsk rebel leaders who opposed the ouster of the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February, are now surrounded and trapped, facing a looming catastrophe in a city of one million citizens, they have offered a truce, Vice President Joe Biden relayed the message to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko that “any Russian action in Ukraine even for purported ‘humanitarian’ purposes, without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable and a violation of international law.”
Sounding eerily reminiscent of the soulless Israel President Benyamin Netanyahu, Biden and Poroshenko agreed that “if Russia were serious about improving the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it had to immediately stop its shelling of Ukrainian troops and release Ukrainian hostages being held inside Russia, as well as cut its provision of weapons to Russian proxies operating in Ukraine.”
In addition to the blathering nonsense that either a ceasefire or humanitarian aid is a violation of international law, there are only speculative US satellite images that provide no credible evidence, not a scintilla of factual proof that the Russians have been shelling Ukrainian troops. The fact remains that if Russia had been providing weapons across the border, it would be reasonable to expect that the rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk would not now be surrounded and on the verge of surrender or suffering a human catastrophe.
What the recently US declassified satellite images do not prove is the source of Russian weapons – whether they came with disaffected Russian-speaking Ukrainian troops, earlier raids on Ukraine supply depots or a decades-old black marketeer.
And as the “Vice President and President Poroshenko reiterated that we continue to urge Russia to engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis,” that is exactly what Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been attempting for several months – only to be spurned by the intransigence of the White House.
The same day as Biden’s call to Poroshenko, President Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron to obtain their agreement to the same condition; namely that there will be no ceasefire or humanitarian assistance from Russia to the peoples of east Ukraine. What remains in doubt is exactly who else might provide the necessary level of adequate humanitarian assistance with the same dispatch since the suffering population are largely Russian speaking.
After his conversation with Obama, Cameron issued a statement reiterating that any humanitarian aid from Russia was “unjustified and illegal” as UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond agreed with ”I strongly urge Russia to avoid any provocative actions.” Even as the UN estimated over 1,300 deaths since April, Hammond added that “The conditions for such an intervention in eastern Ukraine manifestly do not exist. In these circumstances, such an intervention would be unjustified and illegal.”
In response, the Russian Embassy to the UK replied that
“Russia did not supply and is not supplying weapons to Ukraine. Despite previous international agreements, including provisions of the Geneva Statement of 17 April and the Berlin Declaration of 2 July, Kiev continues a large-scale military operation in this region using heavy artillery, armoured vehicles, Grad multi-launch missile systems, causing deaths of Ukrainian civilians and mass destruction of civilian infrastructure.”
On Tuesday, Lavrov suggested a proposal that the UN Security Council deploy an international humanitarian mission with Russian humanitarian aid under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in eastern Ukraine. The ICRC in Geneva immediately announced its support for a humanitarian intervention citing that “In the current situation, any humanitarian initiative is welcome to alleviate the suffering of civilians” and that “The current situation calls for a bigger effort to help the civilian population, and we are deploying additional teams in Marioupol and Starobilsk.”
Meanwhile UN Ambassador Samantha Power who has frequently justified military action in Libya, Syria and elsewhere as ‘humanitarian’ intervention, responded that “Any further unilateral intervention by Russia in Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming and would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine.”
Whether it be Biden, Obama or Kerry or any member of Congress, what the US stark lack of political sophistication or statesman-like demeanor have consistently failed to recognize is that any escalation of violence on its border with Ukraine does not serve the economic or long term interests of Russia. Just as the annexation of Crimea was swift, without bloodshed and democratic, Putin appears to have missed the opportunity to allow the Donbass to annex itself to Russia with the west unable to respond as they were during the Crimean merger.
With the President’s performance on foreign policy at a 54% disapproval rating by Americans and a mere 37% approval, one might expect that any occupant of the Oval Office would respond with haste to do whatever it might take to improve those numbers – a ceasefire, a formal negotiation, a withdrawal of military forces, an urgent supply of humanitarian assistance – but the reality is that no one in the Obama Administration gives a damn.
Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth. in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor. Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.