Ukrainian Offensive Falters

Ukrainian Offensive Falters
by Stephen Lendman
Western media headlined it. The New York Times said “Ukraine Push Against Rebels Grinds to a Halt.” Things “unraveled in disarray.”
An “entire contingent of 21 armored vehicles…surrendered or pull(ed) back…It was a glaring humiliation for the new government in Kiev. (Events) underscored (its) weakness.”
The Wall Street Journal said “Ukraine’s Efforts to Regain Control of East Sputter.” Locals “halted army columns.”
“The faltering ‘antiterrorist’ operation, launched a day earlier, leaves the government looking increasingly powerless in the face of separatists who are holding government buildings in as many as 10 cities close to the Russian border.”
“The stumbling start underscored difficulties faced by the new government…(It) leaves Kiev with narrowing options.”
“(M)uster(ing) more force…risk(s) further undermining its already shaky legitimacy in the east, as residents accuse it of sending soldiers against unarmed civilians.”
BBC headlined “Ukraine crisis: Armored vehicle(s) ‘rebranded as Russian.” 
Russian flags were hoisted. Weapons were surrendered. Soldiers joined locals.
One resident asked: “Why did you come to our land? Why are you driving over our fields? We are peaceful people! And we just want our demands to be respected!”
Reuters said “pro-Moscow separatists took control of some of their armored vehicles and crowds surrounded another column, forcing the troops to hand over the pins from their rifles and retreat.”
Other reports highlighted elite Ukrainian units defecting. They refused to attack unarmed civilians.
Ukrainian forces were lied to. They were ordered to wage an “anti-terrorism operation.” One soldier perhaps spoke for others saying:
They were told “Russian invaders who have taken the local population hostage are waging war at us.” Orders said “free Donbas from occupants.”
“This morning, we started our attack, but the picture we saw (in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk) turned out to be completely different.” 
“We saw in front of us a crowd of locals, mostly adults, women and men.” 
“They explained to us that there are no occupants here and there is no one to fight. Instead, they gave us food and talked to us.”
Dozens of soldiers vowed “not to follow orders and shoot at these people.” Some sided with residents. Others stayed neutral.
APCs hoisted Russian flags. Elite units refused to obey orders. They fraternized with residents. They surrendered their weapons.
Following negotiations in Slavyansk, around 300 Ukrainian soldiers refused to fight. They agreed to go home. Locals cheered.
Media scoundrels lied. They didn’t seize armored vehicles and weapons. Soldiers switched sides peacefully. A Slavyansk activist said:
“…Ukrainian troops arrived here flying a Russian flag. (T)hey have taken the side of the people.”
Photos showed women and children climbing atop APCs. They fraternized with soldiers. In Pchyolkino village, similar scenes occurred.
Ukrainian troops were exhausted. According to one soldier:
“They’ve had us running around for about two months now. We’re being sent to one city, then to the next. We cannot even wash, or eat normally or rest.”
Others complained about media propaganda. “(F)ake information is spread.” Doing so “creat(es) unnecessary tension.” 
Soldiers found “no (local) aggression.” Peaceful locals weren’t threatening.
State-controlled Ukrainian media lied saying soldiers will “never surrender.”
Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) leader Vitali Kitschko allies with illegitimate fascist putschists.
He lied claiming Eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian supports get “300 to 500 dollars a day.” Funds come “from abroad,” he said. Moscow sends them, he added.
No evidence whatever suggests it. State-controlled Ukrainian media featured his comments.
Separately, they claimed they claimed Russian “shock troops” massed on Ukraine’s border near Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkov.
Ukrainian Center of Military and Political Studies head Dmytro Tymchuk lied, saying:
They consist of “airborne forces and special groups of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the Russian Federation.” They’re “battalion” sized tactical groups.
Another report said “(s)abotage and terrorist groups and local extremists have seized several armored vehicles of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region.”
“In the center of the town the column was blocked by locals, including representatives of Russian subversive and terrorist groups.”
So far, one exception proved the rule. Mariupol-based soldiers attacked unarmed civilians. 
Illegitimate putschist interior ministry head Arsen Avakov lied. He called them “armed militant.” Three deaths were reported. Over a dozen others were injured.
Protesters approached the base peacefully. They posed no threat. They urged soldiers to support their struggle. They refused. 
They fired on defenseless civilians. Whether this type incident repeats remains to be seen. So far, Kiev’s offensive failed.
Illegitimate putschist president Okeksandr Turchynov ordered Ukraine’s 25th separate airborne brigade “disestablished.”
It “showed cowardice and surrendered (its) arms,” he said. Its members “will stand trial,” he added. Kiev’s prosecutor-general was told to prepare charges.
Illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk lied accusing Moscow of “exporting terrorism.”
“The Russian government must immediately call off its intelligence-diversionary groups, condemn the terrorists and demand that they free the buildings,” he said.
Eastern Ukrainian activists aren’t terrorists. “Who are you at war with,” they asked soldiers? “With which terrorists?” Local residents are peaceful. They threaten no one. 
One perhaps spoke for others, saying:
“Today, Ukrainian troops sided with the people. (T)roops sent to our city to suppress ‘terrorism’ ” found none.
“We do not see any terrorism in our city. This means they have been sent to fight with peaceful civilians, with women and children…to fire at those women and elderly people who have gathered on the city’s square.”
“Before we had chance to talk with the boys, we had to feed them. It is because they threw those boys at us like kittens, to fire at us, but forgot to even provide them with food.”
One soldier called himself a 25th paratrooper division member. “We are all boys who won’t shoot our own people, he said.
Kathrin Hille is Financial Times Beijing correspondent. She shills for power. She headlined “Putin: Russia’s great propagandist,” saying:
He “annex(ed) Crimea.” On March 18, he “lashed out against a ‘fifth column’ of ‘national traitors’ enlisted by the West to subvert Russia.”
“He vowed to respond forcefully.” Hille called Russia’s “imperfect democratic institutions under severe threat.”
“Since the Crimea annexation, there have been frequent moves that symbolise a Soviet revival,” she claimed.
No evidence whatever suggests it. Invented misinformation substitutes for hard facts. Russian democracy shames America’s sham process.
Putin enjoys overwhelming popular support. Polls at times shows it tops 80%. Major Western leaders are scorned. 
Hille didn’t explain. She claims “Putin is tightening his grip.”
“The Russian government is determined to control the internet as part of its quest to tighten the noose around free speech.”
Voice of Russia, RT International, RIAN, and other Russian media shame their Western counterparts.
They feature real news, information and analysis. Don’t expect Hille to explain. 
She lied claiming “Putin brought almost all traditional media either directly under state ownership or into a position where they could be indirectly controlled…”
Western media feature Russia bashing. Putin is public enemy number one. He defends Russian sovereignty. He does so responsibly.
He opposes lawless US imperialism. He says what everyone needs to hear. 
A separate article discusses his April 17 annual televised Q & A session. He holds them with ordinary Russians.
In 2013, it ran a record four hours, 48 minutes. No Western leader matches him. Rare US events are carefully scripted. 
Regime supporters alone participate. They do so by invitation. Questions and answers resemble a love fest. Propaganda substitutes for straight talk.
Ongoing events are worrisome. Kiev wants direct NATO intervention. Putschist grip on power is weak without it. 
Eastern resistance shows its vulnerability. So do military units refusing to fight. London’s Guardian said “large chunks of the east (are) in open revolt.”
“Ukraine is rapidly vanishing as a sovereign state. Its army is falling apart.”
“What was meant to be a show of strength” turned into a fiasco. Kiev declared war. 
It did so on Washington’s orders. Soldiers refused to fight. It remains to be seen what follows.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.