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Conflict in Ukraine: Clashes in the East

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[PressTV] The Ukrainian army has accused pro-Russia separatists of targeting military positions along the Eastern border with mortars, grenade launchers, and machine guns, reports PressTV. This is the fourth Ukrainian casualty in three days as tensions with pro-independence fighters have resurfaced in the country’s east. Accusations from Kiev of Russia arming anti-Ukraine fighters have arisen after the Crimean Peninsula was rejoined into the Russian Federation in 2014. Moscow denies these accusations. Author Jim Cavanaugh and Center for Political Innovation correspondent Keaten Mansfield discuss the situation.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Cavanaugh replied to a question about how long the fighting in Eastern Ukraine would continue, “It’s important to recognize that Ukrainian forces have been shelling the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk over the past few months. This is not something that started from the Ukrainian side, this is a conflict that’s gone on since the coup, the insurrection that overthrew the constitutionally elected government and imposed a regime in Kiev which includes literal Hitler-loving fascists. And the people in Eastern Ukraine don’t want any part of that, and they’ve been fighting against it… So we have this ongoing conflict and [Ukrainian president] Zelenskyy [has] declared that the policy is for Ukraine to take the Crimean Peninsula. So Zelenskyy has been threatening all out war over, essentially, ‘getting back,’ Eastern Ukraine. And also we have to understand that, if anything, Russia has been holding back Eastern Ukraine from just declaring itself a separate state or doing as Crimea did and joining with Russia. So this is going to go on because Zelenskyy is under a lot of pressure from the fascist right in Ukraine to take back and assert sovereignty over Eastern Ukraine, to take back Crimea. The United States is in the background, wanting to keep a low-level conflict with Russia going on, but not wanting a full-out war with Russia. So, [for America], it’s good for this to keep going on forever, and the Russians are reluctant to force the question themselves. It’s likely that this is going to go on for quite a while [and this could only end] if there was a really serious Ukrainian attack on the Eastern provinces that was generated by pressure from the right-wing, fascist groups in Kiev.”

“The people of the East, of Ukraine, Russia, [and] Belarus, remember the atrocities of Germany, remember the atrocities of World War II or [The Great Patriotic War],” explains Keaten, “So it doesn’t seem like the fighting for independence and re-unification with Russia will end in Ukraine until the Ukrainian people are able to return to the homeland, to the motherland, that they want. The people of Ukraine, especially in Eastern Ukraine, are not going to tolerate a regime, a president, who is putting up statues of SS officers who committed atrocities across the breadbasket of Eastern Europe, and [they] are going to fight tooth and nail for the ability to join Russia, to join a country that is going to protect them as a religious (Russian orthodox) entity, protect them as an ethnic and cultural people who are much closer aligned and familiar with the Russian nation and government than they are with the Ukrainian, pro-fascist Zelenskyy government. So it seems no cease-fire, no peace deal, is going to bring an end to this conflict until the Eastern Ukrainian Donbas region is able to rejoin it’s true government, it’s true nation, which is Russia.”

The ongoing conflict in Russia is ideal for US imperialist interests as it keeps pressure on Russia and it distracts from peaceful relations in Eastern Europe. They will try to keep Kiev’s fascist forces from full-on attack, explains Cavanaugh, while continuing to accuse Russia of undue aggression for maneuvering within its own borders. CPI’s Keaten Mansfield showed his full support for self determination within the Donbass region and Eastern Ukraine.

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