January 29, 2015--Among the many problems for the capitalist governments in Europe that the election in Greece has produced is that it complicates matters greatly for the additional sanctions against Russia that they would like to impose. Sanctions by the EU require unanimous consent of member countries. Ministers of the new Greek government have signaled that such consent is unlikely or downright not going to happen. Let us hope so.
Already, some EU countries have nixed sanctions proposals, such as the one floated by Britain last summer to cut Russia out of the SWIFT banking payment system. That proposal is being floated again by the largest capitalist governments in Europe and by the U.S. It was reported that sanctions would be on the agenda of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting today. But the statement issuing from that meeting merely extended a few of the travel and other incidental sanction measures already in place. Nothing new was decided. Sanctions will be discussed again at the upcoming meeting of EU heads of state on February 12. For some analysis of today's FAC meeting, including Greece's role, read Russia Insider's Alexander Mercouris' comment on his Facebook page.
Discussion of sanctions is back on the EU agenda in a big way as a result of the successful pushback by Donbas self defense forces against the Kyiv government's rupture two weeks ago of the shaky and highly unsatisfactory ceasefire that Russia pressured Donbas rebels to accept last September.
Kyiv never respected the ceasefire for a moment. The ceasefire followed the disastrous military setback it suffered in late August in southeast Ukraine. Kyiv has used the four months of time since then to rearm and to sharpen the work of its propaganda ministries. When it launched its new military offensive two weeks ago, it draped itself in the flag of 'Je suis Charlie', that is, 'We are victims of terrorism, just like in Paris'. The writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could not have written that script better.
The military offensive launched by Kyiv in mid-January began with an effort to take the Donetsk airport. But the whole operation is failing badly. Mainstream news, even, is beginning to report that self defense forces are close to sealing off a Ukraine salient around the town of Debaltsevo in Donetsk region. Thousands of Ukrainian troops could be trapped.
The rupture of the ceasefire is, of course, being blamed by imperialist media and governments on Donbas self defense forces. This is the same media that cannot bring itself to report on the use of cluster weapons, shelling of towns and cities, bombing of buses, etc by Kyiv's army and its allied fascist militias. I have several articles forthcoming which will examine the recent propaganda efforts of imperialist media. You can follow this important side of the Ukraine story via the 'Media critique' page of the New Cold War.org website.
My new article on January 30 will examine how the Toronto Star has been supporting various fundraising campaigns in Toronto of the fascist Right Sector party and the fascist paramilitary battalions that have been integrated into Ukraine's police and military apparatus. MP Peggy Nash shared a platform in Toronto on November 29 with a guest Right Sector speaker brought over from Ukraine to celebrate one year of the Euromaidan movement (reported here.)
Russia has announced it will extend beyond 90 days the permitted stays of Ukrainian men of military conscription age. Reports of revolt against military conscription across Ukraine are frequent and growing.
All this and more can be read and followed on the website 'New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond'. Recent, specific articles on Greece are here:
* New Greek government could lead the charge against Russia sanctions, by Alexander Mercouris, Russia Insider, Jan 28, 2015
* Cutoff of Russia from SWIFT banking payment system is threatened, The Moscow Times, Jan 29, 2015
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