Was the assassination of Aleksandr Zakharchenko a prelude to all-out war on Donbass?

On August 31 Aleksandr Vladimirovich Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic was killed by an explosive device in Café Separa in Donestk.  His body guard was also killed, eleven others were injured.

At least 120,000 mourners attended his funeral on Saturday.  Zakharchenko had led the breakaway republic since November 2014 when armed conflict broke out between the DPR, neighboring Lugansk and the Ukrainian military, neo(?)-Nazi militias, and armed provocateurs.  He had apparently survived several earlier assassination attempts.

Russia’s FSB apparently believes Ukrainian intelligence services were behind it; Ukraine’s SBU has denied involvement in the plot, instead blaming internecine warfare within the republic, as with the murder of Malcolm X, I assume.

As far as the Minsk ‘peace process’, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov had this to say:

Given the current situation, it’s impossible to talk about the nearest meetings in the Normandy format like many of our European partners would have wanted. It is a serious situation that must be analyzed. We are doing it right now.”

On Sept. 3, 2018 Seraphim Hanisch had published: ‘New offensive by Western Ukraine and NATO against Donetsk in the making, Hidden from view by the mainstream Western media, plans seem to be taking shape for a Ukrainian / NATO offensive against Donetsk’, theduran.com, partially via tass

“Ukraine’s army command is preparing an offensive on positions of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) with the use of three army brigades and the Azov paramilitary battalion under control of foreign instructors, Daniil Bezsonov, a spokesman for the DPR operations command, said on Sunday.

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, after assault drills, Ukraine’s 79th assault airborne brigade is about to be pulled from the Nikolayev region to the conflict zone in Donbass. The Azov group [<(Wiki) that the UNHRC has clearly stated committed war crimes] formally a unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, is engaged in exercises to drill the skills of combat actions in populated localities.

“So, it seems that the command of Ukraine’s ‘unified forces operation’ allocates the central role in an offensive to the 36th marines brigade, 56th mechanized infantry and 79th assault airborne brigades. Nazis from the Azov group will be tasked to back the offensive in the rear. All these operations will be commanded by the military from the United States and Canada, or, in other words, by NATO military,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

According to Bezsonov, a big number of Ukrainian servicemen have reportedly reached the village of Urzuf on the Sea of Azov’s coast, while high-ranking US and Canadian military arrived to the command of Ukraine’s Vostok army group. “We don’t rule out that foreign servicemen will take part in the planned offensive,” he said.

On September 1, the DPR operations command said citing reconnaissance data that Ukrainian army had begun preparations for an offensive to be launched on September 14.” [snip]

Zakharchenko’s murder benefits Ukrainian hardliners in the first place, [as they] are not interested in the Minsk process or any sort of peace settlement with the people of the Donbass region,” Aleksandar Pavic, a political analyst, said, commenting on the assassination. He believes the hardliners are “headed by the Ukrainian president [Petro] Poroshenko himself” and thus constitute the backbone of the current government.

Kiev has always considered the Ukrainian conflict a “zero sum game,” former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT, adding that “anything that weakens the leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics has to be considered a plus for Kiev.” He pointed out that this murder “fits into a pattern of earlier attacks” that Kiev launched against the self-proclaimed republics.

Zakharchenko’s murder clearly shows that the Kiev government has always regarded the situation in eastern Ukraine “as an issue to be settled by force,” John Laughland, British philosopher, historian and author told RT.” [long snip]

“The West will eventually attempt to pin the blame for Zakharchenko’s murder on some local actors or frame it as a result of some sort of internal power struggle, the analyst predicted. He went on to say that this incident could also “boost Poroshenko’s standing with the promoters of the hysterical anti-Russian campaign in the US, many of whom will be present at John McCain’s funeral, which Poroshenko is scheduled to attend.

This assassination could potentially destroy every possibility of a political settlement and we will be back to the worst period of the Ukrainian conflict. It will destroy the political process,” he said.”

From the Kyivpost.com Aug.31: On Sept. 1:

“Zakharchenko adviser Alexander Kazakov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that the separatists had arrested several suspects and they implicated the Ukrainian special services in organizing the attack.

Ukraine has denied the allegations. Zakharchenko was killed in a “criminal confrontation” between separatists or liquidated by the Russian special services, Ihor Guskov, a senior official in the Security Service of Ukraine, told Interfax.

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have closed the borders of the territory under their control and declared a state of emergency and a three-day mourning period. The unrecognized state has also appointed its “deputy prime-minister,” Dmitry Trapeznikov, as interim leader.”

Also on the Ukraine tab at the Kyiv Post is a Nov. 6 piece: ‘2 54 tonnes of humanitarian aid head to occupied areas of Donetsk region’, you betcha, but I only have one freebie left there, and it’s only the sixth of September.

Now in his Sept. 9 column, Christopher Black demonstrates his righteous fury: ‘Zakharchenko: A Hero Is Dead, And Bloody Flows the Don’, journal-neo.org:

“The cruel assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the Donetsk Republic, in Donetsk on August 31 by elements of the Kiev regime’s forces backed by NATO, and the wounding of many others in the bomb blast that took his life, confirms what I wrote three years ago, that the Minsk 2 agreement signed in February 2015 to try to establish peace in Ukraine was a rotting corpse. Russia, ever more hopeful than I that reason and the desire for peace would prevail stuck to it nevertheless and consistently called for adherence to its terms despite facing obstruction at every turn. The murder of the leader of the Donetsk Republic confirms that not only has the corpse been rotting on the battle fields of the Donbass all this time, it is now picked apart by the carrion birds of prey that want war with the Donbass and with Russia and only its skeleton remains. It’s time to bury it.

Some NATO members such as Germany paid lip service to the Minsk agreement and insisted it be complied with but always complaining that it was Russia that was not pushing the Donbass Republics to bend to NATO’s will. But in fact the Donbass Republics tried as they could to comply with the terms under very difficult circumstances and constants provocations, attacks and assassinations of its leadership.

Poroshenko and his fascist allies instead refused to change the constitution as stipulated to accommodate the concerns of the Donbass republics, have tried to suppress the Communist Party and other parties in opposition, have refused to withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact, have maintained increasingly heavy artillery attacks on the civilian populations and areas and cut off routes for essential foodstuffs, medical aid and technical equipment. Rather than enjoying a ceasefire, the peoples of the Donbas are under a constant state of siege.”

He reminds readers that NATO puppet Poroshenko sees only a military solution, and has increased the draft and reorganized command structures for ‘readiness’ as the US, Canada and other Nato nations pour in munitions and armaments, mercenaries, and ‘advisers’ (likely CIA) in aid of a military solution.  The staging of military exercises ‘from the Baltic to Bulgaria’, tanks at the borders are obviously is designed as ‘a message to Russia’.

Black quotes Putin in Nov. 2015 as having said:

“It was the Donbas militias that suggested withdrawing all military equipment with calibre under 100mm. Unfortunately, the opposite side didn’t do that. On the contrary, according to the available data, it is concentrating its units there, including those reinforced with military hardware. As for the Minsk-2 agreement, I believe there is no alternative for resolving the situation and that peace will prevail in the long run… Our task is to minimize the losses with which we will come to this peace.”

Putin also stated, “I hope that it will not come to direct large scale clashes.”

“Yet”, Black notes: “the people of the Donbas would be surprised to be told that the thousands of shells raining down on them from the Kiev junta’s artillery in order to provoke those clashes do not count as large scale attacks.”

He muses about  the purpose of this long siege, and notes in incredible resilience of the Donbass forces, and that of course Kiev and NATO know that Russia doesn’t want to get drawn into a clash that could easily turn into a major war.  That surmise (i’m nor nearly as sanguine) causes him to believe that the siege is by way of a war of attrition and exhaustion of moral and economic resistance.  He further posits that the effort is to gain new allies against both the Donbass separatists and Russia itself.

And right on cue from the Kyiv Post: ‘Rada ratifies agreement with Poland on defense cooperation’ by Interfax-Ukraine, Sept. 6, one snippet, you’ll know the rest of the yada, yada:

“The agreement provides for cooperation between the two countries in the defense field in 24 areas, in particular military communications and the information system, research for the needs of the armed forces, military infrastructure, development, modernization, manufacturing and supply of defense equipment, cooperation in the defense industry, sphere of military training, military medicine and others.”

But back to Black, who notes at length the epic and absurd campaigns against The Bear did it all!, then:

“Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that, “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”

Indeed we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to any one’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.

But the Kiev-NATO cabal cannot break the will of the peoples of the Donbas nor of Russia and so the constant attacks, the constant propaganda, the constant turning of the economic screws.”

He goes on to quote chapter and verse of the war crimes and violations of the UN Charter and the Statute of Rome (that created the ICC)  being committed in the Donbass, and notes that the West and the ICC condones it all by way of their continuing silence.  There’s a lot more, but he concludes:

“The only way forward is to resolve the conflict at the political level on the basis of the recognition of the right to self-rule and autonomy for the Donbas republics, the creation of a federal state to assure ethnic stability, and the commitment by Ukraine that it will be a neutral state and not part of any plan to “contain” Russia, a plan that can only lead to world war. But the NATO puppets in charge of Ukraine do not act in the interests of Ukraine. They act in the interests of the masters of war who have no concern for humanity in general or Ukrainians in particular and if they continue their operations they will not succeed in uniting Ukraine but only in laying it waste. The assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, a crime that should be condemned by the world, is a message from NATO to Russia, that instead of living in peace, as quietly flows the Don, to use the title of Sholokhov’s novel, the people of the Donbass can expect only more war, for a hero is dead, and bloody flows the Don.”

Domestically things are hellish for Ukrainian citizens v. internal corruption, the IMF, at least for the underclass useless eaters, but those are stories for another day.  Aren’t you glad?

‘This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.’

~ James Baldwin 1963, The Fire Next Time

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

5 responses to “Was the assassination of Aleksandr Zakharchenko a prelude to all-out war on Donbass?

  1. from peter korzun, sept. 3 strategic-culture.org:

    “By the way, is it a coincidence that Mr. Volker’s interview appeared just as Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the Donetsk self-proclaimed republic, was assassinated? Just asking.” that was his closing, from the top a few enticing bits:

    “Washington is upping the ante in Ukraine. Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said in an interview with the Guardian published on September 1 that “Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists.” According to him, the Trump administration was “absolutely” prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces than the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April. “They need lethal assistance,” he emphasized. Mr. Volker explained that “[t]hey need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we’ll have to look at air defense.” The diplomat believes Ukraine needs unmanned aerial vehicles, counter-battery radar systems, and anti-sniper systems. The issue of lethal arms purchases has been discussed at the highest level.

    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 allocated $250m in military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal arms. The US has delivered Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Kiev but this time the ambassador talked about an incomparably larger deal.

    Ukraine has officially requested US air-defense systems. According to Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, the Ukrainian military wants to purchase at least three air-defense systems. The cost of the deal is expected to exceed $2 billion, or about $750 million apiece. The system in question was not specified, but it’s generally believed to be the Patriot.

    Volker’s statement was made at a time of rising tensions in the Sea of Azov, which is legally shared by Ukraine and Russia. It is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait. The rhetoric has heated up and ships have been placed under arrest as this territorial dispute turns the area into a flashpoint. Russia has slammed the US for backing Ukraine’s violations of international law in the area. According to a 2003 treaty, the Sea of Azov is a jointly controlled territory that both countries are allowed to use freely.”

    he lists ukraine, Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina as having been ‘aspirant status’ (it used to be ‘under nato’s umbrella),notes how insane it is for nato nations to arm and train ukie military given their grisly human rights record, already condemned by the US state dept., UNHRC, and other monitoring groups. but this is fascinating:

    “The move is provocative and it may have consequences. For instance, Russia could supply the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine with up-to-date weapons systems in quantities sufficient to deter any military action on the part of Kiev. Once the Minsk accords are no longer functional and cannot command obediance, Moscow could recognize those republics as independent states that are eligible for military cooperation agreements, which would include stationing military bases on their soil. If their governments invited the Russian armed forces to be deployed inside their borders, it would be quite natural to agree to those requests. No international law would be breached. In a nutshell, if the US crosses that red line, Russia will act accordingly. Nobody seems to want a war raging in Ukraine, but that’s what the US weapons supplies would promote, egging the Ukrainian government on to seek a military solution. And what if it loses? Washington would be to blame for such a scenario.”

    the big Q is who will donate the air defense systems to ukraine, or have they already?


  2. nice scoop w.d. well, at least for me. I read yours yesterday; other folks are on it today.

    the use of espionage & agents provocateurs spirals out of control, don’t it? counterespionage measures have to be taken in order to protect oneself from Mossad, MI6, etc. I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s all kinds of foreign agents in Donbass & Kiev, from many parties, and this situation by its very nature creates suspicion. Russia would be stupid not to be doing certain things in the region, esp given that the West demonstrates its willingness to employ Nazis, Islamists, death squads, etc., to further its agenda. Pakistan has not good people in India, and vice versa. ditto many other places in the world. it’s not entirely impossible for someone to “go rogue” but it sure as hell is convenient to create so much chaos in places that it’s hard to tell who’s doing what. hell is murky, as Lady Macbeth said.

    but what does Russia have to gain from this? cui bono? NATO’s agenda has bogged down in Ukraine. why would Russia (again, = Putin) inflame that situation with this terrorist action? like, why would Assad, as he is rolling them up, use chemical weapons on ISIS? makes no sense.

    but we wouldn’t be talking about any of this crap if the West wasn’t employing Nazis & Islamists, would we?

  3. a strange brew of ‘friends, allies’ the amerikan empire (nato) chooses, isn’t it?
    dethrone secular ‘regimes’ for religious ones, al qaeda ‘moderates’, nazis, but shhhhh….in the name of ‘democracy abroad’ or whatever. the sauds w/ the crystal lit orb might have been the best.

    syria? FMH, yemen? FMH. obeisance to the house of saud and israel is what’s important, though. and of course: every proxy war w/ russia including muellergate. and once again: novichok, novichok! T may’s intel agencies have named the two BOLOs, and yanno how she knows it’s so? no, not like niki haley’s precognitive knowledge…

    but she learned to boogie the magic boogie on her african dialing for dollars charm offensive.

    but bless your heart; do tell me what clown store job, if just in email, okay?

  4. Thank you for this, wendye. I am always late to the party, but at least I have the following to add:


    What I have so far gleaned from this article (and warning, the translation is not the best) is that the elderly Patriarch of Constantinople, who is in Istanbul, Turkey, has been taking it upon himself to make decisions for all the Orthodox high clergy that go against what local national churches decide with respect to neighboring ones. It’s interesting to us perhaps because of its political overtones, though in general I would say that I fortunately don’t very much care about who is superior to whom in my faith. I like Bishop Kirill of Moscow because he seems a kindly person, and Pope Francis for the same reason.

    In any case, I suspect that the repercussions from Zakharchenko’s assassination will be felt more intensely than this religious flap. It’s just more nastiness added to the bonfire of vanities.

    • good to see you, ww. i’d been hoping you were doin’ okay, but out in your garden saving your crops from hail, wind, and pestilence i clicked in, and the only (unstated) relevance that may have been involved was that ukraine recently refused entrance to one of the heads of one of the orthodox churches.

      bad form. but at night after i’d cross-posted this over yonder, i’d added tweets that the neo-nazis were shelling the donbass w/ white phosphorus again, not a war crime *if it’s used to light up*…what? the enemy? any fake reason at all?

      but i confess, there are o many directions for our heads to swivel…that i haven’t checked back. today it’s the final war for idlib, the T admin is considering, etc., the list just keeps rollin’ on, doesn’t it?

      “Give me Empire…or Give me Death!” (both the red and the blue teams, of course…) ah well, i’ve been working on a modern art showcase for an artist at c99% for a week or so; tough gig and complicated, but at least something creative, not destructive.

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