By Greg Butterfield, Workers World
When Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrives in New York for the 70th United Nations General Assembly in late September, activists in solidarity with the Donbass People’s Republics and Ukrainian political prisoners plan to expose him for the war criminal he is.
|‘Wanted for War Crimes’ by Bragon-the-bat|
Poroshenko comes bearing proposals aimed at furthering U.S.-NATO demonization of the Russian Federation – whose president, Vladimir Putin, will also be present in New York. In his speech September 29, Poroshenko is expected to ask the General Assembly to remove Russia from its permanent slot on the UN Security Council, where it has often served as a counter-weight to U.S. aggression, as in Syria.
Although such a change is unlikely to find much support, Poroshenko and his U.S. handlers will use this occasion to continue spreading lies about a “Russian invasion” of eastern Ukraine and equally imaginary Russian threat to NATO members in eastern Europe. Poroshenko is also expected to ask President Obama and other U.S. officials for billions of dollars in additional weapons and other military aid to suppress the anti-fascist rebellion in the Donbass mining region.
Besides demonizing Russia, these tales are meant to discredit the independent Donestsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. People there voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine after the far-right coup of February 2014, whose first act was to ban the Russian language – the langauage of most residents in the east.
After signing an internationally-negotiated ceasefire agreement in Minsk earlier this year, Poroshenko’s military has violated its terms in every imaginable way: refusing to implement Special Status for the Donbass and other regions, continuing to shell civilians areas nightly, and even building up a force of 90,000-plus troops and new NATO-supplied armaments on the contact line with Donetsk and Lugansk – currently poised to carry out a new military offensive.
Poroshenko, a multi-millionaire oligarch known as the “Chocolate King” for his control of the Roshen Chocolate empire, was elected in unfree, unfair elections in May 2014, just weeks after the fascist massacre of 48 youths, workers and pensioners at the House of Trade Union in Odessa. At the time, Poroshenko was seen as one of the more “moderate” leaders of the Maidan movement that had overthrown the previous government.
With opponents of Maidan forced off the ballot, people in the country’s east boycotting the “election of blood,” and neo-Nazi gangs intimidating residents at polling stations, voters opted for Poroshenko in hopes that he would negotiate an end to the war against Donbass.
Instead, Poroshenko immediately intensified the war, adopted the ideological trappings of the most virulent fascist groups in Kiev, and stepped up persecution of political opponents, especially on the left.
Along with his masters in Washington and Brussels, Poroshenko carries the weight of at least 7,000 deaths and tens of thousands of wounded in Kiev’s so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation against the Donbass republics; more than 1.35 million displaced people, including 900,000 refugees who’ve fled Ukraine and Donbass since the war’s start, most to Russia; and thousands of political prisoners, from local communist activists and internationally-known journalists to teenagers posting anti-war sentiments on social media.
Poroshenko is Wall Street’s and Washington’s man in Kiev. He’s sold the country’s economic sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund, instituting brutal austerity measures that hit the poorest hardest, while vowing to sell off the country’s remaining public industries to Western investors. He’s appointed U.S. stooges and even U.S. citizens to high government positions. He oversaw a ban on communist ideology and the rehabilitation of World War II Nazi collaborators.
|Poroshenko honors Nazi collaborators in Kiev, May 8, 2015.|
Under Poroshenko, the Pentagon is well on its way to taking full control of Ukraine’s military, with a just-announced expansion of U.S. training for active-duty troops, as reported Sept. 16 by Stars and Stripes. This follows a successful “pilot program” with the openly neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. Notoriously racist and brutal U.S. agencies like the Texas Rangers and California Highway Patrol have been called in to set up new police forces in rebellious cities like Odessa and Kharkov, in collaboration with local fascists.
Perhaps nothing sums up the Ukrainian president like this statement he made last year about children in the Donbass: “Our children will go to schools and kindergartens, while theirs will be holed up in basements!” (Video posted by Russia Insider, Nov. 14, 2014)
Yet, on September 1, schools opened for a new year of classes in Donetsk and Lugansk, while Kiev was wracked by infighting among fascist factions. The people of Donbass stand defiant. We stand with them and declare: Poroshenko, Obama and John McCain: guilty of war crimes in Ukraine! Shut down NATO and Kiev’s genocidal war machine!