People in eastern Ukraine are not pro-Russian, they want a united and federalized Ukraine, a Finlandized Ukraine that is equally distant from the EU, NATO and Russia, and they are being confronted by guns, investigative journalist Pepe Escobar told RT. The interview was published shortly before the organized atrocity in Odessa depicted above.
(May 2, 2014) RT: We’re now seeing Kiev deploying the military against its own people. Do you think the situation requires that?
Pepe Escobar: No, of course not. Flashback, it’s very important. A few days ago John Brennan, head of the CIA, goes to Kiev, they launch an anti-terrorist operation. It’s a huge failure. A few days later US Vice-President Joe Biden goes to Kiev, they launch a second anti-terrorist operation and it’s a huge failure. So this is a third actually, but it is really serious because they’re choking Slavyansk, and in fact that is a key city where protests are really advanced. It is like the People’s republic of Donetsk, there is also the People’s republic of Slavyansk at the moment. It’s a huge provocation and in fact this is concomitant to NATO ratcheting up the pressure, saying that “We won’t go to support Russian aggression.” Russia is waiting to see what is going to happen and the Kremlin has already been very explicit: “If civilian Ukrainians are killed by the Ukrainian army which is a mix of army and Right Sector militia in fact, then the things are going to be spiraling out of control.” And obviously Russia doesn’t want that, but this is what NATO wants and what the Kiev government wants.
RT: We spoke to one of the Self-Defense Commanders in Slavyansk. He said it was not just the military, but also Right Sector members moving against Slavyansk. How involved do you think radicals are likely to be?
PE: Completely involved because now they are an actual militia. This reminds me a lot of Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria for that matter. Now we are having Ukrainian neo-Nazi, neo-fascist militias fighting for a bunch of regime changers in Kiev and using what is left of the Ukrainian army which is in a pitiful state to attack and encircle a city. Sooner or later they will be attacking civilians. This is completely crazy. Where is the UN in all this? Nowhere to be seen! Nobody is doing anything, and Putin and Merkel talked yesterday and Putin told Merkel explicitly: “Look, if they don’t retreat troops back to Kiev and if they start attacking civilians, then it is a completely different ball game”.
Nobody wants this as I said before. NATO needs a reason because the propaganda for the past three weeks has been relentless: Demonization of Russia, demonization of Vladimir Putin and demonization of the pro-Russian militants in the eastern Ukraine. They are not pro-Russian, they want a united Ukraine, a federalized Ukraine, a Finlandized Ukraine that is not allied with the EU and NATO or with Russia, it’s equidistant. And they want more autonomy in the eastern and southern provinces. This is what those “militants” want in fact. And now they are being confronted by guns.
RT: We’ve got heavy weaponry on both sides, there are casualties already. How much uglier can we expect this to get?
PE: We should always remember Mao Zedong “A spark is enough to light a prairie fire.” This could be the spark that lights the prairie fire of the civil war in Ukraine where we are going to have face to face, in the worst possible scenario, NATO on one side and the Russian troops on the other. Nobody can possibly want something like this, except of course the people who are doing the best they can to get this outcome: the regime changers in Kiev.
*Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.