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Kyiv Post | 01Dec2015 | Brian Bonner and Olga Rudenko

Ukraine has, indeed, suffered terribly from terrorism

Some of our journalistic brethren got themselves worked up into a foamy lather over comments Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

Poroshenko tweeted on Nov 30, 2015: "The terrible events that France experienced this tragic November are a daily reality for Ukraine for almost 21 months."

A correspondent for several French publications, St�phane Siohan, tweeted in response: "How president Poroshenko on visit in Paris dares to say that terrorism faced in France is the daily fate of Ukraine for 21 months? #disgrace"

France 24's Gulliver Cragg was not to be outdone: "Poroshenko's appalling taste in seeking to use #parisattacks to draw attention to #ukraine. Untrue and disgusting."

And former Kyiv Post editor Christopher Miller, now working for Mashable, also tweeted in: "A tactless remark and attempt to use #ParisAttacks to bring attention to #Ukraine, Mr. President."

Let's review the facts.

The terrorists who struck six sites in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, killed 130 people, triggering worldwide outrage and sympathy.

Russian and Russian-backed forces have been responsible for a war that has killed more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians. At least 68 were children.

War crimes abound -- including using civilians as shields in wartime and indiscriminate firing and bombing of civilian areas. The atrocities include firing on surrendering soldiers in Ilovaisk, a massacre in August 2014 in which Russian forces killed more people than in the Paris attacks. The death toll also includes 298 civilians who happened to be flying over Ukraine at 30,000 feet in July 2014 on flight MH17. They were shot down, probably by Russian forces -- or at least forces trained by Russians -- using a sophisticated Russian-supplied BUK missile.

In January, the separatist-terrorists fired a rocket at the civilian route bus near the city of Volnovakha, leaving 12 passengers killed and 18 wounded.

A week later, seven civilians were killed at a city transport stop in Donetsk by a shell.

Just several days later, Russian-separatist forces shelled the borderline city of Mariupol, targeting a residential neighborhood. The attack left 30 people killed and 93 wounded.

Many of these attacks specifically targeted Ukrainian civilians. They all happened within one month -- one out of the 21 months that Ukraine has been living with an ongoing terrorism threat, as Poroshenko said.

The recitation of such attacks can go on and on. It really is a daily reality, or almost a daily reality, for Ukraine.

It is surprising that the journalists who found president’s comparison outrageous are the ones who reported from Ukraine’s war and should be aware of the events taking place.

So what distinguishes this terrorism from any other? The Islamic State claims to have an ideology and state -- it amounts, however, to indiscriminate killing in the West as an expression of hostility to Western values. The Russian separatists also claim an ideology and state, but it too often amounts to simply killing Ukrainians, in uniform or not, if they dissent or oppose. Russia's Vladimir Putin, who unquestionably leads a powerful nation, shows no respect for human life, rule of law or rules of war. This is also akin to terrorism.

The truth is that some lives matter more to the public and to the news media than others. It's the reality, cruel or not, sad or not. People in Europe and America struggle to get worked up over tragedies in distant lands that many cannot even identify.

Ukraine has struggled throughout its history to get its blood sacrifices acknowledged on the world stage, whether the Holodomor or its World War II casualties, each claiming millions of people.

Perhaps these tragedies have numbed sensitivities to death. Perhaps they have made Ukrainians more accepting of fate or more stoic and less likely to call attention to their misery. Perhaps the hard struggle to survive for most Ukrainians simply leaves people exhausted.

But when Paris attacks occurred, Ukrainians showed compassion. Many, if not the most of them, followed the world trend by putting a French flag on their profile pictures on Facebook. Hundreds brought candles and flowers to the French Embassy in Kyiv.

Perhaps Ukraine's leaders have, once again, let the people down by not explaining the crises more clearly and not responding to the attacks the same way as France President Francois Hollande did -- with a state of emergency and the promise of a "pitiless" counterattack on terrorism.

Factually, it is hard to dispute Poroshenko's contention that Ukraine is the victim of Russian terrorism. Again, Ukraine has suffered more than most, losing control of 5 percent of its territory and people, as well as many thousands killed.

As for value of life, many of us in Ukraine are still in a state of shock and sadness over the tumultuous events of recent years. These people are closest to us, so their deaths hurt the most, more than deaths in distant lands. Yet we can still find the empathy for faraway victims as we hope that people can for ours.

[W.Z. An appropriate addendum to this article would be the comment by Jaroslaw Sawka to the Useful Stooges article at http://willzuzak.ca/cl/putin/author20151116UsefulStooges.html .]

COMMENT by Jaroslaw Sawka
November 16, 2015 at 6:12 am

Of course. We should express outrage & sympathy to the French who have now suffered terrorism although NOT as bad as what Ukraine has endured from Putin’s terrorism ... their territory is STILL intact whereas Ukraine lost Crimea and endures “frozen conflict” after Putin’s drive to create NovoRosiya failed ... and is the death of 200 French really worse than the death of over 6,000 Ukrainians?

We well remember how the French & Germans snickered and pretended to be outraged and sympathetic when Putin invaded & annexed Crimea -- they actually had to be shamed into imposing "slap on the wrist" sanctions against Russia by Obama! (who is more subtle but as shameless as Trump!). Everyone conveniently has forgotten the Budapest Memorandum and what was promised to Ukraine if only Ukraine would give up its Nuclear Weapons -- the Third largest stockpile in the world at the time. France/Germany are still trying to lift the sanctions by demanding that stubborn Ukraine correct its corruption (as though they and Putin are NOT corrupt!) and give in to his demands so that he can have veto power and control over Ukrainian political and financial affairs. In fact they have threatened that if Ukraine doesn’t abide by Minsk 2 unilaterally -- even if Putin’s separatists violate the provisions -- they will lift the sanctions which they have been itching to do since day one.

After all, why irritate Putin when so many (e.g. Trump) consider him an ally of the West in the war against ISIS (even though so far his fighter jets have only been bombing forces actually fighting ISIS that the USA has been lukewarm supporting). The prevailing.attitude seems to be -- give Putin what he wants so we can win him over to “our” side. Let Ukraine subsidize his puppet governments in eastern Ukraine and let Ukraine pay for the MH17 Russian atrocity that occurred on once Ukraine’s territory that was NOT controlled by Ukraine at the time but by Putinistas. And, of course, Ukraine must repay the 3 Billion$$$ that Putin loaned (bribed) to Yanukovych to keep Ukraine from joining the European Union (as though Europe actually wanted it) that led to the EuroMaidan -- Revolution of Dignity.

Ukraine should offer its European friends: France/Germany a way to deal with ISIS by mediating the same formula established at Minsk as a sure way to reach a settlement between Putin and Ukraine. Ukraine can explain to France/Germany that they should NOT irritate ISIS but provide accommodations like Ukraine is expected to provide for Putin. Parts of their countries could be given to ISIS Separatists just like Putin’s Separatists ... they won’t even have to go through the procedure of phony elections that Putin likes -- like the quickie in Crimea ... since ISIS doesn’t believe in elections anyway -- because those are not in the Koran. Europe can subsidize the extension of ISIS Caliphate just as Ukraine is expected to subsidize Putinista territory.

Europe & Obama keep telling Ukraine ... there is NO military solution only diplomatic so we have to remind Europe & Obama of this winning formula that they say will work for Ukraine -- Putin should also work for Europe ISIS. Not only should Amnesty be granted to the ISIS killers as Ukraine is urged to do with Putinistas BUT they should be IN the government Parliaments to represent the interests of ISIS ...  similar to what Ukraine is supposed to do with Putinistas!

What could possibly go wrong with such a MINSK formula??? If Minsk 2 is good for Ukraine then Minsk 3 will surely work for France, Germany and ISIS and everyone will be happy and peace and harmony will reign for ever more!

Putin says east Ukraine crisis may yet turn into ‘frozen conflict’:
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there was a risk that the situation in east Ukraine may turn into a “frozen conflict”. “I would not overdramatize the delay in implementing the Minsk Agreements. Despite some difficulties, they are being implemented and, which is ...