Europe
mariupol ruins

Ukraine formally accuses Russia of ‘genocide’

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, adopted a resolution formally recognizing the actions of the Russian armed forces in the country as genocide of the Ukrainian people. The resolution calls upon the UN, the European Parliament, the OSCE and NATO to similarly designate Russia’s actions as genocide. These bodies do appear to be weighing such a determination. An investigation by the Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found that Russian forces have committed “violations concerning even the most fundamental human rights” in Ukraine. International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan told reporters during his visit to Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where a massacre was carried out last month, that “Ukraine is a crime scene.” The ICC opened an investigation into possible war crimes after 39 state parties referred the situation in Ukraine to the Court. (Photo via Twitter)

Central Asia
Sukhbaatar

Youth protests in Mongolian capital

Thousands of young Mongolians with no political affiliation filled central Sukhbaatar Square in the capital Ulaanbaatar for two days of peaceful protest, demanding reforms to address a long list of grievances related to taxation, inflation, job opportunities, police brutality and judicial independence. After the first day’s demonstration broke up, one group of some 20 youth was set upon by the police and beaten—which only set off a second day of protests. Support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression was also a popular sentiment at the demonstrations, with many protesters displaying the Ukrainian colors as well as the Mongolian flag. Mongolia’s government abstained in the two UN General Assembly votes condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
Azov Battalion

Podcast: Antifa and the Azov Battalion

In Episode 119 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the intellectual challenge posed to Western anti-fascists by Putin’s ultra-cynical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Russian state media have issued a “blueprint for genocide” in Ukraine—in the perversely paradoxical name of “de-nazification.” With much of the American “left” rallying around Putinand repeating his line that the Ukrainians are Nazis, some of the once-stalwart antifas (themselves coming under attack from domestic fascism) are in danger of being coopted by fascism. Of course there are actual far-right elements on the Ukrainian side—which Ukrainian anti-fascists have been actively resisting. But in an atmosphere of totalizing propaganda, it is critical that we do not rely exclusively on pro-Putin sources for information on elements such as the notorious Azov Battalion, but get outside the confirmation-bias bubble. It is even more critical that we ruthlessly reject double standards, and acknowledge that the fascist element is far more hegemonic on the Russian side—and that Putin’s new Russo-fascism is aligned with Trumpism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Azov Battalion website)

Europe
Lyubimov

Russian crackdown on Ukrainian… composers

Moscow police broke up a concert by pianist Aleksey Lyubimov and singer Yana Ivanilova at the city’s Rassvet Cultural Center. The official reason for the raid was an anonymous bomb threat on the venue. But concert organizers noted that the program included songs by the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, which had apparently been chosen as an implicit anti-war statement. Lyubimov continued to play the song he was in the middle of even as uniformed police took over the stage and hovered over him menacingly. Police then ordered the premises cleared, but applause from the audience drowned out the officers’ words. After the theater was evacuated, police brought in dogs and had it searched for two hours. No explosives were found. (Photo via Facebook)

Europe
mariupol

Ukraine: Russian chemical attack on Mariupol claimed

Ukrainian officials are accusing Russian forces of having used chemical weapons on the besieged Azov Sea port city of Mariupol, causing troops and civilians alike to develop respiratory symptoms. The claim first emerged from the Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard involved in the defense of the city, which said a substance believed to be sarin gas was sprayed from a drone. The fact that this report emerges from the Azov Battalion, with its notorious far-right proclivities, will doubtless provide an excuse for those predisposed in favor of Russia to dismiss the claims. However, that same day, a far-right militia commander on the Russian side had openly threatened to use chemical weapons on defenders of Mariupol. Immediately dismissing an atrocity claim at Mariupol—or assuming it was a “false flag” by Ukrainian forces against their own people—amid the destruction of the city by Russia’s war machine is perverse and dishonest on its face. (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
Borodianka

Ukraine: thousands of Russian war crimes reported

Across Ukraine, prosecutors are collecting evidence of potential war crimes by Russian forces in the weeks since the invasion was launched, and now say they are investigating some 5,000cases. But it was images of the bodies in Bucha–revealed after Russian troops withdrew from areas outside the Ukrainian capital last week–that captured global attention. Authorities say at least 320 civilians were slain in the small city northwest of Kyiv. Between 150 and 300bodies were buried in a mass grave, while others were left scattered along a street for weeks. Hundreds more were killed in other Kyiv satellite towns, such as Borodyanka and Hostomel. In a rare move, the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, citing reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law.” (Photo: damaged statue of Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko in Borodyanka. Via Euromaidan Press)

Central Asia
russia

Podcast: the looming breakup of Russia

In Episode 118 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the possibility that Putin’s criminal adventure in Ukraine could backfire horribly, actually portending the implosion of the Russian Federation into its constituent entities, the “autonomous” republics, oblasts and krais. Troops from Russia’s Far East were apparently involved in the horrific massacre at the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. But indigenous leaders from Siberia and the Russian Arctic are breaking with Moscow over the Ukraine war. Rumblings of separatist sentiment are now heard from Yakutia (Sakha), Khabarovsk, KalmykiaKamchatka, TatarstanTuva, the Altai Republic, and the entirety of Siberia. China, which controlled much of what is now the Russian Far East until the 1850s, has its own expansionist designs on the region. Frederick Engels called for the “destruction forever” of Russia during the Crimean War, but it may collapse due to its own internal contradictions rather than Western aggression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: PCL)

Planet Watch
fracking

Ukraine war windfall for US fracking industry

US President Joe Biden and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced a joint Task Force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons and “strengthen European energy security as President Putin wages his war of choice against Ukraine.” The press release states: “The United States will work with international partners and strive to ensure additional LNG volumes for the EU market of at least 15 bcm [billion cubic meters] in 2022, with expected increases going forward.” This means liquified natural gas from the US fracking industry. Environmental group Global Witness reacted with alarm to the announcement, stating: “If Europe truly wants to get off Russian gas the only real option it has is phasing out gas altogether.” (Image: FracTracker)

Planet Watch
motin

Sri Lanka to Lima: ripples from Ukraine storm

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a nationwide state of emergency as angry protests over fuel shortages and power cuts erupted in the capital Colombo. When police repression failed to quell the protests, Rajapaksa sought to appease demands for his resignation with a purge of his cabinet. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo meanwhile imposed a curfew in Lima and its port of Callao in response to an eruption of protests over dramatic fuel price hikes. As street clashes broke out in the cities, farmers outraged at a jump in fertilizer costs blocked highways at several points around the country—including Ica, where a toll-booth was set on fire. The world has seen an oil price surge to $100 a barrel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: Twitter via La Tercera)

Europe
Crimea

Tatars demand return of Crimea to Ukraine

Crimean Tatar community leaders issued a demand that return of the Crimean Peninsula, unilaterally annexed by Russia in 2014, be a condition imposed by Kyiv in its talks with Moscow to end the war in Ukraine. The decision to adopt this demand was taken in a virtual meeting of the Mejlis—the traditional assembly of the Crimean Tatars, which has now been suppressed within Crimea by the Russian occupation forces. “The re-establishment of the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including the republic of autonomous Crimea and Sevastopol, should be an obligatory condition for official negotiations between Ukrainian representatives and the aggressor state,” said the chief of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov. The online meeting of the Mejlis took place ahead of a new round of talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul. (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
stalin

Podcast: is ‘Neither East Nor West’ still possible?

In Episode 117 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg recalls the history of the Neither East Nor West position taken by anarchists and anti-authoritarians in the Cold War—seeking to build solidarity between anti-war and left-libertarian forces on either side of the East-West divide. With the world now arguably closer to military confrontation between nuclear-armed powers than it ever was in the (first) Cold War, is such a position still possible? The recent controversy surrounding a planned art show in New York City featuring the work of Russian anti-war artists crystalizes the dilemma. Weinberg also explores the paradoxically parallel thoughts of democratic socialist George Orwell and conservative moralist CS Lewis, both writing in the era of fascism, on the dangers of a “pacifist” position that abets aggressive war and totalitarianism. It is critical that progressives in the West avoid this trap by supporting the courageous Russian anti-war protesters—not (as some have) the war criminal Vladimir Putin. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Budapest 1990, Reddit)

Europe
Kharkiv

Ukraine: hundreds of Russian war crimes reported

Rights organizations and monitors in Ukraine are collecting evidence of Russian war crimes to turn over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and say they have documented hundreds of atrocities. Gyunguz Mamedov, the former head of the “War Department” in the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office, which was formed after the eruption of the Donbas conflict in 2014, reported that the coalition Ukraine5AM has documented 388 war crimes committed by Russian armed forces in Ukraine. The coalition is made up of 23 human rights organizations and scores of independent investigators. Mamedov mentioned the shelling of civilian buildings and intentonal targeting of civilians; attacks on hospitals and medical staff; as well as abductions of officials and other civilians. (Photo: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group)