RAY McGOVERN: Ukraine For Dummies

There was no excuse for Congress’ ignorance of Ukraine. Here is a guide to help them.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

At Wednesday’s debut of the impeachment hearings there was one issue upon which both sides of the aisle seemed to agree, and it was a comic-book caricature of reality.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff led off the proceedings with this: “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire…”

Five years ago, when Ukraine first came into the news, those Americans who thought Ukraine was an island in the Pacific can perhaps be forgiven. That members of the House Intelligence Committee don’t know — or pretend not to know — more accurate information about Ukraine is a scandal, and a consequential one.

As Professor Stephen Cohen has warned, if the impeachment process does not deal in objective fact, already high tensions with Russia are likely to become even more dangerous.

So here is a kind of primer for those who might be interested in some Ukraine history:

  • Late 1700s: Catherine the Great consolidated her rule; established Russia’s first and only warm-water naval base in Crimea.
  • In 1919, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Moscow defeated resistance in Ukraine and the country becomes one of 15 Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

    Khrushchev: Gave Crimea away. (Wikipedia)

  • In 1954, after Stalin’s death the year before, Nikita Khrushchev, a Russian born near the Ukrainian border, assumed power. Pandering to Ukrainian supporters, he unilaterally decreed that henceforth Crimea would be part of the Ukrainian SSR, not the Russian SSR. Since all 15 Republics of the USSR were under tight rule from Moscow, the switch was a distinction without much of a difference — until later, when the USSR fell apart..
  • Nov. 1989: Berlin wall down.
  • Dec. 2-3, 1989: President George H. W. Bush invites Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to summit talks in Malta; reassures him “the U.S. will not take advantage” of Soviet troubles in Eastern Europe. Bush had already been pushing the idea of a Europe whole and free, from Portugal to Vladivostok.

A Consequential Quid Pro Quo

  • Feb. 7-10, 1990: Secretary of State James Baker negotiates a quid pro quo; Soviet acceptance of the bitter pill of a reunited Germany (inside NATO), in return for an oral U.S. promise not to enlarge NATO “one inch more” to the East.
  • Dec. 1991: the USSR falls apart. Suddenly it does matter that Khrushchev gave Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR; Moscow and Kyiv work out long-term arrangements for the Soviet navy to use the naval base at Sevastopol.
  • The quid pro quo began to unravel in October 1996 during the last weeks of President Bill Clinton’s campaign when he said he would welcome Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO — the earlier promise to Moscow notwithstanding. Former U.S. Ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock, who took part in both the Bush-Gorbachev early-December 1989 summit in Malta and the Baker-Gorbachev discussions in early February 1990, has said, “The language used was absolute, including no ‘taking advantage’ by the U.S. … I don’t see how anybody could view the subsequent expansion of NATO as anything but ‘taking advantage,’ particularly since, by then, Russia was hardly a credible threat.” (From 16 members in 1990, NATO has grown to 29 member states — the additional 13 all lie east of Germany.)
  • Feb. 1, 2008: Amid rumors of NATO planning to offer membership to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns U.S. Ambassador William Burns that “Nyet Means Nyet.” Russia will react strongly to any move to bring Ukraine or Georgia into NATO. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we have Burns’s original cable from embassy in Moscow.
  • April 3, 2008: Included in Final Declaration from NATO summit in Bucharest: “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”
  • Early September 2013: Putin helps Obama resist neocon demands to do “shock and awe” on Syria; Russians persuade President Bashar al-Assad to give up Syrian army chemical weapons for destruction on a U.S. ship outfitted for chemical weapons destruction. Neocons are outraged over failing to mousetrap Obama into attacking Syria.

Meanwhile in Ukraine

  • Dec. 2013: In a speech to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland says: “The United States has supported Ukraine’s European aspirations. … We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”
  • Feb. 4, 2014: Amid rioting on the Maidan in Kiev, YouTube carries Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s last minute instructions to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt regarding the U.S. pick for new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (aka “Yats”) and other plans for the imminent coup d’etat in Kiev. When Pyatt expresses concern about EU misgivings about mounting a coup, Nuland says “Fuck the EU.” She then apologizes to the EU a day or two later — for the profanity, not for the coup. She also says that Vice President Joe Biden will help “glue this thing together”, meaning the coup.
  • Feb. 22, 2014: Coup d’etat in Kyiv; appropriately labeled “the most blatant coup in history” by George Friedman, then President of the widely respected think-tank STRATFOR.
  • Feb. 23, 2014: The date that NATO, Western diplomats, and the corporate media have chosen – disingenuously – as the beginning of recent European history, with silence about the coup orchestrated in Kyiv the day before. President Vladimir Putin returns to Moscow from the winter olympics in Sochi; confers with advisers about Crimea, deciding — unlike Khrushchev in 1954 — to arrange a plebiscite to let the people of Crimea, most of whom strongly opposed the coup regime, decide their own future.
  • March 16, 2014: The official result from the voters in Crimea voted overwhelmingly for independence from Ukraine and to join Russia. Following the referendum, Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation. On March 18, the Russian Federal Assembly ratified the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.
  • In the following days, Putin made it immediately (and publicly) clear that Yatsenyuk’s early statement about Ukraine joining NATO and – even more important – the U.S./NATO plans to deploy ABM systems around Russia’s western periphery and in the Black Sea, were the prime motivating forces behind the post-referendum re-incorporation of Crimea into Russia.

    Putin: Reacted to coup. (Russian government)

  • No one with rudimentary knowledge of Russian history should have been surprised that Moscow would take no chances of letting NATO grab Crimea and Russia’s only warm-water naval base. The Nuland neocons seized on the opportunity to accuse Russia of aggression and told obedient European governments to follow suit. Washington could not persuade its European allies to impose stringent sanctions on Russia, though, until the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 over Ukraine.

Airplane Downed; 298 Killed

  • July 17, 2014: MH 17 shot down
  • July 20, 2014: Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC’s David Gregory, “We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.” The U.S., however, has not shared any evidence of this.
  • Given the way U.S. intelligence collectors had been focused, laser-like, on that part of the Ukrainian-Russian border at that time, it is a near certainty that the U.S. has highly relevant intelligence regarding what actually happened and who was most likely responsible. If that intelligence supported the accusations made by Kerry, it would almost certainly have been publicized.
  • Less than two weeks after the shoot-down, the Europeans were persuaded to impose sanctions that hurt their own businesses and economies about as much as they hurt Russia’s – and far more than they hurt the U.S. There is no sign that, in succumbing to U.S. pressure, the Europeans mustered the courage to ask for a peek at the “intelligence” Kerry bragged about on NBC TV.
  • Oct. 27, 2016: Putin speaks at the Valdai International Discussion Club.

How did the “growing trust” that Russian President Putin wrote about in his September 11, 2013 New York Times op-ed evaporate?

How did what Putin called his close “working and personal relationship with President Obama” change into today’s deep distrust and saber-rattling? A short three years later after the close collaboration to resolve the Syrian problem peacefully, Putin spoke of the “feverish” state of international relations and lamented: “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results.” And things have gone downhill from there.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27 years as a CIA analyst included leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and conducting the morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Consortium News does not necessarily agree or disagree with all positions taken by its columnists.  

109 comments for “RAY McGOVERN: Ukraine For Dummies

  1. November 19, 2019 at 00:40

    To all who have offered comments:

    I just want to thank you sincerely for devoting the time and effort to add your own comments — many of them clearly out of a lot of experience and wisdom. I know of nothing like this Comment section on other sites. I frequently learn a lot from your input — and this time was certainly no exception. Some of it was a very good history refresher lesson. Thanks again.

    Ray

  2. Stephen M
    November 19, 2019 at 00:24

    People tend to look at the long term, but one thing that seems to often get overlooked in all this is recent history. There were two referendums in the early 90s, in 1991 and 1994, where Crimeans overwhelmingly expressed their desire for autonomy. In 1991 they voted for the restoration of the Crimean ASSR (Autonomous SSR) as a subject of the USSR and as a party to the Union Treaty. This was accepted by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR which gave it force of law. (Autonomous Republics in the Soviet Union were considered parts of Soviet Republics), However, when in August of 1991 the Supreme Court of the Ukraininian SSR declared independence they arbitrarily included the Crimean ASSR as a territory within the newly established state in violation of a law requiring a separate referendum in Crimea based on its status as an Autonomous Republic. In this way, Crimea was denied the self determination it was legally entitled to through acquisition of its autonomous status. There then followed, in December 1991, an all-Ukraine referendum on independence in which, according to some sources, Crimea, due to a widespread boycott, only attained a quorum by the fact that non-residents were allowed to take part in the vote. In any case, it was a slim majority of votes cast, which due to the low turnout, translated into a small minority of the total electorate that voted for approval. Crimea (and Sevastopol) — considered a Special Status City) were the only areas of Ukraine where that applied. Once again, Crimeans felt their voice was denied. Starting in 1992, people began to take to the streets in larger numbers and many were calling for succession. Under pressure, the Supreme Council of Crimea approved its own constitution and called for a referendum to be held in August 1992. Kiev, however, managed to have it postponed to a later date, 1994, and even then it was only to be conducted as an opinion poll. Even so, all the provisions, including one that called for dual Russian citizenship, passed by overwhelming majorities. Then in 1995 Ukraine unilaterally abolished the office of President of Crimea as well as the Crimean Constitution, and the (Crimean) parliament was forced to define a new constitution subject to ratification by the Ukrainian parliament, which they did in 1998.

    Taking all this into account, it can’t come as much of a surprise that for the majority in Crimea the entire history post-independence is considered to be one of suppression of their aspirations for self-determination, and it is Ukraine that is viewed as having carried out an arbitrary and illegal annexation, and the 2014 referendum viewed as having redressed an historical injustice.

  3. Rod Miller
    November 18, 2019 at 17:52

    So who do you think shot down MH17?
    Both sides, I think, possessed the weapon used. And there IS, as usual, the qui bono question.

    Me I think it was the Russians, launching from Ukrainian territory. It wasn’t intentional, of course. They probably had some Ukrainian military transport in mind. And perhaps even the Ukrainians were trying to bait them into doing just that as MH17 passed over. (You can’t be too cynical.)

    But it’s the hysterical note in the Russian denials and the absurdity of some of their counter-claims that convinces me it was them.
    If only — as with the USS Vincennes and the Iranian A300 — they had said “Yes, we did it — it was a MISTAKE”, the world would have moved on.
    But it has Not moved on.

  4. Tanya Luhrs
    November 18, 2019 at 00:16

    Archie, eight buses with people of Crimea were returning from anti-Maidan demonstration in February 2014. A few miles from Kiev, near Korsun, they were stopped by thugs from the extremist organisation the Right Sector (by the way financially supported by V Nuland). These nationalists threw Molotov cocktails into the buses, shot bus drivers, got the crimeans out and beat them up. After the hours of humiliation, the crimeans run away to the bush, and then returned home by different ways. Some with the help of “Oudar” – “Strikd” party of Klichko. When they came home they told the story, crimeans decided to ask for help from the Russian fleet and closs the gate – the road from Ukraine. There were some more reasons why crimeans decided to join Russia, the train with the Right Sector was coming to Crimea to punish those who disagree with the coup, terrorists with explosives and weapons were cought, etc. So, the crimeans government ask Russia to help and protect them as well as maybe to take them under the Russia’s wing. Only then Putin said he will do it after the referendum. You can find videos about the Korsun massacre in Youtube.

  5. Serge Lubomudrov
    November 17, 2019 at 21:01

    I’ve noticed some rather unfortunate, though not very significant, errors here. I’ll only point out one, as it is, perhaps, the most important: Khrushchev was NOT a ‘ukrainian.’ Yes, he liked wearing that ‘ukrainian’ folk shirt, and was married to a ukrainian woman, but neither marriage nor a piece of clothing makes a man ‘ukrainian.’

    • November 17, 2019 at 23:10

      you are right; my mistake thanks,

      ray

    • Smart
      November 17, 2019 at 23:44

      The article says Kruschev was a Russian. It’s quite clear.

    • Js10oldfrt
      November 18, 2019 at 13:49

      Read it again: “Nikita Khrushchev, a Russian born near the Ukrainian border”.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      November 18, 2019 at 13:51

      The article was amended to reflect this fact.

    • Dmytro Dovbenko
      November 19, 2019 at 02:10

      The article clearly says -”
      In 1954, after Stalin’s death the year before, Nikita Khrushchev, a Russian born near the Ukrainian border, assumed power.”

  6. robert e williamson jr
    November 17, 2019 at 17:19

    Maybe when wealthy clowns run the government we all end up looking like cartoon characters. And rightly so, demand nothing from your government and that is exactly what you get.

    The greatest generation was exhausted after the war and the war privateers took the government over while the great generation relaxed and tried to get rich themselves and enjow “the good life”. Hell, not to worry, after all the U.S. single handedly won WWII.

    Problem was the a secret arm of government had been born and all those “exceptionals”, as the Greatest Generation thought themselves to be had not one clue as to what it really meant to the them individually. Now we know.

  7. ttshasta
    November 16, 2019 at 23:14

    In October Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett published an article about visiting Crimea.
    She talked with many Crimeans about Ukraine, Russia, the referendum,
    history, and post referendum Crimea.
    A great piece of firsthand reporting in MintPress News

    • Dietrich
      November 17, 2019 at 01:35

      Ukraine is historically, geographically and culturally much closer to Russia than to Western Europe. Russia needs Ukraine for their agricultural wheat production and Ukraine needs Russia’s gas and oil. Lots of turmoil in the Ukraine’s of the last twenty years was caused by US political interests in conjunction with the CIA. Former president Poroshenko was basically put in power by western powers.

  8. CitizenOne
    November 16, 2019 at 21:25

    The democratic party has at last found its enduring niche where it will be protected from the ravaging of the republicans

    The democrats will not be protecting the rights of citizens. Laws that protect our rights have already been tossed overboard on the sinking democratic ship to help keep it afloat. It will be whatever it needs to be in order to survive. If that something is support for the MIC and the intelligence agencies, the big banks and the big defense contractors then that is what they will do. It is what they are doing.
    They know that Ukraine is not likely to cooperate with information per Trump’s request since the democrats were the ones that helped support the coup that is the current leadership that now sits in power in Ukraine. Trying to illuminate the truth means the entire lie factory could be exposed and they are not gonna go there.

    We know that the press has pretty much become owned and operated by the CIA in terms of approved content. Coverage of foreign affairs will always be heavily stilted toward the winning side of any narrative. The openly stated unapologetic policy of any country’s foreign policy has only one absolute rule it must obey. It must serve “the national interests” of the nation.

    Everything in the end ends up in a patriotic whirlwind as every agency and every action becomes justifiable to serve our national interests. And hey, if we have to tell a little lie and bend the truth a little bit to serve the national interests then what harm can that do right? Everyone in the press and the Congress and in the intelligence agencies have thousands of folks all jut being asked just a little bit to help out the nation and steer us on the straight and narrow path toward the shining beacons of towering freedom and democracy (anthem playing).

    So everybody will do their part to keep the cold war going and the vilification of the Russians and the lies and the sanctions will go on and the president who tried to stop the madness will be tossed out not because of a quid pro quo but because he tried to mess with their plans.

    • November 17, 2019 at 10:35

      Thank you for putting all the right words in a row that even idiots can comprehend.

    • Angel Andonov
      November 18, 2019 at 15:15

      Thank you for your brilliant analyses of the Dems. Do you think a change down the road is possible, considering the strengthening of the new progressive wing of the party?

  9. CitizenOne
    November 16, 2019 at 19:41

    Yup. Obama was totally compromised. He turned out to be a sell out to the demands of the intelligence agencies. Hillary Clinton then John Kerry and assistant Victoria Nuland were all guilty of telling lies. In fact the democratic party has at last found its enduring niche where it will be protected from the ravaging rapscallions of the republican proto-fascist hoard.

    The democrats will not be protecting the rights of citizens. Laws that protect our rights have already been tossed overboard on the sinking democratic ship to help keep it afloat. It will be whatever it needs to be in order to survive. If that something is support for the MIC and the intelligence agencies, the big banks and the big defense contractors then that is what they will do. It is what they are doing.

    They know that the republicans blood oath to support Trump to the bitter end means they are also never going to question his foreign policy decisions and even when they do they are not going further than just whining about it. They also know that Ukraine is not likely to cooperate for Trump since the democrats were the ones that help support the coup that is the current leadership that now sits in power in Ukraine. Trying to illuminate the truth means the republicans will also have to confront the intelligence agencies and out the narratives they have been trying to control. If they do this might backfire in a big way.

    So it is all theater.

    Perhaps every impeachment is a farce.

  10. Martin
    November 16, 2019 at 16:50

    Overall, I really liked and appreciated this timeline overview. I was planning on sharing to FB, but decided to check on the contention that George Friedman called Ukraine 2014 “the most blatant coup d’etat in history.” Not true. From the horse’s mouth, Friedman addressed this in an article titled “Russia is Winning the Internet,” on Business Insider on April 21, 2016. He wrote:

    “I was a minor player in one such event last year. On a visit to Russia, I told the business journal Kommersant that if the US were behind a coup in Kiev, it would have been the most blatant coup in history, as the US government openly supported the uprising and had provided some funding for the demonstrating groups.

    In other words, it was no coup. The Russian news service Sputnik published what I said, cutting out a few odds and ends, and quoted me as saying that Ukraine “was the most blatant coup in history.” The neat part is that they didn’t make it up. I did say it. They just left out the words before and after the statement. Since I was of no importance in the United States, they had to promote me as someone significant, which on the whole was nice of them.”

    I agree that it was a coup, and our duplicitous behaviour towards Russia after the fall of the USSR is reprehensible and needs to be acknowledged if we are to understand Russia’s motivations in its relationship with the US. Unfortunately, however, I don’t feel like I can share this article when you got such a material fact wrong, Ray, because people will dismiss all the facts on the basis of this serious error.

    • November 17, 2019 at 10:52

      The US media omits facts all the time. Senators will do that to promote their agenda. The problem arises when it is repeated by the media and the government so often that it should now be considered , Manufacturing Consent. That the lie becomes fact promoted by millions is sickening to people that actually read and know the history. If you listen to NPR , you might find on any day of the week an entire hour devoted to one side of an issue. Or an issue being directed to command a certain view, their own., that is off base, if you have ALL the facts.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      November 17, 2019 at 22:12

      From Ray McGovern:

      Response to Martin’s “Not true”

      In December of 2014 George Friedman, then President of STRATFOR, told the following to Kommersant’, a daily published in Russia and devoted mostly to politics and business, the following:

      Russia calls the events at the start of this year a coup organized by the USA. And it really was the most blatant coup in history.

      Martin, I’m glad you “called me out” on this, for it prompted me to go back to the original Kommersant’ interview. Not even Friedman can un-say things he said on the record. No subjunctive mood here. No ” it would have been” the most blatant coup in history. It WAS. (And it was — “really.”)

      One could always ask Kommersant’ for the tape of the interview, I suppose. But Friedman’s unusually candid remark was widely quoted and garnered a lot of attention for months, during which he did not feel he had to claim he was misquoted and disavow it — disingenuously.

      Though blatantly accurate, the words “the most blatant coup in history” coming from the widely respected Friedman — was clearly a no-no to the Establishment.

      Would that it were possible these days to tell the truth and still get lucrative contract work. Friedman can be a good analyst, but I guess a man’s gotta make a living.

      Again, Martin, I welcome your remark, but we do due diligence here at Consortium News. If I got a “material fact” of this importance “wrong,” Joe Lauria would fire me.

      Here is the result of some digging I did after seeing your comment late yesterday; the translations from the Russian original are my own.

      _______________

      ‘The Interests of the Russian Federation and the USA with respect to Ukraine are incompatible
      The head of Stratfor, George Friedman, on the root causes of the Ukrainian crisis …
      Kommersant, December 19, 2014
      The interview was conducted by Elena Chernenko and Alexander Gabuev.”
      _____________________
      The remark that Friedman has been trying in more recent years to disavow comes at the very end of this excerpt. I have included the original and done a quick translation from Kommersant.
      Friedman’s other responses are also of interest — particularly as Ukraine-gate gathers steam and the word “coup” cannot be spoken — so I include a few others of his comments. What follows are the words Friedman used in a long answer to one of the questions:
      ____________________
      George Friedman:

      “The fragmentation of Europe is accompanied by the weakening of NATO. The European countries, in fact, have no army. The USA within the framework of the NATO alliance is the only powerful country from a military point of view. Against the background of a weakened Europe, the comparative power of Russia grew substantially.

      “The strategic imperative of Russia is to have on its western borders as deep a buffer zone as possible. And so Russia has always had special relationships with Belorussia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, and other countries of Eastern Europe. They have great significance for the national security of Russia.

      “At the beginning of this year [2014] there was a slightly pro-Russian but very shaky government in Ukraine. This suited Moscow: Russia does not want to completely control Ukraine or occupy it; it is enough that Ukraine does not become a member of NATO or the EU. Russian leaders cannot allow a situation in which Western armed forces will be a hundred kilometers from Kursk or Voronezh.

      “The USA was interested in shaping a pro-Western government in Ukraine The Americans saw that Russia was on the rise and tried to prevent Russia from consolidating its positions in post-Soviet territory. The success of pro-Western forces in Ukraine would allow the USA to curb Russia.

      “Russia calls the events at the start of this year [2014] a coup organized by the USA. And it really was the most blatant coup in history.”
      ______________

      Thanks again, Martin. I hope you will now feel free to share “Ukraine For Dummies” with your FB friends.

      Ray McGovern

    • Maria
      November 18, 2019 at 22:53

      You can share it, just add an additional note or comment. Freedman did say it, just in the context that US did funded and supported those “opposition” democratic organizations, thus if it was a coup it was a blunt one, which it was. Freedman to many a faux liberal operative regreted his worse because it revealed what he accually thought and was a US coup.

  11. Al
    November 16, 2019 at 10:05

    Great piece but there is a much deeper history. Kiev was the first capital of Russia about 1,000 years ago and Ukraine and important heartland of that country for many centuries.

  12. ROBERT PARRY FAN
    November 16, 2019 at 09:44

    A few hints about the MH17 crash.

    The MH17 accident investigation report by the Dutch Safety Board clearly states the UKRAINIAN ARMY was operating POWERFUL AIR-DEFENCE SYSTEMS in the EASTERN part of the UKRAINE.

    Most people do not read beyond the executive summary, just take a look at the bottom part of PAGE 239 of the (English) REPORT. It is a well known fact that the Ukrainian army operates BUK missiles.

    The Ukraine should have been treated as a CRIMINAL SUSPECT, yet they end up as PART of the TEAM that does the CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION(!). This was a POLITICAL DECISION, it was not based on facts/DUE PROCESS. For anyone with some legal understanding, it is perfectly clear that they have no intention to take the MH17 case to an independent criminal court.

    To put the blame on Russia, a corrupt court will do, just like the OPCW in The Hague was corrupted. Or the ECHR in a right to life case, which isn’t so strict with evidence.

    The problem with the ECHR route is that it would put the Ukraine in a difficult position, since the Ukraine in not closing it’s airspace for civilian aviation did not respect the right to life of the passengers and crew of MH17. Criminal prosecution of the Ukraine and compensation for the victims will not go down well in Kiev.

    The Dutch FM is very vocal about the fact that he doesn’t want the Ukrainians prosecuted in a ECHR right to life case. WHY?

    Should the Dutch Safety Board conduct the MH17 accident investigation in the first place? The answer is NO. The Dutch INVOLVEMENT in the February 2014 COUP in the Ukraine is well documented. Take a look at the funding of the anti-Russian propaganda network Hromadske TV. The Dutch were running operations from their embassy in Kiev. The Dutch had a CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

    The “evidence” of Russian involvement in the downing of MH17 relies heavily on “information” provided by Bellingcat.

    You only have to take a look at the FUNDING OF BELLINGCAT AND THE PEOPLE BEHING BELLINGCAT to come to the conclusion that Bellingcat has absolutely nothing to do with investigative journalism. They are a tool of soft power, specialized in propaganda and the laundering of information.

    Bellingcat was also involved in spinning the “Assad chemical attack” narrative in Syria, with OPCW cover. Just connect the dots.

    Their sponsors include the usual suspects, from the CIA (via NED) to Soros (Open Society Foundations), from the arms industry to the energy sector, from various NATO linked entities to oligarchs and dictators. Eliot Higgins, the Chief Propaganda Officer at Bellingcat, works at the Atlantic Council.

    The nasty UK based and NATO sponsored propaganda outfit the Integrity Initiative lists Bellingcat as one of their partners.

    Do you need more evidence about the true nature of Bellingcat?

    OCCRP, Transparency International, Bellingcat and various other organizations are part of the same intricate web of propagandists posing as investigative journalists. Just find out for yourself who gets money from NED, USAID and OSF.

    Hell, even the DUTCH POLICE, responsible for the criminal investigation, provide BELLINGCAT with FUNDING through very expensive OSINT training for police officers(!).

    Bellingcat has an office in The Hague.

    The MayDay Rescue Foundation, of White Helmets/Le Mesurier fame, also operates from The Netherlands. Hundreds of millions of dollars, including Dutch taxpayer money, were funneled to various Al Qaeda linked organizations in Syria. No questions asked.

    It’s VERY COZY in The Netherlands.

    To include the Ukraine in the criminal investigation team was nothing more and nothing less than a political decision. Putting the MH17 blame on Russia was a POLITICAL DECISION at the HIGHEST LEVEL in The Netherlands. Of course you won’t find it in the public records of the Dutch government.

    Was MH17 an unfortunate accident used to further a political agenda or was it an ORCHESTRATED action? We may never know.

    It was not the first time the Ukraine shot down a passenger airliner. The Dutch have a long history of doing NATO’s dirty jobs, while at the same time claiming moral high ground with the ICC and other international organizations in The Hague.

    What if MH17 was a Russian airliner with Russian passengers? What would the Russian reaction have been?

    What if MH17 was an American airliner with American passengers? What would the American reaction have been?

    MH17 was a Malaysian Airlines flight. The Malaysians were easily strong-armed to take a back seat in the investigation. The majority of the passengers were from a small NATO country with a long history of involvement in murky NATO operations all over the globe. The tools of soft power to spin the narrative were all in place.

    Was MH17 a case of wrong place, wrong time, or was this flight carefully selected to further the political agenda?

    If you ask the wrong questions, you get the wrong answers. The MH17 omerta by Dutch journalists and people in the law enforcement and intelligence community is telling.

    Based on evidence in the public domain it is perfectly clear that the official narrative has little to do with facts and a lot with politics.

    The family of the victims deserve to know the truth. Those WHO KNOW but stay silent should BE ASHAMED.

    Unfortunately ROBERT PARRY has left us. Hopefully other journalists take up the slack and start asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS.

    START IN THE NETHERLANDS. Use the Dutch equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act. Ask politicians. Ask law enforcement. Ask the public prosecutor. POKE AROUND, when you hit resistance, you’re on the right track!

  13. ValeraG
    November 15, 2019 at 22:49

    Actually, Ukraine did not exist as a country before WWI – one just need to look at the map of 1914. The lion share of what is current Ukraine’s territory is Russia’s, and small parts are of Poland, Hungary and Romania. The bitter irony is that those Ukrainian neo-nazi thugs should thank hated commies that created Ukraine after Russian revolution in 1917. Otherwise, we would not have Ukraine as a country now.

  14. Archie
    November 15, 2019 at 22:36

    Thank you, Ray, for this excellent summary of Ukrainian history up to the present. I knew virtually everything, but I was unaware that Putin “arranged” for the Crimean referendum to take place. What did he do? Did he contact important members of the Crimean Parliament? Any light you can shed on this question would be quite welcome. I actually thought the Crimean referendum grew organically from Crimeans’ reactions to events on the Maidan and subsequent efforts to outlaw speaking Russian, in addition to the storming of the Crimean Parliament in February, shortly before the decision to hold the referendum.

  15. Gregory Ghca
    November 15, 2019 at 22:18

    I think you forgot what Stalin did in Ukraine in the 1930′ The hardship imposed on Ucrainan people will never be forgotten. Same as Russian people today, will never forget the 25 million people scarified in the WW II.

  16. November 15, 2019 at 21:44

    Ray, you missed the entire 2004 “Color Revolution” when Washington did it before. They have a prior.

  17. Litchfield
    November 15, 2019 at 20:59

    Likewise thanks for a very useful overview.

    I believe that to understand events in Ukraine-RF relations one must understand the high (and low) points of the relationship of Gazprom with Ukraine and the gas politics. Russia has been very good to Ukraine! This is something that our agitators at State do not get. And neither does the American public and most American pols and pundits.

    Perhaps Ray can add some info on this to the Ukraine time line.

    • November 17, 2019 at 10:59

      Thank you ! I too would like the public to understand facts as apposed to US propaganda. If they only could comprehend that they are being bombarded by outright lies. If you listened to the impeachment hearings you could count several instances where people said Russia invaded Ukraine, and worse it continues to be repeated by the MSM.

  18. November 15, 2019 at 20:33

    The power of those who’ve evidently insured the near-worldwide blackout of reporting on, or public acknowledgement of, former Bush-Cheney C.I.A. Chief of Counter Terrorism COFER BLACK sitting on the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, – especially considering Burisma has become arguably the most widely known corporation on Earth – is immense.

  19. Vierotchka
    November 15, 2019 at 19:54

    Just one remark – Khrushchev was not Ukrainian, he was Russian.

    According to Wikipedia: “Khrushchev was born on 15 April 1894,[b][2] in Kalinovka,[3] a village in what is now Russia’s Kursk Oblast, near the present Ukrainian border.[4] His parents, Sergei Khrushchev and Xeniya Khrushcheva, were poor peasants of Russian[4][5] origin, and had a daughter two years Nikita’s junior, Irina.[2] Sergei Khrushchev was employed in a number of positions in the Donbas area of far eastern Ukraine, working as a railwayman, as a miner, and labouring in a brick factory. Wages were much higher in the Donbas than in the Kursk region, and Sergei Khrushchev generally left his family in Kalinovka, returning there when he had enough money.[6]”

    • November 17, 2019 at 01:21

      thanks Vierotchka, you are correct; my mistake. apologies. ray

  20. john halasz
    November 15, 2019 at 17:23

    Khrushchev was not Ukrainian. He was born in a village 7 miles to the east of the Ukrainian border. He did rise in the party hierarchy in the 1920’s serving in Ukraine before being transferred to Moscow and in 1937 was appointed party head in Ukraine.

    • November 17, 2019 at 01:20

      thanks; my mistake; apologies ray

  21. john woodford
    November 15, 2019 at 16:43

    Thanks for telling it like it was and is. It’s mighty telling that no national politician is using the current impeachment debate over Ukraine to tell the public what happened to rile Russians. Remind me of how U.S. public was not told, at the time, about what their country’s leaders wee doing to drive Japan into a desperate corner pre WWII through embargoes on oil, etc. Is this sort of con job “patriotism” or its opposite???

  22. Dr veruju
    November 15, 2019 at 13:03

    Ray you are of course correct but I cannot find any reference to Khrushchev being Ukrainian it every thing indicates he was Russian.
    Please help me out here?

    • November 16, 2019 at 17:15

      Wikipedia is regularly edited to suit the narrative. It is NOT a reliable source of in formation.

    • November 17, 2019 at 01:18

      thanks; you are right, he was born in Russia. my mistake. ray

  23. robert e williamson jr
    November 15, 2019 at 11:33

    Lots of talk about MH-17, crickets about the July 3rd 1988 shoot down by the USS Vincennes of Iran Air 655 in the Persian gulf.

    So I guess two wrongs do make a right.

    Everyone need to get out of the weeds the Corporate Republocrats have dragged us all into. You see it’s like dying in Vietnam. It’s No big thing. Exactly. Kids lets not dewell on the wrong things here.

    Wake the fuck up!

  24. November 14, 2019 at 22:04

    Thanks Ray,
    Once again you have vastly increased my knowledge. I am so happy for your education in the CIA especially now that you are sharing it with us.
    Miss you in DC.

  25. Fred Mrozek
    November 14, 2019 at 22:02

    The Nuland/Kagan coup in Ukraine seems most likely to be punishment for Russia thwarting the outworking of the Oded Yinon plan in Syria.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:03

      No, it probably was always on the US agenda.

    • G.lebelloch
      November 17, 2019 at 16:28

      At long last ! Someone ‘gets’ it !

  26. Nathan Mulcahy
    November 14, 2019 at 22:00

    “Fu&k the EU” – how sweet. I think Ms. Nuland misspoke. It’s not EU, it’s EV (European Vassals). By the way, this all happened under the Nobel Peace Laureate, constitutional lawyer, and anti war President Obomber.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      November 15, 2019 at 04:56

      The EV is absolutely appropriate, sadly.

  27. John Drake
    November 14, 2019 at 20:53

    Great intel Ray. I was flying back from Georgia when Maidan riots were happening and thanks to Lufthansa’s free( at that time) wi fi was able to fully understand what was going on.
    It needs to be mentioned however that a large motivation for the Crimean referendum results as well as the separatist movement (60 percent ethnic Russians in the East) was the fact that the overthrow of the government was spearheaded by neo-Nazis. Any observation of the many videos will show anyone familiar with the 3rd. Reich, that the street actions were classic Brownshirt style behavior. The people of Crimea(58% ethnic Russian) and the Easterners wanted to have nothing to do with a Kiev government put into power by such people.
    The Ukraine, unfortunately, has had a sad history of Nazi tendencies. There are still statues of Stephan Bandera, a neo-Nazi hero, in Lviv; who led anti Russian and pro Nazi resistance. He later was eliminated by the KGB in Munich.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:06

      Thanks for that information. The more you know the easier it is to complete the puzzle.

  28. Victor Peppard
    November 14, 2019 at 20:42

    Thanks to Ray McGovern for the much needed history lesson. I’d like to add a couple of things here. Obama greeted the news of the coup the next day as “a triumph for democracy.” Needless to say, there is no democracy that provides for a change of government via a coup. The day before, Yanukovich, perhaps the worst and certainly the most ostentatiously corrupt in the series of post-Soviet presidents, had agreed to all the opposition’s demands the day before the coup, including early elections, reduction of presidential powers, and letting people who opposed him out of jail. The coup makers, including Yatsenyuk, Nuland’s chosen one as PM, couldn’t wait and went ahead with the coup. If anyone needs further proof that it was a coup, let me say that we watched on TV how a mob tried to attack a government building and was stopped by Yats who told them not to do so, saying that there were people who were trained to do the job.
    As for Crimea, Peter Kenez, a leading historian of Russia, has written in his book about the Soviet Union that the new regime in Kiev told the Russians that the long-term contract for Russia to use Sevastopol as the base for its Black Sea Fleet would be terminated in 2017. Hence the appearance of the “little green men” (zelenye chelovechiki) in Crimea and the referendum McGovern mentions.
    The civil war in Donbass is another very long story, but it should be known that the separatist movement there is a genuine one and that Russia, contrary to what it has said, is supporting the separatists with men and arms. The role of the US should be to encourage new Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and his new government, the separatists, and their Russia backers to sit down and end the conflict that has already claimed over 13,000 lives. This will be difficult, for a number of reasons, including that Ukrainian oligarchs are making a lot of money on the war, nationalists in the Rada will be reluctant to negotiate with the separatists, and Putin does not want to be seen as insufficiently backing the separatist cause at home. The Ukrainian commentator Pogrebinsky says persuasively that any settlement will have to include special status for Donetsk and Lugansk, or else Ukraine will lose them altogether.
    Meanwhile, the mainstream news here doesn’t have any room or intentions to help us understand how we got to this point.

    • Alexander
      November 19, 2019 at 03:17

      Good comment. I think the main problem with setting peace on Donbass, is that Putin thinks that the ongoing conflict zone is one of the main reasons Ukraine will not be incorporated into NATO.

  29. AnthraxSleuth
    November 14, 2019 at 19:15

    Thanks for this Mr. McGovern.

    Any help you could give on the Bolivia situation would also be most appreciated.
    Looks like a typical coup by corporations and oligarchs for control of resources.
    But, Morales has been in power for a very long time.
    And, in my opinion, that is never a good thing for us worthless eater types.

    • PJB
      November 14, 2019 at 22:59

      Morales and his MAS party had won 3 elections since 2006.

      When the previous neoliberal center-right government sold the nation’s water to private interests that criminalised Bolivians saving rain water – Morales and MAS campaigned on water rights as human rights and won.

      Since then Bolivia has been an economic miracle. Wealth redistribution from semi- nationalising gas and tin mining led to improved infrastructure, health and education. Unemployment and dire poverty were more than halved. The poor indigenous majority benefited the most.

      Bolivia cleated all foreign debt burden and told the IMF their services were not needed anymore.

      Recently Bolivia chose a Chinese firm over an EU one to mine its vast lithium resources – the largest in the world. This would’ve built on the massive development and eliminated poverty.

      But Western banking-mining interests were not impressed and hence a typical CIA run (the Bolivian generals were educated in USA) Latin American coup.

      Already signs in independent media videos of mainly indigenous Bolivians being dragged from homes into military trucks and driven away while right wing gangs of thugs threaten them.

      21stcenturywire.com/2019/11/11/bolivia-coup-step-by-step-guide-to-u-s-regime-change-operation/

    • Litchfield
      November 15, 2019 at 20:33

      Yes, Surely the Bolivia coup now takes the prize for “most blatant coup” of all time.
      Although the competition for this prize is becoming ever more fierce.

  30. ranney
    November 14, 2019 at 18:35

    Ray thank you for this clear timeline on Crimea! I have told a number of people this history, but I’m not sure they actually believed me so this will be a huge help to clear their understanding when I send this to them.
    The MSM constantly likes to say Russia “invaded” Ukraine when referring to Russia accepting Crimea back, so I hope, as one responder said, that this is just “part one” and you will add more details later.
    One thing I recall reading a while back is that when the SSR fell apart under Gorbachev that the people of Crimea had a referendum and asked to be taken back by Russia but Yeltsin (?) or Gorbachev(?) said no, that Ukraine was friendly and Russia had a good agreement with them re the port at Sevastapole. If this is true, I think it should be mentioned. Also I think a part 2 might mention that when the Azov Nazi battalion arrived at Crimea to attack the people for voting to leave, that a small contingent of Russian soldiers who were already stationed there deterred them without much trouble and less than a handful of people were killed or injured over the whole incident that we are calling an “invasion”. Also I think it’s of interest to know that the new Ukraine legislature (I don’t know what it’s called) as the very first new law passed by them – outlawed the Russian language! Since for the people of Crimea whose first language is Russian, this was a powerful message of what they could expect from the new government and gave impetus to their referendum.
    If I am correct in the points I just wrote about, I hope you will tell us, because I believe all of these add to the story, assuming they are true. Thank you so much Ray, for all you do in keeping us informed and I hope your article gets wide readership.

    • Litchfield
      November 15, 2019 at 20:37

      I have it from a contact in Moscow that Russians who went to Ukraine to help out friends and family—for example, with cash, food, medical supplies, clothes, etc.—were attacked because they could be identified by Russian license plates. The physics teacher of of one of this contact’s son’s school friends lost his life in Ukraine through this kind of violence against Russians who went to Ukraine to help friends and family members there post-coup.

    • Alexander
      November 19, 2019 at 03:27

      Though it is true what you are saying that there were some serious reasons for Crimean population to be unhappy with Ukrainian government. Still de jure it was a Russian invasion of military personal and annexation of the peninsula.

      Imagine some great power would free Scotland from the UK, helping with referendum and neutralizing UK military, as Scots have a long history of being discontent with London rule.

  31. November 14, 2019 at 18:25

    This will definitely impact to our economy, Very nice article.

  32. November 14, 2019 at 18:18

    Great article Ray!! After our 2016 trip to Crimea with Sharon Tennison, many other groups have returned from trips to Crimea with the same impressions. That those in Crimea voted fair and square to align with Russia rather than being bullied by the neofascists of the new Ukrainian government!

    Regis Tremblay has many videos that he’s done in the Donbas region that document the Ukrainian aggression against the citizens of Donbas, including videos from earlier this year

  33. Carroll Price
    November 14, 2019 at 17:12

    Considering the timeline, followed by the stonewalling that continues to this day, it becomes more than obvious who’s responsible for downing MH 17.

    • November 16, 2019 at 22:50

      ‘Who’ indeed. The same ‘Who’ disappeared Malaysia’s flight over the Indian Ocean.
      Has Malaysia offended any ME nation known to be terrorist? (How about Japan 3/11?)
      Hmmm…?

  34. Antiwar7
    November 14, 2019 at 15:57

    From the 2008 cable from the US Amb to Russia mentioned by Ray above:

    Experts tell us
    that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions
    in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the
    ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a
    major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In
    that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to
    intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.

    From the US ambassador! From 2008!

  35. Mark Thomason
    November 14, 2019 at 14:05

    “The quid pro quo began to unravel in October 1996 during the last weeks of President Bill Clinton’s campaign”

    Bill Clinton was a backstabbing liar. He did it to Russia too.

    His friends among the Democrats are no better, in fact gloried in it with Hillary.

    There are some extremely untrustworthy Republicans too, but in this case it was Democrats who did it.

  36. Richard Graham
    November 14, 2019 at 14:05

    There has been a lot of quacking about the Crimea: what a crime against humanity; how could they abuse the Ukrainians again after the Holdomor; those brave, but treacherous Tartars; how can they violate a sovereign countries borders? In Canada this includes many who purport to be informed historians and progressives. I’m thinking of Gwynne Dyer, a historian who is a professor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. I brought him up short on the Crimea once, and like Max Boot he sucked his thumb, and disappeared from the debate rather than honestly admit his ignorance.

    The facts are that Russia added the Crimea, and everything else to the north and east, to the Russian Empire in 1784. Kiev is a seminal root of Russian identity, and is the founding source of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The contrived controversy denying Russian Orthodox leadership of Christianity in the East is the latest denial of commonly understood Russian history.

    Sevastopol is a critical, strategic military asset for Russia, and has been seen as such since its capture. It is been the major warm water port for Russia since the Crimean War. After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Russia and NATO negotiated the Budapest Memorandum with the newly independent Ukraine to destroy the nuclear weapons stored there. The later Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership, and, Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet, and, Kharkiv Pact, secured uninterrupted Russian access and control of Sevastopol, and the ancient Russian language and cultural rights of the large Russian majority in the eastern provinces. All of these treaties were violated with US and NATO encouragement by the Bandera Nazis. All of this information is available on Wikipedia, but that would require superficially honest research.

    All of these treaties were conveniently ignored by Obama, Clinton, their comprador Banderists, and the MSM, so they could arrogantly attempt to attack Russia. The very first acts of the Banderists were to deny Russian language and cultural rights, attack Russians returning from Kiev, to form Nazi militias, and to join NATO.

    This Maidan foreign policy adventure was profoundly stupid because it deliberately provoked war. The notion that Russia would abandon its Russian citizens, allow NATO to threaten Russia from forward bases on Ukrainian soil, and surrender Sevastopol to NATO, could have resulted in the first large war between nuclear armed NATO and RUSSIA. We can all thank Putin and Russia for the measured and restrained response that kept the war limited to its present small size.

    • Andrew Bruce-Jones
      November 15, 2019 at 01:56

      Here here, some major common sense you speak.

    • Kristof
      November 15, 2019 at 11:32

      “Sevastopol is a critical, strategic military asset for Russia, and has been seen as such since its capture. It is been the major warm water port for Russia since the Crimean War.”
      Although I agree with you on many points You are wrong about the port of Sevastopol.
      Faced with the difficulties created by the Ukrainians: renewal or not of the lease, blocking of supply trains, blocking of the movement of vessels…
      In the early 2000s, the Russian government decided to build a new base for the Navy within the Port of Novorossiysk, between the commercial port and the oil export terminal.
      (In 2003, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree setting up a naval base for the Black Sea Fleet in Novorossiysk.- Wikipedia)

      Work began around 2007 and in 2014 the port could accommodate military ships and submarines. The railway line that serves the commercial port also arrives directly at the naval base.
      Storage capacities were also developed at the nearby Raievskaia base.

      2016: newsweek.com/russia-unveil-new-14-bn-black-sea-fleet-base-four-years-484974

      wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_Fleet

      Regards,

      Kristof.

    • Steve Abbott
      November 15, 2019 at 23:25

      Gwynne Dyer has a history himself. For those who were paying attention to the mutterings of Canadian pundits following Colin Powell’s cabaret at the UNSC, Dyer’s clear declaration was that Powell’s evidence was definitive, and that there was no longer any excuse for us not to join the attack on Iraq. Has he ever retracted that position? Not to my knowledge!

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:23

      Thank you ! Again I appreciate comments that add to the understanding of events that occurred , thwarting the ongoing narrative of lies both the Democrats and Republicans are promoting.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:28

      Thanks Richard Grahm! I continue to encounter people that think I am against the US because I appreciate Putins diplomacy. In both the Ukraine and Syria. The Minsk agreement 1 and 2 were signed without interference by US that was not invited to the party.

  37. Mark Thomason
    November 14, 2019 at 14:02

    Ukraine is NOT a US ally.

    NATO attacked Russia, by moving into neutral Ukraine and attempting to tighten its containment of Russia.

    The Russian action was a response to attack. It isn’t aggression. Aggression is what NATO did. Victoria Nuland and Amb McFaul were leaders of the aggression. Putin only responded.

    It was another color revolution, and the second time it was done by the US in Ukraine. Russia had studied the first one, and developed a response. Of course it did, any nation would. It went with its planned response. Again, that is of course.

  38. Richard Graham
    November 14, 2019 at 13:55

    We are supposed to believe that no US/NATO military intelligence exists regarding the MH-17 incident.

    We are supposed to believe that the US wouldn’t be most interested in Russian air defences. In particular, anti-aircraft radar and missiles, and all communications between front-line units and their Russian commanders. Hostile militaries the world over routinely approach enemy coastlines, fleets, installations, and field military units. This is done for the sole purpose of activating defensive preparations, including, most importantly, scanning and targeting radar. We are supposed to believe that the US military didn’t task every available intelligence asset to surveil their most dangerous opponent’s military, while this military is in the field engaged in hot combat, with every system active and broadcasting. The BUK missile system, along with the S-300 and S-400, plus every other civilian and military radar source would have been targeted in real time by every resource available. The opportunity to compare surveillance intercepts with on site observations of Ukrainian equipment would be invaluable.
    It is obvious that this surveillance wouldn’t be missed without Pentagon ranks being thinned afterwards, by firing squad.

    That we have had no civilian or military video of rocket contrail, or exploding plane and debris, is also telling. But the investigators can find civilian photos of the BUK battery moving through Russia to the alleged launch site. I think a 30000 foot rocket contrail would be visible for 50 to 100 kilometres. I would expect infrared video matched with radar and signals intelligence intercepts of the rockets broadcast telemetry.

    So independent evidence does exist in US/NATO hands. It isn’t being released because it shows the Ukrainians shooting down the MH-17 airplane as it was deliberately directed to fly through a combat zone.

    • Guillotine
      November 16, 2019 at 16:02

      Well said Richard! This coincides with what I gleaned from several sources at the time it happened. In fact, one source went on to show the picture of the alleged pilot of the fighter jet that did the shooting. If you bother to look at the photos of the wrecked plane, you see bullet holes, not Buk Shrapnel which has a distinct shape. Also, if you think about who would benefit from the downing of a civilian plane over the southern Donbass, they didn’t include the Russians.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:40

      At the time ,I read Putin questioned Obama’s lack of response regarding the US satellite that should have specific images of the incident since it was overhead at the time. It wasn’t until much later Kerry commented but without any visuals for us to see the proof .

  39. Bill Rice
    November 14, 2019 at 13:26

    Good summary Ray. My only disappointment is the large gap between 2008 and 2013. Your thoughts on how the US achieved their coup in those years would be helpful especially the John Kerry/Obama involvement.

  40. Herb Weber
    November 14, 2019 at 13:03

    Thank you, Ray McGovern. Obviously you were as upset as I was by yesterday’s self-serving interpretation of events and perversion of history. Politics, international affairs and military strategy – especially strategy – should not be conducted like this.

  41. November 14, 2019 at 12:39

    I often wonder, what is the cause of American antipathy toward Russia? Is it connected with British antipathy toward Russia which was about empire building dating back to the late 18th century? Is it now about American empire building to which the Russians oppose?

    Antipathy toward Russians is not a genetic thing, it is strictly acquired through environmental influence. We are not born disliking and fearing Russians. We are taught to dislike and fear them. Those who teach us to dislike and fear them are of two types: those who dislike and fear them simply because they were taught to do so, and those who dislike them (but probably don’t actually fear them) because their designs conflict with Russian interests. The former I can understand. It’s like people accepting life long beliefs in the religion they were brought up in. The latter are today’s neocons who are not truthful about their designs and hide their true agendas behind false claims of patriotism and national security. I don’t know for sure what they are; I can only surmise that the lust for money and power underlie their true designs.

    Whatever their true designs, the neocons are doing Americans a disservice with their distortions of truth and history that can only result in disaster if we continue down the path they proscribe.

    • DH Fabian
      November 14, 2019 at 22:40

      Fear of real competition, hatred of any competitor that is able to resist/defeat US imperialistic goals.

    • Maria
      November 18, 2019 at 22:59

      Sadly the second group produce the first group

  42. Jeff Harrison
    November 14, 2019 at 12:24

    The US is solely focused on global hegemony. We are blinded by overweening ambition and it will be our undoing.

  43. Bob Van Noy
    November 14, 2019 at 12:00

    Many thanks Ray and Aaron Mate has an excellent video interview of this subject on The Grayzone this morning…
    “Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens US-Russia Cold War Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens US-Russia Cold War”

    • Litchfield
      November 15, 2019 at 20:50

      I listened to some of the testimony of Vanukovich or whatever her name is this a.m.
      I guess under questioning by Schiff.

      What a total travesty. There was not one statement she made that would have been accepted as evidence in a normal court under standard rules of evidence. It was *all* hearsay. Larded with tear-jerking emotional effusions and obvious tearjerking and grand standing. And the questions posed by Schiff were all of the “Since when did you stop beating your wife” type. It was so awful—so embarrassingly transparent— that I had to turn off the radio.

      Who do these people think they are fooling? The American people?
      I think now.
      I almost hope the House votes to impeach so that we can enjoy the spectacle of this show being shredded under cross-examination. Honestly I think it would be a cakewalk. I am not a Trump supporter—but this is ridiculous. And will ensure Trump’s reelection. The Dems are making themselves the objects of ridicule blending into hatred and revulsion.

  44. Frank Munley
    November 14, 2019 at 11:59

    Many thanks to Ray McGovern for this most important timeline. One thing is missing: the Feb 21 agreement by Ukrainian president Yanukovych, the EU, and the Ukrainian opposition to resolve the crisis. It would have involved early elections and a return to the constitution of 2004,…etc., etc. Next day, included in the above timeline, a violent coup was carried out.

    • November 14, 2019 at 22:02

      you are right, Frank; thanks ray

    • zhecka
      November 14, 2019 at 22:52

      More is missing – Yanukovich fled to Russia, at which point country’s constitution was broken, and Ukraine ceased to exist as a country. Only after that Crimea was taken by Putin. So it was not really taken from Ukraine since there was no such country at that moment.

    • Dave
      November 15, 2019 at 21:32

      Hopefully Ray McGovern in a future article will explain 1) the meaning of the noun “Ukraine”; 2) provide some background on the differences (i.e., religious, linguist, ethnic, cultural) between the western, central, and eastern regions of The Ukraine; 3) provide a brief explanation of what a political “shatter zone” consists of (The Ukraine is a prime example of the phenomenon); and 4) write a brief commentary on the origin and fate of both the Curzon Line and the Cordon Sanitaire. Ray and his professional intelligence colleagues have done a fine job of explaining the often confusing mess in The Ukraine; a follow-up article will further assist curious readers into understanding the historical complexity of the region termed The Ukraine. Thanks, Ray….it’s a real shame that MSDNC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox, and the broadcast networks don’t allow you a prime-time sixty-minute, advertisement-free time slot to enlighten their viewers and listeners about the region termed The Ukraine.

    • Laninya
      November 16, 2019 at 13:15

      Yes, thank-you to Ray for producing this timeline. And, thank-you Frank for reminding about the Feb 21 agreement.

      A couple more data points should be added to the list, in my opinion:
      (1) the Khorsun pogrom of Feb 20-21 (in which, Right Sector ‘punishers’ told survivors to go home and tell the others “we’re coming for you”); and
      (2) the fact that Crimeans had voted a couple of times in the 1990s (1991 and 1994, if memory serves) to be more closely aligned with Russia, but were ignored.

    • Maria
      November 18, 2019 at 23:02

      Sooooo relevant. Please add it to such magnific article (and anything also relevant between 2008 and the coup) for posterity.

  45. Martin Godden
    November 14, 2019 at 11:47

    Yes I watched aghast (from here in the U.K.) when I watched the opening address. Having just finished reading The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg I can only despair for the future.

  46. November 14, 2019 at 11:39

    Thanks for the primer on Ukraine History ?? .
    I will forward to my email group.

  47. Drew Hunkins
    November 14, 2019 at 11:30

    Here was something I posted last week on another website:

    Truth-seekers and peace and justice champions need to take a few steps back and get a couple of things straight real quick:

    1.) Not a dime of U.S. taxpayer dollars whatsoever should ever be going to the neo-fascist regime in Kiev, period! These funds, arms and munitions are being used to wage a violent war on the beleaguered pro-Russian Eastern Ukrainian citizens. These atrocities have the possibility of putting the world on the brink of war between Russia and the West. The great investigative journalist Eva Bartlett (maligned and smeared by our corporate-imperialist mass media) just wrote a dynamite and quite lengthy piece on how the Nazi Kiev forces routinely shell civilians in Donbas injuring and killing scores every month.

    2.) Aside from the alleged quid pro quo, asking a foreign gov’t to investigate possible corruption is hardly a heinous and contemptible offense. Of course it’s corruption involving our corporate Dems, a group that’s often untouchable in our mainstream media these days (outside of FOX News).

    3.) It’s business as usual for U.S. administrations to attach quid pro quos to all kinds of assistance to foreign leaders, it’s happened for decades. Unless the subsidies are handed out to Israel, Israel can pretty much do whatever it pleases with the funds it extorts from U.S. taxpayers. And obviously the IMF demands extortionate measures when it doles out its loan assistance.

    4.) Pointing out any of the above doesn’t in any way mean you’re a Trump supporter. It means you’re a realist concerned with genuine democracy and fearful of an intel-corporate Dem coup attempt. Once the intel operatives and their corporate media enablers succeed in dumping Trump, they’ll feel emboldened to attack any future president who has the courage to go after the Washington-Zio military empire builders, be it Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders or Colonel Sanders, anyone brave enough to even merely verbally attack the empire will feel the lash of the entire deep state establishment.

    • robert e williamson jr
      November 15, 2019 at 18:25

      #4 of your post , second sentence states, ” It means you’re a realist concerned with the genuine democracy and fearful of an intel-corporate Dem coup attempt. Wrong, wrong wrong. If you are a true realist you have no interest in the party involved but instead the chance of progress being made, and getting the truth for a change as an example. No matter what the party line is.

      The problem with exceptional Americans is they feel they have no need to be realist but instead they feel the need to be on a “TEAM”. A winning team. So much for reality pal.

      “Ohhooo, here comes the boogeyman, please let me lean on that nuclear bomb so I feel safe.!” Jesus what a crock of horse pocky!

      I was 14 when JFK died.

      Once the intel operators and MIC’s allowed the successful murder of JFK they felt emboldened to attack any future president who had the courage to go after intel operators or the MIC who were supported the super wealthy imperialist / deep state.

      This they have done and continue to do. Nixon was next because he like the Amber Armageddon, “just didn’t quite get it”. He thought being president meant something. But it no longer does because of a self neutered congress circa 1963-1964.

      History is supposed to be the accurate record of events. CIA said,” no we will have none of that”. In the U.S. after the JFK death history seemed to be regaled to the phony story of U.S. exceptionalism.

      Truth is the message sent by the murder of JFK quickly got through to congress loud and clear, “Stay in line or else!”.

      Trust me I have no love for Israel it has become a major pain in everyone’s ass mainly because of CIA coverups and law breaking. But we can’t know because of CIA’s ability to filter history and lie about what they do in spite of us.

      There is no way in hell the republican party can distant them selves from either the Security State or the Intel community.

      The congress’ refusal to hold the security state or the intel community accountable has been historically bi-partisan. If it hadn’t been the security state and intel community would not have survived.

      I strongly suggest you acquire and read Lock K Johnson’s “A SEASON OF INQUIRY REVISITED, The Church Committee Confronts America’s Spy Agencies.

      The history of this debacle is continuous and like I said bi-partisan. Check those DOJ & SCOTUS rulings supporting CIA et. al. and it’s a bipartisan history. So I’m one seeker of truth, peace and justice who has seen almost zero of any of the afore mentioned in 70’s years.

      911 was a signaling event and we all need to go back and find the real story behind what happened. Congress has been failing the country ever since the JFK murder. Failed in Vietnam, failed to tell us what happened 911, failed in Iraq and they are about to sweep large amounts of security state intel community failure under the rug with the circus now under way in congress.

      The Patriot Act was the Security State taking action. An action that in large part countermanded the U.S. Constitution. You believe what you want but don’t waste my liberty so you feel secure. You’re not!

      I’m not having any of it son. Vet’s never forget! So it’s exactly like you said , “. . . . lets just take a few steps further back and get this right! ” Congress gets failing grades on U.S. Security and Intel since 1963, right!

      Thanks again to all at Consortium News for putting up with “Grumpa”

      Now for some Rum the revolutionary drink!

    • robert e williamson jr
      November 18, 2019 at 20:42

      Drew it seems you are living in the past. Far too many who criticize the empire currently feel the lash of the entire deep state. Ever heard the phrase , ” Whistle blower sentenced to prison”!

      I do happen to agree with our thought that no tax dollars should go to Israel or the Ukraine. Apparently someone decided spending money in the Ukraine was a great idea. I suspect CIA was behind it but I have no proof. It is difficult to determine the truth when one is forbidden from seeing the actual CLASSIFIED supporting evidence.

      Once again these are bi-partisan actions. The problem is Trump wanted help with the upcoming U.S. presidential election in exchange for tax payer bought aid for Ukraine.

  48. David Hupp
    November 14, 2019 at 11:00

    Thank you, Ray, for this immensely useful chronology and history, which squares with my own recollection. I would only add that the United States missile bases are still in Turkey and it doesn’t take much imagination to empathize with an ordinary Russian’s feelings of being threatened. One does not need to like Putin to see this.

    Without information such as this, most viewers of the House Impeachment proceedings will not understand the false context of the Democratic Party’s company line (e.g., Chair Schiff’s several references to “Russian aggression”. Without the McGovern chronology, people will remain confused by the official propaganda and not understand Trump’s impeachment crimes. Any success of the impeachment process will therefore depend on some sort of as-yet-undiscovered “smoking gun”.

  49. Grant S. Fisher
    November 14, 2019 at 10:26

    I hope this is only Part One of an extremely valuable overview of the Ukrainian mess. The role of the neo-fascists in the Ukrainian government and military, the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as the on-going corruption that was the supposed cause of the 2013/4 Maidan demonstrations, and other related issues would be very helpful, though whether the corporate lackeys in Congress would pay attention is highly doubtful.

  50. November 14, 2019 at 10:23

    Mr. McGovern, I hope your summation will be widely shared with our political leaders and other important decision and opinion makers even though you can expect vehement denials and distortion among those peddling the Russians did it scenario. I hope also that steps have been taken to see that your article is shared widely on the most read websites.

    It is probable that those playing the “game” with Russia truly believe there is no danger to America in pursuing the present course and means only more benefits to the current beneficiaries. They seem not to care that a one in thousand chance of a conflagration means it could happen.

  51. Dao Gen
    November 14, 2019 at 10:22

    Ray, thank you for this enlightening and lucid article. Truly Schiff is impeaching history itself because history does not support his ideology.

    Please allow me here to mention one other crucial part of Ukraine’s and Crimea’s history. It the fact that the majority of Crimeans never agreed with Khrushchev’s arbitrary decision to transfer Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954. When the USSR was nearing its end but before Ukraine had declared its independence from the USSR, Crimea held a referendum on Crimean sovereignty in January 1991 in which 94.3% of voters supported making Crimea an “Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” within the USSR, equal with and separate from Ukraine SSR and other ASSRs. In February the Ukraine SSR declared Crimea to be an “autonomous state” that was located “within Crimea,” thereby creating an ambiguous situation. Crimean sovereignty was strongly reaffirmed in the Crimean Constitution of 1992, which gave the Crimean Parliament the right to negotiate with foreign states as well as many other independent rights.Then in 1994 Crimea elected its own president, Yuri Meshkov.

    However, in March 1995, Crimea unilaterally declared the 1992 Crimean Constitution void, sent troops into Sevastopol, occupied the buildings of the Crimean Republic, and poisoned president Meshkov, who had to be flown to Russia, where he received emergency treatment. With this military invasion, Ukraine annexed the independent Republic of Crimea against the will of its government and the majority of its people. Then, in 2014, in response to the violent coup against the elected president of Ukraine by US-supported Ukrainian right-wingers, the Crimean Republic was briefly revived in order to hold a referendum in March 2014 on a proposal to rejoin Russia, a proposal which was overwhelmingly supported, and so Crimea made a formal request to the Russian government to join the Russian Federation. It is often said that Russia annexed Crimea, but it seems more accurate to say that the Republic of Crimea was forcibly annexed by Ukraine in 1995 although it had declared its independence and its desire to return to the USSR in January 1991, while the USSR still existed (until Dec. 1991) and seven months before Ukraine declared its independence from the USSR. Therefore in 2014 Russia did not strictly speaking annex Crimea but, rather, it assented to the request made by the Crimean government on behalf of the great majority of the Crimean people and accepted Crimea into the Russian Federation.

  52. Todd Pierce
    November 14, 2019 at 09:23

    Thanks for this historical synopsis of Ukraine Ray. It was incredible to hear Schiff “project” on to Russia our own aggressive intent and designs since the end of the Cold War. That aggression in the name of American “Exceptionalism” is our ideological purpose today, and a mirror image of what we accused the Soviets of attempting, global domination, which was stated in 1992 in the Cheney/Wolfowitz doctrine which treated as settled fact that we were now the Global Hegemon, and would tolerate no dissent to that. Thus, Russia is the “enemy,” as a foreign and sovereign country attempting to maintain its independence, just like British colonists in North America in 1775 were to the British Empire due to to their dissent of their treatment by the Imperial Center, Britain. But we’re acting as Germany did in 1939 when confronted with foreign sovereign countries attempting to maintain their independence, with the exact same military doctrine as our own today. In fact DOD has a term for a country which maintains its independence as against being absorbed into the U.S. military matrix: they become an “Anti-Access Threat,” which includes Russia, Iran, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and until what is self-evidently a U.S. backed coup; Bolivia, just like we did to Ukraine, and what is certainly planned for Russia, given the right conditions.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      November 15, 2019 at 05:18

      “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff led off the proceedings with this: “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire…””

      Agreed. Schiff disgraces himself, his party, everyone who listened and did not speak up, and the institutions where he acts, for all time to come.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:31

      Countries not beholden to the IMF and World Bank

  53. Sally Snyder
    November 14, 2019 at 09:01

    Here is an article that looks at Washington’s lie about Crimea and its referendum that the entire anti-Russia narrative was built on:
    Washington’s Duplicitous Approach to Russia and Crimea and It’s Unintended Consequences, in Viable Opposition.

    It would appear that the Obama Administration very clearly understood that the people of Crimea wanted to separate from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation and that the results of the March 2014 referendum were valid.

  54. Casimir Ioulianov
    November 14, 2019 at 09:00

    You just forgot to mention than no long after expansion of the Tsarists Russia in the Crimea, Turks (then Ottomans) Frenchs and Brits declare a coalition war on Russia. The initial goal of the conflict was stopping Russian advance towards Constantinople and the Mediterranean. It was presented to the public opinion as a try to defend western Christianity against Eastern one … (on a largely Sunni Crimea ? A 1850’s alternative fact for sure.)
    But after a bloody three years conflict , an abrupt stalemate, the refusal to intervene of booth Austria and Prussia and some massive protests in France and England against the heavy causalities (most of witch where avoidable and a result of some hi ranked incompetence) , the attacker had to sign whats resemble a lot to a white peace with Russia.

    The 1850’s Crimean war is not a very well known conflict, but it had many consequences for France and England than later leads to other wars and battles like the 1870’s Franco-Prussian war and the young Churchill obsession with Gallipoli in the beginning years of WWI with Ottomans as enemies and Russian as allies this time.

    • bevin
      November 14, 2019 at 20:02

      ” no long after expansion of the Tsarists Russia in the Crimea, Turks (then Ottomans) Frenchs and Brits declare a coalition war on Russia.”
      Not long after? More than a century is ‘not long after’?

    • Casimir Ioulianov
      November 15, 2019 at 09:00

      Russia ended up expanding in Azov and the Crimean peninsula in the 1790’s, Bessarabia in 1812 (the same year Napoleon’s Russian campaign ended). For France and England, half a century is quite a short time-span. And France between 1815 and 1848 had a few internal problems to say the least …
      The Crimean campaign was seen at the time like an occasion to strengthen ties between the then new 2nd french republic and Victorian England after nearly a millennium of mutual hatred (since Hastings … in 1066).
      Yeah i know, those time-spans are not easy to apprehend when you live the other way of the pond , but in Europe it kind of makes sense.

    • Maria
      November 18, 2019 at 23:08

      The truth is that it was not a Christian cause war but the Empire (Brittish there is) trying to stop Russia from gaining a non Artic sea port of entry and exit, that would empower it against Brittish invasions through Crimea.

  55. AnneR
    November 14, 2019 at 08:41

    Thanks again Mr McGovern for this clear timeline re Ukraine and the US and Russia.

    Regarding your last segment, beginning with: “How did the “growing trust” that Russian President Putin wrote about in his September 11, 2013 New York Times op-ed evaporate?” I would suggest that any non-western government or people or both that *trust* ANY statement, agreement – verbal or written, treaty that the US-UK-EU (and their followers) make with them are living under a serious delusion. The ONLY reality that can be trusted is that if you, the “lesser” country, people, government, don’t comply with *our* diktats, don’t allow our multi-national corporations full access to your natural resources (in order to bleed your peoples of their rightful sources of income, in order to destroy your ecosystems, while lining the pockets of those of your politicos and bourgeoisie who are more than willing to also profit at the expense of their “lesser” compatriots) you will be treated to siege warfare via economic sanctions which will starve your poorer members of society. And we hold the “right” to foment coups against your legitimate governments, assassinate those we want gone… WHY would any sane person anywhere beyond the western Atlantic shores *trust* what we say?

    So I really doubt that Obama had any sincerity in *his* side of the “trust” in a Russia-USA collaboration to ensure peace and prosperity in Eurasia. Obama, smooth, slick, well spoken, and deeply imbued with that inane idea that America is “exceptional” (meaning “good” – yes, it is exceptionally terroristic, brutal, violent most decidedly not good), was your typical western politico: fundamentally a liar, basically there in office to ensure that US (in this case) corporate-capitalist-imperialism continues to operate on the world stage as *the* dominant power and profit extractor.

    As for Ukraine-gate/Russiagate – both these charades (the Ukraine-gate perhaps the more dangerous for what little democracy there is here) likely have at least two purposes: get rid of the Strumpet and prevent his return in 2020 AND at the same time waste much time distracting the public with these shows in order to avoid doing anything that the bewildered herd *want* our politicos to do for us. (Of course, they found the time – both colored heads of the monopoly warmongering, corporate-capitalist party – to award their friends and themselves very nice tax cuts and give oodles of boodle to the MIC.) And these distractions appear to work their ill.

    • November 17, 2019 at 11:44

      I would have said this exactly word for word if I could explain it all as succinctly as you.!

  56. michael
    November 14, 2019 at 08:36

    Nice quick summary of the recent history of the Ukraine (although at variance with the CIA narrative spewed by MSM).
    However, it is important to give the context of corruption in this recent history. The culture of Eastern Europe and of Ukraine in particular, is built on corruption. Biden and Nuland and Chalupa and Vindman and the host of DNC operatives, neocons and neolibs, and particularly Ukrainian Americans have milked the coup as an opportunity of a lifetime, establishing their own fiefdom there to funnel money away (the median income of Ukrainians dropped more than 50% during the five years after the coup). The model is built on the Clinton rape of Russia in the 1990s. As Patrick Lawrence noted a few days ago: “…to a one they are turf-conscious careerists who think they set U.S. foreign policy and resent the president for intruding upon them. It is increasingly evident that Trump’s true offense is proposing to renovate a foreign policy framework that has been more or less untouched for 75 years (and is in dire need of renovation). ” While coups and stealing countries’ resources have always been the basis of US foreign policy, the personal enrichment of Obama administration bureaucrats through corruption seems excessive, out of line and even anti-American.

    • Maria
      November 18, 2019 at 23:15

      I agree that the Clinton and Obama and Biden Neo lib corruption element besides the Bush/Trump Neoconservative one along with the imperialistic taking resources changing regimes impossing puppets warmongering- bipartisan-foreign policy of the US, is as important to this story and cronology as the rest and would be highly appreciated and important thus to include in the list of important or relevant events to these US government and congressional circus and MSM lies mentioned in this great article.

  57. Zhu
    November 14, 2019 at 08:11

    Nearly all our foreign policy disasters seem to come from “a comic-book caricature of reality.” That includes misunderstanding our own history.

    • boxerwar
      November 17, 2019 at 14:46

      Nearly all our foreign policy disasters seem to come from “a comic-book caricature of reality.” That includes misunderstanding our own history.

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