Russia blames US for Ukraine crisis

by our European Affairs correspondent

ANTI-FASCIST protesters seized control of another provincial capital in eastern Ukraine this week while the Kremlin continues to call on the Kiev regime to establish an all-Ukrainian dialogue and find a compromise to end the crisis.

Demonstrators stormed the administrative buildings in Luhansk on Tuesday in a further blow to the puppet regime in Kiev, whose attempts to crush the popular revolt that has swept most of the Russian-speaking east and south of the country ground to a halt last weekend.

Pro-Russian movements already control most of the neighbouring Donetsk province, where they have proclaimed an independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk” and are planning a referendum vote on secession on 11th May.

The Kiev regime remains largely powerless in eastern and southern Ukraine. Its much-vaunted “anti-terrorist” offensive has petered out in the face of mass opposition on the street and the arrest of a military surveillance team of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a number of pro-Kiev officials by the people’s militia in the breakaway Donetsk republic.

In Moscow Russian leader Vladimir Putin told the media that the Americans were behind the Ukrainian crisis from the start. Putin said: “I think what is happening now shows us who was really masterminding the process from the beginning. But in the beginning the United States preferred to remain in the shadows.”

Russia has assured the United States that it will not invade Ukraine. But US-led imperialism is stepping up the sanctions regime against Russia and staging “unprecedented” Nato military activity near its borders.

The European Union has now imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 15 people including Russia’s deputy premier, the chief of staff of Russian armed forces and the head of military intelligence. But the Russians say the EU sanctions would not ease tensions in Ukraine. “Instead of forcing the Kiev clique to sit at the table with south-eastern Ukraine to negotiate the future structure of the country, our partners are doing Washington’s bidding with new unfriendly gestures aimed at Russia.” Meanwhile Gennady

Kernes, the mayor of eastern Ukraine’s biggest city, Kharkov, was in a stable condition on Tuesday in a hospital in Israel, where he was flown after an assassination attempt. Kernes, one of Ukraine’s most prominent Jewish politicians, was shot in the back on Monday in Kharkov. Kernes was a prominent supporter of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian Party of the Regions and some are already pointing the finger at the neo-Nazi militias that provide the muscle for the Kiev administration.

They in turn, say Kernes, were shot by pro-Russians angered at Kernes’ recent support for a “united Ukraine” while others see a gangland motive as the millionaire businessman has long been accused a having links with organised crime.