Regardless of political position, everyone agrees Ukraine is in crisis of potentially international proportions.
Western corporate media reporting on Ukraine appears to focus attention on the protest movement, while failing to report all known facts. Without having all known facts on the table, there is a real risk of reaching the wrong conclusion, based on incomplete reporting.The following is undisputed by all sides of the Ukrainian issue.
While Viktor F. Yanukovych was legitimately elected as president of Ukraine, many believe he was corrupt. The accusation of corruption gained credibility after protesters stormed his mansion and discovered his lavish home firsthand.
In 1999, Russian and Ukrainian parliaments ratified an agreement allowing Russia to station military forces in Ukraine. No one claims the 1999 Russian/Ukrainian agreement was violated.
During the protests, The U. S. assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, participated in a phone call that was leaked on YouTube on February 4, 2014. In it they discuss regime change and opine who should be in power.
On February 21, 2014, Yanukovch and opposition representatives signed an agreement that included the following provisions:
- The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days.
- Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government, and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September.
- A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted, but no later than December 2014, and new electoral laws will be passed.
- An investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition, and the Council of Europe.
- The authorities will not impose a state of emergency and both the authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence.
- Illegal weapons will be handed over to interior ministry bodies.
After the agreement was signed, on the evening of February 21, 2014, Yanukovch reports that while en route to Kharkov, Ukraine for a conference, he and his escort car were personally subjected to gunfire by automatic weapons. He arrived at his destination late that night. The next day, February 22, 2014, his security reported that radical groups began to arrive in Kharkov. As a result, he left on the recommendation of security.
On February 24, 2014, three days after the agreement was signed, Yanukovch's Chief of Staff, Andriy Klyuyev, was shot by protesters.
Recently, a phone call between Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton was leaked.
In the leaked call, Paet reports that violence is still an issue:
"Enormous pressure is being put on the Ukrainian Parliament with members having uninvited visitors in the night. During the day, at least one member of Parliament was publicly beaten in front of the Parliament building by gunmen on the streets."
Paet further reports that most of the new government has a dirty past and there is no trust. He goes on:
"What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen, and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.” “She then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” "It already discredits from the very beginning this new coalition."
Clearly the violence has not de-escalated and the opposition has not fulfilled their side of the agreement requiring a disarmament of protesters with illegal weapons. The new coalition leadership is not trusted by many citizens of Ukraine and now there is evidence that an unknown third party has deployed sniper targeting groups on both sides of the Ukraine issue.
With these facts, Russia's claim that Ukraine has been taken over by an unconstitutional coup doesn't seem so implausible.