UKRAINE IN THE CROSSFIRE
by
Chris Kaspar de Ploeg

ISBN: 978-0-9972870-8-0  353 pp.
$23.95   2017

















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SYNOPSIS

Ukraine is embroiled in a bloody civil war. Both sides stand accused of
collaborating with fascists, of committing war crimes, of serving foreign
interests. This proxy-war between Russia and the West was accompanied by a
fierce information war. This book separates fact from fiction with extensive and
reliable documentation. While remaining critical of Russia and the Donbass
rebellion, De Ploeg demonstrates that many of the recent disasters can be
traced to Ukrainian ultranationalists, pro-western political elites and their
European and North-American backers.

Ukraine in the Crossfire tackles the importance of ultranationalist violence
during and after the EuroMaidan movement, and documents how many of these
groups are heirs to former nazi-collaborators. It shows how the Ukrainian state
has seized on the ultranationalist war-rhetoric to serve its own agenda, clamping
down on civil liberties on a scale unprecedented since Ukrainian independence.
De Ploeg argues that Kiev itself has been the biggest obstacle to peace in
Donbass, with multiple leaks suggesting that US officials are pushing for a
pro-war line in Ukraine. With the nation´s eyes turned towards Russia, the EU and
IMF have successfully pressured Ukraine into adopting far-reaching austerity
programs, while oligarchic looting of state assets and massive tax-avoidance
facilitated by western states continue unabated.

De Ploeg documents the local roots of the Donbass rebellion, the overwhelming
popularity of Crimea's secession, and shows that support for Ukraine's
pro-western turn remains far from unanimous, with large swathes of Ukraine's
Russophone population opting out of the political process.  Nevertheless, De
Ploeg argues, the pro-Western and pro-Russian camps are often similar:
neoliberal, authoritarian, nationalist and heavily dependent on foreign support.

In a wider exploration of Russo-Western relations, he examines similarities
between the contemporary Russian state and its NATO counterparts, showing
how the two power blocs have collaborated in some of their worst violent
excesses. A far cry from civilizational or ideological clashes, De Ploeg argues
that the current tensions flow from NATO´s military dominance and aggressive
posture, both globally and within eastern Europe, where Russia seeks to
preserve the status-quo.

Packed with shocking facts, deftly moving from the local to the international,
from the historical to the recent; De Ploeg connects the dots, consistently
offering the necessary context for understanding the multiple faces of
imperialism within Ukraine and beyond.

Written in an accessible language,
Ukraine in the Crossfire offers a truly
comprehensive and independent narrative on the Ukrainian conflict.
AUTHOR

Chris Kaspar de Ploeg (1994) is a freelance
journalist and political analyst. His publications have
appeared in De Groene Amsterdammer (NL), Follow
the Money (NL), Dissident Voice (US), De Wereld
Morgen (BE), De Omslag (NL) and Spanning (NL). In
the spring of 2016, de Ploeg joined Platform
Authentieke Jouirnalistiek to write an investigative
journalism series on Ukraine.
CONNECTING THE DOTS IN UKRAINE
REVIEWS

"a detailed analysis by Dutch scholar Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, ...
a serious effort to sift facts from the propaganda generated in
the information war between the various actors in this drama ...
Ukraine in the Crossfire is perhaps the first comprehensive
exercise to present a different perspective from that which
dominates ‘mainstream’ media, academia and political circles.''
P.S. Raghavan, Former Ambassador of India to Russia,
now Convener, National Security Advisory Board of India,
India Quarterly (Sage Journal)

"...a thorough but sharply critical account of the role of the West
in the now three-year Ukrainian civil war, the political epicenter of
the new Cold War."
Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies,
New York University/Princeton University,
The Boston Globe

"The newest addition to the literature comes courtesy of the
Dutch journalist Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, who refuses to go along
with the mainstream Western narrative that has studiously
ignored the ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist aspects of post-Maidan
Ukraine. De Ploeg’s
Ukraine in the Crossfire is a deeply
researched account that lets no one in this sordid drama off the
hook. Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings, Natalie Jaresko’s
greed, Victoria Nuland’s imperial pretensions, and Petro
Poroshenko’s gross criminality are each given their due. What
makes De Ploeg’s account particularly valuable is his detailed
examination of the role of the far right in perpetuating not only
the violence which racked the Maidan but in then launching a
brutal war (the so-called “anti-terrorist operation”) against the
Russian-backed rebels and the civilian Russophone population
of eastern and southern Ukraine. The atrocities carried out by
neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector and the Azov battalion are
glossed over in the Western press almost as a matter of course,
but, as De Ploeg shows, ignoring their influence and reach
makes a rational understanding of the conflict impossible.
James Cardin, Consortium News

''Chris de Ploeg's book stands out from other major accounts on
the Ukraine's crisis, even by highly esteemed academics, in its
careful work with the facts, which is a very important feature
amidst the conscious propaganda and information war from all
the sides of the conflict. It is also the best left-wing analysis so
far. Being critical to a problematic Maidan uprising and the
neoliberal-nationalist government it helped to bring to power, the
author does not take equally wrong Putin-versteher position and
shows how the rivalry of competing imperialisms and
nationalisms brought Ukraine into the current political and
economic disaster.''
Volodymyr Ishchenko. Deputy director of the Center for
Social and Labor Research in Ukraine and lecturer at the
Department of Sociology in Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

"A meticulously documented interpretation of the Second Maidan
that focuses on the darker side of Ukraine’s Revolution of
Dignity. By weaving together the role of the Far Right and
western governments, the emergence of resistance in Donbass,
and the reasons why Kiev responded to it with military force, De
Ploeg provides the sort of compelling narrative that is typically
missing in the media. An impressive achievement."
Nicolai N. Petro, professor of political science at the
University of Rhode Island (USA), formerly U.S. Fulbright
Research Scholar in Ukraine.

''A highly informative and forcefully argued analysis of the
contradictions of the Ukrainian revolution and Western reactions.
The informational war over the Ukraine crisis demonstrates not
just the limits to our understanding of these complex events but
above all the tensions generated by the failure to establish an
inclusive peace after the Cold War. Chris Kaspar de Ploeg
brilliantly dissects the resulting dilemmas, and provides a
convincing analysis of where we went wrong.''
Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European
politics at the University of Kent. Author of
Frontline
Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands

''a splendid little book''
Kees van der Pijl, emeritus professor of international
relations at the University of Sussex.

‘’This book is the best analysis in the Dutch language to date of
the complexity, the conflicting interests, the cynical power games
that the EU, the US and Russia play there, and the one-sided
reporting on this in the European and American media.’’
Lode Vanoost, De Wereld Morgen

‘’Every now and again readers with a particular interest in
international politics find a gem served on a silver platter, which
you would hope gains a readership that extends to the inner
circles of political decision making. Especially when that book is
written by a Dutchman and follows an informed, rational, left
principled line that is rarely if ever observed in the mainstream
media. Ukraine in the crossfire … is such a book, one that you
also finish rapidly and with delight.
… [De Ploeg] follows the American dissident Noam Chomsky and
his method of promoting peace, security and democracy by
creating a discourse in which the facts speak for themselves but
argue against the powers-that-be. … The force of the book by
Chris de Ploeg lies in the clear, logical structure, whereby the
reader gains layer for layer insights into the meaning of the
conflict in Ukraine on every political level.’’
Hector Reban, Ravage Webzine
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prologue        

A Divided Country  

The Return of the Wolfsangel

The Militarization of Maidan       

Far Right-backed Regime Change  

Oligarch-backed Regime Change   

Western-backed Regime Change     

Imposing Austerity        

Condoning Corruption

Dismantling Russophone Ukraine

The East Responds

Civil War Darkens the Landscape of Ukraine

The Ravages of War

Dehumanizing the Donbass, Embracing the Far
Right

Beyond Populism: Assessing the Influence of
the Far Right

Repression and Diversion in Divided Ukraine   

Obstructing Peace

The Imperial Desire for War

Western Military Doctrine and the
Normalization of War Crimes

Seeing Beyond the Imperial Divide

Divisions on the Western Front?

Cold War Politics in the Age of Trump     

Index       
Also on Ukraine        
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EXCERPT

Ch. 4:  Far-Right-Backed Regime Change

Nevertheless, on the 20th of February, the violence culminated
into an unprecedented tragedy when dozens of protesters and
police were shot dead. The slain protesters would become
known as ‘the heavenly hundred.’ Yanukovych was immediately
blamed for the tragedy, causing his downfall two days later. By
now, however, the first and so far only 80-page academic
research into the blood bath has been published by the
Ukrainian scholar, Ivan Katchanovski of the University of
Toronto, which was accepted for presentation at the Annual
Meeting of the American Political Science Association, the
largest academic conference of political scientists in the world
that rejects the absolute majority of paper proposals in their
peer-review process. A summary of the research was also
included in a book published by the leading academic
press Routledge.(4)  Based on an enormous quantity of footage,
intercepted radio-communications, eye witnesses, ballistic
research, among other evidence, Katchanovski concludes that:

"Armed groups and the leadership of the far right organizations,
such as the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties,
such as Fatherland [the party of Tymoshenko and soon-to-be
prime minister Yatsenyuk], were directly or indirectly involved
in various capacities in this massacre of the protesters and the
police. This mass killing was a successful false flag operation,
which was organized and conducted by elements of the Maidan
leadership and concealed armed groups in order to win the
asymmetric conflict during the “Euromaidan” and seize power in
Ukraine."(5)

Soon after the publication, Katchanovski’s house in Ukraine,
which he used for his research, was seized by a dubious trial,
while a flood of unsubstantiated slander attempted to discredit
him. He was hospitalized several times in Canada, according to
his doctors due to unhealthy levels of stress. Some of his key
assertions, however, have been corroborated by several
Western media investigations, including, among others,
the German public news agency ARD, American documentary
maker John-Beck Hoffman, Reuters news agency,
Foreign Policy
Magazine
, associate professor Gordon Hahn and eventually even
the official Ukrainian trial.(6) Furthermore, two Maidan
protesters have publicly confessed to having shot policemen
during the massacre.(7)

And perhaps most shockingly, exactly three years after the
massacre—even the Deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament
suggested that current top government officials were involved
and therefore obstructed proper investigation.(8) The behavior
of some neo-Nazi groups, such as the Svoboda-affiliated C14,
has also been highly suspicious: disrupting the massacre trial
multiple times, threatening the judges and burning tires in front
of the courtoom, all while the police stood idly by.(9)