Chris Kaspar de Ploeg

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

ISBN: 978-0-9978965-4-1


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.

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.

"...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
--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


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     

Also on Ukraine

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

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