US activist: Americans should learn about NATO expansion to understand Ukraine
Learning about the NATO expansion eastward and the 2014 change of power in Ukraine as critical turning points is necessary to understand the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Phil Wilayto, co-founder of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, told Sputnik that if Americans learned about NATO expansion eastward and the 2014 coup in Ukraine, they would better understand what is ongoing in Ukraine.
On May 2, 2014, Ukrainian nationalists barricaded demonstrators in Odessa's House of Trade Unions before torching the facility. In the flames and skirmishes with the radicals, 46 people were killed and nearly 200 demonstrators were injured.
To push for an international inquiry into the tragedy, US human rights advocates created the Odessa Solidarity Campaign.
"Most people here in the US don’t know anything about either the NATO expansion or the coup. If they did, they might be able to understand why we are in the present crisis. Even so, it’s clear there is no appetite here for direct US involvement in the war," he said.
The activist believes that US government propaganda depicts Russia as engaging in an expansionist project, which in turn led to the current crisis.
The reality, he argues, is that "the US and NATO have provoked this war. For years, they have been expanding right up to Russia’s Western flank, and have been conducting joint military exercises with the Ukrainian military right up to Russia’s border."
According to Wilayto, poll results indicate a majority of Americans have adopted the government's anti-Russian position and feel sympathetic to Ukraine. He added, "I think if more understood the role of the U.S. and NATO they would become more skeptical about the official explanations about how we got to this point."
Numerous protests have taken place in the US against any involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
Speaking of a protest outside NATO Command in Virgina, Wilayto said, "The protest was small - only 12 people, but significant because it was held outside NATO Command, a companion to NATO headquarters in Brussels, and is housed at Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station and home to the largest concentration of US Navy forces," he said.
"The reactions from the passing drivers - many of whom were active-duty military personnel - was interesting. There was some hostility, but also some honks of approval."
When discussing US policies in Eastern Europe, Wilayto emphasized Washington's aim to control the region following the demise of the Soviet Union. Some nations in the area had the potential to become economic competitors of the West, but in order to get Western loans, they had to agree to close down much of their own industry, he continued.
US and NATO seek domination
According to the activist, both the US and NATO have the same approach to Russia and aim to dominate it as well.
"The West wants to dominate either by breaking it up like it did [with] former Yugoslavia or imposing ever more draconian sanctions in the hope that the Russian people will turn against their own government in favor of a more pro-Western one. If that happens, Russia would be reduced to one more vassal state of the West," he said.
Regarding sanctions, the activist opposes the idea and says the US imposed sanctions "on virtually every continent," arguing that no significant changes have happened other than adding to the suffering of the people in those countries.
Since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the West has been on a massive propaganda campaign, which went as far as banning Russian-owned cats from competing in FIfe, a Paris-based organization that creates over 700 events a year where over 200,000 cats are shown.
The University of Milan Bicocca canceled lectures on Russian novelist and cultural icon Fyodor Dostoevsky for "political reasons" in light of the operation.
Additionally, international card giants Mastercard and Visa have stated that they would cease operations and withdraw all Russian banks from their payment networks following the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Both NATO and the United States have mounted a massive propaganda campaign to make Russia the enemy in the eyes of the West, Wilayto told Sputnik.
Secret CIA training program helped Ukraine prepare for Russia spec op
A secret CIA-run training program in Ukraine helped Kiev prepare for Russia's special military operation in the country, Yahoo News reported on Wednesday.
The US Central Intelligence Agency's program kicked off in 2014 when the conflict in Donbass started, but the Biden administration pulled out all its CIA personnel from Ukraine before Russia started its military operation in the country, the report added, citing former officials.
Washington ran its covert CIA training program from Ukraine's eastern frontlines, and it was made possible through previously existing assets for the agency, which made them illegible to stay without new legal determination, according to Yahoo News.
Russia began a special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, responding to requests for assistance from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics to defend against intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops.