A report titled “Russian war crimes in the Eastern Ukraine in 2014” had been presented in the European Parliament in Brussels. The principal author of the report is Malgozhata Gosevskaya, member of the Polish Sejm and expert of the committee on international affairs of the ruling party Law and Justice. Her colleague in that endeavor is Anna Fotyha, another member of Law and Justice, and also of the European Parliament.
It is assumed that the report will be submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in the second half of April. “This report contains only a fraction of evidence, but we are going to present the full volume of it by appealing to witnesses – the real victims of those war crimes; they are ready to call names. We shall also submit files on the criminals themselves. I hope that the Criminal Court will put them on the wanted list and punish them,” Gosevskay said in the wake of the presentation.
All attention to Ukraine
In October 2015, Malgozhata Gosevskaya tried to score political points by supporting the initiative of cancelling the tour of the Academic Ensemble of the Russian Army in Poland. “I put high value in democracy, peace and right of peoples to choose their independent path of development. I cannot withstand a choir that glorifies the land and army of an aggressive country,” said Gosevskaya in an interview to the Polish radio.
As of now, Malgozhata has planned to present her anti-Russian report in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and, perhaps, in some Western European countries. Gosevskaya thinks of it as “a noble mission” to deliver “the truth” about the Donbass conflict. “We have to remember who is at the head of the aggressor state, and how powerful this politician is,” she told the Polish Radio Freedom. In her opinion, Moscow does everything possible to divert public attention from Ukraine.
It is obvious that Gosevskaya herself is doing the exact opposite of this – she draws as much attention to Ukraine as she can by reminding about “occupation” of the Donbass and atrocities of “Russian terror brigades”. Perhaps, this is why the report had been presented a day before the referendum in the Netherlands on association of Ukraine with the European Union.
Few weeks before the presentation of her report in the European Parliament, Gosevskaya had evoked great hype in community. Both Ukrainian and Polish mass media had written about the forthcoming event. Carried away by their anti-Russian sentiments, the journalists would imagine Gosevskaya speaking in instances as high as the Criminal Court itself.
In the context of the referendum on association with the EU and massive scale of pro-Ukrainian propaganda on the streets of Dutch cities, Malgozhata’s performance in The Hague could look quite meaningful. However, this idea had failed, with Brussels instead of The Hague, and zero attention from mass media instead of glory and praise.
Where are Russian troops, after all?
The report on Russian war crimes has been available on the Internet since December 2015. The sources of the information presented in the report are the Ukrainian government and non-governmental organizations. There is also evidence by sixty victims, and the majority of them are not civilians but Ukrainian soldiers. Of course, almost all of them said that they had been held captive by Russian.
Gosevskaya claims that Russian military and special forces had intruded in the Ukrainian conflict. The report lists their crimes (psychological pressure, beating and killings), but in the context of the document it is implied that those crimes had been committed by members of the armed groups of the Donbass, founded in the first half of 2014. As a matter of fact, the most part of the report is a chronicle of “atrocities” committed by “separatist battalions”.
While the word “victim” is frequently cited in the report, there are rare mentions of their numbers. By “victims” are meant not only those who had been killed, but also everyone who had in any way “suffered from Russian aggression”. Of thousands of victims, there are only couple hundred of this kind.
The report labels the leaders of the Donbass armed forces as “main criminals”. They are: Alexander Zakharchenko (currently head of the Donetsk People’s Republic), Alexander Bednov (a.k.a. Batman), Igor Bezler (a.k.a. Imp), Arseny Pavlov (a.k.a. Motorola), Mikhail Tolstyh (a.k.a. Giwi), Alexander Khodakovsky (commander of the “Vostok” battalion), Alexey Mozgovoi (former commander of the “Ghost” battalion), Alexander Borodai, Igor Strelkov and Alexander Mozhaev, better known as Ded Babai.
After all that, there is a reasonable question for Ms. Gosevskaya: where are the Russian troops? Where is factual evidence of murders committed by soldiers and officers of the Russian Armed Forces? The report’s title directly blames Russia for “bloody atrocities”, but its content only mentions the Federal Security Service that had interrogated captives and transferred them to the territory of the Russian Federation.
There is no proof for any of those accusations, as this information had been provided by Ukrainian mass media. The report is but an example of refined propaganda. There is nothing exclusive or sensational in this text. What Gosevskaya and her colleagues did was gather and systemize data from Ukrainian sources. It is most likely that this “document” will be ignored by Western leaders and the Criminal Court. Gosevskaya’s report implies that Russia’s participation in the conflict had been “remote”, thus its army had not committed any war crimes against civilians.
Locals standing by a house partially destroyed by a night-time artillery fire in Gorlovka. Photo by: Mikhail Sokolov/TASS
What is Europe hiding from?
The document stands out not only due to the incompetence of its authors, but also because of their moral ambiguity. The Donbass conflict’s death toll is more than nine thousand lives (mostly among civilian population), but the Polish report never mentions the shelling of peaceful villages and cities by the Ukrainian army and voluntary armed groups. The loss of few dozen soldiers is called war casualties; the murdering of few thousand civilians is called a war crime. The Ukrainian and Polish mass media and public persons seem to confuse these notions.
Judging by the recent photo exhibition devoted to the mutilated enforcers of the Ukrainian counter-terrorist operation, Europe is unwilling to accept that the people of Donbass have been denied political freedom and dialogue. Having showcased support for the Maidan, the European Union will be hiding from the fact that the Ukrainian government had sent to battle Nazis and other clearly unhinged individuals.