Brian Bonner: Ukraine’s Friend & Foe of the Week
Editor’s Note: This feature separates Ukraine’s friends from its enemies. The Order of Yaroslav the Wise has been given since 1995 for distinguished service to the nation. It is named after the Kyivan Rus leader from 1019-1054, when the medieval empire reached its zenith. The Order of Lenin was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, whose demise Russian President Vladimir Putin mourns. It is named after Vladimir Lenin, whose corpse still rots on the Kremlin’s Red Square, more than 100 years after the October Revolution he led.
We never thought the U.S. secretary of state would wind up on this side of the weekly award. Besides his abject deference to the well-known Ukraine hater in the White House, Donald J. Trump, Pompeo also proved to be spineless in standing up to the Rudy Giuliani-inspired smears that got U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch fired in May 2019. Ukraine has remained without a U.S. Senate-confirmed ambassador since then.
But the Kyiv Post can’t overlook his tenacious approach in trying to stop Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an $11 billion boondoggle designed to cut Ukraine out of the gas transit business by increasing the capacity of the Baltic Sea lines to 110 billion cubic meters a year directly to Germany.
On this issue, Ukraine owes him a debt of gratitude because the interests of Washington and Kyiv align perfectly.
On July 15, Pompeo announced that the State Department is updating the public guidance for Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act authorities to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2.
“This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of U.S. sanctions. It’s a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now, or risk the consequences. Let me be clear: These aren’t commercial projects. They are Kremlin’s key tools to exploit and expand European dependence on Russian energy supplies, tools that undermine Ukraine by cutting off gas transiting that critical democracy, a tool that ultimately undermines transatlantic security.”
And, Pompeo added: “I want to express the United States’ deep sadness at the reported killing July 14 of a Ukrainian military medic. We join the people of Ukraine in condemning the ongoing, brutal aggression of Russia-led forces in the Donbas and pay tribute to Ukrainians killed and wounded fighting for their democracy.”
Keeping these two issues in the public spotlight is enough to earn Pompeo the Yaroslav the Wise award. Please drop by the Kyiv Post office anytime to collect, Mr. Secretary.
It’s hard to say when Hollywood movie director and bogus conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone went off the deep end mentally.
But the start of his fawning praise of Russian war criminal Vladimir Putin would provide clues. It seems to have started years ago, making Stone a multiple winner of Ukraine’s foe of the week.
In the latest example of Stone’s detachment from reality, a New York Times profile published on July 10, 2020, features Stone defending his film “The Putin Interviews” to David Marchese’s accusations that he served as the Kremlin’s useful idiot.
“Where is it clear that I’m an idiot? I think it’s a very articulate dialogue. I would also point out that when we started, which was in 2014 roughly, the relationship with the United States was not as bad as it would become. Things got much worse. In 2017, we went back to him, and you have on the record what he says about Donald Trump and the American election. I don’t think Russia has the desire or the money to spend on ‘destabilizing’ an entire election. And how can you even compare it to what we’ve done in other countries?”
There’s more, but that sound bit is representative of his dim-witted defense of a dictator.
Putin is guilty of war crimes in Syria and Ukraine, of murdering his own citizens abroad, and of imprisoning foes in the pursuit of establishing a lifetime dictatorship. He’s one of the world’s biggest kleptocrats, one who hates the country he rules so much that he is indifferent to their suffering and poverty.
For being an all-around human disgrace, Stone gets to add another Order of Lenin to his collection.