Ukrainian Government Actions: Zelensky’s Meeting and Persecution

The NATO-backed government of President Volodymyr Zelensky has officially accused Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko of “justifying Russian aggression”. After his Kyiv apartment was raided by the country’s security service (SBU) earlier this month, Sheliazhenko was questioned and placed under house arrest every night pending legal action.

Sheliazhenko is currently the Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Peace Movement, which is a member of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection and of the “World BEYOND War”.

The accusation against Sheliazhenko is specifically based on a pacifist document taken by the SBU in their raid and titled “Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World”. This document, adopted by his organization in September and sent to Zelensky’s office, calls for “peace”. It “condemns Russian aggression, urges protection of the human right to refuse to kill, and calls for a peaceful solution to the armed conflict.”

During an interview with [the American movement] Democracy Now! Sheliazhenko said that during his interrogation, he realized that the Zelensky government had started monitoring him more than a year ago, after he published a document entitled “A human right to ‘conscientious objection to military service’.

He recalls: “During this interrogation, the investigator gave me a copy of the request addressed to the court. He had asked the court to put me under house arrest. He leaked some documents, and I have to say from that pile of documents I saw that indeed the surveillance started a year ago… when I published, as an advocate for Human Rights, a legal aid document that called [the right] to conscientious objection to military service a human right. And they considered it a threat to national security. They considered him a threat to the mobilization of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. And they started watching me.

Despite facing jail time and potential violence from the SBU and infamous fascist militias, Sheliazhenko has pledged to stay in the country to fight blatantly anti-democratic charges against him. .

“I will not run away from my home and my country,” Sheliazhenko wrote on August 6, “if I am sent to prison for pacifism, I will find a way to be useful to peaceful Ukraine in prison as well.”

The charges against Sheliazhenko are part of a broad crackdown targeting individuals and groups deemed insufficiently loyal to the pro-NATO regime in Kiev, which came to power following a 2014 coup. organized by the EU and the United States, in tandem with the country’s far right.

The campaign to hunt down, arrest and prosecute, even kill, “traitors” and “collaborators” accelerated after the start of open warfare, with the Russian invasion of February 2022.

In addition to the May 2022 ban on opposition political parties from the country, it is estimated that by the start of this year the SBU had initiated 2,500 criminal cases against alleged “collaborators” and detained 600 foreign agents and spies.

Notable cases include the prosecution of peace activist Ruslan Kotsaba and the arrest and prosecution of anti-fascist brothers Alexander and Mikhail Kononovich.

As anti-war activists like Sheliazhenko face prosecution, Zelensky found time to meet Andriy Biletsky, the neo-Nazi founder of the far-right Azov Battalion. Biletsky has never hidden his neo-Nazi views. He said in 2010 that he believed the “national purpose” was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against the Semite-led ‘Untermenschen’ [subhumans].

After months of the Western media fraudulently attempting to present the Azov Battalion as having abandoned its neo-Nazi roots, Zelensky is now openly meeting with the organization’s fascist founder. On his official Telegram channel, Zelensky gave this caption to the video of the meeting: “The command post of the 3rd separate assault brigade, which carries out combat missions as part of the operational and strategic group of Khortytsia troops in the Bakhmut area. During this open conversation, we discussed the most pressing issues”.

“I am grateful to everyone who defends our country and to those who bring us closer to victory”.

The intensified crackdown on dissent and the increasingly open use of neo-Nazi forces come amid a growing crisis of a government whose NATO-backed counteroffensive has been a bloody disaster . It is estimated that over 300,000 Ukrainians have been killed in the ongoing war. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have been needlessly massacred in the past two and a half months alone, without Ukraine having been able to make a single military advance.

Despite this appalling record, unprecedented in Europe since World War II, the NATO-backed Zelensky government is deploying all means at its disposal to continue the war, kidnapping people from the streets and forcing them to the front lines. .

The high probability of being killed at the front caused thousands of men to flee the country. Those who can afford it grease the leg of Ukrainian officials in order to avoid military service.

As a new wave of mobilization brews, with some Ukrainian politicians calling for an additional 400,000 troops to be mobilized, Zelensky announced last Friday the dismissal of all of Ukraine’s regional military recruiting chiefs.

Last month, it was revealed that military officials had accepted cash and cryptocurrency bribes in exchange for falsified documents and exemption from military conscription. In some cases, officials collected $10,000 per person, a huge sum in a country where the average monthly income is only $400 [368 euros] per month. In other words, those who were able to evade military service through bribes were the wealthiest strata, while working-class Ukrainians were the first to be forced to die in the counteroffensive supported by NATO.

Zelensky feigned outrage over the outrage, saying in a social media post that “the system should be run by people who know exactly what war is and what the cynicism and kickbacks are for. during war are treason. In a separate statement, he said the scandal had been kept secret until, “during the inspection of territorial recruitment centers, law enforcement revealed cases of corruption.” In fact, the fact that wealthy Ukrainians escape conscription has been well known since the start of the war.

As The New York Times pointed out in its coverage of the scandal, “…Andriy, an officer in the Territorial Defense Force, said corruption at recruiting centers was well known and unlikely. elimination of certain leaders would have a significant effect on mobilization. Andriy, who discussed political matters on the condition that his last name not be used, said: “Those who would like to opt out would do so anyway”.

By arresting the recruiting officers, Zelensky is no doubt seeking to appease the immense social anger, both among the civilian population and among rank and file soldiers, over the flagrant evasion of the wealthy and the war profiteering of certain sections of the command. military. But the main goal is to create the conditions for a continued mobilization of even more Ukrainians as cannon fodder for the imperialist war against Russia. Earlier this week, the Biden administration approved a new arms shipment worth $200 million, the 44th to date, which will fund the continued slaughter.

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