Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Ukraine, the Law of Neutrality and the criminal international reaction

The United States of America and its yapping chihuahuas are once again breaching international law in facilitating the supply of arms to a party in conflict

Focus on Ukraine, again. And yet again I reiterate, tears taste of salt, whoever sheds them; I can see no difference whatsoever between the tears of a Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainian mother or those of a Russian-speaking Ukrainian mother or a Russian mother over the death of a son or daughter. Or those of any child over the death of any parent or any sibling over the death of a brother or sister, or any of these over the death of a loved one.

Focus on Ukraine, again. The simplicity, the black-and-white reporting, the taking of sides, the hate-mongering and the knee-jerk russophobia practised by the western media in this story is as risible as it is puerile, it is as shockingly naive as it is criminal in its intentions, namely to shape public opinion against President Putin in particular and Russia in general by presenting a skewed version of events. The sheer one-sidedness goes against the deontology of journalism, the lies and manipulation of the truth have turned the debacle into a photoshop exercise which creates demons and monsters that never existed and which is an insult to all involved. The utter insolence of political leaders towards Russia is stunning and a clear indication that we are not dealing here with grown-up ladies and gentlemen.

Focus on Ukraine, again. The will to tarnish the reputation of Russia has seen the western side practise censorship, which means that they have lost the media war before it started. Proof of this is how they are always banging the same drum saying they have won the media war. How, if the other side has been censored out, attacked by cyber terrorist attacks daily, with pages closed arbitrarily on social media just because they are telling the truth? Can you win a game of soccer by sabotaging the team bus of the opponent so that they can’t reach the stadium in time?

Focus on Ukraine. Amid the flurry of censorship, photoshopped images, outright lies and unfounded accusations, we have claims by the western side that this campaign in Ukraine is illegal. For a start, when the illegal invasion of Iraq took place outside the auspices of international law, almost twenty years ago, I was one of the first to write to the British and American authorities telling them that they must never, ever again, at least for a generation (thirty years) accuse anyone of doing anything against the law. They sabotaged any high moral ground at the time. The alternative is to admit that they themselves were wrong and pay reparations to all those involved. Or else to shut up.

The Law of Neutrality

Focus on Ukraine. And Russia. And once again I say that this situation is between Russia and Ukraine. Nobody else. These are the affairs of two nations, not three or five or ten. Selling weapons to one of the sides is interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state in a situation of military conflict. This is illegal under the terms of Convention V Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land and Convention XIII Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War, which both stipulate that a state which is not involved in an armed conflict must not facilitate support to one of the parties. This is called the Law of Neutrality. As we speak it is being breached by the champions of breaching international law, guess who.

Focus on the international community. Common decency and morals would dictate that when there are two parties in conflict, taking sides either morally or actively by providing lethal military aid is an act which can only prolong the conflict, prolong the suffering, increase the casualties, make the lives of civilians even more miserable than it is and makes those responsible for providing this type of assistance partners in crime. Providing a gun to someone to carry out a murder is illegal.

Focus on the context. Without taking sides, everyone by now knows the context to this situation, and the censorship practised by the European Union, the UK and the USA, and others, has made sure that those interested have networked and managed to find out the facts anyway. Only those who wish to be misinformed these days are in fact misinformed.

So everyone knows the Russian side, namely that Ukraine had forfeited any rights by not catering for the safety of citizens within its territory while it not only allowed Fascist forces sporting neo-Nazi insignia to roam around the country committing massacres but even integrated them into its own official armed forces. Where else do you find that? I repeat, in what other country anywhere on this planet do you see people wearing swastikas parading and strutting around in the official armed forces of a nation? So much for those who gave their lives in the second world war defeating Hitler.

The Russian side also insisted that Ukraine should not use force against the breakaway republics which do not want anything to do with it after eight years of shelling and that Ukraine should allow Russian-speaking Ukrainians to practise their language and culture freely. All of this was catered for in the Minsk Agreements in 2015. All Kiev had to do was implement them, after all it signed the agreements.

And again without taking sides, Ukraine’s position is well known. It said it had the right to attack its own citizens in the East, it said it had the right to allow Fascists openly wearing Neo-Nazi insignia in its official armed forces (although a substantial number of Ukrainians hate Fascism and Fascists as much as any normal person) and let us be honest, who likes to be invaded?

Focusing on the context, the positions of both parties are clear. These are facts, not pink magazine stories.

Focusing on the issue, a civilised approach to conflict between third parties is not to take sides. It is not to sell hatred by hate-mongering stories, by concentrating on one side, by ignoring stories from the other side and whitewashing acts by one side by blaming the other without a shred of evidence and devoid of any foundation.

My epitaph

So my own epitaph as an op-ed writer for several decades will not come through this as one who cowarded out by refusing to write anything or by hiding behind a nom de plume. It will also not be the epitaph of someone who was braying for blood from the sidelines like some demented drunk at a cockfight. My epitaph is that of one who called for balance by presenting the facts, by calling for all those not directly involved not to take sides, not to provide weaponry to prolong the suffering, to foster peace and debate and discussion and dialogue, you know, the fundamentals of democracy.

So why don’t the authorities of those nations always involved directly (or indirectly) in any conflict anywhere at any time (guess who they are) take a responsible position? Claiming that Ukraine can win this is an act of criminal negligence. How? The air force was virtually taken out in 24 hours, the equipment that NATO provided was destroyed within 48 hours, around two thousand tanks and armoured vehicles have been destroyed and anything that arrives is destroyed within minutes. So giving Ukraine more weapons is like telling a punch-drunk boxer with his brains addled in the ring after round one, to go on fighting until the twelfth round. It is cruelty. It is pointless. It prolongs suffering.

Playing the piano with his penis

President Zelenskiy is basking in the sunshine right now in his new role as some kind of a comic-book hero but let us be honest, he was more convincing when pretending to play the piano with his penis. Arming his people, telling them to fight to the last man, might be sexy in a Hollywood movie but these are real people, real families and stoking up their patriotism might seem the right thing to do but if this means more and more of them will get killed, how does that translate after the conflict in terms of families torn apart by a bullet?

The sensible thing to do, and an act which is enshrined in convention if not international law, is to move civilians away from the area of conflict and not to place military equipment in civilian areas to draw enemy fire and increase casualties. Zelenskiy knows that and while today he enjoys an ephemeral status as some kind of an Eastern European Churchill, he shoukd remember what happened to Churchill after the war. Civvy street is often unkind to statues of those who thrive by the sword. And so often, as the saying goes, those who thrive by the sword...

And as for the rest of us, ask yourselves what are you doing to help stop this? My position has been to analyse the truth, analyse the positions of both sides, suggest that Ukraine agrees to the conditions of the treaties which it signed (that is not unreasonable is it?), push for peace talks and a ceasefire and work towards reconciliation.

This I have already started to do with a cultural initiative, trying to bring together Ukrainians and Russians in initiatives in which they leave their political cap outside the door and concentrate on painting, poetry, literature, music and so on, along with anyone else who wants to join them. And what are Biden and Johnson doing? Hate-mongering, as usual.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at [email protected]

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