A Massacre, Remembered

06.05.14

A Massacre, Remembered

06.05.14
UkraineUkraine

This video is very, very hard to watch. But I think it should be watched, and remembered. It’s the immediate aftermath of the June 2 attack on the regional administrative building in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, which was serving as the HQ for the anti-Kyiv apparatus in the town. Eight civilians died in the attack. Alec Luhn, who writes for the Guardian, went to the site and says the markings on the ground are consistent with a strafing run.

The Kyiv government had announced it was flying Su-25 fighters over Lugansk, and one was seen making a pass over the administrative building just before the attack. The Kyiv government tried to explain away the massacre as a rebel friendly fire incident, with a separatist’s surface to air missile accidentally homing in on the heat signature from an air conditioner on the building as he tried to take down the jet.

Bull-t, probably. The CCTV video from across the park shows whatever ordnance was used first hitting the ground about 100 meters left of the building; then there’s a trail of smoke through the trees to the front door.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted in its Ukraine update that the attack seemed to be the result of an air attack using an “unguided missile.” Subsequently and rather mysteriously, the OSCE website was attacked. As of this writing (June 4, 24 hours later) the attack is still going on.

Russia is quite keen on having the OSCE-a European multi-lateral conflict monitoring mechanism- in east Ukraine so that it can provide internationally accepted reporting on Kyiv’s Anti-Terrorist Operation in addition to RT’s much derided but actually quite good and objective on the scene coverage.

On May 30, Russia allocated the not-inconsiderable sum of 600,000 Euros to support the OSCE’s work in Ukraine (that’s apparently four times the OSCE’s annual budget). So it is possible that the OSCE is now seen by the partisans of the Kyiv regime as in Moscow’s pocket, hence the sustained attack to keep authoritative looking corroboration of the air attack from seeping into the world’s consciousness.

The Su-25 is an air-to-ground attack fighter with a 30 mm cannon. The cannon fires a variety of shells, according to the “Russian Ammunition Page” website, including a “ME” or “multi-element” round with 28 subprojectiles i.e. a cluster munition. The cannon’s rate of fire is 3000 rounds per minute. It seems that half-a dozen rounds were fired at the Lugansk administrative center. So one can speculate that the pilot decided to make a pass over the local HQ of the separatists, touch the trigger for a F*ck You burst…and fly on home.

An attack on unarmed civilians in a non-military area, possibly using cluster munitions, looks and quacks pretty much like a war crime, a crime that’s been documented by some absolutely heart-rending footage that would seem tailor-made for cable TV in what looks to be the 21st century’s first completely HD war. But the only significant Western coverage of the incident I found was CNN, which did a pretty good job in the body of the report despite the inevitable genuflections to “he said/she said/fog o’ war” obfuscation that attend reporting of an ally’s misdeed.

In order to keep CNN in step with US priorities, perhaps, the headline misleadingly implies the massacre was part of a legitimate military operation against militants as witnessed by the slack-jawed local yokels:

Air attack on pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk kills 8, stuns residents

Yes, if by “stuns” you mean “tears apart with sophisticated high velocity ordnance.”

A 2011 study by academics Daniel Rothbart and Karina Korostelina calculates that the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in conflicts since World War II is ten to one.

The disproportionate suffering of civilians is often ignored while the combatant’s sacrifice is exalted. As Rothbart puts it, there is no “memorial day” for civilians.

Lugansk is being immediately and comprehensively ignored by Western news outlets, presumably because the Kyiv’s US and European allies are not interested in revealing the homicidal incompetence of the ATO Kyiv is conducting in eastern Ukraine with the full encouragement and support of the West- and perhaps because evidence of repeated war crimes against civilians would provide justification either for Russian intervention or, at the very least, support for Russian demands that the ATO be halted and negotiations take place.

In contrast to the wall to wall coverage of the Tiananmen massacre, it looks like the West will not remember the Lugansk massacre for twenty-five minutes, let alone twenty five years. But I think they should both be remembered.

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