Don’t Look Away

Critics slammed Don’t Look Up for its views on mass media. Some likened this film in trying to get the world’s politicians to seriously tackle climate change before it is too late. The same can apply to the very real risk of an accidental nuclear war.

Three inconvenient truths on Ukraine compromise world peace. The Western narrative on the Ukraine, NATO and Russia crises fails to acknowledge that we are on a nuclear knife-edge.

First inconvenient truth

If Ukraine joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), this could lead to a nuclear disaster as:

  1. Ukraine could install NATO nuclear weapons on Russia’s borders. This is a Red Line that Russia demands the West not cross. As the recent NATO Russia negotiations failed to solve this outstanding issue, Russia has declared it will not back down.
  • Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty stipulates that if any NATO member country is attacked, all member countries our bound by collective defence.[1] If Russia does invade Ukraine to stop nuclear weapons being installed on its borders, the whole of Europe could erupt in to a conflagration not seen since World War 2.

Russia has every reason to distrust the West. In 1990 US Secretary of State James Baker promised that NATO would expand “not one inch eastward”. Since then, former Soviet states joined NATO, drawing closer to Russia.

Having nuclear weapons on Russia’s borders severely reduces the time Russia’s military can assess whether they are under attack, or if it is a false alarm. This happened during the height of the first Cold War during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

On 26th September, 1986, Stanislav Petrov did not inform his Soviet military command of a multiple missile attack. Thankfully for the world, Petrov judged that it was a false alarm.[2]

With NATO nuclear weapons on Russia’s doorstep, and both US and Russian nuclear missiles on “hair trigger alert”,[3] we are entering a period not seen since the Cuban Missile Crises.[4]

As eminent American scholar on Russia, the late Professor Stephen Cohen, explained: “We’re on a razor’s edge of an accidental nuclear war.”[5]

As Stephen Cohen used to say, the confrontation line during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West was Berlin, one thousand miles away from Moscow. That line has shifted literally to the Ukraine Russia border.

Is Australia immune from nuclear attack?

The Joint US and Australian Pine Gap spy base in Central Australia is 18 kilometers outside of Alice Springs. As Pine Gap is able to detect early nuclear attack giving the US an edge over its adversaries,[6] this makes Pine Gap a likely first target.[7]

Pine Gap is central to the US Nuclear Missile Defence Program (NMDP). Tensions with Russia are at an all time high and the Doomsday Clock is at its closest point to midnight. The theoretical point where nuclear war destroys everything. One would think that the US would have a foolproof NMDP. However Russia’s new hypersonic nuclear-armed missiles avoid detection.[8]

Both the ALP and Coalition support Pine Gap. One would hope with a federal election looming that Pine Gap would be an issue for concern.

The second inconvenient truth is North Korea. Before the Ukraine 2014 revolution, North Korea had no Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). How is North Korea linked to Ukraine?

The New York Times published extensively on how North Korea gained ICBMs from Ukraine. After Yanukovych’s Ukraine government was overthrown, Russia stopped buying its ICBMs from Ukraine. Starved of cash Ukraine became a “proliferation danger”.[9] Thus the despotic and volatile North Korea gained its ICBMs. Their nuclear weapons can now reach mainland US.

The third inconvenient truth explains how the West allowed Nazism to flourish in modern Ukraine. Since 2014 neo-Nazis flocked from abroad to train in Ukraine and fight in volunteer battalions against Russian backed Separatists. This suited the West so long as they fought the Separatists in Donbass, (east Ukraine).

One such battalion, the notorious neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was armed by Israel[10] and the US,[11] and is now an international hub for far-right extremism.[12]

The West’s stoking of far-right fanaticism reached Australia. Australian far-right terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 48 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, claimed to have trained in Ukraine. He sported the Nazi Black Sun symbol used by Azov in his online rampage.

ASIO spends a large amount of time investigating far-right domestic terrorism. Thanks to the ABC’s investigative reporting we know about this threat. However, the West is reticent in covering human rights crimes committed by the far-right against the Roma and ethnic Russian minority.

To explain the appeal of Nazism in Ukraine, one needs to know its history. Ukraine’s hatred of the Soviet Union is intergenerational. Millions starved to death under Stalin’s 1930s collectivization policy. Known as the Holodomor, it is seared into Ukraine’s consciousness.

Ukraine was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) up until June 1941. When Nazi Germany invaded the USSR in Operation Barbarossa, history’s largest invasion, ethnic Ukrainian nationalists embraced the Nazis as their liberators. Many nationalists openly collaborated in Hitler’s Holocaust and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians.

Ukraine is a divided country. The ethnic nationalists live mostly in West Ukraine. The ethnic Ukrainian Russians mostly in the East. After the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1989, Ukraine gained independence in 1991. Since then they had peaceful transitions of government from one side to the other. This all changed in 2014.

The “Revolution of Dignity”, or the Maidan protests, was hardly dignified. Beginning peacefully in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in late 2013, it was quickly infiltrated by the ultra-extremist Right Sector, who ironically, does not support the EU. They got involved to pursue their own agenda of a “national revolution”.[13] They provoked violence against the police, who then retaliated against the peaceful protestors. This so incensed many Ukrainians that they came out and stayed on the streets until the government was overthrown.[14]

Outright Nazi Audriy Parubiy played a crucial role in organising far-right violence in the Maidan protests. He is renown for helping found the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party; which was condemned in a 2012 European Parliament motion for its “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views”.[15] Parubiy was in charge of Maidan’s heavily armed “self defence units”.[16]

Not hiding in plain sight, but in plain sight, various Nazi groups openly displayed insignia used by Ukraine’s collaborators in the Holocaust.

While Western media mostly played dumb, the eight million Ukrainian ethnic Russian minority seethed. Never again would a peaceful transition of government occur. How did democracy die?

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland stated at a Chevron sponsored talk; that the US had invested $5 billion in Ukraine’s transition to Europe.[17] Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan is a powerful lobbyist and long-term advocate for forceful interventionist US foreign policy.[18]

As riots raged on Kyiv’s streets, a secret phone call leaked by Ukrainian secret service (SBU) spies, loyal to Russia, revealed all. Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussed whom to install in their new Ukrainian government. Only two seconds from this recording made headlines, when Nuland declared, “Fuck the EU”.[19]

Who Benefited From The Maidan Massacre?

Remember the 2014 images of hundreds of protestors injured by gunfire and the many killed? Remember the responsibility for this slaughter placed squarely on Yanukovych?

Another bugged conversation refuted Yanukovych’s responsibility. Urmas Paet, Estonia Minister of Foreign Affairs, was briefing EU’s Catherine Ashton. Paet outlined evidence of snipers on the Maidan side targeting protestors and the police.[20]

Two leaders of the far-right Svoboda party stated that a few weeks before the massacre, a Western government representative had informed them and other Maidan leaders, that the West would stop recognising Yanukovych after protestor casualties reached 100.

The slain protestors were all called the “heavenly hundred” even though 49 died.[21]

After Yanukovych fled, Obama quickly endorsed the new minority coalition government,[22] consisting of many Nazis.

The new government passed the “decommunisation law” banning the largest political party of East Ukraine.[23] Parubiy signed the “Language Law” banning Russian language in the public service, whilst a majority of Ukraine speaks Russian.[24] They also passed a law glorifying Ukraine’s Hitler collaborators,[25] making a public holiday to remember the UPA  (Ukrainian Insurgent Army). Oligarch and billionaire President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that he considered the UPA as heroes and role models for todays’ patriotic Ukrainians. [26]

The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory published “Ukraine in the Second World War”, a history school textbook distributed by the Ministry of Education and Science glamourizing the UPA.[27]

After much EU pressure the government launched a criminal investigation into the Maidan massacre. This excluded evidence of snipers shooting from the pro-Maidan controlled protest areas.[28]

However, two Georgians, Alexander Revazishvili and Koba Nergadze, agreed to testify from Tblisi, Georgia, as they feared travelling to Kiev. Their revelations confirmed that foreign snipers were involved in a shoot to kill campaign and committed a majority of the murders.[29]

Many eyewitness accounts and a lot of mainstream media footage clearly showed snipers shooting from Hotel Ukraina. The BBC filmed one sniper shooting in the direction of the Maidan protestors.[30] As Parubiy was in control of the Maidan security he was going in and out of Hotel Ukraina during the massacre.[31]

International criminal lawyer Christopher Black, wrote that the “clear objective of the Maidan massacre in Kiev on February 20, 2014 was to sow chaos and reap the fall of the democratically elected pro-Russian Yanukovych government”.[32]

Odessa Massacre

Opposition to Kiev’s agenda spread. The Separatists were lobbying for a federal system of states similar to the US. As the strategically important port city of Odessa looked like it was going to rebel, Kiev had to stop this, as they did not want Odessa to join with the Separatist uprising in Donbass. Andriy Parubiy was in Odessa before an important Ukrainian championship soccer match.

On May 2nd, 2014, as peaceful protestors at Odessa’s Kulikovo Square were collecting petitions for the federal system, a massive contingent of pro-Maidan protestors arrived from west Ukraine.

After the soccer match they caused riot and converged at Kulikovo Square, baying for blood. The petitioning protestors sheltered in the five story Trade Unions House. Two pro-Maidan protestors were photographed on the roof with Molotov-cocktails ready. The building was set alight. Those trying to escape the flames by jumping out of windows were shot at from outside; including by a gunman who had previously met Parubiy.[33] The Odessa police let this siege unfold as victims inside the building were shot in the face and set on fire.

A fire station less than a mile away took over half an hour to respond.[34]

Alexei Goncharenko, Member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and Deputy of President Petro Poroshenko’s party was there. Later, Goncharenko was inside the building posing in photos with some of the dead.[35]  

Considering that Yanukovych was universally condemned for the Maidan massacre, what was Nobel Peace laureate President Obama’s response? Nothing. 48 perished. European Parliament’s condemnation of the Odessa massacre said up to 150 could be missing.[36] Not one person was charged. Who did Parubiy blame? Putin.[37]

On Right Sector’s facebook page it announced: “May 2nd, 2014 became another proud moment of the national history”.

Is it any surprise that the Separatists had revolted in Donbass?

For over 300 years Russia shared a close kinship with its ethnic Ukrainian Russian neighbours across its border. With Russian memory of World War 2 still strong, Russians refused to stand by and do nothing.

Kiev’s response to the Separatist revolt was to launch an Anti-Terrorist Operation. But Kiev had to be careful. Oligarch billionaire President Poroshenko said: “IMF cannot give money to countries in ongoing war”.[38]

Donbass schools, hospitals, streets, town and cities were indiscriminately bombed. Over 14,000 civilians have died and two million have fled. Russia accepted 814,000 refugees.

Both sides committed horrible crimes. The UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture believes that the most heinous crimes were committed by the SBU.[39]

The Minsk II Accords negotiated without the US, stipulates how to stop this civil war. Putin has repeatedly called on the US and Ukraine to follow this accord, to little avail.

The Separatists committed the worst crime by shooting down Malaysian Airline passenger flight MH-17. Putin was immediately blamed and Bellingcat had persuasive evidence showing that a BUK missile used to shoot down MH-17 came from Russia.

However, Germany’s foreign spy agency the BND concluded that the Separatists most likely stole the BUK from a Ukrainian military base.[40] Did the West politicize this horrific tragedy? (See Part 2).

While Ukraine honoured its Holocaust colluders, Prince Charles compared Putin to Hitler.[41] Taking this opinion as fact dictates that Putin must be stopped, at all costs. While Russia was accused of invading Ukraine, vast amounts of devastating weaponry entered from the US. Its navy presence is in the Black Sea and its long-range air-force bombers repeatedly conduct bombing exercises close to Russia’s borders.

The West consistently lies in justifying its wars; like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s planned use of Weapons of Mass Destruction;[42] and Libya’s Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s plans for bombing civilians.[43]

As Henry Kissinger warned: “the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.” [44] To our peril, the forces against Putin have achieved Machiavellian results. Putin’s justifiable Red Line must be respected for the gravity it deserves.

Alan Griffiths is a Melbourne peace activist. In 1943, the Gestapo in Przemyśl, Ukraine, murdered a large portion of the Polish side of his family tree. He can be reached at





[5]    from 21:11




[9]  listen to the podcast


[11]  from 00:38



[14]    39:21

[15] P7_TA(2012_0507European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine 2012/2990(RSP)


[17]   07:43


[19]    03:02

[20]   02:34


[22]    29:00





[27] Ibid



[30]   9:21

[31] Ibid paragraph 15

[32] Ibid  paragraph 7

[33]    1:18:31

[34]    1:18:08



[37]   1:19:25

[38]      01:14:30

[39] p5