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Partners Don’t Use Blackmail: Top German Lawmaker Slams US Attempts to Block Nord Stream 2

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 13.05.2021

Washington has been strongly opposed to the Nord Stream 2, a joint project by Russia’s Gazprom and European energy giants, trying to stop its construction with sanctions. The European beneficiaries of the project have condemned the US meddling in the bloc’s economic and energy affairs.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is an economic project beneficial to German interests and thus must be completed in the shortest term possible, parliamentary co-leader of the German party The Left, Dietmar Bartsch has stated. The lawmaker, who is expected to fight for the chancellor’s seat in this year’s election, added that the US must not create obstacles for the project’s completion.

“Washington must not make decisions for Germany and Europe regarding their energy security. Partners do not resort to blackmail and threats in their relations”, Bartsch stressed.

The US has repeatedly objected to the plans of European countries to complete and certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was designed to deliver up to 55 million cubic metres of Russian natural gas per year. Washington claims the pipeline undermines European energy security, making it dependent upon Moscow, and suggests buying American or Israeli LNG instead. The White House also expressed concern that Nord Stream 2 will deprive Ukraine of lucrative contracts on the transit of Russian gas through its territory. The latter has been disrupted by Kiev multiple times in the past.

EU powers, especially Germany, have defended the project, insisting that the continent’s energy supplies are sufficiently diversified. German politicians and lawmakers regularly denounce the sanctions Washington has put in place in order to force European countries to abandon the pipeline. Russia, for its part, has assured the West that gas transit through Ukraine will continue as long as it remains economically viable.

The Nord Stream 2 is now in the final stages of construction despite the US countermeasures. Around 5% of the pipe remains to be built according to statements by the operating company. The question, however, remains whether any European entity will agree to certify the pipeline once it’s complete to allow it to turn on the taps, as they would risk falling under American sanctions by doing so.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 2 Comments

Zelensky targeting opposition leaders for ‘treason’ won’t help unity problems, could shatter Ukraine for good

By Paul Robinson | RT | May 13, 2021

In 2014, as bloody fighting raged in eastern Ukraine, businessman Viktor Medvedchuk darted back and forth across the contact line to negotiate the release of prisoners. Instead of gratitude, he now stands accused of high treason.

Medvedchuk is a serving MP and one of the leaders of the country’s largest opposition party, Opposition Platform – For Life (OPZZh), which primarily draws its support from Russophone residents of southern and eastern Ukraine. Using his connections and status in the community, he was able to strike deals that allowed numerous servicemen to return home from captivity.

However, since the start of the year, the government in Kiev has been putting the squeeze on both Medvedchuk and his political ally, Taras Kozak. In February, the state seized Medvedchuk’s property and banned him and his wife from doing business in Ukraine. Then, officials banned three Russian-language TV stations owned by Kozak. Now, as the situation worsens still further, the national prosecutor has announced that the two MPs will be charged with treason and the alleged plundering of national resources.

The 2014 Western-backed Maidan promised to bring democracy and good government to the country. The reality has proven to be entirely different – civil war; economic collapse; and a government that seems to grow increasingly undemocratic by the day.

Just two years ago, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky promised to reunite what was by then a badly divided nation. This appeal helped him to win an overwhelming majority in the presidential election. The political newcomer fared well in the south and east of the country where Russian-speaking Ukrainians were hopeful of an antidote to the nationalist mood that had swept Ukraine following the Maidan. They were further enthused by the fact that Zelensky himself came from the hard-scrabble Russophone city of Krivoy Rog.

Unfortunately for those supporters, however, Zelensky has proven unwilling, or unable, to follow through on his promises of unity. He has made no effort either to end the war in Donbass by making the concessions required in the 2015 Minsk agreement, nor to stop the process of linguistic Ukrainization by repealing authoritarian legislation that restricts the use of the Russian language in education, the media, and public spaces.

Unsurprisingly, the popularity of both Zelensky and his Servant of the People party have plummeted in recent months.

At least one opinion poll now shows Medvedchuk’s OPZZh party to be the most popular in Ukraine. Unable to bring peace to his country and losing political ground to his rivals, it seems that Zelensky has decided to solve his problems by physically suppressing the opposition.

The specific charges against Medvedchuk and Kozak are somewhat odd. The accusation of treason relates to a phone conversation between the two men in which it is alleged that the former revealed classified information to the latter regarding Ukrainian troop positions. Since both men are members of the Ukrainian parliament, it’s difficult to see how this constitutes treason. The prosecutor maintains that Medvedchuk intended for Kozak to pass the information onto Russian intelligence, but no evidence to support the claims has been provided.

The charge of plundering national resources is believed to relate to the activities of a Ukrainian company, New Projects, which owned the rights to exploit a gas field in the waters off Crimea. Following what the Ukrainians call the Russian “occupation” of Crimea in 2014, New Projects re-registered as a Russian company so that it could continue operating and maintain the flow of energy. This, it is said, amounts to an illegal transfer of Ukrainian property to the Russians. Unfortunately, the exact connection of Medvedchuk and Kozak to New Projects isn’t clear – the prosecutor could say no more than that it believed that the two men are in some way linked to it through intermediaries.

In any case, the New Projects story, including an accusation that Medvedchuk wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the company’s behalf, are nothing new. Ukrainian journalists splashed the charges as far back as 2018. At that time, authorities did not consider it worthy of criminal charges. If their verdict has changed, it’s likely because taking action has become more convenient. In other words, the charges against Medvedchuk and Kozak are political in nature.

There are various possible explanations. One is that Zelensky is trying to eliminate a political threat by extra-judicial means. Another is that the charges originate not with the president but with hardline nationalist elements within the Ukrainian security establishment, and show up Zelensky’s lack of control of his own state apparatus. Russian pundits also speculate that the actions against Medvedchuk and Kozak may be a response to American pressure, although there is no clear paper trail to support this as yet.

Whatever the reason, the fact that the Ukrainian state has chosen to charge leading opposition politicians with high treason indicates a disturbing move in an anti-democratic direction. The 2011 arrest of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko was repeatedly cited in the West as evidence of the dictatorial inclinations of then-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, a close ally of Moscow. By contrast, nobody in authority in the West seems to be showing the slightest concern over the fate of Medvedchuk and Kozak, and continue to play along with Zelensky’s overtures to the US and EU.

This will only strengthen Russian suspicions that Western platitudes about liberty and democracy are devoid of meaning, and all that really concerns the West is that the the Ukrainian government be reliably anti-Russian.

Worse still, it is hard to see how the charges will help, rather than harm, the Ukrainian state. The violent overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014 created a serious crisis of legitimacy in Ukraine. Part of the population accepted the results, but a significant part considered it an unconstitutional coup and thus regarded the post-Maidan regime as illegitimate. Many of the country’s problems, including the war in Donbass, derive from this crisis of legitimacy.

Resolving those issues requires the state to reassure and re-engage with disaffected elements of the population, especially in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine. If reunification is on the cards, citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk need to know Kiev is willing to listen to their concerns and respect their choices, which it has failed to do since 2014.

Arresting the leading elected representatives of those same people, on what many will consider to be trumped-up charges, can only have the effect of further alienating them from the national government, thus deepening the crisis of legitimacy. The charges against Medvedchuk and Kozak may suit Zelensky’s political purposes right now, but, in the long term, it is unlikely to leave a positive legacy.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | Leave a comment

Butting Heads With China and Russia: American Diplomats Are Outclassed

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 13, 2021

With the exception of the impending departure of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, if it occurs, the White House seems to prefer to use aggression to deter adversaries rather than finesse. The recent exchanges between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Alaska demonstrate how Beijing has a clear view of its interests which Washington seems to lack. Blinken initiated the acrimonious exchange when he cited “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.” He then threatened “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be” before adding “I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister responded sharply, rejecting U.S. suggestions that it has a right to interfere in another country’s domestic policies, “I think we thought too well of the United States, we thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.” Yi had a point. Ironically, most of the world believes that the U.S. represents a greater threat to genuine democracy than does either China or Russia.

In another more recent interview Blinken has accused the Chinese of acting “more aggressively abroad” while President Biden has claimed that Beijing has a plan to replace America as the world’s leading economic and military power. U.S. United Nations envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield has also delivered the same message that Washington is preparing to take no prisoners, pledging to push back against what she called China’s “authoritarian agenda” through the various agencies that make up the UN bureaucracy. Indeed, the United States seems trapped in its own rhetoric, finding itself in the middle of a situation with China and Taiwan where warnings that Beijing is preparing to use force to recover its former province leave Washington with few options to support a de facto ally. Peter Beinart in a recent op-ed observes how the White House has been incrementally increasing its diplomatic ties with Taiwan even as it both declares itself “rock solid” on defending while also maintaining “strategic ambiguity.”

China understands its interests while the U.S. continues to be bewildered by Beijing’s successful building of trade alliances worldwide. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin, reputedly an excellent chess player, is able to think about genuine issues in three dimensions and is always at least four moves ahead of where Biden and his advisers are at any time. Biden public and video appearances frequently seem to be improvisations as he goes along guided by his teleprompter while Putin is able to explain issues clearly, apparently even in English.

A large part of Biden’s problem vis-à-vis both China and Russia is that he has inherited a U.S. Establishment view of foreign and national security policy options. It is based on three basic principles. First, that America is the only superpower and can either ignore or comfortably overcome the objections of other nations to what it is doing. Second, an all-powerful and fully resourced United States can apply “extreme pressure” to recalcitrant foreign governments and those regimes will eventually submit and comply with Washington’s wishes. And third, America has a widely accepted leadership role of the so-called “free world” which will mean that any decision made in Washington will immediately be endorsed by a large number of other nations, giving legitimacy to U.S. actions worldwide.

What Joe Biden actually thinks is, of course, unknown though he has a history of reflexively supporting an assertive and even belligerent foreign policy during his many years in Congress. Kamala Harris, who many believe will be succeeding Biden before too long, appears to have no definitive views at all beyond the usual Democratic Party cant of spreading “democracy” and being strong on Israel. That suggests that the real shaping of policy is coming from the apparatchik and donor levels in the party, to include the neocon-lite Zionist triumvirate at the State Department consisting of Tony Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Kagan as well as the upper-level bureaucracies at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, which all support an assertive and also interventionist foreign policy to keep Americans “safe” while also increasing their budgets annually. Such thinking leaves little room for genuine national interests to surface.

Biden’s Secretary of State Tony Blinken is, for example, the perfect conformist bureaucrat, shaping his own views around established thinking and creating caveats to provide the Democratic Party leadership with some, though limited, options. Witness for example the current White House attitude towards Iran, which is regarded, along with Russia, as a permanent enemy of the United States. President Biden has expressed his interest in renegotiating a non-nuclear proliferation treaty with the Iranians, now being discussed by diplomats without direct contact in Austria. But Blinken undercuts that intention by wrapping the talks in with other issues that are intended to satisfy the Israelis and their friends in Congress that will make progress unlikely if not impossible. They include eliminating Iran’s alleged role as a regional trouble maker and also ending the ballistic missile development programs currently engaged in by the regime. The downside to all of this is that having a multilateral agreement to limit Iranian enhancement of uranium up to a bomb-making level is very much in the U.S. interest, but it appears to be secondary to other politically motivated side discussions which will derail the process.

A foreign and national security policy based on political dogma rather than genuine interests can obviously generate some disconnects, unlike in Russia or China, where redlines and national interests are clearly understood and acted upon. To cite yet another dangerous example of playing with fire that one is witnessing in Eastern Europe, the simple understanding that for Russia Belarus and Ukraine are frontline states that could pose existential threats to Moscow if they were to move closer to the west and join NATO appears to be lacking. The U.S. prefers to stand the question on its head and claims that the real issue is “spreading democracy,” which it is not. Policy makers in Washington might consider what Washington would likely do if Mexico and Canada were to be threatened with foreign interference that might bring about their joining a military alliance hostile to the United States.

The American Establishment-driven foreign policy thinking clearly has trouble in accommodating the obvious understanding that the U.S. actually becomes more vulnerable every time it interferes in China’s trade practices or gives the green light for alliances like NATO to expand. Expansion of the national security policy components often brings in another client state that rarely has anything whatsoever to contribute and which, on the contrary, becomes a burden, relying for their own security on overstretched American military resources. In return, the expansion itself guarantees that a hostile and genuinely threatened Russia will take steps of its own to counter what it sees as a potential grave threat to its own security and national identity.

Quite simply, America’s national security should dictate that the United States treat China as a competitor rather than an enemy while also disengaging from support and encouragement of Ukraine’s irredentist ambitions as quickly as possible. A recent shipment of offensive weapons to Kiev should become the last such initiative and speeches by American politicians pledging “unwavering support” for Ukraine should be considered unacceptable. Washington should meanwhile reject any clandestine attempts to overthrow Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and make clear to Vladimir Putin that it will not support any NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, which admittedly was a pledge already made when the Soviet Union collapsed that was subsequently ignored by President Bill Clinton. Thanks to Bill, America is now obligated to defend not only Western Europe but also Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, the Baltic States and tiny little Montenegro.

In short, United States engagement in complicated overseas quarrels should be limited to areas where genuine vital interests are at stake. In fact, by that standard one should begin to emphasize the security impact of the crisis on America’s southern border, which has a completely different genesis and is being driven by politics. As British statesman Lord Palmerston said in 1848 “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” The United States government would be very wise to be guided by that advice.

May 13, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

HOW TO WRITE A BAD ARTICLE ABOUT RUSSIA

By Paul Robinson | IRRUSSIANALITY | April 26, 2021

Several press articles I’ve seen in the past few days have annoyed me rather, but I think that they are useful as examples of how reporting on Russia is distorted. For they demonstrate the methods used by journalists to paint a picture of the world that is far from accurate.

The articles in question come from those bastions of balanced reporting, The New York Times and The Guardian. The first is from Sunday’s edition of the NYT, with the title ‘The Arms Dealer in the Crosshairs of Russia’s Elite Assassination Squad’. This discusses Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, whose weapons were destroyed in an explosion in the Czech Republic in 2014, allegedly by Russian secret agents.

The second article is also from the NYT. This one has the title ‘After Testing the World’s Limits, Putin Steps Back From the Brink,’ and analyzes what author Anton Troianovski calls Russia’s ‘escalatory approach to foreign policy’, as seen by the Russian military build up near the Ukrainian border.

The third and final piece is from The Guardian, and is about last week’s protests in support of jailed oppositionist Alexei Navalny. This is somewhat schizophrenic, on the one hand saying that the pro-Navalny movement is in trouble, but on the other hand portraying the protests as a relative success and ending on a confident note that however grim things look for the opposition now, this can change at any moment.

Anyway, as one reads these articles one notices certain techniques that are used to paint a distorted picture of reality. So if you want to be a journalist, here’s what the articles teach that you should do:

1. Make stuff up. In the Guardian article, authors Andrew Roth and Luke Harding (yes, he!) begin by telling readers that ‘The future looked unspeakably grim for Alexey Navalny’s supporters before this week’s protests’. But it then lifts our spirits with the following:

What followed was surprisingly normal: a core of tens of thousands of Navalny supporters rallied near the Kremlin, waving mobile phone torches and chanting “Putin is a thief!” The police stood back in Moscow (there was a violent crackdown in St Petersburg). For an evening, the crowd roved the streets of the capital at will.

“This feeling of enthusiasm, of overcoming fear, the protest ended on a positive note … It left me with the feeling that nothing is lost, it’s still not the final battle, and that street protests in Russia are not over forever,” said Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, in an interview from Europe.

Ah yes, the protests were a huge success, euphoric. There were ‘tens of thousands of Navalny supporters rallied near the Kremlin.’

Except that most reporters said that there was nothing of the sort, and that the turnout was far below expectations.

Estimates of the size of the protest crowd vary, but the Russian Interior Ministry reckoned the numbers as 14,000 across the entire country and only 6,000 in Moscow. Interior Ministry counts tend to be on the low size, so you can treat them with a pinch of salt, but Russian media outlets were claiming a crowd in Moscow of 10,000 to 15,000, , while Western journalists’ estimates were in the same ballpark. Max Seddon of the Financial Times, for instance, reckoned the number at about 10,000 and commented that it was much lower than in the last protests in January. So ‘tens of thousands’ as The Guardian claims? Apparently not.

The Guardian isn’t alone in providing misleading data. In its article about the Bulgarian arms dealer, The New York Times has the following to say:

After pro-democracy protestors toppled the Kremlin’s puppet government there [i.e. Ukraine], Russia special forces units wearing unmarked uniforms seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula and also instigated a separatist uprising that is still going on in the east.

Let’s unravel this a bit: Were the demonstrators in Kiev really ‘pro-democracy’? Debatable, though not provably 100% false. But definitely untrue is the idea that the Ukrainian government that was toppled in February 2014 was a ‘Russian puppet’. That’s simply false. As for Russian special forces ‘annexing’ Crimea, it’s true in a way, although not the whole story of what happened. But the claim that Russian special forces ‘instigated a separatist uprising’ in Donbass is without foundation. I know of no evidence of ‘Russian special forces’ having been present in Donbass in the early weeks of the uprising there. (Strelkov and his goons were not ‘Russian special forces’, and most analyses of the uprising show how it was overwhelmingly spontaneous and local in origin.)

So, again, making stuff up.

2. Mention that others have ‘reported’, ‘claimed’, or ‘alleged’ something without pointing out that the claim in question is dubious at best, or false at worst.

For example. The NYT piece about Mr Gebrev talks about the alleged Russian spy unit, Unit 29155, and tell us that:

Last year, the Times revealed a CIA assessment that officers from the unit may have carried out a secret operation to pay bounties to a network of criminal militants in Afghanistan in exchange for attacks on US and coalition troops.

This is superficially true in that the Times did reveal this assessment. But what it doesn’t tell you is that the US government only has low to medium confidence that the claim is true. That’s kind of important, don’t you think? Shouldn’t it be mentioned? By failing to do so, the Times makes out that something is true that probably isn’t.

It’s not the only example. Talking of Ukraine a little later, the same article tells us that after war broke out in Donbass,

Russian assassins fanned out across the country, killing senior Ukrainian military and intelligence officials who were central to the war effort, according to Ukrainian officials.

They did, did they? Well, maybe ‘according to Ukrainian officials’ they did. But I have to say that it’s the first I’ve ever heard of it, and if it were true wouldn’t there have been news of lots of dead Ukrainian military and intelligence officers? Given that there wasn’t any such news, why repeat the claim? Shouldn’t the Times at least check it first.

3. Cite only sources that back up the narrative you are trying to tell. Ignore alternative viewpoints.

This kind of follows on from the last. If you are writing about Ukraine, cite ‘Ukrainian officials’. But don’t cite rebel spokesmen. If you’re talking about Russia, cite oppositionists. Ignore pro-government analysts.

We can see this in the Guardian piece. This quotes a couple of members of Navalny’s team, a British professor, a pro-Navalny Russia high schooler, and then to finish off some completely random former advisor to one-time British foreign minister Robin Cook, whose connection to, and knowledge of, Russia is completely unexplained. The only reason for giving him the final word seems to be that he came up with some nice lines about how opposition movements can suddenly triumph even when they seem to be losing. Needless to say, dissenting viewpoints are nowhere to be heard in the article.

The NYT piece about Russia stepping ‘back from the brink’ is similarly loaded with carefully chosen sources. First up is the ever-present Gleb Pavlovsky, a one-time advisor to Vladimir Putin turned oppositionist, who seems to be the eternal go-to person for anti-Putin quotes. After him, the article gives us a quote from Navalny’s assistant Leonid Volkov, a statement from Ukrainian National Security Advisor Oleksiy Danilov, and a few words from the generally pretty anti-Putin Estonian analyst Kadri Liik. For a pretence of balance we also get a statement by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and the opinion of Konstantin Remchukov, editor of Nezavisimaia Gazeta, a newspaper whose political stance isn’t 100% clear to me but strikes me as sort-of oppositional, sort of not (given that Remchukov ran the re-election campaign of Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin). All in all, the anti-government voices get the bulk of the space.

So there you have it. Make some stuff up. Reference ‘claims’ and ‘allegations’ without pointing out that they are unsubstantiated or even false. And throw in lots of quotes from pundits who support the chosen narrative. Easy as pie. A career as a journalist awaits you. Just don’t bother trying to be accurate. Understood?

April 26, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Amid increased tensions in Donbass, Putin invites Ukrainian President Zelensky to Moscow for discussions on ‘bilateral relations’

By Jonny Tickle | RT | April 23, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he is ready to welcome his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky “at any convenient time in Moscow.” The suggestion comes after Kiev offered to meet in war-torn Donbass.

Speaking before talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday, Putin said Zelensky should first discuss the problems of Donbass with the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics before speaking with representatives of third countries. He included Russia in this category.

“And if we are talking about the development of bilateral relations, then, please, we will receive the president of Ukraine in Moscow at any time convenient for him,” Putin said. “If President Zelensky wants to start restoring relations, Russia will only welcome it.”

The Russian leader’s statement comes after Zelensky suggested a summit “anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass where the war is going on,” earlier this week.

“Ukraine and Russia, despite their shared past, look to the future in different ways. We are us. You are you,” Zelensky said. “But this is not necessarily a problem; it is an opportunity. At the very least, an opportunity, before it is too late, to stop the murderous mathematics of future war losses.”

The conflict in Donbass started in April 2014, when two pro-Moscow breakaway republics unilaterally declared independence from Kiev. These regions – the self-declared Donetsk (DNR) and Lugansk People’s Republics (LNR) – are unrecognized by both Russia and Ukraine. However, according to Kiev, they are under the control of the Kremlin, a charge Moscow denies.

Following Zelensky’s invite to Putin, the heads of both the DNR and LNR invited the Ukrainian leader to meet and hold talks in Donbass, suggesting he deals directly with them instead.

“I urge you, Mr. Zelensky, not to invite the leaders of third countries to the line of contact, but rather to go there yourself for an honest and open conversation with us,” said Denis Pushilin, the leader in Donetsk.

The situation in Donbass has escalated in recent weeks, although it now seems to be calming down. Media reports from the region revealed a build-up of both Russian manpower and equipment near the border, following news that the Ukrainian Army was increasing its number of forces in the area. However, on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that troops deployed near the frontier would soon begin returning to base, as military exercises had concluded.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

As British Warships Deploy to Black Sea, Putin Warns of Red Lines

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 22, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to countries trying to provoke military tensions, saying that his nation is drawing up red lines for defense.

Putin delivered the sharp remarks during his annual state-of-the-nation address to lawmakers from both chambers of the Russian parliament. The stark warning comes amid spiraling tensions over Ukraine between Western supporters of the Kiev regime and Russia.

Specifically, days before Putin’s set-piece speech, British media reported that Britain’s Royal Navy is planning to deploy two warships to the Black Sea: a Type-45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles; and a frigate for hunting submarines. A British ministry of defense spokesman is quoted as saying the move was a sign of “unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in the face of alleged Russian aggression.

The British deployment is planned to take place in the coming weeks. The two warships will transit Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait to enter the Black Sea. International shipping is permitted under the Montreux Convention. However, the British plan seems far from an innocent passage, and a rather more calculated provocation.

The two ships will be part of a bigger battle group, the newly launched HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier which will station in the East Mediterranean. The battle group will be able to supply F-35B Lightning fighter jets and Merlin helicopters with submarine-hunting missiles. All in all, it is a pretty audacious attempt by the British to raise tensions with Russia.

It is notable that the United States last week abruptly cancelled sending two of its guided-missile destroyers to the Black Sea after Russia mobilized its own fleet in the region and warned the Americans to “stay away”. Days later, the British seem to have stepped into the breach with their proposed Black Sea operation. Did the Biden administration ask London to step up to the plate and to show “solidarity”, or is the British maneuver a gambit to curry favor with Washington by flexing AngloSaxon muscles for Uncle Sam?

In any case, London’s move comes on the back of an already brazen buildup of British military forces in the Black Sea. Britain has previously sent naval personnel and equipment to train Ukrainian warships. The Royal Air Force has also dispatched a squadron of Typhoon fighter jets to patrol the Black Sea in support of the Kiev regime and its claim to take back control of the Crimean Peninsula. The Peninsula voted in a referendum in March 2014 to join the Russian Federation after a NATO-backed coup d’état in Kiev the previous month which ushered in an anti-Russian regime.

The Kiev regime has also been stepping up its violations of the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russian populations have declared breakaway republics in defiance of the 2014 NATO-backed coup. Civilian centers in Donetsk and Luhansk are being shelled on a daily basis. This is clearly a cynical attempt by the Kiev regime to escalate the civil war in such a way as to drag NATO further into the conflict. Russia has mobilized sizable army divisions on the border with Ukraine in what Moscow says is a matter of national self-defense. Yet, ironically, the United States, Britain, and other NATO powers are demanding Russia to “de-escalate” tensions.

NATO’s very public backing for the Kiev regime and the supply of American lethal weaponry is no doubt emboldening the regime to step up its offensive fire on Eastern Ukraine and making menacing moves towards Crimea.

The British are in particular giving the Kiev regime a dangerous sense of military license for its bravado towards Moscow.

The situation is an extremely dangerous powder-keg. One wrong move, even unintended, could spark off a wider war involving the NATO powers and Russia.

In this highly combustible context, Russia is right to close off areas in the Black Sea that encompass its territorial waters. Those areas include the coastal waters off the Crimean Peninsula.

NATO powers sending warships into the region is the height of criminal folly. If Britain and other members of the U.S.-led alliance contend that they are “defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity” then the logic of that position dictates that they will attempt to make an incursion into Crimean coastal water since they don’t recognize Russia’s sovereignty. In that event, a military confrontation is bound to happen.

President Putin’s declaration of red lines is not so much a rhetorical putting it up to the West. It is a responsible position to prevent a war from breaking out.

The British are being told that they cannot just sail their warships into the Black Sea and rattle their sabers in Russia’s face. Putin is telling the Brits and anyone else not to even think about getting that close.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin keeps the door open for diplomacy with the US; too bad it’s falling on deaf ears

By Scott Ritter | RT | April 22, 2021

Putin warns of Russia’s ‘red lines’, comparing the West’s actions to ‘The Jungle Book’, but says Moscow doesn’t want to burn bridges with anyone. His message falls on deaf ears in the US, largely thanks to establishment media.

In his annual address to the Federal Assembly – the Russian parliament – President Putin devoted most of his time to domestic issues. His comments regarding national security and foreign affairs were brief, but telling.

While many pundits had predicted he would use the occasion to announce major actions that would signify a decisive break with the West in the aftermath of the US imposing a new round of economic sanctions, Putin, while lamenting the “unfriendly actions” and “outright rudeness” of the US and its allies, highlighted the fact that Moscow wants to maintain good relations with them.

“We don’t want to burn bridges,” Putin declared.

Lest those in the West who were listening to the speech mistake Russia’s “good intentions as indifference or weakness,” Putin waxed poetic in putting down a marker that Russia would have none of it.

He alluded to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ in describing the present situation vis-à-vis Russia and the West, observing that there are “all kinds of small Tabaquis [a reference to the sniveling jackal featured in the book] running around Shere Khan [a tyrannical Bengal tiger]… howling to gain the favor of their ruler.” While not naming names, Putin’s allusion is clear – the US (Shere Khan) and its Tabaquis (NATO) are harassing Russia (Mowgli, the unmentioned hero of the tale.)

The Jungle Book reference takes on a darker meaning when the Russian president warns those countries who have “made it a habit to pick on Russia,” that if “they want to burn bridges, or even blow up these bridges, they must know that Russia’s response will be asymmetric, swift and tough.”

It should be noted that in ‘The Jungle Book’, Tabaqui the jackal was killed by Mowgli’s allies, while Shere Khan died at the hands of Mowgli himself, led into a fiery trap – the ultimate form of asymmetrical combat.

To the would-be Shere Khans and Tabaquis listening to Putin’s address, the Russian president could not have made his message any clearer – do not provoke the Russian bear. “Russia has its interests which we defend and will defend within the framework of international law,” he declared.

While some observers have interpreted Putin’s brief comments on foreign and national security as ‘war-mongering’ and ‘bellicose’, it was anything but. Putin made it clear that diplomacy, not military action, was Russia’s preferred methodology, emphasizing Russia’s “good intentions” and its desire to keep the existing bridges linking it and the West open, as opposed to burning them down.

Putin’s posture was consistent with the evaluation contained in the US intelligence community’s Global Threat Assessment for 2021, which described Russian intent as follows: “We expect Moscow to seek opportunities for pragmatic cooperation with Washington on its own terms, and we assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with US forces.”

The document further noted that “Russia seeks an accommodation with the United States on mutual noninterference in both countries’ domestic affairs and US recognition of Russia’s claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union.”

There is no sunlight between this assessment and the tone and content of Putin’s address.

But to read the US media’s reaction to his speech, one would get the impression that America occupied an alternative reality where the constant threat posed to Russia by the real-life Shere Khans and Tabaquis of the world has been flipped, with the Russian government assuming the role of the predatory figure threatening the existence of ‘democracy’ – apparently personified in the form of the Western-backed opposition figure Alexey Navalny, and the perpetually victimized Ukraine.

While providing dismissive lip service to the content of Putin’s address, the Washington Post instead highlighted what it reported as “a wave of protests” which “started rolling across Russia’s Far East in support of imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny.” The New York Times followed suit injecting the Navalny drama, while Newsweek took a different tack and ran an article with the inflammatory headline, “Ukraine President Zelensky Is Ready for War With Russia, Vows to ‘Stand to the Last Man.’” It covered a speech delivered by Volodymyr Zelensky as if it were the geopolitical equivalent of Putin’s address. “Does Ukraine want war?” Zelensky asked. “No. Is it ready for it? Yes,” he said, adding that while “Ukraine does not start a war first,” it “always stands to the last man.” Zelensky urged Putin to meet with him “anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbas where there is war” for peace talks.

By emphasizing Navalny and the conflict in the Donbass region while simultaneously giving short shrift to the content and intent of Putin’s address, the US media has continued a course which has sought to minimize Russian statesmanship and diplomacy in favor of a Hollywood-like narrative which paints that nation and its leader as the quintessential bad guys.

Given the role played by the US mainstream media in creating an environment that compels US leaders to craft policy which conforms to domestic political imperative as opposed to legitimate national security interests, this emphasis is unfortunate. The failure on the part of the US media, and by extension, the Biden administration, to recognize this reality is reflective of the suicidal hubris and arrogance that has gripped what passes for an understanding of modern-day Russia. Read ‘The Jungle book’; it’s not an ending any would-be Shere Khan should desire.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

April 22, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

How the US is Creating Trouble Around Russia

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 21.04.2021

When the US president Joe Biden delivered his first major foreign policy speech in February, he signalled America’s return to an interventionist and confrontationist policy design, one that thrives on creating troubles for its competitors. Accordingly, whereas we see the US continues to blame the Chinese authorities for carrying out a “genocide” in Xinjiang – which is a major logistical base for China’s various Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) project – it has equally started creating trouble in Ukraine to force Russia into a crisis situation, hoping that such a situation would make Russia submit to the US ambitions to re-establish its lost unilateral global domination. The recent most sanctions imposed on Russia indicate the current trends in unmistakable terms. However, the way the US is soaking Ukraine up with anti-Russian policies speaks volumes about the way the US is creating conditions of a war and use the scenario to extend NATO’s outreach.

On March 1, the Pentagon announced a $125 million military aid package for Ukraine, the first of its kind under the Biden administration. A Pentagon statement said that the package included “capabilities to enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness of Ukraine’s forces through the provision of additional counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment; continued support for a satellite imagery and analysis capability; and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures.” This aid is apart from US$150 million in fiscal year 2021 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding appropriated by the US Congress. Ever since 2014, this has become a trademark method that Washington has been following to encourage Kiev to be belligerent towards Russia.

In his April 13 call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden affirmed the US’

“unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.”

On April 4, the Operational Command East with the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) provocatively announced that it will hold joint military exercises known as “Exercise Cossack Mace” with NATO forces later this year. While this would not be the first time the Ukrainian forces would hold such military exercises, there is a marked difference this time around that reflects the current geo-political scenario.

As such, whereas usual Ukraine-NATO drills are announced with clarifying statements that they are purely “defensive” operations, the AFU’s recent statement differed in that it made clear that it would simulate an offensive attack against not only “separatist-controlled Donbass” but Russian forces as well.

When seen in combination with the way Ukraine is aiming to reclaim Crimea, the nature of this build up as a form of direct territorial assault becomes evident. In March 2021, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, “[The Ukrainian government] has approved the Strategy for Deoccupation & Reintegration of Crimea, a historic document needed since 2014. The signal is crystal clear: we don’t just call on the world to help us return Crimea, Ukraine makes own dedicated & systemic efforts.”

As such, whereas Russia, too, has started its own military build-up on the Ukrainian border, this build-up did not happen until Ukrainian government officially declared their intent to reclaim Crimea at all costs.

The reason why the US is building up trouble around Russia looking to force the latter in an unnecessary war is, as mentioned above, to recreate a unilateral world order.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was sharp and pinpoint when she said that,

“The United States is not ready to accept the objective reality of a multipolar world in which American hegemony is not possible. It is placing its bets on sanctions pressure and interference in our domestic affairs. This aggressive conduct will certainly meet with resolute resistance. There will inevitably be a response to the sanctions. Washington must realise that it will have to pay for the degradation of bilateral relations. Responsibility for what is happening fully rests with the United States.

For many in the US, Biden’s entry in the White House was always meant to restore the global balance of power to the US’ advantage. Many companies and groups lobbying for Biden saw his presidency as “negative for Moscow”, likely to lead to a further deterioration of bilateral relations, both in terms of rhetoric and substance.

For the Ukrainian leadership, too, the arrival of Joe Biden has created an opportunity to reclaim Ukraine. As such, while current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was previously ambiguous on his stance towards NATO during his election campaign in 2019—proclaiming his support for EU membership while saying little about the Western military alliance—he now regularly begs for his country’s full inclusion in NATO. At the same time, Zelensky administration has step-by-step ramped up anti-Russian hysteria by sanctioning pro-Russian opposition leaders and by shutting down media outlets too.

As such, in this context, Joe Biden’s call for “diplomacy” to de-escalate the situation is unlikely to lead to any meaningful positive development not only because the Joe Biden administration is following an explicit agenda to recreate US hegemony, but also because Russia remains strongly opposed to any US attempts to dictate Russia from a position of strength.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 22, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Kremlin Reveals Details About Putin-Biden Phone Call

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 14.04.2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden held a telephone conversation on Tuesday. According to the White House account of the discussion, issues raised included strategic stability, Russia’s alleged ‘cyber intrusions’ and election meddling, and America’s “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine. A summit meeting was proposed.

Tuesday’s phone call between Presidents Putin and Biden was “businesslike” and of considerable duration, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Peskov said the two men had agreed that the possibility of their meeting would be discussed through diplomatic channels. Moscow, he said, is only now starting to receive information about organisational and other aspects related to a possible summit.

“Before now there was simply a dearth of information about how it would take place, in what order, who would speak, who would chair it, what the outcome is expected to be, whether a final document would be issued, etc. We are just starting to get answers to all these questions; we are still studying them,” the presidential spokesman said. He added that it was “too early” to discuss the proposed meeting’s possible place and time.

Earlier Wednesday, Finnish media reported that Finland had offered to facilitate the meeting of the Russian and US presidents, and that Austria and Iceland had similarly offered their diplomatic services.

Commenting on the escalation of Russia-US tensions surrounding Ukraine, Peskov stressed that a de-escalation of the situation in the civil war-torn Eastern European nation would only be possible if the Ukrainian army indicated that it wouldn’t engage in any provocative behaviour.

“We consider the ‘expression of any concerns’ from any side, including the United States, in connection with the movements of Russia’s armed forces inside Russia, to be groundless. On the territory of Ukraine, de-escalation can only occur if the Ukrainian armed forces reject provocative actions,” he said.

Earlier, the White House readout of Tuesday’s telephone conversation between Putin and Biden said that the US president had “voiced” Washington’s “concerns over the sudden Russian military buildup in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions”.

Recent weeks have seen a major deterioration of the security situation in eastern Ukraine, with officials from the breakaway Donbass republics accusing Kiev of preparing for a new military offensive. Moscow has urged both sides to stick to the terms of the Minsk ceasefire. Washington, its NATO allies and Kiev have instead accused Russia of “aggression”.

In his remarks Wednesday, Peskov also indicated that he would not comment on whether the Russian side would ask Biden to apologise over last month’s remarks, in which he agreed with a journalist’s characterisation of the Russian president as a “killer” and threatened to make him “pay a price” over alleged meddling in America’s elections.

“I will leave this issue without comment,” the spokesman said.

Finally, asked to comment on whether Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition vlogger whom the US and its allies accused Moscow of poisoning, was brought up in the Putin-Biden telephone talks, Peskov said his name was not mentioned.

The United States and the European Union slapped Russia with new sanctions last month over the Navalny case. The opposition vlogger and anti-corruption activist collapsed on a domestic flight in Siberia last August, and was rushed for emergency treatment in the Siberian city of Omsk. At the request of his family, he was then transferred out of the country for further treatment at a hospital in Germany. German authorities then claimed that doctors had found traces of a deadly nerve agent in his system, going on to accuse the Kremlin of poisoning him. Moscow denied the allegations, saying no toxic substances had been found in his system at the time of his treatment in Russia. Washington sought to use the Navalny situation to poison Russian-European relations, and called on Western European nations to cancel construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Navalny returned to Russia in January and was jailed over multiple breaches of his probation in a 2014 fraud case.

April 14, 2021 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

CNN Raises Eyebrows After Using Images of Ukrainian Tanks While Bashing Russia’s ‘War Preparations’

By Andrei Dergalin – Sputnik – 13.04.2021

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has delivered a sharp rebuke to CNN after the media outlet used a picture of Ukrainian tanks to illustrate an article about Russia’s purported war preparations.

“Dear CNN TV channel and its staff. We realize that you have no time for fact-checking, since you’re so immersed in ideological struggle for the triumph of liberalism,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “But to present Ukrainian tanks at a Ukrainian train station, with Ukrainian train carriages in the background, as Russia’s preparations for war is a bit too much.”

She also snarkily suggested that perhaps CNN correspondents in Moscow should devote more time to their professional duties rather than focus on participating in public life in Russia.

The CNN’s article in question was related to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to Donbass, and featured a video depicting Ukrainian tanks on train carriages while the narrator speaks about a “dramatic buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border” and about the emergence of cellphone footage of “military hardware being transported by rail”.

The video fragment with the tanks appeared strikingly similar to a video that emerged on social media earlier this month, which a number of uploaders described as Ukrainian tanks being shipped to Donbass.

The situation in Ukraine’s restive eastern Donbass region has deteriorated in the past few weeks, with Donetsk and Lugansk regional authorities and militia forces reporting an escalation of shelling attacks, bombings and sniper fire by Ukrainian forces.

Meanwhile, the US blamed Russia for allegedly stoking tensions in the region, and threatened to to respond to Russian “aggression”.

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014, shortly after the triumph of the Euromaidan coup in Kiev, when residents of the Donbass region refused to submit to the new authorities.

May be an image of train, railroad and text that says 'Y CNN'
May be an image of text that says 'CNN Live Ukraine's President heads to the trenches as Russia masses its troops EXCLUSIVE by Matthew Chance, CNN Updated 8:39 AM EDT, Mon April 12, 2021 r CNN On the front lines in eastern Ukraine(CNN)- Ankle-deep in thick black sludge, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky moves stealthily with his troops in single file through the warren of trenches and tunnels that form the tense front'

Ukraine’s colors visible no less

April 13, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

Ukraine claims Russia ignoring call for crunch talks to avert all-out war in Donbass, but Moscow says it never received an invite

RT | April 12, 2021

The Kremlin has denied ignoring requests from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hold a crisis summit after days of bloody escalations in the war-torn Donbass region, insisting it hasn’t actually been invited to take part.

On Monday morning, a government spokeswoman in Kiev claimed that an appeal for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin had gone unacknowledged. Yulia Mendel told journalists from Reuters that “we have not received an answer yet and we very much hope that this is not a refusal of dialogue.”

However, later that day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he was unaware of the request, and had not seen any such contact from Ukrainian officials in recent days.

Mendel has since aimed to dispel any confusion, claiming that “the request for negotiations came immediately after the death of four servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – on March 26,” in an answer given to Interfax-Ukraine.

A statement posted by Zelensky to Twitter that day said, “we lost four defenders of Ukraine again. Sincere condolences.” He added that he urged all leaders of the Normandy Format, comprised of Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and France, “to do their utmost to preserve a full and comprehensive ceasefire.” It is unclear if a formal request was sent alongside the message.

Last week, Russian diplomats announced they had reached out to their US counterparts for emergency discussions over the situation in Donbass, with Peskov describing the situation on the contact line as frightening. Amid reports of increased shelling, Kiev’s forces have clashed with Moscow-backed separatist militants based in the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

At the same time, US State Department spokesman Ned Price warned that Washington had seen credible reports of Russia amassing troops near the shared border, and issued a “call on Russia to refrain from escalatory actions.”

On Thursday, Putin’s deputy chief of staff, Dmitry Kozak, said Moscow would be forced to protect the residents of the Donbass region if the Ukrainian Army were to launch an all-out offensive. “Everything depends on what the scale of fighting will be.”

Putin has previously warned of a humanitarian crisis akin to the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims during the breakup of Yugoslavia, remembered as one of Europe’s bloodiest post-war incidents. If this were to happen, Peskov said, “no country in the world would stand aside. And all countries, including Russia, would take measures to prevent such tragedies from happening again.”

April 12, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Russian-Ukrainian War: Tragedy For People, Chance For Elites

South Front – April 10, 2021

Against the backdrop of ongoing political provocations and bellicose rhetoric from all parties involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, military escalation is constantly growing. Local forces, as well as the OSCE observers, report about more and more ceasefire violations in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. There are daily statements on casualties on both sides of the conflict among the military and local civilians.

Now, when all the global media are closely following the situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine, the international community is wondering whether Donbass will become the point of the next military conflict, and what its scale will be. The main question is “Cui Prodest”?

The answer is unambiguous: the administration of Ukrainian President is a real stakeholder in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. In the current Ukrainian reality, there are plenty of circumstances that determine the pattern of conduct of Volodimir Zelensky.

First, the current economic situation in Ukraine is disastrous. The Ukrainian state is on the way to lose the ability to fulfill its social obligations. According to the data for 2020, its GDP in real terms suffered about 4% drop. According to the IMF, this drop will be at least 7%. If for the United States, China or Russia, a 4% drop in GDP is a big problem, for Ukraine it is almost a disaster, as GDP indicators were low even before the crisis.

Secondly, the economic situation in Ukraine was aggravated by the coronacrisis. The number of those contaminated by COVID-19 per day there is one of the biggest among the European countries, and even in the whole world. The death rate is also disproportionately high. The country’s economy is suffering, as most regions are still under lockdown, and since April 5, restrictions have been tightened again.

The fall in national budget income was caused by a complex of reasons, including pure management of national economy and the extremely high level of corruption that caused the destruction of the industrial complex, drop in already low per capita income, accompanied by a decreasing revenue gained from gas and cargo transit from East to West.

Third, the Zelensky administration is now facing a rapid decrease in people’s support. The national disappointment in his political program is caused by the rejection of his campaign promises to stop the war in Donbass.

Fourthly, it is increasingly difficult for NATO allies to fuel Kiev’s anti-Russian hysteria in the absence of any actual changes of the issue. The military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine is already 7 years old, and the only alarming statements no longer contribute to the increase in financial support from the US and its allies.

The last but not least is a political request from a part of the American elite, who are interested in various forms of pressuring Russia. They support blocking of the Nord Stream 2 project by any means; destruction of bilateral relations between Russia and leading European countries, up to war outbreak along its borders.

On the other hand, such a policy of the United States does not fully coincide with the national interests of leading European countries. However, new war in Eastern Ukraine would define Russian status as enemy for years while the US will strengthen its weight in European security.

The position of the Zelensky administration and the interests of the United States represent sufficient set of reasons to outbreak war in Eastern Ukraine.

Indeed, official Kiev does not need to care about the actual result of the conflict, but its very existence.

There are only 3 scenarios of the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

  • The Ukrainian army wholly or partially occupies the territory of the DLPR.
  • The forces of both sides remain in their current positions.
  • The DLPR forces, with Russian support, advance on the Ukrainian territory for several dozens of miles.

There is almost a zero probability that Ukraine will suffer a crushing defeat and the DLPR forces will occupy the territory to the Dnieper River. Russia now has neither the strength nor the ability to gain control over such a vast territory, and the collective West, in its turn, would not let this happen.

If any of the above scenarios are implemented, Zelensky and his supporters among the US elites will benefit.

For many years, the US and European media have shaped Russia as the aggressor, the enemy of democratic values and the authoritarian tyrannical regime that must be contained. The idea of an external military threat, which being sequentially built up by the West, serves as a pretext for its increasing military funding both in defense industry and army itself amid inevitable unification under the US leadership.

In its turn, Ukraine, positioning itself as the Eastern European Shield against “Asian Barbarians”, receives significant and steadily growing support from NATO countries, gaining momentum to development and further nazi-like ideology originally rooted in Western Ukraine.

Unleashing the war, Zelensky has a chance to reclaim his status as the national leader. In case of the conquest of the self-proclaimed republics, or the preservation of the current troops’ positions, he will become a hero who saved Ukraine from “evil Russians”.

Even after having lost the war, he would claim that the entire country was saved with little blood and only a small piece of land that was temporary lost, taking on the role of a good strategist who defended the sovereignty in the furious fighting shoulder to shoulder with his NATO allies.

Zelensky’s policy can only fail if Russia captures half of Ukraine, which de facto is not possible.

Thus, almost whatever may happen during the conflict, Ukraine can be sure that it will receive stable financial flows from its Western allies for years ahead. Having become a “real” Eastern Shield of Europe, Ukraine may finally get the coveted NATO membership.

Finally yet importantly – the hot military conflict will undoubtedly divert public attention from the economic problems inside the country.

Unleashing a war in Donbass will allow Zelensky to solve his main problems, albeit at the cost of lives of thousands of Ukrainians.

Today, many analysts assure that there will not be a full-scale war, since Ukraine is weak, and Zelensky must assess the country’s military strength in front of the Russian power. Let’s hope this is the case, while remembering who the beneficiary of the conflict is.

In its turn, the United States, at the cost of Ukrainian soldiers’ lives, can resolve a good part of its problems in the European region, while Russia seems to lose strategically in any of these war scenarios.

Definitely, the war in Ukraine will lead to the closure of the Nord Stream 2 project, which is already at the final stage of construction. Key contacts between Russia and NATO countries will be frozen, no more significant bilateral cooperation in the economy will be possible.

A new war near the Russian borders that involves national armed forces will have an important impact on the internal situation in the country. It is not clear to what extent the Russian society, which has suffered the break of economic relations with Western countries and numerous sanctions, is ready to support the struggle for Donbass.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 3 Comments