Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a one time Russian dissident, made a statement recently:' We are fighting the Ukraine, for real. We are sending soldiers and equipment.' Secret funerals for the fallen Russian soldiers are back again, like in the days of the Russian war in Afghanistan in the '80s. Mothers have started getting worried and have started lamenting the dead Russian 'volunteers,' like in Chechnya in the '90s.
President Putin has fooled Russian mothers for sometime by issuing false death certificates of soldiers stating they'd died on duty elsewhere in Russia. 300 injured and 100 dead Russian soldiers can't be explained away as mishaps within the country, whereas in reality there were POWs in the Ukraine. Russian mothers have access to social media sites these days, and if the Russian government keeps on telling tall tales about the whereabouts of their sons, why, the Russian Moms will take motherly measures and come to the Ukraine to get their captures sons and also acquire first-hand information from the Ukranians. That would make the mothers of the involved nations unite.
President Putin is of the opinion that East and South Ukraine belong to the phalanx of Russia. The annexation of Crimea was jsut a start. Why die Bolsheviks handed over the territory, conquered by Katherina the Great, to the Ukraine in 1917 remains a puzzle to the Russian President.
After a long policy of appeasement towards Moscow, the reluctant sanctions the EU, and Nato in particular, the west seems to be reacting albeit half-heartedly to the Russian aggression.
The movement of refugees on both Russian and Ukranian sides is another tragical story that has been repeated in the annals of history ever since man started waging war, instead of settling conflicts through peaceful means. The Ukranian conflict has made 190,000 people seek refuge in Russia, 15,000 in Poland and 12,000 in White Russia. There is a political and cultural conflict of loyalty in this country between the Pro-Russian and the Ukranian population. When China moved into Tibet, no one helped the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet, because he followed like the Maharaja of Nepal, a policy of deliberate isolation, and the only outlet was to cross the Himalayas to reach Dharamsala and apply for asylum in India. When the British left India, Pakistan was created with a great deal of bloodshed. Hindus were obliged to leave Pakistan, and Pakistanis had to leave India amid an atmosphere of hatred and brutality. A similar scenario has unfurled between the people of the Dombass area and Russian separatists. The Berlin Ministry of External Affairs mentioned that 200,000 people became refugees due to the Ukranian conflict.
According to the UNO the number of dead in the Ukraine has risen to 2,800. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Pro-Russian separatists had started a reign of terror with murder, torture and kidnapping of Ukranians. Sources said that more Russian volunteers were involved in the Ukranian battles.
The foreign ministers of 28 European states denounced the Russian invasion into Ukraine. The German government spoke for the first time, in a carefully worded text, of a 'military intervention.' Bringing President Putin to reason is like the mice trying to bell the cat. According to Nato sources, there are more than 1000 Russian soldiers fighting in the Ukraine. The ex-President of the EU commission Jose Manuel Baroso demanded the Russian government to end the support of the separatists in East Ukraine with weapons and personnel, which will remain a moot demand, because the crisis is getting worse. If the escalation is not stopped it will lead to a point of no return. Russia and the EU are in a crisis now. Will the Nato and EU send troops and weapons to the Ukraine? That is the question and President Putin isn't bluffing. He has Pro-Russian plans and wants to defend the prospective Russian enclaves that were lost after the Soviet Union broke down. The Russian rebellion in Donetsk and Luhansk in April and the annexation of the Ukranian peninsula of Crimea was the beginning.
President Obama held Moscow responsible for aggression but refrained from a military intervention. He opined that there were ways to increase pressure against Russia, mainly through sanctions.
One of the sanctions is that the EU has made it difficult for Russian banks to reach the EU finance markets. Sanctions were laid and the export of hi-tech was forbidden and a ban on machines that are used in oil-drillings and excavation. The foreign minister of Estland went even further and demanded sanctions that really hurt.
Steinmeier (SPD), Germany's foreign minister, avoided the word 'invasion' in Mailand, Italy during the 28-EU-state-conference. He put it this way:'The dangerous situation in Eastern Ukraine has taken on a new dimension. A dialogue between the Ukraine and Russia is imperative.' In this context, it might be mentioned that President Obama has also avoided the word 'invasion' and said explicitly that the USA won't be taking any military measures to solve the Ukranian problem.
However, Samantha Power, the US ambassador , was direct and avoided the diplomatic circumlocution used by President Obama. Addressing the Security Council Ms. Power said that 'Russia was lying. The mask will come down. What Russia has been doing in the Ukraine is a threat for peace and the security of us all.' In Europe we'd call this lady 'Mutter Courage.' She has mum and calls a spade a spade.
The Nato has demanded an end to the Russian military actions in the Ukraine. Till now Moscow's Sergei Lawrow (foreign minister) said they were hearing about such speculations not for the first time. The Kreml chief Vladimir Putin compared the action of of the Ukranian government with that of the Wehrmacht, and went on to describe the offensive of the separatists as a success. President Putin went on to say,'The tactics of the government troops remind me of the faschist German troops in the Soviet Union in World War II.' In Putin's version, the Crimea was 'not annected in Spring but was protected. If Russia hadn't overtaken the control, it would have been the way it is in West Ukraine.'
Is it easy for the Ukraine to be a Nato-member? The answer is no, because there is a judicial hinderance to this move in the form of a law since 2010 which forbids the Ukraine to join any military pact. It is obliged to maintain a block-free status. On the other hand, the Financial Times mentions that a new intervention with 10,000 Nato soldiers should be sent t, under British leadership, to East Europe as a reaction against the Russian-Ukranian politics. The Nato troops are expected to come from Britain, Baltic states, Norway, Denmark and Canada. It is hoped that a strengthening of the eastern flank of the Nato will serve as a deterrent to Russia's aggressive politics.
Russia's brazen moves in the Ukraine is due to the fact that it has little to fear, except a few sanctions, more costs and little consequences.
Until now President Putin has provoked with Pro-Russian rhetoric and insists on sending help convoys. The Russian President appealed to the separatists to open a corridor so that the Ukranian military can pass through. He compares the fight of the Pro-Russian separatists with the situation of the Soviet Army against Hitler's Germany and speaks of a Land-army in New Russia (Noworossija). This new terminology alone denotes a region that goes beyond the battle area at the moment. The Russian Ministry of External Affairs doubst the authenticity of the video evidence showing Russian troop movement into Eastern Ukraine.
President Putin has praised the Pro-Russian separatists as the 'defender of Neo-Russia.' This expression dates back to the times of the Tsar, when the Russian Army conquered the territory in the 18th century from Osmania. And President Putin has decided that Neo-Russia should come into existence. Moscow wants more than a corridor to Crimea.