The evolving situation in the Ukraine

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the situation in Ukraine – but whom to believe?

In my never-humble-opinion, the best sources of information are not just the ‘usual media’, but also the people on the ground, who can tell you what their own experience is.  As I do not know anyone currently living in that part of the world, I did the next best thing:  I asked a lot of questions of someone who may live on Canada (and whose academic background specializes in how Russia exerts influence over Ukrainian political sphere through the use of Russian energy policy), but who has family members she is in touch with in the Ukraine, in Crimea – and even within the Ukrainian military forces.

The most important thing my source stresses that people there are afraid:  and when people are afraid, they will believe all kinds of transparent propaganda which could never trick them in their right state of mind.

This, of course, is true for all people in all kinds of situation – but it is important to keep this in mind while the various propagandists battle each other over the minds of the Ukrainian people.

The next important thing my source stressed was that while the Ukrainian troops have been ordered not to fire their weapons, the Ukrainian naval vessels are not under any such restriction and, even if someone tried to impose it on them, they would disobey.  Therefore, if the Russian forces show any aggressive moves against the Ukrainian Navy, regardless of what the chain of command may order, the Ukrainian  Navy WILL engage.

At least, that is the information my source has received.

In addition, the Ukrainian military forces stationed on the ground in Crimea (and currently surrounded by Russian troops firing into the air, neutralized and functionally disarmed) are being pressured into breaking their oath of loyalty to UKRAINIAN forces and instead declare themselves CRIMEAN military forces.  While we are hearing all about Russian versus Ukrainian military forces on the ground, we also ought to consider the possibility that a third military force may be created:  the Crimean military.
 
Nobody in the media is also talking about the referendum to be held in Crimea.
 
Referendum?  
 
What referendum?!?!?
 
The Ukraine does not recognize any legitimate Crimea referendum!
 
There certainly is no provision for it in the 1996 Ukraine Constitution currently ruling the country…
 
Yet, the Crimeans do plan to hold one:  originally scheduled to coincide with the Presidential elections to be held in May, it has been ‘bumped up’ to March 30th, 2014.  In this referendum, the Crimean people will vote on whether to be an autonomous Protectorate of Ukraine or an autonomous protectorate of Russia.
 
Funny word, ‘Protectorate’!  Sounds eerily like the Hitler’s ‘Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia’, right after he was forced to annex Sudetenland in order to protect the ethnic German nationals living there from persecution and oppression…  Yes, yes, reducto ad Hitlerum, but you can’t call Godwin’s law on me when the comparison is actually accurate!!!  
 
My most excellent source also stressed a few other very important factors that are not being spoken about.
 
Like the fact that Crimea has no natural source of fresh water – it is a mountainous desert region whose water is being piped in from Ukraine.  And just like Russia exercises control over Ukraine through energy supplies, Ukraine could exert considerable pressure on Crimea by controlling its water supply.  Russians could only ship water in by boats – very costly and not particularly practical.  And building a water de-salination plant takes time…
 
The Tatar population of Crimea is Muslim and has a strong support in Turkey.  If Putin feels the necessity of sending troops into Crimea to protect the ethnic Russians, then Turkey would be equally justified in sending in their troops to protect the 12% of the population who are ethnic Tatars. 
 
And Turkey IS a NATO country…
 
According to my source, this would be the best way for NATO to get their foot in the door and many Crimeans are hoping that this is what will happen, as Turkey is a NATO member.  
 
The Budapest Memorandum is also very important as it stipulated that if Ukraine gave up its defenses as part of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Russia, Great Britain and the USA would be the guarantors of its territorial integrity.  And so it happened.
 
Now that Russia is in breech of the Budapest Memorandum, both the UK and USA are treaty bound to protect the Ukraine against Russia’s actions.  Will they be honourable enough to live up to their treaty obligations?
 
Well, Great Britain had a mutual defense treaty with Czechoslovakia – yet it failed to live up to it, letting Hitler have his ‘Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia’.  (Yet another nod to Godwin-law-nazis…)  So, I would not hold my breath there – Britain’s promises on defense are worth about as much as Nortel stocks…
 
And the once powerful, not to be trifled with United States of America?
 
Obama let his own people be slaughtered in Benghazi without lifting a finger to help them – so why would anyone expect him to inconvenience himself on behalf of a country he probably could not even find on a map?  He only selectively enforces laws in his own country, so why would anyone expect him to live up to his international legal obligations?
 
It sound a proper mess…
 
One last item of importance my source had stressed:  many people are acting as if the current government in the Ukraine were illegitimate, something similar to a military coup.  Nothing could be further from the truth!
 
Rather, the shift in the Ukrainian government is more accurately described as a shift in coalitions where properly elected representatives from various parties have shuffled around their allegiances and formed a different ruling coalition.  So don’t be fooled by the propaganda that this government is illegitimate…

 

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10 Responses to “The evolving situation in the Ukraine”

  1. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    Depending on which Ukrainian you ask, you will get very different assessments of what’s “really” going on in the Ukraine.

    Those who are pro-Europe (concentrated mostly in the Northwest) will tell you that Putin is attempting to annex the Ukraine and repress the Ukrainian people.

    Those who are pro-Russia (concentrated mostly in the Southeast) will tell you that NATO is attempting to annex the Ukraine and repress the Ukrainian people.

    And those who are currently in power in Kiev wouldn’t tell the truth to save their lives – much to the embarrassment of their Western-media cheerleaders.

    It seems to me that what’s really going on is that NATO tried to pull off a typical CIA-Mossad-MI6-backed “colour revolution” and Putin is turning it against them in order to strengthen his grip on the Crimean peninsula (at least).

    In the end, I think the best outcome for the people of the Ukraine would be to split the country, roughly along a line through Chisinau (Moldova) and Belgorod (Russia). That’s roughly the dividing line between pro- and anti-Yanukovich voting in the last election, meaning that the majority of Ukrainians would get what they want, whether they want to be European or Russian.

    But NATO won’t be satisfied with that, even though it’s very unlikely that they can get all of the Ukraine. The best case NATO can realistically hope for is that Putin only gets Crimea. He is in there to stay. The overwhelming likelihood is that the referendum will favour Russia.

    Whatever happens, it’s fairly obvious that NATO will come out of this with stinky fingers, and Putin will come out smelling like a rose.

    • xanthippa Says:

      Quite.

      The two things I found interesting are:

      – the Navy is willing to open fire, in defiance of orders
      – Putin is well within treaty terms to have his troops in Crimea: the ‘occupation’ has broken no laws, as the 1996 treaty permits Russia to have military bases with more troops than they have in Crimea now until 2016.

    • juggernaut Says:

      Code, that would sound like another Berlin Wall and that’s undesirable. Avoidable, though, I don’t know.
      Russia is trying to annex Ukraine (though Europe wants it as a buffer too). In the end, ideally, Ukraine gets to be an independent sovereign stated unswayed by the influence of Europe or Russia, as it’s not fair that it’s geographic location puts it in a position where it’s easily bullied. At the same time, what is ideal and what is possible aren’t always the same thing.

      I’d really hate to go through the motions and have to defend Ukraine from russian influence, but if that’s the way things are going, we have to play to the tune that basic geography demands us to.

      • xanthippa Says:

        I’m not sure I understand the ‘basic geography’ bit…

        Crimea has traditionally been a part of Russia, and NOT the Ukraine.

      • juggernaut Says:

        each side of the world wants to defend their own interest, but i think we need respect the sovereignty of ukraine if they decide they want to be a sovereign country. ukraine should not become a territory of russia unless it truly wants to. if they decide they want to be sovereign, military should be used to enforce the borders.

        to be honest, im not as informed on this issue as lots of other people are, but still… if it were france or england, people would be outraged, not just upset.

      • xanthippa Says:

        Very true.

  2. CodeSlinger Says:

    Xanthippa:

    Well, the Ukrainian Navy is pretty small, and old. And it’s based in Sevastopol, at the same naval base used by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. That’s rather awkward…

    Indeed, the Ukrainian Navy only has about a dozen ships, most of which are not even seaworthy. It’s flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny, is only a frigate, and it just defected to the Russian side.

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Army is resigning en masse, and signing up to defend the Crimean peninsula against Kiev.

    All told, no more than half of the Ukrainian armed forces are loyal to Kiev.

    You’re right about Putin, though. He’s handling this situation very deftly. Long before his current lease of the naval base in Sevastopol expires in 2016, he will have consolidated permanent control of Crimea.

    And if Batkivshchyna/Svoboda and their hired thugs in Kiev continue along their current path, they will soon give Putin the excuse he needs to make his move under cover of the Budapest Memorandum. Then his army will sweep across the border into southeastern Ukraine to link up with units already stationed in Crimea.

    I put the odds of this outcome at 50/50 at this point. Evidence is now coming out that it was the Batkivshchyna/Svoboda coalition that hired the snipers back in February, and that these same snipers killed both protestors and police. And the ultra-nationalist discriminatory leanings of their legislation could easily spark a conflagration that gives Putin his excuse.

    Behind it all, like a spider pulling strings from the centre of her web, sits Yulia Tymoshenko.

    The Batkivshchyna/Svoboda coalition are her boys – as can clearly be seen from the fact that the first thing they did was to let her out of jail. To be fair, it’s not clear whether she technically belonged there or not, but the trail of broken glass surrounding her oil and gas dealings is rather incriminating, to say the least. She seems rather adept at getting her partners to take the fall when her crooked dealings go bad.

    Tymoshenko is hard-nosed and cunning; it’s not for nothing that they call her “Putin in a braid.” She has a good shot at winning the up-coming election, but though she is a good deal slicker than Yanukovych, it seems that she is no less corrupt. The Europeans think she is their ally, but she is not. The pro-European Ukrainians think she is their saviour, but she is not.

    Yulia Tymoshenko is in it for Yulia Tymoshenko. Period.

    • xanthippa Says:

      Absolutely, CodeSlinger!

      Yulia Tymoshenko is as vile a creature as there is and her current deft positioning may spell a whole lot of trouble for the Ukraine.

  3. CodeSlinger Says:

    juggernaut:

    Actually, Putin already has de facto control of Ukraine. He’s had it all along, and the southeastern half of the country likes it just fine that way. People in the northwestern part of Ukraine, on the other hand, have always been separatists, and NATO is trying to play on this fault line in the country’s demographics.

    The goal is to take control of Ukraine’s oil and gas infrastructure out of Putin’s hands and to move NATO home-field military operations right up to his border.

    What’s at issue is not whether Ukraine gets to be a sovereign state. It already is, and it will stay that way no matter what the outcome of the current machinations in Kiev.

    The problem is that Ukraine is broke and its infrastructure is falling apart (all of it, not just the oil patch). Thus it needs to be somebody’s client state. The question is only, whose?

    Will it become NATO’s, or will it remain Russia’s?

    The country is divided into two halves with opposing preferred answers to that question. That’s why I suggested that letting the two halves go their separate ways might be the best outcome for the greatest number of Ukrainians.

    I might actually happen, too, because places like Donetsk, in southeastern Ukraine, are rebelling against the provisional government in Kiev and refusing to accept its anti-Russian stance.

    Crimea, on the other hand, is not part of Ukraine at all. It is an autonomous Ukrainian protectorate. The Crimean parliament has recently decided that they would rather be a Russian protectorate, and they are going to put it to a referendum soon.

    It is almost certain that the Crimean people will vote to align with Russia.

  4. naruto game tumblr Says:

    This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Cheers!

    Where are your contact details though?


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