Thirty years ago, on March 17, 1991, the only all-Union referendum in the history of the USSR took place. One question was put to a vote: “Do you consider it necessary to preserve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics, in which the rights and freedoms of a person of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?” Almost 77 percent of those who voted said “yes” to the preservation of the USSR in an updated form. The authorities of Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Estonia refused to hold the referendum on their territory. By that time, the legislative and executive bodies and institutions in these republics were already controlled by secessionist forces, which did not hide their intentions to leave the USSR.
The March 17 referendum at that time was the only convincing attempt to appeal to public opinion on the most important issue of the political life of a huge country. However, the results did not change anything — by December 8 of the same year, the leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine decided to dissolve the USSR. The referendum itself became the beginning of the end of a unique state — an experiment in the vast expanses of Eurasia. By that time, the republican elites were already ready to take power and wealth into their own hands; the events of August 1991 spurred this readiness — in Turkmenistan, where almost 100 percent of the population voted to preserve the USSR, on August 22, 1991, all enterprises were placed under republican control.
All the republics of the USSR met the new year in 1992 as newly independent states. For some of them, this status was a long-awaited event, for which they had fought. Others were, according to former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Apas Jumagulov, “thrown out of the union, cut off as an unnecessary part of the body.” Many economic ties broke off immediately, while others collapsed gradually; the rest survived and were even strengthened. In politics, everyone was left to their own problems. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Tajikistan plunged into bloody political and interethnic conflicts during their first years of independence.
The path of the countries that emerged from the ruins of the USSR over the years was the road to gaining their own subjectivity in international politics. With great difficulty and despite all odds, Armenia and Moldova are coping with this task. The majority — Russia, Azerbaijan and all the countries of Central Asia — were able to solve the problem more or less successfully. Georgia and two Slavic republics — Belarus and Ukraine, were hanging in the “limbo” between external management and full-fledged statehood. The three Baltic republics quickly transferred their sovereignty to the European Union and NATO. In their independent development, they had to make, in fact, the only decision, which, moreover, was due to historical reasons and external circumstances. This decision was made and now the fate of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia cannot be perceived outside the context of Russia-West interaction.
For the rest, the direct link between success in creating their own statehood and the scale of interaction with the West (Europe and the United States) is quite obvious. This historical fact reveals a relationship between the ability of small and medium states to ensure their sovereignty and the interests of the great powers in their neighbourhood. Such powers were Russia and the European states, united into the European Union simultaneously with the collapse of the USSR. Also, an important role was played by the United States, which always sought to limit Russian opportunities and supported the newly independent states. At the same time, an attempt to choose in favour of closer relations with the West to the detriment of Russian interests in all cases, without exception, led to a very shaky statehood and the loss of territory.
The dramatic fate of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine shows that the strong collective institutions of the West are capable of exerting a stabilising effect only on those states that directly became part of them.
In all other cases, no matter how complete absorption becomes possible, an orientation towards these institutions only leads to the use of small countries in a diplomatic game with bigger partners.
Therefore, the experience of the development of such major players as Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan is indicative — they were able to confidently form their own statehood, without finding themselves in a situation of choosing between conflicting poles of power. Their main resource turned out to be a rather fair demographic situation. But not only this — the population of Ukraine has also been and remains large by European standards. Kazakhstan is a success by this indicator; equal to the average European country or small Asian states.
Therefore, the ability of most of the countries of the former USSR to build relatively independent and stable statehood played no less important role. In many ways, this ability was established during the years of the Soviet Union’s existence. Founded on December 30, 1922, it was not just a continuation of the Russian Empire, which had collapsed five years earlier. Its main distinguishing feature was its unique model of state administration, based on the full power of one political party. As long as the unique position of the Communist Party remained in the Soviet state, the experiment could exist. With the abolition of Article 6 of the Constitution of the USSR, its days were numbered regardless of the desire of the population or the real readiness of the elites to take full responsibility for what was happening.
The USSR model of state structure, new by historical standards, created the conditions for a rather unique experiment, within the framework of which union republics were created, none of which, except for Russia, Georgia and Armenia, had the experience of centralised state administration within the territorial boundaries that they acquired within the framework of the USSR. At least the peoples inhabiting them can boast of a significant experience of statehood as such. Thus, most of the countries of Central Asia trace their ancestry back to great empires or urban civilizations of past centuries.
The Baltic republics were always on the sidelines — their independent statehood arose during the collapse of the Russian Empire and existed as such for almost 20 years before being incorporated into the USSR in 1940. Russia has returned to its historical state of being a major European power or empire of the 19th century, with the development of a multinational and multi-faith society central to its development objectives. In fact, Russia has not lost anything really necessary for its survival in international politics.
The peculiar structure of the USSR formalised the situation in which the former outskirts of the Russian Empire ceased to be part of the Russian state, although Moscow served as the centre of the union. Russia among them was in the most ambiguous position — it did not have its own most important institutions of Soviet statehood — the party organisation and the republican State Security Committee. Russian nationalism was subjected to the most severe and consistent persecution by the Soviet authorities.
The vast majority of republics within the USSR, for the first time, received the experience of building their own state and their national elite.
The backbone of the ruling class was the Soviet and party nomenklatura, which all took power, with few exceptions, after 1991. Even in Tajikistan, where the first years of independence were overshadowed by the civil war, it was this part of society that was eventually able to establish control over the situation. In other Central Asian countries, elites formed on the basis of the state tradition established during the Soviet era, gradually supplemented by representatives of a new generation that grew professionally after the collapse of the USSR.
Thirty years is a sufficient period to assess the results of the independent development of the countries that emerged from the republics of the former USSR. Now the period of their growing up can be considered complete; ahead is an independent future. Russia is increasingly feeling independent and not particularly obligated to its neighbours. In any event, Moscow will continue to follow a moral imperative of responsibility for maintaining peace and strictly ensure that its neighbours correlate their actions with Russian security interests.
From our partner RIAC
Russia Increases Its Defense, While U.S. Backs Down From Provoking WW III
Ever since Joe Biden became America’s President in January, America’s hostile and threatening actions and rhetoric against (as Biden refers to him) the ‘killer’ Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, have made clear to Putin that the U.S. Government’s determination to impose regime-change upon Russia will continue undiminished. This hostility from Biden has dashed Putin’s hope that the string of sanctions which the U.S. Government has constantly been adding to ever since President Obama started the anti-Russian sanctions in 2012, would end, or at least not continue to be added to, under Biden.
Perhaps the clincher, in Putin’s mind, was Biden’s appointment, on January 16th (four days prior to becoming President), of Victoria Nuland to the #2 spot in the U.S. State Department, where, during Obama’s Presidency, as a third-ranked official there who reported directly to Obama (instead of to her nominal boss the Secretary of State), she had planned, and organized the bloody coup that installed a rabidly anti-Russian Government in Ukraine on Russia’s border. This coup in Ukraine is as if during the Cold War the Soviet Union were to have perpetrated a bloody coup installing an anti-U.S. government in Mexico or in Canada (something that the U.S. Government would never have tolerated for even a moment — consider the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 as an example), and Putin now is making clear that he will not tolerate any further increases in America’s anti-Russian threats and aggressions. (In fact, Nuland also was one of the chief planners of America’s aggressions against Syria, which has long been an ally of Russia. The plans against both Ukraine and Syria were first being firmed-up under her during 2011. Obama intended even when he entered office in 2009, to replace Syria’s Government, but the decision to replace Ukraine’s Government didn’t come right away. On 12 April 2010 Yanukovych met the U.S. President at the White House, to which Obama had invited him, but Yanukovych refused Obama’s suggestions that Ukraine join America’s alliance against Ukraine’s next-door neighbor Russia. On 2 July 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Yanukovych held a joint press conference in Kiev, where she said that she had discussed with Yanukovych joint military exercises with U.S. forces against his neighbor, Russia. Yanukovych declined the demands, and Nuland already by no later than 23 June 2011 was planning for the coup. This regime is out to conquer Russia, any way it can.)
What is most remarkable about the U.S.-and-allied press coverage of the February 2014 coup in Ukraine is that it is always being misrepresented in the U.S.-and-allied countries as a ‘democratic revolution’, and nobody in the U.S.-and-allied countries (other than a few journalists in small non-mainstream media, such as I) has publicly called attention to the fact that is was a coup, which fact was clearly on display in the phone-conversation between Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine that was first posted to the internet on 4 February 2014, three weeks before the coup that placed “Yats” Yatsenyuk into power there: Nuland, who was a third level down in the State Department’s bureaucracy, was, in that conversation, actually instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to get appointed to run the new Government after the coup would be over: “Yats.” She made that choice. Nobody in Ukraine did. Nor did the U.S. Secretary of State — her nominal boss. John Kerry, who was the U.S. Secretary of State, wasn’t the person who made that incredibly important decision, and the CIA also wasn’t the agency which did — Nuland, herself, made the decision, in this case; and the U.S. Ambassador there was, clearly, accepting her authority, to be speaking on behalf of the President of the United States: Barack Obama. That coup was clearly planned by the White House. And it was run through the State Department, not through the CIA (which had been the U.S. regime’s traditional method for coups). The CIA was just paying the bribes and hiring the goons, not doing the planning, for this operation. (Furthermore, the conversation, at its very end, dotted the “i”s on her authority and indicated that V.P. Biden was aware that she possessed direct authority from Obama to make these decisions. Biden’s claims during the 2020 Presidential contest, saying that Obama had given Biden the authority to run the Ukrainian operation, were lies. He was a mere functionary, and, even at that, functioned only after the coup was already over. At 4:05- in the video, Nuland said, “… when I wrote the note, [Jake] Sullivan’s [note has] come back to me VFR [meaning in response to her formal request to make these decisions without needing higher-level authorization] saying ‘you need [[V.P.]] Biden[’s approval] and I said [to Sullivan that Biden would give her that formal authorization] probably tomorrow for an ‘atta boy’ [meaning that Biden’s okay was only a formality] and to get the dets [details] to stick; so, Biden’s willing.” The Ambassador response to this was “Okay, great; thanks,” meaning that he had no question, and this exchange ended their conversation. For more details decoding that conversation, see here and here.)
On 23 November 2020, CBS headlined “Biden to appoint Jake Sullivan as national security adviser” and also reported that Antony Blinken would be the Secretary of State. Sullivan and Blinken were friends of Nuland, and all of them had long records as neoconservatives; but nonetheless the subsequent appointment of Nuland to be #2 at State was a shocker because Nuland was a neocon even amongst neocons. In fact, she had been Dick Cheney’s national security advisor when George W. Bush was President. She has been a constant, probably planning all of the 21st Century U.S. invasions and coups. No one is more bloodthirsty than she. But Biden calls Putin a “killer.”
America’s meta-strategy, at least since 2006, has been to ‘win’ WW III against Russia, whereas Russia has always remained with what had been the meta-strategy on both sides, of having nuclear weapons only in order to be able to deliver an annihilating retaliatory response if the opposite side blitz-attacks it with nuclear weapons. That previous (in the United States, but still current in Russia) meta-strategy is called “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or “M.A.D.” for short.
As I had headlined and documented on 3 May 2017, “America’s Top Scientists Confirm: U.S. Goal Now Is to Conquer Russia”. That article quoted America’s top experts on nuclear war as saying that America’s “boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three … creates exactly what one would expect to see if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.” This would nearly be sufficient superiority of U.S. forces to fulfill the plan which had been first described publicly in America’s two most prestigious international relations journals, as being a suitable replacement for “M.A.D.”: “Nuclear Primacy”. That’s the goal for America to blitz-nuclear attack Russia so quickly that Russia won’t have enough time to launch a retaliatory response. America’s Establishment wants it to happen. (They are even buying luxurious deep-underground nuclear-bomb-proof shelters so that they will be among the few survivors from it.)
Putin is now taking the situation to be so dangerous for Russia so that he has publicly established “red lines” in U.S. policies, which, if crossed by the United States or its allies, might be responded to by Russia’s being the first to strike — the start of WW III — even though that would destroy the entire world, including Russia itself.
Though he takes a great risk with these “red lines,” he seems to believe that by establishing them, there is less of a risk to Russians than if he continues to pretend that M.A.D. remains as being American policy. He is, in effect, forcing Joe Biden to choose now, between Nuclear Primacy versus M.A.D. Putin is now publicly warning the U.S. Government and America’s allies what could possibly be responded to by Russia’s blitz-attacking them. That’s what this new Russian policy is all about: pre-announced red lines.
The biggest hot spot, where a world-destroying nuclear war is the likeliest to be sparked, is in Ukraine, after Barack Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine (on Russia’s border) which coup illegally and violently overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President and replaced him by a racist-fascist (or nazi) anti-Russian regime that promptly began an ethnic cleansing operation in its far south and far east in order to eliminate voters who had (in the far east, the Donbass region) voted 90%+ for him, and (in the far south, including Crimea) voted 75%+ for him. (Only by eliminating those people could the Obama-imposed regime remain in power after an election.) Obama had started planning this operation in 2011, and by the time of June 2013 a part of this plan was for America to replace Russia’s largest naval base, which was (and remains) in Crimea, by establishing yet another U.S. naval base there. (Putin — with the strong backing of the Crimean people — blocked that part of Obama’s plan.)
On April 15th, the U.S. regime’s Associated Press (AP) propaganda agency headlined a thousand-word “EXPLAINER: What’s behind the conflict in eastern Ukraine?” and devoted one section of it to “WHAT ARE THE ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT?” and another section to “WHAT’S THE U.S. ROLE?”, but nowhere in it was anything that has just been documented here, via the links, to be true — none of that was — even so much as just mentioned, in that entire ‘news’ article.
Here are headlines from April 17th regarding Ukraine:
“Ukraine’s military chief urges authorities to refrain from creating armed formations”: This reports an announcement by Ukraine’s Government telling its independently organized volunteer nazi battalions: please do not invade Donbass unless and until authorized to do so. Those battalions had previously been given to understand that they would soon be authorized to invade. The Ukrainian General is here telling those battalions (such as the nazi Azov Battalion, which has been championed by the U.S.-and-allied governments) that premature actions on their part might be exploited by Russia for its purposes (for Russian propaganda). This plea to those far-right mercenaries can only be very disappointing to them. Both of Ukraine’s two nazi Parties, Svoboda (originally the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine), and Right Sector (meaning “Right Wing” in the extreme senses), are on the front lines there, and have publicly threatened to overthrow Ukraine’s current President if he fails to invade Donbas soon. Those mercenaries could quickly turn against him.
“Russia Shuts Ukraine’s Military Access To [the Sea of Azov]”: Beginning “next week,” and continuing at least until October, Russia will prevent any military vessels of or allied with the United States from passing through the Kerch Strait, which transits from the Black Sea, into the Sea of Azov, which latter is Ukraine’s sole coastal waters. (That U.S.-written headline erroneously said “Russia Shuts Ukraine’s Military Access To Black Sea,” because confusing the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov is common. However, that news-report provided an excellent map which shows what the article was actually reporting: Russia will close off U.S-and-allied warship-access to Ukraine’s coast.) The implication of this news-report is that until (at least) October, Ukraine must avoid invading Donbas, or else do it without being able to be militarily resupplied by the U.S. and its allies.
“FAA issues warning for flights in Russia-Ukraine border airspace”: This is a warning to airlines to avoid that area because of the possibility of war breaking out imminently there (warning them to avoid events like the 17 July 2014 MH17 incident).
In other words: Putin is finally putting his foot down. He won’t tolerate any more of what Obama and Trump were dishing out.
On April 15th a headline was “U.S. drops plans to send destroyers into the Black Sea due to concerns over Russia”. This is one of several strong signs that Biden understands that crossing one of Putin’s red lines would be extremely dangerous.
The stooge-President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, appears to be trapped between what he has promised to do — which is for Ukraine to retake both Donbas and Crimea (the same thing that his predecessor Petro Poroshenko had promised) — and what will be within his power to do. Even the U.S. empire, which had placed him (and Poroshenko — and Poroshenko’s predecessor “Yats” Yatsenyuk) into nominal control over that country, won’t actually risk WW III in order to keep him in power there. At the present point in time, the best that Zelensky can reasonably hope for is to survive beyond his clearly doomed Presidency. He is learning that being a stooge is not a comfortable position to occupy.
On April 20th, the U.S. Democratic Party news-summary site “Political Wire” headlined “Leaked Ukraine Memo Shows Scope of Russia Aggression” and reported that “‘Russia has been holding last-minute military exercises near commercial shipping lanes in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine’s economy,’ according to an internal document from Ukraine’s ministry of defense reviewed by Axios” (another Democratic Party ‘news’ site). In an America whose population is torn between the suckers of Democratic Party billionaires versus the suckers of Republican Party billionaires, each Party’s ‘news’ sites reaches virtually only that Party’s voters; and, so, the most popular of the many reader-comments there is blindly pro-Biden (like pro-Trumpers are about Trump), from “S1AMER”: “The economic base of Russia is shaky at best, and nearly all Russians can see that and personally feel it. So Putin no doubt thinks he can get restive Russians to rally around him if he invents a war (‘Ukraine invaded us!’) or just elevates the profile of a common enemy (‘US and NATO are picking on us!’). (And, of course, all this mightily distracts the Russian populace from the imminent death of Putin’s most effective opponent [here presumably Navalny].) Disaster appears likely to be lurking around the corner. We should be very glad we have our current president on the job, and that NATO and the USA and other decent countries just might do all (or at least most) of the right things going forward.”
Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture
Goodbye, the ISS: Russia plans to withdraw from the International Space Station
On April, 18, 2021, Russia announced its plans on withdrawing from the International Space Station in 2025. According to Rossiya 1 TV channel, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov stated that the ISS has outlived its lifespan, and Russia plans to contact its partners in outer space cooperation in advance to “honestly inform <them> on withdrawing from the ISS in 2025”. According to his statement, the increasing frequency and amount of malfunctions can represent a threat to cosmonauts: “a situation connected with the deterioration of <station`s> structures and metals can lead to irreversible consequences and even to a catastrophe. It can`t be allowed to happen.” This issue becomes more and more essential these days since the station`s operating time has already exceeded 20 years: the first segment of station was launched in 1998, and in 2000 the ISS welcomed its first expedition crew.
Previously the worth whileness of Russia`s participation in the ISS mission was discussed during the meeting with the President of Russia on issues of aerospace industry development. As REGNUM information agency reported, Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary for the President of Russia confirmed that one of the topics discussed at the meeting was about “that the ISS and its Russian segment can`t stay in operating condition forever, and the lifespan of their construction is decreasing as time goes by, so sooner or later the final decision has to be made. And the reasonableness of continuing of this work and detailed elaboration of this question really were emphasized during yesterday`s meeting.” However, Yuri Gidzenko, Deputy Chief of the spacecraft and launch vehicles’ flight operation center of RSC Energia (S. P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia), in his interview to Rossiya-24 TV channel said that despite occurring malfunctions, the Russian segment of the ISS should be in stable operating condition up to 2028. This opinion is also supported by Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos (the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities), who said that “the state corporation is monitoring the ISS conditions, and despite the fact that some segments already exceeded their operating time, it is still early for the ISS decommission.” As a result, it is too early to state whether Russia will withdraw from the ISS in the nearest future.
The Russian Space Station?
At the same time it is worth mentioning that many people became interested in information about Russia`s plans on launching the National Space Station, which was also mentioned in the report of Rossiya 1 TV channel. Earlier, in November 2020, during the meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Council on Outer Space, Vladimir Soloviev, first Deputy Director of RSC Energia, in his report introduced a project of the Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS). It was presented as an alternative to participation in the ISS program, since the possible financial spending on this program after 2025 may increase significantly and reach 10-15 billion rubles` mark, thus questioning the worth whileness of continuing participation. In April 2021, Dmitry Rogozin published a video on his Facebook page that “the first core module of the new Russian orbital service station is in the operating condition. RSC Energia has a task to ensure that in 2025 it will be ready for launching to the final orbit.” Despite the fact that the module on the video is marked as “the Model”, it still illustrates the successful development in Russia`s aerospace industry. Taking into account the experience from the previous years and, in particular, launching of Salyut and Mir space station, the creation of ROSS is just a matter of time.
The issue of launching National Space Station raises certain concerns. Nowadays, the international cooperation in the outer space is one of a few mechanisms which succeed in decreasing tensions in geopolitics, and the International Space Station serves as the best example of global cooperation for the good of world community. In this case, Russia`s decision on withdrawing from the ISS mission will not only set under the question the further cooperation in the Outer Space, but also influence the geopolitical situation on the Earth, which is quite unpredictable these days.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine
Ukraine, the EU and the United States have often interacted with one another and the crisis in Donbass is difficult to stop as the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border has been overheated since mid-March. On April 13, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister participated in the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Committee and held talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, hoping to gain the NATO countries’ support in the confrontation with Russia.
On the same day, U.S. President Biden spoke with his Russian counterpart Putin. President Biden reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine and proposed to hold a Summit in a third country over the next few months to comprehensively discuss the current issues facing the two countries.
The reason why the parties have fallen into such a tense situation is obviously related to the historical conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Since early 2021, the Ukrainian government has taken a number of actions on issues such as the situation in Eastern Ukraine and relations with Russia.
Photos circulated by Reuters news agency and some social media showed that the Russian troops gathered at the border had anti-aircraft missile systems such as Doyle and Beech, as well as some tanks and armoured vehicles.
BBC, Reuters, Associated Press and other major Western media officially reported that Russia had recently sent a large number of troops to the Eastern border areas of Crimea and Ukraine.
Faced with that tense situation, the Ukrainian government has often taken internal and external actions and it has also intensified its interaction with the Turkish and U.S. governments.
On April 2, President Biden spoke for the first time with the Ukrainian President, the populist and former actor, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky, who said he would not allow his country to face Russia’s pressure alone when the situation in Eastern Ukraine escalated and worsened.
On April 5the State Department spokesman, Edward Price, accused the Russian army of gathering large numbers of troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border and asked for explanations from the Russian side. Furthermore, the U.S. Navy had planned to send two warships to the Black Sea through the Bosporus from April 14 to 15 but, on April 15, the Turkish side stated that the plan had been cancelled.
With specific reference to Turkish-Ukrainian relations, President Zelensky visited Turkey on April 10 and met with Turkish President Erdoğan to discuss the situation in Eastern Ukraine, as well as other issues. President Erdoğan also stressed that Turkey supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and his position was not to recognise the annexation of Crimea, which the idiot Khrushchev gifted to Ukraine after a drink in 1954, less than a year after Stalin’s death. Considering his narrow-mindedness and crass ignorance, he did not understand that the Stalinist Constitution of December 5, 1936 had a well-founded legal basis and also respected the secession of the USSR Republics (Article 17: “Every federated republic retains the right of free secession from the USSR”). As is well known, the first destructive consequence of alcohol is the loss of mind control.
Moreover, the recent military cooperation and interaction between Ukraine and Turkey has also raised much concern. According to Al Jazeera, in 2018 Ukraine purchased 6 Turkish-made TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and 200 precision-guided weapons for a total price of 69 million dollars. On March 15, 2021, several C-17 transport aircraft flew from Turkey to Ukraine, carrying weapons and equipment.
According to the report, in the recent conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Ukraine sent military experts to closely monitor how the Azerbaijani army used those Turkish-made drones. Some of them said they found that the Azerbaijani army’s war methods “have a lot in common” with the Ukrainian government forces’ war against militants in the East.
On April 13, the military news website Defense Blog reported that the TB2 drone had been deployed near Donbass, while Russian Foreign Ministry’s officials lodged a public protest.
It is worth noting that Turkey was only the first stop on the foreign visit paid by populist President Zelensky. He also met with French President Macron. Beforehand, the leaders of Germany and France had held a video conference with Russian President Putin. President Zelensky’s spokesman commented that all parties should not exclude Ukraine before making any decisions on it.
According to the White House, President Biden expressed concern about the Russian military presence on Ukraine’s border and urged President Putin to de-escalate tension. The White House concluded: “President Biden stressed the firm commitment of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Kremlin underlined: “During the exchange of views on Ukraine’s internal crisis, President Putin outlined the basis for the measures of the “Minsk package” (ceasefire agreement) of February 12, 2015 as a political solution”.
For this reason, in July 2020, the tripartite contact group on Ukraine (Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) held a video conference with representatives of the civilian armed forces in the Donbass region, Eastern Ukraine, in view of achieving a comprehensive ceasefire in the region so as to reach an agreement later.
Nevertheless, since the end of February 2021, incidents and casualties have increased in Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian government forces and civilian armed forces in the East have accused each other of breaking the ceasefire agreement.
The Ukrainian government said in late March that the gathering of Russian troops in its border areas posed a severe threat to national security. Conversely, the Russian side believes that it is precisely because the military forces of NATO countries and other parties are becoming more active in areas close to the Russian border that Russia has been forced to remain vigilant, ensuring stability and security on its border.
During that period, the Russian side had reactions that surprised the West. In addition to information on troop mobilisation that was intensively reported in the Western media, Russia also sent more intense signals through media channels. Russia Today publicly raised the issue of “Russian Donbass” for the first time while participating in the “Russia-Donbass” Forum on January 28, 2021. Russia stressed that it was not excluded to bring back the “Crimea model” in desperate situations and directly control the Donbass region.
In support of Ukraine, President Biden’s Administration reversed former President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Germany on April 13. Meanwhile, both U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd James Austin III and Secretary of State Blinken visited European countries in the first half of April. On April 13 Austin announced that, in addition to halting the withdrawal, the United States would send 500 additional soldiers to Germany. Asked whether the move was designed to conveying a message to Russia, Austin said he was “sending a signal to NATO” to show the U.S. commitment to the transatlantic alliance and to Germany.
At the same time, Blinken met with NATO allies in Brussels and held a separate meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister DmytroIvanovyč Kuleba. Blinken told him: “The United States firmly supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” And the Minister replied that Ukraine urgently needed NATO’s help.
It should also be noted that NATO continued to provide assistance to Ukraine. On March 10, a delegation of NATO ground force Commanders, led by NATO Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier, arrived in Ukraine. According to an earlier report on the Ukrinform news website, the Ukrainian army commented that the trip demonstrated that NATO regarded Ukraine as a “strategic partner”.
According to Secretary General Stoltenberg, NATO is currently providing various forms of aid to the Ukrainian army, including training, joint exercises and military modernisation. Although Ukraine is not a NATO Member State, it has obtained Western weapons such as the Javelin anti-tank missile through various channels.
We wonder whether a third world war is worth it, in case of an invasion of the Russian geopolitical area by NATO? Is it worth having at least 4-5 billion dead people and a devastated planet taken back in time, with whom the 20 million dead of World War II would seem like a car crash by comparison? And for what? For old inter-ethnic hatred that third parties would like to exploit for their own benefit, probably believing they are countering the Panamanian or Grenadian army?
Suppose the People’s Republic of China sent an expeditionary force – with Navy units and missiles – to its friendly Mexico: what do you think would happen?
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