February 25, 2015

Debaltseve as another Paradigm of Russia's Military Aggression against Ukraine

As foreseen by most experts, Russia grossly violated the next Minsk Agreements as soon as they were achieved on 12 February, in the format of “Norman Four” (with participation of the leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia). Evidence of this was the capture by the pro-Russian terrorists (actually, Russian troops) of Debaltseve and a number of other settlements, in spite of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of the collision of the sides.

Click to enlargeAt this, contrary to obvious facts, the Russian Federation's leadership continues to cynically deny their involvement in the armed confrontation in the East of Ukraine and in general does not bear responsibility for the implementation of Minsk Agreements, claiming that it “does not consider itself party to the conflict”.  However, after the events around Debaltseve such Russia's “good excuses” are no longer perceived by the United States, NATO and the EU, they have directly accused Putin's regime of continuing the armed aggression against Ukraine, and point to unequivocal evidence that Russian troops are present in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In this context, the actual Russia's disruption of peace agreements on resolving the conflict in the East of Ukraine after the decisions taken by the “Norman Four” has become Putin’s personal direct challenge to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President F. Hollande, and in their face to the whole Western world.

Even a tougher challenge was Russia's further violation of Minsk Agreements, first of all its attempts to capture new settlements and territories and to continue military invasion into the territory of Ukraine. Of course, this will not go unanswered. In this regard, the Debaltseve tragedy may be the reason for the USA, NATO and EU's taking qualitatively new measures against Russia, as in its time Ilovaisk tragedy prompted the West of new concrete sanctions against Russia - the most significant factor of pressure on the Russian Federation.

Confirmation of the inevitability of such steps of western countries and international organizations are the statements of US President Barack Obama and leading European leaders about the “high price”, which Putin's regime will pay for its actions. In particular, in this regard, the United States, NATO and the EU can focus on the most painful for Russia issues relating to its vital interests, including:

  • To officially recognize the Russian Federation as a country, supporting (sponsoring) terrorism, which will give the basis for new sanctions against Russia, as well as raising the question of exclusion of the Russian Federation from the UN Security Council and depriving it of the right of veto in decision-making on Ukraine. Similarly, the so-called DPR and LPR can be recognized as terrorist organizations;
  • To increase the pressure on Russia in the financial and economic sphere, inclusive: to switch off the RF the international interbank system of information transfer and payment - SWIFT, which would deprive it of ability to carry out export-import operations;
  • To take systematic measures to reduce further Russia's international credit rating, which will allow foreign creditors to demand early return of Russian debts and thus create a real threat of default of the Russian banking system in the nearest future;
  • To maintain and strengthen the trend of falling world oil prices to 30-40 US dollars per barrel, which will provide critical losses to the state budget of the Russian Federation and the Russian oil and gas companies;
  • To start the EU's another antitrust investigation against OAO “Gazprom” (now the USA is already considering the imposition of additional sanctions against the Russian gas monopoly for illegal cooperation with the self-proclaimed republics in the east of Ukraine);
  • To apply a number of measures to divert Russia's attention from Ukraine, as well as to thindown its efforts through the following:
    • Intensification of actions for building up group of forces and increasing military activity in the countries of NATO and the EU of the Baltic (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and the Black Sea (Romania, Bulgaria) regions, as well as of Central and Eastern Europe (especially Poland), which has already been provided for by the relevant plans of North Atlantic Treaty Organization;
    • Increasing of the volume of funds allocated to promote “democratic reforms in Russia” (actually - Russian opposition forces of anti-Putin orientation), in particular within the framework of the US Law “On Freedom Support of Ukraine”;
    • providing assistance to national liberation forces in the North Caucasus and other regions of the Russian Federation.

Against this background, it is necessary to go to a new level of support for Ukraine by its Western partners that can give a fundamentally new content to the relations with our country, namely:

  • Click to enlargein the political sphere - to establish a real alliance with Ukraine, including through the following:
    • Washington's taking decision on granting Ukraine the status of a US ally outside NATO, as well as taking on specific commitments to guarantee the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of our country;
    • NATO and the EU's giving Ukraine clear prospects for its future membership in the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union;
  • in the economic sphere - to realize in Ukraine an analogue of the “Marshall Plan” for the post-war Europe to stabilize the Ukrainian economy by:
    • allocating funds for the implementation of economic reforms in our country and covering  the deficit of the State Budget of Ukraine;
    • increasing the volume of lending and investment programs of modernization and development of the economic complex of Ukraine, as well as providing  our state with modern Western technologies;
    • helping to meet Ukraine's energy needs, first of all to establish reverse gas supplies to our country in needed volumes;
  • In the security sphere - to participate directly in guaranteeing our state's threats security from Russia, including the following:
    • transfer to our state of modern armaments and military equipment (primarily high-precision strike systems), as well as training of personnel for its use and maintenance;
    • support of Ukraine's initiative to start a peacekeeping operation in the East of our country. At this, taking into consideration the high probability of Russia's blocking such an initiative in the UN Security Council, the operation can be organized without Moscow’s consent under the auspices of the European Union or the North Atlantic Alliance.

Of course, the above-mentioned measures of the United States, NATO and the EU will not make the Putin regime immediately stop the armed aggression against Ukraine. However, they will have a powerful deterrent effect for the Russian Federation, and will be an effective factor in undermining the Russian economy and its international positions. Like this:

  • Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar AN/TPQ-50 http://topwar.ru/
    strengthening of Western countries and international organizations' political and economic pressure on Russia will lead to further deterioration of the Russian economy (including the emergence of the economic crisis in the nearest future) and exacerbation of socio-economic and socio-political situation in Russia, which would undermine its abilities for aggressive actions against Ukraine and would create a direct threat to the Putin regime in the country;
  • granting Ukraine statuses of a US ally outside the NATO and a candidate country for accession to the EU and NATO, will mean the actual inclusion of our country into the Western world and its civilizational values, and will allow it to rely on the US and European resources in the confrontation with Russia and in implementation of our state's  interests;
  • Ukraine's obtaining Western “defensive” weapons will help the equalization of the Ukrainian defense capabilities with offensive capabilities of the Russian Federation, which will allow our Armed Forces to cause Russia's significant losses if it continues its military intervention in Ukraine;
  • deployment in the East of  Ukraine of  International Peacekeeping Forces, with the participation of NATO and the EU, in a certain way can deprive Russia of its ability to carry out further military aggression against our country, as in this case, the zone of hostilities will be under international control;
  • scaling up of the Western assistance to Ukraine in addressing its economic and energy problems will not only provide a powerful factor in answering the socio-economic needs of the Ukrainian population and stabilization of the political situation in the country, but also will enable our country to eliminate its dependence on Russia and join economic and energy systems of the European Union.

In general, despite Russia's obviously negative reaction and the opposition on its part, this will help to locate and stop the conflict in the East of Ukraine, and will provide an opportunity to politically and economically stabilize our state. In turn, all this will create a fertile ground for the implementation of the measures for Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

It is possible that someone thinks it is a utopia, it is unrealistic and impossible to implement the above-mentioned plans due to the fact that Western countries and international organizations seem to be afraid to spoil relations with Russia. In fact - they don't. The USA, EU and NATO have already chosen a clear strategic course for elimination of the Putin regime (actually as the last obstacle in the democratic development of the world) and they will not deviate from this path. Unfortunately, Putin and his inner circle (the party-political, diplomatic, from special services, military, and business oligarchic) ‚Äč‚Äčeither have not realized this to the end or believe that they cannot repeat the fate of Milosevic, Mladic, Hussein, Gaddafi, and so on.