Ukraine Escalation: Regional Security Threats And Global Chessboard

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Ukraine Escalation: Regional Security Threats And Global Chessboard

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

Introduction

The situation in Eastern Ukraine may undergo a dramatic transformation due to the imminent end of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) on April 30, and the subsequent “reformatting” of military operations in Eastern Ukraine, which could spell either an escalation or, rather to the contrary, the resumption of the peace process that has been moribund since the second round of Minsk Accords signed in the early months of 2015. US emissary Paul Volcker’s mission to Ukraine, which included meetings with Russia’s curator of Ukraine policy Surkov, did not lead to visible progress on any issues. The idea of peacekeepers had similarly bogged down in irreconcilable differences. Whereas Russia and the breakaway republics seek peacekeepers as a means to separate the warring parties, for Ukraine and the US they were seen as a means to isolate the republics from Russia as a prelude to their military conquest.

Cold War 2?

Worse, 2018 has seen another round of deterioration in West-Russia relations. It was driven by the most likely false-flag attack against the Skripals and the Douma chemical weapons attack staged or possibly faked by Jaysh al-Islam which led to a joint US-British-French cruise missile strike against several locations in Syria following prolonged US-Russia “deconfliction” to prevent an outbreak of a shooting war between the two leading world powers. The Trump administration moreover made its impatience felt by imposing yet another round of restrictive measures on Russia and Russian actors, most notably on Yuri Deripaska’s Rusal conglomerate, one of the world’s biggest producers of aluminum. Naturally this has given rise to fears that the escalation in Syria could easily lead to an escalation in Ukraine, instigated either by directly by Kiev or indirectly by the United States.

Indeed March and April of 2018 did see round of escalation in the Ukraine-Russia and Ukraine-Donbass conflict. Ukrainian shelling of Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) positions has increased, to the point of targeting the crucially important Lugansk water works whose employees’ bus was targeted by sniper fire. There have been a number of clashes between patrols and raiding teams in the no-man’s land separating the warring parties, and several terrorist attacks within LPR and DPR themselves. But the hostilities were not limited to the Donbass. Ukraine seized two ships belonging to private Russian actors, Nord fishing boat in the Sea of Azov, and a cargo ship belonging to Trans Services Maritime in the port of Odessa. The crew of Nord was held and interrogated by the SBU, and released into the custody of Russian diplomats only after prolonged detention. The Nord’s seizure in the Sea of Azov suggests Kiev is willing to risk direct confrontation with Russian forces in international waters, and the Crimea Bridge’s imminent completion certainly makes it an attractive target.

The Global Chessboard

Can one discern a linkage between the Syria and Ukraine escalations? So far there are no indications that the West is treating Ukraine as part of the same game as Syria, and Ukraine’s efforts to make it part of that game are failing. If the escalation in Syria were part of some grand plan in which both Ukraine and Syria were pawns on the same chessboard, one would have expected a similar escalation, by the same three countries that launched strikes against Syria, in Ukraine. This could have taken the form of more NATO “trainers” in Ukraine, greater NATO warship presence in the Black Sea including on the Sea of Azov, a new round of military exercises in Eastern Europe. Yet none of these possible escalations have appeared. Even the announced long ago delivery of Javelin ATGMs still has not occurred, and there are no indications on when it might occur. Ukrainian MOD announced the missiles would be supplied once the US was confident there were proper conditions for storing the missiles in Ukraine, which suggests concern that the missiles might find their way on to the black market, into the hands of neo-Nazi organizations, or even sold to the Donbass militia.

A unilateral escalation route also appears unlikely, as. Ukraine’s armed forces continue to suffer from massive problems with recruitment, training, equipment, and morale, as defections from the UAF to the breakaway republics are continuing. Direct military clash between Russia and Ukraine would quickly lead to a rapid Ukrainian defeat and possibly even a regime collapse before Western powers could find a meaningful way to respond.

Moreover, in response to the Donbass escalation discussed above, Russian forces from the Southern Military District conducted drills near Rostov with the aim of dissuading the UAF from entertaining notions that Russia was too distracted by the events in Syria to respond to any forcible Kiev attempt to deprive the Donbass of its autonomy. These maneuvers also had the effect of Kiev lodging predictable complaints Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, complaints which were not echoed by Western governments. The US State Department did condemn the shelling and sniping at the Lugansk water filtration plant, though it also called on “both sides” to refrain from escalating the situation.

Yesterday’s News

All of the above suggests that if the West does have a united position on Ukraine, it is to minimize costs associated with supporting the regime, both the direct ones in the form of expending resources on Kiev and indirect ones in the form of the cost of confrontation with Russia. That message is being sent to Kiev using the collective cold shoulder Poroshenko has been encountering lately whenever he reaches out to Western institutions. Not only are the avenues of Ukraine funding drying up, criticism of the “Kiev regime” is on the increase. The US State Department’s annual human rights report has accused the SBU of torture, disappearances, and unlawful detentions. Even the Atlantic Council, a longtime mouthpiece of NATO, has suddenly found the empowerment of Ukrainian neo-Nazis worrisome, criticism which indirectly reflects on the current Poroshenko-Groysman ruling tandem.

So in the end, Kiev’s recent actions appear to be little more than a bid for continued relevance in a world that has long moved on. It’s the lack of attention that’s driving these escalations, and they will continue but possibly with a different aim in mind. In the initial post-Maidan years, Kiev sought to escalate the conflict with Russia in order to secure Western financial and military aid, perhaps even trigger a Western military intervention. Today, they are meant mainly to remind the West that should Poroshenko fall, the ensuing turmoil “would benefit Putin”, and therefore dissuade the West from seeking Poroshenko’s replacement. This tactic is liable to remain effective for as long as the West and Russia remain in conflict. But Poroshenko’s short-term self-interest is once again to the long-term detriment of Ukraine, because it will also make Ukraine’s next regime change all the more traumatic. On the plus side, Ukraine’s unpredictability and propensity for aggression is promoting Donbass’ growing independence from Kiev. Recent newspaper reports suggest coal and steel from the Donbass are now reaching Turkey…

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  • Nigel Maund

    All Russia has to do is to await the collapse of the totally corrupt and incompetent Poroshenko regime. The West has received a “severe kick in the guts” in Syria and are nervous that Russia will now supply Syria with the export version of the famed S300 missile system which is causing the Israeli IAF a large attack of nerves and fear. Inflaming Russian feelings further in the Ukraine is hardly sound dimplomacy and will ensure Syria gets the S300’s, which it should do in any case. It’s high time Israel’s freedom to attack Syria was completely curtailed. In closing, the Ukraine will fall soon like the rotten worny apple that it is. Russia will eventually control the Ukraine in any case by force of geography, economics and military power. The EU is completely falling apart at the seams.

    • Michał Hunicz

      GERMANS, not “Nazis”!

      • Nigel Maund

        During the 1st World War the Germans were regarded as merely Germans. However, because of the extreme politicisation of Germany from 1933, Germany was called Nazi Germany; hence I am right in referring to the WW2 Germans as Nazi’sa s brainwashed adherents of Hitler’s creed, which did not represent all Germans. The Nazi’s actually c

        • Michał Hunicz

          German soldiers during WW2 were mostly simple young men, not underrating their atrocities of course.

          • velociraptor

            bs

          • Michał Hunicz

            Reread history without Zionist propaganda.

          • You can call me Al

            I am with you on this one.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    This stupid politicians, errand boys of the system, think if they put a uniform they are something between Rambo and a super hero. never seen one to go in the front lines and lead.

    • You can call me Al

      Just look at the picture of Porky above, all kitted out in the uniform and when he want to get out, he’ll have to be airlifted.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        Thank you for the laugh, my friend. Yes indeed. I wonder if they understand how ridiculous they look in this photo sessions, especially to the ones they send to die for nothing.

      • tiredofthemedialies

        he may be the object of constant ridicule (and deservedly so) but he’s multiplied his personal fortune by TEN times since he became president of Banderastan.(with the help of corrupt IMF’s Lagarde). . Follow the money.

  • Michał Hunicz

    Ukraine, fake Zio-American State, murdering around 250.000 innocent Poles in one year, collaborating with national (fascists) and international (communists) socialists. They lie about “their” history of Kievan Rus and anti-Polish terrorists, Cossacks, bunch of butchers. Now they fire at our consulate with RPG rocket launcher, grab jobs in Poland and colonize my great country. And we pay over 1 billion euros of taxpayers’ money for Ukrainian highways and Army. Not to mention their “Slava Bandera” religion!

    • velociraptor

      and how many hundreds of thousands ukrainians, jews, russians killed you, animal poles???

    • TS

      I say, old boy, do you really want to get anything back from THE UKRAINE.., because the cost may be more than the benefit.. I’m sure that NATO has plans for you to ‘occupy’ THE UKRAINE.. Stick with the potato vodka instead..

      • Michał Hunicz

        No one drinks potato vodka in Poland. Maybe on the Ukraine.

    • RusskiiTroll54

      I am sorry but Poland is a NATO puppet too, aswell as baltics etc.

  • Neo Onh

    Russia has to liberate Novorossiya and eastern Malorossiya, leave the nazi-infected rest to EU. Game over.

    • Michał Hunicz

      Western Ukraine including Kiev is a historical Polish land since its ancient times!

      • velociraptor

        Occupied by poles. but there never lived poles, but other slawian people. and insted of nonpolish land you got german lands. silezia, baltic shore. if you want changes, give back these territories to germany.

        • Michał Hunicz

          LOL, what? Check our maps from 10th century AD. Silesia and Pomerania were Polish.

          • velociraptor

            No, pot polish. only part of poland/lithuania. bif difference. in that part germans cam 2-300 years earlier than slawic tribes. i know you, meganationalist poles :DDD

      • You can call me Al

        Isn’t there something with Hungary as well ?…….

        • Michał Hunicz

          That Carpathian region, right? Yup, that’s yours and Slovakian, of course.

          • You can call me Al

            Firstly I am British, secondly nothing to do with anything over there has got anything to do with me and finally I just asked an effing question, because I am ignorant of the history over that neck of Europe, therefore either reply politely of don’t reply at all.

      • Nosferatu

        Nope. Western Ukraine including Lvov is historical Polish land, forget about the mother of all Russian cities, Kiev. And cool down you overly agresive nationalism before your master USA will make use of it in a bad way. Netreba Polakom lizať dupe amerikancom.

        • Michał Hunicz

          And Crimea annexation wasn’t aggressive Russian nationalism?

          • tiredofthemedialies

            no, after the Mariupol massacre and Maidan massacres, the Crimeans wanted to leave Banderastan, so they voted to do so..

          • Nosferatu

            Anexation is when you use force to conquer a teritorry. There was not a single bullet fired in the proces of Crimea joining Russia. Whats more there was referendum and also the lawfull parliament of republic of Crimea has voted for joining Russia. And of course if you have not noticed it was USA that used and abused the Ukraine agressive nationalism of young guys from Lvov that dream about having Bandera and Hitler as their heroes, to overthrown a democraticly elected goverment of UA . It was exactly this that started the proces of UA falling apart. “We have brokered the power transition in Ukraine” Barack Obama

          • Neo Onh

            Nope, and if you want the long answer see below.

        • viktor ziv

          Well said. Cheers!

      • 1691

        Wrong.

      • Neo Onh

        They can keep Galizia but Kiev is a russian city

    • velociraptor

      wrong scenario

  • 888mladen .

    Do we remember how the Cold War 1 has ended? By collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastward expansion of NATO right to the RU border. So what would the expected outcome of the Cold War 2 be ? Will the trend continue?

    • Michał Hunicz

      Not in NATO’s favor, if Putin stays in the office. The USSR could win the Cold War, but Trotskists – American Jews – didn’t allow Soviet leadership to introduce capitalist reforms. They would be able to produce TWICE of all their goods, including arms and ammunition. Do you imagine this?

      • velociraptor

        No, USSR had no chance to win. Primitive economy has never chance to win.

        • Michał Hunicz

          That’s why I said about economic reforms. Rural, Maoist China after 40 years became a proud country.

          • velociraptor

            yes, you are right. but russians never made what china. russians alwys tried to keep on higher levele the military industry. therefore have no chance. still depend on western technology.

  • thenatural65

    While everybody wait, Donbass civilian settlements are shelled and people killed.

  • JustPassingThrough

    “which led to a joint US-British-French cruise missile strike against several locations”
    >a major disaster for UK-FR-US by every measure.

    “The Trump administration moreover made its impatience felt…”
    >a sure sign of weakness.

    “suggests Kiev is willing to risk direct confrontation with Russian forces in international waters”
    >really? a fishing boat

    “were part of some grand plan in which both Ukraine and Syria were pawns
    on the same chessboard, one would have expected a similar escalation, by
    the same three countries that launched strikes against Syria, in
    Ukraine.”
    >really?

    “which suggests concern that the missiles might find their way on to the black market,”
    they will be on the dark net within a week of delivery. probably have all been sold already.

    “So in the end, Kiev’s recent actions appear to be little more than a bid
    for continued relevance in a world that has long moved on.”

    what really worries me is seeing Porky in combats and manning he machine gun. It could start getting serious with him at the forefront.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Useful rule of thumb: whatever the West accuses Russia of doing, it’s probably doing itself. In this context, this means the West is waging a hybrid war: of course a conventional victory over Russian armed forces is out of reach for the Kiev critters, but who cares if the political goals would be served just as well with a defeat? Opposed to the author’s analysis, I posit that the Donbass will be set on fire just fine, when the timing is right to derail the football World Cup.

    Yes the Kiev critters may calculate that this against even the narrow interest of regime self-preservation, but again who cares: ultimately it’s not them in charge of the Donbass war.

  • TS

    Hum, BATMAN and the BatCave Javelin episode.. what happened? Well, Batman and company did get ‘disposed of’.., but the rest of the story is a misery.. never-the-less, the idea of GIVING Javelin Missiles to anyone seems to be a BAD IDEA.

  • Mikronos

    The End of the EUkrainian ATO is going to marked by what? The continuation of the russian invasion of Europe? And how did that pan out – no more terrorists?

  • joevid

    The key to understanding the hatred and disinformation against Russia is the Zionist neocons. Israel fakes friendship with Russia while all the same time their Zionist political machine (establishment media, Hollywood, Israeli lobbies scubas AIPAC and the ADL) in America works 24/7 to spread hatred against Russia and pushes Congress to take economic and military action against Russia. Israel and the Zionist in America hate Russia for two primary reasons. Russia dared to help the Syrian people against the Islamic jihadist funded and supported by Israe., Saudi Arabia and America. There’s a large Orthodox Christian population in Syria and Lebanon that Russia has historically protected. The second reason has to do with the Russian people returning to their historical Orthodox Christian Faith. This Christian revival in Russia is hated by the Jews of Israel as well as by the leaders of Judaism in America. Don’t forget that the Communist Revolution in Russia was financed and led by Communist Jews that were financed by the Rothschilds of Europe and Jacob Schiff of America. President Putin has openly acknowledged this Jewish/Rothschild component of the Communist Revolution.