Friday, September 5, 2014

Ukraine, the country that cries wolf? | Russia Direct

The ongoing controversy about the direct involvement of the Russian army in any hostilities in Ukraine – usually framed in the context of “aggression” and “invasion” – is alarming. It only aggravates the crisis and destroys any fragile hopes for peace.

What is the real evidence of any “invasion” in Ukraine? All previous Ukrainian statements about the alleged invasion of Russian armored vehicles marching through Ukrainian territory turned out to be unproved. The OSCE denies that there has been any military intervention and even U.S. officials have been careful not to call it an “invasion.” NATO and the Pentagon from time-to-time publish some vague and outdated satellite images (this time they are a week old, before that, they were two-to-three weeks old) instead of providing real-time online broadcasting of the situation in Ukraine or fresh high-resolution photos. Such surveillance imagery is not a problem with the availability of modern technologies.

Moreover, consider the other “proof” that has been provided. A few Russian paratroopers detained while abandoning their vehicles and hiding in the bush 20 kilometers away from the Russian border (in an area where the border is not even properly marked) can hardly represent a combat detachment. Finally, when the fact of the “full-scale invasion” is announced by a middle-ranking military official before being disseminated via Twitter by Ukraine’s prime minister and shared by various spokespersons – this also sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie.

Why all this crying wolf? If Ukraine truly believes in the involvement of Russian troops, it should be persistent and declare war rather than announcing an invasion via a Twitter hashtag. It may sound old-fashioned in the age of undeclared wars, but any charges of that kind between states imply this act of last resort. All Ukrainian complaints to the international community otherwise look strange – accusations should be supported with strong evidence and real action. However, Russia and Ukraine continue to maintain diplomatic relations, discuss border and gas issues, all simultaneously with the statements about the intervention on the very same day.

Russia made it clear several times that it is not going to intervene militarily in the Ukrainian conflict. President Vladimir Putin, who is a lawyer by profession and by nature, recalled the consent of the Federation Council to deploy troops abroad. The entire history of contemporary Russia indicates that in practically all conflicts (except South Ossetia, where the Russian troops were directly attacked and could not abstain from hostilities any longer) Moscow prefers to refrain from resorting to military solutions. Moreover, even the public opinion, which is now at the peak of its ultra-patriotism, does not support military interventions beyond Russia’s borders.

Complete story at - Ukraine, the country that cries wolf? | Russia Direct

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