Sunday, January 02, 2022

Ukraine Conflict - The Ideology of War

The State of Conflict
[Updates included]

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered at the Ukrainian border, raising worries amongst the U.S. and its allies of a possible invasion. Russia has said it built up its military to prevent NATO expansion towards its borders and to defend Russian ethnic nationals living in the war-torn east Ukrainian region of Donbas.

US President Biden has said that Russia will have "a heavy price to pay" if it invades Ukraine.

Biden made his comment after reporters asked about his latest phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 30. During the 50-minute call, the two presidents mostly discussed de-escalation in Ukraine and U.S.-Russia diplomatic relations heading into European talks that will begin in mid-January.

Following the Biden-Putin call, a group of 24 former U.S. national security officials and Russia experts — a group that includes several officials who served in the Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton’s administrations — released a statement calling on Biden to immediately, and publicly, lay out the penalties Russia would face if Putin were to move forward with military action.

“We believe the United States should, in closest consultation with its NATO allies and with Ukraine, take immediate steps to affect the Kremlin’s cost-benefit calculations before the Russian leadership opts for further military escalation,” the group wrote. “Such a response would include a package of major and painful sanctions that would be applied immediately if Russia assaults Ukraine. Ideally, the outline of these sanctions would be communicated now to Moscow, so that the Kremlin has a clear understanding of the magnitude of the economic hit it will face.”

The Russians for their part continue to make the case that they are facing an existential threat with Ukraine.

UPDATE 04-01-2022
Russian Cyber Attacks

Ukraine has been the target of Russia’s most brazen cyber operations in recent years. Such attacks would surely accompany any land invasion launched by the roughly 175,000 Russian troops currently massed on the Ukraine border.

Cybersecurity experts are already noting an uptick in Russian cyber intrusions into Ukrainian government and civilian computer networks that could lay the groundwork for a major cyberattack. [Washington Post]

I recently learned about a cyber attack which caused a shutdown of local electricity in Ukraine. The shutdown was stopped by the aggressor only shortly before essential and long-lasting damage to the regional water supply could be caused by the freezing of idle pumping systems during the cold season. [German TV documentation]

Some Historic and Ethnic Facts
Serving Russia's War Readiness

Historic Links Between Moscow and Kiev

In the 11th century, a prince called Yaroslav the Wise united principalities lying between the Baltic and Black seas, codifying laws and forming the first political state of the eastern Slavs. Both Russia and Ukraine claim him as a forefather.

The kingdom of Yaroslav became a central part of the Russian empire during later centuries, and the axis Moscow-Kiev even served as the main line of supply for the Russian-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th century where Russia blew most of its military and financial reserves in a colonial adventure that should provide access to coal, iron and unexpensive labour in China's eastern province of Manchuria, a region that was contested at the time between two colonial powers, Russia and Japan.

Further information is available from a brandnew Chinese article:
* 乌克兰的历史 *

The above quoted source from China and less comprehensive sources from the West are hinting at the role of national identity that is firing the Ukraine Conflict.

Ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine

As to the distribution of ethnic Russians in contested areas of Eastern Ukraine, there is an article I once published in this blog in order to prove the presence of a vast community of Russians in the Donbas region after World War II:
* Russlands Historische Wurzeln am Rand der Ukraine *
This article has been written in German as it refers to Russian literature, translated into German and distributed in occupied Eastern Germany after the end of World War II. At that time, nothing indicated that the Donbas region would become an object of dispute between independent states.

A related English language article on the 2014 referendum in the frame of Russia's occupation of Crimea can be found here:
* Ukraine - Crimean Referendum *

European Dreams of Love
Peace and Open Markets

Now that the Ukraine Conflict has become increasingly complicated and dangerous, the European Union needs to decide whether to leave it to US President Biden to negotiate a deal with Russia's Putin regarding an publicly requested - though hypothetic - NATO membership of Ukraine, or get involved to find new ways of further cooperation between the EU and Ukraine that could be tolerated by Putin. However, there is not much choice left. Wouldn't it be therefore more favourable to abandon the fundamental idea of making Ukraine an affiliate to the EU which could only lead to a direct confrontation with Russia. In case of an armed conflict which seems to become more and more real, this could freeze all relations with Russia for years.

To emphasize 'value based policies' in foreign politics might not be the best choice at the moment. Close economic relationship could be achieved sooner or later anyway, however not in opposition with existing treaties signed between Ukraine and Russia.

As I tried to show, both countries enjoy a long common history that was, as well, the history of the Russian Empire smashed in the revolution of 1917. When the subsequently founded Soviet Union failed in the 1980ies, Ukraine became independent, however not completely separated from Russia. There are still many links, economic and ethnic ones, which have their impact on Russian-Ukrainian coexistence. No wonder that Russia's leader looks with great suspicion at the expansion of the European Union, even though he might be aware that such expansion can include an unhealthy aspect for the EU itself.

Memories of the 'Great War of the Fatherland' are still present, especially in the disputed area of Donbas and Crimea. This is what should not be forgotten. When Russian troops finally prevailed over German invaders in the battle of nearby Stalingrad at the end of 1942, it was the result of different reasons and developments, and it was not the logical consequence of Russian supremacy.

And we don't want to see the Euro currency end like the German occupation forces' Karbowanez currency for Ukraine in 1942.

Well, the 20 Euro banknote for use in Ukraine is a fake ! But I hope I got it look real.
Or do you really wish to make Ukraine a part of the European Union and 'Euroland' ?

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