What Russia has done recently worries me as a Ukrainian

Russia has the West’s attention because of “collusion” – but not bloodshed and violence.

December 25, 2017 20:58
3 minute read.
A MAN inspects his house, which was damaged by recent shelling, in the government-held village of No

A MAN inspects his house, which was damaged by recent shelling, in the government-held village of Novoluhanske, Ukraine.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In the final days of December 2017, Russian aggression has escalated not only in the east of Ukraine, but also in Crimea. Russian aggression has been a daily occurrence since the annexation of Crimea four years ago and the Russian invasion of Ukraine nearly four years ago. Post-Maidan Ukraine wasn’t even able to catch its breath before Russian boots were on sovereign Ukrainian land.

Russia announced its withdrawal from the cease-fire-monitoring mission (JCCC) on December 18 on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The following day, December 19, Russia appeared to have left the territory of Donbass, and crossed back over its own border. The majority of Russians in this region aren’t civilian monitors. They’re members of the Main Intelligence Department of the General Staff of the Russian Federation engaged in the collection of intelligence information about the Ukrainian military. They are in command of and issue orders to their hybrid army, which the English-speaking press likes to call the “separatists.” They fire heavy artillery at the Ukrainian Army, violating the “cease-fire” daily. A cease-fire which doesn’t exist. View the social media posts of Ukrainian OSINT experts for details about the intel gathering of the Russian JCCC representatives.

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The December 18 and 19 announcements aren’t an indication of an end to this fouryear- long war. The are however a sign of escalation in the conflict. Some in the Western press were correct in stating that it’s an attempt by Russia to avoid responsibility for its participation in the war in the east of Ukraine. Russia may withdraw its monitors from this area, but it never mentioned anything about the withdrawal of troops from the occupied territories of Ukraine.Therefore, it shouldn’t be perceived as a sign of “negotiation” or a possible step to end the war.

This is likely an attempt to garner sympathy among the international community in light of the pending sanctions due to be imposed at the beginning of the year. Russian President Vladimir Putin may also be playing to his domestic audience for the upcoming presidential elections. After which Russia will likely return to its aggressive actions against Ukraine, and worse, perhaps even intensify them.

This would likely be the first step to force the international community to accept the Russian offer of a peacekeeping mission in the occupied territory of Ukraine. Ukraine proposed its own version of the introduction of a peacekeeping mission prior to Russia doing so. One gets the impression that the Ukrainian proposal was ignored and not even discussed. It’s safe to say that any offer from Russia is a trap. If you have a bit of common sense, then you know that any proposal from Russia must be refused, no matter what it’s related to.

I want to point out that Russia has completely stopped all railway communication with Ukraine. Such actions can only cause greater fears of an impending escalation of the war. In case you were unaware, in November 2017, the Russian government activated an agreement between the government of the Republic of Belarus and itself on the joint technical support of the regional grouping of troops (forces) of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation, which would allow Russian military equipment and materials to be deployed on the territory of Belarus in case of a threat of aggression.

Belarus borders the north of Ukraine. Russia has already occupied Crimea (southern peninsula of Ukraine) and two regions of Donbass (east), and all that’s left is the possible threat from the north.

I understand that the West is tired of the news about Ukraine, and hardly any coverage of the events is provided. The West has all but ignored Russian aggression against Ukraine at least as far back as the Holodomor in the 1930s. Russia is a threat not only to us, but to the world that has stood back and allowed this to happen, allowed 10,300 people to be murdered since 2014, and nearly 1.5 million people to be internally displaced.

Russia has the West’s attention because of “collusion” – but not bloodshed and violence. If the world wants to stop the Russian expansionism and aggression, and not just territorial but also virtual, it must cooperate with Ukraine rather than ignoring the dire situation in our country. The international community must try to understand the situation from the point of view of Ukrainians, currently and historically, in order to stop Russia and restore balance to the world.

The author is a Ukrainian living in Kiev.

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