Once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
Ukraine’s five-year-old “frozen conflict” has not been forgotten by EU / NATO, which methodically if slowly has focused on containing the irritating Bear now pummeling Mariupol and targets north by northwest along a line of embattled territory on the western edge of Donetsk Oblast. In addition to a vigorous round of military exercises conducted by NATO in 2018, typified perhaps by the 31+ nation Trident Juncture 18, the United States has continued training-related deployments to Ukraine in a “train-the-trainers ” effort to improve Ukraine’s defense against greater incursion by Russian forces.
Not to flack the rah-rah: Ukraine has been made to pay a near daily — or daily — price in injury and death for having become a Russian test bed (no different than Syria) for Moscow’s defense technologies and “hybrid warfare”.
Russia’s cynical “Passportization” program appears also under way with the only resistance to it to be found in Ukrainian disinterest.
The Russian propaganda mill plies a familiar routine with web videos: the most recent shelling appears to come from Ukrainian forces without cause (I’ll leave the look-up on such as “Donetsk, fighting” to the reader). However, as displayed on any given LiveUAmap, Russia’s military-integrated activity should seem clear enough.
Primary source for this section:
Drawing from the above source, this is what BackChannels tallies for undeniable Russian military presence in proximity to Ukraine’s border:
500 Tactical Aircraft
Derived from the same source but focusing on what has been observed in relation to Russia’s military presence on the Crimean Peninsula:
Analyst Felix K. Chang’s winter 2019 observation for the Foreign Policy Research Institute:
“Together with two other S-300 air defense batteries nearby, Russian land-based air defenses in the region could simultaneously launch as many as 192 surface-to-air missiles. Interestingly, their crews have been training to counter not only hostile aircraft, but also sea-launched cruise missiles, seemingly in preparation for a NATO intervention. Whatever the case, the airspace above Crimea and Donbas has quickly become among the most well-defended in the world.
For cruising through related offerings on YouTube and elsewhere on the web, the open source seems short of up-to-the-minute Ukrainian war reportage but for the Live UA Map, a conflict pin board, and reporting by Michael MacKay via Twitter and through his column in Radio Lemberg.
BackChannels has been seeing the numbers, finding Russian-side videos (in which the fire always comes from Ukraine, not the Russian-backed separatists that provoke it), and finding videos from when the conflict was all bloody new, shocking, and hot. Now it’s still bloody and plenty hot, but it has become a part of the daily fare in the world’s conflict-related horror show.
Perhaps a warning should be issued: once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
MacKay’s tweet, much in line with thinking by America’s Democrats and possibly some Republican moderates, begs a few questions about Ukraine’s “frozen conflict” among others: how much “patience” has the west? How much destruction and how many lives lost is acceptable before jawing about Russian barbarism and kleptocracy and posturing about western defense support and strength lose their charm?
Russia has recently claimed victory in Syria. This is what that looks like:
With the winter-is-coming cloud of nuclear warfare hanging over east-west confrontation — and with the incredible billions of dollars laundered out of transnational criminal enterprise spiked into the bloodstreams of states — the way forward for the democratic attenuation of political power and the promotion of faith in rule of law may be difficult to see. While one may hope for hope in that regard, locking related conflicts into one place without limit seems itself dispiriting and on the side of evil.
For how long may Ukraine be expected to endure a Moscow-engineered “status quo”?
And for how long may EU / NATO — already somewhat compromised by Moscow’s use of Islamic Terrorism and Syrian mass migration to induce / “inspire” the western “New Nationalism” — abide Moscow’s favor for Feudal Political Absolutism (worldwide) and its concomitant eroding of the ideals, principles, and values associated with democracy and the still open societies of the west?
Related on BackChannels:
And so on.
The truth of the matter is Moscow-Tehran with baby Damascus chose to sustain a barbaric “medieval political absolutism” in Syria intent on fighting western ideas, actually, while incubating and using as tools the al-Qaeda types, including ISIL.
With its familiar “Active Measures”, Russia dupes vulnerable leaders and whole populations, including the Palestinians.
Moscow’s conversational tone may be firm, but the site of what the “troika” — Putin, Assad, Khamenei — has done to Syria — and the most innocent of the Syrian constituency — awareness of Moscow’s continuing relations with Hamas and PFLP, and its planting of those “Little Green Men” in Crimea speak brazenly for a Moscow more interested in thuggery and empire than in freedom, peace, and prosperity, and that whether at home or abroad.
Putin & Co., appear to be making an effort to stand on familiar old evils, which includes the encouragement of greater Far Left and Far Right extremism in the world and consequent chaos and violence. I suspect western diplomats apprehend what has been “reset” before them and are taking measures to respond appropriately.
Inspiration for the note: an assertion that Puton, Lavrov, and Churkin have been always firm in their speech, never belligerent.
However, set the tone of the talk against the results of Moscow’s policies over many years and the juxtaposition looks ugly — bipolar; black and white; glittering Sochi against atrocities — including the sniping of pregnant women — taking place in Syria; the patriotic and rousing concert at Palmyra placed in time less than a day before the Russian bombing of a Syrian refugee camp; and so on.
Found on Twitter this morning from Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs —
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) October 27, 2016