Putin is joining the dots – he took the Crimea a few months ago and now he’s joining it up with the Russian mainland by sending “off duty” Russian soldiers into southern Ukraine. The extent of his territorial ambitions is unclear. He certainly wants a land corridor to Sevastopol; Odessa would be nice to have (deep water port there) and making the Ukraine a landlocked country by cutting across to the border with Romania would be the icing on the cake.
Russian territorial ambitions
The West is bleating about this and a new round of sanctions cuts in this week, as soon as the EU and USA can agree what little baubles the Russians are going to have to do without – electronics and oil exploration equipment most likely. Of course we don’t want to cripple the Russian oil industry too much because then our lights would go out.
The “nuclear option” on sanctions is to cut Russia out of the world banking system – no funds to be electronically transferred in or out of Russia. It’s unlikely they will do this. To buy oil from Russia you do need to be able to send them money. No money in, no oil or gas out; if prolonged the consequential rise in crude prices would send the West into recession. Western nose would become detached from Western face.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian government is quite laughably trying to join NATO. In NATO an attack on one is an attack on all. (Less well known is the fact the EU Lisbon Treaty has the same clause.) The Ukraine is trying to get the West to fight Russia for it.
No thanks. We should sit this one out. Let’s not forget that the Ukrainian government came to power in a coup d’etat and has absolutely no legitimacy.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has said that Russia is practically at war with Europe. That’s very wishful thinking from the Baltic. They must be feeling Russia’s cold breath on the backs of their necks. The three Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) are members of NATO and an attack on them would draw us into war with Russia, but not the Ukraine, they are not in NATO and until they are genuinely democratic should not be admitted.
For the first time, over the weekend just past, Putin has started talking about the future of the Eastern Ukraine. Previously he maintained an inscrutable silence on the subject. Now he is saying a change in ownership needs to be discussed.
It must be remembered that although the West is calling Russia’s actions an invasion, for the people who live there it is more like a homecoming. They want to be Russian, or independent if they cannot be Russian.
As this blog has mentioned before, the Americans must be wishing they had never sponsored that coup back in February. It’s all gone horribly wrong.