Monday, May 19, 2014

Update on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Referenda were held a few days ago by ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on whether to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, like Crimea.  Russian forces have been in the region fomenting armed insurrection, including the armed takeover of government facilities by their sympathizers, trying to cause bloody conflict with Ukrainian government forces to justify a full-scale invasion, while thousands of Russian troops remained menacingly massed on the Russian-Ukrainian border, instead of at their bases.  Ukraine and its supporters reject the validity of a referendum under such circumstances. 

As I posted previously, Russia had pledged by treaty to respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, which it violated to seize Crimea.  The Russians are also trying to disrupt the planned presidential elections in Ukraine.  As in Crimea (see also my post from last month, The Russians and Iranians Admit Lying,, a United Nations report found no threat from the pro-Western interim Ukrainian government or other Ukrainians to Russian-speakers in Eastern Ukraine, allegations of which were the Russian excuse for intervention in Ukraine.  Furthermore, it found the only human rights violations came from the separatist Russophiles.   

It is noteworthy that many ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine reportedly are hesitant to be annexed by the Russian Federation because of the lack of freedom in Russia, led by authoritarian President Vladimir Putin, a Communist who is a former Soviet intelligence officer.  Like the Tatars in Crimea, Ukrainian Jews also feel threatened by the Russians. 

            If Crimea’s annexation had been justified by the Russians with the slogan, “Crimea is Russia,” then one must wonder what the excuse is for the annexation of eastern Ukraine.  Like Crimea, eastern Ukraine had been inhabited primarily by Ukrainians, after having been inhabited by Tatars.  Russians, descendants of the Rus, invaded from Muscovy to colonize Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Transnistrian region of Moldova, etc., which thereby became parts of the Russian Empire, the predecessor to the Soviet Empire, known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Eastern Ukraine is Ukraine, not Russia.  The obvious goal of Russia and its Russophile sympathizers is the restoration of the Soviet Empire, which means the absorption of peaceful, free pro-Western republics into the Russian Federation, or at least under its control as puppet states.

           Meanwhile, fellow former Soviet Republic Moldova, which fears a Russian invasion to seize breakaway Transnistria, a region on its eastern border with western Ukraine inhabited by ethnic Russians, reached a major agreement with the European Union for association.  The agreement will establish political association and economic integration.  Moldova hopes its association with Europe and the West will not only benefit it economically, but deter a Russia invasion.  

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