I don't miss the Cold War, but apparently Russian President Vladimir Putin does. Either that, or he's now clinically insane. There aren't a lot of other explanations for Putin's nuclear chest-thumping in the past week or so. So far, it's vintage Putin: swaggering braggadocio about Russia’s nuclear status that isn't actually linked to a specific threat, but with enough dots to connect that any foreign observer can take his meaning.
With Russian soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine, Russian soldiers are also all but certainly dying there. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be mounting a campaign to find out that his constituents don't find out about that unpleasant and politically explosive fact.
It's been months since half of Kyiv's residents have been staying without hot water. For nearly 60 days I myself automatically reach for the hot water tap in the morning. But, like many Kyivans, all I get is cold water.
Turning points in history are rarely recognized as such by contemporaries. Even while following the news and sensing that something has gone wrong, people go about their lives in the usual way. But everything can change drastically in a matter of months, and then these days will be only a memory of a past way of life in a big, open world. A new, second Cold War is likely to become an incontrovertible reality by the end of this year.
Last week, The Atlantic published a 24-point plan for ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine -the product of a meeting between Russian and American experts and former officials on the Finnish island of Boistö. Now, a group of American and European experts and former officials, coordinated by David Kramer of Freedom House, has written a response, rejecting the Boistö agenda and urging Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine.
At first glance, and from the point of view of a sane person, the war between Russia and Ukraine is some sort of a nightmare, a madness that only brings grief, conflicts and problems to all.
I am amazed by the generally poor media & business commentary around Ukraine/Russia relations, which often belies a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues – maybe the demands of 24/7 news drives that to an extent. This is also apparent from commentary from high level Western diplomats and political leaders – either they do not understand, or would rather not understand the realities with respect to the Ukraine crisis.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, his bitter resentment at the Soviet empire’s collapse metastasized into seething Russian nationalism, has marginalized the political opposition, muzzled dissidents and intimidated independent voices in civil society. In prosecuting his widening war in Ukraine, he has also resurrected the tyranny of the Big Lie, using state-controlled media to twist the truth so grotesquely that most Russians are in the dark — or profoundly misinformed — about events in their neighbor to the west.
Russian markets might be buoyed a bit on Sept. 1 by a combination of factors: First, no further significant escalation on the ground in Ukraine - albeit fighting continues unabated (note the attacks on Ukrainian coast guard vessels off Mariupol on Aug. 31) I used the word "escalation" now somewhat warily, as the United States and European Union has now set the bar so high in terms of Russian "escalation" that it likely will take a mega escalation to warrant much of a response from the EU (even for a "dead cat" bounce).
A young Lviv law student in his final year has become the latest of a growing number of Russia’s geopolitical prisoners - Ukrainian nationals held in detention in Russia. The term hostage would be more appropriate were it not for the serious criminal charges that each has been charged with. If the four Crimeans facing absurd 'terrorist charges following peaceful protest against Russian occupation fall within traditional definitions of political prisoner, and Ukrainian officer Nadiya Savchenko is a prisoner of Russia's undeclared war, Yury Yatsenko is in Russian detention because he is Ukrainian.
As it becomes increasingly clear that the West has no stomach for war with Russia over Ukraine, Ukraine must constantly remind Western politicians and their voters that it was former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union that sent Ukrainians onto the streets in protest in November 2013.
A number of fascists and neo-Nazis descended on Yalta this weekend, with members of prominent fascist parties like Hungary’s Jobbik due to attend. They joined Sergei Glazyev, senior adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Maxim Shevchenko a member of Putin’s human rights council, Kremlin-backed militants and their Russian comrades from various far-right and neo-Nazi parties in discussing the fight against the ‘fascist junta in Kyiv’. A star attraction was surely the proposed formation of a Russian ‘Anti-fascist Council’.
MOSCOW — Russia and Ukraine are now at war. At least 2,200 people have died in the conflict; thousands more may die yet. The Western powers — America, Europe, NATO — now have no good options, but they cannot do nothing. President Vladimir V. Putin has left us with two dire choices, both fraught with risk: Either we arm Ukraine, or we force Kiev to surrender and let Mr. Putin carve whatever territories he wants into a Russian-occupied zone of “frozen conflict.”
As the Ukraine crisis has intensified over the past six months, Russia has been developing a new form of warfare – inserting special forces, provoking, and slowly, deliberately escalating the conflict. Russian actions flout international law and the agreements that have assured stability in the post-cold war world. But warnings and sanctions have thus far failed. The Nato summit in Wales this week offers the best, and perhaps last, opportunity to halt aggression in Europe without major commitments of Nato forces. But to do so requires a deeper understanding of the situation and much more resolute allied action.
It feels as if the world is facing an unprecedented number of global security crises, NATO's former Supreme Allied Commander said ahead of a key gathering for the 28-nation military alliance that will see heads of state including President Obama travel to Wales this week.
This week Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine became overt for all the world to see. Since February, Moscow waged a semi-covert campaign that I term Special War, with the initial aim of taking Crimea.
Not surprisingly, many Russian army troops crossed the border into Ukraine in the last week of August to bolster the pro-Russian Donbas separatists with advanced offensive weapons. The Ukrainian army and its volunteer battalions were forced into a retreat near Donetsk and at the coast of the Sea of Azov.
When a state sends more than a thousand troops with mobile artillery and heavy equipment into a neighboring state and takes control of territory, that’s an invasion, right?