The world is no longer divided by communism vs. capitalism. But it's still divided by ideologies that have their clearest expression in the policies of Russia and the United States. That division contrasts liberal and realist views of the world.
One of the problems of Western journalism, which Russia uses to its great advantage, is its apparent inability to identify a spade as a spade unless it is witnessed by three independent sources.
It's clear that the conflict in Ukraine is escalating dangerously. Authorities in Kyiv now claim that their country is being invaded on multiple fronts by Russian forces. The evidence, despite Moscow's denials, seems to point to the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel - perhaps thousands of soldiers - on the wrong side of the border.
Just a few days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Minsk to discuss a political solution to the crisis in the Donbas, Russian regular forces launched a full-scale invasion of eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin continues to deny that Russian soldiers are fighting - and dying - in Ukraine, even though the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia estimates that some 400 have been killed or wounded in Russia's "non-war" with Ukraine.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ability to deny Russia's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine has always been of utmost importance. The Kremlin has stressed that it is not a party to the fighting, and that all it wants from Ukraine is peace and a few trade concessions. Deniability, however, is fast eroding. Despite increasingly surreal disavowals from Moscow, it is now apparent just how invested Putin is in the conflict's outcome. That investment terrifies Europe and the U.S., which have no desire to match it.
The Finnish foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that back in June the United States and Russia held secret talks over Ukraine on Boisto Island in Finland. This startling announcement and synchronised information about the result - a '24-Step Plan to Resolve the Ukraine Crisis' - were clearly timed to coincide with the meeting in Minsk between, among others Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. There were a number of crucial differences between the peace initiatives and one key similarity.
Two decades ago, Ukraine was the world’s third largest nuclear superpower. The East European nation inherited a nuclear arsenal bigger than that of the United Kingdom, China and France combined, when it declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
The country of then 52 million people, which today is being invaded by Russian forces, gained physical control of approximately 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads and 2,500 tactical nuclear weapons, including an arsenal of SS-19 and SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and dozens of Tupolev strategic bombers with air-launched cruise missiles.
It's time to stop the game in words and call a spade a spade, Russian Russian. We all know that the Russian Federation started this war against Ukraine when unidentified "green men" invaded Crimea. Or maybe earlier? Maybe on Feb, 20 when snipers shot at protesters in Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti?
Talk is cheap, and Western leaders seems to be talking a lot, but Ukrainians would argue that they have not done very much to prevent further Russian incursions into Ukraine.
Editor's Note: To counter Russian propaganda lies about the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula on Feb. 27, Dmitry Tymchuk has set up the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv. He served in the Army air defense from 1995-1998, the National Guard from 1998-2000 and in the Defense Ministry in subsequent years on missions to Iraq, Lebanon and Kosovo. His blogs are translated into English by Voices of Ukraine. The Kyiv Post has not independently verified his findings, but will correct any misinformation brought to our attention at email@example.com or 38-044-591-3344 or any of our contacts at www.kyivpost.com/contacts.
Covering the war in eastern Ukraine has been a challenge partly because it has involved a lot of moving across vast territories of shifting front lines and cutting through rural farmland and industrial urban sprawl on trips that sometimes take hours in each direction. And as in all conflict reporting, the risks of any particular trip, frustratingly, do not always correlate with the payoff in newsworthiness.
After an inconclusive summit with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko this week in Minsk, Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Moscow would do "everything" it could to encourage a peace plan for eastern Ukraine and "create an atmosphere of trust." But within hours of uttering those words, a new front in the conflict opened at the port of Novoazovsk, where Russia appeared to be backing a stealthy but concerted invasion with tanks and artillery, a counteroffensive to help Russia’s besieged separatist fighters near Donetsk.
In its editorial comment, Vedomosti.ru warns that "in the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine the Russian authorities are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the Soviet regime". It asks: "Is Russia fighting in Ukraine and if so, then on what grounds? If not, then who is in those freshly-dug graves or giving testimony at SBU interrogations?"
The Euromaidan Revolution was an insurrection of consciousness, a civil society rebellion, a civilizational choice and a geopolitical upheaval, but it was not a movement with a clear political leadership and a pre-defined political platform.
Expectations of the Minsk meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko were muted. Not just because the fighting in southeastern Ukraine has grown even fiercer over the past days, but also because Russia has continued to fuel the conflict. Moscow sent an alleged aid convoy to Luhansk without Ukrainian approval. Russian paratroopers crossed the border to Ukraine - allegedly by mistake. But first and foremost, expectations were low because the violent conflict is based on diametrically opposed views in Russia and Ukraine.
Israel and Palestine exchange bombs and rockets for weeks on end, with yet another cease fire announced on Aug. 26. A civil war is under way in Iraq; and a Russian military convoy violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine. These events demand a strategic approach on the part of the United States in which we maintain an ability to defend our interests in many places at once.
As fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions intensifies, the first foreign member of the Ukrainian military has become a casualty of Russia's proxy war. Codenamed 'Franko', Mark Paslawsky who grew up in the Ukrainian diaspora in New Jersey and was a West Point-trained officer in the US Rangers, gave up his US citizenship for a Ukrainian passport and the chance to serve in the Donbas volunteer battalion, one of more than 20 in Ukraine’s newly formed National Guard.
The meeting on Aug. 27 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, marks the beginning of a new phase in the conflict between the two countries.
The coming NATO summit in Wales in September has inspired a hotly contested debate about the organization's fitness for the 21st century - and even if should exist at all.