How did Ukraine and its partners respond to Putin’s attempts to annex Ukrainian territory?

Will Ukraine become a member of NATO anytime soon?

Will Russia remain a member of the UN after it brutally violated the charter of this international organization?

Read the answers to these and other questions in the traditional weekly review of the experts of the Information Defense project.

Escalation and attempts at Annexation by Russians

Russia has once again escalated military operations in Ukraine, attempting to annex part of Ukrainian territory.

Information Defense analysts, just like the vast majority of other impartial experts, have clearly characterized these fake referendums as having no legal consequences and as grossly violating international law and the UN Charter. We will not list all the numerous violations of these sham referendums, as they are known and widely analyzed in the media.

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It’s worth understanding that any referendums held at gunpoint on the territory of another sovereign country will never be recognized by the wider democratic community, which does not include Belarus, Cuba, Venezuela, or other authoritarian allies of Russia.

However, the Russian president initially signed a decree recognizing the “independence” of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions, and on Sep. 30 held a ceremony for the entry of temporarily-occupied territories of Ukraine, including the so-called “LDPR”, into the Russian federation.

Why did Putin resort to yet further escalation of military actions in Ukraine and organizing pseudo-referendums, despite their illegality?

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A few Russian milbloggers said the Ukrainian line was smashed and Kremlin troops are advancing unopposed. That turns out to be fake news. On Tuesday neither side owned the village.

First, it is part of the great game of nuclear blackmail. After all, the fake inclusion of our regions in the Russian Federation enables the Kremlin dictator to publicly announce that he will use nuclear weapons to protect them, because according to his twisted pseudo-logic, this is Russia.

Second, this is one of the elements of bargaining at the upcoming negotiations, which Putin wants to organize. The Kremlin operates according to the logic of the 1990s: first the bandits created problems, and then they “helped” solve them for money.

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Third, this is one of the means of inciting military hysteria within Russian society, whereby mobilization has great problems, and Russian citizens, to be frank, are not enthusiastic about the prospect of fighting and dying in the war. The “show of joining Russian peace”, which the Russian authorities arranged on Sep. 30, vividly demonstrated how Russian propaganda “sells” Putin’s pseudo-successes inside the Russian federation.

And the most important point, Putin’s speech on Sep. 30 contained the Kremlin dictator’s nuclear bluff, but at the same, he gave a clear signal to the West and Ukraine that he is ready for negotiations. True, he is ready for them, but only on Russian terms.

Putin, losing the war, puts on “a good face playing a bad game”, demonstrating to his country and for his few allies that it is he who is winning, that everything is taking place according to plan and “Russian peace”.

Response of Ukraine and its partners

Perhaps the most powerful response to Putin’s aggressive plans was provided by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the front.

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On the same day, Sep. 30, the Ukrainian army, surrounded Russian troops in Lyman, and presented a really wonderful gift to Ukrainian citizens and a symbolic “gift” to Russia – the enemy will be defeated, the counterattacks will continue, and Ukraine will win.

It is very difficult for Putin to talk about any successes in Ukraine, when on the same day of “accession” the Lyman group was surrounded, and favorable conditions were created for offensive attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Severodonetsk.

It’s almost the same as when, during World War II, the Japanese Empire announced the annexation of the Philippines in 1945, when American troops were already just a step from Tokyo.

In response to the Russian escalation, Ukraine also continued its offensive attacks on the foreign policy front.

On the same day, the Ukrainian authorities submitted an application for accession to NATO under an accelerated procedure, similar to the accession procedure that Sweden and Finland are undergoing.

Today, Ukraine’s accession to NATO is not a question of military capability and compatibility of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with NATO standards. The Ukrainian army has proven its combat capability and efficiency on the frontline.

The issue of Ukraine’s accession to NATO is currently the issue of a political decision for member states of NATO, which is adopted by consensus. At the time of writing this review, Canada and nine Central and Eastern Europeans countries had declared their support. However, our main partner, the U.S., expressed its position as follows – “it’s not the right time”.

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Let’s be realistic, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to become a full member of NATO before the victorious end of the war with Russia. However, the submission of such an application is supported not only by the author of this article, the vast majority of Ukrainian experts and politicians, but also by 90% of Ukrainian citizens, who are rightly convinced that NATO is a military-political organization capable of providing Ukraine with a powerful security arm.

President Volodymyr Zelensky also underlined that Ukraine will not hold any negotiations with Putin. If there are any negotiations with Russia, then they must be with a different Russian president.

By the way, the voices of not only experts, but also individuals and world politicians, are becoming louder and louder that Russia should be excluded from the United Nations Security Council because the Russian Federation violated its charter in a deliberate and brutal way.

In our opinion, this is the path of reform of the United Nations that must be chosen to preserve and develop it.

Ukraine also introduced additional sanctions against Russian politicians, officials and businessmen, running to 3,600 individuals and companies in total, including Mikhail Fridman, and is preparing to nationalize their property in Ukraine.

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The reaction of our partners to attempts to annex Ukrainian territory was also quite harsh.

The U.S., EU, the Council of Europe, and partner countries supported Ukraine and took a clear and unambiguous position that pseudo-referendums are a violation of international law and the UN Charter, and do not have any legitimacy, whereas our country is recognized within the internationally recognized borders of 1991.

The U.S. provided additional military and technical assistance to Ukraine to the tune of $12.3 billion, which enables problems with the state budget to be avoided and to ensure the continuity of military and technical assistance. And like the cherry on the top of the cake – 18 HIMARS anti-aircraft guns will be delivered to Ukraine.

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Putin is losing the war, his military forces are suffering one defeat after another,  mobilization is fraught with many problems, it has already led to mass emigration and provoked serious social tension and protests in Dagestan.

The Kremlin dictator continues his nuclear bluff, and once again convinces the Russian political class, society and his few allies that everything is going according to plan, and Russia is about to win.

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However, the logic of the historical process has a completely different character – every day, every wrong step of Putin’s, every success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the front brings us closer to the difficult victory of Ukraine.

Ihor Zhdanov, Information Defense Project, The “Open Policy” Foundation

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Kyiv Post.   

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