Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 28.09.2017
An iron curtain is descending across the heart of Europe once again. This time, instead of Germany it’s happening in the largest wholly European country, Ukraine. Since February 2014, Russia’s army invading Europe in Ukraine has advanced 250 km from the Kerch Strait to the administrative boundary inside Ukraine between Crimea and Kherson. This is where the Russian armed forces and the Ukrainian armed forces are at a stand-off. At this contact line between Russia-occupied southern Ukraine and free Ukraine, the Putin regime plans to build a “barrage” – a fence that will run for 50 kilometres. Ukrainians will be denied free movement inside their own country. Ukrainians in temporarily occupied Crimea will be held – literally fenced in – by the foreign occupiers from Muscovy. Germans were divided from each other arbitrarily, with captives of Russian tyranny in the east. Ukrainians will be divided from each other arbitrarily, with captives of Russian tyranny in the south.
An entity calling itself the “Russian Federal Security Service for the Crimea” has ordered a barrage to to be built. The Russian FSB does not have authority to act within Ukraine from the Ukrainian government, and is not saying why it is building a strengthened fence of over 2 metres height in Krasnoperekopsky district inside Ukraine. An illegal formation is building an illegal structure inside Ukraine.
Of course the construction of a fence inside Ukraine by a foreign power must be condemned. Of course every individual and entity involved in this act of war must be sanctioned. But more than that, the building of the barrage must be stopped, and if not stopped then destroyed when it is completed. The fence should not be there. It is not authorized by the government of Ukraine. It is illegal. Ukraine is fully within its rights to stop the illegal activity of fence construction, and dismantle any fence that does get built. Partner nations have no reason not to back Ukraine to the utmost as it asserts its sovereignty within its borders. There is no legitimacy for this fence being built, and complete legitimacy to stop it or destroy it.
Russia is escalating its invasion of Europe in Ukraine, and reheating the Crimea battlefront with this reckless act. For most of the past three and a half years Donbas has been the active battlefront and Crimea has been the quiet one. Announcing and building a wall between Ukrainian Crimea and Ukrainian Kherson, Russia is drawing attention to its invasion and occupation army in the south, when attention had been diverted mostly to its army in the east. The Putin regime may intend the world to see Russia strengthening its hold over Crimea, but what it actually sees is the same lawlessness and illegitimacy in Russia-occupied southern Ukraine as it sees in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine. Kremlin propaganda for the past three and a half years has been to claim that Ukrainian Crimea had somehow been ‘annexed’ to the Russian Federation. The Putin regime has gotten nowhere with this claim. The whole world says that Crimea is Ukraine, and acts accordingly. By the reckless act of building a wall deep inside Ukraine, 250 km from the international Ukraine-Russia border at the Kerch Strait, Russia is further weakening its untenable hold over Ukraine’s southern peninsula.
Mr. Putin, tear down this wall !