Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 27.11.2018
Russia attacked Ukraine at sea on November 25, started a heavy anti-Ukrainian propaganda campaign on November 26, and is now waiting to see what happens. Putin will wait a short time to see what the response will be to his purposeful and unprovoked Kerch Strait battle against the Ukrainian Navy. If Western democracies do nothing to help Ukraine in the next few days then Russia will launch a major offensive.
In a speech to the Verkhovna Rada on November 26, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, gave the estimate of Ukrainian military intelligence that Russian military units are in place for a ground offensive from illegally-occupied Donbas and Crimea, and for an amphibious assault on the Sea of Azov coast and possibly at Odesa. It is why President Poroshenko advised the Ukrainian parliament to adopt martial law (literally, a “war state”) to adequately prepare the nation to defend against an imminent expansion of the Russian Federation’s invasion.
The Verkhovna Rada adopted the martial law measure. For 30 days from November 28, special legal conditions will be in place in 10 regions of Ukraine – all bordering the Russian Federation or territories illegally occupied by the Russian Federation (the Left bank of Dniester in Moldova, the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, and the eastern part of Donbas in Ukraine).
Ukraine is the only Western democracy to have taken any action in response to the Russian Federation’s act of war on November 25. Most friends of Ukraine expressed “deep concern” – only a few condemned Russian aggression. Not a single Western nation other than Ukraine proposed or took any steps to stop Putin.
In public statements, Trump and the German foreign ministry even went to the extreme of using the language of “both sides” moral equivalency when talking about the Russian aggressors and the Ukrainian defenders. Putin will see this as a green light to expand his war against Ukraine, given from the United States and Germany.
Some international partners “urged” the Russian Federation to release the 23 Ukrainian Navy sailors it is holding hostage, give back the three Ukrainian Navy ships it stole, and reopen the Kerch Strait to all maritime traffic for Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. As these “urgings” are backed up by nothing, Putin is ignoring them. To the contrary, Russian abductors subjected the Ukrainian hostages to psychological torment, and then released a video showing forced ‘confessions’ from some of the men. After committing an open act of war, the Putin regime of state terrorism has committed a violation of the Geneva Conventions: a war crime.
Nothing could more incense the feelings of the Ukrainian people than witnessing the public abuse of dutiful service members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The hatred and contempt that the Russian aggressors have shown towards Ukrainian defenders in the past couple of days will be returned a hundred-fold as Ukraine prepares to fight back against the Russian offensive which is to come.
In the face of anti-Ukrainian hysteria coming from the Kremlin, the Ukrainians – the real leaders of the Free World – are presenting facts. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine release radio communication between Russian leadership and border guard ships that attacked the Ukrainian naval boats “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol” and the Ukrainian naval tug “Jana Kapu.” With a lot of swearing and shouting, the Russians reveal they rammed the Ukrainian tug twice, that the commander of the Russian coast guard ship “Don” is responsible for opening fire, that the nominal Russian commander Vice-Admiral Gennady Medvedev “is in a panic,” and that Putin directly controlled the battle and ordered the assault.
What were Putin’s orders? What is the nature of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine? The radio transcript gives the essence of Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine: Putin ordered his men “to kick them, to ram them, to destroy f*cking everything.”