Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 03.12.2018
It has been a week since the Russian Federation attacked the Ukrainian Navy in the Kerch Strait. The Putin regime has followed its act of war with war crimes committed against 24 Ukrainian Navy sailors who are prisoners of war. The Ukrainian POWs have been moved to Moscow, where it is expected they will face a show trial rather than be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Three captured Ukrainian naval vessels have not been released by the Russians. The Russian invaders of Ukraine have put a stranglehold on the Kerch Strait and have effectively imposed a maritime blockade on the Ukrainian port cities of Berdyansk and Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
Western democracies other than Ukraine are doing nothing to stop Putin. This makes a Russian military offensive against Ukraine and thus a larger war in Europe more likely.
According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, there are 80,000 Russian soldiers in Russian-occupied Crimea, in Russian occupied Donbas, and in the regions of the Russian Federation adjacent to Ukraine. Putin also has at-the-ready almost 1,400 artillery and missile systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armoured vehicles, 500 planes and 300 helicopters for an offensive against Ukraine. Currently, there are 80 Russian naval vessels and eight submarines in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Aegean Sea.
In response to the Russian Federation’s act of war against Ukraine on November 25, the Ukrainian government declared a “war state” in the 10 regions of Ukraine closest to the invaders from Muscovy. To end on December 28, this legal framework allows Ukraine to look to its defence for the Russian offensive which is anticipated to follow the Battle of the Kerch Strait.
The military-industrial complex in Ukraine has been shifted to a war footing. On December 2, air defence units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine received 20 different pieces of new and upgraded equipment from the state-owned defence concern Ukroboronprom. The Ukrainian aeronautical concern Antonov is expediting testing and certification of a new model military transport aircraft, the AN 132D. Without meaningful support from other Western democracies, Ukraine’s own defence industries must sustain the war effort.
Ukraine begins a call-up of reservists on December 3. Veterans of Putin’s War against Ukraine in Donbas make up a substantial part of this cadre. Reservists will be called to duty for up to 15 days to command units and up to 20 days to training centres. Full mobilization will only be carried out when large-scale open aggression by the Russian Federations breaks out.
Ukraine has an answer to the Russian Federation’s act of war on November 25 but the rest of Western civilization does not. As has been the case for four and three quarter years already, the life-and-death struggle to stop Russian imperialist aggression is being fought by the Ukrainian people alone.