Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Truce Now is Sellout and Defeat
There is absolutely no reason for Ukraine to sue for truce in its war with Russia or to agree to a ceasefire.
All of the arguments against such a dangerous move are in Ukraine’s favor – morally, politically and hopefully militarily.
In January of this year, without provocation or declaration, Russia invaded Crimea, occupied the Ukrainian peninsula and the fabricated a referendum that led to Moscow’s annexation of this portion of indivisible Ukrainian territory. A few months later, Russian mercenary terrorists began crossing Ukraine’s eastern border and waging a bloody war to conquer its eastern and southeastern regions.
Putin’s proclaimed reason for this war, in which he emphasized he was not involved, was to defend the interests of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. This was a bald-faced scam because since the start of the demonstrations across Ukraine, Maidan, and finally the anti-Yanukovych revolution, at least half of the activists as well as the martyred protesters were Russian-speaking Ukrainians, who wanted to live in a Ukraine that was not tied to Russia. They wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that Europe could provide them but were denied by Yanukovych and Putin. By brushing aside Putin’s lies, the truth behind his invasion of Ukraine becomes obvious: He wants to re-subjugate Ukraine, recreate the glory of imperial Russia and keep NATO away from its borders.
The war that Russia unabashedly launched against Ukraine was bloody with thousands of civilians and soldiers killed. Firing rockets and artillery from Russia into Ukraine, Russia destroyed Ukrainian towns, military aircraft and armored vehicles as well as Malaysian civilian airliner MH17 that claimed nearly 300 passengers and shocked the world.
At first, the Russian mercenary forces scored several key victories but in time the Ukrainian counterattack consisting of the regular army, National Guard of Ukraine and the volunteer militia battalions began liberating vast regions of occupied eastern Ukraine.
Throughout this time, Washington, the other capitals and NATO halfheartedly, and in disbelief, protested against Russia’s violation of international law. Sanctions were applied and the Russian economy as well as its billionaires reportedly lost billions of dollars. But the war that Russia launched against Ukraine did not stop and Russian troops did not withdraw.
Petro Poroshenko was elected president and apparently inspired Ukrainian soldiers to victory. They began to liberate more and more towns and villages to the cheers of the local population. Poroshenko gave Ukraine what it had lacked: a patriotic, nationally-minded head of state who was not afraid to lead his nation to victory against Russia.
With Russian mercenaries turning tail, Putin decided to up the ante by sending in regular Russian soldiers with heavy armor, tanks and artillery. The tens of thousands of regular Russian troops that were amassed on Ukraine’s border began crossing it and repelling Ukrainian soldiers. The world was quite aware of this expanded invasion as NATO released photographs of the assault.
What has been odd is that leading capitals and even the United Nations were not fooled by what Russia has been doing but they were paralyzed into inactivity.
World leaders, specifically, the EU, again threated to increase what was called sectoral sanctions against Russia if Moscow did not halt its invasion within a week. Why wait a week?
This fateful paper threat showed Putin that his adversaries around the world were not worth listening to. So his invasion was again intensified to the point where Ukraine, which is on the verge of getting special status with the EU and NATO, was forced to agree to another ceasefire with Russia, which violated the previous two truces. Actually, as pundits have written, Russia has never lived up to any of its treaty obligations.
If that wasn’t enough, Putin threated the United States and Ukraine with nuclear weapons if they continue to defy his will.
The US and EU hoped for a political solution to this war that Ukraine did not start and probably coaxed Kyiv into considering another truce with Russia. According to published reports, Putin claims to be urging his mercenaries to submit to this ceasefire but they are reportedly rejecting his requests.
Let’s say there is a truce. What happens with the Russian army and mercenaries that are occupying a vast amount of Ukrainian territory? Will they be allowed to stay? How long? They killed innocent civilians with small arms fire and artillery explosions to such a degree that the United Nations called attention to this cruel mayhem. Will Kyiv be forced to cede those oblasts to Russia like it did Crimea? Will the world tolerate this transgression of international law for all eternity? Why is Ukraine the world’s sacrificial lamb?
None of this is fair but war isn’t fair. It merely must be quickly ended. There can be no truce as long as Russian soldiers and mercenaries are in Ukraine. They must capitulate and withdraw to a safe distance inside Russia and then the world can talk about a truce and a political solution. Not before. A ceasefire now would be tantamount to a sellout and defeat for Ukraine.
As for the US, EU and NATO, they would be to blame for Ukraine’s defeat and re-subjugation by Russia. They would be held up to scorn by the other former captive nations that perhaps naively looked to them for protection from Russia’s continuing onslaught.
The few hundred troops that the US, NATO and other countries have dispatched to Eastern Europe are woefully insufficient to make a dent in Putin’s plans. What could make him sit up and listen is if the UN, NATO and European allies would send several D-Day-sized armies and air forces into the Carpathian Mountains for war games and if their navies would be dispatched to the Baltic and Black seas for maneuvers.
If not, then Putin, seated in his office in the Kremlin, recognizing that no one can stop him, would be plotting who’s next.