Tuesday, November 24, 2015
X-Captive Nations Understand Danger of ‘Russian Partnership’
The murderous rampage by ISIS and the free world’s so-called coalition to defeat the Islamic scourge has again brought to the surface the former captive nations’ distrust and hatred of Russia.
Consequently, Moscow’s erstwhile colonies are not hurrying to join any posse that includes Russia to chase down and destroy ISIS.
Russia’s crimes against each one of them and specifically its current war against Ukraine have convinced them to steer clear of Moscow. The chasm that Russia has dug with its crimes against the former captive nations cannot be filled in even by a global humanitarian or punitive mission.
Indeed, the x-captive nations regard Russia as a terrorist like ISIS.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, a consistent and unambiguous advocate of Ukraine, in 2014, became the first European leader to speak frankly about the Russian aggression in the Donbas region of Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea. Grybauskaite said candidly in an interview with The Washington Post that she saw both the Islamic State and Russia as terrorists.
“Russia is terrorizing its neighbors and using terrorist methods,” the Lithuanian president was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris, French President Francois Hollande and some other leaders expressed the idea that Russia should be included in a broad coalition against the ISIS. However, not all EU members support this proposal, noting that Russia is an exporter of terrorism and has violated all international norms by invading sovereign Ukrainian territory, annexing Crimea and then continuing its aggression in the eastern oblasts of Ukraine.
According to the Baltic Times, at a meeting with the presidents of Latvia and Estonia, Grybauskaite asserted that Lithuania “will not be participating in any new coalitions that Russia is or wants to be a part of.”
“Russia still occupies the territory of one country and is carrying out direct military actions in another, even two countries – Georgia and Ukraine,” Grybauskaite pointed out.
Estonian President Thomas Hendrik Ilves said: “With all the focus these days on terrorism and on Daesh, we have to still keep in mind that the largest act of aggression since the end of World War II is a continuing process with the annexation of Crimea.”
“And I would say that I think we are all concerned about this sort of falling behind or some kind of development in which we stop paying attention to Crimea, or we even forgive the annexation because of the newer threats. We cannot allow that to happen,” Ilves said, according to the Baltic News Service.
Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis emphasized that the situation in the European Union and on its southern borders should not distract attention from Ukraine, Delfi news agency reported. “Our common task is to keep the issue of Ukraine high on the EU agenda until the full resolution of the Minsk Agreements,” he said.
The Baltic trio, together with Poland, are insisting on utmost firmness regarding Russia. They fear that the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine will be lumped together as some pundits have also suggested by writing that Putin hopes to use Syria to deflect attention from Ukraine.
“These are different crises and we must not link them, we must assess them separately,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP. “It is unacceptable to talk about some kind of trade, concessions or spheres of influence.”
The Latvian Ministry for Foreign Affairs suggested last week Friday that “the Baltic countries should continue to constantly remind the world about the illegal annexation of Crimea. The fight against terrorists and resolving the conflict in Syria should not be at the expense of Ukraine.”
Polish lawmaker Marcin Kierwinski from the liberal Civic Platform (PO) opposition party observed that “The need to settle the IS issue shouldn’t change our position regarding Russia.”
“Even if it’s not officially on the table, Moscow hopes that if the anti-IS coalition sees the light of day, pressure in the case of Ukraine will lessen and a certain number of countries will say, since we’re fighting together, the sanctions shouldn’t be renewed,” Polish analyst Wojciech Lorenz told AFP. “That's what we have to fear.”
The x-captive nations broad unity was accentuated by Eiki Nestor, the president of Estonia’s parliament: “Even now after the tragedy in Paris, this understanding of new democracies, what the three Baltica and Nordic states (have), we’re trying to help Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova to develop, it's very important, especially in Ukraine's case.”
Separately, newly elected Polish President Andrzej Duda observed recently in the website http://www.ji-magazine.lviv.ua that contemporary Russia has nothing to do with democracy.
In addition to violating its own constitution every day, Duda said Russia “is the first European country which has committed military intervention in the affairs of other independent European state, taking away part of its territory” referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia should not be the focus of any negotiations, he said, adding that the Minsk discussions involving Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France reminded him of Yalta of 1945, at which the free world surrendered parts of Europe to Soviet Russia.
“We cannot accept the fact that Russia should swallow Ukraine by pieces. We are responsible for the integration of European states and the integrity of borders in Europe. Stopping this decaying process will be a triuimph for Europe. To accept a rotten compromise will defeat it,” the Polish president said.
Since the start of the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-15, the former captive nations have proudly and bravely defended Ukraine against the Russian invasion and warned that Russia’s appetite for conquest has not abated. They have also cautioned that the free world shouldn’t betray Ukraine for the sake of an ersatz greater good. They rightly fear that including Russia in the anti-ISIS coalition could lead the free world to halt sanctions against Russia, which would unleash a major backlash against it.
Predictably, France’s Holland is rounding up countries to track down the ISIS killers. However, the x-captive nations have not forgotten his and France’s current offenses. France maintains an honorary consulate in occupied Donetsk which would be akin to the US supporting a consulate in Vichy during WW2. Hollande suggested to Kyiv to negotiate with Russian terrorists in the occupied territories but wouldn’t even consider following his own advice.
I have advocated that the x-captive nations must revive the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, the World Anti-Communist League or the Captive Nations Week Committee for their common defense. They should form global, regional, academic and UN coalitions to defend democracy, liberty and human rights as bulwarks against Russian aggression.
What Ukraine and the former captive nations have experienced in the Russian prison of nations has convinced them that Russia can’t be trusted today – despite the need to destroy ISIS. Their counsel should not be belittled by Islamic terrorists’ victims.