Ukraine

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Feb 17, 2023 8:45 am

{{{ I know this is super long, but I felt it was also super important. So please if you do have the time have a read before giving your own thoughts on all things Ukraine related.


Ukraine. A bit of a Problem.

Context. Modern history of Ukraine.....Take One.


Following WW1 Ukraine fell under the control of Russia and Poland. This gave rise to many freedom fighter groups who attacked Russian and Polish interests. These groups were particularly anti-communist. They would later go on to form parts of the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement and its associated militia groups.

During WW2 Ukraine was invaded by Germany. As a result half of its, at the time large Jewish population of about two and a half million, were slaughtered. An estimated 34,000 Jews, Roma, and 'undesirables' were killed in Kiev alone and buried in mass graves outside the city.
A ravine called Babyn Yar was filled with bodies for two years, its one of the largest killing sites outside of Auschwitz, with at least 100,000 bodies in it.

Fast forward to the end of WW2 and things change rapidly. The Germans are defeated and gone, but Ukraine is no more free than it was before, now begins the era of the Cold War and the USSR. The Russians were back in control now and the old Ukrainian nationalists once again became terrorist organisations attacking the Russian run state.

Ukraine was massively important to the Soviet Union. Out of the 15 Soviet Republics, Ukraine was second only to Russia itself in populace and power. The USSR fleet was on the Black Sea at Sevastopol, as were some of its nuclear arsenal. It provided a massive amount of agriculture to the Soviet Union and housed large military and industrial complexes. It was in short crucial to the strategic and economic needs of the USSR.

But like the Germans before eventually the Russians were gone too, and the final stages of the collapse of the USSR were hastened, many might say it was the final nail in the coffin in fact, when Ukraine severed ties with Russia in 1991.

Finally free of foreign rule for three decades Ukraine tried to plot its own course.

First under its newly elected President Leonid Kravchuk, who served between 91-94. He was a student of Marxist economics and a former member of the Communist Party. He is most noted for signing Ukraine up to the Lisbon Treaty, which was a way of dealing with left over nuclear facilities of the former Soviet Union, the result of which was the removal of nukes from Ukraine territory. He was friendly to Russia.

Kravchuk was followed by another former Communist Party member Leonid Kuchma, who stood on a platform of closer economic ties with Russia to bolster economic growth. He also referred to Russian as a national language of Ukraine. He served from '94 until 2005.
He proposed closer ties with EU, but eschewed membership of NATO and spoke also in favour of a sort of balancing act, staying friendly with Russia too and hoping to agree a free trade deal between the two.

This was a crucial time for future events. Kuchma took part in the first Minsk Agreement. The east of Ukraine was more heavily populated with people who considered themselves Russians, in the Donbas region in particular around Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and there had been an ongoing conflict between Ukrainian militia groups in the region and pro-Russian separatists groups.

The Minsk Agreement agreed a ceasefire to be enforced signed by representatives of both sides and overseen by a consortium of European Countries. As well as the withdrawal of all armed groups from the area and the ceasefire it also promised a decentralising of power through local self-governance in those districts.

Kuchma got much praise, from both Russia and Europe for his role in getting the Agreement signed.

But it lasted about five minutes before both sides accused the other of violating the ceasefire.

There was political scandal in Ukraine, accusations of corruption, fraud, embezzlement and more, and a new President by the end Viktor Yanukovych. But he was no less beset by accusations of scandals. His daughter Yulia was the leader of the peoples uprising and a key figure in the pro-European movement.

The Revolution of Dignity followed Yanukovch's decision to not formally begin the processes to joint the European Union, believing it would harm ties with Russia too much and arguing Ukraine's future lay in a Russia/Asia centric direction instead. This decision led to protests on the streets, dubbed the Euromaiden protest which was the explosion of a slow burning pro-EU/West movement that had been growing in the background for several years.
The opposition to Yanukovich had now widened their remit from just wanting closer ties to Europe to wanting to largely sever ties with Russia entirely and pivot entirely to the West, EU and NATO membership as well.
It all culminated in the Revolution of Dignity in February 2014 when Yankovich was removed from office and he fled to Russia where he remains to this day.

This is also the day the war really started.

With pro-western aims Russia now saw Ukraine as a threat to its strategic needs, in particular the need to access the Black Sea Fleet, and through it exert power in the Mediterranean region and supply allies such as Syria. It declared the toppling of Yanukovich a coup and refused to recognise the new government in Kiev as legitimate.
Russia then choose to invade, crossing the border into Crimea and annexing it by force before quickly calling a referendum.
In July 2014 the referendum result was in Russia's favour. The West condemned Russia's actions and declared the referendum a scam and suspended Russia from the G8 and began imposing sanctions.
Crimea became the Republic of Crimea in Russian eyes and shortly afterwards it was declared a Federal Subject of Russia.

Ukraine's response was to form some new Ministries, the Ministry of Information Policy, which states its goals as being to counteract Russian information aggression, and the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDP's, to manage occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.

Ukraine launched what they called an antiterrorist offensive against the separatist who had claimed the Donbass region, they swiftly retook almost all the lost territory and almost all of the Ukraine/Russia border, however in what Russia described as a 'humanitarian convey' armaments were shipped to the separatists who began to turn the tide of the conflict in their favour.
This was really the start of Russia's open military invasion of Ukraine.

This eventually in September of 2014 led to what has become known as the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport fought by the Russian separatists, led by Alexander Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the self -proclaimed state of the Donetsk People's Republic against the Ukrainian militia and armed forces. With the Russian military backing the separatists easily won and retook the territory they had prior lost..

They had taken control of the east, and their first act was to hold an election. The election was not recognised by the West as it was said to be in violation of the Minsk Agreement. Russia on the other-hand said it was covered by the agreement and supported the elections.

Zakharchenko won with 78% of the vote. The West refused to recognise the result and accused Russia of interfering to swing the vote. Russia denied the allegations and said the people of the region had spoken in a free election and recognised the result and the new region as a new state.

Ukraine naturally refused to recognise this new state, seeing it as still part of Ukraine that had fallen under Russian control through Russian interference and the backing of Zakharchenko's militias.

So, Minsk Treaty 2. Its terrible. A treaty of contradictions and deception. Russia is not named in the treaty, giving it a straight get out clause, and they insisted that the new regions should not only be recognised but given a veto over Ukraine foreign policy, control of the Ukraine-Russia border and that Ukraine must remain neutral. Meaning it could not join either the European Union nor NATO. It in effective neutered the Kiev governments sovereignty.

However as neither side implemented the withdrawal of militias, armaments or in fact anything else in the Treaty nothing came of Minsk 2. Russia, as they weren't named in the treaty, simply said it did not apply to them. They continued to supply armaments to the separatist regions which they recognised as independent of Ukraine. As a result the West continued to fund and supply armaments to Ukraine to counterbalance it.

On the battle front was stalemate, but as the clock ticked both sides were amassing arms with Russia seeing the only solution, diplomacy having failed, being to go over the border in support of the new regions to protect the Russian speaking people there who had elected the new government, and to invade Ukraine as a whole and force the installation of a pro-Russian government, or at the very least one that would not contest Russia's right to Crimea and the separatists regions of Ukraine as well as those regions having a veto over EU or NATO membership.

On the Ukrainian side they saw the elections as illegitimate and the area as occupied territory of Ukraine and they could see Russia was massing on the border for full invasion. Russia terms were unacceptable as it ceded sovereignty to the Russian controlled regions over Foreign Policy.
There was another change of President too, in 2019 this time a very strong pro-European, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
He had come from a media background, being a popular comedian who performed in Russian and was from a Jewish family. He formed the Servant of the People party, named after his popular TV show.

His attempts to end the conflict with Russia in the east failed, not only because Russia would not agree terms, but because many of the Ukrainian militia groups fighting the Russians refused to sign up either, saying it was a sell out to the Kremlin and left Ukrainians vulnerable to Russians.

With war clearly brewing Zelensky turned to the West and tried to persuade the US to speed up NATO membership.

When Russia invaded in February of 2022 the Ukrainian government declared Martial Law.

And so, here we are. 2023 and war still raging in Ukraine..........



Modern history of Ukraine.....Take Two.


After the first World War Ukraine was run by Russia and Poland, leading to an uprising in nationalist Ukrainian groups. These groups roots were steeped in far right ideology, they opposed democracy as strongly as they did communism, they were also white supremacists.

During WW2 Ukraine was invaded by Germany, well invaded might be too strong a word, perhaps better welcomed with open arms, cheering crowds and banners proclaiming, 'Heil Hitler!'

The mass massacres that then occurred of Jews, Roma and the unwanted was not however carried out just by the Germans. There was no shortage of willing volunteers of Ukrainians to do the job.

The Ukrainian Military Organisation (UMO) was created following the Soviet invasion of Ukraine after WW1. It was a terrorist organisation, taking part in bombings and assassination. Promoting armed struggle for freedom.

It was a born from the 6th Rava Brigade but by the time of the second world war it had largely been absorbed into the new Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists.(OUN)

When Germany invaded it was the OUN who they gave power to, the puppet regime was headed by Nazi collaborator Yaroslav Stetsko.

The OUN was responsible for facilitating and in many cases carrying out the mass exterminations, including 70-100,000 Poles as well as the other massacres so far mentioned.
Among those who led the murders was Stepan Bandera-

"Bandera's world-view was shaped by numerous far-right values and concepts including ultranationalism, fascism, racism, and antisemitism; by fascination with violence; by the belief that only war could establish a Ukrainian state; and by hostility to democracy, communism, and socialism. Like other young Ukrainian nationalists, he combined extremism with religion and used religion to sacralize politics and violence."

These groups were not however outliers, far-right and ultra-nationalist views were the norm in Ukraine as a result of the Soviet occupation and hatred of Russia and communism was its main driving factor and focus. They embraced the Nazi's and their idealogical and were more than too happy to help Hitler achieve his aims and defeat Russia.

And they never went away. Once WW2 had come to its end and with the Nazi ideology on the losing side and the hated enemy Russia on the winning side, the source of hatred was there more than ever to keep the ultra-right, ultra-nationalist flame burning in Ukraine throughout the Soviet years.

Nor did Russia forget that the very Ukrainian Nazi collaborators that had been responsible for so many massacres were largely free men, protected by the US from trial and retribution for their crimes.

'The CIA later informed the Immigration and Naturalization Service that it had concealed Stefan Bandera and other Ukrainians from the Soviets. "Luckily the [Soviet] attempt to locate these anti-Soviet Ukrainians was sabotaged by a few far-sighted Americans who warned the persons concerned to go into hiding." The Agency cited the Ukrainian resistance movement's struggle against the Soviets and believed that "the main activities of the OUN in Ukraine cannot be considered detrimental to the United States."

Just a reminder these men saved by 'a few far-sighted Americans' oversaw, supported, took part in and gave the orders for the slaughter of nearly 2 million people, mainly Jews, but Poles, Roma and 'undesirables' of all ages and sexes.

The modern descendants of those right wings groups were particularly heavily located in the centre and east of Ukraine, anywhere the Russian influence and Russian speakers were strongest and open to some attack. Throughout the Cold War the right-wing nationalist inheritors of the Nazi collaborators and the earlier OUN continued to be backed by the US in their Cold War with Russia, receiving funding, arms and training and attacking Russian interests in Ukraine.

Post the Soviet Era they formed into militias and small armed groups for the defence of Ukraine against Russia, and retained their far right allegiances, using symbolism and language of their Nazi past.

The most famous of these groups in the modern day is the Azov Brigade, formed in 2014 to fight the Russians in Donbar. It uses Nazi symbology and is widely believed by human rights groups to have participated in torture, rape and murder of prisoners of war as well as committing war crimes against civilians.

The Azov Brigade traces its roots to a far right movement from the 1980's called Sect 82 and a militia group called the Black Corps. Other right wing militia quickly sprung up as war broke out in Donbas, including the oplot, these groups took to the streets to defend those they saw as Ukrainian and punish those they saw as pro-Russian. It was as you'd expect pretty indiscriminate justice and without anything resembling a due process or trials. This was the rule of the mob and of violence.
In 2014 the Ukrainian government brought these groups into the main Ukrainian army and created the Azov Brigade.

The units insignia is a mirrored version of the Wolfsangel, used by the SS. Until recently it also featured a black sun, another favoured Nazi symbol. Azov members can often be seen with Nazi symbols and swastikas on their uniforms or as tattoos. Journalists who have spent time with the group have described them as, “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and avowed anti-Semites” (Daily Beast), “many of Azov's members have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they were neo-Nazis did not give the most convincing denials.” (Guardian)
Israeli historian and famed Nazi hunter Efraim Zuriff said "It's not Russian propaganda, far from it. These people are neo-Nazis. There is an element of the ultra-right in Ukraine and it's absurd to ignore it."

The US and Canada have stated that training and arms being given to Ukraine should not include the Azov brigade due to its neo-Nazi links, but admit there is no way to monitor this as the priority is to get arms into Ukraine.

So lets replay the events leading up to all this once more from a different Russian perspective.

In the east of Ukraine, Crimea, Donbas etc far right Ukrainian militia groups are operating. They see it as their task to defend Ukraine from Russian influence. Their groups have roots fighting Russians going back over 100 years and all the hatred and bile that comes with that, and the feeling is much the same among the Russian inhabitants of the region towards the Ukrainian militia groups who are viewed as neo-Nazi terrorists.

These far right groups carry out attacks on anything they see as Russian influence or business interests. They are a continual thorn in the side and clearly they are neither being fully controlled nor reigned in by the Ukrainian governments in Kiev.

But up until 2005 this was not really a major problem, it was not a strategic problem for Russia. So long as the Ukrainian government continued to be led by former members of the Communist party Russian access and influence in Crimea and the eastern regions was guaranteed.

But then change of government and a change of direction in Kiev. Ukrainians began to pivot away from Russia, indeed to make openly hostile noises towards Russia and friendly noises towards the EU and even to NATO.

Attacks against Russian speaking peoples in the east grow and the very real prospect, for the first time in Russia's history of losing access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean is becoming a real possibility.
Now Ukraine was becoming a national security issue.

Somewhere a long way away in a building in the US some Americans were watching all this with a lot of interest. They worked for the CIA, and they had an idea. What if Ukraine did pivot totally to the West? How could that be facilitated? Old and classic techniques often still work best, so they infiltrated the flowering movement that would eventually lead to the peoples revolutions.
They put in agitators, they made targeted attacks to rouse the people, they helped organise and coordinate the protests, making use of fake social media and accounts to show the EU and NATO as beneficences and protectors, creating hashtags and doing anything to grow the movement and make sure they overthrow the Ukrainian government and replace it with a more West facing one.
They use all the dark arts to make sure not that Ukraine chooses the West, but that Ukraine is made to choose the West. They just wouldn't know it.

'The program has another secret purpose, preparing Ukrainians for an insurgency. In the Yahoo News report, one former senior intelligence official explained, “That’s where the agency’s program could have a serious impact.” Likewise, other commentators have expressed hope regarding the outcome of a U.S.-backed insurgency. If Russia had been unaware that the CIA was preparing Ukrainians for an insurgency, it certainly knows about the program now. It’s been reported in the media, and if journalists were hearing about it, it is likely that Russian intelligence was aware of it as well.'- LA Times

The moment they did, the moment the revolution succeeded and Ukraine pivoted entirely Westward Russia knew that losing access to the Black Sea to the West and NATO was not just likely, but all but inevitable.

Ukraine was by now publicly calling on NATO and to the EU to allow Ukrainian membership of those organisations- were that to happen Russia would lose all influence in the region as any action they took would invoke a war with NATO, and start WW 3.

The only choice left to prevent that was to move arms into Crimea and take it back into Russia, safeguarding the Black Sea Fleet and Russian strategic and economic goals in the area for the future and acting before NATO could get drawn into any conflict by incorporating Ukraine.

The result of doing this however was to only increase military support for Ukraine from the West and support for further western integration from the Ukrainian people, along with a slew of sanctions imposed by the West, designed to cripple the Russian economy and harm it at home.

With their new found Western weapons the Ukrainians armed the militias in the East in the Donbass region and surrounds to counter what they saw as Russian interference in the area. As a result Russia provided arms to the Russian separatists in the region to defend against what they saw as neo-Nazi right wing militia groups, taking the region and forcing the Ukrainians militia back.

It was clear to Russia at this point that Ukraine was amassing Western weapons, money and training backed by covert operation from the CIA that had overthrown the previous legitimate regime in Kiev, enough to prolong any fighting in the east and even threatening Crimea and the Black Fleet if left unchecked. And they had recruited known far right militia and neo-Nazi groups with a centuries long history of atrocities against Russians and who had been backed by the US since the end of WW2 into the Ukrainian army to do it with.
Just as in WW2 before, Russia was once again in their view fighting the Nazis.
In fact the descendant groups of the very same Nazi's they had been fighting since 1917.

Russia had now twice gone to the negotiating table with the Minsk Agreements, but it was clear for Minsk 2 that neither side trusted the others words. The Russian view that peaceful negotiation was in fact never a goal of the West was only strengthened when ex-German Chancellor Merkel said that the treaties had bought time for Ukraine to prepare military, Russia read this as an indication that there had never been any intention of successful negotiations, just an excuse to buy time to arm and fortify Ukraine against Russia.

Russia's solution was therefore to act quickly and decisively before the West could provide any more armaments to Ukraine and before Ukraine could join NATO and risk WW3. Russia would attempt to force upon the Ukrainian government by arms terms that would at least be favourable to Russian interests in the area, and out of the sphere of influence of the EU and NATO in particular.

So Russia invaded expecting a swift war in which Kiev would quickly agree to terms for a ceasefire that would be favourable to Russian interests and ensure Ukrainian neutrality in the region. After all, no one would want a war that could easily escalate into WW3 and utterly destroy Ukraine.


Zelensky, Ukraine and its Nazi past.


Zelensky is of course from a Jewish family. But that doesn't mean Ukraine does not still have a Nazi problem.

For example in 2016, a major Kyiv boulevard was renamed after Bandera. Remember him? He is the ultra-nationalist Nazi collaborator responsible for untold deaths. The renaming is particularly offensive since the street leads to Babi Yar, the ravine where Nazis, aided by Ukrainian collaborators, exterminated 33,771 Jews in two days, in one of the largest single massacres of the Holocaust. Both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the World Jewish Congress condemned the move.

There is annual torchlight march on Bandera's birthday. During the 2017 commemorations marchers chanted “Jews out!”

Ukraine is littered with statues, street names, place names, all named after Nazi collaborators celebrated as Nationalist heroes.

Then there are the domestic actions taken by Zelensky's government.
His first act upon Russians invasion was to declare martial law. Suspending all democratic processes.

He has been accused of trying to control and silence the press, first by closing down 3 prominent news stations that were pro-Russian, then passing legislation to bring further control of the press under state control and to increase state funding for state run media.

'President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Thursday signed into law a bill that expands the government’s regulatory power over the news media, a measure that journalist organizations have warned could erode press freedoms in the country. Mr. Zelensky, whose administration has been accused of undermining press freedom in recent years, ordered the drafting of a law increasing media regulation in 2019. The European Federation of Journalists, whose general secretary called a previous draft of the law “worthy of the worst authoritarian regimes,” said on Friday that the legislation remained in contradiction with European press freedom standards. The main legal department of Ukraine’s Parliament also noted in an analysis published this month that it had been given little time to review changes in the bill and that the legislation’s language gave insufficient consideration to the risk of introducing censorship.


But the largest move was to ban 11 opposition parties, including Ukraine's largest opposition party for ties to Russia or Russian sympathies.

So in actions since the war began Zelensky has armed militia groups, increased government control of the media and closed down dissenting voices, declared martial law, and banned political opposition.



“Why doesn't everyone do what they were going to have to do from the very beginning? And just SIT DOWN AND TALK!”


The problem of course is you have to get to the table in a meaningful way first.

By meaningful I mean with some humility and some humbleness and in honest acceptance of your own actions.

In this case that means Ukraine facing up to its genuine Nazi problem. And Russia recognising in elections the majority of Ukrainians rejected Nazi parties, and its not as favoured as they would like to make out. And certainly not justification for war.

The West admitting to its interference in spurring on the overthrow of the former government in favour of a more pro-EU and Western one and its role in subsequent actions training and arming. As likewise Russia must admit its role in supplying arms and supporting separatists to committ terrorist actions in Donbas and Crimea.

And the West has to have a more realistic appraisal of Russia's position regards the Black Sea access and Ukraine wanting NATO status.
That would be like Canada going communist singing a treaty with Russia and joining a military alliance that allowed for Russian troops and weaponry to be stationed there, or for Canada to be used as a base of operations for Russian military craft.
It would be utterly unacceptable to the US.
It is no less unacceptable to Russia that NATO occupy Ukraine.

I think to Northern Ireland. Talks and peace only became possible when the IRA were willing to admit to atrocities and crimes they had committed in the name of their cause, and accept punishment for theiractions in return for truly fair talks. And those talks were only possible because the British government owned up to atrocities and crimes it had committed in the name of security and defence, and were willing to accept punishment for them in return for truly fair talks.

The admitting of guilt on both sides, the seeing each other honestly and admitting on at least some things the other side has a point, that all has to come first or else any true negotiated peace is impossible.

Sadly we are seemingly far from that.

We are also in grave danger of repeating an old mistake. At the height of the Cold War when Russia invaded Afghanistan America's response was to train up the local militias and Afghan nationalists in the area and supply them with arms to fight a proxy war against Russia. In doing so they created and armed the Taliban and set in motion the events that would eventually lead to 9/11 and all it entailed.

The Azov and other far right white suprematist militia that were incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces are considered among the armies best and strongest units. The idea that they are not being armed with Western weaponry is laughable. They are the main fighting units of course they are, despite it being prohibited as part of the deal.
We are once again arming very dangerous people, and we arming them with some very sophisticated and dangerous weaponry, increasingly so.
Does anyone think they will give them back when it is all over?

Indeed many of these groups and there associates belief that once Russia is dealt with Zelensky's government in Kiev is next.
When Zelensky was trying to negotiate a peace deal with Putin it failed in no small part because the militia groups refused to go along with it. For these groups Russia and Kiev represent the two things they hate the most, Communism and Zionism.

So even assuming Ukraine wins this war, what happens next? The neo-Nazis don't make up huge numbers of the population, but they will be heavily armed with the best weaponry western money can buy. And after over 100 years they are not just going to go away.

And now the call is for aircraft, for its was for air defence, and taking down drones, then it was long range missile batteries, and then tanks.
Any sort of no-fly zone enforcement over Ukraine, or use of Ukraine of NATO aircraft, no matter the nationality of the pilot, is a massive risk of escalation when the inevitable confrontation with Russian aircraft occurs.

So far its all been escalation. The more the West pumps in arms, the more Russia has to build up its forces to counter it.

And in the middle of it all the normal Ukrainian. Whilst there can be no doubt there was plenty out of outside interference stoking the revolution, its also clear a majority of Ukrainians show a genuine desire to move closer to a Western European style country and living standards.

This is one of the things Russia will have to recognise ion its part for peace to have a hope.
But it does not mean Ukraine has to join the EU or NATO. The EU has tailor made deals with other countries, such as Norway already, which allows access to the single market without membership of the Union. There is even opportunity here for a through trade route via Ukraine to Russia for a trade deal that allows for free movement of goods between Russia and the EU through Ukraine, boosting economies right across the region.
Giving Russia control over the Black Sea region and the Commerical ports would both give an economic incentive to Russia and a strategic one, as well a chance to claim a victory and say they are securing the safety of the worlds food supplies.

The eastern regions should be given a devolved status with their own assemblies and representatives in the Kiev Government proportionate to their vote in return for standing down military action by their militias.

Ukraine should face up to its Nazi past and present. The Azov and other neo-Nazi groups should be disbanded and a public campaign to argue against the Nazi ideology needs to be conducted. The removal of Nazi groups, symbols, statues etc. should be conditional terms for deals with Europe and the US as incentive.

The UN should oversea a de-arming of the country and police the ceasefire and begin the process of looking into war crimes committed by both sides.

However I don't see any of those as being actually likely to happen. As I said it all been escalation to this point and there is no immediate signs that will end soon. Indeed with winter passing the expectations are for larger, more violent, more devastating war to occur.
Russia now sees this as an existential threat to the very existence of Russia, so crucial is the Black Sea and its access to their geopolitical power-base. They cannot afford to lose it and certainly not to a NATO aligned country. It would also be personally humiliating to Putin and most certainly see his removal from power and maybe worse. He'll fight to the last to keep NATO out of Ukraine. }}

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Post by Lancebloke Fri Feb 17, 2023 1:01 pm

As your post shows, this whole thing is very complicated. It goes back further than all of that with the origins of the various peoples and the migrations and wars etc that have been going on for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

I dont really understand the minds of people that think an offensive war is the right option. And I mean a purely offensive war. Justifications could be made (if they really existed) in an offensive war to defend a repressed people but even those should really be heavily weighed up with the potential consequences.

Things like a hatred of a certain 'race' and the want to erase them and replace with yours just doesn't compute to me.

That is what this all really looks like to me... a war between an 'us' and a 'them' with the inability for each to see that the other can peacefully coexist in the long term. A need to strategically out maneuver the other, using proxies to fight and die with the long term goal to make the other so irrelevant that a toe-to-toe conflict isn't needed... because that would be the only outcome if you didn't.

I dont feel like there is a good outcome of all of this.

If Putin loses then there will be a bigger destabilising effect on many other former soviet nations or areas. We are already seeing that with Armenia and Azerbaijan... there are more ready to pop.

And if Putin loses then I don't think Russian society will accept him staying in power. The alternatives right now dont look good and short of another civil war, I think there is a good chance something worse and less competent arises.

If they win, I dont believe Ukraine will be the end. Russia will lick its wounds (which are already severe) and stay preparing itself for the next conflict. The balkans is still a powder keg as well as other Eastern European countries like Moldova and Hungary.

Belarus will get emboldened by a win and will be more likely to support with boots and blood.

And obviously the worst outcome that is always likely is NATO getting dragged in directly.

While I really believe that we would give them a pasting (assuming conventional warfare only), that effort would still cost hundreds of thousands of lives at a minimum and very much give others an opportunity to progress an agenda or settle a score (China, Iran, N Korea etc).

I have no idea how this is going to end really. Russia is throwing bodies in to a wall of lead at the moment. They have bodies to spare and the West is making sure there is plenty of lead.

All that is sure is that both countries will be feeling the impacts of this special operation long in to the future with lost generations of people that would have been and the memory of what they all did to each other far in to the future.
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Post by Mrs Figg Fri Feb 17, 2023 1:09 pm

Two things. Russia is not Putin, and do we just let Putin do another Syria, flattening a whole country and putting his puppet in place. If he gets away with this, he would never stop. Other mighty armies in history have been seen to be unstoppable, but they have always toppled sooner or later.
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Post by halfwise Fri Feb 17, 2023 1:23 pm

Petty: Though I agree with most of what you've said and admire the dual viewpoint approach, I think it's important to not over simplify the Azov Battalion.  Though founded by a true neo nazi, it was early on funded by Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskyi, and it's main characteristic is ultra nationalism, which tends to attract Nazi elements as we also see in the USA.  But it also has Jewish members, so it cannot be described as a neo-nazi organization.  The Nazi element in Ukraine has been blown out of proportion by Russian propaganda.

I don't think Russia, the US or the EU has any apologies to make for their attempts to influence Ukrainian politics - this is a very natural thing that goes on all the time; but they shouldn't deny it either.  I agree that saying clearly "this is what we did, and you know what, we'd probably do it again" would be very healthy.  Russia did its level best to influence the last couple (at least) US elections and that actually doesn't offend me at all because we've also been doing all we can to influence elections around the world.  But it all should be exposed.

As I said before I don't blame Russia for being upset at the expansion of NATO states, but it wouldn't have lost them if it had been a better neighbor.  There's been some persuasion involved to get new member states, but no coercion.  I think they're all happier for it.

I don't see an easy way out, even going back decades to change past actions.  Would Europe accept a Russian controlled Ukraine any more than Russia would accept an EU controlled Ukraine?  Only if Ukraine had enshrined neutrality as a core principle (as an earlier president tried to do) would this have been staved off; but eventually every balancing act teeters one way or another.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Feb 17, 2023 9:35 pm

That is what this all really looks like to me... a war between an 'us' and a 'them' - Lance

{{ Im not sure about that. I think for Russia this is about practicality. They dont hate most of the people they are fighting, a lot of them are of Russian descendant, Russia was until very recently a national language of Ukraine and the most widely spoken. Zelensky performed his TV show in Russian, most TV was in Russian.

So in this case I dont think we can look to hatred of a people as the real excuse or reasoning.
For Russia this a threat to their very existence. If they lose Ukraine to the West they not only lose access to a very large and important supply of agricultural goods, they lose massive economic ties to commercial ports and most importantly Sevastapol and the Black Sea.

Under the first 2 Presidents of an independent Ukraine the Black Sea area was leased to Russia, and this could be done again.
The problem last time was Russia also took it as an opportunity to reinforce separatists movement sin the area and spur armed uprisings in areas like Donbas. Which could not be allowed to be repeated in a future agreement.

But if Russia loses access it also loses global influence, its from their they supply allies such as Syria and where their naval power is based.

But much worse than that if Ukraine and the other nations now wishing NATO membership are granted it Russia will have NATO almost completely along their western border.
And whats to stop the creep? Whats to stop more pro-western sentiment being stirred up in other parts in western Russia?
Thats what Russia fears, the slow erosion of the Russian state, not in one almighty conquest, but taken piecemeal, bite by bite. Salami Tactics!

'If Putin loses then there will be a bigger destabilising effect on many other former soviet nations or areas.' - Lance

For Putin to go for peace he needs an out. In the past in the first two administrations of modern Ukraine the Black Sea region was leased to Russia- unfortunately they also used to supply arms and people to the separatist movements and ferment public violence to destabilise the area - which is why any deal needs UN oversight. But if given security of access to the Black Sea and then Ukraine publicly has a reflection on its Nazi elements in its society and in its past and those they celebrate, and disbands the most Nazi associated parts of the armies and disbands the militia - Putin can claim victory in his main publicly stated aim for the war- the deNazification of Ukraine, without having to achieve it militarily.

'Though founded by a true neo nazi, it was early on funded by Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskyi, and it's main characteristic is ultra nationalism, which tends to attract Nazi elements as we also see in the USA.  But it also has Jewish members, so it cannot be described as a neo-nazi organization.'- Halfy

Having read up a lot on what people who have been imbedded with these militia or have followed them for years say I dont think there can be any doubt that the vast majority of them are anti-Semitic, despite their history or even serving Jewish members. The links they do have to the Jews they use as a fig leaf to try to conceal their otherwise barely hidden anti-Semitism.

Since the Azov Battalion was brought into the armed forces it has however undergone a denazification policy, with screening of candidates for such beliefs, but it only resulted in creating a political offshoot - the Azov Movement.

'The Azov movement uses fascist symbols and has been accused by international humanitarian organizations of human rights abuses in the conflict zone.
The National Militia is an independent group that is merely the latest component of Azov's civilian and political wing, known as the National Corpus. It is led by lawmaker and former Azov Battalion commander Andriy Biletsky, once the head of Ukraine's neo-Nazi Social-National Party.
Azov officially founded the National Corpus in October 2016, incorporating two other nationalist groups, including Patriot Of Ukraine, which according to Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group "espoused xenophobic and neo-Nazi ideas and was engaged in violent attacks against migrants, foreign students in Kharkiv, and those opposing its views." - Al-jazerra

Now all this is not to say that Russia has not used this as an excuse and greatly exaggerated it, as I noted above in actual elections these groups rarely poll more than 5% of the vote at best creeping up towards 10% in the east. But Ukraine not only doesn't address this issue as it should, as a nation it has never faced its own Nazi past, it simply ignores it. There's a reason they can raise a statue to a Nazi collaborator at the end of the very road where he sent thousands of Jews to their deaths it's because all they remember of him is when he fought the Russians as a Ukrainian Nationalist. Its a national blind spot.

And the worse danger as I said is that we are arming these militia and former militia ideologies with some of best and most dangerous weapons on the planet. }}

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Post by Lancebloke Sat Feb 18, 2023 8:58 am

"They dont hate most of the people they are fighting"

Most of them didn't. Most of them had family on either side of the border. Since the war started to go badly and the Russians found out that the Ukranians didn't see them as liberators, war tactics changed.

The fact that we see lots ofnthings that look like state sanctioned war crimes, indiscriminate attacks against civilians targets, extermination of local pollination, movement of children to Russia for "nationalist training" shows that the upper ranks very much think of them as "other."

And now that the war has turned in to a brutal attrition meat grinder, there is now very real hate between the people themselves. That hate will last for generations to come.

"For Russia this a threat to their very existence."

Don't believe that for a second. It is a threat to their global strategic aims which includes dominating Eastern Europe. Putin has made it clear that he has aspirations of a new USSR. He feels like Russia has lost its prestige and he is clearly a man who thinks prestige means dominance and fear.

Losing access to Sevestapol is a pain in the arse because it means the black fleet has to locate somewhere else and the Mediterranean and Indian oceans are harder to get to. But it also has an enemy in Turkey who could also quite easily shut off the Bosphorus.... that has always been a dodgy place to keep their boats anyway.

They have plenty of other naval bases though and power projection to the middle east also runs through other allies like Iran.

This isn't about survival, it is about making a name in history. Being the next Stalin and fighting off the Nazi's and liberating russians from the label of being Ukrainian. Probably helps that Ukraine is quite resource heavy too.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Feb 18, 2023 1:32 pm

{{ I think, at least to begin with the real hate was saved for the Ukrainian Nationalists and the militia groups with a Nazi past, as I mentioned from a Russian perspective they are the same nationalist terrorist groups they've been fighting since 1917 - so there is plenty hate on both sides built up there. But I dont think there was hate to begin with for the population.
I think what came as a shock was how little pro-Russian support there was in Ukraine, especially in the west. I am sure Putin believed there was a much larger pro-Russian separatist movement, with much larger public support than there actually was. And he also underestimated just how much the people had turned to the west and in particular the EU as a better economic and social choice than turning to Russia and Asia.

Putin did not expect a protracted war, he thought Kiev would quickly agree terms to avoid exactly what is happening now.
And maybe if there was going to be a moment when it could have been avoided, it was then.

Now I dont see a good outcome, especially not for Ukraine. It has taken the unfortunate route of going from a buffer zone between super-powers to being the battlefield of two super-powers.

The existential threat Russia sees is not military defeat, or economic sanctions, or even loss of access to the Black Sea. It's just more of the same.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more and more of eastern Europe has been absorbed into the West. It's that, continuing, slowly eroding away province by province. Slowly reducing Russia. Thats the threat many in Putin's inner circle perceive. The slow collapse and break up of the state.

Putin may dream of retuning Russia to its former borders, but in reality he has been unable to keep his borders free from EU and NATO encroachment till now. }}

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Post by halfwise Sat Feb 18, 2023 1:54 pm

In contrast Britain accepted it's loss of empire with relatively good grace, probably because it wasn't contiguous.  Russia had a chance to keep good relations with its neighbors but blew it by being too controlling.  So I don't buy the argument that the west precipitated the war by expanding NATO: Russia precipitated it by causing NATO to expand via free choice of the new member states.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Feb 18, 2023 10:18 pm

Britain accepted it's loss of empire with relatively good grace, probably because it wasn't contiguous. - Halfy

{{ They clung onto territory closer to home, Scotland, Ireland, Wales. And even if those parts had left there was little risk of them falling under foreign influence and control.

Russia fears both losing territory and the proximity of that foreign influence on the remainder.

As to NATO, it snot hard to understand Russia's position. Had the Cold War ended the other way round there is no way the US would accept a communist Russia or Mexico joining the Warsaw Pact and having Russian military equipment along the US border. Hell the US nearly started WW3 over Cuba.

NATO was perfectly aware it was no less acceptable to Russia but pushed it anyway. It was not the only option, other countries who were in a similar position simply took up a position of neutrality. And Ukraine could have signed more conventional treaties with individual nations rather than NATO for defence purposes.
There was neither need to poke the Russian bear with a stick nor to flaunt the fact it lost the Cold War by rubbing the victory right into their face at close quarters.}}

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Post by halfwise Sun Feb 19, 2023 12:04 am

Asking how America would react if Canada or Mexico joined the Soviet bloc is missing the point ENTIRELY. You have to ask WHY Canada or Mexico would join the Soviet bloc. If there's no reason why they would, then it means America hasn't driven them to do so.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Feb 19, 2023 12:19 am

{{ Youd have to presume the same in reverse, that losing the Cold War led to a collapse in the economy, society and government of the US, and that the same only worse happened in the former territories- Canada and Mexico being the stand ins. Under those conditions terms with the lone standing super power might seem prudent. Just as it did for eastern block countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The important bit is there is no scenario in which Russia having a military alliance on the US border would be acceptable to the US. And if they tried it would without any doubt be met with military force if necessary.
But we expected Russia to accept just that and not to resort to military force in response.
And that in my view was stupid. It was inevitable it would lead to a confrontation, the West's greatest failing is not seeming to believe that and so we havent prepared for it, Putin has been.}}

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Post by Lancebloke Sun Feb 19, 2023 9:20 am

Kind of. The main difference being what was voluntary and what was not.

Most of the Warsaw pact countries were soviet satellite states, with a couple being invaded at points to ensure they remained so.

NATO is a voluntary organisation which states have joined because of that policy. Russia is trying to create a forced buffer zone and therefore forcing the decision for those states to turn to another alliance to guarantee their security.

This is a position of Russias own making. I am pretty sure that if they had carried on their seemingly friendly path if the mid-90s and early 2000s then there wouldn't have really been a problem. Russia and Europe were getting quite cosy.
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Post by halfwise Sun Feb 19, 2023 8:59 pm

Nod

Going back to an image I painted a year ago: if there's a playground bully, there's two ways to deal with him. You can make friends with those he thinks are part of HIS group, thus diminishing it; or you can say it's stupid to provoke him by decreasing the size of his circle and let him keep doing what he does, pushing away those who may come to you. The second is easier and leads to less conflict, but is it really taking the high road?

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