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Why Does Ukraine Want War?

8 APRIL 2021

Why Does Ukraine Want War?

Ukraine wants war with Russia due to a combination of domestic and international factors, but such a scenario would be disastrous for the Eastern European country and only serve the interests of some members of the political elite and their foreign patrons.

The whole world is watching with bated breath to see whether Ukraine and Russia will go to war over Donbass like many fear might be about to happen due to recent events. I asked earlier this week whether “Vaccines Are The Real Driving Force Behind The Latest Donbass Destabilization”, pointing out the grand strategic interest that the US has in provoking a crisis that would put unprecedented political pressure on the EU to not buy Russia’s Sputnik V like the bloc’s top members are reportedly considering at the moment, but there’s more to it than just that at the comparatively lower strategic levels.

Ukraine wants war with Russia due to a combination of domestic and international factors, including its ruling elite’s desire to distract from a slew of domestic crises. These include its efforts to stamp out the increasingly popular opposition through a series of witch hunts, attract emergency Western financial aid to facilitate their struggling economy’s recovery, and perhaps become important enough to the West that they can finally receive much-needed vaccines for their population that they’ve hitherto been denied for inexplicable reasons. Moreover, the powerful influence of ultra-nationalist (fascist) militias can’t be discounted either.

On the foreign front, the US certainly never tries of causing trouble for Russia however and wherever it can. In the present context, any “continuation war” in Donbass could in theory impose unexpected financial costs on the country, among other potential consequences like serving as a pretext for more sanctions against it. Broadly speaking, the US might also hope that it can manipulate the optics of the conflict that it’s arguably trying to provoke in order to pressure Germany to pull out of its agreement to finish the Nord Stream II pipeline, however far-fetched that outcome might be in reality.

The Ukrainian political elite and their foreign patrons would be the only possible beneficiaries of such a conflict should one be successfully sparked by the US but even they, however, might experience blowback in the event that the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their allied ultra-nationalist (fascist) militias are decisively beaten on the battlefield. Facing that probable scenario, Kiev might urgently request NATO support, though it’s unclear whether any would be forthcoming, and if so, to what extent and whether they’d have a mandate to directly fight Russian-friendly rebels and perhaps even Russia itself should it intervene to protect its border and citizens.

What’s thus far certain at this point is that Ukraine wants war. This is evidenced not only by the previous arguments above, but also by its chief negotiator on Donbass demanding that the venue of the Minsk talks be switched from Belarus to somewhere else like Poland despite the latter indisputably being a partisan player in this larger conflict. This signifies that Kiev isn’t interested in continuing to pursue a peaceful resolution to its off-and-on civil war, which was actually obvious to all objective observers for quite a while already since it was none other than the Ukrainian government itself which refused to fully implement the Minsk Accords.

The Russian-friendly rebels and the neighboring eponymous state that politically (and according to some questionable reports, militarily) supports them have long been calling on Kiev to grant Donbass the special status that the Ukrainian government previously agreed to as a result of the Minsk Accords. The US has consistently pushed its Ukrainian client not to implement the promised political reforms in order to retain the country’s status as a Hybrid War ulcer on Russia’s border that could continue progressively eating away at its legitimate security interests and eventually be externally exacerbated at a strategic moment like the present.

The current timing of Ukraine’s latest US-backed anti-Donbass provocations is linked to the reportedly impending success of Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” with the EU, Nord Stream II’s near completion, Ukraine’s series of domestic crises, but also Biden’s rise to power. The President and his family reportedly have a history of corrupt dealings with Ukraine, which gives them vested interests to militarily support it beyond whatever any other US leader might have promised in such a situation. This in turn ratchets up the danger to Russia since Biden might do the unthinkable by deploying US combat troops to Eastern Ukraine in the worst-case scenario.

As can be seen, Ukraine wants war for its own self-interested reasons, but it wouldn’t have any realistic chance of provoking such had it not been for the US’ – and specifically, the Biden family’s – support for this. No one else, least of all Russia, wants another conflict to explode in Eastern Ukraine, but Moscow will defend its legitimate security interests related to its international border and the security of its citizens in Donbass should the situation go south really soon. Kiev is thus at risk of opening up a can of worms as a result of its feverish march towards war, and while the US and Russia might not clash, Ukraine might still collapse in the end.


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Expert Analysis

Are Vaccines The Real Driving Force Behind The Latest Donbass Destabilization?

6 APRIL 2021

Are Vaccines The Real Driving Force Behind The Latest Donbass Destabilization?

Observers are in a passionate debate over what’s really driving the latest Donbass destabilization, with the most prominent hypotheses being either domestic Ukrainian politics or the US’ regional geostrategic ambitions, but the argument can also compellingly be made that the concept of so-called “vaccine nationalism” is playing a largely under-discussed role in events.

The Two Main Hypotheses

Donbass is on the brink of major destabilization once again, yet observers are in disagreement over what’s really driving the latest events. Some believe that domestic Ukrainian politics are to blame and that Kiev’s ruling party aims to provoke a regional crisis in order to distract from its plummeting popularity. Evidence in support of this hypothesis includes the government’s recent witch hunt against opposition figures and its draconian banning of many Russian-language media outlets in the country. President Zelensky also promulgated a decree late last month which practically declares war on Russia and explicitly threatens Crimea. The other theory about the US’ regional geostrategic ambitions is backed up by the its ominous statement of support for Ukraine as well as Washington’s preexisting motives for destabilizing Moscow’s western periphery, which prompted Russia to promise its own ominously support for its passport holders in the country. Both theories have a lot of truth to them, but they’re missing a crucial component which could complete the strategic picture.

Vaccine Diplomacy”

That’s the concept of so-called “vaccine nationalism”, which refers to countries’ efforts to promote their COVID-19 vaccines abroad while also sometimes simultaneously thwarting their competitors’ selfsame attempts. In the current context, Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” of exporting Sputnik V across the world to save lives, restore the economy, and also for the supplementary purpose of expanding its multipolar influence is on the brink of a globally game-changing success after Politico reported over the weekend that “More EU Countries Eye Separate Deals With Russia For Sputnik Vaccine”. This was preceded just a few days prior by a related report about how “Macron And Merkel Discuss Vaccine Cooperation With Russia”. The unmistakable trend is that Europe is quickly learning that it needs Russia more than the reverse despite American pressure to convince them to the contrary, which explains why CNN is freaking out so much that it recently published a scaremongering piece about how “Europe Is Torn Over Whether To Take Putin’s Help On Vaccines”.

The Donbass Dilemma

It’s against this strategic context that the latest destabilization in Donbass is unfolding. Each side blames one another for provoking it, but an objective assessment of the situation very strongly suggests that neither Russia nor the Russian-friendly rebels of Eastern Ukraine are responsible. After all, they’ve been trying to peacefully implement the Minsk Accords for the past few years, but it’s US-backed Kiev which has obstinately refused to make any tangible progress in this direction, both for domestic nationalist reasons and those related to American regional geostrategic ambitions as was earlier argued. Ukraine is also being crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic but isn’t being provided any real help from its American “ally”, which is why some in the country have looked eastward to Russia for much-needed relief. This inspired me to write about how “Sputnik V Is The Antidote To, Not Russia’s Weapon Of, Hybrid War In Ukraine” at the beginning of the year even though it’s extremely unlikely nowadays that Kiev will agree to cooperate with Moscow in this respect.

The US’ Strategic Failures

Not only has the US failed in its grand strategic goal of “isolating” Russia over the past seven years as seen by Moscow’s successful “balancing” act all across Eurasia that was commenced in response, but it’s also proven itself unable to convince Berlin to sabotage Nord Stream II by incorporating it into the ongoing German Hybrid War on Russia. The Central European country, to its credit, continues to pragmatically engage with Russia on several issues of significance, including Nord Stream II and most recently exploring the possibility of purchasing Sputnik V, though its silence in the face of the latest Donbass destabilization worryingly risks being interpreted as a carthe blanche by Kiev. Nevertheless, the silver lining is that Germany hasn’t condemned Russia for the recent escalations there like others have, and this observation greatly concerns the US. Considering the speed with which Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” is attracting new partners Europe, it can’t be ruled out that the US wants to provoke a crisis in Eastern Ukraine so as to make Russian-EU Sputnik V cooperation politically impossible.

Towards A Russian-EU Rapprochement?

This shouldn’t sound all that surprising to the reader if they take the time to reflect on the insight that was just shared. “Vaccine diplomacy” is the quickest way to enter into strategic partnerships with other states or comprehensively reinforce those that already exist. Russia’s European interests in this respect rest with its desire to gently influence those countries to reduce and then ultimately lift the US-led sanctions regime that was imposed after Crimea’s reunification in 2014. Moscow would also like the European countries to show more consideration for its legitimate security interests by not rolling out the red carpet for NATO’s US-led unprecedented expansion along Russia’s western periphery. These two US-led developments in recent years – sanctions and military expansion – caused a crisis in Russian-EU relations, one for which Brussels bears partial responsibility because it willingly went along with it in response to Washington’s pressure. It didn’t have to do that, and its obsequiousness to American strategic demands made everything much worse.

Russia’s Soft Power Plans

Perhaps the most immediate strategic importance of Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” is that it could win countless hearts and minds in Europe and therefore create a favorable grassroots social environment for facilitating those governments’ eventual lifting of their anti-Russian sanctions and their gradual rolling back of NATO’s US-led military expansion in the region. After all, it might soon be the case that Sputnik V is responsible for saving an untold number of lives in the continent in parallel with facilitating the bloc’s economic reopening, both of which would greatly improve the lives of the EU’s hundreds of millions of citizens. It might be very difficult for those governments to justify their decision to continue “punishing” Russia through economic and military means after Moscow saved them from the worst of World War C‘s ravages, which scares the US to no end since it rightly assumes that this might lead to the irreversible decline of its hegemonic influence there. It thus logically follows that the US has an urgent interest in provoking a crisis to make this scenario politically impossible.

Concluding Thoughts

Putting everything together, it can compellingly be argued that while domestic Ukrainian politics and the US’ regional geostrategic ambitions play very important roles in driving the recent destabilization in Donbass, any discussion of these developments is incomplete without incorporating the influence of “vaccine nationalism”. The US will do whatever it can to prevent Russian-EU Sputnik V cooperation since it fears that this would greatly reduce its hegemonic influence over the continent. Provoking a crisis in Ukraine, which was already boiling for a long time already even before last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, could help advance this agenda by making it politically impossible for the EU to purchase Russia’s vaccines. It would be very challenging for any country to go forward with such plans in the face of unprecedented American pressure to “reconsider” following what they’d be told was so-called “Russian aggression in Ukraine” even though Moscow wouldn’t be responsible for sparking any potential conflict. That could in turn prolong America’s fading hegemony over the EU.


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Geopolitical conflicts

Europe

EUROPE

  • UKRAINE: Ukrainian delegation initiates an urgent meeting of the security subgroup of Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) due to aggravation in Donbas, as the illegal armed formations of Russian occupants violated the ceasefire twice, killing two Ukrainian servicemen. The TCG is a group of representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that was formed as means to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine

SOURCE: 112 WA

 

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