The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

Roundtable of the G7 Summit, on 7 June 2015, in Schloss Elmau, Germany. From left to right, François Hollande, French President, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor,  Matteo Rentzi, Italian Prime Minister, Jean Claude Juncker, EU Commission President, Barack Obama, President of US, Donald Tusk, European Council President, Shinzō Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (European Council – Council of the European Union Audiovisual Library, Snapshot from a video footage, Shoot date: 07/06/2015, Location: Schloss Elmau, Germany 7.6.2015).

Roundtable of the G7 Summit, on 7 June 2015, in Schloss Elmau, Germany. From left to right, François Hollande, French President, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, Matteo Rentzi, Italian Prime Minister, Jean Claude Juncker, EU Commission President, Barack Obama, President of US, Donald Tusk, European Council President, Shinzō Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. (European Council – Council of the European Union Audiovisual Library, Snapshot from a video footage, Shoot date: 07/06/2015, Location: Schloss Elmau, Germany 7.6.2015).

The resumption of hostilities in south-eastern Ukraine is blamed by the West to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow reportedly wants to help the pro-Russian separatists who prevail in the Luhansk and Donetsk region to gain control of Mariupol a key port in this area on the Black Sea. However, the heavy fighting that took place last week was in Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, west of rebel-held Donetsk and far away from Mariupol. This confrontation could be an attempt of the Kiev forces to threaten the separatists’ positions in the area. President Petro Poroshenko from Kiev actually boasted on Saturday 6 June that his forces “ousted the rebels from Maryinka and seized 12 ‘saboteurs’, including a Russian”.

Nevertheless, this is not the only incident indicating an extended revival of the political and military clash in Ukraine. Kiev and Poroshonko personally instated a divisive personality as governor of Odessa the controversial former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. This is a sworn enemy of Russia and more precisely of Putin. During his term as President of Georgia he openly acted under Western influence and the reforms credit to him are more or less propaganda. He and his group were the main force behind the so-called ‘Rose Revolution’ which ousted the then mollifying President Eduard Shevardnadze. Saakashvili then ran Georgia in an authoritarian style and even provoked a war with Russia. Now he is swiftly given the Ukrainian nationality and established as ruler of the third largest Ukrainian city, the major port of the country in the Black Sea.

The Saakashvili provocation

The appointment of Saakashvili, a blindly anti-Russian as Governor in a mostly Russian speaking city and the swift conferral of the Ukrainian nationality to him would be considered by the city’s population as an open provocation. The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the decision, while the current Georgian authorities are accusing Saakashvili of abuse of power and have called for his extradition. In any case he didn’t lose time and right away he has already started to apply the same aggressive methods in Odessa.

Odessa will react

His mercenary gangs drawn directly from the underworld without any official status have already sidestepped the city police force and molest those who might oppose Saakasvili’s rule. They patrol the streets in unmarked cars and check everybody who looks ‘suspicious’, acting as an occupation army albeit irregular. At least this is what they themselves told a BBC reporter who was embedded in one of their standard patrolling city tours. Those who have knowledge of what is going on now in the city won’t be surprised, if in a few weeks Odessa becomes a theatre of deadly fighting.

The Kiev Maidan Square fighting of February 2014 and the developments thereafter had also touched Odessa. However the city was and is largely pro-Russian by tradition and language. Euromaidan (pro – EU) and anti-Maidan (pro – Russian) demonstrations erupted in January 2014, with the latter rallies attracting much more people. Kiev was alarmed. If the pro-Russian separatists could control this city, Ukraine would have been crippled for good.

Burning them alive

The worst incidents happened on 2 May 2014. A round number of at least sixty pro-Russian anti-Maidan protesters were killed, actually burned when they sought refuge inside the Trade Unions House in the center of the city. Hundreds were injured during the confrontation with pro-Maidan fighters. On that occasion Kiev had sent the worst kind of chauvinistic/fascists elements to ‘teach a lesson to Odessa’. At the Trade Union House incident they set the building on fire and the anti-Maidan protesters who tried to escape from the flames were beaten to death with baseball clubs.

Nonetheless it’s rather impossible for the Saakasvili gangs to impose their clout on the third largest city of the country with a population of one million, without being confronted by the locals. However, the new Governor is working towards this direction by provoking the political affiliations of the majority of the population. To this end he uses the chauvinistic and fascists gangs from the western parts of the country. This is not a new story though. During WWII the German Wehrmacht had organized SS divisions in the west of the country and send them in the east to slaughter the Russian speakers. The Ukrainian leaders of those Wehrmacht WWII units are still worshipped by many in Kiev and elsewhere in western Ukraine. That’s why the name ‘fascist’ carries a strong meaning in Ukraine and not only.

Demolishing the Minsk agreement?

Coming back to today’s developments there is no doubt that some quarters are not happy with the ceasefire under the Minsk agreements which were brokered between the leaders of Russia, Germany and France last February. In reality, the ceasefire concedes a kind of autonomy to the rebels in Luhansk and Donetsk.

Nevertheless, the Americans are challenging this status quo by threatening to or probably already supplying the Kiev rulers with heavy armaments. Officially the US is denying it. Washington reportedly wants to materially support the Kiev forces, which are not always the regular Ukrainian army, but various combat units organized by local oligarchs or right-wing and nationalistic groups.

The target is to squeeze the rebels so as to force Russia to intervene openly and thus be dragged into a direct military conflict with Ukraine. This could be a decisive blow to Putin and Russia, but the European Union will also pay a dear price too. The question is if the EU values more its multifaceted bonds with the US rather than coming to terms with Russia. There are strong indications though for the former option. But are the Americans ready to draw their dilemmatic strategy to its end?

First signs from G7

A detailed study and interpretation of the results of the two-day G7 Summit in southern Germany during the weekend will offer some clues on that. Nonetheless it’s important to note that the first thing the US President Barack Obama had to say when arriving to Germany was that “forging new trade partnerships across the Atlantic and standing up to Russian aggression” in Ukraine will be discussed in the G7. If this was a good or bad omen for Europe is to be seen soon.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Make this the year of ‘transformative solutions’ to avert disastrous climate change: UN Deputy Chief

Women in medical leadership: future perspectives of medicine

Further reforms in Sweden can drive growth, competitiveness and social cohesion

Robot inventors are on the rise. But are they welcomed by the patent system?

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

Commissioner McGuinness announces proposed way forward for central clearing

Syria: Commissioner Lenarčič visits Turkish border and calls for renewal of UN cross-border resolution

4 principles for securing the digital identity ecosystem

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

Why 2020 is a turning point for cybersecurity

COVID-19 tests rely on bacteria discovered in a natural pool in the 1960s – and it’s not the only slice of nature essential to medicine

Migration: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with Court judgment

Q&A: A on the EU COVID-19 certificate

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

How Abu Dhabi found a way to grow vegetables in 40-degree heat

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Eurozone’s central bank leadership prepares for shoddier prospects

Workplace bullies could now go to jail in South Korea

Biggest ever UN aid delivery in Syria provides relief to desperate civilians

Negotiations on new EU collective redress rules to begin

Why we are using these custom-built drones to collect whale snot

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

Ebola cases rising in DR Congo, but UN health agency cites progress in community trust-building

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

British PM May’s Brexit proposal remains obscure while her government unravels

The EU Parliament blasts the Council about the tax dealings of the wealthy

5 lessons from Africa on how drones could transform medical supply chains

More people now plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine than in December

Turkey: Commission continues humanitarian support for refugees

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

Africa must use tech to chase corruption out of the shadows

Mergers: Commission approves Assa Abloy’s acquisition of Agta Record, subject to conditions

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

Z, V or ‘Nike swoosh’ – what shape will the COVID-19 recession take?

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

EU Member States test their cybersecurity preparedness for free and fair EU elections

This is how music festivals are tackling plastic waste

Malta: Human rights experts call for justice in case of murdered journalist

3 things to know about women in STEM

Q and A: This is how stakeholder capitalism can help heal the planet

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

FROM THE FIELD: Changing world, changing families

The relationship between Dengue and the rainfall in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU, Canada and China co-host international meeting on climate cooperation and a sustainable economic recovery

Why is black plastic packaging so hard to recycle?

Raising the Scope of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Vulnerable Populations

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, according to the EP

European Solidarity Corps: three years on

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: