Ukraine: Armed robbery


Vladimir Putin consummated the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces, namely Kherson, Zaporiyia, Donetsk and Lugansk. 

The illegal appropriation of 25% of Ukraine, together with Crimea, which was also annexed in 2014 with a fake referendum and in violation of all international agreements and treaties and the UN Charter itself, constitutes one of the worst precedents that will mark international relations for the rest of the century; and, I dare say, several actions are already in place that other countries will emulate in order to appropriate their neighbour's land.

This century, the century of great climate impact, of water and natural resource scarcity, already has before it the course that awaits us, with Putin-like invasions to steal what is needed from another country. 

Russia will be taking geopolitical and geo-economic control of the Sea of Azov and almost the entire Black Sea; it will have a major shipping route for itself, but it is also appropriating part of the fresh water of the Dnieper River plus the entire economic, technological, industrial and water infrastructure in the four provinces and, of course, the large nuclear power plant in Zaporiyia.

The inhabitants of these regions woke up as Russians because a dictator with imperialist vision has decided to take for his country what he in his messianic and predestined for greatness mentality considers necessary. 

A satrap who has been in power for more than two decades and who has always shown his long fangs, but whom the United States and Europe itself have supported, sheltered, patted on the back and allowed to be and to do, has come to this atrocious act. 

In 2014, Putin proved how far Washington and its allies were willing to go for Ukraine. A lukewarm Barack Obama, more focused on crying in public and honouring the Nobel Peace Prize, took some action in the form of sanctions against Russia. 

The EU made a greater effort to seek a negotiating way forward for peace and thus the Minsk Agreements between Ukraine and Russia emerged with European endorsement. In the end, nobody gave adequate follow-up to what was agreed because it was a conflict in the European backyard and the problems continued to be enormous in the face of the accumulation of international pressures, such as resolving the enormous migratory flows from Syria due to the internal civil war and Brexit in the UK, which consumed so many months of effort and discussion in the EU. 

By the time the Minsk Agreements were in memory, a young Volodymir Zelensky won the election with no prior political preparation, having become the star of national television for his comedy shows. He came promising to make Ukrainians feel more Ukrainian than ever. 

The actor's arrival in government was a breakthrough for Putin and his plans that he capitalised on by preparing the invasion in the long months when the whole world was fighting the coronavirus and in and out of one confinement; and out of another and in and out came a wave of deaths and another and another and many, many more. 

The disastrous US exit from Afghanistan - after twenty years of invading and occupying the country - together with various allies showed the organisational weaknesses of the world's most powerful army. And Putin again capitalised on it for himself, based on the precedent of Crimea (2014), foreseeing that neither the US - nor its allies - would go beyond imposing a few sanctions.

On the subject

What the Russian dictator did not contemplate in his military strategies and scenarios is that Zelensky, the comedian, would resist the military invasion of the world's second most powerful nuclear-capable army. He did not run away, he showed as much, if not more, manhood, courage, punditry and patriotism than Putin. 

Nor did Putin gauge that the United States, along with forty other countries, would send arms, money, economic aid and fundamentally provide Ukraine with military intelligence advice and information from its powerful satellites that have, among other things, prevented the Wagner Group from assassinating Zelensky and also guided the Ukrainian army in attacking Russian positions.

The duration of the invasion has also gone off script, throwing the Kremlin's accounts off balance because this war is costing it the money it does not have to maintain so many displaced soldiers; to replace the very expensive equipment, weapons and means of combat destroyed by Ukraine plus the thousands of soldiers killed and wounded in combat, between 60,000 and 80,000 men.

Putin wants to end the war in his own way with the illegal annexation. In fact, he threatens to defend these provinces as Russian territory, with the possibility of using a nuclear weapon. The UN is dead, it is an ineffective hulk.

The world is entering a much more dangerous and uncertain limbo than in the early days of the invasion. And anything, absolutely anything, can happen.