HAVANA TIMES – I don’t know if anyone still has any doubts about Vladimir Putin’s openly imperialist policy in Ukraine. He has invaded a sovereign country, a member of the United Nations.
He has used typical tricks that remind us of Hitler. After allegedly protecting the Russian-speaking people in Donetsk and Luhansk, that are the majority in only a third of the Donbas region, Putin wants to occupy all the region claimed by the separatist republics and annex the region, which is coal-rich.
In his speech announcing the war, the Russian leader was extremely clear. He is in the pursuit of “demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine”, as well “as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.”
It’s important to remember that Ukraine handed over the nuclear weapons installed on its territory after the USSR collapsed, in exchange for Russia respecting its sovereignty and borders. On the other hand, the family of Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish; his grandfather fought in the Soviet Army during World War 2 and his great-grandfather and three brothers were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. It’s highly unlikely that Ukraine wants to attack Russia, without nuclear weapons, or that the Ukrainian Government will adopt a Nazi policy.
The conflict hasn’t been limited to Donbas, though. The press is filled with reports on the attacks in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and other places in the country, which is practically surrounded by Russian troops.
I have no doubt that Putin wasn’t only going for Donbas, which is in itself a violation of International Law and the UN Charter, but going for all of Ukraine, to destroy its independence or at least to temporarily instate a puppet state like it did in Belarus. Will the international community let him do this? If it does, they must be well-aware that this won’t end here.
Putin has openly threatened the US and the rest of NATO. “To anyone who would consider interfering with us, or, greater yet, threaten our country and people, you must know that Russia will be swift in its response, and you will face consequences like you’ve never faced in history.”
In Munich, 1938, Chamberlain and Daladier handed over Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to “appease” Hitler. But that didn’t prevent the war. The Nazi leader ordered the invasion of all of Czechoslovakia; established a “protectorate” in the Czech Republic and an “independent” puppet state in Slovakia. He then attacked Poland, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and France. He bombed the UK. Then, he attacked the USSR.
If the international community agrees to sacrifice Ukraine, that can’t take on Russia on its own, let it be clear that they are also endangering Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Georgia, for starters. Poland would be put in an extremely compromising situation. But, even more than that, the UN will become a useless absolute institution, just like the League of Nations did.
Russia is the aggressor and, if a new world war does break out, it will be the main party responsible because, while there are different negotiation channels, it has rejected all of them and chosen force, thereby sacrificing the life of its own citizens.
However, the US and NATO aren’t exactly “sweet apples”. Their expansion eastwards – which was requested by sovereign governments of countries between 1945-1991, who were under direct or indirect Soviet control, and which had obvious historic reasons to fear Russia – have changed the balance of power in Europe, and Moscow now feels under threat.
In reality, this threat isn’t against Russia’s territorial integrity or sovereignty, but against its imperialist position. Those threatening imperialist Russia are also imperialists.
We are facing an extremely serious political situation in the world, perhaps the most serious since World War 2. The dilemma is crystal clear and awful. Either Russia is allowed to take Ukraine to prevent war now, which won’t exactly ensure it doesn’t break out later, or the world heads towards the precipice of World War 3.
*This article was previously published on Mauricio de Miranda Parrondo’s personal blog.