The same day that U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order leveling new sanctions against Russia and expelling ten of its diplomats, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky participated in a session of the National Security and Defense Council and afterward said concerning its deliberations: “I can’t reveal the details. The situation in Donbas is now under control. Indeed, there are certain issues. We are ready to address these issues. The Army is ready – that’s the most important thing.”
His foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, at a press conference following a meeting with his counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, spoke in a comparably intransigent tone, asserting the “state border is Ukraine’s ‘red line,’” and should Russia cross the border “there must be consequences.”
Zelensky and Kuleba, and other Ukrainian officials who have recently raised the specters of developing nuclear weapons and even of World War III, are emboldened to speak – and act – in the reckless manner they are because they are assured of the “the full weight of the transatlantic alliance” deployed against Russia, as the top commander of NATO and U.S. European Command recently confirmed. His pledge was heard clearly in Kiev.
In a letter submitted to Congress today, Biden’s unambiguous words that Russia is guilty, in addition to at least a half a dozen other transgressions, of concerted efforts “to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states,” and that those activities “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States” were also heard in Kiev. In fact the headlines of English-language Ukrainian publications are mainly on Biden – and NATO – attacking Russia on all fronts. The letter quoted from prefaces an executive order effecting the above-mentioned sanctions and and expulsions under the justification of what Biden deems a national emergency. That Ukraine’s war with the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbass is described as part, the major part, of a national emergency in a nation that is currently deliberating over a proposed $753 billion defense budget must be of great solace to Zelensky and his army.
Ukraine’s Join Forces Operation Command, from 2014-2018 the Anti-Terrorist Operation, is in charge of the war in and against the Donbass. In fact the Donbass was until the latter year referred to by the Ukrainian military as the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone. How the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk would be treated at the hands of the renamed Anti-Terrorist Operation should be obvious.
It was reported yesterday that the Joint Forces Operation was conducting a tank exercise near the border of Crimea. As the commander of the exercise put it, “Artillery and tank reserves performing combat missions along the border with the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, advanced to certain areas to counter the offensive of the supposed enemy.” There is no supposed enemy. The enemy is Russia.
As NATO and the European Union as well as other American allies around the world fall into line with the campaign to isolate and confront Russia, no small part of that alliance is NATO member Turkey.
The Ukrainian press reported today that for the first time its military flew a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone in a reconnaissance mission over the Donbass region. The Turkish drone was used in Azerbaijan’s military onslaught against Nagorno-Karabakh last year. It’s not unlikely Turkey is also advising and assisting Ukraine to subjugate the Donbass based on its role in directing the Azerbaijani war effort.
As NATO is actively collaborating with the Biden initiative of today in denouncing Russia for a veritable myriad of offenses in several categories, not least of which its “violations of Ukraine’s and Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” – an item also played up in the Ukrainian press – any hope that Ukrainian authorities and their Western sponsors prefer peace to war should be thoroughly dispelled.
Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.