For the past eight years Russian president Vladimir Putin has tried to draw the attention of the European Union, mainly Germany and France, to the violation of Minsk 2, by Ukraine, but both countries hardly responded to Russia’s concerns over systematic aggression by Ukraine against the autonomous Russian-speaking eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Donbas. (The Minsk agreements were a series of international agreements which sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.)
The pledge to give autonomy to the 95% Russian-speaking population was taken in the first Minsk Agreement in December 2014 by Ukraine in the presence of German and French representatives. Ukraine violated its commitment by trying to integrate the autonomous regions, and conducting a policy of rewriting history, erasing the Russian past and the Russian language, and launching military attacks on the autonomous regions which took a heavy toll of 14,000 victims in Donbas in recent years, and more than one million people fled to Russia for protection.
The conflict escalated into a full-fledged war with Ukraine. World media are drawing a skewed picture of the causes that led to the war and presenting the Russian attacks in a most superficial manner. The power of the media to arouse emotional reaction is very strong and is amplified a million times with social media networks. Binary reasoning of media spokespersons and commentators, who are well-versed in creating a western film with a simplistic version with the aggressor and the victim, the tyrant and the oppressed, still works with world public. To acute observers of the political development in the tense zone near Russian borders, images of flames flaring up and black smokes rising up to the sky at night in the war zone are the ultimate result of Russia’s exasperation with the American strategy backed by ringleaders of the European Union to undermine Russian influence in the buffer zone between Europe and the East, and reduce Russian sphere of influence, which makes Ukraine a geo-strategic and geo-political asset to address Russia’s security concerns. Putin’s message is that the West cannot go on shooting from the shoulders of Zelensky, the Ukrainian president.
US intervention in Russian sphere
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev had an agreement with US president G. Bush whereby NATO would not take advantage of a weakened Russia to extend its membership to the former Soviet states. NATO was created to defend member-states against attacks perpetrated by non-NATO members. With the dismantlement of the Warsaw pact, it should have become obsolete, yet it continued expanding and strengthening itself. Unilaterally, without the mandate of the UN, NATO allies headed by the US bombarded Yugoslavia and Serbia in the 1990s. Over the years NATO lured 15 ex-Soviet republics into its fold.
In 1991 Ukraine kept Crimea, a 95% Russophone and Russophile population, which was given to it by President Khrushchev in 1954 as a token in memory of the loyalty of Cossacks from Crimea who sought Russia’s help to oust the Poland-Lithuanian rulers from Ukraine in 1654. Subsequently, at the end of 18th century, Poland ceased to exist, the western part of what became Ukraine later came under Austrian Habsburg rule while the rest of it to the east went to Russia.
The Austrians were chased away by the Russians in 1914. The National Republic of Ukraine was created by Lenin in 1917. Germany took hold of Kiev in 1918 at the end of WWI. Internal clashes between various factions engendered a chaotic situation, which ended up with Ukraine’s integration in the Russian empire with the capital of Ukraine at Kharkov. Nationalist aspirations led Ukrainians to collaborate with Nazi Germany in 1941, and they widely participated in the extermination of Jews.
The US violated its own agreements
In 2001, George W. Bush demanded that former Soviet states join NATO before obtaining European Union membership. Russian élites were horrified to see Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic join NATO. In 1991 independent Ukraine signed an agreement with Russia, whereby Russia would pay an annual rent to maintain its fleet in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, which was fully developed by Russia during the Soviet era. America challenged the agreement in the following years.
In 2004 the Orange Revolution in Ukraine to undermine Russian influence was allegedly backed by the West. V. Putin was determined not to allow NATO forces in its backyard, and tried to uplift Russia from the decline started under Yeltsin’s rule. Ukraine and Belorussia were vital to protect Russia from NATO forces. The chief advisor of Democrats, an official of Polish origin, convinced Obama that taking away Ukraine from Russian influence was the best means to finish off Russia and obtain geo-strategic and geo-political advantage.
The 2013-14 Maidan Revolution in Ukraine was orchestrated by the US to stage a coup, topple the pro-Russia elected president, install a pro-US ruler and detach Ukraine from Russia. The stakes were clearly understood by Putin. Gorbachev mistook the West for friends. Boris Yeltsin was a weak ruler with corrupt mafiosi oligarchs hanging around him. They watched powerlessly the bombing of Serbia for 200 days, the expansion of NATO and former Soviet states going West. Putin recognizes geopolitical realities, does not dream of re-creating the Soviet past contrary to the propaganda aired in the media, but will not give up on Ukraine with the support of loyal ally Bielorussia. So, in 2014 Putin took back Crimea. World media presented the Russian initiative as an outrageous invasion which supposedly shocked the international community.
The past 8 years in Ukraine
Even before 2014, Ukraine began an ultra-nationalist policy of erasing Russian political, historical and cultural ties with Ukraine. Russian language was forbidden in Ukraine, and over the years Russian-speaking population of Donetsk and Luhansk have been constantly harassed and attacked. Ukraine’s breach of agreements and brutal assault on the provinces by its far-right were hardly commented in mainstream world media.
Russian president’s repeated attempts to engage Germany and France on the violation of the Minsk accord fell on deaf ears From Russia’s standpoint, Kywv has obeyed Washington, Berlin and Paris for the past ten years. The aim of the pogroms carried out by Ukraine was to cut off economic ties between Ukraine and Russia.
Putin opines that the appetite of the West will never be satisfied, and that the EU members are merely acting as stooges of the US in a bid to lay their hands on the rich resources in the vast territory of Ukraine, gain economic, geo-strategic and military advantages, and totally cut off Russia from Ukraine. Today the writing is on the wall.
65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.
With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.
The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.