Russia has always wanted to subjugate Ukraine — analysts

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2016/02/19 • Analysis & Opinion

Military analysts Volodymyr Horbulin and Oleksandr Lytvynenko discussed Russia’s longstanding plans to subjugate Ukraine at a joint briefing on the theme of “Crimea. War: Background of the Russian aggression,” held at the Ukrainian Crisis Center in Kyiv, Thursday, February 18.

According to Volodymyr Horbulin, director of the National Institute for Strategic Research, Russia had been preparing for aggression against Ukraine and wanted to take advantage of Viktor Yanukovych’s rein to “dismantle” its sovereignty and independence. To this end, the Kremlin made use of former heads of the Defense Ministry, the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of the Interior.

“Our army was deliberately destroyed, the security forces came under the control of Russian curators. The government of the country signed shameful, treacherous agreements and the pro-Russian political and criminalized groups began an open struggle against the Ukrainian state. Strategic branches and sectors of the economy came under the control of Russian capital, which was closely tied to the Russian government,” he said.

With the beginning of Maidan in Kyiv, plans were set in motion to occupy Crimea, with Russian citizens playing key roles. “Between November 2013 and February 2014 there was a consolidation of pro-Russian forces in Crimea, illegal armed groups were being organized, a political and organizational infrastructure was being created for the occupation of the peninsula,” he said. Additionally, Russia significantly increased reconnaissance and undercover activities on Ukrainian territory. The Crimean situation was designed to spread instability to the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, where so-called “popular revolts” were to take place as well.

Russian military exercises intensified dramatically in close proximity to the Ukrainian border. “There were 18 such exercises conducted and more than 100,000 troops participated,” he said

“As a result, we were, so to speak, in very different conditions when we clashed. To draw an analogy, the ‘Russian Spring’ operation was similar to the attack of an armed soldier who trains constantly and who, in addition, has received a dose of potent drugs. His opponent was in intensive care, attached to an IV line and still under the influence of anesthesia,” he said.

But the lack of readiness for war, in his view, helped Ukraine. “The shock was replaced by outrage and anger, and the country answered the aggression with a powerful wave of patriotism and determination, which not only stopped the enemy but testified to the emergence of the Ukrainian nation,” he said.

Oleksandr Lytvynenko, the deputy secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said the events of 2014-2015 in Ukraine were not accidental and must not be viewed separately from previous Russian policy toward Ukraine and from its general policy that sees the world through the prism of the so-called confrontation with Western countries.

“Domination of Ukraine is a Russian strategic objective that has emerged not today, not yesterday and not even 300 years ago,” he said. “Russia’s goals were never limited to concrete regions. It was always a question of the entire Ukrainian state,” he said. He also pointed out that Russia had developed strategic  plans to reunify the post-Soviet countries still in 1991.

Crimea was to be the first element of a larger plan. “As if on order, active destabilizing activities in 9 regions of Ukraine began on March 1, 2014. On April 6, assaults on administrative buildings in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk were launched concurrently, which indicated carefully planned measures,” he said.

In Lytvynenko’s view, there were two scenarios developed by the Russian leadership.”After the victory of Maidan and the flight of Yanukovych, Russians acted according to two previously prepared plans. The first and most important for them was the restoration of the power of the previous regime. The second plan was the seizure of Crimea and the south-eastern regions of Ukraine.”

When the Ukrainian state blocked these scenarios at a very high cost, “Russians localized their goals, creating a foothold in the Donbas,” he said.

“Today a new reality has emerged. The old Ukraine that existed before 2013 has disappeared. The geopolitical situation in Eastern and Central Europe has changed. Its new version is being formed before our eyes, and we are participants of this history,” he concluded.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Ukrayinska Pravda
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • Lev Havryliv

    Russia has taken every opportunity to attempt to destroy Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    Unfortunately many Russians of all political views and all segments of Russian society harbor imperialistic and chauvinistic views of Ukraine.

    Only a strong, effective Ukrainian military will deter Russia from further aggression.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Agreed. And don’t forget weeding out all pro-Dwarfstan moles planted during the Yanusvoloch regime in both armed forces and SBU, plus other branches of government.
      The dwarf has a bigger problem than the Ukraine right now: Turkey. While I’m no fan of Erdogan, I’m enjoying seeing the dwarf squirm. He knows perfectly well that if he tries any funny stuff with Ankara, Erdogan will immediately shut the Bosporus and Dardanelles to all shipping coming from and going to Dwarfstan. This would effectively maroon the Dwarfstan troops in Syria, as they depend to a great extent on sea traffic to be supplied. But not only that; it would stop Dwarfstan shipping oil from Tuapse, cutting off a vital source of not only Dwarfstan’s income but also the dwarf’s personal cut. With Turkey’s armed forces approximately the same size as Dwarfstan’s the Turks can eliminate the Dwarfstanian troops in Syria PDQ. Erdogan hates Assad and I’m beginning to think that Turkey’s increasing involvement in Syria has the removal of Assad as a goal, Dwarfstan troops or not- and there’s not much the dwarf can do about it.

      • Turtler

        Well, I have been saying that we’ve been overdue for another Russo-Turkish war….

      • Dirk Smith

        The mongol-muscovites want no part of the Turks.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Actually, they do. If the dwarf could get his hands on the Dardanelles and Bosporus he would. It’s always been a Muscovite dream to control the entrance to the Black Sea.

          • Dirk Smith

            I agree, but militarily I believe the muscovite military to be a paper tiger. Evidenced by Donetsk Airport and their response when Turkey downed their plane. Ukraine didn’t fold like Georgia. Like all thugs, they take as much as they are given. The punch to the nose usually saves lives and generally avoids larger conflicts. Imagine how history would have changed if England/France had taken a stronger line against Germany in the 30’s. History appears to be repeating once again.

      • Quartermaster

        At the moment, Erdogan is like a donkey between two bales of hay trying to decide which bale to take a bite from. The Turkish Military Leadership also doesn’t want a war with Russia. If they were to lose it, then Erdogan would blame them. It is also unlikely that the Turks will be backed up by NATO because of the questionable circumstances of the downing of the Russian aircraft.
        Turkey has several things that are distracting them as well. The biggest distraction is the Kurds.
        Erdogan hates the Kurds and a lot of the maneuvering he’s done is to try to contain them. Turkey has a very substantial Kurdish population, and they have routinely oppressed them. Erdogan is scared of them.
        If Erdogan really wants to hurt the Russians, then closing the straits to Russian and Russian bound shipping would be the most effective and damaging. Russia could still support its troops in Syria, but it’s a long haul from the Baltic to Syria, and that is closed for nearly half the year.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          There’s no chance of Dwarfstan winning a confrontation with Johnny Turk, apart from using nukes. The dwarf’s troops in Syria would be cut off from Dwarfstan and wiped out in short order. Turkey’s armed forces are almost as large as Dwarfstan’s and armed with more modern weapons etc.

          The Gulf of Finland is frozen over in winter, but the dwarf could easily circumvent this by seizing the Baltics, and use Riga, Klaipeda and Kaliningrad to ship war material to Syria. Who will stop him from invading- Merkel? All she will do is say “We must talk to our dear friend Putin”, as she did in 2008 when the dwarf attacked Georgia, and since the dwarf’s illegal invasion and annexation of the Crimea.
          Face it, the west’s “leaders” are inept spineless cucumbers. We need a Truman, Churchill, de Gaulle, but are stuck with Obama, Hollande and Merkel.

          • Quartermaster

            I think you over-estimate the chances of the Turks. The Turkish Military leadership is antsy about the Russian confrontation simply because they are not confident they could beat the Rooskis. The Turkish military does not have the latest equipment. Although they would have internal lines of communication, and the legendary fighting strengths of the Turkish soldier, they are right to be skittish. There is no guarantee that NATO will side with them, and resupply becomes iffy under that limit.

          • Lafina Diamandis

            Kattegat can be closed fairly easily. If Russsia invades any of the Baltic states, it’s at war with NATO. USA are a naval superpower, and Denmark is not to be fucked with either.