NATO in Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers on Ukraine's Independence Day, Kyiv, August 24, 2017. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Ukrainian soldiers on Ukraine's Independence Day, Kyiv, August 24, 2017. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO 

Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaly Portnikov

When Russia began its “hybrid” war in the Donbas, I had a discussion with a colleague, a well-known Moscow journalist, about the likelihood of a real war — complete with the unconcealed introduction of regular troops, the use of aviation, and an offensive on Kyiv. My colleague, who was very familiar with attitudes in the corridors of the Kremlin, told me that such a war could begin only in one instance — the arrival of NATO troops on Ukrainian soil. This Russia would never allow!

I have no doubt that he related the opinions he heard from Russian government representatives with absolute accuracy. But now we see soldiers of NATO countries marching in the parade in Kyiv, we see the US Secretary of Defense and other defense ministers of NATO member states participating in the same parade.

And nobody is launching a “real” war. Furthermore, we can see the first signs of a real ceasefire in the long-suffering Donbas.

In fact, I never had any doubts. The Kremlin respects only strength and determination. Russia had protested against the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, but after the former Warsaw Pact countries joined the alliance, Moscow began to perceive the Soviet Union’s former “sphere of influence” as foreign territory that was not worth claiming. After that, Russians began to say that NATO must not cross the “red line” that was drawn along the former Soviet borders. It is clear that Moscow considered the Baltic States, occupied by Stalin in 1940, as part of the USSR. However, after the admission of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to NATO, Russia did not embark on a war.

Russia arranged wars against Georgia and Ukraine. Both countries had not received plans for NATO membership. The West began to fear that the Euro-Atlantic integration of the former Soviet republics could lead to destabilization. But it was the lack of Euro-Atlantic integration that has led to destabilization. Everything turned out to be exactly the opposite!

Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations

US army participates in Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations, Kyiv, August 24, 2017

Russia attacked Ukraine when the country officially declared its non-aligned status. When the majority of citizens did not support Ukraine’s accession to NATO. When the Ukrainian army was not able to oppose Russian troops and when, until the escape of Yanukovych, the intelligence and security services were headed by Russian agents.

And if Ukraine had received at least a plan for membership, not to mention if it had been a member of NATO, there probably would have been no attack. And Europe would have remained peaceful.

This is something that most Ukrainians could not understand. And this is something that many in the West still cannot understand. Russia does not want to take part in a real war. Russia wants to take part in exercises, special operations, sabotage, and parades.

This is why it always attacks only those who are weaker.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Vitaliy Portnikov hit the nail on the head. Putin the Pederast, just like his counterpart in North Korea, is nothing more than a bully. To underline this point even further, both of these diminutive dwarfs also have the “horrible little man’s syndrome” where they feel a need to hide their own inadequacies by being loud and/or aggressive so as to intimidate their perceived enemies while at the same time trying to impress their own general public as to their “infallibility”. However, whenever they are confronted with an equal or greater force, they just like any common bully, will almost always back down or run away chirping in fear. Finally, it is for that reason that the Western powers should provide Ukraine in particular with modern and sophisticated lethal weaponry. When Putin realizes that he cannot afford to match the escalation in costs of warfare without undermining his own regime, he will either have to slit his own throat or he will have to withdraw from the mess of his own creation.

  • veth

    OPINION

    Day of Russian dependence

    Author: Roman Tsymbaliuk Ukraine 15:50, 26 August 2017

    Ukraine’s Independence Day saw no lavish celebrations in Russia. There were no fireworks but the Ukrainian holiday once again confirmed the drug-like dependence on Ukraine of Russian state and pro-government media. Traditionally, a competition was set up to pour as much negativity and impurity as possible on the neighboring country and its citizens within the concept of “we are one nation.” Almost all the fugitives, who once had Ukrainian passports, had their say. This crowd was portrayed as the right kind of “Ukrainians” whom Moscow needs, tentatively pushing to the conclusion: the ones who fight and stand for their country are the real Nazis, fascists, and right-wingers. They talked a lot about Kyiv’s dependence on financial assistance from the IMF, “wrong” association with the EU, and “terrible” visa-free travel. All this came along with the reports about the colossal prospects of a lost future with Russia – the joint production of aircraft and spacecraft and the like. Naturally, no one cared to elaborate why these projects had not been implemented before 2014. The address by the head of the Ukrainian state stirred some serious excitement in Russia was not praised by Russian “experts” Russian observers and experts analyzed President Poroshenko’s speech at the parade, counting how many times he mentioned the word “Russia” and the phrase “evil empire.” The address by the head of the Ukrainian state stirred some serious excitement in Russia was not praised by Russian “experts.” Most of indignation was caused by the words: “The dogs may be barking, the wind blowing, while our Ukrainian caravan is on its way… We have one path – a wide Euro-Atlantic highway, leading to membership in the European Union and NATO.” This was the most popular piece in Russian news that day. There was much talk about “hunger” in Ukraine. Separately, Russia focused attention on the growth of trade turnover between Ukraine and Russia as the main “proof” of the absence of Russian invasion and the war for Donbas. The argument that this is one of the indicators of the recovery of the Ukrainian economy was not accepted. The fact that the main goods from the Russian Federation coming to Ukraine are mineral fertilizers and products of the chemical industry was not clarified, while the fact that the trade turnover in Ukraine has been growing in recent months both with the EU and with China was ignored. The Kremlin media also paid attention to Ukraine’s foreign guests at Independence Day celebrations. Russian media were full of headlines like “Parade in Ukraine taken over by the chief of Pentagon” or “NATO soldiers marched on Khreshchatyk.” Such headlines made senior citizens across Russia grab their heart pills. The striking effect is the same as from PR stories about the President of the Russian Federation. Russians are indignant. How could it be that they were promised that Russian soldiers would reach Kyiv in two hours, but now NATO troops march in Kyiv and even the “Russian friend,” the Turkish defense minister, is watching the parade with a smile on his face?! However, if one follows this primitive logic, then it appears that the Alliance has long conquered Russia because NATO soldiers – from the U.S., UK and France – not so long ago marched on Moscow’s Red Square. In 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the parade on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory in Moscow. According to the Russian tradition, most of Russian propaganda’s attention was paid to the presence at the Kyiv celebrations of U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (Russian journalists submissively and affectionately called him the “American Master.” It seems that they have not got over the second part of “50 Shades of Gray.” In every sentence of every report, it was emphasized that Mattis’s nickname is “Mad Dog.” But it is unclear why the negotiations in Kyiv about possible U.S. supplies of lethal aid to the Ukrainian army caused hysterics in Moscow news. This reaction of the Russian comrades is rather strange. After all, there are no Russians in Donbas, they say. So why worry so much? The thing Russian “brothers” were most enraged with was the marching of the Ukrainian military. Indeed, they showed that they are able to and will destroy the aggressor, no matter if they get weapons from NATO. By the way, The thing Russian “brothers” were most enraged with was the marching of the Ukrainian military. Indeed, they showed that they are able to and will destroy the aggressor, no matter if they get weapons from NATO. Moscow’s military experts searched very carefully for flaws in the Ukrainian army – they claimed that the Ukrainian military equipment is poor and outdated, that is, not equal to Russian arms. It’s funny that all these ideas are articulated by the same figures who for several years have been calling on Russians to go to Ukraine as “volunteers on vacation” to fight in the war, while claiming that there are no Russians in Donbas once any of their “volunteers” get captured by the Ukrainian military. The aggressive neighbors may not like the Ukrainian army but, as the saying goes, it is what it is, so those who come to Ukraine with arms in their hands will definitely be killed.

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/society/2100456-day-of-russian-dependence.html

    • Brent

      one correction….senior citizens in Russia can no longer afford heart pills….even Russia’s foreign diplomats are dying off without them!!!

      Ukraine marches steadily forward to the future while Russia stumbles drunkenly to its dark deadly past….

      • veth

        Not to forget Russian debt to Ukraine for the wardestruction: 60 billion dollar, gasdebt for overcharged gas of 30 billion dollars……….

    • Dale Davies

      Ukrainian Hryvna is gaining ground on international markets. The Pootlerstan ruble is good for not much more than cleaning toilet bowels.

      • 159357

        hahaha, stop talking bullshit. your shitty Hryvna ist nothing more than paper.

        • Dale Davies

          The Hryvna has dropped slightly the past few days but 1 Hryvna still buys you more than 2 rubbles! Which currency is toilet paper? With sanctions and then Pee-Wee Pootie’s shoot himself in the foot counter sanctions, you are very limited in import products. Seems Pootlerstan is suffering more. Now in more retaliation, Pootlerstan has banned Siemens from the sales of gas compressors to Ukraine. Small peanuts there as many other companies manufacture compressors and compressor packages that would not be affected by little goat Bad Vlad trying to throw his weight around.
          Your Red Square Maidan grows close!
          Also compressor sales that could be used for energy projects for offshore oul and gas through Crimea are sanctioned, the same as the generators. Oops, looks like Tsar Pootin of Mordor stepped in a fresh cow pie.

          • 159357

            1. iam from germany
            2. 1 hryvna is 4 yen. will u say hryvna is stronger than yen?
            stop talking bullshit if u have no idea. the hryvna is a shit paper nothing more. The best proof of the “strong” ukraine economic is, that russia is still the biggest investor in ukraine. more than the whole EU together.

          • Dale Davies

            That crap investment is leftovers from the CCCP days. The youth (the future) is steadily turning their backs more on Pootlerstan.
            Pootlerstan manipulates and lies especially in response to the sanctions. Eg: the Siemens turbines moved to Crimea in violation of the sales contract. Sanctions are affecting Pootlerstan but the worst harm is the low oil prices for the gas station. Due to gas supply issues brought on by Gazprom monopoly, Europe is seaking and finding alternate suppliers of Natural gas which will have a tendency of driving the Gazprom prices lower creating a negative effect further complicating the Pootlerstan financial balance.
            The sewage treatment facility is broken due mostly to failed CCCP management tactics in use by Fuhrer Shorty the Shirtless.
            You say you are from Germany. If you were born there you are of the frame of mind to remove sanctions so business can go back to usual. The world changes and sometimes not for the better. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earth quakes or volcanic eruptions. Those are not possible to control. Actions of man can be controlled or responded to, for the intent of benefitial change.
            Pee-Wee Pootie has been overstepping his rights and authority to compensate his small man syndrome issues.
            The proof of the progress of Ukraine is the increased foreign trade and improving exchange rate. Granted it has dropped a little but should improve substantially come the new year.

          • 159357

            this ignorance…
            The youth is going in to europe, because there is no hope in ukraine. and they will never come back.
            for a country that has access to the EU market? seriously?
            btw. the economic strength will decline next year

          • Dale Davies

            And you reasoning for your last statement is?? There is another financial downturn coming like 2008 which will affect everyone.

          • 159357

            hmm, strangely enough, but other economies will grow next year
            btw. 1 million ukraines left the ukraine last year to europe and russia.

          • Dale Davies

            OK. Explain your reasoning.

          • 159357
          • Dale Davies

            Considering the situation Ukraine is in and the monetary devaluation of 2015 and 2016 they are doing fairly well.
            Now explain why you say other economies will increase while Ukraine will decrease.

          • 159357

            because they have a better economy. ukraine doesn’t produce anything the world can use.

          • Dale Davies

            399.19544, ewe need to get your head out of the place the sun does not shine.
            Are you born in Germany of German ancestry, or were you one of the Soviet transplants to E. Germany?

          • 159357

            no. real german. and proud of it 😀

          • Dale Davies

            Then quit licking the Fuhrer Shorty the Shirtless butt and start looking to the mess you have in Deutschland.
            Ukraine has many products that other countries could find attractive. The oligarchs previously were so busy raping the Ukraine budgets for their own benefit they did not take the time to look into export much. That would have meant dealing with corruption and improving manufacturing facilities which were stuck with Soviet crap standards. This is changing and Ukraine is looking outside its borders.

          • 159357

            and which one? show the products.

          • W8post

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3ef867bfee8ff82f0ee98b8800e5ffee198fb9855ce335c475bc06e382fba421.jpg Isn’t it CYNICAL that the area which produces most of the sunflower oil in RUSSIA, was STOLEN from Ukraine??!!

            Russia

            With 1,865,498 tonnes, Russia is the largest producer of sunflower oil. The cultivation of sunflower seeds in the country takes up about 6.8 million hectares of land with the main growing regions being Krasnodar, Rostov, Belgorod, Saratov and Voronezh. Processing plants are also located in the regions to cut costs on transportation of sunflower seeds. In the year 2014, the volume of sunflower oil produced in the country was almost 4.8 million tonnes.

            Ukraine

            Ukraine has risen to become a leading producer and exporter of sunflower oil over the years. The average production from 1993 to 2004 was 1,768,556 tonnes. In the year 2016, the country exported about 4.8 million tonnes of the oil, with the total earnings estimated at $3.7 billion. The main market for the country’s sunflower oil is India, which imported 30%, followed by China with 16%. The country also yields large volumes of sunflower meal which it uses locally to manufacture feeds and exports to other countries such as France, Poland, Belarus amongst others.

          • 159357

            WOW! :O

            sunflower! I am thrilled

          • W8post
          • 159357

            https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Konstantinowitsch_Antonow

            I’ll even help you.
            They have a large software company & can still build intercontinental missiles.
            But nobody buys the intercontinental missiles.
            But that’s it:)

          • W8post

            Check commercial relations between Ukraine and India…

          • 159357

            didnt find anything

          • Dale Davies

            Look that stuff up yourself!

          • 159357

            i tried to search but cant find anything :/

          • Dale Davies

            See W8post and read.

          • 159357

            sunflower oil xD

          • 159357

            still waiting faq

          • 159357

            still waiting for the list

  • canuke

    Well said, Vitaly!

  • Quartermaster

    I’m glad to see US Troops in the independence day parade in Kyiv. Now, we need to invite some Ukrainian troops to July 4th parade in the US. Let’s to do the same with Moldova and Georgia. If we’re going to tweek Putin’s nose, let’s go big.

    • Murf

      Sounds like a great idea.

  • Tony

    So Russians lost money, liberties and lives without halting Ukraines path to NATO and while guaranteeing that they will have a bitter enemy on their border for at least 100 years. Kremlin keeps making these senseless trades and Russian sheep keep shooting themselves in the foot by supporting it, that’s why the Baltics and others surpassed them.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      They didn’t lose much anyway. They had few liberties to begin with; ditto for money as the dwarf and crooked chums stole most of it. As for lives, human life never had much value for Russia’s leaders, whether tsars, Bolsheviks of the dwarf.

    • 159357

      Ukraine will never be admitted to NATO or the EU. Stop dreaming.
      Stop believing the lies that poroshenko tells you.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    The demented dwarf wanted to prevent Kyiv turning west by hook or crook, but has achieved the very opposite. Kyiv signed the Association Treaty with the EU despite the dwarf doing his worst to prevent it including a massive bribe for Proffessor Viktor. He doesn’t want Kyiv to associate with NATO- his aggression has achieved the opposite, symbolised by the Independence Day parade with foreign troops including some from the US. He tried to disrupt the Ukrainian economy with boycotts, restrictions etc- the result is that Ukrainian companies are increasingly switching to western partners and severing ties with Dwarfstanian companies, e.g. Antonov. he west wins, Dwarfstan loses.

    His next moves will no doubt be just as counterproductive.

    • Brent

      Russia couldn’t even produce its own turbines to power stolen Crimea. No sense Ukraine being tied to a backward nation like Russia with no future when it can partner with the future and the EU.

    • Dale Davies

      Pootlerstan is extremely dangerous now. Due to internal strife, Pee-Wee Pootie is suseptable to lashing out at whomever he blames for his failure in Ukraine. Just before everyone in Pootlerstan falls into a cesspit or dives head first into their outhouse, he is likely to attack Ukraine, the USA and European countries. Deseration leads people to desperate acts.

      • veth

        HE TRIED TO SENT LITTLE GREEN MAN TO THE FINNISH ALAND ISLANDS……………….THAN HE IS DESPAIRED
        Finnish military reject request for Russian training ship visit to Aland The head of the Finnish military says it will not allow the Kruzenshtern – a Russian-flagged, four-masted military training vessel – to dock at Mariehamn, in the demilitarized island province of Aland, Yle reported citing daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

        World 23:50, 28 August 2017

        A security expert told the paper that it was likely that the actual purpose of the Russian request was to test its western neighbour’s reaction, according to Yle. Russian officials had requested permission from the Finnish military for the 91-year-old warship Kruzenshtern to dock in Mariehamn on September 18-20. However, the request was turned down by the Finnish Defense Forces, according to an article published Monday in Hufvudstadsbladet. The paper wrote that Finland’s Defense Command did not comment further on the motivation behind its negative decision. The visit would have coincided with Zapad 2017, the joint Russian-Belarus joint strategic military exercises, which are scheduled to be held September 14-20 in various regions of those two countries. Read also Russia’s drills near NATO border raise fears of aggression – NYT International security and strategy expert Tomas Ries told the paper that the actual reason behind the request is likely that Russia was testing Finland’s reaction. Ries is Senior Lecturer at the Swedish National Defence College in Stockholm. Ries said that he thinks it was no coincidence the Kruzenshtern visit would have taken place at the same time as the Zapad 2017 exercises. “It is no coincidence. This was carefully calculated and thought through. It is like Russia wanted to test Finland, in order to try to push the boundaries of what Finland would find acceptable. My assessment is that [in their decision] the Defence Command made it clear that this is something that Finland will not go along with,” Ries told the paper. Read also Putin seeks joint air defense with Belarus The historic Russian sailing ship has visited Finland in the past; the last time was earlier this summer during the Tall Ships’ Races in Turku and Kotka. Some local Åland leaders had hoped that a Kruzenshtern visit would improve the capital city Mariehamn’s chances of hosting the next Tall Ships’ Race in 2021. The Kruzenshtern is owned by the Russian state-owned marine academy in Kaliningrad which trains cadets in the fishing industry and research. There are some 164 cadets currently aboard the ship. The ship was originally built and flagged in Germany and made its first launch in 1926. Twenty years later Germany surrendered the ship to the Soviet Union as part of World War II reparations.

        Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/2103526-finnish-military-reject-request-for-russian-training-ship-visit-to-aland.html

        • Dale Davies

          Looks like a Pootlerstan chess move. Ask permission and dock with a load of “little green men”. Then excuse the invasion with “we were invited”.

  • W8post

    but, ehh, where were FRANCE and GERMANY? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/023aa1e5bd9962788882bb3a1099473fd0e2619d9d11988e8175ecd3b030ede9.jpg
    France ‘inspecting welfare’ in Crimea and Germany too busy installing the SIEMENS generators…

  • zorbatheturk

    Putin is livid.

  • tedpeters

    The people in Eastern Ukraine feel closer to Russia than to Kyiv… but they do not want to be ruled by Putin. He in turn wants to influence things in Russia’s former province without shedding major blood. The wise approach for the West is to espouse our ideals and offer as much economic assistance to Ukriane as possible. Putin is mortal and there is no reason to provoke killing to change things as they are.

    • Dale Davies

      Due to little goat Bad Vlad having a severe lack of moral obligation to humanities and for the protection of life along with his komrades in the Duma and lower house (united russia party) and the Kreminalin, the only solution for Ukraine and the citizens of Pooterstan is to drop the roofs of the Duma, the lower house and the Kreminalin on their thick skulls! Russia signed onto the Minsk and promptly proceeded to pick the aggression up a notch or two and advanced into Debaltseve. That is also when 300 or so soldiers were murdered while leaving the area after surrendering their weapons.
      Nope. Russia with Pee-Wee Pootie at the helm gets NO sympathy. Level the place and take every bit of land south of the 52 parrallel and west of the 52 latitude. When they promise to rewrite the constitution to fit more like Canada, Australia, the UK and the USA. The USA has a great system with the Senate having two seats per state elected on alternate two year elections. That is half the senate is elected one time for 4 years. The other half are elected 2 years later for 4 years. One seat per state is elected per election alternating. For the lower house I like Canada’s way of one seat per “x” amount of population. Mind you the college vote would even out Russias problem of most dense population gatheted in Europe and the Asian part sparsely populated getting overruled all the time.
      Big changes need to happen in Russia to fix the political system and general corruption which I believe is worse than Ukraine.

    • Dale Davies

      That feeling closer to Pootlerstan is washing down the drain. Mostly senior citizens feel that way because they lived most of their lives in it. As they age and pass away, that close affinity to Pootlerstan is dwindling. Also the promises of grandeur have not materialized. Militia thugs have stollen preserves, savings, autos and raped women and tortured and murdered people that professed pro Ukraine thoughts. When that happens to family and friends the glory of Pootlerstan looses its shine!

  • Zapedowski

    Wow this is by far the best article on Russia I have ever read.

    Add to this the fact that Putin is a judoka. He knows he cannot win a straight contest of strength. So he strikes his opponent only when he is strong and his opponent is weak. And he is hoping that there are enough terrified pacifists in the western nations to advance arguments such as “we cannot let Ukraine into NATO” or “we cannot arm Ukraine” because “this would only antagonize Russia.”

    The question is not what antagonizes Russia — it is what PROVOKES Russia. Weakness provokes Russia. Vacillation, hesitancy and pusillanimity provoke Russia. Strength and decisiveness are things the Russians can understand and respect.