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Portnykov: Crimea is a symbol of international impotence

Unidentified masked individuals march near Simferopol, Crimea, on March 1, 2014
Portnykov: Crimea is a symbol of international impotence
Article by: Vitaliy Portnykov
Translated by: Christine Chraibi
The United Nations Security Council will meet on March 15 to discuss the situation in Crimea five years after the occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula by Russia.

Five years ago, the meeting of the UN Security Council, during which Vitaliy Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations cynically dismissed widespread international condemnation, became a symbol of the collapse of post-Cold War international law and order. The meeting scheduled for March 15, 2019 will only underline the impotence of the rule of law in the face of Moscow’s rule of force.

Five years ago, Russia openly demonstrated that, using political will and military force, one state could occupy and annex the territory of another without its consent. In fact, Pandora’s Box was opened. Today, the consequences are obvious – a growing possibility of new territorial conflicts, wars, or even another world war. It has also become obvious that the security measures guaranteed by nuclear states to Ukraine, which voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons, are totally worthless. The consequences of this fact can be witnessed every day since. President Donald Trump recently realized what this meant while he waltzed around the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The conclusions should have been obvious… The civilized world should have taken specific measures to dismantle Russia’s political regime in order to demonstrate to the Kremlin that overt military aggression cannot remain without punishment, that international law must not be violated. This is not only about Crimea, about Ukraine, or even about Russia. This is a matter in keeping with a simple principle: if humanity wants to survive, to prevent new wars and notably, a Third World War, the Russian regime must be dismantled. Its very existence is a threat to human existence. That is a hard fact!

Instead, Western politicians compete with each other, trying to figure out how to punish Putin without damaging their economies so as not to offend their voters whose stupidity and short-sightedness are on a par with the greed and cowardice of the ruling and political elite. During the past five years, we have witnessed the West’s moral surrender to force, their reluctance to make real decisions, and their firm belief that basic principles of law and order can be replaced by compromise. Any country, which tries to exert at least some pressure on Russia, continues to impose anti-Russia sanctions, and advocates strengthening them, is largely ignored. We can thank Putin himself for the West’s lame attitude – if needed, he will send a team of poisoners to Salisbury, intervene in foreign elections, or plan something else. If not for such news, the world would have forgotten about Crimea and Donbas a long time ago.

Therefore, words of condemnation or concern, which will be heard at the meeting of the UN Security Council, are not important. It is action that is important.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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