For the past few days there have been many reports that Russian troops are moving into eastern Ukraine. These have been denied by Russia. So I have no idea what the situation actually is. But here is today’s Telegraph:
EU leaders warned Russia’s invasion of east Ukraine was at a “point of no return”, risking a “state of war” with Europe and instructed officials to prepare new sanctions to hit the Russian economy.
A summmit in Brussels on Saturday gave the green light to toughened economic sanctions, targeting Russia’s finances, oligarchs linked to the Russian president and the country’s vast mineral wealth.
Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s president and a staunch critic of Mr Putin’s Russia, called on the EU to get serious as Russia’s war in the Ukraine menaced peace in Europe for the first time in decades.
“Russia is in a state of war against Ukraine and that is against a country which wants to be part of Europe. Russia is practically in a state of war against Europe,” she said.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that the EU was prepared for new sanctions against and pleaded with Mr Putin to step back from the brink of outright war between Russia and the Ukraine.
Confirming Europe’s realization just how serious events are, and how far down the rabbit hole Europe’s bureaucrats have gone, French President Francois Hollande, while stressing that a failure by Russia to reverse a flow of weapons and troops into eastern Ukraine would force the bloc to impose new economic measures i.e., nothing new, it is what he said just after that indicated a dramatic change in rhetoric: “Are we going to let the situation worsen, until it leads to war?” Hollande said at a news conference. “Because that’s the risk today. There is no time to waste.”
In the Guardian, Russians start asking: are we at war?
Also in the Telegraph, a Russian political scientist writes:
It seems that either explicitly or subconsciously, all the parties wanted an external enemy or crisis. The West is preparing for a new round of the policy of containment and rejection on the Cold War model. Russia was prepared: results have proved favourable so far and Crimea has been masterfully annexed.
Moscow seems to have decided not to retreat until it achieves its goals. Among them is not just the reunion with Crimea or with other lands, which temporarily strengthens the legitimacy of its power. Its main aim is to end the unfinished Cold War which the West has de facto continued to lead and even to conclude a peace treaty on favourable terms. The minimum aim is to make it impossible or prohibitively costly for the West to further unilaterally expand its influence and control into regions Moscow considers vital to its security.
“Everything should be done so that the people stop killing each other. After all, this is one people. If states get involved, the scope grows, and everyone meddles there, we might see a horrible slaughter in Europe. But this can’t be allowed,” he said.
And Dmitry Orlov writes about some ‘really basic misconceptions’:
1. They would like you to think that there is a Russian invasion in the East of Ukraine. What’s actually happening is a civil war between the government of Western Ukraine (which no longer rules the east in any definable way) and the Russian population of Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has been falling apart for decades—ever since independence. The eventual break-up was inevitable, but the catalyst for it was the military overthrow of Ukraine’s legitimate government and its replacement with cadres hand-picked in Washington.
Certainly whether Russian troops have or have not invaded Ukraine, European leaders seem to be determined to tell everyone that they have, and are now talking up the likelihood of a European war. Is that really what they want? Maybe it is? It would divert attention away from Europe’s continuing political and economic crisis, and cement the EU together against a common enemy. As I wrote back in February:
About the only thing that the EU empire hasn’t got, it seems, is an army to rival that of Russia. But if Russia chooses to intervene militarily, that could change overnight. There would be loud calls for an EU army ‘peace-keeping force’ to defend newly-won Ukrainian ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. And what’s to stop the EU Parliament from voting through a Commission recommendation for an emergency draft of EU citizens into a greatly enlarged EU ‘peace-keeping force’ to deter ‘Russian aggression’, with quotas from each EU member state?
Last but not least Russia wants to know what was on the black boxes on flight MH17. I’d been wondering about that too.