Proof?

Now, this is a talk on the phone and as such not always easy to discern, especially with both people talking in parallel. The SBU, Ukraine’s secret service, has an article titled “SSU Has Evidence of Russian Involvement into Capture of OSCE Monitors (video)” and has apparently uploaded the chat over phone to Youtube (Ukrainian subtitles here).

The (English1) subtitles aren’t catching all nuances and some of the chat is overlapping, but they catch the gist of all that was said. At least I cannot find obvious lies in the provided translation. All this proves, though, is that the Russians had prior contact with the commander of Girkin and a course of action had been agreed upon.

I.e. all it really proves is that the Russians were involved in the release of the military observers and were in contact with the “self-defense” forces in southeast Ukraine in the process.

That’s not all too surprising. With the Kievan interim government unleashing tanks and other heavy weaponry on the southeast of Ukraine which is matter-of-factly inhabited by many ethnic-Russian2 Ukrainians and with the threat of Russian being abolished as official minority language lingering, sympathies towards the EU, US and the Kievan interim government aren’t going to abound in that region. So why wouldn’t it be logical for the so-called “self-defense” forces in those regions to be more susceptible to the arguments from the Russian side that had called to disarm both side – Right Sector and “self-defense” forces.

All of these developments are very very unsettling and worrying. Especially with Obama’s recent remark:

They’re not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians. We don’t need a war

The Noble Peace Prize winner Obama thus brought the nuclear option right back to the top of the list of options the Russians have. And as a reminder, it’s the Russians that try to tone down things all the time – although admittedly some of that may be rhetoric as well – while EU and US unanimously increase pressure and threaten with new sanctions. It’s the director of CIA and the vice president of the US who visited Kiev and both times shortly afterward we witness “anti-terror” operations against the southeast of Ukraine. It’s the Kievan government that sends tanks instead of negotiators to the southeast of Ukraine. All of this is soon going to spiral out of control unless all sides take a step back, tone down the war rhetoric and get back at the negotiation table.

// Oliver

  1. my Ukrainian isn’t good enough to tell []
  2. … these people use Russian in their daily lives, some of them think of themselves as Russians, some of them as Ukrainians, but all of them are Ukrainian citizens. []
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