Ukraine Toughens Moscow Stance

KIEV, Ukraine -- Along with Georgia, Ukraine is a rare western ally on post-Soviet turf and has much at stake in Tbilisi’s bloody standoff with their bullying neighbour, Russia.

Members of the Georgian diaspora in Ukraine take part in a protest in front of the Russian consulate in Kiev, August 11, 2008.

As US presidential hopeful John McCain pointed out in a statement, ”the implications of Russian” military aggression go beyond the territorial integrity and independence of a Georgia, but also threat other young democracies in the region

”Russia is using violence against Georgia, in part, to intimidate other neighbours – such as Ukraine – for choosing to associate with the West and adhering to Western political and economic values.”

When the conflict first broke out, Kiev joined western countries in calling for a ceasefire, but flexed its muscle on Sunday with tough diplomatic rhetoric warning Moscow that if its naval ships were used to attack Georgia, they would not be welcome back to the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The port is leased as a base to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Tensions are high. Russia blames Ukraine for selling arms to Georgia that have killed Russian soldiers.

Few expect the Georgian-Russia military clash to spread to Ukraine, a country of 46 million citizens that borders and wants into the European Union. But it could delay security guarantees for both Kiev and Tbilisi, which seek NATO membership, and inspire separatists in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

At an April summit, NATO members designated Ukraine and Georgia as future military alliance members, but delayed a decision on kick starting the process until a December summit.

Svante Cornell, Director of the Institute for Security & Development Policy, said Georgia’s conflict could play into Russia’s geopolitical interests raising reservations with senior NATO members, such as France and Germany. Both have hesitated on opening the door to NATO for Kiev and Tbilisi fearing a backlash from Russia.

In provoking Georgia into a war, Russia seeks to portray Georgia as ”reckless” and scare NATO away from the volatile ex-Soviet region, Mr Cornell said.

Unlike Georgia and many other ex-Soviet states, Ukraine has avoided military conflicts since the USSR collapsed. But if it gets too close to the Georgia-Russia conflict, cautious support for its NATO bid could wane.

Speaking to the Financial Times, a NATO official said, ”we are very concerned” with the South Ossetia situation. It involves ”key partners” and aspiring alliance members. ”Its impossible to predict” how the conflict could affect Georgia’s and Ukraine’s NATO bids; ”each country would be judged by its own merits,” the official added.

Mr Cornell said he conflict is also a sign of Russia’s intention to ”preserve its domination in the region showing what happens to those who oppose.”

Like Georgia, Ukraine remains defiant, and yesterday demanded Russia sign an agreement pledging not to use its Ukraine-based fleet to attack Georgia. Kiev wants Russia’s fleet out of Crimea when a 2017 lease agreement ends. Moscow is keen on staying.

Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, warns that Russia’s backing of separatists in his country could next be applied to Crimea, where a large Russian population wants unification with Moscow.

Gaining control of Crimea, even in a peacekeeping role as in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, would fully secure Russia’s influence in both the Caucasus and Black Sea regions. And as the South Ossetia clash shows, going against Moscow could prove dangerous.

Source: Financial Times

Comments

fr said…
Or USA with help of EU/NATO needs to attack and nuke Russia with everything they have in a blitz war and then gain control of Russia’s oil and gain world peace and control. They will have to do it now or Russia will grow stronger. Maybe the Chinese will help too since Russia is destroying the Olympics. USA cannot take on Russia alone.

The US Military Budget is 560 billion dollars. The Russian Military budget is 81 billion dollars. But an average Russian salary has been around 10 000 dollars a year on paper, but that is not the fact, people can survive on as low as 1 000 dollars a year there in Russia... Compare that to the US average salary of at least 50 000 dollars a year.

This means that the difference between Russia’s and USA’s military budget is huge, in worst case Russians military budget might be 81 billion dollars x 50 times the difference in living cost gives you an military budget of about: 4 071 Billion dollars (4 Trillion dollars), about 7,2 times more than the US budget, in “real exchange value” for what you get for an dollar in a low cost country.

You get much more for a dollar in Russia than in the US because it is a low cost country.

The alternatives are: EU, USA needs to act now or keep its mouth closed for ever.