Ukraine’s Kremlin problem

Image:  Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

After Latvia, Lithuania & Estonia elected to leave the USSR,  the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) came into being, and most Ukrainians rejoiced that the CIS would be what the Soviet Union was supposed to be — a loose alliance of Eurasian countries, of which the Russian Federation was the largest in area & population, yet not the dictator of the others. 

The Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania & Estonia) did not join and almost immediately began preparations to join the EU & NATO.

Ukrainian hopes for a peace dividend were further enhanced in 1994, when the Russian Federation (RF) (with other great powers) guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and Ukraine (which in 1992 found herself to be the owner of the third largest nuclear weapon collection) became the first country in the world to voluntarily disarm herself of nuclear weapons.

As far as I understand, the Kremlin has never reneged on this guarantee of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

The RF already has borders with NATO countries: with Latvia & Estonia with RF major, and with Poland & Lithuania with the RF territory in the old East Prussia.

Putin’s RF violated Ukrainian integrity in 2014 in contravention of  the guarantee of 1994.

The Kyiv government and the Ukrainian people are therefore hesitant to accept the assurances of Putin’s RF that he wishes to respect Ukrainian independence.

 Martin ψ Мартин
15 Feb 2022

Fr Martin Arnold ψ о. Мартин – Священик Української Греко-Католицької Епархії Австралії, Нової Зеландії та Океанії ψ e & o e ψо. Мартин Арнольд is a priest of the Ukrainian (Greek-Catholic) Eparchy, assisting in the parish of the Protection of our Lady / священик української (греко-католицької) Епархії Австралії і Нової Зеляндіїє  [Ukrainian Catholic Presbytery / Парафія:  36 Broadway, Woolloongabba, Queensland 4102.  T:  (07) 3391 6004]

7 thoughts on “Ukraine’s Kremlin problem

  1. Ray Bergmann says:

    From February 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s Russian-backed president at the time, fled from Kyiv after months of street protests, hostilities erupted in eastern Ukraine, where a patchwork of poorly co-ordinated militias began seizing government buildings throughout Donetsk and Luhansk in April. These groups, which were almost entirely composed of disgruntled locals and sympathisers from elsewhere in Ukraine, declared independence in May 2014 as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. Together, the would-be statelets regarded themselves as “Novorossiya” (New Russia)—a revived term for southern Ukrainian territory conquered by the Russian empire in the 18th century.

    The following 3 paragraphs are exerpted from: “Why Donetsk and Luhansk are at the heart of the Ukraine crisis”, an article in The Economist dated 15-Feb-2022, where the Economist puts the view that “Russian recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities would … rid it of a troublesome region. Even as it protested, the government in Kyiv might therefore heave a sigh of relief.”

    It’s a useful background and I’ll make some comments after the 3 paragraph extract.

    The military tension over Ukraine dates to the “Maidan Revolution” in February 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s Russian-backed president at the time, fled from Kyiv after months of street protests. Russia responded by taking over and annexing Crimea, in the south, in March. Hostilities soon erupted in eastern Ukraine, where a patchwork of poorly co-ordinated militias began seizing government buildings throughout Donetsk and Luhansk in April. These groups, which were almost entirely composed of disgruntled locals and sympathisers from elsewhere in Ukraine, declared independence in May 2014 as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. Together, the would-be statelets regarded themselves as “Novorossiya” (New Russia)—a revived term for southern Ukrainian territory conquered by the Russian empire in the 18th century.

    “Ukrainian forces went on the offensive, and appeared poised to retake the separatist-held territories. But Russian reinforcements rolled in from across the border, knocking the Ukrainians back and threatening to push farther into the country’s heartland. A hasty peace deal between Ukraine, Russia and the separatists halted the onslaught. But this agreement, known as Minsk I, soon broke down. By January 2015 full-scale fighting had broken out again. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and France’s president, François Hollande, stepped in to revive the ceasefire, brokering a “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, known as Minsk II. That left large swathes of Donbas under separatists’ control. A 500km “line of contact”, bristling with trenches and landmines, cuts through it. Despite the presence of foreign observers to monitor the ceasefire, it has never been entirely quiet. More than 14,000 people have been killed there since 2014.

    “The Minsk accords envisaged Ukraine re-absorbing Donetsk and Luhansk with a “special status”. How special this should be was left undefined, as was the sequence of steps and the question of whether the people of Donbas displaced by the conflict should have a say in its future. For Russia, Minsk would create a Trojan horse to give it control of Ukraine, either by destabilising the country from within or through constitutional changes that would give Russia a veto on Ukraine’s shift to the West. For Ukraine that is a poisoned pill it has refused to swallow since 2015. Russian recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities would spare it that agony, and rid it of a troublesome region. Even as it protested, the government in Kyiv might therefore heave a sigh of relief.”

    The article from the Economist ignores the more recent history of Western powers moving heavy weapons and building up their military in the Donbass region, where the intent was clearly to retake the breakaway regions. Russia responded in kind as a warning not to attack. The West increased its promises of support and intervention to Ukraine, as they are doing again now – and stirred up the propaganda campaign about a Russian invasion, just as it is again today. Ukrainian preparations continued under the guise of an invasion over Christmas. Then suddenly Khazakhstan erupted into chaos on Russia’s Southern border in the new year. Most people in the West expected Khazakstan to crumble under a colour revolution. But it turned out to be yet another attempted coup to distract Russia… On 5 January 2022, CSTO peacekeepers were announced to be deployed to Kazakhstan in response to the anti-government unrest in the country and the situation was swiftly stabilized. Only 6 days later, on 11 January, CSTO forces began their withdrawal from Kazakhstan. .

    Nothing has happened in the past month to strengthen Ukraine’s position relative to either NATO, Russia or the U.S., and Ukraine is realising the precarious situation it has put itself in as Western support slowly fades away and Russia holds all the cards. Russia would gain nothing by invading Ukraine; no resources, no strategic advantage and great risks to its economy and reputation. Russia’s present influence over Turkey and Hungary has seen NATO’s power neutered somewhat, and Western Europe’s economic reliance on Russian energy has seen US power projection and influence blunted in recent days, and Ukraine is even coming around to the understanding that NATO membership is completely off the table for them.

    Ukraine at some stage will need to revisit the Minsk accords and start negotiating with Russia.

    1. Thanks Ray for your input.

      Did you hear ABC’s “big ideas” re Ukraine and Russia which seems to be a lucid account from a retired Australian diplomat?

      Tony Kevin – former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia – is currently in Moscow. He rejects the US narrative about Russian expansionism.


      1. Ray Bergmann says:

        Russian FM Sergey Lavrov to @RT_com: We want to explain to the US and NATO that we cannot be satisfied with their promises, especially since the written obligations regarding NATO’s full respect for Russia’s interests turned out to be worthless. German press Der Spiegel published document from 1991 proving that Russia was promised no expansion of NATO eastwards beyond Germany in return for German reunification. Gorbachev was incredibly naive to believe the promise of no further NATO expansion.

  2. In contrast to the voices and actions of the governments of U.S., U.K. and Australia inflaming the situation in Ukraine, voices from citizens and organisations for de-escalation and peaceful resolution are being raised around the world.

    Over the past few months, we have seen the voices and actions of the governments of the United States, the UK and Australia contributing to an escalation of the tensions in Ukraine and those voices and actions given extensive and persistent exposure in the western main stream media. For more than a month now we have been subjected to cries of “an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces” by the western press. We have been told that Putin has an invasion plan but no evidence of that has been given. Putin has consistently said that no invasion by Russia is planned or intended. Further contributing to an increase in tensions has been the United States telling their diplomats in Ukraine to leave for the safety of themselves and their families because of the “imminent threat of a Russian invasion and the “bloody war” which would follow. Predictably, the Australian Government slavishly followed this U.S. lead and ordered Australian diplomats to leave Ukraine for the same exaggerated reasons further contributing to de-stablisation of the situation.

    Even the President of the Ukraine expressed criticism of these U.S. and Australian actions saying these moves were premature, ultra-conservative and that the situation did not warrant it. One should ask whether the U.S., UK and Australian governments are serious about seeing a peaceful solution in Ukraine or secretly harbor a desire for war.

    In contrast to these governments, voices for de-escalation and a peaceful solution have been raised world-wide including in Australia. In the USA an Open Letter to the U.S. government signed by more than 100 national and regional U.S. organizations and released on 1st February 2022 urged President Biden “to end the U.S. role in escalating the extremely dangerous tensions with Russia over Ukraine.” The groups said: “it is gravely irresponsible for the president to participate in brinkmanship between two nations that possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.”

    In Australia, an Open Letter to the Australian government organised by the independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has been signed by over 400 individuals and organisations over the past week. It reads as follows:

    “We, the people, call on you, Prime Minister Morrison, Defence Minister Dutton and Foreign Minister Payne to use your close relationship with the UK Foreign and Defence Ministers and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to advocate:

    * for the US and UK to allow the Minsk 11 agreement parties, Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine who signed the agreement in 2015, to resolve the current crisis,

    * for the United Nations to be the institution tasked to manage the wider implications of the current crisis and to seek peace between the parties

    * and to ensure NO nuclear weapons are on stand-by in the current crisis.”

    Signed by:

    Rita Camilleri, Junko Abe, Rita Ackermann, Bruce Adams, Andrea Albuquerque, Rhonda Andrews, Dennis Argall, Brian and Maureen Arnott, Jon Atkins, Laurence Balshaw-Blake, Sabina Baltruweit, Claudia Barduhn, Jan Barnett, David Bartlett, Stella Bartlett, Dominica Bartlett, Harshini Bartlett, Debra Beattie, Margaret Beavis, Ted Benjamin, helen bennett, Gerard Bennett, Rivqa Berger, Ray Bergmann, Michelle Berkon, Gyorgy Bernard, Richard Blackshell, Gillian Blair, Janice Blakeney, Bea Bleile, Peter Blunden, Judy Blyth, Janny BoersmaI, Imre Bokor, Barbara Bolster, Jennifer Bond, GREG BOND, Kathleen Bower, Kevin Bracken, Clifford Braddon, Denis Bright, David Brindley, Adam Broinowski, Alison Broinowski, Richard Broinowski AO, Alexander Brown, Annette Brownlie, Mark Brownrigg, Jane Brownrigg, Margid Bryn-Burns, Chilla Bulbeck, Nina Burridge, Nick Butler, Michael Carden, Michelle CAVANAGH, Greg Chapman, Ka Chua, Steve Cleary, Jacqueline Clements, Catharine Clements, Douglas Clifford, Michele Cochrane, Janet Cohen, Kristine Conlan, Susan Connelly, hilary cook, Gerardine Cooney, Eon Cooper, Ian Curr, Belinda Curtis, Margaret Daly, Pam Danson, John Davidson, Greg Davies, kerry davies, Joy DAVISON-LEE, Nick Deane, Catriona Devlin, Denis Doherty, Roger Donoghoe, Cat Dorey, Linda Du Boulay, Cheryl DUFFIN, Peter Duffy, Faye Duncan, Alison Durant, Deborah Durnan, Judith Durnin, Heather Eckersley, Marianne Ehrhardt, David D Elder, Jo Errey, Jennifer Esbenshade, Henry Esbenshade, Robert Farrell, Kieran Finnane, Wendy Flannery, Cathie Fletcher, Barbara Fletcher, Ian Fletcher, Wilf Flint, Lynda Forbes, Lynda Forbes, Jenny Forster, Nancy Freddi, Sergio Fredes, andrew fullarton, George Garnsey, Rona GARRIE, Peter Geelan-Small, Stephen Gentle, Keith Gerrard, Carmel Giles, Sandra Goldbloom Zurbo, Jonathan Graham, Lyn Greenop, geraint gregory, Jerry Grey, Peter Griffin, Peter Grube, Reyne Grullemans, Peter Grullemans, Howard Guille, ron guy, Ross Gwyther, Ruth Haig, Jennifer Haines, John Hallam, Bruce Hallett, Rosemary Harbridge, Margaret Hardy, Margaret Hardy, Peter Harpas, Marion Harper, Paul Harris, Olivetta Harris, Julie Hart, Barbara Hartley, Stephen Hay, Tom Hayes, Peter Hayes, marigold hayler, Mal Haywood, Judy Hemming, Roslyn Henderson, Michael Henry, Peter Herborn, Lawry Herron, dale hess, Doug Hewitt, Amanda Hickey, David Higginbottom, Greg Hillcoat, Betsy Holden, Brad Hooper, Stephen Horn, Lyn Hovey, Patricia Hovey, Ian Hughes, Merriel Hume, Abigail Humphreys, Phillip Huntley, Lachlan Hurse, Frank Hutchinson, Graham Irvine, Keri James, Carla Jansen, Graham Jenkin, Robyn Jenkin, M.Marlene Jewell, harry johnson, Evan Jones, Dianne Jones, David Jones, Valerie Joy, Dawn Joyce, Jim KABLE, Cheryl Kaulfuss, Katie Keays, Stephen Kelly, Maureen Kelly, Michael Khalsa, Fayeza Khan, Marcia King, David King, Ariya Kiratikanon, Maree Klemm, Kristine Klugman, MARY KOSTAKIDIS, May Kotsakis, Zakaria Kouli, Cameron Leckie, Norma Lee, Rosemary Levy, Peter Limb, Nora Liston, nicole livar, Susan Locke, Penny Lockwood, Rosemary Longhurst, Lyn Longo, Don Longo, Greg Lucas, Melita Luck, Janice Lumley, Jennifer Macdougall, Bronwyn Marks, Julie Marlow, Peter Martin, Shahnaz Martin, Boris Martinac, Sandy Marty, Tom Marwick, beverley maskell, Rosemary Mattingley, Ian McCallum, Kisten McCandless, Chris McCarthy, ian mccomb, Anne McConnell, Gavan McCormack, S McDermott, Andrew Mcguiness, Marita McInerney, Maureen McKeown, Michael McKinley, Wallace McKitrick, Niall McLaren, Janette McLeod, Bernadette McPhee, Hannah Middleton, Les Mitchell, Colin Mitchell, Beth Moran, Anna Moras, Hunter Morgan, Andrew Morrison, Jane Morrison, Judith Morrison, Rosemary Morrow, Claude MOSTowik msc, Janet Mundie, Peter Murphy, Dennis Murphy, Adriana Navarro, Honey Nelson, Darryl Nelson, Anitra Nelson, Patricia Nesbitt, Ian Newman, Barry Newton, Barbara Nielsen, Anne Noonan, Sally O’Wheel, Margaret O’Callaghan, Denis O’Donnell, Lin Oke, Marion Oke, Anthony Oldfield, Trevor Omara, Jennifer Osborne, Gladys Pagendam, Pia Pagotto, Rob Parkes, Patrick Pemberton, Christina Pender, Lindsay Peters, Cathy Peters, Sally Petherbridge, Sally Petherbridge, Barbara and Bob Pharoah, frank pigott, Beverley Polzin, Vivienne Porzsolt, Cristie Potter, David Purnell, Madonna Quixley, Bevan Ramsden, Rose Read, Anthony Reid, Liz Ridley, Antoinette Riley, Tony Robertson, Geraldine Robertson, Kenneth Robinson, Gem Romuld, Barbara Sage, peter sago, ingrid schreiner, gil scrine, Maureen Sexton, Eddie Seymour, Peter Shannon, Nathalie Shepherd, Miki Shigeno, Nizza Siano, Shannon Slight, Joan Smith, Michele Smith, Alan Stewart, Sarah Stitt, Nikky Stone, Ruth Strachan, Ian Stuart, Barbara Sutherland, Beverley Symons, Lilo Szlavek, Karl Tattersall, Mark Taylor, Jane Taylor, Lorel Thomas, Maureen Todhunter, Irene Tognetti, Margaret Tonkin, Josephine Topp, Innez Tulloch, David Turbayne, justin tutty, Frank Vavasour, Laura Velm, V. George Venturini, Megan Walker, Kieran Walsh, Margaret Walters, Sue Wareham, Rita Warleigh, Merrilyn Wasson, Ruth Watson, Carolyn Weidner, Lorraine Wheeler, Robert WHITE, Philip White, Jo Whitehead, Eileen Whitehead, Reg Wilding, Mara Wiliams, Barbara Williams, Michael Williss, Shirley Winton, Ron Witton, Simon Wood, Linda Wood, Hyunhwee Yi, Elizabeth Young, Stephen Yuen, Anne Yuille, Annelies Zeissink, Dragana Zivancevic, Ann Zubrick,

  3. samir sardana says:

    he EU is sending military aid to UKR

    From where it will enter UKR ?

    Who is sending the aid ?

    Germany ! But is it NOT part of NATO ?

    And from where will it enter UKR ? The Southern ports are all under Putin.So they will come from Poland or Estonia – BUT THESE ARE PART OF NATO !

    Now,when the aid comes it Russian Jets bomb them or Drones shoot
    the convoys or the convoys are chased back into Poland and bombed in Poland – then ……………

    Art 5 !

    These drones flying in UKR airspace and bombing Russian APC/Tanks – are they UKR or …………………. NATO ?

    Between Poland and Estonia – which NATO nation,will Putin choose 1st ?

    Thus the Putin Nuclear Command is activated ! dindooohindoo

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