The past weeks have proven beyond any doubt that the Russian President Vladimir Putin, suffers from megalomania, and believes that Russia can in the current international circumstances, restore her international status as a superpower akin to America. He bitterly criticizes the inappropriate way the West deals with Russia, and disparages its marginalization in international issues, and criticizing NATO’s progress in the east, and demanding the removal of American military bases from the countries that joined NATO after 1997, i.e., Poland, Romania, and other Eastern European countries. What indicates his delusion of grandeur are the following:
1- Putin received the leaders of France, Germany, and Iran in an undiplomatic manner, as well as the President of Turkey shortly before that. Some of them had to wait for him for a while in halls filled with symbols of Russian victories. Russian security asked the French President Macron, upon his arrival at the airport to carry out a Coronavirus test. He sat at six meters from Putin. Yet, Putin did not do this with the Presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus, who visited him in the same period. Moreover, Putin gestured to the German chancellor to walk behind him as they exited the press conference hall.
Putin’s open and unequivocal declared view of Ukraine is that it is not a state, and that Russia relinquished it from its own lands to form a state and supported it with 150 billion dollars over decades. He described its rulers as those who occupy power in Kiev. All of this indicates that he does not see the Eurasian region (the confluence of Europe and Asia) except it being Russian. This view of the Eurasian region and Russia’s centrality to it is what prompted him to involve forces from the countries of the Collective Security Treaty in Kazakhstan in the uprising that took place at the beginning of 2022 to control it.
Putin did not care about insulting all European countries when he requested security guarantees for Russia in Europe from America, despite the widespread criticism at first from France and some other countries that called for Europe’s security to be in the hands of the Europeans first. Putin did so because he sees himself as an equal to America, and not of European countries. When Macron offered to mediate during his visit to Russia, Putin replied that France does not lead NATO.
2 – The Kremlin announced in a statement that Russian President Putin informed his French counterpart Macron on 28/2/2022 in a telephone conversation that took place between them, of Russia’s conditions for stopping the war, which are: “Recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the disarmament of the Ukrainian state, its abandonment of Nazism, and the guarantee of its neutrality” (France Press 28/2/2022).
Hence, the current crisis reveals that Russia’s first aim is to stop questioning her status over Crimea, but rather wants that as a fait accompli with international, American, and European recognition. The second goal is for eastern Ukraine to become outside the control of Ukraine and be part of Russia, and the third and most effective goal is to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, and that it needs guarantees for that. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu emphasized this, saying: “The armed forces of his country will continue the special military operation in Ukraine until it achieves its goals. Western countries should stop building military facilities in the countries of the former Soviet Union that are not members of NATO. The Western world is using the Ukrainian people in the fight against Russia. The important thing is to protect Russia from the military threat posed by Western countries” (Anadolu 1/3/2022). Consequently, this crisis is one of the largest global crises that has recently arisen, and it will constitute a bitter conflict between Russia and the West, and where it is unlikely that Russia will stop until it achieves its goals, or else its loss will be terrible. It is unlikely that the West will accept these conditions.
The current circumstances subsequently exacerbated the severity of this crisis, to the extent that there was a threat of using nuclear weapons. The Russian presidential spokesman, Peskov, announced that “President Vladimir Putin has ordered to put the Russian strategic deterrence forces on a clear and explicit combat alert” (TASS 28/2/2022), which includes defensive rather than offensive nuclear weapons. Strategic deterrence forces are divided into strategic offensive forces and strategic defensive forces. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had “put the Strategic Missile Forces, the Northern and Pacific Fleet and the strategic aviation on alert” (Russian Novosti, 28/2/2022). Russia, in the words of its Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, confirmed its demands by saying: “The realization of legally binding security guarantees by NATO countries is of fundamental importance for Russia” (TASS 1/3/2022). That is why there is no retreat on the part of Russia from its goals in this case, unless the Ukrainians show strong resistance, and continue their resistance as the Afghan Mujahideen did against the Soviet Union in the eighties and recently against America.
Third – The American position: America made every effort to lure Russia into the Ukrainian quagmire with deception and provocation through the following:
a- America did not respond to Russian demands concerning security guarantees, instead it worked to implicate it in Ukraine, so it provoked the government of Ukraine to launch attacks in its east of the Donbass region. This provocation was increased by America’s statements, such as Biden’s statement during a press conference on 19/1/2022, wherein he stated, “I think that (Putin) will move, he has to do something. Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does, It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion by Russia into Ukraine that may not have a high price unlike a full-scale invasion” (CNN 20/1/2022). Following that, a Ukrainian official told CNN (the American network did not name him), “Biden has given the green light to the Russian President Putin to enter Ukraine. Kiev is astonished by these statements!”
b- When the Russian military operation against Ukraine began, US President Biden announced that “America will not interfere if Russia intervenes in Ukraine, but if it interferes in NATO countries, it will intervene.” And he announced that “about 7,000 American soldiers will be sent to Germany.” America has previously deployed about 5,000 American soldiers in Germany, Poland, and Romania.
He also announced a package of sanctions against Russia. Biden said, “Our forces did not go to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east” (Al-Jazeera 24/2/2022), and he confirmed this in the state of the Union speech, saying: “His country’s forces will not engage in any fight against Russia, but it will prevent Russian forces from advancing westward towards other European countries. It will defend every inch of the territory of any NATO member state.” (Al-Jazeera 2/3/2022)
Biden announced the closure of NATO airspace to Russian aircraft, as did European countries and Canada. These statements from the US President tempted Russia and encouraged it to carry out and continue its military operation in Ukraine. This was followed by statements by NATO, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg who stated during a press conference with the Polish President in the capital Warsaw on 1/3/2022: “NATO will not be a party to this conflict. But it will provide all kinds of military support to Ukraine. No soldier will be sent to it. The alliance is defensive and does not seek confrontation with Russia. We try to help Ukraine as much as possible, and the NATO allies have imposed a heavy cost on Russia” (Anadolu 1/3/2022), he expressed the American opinion exactly.
c – America was dealing with Russia provocatively, so Russia was waiting for its Foreign Minister Lavrov to meet with US Secretary of State Blinken in Geneva on 24/2/2022, but Blinken cancelled the visit, [US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that he cancelled the scheduled meeting between him and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov after Moscow’s recognition of the two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and sending troops to them. Blinken said during a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, “Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time” (Albayan 23/2/2022).
This may have failed the meeting before it was held, and thus provoked Russia. Then the American warnings successively and provocatively began about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, while Russia was declaring that it did not intend to invade Ukraine. Everything that was issued by Washington provoked Russia, as if it was pushing it to invade Ukraine. America increased in pushing Russia to invade by declaring several times that it would not fight in Ukraine, because the latter is not a member of NATO, whilst at the same time increasing shipments of new weapons to Ukraine, which are being transported by American planes on a daily including American Stinger missiles and anti-tank weapons.
d- America increased the frequency of its announcements about the imminence of the Russian invasion, and that what it announced was based on intelligence information, thus increasing the international sense of danger. Everyone was watching out for the Russian invasion hour by hour based on what was issued by US President Biden, his Secretary of State, the Minister of Defense, and their spokesmen, and even from the American press.
America also increased the risks of war in Ukraine when it decided to withdraw its personnel in the Contact Line Observation Mission in the disputed Donbass region between Ukraine and the separatists, these American employees being part of the European security mission. Russia felt a great danger from their withdrawal. Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “Some countries” decided to withdraw their citizens, employees of the organization’s special monitoring mission in Ukraine, on the grounds of “exacerbating security conditions.” Zakharova added that these decisions raise Moscow’s grave concern, warning against “deliberately dragging the mission into military hysteria fuelled by Washington and its exploitation as a tool for possible provocation” (Sada Al-Balad, 13/2/2022)]. In the sense that Russia may have seen that America wants to inflame the very sensitive conflict in the Donbass.
e- This increase in American provocations to Russia coincided with America’s announcement that it had almost secured gas to the European continent as a substitute for natural gas from Russia, which Russia is expected to cut off or its Ukrainian supply pipelines will be affected by the war, meaning depriving Russia of the European market, and finding alternatives to American and Qatari gas from importers in Asia, especially the Japanese, who hold gas futures contracts. This comes considering the light winter and the approaching spring when the need for natural gas is less.
Also, there were very dangerous events taking place in the far east of Russia. The Russian army announced that an American nuclear submarine had entered the Russian territorial waters in the Kuril Islands, and that they did not respond to Russian warnings, and that Russian ships used rougher methods to force it to retreat. The process of pushing them out of Russian territorial waters took 3 hours. The Kuril Islands are Japanese islands which were occupied by Russia during World War II over which Japan is still claims sovereignty. Due to Russia’s failure to respond to these Japanese demands, Tokyo, since 1945, has not signed any cease-fire agreement with Russia, meaning that Japan has been officially and since 1945 been technically in a state of war with Russia. This meant that Russia’s fear from America has increased. The question is whether America will further push the political buttons and push Japan to occupy the Kuril Islands?
f- Thus, things will continue in the direction of provocation and escalation. It will increase step by step until Russia is immersed in the Ukrainian mud. Until then, the American provocations will continue along with the British provocations, and European provocations, such as Germany stopping the Nord Stream project, on the one hand, and the American temptation to Russia to continue the war in Ukraine.
America does not effectively threaten Russia, rather, it merely shows its intention to impose sanctions. Its foreign minister, Blinken, called the Russian military preparations a prelude to a “successful” invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, Ukraine’s demands to join NATO increased as did Ukraine’s demands from the West for more armaments, which heightened the risks to Russia and accelerated its accumulation. This continued until the only open door for Russia to solve its security risks around Ukraine was through invasion, war and drowning in the quagmire. This is what America wanted i.e., setting up of Ukraine with trap for Russia. Russia stupidly fell into the trap.
Fourth: The European position: The European Union High Representative Josep Borrell said on 22/2/2022 that this is a black day for Europe, the day Russia recognized the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. British Prime Minister Johnson followed by stating that we have entered a new strategic competition with Russia that may extend for an entire generation. All of this makes the door open to all possibilities, and nuclear threats are not excluded.
Nevertheless, Europe has tried to calm the situation and reach an agreement with Russia, and its leaders in France and Germany have communicated with it, so French President Macron visited Moscow, and he spoke by phone several times with Putin, most recently after the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The Elysée Palace announced that Macron “repeated in the conversation the international community’s demanded to halt the Russian attack on Ukraine and reaffirmed that an immediate ceasefire would be in effect, halt all strikes and attacks on civilians and their places of residence, preserve all civilian infrastructure and secure roads, especially the road south of Kiev.” (France Press 28/2/2022). The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, also visited Moscow and discussed with Putin and stated from there, saying: “There is no doubt for us Germans, but all Europeans, that stable security cannot be achieved against Russia, but only with it… This is what we agreed with the Russian President, however, opportunities for resolving the current crisis in Europe are still present.” (Russia Today, 15/2/2022).
Despite this, Europe was already implicated in the Ukraine crisis, as America wanted. It was forced to declare its full support for Ukraine through military equipment and advanced weapons, and the imposition of sanctions on Russia in various fields, amounting to launching an all-out war without sending soldiers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on his Twitter account on 26/2/2022: “The Russian aggression against Ukraine constitutes a turning point, it threatens the situation that was established after the Second World War… In this situation on our part, we must help Ukraine as much as we can in defense against the invading Putin‘s absurdity.” Germany decided to send 1,000 rocket launchers and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Scholz said to the German parliament “with the invasion of Ukraine we are in a new era…Germany will invest from now on and year after year more than 2% of its GDP in our defense sector, we will invest 100 billion euros in military equipment this year. The goal is to have a strong, modern and advanced army that is able to protect us reliably” (France Press 27/2/2022). After the Russian military operation, he announced the suspension of work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that extends from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The European Union’s Foreign Relations and Security Officer Josep Borrell said on 27/2/ 2022 that “the Union decided to provide military aid to Ukraine, including weapons worth 450 million euros and protective equipment worth 50 million euros, which will be financed from the Fund for Peace in Europe, and from the Intergovernmental Fund” (Anadolu 28/2/2022). At an emergency meeting of the European Union in Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel said, “The sanctions will have an impact on us as well, but this is a price owed to the defense of our freedom.” European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said: “We see before us a new geopolitical birth for Europe. The catastrophe that Europe is facing today forces it more than ever to unite and cooperate.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “Europe’s fate is at stake during the war in Ukraine.” (Al-Jazeera 1/3/2022)
Hence, we see that Europe has become involved in this war that overturned the state of peace it has lived since the end of World War II, and put it under the Russian threat, except for its great economic losses due to its loss of energy resources such as gas and oil. The European Union gets about 40% of the gas and 27% of the oil from Russia. America wants Europe to turn to it, to rely on its gas at high costs and with lower quality. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would have provided it with a third of the external demand, at a cost that was about 25% lower. Putin said at the press conference with German Chancellor Scholz in their last meeting, and in an expression of his favours on the Germans, saying: “The German consumer, whether it is an industrial or domestic consumer, receives gas from Russia five times less (than the current price), so let the German citizen checks his wallet and says he ready to buy gas at a price 3-5 times higher. Therefore, he should thank the former German Chancellor Schroder who supported the Nord Stream 1 project through which Germany receives about 55 billion cubic meters of gas and this gas is provided on future contracts “ (Russia Today, 15/2/2022). Putin stated that Germany holds 60% of the Russian market and did this only to tempt Europe to cooperate with Russia and not stand against it on the American side, and to reassure it that Russia is not thirsty for its resources. By this Russia wants to keep itself safe from Europe’s side.
Fifth: The Chinese Stance: China has come close to Russia on this issue. China has supported Russia by declaring that the Western countries should take Russia’s security demands seriously. To mobilize international support for Russia’s policy on Ukraine, Russian President Putin visited Beijing (the Winter Games) and met with Chinese President 2/2/2022, and China announced in a joint statement signed by its president with Russian President Putin that it opposes Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The two countries (Russia and China) declared their unified positions in the face of American hegemony and called for international multipolarity and said that a new era in international relations had been launched. They signed major contracts for China to invest in Russia’s gas and oil, and to increase trade exchange between them, raising it to $200 billion a year. However, it appears that China is awaiting to see how the situation of Russia will be in Ukraine, and whether it will take a similar step to annexing Taiwan. Voices began to rise in China: “It’s the best chance to take back Taiwan now.” This is on the Chinese version of Twitter.
China has rejected sanctions against Russia so that it would not face similar treatment if it moved to seize Taiwan by force, and it refrained from vetoing a draft resolution condemning Russian aggression. It chose not to vote to avoid a Western campaign against it. It appeared to be not supporting Russia when it did not veto the draft resolution condemning Russia. Note that it, i.e., China, did not criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and blamed America, but it appreciates the principles of stability and territorial integrity. In a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “Concerning the current crisis, the Chinese side calls on Ukraine and Russia to find a way to solve it through negotiations and supports all constructive international efforts for a political settlement” (TASS 1/3/2022).
The Chinese Foreign Minister had announced his country’s opposition to the sanctions, saying: “China not only does not support sanctions as a means to solve problems, but rather strongly opposes the unilateral sanctions that are inconsistent with international law.” (TASS 27/2/2022).
1- America has “succeeded” in luring Russia towards a complete or almost complete invasion of Ukraine. This will make Russia face local tensions and political, economic turbulence, military as well, for years, whether it is satisfied with occupying eastern Ukraine or bypassing it for larger areas in Ukraine, all, or some …and it cannot be excluded that it will affect Putin’s continuation in power.
2- Likewise, the international situation of Russia will be impacted by this turbulence and may even reach the point of collapse. The international campaign has expanded, under American and European pressures, to highlight that Russia is attacking sovereign countries, and at the same time, America and Europe have forgotten or wanted to forget its attacks on many sovereign countries in Asia and Africa. All these countries, Russia, America, and Europe, come from the same root and base in that they do not value human life.
3- As for the fact that these attacks will lead to a third world war, as was the second world war after Nazi Germany’s attack on Czechoslovakia and its occupation piece by piece in 1939, the matter is somewhat different. This is because its occurrence is inseparable from a nuclear war as these countries are nuclear powers, and they will have to think a thousand times before implementing it, not because it destroys others, this has no weight for them, but because it may affect them, so they have no values except what benefits them even if it harms others.
Al-Jazeera published in an interview with Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister on 2/3/2022: (and in response to a question about the danger of a third world war. Lavrov said that the leaders of the five permanent members signed a declaration that the world war should not erupt, because it would be nuclear and with no victorious in it, pointing out that it was US President Joe Biden is the one who said that sanctions against Russia were the only alternative to World War III). Lavrov’s country does not find an objection to bombing a nuclear plant if the damage resulting from it is far from it and close to others.
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