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Ukraine will never surrender to Putin Tension is building on the border as a new generation prepares to stand up to Russia

Seven years on, the war continues. Credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty

Seven years on, the war continues. Credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty


April 20, 2021   5 mins

Winter shivers. Snow smothers the ground. A collection of tents, slowly collapsing, forms an army camp distinguished only by several sagging Ukrainian flags: splashes of blue and yellow amid a canvas of almost unrelenting white. It’s winter 2014, on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, and I am in the forests outside the occupied cities with the Ukrainian army as it faces off against “separatists” backed by Russian forces.

The growl of shelling is constant; sandbags are piled high, rigid with ice. The only warmth comes from the iron heater in the centre of my tent, which is pitched between a broken-down truck and a couple of vans. Sasha, my Ukrainian army liaison, sits drinking tea. I ask him how long he thinks this will last. He looks around. He cocks an ear to the low throb of artillery. “Maybe a long time,” he replies. “But we won’t surrender.”

Seven years on, Russia is massing troops on Ukraine’s border once again. Some 110,000 soldiers have moved in — the largest military build-up there since 2014 — and they have all the logistical support required to support an invasion; field hospitals have already been set up. On Saturday, Moscow sent two warships through the Bosphorus; it reportedly plans to send more from its Caspian and Baltic fleets to bolster its presence in the Black Sea. Russia is flexing its military muscles – very publicly.

This winter’s snow in the trenches dug deep along the frontlines has melted into a brownish sludge. But the gunmetal skies remain; the tangles of barbed wire. In 2014, as we approached the frontlines, we switched off our phones while soldiers traded their digital watches for analogue ones — anything that could alert Russian artillery to our location was jettisoned. Today the skies hum with a greater menace: drones.

Seven years ago, I was on the ground as separatists stormed municipal buildings in major cities across the east. In Donetsk and Luhansk, those same heavily armed “protestors” went on to declare independence from Ukraine and the birth of the autonomous People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DNR and LNR).

I call my old fixer, Anton, who guided me through subsequent trips to the east. He tells me was on the border near the city of Kharkiv last week, at the international transit point to Russia. When I was there years ago, it was pretty much just a field. Now a large fence snakes across the border, manned with anti-tank defences and sensors. The border guards even gave him a tour. “It’s heavily prepared for a Russian invasion,” he told me.

Tensions, though, appeared to have cooled somewhat after US President Joe Biden’s offer last week to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in a third country. “As soon as this happened things calmed down,” he says. “It looks like Putin has achieved his goal, which was to attract Biden’s attention.” But, he tells me, the wider situation in the east is now heating up: “There’s an uptick in ceasefire violations, including mortars and artillery — mostly anti-tank rockets used to attack Ukraine.”

The uneasy peace between Russia and Ukraine is mediated by the ceasefire agreed in Minsk between the two countries in 2015. Since then, in the best traditions of the type of “frozen conflicts” it favours, Moscow has been able to escalate and de-escalate the situation at will. This disputed borderland, like the other pro-Russian separatist enclaves of Transnistria and South Ossetia in Moldova and Georgia respectively, provides Moscow with leverage to pressure recalcitrant governments. Indeed, as Anton so pithily puts it: “Russia can make trouble for Ukraine whenever it wants. Someone in Moscow just makes a call to the separatist leaders — and the bullets start flying.”

In the meantime, the east is becoming ever more isolated. Anton, whose parents still live in separatist controlled territory, tells me that the authorities have used Covid as an excuse to block crossing points with Ukraine. And they force people to get local “passports”.

“You can’t do things like register property without local DNR and LNR passports now,” he says. “On New Year’s Eve, the Covid curfew was lifted only for people with these passports. If you showed up to watch fireworks with a Ukraine passport you’d be arrested. Now, a local passport gives you more ‘civil rights’, and it streamlines the process for getting a Russian passport: first you get the local one, then the Russian one.”

So is the east lost to Ukraine? Anton sighs. “Look,” he replies. “It’s been seven years since Russia took it over. That’s a long time — it’s 30 percent of a generation. Someone born in 2014 is now a first-grade pupil, who has never lived under an independent Ukraine. Seven years of Russian propaganda pumped into the area on TV and radio. It will have an effect.”

If history is any guide, I suspect he is right. Ukraine has always been fought with tweets as much as troops. As I wrote in my last book, our post-truth age was, to a certain degree, born in Ukraine — that laboratory of Russian disinformation techniques that would come to the attention of the wider West with the 2016 US Presidential elections. It’s not just the physical battlefield that is warming. As the border swells with Russian tanks, Russian lies swell online.

Seven years ago, the Ukraine conflict began with a lie: that millions of people across the country’s east wanted to splinter and join Russia, and that the Kyiv government forces were committing atrocities in response. On 12 July 2014, a news report on Russia’s state-owned Channel One reported that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a child in the eastern town of Sloviansk.

The crucifixion of an innocent; it’s the West’s oldest morality tale. I remember talking to people in the occupied east and listening to them tell me the story over and over again. The hate it inspired was palpable. The story was, of course, nonsense. But it worked.

And it is a tactic that continues to be deployed today. Just a few weeks ago, Russian media reported that an unmanned Ukrainian drone had killed a five-year-old boy named Vladik in a village in eastern Ukraine. The pro-Kremlin newspaper denounced the perpetrators as “Ukrainian beasts”.

Again, hate filled the Russian language spaces. Again, it was palpable. But again, it was nonsense. Through sources on the ground in Ukraine, I have access to closed Telegram groups in occupied Donbass, including one that contains neighbours who were discussing the event. It was, they reported, common knowledge that the boy’s grandfather was known to collect “souvenirs” from the war, and that the boy had died playing with explosives he had found in a shed at his grandparents’ house.

Yet not everything on the border is the same as seven years ago. Looking at the footage, there is an obvious difference. The Ukrainian soldiers, the equipment, the heavy armour — they all look far more professional.

“There have been tremendous changes,” confirms Hanna Shelest, the director of Security Programmes at the Foreign Policy Council of Ukrainian Prism. “The army is ready to fight. First is the psychological aspect: in the beginning it was hard for Ukrainians to comprehend the idea of Russia as an enemy against which the homeland had to be defended. It was a cognitive dissonance. Now we have a new generation trained for it. There are many officers who have fought in the east for years and who had to leave Crimea – for them: it’s personal.”

“Second: the capabilities. We are much better. We have battalions trained to NATO certified standards, new equipment, and US and UK and Canadian training commissions.” You need only look at today’s crop of Ukrainian soldiers to see that she’s right. They march in step and dart across trenches that strafe the frontlines.

Seven years on, the war continues. And seven years on, I see the truth of what Sasha told me that winter in 2014: Russia may keep on attacking, but Ukraine will not surrender.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

According to The Duran it was the Ukrainians who first moved men and materiel to the ‘contact zone’, in March. Putin’s build up has been in response to this.
The US and NATO etc will do nothing. Apparently the two US ships have already turned around, although the British for some reason are – absurdly – sending a destroyer to the Black Sea. This destroyer should, of course, be in the English Channel, turning back migrants in dinghies.
Further, owing to Nordstream 2 there is now little or no money in Ukraine for the Biden family to get their hands on. And, as even Macron admitted, NATO is ‘brain dead’, along with more or less every other western government and entity.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You are absolutely correct. Whilst H.MS. Dogsbody is swanning around the Black Sea, Sinbad & Co are gathering on the French beaches, preparing for the annual migration.
‘My’ spies tell me you cannot buy a lilo, canoe, dinghy or water-wings for ‘love nor money’ anywhere between Calais and Dunkirk.
What on Earth happened to that old naval battle cry of “prepare to repel boarders!”

Ernesto Garza
Ernesto Garza
3 years ago

Changed to “Prepare to adjust borders.”

Mavka Rusalka
Mavka Rusalka
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

To Mr. Bailey who has an uninformed opinion on everything. Ukrainians didn’t “move” any additional material anywhere. That is BS. Nice how, in your ignorance, you open the door for further Russian aggression. Maybe they will show up with their poisons again in your country.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mavka Rusalka
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mavka Rusalka

It seems to be a fact that Ukraine moved men and military materiel to the ‘contact zone’ in early and mid-March. The Russians have been responding to this. Meanwhile, Zelensky has been desperately asking for Ukraine to be fast-tracked into NATO. Well, he made his living as a comedian before becoming a politician and I guess some habits die hard.
Unfortunately for Ukraine, it has been ruled by the corrupt and/or lunatic since its formation 30 years ago. There is no great shame in this as the same can be said of most countries. However, you are up against Putin, one of the few national leaders who, while almost certainly extremely corrupt, is not a lunatic.
As for the Russians coming to the UK to poison ex-KGB members who betrayed their country, I have no particular problem with it. I blame the UK for allowing these people into the country. If you are the type of person who joins organizations like the KGB you know what to expect. And so should the British authorities.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
N Millington
N Millington
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

…wow.
This is the most singularly ignorant viewpoint I’ve ever seen.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mavka Rusalka

The people of Crimea voted to remain as part of Russia. It’s the UN and EU who are the aggressors because they want the Ukraine.

wrirwin
wrirwin
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Oh yes, that “free” vote to remain a part of a dictatorship. For someone sufficiently brainwashed, it can excuse or explain a lot – as reflected in many of these posts.

Sean MacSweeney
Sean MacSweeney
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Putin is using the same tactics employed by Hitler against Austria/Czechoslovakia/Poland

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“The Duran” is hardly a reliable source.

N Millington
N Millington
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Destroyers, surprisingly, aren’t very good at preventing migrant boats. They are surprisingly good at firing missiles.
The HM Coastguard handles the problem you are talking about.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago

It’s not the UK’s fight, it’s not America’s fight, it has nothing to do with ‘the West’. Ukraine and Russia’s relationship is their own business. The West cannot pretend to care about Eastern Ukraine’s civilians when it is actively perpetrating a genocide in Yemen and has caused nothing but devastation in Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. Tend to our own garden.

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

And in 1938 Chamberlain described Czechoslovakia as a ‘far away country of which we know nothing’ as he sold out its people to the Nazis. Appeasement went well, didn’t it?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

As AJP Taylor commented, Britain went to war for Poland, which suffered terribly and ended up having half its territory handed to the Soviet Union, not without further conflict. It did nothing for Czechoslovakia, which survived as an entity, and lost far fewer people.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

You are correct, but you have to realize that it’s all part of the globalist one world government agenda to control everything, but Putin is standing in their way.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Uptick! Surely Bojo will order our boys into the valley of death? Unless of course he’s pretending to be a Russian, or Turk. Oddly the one ethnic group he doesn’t seem to pretend to be is the one he most likely comes from – the Norse. Its little wonder these characters have no compuction about bombing civilians in Yemen, Syria etc, they have no relationship with reality, including their own ethnic origins.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 years ago

Emboldened probably,by Biden’s presence,Zelensky passed a law saying that Ukraine would fight to take back Crimea. The Russian troops massed on the northern border of Crimea are in a defensive position, as they face a bottleneck should they try to advance into Ukraine. Russia did not invade Ukraine, there was a separatist movement after the illegal coup that got Poroshenko into power and deposed Yavtushenko.. Covert Russian support from one side and pretty overt US support from the other side. The first fighting was nasty, including the burning to death of 50 trade unionists by Poroshenko’s supporters. So convinced was Poroshenko that Russians had invaded eastern Ukraine that he blocked pensions to pensioners and hospital supplies to hospitals,since of cpurse that was the most effective way to defeat the Russian army,and indeed was magically effective….

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Patrikarakos writes: “Seven years ago, the Ukraine conflict began with a lie: that millions of people across the country’s east wanted to splinter and join Russia.” Well, actually it started with the illegal and unconstitutional overthrow of a duly elected Ukrainian president, aided and abetted by the Obama-Biden administration. The objective was to put a NATO-friendly government in power. This cancelled an EU-brokered agreement that would have seen early presidential elections within the constitutional framework that almost certainly would have seen President Yanukovych turfed from office democratically, but not necessarily with the same cast of characters replacing him. Virtually the first action of the new government was to repeal the right to have Russian as a second official language in oblasts where it was widely spoken, which hit particularly hard in the Crimea and the Donbass, where more of the people spoke Russian than Ukrainian as their first language. To ignore all this, and just put “protestors” in quotes like Patrikarakos does, simply turns him into a NATO propagandist of the worst kind. Whether there would have been a civil war without Russian support is an open question. There is no doubt that the Russophones in Donbass had authentic grievances and that gross errors by the American government and the illegal Ukrainian government contributed to the tragedy that ensued.
Patrikarakos compares the Donbas to other frozen conflicts like South Ossetia and Transnistria. The comparison is misleading, since the Donbas conflict is much the least frozen, with violence still going on. It is also hard to see Transnistria, non-contiguous with Russia, becoming a Russian oblast, but it is easy to see this happening to Donetsk and Luhansk. For this reason people who want to keep Ukraine from losing the Donbas as it has already lost Crimea should really focus on finding a better role for its people than serving as proxies in an American war with Russia. NATO membership should be taken off the table by the government of Kyiv as part of the process of reabsorbing the Donbas. Ukraine should also grow up, and restructure itself as what it is: a bilingual country with two main languages, Ukrainian and Russian. It is shameful that the website of the National Bank of Ukraine has an English-language portal but no longer has a Russian-language portal.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Baldwin
wrirwin
wrirwin
3 years ago

It is clear from these postings that the Russian disinformation agencies, along with a lot of useful idiots, are for some reason interesting in following Unherd.

Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
3 years ago
Reply to  wrirwin

You need to play the ball not the man. What makes you think you are not a useful idiot manipulated by US-Nato misinformation? It is better to present or refute the evidence in support of your position rather than insult those who cite evidence to support an opposing view.

Madeleine Jones
Madeleine Jones
3 years ago

“It looks like Putin has achieved his goal, which was to attract Biden’s attention.” 
This is an interesting article, yet this statement made me consider something. Perhaps a flaw in American International Relations thinking (whether in journalism, government or academia) is centering themselves too much in the story. Whilst America certainly has many capabilities, there are limits to how much they can change the current situation. Biden, and America, may be more powerless than they think.
Still, Putin will put on a show. If he takes more of Ukraine, then that’s a huge blow to NATO. It’s not just Americans who are watching: I looked at media from say, Germany, and they too, are focused on Ukraine. My point is: What can America honestly do?
I appreciate the extra context for this statement, and I know the author is not claiming that Putin is obsessed with Biden, or anything like that.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

You raise an interesting question about the limits of US and western power in this dispute. The US and other nations have the capability to intervene militarily but I think it’s highly unlikely they’ll do so for fear of triggering a much bigger conflict with Russia, and also because I doubt there’s any domestic support (at least in the US) for more military conflict.
So the West will arm the Ukrainian army, train them, provide real-time intelligence about Russian troop movements, and maybe sanction Russia. Then the Ukrainians will have to fight for themselves, which they seem more than willing to do.

David FĂŒlöp
David FĂŒlöp
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The issue here is that the West cannot even properly arm Ukraine as they do not have the money and providing capable weapons in itself would be seen as an escalation by Russia.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

We have been arming and training various armies in various parts of the worlds for some years now. They always seem to collapse when faced with a few members of the Taliban or whoever.
As for sanctioning Russia, we have also been doing that for years. As a consequence Russia is now, apparently, self sufficient in food, can produce its own microchips and various other technologies, has evolved its own virtual currency and payment system (independent of Swift), and has formed a close alliance with China.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is also expected to make even more money on the completion of Nord Stream 2. It is this project the Americans want cancelled-so that they can have it instead & this is perhaps what all this ‘Russia is the ultimate evil’ propoganda is about. The only bit of Ukraine Russia wanted back was Crimea and as over 90% people who live there like being part of Russia thats surely OK? American foreign policy is -pick a country , pick any country , now distablize it, destroy most of it and then tell everyone how they have brought them ‘freedom’, then a few ( who obviously love this policy ) make money ‘re-building’ it.

CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Had Russia not asserted its authority in the Crimea, we can rest assured that Sevastopol would now be hosting a U.S. naval base.

wrirwin
wrirwin
3 years ago

What America, Europe and NATO can do is stand up to Putin’s aggression if moves against Ukraine by generously supporting the Ukraine resistance. Russia will have a hard time defeating a Ukraine military backed by the resources of the West. And conquering and occupying a country the size of Ukraine is likely beyond Russia’s capabilities. Russia would pay a high price in international standing and blood and treasure. Putin knows this so is not likely to make any serious move against Ukraine so long as the West is clear it will not tolerate another Crimea.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  wrirwin

Have you heard the expression-Russia the place where foreign troops go to die?

Mavka Rusalka
Mavka Rusalka
3 years ago

Ah, the lazy and cowardly “realists” rear their ugly heads. There are no spheres of influence in the modern world. There are alliances and those are chose by the parties and not “great power” overlords or UnHerd readers who haven’t left home in a year.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mavka Rusalka

Are you suggesting little old GB plc gets involved?
We couldn’t even subdue Northern Ireland after 30+years and made a complete fiasco of Iraq & Afghanistan?
Our one ‘result’ was the Falklands, albeit against a very poor second XI.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

The IRA were militarily defeated, which is why they came to the negotiating table. Then the idiot Blair threw it away.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Yes agreed, but they still had NORAID and the Kennedy clan behind them, and it meant victory.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Russell Caplan
Russell Caplan
3 years ago

The Ukrainian government does not act without instructions from Washington. It is not in Russia’s interests to go to war with Ukraine. But it is in the interests of the US and its imperial Nato alliance of satraps to set Ukraine ablaze. This would provide the perfect pretext to change Nato rules and incorporate a rump Ukraine in to the Nato orbit. It would allow Nato to surround Russia with a ring of steel on its Eastern flank providing naval bases all along the coast.
The fake news presented for Western consumption that Russia is aggressively massing an invasion force to attack Ukraine is only true in so far as Russia is preparing a response inside Russia to the massive build up of Ukrainian military forces in the East that can be for only one purpose, the resumption of hostilities against the break away self proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. This Ukrainian build up would be a violation of the Minsk accords negotiated and agreed under the auspices of Russia and the EU which provides a perfectly reasonable settlement that reintegrates the breakaway regions in to Ukraine on a federal basis reassuring these Russian speaking regions with a degree of autonomy. It would appear that the Ukrainian government has been encouraged to repudiate this agreement by its Western masters in favour of conflict.
Let us not forget that these breakaway Russian speaking regions resorted to such a move in response to the US and EU orchestrated coup against a democratically elected government. The coup leaders, many of them hand picked by the US, were full of anti Russian invective threatening to ban Russian as an official language. Pro Russian political parties were made illegal and there was an atmosphere of triumphant menace against Russian people, their language and culture. This anti Russian sentiment continues unchecked with the banning of popular political parties that happen to be supported by Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine.
Russia of course is obliged to protect its people. The Russians in these break away regions are not just any Russians. They find themselves living in a country that was not too long ago very much part of Soviet Russia but now despises and maligns them, their language and culture as foreign. Russia also has security interests and cannot be expected to tolerate what the West would never put up with. Consider this for example.
Imagine Russia involved itself in the overthrow of the Canadian government and had it replaced by a group of French speaking politicians from Quebec (no disrespect to the French or Quebec). And imagine these politicians making all sorts of negative comments and declarations about American/ English culture and language that included ideas about banning English as one of the country’s official languages. The English speaking part of Canada would justifiably take fright and probably decide to secede (I am not sure whether the geography in this analogy quite stacks up). I can assure you the US would not stand idly by and probably, unlike Russia, would have intervened militarily long before the coup. They certainly would not put up with Russian military advisers and trainers as well as the provision of military hardware to this new putschist government on the borders of the US. So why do we in the West think Russia is behaving unreasonably when it behaves in accordance with its own security interests? Or is Russia not allowed to have security interests? Russia can move, amass troops and frankly do what the hell it likes with its army inside its own borders. Just as the US, UK etc can within their borders. Problem is, it is the US and Nato that move and amass armies outside their sovereign territory, all over the world. Not Russia!
The truth is the West does not give a damn for the poor Ukrainians who are mere canon fodder for their anti Russian intrigues whose goal is to try and perpetuate a unipolar US-Nato dominated world that a resurgent Russia threatens. What is going on in Ukraine at the moment is a dangerous gambit for the US and the government it controls in Ukraine. Having failed to stop the completion of North Stream 2 thus far with sanctions, things have now got desperate. First we had the alleged poisoning of Navalny that failed to stop the co-operation between Germany and Russia. Russian forces coming to the defence of their compatriots in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk may just tip it in favour of killing North Stream 2 and bringing rump Ukraine in to Nato. But this is fraught with terrible danger of a conflict that can quickly spiral out of control.
People in the West need to understand that Ukraine for Russia is ‘personal’. The perceived existential threat Western military involvement in this part of the world poses is something as I have argued, the West would never put up with on their own respective borders. It is time to try get along with Russia instead of relentlessly baiting this major nuclear power. In the words of the distinguished Russian scholar Stephen Cohen who recently passed away we need to ask ourselves the question “Who, . . . will avert the prospect of war with Russia, a new Cuban missile-like crisis, conceivably in the Baltic region, Ukraine, or Syria?”

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
3 years ago

If Ukraine allowed a UN observed referendum on the status of the Donbass the matter would be settled. Ukraine invaded the Donbass to stop a referendum, were they so certain they would loose?
The people of Donbass and Crimea wanted self determination after a violent armed coup overthrew the Government in Kiev which the Crimea and Donbass had voted for.
While Russia may have sent weapons, and Russian mercenaries may be involved, this is no more an invasion than American weapons and American mercenaries going to support the Ukrainian Junta is an invasion of Ukraine by the west.
Wars are ended by negotiation and compromise, not by crying fake news whenever the other side reports collateral damage or war crimes.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Ukraine, Belarus and the ex Soviet States of Central Asia are Russia’s sphere of influence. Not for us to interfere.

Stefan Hill
Stefan Hill
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Hitler considered Russia a part of Germany’s sphere of influence. Was it wrong of the USA to interfere and help Russia ?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Kazakhstan wanted to join the EU, arguing that half its territory was in Europe. They were not just refused but treated badly, pushing them Into the Shanghai Agreement with Russia and China. The other stans are seen by Russia as Muslim, and feared rather than wanted, since Russia is obsessed with and fears its own Muslim population. Don’t forget that Central Asians were expelled from Russia in the late ‘90s.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Spheres of influence is so 19th century. It’s what gave us the Sykes-Picot agreement and a century’s worth of trouble.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

..and so the western media propaganda continues to flow, keeping a firm grasp on the misinformation campaign. They must ramp up the anti-Russian narrative at all costs in order to create another deepstate war on behalf of the Globalist EU and World bank. No matter that it was the UN, and EU who previously put their puppet General in power, to bomb and shell his own people, (Poroshenko) to force them to capitulate. All aided and abetted by Obama, Cameron, Nato, the US Deepstate, and military industrial complex. The people of Crimea voted on two separate occasions (legally) to remain allied with Russia (they are Russian speaking people) but the Kiev agenda was to become a part of the EU. Obviously the new Biden administration want to start exactly where the Obama administration left off again.No change there then. Once a globalist, always a globalist.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago

I find the silence of left wingers very strange when it comes to Russia and Ukraine. No condemnation of Russia’s lack of coming to terms with its loss of empire – and no calls to Ukrainians to apologise and atone for their collaboration with Nazi murderers during WW2.
As for Ukraine joining NATO….the last thing we need is a lame duck country that will require immense resources to defend – and the possibility of Western involvement triggering WW3. Ukarine simply isn’t worth it.

N Millington
N Millington
2 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Ukraine was literally the bread basket of the Soviet Union. It still has the bulk of its nuclear infrastructure and was, at one point, the third most powerful nuclear power on Earth.
A westernised, modernised Ukraine would be one of the most powerful nations on Earth.

David Otness
David Otness
3 years ago

The Russophobic ignorance is palpable. The propaganda herein mediocre. Why such facile reactionary propaganda continues to find a voice here is disturbing; anyone seeking or having sought truth re: the US-inspired and financed Maidan massacre can spot this lemon coming in the story lede.
This one is as absurd as seeing Mr Bellingcat himself strutting and preening about his righteous mission a few months ago.
Gawd save us from fools leading other fools forward to our mutual doom, especially those of us standing for rational assessment of what is truly going on here. When paid trolls from the Atlantic Council, ‘Integrity’ Initiative, and all of the other so-called NGOs are given implicit endorsement to spout unwarranted and untruthful tripe in a publication seeking authenticity and a standard of objectivity(?) like this one on a semi-regular basis it gives a thinking person pause as to just what this ‘Unherd’ business is actually all about.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago

May God bless and protect Ukraine. And may God grant the wisdom to Russians to keep anything foolish from happening.

Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago

The author of this piece seems to be suffering from a virus which has been infecting western journalists since the spring of 2014. It manifests itself in an inability to recognize anything other than the rights of those in western Ukraine and completely ignoring those of inhabitants of the east.
It is reminiscent of a type of disease where myopia or even total blindness occurs and only the last thing told by an editor is endlessly reported as objective fact. When journalists catch this particular disease it immediately makes their credentials for their trade vanish in a flash.
They begin to imagine that it is Kiev that is surrounded by extremists firing mortar rounds into it and snipers taking pot shots. In fact, since the spring of 2014 when ultra-nationalists and a ragtag Ukrainian military began lobbing random mortar shells into apartment blocks, schools and hospitals in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine western journalists have discovered an ever-increasing inability to see straight.
It has not been 13,000 inhabitants of Kiev who have died, it has been those of Donetsk and Luhansk. Somehow or other this fact seems to fly right over the seemingly totally blinkered eyes of western journalists such as Mr Patrikarakos.
It was not Russia that killed them. It was not Vladimir Putin. But, hey, we mustn’t let facts get in the way of the insurmountable prejudice and self-censorship that getting a paycheck demands, must we?

Last edited 3 years ago by Allan Edward Tierney