By Vitalii Usenko
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reached out to President Obama on Friday, March 28, 2014 to discuss ideas about how to peacefully resolve the international standoff over Ukraine, a surprise move by Moscow to pull back from the brink of an escalated confrontation that has put Europe and much of the world on edge, The New York Times reports.
Officially, Putin called to discuss a US proposal for a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis, which US Secretary of State John Kerry presented to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
It seemed that the call caught President Obama off guard during his visit to Saudi Arabia, where he discussed with King Abdullah Iran and Tehran’s nuclear program and Obama’s decision to refrain from using military force against Syria.
It seems to me that Putin is openly mocking Obama’s helplessness. According to the Kremlin’s account of the conversation, Mr. Putin complained about ‘extremists’ in Ukraine and Ukraine’s ‘blockade’ of another pro-Russian breakaway province, Transdnistria, in Moldova. By not mentioning Crimea during the conversation, Mr. Putin indicated that he considers the annexation of Crimea a fait accompli that is no longer up for discussion. Moreover, Prime Minister of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev visited Crimea, where he held a meeting on social-economic development of region on March 31, 2014. Russia created Ministry on Crimean issues and promised to create a special economic area in peninsula, to increase pensions and salaries – UNIAN reported.
Some American officials believe that that the move is connected with Mr. Putin’s growing realization that much of the world is against him. But they are wrong.
The conversation between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Sergey V. Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirms this assumption. This meeting, which was held on March 30, 2014, was arranged after Mr. Putin called President Obama. During their discussion, Russia made the following requests, with which it seems the US Presidential administration and even the EU could agree:
- Federalization of Ukraine
- Changes to the Ukrainian constitution that would safeguard the rights of the Russian-speaking population
- That Russian be made an official language alongside Ukrainian
- Assurance that Ukraine will be neutral and never ‘part of any bloc’ like NATO
- Freezing of discussions about the status of Crimea
Many people are asking what is going on, how Russia dares request this in light of sanctions from the US and the EU and the military superiority of the NATO bloc. Some voices are also heard to say, “Russia is not the USSR of the 1980s, it is far weaker than the USSR. But are the US and the West as strong and resolute as they were in the 1980s?
The basic elements of Ronald Reagan’s administration’s strategy to destroy the Soviet Union were described in a book published in 1994 by The Atlantic Monthly Press and very well-known in Russia (it was even translated into Russian): Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union by Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. The US strategies against the USSR were described in documents which are now freely available, such as US Security Decision Directive NSDD No. 32, US National Security Strategy from May 20, 1982; NSDD No. 41, Sanctions on Oil and Gas Equipment Exports to USSR from June 22, 1982; NSDD No. 54, US Policy Towards Eastern Europe from September 02, 1982; NSDD No. 75, US Relations with the USSR from January 17, 1983; and others.
Brief summary of US strategies employed by the Reagan administration against the Soviet Union in the 1980s:
- US campaign to decrease hard currency earnings of the Soviet Union by cooperating with Saudia Arabia to lower oil prices, as well as restrictions on the export of Soviet natural gas to the West;
- Deterring military attack by the USSR and its allies against the US, its allies, and other important countries across the spectrum of conflict, and to defeat such attack should deterrence fail;
- Military supplies and financial aid to the resistance movement in Afghanistan, as well as for the Mujahideen, giving them the opportunity to spread the war to the Soviet Union;
- Secret financial, intelligence, and political support of Poland’s Solidarity movement, which guaranteed the preservation of the opposition in the center of the Soviet empire;
- Restricting the Soviet Union’s access to Western technology, and well organized technical disinformation to destroy the Soviet economy;
- Comprehensive and elaborate psychological warfare aimed at spreading fear and uncertainty among the Soviet leadership;
- In the arms race, maintaining US armaments and maintain them at a high technical level, in hopes of undermining the Soviet economy;
- Comprehensive global action using secret diplomacy in order to minimize Soviet influence in the world;
- Exploiting Soviet fears over the Strategic Defense Initiative (known as ‘Star Wars’);
Are the West and the Obama administration ready to employ similar strategies from the Russian point of view? I think partially yes, but not with such resolution and not to the same extent as in the 1980s. The situation, the leaders, and their motivations in that time were totally different.
First of all, there were spiritual differences. Divine motivation to accomplish the super-task and self-actualization are the strongest motivators. Ronald Reagan’s motivations were shown very well in Peter Schweizer’s  2003 book Reagan’s War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism:
“Reagan had long believed that each individual has a divine purpose in life. He was a “mystic,” he explained in 1974. “I’ve always believed that we were—each of us—put here for a reason, that there is a plan, a divine plan for all of us.” He had battled communism for close to forty years. “What could be more abhorrent to God than a system that denies God?” – Reagan supposed. He went on to say, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” Now was the time for “renewing our spiritual strength. Only by building a wall of such spiritual resolve can we, as a free people, hope to protect our own heritage and make it someday the birthright of all men”.
Does the current Obama administration have such a super-task, or ‘divine’ motivation to fight Russia? I think no.
World economics have changed considerably due to globalization and the rise of the new powers.
The US share of world GDP in 1985 was 32.74% of global GDP (nominal) and Western Europe’s GDP in 1985 was 12.4%; that is, the US and Western Europe contributed to half of the world GDP that year. In 2012, the US share of world GDP was 19.53%, and Western Europe’s was 11.2%. That is, the US and Western Europe’s combined GDP in 2012 was only a little bit more than 30%. A 20% share moved to China, India, Brazil and Russia.
The EU sanctions could have had an impact, but at the same time the EU is a serious trading partner for Russia—nearly 30% of its gas and 50% of its oil is sold to the EU. But is it feasible to replace Russian energy resources in the short term?
Can American natural gas rescue Europe and Ukraine from Russia’s clutches? Not soon, we can assume. The earliest gas exports won’t come until late 2015 or 2016, and most won’t get started until 2017 through 2019. Ukraine had Black Sea shale deals, for example: one with Chevron and one with Shell. But neither one has started exploration and all of these deals have been canceled now that Russia has seized Crimea.
Oil prices can be reduced only if:
- The US starts selling its strategic oil reserves
- Oil exports from Iran, Iraq, and Lybia are increased
- Saudi Arabia increases the oil supply to the world market
Many questioned whether the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was large enough to send a meaningful political message to Russia, especially since US law still bans most exports of US crude oil. The SPR holds the equivalent of 94 days of import protection (based on 2012 net petroleum imports). The maximum import protection the SPR ever held was 118 days, in 1985.
The Saudi royal family has been concerned by two US policies:
- Washington’s move toward rapprochement with Iran as it seeks an agreement to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.
- Obama’s decision to refrain from using military force against Syria—another regional adversary—over its use of chemical weapons.
Trouble in the bilateral relationship really began when revolution made its way to Syria, a country where Sunni and Shia Islamists fight for regional influence. Riyadh enthusiastically supports the Sunni majority opposition in Syria, while Tehran was just as bullish in its support for the Assad regime, where an Alawite elite has been aligned to Iran’s Shia rulers for the past 40 years.
At the Arab Summit in Kuwait, Saudi crown prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz said the world had betrayed the Syrian opposition and that more needed to be done to change the balance of power on the ground in Syria. Riyadh has given up its earlier hope that the US can bring an end to the war in Syria. Very potent parallel—some people in Ukraine feel that the world has betrayed Ukraine, too.
There were, as usual, pompous speeches by the US in Saudi Arabia: “I think it was important to have the chance to come look [King Abdullah] in the eye and explain how determined [President Obama] is to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” a White House official said.
The meeting was a chance to assure the king that “we won’t accept a bad deal and that the focus on the nuclear issue doesn’t mean we are not concerned about, or very much focused on, Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.”
It would be interesting to know whether Obama and the White House persuaded King Abdullah. Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in return for the promise of its territorial integrity in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which was signed by the US, Russia, and the UK. Under the terms of the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to theTreaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:
- Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders;
- Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine;
- Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics;
- Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine;
- Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine;
- Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.
Catch-22. The result is very ‘promising’ for attempts to persuade the Saudi royal family about Iran and Syria. What Iran will think of this? One of the guarantors violated Ukrainian territorial integrity, and the other guarantors are not ready to send military aid to Ukraine. If Iran continues its nuclear program, then there will be sanctions and no increase of Iranian oil supply to the world market. As for Syria, Obama has clearly lost to Putin there. The concerns of the Saudi royal family will remain. Why should the Saudis increase oil production? What can the Obama administration propose to them or offer in return? As the civil war in Syria rages on, Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to arm opposing sides. Iran (in concert with Russia) is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Saudi Arabia continues to back the Islamist rebels. Obama can do nothing against this. Especially after his helplessness in the Ukrainian crisis.
Therefore, the answer to the question “Is the same strategy used against the USSR at the end of the 1980s, when Saudi Arabia rapidly increased its oil supply to the world market, going to be used against Russia?” is “No.” The ‘opportunity’ to increase oil production in Iraq and Libya is not even worth discussing, as it is self-evident. In recent Libyan news, we find the Reuters report ‘U.S. forces seize tanker carrying oil from Libya rebel port.” The news from Iraq isn’t very promising either: Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years in February 2014, but some analysts remain skeptical that Iraq will be able to sustain its current level of production and exports, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 14, 2014. On top of that, China has become one of the biggest consumers of Iraqi oil.
Russia understands the situation with world supply and demand of oil and gas perfectly well. Now and in the short term, the US and the EU can do nothing with Russia in this respect. Russia can be crushed economically only in middle term, in two to three, maybe five years, but not now.
The key difference between the Reagan and Obama administrations is that the Reagan administration was ready to use military force against the USSR and the USSR knew this perfectly well. This was clearly indicated in the US strategy mentioned above: “To deter military attack by the USSR and its allies against the US and to defeat such attack should deterrence fail.” Are the US and NATO ready and willing to use military force against Russia in Ukraine and defeat such attack should deterrence fail? The answer to this question is given by Obama himself:
“The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game. That’s the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War.”— Barack Obama, March 24, 2014
In his speech addressing Europe on March 26, 2014, President Obama said of the crisis in Ukraine, “This is not another Cold War we’re entering into. The United States and NATO do not seek any conflict with Russia.”
“Of course Ukraine is not a member of NATO, in part because of its close and complex history with Russia. Nor will Russia be dislodged from Crimea or deterred from further escalation by military force.
“I believe that for both Ukraine and Russia, a stable peace will come through de-escalation, a direct dialogue between Russia and the government of Ukraine and the international community, monitors who can ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, a process of constitutional reform within Ukraine, and free and fair elections this spring.
“America and the world, and Europe, has an interest in a strong and responsible Russia, not a weak one.”
There was only one consolation for Ukraine in form of a mild reproach to Russia: “Just because Russia has a deep history with Ukraine does not mean it should be able to dictate Ukraine’s future.”
About the possible threat to Russia’s European neighbors in NATO, Obama said, “What we will do always is uphold our solemn obligation, our Article 5 duty, to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our allies. And in that promise we will never waver. NATO nations never stand alone.”
Most probably, the Kremlin is not taking these words seriously and realizes that NATO and the West are not 100% ready to defend Eastern Europe at the moment, to say nothing of Ukraine. Obama briefly touched on the importance of the American-European alliance at a more urgent moment on the continent: “I’ve had some concerns about diminished levels of defense spending by some of our partners in NATO.”
Obama added that the military alliance should set up a regular presence in Eastern Europe. NATO foreign ministers meeting next week should study plans to “make sure … that we do more to ensure that a regular NATO presence among some of these states that may feel vulnerable is executed.”
Confirmation that Putin is not afraid of the West is also an analysis of Article 5 of the NATO Charter. This article says that NATO members pledge to come to the assistance of an attacked state using “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.” It is evident that a gaping loophole is available: President Obama can simply deem that the use of U.S. force isn’t necessary. He can walk back the red line, as he did with Syria and Ukraine. Stern talk and minimal sanctions would follow, but some Eastern European countries could simply lose some, if not all, of their territory. NATO is currently not 100% ready to challenge Russia, to properly defend Eastern European NATO countries, to say nothing of providing large-scale NATO military assistance to Ukraine.
NATO membership for Ukraine is not on the agenda. NATO Membership Denied.  “We’re all determined not to allow this threat of a new division of Europe,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters. It may take years to overcome the crisis and “I can’t promise you that we’ll be able to resolve this problem in the short term.” Asked about NATO prospects for Ukraine, Steinmeier said that while the German government hasn’t formed a position, he personally would prefer other formats of cooperation. “I don’t see a path to NATO membership,” he said, as reported by Bloomberg on April 01, 2014.
“The fundamental problem is that the Obama administration doesn’t want to bear the costs associated with an active foreign policy. That’s understandable. A December Pew poll revealed the lowest level of public support for an active American foreign policy since 1964,” said Ian Bremmer in a New York Times op-ed. I suppose that it’s not only the Obama administration, that the EU is not ready to bear such costs ether. Anders Aslund said in his book Building Capitalism: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Bloc that at the outset of its reforms, Poland desperately demanded a reduction in its large debt— $41 billion at the end of 1989—largely to Western governments. The negotiations in the Paris Club (an informal group of financial officials from 19 of the world’s biggest economies) took some time, but an agreement was concluded in the spring of 1991, awarding Poland 50 percent  debt forgiveness. No such program has ever been considered for Ukraine. Some have opined that in the current situation, a sort of a Marshall Plan for Ukraine might not be a bad idea.
The next important element of the US strategy against the USSR in 1989 was ‘Access restrictions of the Soviet Union to Western technology and well organized technical disinformation to destroy a Soviet economy.’ Is this feasible now against Russia? Judging by the latest news reports, that is hardly the case:
- Germany’s Siemens not pressed to stop cooperation with Russia
- Russian Leader Meets with President of Siemens AG
Interestingly, 2014 is the EU-Russia Year of Science.
Due to Russian escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, Germany decided to stop dialogue on military-technical cooperation with Russia, as the Russian Defense Ministry reported on March 23, 2014. Not a problem. Some of the areas of military-industrial cooperation would covered if Putin gained control over Eastern and Southern Ukraine. However, whether large EU companies will follow this decision is a big question.
Ukrainians are expressing regret at having given up their nukes in return for paper guarantees of territorial integrity. The 1994 Budapest Memorandum was ahead of its time—the perfect example of a futile document forgotten by history. Perhaps the Ukrainian troops can wave the document as defense against the invading Russian army, and pin it to a wall in the premises of the last Ukrainian military unit to leave Crimea. 
These sentiments were expressed by the Ukraine’s opposition, which wants nuclear weapons back in Ukraine. Ukrainian people want Ukraine to have nuclear status, too. The petition ‘Revoke the non-nuclear status of Ukraine and assist the Ukrainian military in obtaining short-range nuclear weapons’ was initiated on March 19, 2014. The possibilities of restoring Ukraine’s nuclear status can be inferred from different publications related to the Ukrainian defense industry’s cooperation with Russia. The current Ukrainian government is very concerned about these sentiments. Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Andriy Destschytsa hurried to declare during the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24, 2014 that “Ukraine is not considering restoration of its nuclear arsenals and confirms its obligations as non-nuclear state”. Ukraine and the US issued a joint statement on this occasion: “The United States and Ukraine today reaffirm their strategic partnership and emphasize the important role of nuclear non-proliferation in that relationship.” The statement was released on March 25, 2014.
Returning now to Russia. What is dangerous for Russia, first and foremost, is protracted war in Ukraine, with the expenditure of many resources and much effort. That is the major reason why Russia pulled back some of its troops from Ukraine’s borders and is trying a different approach to ‘handling’ Ukraine.
The Russian Doctrine
There are many questions about what Putin is trying to achieve. Is it only the restoration of the Soviet empire? The majority of authors analyzing Putin’s speeches, from old ones when he became Prime Minister in August 1999 to his latest speech to both houses of parliament at the Kremlin on March 18, 2014, restrict Putin’s intentions to the restoration of the Soviet empire only. Judging from his actions and seemingly insane behavior, Putin’s goal is to change the existing world order and ensure world domination for Russia. What doctrine is behind all of this? The so-called Russian Doctrine, almost one thousand pages prepared by Russian think tanks, has gone unnoticed by the majority of experts. The Russian Doctrine is an unofficial document. It is not a political program, nor another theory of the ‘Russian national idea,’ or ready-made ideology. It seems to me that the Kremlin perceives it as an essential worldview, the spiritual foundation for the entire Russian nation.
The Doctrine’s major goal is to carve out Russian civilization as a separate world phenomenon    and to lay out the Russian Global Project. This doctrine could help shed some light on Russian motivation and intentions, and why Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and possible ‘opportunities’ for further expansion have such huge support among Russians.
According to a sociological survey conducted by the Levada Center from March 21- 24, 2014, an overwhelming majority of Russians (74%) would have supported President Putin if he had decided to attack Ukraine. Only 14% of Russians regard the current government in Ukraine as legitimate. The number of respondents who believe that the events in this country will lead to a civil war has increased from 22% to 36% over the past two weeks. In the deterioration of relations between the two ‘neighbors,’ Russians tend to blame the current leadership of Ukraine (77%). According to 76% of the respondents, tensions could lead to an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The Russian Doctrine is a collection of different scenarios, each of which is made not only to describe one variant of the future and to warn against possible threats, but at the same time to lay out strategies outlining the vision of the desired Russia, the Russia that should be. It is a voluminous document, which is why I will highlight some points relevant to the current situation.
In the introduction to the Russian Doctrine, we find quotes from different speeches by Vladimir Putin: “The Russian Federation is doomed in today’s world.” “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”
The Russian Doctrine sees the “final and irreversible overcoming of the US and Western hegemony by ousting them from geopolitical arena” as Russia’s only chance for survival in the 21st century. “Only those countries will be successful in the first 20 years of the 21st century which are hard, severe, persistent, and consistent.”
“The Russian empire has revived several times. Based on the values of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), even after the long-lived Tatar-Mongol yoke, the renewed mighty empire successor of Kyivan Russia of King Svyatoslav has arisen in Eastern Europe.” All succession is synthesized in Moscow as Third Rome.
The crisis of Western civilization inevitably brings to the agenda the urgent need for a new world leader. The international potential of Russian civilization is again on the agenda of history.
The Russian Doctrine defines three major principles of foreign policy:
- Concentration: The return and re-unification of all territories of historical Russia, first of all Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, followed by reunification with the rest of the Russian world
- Fight ‘terror-globalism    :’ Russia shall declare openly that Russia does not recognize the civilizing missions of the USA and the West;
- ‘Big Clench,’ ‘Alternative globalization’: Strategic cooperation with China, India,and Iran, resulting in a military union between Russia, China, India, North Korea, and Syria. Possible further extension to other Arab countries and countries from other regions, such as Africa and South America.
Alternative globalization, ousting the US and the West from geopolitical arena, shall start from ‘the near abroad,’ from countries like Ukraine. Minimal requests for the start could be Ukraine’s Tavria region (Crimea, Mikolaiv Oblast   , and Kherson Oblast) and Donbas (Donetsk Oblast). Please note that the Russian Doctrine was published in 2005, not in 2014.
Concerning Eastern Europe, “EU enlargement and NATO expansion to the East shall be declared a threat to Russian civilization,” with elaboration on appropriate measures for handling such scenarios.
The Russian Doctrine contains many strategies and foundation documents. One cannot discuss them all in a short article. The above citations could provide quick insights into what is currently on the agenda.
Some experts believe that strategic cooperation between Russia and China is not feasible in the long term. Nobody knows if this is true, but the first attempt to create a USSR-China joint state was made in December 1949 during negotations between Stalin and Mao in Moscow. Historians suggest that Stalin declined Mao’s proposal to unite the USSR and China in one country. Other experts believe that for China it would be more interesting to take its share of Russian territory if Russia disintegrated. Russian channel Ren-TV’s program ‘Military Secret,’ broadcast on September 25th, 2009, featured the headlines “If there was a war tomorrow: Secrets of the Chinese Army” and “How the Russian Far East turns out to be a Chinese province.” As seen in the clip, Russians used the same strategy in Crimea that they thought China would use against them in the Far East. China also considers that many Russian Far East Territories were unfairly annexed by Russia in the past.
My opinion is that China could have strategies for both options: cooperation with Russia, and a contrary strategy to claim some bits of a disintegrating Russia. Which strategy prevails depends on which opportunities are afforded by the fast-changing world arena.
Analysis of current Russian behavior allows us to suppose that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not an accidental crazy act, but was preplanned as a challenge to the existing world order to start the race for world domination. Maybe it started earlier than planned; maybe Ukraine’s Maidan revolution and possible EU integration have just accelerated the start of Russia’s race.
This Russian vision is very different from one imagined by key think tanks in the USA. Some Western experts complacently believed that Putin is not forever, that Putin and Russia are very different things. They believed that democratic and modernized Ukraine and Russia integrated with the EU could create the mightiest regional bloc in the world. If, on top of all this, this EU regional bloc could be integrated with North America, it could create the mightiest possible configuration for Western civilization, ready to face any global challenges. Deep down, the West believed that Russia would someday join the Western club. Reality shows that Russia is going to create its own world club, dominated by Russia and not by the West. The dream of global integrators can came true—Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok (Russia)—but who will be master in this Europe?
The earlier-than-planned-start of the race created a stalemate. On the one hand, the US and the West cannot do anything with Russia until dependency on Russian gas and oil can be fully eliminated and NATO is in full combat readiness for direct military confrontation with Russia (2017-2019). On the other hand, Russia cannot do anything with the US and the West yet. Russia needs time to complete the tasks outlined in the Russian Doctrine, such as ousting the US as a regional power; strategic cooperation with China, India and Iran to create an alternative bloc; and the full rearming of its army in accordance with the Russian State Program of Armaments Development for 2011-2020.
Who will win this race? Will it be Western civilization or Russian civilization? Will we face the decline of Western civilization, like when the sacking of Rome by rebellious Visigoths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455 signaled the disintegration of the Roman Empire?
Solely economic sanctions, combined with the helpless and complacent US and Western response, will not affect Russia much. S&P downgraded its GDP growth forecast for Russia for 2014 and 2015 to 1.2% and 2.2% respectively. Believe me: Russian people, unlike people in the West, could endure minor things like the decline of GDP growth to 1.2% in order to fulfill aspirations to be the uncontestable world leader, as mentioned in the Russian Doctrine. Russians have learned to survive hyperinflation and 40% GDP contraction between 1989 and 1998. The Levada Center surveys confirm my assumption. The fear of strict Western sanctions in the Russian population decreased considerably during two weeks of March 2014. The possibility of international isolation of Russia worried 44% of respondents during the period from March 7-10, 2014, and from March 21-24, only 28%. Concern over political and economic sanctions decreased during this period from 42% to 38%.
Russia does not perceive EU sanctions against it as very devastating. European Commission Vice President Olli Rehn said on April 1, 2014, “The European Union should refrain from introducing broad economic sanctions against Russia if the situation around Ukraine does not deteriorate.”
Ukrainians will see in deeds, not in words, what the further response of the West will be. Words were plenty; deeds were less than desired. One thing is positive: Ukrainians came to the realization that they are first of all responsible for their country, and nobody except them must defend their country.
Now, it seems, only Putin’s realization that he faces possible fierce and tough resistance by the Ukrainian people, guerrilla war in case of seizure of some regions of Ukraine, bringing the Russians into a protracted war, stopped him temoprarily. This is not the end of the story. Russian tactics could change, but not its ultimate goal of becoming World Leader and busting the West and the US to the level of regional out-of-the-way formations. Some pull-back of Russian troops from Ukrainian borders could be temporary and related to the replacement of conscripts serving in military units, reports the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. The high probability of Russian invasion and provocations in regions of Eastern and Southern Ukraine can not be excluded until the presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25, 2014. Ukraine is still in something very like a state of war.
Ukraine, if left alone, will not be able to stop Russia. Getting Ukraine under its control, even without occupation, could help Russia achieve the goals stated in the Russian Doctrine and to win this race for world domination.
26.Germany’s decision to stop dialogue on military-technical cooperation with Russia was made under pressure – Russian Defense Ministry, March 23, 2014 InterfaxAll German military cooperation with Russia suspended for March, April, German defense ministry spokesman says – Reuters – march 21, 2014