World » Former USSR
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Will Russian tanks roll into Ukraine?

President Viktor Yushchenko risks to take Ukraine to the state of war. Relations between Russia and Ukraine began to worsen very quickly after the war in Georgia.

Yushchenko accused Russia of aggression against Georgia and launched a new crusade against Russia’s Black Sea Navy currently stationed in Ukraine’s Sevastopol. The Ukrainian administration previously attempted to blame Moscow for national famine in the beginning of the 1930s, to immortalize the memory of accomplices of German fascists and to cut back the plans of economic integration with Russia.

Ukraine has become more persistent in its intentions to become a member of NATO and announced preparations to punitive measures against its own citizens who hold Russian passports. To crown it all, Ukrainian Foreign Minister V. Ogryzko accused Russia of preparing a military incursion in the Crimea.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly session, Viktor Yushchenko condemned Russia's "armed annexation" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and said his country would not recognize the two nations as independent states.

"Ukraine strongly condemns the violation of Georgia's territorial integrity and the sanctity of its borders, and the armed annexation of its territory,” Yushchenko stated.

Yushchenko said the use of force and the resurgence of Cold War-era rhetoric have caused deep concerns in Kiev and "pose a potential threat to Ukraine and other regional states."

Ukraine , which could face a snap parliamentary poll as a result, is also nervous about its Crimea autonomous region, which is populated mainly by ethnic Russians and hosts Russia's Black Sea Fleet base.

Alexander Dugin, the director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, believes that Ukraine will keep its current borders if the nation achieves balance of European and Russian directions in politics and excludes the US-NATO political influence.

“Yushchenko is taking his nation to a disaster. Aggression against residents of Eastern Ukraine – legal, historical, or language aggression – may develop into pogroms. Russia is interested in the friendly or at least the neutral Ukraine. A disaster in another neighboring state may become a serious problem for Russia. The US administration can play another trick on Yushchenko the same way as they did with Saakashvili and push him towards military actions. Yushchenko is a political corpse, but he can make terrible decisions in the death struggle. People living in Kharkov or Donetsk may greet Russian tanks with flowers as a result of such decisions,” the expert said.

Vasili Volga, the leader of the Ukrainian Union of Leftist forces, said that President Yushchenko was pursuing two goals in his aspiration to aggravate relations with Russia.

“He wants to frighten the population with the external threat and substantiate the need to joint NATO as if it is only the alliance that can protect the country against the vicious Russian bear. His second goal is to retrieve people’s trust at least in western regions of Ukraine in order to win 10-12 percent at parliamentary elections. There are two ethnic groups in Ukraine, and Yushchenko asserts the rights of only one group. However, Yushchenko does not have the support either among the people or in the army, so there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine,” the specialist said.

Yushchenko believes that Russia is interested in destabilizing Ukraine, although he added that the Georgian scenario will not repeat there because “Ukraine is a large and a strong nation” as he said.

Russia does not conceal its concerns about Ukraine’s anti-Russian policies. Russia is particularly worried about Ukraine’s possible NATO membership. The Ukrainian administration claims that this process is inevitable, although opinion polls show that the majority of Ukrainians stand strongly against NATO. The membership can minimize the cooperation between Ukraine and Russia, which is the last thing that the majority of Ukrainians want.

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