This is something that has only just come to my attention, despite having been published on youtube over a week ago. The former leader of the pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, Igor Girkin (known by his nom de guerre, ‘Strelkov’) has appeared in the below video to warn that Ukrainian forces are preparing for a massive assault on the separatist-controlled areas, and to strongly suggest that Russia be prepared to intervene to prevent a Ukrainian recapture of these regions.
Strelkov has not been seen for some time, and speculations have swirled that he was very seriously wounded or even killed. But here he is – superimposed against a computer-graphic fluttering flag of “Novorossia,” the mythical-historical Russian imperial territory whose banner resembles that of the Confederate States of America – talking about how the separatist gains are threatened. The video features English subtitles, so all may watch. You can see Strelkov’s eyes moving across the text, looking very tired, and raising the suspicion, again, that he may have been seriously injured or wounded.
Keep in mind, as you watch this, that Strelkov is not a citizen of Ukraine and never has been. He is a Russian citizen and a fairly junior functionary of Russian military intelligence (GRU). His and his compatriots’ involvement in fighting negate assertions that Ukraine’s war is a “civil war.” It is not. It is a separatist war supported by Russia, and fought on the other side by Russian mercenaries and warlords. Strelkov may be a hero to many in Russia, but he represents a form of 21st-century fascism and ethnic chauvinism that the civilized world must oppose resolutely and without compromise.