One of the most troubling aspects of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict is the fact that relations between the two countries reportedly continue on several levels despite the state of de facto war. Russia formally declared its annexation of Ukrainian territory in March 2014, and regular Russian army personnel have been positively identified as operating on Ukrainian territory (both Russian military intelligence officers such as Igor Girkin [Strelkov] and rank-and-file Russian soldiers). In traditional diplomacy, this situation would mandate a severing of diplomatic relations, yet both countries continue to have ambassadors in their respective embassies in Moscow and Kyiv, and orders on contracts are still being fulfilled by Ukrainian industry. The latter situation is particularly troubling if, as has been widely reported, the Russian defense sector is dependent on the Ukrainian defense industry for finished products (including, of course, weaponry that can be used against Ukraine in the war itself). Below, an elder statesman and senior officer of the Ukrainian security service speaks out on these painful realities. It is high time the Ukrainian leadership and the rest of the world confronted the painful reality of what will be involved in “cutting the umbilical cord” connecting Ukraine to Russia – economically and politically…
Security Service general identifies the strategic goal of Putin in Ukraine
It is escalation of the conflict leading to a possible third world war, says Skipalsky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to subordinate the foreign policy and economy of Ukraine to Russia’s interests, as he is opposed to the younger generation of politicians in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament). The Cabinet of Ministers and the Presidential Administration have not yet accustomed themselves to building the new state.
This is what Lieutenant General Oleksandr Skypalsky, former deputy chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in comments to Glavred.
“Russia has begun to understand the strategic mistake of war and aggression [against Ukraine – Ed.]. But the situation is such that there is no way out that would not run counter to its geopolitical interests. Because any influence from a decision [on the peaceful settlement of the situation in the Donbas – Ed.] plays into Russia’s hands,” said the expert.
“We, in turn, also see no simple exit. Ukraine is trying to find a way to tie itself to Europe and – to some extent – to the US, but at the same time it retains certain contacts with Russia. That is, we still have not broken diplomatic relations with the aggressor country, and we continue to support business relations and trade. It turns out that we have a serious war, and everyone pretends that the war and relations with the aggressor country are separate issues. This is unnatural and harmful to Ukraine, and it is certainly not conducive to resolving the situation,” said the Lieutenant General.
“Now more and more people have come to understand that this is a war – Putin’s operation is softly forcing Ukraine into submission, but his strategic goal is to subject the foreign policy and economy of Ukraine to Russian interests. And the Verkhovna Rada, Cabinet of Ministers, Presidential Administration – this is a younger generation that is not accustomed to building a state, is accustomed only to enriching itself, and has inherited difficult circumstances for choosing a path: it wants to move towards Europe; it wants to become rich; it wants to steal from the budget. We have to make a choice. For Ukraine, the most important choice is internal reform, the fight against corruption, and improving the mechanisms of governance. The current emphasis on the Minsk Agreement is an attempt to distract us from the urgent problems that must be solved in Ukraine (the fight against corruption, the stimulus of domestic production, improving defense, etc.). So, I think this is one way of manipulating the consciousness of Ukrainian citizens,” opined Skypalsky.
The expert said that he does not have optimistic expectations for the Minsk talks, but neither does he have any pessimistic ones.
“I understand perfectly: guns begin to talk when diplomats fall silent, and when guns fall silent, diplomats begin to talk. I strongly support the idea of continuing the negotiating process. But to solve the current problems, it is necessary that the negotiators not be bandits, who are backed by Russia. It is necessary to gather powerful world powers who should understand once and for all that the escalation of the conflict could lead to a third world war, and would play into the hands of any actor who behaves arrogantly, namely Russia. England, France, America and Germany should do this. And we should not bury our head in the sand, sending to the intermediary types to negotiations so that the only thing that happens is the drawing-out of time. In this case, tough surgery is necessary,” concluded the expert.