Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent special operations forces into eastern Ukraine to spark and coordinate “separatist” rebellions by the use of force, continues to play his duplicitous and treacherous “double game” in the Ukraine.
If he hoped to retain a shred of credibility in saying he would respect the results of the May 25, 2014 national elections in the Ukraine, he would have had to call a “FULL STOP” to further violence by pro-Russian forces.
Instead, the subversive forces which he launched into action under the leadership and coordination of Russian special operations forces (including so-called “little green men”) continue to seize control of government buildings by the use of force, in a region they seek to turn into a pro-Russian dictatorship which holds sway by fear, intimidation, assassinations, and the public display and use of armed force.
Far from acting as if Russia will respect the results of the Ukrainian elections, these Russian special operations forces and intelligence operatives, whose true identities have been unmasked, are engaged in violent suppression of the exercise of fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of the press, the right to physical integrity and to be free from the arbitrary use of force, and the right to participate in government and to vote in free and fair elections, particularly in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas.
Because the taking of a human life constitutes murder when it occurs outside the framework of domestic and international law, these Russians and Russian agents are, in clear moral and legal terms, committing murder against the Ukrainian security forces (and others) who are legitimately seeking to restore public order in the eastern Ukraine.
While Putin was announcing he would “respect” the results of the May 25 elections, Russian agents were murdering innocent Ukrainian soldiers, including in one ambush where some 17 were killed.
Now Putin strides on the world stage to claim that the invasion and annexation of the Crimea were justified under international law, and that he has no interest in further irredentist actions.
His response is due to the firmness of the West in threatening further, “Stage Three” sanctions, the enhanced deployment of NATO capabilities along the borders of NATO countries which border Russia, and the likelihood of NATO now stationing combat forces in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and Romania. He may also be responding to pressures from China, which certainly does not want to see any secessionist movements succeed which might inspire Uighur or Tibetan separatists.
Putin has a losing hand, and seems to be slowly recognizing that reality. Perhaps he thinks the West and the civilized nations of the world will quickly forget about his invasion and annexation of the Crimea.
That is not a good long-term bet, as the bedrock principles of the U.N. Charter prohibiting the use of force and annexation of conquered territories may be tenaciously held and defended over the longer term. One need only think of Cyprus or East Timor to grasp the point.
In view of the above, it is now a time for vigilance against potential actions by a treacherous Russian leader, whose mendacity is evident in every statement he makes, including those intended to give a conciliatory impression in the West.
If you are going to respect the May 25 election results in the Ukraine, Mr. Putin, begin respecting the election now by calling off your special operations forces and intelligence operatives and their agents in the eastern Ukraine.
ORDER THEM TO DESIST FROM FURTHER VIOLENCE, SEIZURE OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, AND ACTIONS TO DISRUPT THE HOLDING OF THE ELECTIONS ON SUNDAY.
ORDER A FULL-STOP, MR. PUTIN. NOW.
The Trenchant Observer
Der Scharfsinniger Beobachter
El Observador Incisivo