Russian truck convoy nears Ukraine, amid confusion; Igor Girkin (aka Igor Strelkov) reported as seriously wounded; Putin’s triumphant return to the Crimea — with link to maps of conflict zone

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.

–Winston Chuchill, “Sinews of Peace” speech, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946.

Latest News and Opinion

See

(1) Neil MacFarquhar, “Confusion and Alarm as Russian Aid Convoy Heads to Ukraine,” New York Times, August 13, 2014.

Regarding Igor Girkin (alias: Igor Strelkov), MarFarquhar reports the following:

The dispute over the convoy comes as Kiev is bearing down militarily on the separatist rebels — one of whose leaders, Igor Strelkov, was badly wounded on Wednesday, Russian news media reported — forcing many of them to retreat into the region’s two major cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, which they control.

The timing of this report on Girkin by Russian media is a bit suspicious, coming only days after the resignation of the President of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai, on August 7, 2014.

(2) Masha Gessen (op-ed), “Food import ban means Russia is fully at war with the West, Wasington Post, August 12, 2014.

(Masha Gessen is a Russian American journalist and the author of “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.”)

Background

See also the following articles by The Trenchant Observer:

(1) “What if Russian truck convoy enters into Ukraine without Kiev’s authorization?” August 12, 2014.

(2) “Putin’s Trojan Horse: Military aggressor sends military-style aid convoy to Ukraine as its irregular forces are encircled,” August 12, 2014.

(3) “NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: Russian military intervention in Ukraine ‘a high probability'”, August 11, 2014.

Putin’s Triumphant Return to the Crimea

Like a triumphant Roman emperor returning to Rome, Vladimir Putin returned to the Crimea today for a great Russian celebration of the Russian invasion and (purported) annexation of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

He was accompanied by the entire government leadership and 200 members of the Duma (parliament) including the leaders of all political parties.

See Moritz Gathmann (Moskau), “Besuch in Sewastopol: Putins patriotische Krim-Festspiele,” Der Spiegel, 13. August 2014 (17:48 Uhr).

The event, which continues through August 14 when Putin is scheduled to make a major speech at Yalta, signals the assumption of near absolute power by the new Russian “Leader”.

The cult of Putin, and the extraordinary degree to which he has successfully used aggression and xenophobic nationalism to consolidate his power, is becoming reminiscent of the role of Adolf Hitler in the Third Reich, summarized in the endlessly repeated slogan,

“Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer!”

See, e.g.,

(1) “The virus of nationalism and military aggression: Adolf Hitler in Vienna, March, 1938; Vladimir Putin in Sevastopol,” The Trenchant Observer, June 30, 2014.

The Leader of a nation with large numbers of nuclear weapons, who with his nation and its leadership has rejected the West, and the bedrock principles of the U.N. Charter and international law, has become an extremely dangerous threat to the national security of every member of NATO, the EU, and the civilized nations of the world.

Appeasement has failed.

Now we must face the lawless nation and its Leader that the pacifism and appeasement of the West, in the face of Russian aggression in the Crimea and the Ukraine, has encouraged and enabled to gain force.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.