Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates.
To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.
1) Missy Ryan, John Hudson, Louisa Loveluck and David Stern, “Russia planning to annex new areas of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence finds; Claiming Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson would be an attempt to control of much of the country’s east despite setbacks on battlefield,” Washington Post, Mat 2, 2022 (7:41 pm EDT);
2) Roland Nelles (Washington), “Amerikas beste Kriegshilfe; Bei den militärischen Erfolgen der Ukrainer gegen die Russen spielen im Hintergrund die US-Nachrichtendienste eine wichtige Rolle. In diesem Fall erweist sich ihre Datensammelwut als Segen, Der Spiegel, den 1. Mai 202l2 (21:12 Uhr).
Russia plans to annex southern Ukraine and Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine
Michael Carpenter, the U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE, has stated that U.S. intelligence indicates Russia plans to annex the southern Uktaine as well as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
If Putin and Russia proceed with this plan, it will guarantee that Russia and the West, and increasingly the rest of the world, will be locked in a permanent struggle for possibly decades.
This may be the “big achievement” that Putin will announce on May 9, at the Russian celebration of the Russian–and Allied–victory over the Nazis in May, 1945.
It shows, above all, how desperate Putin and Russia are.
To mix metaphors, we could say that they are digging a deep hole at the end of a dead-end street, with no off-ramp. As the outlook becomes darker, they return to digging that hole, ever more furiously.
The desperate predicament of Putin and Russia, however, holds great dangers for NATO countries and the rest of the world.
Putin’s manipulative nuclear threats, perhaps only a bluff at the beginning, and now increasingly aimed at the Russian population to prepare them for future sacrifices, could take on a life of their own.
Putin, as he becomes increasingly desperate, could very well resort to the use of chemical weapons or the detonation of a tactical nuclear device. That could trigger the intervention by NATO in Ukraine with conventional forces.
Where it might go from there is highly uncertain.
On the one hand, Putin has a reputation of being someone who never bluffs.
On the other hand, the U.S. and NATO cannot allow Putin’s war of conquest to stand.
The recognition of territory acquired by force, by conquest, has been prohibited since the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 outlawing war. The basic prohibition was incorporated in the bedrock principle of the United Nations Charter prohibiting “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” (Article 2 paragraph 4).
This is a norm of jus cogens or peremptory law from which there can be no derogation, not even by agreement.
Non-recognition is a corollary of the 1928 prohibition of war and the 1945 prohibition against the threat or use of force. Any agreement attempting to recognize a territorial acquisition through conquest would be without legal effect under the principle that agreements secured by coercion are void under international law.
This is also a norm of jus cogens or peremptory international law from which there can be no derogation, not even by agreement. It is incorporated in Article 52 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
So, the irresistible force meets the immovable object.
A war of attrition lies before us, in Ukraine, but also with respect to the Russian economy and manufacturing base, and the export of its natural gas and oil. While many countries could buy the Russian oil now exported to Europe, secondary economic sanctions could make those transactions difficult, at least outside of China.
If Russia proceeds with the planned annexation of southern and eastern Ukraine, a “permanent war” between Russia and Ukraine, and between Russia and NATO countries and other allies, is likely to occur. That “permanent war” would probably lead to increasing risks of direct engagement between conventional forces, and the further risks of escalation such a development would entail.
American intelligence agencies provide critical help to Ukraine
Roland Nelles, reporting from Washington for Der Spiegel, provides perhaps the most comprehensive and revealing account yet of the critical assistance U.S. intelligence agencies, under the leadership of CIA Director William Burns, has been providing Ukraine at least since the inception of the war.
His account us reassuring, as is his report that Joe Biden is now relying heavily on the advice of Director Burns, a former ambassador to Moscow (2005-2008), and a former Deputy Secretary of State (2011-2014).
The Trenchant Observer
Only force can stop Putin
“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.