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Red lines crossed: Why Russia is fighting back

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

After the Ukrainian terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge, Russia strikes back, bombing power supply, communications, and command posts in Ukraine.

Reports from Western "experts" that the Russian army is down and out are just being impressively exposed as either stupidity or war propaganda. Ukraine's act of state terrorism against the Crimean Bridge was the Red Line that Russia has always warned against crossing. Now Russia is striking back. To understand what is happening now, we need to look again at the chronology of the conflict.

The prehistory

The 2014 Maidan was not a "democratic" revolution, but a coup organized by the West - primarily the United States - against President Yanukovych, who, according to the OSCE, was democratically elected. I have reviewed the events of 2014 in detail in my book on the Ukraine crisis.

In the aftermath of the coup, territories in southern and eastern Ukraine rose up and Crimea voted in a referendum to reunite with Russia. Referendums were also held in other areas, but Russia did not recognize them at the time.

In April 2014, the Ukrainian coup government deployed the army against citizens dissatisfied with the coup in the east and south of the country. The crucial meeting of the Ukrainian Security Council was attended by the head of the CIA at the time, who certainly was not an uninvolved bystander in this decision.

In the civil war that followed, the Ukrainian army violently put down uprisings from Odessa to Kherson and Zaporozhye to Mariupol and established a racist-nationalist regime of terror in which dissenters were mercilessly persecuted and in which everything Russian was banned in the years that followed. Even a racial law modeled on the Nuremberg Laws of the German Nazis was introduced in Ukraine.

In February 2015, the Minsk Agreement was signed, but Ukraine has never implemented it. Russia nevertheless negotiated patiently for eight years and accepted Ukrainian shelling of civilians in the Donbass with a clenched fist in its pocket. Russia held out hope until the very end that Kiev and the West would come to their senses after all and that a negotiated settlement would be possible.

The escalation

After Biden's election as U.S. president, the escalation began, which almost led to war as early as April 2021. At that time, however, the U.S. called off Ukraine once again. Meanwhile, the Kiev regime eliminated any democratically elected opposition.

During 2021, NATO presence in Ukraine was massively increased and shelling of the Donbass intensified. Russia has repeatedly pointed out its red lines, but the West has ignored them. Finally, in November 2021, Germany and France officially buried the Minsk Agreement, but the Western media kept quiet about it.

In December 2021, Russia made one last attempt to resolve the crisis diplomatically, proposing ultimate mutual security guarantees to NATO and the United States that included a NATO withdrawal from Ukraine and a NATO renunciation of further eastward expansion. In the event of Western rejection, Russia has openly announced a "military-technical" response.

The U.S. introduced the Lend-Lease bill as early as January 2022, which regulated the supply of weapons to Ukraine against the "Russian invasion," which, however, did not even exist at that time. Therefore, it was no surprise that the West rejected the mutual security guarantees at the turn of January/February 2022. Thus, the development was already preordained.

Ukrainian military doctrine openly and officially envisaged a military reconquest of Crimea, and when Ukrainian President Selensky announced Ukraine's nuclear armament at the Munich Security Conference on February 19, 2022, to the applause of Western dignitaries, the die was cast.

On February 21, 2022, Putin recognized the Donbass republics and concluded mutual assistance agreements with them. In his speech to that effect, Putin clearly warned Kiev of the consequences of further escalation. Afterwards, however, Kiev demonstratively increased the shelling of civilian targets in the Donbass.

On February 24, Putin made another speech announcing the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine to end the war in the Donbass and to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine.

The military operation

Russia deliberately did not declare war on Ukraine, but spoke of a "military operation." Russia did not see itself at war with Ukraine or Ukrainians, but with the Nazi regime in Kiev. Russia was betting that a massive invasion would ensure that the radical government would be removed and a moderate government would form that would agree to Ukraine's neutrality. Russia's goal was never to fight Ukraine, but to have Ukraine become a neutral state with no foreign troop presence.

This calculation by the Russian government did not work out; the regime in Kiev has held on to power and has received massive support from the West. During negotiations in late March, Kiev itself proposed recognizing Crimea as Russian and establishing the country's neutrality. But then, almost as if on cue, came the alleged Butcha massacre, and Kiev withdrew its offer under pressure from the West. Since then, the slogan in Kiev and the West has been that the decision must be made on the battlefield.

As a result, the tide turned, with some 100,000 Russian troops facing some 700,000 mobilized Ukrainian troops and Western mercenaries over time. In addition, the U.S. was helping Ukraine with online intelligence and planning assistance for offensives. In addition, Ukraine was armed with whatever weapons the collective NATO could muster. Russia was de facto at war with the collective West. Russia then went on the defensive.

In the West, people rejoiced over Ukrainian successes and celebrated the supposed weakness of the Russian army. However, people in the West were kept in the dark about the fact that the Russian army had imposed limits on itself under the conditions of the military operation and was fighting "with the handbrake on," so to speak.

Russia's tougher stance

The Ukrainian terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was another red line that Kiev crossed. Russia responded on Oct. 10 by bombing power, rail, communications, and military command points throughout Ukraine.

Contrary to horror stories from the West, Russia had previously proceeded cautiously and avoided attacking such infrastructure, even though a functioning power supply, intact rail lines, and the absence of Ukrainian command posts offered massive military advantages to the Ukrainian army. Russia, many analysts in Russia have deemed naive, apparently still counted on common sense to prevail in the West and even accepted the military setbacks in the Kharkov region without opposition.

We will soon know how Russia will proceed, because as I write this, the Russian Security Council is meeting. Perhaps we will know more after that.

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