Staunton, April 19 – Despite having achieved so many of his goals with the Geneva Accords on Ukraine, few doubt that Vladimir Putin will violate them and push even further into that country, using surrogates to allow him deniability for a time and then the Russian military openly when he decides the time is right, according to Aleksey Shiropayev.
Consequently, the Russian regionalist argues in a new blog post, “Ukraine must prepare itself for further war” because Putin won’t give up that which “already in essence is in his hands” and because the balance of forces in south-eastern Ukraine is already running in his favor in the view of people there.
On the one hand, Moscow can be counted on to continue to deny it has any relationship with the secessionist groups and especially with their more outrageous actions – such as the reported pogrom directed against Roma community in Slavyansk – and to blame the Ukrainians for any problems.
The Russian government indeed may even declare that such things highlight the weakness of the Ukrainian authorities and argue that it can suppress them only by putting its own forces on the ground, thereby further exploiting the disorders that it has provoked and sponsored if not in some cases created out of whole cloth.
And on the other, Shiropayev suggests, it will have the time and cover to do so because the other signatories to the Geneva Accords – especially the US and the EU – won’t want to complain too vigorously lest they call attention to how much they gave up. Complaints by Kyiv, also implicated, in the accords will simply be dismissed by many as nothing new.
At some point, the Russian analyst says, Putin will send in the Russian military openly, along the following directions: toward Lugansk and Donetsk with a breakout at Slavyansk and Kramatorsk and toward Mariupol with a breakout via Beryansk toward Militopol. That will give Moscow control of the railway and highway connecting Crimea and central Russia.
Moreover, Shiropayev says, such lines of attack will leave the entire Zaporozhy district “under the control of the aggressor.” That Putin is thinking in exactly these terms, he suggests, is shown by the appearance there yesterday of buses of “Putin tourists,” the term Ukrainians use to designate Russians who come to fight in Ukraine.
The next phase of this open invasion, he says, will be to send Russian military units to Herson, Mykolayev and Odessa, with a breakout to Transdniestria, from which an attack can be launched against Western Ukraine and cut it off from the center of the country. In all these places, Russian special forces have already been involved in seizures and attempted seizures of government institutions.