Putin Will Launch New Attacks as Ukrainian Independence Day Approaches, Portnikov Warns

August 15, 2015
Ukrainian Armed Forces in rehearsal August 20, 2015 for Independence Day parade. Photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Staunton, August 15 – Ukrainians mark their Independence Day on August 24, and during that period, Vladimir Putin is certain to be especially aggressive in their country given the Kremlin leader’s desire to punish Ukrainians for an action that constituted the effective death of the Russian imperial project, according to Vitaly Portnikov.

Putin “will do everything possible” to spoil the holiday, and “of course, [his] bandits very much want that as many Ukrainians as possible won’t live to see it, in particular those who are defending Ukraine. This is the classic logic of criminals: we simply are its witnesses.”

For the Russian leader, “Ukraine’s independence day is a special holiday.” It killed off any chance for “the reincarnation” of the Russian empire in any form “feudal, Bolshevik, or Putinist.” Indeed, Portnikov argues, “the independence of Ukraine is a guarantee” that sooner or later Moscow will have to give up its imperial projects.

Other Ukrainians are warning of more Russian attacks in the run-up to their country’s independence day. Pavel Zhebrivsky, the chairman of the Donetsk oblast military-civil administration, says that “Ukraine must be prepared for an attack of the militants on August twenty-fourth.

“For [Putin], an independent Ukraine is something anomalous,” and consequently, he is especially agitated as its independence day approaches. Last year, Zhebrivsky recalls, Putin ordered the attacks at Ilovaisk, “and in this year” already there has been “an increase in shelling” attacks.

A confirmation of this is provided by Ukrainian officials who report that yesterday the pro-Moscow militants in the Donbass established “a new record” in terms of the number of shells fired against Ukrainian positions.

Putin clearly wants to undermine the spirit of Ukraine by inflicting defeats, staging provocations, or doing things like parading Ukrainian prisoners in Russian-controlled areas of the Donbass on August 24 as has just been announced.

Zhebrivsky expressed his conviction that Putin would not succeed: “today,” he said, “the Ukrainian army is already not what it was a year ago.” But “we must be prepared” for a new round of attacks in the coming days, adding “if you want peace, you must prepare for war.”