Ukraine Update Day 278: Lavrov Says Western Sanctions Are About Regime Change In Moscow

November 22, 2014
Maidan Square, Kiev, marks the 1st anniversary of the start of protests on November 21, 2014 | Stefan Huijboom

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Below we will be making regular updates so check back often.

Increased fighting Over Last 24 Hours

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reports heavier fighting over the last 24 hours:
Heavy fighting is also reported in Donetsk.
Lavrov Says Regime Change Is Goal Of Western Sanctions

The countries which have passed sanctions against Russia cite its aggressive posturing, its annexation of Crimea, and its interference/invasion in eastern Ukraine as the prime motives for the moves. Western countries have repeatedly said that the goal of these sanctions is to discourage further Russian intervention in Ukraine, or elsewhere. 

Russia, however, is trying to forge a new narrative.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said that Western sanctions were aimed at regime change in Moscow. The BBC reports:

Speaking to foreign policy advisers in Moscow, Mr Lavrov referred to calls for sanctions “that will destroy the economy and cause public protests”.

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow must guard against a “colour revolution”…

On Thursday, referring to uprisings in former Soviet states including Ukraine and Georgia, Mr Putin said the world could see “what tragic consequences the wave of the so-called colour revolutions has led to”.

Ukraine’s 2004 pro-Western uprising became known as the Orange Revolution, while Georgia’s Rose Revolution took place in 2003.

“We have to do all that is needed to ensure that similar things never happen in Russia,” Mr Putin said.

Russia’s adventures in Ukraine were arguably aimed at bolstering Russia’s stranglehold over the rest of Eastern Europe by discouraging them to join the European Union. The tactic may be backfiring, as many countries in the region, including Moldova and Ukraine, are now moving closer to the EU, and there is discussion in many of Europe’s non-NATO nations that NATO membership should be aspired towards. 

Russia is also seeing increasing pressure at home. The ruble is in free fall, and many Russians do not support sending their sons to Ukraine to fight. It’s far too early to tell if these issues will inspire any significant political opposition to Putin, but it is possible that the Putin regime is starting to worry about their own “colour revolutions.”