Whichever superpower wins, Ukraine will be the loser of this East-West tug of war.
THE Russian incursion into Ukraine’s region of Crimea has, understandably, drawn strong critical response from the United States and the European Union. However, an impartial observer cannot fail to note the staggering hypocrisy evident in the Western response to Russia’s military actions.
International law: It is alleged that the Russian military intervention is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty under international law. It probably is.
This is despite the fact that the Russian expedition was at the behest of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected and unlawfully deposed President.
What is noteworthy is that Russia acted under grave provocation and in circumstances that the US would never tolerate.
Background: Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been encircling Russia with military and missile sites including one in Ukraine.
Nato has enlisted many former Soviet republics into its fold.
Russia is understandably sensitive about its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine and Nato’s presence on its borders.
This is no different from President John F. Kennedy’s alarm when the USSR, under Nikita Khruschev, installed missiles in Cuba in the Sixties.
In addition to military encirclement, a US organisation, namely the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was operating in Ukraine and funding 65 projects, grooming replacements for President Yanukovych and resorting to psychological warfare.
The NED was founded in America in 1983 to promote its foreign policy objectives abroad.
In recent times Ukraine was mired in an economic crisis and Russia and the EU were in a bidding war to salvage it. Russia earmarked US$15bil (RM49bil) in economic assistance. The EU offered US$800mil (RM2.6bil) plus access to EU goods and services.
When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych aligned with Russia against the EU proposal, the Western backed opposition took to the streets.
The US-funded National Endowment for Democracy was complicit in fuelling the disorder. Radical forces gained ascendency and violence begat violence.
Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected President, offered to set up a unity government, bring electoral reform, effect constitutional changes and call early elections.
Unfortunately, negotiations broke down. He was then ousted in a US-supported coup and replaced with US chosen stand-ins.
The Ukrainian Parliament then acted foolishly to enact a series of draconian laws offensive to ethnic Russians in provinces that were carved out of the old Soviet Union. Yanukovych sought Russia’s help to protect the ethnic Russian population.
Under these circumstances, the Russian Parliament authorised Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops inside Ukraine to protect the Russians living there.