Tensions between Russia and Ukraine began to escalate, as Russia mobilized its forces along the border with Ukraine and in the Crimean peninsula that annexed by Moscow years ago.
Kyiv has been fighting separatists backed by Russia in eastern Ukraine since 2014, where the majority of Russian speakers live, and successive clashes have intensified since the beginning of this year, leading to the collapse of the ceasefire, which was agreed upon last July.
To understand the repercussions of the escalation, it is worthy to mention that the Ukrainian president signed the Security and National Defense Council resolution on imposing five-year sanctions against Taras Kozak, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament from the “Opposition Platform: For Life” party and eight other limited liability companies (LLC).
As a result of the decision, several TV channels were suspended; The media is linked to the parliamentarian, Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the “Opposition Platform: For Life” party, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and even his party is considered the almost only pro-Russian party in Ukraine nowadays.
In order to be well aware of the key role that this factor plays in the escalation, it suffices to know that Medevichuk is described as “Putin’s man in Ukraine” and has a “spiritual” relationship with the Russian president who baptized Medevichuk’s daughter. The baptist is considered in the region as a ‘true father’.
Secondly, the American factor, as U.S. President Joe Biden administration took a more hardline stance with Russia. The year 2021 began with U.S. support amounting to $ 125 million for the Ukrainian defense sector, affirming its readiness to supply Kyiv with “lethal” weapons.
U.S. President Biden recently announced the imposition of a series of strict financial sanctions on Russia in addition to the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats. These decisions followed a series of actions attributed to Moscow, including a massive cyber attack and interference in the U.S. elections last year; as well as sanctions against eight persons and entities linked to the “occupation” of Crimea.
There is no crime that Moscow takes these American decisions seriously and sends a message to the U.S. and the Biden administration – who called Putin a killer – that the Russians are ready for all possibilities, especially war and on a large scale if necessary.
Thirdly, Russia exploited some of the apathy in Europe’s offensive view towards Russia in light of European interests, especially German ones. Germany today is interested in completing the “Nord Stream 2” project to transfer Russian gas directly to it, regardless of its political, security and even strategic implications.
Germany and France have long been interested in improving ties with Russia and gradually returning them to normal, and this was considered in Russian decision-making circles as a green light that pushes Russia towards more ambitions in Ukraine.
Perhaps the recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron during his televised interview with the U.S. news network “CBS” partially recommend this interpretation, as although he declared that his country is ready to impose sanctions on Russia, he stressed, “We need a frank and open dialogue with Russia,” noting that sanctions only are “insufficient” and it is better to establish a “constructive dialogue” with Russia.
This revives fears of deporting Ukraine to the sidelines of the peace process within the framework of the “Normandy Quartet” (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France). That is why we see that many Kyiv officials are calling for a greater role for the U.S. within or outside the framework of the quartet.
Then there are two other side factors that contributed to this escalation, including Ukraine’s endeavor to organize an international “Crimean Platform” conference next August to garner support and keep sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as the military, security, and technical cooperation ties between Ukraine and Turkey have reached a “strategic” level, and Turkey became a major source of drones for the Ukrainian military.
Someone might say that Russia’s goal of this escalation is only the show and provocation in the region, but I am certain that if Russia succeeds in drawing Ukraine into an open and wide military confrontation, and with unequal powers, the region will know an unprecedented fierce war in which the Ukrainians and then the Europeans will pay the price for difficult relations in the new world order.