The images of military attacks led by Kiev forces against the citizens of Slovyansk and Luhansk, among other regions in the East and South of Ukraine have not slowed down or stopped despite supposed cease fire agreements.
If you thought it was shocking that Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, it must be even more shocking to know that the Ukranian Army has killed hundreds of so-called pro-Russian people since Crimea became part of Russia. But the most shocking of all events is that Russia has not anything to stop Ukraine from murdering innocent men, women and children who were not part of the resistance forces.
The government led by Petro Poroshenko has bombed residential areas in Eastern Ukraine, dropped shells in people’s backyards and injured hundreds of residents with no word from the international community condemning Ukraine’s aggression. The United States has said that the murder of Ukrainian citizens is “proportionate and reasonable”. According to the UN, 356 people had been killed by June 18, including 257 civilians.
Why hasn’t Russia put troops into Eastern Ukraine as it did with Crimea? After all, the residents of Eastern Ukraine have expressed their desire to have a referendum to adhere their territory to Russia. Could Russia be afraid of invading Ukraine once more?
No matter how it is portrayed, it looks like Vladimir Putin has betrayed Russians in Ukraine. After talking the talk, it seems Putin has abandoned them to their fate and hopes at a time when the situation is still deteriorating in the Eastern region, where the new illegitimately elected regime continues to pound pro-Russian people while the European Union breathes relieved to have avoided the head-on collision with Russia, especially when it came to their gas supplies.
The feeling that Putin has abandoned the Russians in Ukraine has gained much weight among the people of Donbas as well as in nationalist sectors of Russia, that had looked up to Putin as their idol when Russia annexed Crimea.
It was precisely the annexation of the peninsula what triggered the popularity of Putin, which has risen to 86% in June. Support for a military intervention in Ukraine increased in Russia, going from 31% in May to 40% in June, while 64% of the population were in favor of sending Russian peacekeepers to the disputed areas of that country. But the Russian president decided to stop his actions, requesting the Federation Council to revoke permission for a military intervention in Ukraine.
Among the reasons for the slowdown is the calculation that the popularity of the leader could only go down as a result of an intervention in Donbas, where the Russian president had been confronted with a much more complex situation than in Crimea.
Kremlin ideologues, and in particular the presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who officially takes care of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, took steps to change the official rhetoric, which until recently was centered on “not abandoning the Russians.” Well, Putin has done just that.
Behind the public relations campaign orchestrated by the Kremlin were pragmatic considerations, such as concern for the damaging effects on the economy if a third wave of sanctions against Russia were implemented. Also, the complains issued by the Russian business class, including members of the Putin team, seem to have slowed down Putin’s efforts to show firmness when it comes to the dispute against Ukraine and the West.
Abandoning the Russians in Eastern Ukraine is now seen as a betrayal by those who trusted Putin, including the “patriotic” sectors who believed they had finally found a leader. Slowly but surely, the militias that once defended Eastern strongholds are now handing over their arms, while Kiev drops bombs from planes and massacres civilians and journalists from helicopters.
Despite the fact that Putin abandoned the Russian population in Eastern Ukraine, the Russian media is still reporting the dire situation being experienced by civilians who have left their homes in fear of being bombed by the Ukrainian Army. What used to be a military confrontation now seems to be a humanitarian crisis with hundreds of people escaping the attacks directed from Kiev and becoming refugees in their own cities.
“Putin has achieved its goal, NATO will not expand here, U.S. companies will not come to get the shale gas in Donetsk and he maintained good relations with Europe and also has stolen Crimea,” noted a source from the People’s Republic of Donetsk, who showed skepticism about the efforts of the militants to organize and resist in Donetsk. “It makes no sense and many people may perish. Supplies of food and ammunition are limited and civilians who stay here can end up cursing the PRD by being subjected to these horrors,” he noted.
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