Staunton, October 5 – One of the characteristics of Vladimir Putin’s behavior just as has been the case with other dictators in the past is that he has often signaled what he intends to do by blaming those he intends to attack for something they have not done and have no intention of doing -- or even describing their motivations and calculations in terms that better fit himself.
That makes an article that appeared yesterday on the often aggressively Russian nationalist portal, IARex.ru, a matter of concern because in it, that agency’s Modest Kolerov says that “Kyiv is preparing a provocation in Transdniestria,” the breakaway portion of Moldova that is aligned with Moscow (iarex.ru/news/51062.html).
If Putin remains true to form, that suggests Moscow may be setting the stage for launching an attack on Ukraine from that base – or at the very least, that the Kremlin leader wants to remind the Ukrainian authorities that he has the capacity to do so and thus force them to keep their forces divided against his attacks.
According to Yevgeny Shevchuk, the president of the self-proclaimed Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic, Ukraine is already “blocking the transit of supplies for the Rsusian peacekeeping contingent” located in his breakaway republic. IARex’s Kolerov commented on this declaration yesterday.
According to Kolerov, “Ukraine is hardly a newcomer to the imposition of blockade actions against Transdniestria in which it together with Moldova has been taking part since 2006. Over this period … the Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic, a third of whose population by the way consists of Ukrainians has suffered significant economic losses.”
“After the coming to power in Kyiv of a new government, the economic blockade of the TMR by Ukraine was supplemented by a military-political one because the Kyiv regime began to consider Transdniestria as part of the Russian Federation,” Kolerov said.
And now, he continued, that campaign has reached its “culmination” with the blockade now being directed against Russian forces there and “in particular against the peacekeeping contingent of Russia.” That action “will not remain without a reaction by Russia,” he suggests, possibly by the establishment of “an ‘air bridge’” between Russia and the TMR.
Because Kyiv considers that it is now in a state of war with Russia, Kolerov went on to say, “one must not exclude the possibility of provocations from its side,” including possible attacks on this air bridge. “More than that, there is reason to suppose” that Ukrainian forces are already preparing to do so.
But the Russian commentator continued, the Ukrainian authorities must recognize the consequences that they would bring on themselves by “an attempt at blockading Russian forces. And if they do understand those but go ahead anyway, they are counting on a completely defined result.”
That they should do so now, according to Kolerov, reflects the fact that there has been “a partial stabilization” in eastern Ukraine “to a large extent thanks to the efforts of Russia.” He says that the American backers of Ukraine aren’t pleased about that and that it is likely that “namely they have ordered the junta to exacerbate the situation around Transdniestria.”