Staunton, August 15 – Nine days from now Ukrainians will mark their Independence Day, and during that period, Vladimir Putin is certain to be especially aggressive in their country given the Kremlin leader’s desire to punish Ukrainians for an action that constituted the effective death of the Russian imperial project, according to Vitaly Portnikov.
Putin “will do everything possible” to spoil the holiday, and “of course, [his] bandits very much want that as many Ukrainians as possible won’t live to see it, in particular those who are defending Ukraine. This is the classic logic of criminals: we simply are its witnesses” (rus.newsru.ua/columnists/14Aug2015/record.html).
For the Russian leader, “Ukraine’s independence day is a special holiday.” It killed off any chance for “the re-incarnation” of the Russian empire in any form “feudal, Bolshevik, or Putinist.” Indeed, Portnikov argues, “the independence of Ukraine is a guarantee” that sooner or later Moscow will have to give up its imperial projects.
Other Ukrainians are warning of more Russian attacks in the run-up to their country’s independence day. Pavel Zhebrivsky, the chairman of the Donetsk oblast military-civil administration, says that “Ukraine must be prepared for an attack of the militants on August 24 (nr2.ru/video/ZHebrivskiy-Den-nezavisimosti-Ukraine-sakralnyy-dlya-Putina-VIDEO-103908.html).
“For [Putin], an independent Ukraine is something anomalous,” and consequently, he is especially exercised as its independence day approaches. Last year, Zhebrivsky recalls, Putin ordered the attacks at Ilovaysk, “and in this year” already there has been “an increase in shelling” attacks.
A confirmation of this is provided by Ukrainian officials who report that yesterday the pro-Moscow militants in the Donbas established “a new record” in terms of the number of shells fired against Ukrainian positions. See nr2.ru/hots/Vojna_na_Donbasse/Boeviki-ustanovili-novyy-rekord-po-kolichestvu-obstrelov-sil-ATO-103904.html.
Putin clearly wants to undermine the spirit of Ukraine by inflicting defeats, staging provocations, or doing things like parading Ukrainian prisoners in Russian-controlled areas of the Donbas on August 24 as has just been announced (nr2.ru/News/Ukraine_and_Europe/Kreml-dal-zadanie-boevikam-provesti-24-avgusta-parad-plennyh-v-Donecke-103903.html).
Zhebrivsky expressed his conviction that Putin would not succeed: “today,” he said, “the Ukrainian army is already not what it was a year ago.” But “we must be prepared” for a new round of attacks in the coming days, adding “if you want peace, you must prepare for war.”
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