'High Alert': Ukraine and Russia Building Up Military at Crimean Border
'The events are developing according to a pretty negative scenario. Neither side has any trust in the other.'
On Thursday, a Ukrainian spokesman said that in recent days, there has been "a strengthening of the [Russian] units that are at the border."
Meanwhile, in response to Russian claims that the Ukrainian government was plotting terrorist attacks inside Crimea, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday ordered "all military units near Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region to be at the highest level of combat readiness," RT reports.
The Ukrainian security forces at the border with Crimea are ready "for any turn of events," Ukrainian border guard spokesman Oleg Slobodyan told journalists at a press briefing.
Foreign Policy reports:
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations, drew parallels between the current situation in Crimea and the outbreak of the Russo-Georgian War in 2008, which also coincided with the Summer Olympics and a U.S. election.
"This scenario looks very similar and very familiar," said Yelchenko. "That's why we stand ready for further provocative developments."
And the Kremlin said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with his Security Council to discuss additional security measures and tightening border controls in Crimea.
"There may be escalation in eastern Ukraine and that is very dangerous," Alexei Makarkin, deputy head of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies, told Bloomberg on Thursday. "The events are developing according to a pretty negative scenario. Neither side has any trust in the other."
Unsurprisingly, voices in the West pinned blame for the recent escalation on Russia.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt dismissed Russia's latest claims against Kyiv:
— Gissur Simonarson CN (@GissiSim) August 11, 2016
"We don't want to be distracted from the real issue here, which is not only Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, but their continued aggression in eastern Ukraine," State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau added to reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
And a NATO official called on Moscow to "work for calm and de-escalation," adding that "Russia's recent military activity in Crimea is not helpful for easing tensions."
But as investigative journalist Robert Parry wrote last month, "the endless drumbeat of Western media reports about 'Russian aggression' results from a clever demonization campaign against Putin and a classic Washington 'group think' rather than from a careful intelligence analysis."
"The real narrative based on actual facts would have acknowledged that it was the West, not Russia, that instigated the Ukraine crisis by engineering the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and the imposition of a new Western-oriented regime hostile to Moscow and Ukraine’s ethnic Russians," Parry argued.
In the up-is-down world that NATO and other Western agencies now inhabit, Russia's military maneuvers within it own borders in reaction to NATO maneuvers along Russia’s borders are "provocative." So, too, is Russia's support for the internationally recognized government of Syria, which is under attack from Islamic terrorists and other armed rebels supported by the West’s Mideast allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO member Turkey.
In other words, it is entirely all right for NATO and its members to invade countries at will, including Iraq, Libya and Syria, and subvert others as happened in Ukraine and is still happening in Syria. But it is impermissible for any government outside of NATO to respond or even defend itself. To do so amounts to a provocation against NATO—and such hypocrisy is accepted by the West’s mainstream news media as the way that the world was meant to be.
Earlier this year, news outlets reported that the United States was ramping up the deployment of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to NATO member countries in Central and Eastern Europe, citing "suspicions" about Russia's motives in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.