Grim reflections in the mirror of Ukraine crisis

Grim reflections in the mirror of Ukraine crisis

I read with interest the article of colleagues from Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and the US published in the Bangkok Post on May 12, 2022.

Well, everyone has the right to express their opinions however one-sided or biased they might be. If people, be they ordinary readers or diplomatic professionals, do not want to understand the true reasons for the current developments in and especially about Ukraine, it is out of my reach to change it. Nevertheless, let's put the facts straight to make the Bangkok Post's respected readers draw their own conclusions.

Let's go back to recent history. It was the year 2014 when Western countries almost instantly recognised the coup d'état in Ukraine that launched the downward spiralling of further events out of control. Was this diplomatic recognition of ugly nationalists coming to power necessary? Especially taking into consideration their anti-Russian sentiments and plans to prohibit the Russian language in Ukraine and outlaw anyone who did not agree with their nationalistic policies? Hardly so. Nevertheless, it was done, and done quickly.

What followed was the Ukrainian assault against the peoples of the Crimea with its multinational population of predominantly Russians (more than 80%), Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars living in harmony. And only the decision of the Crimeans to split from Ukraine helped to prevent genocide and mass slaughter.

In parallel, the so-called "counter-terrorism operation" was launched against the peoples of Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbass region) who were labelled as "pro-Russian separatists". The result of the non-stop Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions' shelling of these cities -- with populations of millions -- was the loss of 14,000 innocent people, mostly civilians including children there. What were the Western countries doing at that moment? Right, calling on Russia to respect the Minsk agreements (where Russia was a guarantor to but not a side to) and doing almost nothing to protect the Russian people of Donbass from slaughter.

Not a single word to condemn Kiev. Turning a blind eye to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. For those who doubt this fact, please check the official statements of these countries published during those long eight years. No one was wearing symbols of solidarity with these people from Donbass or engaged in public campaigns to protect them. There were no Bangkok Post "Spotlights" about events there. Nothing. Complete silence. Why, you may ask? Because they are Russians.

We proposed on numerous occasions dialogue on updating the system of strategic security. The last attempt was made as recently as 15 Dec 2021 when we conveyed to the American side and Nato the texts of official legal instruments to ease the tensions with the US and Nato. No substantive reaction followed. So when my colleagues say that Russian actions were "unjustified and unprovoked" they mislead readers. Nato's actions made our reaction justified and provoked.

Nevertheless, the Bangkok Post was right when publishing my colleagues' article in the section "geopolitics". The geopolitical plans of some of these countries can explain a lot.

Look at the domestic economic and political problems in the US, for example. They are numerous and deep-rooted. And to guarantee that the US retains its status of global superpower and its attractive image of the "beacon of democracy" it has to make other countries live worse. How to achieve that goal? Create instability in different regions of the world, preferably very far from its borders. The first attempt was in the energy-resources rich Middle East.

Now Europe. The long-term strategic goal is to cut mutually beneficial ties of leading European economies with Russia as one of the most reliable world exporters of oil and gas. What will European citizens think of their governments when the time comes to pay their energy bills? And whose interests does the EU promote? You may remember how Americans tried to stop the "Nord Stream 2" pipeline and force Europeans to buy their more expensive shale gas. They achieved this. And to guarantee this result they need to keep Ukraine burning and war going on.

This is why they are pumping into Kiev military equipment of all kinds and providing an unprecedented US$40 billion worth of military assistance (casually forgetting about their taxpayers' needs). Isn't it hypocritical to call for peace and supply huge caches of offensive weapons simultaneously? The only way to end the crisis is to stop pouring oil onto the fire.

In Russia we understand this. We clearly see who gains from this situation: look at the revenues of the Pentagon contractors. Try to analyse the redirection of energy supplies and financial thefts. Half of Russian national reserves (this is a huge sum of US$300 billion) were stolen from us. What about the US principle of forswearing expropriation? And who dares to raise these questions? Russia and very few other countries. Maybe this is why a global information war is being waged against us now.

It was launched more than a decade ago when we started to warn others about the negative consequences of US geopolitical endeavours like non-stop Nato expansion (even now you can see daily news about Sweden and Finland) or a military build-up in the Asia Pacific taking the shape of AUKUS.

The methods of this information war against us are quite simple. Shame and blame everything Russian. Prohibit Russian media. Expel us from international organisations (as many as possible) for others not to hear our views. Compromise anything that is being organised in my country (you may remember wild coverage of the Sochi Olympics in 2014 or the Fifa World Cup in 2018). Discredit any Russian (be they athletes, musicians or even famous classic authors). For the Western political establishment, Russophobia becomes not only an instrument of self-expression, but an instrument of survival.

Now I see attempts to accuse my country of "hitting Thailand", for food disruptions, global economic crisis, etc. The list of our "sins" is endless. It would not be a surprise if Western colleagues' similar articles about "hitting" other countries were published in relevant countries' media. With the current US and EU policies there are even more problems to come.

Their seeds were sown a long time ago, and not by Russia. It is already obvious that supply chains will be further disrupted, that there can be new bankruptcies of air carriers, the energy crisis will deepen, especially in those countries that introduced sanctions against Russia, a food crisis is highly possible, further monetary and liquidity difficulties can be expected, that "frozen conflict" could be ignited once again, terrorists in different corners of the world will raise their heads, new pandemics are probable with US attempts to break down the World Health Organization, international governance institutions will continue to collapse, new global alliances can be formed while regional organisations like Asean may fail.

The US-led Western community started geopolitical engineering to transform the global system including global trade in accordance with their own interests and standards, ignoring national identities, historical, cultural and religious traditions in other countries, to create the so-called "rules-based order". The simple question is who establishes rules and what kind of rules. This "order" has more in common with the colonial-style system than respecting every nation's interests.

We -- as well as Western colleagues -- can analyse public opinion in Thailand. And we see what the people truly think. In the current situation the silent majority simply does not want to get into futile disputes with the aggressive, noisy, vocal minority.

It can be useful to look in the mirror more often.


Evgeny Tomikhin is Russian Ambassador to Thailand.



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