The West Must Back Ukraine - Saakashvili on Ukriane, Putin and August war
03 February, 2015
The West Must Back Ukraine - Saakashvili on Ukriane, Putin and August war
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili published an article for Politico magazine, titled The West Must Back Ukraine.

Putin seemed increasingly isolated and cornered

The cost of inaction is only growing.

"KIEV — This past week, President Vladimir Putin has renewed his all-out military assault in Ukraine. It has been clear since the initial conquest of Crimea and the Donbass that the next phase would be the establishment of a land corridor through southern
Ukraine to Crimea. I’ve been in Ukraine over the past week as the fighting has intensified again, and even as outside attention has waned, the reality here on the ground has remained the same for Putin: Unless and until he is stopped by a combination of Ukrainian resistance and Western support, he will continue to pursue, via whatever means possible, his goal to undermine any independent Ukrainian democracy. There will be a direct cost to the West if this is allowed to happen.

When Crimea was annexed, everything was going as Putin had predicted: Ukrainians were too weak to resist the Russian-backed military incursion, and an army of useful idiots in the West quickly parroted the line that Crimea had historically been part of Russia and that Western interests should think twice before jeopardizing the whole spectrum of strategic cooperation with the Kremlin. Unchallenged, Putin moved further to stir up proxy uprisings in eastern Ukraine, followed by the direct invasion of regular Russian troops.

This time the Ukrainians mounted a fierce resistance and the West was forced to take notice, especially after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by Russian air defenses. Multiple denunciations followed, sanctions against Russia were introduced, and Russia was expelled from the G-8. There was a moment when it seemed that Putin had grossly miscalculated the consequences of his actions and overestimated the influence of the pro-Russian business lobby in the West. The sanctions started to bite, magnified by plummeting oil prices. Putin seemed increasingly isolated and cornered.

It’s worth noting that the commander of the army that invaded Georgia is now believed to be leading the fighting in eastern Ukraine

But Western attention shifted, and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant became the pre-eminent concern first of U.S. policymakers and then, after the slaughter in Paris, eclipsed the Russo-Ukrainian conflict for Europeans, as well. Putin knows how to leverage a global terrorist threat in his favor. After the Paris attacks, the secretary-general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, called Russia an “anti-terror ally,” ignoring not only the direct connection to the downing of a passenger jet carrying dozens of European Union citizens but the ongoing support for irregular forces in Ukraine. Recall that Putin was the first leader to call President George W. Bush to offer support after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He then used his support for the “war on terror” to silence concern about the violent military campaign in Chechnya and maneuver freely in his neighborhood — which culminated in the invasion of Georgia in 2008. It’s worth noting that the commander of the army that invaded Georgia is now believed to be leading the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

It’s no accident that Putin chose this moment to launch a new offensive, as the fight against ISIL continues and many in the West are questioning whether they can afford to fight two major adversaries at once.

Putin’s military and political goals are clear. He wants to inflict a major military defeat on Ukraine and force the volunteer battalions fighting his forces in eastern Ukraine to return to Kiev and turn on the newly elected government out of frustration. Russia can do much to prepare the ground for a possible coup, causing energy shortages and further pushing the Ukrainian economy — already burdened by the costs of war, stumbling economic reforms and persistent corruption — toward collapse.

What can the West do to prevent this? First and foremost, follow the advice of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain and others to give weapons and military assistance to Ukraine. Clinton was right to say that Ukrainians have earned this assistance by showing their resolve to defend themselves and their freedom. If this assistance is rendered promptly, the current Russian advantage could be reversed within months. And while no major Western power will put boots on the ground in Ukraine, the view is different in neighboring countries of Ukraine that see this conflict as their fight, as well. Hundreds of volunteers — including dozens of U.S.-trained Georgian officers, Poles, Lithuanians, Belarussians, even Russians who believe it is necessary to stand up to Putin — are fighting on the front lines alongside Ukrainians. The U.S. and its NATO allies should help train and equip this international volunteer army.

Economic support is equally important. Putin knows that the Russian economy is heading for collapse, but he is counting on Ukraine’s to collapse first. Financial support for Ukraine, conditioned on further reforms and a serious crackdown on corruption, is essential. President Petro Poroshenko has already invited the authors of Georgia’s police reforms to serve in the Ukrainian government and implement similar reforms. The U.S. government is providing financial assistance for this reform. This support must be extended to Ukraine’s new anti-corruption bureau and for other urgent structural reforms that will ensure ordinary Ukrainians see the immediate results of democratic transformation.

With oil prices so low, Europeans can also afford to stop buying oil from Russia and invest to lessen their dependence on Russian gas. This would be aided by the acceleration of the creation of new facilities to export American shale gas to Europe. Europe, for its part, should develop new routes for gas supplies from Central Asia using the existing pipeline infrastructure in the Caucasus and Turkey.

Finally, any talk of easing sanctions on Russia should cease in the face of this new military incursion. Pressure on Russia should be elevated, perhaps even via a new round of sanctions. One of the most efficient economic measures the West could take is to track and block Putin’s personal assets — one of the biggest deposits of black cash in history, which is used to buy allies in the West and fund anti-EU parties and interests. Seizing these assets would remove the contamination of Russian “lobbying” and change the landscape of the fight in many Western capitals.

Every month of delayed action by the West makes the final cost of stopping Putin — in terms of human lives, economic decline and overall impact on the architecture of Europe — that much higher. If Russia succeeds in Ukraine, the Baltic states, despite their NATO membership, will find themselves more vulnerable to already escalating Russian attention. NATO can best defend itself from a costly Article 5 intervention by helping Ukraine defend itself and lowering the Russian appetite for hostile takeovers.


Mikheil Saakashvili was president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 and is chairman of the board of the New International Leadership Institute" - reads the article.

Print
Other Stories
Representatives of diplomatic corps arrive in Gugutiantkari
Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Government of Georgia are in the outskirts of the Gugutiantkari village of Gori municipality,
US State Department condemns Russian occupation of Georgia’s territories
The US state department has issued a statement condemning Russian occupation of Georgian territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
What went wrong in the 2008 August War? – Mikheil Saakashvili recalls
Today Georgia marks 11 years since the 2008 August War. After 11 years, there still are many unanswered questions.
After 11 years, Georgia commemorates the August War
It has been 11 years since the 2008 August War in Georgia. Officials and different politicians once again commemorated the date and made statements about the ongoing occupation of Georgia’s territories by Russia.
International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center publishes fresh survey
A new nationwide public opinion survey of Georgian citizens by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research
First comments made after Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2
Rustavi 2 TV shareholder Kibar Khalvashi made first comment about the Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2.
Bidzina Ivanishvili: "Who want closure of Russian market, are Georgia’s enemies"
Those, who tell-tale that we must replace the Russian market by the European and Ukrainian ones, are absolutely ignorant and uneducated,
Why Georgia is changing the mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional?
The Chairman of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze explained why Georgia has to change its mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional.
Why was the Ambassador of Georgia summoned to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry - what does Azeri media say?
Azeri media has released information about the ambassador of Georgia being called at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Georgian side denies accusations against the Azeri border guards
Georgian citizens provoked an incident against Shamkir border group of Border Troops of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan (SBS)
Donald Tusk: "The collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive"
I want to say loudly from this tribune - the collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive, - Donald Tusk,
Donald Tusk reads a quote from Vazha Pshavela’s letter in Georgian
President of the Council of Europe Donald Tusk read a quote from Georgian writer
Economist: “An unwelcome Russian visitor has helped to revive an old antagonism”
Economist has recently published an article reviewing the recent events taking place in Georgia.
Russian Duma supports sanctions against Georgia, President Putin opposes
The Russian Duma supported sanctions against Georgia.
Prosecutor: Individuals planned to overthrow the state government
On the night of 20th of June, 2019, individuals were planned to violently overthrow the state government through uprising,
Court releases Nika Melia on GEL 30, 000 bail
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Nika Melia to GEL 30, 000 bail at today’s court hearing.
Parliament suspends Nika Melia's MP's immunity
Nika Melia, the member of the opposition “United National Movement” party, has arrived at Tbilisi City Court.
"Russian Church blackmails Georgian Patriarchate" - Claims Ukraine's Rada member
Victor Yelenskyj was the head of the Ukrainian delegation at that fateful Interparliamentary Ortho­dox Assembly in Tbilisi that sparked the protests still ongoing to this day.
What the Protests in Tbilisi Mean for Relations with Russia
The protests in the center of Tbilisi over the Russian MP’s presence in Georgian parliament caused a nation-wide outburst against the ruling Georgian Dream party and Russia.
Government agrees to one of the protesters demands: Proportional Elections in 2020
The government has agreed to hold proportional parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2020.
Russia bans flights to Georgia from July 8
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree yesterday prohibiting Russian airlines from carrying Russian citizens to Georgia from July 8.
Zakaria Kutsnashvili renounces his MP mandate
Zakaria Kutsnashvili, who was the head of the Georgian delegation in the Inter-parliamentary Session on Orthodoxy, has renounced his MP mandate.
Police use teargas, rubber bullets against protesters, says Human Rights Watch
Riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets and used teargas without warning against thousands of nonviolent protesters
Russian lawmaker demands “official apology” from Tbilisi
Tbilisi should give its formal apology to Russia for the provocations against Russian delegates in the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy,
Georgian police used teargas, rubber Bullets and water cannon against protesters
Police in Georgia used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to stop protesters entering the country’s parliament on Friday.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
22.08.2019
23.08.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9354
2.9336
EUR
1
EUR
3.2583
3.2487
GBP
1
GBP
3.5589
3.5602
RUB
100
RUB
4.4507
4.4689
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.9336
EUR
1
EUR
3.2487
GBP
1
GBP
3.5602
RUB
100
RUB
4.4689
August 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31