Ukrainian President Visits the Trenches and Demands More U.S. Support
April 12 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front lines in the Donbas Region on April 9, accompanied by a CNN news crew. While Russia says that the troop movements on its side of the border with Ukraine are not a threat to Ukraine, the regime in Kiev is convinced that a Russian invasion is imminent. “Of course. We know it, from 2014 we know it can be each day,” Zelensky told CNN. “They are ready, but we are also ready because we are on our land and our territory.” Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, claimed that an estimated 50,000 Russian troops have now gathered across the Russian border and in Crimea. In addition, there are at least 35,000 Russian-backed separatists in rebel-held areas of Ukraine, he said. More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers have been shot and killed by snipers already this year, CNN reports. CNN doesn’t report, however, that an official of the Donetsk breakaway republic reported as of April 9, some 20 members of the republic’s militia have been killed by Ukrainian troops along with 2 civilians, since the beginning of the year.
In his remarks to CNN, Zelensky complained that while the United States is a “good friend” of Ukraine, President Joe Biden “must do more” to deter Russia and help bring this conflict to an end. Not only does Ukraine need more weapons, but it must be brought into NATO, he argued. “If they [the U.S.] see Ukraine in NATO, they have to say it directly, and do it. Not words,” Zelensky said, obviously coveting that Article V commitment in the North Atlantic Treaty that labels an attack on one member of NATO as an attack on the entire alliance.
CNN goes on that the chances of Ukraine being made a member of NATO are slim, amid concerns that moving Ukraine closer to NATO membership would provoke Moscow, possibly fueling a broader conflict. “Maybe you are right,” Zelensky responds. “But what now is going on? What we do here? What do our people do here? They fight.” But the Russians have made clear in recent weeks what it is they’re concerned about. “If a civil war and full-scale hostilities resume near our borders, this will pose a threat to the security of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted in Sputnik International yesterday. “President Putin earlier said that in case of resumption of the hostilities and a potential repeat of a human catastrophe similar to that of Srebrenica, no country will be unaffected. And all countries, including Russia, will take measures to prevent such tragedies from happening again.”
Sputnik also writes that animosity towards Russia has become rampant in Ukraine over the past seven years, with authorities unwilling to counteract militia groups with neo-Nazi links and conducting show trials of reporters and media who dare to raise their voices against Kiev policy. Sputnik doesn’t mention it, but the Russians well know the role of the Obama administration in the coup of 2014, which brought the neo-Nazis to such prominence in Ukrainian politics.