Putin continues efforts to buttress his power in Russia with ongoing violence against anti-Kremlin activists, and now with new aggressions against Ukraine. This is another long-term strategy by Putin starting in 2014 after successfully destabilizing Europe by allying himself with Syrian President Bashar Assad to weaponize the refugee crisis. Putin is now threatening to strike at his real target, Ukraine, which also started in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, back in America, Democrats struggle to fight off the GOP aggression against voting rights, while also trying to hold several Republican officials accountable for insurrection and many other crimes. So, is this latest Republican effort another red herring? Several international friends of mine with strong ties to Ukraine including adopted children have expressed intense anxiety over the tensions building in the region. Yet, the situation has been underreported by media in the United States.
Ukraine is crucial to Russian dominance following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 into fifteen independent republics. Putin knows that Russia will never become a world power without control of Ukraine, which sits on the Black Sea, a critical Russian naval hub of geographical importance with access to the Mediterranean.
Earlier in March the head of Ukraine armed forces Ruslan Khomchak said that Russia’s armed aggression in Donbass is a major threat to Ukraine’s national security and all NATO allies. This past week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron have all expressed concern over the Russian aggressions after Ukraine said four of its soldiers had been killed in shelling by Russian forces in Donbass.
Putin may be trying to test the West’s resolve to confront him. Or he may be trying to divert attention from jailed dissident Alexei Navalny. He may also be employing KGB Playbook diversionary tactics in Donbass to capture a bigger prize to capture water courses that supply Crimea, causing a water shortage crisis, the groundwork of which was laid seven years ago.
Nonetheless, the Republican party in the United States is wasting time on the Big Lie of voter fraud, orchestrating a coordinated attack on voting rights, proposing over 250 new voting laws in 43 states. Not only is this a threat to the balance of power in the U.S. It also serves to distract Americans from the criminal investigations of Trump and his co-conspirators, as well as the escalating Russian/Ukraine crisis.
But Putin is playing a risky game with Biden who has expressed unwavering support to Ukraine against Russian aggression after his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. And Republicans are only doing damage to their own party with these attempts to undermine our democracy.