Moscow never sought to get involved but was forced to lend aid to rebels to prevent a humanitarian and human rights disaster for Donbass civilians
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at Consortium News
The New York Times’ editors spoke for many in their celebration over the pain being inflicted on Russia.
In an editorial entitled “The Ruble’s Fall and Mr. Putin’s Reckoning,” the Times wrote:
“The blame for this [economic calamity] rests largely with the disastrous policies of President Vladimir Putin, who has consistently put his ego, his territorial ambitions and the financial interests of his cronies ahead of the needs of his country.
The ruble fell as much as 19 percent on Monday after the Central Bank of Russia sharply raised its benchmark interest rate to 17 percent in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to keep capital from fleeing the country.
Since June, the Russian currency has fallen about 50 percent against the dollar. Because Russia relies heavily on imported food and other goods, the decline in its currency is fueling inflation. Consumer prices jumped 9.1 percent last month compared with a year earlier and also increased 8.3 percent in October.
Russia’s immediate problems were caused by the recent collapse of global crude oil prices and the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe in an effort to get Mr. Putin to stop stirring conflict in Ukraine. But the rot goes far deeper." […]
“Mr. Putin has taken great relish in poking the West. Now that he is in trouble, the rest of the world is unlikely to rush to his aid. On Tuesday, a White House spokesman said that President Obama intends to sign a bill that would authorize additional sanctions on Russia’s energy and defense industries.
That bill would also authorize the administration to supply arms to Ukraine’s government."
“The sensible thing for Mr. Putin to do would be to withdraw from Ukraine. This would bring immediate relief from sanctions, and that would ease the current crisis and give officials room to start fixing the country’s economic problems. The question is whether this reckless leader has been sufficiently chastened to change course.”
But the reality has been that Putin has tried to keep his distance from the ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, even urging them to postpone a referendum that revealed strong support for the region’s secession from Ukraine.
But he has faced a hard choice because the Kiev regime launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against the eastern region, an offensive that took on the look of ethnic cleansing.
The Ukrainian government’s strategy was to pound eastern cities and towns with artillery fire and then dispatch neo-Nazi and other extremist “volunteer battalions” to do the dirty work of street-to-street fighting.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups took note of the brutality inflicted by these anti-Russian extremists.
Faced with thousands of ethnic Russians being killed and hundreds of thousands fleeing into Russia, Putin had little political choice but to provide help to the embattled people of Donetsk and Luhansk.
But Official Washington’s narrative holds that all the trouble in Ukraine is simply the result of Putin’s “aggression” and that everything would be just peachy if Putin let the Kiev regime and its neo-Nazi affiliates do whatever they wanted to the ethnic Russians.
But that’s not something Putin can really do politically.
So, what we’re seeing here is the usual step-by-step progress toward a neocon “regime change” scenario, as the targeted foreign demon fails to take the “reasonable” steps dictated by Washington and thus must be confronted with endless escalations, all the more severe to force the demon to submit or until ultimately the suffering of his people creates openings for “regime change.”
We have seen this pattern with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, for instance, and even with Ukraine’s Yanukovych, but the risks in this new neocon game are much greater – the future of the planet is being put into play.