In the last few days Ukraine has seen the heaviest fighting since the crisis initiated by the Kremlin this spring. This comes just hours after a new President was elected in Kiev.
At the same time a “rabble” stormed the headquarters of the so-called President of Abkhazia, the breakaway republic of Georgia. This new development indicates the next phase of Vladimir Putin’s strategic plan to re-establish Russian hegemony in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia were artificially created by force when the Georgian people attempted to reassert their independence from Moscow in 1990 as the Soviet Union was collapsing. Frozen in a legal limbo since then, Moscow’s success in annexing Crimea brings the threat of these two territories being the next region to fall under Russian control to reality. After twenty years of being propped up by Moscow, the lack of a robust Western response to the loss of Crimea invites full annexation of these regions by force.
As we have described here already, Russia is using a new approach to conflict that confounds classic theories of war and the analytic models we use within the national security establishment today. We know from the most credible and highest of sources, to include the Supreme Commander of NATO, that Russia is deploying disguised special forces onto the soil of its neighbors to intimidate and undermine independent nations that do not wish to tow the Kremlin line. In addition to high intensity propaganda assaults and sundry disinformation and subversion campaigns, these operations will most likely result in further “disturbances” that Moscow will use to assert the self-determination of communities that wish to physically integrate into the Russian Federation and the “need” for Russia troops to protect local Russia ethnic groups.
For full details of how Russia is winning this asymmetric war see this report from the Latvian Defense Academy. The Latvians understand the Russian way of war intimately, as they are one of the three Baltic states that were illegally annexed by Stalin at the beginning of WWII, much as Crimea was annexed recently by Vladimir Putin.
Sebastian Gorka PhD has recently been appointed the Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and is the editor of national security affairs for Breitbart.com.