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World View: Russian Troops Approach Ukraine's Border, Threaten Port City Mariupol

World View: Russian Troops Approach Ukraine's Border, Threaten Port City Mariupol

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russian troops approach Ukraine’s border, threaten port city Mariupol
  • Russia uses Hungary to put ethnic Rusins in play against Ukraine
  • Hezbollah leader brags about Syria war despite spillover into Lebanon

Russian troops approach Ukraine’s border, threaten port city Mariupol

Russian troops may be planning an attack on the port city of Mariupol, linking Crimea with Russia, and remaining poised to continue to Odessa
Russian troops may be planning an attack on the port city of Mariupol, linking Crimea with Russia, and remaining poised to continue to Odessa

NATO says that regular Russian troops in Russia are approaching theUkraine border, after Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of theRussian anti-government militias in east Ukraine, has vowed theintention to capture the Black Sea port city of Mariupol.

Russia’s state-sponsored media is saying:

Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a partyto the Ukrainian internal conflict and said that all of thecountry’s actions are in accordance with the internationallaw.

It’s true that Russia has repeatedly claimed those things, but in eachcase those claims turned out to be lies. Russia claimed they weren’tinvading Crimea, just as Russian troops were invading Crimea. Russiaclaimed that they wouldn’t annex Crimea, just before they annexedCrimea, a clear violation of international law. Russia claimed thatthere were no Russian troops in east Ukraine at a time when Russiantroops were entering east Ukraine. On September 5, Russia signed aninternational peace agreement (the “Minsk protocols”) in which theycommitted to a political compromise in east Ukraine, and thensupported east Ukraine elections earlier this week in completeviolation of their own agreement.

The winner of those east Ukraine elections was Alexander Zakharchenko,the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, saidalready another state,” essentially declaring war on Ukraine’sgovernment. On the same day, Soviet army veteran Igor Plotnitskybecame leader of the neighboring self-proclaimed People’s Republic ofLuhansk, and he appealed to east Ukraine regions to secede and createa new state of Novorossiya.

As the Russian military buildup proceeds, Ukraine’s president PetroPoroshenko has ordered army Ukrainian reinforcements to key easternand southeastern Ukraine cities. However, no one seriously believesthat Ukraine’s army can withstand an invasion by Russia. BBC and LA Times and Ria Novosti (Moscow) and AFP/Reuters

Russia uses Hungary to put ethnic Rusins in play against Ukraine

Although Hungary has been a member of the European Union, therelationship has been extremely contentious because of discriminationagainst Jews and Roma citizens, and because of laws favored byHungary’s premier Viktor Orbán to limit free speech and limit thefreedom of Hungary’s central bank. Hungary’s government has beengrowing increasingly pro-Russian, and Orbán’s relationship withRussia’s president Vladimir Putin has been getting closer.

Putin has been taking advantage of the closer relationship withHungary as a cover to promote a secessionist movement in westernUkraine of the Rusin (or Carpatho-Rusin) ethnic group. Orbán’sgovernment promotes itself as a defender of the Rusins againstUkrainians, and a strong secessionist movement would destabilizeUkraine in the west, giving Russian troops a freer hand in the east,with the continuing threat of continuing to dismember Ukrainecompletely. Jamestown and Orthodox Holiness

Hezbollah leader brags about Syria war despite spillover into Lebanon

Shia Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, appearing on nationwidetelevision in Lebanon on Tuesday, bragged about entering Syria’s waron the side of the Shia/Alawite president Bashar al-Assad, and triedto downplay the increasing Shia versus Sunni sectarian violence that’sbeen spilling over into Lebanon, particularly along the northernborder with Syria.

Tuesday is Ashura, the most important date in the Shia calendar. Itcommemorates the battle of Karbala in 680, which led to the historicsplit between Sunni and Shia Islam. Nasrallah tried to cool sectariantensions in Lebanon by playing them down:

There is an error in diagnosing the nature of theconflict in the region, which is not a Sunni-Shiiteconflict…. We, the Shiites, should not be dealing with thisconflict as being sectarian, our battle is not with the Sunnis,but with American hegemony, Israeli schemes, and Takfiris [Muslimsaccused of apostasy].

Hezbollah used to be popular with both Sunnis and Shias, many of whomview the militia as the principal force in the “resistance” againstIsrael. But Hezbollah’s invasion of Syria to bolster al-Assad’sforces has reduced the popular view of Hezbollah as a sectarian Shiamilitia, backed by Iran, joining with a regime that’s massacringinnocent Sunni women and children in Syria.

During his speech, Nasrallah tried to regain popular supportby speculating on a Hezbollah attack on Israel:

Israelis are saying in the media that they would haveto close down Ben-Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes,that’s true.

You should close all of your airports and your ports becausethere is no place in the land of occupied Palestine that theresistance’s rockets cannot reach. […] 

They know that going to war with the resistance will be verycostly because we are more determined, stronger, more experienced… and we are capable of achieving suchaccomplishments.

Daily Star (Beirut) and Naharnet (Beirut) and CS Monitor

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Mariupol, Russia, Petro Poroshenko,Alexander Zakharchenko, Minsk protocols, Igor Plotnitsky,Odessa, Crimea, Vladimir Putin, Hungary, Viktor Orbán,Rusin, Carpatho-Rusin, Lebanon, Israel,Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah,Ashura, Battle of Karbala
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