Could it have anything to do with the fact that all three countries are not just members of the European Union (EU) but also NATO (as well as being former members of the Warsaw Pact)? What, if anything, is the significance of their visit?
Article 5 of the NATO Agreement, which has been oft discussed since the invasion, states that an attack on one NATO member constitutes an attack on all. An attack doesn't have to be a some sort of provocative act like an invasion, or a EMP attack, a blockade or embargo, or no fly zone.
An attack could be construed as the death of a leader of NATO member country too. These three individuals, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, are putting themselves in direct harm's way and risking a expanded war, but why?
Ukrainian President Zelenskii has long been pressing for membership into both the EU and NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin has equally adamant that NATO membership of the Ukraine was a line in the sand that will not be crossed. Putin isn't happy about membership in the EU, which lessens Ukrainian dependence on Russia, but NATO membership was non- negotiable.
If, on the other hand, any one or all of them are killed, it could trigger Article 5. If that should happen, it would give NATO the justification it needs to intervene in the Ukraine. NATO troops, tanks, planes, and missiles, are already amassed along their respective borders with Russia.
It's unlikely they would invade Russia and more likely they would brace against a Russian incursion on their border as NATO forces would cross into the Ukraine to try and force a cease in hostilities. But how would Russia react? Would they see it as an attempt to end their invasion? Would it be viewed as intervening in a situation which doesn't concern them, or would Russia viewed it as a declaration of war?
Putin is no dummy. In fact, he is highly intelligent and experienced. He's repeatedly outmaneuvered Western leaders time and again; making them look foolish. The only Western leader he's acknowledged any respect for was President Donald Trump. I suspect that's less due to Trump's intelligence or political acumen, and more to his unpredictability plus the fact that Trump wasn't beholden to the "Deep State" which controls America and the EU. Putin too has been opposed to this same Deep State which has been trying to either corner Russia and isolate it or force its compliance on Russia.
Putin, since before the invasion, has tried to shore up his relationship with China, knowing that the West's most likely reaction to the invasion would be severe sanctions. However, given the fact that Russia and China have long been a "frienemies", and the fact that Russian forces have failed to overrun the Ukraine as predicted, China seems to be hesitant in providing too much support beyond moderate economic aid.
Russian military has shown thus far to be ineffective, despite its overwhelming numbers, against a NATO and U.S. equipped Ukrainian military. The result has been Russia's increasing frustration and desperation for a quick and decisive end. A German style blitzkrieg this hasn't been. As the war has dragged on, Russia's fears of another Afghanistan grows daily. So does its concerns of a expanded war with NATO, which would likely involve the U.S., making matters worse.
Even though the United States just finished a 20 year war in Afghanistan, a war which it all but lost as did Russia, the U.S. still has a powerful military, albeit weaken and somewhat depleted. Putin has repeatedly pointed out that it has nukes, perhaps hoping that the mere threat will buy him a little more time in the Ukraine. But he knows too that NATO has nukes. So does the United States, and the first one to use them will be just as dead 15 minutes later. There are no winners in a nuclear war.
Putin has recently announced that its forces have discovered 30 bio-military laboratories. Laboratories which have all the fingerprints of the U.S. on them. The implication is obvious. That the U.S. was secretly developing pathogens for military use in clear violation of international agreements. Could this be in retaliation of the U.S. accusing Russia of supplying bio-weapons on Syria which resulted in two attacks, killing dozens of combatants and civilians?
It could be. The accusations in Syria turned out to be false. The chemical signature of the weapons were not Russian. Independent analysis indicated European origin; possibly German or England. Here again, independent analysis has shown no U.S. bio-weapon labs in the Ukraine. That's not to say the labs are a complete fabrication. On the contrary, they very much do exist.
So why would Russia claim these 30 labs were bio-military? It's difficult to answer. Putin's military advisers had to know that the truth would be outed pretty quick. The labs and their funding were too open. Everyone knew they were there and what they were doing, unlike, say, Wuhan, which operated in secret.
Secondly, it has to go back to Putin's frustration. We can see this in the attack on two nuclear facilities in the Ukraine, including the infamous Chernobyl. Russian troops repeatedly pounded the facilities with rockets and heavy artillery knowing full well that the assault could trigger a nuclear meltdown and massive radiation leak similar to the Chernobyl accident in 1986. That's how desperate the Russian military is in bringing the Ukraine to its knees.
They've already admitted using thermobaric weapons ("vacuum bombs"), which were originally developed by the U.S. in the 1960's for use in Vietnam and subsequently banned under the Geneva Convention. These weapons sucks all the oxygen out of an area, which it uses to create a high energy explosion and intensive blast wave. It's capable of sucking all the air out of human beings or anything living, filling their lungs with liquid, with the resulting explosion vaporizing every living thing.
Throughout, Ukrainian President Zelenskii has pleaded with the world for help. He has asked for medical supplies, food, generators, gas and oil, and most of all, weapons. He was recently given the unique and rare opportunity to speak to members of Congress (and indirectly the American People). He has asked for the U.S. and NATO to create a no-fly zone over parts of the Ukraine and to open corridors for fleeing refugees and for incoming military supplies.
Putin has indicated that any no-fly zone would be contested, which would again be viewed as a declaration of war. As an aside, previous corridors for refugees have failed; often lasting a few sporadic hours. Meanwhile, NATO sits on the sidelines. It sends military and humanitarian aid as it can, but it too has to be careful.
Russia controls 40% of Europe's oil and gas. It controls 70% of Germany's, which is the economic engine of Europe. The U.S. could provide some to Europe, but it couldn't make up the 40%. Perhaps the Middle East and Canada could pick up the slack, but again, nowhere near what it would lose if Russia cut it off. As an aside, the Ukraine, with its energy reserves, could potentially replace Russia as Europe's supplier.
As for Argentina, with its massive oil and gas reserves, it could definitely use the economic stimulation. However, Russia has seen to it that it's firmly in their corner. That puts the EU between a rock and a hard place. In short, between the sanctions, threat of nukes, and energy dependence, Russia, Europe, the U.S. and indirectly the world, has a death grip on each other as it did just prior to the start of World War One. And again, like the First World War, it would only take one stupid mistake to trigger what truly would be "the war to end all wars".
Well, that's partially true. The Ukraine has long existed, dating back to the Viking Rus. Russia (which takes its name from the Rus) was one of the conquered lands. Both grew and evolved as all nations do. Both peoples are largely Slavic and Scandinavian. They speak similar but different languages. They have similar as well as different cultures, traditions, and values. But, nevertheless, the Ukraine is an independent and sovereign country. Period.
Putin must accept that. He must also accept that Kiev has the right to establish its own laws, policies, and alliances. That means if it wants to join the EU, it has that right. It also has the right to join NATO for its own national security, which, in part, stems from its fear of the Russian bear. Putin must also acknowledge this.
Given Russia's history, is rightfully afraid for its national security too. That's something Zelenskii must acknowledge. It has been invaded from the east by Mongols (as was the Ukraine), and twice by the West (Napoleon and Hitler). In 1989, Gorbachev was assured by President Bush that NATO would not expand "one centimeter", and yet by 1991, it was on Russia's border with its missiles, tanks, artillery, and troops from the Baltic to the Ukraine, and now the Ukraine wants to complete that encirclement.
Both nation can acknowledge their mutual fear and mistrust of the other and use it to create a non-aggression treaty. No further attacks on the Ukraine and in exchange, no NATO presence on its border by Russia. The Ukraine may provide for its own national defense (which has been pretty good thus far) however it pleases less NATO. The Ukraine can make whatever trade agreements it wishes as a sovereign nation. A mutual trade agreement between the Ukraine, Russia, and the EU could benefit everyone.
I suspect Putin invaded the Ukraine to make a point. No NATO. He intended it to be a quick in and out. It turned out to be anything but thanks to the determination of the Ukrainian military and the tenacity of its people who've given a lesson in patriotism to the world. Nevertheless, as a result of a Putin's ill conceived venture, the world is teetering on global disaster.
The infamous "Doomsday Clock" has been moved ahead to 100 seconds until oblivion for Humanity. That's one minute and forty seconds left for Mankind. That's the closest we've ever been to Armageddon. It won't matter who pushed the first button anymore than who pushed the last button. The only winners will be the cockroaches. Those little bastards can survive anything.
We have other, more serious, issues to focus on such as the climate, poverty, famine, potable water, energy, diseases and viruses. What we don't have time for is pissing rights to a piece of property or who gets to stand atop the highest dung heap. Let's end the war in the Ukraine and elsewhere as rational thinking human beings instead of knuckle dragging primates (apologies to our primate cousins).
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