Sunday, March 16, 2014

Russia's 'casus belli' for war on Ukraine: Blowing up gas pipelines?

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Yesterday's "invasion" of Ukraine beyond Crimea was a false alarm.

Russia is claiming that "Crimean self-defence personnel" carried out a limited incursion in Kherson, just outside of Crimea, to prevent "an act of sabotage on a gas pipeline":

Crimean self-defence units prevented an act of sabotage on a gas pipeline on Saturday, March 15. Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said the saboteurs had identified themselves as Ukrainian Border Guard Service officials.

“Crimean self-defence personnel prevented an attempt to block the gas pipeline to Crimea at the Arbatsky Spit. To prevent such attempts [in the future], the gas distribution station was put under protection. The persons who tried to damage the equipment – up to 40 people, according to preliminary information – and who identified themselves as Ukrainian Border Guard Service officials left the station in a hurry,” Aksyonov said.

He asked Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Alexander Vitko to take the gas transportation system in this area under protection “in order to ensure energy security of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and uninterrupted operation of crucial facilities.”

This whole notion of Ukrainians blowing up gas pipelines may be what Moscow is planning to use for a 'casus belli', i.e., a cause for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine beyond Crimea. The Ukrainian "Right Sector", which looks to be some sort of controlled opposition the Kremlin is using, is threatening to blow-up oil pipelines carrying Russian gas to Europe:

The head of the Ukrainian nationalist movement Dmitry Yarosh has threatened to explode the gas pipeline through which the Russian gas is supplied to Europe, aiming to deprive it of its financing source.

Yarosh voiced his threats as part of his "address to the Ukrainian government and his compatriots" in which he is accusing Moscow of having plans to seize Ukraine . The text of his address was cited by the UNN news agency.

"We are well aware of the fact that Russia is earning money by transporting its oil and gas to the West through our pipe. Therefore, we'll destroy this pipe in order to deprive Russia of its financing source."

Of course, it makes no sense for Ukrainians to sabotage the gas pipelines traversing their nation since:

1. More than half of their own gas supply comes from Russia.

2. Europeans would be upset with the Ukraine for disrupting their gas supplies.

Nevertheless, this is the nonsensical tale that Russia appears ready to tell, and my guess it's because Russia wants a pretext for invading the rest of Ukraine since:

The Soviets never start a war. By definition, the United States or, more generally speaking, "imperialism is the source of all antagonistic conflicts of the present day world, the source of war danger." [General Major A.S. Milovidov, quoted in Soviet Strategy For Nuclear War, p.98]

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