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Danger Danger
Germany: Ukraine Is On The Brink Of War

Germany has declared that war is imminent in Ukraine, and advised its nationals to leave eastern and southern parts of the country. The Telegraph:

[German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter] Steinmeier told four European newspapers that the bloodshed in the port city of Odessa, which claimed at least 40 lives on Friday, had been a turning point. “The bloody pictures from Odessa have shown us that we are just a few steps away from a military confrontation,” he said.

Things have quieted down in Odessa since Friday, when at least 45 people were killed, but the situation remains explosive. The Telegraph, describing the funeral of a politician killed in last week’s violence, reported ominous shouts among his supporters: “never forget, never forgive.” The next trigger to violence could come in a few days, on May 9, the day when many people in former Soviet republics celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

In any case, the rapid spread of violence to Odessa over the weekend strongly suggests that Russia is focused on adding the southwest to the southeast in whatever puppet regimes it hopes to set up, or to whatever territorial annexations it hopes to make.  This is bad news for Moldova and the Balkans: full control of Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline and ports puts Putin’s reviving Russian empire back to the old borders in the south. It will also will lead to heightened Russian influence in neighboring Romania and Bulgaria, and, given the Kremlin’s love for radical right-wing movements in Europe, will likely strengthen ties with Budapest.

Odessa and the region around it is critical to Russia’s hopes to build a bloc of sympathetic states inside the EU and NATO; if this weekend’s news is any guide, Russia is still a couple of moves ahead of its slow-moving, uncoordinated rivals in Washington and Berlin.

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  • Corlyss

    “we are just a few steps away from a military confrontation,” he said.”

    Who’s ‘we?’ Certainly not NATO, certainly not Germany, certainly not the US. So who is he talking about? The international community?

    • Andrew Allison

      I think what he is referring to is a military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia. Unfortunately for Ukraine, there can only be one outcome to such a confrontation: loss of the pro-Russian regions.
      Personally, I don’t think that Moldova (other than Transdnistria) or the Balkans are at much risk — crossing the Dniester or invading the Balkans would almost certainly provoke a war which Putin neither wants nor needs in order to achieve his immediate objectives.

      • Corlyss

        Other than your traditional reluctance to get involved militarily, what’s the basis for your optimism about the Balkans? The policy wonks have been so wrong so often there’s little comfort in them.

        • Andrew Allison

          Huh? I’ve been suggesting that the serious threat of military intervention on the part of the West is the only thing that would stop Putin from taking eastern Ukraine and that obviously isn’t going to happen. What I suggested above was that there’s (hopefully) a real red line at the Dniester and the borders of the Baltic States. If it turns out to be an Obama-style red line, then the USSR will arise, Phoenix-like, from the dustbin of history.

  • ShadrachSmith

    How can there be a war? Ukraine doesn’t have an army that could win a decent bar fight. Putin doesn’t need to invade, he is annexing what he wants by putting on better elections than Ukraine can. The superior general wins the war without fighting battles.

    There will be bare-knuckle politics putting on the referendums to take Odessa, and all of the east necessary to provide lines of communication. Putin has a team of skilled, ruthless and brutal electioneering thugs who make the SEIU demonstrators taking dumps in the Wisconsin State House look like kindergarten teachers.

    No man knows the future, but Putin is already having new geography text-books prepared.

    • Zolicon

      ” How can there be a war? Ukraine doesn’t have an army that could win a decent bar fight.”
      Now that is funny.
      I told You that Russia was going to take Ukraine.

      • ShadrachSmith

        You were right.

        • Zolicon

          Thank You and this is one of those times it Truly SUCKS to be right.

          How many People do You know that can honestly say it Truly SUCKS to be right and mean it ?

  • lukelea

    WRM usually incisive analysis of foreign policy issues is sorely missed in connection to the crisis in Ukraine. It is hard for me not to wonder (suspect) that he is withholding comment because his views might offend the US State Dept. and the US foreign policy establishment in general, with which he has historically had very good relations.

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