Russian-Ukrainian tensions have been escalating. On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed American private military companies are preparing a “chemical weapon” incident in eastern Ukraine in order to stage false-flag attacks or provocations.

Kiev’s entire approach has been one of provocation – and the West has been fueling it. In that particular regard, Ukraine’s approach is in line with NATO’s own: General Tod Wolters recently suggested that the Alliance should send troops to Bulgaria and Romania, thus strengthening the “security scheme” for Ukraine. Even though Washington has signalled some willingness to dialogue, such provocations do not help much. The Ukrainian military has been frequently violating the Minsk agreements and there has been plenty of shelling in the two self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics in the Donbas region. By the end of November Kiev had deployed almost half of its army (125,000 troops) to this region, on the demarcation line.

In a kind of inversion that is often applied to everything pertaining to the current Ukrainian crisis, while Russia is being compared to “fascists” in the European press, it is the Ukrainian authorities who has been pursuing a chauvinistic policy of ethno-nationalism that glorifies genocidal Nazi collaborators as national heroes. Such measures are a kind of major “provocation”: they divide and polarize the country and alienate the people of Donbas. Likewise, while the Donbas war is often described as a proxy conflict between Kiev and Moscow started by the latter to “destabilize” the former one can argue that it is precisely the opposite: Ukraine itself has been employed by the US-led NATO as a kind of pressure tool against Russia.

While today’s Western media narratives about Moscow’s supposed plan to invade its neighbor abound, instead of an aggressive Russia threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity, one can actually see that it is the latter that is aggravating the situation at the border.

Some worry, though, that in the current context of Ukrainian provocations such narratives might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, they worry about a provocation becoming a casus belli. Could it be so?

As for the risk of an armed conflict, it is quite safe to say that there shall be no war. Such is not in the West’s interests for a number of reasons. President Volodymyr Zelensky hyperbolic rhetoric about his country possessing the “most powerful” armed forces in Europe cannot be taken seriously at all, as it does not have neither hypersonic missiles nor operational-tactical missiles of any kind – even though former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Ohryzko has recently allegedly stated Kiev is ready to strike Russian cities if a conflict arises.

Anyway,  Ukraine would be neutralized by Moscow’s military forces very quickly and instead of a Russian “invasion” the most extreme scenario would be perhaps a peacekeeping operation in the non-recognized states of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Even if the current Ukrainian regime ardently desires war – as sometimes it appears to be the case, judging by its rhetoric – Russia could force it into peace, as its 58th Army did in Georgia in 2008. This might be yet another humanitarian disaster with tremendous consequences for this country, for Eastern Europe, and the European Union itself, with extra waves of refugees amid the ongoing European migration crisis. In this scenario, Europe should expect an increase in crime and terrorism, as the Ukrainian Azov Battalion is known to recruit from extremist organizations overseas.

To sum it up, Ukraine cannot possibly defeat Russia or count on the West to do so, and no one would gain anything from an escalation of the current crisis into a larger armed conflict. Kiev badly needs to reconsider its chauvinistic policies of Ukrainization and ethno-linguistic oppression that, combined with state violence against civilians, can only be described as genocidal. The very existence of the aforementioned neo-Nazi Azov Battalion as an official unity within the Ukrainian National Guard is a scandal. And, finally, Kiev needs to reconsider its current provocation-based approach. It is in fact quite hard to guess how it benefits from such a strategy or even how the West itself might benefit from that in the long run.

by Uriel Araujo Via