From Ukraine lately has been mostly bad news. Thousands of civilians caught between frost and artillery fire from Putin’s furious assault. He was the worst since the beginning of 2015. In the Kremlin are rubbing their bloody hands in anticipation of a new redivision of the world — and in full confidence that Ukraine will soon belong to them. Meanwhile, it seems that in the West, many of those who are willing to consider “all options” to deal with Putin.
Since when have things become so bad? It started not last week or last year. In part, this began much earlier, perhaps in February 2014, when Russia invaded Georgia. We all remember this time. Ukraine pleaded with Russia to stop the intervention. The West begged Ukraine not to react with military means. Only Russia no one begged, and did what she’s been doing in recent years: manipulated, lied, and — as ultimately — occupied country which did not belong to her.
Then we froze. Ukraine took in 2014, three long months — March, April, may — to overcome shock and to go on the defensive. However, unfortunately, many in the West, it seems, still in shock. Russia intervenes in your choices, captivates you, puts you on display, but you still beg.
You appeal to the good will of someone who became a habit to dismember their neighbors. Some of you are probably thinking that this nightmare will stop, if you give Russia what it requires. You just can’t understand what it is. Well then — here is a short explanation: Russia has a low opinion of the ideology of mutually beneficial cooperation. There are convinced single: now is the time for their own rise — and the fall of the West.
Yes, this is contrary to logic. But this corresponds to the proposal of Moscow about the world as a zero rate. Yes, this is contrary to everything we’ve learned over the past 25 years. But, apparently, to turn back the clock is one of the top priorities of the Kremlin.
Don’t be deceived — all this happened not because Russia misunderstood you. It happened because we all misunderstood Russia. All these years we thought that the Soviet Union is dead. The wrong idea. He just regrouped and prepared for the rematch.
“Houston, we have a problem”. And this problem is USSR 2.0 is a state dominated by the secret service, the FSB, which is capable of such things 1.0 of the Soviet Union could not even dream to engage in your debate and to turn them to their advantage to devalue your values, bribe your elite, crush your solidarity.
No, the rulers of Russia are not great thinkers. They are just functionaries of the former KGB, however, with unlimited funds and without any principles. They have no their own grandiose ideas, but they are well able to undermine your: EU, NATO, American dream, European home.
So why not give Russia what she wants? Well, first of all, because Ukraine is in the list of her wishes in the first place. And Ukraine is not going to go for it. It is hard to imagine more opposing desires: the Ukraine wants freedom, and Putin wants to keep Ukraine on a leash. Some of this could be the deal, except the deal at the expense of indigenous legal interests of Ukraine?
The deal with Putin is a devil’s bargain: he will give you something and you give it all system of values. He will give you something, and you come to terms with a new redivision of the world. He will give you something, and you turn away, when he will to destroy their neighbors.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians sacrificed their lives not for the fact that Putin did get ultimately what he wants. We as a free nation have made their choice. Now West must make a choice. If you are tempted to make a deal with Putin, we can’t change anything. But for God’s sake, don’t trade at the expense of others ‘ freedom. It would be low, it would be a sin that will always haunt you. Freedom can not be bet in the geopolitical game. NATO, EU, democracy, international law cannot be put up for sale.
Can not be an honest agreement between the West and Russia, without a fair agreement between Ukraine and Russia, which should be based only on the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory is not in Russia, but on the basis of international law. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Russia is now ready.
West’s time to protect the earth on which it stands. Not so long ago, the West saw the whole world, as for this “land” because he thought that democracy is important for all people. This view is now questioned by those who have a low opinion of democracy. He wants to re-divide the world — those who live in a democracy, and those who can do without it.
If the West shows weakness, then the clock will return to the days of Ronald Reagan. The free world would be less. And even smaller. And even smaller. In the end it would be less than the world of tyranny and would have continued to decrease. If freedom dies in Syria, if she will die in Ukraine, then part of it is going to die in the West. So I try to do what seems impossible: to be strong in times of incredible trials. History will judge you by this.
The author is the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine.