Apostrophe (Ukraine): Russia is planning provocations against Ukraine, the only question is when — Boris Babin

Wednesday, June 3, the court occupied Simferopol decided to detain for a period of 30 days the Ukrainian soldier of the 95th airborne brigade of the armed forces Eugene Dobrinsky. Around 5 am, may 30, Dobrinsky kidnapped Russian military directly with the Observatory, which is located at the very boundary line with the occupied Crimea. The Ukrainian military was at the post alone and unarmed.

Ukraine has lost vigilance in relation to the Crimea and no longer perceives stationed there, and Russian occupation troops as a threat. For all the time, Kiev was never able to form effective policy in respect of the annexed Peninsula and act situationally. But the Russians have the plans for armed action in the South of Ukraine and do not stop their provocations.

These thoughts expressed “Apostrophe” former permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in AR Crimea, as well as OSCE expert Borys Babin.

“Apostrophe”: How can you comment on the kidnapping of Ukrainian military near the boundary line with the occupied Crimea?

Boris Babin: It’s a very unpleasant story. I hope that the perpetrators that the naked man was on the demarcation line will be identified and punished. We have a new prisoner who is captured by the invaders and has to arrange his release. Obviously, these events are a reaction of the occupants to the teachings of AFU near the demarcation line. Because these teachings were for the Russians a very unpleasant surprise, and now they demonstrate that may be present in areas close to the demarcation line, to send sabotage and reconnaissance groups, to have there the agents — and it is, unfortunately, a reality.

— In your opinion, who is to blame that our military would be without weapons?

— There are two dimensions and political and military. If we talk about the military, it is a question of statutory relations. There are commanders and chiefs who must answer for it. The question, rather, to them.

As for the political dimension, then, unfortunately, over time we have developed the illusion that the line of demarcation with the Crimea is a resort. That the Crimea is a place where you can safely ride. That the military there “for show”. So we got this “tick”. We’ve lost sight of what war is that the enemy in the Crimea and in the Donbass — is the same. And it is a political problem, when instead raise the defense of the regions close to the Crimea, we are building some strange hub on Chongar. This, by the way, have already signed a corresponding Memorandum of Inoccupation and the Ministry of Infrastructure and SOCAR, which will sell it is unclear what and with whom is unclear. There is information that our military was without weapons, so as not to annoy the “Russian partners”, with whom to build a hub. That’s why we traded with the invaders oil with anything else, build centers of providing administrative services. This is a consequence of the crudity of our policy regarding the Crimea as a whole.

Elements of pressure, blackmail and threats are constantly present in the politics of the Russians. So, in that sense nothing will change. And exacerbation of the line of differentiation has already begun. The occupants led their forces in a high state of combat readiness. We see the provocations, which had not been, kidnapping, murder under strange circumstances, the escalation of organized crime in the area. We also see an escalation in the Black sea near the Crimea and on the Azov sea. This is ongoing activity of the aggressor state, but we try to pretend that it’s not because we are so comfortable. We have the same world, you have to stop to shoot. And here is stop the ship, kidnap fishermen, Russia carries out provocations against the Ukrainian border guards, the Ukrainian Navy, strengthens its presence in the sea, blocking the Strait of Kerch.

— Refat Chubarov few days ago said that Russia may try to connect the Crimea with the mainland by capturing territories, and thus provide water to the Peninsula. In your opinion, is it possible?

— The possibility of large-scale armed provocations such as the capture of Kherson region, the Danube Delta, snake island, certain areas of the Odessa and Nikolaev areas Berdyansk — present in the projects of the aggressor state, they do not hide it. It’s part of their regular training, they train for this. It’s for us come “peace” and “war is over”. They’re with us still at war, spending huge forces and means. So you mentioned are included in their plans. The only question is when they will start this year or next, or the year after.

— They say that the water situation in Crimea was catastrophic. How is going through its lack of population?

The population of the Crimea is not experiencing water shortage from Ukraine, but the water from the North Crimean canal was not intended for the population. It was used for industrial production and agriculture. Therefore, for residents of towns and villages, little has changed. The issue of water for the Crimeans is not critical. Now they are most concerned about the reduced income, lack of social prospects, problems in medicine, problems associated with the illegality of their status, as the population is supposedly connected to Russian territory, harassment on ethnic and political grounds. And the fact that there is no water in the canal is the issue of the occupation government, not the Crimean people.

— There still remain in Crimea, the people, loyal to the country-aggressor?

— I don’t think there are many of them. It would be pretty strange on their part. The percentage of respondents who earnestly believed that the success, happiness and the development of the Crimea is connected with Russia all the time was small. Over the years, he clearly has not increased, except those who are brought from Russia.

— Ukraine has announced plans to build a canal between the Black sea and the Azov sea, around actually blocked the Kerch Strait and thus to simplify the movement of Ukrainian courts. In your opinion, what will be the reaction of the Kremlin and the occupation authorities, if Ukraine decide to do?

— Here the main issue in our ability to protect this facility from sabotage or capture by the Russians, the Kremlin may provoke and attempt to destroy it or damage. You have to be ready for it.

— Could this construction to lead to a harsh military confrontation with the Russians?

— I don’t think this issue will be critical for the aggressor. Much more critical is the lack of water in the North-Crimean channel. If Russia will decide to conduct large-scale military action, it still they will lead. This issue will decide the political leadership of Russia as a state. And our actions — it is a little different. If we every day to think, as we would not to irritate the Russians, it would be better for all of us to commit an act of mass suicide.

— In your opinion, if Russia decides to attack from the South, will there be any additional measures, such as a mass “popular” Pro-Russian speeches in the South-East or a terrorist attack?

— Can be anything. They already blew up the bomb in Kharkiv and Odessa. According to their logic, everything is quite acceptable to them. But I don’t think Pro stock would be a mass, great support for Russia, I do not expect. But Russian agents in all branches of government will do everything possible to paralyze the administration, to exclude the possibility of military resistance. I’d be afraid people on the streets, but people in the offices — they are much more dangerous and there are much more friends of Russia. They will deal with the disorganization of the armed forces, to provoke the collapse of civil administration, to make an attempt to form a Pro-Russian political course, lock the economy in a crisis situation. It’s one thing if there is an agent of influence in the General staff, the second — in the district administration, the third — if a group of deputies support Russia in the Verkhovna Rada, and the fourth — if, for example, Deputy Director of the office of the President, to put it mildly, not absolutely Pro-Ukrainian. And each of them will destroy Ukraine from his office to the extent which is able.

— Back to the kidnapped soldier. Russia has always been reluctant to giving those who were taken prisoner in the Crimea, because it considers part of its territory. Will it be difficult to get the man to Ukraine?

— Any problem can be solved. The question of acceptability of the price. I don’t see a big problem in the mechanism. I see the problem in another. We all now there is no real formed the state policy in the Crimea. Under all conditions all the actions of our government in the Crimea are situational. If the issue of the return of the military will be engaged in our government, it will be a very long time to do it, because we do not have any suggestions and we will take them very long to form. On the Peninsula we have a classic position — let us imitate what a violent activity, and postpone the question for another year or two. So we got another hostage. In Crimea, they are already a million and a half, and now one has become more.