Sunday, April 27, 2014

How Ukraine and the world can use Putin's tactics and rationale against him.

Two days ago,  eight members of the OSCE,  unarmed observers on the ground  in east Ukraine, were captured by the Russian funded, aided and inspired terrorists and separatists who have been holding Ukrainian government buildings, and are being held hostage.

The eight members of the OSCE total four from Germany, and one each from Poland, Denmark, Sweden and a Czech officer.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea and the seizing of government buildings in eastern Ukraine by armed Russian terrorists,  the rationale given by Putin and Lavrov in justifying and warning against overt Russian military intervention by the 40,000 troops assembled on Ukraine's border, was they would act militarily to protect Russian speaking people from being mistreated or attacked by the Ukrainian government,  ( the same rationale Hitler used for invading the Sudetenland in 1938).

Putin and Lavrov and the Russian parliament claimed they reserved the right to invade Ukraine to defend these Russian separatists. Presumably any attack on armed Russian terrorists illegally occupying government buildings by the Ukraine military to restore law and order against the Russian insurgency is, in their view, mistreatment of Russian speaking people and a justification for an invasion and military intervention.

But with these Russian terrorists having now abducted members of  the OSCE who are from NATO countries,  and holding them hostage in violation of international law under the bogus claim that they are spies, these NATO member countries should let Russia know that in light of these abductions, they too reserve the right to use military intervention in response to their mistreatment for being held hostage, and to aid Ukraine in taking whatever military action necessary against the separatists .

NATO member countries, whose citizens are now hostages should give Russia and the separatists an ultimatum and a time frame -- either free their hostages or face military intervention from the OSCE countries these hostages come from. Especially in light of a statement from Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine to The Guardian that the hostages are "prisoners of war".

OSCE countries  whose nationals are now "prisoners of war" should make clear that they will take whatever action necessary in aiding Ukraine unless they are released and  there will be no negotiation or deals.  And make clear that any intervention on the part of Russia to defend the separatists holding the hostages in the event of military action will be taken as an overt act by Russia as the authority holding them as prisoners of war with the attending consequences. Since the separatists are calling them prisoners of war, let the member countries make clear to the separatists that unless they are released they will consider it an act of war by the separatists against the OSCE member countries. And will respond accordingly.

Since Obama is as always, too weak and too concerned about his own domestic political standing to take any kind of meaningful action including military assistance to Ukraine under the 1994 U.S.- Ukraine defense agreement, let other countries, as was the case with Libya, take the lead and use Putin's justification and rationale for the threat of military force as their own.

Let Russia and the separatists know that the capturing of the OSCE members is a hostile act against member countries, a violation of international law and a gross mistreatment of their own citizens.  And, like Russia,  they reserve the right to intervene militarily to aid Ukraine against the separatists holding their citizens as prisoners  and make clear they will hold the separatists accountable for their safety.  And they can start by sending military assistance to Ukraine to show Russia and the separatists they mean business.

Until then the Ukrainian government can use more effective means to deal with the Russian insurgents holding the buildings. They could surround them,  cut off all power and water to the buidlings and instead of roadblocks and checkpoints 13 miles from where buildings are being held, they could move in militarily and set up a cordon around the buildings preventing the insurgents from having any access to food or water. They should also be prepared for insurgents in other places to attempt more kidnappings to use hostages as blackmail.

It's time for the Ukrainian government to get tough, dismiss any guidance from Obama who up to now has been behind the Ukrainian government restraining their military, and treat these take overs of government buildings the way the FBI would treat them here.Surround them, cut off water and power, and respond to any violent actions by the insurgents with the tactics they deserve.

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