EU sanctions against Russia — tough decision
In 2014 owing to the annexation of Crimea and armed conflict in Donbass the European Union introduced a range of restrictive measures against Russia. Subsequently the decisions to prolong sanctions have been approved automatically by the constituent members of the EU. Until recently there have been no objections to such procedure on the part of the European leaders. Thus this time the approval procedure was expected to run smoothly. Though all of a sudden a representative of Italy obstructed the decision by claiming the will of his administration to discuss this matter on a superior level. Italy was further supported by Austria and Hungary.
Therefore the sanctions prolongation issue is now ambiguous. In this case a question pops up automatically: “What is the trouble emerged and what to be discussed?” Has Russia already completed its commitments according to the Minsk agreements or at least declined the tension scale? Probably it has rejected aggressive politics in respect of its neighbors or gave up its informational and propagandistic efforts against the whole world? Not at all!
The situation is rather contrary. We are now watching the Kremlin encouraging the separatists in Donbass who are constantly breaching the ceasefire (which is day to day recorded by the OSCE observers), unfolding a large-scale informational campaign against Ukraine exposed to the Russian military aggression and making attempts to dissolve Europe having imposed sanctions against Russia for its regular violations of the standards of international law.
Moreover in terms of Ukraine the Kremlin is regularly extending the scale of the informational and propagandistic activity. An establishment of the information warfare Agency affiliated to the Territorial command Center of the Southern military district by the decision of the Russian Federation Armed Forces general staff clearly attests this fact. Primary objectives of this structure are as follows:
- defamation of the Ukrainian political authorities and security bodies;
- proliferation of information concerning demonstration of the racism and interethnic intolerance;
- persuasion of the international community in regular breaches of the ceasefire by the Ukrainian officials and concealed build-up of means and forces by the Ukrainian Armed Forces along the line of demarcation with the view to renew active armed combat;
- charging Ukrainian armed personnel in committing crimes and unlawful actions against civil population as well as manufacturing false evidence etc.
These are only a pinch of the whole diversity of the informational subversions already brought into life through the offices of the new propaganda structure.
Herewith a surge of “sensational disclosures” has recently swept over the Western media unveiling facts about alleged arms supplies (Chinese man-portable air defense missile systems FN-6) from Ukraine to ISIS.
A new scandal launched by the Russian special services is gaining momentum. It touches upon one of the OUN (Organization of the Ukrainian nationalists) battalion commander, leader of the “Svoboda” political party and past chairman of the SSU being involved in the alleged extortion and retrading of the collection of paintings found on the territory of the DPR and LPR which are beyond Ukrainian control. These are the paintings stolen from the Museum of Western Freesland situated in the Dutch town of Hoorn.
Here is one more example of a special operation aiming at forming up an opinion that upon the power shift in Ukraine the demonstrations of racism and xenophobia has become more frequent and overt in this country. Thus during the football match between Ukrainian team “Dynamo-Kiev” and British “Chelsea” there was an attack triggered off targeting black-skinned fans further entailing a massive brawl. The video of this incident has been immediately spinned up within Russian and Western media and became a subject to the UEFA inquiry.
Besides Russia special services are smartly arranging the work of the international organizations representatives and missions on the occupied Ukrainian territories, primarily that of the OSCE in Donbass. For instance before the scheduled rounds of the special monitoring mission observers to the designated area within the boundaries of the so-called DPR and LPR Russian special service officers design and carry out special operations which consist in Russian subversion groups encroaching on the neutral territory, firing positions of the pro-Russian fighters and retreating. Afterwards international observers arrive to the area and register the violations of the ceasefire by the Ukrainian side. In the same time these rounds are covered by the Russian media (such as “Lifenews”, “RIA News”, “Interfaks”, “Novorossia”, “Donetsk News Agency”) in order to persuade both OSCE mission members and local population that the ceasefire was violated precisely by the Ukrainian side.
Russia keeps up making public statements about Ukraine violating the Minsk agreements. All these fake reports and speeches are rapidly translated into English, Germany, French, Spain and Finnish languages to be published in informational agencies designed specifically for foreign readers («DONI NEWS», «DONI PRESS», «NOVOROSSIA VISION»).
Besides it has become clear that Russian Territorial command direction made a request to the military Command authority to provide them with a great deal of national symbols, literature and neo-Nazi attributes within the framework of preparation for the informational warfare before resuming the active combat on the territory of Donbass. Those things are about to be left on the occupied Ukrainian territories and on the corpses of the Ukrainian soldiers in order to make the subversion operations more efficient. Thus Russian and Western journalist loyal to the Kremlin’s policy will expose this as “material evidence” in the Western and Russian media to approve that Ukrainian officials conduct neo-Nazi policy and Ukrainian personnel is nothing more but Nazi punitive units dating back to the WWII.
Perhaps the sanctions prolongation issue against Russia results from pressure exerted on a part of European people as well as politicians by the Russian propaganda. Under its impact people tend to suppose that sanctions are useless, that Europe and Ukraine have to make grave concessions, that Russia wouldn’t change its guideline so it would be better that business doesn’t suffer from the sanctions. Sure these people are mistaken but they do exist.
Undoubtedly sanctions are bound to be prolonged but the attempts to impose a discussion concerning this issue are alerting and reveal the necessity to defend our civilized values more actively and thoroughly.