Thursday, December 22, 2016

Unfortunately, nuclear weapons are still an issue. It should be, but, it is.

Allepo is finished. The rebels are gone as of today. Hopefully a balance will return and the humanitarian aid can be dispatched ASAP.

But, as to Ukraine. It was very dangerous at the time Russia broke the treaty with Ukraine. Chancellor Merkel was instrumental in de-escalating the situation. I remember her stating, "President Putin has been saying things that are outside the realm of reasonable in response to these circumstances."

That was a reference to nuclear weapons. Russia practices brinkmanship and in relation to Ukraine, Russia worries it will return to nuclear weapons. Ukraine, as a Soviet state, had the nuclear weapon launch sites for Russia due to it's proximity to Europe. The fall of Viktor Yanukovych (click here) was perceived as a profound threat to Russia. That is why President Putin was so willing to practice brinkmanship and possibly beyond. Annexing Crimea was about more then just protecting Russian people, it is about a strategy against Europe.

President Putin previous to the Ukraine revolution of 2014 (click here) used Ukraine as a political strategy. There was a reason for that. Putin, a former KGB, was worried about Ukraine and it's capacity as a global power. It is why the Ukraine national military was disarmed and Yanukovych placed militias throughout the country headed up by oligarchs. Russia is afraid Ukraine, especially, since there were missile trials by Ukraine.

But, as to nuclear weapons, they are still a concern. And. A problem as recently as 2014. 

March 16, 2015
by Laura Smith-Spark, Alla Eshchenko and Emma Burrows

Moscow - Russia was ready (click here) to put its nuclear forces on alert over the crisis in Crimea last year, such was the threat to Russian people there, President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary that aired on state TV on Sunday night.

Asked if Russia was prepared to bring its nuclear weapons into play, Putin said: "We were ready to do it. I talked with colleagues and told them that this (Crimea) is our historic territory, Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them.

"It wasn't us who committed a coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs."

But this was the worst-case scenario, he added, in the documentary broadcast on state-run channel Rossiya One. "I don't think this was actually anyone's wish -- to turn it into a world conflict."

It wasn't known when the interview was originally taped. It aired even as speculation mounted about Putin's health, following an absence of several days from the public stage. He reappeared in public Monday.

Russia formally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last March, after Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted following street protests that turned bloody. Russia called his ouster a coup by radical Ukrainian nationalists.

Before Crimea was formally absorbed by Russia, unidentified armed men had taken control of its administrative buildings and key military sites. A referendum was held on March 16, 2014 -- a year ago to the day -- on secession from Ukraine....