Illia Ponomarenko: Ukraine’s Friend & Foe of the Week
Editor’s Note: This feature separates Ukraine’s friends from its enemies. The Order of Yaroslav the Wise has been given since 1995 for distinguished service to the nation. It is named after the Kyivan Rus leader from 1019-1054, when the medieval empire reached its zenith. The Order of Lenin was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, whose demise Russian President Vladimir Putin mourns. It is named after Vladimir Lenin, whose corpse still rots on the Kremlin’s Red Square, more than a century after the October Revolution he led.
Friend – Lloyd Austin, the U.S. secretary of defense
This week’s visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Kyiv was brief and brought no breaking news.
America is still firmly on Ukraine’s side in helping the nation defending itself against Russia’s war. The American defense aid, worth more than $2 billion since 2014, keeps flowing and helping Ukraine’s military rise from ashes.
Austin came to Ukraine to publicly reassure that America will continue to support, as well as other Black Sea region allies, in the deterrence of Russia.
He also commented on the words of Russian presidential spokesman Dmitriy Peskov, who on Oct. 18 called Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO “the worst-case scenario crossing the red lines of Russia’s national interests.”
Moreover, Peskov again menaced war, adding that this would force Russia into “taking action to ensure its security.”
Well, Austin had bad news for Peskov.
“No third country has the right to veto NATO membership,” he said following a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Taran on Oct. 19.
“Ukraine… has the right to decide its future foreign policy without external interference.”
This is exactly why Ukraine continues the resistance – for the right to decide its own future and its own way of life. And it is good to have such powerful friends helping us on the way.
Foe – Dmitry Peskov
And indeed, if we look through the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, we will find nothing in it saying that “a candidate nation must ask Russia first if it feels comfortable about it daring to join NATO.”
The Oct. 18 outburst by Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s shill, was just another Russian declaration of its post-Soviet imperialism. Peskov called Ukraine’s potential NATO membership “the worst-case scenario crossing the red lines of Russia’s national interests.”
The nuclear-armed, petroleum mafia state claiming just nearly 1% of the global economy believes it has a God-given right to dictate upon neighbors – and it is ready to apply military force upon weaker nations when it is not happy.
Following the victory of the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution that sent President Viktor Yanukovych packing to his patrons in Russia, the Kremlin was so scared that it seized Crimea and unleashed a brutal war in Donbas. In many ways, the war is aimed at preventing Ukraine from joining the European Union and NATO and becoming a successful democracy and firmly out of Russia’s orbit.
As one of the embodiments of this warmongering policy, Peskov once again get the nasty title of Ukraine’s foe this week.
His words are just another reminder of how wise the Baltic countries were as they managed to join the alliance before the Kremlin again became able to wage wars against its neighbors.