Did Russia Invade Ukraine to Defend the Independence of Breakaway Donbas?

Ukraine soldier fighting

Russia looms large in every person’s future if one believes in biblical eschatology; however, apart from that, Russia is a major player on the world stage. As I write, Russia’s President Putin is waging a limited war in Ukraine, one of their border nations—with limited success.

There is vast speculation that Putin is dying, and Ukraine could be his last statement for biographers and historians. If the speculation is valid, there are horrendous possibilities for the world if he loses control of his mental faculties.

Some legitimate, sophisticated powerbrokers and media personalities, even top Russian diplomats, suggest WWIII is in the making! Moreover, Putin has taken many military losses and suffered major embarrassments, so no one can predict what a wounded bear might do, even if a terminal illness is not a factor.

As a military know-nothing, I wonder why he did not simply push a few buttons and take out very specific Ukrainian targets and force Ukraine to its knees—with surgical strikes. However, maybe Putin sent troops into Ukraine to support and defend Donbas from a vicious attack by some Nazis and the Ukrainian Government. Ukraine has been bombing the eastern Ukraine region to force them back into the fold.

However, the Russian-speaking citizens of Donbas don’t want “shotgun” reconciliation, and Russia has recognized their independence for multiple reasons; not all are altruistic.

Russia is one of the most important nations in the world. It is the largest nation in land size, covering one-eighth of the earth. It has more than 120 ethnic groups speaking about 100 languages. Moreover, it has vast reserves of oil, gas, and precious metals. It is a major producer of cobalt, aluminum, coal, chrome, copper, steel, gold, lead, manganese, nickel, platinum, vanadium, tungsten, and zinc.

Russia produces about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply and about one-fourth of natural gas.  A vast and intricate pipeline system links their production sites to all parts of the country, nearby former Soviet republics and many European countries. As much as 40% of Europe’s natural gas is supplied by Russia; therefore, Putin could cut off the heat at any moment. And did so recently to two NATO nations, Poland and Bulgaria, as I was writing this piece.

That is why many analysts suggest Putin has a heavy hammer over former Soviet Republics and other nations. Summer is here now, but winter is in their future.

Russia is bounded by fourteen nations but sixteen if Russians do the counting! Russia recognizes two breakaway Georgia states, although Georgia still considers them home folks. Some of Russia’s neighbors are vastly important in the geopolitical world, such as North Korea, China, Ukraine, Finland, and Norway. The latter three nations made it clear that they want to join NATO!

Such a possibility keeps Putin awake at night and gives him perpetual heartburn.

Following WWII, the Soviets were gobbling up weaker European nations, so NATO was formed in 1949 to protect western Europe against a Soviet attack.  Each of the original 12-member countries agreed that an attack on one aligned nation would be considered an attack on all. However, in 1991 the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was dissolved, yet NATO expanded to 30 members, which caused great growling by the Russian Bear.

Why expand NATO if the threat (the USSR) is deleted or diminished or dead?

America has long forgotten the warning to be wary of entangling foreign alliances. It is time for Americans to stop fostering, fighting, and funding European, Middle Eastern, and Asiatic wars. America’s first responsibility is to Americans, not any other group. After all, there are plenty of nations in those areas to defend and protect weaker countries threatened by belligerent strongmen.

Even if one is convinced America is morally and legally responsible for financing and fighting European wars, no one will argue that Americans should do most of the fighting and funding. All decisions America faces must be with the thought of what is best for America, and each national leader should take the same position about their own nation.

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch” toward the eastern European turf, but that promise was broken. If Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden become members of NATO as planned, U.S. weapons will be installed as they are now in Poland and Romania.

Putin publicly dismissed Ukraine’s right to operate as a sovereign nation without ties to Russia since “modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia.” He considers his invasion of Ukraine to be the swatting on the rear of an erring, disobedient child.

Putin is queasy about the U.S.100 nuclear weapons stored at NATO bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He fears the nuclear weapons in NATO countries much closer to Russia even more. As he should. Thus, he is concerned about Finland, Sweden, and Ukraine joining NATO /which would put nuclear weapons on his doorstep.

Furthermore, Putin and the Russians don’t want to live next to nations with U.S. missiles pointed toward Moscow and St. Petersburg. While I have no desire to defend a vicious, totalitarian regime, I must be consistent. We would be indignant if potent weapons were installed along the Mexican or Canadian borders. A sovereign nation has a right to defend itself, and no sane person says, “Yes, but Americans are the good guys and Russians are the bad guys, so the rules don’t apply.”

Soon, it is expected that the next bases to be built by the U.S. in Poland will be mobile, not permanent. In just a few hours, they would be able to detect and knock down incoming missiles from anywhere in Poland. The Poles already have at least two Patriot missile defense systems to deter any Russian threat and increase Poland’s security. Putin is concerned that the defensive weapons might become offensive. Additionally, the defensive missiles in NATO nations remove most of the sting from Putin’s threats.

Poland is a NATO member, so the U.S. had a right to supply them with defensive weapons that could knock out any incoming Russian missiles. Therefore, Putin (or a successor) cannot blackmail Poland or other NATO members since those U.S. missiles protect them from such threats.

We are told that we could send Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine since they are defensive; however, that would not be permissible since American troops would have to operate them, crossing Putin’s red line. Putin is a despicable, dangerous, and devious enemy, but he is the legitimate president of Russia, and he must do whatever is necessary to protect his interests.

Americans lose credibility and a reputation for honesty when they pretend the nation’s size gives special privileges over smaller and distant countries. The smallest nation is as sovereign as Russia, China, or America; however, these three have been involved in regime change, spying, espionage, outright invasion, and even running troubled nations.

It must be remembered by Europe and America that Russia has one of the largest militaries in the world and 6,000 nuclear weapons—the world’s largest. Who knows what a humiliated, hated, and hopeless Putin may do as he leaves the world in his last hurrah?  Moreover, it costs him nothing to threaten nuclear war and everything if he is stupid, senile, or sick enough to push the button.

While it is not normal for a totalitarian to be right occasionally, it does happen. No sane person will defend Putin’s prosecution of the war even if he has some authentic reasons for his war—but there is no justification for how he is running it. Eastern Ukraine (Russian speaking) consists of two provinces called the Donbas that voted to separate from Ukraine in 2014 and sought recognition and help from Russia next door. The people of the Donbas legally separated from the Ukrainian government and appealed to Russia for protection.

Russia recognized them as legitimate and began supporting them, resulting in the Donbas War raging since 2014 with numerous civilian deaths in Eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian officials and oligarchs in Kyiv don’t want to lose part of their nation, so they have resisted the area’s independence since the 2014 vote. The most vociferance Ukrainians against the separation are the Azov Brigade consisting of some Nazis. In March 2015, Andriy Diachenko, a spokesman for the violent Nazis, admitted to USA Today in the March 10,

2015 issue that “10% to 20% of the group’s members are Nazis.” The group, now consisting of an estimated 2,500 members, formed in May of 2014 as a paramilitary militia and fought the Russians until they were legally made part of the National Guard in November 2014.

World citizens are divided over the eight-year Donbas War, taking sides with Russia or Ukraine. Taking sides in this war is like being forced to choose between being hanged or shot—either way, you are dead. There are no good guys in this war, only bad and badder.

Here are some questions people need to ask as they decide what position to take on the Russian invasion.  Is every nation sovereign and accountable for making decisions in their own interests? Did the Donbas area of Ukraine have a right to break away as an independent nation? Do other countries have a right to decide whether to accept or reject the Donbas decision? Do other nations have a right to take a side in that war? Do a few hundred Nazis’ support of the Ukrainian government affect their official position, good or bad?

Furthermore, do Finland, Sweden, and Ukraine have a right to seek NATO membership? If membership is granted, do those governments have a right to permit U.S. weapons on their borders with Russia? Does Russia have a right to be concerned and not be willing to live with weapons in a neighboring nation? If America has a right, even a responsibility, to not permit weapons at our borders, why can’t Russia?  While a nation can make its own decisions, how could the governments of Finland and Sweden (traditionally neutral nations) choose NATO membership knowing Russian missiles would be eventually installed on their borders and destabilize the nuclear-free area?

Is there a way out for Ukraine and Russia? If war continues, the Russians will turn on Putin since they are already hurting after the Russian Central Bank more than doubled interest rates to 20%, and the ruble has plummeted, losing almost a quarter of its value. Russians are hurting, and while Putin is an authoritarian, he is a politician, and his rule must result in a reasonably good life for his people.

Furthermore, Ukraine is being pocked with destroyed cities—and probably the U.S. will be expected to rebuild them—over my dead body. I suggest Zelenskyy call Putin and agree that Ukraine will not pursue NATO membership, and the Donbas is free to climb into bed with whomever it wants. With that, the war ends. If Putin sees it all going down the drain, he may use small tactical nuclear weapons to force a Ukrainian capitulation rather than a giant strategic weapon, which would pose a global threat.

People who think Ukraine has any chance of defeating Russia also believe the 2020 elections were fair, the Democrats are not fearful of losing this November, Hunter Biden will never wear stripes and make license plates, think radical politicians are really honest and sincere, and Stacey Abrams is governor of Georgia.

While each American can choose sides about the war in Ukraine, we should stay out of it as a nation, including Nancey Pelosi, who basically promised the Ukrainians the U.S. would support them until the death of the last Ukrainian!

Picture credit: Atalayar

Dr. Don Boys

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About the Author

Dr. Don Boys
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 15 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. His shocking book, ISLAM: America's Trojan Horse!; Christian Resistance: An Idea Whose Time Has Come–Again!; and The God Haters are all available at Amazon.com. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His websites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.) Follow Dr. Boys on Facebook at CSTNews and TheGodHatersTwitter, and visit his blog.