Summer 2020 could be a turning point in the situation with the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula and bring Ukraine a new war, now in the south. This is stated by American and Ukrainian experts, as well as leaders of neighboring countries warn the Ukrainian authorities about such a scenario. But our deaf authorities ignore the alarm signals, risking losing new territories and not being ready for the obvious threat.
Anything can become a formal reason for an armed conflict on the border with mainland Ukraine, but there are only two true reasons. First one is that now the peninsula is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe due to drought and the closure of the North Crimean Canal. The Simferopol reservoir is about 20% full.
Even the Crimean pseudo authorities recognize and report to the Kremlin that under the existing circumstances, the water situation can be resolved in the only way through negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. But Putin, of course, will not do this. And in this situation, there are two options for the development of the event. Either the peninsula will be deprived of water, or Russia will try to move further into mainland Ukraine in order to establish control over the node of the North Crimean Canal and thus solve the problem of water supply.
The second reason that is pushing Russia to fight in southern Ukraine is the fall in Putin’s own ratings. Russians, and especially businessmen, are dissatisfied with the policy of the “leader”, which is too expensive for the state, especially during the crisis. According to Andriy Klymenko, a journalist and expert on the Crimean issue, 1,270 companies have been subject to sanctions imposed on Russia over the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas.
This resulted in a loss of at least $200 billion of potential investment. Not to mention directly the losses. Moreover, the maintenance of the occupied Crimea is an expensive pleasure. Last year, the Kremlin sponsored a profitable part of the Crimean budget by 67.4%. Under such conditions, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Russian propaganda to convince Russians of the benefit of the peninsula and the allegedly insignificance of sanctions. In fact, they work.
In such crisis situations for reputation and ratings, the algorithm of Putin’s actions, unfortunately, is well known – the war under the pretext of “liberation of slaves.” And there is every reason to believe that Russia is preparing for such a war in the summer of 2020. This version is confirmed by Ukrainian and American analysts. Even Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said in a comment to the Financial Times the day before that there was a high probability of intensification of Russia’s military aggression.
The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine also points to the fact that military equipment was brought to the Crimea and a huge number of military exercises in the Black Sea region (only in April this year about 30 exercises were conducted). At the same time, analysts at The Jamestown Foundation believe that it is the drought and Putin’s inability to provide the peninsula with water that will push Russia to a new attack on Ukraine very soon.
And what does the Ukrainian authorities think about this? And are we ready for war on two fronts? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
Against the background of protests in the United States and the coronavirus, in the case of an attack by Russia, there will be no one to help Ukraine, because everyone is preoccupied with internal problems. This means that we are now alone with the enemy and there is less and less time to prepare.
But despite the obvious threat, President Zelensky, instead of tightening sanctions and preparing the Ukrainian military, visit Ukrainian cities (for now) and take selfies. And while Russia is preparing for an open attack, Zelensky’s team is promoting “reconciliation”. This is not funny at all.