Forcing the Correct Choice: Deterring Right-Wing Radicals and Preventing Threats to Nuclear Facilities in Ukraine
According to official statements by the Russian Federation, its army’s special military operation in Ukraine aims to both “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country. This operation is being carried out in a large state with a developed nuclear power industry, fairly powerful army (the largest in Europe outside of Russia and Turkey) and high firepower (22nd place in the world according to 2022 Military Strength Ranking (Global Firepower, 2022)). One of the primary objectives of the operation is to ensure the safety of Ukrainian atomic facilities during the military operation.
What significantly increases risk, however, is the fact that Ukraine’s aging power plants – packed with reactors, cooling systems, turbines, and other key components – require careful maintenance and monitoring that can obviously be disrupted during wartime (Skibba and Barber, 2022). Today, there are four nuclear power plants in operation in Ukraine, with 15 power units and a total installed capacity of 13,835 MW, which is 26.3% of the total capacity of all power plants in Ukraine (Uatom, 2021). They were designed to have a service life of 30 years. Unfortunately, this lifespan has been surpassed by 12 of the power units already, but the State Inspectorate of Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine (Gosatomregulirovaniya) extended the service life of them by 10–20 years (My.Ua, 2021). This has raised disturbing questions from many.
One month before the start of hostilities on 25 January 2022, power unit No. 1 was turned off at the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant (NPP) due to “the triggering of the differential protection block transformer, followed by the protection trigger of the reactor.” The power unit was put into operation in 1988 and its service life expired in 2018. On the same day, the fourth power unit of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (NPP) was switched off to eliminate “gas leakage from the turbo generator.” The operating life of the power unit ended in 2020 (Infox, 2022). It seems apparent the Ukrainian authorities have ignored the growing risks of using old equipment at NPPs.
In the course of hostilities there are also very real risks that atomic facilities could be damaged by a stray missile or artillery shell. While Western experts believe the Russian military would not deliberately target a nuclear plant, a potentially disastrous mistake—one that could harm millions of Ukrainians and also neighboring Russians—is not impossible. “That’s certainly something I think the Russians would make an effort to avoid doing, not only because they don’t want to contaminate the country they’re trying to occupy—but, also, Ukraine needs electricity from those plants,” says Ed Lyman, senior global security scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists and coauthor of the book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster (Skibba and Barber, 2022).
Without question, even given the continuation of hostilities, Ukraine and Russia are not interested in a new Chernobyl and all the consequences that could be fatally dangerous for both countries. Indeed, such a tragedy, even if accidentally done by the Russians, will permanently darken relations between Russia and Ukraine and likely destroy Russia’s legitimacy with the international community. However, from the very beginning of the special operation, the Kyiv regime has been strategically utilizing this threat to nuclear facilities, done for the purpose of creating anti-Russian propaganda in the eyes and ears of a global audience. With the original Chernobyl catastrophe still not forgotten in the West, such accusations provide an excellent pretext for creating an environment of anti-Russian hysteria during the present conflict. On the Russian side, where many look skeptically at certain right-wing actors in power in Ukraine, there is fear such leaders have nothing to lose in the face of superior Russian military capability and will try to carry out a major provocation at the country’s nuclear facilities and then blame the Russian army.
Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1942, stated in his headquarters: “… And here I will be adamant: if the German people are not ready to make efforts for their own survival, fine: then they must disappear.” At the end of March 1945, he repeated this to Speer: “If the war is lost, the people will also lose. On the contrary, it is better to destroy everything, because the people would be weaker, and the future would belong exclusively to the stronger Eastern peoples. In addition, those who survived are people of little value. The good ones are gone.” On March 19, 1945, Hitler ordered the destruction of “all military, transport, communication, industrial and supply systems, as well as property on the territory of the Reich.” Speer’s memorandum on the preservation of the livelihood of the German people after the war did not meet with Hitler’s approval. The Nazis succeeded in implementing scorched earth tactics in their retreat from occupied territories while under the onslaught of anti-fascist coalition armies in Germany itself. However, this did not prevent many relevant Nazi figures from seeking and finding salvation in the West after the Second World War (Kistler, 2005).
Though dismissed in the West, there is real concern in Russia that a threat of “last resort” from right-wing radicals cannot be ruled out in Ukraine. That is why it is important to analyze the circumstances that brought many right-wing radicals to power in Ukraine, ie, what are the factors that could realize the threat of using civilian nuclear facilities by extreme right-wing forces. That the West refuses to acknowledge this even as a potentiality does not mean Russian concern should be disregarded.
Ukrainian Right-Wing Radicals and Their Flirtation with Nuclear Armageddon
After the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DLPR), Russialaunched a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine on February 24. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin noted that the plans of the Russian Federation do not include the occupation of Ukraine, but Moscow will strive for its demilitarization and denazification “…as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation” (News Front, 2022). Russia has always maintained that neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists were the main force of the coup against President Vladimir Yanukovych in 2014, who, although elected in democratic elections, quickly became an unpopular personification of corruption in the country. On the one hand, corrupt elements of the state machinery and local oligarchy opposed to Yanukovych took advantage of the democratic but increasingly American and EU-influenced protest of Ukrainians. On the other hand, with the apparent support of Western intelligence services, armed groups of extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis at a certain stage became the leading force of protest. It was they who successfully concluded the coup and it was their leaders that took important positions in the new “Maidan” government. Again, the West has always ignored these legitimate accusations and Western media has never investigated them fully.
The deposed oligarch Yanukovych, who tried to deftly maneuver between Russia, China, and the West but being self-interested most of all, was replaced by the pro-Western oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who basically helped finance the coup. The coup led to a deepening of the social and political split in the country, especially with the emergence of the formally pro-Russian eastern regions. The DLNR and its now long-running forced military confrontation with the Kiev regime took the lives of more than 15,000 people, produced political repressions, and mass killings (Melekhov, Camus, Mironov and Yushchenko, 2015; TASS, 2021) on the territory of Ukraine itself. In addition, this internal conflict that went largely ignored by the West for the past eight years, saw the persecution of political parties and individual politicians that were in opposition to the new Kiev authorities and an extremely high level of corruption (by the end of 2021, Ukraine fell to 122nd place out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 2021)). This corruption led to the infringement of rights of national minorities (in particular, the large Russian-speaking population in the east) and the lowest standard of living of any local population in Europe (World Population Review, 2022). History has shown such situations routinely favor political instability and the rise to power of right-wing political movements. This axiom was once again confirmed by the post-Maidan history of Ukraine.
Like Adolf Hitler in Germany, these right-wing radicals in contemporary Ukraine received help from financial and political sponsors in Western countries. These modern extremists in Ukrainian halls of power were the leading force of the state apparatuses of suppression (Security Service of Ukraine, National Guard of Ukraine), territorial battalions (terbats), and other paramilitary structures which de facto received financial and materiel support under the general control of the United States, Great Britain, and the EU, so concerned were they at making sure there was no return of a pro-Russian government.
Paramilitary structures were at first privately funded by Ukrainian oligarchs – the most known being Igor Kolomoisky, an energy magnate billionaire and then-governor of the Dnipropetrovska region. In addition to Azov, Kolomoisky funded other volunteer battalions such as the Dnipro 1, Dnipro 2, Aidar, and Donbas units, which often commited ‘ISIS-Style’ war crimes (Sharkov, 2014). Again, these atrocities were under-reported in the West and quickly forgotten. There was at least a 2016 report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHA), which accused the Azov regiment of violating international humanitarian law. In June 2015, both Canada and the United States announced that their own forces would not support or train the Azov regiment, citing its neo-Nazi connections. The following year, however, the US lifted the ban under pressure from the Pentagon. In October 2019, 40 members of the US Congress, led by Representative Max Rose, signed a letter unsuccessfully calling for the US State Department to designate Azov as a “foreign terrorist organisation” (FTO). Because of these uneven attempts to rebuke such far-right radicalism, transnational support for Azov has been wide and Ukraine has emerged as a new hub for such extremism (Al Jazeera, 2022). Indeed, as if to eliminate any doubt as to where its allegiance truly lies, the battalion’s logo features the Wolfsangel, one of the symbols used by the Nazi army during World War II (Wulfsohn, 2022).
The last Ukrainian parliamentary election in 2019 saw all right-wing parties merge into one united list. They couldn’t make a mark, however, gaining just 2.15 per cent of the popular vote; the threshold of 5 per cent of the vote for a seat in Parliament remained out of reach. Unfortunately, this did not prevent far-right groups from taking leading positions in the repressive apparatuses of the Kiev regime. It is these groups, outside of the oversight of formal political procedures and having wide-ranging permission to act indiscriminately, that most concern the Russian Federation.
During this Russian special military operation, right-wing radicals in Ukraine are already using the deployment of multiple launch rocket systems in the center of Kiev and Kharkov in order to provoke retaliatory fire from Russian strike complexes on residential neighborhoods, something characteristic of terrorists and not the army defending its people. Worse, Western reporting only mentions the Russian return fire as if it was initial fire aimed at civilian neighborhoods, painting an extremely ugly picture of formal Russian military action. This doesn’t just slow down combat missions against right-wing radicals; it builds to a crescendo Western animosity toward the professionalism of the Russian military overall. Ideally, the Kiev regime would purge itself of all right-wing radicalism, as this move would be a significant step in allowing for the reopening of talks between the two governments. Failure to do so leaves no choice but for the Russian military to do it. This, of course, could significantly increase casualties amongst the civilian population as the radicalist groups hide in the middle of such areas for their own antagonistic protection.
America and Right-Wing Radicalism: An Uncomfortable History
Unfortunately for Russia, trying to understand why the United States continues blanket support for the Kiev regime with no critical eye whatsoever might have a legacy in history. There have been documented old ties between the CIA and Ukrainian ultranationalists since the Cold War. Declassified CIA files revealed that US intelligence officials went to great lengths to protect a Ukrainian fascist leader and suspected Nazi collaborator from prosecution after World War II and set him up in a New York office to wage covert war against the Soviet Union (according to a CIA report to Congress, January 2014). The CIA report, titled “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, US Intelligence, and the Cold War” (Associated Press, 2010; Voltaire Network, 2014), drew from an unprecedented trove of records that the CIA was persuaded to declassify, in all more than 1 million digitized Army intelligence files that had long been inaccessible. Files showed US intelligence officials made efforts to protect Mykola Lebed, Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, for anti-Soviet information.
During World War II, Lebed helped lead a Ukrainian nationalist organization that collaborated with the Nazis in the destruction of Jews across western Ukraine and also killed thousands of Poles. In the modern day, photographic documentation shows young Ukrainian activists belonging to the neo-Nazi UNA-UNSO organization in Estonia in 2006, being trained by NATO instructors in urban warfare techniques and the use of explosives for sabotage and attacks. NATO did the same thing during the Cold War to form the clandestine “stay-behind” paramilitary structure, codenamed “Gladio.” Such extremist organizations took advantage of mass discontent with the oligarchic regime of Yanukovych to de facto engineer a coup d’etat. The transitional government, formally led by the Fatherland party, was fringed with neo-Nazi elements throughout the coalition. The Cabinet was not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of the fascist UNA-UNSO), but neo-Nazi elements had been entrusted with key positions that granted de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice, and National Security infrastructure (Canada Man’s Sandbox, 2022). Little mention, if any, is made of this in the West.
The first head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) after the coup of 2014, Valentin Nalivaichenko, was directly and closely connected with both the CIA and the pro-Nazi Right Sector. Nalyvaichenko was recruited by the CIA while working as the Consul General of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, as stated by former head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), Alexander Yakymenko (Voyennoye obozreniye, 2014). This information was obtained by Yakymenko’s subordinates during an investigation conducted by the SSU jointly with the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office. In Russian and foreign media, the activities of a number of well-known figures of the power bloc of the Kiev regime received wide coverage, including NATO’s participation in the 2014 coup (Carisio, 2022). Memory of this, however, in the West seems to be fleeting.
The training of right-wing radicals by US special services carried out last year by American instructors also causes serious concern to Russia. According to retired US Central Intelligence Agency officer Philip Giraldi, work associated with training Ukrainian “partisans” by American instructors to conduct sabotage activities against Russian troops can lead to extremely negative consequences. He considered it at least plausible that if American intelligence is training Ukrainian saboteurs (“partisans”), then in the end they can also hit the US itself, primarily in terms of the possible commission of war crimes (Military Review, 2021).
In history, one can find many examples of strategic provocations with long term goals and, very often, grave international consequences. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 — where a North Vietnamese torpedo boat allegedly attacked a US warship — was the excuse the USA used to fully enter into the Vietnam War. This false allegation led to the deaths of millions of victims and massive social problems that persist to this day. In 1989, a questionable incident between US and Panamanian troops led to an invasion of Panama. The leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, was charged with drug trafficking, though the real reason for the invasion was Noriega’s insistence on claiming control over the Panama Canal after the lease agreement with the USA expired. In 2003, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, holding a test tube in his hand at the UN, said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which served as the false basis for an armed invasion of that country with the intention of controlling a key region of the Middle East, housing the world’s fifth largest oil reserves. The result was the chaos of a long civil war and hundreds of thousands of victims.
Additionally, a strongly perceived accusation against the United States has always been its desire to carry out emotional provocations during the Olympic Games in China and Russia (Pashentsev, 2014 and 2022). The goals of the USA’s strategic provocations during the Olympic Games 2008 (China), 2014 (Russia), 2022 (China) were believed to be as follows:
- To justify long-term extraordinary measures for “bringing order” to the general public in the USA and other Western countries at a certain stage of the pandemic crisis.
- To place responsibility for the financial and economic crisis onto an external “enemy,” with Russia and China being the best candidates for this role.
- To deploy a new large-scale arms race as a means of revitalizing the economy. Its strategic tasks were to achieve a decisive military advantage over the enemy and secure global hegemonic military power and exhaust the “enemy” with exorbitant military spending (very much a mirror to the experience of the Soviet Union during the Cold War), hopefully provoking riots against the existing governments in Russia and China.
- To unite military and political unions (NATO, first of all) to use military hysteria to subordinate the countries of Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East for its interests.
- To justify the beginning of an intervention into countries rich in power resources such as Venezuela and Iran. (The political and ideological reasons for such an intervention are self-evident.)
- To get a substantial profit from controlling supplies of power resources under conditions of a new Cold War (or, a controlled “hot” war).
- To separate the EU and Russia.
- To separate the peoples of Russia and Ukraine with bloodshed (Pashentsev, 2014 and 2022).
Under these contexts and concerns, a possible provocation against nuclear facilities in Ukraine during the special military operation of the Russian armed forces fits perfectly into the above agenda. It can be assumed that ultra-right circles in the West, relying on neo-fascists who feel at ease in the armed forces of Ukraine, could organize a second Chernobyl event (only more powerful) at one of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Given the seriousness of such a perceived threat, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was taken under control by the Russian armed forces on the first day of the military operation. An agreement was reached with the servicemen of a separate battalion of Ukraine on a joint security mission of the power units and the sarcophagus of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On February 28, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that, during a special military operation, Russia’s armed forces had fully secured and controlled the area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. The radioactive background is normal there (NTV, 2022). Apparently, similar developments can be expected at other nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
The Blame Russia Game
Preparations for baseless anti-Russian accusations have been created from the first day of the military operation. Representatives of the Kiev regime and Ukrainian media stated that the introduction of troops into the area of nuclear power plants resulted in radiation dangerously increasing. The Russian military recklessly seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, said Prime Minister Denis Shmigal. Ukrainian President Zelenskiy warned that as the Russian invasion ramps up the Chernobyl disaster could repeat itself (BBC News, 2022). The office of the Ukrainian president called it “one of the most serious threats to Europe” (Gazeta.uz, 2022). The latter is noteworthy: as the anti-Russian psychosis intensifies in Ukraine and the West, many will fall for the fake nonsense that some nuclear power plant might be blown up because of “anti-Ukrainian malice” and so-called losses and unexpected setbacks suffered by the Russians.
In an earlier statement on February 25, the Ukrainian state nuclear agency said data from the automated radiation monitoring system in the exclusion zone around the plant indicated that gamma radiation had been exceeded “at a significant number of observation points.” But it also said it was impossible to establish the reasons for the change because of the “occupation and military fight in this area” (Pike, 2022). Western information resources immediately picked up on the hot topic and framed it in an anti-Russian way (Wilson, 2022). The AP reported the following: “An official familiar with current assessments said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository at Chernobyl and an increase in radiation levels was reported.”(Heintz, 2022) Only official information from the IAEA stopped the spread of this false information. It assessed that the readings reported by the regulator – up to 9,46 micro Sieverts per hour – were low and remained within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established and therefore did not pose any danger to the public. Nevertheless, feelings of fear of a new accident began to be promoted by pro-Kiev regime media and across social networks, adding a mass of imaginary details. A few Western experts pointed out that Russia had no interest in obtaining a new and possibly even more dangerous source of radiation close to its borders, and therefore assessed risks to Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as small—but this rational analysis was largely ignored (Skibba and Barber, 2022).
On the eve of the capture of the Zaporizhzhya NPP by Russian troops, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine announced the threat of shelling this NPP with “Grads” in Energodar. Ukraine has already appealed to the international community because of the huge threat that “Russian militants may start shooting at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.” This was announced by the Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Denisenko in a video message from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on its YouTube channel (MVS Ukrayiny, 2022). The takeover of the nuclear power plant by Russian troops, with appropriate cooperation by the Ukrainian military stationed there no less, stopped the spread of this disinformation. Kiev also spread false information about Russian shells hitting the radioactive waste storage facility of the Kiev branch of the Radon Association (Nikolaev, 2022). It was pushed that the actions of the Russian Federation posed a massive disaster threat not only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe.
Meanwhile, in Telegram since April 18, 2021 a statement still hangs in the ether: “If Russia tries to prevent Ukraine from establishing constitutional order in the Donbass and Crimea, and tries to destroy us, they will pay a high price! We can load all 13 VVER-1000 reactors with Westinghouse nuclear fuel, and we have heroes who will not hesitate to carry out the last order. Ukraine will not give up! Glory to Ukraine” (Zaporozhskaya AES, 2022). Incredibly, this was no virtual troll or web warrior claiming defiant bravery through the safe anonymity of the internet. This was President Zelensky himself and it was actively replicated by Ukrainian websites and media. This speaks volumes about the radicalization that exists as normalcy there. There was no rejection to such statements from the West, which was tantamount to encouraging a crime against humanity:
Source: https://t.me/s/zaes_energoatom, April 18, 2021 [Accessed 4 March 2022].
Such “scorched earth” tactics are prohibited by Article 54 of Protocol No. 1 of the Geneva Convention of 1977. Article 55, in turn, prohibits causing damage to the natural environment (International Committee of the Red Cross, 2022).
On the night of March 3/4, 2022, a dangerous new provocation was committed on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. According to Major General Igor Konashenkov, representative of the Russian Department of Defense: “In order to provoke retaliatory fire at the building, from the windows of several floors of the training complex located outside the power plant, heavy small arms fire was opened on the servicemen of the Rosgvardiya.” Russian patrol officers suppressed the firing points of the saboteurs with small arms. Retreating from the building, they then started a fire. Thankfully, it was extinguished without major damage. The NPP is operating normally. (RIA “Novosti”, 2022a) Another aspect of this situation that challenges the official narrative being pushed out to the West by Ukrainian forces and media is how right-wing radical groups were in fact tasked with the emergency removal of secret documentation in many areas directly adjacent to nuclear power plants. This documentation established the dangerous connection between extremist Ukrainian units and their free access to NPPs. Most of these documents were removed to Lviv. (RIA “Novosti”, 2022b)
In Ukraine and the West it was initially reported that Russian troops were the ones attacking Zaporizhzhia, but it made no sense for Russian troops to attack an NPP already taken under control on February 28, 2022. Mayor of Energodar, Dmitry Orlov, recorded a video and confirmed that the fire at the Zaporizhzhia NPP had been eliminated and there were no civilian casualties. He also urged the residents of the city not to provoke the Russian military (Vasilyeva, 2022). Given that this Ukrainian instigation was immediately reframed by Ukrainian leadership and Western media (Ortiz et al., 2022; Renault et al., 2022) as a Russian heavy weapons attack, it is further proof that the most dangerous “false flag” operation – that Russia is trying to purposely damage nuclear power plants or acts recklessly around them, potentially causing a nuclear catastrophe – is actually being done by Ukraine and being de facto supported by Ukrainian and Western intelligence services.
Desperate to contain the actions of the Russian army, the Ukrainian Armed Forces use 122 mm shells for D-30 howitzers and rockets for Soviet-made BM-21 Grad installations, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The use of these munitions is prohibited by the third protocol of the 1980 United Nations Inhumane Weapons Convention, the Russian defense ministry noted (Argumenty Nedeli, 2022). President Volodomyr Zelenskyy announced the creation of an “international legion” to enlist non-Ukrainians who want to support the war effort against Russia. “We already have thousands of requests from foreigners, who want to join the resistance against the (Russian) occupiers and protect world security from the Putin regime,” said a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (USA Today, 2022), which opened the way for the large-scale use of mercenaries from all over the world through Western PMCs. Indeed, former advisor to the US Secretary of Defense, Colonel Douglas McGregor confirmed to the Fox Business channel in America that there are formal military (and paramilitary) units in Ukraine acting similarly to Middle East Islamic extremists in that they hide in civilian buildings, de facto using civilians as human shields. Additionally, McGregor commented that in his military opinion, President Putin seemed to be making every effort to keep Ukraine intact and avoid massive shelling of expansive civilian areas. Moreover, he also felt President Putin may have acted “too softly” with the Russian army in the first days of the special operation.
Zelensky also announced that prisoners with experience of participating in hostilities will be released from custody in the country. The head of state said that such citizens can make amends for their fatherland (MK, 2022). The measures taken have already led to an increase in armed robberies and violence in the city with lightning speed. Indeed, Zelensky’s declarations, instead of being statecraft aimed at deescalating the crisis, practically give open access to the country for foreign terrorists, criminals, and mercenaries. This is the man recently given a standing ovation online by the European Union Parliament? This is the leader of Ukraine, which is now the epicenter of NATO’s assertive advance to the East with obvious disregard for Russia’s national interests and security? Russia is meant to ignore this reality as if it means nothing? Would America do nothing if the Prime Minister of Canada behaved in the same way?
It is these kinds of statements and strategies that cause such grave concern within Russia about the possibility of fabricated “evidence” of the direct involvement of the Russian military in producing a nuclear accident in Ukraine. This type of de facto terrorism could very well become a reason for the long-term ostracism of Russia, for the rebuilding of an iron curtain, and for innumerable coffins holding not only Ukrainians dead from radiation, but also citizens of neighboring Russia. It will continually remind people of the “atrocity” of Russia — only it was an atrocity it did not commit. Russia takes this potentiality with extreme seriousness, no matter how the West reports on it.
The situation in Ukraine can become a precedent and model for similar threats in other countries if the root causes of social and political radicalism are not stopped and, most importantly, not prevented from gaining real access to power within the instruments of government and the military. Russia aims that the special operation of its army on the territory of Ukraine will be carefully studied not only for military strategy, but also for the prevention of dangerous incidents with nuclear facilities during the course of hostilities. Indeed, this is the first such experience in the world. This is why Russia thinks there needs to be broad international cooperation rather than confrontation, strategic thinking rather than decisions dictated by momentary gain or vicious stereotypes of the past. The status quo in the world, at least when it comes to Russian-Western relations, cannot be maintained. This “small” incursion into Ukraine has large-scale potential repercussions. On the negative, it could become radioactive ruins on the remains of civilization. On the positive, it could be a grand leap for new and innovative relations based on cooperation and new possibilities. Thankfully, the future is not predetermined. The choice belongs to the citizens of the world. Let’s hope the citizens of the world make a good one.
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*The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of editorial