Sunday, August 17, 2008

How Do You Say "Up Yours" In Ukrainian?

Pictured above is Ukrainian President Viktor Yushenko. His face is pock marked from dioxin poisoning in 2004, likely a gift that originated in Russia. He is a pro-Western president who, like the other heads of state of the former Soviet satellites, are reacting strongly to Russia's invasion of Georgia.

Several days ago, the Presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Latvia all visited Georgia to register their solidarity with Georgia and their level of concern with Russian actions. Poland decided to ink a deal with the U.S. for a mutual defence pact and the installation of a missle defense system on its terrirtory. The response from Russia - they would now target nuclear weapons at Poland. Such threats are, at very best, counterproductive.

And today, in a move sure to rattle Putin's cage, President Viktor Yushchenko has offered up a Soviet built satellite facility on Ukrainian soil for integration into the U.S. missle defense system. This from the Telegraph:

. . . Ukraine said it was ready to give both Europe and America access to its missile warning systems after Russia earlier annulled a 1992 cooperation agreement involving two satellite tracking stations. Previously, the stations were part of Russia's early-warning system for missiles coming from Europe.

"The fact that Ukraine is no longer a party to the 1992 agreement allows it to launch active cooperation with European countries to integrate its information," a statement from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

It follows a declaration earlier this week from Ukraine's pro-Western president, Viktor Yushchenko, that the Russian naval lease of the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sebastopol would be scrapped if any vessels joined the conflict in Georgia.

The crisis over Russia's display of military might in Georgia has alarmed ex-Soviet satellites states in a broad arc from the Baltics to Central Asia. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, all of which harbour bitter memories of Soviet occupation, have expressed solidarity with the Georgian position.

Read the entire article. I do believe that is the diplomatic equivalent of the one fingered salute that President Yushenko just made in the direction of Moscow.

And I have to agree with M. Simon over at Power and Control. This has been a high stakes debacle for Russia. The decision to invade Russia was not one taken with a whole lot of forethought given to all of the consequences.

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