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Yan Matushevsky: Ukraine’s “hybrid terrorism” and political suicide

The relations of Russia and Ukraine have grown tense again, after a Ukrainian terrorist – sabotage group attempted to penetrate into the territory of Crimea earlier this week. President of Russia Vladimir Putin called the actions of Ukrainian military “a terror attack to destabilize the situation.” Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, in turn, put the Ukrainian army units deployed along the state border with Russia near Crimea on high alert.

Analyzing the above-mentioned events, one can see new elements in Kiev’s policy that seeks to derail the Minsk Agreements and torpedo the Normandy Four talks. Analysts say Ukraine’s authorities have resorted to the so-called “hybrid terrorism” technologies, which among others implies mass information support to terror attacks. To be substantive, let us follow the dynamics of the tensions for the last week.

The Russian Federal Security Service has announced it rendered harmless a Ukrainian subversive group that penetrated into the territory of Crimea to commit terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities. Members of the group were detained during a special operation that claimed lives of Russian security service officers. Weapons, explosives and special means were confiscated from the subversive group.

Ukraine immediately refuted the terror attempt reports calling it “a provocation.” An in-depth study of the situation showed that Ukraine was ready for such course of events. By a strange coincidence, the penetration of Ukrainian raiders took place along with the marked aggravation of the situation in the East of Ukraine. Bombardments of civilian infrastructures in Donetsk and Lugansk intensified on the night of August 6-7, exactly on the night of the penetration into Crimea.

Residents of Ukraine’s Kherson region say that a day before the reports on penetration of a Ukrainian terrorist-subversive group into Crimea, the paramilitary units of the Crimean Tatars were hastily sent to the area of Chongar border crossing with Crimea. Simultaneously, troops and armored vehicles of Ukraine’s Armed Forces were deployed to the border of Kherson region and Crimea. According to data of Ukrainian and Russian media, the Ukrainian troops and armory in the given area were tripled within 24 hours.

After the penetration attempt, the Ukrainian press and social media raised a wave of allegations against Russia over the incident. It is noteworthy that stove-piping started a few minutes after the first shots in Crimea. In fact, stirring up information hysteria is a compulsory condition for unleashing “hybrid terror.”

It is no secret that the so-called “information troops” of the U.S. security services have been operating in Ukraine for a second year already. Creation of certain information background to justify the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and a definite state of mind for the population is just part of their functions.

Since the very beginning of the latest tensions, Ukrainian mass media were flooded with fake information on deployment of Russian troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border. Newsfeeds were full of reports on alleged “victims” on the Ukrainian side who were allegedly caught in bombardment of the militia and armed forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The Ukrainian Facebook segment as if at a command started disseminating information that Russian troops are preparing to invade Ukraine’s Kherson region. All this was stoked by statements of Ukrainian officials, though many of which were on the brink of absurdity.

Representative of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Main Intelligence Department Vadim Skibitsky said Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons (!) if the situation grows tense. Speaking on air of Radio Liberty, Skibitsky said: “Means of delivery of nuclear weapons are now located in the territory of Crimea — on the airfields and the naval base of Sevastopol. It is warships and submarines. Nuclear warheads can be delivered to the territory of Crimea at any moment to equip delivery vehicles, or these nuclear weapons can be put on planes which are moved to the bases of the southern military district. After that, the weapon is ready for combat use.”

Ukrainian military expert Mikhail Samus, in turn, said: “Formally, these signs appeared to be preparation to exercises titled "Caucasus 2016" which are to take place in the South Federal District in September. All types of troops will be involved in the exercises to test the combat efficiency of the Russian army in the southwestern direction.” In his words, offensive operations will be tested. "We know that now Russians are increasing military groups around our country, so they may attack at any moment. This threat must not be neglected in any case" Samus said.

Considering the unprecedented information activity of Ukraine, one can state for sure that they are using information technologies to aggravate the situation and create a psychological basis to justify their further steps towards destabilization of the situation. This is a universal method popular in the post-Soviet countries. One of the latest examples of information pressure was in Armenia where a group of the former volunteers of the Karabakh war seized a police compound in the capital city. Then, the information field was permanently filled with reports on alleged preparations to storm the rioters by Russia’s Alpha units or Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechen military. Although disseminated information was evident nonsense and provocation, it caught the attention of wider sections of the population.

Let’s return to the Crimean events. It is no secret that Ukraine has been forming a paramilitary group of Islamic radicals and members of the Arab and Turkish terrorist organizations in the territory of Kherson region for a second year already. These radicals have been gradually delivered to the territory of Ukraine and naturalized with the help of the so-called “Mejlis of the Crimean-Tatar People.” It should be recalled that with the support of the Ukrainian authorities, Tatar extremists have formed two battalions of the above Islamic radicals and nationalists (Crimea Battalion and Noman Celebicihan Battalion).  Meantime, leaders of the Tatar nationalists Lenur Isliamov and Mustafa Cemilev have never concealed that the major task of their battalions in the future will be military operations in the territory of Crimea.

So far, these battalions have not been included officially into the Defense Ministry of Ukraine or the National Guard under the aegis of the Interior Ministry. Here is what an anonymous source at the Defense Ministry of Ukraine thinks about this: “You know, these battalions were inherently planned as sabotage force that will penetrate into the territory of Crimea. If the fighters of these units fall hostage to Russia, the Russian side will not be able to make official accusations against Ukraine for unleashing a partisan war, since the members of the Tatar battalions are not registered in any state military agency of Ukraine as a combat unit and operate as ‘partisans’ at their own risk.”

Taking into account the abovementioned, it turns out that Ukraine’s authorities have made aggravation of the situation their policy. This time they widely use “hybrid terror” disregarding the fact that such terrorist methods leave Ukraine no chances to have more and less adequate relations with Russia. Actually, Kiev is destabilizing the situation inside Ukraine, not in Russia, and such “tests” may lead to final collapse its internally shattered statehood.

Yan Matushevsky (Kiev) for EADaily

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