Published Feb 25, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
Join the conversation
Ukrainian servicemen attend a joint drills of armed forces, national guards, border guards and Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) at the border with Belarus in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine January 20, 2023. Photo by Gleb Garanich /REUTERS Friday marks the first anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
REGISTER TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience.
Access articles from across Canada with one account Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments Enjoy additional articles per month Get email updates from your favourite authors Vladimir Putin’s war, as some refer to it, has much of the brutality and savageness associated with the worst of Hitler’s war against civilization.
Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Windsor Star, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300
Russia, however, also relies upon mercenaries.
The shadowy mercenary group known as Wagner Group was founded in 2014 during Russia’s annexation war in Crimea. Wagner Group founder Dimitry Utkin apparently was a fan of Hitler’s favourite composer Richard Wagner.
The Wagner Group is a mercenary army unregistered anywhere in the world. Fronting for Russia, it has helped prop up regimes in numerous African countries.
Aside from recruits from Russian prisons, its main source of fighters has been countries such as Syria, Iraq, Mali and others. While members are paid, there remain endless questions surrounding the source of funds.
The Wagner Group is now fighting ruthlessly against Ukraine and its people. Wagner mercenaries are headed by Putin’s friend and former chef – who made billions in the catering business — ex-criminal Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Apparently, there is very little love of shared between Prigozhin’s mercenaries and commander-in-chief of Russia’s armed forces General Valery Gerasimov.
After some of Prigozhin’s mercenaries issued a public derogatory slur against General Gerasimov, Prigozhin supported his fighters’ comment.
And Prigozhin is now accusing senior Russian military leaders of treason.
Prigozhin further lobbied Putin for the appointment of one of Russia’s more brutally notorious operational commanders in Putin’s Ukraine war, “the butcher” General Sergei Surovikin.
Ukraine’s defenders now face two Putin fanatics in their battle to retrieve the entirety of their homeland.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Putin has altered his justification for his war on Ukraine from “stamping out a burgeoning Nazi clique in Kyiv” to his latest delivered in a speech in Volvograd (former Stalingrad) of fighting against NATO and its alleged desire to obliterate the Russian motherland and destroy its culture.
Sounds almost like twisting a plot from a Clive Cussler novel where evil NATO’s scheme ultimately fails due to “good-guy Russians.”
Regrettably, Putin’s change of his verbal dance style from Barynya to Gopka (two traditional Russian dances) still makes him look like a proverbial cornered rat. The problem for the world in dealing with a war conducted by these type of people is like any cornered rat they can become frantic and thereby entirely ruthless.
Therein lies the serious concern of NATO and Ukraine.
Putin’s aggression has consequences he feared most – expansion of NATO as Finland, Sweden and Ukraine become members.
As Putin’s power perch becomes increasingly more precarious following more military failures in Ukraine, what might occur? Signs of internal uncertainty are emerging.
Russia’s defence minister Sergie Shoigu – himself attacked by Prigozhin and his Wagnerians – has developed his own mercenary force known as “Patriot.”
Is it possible as Russia’s corrupted elite begin to smell a demise they too will find ways to abandon Putin’s sinking Shitik (a Russian style of boat).
Belarus’ dictator Alexander Lukashenko has jumped aboard Putin’s sinking boat with his own threats against Ukraine.
For the people of Ukraine and Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry the prospect of Putin’s war dragging on until he is removed from office – by whatever means – the misery continues.
I believe Ukraine will ultimately succeed and salvage its battered country. The longer Putin’s war persists the greater certainty an already chaotic Russian onslaught eventually will fail.
I am reminded, as Japan learned an ultimate horror in the Second World War, a war of aggression can draw from the victim country an intense fury which can accomplish a massive ability to repel and defeat an attacking enemy.
Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto’s is alleged to have remarked after the attack on Pearl Harbour that “Japan had awakened a sleeping giant.”
Ukraine may not be a parallel giant to the U.S. of 1941, but Ukraine has plenty of support and friends who collectively constitute much more than Putin’s Russia.
Many families within Canada and southwestern Ontario can trace their roots to refugees and immigrants from Ukraine. Canada is culturally richer because of that, so has a vital stake in Ukraine’s survival.
Lloyd Brown-John is a University of Windsor professor emeritus of political science. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.