Russia's Power Play in Ukraine
With the intentional sinking of the anti-submarine vessel Ochakov by the Russian Navy in the straits that connect the Black Sea with Lake Donuzlav, Valdimir Putin prevents the Ukrainian navy ships from leaving their base and entering the Black Sea. Likewise, the storming of Ukraine's Belbek Air Base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol provides further evidence of Moscow's intent.
The Ochakov in 1982
What we are also observing is Moscow’s slow, calculated and systemic destruction, dismanting, and consolidation of the Ukraine’s military weapons, military structure, and capability. This effort is to ensure or reduce the possibility and, or likelihood of a both opposition and nationalist Ukrainian forces and independent citizens engaging in armed uprising or civil war against Russian forces.
Putin’s goal and objective of hegemony over Moscow’s once former satellite, the breadbasket region and birthplace of the former Russian and Soviet empires, is his desired end-state. As this process takes place, Moscow will leverage the West’s hollow warnings and diplomatic dissertations to sustain its stance from a position of strength, economically, politically and to some degree militarily.
James M. Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel