WILL THERE BE CIVIL WAR IN WESTERN UKRAINE, OR A FAR-RIGHT COUP IN KIEV?
As of now there is a relatively strong relationship between the ultranationalist armed forces of Ukraine, most of whom are embedded within the Ukrainian army or are included in the Ukrainian National Guard, and therefore supportive of them and the Ukrainian president and regime.
This has not always, or even consistently, been the case.
Currently the ultranationalists and the Kiev forces have the Russian troops as their common enemy and this reinforces the bond between them. However, in the near past it has not been this way. In recent months a Ukrainian general was murdered by the ultranationalists and this resulted in a missile strike on a grouping of ultranationalsts by Kiev. Further back in time firefights between these two sides, ostensibly on the same side, are known to have erupted.
Even as early as 2014 after the American and EU-assisted coup successfully brought about the toppling of both president and government of Ukraine and installation of US-favoured replacements there were those among the ultranationalists who were almost equally unhappy about the replacement figures as they had been about their predecessors. There were calls at that time for a second Maidan to remove them.
So why do I suggest this background tension between these two entities, the radical and extremist right, the ultranationalsts (some call them neo-Nazis or even simply Nazis) and the established political elites of Ukraine and their military?
In a word Mariupol. There is speculation running currently that the radical ultranational forces, surrounded in three pockets in Mariupol; in the port, a factory by the name of ‘Ilych’ and the ‘Azovstal’ steel works, have among them senior figures of the extremist hierarchy. Why is this important?
So far the Kiev authorities have made six attempts to gain access to these pockets, primarily the Azovstal steelworks, apparently to extricate some important figures from there. Five Ukrainian helicopters have so far been lost in the attempt with many casualties. In recent days a ship attempted to reach port in Mariupol apparently with this same quest. It eventually had to be fired upon to halt its progress and all on board were arrested for interrogation.
It is clear therefore that people of note are within the perhaps 3,000-strong ultranational force still holding out in Mariupol in the three pockets described above. The word is that Russia is attempting to coerce them to gather solely in the Azovstal works which it seems has been transformed into a kind of fortress with deep and well fortified bunkers and no doubt many booby-traps awaiting any attackers. It is thought that Russia will at the point of achieving all of these forces in one location then use everything they have including the ‘Dagger’ hypersonic missiles available to them to eliminate everyone in there. Mariupol has been the central headquarters of the so-called Azov Battalion, the most heavily armed and rabid of the so-called ‘Volunteer Forces’.
So what is the significance of all this. Why does the regime in Kiev feel the need to send some of its fast depleting helicopter force and their experienced pilots and crew on these suicide missions? Missions to rescue people who have actively engaged in attacks on Ukrainian military figures and troops in the past. Why should they care what happens to them, and why do they care SO much as to expend these vital resources on them?
Could it be that the fear amongst the upper echelon of the Kiev regime is that the power of these radical, and now extremely heavily-armed elements, might be used against them if they seem not to do everything in their power, and then some, to save their leaders? Are all these deaths and destruction of vital resources simply a signal to the ultranationalists that nothing is being omitted so that they don’t turn on them in their fury?
Kiev has few good options, with Russia having all major Ukrainian forces surrounded, unable to reinforce others and incapable of mounting counter offences of any major size, lacking food, fuel and ammunition, helicopters and ships appear to be the only possible options left to demonstrate determination in propitiation to those who could destroy them.
That the heavily-armed ultranationalists could destroy the Ukrainian government and cause its president to flee is clear. Using the multiple high-tech weapons along with the weaponry and ammunition handed out to everyday Ukrainians on the streets of Kiev at the start of this crisis, and with the jails emptied of criminals, the Zelensky presidency and government could be history within hours if the extremists wished to take over.
The impulse to initiate a violent take over from the Zelensky regime if he is seen to lose against Russia would be very strong. With the Ukrainian army having been defeated and with the Donbass firmly in Russian/Republics hands, with remaining Ukrainian troops ejected and the regime, through its negotiators, acceding to all Russia’s demands… do you think they will sit on their hands giving a shrug? Not these people.
Though it may not need to come to the full capitulation of the regime to Russia’s demands that is surely on its way. It could happen at any time, especially if Zelensky was not seen move heaven and earth and expend lives and vital assets to rescue those important Azov fighters and leaders currently trapped in Mariupol.
So, it is a very real question… will there be civil war in western Ukraine… or at the very least, a far right/ultranationalist/neo-Nazi coup in Kiev?