Brandon Martinez / Non-Aligned Media
Russia’s strongman leader Vladimir Putin has accused the Ukrainian special services of plotting an attack on Crimea, the annexed peninsula which fell into Russian hands in 2014 after a highly contentious “referendum” that many view as a farce.
Reporting on the matter, Russia’s state-backed propaganda channel RT gave the following details:
FSB received a warning from Armyansk locals, who had reported on some suspicious people in military uniforms in their town, Rossiyskaya Gazeta said.
Having responded to the call, an FSB task group detected some 20 people in the area, who were loading explosives and weapons from their hideout. Once the suspects noticed the Russian security forces, they immediately opened fire, shooting to kill, the newspaper said. One FSB officer was killed, while at least one infiltrator was shot dead and several others injured when the officers returned fire.
Twenty home-made explosive devices equivalent to more than 40 kilos of TNT, as well as ammunition, shells, and other weapons used by the Ukrainian Army’s special forces were discovered at the scene.
How the FSB determined that the confiscated weapons are “used by the Ukrainian Army’s special forces” is unexplained. The statement implies that only Ukrainian special forces use TNT, ammunition and shells, which are obviously pretty standard weapons in the arsenal of any military, not just Ukraine’s. But don’t worry about that odd assertion, the FSB assures us that “[t]hose suspects employed by Ukrainian intelligence are now giving their confessions.” And we know just how reliable “confessions” are under the supervision of FSB interrogators.
The FSB’s notoriously unreliable and biased information, presented here by RT as fact, should be questioned. Putin is already using the incident to dismiss dialogue with Kiev over the ongoing conflict with Russian-backed militants in Ukraine’s eastern regions. Putin told the press:
Kiev has turned to the “practice of terrorism” instead of trying to peacefully resolve Ukraine’s crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in commenting on an FSB report that it had foiled terrorist attacks in Crimea plotted by Ukrainian intelligence.
Ukraine is “playing a dangerous game,” the Russian leader said when talking to reporters on Wednesday, while calling Kiev’s actions “stupid and criminal.” Moscow cannot turn a blind eye to the deaths of its servicemen who were killed during special operations to prevent terrorist attacks in Crimea, Putin said.
Given that the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR MOU) was allegedly behind the thwarted terrorist attacks in Crimea, it is “pointless” to meet with Ukraine’s current authorities to seek a solution to the country’s crisis, Putin said.
However, Kiev has demonstrated that it’s not interested in peaceful negotiations, the Russian president told reporters, adding that he would like to address the matter with Moscow’s American and European partners as well.
“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking for ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism,” Putin said, adding that this new development is rather alarming.
These are shockingly hypocritical words coming from Putin, who famously built his political career by staunchly rejecting any kind of peaceful dialogue with Chechen separatists, whilst covertly working with radical ones in order to discredit the moderate leadership. Putin renewed the Chechen war in 1999 flattening Grozny block by block in a campaign of scorched-earth carpet bombing, killing thousands, and Chechen militants used violent tactics in retaliation, often taking hostages to demand the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Caucasian republic.
These desperate appeals were only met with Putin’s bullets and bombs as he declared any negotiation with separatists “illegitimate.” In the 2002 Moscow theater siege, Putin opted to gas to death hundreds of Russians instead of making a deal with their Chechen captors who clearly laid out their demands of Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. Putin also unleashed the bloodbath in Beslan in 2004 by ordering special forces troops to fire rocket-propelled grenades into the school, thereby initiating the intense firefight that ensued, causing hundreds of deaths.
“Negotiation” is not a word in Putin’s vocabulary in his dealings with Chechnya and its rebellious population, nor with any separatist-leaning population or group within Russia itself. Yet, this same man demands that Ukraine come to the bargaining table with Russia to settle ongoing territorial disputes, fueled by Russia’s support of violent separatists in Ukraine’s east who are nostalgic for the glory days of the Soviet imperium when eastern Europe was a mere appendage of the USSR and have rekindled a Stalin worship cult in the areas they currently control.
The Ukrainians have suggested that this latest spectacle in Crimea – instantly billed by the wildly corrupt FSB as a Ukrainian government-sponsored plot – was a “provocation” or false-flag engineered by Russia itself to rubber-stamp Putin’s belligerent agenda. This would not be the first time the FSB under Putin’s aegis employed deception to accomplish political goals. Putin’s takeover of the Kremlin was helped in large part due to the suspicious apartment bombings of 1999, blasts blamed on Chechen separatists but which various independent investigations have demonstrated were the handiwork of the Yeltsin-Putin administration and their FSB henchmen.
With Putin’s FSB authorities in full control of Crimea and thereby all aspects of criminal investigation, prosecution and law (as well as media), there will no doubt be a blackout of any information that doesn’t suit the Kremlin’s narrative on this matter. Any dissenters, like many of those who challenged the Kremlin’s story about the apartment bombings in 1999, will be swiftly silenced.
As with the MH-17 plane disaster, Putin’s groupies in the “alternative media” will unquestioningly parrot the Kremlin narrative without the slightest whiff of skepticism.