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Letter to the Editor: Ukraine Conflict: “Questioning the Narrative”

A letter to the editor from Richard Marleau
Letter to the Editor MJT1
Letter to the Editor

Disclaimer by the author of this content below: “The author serves as Reeve of the RM Auvergne and the following are his own personal opinions and do not reflect the opinion of council.”

This February marks the second anniversary of the official start of the Russian Special Military Operation RSMO in Ukraine. No Doubt the armed conflict has caused significant human suffering and destruction. The reasoning or justification for such destruction might make sense with the initial retort of Western leaders saying “Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression”.

I have been following the Russia/Western (NATO) nation relationship dynamics for several years. This includes reading and listening to Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov speeches. Since the RSMO started I have been listening to numerous guests discussing the situation on media programs like Judging Freedom with Judge Napolitano (American), and The Duran with Alexander Mercouris and Alex Christoforou (European). The general consensus indicates that the buildup of tensions between Russia and Western (NATO) nations started many years prior to the official February 2022 start date.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990’s Russia and Western nations spent many years trying to “normalize” relationships with each other. Things just did not seem to mesh likely to due geopolitical power dynamics. Among many notable interactions or occurrences I wish to point out Putin’s New York Times op ed “A plea for Caution from Russia” dated Sept. 11, 2013. The article contains many geopolitical insights relevant at the time regarding Syria and other international concerns. This one paragraph seems quite prescient in regards to the RSMO.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become common place for the United States. Is it in America’s long term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.””

Within six months of Putin’s op-ed a lot happened:

  • A few visits from now deceased US Senator John McCain and American bureaucrat Victoria Nuland to Ukraine
  • Euromaiden Revolution and the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.  It is important to note that from 2010 to 2014 Ukraine pursued a non alignment policy meaning it would not join or participate in military (NATO) or political alliances  the law was signed by Viktor Yanukovych. 
  • A recording is made public between the US ambassador to Ukraine and American bureaucrat Victoria Nuland discussing which Ukrainian opposition leader should be installed in Ukraine and Vitoria’s secret thoughts on the Europe an Union.
  • A referendum was held in Crimea and it is now part of Russia.  Strategically Crimea is important because it provides access to the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East,
  • Ukrainian armed forces started shelling Ukrainian citizens with Russian ethnicity in Eastern Ukraine. 

Between February 2014 and the start of the RSMO in February 2022:

  • Fighting continued in eastern Ukraine despite attempts at peace agreements with the Minsk 1(Sept. 2014) and Minsk 2 (Feb. 2015). 
  • NATO countries claim Russia illegally annexed Crimea rarely acknowledging over 2/3 of the population are Russian ethnicity and speaking or how much NATO would really like to control it. 
  • In 2016 NATO announced “Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) support for Ukraine. 
  • In June 2017 the Ukrainian parliament passed legislation listing NATO membership as an objective. 
  • Multiple reports of neo nazi and far right groups in Ukraine emerge in the western media including October 20, 2021 article by CTV news by Christy Somos “Far right extremists in Ukrainian military bragged about Canadian training, report says:.

Russia started its SMO in February 2022 with stated objectives to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. The Russian nation is acutely sensitive to nazi ideology, it has been said that 25 million plus Russians lost their lives fighting the Nazis in WW2. In response NATO countries have placed many economic sanctions on Russia and contributed $100bln US in military aid to Ukraine.

Recognizing that the above discussion is quite abbreviated, the situation is nuanced and that horrific losses are being experienced by both Ukrainians and Russians a few questions arise to be considered. The list is by no means complete.

Does questioning the dominate narrative make someone a “sympathizer” or “apologists? Does not questioning the dominate narrative make someone “easily led”? Is it possible the initial intent of the RSMO was to initiate serious peace talks? Is it possible NATO nations were involved with the ousting of Yanukovych in 2014? Is it possible NATO was arming and training the Ukrainian army to provoke a Russian response? Is it possible NATO nations destroyed the Nordstream pipeline? Is it possible Russia has legitimate security concerns? Was the RSMO really unprovoked? Is it possible that US/NATO countries are empires in decline? Is it possible Putin is despised in western countries because he looks after the interests of the Russian nation? Is it possible that having experienced the decline of the Soviet Union 30 years ago Russian leadership can recognize decline in other empires/countries? Is it possible NATO/US wanted to drag Russia into a war to destabilize Russia? Is it possible the longer the conflict continues NATO will get weaker? Is it possible Russia will demilitarize some NATO nations and Ukraine? Is it likely if Russia prevails militarily it will be subject to guerilla or terrorist attacks against its citizens? What is the purpose of NATO in 2024? How many Canadians are aware that Russia and allied forces including Canada fought on the same side against Nazis in WW2? Is it possible Canadian opposition parties not questioning the dominate narrative on multiple perspectives is a disservice to the country? Is it possible sending more military aid to Ukraine will extend the conflict? Is an end to this conflict desired? Where would you start?

Richard Marleau (Personal Opinion)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

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