Olexander Motsyk is Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States.
Russia is sticking to the same routine as in Crimea. First, deploying professional military and mercenaries on Ukrainian territory. Second, paying local radicals and criminals to pose as “pro-Russian forces.” Third, trying to make the turmoil its forces are fomenting look organic. But recent events don’t look natural at all. Unlike the Euromaidan protests that started in Kiev last fall, this is not a domestic uprising but full-blown foreign aggression against Ukraine.
Special operations forces are being deployed in Ukraine. These people are not Ukrainians. These are professional Russian mercenaries waging a war on Ukrainian territory. Some of their faces have been recognized from Crimea. Some are familiar from Georgia, when that country was invaded in 2008. Saboteurs with Russian citizenship are being apprehended throughout Ukraine. Along with intercepted radio traffic and other information, these developments confirm that these are foreigners, invaders.
Ukraine is fighting back. It cannot allow the Russian-equipped, Russian-paid and Russian-deployed special-ops units to spread fear among Ukrainians. The population in eastern Ukraine is scared of strangers in green uniforms ruining their daily lives. Stopping those forces and protecting our own people is the direct obligation of Ukraine’s government. And in doing so, we are entitled to count on global support.
Russia thinks it has found a foolproof way to conduct a war: not calling actions by their name and flatly denying the truth. But a lie is a lie and aggression is aggression — no matter what Russia calls it or how much smoke is blown by the Russian propaganda machine. The world must see the truth. The evidence is all over the place.
On Sunday, Russia called a U.N. Security Council meeting to “express concern” about the situation created by the Russians themselves. Remarkably, Russia didn’t call any Security Council meetings when thousands were killed in Chechnya. But this time around, it claims to be “concerned.” Well, if that’s true, three simple steps would solve the problem: One, Russia should stop fomenting unrest and all of the other activity it has been waging in Ukraine the past two months. Two, immediately start a settlement process. Three, return to the boundaries of international law.