Ukrainian President Poroshenko is fearmongering about Russia again after spreading fake news about Moscow’s so-called “Crimean Corridor” plan.
The Eastern European leader claimed that his eastern nemesis was planning to seize the coastal towns of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov in order to connect Donbas with the Crimean peninsula, something that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described as “absolutely absurd, another attempt to somehow spark tensions”, which he also suggested might be influenced by the run-up to Ukraine’s presidential elections next spring. All rhetoric aside, however, Russia has no practical reason to create this so-called “corridor” in the first place considering that it successfully built the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait and therefore has direct access to its reunified territory.
Donbas isn’t recognized by Russia as anything other than a rebellious region of Ukraine, and the areas outside of it between that part of the country and Crimea aren’t even party to the country’s civil war. It might be that some media demagogues and/or Donbas rebels previously decided to score political points at home by flirting with this idea, but it certainly isn’t anything that Russia takes seriously because it would imply a formal military intervention into its neighbor’s territory and the actual annexation of its territory, something that Moscow has never done and has no intention to ever do. The recent incident in the Kerch Strait proved that Russia can neutralize any naval threat in and around the Azov Sea, so there’s no military reason for it to want to capture those Ukrainian towns on the coast.
Instead, it appears as though Poroshenko’s claims are aimed at preconditioning the Western public into expecting a rebel move on this region, possibly in advance of forthcoming Ukrainian military provocations before the elections intended to provoke a response that could be decontextualized, misportrayed, and then over-amplified to its intended audience as purportedly playing into this paradigm. That could explain why the Ukrainian leader ridiculously asserted that Russia has 80,000 troops and 900 tanks in and around his country, which is evidently serving as his ‘publicly plausible’ pretext at home to implement martial law, call up the reserves, and possibly prepare for the aforementioned false flag scenario.
There’s no such thing as the so-called “Crimean Corridor”, but it plays to Poroshenko’s domestic political interests to pretend that there is, and if he’s even partially successful at manipulating international perceptions surrounding this fake news narrative after possibly provoking the rebels to play into his hands, then he could reap some grand strategic benefits from it by positioning himself as the only Ukrainian leader capable of defending the country from so-called “Russian aggression”. This could manifest itself in increased NATO assistance and the West’s wink-and-a-nod approval of him either rigging the upcoming vote to his favor or indefinitely delaying it due to what he might claim are “wartime conditions”. All of this is extremely dangerous because, as they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review