LONDON, April 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The tensions between Russia and Ukraine have dramatically increased as Russian security forces intercepted and detained 25 Ukrainian nationalists suspected of plotting sabotage acts and a major bombing campaign on the Russian mainland.
Professor Chris Bellamy, the leading military expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union monitoring these events, said: “Ultra-nationalists including the radical movement “Right Sector” within Ukraine may have seized on an opportunity to attempt to de-stabilise the region in the wake of the Crimea referendum. Such actions could increase tensions that already exist between NATO and its Allies with Russia if support for these factions continues and there are more sabotage and terrorist attempts made against Russia in the Rostov, Volgograd, Tver, Oryol and Belgorod regions.”
According to Russian news media reports, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has already charged the leader of “Right Sector” Dmitry Yarosh in absentia of criminal offences including plans to carry out terrorist and extremist activities on the Russian mainland. There are also reports that Yarosh had contacted the Chechen-based terrorist group leader Doku Umarov to help equip anti-Russian factions in the Ukraine with arms and ammunition.
“I would be surprised if such provocation would force the Russian Government to escalate the already tense situation that exists in the region. Russia has long faced terrorist threats, until now primarily connected with the Chechen issue, but these latest developments are worrying.
“Given the asymmetry of conventional military power between Ukraine and Russia it’s not at all surprising that factions in Ukraine might seek to undertake some sort of asymmetric – terrorist – operation.
“These events indicate there needs to be an urgent international peace conference in order for all sides to feel that their territorial integrity and security are recognised under international law. And steps to reduce the tension between Russia and Ukraine need to be taken in the short term to the satisfaction of all parties, rather than the escalation of tensions that fall directly into the hands of extremists,” observes Prof Bellamy.
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) immediately distanced itself from the terrorist incursion into Russia, but according to Prof Bellamy the move had classic hallmarks of a covert operation.
“It serves Ukraine’s interests to claim it faces imminent attack from Russia and that it may have to fight a guerrilla war. This latest episode is worrying as it demonstrates how extremist elements could influence military decisions taken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces with dubious chances of achieving their aims and objectives,” says Prof Bellamy.
SOURCE: The office of Ardafrevesh Kolah FCIPR
EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo was taken by Spetsnaz Alpha and is of Alpha Group – an elite, stand-alone sub-unit of Russia’s special forces and is a dedicated counter-terrorism task-force of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.