Kiev’s Two-Front War

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Following the Euromaidan revolution, Ukraine is engaged in a two-pronged fight that integrates domestic and foreign components. The first battle is Russia’s desire to dismember Ukraine, halt its European integration, and return it to the Russkii Mir (Russian World) sphere of influence. The second battle is to begin to effectively fight the scourge of high-level corruption and abuse of office, and bring to justice those who were guilty of bankrupting Ukraine and murdering protesters. Both of these battles affect Ukraine’s national security in many ways, and they cannot be divorced from one another.

The first battle has been largely a successful people’s war that was fought with the assistance of military and civil society volunteers who halted Putin’s plans to separate eastern and southern Ukraine, his so-called NovoRossiya (New Russia). The Ukrainian state inherited following the Euromaidan protests was financially bankrupted by the outgoing regime that had stripped the armed forces and destroyed its operational capabilities, while Russian military and secret services thoroughly penetrated Ukraine’s military intelligence and security agency. The Ukrainian state and security forces therefore barely existed during the crucial first year of war, and the defense of Ukraine’s eastern regions was left to Ukrainian volunteers, many of who had joined from the Euromaidan protests. Ukraine’s leaders continue to be corrupt and rely upon old guard senior generals heavily indoctrinated by Soviet training. The central authorities do not reach out to eastern and southern Ukraine or provide assistance to Internally Displaced People; this is left to civil society volunteers.

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