Crimean tragedy: 'Olympic Games used as cover to target Russia'

The southern coast of Crimea in the vicinity of the Big Yalta. © Sergey Malgavko
Any reasonable interpretation of international law and international politics would see that war games being played out on the border of a nation state as the real act of aggression, Gerry Sussman, US foreign policy analyst, Portland State University, told RT.

Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, has ordered all military units near Crimea and the Donbass region to be at the highest level of combat readiness. This comes a day after Moscow said it uncovered Ukraine's intelligence service operating on the territory of the contested peninsula.

The FSB said it prevented two terrorist attacks in Crimea being plotted by agents working for Ukraine’s chief intelligence agency. They were planning to target key infrastructure. In the course of the raids, a federal security officer and a Russian serviceman were killed by gunfire.

The UN Security Council held a session on Thursday regarding the situation in Ukraine. The meeting was requested by Kiev, to discuss the alleged threat from Russia.

Speaking afterwards, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the Ukrainian government is merely trying to "distract attention" from the ongoing political chaos in the country. He also accused Kiev of failing to meet its obligations established in the peace process.

RT: Both Ukraine and Russia are now conducting military drills close to their borders. How do you see the situation unfolding?

Gerry Sussman: Well, I am looking at it mainly from how the media, particularly the Western media, are representing the issue. It is a part of an extension of the more general Cold War coverage that has existed for a few years now, ever since the dust up in Ukraine and the coup that took place in 2014. I think it has largely been falsely represented in most of the Western, particularly in the American and British mainstream media – characterizing Russia as an aggressive state. And even as NATO forces move closer and closer to the doorstep of Moscow, they do a kind of an Orwellian inversion, trying to represent that as Russian aggression. Any reasonable interpretation of international law and international politics would see war games being played out on the border of a nation state as the act of aggression, if not a direct act of war.

RT: The US Ambassador to Ukraine said Washington has not seen any proof of the Ukrainian secret service's actions in Crimea. He also alleged it's not the first time Russia's made false accusations against Ukraine. What is your take on that statement?

GS: Everything that comes out of the State Department is really based on spin. We just have to look at the way that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee [DNC] was represented in the media, but also by the State Department. And even without a shred of evidence they point at Russia and particularly Mr. Putin – blame him for it and try to draw some plausible explanation. And they think that a plausible explanation is the same thing as fact – which it is not. There is an attribution of everything to Mr. Putin: earthquakes, the orbit of the planet Earth. It would be quite laughable if it didn’t have such tragic implications. I think this is consistent – the refusal by the State Department to accept the Russian arguments, especially looking at it in the larger context of NATO stepping up aggression in Eastern Europe. It’s impossible for the State Department to acknowledge what is actually going on. It’s really a spin campaign to try and isolate Russia and discredit Russia so they can continue to move forces and also cover up the failures of other aspects of US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East...

Olympic Games as 'cover'

Martin Summers, independent journalist, also provided RT his views on the incident that occurred on the Russia-Ukraine border by members of the Ukrainian secret service.

RT: What are your thoughts on this escalation in Crimea?

Martin Summers: The pro-Western media… is suggesting that this provocation has been invented by the Russian side. I don’t know whether that is true or not, it seems unlikely to me. We have seen similar incidents in the past. The situation remains unresolved as from two years ago. Some of the commentary in the Western media has been about how it is always during the Olympic Games when the ‘evil Russians’ decide to do their nefarious things, whether it is going to war with Georgia, going to war with Ukraine, invading Afghanistan in 1979. But the natural fact is that it is the other side that uses the Olympic Games as a cover to promote its own provocation agenda including the doping scandal; the issues around what has been going on in Turkey, and so on. So it is very worrying that this incident has occurred, and obviously some people have been killed. But one would hope that common sense will prevail. I can’t see that anybody can gain from further conflict here - it is just pointless.

Relations with Russia have now taken central stage in the US presidential election with all this pseudo shock-horror about the Russians supposedly stealing Hillary Clinton’s emails and they are trying to set up Donald Trump as a pro-Kremlin candidate, or whatever. But it is the case that Trump has said that we are going to have to accept the Russian annexation of Crimea because that’s what the people of Crimea want. And now Britain has removed itself from the equation in the EU. It may be that German and French interests will push for a lifting of sanctions on Russia. So the possibility of a resolution is there. But of course the hardline is in Kiev and their allies in the Western intelligence services and military.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.