*This post was written a couple days before the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.
In recent days we have all had a chance to hear Ms Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre who grew up in Kyiv, berate Boris Johnson, Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden. This wonderful woman ridicules all the NATO countries for doing next to nothing to help the Ukrainians fight their war with Russia. It was refreshing to hear her question to Boris Johnson: “You’re coming to Poland, you’re not coming to Kyiv because you are afraid, because NATO is not willing to defend, because NATO is afraid of World War III, but it has already started.” She urged the PM to implement a no-fly-zone over Ukraine to stop Russia’s aerial bombardment of civilians. Johnson listened to her quietly and then told her that enforcing a no-fly-zone would force NATO forces to shoot down Russian planes which would necessarily be the start of a new World War.
There is no question Ms Kaleniuk is right to ask these questions. Are the Western countries doing enough to shield the Ukrainians from a Russian slaughter in the style of Aleppo and Grosny? Will Kyiv be reduced to a pile of rubble at the end of this war? Do we care about our Western democracies enough to want to protect them? Maybe we don’t.
Ms Kaleniuk says that sanctions won’t protect Ukrainians from bombs and probably won’t have any significant effect on Putin and his corrupt government before Kyiv has been reduced to rubble. But there are many creative ways for Western governments to help the Ukrainians without causing World War 3.
Here are a couple:
1- Use Switzerland or Georgia to supply fighter aircraft.
No NATO country can provide direct support to Ukraine for the reasons above. NATO can send in weapons, food and humanitarian support, but that’s it. Switzerland, however, is not a member of NATO and not part of the European Union. It is a rich landlocked country. If Switzerland were to provide the aircraft (borrowed from other EU countries) and provide the training of Ukrainian pilots, then there is no reason why the Ukrainian air force couldn’t borrow these aircraft to fend off Russian attacks from the air and ground. Get the US to lend two F35s, the UK to lend two Eurofighter Typhoons, the Germans two Tornados, and on it goes.
Another candidate for this kind of false flag operation would be Georgia who suffered through a three year civil war in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions against the Russians back in 1991-93. This resulted in the annexation of the two Georgian regions by the Russians just like the 2014 land grab in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk.
The strategy here is to supply the Ukrainian air force with fighter jets from a pro-Western third party country so that the EU and NATO can deny being involved.
2- Hire a force of mercenaries to combat the Russians in Ukraine.
I doubt that the Russian mercenaries in Mali (The Wagner Group) would work for Ukraine at any price, but there have been rumours that the Russians will use them to try to kill President Zelensky in Kyiv. The Americans and the British have used mercenaries in the past. Remember ‘Mad’ Mike Hoare in the Congo in the 1960s and Executive Outcomes in South Africa. Mercenaries are often used to back up military forces around the world. These people can be airdropped with powerful firepower behind enemy lines and make a difference.
Why not use mercenaries just as the Russians are using them? The US and Europe can easily finance this kind of operation from the huge donations they are making to Ukraine. Remember that mercenary groups have no official existence. They are no-name operations and easily deniable. They are perfect for a false flag military operation in Ukraine.
3- Send in an emergency UN force to protect the nuclear reactors.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy. It has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity. Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia, but is reducing this dependence by buying fuel from Westinghouse. The government is looking to the West for both technology and investment in its nuclear plants. Westinghouse has an agreement to build four AP1000 reactors at established sites.
At the moment there are four sprawling nuclear complexes in Ukraine run by Energoatom. The Russians Ministry of Defence has claimed that they control the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in the Southeast, but Energoatom says the claim is false. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was continuing to closely monitor developments in Ukraine, with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power reactors. In a recent update, it said it had been told by Ukraine that missiles had hit the site of a radioactive waste disposal facility in Kyiv, but there were no reports of damage to the building or release of radioactive material.
It seems a no brainer for the IAEA to send in a force of UN troops to protect each of the four Ukrainian nuclear complexes around the country and to monitor the radiation levels in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, now surrounded by Russian forces. Furthermore, the presence of foreign troops in Ukraine will complicate things for the Russians and perhaps prevent a human disaster.
4- Invade Kalingrad Oblast, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.
Germany was forced to give up Kaliningrad to Stalin at the 1945 Potsdam Agreement. This land used to be German Konigsberg. This tiny chunk of land is situated between Lithuania on the East and Poland in the West. With the new economic sanctions, the Kaliningrad enclave will be cut off from the rest of Europe and have no land link to Russia. It makes no sense leaving it in Russian hands. There are one million people living there who will be part of the Russian economic collapse.
Let’s take back Kaliningrad Oblast from Russia and at same time divert Russian forces from the Ukraine. To seize Kaliningrad Oblast, a small force of mercenaries would be sufficient to cause immense concern in the Kremlin and, of course, mercenaries are deniable. The Russians love cloak-and-dagger operations like this. Let’s use it against them.
These are the usual tricks of intelligence services. We only have to remember American CIA and French DGSE operations in Africa to know that the suggestions above are feasible, easy to launch and can be organized within days. This may be our last chance to save Ukrainian lives.