Rinat Akhmetov's big-selling 'Segodnya' daily carries the following interesting story entitled:
"Experts [from a Ukrainian think tank] say Russia could provoke Ukraine into employing SpetsNaz [Special Operations] Forces"
It is intriguing that a newspaper owned by PoR's biggest sponsor would run such a story which so openly discusses these matters.
I've loosely translated portions below:
"Experts do not exclude provocations from Russia aimed at goading Ukrainian authorities into decisions to utilize SpetsNaz units.
This is discussed in a study entitled "Russian-Georgian conflict - Conclusions for Ukraine", from the Centre for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies. [Full document here ]
Future activity of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine will be in the format of concentrated actions by political and informational means, with continuous expansion of the RF's zone of influence inside and around Ukraine. The central objective of Russian side is to return Ukraine to the mainstream of Russian policy. Its current task is the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine, and over the long term - the creation of prerequisites for the division of Ukraine”, note experts of the centre.
In their opinion, "There are signs that the Russian side is finalizing scenarios envisaging application of armed forces, although the basic principles of action will remain political and economic pressure, [and] a policy of intimidation of the population".
The Ukrainian analysts explain: "The Russian Federation has too great an arsenal of non-military tools for them to yield to temptation and use armed forces. The latter is possible only as a "reaction" in response to military actions ordered by Ukrainian authorities.
In the opinion the experts of the Centre, at present the main thrust of Russian informational policy is directed toward formulating, in the eyes of the Russian citizens, an enemy in the form of the adjacent Ukraine, and in the eyes of Ukrainians, an enemy in the form of NATO.
"After the Russian-Georgian war the arsenal of activities of the Russian authorities, and the number of anti-Ukrainian measures on the territory of Ukraine will be noticeably extended. Provocations for the purpose of adoption by the Ukrainian authorities of solutions using SpetzNaz units are not excluded," note the analysts.
LEvko considers the above-mentioned level-headed study is well-worth reading. It concludes that the chances of Ukraine being offered MAP are almost zero, and that the Georgia/Russia conflict has terminated previously-made international agreements - the guarantees offered after Ukraine's nuclear disarmament in the early '90's are no longer valid. Ukraine has limited, and ever-decreasing defensive capabilities to ward off agression - it needs to spend much more to modernise its armed forces.