I, along no doubt with Peter Hitchens, have heaved a sigh of relief. For a while there I was genuinely concerned about Vlad’s continued good health, what with his having taken 10 days out of his public life.
That disappearance act gave rise to all sorts of rumours, ranging from a fatal disease to a palace coup to a sort of paternity leave, with Vlad attending the birth of his illegitimate child.
Mercifully, Vlad is back, looking slightly wan but in high spirits, cracking jokes about the prophets of doom. His comeback coincides with what he doubtless sees as excellent news.
France, Italy and especially Greece are making it clear that an extension of sanctions beyond this July is highly unlikely.
Greece is the most vociferous appeaser, and has been since the last election brought into power a party that is communist in all but name.
One wonders how our right-wing champions of Putin, such as Messrs Hitchens, Booker et al, reconcile their affection for the KGB colonel with his unreserved support for Greece’s ruling Syriz party, which sits slightly to the left of the USSR Communist Party at the time Putin joined it.
Aren’t we supposed to believe that Putin is the last bastion of conservatism in the world? The last bulwark of Christian values? One can easily feel confused.
There is no confusion about his plans though. The Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has just made public the intelligence data showing that Putin is preparing a large-scale offensive along the entire frontline.
Large battle formations of both Russian troops and their proxies are being moved into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This is accompanied by an increased concentration of artillery, tanks, personnel carriers and rocket systems, which keep firing at the Ukrainian troops.
At the same time ranking field officers of the Russian army are coming in en masse, accompanied by senior officers of the General Staff, GRU and Putin’s own KGB/FSB.
Trainloads of ordnance are arriving in their wake, along with fuel carriers. The Russian army is actively deploying the rear support in all strategic directions.
In parallel Russia has mobilised her Northern Fleet to full combat readiness and is conducting massive exercises across the country, all the way to the Barents Sea.
These involve 45,000 troops, 56 warships and submarines and 110 aircraft. Russia is also moving tens of thousands of military vehicles, including tanks, into the areas along her border with the Baltic states.
According to Lord West, a former First Sea Lord, Russian espionage in the North Sea represents a ‘worrying level’ of ‘provocation’.
Converted fishing boats equipped with the latest surveillance technology are keeping track of British nuclear subs, with the clear aim of nullifying our Trident deterrent.
Meanwhile Vlad has done a star turn in a new documentary film The Crimea. Return to the Motherland.
One implicit message of the film is that we do need our nuclear deterrent. Vlad admitted nonchalantly that when he and his four colleagues (whose names are available on the Russian government’s official website) were planning the eponymous return, he ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert. Just in case.
In case of what, one wonders. In case Nato countries had responded with anything more resolute than a token slap on the wrist? Was Putin ready to push the button for a nuclear holocaust?
Apparently, because otherwise there would have been no need for putting his ICBMs on a hair trigger. Nice to know what kind of adversary we’re dealing with.
But wait a minute. What’s that planning business? Until the release of this cinematic masterpiece, Vlad’s official line was that the Crimea was annexed by a spontaneous uprising of local Russian patriots, armed by the orts and ends from the army surplus stores.
Now he is stating on full-colour celluloid that “We [that is, he and his four mates] had to begin work aimed at returning the Crimea to Russia.” In other words, it wasn’t an outburst of local Russian patriotism but the ‘work’ of the Russian ruling junta that led to the annexation.
Details? Vlad is on hand to provide those with alacrity. Russia moved Spetsnaz units to the Crimea in order to disarm the Ukrainian troops there. Or, in Vlad’s own words:
“We needed specialists who know how to do such things. That’s why I gave an order to the Defence Ministry to move to the Crimea, to be honest under the cover of beefing up the protection of our Crimean bases, special-task units of the Chief Intelligence Directorate, marines and airborne troops.”
Hold on a moment, Vlad. Haven’t you been screaming at all and sundry that no Russian troops were involved in the operation? Why this sudden bout of prideful honesty?
The only possible resounding answer to this is, why not?
You see, to you or me Vlad’s announcement may sound like an admission of a crime, specifically the crime of stealing another country’s territory.
To Vlad, however, it’s taking credit for a major achievement. He isn’t ashamed of what he has done. He is proud.
Logic suggests that he’d be even more proud if Russia grabbed the rest of the Ukraine and then moved on to the Baltic republics, which just happen to be Nato members.
Add to this Vlad’s gleeful playing with his nuclear toys, and one begins to see the point of those who claim that the world hasn’t been in such danger since the Cuban crisis.
How do we deal with this mortal danger? Why, by getting ready to remove sanctions on Russia and effectively eliminating our own defence capability.
Once again we are reminded of some hard facts of history. Specifically that all great geopolitical catastrophes happened when an evil tyrant presented a grave threat, while the West was led by craven and at best mediocre leaders.
Such as… well, there is no need for ad hominems here. You know who they are.