It’s been nearly 31 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. President Putin once described that event as “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th Century.” He remains deeply resentful of how the Cold War ended: with Moscow losing territory, influence and empire.
“What was the break-up of the USSR? It was the break-up of historical Russia,” Putin said in a 2021 state TV documentary. “We lost 40% of our territory… much of what had been accumulated over 1,000 years was lost.”
The Kremlin also resents NATO’s post-Cold War enlargement to the east. Moscow accuses the West of breaking verbal promises that the alliance would not expand into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet space. Nato insists no such promises were given.
Also, because Ukraine is not a NATO member, NATO’s member countries have no responsibility to protect her.
This is a very complex situation that, if not handled properly, could turn into a bloody mess.
Can Russia undo what is done? It sure appears to be trying.
Meantime, I contend Joe Biden is using this political conflict for political advantages in the US. His poll numbers are down and the democrats are headed into midterm elections that do not look good for the party. Saber rattling is good for Joe and the dems. Makes them look “tough.”
Or so they say.
In December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov unveiled draft security agreements that Moscow wants America to sign. They would provide a legally binding guarantee that NATO will give up military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
The proposals would appear to prohibit NATO deployments to countries that joined the alliance after 1997. Russia is also demanding an end to NATO enlargement attempts in former Soviet territory.
Keep in mind significant swaths of eastern Ukraine, two regions specifically, are essentially populated by Russians. Up until 2014 Ukraine had a President, Viktor Yanukovych, who was pro-Russia but he was booted from office. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, pro-Russian rebels backed by President Putin seized parts of the east and they have stood up to Ukraine’s army ever since. Russian troops have been going in and out of this region for eight years. There was an international Minsk peace accord but the conflict continues and so Russia’s leader says he is sending in troops into two rebel-held areas.
This past weekend, the Russian parliament requested to President Putin that he recognize the independence of two regions in Ukraine. One is called the People’s Republic of Luhansk. The other is the People’s Republic of Donetsk. Vladimir Putin agreed to recognize their independence and then moved in “peacekeepers.”
Now the big question for Ukraine is, how much farther is Russia going to go?
Meantime, President Biden signed an fairly worthless executive order preventing Americans from doing business in Luhansk or Donetsk. What Americans were doing business there or how much business was being done, if any, is probably insignificant. But that’s basically all the administration has done that we are aware of.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. One of the principals in The Art of War is know your enemy. Putin is a dedicated Russian patriot. He’s also a godless communist. At the least this is all about empire-building. Putin is spreading Russian influence in a very imperial way, just like Russia did during the time of the czar.
As for China, they must be watching events very closely. They want to see what the United States does to support and help Ukraine. China has their eye on Taiwan and they want to try to make their assessment on what a U.S. response to Chinese aggression to Taiwan might be.
As for Bible prophecy, one commentator, Hal Lindsey, say this in his article from February 3, “Rumors of War:”
One of the most famous and detailed prophecies in the Bible concerns an invasion of Israel by a confederation of nations. Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel give the details, including a specific list of the nations involved. The first two verses say, “And the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.’”
It’s obvious from that passage and others that Gog is not a nation, but a national leader. The word “Gog” means “high,” “top guy,” or “supreme.” The first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote that, “Magog is called the Scythians by the Greeks.” The Greeks used the word “Scythia” to refer to the region north and east of the Black Sea. Today, that includes, not just Russia, but also Ukraine.
The Scythians also ruled the area east of the Caspian Sea that is today occupied by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Each of these nations were once part of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin seems intent on bringing them back into the sphere of Russian control. Also, each of these nations is predominantly Muslim, which may also contribute to their desire to one day join a coalition of nations against Israel.
But the first step in Putin’s plan centers on Ukraine. In area, it is Europe’s second largest nation. It gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. At that time, Ukraine possessed one-third of the Soviets’ nuclear armaments. With 1,900 warheads, Ukraine then held the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In 1994, Russia, Britain, and the United States signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. They promised to ensure Ukraine’s security if it gave up its large nuclear arsenal.
The sad and horrible lesson to every other nation in the world is that if you have nukes, don’t give them up ever — no matter what. Today, if Ukraine still had its nuclear weapons, Russia would not be threatening. It’s as simple as that. Promises from Britain and the United States were not worth the paper they were printed on.
The other protector of Ukrainian security was to be that benevolent nation known as Russia. Now, it all seems like a cruel joke. In 2014, Russia stole Crimea from Ukraine. That gave the Russian military better access to the Black Sea. Today, Russia’s goal in invading Ukraine does not seem to be an annexation of the country, but a move to place a puppet government there.
In all this, remember that no matter what their nations do, people can still turn to Christ. Iran is another key part of that Ezekiel 38 coalition. And Iran is experiencing a tremendous number of people turning to Jesus. Prophecy tells us what some nations will do, but that does not predetermine the actions of individuals within those nations.
Whatever Putin’s motivations may really be, one thing stands out: his actions seem to fit into Bible prophecy. It appears that at some point in the future, Ukraine will again come under Russian control.
Meantime, we haven’t even discussed other relevant activities taking place in Iran…