Following the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine in 2014, and subsequently, the referendum held in Crimea where citizens of the province, the vast majority of whom have always been Russians voted for secession and reunion with Russia in quick order, Russia duly proceeded to annex the territory.
As a retaliatory action, Ukraine blocked the North Crimean Canal (NCC) and therefore the water flow to Crimea, cutting off 85 percent of Crimea’s water and leaving over two million people in dire straits. For good measure, the Ukrainians also blew up electricity lines, leaving Crimea to rely on expensive diesel generation capacity. Without water from the NCC, Crimea’s arable land has shrunk, from 130,000 hectares in 2013 — already a fraction of Soviet-era levels—to 14,000 in 2017.
Officially, the Ukrainians claimed that the NCC was blocked because Crimeans ‘stopped paying their water bills after Crimea became a part of Russia’. They also claimed that ‘the canal needed major maintenance before it could be reopened and there was no attempt from the Russian side to work with them to fix the canal’. Russians said that the NCC blockage was nothing more than punishment for Crimea’s political decision to “rejoin” Russia; that depriving two million Crimeans of water was a gross violation of human rights; and that the Ukrainians never proposed to negotiate either the water price or maintenance.
To address the water and energy issues in Crimea, from 2017 onwards the Russian authorities, in coordination with the local Crimean government, built small hydroelectric plants, and new wells, diverted local water sources, built a bridge from Russia to the peninsula for food and goods transportation and reoriented agriculture towards less water-consuming crops. Prior to Russia’s Special Military Operation, food and electricity problems had only been partially resolved and water insecurity was still an unhealed wound. There was only enough water for the most vital needs and a permanent solution was still needed for the 2.3 million inhabitants of what was for centuries deemed an integral part of Russia.
It is not a coincidence then, that one of the priority targets of the Russian Military Operation was the occupation (and subsequent annexation) of Kherson and the unblocking of the canal. Needless to say, none of the western authorities or governments ever condemned Ukraine for its cynical actions – much as they never condemned Kiev’s barbaric actions in the Donbas, and in the relatively rare occasions that Western media actually reported on the water matter, it invariably did so not in a tone of condemnation – but rather as Bloomberg had reported ‘an Impossible Problem for Putin’ to resolve.
What the western media also forgot to report upon let alone condemn was the Ukrainian’s gloating that Crimeans would die of thirst. This gloating culminated in now Ukraine’s president Zelensky (then still a professional comedian) making fun of the Crimeans’ plight on Ukrainian TV to a delighted audience.
Today, the Ukrainians who laughed so merrily at Zelensky’s callous jokes, no longer think it is a funny matter. Having to live day to day, lining up for hours (soon in freezing weather) to fill a couple of bottles with water, or having to live for most of the day in the darkness is something that no decent human being would wish on anyone. For eight long and terrible years, this is exactly what the Ukrainian regime, thanks to its Western sponsors has done to the suffering citizens of the Donbas and Crimea.
The previous president of Ukraine too gloated about it – by declaring that the ethnic Russians would have to live in basements and suffer. For good measure, they even deprived the citizens of Donbas of all welfare including pensions for which people had worked all their lives. And the West remained silent.
And now, all of a sudden, once Russia began to attack Ukrainian electricity infrastructure – all the west suddenly woke up – its collective moribund conscience pricked into action – claiming that Russia’s actions are a mass violation of rights and that Russia is guilty of war crimes – Forgive me but I personally cannot stand this acute level of hypocrisy.
It is the west, with NATO in particular that made attacking an enemy’s electricity infrastructure a strategic doctrinal imperative – they even wrote theses about it. When it is us doing it to others – we call it ‘Shock and Awe‘ and it’s a good thing since we are always the good guys and the others had it coming to them. In Iraq we destroyed the country on the premise of a big fat lie admitted on air by no less a person than former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown among many, many others – WE killed (because we allowed it to happen and never held anyone to account) over half a million Iraqi children and the grand beacon of democracy and human rights thought it all worth it.
We did the same thing to Serbia subjecting it to 72 consecutive days of indiscriminate bombing, on equally trumped-up reasons when the real reason was that we wanted to simply break Yugoslavia apart not least to demolish what was in effect a very successful society and economic alternative.
We have tried our worst to destroy Syria for our own selfish reasons – and when our paid ISIS and radical Jihadi mercenaries failed to do the job for us because Putin intervened and messed up our plans, we had no one other than our media actively egging NATO to intervene more directly and forcefully, and when we did – the same media not only had no concerns about international law and human rights but was disgustingly orgasmic about the sight of cruise missiles being launched towards that unfortunate country.
Not content with the destruction we have wrought all around the world, we proceeded to destroy Libya for yes – yet again contrived reasons.
We had no qualms either arming and supporting Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen – another conflict that our media was conveniently silent about for the past seven years. And now we have the gall to accuse Russia of war crimes?
The only thing that is surprising about Russia’s action, is that it took so long – eight whole months in fact before targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure. This demonstrates above everything else, that Russia never intended to destroy Ukraine as we habitually do unto others. Still, by us propping up the Ukrainian regime with money and weapons as long as they do not come to a negotiated solution, Russia is now left with no other option but to step up the ante. And yet even at this late stage, Russia is not targeting Ukraine’s power stations per se but rather the transformers that are fed by these power stations and this is very evidently for the very simple reason that it is much easier to eventually repair transformers than power stations.
Indeed, as a person who follows both Russian mainstream and social media, the attitude of the Russian public is now simple: ‘get it done with’ and it will be done with this coming winter.
All our claims to a moral high ground are an insult to both intelligence and conscience. Our calls to human rights are equally hollow as is our concern about civilian deaths – as if we ever cared! Since when?
What really worries us and especially our corrupt elite – is one thing and one thing only – we face a situation that has not arisen for a very very long time for we are accustomed to dishing out punishment to others – like bullies mainly to those that are much weaker than us to make them bend to our will – but now we are faced with a foe, who can dish out the punishment we claim as a monopoly unto us. Now we are not facing goat herders with AK-47s but nuclear power, with a destructive potential we can barely imagine that can and if need be will destroy us both militarily and economically.
This is what really worries us – Everything else is pure hypocrisy and virtue signaling.
Just as the Ukrainian regime and its supporters are learning, we too need to learn that what goes around eventually comes around and that the tables always turn.
Or as we say in Maltese: Kulħadd isib kappell jiġih.