The post-coup leaders of Ukraine have routinely said that Ukraine should destroy Russia; and, now, starting on February 24th, they are placing into position the key prerequisite for doing so, which is the advanced Anti-Ballistic-Missile, or ABM, system, S-300:
“The S-300 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded. Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12/24/36 targets. The S-300 deployment time is five minutes. The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime. An evolved version of the S-300 system is the S-400 (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler), which entered limited service in 2004.”
The S-300 (otherwise called “SAM C-300”) is designed to protect against retaliation. The entire purpose of ABMs is to disable retaliation. In that sense, ABMs are the most aggressive weapons of all. They are specifically designed to prevent retaliation from a nation that has been attacked and that is responding by sending in its own bombers to retaliate. [the S-300 technology is Russian. GR Editor]
Here is one report, February 24th, of installation of these ABMs, from the region near Odessa, including a photo of these weapons on a truck:
Here is another such report, with videos of the missile-systems being put into place, during the 24th and 25th of February:
The likeliest explanation of this would be that the new (ever since the February 2014 coup) anti-Russian Ukrainian Government intends to bring NATO in to invade Russia and to do this by provoking a limited attack from Russia that will then be repelled by these S-300s. After surviving Russia’s response, NATO would then claim Ukraine must be defended from Russia’s aggression; and, then, NATO would take over the task of eliminating Russia — which the present leaders of Ukraine (and their followers) have been very clear that they want to happen.
Other reasons for Ukraine’s positioning these ABMs ready for launch wouldn’t make sense, because the missiles won’t be usable except to block retaliation.
These missiles are purely ‘defensive’ weapons; but the Ukrainian Government isn’t waiting for U.S. President Obama to approve supplying other ‘defensive’ weapons to Ukraine; they’re moving forward with what they’ve already got.
It should also be noted, however, that Russia had set up S-300s in Crimea immediately prior to the 16 March 2014 referendum in Crimea on whether Crimea should return to Russia (of which Crimea had been a part during 1783-1954), or whether it should instead be ruled by the newly installed Ukrainian Government in Kiev. Russia said that this was being done then in order to deter the Ukrainian Air Force from bombing Crimea during the referendum — a referendum that Ukraine was trying to prevent and was threatening to block. Ukraine today might similarly be able to say that their new ABM installations are being done in order to prevent an imminent Russian air invasion into Ukraine.
Whether any ABM-installation can be said to be authentically defensive is thus a judgment that only each individual will make, based on that person’s estimation of the realistic likelihood that the country setting it up is authentically under threat of invasion at that particular moment in time. ABMs are against retaliatory weapons, but when is a threat real, against which are needed ABMs so as to justify the installation of such anti-weapons? If the threat of weapons from the other side is not real, then the threat of the anti-weapons against them is very real: it is then clearly preparation for launching an aggressive attack.
Consequently, whether a ‘defensive weapon’ is actually the most aggressive type of weapon — the preliminary to launching an attack — depends upon whether it is the preliminary to launching an attack, and only each individual observer can judge that question. Ukraine says that the referendum in Crimea was itself an attack against Ukraine. However, Ukraine did not set up ABMs at that time. They now are. Do they really believe that Russia is about to invade Ukraine? They have been saying, since the coup, that Russia is invading. The U.S. Government and its allies have seconded those allegations. But not until now is Ukraine actually preparing for such an invasion from Russia — or else preparing for its allies to launch an invasion of Russia.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.