Ukraine conflict may go into uncharted terrain - GulfToday

Ukraine conflict may go into uncharted terrain

A portrait of Darya Dugina is displayed near her coffin at a ceremony at the Ostankino television complex in Moscow on Aug.23. AFP

A portrait of Darya Dugina is displayed near her coffin at a ceremony at the Ostankino television complex in Moscow on Aug.23. AFP

The Ukraine-Russia war has taken a curious turn if the New York Times story is to be believed that a section of the Ukrainian government has been behind the car bomb explosion that killed Darya Dugina, daughter of Alexander Dugin, a Russian ultra-nationalist in August this year. It was said that the car bomb explosion targeted Dugin but as he changed cars, it was his daughter who got killed. The New York Times story is based on United States’ intelligence sources. If it is indeed the case, then it does appear that the Ukrainian government harbours ultra-nationalists of their own.

The Ukrainian government had said in August that it had no role to play in the killing of Dugina even as Russia pointed an accusing finger at the Ukrainian government. Zelensky adviser Mikhailo Podolyak reiterated the Ukrainian stand when asked about the NYT story. He said, “Again, I’ll underline that any murder during wartime in some country or another must carry with it some kind of practical significance. It should fulfil some special purpose, tactical or strategic. Someone like Dugina is not a tactical or strategic target for Ukraine.” Of course, that was a tactical response because the bombing was aimed at killing her father. And Podolyak would not say whether Dugin was a tactical or strategic target.

American intelligence sources told NYT that they would not have allowed it to happen if they had known about it. And that it had no hand in it, and that it had “admonished” Ukrainians for it. It is a known fact that the United States, along with the European Union (EU) countries, had been supporting Ukraine militarily and financially. And it goes without saying that the United States and Ukraine must have shared intelligence as well in the course of the war. As a matter of fact, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had predicted quite accurately that Russia was planning an attack on Ukraine days before Putin had started the war on February 24 this year.

So, the elements in the Ukrainian government who had planned to kill Dugin, and ended up killing his daughter Dugina, have been operating in such a way that they had hoodwinked the Zelensky establishment in Kyiv as well as the CIA. And that indeed should come as a surprise and it should also be a matter of concern. If there are rogue elements in the Ukrainian government over whom President Zelensky has no control, then it will take the conflict into uncharted territory. Western critics of Putin have not so far ever said that there were rogue elements in the Russian establishment.

Alexander Dugin is known to have put forward the thesis that Ukraine had no right to an independent existence and that Russia should annex it. The view in Moscow and in the West is that Putin was unlikely to ever follow the advice of Dugin though he must have been influenced by Dugin’s nationalistic rhetoric. An American professor of Russian at the City University of New York, Susan Smith-Peter, has said of Dugin: “His life’s work has basically been to take fascist ideas and modify them for a Russian audience so they kind of have this Russian veneer.” The question to be asked is whether there are people like Dugin on the Ukrainian side, and do they shape Ukrainian sentiment in the war with Russia. More than anyone else, it is necessary that President Zelensky should make sure that there are no rogue elements in his government if he expects the world, and not just the West, to sympathise with Ukraine in the war with Russia.

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