Russia’s recent offer to give Ukraine back its military hardware, which had been left behind in Crimea may be shocking, but its an incredibly sensible idea. It could have mid to long term symbolic value, if not any practical effect. The plan was intended to revive the dismal relations between the two states, as President Putin’s Press Secretary Peskov told reporters.
The hardware includes three ships: The Chernigov, The Lutsk, and the corvette Khmelnitsky named after the Cossack leader who reunited Russia and Ukraine, in addition to a small number of aircraft.
Before reasonable voices with concern for the people of Donbass become outraged, it is worthwhile pointing out why this could be a positive choice:
- The ships are militarily insignificant, they pose no threat to Russia, or any practical threat to inland Donbass.
- Much of the hardware has gotten rusty, if not fallen into complete disrepair.
- They are an economic burden and security risk. Russia has been forced to provide security for this hardware and prevent any catastrophic damage from occurring. They can not, and should not be required to perform maintenance on them.
- Russia did this primarily because:
- Russia DOES abide by international law (unlike the Kiev regime). The vessels belong technically to Ukraine. One can argue acting lawfully and respectfully with a Nazi is a moot point, but it’s that form of respect which makes Russia an honourable country.
- It allows Russia to take a moral high ground. It’s a constant reminder she has been FAR MORE than equitable with the Kiev regime, as well as her western partners.
- Russia did this primarily because:
Above all, it’s a goodwill gesture
As Press Secretary Peskov stated, this is above all, another “goodwill gesture“. It is a constant sign that Russia has always wished to take the moral highground. A sign Russia wanted to help her Ukrainian brothers and sisters. Above all, this hardware is from a military perspective, insignificant, perhaps aside from the Khmelnitsky.
Kiev could potentially refuse some of it, claiming Moscow “sabotaged it” simply because they have neither the money, nor the resolve, to repair and maintain it. Doing so would also deny Russia another opportunity to prove she stands on the side of law and justice in Ukraine.
If Ukraine does accept the offer, and everything is realized, it’s another example of Russian goodwill for the history books. Ukrainian servicemen who operate this hardware will have to remember unceasingly that Russia, “their enemy” give it with zero expectation of reciprocal goodwill.
This may go a long way to convince everyday people in Ukraine – young conscripts and their family members, who may be ignorant bystanders of the conflict. It is immoral to willfully be a bystander, saying “It’s none of my business” as one’s country is being torn to pieces, but sadly, this is all too common in Ukraine.
You may be saddened to know how many young people there are not, in fact, radically pro-Russian OR pro-Ukrainian. A multitude is largely apathetic to their own culture, their Russian souls, and the conflict in their country.
For these people, seeing a large gesture of friendship from Russia, which is completely unwarranted given Ukraine’s open hostility may surprise them. They may start to wonder “Why is Moscow doing more for Ukraine than our own government?” It may cause some, however few or many, to question the narrative. It is this question, in the minds and hearts of normal Ukrainians, that may just awaken the fire of the Russian spirit, deep in their soul.
Maybe they would even regret the war, seeing how the complacency and apathy of common people to their criminal government allowed for it. Maybe they would do this, as Gogol said, “because there still exists in them a tiny shard of Russian feeling”.