Joe Biden has only been President for a fortnight but already there are signs that the change in administration in Washington is emboldening the authorities in Ukraine to take a more belligerent anti-Russian stance.
What a difference a year makes. A year ago Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was making conciliatory speeches about bringing his disunited country together. This week, he’s banned three opposition television stations on the grounds of “national security”, accusing them of spreading Russian disinformation.
Not only that but a new law has come into force which orders all service providers to offer their services in the Ukrainian language by default, even in Russian-speaking areas. To rub even more salt into the wound, Zelensky has also brought up once again the highly controversial issue of Ukraine joining NATO.
In an interview with HBO Zelensky said if he had the chance to ask Joe Biden a question it would be a very simple one: “Mr President, why are we still not in NATO”?
All of Zelensky’s recent actions seem designed to provoke Russia, but it’s naïve to think he wouldn’t be shifting his tone if he didn’t think Washington approved. Right on cue, the US Embassy backed the shut-down of opposition tv stations saying it was needed “to counter Russia’s malign influence”. Press freedom? That’s highly selective as far as Washington is concerned.
All the signs are that in 2021 Ukraine will be re-ignited as a front in the new Cold War against Moscow.
Not that it…