New War Tactics In Ukraine And Paradigm Shift In The Balkans – OpEd


In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, in the name of its special treatment in relation to China, Brussels was silent. Western diplomacy is currently supporting anti-democratic forces in the Balkans, falling into the dangerous trap that Belgrade and Moscow have set in response to Western involvement in Ukraine. Does this radical change of the paradigm of Western diplomacy serve the long-term interests of Europe and the West?

The current action of the USA, first of all in relation to Russia, has been described by European analysts as a strategic mistake. They support this judgment in a thesis that is as obvious as it is without a logical basis: in the need of the West to prevent at all costs the creation of an alliance between Russia and China.

The past week was marked by a series of events with a global geopolitical character. This fact proves that as a civilization, our generation will accumulate significant escalations of global and regional superpowers in the memory of history – USA, China, Russia, EU, Turkey…

This escalating conflict will develop into complete anarchy, as the rules that the world order imposed on the West no longer apply to either side. However, the deepening of the war in Ukraine and the direct or indirect involvement of the superpowers is proving that in principle, all parties have agreed, if only tacitly, to avoid direct confrontation at all costs. The lesson that this generation of politicians has learned from the two previous world wars, especially from the first one, when everyone committed pro forma to avoid it, makes the phrase about not repeating history somewhat more reliable.

Ukraine remains at the center of foreign policy attention. The Ukrainian counter-offensive seems to have turned the agenda of the European media and politics.

The storm of drones announced to be launched soon in Ukraine is expected to decide the course and fate of the war. “Everything is ready,” assure Ukrainian politicians. Expectations are high not only in Ukraine, but also in the West.

The Ukrainian army is preparing its offensive with drone attacks. At the same time, the Russian military continues to expand its positions and attack Ukraine with missiles and drones. Thousands of rockets have been fired over Ukrainian cities every night for the past two months. Citizens are often forced to spend hours in shelters. Now the same story is told about the suburbs of Kiev. There are continuous intense fights even at distances of 20 meters.

On April 29, authorities said a large fuel depot caught fire in a drone attack on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.

The flames in the port city of Sevastopol covered an area of about 1,000 square meters. There were no deaths or injuries. Civil facilities were also not damaged. However, according to the Ukrainian military intelligence service, ten oil tankers were destroyed.

In view of the Ukrainian counteroffensive that had been expected for weeks, some observers saw the airstrike as a preparation for this offensive. “The enemy is looking for gaps in our air defenses and uses drones to do this,” the director of the anti-aircraft museum, Yuri Knutov, told Russian media. Such attacks could increase during the May holidays to damage Russian logistics and supply lines, he warned.

The dawn of a new naval war

On October 29, a new era in modern naval warfare began. Ukraine opened the door to this war. A missile accompanied by a remote-controlled anti-aircraft drone, a dozen drones struck the Sevastopol naval base, the home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Ukrainian military reports and drone footage show three direct hits, including the Admiral Makarov fleet ship and two other ships, news agencies point out. On November 18, a large explosion followed at a Russian oil terminal in Novorossiysk, which was also said to have been caused by naval drones of the same type.

“For many, these attacks mark the beginning of a new era in naval warfare,” wrote author, blogger and naval analyst H.I. Sutton, who reviewed video footage of the Ukrainian drone ship. This could be bad not only for Russia. All actors working at sea are affected – in the navy or in the civilian sector. For its part, Ukraine announced on November 11 that it intends to produce 100 identical models. Funded, she hopes, through crowdfunding.

The gradual promotion of mass drone warfare in the expected counter-offensive meanwhile gave the test.

What Ukraine appears to have demonstrated is the naval equivalent of the quadcopter [specific type of drone]. This could lead to asymmetric warfare at sea – a development for which governments are unprepared. [1]

14 months after the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Russia has not been able to achieve its strategic goal. However, including Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, Moscow has occupied and holds about 20 percent of Ukraine’s territory. Kiev, in the counter-offensive started without fanfare, now wants to regain as many areas as possible, before any dialogue or short-term or long-term truce is imposed.

The mutual losses meanwhile, as in military troops, weaponry, but also of the civilian population are evident.

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Resnikov see about this, he is looking for quick accession to NATO. He justifies this with the fact that Ukraine continues to be the vanguard of Europe’s defense, somewhat similar to what we could say about the position of our George’s Albania on the eve of the invasion of Southeast Europe by the Ottoman Empire.

When marking the victory over Nazism becomes a tragicomic farce

Commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply criticized the West for its military support for Ukraine and called on Russian citizens to march to another “victory.” “Humanity is once again at a turning point. A war has been launched against our homeland,” Putin said at the traditional large military parade that marked the 78th anniversary of Germany’s surrender. Meanwhile, during a visit by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Kiev, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warned European allies of their obligation to quickly deliver the promised ammunition to the Ukrainian army.

In addition to World War II veterans, several hundred soldiers stationed in Ukraine took part in the military parade in Moscow’s Red Square. “Nothing is more important than your combat mission,” Putin urged the soldiers. The security of the country and “the future of our state and people” depended on them.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in response accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “military handling of power”. On May 9, Putin would “deploy his soldiers, tanks and missiles,” Scholz said Tuesday outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “Let’s not be afraid of such a power! Let us remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine,” Scholz warned.

The repetition of history comes to us this time exactly as a farce. The demonstration in Moscow in commemoration of the victory over Nazism thus turns into a tragicomic farce.

The West is in danger of falling into Serbia’s trap

Under the influence of the war in Ukraine, the West is changing its Balkan policy.

The Western strategy imposed by the Dayton Conference [1995] and that of Rambouillet [1999], together with the implications of the geopolitical interests of the European powers traditionally competing for dominance in South-Eastern Europe, had adjusted the known position of the Contact Group and the conditions that had to adhered to Kosovo after the declaration of independence. One of those conditions that took into consideration these interests and bloodshed for keeping Serbia within the sphere of Western interest, was also incorporated in the text of the constitution, even in the first article, specifically in its third paragraph.

Article 1. para. 3. “The Republic of Kosovo has no territorial claims against any state or part of any state and will not seek to join any state or part of any state.”

But this attitude that was imposed on Kosovo, making it impossible to realize the political and historical will of the Albanian people for unification in one state, is being radically revised by the western diplomacy itself. Of course, again taking into consideration the interests of Serbia and the possibility that the north of Kosovo will be annexed to it!

“On the one hand, the US and the EU support the struggle of Ukrainians for democratic and Western values. However, in the Balkans, the US and, after it, the EU, want to adopt ethno-nationalist positions and hope to limit Moscow’s influence there. Therefore, they are even trying to “deal” with politicians who defend war crimes and openly identify themselves as sympathizers of Putin”, writes well-known German journalist Erich Ratfelder [Erich Rathfelder] in the German daily TAZ.[2]

Since the end of the wars in the former Yugoslavia and its relegation to history, the West had invested in its strategy for the democratization of the states that had come out of that “prison of the peoples”, as Yugoslavia was rightly called, assisting with large aid. financial and political support in the promotion of EU values as a prerequisite for integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures. This process took off especially at the Thessaloniki Conference (2003), enabling the two northern republics – Slovenia and Croatia – to join the EU and NATO, followed by the integration of Montenegro into the NATO security architecture. of Macedonia land with Albania. But the “Achilles’ heel” against this integration process of the Balkans remained Serbia and Russia’s involvement deep in the political, military and security structures not only in Serbia, but also in the Serbian entity Republika Srpska that the Perednimi itself had created as a “Horse Troy” for the fragile state of Bosnia with the Dayton decisions.

According to American critical voices, otherwise well acquainted with the West’s strategy for and around the Balkans [Janusz Bugajski, Kurt Bassuener….], this strategy has already been abandoned. Consequently, the West is in danger of falling into Serbia’s trap.

In view of the war in Ukraine, Washington harbors hopes of being able to win over incumbent Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to the West while accommodating the Croatian right wing, which sympathizes with Putin. At least that’s how one of the best experts in the region, Kurt Bassuener, from the transatlantic institute of the Council for Democratization Policies e. V. (DPC) the new policy,[3] underlines in his analysis Ratfelder.

The US and the EU accept the involvement of Croatian ethno-nationalists in Bosnia and Serbia in Kosovo in the hope that they will succeed in limiting and controlling Moscow’s influence in the Balkans.

Meanwhile, this failure of Western diplomacy, for those well acquainted with the political history of South-Eastern Europe and especially the Albanian one, cannot help but remind you of the Conference of Ambassadors in London in 1913, when it took a position on the mutilation of Albania in in the name of maintaining peace in Europe, despite the fact that that peace was overturned just a few months later by Serbia, through the assassination that will be carried out on 27 March 2014 on the heir to the throne Franc Ferdinand.

On the 100th anniversary of this event, the weapons used by the Serbian student, Gavrilo Princip, the act that caused the First World War, are exhibited in a military history museum in Vienna, on June 28, 2014. Fragile peace created to the detriment of interests vital Albanians in the world, could not be preserved for more than a year.

Even currently, Western diplomacy – the USA and the EU – are supporting the anti-democratic forces in the Balkans, falling into the dangerous trap that Belgrade and Moscow have set in response to the West’s involvement in Ukraine. Does this radical change of the paradigm of Western diplomacy serve the long-term interests of Europe and the West?

Alarm bells are already ringing. If the war in Ukraine caused the EU to increase its geopolitical weight, the outbreak of war in the Balkans again, without drying the scars of the wars of the last decade of the century. The 20th, more than anything else, will remind us of Thucydides’ Trap, which this time can be renamed the “Serbian Trap”.



3. Ibid

Dr. Sadri Ramabaja

Dr. Sadri Ramabaja was born on October 4th, 1961 in the Village of Gollak, in the town of Dardania, Republic of Kosovo. Dr. Ramabaja has been an active member of the National Albanian Union Party for over fifteen years (1990-2005) until this political party ceased to exist and later on actively participated in the Social Democratic Party of Kosovo. Since 2010 has emerged as one of the leaders of the Self Determination Movement while promoting the main principles of this alliance and is a member of the National Assembly of Prishtina for two terms. In 1983 he was arrested by the Serbian Secret Service for his active role in Kosovo’s quest for independence. Thereafter Dr. Ramabaja was jailed as a political disident for three years in the penitentiary of Vraja. During his residence in Switzerland (1987-2002) he continued his University studies in Tirana, and his postgraduate studies in the University of Basel, in the European Studies Institute. For three years in a row (1987-1990) Dr. Ramabaja was the editor of VOICE OF KOSOVO, a newspaper published in Switezerland. During the years 2001-2004 he was the professional collaborator for Communications Media at the OST Institute-West in Bern, Switzerland. In 2002 returned to Kosovo and continued with his post-graduate studies at the College of Law and International Relations, where he graduated with a Masters Degree in International Law Sciences. In 2004-2006 Dr. Ramabaja served as a Senior Political Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo. In November 2008 was a PHD Student of Political Sciences and International Relations, in the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) at the Peace University of the United Nations. In 2012 was transferred at the Graduate School of the European University of Tirana, to continue with his postgraduate degree defended through the presentation of his dissertation: “Albanian Federation-Cohesion of a Nation-State and the European Union” Dr. Ramabaja, has been published abroad in many renowned newspapers and magazines; has published eleven scientific and research papers in the field of international affairs and geopolitical studies. He is a Fellow of the International Political Studies Institute of Skopie, Macedonia. Dr. Ramabaja is the author of four Books in Albanian Language: “Realizmi politik dhe çështja kombëtare” (Tiranë, 1998); “UE-ja shpresë apo ringjallje utopish” (Prishtinë, 2003); “Gazetaria” (one of four co-authors of this university text book- Tiranë,2002); “Feniksit ia gjeta çerdhen”(Poetry - Tiranë, 1993); “Federata Shqiptare – Kohezioni i shteti-komb në BE”(Ph.D. Dissertation).

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