World Flashpoint Ukraine

Steven LeBlanc

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Anti-Russian Protestors rally at Independence Square, Kiev Ukraine

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is meddling at the edges of Europe.  But why is he doing this?  Most Americans have no idea where Ukraine is located on a map, nor do they care, but they should.  Ukraine is turning out to be a major flashpoint in Europe.

Putin doesn’t view individual European countries as a particular threat to Russia, but he definitely views the European Union as a major threat to Russia’s security.  Most of Ukraine is anti-Putin (except for small sections in the east and south Ukraine).  Putin is particularly determined not to allow Ukraine to fall under the leadership of the European Union. You need to pay attention to the nation of Ukraine (population 45 million).

The violence in Ukraine and fear of regional spillover has come as quite a shock to Europeans living in Central Europe. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West, and as a route for delivering energy to Europe. Don’t forget energy is the engine of the Russian economy. Europe needs Russian gas and oil; Russia needs Europe’s hard currency, it is an uneasy marriage that could turn into a vicious European fight.

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Europe is facing its biggest security challenge since the end of the cold war. So worried is Germany over Russian aggression in Ukraine that the German military is moving to revamp its lagging military.  Berlin, after limiting defense spending for 25 years, will boost its military budget by 6 percent over the next five years.  This is all due to Russia’s grab of Crimea and its incursion into eastern Ukraine.

And now this from Germany, “The Kremlin’s behavior has put the importance of the Nato defensive alliance before our eyes. We thought for years we would not need to defend our borders, but now the facts show otherwise,” says Henning Otte, parliamentary defense spokesman for chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU/CSU bloc.

Well know political analyst Charles Krauthammer writes this about Ukraine: “THIS IS NO TRIVIAL MATTER,” “Ukraine is not just the largest European country, it’s the linchpin for VLADIMIR PUTIN’S DREAM OF A RENEWED IMPERIAL RUSSIA, hegemonic in its neighborhood and rolling back the quarter-century advancement of the ‘Europe whole and free’ bequeathed by America’s victory in the Cold War.

President Putin of Russia continually exploits weakness in the EU nations, and seeks leverage and influence in Europe through Russia’s exports of natural gas.  Europe, especially Germany, is heavily dependent upon Russian natural gas to run its factories and to heat its homes.  The Russian state energy giant Gazprom is one of the world’s biggest energy companies—a bully in the European neighborhood.  The European Union as a whole relies on Russia for a third of its natural gas. Several countries, including Poland, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia, depend on Russia for well over half their supply.  Katusa, Marin (2014-10-17). The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp (Kindle Locations 2237-2239). Russia may control as much as one-third of the world’s natural gas.  This makes Russia a first-rate power.

Much of Russian gas heading toward Europe flows through a 930-mile-long, 40-inch pipe buried in Ukrainian soil.   Currently, about a 30 percent of European Union gas comes from Russia, and at least half of that supply flows through Ukraine.  In Russian eyes Ukraine serves as a buffer against NATO, and a major transit hub for its energy that it sells to Europe.  There is no way that Putin will allow Ukraine to fall into the arms of the European Union, not while he rules Russia anyway.

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It may seem that Russia is paranoid of the West, and it is, but understand 25 million Russians (one in eight of the total population at the time) died in World War II, Russians want neutral countries on their border, countries that are aligned with no one (except Russia).  Ukraine is an open plain for any army marching toward Moscow.  Russia wants a Ukraine with strong ties to Russia that serves as a buffer state. It does not want Ukraine to become a missile-hosting member of the European Union.

At about A.D. 90, the Apostle John recorded a shocking prophecy: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). That means an army of 200 million men. This is an end-time prophecy that will involve Russian, China and other Asian nations. It refers to this Asian confederacy as the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12; Daniel 11:44).  This confederacy will attack the European Beast power (Daniel 11:44).  This is why watching Eastern Europe and the nations of Asia is a high priority.  This attack has not taken place yet, but it will take place when God’s timing for this event unfolds.  Because of its strategic setting, Ukraine is not a minor player on the world stage.

 

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