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Security tightens in Ukraine – for two weeks

November 15, 2015

Following on seamlessly from yesterday’s entry relating to the arrest of a Russian Jamaat leader of the Al Nusra Front at Boryspil airport in Kyiv on 11th November, coincidently published a matter of hours before Islamic terrorists committed heinous crimes in Paris with tragic consequences, Kyiv has announced a major tightening of security.

Interior Ministry, National Guard, State Emergency Service, police and State Border Service personnel will be visible at airports, train stations, bus depots, bridges, critical highways, diplomatic missions, MIC complexes, and venues where mass gatherings will occur.

This security tightening will last for the next two weeks, with the Interior Minster calling for public assistance in reporting suspicious behaviour and packages – not to mention public tolerance.

However, there is a requirement to recognise that this response is not entirely a reaction to events in Paris, nor the recognition following an Islamic terrorist at Boryspil airport that Ukraine is at the very least, on occasion, being used as a transit nation by some.

The notable current up-tick in the fighting and continuing death and injury on the front line in eastern Ukraine therefore may foretell a return to a more regular bombing campaign across Ukraine once more too.  For sure, dark nights, bulky coats, hats and scarves make secreting bombs and hiding identities far easier than mid-summer nights dressed in T shirts, shorts and flip-flops.

Further, the superstitious and cynical will be aware that President Putin will appear at the G20 15/16 November, and his very few appearances upon the world stage over the past 2 or 3 years have immediately preceded Kremlin military action several times.  The Kremlin likes to negotiate from (perceived) positions of strength, and in the absence of any meaningful soft power or attraction, that has increasingly occurred on the back of, or the threat of, imminent military action – be it directly attributable or (implausibly) deniable.  With numerous political and trade deadlines approaching that the Kremlin dislikes intensely, disproportionate and often self-harming actions can be expected designed to cripple Ukraine.

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The question however, is why will this tightening of security last for 2 weeks?

Is it a timescale pulled from thin air – or is it based upon intelligence?

Is it the activation of part of a preconceived plan that circumstances provide the environment to check whether it is “fit for purpose”?  (Fit for purpose does not mean 100% security – for there is no such thing.)

Security doctrines are not something that can remain static. They are something that to remain relevant, are required to be somewhat more of a “living document/plan/strategy”.  Such policy documents are subject to a great deal of thought of course. Both by way of practicalities, as well as political, legal and also ethical constraints – including necessary, albeit often secretive oversight when it comes to the implementation of such doctrines.

Security doctrines (in the democratic world) operate from a foundation of proportionality and necessity – not to mention political and legal oversight.

Is a 2 week tightening of Ukrainian national security both necessary and proportionate?  Is that time frame too long – or not long enough?

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