Russian President Vladimir Putin’s priority is to destroy Ukraine as a state, and his expansionist ambitions target the Baltic countries and the Republic of Moldova as well. The opinion was expressed by Colonel (Ret.) Andrei Covrig during an IPN debate.
Andrei Covrig, who fought in the Afghanistan war, said that, as in Ukraine today, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had the pretense of protecting the country’s population, but the reality on the battlefield was completely different from what the Soviet propaganda was saying.
“The first reaction I saw before we entered Afghanistan: a conscript of Azeri origin refused to go. He told us that he had no business in Afghanistan because his Muslim brothers were there. There were cases when the officers understood that what was happening in Afghanistan was not normal. We were not fulfilling our duty of ‘proletarian internationalism’, what kind of proletarians in Afghanistan? Over time, everybody began to understand that weren’t supposed to be there. In Afghanistan, we lost 301 Moldovans, and 4 others were reported missing. They brought them in zinc-lined coffins where the parents couldn’t see them”, recalls the retired colonel.
According to him, the war in Afghanistan had serious repercussions on the survivors of the military conflict. And the horrors committed in Afghanistan are now repeated in Ukraine, he says.
“The invasion of Afghanistan was an absolute failure. Every year there was a contingent of 100,000 troops. Over 600,000 troops passed through Afghanistan in 10 years. There were no rules there either. More than 4,000 officers and soldiers were convicted by military tribunals. There were many military violations and military crimes. There was also the aspect of psychological trauma. Our Moldovans also returned with such traumas, their psyches were deformed. Narcomania flourished throughout the Soviet Union, with the habit coming from Afghanistan”, Andrei Covrig said.
Russia has an expansionist mentality, and President Putin’s goal is to restore an empire, says Andrei Covrig. According to the retired colonel, a possible defeat of Ukraine in this war will cause Russia to covet the Republic of Moldova and the territories of the Baltic countries.
“Their invariable pretext is liberation. In 1997, I had the opportunity to ask Lavrov (now Russia’s foreign minister) how he saw the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict. He pointed out very clearly that those were citizens of the Russian Federation. That is, the person who holds the citizenship of the Russian Federation is protected, no matter where he is. From their point of view, this is a good reason to deploy armed forces. In Ukraine, the first and second phases of the war are now over. We are entering the third phase. We understand from Putin’s speech that he aims to destroy Ukraine. Ukraine is a stage that will precede an expansion towards the Baltic countries, the Republic of Moldova", the retired colonel believes.
The debate titled “Nostalgia for military grandeur of USSR as explanation for approval of current invasions” was the fifth installment of IPN’s series “100 years with USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras”, held with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.