If all goes according to plan, Putin, this Friday, will announce the annexation of the parts of Ukraine he holds under the pretext that this is the wish of the people of Ukraine as it was expressed in a so called a free, democratic referendum.
This is relatively easy to do, but things are not so simple. The referendum results will show that the great majority of the citizens of these regions will want their integration into Russia, but the legitimacy they need and seek will never be secured – earlier opinion polls did not indicate that amount of support for annexation.
It is possible that today – and as long as he lives – these lands will be part of Russia. Today he can be considered a hero and a conqueror, the one who enlarged the borders of mother Russia to their extend under the tsars.
But there will come a day, as history amply proves, when what is being done today will be a cause of war.
It will only be a matter of time before that happens.
It is certain that Erdogan will be watching the annexation of the Ukrainian territories by Russia very carefully. And he will watch because he will try to draw conclusions. To copy the recipe.
And for the area of Cyprus that it has occupied since 1974 under an administration which no other country, apart from Turkey, dared to recognize, and for possible dreams he has regarding our islands.
And this, regardless of the legal formalities – largely rooted in fantasy – that he tries to wrap them with.
The forcible change of borders, for nearly 400 years, from 1648 onwards, since the Treaty of Westphalia, is not internationally accepted. It is not legitimate. Rather, it is recognized a major cause of war.
This may leave leaders like Putin and Erdogan coldly indifferent, because they are driven by their temporary personal interests. But it leaves their countries’ doors wide open in future conflicts.