The war in Ukraine, a real expert speaking.
As with the corona hoax, 'experts' are now appearing from all corners and holes to air their, usually completely unfounded, opinions about the war between Ukraine and Russia. As with the corona hoax, if you are 'for', you are right, or if you are 'against', then you are wrong. The less substantiated the opinions of the 'experts' are, the more attention they receive from the MSM.
I myself have also walked on the slippery ice a few times and posted articles about the Ukraine/Russia conflict. But it was mainly about the one-sided reporting of the MSM and the outright lies spread by the MSM. We don't hear much about the results of the quickly rushed forensic experts who investigated the massacres in Butsa, nor about the bomb attack on the train station which, in hindsight really proved beyond doubt, was also committed by the Ukrainian army. The fact checkers, along with the MSM, are silent.
I came across an analysis on the geopolitical situation in Ukraine by someone who is really an expert on the subject, Jacques Baud. He was a colonel of the Swiss General Staff and a member of the strategic intelligence service specializing in Eastern Europe and has an impressive track record. I have carefully read his historical perspective and am publishing his story on CSTV.
It's a long and complicated story. That is perhaps also the reason that the MSN are not so keen to really find out what is at the root of this complicated war. You have to believe the bite-sized chunks of the regime and the same wappies who are trying to expose the truth behind the corona hoax are now the wappies of the Ukraine/Russia war.
If you are interested in knowing the true backgrounds of this conflict, take your time to read this story by Jacques Baud:
The geopolitical situation in Ukraine, nothing is as we were told
By Jacques Baud, former colonel of the General Staff, former member of the Swiss strategic intelligence service, specialist in Eastern Europe
Part One: Towards War
For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. So it is not a question of justifying the war, but of understanding what led us to it. I notice that the "experts" who take turns on television analyze the situation on the basis of questionable information, usually hypotheses turned into facts, and then we can no longer understand what is going on. This is how panic arises.
The problem is not so much who is right in this conflict, but how our leaders make decisions.
Let's try to look at the roots of the conflict. It starts with those who have been talking about "separatists" or "independents" in Donbass for the past eight years. That is not true. The referendums held by the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014 were not referendums on “independence” (независимость), as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums on “self-determination” or “autonomy” (самостоятельность). The term "pro-Russian" suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which it was not, and "Russian-speaking" would have been fairer. Moreover, these referendums were held against Vladimir Putin's advice.
In fact, these republics did not strive for secession from Ukraine, but for an autonomous status guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language. For the first legislative act of the new government that resulted from the overthrow of President Yanukovych was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the 2012 Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law that made Russian an official language. This is like coup plotters deciding that French and Italian are no longer official languages in Switzerland.
This decision caused a storm among the Russian-speaking population. The result was a fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk), which started in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and several massacres (in Odessa and Mariupol, to name the most important). . At the end of the summer of 2014, only the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk remained.
At this stage, the Ukrainian staffs were too rigid and entrenched in a doctrinal approach to the art of operations, and were unable to impose themselves on the enemy. An examination of the conduct of the fighting in the Donbass in 2014-2016 shows that the Ukrainian General Staff systematically and mechanically applied the same operational patterns. However, the war waged by the Autonomists was very similar to what we see in the Sahel: highly mobile operations carried out with light means. With a more lenient and less doctrinal approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of the Ukrainian armed forces to repeatedly “entrap” them.
In 2014, I am at NATO responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we are trying to track down Russian arms supplies to the rebels to see if Moscow is involved. The information we receive at that time comes almost entirely from the Polish intelligence service and "doesn't match" with the information from the OSCE: despite some rather egregious allegations, there are no reports of arms and military equipment being delivered from Russia.
The rebels are armed by defectors from Russian-speaking Ukrainian units to the rebel side. As the Ukrainians' failure continues, tank, artillery and anti-aircraft battalions swell the ranks of the Autonomous. This is what drives Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk agreements.
But just after the signing of the Minsk 1 accords, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launches a large-scale counter-terrorist operation (ATO/Антитерористична операція) against the Donbass. Bis repetita placent: Badly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat in Debaltsevo that forced them to commit to the Minsk 2 accords…
It is essential to recall here that the agreements of Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) did not provide for the secession or independence of the republics, but for their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine. Those who have read the agreements (there are very, very, very few) will note that it states in full that the status of the republics had to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the republics, with a view to an internal solution within Ukraine.
Therefore, Russia has systematically demanded its implementation since 2014, while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, as it was an internal matter of Ukraine. On the other hand, the West – led by France – has systematically tried to replace the Minsk accords with the “Normandy format”, which pitted the Russians and the Ukrainians against each other. However, let's not forget that there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before February 23-24, 2022. Moreover, OSCE observers have never seen the slightest trace of Russian units in the Donbass. For example, the US intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 shows no Russian troops in the Donbass.
In October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been sighted in the Donbass. This was comparable to the Swiss who went to fight in Bosnia on the weekends in the XNUMXs or the French who went to fight in Ukraine today.
The Ukrainian army was in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief prosecutor of the Ukrainian army, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2700 troops in the Donbass: 891 to illness, 318 to traffic accidents, 177 to other accidents, 175 to poisoning (alcohol, drugs 172 for careless handling of weapons, 101 for safety violations, 228 for murder and 615 for suicide.
In fact, the military is undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoys popular support. According to a report from the UK Home Office, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70% did not show up for the first session, 80% for the second, 90% for the third and 95% for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts failed to show up for the “Autumn 2017” recall. This is without counting the suicides and desertions (often to self-employed persons), which amount to 30% of the working population in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refuse to fight in the Donbass and prefer emigration, which also explains, at least in part, the country's demographic deficit.
Ukraine's defense ministry then turned to NATO for help in making its armed forces "more attractive". Having already participated in similar projects within the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But this is a lengthy process and the Ukrainians want to act quickly.
To compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias. They mainly consist of foreign mercenaries, often far-right militants. In 2020 they will make up about 40% of Ukraine's armed forces and number about 102.000 men, according to Reuters. They are armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. There are more than 19 nationalities – including Swiss.
Western countries have thus clearly created and supported extreme right-wing Ukrainian militias. In October 2021, the Jerusalem Post sounded the alarm by denouncing the Centuria project. These militias have been operating in the Donbass since 2014, with support from the West. While the term "Nazi" is debatable, the fact remains that these militias are violent, carry a sickening ideology and are virulently anti-Semitic. Their anti-Semitism is more cultural than political, which is why the term "Nazi" is not really appropriate. Their hatred of the Jew stems from the great famines of the XNUMXs and XNUMXs in Ukraine, which resulted from Stalin's confiscation of crops to finance the modernization of the Red Army. This genocide – known in Ukraine as the Holodomor – was carried out by the NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB), whose upper echelons of leadership were mainly made up of Jews. This is why Ukrainian extremists today are asking Israel to apologize for the crimes of communism, as the Jerusalem Post notes. This is quite different from Vladimir Putin's “rewriting of history”.
These militias, which stem from the far-right groups that led the Euromaidan revolution in 2014, are made up of fanatical and vicious individuals. The best-known regiment is the Azov Regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division, which is revered in Ukraine for the liberation of Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943, before the Oradour-sur-Sur-sur-face massacre in France in 1944. Shine to target.
One of the well-known figures of the Azov Regiment was opposition leader Roman Protassevich, who was arrested by Belarusian authorities in 2021 in connection with the RyanAir FR4978 affair. On May 23, 2021, there was talk of the deliberate hijacking of an airliner by a MiG-29 – with Putin's permission, of course – in order to arrest Protassevich, although the information available at the time did not confirm this scenario at all.
But then it must be shown that President Lukashenko is a criminal and Protassevich a democracy-loving “journalist”. However, a fairly edifying investigation conducted in 2020 by a US NGO has uncovered Protassevitch's far-right militant activities. Western conspiracy theorists then got to work and unscrupulous media "prepared" his biography. Finally, in January 2022, the ICAO report will be published, showing that despite some procedural errors, Belarus acted according to the rules in force and that the MiG-29 took off 15 minutes after the RyanAir pilot decided to land in Minsk. So no Belarusian conspiracy and even less with Putin. Ah!… Another detail: Protassevitch, brutally tortured by the Belarusian police, is now free. Anyone wishing to correspond with him can visit his Twitter account.
The qualifier “Nazi” or “neonazi” given to Ukrainian paramilitaries is considered Russian propaganda. Perhaps, but this is not the opinion of the Times of Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or the West Point Academy's Center for Counterterrorism. But that remains debatable, because in 2014 Newsweek magazine seemed to associate them more with… the Islamic State. Take your pick!
Thus, the West supports and continues to arm militias that have committed numerous crimes against the civilian population since 2014: rape, torture and massacres. But while the Swiss government has been very quick to adopt sanctions against Russia, it has taken none against Ukraine, which has been slaughtering its own people since 2014. Human rights defenders in Ukraine have long condemned the actions of these groups, but are not followed by our governments. Because in reality we are not trying to help Ukraine, but to fight Russia.
The integration of these paramilitary forces into the National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification”, as some claim. Among the many examples, the Azov Regiment insignia is edifying:
In 2022, very schematically, the Ukrainian armed forces fighting against the Russian offensive are worded as:
- Army, subordinate to the Ministry of Defense: it is divided into 3 army corps and composed of maneuver formations (tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, etc.).
- National Guard, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior and is organized into 5 territorial commands.
The National Guard is thus a territorial defense force that is not part of the Ukrainian army. It includes paramilitary militias, the so-called “volunteer battalions” (добровольчі батальйоні), also known as “reprisal battalions” composed of infantry. Trained mainly for urban combat, they now defend cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, Kiev, etc.
Part Two: The War
As a former head of the Warsaw Pact armed forces in the Swiss strategic intelligence service, I note with sadness – but not surprise – that our services are no longer able to understand the military situation in Ukraine. The self-proclaimed “experts” who parade on our screens tirelessly relay the same information, modulated by the claim that Russia – and Vladimir Putin – is irrational. Let's take a step back.
The outbreak of the war
Since November 2021, the Americans have been constantly threatening a Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians do not seem to share this view. Why not?
You have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the reconquest of Crimea and began deploying his troops in the south of the country. At the same time, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia has subsequently conducted a number of exercises to test the operational readiness of its forces and demonstrate that it is monitoring the situation.
Things will calm down until October-November with the end of the ZAPAD 21 exercises, whose troop movements are interpreted as a reinforcement for an offensive against Ukraine. But even the Ukrainian authorities refute the idea of Russian preparations for war and Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine's defense minister, declares that there has been no change at his border since the spring.
In violation of the Minsk accords, Ukraine is conducting aerial drone operations in Donbass, including at least one attack on a fuel depot in Donetsk in October 2021. The US press is picking this up, but the Europeans are not and no one is condemning these violations.
In February 2022, events accelerate. On February 7, during his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his commitment to the Minsk accords to Vladimir Putin, a commitment he reiterated the following day at the end of his meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky. But on February 11, the meeting of the political advisers of the leaders of the "Norman format" in Berlin, after nine hours of work, ended without any concrete result: the Ukrainians still refused to apply the Minsk agreements, apparently under pressure from the United States. Vladimir Putin noted that Macron had made empty promises and that the West was unwilling to uphold the agreements, as it has been doing for eight years.
Ukrainian preparations in the contact zone continue. The Russian parliament was alarmed and asked Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the republics on February 15, which he refused.
On February 17, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack Ukraine in the coming days. How does he know this? But since the 16th, artillery shelling against the population of Donbass has increased dramatically, as evidenced by daily reports from OSCE observers. Of course, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government have reacted or intervened. Later it will be said that this is Russian disinformation. It even appears that the European Union and some countries have deliberately concealed the massacre of the Donbass people, knowing that this would provoke Russian intervention.
At the same time, there are reports of sabotage in the Donbass. On January 18, Donbass fighters intercepted saboteurs who wanted to cause chemical incidents in Gorlivka with Western and Polish equipment. They could be CIA mercenaries, led or "advised" by the Americans and composed of Ukrainian or European fighters, for carrying out sabotage operations in the Donbass republics.
In fact, as early as February 16, Joe Biden knew that the Ukrainians had started shelling the civilian population of Donbass, putting Vladimir Putin in a difficult position: helping Donbass militarily and creating an international problem or watching the Russian-speaking population of Donbass become crushed.
If he decides to intervene, Vladimir Putin can invoke the international obligation of “Responsibility To Protect” (R2P). But he knows that the intervention, whatever its nature or size, will trigger a hail of sanctions. Whether its intervention is limited to the Donbass or goes further to pressure the West for Ukraine's status, the price will be the same. This is what he stated in his February 21 speech.
On that day, he accepted the Duma's request and recognized the independence of the two Donbass republics, simultaneously signing friendship and assistance treaties.
The Ukrainian artillery bombardment of the people of the Donbass continued and on February 23, the two republics requested Russian military assistance. On February 24, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which provides for mutual military assistance in the context of a defensive alliance.
In order to make the Russian intervention completely illegal in the eyes of the public, we deliberately conceal the fact that the war actually started on 16 February. The Ukrainian army was already preparing for an attack on the Donbass in 2021, as some Russian and European intelligence agencies knew… Lawyers will judge.
In his February 24 speech, Vladimir Putin stated the two objectives of his operation: to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. So it's not about taking over Ukraine, and probably not even about occupying it, and certainly not about destroying it.
From that moment on, our view of the course of the operation is limited: the Russians have excellent security of operations (OPSEC) and the details of their planning are unknown. But the course of the operation soon made it possible to understand how the strategic objectives were translated into operational terms.
- ground destruction of Ukrainian aviation, air defense systems and reconnaissance aircraft;
- neutralization of the command and intelligence structures (C3I), as well as of the main logistical routes in the depth of the territory ;
- encirclement of the bulk of the Ukrainian army in the southeast of the country.
- Denazification :
- destruction or neutralization of the voluntary battalions operating in the cities of Odessa, Kharkov and Mariupol, as well as in various facilities in the territory.
The Russian offensive was carried out in a very 'classic' manner. Initially – as the Israelis had done in 1967 – with the destruction of the air force on the ground in the very first hours. Then we witnessed a simultaneous advance on different axes according to the principle of “flowing water” : we advanced wherever the resistance was weak and left the cities (very voracious in troops) for later. In the north, the Chernobyl plant was immediately occupied to prevent sabotage. The images of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers guarding the factory together are of course not visible…
The idea that Russia is trying to take over Kiev, the capital, to take out Zelensky, is typical of the West: this is what they did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and what they wanted to do in Syria with the help of the Islamic State . But Vladimir Putin never intended to shoot or overthrow Zelensky. Instead, Russia is trying to keep him in power by forcing him to negotiate by surrounding Kiev. He had so far refused to implement the Minsk agreements, but now the Russians want to obtain Ukraine's neutrality.
Many Western commentators were surprised that the Russians continued to push for a negotiated solution while conducting military operations. The explanation lies in the Russian strategic conception, since the Soviet era. For the West, the war begins when politics ends. But the Russian approach follows a Clausewitzian inspiration: war is the continuity of politics, and one can move fluently from one to another, even during combat. This creates pressure on the opponent and encourages him to negotiate.
From an operational point of view, the Russian offensive was an example of its kind: in six days the Russians conquered an area the size of the United Kingdom, with an advance rate greater than what the Wehrmacht had achieved in 1940.
The bulk of the Ukrainian army has been deployed in the south of the country in preparation for a major operation against the Donbass. Therefore, from the beginning of March, the Russian forces were able to surround it in the “cauldron” between Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk, with one push from the east via Kharkov and another from the south from Crimea. Troops from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) republics complement the Russian forces with an advance from the east.
At this stage, the Russian forces are slowly tightening their grip, but are no longer under time pressure. Their demilitarization objective is nearing completion and the remaining Ukrainian Armed Forces no longer have an operational and strategic command structure.
The “delay” that our “experts” attribute to poor logistics is merely the result of their achievement of their objectives. Russia does not seem to want to proceed with an occupation of the entire Ukrainian territory. In fact, it seems that Russia wants to limit its advance to the language border of the country.
Our media is talking about indiscriminate bombing of civilians, especially in Kharkov, and Dantean images are broadcast in a loop. But Gonzalo Lira, a Latin American living there, shows us a quiet city on March 10 and March 11. It's true that it's a big city and we can't see everything, but this seems to indicate that we are not in the all-out war that we constantly see on our screens.
The Donbass Republics have "liberated" their own territory and are fighting in the city of Mariupol.
In cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa, the defense is led by paramilitary militias. They know that the goal of the “denazification” is primarily against them.
Citizens are a problem for an attacker in an urban area. That is why Russia is trying to create humanitarian corridors to rid the cities of civilians and leave only the militias to fight them more easily.
Conversely, these militias try to keep the civilians in the cities to stop the Russian army from fighting there. That is why they are hesitant to introduce these corridors and are doing everything they can to ensure that Russian efforts are in vain: they can use the civilian population as a “human shield”. Videos showing civilians trying to leave Mariupol and being beaten up by fighters from the Azov regiment are, of course, carefully censored here.
On Facebook, the Azov group was placed in the same category as Islamic State and subject to the platform's "Policy on Dangerous Persons and Organizations". Therefore, it was forbidden to glorify it and “messages” favorable to it were systematically banned. But on February 24, Facebook changed its policy and allowed posts favorable to the militias. In a similar vein, in March, the platform authorized calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders in former Eastern European countries. So much for the values that inspire our leaders, as we'll see.
Our media propagate a romantic image of popular resistance. It is this image that has led the European Union to fund the distribution of weapons to the civilian population. This is a criminal act. In my capacity as head of peacekeeping doctrine at the UN, I have worked on the issue of protecting civilians. We found that violence against civilians took place in very specific contexts. In particular, where there is a lot of weaponry and no command structures.
These command structures are the essence of armies: their function is to channel the use of force towards a target. By arming civilians haphazardly, as is now the case, the EU turns them into combatants, with all that entails: potential targets. Moreover, the distribution of weapons without orders, without operational objectives, inevitably leads to settling down, banditry and actions that are more lethal than effective. War becomes an emotional affair. Power becomes violence. This is what happened from August 11-13, 2011 in Tawarga, Libya, where 30.000 black Africans were massacred with weapons parachuted (illegally) from France. The British Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (RUSI) does not see any added value in these arms supplies.
Moreover, by supplying weapons to a country at war, one runs the risk of being regarded as a belligerent. The March 13, 2022 Russian attacks on Mykolaev airbase followed Russian warnings that arms transports would be treated as enemy targets.
The EU reiterates the disastrous experience of the Third Reich in the closing hours of the Battle of Berlin. War must be left to the military, and if one side has lost, it must be admitted. And if there is to be resistance, it must be guided and structured. But we do the exact opposite: we push civilians to fight and at the same time Facebook allows calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire us.
Some intelligence agencies see this irresponsible decision as a way to use the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in the fight against Vladimir Putin's Russia. These murderous decisions should have been left to the colleagues of Ursula von der Leyen's grandfather. It would have been better to enter into negotiations and thus obtain guarantees for the civilian population than to throw fuel on the fire. It's easy to be combative with the blood of others...
The maternity hospital in Mariupol
It is important to understand in advance that it is not the Ukrainian army that defends Marioupol, but the Azov militia, which consists of foreign mercenaries.
In its summary of the situation on March 7, 2022, Russia's UN mission in New York said: "Residents report that Ukrainian armed forces removed personnel from Mariupol City's Birth Hospital No. 1 and set up a shooting range inside the facility."
On March 8, the independent Russian media Lenta.ru published the testimonies of civilians from Mariupol who stated that the Azov militia had taken over the maternity hospital and chased the civilian residents at gunpoint. They thus confirm the statements of the Russian ambassador of a few hours earlier.
The hospital in Mariupol occupies a dominant position, perfectly suited for the installation of anti-tank weapons and for observation. On March 9, Russian troops smashed into the building. According to CNN, 17 people were injured, but the images show no casualties on the ground and there is no evidence that the said casualties are related to this attack. There is talk of children, but in reality there is nothing. This may be true, but it may also not be true… This doesn't stop EU leaders from seeing it as a war crime… Allowing Zelensky to call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine…
In reality, we don't know exactly what happened. But the sequence of events seems to confirm that Russian troops hit a position of the Azov regiment and that the maternity ward was then free of civilians.
The problem is that the paramilitary militias defending the cities are encouraged by the international community not to respect the war customs. It appears that the Ukrainians re-enacted the scenario of the 1990 Kuwait City maternity hospital, which was staged entirely by the Hill & Knowlton firm for $10,7 million to persuade the UN Security Council to enter Iraq. grab for Operation Desert Shield/ Storm.
Western politicians have accepted civilian attacks in the Donbass for eight years without imposing sanctions on the Ukrainian government. We have long entered a dynamic where Western politicians have agreed to sacrifice international law for the purpose of weakening Russia.
Part Three: Conclusions
As an ex-intelligence expert, the first thing that strikes me is the total lack of Western intelligence in reporting the situation over the past year. In Switzerland, the services have been criticized for not providing an accurate picture of the situation. In fact, it seems that all over the Western world, the services have been overrun by the politicians. The problem is, it's the politicians who decide: the best intelligence in the world is useless if the decision maker doesn't listen. That is what has happened in this crisis.
But while some intelligence agencies had a very accurate and rational picture of the situation, others clearly had the same picture as that propagated by our media. In this crisis, the services of the countries of the “new Europe” have played an important role. The problem is that I have found from experience that they are extremely bad at analysis: doctrinaire, they lack the intellectual and political independence to judge a situation of military "quality". It is better to have them as enemies than as friends.
Second, it seems that in some European countries, politicians have deliberately ignored their services in order to play on the situation ideologically. That is why this crisis has been irrational from the start. It should be noted that all documents presented to the public during this crisis have been presented by politicians based on commercial sources…
Some western politicians clearly wanted a conflict to happen. In the United States, the attack scenarios Anthony Blinken presented to the Security Council were the brainchild of a Tiger Team that worked for him: He did exactly what Donald Rumsfeld did in 2002, which was to "bypass" the CIA and other intelligence agencies that were far less assertive. on Iraqi chemical weapons.
The dramatic developments we are witnessing today have causes we knew but refused to see:
- strategically, NATO enlargement (which we have not covered here);
- politically, the Western refusal to implement the Minsk agreements;
- and operationally, the continued and repeated attacks on the civilian population of the Donbass over the past few years and the dramatic increase in late February 2022.
In other words, we can of course deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (ie the US, France and the EU first) have created the conditions for conflict to break out. We express our sympathy for the Ukrainian people and the two million refugees. That's fine. But if we had had one shred of compassion for the same number of refugees from the Ukrainian population of the Donbass who were massacred by their own government and piled up in Russia for eight years, none of this probably would have happened.
Whether the term "genocide" applies to the abuses that the people of Donbass have suffered is an open question. The term is usually reserved for larger-scale cases (Holocaust, etc.), but the definition in the Convention on Genocide is probably broad enough to apply. Legal scholars will appreciate this.
It is clear that this conflict has led us to hysteria. Sanctions seem to have become the instrument of choice for our foreign policy. If we had insisted that Ukraine abide by the Minsk agreements that we had negotiated and signed, none of this would have happened. Vladimir Putin's conviction is also ours. There's no point in nagging afterwards, we should have acted sooner. But neither Emmanuel Macron (as guarantor and member of the UN Security Council), nor Olaf Scholz, nor Volodymyr Zelensky have fulfilled their commitments. In the end, the real defeat is that of those who have no word.
The European Union was unable to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements, on the contrary, it failed to react when Ukraine bombed its own people in the Donbass. If that had happened, Vladimir Putin would not have had to respond. Absent from the diplomatic phase, the EU distinguished itself by fueling the conflict. On February 27, the Ukrainian government agreed to start negotiations with Russia. But a few hours later, the European Union voted on a budget of 450 million euros to supply arms to Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. From that moment on, the Ukrainians feel that they do not need to reach an agreement. The resistance of the Azov militia in Mariupol will even provoke an arms impulse of 500 million euros.
In Ukraine, with the blessing of Western countries, the proponents of negotiation are being eliminated. This is the case with Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, who was assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) for being too favorable to Russia and considered a traitor. The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU's main directorate for Kiev and the region, who was assassinated on March 10 for being too sympathetic to an agreement with Russia: he was shot by the Mirotvorets ("peacemakers") militia. . This militia is linked to the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine”, with their personal data, addresses and phone numbers, so that they can be harassed or even eliminated; a practice that is punishable in many countries, but not in Ukraine. The UN and some European countries have demanded its closure… but the Rada refused.
Ultimately, the price will be high, but Vladimir Putin is likely to achieve the goals he set himself. His ties with Beijing have been strengthened. China is set to act as a mediator in the conflict, while Switzerland is on the list of enemies of Russia. The Americans must ask Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy stalemate they have put themselves in: Juan Guaido is leaving the scene for good and the US must woefully backtrack on sanctions imposed on its enemies.
Western ministers who want to collapse the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer, or even call for Putin's assassination, are showing (even if they have partially reversed the form of their words, but not the substance!) that our leaders be no better than those we hate. Sanctioning Russian athletes in the Para-Olympic Games or Russian performers has nothing to do with fighting Putin.
So we recognize that Russia is a democracy because we believe that the Russian people are responsible for the war. If not, why are we punishing an entire population for the fault of one person? Let's not forget that collective punishment is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions…
The lesson to be learned from this conflict is our sense of variable geometry humanity. If we cared so much about peace and Ukraine, why didn't we encourage it more to honor the agreements it had signed and which the members of the Security Council had approved?
The integrity of the media is measured by their willingness to work within the terms of the Munich Charter. They had managed to propagate hatred against the Chinese during the Covid crisis and their polarized message is having the same effect against the Russians. Journalism increasingly loses its professionalism and becomes militant…
As Goethe said, "The greater the light, the darker the shadow." The more the sanctions against Russia are blown out of proportion, the more the cases where we have done nothing highlight our racism and our servitude. Why have Western politicians failed to respond to the attacks on the civilian population of Donbass for eight years?
After all, what makes the conflict in Ukraine more culpable than the war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? What sanctions have we imposed on those who have deliberately lied to the international community to wage unjust, unjustified, unjustifiable and murderous wars? Did we try to “make the American people suffer” for lying to us (because it's a democracy!) before the Iraq war? Have we taken a single sanction against the countries, companies or politicians that supply weapons to the conflict in Yemen, which is considered the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world”? Have we imposed sanctions on the countries of the European Union which practice the most abject torture on their territory for the benefit of the United States?
To ask the question is to answer it… and the answer is not glorious.