The History Between Ukraine and Russia - Part 3
Why does Ukraine still have Nazis anyway?
Author’s note: There are slight variations in the English spellings of both Ukrainian and Russian names. Some English letters are interchangeable, like ‘g’ and ‘h’, ‘i’ and ‘y’, and there may be duplicate ‘redundant’ letters, so ‘Gorsky’ and ‘Gorski’ and ‘Gorskiy’ are the same name. Other letters may be swapped if they’re phonetically (audibly) similar. The spellings used will be the ones quoted from source where possible.
Note: This article continues from the context of The History Between Ukraine and Russia, Part 1 and Part 2, and it is strongly recommended you read those articles first, as it explains a lot of the context required for this part.
Correction: The article had incorrectly placed the NED’s removal of evidence of funding on the 25th Feb in the Crimea section, with context implying it had been deleted after the Crimea invasion in 2014, however their removal of evidence occurred during military efforts in 2022 and the section placement was wrong. Our bad.
The Long Shadow of the CIA Over Ukraine
The CIA folded down OUN-B with Nazi-supporter Lebed in 1991 in light of the Soviet Collapse, forming the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America from the ashes.
In the same year, the fascist Social National Party, later Svoboda Party, was formed, tracing its provenance directly to Bandera who was backed by MI6. The CIA and other Western intel agencies were not finished with Ukraine.
The transition of Ukraine to pro-Western and pro-EU alignment was not complete, and the CIA didn’t expect the Communist parties to continue running in democratic elections. The CIA seemed to have the mindset of Henry Ford on the Model T:
Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.
The CIA had a similar mindset when it came to voting in Ukraine. You can vote for any party, so long as it is pro-Western. The idea that Ukrainians could even want to vote for a pro-Russian party democratically seemed alien to them.
Oblivious to the history of the Cossacks, the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth, the integration of Ukrainians into local Soviet governance, the mistreatment by the Nazis, the CIA could scarcely conceive a reason why Ukrainians would still vote for Russia, seeing it as some sort of Stockholm Syndrome.
This was despite Ukrainians having the freedom to vote for whomever they wanted, even proving capable of expressing themselves peacefully during the ‘Orange Revolution’ when voting didn’t turn out as expected, against a pro-Russia party, ultimately getting pro-Russia parties to play ball on election integrity checks.
The CIA wanted to ‘save the Ukrainians from themselves’ and intervene, upsetting the careful see-saw balance.
It would come to a head in 2014, where violence had broken out only a month earlier in Ukraine. The CIA backed UCCA helped organise rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests.
This was not a clandestine, secretive effort in Ukraine either, it was done explicitly by supporting Nazi organisations, in public, unbashedly, without shame.
Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, whom then Senator John McCain stood on stage with and US Diplomat Victoria Nuland joined in a photoshoot, once called for the liberation of Ukraine from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.”, harking back to the days of when Ukraine’s OUN-B collaborated with the Nazis against Communist Russia.
It was evident by the presence of two prominent US politicians, and they weren’t ashamed about it either. Victoria Nuland was caught on tape explicitly planning the plot to overthrow democratically elected Yanukovych, and the video showing the leak stayed up for 8 years before YouTube decided to censor the truth.
During the call, Nuland, who was speaking with Geoffrey Pyatt commented:
So, that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the U.N. help glue it. And, you know, Fuck the EU.
The EU took offence, not at the overt scheming to overthrow a democratic elected leader or a plot on their own front doorstep, but at the comment by Nuland saying “Fuck the EU”, with the US being forced to apologise, not for planning a coup, but for the “disparaging remarks”. EU priorities, people.
[…] we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. […]
Even though Yanukovych agreed to an EU political settlement and early elections to placate the US fueled unrest, in late 2013 violence broke out.
[…] these violent groups attacked police with “iron chains, flares, stones and petrol bombs” and tried to ram a bulldozer through police lines […]
John McCain, Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt made their involvement in the undemocratic violence even more explicit. Nuland and Pyatt “visited the square after the violence had broken out”. Violence from known Nazis.
This wasn’t purely observations from the Russian side either. Anti-fascist groups in Ukraine made similar observations, commenting:
There are lots of nationalists here including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.
Protestors seized Parliamentary buildings in their undemocratic coup, and as if Svoboda’s ties to Nazi Bandera wasn’t painfully obvious enough, they were made even more explicit in a way that would be more befitting a satire piece:
Protestors had begun occupying Kiev City Hall in December , with a portrait of Ukraine’s World War II fascist leader Stepan Bandera hanging from the rafters
The Ukrainian government continued to face further violent protests, and in January 2014, the Guardian reported:
[…] protestors broke into the Agriculture Ministry building in Kiev and occupied it. On the same day barricades were set up near the presidential headquarters. Government buildings in the west of the country had also been occupied. [...]
It is worth noticing it doesn’t say ‘the east of the country’.
With the beseiged Ukrainian government facing an impossible choice between using violence against violent foreign-backed ‘protestors’, being dragged in the Western media as being anti-humanitarian and repressive (like Syria); or choosing to give up power, Yanukovych and his party chose the latter and fled.
In his and the party’s absence, the Ukrainian Rada voted to impeach him. It’s not exactly democratic if half of the voting Parliament is intimidated by violence into hiding.
As a result of this, Russia considered - reasonably so - the actions by the US in light of Ukraine to be subversive, and did not view the Ukrainian government as being legitimate.
Despite the evident illegitimacy, the US continues to insist the new Ukrainian government was democratically elected (‘you can vote for any party so long as it is pro-Western’). Russia, reasonably, insisted to the contrary.
Despite YouTube’s censorship of Nuland’s leaked call talking about a coup, Nuland’s speech from 2013 is still up on YouTube where she brags since 1991 the U.S. had spent $5 billion to help bring about Ukraine’s “aspirations.”
There was plenty of evidence to show this wasn’t Ukraine’s aspirations, however.
Earlier in 2013, the president, Carl Gerhsman, of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - a privately funded US institution that describes itself as having “the mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world” - wrote in the Washington Post that Ukraine was:
[…] the biggest prize […]
[…] the opportunities are considerable, and there are important ways Washington could help. […]
In 2016 Carl Gerhsman said the NED has been involved in Ukraine since the 1980s and called their efforts a ‘success’.
Certainly the US exploited the opportunities on offer, as then Vice-President Joe Biden’s Son, Hunter Biden, sat on Ukraine’s Burisma energy board. It just so happens Ukraine has some of the best potential oil and gas reserves. Mostly located in Donbass.
When Ukraine’s prosecutor general Shokin tried to investigate corruption in relation to Burisma, then Vice President Joe Biden publicly, on video, bragged how he had gotten then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire the prosecutor, likely a quid-pro-joe for the US assistance in his election. Considerable opportunities indeed.
Russia Takes Over Crimea
Russia’s extreme suspicion of what happened in Ukraine spurred them to take back the Crimea as soon as late February 2014, barely a month after Yanukovych was forced to flee government.
Crimea, a region that Russia viewed as having been given away in similar suspicious circumstances as Yanukovych’s impeachment - where half of the voting party were absent - was seen as a dubiously given away gift to Ukraine.
A gift with extreme strategic importance to Russia’s naval operations in the Black sea and the sea of Azov, per the Russo-Turkish wars many centuries earlier. Russia were clearly wary of it falling into the wrong hands and potentially being used against them.
The West naturally condemned the move, with Russia declaring it was to allow the people to self-determine their futures. Russia saw what the US did in Ukraine as nothing short of a coup, an undemocratic effort.
Russia’s entry into Crimea was not without some democratic precedent: Russia declared they had been invited to take over by referendum, and the majority of formerly Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea defected to Russia, of which ~16,000 were re-employed by Russia to continue to defend the area. Not exactly violent invasion of the century.
Despite tens of thousands of armed people being involved, only three people in total were killed, one on the Russian side and two on the Ukrainian side, suggesting the takeover was largely peaceful and indeed democratic. A far cry from the violence in Kiev.
Russia declared it would abide by the later voting result of May 2014 in Ukraine, although judging by the referendum and defections in the thousands, it is clear Crimea wanted to remain with Russia.
A Pro-Russian Rebellion Breaks Out in the East of Ukraine
Following on from the centuries old, historic demographic split between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Tsarist Russia, as noted in Part 1, the eastern parts of Ukraine in the Donbass region, still felt strongly pro-Russian, and felt cheated out of the election, and in April 2014 started resisting Ukraine.
The EU, amusingly, had the teminity to accuse Russia of provoking the pro-Russian protests, an accusation it did not bizarrely level at the US earlier, despite obvious evidence coming out of their explicit involvement.
Pro-Western violent overthrow west of Ukraine and pro-Russian events in the east set the groundswell for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the Donbass - in the east - to feel the Ukrainian government no longer represented them and that they had to breakaway. Like the Crimeans, they intended to also defect.
Ukrainian Nazis Still Wanted Revenge Against Russia
Despite the Nazis overthrowing the pro-Russian elected government in Ukraine and installing Petro Poroshenko into power with help of the US government in 2014, this wasn’t sufficient for the OUN-B type Nazis in Ukraine.
Deep resentment over the Holodomor, angry rhetoric of the Nazi party against Jewish people, coupled with the Jewish people’s mistreatment of Cossacks during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth period, still echoed strongly, along with the Nazis bitter resentment for their defeat at the hands of Russia.
For context, Russia has the third largest Jewish community in the world, which meant for the Nazis, a double-whammy. Not only did Russia defeat them in World War Two, it also had one of the largest Jewish populations! It's why Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok had a particular resentment against the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia”.
It wasn’t sufficient for the Nazis to simply control Ukraine again. They wanted to wage a genocidal war against anyone in Ukraine who looked or sounded vaguely Russian, effectively their de facto arch-enemy. An extremely troubling proposition for the eastern parts of Ukraine that still spoke Russian.
Not content with simply shooting people, as Consortium News reported, the Ukrainian Nazi “Right Sector” burned almost 50 anti-coup protestors in Odessa to death in May 2014.
[…] also partially funded by Kolomoisky — committed war crimes, including illegal abductions, unlawful detention, robbery, extortion and even possible executions. […]
Ihor Kolomoysky (alt. first name: Igor) - an Ukrainian–Israeli–Cypriot billionaire - was rated as the second or third richest man in Ukraine. An oligarch. It was even claimed he kept a literal shark tank, like some sort of overblown Bond villain.
Like Blofeld in a Bond movie, Kolomoysky’s name would crop again, tied to another man as part of a wider network of corruption.
The attacks between Ukrainian Azov Nazis and Russian speaking Ukrainians backed by Russia led to the formation of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine in May 2014, who attempted to negotiate the Minsk Accords (which also went by the names ‘Minsk Agreements’ and ‘Minsk Protocol’) to try to find peace as both sides traded blows.
In what can only be considered the most bizarre of twists, Volodymyr Zelensky emerged about this time. His background reads like something out of a satire or comedy show. The only problem is, it is all too real.
In 2015, Zelensky, a comedian, appears in the Ukrainian TV show ironically named ‘Servant of the People’ which catapulted him to fame. The show, in another twist, was about him pretending to be a Ukrainian President, a role he continued in until 2019 when he became the real President of Ukraine. Send in the clowns, I guess?
The former actor and comedian’s election campaign was bankrolled by none other than shark tank owning Kolomoisky, who also owned the media firm “1+1” that hosted Zelensky’s TV show.
This paid off for Kolomoisky in the long run after Zelensky used the Russian invasion in 2022 as a flimsy justification to assimilate, nationalise and merge all the other competing media networks under government control, with The Week reporting:
Zelensky's information policy involves "combining all national TV channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and/or information-analytical programs, [into] a single information platform of strategic communication" to be called "United News."
He claimed it was in order to “tell the truth about the war”, even as the man himself hid a vast array of secrets. Zelensky had a massive conflict of interest himself in media, given he owned Film Heritage, the Guardian noted:
Film Heritage, which he held jointly with his wife, Olena, a former Kvartal 95 writer, is registered in Belize
Given it’s not based in Ukraine it is likely exempt from Zelensky’s tyrannical merger of other private Ukrainian media companies. Convenient that.
Zelensky’s time acting in television prior to becoming President, would find him involved in the most bizarre of practices including playing a piano with his penis and dressing up in women’s clothing. Very statesmanlike.
Zelensky wouldn’t need his reputation, however. Zelenskiy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch Kolomoysky’s personal lawyer, and, Zelensky had both media support from Kolomoysky’s “1+1 Media Group”, and money, with the Kyiv post reporting how:
Zelensky stashed funds he received from Kolomoisky off shore
Which was exposed in the Pandora Papers leak. In early 2022, Zelensky sold off a 4.5 million euro Italian villa. Zelensky also held shares in Maltex Multicapital Corp, which he tried to hide by transferring it to Serhiy Shefir. Shefir produced Zelensky’s hit shows and Shefir’s brother, Borys, wrote the scripts. Zelenskiy then made Serhiy Shefir his first assistant once he became President. Cozy.
Ironically, Zelensky claimed to be ‘anti-oligarch’, and hypocritically, ran against Petro Poroshenko, criticising him for, you guessed it, hiding his assets off-shore, which, even more ironically, Poroshenko - the US government’s original pick - did.
Despite this, the Ukrainian parliament would ultimately go on to pass an anti-oligarch bill after an assassination attempt on Shefir.
Zelensky’s backer, Ihor Kolomoisky himself, was no stranger to manhandling money, however, as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) sought to prosecute him and his friend Gennadiy Boholiubov for embezzlement and fraud. And this was no small scale fraud, the DoJ noted that:
[…] Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars […]
The US government is okay working with actual murderous Nazis, and okay with corruption with Burisma, but apparently Kolomoisky’s corruption was too much for even them.
The US government banned Kolomoisky and his immediate family from entering, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken went so far as to publicly denounce his corruption. It seemed the US was at least partially anti-corruption.
So why did a war break out between Ukraine and Russia in the first place? Well…
Minsk Accords Break Down
Rolling back the clock back to 2014, whilst Porshenko is still President, Russia was still dealing with Azov and Aiden battalions attacking the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Battalions who were being financed by oligarch Kolomoysky.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) agreed a ceasefire plan in September 2014.
In response, Andriy Biletskiy, commander of the far-right Azov battalion, commented:
What talk can there be of a ceasefire when the enemy is on our land?
The ‘enemy’ being the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) - Russian speaking Ukrainians.
Andriy then threw out suggestions for citizens to take up arms and continue the war:
As soldiers we will obey our orders but as citizens that will be hard to do.
Suggestively implying Azov would continue in the guise of citizens rather than soldiers. It was clear Azov had no real intention of following the ceasefire.
Despite this, fighting was significantly reduced following Minsk, but the small scale, partisan skirmishes - like what Azov commander Andriy had suggested - continued.
The Minsk accords faltered, and in Janurary 2015 the DPR and LPR began offensives into Ukraine in response to the constant attacks.
A second attempt was made in the form of Minsk II, which US Senator Ron Paul writes:
[…] was the 2015 agreement hammered out by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany to end the civil war in Ukraine
Minsk II had a 13 point plan, of which one point included:
Constitutional reform in Ukraine including decentralisation, with specific mention of Donetsk and Luhansk.
This point becomes a crucial failing point later on. Minsk II broke down as Ukraine and Russia had different interpretations of what it meant. Russia did not consider itself actually involved, merely a representative of the DPR and LPR, and thus not bound by the accords.
Ukraine wanted full withdrawal of Russian support, not realising the offensives were mainly driven by the DPR and LPR (I.E. Russian speaking Ukrainians). Russia wanted referendums in Donbass, perhaps not realising Ukraine wanted to maintain the sovereignty of their borders under the impression it was Russian driven, and only wanted to grant limited dissolution of power to Donetsk and Luhansk.
The US government was noticeably absent from the peace treaty attempts, as was the UK. In-fact, the US government sent over John McCain in 2016 to Ukraine again, which going by his appearance in 2014 always signified violence.
The people he visited? Well, the Nazis again. This time, Azov battalion.
McCain assured Azov that ‘they would win’, which was sure to inflame the situation and make it worse. Noticeably he entirely bypassed the Ukrainian President to speak with them directly, so the US was once again meddling in Ukrainian affairs.
At no point did he encourage them to dialogue or to use peace. When the US government’s NED says there are “considerable” benefits to Ukraine, they meant all of it - including the oil and gas rich fields of the Donbass.
A War Of Oil and Gas?
It would be a bit misleading to not address the elephant in the room - oil and gas - when discussing Ukraine and Russia’s history. The US government’s own motivations often seem to revolve around this facet, and the conflict in Donbass appears to have a similar pivot.
The Dnipro-Donetsk basin - which of course, is found mostly in Donbass, the area in dispute - was declared, curiously, by the US Geological Survey, of all people…
[…] the principal producer of hydrocarbons in that country. […]
Don’t worry if you didn’t bring your science books with you. Hydrocarbons is just a ‘fancy’ way of saying ‘things that contain hydrocarbons’. Things like… oil and gas.
This means, from an energy control standpoint, Ukraine’s Dnipro-Donetsk basin is a lucrative and strategic resource. Especially if your son, like Joe Biden’s Hunter Biden, sits on the board of an energy firm - Burisma - that stands to profit. Nice of the US government to take an interest in assessing Ukraine’s capacity like that.
It is very unlikely Russia is interested, conversely, as Russia already has an abundant supply of oil and gas - hence Europe’s oil and gas dependency issues on Russia’s oil and gas exports - so Russia wouldn’t need to seize the supplies.
But the rest of Europe, being wholly dependent on Russia, would. And the US government still has a vested interest in trying to wrest control away from Russia, and thus cannot, in their mind, lose Donbass, regardless of what the people of Donbass themselves have to say about it.
Donbass’ Special Status in the War
The introduction of Minsk II in early 2015 did not stop the fighting. The fighting didn’t meaningfully end until late February 2015 when DPR forces took Debaltseve from Azov battalion and began to withdraw artillery units.
The following month, Ukraine offered a limited special status to the Donbass region in March 2015. Fighting largely abated on both sides in response, however tensions began to rise when Ukraine ‘extended’ the special status of Donbass in December 2019, and in the same process, modified several features.
It was a move that was criticised by all sides. Western Ukrainians lambasted it as aiding pro-Russian elements. Russia criticised it for modifying the implementation in violation of Minsk II. The DPR and LPR claimed the demands the region’s referendum votes be held under Ukrainian jurisdiction violated Minsk II’s agreements.
All sides were unhappy. But why did Ukraine suddenly screw up the Minsk II accords when the prior special status had largely been tolerated by all sides? Well…
Enter Zelensky… Again
A year prior to the modification to the special status of Donbass, Zelensky appeared on the evening of 31 December 2018 along side Porshenko’s (yes, the same Porshenko he criticised for hiding off-shore assets) New Year's Eve address on TV channel “1+1”, where he announced his intention to run for President of Ukraine.
A comedian, with only a undergraduate law degree and zero real world experience, who only pretended to be a Ukrainian President on a TV show, had decided he would be qualified enough to lead Ukraine during this critical juncture where nuclear superpowers were using Ukraine as part of an arm wrestling competition.
The bizarre plot twists with Zelensky didn’t end with his TV career. It turns out NATO-backed Zelensky, had a grandfather who fought for the Red army in Soviet Russia. The situation with Azov and the Ukrainian Nazis was complicated even further as it also turned out Zelensky was Jewish.
Zelensky would go on to win the Ukrainian presidential elections in May 2019, in what could only be described as planet sized irony, Zelensky, a corrupt oligarch Jew whose family had helped the Soviets, an unqualified comedian with no actual experience, had been put in charge of a country where the US government had financed Ukrainian Nazis who hated corrupt Russian Jewish oligarchs for oppressing them. Oops.
This ultimately backfired. In October 2019, Zelensky tried to play diplomat and approach the Ukrainian Nazis in Zolote, Luhansk, to ask them to put down weapons.
The president was pushing a mutual disengagement of troops and armaments at the front line flashpoint. The veterans opposed this plan.
Zelensky was then informed that the Ukrainian Nazi battalions had illegal armaments - likely a holdover from Azov commander Andriy Biletskiy’s comment that citizens should keep fighting.
Zeleneksy demanded they turn over their illegal weapons. The veterans tried to claim they didn’t have any weapons. Zelensky, knowing of the still continuing skirmishes, exploded, and commented:
Listen, Denys, I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests […]
Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, head of the National Corps, an offshoot of far-right Azov battalion.
The disagreement became viral on social media, and inflamed tensions within Ukraine. The Ukrainian Nazis were fully aware of Zelensky’s Jewish history. They had no intention of complying. Even as early as 2014, Azov expressed the sentiment that:
The Ukrainian armed forces are "an army of lions led by a sheep", said Dmitry, and there is only so long that dynamic can continue.
As noted, Azov did not operate through the chain of command. Azov operated on favours and personal calls:
You go to some hot spot, they see you're really brave, you exchange phone numbers, and next time you can call in a favour. If you need an artillery strike you can call a general and it will take three hours and you'll be dead. Or you can call the captain or major commanding the artillery battalion and they will help you out straight away. We are Azov and they know that if they ever needed it, we would be there for them.
So when in Azov commander Andriy Biletskiy previously said
As soldiers we will obey our orders […]
It turns out it wasn’t entirely true, subverting the chain of command and literally ignoring Zelensky’s orders. Azov were effectively a rogue battalion dragging Ukraine into a war with Russia by attacking the DPR and LPR.
After all, if the Ukrainian Nazis hated Putin because they saw him as Jewish, what chance did Zelensky, a Jewish comedian, have?
This is why, during Ukraine's war with Russia in 2022, Russia had accused Ukraine of storing weapons in synagogues, and Ukraine had Israeli mercenaries fighting along side the Ukrainian Nazi Azov battalion, fighting against a country with the third largest Jewish population on the planet. Israel didn’t know which side to back during the war, and ceased trying to mediate between Ukraine and Russia.
Alas, Zelensky’s inexperience in diplomatic matters in general, resulted in the “extension” of the special status of Donbass in October 2019, barely months after he got power, in a way that managed to infuriate everybody. It set in motion events that could no longer be undone.
Snowballs Out of Control
Ukraine’s tolerance for Nazis drew in Neo-Nazis from other countries. In what could only be the most circular of ironies, as early as 2018 US funded Nazis in Ukraine were training the American Nazis who had traveled there. And this isn’t a passive draw, Azov proactively recruited Nazis from other countries specially, even as recent as 2022.
With Azov effectively no longer meaningfully under Zelensky’s control, they were de facto a rogue organisation. One with support from the US government, a rich corrupt media oligarch and parts of the Ukrainian population, with implicit support from the silent and complicit EU.
Barely three months prior to 24 February 2022, the date when Russia would engage in Ukraine, the Ukrainian military, via pro-Western Associated Press, declared the build up of Ukrainian troops near the Donbass region was “defensive” and that they had “no plans to attack anyone”.
Ukraine claimed the build-up was in response to a Russian build-up, which created very much a chicken-egg situation of who started the build up first. Ukraine insisted it wouldn’t attack the DPR and LPR first, and Russia insisted it wouldn’t invade Ukraine. Ultimately, neither were telling the truth.
Given the propensity of the Ukrainian military elements, notably the Nazis, to lie, even to their own commanders, Russia naturally distrusted them. The pro-Russian Donbass Insider reported on 11th February 2022 there was a build up of Ukrainian troops outside of the DPR and LPR regions.
This included artillery, tanks, missile launchers and more. Artillery is certainly not ‘defensive’, and Ukraine did not have the range to hit Russia, which implied an intent to shell the DPR and LPR regions - regions with native Ukrainians still in them.
Regardless of whether or not you feel Russians occupied the DPR and LPR regions, artillery is not appropriate in a largely civilian area, and especially not in a ‘defensive’ capacity in regards to Ukrainians.
4 days prior to Russian intervention, on 20th February 2022, repeating a claim from Russia’s Sputnik News agency, ANI news reported:
Ukrainian armed forces tried to attack LPR positions in the area of Pionerskoye settlement resulting in the destruction of five residential buildings and civilian casualties
It was clear the Ukrainian military intended to use overwhelming numbers and brute force to take back the Donbass. Zelensky’s goal of diplomacy and the Minsk II accords were dead. Russia engaged Ukraine on the 24th of February.
As Covert Action Magazine notes, in response:
The NED, on Feb. 25, the day after the Russian invasion, deleted all projects in Ukraine it funded, which are archived here. The NED meddled in Ukrainian politics in 2004 in the so-called Orange Revolution. The Washington Post (green check) wrote in 1991 that what the C.I.A. once did in secret — destabilizing and overthrowing regimes — the NED was now doing openly.
On May 9th 2022, Vladimir Putin’s speech in his annual WW2 Victory Day parade offered additional insights on Russia’s thought processes, harking back to all points covered in this History of Ukraine and Russia series.
Putin complained of the build up around Donbass, of the loss of historic lands (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series for why Russia thinks they’re part of their historic lands), the fear of nuclear weapons and the NATO expansionism.
Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.
Putin also expressed concern of CIA backed Banderites and Neo-Nazis, which we’ve also seen by the US own admittance, they have helped, with the CIA, MI6, NED and the UCCA all throwing their support behind them.
[…] an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. There was every indication that a clash with neo-Nazis and Banderites backed by the United States and their minions was unavoidable.
Russia felt forced to undertake a pre-emptive strike, before the “not one inch eastwards” NATO had encroached eastwards enough to reach their border and entrench themselves, before Ukrainian Nazis slaughtered Russian-speaking Ukrainians like they did Jews in WW2, before nuclear weapons were at their doorstep, in the same way the US opposed Russian nuclear missiles on their doorstep of Cuba.
Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision. A decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.
Was it Russia’s best possible decision? Could they have picked a better strategy? Without the power to see into the future, it is hard to say.
That said, Russia had exhausted nearly all their diplomatic options, unable to convince NATO to back-off even as the USSR imploded and retreated, felt unable to agree accords, even trying twice with Minsk, and when airing objections to nuclear weapons, did not feel listened to when Ukraine threatened them regardless, and did not view Zelensky as having the seriousness required to get the job done.
All whilst watching the US finance their vehement enemies, the Nazis - people who burned Russia to the ground and slaughtered many families - expanding their reach and influence against Russia, all whilst watching the US erode democracy in Ukraine with violence.
Even when using force, Russia appears to have tiptoed. Only 3 dead “taking” Crimea where thousands of Crimeans defected is surprisingly bloodless, and the LPR and DPR regions did not fight against Russia, appearing instead to side with them, suggesting whatever appeals Russia is doing with the DPR and LPR works.
The only remaining option Russia didn’t use, was the use of economic sanctions. Russia did not withhold oil and gas supplies to Europe, whether prior to escalations to make a point via sanctions, or even during it.
My only rationale is Putin sees it as hurting the general public rather than the governments and doesn’t see sanctions as an effective option. It might have made Europe pay more attention to Ukraine, but it’s hard to say. They’re certainly paying attention now.
In Conclusion: Failures in Democracy
The situation in Ukraine and Russia, as obvious as it is to say, is a failure of diplomacy and democracy.
It is a failure of the US to adhere to their principles of supporting democracy, breaking the see-saw balance of Ukraine backing violent coups and extreme groups.
It is a failure of the Ukrainian President to control his troops, to enforce peace consistently, and abide by international obligations.
It is a failure of the EU avoiding opposing the rise of Nazism and allowing the US to upset the balance of power in the EU’s own backyard with political meddling.
It is a failure of NATO in not keeping their promise and ignoring the opinions of Ukrainians whose majority didn’t want them there.
It is a failure of Russia to not at least try some economic sanctions, before it got to a point of troop build ups on either side.
It is a failure of the rest of Europe to not invest more into ensuring peace, Germany and France should not be the only ones at the negotiating table.
It is a failure of the public who don’t do their research to comprehensively understand the entire situation from both sides, only jumping on board what one side’s media outlets tell them to think and feel.
And it will continue to remain a failure so long as all sides continue to heighten the risks of nuclear war.
Unbelievably, as extensive as all three articles are on the Ukraine-Russian history, they are, however, selectively chosen “summaries”, and a lot of details - namely common knowledge aspects such as Nazi Germany killing innocent Russians, what provoked the Cold War, the US’ Marshall plan and Containment plan against Communism, why the CIA are even helping Nazis to begin with (see Operation Paperclip) and more - are largely skipped to keep even these extensive articles “short”, even if they would provide some context. I mainly focused on the issues between Ukraine and Russia and their causes.
Although these articles try to be factually neutral, like all humans I exhibit a bias, and I do not view what the US are doing in Ukraine favourably - essentially provoking Russia into war. I therefore somewhat side with the Russians, although my heart goes out to innocent Ukrainians, both east and west, caught in the crossfire that is major superpowers duking it out for world control.
Obviously my sympathies don’t mean much, but I’m hoping my reporting on truth to the best of my abilities does. Obviously, that sympathy does not extend to the Ukrainian government reeking of corruption nor the violent Ukrainian Nazis, however this is a prime example of historical wrongs begetting more historical wrongs.
I hope you found these articles informative and hopefully they expanded everybody’s understanding to better advance peace.
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