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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/3/22

The Best Analysis Yet About the War in Ukraine

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Walter Uhler
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Readers and viewers in the United States understandably have sympathy for the plight of displaced Ukrainians -- both abroad and within their country -- and are understandably angry about the many unwarranted deaths and alleged war crimes that, according to our mainstream news media, have been committed during Russia's "unprovoked" attack on Ukraine. I, too, have had my heart torn by the sight of displaced women and children and have been angered by the senseless killing that this war has unleashed.

Nevertheless, as a long-time student of Russia who has criticized -- on this news site -- NATO's eastward expansion and critically evaluated events in Ukraine during the so-called Maidan "revolution of dignity," I've remained skeptical of the mainstream media accounts of both the causes of the war and the events that have occurred during the war. They appeared to contain too much cheerleading in the service of sophisticated propaganda coming from the Biden administration and the Zelensky government.

Rather than totally rely on the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, MSNBC, and ABC News -- which I consume daily -- I also avail myself of Johnson's Russia List, which not only provides news from America's mainstream media, but also foreign news services and independent military and intelligence analysts. Johnson's Russia List, of April 3rd, contains what strikes me to be a persuasive evenhanded analysis from a French news source.

Most significantly, the analyst -- who once assisted Ukraine -- argues that the war actually began, not on February 24th, with the Russian invasion, but on February 18th, with Ukraine's shelling of innocent civilians in Donbas. It is the best analysis that I've read, thus far. I'm attaching it below.

#16

Centre Franà ais de Recherche sur le Renseignement (France)

March 2022

The Military Situation In The Ukraine

By Jacques Baud

Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le De'tournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake news, L'affaire Navalny. His latest book is Poutine, maà tre du jeu? published by Max Milo.

Part One: The Road To War

For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it. [".]

Let's try to examine the roots of the [Ukrainian] conflict. It starts with those who for the last eight years have been talking about "separatists" or "independentists" from Donbass. This is a misnomer. The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014, were not referendums of "independence" (Ð Ð Ð Ð degreesÐ Ð ' Ð Ð Ð ' '"''), as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums of "self-determination" or "autonomy" (' Ð degreesÐ Ð ' '"Ð ' '"Ð Ð ''Ð Ð ' '"''). The qualifier "pro-Russian" suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term "Russian speakers" would have been more honest. Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.

In fact, these Republics were not seeking to separate from Ukraine, but to have a status of autonomy, guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language--because the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the American-sponsored overthrow of [the democratically-elected] President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 that made Russian an official language in Ukraine. A bit like if German putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.

This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population. The result was fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which was carried out beginning in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some horrific massacres of the Russian population (in Odessa and Mariupol, the most notable).

At this stage, too rigid and engrossed in a doctrinaire approach to operations, the Ukrainian general staff subdued the enemy but without managing to actually prevail. The war waged by the autonomists [consisted in]." highly mobile operations conducted with light means. With a more flexible and less doctrinaire approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of Ukrainian forces to repeatedly "trap" them.

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
 
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