Situation analysis

1. On November 12, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a violation of the UN Charter and a violation of the country’s territorial integrity. Unlike European and American leaders, he emphasized that “not just any peace is needed, but peace based on the values of the UN Charter and peace based on international law.

2. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently noted that an armistice would now mean that Russia would keep the occupied territories under control. And along with it, the redrawing of borders, the disregard of international law, and the seizure of territories will be allow

3. The USA, as the leader of the Western world, makes a fatal mistake if, following the approach of “peace at all costs!” and the pursuit of “strategic stability”, it encourages Kyiv to make peace with the aggressor, while ignoring the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1975, to which the USA is a party.

For reference: The core of the Final Act of the CSCE is the “Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between Participating States”:

  • Non-use of force or threat of force.
  • Inviolability of borders. 
  • Territorial integrity of states.
  • Sovereign equality, respect for the sovereign right. 
  • Peaceful settlement of disputes.
  • Non-interference in internal affairs. 
  • Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, religion, and belief. 
  • Equality and the right of peoples to govern their destiny. 
  • Cooperation between states. 
  • Conscionable fulfilment of obligations under international law.

4. The unofficial approach of the US administration “peace at all costs”, in case it becomes the official line, violates at least 6 of the specified 10 principles. Such a violation will be welcomed by Russia, as it corresponds to the Kremlin’s vision that all problems should be solved by great powers, and small nations should implement their decisions, in particular, those related to the redrawing of existing borders. 

5. russia broke the existing world order in Europe and violated the fundamental principles of international law (Pacta sunt servanda), the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act of the OSCE of 1975, and the Paris Charter for a new Europe of 1990. But international law remains valid. No one cancelled it. The specified documents, which are the basis of the peaceful order in Europe, are also valid.

6. International organizations (UN, OSCE) and Western alliances (NATO, EU) proved unable to identify Russia’s actions as armed aggression, in accordance with the definition of the UN General Assembly in 1974, and to curb the aggressor at an early stage – in 2008, when the invasion of Georgia and in 2014 to Ukraine took place.

For reference: Adapted from the Resolution of the UN General Assembly No. 3314 (XXIX) of December 14, 1974. 

Any of the following acts, regardless of a declaration of war, shall qualify as an act of aggression:

  • a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof;
  • b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;
  • c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;
  • d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State;
  • e) The use of armed forces of one State which are within the territory of another State with the agreement of the receiving State, in contravention of the conditions provided for in the agreement or any extension of their presence in such territory beyond the termination of the agreement;
  • f) The action of a State in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State;
  • g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.

7. The aggression of the russian Federation against Ukraine is a key element of russia’s revanchist war in Europe. This is not a “war in Ukraine” caused by russian-backed “separatism” when the root cause of it can be recognized as internal Ukrainian problems, and therefore, the issue of punishment of the state that has carried out and continues to carry out aggression since 2014 can be left out.

8. Overcoming the evils of Nazism took 12 years from the time Hitler and the Nazis came to power in 1933 and the defeat of the Nazi coalition in 1945. Already in 1936, after the occupation of the demilitarized Rhine region, Hitler’s revanchist and expansionist intentions became clear. No one stopped him either in 1936, in 1938 (the Anschluss of Austria, the destruction of the Czechoslovak state), or in 1939 (the attack on Poland). Stalin acted similarly — participation in the division of Poland in 1939, occupation of the Baltic States in 1940, attack on Finland in 1940, and annexation of Tuva in 1944. 

9. Putin expressed his revanchist sentiments exactly at the 2007 Munich Сonference, 15 years ago. He was not stopped after the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. So, he goes further, raising the stakes and clearly understanding that NONE of the Western leaders is going to stop him. And the Western political community argued for a long time whether it is worth comparing Putin with Hitler or Stalin…

10. German insight into Russia is costly for Eastern European countries – Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. Undoubtedly, it is important for us to hear from the German Minister of Justice that “the decision to implement Nord Stream 2 after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 was Germany’s con “tribution to the war in Ukraine. I believe that it is our duty to face the truth and draw the right conclusions from it.” Correct conclusions in Germany about Russia were made a long time ago – 165 years ago. russia’s policy is unchanging. Russian methods and tactics have changed and will change, but the main goal of Russian policy – to conquer the world and rule it – is and will remain unchanged”, Karl Marx (“Revealing the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century”, Chapter IV (original Free Press, London, 1856-1857), reprint of “Collected Works of K. Marx and F. Engels in English, edited by V. A. Smirnov, B.G. Tartakovskiy, vol. 15, Moscow, 1986).

11. There is no need to have any illusions that the borders of NATO and the EU will stop Putin. The main principles that govern the Kremlin and Putin personally: 

  • whatever it takes, 
  • the war will erase everything, 
  • women give birth to new ones,
  • winners are not judged. 

These principles correspond to the vision of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, whose state award Putin increased tenfold in his April decree – up to ~ USD 50,000. Putin’s strategy is based on the strategy of the “Marshal of Victory” – to pelt the enemy with the corpses of his soldiers if there is no other way. Hence, the mobilization plan of 1 million people by March 1, 2023, and according to Moscow, the mobilization will not only not be stopped, but on the contrary, the goal is to raise an army of 5 million.

12. Against this background, it is worth paying attention to the speech of the First Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of the russian Federation Sergey Kiriyenko on October 22 at the lead teachers’ forum with the thesis about ”people’s war”. It is obvious that the Kremlin is preparing in one form or another to mobilize human resources and put the economy on a war footing under the slogan “The Motherland is in danger!” and “Arise, the Great Country”.

13. NATO’s line on Russia is shameful. NATO continues to look like an alliance of the frightened, and since NATO is afraid of Russia, in the Kremlin’s view, the Alliance will not interfere in a foreign war between two countries that are not members of the Western bloc, which are somewhere far away in Eurasia.  

14. The assessment of the reactive, de-escalatory American policy, which is presented in Moscow’s propaganda as imperialist and hegemonic, is unofficially assessed differently: “If you cannot respond, then you are not a hegemon at all”. That is, the USA, overloaded with internal problems and issues of the Indo-Pacific region, which is a higher priority for them, and therefore, feeling its weakness, neglects Europe and will not go to a confrontation with Russia, despite various warnings heard from Washington to Moscow publicly and privately. Europe, a priori, will not and is not able to oppose Russia. It has already demonstrated everything it is capable of – leaky sanctions, trade restrictions, visa restrictions, etc. 

15. The expansion of NATO (Sweden and Finland), despite the propaganda rhetoric about danger, is not assessed as a threat to the Russian Federation. NATO will conduct training for their forces, but will not go to war with Russia. The Alliance is even afraid to invoke Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, as the missile incident at the Polish border showed. Moscow believed that the US and NATO would use the incident to identify one missile as Russian and justify a tough response. None of this happened, and therefore not only the 5th article but also the 4th will not be involved if Russia succeeds under one or another pretext to actions against the Baltic countries. 

16. Ukraine and Europe as a whole need non-standard action by the USA and Great Britain. A clear focus on preventive actions is required. American General Ben Hodges said that in case of the use of TNW, the United States can respond with non-nuclear strikes, destroying, for example, the Black Sea Fleet. This suits Russia to a certain extent, it lost its fleet on the Black Sea twice – during the Crimean War in the 19th century and during World War II in the 20th century, and this is an acceptable loss for it. Strikes on Russian missile carriers will be effective as a deterrent only in case of preventive use.

17. Ukraine needs preventive action of the US 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea to defeat the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – cruise missiles carriers. It can be presented as a humanitarian mission to remove the threat to peaceful cities of Ukraine that are subjected to indiscriminate attacks and to prevent the Holodomor as part of the plan of genocide of the people of Ukraine. After all, it was for the genocide against Kosovo Albanians that the North Atlantic Alliance punished the Milosevic regime in 1999. The scale of Russia’s actions against Ukraine and the former Yugoslavia’s actions against Kosovo differ by orders of magnitude in terms of civilian casualties of the war – several hundred dead Kosovars and several hundred thousand refugees versus tens of thousands of killed Ukrainians and millions of refugees to Europe and forcibly deported by the occupiers to Russia. 

18. It is important to make a proposal to the USA, Great Britain, Poland, and Lithuania in respect of the complete economic and military isolation of the Kaliningrad exclave of Russia. The same applies to the Russian Tartus Naval Base in Syria. Only real actions by the USA and its allies, not verbal warnings, will have an impact on the Kremlin. It is important to destroy, not just drive away strategic bombers of the Russian Federation from the territory of NATO countries, as those engaged in the inhumane bombing of Ukrainian cities.

19. After 8 months of direct Russian invasion, Ukraine still remains outside the borders of any NATO security umbrella or the nuclear umbrella of the USA and Great Britain. This enables nuclear escalation by Russia, which becomes the final nail in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The current American strategy of deterring Russia from using nuclear weapons by threatening to use non-nuclear means in response by the USA is a failure. It is not a deterrent one. Russia understands only force, and therefore it is necessary to increase the pressure on the aggressor in all dimensions, without waiting for its use of TNW. 

20. Sanctions imposed by the US and Europe against Russia undoubtedly undermine its economy, but they do not affect the reduction of Russia’s aggressiveness. And the sanctions themselves are not always dense. Russia operates with impunity over Europe’s largest Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and engages in nuclear blackmail because the Russian nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, has not been sanctioned, even though the McFaul-Yermak Action Plan lists it as a company to be sanctioned. The destruction of important transformer substations by Russian missiles led to the emergency shutdown of all nuclear power units of three NPPs in Ukraine. Emergency shutdowns pose a risk of nuclear incidents! 

21. The aggressor must be punished by the joint efforts of Ukraine, the USA, and Great Britain, and otherwise, it cannot be stopped. Ukraine is bleeding and exhausted despite the help of the West because it is deprived of the opportunity to destroy the Russian army and critical military infrastructure at least in the near zone – 1000 km deep into the territory of the Russian Federation, the depth of which is ~9000 km from the border with Ukraine. Russia, on the other hand, is shelling deep into the territory of Ukraine.

22. Although there is no immediate threat of an invasion of Ukraine from the north from the territory of Belarus in the coming weeks, this direction should not be ignored, as well as the intention of the Russian Federation to engage the Armed Forces of Belarus in the war against Ukraine and cut transport communications with Europe. In this context, it is important that as many NATO exercises as possible are held in Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia in the immediate vicinity of the border with the Republic of Belarus, simulating an invasion. This will give grounds to A. Lukashenko’s regime to refuse V. Putin to provide Russia with forces and resources, as there is the threat from NATO which is growing. It is advisable to take appropriate diplomatic steps by Ukraine to initiate such NATO exercises.

23. Ukraine is still deprived of the opportunity to quickly obtain a sufficient number of anti-aircraft weapons, and to obtain sufficiently long-range means of destroying the enemy’s territory. The Kremlin is well aware that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have nothing that can cause them trouble deeper than a hundred kilometers into the territory of the Russian Federation, and therefore the Russian Armed Forces act with impunity. It is necessary to intensify efforts to obtain at least ATACMS army tactical systems from the United States and NASAMS air defense systems, and IRIS-T and Patriot from Germany, as in the near future Russia will continue to attack the electricity infrastructure, and in case of termination of gas transit through the Ukrainian GTS, will attack compressor stations and ground facilities of underground gas storage facilities, which will make it impossible to supply it to consumers.

24. The situation in the Russian Federation tends to deteriorate, both in terms of socio-economics and the clash of interest groups for the seat in the Kremlin. However, the dynamics of this deterioration are not collapsing, the Russian propaganda machine continues to work quite effectively, keeping the indicators of support for the Putin regime at high levels.

25. Western politicians still inertially perceive that in Putin’s entourage they are dealing with people like Yevgeny Primakov (that’s why Burns, CIA chief, communicates with Naryshkin, chief of the SVR (the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation). Despite the well-known “Primakov’s loop over the Atlantic”, he was a willing partner, a professional intelligence officer and a diplomat. Yes, he was an enemy of the USA and the West, but with a code of honor in the politics he pursued. In fact, now you are dealing with another Yevgeny — Prigozhin, PMC Wagner Group. His “code of honor” is a bloody sledgehammer that he demonstratively sent to the European Parliament. And do not doubt that this is the “code of honor” of Putin himself. Perhaps you don’t know, but the Wagnerians no longer decipher the abbreviation PMC as “private military company”. Now it is an “emergency military commission”. The hint is obvious: solving all issues – both internal and external – only by force under emergency. That is why the sledgehammer became an appropriate symbol. What is behind this? Exactly what Karl Marx wrote about in the middle of the 19th century (see above).

26. You, Western decision-makers, are watching a scene from Putin’s cheap puppet theater. Evil Prigozhin (along with no less odious Kadyrov) on one side and “good” Putin at the other end of the long table. Choose, they say, who you want to do business with. Please note that Putin did not bring his cellist friend Roldugin, also an entrepreneur, like Prigozhin, also a multi-millionaire, to the political stage with a cello, but Prigozhin himself with a sledgehammer. And you got scared. Chancellor Scholz, despite the correct rhetoric, is still afraid to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons, and air defense equipment… The Kremlin is quite satisfied with this approach.   

27. The war in Ukraine continues to slow global economic growth, while record inflation fueled by the worst energy crisis since the 1970s is creating financial hardship for millions of people. This is stated in a new report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to which high inflation is the price the world economy is paying for the war in Ukraine. In fact, this is the price the West pays for raising a monster with its money, which has now resorted to aggression against its neighbors, with the aim of destroying the West. 

28. Back in 2016, the German expert Andreas Umland gave a fairly accurate description of the Western approach to the Ukrainian issue, which is successfully exploited by Russia: “…pacifist-minded politicians want to establish good relations with the Russian Federation, even at the cost of Ukrainian sovereignty, the integrity of Moldova or Georgia. This tends to be the trend. Behind it stands the slogan: peace is above all and everything must be done for peace.” This approach is quite satisfactory to Russia. Now, against the background of a new wave of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it sounds somewhat different: “Do not let the war go beyond the borders of Ukraine.” But it has not been limited to the borders of Ukraine for a long time, it is a war in Europe. 

29. The authority of NATO and the EU has been called into question by the behavior of the leaders of the member countries. It seems that when Moscow acts decisively, Washington, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and other capitals draw red lines not for the Kremlin, but for themselves. This affects the authority of these blocs in Ukraine as well. The Kremlin enjoys watching the leaders of NATO countries search for a consensus and not find it, because there is a Trojan horse Hungary, as you show each other who should be the first to decide on the issue of the supply of heavy weapons. All this helplessness of NATO cheers not only Moscow but also Beijing, Tehran, and Pyongyang. 

30. Keep in mind that the defeat of Ukraine will not only be our defeat, but it will also be your catastrophe. When in the past, between shame and war, some leaders of European countries chose shame in order to “bring peace”, they ended up with both. And your catastrophe will not come sometime in the distant future, but immediately. And the victory of Ukraine is our common Victory, one for all forces of democracy and freedom.

In view of the above, systematic actions should be taken to restore peace in Europe by forcing the aggressor to peace, punishing it for the aggression, genocidal war against the neighboring country and preventing the recurrence of aggression in the future. The measures proposed below consider the national interests of Ukraine, as well as the interests of Europe and those countries that have become objects of blackmail and aggressive actions by Russia – the Baltic States, Poland, Moldova, and Georgia.

I. Demilitarization of the aggressor:

  • Liquidation of the naval presence in the Azov-Black Sea basin
  • Creation of a demilitarized zone from the Black Sea to the Baltic
  • Demilitarization of the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation
  • Elimination of the classes of missile weapons that were struck on the territory of Ukraine: “air-to-ground” (“X” family, “Dagger” family), “ground-to-ground” (Iskander-K, Iskander-M), “ship-to-ground” (Caliber) without the right to develop them in the future.
  • Elimination of tactical nuclear weapons
  • Withdrawal of Russian troops from Belarus
  • Withdrawal of Russian military contingents from Transnistria (OGRF and Peace-Keeping Forces) and the occupied territories of Georgia.

II. De-weaponization of information resources in the territory of Northern Eurasia:

  • Liquidation of organizations, institutions, and foundations that contributed to Russia’s information and propaganda aggression (“Rossotrudnichestvo”, Gorchakov Foundation, etc.) and their foreign offices and representative offices
  • Elimination of propaganda resources (MIA “Novosti”, RT, RIAFAN, Ruptly, etc.)
  • Extradition to the justice of the management and employees of propaganda resources (Solovyev, Kiselyov, Skabeyeva, etc.)
  • Termination of activities of formats such as the Valdai Forum, the Izbor Club, etc.

III. De-weaponization of energy: 

  • The extraction of energy resources and pipeline infrastructure should be privatized by international consortia
  • Implementation of international standards of transparency in the field of energy resource extraction under the auspices of the IMF
  • International control over the distribution and spending of revenues received from the export of energy carriers and mineral resources in general

IV. Reparations, restitution, compensations.

  • Payment to Ukraine for 10 years of reparations in the amount of 10% of the GDP of the Russian Federation annually, but not less than the equivalent of 100 billion dollars. USA
  • Return of all art treasures illegally exported from Ukraine since 2014
  • Payment of compensation for under-received national income, which was caused by the aggression of the Russian Federation

A separate requirement is the denuclearization of russia. Complete denuclearization is probably impossible due to the position of the USA, which still views russia as a counterweight to the PRC. Therefore, denuclearization is possible from the point of view of the liquidation of nuclear power plants, which is important for us. A condition must be stipulated – sanctions cannot be lifted without the denuclearization of russia.

Author: Mykhailo Gonchar, Ukrainian energy and international relations expert, President, The Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”

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