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Kiev to declare “official hybrid” war against Russia: Georgia’s lessons

Photo: politnavigator.net

Kiev is going to war against Russia. Bill on reintegration of Donbass contains such wordings as “Russian aggression” and “regions temporarily occupied by Russia” and if passed, it will mean declaring war against Russia.

Russian politicians and television have so far ignored the sensational bill, perhaps because it was published only by Ukrainian media, not on the Supreme Rada website (the parliament on leave starting July 15). Nevertheless, two high ranking officials have responded to it. Boris Gryzlov, authorized representative at the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, called the bill an “attempt to create an alternative to the Minsk Agreements.” Aleksey Pushkov, the head of the Council of Federation Commission for Information Policy, is sure the bill “has no chance.” In vain have they underestimated the bill - Supreme Rada has passed many laws that once had no chance.

PR laws require “equal distribution of the positive things,” but not this time. On August 25 (26 is Saturday) Petro Poroshenko is signing the bill “on reintegration of Donbass,” on August 27, during Independence Day parade, NATO troops are marching along Kreshchatyk Square in Kiev. Ukrainian politicians forecast that parliamentarians will have to return to work from summer leave ahead of time for various reasons.

The goals of the new bill are evident, if it is passed without changes:

The first goal is to keep whipping up hysteria. Everyone who would try to avoid stirring up hysteria properly will be dismissed.

The second is to force “Kiev-Moscow” talks on Donbass through a slick policy, to break the Minsk Agreements where only “Ukrainian troops” and “armed units of separate districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine” are considered parties to the conflict and Russia together with OSCE - mediators in the settlement process.

The third goal is to provoke Russia’s military response to “just declaration of war” by Ukraine. It is not clear why they are sure that Moscow’s response will meet their “parameters”?

The fourth goal slightly contradicts the first one. Petro Poroshenko who said three years ago: “Anti-Terrorist Operation cannot and will not take two-three months. It must and will take hours!” decided to withdraw from ATO “tossing a bone” (in terms of declaration of war against Russia) to Neo-Nazis. Recall blockade of Donbass by “ATO veterans” which Poroshenko condemned and led at the same time.

The fifth goal is to promote the bill through the Russophobic parliaments and international organizations by means of the wordings “Russian aggression” and “occupation of Donbass.”

Let’s recall Georgia’s lessons here.

Less than in a month, we will see the regular anniversary of the five-day August War of 2008.

Here are some parallels.

Eduard Shevardnadze and Leonid Kuchma almost simultaneously and at the state level “set a course for NATO.” The first declared officially about Georgia’s plans to join NATO at the Summit in Prague in November 2002. The second declared the goal at the meeting of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in May 2002, and in June 2003, the course was reflected in the Law On Basics of National Security of Ukraine.

It was about who, when, and how else before the coup in Kiev, interpreted the Russian-Ukrainian “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership” signed in 1997.

On May 6, 2004, on Saint George’s Day, Mikheil Saakashvili, who overthrew Shevardnadze and “Adjara lion” Aslan Abashidze, just on the border of Adjara (that never declared independence from Georgia) jumped on a tractor and promised “to return by one rebellious region” on every St. George’s Day, a national holiday celebrated in Georgia twice in a year. Actually, it should have taken him a year to return Abkhazia and South Ossetia until the next May 6 (after November 23).

The first attack on Tskhinval in the summer of 2004 failed. Mixed peacekeeping forces were deployed in the responsibility zone in the south of South Ossetia and north of neighboring Gori region under Dagomis ceasefire agreements of 1992-1994.

Mishiko (Saakashvili) did not specify which peacekeepers he preferred to Russian ones, either Belgians from Rwanda or Nepali ones from Serbian Krajina.

There was peace in South Ossetia for 10 years: Georgians and Ossetians travelled via other villages, jointly repaired irrigation channels, traded in the market in the south of Tskhinval. Saakashvili put an end to it within two weeks.

Saakashvili and his curators adopted “hit and run tactics” with regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russia, so that not to prompt a large-scale response, but exhaust the enemy, as they thought.

The Kremlin chose the only right form of response – patience. Moscow tolerated when its peacekeepers heading for rotation were stopped and thrown out of vehicles. Moscow tolerated insults in Georgia and on the international arena when terms “occupation” and “aggression” lost sense. Tbilisi did not even think to denounce the Dagomis Agreements and the agreements on Collective Peacekeeping Forces in Abkhazia. Moscow tolerated seizure of Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia and creeping seizures of heights in South Ossetia.

By early august, 2008, Saakashvili’s attempt to stop his war machine would cost him too much: there was permanent fire. Yet, he did not think to stop. Moscow’s nerves were shattered: Russian diplomats who had tolerated “aggression” and “occupation” for several years suddenly started slamming doors. Russian Ambassador Vyacheslav Kovalenko started avoiding Georgian journalists. Special Representative Yuri Popov refused to stay in Tskhinval. Russian government, as reliable sources in Moscow said, refused to assume responsibility for “double-crossing” South Ossetia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hurried to the Beijing Olympic Games, while President Dmitry Medvedev suffered from nervous collapse and hid somewhere on Volga River.

After Caucasus-2008 military exercises, tanks moved to Mozdok. Near the Northern Portal of Roki Tunnel, drunken Cossacks pressed frightened soldiers threatening to penetrate into Tskhinval via mountains if they are not let to do it via the tunnel, because the Kremlin betrayed South Ossetian brothers.

On August 7, in the morning, all central TV channels were reporting that Chief Operative Department of the General Staff is moving because of “repairs.”

And Mishiko adopted a decision. At 7:00pm he addressed the people, promising “almost unlimited autonomy” to “South Ossetian compatriots” and the role of “guarantor of South Ossetian autonomy” and “restoration of our traditional allied relations” to Russia.

After Georgian Armed Forces ceased fire, there was silence, which once again proved who unleashed war. Immediately after his speech, Saakashvili ordered evacuation of population from Georgian villages. At 11:35pm, Georgian Grad multiple rocket launchers and tanks targeted Tskhinval. A few days later, after Georgia’s defeat, the reason was made public: Ossetians fired at Georgian village of Tamarasheni. OSCE observers disclaimed that information… Saakashvili sought to settle the issue by force that was the core reason. But for it, there would be no war. Here is the most important lesson for Kiev to learn. However, they are failing to do it. Saakashvili allegedly misunderstood Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s words and decided that US and NATO would start WWIII for him. In the case of Kiev, they openly say that they will not war for Ukraine.

In February 2015, Kiev made an agreement to settle the conflict in Donbass and, like Saakashvili did, hopes to violate it (by “changing front line,” trying to rewrite sequence of points in the peace agreement, to rewrite and change settlement format). Meantime, Russia has proven that it is a true peacemaker, moderator able to apply the entire set of measures – diplomatic, economic and military ones – to force the sides to peace by minimum possible losses. It is the second lesson for Kiev to learn.

The third lesson is that such tricks will not go unnoticed even by the countries that support the side that is trying to violate the international agreement. To recall, the Minsk Agreements were signed by OSCE representative and their guarantors are presidents of Germany, France and Russia along with President of Ukraine. The agreements were confirmed by UN Security Council, i.e. US, China and Britain.

These countries with “centuries-old culture of contractual relations” may close eyes on their signatures under the international agreement, but not in the given case. One talk proved enough for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to recall his phrase saying, “My caution is I wouldn't want to have ourselves handcuffed to Minsk if it turns out the parties decide to settle this through another, a different agreement." It will not. Only Minsk and no “if”. The same European friends of Kiev are trying to tell it through other channels. But in Kiev they take these statements as “sufferable.”

The fourth lesson is reflected in a question: Why did not Russian tanks enter Tbilisi? Those who have ever thought about it discarding the version about Saakashvili’s “defense line” near Mtskheti restaurants have arrived at the only conclusion: Russia does not need Georgia. Tbilisi has never and will never be a Russian city. As soon as they stop perceiving NATO as “security guarantee,” one can start a true and far-reaching settlement. Yet, it is hard to believe that it will happen someday. Every time the Georgian authorities say that they are a step to NATO, the South Ossetian border is corrected by a couple of hundreds of meters in favor of Georgia (basing on some maps of 1920s). The last time they did it prior to the G20 Summit in Hamburg, but no one dropped a single word about it there. Meantime, little is left to reach E-60-Tbilisi-Batumi highway, while the right border of South Ossetia once touched that highway too.

Let’s project this situation on Kiev. The response is evident. If Russia has to give a military response to declaration of war, Kiev will become a Russian city again. The meaning of the name Ukraine (Russian Okraina “outskirts”) will be restored.

The fifth Georgian lesson is a summary. The logic of every conflict is simple: never miss the moment, when you stop managing the conflict and the conflict starts managing you. Consequently, your second task will be to force enemy to make steps that would make it lose control. The notorious zugzwang…

Ukraine is no longer considered a subject of international policy. It is an object in the hands of its sponsors who make decisions instead of it. The situation is changing, as sponsors get tired of Kiev’s constant complains and financial demands to “fight corruption and carry out reforms” that is growing into blackmail: “to protect against Asian hordes.” Tired for Kiev, Europe may provide it full independence to let it “go crazy” and “collapse.”

Europe will sure take measures to save its face and blame Russia for “applying non-proportional force” etc. and to force it buy “Mistral ships” as compensation.

On July 5, when Kiev’s representative to the Humanitarian Subgroup Iryna Gerashchenko said she would hold talks on exchange of POWs only with OSCE and “Aggressor Russia,” Boris Gryzlov and representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk left the room as a sign of protest. Many were disappointed with such “gross mistake” by Gryzlov. He should stay and stop Gerashchenko.

Does it mean that Russian diplomats who tolerated “aggression” and “occupation” for years started slamming doors again? No! Not, certainly.

Neither Vladimir Putin’s reproaching saying that Russophobia is the only commodity of Ukraine is enough to spark war. They in Kremlin appear to have realized that any phrase containing the word “Ukraine” by Russian officials arouses acute cognitive dissonance in Kiev and blocks its ability to think soberly.

The most interesting will come after the official text of the bill on reintegration of Donbass is published. What will it spark in Ukraine if it does not contain words “aggression” and “occupation” and what will it spark in Russia if it does?

The forecast: it is the very case when Russia may respond symmetrically to declaration of official hybrid war by Ukraine.

  1. After the law comes into force, no minute earlier, the Kremlin may request Petro Poroshenko to confirm whether the law declares war between Ukraine and Russia. The answer to the response must be brief: “Yes, it does” or “No, it doesn’t.” Ukraine must reply within definite period of time, for instance, three days.
  2. If the answer is “Yes, it does” or no answer is provided, Poroshenko will be required to recall his signature from under the law within another three days, for instance. In case the answer is “No, it doesn’t,” Poroshenko will be required to recall his signature from under the law and send it back to Supreme Rada to have the words “Russian aggression” and “occupation” removed from it.
  3. If Poroshenko fails to implement either of the above demands, the Kremlin will make a strict statement of the fact: “Ukraine declared war against the Russian Federation.”
  4. Afterwards, a separate statement shall be made saying, “Russia has to take a position similar to the position of Ukraine and can no longer consider the relations with Ukraine as peaceful.” Certain blurring is necessary here.
  5. The last statement of “Day One” will say any incident on the borderline will be considered by Russia within the context of the war declared by Ukraine. To prevent provocations, Russia demands ceasefire in the 100km-zone along southern part of the Russian-Ukrainian border, in Donbass.
  6. Of course, breach of diplomatic relations with Kiev, denouncement of the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Russian and Ukraine or withdrawal from the Minsk process by Moscow is out of question.

All the requests by third parties to explain the nature of relations between Ukraine and Russia shall be addressed to Kiev. Like the entire civilized world, Russia is taking security measures and continues following the actions by unpredictable Neo-Nazi Bandera regime that has come to power in Kiev after state coup in Feb, 2014.

It is high time to do something. War is coming…

Albert Akopyan (Urumov)

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