Jacques Baud, “The Military Situation in The Ukraine” (1 April 2022)
In the wake of Russia’s demilitarisation / de-Nazification campaign in Ukraine that began on 24 February 2022, many people in the West have been scrambling to understand the background of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the Western mainstream news media can only offer little apart from the parroting of government propaganda and superficial analysis based on limited or prejudiced information. An online article by Jacques Baud, a former NATO military analyst and intelligence officer from Switzerland, titled “The Military Situation in The Ukraine” has become quite popular among various alternative news media websites and blogs for many reasons: it gives a good outline of the roots of the conflict starting in February 2014 with the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by extreme nationalists and their allies in the country secretly backed by the US and its allies in NATO and the EU; it deals with the immediate causes of the conflict that led to Russia taking the decision to intervene in Ukraine at the request of the breakaway Donbass republics Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine; and it explains what is actually happening as part of Russia’s demilitarisation and de-Nazification plans. Along the way Baud skewers the Western narrative of Russian invasion of Ukraine to install an authoritarian regime loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and exposes deliberate Western ignorance of the 8-year civil war in the Donbass region during which the post-Maidan government in Kiev killed some 14,000 people in that part of Ukraine and the Western cover-up of neo-Nazi infiltration of the Ukrainian government and those of its forces and agencies concerned with the country’s defence and security. Baud demonstrates that behind the Western agenda is the goal of overthrowing the Russian government itself and replacing it with a puppet government that would enable Western governments and corporations to plunder Russian lands and resources at the expense of the Russian people.
The article is very straightforward and easy to read though readers unfamiliar with the recent history of Ukraine might have to re-read it a few times and consult other independent sources that confirm what Baud says. Baud leads off with the situation in Ukraine just after Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 and the new government that replaces him made Ukrainian the sole official language and outlawed the use of Russian and other minority languages. The new law caused outrage among the Russian-speaking population in eastern and southern Ukraine, leading to repressive actions against them by the new Kiev regime. In March 2014, after an incident at Korsun in which a passenger bus convoy returning to Crimea from supporting Yanukovych in Kiev during the Maidan protests was ambushed by neo-Nazis who then tortured and killed several passengers, the Crimean Parliament held an independence referendum which was supported by voters. After declaring its independence from Ukraine, Crimea then asked Moscow to be accepted into the Russian Federation. On 18 March 2014, Crimea became part of Russia. Parts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts declared themselves People’s Republics and Kiev moved to suppress these republics with military force and violence. Over the summer of 2014, Kiev fought a hot war against Donetsk and Lugansk which the breakaway republics unexpectedly won thanks to (as Baud sees it) the defection of Russian-speaking Ukrainian military units to their side, bringing with them weapons, tanks and ammunition.
While Ukraine then signed the Minsk I and Minsk II agreements that guaranteed the autonomy of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics within its borders, the country consistently refused to carry out its part of those agreements with encouragement from the US (and probably other nations in NATO). At the same time, with the Ukrainian armed forces in a demoralised, corrupt state, Kiev resorted to the use of paramilitary forces composed of foreign mercenaries (many of them fervidly fascist / neo-Nazi in their ideological orientation) armed and trained by the US, the UK, France and Canada, to harass and violently abuse those breakaway republics.
The accession of Crimea to Russia was never accepted by Kiev or the West and in March 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree to regain Crimea and began building up military forces in southern Ukraine. In early 2022, Kiev began making preparations for a military assault on Donbass with an increase in shelling against the people living there. These actions led to the Kremlin in Moscow recognising the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and to organise an intervention in Ukraine under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. All this was deliberately never reported in Western mainstream news media, as part of a general propaganda campaign to mislead the general public in the West into believing that Russia was illegally invading Ukraine.
So far Russia’s conduct during its demilitarisation / de-Nazification campaign has been steady if gradual so as to minimise civilian casualties and where possible preserve industrial, commercial and residential buildings and infrastructure. On the other hand, Ukrainian forces (especially the paramilitary forces) have been brutal and violent, employing tactics hitherto the preserve of ISIS and their fellow jihadists in the so-called Syrian Civil War (2011 – 2017) which might suggest that the same people who taught the jihadists their violent methods taught the Ukrainian neo-Nazi fanatics the same. Baud uses the example of the siege and destruction of the maternity hospital in Mariupol to illustrate Ukrainian sadism and aggression: militants of the notorious neo-Nazi Azov Battalion took over the hospital, throwing out the civilian occupants including pregnant women. In Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian militias have been treating civilians as hostages or using them as human shields.
In his conclusion Baud examines the conduct of the West, principally the United States, towards both Russia and Ukraine and finds that Western leaders have consistently egged on Ukraine in provoking a conflict with Russia, even as such provocations have led to increasing instability in Ukraine. At the same time poverty is increasing in Ukraine, young people in the country are voting with their feet to find work, and the natural gas pipeline network (on which Ukraine is dependent as a transit country for income) and other major infrastructures are deteriorating. The questions Baud poses for us Western readers are deeply troubling for they expose Western hypocrisy, arrogance, ignorance and stupidity in using Ukraine as a pawn and tool to provoke Russia into a war that is sure to devastate not just Ukraine but much of continental Europe itself.
Baud’s argument might have been stronger had he gone into some detail about the interest of the US State Department and individuals like Anthony Blinken and Victoria Nuland in fomenting conflict and war between Ukraine and Russia; likewise he could have said something about the artificial nature of modern-day Ukraine itself and how that contributes to the country’s instability. Ukraine’s domination by diaspora politicians or politicians married to US State Department employees, pursuing their own interests or US interests rather than the interests of the Ukrainian people, is also significant. It is likely though that such information might bog down his article unnecessarily and obscure the aim of his article which is to call out Western hypocrisy and disinformation in the way the West deals with Russia and Ukraine.