Kiev, Ukraine. In the insanity of the West, anything can be repackaged, rebranded and resold as a viable product; including war. As Ukraine’s government deals with being openly labelled the most corrupt government on earth by global finace experts Ernst & Young.
Now comes a professor from the UK selling hope that the Donbass genocide, that has cost over 100,000 lives in three years, can be more “attractively packaged” for western audiences to embrace, accept and support as a war against “Russian aggression.”
Meet Andrew Wilson, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Professor in Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, from London. He knows a lot about Ukraine, he has written several books on Donbass conflict. Andrew was in Kiev during the violent overthrow of the Yanukovich government by the USA in 2014.
These days there has been a discussion in Ukraine that appeared after the statement of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. He believes Ukraine needs to finish the Anti-Terrorist Operation and move to a new format of protecting the country from the “hybrid war with Russia.”
According to various media the new Poroshenko government bill stands for the recognition of certain regions of Donbass as “occupied territories.” What could be the reaction of our Western partners if ATO will be substituted by other operation and these territories will be recognized as occupied? Will it help to bring control to the territories faster or not?
Of course you note this ignores the wishes of the people in the Donbass themselves. This collective disenfranchisement and auto-pilot negation of their rights, dreams and desires is at the heart of why the people of Donbass broke away from Kiev in the first place. You note all Kiev efforts focus on forcing these people to bend to Kiev’s wishes and in no way recognize Donbass desires.
Wilson says, three points. One is that ATO is a terrible name. This is an undeclared war, and you don’t call your opponents terrorists in any way even if many of them are. You don’t stigmatize the entire population of the region. Second point – if the ATO were finished, this would no longer be the occupied territory. But that is extremely unlikely.
It would only be possible if Russia withdrew it’s military, economic and other support for the rebel republics, which clearly is pretty unlikely. Unless there is some kind of strategic changing in Moscow. It isn’t a realistic prospect that ATO could be finished and Ukraine can organize its elections currently in the Russian occupied Donbass region.
The real crux of the problem here is the ATO concept has now placed Kiev’s leadership at serious jeopardy of arrest and prosecution for international war crimes tribunals in the Hague and the International Criminal Court in Rome. By switching to martial law, Kiev hopes to hide behind the defense that officials refused to obey their orders and that legal justification amounts to a license to subdue Donbass by any means nesecarry. Currently it is impossible to continue to launch ICBMs at children and seriously claim everybody in Donbass is a “terrorist.”
– If ATO is given another name like hybrid war or any other term for it, will it help?
– Yes. I think it would. When the Kiev control over the key territories is reestablished, re-labeling would help. Talking about the territories which are occupied , which is the third point, yes, it makes some sense.
It would be healthier to be a lot more honest about the terminology, particularly about Russia’s role here – it’s not a mediator, it’s an aggressor. But the logical color of that is that if you use the word “occupation” you have to state the name of the occupier.
Obviously there are many more problems with Ukraine that are going all the way from labeling the current conflict an “ATO” to calling it a war. Most obvious problem is Russia being much more constrained in its actions. So I would advocate that some forms of relabeling might be dangerous.
At the end of the day, as evidenced here, nobody in the West from governments to advisers bothers to consider the native, indigenous uprising of Donbass residents against an illegal, junta government financed and installed by the USA. Which is exactly why in the long term the people of Donbass will prevail, while the junta in Kiev will fail and fall.Ukrainian security services planing provocations against OSCE observers