Former NATO Military Analyst Blows the Whistle on West’s Ukraine Invasion Narrative...
Friday, April 15, 2022 11:56 AM
Jacques Baud is a former Colonel of the General Staff, former member of Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist in Eastern European countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He was the head of doctrine for United Nations peace operations. A United Nations expert for the rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional United Nations intelligence service in Sudan. He worked for the African Union and was responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms at NATO for 5 years. He was engaged in talks with top Russian military and intelligence officials right after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the Ukrainian crisis of 2014, then participated in programs of assistance to Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, and in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Govern by fake news, The Navalny affair, and Poutine, master of the game? published by Max Milo.
Former NATO Military Analyst Blows the Whistle on West’s Ukraine Invasion Narrative
By Jacques Baud / French Intelligence Research Center
PART ONE: ON THE ROAD TO WAR
For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying the war, but of understanding what led us to it. I note that the “experts” who take turns on the television sets analyze the situation based on dubious information, most often hypotheses turned into facts, and therefore we no longer manage to understand what is happening. That’s how you create panic.
The problem is not so much who is right in this conflict, but how our leaders make their decisions.
Let’s try to examine the roots of the conflict. It starts with those who for the past eight years have been talking to us about “separatists” or “independence” from the Donbass. It’s wrong. The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in May 2014 were not ” independence ” (независимость) referendums , as some unscrupulous journalists claimed , but ” self-determination ” or ” autonomy (самостоятельность).
The term “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 did not seek to separate from Ukraine, but to have a statute 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 overthrow of President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 which made Russian an official language. A bit as if putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.
This decision causes a storm in the Russian-speaking population. This resulted in fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which began in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and a few massacres (in Odessa and Mariupol, for the most important). At the end of summer 2014, only the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk remained.
At this stage, too rigid and stuck in a doctrinaire approach to the operational art, the Ukrainian staffs suffered the enemy without succeeding in imposing themselves. Examination of the course of the fighting in 2014-2016 in the Donbass shows that the Ukrainian general staff systematically and mechanically applied the same operational plans. However, the war waged by the autonomists was then very close to what we observed in the Sahel: very mobile operations carried out with light means. With a more flexible and less doctrinaire approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of the Ukrainian forces to “trap” them repeatedly.
In 2014, I am at NATO, responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we are trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels in order to see if Moscow is involved. The information that we receive then comes practically all from the Polish intelligence services and does not “match” with the information from the OSCE: in spite of rather crude allegations, we do not observe any delivery of arms and materials Russian military.
The rebels are armed thanks to the defections of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units which cross over to the rebel side. As the Ukrainian failures progressed, the entire tank, artillery or anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what drives the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Accords.
But, just after signing the Minsk 1 Accords, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launched a vast anti-terrorist operation (ATO/Антитерористична операція) against Donbass. Bis repetita placent : poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat at Debaltsevo which forced them to commit to the Minsk 2 Agreements…
It is essential to recall here that the Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) Agreements provided for neither the separation nor the independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine. Those who have read the Accords (they are very, very, very few) will find that it is written in full that the status of the republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the republics, for an internal solution in Ukraine .
This is why since 2014, Russia has systematically demanded their application while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, because it was an internal matter for Ukraine. On the other side, the Westerners – led by France – systematically tried to replace the Minsk Accords with the “Normandy format”, which brought Russians and Ukrainians face to face. However, let us remember, there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before February 23-24, 2022. Moreover, OSCE observers have never observed the slightest trace of Russian units operating in the Donbass. Thus, the US intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 does not show Russian troops in Donbass.
In October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been observed in the Donbass. It was an even comparable to that of the Swiss going to fight in Bosnia during the weekends, in the 1990s, or the French who are going to fight in Ukraine today.
The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios said that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from disease, 318 from traffic accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisoning (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of safety rules, 228 from murder and 615 from suicide.
In fact, the army is undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoys the support of the population. According to a UK Home Office report , when reservists were called up in March-April 2014, 70% did not show up for the first session, 80% for the second, 90% for the third and 95% for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of callers did not show up during the “ Autumn 2017 ” callback campaign. This does not include suicides and desertions(often for the benefit of the autonomists) which reach up to 30% of the workforce in the ATO zone. Young Ukrainians refuse to go and fight in the Donbass and prefer emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the country’s demographic deficit.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense then turned to NATO to help it make its armed forces more “attractive”. Having already worked on similar projects within the framework of the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program intended to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But it’s a long process and the Ukrainians want to go quickly.
Thus, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias. They are essentially made up of foreign mercenaries, often far-right activists. As of 2020, they constitute around 40% of Ukraine’s forces and number around 102,000 men according to Reuters . They are armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. There are more than 19 nationalities – including Swiss.
Western countries have therefore clearly created and supported Ukrainian far-right militias . In October 2021, the Jerusalem Post sounded the alarm by denouncing the Centuria project . These militias have been operating in the Donbass since 2014, with Western support. Even if we can discuss the term “Nazi”, the fact remains that these militias are violent, convey a nauseating ideology and are virulently anti-Semitic.
Their anti-Semitism is more cultural than political, which is why the adjective “Nazi” is not really appropriate. Their hatred of the Jew comes from the great famines of the years 1920-1930 in Ukraine, resulting from the confiscation of crops by Stalin in order to finance the modernization of the Red Army.
However, this genocide – known in Ukraine under the name of Holodomor – was perpetrated by the NKVD (ancestor of the KGB) whose upper echelons of leadership were mainly composed of Jews. That is why, today, Ukrainian extremists are asking Israel to apologize for the crimes of communism , as the Jerusalem Post reports. We are therefore a long way from a “ rewriting of history ” by Vladimir Putin.
These militias, stemming from the far-right groups that led the Euromaidan revolution in 2014, are made up of fanatical and brutal individuals. The best known of these is the Azov regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of that of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division , which is the object of real veneration in Ukraine, for having liberated Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943, before to perpetrate the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane in 1944, in France.
Among the famous figures of the Azov regiment was the opponent Roman Protassevich, arrested in 2021 by the Belarusian authorities following the case of RyanAir flight FR4978. On May 23, 2021, there is talk of the deliberate hijacking of an airliner by a MiG-29 – with Putin’s agreement , of course – to arrest Protassevich, although the information then available does not confirm this scenario in any way.
But it must then be shown that President Lukashenko is a thug and Protassevich a “journalist” in love with democracy. However, a rather edifying investigation produced by an American NGO in 2020 , highlighted Protassevich’s far-right militant activities. Western conspiracy then sets in motion and unscrupulous media “groom” his biography.
Finally, in January 2022, the ICAO report is published and shows that despite some procedural errors, Belarus acted in accordance with the rules in force and that the MiG-29 took off 15 minutes after the RyanAir pilot decided to land in Minsk. So no Belarus plot and even less with Putin. Ah!… One more detail: Protassevich,cruelly tortured by Belarusian police, is now free. Those who would like to correspond with him, can go to his Twitter account .
The labeling of “Nazi” or “neo-Nazi” given to Ukrainian paramilitaries is considered Russian propaganda . Perhaps ; but that is not the opinion of The Times of Israel , the Simon Wiesenthal Center or the Counterterrorism Center at West Point Academy. But this remains debatable, because, in 2014, Newsweek magazine seemed to associate them with… the Islamic State. A choice !
So the West supports and continues to arm militias that have been guilty of numerous crimes against civilian populations since 2014 : rape, torture and massacres. But while the Swiss government has been very quick to impose sanctions against Russia, it has not adopted any against Ukraine, which has been slaughtering its own population since 2014. In fact, those who defend the rights of the men in Ukraine have long condemned the actions of these groups, but have not been followed by our governments. Because, in reality, we are not trying to help Ukraine, but to fight Russia.
The integration of these paramilitary forces into the National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification”, as some claim . Among the many examples, that of the insignia of the Azov Regiment is edifying:
In 2022, very schematically, the Ukrainian armed forces fighting the Russian offensive are structured as:
– Army, subordinate to the Ministry of Defence: it is articulated in 3 army corps and composed of maneuver formations (tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, etc.).
– National Guard, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior and is articulated in 5 territorial commands.
The National Guard is therefore a territorial defense force which is not part of the Ukrainian army. It includes paramilitary militias, called ”volunteer battalions” (добровольчі батальйоні), also known by the evocative name of ”retaliatory battalions “, composed of infantry. Mainly trained for urban combat, they now ensure the defense of cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, kyiv, etc.
PART TWO: THE WAR
Former head of the Warsaw Pact forces in the Swiss strategic intelligence service, I observe with sadness – but not astonishment – that our services are no longer in a position to understand the military situation in Ukraine. The self-proclaimed “experts” who parade across our screens tirelessly relay the same information modulated by the assertion that Russia – and Vladimir Putin – is irrational. Let’s take a step back.
THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
Since November 2021, the Americans have constantly brandished the threat of a Russian invasion against Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians do not seem to agree. Why ?
We have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the reconquest of Crimea and began to deploy his forces towards the south of the country. Simultaneously, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia then conducts a few exercises to test the operational readiness of its troops and show that it is following the evolution of the situation.
Things calm down until October-November with the end of the ZAPAD 21 exercises, whose troop movements are interpreted as a reinforcement for an offensive against Ukraine. However, even the Ukrainian authorities refute the idea of Russian preparations for a war and Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian Minister of Defense declares that there has been no change on its border since the spring.
In violation of the Minsk Accords, Ukraine is conducting aerial operations in Donbass using drones, including at least one strike against a fuel depot in Donetsk in October 2021 . The American press points this out, but not the Europeans and no one condemns these violations.
In February 2022, events rush. On February 7, during his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron reaffirms to Vladimir Putin his attachment to the Minsk Accords , a commitment he will repeat after his interview with Volodymyr Zelensky the next day. But on February 11, in Berlin, after 9 hours of work, the meeting of the political advisers of the leaders of the ”Normandy format“ ends, without concrete result: the Ukrainians still and always refuse to apply the Accords of Minsk, apparently under pressure from the United States. Vladimir Putin then notes that Macron has made empty promises to him and that the West is not ready to enforce the Accords, as they have been doing for eight years.
Ukrainian preparations in the contact zone continue. The Russian Parliament is alarmed and on February 15 asks Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the Republics, which he refuses.
On February 17, President Joe Biden announces that Russia will attack Ukraine in the coming days. How does he know? Mystery… But since the 16th, the artillery shelling of the populations of Donbass has increased dramatically, as shown by the daily reports of OSCE observers. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacts and intervenes. We will say later that this is Russian disinformation. In fact, it seems that the European Union and some countries purposely glossed over the massacre of the people of Donbass, knowing that it would provoke Russian intervention.
At the same time, there are reports of acts of sabotage in the Donbass. On January 18, Donbass fighters intercept saboteurs equipped with Western equipment and speaking Polish seeking to create chemical incidents in Gorlivka . They could be CIA mercenaries , led or “advised” by Americans and made up of Ukrainian or European fighters, to carry out sabotage actions in the Donbass Republics.