A Special Military Operation
On the evening of 24 February 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russia and the world that, “…in accordance with Article 51 of Part 7 of the UN Charter1, with the sanction of the Federation Council of Russia and in pursuance of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance ratified by the Federal Assembly on 22 February this year with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic” Russia was launching the first wide-scale European war since 1945.
Bear with me, there is, as people say, a lot to unpack here…
According to Putin, the Russian Federation was forced to respond to Ukraine, which had not mobilized its armed forces or conducted any military operation against any nation, by implementing a “special military operation” and invading Ukraine. Prior to 24 February 2021:
- The Russian Federation had the largest nation in Europe by population (143.1 million).
- The population of Ukraine was 43.81 million.
- The economy of the Russian Federation was estimated at 9h highest gross domestic product (GDP) and 6th strongest in GDP per capita (PPP) in the world.
- The Ukrainian economy was estimated at 112th highest gross domestic product (GDP) and 107th strongest in GDP per capita (PPP) in the world.
- The official end-strength of the Russian military (all components) was 1,000,013 in 2021; estimated effective number is around 750,000 personnel.
- In 2021, the Ukrainian armed forces fielded approximately 195,626 personnel.
- The Russian Federation maintained the largest number of nuclear weapons, both in numbers and throw-weight.
- Ukraine neither possesses nor controls any nuclear weapons.2
Putin claimed that “…our actions are self-defense against the threats posed to us” by the “Empire of Lies” — the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance which is “…only an instrument of US foreign policy”.3
Empire of Lies
Putin’s assertion of the extent of U.S. influence may surprise some who declare their need to “Make America Great Again”:
All her satellites not only resignedly and dutifully assent, sing along to her for any reason, but also copy her behavior, enthusiastically accept the rules he proposes. Therefore, with good reason, we can confidently say that the entire so-called Western bloc, formed by the United States in its own image and likeness, all of it is the very “empire of lies”.
Those are Putin’s words, not mine.
Putin views NATO as an active military threat to his Russia and blames the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
After the collapse of the USSR, the re-division of the world actually began, and the norms of international law that had developed by that time – and the key, basic ones were adopted at the end of the Second World War and largely consolidated its results – began to interfere with those who declared themselves the winner in the Cold War.
Putin sees the expansion of NATO as the work of the United States unduly influencing newly independent states from the shelter of the former USSR to join NATO in order to expand its hegemony against Russia and Russian interests.
My Comment: Actually, newly independent, former USSR states that applied for NATO membership did so out of their concern about Russian interests. It’s obvious that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine certainly influenced Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership.
Putin points to the NATO operation against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo war as an egregious example:
…they carried out a bloody military operation against Belgrade, using aircraft and missiles right in the very center of Europe. Several weeks of continuous bombing of civilian cities, on life-supporting infrastructure.
Perhaps one should check the actual record of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
Putin said this about Libya and the fall of Gaddafi:
The illegitimate use of military force against Libya, the perversion of all decisions of the UN Security Council on the Libyan issue led to the complete destruction of the state, to the emergence of a huge hotbed of international terrorism, to the fact that the country plunged into a humanitarian catastrophe that has not stopped for many years. civil war. The tragedy, which doomed hundreds of thousands, millions of people not only in Libya, but throughout this region, gave rise to a massive migration exodus from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
Now the facts.
- The first Libyan Civil War (17 February 2011 – 23 October 2011) was a rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi led by a Libyan National Transition Council.
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 was adopted on March 17, 2001; in it the U.N. demanded "an immediate ceasefire" and authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians." The Resolution was sponsored by France, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did not oppose the Resolution; instead, it abstained.
- The Russian Federation, under President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, supported Gaddafi and his forces until 1 September 2011, when Russia recognized the Libyan NTC as the legal government of Libya.
- Libyan NTC tribes defeated Libyan Army units and forced Gaddafi into hiding. He was found and executed on 20 October 2011.
Remember the Syrian Civil War that began during the Arab Spring of 2011 when Syrians protested and rebelled against Bashar al-Asad and his regime that was further complicated by the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)? Here’s what Putin says about it:
The fighting of the Western coalition on the territory of this country without the consent of the Syrian government and the sanction of the UN Security Council is nothing but aggression, intervention.
- Putin does not identify “the Western coalition” but obviously asserts that the United States and NATO are responsible for the Civil War in Syria.
- Question: Would a government consent to a rebellion against the government? Just asking…
- Turkey is involved in the Civil War, primarily fighting against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces as well as against ISIS/ISIL and Syrian government forces in the northwestern Syria.
- The United States, under Presidents Obama and Trump, intervened in the Syrian Civil War and have materially supported the Autonomous Association of North and East Syria.
- The Russian Federation intervened in the Syrian Civil War between September 2015 and April 2016 and again between December 2016 and April 2017 during the recapture of the city of Aleppo.
Ukraine, according to Putin’s words3, is a threat to the Russian Federation because:
- Ukraine is not a sovereign nation but an historically Russian territory.
- “[T]he military development of the territories of Ukraine that has begun is unacceptable for us.”
- Ukraine “carried out a coup d’etat … in 2014.”4
- Russia is obligated to protect Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk from Ukrainian Nazis.5“”
“Russia was obliged to protect the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol from those whom you yourself call “Nazis”. Crimeans and Sevastopol residents made their choice to be with their historical homeland, with Russia, and we supported this.”
- What Russia does this day is done in self-defense.
“…[O]ur actions are self-defense against the threats posed to us and from an even greater disaster than what is happening today. No matter how difficult it may be, I ask you to understand this and call for cooperation in order to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and move forward together, not to allow anyone to interfere in our affairs, in our relations, but to build them on our own, so that it creates the necessary conditions for overcoming all problems and, despite the presence of state borders, would strengthen us from the inside as a whole.”
The history of Russia is replete with recent atrocities conducted against Ukraine and Ukrainians. Witness:
In The Face Of This
There are members of Congress, some of whom continue to resist anything proposed with Biden’s name on it, who apparently wish to end U.S. financial and material support for Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Charter: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
Ukrainian Nukes: In 1992, Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol and it joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state in 1994. The transfer of all nuclear material took some time, but by 2001, all nuclear weapons had been transferred to Russia to be dismantled and all launch silos decommissioned.
Maidan Revolution, also known as the Revolution of Dignity and the Ukrainian Revolution occurred in November 2014. The Maidan (as it is most commonly known) was a massive uprising of Ukrainians in Kyiv against the President, Viktor Yanukovich (who was a supporter of Vladimir Putin) and his cronies, most of whom fled Ukraine to Russia and Belarus. Watch the documentary, Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom for more complete information.
Ukraine Nazis Yanukovich claimed that he did not resign but had been forced to flee because of an armed coup d’etat reflective of the German Nazi Party operations in the 1930s. On January 24, 2021, Russian President Putin described the Ukrainian government as Nazis.