After Ukrainian forces in Donbass for the first time used a Turkish-made drone in response to the attacks of pro-Russian separatists, the Russian state media reiterated a series of narratives regarding Ukraine’s violations of the Minsk Protocol and its “genocide” targeting Russian speakers.
NEWS: “The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ provocative air strikes and artillery attacks in Donbass, including the use of the “Bayraktar” drone, represent a display of carelessness on the part of Washington and Kiev, who cannot cancel the Minsk Protocol or prevent the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. By violating the truce in Donbass and launching a series of artillery attacks, the Ukrainian army went even further, by using the Bayraktar TB-2 Turkish-made drone for the first time on October 26.
Under the Minsk Protocols, no aircraft is allowed to overpass the security zone in Donbass (except observation drones deployed in the area by the OSCE). The Ukrainian Army’s “Bayraktar-Show” fails to conceal the fact that Washington is using Kiev as a primitive instrument to “kill” the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline, which has proven a thorn in the side for the USA, as well as Ukrainian territory for the confrontation between the USA and NATO and Russia.
After the “color revolution” of 2014, Ukraine has been under foreign rule. It is entirely dependent on donations and orders coming from the USA and the EU. Every move of the Ukrainian armed forces and intelligence is authorized by Washington.
The USA and NATO have created or are building 10 military objectives (bases) on Ukraine’s territory, while keeping a low profile: in the regions of Lviv, Rivne, Chernihiv, Sumy, Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson, Mariupol and Snake Island. Therefore, the United Kingdom is building two bases in the Black and Azov Seas, according to “NATO standards” […] Kiev is also trying to attract US and NATO troops in “the process of reintegration”, namely in the genocide of the population in Donbass. Eventually, they will all be held accountable. […] In Russia, no one forgot how, shortly after the 2014 coup, the authorities launched a military operation against the few million inhabitants of the self-proclaimed republics of LNR and DNR. The death toll has now reached 13 thousand people.”
NARRATIVES: 1. Ukraine is regularly violating the Minsk truce and organizing a genocide against the Russian speakers in Donbass. 2. Ukraine is under foreign rule.
BACKGROUND: The conflict in eastern Ukraine was triggered in 2014, after president Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in the wake of a people’s uprising, the Euromaidan protest, caused by his refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. Starting 2014, Moscow has been funding and supporting mercenary groups and separatist forces that clustered around two self-proclaimed republics, “DNR” and “LNR”, which control a small part of the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine. At the height of the conflict, on September 5, 2014, after extensive negotiations, the first Minsk Protocol was signed. The Minsk peacemaking process is a format of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, with the unofficial participation of representatives of the “DNR” and “LNR” separatist republics under OSCE monitoring. There are two separate Minsk Protocols, singed in 2014 and 2015, regulating negotiations. After talks originally kicked off in trilateral format, they have now switched to the Normandy format, with the participation of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine notified the international community on repeated occasions that Russia does not observe the Minsk peace process as a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, whereas Moscow-funded mercenaries are breaking the truce on a daily basis. The Kremlin denies the accusations, using its affiliated media outlets to promote narratives describing the conflict in Donbass as a civil war, about the West supporting this war or Russia’s historical right to protect the Russian-speaking population in Eastern Ukraine.
PURPOSE: The purpose of these narratives is to show readers that Ukraine doesn’t want to observe the Minsk protocols, and is backed in this sense by the West. The narratives shift the blame away from Russia, trying to conceal the truth about the Moscow-funded mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: First of all, there was no coup in Ukraine in 2014: president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country and a new leadership was elected in the wake of presential and legislative elections recognized by the international community. The term “coup” is used to depict the current authorities in Ukraine as lacking legitimacy and installed by the West in order to weaken Russia.
Secondly, Ukraine never launched any military campaign targeting the civilian or Russian-speaking population, but merely tried to liberate the territory from the occupation of separatists and mercenaries funded by Russia. It was rather an operation aimed at recapturing territories that are rightfully Ukraine’s in line with international law standards.
More often than not, the narratives about the “Ukraine’s anti-Donbass campaigns” speak of Kiev’s repeated violations of the truce and its genocide against Russians or Russian speakers. The “genocide” against Russian speakers grabbed the headlines in the Russian state media for a long time. The news was filled with fake stories about “the war crimes” of the Ukrainian army in Donbass.
There’s no evidence of a “genocide” in these territories. Conversely, there is proof of a systematic violation of human rights by the leaders of the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR, which are de facto controlled by Russia. According to a UN report, a number of offenses were noted on the territories of the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, including forceful conscriptions in local militias, blocking border crossing points, the killing of civilians, violations of the right to private property, the imposition of the Russian citizenship, the refusal to grant access to experts monitoring the observance of human rights, arrests, violence against women, violations of the right to protests and public gatherings, violations of the freedom of expression and religion, denial of wages, etc. The UN criticizes Russia and makes no mention of a “genocide” organized by Ukraine.
Thirdly, according to UN data, the conflict in Donbass has so far killed 13,000 people on both sides of the conflict, whereas the Kremlin’s mouthpiece, Sputnik, claims the victims were killed by the Ukrainian Army.
The author also mentions secret NATO military bases in Ukraine (in fact, these are Ukrainian military bases which every now and then hosted joint military exercises with NATO member states), about Kiev encouraging belligerent actions in order to illustrate another classic narrative about Ukraine being ruled from the outside. This narrative, which lacks any sound basis, applies to other states as well, some of them ex-Soviet countries that have distanced themselves from the Russian world and Moscow’s Eurasian geopolitical project.
As regards the violations of the truce by Ukraine through the use of a Turkish-made drone, we should mention that the Minsk Protocol forbids the transit of any military aircraft or drones over the no-fly zone in Donbass (with the exception of the OSCE observation drones). However, the representative of the Ukrainian delegation to the trilateral contact group in Donbas, Oleksiy Arestovych, explained that Ukraine purchased the Turkish drones in 2019. From a legal point of view, the drones are not Turkish, but Ukrainian. According to additional ceasefire agreements signed on July 27, 2020, which are a constituent part of the Minsk Protocol, if any of the parties open fire and endangers the life of civilians or military, and the peacemaking mechanism has yielded no result, the other party has a right to defend itself, including by using drones in its arsenal. Worth mentioning is that on October 26, the General Staff in Kiev issued a statement, claiming that two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded, one of whom subsequently died to his injuries. Military officials said the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine “has asked for an immediate ceasefire”, and a message was conveyed via diplomatic channels. The other party did not respond, which is why the use of the drone falls within the ambit of the Minsk Protocols.