Ukrainian Conflict


Initial interest in Ukraine

Ukraine is concerned from 2014 by 2 elements related to the Clock of the Unconscious:

  • Returns from the past
    It is a return to the past of the end of the blocks in Europe at the beginning of the 1990s and the disintegration of the USSR. The return of 2014 is the reaffirmation of Russia (in relation to the disintegration of the USSR) and the attempt to create new republics (DPR and LPR) in relation to the disappearance of the socialist republics of the USSR.
  • The “War Cycle
    It was likely that there was a European war, and the Ukrainian war is an illustration of this. In a few weeks in 2014, several wars have broken out which illustrate the “War Cycle“. To understand the European context of the “War Cycle”, go to the European context

For these reasons, it was necessary to understand why this Ukraine-Russian war started and if it brings some new elements for the understanding of the “War Cycle“. Hence the need to be interested in the war in Ukraine and to understand its causes.

Why the war broke out?

To begin to understand, it was necessary to try to understand the history of Ukraine.

Some peculiarities of Ukraine are:

  • Border instability over time. Borders have always evolved significantly. When one asks why the Crimea was attached to Ukraine during the Soviet era, it is difficult to have a single convincing answer. In other words, the latest developments that have profoundly changed the Ukrainian borders are not exceptional in the history of Ukraine.
    Historians should be asked to draw all the successive borders of Ukraine in the history of Ukraine and transform all these successive borders into a slide show. The result would be interesting
  • Political instability. Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine has experienced 2 “revolutions”. The first is the Orange Revolution (2004-2005), and the second is the change of power of 2013-2014. In between, you had the whole traditional political spectrum including pro-Russian powers. Will there ever be a new pro-Russian power? Probably YES, even if they don’t have the wind in their sails at the moment.
  • Ukraine is a sounding board for Europe-Russia relations. Over the centuries, this has always been the case. The difficult relations between Russia and Europe are reflected in Ukraine, which has always had a double attraction to Europe and Russia. Ukraine is experiencing within itself the state of Europe-Russia relations.
  • Russia is ambivalent about Europe. If Peter the Great wished to integrate Russia into Europe, Putin has a complex relationship with Europe and seems to prefer a rebalancing towards Asia. We are not in a phase where Russia is trying to seduce Europe but rather in a phase of authoritarianism from Russia to Europe. The current phase between Russia and Europe is conflictual, in various forms.
  • Then we must take into account the particular context of 2013. By wanting to hook Ukraine to Russia through a cooperation treaty, Russia has provoked the opposite and provoked a rejection until a change of power. This prospect has frightened the people close to Russia. Russia used these events to get its hands on the Crimea and let those who wanted to attach the Donbass to Russia do so, while officially defending itself and providing massive military and economic aid, making any solution within Ukraine difficult.

Why did the war in Europe take place in Ukraine? Probably because there was a high level of tension in late 2013 and early 2014. The cyclical phenomenon identified by the “War Cycle” went through this, adding what it takes to start the war. However, it is difficult to quantify all these elements of the causes of the war in relation to each other.

Intervention of Russia

It is unquestionable in the Crimea: Russia even boasts about it and has never stopped talking about its green men, presented as heroes.

In Donbass, this intervention is more complex but just as real. All the armament there comes from Russia and its allies. This is indisputable. The level of direct and indirect military support is so high that the leaders of the pseudo-republics have a disproportionate level of demands.

Negotiations Minsk 1 and Minsk 2

In September 2014 the Minsk Accords1 was negotiated between Ukraine and Russia, with the help of the OSCE and Belarus.

At the beginning of 2015, a new negotiation took place by introducing France and Germany. It lead to the Minsk2 agreements

Ceasefire study

The ceasefires decreed since 2014 have made it possible to lower the level of fighting a little, but without ever leading to a real ceasefire respected on the ground.

In July 2017 was written ND201707003. This text described why the ceasefire was not holding and what should be done. It seems to me certain that this text reached the SMM, the SMM observers investigated one point (the internal retransmission to each camp of the ceasefire order). Their investigation confirmed what ND201707003 explained, but I don’t know whether it was sent through official channels or simply through the relations of one of the diplomats who would have been aware of it.

In 2020, realizing that the ceasefire was still not a reality, the text ND201707003 was reused in the text ND202004001-6a Variant from ND201707003 for ukrainian authorities EN-US. Basically, it is the same thing, since the original text has been copied there. In addition, there are some annexes, more precise and an attempt to get the Ukrainian authorities to define a strategy for the future.

The first credible ceasefire was established on 27 July 2020 by the TCG agreements of 22 July 2020.

This ceasefire is compatible with 75% of what was requested in the texts ND201707003 and ND202004001 to achieve a ceasefire.

It lacks 2 points :

  • the removal of ambiguities in the Minsk2 agreements
  • the SMCCC (System Monitoring & Control Center) which is an integrated SMM and JCCC organization, for the supervision and control part of the cease-fire

These 2 points are important to prepare the next step and the future. If the equivalent of these 2 points does not emerge, the ceasefire will simply freeze the current conflict, without resolving anything.

After the Ceasefire of July 27, 2020

An analysis has been done recently from the SMM daily report of October 27, 2020. Overall, the ceasefire is holding but nothing has changed in the daily management of SMM, as if nothing had really happened in July 2020.

Refer to 2020-10-28A Analysis of SMM Report EN-US to see the details.

An example of a ceasefire experiment?

If the texts ND201707003 or/and ND202004001 have really been used to achieve a ceasefire, there is reason to consider that it is an experiment, but as long as there are no testimonies to confirm this, it will have to be considered as a simple coincidence.

What’s next?

For the official actors, apparently nothing has changed. The last meeting of the TCG which has just taken place this week at the end of October takes up the same subjects as if nothing had happened.

As far as we are concerned, there is a plan in the drawers. It requires an operational and efficient organization. If the intermediaries and participants do not have the intellectual courage to say loud and clear what they have done and what they are ready to do, then it is not worth it and let this project remain in the drawers.

For the moment, we put ourselves in a waiting position on 2 texts:

  • ND202004001-6a Variant from ND201707003 for ukrainian authorities EN-US.
    This text contained 3 identified actions: one related to the ceasefire, which seems to have been essentially done, another one for the Ukrainian Prime Minister concerning an administrative reconquest, and a last one for the Ukrainian President concerning the removal of ambiguities in Minsk 2. To date, there is no way of knowing the exact intentions of the Ukrainian authorities with regard to the questions that have been put to them and which must be put to them again.We must not forget that in the long run the Donbass will be fully Ukrainian and that it will be almost impossible to move forward if the Ukrainian authorities (PM and President) do not feel involved to the point of agreeing to define and communicate their strategy: waiting blissfully for Russia to return the Donbass to them is not a strategy, but an impasse and a refusal to act..
  • 2020-10-28A Analysis of SMM Report EN-US This analysis was done on the basis of the SMM report of October 27.
    This text shows once again a major dysfunction between the SMM and the JCCC, about which no regular information is available. The SMCC (System Monitoring & Control Center) as described in an appendix of ND202004001 needs to emerge and assert itself if there is to be any hope of anything other than a freeze on the conflict after a ceasefire that is more or less holding. It must be possible to send it to the actors directly concerned and to hear their reactions. For the moment, they have acted as if all this does not exist or will not exist. It’s a bit short to move on to the next phases.

Provisional Conclusion

As of November 18, 2020, the provisional conclusion is :

  • The doubt persists on the text ND202004001. This doubt is reinforced by 2 articles read on November 15 which show that the Ukrainian presidency is well on the move in looking for methods of implementation of Minsk 2 accepted by all. It had been asked in this text to the Ukrainian president to try to remove the ambiguities of Minsk 2. It is a proof of a good will on behalf of the Ukrainian president, even if the content is perfectible. I transmitted an additional proposal for a possible strategy which took the same path as the initial text. Will it reach the Ukrainian authorities and will it be taken into account? Impossible to say at this stage. Its possible application would require European involvement. Simply having a few ideas is a fragile position in a conflict of this kind. It is the one that seems the most important that wins the day and I am far too small and unknown to weigh up to this day. This problem of communication is also my way of presenting and claiming to bring added value, which is disputed to this day.
  • The text ND201707003 certainly reached SMM observers and managers in 2017, but those who allowed this transit refuse to explain how they made it happen. This text has not been taken into account in 2017 to establish a credible ceasefire in 2017. The analysis is considered accurate in light of the ceasefire that was established in July 2020.
  • In the OSCE and the TCG, everything continues as if nothing had happened. The ceasefire remains partial (around 150 violations per week). It is considered a great progress by the actors who are each trying to strengthen their own mechanisms. The ceasefire system is partially active (as opposed to passive) by the recognized role of the JCCC since July 2020 (for which we have no credible information on its functioning). The entire SMM system remains passive and is considering strengthening itself (apparently in passive mode).
  • The ceasefire may hold in this form of low-intensity conflict, but the available information does not allow for any substantive progress to be made.
  • The situation is confusing, because it is not possible to know for certain what has or has not been used. Coincidence is never evidence and can only become evidence if sufficiently solid testimony turns coincidence into reality. Should we go on? or should we stop thinking that these are just fragile coincidences????

Addendum of December 8, 2020: Why is the ceasefire of 27 July 2020 not a credible experiment that would make it possible to put forward a method and a timid beginning of expertise?

When we talk about experimentation, we should have:

  • the assumptions retained and accepted between the parties involved (belligerents and all contributors to the process of defining and maintaining the ceasefire)
  • Methods of application (assumptions made, how it was decided to apply them)
  • The detailed system put in place to achieve this,
  • the measurable result (SMM reports can be used as a tool)
  • a report on the implementation at the time of the ceasefire, and thereafter
  • a steering committee (COPIL) bringing together all the actors in the ceasefire maintenance system, meeting regularly, every week, to take corrective action if necessary, and reporting on its meetings and decisions taken.

There are not all these elements::

  • ND202004001 or ND201707003 have not been applied completely and correctly. It is not even known whether they were successful and inspired the decisions made. These 2 texts were sent through the Luxembourg ambassador in Rome. One was sent when he was still ambassador to France. As the author, I have no confirmation that they were sent and when. In other words, anyone can openly and officially declare that I am just a nutcase who thinks he is behind everything that is being done. At best, one could consider that the texts have “inspired” a good part of the measures, but by not applying certain parts considered essential. Therefore, N.D. cannot affirm that he has been for anything.
  • The assumptions retained and accepted have not been referenced and described. There was just an agreement at the TCG of July 22, 2020 which is the tip of the iceberg.
  • The application modalities have not been detailed. If the ceasefire began in the days following the 27th, it is certainly because there was specific communication to all the actors. It should have been monitored by the JCCC and the SMM. There was no information on this subject. The failure of previous ceasefires started there.
  • For the gradual implementation, the entire contact line should have been subdivided into sub-sectors and operational coordination should have been carried out at this level to directly catch up on any burrs. This is not described in the TCG agreement and is not described in any SMM report. It is therefore imaginary. If these coordinations have since been put in place and removed, this explains why there is no longer a day without any violation.
  • The detailed field system is not described anywhere. The presence of SMM observers in the field is not a ceasefire maintenance system but a system for counting violations and explosions. If there is only one operational PC operating 24 hours a day at the JCCC and none at the SMM, this also explains why it is deteriorating. This is what was supposed to ensure the ceasefire over time. Since it does not exist in the TCG agreements, does not correspond to the SMM philosophy and is resource-intensive, if it was put in place in July, it was removed, since it is not visible. The operational PCs had to make a daily report indicating violations and actions taken: no such report has ever been published.
  • There are no inspectors going out into the field to check that things have been set up as they should be and report any malfunctions. SMM observers are not inspectors. They are simply counters of explosions and violations, but that is not what can make the system work, and it is necessary to know whether the system for maintaining the ceasefire is working as it was intended or whether it needs to be upgraded. Therefore, there is a need for inspectors who have a complementary role to that of the observers.
  • There is no steering committee (COPIL). There are different actors who get their own coverage to try to show in the media that they are the origin of all this. The Normandy committee (leaders who make a presence, without any concrete action), the SMM which argues that it is THE only one that officially exists. The JCCC which never gives any information that can be consulted and seems to be content with making a few hierarchical reminders. There is no report on the decisions taken within a COPIL and the name N.D. does not exist. You have the choice between considering that he was fired as a dirty cop or that he imagined he had influence. The result is clear: everything that should have been implemented according to N.D. has not been implemented and it is not his analysis that is in question. If there was clear evidence of what was implemented and what was not, an experiment could have been saved. This is not the case. Behind this, you have the mode of governance of Europeans, where they are not able to say what they are doing and why they are doing it, but give great importance to the role they had in the decision, hiding all the others.
  • Could we put the right things back in place? Of course, but that’s not on the agenda. N.D. has left on other subjects and all the other actors are trying to make a place for themselves in the media sun. N.D. has taken note of this: it’s a screwed-up experiment where he can neither argue what had to be done nor what has actually been done. A failed and imperfect experiment where all the intermediaries may have been imaginary, which reassures all the intermediaries. What do you want to reproach a diplomat or his State if all the messages and texts of N.D. were never retransmitted? In other words: that N.D. solves its own internal problems of perception of reality.
  • N.D. has shown that his analyses corresponded to an expertise that does not yet exist in the EU, NATO or the OSCE: the problem has been solved by officially saying that he is just a moron who imagines he had influence when he had none. The proof: diplomats and leaders have agreed to officially confirm that none of his texts have ever been retransmitted and used. N.D. has taken note of these decisions and continues his work as an author without feeling concerned by the aftermath of the Ukrainian conflict. Nobody wants him to do anything concrete about it. He will survive it by going to do something else. It’s a pity, but that’s the way it is. Even when the idea is right, it is not enough to make it something usable and recognized.

End of the addendum of December 8, 2020

Naej DRANER

Updated on December 12, 2020

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