February 24, 2022 was not a turning point, as is misinterpreted in the West and even in Russia. It is a necessary consequence of the developments in Ukraine: Beginning in 1990, through the Euro-Maidan in 2014 and finally in 2022, NATO pursued its goal of unleashing a war on the Russian border.
By Alexei Nechayev
The second half of February is rich in anniversaries. February 22-24 marks the ninth anniversary of the coup in Kiev. February 17th and 18th marks another escalation in the Donbass, which led to the massive evacuation of the population. February 21 is the anniversary of Moscow’s recognition of the Lugansk (LNR) and Donetsk (DNR) People’s Republics. Finally, February 24 is the anniversary of the start of Russia’s military special operation in Ukraine.
February 24, 2022 – the start of a new order in the world
The latter date is desperately mythologized in the western press and portrayed as a “sneaky attack”. Occasionally, Washington babblers, including Joe Biden, add the words “unprovoked” and “unfounded.” The result is a black and white picture: everyone lived happily ever after, and then – boom! – everything started to spin…
Unfortunately, some of my colleagues in Russia also took up this discourse and declared February 24 a turning point. But this simplification distorts recent history and devalues the sacrifice of those who saw the start of the special operation as a logical and natural continuation of a series of events. This myth requires a chronological deconstruction.
When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the Euromaidan leadership signed a peace agreement on February 21, 2014, hardly anyone suspected that it would be broken the very next day. After all, in addition to the signatories of the agreement, representatives of Germany, France and Poland also put their signatures on the paper. Certainly, at that time there was still trust in the Europeans.
However, the wording of the document turned out to be unbalanced. On the one hand, he absolved opposition supporters from criminal responsibility. On the other hand, he did not guarantee in any way the rights of ten to twelve million people whose interests were then represented by the incumbent government elected in the 2010-2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.
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In doing so, people voted for basic things: a set of civil rights (including a right to one’s own language), a rapprochement with Russia and building an economy on principles different from those enshrined in Ukraine by Brussels and Washington of the “association agreement with the EU”.
To some, these details may seem “boring” and “unimportant,” but they are of fundamental importance. Half of Ukrainian voters did not accept the results of Euromaidan, not out of sympathy for Yanukovych, but because at this “celebration of democracy” with pools of blood, “Molotov cocktails” and burning tires, nobody, in the opinion of millions of asked people.
The geopolitical context was also taken into account. While the US was in the process of completing its takeover of Eastern Europe in 2004-2005 by enriching the region with NATO infrastructure, by 2013-2014 the vast area between Poland and Russia had become the US’s primary target.
By extending the military zone of occupation by 2,000 kilometers from the borders of the former East Germany to the Belgorod region in just 23 years, Washington could have presented the world with a fantastic result. But millions of Ukrainian citizens and Moscow resisted. The former for domestic reasons, the latter for military and foreign policy reasons.
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Afterwards there was a festival on the Crimean Peninsula and a tragedy in Odessa. There was uncertainty in Kharkov and there was repression in Kiev. A witch hunt began in Dnepropetrovsk and military intervention in Donbass. Significantly, up until 2022, Euromaidan supporters were always the aggressor and never on the defensive: neither in Kiev, nor in Odessa, nor at Donetsk or Lugansk. This nuance is important and we will come back to it later.
Combat operations in Donbass that began in 2014 led to the Minsk agreements. Its content was not a “concession to Russia,” as Vladimir Zelensky put it recently. “Minsk II” is the result of the military defeat of the Ukrainian armed forces, the result of the “Debaltsevo pocket”.
However, neither Kiev nor the West had any intention of complying with the Minsk agreements. Ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, ex-President François Hollande, his colleague Petro Poroshenko and finally Vladimir Zelensky, who botched the implementation of the document, confirmed this with their statements.
In addition, the fact is supported by the practical measures taken by the Ukrainian armed forces. As early as spring 2021, the enemy command began to mobilize troops along the entire line of contact in Donbass and steadily intensified the shelling. The energy and water infrastructure became the target of destruction. For this reason, on February 18, 2022, the local authorities announced the evacuation of the population.
Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine: a year later
The escalation was also seen inside Ukraine, where opposition media were banned and laws discriminating against Russians were passed. Cashiers and taxi drivers were pressured for speaking Russian; Russian was banned from schools. “Phrasephrases” became the country’s new elite, while the Ukrainian president displayed an inhumane attitude first toward Russians and then toward the Ukrainians themselves, failing to fulfill his campaign promises on military and economic issues.
Nor did the White House guideline give much hope for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, since Washington refused to negotiate mutual security guarantees with Moscow.
So let’s recap what happened leading up to February 24, 2022:
- Since 1990, NATO has inexorably moved closer to Russia’s borders;
- Ukraine emerged as an anti-Russian state and has been awash with NATO infrastructure since 2014;
- Ukrainian forces systematically shelled Donbass and blocked Crimea’s water supply;
- it was not possible to agree on anything, either within the framework of the Minsk agreements or within the framework of bilateral negotiations with the US.
What can one do in such a situation? Defend oneself. With the means of violence. That is the only possible answer. Russian diplomats don’t have to make declarations under the Just War Theory, which Western politicians, inspired by the philosopher Michael Walzer, invoke every time the United States bombs someone, be it Yugoslavia, Afghanistan , Iraq or Libya.
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We wage a defensive war (not a pre-emptive war), strike back (not intrusive), and force the aggressor (not the victim) to a just peace and the rule of law that was already trampled on in 2014. Since then the situation has only gotten worse.
Today Europe is talking about waves of refugees from Ukraine. But is this the first wave? What about the millions of people who had to flee their homes as a result of the criminal actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) in 2014-2015? These people have not been able to see their relatives and friends for almost ten years. And I am one of them too.
NATO has criticized Russia for its attacks on energy infrastructure. But where was the West with its criticism when the National Socialists under Poroshenko imposed an energy, water and trade blockade on Crimea? Nothing needs to be said about the Donbass – all the pain and suffering multiplied by NATO instructors, equipment and ammunition.
Who is actually the victim here and who is the aggressor?
First published by Vsglyad.
Translated from Russian.
more on the subject – Instigated by Washington: A year of war between Russia and the assembled NATO in Ukraine
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