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Ukrainian American Bar Association | 13Nov2014 | Volodymyr Vassylenko

The 2014 War: An Endeavor for a Comprehensive Analysis

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a result of not only the policies of the Kremlin empire-minded chauvinists led by Vladimir Putin, but are also the result of strategic miscalculations and the irresponsibility of Ukrainian political elites throughout the years of Ukraine’s independence.

For years, Ukraine's top political and military leadership pursued the illusion of a possible strategic partnership with Russia. Meanwhile, the Kremlin was consistently implementing a policy aimed at destroying Ukraine. It essentially had two scenarios: Plan A -- for the gradual and "peaceful" destruction of Ukraine, and Plan B -- for a one-time conquest by force. The former plan was envisaged as a "humanitarian" aggression and the use of soft rather than hard, military power to destroy Ukrainian identity, a fundamental formative element of any national State. When Russian political elites realized that the imperialistic dream of a restored “United Great Russia” was impossible as long as a Ukrainian Ukraine existed, they decided that "humanitarian" aggression, not war and/or genocide of the Ukrainian Nation, intended to create a “Ukraine without Ukrainians”. Russia has been conducting its "humanitarian" aggression in several directions simultaneously: by inspiring and waging informational, propagandistic, linguistic, cultural, historiosophy and religious wars. The Yanukovych regime was Russia’s partner in its "humanitarian" aggression against Ukraine. Controlled by Russian special services, it pursued anti-Ukrainian "humanitarian" policies. In other words, it was a wide-scale consistent special operation to eliminate the constitutionally established fundamental elements of Ukraine's statehood, and to turn it into a denationalized and powerless part of a so called "Russian World". "Humanitarian" aggression can only be successful if Ukraine is fenced off from the West and remains in Russia’s orbit of power. Therefore, the Russian leadership made sure that Yanukovych opted for the non-aligned status for Ukraine, and that he rejected the Association Agreement with the EU.

The fall of the Yanukovych regime, the determination of the new Ukrainian government to resume its European integration policy, and the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO in the future, pushed Russia to Plan B.

Yet, even though Moscow was obviously aware of the poor condition of the Ukrainian Army, it clearly underestimated the aspiration of Ukrainians for freedom, and their determination and ability to resist. Sadly, Ukraine’s political and military leaders failed to organize immediate resistance to Russia’s aggression shortly after it began. As a result, Ukraine has lost Crimea and control over parts of Ukraine-Russia border territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, through which Russian mercenaries, diversionists and regular Russian Army units infiltrated into Ukraine.

Thanks to the heroic dedication of the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard, which was set up under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry, and the volunteer battalions, large parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were liberated from the aggressor. However, Petro Poroshenko’s reluctance to introduce martial law and to mobilize the entire potential of the State and society to fend off the enemy was among the factors that extended the war's duration.

Today, Ukraine's elites, all of Ukrainian society, and members of the international community, must realize that Russia is waging a total war against Ukraine and, at the same time, is testing the readiness and ability of Western democracies to resist the Kremlin's revanchist and expansionist plans. Russia's ultimate goal is neither to annex parts of Ukrainian territory nor to deprive Ukraine of the right to make its own civilization choice, but rather to destroy all things Ukrainian that exist and Ukrainian statehood as such. Therefore, the top priorities on the national security agenda for Ukraine must include: 1) the revival of the entire national security sector, 2) the formulation and implementation of a Ukrainocentric humanitarian policy as a tool of resistance to Russian "humanitarian" aggression, 3) implementation of programs for European and NATO integration with full-scale membership as the ultimate goal.

The Russian aggression is violating the international order, threatening global security and undermining nuclear non-proliferation regime. It jeopardizes every member of the international community. In resisting Russian aggression, Ukraine is, at the same time, fighting for the West and its values. If the Western democracies care about their own security, they should stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine to resist the aggressor with the aim to defend common civilization values, world peace and international order.

The proposed paper below is an attempt to provide a comprehensive analysis of the problems Ukraine and the international community are facing as a result of the recent war of aggression by Russia.

[pdf file]

Nov 13-16, 2014
Washington, DC 20008

Hon. Volodymyr Vassylenko

The 2014 War: An Endeavor for a Comprehensive Analysis

Hon. Volodymyr Vassylenko is a pre-eminent Ukrainian legal scholar, jurist, and diplomat whose fifty-year long career has been illustrious in each of these fields. For over 25 years he has been a renowned professor of Public International Law at the Institute of Foreign Relations of the National Kyiv University. He was legal advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine. He was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Belgium, (non-resident) to the Netherlands and Luxemburg; to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and (non-resident) to Ireland, as well as Representative of Ukraine to the European Union, the North Atlantic Co-operation Council and the International Maritime Organization. He was Judge ad litem of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He was Representative of Ukraine to the UN Commission on Human Rights. He participated in a number of important international Conferences and Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. He also formed part of the Ukrainian delegation at the Summits of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He has also served as Representative of Ukraine to the UN Council on Human Rights, Deputy Representative of Ukraine to the Venice Commission, Agent of Ukraine to the International Court of Justice in the case of Ukraine v. Romania concerning the delimitation of maritime space in the Black Sea.