The awkward role of the OSCE in Ukraine

There was a lot of clapping last week as Switzerland ended its OSCE-chairmanship and praised its role in Ukraine.

Sadly, there is practically zero objection in the public (and most notably German-speaking media) to those disputable claims.

Some facts on the “security” mission:

  • The OSCE has been able to control two border crossings on the uncontrolled 400km long Ukrainian-Russian border strip, some 40 Meters.
  • Russia has prevented more observers on the border and also prevented observers to travel there. The OSCE-coordinator for border questions is Alexej Lyzhenkov, a former official in the Russian foreign ministry
  • Russia thus has been able to get all its heavy artillery, tanks, special forces, regular troops and volunteers etc. to the current cease-fire line (see sprotyv.info, the Interpreter and Conflict Reporter)
  • Russia has been able to storm selected targets on almost a daily basis, most notably the Donetsk airport
  • In some areas, the front has been shifted a few dozen kilometers to the west after 5 September 2014 (compare the maps of Ukrainian gains and losses from the NSDC or the Interpreter)
  • The OSCE has not been able to enforce the cease-fire provision to control the border and the cease-fire with its drones. They finally were delivered in mid-October (six weeks after the “cease-fire”), but have practically not been used as the occupying forces have shot at them
  • OSCE-symbols have been misused by the occupying forces
  • President Poroshenko claimed that out of 270 observers, only 90 are in eastern Ukraine – we do not know where the rest is (in Kyiv?)
  • The OSCE has reportedly passed on military information to the Russian side
  • The OSCE-mission near Mariupol has reportedly passed on military information to the Russian side (one Ukrainian adviser claimed 80% of those in the mission had a Russian  background)
  • The OSCE has published reports discrediting Ukraine (i.e. shelling a Donetsk school – the shells most probably came from the occupying forces)
  • Ukrainian soldiers have claimed they were shelled after visits of the OSCE.
  • The mission largely exludes Ukraine. Ukraine is not allowed to have representatives in the mission – instead it favors the aggressor: Russia. The country has representatives in its own country contingent (10%) and potentially in the contingents of other post-Soviet, eastern European, and German-speaking countries. The OSCE has not published a list on how the mission is combined (they only stated that they prefer “Russian-speaking“)
  • Propaganda is essential to the Russian side. OSCE’s ‚senior press assistant‘ Irina Gudyma is a Russian national
  • The OSCE-representative for the issue of human trafficking Kazakhstan’s Madina Jarbusynova, used an appearance on Ukrainian TV to spread a false claim by the Russian state media of Ukrainian atrocities including “organ-trafficking”

What have been the advantages for Ukraine of the OSCE being there?

Next, the OSCE-chairmanship is going to Serbia that has not supported the western sanctions and has a clear pro-Russian line – hightime to kindly ask the OSCE to leave Ukraine!

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Surely another reason why western Europe still does not take Russian threats seriously – most are unaware of (1) Russian crimes against humanity in Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, western Europeans (2) in general ignore eastern European history if it is not connected to Russia. Just as the most reknown German historian on eastern Europe Karl Schlögel only recently discovered Ukraine.

 

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Putin the chess player

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In summer 2014, suddenly everyone was reading Clark’s ‘the Sleepwalkers’ – never in the last decades had a book caused so much damage. The situation might be similar to 1914, but the insight should not be to avoid countermeasure, just because counteractions were false in 1914. You cannot deescalate tanks and artillery without military measures.

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last week in Moscow

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at the Museum of Modern Russian History, the Russian President presented his version of the August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: “The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression agreement with Germany. They say, ‘Oh, how bad.’ But what is so bad about it, if the Soviet Union did not want to fight? What is so bad?” Bad enough that the pact had a secret protocol that divided Poland between Hitler and Stalin, and acknowledged that the Soviet Union had legitimate interests in: Finland, Estonia and Latvia, and the region what is today Moldova. Since the occupation of Crimea in Februray 2014, Mosow has started to increasingly demonstrate its claim on those states, for example with aggressive airfighter activities in the Baltic Sea region.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact led directly to the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and to the Second World War. But according to the Russian president: “Poland had got what it deserved” (the Polish army had annexed small parts of Czechoslovakia in 1938 that were inhabited partly by Poles). The eastern part of Poland occupied by the Soviet Union immediately saw mass arrests and mass deportations of more than half a million Poles to the Gulag, and the direct liquidation of anti-communist activists, the national-democratic elite and others considered as “enemies of the people”. The Soviet Union did not officially declare war on Poland, and did not grant Polish servicemen the status of prisoners of war, but classified them as rebels, sent a great part of Polish soldiers to the Gulag, and liquidated the officers. None of those crimes has been condemned by a European court as crimes against humanity until today.

 

 

 

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Russia-based destruction in the Donbas

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4.500 apartments

4.700 energy-related objects

132 industrial objects

290 schools

45 medical facilities – 70% of the personnel left the region

596 enterprises

not able to function / destroyed -

total cost up to USD 900 million.

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Small comparison

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- not elected to power, but promoted to power

- used Olympic games as a PR-action

- held referendum in Austria/Crimea

- annexed Austria/Crimea

- occupied and annexed the Czechoslovak Sudentenland / occupied (and annexed) the Ukrainian Donbas

- violated the San Germain Accord/Budapest Memorandum (with the silent consent of the international players)

- international reactions to the German/Russian aggression: Appeasement/”De-escalation”

- undeclared invasion of Poland/undeclared invasion of Ukraine

….and there is still no war between Europe and Russia???

 

 

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Not Russia

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