Russia to look for grounds for 'legal' invasion of Ukraine

Russia to look for grounds for 'legal' invasion of Ukraine

After Putin's re-election as president and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia will attempt to provoke an incident in Donbas with mass killings of civilians "by the Kyiv junta."

This can be used as a reason for the official use of Russian troops as allegedly "peacekeepers," President of the Strategy XXI Center for Global Studies Mykhailo Honchar said in a comment to Ukrinform.

"I think that in the next few months, most likely after Putin's re-election and the holding of the World Cup, there will be a threat of a negative scenario, a serious risk that Russia will try to create a new reason for invading Ukraine. This does not mean that they will try to shoot down a passenger plane again. No, it will not work any longer, but they will find an opinion for their scenario, saying that Russia had no choice but to deploy its 'peacekeepers,'" he said.

Against this background, the expert said that Russian propaganda had repeatedly emphasized the fact that "people of Donbas" are under the threat of "genocide" if the "Kyiv junta" restores its authority throughout the entire territory of Donbas or if peacekeepers are deployed to the region according to the U.S.-Ukrainian proposal. "I think that Russians will provoke a scenario related to the mass destruction by the 'Kyiv junta' of the so-called 'people of Donbas,' possibly also OSCE observers. Then, taking into account the unwillingness of the UN, the Americans and Europe – Russia will state that it had no option but to deploy its contingent in order to prevent various negative scenarios, and Russians will already stay in Donbas as allegedly 'peacekeepers,'" Honchar said.

Russia's withdrawal from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), in his opinion, also proves that Russia may choose this scenario - the "scenario of pseudo-peacemaking": "It is necessary to remove this balance that was created for mutual control of combat activity. They left under artificial grounds and do not come back."

According to him, the doctrine by Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, which describes the technology of hybrid warfare, also contains the phases of waging such a war. It ends with a peacekeeping operation. "But a peacekeeping operation not in the UN sense, but in the Russian sense - Russian contingents are deployed under the guise of peacekeeping forces," he said.

Honchar noted that Russia's hybrid aggression in Donbas had been conducted from the very beginning according to the scenario, which involved provoking an incident that would be used as a reason for a full-scale "legal" invasion by Russian troops in order to punish the "bloodthirsty junta." "It is important to understand that a full-scale invasion by Russian troops was to take place after the incident with destruction, according to the Russian scenario, by the 'Kyiv junta' of a civilian aircraft with Russian passengers on board. However, the executors, who were ordered to perform this operation, made a mistake and shot down not a Russian plane flying over Ukrainian territory, but a Malaysian plane with Europeans on board. The scenario for the punishment of the 'Kyiv Nazi junta' and the full-scale invasion under the guise of 'forces of the people's republics' has failed," he said.

The expert stressed that having lost the scenario of "legal" invasion, after a mistaken shooting down of MH17, Russia launched another algorithm - the so-called "peacekeeping," urging the "aggressive Nazi junta in Kyiv" to peace. "This also includes the so-called 'Debaltseve cauldron' in February 2015 and the signing of the Minsk-2 [agreements]," he said.

Speaking about Russia's peacekeeping initiative at the UN level, he said that in any case it was not aimed at bringing effective UN forces to Donbas. "According to the Kremlin's plan, if the troops under the guise of the UN appear, they should consist mainly of Russian units (Russia as allegedly an international intermediary) or units of the CSTO satellite states. Otherwise the negotiations will be delayed. The conditions put forward by Russia for the deployment of the mission, for example, only on the line of contact, are unnatural and unacceptable to Ukraine, because under such circumstances we agree that we allegedly have an internal conflict, a civil war, and these peacekeepers reconcile us inside the country," the expert said.

He also added that victory in the hybrid war does not mean occupation and total control over the territory. "Victory in the hybrid war means the establishment of chaos in a certain territory, which becomes unfit for the implementation of various economic and security projects that do not meet the interests of the aggressor. In this case it's Russia," he said.

While commenting on the entry into force of the law on the peculiarities of the state policy on ensuring Ukraine's state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Honchar said that this was the right step, however made four years later than needed.

"In 2014, the Ukrainian authorities got involved in a Russian game, reacting in a hybrid manner to Russia's hybrid aggression. I mean the announcement of the Anti-Terrorist Operation, although everyone understood that, in its content, it was the holding of military operations for the defense of the state. Now the situation was corrected from the point of view of Ukraine's legislation. Now this has yet to be implemented. However, a shortcoming in this situation is that they again make some ersatz forms – the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief should function in the conditions of war and external aggression. In this case, they are creating the Joint Operational Headquarters. In this regard, it can increase the degree of legislative chaos," he said.

According to the expert, Ukraine needs to implement a set of measures due to the fact that Russia will not refuse further to continue hybrid-type aggression. At the same time, on the right occasion, having created the appropriate casus belli (an occasion for the war), the Kremlin will resume full-scale military aggression.

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