By Maria Gritsch for the Saker Blog
Evidence shows that Russia’s special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine is a legally justified, critically necessary, and predictable response to the US’ recent escalation of its decades-long aggression against Russia in Ukraine–militarily, in the international corporate media, in cyberspace, and in the political-economic arena. The US’ hostile actions against Russia were summarized in a 2019 US-Army funded RAND Corporation blueprint for “Over Extending and Unbalancing Russia.” Underlying US actions is its aim is to dismember and asset-strip Russia–to appropriate its coveted oil, gas, and mineral resources and vast agricultural lands–and to enable US investors’ access to Russia’s economy. This is a step towards the US’ overarching goals of controlling Central Asia and achieving full spectrum dominance or global hegemony. Although the US war against Russia in Ukraine started years ago, US aggression escalated under the Biden administration and created conditions that posed an immediate existential threat to Russia and necessitated its military response.
In 2014, the US initiated a proxy war against Russia by engineering the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected president. This ignited a bloody civil war on Russia’s border in which the US-installed and US-armed Kiev regime attacked the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk whose largely ethnically Russian residents opposed the US coup. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) documented the Kiev regime’s attacks that killed thousands of civilians and terrorized the populace. In 2015, the US-installed then-president, Petro Poroshenko, publicly articulated Kiev’s anti-Russia stance and its policy for the Donbass:
“We will have jobs—they will not. We will have pensions—they will not. [….] Our children will go to schools and kindergartens—theirs will hide in the basements.” Popular Ukraine pundits openly called for Donbas residents’ extermination. In 2015, Congress lifted its ban on funding Ukraine’s neo Nazi militias and placed US military trainers on the ground inside Ukraine. NATO and the CIA also began training Ukraine regime forces–effectively establishing Ukraine as a de facto US/NATO mercenary state. During the past eight years, Russia exhibited enormous restraint as the US and Ukraine violated the Minsk Protocols and rejected requests for diplomacy. In 2021, US aggression against Russia increased dramatically once Biden took office–in Ukraine and in the Black Sea. US actions and Ukraine President Zelensky’s public statements generated immediate threats to the survival of the Russian nation-state.
Russia’s Military Response Was Over-Determined By Four Existential Threats
The US government and the corporate media falsely characterize Russia’s special operation as entirely ‘unprovoked’ and an ‘illegal invasion’. These allegations ignore four conditions which each independently compelled President Putin and the Duma to initiate Russia’s denazification and demilitarization operation and which establish this intervention as consistent with international legal norms.
Chief among the factors necessitating Russia’s immediate military response were indications of an imminent new massacre as 125,000 Ukraine forces amassed along the border of Donbass in December of 2021. This was never reported in the US corporate press. Instead, the US government and corporate media repeatedly stated that Russian troops were gathering on Ukraine’s border (inside Russia) and predicted an impending Russian invasion. In hindsight, US intelligence could make this accurate claim because it was aware of the menacing buildup of Ukraine forces. Anticipating an imminent massacre, Russia was obligated to intervene militarily because it had a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) the citizens of Donbass. R2P is a political commitment to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; it was endorsed by the United Nations at its 2005 world summit.
Second, on February 19, 2022, Ukraine President Zelensky announced that Ukraine would seek to acquire nuclear weapons, saying, “I want to believe that the North Atlantic Treaty and Article 5 will be more effective than the Budapest Memorandum.” Zelensky’s expressed desire to acquire nuclear weapons represented a dangerous threat to Moscow and signaled that the window of opportunity for conventional military intervention was closing. It is unlikely that Zelensky operates completely autonomously; Biden publicly bragged about his control over Ukraine government policies and has remunerated Zelensky following Zelensky’s implementation of anti-Russia policies and actions.
Third, Zelensky’s repudiation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a reminder of Ukraine’s intent to join NATO. For years, US President Biden advocated NATO membership for Ukraine, assuring Zelensky as recently as December 11, 2021 that this was in Ukraine’s own hands. NATO membership would entail NATO nuclear missiles inside Ukraine, aimed at Moscow. Ukraine’s geographic proximity to Russia eliminates the crucial minutes in which Moscow could verify and respond to an attack and would effectively place Russia and the US at DEFCON Level Two. The US dismissed Russia’s December 17, 2021 verbal and written requests for a diplomatic response to its security concerns. Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken deliberately rejected Russia’s entreaties and ignored the predictable consequences of Ukraine’s potential NATO membership. Renowned international relations scholars, diplomats and politicians, including John Mearsheimer, Jack Matlock, George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, and William Perry warned that NATO membership for Ukraine was a dangerous provocation which would trigger Russia’s military response.
A fourth threat requiring Russia’s intervention was the presence of US Department of Defense-operated biolabs inside Ukraine. Russia’s concerns were validated on March 11, 2022 when Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland admitted during Congressional questioning that the Ukraine biolabs contained ‘biological materials’ which the US ‘did not want to fall into Russian hands’. While the pathogenic biological agents in these biolabs do not technically constitute bioweapons, they can become bioweapons once there is a ‘mechanism for spreading the agent.’ A delivery mechanism need not be sophisticated to be effective. Bioweapons researcher, Jeffrey Kaye, described the extreme level of US secrecy surrounding the biolabs. Kaye noted that the Director of the Pentagon’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Robert Pope, did not reassure when he stated that, “the Ukraine biolabs currently did not have the ability to manufacture bioweapons.”
Russia’s Intervention Is Consistent with International Law
These four US-generated conditions represented urgent existential threats to the Donbas and to the Russian nation-state and contradict US claims that Russia ‘illegally invaded Ukraine’ and that Russia’s intervention was unprovoked. Russia was compelled to intervene militarily to neutralize these threats and its response is consistent with the United Nations Charter of 1945 concerning international rules governing a state’s use of military force. The United Nations allows two exceptions to its prohibition of the use of force in international law: “self-defence under Article 51, and military measures authorised by the Security Council in response to “any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression.” In particular, the UN Charter notes, “there is no problem – and never has been – with that state, without first seeking Security Council approval, using military force ‘preemptively’.’ Both exceptions apply to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine: Russia perceived an imminent threat to the Donbas and an imminent threat to the Russian nation-state. The immediacy of these threats obviated any requirement that Russia seek prior UN Security Council approval. Seeking UN approval would be futile, in any case, because the United States, a permanent UN Security Council member, is the principal combatant generating the hostilities.
Under the Biden administration, what began in 2014 as a US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine transformed into the US’ direct war against Russia. The US’ covert and overt military actions establish it as a legal “co-belligerent.” Now, the US continues to flood Ukraine with billions of dollars of heavy weapons and provides intelligence to guide Ukraine’s attacks on Russian forces. The US blatantly states that it wants to “weaken” Russia and that Russia must be defeated. This is the US whose regime change wars in the Middle East killed 5 million; whose 1955-1975 war against Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia cost 3.4 million military and civilian lives. This is the US CIA whose coups and illegal interventions around the globe since its 1947 inception left a trail of bloodshed and chaos. Russia is legally and crucially defending the Donbas and the Russian nation-state against the US quest for global domination. The US generated four existential threats to the Donbas and to the Russian nation-state that necessitated Russia’s immediate intervention. The US—not Russia—is the illegal aggressor in Ukraine.