Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 16.12.2017
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has a Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine: the OSCE SMM. This mission has a false premise, because the OSCE SMM refuses to acknowledge that Russia is a party to the conflict, that Russia is the aggressor, and that the war being fought on the territory of Ukraine is between Russian invaders and Ukrainian defenders. Russia should be expelled from the OSCE for naked violations of the Helsinki Final Act, but instead the OSCE invites Russia to place monitors on the OSCE SMM mission and forbids Ukraine from placing monitors. This bizarre situation means invader Russia is “monitoring” its own invasion through and organization which is supposed to be supervising a ceasefire between “the sides.” Unsurprisingly, the OSCE SMM is held in contempt by the Ukrainian people, who can see every day that the mission is corrupted and made impotent by the presence of Russian agents disguised as monitors.
The Russian rot at the heart of the OSCE goes deeper than the OSCE SMM. A Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) is supposed to follow up on reports of ceasefire violations and Minsk Agreement violations. But the JCCC has Russian military officers in it, and as a result it is notorious for turning a blind eye to transgressions of the Russian occupation army of Donbas. Ukrainians are beset by Russian soldiers in the invasion-occupation army (the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”), by Russian soldiers in the OSCE SMM, and by Russian soldiers in the JCCC. The only hope for Ukrainians in their own country is the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who one-sidedly observe the Minsk Agreements and its ceasefires while Russia breaks them. The enemy is the Russian invaders, whom the OSCE won’t acknowledge. The OSCE SMM and the JCCC have completely lost the trust of the Ukrainian people because of the malevolent presence of the foreign Russian invader within those structures.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was caught by surprise on December 14, when a Ukrainian armed forces member of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination showed them a letter from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Russia announced that it would withdraw its officers from the JCCC.
What is Putin up to? Such a decision can only have been made in the Kremlin. What is most likely is that Russia is going all out on is fake peacekeeping plan for Donbas, as a way to forestall the real UN peacekeeping plan that has been gaining support. Putin wants a fake peacekeeping force that would include Russian soldiers and which would “freeze” the conflict along the existing invasion battlefront. The UN peacekeeping proposals is for a real mission that would operate everywhere in Ukraine, right up to the internationally-recognized Ukraine-Russia border.
Russia has been attacking Ukraine relentlessly every day for the 1,395 days of Putin’s War. Russia has violated every provision of the Minsk Agreements, particularly the ones about foreign troops withdrawing from Ukraine and returning control of the border to Ukraine. Russia breaks every ceasefire, every day, by shooting proscribed weapons at the Ukrainian defenders. Russia corrupts the OSCE by seeding as many of its saboteurs as it can in the Special Monitoring Mission. Russia may see an opportunity to weaken the OSCE even further by knocking out the support structure of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination.
The OSCE is the author of its own demise. The OSCE failed to defend the articles of its founding document, the Helsinki Final Act, when Russia broke them. The OSCE failed to expel Russia for invading Ukraine. The OSCE failed to provide for the security of its member Ukraine, when it lied and called the invasion of Ukraine by Russia the “conflict in Ukraine.” The OSCE fell into disrepute when it allowed soldiers of the invasion army to “monitor” their own invasion.
It is unlikely that real mission for peace and security can come out of this mess. Russia’s withdrawal from the JCCC strips away a fiction that was useful to Kremlin propagandists and to Western appeasers: that there is a conflict in Ukraine. All that is left is reality: Russia is invading Europe in Ukraine.