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March 4, 2014 1


Russian Aggression, International Support and Action Plan for Ukraine

1. Russian aggression and the international response ................................................... 2 1.1. Positions of major global players ....................................................................... 2 1.2. Geopolitical and economic interests of Russia .................................................. 2 1.3. Conspiracy theories ............................................................................................ 3 1.4. Restraints of the Russian special operation ........................................................ 4 1.5. Information war: Russia vs Maidan ................................................................... 4 2. Plan of action for Ukraine ......................................................................................... 5 3. Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 6


Russian aggression in Crimea and power play on the UkrainianRussian border has become a key issue of the international agenda today. Russian actions are aimed at making the world take into consideration its own geopolitical ambitions, enforcing the order of the post-Soviet region which would best fit its interests as well as solving a number of its internal problems. The international community demonstrates an increasingly appropriate response to Russian aggression - it was the stance of global players that became a major counterbalance to the Russian pressure. However, further steps need to be taken by Ukraines new leadership to strengthening their institutional capacity in terms of responding to this serious challenge from their neighbour. 1. Russian aggression and international response 1.1. Positions of major global players Insisting on the legitimacy of Viktor Yanukovych, Russia used him as a tool in achieving its goals in Crimea, while breaching a number of international treaties, namely: United Nations Charter; 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law; 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine; Agreement on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet stationing on the territory of Ukraine dated August 8th, 1997 (it was prolonged in April 2010). Besides, refusal of the Russian Federation to carry out preliminary consultations with Ukraine and the countries, which are guarantors of its security and territorial integrity (Great Britain, USA and France), blatantly neglects international commitments enforced in the Budapest memorandum of 1994.
Russia breached a number of international treaties

1.2. Geopolitical and economic interests of Russia From geopolitical viewpoint, Crimean affairs are part of Russian foreign strategy and the means to enforce its geopolitical positions, predominantly in the region it considers to be its area of influence. Through the campaign in Crimea Russia tries to attach the Crimean peninsula to a so-called small security belt which already includes Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, and Kaliningrad. At the same time it wants to increase the presence of its Navy in the Black Sea, which is perceived as a component of national security system and factor of regional stability in confrontation with NATO. Besides, Russia tries to solve the following economic tasks: To ensure energy security through reducing the cost of South Stream which, in this case, would be constructed on the continental shelf of the Black Sea instead of deep international

Russia tries to attach the Crimean peninsula to a socalled small security belt

waters; To use gas pipelines to tie Crimea to Russia, whereas nowadays the former totally depends on Ukraine in terms of infrastructure and resources; To neutralize or take under the Russian control profitable projects of gas exploration and extraction in the Black Sea, which were initiated by Ukraine with the assistance of major European and American companies; To deprive Ukraine without Crimea of major territory of exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea etc.

1.3. Conspiracy theories In order to explain the Russian logic, experts consider several conspiracy theories. 1. A Russian game to raise the stakes. Russia decided to use the vulnerability of the newly appointed Ukrainian government in order to raise the stakes in the negotiations on Ukrainian-Russian relations after Maidan. Such a step was aimed at preventing new Ukrainian officials from raising the issues of Kharkiv treaties denouncement or the withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the territory of Ukraine. According to this scenario, after Russian power play, which would not transform into military conflict, the parties will start negotiations where Russia will insist on its terms for the conflict resolution. Russia needs a loyal Ukrainian government which would not enter NATO and would take into account Russian economic and military interests. 2. Russian reply to the US. Russia perceives Ukrainian Maidan exclusively as an American special operation, the first stage of post-Soviet democratization based on the scenario of the Arab spring. The Kremlin believes that events in Ukraine from November 2013 February 2014 may serve as an example for weakening Putins regime in Russia. Therefore, after Yanukovychs defeat Moscow decided to counterattack and fight the US on the Ukrainian territory. In this case it is unknown how far Russia would go; yet, considering the vulnerability of the newly appointed Ukrainian government, Moscow may try to split the country and return Viktor Yanukovych as a puppet leader of a quasi-state. 3. Oligarchs theory. Supporters of this theory believe that Viktor Yanukovych failed to ensure Russian interests in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin decided to return or introduce other individuals in Ukrainian politics. The scenario of aggression on the Crimean peninsula was used to regain control over the processes in the country and allow particular individuals to get power. In this case Moscow will start negotiations or make concessions when a pre-approved negotiator will be offered to whom Vladimir Putin will grant the victory settlement of the conflict and return of control over Crimea. 4. Economic theory. According to this theory, the Russian leadership understands that their global positions have weakened due to end of the crisis in the EU, the start of economic growth in the US, considerable economic growth in the East and progress in the resolution of Iranian problem. It is believed that by the end of 2014 an irreversible processes will start in the Russian economic and financial system, and the Crimean affair was initiated to distract attention from the Russian economic problems and

After Russian power play the parties will start negotiations

Moscow may try to split the country and create a quasi-state

A pre-approved negotiator will be granted the victory

The Crimean affair as distraction attention from the Russian economic problems

destabilize the global economic system. 5. Psychological theory. Certain experts believe that the actions of Russian political elite are sincere and they reflect psychological and moral traumas related to the demise of the USSR. None of these theories are perfect. We do not fully know the motivation and logic of Russian leaders. It is possible that their actions were caused by a combination of factors. At this point it is impossible to say whether Putin will move on to the continental phase of the conflict and how far Russia will go in case of this phase. Each of the possible options (1. Crimea; 2. Two or three eastern regions; 3. 6-7 regions of Russian-speaking South East; 4. Zbruch line, meaning the whole territory of Ukraine except for Western Ukraine) will depend on a number of factors, namely: 1. War-making capacity of Ukrainian army; 2. Kyivs control over regions and local population supporting the government; 3. Level of international support to Kyiv and pressure on Moscow; 4. Internal political and economic situation in Russia.

The actions of Russian political elite as reflection of the psychological trauma

What line Russia is ready to cross

1.4. Restraints of Russian special operation Though Russians form the majority in the Crimea (58.5%), there are also considerable minorities Ukrainians (24.4%) and Crimean Tatars (12.1%), - who are against Crimea joining the Russian Federation and may form an alliance against the Russians. Nevertheless, it was the response of international community that restrained Russia from further escalating the Crimea conflict. Furthermore, the NATO-Russia military ratio in the Black Sea is evaluated to be 5 to 1. Conflict in Crimea will also activate Muslim factor inside Russia and may cause new terrorist attacks there. Aggression in Crimea also negatively affected the Russian stock market and currency rate, which significantly influenced the calculations of the Russian government. However, at the same time there can be little doubt that political expediency will be the only factor which will define any further Russian steps.

The NATORussia military ratio in the Black Sea is evaluated to be 5 to 1

1.5. Information war: Russia vs Maidan Over the last few months Russia has carried out full-scale informational campaign to discredit Maidan in the West and eastern regions of Ukraine. Special attention is paid to depicting Ukrainian protesters as extremists. In particular, considerable efforts are aimed at discrediting Dmytro Yarosh, leader of Praviy Sektor. Another element of the Russian campaign is aggressive speculations over the issues of language and the rights of ethnic minorities, namely Russians in the Crimea. Thus, Russia delivers a message that Maidan is a revolution of Ukrainian nationalists, aimed against ethnic minorities. Due to this fact, informational coverage of events in Crimea looked like a demonstration of power, rather than a military operation. Messages

Informational campaign to discredit Maidan in the West

Speculations over the issues of language and the rights of ethnic minorities

from the Russian mass media about Russian soldiers taking control over military facilities and panic among the Russian-speaking population in Eastern Ukraine were not true. The press conference of Viktor Yanukovych, organized on February 28th, 2014 in Rostov-na-Donu, is perceived as a part of the information campaign in which the former Ukrainian president is just a tool of Russian influence. We may assume that the aim of this information campaign is to determine the reaction of Ukrainian citizens to the Kremlins steps in order to define the level to which Moscow may raise the stakes at the negotiations or the potential scale of military intervention. At present Putin leaves himself space for manoeuvring in Crimean situation. For instance, it was done through a statement that the Resolution of the Council of Federation, which allows Putin to use army on the territory of Ukraine, was adopted based on the information, which was not confirmed. In turn, since December 2013 Maidan was losing the information war in the West. For a long time Russian positions were strengthened by Ukrainian official diplomacy. At the same time, actions taken by the new Ukrainian government (in particular, the decision of the Council of National Security and Defence of Ukraine on ensuring security and territorial integrity of Ukraine dated March 2nd, 2014 and parliamentary Resolution On Appeal of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to parliaments of the countries which are security guarantors of Ukraine and international organizations dated March 2nd, 2014), strengthened positions of Ukraine in future negotiations with Russia.

Crimean affair as a demonstration of power

Putin leaves himself space for manoeuvring in Crimean situation

2. Plan of action for Ukraine The Crimean affair showed the institutional vulnerability of the Ukrainian state machine, its inability to take preventative measures in conflict situations. When the information on Russian actions in Crimea appeared in mass media, representatives of the new government were focused on the distribution of positions instead of ensuring control over regions. Russian aggression made the Ukrainian government face reality and act under extraordinary circumstances. Ukraines new leadership took positive steps. However, it is still necessary to strengthen positions for negotiations, which would make Moscow start negotiations and would raise Ukraines stakes in the process. What steps may be taken? First of all, an adequate response to the military threat is needed. For instance, a state of emergency may be announced in certain regions; the Minister of Defence may start the mobilization of the army and inventorying its resources with a public report to Commander-in-Chief on the readiness to fight against the aggressor. It is necessary to use the Security Service of Ukraine and army units to strengthen and protect the eastern borders of the country. The government should arrest people, responsible for the destabilization of situation and block the borders so that agent provocateurs would not be able to come from Russia. Steps were made to launch a patriotic information campaign; yet more proactive work with the international mass media is needed. More importantly, a national coalition of peoples trust should be

The Crimean affair showed the institutional vulnerability of the Ukrainian state machine


positions for negotiations should be strengthen

formed. It may be achieved through the transformation of the government headed by Batkivschyna into a government of national unity which will include professionals representing various regions and parties. Controversial and weak personalities should be eliminated from the government. Instead of being an object for geopolitical games, Ukraine should become their subject. The country needs its own plan for solving the conflict and competent negotiators. Ukraine should offer Russia and the international community a new memorandum which would become a compromise and basis for long-lasting peace and stability in the region. This Memorandum should grant Russia and other countries, which do not aim at entering the EU, the prospect of integration in European area with freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people. Such an opportunity would guarantee political independence of Russia while providing it with access to European advantages. The Memorandum may offer security guarantees to Russia - for instance, the consent of Ukraine not to integrate with NATO if Russia withdraws its fleet in 2017 and provides effective international guarantees for the borders of Ukraine. This Memorandum may also cover other issues, including language and humanitarian ones, and in the future it may complement Helsinki documents and become a mechanism for reforms within OSCE. There may be many ideas and concepts in negotiations with Russia and the international community, yet it is important for Ukrainian government to have the institutional capacity to elaborate them and conduct negotiations with partners. A key task today is to appoint a professional negotiator, who could communicate with Russia on a par and have trust both on the part of the EU and the Russian Federation. Russian aggression has become the largest challenge for modern Ukraine. At the same time it has offered a unique chance to review current architecture of Europe in which Ukraine does not take its due place. We shall see whether the government will use this opportunity.

Ukraine should offer a new memorandum which would become a basis for long-lasting peace and stability in the region

To appoint a professional negotiator who could communicate with Russia is a key task today

3. Conclusions By implementing military aggression in Crimea, Russia makes steps to force Ukraine to conduct negotiations on the part of the international community and major geopolitical players. Moscow sent a clear signal to the world community that it would not allow them to define the rules on postSoviet territory without taking into consideration its interests. Russia leaves space for negotiations, but it clearly defined the USA and West, not the Ukrainian government, as a party in these negotiations. The most important task for Ukrainian diplomacy is to restore direct dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow, which is the only way to prevent the final loss of international legal standing. That is why it is extremely important to appoint a competent negotiator to represent Ukraine. Discredited individuals who have political or pragmatic interest to use the conflict for their own sake should not become such negotiators. Russia will raise the stakes in negotiations with the West to distribute spheres of influence and with Ukrainian government to consider interests of Kremlin in its future politics. Moscow will advance to the point to which Kyiv would allow it through insufficient control over eastern regions and

institutional weakness of the government. It is only through its own actions that Kyiv may define the limit to which Moscow will advance, solving its geopolitical, energy and economic interests in the region. Ensuring a strong national position in negotiations is a key task for Ukraine. This position should be based on the highest level of war-making capacity of the army, its mobilization, control over all regions in the country, consensus of the elites over major state issues till the conflict is solved. Ukraine should propose a large-scale document to settle the conflict, which may become a basis for a long-lasting European order.

Moscow will advance to the point to which Kyiv would allow it

Experts: Vasyl Filipchuk, Olena Zakharova, Volodymyr Prytula, Iaroslav Kovalchuk, Amanda Paul (European Policy Centre) @2014 International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) If citing please give reference on the ICPS