Whilst the Russian operation in Ukraine has been presented by corporate media as an ‘unprovoked attack’, the simple fact is that there has been an ongoing conflict in the East of the country for the last 8 years.
In view of the omission of coverage from western news outlets regarding the actions of the Ukrainian military against the Donbass since 2014, we present a brief timeline of events leading up to the Russian Federation’s formal recognition of the Donetsk and Lughansk People’s Republics in February 2022.
2014: President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich overthrown in a violent coup d’etat supported by the US and the EU, supplanted by a Russophobic regime whose first act was to abolish Russian language rights. The so-called Maidan Revolution was dominated by gun-toting fascist outfits like Azov and Right Sector which openly glorified the exploits of wartime nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
The illegal overthrow of President Yanukovich was soon followed by the (no less illegal) presidency of Petro Poroshenko (2014-2019), the fruit of the violent coup d’etat and which no one in the Donbass voted for.
16 March 2014: Crimean Referendum. Crimeans vote by an overwhelming majority to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
2 May 2014: Fascists in Odessa burn and butcher 42 workers in the Trade Union House.
May 2014: The peoples republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) are formed in self-defence against fascist attacks.
September 2014. Minsk Protocol. Drafted by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, consisting of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), with mediation by the leaders of France and Germany in the so-called Normandy Format. After extensive talks in Minsk, Belarus, the agreement was signed on 5 September 2014 by representatives of the Trilateral Contact Group and, without recognition of their status, by the then-leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).
12 February 2015: Minsk II. This agreement consisted of a package of measures, including a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, constitutional reform in Ukraine granting self-government to certain areas of Donbas and restoring control of the state border to the Ukrainian government.
[For eight years the heroes of the Donbass suffered constant shelling but stood their ground. Russia gave humanitarian support but withheld formal recognition of the DPR and LPR, preferring to keep the Minsk Accords alive with their promise of autonomy for the Donbass.]
May 2019: Former comedian and actor Zelensky elected as president by the remaining rump of Ukraine, elected on a peace ticket with the stated desire to diplomatically end the war against the Donbass.
Spring 2021: Zelensky announced that the Ukraine would retake Crimea by force. Russia then held large military maneuvers and Zelensky backed down.
November 2021: one of Ukraine’s most prominent ultra-nationalist militiamen, Dmytro Yarosh, announced that he had been appointed as an advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Yarosh is an avowed follower of the Nazi collaborator Bandera who led Right Sector from 2013 to 2015, vowing to lead the “de-Russification” of Ukraine.
November 2021: Ukraine again made further provocation, saying it would be retaking Donbass by force. Russia again held military maneuvers as a show of force.
December 2021: Zelensky would be seen delivering a “Hero of Ukraine” award to a leader of the fascistic Right Sector in a ceremony in Ukraine’s parliament.
Starting in mid February 2022 the OSCE observers around Donbas noted in their daily reports a strong increase in ceasefire violation.
February 19 2022: Zelensky gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference hinting at nuclear ambitions.
22 February 2022: Russian President Vladimir Putin recognises DPR and LPR. The Russian special military operation begins a few days later.