Yves here. If you read Helmer’s write-up carefully, you will notice that the German Bundestag has disputed the strong-form claims made about the level and nature of Russian support for the “rebels” in the Donbass. The press has repeatedly gone over its skis in asserting that the Russian military had acted in a formal manner.
Mind you, the German report does not say that it has proof that the Russian military didn’t intervene. After all, it is hard to prove a negative. But it does say the evidence that has been offered doesn’t substantiate the claims, which is still plenty damning given the noise made about the supposed incursion.
As US meddling around the world has shown, there are all sorts of ways to help interests you’d like to promote that fall well short of sending in troop carriers. We’ve repeatedly noted the dubious/lack of sourcing of claims of Russian invasion.
However, eastern Ukraine is full of people with relatives in Russia. There is evidence that Russia was providing materiel to the “rebels” but taking care to provide only very old equipment so as to provide a veneer of deniability. Similarly, it’s not hard to image military officials telling soldiers they could go to Ukraine and they wouldn’t be declared AWOL….and no one would mind if they took lots of ammo and grenades with them too. It also seems likely the Russians provided advisers, which again would fall below the intervention threshold set in the Bundestag report.
Remember the big reason Russian would not want to take on this tar baby: unlike Crimea, no way, no how does Russia want to integrate the eastern part of Ukraine. It’s an economic basket case. Russia would prefer it to be a not-hostile zone. Given the large proportion of ethnic Russians in the population, under normal circumstances, that would not be hard to achieve.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
A report by a research unit of the German Bundestag, just released in Berlin, has defied the narrative of the European Union, NATO and the US, with the conclusion that since the Ukraine civil war began in early 2014, there has been no reliable evidence of Russian troop invasion or intervention by regular Russian military forces in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
After a review of the press, official public releases and reports, as well as European court rulings, the Bundestag’s experts have described the outcome with the German phrase, ohne belastbares Faktenmaterial – “without reliable fact material.”
The Bundestag report, which runs to 17 pages and was completed on December 9, has been noted in the German-language media. To date, however, it has been ignored by the Anglo-American press, including the alt-media.
The new German report is entitled “Intervention in civil war zones: The role of Russia during the east Ukraine conflict”. It was prepared by the foreign, international law and defence department (WD-2) of the Scientific Services Bureau of the Bundestag.
In a preface to the report, the authors say they “support the members of the German Bundestag with mandate-related activity. Their works do not express the view of the German Bundestag, its individual organs, or the management of the Bundestag.” Responsibility for the research reporting is “the technical responsibility of the authors…as well as the department management.” No authors have been identified by name.
The full German report can be read at the official website link. No official English translation is available.
“For five years Ukrainian armed forces and pro-Russian separatists have been fighting against each other in the Donbass/Donets Basin,” the report says. “The territorial conflict shows classical identifiers of a non-international (internal) armed conflict. About the extent, quality and magnitude of the military involvement of Russia during the Ukraine conflict, there are few reliable facts and analyses aside from the numerous speculations, part-contradictory reports and press announcements, and denials from different sources. Altogether, however, the picture of the situation is not unequivocal.”
“Also, the Federal [German] Government holds no reliable knowledge, according to its own information apparently, on how much influence today Russia actually exercises on the separatists in the East Ukraine that can be described as credible.”
The report summarizes western media reports, social media posts, as well as NATO press releases in order to cast doubt on their veracity. “Reliable information about the parts of the region of the Ukrainian-Russian border not controlled by Kiev is rare.” The German researchers are also sceptical of claims published by the monitoring mission of the area from the Organization for Security and Economic Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which “has, in spite of its comprehensive mandate, only limited access to this area.”
For background details of the anti-Russian leadership of the OSCE’s special monitoring mission (SMM) in Ukraine, read this.
“The question of whether pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region are currently under control and directed from Moscow, or whether regular Russian troops still remain on Ukrainian territory cannot be answered without reliable factual material, in particular without the appropriate and reliable secret service intelligence.”