• ADF

War in Ukraine, Part 3: The War in Donbas, Eastern Ukraine (2014 - 2022)



Russian backed separatist forces on the frontline with Ukraine from the new [unrecognized] break-away Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.



2014:


2014, April 07: Around 1,500 pro-Russian rebels attend a rally in Donetsk pushing for a Crimean-style referendum on independence from Ukraine. After the rally, separatists stormed the Regional State Administration (RSA) building, demanding a referendum to be incorporated into Russia.

2014, May 12: Donetsk People’s Republic declares its independence from Ukraine.

2014, May 16: Alexander Borodai, a Russian national and member of the Russian State Duma (2021 to present), is appointed as the Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic by the Supreme Council after a declaration of independence from Ukraine. Borodai also claimed to be involved with the Russian annexation of Crimea where he served as a “political strategist”. In another part of the world, the Second Libyan Civil War commences after relations between the UN recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), and the House of Representatives (HOR) deteriorate. The powerful Libyan National Army (LNA) under the leadership of Khalifa Haftar, supports the belligerent HOR. Russia provides military support to the LNA in the form of ground-based air defense systems, up to 14 Mig fighter jets, and ground forces under the guise of Wagner Group, a Russian PMC. Other nations that supported the Libyan National Army include Egypt, Israel, the UAE, and France who conducted air strikes against Chadian opponents of the LNA until Italy protested the French activities. Italy, who was heavily invested in Libya’s oil and gas industry since the Gaddafi era, supported the UN recognized Government of National Accord, also supported by the United States.


[The significance of Russia supporting the belligerent Libyan National Army (LNA) during the Second Libyan Civil War is the creation of Wagner Group, a pseudo private military company manned with retired- and serving members of Russian Special Operations Forces to establish a form of plausible deniability about Russia providing ground troops to a belligerent group in Libya. Wagner Group had its origins in Ukraine during the Russian annexation of Crimea, and immediately after Wagner Group ‘military advisors’ appeared in Luhansk supporting pro-Russian separatist Ukrainian forces. The group was founded by Dmitryi Valeryevich Utkin, who had the callsign “Wagner” during his service as a Special Forces commander in the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, GRU, based on his fascination with the German Third Reich, and the music from that era composed by German Richard Wagner. Utkin as often reported as a follower of neo-Nazism, and even considered a controversial figure by some in Moscow. Russia’s presence in Libya shortly after it deployed its forces to support Syria was an attempt to promote itself as a ‘maker of peace’ against the West in countries subjected to hostilities which Russia conveniently blamed on the West].


2014, May 26: Based on the provisional election results, is was clear that Petro Poroshenko was the President-elect, and that he would win the vote. In response he stated that he would continue using the Ukraine armed forces to end the insurgency in eastern Ukraine. He also called for negotiations with Russia in the presence of intermediaries, to which Russia responded that they do not require intermediaries to negotiate a peace plan. As President-elect, he also vowed to return Crimea back to Ukraine.

2014, May 29: Petro Poroshenko is announced as the winner of the post-Ukrainian revolution Presidential elections held after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia.


[Petro Poroshenko is a wealthy Ukrainian businessman and loyal supporter of former President Viktor Yanukovych, the latter also being the godfather of his two daughters. Poroshenko was also a founding member of Partiia Rehioniv (Party of Regions) alongside Viktor Yanukovych. During his 2014 Presidential election campaign, Poroshenko publicly claimed to be one of the organizers of the Euromaidan protests that occurred between November 2013 to February 2014, having confirmed that he supported the events actively and financially. He also stated that he used the influence of his popular 5 Kanal (Channel 5) television station to facilitate participation in the protests. However, as we study the events that followed since the protests started during November 2013, and we take into consideration Petro Poroshenko’s eventual election as President of Ukraine and how his administration failed to address the continuing Russian expansionism agenda and political interference in Ukraine, we see various indicators that the Euromaidan protests were in fact a product of Russian covert activities for the purpose of creating a public revolt against the Kyiv government which would ‘justify’ Russian forces entering Ukrainian sovereign territory acting as a ‘peacekeeping’ mission with Ukrainian Presidential approval at the time (which Russia obtained when President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Moscow). This aspect about Russian covert operations are also commonly misunderstood (mainly due to the majority Western thinkers being extremely naïve about Russia’s willingness to achieve its strategic objectives at whatever cost), in that any asset in service of the Russian system is in fact just a tool, and also expendable for that purpose. Former President Viktor Yanukovych may have been a loyal Russia supporter, but what he most probably failed to realize was that he was from a Kremlin perspective only as useful for as long as Russia could benefit from his political control (determined by the extent of political control that Russia could exercise through his influence). Would Russia have sacrificed their loyal supporter as head of the Ukraine government by inciting civil unrest? Definitely, for Yanukovych was only of value to Russia until a better opportunity presents itself. Individual sacrifice has always been a major characteristic of the Soviet Union, and still very much relevant in the current Russian political system that still operates along the same principles, but just with different (and somewhat conflicting) terminologies. From an [Russian] strategic-opportunistic perspective, Poroshenko became a means of achieving a strategic objective (political instability) to the benefit of Russia in Ukraine. Poroshenko might not have been as great a Russian asset as was the case with his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, but Russia definitely utilized the opportunity to exploit his influence within the much fragile [anti-Russian] Ukrainian political environment to remain relevant within Ukrainian society. This is the reason why Russia is in fact much more dangerous to the global society than currently perceived, and why current Western politics are within its most fragile state ever].


2014, June 07: Petro Poroshenko is inaugurated by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) as the President of Ukraine, resuming duties from former President Viktor Yanukovych who was hiding in Russia. During his inauguration speech Poroshenko stated his intent to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine by calling for earlier elections. He also wished to return Crimea back to Ukraine. He further stated that although he was open to negotiations, he would not be negotiating with “gangsters and killers”. He also stated that he would sign the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement as first step to enabling Ukraine to become an EU member. He also confirmed that he considered Ukrainian as the only state language, but he would also allow for the unhindered development of Russian and all other languages spoken in Ukraine. Immediately after his speech, Poroshenko launched a peace plan for the conflict in eastern Ukraine with the aim of garnering Presidential recognition from Russia, requesting a ceasefire and humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave the area. He warned that he had a “plan B” if the plan was rejected.

2014, June 10: ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), launches its offensive in Mosul, Iraq. This becomes the starting point for ISIS to expanding its caliphate within the region and joining it with its existing caliphate in Syria. As a common strategy, ISIS targets oil production facilities first.

2014, June 16: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko starts with the implementation of his ‘administrative decentralization’ plan for Ukraine. His plan was to divide Ukraine into regions with greater authority to manage their own affairs, especially relating to spending of tax revenues. This plan would eventually allow partial self-rule to the separatist regions of the Donbas for 3 years (which worked well in favor of enabling Russian expansionism as a next step within territories they already [illegally] controlled).

2014, June 21: Viktor Medvedchuk is present at the negotiations with the armed separatists of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces to discuss Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko’s proposed peace plan, although no-one was aware on whose behalf he attended. He first claimed to be appointed by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, which Turchynov immediately denied. He later stated he attended upon request from Petro Poroshenko.

2014, June 24: Both Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) confirm to the OSCE that Viktor Medvedchuk will be their official representative in all negotiations with the Ukraine government.

2014, July 08: Viktor Medvedchuk is withdrawn from further representing the DPR/LPR in peace negotiations.

2014, July 17: Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew members is shot down by surface-to-air missiles over Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine, 40 km from the Russian border. All people on board were killed. The airliner was shot down by a ground-based BUK surface-to-air missile system in service with the Russian backed separatist forces in Donetsk, having originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation. On the day of the incident, the missile system was transported from Russian territory to a field in the rebel controlled Donetsk region where it targeted the civilian airliner, and immediately after the incident, the launcher system returned to Russia. Based on the investigation conclusion by the Dutch Aviation Safety Board, Russia was responsible for the incident. In Russia, state media outlet RT initially reported the Russian government [disinformation] narrative that the airliner was shot down by Ukraine in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s. The Russian media outlets later changed its narrative towards blaming the ‘incompetence’ of the separatist forces it supported in Donetsk, although the commanding officer of the unit at the time was in fact a Russian service member, and not a Ukrainian separatist. On November 17, 2022, a Dutch court found Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky guilty of murder and shooting down a plane. Ukrainian separatist, Leonid Kharchenko, from Donetsk was also found guilty. All three men were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.

2014, July 23: Two Ukraine Air Force fighters are engaged by surface-to-air missiles at an altitude of 17,000 ft close to the area where Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile a week prior on July 17, 2014. The two Ukrainian Air Force fighters were engaged by ground-based SAM’s from within Russian territory.

2014, July 24: Coalition government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk collapses after the parliament failed to pass legislation to increase military spending, and to regulate energy matters . Yatsenyuk resign as Prime Minister after the collapse of the coalition.

2014, July 31: Verkhovna Rada declines Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation after only 16 out of 450 MP’s voted in favor of his resignation.

2014, August 07: Alexander Borodai announces his resignation as Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Ukrainian-born Alexander Zacharchenko as an attempt by Moscow to suppress growing foreign criticism by implying that the Donetsk People’s Republic declaration of independence was in fact a Ukrainian decision, and not a Russian enabled event.

2014, August 25: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko holds snap elections in the Verhovna Rada (Ukraine Parliament) “to purify the Rada of the mainstay of Viktor Yanukovych]. He further stated that the current MP’s were “direct sponsors and accomplices or at least sympathizers of militant-separatists”.

2014, September 01: American political consultant, Paul Manafort, along with Russian GRU agent, Konstantin Kilimnik, is hired by the Ukrainian oligarchs responsible for financing the Party of Regions (and supporting the Viktor Yanukovych political career), to rebrand the party to Opposition Bloc as a means of gaining entry into government political affairs after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia, and his Party of Regions basically became undesirable due to bad publicity and public perceptions.

2014, September 05: The Minsk Protocol, based on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s “15-Point Peace Plan” proposed on June 20, 2014, is signed into effect by all attending parties, including Russia, in Minsk, Belarus.


[Vladimir Putin, as President of the Russian Federation, often refers to Ukraine’s failure to abide by the agreed peace plan that constitutes the “Minsk Protocol”. The final text of the protocol adopted by Ukraine, Russia, and the break-away Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, stipulated the following twelve conditions for peace:


1. To ensure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.

2. To ensure the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire by the OSCE.

3. Decentralization of power, including through the adoption of the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".

4. To ensure the permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border and verification by the OSCE with the creation of security zones in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

5. Immediate release of all hostages and illegally detained persons.

6. A law preventing the prosecution and punishment of people in connection with the events that have taken place in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

7. To continue the inclusive national dialogue.

8. To take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbas.

9. To ensure early local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".

10. To withdraw illegal armed groups and military equipment as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.

11. To adopt a program of economic recovery and reconstruction for the Donbas region.

12. To provide personal security for participants in the consultations.


However, up until February 24, 2022, Ukraine (much against its will), did abide to these conditions, and the Kyiv government even downplayed much of the growing concerns based on intelligence confirming Russia’s intent to invade Ukraine since January 2022. This is supported by the fact that Russia’s main objective was to occupy Kyiv within 3 days, and then bring in former President (and pro-Russian) Viktor Yanukovych who was already waiting in Minsk, Belarus, when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Within a week after Russia failed to occupy Kyiv, and after suffering heavy combat losses, Vladimir Putin realized that his plan was much unlikely to happen why Russia commenced with a major disinformation campaign blaming a passive NATO for provoking Russia to invade Ukraine. The reality was that Ukraine, who was not prepared for the Russia invasion on February 24, 2022, was in fact more prepared to resist the Russian forces than the whole of NATO combined. The US was well informed of Russia’s intentions, why they warned Kyiv in advance, but in reality all the NATO member nations expected Russia to be successful in its occupation of Ukraine with minimum force. But, much to everyone’s surprise, Ukraine persevered].


2014, September 14: The Party of Regions in Ukraine chooses not to participate in the Ukrainian elections protesting the Donbas’ exclusion from the elections. They do however decide to participate in the parliamentary elections under their new name Opposition Bloc.

2014, September 19: After multiple ceasefire violations by all sides of the original Minsk Protocol, the following additional measures were added to the Minsk Protocol:


1. To ban flights by combat aircraft over the security zone.

2. To withdraw all foreign mercenaries from the conflict zone.

3. To ban offensive operations.

4. To pull heavy weaponry 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) back on each side of the line of contact, creating a 30 kilometer (19 mi) buffer zone.

5. To task the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine with monitoring implementation of Minsk Protocol.


2014, September 30: The Prosecutor General of Ukraine files corruption charges against exiled President Viktor Yanukovych for the use of US$ 22 million of government funds to establish a private telecommunications company.

2014, October 03: Exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is granted Russian citizenship by Presidential decree authorized by Vladimir Putin.

2014, October 16: An ammunition depot near the eastern Czech town of Vrbetice explodes under mysterious circumstances. Russian GRU Unit 29155 is implicated for being responsible for the event. The ammunition stockpile belonged to Bulgarian arms dealer Emirian Gebrev, who unit 29155 tried to poison during April and May 2014. The stockpile was suspected by Russia as being destined for Ukraine to counter the rising Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Since Unit 29155 failed to kill Gebrev during May 2014, the operation was changed to target the ammunition depot in October 2014.

2014, November 08: Opposition Bloc (ex-Party of Regions) wins 29 seats in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections.

2014, November 27: Opposition Bloc reaches 40 parliamentary seats in its faction.


2015:


2015, January 21: The Minsk Protocol collapses after irreconcilable ceasefire violations by all sides, following the separatist victory at Donetsk International Airport in defiance of the Minsk Protocol. Both the DPR and LPR breakaway Republics denounced their acceptance of the original protocol, and confirmed that they would not be interested in further ceasefire negotiations. Up until this point, Ukraine was losing more territory to the break-away Republics.

2015, February 12: France and Germany develops a revived peace plan referred to as “Minsk II”. The Franko-German plan was drafted after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin to counter US efforts to send weapons to Ukraine to counter further Russian aggression. Both France (Hollande) and Germany (Merkel) did not want the US to supply arms to Ukraine. The plan was signed between all parties present, the text of the agreement as follows:


[1. Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and it's strict fulfillment as of 00:00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015.

2. Pull-back of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creating a security zone minimum 50 kilometers (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometers (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometers (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:


for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;

for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line

in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014


The pull-back of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days. This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.


3. Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.

4. On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law. Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.

5. Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.

6. Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of "all for all". This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).

7. Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.

8. Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field). With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.

9. Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.

10. Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

11. Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralization (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote, by the end of 2015.

12. Based on the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts", questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.

13. Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group.


Upon implementation of this revived “Minsk II” agreement, the US criticized the agreement for containing unnecessary complications which in fact only served for Russia’s benefit, and not of equal benefit to Ukraine. The agreement was labelled as an attempt to enable Russia to convert both Donetsk and Luhansk into Russian Republics as a means of influencing Ukrainian national politics to Russia’s favor in the event of reincorporation into a ‘united’ Ukraine. The US also highlighted the fact that Russian Forces were already present on Ukrainian soil, but that fact was not addressed by the new agreement. Up until the February 24, 2022, invasion, Russia maintained military operations in support of the remaining DPR and LPR territories without any repercussions via the OSCE ‘observer group’. During December 2021, Russia actively started its ‘Kyiv violating the Minsk Agreement’ narrative via its network of Western influenced mainstream media outlets. By this time the US also realized that Russia was committed to invading Ukraine and replacing the Kyiv government under leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and consequently the US provided Ukraine with limited arms in the form of man-portable Javelin anti-tank missiles].


2015, April 30: Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, gives evidence at a court session relating to extradition to the United States on bribery and racketeering charges, that he funded Petro Poroshenko’s Presidential election campaign. Firtash was connected to the Kremlin in Russia, and acted as the middleman between Russia and pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. He also acted on behalf of Russian gas company Gazprom. He allegedly obtained this position with the agreement of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian organized crime head Semion Mogilevich.

2015, May 15: Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signs a bill into power starting a 6 months process of removing all symbols resembling any past connections with Communism, to include statues and renaming of streets. Poroshenko states that he considered communist repression and the Holodomor of the Soviet era comparative to “Nazi crimes”.

2015, May 29: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko invites is friend and former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to Ukraine to assist with the implementation of reforms. Saakashvili receives Ukrainian citizenship.

2015, May 30: Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, is appointed as the Governor of Odessa Regional State Administration a day after receiving Ukraine citizenship from Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

2015, May 30: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko states that he wishes to implement a plan for “de-oligarchization” to rid Ukraine from the influence of oligarchs.

2015, June 05: Viktor Medvedchuk is appointed as the official representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (Ukraine, Russia, OSCE). As confirmed later during an interview with [former President] Petro Poroshenko during June 2021, Medvedchuk’s appointment occurred upon insistence by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

2015, June 18: Exiled President Viktor Yanukovych is officially removed from his title as President of Ukraine.

2015, September 30: Russia announces that it is targeting ISIS in Syria with airstrikes. Upon US verification on the ground, the US determines that Russia was in fact targeting civilians opposing the Syrian Government, as well as Western-backed rebel groups.

2015, October 01: The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine comes into effect as a campaign promise by Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, as a means to implement stricter anti-corruption mechanisms to reduce government corruption as demanded by the IMF. Since its inception, 189 cases were sent to court, but with no major convictions. It was later exposed that suspects were coached by the head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office on how to avoid corruption charges. Poroshenko’s involvement in this practice is not verified, although he failed to address the lack of convictions when confronted by independent oversight groups.

2015, December 07: Former President Viktor Yanukovych confirms his interest to return to Ukrainian politics.


2016:


2016, April 03: Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk states that a “strict policy against any aggressor country which in this case means the Russian Federation is needed. No deals and compromise at the expense of Ukraine. The restoration of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. The return of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea, and the extension of sanctions against the Russian Federation until Ukraine has restored its territorial sovereignty.

2016, June 13: Konstantin Kilimnik, within the capacity as an associate of American Paul Manafort, leaves Ukraine for Russia permanently. Kilimnik left Ukraine after being tipped off by former Ukraine Prosecutor-General Yuri Lutsenko after a US Federal Grand Jury charged Kilimnik for obstruction of justice.

2016, July 31: In a video published on YouTube, a person supposedly representing the Islamic States calls onto its supporters in Russia to carry out attacks in Russia. This publication was different from normal Islamic State publications because it was released on a medium addressing a predominantly Western audience. Upon closer evaluation it is suspected to be a staged production with the purpose of diverting growing concerns about Russian collaboration with Daesh (Islamic State), especially as US officials raise concerns about Russia’s unwillingness to engage ISIS targets in Syria.

2016, August 02: Russian GRU agent Konstantin Kilimnik meets with American political consultants Paul Manafort and Richard Gates at 666th Fifth Avenue. Based on various witness statements to the FBI, Kilimnik was responsible for communicating Trump campaign information to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kilimnik was confirmed to be an employee of the Russian GRU at the time. In statements provided to the FBI during investigations to follow years later, Manafort confirmed that he had also discussed the activities relating to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and leaking of e-mails by Russian hacker groups ‘Cozy Bear’ and ‘Fancy Bear’. Trump election campaign data also had to be passed onto Russian-linked Ukrainians Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov based on witness statements given to the FBI.

2016, November 08: A new law is implemented in Ukraine requiring a quota of at least 60% of all radio and television content to be aired in Ukrainian language. Up until the implementation of this law, the majority television and radio content were broadcast in Russian, which is in fact a minority language in Ukraine.

2016, December 02: Ukrainian MP and pro-Russian politician, Oleksandr Onyshchenko, confirms in a public statement that he had organized and funded a defamation campaign against former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his government (under the Yanukovych administration) with “US$ 30 million of unclear origin” (his own words), on behalf of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko with the aim of enhancing his own political career.


2017:


2017, January 20: Donald Trump is inaugurated at the 45th President of the United States of America. In attendance of President Donald Trump’s inauguration as a ticket holding guest was Russian GRU agent and fugitive Konstantin Kilimnik. The ticket purchase was facilitated by American lobbyist, Samuel Patten, at a cost of US$ 50,000 per ticket for four tickets.

2017, February 22: Konstantin Kilimnik, and Russian/Ukrainian political consultant, confirms the existence of a peace effort between Russia and Ukraine referred to as the ‘Mariupol Plan’, whereby Viktor Yanukovych would return to serve as the President of the Russian occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. This plan is supposedly the product of a Ukrainian politician, MP and businessman, Andrii Artemenko.


[Andrii Artemenko, although less obvious than Yanukovych, was later identified as a major contributor to facilitating a pro-Russian Ukraine. When his activities were later exposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, he was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship during 2017. Andrii Artemenko was introduced to Michael Cohen, former US President Donald Trump’s lawyer (2006 – 2018) via a powerful Ukrainian oligarch Alex Oronov (who’s daughter Oxana was married to Michael Cohen’s brother, Bryan Cohen). Artemenko worked with Cohen to develop a Ukraine peace plan, although the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States confirmed that Artemenko was not authorized by the Ukrainian government to propose any peace plan to any country, including the United States. During 2016, Andrii Artemenko, still an MP in the Ukrainian parliament, was the only Ukrainian politician to openly support the election of Donald Trump as US President, also demanding that the Poroshenko government in Ukraine change their foreign policies to support the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, instead of the Democrats Presidential nominee. On April 29, 2017, Artemenko was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by the Poroshenko government. On February 19, 2017, Artemenko was exposed as the back channel link between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a result of poor publicity as a result of his relationship with Russia, he changed his name to Andy Victor Kuchma during 2017 (assuming his wife’s maiden name as his last name). He also maintained close relations with the American lobbyist Paul Manafort. After he lost his Ukrainian citizenship, he resumed life on his Canadian citizenship acquired voluntarily during 2005. He now lives in Washington DC. During 2020 he unsuccessfully petitioned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to reinstate his Ukrainian citizenship without success. Andrii Artemenko (aka Andy Victor Kuchma) is currently involved in the following ventures:


1. Co-owner and Executive Chairman of Airtrans LLC, alongside Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, a long-time Republican donor and Trump supporter, and founder of Frontier Resource Group, who also attempted to offer a US$ 10 Billion private military services proposal to the Ukrainian government during 2020 without success.

2. Co-owner of Global Assets Inc, which is managed by Skyway International, a suspected gambling and money laundering operation from Unit 63A, Trump Tower, New York.

3. Co-owner and President of American Industrial Group Inc, which manufactures disinfectant and PPE for the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Executive Chairman of Global Management Association Corporation, registered as a lobbying firm in the US Lobbyist Register. The firm is under scrutiny by the FBI for its connections with influential Russian politicians connected to Vladimir Putin, especially after evidence was exposed regarding their efforts to fabricate incriminating evidence against the Bidens. The investigation is still ongoing.

5. Owner and President of IT company, Alphanet Technologies Inc, which is developing a blockchain based COVID-19 immunity passport project (NewNorm)].


2017, March 14: Former President Viktor Yanukovych is charged with the encroachment of the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, high treason, and complicity in aggressive warfare by Russian Federation aimed at altering Ukraine’s state borders. The trial continues until January 24, 2019, via video link with Yanukovych still in exile in Russia.

2017, March 31: Visa-free travel is introduced between Russia and South Africa.


[This arrangement was facilitated between South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and had little value to the expansion of the South Africa economy. Instead, the Zuma Administration facilitated visa free travel to enable greater Russian participation in the unregulated economy (underworld) in South Africa to establish expanded revenue streams to the ruling party funding mechanisms derived from indirect involvement (not subject to any oversight mechanisms) in the unregulated (criminal) economy. Since the implementation of visa-free travel between South Africa and Russia, South Africa has experienced a greater outflow of undeclared foreign currency and precious metals, and a rapid increase in domestic instability and violent crime upon the arrival of the Russian Mafia a day later. However, the major value of a visa-free travel arrangement between Russia and South Africa now is that Russia has access to a friendly proxy state still connected to the Western business world to circumvent sanctions being enforced against Russia and key oligarchs since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It is for this reason why various Russian oligarchs moved their high value assets (yachts, private jets) to their residences in South Africa, predominantly in Cape Town, while being protected by the Russian Mafia].


2017, April 01: One day after the implementation of visa-free travel between South Africa and Russia, dominant nightclubs in the major cities of South Africa experience a coordinated hostile take-over of club security by predominantly Russian speaking men, with some originating from Serbia and Ukraine.


[Control over nightclubs is essential to control the supply of narcotics, prostitutes, and illegal weapons (the three top organized criminal activities in South Africa). During the first two weeks after the implementation of visa-free travel, South African cities were engaged in ‘gang wars’ erupting between the historical club ‘security’ scene, and the incoming Russian Mafia. Eventually, the underworld in South Africa was taken over by the Russians, and the South African Police Services did little to change it due to high-level political interference from the ruling party in government. In fact, any arm of government who intended to counter the Russian underworld would be influenced to do otherwise by the political arm of government. The significance of the international Russian Mafia mechanism from the Russian state mindset is that it serves the function of a covert expeditionary force for the Russian oligarchs (who conduct foreign business in close relationship with the Russian Mafia that provides protection to these high-value individuals), and it also establishes a support network for the Russian Military Intelligence services, GRU. Wagner Group, and both the FSB and GRU have established bases in South Africa (protected by the Russian Mafia network), from where it conducts operations throughout Africa. By now it is no secret that South Africa’s state mechanisms are captured and controlled by foreign forces, especially by the Russian faction controlling the Russian government. Looking even deeper into the extent of Russian influence in South Africa, we find Russian support behind the CapeXit movement campaigning for Cape independence from the Republic of South Africa (following similar tactics to the Catalonia independence movement), as well as technical support to former President Jacob Zuma in the planning and coordinated execution of the violent protests that hit Kwa-Zulu Natal province during July 2021, to include the hacking of various government websites and digital infrastructure, targeting mostly Western associated brands in response to corruption charges against him relating to his involvement in the facilitation of illicit activities to his personal benefit while serving as the President].


2017, April 28: Russia’s National Bureau of Interpol request that former Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk be placed on the Interpol wanted list based on false charges alleging his involvement in attacks on Russian servicemen between 1994 - 1995 and 2000, in Russia’s North Caucasian republic of Chechnya. The charges also alleged that Yatsenyuk was part of an armed group, and participated in attempted murder. No details relating to the charges were provided. Interpol officially dismissed the request due to a lack of evidence. Yatsenyuk responded to the Russian charges as absurd, and he considered it an attempt to discredit his reputation. It was later confirmed that the charges were part of a defamation campaign against Yatsenyuk by political rival Petro Poroshenko.

2017, July 26: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko issues a decree stripping Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia, and Governor of Odessa Regional State Administration. No official reasons were provided, but the decision was most likely based on Saakashvili’s decision to start his own political party, Movement of New Forces, to contest the next Presidential elections against Poroshenko.

2017, September 25: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko signs a new law on education stating that Ukrainian would be the language at all levels of education, except for subjects that were other language specific (such as language subjects, etc), including any of the other recognized languages in Ukraine. A 3 year implementation period was allowed ending in 2023. Hungary, Romania, and Russia opposed the implementation of the new laws, demanding that indigenous minorities should be allowed to be educated in their indigenous language by choice from basic education level.

2017, October 27: The Parliament of Catalonia pass a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Spain to form an independent Republic of Catalonia.


[The Spanish government immediately rejected the declaration of independence and arrested all the leaders of the Catalonian Independence Movement. Carles Puigdemond, leader of the independence movement, who also declared himself President of Catalonia, fled to Belgium in a self-imposed exile to avoid prosecution by Spanish authorities for rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement. During a thorough investigation into the organizers of the independence movement, it was determined that Russia had provided funding to Puigdemond’s efforts to facilitate Catalonian independence. There were also evidence suggesting Russia’s willingness to pay off all Catalonia’s sovereign debt, and to deploy 10,000 Russian soldiers to Catalonia if the movement succeeded in becoming independent from Spain. During later events, Josep Lluis Alay, an advisor to Carles Puigdemond, had met with Russian intelligence officers in Moscow during various visit in 2019 to discuss means of severing Catalonia from Spain. In attendance of these meeting were various serving officers in the Russian FSB, including Andrei Bezrukov (Russian KGB officer who served as an ‘illegal’ in the US), Sergei Sumin (then a Colonel in the FSB), and Artyom Lukoyanov (who was also involved with supporting the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine), and Russian businessman Alexander Dmitrenko. Shortly after Alay’s return to Catalonia from Russia, the ‘Tsunami Democratic’ protest movement was established in Spain to seek Catalonian independence. The group was responsible for organizing rots at Barcelona airport and disrupting up to 150 international flights departing from the airport. Intelligence reports also found Russian GRU agent, Denis Sergeev (aka Sergey Fedotov), one of the agents involved with the 2018 near-fatal poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in England, was a regular traveler to Catalonia up until the evening before the declaration of independence.


The UDI was rejected by the US and the EU in support of the Spanish government, and by the majority of the world. Africa, being majority pro-Russian aligned, failed to condemn nor support the Catalonian declaration of independence, nor did it support Spain in the matter. Russia chose to maintain a ‘neutral’ stance (just as BRICS member South Africa abstained from providing any response), although the break-away [Russian supported] Republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and the Republic of Artsakh (officially still a recognized part of Azerbaijan), supported the Catalonian declaration of independence].


2017, December 05: Ukraine’s Security Service detains Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, and former Governor of Odessa Regional State Administration, for protesting against the Poroshenko government. He was freed from police custody by a large group of protesters.


2018:


2018, February 07: Around 500 pro-government fighters supporting the Syrian Government, with Russian Wagner Group in support, launches an attack on US backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the town of Khasham, Syria. In the SDF headquarters base was a detachment of US special operations forces. The pro-government forces commenced the attack on the base with mortars, artillery, and rockets, with T-72 and T-55 tanks in support. The US military detachment calls in an airstrike after the official Russian military liaison confirmed no Russians were present in the attacking force. US air assets engage the attacking force, killing around 200 of the attackers. Around 14 members of the accompanying Wagner Group died during the attack.


[Based on previous near-similar incidents a few days prior, some observers believe that Russia was intentionally testing the US willingness and capabilities to engage its forces. This incident, including various other incidents involving Russian supported activities in Syria, forced the US to conduct a nuclear posture review based on comments by outgoing US CIA director, Mike Pompeo, on April 12, 2018. At this stage in time, the US was aware of Russia’s motives and global strategic objectives, why it was taking the Russian threats against Ukraine much more serious than its NATO allies].


2018, February 12: Former President of Georgia and former Governor of Odessa, Mikheil Saakashvili, is deported from Ukraine to Poland for being within Ukrainian territory illegally after Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26, 2017.

2018, March 04: A former Russian military officer and double-agent for British intelligence services, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, is near-fatally poisoned with Novichok nerve agent by two Russian GRU agents serving with Russian GRU Unit 29155. The attempted assassination occurred in Salisbury, England. A third GRU officer was later identified as Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev. During various investigations to follow, investigators found that Yulia Skripal’s e-mail had been hacked since 2013 by the Russian GRU, and that they had since tested various methods of testing an effective delivery system of a lethal poison, to include transmission from door handles. No motive for the attack was ever provided, and in Russia the government controlled the narrative via State media by implying that Skripal was in fact poisoned by the British intelligence services, and that the allegations against Russia was part of an anti-Russian defamation campaign by the West.

2018, June 08: Konstantin Kilimnik, a known Russian GRU agent and long-time associate of American political consultant Paul Manafort, is indicted by US Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, in conjunction with Paul Manafort, regarding unregistered lobbying work. At present (2022), the FBI offered a reward of US$ 250,000 for information leading to the arrest of Konstantin Viktorovich Kilimnik. Kilimnik is also considered a vital witness in the 2016 US Presidential Elections fraud. Kilimnik’s last known residence is within a heavily guarded security compound in Khimki, north-west of the Moscow Region outside the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD). This area is also the base for the Moscow unit of the GRU.

2018, August 23: American lobbyist Paul Manafort, political consultant to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions, and paid Russian asset, meets with Kyrgyzstan President Bakiyev to motivate him to terminate the lease of the US Airbase outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, at the request of Russia.

2018, September 19: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree to end the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation originally agreed on May 31, 1997, which renewed automatically after every 10 years unless one of the parties to the treaty provided written notification to end the treaty.

2018, August 30: Viktor Medvedchuk states during an interview with The Independent that the US was interfering with the affairs between the “brotherly nations” Ukraine and Russia. He admitted in the interview that Russia was illegally arming the separatist forces in Donbas, but said that the US and its NATO were doing the same by arming Ukraine (This statement was perceived strange coming from a Ukrainian political figure).

2018, September 21: Ukraine notifies United Nations about intentions to end Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia.

2018, September 24: The Russian Federation is officially notified of Ukraine’s intent to end the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, to which the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed their regret.

2018, December 03: A bill was passed in the Ukrainian Parliament ending the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia.

2018, December 26: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a comedian and actor, and future President of Ukraine, states in an interview that he thinks it would be appropriate to negotiate peace with Russia regarding the separatist Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, but that he does not consider it appropriate dealing directly with the leaders of the two break-away Republics due to them only being puppets of Russia.

2018, December 31: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a political outsider, announces his candidacy for President of Ukraine, four months prior to the elections. He was standing against current Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko who was seeking a re-election. Zelenskyy styled himself as an anti-establishment, anti-corruption figure which gained him much support throughout Ukraine. Zelenskyy is Ukrainian born, and was raised as a Russian speaker. At this moment, Zelenskyy’s running for election as President was severely underestimated by Russia.


2019:


2019, January 05: The Ukraine Orthodox Church receives self-governing status from the head of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople. This allows the church to distance itself from the influences exercised by the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow amidst the growing divide between Ukraine and Russia as a result of growing Russian aggression in Ukraine.

2019, January 10: American lawyer and political consultant, Paul Manafort, resigns from the Connecticut bar council.

2019, January 24: Former President Viktor Yanukovych is found guilty by a panel of three judges on charges of high treason and complicity in the Russia military intervention in Ukrainian during 2014. He is sentenced to 13 years imprisonment in absentia after Yanukovych failed to provide closing argument statements due to back and knee injuries sustained while playing tennis.

2019, February 27: A graft scandal is exposed during Petro Poroshenko’s 2019 re-election campaign indicating his business partner’s involvement in the smuggling of Russian military components to Ukrainian defense factories at highly inflated prices.


[The unregulated Russian defense materials trade was duly exposed after the February 24, 2022, Russian invasion of Ukraine failed to meet its operational objectives within a week, forcing Russia’s engagement in a prolonged war it had not planned for. As over-extended Russian logistics started to fail in Ukraine, along with heavy equipment losses, the Russians discovered that most of its reserve equipment in storage had been stripped of valuable components for unregulated black market arms trading, which included Russian connected Ukrainian businessmen who saw an opportunity to profit from the conditions in Ukraine. Regarding Poroshenko, he emphasized much ‘anti-Russian’ collaboration efforts and agreements within the public space upon taking office as President. However, what was concerning about his Presidential term is that as critical as he was of “Russia” in the public, Russia failed to respond to his public image in the manner they did during Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration. This may be indicative of Poroshenko initially preaching a hard stance against Russia for the following reasons:


1. To gain public trust and stability within Ukraine after the exposure of Yanukovych and his pro-Russian network and activities;

2. To establish a position of strength when dealing with his Russian counterparts during negotiations (to his own personal benefit, and not necessarily to the benefit of Ukraine);

2. To mask his activities involving Russian collaboration by creating a public image of being ‘anti-Russian’ (also to the benefit of Russia who was seeking less negative attention to continue with its expansionism agenda).


Unfortunately for Poroshenko, he was failed by his own network of Russian collaborators who exposed him for the person he was, why the public chose not to extend his Presidential term after 2019. What made Poroshenko different from his predecessors is that Russia knew that post-Euromaidan it had to change its strategy in terms of controls over Ukraine’s politicians, why Russia had to follow a different strategy in terms of gaining benefits from Poroshenko compared to his predecessors up to Viktor Yanukovych. The most cunning of this strategy by Russia was the instigation and allowing for the implementation of various ‘anti-Russian’ reforms in Ukraine which fit the Russian ‘anti-Russian Ukraine’ narrative favorably (why Russia capitalized on its information campaign value leading up to the February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine). The extent of Poroshenko’s awareness about how his actions benefited Russian grand strategy during his term remains questionable. However, what we do know about Poroshenko is that his loyalties was always with himself first, especially his aspirations in terms of increasing his business influence, why he considered Ukrainian EU membership as a positive way forward for him (by means of Ukraine). From a business perspective, he did not favor any direct alliances with Russia for the reason that he knew he would not survive competing against the more powerful Russian oligarchs, and to a lesser degree the Russian connected Ukrainian oligarchs (especially after his Presidential term), why he was adamant at reducing the powers of influence of the Ukrainian oligarchs while he had the Presidential powers to do so. Basically, with most of his government reforms his priority was focussed on expanding his own interests first while simultaneously meeting public demands].


2019, March 27: A 2018 EU Commission report highlights how Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko achieved developing legislation for reforms in Ukraine towards EU membership quite rapidly, but for some unknown reason failed in implementing and enforcing the new legislation effectively. Some foreign observers became suspicious that Poroshenko might have been playing his foreign (and domestic) audience by creating the appearance of change, whereas the reality was that not much had changed in Ukraine since he became President. This creates the question: To who’s benefit did Poroshenko act within his Presidential capacity?

2019, April 18: Presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyy states that Russian artists who have turned into anti-Ukrainian politicians should not be allowed to enter Ukraine.

2019, April 19: Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a Presidential debate at Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex where he made the statement during his opening speech that during 2014 he voted for current President Petro Poroshenko, but that he was mistaken for the Poroshenko that Ukraine received was not the Poroshenko they voted for. He also said: “The first [Petro Poroshenko] appears when there are video cameras, the other Petro sends Medvedchuk privietiki (greetings) to Moscow” (referring to Poroshenko’s back-channel relations with Russia and former President Viktor Yanukovych).

2019, April 21: Volodymyr Zelenskyy wins the second round of votes for President of Ukraine with 73% of the votes against current President Petro Poroshenko. Throughout his campaign spanning less than four months, he avoided engaging with the mainstream media, rather choosing to engage directly with the electorate via social media which proved a success. For this reason, he was underestimated by his opponents who were powerful figures in Ukraine, but still of the opinion that traditional campaigning methods were in their favor. Polish President Andrzej Duda is the first EU head of State to congratulate him on his election win.

2019, April 22: US President Donald Trump congratulates Volodymyr Zelenskyy on his election victory.

2019, May 20: Volodymyr Zelenskyy is inaugurated as the President of Ukraine. He becomes the President of a country that is listed by Ernst & Young as the 3rd most corrupt country in the world (a title Ukraine inherited from nearly two decades of being subject to a majority political leadership controlled by Russia). Immediately upon entering office, he dissolves the Ukrainian Parliament and calls for early Parliamentary elections. The first reforms he implements is the reduce Russian influence in the Ukrainian economy and politics. He also implements anti-corruption laws to reduce government corruption, to include the phasing in of e-services to decrease bureaucracy being abused by government officials for personal gain.

2019, June 03: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appoints former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma as Ukraine’s representative in the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE) on Ukraine to reach a settlement in the conflict with Russia.

2019, July 11: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds his first discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin via telephone to discuss ways of ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, during which Zelenskyy urged Putin to participate in talks with the European OSCE. Both leaders also discussed a prisoner exchange.

2019, July 21: The political party ‘Servant to the People’ which supports President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is wins 254 of 424 seats in Parliament.

2019. August 29: Ukraine President informs Poland of his intentions to lift the moratorium on exhuming Polish mass graves in Ukraine after the previous Ukraine government under leadership of Petro Poroshenko banned the Polish from exhumations of Polish victims of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army perpetrated Volhynian massacre while under German occupation during WW2.

2019, September 03: Ukraine Parliament approves a law proposed by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to strip all immunity from lawmakers, diplomats, and judges in an attempt to decrease state corruption, thereby fulfilling one of President Zelenskyy’s campaign promises.

2019, September 27: US President Donald Trump blocks a US$ 400 million congressionally approved military aid package to Ukraine after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses Donald Trump’s requests for an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son in relation to business dealings in Ukraine. This later became known as the Trump-Ukraine scandal, and the basis for an impeachment enquiry against Donald Trump. Zelenskyy later stated that he was not under pressure from Trump, and he refused to become involved in anything relating to the possible outcomes of a foreign election.

2019, October 02: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announces a preliminary deal with the separatists, under which Ukraine would respect elections within the regions on the condition that Russia withdraws all its unmarked soldiers from the respective territories. Zelenskyy defended the negotiations against his critics, stating that no elections will be held before the withdrawal of all Russian troops.

2019, December 09: The Presidents of Russia and Ukraine meet in Paris to resume talks mediated by France and Germany under the so-called Normandy format. This is the first face-to-face meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin. The mediation format was established earlier after the failure of the Minsk protocols, but failed to gain traction. During initial renewal of negotiations efforts initiated by both France and Germany with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Zelenskyy was not much convinced about the anticipated success and benefits to Ukraine, having described the previous receptions by both Merkel (Germany) and Macron (France) as “lukewarm” to US president Donald Trump during a conversation held during September 2019. Consequently, western Europe failed to appreciate Zelenskyy’s opinion.

2019, December 20: Ukrainian law enforcement raid both Poroshenko’s party head office and gym on orders from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The raid uncovered hidden cameras and recording devices used to spy on politicians and influential businessmen who were members of the gym. The raid related to the theft of government servers containing classified information, as well as tax evasion and money laundering.

2019, December 25: The peace deal negotiated between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the breakaway regions fail due to continued attacks against Ukrainian forces by Russian backed separatist forces, along with Russia’s refusal to withdraw its soldiers from the territories. Russia continues to send arms and equipment to the separatist regions. As a result of the separatists’ continued hostilities, several nationalist Ukrainian militias refuse to conform with the peace deal, especially the Azov militia based in Luhansk region of Donbas. Zelenskyy personally meats with the Azov commander to appeal with them to surrender all their unregistered weapons, which they refuse.


2020:


2020, January 08: Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 is shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran shortly after take-off from Tehran to Kyiv. All 176 passengers and crew were killed in the incident. The aircraft was shot down by two ground-launched surface-to-air missiles. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was on a visit to Oman, but returned back to Kyiv upon being notified of the incident.

2020, January 21: Documentary film “The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, and Mass Murder” with guest host Michael Caputo is aired on OANN (One America News Network). The film was produced by Michael Caputo, and it was co-produced by Sergey Petrushin, a Russian national. The film release was supported by Konstantin Kilimnik, Andrii Derkach, and Andrii Telizhenko, all members of the Russian intelligence community, with Derback having close relations with Rudy Giuliani.

2020, July 27: Ukraine agrees upon a ceasefire with the separatist regions, the 20th ceasefire since the start of the conflict in 2014. Compared to previous ceasefire agreements, this ceasefire was different for it succeeded in reducing the number of violations during the following 12 months by 55%.

2020, September 11: The US Treasury Department sanctions Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian politician, businessman, and Russian intelligence agent, for “attempting to influence the U.S. electoral process” during the 2020 U.S. elections.

2020, September 21: Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the Parliament relating to reforms required to improve the domestic and financial situation in Ukraine. Ukraine’s economy is stagnating, and economic conditions worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. His approval rating reached a low 32%.

2020, October 23: The Second Libyan Civil War ends with a permanent cease fire between all warring factions. Russia withdraws its forces in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the peace agreement. Russia’s Wagner Group, which becomes a prominent component of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during 2022, is redeployed to other mission areas in Africa, predominantly in the Central African Republic.


2021:


2021, January 21: Parliament approves a bill to reform Ukraine’s referendum laws which the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional in 2018.

2021, February 19: Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife, Oksana Marchenko, are added to the sanctions list of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine for financing terrorism in Ukraine. They were accused of channelling money from a Russian-based refinery to separatist forces in Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. Medvedchuk’s assets, most of which were held under his wife’s name, were frozen, and an oil pipeline controlled by Medvedchuk used to transport oil from Russia to European markets was nationalized.

2021, February 21: Russia deploys 3,000 paratroopers to the border of Ukraine for what it calls “large scale exercises”. This action follows after the Ukrainian government takes action against Viktor Medvedchuk for his involvement in supporting the Russian expansionism agenda in Ukraine. Medvedchuk is a pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition politician and business tycoon with close personal ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This date symbolizes the start date for the Russian build-up for the invasion of Ukraine one year later. This is by no means a coincidence for the reason that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already realized by this time that he was not going to succeed in gaining control over Ukraine through the political system being reformed under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who does not support a Ukraine under Russian control.

2021, March 03: Separatists from self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) claims they were granted authority to use “pre-emptive fire for destruction” by their Russian controlled leadership against Ukrainian military positions.

2021, March 16: SBGS (State Border Guard Services) of Ukraine reports a Russian marked Mil Mi-8 helicopter trespassing 50 metres into Ukrainian territory before returning back to Russian airspace. NATO commences with a series of near simultaneous military exercises known as Defender Europe 2021, one of the largest since the end of the Cold War, covering 30 training areas located in 12 countries involving 28,000 soldiers. Russia conveys its dissatisfaction with NATO conducting military exercises, consequently ordering a larger build-up of forces along its Western borders and Crimea to around 40,000 soldiers. Germany condemns Russia’s build-up of troops as a sign of provocation.

2021, March 24: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy releases a statement confirming Ukraine’s intent to retake Crimea from Russia, to include the use of military force. He also signs Decree 117/2021 approving the “strategy for de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupie