OSCE spies in Ukraine?

Western journalists and politicians are quick to ridicule claims that Western spies operate in Ukraine under the guise of being observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). However, this has happened before, in the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) 1998-99.

One of the journalists who did everything he could to ridicule these claims was Senior Moscow correspondent for the the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Hans-Wilhelm Steinfeld in a radio program on April 26. But how can he be so sure?

Could it be the case that Colonel Axel Schneider works for the German Bundesnachrichtendienst in addition to being an OSCE observer? See a reportage in the main Norwegian news on April 26.

Could it be the case that Colonel Axel Schneider works for the German Bundesnachrichtendienst in addition to being an OSCE observer? See a reportage about the hostages in the main Norwegian news on April 26.

Previously we have seen that Western intelligence agencies have used the OSCE actively for their operators. KVM was an OSCE operation in 1998 and 1999 before NATO went to war against Yugoslavia at the time Knut Vollebæk was head of the OSCE as the Norwegian Foreign Minister.

One of the KVM observers at the time was Kåre Eltervåg, who currently heads the Kosovo section of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. In the book, NATO’s Gamble: Combining Diplomacy and Airpower in the Kosovo Crisis, 1998-1999 , we see that Lieutenant Colonel Dag Henriksen currently a lecturer at the Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim comes with many interesting observations. (For those who want to learn more about the relationship between politics, diplomacy and air power, I have not read better analysis than what I have read in Henriksen’s book.)

Let me cite four paragraphs from pages 158 and 159:

158. Kåre Eltervåg, who was the political adviser to the head of KVM, William Walker, says he was surprised by how great nations (particularly the United States and the United Kingdom) operated as parties in the conflict under the OSCE’s neutral umbrella. Not only did they provide maps to the KLA, but as the KVM left, “some nations left behind communications equipment that the KLA later used to provide NATO with map references, assisting bombing missions and battle-damage assessment.”

158. The deputy head of mission/chief of staff for the Kosovo Verification Mission, Maj. Gen. Bjørn Nygård, shared Eltervåg’s perception. Eltervåg personally witnessed this communication from Macedonia after the war had started, and as he later reflected, “It was like some of the powerful nations had foreseen what was to come, and decided that this was one of the few opportunities to get intelligence information out of Kosovo when the war finally started. For all practical purposes, this activity largely reduced the integrity of the OSCE which was needed in order to play a significant role as an international body in Kosovo after the war.”

158. Eltervåg’s perception was that the KLA strategy was to provoke the Serbs in order to trigger forcible retaliation, which in turn would provoke the international community and lead to NATO involvement. Maj. Gen. Nygård later stated that he had exactly the same perception. This view was later confirmed by Remi, who on camera did not conceal the KLA’s ultimate goal: “We did not have adequate firepower for larger operations, but we could provoke the Serbs by using snipers. Our intention was to get NATO to intervene as fast as possible.”

159. Between the October agreement and Christmas, a UN report stated that some 150 civilian Serbs had been kidnapped, and even Albanian LDK activists were targeted by the KLA. Interestingly, Nygård points out that the international community seemed to have demonized the Serbs as the source of the problems for so long that anything the KLA did in this period was perceived as more or less legitimate resistance by the weaker party. According to him, within the KVM in this period, the French and German perception of the situation was significantly more objective than that of the United States and Britain.

There is little that is black and white, and I would not be surprised if some of the 13 OSCE observers have links to Western intelligence agencies.

In the same radio broadcast, Steinfeld repeated his claim that the government of Viktor Yanukovych was responsible for the sniper murders on Maidan on Feb. 20. Sure, Steinfeld has earned tremendous respect as a Russia expert in Norwegian media, but it would be irresponsible just to believe Steinfeld’s words without making an independent assessment of what happened.

This Russian video production has interesting analyzes and camera angles that suggest that snipers came from the Maidan rebels, not the police. For those who understand Russian, they can also see part one and part two of this video in its original language.

This article was also published in Norwegian on verdidebatt.no