[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]
The recent Paris summit and the few days following the summit have brought a lot of clarity about the future of the Minsk Agreements. Short version: Kiev has officially rejected them (by rejecting both the sequence of steps and several crucial steps). For those interested, let’s look a little further.
First, what just happened
First, here are the key excerpts from the Paris Conference and from statements made by “Ze” and his superior, Arsen Avakov right after their return to Kiev:
Paris Conference statement: source
The Minsk agreements (Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Minsk Package of Measures of 12 February 2015) continue to be the basis of the work of the Normandy format whose member states are committed to their full implementation (…) The sides express interest in agreeing within the Normandy format (N4) and the Trilateral Contact Group on all the legal aspects of the Special Order of Local Self-Government – special status – of Certain Areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions – as outlined in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements from 2015 – in order to ensure its functioning on a permanent basis .They consider it necessary to incorporate the “Steinmeier formula” into the Ukrainian legislation, in accordance with the version agreed upon within the N4 and the Trilateral Contact Group.
President ‘Ze’ statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation) source
“The most difficult question is the question of the transfer of the border control to Ukraine. It’s very funny, because its our border and the transfer of the control to us. But, it’s a weak sport, the Achilles’ heel of the Minsk Agreement.” “It’s what was signed by us, unfortunately. We can discuss this for a very long time. Possibly, the conditions were as such.” “But we signed that we will get the control over our border only after the elections on the temporarily occupied territories.” “We dedicated a very long time to this question, we discussed it in details, we have a very different positions with the president of Russia.” “But this is the Minsk position, we have to understand this. I only like one thing, that we started talking about this. We agreed that we will continue talking about this in details and with the different variations during our next meeting.” “This is also a victory, because we will have a meeting in four months.”
Q. What do you think, is it possible to change the Minsk Agreement?
“This will be very difficult to do, but we have to do it. We have to change it. First, we have to understand that it’s been over four years since the Minsk Agreement was signed. Everything changes in our life. We have to understand that it wasn’t my team that signed the Minsk Agreement, but we as a power have to fulfill the conditions that our power at the time agreed back then. But? I am sure that some things we will be able to change. We will be changing them.” “Because the transfer of the Ukraine’s border after our control only after the elections, – it’s not our position. I said about this don’t know how many times, but this is the final decision.”
Arsen Avakov’s statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation): source
“The philosophy of the border control… the part of the border that we don’t have control over is 408 kilometers. It’s not that easy to take it over, to equip it, even to get there across the enemy territories. It’s a procedure. As a compromise, we offered the following scheme: we will start taking the border under our control stating with the New Year, little by little, reducing the length of the border that is not controlled by us, and a day before the local election we will close the border, we will close this bottleneck. And this way will get the control over the border. Why isn’t this a good compromise? Considering, that at the same time according to the Steinmeier Formula, they have to disarm all the illegal armed formations of this pseudo-state DNR. This is how we see the compromise.”
In other words, both the official President and real President of the Ukraine agree: the Ukraine will not implement the Minsk Agreements as written, made law by the UNSC and clarified by the so-called Steinmeier Formula.
Ukrainian propagandists on Russian TV (yes, Ukronazi and hardline nationalist propagandists do get air time on Russian TV on a daily basis – for an explanation why, see here and here) went into damage control mode and explained it all away by saying “these are only words, what matters is what Zelenskii signed in Paris“. They are wrong. First of all, statements made in their official capacity by the President or the Minister of Internal Affairs do represent OFFICIAL policy statements. Second, this explanation completely overlooks the reason why Ze and Avakov said these things. That reason is very simple: Ze caved in to the Ukronazis, completely. He now uses EXACTLY the same rhetoric as Poroshenko did, in spite of the fact that the only reason he was elected is that he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Poroshenko. Now all we see is Poroshenko 2.0.
So in the behind-the-scenes (but very real) struggle between the Zionist camp (Kolomoiskii and Zelenskii) and the Urkonazi camp (Avakov and Poroshenko), the latter have successfully taken control of the former and now the chances for saving a unitary Ukraine are down to, maybe not quite zero, but to something like 0.0000001% (I leave that one under the heading “never say never” and because I have been wrong in the past).
So what happens next?
That is the interesting question. In theory, the Normandy Four will meet again in 4 months. But that assumes that some progress was made. Well, it is possible that in a few sections of the line of contact there will be an OSCE supervised withdrawal of forces. But, let’s be honest here, the people have seen many, many such promised withdrawals, and they all turned out to be fake. Either the Ukronazis return to the neutral zone (claiming huge victories over the (sic) “Russian armed force”), or they resume bombing civilians, or they never even bother to change position. Any withdrawal is a good thing if it can save a single life! But no amount of withdrawals will settle anything in this conflict.
Second, there are A LOT of Ukrainian politicians who now say that the citizens of the LDNR have to “return” to Russia if they don’t like the Urkonazi coup or its ideology. They either don’t realize, or don’t care, that there are very few Russian volunteers in Novorussia and that the vast majority of the men and women who compose the LDNR forces are locals. These locals, by the way, get the Ukie message loud and clear: you better get away while you can, because when we show up you will all be prosecuted for terrorism and aiding terrorists, that is ALSO something the Ukronazis like to repeat day after day. By the way, while in Banderastan all Russian TV channels are censored, and while they also try to censor the Russian language Internet, in Novorussia all the Ukrainian (and Russian) TV stations are freely available. So as soon as some Nazi freak comes out and says something crazy like “we will create filtration camps” (aka concentration camps) this news is instantly repeated all over Novorussia, which only strengthens the resolve of the people of the LDNR to fight to their death rather than accept a Nazi occupation..
I said it many times, Zelenskii’s ONLY chance was to crackdown on the Nazis as soon as he was elected. He either did not have the courage to do so, or his U.S. bosses told him to leave them unmolested. Whatever the case may be, it’s now over, we are back to square one.
The most likely scenario is a “slow freezing” of the conflict meaning now that Kiev has officially and overtly rejected the Minsk Agreements, there will be some minor, pretend-negotiations, maybe, but that fundamentally the conflict will be frozen.
That will be the last nail in the coffin of the pro-EU, pro-NATO so-called “Independent Ukraine”, since the most important condition to try to salvage the Ukrainian economy, namely peace, is now gone. Furthermore, the political climate in the Ukraine will further deteriorate (the hated Nazi minority + an even worse economic crisis are a perfect recipe for disaster).
For the Novorussians, it’s now clear: the rump-Ukraine* does not want them, nor will Kiev ever agree to the Minsk Agreement. That means that the LDNR will separate from the rump-Ukraine and, on time, rejoin Russia. Good bye Banderites and Ukronazis!
The rump-Ukraine will eventually break-up further: Crimea truly was the “jewel of the Black Sea” and its future appears to be extremely bright while the Donbass was the biggest source of raw materials, energy, industry, high-tech, etc. etc. etc.). What is left of the Ukraine is either poor and under-developed (the West) or needs to reopen economic ties with Russia (the South).
Besides, Zelenskii and his party are now trying to rush a new law through the Rada which will allow the sale of Ukrainian land to private interests (aka foreign interests + a local frontman). As a result, there is now a new “maidan” brewing, pitting Iulia Timoshenko and other nationalist leaders against Zelenskii and his party. This could become a major crisis very fast, especially now that is appears that Zelenskii will also renege on this promise to call for a national referendum on the issue of the sale/privatization of land.
As for the Russians, they already realize that Ze is a joke, unsurprisingly so since he is a comic by trade, and that the Ukrainians are “not agreement capable”. They will treat him like they did Poroshenko in the last years: completely ignore him and not even take his telephone calls. Right now, there is just a tiny bit of good will left in Moscow, but it is drying up so fast that it will soon totally disappear. Besides, the Russians really don’t care that much anymore: the sanctions turned out to be a blessing, time is on Russia’s side, the Ukronazis are destroying their own state and, finally, the important stuff for Russia is happening in Asia, not the West.
The Europeans will take a long time to come to terms with two simple facts:
- Russia was never a party to this conflict (if she had, it would have been over long ago).
- The Ukronazis are the ones who won’t implement the Minsk Agreements
This means that the politicians who were behind the EU’s backing of the Euromaidan (Merkel) will have to go before their successors can say that, oops, we got our colors confused, and white is actually black and black turned out to be white. That’s okay, politicians are pretty good at that. The honeymoon between Kiev and Warsaw on the one hand and Berlin on the other will soon end as bad times are ahead.
Macron looks much better, and he will probably pursue his efforts to restore semi-normal relations with Russia, for France’s sake first, but also eventually the rest of the EU. The Poles and the Balts will accuse him of “treason” and he will just ignore them.
As for Trump, he will most likely make small steps towards Russia, but most of his energy will be directed either inwards (impeachment) or outwards (Israel), but not towards the Ukrainian conflict. Good.
It’s over. Crimea and the Donbass are gone forever, the first is de jure, the latter merely de facto. The rump-Ukraine is completely unconformable (barring some kind of coup followed by a government of national unity supported Moscow – I consider this hypothesis as highly unlikely).
If you live in the West, don’t expect your national media to report on any of this. They will be the LAST ones to actually admit it (journos have a longer shelf life than politicians, it is harder for them to make a 180).
PS: to get a feeling for the kind of silly stunts the “Ze team” is now busying itself with, just check this one: they actually tried to falsify the Ukrainian version of the Paris Communique. For details, see Scott’s report here: https://thesaker.is/kiev-attempted-to-change-the-letter-and-meaning-of-paris-summit-communique/. If the Ukraine was a Kindergarten, then “Ze” would be a perfect classroom teacher or visiting entertainer. But for a country fighting for its survival, such stunts are a very, very bad sign indeed!
(*rump-Ukraine: In broad terms, a “rump” state is what remains of a state when a portion is carved away. Expanding on the “butcher” metaphor, the rump is what is left when the higher-value cuts such as rib roast and loin have been removed.)