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The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout? _ Paul Craig Roberts

Thursday, February 12, 2015 19:26
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The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout? — Paul Craig Roberts –

Judging by the report on RT

I conclude that the Ukraine peace deal worked out in Minsk by Putin,
Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko has little chance of success.

As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there
be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the
conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and

The Minsk agreement makes no reference to the announcement by Lt.
Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, that Washington is sending
a battalion of US troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces how to
fight against Russian and rebel forces. The training is scheduled to
begin in March, about two weeks from now. Gen. Hodges says that it is
very important to recognize that the Donetsk and Luhansk forces “are not
separatists, these are proxies for President Putin.”

How is there a peace deal when Washington has plans underway to send arms and

training to the US puppet government in Kiev?

Looking at the deal itself, it is set up to fail. The only parties to
the deal who had to sign it are the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk
break-away republics. The other signers to the Minsk deal are an OSCE
representative which is the European group that is supposed to monitor
the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, a former Ukrainian
president Viktor Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador in Kiev. Neither
the German chancellor nor the French, Ukrainian, and Russian presidents
who brokered the deal had to sign it.

In other words, the governments of Germany, France, Ukraine, and
Russia do not appear to be empowered or required to enforce the
agreement. According to RT, “the declaration was not meant to be signed
by the leaders, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.”

The terms of the agreement depend on actions of the Ukrainian
parliament and prime minister, neither of which are under Poroshenko’s
control, and Poroshenko himself is a figurehead under Washington’s
control. Moreover, the Ukrainian military does not control the Nazi
militias. As Washington and the right-wing elements in Ukraine want
conflict with Russia, peace cannot be forthcoming.

The agreement is nothing but a list of expectations that have no chance of occurring.

One expectation is that Ukraine and the republics will negotiate
terms for future local elections in the provinces that will bring them
back under Ukraine’s legal control. The day after the local elections,
but prior to the constitutional reform that provides the regions with
autonomy, Kiev takes control of the borders with Ukraine and between the
provinces. I read this as the total sell-out of the Donetsk and
Lugansk republics. Apparently, that is the way the leaders of the
republics see it as well, as Putin had to twist their arms in order to
get their signatures to the agreement.

Another expectation is that Ukraine will adopt legislation on
self-governance that would be acceptable to the republics and declare a
general amnesty for the republics’ leaders and military forces.

Negotiations between Kiev and the autonomous areas are to take place
that restore Kiev’s taxation of the autonomous areas and the provision
of social payments and banking services to the autonomous areas.

After a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine guaranteeing
acceptable (and undefined) autonomy to the republics, Kiev will take
control over the provinces’ borders with Russia.

By the end of 2015 Kiev will implement comprehensive constitutional
reform that decentralizes the Ukrainian political system and provides
privileges of autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Both Putin and Poroshenko are both reported as stating that the main thing achieved is a ceasefire starting on February 15.

The ceasefire is of no benefit to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics
as they are prevailing in the conflict. Moreover, the deal requires the
republics’ forces to give up territory and to pull back to the borders
of last September and to eject fighters from France and other countries
who have come to the aid of the break-away republics. In other words,
the agreement erases all of Kiev’s losses from the conflict that Kiev

All of the risks of the agreement are imposed on the break-away
republics and on Putin. The provinces are required to give up all their
gains while Washington trains and arms Ukrainian forces to attack the
provinces. The republics have to give up their security and trust Kiev
long before Kiev votes, assuming it ever does, autonomy for the

Moreover, if the one-sided terms of the Minsk agreement result in failure, Putin and the republics will be blamed.

Why would Putin make such a deal and force it on the republics? If
the deal becomes a Russian sell-out of the republics, it will hurt
Putin’s nationalist support within Russia and make it easier for
Washington to weaken Putin and perhaps achieve regime change. It looks
more like a surrender than a fair deal.

Perhaps Putin’s strategy is to give away every advantage in the
expectation that the deal will fail, and the Russian government can say
“we gave away the store and the deal still failed.”

Washington’s coup in Kiev and the attack on the Russian-speaking
Ukrainians in the east and south is part of Washington’s strategy to
reassert its uni-power position. Russia’s independent foreign policy
and Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe
became problems for Washington. Washington is using Ukraine to attack
and to demonize Russia and its leader and to break-up Russia’s economic
and political relations with Europe. That is what the sanctions are
about. A peace deal in Ukraine on any terms other than Washington’s is
unacceptable to Washington. The only acceptable deal is a deal that is a
defeat for Russia.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Russian government
made a strategic mistake when it did not accept the requests of the
break-away provinces to be united with Russia. The people in the
Donetsk and Lugansk provinces favored unification with the same massive
majorities that the people in Crimea showed. If the provinces had been
united with Russia, it would have been the end of the conflict. Neither
Ukraine nor Washington is going to attack Russian territory.

By failing to end the conflict by unification, Putin set himself up
as the punching bag for Western propaganda. The consequence is that
over the many months during which the conflict has been needlessly drawn
out, Putin has had his image and reputation in the West destroyed. He
is the “new Hitler.” He is “scheming to restore the Soviet Empire.”
“Russia ranks with ebola and the Islamist State as the three greatest
threats.” “RT is a terrorist organization like Boco Haram and the
Islamist State.” And so on and on. This CNN interview with Obama
conducted by Washington’s presstitute Fareed Zakaria shows the image of
Putin based entirely on lies that rules in the West.

Putin could be no more demonized even if the Russian military had invaded Ukraine,

conquered it, and reincorporated Ukraine in Russia of which Ukraine was
part for centuries prior to the Soviet collapse and Ukraine’s separation
from Russia at Washington’s insistence.

The Russian government might want to carefully consider whether
Moscow is helping Washington to achieve another victory in Ukraine.


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